Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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


page 340

The above is the name given to the migration of Ngati-Toa from Kawhia on their way to Cook's Straits; but this name only applies to that part of their long journey from Kawhia as far as Ure-nui—the journey onward from there to Otaki being named "Te Heke-tataramoa," from the troubles encountered on the way. There are many migrations we shall have to deal with in the course of this narrative, to each one of which have the Maoris given a distinguishing name—wisely so, for they serve as land-marks in their history. The above-named means, the "fire-lighting migration, but why so called I have forgotten, unless it was from the fire-lighting alluded to below.

As already described, Ngati-Toa fled by night from their pa at Te Arawi, and men, women, and children assembled on the hill at Moe-a-toa* (? Kamaru) where the signal arranged for by Te Rangi-tua-tea was made. A high column of smoke rising in the clear atmosphere of the morning denoted that Ngati-Toa were safely on their road. At Kawhia, amongst the Waikato taua, when they saw no sign of life in the pa at Te Arawi, they enquired amongst themselves as to what had become of the inhabitants. Te Rangi-tua-tea, overhearing the remarks, replied, with a grin that denoted his secret delight, "E! e ka mai te ahi o to koutou koroua ki runga ki Moe-a-toa." "A! Behold the fire of your old man burning on the summit of Moea-toa!" —and consequently beyond immediate pursuit.

There were assembled on the top of Moe-a-toa (or Kamaru) over which the path to the south lay, the whole of the people under the power and direction of Te Rau-paraha, comprised in the three tribes Ngati-Toa, Ngati-Rarua, Ngati-Koata, and the hapus named Ngati-Haumia, Te Kiri-wera, Ngati-Hangai and others—all related, and all

* Some of my accounts say Tapiri-moko, some Moe-a-toa, both of which are high hills; but I believe neither is right. The hill at Kamaru is probably the one where Ngati-Toa looked for the last time on Kawhia.

page break page break
Photo. by M. C. SmithPlate No. 13Tapu-te-ranga Island——an old pa formerly.

Photo. by M. C. Smith
Plate No. 13
Tapu-te-ranga Island——an old pa formerly.

page 341equally compromised in the deeds of bloodshed that had caused Waikato to rise in their wrath with the intention of punishing Te Rauparaha and these tribes for their evil deeds. No reliable estimate of their numbers has ever been stated, but as Te Rau-paraha led four hundred warriors in the expedition to the south with Tu-whare, and as the old people, women and children were now with the party, they could not have numbered less than 1,500 souls. His son, in his narrative* (which is very deficient generally) says there were four hundred people besides the after guard of three hundred and forty warriors, but this is surely too few from what we know of their descendants. Of individuals the following chiefs are known to have taken part in this great migration:—
Te Rau-parahaTe Rangi-haeataTe Tahua-o-Rehua
Te PoaTe Hiko-o-te-rangiTe Hua
Te Pehi-kupeNoho-ruaTe Teke
TungiaTe Ara-tangataTe Whetu
Te Rangi-hi-roaPuaha (Rawiri)Te Tahua-o-te-koto
Te Waka-ketuaTe MakoTe Whiwhi (Matene)
Tama-i-hengia (Hohepa)Te PakiTe Pani
But no doubt there were many others. Of the chief women were Topeora (whose marriage with Te Ra-tu-tonu at the siege of Tapui-nikau has been described), Akau (of the Tu-hou-rangi tribe of Tara-wera lake), Te Rau-paraha's wife, and Tiaia Te Pehi's wife, who was from the Tainui tribe of Raglan.

Most of these men would be veteran warriors who had accompanied the Ngati-Toa expeditions to Taranaki and "Wai-rarapa, and had been engaged in the fighting round Kawhia before the heke left. Lucky it was for them that they were experienced warriors and men of determination, not likely to be deterred in their enterprise by difficulties on the way, of which, as we shall see, they had an abundant share.

The Maori is a true home-lover, and hence we may imagine what a wrench it must have been to these people to leave the bright waters of Kawhia, with its undulating hills and projecting promontories, each corner associated in some form or other with the deeds of their ancestors. At their feet lay the Taharoa lakes, on the shores of which they had so lately striven in vain against the might of Waikato. Beyond, the blue waters of Kawhia harbour, still visible from their resting place, to them the one most sacred spot in all New Zealand;

* Ancient History of the Maori, Vol. VI., p. 17.

page 342where the ocean-battered canoe of their great ancestor Hotu-roa had finally landed its crew after the long voyage from Hawaiki. Even the very spot where stand the two stone pillars that mark the length of "Tai-nui" could be seen from there. No wonder that the people wept over and lamented their beloyed Kawhia, saying—"Remain, O Kawhia! lie thee there! for Kawhia's people are gone to the south, to Kapiti.Or, that Te Rau-paraha himself, the man of iron, should burst forth in a wailing lament as he looked for the last time on the home of his childhood. This was his song:—

Tera ia nga tai o Honi-paka,
Ka wehe koe i a au—e.
He whakamaunga atu naku,
Te ao ka rere mai
No runga mai o te motu
E tu noa mai ra koe ki au—e
Kia mihi mamao atu au,
Ki te iwi ra ia.
E pari, e te tai, piki tu, piki rere,
Piki takina mai
Te kawa i Muri-whenua
Te kawa i tu tere
Tena taku manu he manu ka onga noa
Huna ki te whare, te Hau-o-Matariki
Ma te Whare-porutu—
Ma te rahi Ati-Awa
E kau tere mai ra,
Ka urupa taku aroha.

There lie below the seas of Honi-pakal
Parted from me now for ever.
My gaze in longing, lingering glance,
Follows the fleecy cloud that hither drifts
Across the forest groves there scattered,
Bringing, as it were, a message from my home.
Let me here bid sad farewell in parting,
To the loved ones of our tribe of ancient days.
Flow on, ye tides, in rising fleeting waves,
Flowing onward, drawing with them—
Urged by breezes from far Muri-whenua2
By death's decree and sacred ritual (The spirits of our beloved dead)
My bird that sings at early dawn,
Now hidden in the house, Hau-o-Mata-riki.3
In future shall it be for Whare-porutu
And the might of Ati-Awa tribe
To assist us with their many arms,
And thus my love shall cease.


Another waiata, or song, has been preserved, in which Po-nehu laments their beloved home at Kawhia:—

Ra te ao-uru ka tauhere.
To hiwi ki te Hikongu
Homai kia mihia,
I hara mai i oku hoa—e—
Naku rawa i huri atu
Ki te tai-whanga ki a Te Wherowhero,

Behold the western clouds that hang
On the ridge of hills at Tc Hikonga.1
Here let me weep and greet them,
For they come from the home of my loved ones,
Now I turn me in sorrow deep
To the country of Te Wherowhero.3

page 343

Nana i unga mai,
Ka noho au te puke ki Kamaru,
Nuinui Te 'Paraha i te whenua,
He manu ka pi-rere
Ka puihi tonu atu ki te tni-uru,
Ki a Tamai-rangi—e—
Tae a wairua te motu-huia.
O Tara-rua i runga,
Ki Wai-rarapa e, ki Te Tai-tapu,
Ki a Te Ahuru—e—
Kia noho taku iti
Ki te kei o te waka,
Nou na, E Te Pehi e!

'Twas he that sent his power against us,
And drove us to this hill at Kamaru.2
Great in the land was the fame of Te Rau-paraha,
But now, like unto a fledgeling bird, homeless;
Foreed to the tides of the west to flee—
To the country of famed Tamai-rangi.4
In spirit do I visit the groves of the huia5
On Tara-rua, those mountains of the south,
Perhaps to Wai-rarapa, or Te Tai-tapu, 6
To the land of Te Ahuru.
Then let my humble self be seated
In the stern of the war canoe,
Belonging to thee, 0 Te Pehi!7

From the place of their farewell to Kawhia (? at Kamaru) the whole party passed on to Maro-kopa river, some twelve miles south of Kawhia. Heavily laden as all must have been with the household goods, clothing, etc., that they were able to bring away, this was a good day's march. The burdens would fall mostly on the women and slaves, for this was always the way with the Maoris, and it is astonishing the weight that they will carry for a long day's journey. At Maro-kopa the party were amongst friends and relatives. Tauranga-rua was the name of the village and Te Haumuti (subsequent baptismal name, Wetini Paku-kohatu), the name of the chief of Ngati-Kinohaku tribe, where they stayed. Here it was decided that many of the women and children should remain for a time until the elders had arranged with the Ati-Awa about the passage through their territories. And, moreover, it was known that a party of Ngati-Mania-poto had gone by inland tracks to try and intercept Te Rau-paraha on his way, and it was this party, I believe, who fought the battle of Pārā-rewa at Awakino (to be referred to later on).

Some time, either before leaving Kawhia or at Maro-kopa, Te Rau-paraha was joined by some of the Ngati-Ranga-tahi, then of Ohura, Upper Whanganui, but formerly of Orahiri, Waikato, under Parata, who left Ohura, where they were living under the guardianship of Ngati-Hāua of Upper Whanganui, in consequence of a family quarrel. There were not many of these people. They went on, eventually, to Kapiti with Te Rau-paraha.

page 344

After leaving the women at Maro-kopa, the main body passed on south to Mokau, staying a night at Wai-kawau, a stream just fourteen miles north of Mokau, and which was the scene of the defeat of Ngati-Rarua, described in last chapter. Whilst here, the party were joined by Te Rangi-tua-tea, who had given the advice to Te Rau-paraha to abandon his pa at Te Arawi and flee. This man was connected both with Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Mania-poto, and so was friendly with both, though he took part in the latter's campaign against Ngati-Toa at Kawhia. He came to warn Te Rau-paraha that the forces of Ngati-Mania-poto had decided to follow him up and kill him if they could. Te Rau-paraha, bearing in mind their losses at Taharoa and of the late fights at Kawhia, and having the old man in his power, with characteristic treachery, proposed to slay him. But Tiaia,* wife of Te Pehi-kupe, strongly objected to this course, and, moreover, the tribe were against it, so, thanks to her action, Te Rangi-tua-tea was saved.

Crossing the Mokau river, a canoe capsized and Te Rangi-haeata's only child was drowned, whilst Topeora and others had a very narrow escape. On the south side of Mokau the migration were received in a friendly manner by Ngati-Tama, who were then mourning their losses at Pārā-rewa, but a large number of the plucky tribe were away under Taringa-kuri seeking some satisfaction for Pārā-rewa, as we shall see later on. From Poutama the migration passed on, some of Ngati-Mutunga having come to meet them at that country and from there the migration passed on to Te Kaweka, a place near Okoki pa, two miles north of Urenui river. Here arrangements were made with the Ngati-Mutunga tribe of those parts for the old people and most of the warriors to remain and commence the cultivation of crops to serve the party on their further journey. It appears that Ngati-Mutunga were at first not very hospitable, nor did they receive these unbidden guests in a very friendly manner. But, no doubt, they did not care to quarrel with so large a party of tried veterans, many of whom were armed with muskets, of which Ngati-Mutunga had none. In the end, however, their feelings changed, and it is little doubtful that Te Rau-paraha's success at the battle of Te Motu-nui and subsequent settlement at Kapiti was largely due to the aid rendered by Ngati-Mutunga.

* Tiaia was of the Tai-nui hapu, or tribe, of Waikato, whose home is at Raglan. She was Te Pehi's first wife, and when that man took a second wife, Purewa, this latter lady made disparaging remarks about Tiaia. This induced Hoki, Tiaia's cousin, to compose a song exalting the latter and disparaging Purewa, which is very amusing and illustrates the kind of poetry that was popular amongst the Maoris of that age—see "Nga Moteatea, page 192.

page 345

After settling down his people at Te Kaweka and remaining there a few days, Te Rau-paraha started back for Maro-kopa with only twenty men (it is said), but all tried veterans armed with muskets, for the purpose of bringing on the women and young children left there under Te Puaha's care. His tribe, the Ngati-Toa, were much afraid his party was too small, for it was known that Ngati-Mania-poto were somewhere in the Mokau country in search of Te Rau-paraha, and they wanted to send a strong force with him. But he decided that a small party would be better able to elude the enemy, and so started with this small number.

The party reached Maro-kopa without trouble, notwithstanding that Ngati-Mania-poto had come over the ranges and were prowling about the country everywhere, and found all well with those left there. His wife, Te Akau, had, during his absence, born him a son, who afterwards received the name of Tamihana Te Rau-paraha. The party only stayed at Maro-kopa a few days and then started off back for Te Kaweka. Te Karihana Whakataki of Porirua says,* "The party came along the coast, Te Rau-paraha carrying his little son in a basket on his back, and carefully taking precautions against being seen.Watene says, "Prior to the departure of Te Rau-paraha from Maro-kopa, they had acquired a good many of the red garments referred to below. Some of these they divided up so that each person wore a broad band across the chest. He had also taken the precaution to spread a report for the benefit of Ngati-Mania-poto that a large party of Nga-Puhi was hastening down the coast all dressed in red and armed with muskets. As Ngati-Toa came down the coast they reached a place where a descent had to be made to the beach, and where the whole party, with their red garments, could be seen a long way off. At the other end of the beach was a large party of Ngati-Mania-poto, who, as soon as they caught sight of the red glowing in the sunlight, said, ' Koia ano! he tika te korero!'—('Truly it is so! the story is correct!') and at once the whole departed inland, leaving the way open for Te Rauparaha." Te Karihana continues: "At the approach of night (? of the second or third) the party reached the banks of the Awa-kino river, where they were again seen by another party of Ngati-Mania-poto which was one hundred strong, under their chief Tu-takaro. The Ngati-Maniapoto now made an attack on Ngati Toa at dusk, when a fierce fight took place, in which Ngati-Toa lost two of their men; but in revenge Te Rau-paraha and Te Rangi-hounga-riri managed to kill Tu-takaro, the leader of the enemy, besides four others. As Tu-takaro lay wounded

* Told to Mr. E. Best, 1895.

page 346on the ground he recognised Te Rangi-hounga-riri, and said, 'Hua noa, na Nga-Puhi au i patu, Kaore! ko koe, E Rangi'—('I thought I had been stricken down by Nga-Puhi! But now I see it is thee, O Rangi!') The small party of Ngati-Toa had the advantage of possessing muskets. The fight took place at Hukarere, or, as another account says, at Purapura."* Ngati-Rakei of Mokau were engaged in this fight, and my informant, Rihari of Mokau, says Te Rau-paraha punished them for it afterwards.

"Next day, Te Rau-paraha reached the Mokau river, where, the tide being high, they could not cross, and so camped there on the beach. They were apprehensive that Ngati-Mania-poto would renew the attack after having discovered how few Ngati-Toa were in number. So large fires were lit in several places, and all the women dressed up like men, whilst Te Rau-paraha and the other men kept addressing warlike speeches to each party round the fires so that, should the enemy be near, they might think a large war-party was assembled there. Te Akau, Te Rau-paraha's wife, and Tiaia, Pehi-kupe's wife, were the principal women there, and they employed themselves in running backwards and forwards all night addressing imaginary bands of warriors. Many of these women were dressed in a European garment called a tu-ngaro, which is never seen now. but was not uncommon fifty to sixty years ago. It was composed of exceedingly thick serge and reached from the neck to the knee; it was of a brilliant red colour. These had been obtained by barter with other tribes, for up to the time of the migration leaving Kawhia no vessel had entered that harbour."

This ruse was successful, for no attack was made; and the next day the party proceeded on their way and reached the other members of the migration at Te Kaweka in safety. Arrived there, and on the news of the death of Tu-takaro reaching Ati-Awa, Ngati-Tama, and Ngati-Mutunga, there was great rejoicing, because that chief had been lately instruatental in defeating Ngati-Tama at Para-rewa. They were so elated that a party of them at once started off for Mokau, where they came across some of Ngati-Rakei of that place, killing several of them, and thus, as old Rihari says, ' punishing them for attacking Ngati-Toa.'"

It was after this event, that the Ngati-Mutunga began to show signs of a more amicable disposition towards Ngati-Toa, and assigned

* Mr. Skinner suggests that Hukarere is the place where the fight occurred. It is situated about a mile north of the mouth of Awa-kino, Purapura is half way between Mokau and Awa-kino, and may have been Ngati-Toa's camp the next night.

page 347them places for cultivating, and a pa called Puke-whakamaru to dwell in, which pa is that on the west side of the Ure-nui river inland of Okoki pa. Here Ngati-Toa remained some time, but not long, when news came of the advance of a very large party of Waikato and Ngati-Mania-poto in order to chastise Te Rau-paraha for his evil deeds towards those tribes as already related, and also to try and raise the siege of Puke-rangiora, where many of their tribesmen were cooped up, as we shall see.

But before describing the great battle of Te Motu-nui which ensued, we must hark back for a time to describe that of Para-rewa, which had already occurred before Te Rau-paraha reached Te Kaweka.

2 Muri-whenua, the North Capo, to which departed spirits went.

3 Apparently refers to some beloved child, possibly his murdered wife Marore, or relative, left behind in the graveyard.

4 Whare-porutu, is not known, but possibly some relative amongst the Ati-Awa, whose influence the composer counted on to obtain Ati-Awa's assistance.

1 place at Kawhia.

3 Te Wherowhero, principal chief of Waikato, who sent the army against Ngati-Toa and thus caused their migration.

2 place at Kawhia.

4 Tamai-rangi, the great chieftainess of Ngati-Ira of Port Nicholson, whither the migration was going.

5 The huia bird, so valued by the Maoris for its tail feathers, is only found in any number on Tararua mountains—now alas! (1906) almost extinct.

6 Te Tai-tapu, general name for Massacre Bay, South Island.

7 Te Pehi-kupe of Ngati-Toa, who went to England in 1826 to procure arms for his tribe.