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

Chapter XII

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Chapter XII.

Let quiet be o'er all, and calm rest on the sea,
That Mana may in sunshine pass the stream
Of River Pa-kihi, and Maro-uri's rippling tide
Then why should we together rest in numbers here?
Let daring take us to a distance with our love,
And scorn the coward dread, and awe of creeping flesh,
As though the nettle's sting could cow me with a fear.
Though still I live, and live alone with thee,
My spirit shall not dare to feel
Or e'er again revisit, if in thought,
My parents, home, or long-lost tribe to me.

The Attack Of Kohi-Rangatira and Te-Kanawa On Nga-Puhi.

Te-kanawa(syn.Kokowai—red ochre) and Kohi-rangatira (wasting sickness of a chief) went into the Nga-puhi country with a war-party. They started from Wai-kato, and took the pa called Raho-ngaua (bitten wood—the projection to which the thwarts of a canoe are tied), and came back to Waikato. As the Nga-puhi thought they had not obtained sufficient revenge for those killed in this pa, Hongi-hika went to England, and obtained guns and powder from King George, with which Hongi thought he could obtain sufficient satisfaction for this defeat. So Hongi tried the power of his arms and ammunition, and went to Hau-raki and took the Mau-inaina Pa, which belonged to the Nga-ti-paoa Tribe. He returned to his own home, and again came back to Hau-raki, and attacked the Totara Pa, which belonged to Nga-ti-maru.

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Hongi-hika went back again to his home, but came back once more, and went on to Roto-rua (two lakes), and took the Mokoia Pa, which stood on an island in the Roto-rua Lake, which belonged to the Arawa Tribe.

Hongi, to his own satisfaction, now thought that he had conquered the tribes with his guns, and, as the other tribes had not become possessed of these weapons, and Nga-puhi alone had them, and as he had taken the pa on Mokoia, he went back to his home.

Hongi again meditated on his guns, and then collected a great body of warriors with which he could attack the Wai-kato, and with these he attacked the tribes in the Wai-kato district.

The Nga-puhi thought that, as with their guns they had been able to conquer every tribe with whom they had contended, they would pay a visit to Te-kanawa, in return for his visit to Nga-puhi, when he attacked the pa called Raho-ngaua.

The Nga-puhi left their home, and voyaged along the east coast and came into Tamaki, and dragged their canoes over the portage at O-tahuhu. The Wai-kato people heard that Nga-puhi were dragging their canoes across the O-tahuhu portage, and that Nga-puhi had guns with them. Those of the Wai-kato who had seen the effects of guns gave an account to the tribes of the district what destruction the guns could make. These said, if a gun were pointed at a man it would speak, and not any one could see the thing that would fly which would kill the man. The only time the thing that killed could be seen would be when a man was killed by a gun. Then, again, whenever the mouth of a gun was heard to speak it told the death of a man, and, though a man might be at a distance, if a gun opened its mouth and spoke to him, he would die.

This account so intimidated the Wai-kato tribes that a meeting of the warriors and old men was held, at which it was agreed to go and fell all the forest trees across the Awa-roa (long creek), to intercept the Nga-puhi canoes, and prevent them page 170 getting down that creek into the Wai-kato River. This was done, and the Wai-kato people returned up the river again. All the tribes of Wai-kato collected in a body in the upper waters of the Wai-kato River, and far up the River Wai-pa (dammed-up water) they built a pa. That which we call a pa consisted of three pas, and all were built as though they were one pa.

These pas were at the confluence of the Wai-pa with the Manga-piko (crooked stream) Creek. The first of the three pas was built on the point which was between the two creeks Wai-pa and Manga-piko, and the pas were named thus: The first pa was called Matakitaki (look at), the next inside was called Taura-kohia (rope of the Passiflora tetrandra), and the next inside was called Puke-tutu (hill of the Coriaria ruscifolia); thus:—

Black and white map showing location of the pas built between the Waipa River and Mangapiko Creek.

There were about five thousand people twice told in these pas. There were not any of the Wai-kato tribes absent at that time. This, of course, included men, women, and children.

When these pas were completed a trench was dug on the east—that is, on the outside of the pas on the Puke-tutu part—which was dug very deep, and extended from the Wai-pa River to the Manga-piko Creek. This was to prevent the Nga-puhi from entering the pa from that direction. Across this ditch page 171 wooden bridges were put to facilitate the departure of the occupants. The joint name of these three pas was Matakitaki.

When the Nga-puhi had taken all their canoes across the O-tahuhu portage, they paddled them on the Onehunga waters and up the Wai-uku (water of the clay used to wash with), and thence the canoes were dragged across the portage called Te-pae-o-kai-waka (the ridge over which canoes are dragged), and into the Awa-roa Creek, which the Nga-puhi found choked up with koroi (Podocarpus dacrydioides) trees. These had been felled into that creek by the Wai-kato people. The Nga-puhi had to clear these trees away to get their canoes down the creek, which took them about two months to accomplish; also all the short bends in the creek were cut to enable the long canoes to pass, especially the canoe called Kahu-mau-roa (garment kept long). At last the Nga-puhi got all the canoes down the creek, and paddled up the Wai-kato River to Nga-rua-wahia (the pits [in which food is kept] opened); thence they went up the Wai-pa River. At the same time Wai-kato spies were paddling down this river, who, when they met the advance guard of the Nga-puhi war-party, endeavoured to escape; but before they could turn their canoes round the canoes of the enemy were close on them. The spies paddled as fast as they could back up the stream, and were followed at a furious pace by the Nga-puhi. The spies were followed by the swiftest-sailing canoes of the enemy, so that the dull-sailing canoes of the spies landed and their occupants fled into the bush; but the swift canoes of the spies still paddled on. The Wai-pa River was very crooked, and, at Rua-makamaka (pit into which things are thrown again and again), near to Whatawhata (stage), where there was a very sudden bend, the spies were intercepted by the Nga-puhi. The Nga-puhi had come across a narrow neck of land, and had got ahead of the spies in their canoes, and the spies had to leave their canoes and flee overland to the great pa by the bank of the river on the east side, and leave the Nga-puhi on the west bank of the river. As the spies left their canoes the Nga-puhi page 172 fired on them. The spies escaped and went to the Wai-kato Pa and told the news, and of their meeting the enemy and being pursued, and of their escape from the coming Nga-puhi, and of their being fired on. One of the spies said, “Yes, it is true what is said of the god [gun] the Nga-puhi are bringing with them.”

On the following day the Nga-puhi got near to the Matakitaki Pa, and landed on the opposite side of the Waipa, which was on the west bank, and as soon as they had landed they fired at the pa. As soon as the guns spoke the crowd in the pa began to flee. This was not only caused by the news they had heard of the gods [guns], but the dread felt was intensified by the noise made by the voice of these gods [guns], which was now speaking to the deluded ones who were fleeing in dread. These fleeing ones saw their own people falling dead, but could not see what had killed them, but could only hear the voice which the gods uttered. All that could be seen on the corpses was the blood from a wound. The ignorant of those days thought the guns were supreme gods.

The people fled from the pa to escape on the plains, but the warriors stayed in the pa to meet their coming enemy. They waited for something on which they could use their weapons. The warriors called Whewhe (boil), Hika-urua (dart put in), Te-hope (the waist), Te-hutu (a certain tree which grows on the highest mountain in the north end of the North island, the timber of which is slightly red, and not unlike that of the New South Wales cedar-tree), Tu-tahanga (stand naked), and Niho (tooth) were all brave men, and skilled in the use of Maori weapons.

Those who had at first fled across the ditch on the wooden bridges went in an orderly manner, but as the voice of the guns continued to speak it caused dread, and the fleeing ones, in their wish to escape, hustled each other in passing over the bridges; thus many fell into the deep trench. These could not on account of its depth get out again, and, as the banks of the trench were perpendicular, those who fell into it were kept page 173 there. Those who at first fell into it in their attempt to climb out were knocked back by others falling on them, and so it continued. Some who attempted to climb up the bank, and were partly up the side, were pulled back by others, who took hold of them in an attempt to escape. Some of those in the pa who could leap a great distance attempted to jump across the ditch; these failed in the attempt, but, catching the opposite bank with their hands, hung with their feet dangling in the ditch; these feet were taken hold of by those in the ditch to aid their escape, and their owners were dragged into the ditch and into the same fate as those now in the ditch were doomed to feel. Some who were in the ditch saw their brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, or children escaping, and called to them from the ditch and said, “O relative! save me.” But the flying people would not take any notice—how could they?—for fear that they should also be dragged into the ditch and perish with the rest. Thus brother called in vain on brother, mother to child, husband to wife, and sister to sister; but the ditch became full, and those at the bottom were killed by being held down and smothered by those above. Some of those who were in the ditch escaped to the Wai-pa River, but were shot by Nga-puhi. There was not any way of escape.

The Nga-puhi now charged into the pa and there met those warriors whose names we have given waiting to meet them in open combat, hand to hand. The Nga puhi had guns, the Wai-kato warriors had their Maori wooden weapons only. As each Wai-kato warrior rushed up to his enemy to be near him so that he could use his wooden weapon, he was shot by the Nga-puhi. But these brave warriors of Wai-kato did some work of carnage—by the time they had all been shot they had killed about twenty of the Nga-puhi chiefs. Of the Wai-kato warriors who were not killed there were Te-hutu, Kiri-pakoko (skin of the lean), and others; but Whewhe, Hika, Hope, Te-ao-tu-tahanga and Te-niho were killed. And hence the origin of these page 174 words in the dirge composed by Puhi-ra-waho (the plume on one side):-

Te Rarawa Tribe
Killed Hika and Hope;
But Hongi hika killed
The Hou-taewa.

The Nga-puhi now killed the fleeing Wai-kato as they liked. When all had fled from the pa they were followed and killed; but Te-kanawa and Po-tatau rallied their people and charged the Nga-puhi, and killed about forty of them and drove them back into the pa, in which they attacked the Nga-puhi, those of the pa now being the attacking party. As the guns of the Nga-puhi in the pa were irresistible Te-kanawa and his Wai-kato followers fled to the mountains; but those of the fleeing people who were not able to run fast hid in the bushes on the side of the road. Some of them were taken by Nga-puhi and kept as slaves. About fifty of the Nga-puhi followed the fleeing crowd of Wai-kato, and overtook many females of high rank of the Nga-ti-mahuta Tribe, who were abused by these Nga-puhi at a place called Tarakerake (sweep away), near to O-rahiri (welcome). Te-wherowhero and his followers had gone some distance, but they came back from Hau-rua (double wind), and came to Tarakerake, where these women were being insulted by the Nga-puhi, and at dawn of day Potatau and his followers rushed on them and killed them in the act of abusing the females, and not one of these fifty of the Nga-puhi escaped—all were killed.

The Wai-kato who fled from this pa went to Taupo, Kawhia, and Mokau; but they came back to Wai-kato and took possession of Hanga-tiki (make an effigy of man), and Haurua (double lock of hair taken from an enemy's head), and some of the Wai-kato even went as far as Kopua (deep spot in a river), Poko-whatitiri (thunder ceased), and O-tawhao (copse), to look for their enemy. But Nga-puhi had gone home, and had left some old women in the Matakitaki Pa who had been taken prisoners at Matakitaki. These women were left alive by the Nga-puhi page 175 chief called Po-roa (long night) as a token to the Wai-kato tribes, and especially to Te-kanawa, that peace could now be made. One of these old women was a sister of Te-kanawa called Parekohu (plume of mist); and the wife of Te-kanawa was another, called Te-ra-huru-ake (the coming red sun).

Soon after this the sons of these old women went to Nga-puhi. These were named Te-whakaete (take a seat by force) and Te-kihirini-te-kanawa (red ochre), to whom was given in charge by Hongi-hika the daughter of Rewa (float), called Toha (spread out as a gift), who was to be a wife for Kati (bite off), a younger brother of Po-tatau, and to be a daughter-in-law to these two chiefs, Hongi-hika and Po-tatau. This woman Toha was taken to wife by Kati; but even after this act of peace-making Nga-puhi came with a war-party into Wai-kato, led by Po-mare (night of coughing), who came by way of Hau-raki and up the Pi-ako River, across the portage, thence up the Horo-tiu. The Wai-kato tribes heard that a Nga-puhi war-party had arrived at Te-rore (the noose) and went to intercept and attack them. Nini (flush), with his Maori wooden spear, ran Po-mare through the body and killed him; and, though the Nga-puhi had guns and used them, the Wai-kato people did not fear, but rushed upon the Nga-puhi and conquered them. The Nga-puhi fled and were pursued by Wai-kato. Some of the Nga-ti-whatua Tribe were with the Nga-puhi on this occasion, and had to flee. Some of them were killed. Nga-puhi were followed down the Wai-kato, and, passing across the mouth of that river, they went on to Tau-roa (long year) and on to Awhitu (regret), where two of the Nga-puhi chiefs escaped by crossing the mouth of the Manuka River in a moki made of raupo (typha angustifolia). Then these two went on along the mountains. Thus, out of all the troop who had followed Po-mare, these two, Moe-tara (the unused spear) and his friend, were the only two who escaped. Those who pursued them went back from Awhitu.

When the news of the defeat and annihilation of the Po-mare party reached Nga-puhi another war-party was formed and led page 176 by Te-rangi-tu-ke (a different day), who came to Tamaki and landed at Te-pane-o-horo-iwi (the head of Horo-iwi; or swallow bones), at the east side of the mouth of the Tamaki River, opposite the Rangi-toto Island. The Wai-kato people having heard of this war-party, some of the Nga-ti-tipa Tribe were induced to come and meet them. Headed by Nini, they found the Nga-puhi at the east side of the entrance of the Tamaki River. One man as a spy was sent from the party of Nini, but was caught by Nga-puhi and killed. Nini waited in vain for his spy to return, and, as he did not appear, Nini and his party at once went and attacked the Nga-puhi. Though fired on by the Nga-puhi the Nga-ti-tipa did not heed them, but rushed into the battle. Nini had but one gun with his party, because not any tribe but Nga-puhi had obtained guns at that time. Te-rangi-tu-ke made his appearance in the battle, and——, of the Wai-kato, met him, and with his spear pierced him in the eye, and Nini despatched him. Nga-puhi gave way and fled, and were pursued by Wai-kato. By the time the fleeing Nga-puhi had gained their canoes a hundred of them had been killed; but ten got into a canoe and escaped. And Wai-kato went back to their home, and, perhaps on account of fear, Nga-puhi never came back to make war on the Wai-kato people.

But after this Te-hara-miti (ill omen) went with a war-party from Nga-puhi to attack the people of Tauranga (lay at anchor); but he was attacked by the Nga-i-ti-rangi, and Hara-miti and his party of two hundred men were killed on the Motiti (scarce) Island.

The Wai-kato had now a desire to make war on the Nga-puhi, as they had obtained guns. Ships from which guns could be obtained for flax had come into Kawhia and Tauranga, and a gun could be obtained for three or five tons of flax; but these were duck-bill guns (old Brown Bess).

The Wai-kato collected a war-party and went from their district, and arrived at Whanga-rei, where they found the Para-whau Tribe. These they attacked and beat, and as they fled a page 177 chief called Tau-whitu (assist, support) was taken prisoner, whose life was saved, and peace was made with the Para-whau (Te-tira-rau's) Tribe.

After this all the Wai-kato tribes proposed to war against the Nga-puhi, and to go even as far as the Rarawa Tribe in the north; but Te-wherowhero would not countenance the proposal, and it was not allowed by him, as he wished to carry out the instructions of his brother Kati, who had taken the Nga-puhi woman Toha, the daughter of Rewa, to wife. Te-wherowhero said, “When I am dead keep friends with the Nga-puhi.” So that after this the Wai-kato and Nga-puhi ceased to make war on each other.

The Nga-Ti-Maru War-Party To Avenge The Murderous Act Of Nga-Ti-Rangi, Who Attacked The Nga-Ti-Maru At The Time When Hongi-Hika Was Attacking The Pa At Te-Totara. (Nga-Ti-Maru.)

We will now revert to the time when the Nga-ti-rangi attacked the Nga-ti-maru, and the murder at the Pa Matua-iwi (parent of the tribe), in which those of the Nga-ti-maru were living who had escaped from the Totara Pa when it was taken by Hongi-hika.

From the time of the murder at Matua-iwi the Nga-ti-rangi felt a vindictive feeling towards the Nga-ti-maru, and the Nga-ti-rangi built a pa at Katikati (nibble), and the Nga-ti-maru took notice of this act, and thought that the enemy was building a pa at Katikati in order still to show a defiant spirit to Nga-ti-maru. This tribe still held the Katikati district. Now, the descendants of Maru-tuahu were called the Nga-ti-maru, and the Nga-ti-maru pondered over the desire of the Nga-ti-rangi to take complete possession of the Katikati district. This was shown by building a pa there. The Nga-ti-maru also remembered how that tribe had defied the Nga-ti-maru in days long past. So the Nga-ti-maru mustered a war-party, and went and attacked that pa. It was called O-ngere (neglected). The page 178 Nga-ti-maru took it, and killed all its inhabitants, among whom were the chiefs Whanake-haua (syn. ti—Cordyline australis—chopped), Pae-tui (tui-bird's perch) Reko (white dog-skin mat)—leading chiefs of the Nga-ti-rangi Tribe. This was the last battle fought between these two tribes.

In former times these two tribes fought many battles, but the Nga-ti-maru always beat their foe. In one of these lights the Nga-ti-rangi had their pa Te-papa (flat) taken by the Nga-ti-maru. This pa stood on the spot now occupied by the Church Mission Station of the Rev. Mr. Brown, at Tauranga.

The Taking Of The Matua-Iwi Pa, And The Nga-Ti-Rangi Beaten By Nga-Ti-Maru. (Nga-Ti-Maru.)

The Nga-puhi had gone back home, and had returned to the Thames with guns and powder.

At that time the Nga-ti-maru had made an abode for themselves on the Horo-tiu, in the Wai-kato. But they had first gone from the Thames to Roto-rua, and had also resided some time at Tauranga, where the Nga-ti-awa had attacked and taken the Nga-ti-maru pa called Matua-iwi, in which the Nga-ti-rangi had committed murders. The Nga-ti-maru remembered this evil murder of Nga-ti-rangi. But what else could Nga-ti-rangi do? Still, they did wrong in not joining with all the other Thames tribes to fight against the Nga-puhi, who had guns and powder. So the Thames tribes assembled and fought at the battle of Te-taumata (brow of the hill). This battle was fought on the open land, and the Nga-ti-rangi were beaten, in revenge for their attack and taking of the Pa Matua-iwi, where Tara-ki-te-awa (spirit in the river), Te-kotu (regard), and Haopu-rakau (heap of wood) were killed. These were chiefs of the Nga-ti-rangi. After this the Hau-raki tribes made a permanent abode in Horo-tiu, as the Nga-puhi were flushed with delight in being able to kill so many men.

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The Ancient Tribes Of Hau-Raki (Thames)

This name—Hau-raki—is given to all those tribes of the Thames who are not descendants of Maru-tuahu; and Maru-tuahu is not descended from Paoa, as will be seen in the account of Paoa given in this history.

A War-Party Led By Po-Mare Into Wai-Kato.

The first information that Wai-kato had of Po-mare and his war-party was his appearance in Wai-kato with the intention of killing men. The Wai-kato people assembled—all those who had felt the effect of the guns of Hongi-hika in the previous war. These guns had been given to him by King George. These tribes met and were called Wai-kato, consisting of Nga-ti-tipa and Hau-raki, and made war on Po-mare at the Rore (noose). Po-mare was shot there by Matiu Tohi (perform a sacred ceremony), of the Nga-ti-maru Tribe. Po-mare was not killed by the ball of the gun fired at him, but was severely wounded, and was killed by Nini, of Nga-ti-tipa. The fleeing party of Po-mare were pursued by the tribes of Wai-kato and Nga-ti-haua. The Nga-ti-maru did not join in the pursuit. All they did was in the open battle in which Po-mare was killed. The Nga-ti-haua followed the fleeing Nga-puhi, and Moe-tara (sleeping dart) was the only chief of Nga-puhi to escape, with others of lesser note.

This was the last time that Nga-puhi came to Waikato to make war there, and this battle was never avenged.

Te-Maunu Murdered At Ao-Tea By Nga-Puhi.

Te-maunu (the bait) went to Ao-tea (white cloud) on a visit; but he found the Nga-puhi there, who caught and murdered him and his child, with all his followers. The Nga-puhi had page 180 not ceased to murder our people from the first time they came into our district.

The wife of Te-maunu composed and sang this dirge for her husband:—

The sun was high up in the sky,
And he, my own loved one, departed;
But here I sit—lost, ever lost
In blank forgetfulness.
O Hau! how oft dost thou
Now voyage in war-canoe,
And sit as champion in the prow!
But, no, I will not dare
To speak approval of thy act:
I must lament my ever loved
And little flock of mine own tern,
Who of myself are part.
My noble tree has fallen even now,
While yet its boughs were fresh and green,
And growing beautifully at Moe-hau.
But, O my own, my sole beloved!
Thy feet have trod the path where murder was,
And thou hast felt the power
And vengeance of the man with war-weapon.
Thy blood in streaks shows in the sky,
As flashing light tells of thy course,
Hid ‘neath the sandy soil of Karaka.
Then sleep as though it were thy home,
Thy home at hill of Puke-rangi-po,
Where maiden youths of boasting Te-puhi
May taunt thy name and warrior fame;
But heed not what they say,
Nor use on them thy necromancing power.
Thy death is as the flaw in noble axe,
And there are here of thine own kindred blood
Who soon will smite with heavy blow
The hand that took thy life with murderous deed.
Yes, here is Rohu-a-whiu, and he
Will take the token scalp of him who
Took thy life of noble huia-bird far in the south.
But why regret? the god has left his cave
And gone to see his home far in the north.

The sentiments uttered in this dirge caused the Nga-ti-maru to feel a never-dying sorrow for the murder of Te-maunu.

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War To Avenge The Murder Of Te-Maunu.

A war-party of the Nga-ti-maru Tribe started on a war-expedition to avenge the murder of Te-maunu; at the same time the Nga-puhi had sent a war-party out to war: and these met on the sea off Moe-hau (Cape Colville), and each party landed on the beach, and gave battle to the other. The Nga-puhi were beaten and fled before Nga-ti-maru. Of the Nga-puhi fleet of canoes only one escaped being taken by the Nga-ti-maru. Thus those who escaped went back to their own home. In this battle were killed Te-ngere (neglected), Rangi-tuoro (day of the tuoro eel. This eel is said to live on the open fern and grass country, and attacks man whenever he is seen by it. The only means of escape is to fire the fern or go on to a spot where fire has been, where this eel cannot pass on account of the ash of the fire. The noise it makes is described as like that of a roaring bull), Utu-ariki (payment of the supreme chief), and others. The name given to this battle is Poi-hakena (Port Jackson).

This was the last time these two tribes met each other in war in the Thames. Nga-puhi had now become feeble, and the Nga-ti-maru got the victory.

Some of the Nga-ti-maru were killed in this battle; but what does that matter, as the Nga-ti-maru gained the victory and held the battle-field? This was the final battle in which these tribes ate of each other's men, and we will cease to recount the battles which took place between the Nga-puhi and the Thames tribes.