Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:
Tareha’s Expedition to Kaipara, 1820
Tareha’s Expedition to Kaipara, 1820.
Very few details of this expedition are known. It was undertaken whilst Hongi-Hika was in England, and Marsden says he had left word with his people to lead a taua against Ngati-Whatua in order to try and obtain some utu for the losses Nga-Puhi suffered at the hands page 143 of Ngati-Whatua in the battle of Moremo-nui in 1807. The gathering of the northern people at Waimate has already been described. Marsden also saw the arrival of a contingent from Hokianga to join the party. This was in May, and as the taua had visited Kaipara two months before the middle of August, they must have left Waimate in May. Tareha was the leading chief in this affair; with him were Rewa, Moka, Whare-nui, Hihi and Hare-Hongi, besides—as Marsden says—some of the Whangarei people. They went by way of Mangakahia, and down the Wairoa river, and as they proceeded devastated the country and killed as many as they came across. It is clear they got as far as Aotea Bluff and the Ngati-Whatua settlements of Kaipara, for Marsden mentions a valley he crossed in which a battle had been fought two months previously to August, and a chief was killed there. This valley was between Helensville and Aotea, probably near Otakanini. Where the taua was as Marsden passed north, it is not known, possibly up the Otamatea or one of the other great inlets of Kaipara. Just before Marsden left New Zealand in the “Dromedary,” in December, 1820, news was received that the taua had returned, and Major Cruise mentions that early in October news had been received at the Bay that the taua had suffered a defeat, which may either refer to Tareha’s taua or to the death of Koriwhai near Mahurangi. At any rate Nga-Puhi, notwithstanding their guns, did not have everything page 144 their own way. The Missionaries at Kerikeri, on learning that this taua had been merciful in sparing their prisoners, presented the chiefs with some axes and hoes, in token of their leniency. Korokoro and Te Koki did not take part in this expedition.
There is a brief record to the effect that a party of Nga-Puhi, during the year of Hongi’s absence in England, attacked the Roroa people at Wai-o-rua, Kaihu, and that, under Murupaenga’s leadership, they defeated Nga-Puhi. This may have been part of Tareha’s army.
The following incident occurred, I think, in this year, for King George, referred to below, was alive as late as April 5th, 1820. Probably Muru-paenga had followed up Tareha’s expedition after Marsden left, as he had expressed the intention of doing. Marsden says, (Missionary Record, 1822, p. 440) “After this (Moremo-nui) the chiefs of the south side of the Bay united their forces and went against Muru-paenga, as they relied on their muskets, not on spears and clubs; but Muru-paenga outgeneralled them. When the two parties met, Muru-paenga ordered his men to lie down as soon as the others were on the point of firing, and so soon as the volley was over to rush the enemy. This succeeded, and Muru-paenga put his enemy to flight, killing a number of their chiefs, amongst whom was Whiwhia’s father and King George. Only 15 returned home; the rest were killed or taken prisoners. I have often heard the chiefs speak of this.” This page 145 defeat of Nga-Puhi is probably referred to by Major Cruise as above. At the same time, it is said that Whiwhia’s father was killed, with many others of the Kapotai hapu, in a fight with the Ngati-wai people of Whanga-ruru. Possibly they were allied at that time with Muru-paenga.
The taking of the Tauhara pa, situated on the North Head of Kaipara, must be placed also in this year. The incidents of the siege and capture are related by Polack, but he is quite wrong about the year, for at the time he assigns as the date there were practically none of the Ngati-Whatua left in the Kaipara district, nearly all having fled to the protection of Waikato after the battle of Te Ika-a-ranga-nui in 1825. Te Uri-o-Hau branch of the Ngati-Whatua suffered great losses at the taking of Tauhara by Nga-Puhi, who must have been under the leadership of Tareha in this expedition. The pa was formerly a very strong one beautifully terraced, but a large portion has now been washed away by the strong current of the Wairoa river.