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

Ati-Awa Return to Taranaki, 1823

Ati-Awa Return to Taranaki, 1823.

The Ati-Awa people, who had up to this time been assisting Ngati-Toa in their war against Mua-upoko, now felt that their presence was not so necessary, seeing that Kapiti Island had been secured; they therefore decided to return to their homes. There were other reasons actuating them also; they felt the overbearing conduct of Te Rau-paraha, who merely used them as auxiliaries to secure his own ends, and, moreover, the news had come through that Waikato was preparing another formidable expedition against Taranaki in order to wreak vengeance on the Ati-Awa people, who had defeated them in the battle of Te Motu-nui. Accordingly, Te Puoho and his Ngati-Tama people, Rere-tawhangawhanga and the Manu-korihi people, besides others, returned to their homes at Waitara and other places, leaving only a comparatively few of their tribesmen with Te Rau-paraha, who was thus very much reduced in fighting strength. So far as can be ascertained, they returned to Taranaki early in 1823.

Some of Ngati-Toa, however, still continued to dwell at Ohau, after Te Rau-paraha had removed to Kapiti Island. Nor did Ngati-Toa forget the massacre of Papa-i-tonga, for Mua-opoko were still attacked wherever they could be found, and a great slaughter took place at Pae-kakariki, where the refugees from the former place and Horowhenua had gathered. Here Mua-upoko again suffered a severe defeat, numbers of them being slain; "the conquerors," says Mr. Travers, "remaining in possession of the pa for two months for the purpose of devouring the bodies and stores of provisions found there."

Whilst here, Ngati-Toa were suddenly attacked by a party of Ngati-Kahu-nguru of Wai-rarapa and Ngati-Ira of Port Nicholson; Ngati-Toa suffering a reverse, having to retreat on Wai-kanae.

"This event," says Mr. Travers, "coupled with the threatening attitude assumed by that powerful tribe, and the fact that the Mua-upoko, Rangi-tane, and Ngati-Apx were/again collecting in the vicinity of their former settlements, determined Te Rau-paraha to abandon the mainland and to withdraw the whole of his people to page 394Kapiti until he could obtain the assistance (which he still confidently expected) of his kindred of Taupo and Maunga-tautari (Ngati-Rau-kawa)."