History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840
The earliest noticeable incident in the history of the Taranaki tribes, subsequent to their arrival from Ilawaiki, and after settling down in their new homes, was an expedition made by Turanga-i-mua (son of Turi, captain of the "Aotoa") which, considering the times in which it occurred, was a very extensive one, and it moreover brings us face to face with the fact of a numerous population living in this country at the time of the heke of 1350. Turi had settled down and built his pa of Matangi-rei, on tho south bank of the Patea river, when, probably some few years after, this expedition went forth. We do not know the reason of it, but probably it was due to tho same causes that have in later times originated so many others, i.e., the love of fighting for fighting's sake, or it may have boon due to some affront offered to Turi's people as they came down the coast. It is clear that Turanga-i-mua had a considerable body of warriors with him, and though no doubt some of the crew of "Aotoa" took part, the bulk of his party must have been recruited from the tangata-whenua, for the Hawaikians could not have been sufficiently numerous in themselves to have accomplished what they did—even allowing for exaggeration of deeds in the story itself.
From Hawkes' Bay, Turanga-i-mua made his way south through the other Tamaki district (Seventy-mile Bush) and then ascended the Rua-hine ranges, by tho old native path, which, starting near the present town of Woodville, passed to the north of the Manawa-tu gorge, coming out on to the plains of the West coast, at tho present village of Ashurst. It was a terribly rough track as the writer experienced in 1872. Near the summit crossed by the track, Turanga-i-mua was set upon by the tangata-whenua, who were probably Rangitane, and after a great fight he was killed, whilst most of his party made their way home to Patea. After his death, the people stuck into the ground a matipo post to mark the spot where he was killed, and heaped up (ahu) earth round it, and hence arises tho name of this spot (and the track) Te Ahu-o-Turanga, or Turanga's mound. His body, however, was afterwards exhumed and taken to Patea for final burial. The party on reaching Patea found Turi in his pa at Matangi-rei, and when the news of the death of his warrior son was mado known to him, the old man went out of his house, and, as tradition says, disappeared for over. He was seen by his daughter, Rua-putahanga,* going towards the eliif that fronts on tho Patea river at that place. Tho Patea people say Turi's spirit went back to Hawaiki his old home, and it is very strange that tho people of that old home, Rai'atea, say also exactly tho same thing, and that his spirit was a serious trouble to thorn for generations after, even down to three generations ago, as I learnt at Mo'orea Island in 1897. Turanga-i-mua is said to have been a great warrior in his time, and appears also to have been a taniwha slayer, for we have the statement that he slew a tipua-whenua, or monster, at Taranaki, named Pou-poto—about which, however, I know nothing further.
* It is doubtful if this name is right, for it is the only occasion on which this lady is mentioned as a daughter of Turi, whilst it is well known that one of that name was a famous ancestress of these people who lived many generations after.
See Chapter IX.
* "Peopling of the North," page 47.