History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840
Chapter XII. — Tu-Whare and Te Rau-Paraha's expedition, — 1819-1820
Tu-Whare and Te Rau-Paraha's expedition,
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.
"At the last moment, however, their plans were changed. Arrived before Puke-rangiora, its inmates presented such a bold face and the defences were so strong and well constructed that the allies thought better of the project, and decided to pass that pa and attack the unsuspecting people of Ngati-Maru, living in the neighbourhood of what is now Te Tarata village." In no accounts of this expedition is any mention made of the part that Ati-Awa of Manu-korihi took in assisting the northern taua. There were certainly many of them with the party and, guided by Taka-ra-tai of Manu-korihi, the taua went by the Rimu-tauteka track.
Mr. Skinner continues: "The Ngati-Maru are the people that made the great clearings and built the numerous pas in the forest east of the present town of Stratford, in Manga-o-tuku and Poho-kura blocks, as also the cultivations along the Upper Waitara and in the Tara-mouku, Manga-moe-hau, Makino, and other valleys leading into Waitara, and now known as the Ngati-Maru country."
I gather from a native document sent me by Mr. Best, and written by Te Amo of Ngati-Maru, that the old chief of the tribe, at this time named Tutahanga, had already been engaged against Nga-Puhi in one of their incursions and that he had defeated both that tribe and on another occasion the Waikato. But no localities are mentioned. It is, however, likely enough that Tutahanga had joined Taranaki or Ngati-Ruanui in defeating some of Tau-kawau'a people.
"On their way up, the taua attacked and took a small pa belonging to Ngati-Maru, named Puke-kaka-maru, situated not far from Pukerangiora on the Waitara river, about seven hundred yards down stream page 299from the present bridge on the Junction road, village of To Tarata Here Ngati-Maru had gathered for safety and to offer battle to the invaders, under their head chiefs Patu-wairua and Tutahanga."
|Te Amo—(An old man in 1893.)|
Evidently Tutahanga must have been a very old man at this time. His brother Patu-wairua and he were in command of the operations against the northern taua. I now quote from Te Amo: It was Tutahanga that had defeated both Nga-Puhi and Waikato formerly; but in the second war he was killed, with many of Ngati-Maru-whara-nui. The pa in which he fought was Te Kerikeringa, and it was there he was shot, and from this cause do Ngati-Maru crow over Nga-Puhi, Waikato, and Taranaki (i e, because they made an able defence with their native weapons against the muskets). When the chief of Nga-Puhi heard of his death (apparently this scene took place during the siege) he said, "He awhiowhio i le rangi, e kore e mau i ahau. Tena he pata ua e tuku iho ki te kapu o taku ringa, e mau i a ahau."—("A whirlwind in the heavens I cannot secure. But a drop of rain in the hollow of my hand I can catch; "probably intending to infer that had Tutahanga fought outside in his native forests he might have been successful in a sudden attack. But being caught in his pa these Nga-Puhi were equal to catching him. When Tutahanga's son heard this, he replied to Nga-Puhi, "Haere mai te rau-kura ki te piki-kotuku kia pipiri raua ki a Uenuku"—("Come on, the Tropic-bird's* plume, and join in strife with the white heron plume before Uenuku" (the Taranaki god of war).
Now when Kere-tawha (? one of the northern taua) heard this defiance of Haere-ao, Tutahanga's son, ho shouted out, "Tena au te haere atu na, penei ake te tupuna a wai, tutu ana te puehu i aku waewae."—("Very shortly will I be with you! As if your ancestor was anyone of consequence! You shall see the dust of my feet fly directly!")
Patu-wairua, who was Haere-ao's son, heard this defiance from Kere-tawha, and perhaps thinking it would be well not to irritate Nga-Puhi, said to his father, "Kia marie hoki te kura taiaha!"—(Softly with the red-feathered taiaha!") Evidently Patu-wairua would have welcomed a peace; but Haere-ao would not listen or be persuaded; and then Patu-wairua felt that the end of his people was near, and so he sung a lament for the tribe:—page 300
Ra Meremere tahokai ana,
Te tara ki Tau-mata,
Kia mihi atu au,
Ka ngaro ra c,
Taku pokai kura,
Te matangi awhe uta
Ki te whaititanga
Me uta koutou,
Ki te ihu o te waka
Kia koha 'tu mai,
Ki raro Waikato.
E Nga-Puhi ra c!
Kia ata whiu mai
I te kara o te whiu,
Kia tahuri ai au—e—.
Whilst the evening star bestrides
The lonely peak at Tau-mata,
Let me in sorrow here lament
Tho calamity about to fall
On my loved and chorished poople.
By the all-embracing wind,
(By our enemies there encamped)
Within this narrow space.
Better had ye been safely placed
In the bows of our own canoe,
Where some kindly feeling still
By Waikato had been shown us.
O Nga-Puhi! there below,
In mercy hold thy hand
And gently use the weapon,
A! then let me turn aside.
Whatever Patu-wairua may have wished, he did not fail to do his full share of fighting when the time came. Mr. Skinner says, "The first assault by Nga-Puhi was repulsed, Patu-wairua, with his own weapon, killing two of the enemy who attempted to enter the pa by the narrow neck that connects it with the Puketapu peninsula. After the attack had failed the taua camped down along the slopes to the west and south-west of the pa and commenced a regular siege. These slopes—named Tau-maha—commanded the pa, and tho inmates were constantly annoyed and sometimes killed by the muskets used by the taua. Ngati-Maru, of course, had no firearms, and as this was their first introduction to this new method of warfare they were naturally terrified at the loud reports and fatal effects that sometimes followed, and became much dispirited in consequence."
Tu-tanuku of Ngati-Maru says that before the northern taua had reached Te Kerikoringa, enquiries had been made of the local people as to the personal appearance of Tutahanga, and the reply was, "E hoa! he whetu!"—("He is a star;" implying that he would easily be recognised from his great size and valiant bearing.) So when the first attack was made, which occurred at the entrance to the pa, Tutahanga and Patu-wairua stood in the forefront. The former disposed of four of his enemies before the northern people got a chance to shoot him, which they did on recognising the description already given.
It was no doubt during this period that the chiefs of the two parties—the red plumes and the white plumes—hurled defiance at one another as already related.
"The depression had its effect when the final assault took place, for the inmates of the pa had not the spirit to defend themselves with page 301their accustomed courage. Their brave leaders, Tutahanga and Patu-wairua, had been killed, together with a large number of the inmates of the pa. The remainder succeeded in making their escape across the Waitara river to the eastward along the Tara-mouku valley, and thence into the numerous clearings throughout the great forest that extends inland for very many miles."
"After the usual cannibal feast, Nga-Puhi and Manu-korihi returned to the coast, some of thoir number being waylaid and cut off by the Puke-rangiora people. Whatitiri, the present (1893) chief of Puke-rangiora has in his possession two old. Maori fish hooks, the bone points of which were made from one of the Nga-Puhi there killed. One of these hooks" (is accredited with) "the faculty of foretelling a good day for fishing, and also of warning its owner of approaching danger."
"Among those who escaped was Tu-ihu, then an infant; another Wirihana Hihi-mua so well known to the early settlers of Te Tarata; he was a very small boy at the time. He told me one story of the siege that lias been related of other sieges in Maori-land "(for instance Pohatu-roa, Te Ati-amuri) "when in similar straits. When Ngati-Maru were very closely pressed at the end of the siege, they sent all the young women of the pa to the camp of the taua, so that they might by this means induce their foes to relax their vigilance, whilst the men in the meantime made their escape."
Watene says that amongst the slain was Tua-rua, a chief of the Puke-rangiora hapu, and that his people composed the following lament for him:—
Tera hoki koia te pae tonga
Te tau mai ra kei Whare-o-Tu,
Ho po mihinga atu
Nahaku ki a Tua-rua,
Ka mahue atu ki taku, E Hine
Kia whakarongo nga tai e paku,
Ki waho Wao-kena ra, tu mai ai,
E ki ana ra Te Ati-Awa,
Te puru o Tainui ka maunu!
Taku whakatero papa
Ka tahuri i a Ranga-whenua,
I Turanga ra,
Noho maru kore nei hoki au.
There away towards the south
Evil rests on the house of Tu
(The house of war and death)
page 302 This night do I lament
Thy loss, 0 Tua-rua!
Left there them art, and from my love
Separated for ever, O Lady!
Listen then to the sounding waves
Outside at Wao-kena, when they arise
('Tis the omen of death)
As all Ati-Awa say.
The plug of Tainui is withdrawn1
(That keeps back the flood of death)
My beloved canoe is overturned
By the waves of Ranga-whenua, 2
That are seen at Turanga;
Hence am I now shelterless.
It is stated above that the northern taua returned to the coast after the fall of Te Kerikeringa, but Watene, who was a very good authority, confirmed by Tu-tanuka, says, on the contrary, that they proceeded along the old forest track which leads by way of Whakaahu-rangi (the present site of Stratford), and so out of the forest into the open country near Kete-marae (near present site of Norman by). It is tolerably clear from the absence of any detail as to their doings as they passed onward through the territories of Ngati-Ruanui and Nga-Rauru, that these tribes had retired to their fastnesses in the rough forest country. Probably the news of the fall of Te Kerikeringa and the destructive effects of the muskets had quickly spread and alarmed the two tribes mentioned. One account, however, says the taua attacked and took the Otihoi pa at Waitotara, belonging to Nga-Rauru.
At any rate, the next we hear of the taua is at Whanganui, where they found the local people gathered in strength at Purua pa, believed to be on the east bank of the river, a little above the town. Here Ngati-Hau had gathered under Te Anaua and his brother. The northern taua here met with an unexpected difficulty, howevor, in reaching the Whanga-nui people in the pa. The river is large and deep and cannot be crossed without the aid of canoes, and all these the local people had carefully withdrawn from the north side and sent away up the river. But Tu-whare and Te Rau-paraha were not the men to be deterred by an obstacle of that nature. They sent every man to the little lake named Koko-huia, near the mouth of the river, where page 303abundance of raupo grew on its sedgy banks, and there they built mokihi, or rafts, which were then taken to the river, and by this means the force was enabled to cross. It is said that the work occupied a month. The taua then crossed and attacked and took the Purua pa, and then passed on to Whangaehu and Rangi-tikei, having some skirmishes with the Ngati-Apa tribe of those parts, who mostly, however, fled to the forests as the taua approached, for the fame of their muskets had preceded them.
* The Tropic-bird (Amokura) is occasionally, but not often, found at the North Cape.
So they passed on till they came to Pae-kakariki, where the railway line leaves the coast and turns inland to Porirua. Here the taua found their way obstructed by a fortified pa named Puke-rua, situated a little to the west of the Railway Station, also called Puke-rua, twenty-two miles from Wellington. Mr. Elsdon Best, who gathered a large number of notes about To Rau-paraha's doings, says that "the name of the Mua-upoko pa at Puke-rua was Wai-mapihi, so named after a little stream there coming down from the hills. After the massacre, those who survived fled up this stream to the forest ranges, pursued by Ngati-Toa, who overtook and killed many of them. The remains of the ramparts at Wai-mapihi are still to be seen, as also a few heavy stumps of the totara palisading, some native ovens, kitchen-middens, etc. The stream runs down past Whare roa Railway Station, and the pa was near the mouth of the stream. Tungia and Takarae were two of the Ngati-Toa chiefs engaged in the capture of the pa. The name of the old Maori track from Taupo (Plimmerton) across the ranges and to the beach at Wai-mapihi was called Taua-tapu. This pa was held by the Ngati-Rangi hapu of the Mua-upoko tribe, and probably some members of the Ngati-Ira tribe of Porirua and Port Nicholson. The inmates offered so good a defence that the taua was repulsed, though, of course, the local people had nothing but their native arms as against the invaders' muskets. Watene says that Tu-whare and Te Rau-paraha now held council as to how this pa was to be taken, and it was finally settled, on the latter's suggestion, that peace should be offered to the local people with the intention of deceiving them. So a message was sent to the pa, "He maunga-rongo ta maua ki teni pa" —("We desire to make peace with the pa.") The chiefs of the pa were thus deceived and agreed to make peace, thinking it was a bona fide one. When the taua had been allowed to enter the pa, they suddenly fell on the unsuspicious inmates and massacred nearly the whole of them. The Nga-Puhi account of this and other treacherous doings of the taua says that they were all instigated by To Rau-paraha. page 304From what is known of his character, it is not difficult to believe it; but at the same time his allies would be quite ready to fall in with his views.
Watene says that near Puke-rua and its neighbourhood—probably including Porirua harbour—the taua found so many fine canoes that they decided to continue their journey by water. So they put to sea on the stormy waters of Cook's Straits, and when they arrived at Te Rimu-rapa (Sinclair's Head) some of the canoes proceeded by the outside route, beyond the reefs, where the fierce currents of Cook's Straits raises a heavy sea. These canoes capsized and over a hundred men were drowned. The rest of the party took the inside passage and thus reached Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Port Nicholson) in safety, landing at a place Watene calls Pa-ranga-hau, which I do not recognise.
On arrival of the taua at Pa-ranga-hau, they found some of the local tribe, the Ngati-Ira, there, and immediately attacked them, killing a great number of the unfortunate people by aid of their muskets, which, of course, were quite new to the Ngati-Ira—no ships having visited Port Nicholson at that time, so far as can be ascertained. "But," says Watene, "Nga-Puhi did not escape seatheless; Ngati-Ira charged them in the face of the flames from the muskets, and with their native weapons killed many Nga-Puhi. One night, not long after the Nga-Puhi had been camped at Te Aro (in the present city of Wellington), Ngati-Ira attacked Nga-Puhi in force during the night and succeeded in killing two hundred (?) of the latter tribe, including a high chief, Te Karu "(who belonged, I believe, to the Roroa hapu of Ngati-Whatua).
For the rest of the Nga-Puhi doings at Port Nicholson, readers must be referred to "Wars of the Northern against the Southern Tribes," where they will be found in considerable detail as told by one of the actors, and most of which is corroborated by Watene.
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."
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.
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."
* 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.
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.†
* 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.
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.
Te Ariki, the plague of 1820.
New Zealand has been visited twice (at least) by some serious disease which ran through the country like wild-fire, carrying off many thousands. The first scourge is believed to have occurred in 1795. The second one, called by the Taranaki people "Te Ariki," occurred about the end of 1820. The following brief account of it was given to Mr. Skinner and myself by old Watene Taungatara of Waitara in 1897. He said this was introduced by the ship "Coromandel," which discovered the harbour of that name in Hauraki Gulf in August, 1820. This plague, or whatever it was, spread from the crew amongst the Maoris, and passed on from tribe to tribe until it reached Taranaki. It swept down the page 311coast, taking village after village and pa after pa in its course, killing a large number of people. No sooner had the survivors in one place began to recover a little than the next place was attacked. So severe was it that in some cases there were not enough people left alive to bury the dead. The tohungas proceeded to try by their arts to stop the mischief. As the evil was of European origin, they first made a representation of a ship in sand, with masts aud rigging such as had been described to them, for at that time none had seen any vesssels. Over these imitation ships, as a tuāhu, or altar, they repeated their karakias, but alas! they could not stop the evil. Many thousands are said to have perished in this district.
Appendix to Chapter XII.
Defeat of the northern tribes at Nga-Weka.
Repeated, but unavailed, attempts have been made to determine the date of the above event. One good authority states it occurred during the Tu-whare—Te Rau-paraha expedition of 1820, and he is corroborated by another, but others are uncertain. As it will not do to omit an event of such importance, and especially as it was one of the few occasions on which the Taranaki tribe appear to have obtained revenge for many defeats at the hands of the Northern tribes, the account is inserted here.
Thanks to the care of the Taranaki Scenery Preservation Society, the old pa of Nga-weka is in an excellent state of preservation, and is interesting as a type of fortification not uncommon in the district round Cape Egmont, where the otherwise easy slope of the country from Mount Egmont to the sea, is broken up by volcanic hillocks, due no doubt to small explosions on the surface of the lava as it flowed from the mountain. The pa stands on the south bank of the Hangatahua, or Stony river, about three-quarters of a mile inland from the bridge on the Great South Road. It is now covered with a secondary growth of timber, which has served to preserve the many maioro, or ramparts in their integrity. The pa stands on two hills, the tops of which are separated about seventy yards, and has perpendicular cliffs along the river about thirty feet high.
On first hearing of the approach of a hostile force, the Ngamahanga hapu, of Taranaki, all assembled to consider what steps should be taken to meet it. Some proposed that each hapu should remain in its own pa and await attack, but one of the chiefs of Ngaweka arose and said, "Kia kotahi ano taringa hei ngaunga ma te hoa riri." ("Let there be only one car for the enemy to bite.") This was finally agreed to by all, so the various hapus gathered together in Nga-weka to await the enemy, the chiefs being Tama-piri, Tu-te-whakaiho, and Te Ra-whakahuru. So soon as all were assembled in page 313the pa, parties were sent out to obtain wood from a place celebrated for trees suitable for spear-making; and they obtained large quantities, many of great length (hualas). At the time of the attack there were eighty warriors within the northern part of the pa, one hundred and forty in the southern part. The taua advanced and commenced to lay siege to the pa. They are said to have been under the chiefs Kahunui and Wherori, supposed by one of my informants to belong to the Mauiui hapu of Waikato—though no such name is known to me. Other accounts state that the force was under Tu-whare, or possibly part of Tu-whare's people, and that they were assisted by some of the Puke-tapu and Puke-rangiora hapu of Te Ati-Awa.
After some time the attacking taua decided to assault the place, at a spot between the two hillocks where the ground is lower, and where was one of the entrances into the marae of the pa, situated in the hollow and overlooked by the ramparts of both pas. Here was a confined space, some fifty feet by twenty-five feet, leading out to the cliff overhanging the river. The Nga-mahanga people on learning that an attack was to take place, decided to allow the enemy to enter and occupy this narrow space. As soon as they had all gathered there, the warriors from both pas rushed down, and with their long spears killed many of the enemy. Then closing in on them, a desperate hand to hand fight took place, in which the enemy could do little, hampered as he was by the confined space. Seeing defeat imminent, the northern taua found only one way of escape open to them, and this was along the deep ditch leading out to the cliff. Hastening along this, they were closely followed by Nga-mahanga, until all were gathered on the edge of the perpendicular cliff. The pressure from behind soon drove the foremost rank over the cliff, where most of them were killed by the fall on to the boulders of the Hanga-tahua river, whilst Nga-mahanga harried and hustled those in the rear until the whole body of the attacking force was precipitated into the bed of the river, until, as is said, there was a bridge of dead and dying bodies across the river, over which a few of the defeated made their escape to the north bank of the river, and to the hill where Mr. W. Grey's house now stands, and there passed the ensuing night in lamenting their losses, departing for their homes the following morning. The people of the pa hauled up the dead bodies by aid of supplejack ropes, and then enjoyed the usual feast. The following men of rank in the northern taua were killed here: Kahu-nui, Kuri (or Kurukuru), and Rori (or Wherori)—another account adds Rakatau to the number of slain.
For some particulars of the above affair I am indebted to Mr. W. Grey of Okato.
1 The plug of "Tainui" (or some other of the great canoes of the fleet.) is an expression often used, as meaning that the restraining hand is withdrawn and the flood of evil drowns the canoe (the tribe).
2 The waves of Rangu-whenua are the immense rollers that occasionally break on the coasts of the Bay of Plenty, generally in fine weather and without apparent cause. They are believed to be the effect of Arctic storms at the end of the northern winter. Those waves can be traced right across the Pacific, travelling south.