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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

Death of Te Pae-o-te-rangi, 1822

Death of Te Pae-o-te-rangi, 1822.

The following is the account of the affair at Roto-Kakahi, near Rotorua, referred to last page, as told by Petera-te-Pukuatua, the present chief of Ngati-Whakaue living at Ohinemutu, Rotorua, to Mr. A. Shand in 1893: “After Te Rauparaha had settled at Kapiti (read here Waitara) he came on a visit to his relatives of Te Arawa tribe living at Rotorua, where he saw Te Puku-atua (Petera’s father) and other chiefs of that tribe, and endeavoured to induce them to aid him in destroying a party of Nga-Puhi, who were then at Tauranga, and on their way to Rotorua. His object was to obtain revenge for the death of Te Puhi (read Te Whetu-roa), of Ngati-Maru, a relative of his who had been killed at Te Totara pa when it fell. Neither the Ngati-Whakaue nor the Ngati-Rangi-wewehi tribes of Rotorua would consent; so Te Rauparaha determined to try the Tu-hou-rangi tribe, to whom also he was related. He passed on from Rotorua by way of Tiki-tere to Motutawa, an island in Roto-kakahi lake, where the Tu-hou-rangi tribe was assembled. After some page 205 time Mutu-kuri, the chief of Tu-hou-rangi, consented to aid Te Rauparaha in his object, and a scheme worthy of the wily chief of Ngati-Toa was laid. Te Whatanui, head chief of Ngati-Raukawa, was at Rotorua at this time.

“Whilst he was staying with his friends on Motu-tawa, the war-party of Nga-Puhi appeared on the shores of Roto-kakahi lake, and there asked the Tu-hou-rangi people in the pa to send canoes across to ferry them over to the island, at the same time professing a desire to make friends with Tu-hou-rangi. Some of the Tu-hou-rangi people called out, (the island is not half a mile from the shore) ‘We are afraid to go over to you for fear of being eaten.’ To this the Nga-Puhi replied, ‘What good should we obtain by eating two or three of you, whilst so many remain; bring a canoe that we may cross over and salute you.’ Accordingly a canoe was sent, and it brought over about twenty of the Nga-Puhi, and in like manner others were ferried over, who, on their arrival, were distributed to different parts of the pa. Tu-hou-rangi continued to bring over their visitors until there were about one hundred and thirty of them in the pa, including their chiefs Te-Pae-o-te-rangi and Waero, all of whom were armed with guns. At this juncture, Te Rauparaha said to the Tu-hourangi people, ‘Bring no more over, we will kill those here, kei kori, lest they turn on us.’ So Tu-hou-rangi arose and killed all the people in the pa; not one escaped, the chiefs mentioned being among the page 206 slain. Thus Te Rauparaha obtained revenge for his relative Te Puhi.”—(Again, read Te Whetu-roa).

“Whilst Tu-hourangi were massacring Nga-Puhi in the pa at Motu-tawa, their friends on the mainland, seeing what was going on, were frantic with rage, shouting, and firing their guns in vain, for the distance was too great for the muskets of those days to be effective. After a time Nga-Puhi returned home.” But on their way some of them were killed at Ohine-mutu by Ngati-Whakaue.

The Nga-Puhi account of this affair is a little different in detail. The following is one of their accounts: “Tiraha—who is now—1849—living at Paihia—lost his father, Papa, at Rotorua, where he was murdered by Te Rauparaha, and this led to the Nga-Puhi expedition to that place. Papa was killed through deceit. The people in the pa had a large house, around which they had erected a very high palisading, and Papa and his friends, sixty in number, had been invited into the house as guests. There were about 600 people in the pa. Some of the latter killed some Maori dogs, and burned the hair in order that the scent should reach the guests who would thereby think the dogs were killed for food. Then Te Rauparaha arose and recited a karakia beginning:—

He tamariki ranei koe
Kia akona he mahara-e-ra,
Ngaua i te wiwi,
Ngaua i te wawa, etc.

page 207

So soon as the karakia was finished, the guests were killed, one only of the Nga-Puhi escaping by climbing over the palisade and then dashing down into the lake. This occurred at Motu-tawa, an island in Lake Roto-kakahi. The man’s name was Te Maangi. As he swam away from the island he was followed by two men of the pa in a canoe, and when they drew near Te Maangi dived as far as he could, but soon losing breath he was overtaken and the men attempted to kill him with their paddles. But Te Maangi was a brave fellow: he seized the bows of the canoe and managed to jump into it, when the two fellows retreated to the stern. Possessing himself of a paddle he made for them, when they took to the water, but by paddling after them he succeeded in killing both with his paddle and then rejoined his friends. Te Maangi lost all his teeth through the blows of the two men when chasing him.”

This massacre, which must have taken place early in 1822, was the reason of Hongi’s expedition to Rotorua in 1823, but he had first an account to settle with Waikato for the death of his relations at Te Totara.

Takaanui Tarakawa, who is well up in these events, states that Te Rauparaha was not at Motu-tawa at the time of the massacre, but he and Te Whata-nui of Ngati-Raukawa after their visit to Rotorua, both left together, and it was during their stay at Motu-tawa that Te Rauparaha sung the song or karakia above to incite Tu-hou-rangi to fall on Nga-Puhi when they came.