Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:
Koriwhai’s Death, 1820
Koriwhai’s Death, 1820.
Some time during Hongi’s absence in England, probably about the end of 1820, an expedition of Ngati-wai, a subtribe of Nga-Puhi, sailed down the East Coast from the Bay, under Koriwhai and others. Somewhere on the coast near Mahurangi, they desecrated the graves of some of the Ngati-Rongo people of Ngati-Whatua tribe by throwing the bones about. On learning this Ngati-Whatua gathered together to the number of 50 and attacked the Ngati-wai, and although the latter were the stronger party, numbering 200 warriors, Ngati-Whatua were victorious, and succeeded in killing Koriwhai. This fight occurred at page 164 Kohuroa (or Koheroa), a place situated between Mahurangi and Pakiri. There is a place called Kohuwai in the Pakiri Block. This death was said to be one of the principal causes of Te Whare-umu’s expedition to Kaipara in 1825, Koriwhai being a relative of Te Whareumu’s. It is possible that Koriwhai’s death is referred to by Cruise when he mentions that news of a Nga-Puhi defeat had reached the Bay in December, 1820.
Mr. John Webster, of Hokianga, was kind enough to make some enquiries for me about Te Koriwhai’s death, and he furnishes the following from the people of Lower Hokianga. This account does not quite agree with that given just above. “Koriwhai is said not to have been killed in battle. He was at Kohuroa, in the Kaipara district, and came by his death there through foul play at the hands of a party of Ngati-Maru tribe of Hauraki, and to avenge his death the whole of the Nga-Puhi warriors proceeded to Hauraki, under Te Morenga, Te Ngare-huata and Uri-ka-puru, and Mauinaina and Te Totara fell, a Ngati-Maru chief named Te Kea being killed.” These two sieges did not occur, however, till 1821. It is likely enough that some of Ngati-Maru assisted Ngati-Whatua to kill Te Koriwhai. Te Puhi Hihi also told Mr. C. F. Maxwell that Ngati-Maru helped to kill Te Koriwhai.
Tau o Mawete,
Tangi noa ana te ahi paoa-roa,
Na Mata-tahuna ki Patu-hope ra,
Ka rere Atutahi, ka kau Mata-riki,
Mata-roa, Mata-rohaki, Mata-waia,
E tangi ana koe ki te u o tai,
He kore kai mau-e-
Tena te kai, kei hamama,
Kia whangaina koe te uhi-poto,
Kai a te po, te whare o Moetara,
Whare kokonga pouri, te mate o Tu-whakaroro,
Ka he ra koe ki te umu manga na Ruatea,
Te wai kaukau o Omanaia.
Mihimihi te tai-e-
Te tai o Matua-po.
Ka ngaro te pakihi nga taumata huinga te Tupua,
Waiho te hemorere ka makaia,
Nau i kau atu,
“Te moana tapokopoko na Tawhaki.”
Ka u ki Pa-tene,
Te whakaaro koe te korero nui na Mauwhena,
Nana i mau mai te whaka-topuni,
Ka u ki Niu Tireni.
Mau atu Paraha ki te atawhai-e-
Kia amoamo i te toki a te po,
Kia kakahuria ki tona kahu pupara,
Whakatangi ra i tou puariki whenua,
Whatitiri ka papa i runga te rangi,
Ka tahuna ra koutou te ahi a te Tupua,
Matenga pai e mate ana ki te whare,
Na te mate kino, ka tini ki te po, mano ki te po-e-
Na te turoro.
Na te patu a Whiro, nana i homai nga mate ki a tatou,
He kotahi-e-taua, me tupu nui koe,
E tae taua, te motu ki Mahurangi,
Roto o Hauraki,
Te ara i haere ai o tupuna,
Whakataka te tua i te Wairoa,
Te ara i haere ai o matua,
Tangi te mapu-e-
Ka hoki te manawa o Tu,
Okioki te riri-e-
Me tukutuku koe, nga wai e rere,
Raro te Kirikiri.
page 166 Korua ko Marae-roa, te Potiki-a-Rangi,
Kia papatu ko te wai-tohi-mauri,
Kia tupu ai ra,
Ka kawai o Hokianga e Tama! -e-.*
* This lament is so full of historical and ancient quotations that it cannot be translated without the help of some of the composer’s tribe, who are not available.