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

Te Pou-Roto is drowned

Te Pou-Roto is drowned.

After staying a short time at Port Nicholson, the taua again put to sea and rounded Cape Te Ra-whiti, putting into Ohariu Bay, where Tamai-rangi was captured, as related later on. Whilst here, Te Pou-roto, one of the Nga-Puhi chiefs, determined to cross the Straits against the wishes of the others, and continue their man-killing operations in the South Island. So he started off in one or more canoes, manned by eighty men, but a sudden storm coming on in the rough and dangerous crossing, Te Pou-roto and all his party were drowned, whilst their companions looked on, helpless, from the bluff at Omere, just to the south of Ohariu. This bluff was the place the people always visited to see if the Straits were calm enough to cross—hence the reference in the old song:—

Ka rou Omere ki waho
He maunga tuteinga aio.

Whore Omero projects outside,
The look-out mount for calms.

It was whilst the taua were staying at Omere that a ship was soon page 306to pass through the Straits, but without communicating with the shore. The northern chiefs, Patuone, Waka-nene, and others, called Te Rau-paraha's attention to it, pointing out that this part of the coast would bo a favourable ono for him to remove to from Kawhia (where for years his tribe, the Ngati-Toa, had been embroiled with Waikato) in order that by trading with the white people ho might acquire as many muskets as he wished. Te Rau-paraha was favourably impressed with this advice, and, as we shall see, finally adopted it.

Passing onwards towards their homes, the taua came into collision with the Ngati-Apa tribe at Rangi-tikei, and, in a skirmish here, Te Rangi-haeata captured Pikinga, a woman of high rank, whom he made his wife.