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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)

The Love-Charm: A Story Of The Kaipara

The Love-Charm: A Story Of The Kaipara.

In the September number of this Magazine the story of the historic Mahuhu canoe was told. This vessel's crew from Hawaiki settled at Kaipara Heads, where there was then a low-lying island named Taporapora; it was destroyed by a great storm, and only sandbanks awash at low tide mark the place. Several generations later, when the land on the Kaipara and Northern Wairoa shores was peopled by two rival tribes, the Ngati-Whatua and the Ngati-Awa, a war arose over a woman which led to the complete conquest of the Kaipara country by the former tribe. The original tradition of this romantic and tragic episode in ancient Maori life was sent to me by Mr. George Graham, of the Akarana Maori Association, Auckland; he is the leading authority on the early history of the Northern tribes. He heard it from the old people of the Kaipara nearly fifty years ago.

At Ripiro, on the West Coast north of Kaipara Heads, there was a fortified pa of the Ngati-Whatua. In that pa, said the story as narrated to Mr. Graham by the old men of the Ngati-Whatua, the conquerors, there lived the young chieftainess Te Hana. She was a puhi, a girl debarred from the transient love affairs of the village; she was betrothed by her elders to a relation, a young chief named Rangiwhapapa.

There came on a visit to the pa at Ripiro a party of warriors of Ngati-Awa to make peace with the invaders from the north. Their chief was named Rangi-taurewa (to avoid confusion with the other Rangi I shall call him Taurewa). He had already seen the beautiful puhi, and he greatly desired her as his wife. As she was to all intent a sacred girl, tapu to all but her intended husband, he could not ask her people for her, so he resorted to the ancient device of casting a love-spell upon her.