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

Chapter IX

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Chapter IX.

How keen my love for thee is felt,
And ever lives within my breast,
As o'er thy kindly acts I think!
Yes, O my bird in distant sky!
I love thee still, though booming wing,
Bear thee to distance far from me,
To Wai-oti-atu Mountain-range.
But, oh! thy spirit must come back to me
(Though thou art doomed by wizard's power),
And visit this thy land and home,
Like hawk come from the daylight sky,
And pass the path so often trod
By thine own tribe and me.

A Maori Relic

Some Europeans were ploughing land not far from the O-takou (red ochre) Heads (1879), and found a tiki made of greenstone, which was a very ancient one. In years long past a fight between some Europeans and Maoris was fought there, many of whom on each side were killed, and maybe the tiki now found belonged to some of the Maoris who fell in that fight.

Rau-Paraha And His Acts. (Nga-Ti-Hau.)

Rau-paraha's first expedition to Roto-kakahi, with a hundred and forty men, was to kill the chief Te-waero (plume made of the hair of the Maori dog's tail) and his people of Nga-puhi, who had gone to Taupo and Roto-a-ira. Te-kore-rangi (the tuneless) tried to kill Rau-paraha; but a friendly chief concealed page 98 him in his rua kai (food-store) and aided his escape. From Whanga-nui he returned to Kawhia, where he obtained the aid of Tu-whare and his tribe. Tu-whare until his death became the leader of the party. They came on a war-expedition, and encamped on the north head of Whanga-nui and stayed a month there, making moki at the Lake Koko-huia. They went as far as Wai-rarapa and killed the chief of that place, called Te-rori (stagger). Tu-whare noticed the wreck of a ship in Cook Strait, and counselled Rau-paraha to take the land and permanently settle there, as he saw it was a place likely to be frequented by Europeans, and would make him great. Before, they merely fought to obtain plunder. Rau-paraha agreed to this advice. On their return to Kawhia they passed through Tara-naki and fought the Natives there. They stayed at Tihoi and came to Whanga-nui ostensibly as friends. They went on to O-hau, where Rau-paraha murdered several of the Horo-whenua Natives. This was the beginning of his wars. He also went to Manawa-tu and killed some Natives there, and returned to O-hau. The Horo-whenua people brought him a present of food, and he killed the bearers of this; then the people of that place and the Nga-ti-moa-upoko brought a taua (war-party) of three hundred against him, and took him by surprise, and killed a hundred of his people, and he fled to Wai-kanae. The Nga-ti-apa slew many of his people at Wai-mea, including the daughter of Pehi, who was cooked, and carried in a taha (calabash) to Whanga-nui. Rau-paraha and his men had guns and ammunition; hence their power. In one of the battles the gun of Rau-paraha was taken by Paora Turanga-pito. Three thousand people of all the coast collected and went to attack Rau-paraha. When they reached Wai-mea Tu-roa gave a hatchet to Turanga-pito to go and kill Rau-paraha. A song was sung on the occasion to incite the murderer. The battle was fought on the Kapiti Island, and the three thousand were conquered. Rangi-ma-iri-hau (the day the offering was made page 99 to the gods), a chief, went to Rangi-hae-ata, expecting to be spared, as Rangi-hae-ata was a relative of his by marriage; but Rangi-hae-ata threw him on a fire and roasted him alive. Being victorious, Rangi-hae-ata made peace. Pehi went to England. Rau-paraha eventually destroyed Te-moa-upoko; and the Nga-ti-tai went to fight against Whanga-nui. They did not fight there, but returned and fought at Rangi-tikei. Again Rau-paraha went to fight at Whanga-nui, and a Nga-ti-raukawa chief was killed, and Rau-paraha was very indignant. Europeans increased and gave power to Rau-paraha. Te-heuheu collected food and brought it as a present to Rau-paraha. All the tribes now began to work for him in cultivating food, and he reaped all the benefits of the intercourse with Europeans, and became the channel by which the Maoris obtained European goods, such as rum, powder, and guns, and thus Rau-paraha became very great, and all the tribes but Nga-ti-rua-nui and Tara-naki sought his friendship. Whata-nui's taua (war-party) slew Nga-ti-rua-ka at Rangi-po. Rau-paraha fought against those in the Putiki Pa, and killed a hundred. Then a taua from Whanga-nui came against Paka-kutu. This pa was taken and Rau-paraha was surrounded, but escaped. Pehi returned with guns from England. Kekereru, the good-looking chief, and great favourite of Rangi-hae-ata, was killed by the Nga-i-tahu. Rangi-hae-ata sought utu (revenge), and killed all he could take of the tribe. Tama-i-hara-nui, the friend of Pehi, murdered Pehi in his pa at Waha-raupo when Pehi was his guest, with forty of his friends. Rau-paraha fled, and reached Kapiti; met Stewart, and got his vessel to go to Waha-raupo. Tu-te-o-nuku, son of Tama-i-hara-nui, went to the Nga-i-tahu, to Tiaki-tai (Bloody Jack), and enlisted him and his people; and while Rau-paraha was engaged snaring the duck putangitangi at Ka-pare-te-hau Lake, the enemy came and surprised Rau-paraha and his party. All the canoes were drawn up except one. Rau-paraha and forty men, women, and children rushed into this canoe and put to sea. There being too many in the canoe, Rau-paraha made all the women and children, and page 100 some of the men, jump overboard, and those who refused to jump overboard he threw into the sea. Rau-paraha thus escaped.

Rau-Paraha And His Acts. (Nga-Ti-Hau.)

When Rau-paraha was a young man he went with his followers to Roto-rua, and on their arrival there found that a body of Nga-puhi people, under the chief Te-waero (hairs of a Maori dog's tail), had come there to exchange some productions of the Nga-puhi for mats made by the Arawa people. Rau-paraha attacked these Nga-puhi visitors and killed one hundred and four of them, but to save the life of Te-waero a Roto-rua chief hid him in a kumara-pit in which the kumara crop was stored.

Rau-paraha then went to Taupo and Roto-a-ira (lake of ira— freckle), Whanga-nui, and on to Kawhia. On his arrival at Kawhia he found the chief Tu-whare and his tribe awaiting his return. These were asked by Rau-paraha to join him, and Rau-paraha would be leader in any expedition in which they might go against other tribes. Rau-paraha and his force proceeded south to Whanga-nui, and at the entrance to that river were detained one month; and, as they could not cross for want of canoes, they had to make a lot of moki, the materials for which they obtained in the Koko-huia (noise of the huia bird) Lake. Having made the moki, they crossed the river, and went as far as Wai-rarapa, of which place they killed the people and their chief called Te-rori (the giddy).

Tu-whare saw the remains of a wreck on the Wai-rarapa beach, and said to Rau-paraha, “Rau-paraha, this is a good land for you to occupy as your home, with your tribe. It is the place to which the Europeans come, and by the Europeans you can become great, and from them you can obtain property, and then you will not use your weapons of war to gain goods in battle.” Rau-paraha agreed to what Tu-whare had said.

From Wai-rarapa Rau-paraha and his force went back by way of Tara-naki, attacking every tribe on their route, and stayed at Ti-hoi (make the middle of a mat larger in weaving page 101 it); but after a time they returned to Whanga-nui. This time they came as visitors, not as a war-party, and went on to O-hau; but at that place they murdered some of the Horo-whenua people, which was the first act of war by Rau-paraha on the tribes of that district. From O-hau he went to Manawa-tu, where he killed the people who occupied that locality, and returned to O-hau, where he was met by a body of people who had come to bring provisions for him from the Horo-whenua tribes; but he killed those who brought the present to him, and a war-party of three hundred men of the Moa-upoko (moa-head) Tribe came secretly to attack him, and succeeded in killing one hundred of his people; and he fled towards Wai-kanae, where, at Wai-mea, he was attacked by the Nga-ti-apa, who killed many of Rau-paraha's people, including the daughter of Te-pehi. The body of the latter was cooked, and carried in a calabash to Whanga-nui.

Rau-paraha and his people had guns, and hence he and his tribe held a supreme power over the tribes who had nothing but their old Maori weapons of war.

Rau-paraha now attacked the tribes of the Whanga-nui, but in the battle his gun was captured by a Whanga-nui chief called Turanga-pito (stand at the end). All the Whanga-nui tribes engaged in this war. When these tribes assembled they proceeded to Wai-mea, where Tu-roa (stand long) took a hatchet, and, after singing a song, presented the hatchet to Turanga-pito, enjoining him to take it, and with it go and kill Rau-paraha. When this assembly of tribes arrived at the Island of Kapiti they attacked Rau-paraha; but some of them were killed, and one chief of their host called Rangi-ma-iri-hau (day of offering the scalp of the dead to the gods), was taken prisoner. When he was led into the presence of Te-rangi-hae-ata (dawn of day), he was in hope that his life would be spared, as he was connected with Te-rangi-hae-ata through the then wife of that chief; but Rangi-hae-ata took hold of the prisoner and threw him on to a page 102 fire, and roasted him alive. As Rau-paraha had gained the victory in this battle, he made peace with his enemies.

It was soon after this battle that Te-pehi (Tu-pai-cupa) went to England; and it was soon after that event that Rau-paraha began his war against the Moa-upoko (or Mua-upoko—first in front) Tribe, which was nearly exterminated by him.

Again Rau-paraha took a war-party to attack the Whanga-nui tribes; but after he had got into that district, without taking any action he came back towards his own pa, and attacked the people of Rangi-tikei, after which he again proceeded to Whanga-nui where a chief of his allies, the Nga-ti-raukawa, was killed, which caused great regret to Rau-paraha. About this time many Europeans had located themselves at Whanga-nui, from whom Rau-paraha obtained guns and ammunition; and Te-heuheu, of Tau-po, sent presents of food to Rau-paraha, which was followed by similar action on the part of all the surrounding tribes. Rau-paraha was now the sole medium through whom the tribes could barter with the Europeans, through which all the tribes became subservient to him; but the Nga-ti-rua-nui and Tara-naki tribes did not acknowledge or submit to his rule.

Whata-nui (great stage) at this time made war on the people residing at Rangi-po (time of night), where he conquered the Nga-ti-maka Tribe. At the same time Rau-paraha attacked the pa at Putiki (tied in a bundle or topknot), where he killed fifty (one hundred). At the same time some of the Whanga-nui tribes attacked the pa at Paka-kutu, and took it, when Rau-paraha narrowly escaped being taken prisoner.

Te-pehi (Tu-pai-cupa) now returned from England with guns and ammunition, and it was about this time that the noted chief Kekere-ngu was killed by the Nga-i-tahu Tribe, of the Middle Island. This chief was an intimate friend of Te-rangi-hae-ata. Te-rangi-hae-ata, to avenge the death of his friend, made war on those who killed him, and slaughtered many.

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Rau-paraha now collected a body of warriors and sailed from Te-whanga-nui-a-tara (Port Nicholson), and crossed over Rau-kawa (Cook Strait), and landed on the South Island, where Te-pehi was murdered, with forty of his companions, by the Nga-i-tahu people, headed by Tama-i-hara-nui. This murder took place in the pa of Tama-i-hara-nui called Wharau-po (shelter in a shed for the night) (or Waha-raupo). Rau-paraha and his followers fled back in their canoes to Kapiti, where he met a Captain Stewart in his vessel, who was engaged by Rau-paraha to take him and some of his people to the pa Wharau-po. At the same time Tu-te-hou-nuku, son of Tama-i-hara-nui, went to the other tribes of Nga-i-tahu and urged them to join him in attacking Rau-paraha, at which time Rau-paraha was engaged at the Lake Ka-pare-te-hau (the wind will change) killing putangitangi (paradise ducks), where Rau-paraha was surprised and attacked by Tu-te-hou-nuku and Tiaki-tai. All Rau-paraha's canoes were high and dry far up on shore save one, which was afloat. Rau-paraha and twenty of his followers fled and embarked in this one canoe and pulled out to sea; but, as the canoe was over-crowded by those in her, Rau-paraha ordered the women, children, and the aged men overboard, and those who resisted the order were thrown overboard by main force, and Rau-paraha escaped.

Rau-Paraha And His Wars In The Middle Island. (Nga-I-Tahu.)

Our ancestors owned this island Te-wai-pounamu (South Island), and we held it even to the days when Rau-paraha made war on us. He had not any cause to make war on us but his own cannibal wish to eat man. He made war and returned to his own home; and again came and attacked Kai-koura (eat the crayfish) and Kai-a-poi (game with the poi—ball), where he and our people each ate the men of the other's tribe; and we killed many of the chiefs of his tribe, the Nga-ti-toa, and he took some of our chiefs into slavery, but he did not take possession of our land.

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He then got the Europeans to aid him, and came in a vessel to take Tama-i-hara-nui, which was an act of murder, as he came in a secret manner. Tama-i-hara-nui was taken by him, but we kept the right to our land. Again he came, and attacked Kai-a-poi and took many prisoners, but did not conquer the land.

Then our people, the Nga-i-tahu, in a body went to war with him, and at Paruparu-kahika (cockles dried for the old man) we beat him and he fled to the sea. We followed his people and killed many on the sea-beach of Ka-pare-te-hau, and pursued and killed many even up to Rau-moa (feather of the moa). In this battle most of Rau-paraha's warriors were killed, and it was called “The battle of Rau-moa.”

After this, one of his chiefs called Pu-oho came to attack us; but he was beaten by us in battle, and not any escaped save one called Waha-piro (foul breath), who was saved by Tai-a-(aha)-roa (long taiaha), and he was sent back to Rau-paraha in token of our good intentions towards him and Hiko (shift). This battle and the pa taken at the same time was called Tutu-ra (collect an army in open day).

Old Maori Chief. (Nga-Ti-Awa.)

Henare-te-keha, of Wakatu (Nelson), was an old chief of the Nga-ti-awa Tribe, and nearly related to Whare-pouri and Puni, of Wellington. He died lately at Pari-whakawa. He was much respected by both Europeans and Natives. His good character had been long maintained, for he had in his possession testimonials from masters of vessels written in 1828 and 1829, at which time he visited Port Jackson and received large presents from the Governor of that colony.

Henare-te-keha was one of the friends and protectors of Mr. R. Barrett and Love, the whalers, who were the first Europeans settled at Tara-naki (Nga-motu). It was with their assistance and six-pounders that the Wai-kato Tribe met with a repulse and most severe loss when attacking his pa at Motu-roa, being page 105 driven back to the Aho-roa flat. This happened just after the Wai-kato had taken Puke-rangiora, which they had besieged for the space of three months. This was about the year 1832. The number within the pa was upwards of four thousand, including men, women, and children, and it contained men from the Nga-ti-awa, Nga-ti-tama, Nga-ti-mutunga, Nga-ti-rua-nui, and Nga-ti-maru Tribes. They were invested by the Wai-katos, who starved them into submission, and then slew sixteen hundred men quite worn out, and took upwards of a thousand men, women, and children as slaves. Some of the conquered fled to the south by way of the bush, coming out at Nga-teko. Others, including Paora-te-horo-atua, Rawiri Wai-aua, his son, Hone Ropiha Nga-motu, Arama Karaka Miti-kakau, with Edward and Poha-rama, made off to Hongihongi Island, off the Sugarloaves, whither the Wai-katos followed them, but were driven back by Barrett's guns, which were shotted with round pebbles for want of better ammunition. Henare-te-keha was engaged in that fight.

He was a man well acquainted with Native traditions, and was considered an authority in matters of genealogy. His last words to his sons and family were, “Always adhere to the laws of the pakeha (European).”

Wars Of Rau-Paraha In The Middle Island. (Nga-I-Tahu.)

Perhaps it was the Rangi-tane or Nga-ti-kuia who lived at Awa-tio when the first ships called there (at the time Cook visited that place), and they were the people who were fired on by a boat's crew of Europeans at Totara-nui, as the old Maoris point to that spot as the scene of a conflict between Maoris and Europeans in days now long, long past.

A war-party came from the north, and divided their forces under Rau-paraha and Te-kanae. These chiefs, leading part of the Nga-ti-toa and Nga-ti-awa, went by way of the east coast to Kai-a-poi, where they severely defeated the Nga-ti-tu-ahuriri page 106 and Nga-i-tahu, after which Rau-paraha withdrew to Ka-pare-te-hau, at which place he was attacked by some of the Nga-i-tahu, when he was collecting mussels on the beach. At the time of the attack there were six companions with Rau-paraha, all of whom were killed. Rau-paraha only escaped by jumping into the sea and diving to a canoe belonging to Nga-ti-awa. From this place Rau-paraha went and joined those of his people who had stayed at Rangi-toto, where it was agreed that Rau-paraha should return to the North Island.

The subdivision of the Nga-ti-toa called the Nga-ti-ra-rua, led by Te-niho and Takerei; and part of the Nga-ti-awa belonging to Puke-tapu and Miti-wai Tribes, under Kohue; and the Nga-ti-tama led by Te-pu-hou, were not idle. They proceeded to Ao-rere (Massacre Bay), and killed and made prisoners the whole of the Nga-ti-apa; and their slaves of the Nga-ti-tu-mata-kokiri, Te-pu-hou and Koihua (Kohue), remained in charge of their own country. Niho, Takerei, and their followers went down the west coast as far as the Hoki-tika River, where they made prisoner of Tu-huru, the head chief of the Pou-tini section of the Nga-i-tahu Tribe. And peace was again made between them, as the Nga-ti-ra-rua Tribe had hardly any of its numbers killed, and Tu-huru was ransomed for a greenstone mere pounamu called “Kai-kanohi” (eat the eye), which weapon is now in the possession of Matenga-te-au-pouri, of Motu-pipi.

Soon after this Tu-huru and some of his people went to visit Rau-paraha and the Nga-ti-toa Tribe at the Rangi-toto Island, and Takerei and Niho located themselves at Mawhera.

Pehi and Pokai-tara, who had gone to make peace between the tribes Nga-i-tahu and Nga-ti-toa, were treacherously killed by the Nga-ti-tu-ahuriri sub-tribe of the Nga-i-tahu, in retaliation for which Te-mai-hara-nui (Tama-i-hara-nui), head chief of the Nga-i-tahu, was entrapped by Rau-paraha and taken page 107 on board of a small vessel, and taken to Pori-rua, and killed at O-taki. So great was the hatred of the Nga-ti-toa to him that some of the women of that tribe drank the warm blood of Te-mai-hara-nui as it flowed from a vein cut in his neck.

Almost immediately after this a fighting-party led by Pu-hou, consisting of Nga-ti-tama, Nga-ti-awa, and some Nga-ti-apa slaves, went by way of the west coast to the Awa-rua River, thence by that river and over a snowy range to the Lakes Hawea and Wanaka, to Tu-tu-rau, to attack the O-ta-kou Nga-i-tahu people; but those against whom they were now intending to use their weapons of war were on the alert, and the Nga-i-tahu surprised the attacking-party when sleeping in a whare (house), and Pu-hou was killed, and Pare-mata, son of Pu-hou, taken prisoner, and kept in slavery for years, and most of his party were slain. The few of Pu-hou's people who escaped returned to their tribe to tell the tale of their defeat.

Takerei and Niho, finding the number of their followers reduced, not only by the war, but by many of them returning to Ao-rere (Massacre Bay), with members of other tribes who had gone with Pu-hou on his expedition against the southern Nga-i-tahu, were apprehensive that they might be attacked by Tu-huru and his people or by the O-takou Natives. They accordingly resolved to abandon the Ara-hura country, and retired to Ao-rere (Massacre Bay), where they have since resided, nor have they since that time again resumed the occupation of the west coast country further south than Kau-rangi Point.

The Nga-ti-toa did not again make any attack on the east coast Nga-i-tahu after the death of Pehi, Pokai-tara, and Pu-hou, but contented themselves with occupying a portion of the Middle Island adjoining Cook Strait.

The Nga-ti-toa would have gone to war again with these Nga-i-tahu but for the timely arrival of the missionaries, by whose influence the Maori wars were not renewed.