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

Raparapa of Ngati-Tama

Raparapa of Ngati-Tama.

We have already had occasion to refer to Raparapa, the warrior chief of the fighting Ngati-Tama of Pou-tama (south of Mokau). He was a very daring man, whose exploits are still the pride of his tribe, and which is illustrated by the following incident in his career which led up to the great fight at Taharoa.

Unu-a-tahu was a member of that branch of Waikato named Ngati-Mahanga (now of Eaglan). His sister married a man of the Ngati-Tama tribe of Te Kawau pa, Poutama District, near the White Cliffs, and on one occasion this man went on a visit to his sister at that place, where he found a party of Ngati-Raukawa staying with page 327Raparapa. It would appear that in some of the intertribal fights between Waikato and Ngati-Raukawa—a tribe that was nearly related to Te Rau-paraha and which eventually cast in their fortunes with him at Kapiti—this man, Unu-a-tahu, had been present. Thinking this a good opportunity to wipe out an old score, his visitors suggested to Raparapa that the man should be killed. What arguments were used we know not, nor why Raparapa should take on himself the quarrels of others; but he consented to the request of his guests. The brother-in-law of Unu-a-tahu, however, learnt of the proposal, and therefore hurried the latter off before any action could bo taken. Unu-a-tahu started on his way home, making for his own tribe, Ngati-Mahang-a, who were then living in the Waipa valley.

Raparapa, as soon as he heard that the bird had flown, started off in pursuit, and on his arrival at Kawhia, found that Unu-a-tahu was at Nga-toka-kai-riri, the island pa already referred to. The people of the pa prepared food for the traveller, and then advised him to hasten his departure for fear he should be caught, for Ngati-Hikairo (the people of the pa) evidently knew that Raparapa was in chase of him, and that he was a man not likely to change his plans without very strong opposition. Unu-a-tahu replied to his hosts, "Who am I—Te Unu-a-tahu, that they pursue me?" It was night, and he was weary, so he decided to stop at the pa against the persuasions of the people. Raparapa, at that very time, was crossing Kawhia in chase of his prey, and on arrival at the pa found Unu-a-tahu there, and forthwith killed him. He then returned home to Te Kawau,

See Chapter XI.