Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840

The Ati-Awa Occupy Pout Nicholson.* — 1825-6

The Ati-Awa Occupy Pout Nicholson.*

On the arrival of Ngati-Mutunga and others in the "Niho-puta" migration, they settled down for a time at Wai-kanae, but not for very long. Rangi-pito says they remained there for about a year and then the whole party moved on to Port Nicholson (Whanga-nui-a-Tara),

* Most of the places mentioned in the neighbourhood of Port Nicholson will be found on Map No. 6, which has been printed chiefly to preserve a large number of Maori names of places which would otherwise possibly be lost. Most of the names were supplied by old Maoris to Mr. Elsdon Best and myself, with later additions by Mr. H. N. McLeod, of Wellington, to whose researches are also due the many indications of old pas, villages, and other signs of former Maori occupation scattered over the Hataitai, or Whataitai (Mirainar) Peninsula, and along the coast southwesterly from there, and in some other parts. In some cases the locality of Mr. McLeod's names differ from those of Mr. Best's, in which case the former are queried (?) on the map, though so doing does not necessarily mean that they are wrong. Owing to the frequently rocky nature of the soil in this neighbourhood, the old pas were not of the formidable nature of those in other parts and consequently their remains arc much loss distinct.

page 407which country was then in the occupation of the Ngati-Ira tribe, or, at least, as many of them as had beon spared after the terrible harrying they received from the former expedition of Tu-whare and Te Rau-paraha in 1819-20. Many of Ati-Awa, together with Ngati-Tama, first settled at Ohariu—a place on Cook's Straits directly west of Wellington—and whilst there they were visited by Topine Te Mamaku of Upper Whanganui, who was an old ally of Ngati-Tama. From here they moved on to Port Nicholson. On the arrival of the heke they settled down on the shores of the harbour, right in the centre of what is now the City of Wellington, forming a series of villages extending from Te Aro to Kai-wharawhara. The Ngati-Tama occupied Rau-rimu, which is that part around Fitzherbert Terrace, and their cultivations extended down to the stream Tiaki-wai—that ran down where the Tinakori road now is. The Ati-Awa cultivations also extended over the Otari (Tinakori) hills and beyond, that is, in suitable places, and there were several villages scattered about that part of Thorndon, such as Pa-kuao—just where Tinakori road came out to the beach; Kopae-pai-awai, top of Hobson street; Nga-pakoko, near the present Manawatu Railway Station; Kumu-toto at the bottom of Bowen street; Pipitea, a large village fronting the beach, just under Bishopscourt; besides another large village at Te Aro. The present village of Nga-uranga (the landing places) bears an old Ngati-Ira name. At this time the whole of Thorndon was under cultivation—the Ati-Awa being the first to fell the bush which formerly covered the country—for the Ngati-Ira had no or very few cultivations anywhere; they lived on fern-root, fish, shell-fish, and the root of a plant called aka, which Rangi-pito says formerly was in great abundance growing over the hills, but has been utterly destroyed by pigs and cattle. It was like the wharawhara (stelra) in appearance, with long roots, which, when cooked in the oven, furnished a sustaining food. The Ngati-Mutunga also had a village at Maro-kai-kura—a little bay three-fourths of a mile inside Evans Bay, on the east side.

When Ati-Awa occupied these parts, the Ngati-Kahungunu and Ngati-Ira were living on the east side of the harbour, but the relations between the two parties were not very friendly, as may be imagined. In the end Ati-Awa attacked the local people at Parawa-nui (or Paraoa-nui), and drove them away to Wai-rarapa. All this time Ngati-Toa were in occupation of Kapiti and Mana Islands, many miles away, but communication was kept up between the allies, for the intervening country had been fairly cleared of the original inhabitants. I cannot do bettor than quote Mr. Shand's account of the doings of Ati Awa at this period of their history, for he has had many page 408opportunities of hearing the old men who actually took part in these operations describe them. He says (J. P. S., Vol. I., p. 90), "After arriving and taking possession of Port Nicholson, the Ngati-Tama section soon after moved to Wai-rarapa, but previously had assisted Ngati-Mutunga in treacherously murdering the Ngati-Ira,* a section of the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe, who were the former owners of Port Nicholson. The Ngati-Ira were destroyed at Wai-whetu (Hutt valley), Te Mahau, Whio-rau at Okiwi (by Patu-kawenga), Kohanga-te-ra (just outside Pencarrow Head), Orongorongo (a little to the east of the above, on the coast), and at Paraoa-nui."

"When the heke first arrived at Port Nicholson the Ngati-Ira, though taking no active measures to eject them, evidently did not like the state of affairs, but perhaps somewhat undervalued their enemies, one of them making use of the proverb, 'Kia mahaki ra ano te kauae o Poua, ha riro ai te ivhenua'—('When Poua's jawbone becomes loose, then the land may be taken.') Poua, it is said, Avas an ancestor, as well as the name of a rock—Te Kauae-o-Poua—near Te Pumu-rapa (Sinclair's Head). Both tribes lived in their respective kaingas for some time apparently in friendship, constantly seeing and visiting one another."

"Meanwhile, some of the Ngati-Tama had made friends with the Ngati-Kahungunu chiefs Heke and Taka-paua, who joined them in a visit to their friends at Wai-kanae. Heke stayed with Kekerengu and his relatives on the way."

* Sec J.P.S., Vol. XV., p. 74, for a sketch of fcho Ngati-Lu History.