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

Death of Tu-Whare

Death of Tu-Whare.

Eventually, the party reached the Whanganui river, coming all the way, and indeed up to Patea, in the canoes they had captured. Here they stayed some time, and then a division in the councils of the leaders appears to have taken place, for Ngati-Toa and Nga-Puhi remained in tho neighbourhood of the mouth of the Whanganui, whilst Tu-whare and the Roroa people decided to go up the river. For what follows I am indebted to Mr. Best and Mr, Downes, and to particulars learnt from Aitua Te Rakai-waho of Upper Whanganui.

Mr. Best says: "The people of Puke-namu (Rutland Stockade, town of Whanganui), Patupo and Taumaha-ute (on top of Shakespeare's Cliff, Whanganui), and all the other pas in the neighbourhood of the mouth of the river, fled inland as soon as the northern taua appeared, taking in their canoes all the property they could manage, for the recollection of the previous visit of the invaders a few months before, and the devastation they then caused, were fresh in their minds. As Tu-whare and his party advanced up the river, they were harassed by tho people occupying the numerous pas belonging to Ngati Hau and other tribes on either side of the river. (At Te Arero-o-uru, a pa between one and two miles below the modern village of Koroniti (Corinth) they caught and killed a chief named Pakura and captured a woman named Waitoki, who was carried by the taua as far as the Ngati-Ruanui country, when she escaped and got back to Wai-totara, where she met a worse fate, for she was killed by the Nga-Rauru people. Thus death was subsequently avenged by Korohoke and Rangi-whakahaua of Whanganui, who slew a great many of Nga-Rauru.—From Mr. T. W. Downes.) Many parties closed in on the rear of the invaders, thus attempting to cut off their retreat. 'But what was that to Tu-whare?' says my informant, 'He cleared a path for his party by the terror of his guns. When we heard the sounds of page 307those guns we thought they were pu-tatara (the old Maori trumpet), and our old men said, 'Does this man think to conquer the Ati-Hau with his pu-tatara? Are the descendants of Ao-kehu and Tama-whiro, of Hau-pipi and Pao-rangi* flying from a sound?' So said our warriors; but when we saw our men falling dead around us, struck from afar off by an invisible missile, then the knowledge came to us that this was tho new weapon of which wo had heard, and we saw that our rakau-maori, or native weapons, were of little avail against the pu-matā., or muskets. Still we resisted the advance of Nga-Puhi and attacked them wherever opportunity offered all the way up the river, and those in the rear followed them up in their canoes. Far up Te Awa-nui-a-Rua (a name for Whanganui river) did Tu-whare fight his way, until he reached Te Ana-o-Tararo, near Makokoti (fifty-three miles above Pipiriki, a pa at tho junction of Rere-taruke with Whanganui, but I think Te Ana is some way below this). Here the river is narrow and has high cliffs on both sides. On the summit of these cliffs a great number of people had collected to stay the progress of Nga-Puhi. Messengers had gone forth to alarm the tribes of the river and of the interior. Then the hapus of Ati-Hau, Patu-tokotoko, Nga-Poutama, Ngati-Pa-moana, and Nga-Paerangi came together at Te Ana-o-Tararo. The tribes of Tuhua and Taupo-nui-a-Tia (the full name of Lake Taupo) sent their contingents to help silonce the boastful Nga-Puhi. Thus Nga-Puhi came. When the canoes of Tu-whare were passing through the narrows we attacked them. From the summit of the cliffs we hurled down logs and huge stones upon the canoes, crushing and killing many."

Thus far, Mr. Best: but it is clear this was not the final attack, which took place higher up. From five or six miles above Pipiriki for forty or more miles, the river is very generally lined with perpendicular cliffs about one hundred feet high, and any part of this long stretch would fit Mr. Best's description. I will now follow Te Aitua's story. "The Nga-Puhi had succeeded in passing the narrow cliff-bound part of the river and ascended above the junction of Rere-taruke, when the hostile movements of the local tribes became so threatening and

* Ao-kehu, an ancestor, a noted Taniwha slayer—see Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. XIII., p. 94. Hau-pipi, the great ancestor of the Ngati-Hau of Whanganui. Pae-rangi. another ancestor of the Whanganui people.—Sec Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. XIV., p. 131

One of the Nga-Puhi accounts say that Ngnti-Pa-moana of the celebrated pa Operiki, made a fierce resistance to the advance of the northern taun at that pa, which is situated three-fourths of a mile above Corinth. This pa has often been attacked.

page 308their numbers so great that Nga-Puhi considered it time to turn back, especially as they had lost some of their canoes, thus necessitating some to travel overland. As they approached the Kai-whakauka pa, situated half a mile down stream from the Rere-taruke junction, on the east side of the river, the invaders found the Whanganui tribes assembled in vast numbers under the leadership of Turoa and other chiefs, awaiting the return of Nga-Puhi. Finding their route barred, the taua saw their only chance was to trust to their guns and fight it out. They first occupied the opposite side of the river (where there is a little native village now—1905) and from there fired into the pa, but the distance is rather much for the old-fashioned muskets. The pa of Kai-whakauka is situated on the top of a perpendicular cliff on the river side, with cliffs also on the north, where a little stream joins the main rivor through a canon. Nga-Puhi (who, says my informant, were eight hundred strong with five hundred muskets—a very obvious exaggeration, the numbers being probably not more than three hundred men and thirty or forty guns) now crossed and occupied the slopes that rise from the pa towards the south, from which they kept up a constant fire on the pa. Under this fire, Nga-Puhi attacked and succeeded in getting into the fort, where, however, the numbers of Whanganui, now able to fight at close quarters with their native weapons, were too much for their foes, a very large number of whom were killed in tho pa; others were thrown over the cliffs, to be killed on the rocks below. Whilst Tu-whare was in the pa, and just coming round the corner of a house, ho was met by Ha-marama, a chief of Whanganui, whom Tu-whare fired at and hit in the shoulder; but before he could reload, Ha-marama struck him a blow on the head with his taiaha, which split his skull, but did not kill him. Tu-whare called out, 'Mehemea he, ringa huruhuru tau, ko tenei he ringaringa mchi kai' —("If thine had been the arm of a warrior I should have been killed; but it is the arm of a cultivator.')

Tu-whare's people succeeded in getting him away, and carried him wounded unto death, to their canoes, and then made off with all speed down the river, followed by Whanganni as hard as they could paddle. A flying fight ensued for some way down the river, until darkness set in—this was winter time—when hostilities ceased, and both parties, exhausted after the exertions of the day, went into camp at no groat distance from one another. During this flight, Toki-whati, a son (or perhaps nephew) of Tu-whare, was captured by Whanganui. As the two parties wore resting in their camp, a parley took place, in which Tu-whare asked his enemies if they had seen Toki-whati; tho reply was that they hold him a prisoner. Upon this, negotiations took place page 309and Toki-what was given up to his own people in exchange for part of a suit of armour that George IV. had given to Hongi when that chief visited England in 1820. and from whom it came into the possession of Tu-whare.*

This incident appears to have ended the fighting, for next morning the northern taua embarked, and with the swift current of the Whanganui under them, in a day or two reached the camp of their allies near the mouth of the river.

Te Aitua-te-Rakei-waho, from whom I obtained many of the above particulars, is a grandson of Ha-marama (whose other name was Te Whaingaroa), who gave Tu-whare the blow that eventually proved fatal, and he still possesses the taiaha that his grandfather used on that occasion, which bears the name of "Ringa-mahi-kai," so called after Tu-whare's expression.

The great expedition now passed on its way homeward, going by canoes as far as Patea, where, apparently, a division took place, some going on in their canoes to Waitara, whilst others, the Roroa people, went overland, carrying poor Tu-whare on a kauhoa, or stretcher. On their arrival at Kete-marae, the old native settlement not far from Normanby, Tu-whare expired of his wounds. So died this great chief, who, in many battles, had shown his courage and ability as a warrior. This was his third expedition to Taranaki, the first having been either with Muru-paenga or Tau-kawau. Prom Kete-marae, the body was carried on to Manu-korihi, at Waitara, where it was buried near Tau-kawau at the Rohutu burial ground. The Manu-korihi people, it will be remembered, were connected with Tu-whare, and hence his bones would be safe from desecration, a point of great moment to the Maori.

After the burial of Tu-whare and the usual tangi, etc., the northern taua passed onwards towards their homes. With the canoes they possessed, probably they went by sea to Kawhia, where the northern tribes took farewell of Te Rau-paraha and the Ngati-Toa tribe, their companions in arms for so long. It is said that Nga-Puhi and the Roroa people presented Te Rau-paraha with fifty stand of arms, but,

* As these lines go to print, it is reported that the armour has recently been recovered and is now (1908) deposited in the Dominion Museum, Wellington, but it is clear some mistake occurs in the native account, for Hongi had not yet returned from England when this fight took place, and the armour is more probably that presented to Titore long after this event. What the object given in exchange for Toki-whati was, cannot now be ascertained.

See Appendix to this chapter.

page 310probably, this is an exaggeration, though some wore given, no doubt, which the Ngati-Toa chief shortly after used against Waikato and in his memorable migration to the south.

The Nga-Puhi contingent of this long expedition reached Hokianga about October, 1820, for when Marsden passed through the homes of these people in November of that year the women were still in the whare-potae, or mourning over those who had been killed at Taranaki. Two of the northern chiefs became afterwards celebrated for the consistent support they always rendered the British Government—in peace and war—the brothers Eruera Patuone and Tamati Waka-nene, both chiefs of Upper Hokianga. They both assisted actively in our war against Hone Heke, 1844. Patuone died 19th September, 1872, supposed to have been over one hundred years old.

The following is quoted from Marsden's "Journal" (already referred to) in reference to this expedition:—"24th November, 1820. Patuone informed me that he had been on the South Island across Cook's Straits, and that on his way his party was attacked at Taranaki and some of them killed, among whom was Mau-whena's son and two more chiefs belonging to here (Lower Hokianga). That he had retalliatcd upon the enemy, killing some, and taking many prisoners, among whom were many women and children; and that at length he had made peace with them and returned their children when redeemed by instruments of war made of green-talc and some mats. He had left ten of his people there who had married, and brought a number away with him, some of whom were present, and that he and the people of Taranaki were now completely reconciled."

Marsden also mentions, under date 21st November, that a Taranaki chief, much tattooed and with much hair on his head, was then on a visit to Mau-whena's village (at Whirinaki, Lower Hokianga)—who this could be I know not, but probably he was one of the Manu-korihi people.