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

Horo-Whenua. — 1823 (?)

1823 (?)

The massacre at Te Wi described above determined Ngati-Toa to put an end to danger from that quarter by exterminating the Mua-upoko people, who, at that time, were a somewhat numerous tribe, but armed only with native weapons. To this end the unfortunate people were hunted down wherever the better armed Ngati-Toa came across them. This went on for some time; how long, it is difficult to say, but not less than six months. At last the Mua-upoko were so harried in the settlements round about the Lakes Papa-i-tonga and Horo-whenua that they speedily collected at the latter lake and took refuge on several little islands—some of which had been artificially increased in size to make them suitable for erecting houses on. Here the Mua-upoko had several pas, all strongly palisaded, but the islands being low and very flat they were not adapted for the usual terraced form of pa customary with the Maori. The lake at that time was nearly surrounded with woods, so there would be little difficulty in floating heavy timbers across to build palisades; and its waters teemed with eels, making these islands desirable places of defence against any body of men armed only with native weapons.

I have very few particulars in my notes about the attack made on Horo-whenua by Ngati-Toa and their Ati-Awa allies, and will therefore quote from Mr. Travers' account (already referred to). "Finding themselves unable to check these attacks the Mua-upoko took refuge in lake pas, which, however, the Ngati-Toa determined to attack. Their first attempt was on that named Wai-pata, and having no canoes page 391they swam out to it and succeeded in taking it, slaughtering many of the defenders, though the greater number escaped in their canoes to a larger pa on the same lake, named Wai-kiekie. This pa was occupied in such force by the enemy that the party which had taken Wai-pata felt themselves too weak to assault it, and therefore returned to Ohau for reinforcements."

"Having gained the necessary assistance they again proceeded to Horo-whenua and attacked "Wai-kiekie, using a number of canoes which they had taken at Wai-pata for the purpose of crossing the lake. After a desperate but vain resistance they took the pa, slaughtering nearly two hundred of the inhabitants, including women and children; the remainder escaping in their canoes and eventually making their way through the forest ranges to Pae-kakariki, where they ultimately settled (for a time). In the course of these attacks a number of the leading Mua-upoko chiefs were taken prisoners, all of whom except Eatu (? Te Raki), who became the slave of Te Pehi, were killed, and their bodies, as well as those taken in the assault, duly devoured."*

The following account was obtained by Mr. Best from the local people:—"The Mua-upoko now assembled at Horo-whenua and occupied the six inland pas of the lake, which are named Wai-pata and Puke-iti, at the south end of the lake; Wai-kiekie and Te Roha-o-te-kawau at the north end, opposite where the Horo-whenua stream runs out; and Te Namu-iti and Karapu in other parts. When the tana of Ngati-Toa came on to the attack, part of them proceeded by-land, whilst others followed along the coast parallel to them in canoes. The canoes were then hauled up the Horo-whenua stream and so into the lake. Directly the Mua-upoko saw the canoes some of them knew their case was hopeless, and crowded into Wai-kiekie pa, whilst the women and children were hastily embarked in some of their own canoes and despatched to the forests on the east shore of the lake, away from the side where Ngati-Toa were, hoping they might effect their escape. But the Ngati-Toa canoes gave chase and several of the fugitive women and children were captured and enslaved. Te Bau-paraha's canoe was named 'Tu-whare' (after his old comrade in the 1819-20 raid). The canoes of Te Papaka (Ngati-pariri) and of Te Hau-iti (Ngati-Hine)—both hapus of Mua-upoko—were captured, as was the chief Te Raki, whilst] Oti, Te Kotuku, Bangi-hiwi-nui, and Tanguru escaped." "After the taking of the pas (as described by Mr. Travers) the Ngati-Toa returned to Wai-kawa, and a few days afterwards came back to the lake to attack Puke-iti and Wai-pata; page 392and here they succeeded in capturing two more canoes full of women and children. After the massacre of all the people left in the pas, those of Mua-upoko who escaped fled to Pae-kakariki and the hills behind Wai-kanae."

It was somewhere about the beginning of 1823 that the Horo-whenua Lake pas were taken. Amongst the Mua-upoko people in the pas were some of the Ngati-kuia people of Pelorus Sound, South Island (whom Mr. Travers refers to in other parts of his narrative as Ngati-Huia, a quite different people, a hapu of Ngati-Rau-kawa). This was the Ngati—"Rongo-mai hapu of Ngati-kuia under their chiefs Pakau-era and his brother Maiki, who, according to the grandson of the former, were both great toas or braves, Rnd fought bravely against Ngati-Toa at Horo-whenua, which gave rise to the following saying in regard to them: —

Tataia mai to rakau a Te Rau-paraha
Na Pakau-era raua ko Maihi.

Stricken was the weapon of Te Rau-paraha
By Pakau-era and Maihi.

These men escaped and afterwards crossed the Straits to their homes in the Pelorus Sound, South Island.

* Awa-mate was another of the Mua-upoko pas taken at Horo-whenua.