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

The here, or Migration, Called "Tama-Te-Uaua."1832

The here, or Migration, Called "Tama-Te-Uaua."1832.

For much that follows as to the above migration, the narrative dictated to Mr. A. Shand and myself by Rangi-pito of Ngati-Rahiri, and written down in shorthand (in Maori) at the time, will be followed. On the return of the war-party from Mokau, nearly all the tribes of Northern Ati-Awa gathered together at Tikorangi—on the north bank of the Waitara, four miles from the mouth of the river. The object of this meeting was to arrange details for their proposed migration to Kapiti, already alluded to. There were gathered there nearly all Ati-Awa, some of the remaining Ngati-Tama, Ngati-Mutunga, and others. After the decision to remove had been decided on (mainly page 488through the urgency of Te Pononga, Te Hau-te-horo, Rangi-wahia, and Te Ito), the whole body moved down to Waitara preparatory to starting. Here they were joined by some of the people of Nga-Motu, but not all; for some decided to remain, and should necessity arise, take shelter on the Sugar-loaf Islands. The whole party now moved on to Kapua-taitu, on the Wai-o-ngana river, where all who were to form the [gap — reason: illegible] eke assembled, for from here the forest road started for the south.

The expedition had not yet started in March, 1832, as we may infer from the following, quoted from "Brett's Historical Series, Early History of New Zealand"—by R. A. A. Sherrin—1890; page 172. "In 1832 H.M.S. 'Zebra' was at Taranaki, having gone thither in consequence of a report which had been circulated (in Sydney) that the Waikato tribes meditated hostilities on the settlers—i.e., flax dealers and others in the district; but finding the alarm groundless, she pursued her voyage to Kapiti, where she arrived on the 16th March, 1832, and learned that the chiefs and warriors had gone to Banks Peninsula, whereupon she consequently proceeded through Cook's Straits on her voyage to Tahiti."

"I was a boy at that time," says Rangi-pito, "but well remember all the circumstances. Before we started we were joined by R. Barrett, Love, Billy Keenan, and their families from Nga-Motu. We then started on our long journey—men, women, and children being altogether in one party. There were many of us; some fourteen hundred fighting men, without counting the women and children, who must have numbered quite as many, or more, than the men. The following was the order of march; Each tribe marched as a body and close to each other, so that none might be left behind, nor was there any straggling allowed. The men of each tribe marched in front and behind, the women and children between them, and certain men were told off to see that the distance (tiriwa) between each party was maintained. The heke was composed of members of the tribes: Nga-Motu, Puke-tapu, Manu-korihi, Puke-rangiora, Ngati-Rahiri, Kai-tangata, Ngati-Tu, Ngati-Hine-uru, Ngati-Mutunga, Te Whakarewa, and Ngati-Tama. The principal chiefs were: Tau-tara, Raua-ki-tua, Te Whare-pouri, Te Puni, Rangi-wahia, Hau-te-horo, Te Ito, Te One-mihi, and others. All our men were anned, for we had to pass through an enemy's country part of the way. Many of us had guns, for the whalers from whom we principally obtained fire-arms had been settled at Nga-Motu for several years. Our course was by Te Whakaahu-rangi* track,

* See the origin of this name in Chapter IX., and description of the track in Chapter 1.

page 489which leads southwards from Matai-tawa through the forest inland of Mount Egmont, and comes out into the open country near Kete-marae (not far from Normanby). We slept in the forest the first and succeeding night. It was very cold, being winter (June), and the frost was on the ground. The kakas (parrots) were very fat at the time of our passage through the forest."

Rangi-pito does not mention any of Ngati-Maru as being with the heke, but there were several—under their chiefs Haere-tu-ki-te-rangi (who died at Whareroa, Otaki, a very old man), Te Rangi-huatau, Te Whita, Rakuraku, and Pukere; some of whom eventually settled at Titahi Bay, Porirua—others were assigned lands at Tipapa, between Wainui and Whareroa by the Ngati-Toa chief Te Pani. Most of these people returned to their homes at inland Waitara after Christianity was introduced. But all of Ngati-Maru did not go south; many remained in their forest-clad homes on the Upper Waitara, and amongst them one of the principal men named Te Ika-tere, who lamented the departure of his people in this waiata-tangi:

E kai noa ana i te kai,
Heke rawa iho,
Te mohiotia nga wa o te he—e—i.
Uia, pataia, ki a Tāne,
Te ipo māna e ki mai;
Kei au te hara—e—i.
Ka kai manu i te pua,
Ka inu i te Wai-ora-o-Tāne,
Ka ko te manu-e-i
Wareware ki runga,
Ki tauranga a te hoa tau muri e —i
Roua ki Whiti, roua ki Tonga,
E tu i te pa o aitua,
Ka irirangi te mahara e—i,
Ka tautuku ki raro,
Ka tuku nga turi
Ka noho i te he,
Ka moe i te moenga na—i.

Even as I sit at my meals,
The fast flowing tears descend.
Who could have foreseen this trial?
Ask, enquire of the god Tāne,
The loved one, who will say,
If mine was the fault.
page 490 The birds still feed in the preserve,
And drink of the Living-waters-of-Tāne, 1
Singing blithely as is their wont,
They heed not the thoughts of the south
(Whither ye all are now departing)
Where my friends will shortly be.
The thoughts extend to Fiji and to Tonga, 2
But still encompassing evils find,
Suspended is the imagination.
And when it returns to the present,
My knees fail to support me.
I am dwelling in the midst of sorrow,
And wish for the long death-sleep.

But to return to RAngi-pito's narrative: "So we arrived at the Ngati-Ruanui country, coming out to the open lands at Kete-marae, where we stayed one month. Te Hana-taua was the chief of the pa in those days. From there we passed on to Whiti-kau, then to Whenua-kura by way of the mouth of the Patea, in preference to the inland track by Hukatere, because we feared trouble with the people of that part, and so on to Te Karaka, near Wai-totara. So far, we had passed through the territories of Ngati-Ruanui without trouble, but we were now in those of Nga-Rauru, who were inimicable to us. Here some of us went to procure food (ao-kai), and falling in with Nga-Rauru a skirmish ensued, in which some of them were killed.

"We then passed on to Whanga-nui without further trouble, where we found that a large party of Ngati-Mania-poto and Ngati-Tu-whare-toa of Taupo were in the district, but were absent on our arrival, having gone on an expedition to Kapiti in order to escort some of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe who were migrating to that place to join Te Rau-paraha. In consequence of this no fighting took place on our first arrival. Their canoes, by which they had come down the river, were on the opposite side at Putiki, where they had been left. Some of our party swam over the river and secured these canoes for our own use. We plundered them all; so that when their ope returned they found their canoes gone, and their return up the river prevented, When they reached Putiki (just opposite the present town of Whanga-nui) our people were encamped at Te Karamuramu (seaward of the present town).

"When my younger brother was born he was killed by my father, Te Ito, who was at that time somewhat out of his mind; he crushed page 491the body into a hole which he had dug for it—this was before we left our homes. On account of this his atua, or god, was angry with him, and so he fell at Whanga-nui, as will be seen. One morning shortly after the Taupo people had returned, a little canoe with some of the Whanga-nui people in it paddled across the river; in it were three men of Ngati-Ruakā. Te Ito, who was wandering about, saw the canoe, and went towards it. He asked them, 'Is Tia, or Rere (Hukarere), there?' 'Yes!' they replied, 'he is here!' They said this so as to entice the old man to approach them. Te Ito went towards them without suspicion, and when close enough, one of the three men in the canoe shot him, whilst another afterwards tomahawked him in the forehead as he lay. Hearing the shouting, some of Te Ati-Awa made towards the place; but the three men effected their escape in the canoe, leaving his friends to carry Te Ito—who was not quite dead—back to their camp, where he soon after died. Rangi-wahia was absent at this time collecting food. After the death of Te Ito, the karakias for the dead were said over him, and when they were finished Rangi-tamaru remarked, 'Hei apopo ka whawhai' ('There will be fighting to-morrow'); he knew this by the signs when he repeated the karakias over the old man.

"The following day we saw Whanga-nui and Ngati-Tu-whare-toa crossing the river in force to our side. Rangi-wahia said, 'Let them all come over together in force' (before we attack them). 'No!' said Te Tu-o-te-rangi, 'not too many together; they will be too much for us.' One man amongst the party was noticed, as they crossed the river, who was inciting (whakahau) them on, to be brave. On landing, the enemy came on in solid bodies, but in two divisions. Then Ngati-Tawhiri-kura (connected with the Hamua and Nga-Motu hapus, from near New Plymouth) commenced firing on the advancing foe. Te Heuheu—the head chief of Ngati-Tu-whare-toa of Taupo—and his younger brother Te Popo returned the fire. The guns used were uruuru-purumu (flint locks). Ngati-Tawhiri-kura, in their advance, happened on a thicket which was occupied by Whanga-nui, and here they suffered a repulse which caused them to fall to the rear of our party, Ngati-Tama and Te Ati-Awa, in the meantime, were foreing their way to the front, led by Te One-mihi, with his broad battle-axe—which he flourished all the way, making cuts and guards with it. He advanced boldly in front of his people towards Ngati-Tu-whare-toa without any fear, and succeeded in killing the friend of Te Popo. Whilst he was disengaging his axe, Te Popo advanced and shot him dead. Te Ketu of Ngati-Tama, who was near, in return, shot down Te Popo and killed him. The two opposing parties were by this time in page 492close quarters and actively engaged, when Ngati-Tawhiri-kura, who had rallied after their first repulse, now came up and renewed the fight, and between them they and Te Ati-Awa drove their foes back and thus secured the victory over Taupo and Whanga-nui. In this fight the Taupo people lost the chiefs Te Popo and Tu-tawa—the latter a very fine-looking man, with light hair. The heads of both these people were preserved by Ati-Awa and eventually taken to Kapiti.

"The Whanga-nui and Taupo people now fled, taking to their canoes or jumping into the river, whilst Te Ati-Awa followed them up and kept firing at them in the canoes, or as they swam in the river. Numbers were killed, the bodies floating away down stream, and were afterwards found drifted ashore on the beach. Some of the canoes capsized in the crossing, a few of the occupants escaping by swimming, whilst their friends stood on the opposite bank watching and tangi-ing over them, unable to assist them. What was to be done? Were they not killed?

"The taua of Te Ati-Awa and the others remained on the field of battle by direction of the old chiefs Rangi-wahia, Raua-ki-tua, and Te Hau-te-horo. Whilst there, and as evening came on, Te Ati-Awa recited the ngeri, or war-song, of Waikato, used by them during the expedition to Puke-rangiora, as a matakite, in which their success was foretold:—

Haere ki Manga-reporepo—i aha!
Ka haere te tiere,
He whiu aha?
He aha kei roto atu?
He nihinihi!
He aha kei waiho mai?
He kiri tapa!
E kai o tapa, eke a! o! o!*"

The above fight took place to the eastward of Puke-namu, which is the Maori name of the hill in the town of Whanga-nui and now used as a park, and on which formerly stood the Rutland Stockade—in fact, the fighting occurred in what is now the densest part of the town, between the Stockade and the river. The chief men of Te Ati-Awa killed there were: Tama-kite-roa, Te Makere, Marama-ra, Rangi-tuaka, Tu-taiaroa, Te Ito, together with Tu-tawa and Te Rangi-apukea of the Patu-tokotoko hapu, and some thirty other men. The white men—Barrett and others —materially assisted their friends in this battle. It is said (but not on

* The translation of this is not suitable to European readers, though not at all shocking to the Maori.

page 493first-rate authority) that Te Rau-paraha incited the Taupo people to this attack on Te Ati-Awa.

"After the fight," says Rangi-pito, "the Ati-Awa returned to their camp and at once commenced fortifying it, at which, they worked right on through the night, putting up palisades interwoven with flax leaves,* and completed the whole by digging a trench and making a parepare or wall.

"The next morning the Taupo and Whanga-nui tribes advanced to the attack; but after trying an assault they failed in carrying the Ati-Awa defences. They advanced down a ridge near the place now called St. John's Wood, having crossed the river higher up, and then came across the flats now covered by the town of Whanga-nui, and occupied Puke-namu hill. Iwikau and Papaka, principal chiefs of the Taupo people, led the advance, but they did not come very near the Ati-Awa position, being afraid of the muskets, but some skirmishing took place outside."

Towards evening there was a cessation of firing, when a scene occurred which is truly Maori. The two parties were not very distant from one another in their camps, and in the still evening voices could be heard some distance. It must have been an interesting scene as the grim old warriors of either party held a parly, which is described by Rangi-pito as follows:—

"After the skirmishing was over, Te Heuheu's (head chief of Taupo) voice was heard calling out, 'Whākina mai taku tangata, kowai?'—('Declare the name of my man, victim of my prowess.')

"Said Te Tu-o-te-rangi of Ngati-Tama to his friends, ' Whākina! haua e huna. Ka pa he tangata noa iho, e huna. Ko tenei, he rangatira. Whākina atu!'—('Declare the name! Do not coneeal who he was. If he had been a nobody, it were well to hide his name; but as he was a chief, declare it!')

"Then Rangi-wahia of Ngati-Mutunga answered Te Heuheu, ' Ae! to tangata, ko Te One-mihi. Heoti ano a Pou-tama; heoti ano a Nga-Motu!' —('Yes! Your man was Te One-mihi. The only famed one of Pou-tama; the only one of Nga-Motu!') Te One-mihi belonged both to Ngati-Tama of Pou-tama and Nga-Motu of the Sugar-loaf tribes.

"Te Heuheu then went on to say, 'I rangona tera Te One-mihi ki hea?'—('Where has that Te One-mihi been heard of?')

"To which Rangi-wahia replied, 'Nga putanga a Te One-mihi, ko

* Flax leaves woven thickly in this manner are almost impervious to bullets fired from the old-fashioned musket.

Killed at Hao-whenua by Ati-Awa not long after this.

page 494Mokau, ko Nga-Motu.'—('The places where Te One-mihi has distinguished himself were at Mokau and Nga-Motu.')

"These were nga ara kai riri (the ways of war—the paths in which he had distinguished himself). Both he and Te Ito were celebrated warriors; indeed, they were the last of the braves of old times. Te One-mihi was a small man, but well built, and square in the shoulders.

"Then said Te Tu-o-te-rangi, 'Uia atu ano hoki!'—('Ask him also!') So Rangi-wahia called out, 'Kowai taku tangata? Whākina mai taku tangata; kowai?'—('Who was my man? Confess the name of my man; who was he?')

"The answer came from Te Heuheu,' To tangata, ko Te Popo! Heoi ano to tangata, ko Tongariro. Kua whati te tihi o Tongariro! '—('Thy man was Te Popo! Thy man was Tongariro itself. The peak of Tongariro has been broken off!'*)

"Then again Rangi-wahia asked, 'I rangona a Te Popo ki hea? Kei hea tana ara kai riri?'—('Where has the name of Te Popo been heard of? Where was his way of war? '—literally, battles).

"To which Te Heuheu replied, 'Kua whati te tihi o Tongariro! '—('The peak of Tongariro has been broken off!'—implying that Te Popo had not distinguished himself in war, but was of exalted rank).

"Thus ended the conversation, for Te Heuheu could not cite any battle in which Te Popo had shone. No firing took place during this interlude, as it was getting dark, and also because Te Ati-Awa recognised Te Heuheu's voice. He was a huge man. At the same time the enemy knew quite well that it was Rangi-wahia who was replying; his fame was great, as one of the principal leaders at the battle of Te Motu-nui (1821-2—see Chapter XIV.), at Puke-rangiora (1831), and other places. He was a big, tall man, with much hair on his neck and shoulders—he pukeke, he maia—a veteran; hard and tough; a warrior. He was the depository of all knowledge.

"We were seven hundred (i.e., fourteen hundred) warriors strong, without counting women and children. Amongst them were seven hundred who escaped from Puke-rangiora. The chiefs of Whanga-nui in this affair were Pehi-Turoa as supreme leader, and his younger brothers and relatives—one of whom was Ha-marama, who killed Tu-whare, the Nga-Puhi leader (in 1821—see Chapter XII.) Pou-tama

* There is a saying, 'Te Heuheu is the man, Tongariro is the mountain.' implying the intimate connection between the high chief of Taupo and the volcanic mountain; he was, like the mountain, the head and summit of his tribe. Te Popo belonged to the same family. Te Heuheu himself was overwhelmed in a land slip at Taupo in 1845.

page 495was the leader of Ngati-Mania-poto, and most of his people were killed at Puke-namu the previous day.

"After the events above related, the people of the place and their allies returned to their pa at Puke-namu, whilst we remained in our camp at Koko-huia, near where the old Maori track leaves the beach (? of the river), and came inland to Puke-namu.

"While the fight at Puke-namu was going on during the first day, messengers were despatched to Kapiti to inform our people living there and Ngati-Toa of our doings, for it was then uncertain what the result would be; and also to inform them of the death of Te Ito and Te One-mihi. There were some seven men sent as messengers, and they proceeded by sea in one of the canoes we had taken from Ngati-Tuwhare-toa. They made some sails of raupo (bullrushes), and by this means reached Kapiti in two days (the distance is over seventy miles). The principal man of the messengers was Tapiri, a son of the celebrated Tupoki of Ngati-Tama.

"Having delivered their message, the Ngati-Toa, under Te Hiko-o-te-rangi (son of Te Pehi-kupe, killed at Kaiapohia, see Chapter XVI.) and that portion of Te Ati-Awa under Hone-tuwhata and Rere-tawhangawhanga,* who had settled at Kapiti and Wai-kanae, after some time came up the coast to assist us, being eight hundred topu (sixteen hundred) strong. But Ngati-Raukawa did not join in this force. When the party reached Whanga-nui we ferried them across in our canoes.

"Before the arrival of these people, Ngati-Rua-nui from Patea and that neighbourhood, hearing of our troubles, came down one thousand topu (two thousand) strong. They came to assist us, having heard that we had been defeated. When all had assembled, we fed both parties on the bodies of our slain enemies. After this was ended a great ngarahu, or war-dance, was arranged, several ngohi, or companies, taking part. After the companies had been assigned their positions, we furnished the first wero, or spear-throwing party. Altogether, with the southern and northern people, there were e rua

* Father of Wiremu Kingi Te Rangi-tāke.

Bodies were cooked, says Rangi-pito, in the Maori steam oven, and then hung up in houses so that they became pakapaka, or dried, in which condition they would keep a month. "Other foods we had were aruhe (fern-root), korito (raupo roots cooked), and dried kumara (kao). There was abundance of fern-root and raupo-root to be obtained close to our camp. Sometimes bodies were cut into strips and hung in the sun to dry; or in other cases they were first cooked, then put into ipus, or calabashes, and the fat poured over them; in such cases the flesh would remain good for a long time."

page 496mano tauere—i.e., over four thousand men—camped in separate places. Then said Te Tu-o-te-rangi of our party, 'Tikina, werohia te mano o Ngati-Rua-nui, kia kitea ai te heanga o tera!'—('Cast a spear at the thousands of Ngati-Rua-nui, so that we may see if they go wrong!'—i.e., whether their runner would turn to the left or not (korapa) an evil omen). There were four hundred men in each company of Ngati-Ruanui, and five companies in all. When the tangata-wero, or spearsman, advanced, there was no korapa with them. After this the were for the Kapiti people took place, but there was a korapa with them, which was the reason they suffered so much afterwards. These people were in four companies of four hundred men each, and they had a great many guns.

"After this, it was proposed by many in the assemblage to attack Puke-namu where the Taupo and Whanga-nui people still remained; but strong objections were raised by Raun-ki-tua and Tautara, so nothing came of it—the proposal being vetoed, so that we might not be detained there fighting and thus delay our arrival at Kapiti, for it was now about the month of August, and the time for crop-setting near. On this general decision being arrived at, Te Hana-taua—who was the principal chief of Ngati-Rua-nui—gave the order for his tribe to return home, and we of the heke, together with our allies and relatives from Kapiti, departed on our way south after having been at Whanga-nui about a month.

"The main body proceeded by land, whilst the women and children, together with the old people and some of the warriors, went by sea in the canoes we had looted at Whanga-nui. The white men (Barrett and others) were with us all this time, and, stripped to their skins, had fought with us at Puke-namu. We next reached the Manawatu river, travelling during the night and part of one day, Ngati-Toa showing us the paths. We passed one night there, having to wait till those in the rear joined us, and all were ferried across the river in the canoes. The next day we reached Ohau, the canoes following along near the coast. Staying one night at Otaki, we passed on to Te Mahia—a place on the coast between Otaki and Wai-kanae—where we stayed, whilst the Ngati-Toa people who were with us crossed over to Kapiti Island. It was early summer when we reached here, having been delayed so long at Whanga-nui by the fighting and other obstacles. During our stay at Te Mahia we subsisted principally on pipix (cockles) and fern-root.

"After some time the whole party moved on to Wai-kanae to a pa named Whangainga-hau, situated near the coast. The pa occupied by those of Ati-Awa, who had preceded us at that place, was very large indeed; and on our arrival they gave us a great feast, consisting of page 497potatoes, shark, warehou (a fish), and whale's flesh. Our residence here became permanent, for food was very abundant. It was in the eighth month (January or February) that we reached here (this would be in 1833), and were able to plant the seed potatoes given to us (? by Ngati-Toa), and they grew luxuriantly. The Puke-tapu and Nga-Motu hapus settled down at Te Uruhi, whilst we (Kai-tangata) took up our abode with Te Ati-Awa inland of Wai-kanae. Ngati-Tama settled down at Te Pou-o-te-moana, further to the north—they were a numerous people in those days.

1 The-living-waters-of-Tane, where life was renewed.

2 Whiti, or Fiji, and Tonga, the islands of those names, often referred to in old poetry, meaning here, they vainly seek safety in the neighbouring tribes. A very old, old reference.