Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon


Chapter Twenty-One — Various Ancestors

page 179

Chapter Twenty-One
Various Ancestors


Tuhoe-Potiki was the great-grandson of Toroa (chief of the Mata-tua canoe). Tuhoe being the last of the family as shown by the whakapapa, he received the second name Potiki (last child).

  • Toroa—Kake-Pikitia
  • Wairaka—Mai-ure-nui
  • Tamatea Ki Te Huatahi—Paewhiti

Ue-I-Mua (m) Tane-Moe-Ahi (m) Uenuku-Rauiri (f) Tuhoe-Potiki (m).

When the Mata-tua canoe landed at the mouth of the Whakatane River, the male crews rushed ashore to inspect the new land, leaving the canoe tied up alongside of a rocky bank, while the women folk attended to the luggage.

During the absence of the men, a storm sprang up and the canoe was left bumping against the rocky bank. When Wairaka, the daughter of Toroa, saw the danger to the canoe, having no men in sight, she exclaimed, "Kati ka whaka-tane ahau i au" (I will make a man of myself), and immediately went and brought the canoe to a safe mooring. Through that act of bravery the river was called "Whakatane."

After the immigrants had been firmly established, as has been related in the history of Toroa, the fame and beauty of Wairaka had reached the ears of the inhabitants of the surrounding districts. When the young men heard of this attractive news, they came in great numbers, in the hope of winning the handsome maiden of Hawaiki. Several paid a visit but without success.

At one time a party of young men came from Taranaki and stayed some time with Toroa and his people. Among the party were three men named Mai-ure-nui, Tu-kai-te-uru, and Tamateamatangi, and others. The last-named took to wife Muriwai, the sister of Toroa, and Te Whakatohea of Opotiki district are their descendants.

page 180

The story runs that Wairaka was much impressed by the handsome appearance of one of the visitors, either Tu-kai-te-uru or Toko, so much so that she became determined to claim him as her husband. Together with other young folk of the village she passed the evening in the guest-house, entertaining and being entertained in haka and song. The man she wanted was reclining just beneath the window of the house, and apparently her admiration for him had been noticed by at least one other member of the party, as the sequel will show. After the fire had died down and the place was in darkness, Wairaka moved over to the window where she supposed her chosen man to be. It is said that she scratched his face in order to mark him for her own; in fact, she put her brand on him. The next morning Wairaka informed her father of her choice of a husband and explained how she had marked him for the purpose of identification by all. All her people collected in order to view her chosen man, and as they came forth from their house she was astonished to see him walk forth scratchless, with not a mark on him. But the next man to come forth was Mai-ure-nui, badly scratched, marked before the world as the chosen of the chief's daughter. The annoying part of the affair was that Mai was a singularly ugly man, hence Wairaka became the recipient of many unkind remarks. It appeared that Mai had noticed her admiration for his companion, and had managed, after darkness came, to take his place beneath the window. Upon realising the mistake that she had made, poor Wairaka cried, "He po a Wairaka i raru ai" (By darkness was Wairaka misled), a saying still heard among the natives.

By Mai-ure-nui she had a son named Tamatea-ki-te-huatahi (Tamatea the only child). The name originated as follows.

The child's father proposed to go out to sea fishing in order to satisfy his wife's desire to eat fish. Toroa said to his son-in-law, "Do not go to sea at this time. These are the nights of the Tamatea-kai-ariki, the ocean is too rough." The answer was, "Let me and the Tamatea-kai-ariki fight it out together." Several nights of the moon are known as Tamatea, and the Tamatea-kai-ariki is the eighth or ninth night of the moon's age. Stormy weather is said to mark this phase of the moon. However, our fisherman persisted in going and so lost his life, his canoe being capsized at sea.

Soon after this occurrence the son of Wairaka was born, and was given the name of Tamatea, in memory of the Tamatea stage of the moon when his father was drowned. The term Huatahi page 181(single offspring) implies an only child.

Tamatea-ki-te-huatahi married Paewhiti who begot:—

Ue-i-mua (m), Tane-moe-ahi (m), Uenuku-Rauiri (f), Tuhoe-potiki (m).

These three brothers were famous warriors in their day. Their mother spoke proudly of them as "Te Tokotoru a Paewhiti" (the three of Paewhiti). Another proud expression anent these three brothers was "Kainga te kai, kei te haere te tokotoru a Paewhiti" (Devour your food, for the three of Paewhiti are abroad), this suggesting that the three brothers were of a swashbuckling reputation.

According to Maori custom the mana or prestige fell to the oldest child. However, Tuhoe-Potiki the younger, seems to have had ambition. A quarrel between him and the oldest son, Ue-i-mua, led to the death of the latter. Through subsequent activities Tuhoe-Potiki became the dominant one of the remaining pair, and he became the eponymous ancestor of the tribe Tuhoe.

Tuhoe-Potiki is often termed Te Potiki a Tamatea (the last son of Tamatea). Ure-wera is another double-barrelled name of the tribe. This includes the descendants of Mura-kareke, son of Tuhoe-Potiki. The origin of the name is said to have been an accident that happened to Mura-kareke when living at Pu-tauaki, where their principal houses were named Rangi-uru and Hau-te-ana-nui. After dwelling there for some time, years began to tell on Mura-kareke and he came to his end as do the trees of the forest. It was when he was very old and feeble that he was accidentally burned while lying by the fire, hence his descendants acquired the tribal name of Te Ure-wera. When the end was near Mura-kareke told his offspring to slay a dog and prepare the flesh thereof as an o matenga (death journey food) for himself, and as a last ritual feast, saying, "Ki te maoa ta koutou kuri, ko te timu waero ma to koutou taina, ma Tama-pokai" (When your dog is cooked, let your younger brother, Tama-pokai, have the rump thereof). But they kept the best portions for themselves and gave poor Tama the head as his share. Whereupon the old man, Mura-kareke, was much angered and is said to have committed suicide by setting fire to his hut, hence the name Te Ure-wera (burnt sex).

There are many othe activities of this celebrated ancestor of the stalwart people of Tuhoe land, but these are sufficient for the purpose in hand.

page 182


Rangi-te-aorere was a nephew of Tuhoe-Potiki, being a son of Uenuku-rauriri, sister of Tuhoe-Potiki as shown by the whaka-papa recorded herein.

At a certain time it pleased Uenuku-rauiri to co-habit with Rangi-whaka-ekehau of Te Arawa tribe. Uenuku's husband was absent when a party of visitors, including Rangi, arrived at Puke-tapu-a-wairaka. When Rangi returned to Rotorua, he said to Uenuku, "Ka whanau to tamaiti he wahine, tapaia ki te au o Rcngitaiki. E whanau he tane, tapaia ko te ao e rere nei." (If your child be born a female, name it for the flowing water of Rangi-taiki. Be it a male, then name it after the drifting clouds). When Uenuku was in the straw the usual methods were adopted to ensure an easy delivery. The genealogical descent of her husband, even from the primal pairs, was recited. But it had no effect. And Uenuku was near unto death, when she said, "Tena wanangatia a Te Rangi-whaka-ekehau." Even so the descent of Rangi was included in the invocation. And the child was born. Then the old people put their heads together and jeered, saying: "The child is illegitimate." The child, being a male, it was named Rangi-te-ao-rere, after the drifting clouds. And Drifting Clouds became a famed warrior, yea, a renowned fighting man, who dealt out hard knocks to the enemies of Ngati-awa, and took Mokoia, the last stronghold of the original people at Rotorua-nui-a-kahu.

Rangi-te-ao-rere took part in many fights, and gained fame as a warrior. But he had many enemies among the Ngati-awa of Te Teko, and the word was, "Koia kei te poriro nei, koia rawa hei toa." (It is remarkable this illegitimate becoming a warrior.)

Some sought to slay him. Rangi-te-ao-rere said to his mother, "Where is my father?" She replied, "Look toward the setting sun. Observe the cloud which hung over it. Beneath that cloud your parent dwells." Rangi remarked, "I desire to see my father." "It is well," replied Uenuku, "you shall go."

It was arranged that, of his people, seventy twice told should accompany him. A store of preserved foods was taken as a present to Rangi-whakaheke-hau. The tohi rite was performed over Drifting Clouds ere he started, to render him courageous and clear-minded during his journey. He and his companions lifted the Roto-rua trail. His mother gave him directions how to proceed. When you ascend the range of Mata-whaura, you will find your ancestor there. If he sees you, give food. He may be waiting on the track. If so, reach some food out to him on the page 183end of a pole. When you see the steam of hot springs you will know that you are on the right road to your father." So Rangi and his party started on their journey. When they reached Mata-whaura (Roto-iti) Rangi went in front. The creature spoken of by his mother was a taniwha, a huge reptile named Kata-ore, which lived on the Mata-whaura range. This creature was in the habit of lying by the track side, with its distended jaws supported by a rock. If travellers gave Kata-ore food, they were suffered to go their ways. If they neglected to do so, they themselves provided a meal for the reptile. Rangi bore with him a calabash full of food. When he came to where Kata-ore was waiting, he gave him the contents of the food vessel, and by the time the taniwha had consumed the food, the whole party had passed safely by. The party went on by way of Tikitere to the home of Rangi-whakaheke-hau. They saw some young people breaking up wood for fuel, and asked them what it was for. "For the big house, for the Tihi-o-manono yonder," said they. Then Rangi knew that he had reached his father's home. He had heard of that house. They went on to the pa. The people saw them and cried out, "He ope;—e; He ope." (Here are travellers.) Rangi-te-ao-rere said to his party, "All of you walk right into the house, and take the food you are bearing in with you. Fear not." They entered the fort. Rangi's followers entered by the gateway, he himself clambered over the palisades. He did not cross the marae in front of the house to the door thereof, but went round by the back of the house. The people of the place gazed at him in wonder. His party awaited him in front of the house, he appeared from the rear and entered by crawling through the window space, which is a tapu part of a house. The people crowded round in wonder to look upon this impious wretch. They saw him seated on the sleeping place of Te Rangi-whaka-heke-hau. Appalling climax; the onlookers were shocked and amazed. Evidently there was trouble toward. Probably a square meal. Never before had a person occupied that place save their chief himself. Rangi-te-ao-rere called to his party to enter the house and bring their burdens of food in with them. This was another shock. Messengers sped hot-foot to Rangi-whakaeke-hau. "A party of travellers has entered your house, and has taken food into. One of them seated himself on your sleeping-place. He has bedaubed himself with your ochre." Rangi at once went to his house, and the visitors were ordered to come forth, but did not do so. The order then was given that the insolent visitors should be at once slain, upon hearing which page 184Rangi-te-ao-rere cried out, "Poko-kohua." His father was enraged at the use of this most insulting expression, but before any action could be taken Rangi-te-ao-rere had commenced to sing the following song which had been composed by his mother as an oriori (lullaby) and which she used to sing to him when he was a little child:—

E tama e;
Naku koe i kite,
Naku hoe i rangahau.
Ki te po uriuri,
Ki te po tangotango.

Hohoro te ki mai,
Uenuku-rauiri ki te puta he wahine
Tapaia ki te au e rere
Ki te puta he tane,
Tapaia ki te ao e rere.
I tokona e to tipuna,
E Tane ki runga ra.
Koia te rangi putea e—i.

This was all that the Drifting Clouds could remember of the song. But it was quite sufficient. His father was startled and said, "Are you Rangi-te-ao-rere?" And the Drifting Clouds replied, "You yourself said that if your child be a male, then let it be named after the drifting clouds." So his father called to him to come, and Rangi came forth, as he entered, by way of the window. Then there was much wailing and greeting, after the manner Maori. Rangi-te-ao-rere was then taken to the sacred place of the hamlet by his father, who performed the tohi rite over him, and then freed him of the tapu. They then returned to the father's house, but the son entered by the doorway this time. The tapu was taken off the house, and the proper invocations were repeated over the foods brought by the visitors as a present for Te Arawa. Then a feast was spread for the visitors.

When night came, all the people collected in the big house. There was a certain man there who was a famous fighter. No member of his own tribes, Te Tini-o-awa and Te Tini-o-kawerau, could stand up to him. Te Arawa said, "To-morrow we will go and attack Mokoia, then we shall see who the brave men are. For we are in some straits here. We have been defeated by the Tini-o-kawa-arero of Mokoia. When we go in our canoes to attack the people of that island, they meet us off shore. They wade out into the lake, seize our canoes, drag them ashore and page 185slay our men. We shall be destroyed by these islanders. We cannot avenge our defeat. Te Tini-o-kawa-arero will consume us." The Arawa, at that period, were not numerous at Roto-rua, and a tribe of the original people of New Zealand under their chief Kawa-arero held Mokoia Island in Roto-rua, and had defeated Te Arawa.

Rangi-te-ao-rere rose, and said, "Do not attack the island to-morrow, remain here." Then he asked, "At what are you now engaged?" The Arawa replied, "At para-whakawai." (Practising the use of arms.) The next morning all assembled at the practice ground. There the feats of arms of warriors who had come from Tauranga were much talked of, while the man of Awa from the Teko eulogised the skill and courage of Rangi-te-ao-rere. The Tauranga man heard these remarks and came forth, bearing his weapon, a spear (tokotoko). He challenged the warriors to meet him in single combat. Not one stirred. They had witnessed his skill with his weapon. Te Arawa remained silent. He then challenged Drifting Clouds, who had drifted thither from the Land of Awa. Rangi-te-ao-rere stretched forth his hand for his weapon, a taiaha, and met the champion spearman. As he approached the latter, he parried a fierce thrust of the spear. It missed him. He struck downwards at the spear, recovered arms, and clave the spearman's head. Then Te Arawa rose to applaud. That spearman was dead. Rangi demanded the body as food for his followers. It was handed over, dismembered, cooked and eaten. And the fame of that deed reached far and wide.

That night the people again assembled. Rangi-te-ao-rere said to his father, "Pass your quarrel with the Tini-o-kawa-arero into my hands. You shall be simply a spectator." His father asked, "How do you propose to fight?" Said Rangi, "I will fight from canoes." The parent replied, "You will assuredly be defeated. As you approach the island, the people of Kawa-arero will wade out into the shallow waters of the lake, seize the canoes draw them to shore, and slay you all." For this was how Te Arawa had been defeated.

Then were heard derisive remarks from Te Arawa directed against Rangi-te-ao-rere, who, with his handful of one hundred and fifty fighting men, proposed to take Mokoia from the multitude of Kawa-arero. A voice was heard, "Katoa ranei koe to Kotahi?" (Will you alone effect this?) "Yes," replied the son of Uenuku, "He iti na Tuhoe, e kata te po." (Few by Tuhoe, make Hades laugh.) This saying has been preserved right down to the present time.

page 186

So Rangi-te-ao-rere made preparations to attack Mokoia. He obtained a huge canoe wherewith to carry his little force across the lake to Mokoia. He also took two long, strong ropes, and two long sharp-pointed stakes. The canoe was launched. One rope was made fast to the bow of the canoe, the other to the stern thereof. One stake was laid in the bow, and one at the stern. His men took their places in the canoe and paddled her out into the lake, heading for Mokoia. Te Ao-rere was drifting over Roto-rua. It was soon drifting over Mokoia, the island stronghold of the ancient people. As they approached the island, Rangi asked, "By what token may Kawa-arero be recognised?" "By his red feather cloak," replied his father. And the canoe glided on. Behind her came the Arawa warriors, their canoes forming an even line, an even fleet. Ahead, the men of Mokoia were preparing to meet the attack, wading out into the waters of the lake. The chief, Kawa-arero was seen, clad in his red cloak, on the beach directing his fighting men.

The word was given, as the shoal water was reached. The stake at the bow of the canoe was forced deeply into the mud on the lake bottom and the bow line made fast thereto. The canoe was backed out until the line became taut, the other stake was fixed and the stern line fastened to it. Many of the men leaped overboard and seized the stern line and post. The island men now reached the bow line. They seized it and endeavoured to draw the vessel ashore, but were prevented by those hanging on to the stern line and post.

A great many of the islanders had now arrived to assist in hauling the canoe ashore. Rangi-te-ao-rere gave the word of command, the stern line was let go and the men that hung on to the canoe assisted in propelling her to land. The canoe shot forward for the enemy were also hauling on the bow line. She passed those of the islanders who were in the water, and grounded on the beach. Then things happened. Some attacked the islanders on the beach, others turned and slew those in the lake. There was work for all that day on Mokoia Island. Men fell by land and water.

By this time Te Arawa had reached the scene. The islanders fled along the beach pursued by the attacking force. Rangi-te-ao-rere went in search of the chief, Kawa-arero. A small rock stood out from the shore. Rangi saw a gleam of red by the side of the rock. It was the red cloak of Kawa-arero who was concealed behind the rock, with only his head above the water. Rangi waded out, caught the chief, brought him ashore and cut off his page 187head. He carried the head to his father. It was recognised as that of Kawa-arero.

So Mokoia was taken, and the Tini-o-Kawa-arero ceased to exist as a tribe. Then the island was occupied by Rangi-te-ao-rere, Whakaue. and Uenuku-kopake and became the property of Te Arawa tribe.

There are other brave deeds done by this famous ancestor, but these are sufficient to show it was through this brave act and good generalship of this renowned ancestor that gave Te Arawa tribe their mana and security over the Roto-rua land and lake.


Tu-whare-toa, whose full name was Tu-whare-toa-i-te-au-pouri was the eponymous ancestor of the Tribe Ngai-Tuwhare-toa of Taupo, or Taupo-nui-a-tia. He descended from Hape whose full name was Hape-ki-tuma-o-te-rangi, who is said to have come to New Zealand on the Rangi-Matoru canoe, which landed her crew at Ohiwa, Bay of Plenty.

Hape, who was the origin of the tribe known as Te Hapu-oneone, occupied lands from Ohiwa inland to the Wai-mana and across the Tai-arahia range to Ruatoki. The two main tribes of the original people of this district were Te Hapu-oneone and that collection of clans known as Te Tini o Toi or the multitude of Toi. These were the two primal stocks from which sprang the various old-time tribes that held the lands of the Bay of Plenty district from Matata to O-potiki.

The title of the Hapu-oneone may be taken as meaning "the Earth-born people," or "the People of the Land." This tribe was probably so named because it was one of the original tribes to occupy the island, before the arrival of the Mata-tua and other canoes of the Main Migration.

It has been related that Hape came from Hawaiki to New Zealand as the principal man on the Rangi-matoru canoe, which came to land at Ohiwa as has been stated. His main object in coming was in search of greenstone.

Ngahue, who had previously visited New Zealand and took back with him a piece of greenstone, which was made into the adze named Te Awhio-rangi, which was the main adze that built and brought the Takitimu canoe to New Zealand, as has been related in the history of Takitimu.

Hape, on hearing of this discovery, left Hawaiki and landed at Ohiwa as has already been related.

After remaining there for some time he decided to continue page 188his search for the long-wanted greenstone, and so set off toward the South.

He first went to Tarawera near unto Rua-wahia where he blocked up the course of the Tarawera stream with a rock, since known as Te Tatau-o-Hape. He then proceeded by way of Kainga-roa to the source of Rangi-tikei, until he arrived at Porirua. On arriving at the seaside, he crossed Raukawa (Cook Straits) to Wairau and traversed that island to Kai-koura and on to Te Wai-pounamu where he found the greenstone and so remained there. Hape died at that place and his body was left in his hut. He was later followed in his travels by his twin sons, Rawaho and Tamarau, who set out in search of him. The story of their travels is now known as "The Legend of Hape the Wanderer and Tamarau, the Flying Man." This story is too long to relate here.

There is no evidence of Tu-whare-toa being prominent in warfare. As with Kahungunu and other eponymous ancestors, it was his issue that built the name and tribe. Having married women of high rank, as shown by the genealogy, Tu-whare-toa begot stalwart sons and grandsons, and in common with that pure old stock, warring was their pleasure. "Te Umanga o nehe ma he whawhai." (Fighting is the important object of the day.)

It appears that Tu-whare-toa and his family had their permanent home at Kawe-rau near Te Teko. At this time the whole of the country around, extending from Mapouriki (A pa on the range, north of the cheese factory at Waimana) to Taupo, and to Hei-pipi pa at Petane (known now as Bay View) near Napier, were held by a numerous tribe called Maru-iwi, who were the original inhabitants of the lands. After the Hei-pipi pa was raided and overtaken by Taraia and his band of warriors, as related in the history of Taraia, the people of the pa who were not killed or captured, abandoned it and fled to settle at Kaka-tarahae on the Kainga-roa plain, near Taupo.

About this time Tu-whare-toa and his people had had some quarrel with these new settlers, and the sons of the chief wished to drive out the invaders of the fair vale of Kawe-rau. But the old man said, "Wait until I have finished my new house, Te Koro-tiwha, the ornaments of which I am now carving." His sons, however, were spoiling for a fight, and persisted in going. They said to their father, "Hei konei ki te whakairo piha mau." (Remain here and carve scrolls for yourself.) This annoyed the father, who replied with "Haere i a tuku noa, i a heke noa. Mau page 189ka oti atu, oti atu." (Go your own silly way, but you may never return.)

Even so the sons of Tu-whare-toa led forth their warriors, and ranged the drear plains of Kainga-roa in search of someone to attack. At Kaka-tara-hae they came upon Maru-iwi, whom they at once attacked. But Maru-iwi fought the good fight with such energy that they defeated the assailants, and amused themselves by piling up the bodies of their slain enemies in a heap at the base of a tree. Hence that fight, and place, have ever since been known as O-whakatihi, from the word, whakatihi, "to pile up in a heap."

The survivors of Te Kawe-rau party fled, and sought for means by which to avenge their defeat. They found it. It was the kete poutama, a singular rite of black magic performed by the Maori of old in order to weaken and unnerve enemies, to cause them to be defeated or become powerless, in fact, to consign them to the realm of oblivion. To perform this rite an ahi tapu or sacred fire was necessary. It was kindled, and the rite performed on a ridge on the track to Here-taunga, a place since known as Te Ahi-a-nga-tane, in commemmoration of the above event. The atua (god familiar) appealed to in order to give force to the rite was Ira-kewa. There were repeated weird spells of the warlords of old, including the whakamania.

Then a force was collected by the survivors, and Maru-iwi were followed as they fared onwards by Titi-o-kura. The god Ira-kewa was invoked in order that his dread powers might bring disaster on Maru-iwi. Then the power of the god was seen in the vale of Mohaka (kawhiua te hau o Ira-kewa ki roto o Mohaka). The lightning flashed to Maunga-haruru, a fierce storm lashed the earth, fiery portents were seen darting through the air. It was a sign from the gods and Maru-iwi "foredoomed to dogs and vultures," were a stricken host, yea, they were dead men although still in the world of life.

Now Maru-iwi were truly alarmed. The evil spells of dark magicians were reached. Men tell strange stories of their actions. How, as they toiled on over the plains, they collected and carried bundles of sticks to serve as fuel when camped down for the night. But, when night fell, fresh alarms arose, and fires and camps were deserted, and again the weary wayfarers struggled on through the night. At last, in one of these nocturnal stampedes, they came in storm and darkness to the rugged canyon near Pohue, on the Napier-Taupo road, near the little lake at the gulch now crossed by the bridge about a mile south of the Pohue page 190Hotel. It is said that the fugitives did not see the cliff in the darkness, hence those leading fell over the cliff, while those in the rear were ignorant of the fate of their companions and, hurrying on, themselves fell over. Thus most of Maru-iwi perished in that waro (chasm), and their tribal name became lost to the world. It is said that only a few survivors reached Heretaunga.

The adventures and tragic end of Maru-iwi still live in the memories of the natives, and allusions to the latter are often met with in song and story. Thus Te Heke a Maru-iwi (the migration of Maru-iwi), and Te heke o Maru-iwi ki te Po (the descent of Maru-iwi to Hades). Thus Pare-rau-tutu of Te Arawa sang:

Ko te heke ra o Maru-iwi i toremi ai ki te reinga ra.

In like manner did Te Au-roa:

Ko te heke o Maru-iwi i haere ai ki raro ra
I hapainga mai ai te kete wairuru kai Mata-whaura.

As also one Ngau-ora, when bemoaning herself in song:

E tama e; Kaore he uri tangata i te ao nei
Tena ka riro atu te waro i heke ai Maru-iwi.

After this Tu-whare-toa and his people took possession of all the Taupo lands. Before doing so they had to overpower a small tribe called Ngati-Hotu and this was done by peace and intermarriages.

After a time the Ngai-Tu-whare-toa became a powerful tribe and was a source of danger to the Coast dwellers, as they raided the Coast on different occasions.

Subsequently the Tu-whare-toa tribe was reigned over and led by four succeeding Heuheus. The first and the elder of them was the one, who, in junction with other tribes raided the Kai-uku pa at Mahia, as has been related in the history of Te Wera-Hauraki. He was the initiator of the election of the Maori King. The third of the Heuheu was Heuheu Tukino, M.L.C. The fourth is now Hoani Te Heuheu.


Time has dealt a hard blow to many of the facts of Maori history. With the coming of the pakeha, the custom of perpetuating history by passing it on verbally gradually fell into disuse. Much was written down before it was too late, but with many ancestors all that is known to-day are one or two main stories concerning them. These have persisted while much other valuable material has been lost for ever.

Thus it is with Tara. What we can tell of him is wrapped page 191up with the story of his cherished pet dog. Nevertheless, this makes a very interesting story, even if it is not a complete record of his life.

As the son of Whatonga and grandson of Toi-kai-rakau, both of whom are mentioned at the commencement of this book, Tara was one of the descendants of the early migration of about 1150 A.D. He lived at Whangara, on the coast east of Gisborne. He owned a very intelligent dog named Potaka. There was a strong bond of love between both man and dog, and Potaka being fed upon the best of foods was a very large animal. The dog was allowed to run loose and was a good hunter. Tara was a very proficient flute player, and he trained Potaka so that the latter would come to him whenever a special call was played on the instrument.

At a certain time a party from this side of Wellington visited Whangara. After their return Tara missed his dog. He searched everywhere and blew his flute, but in vain. Having some suspicion that the visiting party was responsible for the loss of his dog, he came towards Wairoa and went to the top of Whakapunake mountain and blew his flute without result. Going towards the sea-coast he reached the top of a high hill near the present Maori pa at Kihitu and again blew his flute in vain. Thereafter the place was called and is known to the present day as Whakatangihanga-pu-a-Tara or "the blowing of the flute of Tara."

Believing that his dog had been killed by the visiting party, he set out to avenge the killing. He secured a canoe and paddled across the bay, and on reaching the then outlet of Te Ahuriri lagoon, which was then near Petane or Bay View, he urged his canoe a little way up the entrance and ran it ashore. As soon as he jumped ashore and heard the sound of breakers behind him, he remembered his putatara or flute. To his surprise he found that he had forgotten to bring it with him from Wairoa. He gave vent to his surprise by a prolonged ketekete or clicking of the tongue. The entrance to the lagoon and the village on the bank thereafter known at Ketekete-rau, or "many clickings of the tongue." He then proceeded on his journey by land." Reaching the lake near Te Aute, Hawke's Bay, he found the lake to be full of eels and stayed there, naming the lake Te Roto-a-Tara, or "the Lake of Tara," by which name it is known to the present day.

After satisfying his hunger and preparing some food for the way, he continued his journey and reached his objective. page 192Finding the people to be numerically strong, he pretended to be a travelling tohunga, or priest, and offered to teach them occult lore, to which they agreed. He called on and assembled all the strong men to put them through a certain test. In doing so he asked the men in turn to repeat what he was saying. While the people in their turn were following his words, he at the same time called on the spirit of his dog to respond. The dog obeyed his master by yelping out from the throats of those who had eaten him. (Such was the cause of the Whanganui, the Taranaki and the people around about the place, talking the Maori language through the throat.)

Tara having an undoubted proof of the culprits who had murdered his dog, succeeded in alluring the people to go out in their canoes fishing, telling them that it was a very good night for fishing. The fishermen having been advised by Tara to go far out to the sea, set out in their canoes.

During the night Tara called on a storm, which came in hurricane fashion and resulted in the fishermen all being drowned. The fishermen not having returned, the people kept inquiring of Tara as to the fate of the party. To this Tara continued to tell them to be cheerful and to have patience, as the fishermen would turn up in good time. Being satisfied that his dog was amply avenged, Tara set out on his return journey home and left the party awaiting the return of their men-folk. As the realisation that the fishermen were lost slowly dawned upon the waiting people, they knew they had been treacherously misled. Therefore the place was called, and is known to the present day as Whanga-nui-a-Tara, or "the long waiting of Tara."

A Brief History of Paoa

Paoa, who belonged to Hauraki, was the origination of the principal tribe of that district, the Ngati-Paoa. Very little is known of him on the East Coast, except that he had a competitive race with Rongo-kako, as is related in the history of the latter. The prize in the race was the beautiful maiden Muri-whenua, of the Hauraki district.

Some confusion has been caused by the likeness of the name of Paoa to that of Pawa, the chief of the Horouta canoe. In speech, the names are almost identical, especially to an untrained ear. It must be remembered that Pawa lived six generations ahead of the time of Rongo-kako. The name "Pawa" was a corruption of the Hawaikian name, "Pava," while Paoa, who competed with Rongo-kako was a New Zealander born and named. page 193That Paoa was contemporary with Rongo-kako is proved by the East Coast place name, "Te tawhiti-a-Paoa" (The trap of Paoa). At this place Paoa placed his trap to prevent Rongo-kako continuing his huge strides. Similar confusion has occurred with regard to the name of the Waipaoa River in the Poverty Bay district. This name should be "Wai-a-Pawa" or "Water of Pawa."

To honour Paoa as the representative of the Hauraki district these notes have been included. His name is further honoured by being placed on one of the carved teko-teko's in Takitimu House.

page break