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.
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.
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.