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The New Zealand Reader

Death Of Haueaki

page 180

Death Of Haueaki.

But* when the soldiers and Walker's people came to the Kerikeri, the Maori chiefs of Walker's party talked of attacking the Kapotai at Waikare, in the Bay of Islands, because they were allies of Kawiti. So they went and told their minds to the chiefs of the soldiers, who agreed to do so, for they were angry at not having been able to take Heke's pa at Taumata Tutu.

When the soldiers and Walker's people came to the Bay of Islands, they each separated a party to attack the Kapotai. They went up the Waikare River in the night in canoes and boats with great precaution, hoping to surprise the Kapotai, and so to revenge their dead who had fallen at Taumata Tutu. But before they got near to the pa, the wild ducks in the river started up and flew over the pa; which alarmed the Kapotai, and caused them to suspect that an enemy was coming up the river. So they took arms and watched for the approach of the war party.

Soon the soldiers were near, but it was not yet daylight. Then the men of the Kapotai called out, "If you are Maori warriors who come in the night, come on, we will give you battle; but if you are soldiers, here is our pa, we give it you." They soon discovered the soldiers, and then they went out at the back of the pa, and left it for the soldiers to plunder, as payment for Kororareka; which was very right. So the soldiers and Walker's Maori plundered the pa of the Kapotai, and killed all the pigs.

After the Kapotai pa had been plundered and burnt, Walker and his men went in pursuit of the Kapotai, who had retreated into the forest; but the soldiers remained behind on the clear ground near the pa. Walker, Mohi, and Repa went into the woods with three hundred men, followed the Kapotai, and overtook them. When the Kapotai perceived that they were followed, their anger was very great; so they turned, and fought with great courage against Walker. Walker was nob able to beat them, so they remained a long time fighting in the forest.

* [This is in continuation of "Heke at Te Kahika."]

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But Hauraki, the young Hikutu chief, with his thirteen men, had taken another path; and he met the young chief of the Kapotai, who had with him sixty men. They were both young men, and fighting for a name; so a desperate fight began. Hauraki and his thirteen men thought not of the light of the sun or the number of the enemy; their only thought was of war, and to elevate their names. It was a close fight, and whenever the rifle of Hauraki was heard a man fell; and soon he had killed or wounded several of the Kapotai, who began to fall back.

Then Hauraki cried out to the retreating Kapotai, "Fly away on the wings of the wood-pigeon, and feed on the berries of the wood, for I have taken your land." Then a certain slave of the Kapotai said, "That is Hauraki, a very noble-born man. He is a chief of Te Hikutu, and of Te Rarawa, and of Te Ngati-Kuri." Now, when Hari, the young Kapotai chief, heard this, he cried aloud to Hauraki, saying, "Swim you away on the backs of the fish of the sea, there is no land for you here."

Then these two young warriors drew nearer to each other. Hauraki had just loaded his rifle, but the caps which he had were too small, and he was a long time trying to put on the cap. While he was doing this, Hari fired at him, and the ball struck him on the breast, and passed out at his back; but so great was his strength and courage that he did not fall, but took another cap and fixed it, and then fired at the Kapotai chief; and the ball struck him on the side under the armpit, and went out at the other armpit. So Hari staggered and fell dead. When Hauraki saw this he said, "I die not unrevenged," and then sank gently to the ground.

Then two of his people led him away towards the rear. The Kapotai also carried away their chief; and then, enraged at his death, rushed upon the Hikutu, who were now only eight in number, the rest having been killed or wounded. These eight were tino tangata* but were too few in number, and had lost their chief; so when the Kapotai rushed upon them they lost heart and fled, and the Kapotai chased them.

* [Emphatically men; splendid men.]

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Soon the foremost of the flying Hikutu overtook Hauraki and the two men who were leading him off. Then Hauraki said, "Do not remain with me to die, but hide me in the fern and escape yourselves; and go to my relation Walker, and tell him to muster all his people, and come and carry me off." Then they all pressed their noses to the nose of Hauraki, one after another. And tears fell fast; and the balls from the guns of the Kapotai whistled round their heads. So while some returned the fire of the enemy, others hid Hauraki in the long fern. When this was done they all fled, and escaped with great difficulty; for while they were hiding Hauraki the Kapotai had surrounded them, and they would never have escaped at all but for the great courage of Kaipo and Te Pake, Hauraki's cousins, who broke through the Kapotai, and opened a way for the rest.

Now, when Hauraki's eight men got on the clear ground they found that the soldiers were getting into the boats to go away; and Walker, Mohi, and Repa had just come out of the forest from fighting with the Kapotai. Hauraki's cousins ran to Walker, and said, "Our friend is left behind wounded in the forest, and likely to be taken by the Kapotai." Walker was very much dismayed when he heard this; and he and Mohi ran to the chiefs of the soldiers and desired them to remain for a short time till he should rescue Hauraki. But the soldiers could not understand what Walker meant, for the interpreter had already gone away in one of the boats.

There was great confusion, every one trying to get away;. and Walker's men were also getting into their canoes and going away; and boats and canoes were running foul of each other, and the creek was choked with them. Then came the Kapotai in great force with their allies out of the forest, and commenced firing on the departing tana from a distance of about two hundred fathoms.

The soldiers and Walker got away and returned to Kororareka, and left Hauraki lying alone in the forest, for they were sick of fighting, So he lay there till midnight; and the night was wet and cold; and he kept continually thinking what a disgrace it would be to his family if he should be taken alive. And as he lay thus he saw the spirit of the greatest warrior of all his ances-page 183tors, who said to him, "Arise! Shall my descendant be taken alive?" Then Hauraki said, "I am a mere man, not like unto my ancestors, half god and half man." Then the spirit said, "In the mind is the strength of the body. Arise!"

So Hauraki arose, and travelled a long way in the night till he found a small canoe by the river side. Then he pulled down the river towards the Bay of Islands till the canoe was upset, and he swam on shore.

When he got to the shore he was almost dead; but near to where he landed was the house of a pakeha, and the mother of this pakeha was Hauraki's cousin. So that pakeha took him, and concealed hint in the house, and took care of him; and before the middle of the day a party of Walker's men arrived there in seach of him. So they took him to the Bay of Islands, and the doctors of the soldiers did what they could to cure him, but without success. So his tribe, who had arrived at Okaihau, carried him home to his own place at Hokianga, where he died.

When Hauraki died, and his body lay at Whirinaki to be seen for the last time by his relations, there was a great gathering of the Rarawa and Nga-Puhi, to fulfil the last rites due to a chief. And when the pihe* had been sung, then the chiefs arose one after another to speak in praise of the dead. This was the speech of Te Anu, he who is known as having been in his youth the best spearsman of all the Nga-Puhi tribes. Bounding to and fro before the corpse, with his famous spear in his hand, he spoke as follows: "Farewell, Hauraki! Go, taking with you your kindness and hospitality, your generosity and valour, and leave none behind who can fill your place. Your death was noble; you revenged yourself with your own hand; you saved yourself without the help of any man. Your life was short; but so it is with heroes. Farewell, O Hauraki, farewell!"

At this time it was night, and the sister of Hauraki, and also his young wife, went in the dark and sat beside the river. They sat weeping silently, and spinning a cord wherewith to strangle themselves. The flax was wet with their tears. And as they did this the moon arose. So when the sister of Hauraki saw the rising moon she broke

* [Funeral chant.]

page 184silence and lamented aloud; and this was her lament, the part I remember of it:—

It is well with you, O moon! You return from death,
Spreading your light on the little waves.
Men say, "Behold, the moon reappears:"
But the dead of this world return no more.
Grief and pain spring up in my heart as from a fountain:
I hasten to death for relief.
Oh, that 1. might eat those numerous soothsayers
Who could not foretell his death!
Oh, that I might eat the Governor!
For his was the war.

At this time men came who were in search of these women, and prevented the sister of Hauraki from killing herself at that time. They watched her for several days, but she died of grief. But the wife of Hauraki consented to live, that she might rear her son, so that he might fight with the Kapotai on a future day. So she called his name Maiki, which is the name of the hill on which stood the flagstaff the cutting down of which was the cause of the war. He was therefore called by this name, that he might always be reminded of his father's death.

The lament of the sister of Hauraki was sung by all the divisions of all the Nga-Puhi, from the west coast to Tokerau. And when Walker heard it he was displeased, and said, "It is wrong to sing about eating the Governor, for soon people who do not know the song well may make mistakes, and sing, 'Oh, that I might eat Heke!' which would be the worst of all. As for the priests or soothsayers, it is no matter: they are a set of fools." So now, when people sing that lament they only say, "Oh, that I might eat the numerous tohunga!"

So Hauraki was taken to Te Ramaroa, a cave in the mountains, behind Whirinaki, where his ancestors are buried. Then three hundred men of Te Hikutu, Ngati-Kuri, Te Rarawa, and Walker's people armed themselves and entered the country of the Kapotai to fire powder in remembrance of Hauraki. They destroyed the cultivations, and got much plunder; but the Kapotai retired to the forest, and would not light, for they knew this was a war party of the tribe of Hauraki, who came bearing the weapons of grief, and therefore they would not light. So the taua came to the spot where Hauraki had fallen, and there fired many volleys page 185of musketry in honour of the dead, and then returned unmolested to their own country. The behaviour oi the Kapotai in this matter was correct. We all know that it was not fear that prevented them from attacking us: they respected the grief of the people and relations of Hauraki, and made way before them, which was a rangatira thought. When Heke heard of the death of Hauraki he said, "Now, if I am slain in this war it matters not; for there is no greater Nga-Puhi chief than Hauraki." What Heke said was true; but he said it to please Te Hikutu, for Heke is a man of many thoughts.

F. E. Maning

("Heke's War … told by an Old Chief").