Volume 2 1893 > Volume 2, No.3, September 1893 > A sketch of the history of the Ngati-Tama tribe, by W. E. Gudgeon, p 157-159
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- 157
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A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF THE NGATI-TAMA TRIBE.

THE Ngati-Tama tribe are descended from Tama-te-Kapua, the captain of the Arawa canoe, through Tama-ihu-toroa, their genealogy being as follows:—1

  • Tama-te-Kapua
  • Tuhoro
  • Ihenga
  • Tama-ihu-toroa
  • 5 Tuhi
  • Koara
  • Taumarewa
  • Reretoi. Killed at Te-Waiomanga, Ohinemutu.
  • Ruamano. Migrated to Motuwhanake.
  • 10 Wharetokotoko
  • Te Rangimoeakau
  • Rangitaunaha
  • Te Uira
  • Kamotu
  • 15 Kiriwera
  • Te Ahiwharau
  • 17 Aperahama-te-Kume, about 45 years old in 1850.

The first historical incident known about the Ngati-Tama tribe is, that they lived at Rotorua, and engaged in the congenial occupation of killing taniwhas, which at that particular period appear to have been numerous in the district.

The history of the destruction of Te Ika-Hotupuku and Pekehaua by this valiant people has been preserved for us by Sir G. Grey.

In the slaying of these two great man-destroying reptiles, Ngati-Tama received very great kudos; but when they marched to the blue lake of Tikitapu and there slew Kataore, the pet harmless taniwha of Hine-mihi, the great descendant of Tu-o-Rotorua and Marupunganui, then the tribes of Rotorua rose in their wrath against Ngati-tama, but in the battle that followed Ngati-Hinemihi were so roughly handled that - 158 but few escaped to tell the tale. These few, however, fled to the children of Rangitihi, viz, to Apumoana and Tu-te-Ata, who adopted the quarrel of Ngati-Hinemihi, and marching with all their adherents gave battle at a place called Te Wai-whiti-inanga. Ngati-Tama were here badly defeated, and the survivors fled—it is said—to Waikato, and lived at the Wharepuhunga ranges and Kakepuku hill.

Family tree. 1 Tama-te-Kapua, Kahu, Tawake, Uenuku, 5 Rangitihi, Apumoana., Tu-te-ata,

Whether the Ngati-Tama were expelled from these places or not, tradition does not say; but we next hear of them at Taupo, where they were kindly received by the great chief Ruawehea, who placed the fugitives under their own chiefs Rongohaua, Rongohape and Te Atuareretahi at the Kiritane pa, Waihaha, and other places on the west side of Lake Taupo, where they resided under the protection of Ruawehea as overlord.

Family tree. 8 Tuwharetoa, Rakeihopukia, 10 Ruawehea (no issue), Taringa, Tu-te-tawha, Rangiitu, Parekawa, Te Kiko-o-te-rangi, 15 Puraho, Tuwhera, Moeroro, Rangiaho, Te Heuheu Tukino, 20 Te Heuheu, Tureiti,

While here, they were visited by Poutu, son of Whakatere, a chief of Ngati-Raukawa, who, pretending great interest in their welfare, asked if they were kindly treated. They replied that they had nothing of which to complain, except that they objected to the manner in which Ruawehea sounded his trumpet when giving them notice of an intended visit. Their objection was, that the trumpet to their ears always sounded the same words:—Upoko kohua, ma tou roro! tou roro! (Boiled heads, for your brains! your brains!)

This was a very serious curse, and Poutu taking the worst possible view of the case, advised that Ngati-Tama should at all hazards kill Ruawehea the next time he visited Kiritane. Poutu had some end of his own to gain, but he did not wait to see the effect of his advice, so he returned to his home at Manukueke.

When next Ruawehea's trumpet announced his coming, the same objectionable words were quite clear to the excited imagination of Ngati-Tama, who resolved there and then to allow no further insult. They therefore drew up in two lines to greet the old chief, and led him with pretended deference to the house in which his intended murderers were hidden. As he stooped to enter the low doorway, he was struck down and killed by those inside, and at the same moment his unsuspecting attendants were slain. Only one man escaped, viz., Rangiita,2 then hardly more than a boy, who, perhaps suspected the good faith of Ngati-Tama, and made his escape.

The position of Ngati-Tama was now well-nigh desperate, but such is the Maori's character, that it is possible no man regretted the deed of vengeance or thought, or cared for the inevitable consequences thereby entailed. They had wiped out an affront, their honour was satisfied, and as for the rest, why vogue la galère.

The Ngati-Tuwharetoa, the great tribe of Taupo Lake, did not keep Ngati-Tama long in suspense. The chief Waikare and his great - 159 toa, Tamangau, called on the warriors of the tribe, and they being a simple people, having no knowledge of civilisation, philanthropy, or other modern eccentricities, responded joyfully.

Within a few days the Kiritane pa had been carried by assault, and Rongohaua, Rongohape, and Te Atuareretahi, with many of their people, killed. Among the captives was a woman of great rank—Roroihape.3

From this time forth Taupo was an eminently unsafe place of residence for a people like Ngati-Tama, who, like the Bourbon, could learn no lesson from adversity. The remnant of the tribe probably recognised this fact, for with the least possible delay they fled to Tutukau and Motuwhanake, places on the banks ef the Waikato river, between Orakei-Korako and Ati-a-muri, where being safe from the Taupo people, they regained their native courage, and even ventured to return to Rotorua, where they had influential relatives, since two Ngati-Tama women—Rangiwhakapiri and Hinepoto—had married Uenuku-Kopako, and their children, and probably grandchildren, had reached man's estate, and might reasonably be expected to defend their maternal relatives. Under these influences Ngati-Tama marched under the chiefs Tukutuku and Mokotiti to Te Whakarewarewa, where they were well received, and given the Puia pa as a residence. After they had been here a short time, they were visited by Te Kahuroro, a chief of great rank, and a descendant of one of the aforementioned women. When near to the Puia pa, he was observed by some of the Ngati-Tama, who foolishly remarked:—Ehara tenei i te tau pukahu kia rere te kakariki.”4; Now a tau pukahu is an expression used to denote a year in which there is much fruit on the rimu trees, and therefore a year during which birds are plentiful. From this point of view, it does not seem that the speech was particularly offensive. Te Kahuroro thought otherwise, and returned at once to Rotorua, where he repeated the offensive expression, and called on his tribe to avenge it.

  • 5 Rangitihi
  • 6 Tuhourangi
  • 7 Uenuku-Kopako

The Arawa arose like one man, and surprised Tukutuku outside the pa and killed him. This occurrence was seen by Makotiti, who called out:—“Haere ra e tama! Haere! mou te tai eta, moku te tai Po!”—“ Farewell my son! Farewell! You have passed with the morning tide, I shall pass with the evening tide!” This speech was prophetic, for when the pa was taken he also was slain. Once more the Ngati-Tama fled for their lives, and took refuge at Motuwhanake, where their descendants may still be found.

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1  NOTE.—The numbers opposite the names in this paper show the number of generations from those who came to New Zealand in the Arawa canoe.—Editors.
2  From whom Ngati-Rangiita take their name.
3   Somewhat fuller details of this raid on Ngati-Tama will be found in Mr. S. Locke's paper published in Vol. XV. Trans. N.Z. Institute, p. 442.—Editors.
4  This is not a year in which the rimu fruit is plentiful, that the paroquets should come.