Some Chapters in the Life and Times of Te Rauparaha
Amongst the chiefs who accompanied Te Rauparaha in the migration, was his uncle, Te Pehi Kupe, who, by virtue of his seniority of age and rank, was undoubtedly entitled to the leadership of the tribe; but, although not deficient in talent, and admittedly a great warrior, he was inferior to his nephew in those special qualifications, which had enabled the latter to acquire the power he held over his own tribe, and the influence he exercised in the councils of the Ngatiawa and Ngatiraukawa. It has, however, been asserted that there are grounds for believing that Rauparaha was somewhat jealous of Te Pehi, and that dreading the possibility of aid attempt on the part of the latter to assume the leadership of the tribe in virtue of his higher social position, he would not unwillingly have sacrificed him. Indeed, it is said, that the taking of Kapiti was primarily due to a page 47 treacherous act on his part, committed for the express purpose of involving Te Pehi, and a number of other members of the tribe, in destruction; but it is difficult to suppose that Rauparaha could have maintained his high position if this charge, and others of a similar nature, were in any degree well founded. My own impression is that the whole affair was planned for the express purpose of throwing the defenders of Kapiti off their guard, and so of securing a conquest which had already been several times attempted in vain, but which he felt to be absolutely necessary for the success of his ultimate designs. It appears that one day he started with a large force of Ngatitoa and Ngatiawa for Horowhenua, for the avowed purpose of harrassing the remnant of Muaupoko and Rangitane who still wandered about that district, and that before dawn of the morning after his departure (which had been made known on the previous day to the people on the Island through their own spies), Te Pehi, and his own immediate followers, crossed the Strait and attacked them. Thrown off their guard by the knowledge of Rauparaha's absence with the bulk of the warriors, they had neglected their ordinary precautions against surprise, and were easily defeated, many being slain, although the greater number escaped in their canoes to the main land, and found refuge in the forests and swamps of the Manawatu. On the return of Rauparaha's war party, he at once passed over to Kapiti, where he usually resided from that time until his death. Shortly after the taking of Kapiti, Wi Kingi and the great body of the Ngatiawa returned to the Waitara, only twenty warriors remaining with the Ngatitoa. Thus weakened, they were ultimately compelled, by events which I am about to relate, to abandon their settlements on the main land, and to remove to Kapiti, where they formed and occupied three large pas, one named Wharekohu, at the southern end of the Island; another named Rangatira, near the northern end; and one named Taepiro, between the other two, Te Rauparaha and Rangihaieta, with the main body of the people, residing in the latter. Before relating the events which took place after the departure of the Ngatiawa, it is necessary that I should call attention to many affairs of importance which occurred between that event and the first settlement of the Ngatitoa at Ohau. It will be remembered that at the close of the last chapter I mentioned the attempt made by the Muaupoko to murder Rauparaha, near Lake Papaitanga, and the determination of himself and his tribe to lose no opportunity of taking vengeance for the slaughter which had taken place on that occasion. At the time of this occurrence, the Muaupoko were still numerous and comparatively powerful, having suffered much less during the previous incursions of the Ngapuhi and Waikatos, than the neighbouring tribes; but they were, nevertheless, no match for the better armed and more warlike Ngatitoa, and therefore rarely met them in the open field, relying for security rather upon the inaccessibility page 48 of their fortresses and upon their intimate knowledge of the fastnesses of the Manawatu district, than upon their prowess in the field. They then occupied a number of pas in the country around Lakes Papaitanga and Horowhenua, as well as several which they had erected upon artificial islands in the latter lake, in the manner so interestingly described by the Reverend Mr. Taylor, in a paper recently read before this Society. Now, it appears, that in pursuance of his intention to destroy these people, Rauparaha constantly detailed war parties to attack them, as well as to harrass the unfortunate remnant of the Rangitane who still lurked in the country to the northward of their territory.
Finding themselves unable to check these attacks, the Muaupoko took refuge in the Lake Pas, which the Ngatitoa however, determined to attack. Their first attempt was on that named Waipata, and, having no canoes, they swam out to it, and succeeded in taking it, slaughtering many of the defenders, though the greater number escaped in their canoes to a larger pa on the same lake, named Wai-kie-kie. This pa was occupied in such force by the enemy, that the party which had taken Waipata felt themselves too weak to assault it, and, therefore, returned to Ohau for reinforcements. Having obtained the requisite assistance, they again proceeded to Horowhenua, and attacked Wai-kie-kie, using a number of canoes, which they had taken at Waipata, for the purpose of crossing the lake. After a desperate, but vain resistance, they took the pa, slaughtering nearly 200 of the inhabitants, including women and children, the remainder escaping in their canoes, and making their way, by inland paths, in the direction of Paikakariki, where they ultimately settled. In the course of these several attacks, a number of the leading Muaupoko chiefs were taken prisoners, all of whom, except Ratu, who became the slave of Te Pehi, were killed, and their bodies, as well as those of the people slain in the assaults, duly devoured. It is matter of note that, notwithstanding the occasional murder of men of the Ngatiapa who happened to be found on the south side of the Rangitikei River by the Ngatitoa and Ngatiawa war parties, Rauparaha had, up to this time, preserved friendly relations with that tribe, some of whom occasionally fought in his ranks; this was chiefly owing to the connection of Rangihaieta with Pikinga, but events which occurred shortly after the expulsion of the Muaupoko from the Horowhenua; country, led to a rupture of this friendship and to the ultimate complete subjugation of the Ngatiapa. It was after the defeat of the former at Wai-kie-kie that the Ngatiawa returned to Waitara, but although, as I have before observed, their departure greatly weakened Rauparaha, he and his people still maintained their settlements on the main land, and continued their raids against the remnants of the defeated tribes. Amongst the expeditions thus undertaken one, in which a larger force than usual was page 49 engaged, was directed against a pa at Paikakariki, occupied by the Muaupoko who had fled from Waikiekie, which was taken after an obstinate struggle, in which many of the occupants were slain, the conquerors remaining in possession for nearly two months for the purpose of consuming their bodies and the stores of provisions they found in the pa. They were there suddenly attacked by the Ngatikahungunu from Wanganuiatera and the surrounding country, and driven upon Waikanae with considerable loss. This event, coupled with the threatening attitude assumed by that powerful tribe, and the fact that the remnants of the Muaupoko, Rangitane, and Ngatiapa, were again collecting in the vicinity of their former settlements, determined Rauparaha to abandon the main land, and to withdraw the whole of his people to Kapiti until he could obtain the assistance (which he still confidently expected) of his kindred at Taupo and Maungatautari. He had no sooner retired to Kapiti, than the Rangitane erected a large pa at Hotuiti, on the north side of the Manawatu, within the tract now known as the Awahou Block, where they collected in force, and were joined by three Ngatiapa chiefs of note. Rauparaha hearing of this, determined to attack them, and he and Rangihaeata marched to Hotuiti with a well appointed taua, accompanied by Pikinga, who, on the arrival of the party before the pa, was sent into it to direct the Ngatiapa chiefs to retire to the district occupied by that tribe on the north side of the Rangitikei river. This they declined to do, and Rauparaha then sent messengers to the Rangitane, offering peace, and desiring that their chiefs should be sent to his camp to settle the terms. Being advised by the Ngatiapa chiefs to accept the offer, they sent their own head men to Rauparaha's quarters, where they were at once ruthlessly slain, and whilst the people in the pa, ignorant of this slaughter, and believing that hostilities were suspended, were entirely off their guard, it was rushed by the Ngatitoa, and taken after a very feeble resistance, the greater number of the unfortunate people and their families, as well as the three Ngatiapa chiefs, being slaughtered and devoured, such prisoners as were taken being removed to Waikanae in order to undergo the same fate. After this treacherous affair, Rauparaha and his force returned to Waikanae, where they indulged in feasting and rejoicing, little dreaming that any attempt would be made to attack them. It appears, however, that the Ngatiapa at Rangitikei, incensed at the slaughter of their three chiefs, determined to revenge their loss, and for this purpose had collected a considerable was party, which was readily joined by the refugees from Hotuiti and by a number of Muaupoko from Horowhenua. Led by Te Hakeke, they fell upon the Ngatitoa at Waikanae during the night, killing upwards of sixty of them, including many women and children, amongst the latter being the four daughters of Te Pehi. At the commencement of the attack, a canoe was despatched to Kapiti for reinforcements, which were at once sent, and page 50 upon their arrival the enemy fled, but without being pursued. In consequence of this attack, Rauparaha and Rangihaeata became (to use the words of Matene Te Whiwhi) “dark in their hearts in regard to Ngatiapa,” and resolved to spare no efforts to destroy them, as well as the remnants of Rangitane and Muaupoko.
Rauparaha had, of course, become aware of the defeat of Whatanui and the Ngatiraukawa in their attempt to reach Kapiti by the East Coast, but immediately after the departure of the Ngatiawa he had sent emissaries to Taupo, in order again to urge upon the chiefs to join him in the occupation of the country he had conquered. In the meantime, however, a storm was brewing which threatened utterly to destroy him and his people. Ratu, the Muaupoko chief who had been enslaved by Te Pehi, escaped from Kapiti and fled to the Middle Island. Being anxious to avenge the destruction of his tribe, he proceeded to organize an alliance between the tribes occupying the southern shores of Cook Strait and those which held the country from Patea to Rangitikei, on the North, and the Ngatikahungunu at Wanganuiatera and Wairarapa, on the South, for the purpose of attacking Rauparaha with a force, which, in point of numbers, at least, should be irresistible. In the formation of the desired alliance he was completely successful, and about the end of the fourth year after the first arrival of the Ngatitoa, nearly 2,000 warriors assembled between Otaki and Waikanae, consisting of Ngarauru, from Waitotara; the people of Patea, Wanganui, Wangaehu, Turakina and Rangitikei, the Rangitane of Manawatu, and the Ngatikahungunu, Ngatiapa, Ngatitumatakokiri, Rangitane and Ngatihuia, from the Middle Island. They were provided with ample means of transport, “the sea on the occasion of of their attack,” to use the words of my informant, who was present on the occasion, “being covered with canoes, one wing reaching Kapiti from Otaki, whilst the other started almost simultaneously from Waikanae.” The landing of the warriors composing the right wing was effected about four in the morning, but the alarm having already been given by the chief Nopera, who had discovered and notified their approach, the invaders were at once attacked by the Ngatitoa, of Rangatira, with great fury, whilst messengers were at the same time despatched to Taepiri, where Rauparaha lay with the bulk of his people, to inform him of the invasion. Before he could reach the scene of the conflict, however, the enemy had succeeded in pushing the Ngatitoa towards Waiorua, at the northern end of the Island. Pokaitara, who was in command, being desirous of gaining time in order to admit of the arrival of reinforcements, proposed a truce to the enemy, which was granted by Rangimairehau, a Ngatiapa chief, by whom they were led, who hoped, on his side, during the truce, to be able to land the rest of his forces, and then effectually to crush the Ngatitoa. Shortly after the truce had been agreed to, page 51 Rauparaha and his warriors reached the scene of action, and at once renewed the battle with the utmost vigour; and, after a long and sanguinary conflict, completely defeated the invaders, with tremendous slaughter; not less than 170 dead bodies being left on the beach, whilst numbers were drowned in attempting to reach the canoes that were still at sea. The remainder of the invading force made their way, with all speed, to Waikanae and other points of the coast, where many of them landed, abandoning their canoes to the Ngatitoa, who had commenced an immediate pursuit. After the battle Rauparaha composed and sang a “song of triumph,” the words of which I regret that I have not been able to obtain. The result was in every way advantageous to his people, for no further attempt was ever made to dislodge them, whilst they, on the other hand, lost no opportunity of strengthening their position and of wreaking vengeance on the Ngatiapa, Rangitane, and Muaupoko, the remnant of whom they ultimately reduced to the condition of the merest tributaries, many of the leading chiefs, including Te Hakeke, becoming slaves. It would be useless for me to give anything like a detailed account of the incursions of the Ngatitoa into the country on the main land, often extending as far as Turakina, in which numbers of the original inhabitants were killed and eaten, or reduced to slavery; but it is perfectly clear that their power was completely broken, and that after Waiorua, the Ngatitoa and their allies found no enemy capable of checking their movements. The news of the battle having reached Taranaki, with rumours of Rauparaha's astounding success, Te Puaha, with a detachment of Ngatiawa, came down to Kapiti in order to learn the truth of the matter, and having ascertained how completely Rauparaha had defeated his enemies, he returned to Taranaki for the purpose of bringing down a number of his people to join the Ngatitoa in their settlement of the country, as well as to take part in the prosecution of Rauparaha's further designs. Accordingly, he shortly afterwards brought with him, from Taranaki, a considerable number of fighting men, with their families, consisting partly of Ngatiawa proper, partly of Ngatihinetuhi, and partly of Ngatiwhakatere, being members of a hapu of Ngatiraukawa, who had escaped from a defeat on the Wanganui River, and had incorporated themselves with the Ngatiawa. This formed an important accession to the force under Rauparaha, which received further additions shortly afterwards from Te Ahu Karamu, a Ngatiraukawa chief of high rank, who, against the feeling of his people, had determined to join his great Ngatitoa kinsman. This chief, having heard from Rauparaha's emissaries of the difficulties in which he was likely to be placed by the defection of the Ngatiawa, had started from Taupo with 120 armed men, of his own immediate following, and arrived at Kapiti shortly after the battle of Waiorua, and then took part in many of the raids upon the original tribes which occurred after that event.page 52
After remaining with Rauparaha for some months he returned to Taupo with part of his followers, where he reported the improved position of Ngatitoa, and urged his own section of the tribe to join them. Finding them still unwilling to do so, and being determined to effect his object, he ordered the whole of their houses and stores to be burned down, declaring it to be the will of the atua or spirit, angry at their refusal to obey the words of their chief. This being done the people gave way, and he took the necessary measures for the journey. In the meantime Whatanui and Te Heuheu had also determined to visit Rauparaha, in order to inspect the country he had conquered; the former chieftain intending, if it met his approval, to carry out his original design of joining the Ngatitoa in its occupation. In pursuance of this determination they, with a strong force of their own warriors, joined Te Ahu Karamu's party, the whole travelling down the Rangitikei River along the route followed by Te Ahu on his previous journey. During this journey they attacked and killed any of the original inhabitants whom they happened to fall in with. This migration is known amongst the Ngatiraukawa as the heke whirinui, owing to the fact that the whiri, or plaited collars of their mats, were made very large for the journey. Amongst the special events which occurred on the march was the capture of a Ngatiapa woman and two children, on the south side of the Rangitikei. The unfortunate children were sacrificed during the performance of a solemn religious rite; and the woman, though in the first instance saved by Te Heuheu, who wished to keep her as a slave, was killed and eaten by Tangaru, one of the Ngatiraukawa leaders. Shortly after this Ta Whiro, one of the greatest of the Ngatiapa chiefs, with two women, were taken prisoners, and the former was put to death with great ceremony and cruelty, as utu for the loss of some of Te Heuheu's people who had been killed by the Ngatiapa long before, but the women were spared. On the arrival of this heke at Kapiti, Te Heuheu and Whatanui held a long conference with the Ngatitoa chieftains, and Whatanui was at last persuaded to bring down bis people. For this purpose he and Te Heuheu returned to Taupo, some of the party passing across the Manawatu Block, so as to strike the Rangitikei River inland, whilst the others travelled along the beach to the mouth of that river, intending to join the inland party some distance up. The inland party rested at Rangataua, where a female relative of Te Heuheu, named Reremai, famed for her extreme beauty, died of wounds inflicted upon her during the journey by a stray band of Ngatiapa. A great tangi was held over her remains, and Te Heuheu caused her head to be preserved, he himself calcining her brains and strewing the ashes over the land, which he declared to be for ever tapu. His people were joined by the party from the beach road at the junction of the Waituna with the Rangitikei, where the chief was presented with three Ngatiapa prisoners, who had been taken during the page 53 ascent of the river. These were immediately sacrificed to the manes of Keremai, after which the whole body returned with all speed to Taupo. Before the return of Whatanui and his people to Kapiti, that place had been visited by some European whale ships, and Rauparaha at once traded with them for guns and ammunition, giving in exchange dressed flax and various kinds of fresh provisions, including potatoes. I may mention that until the arrival of the Ngatitoa the potato had been unknown in the Manawatu district, but at the time I now speak of it was extensively cultivated between that place and Taranaki, and formed one of the staple articles of food of the natives. He had no sooner obtained a supply of fire-arms and ammunition than he resolved to carry out his long-conceived intention of invading the Middle Island, a design in which he was greatly aided by the capture of the war canoes which had been abandoned by the allied forces after the battle of Waiorua; but, although he at once made preparations for carrying out his project, he postponed its actual execution until after the return of Whatanui. Shortly before the visit of the ships with which Rauparaha had carried on his trade, Te Pehi, observing one passing through Cook Strait, went out to her in a canoe, and, having managed to conceal himself until the canoe had left her, he succeeded ultimately in reaching England, his design being, like that of E Hongi, to obtain a supply of fire-arms and ammunition. His visit to England, where he was known under the name of Tupai Cupa, evidently a corruption of Te Pehi Kupe, is described in the volume for 1830 of “The Library of Entertaining Knowledge.” We are enabled by means of this incident to fix the dates of some of the principal events in Rauparaha's career, for we know that it was in 1826 that Te Pehi managed to secrete himself on board the vessel above referred to.
Rauparaha's immediate designs were in the meantime somewhat interfered with by a rupture between a section of his people and the Ngatitama, under Puaha, some fighting taking place, which resulted in loss to both sides; but he at once peremptorily ordered peace to be made, an order which was obeyed by both sides. It seems that this dispute arose out of the occupation of some of the conquered land, which was claimed by both parties, and Waitohi, a sister of Rauparaha, foreseeing that constant disputes were likely to arise from the same cause, more especially when their numbers were increased by the expected arrival of the main body of the Ngatiraukawa, unless there was some definite arrangement as to the division of the country between them, suggested to Rauparaha that the Ngatiawa should all remove to Waikanae, and should occupy the land to the south of the Kukutawaki stream, whilst the country from the north bank of that stream as far as the Wangaehu should be given up to the Ngatiraukawa. This suggestion was adopted by all parties, and it was determined that the Ngatiraukawa, already page 54 with Rauparaha, should at once proceed to occupy Ohan, then in the possession of the Ngatiawa. Having been assembled for this purpose they were escorted to their new location by Rauparaha and all the principal chiefs of Ngatitoa, travelling along the beach. On their way up they were feasted by Ngatirahira (a hapu of Ngatiawa) upon the flesh of black-fish, a large school of which had been driven ashore at low water, where the natives ingeniously tethered them by their tails with strong flax ropes, killing them as they were wanted for food. The Ngatiraukawa having been put into quiet possession of the houses and cultivations of the Ngatiawa, the latter removed to Waikanae, which continued for some time afterwards to be their principal settlement. The wisdom of Waitohi's suggestion above referred to is apparent from the fact that no further land disputes occurred between the several tribes until the fighting at Horowhenua many years afterwards, as will be related in the sequel.
Between this event and the date of Whatanui's return to Kapiti with the main body of his people, a heke composed of 140 fighting men with their families—called the heke kariritahi, from the circumstance that the warriors armed with muskets, had enlarged the touch-holes so as to be enabled (shrewd fellows as they were) to keep up a more rapid fire upon an enemy by saving the trouble of priming—came down from Maungatautari under the command of Taratoa. Whatanui accompanied this heke for the purpose of conferring with Rauparaha on matters of importance, but finding that the chief was absent, he at once returned to Taupo in order to bring down his people. The constant arrival of these armed bodies, and the manner in which they roamed over the Manawatu and Rangitikei districts, treating the remnant of the Ngatiapa and other original tribes with the greatest rigour, induced the latter to throw themselves upon the hospitality of the Ngatikahungunu at Wairarapa. In pursuance of this resolve, some 300 of them, including women and children, proceeded thither, but in consequence of a murder, followed by an act of cannibalism, which had been committed by some of the Rangitane upon a Ngatikahungunu man not long before, that tribe not only refused to receive the refugees, but attacked and drove them back with slaughter. The Ngatiapa then formally placed themselves at the mercy of Rangihaeata, whose connection, so frequently alluded to, with a chief of their tribe induced him to treat them with leniency, and they were accordingly permitted to live in peace, but in a state of complete subjection. The remnant of the Muaupoko, in like manner, sought the protection of Tuauaine, a chief of the Ngatiawa, who agreed to defend them against the long standing wrath of Rauparaha, but, as it appears, in vain; for it seems that having been informed by some of the Ngatiraukawa that these people were again settling at Papaitangi and Horo- whenua, Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, with a war party of Ngatitoa and page 55 Ngatiraukawa, proceeded thither and attacked them, killing many and taking a number of others prisoners, amongst whom was Toheriri, their chief. Toheriri's wife composed a lament on the occasion of the death of her husband, which is still recited amongst the Maoris. In this song she reflected on the broken promise of Tuauaine, who, though very sad at this slaughter, was entirely unable to prevent it. I merely mention this incident here, in order to show that lapse of time had in no degree weakened the revengeful feelings of Rauparaha, and that he considered the manes of his murdered children insufficiently appeased by the slaughter of the hundreds whom he had already sacrificed.
In about a year after the visit of Whatanui with Te Heuheu the former returned to Kapiti with the main body of his tribe, this migration being known as the heke mairaro, or “heke from below,” the north point being always treated by the Maoris as downward. From that time forth for some years parties of the same tribe constantly recruited their countrymen in their settlements on the Manawatu, gradually extending their occupation over the whole country between Otaki and Rangitikei, although their chief stations were in the Horowhenua and Ohau districts; whilst the Ngatiapa, under the protection of Rangihaeata and Taratoa, occupied some country on the north of the Rangitikei, yielding tribute to both of these chiefs as a condition of their being left in peace.
Not long after the arrival of Whatanui with the heke mairaro, Rauparaha put in execution his long meditated project of invading and permanently occupying the northern coasts of the Middle Island. It appears that his fame as a warrior had reached the ears of Rerewhaka, a great chief of the Ngaitahu, whose principal settlement was at the Kaikoura Peninsula. This chief had been excessively indignant at the defeat of the allies at Waiorua, and on hearing of the song of triumph, chanted by Rauparaha on that occasion, in which the latter indicated his intention of attacking and subduing the Ngaitahu, he had declared “that if Rauparaha dared to set a foot in his country he would rip his belly with a niho-manga, or shark's tooth,” a curse which was reported to Rauparaha by a run-away slave, and which—his memory for small matters being remarkably tenacious—would afford him, at any distance of time, ample pretext and indeed justification for attacking Rerewhaka and his people. In 1828, having accumulated a considerable quantity of fire-arms and ammunition, he started with 340 picked warriors, comprising Ngatitoa, Ngatiawa, Ngatitama, and Ngatiraukawa, under Niho, the son of Te Pehi, Takerei, Te Kanae, Te Koihua, Te Puoho, and other chiefs of note, and first made for D'Urville Island, at the north-east head of Blind Bay. At this time D'Urville Island, the Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds, the Wairau and the Awatere, were all occupied by a numerous section page 56 of the Rangitane tribe, which had settled in these places after destroying the Ngatimamoe some 200 years before. But though numerous, and in that sense powerful, so long as their warfare was carried on with the ordinary New Zealand weapons, they were no match for the chosen warriors of Te Rauparaha, more particularly when armed with the more deadly European weapons. The consequence was that they were everywhere disastrously defeated, hundreds of them being killed and devoured on the spot, whilst numbers of the prisoners were taken to Kapiti to undergo the same fate, the wretched remnant being kept in abject slavery by such of their conquerors as settled in the newly acquired district.
Whilst Rauparaha was engaged in these operations Te Pehi returned from England, and at once joined him with a considerable number of followers. Shortly after this the main force divided, a subdivision of the Ngatitoa named the Ngatirarua hapu, under Niho and Takerei, the Puketapu and Nutiwai hapus of Ngatiawa, under Te Koihua, and the Ngatitama, under Te Puoho, proceeding to Blind and Massacre Bays—and whose exploits will be hereafter referred to—whilst Rauparaha, Te Pehi, and other chiefs, with 300 well armed men, flushed with victory, and grown strong upon human flesh, left Rangitoto for the Kaikoura Peninsula, in order to afford to Rerewhaka the opportunity of putting his long made threat into execution. But the Ngatitoa chief felt sure of a comparatively easy victory, for notwithstanding a great numerical superiority on the part of the enemy, he knew that they were indifferently, if at all, supplied with fire-arms, whilst the great bulk of his own men were well furnished with guns, powder, and ball. It will be observed that, in accordance with the well known habit of the New Zealanders, Rauparaha had never forgotten Rerewhaka's curse, and he felt highly elated at the prospect of a revenge, which the force at his command rendered almost certain. But besides this prospect of vengeance, and the anticipated additional gratification of devouring the bodies of the slain, he expected, to acquire large quantities of green-stone weapons and ornaments, in which, as he had been informed by the slave who had reported Rerewhaka's foolish boast, the Ngaitahu of the Kaikoura and Amuri were especially rich, for notwithstanding the introduction of fire-arms into their system of warfare, the mere pounamu, or green-stone battle-axe, and other implements of war manufactured from that substance, was then, and indeed always has been, held in great estimation by the Maoris. Rauparaha, therefore, longed to add the acquisition of such treasures to the gratification which he would derive from wreaking vengeance upon the Ngaitahu chieftain, for the insult under which he had so long suffered.
As my readers are probably aware, the green-stone or nephrite, from which the more valuable of the weapons in question are made, is found page 57 exclusively on the West Coast of the Middle Island, and it appears that the Ngaitahu of Kaikoura and Amuri especially, had long been in the habit of sending war parties across the island, for the purpose of killing and plundering the inhabitants of the district in which it was obtained. These expeditions sometimes passed through the Tarndale country to the Upper Waiauua, and from thence through the Kopiokaitangata, or Cannibal Gorge, at the head of the Marina River, into the valley of the Grey, from whence they ran down the coast to the main settlements from the mouth of that river to Jackson Bay, and at other times passed from the Conway and other points on the East Coast through the Hanmer Plains to the valley of the Ahaura, a tributary of the Grey, and so to the same localities. The line of route by the Cannibal Gorge runs partly through a tract of country which I now occupy as a cattle-run, and my men have frequently found stone axes, pawa shells, remains of eel-baskets, and other articles, left on the line of march; similar articles being also found on the line through the Hanmer Plains. The scenery of the upper country on the line by the Cannibal Gorge is very grand and beautiful, the valley of the Ada, the head waters of which rise within half a mile of those of the Marina, running through an immense cleft in the Spencer Mountains, the summits of Mount Una and the Fairy Queen, capped with perpetual snow, rising abruptly on each side of the stream, to a height little under 6,000 feet, whilst the valley itself is rarely more than a quarter of a mile in breadth. The Cannibal Gorge is extremely rugged, and the fall of the river tremendous, its waters, when swollen by rain and melting snow, pouring down the gorge for miles in a perfect cataract of foam, and with a roar, which, echoed from the rocky glens on each side, rivals that of Niagara. During their journeys to the coast through these rugged scenes the war parties lived entirely on eels, wekas, and kakapos, which, at that time, were numerous in the ranges; whilst on their return, after a successful raid, human flesh was often carried by the slaves they had taken, and the latter were, not unfrequently, killed in order to afford a banquet to their captors. During these expeditions large quantities of green-stone, both in rough blocks and in well-fashioned weapons—an art especially known to the West Coast natives—were often obtained, if the approach of the invaders was not discovered in time to permit the inhabitants to conceal themselves and their treasures, and it was the accumulated wealth of many years which Rauparaha expected to acquire in case he should prove victorious in his projected attack upon Rerewhaka and his people.