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Object: Four hammer percussion shotgun

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Title Four hammer percussion shotgun
Production Dewalle Brothers (gunsmith), circa 1850, Belgium
Medium summary Walnut stock and steel barrel
Materials walnut, steel, brass
Classification shotguns
Dimensions Overall: 190mm (Height) x 1230mm (Length) x 65mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Gift of Mr D. Prosser, 1954
Registration number DM000317

In the nineteenth century, Mäori called double-barrelled shotguns like this one tüpara. Tüpara is a transliteration of the English words 'double-barrelled'. For various reasons tüpara became the favoured weapon for many Mäori warriors during the New Zealand Wars of the nineteenth century.


Noted Belgium gunsmiths the Dewalle Brothers made this fine weapon in about 1850. It has four hammers, and is known technically as a superimposed-load gun, meaning that two charges could be loaded into each barrel giving the shooter a total of four shots. Superimposed loading was designed to increase firepower, but guns of this type were never regarded as particularly safe to use, despite a built-in safety feature so that the rear charges would not fire before the front ones. They tended to be given, as in this case, as expensive and ornamental presents to dignitaries.


Governor Sir George Grey gave this gun, named 'Koatariini', to the Ngäti Toa chief Rawiri Kingi Puaha in 1853. The occasion was a great hui (gathering) held at Otaki in the lower North Island in September 1853, when many chiefs of Ngäti Toarangatira, Ngäti Raukawa, and Ati Awa gathered to farewell Grey, who was about to return to England at the end of his first term as Governor. Grey received many gifts of taonga (treasures) in return, which he took back to England (where they remain). After Puaha's death in 1858, his daughter, Raiha, who was also known as Eliza Grey after Governor Grey, inherited this gun, along with other taonga. Koatariini then passed to Puaha's grandson, Mr David Prosser, who presented it to the Dominion Museum (Te Papa's predecessor) in 1954.

Rawiri Kingi Puaha

Rawiri Kingi Puaha was a leading chief of Ngäti Toa, a grandson of the celebrated chief Takamaiterangi, and one of three sons of Te Matoe. His elder brother was Te Kanae, a tohunga (respected specialist), and his younger brother was Hohepa Tamaihengia. Their mother, Hinekoto, was a half sister of the famous Ngäti Toa warrior chief Te Rauparaha. Rawiri married Ria Waitohi, the daughter of Te Peehi, paramount chief of Ngäti Toa, and his second wife Te Purewa. They had a daughter, Raiha Puaha, and son, Hori Kerei.

Rawiri participated in all Ngäti Toa's early conflicts prior to their migrating from Kawhia, including the latter raids against the tribes of the Kapiti district (in the lower North Island) and the South Island. He fought at Haowhenua (1834-1835) and Kuititanga (1839), worked on the whalers, and later became a Wesleyan Minister. He, with other figures such as Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, and other senior chiefs, dominated the early political affairs of Ngäti Toa. Rawiri died at Takapuwahia, Porirua, on 6 September 1858, and was survived by his brothers, Te Kanae and Hohepa Tamaihengia, son, Hori Kerei (George Grey), and daughter, Raiha (Eliza Grey).

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