The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Tai-Nui. [Vol. VI]
Thy standing as thou dost, O Pare!
Sheltered by the power and calm of open day,
Is yet an omen of some evil still to come.
Oh why forget the husband of thy girlhood's life,
And east aside the Hiti-ma-ariari,
The sacred incantation of thy ancestor,
To chant when going into battle-strife?
Why didst thou this forget, and not repeat
That chant as thou wast going to the hosts below—
To where the noble women and thy mother are?
Let Hoko-niho go and enter thine own father's house,
And bring the sacred mat for thee on which to sleep,
That Nga-ti-tu may call thy name,
And say, “Oh, welcome! our beloved! Oh, welcome now!”
It was not until after the year 1820 that fire-arms were extensively used in Native warfare. Shortly before that date the Nga-puhi chiefs Hongi and Wai-kato had visited England, from whence they returned laden with gifts, no small part of which consisted of guns and ammunition, for which, too, they soon bartered the remainder of their newly-acquired treasures with traders in New South Wales.
Then commenced a period of slaughter. Bands of the Nga-puhi, armed with weapons whose destructive power was unknown to the great majority of the Native people, marched from one end of the North Island to the other, carrying dismay and destruction wherever they went. The population of large page 58 districts was exterminated or driven into mountain fastnesses, The great tribes of the Arawa and Wai-kato suspended all their usual pursuits for the purpose of preparing flax, to be exchanged with the European traders for guns, powder, and ball. As fast as these were obtained they were turned against weaker neighbours, and the work of destruction received a fresh impulse. Hongi, Apihai, Nene, and Tareha, amongst the Nga-puhi chiefs; Wherowhero and others, of the Wai-katos; and Waharoa, with his Nga-ti-haua, were all simultaneously engaged in the most ruthless wars against their neighbours; whilst Rau-paraha was carrying on operations of a similar character in the South and the number of people slaughtered was tremendous.
At the time of the birth of Rau-paraha and for many generations before that event the Nga-ti-toa Tribe occupied the country lying between Kawhia and Mokau, on the western side of the North Island, and extending backward from the coast-line to the seaward slopes of Pirongia Mountain and of the chain of hills to the southward, which bounds the valleys of the Wai-pa and the Manga-rama. This tribe claims to have held the country in question ever since its settlement by their ancestor Hotu-roa a leading chief amongst those who came from Hawaiki in the Tai-nui canoe. Hotu-roa is also said to be the ancestor of the Nga-ti-raukawa, Nga-ti-kowhata, and Nga-ti-mania-poto tribes, the order of descent in the several cases being much as follows: From Hotu-roa, through Hotu-ma-tapu and Kou-we, sprang Raka, whose eldest son, Tui-haua, was the ancestor of Toa-rangatira the actual founder of the Nga-ti-toa as a separate tribe, and from whom they derive their name. From another son of Raka, named Kakati, through Tawhao and Tu-ronga, sprang Rau-kawa, from whom the Nga-ti-raukawa derive their name. From Toa-rangatira, in direct descent, came Kimihia, the mother of Werawera, who married a Nga-ti-raukawa woman named Pare-kowhatu. These two were the parents of Rau-paraha and of his sister Wai-tohi, the mother of Rangi-hae-ata. Besides Rangi-hae-ata, Wai-tohi had other page 59 children, of whom a daughter named Tope-ora is still [in 1872] living at Otaki, and is the mother of Matene te Whiwhi, one of the chiefs of the Nga-ti-toa and Nga-ti-raukawa tribes. Tope-ora's husband was a Nga-ti-raukawa man of high rank named Te-rangi-ka-piki, who himself claimed to be closely connected to Nga-ti-toa both by ancient descent and through frequent intermarriages between members of the two tribes. Tracing back again, we find Te-uru-tira and his sister Hine-kahukura in the third place in the ascending line from Toa-rangatira. From Hine-kahukura sprang Pare-wahawaha and Pare-kowhatu, the former of whom married Ti-hau, by whom she had a son named Whata-nui, the father of the great chief of that name who was at the head of the Nga-ti-raukawa Tribe during the career of Rau-paraha. We see, therefore, that the leading chiefs of the Nga-ti-toa and Nga-ti-raukawa Tribes claim descent from common ancestors, and that frequent intermarriages took place between the members of these tribes since they branched off from the common stock. The same remarks apply, but in less degree, to the descent of those two chiefs from whom the subtribes Nga-ti-mania-poto and Nga-ti-kowhata derive their origin, who also claim Hotu-roa as their remote ancestor.
It is almost impossible to determine the date of the birth of Rau-paraha, but from his probable age at the time of the Treaty of Wai-tangi it must have been about the year 1770. He was born at Kawhia, where, except during occasional visits to other parts of the Island, and especially to his kindred at Maunga-tautari, he resided until he obtained the complete leadership of his tribe. He had two brothers and two sisters, all older than himself, but his brothers never assumed positions of importance amongst their people, and neither of them ever exhibited the particular qualities which have made Rau-paraha so famous in the history of New Zealand. Rau-paraha is said to have been a good, pretty, and playful child, possessing, amongst other qualities, that of obedience in a high degree. It is recorded page 60 of him that on one occasion when directed by an old slave of his father's, named Pou-tini, to fetch water in a calabash— an order which, considering his rank, he would have been quite justified in disregarding—he at once obeyed and fetched it. But, like other youths, he now and then got into scrapes, and, to use the naif language of his son, “he did many good and many foolish actions.” As he advanced in years his mind developed rapidly, and he soon exhibited an extraordinary degree of wisdom, though his parents scarcely gave him credit for qualities quite apparent to strangers, and, as it seems, were rather inclined to snub him in favour of his elder brothers. But this condition of things did not long continue, and the following incident brought his peculiar talents prominently before his people, and enabled him at once to assume a position of great authority amongst them, leading ultimately to the absolute cheiftainship of the tribe. It was a custom amongst the Maori chiefs before the introduction of Christianity to assign a wife to each of their male children even before the latter had attained the age of puberty. In the case of Rau-paraha, a girl named Marore had been given to him as the wife of his boyhood, of whom, as he grew up, he became very fond, and in whose cause he obtained his first experience as a warrior. His parents had invited a large number of the tribe to a feast, and when the food—the fish, eels, and kumara—had been placed upon the platform, Rau-paraha saw that the portion allotted to Marore had no relish. This made him very sad, and after some consideration he told his father that he intended to lead into the country of the Wai-katos a war-party formed of a number of young warriors, who were perfectly willing to join in such an expedition, in order that some people might be killed as a relish for the food apportioned to Marore. During this time Rau-paraha was suffering from some disease attended with a good deal of physical pain; but, notwithstanding this, and against the suggestions of his father to postpone tile expedition until his health was better established, he determined to prosecute it, page 61 and the war-party advanced into the territory of the Wai-katos, with whom at that time they were in profound peace. In ignorance of their intentions their advanced parties were permitted to enter a pa of the enemy, who, however, soon discovering their error, flew to arms, and succeeded in driving them out again with some loss. Rau-paraha, with the remainder of the taua (war-party), seeing the rout of his advanced guard, at once took cover unperceived by the Wai-katos; and as the latter, in some disorder, were pushing the pursuit, he and his warriors attacked them in flank and rear, and defeated them with much slaughter, at the same time taking many prisoners, amongst whom was Te-haunga, a principal chief, who, with several others, was afterwards killed and eaten “as a relish” to the food apportioned to Marore. The success attending this expedition, and the skill shown by Rau-paraha in taking advantage of the disorder of the enemy, at once rendered him famous as a warrior; and from thenceforth he occupied a position of influence, not only with his own immediate tribe, but also with those to which it was allied, whilst his growing talents and power were looked upon with much respect and dread by those who had any reason to fear his prowess or his revenge. The event above referred to naturally led to frequent battles with the Wai-kato, in which Nga-ti-toa, under Rau-paraha, were generally successful, although occasionally defeated with considerable loss.
Rau-Paraha Visits Wai-Kato, Hau-Raki, And Kai-Para.
In the intervals of peace Rau-paraha visited his kindred at Maunga-tautari, then under the general leadership of Hape-ki-tu-a-rangi, a distinguished old warrior, who had fought many battles against Wai-kato tribes, and particularly one at Kaka-mutu, on the Waipa, in which the latter were defeated with tremendous slaughter. On the death of Hape, Rau-paraha married his chief wife, Akau, who became the mother of Tamihana Rau-paraha. Rau-paraha kept up a constant intercourse with his friends at Roto-rua, and frequently visited page 62 Te-heuheu, who was much impressed with the character of his visitor, and became his fast and valuable ally. Besides this, he made several excursions to the Thames (Hau-raki) in order to obtain the alliance of Nga-ti-maru. From the chiefs of this tribe Rau-paraha obtained a musket, with a little ammunition-gifts of very great value at that time, and indicating the estimation in which he was held by his hosts. He also visited Kai-para, where he gained the friendship of the Nga-ti-whatua and other tribes in that district, and on his way back went to the Wai-te-mata, where he succeeded in forming an alliance with Kiwi and the son of Tihi, chiefs of the great tribes which then occupied that part of the country.
Unskilfully as the Maori used the musket, and little as it might have been feared by Europeans, such was the dread of its effects amongst the Natives, more especially on the part of the tribes which did not possess it, that the strength of a war-party was at that time not so much calculated by the number of its members as by the quantity of fire-locks it could bring into action; and when Paora, a northern chief, invaded the district of Whanga-roa in 1819, the terrified people described him as having twelve muskets, whilst the name of Korokoro, then a great chief at the Bay of Islands, who was known to possess fifty stand of arms, was heard with terror for upwards of two hundred miles beyond his own district.
Incident In The Migration Of Rau—Paraha From Kawhia Southward.
During the night an incident occurred which might have been productive of disaster but for the course taken by Rau-paraha. Amongst the women who were with the party was Tanga-hoe, the wife of a chief, who had an infant with her. This child in its restlessness began to cry, and Rau-paraha, fearing that his stratagem would be betrayed by the cries of the child, told its mother to choke it, saying, “I am that child.” The parents at page 63 once obeyed the command, and killed the child. Towards midnight the river fell considerably, and at low tide the party left their fires and crossed it, continuing their march until they reached a pa of the Nga-ti-tama, greatly rejoicing at their escape. Early on the following morning Rau-paraha's party, with a reinforcement of Nga-ti-tama and Nga-ti-awa, returned to the spot where the fight of the previous afternoon had taken place, and secured the bodies of Tuta-kara and the others who had been killed. These were taken to Mokau, where they were cut up and eaten amidst great rejoicings on the part of Nga-ti-awa and Nga-ti-tama at the chance thus afforded them of paying off some old grudge which they had against Nga-ti-mania-poto.
Rau-Paraha Migrating Southward From Kawhia.
Shortly after the taking of Kapiti Wi Kingi and the great body of the Nga-ti-awa returned to the Wai-tara, only twenty warriors remaining with the Nga-ti-toa. Thus weakened, they were compelled to abandon their settlements on the mainland, and to remove to Kapiti, where they formed and occupied three large pas—one named Whare-kohu, at the southern end of the island; another named Rangatira, near the northern end; and one named Tae-piro, between the other two; Rau-paraha and Rangi-hae-ata, with the main body of the people, residing in the latter. The Mua-upoko attempted to murder Rau-paraha near Lake Papai-tanga, and thus gave rise to 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 Mua-upoko were still numerous and comparatively powerful, having suffered much less during the previous incursions of the Nga -puhi and Wai-kato than the neighbouring tribes; but they were no match for the Nga-ti-to a, and rarely met them in the open field, relying for security rather upon the inaccessibility of their fortresses and upon their intimate knowledge of the fastness of the Manawa-tu district than upon their prowess in the field. They page 64 then occupied a number of pas in the country around Lakes Papai-tanga and Horo-whenua, as well as several which they had erected upon artificial islands in the latter lake. In pursuance of his intention to destroy these people, Rau-paraha constantly detailed war-parties to attack them, as well as to harass the unfortunate remnant of the Rangi-tane who still lurked in the country to the northward of their territory.
Rau-paraha had become aware of the defeat of Whata-nui and the Nga-ti-raukawa in their attempt to reach Kapiti by the east coast, but immediately after the departure of the Nga-ti-awa he had sent emissaries to Taupo in order to again urge upon the chiefs to join him in the occupation of the country he page 67 had conquered. In the meantime, however, a storm was brewing which threatened utterly to destroy him and his people. Ratu, the Mua-upoko 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 Rangi-tikei, on the north, and the Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu at Whanga-nui-a-tara and Wai-rarapa, on the south, for the purpose of attacking Rau-paraha 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 Nga-ti-toa nearly two thousand warriors assembled between O-taki and Wai-kanae, consisting of Nga-rauru, from Wai-totara; the people of Pa-tea, Whanga-nui, Whanga-ehu, Turakina, and Rangi-tikei; the Rangi-tane of Manawa-tu; and the Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu, Nga-ti-apa, Nga-ti-tu-mata-kokiri, Rangi-tane, and Nga-ti-huia, from the Middle Island. They were provided with ample means of transport, “the sea on the occasion 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 O-taki, whilst the other started almost simultaneously from Wai-kanae.” 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 Nga-ti-toa of Rangatira with great fury, whilst messengers were at the same time despatched to Taipiri, where Rau-paraha 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 Nga-ti-toa towards Wai-o-rua, at the northern end of the island. Pokai-tara, who was in command, being desirous of gaining time in order to admit of the arrival of reinforcements, proposed a page 68 truce to the enemy, which was granted by Rangi-maire-hau, a Nga-ti-apa 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 Nga-ti-toa. Shortly after the truce had been agreed to Rau-paraha 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 a hundred and seventy 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 Wai-kanae and other points of the coast, where many of them landed, abandoning their canoes to the Nga-ti-toa, who had commenced an immediate pursuit. After the battle Rau-paraha and his people, while they danced, chanted a song of triumph, which was this :—
When will your anger dare?
When will your power arise?
Salute your child with your nose.
But how salute him now?
You will see the rejoicing tide
Of the warriors' coming glee,
And departure of Rongo-ma-whiti.
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 Nga-ti-apa, Rangi-tane, and Mua-upoko, the remnant of whom they ultimately reduced to the condition of the merest tributaries, many of the leading chiefs, including Te-hakeke, becoming slaves. The Nga-ti-toa made incursions into the country on the mainland as far as Turakina, in which numbers of the original inhabitants were killed and eaten or reduced to slavery, and their power was completely broken; and after Wai-o-rua the Nga-ti-toa and their allies found no enemy capable of checking their movements. The news of the battle having reached page 69 Taranaki with rumours of Rau-paraha's success, Te-puaha, with a detachment of Nga-ti-awa, came down to Kapiti in order to learn the truth of the matter, and, having ascertained how completely Rau-paraha had defeated his enemies, he returned to Tara-naki for the purpose of bringing down a number of his people to join the Nga-ti-toa, as well as to take part in the prosecution of Rau-paraha's further designs. Accordingly he brought from Tara-naki a number of fighting-men, with their families, consisting partly of Nga-ti-awa proper, partly of Nga-ti-hine-tuhi, and partly of Nga-ti-wha-katere, being members of a kapu (family tribe) of Nga-ti-rau-kawa who had escaped from a defeat on the Wanganui River and had incorporated themselves with the Nga-ti-awa. This formed an important accession to the force under Rau-paraha, which received further additions shortly afterwards from Te-ahu-karamu, a Nga-ti-raukawa chief of high rank, who, against the feeling of his people, had determined to join his great Nga-ti-toa kinsman. This chief, having heard from Rau-paraha's emissaries of the difficulties in which he was likely to be placed by the defection of the Nga-ti-awa, had started from Taupo with a hundred and twenty armed men of his own immediate following, and arrived at Kapiti shortly after the battle of Wai-o-rua, and took part in many of the raids upon the original tribes which occurred after that event. After remaining with Rau-paraha for some months he returned to Taupo with part of his followers, where he reported the improved position of Nga-ti-toa, 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 (god), who was 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 Whata-nui and Te-heuheu had also determined to visit Rau-paraha 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 page 70 Nga-ti-toa 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 Rangi-tikei 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 meet. This migration is known amongst the Nga-ti-raukawa as the heke whirinui (thick plait), 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 Nga-ti-apa woman and two children on the south side of the Rangi-tikei. The unfortunate children were sacrificed during the performance of sacred rites, 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 Nga-ti-raukawa leaders. Shortly after this Ta-whiro, one of the greatest of the Nga-ti-apa chiefs, with two women, were taken prisoners, and the former was put to death with great ceremony and cruelty as utu (payment) for the loss of some of Te-heuheu's people who had been killed by the Nga-ti-apa long before; but the women were spared. On the arrival of this heke (migration) at Kapiti, Te-heu-heu and Whata-nui held a long conference with the Nga-ti-toa chiefs, and Whata-nui was at last persuaded to bring his people down. For this purpose he and Te-heu-heu returned to Taupo, some of the party passing across the Manawa-tu Block so as to strike the Rangi-tikei 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 Ranga-taua, where a female relative of Te-heuheu named Rere-mai, famed for her extreme beauty, died of wounds inflicted upon her during the journey by a stray band of Nga-ti-apa. 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 tapu for ever. His people were joined by the page 71 party from the beach-road at the junction of the Wai-tuna with the Rangi-tikei, where the chief was presented with three Nga-ti-apa prisoners, who had been taken during the ascent of the river. These were immediately sacrificed to the manes of Kere-mai, after which the whole body returned with all speed to Taupo. Before the return of Whata-nui and his people to Kapiti that place had been visited by some European whale-ships, and Rau-paraha at once traded with them for guns and ammunition, giving in exchange dressed flax and various kinds of fresh provisions, including potatoes. Until the arrival of the Nga-ti-toa the potato had been unknown in the Manawa-tu district, but at this time it was extensively cultivated between that place and Tara-naki, and formed one of the staple articles of food of the Natives. Rau-paraha 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 Wai-o-rua; but, although he at once made preparations for carrying out his project, he postponed its actual execution until after the return of Whata-nui. Shortly before the visit of the ships with which Rau-paraha 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 Hongi, to obtain a supply of fire-arms and ammunition. His visit to England, where he was known under the name of Tu-pai Cupa, evidently a corruption of Te-pehi-kupe, is described in the volume for 1830 of “The Library of Entertaining Knowledge,” page 331. We are enabled by means of this incident to fix the dates of some of the principal events in Rau-paraha's career, for we know that it was in 1826 that Te-pehi managed to secrete himself on board the vessel referred to.