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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Tai-Nui. [Vol. V]

Chapter XI

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Chapter XI.

This is the dire effect of
Clinging to Tu-mata-u-enga (god of war).
The rats now utter words,
And those who catch the kiwi bird
Dare now defame the noble-born,
And swamp-sparrow dare chirp
His feeble note amidst the bog.
Then whence such daring power
Have these obtained, to prompt
Them on to such defiant acts?
These deeds are taught not once, but twice,
By Tane, god of forest wild.

The War Of Ngati-Awa On Hau-Raki.

Only one body of warriors of the Ngati-awa dared to come into the Thames, and the feeling which prompted these to come at that time was they had heard that all the Hau-raki warriors had gone on a war-expedition to fight the Nga-puhi in the north. This was the Thames expedition which took Pi-kaka, and which has already been given in this history.

Soon after the Thames expedition had returned from the north this Ngati-awa expedition appeared in the Thames. These came flushed with the idea that, as all the men of the Thames were away on a war-expedition to the north, they would make easy work of subduing those who were left in the district, as these consisted of women, children, and old men, and but few warriors were left to guard them. The Ngati-awa thought it page 157 would be fine sport to use their weapons of war on these defenceless people; but they came soon after the war-party of the Thames had got back into the district. These warriors attacked the Ngati-awa as soon as they came, and at Puke-moki (hill of the fish Latris ciliaris) a crowd of the Ngati-awa were killed, and those who escaped fled back to their own country.

The Pa At The Totara. (Nga-Ti-Maru.)

This is again in regard to the Totara Pa. The warriors of Hongi besieged that pa, but, as they could not take it at once, some of Nga-puhi went up the Piako and Wai-hou Rivers and other places to kill the people who had not heard of the enemy being in the district. Some of these marauding parties caught people, but others did not. As Hongi saw he could not take the Totara he made peace with the occupants, and some of the Nga-puhi chiefs went to pay a visit to those in the pa to further bind the terms of peace. These Nga-puhi chiefs who thus went with others were Te-morenga (the tap-root), Whare-umu (cookhouse), Nganga (squeal), and Uru-roa (a certain kind of shark). Hongi-hika did not visit the tribe in the pa. Those who went into the pa said, “It is right, O old chief Te-puhi! (the plume) to fight in the open day, and how can such acts be overruled? But now, O old chief! give the property to Nga-puhi [a greenstone mere asked for]. That property is not of more value than the life of men [who may be killed if war take place].”

This deceitful speech of Nga-puhi was in respect to a mere-pounamu called Te-uira (lightning), which they asked of the Nga-ti-maru; and the Nga-ti-maru thought Nga-puhi were sincere in thus making peace.

Puhi went to Te-aka (the vine) and asked him to give the mere Te-uira to him, so that he (Puhi) might fulfil the request of Nga-puhi. Te-aka was elder brother of Puhi. Te-aka gave the mere to Puhi, and he gave it to Nga-puhi, who at once went back to where all their war-party were staying, and those in page 158 the pa thought they would be saved from death or further war, as they had given up their most valuable mere.

That day the Nga-puhi party went from where they had been staying to Tara-ru (shaken dart), nor could the Nga-ti-maru people discover any indication of future evil from Nga-puhi, as they thought the peace made was a true and lasting one. That night the Nga-puhi came back to the Totara Pa, and, as the Nga-ti-maru in the pa thought they were safe, as peace was made, one of the men of the pa went outside and saw that the Nga-puhi war-party had taken up a position close to the pa. The Nga-puhi shot at this one man and killed him. Now, in those days the people of the pa were ignorant of or were not accustomed to the sound of a gun—they did not know what the effect of its noise would be; nor did those in the pa know the sound of a gun, nor did they know the meaning of the noise made by the guns they then heard. So these people, who were ignorant in regard to the thunder of guns, went to see what the noise was caused by, and what the lightning of the strange god was that had been brought there; but the guns were used on these stupids, and many of them fell dead. These stupids saw that many of those who were gazing at the lightning and hearing the thunder were being killed with what they did not know; but soon the idea occurred to the minds of those of the pa which caused them to utter this remark: “Ah! it is the Nga-puhi who have come back, and are now breaking the peace they have made.”

Some of those in the pa had seen guns and the effects of them, and there was a gun in the Totara Pa. There was one gun there; but the people of the pa had not heard it speak, nor did they know the effect of its voice when it did speak, as they had not obtained powder or lead. The man in the pa who had this gun took it and pointed it at the Nga-puhi people, as he thought that by the mere fact of pointing it at any one the gun would speak. Ah! how you do act, O stupid!

The Totara Pa was taken, and all its occupants were men of rank, as the tribe who now occupied it, called Te-uri-ngahu, page 159 were of superior rank, and all that family tribe were in this pa at that time. Those who were killed in this pa, including women and children, were one hundred twice told. This is known, as there were not any of the hapus (family tribes) who could number more than these. There might have been less than this killed, or there may have been a few more killed than here stated.

We have seen it stated in print that there were a great number killed in this pa. Such statement is false, and though such statement is made by Nga-puhi it is also false. If all the Nga-ti-maru had been in the Totara Pa, the statement that a very great number were killed would have been correct.

The Nga-puhi were brave in their attack on the Totara Pa, but it was not that bravery which is given by a daring heart; the bravery they showed was partly made up with having guns, and partly by murder. If each party had been possessed of guns, perhaps Hongi-hika would have gone crying to his home, compelled to act in this way by the bravery of his enemy.

One only of the Nga-puhi party was killed, who was called Tete (head of a spear). He was killed by a man called Ahu-rei (defend the chest) with a piece of iron hoop—the iron used to bind casks.

The Murder Of Tu-Kehu and Wetea By Hongi At The Totara Pa. (Nga-Ti-Maru.)

The following is an account of the most evil deed committed by the Nga-puhi at the sacking of the Totara Pa:—

When the pa was taken two young chiefs were taken prisoners. Their names were Tu-kehu (light-coloured god of war) and Wetea (unravel). The conduct of Hongi-hika towards these two young chiefs was of the most atrocious character. Hongi led them into the midst of his warrior host, and took a spear, with which he was going to kill them. These two, seeing what fate would befall them, asked him not to execute them at once, page 160 and said, “Do not kill us at once, but allow us to utter our love and farewell to our home and tribe.” Hongi stood and looked at them. They stood up and bade farewell to their home, and also to their people, and then they joined in chanting a song, which they chanted as with one voice. This is the song they sang:—

O beautiful calm,
Placid and fair,
Out on the sea!
No dewdrop or rain
Beclouded the sky
When Hau-hao-tu-puni
Went on his long voyage.
Bewildered I was
Not to follow him then
And sing a love song,
As thou, Ahu-rei,
Paddled him far away
Past rock-jutting point
At the distant Ko-hi.
I then might have seen
Whaka-ari foretell
My future, my doom,
And beguile me in thought.
As storm follows calm,
We doomed are to part,
Thou from my presence
Art dragged to the post
That holds the great net
Of Tara-mai-nuku.
I cannot see—
My eyes are dim
With mist of tears.
I cannot see
The mountain-peak
Of great Moe-hau;
But take me, take me
Far away, and place me
Where the ocean-surge
Can never move me
From the kelp that
Binds the seaweed to its rocks.

They had finished chanting this song, but at once they also began to chant this also, as Hongi-hika stood with his spear, which he was waiting to use on them. This is the second song they chanted:—

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Head Of War Canoe.

Head Of War Canoe.

page 161

O how love,
With a whirling power,
Makes blank my mind!
But could I know
That thou hast gone
Back home from other
Bank of lonely river,
And I am doomed to feel
The pain and anguish
Of Mata-ora's instrument,
I then might seek
Some priest whose power
Might sever from this heart
The love I now
Am doomed to feel.
Had Tuki-rau but left
Some token of his power
To drive intruders
Far away, I might
Have felt no dread
Of northern hosts;
But, oh! how sad
I feel to hear
Discordant sounds from thee!
As apprehensive here I sit,
While tears bedim mine eyes,
I moan for house and tribe and home.

As they two ceased to chant their songs in unison they were killed by Hongi-hika, and so it was this evil act of Hongi-hika cast a blight on his bravery.

On account of this act the tribes of Hau-raki were very much intimidated, as also they were on account of their enemies having arms and ammunition; so all the Hau-raki tribes fled in small parties, and lived as best they could, scattered far and wide, and Nga-puhi no doubt gloated in delight over the carnage which they were able to make on those on whom they used their guns and powder.

Kape-Taua and Tara-Mokomoko. (Nga-Ti-Paoa.)

Kape-taua (pass by a war-party) lived in the pa at O-rakei (day of striding away)—that is, at Kohi-marama (wasting sickness each month). The name of the father of Kape-taua was Ta-waka (paint scrolls on a canoe), and Tai-rua (double page 162 tide) was the name of his sister. He was of the Nga-ti-puru Hapu (family tribe) of the Wai-o-hua Tribe. The origin of the name Te-wai-o-hua came from the fact that when old Hua-kai-waka (fruit of the medium) was near to death some water was placed in a calabash at his side, and in placing this ipu (calabash) on a whata (stage), to be out of the way of the people (as it was sacred, Hua having drank of it), the calabash fell to the ground and was broken; and hence the descendants of Hua-kai-waka were called Te-wai-o-hua (the water of Hua). Hua-kai-waka lived in the pa at Maunga-whau (Mount Eden).

Tai-rua, the sister of Kape-taua, was taken to wife by Tara-mokomoko (daring of the lizard), who was of the Wai-o-hua, and they lived in the Kohi-marama Pa, and Kape-taua stayed with them, because he was a mere child when his sister was taken to wife by Tara-mokomoko. Kape-taua was a brave boy, and was an adept in all the games that the Maori youth of those days engaged in. When the youths of the pa engaged in the game of whipping-top, and the object of each youth was to whip his top from the beach to the top of the pa, Kape-taua was the only boy who could whip his top to the pinnacle of the pa, and because of this he was said to be a brave boy.

When these young people wished to amuse themselves, they went to spear the kokomako (Anthornis melanura) bird, and take eels out of their holes, to bathe, or take food from the storehouses of the settlement, which food they would take some distance, and cook the kumara in the scrub. Kape-taua at such times would take kumara from the storehouse or stage of his brother-in-law Tara-mokomoko, which made Tara-mokomoko very angry. One day Tara-mokomoko asked Kape-taua to go out with him to fish in a canoe; so they went out in a canoe—they two by themselves—to fish; and Tara-mokomoko left the boy Kape-taua on the rocks outside of the Kohi-marama Pa. The tide, which was on the flood, rose higher and higher as the boy stood on that rock far out in the river off Kohi-marama. page 163 Tara-moko-moko paddled on shore, where his wife, the sister of Kape-taua, asked, “Where is your brother-in-law?” Tara-mokomoko said, “He did not go with me. He is somewhere on shore here.” His wife said, “You and he went out together to fish.” He answered “You know the tricks your brother plays. Then why do you inquire about him? He may be somewhere playing his games with his companions. He is known to be the leader of every evil act that the young people commit, and nothing escapes his meddlesomeness, nor are the kumara in the storehouses safe from his hands.” His wife said, “You are deceiving me. You have killed my brother.” She came down from the pa on to the beach, and heard the voice of a young person calling. She listened, and found that it came from the sea. She took a small canoe and paddled out on the river. Following the voice, she came to where Kape-taua was standing in the water. She took him into the canoe, and came back to Kohi-marama.

After many years Kape-taua became a man, and Tara-mokomoko and his wife had many children, and had left Kohi-marama and had gone to the Wai-heke Island to live. Kape-taua remembered the attempt his brother-in-law had made to murder him, so he told the case to the young men who had been the playmates of his youth. These joined in a plot to attack and kill Tara-mokomoko. When the time came for Tara-tua-mokomoko (the spirit like that of a lizard) to pay a visit to his relatives at the Rangi-toto (scoria), Whakatakataka (tumble down), O-rakei (day of striding away), and Kohi-marama Pas, these young men attacked these pas, and attempted to kill the occupants; but Tara-tua-mokomoko escaped with his wife and children to Wai-heke. Kape-taua and his associates followed them there, and attacked the pa there called Tai-rua (double tide); and in that pa the wife and child of Tara-tua-mokomoko were killed, but Tara-tua-mokomoko again escaped to the page 164 Rangi-hou (day of the plume) Pa, and lived in a whare-puni (winter house) with the people of that pa. To this place he was followed by Kape-taua, and in the night Kape-taua found the winter house occupied by twenty people twice told. This house was surrounded by Kape-taua and his associates, and then Kape-taua set fire to the house, and not one of the occupants escaped. So died Tara-tua-mokomoko for his attempted murder of Kape-taua by leaving him on the rock off Kohi-marama; and from this attempt to murder that rock has been called Kape-taua to this day.

Mau-Inaina and Mokoia. (Nga-Ti-Maru.)

The pas Mau-inaina (hill to bask in the sun) and Mokoia (tattoo him) [Mokoia is near to the Tamaki River, while Mau-inaina is the top of the volcanic hill at the foot of which Mokoia lies] were attacked in revenge for the death of the goblin called U-reia by the people of the Tai-nui migration when those people lived at Pu-ponga. And these pas were also attacked in revenge for the murder of Kahu-rau-tao.

At the time these pas-Mau-inaina, Mokoia, Tau-rerere (absconding beloved), Papa-o-tama-te-ra (the flat of Tama-te-ra child of the sun), Kohi-marama, Taka-puna (make a well) or Taka-runga (fall upwards), Te-pupuke (flow over), O-rewa (floating food), Mahu-rangi (centre part of a kumara), Mau-tohora (island of the whale), Te-ti-raurau (leaf of the ti—Cordyline), Te-uru-tonga (due south), Te-ngaere (quake)—were attacked the chief called Te-taniwha (the goblin) fought against these forts, and in the battles which took place when these were taken Kiwi was killed. Also the forts at O-rakei, and Taurarua (witchcraft), and Maunga-kiekie (mountain of the Freycinetia banksii) (One tree Hill) were attacked at the same time.

These forts were attacked by the Nga-ti-maru to revenge the death of U-reia and that of Kahu-rau-tao, and also for Kiwi, junior, who was killed at O-tahuhu by the Tai-nui people, who at that time occupied the Mangere (a certain star) Pa.

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In those days the Hau-raki people had other enemies; but I am not able to give the wars which took place between these and the Hau-raki people, as I have not any old men to tell me the battles which took place and their cause. The old men say, “What is the good to us if we tell all the history of past times? We must be paid for relating these things.” I have ceased to pay those who have given this history which you requested me to obtain. I have done so on this account: perhaps they do not tell the history correctly. The account of Tai-nui and those who came in her was given by them with great gusto, and therefore I paid them for it. So end these words.

Mau-Inaina. (Nga-Puhi.)

Hongi-hika and his war-party rose in Toke-rau (Bay of Islands) and went to Te-we-iti (little dwarf), and killed some of the people. Going on into the Wai-te-mata River, Hongi laid siege to the Pa Mau-inaina. This war-party sent foragers out to procure food, and to kill any who might fall into their hands.

The Nga-ti-paoa was the tribe who was in the Mau-inaina Pa, and, as they had little hope of being able to compete with their enemy the Nga-puhi in war, they collected their most valuable possessions and took them to the enemy, to open the way for peace being made. The enemy took the valuables, but stayed in the place they then occupied; but on a certain day, when the hearts of those in the pa were in dread with doubts in regard to the determination of the enemy to kill them, the Nga-puhi rushed on the pa and took it, and killed all they could capture. A chief called Te-ranga-whenua (lay in lines on the land), one of the head chiefs of the pa, fled, but not to escape—he wished to give battle to the enemy. He had a cooper's adze in his hand, and after he had killed many of the enemy he, with his adze, swam across the Tamaki River—that is, he swam across the Tau-marere (the lost beloved) River, when a Nga-puhi warrior called Te-ihi (the dawn of day) saw him, and called page 166 to Ranga-whenua, who was swimming across the river, and said, “Come back, come back, and let you and me battle with each other.” Ranga-whenua swam back to his foe. He stood before the Nga-puhi, and they fought. Te-ihi had a hatchet and Ranga whenua had his adze. Te-ihi struck the first blow, but Ranga-whenua warded it off, and they stood and fought for some time, being looked at by the Nga-puhi host. Te-ihi struck a left-handed blow at Ranga-whenua, and killed him.

When Te-ranga-whenua fled from the pa, and before he attempted to swim across the river, he saw Hongi-hika with his foot held fast in the paling of the fort. He had been attempting to climb over the fence, and had got fast; but because Hongi-hika had pistols with him Ranga-whenua durst not go near to him; thus the life of Hongi was saved.

Te-Totara. (Nga-Puhi.)

After the Pa Mau-inaina had been taken the Nga-puhi war-party paddled into the Thames to attack the Totara, the pa belonging to the Hau-raki tribes. Having seen the pa, the Nga-puhi proposed to make peace; so the people of the pa took those things which the chiefs of those times thought the most valuable, such as meres (war weapons) and other things, and a meeting was called, and the proposal of peace made by those of the pa was agreed to, and peace was made.

Now, there was with the war-party at that time a blind woman called Kiri (skin), who was the wife of Hongi-hika. She was very much enraged because peace had been made, and proposed to attack the pa. One part of the Nga-puhi war-party said if such action was taken it would be murder; but this blind woman Kiri persisted in her demand to attack the pa, and Hongi and his family tribes attacked the pa, but those tribes who would not consent to the blind woman's demand did not join in the attack. The pa was attacked, taken, and many killed, and a page 167 young chief was taken prisoner, and Hongi-hika proposed to kill him; but most of the chiefs said, “Let him live, save his life;” and these Nga-puhi chiefs hid this young chief to save his life. Hongi-hika sought for him, and the people were angry at Hongi-hika seeking for him; but Hongi-hika persisted, and found the young chief beneath a heap of mats. He led him to an open space in the midst of his war-party; and on the way thither this young chief sang this song:—

Oh! how love, with a whirling power,
Makes blank my mind! But could I know
That thou hast gone back home from other
Bank of lonely river, I then might seek
Some priest, whose power could sever from this heart
The love I now am doomed to feel.
I now am doomed to feel the pain and anguish
Of Mata-ora's tattooing instruments. Had Tuki-rau
But left some token of his power to drive
Intruders far away, I might have felt no dread
Of northern hosts; but, oh! how sad
I feel to hear discordant sounds from thee
As apprehensive here I sit!
While tears bedim mine eyes,
I moan for house, and tribe, and home.

When this young chief had ceased to chant his dirge, Hongi-hika went towards him with a spear in his hand, and said to him, “You are truly the best fish of my net: you cannot be allowed to live.” The young chief answered, “The thought is with you” [“You can do as you like”], and Hongi speared him with his spear and killed him.