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


page 184

In the third generation after the arrival of the Taranaki tribe from Hawaiki, and during the residence of some of the descendants of the crew of "Kura-hau-po" at Oakura and that neighbourhood, the first trouble with the Ati-awa tribe occurred, but which did not finally end till the beginning of the nineteenth century. The tribes were not always at war, but nevertheless fighting was very frequent, and apparently up to a hundred and fifty years ago Taranaki seems to have generally got the best of it.

In the last chapter it was shown that Raumati's daughter married Ngarue, of Waitara. But he had another daughter named Kamate, who married Awhipapa, of Taranaki. In the times of this man the Taranaki people had spread out from Oakura; as indeed has already been seen in the story of Tama-atua, where it is shown that his sister and her people were living at Pirongia, between the Pouakai and Patuha ranges; and in Awhi-papa's lifetime the Taranaki tribe possessed an outlying pa called Karaka-tonga, which was situated on the banks of the "Waiwhakaiho river a considerable distance up the slopes of Mount Egmont. I should judge from the description given by my informants that this pa could not have been very far from the site of the present mountain house. The object sought in placing a settlement so far inland was so as to be near the pua-tahere, or bird preserves, where Kakas, pigeons. Wekas, Kiwis, Tuis, and other birds were plentiful; and also in order to obtain the kokowai or oxide of iron, which the people used formerly for pigments in painting their canoes, houses, etc., etc., including their own bodies. It was in this neighbourhood, also, that fine, close-grained stone was found, suitable for making axes.*

Karaka-tonga, in its day, was evidently a place of some importance, for it had its whare-kura, or council houso, named Kai-mirumiru, and a marae, or plaza, where meetings were held, which was named Ra-paki-marae, so called because the chiofs who lived there were sufficiently important to ensure peace there, i.e., when it suited them. The name means Fine day marae—fine day implying peace. Lists of page 185 ****************** page 186
Plate No. 10.The Kumara god, Rongo.

Plate No. 10.
The Kumara god, Rongo.

page 187peoples names are not of much interest to the general reader, but as I have those of many of the chief people who formerly occupied Karaka-tonga, and some of whom were engaged in the wars between Taranaki and Ati-Awa, I preserve them here, as they may be of interest hereafter:—

Awhi-papa, the only one of these people we have the descent from, would be born somewhere about the year 1380, or the end of the fourteenth century, and the fight I am about to refer to must have occurred when he was of some age—say between the years 1410 and 1420.

* Most of the places mentioned in this Chapter will be found on Map No. 2—others, as indicated, on Map No. 4.