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Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century:

Troubles at Whangarei, 1824

Troubles at Whangarei, 1824.

Mr. Fenton says that in 1825 (which must be read 1824) that a party of Te Uringutu hapu of Ngati-Whatua, under their chief Hakopa Paerimu, who with Ruka Taurua were making a fishing visit to Motu-tapu Island, near Waiheke Channel, were attacked by Te Rori and many of them killed, amongst whom was Piopio-tahi, a relative of Paerimu’s, and twenty women were captured. I cannot ascertain where Te Rori came from, but it could scarcely be Te Rore Taoho of Kaihu, who is nearly related to Ngati-Whatua. “Apihai-te-Kawau with the tribe Ngaoho, and Te Waka-ariki with the Taou tribe (both of Ngati-Whatua), arrived at Motutapu in the night time, and were urged to renew the contest with Nga-Puhi, but declined, and retired with Te Uringutu to the Kumeu river, upper Wai-te-mata.” It was necessary that this blow should be avenged, however, and therefore soon after “a party of revenge was despatched, composed of Te Taou page 312 and Ngaoho, accompanied by Ruka Taurua and Te-Ao-o-te-rangi, at the head of some Ngati-Tahinga of Waikato, and they advanced to Whangarei where they planned and executed a very successful surprise against the Para-whau tribe, a branch of Nga-Puhi, who, being from their position accessible and handy, seem to have been selected as objects of attack whenever an utu account wanted a victim to balance it. Many men were killed and forty women taken prisoners, with whom the taua returned to Kumeu.”

The Maori account differs a little from this. It says that some time after the return of Ngati-Whatua from the great Southern expedition in 1822, some of them went to Mahurangi to live, where they were attacked by Te Tirarau of the Para-whau tribe of Whangarei, and were driven to Motu-tapu, where they were assailed by Te Rori, of Nga-Puhi, and again beaten. After this an expedition of Taou went north in canoes to Mahurangi to seek revenge for their losses, and after dragging up their canoes on a wahi-tapu, or burial place, attacked the Para-whau, killing a number of men and bringing back forty women prisoners “After this came Te Ika-a-ranga-nui.” The probability is that the taua did go to Whangarei, for Bishop Williams says, p. 60*: “The people of Bream Bay (Whangarei), who were Hongi’s allies, felt insecure in their position, which was a sort of borderland between page 313 the hostile tribes; and through fear of the Thames natives they came to live at the Bay of Islands. Rangi was a chief of some rank in this tribe (Te Para-whau), and he with his small party took up their abode about a mile from Paihia, where they came under the frequent attention of the missionaries. This was during the year 1824.”

These Northern expeditions occurred, it is believed, early in 1824, for it is said a short time after them “Te Taou, Ngaoho, and Te Uringutu hapus, to the number of two hundred, settled permanently at Okahu, Wai-te-mata. and made that place the headquarters of the tribes. They had been living here about a year when the battle of Ika-a-ranga-nui took place (Feb., 1825). From the time of the battle of Mau-inaina (in November, 1821,) the Tamaki district had been entirely abandoned” (as a permanent place of residence).

Ngati-Whatua in thus playing a principal part in the defeat of Te Para-whau at Whangarei were only increasing the debt of utu which they owed Nga-Puhi, which, added to the signal defeat they gave the latter at Moremo-nui in 1807, aroused Hongi’s wrath to the highest pitch, and moreover Te Tirarau and the Para-whau tribe had also suffered so severely at their hands that it became necessary to obtain an ample revenge. This was secured at Te Ika-a-ranga-nui in the following year, but before describing that great battle we must return south to Hawke’s Bay and relate the page 314 cause of Pomare’s expedition, which Dr. Lesson states (above) was to start from the Bay about April (or May), 1824.

* “Christianity amongst the Maoris.”