The Story of a Maori Chief
Chapter 2 — Mokena Kohere's Antecedents — (Continued)
Mokena Kohere's Antecedents
The Greatest of Tuwhakairiora's sons were without question Tuhorouta and Tinatoka, the sons of Ihiko, his second wife. All Ngati-Porou leading chiefs are descended from these two warriors. The latter has already been mentioned as one of the two men who defied the Kowhaki warparty to cross the Makirikiri stream. As Mokena Kohere was not a descendant of his I shall not say any more about him, although I can claim descent from him on my mother's side. Instead I shall follow up briefly the fighting history of his greater brother, Tuhorouta.
Tuhorouta first came into prominence as a fighter in the Maniaroa battle (to which I refer—Chapter 4). Suffice it to say that during the battle Tuhorouta was so mortally insulted that he was determined to seek revenge. It came to his knowledge that Tamaikitekapua, who had insulted him, had gone south to Uawa (Tolaga Bay) and was living in the pa, Upoko-o-te-ika. He set about organising a war expedition. As his fleet of canoes passed along the coast he cried out to the various tribes, mentioning each tribe separately, to follow him. Arrived at Uawa he gave the enemy no respite, but attacked at once. Like a wild beast, denied of his prey, he raged and stormed. The day was hot and his parched tongue clung to the roof of his mouth. He quenched his burning thirst in a manner conceived only by a ferocious savage. He climbed over the palisading into the pa, and the enemy, cowed, ceased the struggle.
Perhaps I may introduce here parenthetically one of Ngati-Porou's most popular sayings. After this strenuous fight Tuhorouta asked his wife, Moahiraia, to bring him something to eat. Dried kumaras (kao) soaked in water were brought. Before sitting down Tuhorouta called Tamaikitekapua, the man who had insulted him at Maniaroa, to share with him his frugal meal. The guest was suspicious of this show of hospitality: he understood quite well that his life was in danger. Calmly he sat down and picked up a kumara, which he put in his mouth. His terrific host without warning struck him page 8 on the temple with his mere.1 Tamaikitekapua fell backwards, and before he expired moaned:
E Tu,2 e Tu! Te rangona hoki
Te reka o to kai.
O Tu, Tu! How can I
Taste the sweetness of thy food?
In Shakespearean diction:
Rich gifts wax poor
When givers prove unkind.
After the Maniaroa battle Apanui, instead of returning home, went to see Tuwhakairiora at Okauwharetoa. The latter at once said: “Why did you slay Aowehea, our youngest? I wish you had killed that reptile Tuhorouta, for as sure as we are alive so sure some day he will turn against us.” Apanui replied: “Well then, come on and I'll see that somebody is slain out of satisfaction for the death of Aowehea.” The plan was faithfully carried out, and satisfaction was made for the death of Aowehea. How extraordinary Maori custom could be!
Only one of Tuhorouta's sons, Hunaara, I shall briefly refer to. Although an ancestor of mine he was not of my grandfather's. While living at Horoera the news of Hikatoa's death at Turanga (Poverty Bay) came. Before Hikatoa expired he had uttered the saying:
E mate ana i au, e ora ana i a
I perish but Te Waranga lives.
1 The short greenstone weapon.
Hunaara returned home, bringing in a kit the heads of Hikatoa and Takimoana. Amongst the captives that he brought as slaves were two women, Ropuhina and Waremau, from whom several chiefs on the East Coast were descended.
To preserve the sequence of events and genealogy I refer here to a fighting ancestor, although not an ancestor of Mokena Kohere's. Kaapa, a grandson of Tuhorouta (the son of his eldest daughter Ruahuia) was a great fighter. He went on a war expedition as far south as Wairarapa, at the invitation of the local tribes. After fulfilling his mission he was given the greenstone adze, “Mangamate,” which has been in the possession of his descendants ever since. And to avenge the death of his grandfather, Te Rangipamamao, Kaapa went north as far as Hauraki, where again he was successful in his mission of vengeance. On his return home he brought with him not a greenstone adze this time but a pretty woman named Uruapiti, whom he married. Uruapiti, like Ropuhina and Waremau, became an ancestress of a line of chiefs and chieftainesses.
It has always been considered a defect in the fighting line of Tuwhakairiora, Tuhorouta and Kaapa that all of them died a natural death instead of on the battle-field, as befitted a warrior. Aged Tamakoro, for instance, who, hearing of the approach of a hostile party, requested that he be placed in the forefront of the battle so that he might be slain by hand, like a warrior. His wish was gratified, for he died a warrior's death.
It has been shown that Mokena Kohere was descended from both the great chiefs, Tuwhakairiora and Rangitawaea, and from both Ruataupare and Ihiko, wives of Tuwhakairiora. Te Kani-a-Takirau,1 Te Potae-aute, Houkamau and Kakatarau and his brother, Mokena Kohere, were descended from a common stock. Kakatarau and Mokena Kohere have, however, an independent and distinguished line from which the other three families cannot claim descent.
Aotakii had two daughters, Ruataupare and Auahikoata. The former, we know, married Tuwhakairiora, and it has been shown that she was a chieftainess of no mean order. Hirau, the eldest of the family, was the ancestor of some great fighters. Mokena Kohere was a descendant of hers, as well as of her niece, Ruataupare. Mataura, Hirau's son, became famous as the defender of the Pukekiore pa. Rakaitemania, being related to Hinepare, Mataura's wife, came on a visit to her. Before she met Hinepare she was insulted by a voice which came from the direction of Pukekiore pa. Rakaitemania at once turned back and hurried home to organise a war-party to attack the offending Pukekiore and inflict punishment for the insult. The party, which was under the command of the chief Paaka, ascended a height of nearly 1,000 feet and infested the stronghold of Pukekiore. The fight increased in ferocity. Mataura and his defenders proved themselves equal to the occasion until Mataura's parched tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth for thirst. Like David of old, who longed for water from the well of Bethlehem, Mataura longed for a drink from a spring down below on the plain, a spring which to-day is known as Mataura's Heart. And, unlike the Biblical story, no brave dared to leave the protection of the pa to gratify his leader's wish. Still the fight grew fiercer, and the defenders’ supply of spears ran out. Thus handicapped, they threw stones and earth at their assailants. When he knew further resistance would be of no avail, Mataura mounted the defences of the pa and cried out: “O, who would turn back the onrushing tide?”
Paaka, the leader of the attackers, replied: “If thou hast a daughter, hand her over to me.”
1 In 1913 the Kautuku block or Marangairoa No. 1 D. came before Judge R. N. Jones. To strengthen our claim, the Pukekiore fight was mentioned. The court accepted our opponents’ story that Mataura was only a refugee in Pukekiore. The case is still sub judice.
On one occasion Rarawa, accompanied by his wife, Hinemihi, had gone to Ipuarongo to inspect his rat-traps. He found they had been tampered with, and on going a little further he actually came upon the thief. Rarawa bound Kiterangi to a tree while he and Hinemihi went on further. On their return they found Kiterangi had broken loose and had fled. Rarawa knew very well that his man had gone across the river to Otutemahurangi pa, where Ngati-Mahanga lived. After crossing the river, he entered the pa, where he found Kiterangi. Without any warning he grabbed the rat thief1 and dragged him outside the pa, not a person interfering. After dashing out the thief's brains Rarawa re-crossed the Maraehara and rejoined his wife, Hinemihi.
A son of Makahuri, a chief, was killed by foul play, of which the hapu living at Waitotoki, a stronghold a little to the south of Tuparoa, were suspected. Makahuri sent for Rarawa and his brother, Porou, to avenge his son's death. The two brothers realised that it would be a difficult job to take the pa by direct assault, so they resorted to a ruse to draw the inhabitants of the pa out into the open. Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Rarawa and Porou went out on the beach below and wrapped themselves with seaweed. When there was sufficient light they lay in the water and rolled about so that the incoming tide washed them up nearer their objective. On awakening in the morning the people within the pa discovered two black objects on the beach. Naturally they thought they were seals. The cry was raised, and everybody rushed out to secure, as he thought, cheap meat. Rarawa and Porou permitted their victims to come close before they sprang to their feet and discarded their strange outfit. The people, completely taken by surprise, fell easy victims to the avengers of blood. Only those who were fleet of foot escaped to the protection of the pa.
1 Rat-thief. My people put in a claim before the Native Land Court to Ipuarongo, part of Marangairoa 1 D. block. Although the killing of Kiterangi was never denied our claim was dismissed and the land was awarded to Ngati-Mahanga, Kiterangi's sub-tribe.
Having fulfilled their mission, Rarawa and Porou returned to their home at Waiapu.
Their next mission was to avenge the death of Whanaumaro, son of the chief Rahuiokehu of the Mahaki hapu, who lived at Ahikouka. Whanau-maro had accompanied his wife to the Aowera district, near the Hikurangi foothills, where his wife belonged. When the news reached Rahuiokehu that his son had been murdered he sent for the two brothers to seek satisfaction. They readily agreed. Arrived on the scene Rarawa and Porou made short work of the offending people. Amongst the captives taken was a fine sturdy woman named Moehau, who would have met with a terrible end but for Manupokai's intervention. Out of gratitude Moehau served Manupokai all her life. She became the ancestress of a well-known Ngati-Porou family. The significant fact was that both Makahuri and Rahuiokehu were well-known chiefs. That they had to rely on Rarawa and Porou to do their fighting for them attests the prowess and fighting qualities of the two brothers. They never during their hectic lives met with defeat.
After the murderers of Whanau-maro had eaten his body they dried his bones and put them in a kit, which was hung up where they could not be found. When the searchers came near where the kit was hidden the dry bones in it began to rattle, and thus the mystery was solved. This Maori story is on a par with that told by Mr. Justice Alpers in his book, Cheerful Yesterdays. A man who had missed his dog called out its name. To his astonishment the dog began to bark inside a man's belly. I can't say now whether it was a Maori or a Dane who had eaten the dog, but that's not the point.
My grandfather was descended from Rarawa and my grandmother from Porou. I shall not narrate the minor exploits of these two of my ancestors. They were not connected with the Tuwhakairiora line. Therefore to contend that one must be able to claim descent from Tuwhakairiora before one could be counted a rangatira betrays ignorance of NgatiPorou history.
Rarawa's daughter, Aotauru, must have been a woman of character, for her warrior sons up to the present are called page 13 “The biting snappers of Aotauru.” She married a notable man named Te Ruinga, of her own line, and they lived in Pukemanuka pa, situated a little lower than the historic Pukekiore, and, in fact, an offshoot of it. Here food was brought to them. When Te Ruinga chose to leave Waiapu for Marau, near Tolaga Bay, Aotauru1 refused to accompany him, preferring to remain on her own ancestral land. By the intermarriage of the descendants of Tuiti with those of the Tuwhakairiora-Rangitawaea line surely great men and women were produced. The Tuiti line, through her firstborn, Hirau, is claimed as the particular line of the Ngati-Hokopu hapu, Kakatarau's and Mokena Kohere's sub-tribe. Both the daughters of Rangimatemoana, Poreterete and Waipounamu, became the wives of Kakatarau.
I fully agree with Chief Judge Shepherd that Ngati-Hokopu is a ridiculous name for a well-known sub-tribe. The ancient name of the hapu is Whanau-a-Rerewa, which I would readily revive. “Hokopu” means “sold for a gun,” and it perpetuates an incident in the history of the hapu. Tuawhiorangi, a son of Hihi, Pakura's older brother, was after the fight at Wharekura sold by Whanau-a-Apanui for a gun. Pakura lost his life in the same fight.
The sub-tribe living at Whakatane is also called Ngati-Hokopu, for their ancestor, Ngarara, was sold also for a gun.