Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:
Patu-one, Tu-whare and Te Rau-paraha’s Expedition, 1819–20
Patu-one, Tu-whare and Te Rau-paraha’s Expedition, 1819–20.
From a study of the tribal histories, so far as any are available, and a consideration of events in other parts, it is believed that the great Nga-Puhi expedition sometimes called Amiowhenua* took place in the year 1819–20. It did not affect the main branch of Ngati-Whatua particularly, but the description of the doings of the expedition as it passed through their country and the Isthmus of Auckland will serve to show that the Ngati-Whatua tribes at this time were absent from the Auck-land district. Their wars with Ngati-Paoa had led them to shun that part of the country; some were in hiding in the Waitakere Ranges, others were at Mangere or Waikato, so that but for occasional predatory expeditions, the Isthmus was without inhabitants, excepting Ngati-Paoa in their fortress of Mau-inaina.
For particulars of this expedition, I am indebted to a MS. of Mr. John White’s, which was evidently written by a Maori who took part in it, but whose name is not given, very probably for the sufficient reason that the scenes he describes would have brought him—at the time the paper was written—the enmity of the tribes who suffered so severely at the hands of Nga-Puhi and their allies. There is an absence of names of places and people also, which tends to the same conclusion.
* Amiowhenua is more correctly applied to the Waikato-Ngati-Whatua expedition of a few years later.
This expedition was undertaken by the Nga-Puhi tribes of Hokianga—none of the Nga-Puhi proper of the east coast joining in it–together with many of the principal chiefs of Te Roroa, a tribe, as has been shown, equally related to Nga-Puhi and to Ngati-Whatua, and whose residence is principally to the south of Hokianga Heads, and extending thence to Kaihu on the Wairoa River, Kaipara. In this expedition we find these ancient enemies combining to make war on others.
The Nga-Puhi leaders were Patu-one, Nene, Te Wharepapa, Moetara, Te Kekeao, Tawhai, and many others. The Roroa leaders were Te Karu, Rori, Taoho, his younger brother , who was a great warrior and the latter’s nephew, Tiopera-Kinaki. At Kawhia they were joined by the Ngati-Toa tribe under Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, and from there the combined forces passed on to Taranaki, Whanganui, Port Nicholson and Wai-rarapa, where, turning back, they followed the same route homewards, finally arriving at Hokianga about October, 1820, having left Hokianga about November, 1819.
The Maori account, after describing some battles the Hokianga people had had with the Rarawa tribes of the North, goes on to say:—
“So we dwelt some time at our homes in Lower Hokianga, until after a while, we again felt a desire for man’s flesh, and the idea was conceived that we should go on a campaign against the tribes of the south. We accordingly page 98 assembled together and arranged with Hongi Hika to form an army to avenge the deaths of some of our people who had been killed by the Southern tribes on the occasion of a journey they made to procure mats in exchange for their Maori weapons.* Nga-Puhi assembled at the mouth of Hokianga on the beach at Omapere, and then proceeded to offer incantations to Niua and Pou-ahi, and also to Arai-te-uru, to propitiate the spirits of those sacred places.
“The following is the proceeding in such cases: When the war party of Nga-Puhi had been duly called together, the chief of each hapu in turn arose, and cutting off a lock of hair from the summit of his head—standing naked the while, all but his maro, or waistcloth—took it in his right hand, and turned his glance towards the “mountains-of-prayer” (maunga hirihiri) of his home, repeated the karakia appropriate to those mountains, saying:—
|Kotahi ki reira||One to that place|
|Kotahi ki Pou-ahi,||One to Pou-ahi,|
|Kotahi ki Niua,||One to Niua,|
|Kotahi ki Arai-te-uru.||One to Arai-te-uru.|
* Probably Tau-kawau’s expedition in 1816—17.
† See the origin of the names in “Peopling of the North,” p. 24.
“On the south side of Hokianga Heads there is a cave in a perpendicular cliff, which has been the burial place of the people of Hokianga from time immemorable, and that cliff is one of the places invoked (hirihiri) when the war parties go forth to slay men, and its name is also recited in the thanksgiving for food. Ramaroa is the name of the cave. When that part of the country was purchased by Martin as a pilot station in March, 1832, the people removed the bones to another place, and it became common (noa). To reach the cave men were let down over the cliff with a rope.
“So soon as the karakia and other ceremonies connected therewith were over, the taua arose, and at once proceeded on its journey. They went by way of the West Coast, along the beach towards Maunga-nui Bluff, and thence on to Kaipara, the mouth of which we crossed, and went on our way, viâ Kumeu, to Te Whau, and as far as Wai-te-mata, where Auckland now stands. There we found a taua of Waikato encamped at Mata-harehare (St. George’s Bay, Parnell), another at Puke-kawa (Auckland Domain), another at Wai-ariki (Official Bay, Auckland). We fell on these parties by surprise, and not a single one escaped. In the places where we killed them we cooked their bodies and ate them. It was in this wise: Our taua did not go in one body, but separated; page 100 one hapu going one way, one another, so that all these parties of Waikato were surprised at the same time and on the same day; and each hapu cooked and ate their own victims in the place where they were killed. This was the method we adopted—always to move silently along, taking cover where possible, and then to cook and eat all we caught.
“I will first relate the incidents of our journey from Aotea at Kaipara, by way of Kahu-topuni (the head of the Wai-te-mata) and on to Te Whau, which place we reached on the second night after leaving Aotea. During that time, we had to cook our food at night, lest the smoke of the fires should be seen; and we generally lit them in hollows or obscure corners in order to ensure that our enemies did not perceive us by means of their spies. We were also careful in marching, lest Waikato should see our party moving along the hilltops.
“From Te Whau some of our party were sent on to Onehunga in advance, six in number, and they had not been gone very long when my little slave that I had caught at Kaipara* came to me and said, ‘Our spies have caught a woman and killed her; they are now cooking her to eat.’
* From this little incident we learn that Ngati-Whatua were hostile to the Nga-Puhi expedition, but it is the only reference to the fact; it is what might be expected from knowing the relations between the two tribes at the time.
“None of our chiefs would cook food during the expedition, nor would they go near, or sit on the leeward side of food in preparation, for fear their tapu should be interfered with. The ovens in which the bodies were cooked were left covered over night until morning, so that the food might be soft and pulpy. The body of the girl referred to was brought to our camp, and there cooked for a long time (tamoe) that it might be nicely done.
“As I sat intently watching the people of our camp, my slave came to me and said, ‘Some of our people have caught a man, and are preparing him for the oven.’ I ran off to see who it was, and to find out what the Waikato men were like. On the way I was speaking to a redhaired girl, who had just been caught out in the page 102 open. We were then just at the eastern side of Maunga-whau (Mount Eden). This girl had been caught at the stream called Te Ruareoreo. My companions remained with the girl, whilst I went on to see the man of Waikato who had been killed. When I arrived they were preparing the flesh; the bones were to be put to other purposes. One of the men engaged on the bones was working at the knee-cap. I asked, ‘What is he doing?’ I was told, ‘The knee-cap is for a pipe. This man was killed in revenge; hence his bones are used for purposes of revenge (utu), and his leg bones will be made into flutes.’
“As we came back, I saw the head of the redhaired girl lying in the fern by the side of the track, and, further on, we overtook one of the Waihou, Hokianga, men carrying a back-load of her flesh, which he was taking to our camp to cook for food; the arms of the girl were around his neck, whilst the body was on his back. Tahua, the son of Muriwai (of Utakura, Hokianga), was out collecting food, and as he returned from Onehunga towards our camp at Mata-harehare (St. George’s Bay) by the eastern side of Maungakiekie (One-Tree Hill) he saw in the Waikato cultivations some of the Nga-Puhi women collecting food. He called out, thinking they were Waikato women, at which they fled in fear.
“One of the reasons why we went on this expedition was because some Nga-Puhi people had been killed at Motu-tapu by Waikato. page 103 When Hongi Hika heard of this he was very angry, and started down the east coast to obtain revenge, whilst our party came down the west coast from Hokianga. (The writer then goes on to describe an expedition of Hongi’s into Waikato, which does not belong to this epoch at all, but occurred in 1825.) In one of the houses we saw the hands of some of the Nga-Puhi, who had been killed by Waikato at Motu-tapu; they were fastened to the walls of the house, with the wrists upwards, and the fingers turned up as hooks on which to hang food baskets. The hands had been roasted in the fire till the outer skin came off. The palms were quite white inside.
“Now, from our camp we sent out spies to look for people of the country, and while they were absent I saw our tohunga or priest, performing the augury with the niu, and so I drew near. He was teaching the people the meaning of the signs of the niu. Then I saw the furrows in the earth made by the fern-stalks (nius), and learned their meaning and the names of the hapus that would fall in battle subsequent to the performance. At the end of this the priest spoke in a frenzied (kehua) manner, and explained to the people how to conduct themselves, and told of the lands we should pass over. It was during the night, however, that the priest spoke with particular ghostly (kehua) accent, but, as his voice was incoherent. I could not quite understand it all, nor was I clear as to whether our party was to conquer page 104 or to die in the battles which were to follow after his teaching.
“Our chiefs now sent away some of our people in a canoe to Te Kawau Island to obtain other canoes from the people there, who were some of our own tribe, which were to be used in our journey up the Waikato river, but they came back without them. Hongi-Hika returned the way he came to the Bay of Islands.
“We were a long time at Wai-te-mata, and all the men (victims) that we killed there had been consumed; so we left and started towards Taranaki, that is, along the road to Waikato. Not having succeeded in getting canoes, we had to proceed overland, by the seashore of the west coast. We went by the mouth of the Waikato River. We had no reason for further man-killing, having satiated our revenge on those who had killed our people, nothing but the pleasure of so doing. This is why we did not attack the tribes who dwelt on the road we followed. It was only those who menaced us and who obstructed our way whom we killed. This was the reason that we quickly reached the country of the south, Taranaki, having no difficulties on the way.”
Here ends the native account of the doings of this expedition so far as it relates to Ngati-Whatua territory; the rest describes, sometimes with full detail, the doings at Taranaki, Whanganui-a-Tara (Port Nicholson) and Wairarapa. Like most native histories it is unsatisfactory. For instance, no mention is page 105 made of the Ngati-Paoa tribe, who at that time must have been in full force at their pa Mauinaina, not many miles from the Nga-Puhi camps on the Auckland Isthmus, or Tamaki, which is its native name, so called after the river at Panmure. Nor is anything said of their passage through Kaipara, with the people of which place Nga-Puhi had been at constant war for close on 20 years. According to Mr. Fenton*, the Taou hapu of Ngati-Whatua were at this time living at Mangere, but Paora Kawharu tells me many of them were living at Kaipara, and that Tu-whare and party passed through without any fighting taking place. The native narrative then proceeds:
* Orakei Judgment.
“In this manner we passed through the Taranaki and Whanganui districts, and to Whangaehu and Manawatu and beyond to Otaki, killing as we went. At Otaki we found a whale ashore, and much whale-bone was lying on the beach near Pae-kakariki. We obtained one whale there. Then we proceeded on to Porirua and Kapiti; at the former place we saw the Kotuku (white crane), and killed some of the people of that part (Ngati-Ira), but there were no pas; the people were found and killed in their cultivations. (As a matter of fact this tribe was not of a pa building people.)
* The victims of the war-god Tu, i.e., dead men.
“The name of this island is Te Ika-a-Maui, and the branch of the sea at Poneke (or Wellington) is the right eye of Mani’s fish, and Wairarapa is the left one. On the coast on the west side of Poneke are some rocks standing in a row which are called Te Tangihanga-a-Kupe,* because they are in a row just like people lamenting (tangi ana). Those stones were men formerly—some were men, some women—and were there turned into stone. When we were at Kare-kawa we saw a ship sailing out at sea. so we lit some fires on the peaks of the hills so that the ship might come towards us, but the ship took no notice of our signals. If it had come, none of the people of the ship would have been hurt (rahua) by us, and if they had asked us we should have replied our business there was manslaying.†
* Barrett’s Reef.
† These were probably Bellinghausen’s ships, those of the Russian exploring expedition, which passed through Cook Strait, 9th June, 1820.
“Whilst at Poneke we camped on the beach at Pipitea, but there were two parties of us, one of which stayed at Te Aro. A party from one of our camps went to the West Coast to the sea of Rau-kawa (Cook Strait), and they were all killed by the people of the land, being surprised in the night. But they were the young people of our taua and were tired of the careful manner in which our old men acted, hence they camped apart from us. One of our chiefs went with his tribe to pursue those who had killed our people, taking with him his daughter, who was a virgin, and engaged to a man at Hokianga. That chief, his daughter and all his hapu were killed by the same people who killed our young fellows.
* i.e., one thousand, once told.
“No sooner had we recovered from this affliction than we were surprised by an attack from the people of the land, but we fought and beat them and they fled up the river (Hutt), whither we followed them. That river is inside the Islands of Matiu (Somes’ Island) and Makaro (Ward Island). We followed them and caught them in a pa, which we assaulted and took, killing many people.
“We were two weeks at this pa, and so soon as we had consumed all the killed we went on up the river and took another pa in that place, where we stayed living on those who had been killed. We then went on again to another pa which our slaves had told us was the biggest pa in the Islands. So we went up the same river in search for this pa which had been spoken of, but when we got to a certain kainga (village) we found it deserted by its people, and our two hundred once-told occupied the place. Another one hundred went on up the course of the river. We remained here about a week, when some of the people of the great pa came out and surprised the one hundred who were by themselves in the valley. There were only ten escaped, all the rest of the one page 111 hundred were killed. Then our division arose and proceeded to the place where they had been killed and discovered the way by which the taua who killed them had retreated. So we paddled on in our canoes till night, when we arrived at the great pa and beheld the numbers of people within it.*
* It would not be possible to paddle very far up the Hutt River at the present day; but it must be remembered that the earthquake of 1855 raised all the land around Wellington, and probably made a great difference in the Hutt River.
“By this time the people of the land had assembled in great numbers on the bank of the river watching us. Those of Nga-Puhi who possessed guns were the first to cross the river, and soon they were near the people standing close together on the bank, who were grimacing at us and putting out their tongues and telling us to land where they were. They probably thought that their numbers would ensure our deaths. Then the guns were fired and with the noise down went a man; every shot told. Surprise at the noise of the guns led them to stand listless with fear; then sounded the wail, and with a loud shout the people fled, running along the bank of the muddy river hoping to cross, but one of our canoes had gone up the stream before. The people then returned and crossed over to the mainland, where some were shot page 113 from that canoe. We then all landed and found the enemy all confused by the guns, so that many of them were killed, the rest retreating by the way they came to follow our canoes. We followed up the retreating people and slew them as we went, saving some as slaves.
“So the people retreated and we followed until we all reached the pa belonging to them into which they had entered and our people with them. We then commenced killing them within the pa until we were tired of it, and the pa was full of dead bodies. Then were cooked the ‘fish of Tu.’
“Three weeks we remained here feeding on the dead bodies, but could not eat them all; the rest we used only the flesh of, throwing away the bones, and put it on to stages to dry in the sun. The flesh was then gathered into baskets and oil was poured over it, the oil being rendered down from the bodies; this was done to prevent its spoiling with the damp. The bones of those eaten were put in the fire, lest the people of the country should return and collect them and bury them in their wahi-tapus (or sacred places). The heads of the chiefs were severed from the bodies and collected into a heap, and then some of us got other heads and flung them at the heap. The head of one great chief was placed on the summit of the heap as a special mark for other heads to be thrown at. It was an amusement indulged in by our forefathers, but in their case the heap was made of stones, at which other stones were page 114 thrown: but we used the heads instead of stones, until they were all smashed up. This was the doing of us older men, and as soon as they were well smashed up the young men took the heads and burnt them up in the fire. Those young fellows thought this a very amusing entertainment. The bones of the legs and arms had the ends broken off and with a piece of fern-stalk warmed in the fire melted the marrow inside, which we then sucked out or used it to flavour our potatoes with. Then the bones were burnt lest they should be buried by the people of the land.
“After staying a week at this place we went inland to attack another pa, situated up the river from the one we were at. This pa had been spoken of to us by our prisoners, so we went and discovered it. Te Rauparaha then advised us to make peace with the people, but to do so only in appearance, so that the people might think it a binding peace (rongo-taketake). We then made the sham peace with the people of the pa, so that they might not understand our intention of taking it. It was a large pa and a great many people in it; they were very numerous (pio), and we very few. So we sent our messengers to the pa to make peace, and an invitation to their warriors (three hundred and fifty topu, or seven hundred) to come to our feast which we had prepared for them; we were equally numerous at that time. So the three hundred and fifty once-told came to our feast, and we arranged that we should page 115 sit alternately (kinakinaki) when eating the food—it was Te Ruaparaha who made this arrangement. When the food came for the guests, brought into the marae by our women, and so soon as it was deposited in front of them our people were to stand up with their maros on only, and so soon as they stretched out their hands to the food, Te Rauparaha was to give the sign to us, when we were to strike the head of each man who sat near him. So the feast was arranged and the food cooked and brought to the marae by the women, and they commenced to eat; when Te Rauparaha gave the signal, directly the people were shouting and wailing whilst our weapons split open their heads—the noise was just like that of a calabash being smashed. The whole of the three hundred and fifty were killed by us; not a single one escaped. We then took the pa and killed those within, the people being so demoralised by our actions that they had no strength or valour left. Thus we took the pa, killing those we thought fit and enslaving others. By the time they were aware of our attack they were dead men.
“All these works of treachery, ambushes, murders, and all these wrongs done by the taua of Nga-Puhi were taught them by Te Rauparaha.
“Our chiefs in this campaign were Nene, Hongi Hika (returned from Waitemata to the north), Patu-one, Te Wharepapa, Moe-tara, Te Rauparaha, Te Rangi-haeata, Te Kekeao, page 116 Tawhai, and many others who are dead; amongst those mentioned, Te Kekeao and Moetara are dead.
* This is very Maori! Someone must suffer for the degradation they endured as slaves, whether tribesmen or not did not signify.
“In the morning we separated into our various hapus, and each went to a separate place. Te Rauparaha was there with us. We all sat in ranks, each hapu by itself and in a different place. Then came the tohunga of each hapu with a branch of Karamu in his hand, which he dipped in the water and then repeated this karakia, to make the taua brave:—Tupe hingahinga
Ka tau te ruhi,
Ka tan te ngenge,
Mai o Tu,
E Tu! Whakaoria!
“He then struck the right shoulder of each man of the party with the Karamu branch which he had dipped in the water. If a leaf of the branch fell off or a branch broke while the tohunga struck it on the man, he would die on the battle field next after the ceremony of tohi taua.
“As we sat there at the ceremony, we were subject to the darts (kopere) cast by the page 118 people of the pa, besides spears which they threw. As soon as the ceremony was at an end we entered our canoes and went up the river, where we were attacked by the people of the pa. Before we could land they dashed at us, but we had guns, and although there was a vast number of them we gave them a volley and landed. The people of the land were much frightened at our guns and retreated to the pa, and there turned on us, at which we retreated and also lost some of our men. We then turned upon them and they retreated towards the pa; we followed and got into the pa with them. The greater number of the enemy fled to the forest, but those who fled to the pa were killed by us, whilst others were captured alive. We then commanded our female prisoners to scrape flax and we twisted it up with their long hair into ropes attached to each woman of the slaves, and these were the ropes by which we led them during our travels over the land; but these same women ran away because they cut their ropes with a cockle shell, procured from no one knew where. The men and the girls whom we caught we placed in an enclosed place (pahikotaeapa) made like the enclosure (pahiko) used to keep native dogs in. But even these escaped! They dug a hole beneath the posts of the fence and were off. From that place we went towards Wairua, guided by our slaves, who led us to a place inland of the pa and behind it. This pa was wattled (?) (kopekope) by the people with flax. We said to the people of the pa, ‘We page 119 have brought guns for you.’ We were thirty once-told in numbers who went to that pa to take the present, and some of the people came back to our camp to partake of our feast we had prepared. It was Te Rauparaha who gave a sign to our people as they were eating and they were all killed by our men. When these had been killed we surprised the pa, taking and killing every one to the last man.
“We now considered that the death of the girl and her father at Port Nicholson had been sufficiently avenged, and so we returned by the way we came to Whanganui, where we saw a new pa that had been built after we left. We assaulted, stormed and took it and killed the people.”
The story winds up by saying that the warparty then returned to their homes at Hokianga, but it omits several incidents, some of which are given below. We are relating the Nga-Puhi doings, not those of Ngati-Toa, who joined the expedition at Kawhia under their principal chief Te Rauparaha, so much must be left until the history of the migration of the latter’s tribe from Kawhia is related.*
* For which see “History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast,” Chapter xiii., et seq.
The new pa referred to above, at Whanganui, is said to have been Turua, on the east bank of the river, nearly opposite the present town. After the taking of this pa, the people fled up the river, but some of the Nga-Puhi expedition followed them. For the following account, I am indebted principally to Mr. Elsdon Best, who obtained it from the Whanganui people a few years ago:—