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The Autobiography of a Maori

A Historic Island Disappears

A Historic Island Disappears

Both the lake and the island have since disappeared for, due to the enterprise and engineering skill of Archdeacon Williams, the Waipawa river was diverted and the lake was drained into the dry bed of the Waipawa.

It was to the little island that Pareihe and other Hawke's Bay chiefs once betook themselves and their tribes for protection against attacks by tribes from Taupo, Waikato and elsewhere. When they considered their position untenable, the defenders migrated in a body to the Mahia Peninsula where they could be safe under the protection of Te Wera, the Ngapuhi chief who had equipped himself and his men with firearms. It was here at Mahia that Kakatarau, my grand-uncle, once came to ask Te Wera, Pareihe and other chiefs to help him to avenge the death of his father Pakura1 and this they consented to do. I do not know whether Kakatarau actually reached Roto-a-Tara, but it is affirmed that chiefs from Wairarapa joined Kakatarau's war expedition in 1836.

While I was attending the college an old man, who lived at Wiwipatiki on the shore of the lake, asked me if I was a descendant of Kakatarau and, on being told I was, showed great interest in me. At that time I did not know the reason that prompted the question but I learned that later.

1 See Chapter I.