Legends of the Maori
Chapter XIV. — The Conquests of Karewa
The Conquests of Karewa.
WHEN the warrior chief Maki was so treacherously slain by the Ngati-Tuirirangi tribe, those of his men who escaped went straight on to Kawharu at Kawhia, and to the old chief Toa-Rangatira at Marokopa. They found Toa-Rangatira exceedingly ill. That chief wept for his elder brother Maki.
When Karewa heard of Maki’s death, and of Toa-Rangatira’s illness, and his grief for Maki, the thought came to him that, if Maki’s death were long in being avenged, Toa-Rangatira would grieve even unto death. So he went to Taranaki, to his relatives Tukutahi, Reketaia, and the rest of the Ngati-Mutunga; and when they came to Marokopa, Karewa sent a man to get Tupahau’s taiaha, which was in Toa-Rangatira’s possession; it was a weapon of fame and great mana. Having obtained it, he and his Taranaki force marched upon Ngati-Tuirirangi and put them to rout. Only two of the principal men escaped; their names were Honohono-iho and Honohonoake. Karewa went in pursuit of these men from place to place; and they escaped from each pa he took. From one place to another he pursued them, even to the north, in the Ngapuhi territory. When they reached Ngapuhi, the tribal leaders there asked them about the prowess of Karewa. They replied, “E puta ana a Karewa, huna ki Tangihua; he anga kainga e hokia” (Should Karewa appear and show fight, hide in the Tangihua mountains. An empty home can always be occupied). They meant that Ngapuhi should lie in ambush there, and when an opportunity came they should fall on Karewa and slaughter him and his men.
To this the chiefs of Ngapuhi replied, saying, “E puta mai ia nga toretore o Waihi raua ko Kaitarau.”
Karewa appeared in that country and the men again urged Ngapuhi to attack him at Tangihua. But Ngapuhi would not listen to their proposal to lie in ambush, or to retreat to the forests; they were anxious to try conclusions with Karewa in the open, seeing that he had only a small war-party of one hundred and forty. While Ngapuhi were getting into battle array, Karewa, with great expedition, fell upon them. And so fierce was the onslaught that Ngapuhi were demoralised, and their army utterly routed. The morehu (remnants) escaped to the mountains with Honohonoiho and Honohonoake. And then, having vanquished all in their path, page 65 Karewa thought that it was time that he returned to his home. So he ceased his warlike advance in the land of the north, and marched back to Kawhia.