The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Tai-Nui. [Vol. V]
O mothers! ye who wave your hands to southern clouds!
Lift up your voice, weep loudly for the parent dead.
The god has left his cave and gone far far away.
O my protecting power, my shade from heat of heaven!
But go, O my beloved! and be with those of ours
Of Puke-kai-hau, Te-matau, and Whiti-o-tu.
We did distort our features with defiance in the open day,
And thought of Keke-paraoa and Toka-kuku,
Whose deaths with vengeance were repaid at Roto-a-tara.
And Maku-kara, with Tara-kai-te-whenua,
Were captured, killed, and cooked and eaten.
But, O our noble—yes, our great beloved!
As thou dost lie in death, on sea-coast shore,
Where loudly booms the roar of sea-coast waves,
And chilly cold from off the sea doth bite thy skin,
With gentle blast blown out from far Ka-wai.
Then let us leave our grief with coming stranger god.
The Acts Of Murder By The Nga-Puhi On The Hau-Raki Tribes.
I am not afraid to give this account to be looked at by the public. If I were telling that which is not true, I should feel afraid; but these accounts are the very truth.
We will now leave these matters, and begin with some other subject—that of the evil displayed in the battles fought between the Nga-puhi and Nga-ti-maru.
The great evil of Nga-puhi was their murderous acts as shown in this history, as also shown in the case when the Nga-puhi made peace at the Totara, and then asked for the mere-pounamu called the Uira, which was given to them so that they might not attack the Totara Pa.page 183
Now, the Nga-ti-maru men were killed, but the mere the Uira is still in the possession of the Nga-puhi. If that mere had been taken by them in war it would be just for them to keep it, but, as they asked for it of the Nga-ti-maru that the Nga-ti-maru might not be attacked, now, O the man who asked for this history! I ask you to obtain this mere the Uira for our people. If the Nga-puhi are a noble people, and the mere the Uira is still in their possession, they will know that they are keeping it falsely; so that if they send it back to us, the Nga-ti-maru, they will have acted so far in removing some of the evil of their actions stated in this history. We have written two letters to the Nga-puhi chief called Hori-tahua (heap of goods) asking for that mere, as he has it in his possession; but he has not deigned to answer as yet.
Do not be offended with these words. You sent the book in which to write our history, which we have given; and now we all see that there is one valuable article in existence, so that if you are the Government, and as the Nga-puhi are so loyal to the Government, you might speak to Nga-puhi, and ask them to give the mere the Uira back to us, the Nga-ti-maru. We do not ask for the people—they are dead; but the Uira is still in existence, nor can it decay. If the Uira had been taken by them in war, it would have been like the dead. I will cease lest you become weary.
I will also say this: The old people will not divulge their incantations, or allow them to be written on paper, nor will they divulge the incantations respecting the dead or funerals, nor will they divulge the ceremonies and incantations for the birth and baptism of a child, nor the ceremonies and incantations of war, nor any other ceremonies and incantations. Perhaps they feel that such things are too sacred to be given. Even the incantations chanted at the planting and harvesting of the kumara they will not divulge. Nor do they even like to give the ancient history of the wars, unless they have tobacco or a few shillings given to them. This I give, as I have a great page 184 delight in listening to the account of the wars of old days. You can see by the long time I have had your book that the old men do not like to speak of these matters. I could have written this book full of writing in about two weeks and a half. I guess this from the fact that an old man and I sat one whole day, and in that time I could only write nine pages. But that old man was so clear in stating the history, and so correct in giving it consecutively as it occurred, and also, it was exactly what I had heard from other old men.
When I ask some old chiefs they distinctly refuse to tell about the deeds of old, but answer by saying, “How tiresome it is!” so then I lay the book on one side; and thus I have had this book five years in my possession.
Te-Waha-Roa and Nga-Ti-Maru. (J A. Wilson.)
The history of Te-waha-roa (long lane in a pa) affords a general view of the condition of the ancient New-Zealanders who, separated into various tribes, inhabited the great valleys of the Thames and Wai-kato, who occupied the shores of the Bay of Plenty, and held the lake district adjacent to and southward from them. It is a history which enables us to observe the actions of those tribes in peace and in war; to study their religion, their habits, and customs; and it assists us to examine the causes in the Maori's mind which prompt his actions. In order, however, to make such a view more complete, we shall sometimes introduce incidents and characters not strictly connected with Te-waha-roa's story, but generally contemporaneous with that chief, and pertaining to the districts where his influence was felt.
Te-waha-roa, chief of the Nga-ti-haua Tribe, and father of the present William Thompson Tara-pipi, was in his youth a slave at Roto-rua. This fact is well known, and the great influence and distinction he attained in after-life is probably the reason why this and other incidents of Waha-roa's boyhood are rescued from the obscurity which, notwithstanding he was page 185 a New Zealand chief, would otherwise certainly have been their lot.
It is said that, ere Te-waha-roa's birth, Tai-porutu (splashing tide), his father, a Nga-ti-haua chief, was killed at Wanga-nui, in the waha-roa (long gateway) of a pa he was in the act of attacking, and that on its birth his infant was named Te-waha-roa by its mother in remembrance of the spot where her husband had so nobly fallen.
Now, when little Waha-roa was only about two years old, Maunga-kawa (mountain of baptism), the place where his tribe lived, was invaded and devastated by the Nga-ti-whakaue, and he and his mother were carried captive to Roto-rua. In reference to this circumstance, the aged Nga-ti-whakaue chief Pango (black), as he reflected, some sixty years afterwards, on the slaughter of his tribe at O-hine-mutu (end of the daughter) by Te-waha-roa, said, “Ah! had I but known once what I know now, he never should have killed us thus. I saw him, a little deserted child, crying in the ashes of his pa; and, as he seemed a nice child, I spared him, and, putting him into a kit, carried him over to Roto-rua: and now see how he requites us. Oh! that I had not saved him!” Such was old Pango's (black) pious prayer in 1836; but it came too late, for not only was Waha-roa's infancy spared, but when he grew up, out of respect to his rank, and because, perhaps, his disposition was but ill qualified to brook the restraints of his condition, he was suffered to return to his father's tribe. This may have been about seventy years ago.
The Nga-ti-whakaue, who liberated Te-waha-roa, and against whom he, forty years afterwards, declared war, came originally from Hawa-iki, in company with the other Maori tribes. Their canoe, the Arawa, landed at Maketu. Roto-rua was shortly afterwards discovered by a man of their tribe named Ihenga (Scombresox forsteri), whilst out hunting with his dog, and was occupied by them; since which time they have maintained themselves in uninterrupted possession of their country. During the period over which our story extends the chiefs of Nga-ti-whakaue were Koro-kai (old man who eats largely); page 186 Pango, alias Nga-wai (the waters), alias Nga-ihi (the Scombresox forsteri), a priest; and Puku-atua (god's stomach); of the Nga-ti-pehi Hapu, at O-hine-mutu: Kahawai (Arripis salar), Hika-iro (maggoty barb), Amo-hau (carry the scalp), and Huka (froth); of the Nga-ti-rangi-wewehi Hapu, at Puhi-rua (two plumes): Nainai (sand-fly), of Nga-ti-pu-kenga, at Maketu; Tapu-ika, of the Tapu-ika Hapu, near the same place; also Tipitipi (make a speech with spear in hand) and Haupapa (ice), fighting chiefs; who, as well as Kahawai, Tapu-ika, and Nainai, were afterwards killed in action, fighting Te-waha-roa. There was also at Roto-rua a noted old tohunga named Unu-aho (take the line out), of the Nga-ti-uenuku-kopako Hapu.
This section of the Maori people is now more commonly, and we think more correctly, called Te-arawa, an appellation but seldom used in Waha-roa's time, when Nga-ti-whakaue was the name by which they were known.
If we assume Te-waha-roa to have been twenty years old when he joined his father's tribe, that event will be placed about the year 1795, as at his death in 1839 he was upwards of sixty years of age.
Of course it is now impossible to give a circumstantial account of all the events connected with his early career as a fighting man among the Nga-ti-haua, who then held the Maunga-kawa Range, and were but a small tribe of, perhaps, about four hundred fighting men. Suffice it to say that he witnessed the many incursions of the ruthless Nga-puhi in the early part of this century, and the desolation they wrought in the districts we have named, and that he soon distinguished himself, and gradually gave importance to his tribe.
Te-waha-roa's courage, activity, and address, his subtlety and enterprise, joined with reckless daring in single combat, rendered him in a few years the head of his own people and the dread of his neighbours. He allied himself with Nga-ti-mania-poto, and drove Te-rau-paraha and the Nga-ti-raukawas from Maunga-tautari to Cook Strait. He made war upon Wai-kato, and consigned a female member of the would-be royal house of page 187 Po-tatau to his umu (oven). At length, having made peace with Te-wherowhero on the west, and having planted the friendly Nga-ti-koroki at Maunga-tautari on the south, he turned his face towards the sea, and waged a long and bitter strife with the powerful Nga-ti-maru Tribe, who inhabited Matamata (point of a spear) and the valley of the Thames.
The apparent policy of this crafty chief was to get rid of Te-rau-paraha, who was as pugnacious a cannibal as himself. Then he terrified Te-wherowhero, who, having the example of his unfortunate female relative before his eyes, doubtless judged it more prudent to enter into an alliance with the conqueror and to assist him in his wars than to run the risk of being otherwise disposed of. And, lastly, he endeavoured in two ways to obtain for his tribe a passage to the sea—viz., by seeking forcibly to dispossess the Natives of the Thames, and by cultivating the goodwill of the Tauranga Natives, and pressing his friendship on them—a friendship which has resulted more disastrously to Nga-i-te-rangi than even his hostility proved to Nga-ti-maru.
It involved the reluctant Nga-i-te-rangi in a six years' sanguinary war with Nga-ti-whakaue, by which Tauranga was frequently devastated, and gave the haughty Nga-ti-haua the entrée to their district. Nor is it too much to affirm that, during the long course of his wars, the alliances formed by Te-waha-roa with the Nga-ti-mania-poto, the Wai-kato, and the Tauranga Tribes have been, in the hands of his son, an important element in the opposition which has been offered to the British Government. Its consequences are visible in the expatriated Wai-kato, now a byword among other Natives, and in the present miserable remnant of Tauranga Natives—despised even by those who have duped them. What did a Nga-ti-haua say lately, when reminded by one whom he could not gainsay that his tribe had no right or title to the Tauranga land at Te-puna (the spring), or elsewhere? “What!” he said, page 188 “do you not know that Nga-i-te-rangi are an iwi ware—a plebeian race? Where are their chiefs? We helped them against Nga-puhi, and it is right we should live at Tauranga.” Such is Maori right—the right of might—which converts not merely the lands, but the wives and chattels of the weaker party to the use of the stronger; and, therefore, as the unfortunate Nga-i-te-rangi gradually lost their strength and prestige in the war with Nga-ti-whakaue, which the fear of incurring Waha-roa's displeasure compelled them to join in, so the ungrateful Nga-ti-haua slowly and almost imperceptibly encroached upon their land, and at length boldly asserted a right thereto. The sequel will show that Te waha-roa himself never ventured to make such a claim. But to resume the thread of our story.
The Thames Natives, against whom Te-waha-roa now turned his arms, were a numerous and warlike people: they had held possession of their country almost from the time of their arrival from Hawa-iki. Their leading chiefs, and those of supreme rank, were Rau-roha (trembling leaf), Takurua (winter), Uri-mihia, Te-rohu (Myrtus obcordata), Horeta (red ochre), and Herua (comb it), with Piaho (very early dawn) and Koi-naki (do not cultivate), fighting chiefs. Before the introduction of firearms, this tribe had been accustomed freely to devastate the northern portions of the Island, so that Te-rohu's father enjoyed the reputation of being a man-eater—one who lived entirely on human flesh. Puke-tona (wart-like hill), well known in the Bay of Islands, was about the last pa destroyed by these cannibals. They were called generally after Maru, from whom they sprang, who travelled from Kawhia to Hau-raki after the arrival of the Tai-nui canoe from Hawa-iki; but they were divided—as, indeed, they are still— into Nga-ti-maru proper, Nga-ti-tama-te-ra, Nga-ti-paoa, and Nga-ti-whanaunga.
At the time of which we give an account, a number of Nga-ti-maru, with Takurua, their chief, resided at Matamata, near to Maunga-kawa, Waha-roa's place. Their position, therefore, rendered them particularly exposed to Te-waha-roa's page 189 incursions; nor did they receive any effective aid from Nga-ti-paoa, Nga-ti-tama-te-ra, or Nga-ti-whanaunga, who lived chiefly upon the coasts and islands of the Hau-raki Gulf; for their intertribal jealousies, and their constant dread of Nga-puhi—who were the first Natives to obtain firearms, and now diligently employed themselves in taking vengeance on their former persecutors—frequently prevented their joining Nga-ti-maru against the common enemy in the south. Te-waha-roa was well aware of these circumstances, and but too ready to take advantage of them. Had they been otherwise, it is doubtful whether the efforts of his united forces would have proved sufficient to produce any material result, as the Thames Natives, before they lost the Totara Pa, mustered four thousand fighting men, and he was never, by fighting, able to wrest even Matamata from Nga-ti-maru. Be this, however, as it may, the following events probably determined Te-waha-roa to prosecute his war vigorously with Nga-ti-maru:—
In 1821 a taua (war-party) of Nga-puhi, under the celebrated Hongi, arrived at the Totara Pa, between Kauwae-ranga and Kopu (stomach), at the mouth of the Thames. So numerous did they find Nga-ti-maru, and the Totara so strong, that, hesitating to attack, they affected to be amicably disposed, and were received into the pa for the purposes of trade and barter. Towards evening Nga-puhi retired, and it is very remarkable—as indicating that man in his most ignorant and savage state is not unvisited by compunctions of conscience—that an old Nga-puhi chief lingered, and, going out of the gate behind his comrades, dropped the friendly caution, “Kia tupato” (“Be cautious” or “on your guard”). That night, however, the Totara was taken, and it is said one thousand Nga-ti-marus perished. Rau-roha was slain, and Uri-mihia, his daughter, was carried captive to the Bay of Islands, where she remained several years. This calamity, while it weakened Nga-ti-maru, encouraged Te-waha-roa.
In 1822 Hongi again appeared, and, sailing up the Tamaki River, attacked and carried two pas which were situated page 190 together on part of the site now occupied by the Village of Panmure. Many of the inhabitants were slaughtered, and some escaped. These two pas, Mau-inaina and Mokoia, had no connection with the immense pa which evidently at some time flourished on Maunga-rei (Mount Wellington), and which, with the traces of a very great number of other enormous pas in the Auckland district, betokens the extremely dense Maori population which once existed upon this isthmus—a population destroyed by the late owners of the soil, and numbered with the past, but which in its time was known by the significant title of Nga Iwi (The Tribes).
Leaving nought at Mau-inaina and Mokoia but the inhabitants' bones, having flesh and tendons adhering, which even his dogs had not required, Hongi pursued his course. He drew his canoes across the isthmuses of O-tahuhu and Wai-uku, and descended the Awa-roa. At a sharp bend in the narrow stream his largest canoe could not pass, and he was compelled to make a passage for her by cutting a short canal, which may yet be seen.
At length he arrived at Matakitaki, a pa situated about the site of the present Township of Alexandra, where a great number of Wai-kato Natives had taken refuge. The pa was assaulted, and, while Hongi was in the act of carrying it on one side, a frightful catastrophe was securing to him the corpses of its wretched occupants on the other. Panic-stricken at the approach of the victorious Nga-puhi, the multitude within, of men, women, and children, rushed madly over the opposite rampart. The first fugitives, unable to scale the counterscarp by reason of its height and of the numbers which poured down on them, succumbed and fell; those who had crushed them were crushed in like manner: layer upon layer of suffocating humanity succeeded each other. In vain did the unhappy beings, as they reached the parapet, attempt to pause—death was in front and death behind—fresh fugitives pushed on, they had no option, but were precipitated into and became part of the dying mass. When the deed was complete the Nga-puhi page 191 came quickly up and shot such as were at the surface and likely to escape.
Never had cannibals gloated over such unexpected good fortune, for more than one thousand victims lay dead in the trench, and the magnitude of the feast which followed may perhaps be imagined from the fact that, after the lapse of forty-two years, when the 2nd Regiment of Wai-kato Militia, in establishing their new settlement, cleared the fern from the ground, the vestiges of many hundred Native ovens were discovered, some of them long enough to have admitted a body entire, while numberless human bones lay scattered around. From several of the larger bones pieces appeared to have been carefully cut, for the purpose, doubtless, of making fish-hooks and such other small articles as the Maoris were accustomed to carve from the bones of their enemies.
Let us turn now from the startling glimpse of New Zealand life in the “olden time” afforded by the Matakitaki episode, and follow the fugitives from Mau-inaina and Mokoia to Hao-whenua, a place belonging to Nga-ti-maru, situated on the banks of the Wai-kato, in the vicinity of where Cambridge now is; and, indeed, the ruins of the old pa are yet visible on the Maunga-tautari side of the large sandy chasm locally known as Walker's Gully.
Te-waha-roa viewed with a jealous eye the increasing strength and importance of the pa at Hao-whenua; for, in reality, it had become a stronghold of the Nga-ti-maru. Its position, too, not only menaced his flank and checked any operations he might meditate against that tribe, but it interfered materially with direct communications with his Wai-kato allies.
On the other hand, the stealthy Maori policy pursued by the Nga-ti-maru in establishing this stronghold to check Te-waha-roa should not be unnoticed. They suffered the refugees from Mau-inaina and Mokoia to occupy the post, and then gradually, by a sidewind, made themselves masters of the situation.
Meantime the Thames Natives spared no pains to secure and garrison their important outpost. The tribes of Nga ti-maru, Nga-ti-tama-te-ra, and Nga-ti-paoa united their forces at Hao-whenua, and the pa became a very large one, and was densely peopled not only with warriors, but with women, children, and slaves. Their numbers inspired them with self-confidence; for, when it became known that Te-waha-roa had arrived at Maunga-tautari with a taua (war-party) nine hundred strong, they boldly determined to meet him in the open field. Perhaps they wished to decide the matter before that chief should receive further reinforcements, or perhaps they desired to avoid the mortification of seeing the enemy sit comfortably down before their pa and regale himself on their cultivations. At any rate, they marched forth and took post on the hill Te-tihi-o-te-ihi-nga-rangi (the divided peak of heaven) (the place where the descendants of Waha-roa's warriors opposed General Cameron in 1864), and, when the enemy was seen to approach, they rushed down and joined battle with him on the plain to the eastward.
The contest was a severe one, but resulted in the defeat of the Thames Natives. They were driven back over Te-tihi-o-te-ihi-nga-rangi, and down its reverse slope, and were pursued with slaughter over the long, narrow, bushy plain that extends to Hao-whenua. At the end of a long and sanguinary day the dejected men within the pa sat dreading the morrow's light, their mental depression being doubtless in proportion to their recent self-elevation. Outside the pa Te-waha-roa, wounded in two places (shot through a hand, and a tomahawk wound in a leg), sat calmly revolving his own and his enemies position. page 193 Perhaps no general in New Zealand, either before or after his time, has rivalled this chief in the rare qualification of rightly estimating and balancing the complex phases and conditions of opposing armies. On this occasion he had experienced the quality of the enemy, inasmuch as sixty of his men were killed, and the object of the campaign—the destruction of Hao-whenua— remained unaccomplished. True, the enemy was in a state of despondency and fear, but in a little while his courage would revive, and prompt him to defend himself with the energy of despair. Better take instant advantage of his fears to secure the object sought, and to avoid, if possible, farther loss to the assailants. “Better make a bridge for a flying enemy”—such was the spirit of Te-waha-roa's reflections, for presently “through the soft still evening air” the voice of a herald was heard to proclaim to the occupants of the pa “that during the next four days any one might retire unmolested from the pa, but on the fifth day Hao-whenua, with all it contained, would be taken and destroyed.” No answer was returned, but during the interval a multitude of all ages and sexes issued forth from the pa and marched in close order along the road by Matamata to the Thames. That night Te-waha-roa's ranks were recruited by many slaves who deserted under cover of darkness from the retreating Nga-ti-maru.
The fall of Hao-whenua, which occurred about 1831, terminated the residence of Nga-ti-maru on the Wai-kato, and was followed by operations, from a Wai-kato basis, successfully conducted against them on the line of the Pi-ako. Already the Nga-ti-maru had been compelled to abandon Matamata to Te-waha-roa, and relinquish the wooded and fertile plain of Te-piri (hide close near), abounding in flax, the material from which Maori garments were made in those days. They lost it in the following manner:—
Up to the year 1825 the Nga-ti-maru chief Takurua (winter) maintained his ground at Matamata; but about that time he appears, after much fighting, to have judged it advisable to page 194 accept certain terms of peace proposed by Te-waha-roa. They were to bury the past in oblivion, and both parties were to live at Matamata, where, it was said, there was room for all. These terms were practically ratified by Te-waha-roa and Takurua living side by side, in the utmost apparent friendship, for a period of about two years.
We have now to relate an act of perfidy, condemned even by the opaquely-minded savages of that day, by which Te-waha-roa obtained sole possession of Matamata, and so turned the balance of power in his own favour that he afterwards drove Nga-ti-tumutumu, under Hou (plume), from Wai-harakeke, and finally established his boundary at Te-raupa (chapped skin), a stream on the left bank of the Wai-hou, between Rua-kowhao-whao (pit of holes) and Manga-whengu (branch of the creek where they snuffle). On the occasion of Te-waha-roa undertaking a short journey to Tauranga—a circumstance rather calculated to lull suspicion (d)—at midnight his tribe rose, and massacred in cold blood the too-confiding Takurua and nearly every man of his tribe. Their bodies were devoured and their wives and property were shared by the ruthless Nga-ti-hauas.
This Maori St. Bartholomew occurred about 1827, and further weakened Nga-ti-maru, who six years previously had suffered seriously at the taking of the Totara Pa. Thus Te-waha-roa was enabled, after the fall of Hao-whenua, to push his conquests to the foot of the Aroha; and it is difficult to say where they would have ceased had not his attention been unexpectedly diverted by the casual murder of his cousin Hunga, at Roto-rua, in the latter end of the year 1835.
The Thames Natives never forgot the deep injuries they had received at Waha-roa's hands. Even to the outbreak of the present war (1861) Nga-ti-maru always hated and distrusted Nga-ti-haua; and here we would remark the neglect, or failure, on our side to enlist them actively against his son Tara-pipipi (William Thompson). This was the more apparent when we page 195 saw our faithful Nga-ti-whakaue allies fighting manfully in our cause. They had not experienced half the ills Nga-ti-maru had endured. Our story will show that in their wars with Waha-roa Nga-ti-whakaue did not lose a foot of soil; and, excepting one occasion, they, according to Maori custom, were on the whole pretty successful in keeping their utu (retaliation) account square with that chief. But that occasion rankled in their memory; for, when beleaguered in their large pa O-hine-mutu, sixty of their best men had been ambuscaded, killed, and eaten before their eyes; nor had they ever been able to make good that balance until they slaughtered Thompson's allies the tribes of the Rahiti (Ra-whiti—rising sun, or east), and killed Te-aporotanga (the buttend), at Te-awa-o-te-atua (the river of the god).
As the O-potiki (the young child) Natives have lately made themselves so notorious, we will digress a moment to say that Te-aporotanga, an old man, was chief of Nga-ti-rua, a hapu (family tribe) of the Waka-tohea Tribe, whose ancestor Muri-wai (west coast) came from Hawa-iki. In very remote times this tribe lived amongst the forest-clad mountains of the interior; and then, five generations ago, under three brothers, Rua-moko, (hole of the lizard), Te-uru-rehe (wrinkled head), and Kotikoti (cut to pieces), they forced a passage to the sea by driving away the Nga-ti-awa, who inhabited the O-potiki Valley. They are divided into five hapus, and now muster at O-pape (confused) only 120 fighting men, whereas twenty years ago they were five times as numerous. About 1823 they were attacked by the Nga-puhi under the celebrated Hongi. Their pa Te-ika-atakite (the fish quietly looked at) was taken, and a blue cloth obtained from Cook was carried away, and many captives. Two years afterwards the Nga-puhi, commanded by another chief, returned and destroyed Takutai (near the sea), another pa.
Again, in 1830 Te-rohu (Myrtus obcordata) led Nga-ti-maru against Te-papa Pa, on the Wai-o-eka(weka) (water of the page 196 Ocydromus australis) River, where nearly all the Whaka-tohea (cause to persist) had assembled. This he took, and swept the tribe away, carrying them, by way of Pu-tauaki (Mount Edgecombe), Tara-wera, Roto-rua and Maunga-tautari, to Hao-whenua, just before Waha-roa took that place. These are the prisoners that escaped, many going over to Te-waha-roa, and many to Tauranga
At the fall of Te-papa a noteworthy incident occurred: Takahi (that part of the bole of a tree nearest to the ground), a leading chief, managed to escape to the bush with ten followers, whereupon Te-rohu caused him to be called by name, to which Takahi responded, and gave himself up. This may seem a strange proceeding on both sides, yet it was strictly in accordance with Maori custom, which enabled the victors, even in the hour of slaughter, to secure any chief they might wish to save, and such person, upon responding and coming forward, not only remained free, but retained his rank in the tribe by which he had been taken.
At the same time, Rangi-mata-nuku (face of distant land), with part of the Nga-ti-rua Hapu (family tribe), escaped from his pa at Awa-awa-kino, eastward of O-pape, and fled to Whai-a-pawa (Hicks Bay), where, being kindly received by Hou-kamau (plume that will hold in its place), he built a pa, and remained until the influence of Christianity effected the gradual return of Whaka-tohea captives to their own country. Rangi-mata-nuku then joined them, and by 1840 the bulk of the Whaka-tohea Tribe had returned to O-potiki.
The loss of Te-aporotanga was doubtless much felt, as he was the last old chief the Whaka-tohea possessed. Titoko (Alectryon excelsum), Takahi (bole of a tree near the ground), Rangi-mata-nuku, Rangi-haere-po (journey at night), and Hinaki (eel-pot) have all died, leaving the tribe without a man of real influence to lead them; and the loss of a directing mind by which they had been accustomed to be guided was a cause which induced them, on the melancholy occasion of Mr. Volkner's murder, to accord such an unusual welcome to Patara page 197 and Kereopa, and to be led by such adventurers in so extraordinary a manner.
But to resume: Te-waha-roa was not destined to remain long undisturbed at Matamata. He was attacked by Nga-puhi, who, making each summer a shooting season, spread terror universal with their newly-acquired weapons, killing and eating men wherever they went. They were particularly incensed against the great warrior of the South, Te waha-roa, because he had audaciously assisted the Nga-i-te-rangi to repel their incursions, and they were determined to make an example of him. Accordingly, a band led by Tareha (red ochre) encamped before the great pa of Matamata. Te-waha-roa, however, was not to be carried away by any popular terror: his sagacity quickly made him acquainted with the bearings of his situation; his tribe, also, had every confidence in their leader. He shut himself up in the pa, and kept so close that the enemy, probably imputing his non-appearance to fear, became careless; then, watching his opportunity, he suddenly made a sortie, and in hand-to-hand conflict used them very roughly. He also made four or five prisoners, whom he crucified on the tall posts of his pa, in the sight of their astonished comrades. The horrible spectacle completed the Nga-puhi confusion, who forthwith retired from the scene—not, however, before Waha-roa had sent this challenge to Tareha: “I hear you fight with the long-handled tomahawk; I fight with the same: meet me.” But Tareha, a huge, bloated, easy-going cannibal, preferred rather to enjoy life feeding on the tender flesh of women and children than encounter Waha-roa with his long-handled tomahawk.
We have now arrived at that period of our history when Europeans first ventured to make transient visits to the savage tribes which acknowledged Te-waha-roa's name and were more or less influenced by his power.
These visitors were of two different sorts—viz., missionaries, who appeared as pioneers of religion and civilisation, and page 198 “pakeha-maoris” (literally, pakehas maorified), who, lured by the prospects of effecting lucrative trading enterprises, not unfrequently fell victims to the perils they incurred; while the immunity of the missionary from death at the hands of the Natives is a matter worthy of remark, and suggests to the reflective mind the instructive fact that, for a special purpose, they were often protected, amidst the dangers that surrounded them, by the unseen hand of the Great Master they so enthusiastically served. In after years, when the missionaries' influence became great, and pakeha-maoris numerous, individuals of these respective classes were frequently placed in positions antagonistic to each other; but, considering the incongruous nature of the elements involved, such unfriendly relations could be no subject of surprise. It is, however, but just to state that, when pakeha-maoris became entangled in serious difficulties with Natives, and were unable to extricate themselves—difficulties caused sometimes by their own delinquencies—that when they invoked a missionary's aid, that influence, though at other times contemned by them, was ever cheerfully but judiciously exerted on their behalf; and, we may add, such efforts were generally gratefully received.
The first European that landed at Kawhia, and penetrated to Nga-rua-wahia (food-pits opened), was a pakeha-maori, a gentleman of the name of Kent, who arrived at the latter place in 1831 [and eventually came into the Auckland District, and lived with Po-tatau at Te-whanakaha (severe kick), the farm of the late Major Speedy, half-way between Drury and Wai-uku. Kent died there, and was buried on a point in the Wai-uku River called Te-toro, being the south head of the creek that comes out from the farm of Major Speedy into the Wai-uku River]. And probably the first vessel after Cook adventurous enough to perform a coasting voyage in the Bay of Plenty was the missionary schooner “Herald,” in the year 1828.
The latter enterprise was undertaken by three brethren stationed at the Bay of Islands—Messrs. H. Williams, Hamlin, page 199 and Davis—who, urged by a desire to discover, if possible, an opening for the establishment of a mission among the barbarous tribes of the Bay of Plenty, availed themselves of an opportunity which presented itself, and set forth in their schooner for the ostensible purpose of conveying the Nga-ti-whakaue chief Pango back to his tribe.
Tauranga was first visited, which place was found to be densely populated. The large pas there were three—O-tu-moe-tai (sleep near the sea-beach), belonging to Nga-i-te-rangi proper, whose chiefs were Hika-reia, Taha-rangi, and Tu-paea; Nga-ti-tapu pa Te-papa, where Koraurau was chief; and the Maunga-tapu Pa, held by Nga-ti-he, whose chiefs were Nuka (alias Taipari), Kiha-roa, and Te-mutu. Rangi-hau, killed afterwards in an attempt to storm Tau-tari's pa at Roto-ehu, and Titipa, his younger brother, since killed at O-tau by the Auckland Volunteers, were fighting chiefs of Nga-i-te-rangi proper; but the whole of the Tauranga people were known by the general name of Nga-i-te-rangi—just as the Thames Natives were by the appellation of Nga-ti-maru—and mustered in 1828 at least 2,500 fighting men. Their canoes were also very numerous—a thousand, great and small, were counted on the beach between O-tu-moe-tai and Te-papa.
After staying a few days at Tauranga our voyagers proceeded on their cruise, and touched at Maketu to land Pango, who, with a number of other Nga-ti-whakaue Natives, had been saved by the missionaries at the Bay of Islands from death at the hands of Kainga-mata, a Ngapuhi chief. Leaving Maketu the “Herald” then ran along the extensive and shelly shores of the Bay of Plenty, lying east and west, and, passing the mountains of Wakapau-korero, arrived off Te-awa-o-te-atua, a river which has one of its sources in the Tara-wera Lake, and which, after skirting the base of a magnificent extinct volcano, Pu-tau-a-ki (Mount Edgecombe), and threading a swampy plain, after a course of forty miles falls into the sea over a bar at a place called O-tama-rora, twenty miles from Maketu. Again passing page 200 on a distance of thirteen miles from Te-awa-o-te-atua, the “Herald” stopped off Whaka-tane.
The mouth of the Whaka-tane River is immediately on the western side of the rocky range, 700ft. high, which terminates abruptly in Kohi Point. The stream sets fairly against the rocks, and keeps the entrance free from a sandy bar, the usual drawback to harbours in the Bay of Plenty; but, as if to compensate this advantage, several dangerous rocks stud the approach to the river. In the offing, at a distance of six miles, Mou-tohora (Whale Island), which sheltered the “Endeavour” in 1769, still affords protection to vessels in that neighbourhood.
Looking westward from the Whaka-tane heights, an immense plain is viewed by the traveller, spread out before him. North of it lie the low sandhills of the beach; westward are the Wakapau-korero Mountains; on the south it is bounded by the Tara-wera Hills, Pu-tau-a-ki (Mount Edgecombe), and the Uri-wera Mountains; and on the east by the Whaka-tane heights, which descend from the broken country of the Uri-wera, and form a spur jutting out upon the coast-line. The area of this plain is perhaps not less than three hundred square miles. Its western sides are partially swampy, but the soil of the greater portion is good, and the valley contains many thousands of acres of the richest alluvial ground. It is traversed on one side by Te-awa-o-te-atua (the river of the god), which divides itself into the Rangi-taiki and Tara-wera Rivers; on the other by the Whaka-tane River, which, taking its rise in the Uri-wera Mountains, falls into the plain at Rua-toke, whence, meandering for thirty miles through an unbroken flat of excellent alluvial soil, it approaches the sea, and is joined within two miles of its mouth by the O-rini, a very navigable stream, which branches from Te-awa-o-te-atua.
Turning now to the east, our traveller will view on his right hand, stretching as far as eye can reach, a portion of that extensive, impenetrable mass of snow-capped, forest-clad mountains—the great and veritable New Zealand Tyrol— page 201 which, containing an area, say, of from three to four thousand square miles, lies between the Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay, and occupies the peninsula of the East Cape. Though the bulk of this region is untrodden by man, yet some of its districts are inhabited by the Uri-wera—a race of mountaineers who, through a long series of generations, have become habituated and adapted to the peculiar characteristics of their secluded and somewhat dismal country.
In front, below the spectator, is O-hiwa, an extensive harbour, like Manukau (Manuka) on a smaller scale, the entrance to which is over a shifting bar, having a depth at low water of from 9ft. to 11ft. O-hiwa is ten miles from Wha-katane; and nine miles further is seen the O-potiki Valley, as it opens to the sea—a valley of almost inexhaustibly fertile soil. Its superficies is about forty square miles; it is watered by two rivers, the O-tara and Wai-o-eka, which unite half a mile from the sea, and flow into the latter over a bar that varies in depth, being from 8ft. to 18ft., according to the season of the year. Beyond O-potiki the shores become mountainous, bold promontories jut into the sea, the streams become rapid, the beaches short, the valleys small; but the scenery generally is surpassingly grand, wild, and beautiful. The whole, sweeping far away to the northward, terminates in the distant Whanga-paraoa (Cape Runaway), the north-eastern extremity of the Bay of Plenty; while Puia-i-whakaari (White Island), a magnificent burning mountain, standing thirty-five miles out into the sea, completes the picture, and furnishes a huge barometer to a dangerous bay, for by its constant columns of vapour—whether light or dark, thin or voluminous—and by the drift of its steam-cloud, timely and unfailing indications are given of approaching meteorological changes.
Such is the panorama presented of a region which, for diversified scenery, soil, and climate, is unrivalled in New Zealand; for, as the shores of Cook Strait are less stormy than those of Terra del Fuego and Magellan Strait, and as the climate of the Auckland isthmus is less boisterous than that of wind-swept page 202 Wellington, so is the climate of O-potiki compared with the Auckland climate. Spring and autumn are uncertain seasons there. Winter is mostly cool, clear, and frosty, the mountains on the south protecting the adjacent shore-land from the severity of the powerful polar winds which at that season sweep the other New Zealand coasts, just as some Mediterranean shores are sheltered from chilling north-east winds by the maritime Alps and the mountains of Albania. The summer weather, from November to March, is almost entirely a succession of refreshing sea-breezes in the day and cool land-winds at night.
This fair portion of New Zealand was in 1828 tenanted solely by ferocious cannibals, who scarcely had seen a sail since that of Cook. O-hiwa, being debatable ground, was uninhabited. Of the Whaka-tohea we have already given an account. At Tuna-pahore, sixteen miles to the northward and eastward of O-potiki, live Nga-i-tai, a small tribe which asserts that its ancestors were of the crew of Pakihi (low water), the Whaka-tohea's canoe; but it is unable to claim any dignified origin. Leaving Tuna-pahore, the Natives as far as Whanga-paraoa (Cape Runaway) are of the great Nga-ti-awa connection, which ramifies through various parts of the Island. The principal places, Marae-nui and Te-kaha, are held by Te-whanau-o-apa-nui, a hapu (family tribe) very closely related to the Nga-ti-awa at Whaka-tane.
The Natives of the plain of Whaka-tane and Te-awa-o-te-atua are unable to occupy or cultivate a hundredth part of its surface. It cannot therefore be said to be peopled: let us say rather that they live upon it, and that it is owned by them. Rua-toke belongs to the Uri-wera, and is that tribe's nearest station to the sea, though twenty-five miles from it. The rest of the plain pertains to various sections of the Nga-ti-awa race. Rangi-te-kina was chief of the tribe at Te-awa-o-te-atua, whose chief pa was Matata. The chief divisions of the Whaka-tane Nga-ti-awa were Nga-i-tonu and Te-whanau-o-apa-nui. The page 203 former lived, as they still do, in two pas, Pupu-aruhe and another, about four miles up the river; the latter in two pas, Whaka-tane and another, near the mouth of the same. The chief of Nga-i-tonu was Tautari, a renowned old warrior. They were connected by marriages with Nga-ti-piki-ao, a hapu (family tribe) of the Arawa or Nga-ti-whakaue, and Tautari had a pa at Roto-ehu. Te-whetu, being son of Tautari's eldest son, is now the hereditary chief of the tribe; but Mokai, his uncle, is a man of more character, and proved himself a fighting chief at Tuna-pahore some few years ago, when he assisted Nga-i-tai—his wife was a Nga-i-tai woman—against the Marae-nui Natives. The chiefs of Te-whanau-o-apa-nui were Toihau, with his two sons, Nga-rara and Kepa. The survivor of these, Kepa, is now chief of the tribe; but Apa-nui, his cousin, is also a man of importance. Te-uhi is chief of a small hapu near Pupu-aruhe. Hura is of Te-awa-o-te-atua, and is not a man of any great note, excepting such fame as, like Te-uhi, he has acquired by his evil deeds; of the two, he is perhaps the worst man.
But at the time of which we write Ngarara was pre-eminently the evil genius of the place, and the “Herald” had hardly arrived near Whaka-tane when he determined to cut her off. His design, however, was overruled by Toi-hau, his father; so, after a short stay, the missionaries proceeded on their voyage. They next landed on the One-kawa sands at O-hiwa, where, finding upwards of twenty dead bodies of Natives recently killed, and other signs that a battle had lately taken place there, they judged it prudent to return to their vessel. After this they were observed and followed by two canoes, apparently from O-potiki. The vessel's head was turned towards the offing, but there was little wind, and the canoes came alongside, where they remained from the forenoon until evening, the Natives in them maintaining silence. In the meantime the schooner gradually drew off shore towards Te-puia-i-whakaari (White Island), and page 204 at length, to the relief of all on board—for no one knew the Natives' intentions, and, indeed, they did not seem to know them themselves—the canoes cast off from the vessel and returned to land. A north-east gale now came on, and compelled the “Herald” to bear up and seek shelter in the Tauranga Harbour.
When the missionaries returned to Tauranga after an absence of ten days, they were surprised to find Te-papa destroyed, Koraurau killed, and Nga-ti-tapu, comprising nearly one-third of the Tauranga people, annihilated. Te-rohu had been there with a strong force of Nga-ti-maru. He first assaulted Maunga-tapu, but, experiencing a re-pulse, he made a night-attack on the Papa from the side where the karaka-trees grow—that is, if they are yet spared by our countrymen's rather too indiscriminating axe. The pa was taken and its people slain. Twenty-five persons, availing themselves of the darkness, slipped away from the pa just before the attack was made, and were the only fugitives who escaped. Among them was Matiu Tahu, a renowned old priest. From Tauranga the “Herald” returned to the Bay of Islands. Thus ended the perils of a voyage remarkable in that it had been successfully performed on a portion of the New Zealand coast on which the “Endeavour”—an armed and well-appointed ship, but commanded by an officer of acknowledged humanity—had twice been compelled to fire on the Natives.
We shall presently relate the next visit paid by an English vessel to the Bay of Plenty and its melancholy result; but before doing so it will perhaps be opportune to give a short account of some of the antecedents of the Tauranga people.
The Nga-i-te-rangi are of Nga-ti-awa origin; their ancient and more proper name is Te-rangi-ho-hiri. Several generations before the time of which we write they lived on the east coast. It is said they were driven by war from a place there called Whanga-ra. Accounts differ as to whether or not they fought their way in advancing northward along the coast, but they page 205 arrived in force at Maketu, where they were well received. Soon, however, in consequence of a murder they committed, war ensued between them and the Tapu-ika, the people of the place, resulting in the defeat and expulsion of the latter. Tapu-ika being then the rangatira hapu (chief family tribe) of the Arawas, and though the vanquished were subsequently suffered to return, yet Te-rangi-ho-hiri maintained their hold of Maketu down to the year 1832.
Being dissatisfied, however, with Maketu, and desirous of possessing the coveted district of Tauranga, this tribe, which we shall now call Nga-i-te-rangi, advanced. On the night of a heavy gale, accompanied with much thunder and lightning, eight hundred warriors under Kotore-rua set forth from Maketu to take the great pa at Maunga-nui, and to destroy the bulk of Nga-ti-rangi-nui and Wai-taha, the ancient inhabitants of Tauranga. The doomed pa was situated on the majestic and singular hill which no one who has seen Tauranga will forget. It forms a peninsula, and is the east head to the entrance of the harbour. When Nga-i-te-rangi arrived at Maunga-nui they commenced by cutting with stone axes large holes in the bottoms of all the canoes on the strand, the sound of their operations being drowned by the roar of the elements. The Natives, with superstitious awe, tell how, at this critical point of time, a certain celebrated priestess of the pa went forth into the storm and cried with a loud voice, her prophetic spirit being moved to a knowledge of approaching woe, “Heaven and earth are being rent; the men next.” Having scuttled the canoes, Nga-i-te-rangi entered the pa, and the work of death began. Such of the affrighted inhabitants who escaped being murdered in their beds rushed to the canoes; but when they had launched out into the harbour (about two miles broad) the canoes became full of water, and the whole were drowned.