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

He Tangata Kotahi No Motai. — (Circa 1425)

He Tangata Kotahi No Motai.
(Circa 1425).

Table No. XLII.

It has already been said that there have been constant conflicts between the tribes of Taranaki and those which I have described in Chapter VII. as the Tainui tribes, who lived north of Mokau. The first instance of this we have any note of occurred in the third generation after the arrival of the fleet in 1350, in the times of Motai, who, as will be seen from Table No. 42, was a grandson of Hoturoa, captain of the "Tainui" canoe. Motai had taken up his residence at Maro-kopa, river eight miles south of Kawhia 15 Whiti-hua=Kuapu-tahanga Heads, whilst some or the Ati-Awa people (so it is said, but probably one of the off-shoots of that tribe of tangata-whenua people) were living at Hakerekere, about half way between Tirua Point and Awakino. For some reason, now unknown, page 189these two tribes fell out and a fight took place, in which a woman belonging to Motai's people was taken prisoner and became the slave of some of the Ati-Awa chiefs. She was taunted by her master with being a slave, and her reply has passed into a proverb, which is quoted unto this day—"He kotahi tangata no Motai, e haerea te one i Hakerekere." (One man of Motai's tribe will pass over the sands of Hakorekere beach); the meaning of which is that though the woman was a slave and thereby degraded, she had left one behind (her son) who would avenge her and overrun the sands (people) of Hakerekere.

The woman's son was Kapu-manawa-whiti, and he raised a war party, which he conducted to Hakerokere, where ho vanquished the Ati-Awa people and reseued his mother. But he did more than that. Kapu was the younger son of his parents, Hae being the older. As often happens, the younger son, by force of character, gradually took the loading part in the affairs of the tribe to the exclusion of his elder brother. Either on the occasion referred to above, or on a subsequent one, Kapu led a largo war party down the coast from Kawhia, and made a fieree attack on Ngati-Tama, the tribe who owned the Poutama country; and such was his ability as a loador in war that he took Te Horo, Waikiekie, and seven other pas in that neighbourhood and as far as the Mimi river. This was the commencement of the series of conflicts in that neighbourhood which lasted, with few intermissions, down to 1828, when Ngati-Tama abandoned their country and removed to Kapiti, eventually settling in the Chatham Islands. But this little tribe, Ngati-Tama, made a most strenuous defence of their country, as we shall see later on. Kapua-manawa-whiti first distinguished himself in the expedition of Ngati-Raukawa to Te Aroha, on the Thames, about which there is an interesting story, but it has nothing to do with this history. This fact is alluded to in the papeha, or saying, below, which is an extension of that quoted above:—

He iti na Motai; tena kei te rawhiti e taka ana,

He iti na Motai; kei te one i Hakerekere e haere ana.*

* Which may be translated: —

The few of Motai are distinguishing themselves in the East.

The few of Motai are overrunning the sands of Hakerekere.