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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Te Rauparaha, the Napoleon of the Maoris

page 44

Te Rauparaha, the Napoleon of the Maoris.

The position occupied by the great chief, Te Rauparaha, in connection with the establishment and earlier progress of the New Zealand Company's settlement in Cook Strait would alone justify us in recording all that can still be learnt of the career of remarkable man, but, when in addition to the interest which his personal history possesses for us in this respect, we find that he took a very important part in the events that occurred in these islands between the years 1818 and 1840—leading us as they did to an immense destruction of life among the then-existing population, and to profound changes in the habits and character of the survivors—it becomes important for the purposes of the future historian of the Dominion, that we should preserve the most authentic accounts of his career, as well as of that of the other great chiefs who occupied, during the period in question positions of power and influence amongst the leading. New Zealand tribes. As with Hongi Te Waharoa, and Te Wherowhero in the North, so Te Rauparaha in the south carried on during the interval referred to, wars of the most ruthless and devastating character, undertaken partly for purposes of conquest, and party for the gratification of that innate ferocity for which the New Zealanders have long been remarkable.

It appears that in 1817, or about three years before E Hongi left for England, and after the failure of Te Rauparaha's attempt to form an alliance against Waikato, a large war party arrived at Kawhia under the command of Tamati Waka Nene and his brother Patuone, who invited Te Rauparaha to join them in a raid upon the southern tribes. Tamati Waka's people had a considerable number of muskets on this occasion, but the expedition had no special object beyond slaughter and slave-making, with the added pleasure of devouring the bodies of the slain. Te Rauparaha joined them with many warriors, and the party travelled along the coast, through the territory of the Ngatiawa, whose alliance with Ngatitoa, however, saved them from molestation. Hostilities were commenced by an attack upon Ngatiruanui, who were dispersed, after great slaughter. This first success was followed by attacks on all the "tribes on the coast until the taua reached Otaki, great numbers of people being killed and many slaver taken, while the remainder were driven into the hills and fastnesses, where many of them perished miserably from exposure and want. At Otaki the invaders rested, Ruaparaha visiting Kapiti, which he found in possession of a section of the Ngatiawa tribe, under the chiefs Patau and Kotuku. It would seem that

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Mrs. Thos. Bevan, senr., (wife of Mr Thos. Bevan, senr., of Manakau), and her three daughters, Mesdames Chas. Nees, G. Phillips, and W. Bull.

Mrs. Thos. Bevan, senr., (wife of Mr Thos. Bevan, senr., of Manakau), and her three daughters, Mesdames Chas. Nees, G. Phillips, and W. Bull.

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even at this time Te Rauparaha, who was much struck with the appearance of the country, formed a design of taking possession of it, and, with his usual policy, determined, instead of destroying the people he found on the island, to treat them with kindness, though he and the other leaders compelled them to collect and surrender much greenstone, of which this tribe especially had, during a long intercourse with the Middle Island, and by means of their own conquests of the Ngaitahu, obtained large and valuable quantities. The hostile party then continued their course along the coast, destroying great numbers of people. On their arrival at, Wellington, then called Whanganui-a-taru, they found that the inhabitants—a section of the Ngatikahunganu—alarmed at the approach of the invaders, had fled to the Wairarapa. Thither followed the taua, and discovered the Ngatikahungunu in great force at a pah called Tawhere Nikau. In order to gorge themselves upon the bodies of the slain, the party returned to Wellington and proceeded to Omere, where they saw a European vessel lying off Raukawa, in Cook Strait. Tamati Waka Nene, on perceiving the ship, immediately shouted out to Te Ruaparaha, "Oh, Raha, do you see that people sailing on the sea; they are a very good people, and if you conquer this land and hold intercourse with them you will obtain guns and powder, and J become very great." Te Rauparaha apparently wanted but this extra incentive to induce him to take permanent possession of the country between Wellington and Patea, and at once determined to remove thither with his tribe as soon as he could make arrangements. The taua (war party) returned along the coast line as they had first come, killing or making prisoners of such of the inhabitants as they could find as far as Patea. It was during the return of this war party that Rangihaeata took prisoner a woman named Pikinga, the sister of Arapata Hiria, a Ngatiapa chief of high rank, whom he afterwards made his slave wife, Laden with spoil, and accompanied by numerous slaves, the successful warriors reached Kawhia, where Tamati Waka Nene and Patuone, with their party, left Te Rauparaha in order to return to their own country at Hokianga, and after all danger of—further attack on the part of Waiata had ceased. Te Rauparaha Betermined, before resuming the movement southward, to again visit his friends at Maungatautari, in order to induce the latter, if Impossible, to join him in the expedition. For this purpose he grovelled to Taupo, taking the road from Taranaki by the upper Wanganui and Tuhua. At Tuhua he had a long conference with :Te Heuheu, who promised to afford him any assistance he could in affecting his settlement at Kapiti and on the main land, but would not consent to take any other part in the undertaking. He then proceeded to Opepe, on Lake Taupo, where a large number page 46 of the Ngatiraukawa had assembled, under Whatanui, in order to discuss Te Rauparaha's proposals. Here a great tangi was held, at which Whatanui made a speech to Te Rauparaha, and gave him many presents as they had not met for some time. After the ordinary ceremonies were concluded, Te Rauparaha again opened his proposals to the assembled chiefs, representing the many advantages that would accrue from adopting them, and particularly insisting on the opportunity it would give the tribe of obtaining abundant supplies of fire-arms, as Kapiti and other parts of Cook Strait had already begun to be visited by European ships. He also dwelt on the rich and productive character of the land, and the ease with which it might be conquered, whilst there was nothing to prevent a large number of the tribe from remaining at Maungatautari in order to retain their ancient possessions there. To all this, however, Whatanui gave no reply, and the meeting broke up without any indication that any part of the tribe would join in the proposed expedition. Te Rauparaha then visited other sections of the tribe, and another great meeting took place, at which he was not present.. At this meeting the chief objection raised was that by joining Te Rauparaha he would become their chief, and there was an unwillingness on the part of the tribe, notwithstanding what had occurred at the death of Hape, entirely to throw off their allegiance to their own hereditary arikis. This resolution was communicated to Te Rauparaha by Horohou, one of the sons of Hape, by Akau, then Rauparaha's wife, and the reasons specially assigned for it grieved Te Rauparaha very much. Pomare then gave over to Rauparaha a number of men who had been under the leadership of Tuhourangi, who, from that time, became attached to, and incorporated with, Ngatitoa, and accompanied him on his return to Taranaki shortly after. On reaching Taranaki he made preparation for continuing the migration, and succeeded in inducing Wikingi Rangitake, since celebrated in connection with the Waitara war, and his father, with many other chiefs, and a considerable number of the Ngatiawa tribe, to accompany him. His followers then consisted of his own people, the Ngatitoa, numbering 200 fighting men; the Ngapuhis, who had been transferred to him by Pomare, and Wikingi's Ngatiawa, numbering 400 fighting men, and their several families. During the interval between the commencement of the migration and its resumption from Taranaki, after Te Rauparaha's last return thither, a large war party of Waikatos, under Tukorehu, Te Kepa, Te Rawau (Apihori) and other chiefs, had descended the East Coast, from whence they invaded the territory which Te Rauparaha was about to seize. The Muaupoko, Rangitane, and Ngatiapa were all attacked on this occasion, and again suffered great loss, a circumstance which became known to page 47 Te Rauparaha through some Ngatiraukawa men who had joined the Waikatos in their expedition, and had communicated its results to him during his last visit to Maungatautari. It appears, moreover, that after he had left Taupo, Whatanui and a large party of Ngatiraukawa made up their minds to join him at Kapiti, but instead of following the same route, which he intended to take, they determined to proceed via Ahuriri, having been invited thither by the Ngatikahungunu. On their arrival there, however, a dispute took place between the two parties, and a battle ensued, in which the Ngatiraukawa were defeated with considerable slaughter, the remainder of the party being forced to retreat upon Maungatautari. Amongst the leading chiefs who accompanied Rauparaha was Rangihaeata, who, during the previous invasion, had taken prisoner a Ngatiapa woman of rank, named Pikinga, whom he had made his slave-wife. When her brothers heard of the arrival of Ngatitoa at Wanganui, they, with a party numbering altogether twenty men, come to meet her, and accompanied Ngatitoa as far as the Rangitikei river. Shortly after Rauparaha had settled at Ohau, two of the chiefs of Muaupoko visited him, and offered, if he would come over to their pa at Papaitonga, to make him a present of several large canoes. He was extremely delighted at this offer, and at once consented to go. Rangihaeata, however, endeavoured to dissaude him, saying, "Raha, I have had a presentiment that you will be murdefed by Muaupoko." But Rauparaha laughed at his fears, and, attracted by the prospects of obtaining the canoes, which had been glowingly described to him by the two chiefs, would not listen to any suggestions against the proposed visit. He even refused to take any large force with him, [unclear: ning]himself to a few men, and to some of his own children. It appears, however, that a plot had been laid between Turoa and [unclear: ahi]chiefs of the Wanganui tribes, and the leading chiefs of [unclear: upoko], to murder Te Rauparaha, and the invitation to Papaitonga, with the offer of canoes, was only a step in the plot [unclear: for] that purpose. It is quite clear that he apprehended no danger and that he fell into the trap laid for him with wonderful facility. It was evening when he and his companions arrived at [unclear: the] pa; they were received by Toheriri, at whose house Ruaparaha [unclear: was] to sleep. His people were all accommodated in different parts [unclear: of] the pa, Ruaparaha alone remaining with Toheriri. The murder [unclear: was] to be committed at night by a war party from Horowhenua, [unclear: and] when Toheriri believed that his guest was fast asleep, he rose, [unclear: and] went out, intending to inform the war party that Rauparaha [unclear: was] asleep in his house. His movements, however, aroused Te Ruaparaha who at once suspected some foul design, a suspicion which was soon converted into certainty by the cries of some of his people at the commencement of the bloody work. He then escaped page 48 from the house, and, being entirely unarmed, fled towards Ohau which he succeeded in reaching, but quite naked. This treacherous murder provoked the wrath of Ngatitoa, who, from that time, proceeded to destroy Muaupoko without mercy. Toheriri was taken prisoner, and afterwards hung and eaten, undergoing dreadful tortures. Before this event Muaupoko were a somewhat powerful tribe, but their power was utterly broken by the Ngatitoa and their allies, in revenge for the attempted murder of their great chief. After this escape Te Rauparaha settled at Ohau, and occupied the main land as far as Otaki, his war parties constantly hunting the people, at Rangitikei, Manawatu, Horowhenua.

Having completed a career of conquest, Te Rauparaha, like the Roman of old, sought other lands to subdue, so, manning the great war canoes he had wrested from the fatten, he crossed over to the South Island and ravaged and laid waste whole territories in the Nelson and Marlboiough districts. This being only a brief sketch, details of the many bloody wars and massacres in which Te Rauparaha was directly concerned are omitted. Within a comparatively brief period of his arrival in the Scuth Island he became immersed in larger schemes of conquest, taking upon himself almost superhuman tasks. The Ngatitohu tribe relieved the strain he had put upon the Rangitane, and just at that time a multiplicity of enemies furnished him with a surfeit of perilous experiences. But Rauparaha was no less a diplomat than a warrior. By diplomacy he accomplished that which he failed to attain by fighting. War broke out between the fiery Ngatiawa and Ngatiraukawa, two tribes friendly towards him. The engrossed very nearly the whole of his attention, leaving him with little to devote to reprisals on his old enemies, and before a suitable opportunity had arrived for avenging the killing of his people by the Awe Awe, Christianity had gained a footing among a number of tribes on the West Coast, due to the preaching and teaching of a Native clergyman from Tauranga, Wiremu Hamua by name Tired of the turmoil of war and satiated with bloody butchery, the Maoris gladly embraced this new doctrine of peace and goodwill towards men. The strenuousness of those times was more than even an old Maori warrior could eaduie, trained as he was in the ways of war almost from his infancy. Conditions were ripe for the preaching of the doctrine of universal love, and they seized upon it as though it were the panacea for their thousand woes. Stranger to relate, Tamihana Rauparaha, the son of Te Rauparaha, was one of the first and most enthusiastic converts to Christianity, He was born at the pa of Puohu, while the Ngatitoas were on their memorable migration south from Kawhia in search of knowledge and bloodshed. I knew Tamihana to be a man of considerable

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Te Rauparaha, the Napoleon of the Maoris.

Te Rauparaha, the Napoleon of the Maoris.

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Intelligence, thoroughly imbued with pakeha ideas. His dress was always that of a European, and his house, which was open and free to all, was a comfortable, convenient, and desirable place to live in. Tamihana was greatly distressed at the havoc and desolation the incessant battles and massacres were creating. His great influence was constantly exerted in uplifting the banner of peace. But so keenly did he recognise the need of one more qualified than himself to expound the teachings of Christ, that he journeyed all the way from this district to the Bay of Islands to secure the services of a resident missionary. It was there he met the Rev. Octavius Hadfield, whom he induced to return with him, and from December of that year, 1839, a new era may be said to have dawned for both Maori and pakeha on this wild West Coast. The Rev. Mr Hadfield was in those days a man of high character and keen intelligence. He was loved and respected by the Natives amongst whom he lived in the pa at Waikanae. He was in close touch with both Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, and knew their every movement of any consequence. During the troublous times with those two chiefs the Rev. Hadfield spent nearly his whole time and energy travelling up and down the coast to allay irritation and prevent unfriendly relations between Natives and Europeans. It was in 1861, during the bellicose attitude of the Kingite Natives, that the Rev. Hadfield rendered services of incalculable value to this country. The Natives at Otaki had raised the Kingite flag, drilling, and other war-like preparations, were in progress, plans for driving the pakeha into the sea were evolved, and, the whole country side was in a ferment. It was at this time that the Rev. Hadfield held counter meetings, and strongly opposed bloodshed becoming rampant in this locality. Luckily, his efforts were successful, and but for him there would have been another story to tell. No one could estimate the good work done in saving the unprotected settlers at such a time, and I cannot refrain from bearing testimony to the great services he rendered to humanity and to the cause of Christ. Not one word, either from savage or pakeha, did we hear in those days against him. His was a devoted life to the cause of religion and the reclamation of the savage, and most zealously did he pursue his benevolent and beneficient calling. Not one inconsistent act was known of him, no one can impeach the pure and noble purpose that induced him to cast himself among a body of the wildest savages in this country.

Ultimately, after a long period of quarrelling and warfare, the great Te Rauparaha was captured by the clever strategy of Sir : George Grey. He was seized in a tent on a favourable opportunity, and carried away unknown to his followers, and retained until his power bad diminished sufficiently to permit of his page 50 release. I witnessed his return from captivity to Otaki in 1846; it was an occasion never to be forgotten. A British man-of-war hove in sight and anchored off the mouth of the Otaki river, boats were lowered therefrom, officers, soldiers, and marines, in gorgeous uniforms, filled them, and as they neared the shore Te Rauparaha stood proudly amongst them, attired in an admiral's uniform and carrying a sword. He was accompanied by Governor Grey and the commander of the warship. Maoris lined the shores and gave their chief a right royal welcome home. The very earth trembled with the stamping of thousands of dusky warriors' feet. Rauparaha never relapsed into his savage war-like usages of earlier times; on the contrary, he urged the Ngatiraukawas to build "Otaki church, to be named Rangiatea. In 1848 he and the chiefs of the Ngatitoas and Ngatiraukawas gave 578 acres of land at Otaki towards the education of Ngatitoa, Ngatiawa, and Ngatiraukawa children. A college and school was established under the auspices of the Rev. Mr Hadfield and the Rev. Mr. Williams, and it was carried on most satisfactorily for many years, Archdeacon Williams was universally beloved by the Natives, being possessed of that extreme sympathetic feeling which distinguished the best class of English clergymen in those days. Te Rauparaha ended his days in Otaki, passing away in 1849. A monument there bears record of the event.

On the 23rd July, 1846, Te Rauparaha was taken prisoner by Governor Grey, who sent at night an armed party of 150 men at Porirua. Rauparaha and others were surprised in their sleep, and seized, it is said, without sufficient pretext, and placed on board the man-of-war Calliope for twelve months. About the time of the capture of Te Rauparaha, 200 men of the tribe of Ngatiraukawa, who befriended Rangihaeata, assembled at Otaki, and he Rangihaeata, told them he wished to destroy Wellington and kill the Europeans as satisfaction for the captivity of Rauparaha; but Matene to Whiwhi and Tamihana Te Rauparaha, son of Te Rauparaha, told them they must put an end to this foolish desire, and not to hearken to the tikanga, the ways of Rangihaeata, but that they must try and live in peace, and cease their bad desire. They consented, and when Rauparaha was liberated, about June, 1847, Te Rauparaha urged the Ngatiraukawa to build a large church in Hadfield town as Otaki was then called, as he had a great desire to worship the groat God. He was continually worshipp until he died at Otaki on the 27th November, 1849, in his 81st year. The great chieftain was buried in the Native Mission cemetery at Otaki on the 3rd December,' but the Maoris now resident in that town declare that the coffin containing his remains was subsequently removed to Kapiti Island.

Rangihaeata, on hearing of the seizure of his chief, dashed to page 51 the neighbourhood to aid him, if possible, but the northern chiefs refused to obey his call. They told him that to attempt to exterminate the Europeans was foolish; how could they dry up the sea? Therefore, he said, finish fighting with the Europeans !

Rangihaeata lived to be 70 years of age. He died in' November, 1856, and was buried at Poroutawhao, near Foxton. I knew Tamihana Te Rauparaha and his father, Te Rauparaha, since 1845. After Te Rauparaha died, when there was any great qaestion to settle, the old chiefs would meet Tamihana and Matene Te Whiwhi at their houses to get advice from them about the business that was to come off. Tamihana and Matene were the leading chiefs of their tribe, and all the white settlers along this coast must thank them for their lives, for it was they who advised Sir George Grey how to end the war with Te Rangihaeata in 1846, thus saving the white people from being massacred by Te Rangihaeata. Tamihana and Matene had a most eventful life, worthy of record by all the white people. They had great influence among their tribes, and their deaths were a great loss to all Tamihana died at his house on the sheep run, and the f Ngatiraukawa went there and carried him to Matene Te Whiwhi's t house in Otaki. There were hundreds of Natives around him at, the tangi, and for a week there was great mourning. Memories of the past scenes come back upon me now as I write these lines. Tamihana Te Rauparaha got a marble bust from Sydney for his father, Te Rauparaha, but he died before it was erected by his tribe, the Ngatiraukawas. I have seen Te Rauparaha going to church many times. He had a great desire to worship the only true God, and he was continually worshipping until he died.