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

Chapter XV

page (193)

Chapter XV

War of Rangitukia son of Koki to Thames

Rangitukia and a party went from the Bay of Islands soon after the death of Whareumu went to kill some one for the death of his relative who had been killed at the Thames two years before.

He went in three canoes and killed a few persons, but his party were eventually killed by the enemy save three or four who got back to the Bay of Islands and told the news, Whereraki the great peace maker of Ngapuhi went to the Thames and made peace by sending a party from the Thames to Ngapuhi, and the remainder of Pango's friends who had not gone with Pango got away in their being got off in the Herald to Rotorua.

page (194)

Origin of the attack on Mauinania and Totara

Te Raharaha of Ngapuhi had been killed by Ngatiwhatua near Whangarei at Pataua, so Hongi Hika attacked Te Totara and Mauinaina as utu, and then he attacked Taurakohia or Te Rore up Waikato.

page (1821)(195)(1)

Return of Hongi from England,
and attack on Moko-ia and Te-totara


Hongi returned by way of Sydney and there met Te Hinaki a young chief of the Ngatipaoa of the Mokaia Pa on the Tamaki river.

Hongi having heard of certain acts of the Thames people on the Ngapuhi in his absence he warned Hinaki by singing the following song to him to go home and prepare to defend himself against war.

page (195A)

Song sung by Hongi-hika
to Te-hinaki (the net) in Sydney,
on the return of Hongi from England.


Tis that, tis the act persisted in,
With uplifted ax, when Wero
Is at Ware-kuku.
Unsteady canoe, blown by wind at Kohunga,
O Wai leave the fish that leaps
On shore to highest flow of tide
Yes leave such things to care of Koro-hiko.
Thy sight is dim, and all is ambiguous;
And thou wilt flee, as did Te-rangi-hou-wiri:
And he like those who lose for ever,
All their power, and fame of ancestry,
As was of old in days of Tara-mai-nuku,
When fleeing warriors parted in their flight,
And Wetea trembled with the dread to know,
That necks of nobles would be saved then,
Like cut down plants of Tupakihi shrub
What thou hast often seen slashed down upon the plain.
And has thou never seen the evil weeds
The Pukupuku, or Harehare, or Natenate
Put in thy basket, amongst thy sacred things
And then made noise, and felt disgust?
But wait till mist will come
But wait the mist will surely come
And Taure-kaki-rourou will boast.

page (1821)(195)(1)

A taua of about two thousand people in between fifty and sixty canoes started from the Bay of Islands and went to the Thames, and attacked Mokoia, and Te Totara and killed hundreds of the people (VolumeV page 153 and 157).

In December 1821 three canoes of this expedition were seen returned to the Bay of Islands and landed at Te kerikeri, in which more than one hundred prisoners were brought, as they landed these wept bitterly one woman in particular, before when her captors had stuck the head of her brother on a pole, in front of which she sat and wept.

These canoes brought the news of the death of Tete the son in law of Hengi who had been killed in battle, and his brother Pu also had fallen in the war. This news was so overpowering to their relatives that the widow of Tete, and Matuku his brother had to be watched to prevent them from committing suicide. But the widow of Pu hung her self, and the old beloved wife of Hengi killed a slave for the occasion.

The following day Hongi arrived in another canoe with the bodies of Tete and Pu. A small canoe with the corpse approached the shore, and the war canoes of which these were between forty and fifty lay off, at some distance till the corpses had been landed. Then some young men and the Priests from the war canoes landed and chanted the Pihe over the corpses, these yelled, jumped up and down brandished the weapons, and threw the heads of their enemies up in the air. Then a pause ensued, and the war canoes approached the shore in a slow pace, when these touched the page (196)(2)shore the widow of Tete with other women rushed down on to the beach, and with long poles, and in a frenzy of rage beat in pieces the carved heads of the canoes, and then pulled three prisoners of war into the water and beat them to death. Then the widow went to another war canoe killed a female prisoner with her stone mere.

When all the warriors had landed Hongi killed five more of the prisoners to honour his son's widow, all the killed were that evening cooked and eaten, by the prisoners men, women, and children, there were about two thousand, but mostly children were taken by the various tribes of Ngapuhi to their settlements.

Hinaki had been killed in this war, and the Ngapuhi were now more determined on war than ever to avenge the death of Tete and Pu.

The next day Hongi was busy in making an urupa (enclosures of pieces of a canoe, decorated with feathers and carved work) in which to place the bodies of the brothers Tete and Pu, while thus at work, the remains of the bodies of the killed the day before were roasting on a fire at a little distance, and some human flesh already cooked lay in baskets on the ground before Hongi, and the body of the woman killed by the widow of Tete was cooked a little distance up the hill behind Hongi, the head of this woman was rolled down the hill and several people amused themselves in throwing stones at it till it was broken and knocked to pieces.

On the following day as some of the prisoners were taken from Te kerikeri to Waimate, a slave woman became tired and lame, and was killed on the road to get rid of her detaining the procession, and a few days later Hongi ordered more of the prisoners to be killed on which to feast, whose heads were stuck on the posts of his Pa, and the tattooed skin of a chiefs thigh was stretched over a flat piece of wood to dry it as a cover for a cache box.

page (197)(3)

The widow of Tete, who was the eldest daughter of Hongi in grief for her husband, attempted to shoot herself, but the two balls in the gun only went through the flesh of her arm, and as she was lying wounded she had a slave girl killed, which was done by the brother of Tete, but as he only wounded the little girl with a shot from a pistol, one of Hongi's children beat the child's head till she died and they then cooked the body and eat it.

page (198)

Attack on Matakitaki
or Taurakohia or Puke tutu or Te Rore
in Waikato


About two months after the return of the war party, which attacked Mokoia, and in which Tete was killed a large expedition armament collected and started for the Waikato to avenge the death of Tete and Pu. (Vol V Page 168 & 4)

Hongi when on board of a vessel off Kororareka felt a great pain in his knee, this was said to be the effect of makutu by a Thames chief, who must be punished with war for it, but to appease the gods at the present time his people proposed to kill all his slaves, this Hongi would not allow, but told the slaves to flee to his relatives for safety.

Ururoa his brother in law saw a slave woman of Hongi passing with a load of wood on her back he shot her dead, and another chief at once killed a slave boy of Hongi.