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Reflections: Sketches on the Wanganui River


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Far up the river, in this pa, Tawhitinui, was originated the great war against the Hau Hau's. Here Matene converted the people to a new faith—the Hau Hau faith— established by Te Wa, of Taranaki. Te Wa was a great Tohunga and student of the Bible, who felt the power and the call from Heaven to establish and become the father of a new religion—the Hau Hau, or "Wind-wind." He gained many followers among the chiefs, and in due time the war-cloud burst. The friendly chiefs remained true to their pledge, and were led by Wiremu Hipango, a great Bible scholar. After many speeches the island of Moutoa was chosen as the battleground, and a fierce engagement was fought. The Hau Hau's were at first victorious; but, not understanding the importance of ambush reserve, and strategy, they were ultimately defeated and driven—to the last man—into the river. Here Matene, the prophet, met his death.

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