Volume 27 1918 > Volume 27, No. 105 > The Land of Tara and they who settled it. Part II, by Elsdon Best, p 1-25
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(Continued from page 169, Vol. XXVI.)

NOW, after the above fight, a long time afterwards, ‘Takitimu’ (a vessel commanded by Tamatea) arrived and lay there for a while, having come from Hokianga and Muriwhenua, in the Nga-Puhi region (North New Zealand). Enough; for the sojourn of Tamatea-ariki has already been related by me, and his going to the South Island, when Tamatea, Te Rongo-patahi, Kohupara, Puhi-whanake, Kaewa and Maahu went, the folk of Ngati-Waitaha clan were numerous. When ‘Takitimu’ had gone on, then Mapouriki, Te Hoeroa and Te Kahawai arrived, Whatonga had sent there to visit his people, to ascertain how they were getting on.


About this period Tautoki and his people moved away and settled at Wai-rarapa, while Tara and his folk became the permanent residents of Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara and as far as Wai-rarapa. But Tautoki occupied Wai-rarapa only, extending toward Tamaki (Wood-ville), and toward Te Rerenga-o-Mahuru, which bounded his area of occupation. His boundary then cut across to the Akitio stream, followed that down to the great ocean, then along the beach southward to the Great Harbour of Tara, then ran up the Heretaunga (Hutt) river - 2 to its head, then on to Te Rere-a-Mahanga (near Te Toko-o-Houmea, on the range west of Featherston), thence to Nga-Whakatatara and as far as Kauwhanga. 1 It then ran down to the Manawa-tu, struck inland to Kai-mokopuna (a mokopeke? named from a lizard), where the boundary closed. All these lands belonged to Tautoki and his elder brother and their descendants, even down to this generation the măna of their descendants remains good over such lands as they retained. Some portions were handed over to other peoples by the brothers and by their grandchildren and descendants.

Now the boundary of the western portion ran up the Heretaunga river to its head, thence it connected with Te Rere-a-Mahanga, then struck westward to Taumata-o-Karae, then ran into the head of the Otaki river, and ran down as far as the western ocean, crossed over to Kapiti, ran thence to Mana, thence to Te Rimurapa (Sinclair Head), thence to the headland of Para-ngarehu (Pencarrow Head), thence along the sea beach as far as the mouth of Heretaunga (Hutt river). This region was retained by Tara, his offspring and people, only.


It was while Tara was yet living that Ngati-Mamoe arrived and settled at the Great Harbour of Tara. He handed over to them the lands of Pahua (Karori and lands southward of it) as far as the ocean, thence to Te Rimurapa (Sinclair Head), and as far as Wai-pahihi (one of the streams flowing into Cook Straits), the mouth of which faces Arapawa (South Island). Thence the boundary ran up that stream and struck the breast of Te Wharangi, a ridge that extends to the Porirua district, thence it ran to the eastern side of Te Wharangi, descended to the Waikohu stream and eastwards toward the Great Harbour of Tara, as far as the head of that stream, then struck off toward the south, ascended the ridge of Te Kopahou, ran along the top of the ridge to the salt-water sea at the south side of Te Hapua (Te Hapua o Rongomai), on the western side of the place called Island Bay; that place is Te Hapua. That completes the bounds of the lands handed over to Ngati-Mamoe at that time. At the time when Ngati-Mamoe migrated to Arapawa (South Island) and abandoned the lands, all of them came again into the possession of Ngai-Tara.

Here ends the story of the exploration of Wellington Harbour by Tara and his followers, of their settlement on its shores, and of some subsequent events, as related by an old native whose memory was a rich storehouse of traditional lore. It is one of the best accounts we have collected of such occurrences in past times, and casts a considerable amount of light on native customs and Maori mentality. - 3 It includes several divergences from the main story, but is given as it was told by the old expert. The relater was a native of the Wai-rarapa district, where dwell the descendants of Tara. When the descendants of Tara, Tautoki, Ira and Kahungunu were expelled from the Wellington district early in the nineteenth century, most of the refugees went to Wai-rarapa, where their descendants are still living. The translation has been made in a fairly literal manner, in order to illustrate certain interesting idiomatic usages—to resort to paraphrase would detract from its interest.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the above narrative is the proof provided by oral tradition that, in the days of Tara, say seven hundred years ago, the present Miramar peninsula, the Hataitai of the modern Maori, was an Island. This is distinctly shown and is a legend well worthy of record. It is also made fairly clear that, in those days, the western entrance channel extending from Lyall to Evans' Bay was shoal water.

The cultivated food product termed korau mentioned as having been grown on Somes Island, is alluded to in many of these old traditions, and it constitutes a puzzling matter. It is described as a turnip-like root, and our introduced swede turnips are called by the same name. Many natives stoutly maintain that this food plant was grown here for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans, yet no one of our early voyagers appear to have seen it.

Like all Maori narrators, our expert speaks in a very loose manner in regard to contemporaries of any person under discussion. Thus Whatonga is said to have resided here with his grandchildren, while his own grandfather was still living, which is hardly likely to have been the case, though not impossible. Certain discrepancies are always liable to appear, and do so appear, in such oral traditions.

It may be of some interest to relate how the above tradition came to be recited at a native meeting held fifty years ago, as told by the person who wrote down the story:—On the 7th of March in the year 1867, when we were at Kete-pakaru, Te Waitere and Kereopa said to Moihi Te Matorohanga:—“O Sir! Tell us who settled the coastal lands between Heretaunga (Napier district) and Wai-rarapa.

Moihi replied:—“I am weary of telling you the treasured tales of the men who retained the old-time lore; you so frequently interrupt me when I do speak.”

Kereopa remarked:—“Sir! Your elder, Te Ura-o-te-rangi, is the one who hinders your recitals.”

Te Matorohanga replied:—“Very well. It shall be just an ordinary discourse for ourselves. I will commence to trace out these matters from the region of Turanga-nui-a-Rua (Poverty Bay) at the rawhitiroa (east).” Here he began the story as given above.

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Maori linguists will note the definite remarks as to the fact of Miramar being an island in the days of Tara in several passages, e.g., “Ko te motu nui rawa kei te pu o te tonga, kei te puau o nga rerenga e rua ki waho ki Tahora nui a Hine-moana,” followed by “Engari nga motu ririki e rua.” As also:—“Ka haere ki te mataki i nga ngutuawa o te moana, me te motu nui o waenganui o aua awa e rua.” Other such passages will be noted in the narrative.

The instructions given by old Whatonga in regard to the construction of the fortified village on the ridge above Worser Bay, the defensive works on either side of the path leading to the water supply, the preparing of a place of refuge in the forest, the storing of food supplies, and the instituting of small outposts, give us a very good idea of Maori life and self-reliance in the stone age. Not less interesting is the lecture on the use of arms, and the novel practice of watching the big toe of the foremost foot of an adversary.

The curious admixture of shrewd sense, highly trained skill, and superstition observed in this narrative is illustrative of the Maori character, and is a common feature in all such recitals.

The tale concerning Te Rangi-kai-kore and the captive woman Hine-rau is a pleasing one, showing that the neolithic Maori occasionally exhibited traits not usually looked for among a cannibal people.

The story of the attack by Mua-upoko avengers on Motu-kairangi is a stirring one, and such episodes have been numerous in the history of old time Wellington. The doleful braying of the war-horns across the waters of Te Awa-a-Taia is no longer heard as of yore, but the raucous shriek of motor cars is no mean substitute therefor. The loose march of the Mua-upoko raiders along the sands of Te One-i-Haukawakawa (Thorndon beach) has been excelled by the orderly tramp of 500 of the descendants of Toi, the wood-eater, as they passed to war in far distant lands beyond the red sun.

The name of the former water channel between Lyall and Evans' Bays is sometimes given as Te Awa-a-Taiau, instead of Te Awa-a-Taia. The name of the present entrance is Te Au-a-Tane, but is occasionally given as Te Au-nui-a-Tane.

The coming of the ‘Takitimu’ canoe from Eastern Polynesia must have occurred long after the time of Tara, though a reference to it is here inserted.

The first mention of the numbers of Ngai-Tara at the time of the Mua-upoko raid is evidently an error, or the word hundred is understood. The second statement of six hundred is very likely one of the loose statements so frequently made by natives when dealing with numbers. If that number be correct then the raid must have occurred long after the time of Tara.

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The cremation of the bodies of the slain chiefs at Houghton Bay illustrates an old custom, that of burning the bodies of persons killed in enemy country. The names of chiefs only of those slain are preserved in tradition, those of commoners are forgotten.

Of the place names round Whetu-kairangi mentioned as being occupied by the raiders, the location of Te Mirimiri and Takapuna has not been ascertained, but these places were probably on the ridge north and south of the pa, which was on the ridge-top above the spring known as Te Puna-a-Tara and Te Puna-a-Tinirau, in Worser Bay. A few other place names have not been located.

The descendants of Tara occupying this district adopted the tribal name of Ngai-Tara, while those of Tautoki took the tribal name of Rangitane, after the son of Tautoki.

The Wai-pahihi stream may be the Karori or Oterongo, while the Wai-kohu can scarcely be any other than the eastern tributary of the Karori stream, the upper reaches of which served as part of the boundary of the land grant to Ngati-Mamoe. It is, however, now impossible to identify some of these old place names, as they were not acquired and preserved by the tribes who took possession of this district a century ago. Te Kopahou is the range on the eastern side of the headwaters of the Kai-wharawhara stream. Te Hapua-o-Rongomai is probably at the mouth of the Owhiro stream. It was so named because the atua or god Rongomai (personified form of meteors) was seen to descend at that place.

Another version of the story of the naming of the harbour runs as follows—Te Umu-roimata remarked to Tara:—“O Sir! What name shall we give this sea?” Tara replied:—“Let us call it Tawhiti-nui, after the old home-land of our people.”

Te Umu said:—“Not so. Let you (yours) be its name.” Even so the harbour was named Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara instead of Tawhiti-nui. This woman is said to have named a number of places around the harbour. She said:—“Let the channel that connects the harbour with the ocean on the eastern side of Motu-kairangi (Sky-gazing Island) be named Te Au-a-Tane; and it was so named.

Motu-Kairangi, or Miramar Island, was looked upon as the ‘fostering parent’ of the Ngai-Tara folk, and to it all retreated on the approach of enemies. It was a particularly desirable place of residence so long as the tribe remained weak in numbers, and indeed until it became a peninsula. The bases of the talus slopes on the western side of Te Awa-a-Taia provided some cultivatable ground for the people. Maori occupation of the district has ever been principally confined to the Miramar peninsula (and island) and the coast as far as Owhiro. Occupation of the Thorndon area was a minor quantity, but the Hutt claimed more attention.

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Of the chain of forts on Te Ranga-a-Hiwi, the range extending from Point Jenningham to Island and Houghton Bays, the most important is said to have been Te Aka-tarewa. It was the residence of Hine-kiri, daughter of Te Rangi-kai-kore, a famous personage of her generation.

It has been seen that the boundary between the lands of Tara and Tautoki ran up the Hutt river and along the Tararua range. Such a boundary is alluded to as a waewae kapiti, and Kapiti island is said to have been named from this circumstance. Said Tara to his brother:—“Let us name this island after our waewae kapiti.” This curious expression signifies legs (or feet) side by side, or joined.

As other clans moved southward in search of lands, they were directed to available areas, or granted land on which to settle. Thus were the Mamoe folk located on the Pahua lands, and Mua-upoko in the Otaki district.

The following genealogy shows the descent of a Wai-rarapa family from Toi, the Polynesian voyager, through Tara. Te Manihera was well-known to the early white settlers of Wellington. The line is taken from Vol. VII. of the “Journal of the Polynesian Society”:—

Family Tree. Toi, Rongoueroa, Whatonga, Tara, Tiwhana-a-rangi, Hine-one, Tāhu, Te Rangi-tupewa, Te Rangi-tumaroro, Tuku-po, Turia, Hine-akau, Rangi-i-hiia, Hapai-te-rangi, Te Rangi-tuatahi, Ira-karaka, Kura-whango, Pouri, Matua-te-rangi, Hine-i-tukia, Whakairi-te-rangi, Tuawhio, Tama-i-wahā, Te Huinga, Tu-whakararo, Raurangi, Taketake, Te Ngaere, Te Manihera, Pou Manihera, Pou II.
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The Ngati-Mamoe or Tini-o-Mamoe people who took refuge here when compelled to leave the Napier district, were an aboriginal folk, a section of the Mouriuri aborigines. A clan of these aboriginal folk, known to the Maori as Maruiwi, occupied the Heipipi pa, situated on a ridge near Petane, a few miles north of Napier, on the coast, the remains of which can still be seen extending for half a mile along the ridges. Yet another band or tribe of aborigines known as Te Koau-pari, occupied lands about Mohaka river in Hawkes Bay. One of the principal chiefs of Te Tini-o-Mamoe, when residing in the Napier district, was one Orotu, after whom the inner harbour at Napier was named Te Whanga-nui-o-Orotu. The prefix Ngati in the tribal name has evidently been added by the Maori, and the eponymic ancestor Mamoe has not been fixed, inasmuch as there were two ancestors of that name, viz., Whatumamoe, sixth in descent from Tamaki, and one Mamoe who flourished seven generations after Whatu.

The pressure of emigrants from the north caused both the Mamoe folk and Maruiwi of Heipipi to leave the Napier district. The latter, curiously enough, moved north to the Bay of Plenty and settled at Te Waimana, where their earthwork forts of Mohoao-nui, Mapouriki and others are still in evidence. This northward movement is a puzzle, because the pressure that caused it came from the north, from the East Coast. It is probable that this movement of Maruiwi occurred long after the departure of the Tini-o-Mamoe.

The increasing population of the north that caused clan after clan to march southward in search of new homes, seems to have been the result of the arrival of many vessels from Eastern Polynesia, and the intermarriage between their crews and aboriginal women. Thus it is a fair presumption that these movements of tribes occurred long after the time of Toi. That of Maruiwi to the Bay of Plenty is shown by geanealogies to have taken place about ten to twelve generations ago.

When Ngai-Tara handed over the Pahua lands to Ngati-Mamoe, the latter constructed two fortified villages on the coast. Though possessing, as the Maori puts it, two baskets of food, represented by the ocean and the forest, the former one was the more important of the two. One of these pa, or fortified villages, known as Makure-rua is said to have been situated at or near Te Rimurapa, and just west of the Waipapa creek, which has a rocky bed. The pa contained two tihi (summits, hills or hillocks), and the spur end at Sinclair Head seems to be the only place in that vicinity that fits the description. Moreover there are signs of occupation on the top of the bluff, showing that the place has been occupied at some time. If this is Makure-rua, then the creek between Sinclair Head and the Red Rocks is Wai-papa, though most of these creeks have received more modern names, given by the Awa tribe.

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Their other pa was Wai-komaru, and it is said to have been located on a ridge west of Sinclair Head. Its site was probably on the narrow ridge, about a mile west of the Head, that diverts the course of the Mangarara stream, and prevents its running straight out to the beach.

This occupation by Ngati-Mamoe is said to have been directed by their chief Tu-kapua, a great grandson of Orotu, or Rotu, though genealogies of the aborigines are a somewhat doubtful quantity.

Family Tree. Orotu, Hine-rau, Ruhiruhi, Tu-kapua.

There is apparently no record of any fighting between Ngai-Tara and the Mamoe clan, and tradition states that, though the latter were at first suspicions of their neighbours, this feeling wore off and the two tribes became friendly. The length of the sojourn of the migrants in this district is not clear, but one version of the story is that they moved on to the South Island prior to the death of Tu-kapua. Another story is that they left here eighteen generations ago, say about the year 1460. When they made up their minds to cross the Straits, they said to Ngai-Tara:—“If you will provide us with canoes we will depart, and leave these lands for you to dwell on.” Whereupon they were given canoes, two of which were named ‘Te Ara-moana’ and ‘Te Pukohu.’ Here the Tini-o-Mamoe pass out of our ken, and their further history, a stormy one, belongs to the South Island, where are natives who claim descent from that much harassed clan.

Mr. J. A. Wilson has recorded a tradition that an old time tribe, known as Te Tauira, formerly lived at Te Wairoa, Hawkes Bay, that they were expelled from that district by Rakai-pāka and fled southward to Wai-rarapa. A tradition states that Otauira, a stream near Featherston, was named after them. Tauira, the eponymic ancestor of that clan is said to have married Te Ipuahau of Bay of Plenty, and begat Kopura, an ancestor of Taiaroa of Ngai-Tahu. Mamoe (the ancestor of that name) was connected with Te Tini-o-Rua-tamore, an aboriginal clan of the Napier district that sought shelter from northern invaders in the Seventy Mile Bush. Thus we see that bands of the original inhabitants were driven southward by pressure from the mixed race of the north, and that some at least of them passed through this district on their way to the South Island. The above tradition gives Paetu-mokai as the name of the site of Featherston.

The eponymic ancestor of the Tauira clan is said to have met Toi at Tonga-porutu—some forty-five miles north of New Plymouth.

The old men have told us that one of the pa or fortified villages of Tara, known as Rangi-tatau, was situated on the western side of the entrance to Port Nicholson, opposite Pencarrow Head. It was probably either on the hill at Palmer Head, or on the hill immediately west of the little stream at Tarakena, the old Pilot station between Lyall Bay and Seatoun. On both of these hills are to be seen signs of old time - 9 occupation. Those on the last mentioned hill are the most distinct, and included excavated hut sites in the form of small terraces, a small broken scarped face, originally part of the defences, and the butt of a totara post still in position.

The principal house in the Rangi-tatau pa was named Raukawa. A small stream hard by was known as Te Poti. A famous fishing rock off shore, where hapuku were caught, was called Te Kai-whata-whata.

The Rangitane tribe, as it increased in numbers, gradually occupied the whole of the Wai-rarapa district, and then spread northward to the Napier district. This occupation, however, was that of neolithic man, not that of civilised man. They dwelt in small and scattered communities over this region, principally on the open lands and within reach of the sea. The forest held but few inhabitants; they possessed no tools whereby to destroy it, nor did they desire to reduce the area, for was it not one of their principal food baskets? In later times many crossed the Straits and settled in the Sounds, where they are represented by the Ngati-Kuia folk of Pelorus. Others settled in the Rangitikei district, while those who remained on the old tribal lands, assumed in later generations the tribal name of Ngati-Kahungunu. An old tribal aphorism of this people—“Rangitane tangata rau,” betokens their reputed numbers in past times. Another of there pithy sayings applied to them is—“Rangitane nui a rangi.

Tara is said to have lived inland of Napier at one time, where Te Roto-a-Tara, a lake, was named after him. Both this and Poukawa lake are said to have been eel preserves of his, while Te Roto-a-Kiwa is called his bathing place. Connected with the Te Roto-a-Tara is the myth of Te Awarua o Porirua, a huge taniwha or water monster that originally dwelt in Porirua Harbour, but shifted its quarters to the above lake, where it formed the islet in the lake. 2 Hone Wairere of Whanganui informed the writer that Porirua was so named from the fact that it possesses two arms or channels (ko Porirua, mo te ruanga o nga moana te take, koia a Porirua). As, however, several other origins are given for this name, it is clear that the Maori knows little about the matter.

It would appear that Whatonga returned to this district, for we are told in tradition that his remains were placed in the famed burial cave named Whare-kohu, situated at the southern end of Kapiti island. His wife Hotu-waipara, his son Tara, Tuhoto-ariki (grandson of Tara), Turia (brother of Tuhoto), Tutere-moana (grandson of Turia) and many another of the chiefs of Nga-Tara found their last home in that old tribal burial cave, though presumably their bones only were - 10 conveyed thither, after exhumation in the manner Maori. The cave was named after a woman, the wife of Tutere-moana, and the latter so named it. Te Ao-haere-tahi was buried at Kahu-ranaki, at Heretaunga (Napier district).

Family Tree. Whatonga=Hotu-waipara, Tara, Waka-nui, Tuhoto-ariki, Turia=Hine-matua, Te Ao-haere-tahi, Tutere-moana=Whare-kohu

Whare-kohu died before her son, and with her remains was deposited the prized mau kaki or neck pendant named Te Pae-whenua. With those of Tutere-moana, a famous and highly respected chief, were placed a greenstone adze named Te Rama-a-Apakura, as also a greenstone weapon (patu pounamu or mere) named Tuhina-ariki, made from the kahurangi variety of greenstone. The guardian of the cave is one Tunui-o-te-ika, an atua or supernatural being.

In Volume XVI. of the “Journal of the Polynesian Society,” is published a fine old Maori poem pertaining to Tutere-moana, though the translation, or rather paraphrase given, introduces unfortunately, non-Maori beliefs, such as the punishment of the human soul after death.

We are told that the remains of persons of importance were not buried in the Hataitai district (Miramar and adjoining parts on western side) as bodies or bones could not be effectually concealed there, Their remains were taken to out of the way places, such as Whare-kohu, on Kapiti island, and a cave called Te Ana-kopiro, situated at Wai-nui-o-Mata.


Wakanui, son of Tara, was drowned in Cook's Straits. Hone Wairere informed the writer that Wakanui left Matiu (Somes Island) in his canoe named ‘Nga Toto’ (called Tauwhare-puru in another version) in order to visit relatives at Kapiti island. He encountered a storm on the treacherous waters of Raukawa that capsized his vessel somewhere near Nga Whatu (The Brothers), where all on board were drowned. His grandmother, Hotu-waipara, is said to have composed the following lament for him:—


“He aha ra taku taha e huahuaki nei
Ka hewa noa e te ngakau he marie aronui
Ka maaha noa e roto i au
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Kaore ia ko koe tonu e kai arohi nei i au
E rangi aku, e whakaruhi nei i au
Aue ki au!
E rangi aku, he aha rawa ra to kino ki au
Aue! Ko Whiro te tipua manatu ra pea
Ko te take o te kino i takoto ai
Ki roto o Tu-te-aniwaniwa
Te whare ra tena i whakatipuria mai ai
Maiki-nui. Maiki-roa, Maiki-ahua,
Maiki-whekaro, Maiki-pupu rau wha
Maiki i taupuru, Maiki ka wheau atu na koe
Ki Tuahiwi nui o Hiue-moana
Ko to ara tena i whano mai ai koe
Ka hoki atu na koe ki te wa kainga
Ki o tipuna i Tawhiti-nui
I roto o Pari-nui, o Pari-roa, o Pari-ikeike
Nga whare ra tena i noho ai
Ka ta ra e te manawa taki, te manawa kaipara
Ka toha rikiriki ki te nuku o te moana
Koia to tipuna, a Toi-te-huatahi,
I kohau ai i ‘Tiritiri o te moana’ nei
Nana taua i makere mai ai i Hawaiki
I runga i a Kura-hau-po
Ka tau ana Tonga-porutu
Ka tau ana taua Whakatane
Ka tangi te mapu toiora i a taua
E tama . . e . . i.
E rangi aku, inaia koe ka tatara rawa ki tawhiti
Tahuri mai ki au; tenei to manawa
Ko te manawa o Ka-hutia-te-rangi
Hei waka atu mohou
Kia u atu koe ki Irihia, ki Te Hono-i-wairua
E Wakanui . . e . . i.”

(Wherefore doth this omen afflict me? The deluded heart thought fair fortune approaches, hence joy filled my soul. Not so, 'tis you who causes me worry and grief. O lad! Thou hast unnerved me. Alas! Ah me! O my lad! Why did you forsake me? Alas! 'Tis the act of dread Whiro, who abideth within Tu-te-aniwaniwa, the place wherefrom come all ills that afflict mankind, and by whose influence were you lost in surging billows of Hine-moana. That way it was by which ye hither came, and by which ye shall return to the homeland, and to thy ancestors at Tawhiti-nui, who dwelt within Pari-nui, Pari-roa and Pari-ikeike, and knew untroubled calm ere far scattered o'er the ocean we became. Hence came thy ancestor Toi-te-huatahi, searching vaguely across vast ocean spaces, and causing us to leave for Hawaiki on ‘Kura-hau-po,’ to sojourn at Tonga-porutu and Whakatane, where ended the long quest, and joy and peace were felt, O son! O my lad! Thou who art now afar off; turn to me. Here is the spirit of thy - 12 ancestor, of Ka-hutia-te-rangi, to serve as a vessel to bear you onward, to land at Irihia, at Te Hono-i-wairua. O Wakanui!”)


Whiro.—The origin or personified form of disease and death.

Maiki-nui, etc.—Personified forms of disease and such afflictions.

Tuahiwi nui o Hine-moana.—Central ridge of the ocean, marked by rough seas.

Hine-moana.—Personified form of the ocean.

Tawhiti-nui.—A place at which the ancestors of the Maori sojourned during their voyage from the fatherland.

Irihia.—The fatherland of the Maori race.

Te Hono-i-wairua.—A place in the original homeland where the spirits of the dead meet ere going to the spirit world.

The above lament is a fine composition in the original, bearing the impress of age, and containing allusions to quaint old myths and beliefs of the Maori folk.


Eighteen generations ago some of the Ngai-Tara people crossed the Straits and settled in the South Island, at Rangiura, near Tapuae-nuku (or the Lookers-on-Mountains). In later generations many others followed and settled in the Sounds. This movement was accelerated about three hundred years ago, when the people of the northern part of the East Coast were pressing southward in search of new homes. These people, mixed descendants of Mouriuri aborigines and Polynesian immigrants, were known as the Ngati-Kahu-ngunu tribe, taking their name from a wandering son of Tamatea-ariki-nui, an influential chief of Eastern Polynesia, who came to this land in command of the vessel called ‘Takitimu.’

The earliest account we have of the coming of Kahungunu people to the Wai-rarapa district is that of a party under the leadership of Te Rangi-tawhanga. These immigrants arrived in the time of Te Whakamana and Te Rerewa, two Rangitane chiefs who lived twelve generations ago:—

Family Tree. (Rangitane tribe), (Ngati-Ira tribe), Te Whakamana, Rere-kiokio, Hine-ipurangi = Te Wha-kumu, Tahi-a-rangi, Hine-motuhia, Te Ahi-a-te-momo, Nuku-tama-roro
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Family Tree. Karotaha, Whatu-rangi, Te Rangi-taka-i-waho, Te Manihera Te Kehu, Maangi (alias Naomi), Maota-i-te-rangi, Waikawa (Living in 1911)

This table is of interest as it shows a connection between the Rangitane and Ngati-Ira tribes, and that the strong party of the latter led southward to Wai-rarapa by Te Wha-kumu must have arrived soon after the coming of Te Rangi-tauwhanga; but of the sons of Ira more anon. Some of these southward moving clans attacked the Rangitane tribesmen dwelling in the Napier district, and are said to have pushed them southward, though some of Rangitane held on to their lands about the Seventy Mile Bush (Tamaki-nui-a-Rua) until modern times.

When the Kahungunu migrants arrived at Wai-rarapa under the chiefs Rangi-tawhanga, Mahanga and Hokio, they settled in the southern part of the district. They had brought with them from Turanga (Poverty Bay) a number of canoes, and these, or some of them, they handed over to Rangitane in exchange for lands on which to settle. The vessels so given are named ‘Te Ara-o-Tawhaki,’ ‘Potaka,’ ‘Kiriwai,’ ‘Otauira’ and ‘Kahutara,’ and in these Te Rerewa and many others of Rangitane went to the South Island, and there settled. It is a singular thing that there is no tradition of any fighting between the parties prior to this movement to the other island. It is always spoken of as a voluntary action on the part of Rangitane. It is quite possible that Te Rerewa and others saw that further contingents of the northern tribes were likely to come south, and that they would eventually become too strong to stand against.

Many, however, of the Rangitane folk remained at Wai-rarapa, and, after the departure of Te Rerewa and party, fighting commenced between those left behind and the newcomers. These fights do not seem to have continued very long, and eventually the two peoples became practically one through intermarriage. By this time also Rangitane had intermarried with Ngai-Tara, and the influx of Kahungunu and Ngati-Ira caused some to settle in the Wellington district. In like manner, Ngai-Tara, doubtless feeling the pressure, began to break away and settle about Queen Charlotte Sound, where their descendants were found by Captain Cook in the eighteenth century. Those who remained here, probably the bulk of the tribe, intermarried with the Kahungunu migrants, and also with Ngati-Ira, - 14 so that all four tribes became so mingled that one scarcely knows what name to apply to them. Some time after the days of Te Whakamana, we find sub-tribes bearing Kahungunu names occupying this district, as Ngati-Rakai-whakairi at the Hutt and Ngati-Rangi at Porirua. In later days, however, the denizens of the Wellington district were known as Ngati-Ira.

A version of the coming of Te Rangi-tawhanga was given by a member of the Hiko family of Wai-rarapa. That ancestor, when living in the Napier district, became engaged in a quarrel over a cultivation ground named Te Aho-a-Tawhaki; in the quarrel his father was killed. Te Rangi then left the district and came down with a party to settle at Southern Wai-rarapa. His canoe was named ‘Te Whakaeaeanga-rangi.’ He was a nephew of Te Rerewa of Rangitane, and this will account for the lack of quarrels between the two, and the friendly reception accorded to the migrants.

Family Tree. Te-Rangi-tawhanga, Te Umu-tahi, Te Mahaki, Te Hiha, Te Weranga, Hautu-te-rangi, Te Piata, Tama-hikoia, Ani Hiko, s.p.

On arriving at Te Wharau-o-kena, a pa situated near the outlet of the lake, the migrants laid on the plaza a number of gifts, consisting principally of weapons, and asked for a grant of land whereon to settle. Te Rerewa remarked that he declined to part with land for such goods, but would do so for canoes, whereupon Te Rangi and his party proceeded to Pahaua and there hewed out a number of canoes and handed them over to Te Rerewa. The latter then handed over to the new arrivals a block of land, the boundary of which ran from Ahi-raraiki to Tauwhare-nikau, thence to the Tararua range. After this grant was made, Te Rerewa and a party of Rangitane sailed in five vessels to settle in the South Island. Prior to his departure, he said to Te Rangi:—“If, after I have gone, Rangitane attack you, I shall take no notice of it, but should you attack them, then I will surely return.” Te Rangi, it may be said, was a member of the Rakai-whakairi people.

So Te Rerewa sailed for Arapawa, Te Wai-pounama, Te Waka-o-Maui, Te Hei-a-Maui, for by all these names has the South Island been known to the Maori. Two of his vessels were ‘Whai-to-muri’ and ‘Te Whakeaeanga-rangi.’ As he was leaving his home, the land of his ancestors, even from the days of Tara and of Tautoki, he turned to take a parting look at it, and said:—“Nga putaanga ki Korero-mai-rangi ka hau rata; nga putaanga ki Te Tawaha nga kakara e rua.” This saying is not fully explained, but refers to the famed putaanga at Korero-mai-rangi, a place at Tauwhare-nikau (usually called Tauhere-nikau by Europeans) and to those at Te Tawaha (Bidwilt's place) with its two prized kakara, the flavour of fat birds and - 15 the fragrance of the mokimoki plant. A putaanga is a place where a track leaves a forest and passes into open country. Possibly the allusion is to the view obtained from such places.

The chief Pouri accompanied Te Rerewa to the South Island. After their departure a quarrel broke out between Rangitane and Kahungunu, and the land folk are said to have attacked the new comers, who, in revenge, slew Te Rangi-kau-moana, a Rangitane chief, at Okahu pa, near Greytown. The body of this man is said, in local myth, to have been carried by atua (gods or demons) to the place called Pahi-atua. These new comers gradually obtained an ascendency over the original settlers, and extended the bounds of their lands to Wai-ngawa. At this time a number of Rangitane were living at the Harbour of Tara, and they had a fortified village on Somes Island. The Wai-rarapa quarrel had the effect of making matters unpleasant for these people. Their settlements at Orongorongo and Para-ngarehu (Pencarrow Head), whose chiefs were Te An and Manga-whero, were attacked, and the immigrants so extended their sway.

Te Rangi-tawhanga settled two of his sons, Turanga-nui and Kutikuti-rau, at the Harbour of Tara, and another, Nga Tangaroa, at Para-ngarehu. His sons by his second wife were Te Toenga and Te Umu-tahi; the former he settled at Pahaua, and the latter in the Wai-rarapa valley. About this time many of Rangitane left the district and joined their tribesmen in the South Island, where their descendants are found among Ngati-Kuia, of Pelorus Sound.

Te Rangi-irokia, a descendant of Nga Tangaroa, lived at the Okiwi-nui pa, on the eastern shore of the harbour.

Te Hiha, grandson of Te Umu-tahi, was a famous Kahungunu chief of this district. He it was who built the Orua-motoro pa at Day's Bay. He was visited on one occasion by Te Rangi-ka-ngungu, who came to him for instruction in the noble art of war. That instruction they received in the form of initiation into the three modes of fighting known as the rua-tapuke, the kura-takai-puni, and the koau-maro. At the same time they received gifts of valuable greenstone.

At one time Te Hiha was attacked by the clan Ngati-Rongomaiaia, and seems to have been defeated. He proposed to Whati-pu that they should seek a refuge at Manawa-tu, but the latter replied:—“No; when I bathe, let it be in the waters of Rua-mahanga.” So he remained, and was slain in a subsequent fight, and his severed hand sent as a gift to his friend Te Hiha.

Te Hiha was a famous fighter of his generation, and a man of considerable influence. After the death of Nga-oko-i-te-rangi, a force from Te Wairoa and other places further north, under the chief Te Kāpā, arrived at Pahaua, and attacked and took the - 16 Karaka-nui pa. After this affair Te Ra-ka-tō came and concluded a peace with Te Hiha. To ratify this function the latter presented his visitor with a slab of unworked greenstone (papa pounamu) named Motoi-rua, and a patu (short stone weapon) named Whiti-patato, saying:—“Cease man slaying, let war end; let us be diligent in breeding men.” Said Te Ra:—“How can it be done?” Te Hiha replied:—“By marrying women to their grandfathers and grandchildren, let all intermarry, that offspring may soon be acquired.” This remark shows that the clans were bereft of fighting men and in urgent need of them, for such marriages are usually strongly condemned, and are described as ‘tail biting,’ comparing such with the act of a dog that turns and bites his own tail.

The Ngati-Kahukura-awhitia sub-tribe of the Kahungunu tribe seems to have occupied a part of the Hutt valley at the same time that the Ngati-Rakai-whakairi clan lived there. The accompanying table shows a line of descent from Rakai-whakairi, the eponymic ancestor of the latter clan. Some of these clan names are of a cumbrous length and were usually abbreviated, but they fall sadly short of a place name near East Cape which bears the following title—Te Koiritanga o nga pirita o te kupenga a Pawa—a trifle of thirty-seven letters.

Family Tree. Te Ao-matarahi, Rakai-whakairi, Rau-matanui, Tu-mataroa, Te Rangi-te-kehua, Huikai, Kiri, Riria, Hoani, Ema

When the Native Land Court was enquiring into the ownership of lands known as Nga Waka-a-Kupe, at Wai-rarapa, native evidence showed that the boundary of the grant to the Kahungunu migrants ran from Okorewa on the coast of Palliser Bay to the Aorangi range, thence to Rua-kokopu-tuna, to Huanga-rua stream, thence westward to Ahi-rarariki, to Te Tutu, to Te Tawaha, to Tauhere-nikau, to Otauira, then along the breast of Tararua to Kiriwai, thence eastward and along the coast to close at Okorewa. All lands outside this block were retained by Rangitane, but when they killed Te Ao-turuki of Kahungunu, they were attacked and defeated at Okahu, Hau-takere-waka and Te Puke-nui, while their pa at Te Iringa was occupied by the migrants. The Court decided, however, that Rangitane did not lose the măna of their lands outside the grant for some generations after the arrival of the migrants. After the fighting was over, Rangitane ransomed one of their chiefs, Turanga-tahi, by handing over a piece of land in exchange for him.

Family Tree. Pouri, Tuamatua, Hine-huri, Tamaoa

The marginal table shows a line of descent - 17 from Pouri, the chief mentioned in the above narrative.

Family Tree. Tu-rakau-tahi, Te Wharaunga, Te Huinga-i-waho, Tu-whakararo, Raurangi, Te Pohehe, Te Kiri-maihi, Te Kiri-moko

Some interesting information concerning the history of settlement in southern Wairarapa by Rangitane, Ngati-Kahungunu, Te Tini-o-Awa and Ngati-Ira has been published in Vols. XIII. and XV. of the “Journal of the Polynesian Society.” We are here viewing the movements only of those tribes, however, whose coming affected the Wellington district and its people.


The eponymous ancestor of this tribe was Tahu-potiki, a younger brother of Porou-rangi, from whom Ngati-Porou derive their tribal name. The line of descent given is to the famous Ropata of Ngati-Porou, a staunch ally of ours during the fighting on the East Coast in the years 1865-71, and whose life has been written by Colonel Porter.

Family Tree. Tahu-potiki—, Uenuku-marae-tai, Poutama, Korotu-paku, Tahu-makaka, Awhi-rau, Rongomai-wahine, Rapua-i-te-rangi, Hine-takupu, Whakaruru-a-nuku, Tu-kapua-rangi, Hine-tu, Hine-te-aorangi, Rakai-hakeke, Hine-tamatea, Te Ao-tawari-rangi, Te Rangi-takahi-nuku, Rangi-taka-moana, Upoko-taka, Purau, Te Ihi-o-Hurakake, Hapimana Te Ihi, Ropata Wahawaha

We have no clear account of the movements of the Ngai-Tahu tribe, descendants of Tahu-potiki, but tradition tells us that a number of them marched southward from their homes about the Waiapu district, and settled at Wai-rarapa, where they lived at the Whakawiriwiri pa. In later times some are said to have lived at Hataitai, though probably not under the tribal name of Ngai-Tahu, for there had been much inter-marriage. Eventually these people moved on to the South Island, where their descendants were found by our early voyagers and settlers. A considerable amount of information concerning their adventures there is conserved in Mackay's “South Island Native Affairs.” The peopling of the South Island is not clearly explained in tradition, for accounts given by different tribes do not agree. T. E. Green, of Ngai-Tahu, has stated that a tribe named Hawea occupied that island prior to the arrival of Waitaha, but the Takitumu tribes of the East Coast of the North Island maintain that the Waitaha and Rapuwai clans, who came from Eastern Polynesia in the vessel ‘Takitimu,’ were the first people to settle there. Te Rapuwai was an offshoot clan from the Waitaha. The former folk were - 18 known as Te Tini-o-Te-Rapuwai, but the collective name of all these people in their former home had been Ngati-Kohuwai. The Mamoe aborigines are supposed to have settled in the South Island after the advent of the above peoples, and Ngai-Tahu followed in still later times. The latter, or a section of them, were also known as Ngai-Tuahu-riri, and another section as Ngati-Kuri.

The Descendants of Ira the Heart Eater occupy Southern Wai-rarapa and the Harbour of Tara.

We now come to the advent of another northern tribe in this district, a migration that occurred twelve generations ago, and that had a marked effect on the Great Harbour of Tara, inasmuch as by a policy of peaceful penetration, the sons of Ira-kai-putahi became the dominant folk here, and imposed their tribal name on the mixed population of the place.

Ira was the son of Uenuku, a chief of Eastern Polynesia, and came to this land in the vessel named ‘Horouta.’ During his childhood, his mother, Takarita, was guilty of an indiscretion, hence Uenuku promptly slew her, took out her heart, cooked it, and fed it to his child. Such was the origin of the latter part of Ira's name; he was Ira-kai-putahi, Ira the Heart Eater, the term putahi being applied to the heart simply because the Maori had some conception of the functions of that organ.

Pipi, the wife of Ira, is famed in history as having been an urukehu (fair-skinned and fair-haired person), a peculiarity that is said to have originated among the Whanau-puhi, the Wind Children, who meet to gambol at Mahora-nui-atea, the vast plaza of Hine-moana, the Ocean Maid. Hence the old-time saying of this people:—“He aha te uru o to tamaiti? Kāpā-taua he uru korito, he korako, he uru ariki no Pipi.” (What like is the hair of your child? If it were only the flaxen, fair, aristocratic hair of Pipi). This peculiarity of the wife of Ira is said to have survived in her descendants even unto this day.

We have here no space to describe the adventures of Ira, but merely state that he gave his name to a tribe that occupied lands in the region of Waiapu. Much is said about their being a numerous people, in support of their famous tribal aphorism, which is met with in three forms:—

He pĕkĕhā ki te moana, ko Ngati-Ira ki uta.” “Ko tini o te pekeka ki te moana, ko Ngati-Ira ki uta.” “He pekeha kei te moana, ko Ngati-Ira kei uta e tere ana.” All of which denote that Ngati-Ira on the land are as numerous as the pekeha bird on the ocean, the same being a petrel (Prion vittatus), a bird said to appear in flocks.

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As the East Coast tribes increased in numbers, many quarrels and feuds arose among them, with the result that, as we have already seen, certain clans were compelled to seek new homes elsewhere. These migrants, in nearly all cases, marched southward to regions where the population was not so dense, and the people less warlike than those in the north. Tradition seems to support the statement of the Awa folk of the Bay of Plenty, namely that the Toi tribes, descendants of the Mouriuri aborigines and the early immigrants from Polynesia, were not so warlike, or so quarrelsome a people as the Maori of later generations, subsequent to the arrival of the famous band of immigrants in the fourteenth century.

In the time of Paka-ariki, eighth in descent from Ira, the principal fortified villages of this people were Pakau-rangi and Nga Whakatatara, their lands being Tauwhare-parae, Huiarua, and other blocks, all in the Poverty Bay district. Ngati-Ira now fell upon evil days, and their enemies were numerous around them. They fought with Ngati-Kahukura-nui, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Te Whanau-a-Rua, Te Aowera, and other clans, until, after a troublous time at Pakau-rangi, they decided to migrate southward, though the whole tribe did not leave the district. The migrants seem to have lived some time at Tapuwae-tahi, south of Whanga-ra, north of Gisborne, where they were attacked by the Uawa (Tolago Bay) and Turanga (Poverty Bay) tribes. They also fought the Rongo-whakaata people at Tarake-wai, near Wai-mata, after which a division of Ngati-Ira went to the Opotiki district, in the Bay of Plenty, and there settled. The descendants of this party now form a sub-tribe of Te Whakatohea in that region.

The first party of Ngati-Ira to reach the Wai-rarapa district appears to have been under the leadership of Te Rere-kiokio, but of this party we hear little. His son, Te Wha-kumu, headed another party of migrants in later days, and is said to have gone to Wairarapa to seek a home among a people whom some of his relatives had intermarried with. As eleven generations have passed away since the coming of the latter party into the vale of the Shining Waters, we must presume that the movement occurred nearly three centuries ago.

When Te Wha-kumu spoke of his desire to seek a new home in the south, some of his elders endeavoured to dissuade him, fearing that he would be overcome by the Rangitane and other peoples of the Napier district, who had suffered from prior incursions of nothern tribes at Aroaro-tahuri, Te Roro-pipi, and other places.

The following account of the march of the migrants under Te Wha-kumu has been taken from two native accounts given by Wai-rarapa experts fifty years ago. The fuller narrative of the two - 20 has been followed, but several extracts from the second version have been included.


Rua-wahine rose and said to his grandson, Te Wha-kumu—“Go and dwell upon your land, which is now vacant”—alluding to Wia-mata, Hikuwai, Tauwhare-parae, Huia-rua, Te Ahi-kouka, and Wai-ngaromia (all in the Poverty Bay district). Te Wha-kumu replied to the remark of his grandfather:—“Your land shall be an affliction to you; as for me, I am afflicted by cold and I mean to go southward, there to seek the house that sheltered me.” This was a reference to Tu-tapara, who had married his father, Rere-kiokio.

This was how Ngati-Ira came to leave the fallen fortified village of Pakau-rangi, the fight at which was known as Te Pueru-māku, and move away to live at Tapuwae-tahi-o-Rongokako (The Single Footstep of Rongokako), at the south end of Whanga-ra, beyond Turanga-nui (Poverty Bay). At that place Ngati-Ira constructed a fortified village, and occupied it. The area of that place occupied by them, the name of which was Te Tapuwae, was about equal to that of the field before us. As we look upon that field we estimate its area as about seven acres. Rihari states that, in the year 1837, the fosses of that fort were still seen on the coast line. Ngati-Ira assembled there and collected food supplies, dried kumara, dried fish, shellfish, and crayfish, korau, and the varieties of fern root (aruhe) termed parahou and kopuwai, which are the best kinds. Ngati-Ira then divided, a portion of the people returned to live on their lands at Tauwhare-parae, Huiarua, Wai-matā, Hikuwai, Taumata-patiti, Anaura, Te Ahi-kouka, and Wai-ngaromia; among these were the younger brothers of Tane-katohia, viz., Rua-wahine and Tama-kauwae.

Another division of Ngati-Ira declared that they would not return to live on those lands, but that they would go to the place where the vessel of their ancestors came to land on their arrival here from Hawaiki, at Whanga-paraoa (east side Bay of Plenty). They are now represented by Te Tatana and Tikitiki-rangi, and their people of Ngati-Ira now dwelling at Opotiki.

The party under Te Wha-kumu, he and his clans, decided to go south to Wai-rarapa. These are the Ngati-Ira of the Tane-katohia branch now living at Wai-rarapa under their chiefs Te Miha-o-te-rangi, Te Manihera Rangi-takaiwaho, and Tutapakihi-rangi; it is sufficient to mention these.

The following is the descent of Ngati-Ira from the eponymic ancestor of the tribe. Uenuku and Takarita lived in eastern Polynesia. Ira, Pipi and their daughter came to New Zealand on ‘Horouta’ canoe:—

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Family Tree. Uenuku = Takarita, Ira = Pipi, Hine-kaui-rangi, Koka-te-rangi, Paheke, Urutira, Mapuna-a-rangi, Kahu-kura-poro, Kahukura-mamangu, Paka-ariki, Tane-ka-tohia, Uenga-ariki, Kahukura-te-aranga, Paka-huangarau, Pou-tatua, Mahere-tu-ki-te-rangi, Rere-kiokio, Te Wha-kumu, Tahiarangi, Hine-motuhia, Te Ahi-a-te-momo, Nuku-tamaroro, Karotaha, Whatu-rangi, Te Rangi-taka i waho, Te Manihera, Māngi, Maota, Waikawa (Living 1911)

Now the descendants of Rua-wahine are among Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, and also Te Whanau-a-Rua at Tokomaru (north of Poverty Bay). The descendants of Tama-kauwae are among Ngati-Porou at Tawhiti, in the Waiapu valley, and at Whare-kahika. Let my recital end here.

Ngati-Ira were a numerous people, whose tribal aphorism was:—“He pĕkĕhā ki te moana, ko Ngati-Ira ki uta.” The tribe was also renowned for bravery in war. Let my explanation of these matters now cease. It is not as though you were a facile writer, at this rate when the moon changes you will not have finished.

So the party of Te Wha-kumu came away to Heretaunga and constructed Nga Whakatatara, a pa situated just across the river from the Pa-whakairo (near Taradale). In the year 1853 the fosses of that pa (fortified village) were still extant.

The people of Orotu now saw that a strange folk had built a pa on their land, so the Tini-o-Orotu, viz., the Rangitane tribe, assembled at the pa of Te Puketapu, opposite Omahu, at Heretaunga. Then Pae-whenua, Te Hau-te-rangi, and Te Kowhaiwhai, chiefs of these - 22 peoples, proposed to despatch a force by way of Tutae-kuri river, another to descend by the Tauwhare ridge to Nga Whakatatara, the pa of Ngati-Ira, and so command it. Another force was to advance by the open country to Wai-o-hiki, and there await developments, it being a good place from which to observe the appearance of the forces by way of Tutaekuri and on Te Tauwhare. It was also to act as a lure to entice Ngati-Ira out of their pa, so that it might be captured by the force descending from Te Tauwhare, and so leave the Tutaekuri force free to assist them at Te Wai-o-hiki. Such were the intentions of Rangitane, Ngati-Awa, and Ngati-Mahanga.

As the stars were disappearing in the dawning light, the three forces separated, each being in numbers one hundred pairs (200 men).

As dawn broadened into daylight, Te Ahi-para and Te Haripu (of Ngati-Ira), emerging from the pa, saw a force of naked men advancing across the plain. They went back into the fort and cried out:—“Ko Tu-matauenga! Ko Tu-matauenga!” (It is Tu-matauenga; this being the name of the god of war.) Another shouted:—“Ko te whakaariki! Ko te whakaariki! Ko te whakaariki!” (An invader; a hostile party.) “Kei te mania” (on the plain). Te Wha-kumu came out of the pa to observe the enemy, while the warriors of Ngati-Ira proposed to go and attack them. Te Wha-kumu remarked:—“Wait! As the day wanes we will act against Te Puketapu, only women and weaklings are left there. Let a force of four hundred make a strategical attack on that place, while the bulk of your forces remain here to protect the village. Do not go outside, but let the enemy surround it. That party now advancing is an ahi hunuhunu (decoy party), the main body is hidden from us. That is not an attack in force, it is but a lure (patoi) to draw us outside, when they would fall back on the main body, which would then attack us. Do not be misled by that mode of preceding a main force.”

Even so all Ngati-Ira, men, women and children, remained within the fort. Te Wha-kumu ascended one of the fighting stages to observe proceedings. He said to his companion:—“Erect two lofty stages for me, one on the inland side, and one overlooking the river.” The timbers were collected and set up; those two elevated platforms were erected. Te Wha-kumu and five warriors ascended the one on the inland side, while the seaward one was occupied by Te Whanonga and five others, with their tokotoko (spears), and manuka kauoi (? darts), and their pukoro kohatu hei whakaruru ki te taua nei (? Bags of stones to throw at enemy).

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Now the pa was of this form, as also the positions of the elevated platforms 3:—


Three ramparts or earthen walls enclosed three areas, A, B and C D. Area A was narrow, a passage six feet wide. Area B was wider, but area C D was the principal residential area. The subdivision D was for non-combatants only when the pa was attacked.

1 and 2 are two elevated platforms on which men were stationed to defend the two gateways 3 and 4. Entering by either of these, it was necessary to pass along the narrow passage A between two high ramparts, and pass through a subterranean passage in order to gain access to area B. To enter area C one had to pass through another tunnel at 6, and a third tunnel gave access to D at 7. All these lines of defence were high ramparts, on the broad summits of which defenders took their place when necessary. The fosse without the outer rampart was the only moat of the pa.

The two entrances (waha ngutu) were below the two fighting-stages. The two platforms were so placed in order to defend the two entrances, lest the enemy enter the fort. A secondary object was the watching of the enemy besieging the pa, and the warning of the garrison of any attempt to assault the place, or to undermine the - 24 ramparts, for there was but one entrance to pass from the outer rampart through the second one to the inner area, which was a subterranean one that passed underneath the rampart and emerged in the inner area. The passage through the third rampart, for there were three in all, was a similar one, access to the innermost area could be gained only by passing underground. Now you observe the innermost sub-dividing rampart, that was to divide off a sanctuary for women, children and old men to congregate in. The second subterranean passage emerged in the innermost area, and still another such had to be traversed in order to reach the refuge place of the women. The main part of the innermost area was reserved for the men, who were on the alert to defend the various ramparts.

The outermost rampart is said to have been three fathoms in height; the fosse outside it was four fathoms wide, and of like depth. All the ramparts within the outer one were unprovided with fosses, but they were two fathoms high, four fathoms thick at the base, and two fathoms (?) wide on top; on the top of these the warriors were stationed when the place was attacked.

The space between the outermost rampart and the second one was but one fathom; this formation was to baffle an enemy force that might enter it, in the confined space they could not manipulate their spears, tokotoko or huata, on account of the ramparts being so close together. Also warriors would be stationed on the top of the second wall to use their spears against those who had entered the passage way. Let this explanation of the defences suffice.

After some time, appeared the division of the enemy forces that had advanced by way of the Tutae-kuri river. The party approaching by way of Tauwhare was seen descending the ridge, and the forces at Wai-o-hiki had crossed the river. Thus the fort of Nga Whakatatara was now surrounded by the enemy, who strove to make an entrance, but, however hard they strove they could not prevail against the men stationed on the fighting stages, who speared and slew three of them, Te Hareta, Hauparua and Te Iwi-katea. Such were the losses of the attacking force on this day. When night came the enemy retired and camped on the river bank.

Te Wha-kumu despatched a force of two hundred twice told (400 men) against the hill fort of Te Puketapu. That place fell; the women, children and old men were brought away as captives. Slain at that place were Koura, Te Awa-para, Te Kiri-rua, Poupou and Tangi-akau, and many others, maybe as many as seventy, or more perchance.

Now, when the victors retired from Te Puketapu, there was a certain woman who had been overlooked, she had been asleep in a kumara storage pit at the time of the attack. When the attacking force was busily engaged in capturing the inmates of the fort, she - 25 evaded them, descended the hill to a place near the (present) Omahu bridge, and went to warn the besieging force at Nga Whakatatara of the fall of Te Puketapu. These people came to the conclusion that the victors of Te Puketapu must be a force of Ngati-Whiti-kaupeka from Patea, or the Rangi-tikei tribes, hence they raised the siege and withdrew.

Scouts informed Te Wha-kumu that a messenger from Te Puketapu announced the fall of that place, and that the besieging force camped at Tutae-kuri had retired to that place (not knowing that it had been taken).

Said Te Wha-kumu to Te Okooko and Kokau, “Go ye two, hasten to get ahead of the retiring enemy and cause them to take the inland track. When they have passed on, descend to the main track; we will be following up.”

Even as they spoke the smoke of burning Puketapu was seen curling upwards; that fire had been kindled by Te Nanara, and now the warriors made a start. Te Wha-kumu arranged for two hundred twice told to pursue the enemy. The pursuit was conducted during the night. On reaching Te Awatapu, the flight of the enemy became disorganised, the fighting had caused them to scatter; they were anxious to escape. Then the two hundred twice told began to surround them; they slew as they ran; such was the fight of Marae-kakaho. (A river a few miles inland of Hastings.)

(To be continued.)

1   Kauwhanga=a hill or peak near the Manawatu Gorge.
2   The full story of Te Awarua-o-Porirua is to be found in “The Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century,” 2nd edition, p. 288.
3   It is to be understood that the sketch is made from description, not drawn from the ground itself. Probably no Maori pa was ever so strictly rectangular as shown in the sketch.