The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Horo-Uta or Taki-Tumu Migration. [Vol. III]
I chant my incantation now to heaven,
To earth, and pit below. Chant now thy song,
Mine enemy: as here I meet thee,
‘Tis gloom on thee, but sunshine rests on me.
The mist now closes o'er thee: still the sun on me does shine.
‘Tis night with thee, but blaze of day with me.
Display thy rage with weapons, bravery, and power,
And use thy feet to show thy noble deeds;
Because with me are now the gentle, breathing winds,
And passing air that speaks so gently low.
They bind me round, and add their power to mine.
But now with thee is night, and coming day on me,
And denser darkness wraps thee round.
But now on me the lifting clouds
Disclose a bright and daylight sky.
Last Migration From Ha-Taitai.
What caused this step to be taken was this: Tapu (sacred), a Kahu-ngunu chief, heard those who had seen Ra-kai-tau-wheke's house at Ha-taitai (brackish) praising the workmanship of it, and, being jealous, said, “What is his house to my kopapa (canoe), which will carry me along the backbone of Rongo-rongo (O-rongo-rongo River)?” These words, coming to Ra-kai-tau-wheke's ears, were interpreted by him to mean a curse, and when Tapu afterwards came on a visit with some friends to Ha-taitai, Ra-kai-tau-wheke fell upon him and killed him, but spared all his companions, whom he allowed to return safely home. But, dreading the vengeance of Tapu's tribe, the Nga-i-tahu abandoned Ha-taitai, and crossed over the straits page 233 from the North to the South Island in a body to Mo-ioio (delicate, weakly), an island in one of the sounds close to Kai-hinu (oil-eaters), where there was a mixed settlement of Nga-i-tara (courage) and Nga-ti-mamoe. Here they lived peaceably with their neighbours for some time, till their anger was aroused by the discovery that they had joined in eating the corrupted body of a Nga-i-tahu man which had been found in the forest, where, unknown to his friends, he had died. This was considered a very gross insult, and was avenged in the following manner: Some one was sent to fetch the leg and thigh-bones of Te-ao-marere (descending cloud), a Nga-i-tara chief whose remains had been lately discovered in a cave by some Nga-i-tahu women when gathering flax on the slopes of Kai-hinu. Out of these bones hooks were made, and when Nga-i-tara went out to fish a Nga-i-tahu man, taking one of the hooks, went with them; and when the fish greedily attacked the bait, and were drawn up to the surface in rapid succession, he remarked in a tone to be heard, “How the old man buried up there nips!” The words were noted, and it was agreed that they could only refer to the desecration of their chief's grave; and to set the question at rest a person was sent to examine it, when it was found that part of the skeleton had been removed. As the Nga-i-tara did not regard this as a justifiable act of retaliation for their having eaten the body which they found, they determined to avenge it. An opportunity of doing so was afforded to them shortly afterwards, when a party of Nga-i-tahu women came as usual to the neighbourhood of Kai-hinu to gather flax. While they were busily employed at their work the Nga-i-tara attacked and killed the whole of them, amongst whom was the daughter of Pu-raho (messenger). This chief mourned sorely for his child and vowed to avenge her; but before he could do so he was himself killed by the same people, who, feeling that they had incurred the vengeance of Nga-i-tahu, were resolved to follow up what they had done and be the first in the field. Observing page 234 from the mainland, which was only a short way off, that Pu-raho and Manawa (heart) went every morning at dawn to perform certain offices of nature at a particular spot where they had dug two holes together for the purpose, it was arranged to plant an ambush near the spot to lie in wait for them. Accordingly, during the night two warriors were sent to secrete themselves in the holes, where, hidden by the cross-beams, they awaited the coming of the doomed men. At break of day the two approached. Pu-raho, being in advance, was the first to turn and sit on the beam, and Manawa was about to do the same when he was startled and prevented by the uprising of the warrior under Pu-raho, who killed that chief by a sudden blow on the back of the head. Manawa immediately fled and escaped to the pa.
The death of Pu-raho convinced Nga-i-tahu of the insecurity of their position at Mo-ioio, and they determined to abandon it and to remove to O-te-kane (O-tane) (the moon twenty-five days old), at the mouth of the Wai-rau (the small kumara of the crop) River, where they built a strongly-fortified pa. As soon as they had provided for the safety of their families they began to take measures for avenging the death of Pu-raho and the women so mercilessly slaughtered by Nga-i-tara.
They first attacked a neighbouring pa, and captured it. Amongst the prisoners was the chief Te-rapa-a-te-kuri (tail of the dog), who was brought by his captors before Maru (screen), in order that Maru might have the satisfaction of putting him to death as utu (payment) for his (Maru's) father and sister. But, contrary to expectation, and to the annoyance and disgust of every one, Maru spared the prisoner's life. Wai-tai (salt water) was so exasperated by his culpable leniency that he immediately withdrew with three hundred followers, and sailed away to the south, and settled for a time at Puke-kura (red hill). On taking his departure he warned those who remained against a leader who would encourage them to attack his enemies and then deprive them of their right to put their captives to death. “I will never again join with Maru,” he said, page 235 “but will fight my enemies where I shall not be interfered with.” Though considerably weakened by the secession of Wai-tai, Nga-i-tahu wished to continue the war, but were opposed by Maru, who, being related to Nga-i-tara, did not like to see them crushed.
While the Nga-i-tahu chiefs were disputing about their future plans, Te-kane (Tane) (the husband) and Tau-hiku (in the rear), in order to silence the cries of their grandchildren for a change of food, went out one day to fish. They had not gone far from the shore when both canoes were enveloped in a fog. The crews could hear the splashing of each other's paddles, but could not see each other. They succeeded, however, in reaching the fishing-ground. Tau-hiku was the first to drop his anchor, and just as Te-kane was about to do the same he became aware that they were being pursued, and that the sound of paddling proceeded from canoes sent after them by Nga-ti-mamoe. Te-kane turned at once and pulled towards the shore, but Tau-hiku was surrounded and taken prisoner. A running fight was then maintained between Te-kane's canoe and Nga-ti-mamoe. The fog prevented the position of affairs being seen from the shore, where Nga-i-tahu were in complete ignorance of the danger their friends were in, though, as the canoes approached the land, sounds of strife reached their ears.
Te-kane, with the help of his nephew, who acted upon his instructions, managed to keep the enemy from coming to close quarters. Te-kane watched his opportunity, whenever they came close enough, to seize the man nearest to him, and jerk him on board his own canoe, and kill him by cleaving his skull; and as his blood spurted out over his comrades they drew back with horror, and gave Te-kane a slight advantage in the race. This was repeated again and again till they got close to the shore, when the fog rose and discovered the combatants to the people of the pa, who were wondering what could cause such a din. Manawa and others ran down to the landing-place, where they saw Tau-hiku, their tohunga lying bound in the bottom of the page 236 Nga-ti-mamoe canoe, which had pursued Te-kane to within a few yards of the beach. The Nga-i-tahu were overwhelmed with grief and alarm, and wailed their last farewell to the old priest who was now doomed to fill the enemy's oven. In acknowledgment of their parting cries he held up two fingers.
Nga-i-tahu were paralyzed by the loss of their wisest tohunga, as there was no one to take his place, or who could read the omens and tell the propitious time for attack, or forewarn them of approaching danger. The chiefs assembled and continued long in anxious consultation. “Have we no one,” they asked, “of the race of Tau-hiku who can enlighten us—one with whom he has left his knowledge?” They called his daughter and questioned her. She advised them to summon Tau-hiku's son Pohatu (Kohatu—stone); but the chiefs ridiculed the idea: he had never displayed any talent, and had from boyhood consorted with slaves in preference to persons of his own rank. “Can such a one as Pohatu enlighten and direct us? His place is in the kitchen beside the cooking-fire. What can the defiled know about sacred things?” Still his sister urged that he should be sent for and questioned. The chiefs took Pohatu, and, having stripped him of his clothes, took him to the water and cleansed him, and performed the ceremonies and chanted the incantations over him to consecrate him and make him tapu. When the ceremonies were completed they asked him what Tau-hiku meant by holding up two fingers. “Two years,” he replied. “You must wait for that time before you attempt to avenge his death, in order that the grass may hide the oven in which he was cooked.”
During this period of forced inaction the Nga-i-tahu were particularly anxious to know what their enemies were doing, and in this they were assisted by a man named Kiti (Kite—see), who was related to both tribes, and who by common consent acted as spy for both. Kiti alarmed the Nga-i-tahu with the reports he brought to them of the formidable page 237 preparations for the coming struggle being made by the Nga-ti-mamoe. Besides the ordinary weapons, they had prepared spears pointed with the barbed and poisonous sting of the ray. As the time approached for commencing hostilities, all hearts were filled with alarm, and as this feeling of dread increased the older chiefs felt that something must be done to counteract it, or their defeat and destruction were certain. They decided, therefore, to take the initiative, and to commence hostilities at once. Maru rose and called upon the veteran warriors, the heroes of former battles, to recount the story of their deeds to inspire the tribe with courage: “Rise up, Te-kane, and tell the people what you achieved at Whanga-nui-a-tara (great harbour of Tara-the harbour of Wellington).” But Te-kane kept his seat, and replied, “Ah! that was accomplished in the midst of thousands supporting me; but here, single-handed, what can I do!” Turning to another, Maru said “Rise up, O Manawa! and tell the story of thy brave deeds at Wai-hao (waters drawn together).” But Manawa only repeated Te-kane's words “They were done amidst supporting thousands.” One after another the heroes were appealed to; but all in vain till Maru turned to Ra-kai-tau-wheke (days of the year in which the octopus is eaten) “Rise, O Wheke!” “Yes,” he said, “I will. Since all these brave men decline, I will force the way—I will charge the foe—I will lead the people on to victory! Rouse thyself, Pohatu! Rouse thyself, O seer! Dig the wells, rear the mounds, that you may see how the tatare (dog-fish) of Tane-moe-hau (he or she who prevents evil by witchcraft) (his mother) will burst the nets.” The bold bearing of Ra-kai-tau-wheke revived the drooping spirits of his tribe; his words inspired them with courage; and the omens given by Pohatu decided Nga-i-tahu to attack the enemy at once. They swarmed up the hill-side that separated them from the pa; but Nga-ti-mamoe were well informed of their movements by Kiti, and before they could reach the top the Nga-ti-mamoe came pouring over the ridge, filling the air page 238 with their yells of defiance, and raining down their spears upon the advancing ranks. Ra-kai-tau-wheke kept well in front, and succeeded in warding off every weapon aimed against him, and finally reached the top of the hill, where he was soon joined by others; and there, by a prodigious display of valour, he completely routed the enemy, who broke and fled in every direction. Tu-te-ure-tira pursued after Tu-matai-ao (Tu who looks for light of day), a Nga-ti-mamoe chief married to a sister of Maru, and would have caught him but for an accident to his foot, which obliged him to give up the chase. As he did so he called out to his flying foe, “It is only this painful foot prevents my overtaking you.” To which the other sneeringly replied, “Are you the one who can catch by morning the moving feet, swift as the raupo swaying in the wind?” “Ah!” said Tu-te-ure-tira, “can you escape by morning the cutting toetoe of Tu-rau-moa (Tu of the swinging leaf)?” No vain boast, as he afterwards proved.
Among those who fell upon this occasion was Kana-te-pu (stare at the priest), who had sadly misread the omens. In his island home at Raki-ura (Rangi-ura) (red heaven) he dreamt that he caught a white crane, which kicked him in the chest while vainly struggling to get free. Interpreting this dream to mean that he was destined to overcome some famous Nga-i-tahu warrior, he went to a stream, chanted incantations and performed ceremonies to bind the omen, then, eager to distinguish himself, summoned his followers and took his departure for the seat of war. In the crisis of the battle, when Ra-kai-tau-wheke was slaying those to the right and left of him with his taiaha, Kana-te-pu, watching his opportunity, sprang upon his shoulders, and held him so firmly that he could not draw his arms back again. He tried in vain to shake Kana-te-pu off, but by a sudden movement of his hands he jerked the point of his weapon against the head of his opponent, and by a violent contortion of his body succeeded in inflicting a mortal wound, and the white crane fell dead at his feet.page 239
But trouble was brewing for Nga-ti-mamoe in a quarter whence it was least expected.
Apoka, whose hatred seemed implacable, resolved to destroy that portion of Nga-ti-mamoe over whom Tu-te-ure-tira ruled. He sent Uhi-kore, clothed in the spoils of Paua, to inform him of his design. As he approached, the garments he wore were recognized by Paua's relations, who bewailed with loud lamentations the sad fate of Paua. Deserted by Tu-te-ure-tira, who returned with Uhi-kore to the camp of his victorious countrymen, and dreading an attack, the Nga-ti-mamoe abandoned the settlements, and fled down the coast towards Kai-koura (crawfish eaten), where they remained undisturbed for years. Having chosen a strong position at Peke-ta (throw by force of the shoulder), on the hill-side at the mouth of the Kahu-tara (rough mat), they built a fortified pa, and, being joined by other sections of the tribe, they were emboldened to attack a fighting-party of the Nga-i-tahu. They succeeded in capturing all the canoes of their enemy but that of Te-kane, which escaped with the loss of the most of the crew. This led to a renewal of hostilities between the two tribes. A battle was fought at O-pokihi (the shoot that has begun to grow), and again on the banks of the Kahu-tara. In both these engagements the Nga-ti-mamoe were defeated. The Nga-ti-mamoe retired within their fortifications, and Nga-i-tahu laid siege, but failed for page 243 many months to effect an entrance. A council of chiefs was then held, at which Ra-kai-tau-wheke proposed to draw the Nga-ti-mamoe out by stratagem. His plan was approved of, and he proposed to carry it out on the following morning. Putting on two feather-mats, and armed with a patu-paraoa (whalebone weapon), before dawn he went to the beach, and, entering the surf, threw himself down and allowed the waves to carry him backwards and forwards, occasionally raising his arm a little that it might appear like a fin. The sentinels of the pa soon took notice of the dark object in the water, which they concluded must be either a seal or a young whale. The cry of “He ika moana! he ika moana!” (“A whale! a whale!”) brought the whole people of the pa to look at the object, and a general rush towards the beach followed, each striving to secure the prize. The pa was so close to the shore that the people did not hesitate to open the gates, and the foremost man plunged into the surf, but before he discovered his mistake the supposed fish rose and struck him a mortal blow. The alarm was immediately given, and the crowd fell back to the stockade, and the scheme failed. Weakened and wearied by the war, the two tribes laid down their arms and made peace, which continued till broken by Manawa's raid on O-mihi (the lament).
The Nga-ti-mamoe at O-mihi were partly ruled by Taki-auau (speak again and again), a Nga-i-tahu, and nephew of Te-rangi-whakaputa (the day of daring), who was related to the Nga-ti-mamoe Tribe on the mother's side. For some reason Manawa attacked the O-mihi people. Having approached the pa with six companions for the purpose of reconnoitring, he caught sight of the Tu-ao-kura (red cloud above), or head-ornament of Ra-kai-momona (day of eating fat things), father of Tuki-auau, who was sitting outside of his house. Manawa hurled a spear in that direction and pierced the old man through the heart, then, without being aware of what he had done, returned to join the main body of his followers, resolving to attack the pa at dawn. Within the pa all was confusion: the death of Ra-kai-momona page 244 produced a panic, and it was decided to evacuate the place during the night; but, in order to conceal their intentions from the enemy, they left fires burning in every house. Manawa (heart or breath), ignorant of what had happened, cautiously approached at dawn to invest the place, but, not seeing any one moving about, he sent scouts to the top of a neighbouring hill from which the pa could be overlooked, who soon returned with intelligence that the place was deserted. Manawa immediately returned to Wai-papa and reported what had happened to Maru, who offered to follow the fugitives and bring them back, his secret reason for doing this being that his Nga-ti-mamoe connections might have an opportunity of avenging Ra-kai-momona's death at some future time. He found Taki-auau at Tutae-putaputa (issuing excrement), where he was preserving his father's head, intending to keep it, according to custom, at one end of his house, where, surrounded by mats, he and his children could look upon it, and imagine the old man was still amongst them. Maru urged Taki-auau not to go any further, but to build his pa where he was, at Pakihi. This he consented to do, and Maru returned home. Not long afterwards a circumstance occurred which indicates the existence of such a curious state of things that it is hard to understand how any tribe could exist when subject to such internal disorders, and where its leading members were animated by such opposite motives.
Maru's daughter Ra-kai-te-kura (day of red clouds) was betrothed in infancy to Te-rangi-tauhunga (the day of waiting), son of Te-rangi-whakaputa: notwithstanding this, with her father's consent she married Tu-a-keka (partially deranged). This so incensed Te-rangi-whakaputa that he went straight to Maru's enclosure and killed one of his servants, Tu-manawa-rua (deceitful), before his face. So gross an outrage could not be patiently borne, and Maru sought the protection of Taki-auau, with whom he remained till Te-rangi-whakaputa, who regretted the absence of a favourite chief, was forced by the page 245 Nga-i-tahu to go and ask him to go back. On his arrival at Pakihi (plain) Maru presented him with a large poha or kelp vessel full of preserved birds, which was called Tohu-raumati (sign of summer). Te-rangi-whakaputa, while accepting it, refused to allow it to be opened, saying, “It shall be for you, Maru, when you return to us.” As soon as Maru reached Wai-papa he proposed, as they had a death to avenge, the poha should be eaten on the war-path. Maru could not kill the man who insulted him, nor any of his people, but he hoped that in fighting the common enemy some of Te-rangi-whakaputa's kin would be killed, and thus payment for his murdered servant and injured honour would be obtained. Nga-i-tahu, always eager for war, responded to his invitation and followed him to the attack of Kura-te-au (red stream), a pa belonging to Nga-i-taka (the fallen). It was taken, and amongst the prisoners was Hine-maka (daughter cast aside), a woman of rank, who was brought to Maru in order that he might put her to death; but, instead of doing so, he gave her in marriage to his son, and when asked the reason for this strange act his reply was, “When my descendants, the offspring of this marriage, are taunted with being slaves on the mother's side, the particulars will be inquired into, and then it will be found that the mother was taken prisoner when the death of my slave was being avenged, so that the memory of my slave's death having been avenged will be better preserved by sparing this woman than by killing her.” It was about this time that Nga-i-tahu had a visit from Te-rangi-tau-neke (year of removal), a celebrated Nga-ti-mamoe chief, who lived at O-hou (plume for the head), near the O-pihi (begin to sprout) River. He came, as the champion of his tribe, for the purpose of challenging Manawa to single combat with spears. But Manawa's friends would not allow him to accept the challenge, fearing that he might be killed. Maru, however, was allowed to take it up, and at the appointed time, in the presence of the assembled warriors, the two chiefs encountered each other. Te-rangi-tau-neke was the first to hurl his spear, page 246 which Maru parried; then Maru, not wishing to kill him, threw his spear in such a manner as to pass between his legs and through his maro (apron). Te-rangi-tau-neke acknowledged himself beaten and returned home, where shortly after he was reported to have been killed at Upoko-pipi (head of cockles), having been surprised by his enemies while sleeping with a woman in the grass outside his pa. His atua matamata (guardian gods), however, came to his rescue and licked up his blood, when he recovered and re-entered the pa, now in his enemies' hands. Having routed them, he set fire to the place and retired with his friends towards the south, where, after many encounters with Nga-i-tahu, he eventually died at Waiho-pai (leave it quietly).
During the peace which followed the taking of Kura-te-au the most friendly intercourse existed between the various sub-tribes. To such an extent did this prevail that Manawa even ventured to visit Taki-auau (knock again and again), whose father he had killed a few years before. The object of the visit was to see the far-famed beauty Te-ahua-rangi (like the heavens), daughter of Tu-whakapau (Tu who consumes), with a view to making at some future time a proposal of marriage on behalf of his son Te-rua-hikihiki (the pit opened again and again). He did not conceal from his own people that he hoped, by means of this marriage, to secure the Nga-ti-mamoe hapu (sub-tribe) to which the beauty belonged as serfs to his son.
The idea amused his followers, who, while employed fastening the side-boards of his canoe preparatory to his departure, could not refrain from joking about the people who were so soon to become their chief's pori (vassals). “Eh! this is a grand idea,” said one. “Ah!” said another, “wait till you have successfully snared the thick-necked bird of Hika-roroa (long friction).” The visit passed off pleasantly, and Manawa was returning home. The people were flocking to the beach side of the pa to wish him good-bye, when Te-rangi-whakaputa (day of daring), hearing some one sobbing, turned round, and, seeing it was Taki-auau, asked, “Are you a woman that you cry?” “No,” said page 247 Taki-auau; “I am only grieving at my brother's departure.” “Beware!” was the reply. “Do not use green flax, but whitau (scraped flax, the fibre). Do not take the foremost nor the hindmost, but the one in the middle—that is, Kopu-para-para (sacred stomach), the star of the year himself. Do not divulge this hint of mine.” The suggestion so treacherously made by Manawa's friend and companion-in-arms was not forgotten, as the sequel will show. Having waited an appropriate time, Manawa returned to Pakihi (plain) to obtain the formal consent of Tu-whakapau to his daughter's marriage with his (Manawa's) son. Accompanied by a hundred followers he approached the pa, and was welcomed with the customary greetings. Amongst his party were Maru's brother and several other of his relations. These were led by Hine-umu-tahi (daughter of the one oven) to her house, while the rest were shown into a large house set apart for their reception. Manawa was the last to enter the pa, and as he bent his head in passing through the low gateway, Taki-auau, who was standing just inside it, struck him a violent blow with a stone axe. Manawa staggered forward, but before he reached his companions received a still more violent blow on the head. Immediately he got into the house the door was closed, and the old chief, after wiping the blood from his face, addressed his men. He said their case was hopeless: caught in a trap and surrounded by overpowering numbers, they must prepare to die. All he desired was that an attempt should be made to convey tidings of their cruel fate to Nga-i-tahu. Many volunteered for the dangerous service. One having been chosen from the number, Manawa, after smearing his forehead with the blood from his own wound, charged him to be brave, and, committing him to the care of his atuas, sent him forth. Hundreds of spears were aimed at the messenger, who fell transfixed before he had advanced a pace. Again and again the attempt to escape was repeated, but in vain. The imprisoned band grew dispirited, and Manawa failed to obtain a ready response to his call for more volunteers. At length Tahua page 248 (property), a youth closely related to him, offered to make a last attempt. The moment was propitious: the enemy, certain of success, guarded the door with less vigilance. Smeared with the blood of the dying chief, and charged with his last message to his family and tribe, Tahua sprang forth. Warding off the spears hurled at him, and evading his pursuers among the houses and enclosures of the pa, he reached the outer fence, over which he climbed in safety, and turned to dash down the hill. But the only path bristled with spears. His enemies were pressing upon him. One chance for life remained. The pa stood on the edge of a cliff: by leaping down upon the beach below he might escape. He made the attempt, and a shout of triumph rose from his foes when they saw his body extended upon the sands; but their rage knew no bounds when he sprang up, and in a loud voice defied them to track the swift feet of the son of Tahu. As he fled along the coast, to allay the suspicions of those whom he met, he said he was returning for something forgotten at the last camping-place, and thus successfully passed on to Wai-papa. The Nga-ti-mamoe proceeded to kill and eat the victims of their treachery.
The Nga-i-tahu were quite unmanned by the startling intelligence brought by Tahua. After Manawa's friendly reception on a previous visit to Pakihi they were unprepared for this act of revenge for the death of Taki-auau's father. They determined to let a year pass before they avenged the death of their chief, fearing a panic if they fought too soon on ground where blood sacred to them had been so recently shed. They preferred waiting till grass had grown over the oven in which Manawa had been cooked, and had hidden all traces of his sad fate. When that time arrived a war-party was summoned, and decided to proceed by sea. All the chiefs except Te-kane were ready on the appointed day, and he was told to follow. Vexed at being left behind, he urged his men to hasten the work of fitting his canoe, and as soon as this was completed he launched forth and sailed in quest of his friends. On the page 249 second day he saw their fires, but, passing by them, landed on a point which served to conceal his canoe, but from which he could watch the Nga-ti-mamoe pa. In the morning, seeing the enemy leaving the shore to fish, he waited till they anchored, and, issuing from his retreat, charged down upon them. He succeeded in capturing one canoe. Having killed all on board except the chief, he sailed back to the place from which he had last seen the fires of his comrades. They had seen him and took him for the enemy, and were not a little surprised when they recognized the very man for whom they were waiting. Seeing he had a prisoner, they called and asked who he was. “Tu-ka-roua (Tu who will be touched with a pole),” replied Kane. “He is my brother-in-law,” shouted Maru, who came running down to the edge of the water, and threw one of his garments over him. The mat of a chief being put on a prisoner taken in war made the prisoner sacred, and no one could take the life of such, as death would be the penalty to him who dared to kill the prisoner. Kane, fearing the life of the prisoner would be spared, stooped down and bit off his right ear and ate it. “Oh! oh!” cried the prisoner. “Aha!” said Kane, “did Manawa cry out when he was struck?” Kane, again stooping down, bit the other ear off. Maru, seeing Kane's determination to retaliate Manawa's death upon the prisoner, reluctantly gave him up to be eaten.
The next day Nga-i-tahu laid siege to Pakihi; but its strong position baffled every effort made to take it. Food failed besiegers and besieged. The Nga-i-tahu were about to retire, when Tu-te-rangi-apiapi (closed up heaven), who was related to some of those in the pa, devised a plan for its destruction. Without divulging his design, he asked permission to visit the Nga-ti-mamoe for the ostensible purpose of offering conditions of peace. He was well received by the besieged, and his visits became frequent and long continued. The Nga-i-tahu grew impatient at the delay, and wanted to know how he was to effect his object. “Wait,” he said, “till a north-wester blows, page 250 and then seize the opportunity afforded to you.” When the wind blew from the desired quarter, Tu-te-rangi-apiapi went as usual and seated himself in the doorway of a kauta (cooking-house) on the windward side, near the lower end of the pa. Having procured one of the long stones with which the women prepared the fern-root, he fastened one end of it to a piece of green flax, and put the other end into a fire; and when the stone was red-hot he watched his opportunity and slung it into the thatch of an adjoining house. A cry of “Fire” soon arose. The unsuspected perpetrator of the deed rushed out to assist the crowds who were trying to extinguish the flames; but in his apparent haste to pull off the burning thatch he threw it in such a manner that the wind might blow it on to the other houses, and in a few moments the whole place was involved in the conflagration. Under cover of the smoke the Nga-i-tahu entered the pa, and a general massacre ensued. Amongst those who fled was Tu-matai-ao (Tu who begged in the day). Tu-te-ure-tira, mindful of his former boast, pursued him, and this time caught him. “Let me live,” said Tu-matai-ao. “Ah!” said Tu-te-ure-tira, “was it not you who said I could not at dawn of day catch the feet which moved like the swift, quivering raupo? Come with me to the camp.” Arrived there, Maru beckoned for Tu-matai-ao to be brought to his side, where he made room for him upon his mat. The poor wretch thought his life was now safe, when, to his dismay, Maru the merciful rose up, and, addressing the tribe, said, “Here, take your food; only take care first to burn off the skin that has nestled beside that of your sister.” Tu-matai-ao (seek for daylight) was seized and put to death and eaten.
Weakened by successive defeats, the Nga-ti-mamoe gradually retired southwards, and we do not hear of their making any very determined stand between the fall of Pakihi, or Pari-whakatau (cliff that echoes), and the great battle on the banks of the Apa-rima (five bodies of workmen) thirty years afterwards, when their forces were completely annihilated, page 251 although constant petty encounters between the two contending tribes continued up to the very last. It was during this interval that the fugitives from Pakihi lived in caves, where traces of their occupation are shown in the rude drawings overlying those of a more ancient date; the reason given for their choosing such temporary shelter being that they thought they were less likely to be attacked, and, if attacked, would be in a better position to escape. Taki-auau, who escaped with his son and a few followers, separated from the main body of fugitives, and went down to the Wai-hora (water spread out) Lake, where he built a pa. While there his son Koroki-whiti (the voice of the bird heard at dawn) made the acquaintance of Haki-te-kura (old mat put on one side), the daughter of Tu-wiri-roa, the chief whose pa stood at the mouth of the Tai-ari (tide on eleventh night of the moon). This maiden, unknown to her friends, used to meet her lover on the sands when the tide was low. These clandestine meetings continued up to the time of Taki-auau's departure further south. Hearing rumours of Nga-i-tahu's movements, he became alarmed, and determined to place himself beyond pursuit. Accordingly he abandoned his pa at Wai-hora, and embarked with his followers in a large war-canoe. As they were passing below her father's pa, Haki-te-kura, eager to join her lover, jumped off the cliff into the water, but in doing so either fell upon a rock or on the edge of the canoe, and was killed. Tu-wiri-roa (stand long trembling), overwhelmed with grief and rage, determined to destroy the man who was the cause of his daughter's death. Waiting for a while to lull suspicion, he followed in Taki-auau's wake, but could not for a long time discover his abode. At length the smoke of a fire on Rakiura Island betrayed his retreat. Tu-wiri-roa concealed himself behind some islets, and waited till a canoe, manned by a number of Taki-auau's people, came out to fish. When they had anchored, and their attention was fixed upon their lines, Tu-wiri-roa bore down upon them and cut off their escape. Taken unawares, without their weapons, the crew were easily page 252 overpowered and put to death, and their companions on shore soon shared the same fate.
It does not appear that Wai-tai (salt water), after separating himself from the main body of Nga-i-tahu, and fixing his residence in the south, was ever as successful in his encounters with Nga-ti-mamoe as were those whom he deserted. Whilst they made a clean sweep of their opponents, driving them steadily down the coast before them, Wai-tai seems to have been content to plant stations here and there amongst Nga-ti-mamoe, without attempting their subjugation. We find him in alliance with Te-rangi-tau-neke, and joining with him in expeditions against Te-rapu-wai or Wai-taha, who were still numerous inland. Thirty years after the conquest of the northern part of the island, Nga-ti-mamoe were still so strong in the south that they threatened the existence of the Nga-i-tahu settlements there.
Amongst the most noted chiefs who followed in Wai-taha's wake was Te-wera, who for a time occupied a strong position at the mouth of the Wai-koua(kua)-iti (water become less) River, and is more distinguished for his achievements against his own tribe in the south than for those against the common enemy. He finally settled at Raki-(Rangi)-ura (red heaven), where he lived principally on seal's flesh, and grew very fat. At the “Neck,” a place called “The Fright of Te Wera” is pointed out, where his first encounter with a morse took place, after which he confessed that he, who never knew what fear was in any battle with men, felt terrified then. On his death-bed he advised his family to return to the main land, “that they might lie on a fragrant bed, and not on a stinking one like his;” an oven, in his estimation, being preferable to a grave.
We now enter on the second period of the Nga-i-tahu occupation, the first having closed with the fall of Pakihi and the dispersion of the Nga-ti-mamoe inhabitants. The Nga-i-tahu now held entire possession of the country from Wai-rau page 253 southwards as far as Wai-hora, and occupied fortified pas here and there throughout the Nga-ti-mamoe country as far south as Raki-ura.
The second period opens with the arrival of a party of young chiefs at Kai-apoi (game of poi—balls), known as the Wharaunga-pu-raho-nui (great body of messengers who are relations), or colonizing noblemen, consisting of the sons of the principal Nga-i-tahu chiefs, some of whom had been brought up in the North Island by their Kahu-ngunu relations. Amongst them were the sons of Tura-kau-tahi. This chief had selected Kai-apoi as his residence, where he established a reputation for hospitality—a virtue which on his death-bed he enjoined his posterity to practise for ever.
These young chiefs ascertained from persons familiar with the physical features of the country the names of the various localities, and proceeded to divide the unallotted part of the country amongst themselves. And their procedure on this occasion is of particular interest, as it serves to illustrate one method by which the Maoris acquired their title to land.
Kaka-po (parrot of the night) skins were at that time highly prized, and every one of the party was desirous to secure a preserve of such birds for himself. As they approached the mountain known as Whata-a-rama (the ladder lit by torchlight), they each claimed a peak of the range. “That is mine,” cried Moki (small black cod), “that my daughter Te-ao-tukia (cloud attacked) may possess a kilt of kaka-po skins to make her fragrant and beautiful.” “That is mine,” cried Tane-tiki (the fetched husband), “that the kaka-po skins may form a kilt for my daughter Hine-mihi (sighing daughter).” “That is mine,” cried Hika-tutae, “that the kaka-po skins may form a girdle for my daughter Kai-ata (eat at dawn).” Moki, one of the party, had his servant with him, who whispered in his ear, “Wait, do not claim anything yet;” and then the man climbed up into a tree. “What are you doing?” said the rest of the party. “Only breaking off the dry branches to light our fires with.” But he was in page 254 reality looking out for the mountain which Tura-kau-tahi (Tura who was swimming alone) had told his master was the place where the kaka-po were most abundant. Presently he espied the far-famed peak. “My mountain is the Kura-tawhiti (the kumara)!” he cried. “Ours!” said Moki. The claim was at once recognized by the other members of the exploring expedition, and Moki's descendants have ever since enjoyed this exclusive right to hunt kaka-po on Kura-ta-whiti.
Hostilities against Nga-ti-mamoe were renewed on the arrival of these young chiefs and the infusion of new blood into the Nga-i-tahu war-counsels. An expedition under the command of Moki was sent in the canoe Maka-whiua (the rope thrown away) against Para-kaka-riki (gum for the little green parrot), on the south-eastern side of the Peninsula. After destroying that pa Moki returned to Koukou-rarata (tame owl), where he landed and proceeded over the hills to Wai-kakahi (water of the Unio), where Tu-te-kawa (Tu the baptized), who killed his grandfather's wives, was still living, though now a very old man. This chief, whose flight south has already been mentioned, settled first at Oko-hana (bowl of red ochre), because eels were plentiful there; but, finding those of Wai-hora were of a better quality, he removed to the shores of that lake, and built a pa at Wai-kakahi, while his son Te-rangi-tamau (good day continued) built another at Tau-mutu (year of scarcity). Surrounded by his allies, and at such a great distance from his enemies, Tu-te-kawa thought himself quite safe; but the avenger of blood was already on his track, and he was doomed to die a violent death. The shadow of Moki's form across his threshold was the first intimation of immediate danger received by the Wai-kakahi people. The old chief, infirm, and helpless, was found coiled up in his mats in a corner of his house; and a natural impulse prompted Moki and his brothers at the last moment to shield their kinsman; but the avenger of blood thrust his spear between them, and plunged it into the old man's body.page 255
Having ascertained that Te-rangi-tamau was away at Tau-mutu, and not knowing what course he might take, Moki gave orders that a watch round the camp should be kept during the night to guard against surprise; but his orders were disregarded. Te-rangi-tamau, whose suspicions were aroused by observing a more than ordinary quantity of smoke rising from the neighbourhood of his father's pa, set off at once for the place, which he reached after dark. Passing through the sleeping warriors, he approached his father's house, and, looking in, saw his wife Puna-hikoia (walk to the water-spring) sitting by the fire. Stepping in, he touched her gently on the shoulder, and, putting his finger to his lips as a signal to keep silence, beckoned her to come outside. There he questioned her about what had happened, and, finding that she and his children had been kindly treated, he told his wife to wake Moki after he was gone, and to give him this message, “Your life was in my hands, but I gave it back to you.” Then, taking off his dog-skin mat, he placed it across Moki's knees, and hurried away to his own stronghold on the hill close by. When Puna-hikoia thought her husband safe from pursuit, she woke Moki and gave him the message. Moki felt the mat, and was convinced the woman spoke the truth. He was greatly mortified at being caught sleeping, as it was always injurious to a warrior's reputation to be discovered off his guard. Issuing from the whare he roused his sleeping followers with the words, which have since become proverbial, “Nga-i-tu-whai-tara mata hori” (“O deaf-eared Tu-whai-tara!”) (or, descendants of Tu-whai-tara—Tu who seeks for the barb—scarred or cut face). The next day negotiations were entered into with Te-rangi-tamau, and peace restored between him and his kinsmen.
Discovery Of Greenstone. (Nga-i-Tahu.)
It is not till the Nga-i-tahu conquests reach Horowhenua (fall of earth) that we hear anything of Nga-ti-wai-rangi (descendants of the demented), the tribe occupying the west page 256 coast, who, like Nga-ti-mamoe and Nga-i-tahu, were descendants of Tura (bald), and crossed over to the South Island almost the same time with them. Hitherto they had been shut off from communication with the east coast by what were thought to be impassable natural barriers of mountains, till a woman named Rau-reka (deceitful) discovered a way through them. Wandering from her home, this woman went up the bed of the Hoki-tika (return direct) River, and then across what is known as Browning's Pass, and thence down to the east coast. There, in the neighbourhood of Horo-whenua (landslip), she found some men engaged in making a canoe, and, taking notice of their tools, remarked how very blunt they were. The men asked if she knew of any better. She replied by taking a little packet from her bosom, which she carefully unfolded, and displayed a sharp fragment of greenstone. This was the first these Natives there had ever seen, and they were so delighted with the discovery that they sent a party immediately over the ranges to fetch some, and it subsequently came into general use for tools and weapons, those made of inferior materials being discarded.
The descendants of Maru-tuahu (Maru of the mounds made) at Hau-raki (north wind) (the Thames) show a hei-tiki (breast-ornament) which they say Maru-tuahu wore when he arrived in New Zealand. It has been handed down from generation to generation, being alternately in possession of his Taranaki and Hau-raki descendants. It is quite possible that traffic in greenstone between Nga-ti-wairangi (descendants of the stupid) and the North Island tribes bordering on Cook Strait may have been in existence for many years before it became known to Nga-i-tahu.
The discovery of greenstone brought Nga-ti-wairangi into collision with Nga-i-tahu, and blood was shed. To avenge this, Tura-kau-tahi (Tura who swam alone) asked Te-rangi-tamau (day of the fastening) to undertake the command of an expedition, which he accepted. The route chosen was up the Ra-kaia (day of theft), with which locality Te-rangi-tamau was familiar. Somewhere between Kani-eri (dance before a screen) page 257 and Koka-tahi (one mother) he fell in with Te-ue-ka-nuka (trembling with deceit) —a chief celebrated as much for his enormous size as for his great courage—whom he killed. Having accomplished his object Te-rangi-tamau returned. The next expedition was attended with very disastrous results to Te-rangi-tamau, he being defeated by Nga-ti-wairangi at Ma-hina-pua (foaming wave of the grey crest), where Tane-tiki (man or husband whom some one went to bring), Tu-te-piri-rangi (Tu who adhered to heaven), and Tutae-maro (hard excrement) were slain; the survivors with difficulty effecting their retreat.
To avenge this loss a third expedition was sent under—the command of Moki (king-fish) and Maka (barracouta), who defeated Nga-ti-wairangi at O-tuku-whakaoka (given up to be stabbed).
The struggle between the two tribes continued till within the last fifty years, when Tuhuru (stand in a dog-skin mat) and his brother Te-pare (the plume for the head) overcame Nga-ti-wairangi at the battle of Papa-roa (long flat), and, assisted by Te-ao-whakamaru (day of power) and Puku (stomach), completed their destruction. The present residents on the coast are Nga-i-tahu.
Raid On The South. (Nga-i-Tahu.)
The sons of Tura-kau-tahi, who were eager to emulate the brave deeds of the Ha-taitai warriors, determined to follow up their successes and complete the conquest of the Nga-ti-mamoe. They planned a raid on the South, and Kawe-riri (continued anger) was placed in chief command. On crossing the Wai-taki(tangi) (noisy water) the force divided into two parts, one proceeding by an inland road, the other along the coast. By this manoeuvre they succeeded in driving those of the Nga-ti-mamoe who were not in alliance with Nga-i-tahu hapus before them till they reached Apa-rima (company of five), where, at Tarahau-kapiti (gorge of the rough mat), or Wai-tara-mea (creek of the tara-mea plant—Aciphylla squarrosa), they were page 258 brought to bay. Both sides displayed the greatest courage, and for awhile the issue of this struggle was uncertain. To the consternation of Nga-i-tahu, their leader and foremost warrior, Kawe-riri, was mortally wounded by Tu-te-makohu (Tu of the slight mist), and for a moment they wavered; but, observing that they rallied again, that chief, dreading the consequences of his deed, retired from the field; but he was observed and pursued by a young warrior, Te-mai-werohia (he who pierces), who thought to earn a reputation by avenging the death of his leader. Hearing the sound of footsteps Tu-te-makohu turned and asked who was following him. On hearing the name, and recognizing it, he asked whether his pursuer was the son of Kiri-teka-teka (deceitful skin) (a relative of his own married to a Nga-i-tahu). When told he was he said, “Turn back, lest you fall by the hand of your mother's kinsman.” In the meantime Para-kiore (skin of a rat), having recovered from the shock produced by his brother's death, was now in hot pursuit of Tu-te-makohu, and this parley afforded the opportunity of overtaking him. The fugitive was making his way up a steep hill-side, and already heard the hard, quick breathing of his pursuer, when he invoked the aid of his atua, who caused a friendly mist to descend and hide him from the sight of his pursuer. Nga-ti-mamoe, being defeated, retired some miles up the river, where they took up a fortified position, and, being still superior to their assailants in number, hoped to make a successful stand. But their hopes were doomed to disappointment, for in a few days they were again attacked, and, after a desperate resistance, defeated with great slaughter at Te-iho-ka (the power or priest burnt), where till quite recently the bleaching bones witnessed to the numbers of the slain. The few who escaped fled into the forests towards the west, across the Lake Te-anau (seek or wander).
Those portions of the tribe scattered along the coast from O-takou (sacred red ochre) to the sounds were in the course of a few years destroyed or absorbed into the Nga-i-tahu; and the page 259 Nga-ti-mamoe, as a distinct and independent tribe, may be said to have perished at Te-iho-ka. Those in alliance with Nga-i-tahu were still numerous, but their position was felt to be so insecure that on the return of Tura-kau-tahi's sons from their successful raid Te-rangi-ihia (the day of dread), a noted Nga-ti-mamoe chief residing at Matau (hook), determined to proceed to Kai-a-poi (game with the poi-balls), and make lasting terms of peace with the conquerors. He was kindly received; and to cement the treaty then made, Hine-hakiri (daughter who hears indistinctly), one of the ruling family of Nga-i-tahu, was given to him in marriage, and his own sister, Kohi-wai (collect water), was married to Hone-kai (plunder food), son of Te-hau (the wind). Rangi-ihia resided with his wife's relations till after the birth of his son Pari (cliff), when they advised him to return, as it was their wish to embody Rangi-ihia's hapu with their own and to make the boy chief of both. Te-hau and Tura-kau-tahi's sons escorted Rangi-ihia to the south. On reaching home he was shocked to see one of his sisters cooking food like a common slave. When leaving her behind he had taken care to provide such attendance as befitted her rank, and he could not account for her being reduced to such straits as to be obliged to cook her food. Suppressing his indignation till nightfall, he took the opportunity when all was quiet of asking her why she had so demeaned herself. She told him that after he left her maids married and deserted her. Seizing his weapons, Rangi-ihia, having ascertained where they were to be found, went to the house occupied by the runaways and killed both the women. As he turned his back to go out again, one of the husbands drove a spear into his shoulder, the point breaking off against the bone. On reaching his own whare (house) Te-hau pulled this out with his teeth, and applied a toetoe (Arundo conspicua) plaster to the wound. While Rangi-ihia was recovering he unfortunately sneered at the weakness of the arm which had struck him. He said, “Had it been my own, the thrust would have been fatal.” This coming to the ears of the injured men, page 260 they scraped the end of the spear and got off the dry blood which had adhered to it, and, by performing incantations over the blood and spear, produced symptoms of madness in Rangi-ihia, who shortly afterwards died. Before his death he turned to his friend Te-hau and said, “When I am gone do not let my brothers live: they are bitter men, and will slay my children.” It was at O-te-poti (food in the little basket) where he was being treated for his wound and died. His brothers and their people were camped at a short distance, at the other end of the bay. One day, on calling out to ask how the patient was, their suspicions were aroused by the way in which the answer was given. The person replying said, “He is—,” and then paused suddenly as if being remonstrated with, finishing the sentence by saying, “gone with his wife and children.” Nga-ti-mamoe entered the Nga-i-tahu camp shortly after, when Te-hau, mindful of the dying chief's charge, fell upon his brothers, Tai-hua (full tide) and Te-rangi-amohia (day on which a charge or rush was made), and killed them. Te-rangi-ihia was buried, in accordance with his own desire, on the peak Te-raka-a-runga-te-raki (the company of the heaven), “that his spirit might see from thence his old haunts to the southward.” His wife and children were sent back to their friends in the north, while Te-hau took up his quarters at Puke-kura (red hill).
Many years after Rangi-ihia's death his bones were carried down by a landslip to the beach, where, being picked up by a Nga-i-tahu, he made a fish-hook of one, and when using it made some insolent remark about the old man on the hill holding the hapuku well. A Nga-ti-mamoe who was present on the fishing-excursion reported the words to his companions, who remarked, “The two brothers died in open fight, but this man has been dishonoured after death, and the insult must be avenged.” An opportunity occurred shortly after for accomplishing their meditated act of retaliation. A party had been sent from Puke-kura to Rau-one (leaf on the sand) to collect fern-root. There page 261 Tane-toro-tika (husband following straight on), son of Taoka (Toanga—the dragged), and grandson of Manawa (heart), a young chief of very high rank, was surprised and taken prisoner. On being carried to the presence of Te-maui (the left hand), that chief, seeing him, said, “This comb-fastening is equal to that comb-fastening” (d), and thereupon killed him. Tai-kawa (filth-pit), a Nga-i-tahu warrior, immediately after the deed, came upon the band of Nga-ti-mamoe, and asked what had become of the prisoner. When told they had killed him, he said, “You have done foolishly, for not one of you will now be spared: you will be banished to the haunts of the moho (Notornis mantelli), and in the depths of the forest will be your only safety.”
This threat was soon after carried into effect by Te-hau, who, after a series of engagements, drove the remnants of Nga-ti-mamoe into the dense forests that cover the south-western coast, where further pursuit was useless. Traces of these fugitives have been met with up to a very recent date.
About fifty years ago Te-rimu-rapa (an edible sea-weed), while on his way to plunder a sealing-station, discovered a woman who called herself Tu-ai-te-kura (the plume standing). Finding that she was a Nga-ti-mamoe, he killed and devoured her on the spot. About six years afterwards Te-waewae (the foot) surprised two men while he was out eel-spearing near Apa-rima (a company of five), but they escaped before he could catch them. In 1842 a sealing-party, while pulling up one of the sounds, observed smoke issuing from the face of a cliff. Climbing to the spot they found a cave evidently just deserted. It was portioned across the middle, the inner part being used as a sleeping-place, the outer for cooking. They found a handsome feather-mat, a patu-paraoa (whalebone), some fish-hooks, and some flax baskets in process of making. An attempt was made to pursue the late inmates, but was abandoned, for the undergrowth in the forest was so dense, and the paths so page 262 numerous, that the pursuers were afraid of being lost in the maze or falling into an ambuscade; they therefore returned to the boat, carrying with them the articles they had found in the cave. These were exhibited at O-takou, the Peninsula, and Kai-a-poi. The mat was sent to O-taki (following), and the patu-paraoa was eventually given to the Rev. S. W. Stack by Te-muru (the daubed), an old chief at Port Levy.
Aperahama Hu-toitoi (lift the clothing up), of Nga-whakaputaputa (the challenger), affirms that four years ago, when sealing in the sounds, he saw smoke in the distance, and, visiting the spot the next day, observed the footprints of several persons on the sands, evidently Maoris from the shape of the feet.
Having suffered so cruelly from Nga-i-tahu, the survivors of the persecuted tribe seem to be always in a state of flight, imagining that their ancient foes are still in pursuit. Though the country has of late years been well explored by “prospecting” parties without any people being found, it is just possible that a small remnant may still be secreted in the recesses of that inaccessible region.
No sooner were they freed from anxiety about the common foe (the Nga-ti-mamoe) than old feuds revived, and fresh quarrels broke out between the different hapus and sections of hapus of the Nga-i-tahu, till the whole country presented such a scene of anarchy and strife that it is hardly possible to give a connected account of the innumerable petty contests which took place at this period.
One event which occurred on the Peninsula, and which is almost comic in its ghastliness, will serve as a specimen of the warfare in those times. Nga-ti-wairua (the spirits) and Nga-i-tu-whaitara (the descendants of Tu who possessed a dart) being involved in a quarrel, Te-wera (the burnt) took up the cause of the Nga-ti-wairua and in the fight at Tara-ka-hina-a-tea (bent dart of Tea) killed Kiri-mahinahina (white skin). This man was tohunga who taught history incorrectly. It was he who told the younger Tura-kau-tahi that Tiki made man, whilst the fathers page 263 had always said that it was Io. Te-wera adopted a novel method of preventing his teaching surviving him, or his spirit escaping and perverting the mind of any other tohunga. Having made an oven capable of containing the entire body, he carefully plugged the mouth, nose, ears, and rectum, and then cooked and ate the heretical teacher.
The history of Nga-i-tahu from this period till the taking of Kai-a-poi by Te-rau-paraha (the paraha-leaf) in 1827 is but a repetition on a smaller scale amongst themselves of the scenes enacted by the Nga-i-tahu during their struggle with Nga-ti-mamoe.