The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Horo-Uta or Taki-Tumu Migration. [Vol. III]
Welcome, Rupe! Wait awhile with me,
And I will tell thee what the ancients say
Of smiles or frowns the seasons give:
“Two years of food deficient, then
Two years of want and scarcity, and
Then a harvest-crop of plenty comes.”
But thou, O Rupe! hast the power
To choose or cast aside the choicest gifts
The earth can give. One of land, and one of sea,
And two the depths of darkness hide.
When sleep enwraps thy frame
The medium of thy spirit comes
And shows thee what the staff of life would say.
Thy omen-staff, if all alone,
Tells what the heaven's fiat is
Of famine and of universal death to man,
Whom Rehua would take and cast into
The grave, the cooking-pits of misery.
TheNga-i-tahu chiefs who exercised the greatest influence over the fortunes of their people in modern times were Tama-i-hara-nui (son of much evil), Tai-a-roa (long tai-aha), and Tu-hawaiki (Tu the leper), better known by the whalers' soubriquet, “Bloody Jack.” All three took a prominent part in the later history of the Peninsula. Tama-i-hara-nui was the highest in rank, while his cousin Tu-hawaiki came next; but, though slightly superior by birth, both were inferior in mental and moral qualities to Tai-a-roa, a noble man, whose conduct stands out in pleasing contrast to that of the two cousins. For, while they page 265 will only be remembered by the story of their cruel and evil deeds, he will always be esteemed for his brave and generous actions in war, and his wise and kindly counsels in peace. Tama-i-hara-nui was the upoko ariki, or heir to the ancestral honours of Nga-i-te-rangi-a-moa (days of the moa) the noblest family of the Nga-i-tahu; but he gained still further distinction from the fact that several other noble lines met in his person. As the hereditary spiritual head of the tribe he was regarded with peculiar reverence and respect: the common people did not dare to look upon his face, and his equals felt his sacred presence an oppressive restriction, upon their liberty of action, for even an accidental breach of etiquette while holding intercourse with him might involve them in serious loss of property, if not of life. His visits were always dreaded, and his movements, whenever he entered a pa, were watched with great anxiety by the inhabitants, for if his shadow happened to fall upon a whata (stage) or rua (pit for food) while he was passing through the crowded lanes of a town it was immediately destroyed, with all its contents, because, the sacred shadow of the ariki (lord) having fallen upon it, the food became tapu, and fatal to those who partook of it. There was little in Tama-i-hara-nui's personal appearance to mark his aristocratic lineage, his figure being short and thickset, his complexion dark, and his features rather forbidding. Unlike most Maori chiefs of exalted rank, he was cowardly, cruel, and capricious, an object of dread to friends and foes alike. At the same time he was a man of great energy and considerable force of character. He was distinguished during his early years as a traveller, being continually on the move up or down the east coast of the South Island, engaged in visiting his numerous connections. He was amongst the first to discern the advantages to be secured by encouraging trade with Europeans, and entered keenly himself into business transactions with the traders who came from Sydney to procure flax-fibre. To facilitate his intercourse with them he took up his permanent residence at Takapu-neke (moving stomach) (Red page 266 House), in Aka-roa Harbour. He married Te-whe, (dwarf), a descendant of Manaia, and the eldest sister of Mrs. Tikao's mother. By her he had three children—two sons, Te-wera (the burnt) and Tu-te-hou-nuku (Tu who digs down), and a daughter, Nga-roimata (tears). His eldest son died when a child. The next son, on attaining manhood, went off in a whaling ship, and was absent for many years, during which he was mourned for as dead, and did not return till after his father was carried off and put to death, at Kapiti (cleft), by Rau-paraha (leaf of the paraha). The peaceful course of Tama-i-hara-nui's life at Takapu-neke was interrupted by the outbreak of a terrible blood-feud amongst his near relations, a feud distinguished not by the incident that caused it, but by the fearful atrocities that were perpetrated during the course of it—deeds that shocked even the hardened hearts of those who committed them.
The Kai-huanga (relation-eaters) feud was the first serious outbreak amongst the sub-tribes of the Peninsula since their conquest of Nga-ti-mamoe. For nearly one hundred and fifty years they had been increasing in numbers and wealth. Tu-te-kawa's son had revealed to them the secret pass he had found to the west coast, and expeditions were annually sent across the mountains to procure greenstone, which, when manufactured, attracted purchasers from north and south, who exchanged mats, and potted mutton-birds, and other things, for the coveted greenstone. The development of the trade with Europeans promised a continuance of prosperity and peaceful enterprise. This promise was destined to be rudely broken by a feud that not only disorganized the entire social system of the various Maori communities here, but nearly annihilated the population of the district. The immediate cause that roused all this animosity and provoked so much bloodshed must seem to Europeans most trivial and inadequate; but there is little doubt that mutual jealousies and old grudges were working page 267 below the surface in men's minds, and forcing on hostilities which, when once begun, led to further reprisals, and so the quarrel deepened and widened after every encounter. The immediate cause of the quarrel was owing to Muri-haka (last haka), the wife of Po-tahi (one night), putting on a dog-skin mat belonging to Tama-i-hara-nui, which he had left in charge of some one at Wai-kakahi. This act was regarded as an insult by the immediate relations of the chief, since everything in the shape of apparel belonging to him was held to be exceedingly sacred. The greatest consternation prevailed throughout the pa as soon as it became known what had happened. At length some of the men grew so exasperated at the thought of Muri-haka's sacrilegious act that they fell, not upon the perpetrator of the deed, but upon a poor servant-woman belonging to a relative of hers, named Rere-waka (voyage in a canoe), and put her to death. When her masters, Hape (bandy leg) and Rangi-whaka-paku (day of sound), saw her dead body lying on the ground they were much enraged; but, instead of wreaking their vengeance on those who committed the murder, they went off to a village of Nga-ti-koreha (it is nothing), at Tai-tapu (sacred tide), in search of some member of the murderers' family. They succeeded in finding Hape, whom they killed. This man was married to Hine-hora-hina (daughter undisguised), of Nga-ti-hurihia (the turned over), sister of Tawhaki-te-rangi (Ta-whaki of heaven), one of the principal chiefs of Tau-mutu. His widow took refuge with her brothers, who were greatly pained at witnessing her grief for the loss of her husband, of whom she was very fond. As they watched the tears streaming down her cheeks day after day while she sat pounding fern-root for their daily meals, they meditated over some scheme for avenging her loss. At last they decided what to do. They collected a small war-party together and made a sudden attack upon Wai-kakahi, where they killed Puia-iti (little bush) and Te-moro(mero)-iti (the little), the latter being a chief of Nga-ti-ira-kehu (red pimple). His death brought the Tau-mutu people page 268 into collision with the greater part of the inhabitants of the Peninsula, and involved them in what proved to be a ruinous struggle with superior forces. They followed up their first attack on Wai-kakahi by a second a few weeks afterwards, when they killed Te-rangi-e-pu (day of heaps), another Ira-kehu chief.
Tama-i-hara-nui was absent from the district at the commencement of the feud, having gone to Kai-koura (eat crawfish) to fetch a large war-canoe which his relatives there had presented to him. He first heard of the outbreak on landing at Te-akaaka (roots) (Saltwater Creek), where some persons met him and told him that some of his family had been attacked, and several of them killed. He made no remark to his informants, but when he reached Kai-a-poi (game at poi-balls) a few hours after he said to his uncles, who resided there, “It is my turn now. Nga-ti-hui-kai (food-collectors) is there, Nga-ti-hui-kai is here; Nga-ti-mango (the sharks) is there, Nga-ti-mango is here; Nga-i-tu-ahu-riri (descendants of Tu-ahu-riri), do not move.” This was an intimation that he would avenge his relatives' death, and that it was his wish that the Kai-a-poi people should not interfere. There was some probability of their doing so, as many Kai-a-poi families were connected by marriage with the Tau-mutu people. Having given expression to his determination, he proceeded on his journey towards Aka-roa, followed by about twenty Kai-a-poi men. On reaching Wai-rewa (high water) steps were immediately taken to raise a war-party, which was subsequently led by Tama-i-hara-nui against Tau-mutu. A battle was fought at Haki-tai (hesitate near the sea), which resulted in the defeat of the residents and the death of many persons, amongst whom was the chief Te-pori (the serf) and several Kai-a-poi women. More of the latter would have fallen victims but for the presence in the attacking force of the Kai-a-poi contingent, who made it their business to protect as far as they could the lives of their kinswomen. It was in this way that Te-parure (prey, booty), sister of the chief page 269 Tai-a-roa (Taiaha-roa), escaped death or dishonour. She had taken refuge with her children in a whata, but, having been seen by Taununu (jeer), was pursued, and would have been captured but for Te-whaka-tuke (bend), who came up just as Taununu was mounting the narrow ladder leading to her retreat Te-whaka-tuke, clasping his arms round Taununu's body, held tightly on to the ladder, and pressed him with such violence against it that Taununu was glad to desist from his purpose. Te-whaka-tuke, fearing the consequences of deserting his post, continued to keep guard till the engagement was over. So ended the first attack on Tau-mutu. Tama-i-hara-nui withdrew his forces, and dismissed them to their several homes.
The severe defeat sustained by the Tau-mutu people at Haki-tai (hesitate near the sea) did not crush their spirits nor weaken their determination to retaliate on the first fitting opportunity. But to accomplish their purpose it was necessary to obtain assistance, since they had received convincing proof in the late engagement that single-handed they were no match for Tama-i-hara-nui's powerful clans. Accordingly, they commissioned Hine-haka (little daughter), mother of Ihaia Whai-tiri (thunder), a lady connected with many influential chiefs in the South, to proceed to Otakou (sacred red ochre) and Muri-hiku (tail-end) for the purpose of enlisting her friends' sympathies on their behalf, and raising from amongst them an armed force to aid them in the coming struggle. She was successful in her mission, and returned in a few months, accompanied by a considerable body of men. But they were not destined to achieve any great victory, or to inflict any serious loss upon their opponents. On the arrival of their reinforcements at Tau-mutu a messenger was despatched to Kai-a-poi (game at poi-balls) to invite the co-operation of all who wished to avenge their women killed at Haki-tai. About a hundred warriors responded to the invitation, and set off at once for the seat of war. The combined forces then marched up the coast to attack Wai-rewa.page 270
The engagement which followed—afterwards known as Kai-whare-atua (the god house-eater)—was almost bloodless, but is memorable for being the first occasion on which firearms were used in this part of the country. The Nga-ti-pahi (strangers), who possessed two guns, occupied a proud and envied position in the forefront of the expedition. Though few ventured to touch the novel and dangerous weapons, all took a deep interest in their use, and hoped by their means to secure an easy victory, not so much from the execution in the ranks of the enemy likely to follow their discharge, as from the terror certain to be inspired by the report of firearms heard for the first time. These anticipations would probably have been realized but for the chief Tai-a-roa, who kept far in advance of every one, and reached Wai-rewa in time to give the inhabitants warning of approaching danger. On nearing the pa sufficiently to be recognized he cried out, “Escape. Fly for your lives. Take to your canoes and go to sea, for guns are our weapons.” The mention of the dreaded guns was quite enough to create an immediate panic. Every one who, could move rushed off in headlong flight, and when the Tau-mutu army arrived they found the place quite deserted, and the only person they succeeded in shooting was a servant-woman named Mihi-nui (great sorrow), belonging to Pi-koro (the moon five days old). In order to understand Tai-a-roa's conduct on this and subsequent occasions, it is necessary to bear in mind that, although he had accompanied the southern contingent in the capacity of a leader, he was in reality a Tau-mutu chief, and closely related to all the Peninsula people. He was a descendant of Te-rua-hikihiki, who wrested that part of the country from Nga-ti-mamoe; but, his family having removed to O-takou, Tai-a-roa had become identified with the people there. Possessing in an eminent degree the qualities requisite to constitute an efficient Maori ruler, he was chosen at an early age by the people amongst whom he lived to act in that capacity, and acquitted himself so well that he completely superseded the local chiefs. His fame for courage, wisdom, and generosity page 271 spread far and wide, and during the troublous times that followed the Kai-huanga feud he was unanimously elected to fill the post of chief military ruler of the Nga-i-tahu Tribe. Though opposed to Hine-haka's mission, he joined those who rallied round her standard, hoping in the end to defeat her sanguinary purpose, and to put a stop to the fratricidal strife. On the first opportunity that presented he carried his purpose into execution, and succeeded, as we have seen, in thwarting the attack on Wai-rewa. Foiled in their designs, the Tau-mutu forces returned home; but the Kai-a-poi contingent, after proceeding some distance on their way, began to fear the jeers and taunts they were certain to encounter if they returned empty-handed, so they turned back as far as Kai-tangata (men eaten), where they met and killed Iri-toro (messenger hung up), son of Whare-taketake (original house) and Hine-i-wharikitia (daughter for whom a carpet was spread out). They little imagined the serious consequences that would ensue, or they might have selected another victim. This man's mother was sister to Tau-nunu (jeered at), a chief who had some time before migrated from the neighbourhood of Kai-koura to the Peninsula. He was attracted to these parts by the presence of numerous and influential relations, who were in possession of the land. Upon his arrival several places were assigned to him, and he selected Ri-papa (screen laid flat), in Lyttelton Harbour, as the site of his fortified pa. This chief no sooner heard of the death of his nephew than he planned and carried out a scheme of ample vengeance. The Kai-a-poi warriors had barely reached their homes before he was on the war-path, intent on surprising Whaka-epa (hinder) (Coalgate), a populous offshoot from Kai-a-poi. His movements were so secret and so rapid that he captured the pa without a struggle, and put every one to death. It was not till some time after Taununu's return to Ri-papa that the Kai-a-poi people learnt the terrible fate that had befallen their friends at Whaka-epa. The whole population was roused to frenzy by the news, and it was resolved to send as page 272 large a force as could be mustered to punish Taununu; but, receiving intelligence that Tai-a-roa was marching up the coast, accompanied by a considerable body of men armed with muskets, the Kai-a-poi leaders determined to await his arrival and get him, if possible, to unite his forces with theirs. Their proposal was ultimately accepted; but, instead of proceeding at once to attack Ri-papa, the combined forces first marched against Wai-rewa. Tai-a-roa repeated the warning he gave the inhabitants on a former occasion, and apparently with a like result, for when the besiegers arrived they found that most of the inhabitants had escaped to their canoes. Pi-koro, with a few others, were the only people they discovered on the spot, and he was killed, together with Tau-akina, Te-ata-ka-huakina (attack at dawn), and Kai-haere (eat on the journey), sisters of Tama-i-hara-nui. But Tai-a-roa's well-intentioned plan for securing the safety of his friends was not destined to be successful this time. The Muri-hiku musketeers were unwilling to be again deprived of their prey. Having, after a short search, discovered two or three canoes, they pursued the fugitives, who, in their overcrowded vessels, were readily overtaken, when the majority of them were either shot or drowned. The cannibal feast that followed this engagement was regarded at the time as peculiarly atrocious, on account of the close relationship between the devourers and the devoured; and it was from what took place on this occasion that the feud came to be known in the annals of the tribe as Kai-huanga (eat relation).
Leaving Wai-rewa the expedition marched up the O-kiri (skin) Valley, and over the Wai-puna (water-spring) Saddle, and down the O-tutu (set on fire) Spur to Kou-kou-rarata (tame owl). The scouts in advance came there upon Te-ha-nui-o-rangi (great breath of heaven), an elderly chief, who was sitting in the sunshine quite unconscious of the existence of danger. His youthful companions were all asleep under the trees at a short distance off, but before they could be alarmed he was killed.page 273
The noise of the struggle roused the young men, who flew too late to his rescue, but they caught one of his assailants, Te-whaka-moamoa (to swing). The rest of them took to flight and rejoined their main body, who, hearing what had happened, decided to push on at once to Purau (fork), fearing if they were to delay that night Tau-nunu might receive warning of their approach. It was arranged that all who were armed with muskets should embark in canoes, and proceed by water to Ri-papa, while the rest should climb over the hills, and assault the pa on the land side. Tai-a-roa, who was desirous to give Tau-nunu a chance to escape, hurried forward, and was the first to get within hearing of the pa, when he shouted out, “Fly. Escape. Guns are our weapons.” But Tau-nunu had anticipated an attack, and had already taken the precaution to cross the harbour a day or two before. Many, however, adopted Tai-a-roa's friendly advice, and tried to escape in their canoes, but were not quick enough in getting out of musket-range, for the attacking party that went round by water reached Ri-papa almost as soon as their companions arrived by land, and they at once opened a destructive fire on the escaping canoes. The result was that few who tried to get away by water succeeded; but, with the connivance of Tai-a-roa, many of the inhabitants passed through the assailants' ranks and reached the hills at the back of the pa, where they stopped pursuit by rolling great stones down upon all who attempted to follow them.
After the destruction of Ri-papa, the O-takou and Muri-hiku warriors returned home, carrying with them the entire population of Tau-mutu, for they feared to leave them behind to encounter the vengeance of the survivors of the pas that had lately suffered so severely at their hands. But they were soon followed to O-takou by Tama-i-hara-nui, who, with treacherous intent, employed every argument to induce the Tau-mutu people to return home. He assured them that all angry feeling had now subsided, that his followers were appeased, being satiated with vengeance. “Return,” he urged, “to protect your page 274 rich preserves of flat-fish at Wai-hora.” He was so pressing in his entreaties, and so positive in his assurances of friendship and security, that Tawha (burst open) and the rest of the people consented to return, with the exception of Pokeka (perplexed) and Ti-hau (offering of tii to the gods), who were distrustful, and remained under the protection of their southern friends. Having gained the object of his visit, Tama-i-hara-nui did not wait to accompany Tawha (cracked), but hurried back in advance to complete his treacherous designs. In passing up the coast he spent a few days at Te-wai-te-rua-ti (water of the tii-pit) (Te-muka — scraped flax), where he was hospitably entertained, and presented with a quantity of potted birds. Only having sufficient men with him to carry his baggage, he begged his entertainers to provide him with porters to carry the pohas (bowls or baskets) they had presented to him as far as Akaroa. His request was readily acceded to, and several men were ordered to accompany him. The party travelled amicably up the coast, but on reaching the head of the harbour Tama-i-hara-nui, without apparent cause or provocation, perpetrated one of the base and cruel deeds that have rendered his memory infamous. In spite of the remonstrances of his friends and followers he fell upon the unfortunate carriers, and killed every one of them with his own hands; and then he cut up their bodies and sent portions to all the different pas and hamlets on the Peninsula.
While this tragedy was being enacted in Aka-roa Harbour Tawha and his people were journeying towards their home, and were already nearing the mouth of the Ra-kaia (day of theft). On being apprised of the fact, Tama-i-hara-nui despatched a messenger to Kai-a-poi to order a detachment of warriors to come to his assistance. About two hundred obeyed the summons, without knowing what their services were wanted for. The narrative of what followed I give in the words of Hakopa-te-ata-o-tu (the shadow of Tu), an old Kai-a-poi chief still living: “On reaching Wai-rewa we met Tama-i-hara-nui and page 275 a large gathering of men. As soon as we were seated the ariki (the leader) rose and made a speech to us; then we learnt for the first time that we were meant to attack Tau-mutu. We were ordered to commence our march at once, and Tama-i-hara-nui kept in advance of every one, to prevent any of the chiefs who accompanied him from going forward to meet the returning refugees and exchange pledges of peace with them. It was on this march down the Kai-torere (eat as they flee) Spit that our old Kai-a-poi warriors first handled a musket. It was very amusing to watch their efforts to conceal their nervous dread of the weapons; their hands trembled and shook as they took hold of them, and at the sound of the report that followed a pull of the trigger they dropped the guns upon the ground, exclaiming, ‘Eh, he! how wonderful are the works of the pakeha!’ But they soon got over their fears, and learnt to use muskets with deadly effect. We camped the first night at the spring midway down the spit, and the next morning rose early and marched past Tau-mutu before breaking our fast. On the march Tama-i-hara-nui caught sight of Te-rehe (baffled), a Wai-te-rua-ti (water of the tii-pit) chief, who accompanied the Kai-a-poi contingent, and made a rush at him with the avowed intention of taking his life; but my eldest brother, Te-whakatu-ka (nga) (the stood up), came to his rescue, and an angry dispute followed. Both were armed with muskets, which they pointed at each other, and dared each other to fire. The quarrel caused intense excitement, and there is no knowing what the result might have been but for the interference of some old chiefs who came up and parted the combatants. Te-whakatu-ka was so offended with Tama-i-hara-nui that he went to the rear with his followers and threatened to return home, but was dissuaded from his purpose, and shortly caught up to the army at O-rehu (split off), where they stopped to cook food. The place chosen for the camping-ground was in a hollow overgrown with tall rushes, between a range of low sand-hills. Sentinels were page 276 stationed on the high ground towards the south, and, laying our weapons aside, we all busied ourselves preparing food. Before our meal was over we noticed the sentinels making signs, and, thinking they were hungry and asking to be relieved, some one called out, ‘Come and get something to eat.’ ‘How can we eat?’ was the reply. ‘Here they all are close at hand.’ ‘Who?’ ‘Why, the enemy.’ We no sooner heard this than, forsaking our food, each one picked up his belt and fastened it round his waist, and seized his weapons, and stood ready to meet the foe. Our leaders held a short consultation respecting the order of the battle. Tau-nunu cried, ‘I will command the coast side.’ Whaka-uira (like lightning) said, ‘I will command the lake side.’ Tama-i-hara-nui said, ‘Then I will command the centre.’ All the warriors then ranged themselves under their respective leaders, and were ordered to lie flat upon the ground. We were not kept long in suspense. A number of men clad in red shirts, and armed with guns, soon appeared on a ridge at a short distance in front of us, coming towards us. At the sight of such formidable antagonists Tama-i-hara-nui's courage completely forsook him. He became very excited, and cried out, ‘Who can overcome them? Can these youths, inexperienced in the use of firearms, cope with those veterans?’ Then he got up quickly from the ground with the intention of running away; but Whakatu-ka, who was crouching beside him, seized him by the legs and pulled him down again. ‘Sit still,’ he said, ‘and keep quiet. Wait till I stamp my foot, and then rise.’ Tama-i-hara-nui's teeth chattered with fright as he sat cowering in the rushes, while being forcibly restrained from publicly exhibiting his cowardice. A great crowd of men, women, and children shortly appeared, following their advanced armed guard. As soon as the latter caught sight of us they uttered a warning cry and fired. Then we all sprang to our feet and rushed forward. Those who had guns singled out the noted chiefs whom they recognized, and continued to fire till they fell. Tawha (burst open) was the first who was shot. He was claimed by Taua-whara (carpet, mat used as a mourning- page 277 garment). When the Tau-mutu people saw that their leader was killed they took to flight, and all we had to do was to follow and kill as fast as we could. As I ran along I saw in front of me old Upoko-hina (grey head), a first cousin of Tama-i-hara-nui, trying to escape. He was carrying one little child on his back, and leading two others by the hand. He called out to the man who was pursuing him, ‘Do not kill me.’ Te-whakatu-ka, who was at a little distance, heard him beg for his life, and asked who it was. When he knew that it was Upoko-hina he called out, ‘Keep him till I come up, and take him as payment for Toko-maru’ (staff of Maru); for he wanted to avenge the insult offered to his friend Te-rehe and himself a few hours before. But Tama-i-hara-nui, who chanced to be close by, defeated his purpose, for, hearing Te-whakatu-ka's words, he ran forward, crying out in a loud voice, ‘Spare my cousin.’ Upoko-hina sat down, and his pursuers stood round him. When Tama-i-hara-nui came up he at once rubbed noses with his relative, and with each of the children; then, without a moment's warning, he buried his hatchet in the side of the old man's head, who fell over with a groan; then, withdrawing the hatchet, he struck each of the children on the head, cracking their skulls like birds' eggs. Then, turning to Te-whakatu-ka, he said, ‘But for your exclamation I should have spared my cousin and his children; but I could not permit you to boast hereafter that you had either slain or spared any of my family. The honour of our family demanded their death at my hands’.”
The slaughter at O-rehu was very great, and the cannibal feasts that followed lasted several days. It was the last great encounter connected with the Kai-huanga feud; but the last victim was the chief Tau-nunu, who was killed by Kai-whata (eat on the stage) and Kau-rehe (exhausted with swimming) at O-tokitoki (very calm), close to the spring on the small promontory at the mouth of Lake Forsyth. These two persons were accompanying Tai-a-roa on one occasion to the south, and, finding Tau-nunu alone, they tomahawked him, together with a page 278 woman named Taka-pau-hikihiki (the mat to sleep on lifted). This murder was never avenged. The appearance of Rau-paraha (leaf of paraha) at Kai-a-poi at that time put a stop to these internal quarrels, and forced Nga-i-tahu to combine together to resist the common foe, and so ended the disgraceful Kai-huanga feud.
Raid On Panau (Long Look-Out), Or Auha (Jump As A Fish Out Of The Water). (Nga-i-Tahu.)
It must not be supposed that Panau was occupied for the first time. One result of the Kai-huanga feud was to drive all who could escape from the destroyed pas to take refuge in the bays on the northeast side of the Peninsula. Those places were then so difficult of access by land that the refugees who took possession of them hoped to be quite secure from pursuit. In the course of a few years several populous settlements sprang up, and of these Panau and Oka-ruru (pierce an owl with a dart), Gough's Bay, were the chief. The inhabitants of these settlements might have continued in peaceful possession of them but for the repetition by some of their number of an act similar to that which originated the Kai-huanga quarrel, and which brought upon them the anger of their near neighbours, who were as familiar as themselves with the paths that led over the forest-clad hills to their several retreats. The circumstances that brought about a renewal of hostilities were as follows: During Rau-paraha's first visit to Kai-a-poi two chiefs, Hape (bow-leg) and Te-puhi-rere (flying plume) (the latter was the father of Big William), accompanied by several other persons, some of whom belonged to Panau and the other bays just referred to, went to visit their friends at Kai-a-poi. While on the way one of their companions, a woman named Te-whare-rimu (moss-house), said, “My atuas (familiar spirits) tell me that our path is obstructed: there is darkness before us; destruction is in front of us; death is in front of us.” Te-puhi-rere replied, “Well, my atuas tell me we are safe; there is page 279 no danger.” He did not know (as Big William said when telling the story) that he was being sold to death by his atuas for a slight he had put upon them before starting on this journey. Just before leaving home his atua had asked for food to be placed on his shrine. It had said, “I hunger after eel.” Te-puhirere told his wife to give the atua what it asked for; but she grudged to give it the best fish, and, not knowing the risk she was running by not doing so, being a new wife—the old and experienced wife being dead—she gave the atua a very small and thin eel. Her conduct exasperated the atua, who, to avenge itself, delivered Te-puhi-rere and his companions into their enemies' hands, by permitting them to continue their journey without warning them of the great risk they were running. None of the party had the least suspicion that the approaches to Kai-a-poi were in the hands of a hostile northern force. They journeyed on towards their destination till they reached the causeway through the Ngawari (soft) swamp, where they fell suddenly and unexpectedly into the bands of an ambuscade. Both Hape (club-foot) and Te-puhi-rere were killed; but some of their companions, by jumping into the swamp, succeeded in making good their escape, and found shelter in the pa.
After the massacre of Rau-paraha's chiefs by the inhabitants of Kai-a-poi, and his withdrawal from the neighbourhood, the survivors of the Aka-roa party returned home. When passing the spot where they had been attacked they found the clothing of the two chiefs who had been killed, and, not liking to lose such good mats, they picked them up and carried them home, and appropriated them to their own use. In time it came to be generally reported that the mats of Hape and Puhi-rere had been kai-pirautia (stolen and used). When a full report of what had happened reached the ears of Tama-i-hara-nui he expressed the greatest indignation at the indignity perpetrated on his deceased relatives by those who had dared to wear their mats. He summoned the warriors of Nga-i-tarewa (hung up), Nga-ti-ira-kehu (red pimple on the skin), and Nga-ti-hui-kai (collector page 280 of food), and led them to avenge the insult by attacking in succession all the pas erected by the refugees at Panau and elsewhere. A few only were killed; the majority were spared, and employed by their captors as slaves.
Two of these prisoners who had fallen to the lot of Pae-whiti (cross the ridge) (old Martin) did not agree very well with their master, and ran away to their friends at Koukou-rarata (tame owl). Tamati Tikao (fowl), who was then a boy, remembers how angry his father Tau-pori (slave-attendant) was because the runaways did not seek his protection; for he had been invited by Ngatata (cracked) to leave Kai-a-poi and to reside at Koukou-rarata, in order to shield him from any attack by the Aka-roa people. When the two men who deserted from Pae-whiti were seen emerging from the bush above the Whata-mara-ki (stage filled by the crop), every one expected they would shortly arrive at the settlement; but it soon became evident that they had passed on to a neighbouring village of Nga-i-te-rangi (those of heaven). Tau-pori could not contain his indignation at what he regarded as a grievous slight offered to himself by the travellers, and he demanded that Ngatata should send at once and fetch them back. His demand was complied with, and a canoe was immediately sent to convey them back. On arrival they were placed before Tau-pori, who asked them why they passed him. “Did you not know,” he asked, “that I was here for the express purpose of protecting Ngatata and his friends? Did you doubt my power to protect your lives? I am in doubt now whether I shall not kill you both for the insult you have offered to me.” They then stood up one after the other, and replied to Tau-pori and succeeded after a time in soothing his wounded pride and inducing him to spare their lives. One of them, Te-more (heart of timber), decided to remain and live with Tau-pori, but his companion asked permission to return to his friends.
But another runaway was not so successful in pacifying Tau- page 281 pori's eldest son, Te-whare-rakau (house of wood), who felt injured in reputation by his distrustful conduct. Te-whare-rakau had gone with his eldest boy to Pigeon Bay to fell totara-trees for making canoes. He was engaged working on two, one called Te-ahi-aua (fire to cook the aua-fish), and the other Te-poho-a-te-atua (the stomach of a god), when a man named Kahu-roa (long garment) made his appearance, accompanied by his wife and children. When Te-whare-rakau saw him he asked him to stay and assist him in his work. The man consented to do so, but during the night he went away with his family, and so quietly as not to awaken Te-whare-rakau. This made him very pouri (angry), because he had inadvertently endangered his own life and that of his son by entertaining an unfriendly guest, who might easily have killed him in his sleep. He was vexed with himself for having allowed such a person the opportunity of saying that he could, if so disposed, have killed Te-whare-rakau—that, in fact, he had spared his life. On returning home he told his father and their friends, who tried to quiet him, but without avail. Some time afterwards he happened to be in a canoe containing, amongst others, no less a personage than Momo (breed, race), the great chief of Kai-a-poi, and while they were pulling along the coast Te-whare-rakau caught sight of Kahu-roa on the beach. He immediately asked to be put on shore, that he might pursue him. “What!” said Momo, “would you slay your own kinsman?” “What else can I do?” he replied. “Why did he deceive me? He might have killed not only me, but my son also. A little and we should both have fallen victims. For this he must die. I cannot let him live to boast that he spared my life and that of my son.” Saying this, he ran after the unfortunate man, and, having caught him, killed him on the spot.
Capture Of Tama-I-Hara-Nui. (Nga-i-Tahu.)
About a year after the raid on Panau Tama-i-hara-nui was captured in Aka-roa Harbour by Te-rau-paraha, the noted page 282 warrior-chief of Kapiti, who came, accompanied by one hundred and seventy men, in an English trading vessel, for the express purpose of securing his person. The anxiety displayed by Rau-paraha for the capture of this particular chief was caused by his determination to obtain the most distinguished member of the Nga-i-tahu Tribe as payment for his near relative Te-pehi (second killed in battle), who, in his opinion, was treacherously put to death by members of that tribe at Kai-a-poi, but who, in the opinion of those who killed him, was lawfully executed for his treacherous designs upon those who were hospitably entertaining him. Considering the circumstances that preceded the death of Te-pehi and his companions, the Kai-a-poi residents had reasonable grounds for being suspicious respecting the intentions of their visitors. For Rau-paraha arrived with a large armed force, uninvited, and without warning, before their pa, and red-handed from the slaughter of their clansmen at O-mihi, whom he had been provoked to attack by a silly threat uttered by one of their chiefs. The threat was, that “if Rau-paraha ever dared to come upon his territory he would rip his body open with a barracouta-tooth.” The defiant words were no sooner reported to Rau-paraha than he accepted the challenge, and, having fitted out a fleet of war-canoes, and manned them with his choicest warriors, he crossed the strait, and coasted down as far as Kai-koura, where he attacked and killed the vain boaster, and destroyed every pa in the neighbourhood. As the population was too numerous to be put to death, he sent a large number away to Kapiti, in charge of a detachment of his canoe-fleet, while he himself proceeded further south with the remainder. Landing at Wai-para, he drew up his canoes and marched overland to Kai-a-poi, where his arrival caused the greatest consternation. He tried to quiet the alarm by assurances that his visit was a friendly one, and that he had only come to purchase greenstone. To convince the people of the truthfulness of his statement, he sent several page 283 of his officers of highest rank into the pa, and amongst them his esteemed relative and general Te-pehi. By intrusting them with so many valuable lives Rau-paraha succeeded in reassuring the people and allaying their fears. For, although they learnt the sad fate of their friends at O-mihi from one who escaped, they were obliged to admit the justice of their punishment, for a mortal insult such as the Kai-koura chief had offered to so renowned a warrior could only be wiped out with blood.
For many days the inhabitants of Kai-a-poi treated their guests with profuse hospitality, and dealt liberally with them in their bargains for greenstone, when all at once their worst suspicions were revived by Haki Tara (activity), a Nga-puhi Native, who had lived many years with them, and who had been staying by invitation in Rau-paraha's camp. He returned early one morning with the news that he had overheard during the night the discussion in a council of war of plans for the seizure of the place, and that they might be quite sure that treachery was meditated against them. His report received confirmation by the altered demeanour of their guests, who grew insolent and exacting in their demands for greenstone. The Kai-a-poi Natives, after a short consultation, determined in self-defence to strike the first blow, and at a concerted signal they fell upon the northern chiefs and put them all to death. Rau-paraha was overwhelmed with grief and rage when he learnt the fate of his friends; but, not having a sufficient force to avenge them, he retired to Wai-para after killing a few travellers who fell into his hands, and there he re-embarked in his war-canoes, and returned to Kapiti.
Safe in his island-fortress, Kapiti, he occupied himself for some time in devising a scheme of revenge. The plan he at length adopted was to engage the captain of an English vessel to carry him and a body of his men to Aka-roa Harbour, where he hoped to secure Tama-i-hara-nui. The following is the account of the voyage given to me by Ihaia Pou-hawaiki (eaten by rats), page 284 who accompanied Rauparaha's expedition: “We sailed from Kapiti in Captain Stewart's brig. There were one hundred and seventy men, under the command of Te-rau-paraha (dawn of day), Te-hiko (dawn), Tungia (set on fire), Mokau (Rangi-hae-ata) (not tattooed), Tama-i-hengia (the mistaken son), and others. On reaching Aka-roa Harbour we carefully concealed ourselves in the hold, while Captain Stewart refused to have any communication with the shore till Tama-i-hara-nui arrived. For seven days and nights we waited for that chief, who was away at Wai-rewa, superintending the preparation of a cargo of scraped flax for one of his European customers. Captain Stewart sent repeated messages to him to hasten his coming, and on the eighth day he arrived, accompanied by his wife, Te-whe (dwarf), and his little daughter, Nga-roimata (the tears). He was cordially welcomed on reaching the deck by the captain, who took him below to the cabin. He was hardly seated before a door opened, and Te-rau-paraha entered, accompanied by several of his companions, who at once seized Tama-i-hara-nui, and taunted him with his simplicity in permitting himself to be so readily entrapped. After the seizure of Tama-i-hara-nui the shore-canoes were encouraged to approach the vessel; but as soon as the occupants came on board they were led to the hatchway and thrown down the hold. Amongst those who were caught in this way were Apera Puke-nui (great hill), the late chief of Port Levy, Paurini, and many others. Canoes continued to come off for many hours, as there was no suspicion of foul play, it being a very usual thing for Maoris to remain for some time on board the traders that frequented the port. On the second day after Tama-i-hara-nui's capture Te-rau-paraha attacked Takapu-neke (moving stomach) very early in the morning. The place was unfortified and undefended. About one hundred persons were killed and fifty taken on board as prisoners. After the destruction of this kainga the vessel sailed away for Kapiti. During the voyage Tama-i-hara-nui smothered his little daughter Nga-roimata, appropriately named ‘The page 285 Tears,’ lest she should become the wife of one of his enemies. His captors were very much enraged with him doing so, and, fearing he might commit suicide and escape the punishment in store for him, they secured his hands and then fastened him by a hook placed under his chin to the crossbeams of the hold. This treatment occasioned exquisite suffering, which was watched with satisfaction by his vindictive enemies. On making Kapiti Tama-i-hara-nui was handed over to the widows of the chiefs killed at Kai-a-poi, who put him to death by slow and nameless tortures.” Base as the means adopted for his capture were, and cruel as his fate was, it is impossible to feel much pity for him. His punishment was hardly more than he deserved, since the treatment he received at the hands of his enemies was little more than a repetition of the cruelties he had himself perpetrated on the members of his own tribe.