Volume 31 1922 > Volume 31, No. 123 > Traditions and legends. Collected from the natives of Murihiku. (Southland, New Zealand) Part XIV, by H. Beattie, p 134-144
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- 134
(Continued from Vol. XXIX., page 189.)

SINCE the publication of the earlier portion of this series of articles much information has continued to come the way of the collector. It has come from many of the old Maoris of the South, and the very diversity of the sources from which it has accrued renders it exceedingly difficult to present it in a consecutive form, so the collector has reluctantly to abandon the idea of doing so, and content himself with merely recording it as it comes to hand. This present article will contain items about the warfare that waged in Maoridom in pre-Pakeha days, and the reader must make due allowance for the unavoidable scrappiness of some of its contents. Most of the information is merely corrections or additional details of the fighting already chronicled by the collector in this series.


The information given in No. 4 (Vol. XXV., page 64) of this series about the fighting round Te Karoro is unfortunately erroneous inasmuch as it confuses and blends into one what should be two separate wars with probably 150 years intervening.

The first series of conflicts was back in the days of Waitai, somewhere about ten generations ago. According to my informant the people of the district were then Waitaha, and it was their place-names which were superseded by names introduced during the fighting. The trouble started when Rakitauneke and Rakitamau and their people were passing through the bush near Nuggets Point. It was in the early morning when these people began a fight against people who were on the beach, and the warfare rolled along the shore. There is a cave near the Nuggets called Te Ana-o-Tuwhakapau and it was associated with the conflict, as also was the gap between the rocks known since as Puna-wai-toriki. The running fight continued up the coast to the mouth of the Clutha River. Makatu was killed - 135 at the picturesque headland where is now situated the Maori cemetery (near the Reomoana School). His heart was roasted at a spot which is now occupied by a gate on the south side of the point. [The collector was shown the exact spot—the ancient site of a whare is close by.] During the night the hostilities were resumed at the creek since known as Whawha-po (groping at night.) My informant did not know if anyone was killed at the point called Parauriki, but a chief was killed at Jenkinson's Creek (known to the Maoris as Wai-rawaru after him). At the point known as Tu-apohia the man of that name was captured. He had smeared himself with scent extracted from a vine which was found at Papanui (on Otago Peninsula), and he was traced by the smell of the scent and caught. That was all, my informant declared, he had heard of that fighting, but he considered the history of the ancient and the more modern warfare had become mixed in the collector's former account.

Matiaha Tiramorehu knew the history of the South, and it was he who got the authorities to name the two blocks in the Maori Reserve near Port Molyneux as (1) Te Karoro, (2) Whawhapo. He used to tell the story of the fight, and at a hui-rakatira (gathering of chiefs) he wrote some of the history, but what became of it my informant could not say.

The informant who gave the above information considered that Rakitauneke was a leading figure in carrying on the warfare in that district. “Rakitauneke,” he concluded, “was an ancestor of mine, but as the whakapapa was buried with my elder brother I do not know it. Rakitauneke did not like the noise of the sea and so camped on top of the Mauka-Atua range, and his ghost, Matamata, used to follow him round. I do not know where he was buried.” “The wife of Rakitauneke was Waiatoriki,” so an ancient whakapapa (genealogy) affirms.


No fewer than four of my recent informants referred to the death, and the events which followed it, of the famous Kati-Mamoe chief Te Raki-ihia. Their remarks follow:— [Also see article No. IV., page 57, Vol. XXV.] “Raki-ihia was killed about the Waimea Plain I think. The last battle between the Kati-Mamoe and Kai-Tahu was a big one, and Tarewai was killed. It was fought in the West Coast Sounds. Taoka was half of Kati-Mamoe and half of Kai-Tahu blood, and meant to be at that fight. He went as far as Aparima where he said he had a ‘game leg’ and turned back. His real reason was that he wished to kill some Kati-Mamoe living at Mataura, but he wanted to be sure that Raki-ihia was dead first, so he called out and asked how Raki-ihia was. The man shouted back across the river ‘ko——,’ and then suddenly stopped, so Taoka guessed that Raki-ihia - 136 was dead and set in and killed the people there like sheep. He killed nearly everyone in the Mataura Valley.” [The collector places not much reliance on this account. The word “Mataura” should be Matau which is the generally accepted Maori name of the Clutha River, although the collector was assured it was Mata-au referring to the river's swift surface current.]

“An island below Clydevale station on the Clutha is known as Te Rua Pokeka after one of the Kati-Mamoe chiefs killed there at the time of the massacre by Te Hau. It was in that district that the party returning asked if Raki-ihia was there and some one in answer shouted out ‘ko,’ and then stopped but resumed, ‘He went to visit his wife, Ka-puke-tau-mahaka.’ Those who heard this answer were suspicious as they suspected the word which should have followed ‘ko’ was ‘mate,’ meaning that Raki-ihia was dead. The killing began soon after this.”

“Taikawa's grandmother was killed at Colac Bay, and he piloted the Kati-Mamoe war-party to the arranged ambush at the Clutha River. He called out over the Pomahaka River asking where Raki-ihia was, and the answer ‘ko’ convinced him that that chief was dead, but he told the party that Raki-ihia was away to visit his wife Ka-puke-tau-mahaka. The party were doubtful about this but they followed Taikawa to their doom.”

“A number of places up the Clutha River are named after Kati-Mamoe chiefs who were slain there by treachery, viz., Katoa-Mataau, Te Rua-pokeka, Otaparapara, Te Haoka and others.” [In the account in Vol. XXV., page 57, “J.P.S.” the name Te Houpa is a misprint for Te Houka which the settlers pronounce “Tee Howk.” The collector was told the correct name was Te Haoka.]

“A hill on the north side of the Mataau River, a bit above Balclutha, is called Taumata-o-Te-Hau because that chief ascended it and watched from there for the coming of the party for whom he had so cunningly set a trap.”

“Marakai, probably the best fighter Kati-Mamoe had, was a son of Te Raki-ihia, his mother being Kapa.” [The collector thinks that Marakai was related to Raki-ihia, but was not a son. His name does not occur in any of the numerous whakapapas secured by me—H.B.]


Several of the old men have spoken to the collector about the song given in No. 1 of this series [Vol. XXIV., page 111], and they are unanimous that it is not the song dealing with the coming of Tutaka-Hinahina to this land, but is a Kati-Kuri song composed while that tribe was in Hawke's Bay before they came to the South Island.

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One old man narrated:—“Kati-Kuri sent a party to visit the people at Turaka (Gisborne), and the youths were playing games. The old people became excited and kept joining in. Maiwerohia, one of the visitors, would get his companion in the games out of sight and kill him. This went on until the people of that place began wondering who was ‘kidnapping’ their young men. The Kati-Kuri invited the people of Turaka to pay a return visit, and got ready for it by splitting wood into the shapes of fish, eels and birds to resemble food. They hung this wood round the whatas (food storehouses) and decoyed their visitors there for a feast. When the visitors arrived the umus were being got ready for a feast they little expected, but which their hosts had arranged for. The visitors had dogs with them and the hosts began to kill these dogs. The owners of the dogs objected and fighting began. The Kati-Kuri had prepared for this and so won the fight, and cooked their visitors’ bodies in the waiting umus. Maiwerohia came to the South Island with the Kati-Kuri under Te Ao-paraki, Maru and Te Kaue. He fought up Kaikoura way, and then went south with Kaweriri to Tara-hau-kapiti where he chased Tu-te-makohu. Maiwerohia was a grandson of Tekateka, who was a relation, a cousin I think, of Tu-te-makohu.”

Two old men, whom the collector was fortunate enough to meet together, said that the song as they had heard it opened as follows:—

“Nau mai tunu ta ua e hine i kune
Whaka roko ake ai ki tou matua e
Taka mai waho nei e
Te kai taka roa mai a Te Uru-kotia.”

And then proceeded as printed until the last four lines which they rendered as follows:—

“A Rakawahakura i te wawa
Haka ka oma i ra Tawhiti
Koia te Whataroa i tukutuku
Turaki ra i ahuahu hoki e.”

They explained the allusions in the song as follows:—

“Kohatu-toa was a chief who was killed there; Manu-mai was a chief who fled; Raka-toatoa escaped in the midst of the smoke—he was the only one who escaped; Whakaruru the son of Nuku and Ta-manuhiri was sent out as a spy by Whaitiri-poto-nei the head chief; Rakawahakura was a well-known Kati-Kuri leader; wawa is the north-west wind; Tawhiti and Turaka are places near Gisborne; Te Whata-roa means the long stage for suspending food on, and that is the name given to that fight.”

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In No. 9 of this series (Vol. XXVIII., page 45) the collector gave a list of fights in which Kai-Tahu and Kati-Mamoe and allied tribes had participated. Speaking of that list a very well-informed man said:—

“I never heard any details of the fighting at Te Kiore-mauhope or Te Kakihaua. Tukakemauka was a Waitaha chief—some of this tribe were in the North Island—and a horse owned by some southern Maoris was named Tukakemauka in memory of this old-time warrior. The chief called Rakawahakura was in much fighting, and was finally killed near Waikato. Marukore was a later fight—it was more a massacre than a fight. This and the fight called Te Pikituroa were in the same war. Marukore collected the people of his tribe, Te Kahea, and fought the people of his wife Tuhaitara's tribe, the Kai-Tahu. He had eleven children, and his first son, Tamaraeroa, and his second son, Huirapa, were killed. The wife of the former was killed but left a son, Te Aohuraki, while Marainaka, a child of Huirapa, was also saved. Pahirua, a son of Marukore, had one pakihau (wing) of the battle and fought hard and managed to win his share of the conflict. He was very angry at the whole conduct of affairs, and killed his father and mother. A whare-whakairo (carved house) was being made for his sister, Hinehou, and the bodies of his two brothers were placed in the house, while the rest of the slain were heaped along each side of the house and touching it. Hence was the name of that house known as Karara-kopae (karara is a mythical monster, while kopae means heaped-up). Then the whare was set on fire and it and the bodies were all burnt. The cause of all that killing was the jealousy of Marukore who did not wish Kai-Tahu to take a leading position over his own tribe, Te Kahea. When all that remained of the house and the people was ashes, Pahirua set about building another whare near the scene, and when this new house was completed it was named Karara-kopae in memory of the one which met such an untimely fate.”

[Note.—The meeting-house at Colac Bay is called Murihiku, which is said to be a comparatively recent name, and not nearly so old as Rakiura (Stewart Island). A few of the Maoris wished it to be named Karara-kopae in memory of the incident related above.—H. B.]

Another old man narrated:—“Orokoroko is a mountain near Kaikoura. Tapu, a North Island chief, offered the Kai-Tahu chief Rakaitauheke a canoe if he first dragged it over the ridge Orokoroko. Rakaitauheke was highly insulted, as he reckoned the allusion was to his backbone, so he went over to the North Island, killed Tapu, and brought back the canoe in triumph.”

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One old man said:—“You have a piece about the death of Tu-te-kawa. [See article No. 6, Vol. XXVI., p. 82.] He killed Rakihikaia, and ran away with Rakihikaia's wife, Tu-korero. The way he killed that chief was in this manner. Rakihikaia and a taua (war-party) were on the march, and the taua was ahead while the leader sauntered along behind. This was somewhere near the Rimutakas in the North Island. Rakihikaia, thinking that no danger was near, had his weapon, a patu(mere) suspended by a double cord of flax over his shoulder or round his neck, when Tutekawa came behind and drove a spear at him treacherously. Rakihikaia heard the noise in time to dodge, and turning suddenly grappled with Tutekawa. He got the latter down and was trying to get his weapon free when Tutekawa's pahi (servant) who had been skulking behind came up and killed Rakihikaia. Tutekawa and his pahi then cleared out, but it was because of this murder that Tutekawa was killed many years after.

Another old man said:-“Tutekawa was the father of Rakitamau. He was old, and Rakitamau when he went away for a time would say, ‘Light a fire and when I see the smoke I will come,’ and when Tutekawa was killed his people lit a fire and Rakitamau came, and at night took Moki's tatua (belt) as in the well-known story.”

Another said:-“The two women, Tuarawhati and Hinekaitaki, whom Tutekawa killed in the North Island, were sisters of Whakuku, and it was Whakuku who killed Tutekawa at Waikakahi in Canterbury. Whakuku did not die on a canoe from the effects of makutu as you say [in No. 6 of this series] but he was killed at the battle of Pariwhakatau (near Kaikoura).”


In No. 9 of this series a catalogue of fights was given. It was copied from Maori manuscripts, and very little seems to be known about some of the fights. Herewith is collected the little that the collector has gleaned recently:—

Waipapa [No. 12 in list—see Vol. XXVIII., page 46], a well-informed kaumatua (elder) considered that Waipapa and Te Ika-whaturoa (13) were names for the same fight—probably a night intervened and then the fight was continued. He could not give the correct history of them.

Teihoka (No. 20) “The grandmother of Te Wera was captured here after the fight. Her name was rightly Haki-te-ao, but she is usually known as Te Haki, and she was killed and cooked at the spot in Colac Bay since called Te Umu-o-te-haki.” “Te Haki-te-ao was killed at Oraka (Colac Bay). She was the grandmother of Taikawa, and when she was cooked the people ate pipi (mussels) as a puru - 140 (relish) with her flesh.” [In Vol. XXV., page 57, the name of this lady is misprinted Te Kaki. The place called Te Haki after her is now mis-called Tihaka by the Railway Department. Te Wera and Taikawa were relatives, but whether Te Haki could be rightfully denominated grandmother to both requires investigation.—H.B.]

Tarahaukapiti (No. 22 on list). “Kaweriri and two Kai-Tahu chiefs went to Tarahaukapiti and killed Te Kairere, so Tu-te-makohu killed Kaweriri.” “I do not know the names of Tu-te-makohu's wives and children. He was put as a scout at Otaupiri. Tare Wetere te Kahu used to say there were two Tu-te-makohus, the first belonging to Kai-Tara, the second to Kai-Tahu.” “The moon told Tu-te-makohu when to kill his enemies.”

Oteihoka (No. 29 on list). One informant said that this trouble was called Ohapuku. Some people left Temuka under Hauteihi and Te Rehe-oriori and went and took two women as prisoners. It was fairly recent.

Taiari (No. 30 on list). “Tutakahikura was killed by Tu-te-makohu because of his abduction of the latter's wife. Tutakahikura was the chief that Matauira advised Marakai to kill.” [See Vol. XXV., page 53].

Katiki (No. 33 on list). “Matauira and Taoka were relatives, perhaps cousins, and Matauira went round to Preservation Inlet, and I think it was he who built the pa called Te Whara on Matauira Island. I have heard it said that it was Matauira's son who was there, but I think that is a mistake. Two tribes were there whose names began with Kati, and they were Kati-Mamoe and perhaps Kati-Ruahikihiki or Kati-Huirapa. Who were those tribes seven generations ago, and how many of them were round at the West Coast? Captain Cook might settle the question. After Matauira left there he went to Katiki and was killed. After the death of Matauira those who had caused it left the pa and went north. The last to leave were Parakiore and his wife, and Te Hau and Tete followed them as far as Washdyke I think. They caught up on them at one place and saw the fugitives on the hard sand below the cliff they were on. They taunted him on his fame for speediness, and Parakiore, who was a short, thick-set man of great power, took his wife under his arm and raced up the beach leaving his pursuers hopelessly in the rear, and both man and wife escaped. I have heard that Te Hau had no sons, but Tete had. The death of Matauira, who was an old man, ended the feud. His body was burnt, and the rest of his people settled at Tarahaukapiti (West Dome).”

A well-informed man said he had heard of the deaths of the chiefs named at the conclusion of the lists of fights in No. 9 of this series, but no one had ever gone into details about it in his hearing.

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Mapoutahi [see Vol. XXV., p. 15]. The collector once asked the late Tame Parata regarding the capture of this pa situated near his home. He replied that the pa was taken by Taoka, but he had never heard the name of the chief who held it, and he could not remember the name of the solitary man who escaped. Another informant said that there were ladders of vines and flax up the cliff, but these broke with the number trying to escape, and hurled them down to their fate. Te Wera ate Kapo. Te Wera and Taoka were to eat a dog before Moki to cement peace, but Te Wera did not turn up so the war went on. The name of the chief in the Mapoutahi pa, he thought, was Pakihaukea.

Rakiura [see Vol. XXV., p. 10]. The collector was given the names of the two boys who were saved at the taking of the Putatara pa as Tuokioki and Kapitauwhiti.

Mokamoka [see Vol. XXIV., p. 139, and Vol. XXVIII., p 153]. “There was a reason for this fight, which I forget. Tutemakohu, Marakai and Wahahauka led the Kati-Mamoe and killed Waitai and his men. I have heard the old men speak of this fight as both Mokamoka and Mokomoko, so I do not know which of these forms of the name is really correct.” “Rerewhakaupoko and Potoma escaped from Mokomoko and settled on Ruapuke. They were short of aruhe (fern-root) so sent their crew in a canoe to the mainland for it. As they did not return those two chiefs made a raft, and by the aid of karakia reached the mainland. Here they found the wives whom they had left there being raped by the crew, and they killed those men and took the bodies to Ruapuke, where they preserved the human flesh along with that of mutton-birds in kelp bags. Then they went to the mainland, and meeting Maru gave him some as a kaihaukai (gift of food). Two brothers who ate this mixture of human and bird flesh and found they were related to the slain men, ‘to pay for it’ caught a Kati-Mamoe woman and gave her to Maru as a wife. There was a kaika (village) between Taieri and the Nuggets called Kohaka-titara. I think it was a Kai-Tahu settlement, and the people left there after this event and went to live on Ruapuke.”

Takerehaka [see Vol. XXVIII., p. 155]. The collector tried to get details of the fighting which followed that at Takerehaka (Kingston). The killing of Korapa by Marakai brought on another fight. The collector has two notes:—“I forget where the fight was and who was killed.” “There were some small details about making people's bones into fish-hooks, and other things, but they are not worth relating. Then others came for revenge, but I forget the story.”

[Note:-Those versed in Maori ideas know what this forgetfulness means.—H.B.]

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Waiharakeke [see Vol. XXV., p. 54]. “At the Waiharakeke fight Tutekawa killed Whetuki. Pane-te-kaka and Makatawhio were up eeling at Manokiwai (Lake Manowai) and came down the Waiau River almost into the arms of the taua (war-party). They were wearing kopare (head-dress) of kauheke (a kind of plant), and a man who was drinking at the river's brink saw their shadow in the water. He turned suddenly and they, seeing a stranger, sheered off the bank. He sang out to the taua, and the two men paddled their mokihi (raft) down the river for dear life. The taua gave chase and captured the mokihi laden with eels, but the pair escaped into the dense bush near the mouth of the river. The taua returned, and the prisoners told them who they had been chasing, but those two men were never seen again.”

Kaitakata [see Vol. XXV., p. 63]. “Taitepuhi, a place on Inch-Clutha, is named after a Kati-Mamoe chief who died there. He was fighting at Waipapa, near Blenheim, and came south after killing some of the leading Kai-Tahu men. He fought at Kaitakata against his own tribe—against Mokomoko. Tuahuriri and Te Rua-a-wai were in the same fight also, and the latter slew Mokomoko, whose leg was hung on a ti (cabbage-tree) while the victors were eating the rest of him.”

Wharepa [see Vol. XXIV., p. 134]. “Te Wharawhara found his father's paraerae (footgear) hanging on a tree at Wharepa after his father (Te Kahauki) had been killed, and he stood and cried there. Kapu was a leading Kati-Mamoe woman, and all those people were connected with Raki-ihia.” “Marakai was in this fight, and then left for the Hokanui district. Te Kahauki, Paparua, and Tawhara-whara were on the one side, and Tu-te-makohu was on the other.” [The relationship of these Kati-Mamoe chiefs is not yet elucidated.—H.B.]

Iwikatea [see Vol. XXV., p. 62]. “Marakai and Tawharawhara were brothers, and Kapa, or Kapu, was their mother. Tawhara-whara's father, Paparua, was killed and left his paraerae for his son, who came and buried him. Te Kahauki was killed in the same war. There was an old song about that war but I forget it.”

The start of war [see Vol. XXIV., p. 136]. “Te Apoka, a Kai-Tahu chief, married two Kati-Mamoe women, and unknown to him they had a whata in the bush filled with maka (barracouta), moe (dried fish), pakake (seal flesh), and other luxuries which they ate themselves. Te Apoka had a dog, whose name I forget, and this animal smelled out the storehouse and began barking, and Apoka sent his servant to see what was the matter. In this manner was the whata found, and Te Apoka's anger was such that it led to war starting between Kai-Tahu and Kati-Mamoe.”

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Rakaitauheke [see Vol. XXIV., p. 137]. “I have been told that somewhere between Riverton and Preservation Inlet Rakaitauheke acted as a seal to entice the enemy, but I think it was further north that he did so.”

[Note:—He is said to have done so at Pariwhakatau near Kaikoura.—H.B.]

Te Wera [see Vol. XXV., p. 17]. “Te Wera killed Taoka's son Rokomaraeroa near the mouth of the Waitaki, and passengers on the trains can see the spot where the body was cooked. It is called Te Umu-o-Rokomaraeroa, and is about half-a-mile below the bridge on the south bank of the river. The two messengers went to Otaoka (St. Andrew's) where Taoka lived.”


Some of the items mentioned by the old men relative to the fighting, suggested that fights have occurred in ancient Maori days at spots in Otago not mentioned previously in this series.

One man said he had casually heard of fights having taken place in Central Otago and along the Mataura River, but he had never heard the details and so could not fill in these gaps in the history.

One of the most prominent landmarks in Southland is Forest Hill, but the collector could never ascertain its Maori name until a very old man said:-“The name of Forest Hill was Makakaiwaho after a chief who is buried there. It is said of him that during warfare he let his men sleep in the daytime, and that he kept them awake at night. He was a Kati-Mamoe, and Tu-te-makohu up at Otaupiri was a Kai-Tahu, and they kept watchful eyes on each other, but never came to blows. He was in a fight at Waipahi, however, and probably further north, as he is said to have killed a lot of Kai-Tahu.”

Mention of a fight at Waipahi made the collector inquire about it as it was news to him, but all he could get about it was extremely meagre. The old man only seemed to know the names of four of the participants, and could not tell the origin of the fight nor its outcome. The names he supplied were Te Rakitauneke, Marakai, Tu-te-Makohu and Makakaiwaho, and there the collector must let the matter rest in the meantime.

One old man said:—“The chief Waimatuku was killed at the Waimatuku River in Southland in a fight his tribe, Kati-Kuri, waged against Kati-Mamoe near the end of the war. Kaweriri was killed early in the same war.” Later he amended this to, “Waimatuku was killed on the Kai-Tahu side at Tarahaukapiti, and his widow married Marutuna, by whom she had a family of several girls and one boy. Most of those old warriors are to be found in the whakapapas (genealogies) where such are preserved.”

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Another old man said:—“There is a whakatauki (proverb) which says ‘Ka hika ana ta Kati-Mamoe i kokopu nui,’ and this may be rendered, ‘When Kati-Mamoe kill a man they kill a big man.’ That tribe had a reputation for killing big enemy chiefs.” Another man said, “During the fighting days Kati-Mamoe killed far more chiefs than Kai-Tahu did.”

“I know of several old fortifications which belonged to the Kati-Kuri. Waipapa in Marlborough was one, Te Pa-o-Katikuri at the mouth of the Okui stream, near Aropaki (Orepuki) was another, while yet another was Te Pukekura, a pa near the Otago Heads.”

“Although the Kati-Mamoe were good fighters, their claim to the land is not nearly so good as they say. The claims of the Kai-Tu and the Kati-Huirapa must be considered much higher. It was Kati-Huirapa who spread out, and after the war between Kai-Tahu and Kati-Mamoe was over it was Kati-Huirapa who made and preserved peace.”

“There was a pa on Pihaotakohia (Jack's Island) known as Te Pa-o-kiore because it was built by Kiore, who was later killed at Oraki-utuhia (Cannibal Bay) (as told in Vol. XXV., p. 90).”

“The Kati-Huirapa were like the English—they would settle at a place and move on and settle elsewhere and claim everywhere they penetrated. They were the only tribe in the South Island who claimed in this manner.

The collector was told that Marakai once fought at Hakapureirei, but his informant seemed doubtful of the locality. There seems to be no doubt that minor fights and skirmishes took place in parts of Otago which are usually considered to be destitute of Maori associations, but the history of them has been lost as far as anyone living is concerned.

(To be continued.)