Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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


When the Roroa chief, Ta-whare, parted from Te Rau-paraha at Kawhia in 1818, it was arranged between them that they should join forces and undertake a more extensive journey to the south than that in which Tatara-i-maka and Tapui-nikau fell. We have the means of ascertaining the date of this expedition with much more precision than previous ones, owing to the fact that the first Missionaries had settled at the Bay of Islands in 1814, and their journals and letters become available to help us. From these we know that Tu-whare and the northern part of this taua left Hokianga in November, 1819—and returned home about October, 1820. Mr. Travers in his "Life of Te Rau-paraha" states that this expedition took place in 1817, but that is clearly wrong; the Missionary Records cannot be mistaken on this point.

But, judging from evidence given before the Native Land Court in 1886, there was another cause for this expedition also. It so happened that just about this time Ngati-Tama had a grievance against the Whanganui tribes which arose as follows: Te Puoho, one of the principal chiefs of Ngati-Tama, then living at Puke-aruhe near the White Cliffs, married his daughter to a son of Takarangi of Whanganui. On one occasion in an assemblage of men, the husband said that when he embraced his wife, her skin felt like that of a potato. When the wife heard of this she felt deeply insulted, and leaving her husband returned to her father at Puke-aruhe, and laid her grievance before him. Te Puoho looked on this as a kanga, or curse, and determined to have revenge for the insult. He sent messengers to Kawhia and right along the coast to Te Akau, south of Waikato Heads, to rouse the people to come and help him. The evidence then says that Te Ao-o-te-rangi of Waikato sent word to Hongi Hika in reference to this matter, and that he came to Kawhia with some Nga-Puhi. This, I think, however, is a mistake, for Hongi very shortly afterwards sailed for England. Ngati-Toa, Ngati-Koata and some of Ngati-Mania-poto then joined in this taua. The incident is known as "Te Kiri-parareka," or "Potato-peel."

page 296

To Rau-paraha visited the Kaipara district not long after the return of Tu-whare to his home, where further arrangements were made. He appears to have tried to enlist the old chief Awa-rua in the undertaking. But he had other views in regard to an expedition of his own that occurred not long after this time, and which is known as "Amio-whenua," the proceedings of which will be found later on.

This hostile incursion is one of the most noticeable of all that have occurred, on account of the devastation created, and its far reaching results. For the first time firearms were used in considerable numbers, obtained from the Bay of Islands, where the whale ships were by this time constantly resorting for refreshments. Muskets were the chief article of barter, in exchange for pigs, flax, heads, potatoes, etc.

In "Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes," an account of this expedition has been given from a document written by some unknown Northern native, which is very deficient in the names of places, people, etc. The following is mainly from the other side—from those who suffered so cruelly from the barbarities practised by the invaders.

The northern contingent, numbering two hundred men, were under Patu-one, Waka-nene, Whare-papa, Moetara, Te Kekeao, Tawhai, Te Pou-roto and others of Nga-Puhi. They assembled at Lower Hoki-anga, and from thence proceeded by the West Coast to Kaipara, picking up on the way the Roroa chiefs Tu-whare, his brother Taoho, Te Karu, Rori and Tu-whare's nephew Tiopera Kinaki. all of whom lived along the coast from Wai-paoa River to Kaihu on the Northern Wai-roa. These Ngati-Whatua people furnished a contingent of four hundred men, some of them from Southern Kaipara and other parts of that district, whilst many were veterans who had already fought in the Taranaki wars under Muru-paenga. They came on to Wai-te-mata, the Auckland Harbour, where they had several skirmishes with Wai-kato, as for instance, in the present Auckland Domain, at St. George's and Judge's Bays, Onehunga. etc. Here they met Hongi-Hika and a party from the Bay of Islands, but these latter returned home after the skirmishing. The taua sent down to the Kawau Island in the vain attempt to borrow some canoes from the Ngati-Rongo branch of Ngati-Whatua that dwelt in that neighbourhood, with the view of proceeding up the Waikato river in them. Failing canoes the taua proceeded overland by way of the Waikato mouth and Whainga-roa to Kawhia, where they were joined by four hundred men of Ngati-Toa, under the leadership of Te Rau-paraha, To Rangi-haeata, Tungia, Te Rako, Te Kakakura, Hiroa, Nohorua, Puaha, Tama-i-hengia, and others, thus making up their number to one thousand men, several of page 297whom were armed with muskets. The native account says, after leaving Wai-te-mata, "We had no reason for further man-killing," (after avenging the death of some Nga-Puhi killed at Wai-te-mata) "nothing but the pleasure of so doing. This is why we did not attack the tribes that dwelt on the road we followed. It was only those who menaced us ( ko ratou e wheuaua ana hi a matou) and obstructed our way whom we killed. This was the reason we quickly reached the country of the south, Taranaki, having no difficulties on our way."

It has already been pointed out that Ngati-Toa were related to Ngati-Tama, and, therefore, the taua would be allowed to pass through the territories of the latter without obstruction—at any rate there is no record of anything of the kind having taken place. Moreover, Ngati-Tama were at this time rather under a cloud after the affair at Tihi-manuka, and also had sent to the northern tribes for help. It was the same with Ngati-Rahiri; the marriage of one of their chief-tainesses with Noho-rua of Ngati-Toa has been described a few pages back.* So the taua came on without any fighting to Manu-korihi pa on the north bank of Waitara—the chief at that time being Taka-ratai—where the Ngati-Whatua section would find relatives in the descendants of Te Raraku. "But"—says Mr. John Whito—"it was known to Ati-Awa that Te Rau-paraha and Tu-whare were on their way to Taranaki to attack Tapui-nikau. The Ati-Awa met in force to stop the invaders and prevent them passing over their lands. When the party was stopped by the ancestor of Te Teira (who by selling land at Waitara in 1860, caused the war with the Maoris of the sixties) Te Rauparaha paid the tribute of ownership by asking leave to pass through, and this was granted … The Manu-korihi hapu, as such, was not in existence at that time, nor were the ancestors of W. Kingi, of any note then. After this (the victory over Nga-Potiki-taua, already shown) the Ati-Awa gradually gained in strength, and the arrival of the northern taua was deemed a fitting opportunity to show it, and for this purpose they preferred a request to be allowed to pass." Te Rangi-tāke, of Manu-korihi, was also related to Te Rangi-haeata, and Patu-one of Nga-Puhi was related to Ngatata, father of Wi Tako of Ati-Awa. At Manu-korihi they dwelt for a time, discussing future plans, etc. It appears that at this period there was a page 298feud in existence between the Manu-korihi and the Puke-rangiora people—the latter pa, so celebrated in after years, is situated about four miles up the Waitara river—which the taua were not slow to take advantage of.

Mr. Skinner states. "Great excitement prevailed among the Waitara and surrounding hapus over the arrival of this northern expedition, for they possessed the now weapon, tho dreaded pu, or musket. Its wonderful powers no doubt were dwelt on, and exaggerated by the fortunate owners, until tho excitement and desire to witness their deadly effects, led them to seek a way to satisfy the dangerous inquisitivcncss of the local people without much danger to themselves. They had not far to seek for a scape-goat—the bad terms existing between Manu-korihi and Puko-rangiora offered the opportunity. The Nga-Puhi party were only too glad of the chance to prove their muskets."

* One account I have, says the taua came from Kawhia to Waitara by sea, but I doubt it.

Taka-ra-tai was killed at the battlo of Motu-nui early in 1822.

"Taranaki Herald," June 16th, 1860, where Mr. White (although his name is not attached, it is, nevertheless, certain that ho was the author) gives a full account of matters leading up to the wars of the sixties.