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

Para-Rewa. — ? September, 1821

? September, 1821.

For what follows I am indebted principally to a MS. of Weteno Taunga-tara's, and an account dictated to Mr. A. Shand and myself by Rangi-pito—both old men of Te Ati-Awa tribe.

It will be remembered that Ngati-Tama of Pou-tama had suffered a very severe defeat at Tihi-manuka towards the end of 1819 (see Chapter XII.) in which they lost their old chief Te Kawa-iri-rangi and a great many others, so many that the tribe was considerably reduced in fighting strength. They had also lost heavily in the fight at Nga-tai-pari-rua in 1815, where Ngati-Rakei, of Mokau, had succeeded after many generations of trial in inflicting a serious defeat on the brave little tribe of Pou-tama.

The Ngati-Mutunga tribe of Ure-nui are intimately connected with Ngati-Tama, whose boundaries marched with theirs on the north. Naturally, the former tribe felt the defeat at Tihi-manuka almost as much as did Ngati-Tama themselves. Hence we find Ngati-Mutunga raising a taw under Koropeke, Tu-kawe-riri and Te Whao, to assist Ngati-Tama to obtain revenge for Tihi-manuka. The branches of Ngati-Mutunga concerned in this affair were Te Kekeriwai of Mimi, Kai-tangata and Ngati-Tu hapus of Onaero, besides members of the Ati-Awa to the south of them. Koropeke does not appear to have been a chief of great rank, and he was an old man. At Te Kawau the taw was joined by the celebrated Tupoki, and all the men of Ngati-Tama that could be raised, so that the whole party numbered all told, four hundred warriors.

The news of a large party of Ngati-Mania-poto being in the neighbourhood of Mokau had reached the allies before they started. This taua of Ati-Awa first went to inland Mokau, but they found no page 348one there, so they came back on their way to Awakino, where it was reported Ngati-Mania-poto were to be found. Arrived at the north bank of that river, near where it makes its great bend to the south before falling into the sea, the taua formed their camp. In the meantime Ngati-Mania-poto had received news of this Ati-Awa tana, and came after them, finding them camped as above. The former tribe is said to have been in possession of a great many guns, while the taua of Ati-Awa had very few—indeed Ngati-Tama only had one. The allies were soon aware of the proximity of the foe, but did not take sufficient precautions to prevent a surprise, for the forces of Ngati-Mania-poto attacked them in their camp, being led, as Rangi-pito says, by Tu-korehu (but this can scarcely be, for he was away with the "Amio-whenua" expedition at the time), Hau-auru, Mama, of Ngati-Rora (of Upper Mokau), and also assisted by contingents of Ngati-Haua (Upper Thames) and Ngati-Paoa (of Hauraki Gulf). In this assault the Ngati-Tama chief Tu-poki was shot by Hau-auru, and two other prominent chiefs, Tu-kawe-riri, his wife Te Waero, and Te Whao were also killed, whilst the originator of the taua, old Koropeke escaped with the rest by flight. All the young men of the taua are said to have been slain that day in the attack, and in the subsequent pursuit. This was a disastrous defeat for Ngati-Tama, for besides many others they lost their great toa, or warrior, Tu-poki, only a few months after the death of his valorous brother Rapapapa, at the battle of Taharoa. From this time forth they practically ceased to hold their ancestral lands, and shortly after migrated to Wai-kanae near Kapiti—the new weapon, the musket, was too much for them.

As the allies retreated in all haste towards their homes, they were met on the road by a large force of Ati-Awa, who had been aroused by the news of the approaching taua of Ngati-Mania-poto, and which numbered one thousand warriors. After the junction of the two tauas some marauding parties were sent out to meet Ngati-Mania-poto, which managed to kill a chief of that tribe named Tautu-o-te-rangi. After this the whole party of Ati-Awa returned to their homes, and immediately after their arrival Te Rau-paraha and his first party of migrants reached Te Kaweka. It was, no doubt, the same party of Ngati-Mania-poto, or a company of it, that Te Rau-paraha had had the brush with at Awa-kino, and it is also certain that this was part of the great taua that was in pursuit of that wily chief with the intention of demolishing him and his people and at the same time succouring their fellow tribesmen in Puke-rangiora; with what result we shall shortly see.

Thus died Ngati-Tama's great warrior, Tu-poki, who fell by the page 349leaden bullet supplied to his enemies by the in-coming Pakeha. Had the fight of Pārā-rewa occurred a few years previously, when none but the Maori weapons were in use, it is probably the result would have been different, for Tu-poki was a master of the art of fighting with such arms. On his death, his sister, Te Maro-pounamu, lamented him in the following tangi, which is still a favourite with the Maoris:—

Tera ia te po taun
Te taka mai nei i Pari-ninihi,
Nau tē tatari, kia maunu mai,
Te wai i runga i Nga-Motu,
Kei to tamaiti, ma Rau-o-Matuku
Hei putiki mai te ua o te pakanga,
E tauira mai ra te hiku o te taua.
Pairangitia mai o kahu angiangi—
Pairngitia mai i te puke ki Whare-kohu,
Ka nui ou tohu ki runga ki tou rangi,
Ka rere nga whetu o te ata,
Manu whakarewaia kia whakakau au,
I to riri whatiwhati
I roto o Pārā-rewa.
Kei pehia koe te ahi o te tipua;
Tenei Poutu, nau i here mai,
Hei whakatu mai
Te whare i muri ake,
Kauraka e koaia e te rahi 'Ati-Tama.
Me tuku ki raro, mo Tautari ma,
Mo to wai-aruhc e tānga tonu nei,
Tahurihuri ai i te papa i Raro-taka.
E kore, E Tama ra! e tahuri to rakan toa,
I ngaua putia e te ipo wahine,
Ka whati i reira te puhi o taku waka;
He tumu herenga waka,
No runga, no raro, no Te Rau-paraha, e!
Hurihuri kau ai te mokai o te wahine,
Taku kiri whakaniko,
Te kiri o Awa-nui
Ka whara kei muri.
Ma te hau takaha e turaki.
Taku rata tiketike—
Taku whakaruru totara
E tu ki Pou-tama ra.
Karanga mai E Pare!
I te tara ki Rangi-kohna,
Tera taku manu, he manu tākupu—
He tākupu matakana,
He aua matawhero,
Mo nga utu e hira
Ki te pae ki Karaka-ura.
page 350 He aha koia koe te tohi atu ai
To patu whakatu, ki te ihu o Mama,
O Mama ra, i te kai a wai?
O Hari ra, i te kai a Ranga
O Hari ra, i te kai a Oro,
O Tiu ra, i te kai a Maene,
Ka mahungahunga te whakahoro,
I tou angaanga—
Tou angaanga i tohe nei,
Ki te hau o te riri
Ko Kaha-tuatini, hei utu mo aku taro
I ngaua iho nei—e—i.

Behold the dark and gloomy cloud of war,
That settles down o'er Parininihi cliff.
Hadst thou but waited the forthcoming tide
Of waters from Nga-Motu, 1 that would have flowed
Hither with thy son, with Rau-o-Matuku, 2
To aid thee, the storm of battle to repel.
His plumes yet flash in the rear of the taua
(Too late to snccour thee in thy need).

Spread out were thy flowing garments—
Spread out upon the hill at Whare-kohu
(As thou led on in the forefront of the battle).
Gallant were the plumes upon thy head
As before thee flew the "stars of morning."3
Let them float forth that I may swim
In the overwhelming battle of retreat
That caused thy downfall within at Pārā -rewa.
Thou didst not take heed to the demon's4 fire,
Such, O Poutu, 5 as thou brought hither
To support this tribe in its future wars.
Rejoice not ye, the dependants of 'Ati-Tama, 6
But think of 'Tautari, 7 and others of thy tribe.
Let this be payment for unavenged defeats
As oft thy tribe turned aimlessly to and fro
At the rock of Raro-taka8 there below.
Thy weapon, 0 Sir! would never have failed thee
But that thy loved one, thy orders disobeyed, 9
Hence was the "plume of my canoe" broken.
Thou wert the pillar, that stayed war-parties,
From the south, from the north, even Te Rau-paraha's,
But now cast down are the hopes of woman.
O my richly tatooed one! with Awa-nui's10 pattern,
Is henceforth lost to sight and forgotten.

1 The waters from Nga-Motu" represent the on-coming Ati-Awa who arrived too late to save the day at Para-rewa.

2 Rau-o-Matuku, another name for To Whare-pouri, we thus learn that tin's well-known chief in later days was with the Ati-Awa force.

3 "Stars of Morning," the chiefs of the opposing party,

4 Tupua, or demon, i.e., the guns of the Pakeha.

5 Poutu brought the first musket to Ngati-Tama from the Nga-Puhi.

6 Ati-Tama = Ngati-Tama.

7 Tautari short for Maunga-tautari, killed by Ngati-Tama at Pou-tama, see ante.

8 Rarotaka, a flat rock below Te Kawau pa, the scene of many a fight.

9 Tu-poki, before the battle, had given orders that no food was to be eaten by his tribe, but his granddaughter disobeyed him, which was an evil omen for him, and hence—they believe—he was killed.

10 Awanui-a-Tarawera, another name for Whanganui river.

page 351 Naught but a fierce blowing gale
Could overthrow my lofty Rata tree—
My sheltering Totara, in its beauty,
That stood so straight and tall at Poutama.

Lift up thy voice and praise, O Pare!
At the peak of Rangi-kohua,
This my bird, like unto an ocean bird,
A wild white gannet,
A red-eyed mullet,
Now slain in payment for the many
That fell at Karaka-ura.
Why did thou fail to strike out straight
With uplifted weapon, on Mama's nose?
Of Mama17 indeed! who shall be eaten by whom?
Of Hari, 17 there! who shall be food for Ranga,18
Of Hau', 17 also! who shall be eaten by Oro,19
Of Tiu, 17 again! whom Maene19 shall eat.

Crushing was the stroke that overthrew thee!
That fatal blow upon thy head—
That head that shone in the fore—
In the wild tempest of battle.
Kahu-tuatini shall be the payment,
For my laros, for my loved ones,
That there have been destroyed.

Te Whao was one of the chiefs of Ngati-Mutunga killed at Pāra-rewa, and he was related to Kauhoe, a woman of Ngati-Hine-tuhi hapu of Ngati-Mutunga. She was afterwards the second wife of the celebrated Te Pu-oho of Ngati-Tama, who met his death, near Gore in the South Island, about 1835. Kauhoe composed the following lament for Te Whao and Tupoki. Te Whao's wife, says Rangi-pito, was from Ngati-Hine-uru, and she died of grief for the loss of her husband, who was a very fine, handsome man.

17 All chiefs engaged in the battle of Para-rewa on the Ngati-Mania-poto side.

18 A dog belonging to the composer.

19 Slaves of the composer. Pare was Paro-te-korae, mother of Hau-auru of Ngati-Mania-poto (? Ngati-Hine-uru) and Hari was Hari-Maruru, who defeated Ngati-Tama at Tihi-manuka in 1819.

page 352

Tera te uira hikohiko ana mai,
Hoehoe ake ra nga rahi a Te Whao
I raro Te Hikuwai e—
Ka tika i te ia o Orohue i tai,
Ka ripa ki waho ra e,
Atu-tahi koa, te whetu tarake o te rangi,
Ka kopi te kukume,
Ka hahae Mata-riki e—
Puanga, Tau-toru—
Nana i kukume koutou ki te mate—
Wahia i waenga i te angaanga
O Ngati-Mahuta, nana te wahine,
To kiri piataata kia whakapokia
Ki te ahi manuka e.
Iti toku taina
Me tangi e au i te pou o te whare,
Nau i eke atu i te waka pukatea,
I te waka kohekohe ra. Kuru-tonga-rerewa
Nau i wehe atu te tau i a Kahu—e—
Motaha ki tahaki
Kei te anuanu au i te wai-roro tapu
No Tu-korehu, no Hauauru,
Ka kita aku niho—e—

There was also killed in this battle a somewhat famous chief of Ngati-Toa who was assisting Ngati-Tama, their constant allies and relatives, named Te Matoe, who was the father of Te Kanae and Rawiri Puaha, both men of note at the time Wellington was founded. The following lament was composed by Taka-mai-te-rangi, Matoe's father:—

Ko au, ko tama putea-wananga
Ki te whare korero,
Ma Wai-kapakapa
E hua ake kia tupu.
Hoki ana mai ko te kawa ki au.
E Rangi-aho ka kite ra koe
Kiore kai kiri runga o Para-rewa,
Whakarawakitia ki te puni-o-Tane
He kai to manu iti, he kai ika mounu,
Ho kai ka kuka, ka noa,
Ka whara kei muri,
Kowai au, E te ipo!
Kia whakamau iho te ra hum mai,
Ko Te Matoe i te rangi,
E waiho ana koe i te puni wahine,
Whakainuinumia i roto o Tahere,
Tangi tiere ana te tai o Rau-kura
Haere mai nei koe i te iwi ka ngaro,
Te mate apiti ki tua o te rawhiti.

page 353

The son am I of those whose ancient knowledge
Was taught by priests in the house of learning
(No longer do I interest feel in our ancient lore),
In future shall it be for Wai-kapakapa
To cause the fruits to grow and bear,
Whilst bitterness and sorrow remain for me.
O Rangi-aho! it was thou that saw
Those flesh-eating rats above at Para-rewa,
Who rifled the camp of our braves,
When all, both great and small, were eaten,
Or left as wasted dried-up food, common to all.
Now alas! will they all be forgotten?
Who then am I, O thou beloved!
That fixes my gaze on the setting sun—
Emblematic of Te Matoe in the skies,
Better had'st thou remained in the woman's camp,
To drink of the waters of Tahere,
Breaking are the waves on Rau-kura beach, 1
'Tis surely a message from those now lost,
Another death added to that in the cast,2

1 An one-tapu, or beach used as road near Kawhia.

2 Refers to the death of Te Momo (son of Te Whata-nui, principal chief of Ngati-Rau-kawa) who was killed not long before at Te Roto-a-Tara, Hawke's Bay.