Volume 10 1901 > Volume 10, No. 3, September 1901 > Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara. Wellington in pre-Pakeha days, by Elsdon Best, p 107-165
TE WHANGA-NUI- A-TARA.
WELLINGTON IN PRE-PAKEHA DAYS.
[This paper has already appeared in the columns of the New Zealand Mail, of Wellington, in 1894, but it is considered to be of such value as an historical document that it has been decided to reprint it in our Journal, whose readers will probably appreciate it more in this form than in that of a newspaper.—Editors.]
THERE is a wide difference between the results of the conquest of a people in these modern times and in the remote period when the mighty empires of Egypt and Assyria, of Chaldea and Persia, were striving for supremacy in the ancient world. At that time the religion, mythology, and folk-lore of the conquered race almost invariably became mixed with those of the conquerors, being usually altered to a certain extent by the latter, to adapt them to their own modes of thought or linguistic peculiarities, but still having a great effect on their own system. The conquest of the Accadians by the Semites would appear to be an extreme instance of this influence, inasmuch as the latter people, though imposing their language on the descendants of the Fish God, borrowed from them their religion, mythology, and traditions. In later times, however, each people would seem to preserve their own beliefs, and in the event of one being destroyed by another, their old-time knowledge dies with them, unless placed on record by some enthusiastic anthropologist. The difference in these results is probably to be accounted for by the wide dissemination of the art of written language in modern times, which art, by preserving ancient history and creeds, and keeping such continually before the eyes of a people, enabled them to retain their former knowledge almost uninfluenced by foreign incidents. At a time when this knowledge was chiefly preserved by oral tradition, such purity was extremely difficult to maintain, and mixtures of various national mythologies, &c., took place, which now present many difficulties to those engaged in the tracing of their origin.- 108
When a civilised race is brought in contact with another in a low state of culture, there is a great tendency among the former to despise and look down upon the simpler beliefs and traditions of the lower race. We are apt to forget the lessons we have learnt from our own historical- and folk-lore, and how much there is to be gleaned from such things in regard to that most interesting and instructive subject, the development of a race.
Thus, when the English pioneers of this land migrated from their far northern homes and located themselves in New Zealand, they brought with them not only the knowledge of their history and intellectual development, but also many reminiscenees of their ancient beliefs, mythological and otherwise, which are preserved by written language for the edification of children—and anthropologists. For thus it is that the man learns from the child, even as a people advanced in civilisation learns much from those in a lower grade of culture.
We often hear the remark made that this new home of our English-speaking people has no aboriginal history—that there is nothing to chronicle in regard to the Native race of pre-Pakeha days. But knowing, as I do, the tenacity with which the Maori preserved the history of his tribe, and the intense pride he displayed in handing down from one generation to another the doings of his ancestors, their wars and migrations, their genealogies, mythology, and personal achievements, then am I truly justified in stating that he knows the history of his people as well as it is possible to be conserved by oral teaching. In such a history there is, of course, a strong element of the marvellous, and god-like powers are attributed to men, animals are endowed with the faculty of spoken language, monstrous dragons are supposed to exist in lonely places, and the forests and mountains are peopled with fairies and strange wild creatures. It is the wide-spread adoption by a people of a facile form of written language that is the most powerful agent in destroying such beliefs, even as it has extinguished the wondrous miracles wrought in former times by saints, tramps, and holy relics. Cheap editions are rapidly forcing the miracle business into “innocuous desuetude.” Those who are inclined to deprecate the ability of a people to preserve their history and literature in this manner, should study the Iliad, a colossal composition handed down for many generations, until the adoption and vocalisation of the Phœnician alphabet by the Greeks. As also the Kalevala, the great Finnic Epic of 20,000 verses, preserved orally for untold centuries.
Respecting the powers of memory possessed by the Maori, it is but a few weeks since I wrote out from the dictation of an old native many old time traditions, and no less than eighty-eight waiatas, or songs, - 109 all of which he remembered perfectly, and even gave me the circumstances connected with them, and the genealogies of many persons named in them. Some months ago I received a bundle of MSS. from an old Ngati-Awa friend containing nearly 150 such waiatas, all of them being known and written out by himself. Many proofs might be given as to how the use of a system of written language impairs the retentive powers of the memory.1
The pre-Pakeha history of the Wellington district is not easy to obtain at the present time as there are few descendants of the original people now alive, those who were not killed having been driven from the district during the fifteen years between 1820 and 1835, by the invasion of the warlike tribes of Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Toa. This much, however, is certain, that the shores of Whanganui-a-Tara, or Port Nicholson, and of Porirua, have been inhabited from a very early date. There is no place in the district, however small, no stream or vale, hill or gulch, but bears a native name, and to these names are attached traditions innumerable; tales of war and trouble, of brave deeds and strange beliefs, of old-time folk-lore and weird religious rites; stories of many migrations and tribal calamities and fights fought long ago. These traditional accounts of the Maori extend back into the past for at least four centuries, the tribe who occupied Te Upoko o Te Ika-a-Maui2 at the beginning of the 17th century being still in existence, I refer to the Ngai-Tahu of the South Island, which people left Hataitai3 (Lyall Bay district) for the South somewhere about the middle of the 17th century.
There is, however, a still older history of Whanganui-a-Tara, if we could but collect it; a history of the time when the now extinct Ngati-Mamoe held possession of these lands, and still further back, when the ancestors of the Waitaha passed southwards on their way to the greenstone country. These Waitaha were a numerous tribe who occupied the South Island long before the arrival of the historic canoes from Hawaiki, and were not descended, as is generally supposed, from the Waitaha of the Arawa migration. “Waitaha covered the ground like ants,” is an ancient saying in regard to this people which has been handed down. Possibly older than the date of the Waitaha was the time at which the moa roamed over the sand dunes of Hataitai, and left their bones in the Para swamp to puzzle future archæologists.- 110
The first man who visited Whanganui-a-Tara, according to Maori tradition, was Kupe, an ancient Polynesian navigator who is credited with the discovery of New Zealand. Kupe crossed the Great Ocean of Kiwa—the Pacific Ocean—from Hawaiki in the canoe Matahourua, and sailing down the west coast of the North Island, he reached Hataitai, in Port Nicholson. He named the Pinnacle Rock at the entrance to Port Nicholson after himself, and the two islands, Ward and Soames, after his two nieces, Makero and Matiu. He then went to Te Matakitaki-a-Kupe, near Cape Palliser, and from there to Te Matau-a-Maui, by Cape Kidnappers, whence he returned to Te Rimurapa, near Terawhiti.4 From that place he crossed Raukawa, or Cook Strait, to the South Island, where he killed the gigantic octopus known as Te Wheke-a-Mutu-rangi. During this expedition he left his two daughters, Mohuia and Tokahaere, at Te Rimurapa, and they sorrowing for his long absence, lacerated themselves after the manner of the Maori, so grievously indeed that the blood ran down the rocky cliff, dyeing it a deep red. “Should any go to seek this blood-red rock, it will not be hidden,” saith my informant. And the tall isolated rock at that place is still known as Mohuia, in memory of the daughter of Kupe. Returning by the west coast, Kupe left a token of his visit at Patea (he taunaha kainga) and sailed from Hokianga, or Te Hokianga-a-Kupe, for Hawaiki, the traditional home of the Maori race.
The knowledge of this ancient voyager is almost universal among the various tribes of Aotearoa, and the Mua-upoko tribe of Horowhenua claim descent from him.
There is another interesting relic of Kupe's visit to be seen between Taupo and Horopaki, on Porirua Harbour. This relic, which was pointed out to me by the Ngati-Toa people of Takapuahia, is known as Te Punga-o-Matahourua—the Anchor of Matahourua. It is a block of volcanic stone of singular form, with a hole at one angle for the cable to pass through. This hole is round and beautifully formed, being bevelled smoothly off where the strain of the cable would come. If this is the result of the erosive power of water then it is assuredly one of the most singular effects of that power that I have ever seen.
Te Punga-o-Matahourua is treated with great respect by the Maoris, more so, I think, than Te Ahu-o-Turanga, the canoe of Te Rauparaha, now lying at Motuhara, Plimmerton. Or even than Te Ra Makiri, that most sacred of sacred canoes, which lies at Mana Island, and of which it is said that if any hapless individual cuts or - 111 breaks off even the smallest portion, instantly there arises a most appalling storm, when the flashing lightning and pealing thunder betoken the anger of the gods. “Of course,” said my informant on this matter, “this would not occur in the case of a Pakeha, for the gods of the Maori do not possess influence over the white man, and, after all, friend, the Pakehas are a very ordinary people, they have no mana like unto the Maori of olden times.”
When the soldiers under Major Last were stationed at Paremata in the forties, some vandal among them broke off several pieces of this stone anchor, to the great annoyance of the natives. Shortly afterwards some of the soldiers were drowned in the harbour by the capsizing of a boat. This catastrophe greatly pleased the gentle aboriginal. Thus, Te Kahurangi to the writer: “Think you, friend, that they could have drowned on a calm day by ordinary means? No! it was the anger of the gods at the act of desecration. Kaitoa!”
The foregoing is but another link in a long chain of circumstances which have led me to think that if men who are sent to open up communication with native races, or to command an armed force in their midst, were selected not only on account of their physical fitness and skill, but also for the possession of powers of adaptability and those pertaining to the science of anthropology, men who would learn the language of the people among whom they live, and acquire a knowledge of their religious beliefs and superstitions, their customs and mode of thought—how many troubles, quarrels and even wars might be averted by these means. In these new lands many a savage deed has been committed in revenge for acts performed by men who were ignorant of having given offence or transgressed any sacred rule.
Whanganui-a-Tara, the original name of Port Nicholson, comes from an ancestor of the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe of the Takitumu migration. This Tara lived some 18 generations ago (see margin) and by, or after him, the harbour was named Te Whanganui-a-Tara, or The Great Harbour of Tara, though it was sometimes called Te Wheke-nui-a-Tara and Te Whanganui-a-Roto. A similar name is borne by a spring of fresh water situated close to the Pilot Station in Worser Bay, which spring was, in olden times, sayeth the legend, surrounded by carved stones (he mea wha-kairo). Whether these stones were carved into some form, human or otherwise, or whether they bore marks of a symbolic nature, depo- - 112 nent sayeth not. The old old-time folk-lore asserts this harbour to have been formed by a taniwha in very ancient times, and which mythical creature is, in some unknown manner, connected with Mount Victoria—Tangi - te - keu. Another of these taniwhas is Mukukai, who is said to live at the mouth of the Wairarapa Lake, and still another is at Oterongo, between Ohiro and Te Rawhiti.
These singular folk-lore stories of the Maori anent the taniwha, are an interesting problem to the anthropologist. Whether are these weird tales a local production of some Polynesian Ananias, or whether are they simply localised traditions of some fierce man-destroying creature encountered during their ancient and forgotten sojournings in other lands?5 It is a mythological axiom that a barbarous people are ever prone to localise a tradition or story. As a recent proof of this may be cited a strange expedition organised by the Ngati-Whakatere, of Manawatu, some forty years ago. When these people received copies of the Maori edition of Robinson Crusoe (Wellington, 1852), they evolved the brilliant idea that that old wanderer was located on the headwaters of the Manawatu, and therefore did proceed, by divers ways, to explore that country in the hope of discovering a man who had been past the help of rescue parties for some centuries.
But to digress still further. How did the Maori reach this land? In what manner did they discover it, and whence came those early navigators who settled in New Zealand at least 500 years before the present Maori people appeared on these shores? Who and what were the pre-historic race who roamed over the Pacific Ocean long centuries before the Western World was known to Europeans? Whence came they who erected the colossal stone buildings of the Caroline Group, the imperishable temples or forts of Rapa, and the cyclopean maraes of many other isles? What restless race was that which spread itself over such a vast extent of ocean and left a people speaking one language from Madagascar to Easter Island and from Hawaii to New Zealand? Who these people were and whence they came will probably never be known by us, but still the human mind is ever apt to look backwards into the remote past with a curious longing to unravel that most wonderful of mysteries—the origin and development of the human race.
How did the Maori reach New Zealand?
Afar off, upon the many isled sea, where the waves of the great Pacific wash the shining sands of many a coral shore, there floats a canoe filled with strange men clad in garments made from the bark of - 113 trees. They are of stalwart form, these Vikings of the South, and commanding stature. Their features are pleasing to the eye and their language soft to the ear, for they are not yet greatly altered by admixture with aboriginal races. They appear like unto a blending of the Aryan and Semitic types, and many words of their language would sound strangely familiar to Teutonic ears. Anon they are joined by other canoes, which are also filled with men and women, who bring with them domestic animals and seeds of various plants, together with fresh water and provisions for a long sea voyage. These canoes are of great size, many of them being double, and each contains many people. Also the voyagers in each canoe bring with them their high priest, learned in the sacred lore of his race and in the numerous rites of the tribal gods. For they are forsaking their ancient home, these wanderers, forsaking the beautiful, sun-lit isles they love so well, endeared to them by many recollections of former happiness and by the sacred sepulchres which contain the bones of their ancestors. But their tribe has become too numerous for so narrow a sphere as these sea girt isles, and so dissensions and wars arose. Being driven from their homes by these troubles, they determine to seek another land where they may live in peace and where war shall be forgotten. So these ocean Berserkers embark their few household goods in their canoes and steer boldly out upon the great ocean of Kiwa. For they have heard of a land which lies far to the south, a strange land, containing many strange things, and which has been visited by the men of yore. As they glide out upon the ocean solemn prayers are offered up by the tohungas to ensure the success of the voyage, Actuated by one common impulse all these wanderers turn and look back upon their former abodes with keen sorrow and regret. For it is borne in upon these homeless ones that they never more will return to those beautiful isles, never more wander through those lovely palm groves, never more gaze upon the long wash of the white waters on the guardian reef. Silently and with deep emotion they bid an eternal farewell to their deserted lands. And then there arises a long wailing cry from the women, and high upon the air is borne the refrain of their song, a song of love and farewell to their homes. With the mournful notes of the lament still sounding in their ears these dark hued Argonauts hoist the sails of their canoes and go forth upon the waters to seek a new home for the future. They keep to a set course and steer by the sun and stars. Storms arise upon the great ocean and scatter this primitive fleet; some of the canoes being lost and never more heard of. But the survivors sail onward, and after many days arrive at a small island in mid-ocean, where they land and refit their vessels. Here also a sacred altar is set up and a sacrifice made to the gods, together with other rites of an ancient religion.- 114
Out upon the wide waters again they sail, onwards until the winds grow colder than they have yet known them, and their guiding stars assume strange positions in the heavens. Onwards across the dark ocean, creeping southwards day by day amid the waste of waters, oppressed with a vague dread of the unseen powers and the awful Waha-o-te- Parata,6 these stalwart rovers come. Day after day they look forth upon the vast expanse of landless ocean, nor craft, nor isle, nor bird breaks the drear monotony. One to another these voyagers speak of strange tales handed down from primitive times, tales of god-like men of old, who visited far-off lands, and even entered the spirit world, who drew up lands from the deep waters, and performed many other wonderful deeds. Then it is that the inborn-daring and energy of these people is shown, and the memory of the achievements of their ancestors nerves them to pierce the unknown world which lies before them. For are they not the descendants of that ancient rangatira race who lived in the original Hawaiki long ages before they wandered to Waerota and Tawhiti-nui, to Te Hono-i-Wairua and Tawhiti-pa-mamao.
But still they sail southwards, ever southwards, though food and water are fast failing, and they know that they must soon reach land or perish. At last, as the darkness of one memorable night passes away, they behold, far away in the distance, the glistening shores of Aotearoa—the great White World is found.
Even so the Maori came to New Zealand, and yet another item was added to the long list of racial migrations and supplantings by which the human race has gradually progressed from unknown centres of utter barbarism.
On their arrival in this land the migrants find it inhabited by a numerous population of a people somewhat akin to themselves, speaking a dialect of the same language, but who are an earlier offshoot of the primal stock which came from the Hidden Land of Tane in times long past away.
These tangata whenua (people of the land) are of a lower grade of culture than the new-comers. They do not cultivate the products of the soil, but live on fish and roots and the fruits of the forest. They gaze in wonder upon the sons of the ocean, and are pleased with the new varieties of food brought from beyond the dark sea. So in many cases they welcome the strangers, and give them land whereon to cultivate the kumara, the taro, and the hue.7- 115
As time wears on the migrants increase in numbers and then, from those two world-wide causes, land and women, come wars and quarrels, and fierce reprisals, and all the old trouble is back upon them once again. They move from place to place in search of a resting spot, but there is no peace; they must still fight. Many of them leave the northern lands and come southwards, to the “Head of the fish of Maui.’ to Whanganui-a-Tara. And still they seek peace, and still they shall not find it.
Generations pass by and these Hawaikians have become numerous in the land, and they turn upon their assailants, who again retaliate upon them, and there is fighting from Te Reinga to the Greenstone Country.
Centuries come and go, and behold! the tangata whenua are no longer a tribal people, but have been destroyed and their descendants are mixed with those of the migrants. But the savage instincts of the now dominant race are thoroughly aroused by long continued wars, so they turn on each other, and desolating, intertribal strife rages throughout the land. War is now their delight, war their school, war their profession, and cherished far above other feelings is the savage yearning for revenge. Whole tribes are swept away, others, torn by internal dissensions, fight fiercely among themselves. In the words of old, every man's hand is against his neighbour, and even worse, families are divided, and dare not to trust each other. Far and wide over this fair land are seen fighting pas, deserted kaingas, hosts of fierce spearmen and clansmen fleeing for their lives. High above the din of combatants and the sound of burning villages, resounds the hoarse roaring of the war trumpets, the exultant cries of those engaged in horrible cannibal feasts, and the wailing of women and little children is heard in every quarter of the Great White World.
Nga Tangata Whenua—The Aboriginal People.
The district extending from the Wairarapa Valley to the Porirua Harbour would seem to have been in former times the scene of many sanguinary wars, and the abiding place of many different peoples. In no other part of New Zealand do so many different tribes appear to have been located at various times. This may be accounted for in the following manner:—The northern part of the North Island was probably always the most densely populated, inasmuch as immigrants from Hawaiki generally made the land in that locality, and there settled. Also, the climate of that portion of the country was better suited to a race which had migrated from the tropics. There also would it be easier to cultivate the tropical food plants which they - 116 introduced into this country, as also the aute shrub which they brought here, and from which the tapu cloth was made in former times, but which is no longer to be found in the land. It was always a cultivated plant and hence, on the introduction of European clothing, the Maoris ceased to cultivate the aute and it disappeared. In any case it appears that few hapus have gone to the South Island to reside until forced to do so by the pressure of circumstances, that is to say, to escape the ovens of their enemies.
The northern tribes, both aboriginal and Maori, on finding that their numbers were increasing, and therefore needing an enlarged territory, would proceed to attack their neighbours with commendable promptness. These would cheerfully respond, and the belligerents would then exert all their energies towards killing and eating each other until one or the other was exterminated or driven from their lands. There being no available country towards the north in which to locate, fugitive tribes almost invariably migrated southwards. Thus it was that tribes were being continually forced towards the south, and Te Whanganui-a-Tara being on the highway to the South Island, this district became the halting place of such migrating peoples until pushed across the sea of Ruakawa by another heke from the north. In truth there must have been, from very early times, a succession of peoples moving on Whanganui-a-Tara from the upper portions of the Island. Both by sea and land they came, by the Wairarapa Valley and the coast line, by the Seventy-Mile Bush, and down the Manawatu, wave after wave of invaders surging down from the prolific north upon the great harbour of Tara. The hapus in possession of this district would be displaced by these northern Goths, and be forced to retire to the Wai-Pounamu (South Island), where they would soon come into collision with the people of that land and there being no further retreat possible for the latter, a war of extermination would inevitably ensue. Thus Te Rapu-wai, Waitaha, Ngati-Tu-Matakokiri, and Ngati-Mamoe were destroyed, and had not the coming of the Pakeha put an end to tribal wars, the name of Ngati-Tahu would soon have been but a memory among men. Even as those barbarian Teutons, of whom we love to read, emerged from their savage wilds, and hurled themselves in countless thousands upon the colossal Roman Empire, so did the south-bound hekes of Aotearoa sweep down upon the luckless clans of Mohua (South Island). And all these far separated peoples, Goth and Aboriginal, Vandal and Polynesian, were but obeying that old, old law of Nature—the survival of the fittest.
In regard to the peopling of the South Island, it will be as well to note what divisions of the race have held possession of that land at different periods, for the reason that most, if not all of them, were migrants from the North Island, and more immediately from the - 117 classic shores of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara. It is a recognised fact among those who have studied the subject, that the South, as well as the North Island, was populated by a division of the great Polynesian race centuries before the arrival of the present Hawaikian Maoris in the historic canoes “Arawa,” “Tainui,” “Aotea,” “Mataatua,” “Takitumu,” and “Matahourua.” “The Kurahaupo” I have not included in this list of canoes, for the reason that she never arrived in New Zealand, being wrecked on the voyage, or, as the Taranaki people say: “in unknown parts, far away across the ocean.” The “Kurahaupo,” which was known as “Tarai-po” in Hawaiki, was under the command of the chiefs Tura and Te Moungaroa, and when she founded at sea her crew and cargo were transferred to the “Mataatu,” which brought them to Aotearoa. It is customary, however, among the Maoris to speak of and trace their descent from the “Kurahaupo,” as if she had arrived in this land. The Ngati-Kuia, of Pelorus Sound, claim to be descended from the “Kurahaupo” migrants, as also do the Taranaki and Ngati-Ruanui tribes.8
The origin of the tangata whenua (aboriginal people) of New Zealand is unfortunately lost to us, and we have little to chronicle in regard to them, with the exception of some of their genealogies which have been preserved by the mixed descendants thereof, and by their conquerors. These genealogies are useful to students of Maori history in that they show the point of connection between the aborigines and the Maori people. It would be interesting to ascertain from what part of Polynesia the former migrated when they came to these shores. If their original home was in a different group to that of the Maori, the circumstance would account for some dialectic differences of speech noticeable among South Island tribes. Notably the change of the nasal “ng” to the hard guttural “k,” and the elision, or rather softening, of the semi vowel “r.”
It is possible that the Moriori race of the Chatham Islands is allied to the pre-Maori tribes of New Zealand. Some of their genealogies agree down to a certain point, and other evidences exist to show that that southern outpost of the Polynesian race had, at some time in the remote past, a knowledge of New Zealand. Likewise, in the language of this people are remarked peculiarities most interesting to the philologist, but for a full knowledge of which we must await the appearance of the Moriori vocabulary now being prepared by Mr. Shand. Very little is known of this interesting people, and the articles on their history and traditions now being contributed by Mr. Shand to the Journal of the Polynesian Society form one of the most valuable ethnological essays that have appeared of late years.- 118
The first people of whom tradition speaks as inhabiting the South Island are the Kahui Tipua, a tribe of whom many weird tales are told, and who are generally classed as a kind of supernatural beings, hence the name given them—Te Kahui Tipua—the band of ogres.
After these eccentric creatures came Te Rapuwai, of whom also but little is known, but in whose time it is said that the moa was exterminated, and the forests of Canterbury and Otago destroyed by fire.9 Although the above are generally looked upon as semi-mythical traditions, it is probable that they contain an element of truth, and that Te Kahui Tipua and Te Rapuwai were early migrations of the aborigines of the North Island. These tangata whenua tribes of the south must have occupied that land for long periods to have become as numerous as they undoubtedly were, as they would not migrate south in large numbers for reasons already stated. Thus they would for some time be compelled to maintain a friendly attitude towards their powerful predecessors, in fact to adopt a “peace at any price” policy, a most repugnant line of action to a savage people.
These aborigines appear to have spread over the whole country in much the same manner as did the Maori of later times. They were found in many places besides those noted. Tamatea, who came in “Takitumu,” is said to have encountered them at Whanganui and Taupo during the course of his remarkable journey. Turi, the chief of the Aotea, also found tribes of these tangata whenua, known as Te Kahui Toka and the Taikehu, holding the country about Patea on his arrival in this land. Manaia, of the Tokomaru canoe, in the heke (migration) from Hawaiki, landed at Tongaporutu, whence he marched his followers to Waitara, where “there were people at that place, the original inhabitants of this country, who were destroyed by Manaia and his party, who took possession of their lands.”10
Whatever part of Polynesia these old time clans came from, it is certain that they must have been located in New Zealand at a very remote time, according to our ideas of Polynesian chronology. However alarming the statement may sound to those who uphold the theory of the recent arrival of the Polynesian in New Zealand, I firmly believe that they were a numerous people in this land at the time that the Norman invaders landed on our English shores. For, in the face - 119 of evidence which is accumulating day by day, we must admit, in spite of assertions to the contrary, the truth of a remarkable statement, namely, the early distribution of man throughout the island system of the Pacific.
The next tribe who appeared in the South Island were the Waitaha. The genealogies of this people show them to be descended from one Rakaihaitu, who came to New Zealand in the canoe “Uruao” some forty-three generations ago (as against nineteen to twenty-two generations of the Maori genealogies). Traditions attribute to these people a profound knowledge of karakia (incantations) and of the science of navigation. At Cust, in the South Island, were to be seen some years ago the remains of an ancient fort, the walls of which were three miles in length, and which pa is said to have been occupied by the Waitaha in olden times. The immense kitchen middens met with in that island are also attributed to those people.
Here the Waitaha pass off the stage, and we now come to their destroyers, the Ngati-Mamoe, who were also an aboriginal tribe, and the last one of the tangata whenua who held possession of Te Whanganui-a-Tara and the South Island. For the reign of the aboriginal is drawing to a close in Aotearoa and the greenstone land, while afar off, in some unknown part of the Pacific, coming events cast their shadows before. It is an era of singular unrest, and of far-reaching voyagings throughout Polynesia, as the island race experiences one of those strange epochs of restless migrations, which all nations would seem to have passed through at certain times in their history.
The Ngati-Mamoe were, as stated, an aboriginal people, though in later times they became mixed with the “Takitumu” migration of the present Maori race. Ngati-Mamoe took their tribal name from Hotumamoe, who flourished some twenty-one generations ago, or about the time of the arrival of the Maori. Hotumamoe was, however, a descendant of Toi (Toi-kai-rakau), a famous chief of the original people, and who lived seven or eight generations before the time of Hotu.11 Toi resided in the Bay of Plenty district, and his name is well known to the Maori, many of the latter tracing their descent from him, it being a known fact that many of the present tribes have a heavy strain of aboriginal blood in their veins. Toi is also known to the Morioris of the Chatham Islands.
The Ngati-mamoe originally came from the East Coast of this Island, and I have been informed by one of the leading Wairarapa Natives that when the ancestors of his tribe (Ngati-Kahungunu of - 120 “Takitumu”) first reached Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, they found Ngati-Mamoe living there. This latter tribe was evidently one of a line of tangata whenua clans who, on the arrival of “Takitumu” and the other canoes, held the country from Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara to Turanga-nuia-Rua, or Poverty Bay. Some time after the arrival of the “Takitumu” at Whangarā, near Gisborne, under the chiefs Paikea, Tahupotiki and Tamatea (father of Kahungunu, ancestor of Ngati-Kahungunu), the new-comers began to press upon the tangata whenua to the southward. At that time an aboriginal tribe known as Te Tauira occupied the Wairoa and Mahia districts of Hawkes Bay. These people were defeated by the descendants of the “Takitumu,” migration and fled to Wairarapa. The Napier district was at this time in the possession of other divisions of the original people known as Te Tini-o-Awa, Te Tini-o-Ruatamore, and Te Whatu-Mamaoa. These tribes were destroyed by Te Ao-Matarahi and his famous band of warrior chiefs some fifteen generations ago.
It is impossible to say how long the Ngati-Mamoe occupied the Whanga-nui-a-Tara before they were forced southwards by the “Takitumu” people, who gradually over-ran the East Coast, from the East Cape to the Sea of Raukawa (Cook Strait). It is certain, however, that they were compelled, like their predecessors, to fall back on the South Island (known as Te Wai Pounamu, Mohua, Tumuki, and Aropawa), where they proceeded to destroy the Waitaha with pious zeal. In this they succeeded to perfection, performing the task with that energy and thoroughness that characterised those simple-minded children of nature. The survivors of the Waitaha became incorporated with the Ngati-Mamoe, those again with the Ngai-tahu, and the descendants of this mixture are a small tribe now living at Waitaki, South Canterbury, being known unto fame as the Ngati-Rakai.
In proceeding to speak of the Ngai-Tahu, I do not deem it necessary to give an account of the many wars which took place between them and the Ngati-Mamoe, with the exception of such as immediately concerned the Ngai-Tahu, of Hataitai (Lyall Bay district, Wellington).
Thus it was that the aborigines of New Zealand passed off the stage of history and went to their own place. Like numberless other nations who have lived and flourished, loved and warred, conquered and been conquered, in the days of long ago, they passed away and left no sign of their former presence but a few fading traditions and other remains interesting only to the antiquarian.
To the anthropologist it seems a mournful thing to contemplate the extinction of a race, and to know that the land shall know them no more, that their origin, history, language, arts and achievements - 121 are lost beyond recall. Yet it is he who loves to study the human race and to note their gradual advancement and intellectual development, who can see most clearly, that, be they never so savage, each division of mankind which appears and runs its course on this earth, is surely fulfilling a great law of Nature, and is a necessary link in the endless chain of human progress.
How the Maori Lived in the Days of Yore.
The Maoris of New Zealand form one of the most interesting divisions of the great Polynesian race, and the student of anthropology may find much to interest him in their many singular customs, traditions and rites. These people had evolved, at some remote period in their history, a most complete and unique mythology. Thus they possess many wonderful legends concerning the Creation, the separation of the earth from the heavens, the origin of man, the obtaining of fire, and of the doings of the many gods of olden times. To the Maori of pre-Pakeha days the atua were an ever present fact and influenced every act of his life. That most sacred institution of Polynesia, the tapu, was nowhere more rigid and exacting in its laws than in these isles, and woe betide the unhappy wight who transgressed those unwritten edicts. If no worse fate befel him he would die of fear, a victim of superstition and of the power of the mind over the body. Many such cases have been noted by early settlers in this land. When a chief wished to secure anything to himself he had but to place a tapu upon it and the object, be it weapon or land or growing crop, was held sacred unto him.
The laws of tapu were inexorable, no one was exempt from it, from the supreme ariki of the tribe down to the meanest slave. In fact the system of tapu constituted the laws, religion, and ethics of the Maori, and though a wonderfully complicated institution when this race first became known to Europeans, it probably sprang from a much simpler system of bygone times. Though irksome and pitiless in the extreme, yet was it on the whole a good thing for the native race, as its intricate forms, rites and penalties imposed on the people a restraint not otherwise possible among the independent Maori. It probably represented the only means by which his fierce and warlike nature could be controlled. By its agency many crimes were prevented or punished, and food, cultivations, fish, birds and forests were preserved. It influenced every act of his life and even clung to him in death.
One of the most rigid forms of tapu was that imposed upon those selected to be initiated into the sacred lore of the tribe, their mythology, priestcraft, and ancient history. During the imparting of this sacred knowledge of the Whare-kura, or House of Knowledge, both pupil and - 122 teacher were isolated from the people. The teaching was carried on during the night, according to the tribes of this district. While the tohunga or learned man was repeating long genealogies and other unwritten records of his race, the pupil was not allowed to speak. Should he utter a word, all his recently acquired knowledge would forsake him, that is to say, he would break the tapu, and that type of erudition cannot be acquired without its potent aid.
In the morning fern root would be prepared for the morning meal of the vigil keepers, and great care was exercised by the women in this task. Were any of the edible part of the root left adhering to the paoi (pounder), or other utensil, and were this eaten by any other person, then again would the pupil lose all memory of what had been taught him. Innumerable instances might be given of the many ways in which the far-reaching tapu exerted its influence.
Most careful was the old-time Maori in preserving the history and sacred knowledge of his tribe, and woe betide the man who strayed from the true path in imparting such knowledge. Is it not recorded how the chief Te Wera, of the Ngai-Tahu tribe, whose place of abode was the islet of Tapu-tē-ranga, at Island Bay, Wellington, gently reproved one Kiri-mahinahina, who taught false history. This last was a presumably learned man. but committed the fatal mistake of stating that Tiki was the Creator of Mankind, whereas the tribal tohungas had always taught that Io was responsible for that great art. During the wars in the South against Ngati-Mamoe, this deluding Kiri fell at the battle of Taraka-hinatea, near Moeraki, and the ever-practical Te Wera adopted a novel method of preventing the spirit of this false teacher from escaping, and taking up its abode in any other tohunga. This he did by plugging up the mouth, ears, and nose of the heretic and then consigning his body to the oven. With the help of sundry members of his party he managed to eat the entire body, and thus happily prevented the further expounding of false doctrines. Should any harassed School Board or theological body think fit to read a lesson from the grand moral contained in this story of Te Wera, they are quite free to make use of the same, the copyright of that simple and touching parable is not with me.
What was the manner of life of the old time people who inhabited Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara in those pre-Pakeha days? I may state here that the life of those primitive people was, on the whole, a happy one. Unless they were being harassed by an enemy of superior force, these children of Tahu-Potiki enjoyed life after the manner of their kind.
In the first place they were diligent in what is often termed the curse of mankind, but which is, in reality, the salvation of the human race—labour. Each season of the year and division of the day held its own special task for the ancient Maori. The women performed the - 123 household duties, such as cooking, keeping the houses in order, and the making of sleeping mats and others of finer texture used as garments. They also accompanied the men to the cultivations, where they cooked the first meal of the day, at about 10 o'clock. Here also they did their share of labour in the field, and the whole party returned to the kainga about 3 in the afternoon, when preparations would be made for the second and concluding meal of the day. The men had many labours to perform, cultivating their food products and gathering the crops, building dwelling and store-houses, making canoes, fishing, hunting, and many other items. Other endless occupations were the making of nets and cordage, carving, grinding by friction to form weapons and implements of stone. Food was plentiful in the land of Tara, and no famine visited the land as long as a comparative peace prevailed.
Then in the long winter evenings they beguiled many hours of the night by revelling in the unwritten literature of the Maori. They recited tales, myths and other traditional lore. They told strange fairy tales and chanted the numberless poems known to them, and also performed haka and played games of various kinds.
As a specimen of the tales with which the Maori wiled away the winter nights, I subjoin the story of Hine Popo, as being a local tradition it is the more applicable. On account of this district having been occupied by an alien tribe since the early 'thirties, these local legends are not to be obtained here, and he of antiquarian tastes must go to the Ngai-Tahu, of the South, the Ngati-Kahungunu, of Waira-rapa, or the Rangitane, of the Sounds, in order to procure the pre-Ngati-Awa history and folklore of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara.
The following legendary tale was given me by Te Pakauwera, of the Ngati-Kuia tribe, of Pelorus, and has lately been published in the original. When I asked my informant if he thought it possible that this lady could have swam across Raukawa (Cook Straits), his answer was brief and convincing:—“Friend, think you that Hine Popo was an ordinary mortal like you and I? Not at all! She possessed god-like powers such as were common in this world in the days of old.”
An old-time Legend of Te Whanga-lui-a-Tara.
How Hine Popo Crossed the Sea of Raukawa.
This is the story of Hine Popo, an ancestress of the Rangitane, which tribe formerly occupied Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara:—
In those ancient times there were two brothers living in this district, and the name of the elder was Te Hiki-paroa and that of the younger, Manini-pounamu. The younger brother married Hine Popo, - 124 who belonged to Rangitoto, an island in the Sea of Raukawa, which island you Pakehas call d'Urville. One night, Manini-pounamu with fifty men twice told took to their canoes and sailed away from Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara across Raukawa, until they reached Rangitoto, where they remained. When Hine Popo awoke in the morning she found the kainga deserted and her husband gone. Then was she overcome with grief and her heart was sad within her. But our ancestress possessed great powers, the powers which emanate from the gods of the Maori. So she prepared to seek her husband, Manini-pounamu, even in that far land whither he had gone. Now all the canoes of the village had been taken by her husband and his people, so that she was compelled to cross that great sea of Raukawa by swimming. (Friend, do not laugh when I speak of these things which happened in those remote times, for they are quite true. You Pakehas do not possess powers such as did the Maori of olden times, therefore you should not laugh at things which you do not understand. It is only thoughtless people who do so.) So Hine Popo proceeded to perform the rites and to repeat the prayers necessary to the occasion. Then she went down to the seashore and standing by the waves of the ocean, she chanted a sacred incantation calling upon the taniwhas of the deep to assist her. And the name of that incantation is Maro. With the confidence which comes from the possession of great powers, she entered the waves and started on her long and weary way to Rangitoto, a way beset with many dangers and terrors to the Maori. It is said that her dogs swam after her, until they were forced to turn back, and then they returned to land and there howled dismally for their lost mistress. Even now, it is whispered among us that, upon dark or foggy nights, the dogs of Hine Popo can be heard wailing on the seashore, waiting for her to return. And so our ancestress swam on and on, far out upon the ocean, until she reached a floating island upon which she rested for some time. Again taking to the water she swam until she reached Toka-kotuku (a rock in Queen Charlotte Sound) where she again recited her incantations to the Hapuku. Swimming on from here, she reached the Papanui-a-Puta (a rock outside Pelorus Sound) where prayers to the taniwhas were repeated. Long and weary grew the way to Hine Popo and it was at such a time as this when the Maori of old prayed that the land might not be drawn out lengthways. At last she reached the shores of Rangitoto and went up to her father's house where she remained in the porch and wept aloud in her sorrow. Her father called out, “Who are you?” but she did not reply. Again he called, “Who are you?” Hine Popo replied, “It is I who was abandoned at Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara.” Then her father knew who this strange visitor was, and cried out, “Oh, my daughter!” So the parent and child wept together, - 125 until Hine asked, “Have any people arrived here of late?” The father answered, “They have arrived,” and asked, “How did you come?” His daughter replied, “I swam here across the great ocean.” Then said her father, “Two chiefs and one hundred men have come to this place, and the names of those chiefs are Te Hiki-paroa and Manini-pounamu.”
“Friend This is the first part of this story of Hine Popo. I will now relate to you the doings of Hiki-paroa and his brother, which have been handed down to us through many generations of men. But first I will tell you that Hine Popo is sometimes seen by our people, even in these times. When we are on the shore or traversing the cliffs of Raukawa, we see, at times, far out upon the ocean, the form of Hine Popo floating on the waves and her long hair washed by the waters.”
How Manini-pounamu and Te Hiki-paroa went to a far off Land and of the strange things they saw.
This tradition is evidently a localised version of the Polynesian legend of Tura, who journeyed to a far country where he found a people who had no fire, ate their food raw, and were much affected by smoke. This story is known as far west as the Polynesian colony in New Guinea. Strangely similar is the account given by those early Phœnician voyagers of the people whom they encountered on the African coast, and who appear to have been monkeys.
And it fell upon a certain fine day that all the people of the kainga went to fish for hapuku on the rock called Te Papanui-a-Puta. There went Manini-pounamu and Te Hiki-paroa, together with their people, fifty twice told. There also went Hine Popo and her father. On arriving at the hapuku grounds, they proceeded to fish, and after some time had passed, Hine Popo again repeated an incantation to the monsters of the deep. Then there arose a dreadful storm and the canoes of these people were driven far out to sea by its violence. The canoe which contained Hine Popo and her father reached Rangitoto in safety, but all the hundred warriors of Manini-pounamu were drowned, engulfed by the great waves of the ocean. The canoe which held Manini-pounamu and Te Hiki-paroa was not destroyed by the storm, but was driven far across the dark ocean. Far, far away, those men were carried in that canoe, beyond the isles of the great sea, beyond the place where the sky hangs down. At last they were cast ashore in a strange land of which no man had ever heard. And there were many strange things in that land, and strange people lived there. It may be that that land was Hawaiki, of which our learned men have told us, and from whence our ancestors came in past ages. But who can say? Friend, there are some things that even the ancestors of the Maori did not know.- 126
So these two brothers were cast ashore in that strange land. Close to where they landed they found a cave, and in that cave lived an old woman. This old woman then told them of a fierce man-eating taniwha which lived in that land, and which had destroyed many of the people. And she said, “Possibly you two, who have come from far lands, may be able to kill that taniwha?” Te Hiki-paroa replied, “It is possible that we may kill it.” But that old woman would not believe that these two men could accomplish such a great task, for she had seen so many brave men lose their lives in attempting to deliver the people from the dreadful scourge. She said, “Alas! You will never destroy that monster. It will surely kill you.”
Now these two brothers being hungry, they proceeded to kindle a fire and to cook food, whereby they might regain their strength. But when the fire burnt up the old woman was terribly alarmed and was very ill, being affected by the smoke. Behold! that people were unacquainted with fire and ate their food raw. If they touch cooked food or go near to a fire, they become quite ill.
So these people consulted together as to how the fierce taniwha might be overcome. Said the old woman, “If you are able to kill it, I will give you my daughter in marriage.” “The girl shall be mine,” cried Hiki-paroa. “Wait,” said the old woman, “until I see which of you two is the swiftest runner.” So the two brothers ran a race together, in which Manini-pounamu was the victor. Then, said the old woman, “The younger brother is the swiftest, he shall be sent to entice the monster to where he may be killed.” Then the people dug a deep pit, into which Hiki-paroa went, and Manini-pounamu was sent to lure the dragon towards it. The old woman gave him directions how to act. “You must go over those far hills, and when you arrive at the last ridge call out, and the taniwha will pursue you.” Manini-pounamu did as he was told, and the fierce monster gave chase to him, and very nearly caught him with its long claws, but he escaped and descended into the pit where Hiki-paroa was hidden. Then the great taniwhn rushed up to the pit and tried to kill those two brave men, and the very earth shook beneath its huge bulk, The creature thrust its claws down into the pit, but they were cut off by the warriors, who were beyond its reach. And when they had severed its long claws they attacked the monster and killed it. The people of the land then opened this great dragon, and in its huge stomach they found the bodies of their friends whom it had devoured. There they lay, old people and young, and women with their children on their backs, all heaped together. So the taniwha was killed.
Then all those people were overjoyed at the death of the monster which had destroyed so many of their friends, and they took the two brothers in triumph to their village, crying: “The taniwha is dead.” - 127 And all the people of the land assembled, and there was a great feast with much rejoicing, and great honour was paid to the hero chiefs. After the feast was over, the old woman said: “Perform the dance, so that my daughter's accomplishments may not be lost sight of.” So they all commenced to dance, wearing balls of red feathers in their ears as ornaments. Both Hiki-paroa and Manini-pounamu contended for the girl, but the old woman said: “The younger brother shall have her, for it was he who lured the dragon to its doom.” And so Manini-pounamu married the young girl, and they lived for many years and were very happy. But Hiki-paroa went away to a far-off land and there remained.
It was my intention to have pointed a moral from this simple folk tale for the benefit of my Pakeha friends, but unhappily it appears to be somewhat mixed. Instead of meeting the orthodox fate of those who sail gaily away from lovely and virtuous damsels, Manini-pounamu appears to have had a good time, and found another equally as charming. Un Clavo Saca Otro Clavo.
Old-time Songs of the Maori.—How Whanake of Porirua regained his Canoe, Te Rau-o-te-kaho.
Below is given a Maori waiata, or song, such as they were wont to compose and sing in the days that are past. Though only a modern song, yet it appears to be grafted on a much more ancient one, which, however, is generally the case in their later compositions. It is here written, with the introductory remarks, as given by the natives. The Whanake mentioned was the supreme chief of the Ngati-Ira tribe of this district, at the commencement of the present century. Whanake lived at Onehunga, a small flat on the beach under Whitireia, and opposite Te Toka-a-Papa, the reef of rocks in the entrance to Porirua harbour. He was the father of Te Kekerengu, whose surprising adventures and tragic death we will speak of anon. This is a favourite song with the Maori, and is known by the tribes from Murihiku to the Arawa country, and from Taranaki to Te Matau-a-Maui.
The Song of Whanake.
This is a tale of a certain canoe, called Te Rau-o-Te-Kaho, which drifted away to the ocean during a great storm in the days of old. On the awakening of a certain old man in the early morn, he went to look at his canoe at the mooring place, but on his arrival, behold! it was gone. His eyes stared wildly and his heart leaped up within him. Then this old man climbed to the top of a certain high hill named - 128 Whitireia. And he raised his voice and lamented as he went. On arriving at the summit he looked out upon the great ocean. Gazing intently across the waters, far away where the sky hangs down, he beheld his canoe disappearing in the distance, and flashing in the foam of the billows.
Then arose his sacred song to lure his canoe back to him.
O, I of little thought, O thoughtless me,
For Te Rau-o-Te-Kaho lying there below.
'Twas I who brought thee hither,
As a guardian for myself,
And to adorn my landing place.
O, thou churlish one, never to reveal
Thou wert about to glide away.
My heart leapt up within me
As I ascended Whitireia,12
Where rest the beams of sun and moon.
I extended my hands to the ocean,
Which stretches from far Hawaiki
And surrounds Aotea.
On beholding you glistening far away,
By incantations I rebuke the earth and heavens,
And by the progeny of Tangaroa13
Are you guided to land.
From the spaces of heaven and earth,
The voices of Uru and Ngangana14
Are heard on high.
I charm the way o'er which my canoe passes;
Caught and borne onwards by Tu,15
Tu moving swiftly above the recovered treasure,
Above the many resting places,
Above the distant sun-path
That floats high in the heavens.
I extend my hands
To the space-dwelling bird legion,
To the Great Bird of Tane.
Draw it towards me!
Draw it to my side!
Gone is my anxiety
I touch it, I hold it, I have it.
[We insert one of the versions of this waiata-karakia, though it does not quite follow Mr. Best's translation.—Ed.]
E au mahara nui, E au mahara kore,
Ki Te Rau-o-Te-Kaho, e takoto mai nei,
Naku koe i mau mai, hei matua moku,
- 129 Hei whakawehi mai ki te tauranga i uta ra.
Te atua i a koe, te pa rawa mai to waha,
Kia whitirere ake ko toku mauri-ora ki runga,
Ka riro ra koe e! i runga te au-heke,
Te pae matua ki Hawaiki;
Te rau-nunuitanga a watea.
Ka tangi te aweawe i runga ra,
Me ko Uru ko Ngangana,
Whakatau ana ko tawhiti;
Hoa atu ai au te tapuae o taku waka;
A tutukitia, tu hapainga, tu marere i ao.
Piki ake ai au ki runga o Whiti-reia,
Ki te taumata o te ra me te marama,
I whataitai ai te uira tangi mai.
Tupe rawa atu an, tupe nuku, tupe rangi,
Hihi, haha, te uru o Tangaroa ki uta ra,
Mangai Nuku, mangai Rangi, mangai Papa.
Mangai tahua, i a Tauranga-te-kutikuti,
Ka tapu au, ka hoka au;
Ka hokahoka te manu-hau-turuki;
Ka hokahoka te manu-nui-a-Tane.
Tupea mai kia piri,
Tupea mai kia tata;
Ko whitirere i manu,
Ka whiwhi au; ka rawe au; ka mau.
Behold! His canoe was recovered. Thy work! O Prayer, that returned his canoe to him from the Great Ocean of Kiwa.16
When the Ngati-Toa and allied tribes were devastating the shores of Raukawa, and making “good Indians” of the inhabitants, they took prisoner one Aokaitu of the Ngati-Apa tribe, and having bound him securely, proceed to heat an oven wherein to cook him. Then they said to him, “Tena, sing us a song.” Te Aokaitu replied, “Must I really sing, even when the oven is waiting for me?” “Yes, you must sing.” So this warrior sang his death-song, with the heated stones of the hangi before his eyes—koia tenei:—
Alas! My poor heart
Throbs heavily in my breast;
A fugitive of the battle
Won by thee, oh Ahirau,
At Te Wharo there beyond.
On my overthrow I knew
My place was in thy kete (food basket),
And when my poor body is cooked,
It will form the relish to thy feast.
The power of oratory possessed by the Maori has been remarked by those who have become acquainted with the race and their language. The Native tongue, so rich in figurative expressions, singular idioms and poetical sentiments, is peculiarly adapted to the purpose of the orator, and these barbarian people knew full well how to take advantage of these peculiarities. They had a good command of language, and could ever express themselves with much feeling and descriptive power.
At a meeting of Natives held at Waikawa, Picton, in 1856, when their lands were sold to the pakeha, Te One struck into the ground at the feet of the Commissioner a greenstone axe, saying:—“Now that we have for ever launched this land into the sea, we hereby make over to you this axe, named Paewhenua, which we have always highly prized from having regained it in battle, after it was used by our enemies to kill two of our most celebrated chiefs, Te Pehi and Pokaitara. Money vanishes and disappears, but this greenstone will endure as a lasting witness of our act, as the land itself, which we have now, under the shining sun of this day transferred to you for ever.”
When Te Rauparaha, of Ngati-Toa, applied to the Ngati-Raukawa tribe, at Taupo, for assistance in the good work of destroying the tribes of this district, Te Ahu-karamu, a leading chief of the latter people, selected sixty tried warriors, and fought his way through hostile tribes to Otaki, where he had an interview with Te Rauparaha and other chiefs of Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Awa, who were, at that time, placed “between the devil and the deep sea.” His Satanic Majesty being represented by the Muaupoko, Ngati-Apa, and Rangi-tane tribes, the original owners of the lands between Pae-kakariki and the Whangaehu River. Te Ahu-karamu returned to Taupo, where he spoke in glowing terms to his people of the fine lands awaiting them in the South. Ngati-Raukawa does not appear to have been elated at the prospect of forsaking the Taupo country, whereupon Te Ahu ordered them to burn their villages, and march at once for the coast. This was accordingly done, and like those ancient Tigurini, of whom Cæsar tells us, who fired their towns and villages in Helvetia, and swarmed down upon the fair plains of Aquitania, so did the Ngati-Raukawa destroy their homes around Taupo Moana and migrate to the shores of Raukawa.
Some time after this heke (migration) took place, there occurred a quarrel between Te Ahu and Te Rauparaha concerning the encroachments of the Pakeha. The description of the scene that followed is well described in Wakefield's “Adventures in New Zealand.” Te Ahu wished to take some cows to Ohau, to which Te Rauparaha objected, - 131 and was reminded by the former of “the war parties which he had brought him on his back to assist him against his enemies, through dangers and troubles more than he could count.” How “he had burned the villages of this tribe at Taupo to make them come with him to be by the side of Te Rauparaha on the sea coast.” He counted “how many times they had adhered to him in his feuds with the Ngati-Awa, and how much blood of the Ngati-Raukawa had been spilt for his name.” Te Ahu now commenced to warm with the subject, and began to taki, running up and down, bounding and yelling at each turn, and foaming at the mouth, as the Maori does when he means to speak impressively. Te Rauparaha, thinking that his opponent's eloquence was becoming too powerful, jumped up also. They both continued to run up and down in short, parallel lines, yelling at each other, grimacing and foaming, quivering their hands, and smacking them on their thighs, with staring eyes and excited features. “No,” cried Te Rauparaha, “No cows, I will not have them.” “Let them go,” yelled Te Ahu. “Yield me my cows. The cows will not hurt you.” “No cows, no white men! I am the king. Never mind your war parties! No cows,” answered Te Rauparaha. “When the soldiers come,” persisted Te Ahu, “we will fight for you, but let my cows go.” “No! no! indeed,” firmly replied the chief, as he sat down.
Te Ahu-karamu remained standing. He took breath for a minute, then he drew himself up to his full height, and addressed his own people in solemn kind of recitative: —“Ngati-Raukawa,” he sang, “Arise! Arise! my sons and my daughters, my elder brothers and my younger brothers, my sisters, my grandchildren, arise! Stand up the families of Ngati-Raukawa! To Taupo! To Taupo! To Maungatautari! To our old homes which we burned down and deserted. Arise, and let us go! Carry the little children on your backs as I carried you when I came to fight for this old man who has called us to fight for him, and given us land to dwell on, but who grudges us white people to be our friends, and to give us trade.”
As he sat down a mournful silence prevailed. An important migration had been proposed by the chief, which, no doubt, would be agreed to by the greater part of the Otaki, Ohau, and Manawatu Natives, on whom was Te Rauparaha's chief dependence for his defence.
Scarcely less fine was the speech by which Te Rauparaha overthrew the whole effect of Te Ahu-karamu's beautiful summons to his tribe:— “Go!” said Te Rauparaha, “Go, all of you. Go! Ngati-raukawa to Maungatautari! Take your children on your backs and go, and leave my land without men. When you are gone, I will stay and fight the soldiers with my own hands. I do not beg you to stop. Te Rauparaha - 132 is not afraid! I began to fight when I was as high as my hip. My days have been spent in fighting, and by fighting I have won my name. Since I seized by war all the land from Taranaki to Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, and from Blind Bay to Cloudy Bay beyond Raukawa, I have been spoken of as a king. I am the king of all this land. I have lived a king, and I will die a king, with my mere in my hand. Go! I am no beggar! Te Rauparaha will fight the soldiers of the Queen when they come, with his own hands, and with his own name. Go to Maungatautari.” Then, suddenly changing his strain, he looked on the assemblage of chiefs before him, saying in a softened voice, “But what do I say? What is my talk about? You are children. It is not for you to talk. You talk of going there, and doing this and doing that. Can one of you talk when I am here? No! I shall rise and speak for you all, and you shall sit dumb, for you are all my children, and Te Rauparaha is your head chief and patriarch.”
Thus he completely won his point by this fearless rejection of their assistance, ending in an arrogant assumption of absolute authority over their movements.
How the Descendants of the Crew of “Takitumu” invaded the Harbour of Tara, and of the fierce Wars of Hataitai.
So the Ngati-Mamoe dwelt in this land for many generations, and kept sending colonies of their people across to the South Island, where they made a name for themselves and lived joyously upon the products of the land—that is to say, upon the bodies of the unhappy Waitaha For these simple children of Nature relied upon their own personal prowess to gain for themselves new lands, not yet being acquainted with the modern arts of the Pakeha in that direction. But the reign of these tangata-whenua was now drawing to a close, and events were taking place in the north which foreshadowed the expulsion of Ngati-Mamoe from the Wellington district. For the descendants of the “Takitumu” migrants from Hawaiki were multiplying in the land, and were beginning to push the aboriginal tribes southwards. The Awanui-a-Rangi and other divisions of the original people at Heretaunga (Hawke Bay) were defeated by the on-coming Maori, and the great Otatara pa at Taradale, which covered 80 acres of ground, fell to their victorious arms.
The “Takitumu” migrants left Hawaiki on account of the frequency of wars in that far land. In this canoe came the chiefs Paikea, Tahu-Potiki and Tamatea, together with others of that ilk. The last-named chief was father of the famous Kahungunu, from whom the great East Coast tribe takes its name. Tamatea, better known as Tamatea-pokai-whenua, was the hero of a disastrous attempt - 133 to shoot the Huka Falls at Taupo, which we all wot of. It is said that during the voyage from Hawaiki to Aotearoa the people of “Takitumu” were reduced to great straits on account of the scarcity of food. So they agreed among themselves that one of their number should be sacrificed to provide food for the rest. The lot fell on one Motoro, who, like a loving and prudent parent, transferred the honour to his son, who was forthwith killed and eaten in his stead. I merely mention this little incident to show the heighth of self-denial to which some natures can rise in the presence of a great danger. Some authorities state that this canoe came on down the coast to Rangi-whakaoma (Castle Point), and thence went to the South Island, to Otakou, where she may still be seen in the form of a rock.
The original people of Heretaunga were thus destroyed or forced southwards, while some became incorporated with their conquerors. The new-comers fought their way down the coast until they reached Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, and, it is said, first settled at the “Spring of the Tara,” in Worser Bay. And so upon the Great Harbour of Tara, there came this new wave of invaders from the dreaded north; a vigorous war-like people, armed with the rude weapons of a barbarous age, with stone axes and clubs and spears they came. Who also brought with them certain atua, crude symbols of the tribal gods and others of even more primitive design. The very stars in their courses would seem to fight against the tangata-whenua, who are everywhere defeated and driven across Raukawa. Perhaps their atua had deserted them in their hour of need, perhaps the măna of the Maori was too powerful for them. Who, indeed, has the knowledge of these things?
In regard to the early occupation of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara by the Maori, there is considerable difficulty encountered in determining what branch of these people first settled here and the order of the various occupations by different tribes. According to the data in my possession, it would appear that the Ngai-Tahu and Rangitane tribes lived here at the same period. However, some of the old people of Wairarapa and the Sounds assert that Ngai-Tahu only occupied Hataitai, and did not spread over the district as did the Rangitane, which tribe held the Porirua and Pauatahanui lands. The Ngai-Tahu, a “Takitumu” tribe descended from Tahu - Potiki, commenced to migrate to the South Island some four or five generations after the arrival of “Takitumu,” and, as before stated, the last of them left Hataitai (Miramar) about the middle of the seventeenth century, about which time the Ngati-Ira came down from the north and settled at Wairarapa, Wellington and Porirua. The Rangitane were living at Wairarapa, Hataitai and elsewhere in the time of Te Rerewa, who lived eleven or twelve generations ago, and in whose time the Rangitane ceded their lands to the Ngati-Kahungunu and retired to the - 134 South Island, where their descendants may still be found. It seems to me that the early hekes of Ngai-Tahu went from the Wairarapa Valley, and that afterwards they occupied Hataitai, vacated by the Rangitane. It is well known that “Te Makawhiu,” the famous war canoe of Ngai-Tahu, which conveyed so many of their reboubtable warriors to Te Wai Pounamu, was made in the Wairarapa Valley. The Rangitane would thus appear to have preceded the Ngai-Tahu in the occupation of Hataitai, though they probably still lived at Porirua and Pauatahanui for some time after the latter tribe had settled at Oruaiti, Maupuia, Te Mahanga, Kakariki, Marukaikuru, Paikakawa, Te Matakikaipoika, Te Akautangi and other pas and kaingas of Hataitai, famous in Maori history. I am led to this conclusion by certain items which tend to prove that the Rangitane have a strong element of aboriginal blood in their veins. In an article on the East Coast tribes, contributed by the late Samuel Locke to the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, the Rangitane or Tane-nui-a-Rangi are said to have formerly occupied the greater part of the country south of Napier, and that they were conquered and to a great extent dispersed by a body of “Takitumuans ” from the Wairoa, who defeated the sons of Tane in a great battle fought near Danevirke, in the Seventy-Mile Bush, and from the length of time the people who had been killed took in cooking in the umu or ovens, the place was called Umutaoroa. If, as stated, this war occurred in the time Rakai-hikuroa, that is to say, in the third generation after the arrival of “Takitumu,” then the original Rangitane must have been a pre-Maori people, whose descendants are the Rangitane of Manawatu and the Sounds. The Ngati-Kuia of Pelorus are allied to the Rangitane, but in what manner they claim to be descended from Kurahaupo is yet unknown to me. Te Pakauwera of Ngati-Kuia tells me that his tribe, together with Rangitane, claim descent from the chief Kupakupa, a “Kurahaupo” migrant from Hawaiki. The Rangitane descent has ever been a most uncertain quantity, but in a genealogy of that tribe lately received, their descent is traced from Tane-nui-a-Rangi through fifty-one generations to the present time, including Maui and other names famous in Polynesian mythology. Thirty-two generations back is the name of the Toi before mentioned, showing that the Rangitane come from that old aboriginal hero, though they have become mixed with the “Takitumuans” in later times. Though these people appear to have occupied many different places, it is probable by that means that they have preserved their tribal name and identity, thus verifying the proverb:17—Ka mate kainga tahi, ka ora kainga rua.
When the ancestors of the Ngati-Tahu and Ngati-Kahungunu first reached the harbour of Tara in numbers, they displaced the Rangitane - 135 whom they found in possession. They were also living in the Wairarapa Valley from Te Kawakawa (Cape Palliser) to Pokopokoiti (Cross Creek). In this stretch of country the Rangitane occupied many pas, the largest and most famous of which was the Potaka-kura-tawhiti pa, at Otaraia. It is also posssible that that part of the country received immigrants from another source, as there is a tradition of the coming of two canoes called “Te Whatu-ranganuku” and “Pungarangi,” from Hawaiki, which made the land at Wairarapa. Also in this vicinity were living a tribe of whom but little is known, namely, the Ngai-Tara.18 This people formerly held the Seventy-Mile Bush and adjacent lands, from whence they were expelled by the Rangitane in ancient times. These Ngai-Tara must not be confounded with the Ngai-Tara-pounamu of Rangitoto (D'Urville Island), who were a Tainui tribe from Taranaki. These Ngai-Tara then were driven south-wards by Rangitane, and the next place we hear of them occupying was the Wairarapa, where they achieved fame by slaying the ferocious taniwha Hemokonui, otherwise known as Te Ngarara-hua-rau, at Tupurupuru. This great feat they accomplished in a most unique manner for, as my informant states, these fearless sons of Tara sought out the trail by which the taniwha entered the forest, and straightway proceeded to cut the trees on either side of the trail in such a manner that a few blows would cause them to fall. Then they waited patiently for Hemokonui to come that way. When he did so his huge bulk so shook the earth that the severed trees fell upon him and crushed Hemokonui to death. As a novel and ingenious method of getting rid of an obnoxious taniwha, I will back the foregoing against anything in the whole range of Teutonic folklore.
These Ngai-tara appear to have lived at Hataitai with Ngai-Tahu in later times, and to have preceded the latter tribe in crossing Raukawa.
The accounts preserved by different tribes of the occupation of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara district by the “Takitumu” people, present to us a most singular fact, namely the cession of these lands by Rangitane without war or bloodshed, a most unique item in the history of the land of Tara. Also that the invading “Takatumuans” presented the original owners with many valuable and famous weapons, together with canoes and other property dear to the old-time Maori. After the cession of these lands by Te Rerewa, Rangitane commenced to cross Raukawa to Aropawa. Before doing so, however, they visited the favorite and most famous places of the district for the last time. They then composed and chanted a song of love and farewell to their - 136 lands, with its forests and lakes, cultivations and fisheries, and parted with them for ever “under the shining sun.”
The peninsula extending from Te Akautangi (Kilbirnie) to the Heads was formerly known as Hataitai. On the advent of the Pakeha it was named Watt Peninsula, and some time afterwards received its present name of Miramar (presumably from the two Spanish words mira, behold! mar, the sea). Hataitai was for many centuries the halting-place of the southward moving tribes, the last stand they made before crossing the sea of Raukawa. Probably no portion of the island has seen more changes, sheltered more peoples, or sent forth more hekes than this small strip of country. As an old native informed me, “It was a breathing place for them” (hei whakata i a ratou manawa).
The Hataitai peninsula has probably, at some remote time, been covered with a dense forest of our large timber trees, totara, kahikatea, rata, &c. The land occupied by the lake known as Burnham Water and the surrounding swamp (Para) must have been at a different level in former times, as the remains of an ancient forest are found over all that area. This forest probably extended over the hills at one time, and would be destroyed by the numerous populations of successive tribes that this Homeric battle-ground has supported. On the arrival of the Europeans the original bush still obtained in the gullies at Worser Bay and the central valley, the isthmus at that time being covered with a dense growth of flax and toetoe, and the hills with fern, koromiko aud tupakihi. At what date the moa flourished in the classic vale of Para is a problem for the antiquarian to solve. Numbers of bones of that colossal creature have been found in that vicinity, and the late Mr. Crawford found the head of one in the bed of Burnham Water. There are numerous remains of ancient occupation to be found on the Hataitai peninsula, and the district is of considerable interest both to the geologist and archæologist. Many of the kitchen middens appear to be of a very early date, and contain the remains of many a cannibal feast held in the days of long ago.
For the benefit of those who have not assailed the tomes of the New Zealand Institute, the late Mr. White's “Ancient History of the Maori,” or waded through those ponderous Blue Books, “Native Affairs of the South Island,” I give here an account of the wars at Hataitai, by which many rose to fame in the days of yore, and still more sank to the degrading level of the hangi, or oven.
In the time of Te Rerewa the Rangitane are said to have built the fighting pa known as O-rua-iti, which was situated close to the Signal Station. The principal chiefs who occupied this pa at that time were Te Rerewa, Te Huataki, Rangi-tahatihi and Tukanae.19 A - 137 genealogy in my possession gives eleven generations from Hine Tauira, a sister of Te Rerewa, and who married Rakai-uirohia, to the present time. After the cession of their lands the Rangitane went south to the Sounds, and Hataitai was then occupied by various divisions of the Ngati-kahungnu Tribe of “Takitumu” descent, including the hapus of Ngati-kahukura-awhitia and Ngati-Hakeke, the principal chief being Kainga-kiore. The former hapu (sub-tribe) is still in existence and may be found at Wai-rarapa. In the days of the said Kainga-kiore, the people of Hataitai were attacked by the Ngati-Apa tribe of Rangitikei and Ngati-Hau of Whanga-nui, many fierce battles being fought in the vicinity of the O-rua-iti pa. During the last of these sanguinary struggles the sons of Kahu-ngunu were besieged in O-rua-iti, and Kainga-kiore suggested to the chiefs within the pa that they should sally forth and engage the enemy in the open. This course they objected to, until Kainga-kiore rushed forth from the defences in order to meet the enemy in hand to hand combat, shouting as he went: “Tukua te kiore a Rakai-mahiti, kia tete, tete ki waho,” i.e., “Let go the kiore (rat) of Rakai-mahiti. Let us fight in the open”—Kiore being his own name and the latter that of one of his ancestors. As one man, his followers rose to the call of their chief, and dashing out of the fort, charged the enemy with such desperate valour that they drove them across the range towards the Para swamp, at which place the northern tribes turned and a savage fight ensued. Hemmed in as they were it was a case of victory or death, and the tribes knew it. Slowly and surely the Children of Tara forced back the invaders, back to the great swamp through which few might hope to escape. Here the descendants of Apa-hapai-taketake made their last stand and strove to win a name for themselves. But Kainga-kiore, charging into their midst with a band of picked warriors, routed them with great slaughter, though at the same time losing some of his best men. The survivors of the invaders fled by way of Evan's Bay and Wai-tangi to the western ranges, while the warriors of Hataitai returned to O-rua-iti in sorrow, for the gallant chief Kainga-kiore, struck down in the moment of victory, had passed out from the Land of Tara and lifted the ancient trail to the Reinga (Hades).
So Ngati-Kahungunu held possession of Hataitai, and other hapus (sub-tribes) came and settled there. Among these were Ngati-Puku and Ngati-Hinepari. The latter people, under Te Rahui, built the Maupuia pa (fort) on the range overlooking Evan's Bay, the totara posts of which were still to be seen some fifty years ago. No battles of any importance took place at Maupuia, but various engagements occurred at different places round the Harbour of Tara, notably those at Te Taniwha and Kokotahi, in which Ngati-Apa were defeated. A - 138 large, unfortified settlement was Te Mahanga, near Kau Bay, where many people lived during the summer months for the purpose of fishing and collecting the eggs of sea birds. At this place was a cave, which is said to have been the residence of a taniwha in the days of Tara, the wanderer.
We will now give a Native tradition of Tara, after whom Te Roto-a-Tara was named, which also includes mention of the great taniwha, or monster known as Awarua of Porirua, and which dwelt at Porirua Harbour in ancient times.
“Tara lived at Te Aute, in the land known as Heretaunga (Hawke's Bay District). He was a very tapu chief, exceedingly so, and likewise a great eater. In those times eels and birds were very numerous in the lakes known as Poukawa, Te Roto-a-Tara and Te Roto-a-Kiwa. The ducks frequented those lakes in order to bring forth young. Te Roto-a-Kiwa was the sacred lake of Tara, wherein he bathed, and on account of his being a sacred person no eels or birds were taken from that water. It would have been a very wrong thing to do, and an insult to the chief. In fact Tara, by means of his incantations, prevented fish and birds from staying in that water, and never have they been seen there since, even unto this day, except such as have been there placed by white men.
In those distant times it was that Awarua-a-Porirua dwelt in the lands of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, and the desire came to go forth and see far lands. Even so he started, in company with a fellow taniwha, by way of Wairarapa. Thus they abandoned their den wherein they had dwelt, and had devoured so many human beings. On arriving at the Roto-a-Tara this monster Awarua proceeded to devour the fish and birds of that lake, which had been preserved for Tara; and Tara was grieved on account of losing these delicacies, and resolved to destroy this troublesome monster. Then Tara waged war against the taniwha, and they fought long and fiercely. So fierce indeed was the struggle that the monster in lashing about with his huge tail threw up the earth and gravel in such quantities as to form an islet in the lake, which isle was named Te Awa-o-Porirua, after the reptile which formed it. Then that taniwha returned to Porirua, which is near unto Paekakariki.”
Another version of this old-time legend states that when the two monsters arrived at Porangahau from Porirua, they found that district occupied by a tribe of people known as Te Rae-moiri or Te Upoko-iri, and who were of the ancient people of the land, the people who grew up here long before the Maori landed. And that people attacked the two monsters and slew and ate the companion of Te Awa o Porirua.- 139
How the Sons of Tāhu-Potiki upheld the Mana of their Tribe.
When these islands of New Zealand were first visited by Europeans and the native inhabitants thereof became known to the world, much interest was displayed by ethnologists in their origin, language, customs, and traditions. They were looked upon as a most interesting survival of a past age, inasmuch as they were living in the Neolithic stage of culture development, ignorant of the use of metals, and of any system of written language. In the words of a great thinker, “They may be said to have been continuing the slow march of the ancient world in the rear of the whirl and confusion of the army of modern progression.”
Fortunately for the cause of science there were among the early settlers in New Zealand, i.e., what may be called the second stage of settlement, men of trained and cultivated minds, and of intellectual tastes, men who considered it their duty to place on record such information in regard to the native race as they were enabled to collect. In later years, however, with the increase in population, and of the various refinements of advancing civilisation, there has not been the accession to the ranks of these workers in the field of knowledge that we might expect, and from observation I am led to believe that many persons who are interested in various branches of the noble science of anthropology are labouring under the impression that the time has gone past wherein such information might be obtained. To a great extent this is true; most of the old generation of Maoris have passed away and taken the knowledge they possessed with them to the Reinga. Still there are some remaining among us who represent in themselves the pre-Pakeha days, who have seen the wonderful changes which have taken place in their country during the past seventy years, and who still retain much uncollected native lore of old New Zealand. This colony being but in its infancy, it is, perhaps, natural that our young people should not so readily take to intellectual pursuits as do those of an older land, where the leisured class is more numerous, the higher education more general, and the great culture centres are continually training many young minds in the paths of science and mental refinement. Still, as we are undoubtedly destroying the native race by mere contact with our civilisation, the least we can do is to place on record, for the benefit of future generations, such information as is yet obtainable regarding this interesting people. I would, therefore, entreat those interested in the origin, history, language, and mythology of the aboriginal race of our country to do what they can towards preserving the traditional and philological lore of this vanishing people, before the few, the very few, survivors who possess that knowledge have gone from us in search of the “Living Waters of Tane.”
To return to Hataitai: Some few generations after the arrival of the “Takitumu,” the ancestors of the Ngati-Tahu commenced to - 140 migrate southward, and located themselves at the lower end of the Wairarapa Valley. Te Ao-matarihi, a famous chief who lived some fifteen generations ago, is known to have resided at Wairarapa, and many interesting tales are still recounted by his descendants concerning that great warrior and his two wives, Houmearoa and Kuharoa. There appear to have been several heke (migrations) of Ngai-Tahu from the north—that is from the East Coast north of Gisborne—one of which, under Mahanga-puhoa, came by canoe, and landed at Te Kawakawa (Cape Palliser). That district and Hataitai appear to have been the headquarters of Ngai-Tahu for many generations, and whence they kept sending small hekes across to the South Island. These pioneers, when outnumbered by the Ngati-Mamoe in their numerous wars with that tribe, would send to Hataitai for reinforcements.
About eleven generations back we find the Ngai-Tahu living at Hataitai, being probably mixed with certain hapus of the Ngati-Kahungunu, among which may be noted the Tu-te-Kawa.20 Their principal kaingas at that time were located from Paikakawa (Island Bay) to Kakariki (Seatoun), and thence round to Omarukaikuru (Point Jerningham). In this district dwelt a band of hardy warriors trained in war's alarms, and who were often engaged in quarrels with the main body of Ngati-Kakungunu. One of the leading chiefs of these Ngai-Tahu was Kahukura-te-paku, who was connected with the Ngai-Tara tribe who had previous to this time crossed Raukawa and settled at Waimea, in the Nelson district. Tu-maro, the son of Kahukura, etc., Rakai-te-kura, daughter of Tama-ihu-pora, who was seventh in descent from Tahu, the founder of the line. Tu-maro, having determined upon leaving Hataitai on account of domestic troubles, collected his own immediate followers and, accompanied by his father, went over to Waimea, where they built a pa for themselves. Here the Ngai-Tara, together with the Ngati-Whata and Ngati-Rua hapus of Ngai-Tahu, separated from the main body of that tribe at Hataitai, lived for many years, and became mixed with the Ngati-Mamoe. At this period there were several different hapus living in the Sounds who had originally come from the North Island, namely the Rangitane, Ngati-Haua, Ngati-Hape, Ngai-Te-Iwi, Ngati-Whare-puka, and Ngai-Tu-Rahui, while in the district extending from Nelson to Arahura, dwelt the Ngati-Kopiha and Ngati-Wairangi.
When Tuāhuriri, the son of Tu-maro, deserted by him at Hataitai, grew up to the years of manhood, he enquired of his mother where he might find his father. “Look where the sun sets,” replied Rakai-te-kura, “that is where your father dwells.” So Tuāhuriri - 141 treasured these words in his memory, and having prepared a large war canoe, he embarked with seventy of his followers and sailed over the sea of Raukawa to Waimea. On their arrival at the pa of Tu-maro and Kahukura, they were invited to take up their abode in a large house set apart for them. This they did, while their hosts made the customary hospitable preparations for their destruction a la ye gentle Maori. For it was ever held by the Maori that those not known as friends must, in the natural course of things, be treated as enemies. Wherein, methinks, the old-time Maori showed much good sense and discretion, and held up an example worthy of our earnest attention. So it was this spirit of careful forethought that induced Kahukura of the endless name to place armed men around the house, and to order the slaves to heat the ovens in which to cook the bodies of his grandson and companions. Now the identity of Tuāhuriri became known to the old chief in a singular manner. The children of the pa were amusing themselves, as children are ever wont to do, by looking through the window at the imprisoned visitors, when Tuāhuriri said, “How this house reminds me of that of my grandfather, Kahukura, which he left over the water at Kau-whakaarawaru.” This remark was repeated by the children, and Kahu said, “Go and ask his name.” This they did, and Tāhu replied, “I am Te-Hikutawatawa-o-te-Rangi,” the name given him by his father when he was born. So they went and told Kahukura, and he became greatly ashamed on discovering that he had been craving after the flesh of his own grandchild. And he went to the house and told Tuāhu21 to come forth, but that he must come out through the window, and not by the door, to enable him to take the tapu off the ovens, which had been heated in order to cook Tuāhu and his companions. Thus was Tuāhuriri saved from death, but he cherished anger against his relatives for the dire insult, and but awaited an opportunity for revenge. This opportunity came to him on the day that—but “that is another story.”
About this period there were many expeditions made by the Ngai-Tahu across to the South Island, such as that of Rangitama, who raided the West Coast, and killed many of the inhabitants at Poutini (the Hokitika Coast) and elsewhere, returning to Whanga-nui-a-Tara with large stores of the prized Pounamu. Also sections of the Hataitai people began to break off from the main body and heke across the Raukawa. Among the first of these were the Ngati-Kuri and Tu-Te-Kawa hapus.
The next important event in the history of Ngai-Tahu is the taking of the pa known as Te Mataki-kaipoinga. This was a famous fortress of Whanga-nui-a- Tara in ancient times and at the time of its fall was occupied by our friend Tuāhuriri and his sub-tribe. - 142 Owing to some quarrel with a chief named Hikaororoa, also of Ngai-Tahu, Tuāhu was attacked in his pa by his enemy, and again the shores of this blood-stained land became the scene of savage fighting for supremacy. Te Hikaororoa commanded the attacking force and drew up his men beneath the doomed pa at dawn of day, placing himself at their head for the assault. Just as the war party were rushing up the steep slope leading to the defences, a young warrior named Turuki forced his way to the front, passing the veteran Te Hika. That old fighter being indignant at such an act, he made some cutting remark about “a nameless warrior daring to attempt to snatch the credit of a victory.” The enraged Turuki rushed back to the main column and entreated the chief Tu-Te-Kawa, the head of his hapu, to withdraw his men and attack the pa on the opposite side. This was done, and so rapidly did Tu-Te-Kawa effect this movement of his fighting men that their absence from the main body was unnoticed until they had fought their way into the pa and their chief's name was being shouted as the victor. While the fight was going on, Tu-Te-Kawa sent his nephew to save the life of Tuāhuriri, and to conduct him through the investing lines to a place of safety. So Tuāhu escaped, but not so his two wives, Hine-kahitangi and Tuarawhati, who were both killed by Tu-Te-Kawa, to whom they appealed for protection in vain. This would appear to be a strange act of ferocity from a man who had just saved the life of his relative Tuāhu. However, the beautiful but intricate laws of Maori tikanga explain this little matter satisfactorily. Te Hika, having lost the credit of the victory, and being doubly furious at the escape of Tuāhu, would inevitably have sacrificed the latter's wives, which would have been a lasting stain on the escutcheon of the Tuāhuriri family. Therefore it was better that they should die by the hand of a near relative, which would be strictly tika according to Maori ideas. So thought Tu-Te-Kawa, and acted accordingly, like the old Spartan that he was.
As the victorious war party were re-embarking in their canoes Tuāhu came from his place of concealment and called to Tu-Te-Kawa, asking him to return his arms and belt. They were thrown ashore for him and then he called out, “O Tu! Keep close to the shore, that you may retain life.” So saying, Tuāhu retired to the forest, where he invoked the aid of his atua, and by their help he raised the furious wind known as Te Hau - o - Rongomai, which dispersed Te Hika's fleet of canoes, and many of them were lost in the stormy waters of Raukawa. Tu-Te-Kawa, being forewarned, escaped the dreaded power of the atua, and established himself and followers in the South, where, in his old age, he was killed by the oncoming Ngai-Tahu.
The next heke of Ngai-Tahu from Hataitai came about in the - 143 following manner:—There dwelt at Hataitai the chiefs Maru, Manawa and Rakai-tauwheke, together with the tribal ariki Tiotio, a famous tohunga whose reputation extended to far lands. Te Hautangi, the chief of a hapu living at Kahu in the South Island, and who was allied to Ngati-Mamoe, was driven out to sea during a gale, and being forced to land at Hataitai, he decided to claim the protection of Tiotio, whose son Tu-Te-Uretira was living among the Ngati-Mamoe. Having drawn up their canoe on the beach, the party made their way under cover of night to the house of Tiotio, who welcomed them and bade his wife place before their guests a poha of preserved tuis. This was done to prevent them being killed by the tribe, who would have no power to molest them after they had been entertained by the tribal tohunga. Then the chief Rakai-tauwheke was sent for, in order that they might arrange as to what should be done with the visitors. Rakai was the son-in-law of Tiotio, having married his two daughters Rongopare and Tahupare. Then all the warriors assembled at the house of Tiotio, and with yells and frantic cries hurled their spears against the roof and sides. But on learning that the strangers had been protected by the tohunga they ceased their violence and asked Te-Hau-tangi to come forth and speak with them. This chief so ingratiated himself with the Hataitai people that he was requested to stay some time with them. This he did, and also bound the peace by taking to wife Rakai-te-kura and Mahanga-tahi, the two daughters of Tiotio. Moreover, he so pleased his hosts by his description of the South Island and its varied food products that a body of them accompanied him on his return.
Still another migration of Ngai-Tahu from Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara was that which left under the chief Moki. This old-time warrior carried death and dismay among the unfortunate Ngati-Mamoe of the South. Manning his huge war canoe “Te Makawhiu,” which was made out of an enormous totara tree which grew in the Wairarapa Valley, he proceeded to destroy the descendants of Hotu-Mamoe with the energy of an ancient Maori toa. Having captured their pa, known as Parakakariki, and slain the inhabitants thereof, he sailed down the east coast of the Island, killing and dispersing the tangata-whenua. He was induced to undertake this tour of conquest by a statement made to him by two of his relatives who had visited those lands. “What food,” he asked, “is procurable in that country?” Fern root,” they replied, “is one food, kauru is another, and there are weka and rats and eels in adundance, also kaka and kereru and patiki. All these kinds of foods are to be obtained there. It is truly a land of food.” “That land,” cried Moki, “shall be my possession.” Then said the chief Mango—“The mountains of the interior shall be a pillow for my head and on the coast will I rest my feet.” Thus they claimed - 144 and portioned out the land before they had even started to conquer it, which was another singular custom of the Maori.
It was during these wars in the South that the taua under the command of Moki and Tu-rangipo, this last being another Hataitai veteran and the hero of many battles in the North Island, killed the father of Te Rangitamau. The latter was absent at Taumutu (in South Canterbury) at the time of the attack, but on observing an unusual quantity of smoke arising from the vicinity of his father's pa at Waikakahi, he set off to ascertain the cause thereof. He contrived to enter the pa under the cover of night and made his way cautiously to his father's house, in which he saw his wife seated by the fire, and the chief, Moki, asleep. Beckoning to Punahikoia, his wife, to come outside, he questioned her as to what had occurred. On learning that she and his children had been kindly treated, he told his wife to wake Moki after he had gone and give him this message—“Your life was in my hands, but I gave it back to you.” Then, taking off his dogskin mat, he laid it gently across Moki's knees and went out into the darkness.
The chief Rakai-tauwheke is said to have led the last migration of Ngai-Tahu from Hataitai. Tapu, a chief of the Kahungunu, having heard Rakai's house at Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara highly praised, said—“What is this house to my kopapa (canoe), which will carry me along the backbone of the Orongorongo.” Te Rakai, on hearing of this pepeha, considered himself insulted by the facetious Tapu, and therefore, when the latter paid him a visit at Hataitai, he fell upon him and killed him, thereby vindicating his honour according to Maori tikanga. As the tribe of Tapu began to make matters somewhat warm for Ngai-Tahu after this little affair, it gradually dawned upon them that Hataitai bore a certain resemblance to the Land of Erin, in that it was a good country to emigrate from. So this last remnant of Tahu-potiki abandoned the Harbour of Tara and went over Raukawa to Moioio, an island in the Sounds, not far from Picton, where they settled among the Ngai-Tara. Here they lived in peace for a time, and then commenced a war with their neighbours, and were afterwards launched into a long series of battles, sieges and sanguinary struggles with Ngai-Tara and Ngati-Mamoe. But for a description of the strange adventures of Rakai-tauwheke and his band of cut-throat heroes we have here no space.
Not long is the Harbour of Taro left without occupants, for retreating southwards from their powerful northern enemies, the Ngati-Ira, of “Takitumu,” are coming.- 145
How Ngati-Ira, of “Takitumu,” held the Harbour of Tara, and how they lost it.
The Ngati-Ira tribe, which formerly held the country between Turanga and Tuparoa, on the East Coast, are descended from Ira-kai-putahi, son of Uenuku, who flourished in the hidden land of Hawaiki some 23 generations ago. This Ngati-Ira may be regarded as one of the ancient tribal divisions of the Maori, as they are held to have existed as a tribe prior to the coming of “Takitumu” from the Polynesian fatherland. Some five or six generations from Ira, his descendants were engaged in a war with the ancestors of the Aitanga-a-Hauiti, who also occupied that part of the country. The fall of the Pakaurangi pa, the great stronghold of the Ngati-Ira, which battle occurred in the time of Tane-ka-tohia, and was known as Te Pueru-maku, was a crushing blow to that tribe. Though desultory fighting continued for some time after the famous siege of Pakaurangi, the Ngati-Ira were finally dtspersed at Anaura by Kahukura-nui, son of Hauiti. Some of the survivors fled to Opotiki, and others to Waikato, which last were slain by the Ngati-Maniapoto. The majority, however, came south to Waira-rapa, where they settled. This occurred in the time of Rere-kiokio, who counted 13 generations from Ira, 10 more bringing us down to people now living.
The story of the siege of Pakaurangi is one illustrative of many old-time customs of the Maori people, though space will not permit of their being all recounted here. A woman named Tawhi-pari was sent by her tribe to beg some seed kumara from the Ngati-Ira at Pakaurangi. During her stay there the Ngati-Pona-tarewa and the Ngati-Rakai-whakairi hapus of Ngati-Ira, while performing a haka, sang a song containing certain insulting allusions to the tribe of Tawhi-pari. This was quite sufficient to put the warlike Maori into a fighting humour, and a taua was at once despatched to seek satisfaction for their wounded honour. Having duly killed some stragglers outside the defences, the taua drew their lines around the pa and proceeded to devise some of those gentle schemes by which the ancient Maori was wont to destroy his enemies. Now there happened to be a woman - 146 named Hine-taupiri living in the pa who was related to both parties, therefore she was allowed, as is the Maori custom, to come and go as she pleased between the two parties. While paying a visit to the attacking force she was asked, “By what means can the pa be taken?” She replied, “By thirst; there is no water within the defences.” So these artless people sent the Ngati-Ira a present of crayfish and other salt food, and also cut off their water supply from the springs without the pa. This being done to their satisfaction, the investing tribe sat down before the doomed fort and awaited the end. It was not long in coming.
There were some people in the pa who had friends among the attacking force, and therefore were allowed to come out and visit them, and were not molested by the Hauiti, for such is the custom of the Maori. But in paying these visits to the camp of the enemy the guileless children of Ira wore the thickest and heaviest of garments, and when returning to the pa would wade through the deepest part of a stream which ran before it, so that their clothing mats were completely saturated. When they entered the pa the famishing people therein, their thirst rendered tenfold more acute by the salt provisions provided by a generous foe, eagerly sucked the water from the saturated garments of their friends. It was this circumstance that gained for that fight the name Te Pueru-maku (the wet garments). This little device of Ngati-Ira was, however, detected by the enemy, and hence these vists were discouraged by them. Then the warriors of Hauiti called to those within the fort, “What do the korimako birds which rise in longing want in the Pakaurangi?” (i.e., “How do the people of the pa combat the power of thirst?”) To which the braves of Ngati-Ira made reply, “They are preserving their spirit of power” (are self-confidant). So the besieged party endured the intense agony of thirst day after day, while they saw before them the rippling waters of the stream below the pa. After the Ngati-Ira had become greatly weakened by suffering the enemy assaulted the pa and took it, great numbers of the defenders being slain. Thus fell Pakaurangi.
Those of the Ngati-Ira who escaped from this battle took refuge in the mountain range known as Huiarua. The trail to the summit was so narrow at one place that only one person could pass at a time. On this peak the fugitives placed their woman and children, and then went down to the lower country to seek their enemies. Many battles were there fought, including those of Takatakahanga, Taro-whakawiri, Ngakau-pakoa, Tomohiku, Kopua-tarakihi and others. But the power of Ngati-Ira was destroyed, and they were finally forced to seek other lands wherein to found new homes. Some of them remained near their old lands in a state of vassalage under the chief Toko-rakau of Ngati-Hauiti, hence the saying, “These are the pakura of Toko-rakau - 147 who will not hearken to the hie.” Just before Toko-rakau died he said to his people, “When I am dead, protect the Ngati-Ira, that they may be the comb to clean your heads” (i.e., to conquer those who attack you).
The greater part of the Ngati-ira came south to Ahuriri and settled for a while on the banks of the river Tutae-kuri, whence they moved on to Wairarapa and settled at Te Kawakawa (Cape Palliser) and other places adjacent thereto. As they increased in numbers they spread over the land until they occupied the whole of the Wellington district as far as Pukerua, near Pae-Kakariki. Three generations after the migration, that is, in the time of Te Hiha, the kapu known as Ngati-Kararu was living at Porirua; hence the saying, “Haere ki Porirua, te kainga o Kararu.” (“Go to Porirua, the dwelling place of Kararu,” is the translation, but there is an inner meaning not explained.)
So the descendants of Ira-kai-putahi settled around the Great Harbour of Tara and took possession of the lands vacated by the Ngai-Tahu. They appear to have lived in comparative peace for some time after their arrival, and to have become a numerous people. Their tribal whakatauki (proverb) was—“Te tini o te pekeha ki te moana, ko Ngati-Ira ki uta!” which reads—“The multitude of the pekeha on the ocean is like unto the multitude of the Ngati-Ira on land,” the pekeha being a species of small sea-bird which appears in large flocks. These people appear to have lived in close contact with the Ngati-Kahungunu at Wairarapa, and at Pukerua they were intermingled with Mua-upoko, which tribe at that time occupied the country between the Pae-kakariki range and Horowhenua.
The division of Ngati-Ira who were living at Te Kawakawa with the hapus known as Ngati-Rongopotiki, Ngati-Te-Kauhou and Ngai-Ta-manuhiri, not being blessed with a chief of high birth as an ariki for the tribe, adopted in childhood a young chief of the Kahungunu people, named Ngaoko-i-te-rangi, who was a member of one of the leading families of that tribe. This chief was married in after years to Pokai-urukehu, concerning which lady the whakatauki says, “Pokai-urukehu a te Ruamanihi.” A daughter named Te Hau-mokai was the result of this union. When this daughter had grown up, the desire came to Ngaoko to return to his own hapu, Te Aitanga-a-Tumapuhi-a-rangi. Then it was that he uttered the famous saying which has been preserved even unto this day—“Kati au te noho i roto i a koutou. Mene koutou e noho nei, he upoko tangahangaha anake; ko tini o te pekeha ki te moana, ko Ngati-Ira ki uta.” For, as my informant put it, the numbers of the Ngati-Ira were like unto the pekeha birds with which the Ocean of Kiwa is covered, as the surface of the land could not be seen for the multitude of the descendants of Ira. Which - 148 same, no doubt, was a slight exaggeration on his part. However, seventy warriors were chosen as an escort for Ngaoko, and all these seventy were men of good birth, descendants of Tama-tea-ure-haea; whereupon may be mentioned a singular item in regard to the “Takitumu” tribes of the East Coast, for it is evident that among them was practiced the rite of circumcision, and also in the traditions of this people are noted traces of phallic worship, that widespread custom of olden times. So Ngaoko went on his travels with his gallant company of rangatiras, but the way was not long for them. as they were all slain by the people of Ahuriri, even unto the last man. And Te Haumokai, daughter of Ngaoko-i-te-rangi, married Te Ahi-a-te-momo of Kahungunu, and her descendants are still known among the people of the Wairarapa.
As time passed by, these sons of Ira-kai-putahi occupied every available and convenient spot in this district, and although we do not see the numerous remains of fortified pas here that are met with at Taranaki, Turanga, Opotiki, and other places, yet this is to be accounted for by the fact that the nature of the soil prevented the forming of the pa maioro or earthwork defences in this Land of Tara. Therefore, most of their forts were formed of stockades consisting of large posts or tree trunks set upright in the ground and bound by long horizontal saplings to which the palisading was lashed. Such were the Maupuia, Orua-iti, Mata-ki-kai-poinga, and other old-time pas of Hataitai. Also the ancient pa known as Ngutu-ihe, which was situated on Pukeatua, and close to the road from Waiwhetu to Te Wai-nui-o-Mata, the Korohiwa opposite Mana, and many others. One ancient earthwork pa was situated on the summit of a spur up Korokoro stream, near the present town of Petone (so called by white people, but the proper spelling of which is Pito-one), and another was the historic Waimapihi at Pukerua. Probably the strongest fortified place in the district was Te-Pa-o-Kapo, which was situated on a small headland projecting from the cliff between Whitireia and Titahi Bay, at Porirua. Three sides of this headland were perpendicular cliffs, with the exception of a narrow passage down to the sea, and on the fourth it was connected with the mainland by a narrow neck of land which has evidently been cut away in former times, and a deep ditch formed. Above this ditch was a stockade of huge totara posts, of which some of the stumps are still to be seen. Inside this was another embankment and palisade, so that the whole must have formed a very strong fortress in those gunless days. The peninsula extending from the Kenepuru stream to Waitawa at the Heads has ever been a favourite residence of the charming tribes of this district.
Thus by building numerous forts on their lands, and by alliances with the powerful Ngati-Kahungunu, of Wairarapa, did the Ngati-Ira - 149 hold possession of the Land of Tara, and become powerful as a tribe. As time wore on there arose within them that strong love for their lands and pride in their own tribal name, which would seem to be ever strongly implanted in the minds of a people who dwell amongst hills or mountains. Why is it that a hill-dwelling people are ever more independent and possess a greater love for their country than do the residents of the plains? Possibly because the surrounding scenery is more sublime and ennobling, and therefore more liable to develope a thinking people, and to endow that people with a powerful love for their native lands. In the work of a recent Australian writer, it is contended that a plain country tends more to develop a reflective mind than do the monotonous surroundings of a mountain country. Ehara! To those who uphold such a theory I would say with the poet, Excelsior! Climb up among the grand hills and look abroad upon the forest clad ranges, the solemn and majestic mountains, the glistening waters of river and ocean lying far beneath. Look upon these and for ever reject thy puny theory. I think it is Geiger, in his “Development of the Human Species,” who says: “For the mighty aspects of nature, forest, mountain and sea, play their part in moulding the character of a nation.”
Memories of past scenes come back upon me as I write these lines, scenes that will never fade from my mental vision until I too shall descend by the sacred pohutukawa root that leads to the rerenga wairua. Back over the space of years comes the remembrance of the grand panorama which greeted our eyes as we gazed upon the forest ranges of Tutuila, in Samoa, one Sunday morning in the long ago. Grander yet was that scene which lay before me as I looked from the summit of the Sierra Madre in far away New Mexico, where from the Great Continental Divide I beheld the Rio Grande speeding away to the Mexique Gulf, and saw far across the western desert the line of green cotton-woods which marks the head waters of the Rio Gila, ever hurrying onward to the Vermillion Sea. The man who could thus look down upon that mighty mass of sombre, rugged mountains and mile-deep canons, on those desolate mesas with their strange relics of an ancient stone-building race, on the great waterless desert stretching away to the Gulf of California, and yet not experience that singular sensation of mingled awe and exaltation which comes to most minds at such a time—then do I maintain that he is only fitted for the plainsman's life, and that his intellectual faculties are inferior to those of the Children of Ira.
Not the least memorable of many such sights is one witnessed from the summit of Whitireia on one fair summer eve, when the great expanse of Raukawa lay flashing and quivering before me like a sea of molten gold, in the rays of the setting sun. Chingaro! How - 150 beautiful was that sight. Such an one as lives in the memory of the beholder for a life-time. As night came on the waters became quite calm, and descending to the seaward point of the old Ngati-Ira pa, I began to interest myself in the strange works of nature, which are ever patent to the observer. Beneath the ancient stronghold which in bygone times was wont to ring with savage war cries and the clash of arms or the laughter of women and children, a great silence prevails. The night comes swiftly on. The sun sinks slowly down in the golden west, long rays of gleaming light flicker across the placid waters, and far away over Ruakawa there looms the sign of Kupe and the purple mountains of the south. Quite calm and tranquil is the ocean of Kiwa, and beneath the clear waters are seen strange forms of ocean life and masses of far reaching sea weeds. And then a strange thing happens. Across the motionless deep is heard a low murmuring sound as of troubled waters. A weird sound which might be the wailing of the spirits of those old-time warriors who dwelt on these lands in the dim past and fought the good fight of defence in the primitive fortress above. Then a long shuddering heave seems to pass through the ocean. The waters labour and surge in a long troubled swell, a strange convulsive shiver seems to flash through them, the sullen waves roll heavily into the dark caves and gloomy recesses which undermine the hill of Kapo, and can be heard washing and lapping in those unknown caverns. As I look downwards, the great mass of sea weeds among the rocks below are seen to twist and twine their long arms and writhe as a sentient being in mortal agony. Slowly does this marvellous commotion and uncanny sound pass away, and once again the waters are motionless. At irregular intervals it recurs, and so interested am I in this strange phenomena that I linger under Whitireia until darkness descends upon the sea of Raukawa. Yet a little while and the rising moon casts a shining path of silver athwart the Sacred Sea. No worthy member of “the legion that never was listed” could forsake that scene on such a night, so after selecting a safe ledge on the face of the cliff, I wrap myself in that well-worn covija that has seen so many rough camps from the Land of Tara to the Llano Estacado, and proceed to pass the night on the rocky headland of Te Pa-o-Kapo.
It is such surroundings as these that would have the aforementioned effect on the minds of an uncultured people, but in the case of those of a higher type of culture the issue is still more remarkable, for together with certain defects there also comes to the lover of the mountain solicitudes that singularly vivid understanding of other ages and of the minds of a primitive people that comes to those who have lived and thought much alone.
The love that the Ngati-Ira had for their lands is shown in the - 151 many songs and proverbial sayings which have been preserved by their descendants. It is but a few weeks since that I stood on a hill overlooking the harbour of Tara, in company with a lineal descendant of the great chief Whanake and his famous wife Tamairangi, and well do I remember the tone in which he spoke of the lost lands of his tribe. How well he knew every point and hill, bay and flat, stream and forest, and the old names thereof, together with many strange tales connected with them. With what pride he pointed out the scenes of former combats in which his people had been victorious, and recounted to me the legends of the land of Tara. How earnest he was in showing me the places named in remembrance of his ancestors, such as Te Papa-o-Tara on Matiu (Soames' Island) and Te Ana-o-Kahungunu (the cave of Kahungunu) at Nga Mokopuna (the rocky islets off the north end of Matiu), which was ever held a sacred spot by the Ngati-Ira, so much so that no fisherman dared cast line or net there. How he described to me the beautiful appearance of the harbour in those pre-Pakeha days, when the hills were covered with forest which extended down to the water's edge, the flocks of wild fowl which frequented the beaches of Whiorau, Pito-one and Waitangi, and the favourite fishing grounds of his tribe. How different the Harbour of Tara seemed to him in those past days before Te Atiawa had caused the streams of Heretaunga and Waiwhetu, of Te Korokoro, Okaitu and Tiakiwai to run red with the blood of the Ngati-Ira. How blue the water was, how bright the sky, how green and beautiful the forests of Ohiti and Pukeatua, of Whata-ahiahi and Papaka-whero.
Coming down to later times he spoke of the encroachments of the white people and of the disappearance of the Maori in their old-time homes. No trace of anger or resentment could I detect in his words or tone, but a certain spirit of proud melancholy and despondency, as he said:—“Very great is my love for this land. Look you, friend! The Pakehas increase in the world while the Maori dies before them. What says our old proverb? ‘Ka ngaro i te ngaro o te moa’ (lost like the losing of the moa). E Hoa! That proverb is for the Maori. Therefore, I say to you, do not cause the genealogies and sacred knowledge of my tribe to be printed in the Pakeha newspapers for ignorant people to stare at, but keep these things in your heart, that your thoughts may be good of the Maori when they have gone to join the lost moa. E Koro! This saying is for me and my people—‘Moku ano enei ra, mo te ra e to ana, mo te rakau hinga.’”22- 152
The Ngati-Ira held the Wellington district for some eight or nine generations, during which no very remarkable wars occurred, though they suffered occasionally from the incursions of distant tribes, more especially after the advent of the Pakeha in the northern part of the Island. For the newcomers brought with them the death-dealing weapons by which the Maori were enabled to destroy 20,000 of their own race in the twenty years between 1820 and 1840. The northern tribes being the first to obtain guns from the whalers and traders, they at once proceeded to slaughter their less fortunate brethren in the south. Such was the raid of Nga-Puhi in the early part of this century, when they came down the East Coast in double canoes (unuku). Such, also, was the Amiowhenua expedition in 1819-20,23 and that of the Waikato about the year 1821-22.24 Throughout nine generations of men had the Ngati-Ira-kai-putahi held their own at Wairarapa and Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara, and kept their fires burning upon their lands. They had seen many changes on the great Fish of Maui, and fought many a fierce battle for life and liberty with the tribes of the Rising Sun. They had preserved the tribal identity even from the far north, whence their fathers came, and from where the fierce Tuhoe look down from the wilderness of the Urewera country, the Tlascala of Maoridom, upon the fertile plains of Turanga and Te Wairoa. But on the day that the warriors of Rongowhakaata beheld the great white-winged taniwhas of the Pakeha sailing on the ocean of Kiwa, their doom was sealed. What time the savage Nga-Puhi, raiding down from their ancient homes in the far north, attacked the children of Ira in their homes by the sounding sea? How came and went the changing years until from their kinsmen in the Valley of the Shining Water (Wairarapa) they hear of the dreaded Waikato, who, under the chief Tukorehu, dealt out death and destruction among the unfortunate southerners? For some time previous to the year 1819, the Ngati-Ira had been living in peace, but such a state of things was not to last long. For far to the north a cloud was rising which was fated to descend upon the doomed Ngati-Ira of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara.
In the year 1819-20,25 a war party of the Ngati-Whatua tribe, from north of Auckland, under the chiefs Tuwhare, Te Kawau, and Te Waka Nene arrived at Kawhia and persuaded Te Rauparaha, of Ngati-Toa, to accompany them in a raid on the southern tribes. Many of the latter tribe, and also some Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Awa agreed to this proposal, and under Te Rauparaha and Te Puoho joined forces with the band of Tuwhare. This tuaa, which was known as Te Amiowhenua, proceeded down the West Coast, and - 153 fought each succeeding tribe they encountered, causing many of the people to reteat to the interior. On arriving at the narrow pass at Te Paripari, the abrupt ending of the Pae-kakariki Range, they found further progress stopped by the people of the Waimapihi pa, which was situated on the cliff above the beach, and just below the present railway station of Pukerua. Waimapihi was manned by a mixed garrison of Ngati-Ira and Mua-upoko, the latter under the chief Kotuku, and the former under Whanake, Te Kekerengu, Whatirangi, and Te Pua. This fort commanded the only trail by which an enemy coming from the West Coast would enter the Ngati-Ira country, and was therefore the key of the district. The people of Ira knew this full well, and hastily summoning their clansmen of the Pukerua, Porirua and Pauatahanui districts to Waimapihi, they strove to beat back the northern war party. The assault on the pa was commanded by Tuwhare, who, after a fierce struggle, succeeded in taking the place. Te Pua was killed by Tuwhare, but most of their followers escaped by the Waimapihi Creek into the ranges, having previously, I am told, buried their most prized meres and other articles of value to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy. So the key of the Harbour of Tara was in possession of the taua, who then came on by canoe to Wellington, which they found almost deserted, the inhabitants having fled to Wairarapa and elsewhere. On their way round the Coast, however, they were afforded some little diversion by a hapu of Ngati-Ira living at Ohariu whom they dispersed (Queensland term).
The Amiowhenua proceeded to Wairarapa, where they found the Ngati-Kahungunu at several places, at Kakikino, at Mawhitiwhiti, where the Wairarapa people lost the chief Te Papahinga, and at Tauwhare Nikau, which pa was taken by the invaders after a most desperate struggle, and where the power of the Kahungunu people was broken. The war party then went on to Te Kawakawa, and as far as Porangahau, where they lost thirty men by the upsetting of a canoe. While at that place they saw a vessel passing through the Straits, and Te Waka Nene said to Te Rauparaha, “Oh, 'Raha, do you see that people sailing on the sea? They are very good people, and have a great deal of property, and if you conquer these lands you will be able to trade with them for guns and powder, and thus become strong to kill an endless number of people.” This delightful prospect sank deep into the heart of Te Rauparaha, whose tribe was at that time in danger of being destroyed by the Waikato.
So the Amiowhenua expedition returned to its northern home, and Ngati-Ira were at peace—for a time. For Te Rauparaha had determined to migrate with his tribe and take possession of the Ngati-Ira and Mua-upoko lands. Thus it was that the Ngati-Toa forsook their ancestral lands at Kawhia. Climbing to the summit of the first hill - 154 on their way south, they halted there and mourned for their deserted homes, which had been in their possession since the Tainui arrived from far Hawaiki. They cried aloud their farewell to the land and to the beautiful harbour, “Remain, Oh Kawhia, remain! Oh, ye ancestors of Ngati-Toa, remain in peace!” And then, turning their faces to the south, these mourning children of Hoturoa descended the Hill of the Last Look and began their long and weary journey through hostile tribes and dense forests, across swift rivers and pathless swamps to far distant Otaki, where Pae-kakariki stands sentinel above the lands of Ngati-Ira, and lone Kapiti looks down upon the Sea of Raukawa.
Having conducted the retreat of his people with masterly ability, Te Rauparaha remained for a time at Te Kaweka, in the Ngati-Awa country, where they were followed and attacked by a body of the Waikato, whom they succeeded in defeating. After this battle, the Heke kai tangata (man-eating migration) collected their forces and marched south along the Coast, the canoes containing the children and other non-combatants, holding a parallel course. This heke was composed of the Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Awa tribes. On their way south they fought the Ngati-Ruanui and Nga-Rauru people at Waitotara and other places, and coming on to Ohau, they built Pa-Te-Rauparaha on the banks of the Waikawa River, and commenced the work of slaughter, by which they eventually conquered, with the help of the Ngati-Raukawa, all the country between the Whangaehu River and Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara.
It is with the Ngati-Awa that we have chiefly to deal, as it was the Ngati-Mutunga and Ngati-Tama sub-tribes who drove the Ngati-Ira from this district and took possession of the Wellington lands. This party consisted of two hundred topu (i.e., four hundred men), and the principal chiefs were Wi Tako, Pomare, Te Poki and Te Patukawenga. Crossing the Pukerua Range by the old trail known as Taua-tapu, the taua came on to Wellington, and soon after commenced to make war on the Ngati-Ira. On their way from Porirua to Port Nicholson by the Pare-rau trail, Te Patu-kawaenga laid claim to the upper portion of the Kenepuru Valley by exclaiming, “Ko taku takapu tenei”—“This is my belly”). Hence that place still retains the name of Takapu. Te Poki claimed the valley and delta of the Korokoro by saying, “Ko te korokoro tenei o taku tamiti”—(“This place is the throat of my child”). The Ngati-Ira at this time were living in the Ngutu-ihe pa on Puke-atua, at the Ohiti, at the mouth of the Waiwhetu, in a pa opposite Ward Island (Makaro) of which Te Ao-paoa was the chief, at Whiorau, Okiwi, and other places around the harbour. The Ngati-Ira do not appear to have been much disturbed over this invasion, and it is possible that they placed too much - 155 reliance on their tribal proverb, “Kia mahaki ra ano te Kauae-o Poua, katahi ka riro te whenua”—“When the jaw-bone of Poua becomes loose, then the land will be lost”—the Kauae-o Poua being a large isolated rock near Te Rimurapa. However, the tribal pepeha must have lost its power on this occasion, for the survivors of Ngati-Ira are few and wide scattered, while the jaw-bone of Poua still remains immovable as of yore, as I, myself, have seen.
At this time the head chief of the Ngati-Ira was Whanake, whose favourite dwelling-place was at the entrance to Porirua Harbour. His wife, Tamairangi, was evidently a very superior woman, and many tales are still told of her noble qualities and far-reaching măna. So widely known and highly respected was she that she may be placed on a level with that great chieftainness of Porou—Hine-Matioro, One of the first engagements between Ngati-Ira and the invaders took place at Te Ngohengohe, close to the Ngutu-ihe pa, and just beneath the road from Waiwhetu to the top of Puke-atua. The Ngati-Mutunga and Ngati-Tama went forth to give battle to the sons of Ira, and on arriving at Whenua-ngaro sent forward a hoko-wha (forty men) to act as scouts. Immediately on commencing the ascent of the hill the scouts were attacked by Ngati-Ira, who were concealed in the bush. The advance party lost heavily, and would soon have been all killed had not the main body of Ngati-Awa, under the chiefs Patukawenga, Pomare, Wharepoaka, Te Arau, Te Poki, and Ngatata advanced rapidly to their rescue. This completely changed the tide of war, and the Ngati-Ira were defeated with heavy loss, the survivors retreating across the range into the Wainui Valley, and thence to Wairarapa. After this little diversion was over the chief Patukawenga, at the head of a body of his hapu, attacked the Ngati-Ira at Okiwi, Whiorau (Lowry Bay), and other places on the eastern shore of the harbour, in which encounters the people of the land suffered severely. During some months, parties of the invaders were constantly being sent out to search for and destroy the remnants of Ngati-Ira living in secluded spots. It is unnecessary to describe the scenes which followed these combats and surprises. In the words of an old morehu, or survivor—“We did not suffer from hunger in those days.”
In one of these raids the Ngati-Awa took prisoner Nga-Whawha, the daughter of Whanake, who was taken to Taranaki. I am told that her captors were not aware of her rank until she was ordered with other prisoners to carry food, and then it was seen that she kept continually stopping to adjust the straps on her shoulders, which was painful to one not accustomed to carrying heavy loads.
Some of the escapees fled to Tapu-tē-ranga, at Island Bay, where they were besieged by Ngati-Awa, who marched from Heretaunga (the - 156 Hutt) by way of Waitangi26 and Paikakawa.27 The Ngati-Ira held their own for a time on the islet, and the remains of their defences, consisting of a wall of stones and rubble, can still be traced on the eastern side of the central rock. Finding themselves hard pressed, however, they escaped in their canoes, and put to sea. Some of them, including Tamairangi and her family, landed at Ohariu, where they were taken prisoners by the Ngati-Awa. Thinking that she was about to be killed, Tamairangi asked permission of her captors to sing a song of farewell to her people and the tribal lands. This being granted, she sang a pathetic waiata, describing the beauties of the district, and other matters dear to the hearts of the Ngati-Ira.28 However, she was not killed here, but was taken with her family to Kapiti by the Ngati-Toa. Escaping from that island with her son, Te Kekerengu, and others, they all fled to the South Island, where they were slain by the Ngai-Tahu.29 Thus fell the leading family of Ngati-Ira, who saw their tribe killed and dispersed, and were themselves driven from their ancestral lands by the on-coming descendants of “Tainui.” The few descendants of this family who survive come from Te Miha-o-te-rangi, son of Te Kekerengu. But their lands are, so say the Ngati-Awa, “kua riro i te toa,” i.e., conquered.
During that period of war and trouble what tragedies were enacted on these now peaceful shores, what awful misery and suffering was endured by the unfortunate Ngati-Ira, no one but those having some knowledge of Maori customs can have any conception of. For day and night the ovens were ever glowing, ready for the bodies of fresh victims of savage revenge. Then might be heard the weeping of women, the death songs of brave warriors foredoomed to the hangi, or oven, and the wailing of helpless little children in the hands of an implacable foe. Well might the chiefs of old leave this parting injunction to their tribe when death overtook them: “Be brave, be brave that you may live!”
As to what the end of these savage feuds would have been had not a superior race appeared on the scene, it is impossible to say, but it is possible that there is an element of truth in the reply given to this question by an old chief in the north: “I see an old man standing on the look-out post of Te Ranga's vacant pa. He strains his eyes, - 157 peering in every direction, no sign of human being, no uprising smoke meets his gaze, and thus he cries to himself, ‘Nobody, nobody, not one, alas, not one! Days have passed since I have tasted the sweetness of human flesh; is it all finished? One thing at least—no one survives to consign my body to the hangi.’”
But the sons of Ira-kai-putahi, what of them? Where are those stalwart warriors who kept their tribal name even from far Hawaiki, who fought their way through many peoples to reside in the Land of Tara? Ask the descendants of Toa-Rangatira and of Awanui-a-rangi.30 For they were slaughtered in hundreds by superior weapons at Heretaunga and Waiwhetu, at Okiwi and Wairarapa. They fell like ripened wheat in the battles of Whakapaitai, Omihi, and Te Ngohengohe, and in guarding the portals of their home at Waimapihi. Their bones lie thick in the old-time swamps around Port Nicholson, in the burial caves of Porirua, and in the sand dunes of Hataitai and Paremata.
The Ngati-Awa, of Taranaki, are now holding the Harbour of Tara, and Ngati-Toa are in possession of Porirua, where we find their descendants at this day. Ngati-Awa settled at the Ohiti and Hikoikoi pas, at the mouth of the Hutt river, at Paetutu, a pabuilt on an island in the swamp just above Pito-one, at Ngauranga, at Kaiwharawhara, Te Pakuao, Tiakiwai, Raurimu, Paikaka, Te Raekaihau, Pipitea, Waitangi, Kakariki, Te Mahanga, Tangiakau, and many other places around the harbour of Wellington, and on the shores of Raukawa. Those located at the Hutt were in constant dread of being attacked by the Wairarapa, natives, who used to descend upon them from the bush ranges. In one of these raids, made shortly after the arrival of the first white settlers, the chief Puakawa, of Waiwhetu, was killed, his heart being torn out and offered to the gods by the invading taua. It was the frequency of these raids that caused the Ngati-Awa to erect the Paroro-rangi paon the hills just beyond Ngauranga. Several different hekes came south from Taranaki at various intervals, and joined their tribal friends at Otaki, Waikanae, and Wellington, the principal one being the Hake Tama-te-uaua. This party came from the Ngamotu pa, at the Sugar Loaves, shortly after they had defeated Waikato, with the help of several whalers and ship's carronades. Marching south under the chiefs Wharepouri, Rauakitua, Te Ito, and others, they were attacked by the Ngati-Hau, at Pukenamu (where the stockade stood in after days in the town of Whanganui), where, after a desperate fight in which they lost the chiefs Te Ito, Marama-ra, Te Makere, and Te Onemihi, they succeeded in crossing the Whanganui river, leaving their enemies wailing for the - 158 death of Te Popo, a chief of Ngati-Tu-wharetoa. Reaching Otaki they took part in the battles of Pakakutu and Haowhenua, after which they fell back on Te Waka, many of them coming on to Port Nicholson.
Many stirring tales are told of the doings of Te Ati-awa in those days. How Pomare, of Ngati-Mutunga, together with his people, seized the Rodney vessel at Soames Island, and compelled the captain thereof to take them to the Chatham Islands, which group they colonised after the manner of the Maori.31 How Ngati-Tama settled at Wairarapa, and fought the Ngati-Kahungunu with varying success. How Parekauri, Tama-Tuhiata, and other women of rank of the Atiawa were carried out to sea in a canoe through the breaking out of the Wairarapa Lake, and how they perished before the eyes of their friends. How the Kahungunu captured the chieftainness Wharawhara-i-te-rangi, and took her prisoner to far away Nukutaurua, at Te Mahia, Hawkes Bay. How Wharepouri, with his hapu, went a canoe-making in the forests of Wairarapa, and how the guileless children of the Shining Water fell upon Whare and his merry men and slew many of them with feelings of the purest joy. And how the old Atiawa warrior fought the good fight as became a rangatira, in whose veins ran in the blood of the Great River of Heaven (Awa-nui-a-rangi). And also, after losing most of his men, how he retreated with his face to the foe, and his spear held at the charge, and took refuge alone in a frail raupo hut, and there defied the enemy. And how the Kahungunu surrounded the whare and thrust their long spears through and through the frail walls seeking to slay its lone occupant; but above all how the old toa saved himself by clinging to the roof, thus avoiding the spears, and finally burst out of that hut and escaped through the lines of the enemy. And in after years when he was gathered to his fathers, how his tribe buried him, with chiefly honours, at Pito-one, but who took his canoe, Te Wheke-a-muturangi, which was captured at the battle of Waiorua, and set up the half thereof at Ngauranga as a tohu, or “sign,” for the chief Wharepouri of Te Atiawa.
The Last Stand of the Southern Tribes—how Ngati-Toa defeated the combined Hapus at Kapiti.
The few survivors of the intertribal wars of sixty years ago are as a connecting link between Neolithic barbarism and the advanced culture development of the Later Iron Age. They have seen the great stride forward taken by their country in a few short years and are compelled to accept the inevitable. For they can see that progress is not for - 159 them, that the gulf of barbarism and modern civilisation is not spanned in a generation, that in these racial struggles the less advanced must surely succumb. They await their extinction with apparent indifference, they view with apathy the works of the white man, for the măna of their race has departed. These kaumatuas have seen full many a hard fought battle in the pre-Pakeha days, veterans of the Homeric combats at Pukenamu and Waiorua, and of the historic battle grounds of Otaki. Such men are Wi Hape of Ngamotu, Rangipito of Te Atiawa, Ihaia Te Paki of Ngati-Toa and Te Karehana Whakataki of the heke Hauhauā.
Hear what one of these old fighters related to me regarding the last attempt made by these southern tribes to beat back the tide of northern invasion:—
This is how it came about. In taking my walks abroad, I found myself meandering around the shores of a peaceful sunlit harbour, rich in reminiscences of the way back thirties, until I reached the home of the last local migrant of the great heke Kai-tangata of 1822. It is here that the descendants of the brave chieftain are listlessly awaiting the extinction of their tribe. The first hut in the settlement is a miserable shanty with open walls and a roof through which the rain finds an easy passage. One might well doubt that any human being could preserve life in such a hovel, and yet it is the home of a lone old warrior of other days, who formed one of the above heke seventy-two years ago. Though nearly a centenarian, he is not yet past work. He cultivates his plot of ground and keeps the surrounding fence in repair. During the winter he lies for days together in his whare. The people of the kainga take but little heed of him, for he is not of them nor of their time. His thoughts are in the past and with a previous generation, while they have lost the vigour and energy of their forefathers without acquiring the better qualities of a dominant race. What a life is his! No friend has he in the evening of his days, no old comrade with whom to fight his battles over again. Alone he lives, alone with the memories of other days, alone and uncared for. He has seen his old ranksmen, warriors like himself, pass from the world of light to the dread Po—the utter darkness. And he alone of all that fierce throng remains. Tarry yet a while, thou life-weary son of Tu, yet a little while and thy fierce comrades of the days of yore shall beckon to thee from the Land of Shades, and still again shalt thou rally to the hoarse battle cry that comes ringing across the black waters of Yama. Then shalt thou gird thyself with spear and axe and war-belt, and don the waving plume that oft-times led to victory, forsaking with scorn thy degenerate tribe, and tread with firm step that last war-trail that leads to the unknown realm of Hine-nui-te-po.- 160
And so (by dint of stooping a yard or two) I pass through the low doorway and enter the cheerless hut of the last migrant. The old man is lying on the damp ground within and covered with what appears to be the remains of a pre-historic blanket. A fire smoulders in the centre of the hut, a heap of fuel is in one corner, a few potatoes in another, nothing more. On my saluting him he slowly emerges from within the ancient blanket and comes stiffly forth into the morning light. He squats down in the native fashion and gazes silently out upon the surface of the bay. The sunlight plays upon the glistening waters, the long stretch of sandy beach flashes wet from the receding tide, and far away in the distance rise the serrated Tararua Mountains, which guard tne Valley of the Shining Water.
So he remains for some time without uttering a word. Of what are his thoughts? What strange and savage scenes of olden times does he witness? What recollections are those which come trooping back over the wearied chords of memory? His face is perfectly expressionless and appears dead to all exhibition of emotion. No sign escapes him which betrays his recognition of my questions. For his mind is far away in the sunny north where his youth was passed. He is fighting again in imagination the savage tribes of the Western Sea. He is re-traversing many an old-time war-parth, from the lone peak of Taranaki to the swift waters of Waikato. Threading the back trail of his memory he broods long over the changing scenes of his adventurous life, every incident of which passes panorama-like before his eyes. Back over the dim trail of the past, beyond the exciting incidents of Kaiapoi and Hikapu, of Horowhenua and Te Waiorua. It is then that he sees his old companions of many a bye-gone fray, and hears again their friendly voices as of yore. Over the well-remembered trail he goes, passing the cold ashes of many a former camp fire, and recognising on every side the familar landmarks of his life. He sees those who are not present and hears those who do not speak. He remembers well the exciting events of many a daring expedition in search of utu, and brings to mind the fierce history-makers of Ngati-Toa. Once more he is in camp with the bold Argonauts in their quest of the Land of Tara, once more he greets the well-tried warriors who have passed on. Back over the wires of memory comes the remembrance of the time when his people left their far distant home by the sounding ocean. When they stood on the hill-top above Kawhia and looked down on their burning homes below. When they cried aloud in their love for the fatherland, ‘Farewell, O Kawhia! Farewell. Remain here. As for us, we go to Kapiti, to the Wai Pounamu.’ And when, high above the surrounding clamour rose the voices of the women and little children as they mourned for their lost home.- 161
And also he sees full clearly the beautiful harbour of Kawhia as it appeared some seventy odd years ago. He sees the sun shining on the old-time kaingas, he sees the rippling streams that flow between the bush-clad hills, he hears the musical notes of many song birds that enliven the verdant forests. Back still further—the trail is getting very faint now, and sadly overgrown with the weeds of forgetfulness—he dimly remembers how the learned men of his tribe unfolded to him the awful mysteries of the Spirit World and pointed out the narrow Trail of Life that lay before him, showing how that Trail may be trod but once and that for the way-farer there is no back track. Across the shining waters of the bay, resounds the moaning of the restless ocean; from the dark motionless woods come the same strange echoes as of old.
Gradually the sun seems to thaw out this old survivor of the past and brings him back to life and the present. Not in vain have I appealed to tribal pride and faith in ancient ways; not in vain have I listened with grave and ancient mien to wondrous tales of witchcraft and of gods, of terrible man-devouring reptiles and fights fought long ago. The face of the old warrior lights up through its deep scored tattooing, he grasps firmly his staff and then the oracle of Toa Rangatira discourses.
Ihaia Te Paki, of Ngati-Toa, speaks:—“O, friend! We were a brave tribe, a great and valiant people were the Ngati-Toa in the days that are past. What though the tribes of Waikato-taniwharau and of Awanui-a-rangi, were around us on every side, with dark thoughts in their hearts? What though the waving plumes of the north and of the forest-reared Ngati-Maru-whara-nui cast their shadows on our land, and the steps of many warriors were turned in the direction of Moeatoa (a little south of Kawhia)? We overcame them with the spear and battle-axe, for had not the mana of ‘Tainui’ descended to us, the children of Hoturoa? Even so, for beyond doubt, there were many great deeds done in those brave days of old, when the gods of the Maori assisted them to overcome their foes and to make great the tribal name. Still do we proudly trace our descent from Haumia-whakate-re-taniwha and Tu Pahau, from Toa-Rangatira and Marangai-Paroa. Still do our women sing of the gallant Hotu brothers and their wonderful deeds, of Pakaue, Kawharu and Te Haunga, with other brave chiefs of old, who preserved the mana of Ngati-Toa and kept their fires burning on the land.”
Here the old man pauses and remains silent for some time, during which I smoke the placid pipe and await further revelations. Turning suddenly upon me, and with a singular expression on his face, he says:—“Friend: If you had a Maori weapon and I had a Maori weapon, how would it be?” I am fain to confess that in all - 162 probability it would end in my complete discomfiture and in my being sent to join the numerous victims of his knowledge of Maori warfare. Wtih a grim chuckle he continues:—“Who says that our conquests have been made by the guns of the Pakeha? There were few, very few, guns among the warriors of Ngati-Toa when they fought their way through to the Eastern Sea. They fought with the ancient weapons of the Maori, with spear and mere. They traversed the Fish of Maui, from the Western Sea to the Land of the Rising Sun, and the tribes of the south gave way before them. The Ngati-Apa fled to Kapiti and the mountains of the interior, the Mua-u-poko shut themselves up in their island pas at Horowhenua and Papawharangi, the Ngati-Ira of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara fled from the flash of their weapons.”
“What was that you asked me, friend? When did those things take place? Was it before or after the Whakapono32 came? E Tama! The-Whakapono is but a thing of to-day. Hei aha te Whakapono! It was long before we saw the ships of the Pakeha on the Great Ocean of Kiwa, before the whale-hunters came to Kapiti and Porirua.”
“Tena: The tale I am now about to relate to you is the story of the great battle at Waiorua on the island of Kapiti, which battle is known among us as Te Whakapaitai. It was there that the tribes of the south made their last great attempt to overcome the Ngati-Toa, but the victory of that fight fell to us, for who could withstand Te Rauparaha and the ‘Tainui’ hapus. It may be that I cannot tell you of all these things, for at times I do not remember them, being now an old man and afflicted with the ills of age. I have already told you how we slew the people of this land at Horowhenua, at Waikanae, at Takapu-kai-ngarara and many other places. Also how we drove back the Mua-upoko, Rangitane, Ngati-upokoiri, Ngati-motuahi, Te Tine-o-Te Parakiore and many other tribes to the mountains, where they lived like wild dogs in the bush. But after a time we became weakened by constant fighting, and then these people attacked us at Waikanae and killed many of the Ngati-Toa. After that we went to Kapiti and the Mua-upoko overran the country between Pae-kakariki and Manawatu. Then these people held a great meeting at Waikanae and the chiefs of many tribes were there, and they resolved to send word of that meeting to all the tribes, that they might collect their warriors to attack Te Rauparaha. Thus it was that this great army came from all parts of the world and met together between Waikanae and Otaki. There came the tribes of the north and of the south, of the east and of the west. Friend, the number of those people were like unto the sands which drift upon the sea-shore.33- 163
“There came the Ngati-Hau of Whanganui under their chiefs Turoa, Paetaha, Te Anaua, Rangi-te-whata, Te Rangi-whakarurua and Te Kuru-kaanga. There came Ngati-Ruanui of the north under Tu-Raukawa, Te Hanataua and Te Matangi-o-rupe. There also were seen the Mua-upoko marshalled under the chiefs Kotuku, Te Rangihiwinui, Tanguru, Maru, Tawhati and Tumata. Then the Rangitane under Mahuri, Tutai, Te Ra-maui, Kai-mokopuna, Tukihongi and Te Awa-kautere. Rank behind rank were seen the Ngati-Apa with their chiefs Marumaru, Te Hakeke, Turangapito, Papaka, Tahataha, and Te Ahuru. There also came the Ngati-Apa-ki-te-ra-to and other hapus of the South Island, together with the Ngati-Ira and Ngati-Kahungunu. But we of Ngati-Toa were but as a handful of dry leaves to be scattered far and wide by the great storm which encircled the land. We were but the survivors of Te Kiriwera, Ngati-Koata, Ngati-Hangia, Ngati-Haumia, sub-tribes of Ngati-Toa. Even our chiefs were away at Rangatira when the enemy attacked us, and we had but few leaders including Te Tipi, Te Rangataiki and Tu-tepakihirangi. So the multitudes of the land came against us at Kapiti.
“Now, O Son! Hearken to me. The land and the sea were dark with men, and the renowned fighting chiefs of many tribes were to be seen in their ranks. This great army approached Kapiti in the darkness of night and the first warning that we received was as they landed at dawn of day. Some of our people who lived on the hillside heard the sound of the paddles as they drew near, and they cried out in warning—‘E puta ki waho! Te whakaariki! Te whakaariki!” We rushed out of our houses and down to the beach to repel our enemies, then on the shores of lone Kapiti there was fought the great battle of Whakapaitai. E, Tama.! The multitudes of the land were upon us. Far out upon the ocean we saw the myriads of canoes. So numerous were they that the sun could not shine upon the waters. We saw our fierce enemies of many a former battle hastening to obtain payment for their people whom we had slain. We saw the raukura and the toroa, the red and white plumes of the north and of the south. We saw the two long lines of war canoes closing in from Waikanae and Otaki. O Son! These were indeed the thousands of the land, while we of Ngati-Toa were but as the rauhokowhitu34 of olden days. But the omens were propitious and the gods of the Maori gave us strength to do great deeds. Who knows of the matangohi35 of that battle, for each warrior of Ngati-Toa was assailed by many men. And then we heard the wild cry of the woman Pararaha—‘Tikarotia te marama! Tikarotia, tikarotia, tika- - 164 rotia te marama!’ As we heard the words of this woman we strove to slay the chiefs, and Te Ahuru of Ngati-Apa was the first to fall, but the pehi (second person slain) of that battle was the brave woman Pararaha. (You see that girl yonder by the whata? That is Takune, the descendant of Pararaha the pehi of Te Whakapaitai.) Then the enemy charged us with hoarse cries of defiance, and took prisoner the child Tawhe of Ngati-Toa, who was not killed, but was saved by Tu-te-pourangi of the Ngati-Apa-of-the-Setting-Sun. We tried to capture Turoa, the great chief of Ngati-Hau, but he remained in his canoe and so we failed. So charged the enemy upon us and so we drove them back upon the water's edge. So fought the braves of Ngati-Koata of ‘Tainui,’ and so the Ngati-Haumia upheld their tribal motto—‘Ko Haumia Toa.’ So vainly fought the survivors of Ngati-Ira under the chiefs Te Kekerengu and Tau-unuunu. Even so, we of ‘Tainui’ fought for the măna of our tribe and behold! Ere long we, the warriors of Ngati-Toa, drove the legions of the world back into the sea from whence they came. Dark were the shores of Kapiti with the bodies of the slain—Ta Ngati-Toa pai! Friend! that was how we destroyed the multitudes of the South beneath the shining sun. O Son! My words to you are ended.”
Again the old warrior relapses into silence and gazes before him across the rippling waters, murmurs to himself some old memories of by-gone days. The oracle of Ngati-Toa has spoken for the day and so, with the ancient farewell of his race sounding in my ears, I retrace my way across the sunlit sands and leave the survivor of Waiorua to his own thoughts.
So failed the last effort of the southern tribes to regain their măna.
When the tidings of the Ngati-Toa victory at Kapiti reached the northern tribes many hekes of the Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Raukawa tribes, with portions of Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, Ngati-rangatahi and Ngati-Maru-wharanui, come south to locate on the newly-acquired lands. The Ngati-Raukawa were firm allies of Te Rauparaha, but the turbulent Ngati-Awa soon commenced to show the cloven hoof, and brought upon the land a series of quarrels, battles and sieges, which only ended in 1839, when Te Atiawa were attacked at Te Kuititanga pa at Waikanae by the Ngati-Raukawa of Otaki. The pa was attacked at dawn, and some few hours aftrwards the remnant of the Otaki taua were flying for their lives up the beach towards Otaki, leaving some seventy of their warriors on the field of battle. This was the last intertribal fight in the south.
After a time there came yet another tribe of invaders, surely this must be the last, a strange tribe who are neither of ‘Tainui’ nor yet of ‘Takitumu’ extraction, but who appear from the great ocean of Kiwa in huge canoes, such as the gods of old might have used. This - 165 new tribe is composed of various hapus. Some of them, men of strange customs and great daring, live in their great canoes upon the waters and employ their time in slaying the monsters of the deep. Some abide upon the land and trade with the Maori, bringing strange articles of clothing and many other wonderful things such as the Maori had never before seen. Yet another hapu scatter themselves over the land and cause it to bear abundantly of strange products. A truly marvellous and yet withal an eccentric tribe, who bring with them the Whakapono, to teach the blessings of peace on earth and goodwill to man, and also guns and powder to enable the Maori to destroy each other with unprecedented ferocity and rapidity. Who also bring with them rum and various new and deadly diseases, all of which are calculated to assist greatly in the work of colonisation. These extraordinary people are called by the Maori Pakeha, that is, fairies or beings from another world. But as this is essentially a pre-Pakeha chronicle we cannot here enquire further into the origin and history of these singular migrants.
Such then is a meagre account of the Harbour of Tara and the people thereof before the advent of Europeans. Imperfect though it be, it will yet serve to give some idea of what this land has seen in the long centuries of past barbarism during which the Polynesian held sway in Aotearoa. Collected from the best native authorities, these notes may also form a basis on which to build up a more complete and connected history of the Land of Tara. What says the Mejicano? “Barba bien remojada, medio rapada”— A thing well begun is half finished. And if I have, in these pages, spoken disparagingly of the Maori atua, then do I say with Herodotus—“In thus speaking of them may I meet with indulgence both from gods and heroes.”
Not a few lessons may be learnt from the customs, language and traditions of a neolithic race. Repulsive though many of such things may appear to the casual observer, yet to those who possess the true love of knowledge which comes to the thinking mind, there is opened up before them a vast field of research in which they will not only experience the keen delights of intellectual pleasure, but also discover many proofs of the ennobling theory of human evolution, as opposed to the degrading hypothesis of degeneration.
When I show this veracious chronicle to the kaumatuas, who have imparted to me much of the matter contained therein, I know well what remark it will elicit. For those old warriors will listen in wonder and exclaim, “He Pakeha” Which same two words, when pronounced in the proper tone, contain a world of meaning.
While to those who despise the lesson of the past, and disbelieve in the great law of human progress, I would reply with this whakatauki, “A descendant of Motai will yet journey over the sands of Hakerekere.”
1 We have on record a series of genealogies tracing down the members of a tribe from their original ancestor who flourished thirty-four generations ago in this country, the recital of which before an official court of the colony took the reciter three whole days, and involved the recollection of nearly 700 names with their relation to one another. All this was given in regular sequence and in an order so clear that no mistake could enter.—Editors.
2 The “Head of the Fish of Maui,” a name applied to the south part of the North Island.
4 Te Ra-whiti, or sun-rise, which is a name given by the natives of Queen Charlotte Sound to Captain Cook, and is properly a general name rather than the name of that particular Cape.—Eds.
5 We hold a strong opinion that the taniwha stories are localised recollections of the alligators with which the ancestors of the Maori must have become acquainted on the long migration from the North-West.—Ed.
6 For the meaning of this name—or Te Korokoro-o-te-Parata—see this Journal, Vol. ix., p. 225.—Ed.
7 It is probable from several things that the hue, or calabash, was possessed by the tangata-whenua. —Ed.
8 In connection with the wreck of the “Kurahaupo” canoe, see this Journal, Vol. ix., p. 218.—Ed.
9 Travelling over the Canterbury and Otago country at the present day, it is difficult to believe that large areas were once covered with forests. But in a great many places. especially on some of the lower mountains, the indications of those forests still remain, indeed in some parts the charred totara logs may still be seen.—Eds.
10 In the original: “Na, he tangata ano i reira, ko nga tangata whenua ake ano o tenei motu, otira, ka patua ratou e Manaia ma, ka mate, ka riro te kainga i a Manaia ratou ko ana tama.” Nga Mahinga, &c., p. 123.
11 The genealogical descent from the ancestor Hotumamoe to the present day will be seen at p. 11, Vol. iii. of this Journal. He flourished twenty-two generations ago.—Ed.
12 Whitireia—the Maori name of Mount Cooper, at Porirua Heads. Also, Whitireia—the path of the sun and moon in the heavens.
13 Tangaroa—the Maori Neptune.
14 Uru and Ngangana—two very ancient deified ancestors known throughout Polynesia.
15 Tu—one of the principal gods of the Maori pantheon, the God of War.
16 Te Mona-nui-a-Kiwa—the Great Ocean of Kiwa—a name for the Pacific Ocean, much used in poetry.
17 The first place dies, the second place lives, practically having “two strings to your bow.”—Ed,
18 It is suggested that the Ngai-Tara tribe are the descendants of, and take their name from, Tara, after whom the Wellington Harbour is named. See this Journal, Vol. ix., p. 153, for a good deal about Tara.—Ed.
19 See “Notes on Miramar Peninsular,” by J. C. Crawford, Esq. Trans. N.Z Institute, Vol. 5, p. 398.
20 See Rev. J. W. Stack's “Traditional History of South Island Maoris,” translated N.Z. Institute, vol. x., p. 65; Mackay's “Native Affairs of South Island,” vol. i. White's “Ancient History of the Maori ” vol.
21 Tuahu, an abbreviation of Tuāhuriri.—Eds.
22 Like most such sayings in Maori, this proverb loses its beauty in the translation, but roughly, “For me are these few remaining days, for the setting sun, for the falling tree.” That is, “Leave me, &c.”
23 See this Journal, vol. viii., p. 216.
24 See this Journal, vol. ix., p. 85.
25 Loc. cit., vol. iii., p. 216.
26 Waitangi—The lagoon, or swamp, which formerly existed at the lower end of Cambridge Terrace.
27 Paikakawa—Island Bay Valley.
28 We have endeavoured in vain to obtain a copy of this Waiata, which is described, by those who have heard it in former days, as very pathetic.—Ed.
29 There appears to be some doubt as to who slew Kekerengu. He was related to the Ngai-Tahu, and, we think, would not knowingly have been killed by them. See Te Kahu's narrative as to Kekerengu's doings in the last number of this Journal.—Ed.
30 The ancestors who gave these names to the two tribes, Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Awa.—Ed.
31 This was in December, 1835.—Ed.
33 Te Paki here speaks a la Maori. The attacking force consisted of about 2000 warriors.
34 The 170 twice told.—Ed.
35 The first slain.