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

First Migiiation of Ngati-Rau-Kawa. — Te Rua-Maiouo's Defeat. — (? 1824 or 1825.)

First Migiiation of Ngati-Rau-Kawa.
Te Rua-Maiouo's Defeat.
(? 1824 or 1825.)

The result of Te Rau-paraha's visit to the Ngati-Rau-kawa tribe in 1822, to try and obtain their assistance in settling the Cook's Straits country, was to be achieved at last. But the tribe was unwilling to leave the homes they had occupied so long, and apparently did not entirely believe in placing themselves so much under Te Rau-paraha's mana.

Hence it was that they first attempted to conquer the Hawkes Bay country with a view to settling there. The pressure of Ngati-Haua, Ngati-Paoa, and other tribes on their northern frontiers, which tribes were fast acquiring muskets from vessels visiting the Thames, Tauranga, etc., and the old enmity' existing with Waikato, were all reasons why some move should be made. The tribe, in their attempt on Hawkes Bay, had been defeated at Pukenoanoa, and Te Momo (son of Te Whata-nui, principal chief of Ngati-Rau-kawa) had been killed at Te Roto-a-Tara. These causes combining seem again to have turned Ngati-Rau-kawa's thoughts towards joining Te Rau-paraha in the south. What the immediate causes of Te Rua-maioro's departure from the land of his fathers were, are not certain, for the information I have to trust to is very meagre. And as to the date, Mr. Travers' statement to the effect that part of the migration came down with the "Heke-niho-puta" is the most precise I know of. If this is right, then Rua-maioro must have left Maunga-tautari some time in 1824.

For most of what follows I am indebted to a book belonging to Hakiaha Tawhao of the Ngati-Haua tribe of Upper Whanganui, obtained through the kindness of District Surveyor H. M. Skeet.

Hakiaha says, "The migration of Ngati-Rau-kawa, on its way to Otaki to join To Rau-paraha, started from Maunga-tautari. The reason of this heke was on account of a fight which had taken place between Ngati-Mania-poto and Ngati-Rau-kawa, when Rangi-tahi was taken (? the name of a. pa). This party of Ngati-Rau-kawa, under Te Rua-maioro, then migrated, going by way of Lake Taupo, where they attacked and took the island pa of Motu-o-puhi, in Roto-a-Ira page 403Lake, and there slaughtered a great many people, amongst whom was Whare-rangi, father of Matu-aha.*

From Te Roto-a-Ira, Rua-maiore and his party crossed the country through the forest to Makokoti pa, situated at the junction of the Rere-taruke with the Whanganui river. This pa belonged to Topine-Te-Mamaku of Ngati-Haua, and the reason of Ngati-Rau-kawa coming to attack that pa was because, on a former occasion, Topine had killed two people of Ngati-Rau-kawa named Hiki-tangi and Heke-a-wai. Whilst they were attacking this pa the migration was joined by some of the local people under Ngaru-piki and Parata, who thus turned against their own tribe. The invaders in their turn were attacked by eight hundred of the Whanganui tribes and driven from Makokoti. Te Rua-maioro retreated to Te Whara-riki, whilst Te Ngaru-piki proceeded up the Ohura river to bring down a further division of Ngati-Rau-kawa, but (apparently) before help arrived Te Rua-maioro was attacked at Te Whara-riki by the Whanganui people under Ha-marama (who had killed the Ngati-Whatua chief Tu-whare —see ante) and Te Pehi, and were defeated, Te Rua-maioro himself being killed. The tana of Whanganui now went to meet those of Ngati-Rau-kawa who were coming down the Ohura, and on meeting they defeated them, with the loss of one of the enemy's chiefs, Te Tahi, killed, whilst two other men of note—Rangiau-kaka and Ngai-turu—were taken prisoners. Ngaru-piki (who had turned against his own tribe) was saved by Te Anaua of Whanganui." Hakiaha's account breaks off here, as the further proceedings of the defeated Ngati-Rau-kawa had nothing to do with the matter he was describing. But the remainder surviving after these fights were saved by Te Kotuku (a Whanganui chief), and made their way from Ohura, probably down the Whanganui river, and joined the Ati-Awa people in the "Heke-niho-puta." The chiefs of this Ngati-Rau-kawa migration were Te Rua-maioro, Te Mahunga, Te Paheka (all killed), Mahoro, Te Whare, Te Puke, Te Ao, Rourou-ao, and Tupaea. The hapus engaged in it were Ngati-Waiu-rehea and Ngati-Rangi. On the arrival of these people in the south, they first lived at Kapiti with Ngati-Toa, but some time after and when vessels began to frequent that island, they removed to the mainland in order to be near the flax swamps, where the)' engaged in dressing that material to exchange for muskets.

After the defeat and death of Te Rua-maioro, his head was cut off page 404and preserved in tho usual manner, and then taken to one of the Whanganui pas and stuck up on a turuturu, or rod. Whilst there Te Rua-maioro's wife, whose life had been saved by Whanganui, came into the marae of the pa and there, unexpectedly, found herself confronted with her dead husband's head. The poor thing sat down beforo it and bewailed her loss in a lament, which is still sung by her people.

* The Ngati-Maru tribe of the Thames were principally concerned in this fight, which was a very disastrous one for the Ngati-Tu-whare-toa tribe.