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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:



In this year Mr. Marsden spent about nine months in New Zealand, and some of the information to be gleaned from his journal is interesting, and bears on this history. He sailed from Sydney in H.M.S. “Dromedary,” on the 13th February, and reached the Bay on the 27th.

On the 2nd March Hongi-Hika left for England in the whaler “New Zealander” to procure arms with which to overcome his enemies.

On the 5th March Marsden started for his second visit to Hokianga with some of the ship’s officers and Mr. W. Hall, but no particulars of his visit are given. He was away a fortnight, and, after his return, the “Dromedary” went to Hokianga, Mr. Marsden, going with her, and returned in her back to the Bay, as it was deemed unsafe for the ship to enter the river.

Early in May Marsden left Rangihoua for a visit to Waimate, Taiamai, &c., and on this occasion they found Tareha at the former place. Marsden says:—“Here we met the largest assemblage of natives I had ever seen. Here were some of the heads of tribes with page 134 their fighting men from Hokianga on the western coast to Bream Head on the east coast. We understood that the different tribes had met to settle some war expedition, and that each tribe had to furnish a certain number of men. I inquired what was the occasion of so large a meeting of chiefs from such distant parts, and was informed that previous to the destruction of the “Boyd,” in 1809, Hongi-Hika and his tribe made war on the people of Kaipara, when he was defeated, and lost a number of his friends and tribesmen, and among them were two of his brothers (this was at Moremo-nui. 1807), and that the heads of Hongi-Hika’s tribe had called this meeting to arrange an expedition against Kaipara in order to avenge the death of those who fell in the above war. I also learnt that Hongi-Hika had been collecting ammunition ever since the defeat, to enable him to renew the war, and that he had left instructions with his people to do so in a few months after his departure for England.”

This was the gathering for Tareha’s expedition to Kaipara, which will be referred to later on.

Mr. Marsden, after his return to the Bay, embarked on board H.M. store ship “Coromandel” for the Thames on the 7th June, taking with him Te Morenga and Tui. On the 12th they anchored in Waiau, or Coromandel Harbour, named after the ship, where Marsden spent a week amongst the natives forwarding the object of the voyage, which was to collect page 135 spars. Here he met Te Horeta, of the Ngati-Whanaunga tribe, and Te Puhi, both of whom he describes as tall handsome men. From Coromandel, Marsden went to Katikati, as related later on, and on his return he started, on the 25th July for Kaipara, some of the Ngati-Paoa people taking him in their canoe through the Waiheke Channel, which he calls the Wairoa, and then up the Wai-te-mata, near the head of which on the 27th July he met Kowow (Te Kawau*), a chief of Kaipara, who taking Marsden and his friend (one of the officers of the Coromandel), into his canoe, turned back and conveyed them to the head of the river, and thence overland to near the sandhills of the west coast. (This was at Ruarangihaereere, where the Taou hapu of Ngati-Whatua were then living). Te Kawau went back with them the next day, the 29th July, and conveyed them to Mokoia up the Tamaki River, and from there Marsden rejoined the ship on the 1st August. Te Hinaki, of Mokoia, accompanied Marsden and Te Morenga on board the “Coromandel,” where the former had the pleasure of making peace between Te Hinaki, of Ngati-Paoa, and Te Puhi, of Ngati-Maru. The cause of the trouble between Te Hinaki and Te Puhi was this: Some time previous to 1820, a party of Ngati-Paoa, under Rongomauri-kura, had been capsized in a canoe in the gulf opposite Manaia, near Coromandel. page 136 Their bodies drifted ashore, and were supposed by Te Hinaki to have been eaten by Te Puhi and the Ngati-Maru. This, however, the latter strenuously denied. In consequence of this a series of engagements took place between the
Black and White photograph of a elder Maori Chief

Taraia Nga-Kuti, chief of Ngati-Paoa of the Thames, in the early decades of the nineteenth century.

two tribes, which are fully described in J. White’s “Ancient History of the Maori,” vol. v., chap. vii. Marsden describes a battlefield, somewhere near Kauaeranga, which is the same alluded to in the above work at page 102. And when at Te Awha’s pa, near the junction of the page 137 Ohinemuri, which I take from the description to be Te Puke, the bullet holes in the pa were pointed out to him which were made by the muskets of Ngati-Paoa and Waikato a year or so previously, and where Te Puhi said his father (? a matua) had been killed. This is also referred to on p. 102 of the above work. After this was the joint attack on Te Totara pa by Waikato, Ngati-Paoa and Nga-Puhi, which failed, and the taua returned home in disgust. This Nga-Puhi taua was, I think, that of Korokoro, who left the Bay about November, 1819, and must not be confused with Hongi’s attack in 1821, when Te Totara pa was taken, as will be described later on.

* This was Apihai Te Kawau, the principal chief of Ngati-Whatua at the time Auckland was founded in 1841.