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



Subsequently, the taua went on by sea to Wai-rarapa, where they took the Tau-whare-nikau pa* killing, says Watene, over four hundred people of the Ngati-Kahu-ngunu tribe, but the principal chiefs escaped to the forests and made their way north to Poranga-hau. A pa named Mawhitiwhiti, belonging to Ngati-Kahu-ngunu, was also taken at this page 305time, the chief of which was named To Papahinga. Another account says this pa belonged to Ngati-Ira and was at Poranga-hau, possibly the Pa-ranga-hau mentioned by Te Watene, which was at Port Nicholson, and thus agrees with the statement that the pa belonged to Ngati-Ira, which tribe owned Port Nicholson. Here Nga-Puhi met a repulse, the fight taking place in the water of a lake or stream, until Ngati-Toa came up, when the local people were beaten. After remaining in this district some time, the chiefs of the taua assembled in council decided it would be better to return on their tracks, for there were signs that the powerful tribe of Ngati-Kahu-ngunu were assembling with their thousands of warriors to chastise the invaders. So with hundreds of prisoners the taua embarked on board their canoes on Wai-rarapa lake, and thence came down the river connecting that lake with the sea, to the ocean, and so back to Port Nicholson, there to find an empty land, save for a few fugitives of Ngati-Ira, who were scattered in the recesses of the Tararua mountains, with here and there a few families on the western side of the harbour, eking out a bare subsistance on the roots and fruits of the forest, for the taua, on its late visit, had destroyed all cultivations, together with the villages. It is evident from the great scarcity of old pas round about Wellington, that the tribes formerly dwelling in the district wore not pa builders. The rocky nature of the soil has had much to do with this. There are a few pas still extant, but they are miserable specimens compared with those of Taranaki and some other parts.

* It is also said that Hakikino pa was taken at this time, but I think this is a mistake. It was taken in the next expedition, the "Amio-whenua."