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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:



On the 29th June of this year Messrs. King and Kendall started from the Bay of Islands on a visit to Hokianga. They found Hongi-Hika at the Kerikeri, and, passing on by the old track from the latter place, they arrived at Matangi’s village on the banks of the Upper Waihou on the 30th. On the 1st July they visited Muriwai at Utakura, and from there went down in a canoe to the Hokianga Heads to Mauwhena’s village. They were well received everywhere. On their return they reached Patu-one’s village, Te Papa, on the Upper Waihou, on the 11th July, and on the 16th of that month got back to Rangihoua, Bay of Islands, bringing Patuone with them. This was the first visit ever made by Europeans to Hokianga, and both gentlemen appeared to have been struck with the number of Maoris living there, and the warm welcome given to them.

On August 13th, Mr. Marsden arrived at the Bay on his second visit to New Zealand, bringing with him (in the “General Gates”) Tui and Titore, who had just returned from a visit to England, and the Rev. John Butler. From Mr. Marsden’s “Journal” we learn of some of the doings of the Nga-Puhi warriors during this year.

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On Marsden’s arrival he found Hongi-Hika just on the eve of starting for Whangaroa to chastise the people of that place for having eaten a whale that had been stranded on the shore, over which Hongi-Hika claimed what we should call “manorial rights,” but in deference to the wishes of his friend Marsden, he deferred the punishment of these people, at the same time expressing his intention of going further north, to remove the bones of his wife’s father, which he did. On arrival there, however (at Oruru, probably), he found the people had desecrated the grave, and used the bones of his father-inlaw for fish-hooks; whereupon he took summary vengeance by shooting six of the offenders, after which a peace was patched up. Hongi-Hika was back again at the Bay on the 30th August.

On the 20th August there arrived at the Bay a party of chiefs from Hauraki, who came to arrange a peace, they having not long since cut off a cousin of Tui’s, and, in return, had lost two of their own people by an expedition from the Bay. On the 23rd September, a further number of Hauraki people arrived on the same errand, and a peace was made, but was not of long duration, as we shall see. These Hauraki people would probably be some of the Ngati-Paoa tribe.

Marsden, on his visits to the settlements about the Bay, saw numbers of preserved heads, which he learned had been brought back from the east coast by Hongi’s and Te Morenga’s page 130 expeditions of the previous year. Many of these were at Korokoro’s pa, situated on an island close to Motu-rua, where Marsden met that chief on the 27th August, with his brothers, Tui and Rangi, and also “Hooratookie,” or Tuki, one of the Maoris taken to Norfolk Island, and returned by Governor King in 1793. Mr. Marsden also visited Kingi Hori (or Te Uru-ti) and his nephew Rakau at Kororareka, and also Te Koki, living just across the Bay. The former was about to marry Tara’s widow, and had lately been robbed (muru) of all he possessed in consequence, an honour that he no doubt fully appreciated, as being in strict accordance with rigorous Maori law. Pomare was at that time living at his home at Waikare.*

On September 14th, Korokoro and Hongi-Hika had an amicable meeting at Te Puna, brought about by the former’s desire to secure Hongi’s consent to refrain from molesting his people during his absence at the Thames, where he was about to proceed with the full strength of his tribe to make peace, as he declared, with the Hauraki people, on account of a rupture due to the death of his uncle Kaipo’s son, who had been bewitched by the Hauraki people. We shall hear of his expedition later on. They left about November, and were still absent at the end of the year.

* Pomare’s original name was Whitoi; he took the second name after hearing of King Pomare of Tahiti.

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On September 28th, Marsden left the Bay on a visit to Hokianga with Messrs. Kendall and Puckey and one of Hongi’s sons, together with Wharepoaka and “Roda” (?Rora, or Rota, of Te Roroa), of Hokianga. He returned to Rangihoua at the Bay on the 12th October, after having visited several chiefs, amongst them the old chief Wharemaru, about 80 years old, who with his son, Matangi, and his son-in-law, Te Tanoui, were living at a village named Oraka, on the Upper Waihou, Hokianga river. At Utakura he found Muriwai and 300 warriors, many armed with muskets; they were engaged in a quarrel with Matangi at the time. This did not, however, prevent Muriwai furnishing Marsden with a large canoe, in which he accompanied him to Mauwhena’s village, near Hokianga Heads. From here, Mr. Puckey went with the priest named “Temangena,” to sound the bar. They then visited Whirinaki Valley, where they were received with the accustomed old-fashioned welcome by a large number of people then living there. On their return they stayed at a village near The Narrows, which Marsden calls “Wetewahetee,” which must be Te Whaiti, of which Taraweka was chief. On the following day, Taraweka took the party up the Waima River to Punakitere, to two pas called Otahiti and Rangi-whakataka.* Subsequently they visited Patu-one at Te Papa, a village on the Upper Waihou, with whom was

* Both situated near the Waima junction with the Punakitere.

page 132 his brother, probably Waka-Nene. Marsden returned greatly pleased with his visit, and describes in glowing terms the country and the numerous and hospitable population he found there. He got a great deal of interesting information from the priest “Temangena,” and having Mr. Kendall with him (who was, after five years’ residence, well acquainted with the language) was able to learn a good deal about the people and the country. Marsden’s journal of this expedition is very interesting reading.

After his return to the Bay he visited Motuiti, the residence of Hauraki (or Te Wera*), where Marsden met Mohanga, who accompanied Dr. Savage to England in 1805.

On the 19th October, Mr. Marsden started on a visit to Taiamai, the district where the Williams family have been so long settled, some 20 miles from the Bay. From there he visited the hot springs near Ohaeawae, and, returning to the Bay, departed for Port Jackson in the brig “Active” on the 9th November, 1819. He gives a good description of the Taiamai District, and relates some very interesting conversations he had with the Maoris of that part.

We learn from Mr. Butler’s journal that, early in December, Hongi-Hika and Te Morenga were fighting one another at Kerikeri over some potatoes which had been stolen, and that the former lost two men, and the latter had eight

* See the Native History of Te Wera in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. viii.

page 133 men killed. Rewa and Tareha (who was said to be the greatest savage in New Zealand) were engaged in this little quarrel.

Marsden says of Korokoro in 1819:—“Korokoro is a very brave and sensible man. I have seen no chief who has his people under such subjection and good order as he.”