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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Hawke's Bay Tribes Refuge on Mahia

Hawke's Bay Tribes Refuge on Mahia

Mahia now became a place of refuge for very large numbers of southern Ngati-Kahungunu, who, for many years, had had to endure the harassing attentions of Urewera, Waikato, Taupo, Hauraki and Bay of Plenty invaders, and who now also feared Rauparaha and his Ngati-Toa (who had driven many of their relatives north from Wairarapa) and Ngati-Raukawa, of Maungatautari, near Cambridge (who appeared to be anxious to secure Hawke's Bay for a new home, but who were ultimately expelled by Ngati-Kahungunu with Te Wera's aid.) Some years prior to his death, Te Wera returned to the Bay of Islands.

Early in 1824, Pomare came down by sea to Mahia to assist the Urewera and their allies to punish a northern section of Ngati-Kahungunu for slaying Te Rangiwai-tatao, an important Urewera chief. On a similar errand, Waikato, Taupo, Hauraki and Bay of Plenty forces journeyed overland. Pomare returned to Northern Hawke's Bay in 1825 to aid Urewera in avenging the death of his great friend, Te Mautaranui, a Urewera chief, who was treacherously slain at a feast at Kaitarahae, near Te Reinga Falls. He was himself killed at Te Rore, on the Waipa River, in May, 1826.

Among the pas which Pomare assailed in 1825 was that which stood on lofty Moumoukai, near Morere. When he found that its defenders could neither be driven out nor starved out (they had food enough and to spare, and a plentiful supply of spring water) he made a diplomatic offer to them. Learning that an infant was about to be born in the pa, he promised that, if it proved to be a boy, he would retire. Next day, word was sent to him that a male child had been born. Pomare kept his word, and the infant was named after him. This child was Otene Pomare, who, whilst giving an explanation in the Native Land Court at Wairoa as to how he had come by his surname, emphatically denied that Moumoukai (a hill 2,065 feet high) had ever fallen to an invader.