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

Eke Tataramoa. — 1822

Eke Tataramoa.

The above, which means " the bramble-bush migration," is the name given to the second part of the Ngati-Toa migration—from Urenui to Kapiti. It is so called on account of the difficulties the party encountered on the way, which tho Maoris poetically liken to forcing one's way through the tataramoa, or New Zealand bramble. The whole heke, or migration from Kawhia to Kapiti, is called "Te heke mai raro," or " the migration from the north."

page 384

It would be about the end of February or beginning of March, 1822, that Te Rau-paraha returned to Ure-nui, at which time the kumaras and potatoes would be harvested, which were required to serve the party as provisions on their further journey, though they could not carry a great deal. They would eke out their fare with fern-root and the stores they might plunder on the way, besides the men they might kill.* They possessed potatoes, for it is well known that Ngati-Toa introduced them to the south of the North Island. It was not very long after Te Rau-paraha's return that the party started. The Ngati-Toa would still be about the same number as left Kawhia, but they were joined by a party of Ngati-Tama under Te Puoho, who had found that the constant incursions of Waikato and the losses of his own tribe of late made Pou-tama an unsafe place to live in. But all the tribe did not leave at this time. The fighting Ngati-Tama would be a very welcome addition to Te Rau-paraha's force. There were also a few of the Puke-tapu people under a chief named Te Whaka-paheke, some of Ngati-Mutunga, and some of Ngati-Rahiri—under their chiefs Tu-mokemoke, Te Pa-kai-ahi, Kawe, Kohiwi, and Ngatata; besides a few of Manu-korihi.

The journey before the heke was a long one-—some two hundred and fifty miles—and through an enemy's country all the way. Hampered as the party was by old people, women, and children of all ages, it must have taken them at least a month, traversing the country by the native tracks. Every precaution would have been taken by the wary chief of Ngati-Toa to prevent surprise, and there are indications that they generally moved circumspectly, not unnecessarily embroiling themselves with the inhabitants of the districts they passed through. It is believed the hehe travelled from Waitara by the Whakaahu-rangi, or inland track. This, no doubt, was selected from the fact of there being no inhabitants until the path came out of the forest near the present town of Normanby. The party then passed through the Ngati-Ruanui country to Patea and on to the Nga-Rauru territories without any fighting, so far as is known.

Here, however, some of their troubles commenced. The party occupied the Ihu-puku pa, which is situated on an isolated hill about one-eighth of a mile seaward of the railway bridge over the Wai-totara

* The kumaras used on their lengthy journeys were dried in the sun, and then became somewhat tough and also sweet; they would not carry far in their natural state. This dried kumara was called kao.

Te Puoho did not stay long with To Rau-paraha at Kapiti, but returned to Taranaki with his brother Te Rangi-taka-roro and a party of Ngati-Tama, but joined the second migration (called "Niho-puta") of Ati-Awa to Kapiti. He was eventually killed near Gore, South Island.

page 385river and immediately overlooking the river. Possibly the Nga-Raiiru people had abandoned the place on the approach of such a large party of warriors, dreading—what to them was nothing new—the ruthlessness of a taua on the march. From here a party of five men were sent inland to find the Nga-Rauru people and to try and get some food from them. Some, but not all, of Nga-Rauru were hostile to the visitors, and this party seeking food came upon some of the unfriendly members of the tribe. On meeting, the Ngati-Toa attempted to claim relationship with the local people, saying to them, "Are we not all descendants from Mango who married Hiapoto?"—of Nga-Rauru—"Did not Ruapn-tahanga, the ancestress of many of Ngati-Toa, come from here?" But Nga-Rauru would not acknowledge the relationship or, rather, they found it convenient not to do so just then, for the connection was undoubted, as related in Chapter IX. hereof. Nga-Rauru being many and the Ngati-Toa few, the former set upon their unwelcome visitors, killing Hape, Whatua-te-po, Te Ra-tu-tonu, and another, whilst the fifth emissary escaped by flight to carry the news to Te Rau-paraha. Te Ra-tu-tonu, killed in this affair, was a chief of Nga-Mahanga hapu of Taranaki and the husband of the celebrated Tope-ora, Te Rau-paraha's niece, who, it will be remembered, insisted on haviug Te Ra-tu-tonu as a husband after witnessing his courage in the fight before the pa Tapui-nikau.—See Chapter XI.

That is one story; but Mr. Shand got another version of it as follows:—" Hape and his four companions met the Nga-Rauru people, and the chief of the pa came forward to welcome them, and proceeded to enlarge on his reason for so doing by saying, ' You are descended from Hiapoto, so am I!' To this Hape replied, (I do not know that Hiapoto. Hotu-nui* was my ancestor—a man-eating ancestor.' The Nga-Rauru chief, insulted at the connection being disclaimed, or perhaps glad of an excuse to proceed to strong measures, turning to his people sitting behind him, all armed, exclaimed, 'Rauru, E! e kai /'—('Nga-Rauru! Eat!' A very brief but expressive command fully understood by his fellows.) But the Nga-Rauru chief first of all, however, gave his guests some karaha berries to eat, and whilst they were engaged on their meal the local people fell on them and killed them. A small portion of their bodies was eaten and the rest was found there lying in a pool of blood by their friends when they attacked the pa."

When Ngati-Toa heard of the fate of their emissaries, they were

* Hotu-nui, chief priest of "Tai-nui" canoe and ancestor of Ngati-Toa and many other tribes—a brother of Hotu-roa, the captain of the same canoe.

page 386not long in seeking to avenge them, and the result was that more than one of the Nga-Rauru pas were taken; consequently, the migrants had plenty of provisions for the time. I believe Otihoi was one of the pas taken by Ngati-Toa.

At Wai-totara the migration appropriated several large canoes belonging to the local people, and for the rest of their journey they were enabled to make use of them to convey some of the old people and children. Tamihana Te Rau-paraha—who wrote an account of his father's doings, characterised by many inaccuracies and, perhaps naturally, a suppression of the many evil deeds of his wily father—says at this time Te Rau-paraha had become exceedingly anxious to possess canoes, for he had already conceived the idea of crossing Cook's Straits with a view to conquering the people of the South Island.

From Wai-totara the canoes were sent on to Whanganui, whilst the fighting men went overland. Arrived there, they waited some time, but no fighting with the local people is mentioned, so we may suppose the dread of a repetition of the scenes that occurred on Te Rau-paraha's former visit had induced the people to remove up the "Koura puta roa," or Crayfishes' long hole—a name given to the Whanganui river from the facility it offers to its inhabitants to escape inland by their canoes. Whilst here, the relatives of Pikinga (a chieftainess of the Ngati-Apa tribe of Rangi-tikei) visited that lady, who had been taken prisoner during Tu-whare's and Te Rau-paraha's expedition in 1819-20, and was now Te Rangi-haeata's wife, and was travelling along with the heke. There was diplomacy in this visit, no doubt—Ngati-Apa wished to placate Te Rau-paraha and so save their tribe and lands from devastation. In fact, an agreement had been come to between the Ngati-Apa and the Mua-upoko tribes at a meeting held at Horo-whenua lake, called together by Tohe-riri of the latter tribe as soon as they heard of Te Rau-paraha's arrival at Wai-totara, at which it was decided that overtures should be made to Ngati-Toa to the effect that they should join Mua-upoko and Ngati-Apa, and all live in peace, noho Maori noa iho. This was agreed to by the assembled people, and then two messengers—Te Hakeke and Warakiki—were despatched to meet Te Rau-paraha at Whanganui and make this offer. The wily Ngati-Toa chief agreed to this proposal—no doubt with mental reservations, for, as we shall see, the arrangement was very soon broken. Now Ngati-Apa, Mua-upoko, and Whanganui are connected ancestrally and by constant inter-marriage, and it was on hearing of the above proposal that Topia Turoa, a principal chief of Whanganui, refrained from attacking Te Rau-paraha when at Whanganui.

page 387

The migration now moved on to Rangi-tikei river,* the two emissaries accompanying them, and by them Ngati-Toa were taken up the river to Te Awa-mate to see Ngati-Apa living there, and with them they stayed some little time. The party then moved on to Te Wharangi, at Manawa-tu river, and here Te Rau-paraha attacked some of the Rangi-tane people and killed several, amongst them a woman of Mua-upoko named Waimai. This greatly incensed the Mua-upoko people, as it was a breach of the arrangement so recently made. A meeting was called at Horo-whenua lake to consider the position, and (apparently) a decision was come to as to the course to be pursued. In the meantime Tohe-riri of Mua-upoko retired to Papa-i-tonga lake, where there are several little islands, partly artificial, used as pas at that time by the Mua-upoko people. From here a messenger was despatched to Ngati-Toa inviting them to come on and settle at Wai-kawa (seven miles north of Otaki), which river at that time had one mouth with the Ohau. So the heke came on and settled down at a bend in the Wai-kawa river, just above Te Kotahi, which is still known as the pa of Te Rau-paraha.

After a time Te Warakihi (one of the emissaries above mentioned) came over from Papa-i-tonga lake to Te Rau-paraha's camp, where he told the latter that he had heard the Mua-opoko people saying that a decision had been come to—Me patu a Te Rau-paraha—Te Rau-paraha must be killed. Presumably, this was the decision come to at the Horo-whenua meeting, and all that follows is the working out of that scheme. Te Rau-paraha asked whether there were any canoes on Lake Papa-i-tonga. "Yes," said Warakihi, "there are." Then said Te Rau-paraha, "Mahu ena waka."—("Those canoes shall be mine.") After this, Te Warakihi returned to Papa-i-tonga and reported the conversation to Tohe-riri. " He shall have the canoes," said the latter, and sent off Te Warakihi to tell Te Rau-paraha of his decision.

* For most of what follows I am indebted to Mr. Elsdon Best's notes, gathered from the Mua-upoko people.