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

Terrible Raids by Hongi and Pomare

Terrible Raids by Hongi and Pomare

Hongi sailed first to the Thames, where his force was joined by Te Haupa's. According to Marsden, Te Haupa wished to avenge three murders committed on his tribe several years earlier. Te Haupa, we are told, had long solicited Hongi's aid to punish the murderers' tribe [probably a Bay of Plenty tribe]. Doubtless, the inclusion of Ngati-Porou among their victims was (as Bishop W. Williams suggests) solely to obtain slaves. Smith says that Hongi journeyed only as far south as Hicks Bay, where Te Haupa was slain. On the other hand, Polack (New Zealand: Travels and Adventures) makes it plain that he penetrated to Waiapu, “sweeping vast numbers of Ngati-Porou out of existence.” According to Bishop H. W. Williams, the southern limit of the raid was five miles north of Tokomaru Bay.

Hongi told Marsden that the inhabitants “between the River Thames and the East Cape” were very numerous; that he burned 500 villages; and that 2,000 men, women, and children were taken prisoner. Seventy heads were also taken back. Te Morenga's spoils of war were negligible compared with Hongi's. Polack states that, as soon as Hongi's fleet got back to the Bay of Islands, Tarria [Taraia]—one of Hongi's chiefs—gave orders that three slaves were to be slain and cooked. Mr. Butler junior told Polack that his father (Rev. J. Butler) fell upon his knees in an effort to save the remainder. Taraia went on to Waimate, where the forty prisoners who represented his share of the spoils were eaten.

This raid proved a terrifying experience for the Ngati-Porou as well as for the Bay of Plenty tribes. It was the first occasion upon which firearms were used extensively against them. Hongi told Marsden that their “enemies” had but few guns, and that all that those who were not taken completely by surprise page 76 could do was to flee to the back country. In evidence before the Native Land Court, the Rev. Mohi Turei said that, on Manga-o-Tawhiti (one of the Ngati-Porou hiding places), two little children had to be sacrificed because it was feared that their crying might attract the ruthless invaders. Their cousin, who was a little older, did not cry and, therefore, her life was spared.

Whilst Hongi was away in England in 1820, a Ngapuhi expedition set off from the Bay of Islands to the south. Its leaders included Pomare, Titore and Te Wera (also called Hauraki). Other chiefs, notably Moka and Te Koki, assisted in the initial raids, which were carried out in the Bay of Plenty. Pomare, it has been suggested, was jealous of Hongi, and aimed at outstripping his rival's accomplishments. The section of the expedition under Pomare and Te Wera went on to the East Coast. When it halted at Te Kawakawa (Te Araroa), some of the local people hastily provisioned Okauwharetoa pa (once the abode of the far-famed Tuwhakairiora). The remainder fled to the higher and more easily defended stronghold known as “Te Whetumatarau” (“The Star of One Hundred Rays”), which overlooks the present township of Te Araroa.