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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions. Nga-Puhi [Vol. X, English]

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIII

My tii of great love
Is broken with a
Whirling blast at
O-pou far away.
Be full of joy
O crowd of men
As great Tauranga
Is left all lonely now,
But evil came
With news, that fleet
Of war canoes
Were coming sailing
On towards the south
To Te-puia far
With crews exulting
With the tribes o, - i.

page (172)

Origin of Ikaranganui battle

Hongi went with about five hundred men to attack Ngatiwhatua at Kaipara, but Hihiotote elder brother of Parore, who went to see Ngatiwhatua, and received from them a mere pounamu from Matohi, and Hongi came back. But Whareumu was so angry for this act of Hihi-o-tote that he collected a taua, and went by way of Manga-whai hauling his canoes across the portage to Kaipara with two hundred men, Hongi seeing this followed him with another taua with three hundred men, and overtook Whareumu at Manga whai, a battle was fought between Whareumu and Ngatiwhatua at Ikaranganui and Whareumu was beaten when Hongi and his taua engaged and beat the Ngatiwhatua with great loss. The Ngapuhi chiefs who were killed in the battle were Te Ahu, Te Puhi, Hone Hongi and Moka or Kaingamata was severely wounded (hence his second name) who was saved by Tawhanga who carried him from the field and put him into a creek till the battle was over.

Ngatiwhatua fled to Waikato, and to avenge the death of Hone Hongi, Hongi Hika followed them, but returned home and left his canoes at Mangakahia in the Wairoa river.

page (172A)

Next year he followed the Ngatiwhatua with about one hundred and seventy men, but the Ngatiwhatua had gone on to Rotorua he followed them there, and was told there they had gone back to Waikato, and found them there in a Pa, he attacked it and took it with great slaughter.

page (173)

Death of Pomare at Thames

The death of Pomare had been received in the Bay of Islands and Te-uru-ti (or Kingi Hori) was determined to go on a hiku toto taua so collected a body of warriors. The beach at Kororareka was a busy scene, where canoes of all sizes and of various ages were laid, about a score of war canoes were to be made ready to carry the taua, some were to be lengthened, others patched, and others to be broken up to afford parts to complete the altered ones, or finish the new canoes, at dawn every morning the sound of voices of the chiefs (as not any one but chiefs were allowed to work on war canoes) were heard and the chop chop of the ax as they altered or made some new part of a canoe. There were carvers, painters in red ochre, caulkers with hune of Raupo, and soil marks of the toetoe or split flax all working in different parts of the beach, but all intent on the various departments, some canoes were tuhi kumi and covered all over with carving or scrawls of kokowai, as each canoe was ready for sea they were launched and paddled across to Rangihaua, from where the war party would take their departure.

page (174)

Return of Toi and his war party

It was a fine morning and just at dawn of day Toi and his taua landed at Kororareka, and after they had performed a war dance, they landed the thing they had brought back in their war canoes, plunder such as mats, fishing nets, eel pots, and a lot of kumara heads, with baskets of human flesh, a many prisoners of these first came a group of miserable creatures women and children, some of which were wounded, and some looked half starved, the women of Kororareka immediately surrounded those, and ………. over them, all the men prisoners had been killed and eaten. The heads were decorated with feathers and aute bark and then stuck up on poles in front of the door of Turoro (the mother of Kingi Hori) in honour of her rank.

page (174A)

A song sung by Hongi-hika
in which he foretold the
battle of the Ika-ranga-nui


The Torea on the sand bank
Whimpering indicative of birth
And the raw root of the flax
Whimpering indicative of birth,
And eat with energy the flax
Whimpering indicative of birth, ha.

page (175)

Origin of the battle of Ika-ranga-nui

Hongi-hika (smell the friction) collected a war party of five hundred men, and went to Kai-para to attack the Nga-ti-whatua tribe, and Hihi-o-tote, (furious wrath) the elder brother of Parore to pay a visit to the same tribe, who received from the chief of the Nga-ti-whatua called Matohi a green stone mere, Hongi having seen this, he and his war party came back home and Te-whare-umu (house to cook in, house of the oven (umu)) was very angry on account of this act of Hihi-o-tote, and he collected a war party, and went by way of the sea by Manga-whai, and dragged his canoes over the portage to Kai-para with his two hundred warriors, Hongi-hika having seen or heard of the intentions of Te-whare-umu, also followed him with a war party consisting of one hundred and fifty twice told, and overtook Te-Whare-umu at Manga-whai, and Te-Whare-umu attacked the Nga-ti-whatua at Ika-ranga nui, and Te-Whare-umu was beaten, but Hongi-hika joined in the battle with his warriors and beat the Nga-ti-whatua, when many were killed of the Nga-ti-whatua, and of the Nga-puhi with Te-Whare-umu and Hongi were killed the supreme chiefs Te ahu, Te-puhi, Hone Hongi and Moka who was wounded, and hence his name "The wounded by a ball" and was carried by old Taiwhanga and put into a creek till the battle was over.

(See Mss of this volume 117):

Nga-ti-whatua fled into Wai-kato, and Hongi followed them to kill them in revenge for the death of his son Hone-hongi at the battle of Te-ika-ranga-nui, but Hongi-hika went back again to Nga-puhi, but he left his canoes at Manga-kahia in the Kai-para in the Wai-roa branch of that river.

But in the following year Hongi again called a war party together and went in pursuit of the Nga-ti-whatua people, his party consisted of one hundred and seventy twice told, page (176)and he went right into the Wai-kato district, but he found that the Nga-ti-whatua had gone to Roto-rua, and he followed them there, but was told by the people there that the Nga-ti-whatua had gone back to Wai-kato and he followed them back and found them in a Pa (fort) which he attacked, and killed many of them.

page (177)

Death of Po-mare in Hau-raki

When the death of Po-mare (cough at night) was known in the Bay of Islands, Te-uru-ti (Kingi-hori) called a war party together, to go and avenge the death of Po-mare, as it was by custom demanded that Te-uru-ti should take that act on himself, by leading a "taua-hiku-toto" (war party to avenge blood) and great was the work done at Kororareka, and much was taken in hand to get canoes ready to embark the warriors. Some of the canoes were old and required renewing, but not any but chiefs of high rank could work at these canoes, as the canoes were required for a sacred expedition, and for men less than supreme rank to join in mending these canoes would be against the custom of "avengers of blood", and would cause disaster to fall on such war party. The noise of axes used in mending the canoes, and the voices of men who were adorning the canoes with red ochre, and those caulking the canoes with Raupo in the top sides was loud and dinning. Some were engaged in making sails for the canoes with Toetoe, or flax. Some canoes were about eighty-four feet long, and were all covered from stern to stern with scrawls of red ochre, and when these canoes were ready for sea they were launched and taken over to Rangi-houa from which district the war party left on their expedition.

page (178)

Return of Toi and his war party

Toi and his war party returned on a fine sun shining day, on which they landed at Kororareka, and as soon as they had held a war dance in the canoes they landed, and landed the plunder they had taken in war, mats, fishing nets, eel pots, and the dried heads of the chiefs they had killed, with baskets of human flesh, and the slaves taken in this war, being women and children, who landed from the canoes, some of whom were very thin and starved looking around which the females at Korora-reka assembled and wept. Not one slave man was in the captured party, all men had been killed and eaten, and the heads of the killed were placed on the top of sticks, these heads were adorned with aute bark, and feathers, and these stakes with the heads were stuck up before the house of Turoro the mother of Te-uru-ti or Kingi Hore, as she was the person by birth entitled to all sacred things.

page (179)

The attack of Po-mare in the Thames
and Wai-kato


In the days of old, the tribes of Nga-puhi and those of the Thames made war on each other, which were in the days when the Maori weapons of war only were used, and the guns had not then been seen by the Maori, but when the time came that each of these peoples had acquired guns, Po-mare collected a war party of two hundred and seventy twice told, and paddled along the East Coast from the Bay of Islands to Hau-raki (Thames) and from thence he went on into Wai-kato (Vol V page 175 for account of death of Po-mare in war in Wai-kato)and the people there fled before him in fear, till they arrived at Te-kopua (deep part in a river) where the Wai-kato waited the arrival of the Nga-puhi under Po-mare, where they could meet there in battle in open day, but when Nga-puhi saw the determination of the Wai-kato, they began to think of their own need of escape, but as the Wai-kato under Taraia Nga-kuti of Hau-raki (Thames) had kept a close observation on the acts of Nga-puhi, and in the night Taraia took his people and occupied Te-rore (the snare) where he waited the coming of Nga-puhi, and on their arrival he attacked them, where Po-mare was killed by Nini of the people of Kuku-tai of the Nga-ti-tipa, and the Nga-puhi fled and were pursued by the Wai-kato, even to the heads of Manuka, where Moe-tara and Mau-paraoa crossed on moki (rafts) with their companions and they escaped to Nga-puhi, some of those who escaped were killed by the tribe of Kikokiko on the banks of the Kau-kapakapa creek not far east of Heberocle?, and were cooked and eaten.

page (1830) (180)

Battle at Korora-reka for the curse
of the two girls


Two girls bathed in the tide near to Korora-reka (sweet penguin) and they in jealousy became angry with each other, and each cursed the other, by cursing each the tribe of the other, and when these tribes heard of the curse, they were very angry and each collected a war party, and they met and fought, and the attacking party were beaten by those attacked, and when many on each side had been killed, and these tribes sat down to weep over the killed, when they felt very sorry that they related to each other should have killed so many of the same family tribes, and they at once determined to collect a war party to go in some expedition to avenge this stupid act of relation killing his relation in family quarrels, and a war party sailed from the Bay of Islands to atack [sic] the Pa (fort) at Maunga-nui at Tauranga, but they did not accomplish any deeds of valor, or obtain revenge by this war party, and so came back home without accomplishing any thing; and save the expression of their anger and vengeance being expressed by the long act of paddling so far they had not gained any thing but fatigue.

page (181)

War party of Te-hara-miti

The old Priest of Nga-puhi called Te-hara-miti (the evil of the tide) collected a war party, and went and killed the people of the Island called Motiti (next to nothing).

This war party sailed from the Bay of Islands, and landed at the Island of Ahuahu (heap of earth, or mound, Mercury Island) and killed the Nga-ti-maru who were there, which numbered about fifty twice told, the war party then sailed on to the Tuhua (obsidian) Island (Mayor Island) and killed the people there, but most of the people there fled to the Pa, which Pa (fort) could not be taken by the Nga-puhi, and those in the Pa lit signal lights in the high peaks to let those on the main land know that those on the Island required help, and that they had been attacked by a war party.

The Nga-puhi wished to return home from this Island, but the leader and Priest Te-hara-miti said they must go on, as his heart had not obtained sufficient revenge for the death of those who fell in the family battle at Korora-reka on account of the curse uttered by the two girls.

The war party went on to Motiti but there were not any people there, as the Nga-i-te-rangi had gone on to the main land, because of the news of the war party of Nga-puhi being out on a war expedition.

Te-waha-roa collected a war party, with Tu-paea, and the day after this war expedition went to sea, they saw Nga-puhi on the Tuhua (Mayor) Island, and as the Nga-puhi thought they were some of Nga-puhi going to aid them, as Te-hara-miti had said some assistance would go from Nga-puhi to his assistance, and they took this party of Te-waha-roa, and Tu-paea as the Nga-puhi aid coming to assist them, but as Te-hara-miti was nearly blind he had sat in the stern of one of their canoes to receive the page (182)coming people to his aid, but he was aroused by the battle din caused by his people being attacked by those of Te-waha-roa and Tu-paea people, and he himself was soon beaten to death by the fists of the attacking party, as not one of them durst from the known tapu (sacredness) of the old Priest shed his blood by the force or blows of a war weapon. But old Hara-miti had before the attack was made on himself, chanted some sacred incantations to give power and bravery to his people, when his enemies fell on him and he suffered the death he died at their hands, so by this defeat the Nga-ti-kuri name as a tribe was blotted from the name of tribes for ever.