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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

Noho-awatea. Hongi Goes to Waikato after Ngati-whatua, 1825

Noho-awatea. Hongi Goes to Waikato after Ngati-whatua, 1825.

How long it was that Hongi-Hika remained at home at the Bay after his return from the Kaipara expedition and after defeating Ngati-Whatua at the battle of Te Ika-a-ranga-nui is not certain, but it must have been late in 1825 that he left to follow the fugitives from Te Ika-a-ranga-nui to Waikato. On the 23rd July of this year he was at Whangaroa, and returned to the Bay on the 29th of that month; and from then until July, 1826, I cannot trace his movements. It therefore would seem that it must have been in the end of 1825, after hearing of the destruction of the Parawhau at Otamatea, he left. The Maoris say, Ka huri te tau after Te Ika-a-ranga-nui —“after the year had turned”—which I take page 370 to mean the Maori year, which commenced in June. He went by the usual way down the east coast, thence across the portages of Otahuhu and Waiuku, 170 strong (240 in reality). He then paddled up the Waikato, Waipa and Mangapiko rivers, to Noho-awatea, where Ngati-Whatua had just arrived, and were taking shelter with Te Rauroha of Ngati-Paoa, who themselves were fugitives from Tamaki after their great defeat at Mau-inaina in 1821. One of the native accounts states that Hongi-Hika before this had gone to Rotorua in search of Ngati-Whatua, but on his arrival finding that they had returned to Waikato, he came back and, as just related, found them in Te Eauroha’s pa. Mr. Fenton remarks, “And now comes one of those strange combinations and comminglings which are so utterly unintelligible—Nga-Puhi were joined by the Ngati-Haua tribe of Waikato (W. Tamihana Te Waharoa’s tribe), and the allies desired the Ngati-Paoa to leave the pa in order that they might attack Ngati-Whatua. To Rauroha complied with this request and the allies immediately stormed the pa and killed many of the Ngati-Whatua. After this, peace was made between Ngati-Paoa and Nga-Puhi (i.e.. between Tamati-Tangi-te-ruru and Hongi-Hika, says one account), and many of the Hauraki people returned and took up their abodes at Waiheke, Taupo (Hauraki Gulf) and elsewhere, occupying also the other side of the Gulf—for having made peace with Hongi-Hika, it became safe for them to do so.”

page 371
One of the native accounts states that this pa, attacked by Hongi-Hika, was called Whareroa, and that some of the Ngati-Paoa assisted Ngati-Whatua in their defence. And the same account
Black and White photograph of a Maori Chief.

Wi Tamihana, Te Waharoa (the so-called King-maker), chief of Ngati-Haua of Upper Thames.

states, that as Hongi-Hika returned towards home he met Pomare’s taua on its way to Hauraki and Waikato and advised them to return back to the Bay, no doubt on account of the peace just concluded with Ngati-Paoa; but Pomare persisted, page 372 and proceeded on to Hauraki and up the Piako to Horotiu, as will be related later on.

Some of the Ngati-Whatua were living at Te Horo, on the Waipa, at this time.

Another of the native accounts of this expedition of Hongi’s is as follows:—“The reason that we went on this war party was because some of Nga-Puhi had been killed by Waikato at Motutapu. I was at Hauraki at the time, hence I did not suffer with the others; but Te Taonui (of Hokianga) told me about it. When Hongi-Hika learned the news of some of Nga-Puhi having been killed, he was very angry; and not long after he heard that a party of Waikato and Ngati-Whatua were in the Wai-te-mata district, camped at the plain just to the east of Mount Eden (Epsom), who were said to be 300 strong, under the chief Rewharewha.* So Hongi-Hika and Te-Uru-ti, or Kingi Hori, arranged to go and attack them. Our taua started from Hokianga Heads, but in the meantime Rewharewha had heard of our coming and had retreated to Waikato. Whilst we came by the west coast and Kaipara, Hongi-Hika came in his canoes by the east coast, and on our arrival at Wai-te-mata found that Rewharewha had gone to Waikato. Hongi-Hika then sent out spies to Waikato to see where the people had fled to, who brought news that Rewharewha and those with him were making for Te Rauroha’s pa, for fear they should be caught by Nga-Puhi and be eaten. Hongi’s

* Rewharewha, of Te Uri-o-hau branch of Ngati-Whatua, father of Manukau, of Aropaoa, Kaipara.

page 373 army then advanced up the Waikato, and on the way he made overtures to the Ngati-Te-Ata tribe (of Waiuku, but they were not living there at the time) to come and help them. (The account does not say whether they consented or not.) The army then went on until they arrived at Otawhao, but Ngati-Whatua had left there and returned northwards to Noho-awatea, where we followed them and danced a war-dance joined in by all Nga-Puhi outside the pa. We then said to the people of Te Rauroha’s pa, that they should send Rewharewha and his people outside because they were Ngati-Whatua. Then Rewharewha advanced outside the pa towards us; it was probably an act of desperation (whakamomori) on his part in order that he might be killed by us. He shouted out the name of Hongi-Hika, possibly thinking that he might thus be saved by Hongi-Hika, but by the time Hongi-Hika reached the front before the pa, Rewharewha was already killed. He had attacked Nga-Puhi first, but he did not die without reason, for he was pierced by five spears before he fell. Then Nga-Puhi assaulted the pa and took it, driving Ngati-Whatua out and making a great slaughter of the people, many of whom were afterwards eaten. Pomare’s daughter, who was with the taua, saved a child of the Ngati-Whatua alive, and many of that people were enslaved and taken back to their homes by Nga-Puhi.”

From there Hongi-Hika returned back to the Bay by the way he had come, whilst Te Uru-ti, after page 374 descending the Waikato river went up the Maramarua river and crossed over to Hauraki, and returned home some time after Hongi-Hika, having visited several of the Hauraki tribes on his way and killed any of the Waikato people whom he came across.

It is also said that just about the time of Hongi’s attack on Ngati-Whatua, the first migration of Ngati-Raukawa took place from Maunga-tautari to join Te Rauparaha at Cook Strait. Mr. Fenton says, “Although Apihai’s tribes (the Taou branch of Ngati-Whatua) had not joined in the battle of Te Ika-a-ranga-nui, they seem to have known that it would be unsafe for them to await the arrival of Hongi-Hika (at Wai-te-mata)—whether on account of their near relationship to Ngati-Whatua, or on account of their doings with the Parawhau (at Otamatea), we are not told. At any rate they determined that it was not wise to stay here; so they assembled at Wai-kumete (Little Muddy creek), and fled up the Waikato to Pukewhau, on the Waipa, and after sojourning there a short time, escaped (i.e., returned back) to Mahurangi, north of Auckland, where a party of Nga-Puhi lived who were friendly to Apihai. The close of this year found the whole of the isthmus of Auckland without an inhabitant. Ngati-Paoa had been driven from Mau-inaina, and were living on the banks of Mangapiko and Horotiu at Waikato. Ngati-Whatua were completely broken; attacked first by Nga-Puhi, then by Waikato, for which purpose their friends, the page 375 Ngati-Paoa, politely stood on one side, and the tribe seemed likely to share the fate to which they and their related tribes had previously subjected the Wai-o-Hua. The Taou and Ngaoho hapus of Ngati-Whatua were in refuge near Mahurangi, subject to constant attacks and dangers. Ngati-Te-Ata, Ngati-Tama-oho, and all the Manukau tribes were in pas and strong places near the head-waters of the Waikato, or on the banks of the Waipa; and Te Uri-ngutu tribe of Ngati-Whatua were sojourning for some untold reason with a party of Ngati-Paoa at Whakatiwai on the Hauraki Gulf and Ponui island. For many years, there is in truth, a blank in the history of Tamaki.”*

* “Orakei Judgment,” p. 72.