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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

Titore’s Second Expedition to Tauranga, &c., 1832–1833

Titore’s Second Expedition to Tauranga, &c., 1832–1833.

Titore was not satisfied with his expedition to Tauranga in the beginning of 1832, so decided on another. Rev. A. N. Brown says, “November 28th, 1832, Titore, who has just returned from the south, was sitting on a bank (at Kororareka) relating his exploits. On the right were fourteen heads stuck on short poles, which the natives seemed eyeing with fiendish exhultation. Tohi-tapu, who accompanied us, after addressing the god Tu in a chanting tone, threw a piece of stick he had in his hand towards other three heads, which were those of their friends, that Titore had brought back from the south. The chiefs stopped their conversation to see if the stick, round which was tied a piece of korari (flax), would fall with the knot upwards. It did fall upwards, which they took for a good sign, in the event of their returning to the south again to fight.”

page 450

Apparently Titore’s party left the Bay in the end of 1832, and returned in the first half of 1833, being accompanied by a party of Te Rarawa (the shark) tribe from Mango-nui, Kaitaia, &c., under the leadership of Te Panakareao,* who was the leading chief of those parts in the middle of the nineteenth century. With him were also some of the Au-pouri tribe, whose home is at the North Cape, but who, at that time, were living about Kaitaia, Rangaounu, &c., having been driven from their homes by Hongi Hika and his allies some years previously.

Again, the Rev. H. Williams and Rev. Mr. Chapman proceeded from the Bay to Maketu, in the Bay of Plenty, to try and put an end to the contemplated slaughter by the Nga-Puhi

* Nopera Ngakuku Panakareao, died 12th April, 1856. His residence was at Kaitaia, where his particular hapu of Te Rarawa lived—Te Patu, which at the time of his death numbered about 200. His father, Te Kaka, was a very influential and brave man, but in the inter-tribal wars of the North, he was driven from Oruru and fled to the North Cape, taking refuge amongst the Au-pouri tribe, and with them, was obliged to flee to Manawa-tawhi, or the Three Kings Islands, where they lived for many years. It is said that when the natives on the main used to burn the fern, the ashes would be carried by the wind across the thirty miles straits that separate the Three Kings from the North Cape, and these unfortunate exiles used to sit down and cry over these ashes as messengers from their old homes. On one occasion, Te Kaka, in making his escape from his enemies became entangled in the supplejack vines, thereby endangering his life, and in commemoration of this event, named his son Pana-kareao (spurned by the supplejack). This was prior to the combination of Nga-Puhi under Hongi-Hika. In re-occupying their conquered territory afterwards, Panakareao was attacked by Hone Heke in 1841 and driven from Oruru with some loss finally settling at Kaitaia.

page 451 tribes. On their arrival at Maketu, 27th February, 1833, they found the Nga-Puhi host camped there, a skirmish having taken place the previous day, in which ten people had been killed. At this time, Maketu, which was a large and strong pa, was held by (Ngati-Pukeko) the Arawa tribe; whilst Te Tumu, about six miles
Black and White photograph of a pa site.

Whakarewa pa, north of New Plymouth, a good specimen of Maori fortification.

to the east, and afterwards to become celebrated for the defeat of Ngai-Te-Rangi, of Tauranga, was held by the latter tribe under Tupaea, Kiharoa and others. The Arawa tribe was divided by tribal quarrels, so much so that some of them were actually assisting Nga-Puhi, i.e., the Ngati-Whakaue, whilst Ngati-Rangiwewehi under Hikairo were assisting Ngai-Te-Rangi. It will be remembered that Pango, a page 452 Rotorua chief, had been saved from massacre at the Bay, by the Rev. H. Williams, in 1828; and since then several visits had been paid to the Bay by Rotorua chiefs, very often to beg that a missionary might be sent. So that the feeling caused by the fall of Mokoia at Rotorua in 1823, at the hands of Hongi-Hika, had become somewhat lessened, and a temporary friendship had sprung up between certain hapus of Te Arawa and Nga-Puhi.

A few notes from the ‘Record” will serve to show the state of the country as Messrs. Williams and Chapman sailed down the coast to Maketu. Leaving the Bay on the 3rd February, 1833, they called in at Whangarei on the 9th and found “no natives, all having been dispersed some time since by a party of Waikatos.” This would be the expedition in retaliation for Puke-rangi’s and Te Tirarau’s taua to Waikato in 1832. On the 10th, they pulled up the Whangarei river; again no people; they saw the ruins of a pakeha’s house. “When last here, there were several natives in the pa, and some Europeans about; but all are now gone, through war.” On the 11th, they called in at Mangawhai, where they saw many foot-steps of the Rarawa party which had followed after Titore. At Whakatu-whenua (Cape Rodney) they overtook the Rarawa, amongst them Rawiri (? Taiwhanga). From thence to Omaha on the 12th, the Rarawa having passed on to Hauturu (or Little Barrier Island). On the 13th, they ran into Port Charles, at Cape page 453 Colville, where the “boys” were considerably alarmed on account of “Pareke-awhiowhio, a noted character, and lord of this part and who had killed many a traveller.” They reached Ahuahu Island on the 14th, and waited there for the Rarawa fleet. They saw many human bones scattered about, the result of the slaughter by Nga-Puhi in 1831. After calling at Mercury Bay and Whangamata, at neither of which places was a soul to be seen, they entered Tauranga on the 26th and camped under Maunga-nui, the southern headland of the harbour. On the 27th February, they reached Maketu, having seen some of Ngati-Awa (really Ngai-Te-Rangi, the Journal always refers to them by the former name) along the coast, and heard a big gun fired from Te Tumu pa “which did not appear strong.” March 1st, Titore came to see Mr. Williams, and he gathered that Nga-Puhi would be glad to return. The news came in of several persons having been killed to the southwards by a distant people.

March 2nd.—Forty men of Nga-Puhi went from Maketu towards Te Tumu, held by Ngai-Te-Rangi under Tupaea in consequence of those killed a few days ago—it was without result. Korokai, of Ngati-Whakaue, Rotorua was at Maketu at this time. March 3rd. News by a native from Rotorua that Te Rau-paraha had crossed over to the South Island, carrying destruction everywhere. (This, I think, was the raid on Cloudy Bay). March 5th. page 454 “Tacapo” (sic) Nga-Puhi’s vessel sailed to look for the Rarawa contingent. On the 6th, Pango,* alluded to a few pages back, came from Rotorua to visit Mr. Williams. On the 7th some 400 men from Nga-Puhi started out to lay an ambush along the road to Rotorua to try and catch some Ngati-Awa reinforcements coming to the assistance of Te Tumu pa, and there was a skirmish on the river on the 8th. “I heard that when Whare-papa, a Nga-Puhi chief, was killed in a late engagement here, Titore’s wife took a rope and gave it to his widow and told her to hang herself, which she did, retiring unattended to the wahi-tapu (sacred place, where incantations, &c., are offered) among some bushes. These circumstances were not uncommon a few years since. It was the practice formerly to kill some slaves on the death of a chief, but this has gradually ceased at the Bay and Hokianga.” On the 11th March, a skirmish took place with the people of Te Tumu, and a son of Amohau of Rotorua was killed. “Immediately all was confusion and noise, firing of guns, wailing and howling in a horrid manner. This last part belonged

* Pango was said to have been one of the most learned of the Arawa tribe, and well versed in their history. The Polynesian Society possesses some documents written by his son—matter which was taught by old Pango.

Amohau was one of the principal chiefs of Ngati-Whakaue of Rotorua. He was a fine old fellow, very thickly tattooed. In 1880, when I was at Rotorua selecting the site and scheming out the plan of the town of Rotorua, he accompanied Chief Judge Fenton and myself all over the place, and was very much interested in the project. He died at Rotorua, 8th September, 1889, aged about 85.

page 455 exclusively to the women, who arranged themselves before the corpse, throwing their bodies into every attitude and filling the air with lamentation, cutting themselves until the blood gushed out, and besmearing their faces and bodies. The frantic widow sat in grief upon the body of her husband—a most dreadful spectacle—tossing her head and arms about like one deranged.” March 14th, “Much commotion consequent on firing heard beyond Te Tumu, supposed to be the arrival of allies. The whole pa except women and children armed and rushed off to the fight. On the opposite side of the river (Kai-tuna) the natives assembled around their priests who stood in the water while they went through their religious ceremony, sprinkling the warriors occasionally with water, at the conclusion of which they caught up a handful of sand, and throwing it in the river, went off at speed towards the enemy.” This was the tohi-taua, or baptism of war, ceremony. After two hours this party returned having two of their number wounded, but none killed. “The firing still continued, and at 2.30 o’clock another party that had been against Te Tumu came in, wild and naked, saying that Tupaea and twenty others of Ngai-Te-Rangi had been killed–which proved to be false. Near sunset we witnessed a religious ceremony upon the return of a party that had been out some days to waylay the enemy near one of their pas. The party assembled naked, every person with a bunch of page 456 green grass in his hand. The priest, an old grey-bearded man and apparently built of such slight material that a puff of wind would blow him away, stood up with outspread arms, holding three blades of long grass in each hand, and repeating over them his karakias, or prayers to Tu, the god of war. At the conclusion of the old man’s service, the party delivered one bunch of the grass to him, they then all stood up and chanted a few words, clapping their hands at the same time; after which they ran down to the river, and wetting the second bunch of grass returned and gave it to the priest. I could not understand a word, nor would anyone explain it.” This was apparently the bringing home of the mawhe or “spirit” of the battle-field.

March 15th.—Amohau, the father of the man shot a few days ago (referred to on a previous page) after the usual tangi over his son, said that he did not wish to obtain any revenge for the death, but was willing to make peace with the help of the missionaries. He wished Mr. Williams to send a messenger to the pa at Te Tumu to accomplish this end, and then go on to Tauranga to meet Titore and the Rarawa people. Messengers were accordingly sent on the 16th and were well received by Tupaea at Te Tumu. On the 19th news was received that the Rarawa were at Katikati and had made an attack on the people there. Kiharoa a chief of Ngai-Te-Rangi came out of Te Tumu pa to meet Mr. Williams, who went on to Tauranga page 457 where, on the 21st he found the Rarawa with Titore, Papahia (of lower Hokianga) and others, together with Te Rohu, a Ngati-Maru chief of the Thames who had joined the Rarawa with 70 men. A long discussion as to peace ensued, ending in Titore and Papahia telling Mr. Williams to go to Otu-moe-tai, the pa of Ngai-Te-Rangi (just across the water from the present town of Tauranga) and discuss the question with them. Peace would probably have been brought about but for an attack made by Nga-Puhi and Rarawa on Otu-moe-tai on the 22nd and again on the 25th, when two men and a woman of the pa were killed, and three of the Rarawa.

Disgusted at the bad faith of Nga-Puhi, Mr. Williams now left for home; and whilst at one of the islands off Coromandel on the 31st March, saw a few natives from whom he learnt that a Nga-Puhi taua under Marupo was at Aotea, or the Great Barrier. The “Record,” notes the fact that the whole coast from Tauranga to the Bay was desolate and without inhabitants. On April 2nd, Mr. Williams called in at Mahurangi where he found Messrs. Fairburn and Shepherd, as also Te Rau-roha and Kupenga of Ngati-Paoa, and Patu-one of Nga-Puhi. (Probably this was not Patu-one of Nga-Puhi). Peace appears to have been made in May or June between Nga-Puhi and Ngai-Te-Rangi at Maketu, Bay of Plenty. But before that, according to the Ure-wera accounts Pana-kareao, with the Rarawa and Aupouri page 458 people had extended their expedition to Whakatane, where Ngati-Awa repulsed them, killing three of their chiefs. In this war, as we have seen, some of Te Arawa tribes joined. Nga-Puhi; others assisted Ngai-Te-Rangi. And hence, says my informant, Te Arawa were able to visit the Bay and obtained many arms there.

Black and White drawing of a bay.

Paihia Mission Station, Bay of Islands, in 1827, near where Tohi-tapu lived.

On July 14, 1833, the old and turbulent Nga-Puhi chief Tohi-tapu died at the Bay of Islands, and on the 5th of May Mr. Busby, the first British Resident, arrived in H.M.S. “Imogene.”

Titore, who had played such an important part in the late southern expedition, was himself shot during a local fight between his party page 459 and that of Pomare (the younger) early in 1838. Titore Takiri left no issue. His expeditions were the last on a large scale to sail from the north, excepting one in 1838, of which there is no Maori account extant that I am aware of, though the Rev. Dr. Lang, who visited New Zealand in 1839, gives the following account of it, but he mentions no names of those engaged in it.