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

Chapter XVI — Hongi-hika and his acts (Nga-ti-tau-tahi, Nga-puhi)

page (199)

Chapter XVI
Hongi-hika and his acts (Nga-ti-tau-tahi, Nga-puhi)

Hongi-hika (smell of the friction) was son of Te-hotete (sphoeria Robertsii) who resided at Kai-kohe (eat the Kohe; passiflora tetrandras) of the sub tribe of Nga-puhi called Nga-ti-tautahi, and Te-hotete was a descendant of Rahiri (see Mss page 16 Vol X)of whom this Proverb is repeated "Rahiri who gives blows", for the fact that he gave blows to the heads of those men against he had any dislike; when such people went to pay a visit to him, and as they stooped down to enter the usual low door way to his house, he struck the lowest head with his mere.

The mother of Hongi-hika was called Tuhi-kura (marked with lines of red) and was one of Te-hotote's five wives.

The home in which Hongi-hika spent most of his youth was called Te-tuhuna (perch where birds are killed) and at O-kura-tope (plume cut short, or feathers of a plume made shorter) in a fort not far distant north east of Te-wai-mate (dead or dried up spring of water) he also lived at Te-kerikeri (the digging) to which the Nga-ti-tautahi family tribe resorted in spring to take fish for winters use.

The head chief of the Nga-ti-tautahi in the days of Hongi-hika were Te-whare-rahi (big house) Te-ahu (the heap) Tu-pinea (stand close together) Tareha (sacred red ochre) Rewa (float) Titore (split) Te-tira-rau (many companies) and Te-koikoi (the sharp).

That which made Hongi-hika a daring man, was the energy to avenge the evil deeds of old, and to fulfill the orders of the great ones who left orders as they died.

Ka-raru (will be thwarted) a female, was sister page (200)of Hongi-hika, and was daughter of Te-hotete (the large caterpillar that lives on the kumara leaves) and she was the cause of the war between the tribes Nga-puhi and Nga-ti-whatua, and also why the Nga-ti-whatua came to the home of Hongi-hika to kill men, and this is the account of the acts of Ka-raru by which these acts were prompted.

Pokaia (cut it open) fell in love with Ka-raru, and courted her, but she would not listen to his proposals, now Pokaia was a high chief and of a senior branch of the family of which Hone Heke was a member, and was of high descent on his grandfather's side.

Ka-raru took Tahere (bird spear) though an older man than Pokaia as her husband, and Pokaia was grieved that his beloved should have been gained from him by another, and as he durst not attack or in any way avenge himself on Tahere personally, he collected a war party and went and attacked the people of Ta-oho, (strike to startle) of the Nga-ti-whatua at Kai-hu (eat in silence). Pokaia attacked the settlement of Ta-oho and killed many of his people, but Taoho escaped, when ten twice told of his people were killed.

The Nga-ti-whatua were grieved at this loss, soon after led by Ta-oho attacked the settlement of Mata-raua (spear with a fish spear) near the Kai-kohe (eat the Kohe passiflora tetrandra) when about the same number of people were killed as those killed by Pokaia in the attack on Taoho.

The relatives of those killed at Mata-raua were grieved at the death of their relatives, so they collected a war party of the Kai-kohe people and page (201)headed by Pokaia, determined to go and attack the Nga-ti-whatua, and they went on to the west coast and to the south of the Maunga-nui (great hill) on that coast, they met and engaged in battle with the Nga-ti-whatua tribe. This battle was fought at night by moon light, and many of the Nga-ti-whatua people were killed, and some of the dead who were left on the sand of the sea shore were eaten by sea gulls, and hence the line in the song sung as a taunt to Hongi-hika which says "The food of the sea gull o". This battle was called Ri-piro (stinking shelter) as this fight took place at the place called Ri-piro.

It was for this battle that Pokaia's name was heard, or that he obtained fame. And he again gathered another war party to attack the Nga-ti-whatua, and he had a troop of two hundred and seventy twice told, these attacked the Nga-ti-whatua, but they the Nga-puhi were beaten, and many of the Nga-puhi tribe were killed, and of the great chiefs the following Pokaia, Ti (cordyline) Tu karawa (stand as a bed in a garden) Tohi (baptise) Hau-wawe (burrow soon into the earth) Hou-moka (tie the muzzle tight), Te-wai-keri (the ditch).

page (1820)

This defeat so grieved the Nga-puhi, that Hongi-hika took his voyage to England to obtain guns and powder to avenge this defeat.

page (1826)

On the return of Hongi-hika from England, he collected a war party and went to attack Ta-oha of the sub tribe of Nga-ti-pou, a Ta-oho had assisted the Nga-ti-whatua in their battles against the Nga-puhi people connected with Hongi-hika, and also Ta-oho had eaten of the flesh of some of the people of Nga-puhi who had been killed in the page (202)battle in which Pokaia had fallen, and Hongi-hika took the Pa of Ta-oho called Maire-rangi (day of song).

Hongi also went against Te-tihi (the top of the peak of the hill) who occupied a Pa situate on the East bank of the entrance of the Wai-ma (white water) leading out of the Taheke (waterfall) river opposite to the sacred place on the banks of the Taheke called Matua-kai (food of the Parent).

The reason for this attack on Te-tihi by Hongi-hika, was that Te-tihi had helped Ta-oho against the Nga-puhi, and that Ta-oho had eaten of the flesh of those killed in the battle in which Pokaia had fallen. Hongi took the fort of Te-tihi but Te-tihi escaped.

page (1822)(1823)

It was about this time that Taka-nini (giddy) and Te-whata (stage to keep food on) had arrived at the Bay of Islands from the Thames people the Nga-ti-tama-te-ra, to join the aid of the Nga-puhi to help them to make war on the Nga-i-porou in the Wai-apu (drink water out of the hand) and Turanga-nui (great standing) to which request Hongi-hika gladly consented, that he might try the effects of his guns, and he left his home with a war party and was absent for two summers aided by the tribes Nga-ti-awa of Tauranga and Nga-ti-maru of the Thames. The forts attacked and taken by this war party were, the fort a little south of O-potiki (food of the child) called Marae-nui (great court yard) and the fort at Whare-kahika (house of the aged) and that at Te-awa-tere (swift creek) with the fort at Wai-apu with many other forts on the East Coast.

page (1821)

The war party of Hongi came home, but again collected to avenge the death of Te-raharaha (open extent) page (203)who had been killed by the Nga-ti-whatua people at Pa-taua (fort in mourning) on the sea beach in the Whanga-rei (harbour to start from) and hence this war party collected by Hongi-hika to avenge this death, in going to attack the fort of the Nga-ti-paoa called Mau-inaina (hill of basking in the sun) on the lowest bank of the Tamaki river which fort Hongi-hika attacked and took with great slaughter, and eat the slain.

page (1822)

The war party returned home, and after a time again prepared to go and attack Wai-kato, and they attacked the fort at Taura-kohia (the rope hauled in) or as it was also called Matakitaki (look or gaze at) which was the principal fort of the Wai-kato tribes in the Wai-pa (water dammed) river, and peace was made between these peoples by Te-whare-rahi (big house) of the Nga-puhi and Te-wherowhero-po-tatau o Wai-kato (the red, count the nights) of Wai-kato, and the younger brother of Po-tatau took to wife the daughter of Rewa (float) the woman called Toha (wave about). [This marriage was consummated to bind the peace making. See Vol V page 155].

page (1826)

Hongi-hika came home with his war party and began to think of his old enemy the Nga-ti-whatua, at Kai-para (eat the paraa, marattia salicina) and to avenge the death of Pokaia, so he went overland to Kai-para with a war party, and as soon as the Nga-ti-whatua heard that Hongi-hika was on his way towards them to kill them, and they determined to make peace, and the younger brother of Parore (mangrove fish or bream) called Hihi-o-tote (defiant act of Tote, the cracking noise) made that peace, he went to the Nga-ti-whatua, and Matohi (cut into parts) the head chief of that tribe gave him a mere-pounamu, which he took to and gave to Hongi-hika, and Hongi and his war party returned home, and page (204)Te-whare-umu (the cook house) saw that Hongi-hika and his troop had come back home without achieving any thing was very angry as men had not been killed, and he collected a war party of one hundred twice told and went by the east coast in canoes to Manga-whai (branch of a creek of the skate fish) and dragged his canoes over the portage to the Kai-para waters. Hongi-hika saw what Whare-umu had done, and he also collected a troop of men and followed the war party of Whare-umu and overtook him at Manga-whai, and Te-whare-umu and Nga-ti-whatua fought a battle at Ika-ranga-nui (fish in great schoals) at Kai-para, and Te-whare-umu was beaten by the Nga-ti-whatua, Hongi-hika seeing this, at once attacked the Nga-ti-whatua, and gained a victory, and the Nga-ti-whatua fled.

The chiefs of the Nga-puhi who were killed in this battle were Te-ahu (the mound) Te-puhi (the plume) Hone-hongi, Moka (end) or kainga mata (bitten by a ball) ho was carried by Tai-whanga, (wait for the tide) to a creek and so escaped being killed, and was then taken to the camp.

The Nga-ti-whatua fled to Kai-para, and some time afterwards Hongi-hika followed them there and attacked and killed many of them in satisfaction for the death of his son Hone-Hongi who was killed in the battle of Te-ika-ranga-nui (the great school of fish). And Hongi-hika came back home, and left his canoes in the Wai-roa at Manga-kahia, (branch of the passiflora tetrandra).

Hongi-hika was now at home, but still he felt the sorrow for the death of his son Hone-Hongi, who had been killed in the battle with the page (205)Nga-ti-whatua at Te-ika-ranga-nui, and he collected a war party of one hundred and seventy once told, and he went by the East coast in canoes and landed in the Wai-te-mata (water of the obsidian) and dragged his canoes over the portage at O-tahuhu (the ridge pole) and into the Manuka (sorrow) sea and on to Te-awa-roa (long creek) where he dragged his canoes over the portage there and paddled up the Wai-kato, (nipping water) where he learnt that the Nga-ti-whatua had gone to Roto-rua (two lakes) he followed them there, and was told they had gone back to Wai-kato, so his war party returned to Wai-kato, where he found them in a fort, this he attacked and took and some of this tribe escaped.

Hongi-hika did not attack the Nga-ti-whatua in this Pa (fort) without giving the Wai-kato people warning of his intentions, but he told the Wai-kato to go from near the Nga-ti-whatua, so that he might kill only those of that tribe, but Hongi-hika had a narrow escape from the hands of Te-waha-roa (long pathway in a fort) as he sent a request to be allowed to kill (attack) Hongi-hika and his war party, in retaliation for the attacks of Nga-puhi on the Wai-kato, in the days of the past, but Po-tatau would not allow the wish of Te-waha-roa to be carried out, on Hongi-hika and his troop.

Hongi-hika had two wives, Tangi-whare (cry in the house) was the first wife who had Te-puru (the obstructed) and the second wife was Turi-kotuku (knee of the white crane) who had Hone-hongi, and Homata the widow of Hone-heka, and also of Hone-hongi who now lives at Whanga-roa.

That which caused the death of Hongi-hika, or war in which he was wounded, was for the adultery of his nephew with his wife Tangi-whare. This nephew page (206)was called Matuku (crane) and as soon as the fact was known by the people he committed suicide, and to avenge the death of this nephew Hongi attacked a sub tribe of his own people called the Nga-ti-uru at Whanga-roa, and Hongi was wounded in the chest by a musket ball at Hunuhunua (scorch the hair of a dog prepartory to cook it) at Manga-muka (branch creek of the flax) and he was buried in the Kai-kohe (eat the Kohe, passiflora tetrandra) district where he is now.