Volume 8 1899 > Volume 8, No. 3, September 1899 > Wars of the northern against the southern tribes of New Zealand in the nineteenth century, by S. Pecy Smith, p 141-164
WARS OF THE NORTHERN AGAINST THE SOUTHERN TRIBES OF NEW ZEALAND IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
IN the “Peopling of the North,”1 a sketch of the history of the Ngati-Whatua tribe of Kaipara was given from the earliest times up to the close of the eighteenth century. The following account relates all that can be ascertained of the further history of that tribe up to 1840, when New Zealand became a British colony. Their history, from the close of the eighteenth century, became so mixed up with that of Nga-Puhi, that both have to be treated together, especially so as the later tribe takes by far the most prominent place.
The visit of Captain Cook to New Zealand in 1768 and the following years, and those of subsequent voyagers during the latter part of the eighteenth century, introduced many changes into the country, which told on the people in various ways. For the first time the Maoris became acquainted with a white race far superior to themselves in all the arts and sciences—acquainted, that is, personally, for they have embalmed in their traditions the far-off recollection of a fairer race than themselves, which their ancestors encountered in some of their distant wanderings. Hence the name they gave the white man, Pakeha, which means pale, or fair. The immediate origin of their name for us is undoubtedly derived from Pakehakeha, a name for a mythical white race, otherwise called Turehu, or Patu-pae-arehe, and by many old Maoris said to be a name for a class of sea-gods, who were pale in complexion. These gods were also called Waraki, a name - 142 often applied formerly to white men. Maitai was another name given to the white man, which means “from the sea,” but it was also the name given to iron, indeed this is still the common name the Ure-wera and other tribes of the East Coast use, instead of the more general name, rino. Korako is another name applied to the Patu-pae-arehe (or fairies), and probably meant white originally, for it is also the Maori term for an Albino.2 Tupua again is a name frequently given to white people, but this does not refer to their colour, but rather to their superior knowledge, strange ways and customs. It is a name given to anything out of the common, and is equally applicable to black people. Whilst the meaning of pakeha (white or pale) is clearly as stated above, there are instances known in which the term was applied to members of their own race. The Ngati-Toa tribe, on their migration from Kawhia to Cook's Straits in 1821, were called pakeha by the original inhabitants of those parts.
It is strange, but prior to the advent of the white man, the Maoris appear to have had an idea that they were to receive the visit of some strange race. The following is the prediction as told by Pangari, of Hokianga, somewhere about the year 1820. At that time Pangari was an old man, and he had heard the story when quite a child, as related by the old men of Nga-Puhi. “In the days of old when Maoi was alive, he told this story. Maoi was a tohunga, or priest, and when he approached his end he said to Nga-Puhi, “It will not be very long before I die, nor very long after I am dead, that a god will come on the crest of the wave, and ghosts (kehua) will be on his back. That god will be like the canoes in appearance, but he will be much larger, and he will sail all over the ocean, over everywhere. He will never be mistaken in his course over the ocean; he will sail away, and will not be seen by the people. After a long disappearance another god will appear, who will be like the former one. The first god will come by the aid of sails, but the latter by the aid of fire.”
Ellis, in his “Polynesian Researches,” relates a very similar prophecy as obtaining amongst the Tahitians prior to the advent of the white man.
The traditions of the Pakehakeha, or Turehu, have, like so many others, in the process of time, become localised; and hence we find many hills in New Zealand assigned as their dwelling-place. The Ure-wera tribe will tell you that their sleeping-places, edged with stone, - 143 are to be seen to this day on Te Kauna range. When we come to enquire into the origin of this tradition of a white race, it is most natural to ascribe it to contact with a light-colored race in very ancient times; it is difficult to conceive of a brown race inventing such a distinguishing racial characteristic had they not actually seen it. Prior to that time, all experiences would go to prove that mankind was of the same tint as themselves. The numbers of uru-kehu or light haired people amongst the Polynesian Race seems to support this theory; and the Urewera learned men say that this feature runs in families and has done so for as far back as their traditions go. It will be remembered that Maori history says, they learnt the art of making fishing nets from the Turehu or light colored race, from which we may be authorised in assuming that they were a seafaring people, possibly visiting the shores of India when the Polynesians dwelt there. Wyatt Gill says that in Mangaia, the god Tangaroa had sandy hair.3 Fair haired children are called “Te anau keu a Tangaroa.” “The fair haired offspring of Tangaroa.”
This raises the question: was not some one of this fair race in the far distant past named Tangaroa, who was one of the early navigators, and hence the position that Tangaroa holds in Maori tradition as Neptune? See on this point, the story of the introduction of the knowledge of the Breadfruit tree to the Polynesian in this “Journal,” vol. vii, p. 220.
Whatever the true origin of this tradition may be, it is clear that by the middle of last century, the remembrance of it had become extremely attenuated, and the light-coloured people had, to the Maoris, lost their tangible forms, and become Fairies inhabiting the misty cloudy mountains, but still having human forms and attributes.
When therefore the white man appeared on the scene in the persons of Captain Cook and his companions (I exclude Tasman, for various reasons) it was like the discovery of a new world to the Maoris,—their ideas, at one bound, became enormously enlarged. They learnt that all species of mankind were not of the same soft brown colour as themselves—that there were mightier people, who held sway over the thunder and lightning—who did not feast on their own kind—who paid no respect to the great laws of tapu, for they even allowed common men to walk on the decks above their sacred heads, a terrible sacrilege to the mind of the old Maori. Looked upon as atua (gods) at first, these gods soon proved that they had very human tastes—whilst they were tangata (men) they were by no means tangata Maori (native men). Innumerable objects of unknown uses now first came under - 144 their notice, amongst which was a stone (iron) of great value—of greater value even than their prized pounamu or greenstone, for the making of axes, tools, &c. Lastly they became acquainted with diseases that quickly left their mark, defying the potent karakias of the priests.
The effect on the Maori mind of this enlargement of ideas must have been very great; but we are completely in the dark as to its immediate effects, for there was no one to note it. But as the years rolled on, and the end of the last century was approached, communication with the Pakeha became more frequent, particularly in the north, and many things became modified in consequence. In the early years of the ninteenth century intercourse between the two races became more feasable by the mutual acquisition of the other's language; and a further expansion of ideas took place when the natives began to learn, somewhat dimly at first no doubt, of particulars of other countries—of kings and queens, and mighty princes, with whose wars their own tribal fueds could not compare in magnitude. To a martial race like the Maori, war was a theme that always powerfully affected them. I feel sure that the knowledge acquired by the Maoris in the early years of the nineteenth century, of European wars, and the deeds of great European heroes, had a very important effect upon some of the great Maori leaders of that time, such as Hongi, Pomare, Te Rauparaha, Te Waharoa, Muru-paenga, and many others. Emulation of the deeds of Napolean Bonaparte certainly was a factor in the actions of some of those mentioned, as it was in the case of Polynesian leaders in other parts. This emulation, however, was only rendered possibly by the possession of muskets, and towards this end very great sacrifices were made. It is perhaps remarkable, that the possession by the Maoris of a plant, native to New Zealand, should have wrought on them such terrible disasters as we shall have to relate. But for the flax (phormium tenax) the Maoris would not have obtained by barter the number of muskets that enabled them to almost exterminate those tribes that were not conveniently situated for traffic with the white man. It was at a later date that pigs and potatoes became articles of barter. As the Nga-Puhi tribes were the first to procure these invaluable muskets, it was they who created the greatest havoc in the early years of this century, and during that period they became the dread of all the sea coast tribes.
The Nga-Puhi tribes were essentially canoe-men, and hence we find nearly all their expeditions, during which they created such desolation, were undertaken by water. Their expeditions on the west coast of the North Island were usually partly by water, partly by land, for the boisterous character of the west coast often precluded the use - 145 of canoes for lengthy expeditions. Their greatest successes were, however, obtained on the east coast; and here the Tai-hoenga-tamahine, as they call it, or “girls-paddling-sea,” in its calmer features and more numerous harbours, presented opportunities of which they took full advantage with their fleets. It cannot be said that the great success of the Nga-Puhi wars was due to the greater bravery of the tribes comprised under that name, for we have seen already,4 that up to the close of the eighteenth century, when native weapons alone were used, that they were as often beaten as not. It was the possession of muskets that gave them power and made their name dreaded all over the North Island. They had also capable leaders, but with the exception perhaps of Hongi-Hika, not more so than other tribes.
Judging from the traditions that have been preserved, no Nga-Puhi or other northern expedition ever penetrated further south than the Hauraki Gulf until the early years of the nineteenth century. From that time onward the northern tribes made frequent expeditions south-wards, reaching even the extreme south part of the North Island, but they never crossed to the Middle Island. So long as native arms alone were used, all tribes were practically on the same footing—for bravery was common to all, and thus the military expeditions of the north were limited in extent. Possession of the musket, placed in the hands of the northern tribes the means, and imbued them with the ideas of more extended conquest.
It may be questioned if the introduction of fire-arms led to a greater loss of life than when the old weapons were used—probably it did not, for the old method of fighting was more often than not, hand to hand, in which great numbers were slain when once a route commenced. The enormous numbers that were slain during the early years of the nineteenth century, was due rather to the greater number of wars. It may be said that the North Island was practically one great camp of armed men in those days. So soon as the power of the musket became known, together with the dread it inspired, it became the one absorbing object of all the tribes to possess it. Guns and ammunition must be purchased at any price, and as flax was the chief article of barter, the Maoris neglected their cultivations for its manufacture. Slaves became more valuable, for the purposes of preparing the flax, or as barter with those tribes who were lucky enough to reside at ports frequented by trading vessels. I do not know what the relative value of a musket was in flax, in those early times; but I am informed by the Ure-wera people, that they used to pay from three to five slaves for a musket, and two to three slaves for a small keg of - 146 powder. Their market was the Thames and Waikato, to which places they made long and perilous journeys to acquire these much desired articles.
It is obvious then that the introduction of fire-arms led to a decrease in the population, not alone through the numbers shot, but by the withdrawal of many from the cultivation of the soil to prepare flax, thus leading to an insufficiency of food. To these causes may be added wars specially undertaken to procure slaves to be used in barter.
The Missionaries, who had means of judging, estimated that the decrease in population during the first third of the nineteenth century, due to war, famine and their accompanyments, was about 80,000 souls. We may well believe this when we look on the vast number of old pas still to be seen and known to have been inhabited during the nineteenth century.
The Wars on the Border-land between Nga-Puhi and Ngati-Whatua.
In the closing years of the eighteenth century the Ngati-Whatua tribe were in possession of the whole of the west coast from Maunga-nui Bluff to Manukau Heads, and eastwards to the Tamaki River, whilst the east coast of the northern peninsula was occupied by them and their cognate tribes from Tamaki to near Whaugarei and thence across the upper waters of the Wairoa River to Maunga-nui Bluff. On their north was the series of tribes known generally under the name of Nga-Puhi, but of which there were many divisions, each distinguished by a tribal or hapu name, some of which will be found in the Appendix. Inter-marriage had often taken place between these tribes, and in the “Border-land” between them were hapus of whom it is difficult to say to which division they properly belonged. Thus the Roroa hapu or tribe, is nearly as much Nga-Puhi as Ngati-Whatua. Their territories laid along the coast from Kaihu to near Hokianga River, and it is with them that commences the series of events which we have to relate.
1795. In the following half-a-dozen events occuring in this Border-land, the dates are somewhat uncertain, but they cannot be far out. Their interest perhaps consists in showing the constant state of intertribal warfare in which the people existed, and the peculiar results of inter-marriages, through which individuals are often found fighting against what may be called their own tribe. The following table shows the connection of some of the people of this period, and one of whom, Tu-whare, was a very famous toa (brave) of the Roroa tribe whose exploits will be referred to later on.- 147
Family Tree. 1Manumanu, 2Ngaingai, 1Rangi-whetu-ma, 2Matohi, Ika-tao-roa, Toa, 1Tiro, 2Te Hara, 17555 1Te Waiata, 2Te Toko, 3Te Maia, 4Te Maunga, 1780, 1Taoho, 2Tu-whare (killed at Whanganui 1820), 1810, 1Te Rore, 2Puhi-hihi, 3Taua, Tiopira-Kinaki
Somewhere about the year 1795, there was a dispute about lands in the Kaihu Valley, then occupied by some of the Roroa tribe and their relations, and Tara-mai-nuku was driven from Waipoua by a war-party of other Roroa people of Waipoua, under the leadership of Te Waiata. Tara-mai-nuku settled down in the Kaihu Valley, but not in peace, for shortly afterwards Te Waiata followed him up, and defeated him in a battle fought at Wai-tata-nui. This was succeeded by another defeat at Te Hau-o-te-raorao, which caused Tara-mai-nuku and his people to flee to the Wairoa river, where they settled, whilst Te Waiata, his brother Te Maunga, and the former's son Taoho, settled at Kaihu. The soil of Kaihu valley which runs out to the Wairoa river at the modern town of Dargaville, is very rich, and must always have been a desirable place of residence for the Maoris on that account, and this no doubt was the reason of these fights for its possession amongst fellow tribesmen, who, however, were a few years later found all in arms against the common enemy, Nga-Puhi.
For some of the events in this border warfare I am indebted to Mr. John Webster, of Hokianga, and Mr. C. F. Maxwell, of Auckland, both of whom took great trouble to enquire into points wherein my own notes were deficient. Mr. Maxwell's authority is principally old Te Rore-Taoho, now a very old man of Te Roroa tribe, and the son of Taoho mentioned above. For some particulars I have to thank Paora-Kawharu, his son the Rev. Hauraki Paora, and Hone Mohi Tawhai.- 148
1805. At about the year 1804 or 1805 the Roroa tribe was living principally in the Kaihu valley and Waipoua. Their chiefs at that time were Taoho, Hukeumu, Te Maunga, Tuohu, and Te Toko. On one occasion these chiefs received a friendly visit from the great Nga-Puhi chief Pokaia,6 whose home was at that time at Kirioke, near Kaikohe—that rich fertile district on the road from the Bay of Islands to Hokianga. Whilst staying at Waipoua, the news came from Otamatea, one of the inlets of mid-Kaipara, that the wife of Pinaki, Te Toko's son, had been seduced by one of the Ngati-Whatua men at Te Hekeua's settlement. where the home of the Uri-o-Hau tribe was, Te Hekeua being the principal chief of that tribe, and father of Pikea-te-Hekeua so well known to Europeans when the Otamatea district was settled.
Naturally, Te Roroa tribe were very angry at this insult to themselves in the person of the son of one of their chiefs, and at once steps were taken to avenge it. A taua or war party was immediately organised, and Pokaia was invited to join in it, no doubt through relationship to Te Roroa people. The Nga-Puhi chief would be nothing loth to see a little fighting; what Maori would? But he little foresaw the momentous results that were to flow from thus joining in the quarrel of others. The taua was under Te Toko, and it would have to pass down the Wairoa river and up the Otamatea in canoes. Now Te Roroa and Te Uri-o-Hau tribes are nearly related, and probably that is the reason why, on the arrival of the taua at Te Hekeua's pa, he waved a signal to Hekeumu, Taoho and Te Toko, to enter the pa and leave Pokaia and his party so that he (Te Hekeua) might attack him. A skirmish took place, in which Te Tao, Pokaia's son was killed by Te Hekeua; but what satisfaction Te Toko got for the insult offered to his daughter-in-law is not stated. It will be seen from the above incident that the Nga-Puhi leader had a take, or cause, against the Uri-o-Hau tribe, and incidentally one against Te Roroa tribe also, for it was they who invited him to assist them, in doing which he lost his son.
The taua now returned to Opanake in the Kaihu valley, where the body of Te Tao was buried, whilst Pokaia returned to his home. Before doing so he enjoined on Taoho the necessity of seeking revenge for “our son” (ta taua tamaiti). It was no doubt due to this unsuccessful expedition that Pokaia invented the saying applied to a taua that returns without accomplishing its object:—
Hokinga taua, te rae i Pakau-rangi.
(A returning war-party from Pakau-rangi point).
Pakau-rangi is a point on the Otamatea where this taua went to.- 149
1806 A year elapsed and Pokaia returned to Kaihu, to carry out the hahunga or exhumation of his son's bones, in order that they might be conveyed to his own home, when the usual tangi would be held over them by the relations. Pokaia now learnt that Taoho had taken no steps to avenge Te Tao's death, and consequently his take against Te Roroa tribe assumed such proportions that he was bound in Maori honour to take notice of it. Soon after his return home, events occurred which brought this feeling to a head. It was probably at this time that Pokaia made up his mind to attack Te Roroa tribe, and therefore took back with him to Wai-mutu the wife and children of Tore-tumua-te-Awha, to whom he was related. This would be done in order to save their lives.
Family Tree. Paikea = Kawa, Tara-mai-nuku = Te Taia, Tore-tumua-te-Awha = Pehirangi, Parore-te-Awha7
In the meantime matters had come to a head between Nga-Puhi and Te Roroa in another direction. A woman belonging to the former tribe had been killed at Waituna, a place inland of the Wai-mamaku river. This was said to have been done at the instigation of, or with the knowledge of, Hekeumu and Te Toko. This appears to have led to a skirmish, in which Nga-Puhi (probably the Hokianga people) suffered a severe defeat at the hands of Te Roroa. This fight took place at Waituna. Eruera Patuone8 was present with the Nga-Puhi and barely escaped with his life, after slaying the Roroa chief Tataka-hua-nui.
This event, though Pokaia was not engaged in it, was a further inducement for him to attack Te Roroa tribe; but there were other causes as well, for Mr. Carleton, in his “Life of Archdeacon Williams,” tells us that, “Pokaia, ancestor of the famous Hone Heke, was deeply in love with Kararu, sister of Hongi-Hika, and persecuted her so to become his wife, that she, to be rid of him, became the wife of Tahere, a much older chief. Pokaia, in order to vent his rage and vexation, made a wanton attack on Taoho, chief of Kaihu, a brave of the Ngati-Whatua tribe.”- 150
These causes combining, induced Pokaia to raise a taua and proceed to Kaihu, where he suddenly fell upon a small pa of Taoho's called Whakatau, near Maropiu, which he took by surprise, killing, and then eating all the inhabitants.
“This,” says Mr. Maxwell, “was the first overt act of war between Nga-Puhi and Te Roroa,” but the Nga-Puhi losses at Waituna may also be included as an additional take. From subsequent events, these fights may probably be fixed as occuring in the year 1806. We do not learn who the people were that were killed, but it is clear that they—being Te Roroa tribe—were nearly related to Ngati-Whatua of Southern Kaipara, for it was that tribe that rose in arms to avenge them.
For the first time in the history of Ngati-Whatua we learn for certain of the doings of their great leader Muru-paenga, who belonged to the branch named Ngati-Rongo. His home was on the eastern shores of the Kaipara river in the neighbourhood of Maka-rau, where he was visited by Marsden in 1820. At this time (1806) he would be about 35 to 40 years of age, and an accomplished warrior, who afterwards became celebrated for his prowess. It was Muru-paenga who now raised a taua of his own people to avenge the deaths of the Roroa people at Whakatau. He was joined by 100 men under Te Waru and Te Wana-a-riri of the Ngati-Whatua proper tribe, whose residence was at Otakanini, on the opposite side of the harbour to Muru-paenga's home. The taua proceeded northward by canoes up the Wairoa river to Kaihu, and thence crossing the Waoku plateau, fell suddenly on the Nga-Puhi settlements at Mata-raua, taking the pa Te Tuhuna, and killing a number of people. Mata-raua is situated on the upper Punaki-tere river, a branch of the Hokianga, and not far from Pokaia's home. Subsequently the taua attacked Tai-a-mai, near the present home of the Williams family, and were equally successful there. This slaughter was called “Te-patu-turoro.” According to Ngati-Whatua accounts, a peace was then concluded with Nga-Puhi, but this truce did not affect Te Roroa tribe, who had not apparently joined in the Ngati-Whatua expedition.
Nga-Puhi were now the sufferers, and were in honour bound to obtain utu for their losses. Pokaia again took the field and attacked and took Te Kawau pa near Kaihu, killing several people. He then attacked another of Te Roroa pas named Tirotiro, which was situated close to where Taoho was living. Hitherto Taoho had taken no notice of the killing of his people; he had said, “Let Pokaia take payment for the death of his son.” But finding that Pokaia seemed determined to push matters to extremities, he came to the conclusion that he would be the next victim, so abandoned his settlement at Opanake in the Kaihu valley, and removed to Te Puka on the Wairoa River. Nga-Puhi finding that Taoho had gone, followed him up and attacked - 151 him at Te Puka, but suffered a repulse and lost one of their chiefs, Taura-whero, of the Ngati-Manu hapu, who was killed by Taoho. Taoho again moved down the Wairoa to Arapohue, where Nga-Puhi followed him and were again repulsed. After this Nga-Puhi appear to have retired, for a sufficient time elapsed to allow of Te Roroa constructing pas at Tiki-nui (the bluff about four miles below Tokatoka) and at Tokatoka itself. In these fights we first hear of the celebrated Hongi-Hika,9 who took part in them under Pokaia's leadership. The Hokianga tribes of Ngati-Korokoro, Ngati-Manu, and Te Hikutu, formed part of the taua, no doubt anxious to avenge their losses at Waipuna. The result of this series of fights seems to have been not very decisive for either side, for both claimed the victory.
Whether Nga-Puhi now left the district or not is uncertain, but it is clear they withdrew for a time, for in the next event we find Taoho and his people sufficiently assured of safety to proceed to the west coast on a fishing expedition, leaving the woman and children at Tikinui. During his absence Nga-Puhi attacked and took that pa, killing most of the women and children, and then retired towards Maunga-nui Bluff.
Taoho now dwelt in his pa at Tokatoka, the graceful mount on the Wairoa river. From here, on one occasion he again went to the west coast to preserve tohe-roa, the giant cockle-shell of those parts. He was overtaken there by a small taua under Te Pona, of Ngati-Kawa, a sub-tribe of Te Uri-o-Hau, who stated that they were on their way to attack Nga-Puhi. They proceeded northwards along the coast to a place called Pa-hakehake, where they met Nga-Puhi under the leader- - 152 ship of Te Kahakaha, who fell on Te Pona's party in the night (moonlight) and killed 30 of them, but few escaping to carry back the news. It is not quite clear from the conflicting accounts preserved, but probably Wai-tarehu, of the Roroa tribe, was killed in this affair. Pa-hakehake is situated a few miles south of Moremo-nui, on the coast.
These events occured about 1806, and on the whole Nga-Puhi had gained the advantage. As Carleton says, these successes gave Pokaia a great name as a warrior, and therefore when he proposed a further campaign against Te Roroa, he found plenty of people willing to follow him, and amongst them Hongi-Hika, who was now beginning to come to the fore as a leader. In addition to this, the Nga-Puhi defeats at Wai-tuna and Mata-raua had to be wiped out, and in 1807 they made a great effort to do so, with what result will now be shown.
It is said by Nga-Puhi that their southern neighbours had a “saying,” or whakatauki, which referred to the dread inspired by the former in their wars. It is as follows:—
Taitapu and Whakarārā are two rocks in Hokianga, against which angry currents swirl, that are death to all canoes that come within their influence. Para-whenua-mea is emblematical for the traditional deluge of the Maoris. The “floods,” &c., mentioned in the “saying” are used for the tribes.
The date of the battle of Moremo-nui between Nga Puhi and Ngati-Whatua, is fixed by the following: Marsden, in writing of it, in more than one place, says it occurred two years before the taking of the “Boyd” at Whangaroa in 1809. Major Cruise learnt from the natives (probably from Tui who could speak English) that the great battle took place twelve years before 1820. Te Puhi-Hihi, of Kaihu, Kaipara, told Mr. C. F. Maxwell that it took place two years before the “Boyd,” though, at the same time Te Rore-Taoho feels sure it took place after the “Boyd.” We shall be very near the mark in fixing it at 1807. The following table shows the connection of some of those to be mentioned shortly. It is an Uri-o-Hau line, a branch of the Ngati-whatua tribe:—- 153
Family Tree. Rangi-tu-ke, = Waitaia, Tareha, (w) Paehawa, = Kainga, (w) Kiri-wahakairo, = Ranginui, Haututu, = Waiariki (w), Kahu-pupara, = Awa, Nganaia, Hekeua, Tao-maui(w), = Mara, Haututu, = Whau (w), A. K. Haututu, Paikea, Eramia, Te Toko-o-te-rangi, = Kiriora, Tina, = Mahu, Te Toko
Connected as the two tribes of Nga-Puhi and Ngati-Whatua were by inter-marriage, the news that Nga-Puhi contemplated an expedition against Ngati-Whatua on a larger scale than usual, would soon reach the ears of the latter. That this was so, the following incident obtained from Mr. J. White, will show.
In the times we write of there lived on the Northern Wairoa, a chief of Te Uri-o-hau, named Te-Toko-o-te-rangi, who was a first cousin to Paikea-te-Hekeua, the late chief of that hapu. Te Toko was visited by Marsden in 1820, when on his second visit to Kaipara, and he was then living on the Wairoa. He seems to have been—as many chiefs were in those days—a Tohunga, and of course a believer in the power of the Maori atuas, as will be shown, but evidently did not place so much faith in his particular atuas as in those of Nga-Puhi. The Maori story10 relates that, “In former days Nga-Puhi often went to war with Ngati-Whatua, and in consequence of their frequency, a chief of Kaipara named Te Toko made a journey to Kaikohe, to consult an old Priestess who lived there, and to obtain from her an atua to help his tribe against Nga-Puhi. After passing the night at Kaikohe, Te Toko made known his object to the old Priestess, who gave him a Hei or Tiki to be worn on the neck, it was made of Rau-kawa11, carefully bound up in Aute bark. Te Toko asked, “How shall I use this atua?” The Kuia replied, “Do this: When you reach home command thy people to build a carved house in which to keep the atua. Then make a copy of the atua, let it be an image of - 154 a living man; make it out of a large tree, the height whereof shall be three maro (about 18 feet). One end of the Tiki shall be carved in the semblance of a man, the other end shall be sharpened so it may be forced into the ground. Let it stand upright when set in the ground, so that all may see it from the marae of the pa. The top part must be the height of a man, and let the moko be fully carved (moko-tukupu), with eyes of paua shell. Thou shalt form an image of a child in the arms of the Tiki, and let some lizards (mokomoko) crawl on his legs, on his sides, and on his hands and breasts. At the back of the Tiki, make a receptacle with a cover, and therein deposit the atua which I have given thee. Let the handle of the cover be carved in the shape of a lizard. When the Tiki is completed, all of ye—men, women and children—shall set to and build a carved house. When this is finished, let the Tohunga go inside and there sit in the right hand corner as ye enter, with his face turned to the window, and then recite his kawa (or incantation) for removing the tapu from a new house. Let him recite the Karakia which is called “Whakatau,” as follows:—
The above karakia is very old, there is little doubt it was brought over by the Maoris from Hawaiki. It embodies the tau or war-song of Whakatau, when he attacked the Poporokewa people, and burnt their town at Te-Uru-o-Manono, long before the fleet of canoes came to New Zealand.16 It is said here to be a kawa-whare, or incantation to remove the tapu from a new house, but it is used, I think, also before going to war; perhaps it served a double purpose in this case, seeing the object with which the house was built. It is full of allusions to Whakatau's exploits all through, though veiled in symbolical language. I may say here, that in the above and many other translations of old compositions to follow, I have done my best to give some idea of their meaning, but feel that probably I have often missed the inner meaning—for the difficulties are great in all such poetry. The present generation of Maoris can give little belp,—they have themselves lost the meaning.
“Directly Te Toko reached his house on the Wairoa river, all his people set to work to make the Tiki and build the house exactly as the old Priestess had directed. On completion, they proceeded to the woods to catch birds, and to the rivers for fish, and collected (ka āmi) Kumaras, Roi, Pohue, Tawa and Hinau berries,17 and lastly quantities of dried shark. This food was set out as a Hakari, or feast. When cooked it was stacked in two rows as high as a man. Then the people assembled, standing outside the pile of food, whilst the Tohungas went backwards and forwards between the rows, where the people could hear them “telling” (tatau) of events to come, for they could see the spirits of the Nga-Puhi people who would be killed by Ngati-Whatua after the feast. When this was over, the chief Tohunga called to those sitting around the rows of food, “Tena! Tongia!”—“Drag forth!” Then each one of the assembled multitude simultaneously stretched forth his left hand towards the food, and took a - 157 portion, bringing their hands back to their mouths all at the same time. When this was over, they all sprung to their feet, and took the food away, dividing up into groups of six and eight, and proceeded to consume the eatables in the baskets before them. The remains of the feast, not consumed, was left as it stood in the baskets, as an offspring (koha) to the gods.”
The native history then goes on to say, that not long after this the Nga-Puhi tribes assembled under Pokaia, Hongi-Hika and others, for a descent on Kaipara, to the number of five hundred warriors. At that time the Nga-Puhi were just beginning to acquire fire-arms, and a few, but not many of them, were armed with muskets, whilst Ngati-Whatua owned none. A few of the Hokianga people joined in this expedition, but the bulk—Mr. Webster informs me—remained at home watching the result. The taua came along by way of the West Coast, passing through the Roroa territories which extend from near Wai-mamaku—some two miles south of Hokianga Heads—to Kai-para. It is probable that the Roroa people retreated before them to their relatives dwelling on the banks of the Wairoa, for we hear of no incidents of the march until the taua arrived at Waikarā, just to the north of Maunga-nui Bluff, where Nga-Puhi waited some time, living on the cultivations there. Some one of the taua, being probably tired of a vegetable diet, suggested, “E! me tiki he kuao hei kinaki mo a tatou riwai”—“Let us go and fetch a young one as a relish for our potatoes”; the “young one” meaning one of their enemies in this case, though it usually signifies a young pig. A small party, acting on this hint, crossed over Maunganui Bluff and killed a man belonging to the Roroa tribe, who, no doubt, was duly eaten as kinaki for the potatoes.
The news of the coming of Nga-Puhi had already been announced to the Ngati-Whatua tribe in southern Kaipara by special messengers, and preparations were made to meet the foe before they invaded the Kaipara territories. Muru-paenga summoned his warriors and departed by canoe for the Wairoa river, accompanied by Ngati-Whatua proper from Otakanini and its neighbourhood, under their chief Te Wana-a-riri and many another noted warrior.
Taoho, of Te Roroa hapu was sitting at the door of his house in the pa of Tokatoka, from which there is a very extensive view in all directions. He saw a column of smoke go up from Maunganui Bluff, the well known signal used by these tribes for generations past to denote the presence of an enemy. Arising he sung the ngeri, or war song of Ngati-Whatua:—
The people of the pa at once aroused and prepared for the march, whilst messengers were dispatched to hasten the arrival of the Southern people. Scouts were sent off, who ascertained that Nga-Puhi were in force on the south side of Maunganui Bluff. One of these men penetrated into the camp by night, and moving quietly about learned that Nga-Puhi intended to move on the next night to Moremo-nui and there camp, as it was the only place along the coast in that part where was a sufficiently large opening in the cliffs to admit of so numerous a party camping. Whilst making his way out of camp the scout secured a basket of kao, or dried kumaras, and hastening back through the night brought it to Taoho, and the taua of combined Ngati-Whatua, Te Roroa, and Te Uri-o-Hau, then camped on the coast, as a visible proof of the story he had to tell. An immediate advance on Moremo-nui was decided on by the leaders, Muru-paenga and Taoho, and before night the force was in ambush at that place.
Moremo-nui is a little stream which, after passing through the sand-dunes on top of the red clay cliffs, falls into the sea about twelve miles south of Maunganui Bluff. The perpendicular cliffs are here about 150 feet high, and below them lies the long, straight, hard, sandy beach of Ripiro, that extends in one direct line for fifty-two miles from Maunganui Bluff to Kaipara Heads. The little valley in which the stream runs is clothed in flax and toetoe, which afforded shelter to the Ngati-Whatua host, as it awaited the coming of Nga-Puhi. No doubt, as each warrior lay concealed awaiting the foe, he repeated his ki-tao or reo-tao to give power and efficacy to his weapon. The following is a Ngati-Whatua specimen of such a prayer:—
Moremo-nui was an ambuscade, not a pitched battle in due form. In the latter case, certain formalities were complied with before the fighting commenced. In his “Lectures,” 1851, the Rev. Mr. Buddle gives a good description of these preliminaries, which are worth repeating because the “Karere Maori” newspaper, in which the lectures were published, is very scarce, and, moreover, Mr. Buddle was a competent authority on such subjects. He says, “When the armies meet in open field, they were drawn up by their respective leaders in deep columns face to face, accompanied with the hideous war dance. The toas, or braves, rushed out between whilst the principal body rested on their arms or flourished about defying their enemies, the toas aiming at distinction by slaying the first man (mata-ika). The leaders generally exerted themselves to excite the passions of the army by addresses. The reasons of the conflict are set forth with all the peculiar powers of Maori oratory, and by the most impassioned appeals to the excited feelings of the untutored savage. The pride of the tribe, their honor, their wives and their children, the bravery of their ancestors, the spirits of the departed, their own lives now menanced—every fact and circumstance dear to them is invoked, and all the powers of their wild poetry and savage rhetoric employed to influence the passion of war and stimulate bravery.”The obtaining of the first blood, the death of the first slain—or mata-ika—was considered a matter of very great importance as presaging the victory of the side that obtained it. On meeting, the toas or braves advanced in front of the ranks which were frequently separated only by a small space, sometimes not more than twenty feet. A toa would sometimes dash at the ranks of the enemy and there dispatch his victim with a blow of the mere or a spear thrust; this was considered—as it truly was—an act of bravery, and the toa got great fame through thus securing the mata-ika. The usual exclamation of the victor on such occasions was, “Kei au te mata-ika!”—“I have the first fish!”—at which his friends raise a great shout (umere) and at once proceed to attack their enemies.
But to return to Moremo-nui. Before dawn the Ngati-Whatua host partook of a hasty meal, and not long afterwards, just at the break of day, the Nga-Puhi army appeared, and, not suspecting the proximity of their opponents, at once took off their belts, laid down their weapons and proceeded to prepare a meal. Whilst eating they were suddenly attacked by Ngati-Whatua and for a time a great scene of confusion ensued, as warriors rushed here and there to secure - 160 their weapons. Ngati-Whatua soon drove them to the open beach, where an obstinate fight took place, lasting for some time, as success first favored one party, then the other. The Nga-Puhi guns stood them in good stead, for Ngati-Whatua had none. It is said that one of the latter was pierced by eight bullets before he fell, and that he eventually recovered. His name is forgotten. Eventually Ngati-Whatua, incited thereto by Muru-paenga and Taoho, closed on their enemies with a rush, and during the melee, Pokaia received a death-blow from a mere at the hands of Taoho. Nga-Puhi were panic stricken at the death of their leader, and commenced to flee. At this juncture, Taoho directed Teke an Uri-o-Hau chief, to get close up to the retreating Nga-Puhi, and with his weapon draw a deep line on the sandy beach, beyond which none of the Ngati-Whatua taua were to pass in chase. It is said by the victors, that had this not been done, the whole of Nga-Puhi would have been overtaken and slain. As it was, they lost some great chiefs, amongst whom were Pokaia (the leader), Te Waikeri, Tu-Karawa, Tohi, Hou-awe, Ti, Hau-moka and others,19 whilst the celebrated Hongi-Hika only escaped by his fleetness of foot. Nga-Puhi acknowledge to have lost one hundred and fifty20 men out of the five hundred that composed the taua. It is said that Taoho was wounded in the mouth by a spear-thrust, that passed right through his head coming out at the back of the neck. Whilst his opponent still held one end of the spear, Taoho drew it towards him and then killed his enemy with a blow from his mere.
I have a note of an occurrence which took place just before the battle of Moremo-nui, which seems to me to lack probability, however. It is said that on the arrival of Te Roroa people at Ripiro beach, Taoho was anxious to make peace with Nga-Puhi, and with that object obtained an interview with Hou-wawe and Hau-moka. He attempted to hongi (rub noses) with them, but Hau-moka was full of passion and would not consent, the foam covering his mouth as he stormed at Taoho. When Nga-Puhi witnessed the rage of Hau-moka they arose and fell on Ngati-Whatua, which resulted in the battle. It is just possible this incident may have occurred after the “marking of the sand,” but it seems doubtful.
Although this battle took place at Moremo-nui, it is generally called “Te Kai-a-te-karoro” (the sea-gull's feast), because the dead were so numerous that they could not all be eaten by the victors, and hence were left for the sea-gulls. Another name for it is “Te Haenga-o-te-one” (the marking of the sand), from the line drawn by Teke to stop the pursuit.- 161
The southern Ngati-Whatua leaders in this affair were Muru-paenga, Mawete, Whakaoho, Te Wana-a-riri, Te Otene and Marurahi, the two latter being young men at the time. The Uri-o-Hau leaders were Te Hekeua, his son Paikea, Puriri, Manukau, Te Toko-o-te-rangi, and others. It was from Puriri that I obtained my account of this engagement, which has been supplemented by that obtained by Mr. Maxwell from Taoho's son, Te Rore-Taoho.
It is probable that Marsden's friend Te Morenga was present, fighting with Nga-Puhi, for he told the former in 1820 that he had been with four hostile expeditions against Ngati-Whatua, in two of which they were beaten, and in one of which his grandfather had been killed and eaten. It is stated that two brothers and many relations of Hongi Hika were killed at Moremo-nui.
The return home of the Nga-Puhi taua after their defeat, and without the usual accompaniment of preserved heads of either friends or foes, must have been a very humiliating one, whilst the ardent desire to obtain utu for their losses would be very strong and wide-spread. It is said that this defeat was the principal reason of Hongi Hika's visit to England in 1820, for the express purpose of obtaining arms wherewith to avenge the death of his tribesmen. But it was not until 1825 that Nga-Puhi finally took an ample revenge, and on that occasion they nearly annihilated the Ngati-Whatua tribe at the battle of Te Ika-a-ranganui. There were, however, between these dates, many skirmishes, as will be seen.
Further Wars on the Border-Land.
In the following series of events, the exact dates are even more difficult to determine than those occurring prior to the taking of the “Boyd” in 1809, which serves as a fixed point from which Maoris count events. The memory or these occurrences is fast fading with the disappearance of the old men.
Family Tree. Korokoro, Whitiki, Tangaroa, Te Hau-nui, Te Hunga, 1Hape 2Korewha 3Te Aitu, Wharetotara Kahe 1Moetara 2Rangatira, Nga-ture Pene-kahe Hapakuku-Moetara
As the Ngati-Korokoro tribe of Lower Hokianga—a branch of Nga-Puhi—were engaged in many of the scenes to follow, a table showing the descent to the present time from Korokoro, from whom the tribe (or hapu) derives its name, as kindly given me by Mr. John Webster is shown in the margin. Ngati-Korokoro have their home about Hokianga Heads, and consequently were not distant neighbours of Te Roroa tribe, with which they appeared to have intermarried; hence we sometimes find the two tribes allied as against - 162 Nga-Puhi proper (or the Waimate and Bay of Islands people), and again, fighting on opposite sides. It was in Hape's days that most of this Border-land fighting took place, though his name is not mentioned, whilst Moetara was a warrior of renown at a latter date.
1808 It would appear that Te Roroa were not satisfied with their victory over Nga-Puhi at Moremo-nui, or possibly thought a good opportunity had arisen to pay off old scores: they therefore proceeded to Wai-māmaku, some two or three miles south of Hokianga Heads, and there met Ngati-Korokoro at Wai-o-te-marama, where they were successful in obtaining a victory over the latter tribe, killing the Ngati-Korokoro chief Te Haunui and Te Kawau of the Mahurehure tribe of Waima, upper Hokianga. Hongi Hika was present on this occasion, and a good many muskets were used, though Te Roroa had none.
In retaliation for this, Ngati-Korokoro attacked Te Roroa (where, is not stated) and succeeded in killing Waitarehu, of the latter tribe. These events probably took place in 1808–9, or about that time.
1810 Apparently, to square the account, Te Roroa now carried the war into the enemy's country (probably going over the Waoku plateau), where they made a descent on the Waima valley, the home of the Mahurehure division of Nga-Puhi. Here they were successful, beating Nga-Puhi and killing many men. The dead were so thickly packed in the stream, on the banks of which the fight took place, that the flow of water was completely stopped, and hence was this fight named Wai-puru from that circumstance. Ngati-Korokoro were not engaged in this fight, for they had in the meantime fallen out with some of the Tokerau (Bay of Islands) people and were absent on a foray into that country. Hongi Hika was not present either; probably he was not aware in time of the Roroa raid, and, moreover, doubtless his attention was taken up by the Ngati-Korokoro foray into and past his territories.
The Nga-Puhi leaders on this occasion are said to have been Te Waka Nene, Patu-one, Moetara and Te Whare-umu, but it is doubtful.
At the landing on the Waima river, the Roroa taua found the canoes belonging to Ngati-Korokoro, then at Tokerau. Te Roroa tribe, doubtless seeing here an easier means of getting part of the way home, and not willing to allow so good an opportunity to be lost of punishing Ngati-Korokoro, took possession of the canoes and paddled off down towards the Heads. Arrived at the mouth of the Whirinaki River, they found the Opara village, belonging to Ngati-Korokoro, unoccupied by a garrison, and proceeded to land. The women, observing the approach of the canoes, at once concluded that the occupants were their own people returning and accorded them the customary cry of welcome. The Roroa landed and slew the whole of the inhabitants, and then departed for their homes along the coast. - 163 Amongst the women killed was a great chieftainess named Kau-taua-rua, of the Ngati-Manu tribe of Lower Waihou (Hokianga). This was in all probably about 1810 or 1811.
Mr. John Webster says that in retaliation for their losses, the Ngati-Korokoro, Ngati-Manu and Hikutu (of Whirinaki) raided into the Kaipara country (northern Wairoa) and attacked Te Roroa tribe at Tikinui, beating them and losing the Ngati-Manu chief Taura-whero; but it is doubtful if the native who gave Mr. Webster the information (Pene Kahe) was not confusing this event with Pokaia's victory over Te Roroa at the same place (see ante).
1813 The next incident was the death of Te Tihi. Carleton, in his life of Archdeacon Williams, says this occurred soon after Hongi Hika's return from England in 1821, but a very close study of the “Missionary Record” of that period seems to show that Hongi was not absent from his home in that year until he sailed for the Thames. The “Life of Jacky Marmon” also gives 1821 as the date, but as this account—so far as many of the dates are concerned—follows Carleton, even where he is in error, it has little weight. I am inclined to place this occurrence at at about 1812 to 1814, and it would seem the expedition which Hongi Hika then undertook was in retaliation for the Ngati-Korokoro expedition to Tokerau, mentioned above. Another reason given for this raid into Lower Hokianga was, that Ngati-Pou (nearly related to Ngati-Korokoro), under their chief Tuohu, had assisted in devouring some of the Nga-Puhi who fell at Moremo-nui. Hongi raised a taua and proceeded to Lower Hokianga, where he laid seige to the pa named Whiria at Pakanae, but he was eventually repulsed. This place is in the Ngati-Korokoro and Te Hikutu territories. Whiria pa was commanded by Te Hukeumu, who was of Te Roroa tribe, and also connected with Ngati-Pou and the adjacent hapus. He was placed in command by Moetara. The marginal line shows his descent from Rahiri, the great Nga-Puhi ancestor. Whilst the seige of Whiria was going on, Tuohu, then living in the Maere-rangi pa near Pakia, Hokianga South Head, made a diversion to distract Hongi's attention by raiding into the enemy's territory at Kaikohe, and there took Hongi's own pa named Pakinga,21 which he had left almost defenceless. Tuohu killed many of the women and children there. Finding he was not going to be successful in the - 164 taking of Whiria, Hongi returned homeward, but on his way learnt of the taking of Pakinga in his absence. He at once returned to Hokianga, and took Te Tihi's pa at Lower Waihou, where he also killed Te Tihi himself, shooting him with a horse pistol (kope). He then crossed the harbour and took Maere-rangi, Tuohu's pa. Te Tihi was nearly related to Ngati-Manu, and to Ngati-Pou, and he had been assisting also in feasting on Nga-Puhi at Moremo-nui. He was also related to the celebrated Tamati Waka Nene, our staunch ally in latter years. It is related of Hongi Hika, that on killing Te Tihi he swallowed his eyes—a very ancient Polynesian custom. Maning says, in “The War in the North,” that the death of Te Tihi at the hands of Hongi, was one of the reasons why Ngati-Pou joined our side in the war with Hone Heke in 1844—Hongi and Hone being near relatives.
In the series of engagements noted above, we learn that Nga-Puhi, under Hongi Hika, had obtained some satisfaction for their losses at Moremo-nui, but only as against the Ngati-Whatua allies, none of that tribe having been pitted against Nga-Puhi since Moremo-nui. The reason of this is probably due to the fact that their capable leader, Muru-paenga, was absent from his Kaipara home for some considerable time between 1810 and 1815 (exact date uncertain), in an expedition to the far south, when he reached the neighborhood of Opunake, on the Taranaki coast. From the Taranaki accounts he appears to have been generally successful.
Here ends this account of the “Border Warfare” as far as it is known. It was not until some years afterwards that Ngati-Whatua met Nga-Puhi again.
We must now turn to events on the East Coast, which at this period began to occupy the attention of Nga-Puhi much more than those on the West Coast.
(To be continued.)
1 See this Journal, vol. v. and vi.
2 Hoani Marua, many years ago, explained that the original meaning of Orakei-korako, the name of the hot springs on the Waikato river, was O-rakei (the place of) adorning, korako (at the) white sinter. At that place is a beautifully clear hot spring in the siliceous sinter, used formerly by chiefs to wash and adorn themselves at, the margins of which are beautifully white, hence korako.
3 Myths and Songs, p. 13.
4 Peopling of the North.
5 Approximate dates of birth. Te Rore is still living (in 1897).
6 Father of Hone Heke, who conducted the war against the British Government in 1844.
7 Parore-te-Awha was a very fine specimen of the old Maori chief—a fine stalwart man, beautifully tatooed, whose mana over his people was very great. He died at Kaihu in 1894, between 90 and 100 years old. His mother, Pehi, was of the Ngati-Rangi tribe of Kaikohe, and a descendant of Rahiri (see p. 151.)
8 Eruera Maihi Patuone, brother of Tamati Waka Nene, the great friend of the Pakeha, died 14th September, 1872, at the probable age of 108. He was of the Ngati-hao tribe of Hokianga.
9 The following table shows Hongi Hika's connection with the great Nga-Puhi ancestor Rahiri, who was their “Tino-ariki,” and “Taumata-okiokinga,” supreme chief and head of all Nga-Puhi:—
Family Tree. Puhi-moana-ariki, Te Hau, RAHIRI, Kaharau, Taurā-poho, Mahia-paoke, Nga-hue, Te Wairua, 1 Auhā, Te Hotete, Hongi-Hika, Hare-Hongi, Toetoe-Hongi, 2 Maru, Kāwhi, Tamahāa, Mohi-Tawhai, Hone-Mohi, 3, Te Muranga, Kahuru, Te Maai, Rewa, Kerei-Mango-nui, 4 Te Whakaaria, 1 Maru, Pehi-rangi (f) Parore-te-Awha, Te-Ahu-Parore, 2 Wai-o-hua, Te Koua Hone-Heke
10 From Te Popoto hapu of Nga-Puhi.
11 A name for one of the species of green jade.
12 Probably a human victim referred to as a bird, a common designation in central Polynesia.
13 The valiant hero Whakatau is said to have been very small in stature, and that in the expedition to avenge the death of Tu-whaka-raro, he sat in the fore part of the canoe, “hidden like a spider.” Hence the reference in the tau above. It is also said of him (metaphorically) that he could be hidden under the fingernail.
14 In other words, disaster due to the powers of nature cannot be overcome by man.
15 In this name I see a reference to the people of Atu-Hapai, who, by the Samoans were called Tonga-Fijians, i.e., the Polynesians of the Fiji group of those days to which the people attacked by Whakatau belonged.
16 In this Journal, vol. viii., p. 15, the incidents connected with Whakatau's deeds are shown from Rarotonga traditions to have occurred in the Hapai Group, circa 875.
17 Sweet potatoes, fern-roots, convolvulous roots, Tawa berries (dried and cooked,) Hinau berries made into cakes.
18 The puru is the name of a projection on Tokatoka mount. “Be firm as the rock on Tokatoka” is the meaning.
19 Mr. J. Webster says that Rangatira was also killed here; he was a great chief of Lower Hokianga.
20 Judge Maning says three hundred, Carleton two hundred, and that one hundred and seventy heads were stuck up on poles by Ngati-Whatua.
21 Pakinga pa is near the road from Kaikohe to Te Taheke, and had been celebrated in ancient days as the residence of Te Wairua, and as the pa that withstood many seiges.