History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840
Hinga-Kaka. — Te Tipi and Inu-Wai's Incursion. — (1780.)
Te Tipi and Inu-Wai's Incursion.
We now come to a very great defeat suffered by the Taranaki-coast tribes. But first let us relate the cause of it.
For reasons unknown, but probably from the love of patu-tangata (man-killing) that had grown from generation to generation in ever increasing proportions, a war-party of Ngati-Haua, of the Thames Valley, and Waikato under the chiefs Te Tipi and Inu-wai, made an incursion into Taranaki. These two men were priests, and also warriors, professions that did not clash in Maoridom. They started from their home at Te Aitu on the upper Piako river, one hundred strong (i.e. 200) all picked men. They came by way of Mokau, Waitara, Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, Whanganui and Rangitikei; then turning to the East they crossed the Ruahine range by Te Ahu-o-Turanga track, and made their way to Ahuriri, from whence they returned home by way of the Titi-o-kura saddle and Taupo to Maunga-tautari, near Cambridge, where, after a time, the party took part in the defeat of the West Coast tribes at Hinga-kăkă.*
Such is the Waikato account of this lengthy expedition, but I have never heard any local confirmation of it, that is, of details as to what this party accomplished on their way through Taranaki, though it is said that it was in revenge for the injuries inflicted on the Coast tribes at that time, that they combined to proceed to Waikato, when Hinga-kăkă battle was fought and lost.
In order to fix the date and preserve the record, I quote the following portion of a Ngati-Toa genealogy—supplied by Mr. A. Shand. It may be added that through inter-marriages these people are as much Ati-Awa as Ngati-Toa: —page 249
The above table is part of a long one, tracing a Ngati-Toa descent from the aboriginal inhabitants of New Zealandpage 250
The marginal table is from Ngati-Mata-kore, one of the hapus of Ngati-Mania-poto that took part in the battle of Hinga-kăkă, and Huahua was their leader there. It results from these tables that Inu-wai and Huahua (of Waikato) and four others of Ati-Awa were all born' six generations ago, or about 1750, and as they must have probably been thirty years old when the battle took place, we may fix an approximate date at 1780; Colonel Gudgeon, to whom I am indebted for Table 52, says, "Tautara was not alive when Tangi-mania was fought in 1818, nor Huahua when Huri-moana was fought in 1810."
The Taranaki war-party that went to Waikato to avenge the injuries inflicted by Tipi, Inuwai, and others as related last page, was composed principally of Ati-Awa, Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, and probably others, and was a very large party. They were very successful at first, carrying everything before them until they came to Nga-roto, near Te Awa-mutu, on the Auckland-Wellington railway line one hundred miles south of Auckland. Every pa they besieged was taken and in every skirmish they engaged in they conquered. But we have no detail of these transactions. As the war-party came up to Nga-roto—which was an open country with several little lakes (hence the name) and patches of tall manuka scrub, still existing in 1863—the Waikato assembled to meet them, and with them were the travel-stained veterans of Tipi and Inuwai. Ngati-Apa-kura, of Waikato (afterwards of Kawhia), were there, and Colonel Gudgeon says, before the battle took place, Huahua, of Ngati-Mata-kore, said to Tiriwa, of Ngati-Apa-kura, "Mau te titi, maku te whewhera "—("Be you the wedge, I will open up the hole.") But Tiriwa answered, "Mau ano te titi, maku ano taku whewher'a."—("You be the wedge, I will open up my own hole.") The Ati-Awa at first were carrying all before them until they were met by Ngati-Apa-kura, who attacked them fiercely and stopped their progress, and eventually reversed the order of things, causing Ati-Awa to retreat. But they were followed up with such success that they were nearly all exterminated. "Kaore i hoki mai tetehi morehu "—("Not one survivor came back ") says old Eangi-pito of Ati-Awa.
When Waikato had defeated the Ati-Awa, they were greatly rejoiced, because up to that time Ati-Awa had been most successful. The Waikato jumped on the dead bodies in their rage, shouting, "To puku! horo tangata, horo whenua!"—("Thy belly! O man eater, O land eater!")page 251
A great many of the Taranaki chiefs and leaders were killed in this decisive battle, amongst whom were Pikau-te-rangi (an ancestor of Tungia), Maui, Te Maunu-kuao, Te Ra-ka-herea, Tahua-roa, etc., but I cannot tell whether Rangi-pito is correct in saying every soul of the war-party perished. This defeat appears never to have been avenged, at any rate by active operations in the enemies' (Waikato) country.
Te Maunu-kuao, one of those killed, had a second name, Te Kaka-kura, so called because of the redness of his face, a point which was much admired. A "saying" about him was, "Te ra i whanau ai a Te Maunu"—("The day that Te Maunu was born"—or, perhaps, "Te Maunu was born of the sun.")*
In Sir George Grey's "Maori Proverbs" will be found the following reference to Hingakaka:—"No nawhea taku katanga; no Hingakaka ano. Ko te rua tenci, koia tenei."—("This is the first time I have laughed for a long time: this is the second time I have laughed since the battle of Hingakaka"—a battle fought near Otawhao, where the Ngati-Awa were defeated by the Waikato tribes with immense loss). Hingakaka, they fell into their enemies' hands as fish hauled up in the kind of net called kăkă, hence the name of the battle. Te Mangao is the name of the place where the battle of Hingakaka was fought; it is about a mile and a-half from Otawhao."