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

Chapter IV

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Chapter IV.

Gently blow, thou wind
Of the south, and bring
His love, while here
I sit and weep when
He at distance is.
From whence that cloud
That follows me so stealthily,
So watchfully on the path to Tau-piri?
Where I can go, and ever be
(Though heartbroken) not far
From mine, my own beloved.
How can I stay, or deaden
Now that unseen love
That gnaws with grief untold,
And dares my every power to strangle it?
I must away, and leave
The home where many meet—
Where voice of Taepa is
Heard to tell of Wai-kato;
While my beloved is far,
Far on the north sea-coast.
How strong affection asks
That thou wouldst come and
Be as light of day to me,
And cause my tears to cease!

Rau-Paraha And War-Party Go To The Wai-Pounamu.

It was in the year 1832 that a war-party headed by Rau-paraha crossed from the North Island and went to attack the South Island people at Kai-apoi (game at poi, with poi-balls). This company of warriors consisted of six hundred twice told, and included the tribes Nga-ti-awa, Nga-ti-rau-kawa, and Nga-ti- page 38 tama-te-ra. This Nga-ti-tama-te-ra were from the Thames, and were led by Taraia (chip with an axe) and Te-rohu (mist), son of Tu-te-rangi-anini (day of giddiness). When these had landed on the South Island they were joined by the Nga-ti-toa of the Tai-tapu, Rangi-toto, and Hoiere, and all these met those who lived at Wai-rau. As soon as the force met, they paddled on by the east coast to Kai-koura, and there attacked the pa of those who escaped in the battle called Te-niho-manga (barracoutatooth). The pa was taken, and some of its inhabitants were killed, and the rest taken for slaves.

When it was fine weather the war-party journeyed on in their canoes to Kai-apohia (food gathered together), where they besieged a pa. The occupants the Nga-i-tahu, would not come out to battle, but to the annoyance of the war-party fired from trenches which they had dug round the fort, which were twenty feet deep. The war-party consisted of five thousand once told, who could not take the pa by storm for this reason : those in the pa had plenty of food, consisting of the root of the ti (one of the Cordylines), which is dug up, and dried, and cooked in a hangi (oven). This is very good food indeed, and is as sweet as the European sugar. They also had a great quantity of eels, which they had cooked and dried. They also had the pohata, puha or puka (Maori cabbage-turnip), which had been cooked and dried in the sun. With this food the pa could not be taken. This food had been collected while Rau-paraha was at Kapiti, as the tribe knew he would again attack them. Now, if they had depended on potatoes the pa would have been taken. There was only one place where the storming-party could attack this pa. The pa stood in a lake, and water was up to one end and both sides of it. There was but one part dry, and this led to the gateway of the fort. Rau-paraha proposed to dig a trench up to the gateway, and ordered three trenches to be dug up to the pa. These trenches were to be dug in a zigzag way, and not straight. The trenches of the pa were dug deep, and the tops page 39 were covered over with timber like a house. From these they fired at Rau-paraha's people.

The trenches were dug by Rau-paraha's people—one by the Nga-ti-toa, another by the Nga-ti-rau-kawa, another by the Nga-ti-awa. These, when they had been dug up close to where those in the pa came to fire at Rau-paraha's men, were discontinued, and the attacking party went and cut scrub of manuka bushes and ferns. This they worked at for about half a moon, and then carried it and put it up at the head of their trenches, next to the palisading of the pa. This was one hundred strides from the real pa, and was the trench from which those in the pa fired at the attacking party. All this dry brushwood was placed close up to the fence of these trenches. Thus they had piled a high heap of brushwood and fern, and they waited for a wind to blow from the south on to the pa, as the gate of the pa looked towards the south. Rau-paraha waited for half a moon for a south wind, but one did not come. The priests of the Nga-i-tahu in the pa were continually performing the ceremonies and chanting the incantations to stay the south wind, and prevent it from blowing at that time. The priests of Rau-paraha's warparty performed the ceremonies and chanted the incantations to cause a south wind to blow at once, so that a fire might be put to the brushwood placed near to the pa.

The day was fine—there was not a breath of air blowing; so early in the morning the people of the pa thought they might as well set fire to the brushwood placed by the enemy near to their pa, and thus get rid of it while the weather was so calm, as the flames would not then incline towards the pa, and would not set it on fire. They set fire to the heap near to the spot from where they fired their guns at Rau-paraha's people. When Rau-paraha saw the smoke and flames of the fire he called to his people and asked, “Who is that, O young people? Belt up, and take your weapons of war, and carry the brushwood up to the side of the stockade, so that the fuel may not burn in vain.”

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The warriors of Rau-paraha went to carry the brushwood close up to the stockade, but were fired on by those in the pa, and the balls from the guns fell in the midst of Rau-paraha's people like drops of rain in a shower; but the warriors did not heed this, though some of them fell by the shots from the pa. They had not anything by which they could be shielded from the shots of the pa. Rau-paraha's warriors had now got up to the loopholes through which those in the pa fired at them. These loopholes they filled up, and, the wind changing and blowing from the south, the flames leaned towards the stockade, and the fence took fire, while the warriors of Rau-paraha threw more brushwood on to the fence. The fire had now taken strong hold of the fence of the pa, and the pa was covered with smoke, at which Rau-paraha's party rejoiced, and gave a shout of glee, and danced a war-dance; and as they danced they chanted these words of the old war-dance song :—

When will your anger dare?
When will your power arise?
Salute your child with your nose.
But how salute him now?
You will see the rejoicing tide
Of the warriors' coming glee,
And departure of Rongo-mai-whiti.

As these warriors shouted the song and danced, the noise they made was like thunder, and the earth trembled. They made a dash and got into the pa, and slew some of those there with great slaughter. Others escaped into the lake, and, like a flock of wild ducks, made the face of the water look black. Thus the Lake Taru-tu (grass standing straight up) was covered with a great many of the Nga-i-tahu who were fleeing before their enemy. Though the Kai-apoi (or Kai-apohia) Pa had six hundred in it, all were killed: with women and children there were more than six hundred once told killed.

Now that the Kai-apohia Pa had been taken the war-party started for Te-whanga-raupo (the harbour of Typha page 41 angustifolia), and took the Pa Ri-papa (the screen made flat) and killed the occupants. The war-party went on to Whangaroa (long harbour), and assaulted the Pa O-nawe (the scar), in which were three hundred twice told, not one of whom escaped. The war-party went on and across to Te-wai-o-te-mate (water of the death), where they killed people, and returned to Kapiti with the slaves they had captured, where they could tame them. When this party had arrived at Wairau (gleanings of the kumara crop) (Cloudy Bay) some of the Nga-ti-toa stayed there and took up their abode, and some stayed at the Hoiere, Rangi-toto, and at the Tai-tapu; but Rau-paraha came on to Kapiti with Nga-ti-rau-kawa and Nga-ti-awa.

When they got back to Kapiti it was winter, and whalers had arrived at Te-whanga-nui (great harbour) and at Wai-rau (Cloudy Bay), in the South Island; and Rau-paraha went in his canoe to Te-whanga-nui to see the captains of the whalers. At times there were many whalers there—as many as a hundred—of various nations. Here they stayed while whales came near the coast; but when these ceased to come near the coast the whalers went out on the ocean, and the ships which were full of oil went each to its own land, and Rau-paraha came back to his people and home at Kapiti. Rau-paraha occupied his time in visiting his tribes at all their various homes. Sometimes he would go to the Tai-tapu. Flax was a rich commodity then, by which the Maori could obtain powder from the ships, the captains of which bought the flax.

One European lived at Wai-kanae, where he could buy flax from the great Nga-ti-awa Tribe; but this European saw the evil of this tribe. The evil was this : The flax this European bought from the Nga-ti-awa was by him put into a house; but at midnight some of the members of this tribe came and dug a hole under one side of the house and took the flax away, and on a future day this same flax was brought back and again sold to this European. This European soon found that this tribe stole his flax, so he left Wai-kanae and went to live at Kapiti, where page 42 he could be near Rau-paraha. This European built a house at Kapiti and one at O-taki. This was the first European who came from Port Jackson to New Zealand to buy flax in those days. He was called Te-Kawea (Qy., Mr. Kaverell?). This Nga-ti-awa Tribe was noted in those days for ill-treating Europeans. They killed [ill-used] one at Wai-kanae, at Komanga-rautawhiri (stage made of tawhiri—a Pittosporum—twigs), who was called Kapene Tera (Qy., Captain Taylor?); and Rangi-hae-ata punished the tribe for this evil deed. It was then said that Miti-kakau (lick the handle) chief of the Nga-ti-awa, with an associate, had been the perpetrator of this evil act. The associate of this chief was caught and executed by Rangi-hae-ata at the Mana Island; and when a man-of-war brig came to visit the Rangi-hae-ata at Mana the captain of the brig approved the act of Rangi-hae-ata in respect to the man who had ill-used Kapene Tera.

There was not any chief like Rau-paraha. He obtained much land in both Islands by his power and knowledge in Maori war, and he conquered the chiefs of the north end of the South Island.

In the year 1839 Christianity was first proclaimed in this part, and Matene-te-whiwhi (he who is possessed of anything) and I went to Toke-rau (Bay of Islands) to bring a minister to this end of the North Island, so that we might put an end to the desire for war in Rau-paraha's mind. If it had not been for Christianity Rau-paraha would have conquered all the tribes of the South Island even to the extreme south end—to Rakiura (Rangi-ura red sky), to Raro-tonga (lower south) and he would have exterminated them all.

The Fight At Wai-Rau. (Nga-Ti-Toa.)

We have given an account of the battles fought by Rau-paraha on the south end of the North Island; now we will give an account of the stupid acts of the Europeans and Maoris at Wairau, where Wairaweke (Wakefield) was killed.

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The origin of the battle at Wairau, and the death of a European chief in the year 1843, was caused by the deceit of a European captain of a whaling-ship, who was called Kapene Piringatapu (Captain Blenkinsop). He deceived Rau-paraha with a big gun (cannon), which was given in payment for Wairau. A document was written by that European in the English language, and in it it was stated that Wairau had been fully riro (gone, sold) to that European. Rau-paraha and his friends did not know what was said in that document, but in ignorance they signed their names to it. That European, Piringatapu (Blenkinsop), also said this to Rau-paraha and his friends : “If you see a captain of a man-of-war, let him see this document (a copy of which he had left with Rau-paraha), so that the captain may see that Rau-paraha and his friends are chiefs.” Rau-paraha thought this was true, and that what these documents contained was correct, as were also the words of this European. When Rau paraha came back to Kapiti he gave the document to his European flax-buyer, called Te Kawea, who read the document, and then said to Rau-paraha, “All your land at Wairau has gone from you, and now belongs to Kapene Piringatapu, who has bought it from you all with a great gun [cannon].” This made Rau-paraha feel grieved, and he tore the document to pieces, and the pieces were burnt by all the Nga-ti-toa chiefs of Kapiti, in company with those who resided on the South Island. So that when Wakefield came to the South Island, and took his abode at Whakatu (make a speech) (Nelson), and at Poneke (Port Nicholson—Wellington), and went to Wairau district to determine on a survey of that place, to which survey Rau-paraha had not given his consent, none of the land had been bought, save only by the deceit of the sale practised on Wakefield by Kapene Piringatapu (Captain Blenkinsop). In regard to Wakefield taking the Wairau, Rau-paraha and Wakefield should have talked over and calmly considered the matter, and then Wairau could have been carefully given up to Wakefield. But because of the anger of page 44 Wakefield and his friends having been so soon shown to Rangi-hae-ata, confusion began and wrong was commenced. Much was said to me by Rau-paraha on this subject, and great was the love of Rau-paraha to Wakefield and his friends; but, on account of the mad acts of his nephew Rangi-hae-ata, who would not do as ordered by Rau-paraha, Wakefield and his friends were killed. Rau-paraha was grieved with his nephew on account of the death of Wakefield and his friends. Rau-paraha rose and made a speech to Rangi-hae-ata and all the Nga-ti-toa Tribe. These were his words: “Hearken, O Rangi-hae-ata! I will forsake you. You have trodden my instructions under your feet. Those Europeans who were killed in the first flush of the attack should have been sufficient, and those who were not killed at first should have been saved.” Rangi-hae-ata said, “Then, what in respect to your daughter, who has been killed in this affray? Rau-paraha answered, “What of the death of that daughter? Why should she not be killed? But now, O son! I will turn to Christianity, to the great God, who has saved me from the hand of the European.” And from that time Rau-paraha joined with the Maori Christians. I was away from our home at the time the Wairau affair occurred. I was away teaching the Nga-i-tahu people, and I went even as far as Rakiura. I was one year there, and was the first who went to teach them [about the true God]. And my presence at that place prevented my father from going again to make war on the tribes there.

Rau-paraha was very much grieved at the wrong acts of Rangi-hae-ata in regard to the Europeans at the Here-taunga (the Hutt), and he was sorry that Rangi-hae-ata attempted to keep possession of the land of the Europeans at that place, which land had been bought and paid for. Rau-paraha and Rangi-hae-ata had participated in the £200 of cash received by them for Here-taunga. Rau-paraha persisted in his endeavour to make Rangi-hae-ata cease to annoy the Europeans in respect to that land; but Rangi-hae-ata would not listen to the advice of Rau-paraha.

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Rau-paraha was taken prisoner by order of Governor Grey, but there was not any reason for the act. It was no doubt occasioned by a letter to which some person had signed the name of Rau-paraha to give it an authority. This letter was addressed to the Whanga-nui chiefs of the Patu-tokotoko Tribe. It is said that this letter was concocted by Mamaku and Rangi-hae-ata, who signed the name of Rau-paraha to it that the letter might carry authority with it. Such is the account of this letter. At that time I was at Bishop Selwyn's school at St. John, near Auckland, with my wife Ruth, so that I was not witness of my father being taken prisoner. On my return home I went on board of the man-of-war “Calliope,” where my father was held prisoner. We met and wept over each other. He said, “O son! go to your tribe; live in peace. In return for my being kept thus, let them see your acts of peace. Do not do any evil act, but rather let good and love be shown to the Europeans. There was not any reason for my being taken prisoner by Governor Grey. I have not murdered any European, but rather some one has told lies [of me]. But I do not care for this. If I had been taken prisoner in battle it would have been good; but I have been taken like a thief. I am like the Apostle of Christ—like Paul, whose work was to take the word of Christ to the Gentiles; and he was put into prison: but when an angel came at night Paul was glad and sang, and the doors of the prison opened of their own accord, and he came out. Now, O son! I am like that man now living in a prison on board of a ship. But my heart is glad and I can sing in the joy of [given by] God. O son! I am not grieved. Go on shore and persist in good acts, and nourish the Europeans, but do not hearken to the advice or policy of Rangi-hae-ata: extinguish his policy.” I, with Matene-te-whiwhi, came on shore, and we went to Pori-rua (the home of my father), where we saw the Nga-ti-toa Tribe and the chief Rawiri-puaha (the mouth), to whom we told what Rau-paraha had said to us about peace and good acts. We then went on to page 46 O-taki, and repeated the same words about good deeds and living in peace; and at this time we two ordered the township to be laid out at O-taki now called Hadfleld, and from this time the Nga-ti-raukawa Tribe began to alter in their conduct to a peace-abiding people with the Nga-ti-toa. And at this time the people of the Nga-ti-raukawa, of Manawa-tu, who were allied with Rangi-hae-ata, came to see Matene-te-whiwhi and me. These consisted of two hundred once told, who had been sent by Rangi-hae-ata to ask questions of us two about Rau-paraha, who was kept prisoner on board of a man-of-war, in order that they might determine how to take revenge by killing Europeans at Wellington. I told these people what Rau-paraha had said to us. I told them to stop at once in their mad idea of attacking the Europeans, and not in the least to follow the policy of Rangi-hae-ata, as his policy would lead to nothing but evil. They agreed to what was said, and at once began to lay out the township at O-taki, by which act they might gain a name for good for the Nga-ti-raukawa Tribe.

In 1846 Rau-paraha was liberated by Governor Grey and sent back to O-taki, and this old man at once gave orders to the Nga-ti-raukawa to build a large church in that town. Now, had he not come back to that town a church would not have been built. As he had a great desire to worship the true God, he worshipped constantly till his death, which took place at O-taki in November, in the year 1849.

I, his son, with my thoughts of my childhood, am now working at the same work and for the same object—to have love, and Christianity, and peacemaking with the European and Maori, that they may become one people under one law in this land.

Now, O people! do not be mistaken in regard to our old men of the Nga-ti-toa Tribe, and ask what sort of people were they. I will tell you. They were a tribe of chiefs from the time of our Maori ancestors. Rau-paraha was a kind man: he fostered the Europeans from days long past, and for the first time, in the page 47 battle at Wairau, has Rau-paraha acted in a stupid way. He says God saved his life; and why he knows this is, he did not hide himself, and he was not killed by the bullets fired by the Europeans in that fight. The Native Land Court utters that which is not correct when it says, “Rau-paraha flattered the tribes so that they might like him, and become one with him, and that those tribes might be saved from the power of his weapon (death).” These words are wrong, as there was not one tribe in the south end of the North Island able to stand against him; and Rau-paraha and his tribe were but few in number when they migrated to Kapiti; and it was he who gave [sold part of] not only the North but the South Island to the Europeans.

This is the genealogy of the Rau-paraha from Mango (shark):—

A black and white diagram showing the whakapapa from Mango to Tamihana Te Rauparaha.

* From this man is derived the name of Nga-ti-toa—Toa-rangatira or Nga-ti-toa.

† An edible plant—a thick-leaved convolvulus, growing on the sand-hills near the sea, and eaten in ancient times.