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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions. Nga-Puhi [Vol. X, English]

Chapter III

page (also see 130, 131 & 168)(51)

Chapter III

Kahu-ngunu at Nga-puhi
and Migration to Tauranga


In the times of Kahu-nunu when he and his people occupied the Nga-puhi Rarawa and Au-pouri districts, he lived with his section of the tribe at Whanga-roa, at that time there lived other tribes of people in the Whanga-roa district with whom Kahu-nunu and his people were forced to be constantly at war in this constant war Kahu-nunu and his people became quite tired and made up their minds to migrate southward from the Whanga-roa district. They left that place and went over land by way of the head of the Kaipara river and on to Manuka and on to Waikato. Kahu-nunu took a large lizard in a taha or ipu with him, as a passport through the various tribes he might have occasion to meet in his journey, as we are not more afraid of any thing in creation than a lizard this being held up before any hostile party would make page (B No. 1 White)(51)them flee thus Kahu-nunu obtained free pass where ever he wished by aid of his pet lizard, as they had to make a path through the country and by dint of knowledge of the East part of the heavens by the sun rise and as they had to pass through dense forests and at the same time procure food in those forests they wee a long time ere they arrived on an open country like that around Waitemata and Manuka, by which time the sacred head of Kahu-nunu the hair of which not having been cut, had become so long that it waved about and down over his back like the shreds of a kori or ngere mat, this he did not care for so long as he was the leader of his travelling band, and whilst they were still at unrest on their journey, on he went with his band crossed the Whainga-roa, Ao-tea, Mokau, Mimi, and arrived at Taranaki, here the band rested, and Kahu-nunu got his priest to comb the gangled mass of his hair and plait it into seven plaits, these he tied up in a knot at the back of his head, here he took out of his sacred basket in which he carried all his treasures, two mako sharks teeth and hung them to his right ear, and a green stone ear drop kuru kuru he hung to his left ear, and in the hole in his right ear he also placed a turuki or kope, a knot of prepared aute bark, he also got the 7 knots or plaits of his hair taken down, and still kept in plaits he had them all held up above his head, and tied in a lump on the top of his head, the upper ends of the plaits were allowed to wave clear of each other, but where the roots of the plaits meet at the top of his head he had them all tied in one being bound round with the prepared bark of the aute tree, his hair was of such a quantity that one piece of the aute bark would not go round this knot. The aute bark was taken off the tree in one piece and beaten with a paoi, so that each piece obtained from one piece of aute wood is not of any large dimensions, as the bark is only good and can be used when the tree is not bigger than a child's wrist, as one piece page (B No. 1 White)(52)of aute would not do more was taken, these were bound round with a kota (a kota is a plaited mat or band made of the human hair of men and women killed in battle), but even a kota would not tie it in the way required, the Priest therefore obtained some wharariki flax and haro'd it and thus the knots were tied together on the top of his head (see No. 66 & 67).

Kahu-nunu was so powerful that he could carry the Roi which might be dug up by 20 men in the time food took to cook in a hangi. Also he could carry as many Paua shells with the fish in them to the highest part of his Pa and throw them to every part of the Pa that before each door of each house in the Pa some Paua would be thrown for the occupants of the houses.

When Kahu-nunu and his party left the Whangaroa district and came by way of Kaipara over land, another part of his people left the same district who had occupied the Mango-nui and Kaitaia district by canoes, there on leaving the Homes and having pulled out to sea were called to by some of the tribes who still had a little respect for them, this migration was under the leadership of a chief, called Kauri, the people on shore called to him "Kauri e Kauri, hoki mai."

To which he answered, "Ranga maomao ka taka i runga o Nuku-tau-rua, e kore a muri e hokia," so on he went passed the Bay of Islands, and on to the Thames, continuing still onward they eventually stay at Tauranga. These people under Kahu-nunu and Kauri were called by the Ngapuhi "Ngatikahu".

The two girls who went and became the wives of Ueoneone were descendants of the Ngatikahu, who went to Taranaki, hence the connection of the Ngapuhi with the Waikato, Rarawa and Ngatiawa. The Ngatiawa occupied the Ngapuhi district for many generations till the time of Kahu-nunu and Kauri, but being so great a tribe the land was not sufficient whilst other tribes occupied some of it to keep them all, and for want of food and the constant wars between them and Nga-puhi and Nga-ti-whatua hence this migration of Ngatikahu who at Taranaki became the Ngatiawa.

When the Ngatiawa occupied the Ngapuhi district they cultivated all arable spots and their rua kai (food pits) may be seen page (B No. 1 White)(53)on nearly all the hill tops and forest hills in all that district, also the burial places are pointed out by the Nga-puhi the bones in which are of the most ancient and now crumbling to dust (1851).

The sacred place at Whangape on the left hand as the road ascends from the beach up a long straight-spur, was not used or spoken of by the Ngapuhi till about the year 1849 when they spoke of it as the depository of the bones of the ancient occupants of that district, the Ngatiawa of Taranaki.

The land occupied and called as their property by the Ngatiawa in the north was in the north from Whangape to Maungatawha and across the head of Whangaroa down to the coast, from there to Whangarei on the east from there in a straight line crossing the country coming out in the coast at Muri-wai, between Kaipara and Manuka on the south; from there to Whangape on the west.

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Tama-tea and Nga-ti-whatua

These are some of the chants which the old tribe of Nga-ti-tama-tea canted over their weapons of war before they went into battle.

The Nga-ti-tama-tea lived in the district now occupied by the Nga-puhi people at the present day, and were descendants of the noted Tama-tea the great traveller around the land.

At the time they occupied the Nga-puhi district they were in constant war with the Nga-ti-whatua who occupied the districts of Muri-whenua, and the Reinga. These are the words of one chant

The sky is dim with fog dim with mist,
And we hear the gravel below making a noise
And the ………. of the northern women make a noise
They depart in dread, dash on them,
Shark of double side
And incantations chanted to give fleetness
Incantation chanted to give power
The incantation showing blood
Now is the incantation chanted,
The incantation of the god of war,
Pace out to the stars
Stride out to the moon,
Now flees, now flees
And ………. the blow

Another chant of the people to their weapons of war,

I ascend to Huka-tere
And look at the mist of Raro-tonga
Tis the dew of coming day
And its blood, and other matters.
Huka-tere is a fort a day and a half journey north of Wharo.

Raro-tonga an Island off the Here-kino River on the west coast north of Hokianga.
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A game at Niti was the cause of an ancient war

The cause of a war and murder in ancient times was a game at Niti. The Niti is made of a dry fern stalk and one end of it has a ball like bulb made on it by winding a piece of the green leaf of flax on it, which is called a poike (bulb head) and those who are to take part in the game stand on a level piece of land, and all stand in a body each with his Niti in his hand. The space over which they are to Niti is cleared of all weeds or any sort of obstruction that may impede the flight of the Niti, and a space is cleared of all these till it is as clear as a path trodden by man, and as broad, but such flat space is situated where there is a slight rise or mound, behind which the players stand. One of those who are to Niti, takes his niti and going towards the mound, where he bows a little and darts his Niti out of his hand in such a way that the Niti shall touch the top of the mound in its flight from his hand and whence it gains an impetus in its flight and rises slightly upwards and darts off in a straight direction and lights some distance away. The Poike (or head bulb) directs its flight that it may go in a direct line in its flight. When a player who fully understands the art of throwing the Niti is playing the game, he can so make the Niti touch the mound that such touch will give the Niti the aid it needs to cause it to fly ever so far.

Now that those who play the game have each thrown his Niti, they go and get their Niti and he whose Niti has gone the furtherest distance has gained the "Piro" (game, or has caused his combatants to smell or have a stench). The Niti of each player was marked, so that they could be known from each other and as to whom they belonged. Some were marked with kokowai (red ochre) others were slightly carved.

page (56)

This game at Niti, was practised and played so that the power and bravery of a tribe might be seen, and known.

Patito went from Ahi-para with seventy of his companions with the Niti, and went towards Mata-pia. Mata-pia is an Island out in the sea, on the coast going from Taura-roa to Muri-whenua where the Nga-ti-miru had their settlements, and their store-pits in which to keep food. Patito and his companions had a game at one of these settlements. Patito threw his Niti which darted to and stuck in the door of a store-House in which to keep food belonging to an old woman, the old woman saw the Niti sticking in the door of her food store, so she took the Niti which belonged to Patito and broke it to pieces, because the store-House for food was sacred, and it was a desecration of the sanctity of the store-House to have a Niti stuck in it. Patito went to the store-House and beat the woman so that she died, and when the people of the settlement saw the act committed, they rushed on Patito and pursued him and his companions, there were two thousand of these who followed the seventy of Patito and when Patito and his companions had been overtaken by these, Patito stood at bay and gave battle, and Patito and his seventy friends were killed, and one only of all the seventy escaped who was called Toa-a-kai and was the son of Patito. Years after this, Toa-a-kai thought how he could by war obtain payment for the death of his father, so a net was made to catch fish to give a feast to a war party who should go to war for the death of Patito. The next was cast into the sea and thousands of Tawatawa (………. Australasicies) were taken, and a stake on which these fish were hung up to dry, were taken by Toa-a-kai and made into spears for war, which he called Tarawa-tewetewe (Tewetewe (tawatawa) stage). The Rarawa tribes and people are the descendants of Toa-a-kai, and Toa-a-kai made war on page (57)the Nga-ti-miru, which people are now as a tribe extinct, and as Toa-a-kai was even at war with this people, it is not known where some of them may still be as members of other tribes, but as a tribe they are not in existence now.

War was declared on them by Toa-a-kai, and many of their chiefs were killed by him, and these are the names of those chiefs killed by Toa-a-kai, Rangi-miti-miti, Rangi-hakena and Rangi-tahuna, all of whom were killed by Toa-a-kai with his spear Tarawa-tewetewe (stage of tewetewe) in the many battles he waged against this tribe the Nga-ti-miru.

After a time Toa-a-kai was killed in a battle Te-tahua where he was pierced with a spear, and ran from the battle and climbed up into a tree, but he was pursued by his enemies, who found him by the dripping of bloody from the tree, and his enemies climbed the tree and pulled him down, where they beat him, and Toa-a-kai said "Do not kill me, let me alone, let me alone to lead your people and mine into battle."

Those who were beating him said "You can not live for three days."

The nephew of Toa-a-kai called Tama-ariki was there and made peace with these people, and when he had gone to Roto-kakahi, the chief of those people with whom he and his uncle Toa-a-kai had been waging war, stood up and went to break fire wood to cook food for Tama-ariki. Now the name of this chief was Tama-ru, and when he had come back from breaking fire wood, he took a piece of wood to dash the water out of the hair of his head, and as he was beating the water out of the hair of his head he uttered this Proverb

"Tama who is laid at Te-tahua
Says (he) will beat the curse"

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Now the meaning of the words of this Proverb which he had composed for the occasion is this

"Serve him right that Toa-a-kai should be killed
He, though he would not die"

So soon as some of the ………. of Tama-ariki heard this uttered by Tama-ru, they went and repeated the words to their chief to Tama-ariki and his people who were living in a separate house. Those men said to Tama-ariki "These are the words uttered by Tama-ru, on his return from collecting fire wood, when he took a piece of wood to dash the water from the hair of his head he uttered these words

"It is said by
Tama Who lays at Te-tahua
He will dash the curse."

So soon as Tama-ariki heard these words, which referred to the death of Toa-a-kai at the battle at Te-tahua, he pretended to be taken very ill and exclaimed

O I shall die
O let us go back,
O carry me in a litter
That I may die
At my home.

His people made a litter, but the people of the district, the hosts said "Do not go till you have partaken of food."

But the guests, the people of Tama-ariki said "We can not stay for fear our man die at once."

Tama-ariki spoke and said "Tell them to come to our place in the tenth month (harvest time) and let three hundred and forty people twice told come as our guests, that they may eat of the snapper fish of Koro-pua-hinahina.

So Tama-ariki was carried away in a litter page (59)but so soon as he had been taken some distance on the road back towards his home, he got down from the litter and went dancing and making faces along the road, and putting his tongue out in derision. And they all got home to Ahi-para where they built a large house and gave it the name of Mori-rau-ngaehe (fondle the many with a grating noise) in which to entertain the people of Tama-ru, who had been invited to go and partake of the snappers of the land of Tama-ariki.

But this house was built for the object of killing the people of Tama-ru by the hands of Tama-ariki's people.

When the time came that the people of Tama-ru should go and partake of the fish of Tama-ariki, the people of Tama-ru arrived as guests of Tama-ariki, and were all invited to take up their abode in the large house called Mori-rau-ngaehe, and when they had all entered the house, the people of Tama-ariki assembled, and divided themselves into parties or like divisions as if going to war, and took up their positions at the rear or end of this house. Now this house had been surrounded by three fences which were made very high, with the view of going straight to the house. When all the people of Tama-ru had entered the house, the people of Tama-ariki hung the fish snapper up on stages which were erected in front of the door of the house at which the people of Tama-ru could gaze and the hair of a dog was pulled off it and put on a fern, so that the guests might think that these dogs were killed as part of the feast of which they were to partake.

When Tama-ariki had matured his plans and all arrangements had been completed to kill his guests, Tama-ariki got up on to the lintel of the house in which the people of Tama-ru were assembled, and called to the leader of the people of Tama-ru called Te-ao-iti and said, "O sir page (60)come out side and look at the manner in which my dog skin mat has been sewn together, perhaps it is not done correctly." So Te-ao-iti came out of the door of the house, and as he came out Tama-ariki ran a spear into him, which as it was used from the top of the house it entered the back of the neck of Te-ao-iti, and through to the earth on which he stood and stuck in the ground, he died, and the bodies of the people of Tama-ariki rushed on the three hundred and forty twice told of the people of Tama-ru and killed them all, not one escaped, when the people of Tama-ru heard of the death of these of them his people by the hands of Tama-ariki, they assembled at their home at Mata-pea, and migrated to look for a home for themselves, and eventually took up their residence at Whanga-roa.

When Toro-nge heard that Tama-ariki had killed so many people he left his place at Wai-mamaku, and went to Ahi-para, to obtain information to enable him to avenge the insult offered to his parent Pu iti, who had been pushed by Tutaki on the road, and Pu-iti had been hurt by his thighs having been nearly wrenched asunder. Toronge had sought in vain for some plan to avenge his father, but had not succeeded, hence his now going to see Tama-ariki, so that he might learn how Tama-ariki had managed to kill the people of Tama-ru.

So soon as Toronge had arrived at the settlement of Tama-ariki, Tama-ariki called to him and said "Come and partake of food."

Toronge said "I will not partake of food."

Tama-ariki said "Why will you not eat?"

Toronge said "Because of a dead parent."

Tama-ariki said "I did think it was a matter of some import, come and partake of food."

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Tama-ariki rose and killed a dog of which he and Toronge could feast, but the blood of the dog with its brains were collected and taken by Tama-ariki to Toronge, and they both eat them raw, this they did to show how determined they each were to commit murder, and to carry out any plan laid for such deed of murder.

When food had been cooked and they two had eaten of it, in the evening they two went into a house and held a consultation, and Tama-ariki said to Toronge "Come, go back to your home, and then build a house, when this is made send a messenger to the Nga-ti-whatua (who was the tribe who had lamed the parent of Toronge called Pu-iti, and for which Toronge was seeking revenge) and let the messenger say to Nga-ti-whatua 'I am about to be attacked, let some of your people come to my assistance,' and if a large party come to your Pa, send most of them back, and say 'You only want a little party to aid you so that the war party may come to attack you, and if your assistants are many you will not be attacked' and say also 'the troop of Tama-ariki are now crossing the Hokianga river from the north'."

Toronge did as he was instructed by Tama-ariki and the House was built and a messenger sent to Kai-para to the Nga-ti-whatua tribe, and the people sent eight hundred men once told, who when they had arrived at Potapota they had a war dance, but the messenger said "Let the greater part of this body of men go back, let one hundred and seventy twice told that is three hundred and forty men go as invited, so that the intended attack on Toronge may take place" so three hundred and forty once told went back to their place.

The name of the house built by Toronge was "Ko-nga-rakau-e-tu-ka-tangi-maomao" (the trees that stand and cry for mackerel).

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The Nga-ti-whatua rose and came from Kai-para to the home of Toronge, they came by way of the sea coast, and on to Maunga-nui, and on to Wai-mamaku, where the people of that district saw them and a chief of the name of Tama-tea of the resident natives said to his companions, who were of the people of Toronge "Divide seventy twice told of the Nga-ti-whatua people to come with me, so that I may make a sham attack on any Pa as mine will be the most likely Pa to be attacked." So the Nga-ti-whatua people were divided one hundred twice told went to one Pa and seventy twice told to another Pa of the resident natives. The seventy twice told went to the Pa of Tama-tea, but so soon as they arrived at his Pa, Tama-tea killed them, and all these were killed with the old wooden weapons of war, and not one escaped. When he had killed all there Tama-tea went to another Pa some distance off, as each Pa stood apart in its own district, as when he got to the Pa to which he was going, the people in the Pa had not killed the one hundred twice told of the Nga-ti-whatua who had been led to their Pa, so he said to the people of the Pa "Have you not yet killed the dogs for a feast for your guests, we have killed the dogs for our guests some time since."

The people of the Pa said "Do not startle them (the Nga-ti-whatua guests)."

Tama-tea said "Do you not see the blood on my axe which I carry," his axe was made of Kapara (the heart of the Koroi (white pine) tree) so Tama-tea began to kill the Nga-ti-whatua who were in this Pa and the people of the Pa also rose and helped him to kill that people of the Nga-ti-whatua, and all the one hundred twice told were killed, and the name given to this murder was "Ko-te-rore-piko-wawe a Tama-tea" (the troop that was soon bent of Tama-tea) page (63)and Toronge thought as Tutaki was now killed, he had obtained satisfaction for the accident which befell his father, and he repeated these words which have become a Proverb

Tutaki is in a basket of To he-roa
Nor does Toronge dread being below
The Kahawai thigh not broken.

(a Tohe-roa is a large cockle like shell fish found in the sand on the sea shore. The kahawai is a salt water fish that lives on other fish.)

This murder was avenged by the Nga-ti-whatua tribe, who collected their force at Home and came from Kai-para, and came in the night, and at night attacked the forts of their enemies, and took it, which was called Kuku-taiepa (closed up fence) and it was the people of this Pa who at the fort (or on the first occasion) had murdered some of the Nga-ti-whatua and Te-whare-umu was the name of the leader in this Pa, and the People who now murdered the Nga-ti-whatua were of the Nga-ti-pou tribe.

Now at the Pa, the people of which had murdered the seventy twice told of the Nga-ti-whatua, a chief of the name of Tara-hape was the leader, and was a younger brother of Te-whare-umu, and on the night in which the Pa of Te-whare-umu was rushed by the enemy, the people of the Pa of Tara-hape heard the cry of woe of the occupants of the Pa of Te-whare-umu, were being killed, and Tara-hape knew that the Pa of his elder brother had been rushed and captured by an enemy so Tara-hape rose and stood near to the fence of his own Pa and being the subject of a feeling of evil omen at the time, he called to his elder brother Te-whare-umu and said "Depart and go o son, you go in the night, and I will (follow you) to morrow." At dawn of day the Nga-ti-whatua attacked the page (64)Nga-ti-pou in the Pa of Tara-hape and took it, and killed Tara-hape, so his omen indicating his own death as spoken by him when he addressed his elder brother came true.

Te-whare-umu and Tara hape, were killed by one and the same Nga-ti-whatua warrior, who was called Te-ahu-mua, so ends the account of this war.

The origin of the wars on the South

The Nga-puhi war party went and attacked Tauranga, Hau-raki, Wai-kato, Roto-rua, Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu, Nga-ti-porou, and all the tribes of the south.

The cause of this war was this, a chief of the name of Tawa-putu came from the south in a vessel and landed at the Bay of Islands, and a Maori woman of the Nga-puhi went on board of that vessel and became the wife of one of the Europeans of the vessel, and this was in the first days of the Europeans coming to these Islands (New Zealand) and that Maori woman was taken by that vessel up to the south to Tauranga, where she went on shore, where she was murdered by the Maori of that place. After some time the news of the murder of this woman was heard in the Nga-puhi district, and the Nga-puhi collected a war party, all the troop assembled and canoes were prepared and made ready for sea, and the war party of Nga-puhi started on their war expedition, and went along the East coast till they arrived at Tauranga, where they attacked the Pa called Mata-rehua, which was taken and its chief called Te tawhio was killed. This war party of Nga-puhi was led by Te-rarauhe of the Nga-puhi people.

Te-waru the chief of Tauranga, meditated on the matter, and determined to go to Nga-puhi, and enlist the aid of Hongi-hika to help him to kill men.

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Te-waru did as he had determined and sent messages to Hongi-hika, who agreed to aid him and started with a war party and went to Tauranga, and they two with their people attacked the Pa Te-whaka-tangaroa, and took it, from there the war party of Hongi-hika went on southward, and attacked all the tribes he met, and those of those who escaped with their lives, saved themselves by fleeing to the forest.

Te-popo the chief of Hau-raki thought over the matter, and wondered how he could obtain satisfaction for the killing of his people by Hongi-hika in the Thames, and as Te-waru of Tauranga had asked Hongi-hika to aid him as he had done, and they had killed his people of the Thames, so Te-popo sent his son to Nga-puhi to get the Nga-puhi people to aid him in obtaining satisfaction for the death of his people, so Tareha and Te-morenga with a war party went to the aid of Te-popo with two hundred men twice told and these went to aid Te-popo at that time, which was the time of guns having been first introduced into the possession of the Maori.

When the Nga-puhi war party arrived at the home of Te-popo, they and Te-popo departed for Tauranga and attacked the Pa at Maunga-nui (the point on the East entrance of Tauranga) which contained an immeasurable people, which was taken and a great crowd of them killed, and many taken prisoners, and some of the Nga-puhi took as many as thirty slaves, and some as many as forty slaves, and some even had as many as a hundred slaves, and as soon as the war party had eaten as many of the killed as they had any desire, they came back to their own home at Nga-puhi.