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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 11 (January 1, 1939)

The Island Cluster

The Island Cluster.

We pulled out across the shining lake and Hurae pointed to this island and that and gave the names of the six we saw—Te Rahui (which is the largest); Motu-ngarara, or Lizard Island; Motu-torotoro; Te Kaha-o-Tuwai (“Tuwai's Snare for Waterfowl”); Te One-a-Tahu (“Tahu's Beach”); and Motu-Taiko (“Petrel Island”).

Long ago, he said, all these islands were refuge places of the Maori. When war-parties invaded Waikare-moana and Ngati-Ruapani were defeated by Tuhoe, or by some other invading tribe—a surprise attack, which presently was reversed—the lake people retreated to the sanctuary of Waikare-iti. Paddling out to these isles of calm and shelter they hauled their wakas up among the trees and camped securely in the all-concealing bush. No enemy could reach them there except by the slow process of felling trees and hewing out canoes. Even in the days of Te Kooti's war, when Government war-parties of Ngati-Porou and Arawa carried rifle and tomahawk into the depths of the Urewera forests—Hurae was an active Hauhau youngster then—Waikare-iti's islets remained inviolate, untrodden by an invader's foot.

Shadows and solitude: the lakelet on an island in Waikare-iti.

Shadows and solitude: the lakelet on an island in Waikare-iti.