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


page 314

In Chapter XI. hereof the celebrated Te Rau-paraha of Ngati-Toa tribe first comes into our narrative; and as he and his people played such an important part in the later history of the Taranaki tribes, it will be of interest to refer to the causes that led up to the migration of Ngati-Toa from their old home at Kawhia to Kapiti, the island in Cook's Straits which was so long their home. This name, Kapiti (which may bo translated as "precipitous"), was not only the name of the island, but, by other tribes than those who lived in its neighbourhood, was used as a convenient term in modern times to denote all that part of the adjacent coasts of both North and South Islands. It will be frequently used in that sense in what follows.

The Ngati-Toa tribe and its various hapus are the direct descendants of the crew of the "Tai-nui" that formed one of the fleet of canoes that came from Tahiti in circa 1350. Until the year 1821, this tribe had always occupied Kawhia and the coast south from that harbour, as far as Marokopa river, or perhaps further,* It was not the crew of "Tai-nui," however, that gave the name originally to Kawhia, but rathor Turi, captain of the "Aotea," soon after they landed at Aotea harbour (named after the canoe) a few miles north. On reaching Kawhia, they performed the ceremony called awhi, which seems to have been a common one, known under different names, by which all evil influences supposed to pertain to a new land, wore removed, and an avoidance of the desecration of the personal tapu of the new-comers secured. The name is thus, Ka-awhi-a, the last a forming the passive of the verb awhi, and ka the sign of the present and future tense. We may thus translate the name as "the place where all evil influence was removed."The tuāhu, or sacred altar, used by Hotu-roa, captain and chief priest of "Tai-nui," his brother Hotu-nui, and other priests of that canoe was situated not far from the modern town of Kawhia (the Maori name of which is Po-wewe), and it is very interesting to note that its name was given in remembrance of a district (and, probably, a

* Most of the localities referred to in this chapter will be found on Map No. 4.

page break page break
Photo by A. Hamilton.Plate No. 12.Te Motu-nui Battefield from the foot of Okoki pa, lookng North.

Photo by A. Hamilton.
Plate No. 12.
Te Motu-nui Battefield from the foot of Okoki pa, lookng North.

page 315marae) in their ancient home at Tahiti. Ahurei is the name of the tuāhu; and To Fana-i-Ahurai (To Whanga-i-Ahurai in Maori) is the present name of the district a few miles south-west of Pape-ete, chief town of the French possessions in Oceania, island of Tahiti; from which (as also from Papara, the next district south) the Maoris came in 1350. The first kumaras, brought in the "Tai-nui," were planted by Whakaoti-rangi, Hotu-roa's wife, at a place which they named Hawaiki—again in remembrance of the general name of their ancient home—for this was the name given to all the islands of the groups round Tahiti.

The "Tai-nui" canoe arrived after the "Aotea," and finding Kawhia unoccupied—the "Aotea" crew having gone on south—the people settled at that harbour, and spread from there all over Waikato and a largo part of the west centre of tho North Island. The Ngati-Toa tribe, however, remained, settling down near where their ancestors landed. But it was not until some ten or eleven generations ago that tho present tribal name was adopted from one of thoir principal chiefs, named Toa-rangatira. Previous to that they were called Ngati-Mango.

There are many hapus claiming ancestry with Ngati-Toa, of which the following arc some:—Ngati-Rarua, Ngati-Koata, Ngati-Haumia-whakatere-taniwha, Te Kiri-wera, Ngati-Hangai, etc.

The following is an interesting genealogical table showing the descent of Ngati-Toa from Turi of the "Aotea" canoe. It is supplied by Tungia Ngahuka of that tribe (son of the famous Tungia). On it will be noticed both Mango and Toa-rangatira, eponymous ancestors of the tribe: —
Table No. LIV.
Turi (of "Aotea")
Te Uru-tira
Marangai - paraoa
Te Maunu
Te Mahutu
page 316 *
I do not think that Turi's son here shown is known to his other descendants, but it is probable that Turi found some of the original inhabitants at Kawhia, and, as was the custom, one of their women was given to him as a wife, from whom this line descends. That Ngati-Toa claim descent from the old tangata-whenua, the following table will show, which is from the same source as the preceding one:—
Table No. LV.
28Te Manu-waero-rua (father also of Toi)
20Te Awe-o-te-rangi
E tara-tukunga-reka
Hine-wairoro = Turanga-peke
Kahu-taiki = Te Maunu

* A draughtsman, Survey Department, Auckland, in 1863; then about twenty years old.

Eponymous ancestor of the hapu of Ngati-Toa of that name.

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The first five names on this list beginning with Ngai are well-known tangata-whenua ancestors of the Bay of Plenty people, and Te Manuwaero-rua is either the father or mother of Toi-kai-rakau of the same people. In Chapter IV. it is shown that this Toi lived thirty-one generations ago; here his parent is shown to have flourished twenty-eight generations ago—not too great a discrepancy to disprove the identity of the individual.

The above table, in its latter end, runs into the Ati-Awa tribe; Apitia, the last named, died at the Chatham Islands about thirty years ago at a probable age of forty to fifty years.

Haumia (15 in table) received his name from the following circumstance: Haumia, who lived at Kawhia fifteen generations ago, possessed a kumara plantation situated on a cliff (let us suppose it to be a low one) overlooking the sea. His crops were constantly destroyed year after year in a most unaccountable manner. At last, Haumia found out the cause, in the existence of an immense taniwha (or sea-monster), which dwelt in a cave in the base of the cliff, and which caused the waves to rise and inundate the cultivations. This taniwha, whose name was Rapa-roa, was slain by Haumia, who thereafter received the name of Haumia-whakatere-taniwha (Haumia-the-taniwha-floater), which is borne by his descendants to this day as their tribal cognomen.

I have been favoured by Mr. James Cowan with the loan of a copy of the notes taken by Mr. John Ormsby at the Native Land Court, Otorohanga, in 1886, detailing the evidence given by Major W. Te Wheoro (sometime M.H.R.) and Hono Kaora, in the case of the title to Kawhia, from which is taken the following information as to events at that place in the early times of Te Rau-paraha. I am further indebted to Mr. Andrew Wilson, Government Surveyor, for the identification of some of the place names and other information.

The notes are unsatisfactory, as they do not make any pretence to be a continuous narrative, but enough can be made out to furnish an outline of the perpetual state of warfare, murders, and treacherous actions which characterised the period. Te Rau-paraha is believed to have been born about 1780—see Mr. W. T. L. Traver's "Life of Te Rau-paraha "—and therefore the first event noticed below would not occur until about the year 1800—for he would not have been a leader much before that time. All the troubles that ensued on the death of To Uira occurred within the next twenty-one years or prior to 1821, when Ngati-Toa left Kawhia.

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It appears that during the constant strife that existed between the Waikato tribes and those living on the west coast from Whainga-roa (Raglan) to Kawhia (which there is no need to follow Major Te Wheoro in describing)—that a large taua of Ngati-Paoa (of the Hauraki Gulf), Ngati-Haho, and Ngati-Hine (of Waikato) made an excursion to Whainga-roa, which district they found at that time to be practically uninhabited, due to previous wars, From there the party passed southward to Aotea Harbour, and proceeded to attack a pa on the western side towards the sea, called O-whakarito, where they succeeded in killing the chiefs Whata and Wai-tapu, and took the pa. It is not stated to what tribe these victims belonged, but evidently they were allies of Te Rau-paraha's tribe, Ngati-Toa. Two chiefs of the pa, Ra-waho and Patete, succeeded in making good their escape. At this period most of the Aotea district was unoccupied, due to previous wars, and so the Ngati-Mahanga people (now of Raglan) came down and took possession.

This proceeding on the part of Ngati-Mahanga incensed the Ngati-Toa and their allies of Kawhia, and consequently Te Rau-paraha raised a taua and proceeded in his war-canoes to Whainga-roa, where he attacked Ngati-Mahanga, killing Tu-tonga, Ue-hoka, Te Wharengori, and Moana-taiaha; after which the victors returned to their homes at Kawhia. Although Ngati-Pou are not mentioned, it is clear from other sources that they suffered in this raid.

There was apparently another reason also for this attack on Whainga-roa. Mr. Shand obtained the following from Petera Te Pukuatua, the late head chief of the Ngati-Whakawe branch of Te Arawa. Mr. Shand says, "It may be remarked that the people whom Te Rau-paraha attacked were killed in revenge for the massacre, by Ngati-Pou, living at Tarahanga (query, on the Waikato between Rangiriri and Kopu) of a number of Ngati-Toa women, his relatives, who were on their way to an uhunga (or crying over the dead) at the home of Te Hia-kai, several of them being Topeora's and Te Rangi-haeata's brothers and sisters. Some say there were thirty, others ten, of them. The massacre took place at Te Whakairoiro. Had Te Hia-kai been there, the people would have been saved. The cause of Ngati-Pou's action in this matter is uncertain, but no doubt due to some old quarrel. To Rau-paraha sought revenge for it, first apprising Ngati-Pou of his intentions, especially Uehoka (mentioned above) who was living in a semi-fortified village. He replied to Te Rau-paraha's message in a derisive strain, on learning which, Te Rau-paraha said, '0 indeed! Does he say so!' and then took immediate action, capturing Uehoka's pa, killing and eating him and page 319his people, with another of their chiefs named Kuku, all of whom are mentioned in Topeora's lament to bo found in Nga-Motoatea, p. 300."

That lament is as follows, and we note in it the virulent vehemence which characterises this lady's many effusions. She was Te Rau-paraha's neice.

He Kai-Oraora Na Tope-Ora.
Kaore hoki koia te mamae,
Te au noa taku moe ki te whare,
Tuia ana te hau taua
I a Te Kahawai, whakaoho rawa.
Kia, kiha, o te iwi kaha-kore
Te hapai o te patu,
Kia riro mai taku kai ko Titoko.
Ka nene aku niho
puhi kaha ko Ue-hoka
Ka kohekohe taku korokoro,
Roro hunanga no Pou-tu-keka,
A horo matatia e au
Te roro piro o Tara-tikitiki.
Whakakiki ake taku poho,
Ko Taiawa, mo ko Tu-tonga.
Waiho mai ra aku huruhuru,
Te puahau o Te Tihi-rahi.
'A kai atu ko Kuku, ko Ngahu,
Ko te tupuna i tupu ai
0 mahara tohe riri.
E tapu ra to upoko o Te Rua-keri-po,
Te homai hei kotutu wai kaeo.
Ki To Kawau,
Ka tukutuku i te ia
Ki Tarahanga,
Ki to kai-angaanga i Ngati-Pou
Ka hirere taku toto
Ki runga ki to tumuaki koroheke,
Te Rangi-moe-waka tohe riri.

Alas! how great this constant pain,
That prevents all sleep in my house,
For I am piereed by war's alarms,
Due to To Kaha-wai; tis this arouses me.
Then be ye strong, ye listless people
In skilfully plying your weapons.
page 320 And hither bring Titoko, as a nical for me,
My teeth will gnash and tear
My throat, with eager desire, is tickling
For the. hidden brains of Pou-tu-keka,
The stinking brains of Tara-tikitiki
Will I swallow still uncooked.
Kai-awa and Tu-tonga, both,
Shall fill me up inside.
My hair shall form a top-knot
To degrade tho head of Te Tihi-rahi,
Kuku and Ngahu, will I gladly eat,
The ancestor from whom did spring
Thy thoughts of angry strife.
Sacred is the head of Rua-keri-po,
But as a dish for mussels shall it be
At To Kawau, at our home.
Then turn my thoughts to the current
At Tarahanga, on Waikato's bank,
Where dwelt those cursed heads. Ngati-Pou,
There shall my blood spout forth
On to that old man's head, on to
Rangi-moe-waka, originator of strife.

This success on the To Rau-paraha's part, was reported far and wide, and soon reached the ears of those branches of Waikato living at the mouth of the river, some thirty-five miles north of Whainga-roa, who decided at once to take up tho cause of Ngati-Mahanga (and ? Ngati-Pou), and aid them to avenge their losses.

Accordingly the tribes mentioned below assembled at Waikato Heads and proceeded by sea to Kawhia. Te Wheoro has preserved the names of the various canoes in which the party embarked. The tana must have been a large one.

Canoe Kau-te-uri manned by Ngati-Tipa, of Waikato Heads.
Canoe Tai-ki-hararo manned by Ngati-Pou, of Tuakau.
Canoe Rakau-mangamanga manned by Ngati-Mahuta, of Raglan.
Canoe Mauku-wae manned by Ngati-Mahuta, of Raglan.
Canoe Tuatea-vahi manned by Ngati-Mahuta, of Raglan.
Canoe Te Aha-tua-roa manned by Ngati-Te-Ata, of Waiuku, and Ngati-Paoa, of Hauraki.
Canoe Te Whata-kai-kuri manned by Ngati-Te-Ata, of Waiuku, and Ngati-Paoa, of Hauraki.

As the fleet came along "Rakau-mangamanga" was driven on shore near Rua-puke (near Woody Head, a few miles south of Raglan), but by aid of the other canoes she was got off, and then they all went on to Kawhia, and encamped at a place named Otiki, where all were assembled under the great Waikato chief, Kare-waho. Whilst here page 321the local people (? Ngati-Toa) advanced, and a fight ensued, in which the latter were defeated, losing Te Weu, Patea, and Ingoa, after which the rest retreated to Ohaua, which was their pa. Waikato now attacked this pa, and whilst the attack was in progress Wai-tohi, Te Rau-paraha's sister (and mother of Te Rangi-haeata and Topeora) recognised the Ngati-Te-Ata chiefs, Awarua, Rahurahu, Te Tuhi, Te Tawa, and Te Kauae, and exclaimed, "These are the servants of Ngati-Mai-o-taki who are attacking us." The meaning of this is not clear, but evidently Ngati-Toa saw, in the presence of these people, a chance of making up the quarrel, which the attacking party appear not to have been sorry to acquiesce in, for peace was made and the Waikato taua returned home.