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

Siege of Te Taniwha. — Tu-Whare And Te Rau-Paraha's first expedition, — 1818

Siege of Te Taniwha.
Tu-Whare And Te Rau-Paraha's first expedition

After Ngati-Rahiri had completed their defences, they waited quietly, well knowing that it would not be long before they were attacked. Nor was it long. The news soon came that Te Rau-paraha, at the head of his tribe, Ngati-Toa, and a contingent of Nga-Puhi under Tu-whare, were approaching. This was Tu-whare's first expedition into Taranaki. He was the son of Taoho, principal chief of the Roroa section of the Ngati-Whatua tribe of Kaipara—a section which is very closely connected with Nga-Puhi of Hokianga. Tu-whare was a great warrior, whom we shall frequently come across in this narrative. He was bound on a warlike expedition (probably to Taranaki) when he arrived at Kawhia, at which place he would find relatives in the Ngati-Toa tribe—relatives that is, in the Maori sense, for there had been intermarriages some ten or twelve generations previously, between Nga-Puhi and Ngati-Toa tribes. Tu-whare's party was not a large one—two hundred warriors only; but they brought with them the page 284means of terrifying their enemies, in the shape of two muskets, which weapon was now for the first time to be introduced to the West Coast tribes, afterwards to be so fatal to them. With Nga-Puhi (so called) was also the fighting chief of Ngati-Whatua of Kaipara, Muru-paenga, and some of his people. This was his second expedition to Taranaki for which see ante. The Taranaki account of this expedition makes Muru-paenga to have been the leading chief of this Northern party, though Watene does not mention him, but it is quite clear both accounts refer to the same incidents. Muru-paenga had, in 1807, defeated Nga-Puhi in the battle of Te Kai-a-te-karoro, on the beach at Moremo-nui—for which see "The Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes in the Nineteenth Century," p. 12.

On the. arrival of Nga-Puhi at Kawhia, Te Rau-paraha thought it would be-an excellent plan to secure their aid in an attack on Ngati-Rahiri. 'Tu-whare was nothing loath, indeed he came from his northern home especially to fight, and the chance of securing some of the fine mats for which Taranaki was celebrated, was an additional inducement. So the two tribes came south—I do not know whether by land or water—and arrived at Te Taniwha pa, and sat down to besiege it. The siege went on for a long time, but without any appreciable result. At last proposals of peace were made which emanated from Ngati-Toa; the origin of this peace was the fact that Huri-whenua's sister was married to Nohorua of Ngati-Toa, and the latter's sister it was who suggested the peace, and eventually effected it, by visiting Te Taniwha pa, and consulting with the garrison.

Again comes in an illustration of Maori ideas—Te Rau-paraha felt he must have some satisfaction for the death of Te Rau-hihi at the hands of Ngati-Rahiri, so he made it a condition of peace that the dam, that had prevented his party attacking the pa from that side, should be demolished. This was agreed to and the dam destroyed, and then Nga-Puhi fired off their guns in token of victory (over the dam). "Then," says Watene, "this ignorant people of these parts heard for the first time the noise of that weapon, the gun."

After this the war-party stayed some time at Te Taniwha at peace with its inhabitants. The news of this new weapon spread all over the district, even amongst the Taranaki tribe, some of the women of which composed the following ngeri, or war-song, in reference thereto, which is derisive of its powers:—

I rangona atu nga pu
Kei Te Taniwha—
Kei a Huri-whenua
I tangi ki taku hawenga i raro—e—
page 285 Keua e ana pu,
Ka whano mangu—o—
Kei oku tapa, papatoa
He pu-notinoti nga tapa
He kuru tumata tai haruru,
E! ka ngenengene,
He mata aha, he koi pu,
Ka tu ki runga ha.
E! ka roa ko te tapa,
Ka moho ki te whenua,
E! ka ngenengene.