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Important Judgments: Delivered in the Compensation Court and Native Land Court. 1866–1879.

Kapetawa's Conquest

page 61

Kapetawa's Conquest.

Heteraka Takapuna founds his title and that of his co-claimants, the Ngatipaoa and other Thames tribes, partly on Wáiohua ancestry (to be noticed hereafter), and partly on a conquest made by their ancestor in days long gone by. He says, "Kapetawa is the ancestor to whom this land belonged." This is the only conquest alleged by them; and it will, therefore, be proper to inquire into it particularly. Counting back by generations this conquering, ancestor (Kapetawa) must have been contemporary with Hua, the Ngaiwi chief, who lived at One-tree Hill and Mangere, and as the name Waiohua then had its commencement, this part of the country must have been pretty thickly peopled. Indeed, when one looks at the enormous earthworks surrounding Mount Eden, One-tree Hill, and all the volcanic hills of this district, and recollects the character of the tools with which they were constructed, there can be no doubt that the people who built them can neither have been few in numbers nor sparsely settled. The same people seem also to have occupied Waiheke and the islands of the Gulf, and possibly down the shores of the Waitemata to the Firth of the Thames. At this time the Thames tribes seem to have been living on the Firth of the Thames and up the Thames Valley to Horotiu and Rangiawhia, and perhaps further west and south—for Hoterene Taipari told us that the ancestors of those tribes, Marutuahu (whence the name Ngatimaru), lived at Kawhia, whence they worked their way across the Waipa and Waikato plains, and ultimately down the Thames and Piako; and then gradually spread eastward and northward At a later period of their history we find them living at Mangatautari, and we have many witnesses who tell us of their final expulsion from the Waikato Valley by Waikato, under Te Waharoa and Potatau. And Taipari adds:—"At this time Te Waiohua owned all this land. We Ngatimaru were on lands that did not belong to us. We were living south of Kauaeranga, on the lands of Ngatihuarere and Ngatikorowhai." And Heteraka stated that the pa at Orakei captured by Kapetawa was built by Ngatihuarere. Possibly the two events may have some connection with each other. At the time of this conquest, then, some of the Thames tribes were living at Hauraki, near the mouth of the Thames. The cause of the war was as follows: —About seven generations ago, Tarakumikumi, a man who is alleged to be a Waiohua, though somewhat unaccountably his brother (Kapetawa's father) is stated to be a Ngatipaoa. was living in a pa near Orakei. His brother's son was Kapetawa. Tarakumikumi married Kapetawa's sister, i.e., his own niece. The uncle and the nephew went out one day to fish near the Bean Rocks, and the uncle took the nephew, then a boy, and put him on the rock at low water, and left him. As the tide advanced, his mother from the shore heard his screams, put off in a canoe from Kohimarama, and rescued him. Kapetawa cherished the remembrance of this affront until he grew up, when he raised a war party of Ngatipaoa, and attacked his uncle in the pa at Orakei. This pa was taken, and another at Kohimarama, and many people killed, but Tarakumikumi escaped. Kapetawa, page 62thinking his utu insufficient, pursued Tarakumikumi to Waiheke, where he finally wiped off his early insult by killing him and his wife and children, and, then pursuing his successes, took many pas and killed many people. He settled at Waiheke, and the title of his descendants has been recognised to a portion of land at Putiki, founded, it is suggested, on this conquest.

Now, it is abundantly clear that this alleged conquest is nothing but a raid made for revenge. If Kapetawa had extended his views, and followed up his successes at Orakei, by taking possession of the land, and with his descendants permanently settling there, they would, doubtless, have acquired a title, but nothing was further from his thoughts. Tarakumikumi had escaped him, so the chase was renewed, and when at length he came up with him and killed him he quietly settled down where he was, and (as far as the evidence goes), giving no further thought to Orakei, ended his days in peace in his new acquisitions in Waiheke.

And this inroad into the district could have made no permanent impression, for we find at a later period the country fully peopled, and Kiwi, chief of the Waiohua, the tribe alleged to have been destroyed by Kapetawa, living at Mangakeikei (One-tree Hill), and sounding a big gong to a numerous people who lived there and holding places of strength on all the volcanic hills of the country, besides pas at Kohimarama and Taurarua, at the former of which places Kapetawa is alleged to have exterminated the original inhabitants. And at a later period of our history, after Kiwi had been killed, we find a populous pa at Te Umuponga, Orakei; and we are told of the sentinels singing their songs on the ramparts of Kohimarama as Ngatiwhatua advanced to the assault.

It does not appear to me that this inroad of Kapetawa should be allowed to have any weight in determining the question of ownership of any land, except perhaps that portion of Waiheke where he settled. The history has the characteristics of the inroad of Chevy Chase, except that the result was more fortunate to the aggressor.