Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:
The Girls War (so called), 1830
The Girls War (so called), 1830.
On the 8th March, 1830, arrived at the Bay, the Rev. Samuel Marsden and his daughter. Naturally he used his great influence to assist the resident missionaries to make peace between the fighting tribes, most of the members of which were related; indeed it is said that often fathers, sons and brothers were fighting against one another on either side. A peace was made on the 17th March in the presence of about a thousand natives, and ratified on the 18th, “When,” says the Missionary Record, “a chief from ururoa’s party repeated a very long song, with a small stick in his hand, which at the conclusion he broke and threw down at the feet of the ambassador of the opposite party. The meaning of this was, that page 425 hostilities had been broken off. The latter chief then repeats a similar form of words and casts down his broken stick at the feet of the former speaker.”
Thus peace was made so far as Nga-Puhi was concerned. But Hengi’s two sons, Mango and Kakaha, were not satisfied with the utu obtained for their father’s death, and proceeded to arrange for a hostile expedition against the tribes of the south, “Kia ngata ai te ngakau pouri”, - to assuage the darkness of the heart. This was, of course, in strict accordance with Maori law: someone must suffer; and as they could not attack their relations, the Bay of Islands people, after peace had been made, they used this as an excuse for a raid on the innocent tribes of the Bay of Plenty.
But, Mr. C. F. Maxwell tells me, there was another take also, inducing the Takou people to seek revenge. He says, “I will now explain why Ngati-Kurti (of Whangape, west coast, north of Hokianga), joined Nga-Puhi and formed part of the ope which devastated Tuhua, and were afterwards cut off and eaten by Ngai-Te-Rangi at Motiti, Bay of Plenty. When Hengi was killed at Kororareka in 1830, by Ngati-Manu, he left two sons, Mango and Kakaha, by a Ngati-Kuri woman, and also a young wife. After his death, Tareha, the great Nga-Puhi chief, of Ngati-rehia hapu took the young widow to wife. The two stepsons objected and brought her back. In revenge, a Nga-Puhi taua came down and destroyed the page 426 kumara cultivations of the brothers. This naturally caused much annoyance and the brothers therefore decided—“We will go south and obtain payment, or die at the hands of strangers, for those who have injured us are of our own tribe.”
They sent to their mother’s people, and about 200 of the Ngati-Kuri joined them. The take or reason of these people consenting to join in the expedition was this:—Whare-tomokia of Ngati-tautahi, had been way-laid and slain by Te Whanau-a-Apanui at Orete, Bay of Plenty, while returning from a visit to Waiapu, some of his people being retained as slaves. It was to obtain utu for this, and to release the prisoners that they joined the expedition.”
The date of Whare-tomokia’s death was apparently 1831; he was with Nga-ure as described a few pages back.
* An old settler informed me in 1880, that he had seen over sixty whale ships at one time, anchored in the Kawakawa river, opposite Opua.