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Legends of the Maori

In Single Combat

page 103

In Single Combat

ONCE there lived two Upper Whanganui chiefs, Hamarama, of the Ngati-Pare tribe, and Pokaitara, of the Ngati-Atuaroa tribe. They quarrelled over a canoe named Pakiaka. In his anger Pokaitara said that armed only with a spear-ended walking-staff he could kill all the Ngati-Pare. Hamarama retorted that he would kill the Atuaroa clan like owls in the bush. The two chiefs assembled their warriors and met at Parikiwai.

It was decided to settle the battle by single combat. A warrior named Rangi Te Wheato stood forth on behalf of the Ngati-Atuaroa, and he defeated his antagonist, Hamarama. The names of the weapons used by the conqueror and the conquered were Pouwhenua and Ringamahikai. Hamarama took his dogskin mat, called Parewahine, and gave it to Rangi Te Wheato. Now those people are named Ngati-Ruru and Ngati-Patu-tokotoko, names which commemorate the duel. Ngati-Ruru means “The Tribe of the Bush Owls.” The other tribal name means “The Tribe of the Walking-staff.” These tribes live to-day in the bush kaingas on the upper part of the Whanganui River.