Volume 18 1909 > Volume 18, No. 1 > History and traditions of the Taranaki coast: Ch. XI. Puke-tapu Pa and the epidemics... p 1-25
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CHAPTER XI.—Continued.

More than one reference has been already made to the sacred character of the old pa, named Puke-tapu (or sacred hill), situated on the coast five and a-half miles north of New Plymouth, just to the north of the Bell Block. It held this character from very ancient days, because in its neighbourhood was a renowned burial ground where the chiefs of many parts found a final resting place, and, moreover, it is said to have been one of the earliest settlements on this coast. At the present time much of the old pa has been blown away by the winds, and parts are covered by sands from the beach, which is immediately below it. The old palisading of the pa could be seen as late as the early fifties, but there is scarcely a vestige left of any occupation beyond the shell heaps, now to be seen, that formed the refuse place of the pa.

The place has been depopulated on several occasions. The first time was about the year 1790-95, when that scourge known as Te Rewharewha—an epidemic of some kind—caused the death of most of the inhabitants. This scourge was not confined to this place for it ran very generally through the North Island, and, according to the accounts of the old Maoris, it carried off many thousands of people. Here, at Puke-tapu, it was contagious. It is said that if one affected person touched another the disease was communicated, and the victims died within a few days. It raged with such violence at Puke-tapu that there were barely enough people left alive to bury the dead, and that it was only by abandoning the pa that any of its inhabitants were saved alive. 1

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The above, however, was not the only occasion on which these people suffered very heavily from a similar cause, as did those of the surrounding districts. This was the epidemic known as Te Ariki, which spread through the country from Coromandel in 1820, and which has already been described. Puke-tapu suffered with the other pas of the neighbourhood.


But a more serious loss to Puke-tapu pa occurred, as nearly as it can be placed, quite early in the nineteenth century, and therefore between the two epidemics described above. The following is the story as told to me by Heta-Te-Kauri: One very fine morning when every sign seemed propitious, and on one of the lucky days for fishing according to the Maori “Almanac,” 2 and it was decided by the chiefs that all the able-bodied men should proceed to sea in their fleet of canoes to catch hapuku, or groper, which is only found at a considerable distance out in deep water and on banks well known to the people. The name of the particular bank, or hapuku ground, belonging to the Puke-tapu people, was Wai-tawhetawheta, which is so far out that the canoes whilst there cannot be seen from the shore-line. The position of this fishing-bank is determined by the fact that Cape Egmont, or the point to the north of it, is clearly visible in line with the outer Sugar-loaf islands, which means that it is about ten miles off shore. The number of men who went out on this fishing excursion was somewhat over two hundred in twenty or more canoes, “for this,” says Heta, “was in the days when men were plentiful.” Before starting, as the canoes laid on the beach at the edge of the water all ready to put to sea, and each man was choosing his seat and placing there his paddle, tackle, etc., old Moke-uhi, the priest of Puke-tapu pa came down and placed his hooks, lines, etc. at the taumanu, or seat, third from the stern, and then went back to the pa for something forgotten. Shortly after another man came with his tackle, who wanted that particular seat. “Whose things are these?” said he, and without waiting for an answer, threw them over into the water. When Moke-uhi returned and saw what had happened he was very angry and refused to join the party. He returned to the pa consumed with rage at the insult offered him.

Determined on revenge, he waited until the fleet had reached Wai-tawhetawheta—the fishing ground—and were busy at their work, and then he went to a high hill near Puke-tapu named Matakitaki (there is no hill higher than Puke-tapu now—it has probably been - 3 blown away), from whence he could just see some of the canoes on the horizon. Here the old man commenced his karakias to his gods; first calling on the south-west wind to arise in storm, but without result. Then in turn he addressed the north, the west, and the east with like want of success. At last he turned to the south and such were the powers of his karakia that very shortly after a furious tonga set in and blew with such force that the air, even at Puke-tapu, was thick with leaves and small branches, though a long way from the forest over which the wind came. This south wind was dead ahead for the canoes out at sea when they wanted to return.

By this time some of the canoes had finished their fishing and were returning, and thus met the gale. Others were still out on the fishing ground. The seas rose, and the strength of the wind so much increased that the canoes could not face it, and very soon many of them commenced to swamp and their crews to drown, for no man could swim against such furious blasts. Other canoes held on and tried to make the shore further north, but very soon, in one after another, the crews sank with exhaustion; the canoes filled and their occupants were drowned. One only of the fleet that turned to the north managed to escape and landed at Ure-nui with only one man alive in her, whose name was Kawe-nui.

Of the others, the only one that escaped was blown right out to sea, but her crew managed to keep her afloat by hard paddling and bailing—they kept the wind on the quarter and made a south-westerly course. As night came on they made a meal of their raw fish, and, apparently, the wind must have shifted to the east and north, as it often does after a south-easter. All that night, all the next day, the next night and day and part of the following one they kept up as best they could continuing their strenuous exertions at bailing, etc. At last one after another succumbed to cold, hunger, and fatigue, and died. Three people died, but the fourth, named Te Kohitā, finally drifted ashore at a place named Te Kawau, which Heta says is near Motu-pipi, in Tasman Bay, South Island. A young woman, going down to the beach for shellfish, discovered the man's body lying apparently dead on the beach. She rushed back to the village, which was not far off, and called out, “I have found a man on the beach. I don't know if he is dead or not.” The chief of the village said, “We will all go and see,” so several people went down and there found that the man was still alive, but insensible. They carried him up to the village, and by degrees brought him back to life.

These people were, says Heta, Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri. Kohitā eventually married the woman who first discovered him.

The following confirmation of the above story was told me by Mr. James Mackay—at one time Native Commissioner for the Nelson District: Some time before the year 1859, when Mr. Mackay lived at Taitapu (or Massacre Bay—Tasman Bay), he heard from a slave of - 4 Tama-i-hengia's (of Ngati-Toa), who was a member of the Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri tribe, that his grandfather was with others blown away from the Taranaki coast whilst out fishing during a gale. The canoe, with ten bodies in it (Heta says four), was found drifted ashore on the north head of West Whanganui Harbour at Mikonui, his grandfather alone being alive. He was found by a Ngati-Tu-mata-kokiri woman, who took him to a fire and by her efforts brought the man back to life, as it were. The other bodies were eaten by the tribe. The woman took this man as a husband, and Mr. Mackay's informant was their grandson. It is more likely that West Whanganui is the place where the canoe drifted ashore, rather than near Motu-pipi, as Heta says.

It is probable that the above incident occurred subsequent to the fall of the Rewarewa pa, but it is uncertain.


So far as can be learnt from Native histories—communicated by word of mouth to myself and others during these many years past—it was not until the early years of the nineteenth century that the tribes living north of the isthmus of Auckland began to extend their warlike enterprises to the southern parts of the North Island.

With regard to the immediate causes that led to many of these expeditions we are often left in the dark. Those which followed the west coast of the North Island are generally stated to have originated in the desire to acquire the fine flax garments made from the superior kinds of Phormium, for which the Taranaki coast is celebrated. No doubt the mere desire of man-slaying actuated those parties of warriors who joined in the forays to a considerable extent; and later, the acquisition of “heads” for sale to the ships visiting the north, together with the desire to possess slaves to prepare flax to barter for muskets, was an important factor.


The earliest of these northern expeditions that can be traced relates to the first expedition of the Ngati-Whatua tribe of Kaipara under their distinguished warrior chieftain, Muru-paenga. From a consideration of the circumstances this foray must be placed at about the year 1810. We know few particulars of Muru-paenga's doings on this occasion, though in the early sixties I had the opportunity and did hear much about him from the Kaipara people, but not then recognising their value, failed to record them. Enquiries made of late years have failed to do more than establish the fact of the expeditions having taken place—the old men who knew the particulars of them are long since dead.

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The expedition came down the coast, but whether the members of it were treated as enemies or friends in the northern part of the district is not known. We first hear of it at Manu-korihi pa, on the north bank of Waitara, where the hapu of the same name lives, and who, as has been shown, were related to the Ngati-Rongo hapu of Ngati-Whatua, through Te Raraku of that tribe, as has been explained. Consequently the party were welcomed by the local people and stayed there some time. Muru-paenga himself was also connected with Ngati-Rongo, and so we may suppose was all the more welcome. From Manu-korihi the party continued their journey into the territories of the Taranaki tribe, where, says Mr. Skinner, “Muru-paenga was so delighted with the country and its fertility, its stores of food, the beauty and variety of the flax growing so luxuriantly in all parts, the quality of the mats, or Kaitaka cloaks—the finest and best in all New Zealand it is said, that he broke forth into song and composed a waiata, which is still sung by the people of Taranaki, in which he chanted the praises of the land he had come to desolate.” It is said that Tatara-i-maka pa was attacked in this expedition; it may be so, but probably his doings in his second foray have been confused with this. But beyond this, no details have come down—unless, indeed, some of the incidents to be described in the next raid really belong to that of Muru-paenga's. The northern invaders, in this raid, had no guns, but were armed with their Maori weapons.

It was this expedition that gave rise to the following song:—

Na Muru-paenga ra, tana kawenga mai,
I kite ai au i nga moana nei,
Kowai ka matau ki to tau e awhi ai.
Tera ano ia nga mahi i ako ai,
Kei nga hurihanga ki Okehu ra-i-a.
Thro' Muru' was I hither brought,
And then first saw these seas so strange,
Who knows if some other lover
Within thine arms has been embraced?
Yonder my affections are bestowed
At the bends and turns at Okehu.

The above was composed and sung by a young woman of good birth, who had been taken prisoner by Muru-paenga's party and carried to the north. She had left behind at Tarakihi, near Warea, her lover Puia-tu-awa; but was solicited to become the wife of one of the taua—hence her song.


The next northern expedition was that under Tau-kawau of Nga-Puhi, and the only means of fixing the date of this is, “that it - 6 was one or two years before that of Tu-whare and others”—which latter there is little reason to doubt was in 1818. This party fought its way through the Ati-Awa and Taranaki territories as far as Puara-te-rangi, a pa situated near Pu-nehu, not far from the present village of Pihama. Of the adventures of this expedition on the road we have little information, except a few notes to be found in the Maori account of the Tu-whare—Te Rau-paraha raid of 1819-20, and these notes are very wanting in detail. But for the fact that this is always alluded to by the Taranaki people as a Nga-Puhi foray, and the known presence of Rewa, a high chief of the Bay of Islands, with the party, we should scarcely know from which part it came.

The following is from the account referred to: “Some of our expedition wished to go a different route from the main body to purchase native garments (Kaitakas); there were twice fifty of us of this mind. The reason of this was, the Taranaki people had great knowledge of weaving Kaitakas, and their muka (prepared flax) called Tihore, or Takiri-kau was very superior. When we went to purchase these garments in exchange for Native weapons we quarrelled amongst ourselves and eventually got to fighting. The reason of that strife was, some of our party desired to secure all the best garments; and because of that strife we again divided, fifty of us going one way, fifty another. One company went with Pangari (of Lower Hokianga), and that man decided to do such works as would cause his name to be heard of by the many of the land. As the party of Pangari travelled along they met an old woman who was gathering tutu berries to make wine; her they killed, then cooked and ate her. Whilst they were cooking her, and when the people put “the fish” into the oven, the fire blazed up; this was said to be an omen for them that they should soon see another pa, and if they assaulted it they would take it. The flame of the oven represented the courage of the old woman welling up and leaving the body, and hence it was believed the courage of the tribe of the old woman had evaporated. This old woman was a tohunga, and therefore the courage of her tribe would cease when they stood up in battle. The oven had been covered in and the “fish” was cooked and being uncovered by the fifty men when the spies returned, who had been sent out to look for the people of the country. The spies said, “The people to whom the old woman belonged have heard of the murder, and the taua hikutoto, or avenging party, has arisen to attack us.”

“Then the fifty men seized their belts, girded themselves and fell into line for the fight. The enemy appeared and occupied the summit of a hillock. They were very numerous and soon the party retreated, in fact they fled. Whilst retreating, Pangari was wounded in the leg with a kotaha (or sling-spear) which had been thrown by the enemy. Nga-Puhi continued to retreat until they got a long distance away, - 7 when they laid in hiding in a swamp, selecting a hard place in the bog; here they arranged themselves in rank in three parties. One party went to search for food, because they had left the body of the old woman behind in the oven, and this party met the old woman's tribe. They took some reeds and bound them together (to stand on) and fought the enemy at the side of the swamp, and the tribe of Taranaki was defeated, the bodies of the dead becoming food for Nga-Puhi. Pangari declared that hunger, thirst, and fear had deprived his tongue of saliva.

“After this the fifty men returned to the main body of Nga-Puhi and travelled altogether, abandoning their journey to collect Kaitakas.

“When we got to the pa at Waimate, and after three nights there we found a woman, whom we cooked and ate. Just afterwards one of the Taranaki people appeared and called out, “To-morrow our taua will appear to chastise you for your murder.” At daylight we occupied an old pa, and later on in the day the Taranaki taua appeared coming up a valley at the foot of the pa occupied by Nga-Puhi. That pa was situated at the end of a point which jutted out into a chasm and was surrounded with perpendicular cliffs, excepting one part where it joined on to the mainland. (This description fits the Orangi-tuapeka pa close to Waimate and three miles south-east from the town of Manaia.) Nga-Puhi heard the encouraging words of the chief of the Taranaki tribe urging his men to assault the pa. The words of the chief to his people were like this, “Au! Au! ki toa!” which in the Nga-Puhi dialect would be, “Ana! Ana! kia toa!”—(“Ha! Ha! be brave!”) Then their shouts of defiance were heard, “Au! Au! ki ka'a ki ka'a,” which is in Nga-Puhi, Ana! Ana! kia kaha!”— (“Ha! Ha! be strong!”)

“The Taranaki tribe then assaulted the Nga-Puhi pa. The army of that people was one thousand once told strong. They scaled the sides of the gulley, and then the one hundred and fifty of Nga-Puhi fled, followed by the Taranaki taua, who killed six of the Nga-Puhi chiefs as they fled. So Nga-Puhi retreated to a distance; their dead were left to the enemy, as also some in the pa they retreated from. Finding that Taranaki did not follow quickly, Nga-Puhi halted and then divided into four parties to await the oncoming of Taranaki; they waited on the path. Presently Taranaki were seen on a ridge across a depression from the hillock occupied by Nga-Puhi. Between the two parties ran a small stream, whilst in the rear of Nga-Puhi was the forest which they could fly to if defeated by Taranaki. It was now evening, and Taranaki made no sign of attacking Nga-Puhi, but instead proceeded to entrench themselves; the inner wall of their maioro, or rampart, was made of fern and korokiu (veronica), and tree-fern stems were used to strengthen the ahuriri, or trench.

“Then Nga-Puhi sent their tohunga, or priest, to the stream to - 8 “uplift” his incantations so that Nga-Puhi might be brave and strong to smite their enemies. Whilst the tohunga was engaged in his incantations, Nga-Puhi assembled to discuss such measures as they could devise to put in force when the battle commenced, for the reason that Nga-Puhi were without take, or cause, in this fight—nothing but a desire to acquire Kaitakas.

“Now the Taranaki people were very numerous and far exceeded Nga-Puhi in number. Hence it was decided before the rays of the sun appeared to send one of our divisions against the defences of Taranaki, there to assault them by making a dash and spear as many as they could with their long spears; whilst another party went along by the edge of the forest, so that when the first party assaulted the others should take Taranaki in the rear. Other three divisions were to assault the place in different directions so that Taranaki should be confused at the number of points of attack. The divisions of Nga-Puhi that remained were to guard the camp, lest it should be taken.

“All these various plans were carried out and the result was that a great many of Taranaki were killed, among them fourteen chiefs, who were all eaten by Nga-Puhi, and their heads preserved to be taken back to the Nga-Puhi homes to be jeered at by the people.”

Such is the account given by Pangari to the unknown writer of the account of Tu-whare's expedition of 1819-20, with which, apparently, Pangari went to Taranaki.

It was after this that Nga-Puhi attacked Puara-te-rangi pa, near Punehu, when in the fight Tamaroa of Taranaki, with his weapon, a pou-whenua made of maire, struck a blow at Tau-kawau's legs, both of which he broke. This caused the taua to turn in their tracks, and then make their way homeward.

Mr. Skinner adds, “The Ngati-Mahanga people of Taranaki had fled into the forest around the base of Mount Egmont. Some of them, however, with the sonthern part of Taranaki, under Nga-Tai-rakau-nui, retired to Puara-te-rangi pa, situated on the sea coast a little under half a mile north of the mouth of the Punehu river. This expedition killed a Taranaki chief named Mokowera, who is said to have been a son of Tu-poki of Ngati-Tama by a Taranaki woman. Tau-kawau's mere was found sometime afterwards partly covered with sand close to this spot, and, after passing through several hands, is now in the possession of Tohu, 3 Maori prophet of Parihaka.” Tau-kawau's body was taken back by his people as far as Manu-korihi, where he was buried at Rohutu, on the north bank of Waitara.

The Taranaki people say that Tau-kawau had been specially invited to come on this taua by Ati-Awa in order that he might assist that tribe in fighting Taranaki in order to square some of their tribal - 9 quarrels. A great many Ati-Awa from Waitara joined in this expedition. On the arrival of Tau-kawau at Manu-korihi, the Ati-Awa people presented him with a taiaha as a rakau-whakarawe.

There is a tangi, or lament, for Mokowera, the Taranaki chief killed by Tau-kawau, which will be found at p. 29, “Wars of the Northern against the Southern tribes in the nineteenth century.”

In this expedition Nga-Puhi had three muskets, a fact which is referred to in the above lament, when, it is said, Rewa, of the Bay of Islands, shot Mokowera.

I have fixed the date of Tau-kawau's expedition at 1816-17 because all my numerous enquiries show that it was about that date, and my informants are consistent in their statements about it. But the following quotations from Marsden's “Journal” (in possession of Dr. Hocken) seems to contradict it, though I think it probable from Marsden's unfamiliarity with the Maori language he has mixed up two expeditions in the one statement. “…. Another party connected with Hongi was carrying on war on the west side of the island at Taranaki; said to be very populous, with two hundred men from the Bay of Islands. A man of high rank, named Tau-kawau has been killed in this expedition, but his head was severed and brought back with them. They also cut off all the flesh from his bones and burnt it, but brought back the bones which they carried a very long way overland. They arrived to-day—29th September, 1823.”


Again the scene of our story shifts to the northern frontier, where events were happening that had far-reaching results.

After the great expedition of Ngati-Haua and other tribes, which came to Pou-tama to seek revenge for the death of Tai-porutu (see page 195, Vol. XVII.) had been hurled back by the bravery of Ngati-Tama, there was apparently a transient peace or truce between the latter tribe and their northern neighbours at Mokau for some ten or twelve years. At any rate, no incident has come to my knowledge marking that period, though, no doubt, the enmity in which these tribes had lived for so many generations would not allow of any available chance of striking a blow to be passed over. But there were no great expeditions, and both sides would, no doubt, be glad of a few years' rest in order that the boys should grow to maturity and be trained as warriors.

But about the year 1812 (so far as can be ascertained) hostilities set in again through an act of brutality on the part of Ngati-Tama whilst on a visit to Motu-tawa. Motu-tawa is a pretty little island - 10 situated in a deep bay in the Mokau river, about three-quarters of a mile within the heads on the northern shore, now covered with bushes and small trees. It is about half an acre in extent, with cliffs nearly all round, rising up from the waters to about fifty or sixty feet, but not equally steep on all sides. At low water the bay is dry, but as the tide rises it surrounds the island to a depth of perhaps four to six feet of water. On the flat top of this island in former days was built a strong palisaded and embanked pa, the refuge and stronghold of the Mokau people. On one side is a convenient spring of fresh water.

Ngati-Tama were apparently on such terms with the Mokau people about this time that they were admitted into the pa and were hospitably feasted, but at the same time my informant (old Rihari of Mokau) says that they were on a taua. What the exact circumstances were are not of much consequence. But during the feast two boys of the pa, named Pitonga and Nga-whakarewa-kauri, helped themselves to the food provided and set apart for Ngati-Tama. They were reproved for this, but again repeated the offence. This roused the wrath of Ngati-Tama, who—probably in seeking a take, or cause, against the pa, saw here their chance—knocked the unfortunate boys on the head. There was an immediate rush to arms and a desperate fight commenced between the two parties. But it was not of long duration; Ngati-Tama drove their hosts pell mell out of the pa and took possession of it. The parents of the boys, together with the whole of Ngati-Rakei of those parts, fled with the utmost expedition to the forest, which even to this day lines the shores of the little bay in which Motu-tawa is situated, and gradually made their way through the country to Otorohanga in the Waipa valley—now a Station on the Main Trunk railway—to join some of their relatives there. Here the people settled down for some three years, not daring to return to their own country at Mokau, which was in occasional occupation of Ngati-Tama and some of the Ati-Awa tribes.

The exiles dwelt amongst their friends at Otorohanga, as has been said, for about three years, cultivating on the lands of others as manene, or strangers, and feeling generally uncomfortable through this fact. When the strong westerly winds used to blow from the coast the old people would listen to the far-distant sound of the breakers dashing on the shore—which they could hear from the ranges not far from Otorohanga—and sniff the salt-laden breezes of their old home. Then the people would greet and lament over the misfortunes which had taken them so far from their beloved homes. This feeling became so strong at last that the chiefs consulted together and determined to attempt the reconquest of their lands and homes.

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Te Wharau-roa, 4 who at that time was the leader of Ngati-Rakei, Ngati-Hia, and other Mokau hapus raised a war party from those tribes and started from Otorohanga on their long and risky journey. They came up the Mangapapa valley and by Te Ana-uriuri on the Waipa-Mokau water-parting, and thence to the head of the Mokau and down that river by canoes to Te Mahoe, a bend in the river some two miles from the mouth. Here the party went into camp, carefully concealing all signs of smoke, etc., whilst spies were sent out to see where the Ngati-Tama were. They returned and reported that the enemy was all over the country at the mouth of the river, and along the coast southward, but that the principal number were gathered at a village they had built about half way between Mokau and Mohaka-tino. A council was then held to consider how the war-party might reach this village without being seen, and finally a plan was adopted. Starting at dawn one morning they crossed the river and concealed their canoes in the little creeks just opposite Te Mahoe, and from there climbed the steep forest range which leads up to the high hill named Tawariki, on which there is now a Trig Station. From here they followed the ridges that run parallel to the coast until they came out at the Mohaka-tino river, about a mile from its mouth. The party was now between Ngati-Tama and any succour they might receive from their own people to the south. Arrived at the sea-beach, Wharau-roa instructed all his party to trail their spears and other arms along the sands, with one end fastened to their ankles by a flax string. The party now advanced along the beach in careless order, some shouting, some singing, some skidding flat stones along the wet sands, all of which was done to make Ngati-Tama think it was a party of their friends from the south coming to visit them.

The war-party was one hundred and forty topu (i.e., 280) strong, whilst the Ngati-Tama and Ati-Awa were said to be more numerous. As they drew near the village many of the women, children, and some of the men came down to the beach to meet the visitors. When Wharau-roa saw the time was come he gave the signal, and in an instant the spears were seized and a charge made into the unsuspecting Ngati-Tama, all of whom were killed. The rest of Ngati-Tama in the village, seeing what was going on, armed and rushed down to the beach to meet the foe. Here, on the beach, these ancient enemies fought it out, it is said, during two flood tides—hence the name of the battle, Nga-tai-pari-rua (the twice-flowing tide). No doubt there is some truth in the story, or the name would not have been given. The end of the fight saw Ngati-Rakei and their allies victorious for once over - 12 Ngati-Tama, who, after losing a large number of men, were obliged to retreat. They fell back on their impregnable stronghold, Te Kawau, where they were safe. The Mokau people went on and occupied their old homes on the river, greatly to their delight, says my informant, and he adds, “The Mokau people have to thank my grandfather Te Wharau-roa for saving their country for them.”

The above battle seems to have been the beginning of the end, so far as Ngati-Tama were concerned, although it was not yet. Hitherto this brave little tribe, never very numerous, seems always to have got the best of their enemies as we have seen. But the constant fights that had occurred during the previous two hundred years must have weakened them considerably. However much they suffered in numbers, their spirit was not broken. They still had with them the two gallant brothers, Raparapa and Tupoki, as leaders, and they were not men to sit down and accept a beating quietly.


Of the next event which is known to have occurred I have no notes from my Maori friends, and therefore quote from Judge Gudgeon's “Mohaka-tino—Parininihi Judgment” of 1893. “Kingi Te Rerenga (see Table 51) in his evidence asserts that the Ngati-Tama, disheartened by their non-success, now grew food in order to give a feast, under cover of which they might murder their guests. When the feast was ready, Te Kawa-iri-rangi (of Ngati-Tama) invited … . Niwha and the Ngati-Rakei, with other Mokau hapus, to attend and make a lasting peace. These people responded, but when they reached the Mohaka-tino river their hearts failed them, but finally the chiefs Niwha, Ponga, and Ingoa, with about twenty followers, crossed the river, and were there nearly all slain.

“After this an attempt was made to obtain revenge, but the Ngati-Rakei were defeated and were then glad to make peace with the redoubtable Ngati-Tama.

“For some time after this the hostile tribes remained quiet watching each other, until, in an evil moment, Te Rangi-pu-ahoaho, a chief of Ngati-Mutunga (Ngati-Tama's neighbours on the south, and their relatives), sent a message to ask Rangi-hapainga, wife of Hari, to visit him at Te Whakarewa pa (three miles south of the White Cliffs). Hari consented, and his wife, with about a dozen attendants, started on their fatal journey” (which ended in the murder of Rangi-hapainga by Ngati-Tama; she was killed by Te Kawa-iri-rangi of Te Kawau pa, of that tribe).

“Hari's behaviour, when informed of the murder of his wife, was characteristic and very Maori, for he called on his tribe (Ngati-Urunumia) and marched, not against the murderers, but against the Ngati-Rakei - 13 (of Mokau) and killed Hine-rangi, Te Ahi, and Peru. Unfortunately, Hine-rangi was related to Ngati-Rora (of Upper Mokau), and when the news reached Tao-nui-Hikaka (see Table 51) he said, ‘Mau te po, maku te awatea!’—‘what you do by stealth I will do openly’—and straightway attacked the Ngati-Kinohaku hapu (of Ngati-Mania-poto), killing Kahu-totara and Te Rari. After this interchange of compliments there was but one method of avoiding civil war (all three hapus are nearly related and are branches of Ngati-Mania-poto) and that was for all the injured tribes to combine and wipe out their injuries by defeating Ngati-Tama, which was done at Tihi-manuka.” … . We shall come to Tihi-manuka later on, but in the meantime must relate the doings of Ngati-Rahiri, a branch of Te Ati-Awa, as the events fall in here.


For what follows I am indebted to a MS. written by Te Watene Taunga-tara, of Waitara, which was the outcome of a visit paid him by Mr. W. H. Skinner and myself in 1897, when we persuaded the old man—who was then about eighty or ninety—to write the history of the doings of Ati-Awa in the nineteenth century.

So far as can be made out it was about the year 1816 that Whare-mawhain, a sister of Huri-whenua of Ngati-Rahiri—whose home was, and is still, at Waihi and that neighbourhood, four or five miles north of Waitara—was married to Nohorua, a leading chief of Ngati-Toa, of Kawhia. A great feast was given in consequence of this marriage—in fact, several, as we shall see—and according to Maori custom a return feast (or kai-whainga) was prepared under the direction of the celebrated Te Rau-paraha, who now first comes into our narrative. 5This feast was called “Pou-hangu,” according to the Maori custom of giving a name to any noticeable event in their history. It consisted principally of dried fish and other foods, and was brought by Te Rau-paraha himself and a considerable party in canoes from Kawhia. At this time Huri-whenua was the principal chief of Ngati-Rahiri, and lived in Te Taniwha pa at Turangi, which pa is - 14 situated on a bold bluff on the sea-coast four miles north of Waitara, the remains of which are plainly to be seen at this day, its terraced ramparts showing out well from the main road a mile or so inland. After a stay of some time, Te Rau-paraha and his party departed for his home at Kawhia, with the understanding that the Ngati-Rahiri would pay a return visit the following year.

After the departure of the visitors the three hapus of Ngati-Rahiri set to work to plant kumaras and taros for the projected visit to Kawhia. This part of the country is celebrated for the excellence of these tubers, about which there is a “saying” already quoted, and which, as the Maoris think, was due to the powers of their particular god Rongo. After the harvest, and the kumaras had been converted into kao by drying, a large party started under Huri-whenua in four large war-canoes named “Te Rongo-o-te-raku,” “Te Pae-ki-tawhiti,” “Te Paki-o-matiti,” and “Nga-titi-o-pango.” The party started at early dawn, and with a fair wind, by aid of their triangular sails, which carried them to the north at such a rate that evening found them off Harihari, ten miles south of Kawhia and sixty miles from Te Taniwha, their starting point. Here they landed and made a camp. In the morning Te Rau-paraha and Rau-hihi arrived to see the visitors coming from their cultivations, which at that time were at or near Taharoa lake, about three miles from Harihari. After the usual amount of talk Te Rau-paraha invited the Ngati-Rahiri to go on round by sea into Kawhia harbour, which was agreed to, whilst Te Rau-paraha started overland to warn the people to prepare for their visitors. In the meantime the sea had got up very much, and in launching the canoes they capsized in the surf and many of the crew were nearly drowned. Huri-whenua was very much disturbed and angry at the narrow escape they had had, and the loss of the food for the feast—so much so that he adopted a very Maori-like procedure to assuage his angry feelings. He started off immediately with a party, and overtaking Te Rau-paraha and his friend, attacked them, and succeeded in killing Rau-hihi, whilst Te Rau-paraha made his escape.

- 15

Ngati-Rahiri at once concluded that prompt measures were necessary if they were to escape the just anger of the Ngati-Toa tribe for killing one of their chiefs. So they put to sea at once and made their way home. On their arrival, knowing that Te Rau-paraha was not the kind of man to pass over an injury, they immediately set to work to strengthen the fortifications of Te Taniwha pa. This place is situated at the mouth of the Waihi stream, which runs along under one side of the pa. In order to strengthen the defences the people set to work and dammed up the stream, so as to make a lake on one side of the pa. At this time there were over three hundred and fifty warriors in the pa, besides women and children, and the principal chiefs were Huri-whenua, his brother Huri-waka, Manu-kino, and Whiro-kino. None of the Maori tribes possessed fire-arms at this period excepting Nga-Puhi.


After Ngati-Rahiri had completed their defences, they waited quietly, well knowing that it would not be long before they were attacked. Nor was it long. The news soon came that Te Rau-paraha, at the head of his tribe, Ngati-Toa, and a contingent of Nga-Puhi under Tu-whare, were approaching. This was Tu-whare's first expedition into Taranaki. He was the son of Taoho, principal chief of the Roroa section of the Ngati-Whatua tribe of Kaipara—a section which is very closely connected with Nga-Puhi of Hokianga. Tu-whare was a great warrior, whom we shall frequently come across in this narrative. He was bound on a warlike expedition (probably to Taranaki) when he arrived at Kawhia, at which place he would find relatives in the Ngati-Toa tribe—relatives that is, in the Maori sense, for there had been intermarriages some ten or twelve generations previously, between Nga-Puhi and Ngati-Toa tribes. Tu-whare's party was not a large one—two hundred warriors only; but they brought with them the means of terrifying their enemies, in the shape of two muskets, which weapon was now for the first time to be introduced to the West Coast tribes, afterwards to be so fatal to them. With Nga-Puhi (so called) was also the fighting chief of Ngati-Whatua of Kaipara, Muru-paenga, and some of his people. This was his second expedition to Taranaki for which see ante. The Taranaki account of this expedition makes Muru-paenga to have been the leading chief of this Northern party, though Watene does not mention him, but it is quite clear both accounts refer to the same incidents. Muru-paenga had, in 1807, defeated Nga-Puhi in the battle of Te Kai-a-te-karoro, on the beach at Moremo-nui—for which see “The Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes in the Nineteenth Century,” p. 12.

On the arrival of Nga-Puhi at Kawhia, Te Rau-paraha thought it - 16 would be an excellent plan to secure their aid in an attack on Ngati-Rahiri. Tu-whare was nothing loath, indeed he came from his northern home especially to fight, and the chance of securing some of the fine mats for which Taranaki was celebrated, was an additional inducement. So the two tribes came south—I do not know whether by land or water—and arrived at Te Taniwha pa, and sat down to besiege it. The siege went on for a long time, but without any appreciable result. At last proposals of peace were made which emanated from Ngati-Toa; the origin of this peace was the fact that Huri-whenua's sister was married to Nohorua of Ngati-Toa, and the latter's sister it was who suggested the peace, and eventually effected it, by visiting Te Taniwha pa, and consulting with the garrison.

Again comes in an illustration of Maori ideas—Te Rau-paraha felt he must have some satisfaction for the death of Te Rau-hihi at the hands of Ngati-Rahiri, so he made it a condition of peace that the dam, that had prevented his party attacking the pa from that side, should be demolished. This was agreed to and the dam destroyed, and then Nga-Puhi fired off their guns in token of victory (over the dam). “Then”—says Watene—“this ignorant people of these parts heard for the first time the noise of that weapon, the gun.”

After this the war-party stayed some time at Te Taniwha at peace with its inhabitants. The news of this new weapon spread all over the district, even amongst the Taranaki tribe, some of the women of which composed the following ngeri, or war-song, in reference thereto, which is derisive of its powers:—

I rangona atu nga pu
Kei Te Taniwha—
Kei a Huri-whenua
I tangi ki taku hawenga i raro—e—
Keua e ana pu,
Ka whano mangu—o—
Kei oku tapa, papatoa
He pu-notinoti nga tapa
He kuru tumata tai haruru,
E! ka ngenengene,
He mata aha, he koi pu,
Ka tu ki runga ha.
E! ka roa ko te tapa,
Ka moho ki te whenua,
E! ka ngenengene.

After the northern war-party had stayed some time at Te Taniwha, Te Puoho 6 of Ngati-Tama came to see them, indeed it is possible he - 17 may have been at the siege of Te Taniwha, for the relations between his tribe and Ngati-Toa were friendly through intermarriages, and it was through this relationship, no doubt, that the taua had been allowed to pass the “gates of Taranaki” without interference from the redoubtable warriors of Ngati-Tama, under their chiefs Raparapa and Tupoki. Now Te Puoho, of the latter tribe, had a grievance against the Taranaki tribe, for his sister (or perhaps cousin) Te Kiri-kakara had been killed by Puke-toretore of Taranaki, and he saw in the presence of these northern tribes a fine opportunity for paying off this score if he could secure their assistance. This was not difficult of accomplishment; Tu-whare, Muru-paenga, and Te Rau-paraha were not the men to hold back when there were any hard knocks to be given, and moreover an attack on the Taranaki tribe would result in the acquisition of more fine mats, heads, and slaves. At this time the two latter articles were becoming of much value; the first to barter with the whalers frequenting the Bay of Islands, the latter to prepare flax to exchange for muskets.

The taua, now reinforced by some of the Ati-Awa people, started on their march for the Taranaki country, passing on their way several of the Ati-Awa pas, and soon arrived at Tatara-i-maka (“the garment cast away,” pronounced Tatarai-maka). This place was, and is still, a very strong pa, situated on the sea-coast eleven miles south-west of New Plymouth, and between the mouths of the Kati-kara and Pito-one streams, and which gives its name to the block of land purchased by the Government from the Taranaki tribe, 11th May, 1847. Its high ramparts and deep ditches that defended it on the land side are still in good preservation, and it is to be hoped will remain so, for the pa has been acquired and preserved by the Government under “The Scenery Preservation Act, 1903.” The taua marched on to the attack of this strong place and were met outside by the Taranaki people, and a fight took place, in which the latter people were defeated, and then took shelter in the pa. Mr. W. H. Skinner says: … “Tatara-i-maka was the great fighting pa of these parts, and into it all the inhabitants of the smaller pas in the vicinity had gathered. … The possession of a few firearms by the invaders caused them to treat this affair as a pleasant outing, for they felt sure of victory—a hunting excursion, in fact, in search of game, on which they subsisted, together with the immense supply of vegetable food (in the shape of kumara, taro, etc.) found in the neighbouring pas scattered over this thickly-peopled district. Tatara-i-maka was stormed with great slaughter, and amongst the slain was Kahu-roro, the chief of the pa, and great numbers were taken prisoners, amongst them Pori-kapa, the afterwards well-known chief of the Nga-Mahanga hapu of Taranaki, who, in later years, dwelt at Kai-hihi. He was then a lad and managed to escape shortly after capture. The prisoners were bound together in couples by flax ropes - 18 round their necks, notwithstanding which, during the night, many of them made their escape.” Watene adds these names to the chiefs killed: Wetenga-pito, Parehē, Para-tu-te-rangi, and Tiotio, and further says, “Here was seen the work of the guns of Nga-Puhi. The Maori mode of warfare formerly was hand to hand in close proximity. But here the Nga-Puhi chiefs asked their Ati-Awa allies to point out the chiefs when attacking the pa, and then the guns did their work, shooting the men whose names have been mentioned. And then the pa was stormed.”

The people who suffered in this affair were the Nga-Mahanga hapu of Taranaki (and probably other hapus). This hapu takes its name from two brothers, Moeahu (hence Ngati-Moeahu) and Tai-hawea, who were twins, which is the meaning of the hapu name.

Tai-hawea = Rongo-mai-hape. 1. Turi-pari-aha, 2. Rakei-hotu-rua, 3. Rakei-tamara, 4. Rahiri-whakaruru, 5. Mahana-nui-a-tai.

These people dwelt at the Matai-whetu pa not far from Tatari-i-maka, Tai-hawea being seventh in descent from Te Ha-tauira, of the Kura-hau-po canoe, and consequently flourished about the middle of the sixteenth century. He and his sons were great warriors in their day, and about them has come down the following saying: “E Turi' a Tai! E Hotu' a Tai! E Mara a Tai! Te toka i tauria e te kukupara, araio mimingo. Ka tu matou ko aku tama, he whetu kau;” which refers to their courage and likens them to the mussels that adhered to the rocks, for they could not be removed from their pa by their enemies.

The following lament appears to have been composed by one of the Taranaki people for those who fell at Tatara-i-maka. It will be found (in Maori) at page 242 of “Nga Moteatea.”

E paki ra te paki o Au-tahi,
Hei roto au, hei toku whare,
Koki atu ai, ki te iwi ka kopa,
Ki te ana o Rangi-totohu,
E whanake ana kia takitaki
E Uru, e wehi ana.
Ka tu te whakapipi
Ki te puke ki Tatara-i-maka,
Kei te karanga ake aku huinga
I te whatitoka
Hei tomokanga mo Muru-paenga
Whakatere ope, nana
Te tipi ki te pikitanga
I Tuhi-mata
I maroke kau atu ai au i konei.
- 19
Sweet is the Spring, the September month,
When brilliant Canopus stands aloft,
As I lay within my solitary home,
Dazed with sad thoughts for my people
Departed in death like a flash.
To the cave of Rangi-totohu—
Emblem of sad disaster.
They are gone by the leadership
Of Uru, of the fearsome name.
'Twas there, at the hill of Tatara-i-maka
The foe advanced in wedge-like form,
Whilst our gathered people bid defiance
At the entrance of the pa,
Where Muru-paenga forced his way—
The army raiser; the leader—
His was the fatal blow delivered,
At the ascent of Tuhi-mata;
Hence am I dried up here in sorrow.

But the Northern taua was not satisfied with the taking of Tatara-i-maka. They proceeded to attack other Taranaki pas. Mr. Skinner says—“From here the invaders moved on and invested Mounu-kahawai, a very large pa at the mouth of the Kaihiki stream, three miles south-west of Tatara-i-maka, on the south bank just inland of the coast road. This pa was of great size, with a large population, but was not a strong position, being built on comparatively flat ground. The invaders fired the dry raupo growing in the swamps (named Totoaro) around the pa, and under cover of the smoke and consequent confusion stormed the place, with great slaughter. Tara-tuha, one of the principal chiefs of Nga-Mahanga, was killed here. After the taking of this pa and the usual feasting, the taua moved on to attack Tapui-nikau.” I am not certain whether it was before or after the siege of Tapui-nikau, that a pa, situated about one and a-half miles S.S.E. of the former named Kekeua, was taken with the usual accompaniment of slaughter. Tapui-nikau is situated on the Te Ika-parua stream, about two miles south-east of the modern township of Warea, and five miles from the coast. Mr. Skinner says of Tapui-nikau—“This was another great stronghold of the Taranaki tribe, and was defended by the people of the various hapus (of Nga-Mahanga, Ngati-Moeahu, etc., etc.) who had gathered into this powerful pa to do battle with the invaders. Great preparations had been made and every precaution taken in accordance with the old Maori ideas of defence. Great stores of stones were gathered up into the fighting towers, and on stages erected on trees commanding the trenches and approaches to the pa.”

Watene says, there were a great many chiefs in the pa at the - 20 time of attack, Kukutai, Te Ra-tu-tonu, Mounga-tu-kau and others. At the first attack the taua was repulsed by the Taranaki people “ (says Mr. Skinner) Ruakiri, and in this affair Rarauhe of the Nga-Mahanga killed two men of rank of the attacking party. After the first attack, the invaders prepared to make a regular siege of the place, with the idea of starving out the garrison,” whilst the young men of the taua ranged the country in search of food and plunder.

Now comes in one of those instances of Maori custom which is peculiar and strange to us. During the first attack, the allies had seen and admired the splendid courage of Te Ra-tu-tonu, who was otherwise a fine handsome man in the prime of life. His deeds were the talk of the camp, and it appears that one of the women had also beheld his valour, and on that account desired to have him as her husband. This woman who—Te Watene says—was very beautiful, was Rangi-Topeora, the sister of the celebrated Te Rangi-haeata, and daughter of Te Rau-paraha's sister Waitohi. Topeora is perhaps more famed than any other Maori lady for the number of her poetical effusions, which generally take the form of kai-oraora, or cursing songs, in which she expresses the utmost hatred of her enemies, and consigns them to all kinds of horrible deaths and desecrations so much indulged in by the Maori. At the same time her songs are full of historical allusions. She was also of the best blood of Ngati-Toa, and, therefore, with a good deal of influence in the tribe. Te Ra-tu-tonu was known to Topeora before this event, for he had formerly visited Kawhia. One child was the fruit of this union, who died young.

At Topeora's instigation, Te Rau-paraha arranged that Te Ra-tu-tonu should be “called,” i.e.: some one would approach the beleaguered pa, and call him to come to the enemies' camp under a guarantee of safety. This was done, and Te Ra-tu-tonu descended from the pa to the camp, where, after speeches, etc., he was married to Topeora. Mr. Skinner adds to the above (which is Watene's account)—“When Te Ra-tu-tonu was leaving the pa to meet Topeora and Neke-papa (who also had taken a fancy to this handsome warrior) the question arose as to which of the two should have him. But Topeora, being fleet of foot ran to meet the advancing chief and cast her topuni (dog-skin) mat over his shoulders and thus claimed him as her husband. This being in accordance with Maori custom Te Ra-tu-tonu 7 became the husband of Topeora.”

Now this other lady, Neke-papa, who belonged to the Ati-Awa tribe, was also a poetess of some fame in her time. It is somewhat remarkable that this warrior chief should have thus been sought after by two well-known poetesses. There was no doubt a hope in the - 21 Taranaki people, that this marriage would bring about a peace, and the retirement of the taua, for there are many historical instances of a similar result, as indeed in the case already quoted, in their own tribe when Rau-mahora was given in marriage to Taka-rangi, at the siege of Te Rewarewa pa (see page 186, Vol. XVII.). But Watene says, the taua had no such intention and continued the siege as closely as before. The probability is that the Northern element amongst the besiegers was determined to have revenge for the loss of some of their people. And hence, says Watene, was this chief-woman Topeora belittled by the taua. The great bravery of Te Ra-tu-tonu had been exhibited in the assault on the pa, when a great many of the taua fell, notwithstanding that they possessed guns, whilst the defenders had only their rakau-maori, or native weapons. Few of the besieged fell on this occasion.

Amongst the taua were some of the chiefs and people of Te Ati-Awa (of Waitara, etc.). One of these, an old man named Pahau, was desirous that the Taranaki people should be saved, and for that purpose he proceeded to the ground below the pa by himself and there stood, a waiting a chance to communicate with the besieged. Mounga-tu-kau of the pa saw him, and from the palisades called out, “Who is that man?” The old man replied, “It is I, Pahau!” The other then said, “ Do you not remember your grandfather Rakei-tahanga, who was saved alive by us when we took the Awa-te-take pa. 8 (This pa is situated behind Tikorangi on the high cliffs that overlook the Wai-tara river on the east side of the great bend, about a mile and a-half from Puke-rangiora, and had been taken by Taranaki in former times.) So Pahau returned to the camp, and repeated to the chiefs of his hapu, Otaraua of Ati-Awa, the conversation that had taken place. These - 22 chiefs were Te Tupe-o-tu 9 and Hau-te-horo, 10 who after further consultation agreed that the besieged Taranaki should be allowed to escape from the pa by night.

Now within the pa was a young chief named Rongo-nui-a-rangi, who was the son of Hau-te-horo's sister by a Taranaki chief to whom she was married. So Hau-te-horo went to the front and called out for the young chief. He came down out of the pa and there had a talk with his uncle. Hau-te-horo's final words to his nephew were, “Listen to my words. Evacuate the pa this very night, all of you go to Te Kohatu pa”—which was situated on Te Iringa mountain (Patuha Range), and was a stronghold of Kukutai's, the principal chief of Taranaki. The young man returned to the pa and communicated the subject of Hau-te-horo's advice to them, which was finally agreed to, for provisions were beginning to fail, and it was evident the taua, having all the country at their command, was determined to reduce the pa by starvation. That same night, with secrecy and despatch, the garrison passed out of the pa with the connivance of the Ati-Awa sentries, and made good their escape to Te Kohatu.

In the morning, the taua was surprised at seeing no smoke or hearing no voices in the pa, for Hau-te-horo had managed the thing so well that no one but his immediate friends and followers knew of the arrangements made. Great wonder was expressed as to how the besieged had got away.

During the siege, Tawhai (afterwards Mohi Tawhai), of the Mahurehure hapu of Nga-Puhi—who live at Waima, Hokianga—and father of the late Hone Mohi Tawhai, M.H.R., who was with the northern contingent of the taua in the attack already described, was close under one of the towers of the pa, when one of the defenders cast a big stone at him, which split open his head (as his son told me). But by careful doctoring he recovered—careful doctoring according to Maori ideas; they poured hot oil into the wound, then sewed it up!

Mr. Skinner has a story illustrating the instruction given to a Taranaki slave in the use of firearms: “One of these slaves was anxious to know how the musket was used. A Nga-Puhi man explained the procedure, then told the other to look down the muzzle - 23 of the gun. The Nga-Puhi then pulled the trigger and the unfortunate slave's head was shattered, much to the amusement of the surrounding crowd.”

After the escape of the garrison of Tapui-nikau and the plunder of the pa, the whole taua returned to their respective homes; Ati-Awa to Waitara, Ngati-Tama to Poutama, Ngati-Toa to Kawhia, Ngati-Whatua to Kaipara, Nga-Puhi to Hokianga; taking with them numbers of slaves 11 and other booty in the shape of mats and dried heads. It was at this time, when passing through Kawhia, that Tu-whare arranged with Te Rau-paraha another and more extended raid into the Taranaki country. The great Ngati-Whatua chief Muru-paenga did not return again to the south. It is probable he and his taua reached their Kaipara homes early in 1819, and in the next year he met the celebrated Nga-Puhi chief Tareha, in several fights at Kaipara itself. In August, 1820, the Rev. Samuel Marsden met him at the former's home in Kaipara. In 1823, he and many of his tribe are found assisting Hongi-Hika at the taking of Mokoia island, Rotorua, and finally this great warrior was killed by a party of Nga-Puhi in 1826. Muru-paenga was certainly a great warrior and leader, who set all the strength of Nga-Puhi at defiance and constantly defeated them, until the overwhelming number of muskets they had acquired enabled Hongi-Hika to inflict a crushing defeat on Muru-paenga's tribe, Ngati-Whatua, at Ika-a-ranga-nui in February, 1826.

Te Taoho, father of Tu-whare, Muru-paenga's companion in the campaign against Tapui-Nikau, thus refers to Muru-paenga in a tangi, or lament, given at p. 349 of “Nga-Moteatea”:

Tenei nga patu-e- Of all the weapons renowned
Kei o matua, Those of thy parent—
Kei a Muru-paenga-e- Of Muru-paenga are most famous.
Hei here i te waka, He it was with restraining hand
Hei korero tu-e- Could hold the people in.
Hei whakaaro i te riri Or with his warlike eloquence,
He atua rere rangi-e- In military command,
Ki runga o Taranaki His people make obey.
Ka rangona te panga-e- Like a god in heaven flying
He waka utanga nui. Was his descent on Taranaki,
  Where his charges are still famed.
  He was like a richly-laden vessel
  With all knowledge and great courage.
- 24

We must again change the scene of our story to the north. It will be remembered that Te Kawa-iri-rangi, chief of Ngati-Tama, had basely murdered Te Rangi-hapainga, wife of Hari of Ngati-Urunumia, and the steps taken by several of the hapus of Ngati-Mania-poto immediately after that event.

A combination of Ngati-Urunumia, Ngati-Rakei, Ngati-Rora, and Ngati-Kino-haku—all “Tainui” tribes—now assembled for the purpose of punishing Ngati-Tama for their evil deed. We know few particulars of this affair, but the date is tolerably certain. Mr. Skinner says, “The people of Pa-tangata—a pa on a little island at the mouth of the Tonga-porutu (see Plate 1), south side, now nearly all washed away—knowing the high rank of Te Rangi-hapainga, the murdered woman, became uneasy after the deed was done;” (and with the people of the Kawau pa) “retired to a point overlooking the coast on the ranges near the Wai-kiekie stream. Here they built a strong pa at a place named Tihi-manuka. So says Toiroa of Mokau, but it is believed the pa was built long ere the invasion, and was used as a place of refuge like others similarly situated along the coast. From this pa started one of the great Maori highways leading from the west coast into the interior of the North Island, and known as the Taumata-mahoe track. In case of defeat the inmates had a chance of escape by this back entrance, and at the same time the pa served the purpose of checking any marauding parties coming from the interior. Here Ngati-Tama awaited the attack of the combined tribes. In due time it came; the stronghold was taken,” and a great many of its defenders slain, among them Te Kawa-iri-rangi, who instigated the murder. The leading chiefs of the combined hapus were Hari, Tawhana, Te Rangi-tua-tea, Taonui, Tariki, Hauauru, and others. Judge Gudgeon, in his “Judgment, Mohakatino-Pari-ninihi Block,” says, in reference to Tihi-manuka, “There is every reason to believe that a long series of defeats and the deaths of many great chiefs, including Runga-te-rangi, Kahui-Tangaroa, Whiti, Ihu, Hanu, Pehi, and Maunga-tautari were unavenged until Ngati-Mania-poto won this battle.”

This, however, is the second defeat we have had to chronicle suffered by Ngati-Tama, the other being Nga-tai-pari-rua, fought on the beach between Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Rakei and others. The importance of this battle of Tihi-manuka is that, dependant on it as the first episode, was the loss of the Pou-tama country to Ngati-Tama, for when their title came to be inquired into in the nineties of last century, they received but a few hundred acres out of all the tens of thousands of acres they held at the time of Tihi-manuka.

Though no doubt the defeat was a serious one, it did not exterminate - 25 the fighting spirit of the tribe, and that a great many people survived is proved by the fact that Ngati-Tama of Katikati-aka pa, a mile or so to the south of Tihi-Manuka, under the chiefs Tupoki and Te Puoho, followed up Ngati-Mania-poto as they retired along the coast from Tihi-manuka, “and another battle would have been fought had not Taonui and Tariki objected to fight so far from the shelter of a pa on which they might rally if defeated.” (Judgment, loc. cit.)

We shall see what steps Ngati-Tama took to avenge their losses at Tihi-manuka later on; in the meantime must describe some further doings of Tu-whare and Te Rau-paraha, which fall in here.

1   See Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. XIV., p. 21, for another instance of a large pa losing most of its people through this epidemic.
2   Every one of the days of the month had its proper name and each was known as propitious, or otherwise, for fishing. No Maori would venture out to sea on an unpropitious day.
3   Tohu died 5th February, 1907.
4   Grandfather of my informant.
5   Col. Wakefield writing in 1839, says—“Te Rau-paraha is at least 60 years old. When a young man he acquired a reputation for strength and courage, founded on his skill in native warfare, which his wiliness and success in all his undertakings have preserved for him in his old age. In all his negotiations he is considered skilful—he possesses some points of character worthy of a chief among savages. He is full of resource in emergencies, hardy in his enterprises and in-defatigable in the execution of them.”
Ward, writing about the same time, says—“In person Te Rau-paraha is not conspicuous amongst his country men, his height being rather under the average. … . His countenance expresses keenness and vivacity, whilst a receding forehead and deep eyelids, in raising which his eyebrows are elevated into the furrows of his brows, gives a resemblance to the ape in the upper part of the face. He was slow and dignified in his movements, and except for his wandering and watchful looks, perfectly easy in his address.”
Dr. Deiffenbach, writing in 1839, also says—“He is between 50 and 60 years of age, with remarkably Jewish features, aquiline nose, and a cunning physiognomy… Individuals are occasionally met with who have six or more toes or fingers. Rau-paraha is distinguished by this peculiarity.” (From Fourteenth Report, Directors N.Z. Company, p. 132.)
A portrait of Te Rau-paraha and his celebrated nephew Te Rangi-hacata will be found in Dr. Shortland's “Southern Districts of New Zealand.”
Te Rau-paraha died at Otaki, 27th November, 1849, aged about 75.
6   Te Puoho and many others were subsequently killed by the Ngai-Tahu tribe near Gore, in the South Island, in 1835-6; see Chapter XX.
7   Te Ra-tu-tonu was subsequently killed by the Nga-Rauru tribe at Wai-totara during Te Rau-paraha's migration to Kapiti.
8   I have no particulars as to what led up to this attack on Awa-te-take pa, nor as to its date, but apparently it was not very many years prior to the utterance of Mounga-tu-kau's speech above. But as there are some “sayings” about it that illustrate some peculiarities in the Maori language I introduce them here. Te Tuiti-moeroa was the chief of Awa-te-take pa, and he had apparently been threatened by some one of the Taranaki chiefs whose residence was in the forest. On this threat being made known to Te Tuiti, he said, “E kore aue mate i te tangata takahi mouku.”—(“I shall not be killed by a man who is a mouku-treader;” mouku being the Maori name for the common forest fern named Asplenium bulbeferun; or, in other words, by a forest-dweller.) Nevertheless, his pa was attacked by Taranaki in the night, he and his son alone being there, when the “fern-treader” called out to Te Tuiti in his house, “Ka mate koe i te waewae takahi mouku!”—(“Now will you die by the mouku-treader!”) Te Tuiti shouted out in reply, “Mei i whaka-te-aotea mai koe, ka kite koe i a Te Tuiti; ko tenei, ka whaka-te-potia mai e koe, e kore koe e kite i a Te Tuiti.”—(“Had you come by daylight you might have seen Te Tuiti; but as for this, you have come by night, and will not see Te Tuiti.”) Saying this, Te Tuiti got out at the back of the house and made his escape. But the taua followed as soon as daylight came and chased Te Tuiti down to the sea-coast, where they caught and killed him. Then Ati-Awa raised a taua to pursue Taranaki (or, as another account says, Ngati-Ruanui) and came up with them, at, or near Pekatu, inland of Puke-rangiora, Waitara river, where they caught and killed them all, and hence was this place ever after called Te Whakarau-ika (heap of dead bodies). Te Tuiti married Whakaweru, a daughter of Moko-tuatua, of Ngati-Ruanui; he himself was half Taranaki.
9   Afterwards shot by Puke-rua at Pahiko, Otaki, about 1834.
10   Killed at the battle of Hao-whenua, near Otaki, in 1833-4. See Chapter XIX.
11   We shall see in Chapter XVII. the revenge these Taranaki slaves took on Te Ati-Awa at Puke-rangiora.