Volume 29 1920 > Volume 29, No. 116 > Traditions and legends. Collected from the natives of Murahiku. (Southland, New Zealand) Part XIII, by H. Beattie, p 189-198
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- 189

THE question of the fighting indulged in by their ancestors is an interesting one to the oldest Maoris now living in the south, but it must candidly be admitted that the younger people do not take any interest in such lore. The old people are continually adding scraps and titbits of knowledge to the heap of information accumulated by the collector, and when such is pieced together it will materially aid in our compilation of authentic records of old-time fighting in Maoriland. Some more of the traditional lore recently collected herewith follows, and, although perforce of a scrappy nature, it is none the less valuable when considered in conjunction with preceding articles of this series.


The following is the breezy narrative of one of my informants:— “Tewha-parare is the name of a fight in the North Island where Rahui, a Kati-Mamoe ancester, was killed as well as the two chiefs after whom the fight is named. Rahui was the hakoro (father) of Hine-pakā, and she married Puraho and begot Maru, the fighter. One-half of the Kati-Mamoe people are still in the North Island, as only one-half of the tribe, called after Hotu-Mamoe, came south. The Kati-Kahukunu (Ngati-Kahungunu) have got this blood in their veins as well as the tribe called Whatu-Mamoe.

“Turanga-nui (Poverty Bay) is called by us Poroporo-huariki (after a name brought from Hawaiki), and it was here that Tahu-mata, the champion fighter of the Kai-Tahu people at that time, fought all his battles. Tama-rae-roa and Huirapa were killed at Tapapa-nui, and Tahu-mata resented this very much as they were his elder brothers. He fought for five days at Pakiaka, a name which was later brought down to Tuahiwi (in Canterbury). The gate was - 190 Wai-koau, and the chief who owned the pa was Rakai-moari. It was this chief who had taught and perfected Tahu-mata in the use of the spear. Hine-wai-a-tapu, a daughter of Rakai-moari, taunted Tahu-mata, and the latter thereupon fought his master and proved he could beat his teacher. He killed Rakai-moari, and took the girl as his second wife. It is said he was only a featherweight in size, but backed up by his two nephews—both smart fighting men—he is considered to have amply avenged the death of his brothers.

“Aorangi (in the North Island,? the mountain of that name near East Cape) was where Kati-Kahunu (Ngati-Kahungunu) beat the Kati-Kuri section of the Kai-Tahu. The latter had two houses, called Karara-kopae and Hautu-ki-te-rangi, and called in the fleeing Kati-Kuri for oraka (safety or preservation). They availed themselves of this sanctuary, and in later years the fact was sometimes thrown up at them.


“Tiotio and his wife Turau-moa had four daughters, and two became wives to Rakai-tauheke and two of Hua-taki, who was blown over from the North to the South Island while fishing. Rakai-tauheke also came over with an early lot of the Kai-Tahu, and it was not long before they were fighting with the people of the South Island. Te Ao-marere, a Kati-Mamoe chief who had died, was deposited in a mountain cave at Kaihinu in Marlborough, and his tribe made pilgrimages up every year to see his bones. The Kai-Tahu noticed these journeys, and one reckless fellow searched and found the cave, taking away a thigh bone to make groper fish-hooks from. These hooks caught fish well, and a Kati-Mamoe relative in one canoe heard the fishermen jeeringly boast of this. He told the Kati-Mamoe, and this led to one of the wars.

“Kai-Tahu were sometimes in desperate straits after coming to the South Island, and had to fight hard to keep their foothold. If they had lost heart they were done for. Rakai-tauheke once said to his priest, ‘Karia ka puna, ahua ka puke ki ahau, te tatare a Tane-moehau.’ This means that he asked the tribe's priest to foretell events for him, and he calls himself the shark of his mother. Tatare is a kind of shark, and Tane-moehau was the name of his mother. Before the birth of Rakai-tauheke she dreamt she was giving birth to a shark. When Hine-pakā was carrying Maru she dreamt she was going to give birth to a lizard, and so knew that Maru was going to be a warrior—a karara. Te Kaue was another famous Kai-Tahu leader of that time, and his mother dreamt the same thing and he would say, ‘Karara a Tu-whaka-rau,’ alluding to himself as the lizard of his mother. I have noticed in the stories of those old wars that it is always the mothers that are mentioned in connection with the tributes of bravery to warriors.

- 191

“Another famous warrior of those days was Manawa, and he was the only warrior (of his generation) who was trained to throw the spear. The first throw of his timata (spear) was at a shag which was matai-ing (watching) for fish. This was in the North Island, and Manawa was walking along the coast and came to where a stream broke out to the sea. Here he saw the shag with its wing stretched out. He was angry it was not a man, so he threw his spear at it and killed it. He then took it to the priest, who put the bird on a kohiku (roasting-stick) and cooked it, afterwards giving the heart to Manawa to eat. Manawa ate the heart of the shag, and then his skill with the spear was established. The shag was of the kaha species, and was his ‘first man.’ After Manawa was dead the pepeha (boast) concerning him was, ‘hua te te whai ai te Maukatere e ora ana te momohea nui o Kuri takata, nana rau ta te Ake-rautaki.’ Te Ake-rautaki was Manawa's spear, and was perhaps made of the tree of that name if such exists in that part of the North Island. 1


“When Manawa threw his spear which killed Rakai-momona, the father of Tuki-auau, it was a time of peace, and he did it merely to ‘show off.’ After that the Kati-Mamoe and Kai-Tahu [or Gati-Mamoe and Gai-Tahu as my informant often pronounced the names] kept apart for perhaps ten or twenty years, until Manawa was looking for a bride for his son, Te Rua-hikihiki, and heard of Te Ahua-raki, the beautiful daughter of Tu-whakapau. Maru and Te Raki-whakaputa were related to Kati-Mamoe (and Maru was also related to Manawa to whom his sister, Te Hapai, was married), and both being jealous of Manawa used stratagem, and told Tuki-auau how to kill Manawa when the latter came to see the girl he wanted for his son's wife. In fighting, chiefs went to the front, but in visiting they followed their people. Manawa entered last the visitor's house, and Tuki-auau smote him with a mere-pounamu. Man after man volunteered to run the gauntlet, but each was killed. Manawa, who was sore wounded, cast his blood on each volunteer, but it did not stick on any of them until it came to the turn of one man, whom Manawa then said would get out and through. This man gave great bounds and leapt on to the patatara (parapet) and over the wall of the pa and escaped. All the rest in the house, including Te Hapai, were killed. This leaping over the wall of a pa has been done on other occasions. During the siege of Kaiapohia pa, Hakopa-Te-ata-o-tu jumped over, killed two Kati-Toa, and got back again.

- 192

“The message that Manawa sent to his people was, ‘Don't avenge my death till the grass grows over my oven.’ Weary of peace the young men used to get the elders to recite the history of past fights. Finally they got Pohatu, the priest, to consult the oracle about future events. Pohatu went out in the early dawn before anyone was stirring and found the omens were good, and war was resumed.


“Besides coming down the East Coast of the South Island the Kai-Tahu went overland to Westland. Tane-tiki was the upoko-ariki (or head chief) then, and he went over to the west side of this island. He asked the people of the Kati-Wairaki (Ngati-Wairangi) tribe the names of the places, and in the morning he ascended a tree to get a better view of the country. When the chiefs of Kai-Tahu were proceeding to taunaha (choose or bespeak) the country Tane-tiki straightway proclaimed that the land from the tarahaka (pass), where they were, down to Lake Kanieri was his, so that his daughter could have made for her use soft maro (loin-mats) from the skins of the kakapo birds found in that stretch of country. Tane-tiki was drowned in Lake Mahinapua through his canoe upsetting. He neglected to say the rightful karakia, and his atua, a demon taniwha, upset the canoe as a punishment. Hika-tutae was now upoko-ariki, and swam the lake with Tane-tiki's head in his hand and the hair of Tutae-maro's head held in his teeth. Hika-tutae then returned to the East Coast and went up to Kaikoura, where he found that Moki had died shortly before, leaving a message that he wished Hika-tutae to bury him near the scene of the Wai-kakahi fight at Wai-rewa (Little River). Hika-tutae found that he would have great difficulty in getting the body away from the relatives, so he secretly cut off the head of the corpse, and stole away in the night and went south to bury it at the place where Moki had won his victory against Tu-te-kawa.


“When Tawhiri-ruru and Te Kaimutu were killed by Te Raki-tauhopu up at Lake Ohau, a boy named Tiaka saw the deed and went to Kaiapohia to tell about it. This boy escaped from the Kati-Mamoe by following up a weka in a hunt and keeping right on. A taua went up to avenge these deaths, and Kaunia, who was only a lad, followed after. He made a spear for himself out of manuka, and as the point whistled (toī) in the fire he knew it was a good sign. A toro (scout) was sent out to reconnoitre and to advise the matua (main body of warriors). The Kati-Mamoe camp was surprised when the taua pounced on it, their men were overwhelmed, and Raki-tauhopu ran for his life in the direction along which Kaunia was following the matua. Kaunia was suffering from ariari (or harihari = breaking sores) and - 193 could not run after the fleeing chief, but Tiaka, who had observed Raki-tauhopu's break for safety, yelled out to Kaunia who it was, and Kaunia flung his spear at the fugitive and killed him.

“Speaking of spears, at Kauwae-whakatoro a duel with huata (spears) was fought between Raki-amoamohia and Puneke, both sides looking on. Puneke was too nimble and fagged the other out and killed him, the remainder of Raki-amoamohia's men being taken prisoner to Kaiapohia.


“Owing to a family squabble at Katiki (Kartigi), Para-kiore, Tu-ahuriri, Te Ruapapa and others came down from North Canterbury and a fight ensued. On the way south, when eels were being distributed for food, Te Ruapapa considered the heads were given to him and his men while the rest enjoyed the tails. During the fight Te Matauira, father of Te Hau, was killed by Wheke, a northern man. When the fight began Te Ruapapa shouted, ‘Kakari kai hiku, kia hari kai upoko’ (Fight, you taileaters, my headeaters retire), and he and his men withdrew, leaving the rest of the northern party to be beaten and pursued. Te Hau chased them up Kakaho beach (near Hampden), and called out to Tu-ahuriri to come back, as his (Te Hau's) father (who was Tu-ahuriri's uncle) was dead. Tu-ahuriri turned back and was unmolested, except that a man slapped the face of his wife. When Te Hau reached the beach and saw Para-kiore just ahead he twitted him, and Para-kiore challenged him to a trial of speed Para-kiore said, ‘Kia timu tai kia pau torea kia ai ina te harakeke a Hine-kakai.’ This meant that he would run so fast he would hardly let the torea (redbills) settle on the sands, and he would go like the burning of the flax of his mother, Hine-kakai. Para-kiore then picked up his wife, slung her over his shoulder, and was off; but even thus burdened Te Hau could not catch him. Para-kiore was the fastest runner of those times. He was said to travel the ninety mile beach and get freshly-cooked kanakana (lampreys), which he carried back, arriving at his starting-point with the fish still warm—so the people said. ‘Te harakeke toitoi a Turaumoe i te ata’ was another challenge by a very fast runner of the old days, but I forget his name. Mu was another fast runner, and I have heard that he and Para-kiore raced to Te Horo at Ohou Lake, but killed no one, each claiming a side of the valley as a taunaha. It is said the residents were stuffed too full of eels at the time to fight, so simply surrendered.


“Te Wera, a famous fighting chief of the Kai-Tahu, died at Rakiura (Stewart Island), He killed his wife Te Honeka (who was a sister of Te Puneke) for misconduct, about the time that Taoka had - 194 him besieged in Te Pa-o-te-Wera on the Huri-awa Peninsula at Wai-kouaiti, and she is buried in that place. It was more for fear of the consequences of that deed than for fear of Taoko that he went south to Rakiura. Taoka only had a relatively small following compared with Te Wera's wife's branch of the tribe. She belonged to the Kaiapohia branch of the Kai-Tu-ahuriri (of which I am a member), and if they had taken the warpath the Kati-Huirapa would have joined in. Even now these are the two strongest tribes in the South Island. There are no descendants of Te Wera now living that I know of, but I have always heard he died peacefully on Stewart Island.

“The last battle among the southern Maoris so far as I know was at Te Anau, where Puku-tahi, Te Maui, and (I think) Pokohiwi were killed. After this many people ‘broke out’ from Kaiapohia and came south, the first being Haru, who went down as far as Foveaux Strait, where he built the Otauira pa near where the Wai-papa lighthouse at Otara now is.

“Then we come to the Rau-paraha wars. Rau-paraha was a very poor specimen of a man, whatever he may have been as a general. His taking of Te Mai-hara-nui was done in a cowardly manner, and his other acts were on a par with it. His men had too many pakeha guns at Kaiapohia, and also in the later fights, but the Southerners came at him each time. In regard to the burning of Kaiapohia pa it was Purako who set fire to the brushwood. In the fighting which followed he fought bravely, and although shot through the paunch so that his piro (entrails) were hanging out, he continued to encourage his men.


“Although the Southern Natives were poorly equipped with guns, and knew very little about the few they did have, they set out to Marlborough to fight Te Rau-paraha. Two fights occurred, Parapara and Oraumoa, and some say there was a third one. Old Haere-roa (Tommy Roundhead of the whalers) had a gun, which he loaded with forty bullets to swing it round and kill forty Kati-Toa, but luckily for himself he did not fire it. Te Rau-paraha would have been surprised at one place, but T—, one of the Southern taua left his tutae on the beach, and Te Rau-paraha saw it, and turned and rushed into the water and swam for the canoes. Paul Taki swam after him, but the Kati-Toa threw some women overboard, and one of these prevented him reaching the fugitive. At Oraumoa a northern man boasted he would creep on a southern sentry, would kill him, and dance as a sign to the others to follow. He crept on Te Auripo, a left handed man armed with a taiaha, but was not quick enough and was killed himself. The sentry did a kakahu (form of war-dance), but the Northerners saw he was left-handed, and so did not mistake him for their own man and follow. Porutu, who had a gun, heard a man's voice in the darkness - 195 and aimed by the sound, and in the morning the man was found dead. Another good marksman for that period was Wharaki. At the time of the Kai-huaka feud a man up a cliff made rude gestures of contempt at him and he shot him, the body rolling down into Lyttelton harbour. I heard these few brief stories from Kaikai, who was a soldier of ‘Bloody Jack,’ but there is a great deal more about that war if you only get hold of the men who know it.”


Besides the rapid survey of the fighting given by one kaumatua, others of the elderly Maoris who were talking to the collector, briefly mentioned facts which can be added to the accounts given in the earlier articles. One said:—“There were two chiefs named Tukete. I do not know if the very fat one who lived at Rakiura had a wife, but the other Tukete, who lived up about the lakes near Mount Cook, married Kanekane, but she was captured in a raid and taken to Kaiapohia, where Waewae lived with her. When she was in the family way Waewae sent her back to her old home. Near Lake Takapo she made a fire, and Tukete, who was on the other side, saw the smoke and came across in a strong mokihi, made of raupo, and took her back with him. When the child was born it was a girl, and she was named Te Hoki. Weka, who led a raid on the people of Lake Wanaka, when Potiki-tautahi was slain, married Hine-tarahaka, who may have been a daughter of that chief, but I am not sure. I never heard the origin of the names Ohou, Takapo, Wanaka and Hawea. The chief who lit the fires on the hills up that way, to baffle the Kati-Mamoe, and so prevent the pursuit of the Kai-Tahu taua, was called Tuawhe.”

An aged poua (grandfather), usually well versed in southern Maori history, in describing ancient spears to the collector added:—“Raki-tauhopo [he said this name ended with an ‘o’] killed Te Kaimutu and Tawhirir-uru, and about where Duntroon now is he was killed when swimming the Waitaki River. Kaunia had no panehe (axe) or toki (adze) to make a spear, so used a manuka stick with the point hardened by fire. When Kaunia saw him escaping from the pa he threw his roughly-made timata (spear) at the fugitive and killed him.” The collector would add that the description of the incident here given is correct, but his old friend in mentioning the locality has introduced the scene of another historical incident.

Another poua said:—“Mount Watkin was known as Hikaororoa, after a Kati-Mamoe warrior, while the Longwood was called Hekeia, after a Kati-Mamoe chief who was related to Kiri-tekateka, the mother of Te Mai-werohia, the famous Kai-Tahu fighter. Puneke was a small man, but killed the large Kati-Mamoe chief, Raki-amoamohia at Kauwae-whakatoro.” It will be noticed that two informants give the - 196 scene of the duel between Puneke and his adversary with the long frame and the long name as at Kauwae-whakatoro (on the Clutha near Hillend), whereas the former account gleaned by the collector said it happened at Lake Wanaka.


The hill on which this famous pa stood is about three miles from the old village of Moeraki, and it is said you can still see the earth-works. The old kaika of Moeraki lies on the south side of the peninsula, and although it comprises a reserve of 640 acres no one now lives on it. In 1904 the Maoris shifted to the present township of Moeraki (around the site of the old whaling-station at One-kakara) to be nearer the fishing-port, the baker and the train. Not much seems to be known about the history of the old village of Moeraki or the nearby pa of Te Raka. A place in the kaika is called Te Kutu (ngutu)-o-te-pa, but it is said to be a modern name, and the collector could not ascertain what names the gates of the pa bore or the origin of its name. One old man said:—“Te Raka is the name of Maui's father, but what the name Te-Raka-a-Hine-atea is supposed to represent I have no idea. It was a tipuna (ancestor) of mine who killed Matauira. Taoka was the head man in that war, and the only fighting I have heard of in connection with the pa was the time that Matauira was killed. It is said a chief named Rahui had a big heap of dead meat (men) to eat through the fighting. Away back in those times a man named Kahori was killed, and his body was preserved in pohas (kelp bags). The head went missing and the people searched for it. A man named Hina-kato said it was in the whata (storehouse) of Puhaina and Tatua, and all the time it was in his belly as he had stolen and eaten it. The lying of Hina-kato has become a proverbial term. Te Hau was in the fight at Te Raka-a-Hine-atea. One of the fighting men was Puaka, and there is a saying, ‘Taka hauku ata ka ta a Materau,’ and this applies to him. It means that he went out early in the morning and shook the dew off the grass with his paraerae (sandals). Materau was his mother. There is a hole on the pa site, and it is now called the ‘Taepo Hole.’ Some pakehas tried to dig it out to see if they could get curios, but it filled with water with a rush and nearly drowned them.”


This query was recently sent from the North Island to the collector, and it is an interesting one. The word ‘taipo’ is currently supposed among Europeons to mean ‘devil,’ and there is a Southland farmer who owns a horse which was called Taipo, under the impression it was a polite way of designating ‘Old Nick.’ The collector was aware, however, that the word ‘taipo’ was ruled out by good Maori - 197 scholars, but the word taepo is given in Tregear's Dictionary as signifying “a goblin, a spectre,” so whenever his informants used the word the collector thought he was on safe ground in following their example without question. Now, however, that the question has been raised, the collector has asked three aged southern Maoris about it, and these are the answers:—“I think that taepo or taipo is a whalers' word. Atua is the correct name for a ghost or spirit.” “I reckon that taepo is a slang word. A Maori who was jocularly called that name died recently,” “I consider that taipo is a pakeha word. In Maori it means ‘night-tide,’ but I cannot suggest how it came to be associated with demons or spirits, which should rightly be termed tahae and atua.” To use a familiar saying, the question “is now open for discussion.”

[The word should be taepo, if anything. But it is doubtful if the word is Maori at all. One never sees it written in the many papers supplied to this Society by well informed Maoris. The word means ‘arrive by night,’ or ‘night visitant,’ and in all probability was intended by some white person as an equivalent of ghost.—EDITOR.]


One old man, referring to Lake Wakatipu, told the story of Haki-te-kura's celebrated swim with more detail than the collector had previonsly heard it:—“The girls living in the kaika, on the point where the Queenstown Domain now is, were trying to outdo one another at swimming, and from her eyrie on Te Taumata-o-Haki-te-kura (Ben Lomond) she could see them at their competitions. They tried to swim the lake, and some got further than others, but all were unsuccessful. Then Haki-te-kura went to her father and asked for a kauati (firestick) and a dry bunch of raupo, and he gave them to her. She tightly bound these in flax to keep them dry, and next morning very early she swam the lake and lit a fire on the point since called Te-Ahi-a-Haki-te-kura. The fire crept up the mountain side and left the rocks black as you see them to-day. The people saw the smoke, and were getting ready to launch the canoes and mokihis to go and see if it was an enemy, when Tu-wiriroa recollected his daughter's request for a kauati and dry tinder. A search was made, and it was found that Haki-te-kura was absent, so a boat went over and brought her back. The distance from point to point is perhaps two and a half miles, and as she had nothing to rest on and the water is chilly, it was a notable feat. As you know, Haki-te-kura was afterwards killed by her lover, Horoki-whit. “At the head of Lake Wanaka is the Makarore River, and here the people had a fight among themselves, so my father told me. It was five or six generations ago, but I do not know the details. “When Te Puoho came (1836) his men crossed the Tiori-patea pass to Makarore. I think they went across Lake Wanaka on mokihis. Then they went up the - 198 Orau (Cardrona) and over the saddle called Tititea (in Crown Range), past the Haehae-nui (Shotover) to Kawaran Falls (Te Rotu), where they made mokihis by which they went down Lake Wakatipu to the foot of the lake. From here they went down the Mataura River to Tuturau, where the fight occurred. That is the route as it was told to me.” The collector will only add that the statement that the raiders crossed Lake Wakatipu in mokihis is new to him, as he had always understood that they followed the old track up the Nevis (Papapuni) River over to Nukumai (Nokomai).


To conclude this present article the collector will briefly give another of the fireside tales which his aged friends regale him with when he visits them. It runs as follows:—

“Hikareia was a handsome man, and (although some handsome men do not desire beauty in their wives) he was in search of a beautiful woman to be his wife. At last he heard of a beautiful girl, and, with his retinue, he went on a visit to the pa she lived in. That night she slept on a rara at one end of the long house, and he slept at the other end of the building. [A rara is a bed made on a stage raised a little from the ground and used by the aristocracy, the common people making their beds on the ground.] When the rest were all sleeping, Hikareia stole to her side to make love, but she thought it was someone else and kicked him away. Next day she knew it was him, and, having fallen in love with him at first sight, was ready to make any amends, but he was offended and went away in anger. She was overcome with grief at this, so secretly attached heavy stones under her kakahu (garments) and went out in a canoe with her brother when he went fishing. She had made up a song expressing her grief, and this she sang several times while her brother was fishing. Then she suddenly jumped into the water, and, loaded as she was with stones, sank at once and was drowned. When he got home the words of the song came back to the brother and he repeated them to the people, and the plaintive song was so often repeated it became well-known.”

The collector was told of a rather pathetic case of unrequited love, where the girl employed this song to express her feelings, and its sad strains can be heard occasionally even to this day. It was sung to the collector, but he has no copy of it to append. More of these fireside tales may be given (if space permits) at a later date.

(To be continued.)

1   It is found all over the North Island under its northern name of Ake-rautangi. I cannot make out the meaning of the above expression in Maori.—EDITOR.