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

Nga-Puhi Attack Puke-Whakamabu. 1822

Nga-Puhi Attack Puke-Whakamabu. 1822.

Whilst Te Rau-paraha was absent trying to persuade his kinsmen to join him—in which he eventually succeeded so far as Ngati-Raukawa was concerned, but not until some time after—events were occurring on the west coast, particulars of which are supplied by Watene Taungatara.

Before the battle of Para-rewa, and probably with the northern expedition of 1819-1820 already described, Tu-kawe-riri, a chief of Ngati-Mutunga, had made a visit to the Nga-Puhi country for the purpose of obtaining some guns. But before he went, he sang a song to his people; which has been handed down to his descendants, in which he expresses his sentiments in the obscure manner so common to Songs of that nature, and which the Maoris think so much of—they knowing all the references which we do not, unless explained. It will be remembered that this chief, Tu-kawo-riri, was killed at Para-rewa, The following is his song:—

E muri ahiahi, takoto ki te moenga,
Nuku mai e Waero kia moe taua,
Karia e waiho i te whare huri ai,
He whakaaro ake he waka kei te pine,
Tokona te tinana ki nuku o tc "whenua.
A iri ana i te kei o te waka,
Nou, na, E Paka! hei kawe i a au,
Nga tai huri atu ko Hokianga i raro,
Aru tomokia to wharc o Mau-whane,
He moe po naku e hapai ana ahau,
Ka urapa pu ki runga ki aku ringa
Iti toku iti, ka haere aku rongo,
Te rei a Taoho, te tai ki a Hongi,
He koha korero kei hoki mai hoki au,
Whiua tc aroha ki te iwi o takoto-—o—

page 383

When Tu-kawe-riri returned from his northern visit, there came with him, or shortly after, a distinguished party of Nga-Puhi chiefs from Hokianga on a visit to Ngati-Mutunga, together with a large party of their people. The chiefs wore Moetara, Heketoro, Mahu, and Tapuru. This was a visit of ceremony and friendship, and the visitors were well received by the Ngati-Mutunga people of Te Kaweka, Okoki, and Puke-whakamaru. But Tu-kawe-riri himself, meeting Tu-poki and his war-party on their way north to attack Ngati-Mania-poto, joined them and fell at Pāra-rewa, as has been stated.

Whilst this party was at Ure-nui, there arrived from the north another party of Nga-Puhi under the Hokianga chief Pi (who was afterwards shot in an engagement at Otuihu, near Russell, Bay of Islands, in 1830). The most of Ngati-Mutunga were living in the Puke-whakamaru pa at this time, together with Te Rau-paraha's tribe, Ngati-Toa. The usual welcome, or pohiri, was accorded to the Nga-Puhi party, and they then entered the pa, where the elders on each side made the usual friendly speeches. The burden of the Nga-Puhi speeches, as related by Watene, were, "E Mara ma! tenei c haere nei; he pai! He pai, E Mara ma!"—(" 0 Sirs! this coming of ours is in friendship. It is good, 0 Sirs!") This party stayed one night at Puke-whakamaru, and the next day they moved on to the Waitara liver. That same night Nga-Puhi returned on their tracks to Puke-whakamaru, which place they captured by a sudden assault, and took prisoners several women and children, but all the men without exception effected their escape. The other Nga-Puhi party was in the pa at the time, and it returned north with Pi and his party very shortly after this affair. Watene says, " Te Ati-Awa did not feel evil towards Nga-Puhi on account of their deceit but continued to entertain Moetara and his people until their return."

This act of treachery on the part of Pi and his party remains unexplained to this day, equally with the forbearance of Ngati-Mutunga in not avenging it. " This event occurred in 1822.