Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:
Puke Rangi’s Taua to Waikato, 1832
Puke Rangi’s Taua to Waikato, 1832.
We must leave the proposed Tauranga expedition for awhile, to relate that of Pukerangi to Waikato, but the exact date of its leaving cannot now be ascertained, beyond the facts stated by Mr. C. Marshall,* I know nothing of it. Mr. Marshall who was then living in the Waikato, having been the first white man to settle in these parts,† gives a full account of this expedition, which is summarised here; it took place in 1832. The taua appears to have been composed largely of the southern Nga-Puhi tribes, from Whangarei, &c. The expedition was a very strong one, nearly 3,000 men under the leadership of Puke-rangi, Motutara and Te Tirarau of the Parawhau tribe of Whangarei; the latter had a separate account of his own to square on account of losses at Otamatea, Whangarei and other places. Nga-Puhi came by the usual route viâ Otahuhu and the Awaroa portage, whilst Waikato assembled at the heads of that river equally as strong as Nga-Puhi. After a time, having consumed all the food there, Waikato retreated up the river, where after some time Puke-rangi and his party followed them after burning the settlement of Putataka at the mouth of the river, page 442 where a few Europeans had by this time settled down. Near Whangape lake, Nga-Puhi surprised some forty Waikato people and killed them, but they proceeded no further and returned to the heads, where they killed a pakeha named “Paddy.”
Nga-Puhi were followed to Manukau by some of the Ngati-Amaru, one of the Waikato tribes, but they effected nothing; hearing which the Ngati-Te-Ata (of Waiuku), Ngati-Tama-oho, Ngati-Tipa and Ngati-Mahanga—all Waikato tribes—and Ngati-Whatua, with several of their sub-tribes followed after Nga-Puhi, as far as Tawa-tawhiti, near Te Kawau Island (?Whangarei), where they attacked and defeated the Northern tribe with great slaughter. In this encounter Puke-rangi, the Nga-Puhi leader was killed. Ngati-Whatua at this time were living at Te Horo, on the Waipa, and in this war they got a little satisfaction for their previous losses. This was the last expedition that Nga-Puhi made against these southern people of the west coast. They had probably had enough of it, and fire-arms were by this time common to most tribes. I think it possible that Mr. Marshall has given a wrong position for Tawa-tawhiti, unless there were two defeats of Nga-Puhi at the place of that name, near Kawau Island, and that it was to Whangarei the taua went.
In November, 1831, the news of the capture and killing of Tama-i-hara-nui of Akaroa, by Te Rau-paraha, reached the Bay by letters page 443 dated in March, 1831. There were said to be 1,500 men armed with muskets, under Te Rauparaha at Otaki, Kapiti, &c. Also in the same month the letters of the Maori chiefs to His Majesty William IV., asking him to protect them against “the tribe of Marion” (the French) were sent; as it was reported that the latter nation were about to take possession of New Zealand. The letters were signed by Whare-rahi, Rewa, Patu-one, Nene, Kekeao, Titore, Te Morenga, Ripi, Hara, Atua-haere, Matangi, and Taonui. The occasion of this letter was the visit of a French man-of-war in the previous month.
It will be remembered that in March, 1828, the Rev. Henry Williams had saved the life of Pango, a Rotorua chief, by taking him to Tauranga from the Bay, thus defeating the intentions of some of the Nga-Puhi chiefs, who had expressed their determination to kill Pango. On 27th April, 1831, the Rotorua chief, Wharetutu, arrived at the Bay, sent by Pango, to ask that a missionary might be sent to his tribe at Rotorua. Mr. Williams took advantage of this, and left the Bay in the little schooner “Karere,” October 18th, 1831, and together with Mr. Chapman sailed for Tauranga, where he found several Europeans settled, and from thence proceeded to Rotorua, reaching Ohinemutu on the 28th, Mr. Williams being the first missionary to visit that place. They reached the Bay on their return on November 18th.
* “Pakeha Rambles through Maori Lands,” Lieut.-Colonel St. John, p. 19.