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

The Massacre at Papa-i-Tonga. — 1822

The Massacre at Papa-i-Tonga.

There are several accounts of the massacre of Te Rau-paraha's people at Papa-i-tonga, which little lake lies on the north side of the Ohau river, where Te Rau-paraha had settled down and not far from the sea. Sir W. L. Buller in "Transactions Now Zealand Institute," Vol. XXVI, p. 572, supplies one of the best accounts as dictated to him by a Ngati-Raukawa man (now) of those parts; but it makes page 388the mistake of placing the Wai-o-rua fight before the massacre at Papa-i-tonga. Mr. W. T. L. Travers, in Vol. V. of the same publication, in his life of Te Rau-paraha, also describes the incidents—as does Te Rau-paraha's son in Yol. VI. of Mr. John White's "Ancient History of the Maori," from which, indeed, a great deal of Mr. Traver's information is derived—errors and all. But Tamihana Te Rau-paraha has to be read with caution; he is often wrong, and is contradicted over and over again by information obtained by Mr, Shand, Mr. Best, and myself, which was mostly derived from the old men who took part in these scones. This account generally follows this latter information

An invitation was now sent by Tohe-riri and his people to Te Rau-paraha to come over and partake of a feast of eels, for which these parts are celebrated. The Mua-upoko, in the meantime, had collected in numbers at a place called Te Wi—lying between Papa-i-tonga and Te Rau-awa (Mr. John Kebble's homestead). Te Rangi-haeata (Te Rau-paraha's nephew) appears to have had doubts of the intentions of the Mua-upoko people, but he endeavoured in vain to reason the latter chief out of his determination to go. Nor would Te Rau-paraha take more than twenty of his people with him, mostly relatives, amongst them some of his daughters. The guests were welcomed by Mua-upoko, amongst whom were the chiefs Tohe-riri, Te Rangi-hiwi-nui (probably a relative of Major Keopa Te Rangi-hiwi-nui, our loyal alley in the Maori war), and Tanguru (the Major's father). After the feast the guests were distributed in several houses, Te Rau-paraha occupying the same one with Tohe-riri. During the night the Mua-upoko assembled, many coming over from Papa-i-tonga, all ready to commence the massacre of their guests. They were all armed with their native weapons for no muskets had reached them at that time. Ngati-Toa do not appear to have had guns either. At the first noise of the people surrounding the houses, Tohe-riri arose and went out of the house. From what follows he appears to have had some scruples at the last about the justification for this treachery. This roused Te Rau-paraha, and just at that moment the voice of Takare was heard shouting out, "E Raha! ka whati to kaki!"—("O Raha! your neck will be broken!") Seeing the front of the house crowded with people, Te Rau-paraha went to the far corner, and, it being a raupo house, he managed to make an opening and thus got outside, and rushed away to the stream, whore he found Te Ra-ka-herea (a connection of his—a son of Te Poa's) with a spear sticking in his back. The two of them now made off the best they could, "Me te loeka ka motu i te mahanga"—(" Like a weka escaped from the snare ") and finally reached their camp at Ohau. But it fared differently with the others; when the attack commenced page 389they were all asleep, and it was only when Nga-rangi of Mua-upoko shouted out to Tohe-riri, "ETohe E! e! ho to hoa/"("O Toho! look after your companion!") that they roused themselves and rushed out of the house, where a hand to hand encounter took place. But Mua-upoko were too many for them, and they were soon nearly all killed. Te Rangi-hounga-riri, a young man who was Te Rau-paraha's son by his first wife, Marore, was escaping and would have got away, when he heard his sister Te Uira call out to him that she was being murdered. He turned back, and after killing two men was himself knocked on the head. Te Uira's husband, Te Poa, had been killed just before. She herself was killed by Warakihi. In addition to those mentioned above, Poaka, another daughter of Te Eau-paraha's, was killed, whilst Hononga, also his daughter, was taken prisoner. Taiko was another killed there.

Tohe-riri, it is said, was angry that the attack had been made, for what reason is not clear. He, with his particular hapu, soon afterward left the west coast and went to Wai-rarapa, where he remained two years, and then came back to Papa-i-tonga and was eventually killed with great barbarity.

The Mua-upoko, though no doubt elated at thus punishing Te Rau-paraha for the death of their kinswoman Waimai at Manawa-tu, perhaps did not foresee the consequences to themselves of this treacherous act. Te Eau-paraha was not the sort of man to allow such a blow to fall on him without exacting utu to the utmost, and in the end Mua-upoko paid dearly for their deeds that night.

Te Rau-paraha lamented his daughter Te Uira as follows:—

Takoto raai E Hine!
I roto Horo-whenua
Kia kai whakawai
Te wahine kiri pango,
Ko te manuare ano
I riro i a koe
Tenei ano te ruru-kai-kiore,
Te kawau horo ika,
Te takupu matakana,
Te Wehi—o—te—whenua—e—i.

Lie thee there, O Lady!
Within at Horo-whenua
'Twas through foul treachery
Of the black-skinned woman,
And rank foolishness
That thou possessed.
Still lives the rat-eating owl1
The fish-eating cormorant2
The fierce-eyed gannet3
The dread of the land4
(To avenge thy loss).

This is not a very elegant effusion for so great an event, but Te Rau-paraha was a diplomatist rather than a poet. Had his niece, Topeora, taken up her muse, the occasion was one which would have page 390given full scope to her great powers of poetic vituperation, but nothing of the kind has been preserved unless, indeed, the following of hers refers to this event:—

Kia kaha E Tipi te hapai patu,
Kia riro mai taku kai,
Ko Tan gam e tuoho nei,
Te rau hoko-whitu o Mua-upoko,
E kai, E Roku! i te roro piro
O Te Rangi-hiwi-nui,
Te kai o te tuna
O tona whenua.

With mighty blows, o Tipi!
Thy war-like weapon uplift,
And hither bring for rae to eat,
Tangaru, who in dejection rests
With the remaining hundred and forty
Of Mua-upoko's diminished strength,
And thou, 0 Roku! thou shalt feast
On the rotten, stinking brains
Of Te Rangi-hiwi-nui, Who is only fit for food, Of the eels of his own land.

So far as can be made out from the Native accounts this massacre took place in the spring of 1822.

1 Terras applied by the composer to himself and expressive of his determination to avenge his daughter's death. Manuare. = kuave.

2 Terras applied by the composer to himself and expressive of his determination to avenge his daughter's death. Manuare. = kuave.

3 Terras applied by the composer to himself and expressive of his determination to avenge his daughter's death. Manuare. = kuave.

4 Terras applied by the composer to himself and expressive of his determination to avenge his daughter's death. Manuare. = kuave.