Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon


Chapter Seventeen

page 118

Chapter Seventeen

The History of Tapuwae

Tapuwae was the principal and the most outstanding ancestor of the Maori people of Te Wai-roa district, which is the Ngati-Kahungunu proper. It has been held and recognised down to the present day that any members of the Ngati-Kahungunu Tribe within the county of Te Wai-roa, who cannot trace themselves from Tapuwae are classed as commoners, and those tracing from the union of Tapuwae and Te Huki are classed as aristocrats. Tapuwae descended not only from high lines of aristocracy, but also from the chiefs of the canoes which migrated to New Zealand, as shown by the whakapapa herein attached.

Origin of the Tribal Name Ngati-Kahungunu.

Kotore with his family being the grandparents of Tapuwae and his wife Ruataumata, lived at his pa, Omaruhakeke (this side of Marumaru). The pa was raided and Kotore was killed by Apanui, a chief, who originated the tribal name "Whanau-a-Apanui," and who lived at Te Kaha, Bay of Plenty.

Being wounded and about to be killed, Kotore looked up and saw Apanui standing alongside him. Noticing the ugliness of Apanui, Kotore remarked, "Ehoa, ko te weriweri ai ka takoto ai an ki roto ki to puku" ("Friend, what an ugly man like you, for me to lie in your stomach"). Apanui then asked, "Kei whea ia?" ("Where is it then?" or "Where is a better looking man?"). Kotore, looking along the battlefield, saw his two sons, Umurau and Tamahikawai, being led up to Apanui to be killed. He then said, "Ara, kia pera me nga tukemata-nui o Kahungunu e arahina mai ra" (There, be like the broad handsome face of Kahungunu being led towards us").

The name Nga Tukemata-nui o Kahungunu was then applied to Tapuwae, his wife Ruataumata and their descendants, and in later generations it was made to apply to the whole of the descendants of Kahungunu as Ngati-Kahungunu. Prior to this page 119the Ngati-Kahungunu proper was called Nga Tokirima a Hinemanuhiri, and later Ngati-Hinemanuhiri. The section that migrated to Mahia and Nuhaka was called Ngati-Rakaipaaka, and the section that migrated to Heretaunga was Ngai-Te-Whati-apiti.

The spelling of the name Tapuae is incorrect; Tapuwae, which means foot-prints or prints, is correct.

Parua of Uawa succeeded in killing Tama-te-rangi (as has been related in the history of Tama-te-rangi). During the battle Parua was wounded by the spear of Paaka, which necessitated his being carried on a stretcher as his people fled homeward. When Tukutuku heard that his grandfather, Tama-te-rangi, was killed by Parua, and Parua was fleeing to his home and had reached the sea coast at Te Poti at the eastern end of the lagoon on the eastern bank of the mouth of the Wairoa River, Tukutuku, with his party of warriors, chased them. On reaching Ohuia Lake, Parua opened the outlet, which delayed Tukutuku and his warriors and gave the fleeing party a good lead. On reaching Whakaki lagoon and the Nuhaka River the same thing was done, which caused a considerable delay. However, the pursuers forded the rivers, and on reaching the top of the last hill, the other side of what is now called Bartlett's Camp, they sighted the fleeing party at this side of Wairakaia plain.

Seeing his pursuer close at his heels, Parua ordered his carriers to let him down on the ground. He commanded his men to carry him into the middle of the boggy swamp, and with his taiaha-couched alongside of him, and with his back against a flax bush, he ordered his men to leave him. His purpose was to entice his enemy into this boggy place so as to give him the advantage of killing some of them, and by giving up himself as the price of victory to the enemy, the lives of his followers would be spared. He ordered his followers to continue their march, but they hid themselves behind some flax bushes behind him.

Tukutuku did not remain with the rest of the pursuers, but with a few of the swift runners broke away to the front. Tukutuku, with a few of his men, made a flying rush at Parua, but they sank down to their armpits. Parua then got up and easily dispatched Tukutuku, while his warriors, concealed behind the bushes, killed the rest, and then went on their march.

When the main body of the chasing party came to the place where Tukutuku and the others lay dead, they gave up the chase. There is a song of lament which refers to the death of Tukutuku, but it is too long to insert here.

Now the wife of Tukutuku (Hine-pehinga) was pregnant. page 120Having no one to keep her warm and comfort the unborn child (Hei awhi), it was arranged that the younger brother of Tukutuku named Te Okuratawhiti was to do so, and they were married. When the child was born it was a female, and she was not honoured by the erection of a whare kohanga (nursing house). It was only when a male child was born that a whare kohanga was erected. The child was named Tapuwae, or Tapuwae Poharu-tanga-O-Tukutuku (the bogged feet of Tukutuku).

Tapuwae was the first child of Te Okuratawhiti and the second of Hine-pehinga (his wife). Their second son was named Te Maaha. Both were born at Taumata-o-Hine-pehinga in a pa called Te Whata-koau on the sea coast next to the old homestead of Whakamahi. The real name was Whakamahia, meaning "made to work." It originated at the time of Te Apatu (who was seven generations after Tapuwae). During Te Apatu's occupation of the pa, besides his own hapus, he called on certain other tribes to cultivate and plant Tarewa-a-runga and Tarewa-a-raro. During their time of labour Te Apatu used to kill some of his slaves to feed the workmen, and on their return to their homes they reported, "Katahi tera, Whaka-mahia ai tera matau, Ko nga kai he tangata tonu" ("We were made to work and the food was human flesh").

Tapuwae from the time of his birth was looked up to as an Upoko Ariki (Head Lord), not only by his intimate tribe but by surrounding tribes.

Tapuwae and his younger brother, Te Maaha, as was usual with high born males, were both too ambitious concerning the construction of fighting pas. As they grew up, they decided to put their theory into practice by going to the sea next to Whaka-mahia to mould a model pa on the sand. Tapuwae maintained that being the elder brother he should be the engineer. Te Maaha insisted that he should be the engineer as he knew better. There arose a heated argument which resulted in one challenging the other as to who was the quickest and the best. Te Maaha had his pa finished first and gave the sign, which made Tapuwae jealous and angry. He criticised the building of the pa and destroyed it, which made Te Maaha angry. A fight resulted, neither being victorious, but both suffered severe injuries, which made them hate each other the more.

As they grew up to manhood their father, Te Okuratawhiti, noticed their hatred, and came to the conclusion that they would not combine in defence of themselves and the people. He led them along the beach, and on reaching Rangi-houa pa at the page 121western side of the mouth of the Wai-roa River he turned to Te Maaha and said, "Na ko koe e Te Maaha, me whakawhiti koe ki tera taha o te awa, a, oti atu, a, kei noho koe a ka ari mai ki tenei taha" ("You, Te Maaha, you shall cross to the other side of the river and remain there and never show your shadow on this side"). He then turned to Tapuwae and said, "Na ka koe Tapuwae, me noho koe i tenei taha, a, kei, noho koe ka ari atu ki te taha kia te Maaha" ("You, Tapuwae, you remain on this side of the river, and never show your shadow on Te Maaha's").

After the separation the names Te ari a Te Maaha and Te ari a Tapuwae were bestowed respectively on the eastern and western sides of the mouth of the Wairoa River. The brothers remained separated until the intermarriage of their descendants brought them together again. To the present day the above names are still used when speaking of the respective sides of the river.

When Tapuwae grew up to manhood two women of high rank were chosen for his wives. The first was Te Rauhina, who was the sister of Te Huki, second outstanding ancestor to Tapuwae, whose history, is given in this book. By this wife he begat three sons, Te Rangi-tuanui, Hikatu and Whenua. Te Ruataumata was the second wife (first cousin), who was known and called Te Wahine kai-tangata (Man-eating wife), who lived on human flesh. Their children were: Te Matakainga-i-te-tihi (f.), Te Wainau (m.), Kai-momona (f.), Hikawai (m.), Matawhaiti (m.), Toine (m.), Whiu-ite-taepa (f.), and Kaaka-ite-taepa. When their first child was born, Tapuwae made her the greatest and the highest of his children (Queen), and she was named Hei tihi. Matakainga-i-te-tihi means "a face to be gazed at as the highest pinnacle."

Nine Pas.

The two wives with their respective families lived in separate pas. Te Rauhina with her children lived in these pas:

Rangi-houa, situated at western side of the mouth of the Te Wai-roa River. Part of it has been washed out to sea and part of it is still to be seen where the Pilot Station used to be.

Motu-o-Te Rauhina, an island. It was a settlement and fishing residence, situated in the middle of the Wairoa River about 60 chains from its mouth. It has now been washed away, although the foundation strata can be seen under water.

Kai-mango, a pa situated at the bend of the Wai-roa River, now called Spooner's Point, where the first hotel, store and court-page 122house were built, and also where Taharakau, a chief of Gisborne, was entertained, which story will be related later.

Manuka-nui, a pa at the present site of the Wai-roa Post Office. The post office itself was named Tapuwae by Sir James Carroll at the opening function.

Te Ruataumata with her chilidren lived at:—

Pohonui-o-hine, a pa on the opposite side of the Wairoa River to the late Mr. Duff's old residence; now Mr. D. Harvey's farm behind the golf links. Later Te Kapua-matatoru removed it across the river, rebuilt it, and was called Whereinga.

Pohoriaka, at Hikawai, on the river bank this side of a settlement now called Te Mira, or The Mill, where on the creek approaching this settlement stood the first flour mill which gave the name.

Hiku-koekoea, a pa situated at the junction of the Wai-roa River and Kauhouroa stream below the Scamperdown Bridge. At this pa two important events took place which have been related in other histories.

Omaruhakeke, a pa on the eastern bend of the Wai-roa River below Marumaru, where, as has been related, Kotore, the grandfather of Tapuwae, and also of his wife Te Ruataumata, was killed, together with his (Kotore's) sons Umurau and Tama-hikawai, the father of Te Ruataumata.

The time came when Tapuwae felt it incumbent upon him to avenge the death of his great-grandfather, Tama-te-rangi, who was killed by Parua, as has already been related in the history of the latter. Gathering his own men, Tapuwae also enlisted the services of a famous warrior named Te Wha-kahu. The Wairoa taua travelled through Tiniroto, and on reaching Waerenga-o-kuri, inland from Te Arai, waited for the arrival of Te Wha-kahu and his men. When the newcomers arrived Tapuwae noticed that Te Wha-kahu was exceedingly ugly, and rather imprudently or jokingly remarked, "Ina tonu te ahua o te tangata hei tuku i a tatau ki te po" ("What a peculiar kind of man to lead us to destruction"). Te Wha-kahu did not reply to this belittling remark and the two forces mingled and marched together.

When, however, the party neared the pas which they intended to raid and arrived at the place where two tracks branched off, each to a different pa, Te Wha-kahu separated his men from Tapuwae's by putting his taiaha across the track. Seeing this Tapuwae said, "Ha, kaikape ana tera koe?" "Hullo, are you separating?"). To this the ugly one replied, "Haere koe te atahua, waiho ake te tangata weriweri kia haere ki te po" ("Go you page 123handsome one, leave the ugly one to go to destruction"). Tapuwae said: "Go, let us both cry out the war-cry of victory." This place is still known by the name Te Kaikape.

The divided forces went to attack separate pas.

Te Wha-kahu had a speedy victory and soon raised the cry of success. Tapuwae, however, attacked the main pa, Ohaoko, where the enemy was well prepared to resist the attack. So fierce was the resistance that Tapuwae and his men found themselves in difficulties, and had not Wha-kahu and his men come to their assistance in the nick of time the fight might have gone against them. However, with the ugly warrior's timely aid the pa was subdued and two of the most prominent of the local chiefs met their death.

Thus was Tama-te-rangi avenged. Parua, who had killed him, had himself been long dead, so Tapuwae was satisfied with the destruction of these two pas and did not seek further vengeance by sacking further pas of the enemy.

Though he felt it necessary to revenge the death of his grandfather, Tapuwae was not by choice a warrior or a fighting man. He was more a statesman than a fighter. By birth and rank he was outstanding; the people accorded him homage and devotion, not only because of his birth, but also for his humanity.

In an age of turbulence and war, when military genius and wholesale slaughter were the only keys to fame and power, when the ambition of every able-bodied man from the highest to the lowest was to excel in the bearing of arms, he stood out alone. By his forbearance and tact, and by his unfailing courtesy to all and every one, he won the hearts not only of his own people, but people from other parts, who flocked to him in numbers and settled around him.

By his marriage to his two wives, Tapuwae quietly strengthened all of the pas of the Wairoa district, as many of them came under his control through these unions. He encouraged the practice of arms by employing a man of great genius, Takapuwai, who was killed when he met Te O-Taane (Tapuwae's own nephew) in single combat, which is related in the history of Te O-Taane.

Tapuwae married Te Huki's sister Te Rauhina (as has been related), whose father was Tureia, who had great mana. Te Rauhina was known and called as Te wahine korero aio a Tapuwae (Peace talking wife of Tapuwae), whose voice was always raised in the interests of peace and love. For any fugitive, no matter how heinous his crime, to reach Te Rauhina's pas was page 124to reach sanctuary. Tapuwae encouraged this trait in his wife, and people from all quarters came and lived under her sway.

Manawa and Kohaki, who were adepts in dark practices and were living in the valley of Ohine-pakaa, part of Tapuwae's territory, adopted a grandson of Tapuwae and named him Te Atua-noho-riu (God who lives in the valley).

As their adopted son grew up their pride in him grew also. Their ambition was to surpass Tapuwae. In their pride they made the following statement, which has remained a proverb to this day and which was the text of a sermon peached by the late Chaplain-Major Henare Te Wainohu prior to their mounting the stronghold of the Turks at the top of Gallipoli:—"Iti te kopara kai-tarerere ana i te tihi o te kahika, a Iti te matakahi pangaia atu ki roto ki te totara pakaru rikiriki," meaning that small as their adopted son was, his mana over-rode the mana of Te Matakainga i-to-tihi (Tapuwae's queen daughter), and insignificant as the mana of their adopted child was, compared with that of Tapuwae, by driving it into Tapuwae's authority, it would smash it.

These boastful remarks were repeated to Tapuwae, and suggested that they should kill these old men, but Tapuwae said, "Kati noa me maremare noa atu" ("Leave them alone but just cough at them"). As the boy grew into manhood the two old men made another attempt to destroy Tapuwae's mana by destroying his personal tapu. They procured Tapuwae's comb, threw it into burning coals and ashes, and baked food over it and gave the food to the boy to eat, thereby desecrating Tapuwae's tapu.

When the people heard of this they were horrified, and begged Tapuwae to let them kill these men and the tribe under them. Tapuwae said, "Kati noa me a parera noa atu" ("No, just drive them like ducks").

When the two old men heard of this order they started on a journey to Heretaunga. On reaching Mohaka they were invited to stay for the night. In the morning, while their hosts were uncovering the hangi, the boy, who was hopelessly spoilt, ran out and started to help himself by grabbing a stick and raking out some of the food in the oven. This breach of etiquette so overwhelmed one of them that he brushed the boy's hand away with the rebuke, "E tama, he kainga he hoki tohou a, he kainga he hoki to koro ma?" ("Son, do you and your old men eat at different times?"). On hearing this, Kowhaki, one of the old men, stood up, tightened his girdle and made preparation for a journey. Manawa, the other old man, asked him what he was doing. Kowhaki facing towards Tahaenui, near Nuhaka, said, "E hoki page 125ana ki te wa kainga, ki te ao e pango mai ra" ("Returning towards home to where that dark cloud is overhanging"). Again Manawa spoke, "Haere, kia taka te po aniwaniwa, kia taka i a koe ki roto o te Kokohu" ("Go then, let the black magic of darkness through you fall into Te Kokohu"). Te Kokohu is the name of the place where the homestead of Mr. Humphrey Bayly, Jun., now stands.

Manawa continued: "Haere whakatatutia ta taua whangai ki raro, Karangarangatia a Kaike raua ko Whakamae, a kia totika te haere ki Te Manga, kei kona, he ahi pono taku ahi, ka tutu ki te moana a, ka aio a uta a ka tutu a uta ka aio te moana" ("Go and settle our adopted child on the land. Call up Kaike and Whakamae to collect the sub-tribes under them and to proceed at once to Te Manga. My fire there is a faithful one; when the sea is rough and its harvest unprocurable there is plenty from the land; when there is no supply from the land, there is plenty from the sea").

The two old men, with their adopted child, turned back by the sea coast. On reaching Poututu they called out Whakamae and Kaike and their sub-tribes, who were scattered and in hiding. On arriving at Whaka-mahia, accompanied by these people Manawa made a gift of both land and people to their adopted son and left him there. Before leaving, however, Manawa arranged a marriage between their adopted son and Kai-momona (the daughter of Tapuwae and Ruataumata), the boy's own aunt. Manawa and Kowhaki after a time returned to Tahaenui and settled near Te Kokohu, where they built a strong fortified pa named Wai-roro.

Taharakau, a sub-chief of Manutuke, Poverty Bay, paid a visit to Tapuwae as a mark of' regard and gratitude for the restoration of the bodies of his two sons, Rongomai-tahuna and Tumokonui, who were killed in a raiding expedition at Parawera, Hikawai, near Frasertown. By custom the bodies of those killed in battle were the property of the conquerors, and the restoration of the bodies of dead enemies to their relatives was an act of grace and unusual generosity.

Angiangi, a chief of Ngati-Kahungunu and a descendant of Rongowhakaata, paid a visit to Poverty Bay. On his return Taharakau accompanied him. As befitting a chief, Angiangi dressed himself with special care. On turning round he was surprised to see Taharakau in common raiment, and remarked, "E Taha, ina—he mahiti ki runga, he paepaeroa ki raro, koia nei te kakahu o te rangatira" ("A dog-skin cloak over the shoulders page 126and a finely woven taniko cloth around the waist are the garments befitting a chief").

Taharakau having only a pakee (rain coat), shortly answered, "E roa raro, e tata runga" ("Journey is far, sky is nearer"). In the course of their journey they came to Te Ahimanu (a big high hill before reaching Tiniroto).

As they reached the top of that hill the rain fell in torrents. Angiangi then was soaked to the skin; Taharakau, being in his pakee, was well secured against the elements. On reaching the lower ground the weather became fine and they continued their journey. At last they reached Tapuwae's territory and found him at one of his pas called Hiku-koekoea, at the junction of the Wairoa River and the Kahouroa stream. This was one of the residential pas of Te Rautaumata, the man-eating wife of Tapuwae, who threatened to have them killed and eaten. But Tapuwae desisted and said, "Waiho i kona haere ai nga mokaikai a Te Rauhina" ("Allow them to go on as amusing pets of Te Rauhina").

Tapuwae escorted them to a pa named Kai-mango (opposite Te Uhi pa, now known as Spooner's Point in the Te Wai-roa township, which was one of the residential pas of his other wife, Te Rauhina). On the way, as they passed pa after pa, fully fortified and thickly populated, Taharakau could not help but admire the prestige and power of Tapuwae. On reaching their destination, and during the course of the usual reception, Tapuwae put Taharakau to a severe test by asking the following questions: "E Taha, heaha te tohu o te tangata rangatira?" ("What is the token of a chief?"). Taharakau answered: "He whare tu ki te paenga he kai na te ahi, a he whare maihi i tu ki roto ki te pa tuwatawata a Kahukura a Rongomai he tohu no te tangata rangatira" ("A house standing in a solitary part is the food of fire, an adorned house standing within a stockade pa of Kahukura of Rongomai is the mark of chieftainship"). Meaning—that a chief by himself is subjected to slaughter, but a chief surrounded by a multitude of people is the token of chieftainship. Tapuwae on receiving Taharakau's answer was satisfied that Taharakau really came on a friendly visit without ulterior motives, and then asked in a friendly way a further question, "E Tahi, heaha te kai o Turanga?" ("What is the food of Turanga?"). Taharakau then answered, "He ahi koaka ki te awatea, a he ai ki te po" ("Roasted cabbage-tree during the day and the pleasure of woman at night"). Taharakau this time having received and answered a friendly question, he then asked Tapuwae, "Heaha hoki te kai o Te page 127Wai-roa?" ("What is the food of Te Wai-roa?"). Tapuwae, not to be outdone in the spirit of modesty shown in the answer of Taharakau to his questions, replied, "He ra ki te awatea, he namu ki te po" ("The sun during the daytime and mosquitoes at night").

The stories of the activities and great deeds of Tapuwae are legion. Only the main outline has been told here on account of space. Other incidents in his life have been told in the chapters concerning other ancestors. Tapuwae not only had to rebuild the mana and prestige of his own people, but he also had the unpleasurable task of wiping out the disgraces of the past when some of his forebears fell victims of other tribes. These stories have been related in the chapters concerning Te-o-Tane and Tama-te-Rangi. Our hero died of old age, full of venerable power and prestige, an acknowledged builder and leader, undefeated in battle, without disgrace in character. He was laid to rest in the historical cemetery named Tahuna mai Hawaiki (sandbank from Hawaiki), situated on the shore about ten chains from the western side of the mouth of the Wairoa River. Concerning this cemetery it should be recorded that Ruawharo, the priest of the Takitimu canoe, brought some sand from Hawaiki, and this was deposited on the beach at Mahia and at the above place. Thus it was often the desire of high born people to be interred at one of these places. The beaches were so often chosen as Maori burial grounds owing to the ease of digging, the concealment once the wind had blown over the spot, and the fact that the sand would not set permanently solid.