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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

Fall of Mau-inaina at Tamaki.—November, 1821

Fall of Mau-inaina at Tamaki.—November, 1821.

It has been said that Hongi-Hika went to England in 1820 for the express purpose of obtaining arms*, wherewith to combat his enemies of the Ngati-Whatua, who had beaten Nga-Puhi in the battle of Moremo-nui, in 1807, and also to strengthen himself against his other enemies of the Hauraki Gulf. So far as England was concerned, he was not very successful, though he was loaded with presents of other sorts which his friends there thought would be useful to him. In Sydney, however, he was able to gratify his desire for arms to a considerable extent, by exchanging his presents for muskets and powder. At Sydney he met Hinaki, the chief of Ngati-Paoa from Mokoia, and Te Horeta, of Coromandel. The three chiefs

* Hongi’s particular weapon was a musket called “Patuiwi,” which he always carried with him. It is now deposited in the Auckland Museum.

It is said by D’Urville, in his extracts from the “Missionary Register,” that the chiefs who met Hongi-Hika in Sydney had been conveyed thither by H.M. storeship “Coromandel,” and yet the “Coromandel” was at Mercury Bay (?) in August, 1821.

page 182 returned to New Zealand together, arriving at the Bay of Islands on the 11th July, 1821. Whilst at Port Jackson, Hongi-Hika composed and sung the following song, expressive of his intention towards Te Hinaki:—

Ko te hanga, ko te hanga e tohea,
Iri toki, ko Wero, kei Ware-kuku,
To kiko putanga a hau kiko hunga,
E wai, e waiho te ngohi nei, rere Turi-kakoa,
E waiho te hanga nei.
I ki a Korohiko, ka kiokio to mata titiro,
To matamata, ka kai o reke,
Ko Te-Rangi-houwhiri koe,
Nga tangata pau rawa koa te pukenga,
Na Tara-mai-nuku, pipi te ure ko to hono,
Te paire a watea-e-,
Kia kotia ko poro-kaki-nui,
Kotia ko te pu tutu, e tu mai nei,
Kahore koe i kite i te taru kino nei,
I te pukupuku, i te hanehane matemate,
Ki te kete waiho noa ai, Ho’ano,
Me tatari ki a wai-ehu,
Kia whakaki Taure-kaki-rourou.*

Hoani Nahe, of the Ngati-Maru tribe of the Thames, supplies me with the following in regard to the doings of Hongi-Hika on his return:–“It was on account of Nga-Puhi’s losses at the battle called the ‘Waiwhariki,’ fought at Puketona (near Mr. Ed. Williams’s residence, on the road from Waitangi to Ohaeawae, Bay of Islands, about 1795) in the days of Maori weapons, that Hongi-Hika determined to attack the Ngati-Maru at the Thames, now that he had procured arms, and so obtain revenge for the

* This song is expressed in such peculiar language that a translation is to me impossible.

See “Peopling of the North,” p. 106.

page 183 Nga-Puhi defeat by the latter tribe. He deliberately informed Hinaki and Te Horeta of his intentions when they met in Sydney, on Hongi’s return from England with the guns and powder he got from King George. Te Horeta and Hinaki had gone across to Sydney on a visit when they met Hongi-Hika. On their return to the Bay they were Hongi’s guests, and on one occasion he set before them a bucket of milk, knowing that they would not touch it through its unpleasantness (being unfamiliar to them). Hongi-Hika said to them: “O Te Horeta! and Te Hinaki! behold some food! It is milk of a cow —an animal of the pakeha’s. It is good food–drink it.” Neither of them were, however, equal to the task, for they were strangers to such things, and felt a disgust towards the milk. When Hongi-Hika saw that neither of them would touch it, he drank the milk himself at a draught. This was intended as a test of them. If they had been able to drink the milk, Hongi-Hika would not have prevailed against their tribes. Had Horeta known this, he and his friend would have drunk the milk, but it had been karakia (or incantations said over it) by Hongi-Hika, so that they should feel disgust at it. After Hongi-Hika had finished the milk, he exhibited to his guests all his guns and powder brought from England, arranging the former in rows, and giving each its name, saying:—“E mara ma! O friends! O Te Horeta! and Te Hinaki! Behold! this gun is ‘Te Wai-whariki,’ this is ‘Kaikai-a-tekaroro,’ this is ‘Wai-kohu,’ this is ‘Te Ringa page 184 huru-huru,’ this is ‘Mahurangi,’” thus naming all the battles in which Nga-Puhi had been defeated.

On the 5th September, Hongi-Hika appeared at the Bay from his home at Waimate, bent on obtaining utu for some of his losses through the Thames tribe, and after reviewing his fleet and putting them through several manœuvres he left the same day for the general rendezvous. “Each canoe was manned by from 50 to 60 warriors, and they forced their vessels through the water at an extraordinary pace. The place of rendezvous was to be at Whangarei. Never in New Zealand had such an armament been seen before. It was dreadful to hear the threats of these warriors of what they intended to do, in massacring, destroying without mercy, all they met with. Hongi-Hika left the Bay, with 2,000 warriors (some accounts say 3,000), amongst whom were over 1,000 armed with muskets, and the fleet was composed of more than 50 canoes.” All the people round about the Bay joined in this expedition, besides some from Hokianga, the names of Muriwai and Putu-one, of that place, being mentioned; and Hongi’s companion in his English voyage, Waikato, was of the number, as well as Te Morenga and Taki, with the Uri-kapana people.

On passing Pataua, Hongi-Hika apparently was desirous of proceeding against some of the Ngati-Whatua, who were staying in that neighbourhood, with the intention of obtaining some utu for the death of Te Raharaha, but page 185 finally postponed his purpose to another opportunity.

From the rendezvous at Whangarei, the fleet passed on to Tamaki, or the Auckland Isthmus, on their way killing some people at Te Weiti, twenty miles north of Auckland, who were probably some of the Ngati-Whatua. In the meantime, Te Hinaki had reached his home at Mokoia, on the Tamaki, the present village of Panmure, where he, Te Rauroha and Kohirangatira made every preparation possible to receive their redoubtable enemies. No doubt there were other great chiefs of Ngati-Paoa in the pas of Mokoia and Mauinaina, but no record of them is obtainable; indeed, not many incidents of this siege and capture, which had such momentous results, have been retained. The siege occurred in the month of November, according to Maori accounts, 1821. On the arrival of Nga-Puhi, they overran the country in their search for food, killing all the stragglers they came across, and then sat down to besiege the pa.

It appears from an account obtained from the Nga-Puhi people by Mr. John White, that Ngati-Paoa had little hope from the first of prevailing against their powerful and well armed foes. They therefore collected their most valuable possessions and took them as a page 186 peace offering to Hongi-Hika. These presents were duly received by Nga-Puhi, but they showed no sign of moving off from the position they had taken up. There would seem to have been an interval now, when for a brief space the fighting ceased, but the people of the pa remained in dread as to what course Nga-Puhi would pursue, but this time of suspense was not of long duration.

Mr. C. O. Davies, in his “Life of Patu-one,” the celebrated Nga-Puhi chief of Hokianga, says, “We are told that Patu-one accompanied Hongi-Hika on his expedition against the Ngati-Paoa of the Tamaki district, at which place, after considerable fighting, the enemy was routed by the Nga-Puhi invaders, and a chief named Kaitu, of the Patu-kirikiri tribe, was taken prisoner by Patu-one. It appears that at one time there was a desire on the part of Hongi-Hika to retire from the siege of the pas named respectively Mokoia and Mau-inaina; a desire probably occasioned by the entanglement of Hongi’s foot in some vines, when one of the besieged with a bullet from his musket knocked off the helmet invariably worn since his return from England. Patu-one, however, advised a renewal of the siege on the following day, after, perhaps, an appeal to the oracles and a performance of certain ceremonies at the Maori altar, imagined to counteract the ill omens seen by the army, namely, the accidental entwining of Hongi’s foot and the prostration of the sacred helmet in the dust. For some time page 187 victory seemed to favour each army alternately. At length Hongi-Hika, who had the greatest number of muskets, and who had arranged his men in the form called in Roman tactics the “cuneus,” or wedge, placing himself in the apex and directing those behind him to wheel round upon the enemy from right and left, or to fall back into their original positions as opportunity offered, shot Te Hinaki and defeated his army with great slaughter.”

This fight apparently took place outside the pa. For incidents of the capture of the pa itself we are obliged to have recourse to a French source. Dr. Lesson* learnt from Tui who with Pomare were both engaged in the operations, that “Hongi-Hika had to beat a retreat at first, but returning to the charge, whilst his people kept up a fire on the pa, they succeeded in pulling down some of the palisades, but not without losing many men. This done, they climbed up the sides of the mount which was crowned by the pa, losing numbers of their men, but finally reached the summit. Here they found the besieged protected by a thick wall of earth, against which the musket-balls fell harmless. Hongi-Hika then ordered wood to be fetched, and with this elevated a platform which overlooked the stronghold, and here he placed his best marksmen. Each discharge killed some of the defenders, and soon those who guarded the entrance were all dead, and nothing opposed

* “Voyage autour du Monde.”

page 188 the triumph of the invaders. The pa was now rushed, and a fearful slaughter took place, men, women and children all shared the same fate, and with them three European sailors who were living with the people in the pa. The wounded warriors were all killed, the Thames tribe (Ngati-Paoa) losing 300 men. Hongi-Hika took the best portions to present to the families of those engaged in the expedition. The army remained on the field of battle feasting on the flesh of those who had been killed, until driven away by the putrifaction of the remains.”

It appears from the Maori accounts that Hongi-Hika had a very narrow escape of losing his life in this affair; for Rangi-whenua, one of the Ngati-Paoa braves, just before he fled from the pa, saw Hongi-Hika with his foot caught in the palisading, as he attempted to scale them, and he would have been killed by Rangi-whenua with a cooper’s adze which he carried, had it not been for fear of Hongi’s two pistols. Rangi-whenua fled from the pa, after killing many of the Nga-Puhi with his adze, and started to swim across the Tamaki river, when he was challenged to come back by Te Ihi*, of Nga-Puhi, and fight it out. He did so, and the two braves fought a single-handed combat in front of the Nga-Puhi host. Te Rangi-whenua was, however, killed by a left-handed blow from Te Ihi’s tomahawk. He deserved a better fate for his pluck.

* Te Ihi, the hero, caught by Te Mautaranui at Whakatane (see infra).

page 189

It is said that Te Hinaki was killed by Hongi-Hika himself, and that the latter drank some of the former’s blood in satisfaction of his hatred. Te Hinaki’s head was taken back in triumph to the Bay of Islands and there exhibited.

Mr. John White, in his “Lectures on Maori Customs and Superstitions,” says that it was customary to give the eyes of the enemies slain in battle to the relatives of those who had fallen in the fight, which were always eaten. This fate was inflicted by Hongi upon the whole of the family of Te Paraoa-rahi and their relations, in vengeance for the death of Koperu, the murder for which he commenced his war on the Thames and Waikato. He also says in the same work, that although the whole of the Nga-Puhi army was under Hongi’s leadership, a dispute arose as to how the pa—Mau-inaina–should be attacked, which eventually resulted in a separation of the Nga-Puhi tribes engaged. Four or five of the hapus retired under their own chiefs and would not help in the attack, but joined again after the battle and assisted in the subsequent campaign. This was an assertion of their own independence, Hongi-Hika not being the ariki of their hapus.

The Rev. Mr. Buddle, in his “Lectures” says:—“Some children belonging to a Waikato chief happened to be in the pa of Maui-naina when it was taken, and they were killed. This led the Waikatos to seek utu, and they went to Whangarei and destroyed the principal chief page 190 there.” This is probably the expedition of 1823, referred to later on.

The native accounts say that over a thousand of the Ngati-Paoa people fell in the taking of Mau-inaina, and a traveller who visited the battle-field in 1844 records that the bones of 2,000 men still lay whitening on the plain, and the ovens remain in which the flesh of the slaughtered was cooked for the horrible repasts of the victorious party.

The remainder of Ngati-Paoa, who managed to escape, fled to Waikato and Patetere for protection, where we shall hear of them again; and with them was one of their great chiefs, Kohirangatira. Thus was the death of Koperu at the hands of Te Paraoa-rahi avenged by his fellow-tribesmen, and the Tamaki district laid waste for many a day to come. I cannot ascertain whether our friends the Ngati-Whatua took part with Ngati-Paoa in their defence of Mau-inaina, but I think not, though it seems probable that some of them were dwelling at Mangere at the time. We know that Apihai Te Kawau, Awarua, Te Tinana, and others of the Taou branch of the Ngati-Whatua were absent at the time with Tu-korehu’s army on an expedition against the tribes living at the south end of the island, which will be referred to later on.