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



Te Rau-paraha and his division of the fleet, which is said to have carried three hundred and forty warriors mostly armed with muskets, proceeded along the coast to Pelorus* Sound, up the beautiful reaches of which they paddled, destroying the unfortunates who fell into their hands, or enslaving them.

The tribe they met with here was Ngati-kuia—an offshoot of Ngati-Apa (of the north shores of Cook's Straits). They take their name from Wai-nui-a-ono, the wife of Koanga-umu, who are said to have come from Hawaiki in the Kura-haupo canoe. Their boundaries were restricted to the Pelorus Valley and Rangi-toto Island. They were great fishermen and bird-hunters, but did little cultivation. At the time of Te Rau-paraha's invasion Pakau-wera and Maihi were the principal chiefs of Hikapu, the headquarters of the tribe. This was a semi-fortified village situated at the junction of the Kenepuru Sound with that of Pelorus. Eruera Wirihana Pakau-wera, who died at

* Named after H.M. Brig "Pelorus," which discovered the Sound in September, 1838. The native name is Te Hoihere.

Ngati-kuia means the "descendants of the old woman"—i.e., Wai-nui-a-ono.

page 425the age of about seventy-eight in the late "nineties," told me that the news of the Ngati-Toa invasion into their peaceful waters was only received at Hikapu a very short time before the fleet was seen approaching, coming on at a very great pace, as the canoes were urged through the water by many hundreds of muscular arms. Ngati-kuia were distracted, and did not know what to do when the cry of "Te Iwi hou e! te iwi hou!"—("The new comers! the new people!") was heard warning all of the approach of the war-party. Ngati-Toa landed and dashed into the village, and commenced slaughtering right and left. The unfortunate inmates had nothing but their native arms to defend themselves with, and were so panic-stricken that they became an easy prey to the invaders. My informant was a child of about eight or ten at the time, and was led away by his father, who managed to make good their escape to the forest. "What are those lights and the smoke we see at the village?" asked the child. His father replied, "That is Ngati-Toa burning your ancestors and our houses!" The boy's mother, Kunari, whom he described—as he saw her some time afterwards—as a most beautiful woman, with long chestnut curls hanging down her back—was taken prisoner by Te Whaka-rau with a large number of other women, and shortly afterwards was married to Apitia (senior) of Ngati-Mutunga of Ati-Awa.*
It is said that the slaughter at Hikapu was very great indeed; it was a massacre pure and simple. Outside the mere desire of manslaying, Te Rau-paraha had the additional motive, so dear to the Maori, of revenging on this people the part they took in the naval

* E. W. Pakau-wera described to me how in after years, when Apitia lived at Rangi-toto Island, he and his father used to visit Kunari, the boy's mother. This was when peace had been made. The following little bit of family history illustrates some features of Maori life in the early nineteenth century:—"Apitia (senior) was of the Ati-Awa tribe of Waitara; he first married Wehe, a woman of the same Taranaki hapu as the well-known chief Kukutai. They had a daughter named Ripeka Te Urunga-pingao and a son Apitia. When Apitia (senior) joined the expedition under Te Rau-paraha he captured and took to wife Kunari, former wife of Pakau-wera of Ngati-kuia. They afterwards lived at Wai-ariki, Te Rimu-rapa (Sinclair's Head, near Wellington), which country fell to Apitia's share at the conquest (1825). It was here that Apitia took Kunari to wife, much to the anger of his first wife Wehe. When Ati-Awa removed to the Chatham Islands in 1835, Apitia went with them, leaving Wehe and her daughter at Wai-ariki, but taking the boy Apitia with him. Shortly after the death of Te Hiko (of Ngati-Toa) at Porirua, Wehe died at Wai-ariki. When Apitia heard of this he returned from the Chatham Islands, and for a time lived with us all at Wai-ariki. Now about Kunari: When Apitia first went to the Chatham's, it was not long after that Kunari had a daughter, who grew up to bo a fine woman. When the tribe of the first wife saw her they bewitched her, and she died. A son was also born to Kunari and Apitia, and he was also killed by makutu (witchcraft). Immediately afterwards Kunari died through the same means, and had not been buried a month before Apitia himself succumbed to the same influence—all on account of his taking a second wife, which is a serious offence amongst us Maoris" (Te Whetu, 1894). There must have been circumstances in this case which differed from the ordinary—probably Wehe, the wahine-matua, or senior wife, was entirely displaced by Kunari; for it was no uncommon thing for a Maori chief to have a dozen wives, one always being the principal one.

page 426attack on Kapiti in 1824, when Whaka-paetai or Wai-o-rua was fought, and also for the assistance that some of them rendered to Ngati-Apa in that same year—for which see ante.