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

Tama-I-Hara-Nui's Death. — 1830

Tama-I-Hara-Nui's Death.

This occurred in November or December, 1830, for Mr. Montefiore, a merchant of Sydney, was trading for flax at Kapiti in December of that year when the " Elizabeth " (Captain Stewart) arrived there from Port Cooper having on board Te Rau-paraha and his party, returning with their prisoner Tama-i-hara-nui, whom they had captured by treachery at Port Cooper. He was handed over to Te Pehi-kupe's relatives and widows, who put him to death in a most barbarous manner.

In 1894 I got the following brief account of Tama-i-hara-nui's death from Mr. Jackson, son of an old whaler and trader, who was at Kapiti when the " Elizabeth " arrived. He was at that time—December, 1830—with a shore-whaling party stationed at Evans' Island—just off the south-east end of Kapiti Island. These people used to visit the " Elizabeth " as she laid at anchor there with the prisoner on board. Tama-i-hara-nui used to complain bitterly against his captors because they had suspended him to a beam on board the vessel by a hook under his chin. The shore-whalers used their best endeavours with Te Rau-paraha to allow them to take the prisoner back to Banks Peninsula, but to no avail. Tama-i-hara-nui offered these men the whole of the Peninsula if they could succeed in saving his life. The prisoner was finally taken ashore to Otaki and tied up to a tree, where the chief persons of Ngati-Toa cut open the unfortunate man's body at the naval, when each taking a part of his entrails, pulled them out, and thus killed him. His wife, Te Whe, was hung up by the heels, her jugular vein cut, and then the widows of Te Pehi drank the blood until she died. The infamous Captain Stewart (who had allowed the ship's coppers to be used for cooking sonic of the prisoners) never got the cargo of flax which had been promised him, for the whalers were all so incensed against him that they formed a plan to take the ship and page 442detain her and her captain until a man-o'-war could be communicated with. Stewart, getting to know of this, cleared out one night and sailed for Sydney. His fate is believed to be unknown; he sailed from Sydney for England via Cape Horn, but was never heard of afterwards.

This story was confirmed to me by another old whaler named Workman, who came to New Zealand in the brig " William Stowell" (Captain Davidson) in 1835, and heard the story then current amongst the whalers at Kapiti.