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

Death of Te Uira, and its consequences

Death of Te Uira, and its consequences.

It would appear that at this time Aotea, or parts of that district, was still unoccupied notwithstanding that, as related above, Ngati-Mahanga, a Waikato tribe, had taken possession, and been defeated there by Te Rau-paraha. About this time Te Uira, a great chief of Ngati-Mahuta, hapu of Waikato, visited Aotea in order to indulge in fishing, and whilst there a man of Ngati-Toa named Te Huri-nui visited the place also, and was killed by Te Uira. The news of this murder caused great indignation to Te Rau-paraha, who, on learning that Te Uira was still there, left Kawhia with a war-party and proceeded by sea to Aotea' in search of Te Uira. On finding him at the place named Mako-mako, Te Rau-paraha and his party attacked it and succeeded in killing Te Uira and also Te Ao-marama of Ngati-Te-Wehi (of Waikato), whilst Te Mohi and Te Tautara of Te Uira's party were saved by a Ngati-Toa woman named Te Patu, who was a sister of Tahuri-waka-nui of the same tribe and related to Ngati-Koata (hapu of Ngati-Toa), and Ngati-Hikairo of Kawhia. Te Mohi was allowed to escape, but Te Tautara was brought back to Kawhia, to the Ngati-Hikairo pa at Nga-toka-kai-riri, an island in Kawhia harbour, east side. Mr. Shand says "Te Uira's body was taken to Te Rau-paraha's pa and there eaten. This was at Powewe (present town of Kawhia), so after Waikato had finally expelled Ngati-Toa a few years later, this particular place was given to Te Uira's representatives (Te Hia-kai and others).

"It was afterwards sold to one Cowell (father of Hone Kaora, much of whose evidence before the Land Court is herein incorporated), a man who assisted at the capture of Tama-i-hara-nui at Port Cooper in about 1829 or 1830, The powder, tomahawks, etc., paid for this piece of land by Cowell, wore distributed to those related to Te Uira as a pure or 'cleansing,' for the death of that chief. Subsequently this page 322fell into the hands of one Charlton, Captain Fairchild's father-in-law, and the latter sold it to the Government."*

Hone Kaora, in his evidence before the court in relation to the events of this period, mentions an interesting fact with respect to this inland pa of Nga-toka-kai-riri. He says, "I will now explain the phrases, 'tukutuku puraho-rua' and te ruru-rama.' Some of Ngati-Mania-poto (of Waipa) and Ngati-Hikairo were living at Kawhia—indeed the home of the latter tribe is there. If a war-party were passing from inland to attack the people of Kawhia, those of Waipa would send a messenger to warn those of Kawhia. There is a track through the forest called Tihi-toetoe, that passes over the southern shoulder of Mount Pirongia. No war-party was allowed to travel by this route because it was tapu to expeditions of that nature. Our expression is, ' Te or a tukutuku puraho-rua kei Tihi-toetoe'—('The road by which one related to both sides may pass is at Tihi-toetoe')—by which we learn that it was not tapu to the messenger who went to give the alarm, but was so to the war-parties, which illustrates a characteristic of Maori warfare often noticed—i.e., that due notice was generally given of an intended attack. 'At Nga-toka-kai-riri island in Kawhia, on the arrival of the messenger, beacon fires would be lit (ruru-rama) warning all the pas of the district of the approach of an enemy. The messenger would light a big fire on one side of the pa (which was named Poroaki), and this could be seen by the Ngati-Toa pas at Te Whenua-po (a hill and old pa of Ngati-Toa, one thousand and eighty-one feet above the sea, situated between the rivers Rakau-nui and Te

* The original deed transferring this land from Kiwi and Porima to Mr. John Vittoria Cowell is dated 11th January, 1840, though, no doubt, the purchase took place many years prior to that. The consideration was: one cask tobacco, forty spades, forty axes, eight casks of powder, ten pieces of print, ten pieces of handkerchiefs, forty iron pots, ten pair of blankets, six muskets, twenty cartouche boxes, twelve pairs of trousers, twelve frocks, twelve shirts, one thousand flints, one thousand pipes, two cedar chests, etc. This payment was for an estimated area of 20 thousand acres, which was reduced on Survey to forty-four acres! On the 2nd February, 1883, the Hon. William Rolleston, Minister of Lands, Hon. John Bryce, Native Minister, myself, and Mr. Frank Edgecombe, District Surveyor, landed at Powewe from the s.s. "Stella," she being the first vessel to enter Kawhia since the war. On that same day Mr. Edgecombe and I schemed out the present town of Kawhia, which he then proceeded to survey.

Some time in the eighties of last century I attempted to cross over the ranges by this track from the town of Alexandra to Kawhia, but found it so overgrown that my Maori guide could not follow it, so I had to abandon my journey by that route.

Puraho-rua- has the same meaning as Kai-whakaruai.e., one who is related to both sides.

page 323Mahoe, three miles from the southern shores of Kawhia, on which is Trig Station A), Te Totara (another Ngati-Toa pa situated on the first point inside Kawhia Heads on the south side), and other pas in the district. All these pas were generally antagonistic to the Ngati-Hikairo pa at Nga-toka-kai-riri, but the advent of an outside enemy caused them all to become allies."

The death of a great chief like Te Uira, who was father of Te Hiakai (another great chief of Waikato, who, as we shall see, fell at the battle of Te Motu-nui in 1821—see Chapter XIV.), and others of the principal families of Waikato—and whose end was evidently brought about by Te Rau-paraha in a manner which the former's tribe looked upon as approaching the treacherous—could not be passed over without an attempt to exact utu. Te Wheoro says this was the third great take, or cause, Waikato had against Kawhia, and consequently this powerful tribe decided that the latter people must be exterminated. It was the knowledge of this decision of Waikato—with other things—that first imbued Te Rau-paraha with the idea that Kawhia was no longer a safe place of residence for him and his tribe. Later on he expressed the thought of migrating to join Ngati-Rau-kawa in the neighbourhood of Cambridge, which people were closely connected with his own. Again, both Rotorua and Taranaki were thought of, but it was apparently not until he had joined Tu-whare in his southern expedition (1819-20—see Chapter XI.), and had then noticed the facilities offered by Kapiti Island as an anchorage for ships, from which he might obtain arms, that the decision was arrived at to migrate thither. But this was not for some years yet, and, in the meantime, Waikato sent taua after taua to Kawhia in the hope of carrying out the tribal decision, many of which are described in Te Wheoro's and Hone Kaora's evidence, but are passed over here, excepting those that immediately affect Te Rau-paraha.

The first step taken by Waikato to avenge the death of Te Uira was to send forth a taua composed of hapus with which the slain man was connected, viz.: Ngati-Reko, Ngati-Rehu, Ngati-Mahuta, and Ngati-Mahanga, which attacked and took a pa on the south side of Aotea, named Horo-ure, where Rangi-potki, a woman of high rank of Ngati-Mahanga,* together with Tokoua were killed.

This was followed by another taua, having the same object in view, which proceeded to the north shore of Kawhia and fought a battle with Ngati-Toa under Te Keunga, and Tarahape, at Po-wewe, the present

* Probably married to one of Ngati-Toa's allies, for her own tribe formed part of the taua.

page 324site of Kawhia town, and defeated thorn. The taua then attacked and took the Motu-ngaio pa, overlooking the present township. The women and children of the pa fled to the water side and started to cross the sands; hut Ahi-pania and Te Pie gave chase hoping to catch, and make slaves of them. In this they wore frustrated by Te.Whare-puhi and Taiko of Ngati-Toa, who turned upon the pursuers and killed them. This defeat was called Puta-karokare. Waikato now crossed the harbour to Te Totara, already referred to, which was one of the principal strongholds of the Ngati-Koata branch of Ngati-Toa; but apparently landed first on the long peninsula forming the south head of the harbour, and hero they suffered a defeat at the hands of Ngati-Toa. "It was during this fight," says To Wheoro, "that Kiwi and To Rau-angaanga —father of the celebrated Te Wherowhero—were nearly killed. They escaped by jumping over a cliff. Waikato then fled to Maika, (headland, forming the south entrance to Kawhia,) and whilst there they could see no sign of life at Te Totara pa (about a mile and a half away); so they sent two scouts named Kahu-ina and Taiko by canoe to reconnoitre, both of whom were caught by Ngati-Toa and killed.

"Waikato seem to have had enough of fighting for the time; evidently Ngati-toa were getting the best of it, although they had lost tho pa at Motu-ngaio. So Waikato returned across the harbour and over the mountains to their homes on Waikato and Waipa rivers, but with the intention of returning.

Soon after, another element was introduced into this intertribal war, and for reasons not stated the great Ngati-Mania-poto tribe wero drawn into the quarrel between the East and West Waikato tribes. To Rangi-tuatea (of whom we shall hear a good deal later on) and Te Whaka-maru, both high chiefs of the tribe mentioned, led forth a great taua to Kawhia, coming on as far as To Awaroa river, which falls into the harbour on its eastern side. Te Rau-paraha at this time was at Tutae-rere, where also were some of the Ngati-Pou tribe (? of Tua-kau Lower Waikato), staying there as guests—amongst them two men named Hau-rora and Hau-paro. Soon after the arrival of Ngati-Mania-poto at Awaroa, Te Rau-paraha met them in battle at a place named Ta-whitiwhiti, and defeated them heavily, killing Te Whakamaru-—one of the leaders—whose head was taken away to Te Rau-paraha's pa, where, no doubt, it was put to the usual purpose and stuck up on a rod to be jeered at. During the fight, Te Rau-paraha aimed a blow at Te Rangi-tuatea, which was warded off by the weapon striking a branch, and thus the lattcr's life was saved. These two men were related in some distant way, hence To Rangi-tuatea's subsequent action in helping Te page 325Rau-paraha to escape to Kapiti, notwithstanding the latter's attempt on his life just related.

This defeat accounts in a large measure for the subsequent energetic pursuit of Te Rau-paraha by Ngati-Mania-poto, which wo si mil learn of at a later period.

The part that Ngati-Pou played in the above conflict is uncertain, but it is clear that they were inimical to Te Rau-paraha, though Te Wheoro says that some of them were then staying with Te Rau-paraha as his guest, a fact difficult of explanation after reading the account of Te Rau-paraha's attack on Ngati-Pou at Whainga-roa (Raglan), for which see ante*

On the return of this Ngati-Mania-poto taua to their homes, messengers were at once dispatched to Ngati-Pou, Ngati-Mahuta, Ngati-Hine and other sub-tribes of Waikato calling on them to assemble at Tu-korehu's pa, Manga-toatoa, on the Waipa river, for the purpose of attacking Ngati-Toa in their headquarters at Te Totara pa; at Manga-toatoa the Waikato taua was joined by Ngati-Apa-kura (now of Kawhia) and Ngati-Mania-poto, so that they numbered altogether sixteen hundred warriors. To Rau-angaanga, father of Te Wherowhero, appears to have been in chief command. Crossing the ranges, the taua drew near to Hiku-parea pa, situated on the long peninsula at the east end of Kawhia, called Tiritiri-matangi. During the night two divisions were formed, eight hundred men in each, one of which went into ambush near the pa whilst the other division made a feigned attack on the pa. This brought the garrison out, who, not knowing of the ambush, were set upon and badly beaten. This was followed up by the taking of the pa, which was easily accomplished. A great chief named Te Kanawa (not the great Waikato chief of that name) who was chief of the pa was killed here, as was Te Haunga and others. The latter was-killed by Mau-tara, who was a brother (? distant cousin) of Taka, father of Te Poa-kai (? of Ngati-Hikairo) who was chief of that district and closely related to Te Hia-kai.

Not satisfied with the above success it was decided by Te Kanawa and Pikia (of Waikato) to attack Te Totara pa, in revenge for the scouts killed by Ngati-Toa, as related a few pages back. On reaching the pa, Ngati-Toa came forth and gave battle to Waikato, but in this case Te Rau-paraha and his tribe suffered defeat, losing Ilikihiki, Kiharoa, Tara-poko, and others. Tu-whatau (of Waikato) had a very narrow escape of capturo by Te Rangi-haeata. "Tara-peko (of Ngati-Toa) was killed by To Whare-ngori in view of all the people page 326and without interference, as lie was a relation of their people." * After this, both sides being satisfied for the time, Te Rau-paraha called out to Te Rau-angaanga, the leader of Waikato, to approach the pa, and, on his doing so, a temporary peace was patched up and the Waikato party returned home.

But the turbulent spirit of Ngati-Toa was not satisfied. Hearing that Te Whare-ngori (referred to in the last paragraph) had gone to Whainga-roa, Te Rau-paraha and a party of Ngati-Koata (of Te Totara pa) put to sea in a canoe and went round to Whainga-roa, where they found Te Whare-ngori, and killed him and others, besides taking some prisoners, who were carried back to Te Totara. It was one part of this taua, apparently, that made an attack on another branch of Waikato, Ngati-Tama-inu, at Whainga-roa, where they killed Totoia, and at Manga-kowhai killed Po-wha and Karetu. This taua was under Te Whare-puhi and Taiko (of Te Totara pa).

This incident ruptured the peace made between Te Rau-angaanga (of Waikato) and Te Rau-paraha (of Ngati-Toa). And hence a further war-party was raised by Waikato, consisting of Ngati-Mahuta, Ngati-Ngahia, Ngati-Reke, Ngati-Mahanga, and Ngati-Tama-inu, who forthwith went over to Kawhia, and at a place named Torea found a party of Ngati-Toa that had just crossed over from Te Totara. Waikato attacked them at Te Waro (said to be near the present town of Kawhia) and killed Taiko and Te Whare-puhi (the loaders in last Ngati-Toa expedition to Whainga-roa), Te Manu-ki-tawhiti, Te Hahana, Te Pou-kura, and many others. The taua then returned home.

* These notes are so defective in the names of the tribes to whom the people belonged that the narrative is frequently very difficult to make out. It was allowed, nay, proper, under certain circumstances, for one relative to kill another.

See the origin of this hapu name, A.H.M., Vol. IV., p. 173.