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

Kiki-Whenua and Maru. — 1826

Kiki-Whenua and Maru.

The song of Ngatata had the desired effect of rousing Waikato, who probably thought it also a good opportunity of wiping out some of the scores they had against the southern tribes. Te Awa-i-taia says (A.H.M., Vol. VI., p. 4) not a hapu of Waikato remained behind. There are said to have been four thousand warriors in the ope. This large party was under the principal leadership of Te Pae-tahuna, Te Kanawa (of Waikato), Te Waharoa (of Ngati-Haua), Kaihau (of page 415Ngati-Te-Ata), Tarapipipi (of Ngati-Haua), Te Awa-i-taia (of Ngati-Tahinga, Waikato), and Te Kohu-wai—who was subsequently killed by Te Kongutu-awa (of Taranaki) at Kapuni river, near Orangi-tua-peka. As they came through Northern Taranaki they were joined by some of Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Mutunga (of Ure-nui). They stayed a while at Manu-korihi, Waitara. and whilst here Te Awa-i-taia and all his tribe (the Ngati-Tahinga of Raglan) dug a pit in the earth and placed in it a canister of powder and one hundred ballets, by which action they intended to lay claim to the country. Thence they went on to Puke-tapu, where Te Manu-tohe-roa joined them. Rangipito says that Waikato attacked Ati-Awa at Puke-tapu, but I can conceive no reason for this, especially as it was some of the Puke-tapu hapus who had assisted Waikato at the siege of Puke-rangi-ora in 1821. At Nga-motu, Raua-ki-tua, Tau-tara, Te Whare-pouri, and Titoko joined the Waikato forces, and then the whole party went on to the Taranaki territories to O-komako-rau, where in a fight the Taranaki people were defeated. The Taranaki people call this fight "Kiki-whenua" —it is near Pungarehu—and say that they inflicted heavy loss on Waikato and Ati-Awa, but the strength of the invaders was too much for them, and they had to flee to the forests and secret hiding places at the base of Mount Egmont and the gorges of the Okahu river. Te Kahui of Taranaki says: "But long ere the forces of Waikato had appeared in the district, the news had spread that such a war-party was coming, and the various hapus of Taranaki centering round Cape Egmont —from the Korn pa (on the Oakura river) to Papaka-ka-tiro (at the mouth of the Punehu river, two miles south of Opunake, near Pihama) —had agreed to retire to Maru, at the base of the mountain, aud there provide a place of safety for the women and children. The Ngati-Haupoto hapu was appointed to decide upon the place, and when this was done the other hapus, as follows, proceeded thither: Ngati-Haupoto, Ngati-Rangi, and Ngati-Tama-kumu under Mouri-o-rangi, Porora-iti, Rakei-moko, Pu-ki-waho, and Tu-tahau, who occupied Ahu-kawakawa; Ngati-Tama-kumu were under Rua-te-whatawhata*; Ngati-whare under Tutere and Kere-papaka, who also occupied Ahu-kawakawa, Te Onehahau, and Pakihere; Ngati-Hine hapu under Iwi-maire and Tama-rapa; the Ngati-Rongo, Ngati-kura, and Ngati-Tama-iwi hapus occupied Whatitiri-nui and Pakihere; others occupied Ahi-titi, Te Kaha-roa, Puke-kokako, Ahi-tutuku-rua, and Nga-koaoao. A specially secret and secure place called Te Puna-o-okahu was selected as a retreat for the women and children when the time came. This place was situated

* Taimona was his later name.

page 416in the deep gorges of the Okahu stream, on the slopes of Mount Egmont. Houses were erected and bush felled to start cultivations. One old man of Ngati-Tu-heke-rangi, named Te Ao-moko, together with Taimona, took up their abode far up the mountain. The name Maru was given to this series of settlements because of the shelter (maru) they afforded to the tribes in their time of trouble. It was after Kiki-whenua the places were occupied by the men, and this latter name was derived from a word used in a matakite, or vision, of one of the Waikato tohungas, who therein saw, and afterwards declared, the fall of the Taranaki people when the battle should take place and the subsequent flight of the people to a place of safety."
"This people of Taranaki all gathered at Maru on the news of the advance of Waikato armed with guns, which they had obtained from the Nga-Puhi together with other European property. When our people were attacked at Maru, Taranaki was badly beaten; how could it be otherwise? How could our native weapons approach near enough to be effective against the guns? What could the pou-whenua, the tai-aha, the tewhatewha, the koikoi, the kurutai, the mere-pounamu, or other Maori weapons do against muskets? Hence great were the losses of Taranaki; many were killed, many taken prisoners and made slaves of and taken back to Waikato.* Our people thought that in thus assembling at the base of Mount Egmont and in our forest hiding places that we should escape death, but the guns were too much for us and great were our losses. Had it been as of yore when all fought with native weapons, Waikato would have been defeated; we should have cut them off in detail as they wandered by unknown paths in the forest between the Punga-ereere and Okahu, with which they were unacquainted, though intimately known to us. But by aid of the fear instilled by the muskets they discovered our unprotected paths and secret places, so that probably not more than fifty men of Waikato were killed by our people, whilst the guns did their work so effectually that our people were opehia taewatia (gathered up as crops of potatoes are in the cultivations). Some of Waikato were not armed with guns, and these occupied themselves in chasing our people in the forest to catch them for slaves—that is, those who were sufficiently fleet of foot to do so. Sometimes one hundred or less were caught together in this manner. Thus it was that the Taranaki people were enslaved—men, women, and children; only those who were sufficiently fleet managed to escape to the gorges and fastnesses of Okahu, from whence, after a time, many fled southward to Oao-iti and Oao-nui,

* We shall see one of the results of this slavery at the taking of Puke-rangi-ora in 1832.

page 417subsequently assembling at Rimu-piko (a very fine old pa, situated in a bend of the Wai-au river, within the township of Opunake). From here, not very long after, the majority migrated to Kapiti and Port Nicholson, for the fear of Waikato was great. A few remained at Te Namu, and in after years there defeated Waikato. Some hid themselves in the secret places of the upper waters of the rivers on the slopes of Mount Egmont.

"Waikato were many days hunting our people, and at last finding that no more were to be found retired to the coast, and thence back to their own country, taking with them numberless prisoners. Waikato did not proceed further south on this occasion."

Te Awa-i-taia, however, who was with the Waikatos, says (A.H.M., Vol. VI., p. 5) after the occurrences at Maru that the remnant of Taranaki fled to O-rangi-tuapeka and Wax-mate pas (three miles south-east of the town of Manaia, on the coast), which were taken by Waikato, after which they went in pursuit of Te Hana-taua of Ngati-Rua-nui (by whose advice Te Karawa had been killed—an incident that gave rise to this expedition of Waikato and Ati-Awa). But they did not succeed in catching him. The party then went on to Wai-totara and fell upon the people there, many of whom were killed, whilst Waikato lost Tupuna, Te-Uru-korari, and Te Ahiahi. This avenged the death of Te Karawa, nephew of Raua-ki-tua, and after that Waikato returned to their homes. This is corroborated by Wi Karewa of Ati-Awa, who says that Waikato took O-rangi-tuapeka on this occasion, and Ngati-Rua-nui lost the chiefs Te Pewa and Te Ahuru. W. Karewa adds, "One of the principal chiefs of Puke-tapu hapu named Te Huia was with the Ati-Awa contingent, and when they reached the Ngati-Rua-nui country a battle was fought out in the open, where Te Huia distinguished himself by killing two of the enemy. He was without any arms, but seized and killed these men with his hands and then shouted, 'Ko te tangata o te ringa maui'—('The work of the left-handed man.') Hence was the death of Te Karawa avenged."

Te Kahui continues, "When the Waikato forces reached their homes, the chief women of Taranaki were taken to wife by the chiefs of Waikato. Hence originated two classes of descendants—those born of free women (Waikato) and those born of the slave women of Taranaki—who were thus tutuas, or common people—i.e., of no consequence. Some of the men slaves also formed connection with the Waikato women; some even went to Nga-Puhi and there formed connections, both men and women. Here, again, another feature was developed; the enslaved women were given to the Europeans that came there in the whale-ships in exchange for guns, powder, balls, etc. The favours of others again were sold by page 418their masters for pots, tobacco, biscuits, etc.—some of the girls were even given to niggers who were on board the ships at the same price as the others. Hence there sprung up another description of people in New Zealand, the half-caste, making three—i.e., Maoris, half-caste Europeans, and half-caste Negroes.* But it was not the slave women alone who were thus treated, for the free women of Nga-Puhi and Waikato were also sold to the Europeans of the ships in the strong desire to possess the foreigners' goods. Guns, pots, biscuits, tobacco, etc., were the inducements to these connections, so that the tribes might possess weapons to use against others. Thus Hakirau (Love) and Tiki Parete (R. Barrett) of Nga-Motu, who had wives from the Ati-Awa women, supplied that tribe with guns, and from the same source Taranaki obtained some muskets in later years, prepared flax being the payment. Hence came the musket of Wiremu Kingi Matakatea, which he used in the defence of Te Namu in 1834. Those of Taranaki who migrated to Kapiti and Port Nicholson acted in the same manner, and from the connection of the women with Europeans our people became possessed of guns and half-castes. Hence were they able to cope with Ngati-Kahu-ngunu.

"It was in after years, after Wiremu Kingi Matakatea had defeated Waikato at To Namu (in 1834), that our people came back after exile at Port Nicholson and Kapiti, and each family again occupied its own lands."

During this campaign Tama-whero of Ngati-Rua-nui was killed by some of the Ati-Awa and in revenge for the death of Te Karawa; his rape also was brought back and placed on the eel wiers—a great insult.

The migration of Ngati-Haumia and nearly all the other hapus of Taranaki to Kapiti, or rather to the coasts adjacent to that island, and Port Nicholson, occurred not very long after the return of Waikato to their own country. It was probably in 1827. But a small band of one hundred and twenty warriors and their families determined to remain at their homes, and they took up their residence in Te Namu pa, a very

* It must not be supposed from Te Kahui's remarks that the Negro element in the Maori population is great—on the contrary it is only seen very rarely. Perhaps there are more half-caste Maori-Negroes in the Taranaki tribe than elsewhere. But these are nearly all the descendants of old Black Davis, who lived at Oakura in the early fifties of last century (and probably long before). This old fellow, who was as black as soot, used to say that he was the first white man! who ever visited Kawhia. As a rule the Maoris have a dislike to Negroes and ridicule their black colour, so different to the light brown colour of their own skins.

Te Kahui, in referring to the offspring of sailors and Maori women, used to call them utu-pihikete—paid for with biscuits!

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Plate No. 14.Maru Hill, on slopes of Mt. Egmont.

Plate No. 14.
Maru Hill, on slopes of Mt. Egmont.

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Plate No. 15.Miko-tahi Island and pa,. Motu-roa Island beyond.

Plate No. 15.
Miko-tahi Island and pa,. Motu-roa Island beyond.

page 419strong place about a mile west of Opunalce township, on the coast. Wiremu Kingi Matakatea (or Moki) was their chief; and here they remained many years, as we shall see later on. They said they preferred to die on their own lands rather than in a strange country, though Paku-ahi, a chief of Taranaki, was most urgent that they should accompany the migration.

Te Kahui, in his account of the slaves taken back to Waikato, states that some of them went (or were sold) to Nga-Puhi. The "Missionary Record" often refers to these slaves, and I remember myself seeing several in Kaipara in 1859. At this time they were treated kindly, but it was not always so, as the following extract from Rev. Mr. Hamlin's Journal, whilst at Manga-pouri (on the Waipa), 24th September, 1836, will show—see "Church Missionary Record," 1836, p. 239. "Tidings of a dreadful murder which was committed within a mile of this place about an hour before I arrived. The murdered man was a slave from Taranaki; he lately met his wife who has been recently brought from that place a captive, but the property of another master. Love to the partner of his bosom and false hopes of being able to escape home inclined them both to take to the bush, where they were found this morning—not by their proper master but by another native, who immediately brought his piece, and in spite of the heart-touching appeal, `Aua au e kohurutia'—('Don't murder me') and in the presence of his wife, sister, and father-in-law of the deceased, this ruthless brother of Cain fired a ball through the body of the unhappy man, who fell dead at his feet."

Since the account of the incidents at Maru printed above, I have had the opportunity of visiting the slopes of Mount Egmont, where that and other places are situated. Plate No. 14 shows the site of the Maru settlement, which was on the rounded hill on the right of the picture; Pakihere is a little further to the right, across the Okahu Gorge, which is here nearly five hundred feet deep, with perpendicular cliffs falling directly from Pakihere. When the Waikatos took both Maru and Pakihere they descended on to them by the spurs of Mount Egmont (indistinctly seen in the picture through the mist). Te Ahu-kawakawa is the name of the swamp lying between Mount Egmont and the Pou-a-kai Ranges, the drainage of which forms Bell's Falls, or Te Rere-a-Tahurangi—named by Tahurangi, who first ascended Mount Egmont, as related in Chapter IX. Puke-kokako lies to the south-west of Pakihere, and the other places mentioned a few pages back in connection with Maru are all in this neighbourhood, page 420and all are at an elevation of some three thousand to four thousand feet above the sea. It is a broken forest-clad country, very picturesque, with the noble peak of Mount Egmont forming the back-ground. On some of the flat spurs the Maoris grew both kumara and taro. The site of Te Kahui Mountain House (from which the photo No. 14 was taken) was cultivated at the time of Maru. The people who first owned and lived in this country were the Ngati-Kaikaka tribe—probably a branch of the Kahui-maunga aboriginal tribes. They wero exterminated by the Taranaki tribe.