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

Invaders Resort to Strategy

Invaders Resort to Strategy

Okauwharetoa pa, which was attacked first, quickly fell to the invaders. Among the prisoners taken was Te Rangi-i-Paea (a notable woman); Pomare made her one of his wives. She had already had two husbands, from one of whom (Tokomauri) the well-known Potae family at Tokomaru Bay is descended. Upon the death of Pomare in 1826, she again took up her abode on the East Coast. Te Whetu-matarau pa could not be taken by storm and the invaders had to resort to strategy. After they had occupied the Te Araroa Flats for some time, living on the plantations and the contents of the storehouses, they packed up and, much to the joy of the local inhabitants, sailed away. But, instead of proceeding on their homeward journey, they hid behind Matakaoa Point. Stealthily they returned and fell upon the unsuspecting residents, who had descended to their homes. Many were slaughtered and others taken prisoner.

According to Smith's version, only Te Wera's section proceeded farther to the southwards. Other accounts state that it was accompanied by Pomare's. At Waiapu they committed grave destruction. Te Wera went on, murdering and plundering, all the way to Tolaga Bay. The most southern point reached by this expedition is stated by W. L. Williams to have been Mahia, where Te Whareumu, a chief of some importance, was, with others, made prisoner.

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Among a number of fictions that have survived concerning Pomare's doings on the East Coast, none is more fantastic than that which W. E. Goffe recounted at a gathering of Gisborne Rotarians on 12 May, 1931. Pomare (so the story runs) was anxious to take Kahiutara pa, near Tokomaru Bay. To save its inmates, Hinematioro, who was staying there, agreed to pose, Godiva-like, before him. So enraptured was he by her beauty and figure that he invited her to consent to a brief matrimonial alliance with him. A son, it is added, was born of the union. The tale is, of course, spoiled by the fact that, when Pomare made even his earliest appearance on the East Coast, Hinematioro was a septuagenarian, she having been a young woman when Cook visited Tolaga Bay in 1769. Needless to add, no child of the famous couple has ever been traced!

In 1823, Pomare and Te Wera, after assisting Hongi to subdue the Arawa tribe, paid another visit to the East Coast. Several places between Maketu and Whangaparaoa were attacked. Towards the northern section of Ngati-Porou and the Mahia people, however, the invaders were disposed to be friendly. Pomare had brought back with him his Ngati-Porou wife (Te Rangi-i-Paea) on a visit to her relatives and Te Wera was taking Te Whareumu back to his home at Mahia.

When the Ngapuhi fleet reached Te Araroa, the Ngati-Porou, not being aware of the visitors' friendly intentions, fled to Taitai, their inland refuge. Reassured by messengers, they agreed to return and make peace. However, when they observed that only a small number of the northerners had landed, they launched an attack. Being defeated, they again returned to Taitai. It was not until Pomare called in at Te Araroa on his homeward journey that peace between him and the northern section of Ngati-Porou was cemented. Ngapuhi again wrought considerable destruction in the Waiapu district. Among the prisoners whom they took, according to W. Williams (Christianity Among the New Zealanders) was Taumata-a-Kura, who became the first native to spread the Gospel on the East Coast.

Pomare and Te Wera parted company off Tokomaru Bay, the former turning for home and the latter proceeding to Mahia to return Te Whareumu to his people. En route, Te Wera made peace with Te Kani-a-Takirau, and agreed to lend his aid in punishing the section of Ngati-Porou which had laid siege to the pa on Pourewa Island and had brought about the death of Hinematioro. This promise Te Wera carried out when he assisted T'Aitanga-a-Hauiti and Rongowhakaata to take Tuatini pa (Tokomaru Bay) circa 1828.

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Upon the solicitations of Te Whareumu, Te Wera and his section of musket-armed Ngapuhi returned from the Bay of Islands (1824–25) and settled at Mahia to unify the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe and to assist its various branches to ward off aggressors. W. Williams says that Te Wera freed his slaves before he left the Bay of Islands, and that he was received by the inhabitants of Mahia both as a great chief and as their protector.