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

Chapter XVII

page (207)

Chapter XVII

Attack of Hongi-Hika on Nga-Ti-Whatua
for Past Defeats of Nga-Puhi

(Popoto, Nga-Puhi)

The sub tribes assembled at Wai-hou (water that burrows down) and held a meeting to discuss the subject of the object of the war party of Hongi-hika against the Nga-ti-whatua at Kai-para, and these sub tribes rose and joined the other sub tribes who had joined Hongi-hika, and we of the Wai-hou sub tribes left that place and proceeded to Kai-kohe (eat the Kohe) and we went on by way of Manga-kahia (branch of the Kahia) and Tu-ta-moe (cooked maoa become sour) and descended to Kai-hu (eat in silence) but evil fell on us while we were on our journey, it was that one of the wives of Te-morenga (promontory) had been taken to wife by one of the men of the party of Hongi-hika, which made Hongi-hika very angry and he ordered the woman to go back to her relatives at Hokianga, and go by the west coast by Maunga-nui (great hill) so the woman went back to her relatives, and her tribe killed and cooked her, and her body was brought as a present for Muri-wai (west coast) this he presented as a gift to Te-morenga, and when the war party had danced the war dance, Muri-wai gave the cooked body of the woman to Te-morenga, who gave it to his friends the other chiefs, Muri-wai could not partake of the cooked woman, as he was sacred, or he could not eat of any human flesh, save that which had been killed in war, and as he was one of the leaders of this war party, and as this woman had been killed by private orders, he could not eat of her.

We engaged the Nga-ti-whatua, and Hone-hongi [the son of Hongi-hika] was killed and some other chiefs of our party, but many of the heads of the killed chiefs of the Nga-ti-whatua, were stuck up on spears in the midst of our camp.

page (208)

We went to plunder the food for our camp, and we went to where a sacred place for the dead was, and one of our party called Hupe (discharge from the nose) saw the corpses of some one there, which he cut up and brought to our camp, this act was the cause of Patu-one (kill on the sand) and Nene (dare, defy) but Hupe cooked and eat part of the corpses, as he said that the corpses he had partaken of was that of a man who had eaten of his relatives, so Hupe would eat him.

We now returned home, but on our way we came to where a party of Wai-ma (white water) had camped, this party had followed us with the intention to join and assist us, but they had fallen in with some of the Nga-ti-whatua tribe, and had killed cooked and eaten many of them, the heads of the killed they had put up on poles in the road, where they could show their horrid faces.

When we got on to the west coast, we obtained much fern root Tohe-roa (agrostis aemula) and shell fish near Maunga-nui (great hill). We went on by the west coast, and saw more human heads stuck on poles, we went on, and after we had passed on, a woman of the Nga-ti-whatua came out on the sea coast and was on her way to her people and home, but our principal war party were in our rear, and the party who captured killed and eat this woman, were commanded by Patu-one and Nene, these chiefs said that this was the last time they had eaten of human flesh.

The sub tribe of Nga-puhi called Te-mahurehure also captured killed and eat another woman in the same district, this woman had been hidden by her relatives, as they had fled, she was cooked and eaten in revenge for some of the Mahurehure people who had been eaten by the tribe of this woman, especially one called Po-uhu (night of performing the burial ceremonies over the dead) who was of the Wai-ma page (209)people, but many of the Nga-ti-whatua had been killed in days past for Po-uhu, but who can account for the acts of a revengeful heart, of the days of old.

page (210)

Origin of battle of Maunga-nui
(Popoto, Nga-puhi)

Pokaia the ancestor of Hone Heke (descend) was in love with Ka-raru (will be thwarted) the daughter of Hongi Hika (smell the friction) but she refused him and took Tahere (bird spear) and to give vent to his anger Pokaia (open it) attacked Taoho (alarm) of Kaipara of the Ngatiwhatua, Taoho escaped but Pokaia killed about twenty of his tribe, and in return Ngatwhatua attacked Mata-raua (spear for eels) near Kai-kohe (eat the Kohe berry) and killed some of the Nga-puhi (the plume). There again Nga-puhi attacked Ngatiwhatua at Maunga-nui (great mountain) where in the moon light a battle was fought on the sea beach, when about twenty of Ngatiwhatua were killed by Ngapuhi.

Again Pokaia mustered a taua (war party) and attacked Ngatiwhatua at Ripiro (stinking screen) and Ngapuhi were beaten, and about one hundred of Ngapuhi were killed at which Pokaia was slain, with Ti (cordyline) Tu karawa (god in a bed in a garden), Tohi (baptize), Hou-wawe (soon dig down), Houmoka (end dig down), and Waikeri (ditch), and to avenge this defeat Hongi-hika went to England to obtain guns.

On his return he attacked Tuohu (bow down) of Nga-ti-poue as he and his tribe had eaten some of those slain in the battle where Pokaia fell.

Then he attacked Te-tihi (the pinnacle) in his Pa (fort) at the mouth of Wai-ma (clear water) river and took it with many slain.

page (211)

Battle of Ri-piro
(Popoto, Nga-puhi)

In olden times some of the Hokianga tribes went and killed in battle some of the Nga-ti-whatua people; this being so often a practise by the Nga-puhi, a chief of the Nga-ti-whatua called Te-tako went from Kai-para to Kai-kohe, near Te Wai-mate to consult an old Priestess, who lived there, and to request that she would give him an Atua (god).

He slept there that night, and on the morrow she gave him a neck band, which consisted of a lot of the Raukawa (a sweet scented plant) leaves bound round with the bark of the Aute (broussonetia papyrifera) tree; having received it he enquired "How am I to use it?", she said "When you get Home make a fine carved house for your god and whakaahuatia it, that is make an effigy as large as a man out of a tree, let the piece of wood you make it of be three page (B No.1 White)(212)spans long, that is as long as a man can wharona (span) with his extended arms three times, let one end of it be for the ahua (likeness) of the god, let the other end be tapered off and be pointed and sharp so that you can stick this figure in the ground when it will be high enough up in the air so that all the people in the marae (courtyard of the Pa fort) can see the figure: at the top, the figure must be as big as a man can span with his arms outstretched, and the figure must be made in the shape of a man, with his face tattooed, with paua (holiotis) for his eyes, and a child in his arms, and lizards crawling up his legs and arms and chest, at the back of the figure you must cut the timber out and make a large hole in the figure, to this you must make a lid, this lid must fit the hole you m ake, but into the hole in the back of the figure you must put given god which I have given to you, and close it in with the lid you make, the handle of the lid must be in the shape of a lizard, when you have made this then make a new House, and let all the people join in the work men women and children, when the house is finished let the Priest enter the house and whilst sitting in the corner on the right as ye enter, let him look out of the window which is at that part of the house and repeat this kawa for the new House, which kawa whare is called "Whakatau" (follow after or repeat) and is this:

Verse first: Be confident, be bold in war,
Now the attack, now the power
O god of war unaffected stealing away
God of war stand charge
God of war cut slash
Slashing where?
Slash below my sides
And trembles the god of war in heaven
That he may hearken to my war song
Verse second: Peel the thunder in heavenpage (213)
And flashes lightning from Heaven
And heard is now the voice of dread of the goblin
The dread of the ancients
The goblin that swallows worlds
The goblin that swallows heavens
Swallow the shore
Lift the bird
Lift the post to Raro-tonga o-i.
Lift it to Hawa-iki
And let the world of darkness hear
And let the world of light hear
Incite to battle, incite to power
Bring to a point, the fort of battle,
Of the son in his land of insects
Who weeps with booming sighs
And asks that the death of
Tu-whaka-raro may be avenged
And weeps in murmuring to his sisters
Great and long of whom?
The order will not now avail
As Whaka-tau alone is brave,
To make the weeping woman wail
Dive with thy weapon in the foam of the tide
And turn his nose upwards
And let him look up at his paddle o i.
Come down from your dread omens
That in the flashing heavens are
And dead of Rongo-keo who in
The space between the rank and file
Of Whakatau were slain, and spirit like
In heaps were crowded close together,
But let, yes let Whakatau pass on
And in his home meet crowds
And hang like spiders by their webspage (214)
And slander all the power and honor
Of the medium god, in presence of
The warriors standing on the lone sea coast
Who daring, yet who flee, and like
A speck beneath the finger nail
Are lost to sight.
Here I am o goblin god
Nibbling, nip, nip, nip with teeth
Upon the post that holds the house.
O Whakatau, lift up thy foot
And stand outside. Like flock of birds
Is seen the tree of Whakatau
When gentle breeze, on gust of squall
Give birth to ill as thy move on, o, i.
Revenge for blood is carried still
For slain nephew of Tu-te-kahu;
But come and mount upon my back
And I will carry thee to thy parent
Who nobly, and tis well that he
Had battled with and conquered Poka-whara,
And hence that then has joined the stand
Of warriors wish, to stand between the
The rank and fill of ……….
Of those who war with host of Ra-kai-nui,
Who still are here, still they stand
Nor fight or daring power show
But flat a rope, a rope of power,
To be as is the jutting point of land
Or steadfast Isle, that can not
Be rushed or taken by the enemy.
Of all the brave save Whakatau alone was found
But bind their soul and bring the ax
And welcome Ui and Taiki, e.
page (215)

On his return Home the tribe built a House and made the effigy and did all as commanded. This done, the tribe caught a great quantity of fish, birds, and collected all sorts of food, kumara, Roi, Pohue, Tawa, Hinau and shark and made a great feast, when the food was all cooked they placed the food in two long lines heaped up as high as a man, and the people sat in lines out side of the two lines of food, the Priests of the tribe walked up and down between the two lines of food, and as they passed to and fro they were heard to count in the Maori numbers, this they did as they saw the spirits of the people of Nga-puhi who should be killed by this tribe in a future battle. When they had done repeating aloud the number of spirits seen the head Priest in a loud voice spoke to the sitting crowd page (B No.1 White)(216)and said "Tena tongia" (now touch or eat) at which command each one of the people put forth their left hand and took a piece of food, each hand was put forth in perfect time with all the rest, and each had placed the food taken to their mouth in concert with the rest of the crowd, then the people rose in a body and took the food placing it in baskets before parties of 6 or 8 or ten persons they all eat, having eaten till all were satisfied they left what was not eaten where it stood as an offering to the gods.

About one month after this feast the Ngapuhi chiefs with their people and wives and children went to kill the Nga-ti-whatua and take their land, the Nga-puhi arrived in the Kai-para district on the sea shore at Ripiro.

Taoho the great chief of the Ngatiwhatua having heard of the movements of the Ngapuhi, he and his people meet them at Ripiro. When Taoho wishing to make terms of peace went up to the leaders of the Ngapuhi Hou-wawe, and Moka (or Hou-moka) and offered to rub noses and shake hands with them, but Moka would not put out his hand, he was in such a rage that his mouth was filled with foam, the Ngapuhi people seeing this began the attack by striking at the Ngatiwhatua, then ensued a general engagement. When the Ngapuhi were beaten by the Ngatiwhatua, many of the Ngapuhi dead were eaten by the Kaipara natives, and those of the corpses which fell in the sea shore were eaten by the Karoro (sea gull).

Many of the Ngapuhi escaped and returned to their home with severe wounds.

This battle was called "Te Kai a te karoro", (the eating or food of the Karoro, sea Gull).