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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions. Te Arawa [Vol. VII, English]

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIII

Oh! day of stormy rain and unknown noise!
Oh! day when More with impetuous step
Comes swiftly to his long-determined act,
To slay me or convey me hence in slavery.
But who shall hide from coming doom?
Shall I, the now-known Kura-tope,
Shrink from danger or the coming foe?
The witless may remain at home;
But now my eyes have gazed and seen
The daring, taunting folly that Ihi makes.
But Hara has been killed by me,
And now 'tis thought his eyes
Foretold his doom was mild insanity;
And hence I killed him with a gentle blow.
As yet I had not seen the years
Of manhood's prime; and thou, O Mahu!
Dost at a distance sit, and swim in thought,
And tremble as with earthquake-shock.
Thou dost behold me gazing at my hands
As though they were besmeared
With clammy gum of sweet-scented tarata.

The Nga-i-te-rangi and the Arawa

The Nga-i-te-rangi and the Arawa Tribes lived at Tauranga, where they fought about some land, and the Nga-i-te-rangi killed the people of one family-tribe of the Arawa, called page (30)Tapu-ika (sacred fish). Those of this tribe who escaped fled to the great Arawa Tribe, who lived at Roto-rua, and the Nga-i-te-rangi at once took possession of the land off which they had driven the Tapu-ika Tribe. Now, the land off which Nga-i-te-rangi had driven the Tapu-ika was at Maketu, and the Nga-i-te-rangi built a pa there, and called it the Tumu (headland).

After this some of the Tapu-ika people lived with the Nga-i-te-rangi; but the constant wish of the Arawa was to conquerthe Nga-i-te-rangi, and the Arawa attacked and conquered theNga-i-te-rangi, and took the pa at the Tumu. As soon as theNga-i-te-rangi had been beaten by their enemy, they sentmessengers to collect help to obtain revenge for their defeat.They sent to the Waikato tribes, to the chiefs Te Kanawa (red-ochre), Pohepohe (blind), and Te Waha-roa (the roadway), andto the Nga-ti-mania-poto Tribe, all of which assembled to thenumber of eight hundred twice told. They first went toTauranga. The Arawa people had built a pa at Maketu, so thepeople from Wai-kato stayed there; and when they were in want of food they went to Nga-i-te-rangi and asked for it, but the Nga-i-te-rangi did not provide them with any food, so the Wai-kato people went to the melon-plots and took of the melons and ate them, at which the Nga-i-te-rangi were angry. The Nga-i-te-rangi had sent for the Wai-kato to come and help them to conquer their enemies, yet the Nga-i-te-rangi said to the starving Wai-kato people, "O sirs! when the pa at the Tumu has been taken, then you can eat the melons." The Wai-kato party listened to the words of the Nga-i-te-rangi, and though the kumara-crop was growing, still the Nga-i-te-rangi did not offer to give the Wai-kato any food. Nor did they offer any food to this Wai-kato party, though they had sent for them, till some of the Wai-kato chiefs gave a history of their ancient people and the ancient people of the Nga-i-te-rangi, making out in a deceitful way that these tribes were from one origin. After this the Nga-i-te-rangi gave food to the Wai-kato host, but it was done in this manner: Small parties of the Nga-i-te-rangi each invited some of the Wai-kato host to their settlements; thus the Nga-i-te-rangi parties took each a party of Wai-kato to their settlements, and all the Wai-kato were provided with food because they told a fictitious tale of the connection of the ancient fathers of the two tribes. On a certain day the Maketu pa was attacked by these people and taken, and the Wai-kato people went back to their own home; but while on the road home the Wai-kato host behaved very treacherously to the Nga-i-te-rangi, and plundered them of all their food in store.

The Murder of Te Hunga

Soon after this event of the taking of the Tumu Pa by Wai-kato and Nga-i-te-rangi, Te Hunga (the people), of the Nga-ti-haua Tribe, went to Roto-rua and lived there, and at that time a chief called Te Huka (froth), of the Arawa people, lived at his own home at Roto-rua. Huka determined to build a storehouse on a stage for himself: it should be a very beautiful storehouse; all the posts should be carved all over, and both sides, and the ends, and the verandah should also be carved, and an effigy should stand at the front end of the storehouse, on the top of the ridge-pole. So he built his house, and when it was quite finished Huka went to where Te Hunga, the Nga-ti-haua chief lived, and killed him as an offering to the gods, to be offered at the time the ceremonies and incantations were performed in taking the sacredness off the new storehouse. Hunga was killed, and cooked and eaten, and his name was given to the storehouse, and the storehouse was called Te Hunga. Now, the reason Te Hunga was killed was his tribe was one of those which aided in the storming and taking the pa of the Arawa at Maketu. Now, when Wai-kato and Te Waha-roa heard of the murder of Te Hunga (Te Hunga was a relation of Te Waha-roa, and had been murdered at Roto-rua) a war-party of Wai-kato and Nga-ti-haua left and proceeded to Roto-rua. As the Arawa lived in that district, at the O-hine-mutu (last daughter) Pa, with Tu-hou-rangi and Nga-ti-rau-kawa, there was a great multitude in the pa. The war-party from Wai-kato consisted of three hundred and seventy twice told, but so soon as these had arrived in the Roto-rua district they were attacked by the Arawa and Tu-hou-rangi on one side of the river at a place called Matai-puku (seek by artifice). The land there was full of boiling springs. The Arawa came on to the attack on the Wai-kato in parties, each assailing a different party of the Wai-kato war-troop. The Tu-hou-rangi, which was an Arawa tribe, divided from the main Arawa body and attacked a party of one hundred and seventy twice told of Wai-kato; and the Nga-ti-whakaue divided from the Arawa and attacked the two hundred twice told of the Nga-ti-haua. This was done to impede the movements of the attacking party from Wai-kato, who had determined to fight in the open field, and divided their forces into different parties to attack the pa. Thus the Wai-kato people proper went one way to the attack, and Nga-ti-haua went another. The Arawa divided their forces to meet the attacks, and these different parties went each to battle with the other. The Tu-hou-rangi Tribe gave way before the enemy, and fled the one hundred and seventy twice told of the Wai-kato. The Nga-ti-whakaue had come to close quarters with the Nga-ti-haua, and the Nga-ti-whakaue had used their weapons with great effect, but when they had time to look round, they saw that the Tu-hou-rangi had fled before the enemy, and were being pursued and killed. They fled towards where Nga-ti-whakaue and Nga-ti-haua were still in full battle; but as soon as Nga-ti-whakaue saw Tu-hou-rangi fleeing they fled also, and the Nga-ti-haua pursued and killed them as they fled. Some were killed by the Nga-ti-haua, and others fell into hot springs and were scalded to death. Of those who attacked the Wai-kato one hundred were killed, so the Arawa were afraid, and fled to save their lives.

The Arawa fled and hid from their enemy, and the Wai-kato returned to their own country, as they had obtained satisfaction for the murder of Te Hunga. But the recollection of the defeat gnawed in the mind of the Arawa, and, as they dared not collect a great war-party and go into the enemy's country, murdering parties of a few together went into the Wai-kato country to murder some of the Nga-ti-haua people. But, as the Nga-ti-haua sent small parties out to meet them, the Arawa, in dread, fled back to their own country, to Roto-rua.

page (31)

Some time after this a murdering party went from Roto-rua into the Wai-kato country and murdered some woman in the night, and went back to their own country; and at a certain time the Arawa came into the Wai-kato country and captured the grandchild of the Wai-kato chief Pohepohe, and took her to Roto-rua; but a war-party from Wai-kato went and brought her back: and from that time Wai-kato did not again enter the country with a war-party.

The policy of Wai-kato in all her wars in olden times was, if the cause of war came from Mokau, all the Wai-kato force proceeded there, and even as far as Taranaki she went in the south; and if the cause of war was in Tamaki (near to Auckland) all the Wai-kato people, even from as far as Mokau, went there; and though Wai-kato were worsted by his enemy he would not succumb to his enemy but persist in the war, and though he lost one chief in battle yet other chiefs were alive to take the lead and to pursue the fight and obtain revenge for the death of any chief who may have been killed; and Wai-kato never desisted in his war till his enemy had been beaten by him, and hence the old proverb the Wai-kato repeat-

Wai-kato of hundred godlike beings.

And Wai-kato made war on all the tribes of these islands [of New Zealand], and on those even as far as the Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu; and she even took the offspring of the great chiefs of the tribe prisoners; and even when a chief or tribe was bringing his offspring up to revenge the death of some of the tribe or family killed, and such tribe or family dared to war against Wai-kato, Wai-kato would capture the chief or chiefs they were bringing up to revenge the wrong. These were killed or kept as slaves in Wai-kato, and hence also this old proverb used by the Wai-kato tribes:—

Wai-kato, the swallower of greenstone.

(Or, That which is the most prized is taken by Wai-kato and used for her own use.)