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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Migrations from East Coast

Migrations from East Coast

There were, it seems, several migrations from Poverty Bay and the East Coast during, and subsequent to, the turbulent times referred to by Judge Rogan (supra). As a sequel to the slaying of Kahutapere's twins (Taraku-ita and Taraki-tai) at the instigation of Rakai-hiku-roa and, in turn, of the slaying of Tupurupuru (Rakai-hiku-roa's son), a section of the Poverty Bay people left, or was expelled from the district and settled in Hawke's Bay, where it eventually spread far and wide.

The murder of Taraku-ita and Taraki-tai arose out of jealousy on the part of Rakai-hiku-roa, who was determined that they should not displace his favourite son (Tupurupuru) in the hearts of the people. When the children were found to be missing, Kahutapere flew magic kites with the object of ascertaining their whereabouts. Rakai-hiku-roa's action in sending up other kites to entangle Kahutapere's led to the conclusion that he was connected with the disappearance of the children.

Kahutapere proceeded to Rakai-hiku-roa's fort at Pukepoto (on Repongaere) to make inquiries, but he and his party were chased back to their own pa (Korowhio, near Ormond), where Kahutapere's two remaining sons were killed. Kahutapere then sent for Mahaki and his people to aid in avenging the murders and, in the course of the fighting, Rakai-hiku-roa's son (Tupurupuru) was slain. Rakai-hiku-roa's assailants taunted him by placing Tupurupuru's body on the limb of a tree standing within their pa and swinging it towards him, but never within his reach. Accounts vary as to the fate of Tupurupuru's body. In some versions in which it is stoutly denied that it was eaten, it is admitted that it was baked, although it is consolingly added that only cooking-stones worthy of being used—they are even said to have been supplied by the bereaved father—went to form the oven.

As the northern Poverty Bay migrants marched south under Taraia and Te Aomatarahi in quest of new lands upon which to settle, they became engaged in several fights. Strategy had to be chosen as the weapon of offence against Heipipi pa (near Petane); it had been declared impregnable by the scouts.

“Just as the Shaftsmen of the Dawn were battling with the Rearguard of the Night,” says A. L. D. Fraser's account, “the lookout man at the pa espied what he fonndly imagined were upokohue (block-fish) page 7 floundering in the surf—a stranded feast cast up as a gift from their god, Tunui. Unceremoniously, the pa barriers were thrown down and the inmates, young and old, raced madly for the spoil. When they had got up to their waists in the water, the ‘black-fish’ arose, and, casting off their dark mats, stood armed before their unarmed, horror-stricken, would-be assailants. Blood and lives went out with the falling tide, and Heipipi proclaimed its new masters. In turn, Otatara pa (near Taradale) was overthrown and the ownership of Heretaunga changed hands and has remained with the conquerors.”

Some time afterwards, the Ngati-Ira, who had been expelled by their neighbours from Tauwhareparae, Huiarua and adjacent lands, drifted through Hawke's Bay to Wairarapa. Driven away from the Wairoa district by Rakaipaaka, the Tauira people are said also to have fled to the south. The Ngai-Tahu, who derived their name from Tahu-potiki (a younger brother of Porourangi), found their way from the East Coast to the South Island and became the paramount people there.