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

Ngati-Rua-Nui and Nga-Rauru wars. — (Circa 1650.)

Ngati-Rua-Nui and Nga-Rauru wars.
(Circa 1650.)

It has already been stated that the curse uttered by Tane-roroa against her brothers and their children, who occupied the south side of the Patea river, remained as an enduring cause of strife between the two divisions of the people down to the introduction of Christianity —or a period of some 500 years (see page 132).

At the time of Tu-nui-amo's attempt to occupy the Nga-Rauru country, as related a few pages back, one of these occasional periods of wars set in, which the Ti-tahi people were in some manner, not clear to me, mixed up with. The name of Rae-kuia, has been mentioned as living at Te Waha-o-wairua (Waverley racecourse), and it was with his people this war commenced. More, one of Rae-kuia's sons, was killed in an early engagement. When the news of this event reached page 209Uru-te-angina, a chief of Ngati-Rua-nui, but equally related to Nga-Rauru then living at Tangahoe, ten miles north of Patea. He went over to Rae-kuia's home to enquire into the circumstances and to tangi over the dead. He found the body laid out at One-titahi, and thus addressed the corpse: "Aha! taku tamaiti, i ki atu ra ahau, kotahi mea i whakatiketike, kotahi mea i whakahakahaka; me pupuhi rawa i to kumu e rongo ai koe." (Aha, my child! I told you there was one thing elevated, one thing debased; it must be blown into your vitals to have your attention"), which has become a "saying," but I confess I do not see the application.

Uru-te-angina now, by force of persuasion, roused Nga-Rauru to avenge this death, and they went forth against Ngati-Rua-nui, who were then on the war-path. Two parties started from Te Waha-o-wairua, one going by an inland track up the Whenua-kura river, the other by the coast. They first met Ngati-Rua-nui in the forest and succeeded in killing most of them. The two parties now combined and raided into the Ngati-Rua-nui country, defeating that tribe in three battles, the last of which was named Te Rahi, near Waitangi. The losses of Ngati-Rua-nui were serious, and amongst them a high chief named Tonga-whiti-waru.

After this Ngati-Rua-nui took the Nga-Rauru pa, named Maunganui, which was followed up by much fighting, ending in the former tribe suffering great loss at another pa they attempted to take. "Thus," says my informant, "was the curse of Taneroroa avenged; but this was not the last fight between the tribes, for we have constantly been fighting, down even to the time of the introduction of Christianity, and all through the curse."

It is this people, Nga-Rauru, that have in charge the celebrated axe, named "Awhio-rangi," which was brought from Hawaiki by Tuir. But it is too sacred for any European to be allowed to see it.