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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

Te Pakake, 1824

Te Pakake, 1824.

A very short time after Te Wera and Pareihe had met at Te Mahia, the news came that Te Pakake had fallen. The following is a native account of this affair:—

“The Waikato and Hauraki tribes, together with some of Nga-Puhi (? which Nga-Puhi), Ngati-Mania-poto of Waipa, and Ngati-Raukawa, of Maunga-tautari, now assembled at Taupo and from there returned to Ahuriri, page 303 with some of the Taupo people, in all 1,000 warriors, and besieged the pa of Te Pakake, in revenge for the death of Tu-korehu’s son, Te Arawai, killed at Te Roto-a-Tara. After Pare-ihe had visited Te Pakake, the people set to with a will to fortify their pa so that it might not be taken. That pa, Te Pakake, is an island, but at low water it can be reached from the mainland by a sand-bank stretching out from the east side of the harbour. The island is situated on one side of the mouth of Ahuriri Harbour (the spit on which the railway station is built). This spit was the place where the people gathered mussels in former days.

“On arrival, one part of the taua occupied that sand-spit, and during the night time they used to attack the pa. Kawatiri was one of those in the pa; but the taua could not for some time gain any advantage. One night some of the young men of the pa took a fast canoe (waki-napi) and paddled off to the north end of Te Whanga-nui-o-Orotu towards Petane,* and awaited there the advent of some of the enemy who were coming to join the others. Here they overheard some of the taua say the newcomers were expected the following morning, and were coming overland viâ the Petane Beach, and that they intended to attack the pa of Te Pakake on the north side. The scouts now returned to the pa, when a number of young men assembled, and taking canoes page 304 returned to the place which the others had visited, where they also heard some of the taua talking of the expected reinforcement. Kawatiri was with this party, which waited in ambush for the taua to come along. It was quite dark when they arrived. Kawatiri stood behind some scrub and saw the foremost of the enemy appear. He was an old man. They engaged in single combat, but through the quickness of Kawatiri he killed his man.

“After the young men had returned to the pa with the spoil they had taken, the people of the taua, who occupied the point where mussels were gathered, went inland of the harbour to a place where raupo grew, and there made mokihis (or rafts), which they brought down the Ngaru-roro river and then paddled along in the sea to the entrance of Ahuriri. The taua now embarked and assaulted the pa of Te Pakake. It was just at daylight that the pa was stormed, and then the people of the pa were defeated and a great many killed. Children at the breast were cast into the sea and were washed about by the waves, just like porpoises, whilst many adults were dashed on the shore by the waves.

“Those who escaped the massacre fled inland to the Ruahine mountains, whilst the taua stayed at the pa and consumed ‘the fish of war,’ and afterwards returned to their homes.”

At Te Pakake the Ngati-Kahu-ngunu tribe lost a great many killed, among them Te Whā-ka-to of the Wairoa. whilst at the same time many page 305 people of rank were taken prisoners. The wellknown chief Te Hapuku was captured, but subsequently made his escape and joined the tribes at Te Mahia. Te Moana-nui and Tomoana were also captured there. Te Koare of the Wairoa was another chief captured, but Te Heuheu gave him his liberty, and on the return of Te Koare to his home he sent twenty men with a mere as a present to his captor. Tareha, another well-known chief, arrived off Te Pakake in a canoe from the Wairoa just after the pa had fallen, and so was able to escape. The enemy also lost some people of consequence, and amongst them an uncle of Te Waru, Te Umu-kohukohu (younger brother of his father Te Utanga), the principal chief of Ngai-Te-Rangi of Tauranga.

Amongst the taua that took the pa were a few of the Arawa tribe, Tuhoto, the noted tohunga, being one. But, notwithstanding his priestly, powers, he submitted to being bounced out of some spoil he had secured by one of the Nga-Puhi chiefs.

When this large party returned to their homes Potatau-te-Wherowhero, principal chief of Waikato, sent messengers to Tiakitai, head chief of Hawke’s Bay, asking him to go to Waikato; and there peace was made and the prisoners released.

* Petane is a modern name (Bethany). Its original Maori name was Kai-arero.