The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 75
Wars of Ngati-Ruapani and Tuhoe
Wars of Ngati-Ruapani and Tuhoe.
The Ngati-Ruapani Tribe of Waikare-moana are an ancient people, and have dwelt in this district for many generations. The principal hapus or sub-tribes are Ngati-Hine-kura, Ngati-Tahu, Ngati-Haua, Ngati-Mate-wai, and Ngai-Te-Amohanga. Among them are also a few Ngati-Ira, who came from Opotiki to the lake, viâ Rua-tahuna, about four generations back.
The hapus of the Tuhoe Tribe are : Ngati-Hine-kura or Ngai-Te-Riu (the sub-hapus being Ngati-hora-aruhe, Ngai-te-ua, Ngai-te-rurehe, and Ngati-rohe); Ngai-Tawhaki (the sub-hapus being Ngati-Tamakere, Ngati-Koro, Ngati-Tuhea or Ngati-Tu-haere-ao, and Ngati-Taokaki); Ngati-kaira; Ngai-tumatawhero; Ngati-rere-kahika; Nga-Potiki; Ngati-Ha; Ngati-Maru; Te Upoko-rehe; Ktu-heuheu (allied); Tuhoe-potiki; Ngai-taraparo; Ngati-te-umu-iti Ngati-Kakahu-tapiki; Ngati-Ruri; Ngati-Hamua; Ngati-Koura; Ngati-Rongokarae; Ngai-Turanga; Nga-maihe; Ngai-Tama; Ngati-manunui; Tama-kai-moana, or Ngati-huri, being the descendants of the ancient Nga-Potiki.
In the time of Hatiti, of Nga-Potiki—that is, some twelve page 42 generations back—fighting commenced between Tuhoe and Ngati-Ruapani, of Waikare-moana. A party of the latter tribe, under Tara-nga-a-kahutai, crossed the Huia-rau Range and attacked the Nga-Potiki pa of Raehore, which was situated on the range above the Rua-tahuna Stream, taking the pa and killing Hatiti, son of Potiki the Second. Tuhoe collected their men from many isolated settlements and drove the Ruapani back across Huia-rau.
Nga-Potiki then raised a taua (war party), under Tahaki-a-nins and others, and crossed the mountains to Waikare, where they found their enemies at the mouth of the Opu-ruahine Stream, at the Whanganui Inlet. The two tribes met and fought at Te Ana-putaputs, beneath the steep range on the eastern side of the small branch of the Whanganui arm of the lake. On this narrow strip of beach the battle waged fiercely for some time, with the result that Ruapani were defeated, losing the chiefs Taua-tu and Taunga-atua, with many men of lesser rank. As their enemies fled along the base of the cliff, Tuhoe pursued them, killing numbers among the rocky boulders which line the lake-side.
Ngati-Ruapani in their turn now marched on Tuhoe, at O-haua-te-rangi, on the ranges near Rua-tahuna. At O-te-rangi-o-raro they captured the wife of Hapopo, who, however, contrived to escape, and fled quickly to her husband, whom she apprised of the oncoming tauo Hapopo at once set about consulting his atua (deity) like a true Maori, in order to ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the story, and the possible result to himself of an appeal to arms. This atua Tu-a-kahu-rakiraki, which is an atua whakaepaepa, appeared to treat the matter very lightly, merely repeating the word "Tikore! Tikore! Tikore!" thus conveying the meaning that no danger existed. This set the mind of Hapopo at rest; but his sublime faith in the god was ill repaid, inasmuch as he was shortly afterwards slain by the war-party. The following well-known and much plagiarised saying, "Na Tu-a-kahu-rakiraki, waiho te mate ki a Hapopo,"* is applied to the false prophecy of this atua. Tuhoe now gathered their available warriors in the vicinity and attacked the Ruapani, who were defeated and forced to retreat homewards having lost the chiefs Taranga-a-kahutai, Whatai, Te Kawakawa and Te Tuhinga.
To square accounts with the Tuhoe for the death of the above chiefs, the lake-men then mustered a force which marched by Opuruahine across the ranges to Maunga-pohatu, where they attacked Nga-Potiki of that secluded district, but were obliged to fall back, after losing Tai-ka-ea, Haua, and Te Neinei, leading men of the party. Peace was then established between the two tribes, and continued for many years.
* "'Twas Tu-a-kahu-rakiraki that abandoned Hapopo to death."
Again the Ruapani fell, and Tuhoe took Puke-huia as they had taken Whakaari. The lake chiefs killed at these two fights were Rangaranga, Tauihu-kahoroa, Moko-ha, and Tu-taua, together with many men of lesser rank. Peace was once more established between these tribes by the raising of the tatau pounamu,* the "jade door" which closes on war and strife.
* The tatau pounamu is an expression used by the Tuhoe people to denote a formal and enduring peace; it is peculiar to their dialect.
† Not to be confounded with Ngati-Hine-kura, a hapu of Ngati-Ruapani, a much more ancient hapu.
The majority of the Tikitiki refugees, however, fled to Ruatahuna, there to relate their woes to sympathizing friends. In the meantime the second detachment of the great Tuhoe East Coast expedition had left Rua-tahuna under the chiefs Tipihau, Koroki Te Rangi-pu-mamao, Te Ika-poto, Te Hokotahi, Te Pou-whenua Hautu, Waiari, Piki, and Waikato, together with a company of Ngai-Te-Rangi-ao-rere, a hapu of Te Arawa Tribe, under Te Awe kotuku, Te Ika-tarewa, and Mataka, numbering, all told, nearly eight hundred men. As this formidable army was ascending that Huia-rau Range, the mata-taua (scouts) met two men of Ngati-Ruapani at Poututu, who were going to Manawa-ru to fetch away six of their tribesmen, who were living at that place. As the Tahoe scouts met them one remarked, "Kua mate a Waikare."* Te Ika-poto asked, "What is the sign?" The old scout replied "Inahoki te hahana o te kanohi o te tangata nei" (Behold the [unclear: glo] in the face of the man)! However, the two men were allowed to proceed, and when the Tuhoe reached Te Pakura they there met the survivors of Tikitiki, who said, "Waikare has fallen; nothing remains but the drifting waters."
* "Waikare has fallen." "Our people at Waikare have been killed."! or disaster has overtaken them.
Those of the island garrison who landed on the mainland opposite Nga-whakarara were also pursued by the vengeful Tuhoe, who landed almost at the same time as the defeated islesmen. Just as the two parties were landing, a strong body of men was observed coming rapidly along the lake-side from the south. This was the page 46 southern war-party of Tuhoe, who had been fighting the Kahu-[unclear: ngu] at Te Tutira and elsewhere, and, recalled by messengers from Tikitiki travelled by forced marches to Wairau-moana, arriving just too late to take part in the attack on the island fort, but at once joined in the pursuit of the flying Ruapani. Tuhoe, their forces now being combined, chased the unhappy enemy around the shore of the lake Pare-tawai was killed by Tipihau just opposite the island fort.* Tuhoe killed as they went (patu haere), and did not halt until reaching Whakamaro, down the Waikare-taheke River, where a forces of Ngati-Kahu-ngunu had collected to assist the lake hapus, with whom they are connected.
The Tuhoe ope appears to have remained for some time in this neighbourhood, and lost the two chiefs Hape and Te Ohinu, the latter a younger brother to Waikato. They were killed by the Kahu-ngunu at Tauranga-koau on a frosty morning, as they were lying in a sunny spot to warm themselves.
After this, Tuhoe marched to attack the pas of Pohatu-nui and Pa-nui, by which time they had obtained a wondrous ally in the shape of a kope or old-fashioned horse-pistol, called Marams-atea This ope attacked Ngati-Kahu-ngunu outside their pa and killed one man, upon which Kahu-ngunu retired into the pa. Tuhoe then made a sham retreat, appearing to fly in confusion, but the warriors fell aside one by one and concealed themselves in the brush. This was to induce their enemies to follow them into the ambush prepared, which they did (kua hara mai he hurahura-kokoti), As they followed the retreating Tuhoe, one of their number, who was in advance, was attacked and slain by Ruru, who took the dead man's huata, or spear, and personated him for some time, to delude the luckless Kahu-ngunu, who were defeated by the ambush.
The scouts of Tuhoe entered Pohatu-nui Pa under cover of night to reconnoitre the position. Te Aukihi-ngarae, who had the kope, tired it off as a signal to the ope without; these now rushed the pa which fell to them. The chiefs of Ngati-Ruapani killed in the above fights were Whatawhata, Rangaranga, and Te Karaka. Te Ariki escaped, but was captured after a long chase and slain; Tirawhi was enslaved. "Te rahui kawau ki roto o Wairau"† is an expression applied to the refugees of Nga-whakarara by Tuhoe, on account of the manner in which they flew from place to place.
* The chief Karetao was also killed, fights occurring at Te Upoko-o-te-ao and Tutae-maro.
† "The flock of shags within Wairau."
Te Arawa were not slow in taking the hint, and attacked these people at Manga-kino, just below Umu-rakau. Te Rua-ngaio, chief of Patu-heuheu, was killed, and many others were led prisoners by the Arawa to the lake district, some of whom were released by their captors after Christianity had gained a hold on their heathen minds, one of these, Whare-kauri, still lives at Whirinaki.
After this crushing defeat Ngati-Ruapani remained peacefully quiet for some time; but Ranga-ika and his brother chiefs were dark in their hearts towards the tribes of Tuhoe land, and cast about for a plan by which they might obtain utu, or payment, for their reverses. And Mokoa uttered the ancient proverb, "Me ai ki te hua o te renga-renga, me whakapakari ki te hua o te kawariki" [Create them (men) from the fruit of the rengarenga (evening primrose), and mature them by the fruit of the kawariki (a plant)].
So it fell out that certain kara were sent to the Kahu-ngunu of the coast lands, which kara were tokens sent by one tribe to another by which they ask assistance to attack an enemy. Closely allied to this kara is the tiwha, which denotes a similar request for assistance and may be a material token or merely a hint conveyed in a song. Should a party of people go forth to visit a relative dwelling with another tribe, and should that relative send or present to them a basket of cooked kumara or taro, and should they find a stone among that food, then is it clear to them that the stone is a tiwha, and by it they are silently asked to arise and attack their hosts. Such is the material tiwha.
When Te Mai-taranui, of Tuhoe, went north to ask the aid of certain tribes in attacking the Wairoa and Mahia people, he conveyed his meaning to them by means of a song, which he sang to the chiefs of the different tribes in succession—to Te Waru, to Tu-te-rangianini and to Pomare. This song was a tiwha.
However, the kara was accepted by the Wairoa tribes, who raised a band of warriors and marched to Waikare-moana, where they joined forces with Ngati-Ruapani, the combined hapus being led by the chiefs Ranga-ika, Waiho, Puahi, Toki-whati, and Te Rangi-paea. Tuhoe were not slow in taking up the challenge, and a great fight took place between the opposing parties on the rugged, boulder-strewn beach at Te Ana-o-tawa, a cave which is situated at the base of Te Ahi-titi cliff, close to Te Wha-ngaromanga. Then was heard the clash of weapons as men fought with the old-time arms of the Maori, and the death-cry of many a warrior rose high above the roar of Hau-mapuhia. About fifty men of the coast and lake tribes fell here, including the chiefs Waiho, Puahi, and Mahia.
Ranga-ika, as he saw his best fighting men fall around him, and others flying from the enemy, realised that the battle was indeed lost to him, and that the fighting Tuhoe were again victors. Then came upon him the sickening dread which men feel when they stand face to face with a fearful death, and the excitement is off. His page 48 throat was dry and hot and the flow of saliva ceased—an evil [unclear: ome] Stooping down, he lifted in his hollowed hands cool water from the lake-side, and crying in a strange, hard voice, "Ka maroke te kaki kua mate! kua mate! kua mate! (the throat is dry; it is death! it is death! it is death!) he drank the water. For it was a sign from the gods; it was a miti aitua (an evil omen).
Turning to the cliff of Ahi-titi, which rose above him, he clambered up the rocky ledge which slants upward from Te Ana-o-taws and so escaped into the forest above, while a fresh band of Tubal who were now approaching the battle-ground in canoes, lay on their paddles off-shore at Nga Hoe-a-Kupe and sang a deafening puha, [unclear: or] jeering song.
Tuhoe, now determined to hold their own at Waikare-moana built the pas Waimori, Te Waiwai, and Pa-pouaru, and proceeded to camp on the lands as well as harry their unhappy neighbours Many fights occurred at Te Wairoa, Te Putere, Mohaka, Tutirs Maunga-haruru, Wairau, and Heretaunga. The war became a succession of skirmishes and desultory fights of no magnitude, the result being that Waikare-moana was practically abandoned by [unclear: Ngai] Ruapani, only the taha-rua remaining—that is, those who were related to both sides.
The long-suffering tribes of the lakes and coast then [unclear: organin] an expedition to avenge their defeats, and drive the Tuhoe from the eastern slopes of the great Huia-rau Range.