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History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840

Murder of Rangi-Hapainga. — (? 1816.)

Murder of Rangi-Hapainga.
(? 1816.)

Of the next event which is known to have occurred I have no notes from my Maori friends, and therefore quote from Judge Gudgeon's "Mohaka-tino—Parininihi Judgment" of 1893. "Kingi Te Rerenga (see Table 51) in his evidence asserts that the Ngati-Tama, disheartened by their non-success, now grew food in order to give a feast, under cover of which they might murder their guests. When the feast was ready, Te Kawa-iri-rangi (of Ngati-Tama) invited…. Niwha and the Ngati-Rakei, with other Mokau hapus, to attend and make a lasting peace. These people responded, but when they reached the Mohaka-tino river their hearts failed them, but finally the chiefs Niwha, Ponga, and Ingoa, with about twenty followers, crossed the river, and were there nearly all slain.

"After this an attempt was made to obtain revenge, but the Ngati-Rakei were defeated and were then glad to make peace with the redoubtable Ngati-Tama.

"For some time after this the hostile tribes remained quiet watching each other, until, in an evil moment, Te Rangi-pu-ahoaho, a chief of Ngati-Mutunga (Ngati-Tama's neighbours on the south, and their relatives), sent a message to ask Rangi-hapainga, wife of Hari, to visit him at Te Whakarewa pa (three miles south of the White Cliffs). Iiari consented, and his wife, with about a dozen attendants, started on page 281their fatal journey" (which ended in the murder of Rangi-hapainga by Ngati-Tama; she was killed by Te Kawa-iri-rangi of Te Kawau pa, of that tribe).

"Hari's behaviour, when informed of the murder of his wife, was characteristic and very Maori, for he called on his tribe (Ngati-Urunumia) and marched, not against the murderers, but against the Ngati-Rakei (of Mokau) and killed Hine-rangi, Te Ahi, and Peru. Unfortunately, Hine-rangi was related to Ngati-Rora (of Upper Mokau), and when the news reached Tao-nui-Hikaka (see Table 51) he said, ' Mate te po, maku te awatea! ' —' what you do by stealth I will do openly' —and straightway attacked the Ngati-Kinohaku hapu (of Ngati-Mania-poto), killing Kahu-totara and Te Rari, After this interchange of compliments there was but one method of avoiding civil war (all three hapus are nearly related and are branches of Ngati-Mania-poto) and that was for all the injured tribes to combine and wipe out their injuries by defeating Ngati-Tama, which was done at Tihi-manuka."…. We shall come to Tihi-manuka later on, but in the meantime must relate the doings of Ngati-Rahiri, a branch of Te Ati-Awa, as the events fall in here.