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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions. Nga-Puhi [Vol. X, English]

Chapter IX

Chapter IX

Speak evil of o Tutara-ruarangi-mamao
Still slander in the Kai-whare district,
Because of fear of war
In dread of great war party
As terror like a clammy cold
Chills all my frame, and skin
That oft was slashed by shell
And cut in grief or peak
Of hill at Tauranga
I ask is that wife true
Who urges to migrate
As were the words of
Marama-rua spoken
When you were far
Behind me in the day

page (B No.3 White)(136)

War of Ngapuhi in the South

The names of the head chief of the Ngapuhi who went to the south to war were Te Karu, of Te Roroa tribe, Rori, Rangatira Moetara, Taoho, and his son a toa Tuwhare.

We once went to fight at Whanganui, Nene was in the party, this is why he is so suspicious of the natives of the south now, 1850.

When we got to Otaki we saw a place where whales come on shore as we saw great heaps of bones below the place called Pae-kaka-riki, we got a whale whilst we were there.

From Whangaehu, we went on to Manawatu, and Otaki and Porirua, and to Kapiti the bird Kotuku is seen at Porirua in a small River there, we took a few kainga at this place but not any Pa, we caught the people in their kainga where they were cultivating.

This Island is called Te Ika a Maui and the bay which forms the harbour of Port Nicholson is the Karu matau of this fish, and Wai-rarapa is the Karu maui. On the west coast and on the North of Port Nicholson is a lot of stones in a half circle which stones are called Te Tangihanga a Kupe, these stones are in a circle, in the same way as a party at a tangi sit, these stones are said to be those men and women who had a tangi there and were turned into stone.

At Kari-kawa we saw a vessel out on the sea, and we lit fires on the hill tops to attract her to us, but she did not take any notice of our fires, if she had come we would not have harmed any one on board, and if they had asked us what we were doing we should have told them killing men.

When we were at Port Nicholson we lived on the sandy beach at Pipi-tea, our party divided into two parties one stayed at Pipi-tea, and the other went over land to the coast on the Straits. The party who went (to Island Bay) were all killed in the night but this party consisted of all of our young men, who were tired of the cautious and slow way that the old warriors went. One chief of our party with his men went after those who had killed these young fellows, with him was also his daughter who was a Puhi to a chief at Hokianga. This man and his Hapu and daughter were page (B No.3 White)(137)also killed by those who killed the young men, on this account we went on from Port Nicholson to Wairarapa to seek utu for this girl and her father, we went in our canoes to the mouth of the Wairarapa River, this River is said to be shut up in summer by the fish of the sea going close to the mouth and there staying, but in winter the fresh water coming out drives them back into the sea. Up this River we went in aid of the prisoners we took who were our guides, these were members of Hapus of the generic Ngatikahu ngunu Tribe who had been caught by us at other places, these people fight better and with more determination and were more fierce than our people, this they did to be revenged for them being taken prisoners, we went up this River and came at last to a Pa where the River was fifteen kumi across (300 yards) in the midst of the River was a Raupo bank, below the Pa was a piece of stick stuck up with a bunch of fern and other stuff tied onto it, this was a makutu for us, but we would have cooked our food with it if we had not had better things to do, when we first came to the landing place where the people of the Pa landed, a lot of the natives of the Pa came out and challenged us (taki) but when they wheeled round to return they did it with a 'Huri Koaro" that is they turned to the left, and not to the right, this was of course an evil omen for them, our party landed in the Raupo bank and slept there all night, it was winter and our teeth chattered with cold, in number we were with slaves and all about 100 people. In the morning we separated each Hapu by itself Te Rauparaha was with us, and all the men in each Hapu sat in a line by themselves, the Priest of each Hapu took a branch of Karamu and dipped it into the water, and whilst he repeated a Karakia "Kia maia ai te taua" (to make the war party brave):

Charmed power, to fall
Charmed power to lay
Charmed power to rise
Exhausting settles down (on you)
Weariness settles down (on you)
And the breath of dread
And of Tu (god of war)
O Tu lift (him) up

he struck the right shoulder of each man with the branch, if any leaf or any part of the branch broke when he struck any one, the person would be killed in the ensuing battle. When the ceremony was being performed by us, the people of the Pa were throwing sticks and Kopene at us, we got into our canoes and pulled a little page (B No.3 White)(138)further up the river, where we were attacked before we landed but having guns we shot many of these who attacked us, and we landed, the guns so frightened those we were fighting with that they ran off to the Pa, we gave chase, they faced about and again fought, we gave way and some of our party were killed, we again faced about and they ran and we followed and got into the Pa with them, most of the people took to the forest and left us to kill those who could not escape, we took many slave, we made the slave women Haro Muka and we plaited it into their long hair so that we had a rope to each woman, thus we led them about where ever we went, but nearly all of them got away as they cut the ropes with shells, how they got the shells no one knew but they got off, for the men and girls we built fences like those we keep dogs in and then kept these, but these also escaped by digging holes in the side and creeping out.

From this we went on to Wairua, being guided by our slaves, we went up the country and came out on the back of the Pa, they had kopekoped the Pa that is tied flax up all round the outer palisading, so we told the people of the Pa we had come to bring them guns, and 30 of our men went up to the Pa each with a present, in return those of the Pa came to meet us at our encampment, and to take the good things of a feast we made, at a given signal given by one of our chiefs Te Rauparaha as we with these people were sitting eating the feast our men rose and killed his next companion, we then rushed to the Pa and took it, we thought we had taken sufficient utu for the girl and her father, from there we returned to Whanganui, where we found a new Pa built since we had passed through that place, this we stormed and took, on we came to Taranaki, and at Kaipara we were put over the heads by the Ngatiwhatua people.

page (139)

Nga-Puhi War on Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu
& Nga-ti-porou


After Hongi had taken the Pa at the mouth of Waima, a deputation from the Thames tribes arrived in the Bay of Islands to offer to assist the Ngapuhi to go and make war on Ngatiporou in utu for Ngapuhi people killed by that tribe.

The chiefs of the deputation were Takanini and Te whata.

The taua started from the south and was two years away, joined in by Ngatimaru and Ngatiawa.

The Pas taken were Maraenui, beyond Opotiki, Awatere at Wharekahika, the East Cape, and Waiapu, in all eight Pas were taken.

page (140)

Attack on Toka-kuku Pa

Two of the members of the Whakatohea tribe had been killed and eaten by the Toka-akuku people, and in retaliation the Whakatohea tribe started in five canoes going along the sea shore, where they were joined by canoes of other tribes who wished to join in the war, in all this war party consisted of about 20 canoes, they pulled along the coast in the dark and landed just before dawn of day and pulled their canoes up on the beach out of sight page (B No.1 White)(141)and with water in calabashes poured the water on the foot prints in the sand to erase any mark.

This was a taua hiku toto, and not any females were allowed to go with it,

They were many weeks on this journey from where they started till they arrived near to the Toka-akuku Pa which is situated on the sea coast.

At times when they arrived at any settlement where they were friendly with the tribe they stayed a few days at each of such settlements when they arrived within three days journey from the Toka a kuku Pa they made very deep holes for the umu in which to cook. This was always done in the night so that the fire of the umu could not be seen, and as soon as used all the embers and stones and leaves used for retao were put into the hole and being so deep all traces of having been used to cook were hidden.

Not any movement was made in the day time, but all travelled in the canoes in the dark, not a word was uttered in the canoes when on the journey, at last when they arrived near to the Pa to be attacked they landed in the dark in a small bay, and dragged all the canoes up on the beach and into the scrub, taking the rapa and tauihu down of each canoe, and as they completed the work of hiding the canoes, a party behind them with calabashes of water erased the foot marks in the sand by pouring water on them.

Having seen a small Pa on a point they at once attacked it and killed all who were in it, about twenty, men and their wives and some young people, some of the people of this Pa had gone to the Big Pa Toka akuku. These 20 they eat, but all the people of the taua did not eat of the flesh of these 20. The Tawera people, or the men of that tribe were tapu, as one of the gods had told the Priest of the Tawera tribe that his people should not eat of human flesh on that expedition. The Whakatohea tribe and the other tribes who had joined the war party alone eat of the killed, but all of these had not the opportunity as the bodies of the 20 killed was not sufficient to allow of each of the war party to have a little, as they were so numerous, these twenty page (B No.1 White)(142)bodies were cooked and eaten at once, and in the same night the war party went and laid in ambush the rest of the night not far from the Pa Toka-a-kuku, and as soon as day dawned they went by slow degrees up to the Pa.

A taua hiku toto, that is a taua rapu utu is the first taua against a tribe against whom vengeance must be taken, and such taua is tapu and will not attack a pa or kainga till they have been seen by those whom they intend to attack; as they took some time to come within sight of the Pa where they might be seen by those in the Pa, it had become near to mid-day when a number of the people of the Pa had gone out of the Pa and were then busy in taking the weeds out of the kumara plantations, these people were seen by the taua, but the old warriors had not heard them, but went on in a compact body straight up towards the Pa, leaving those who were in the kumara plantations to be attacked and killed by the young men of the taua, by these who had not before been in battle, these did their work, and whilst the screams of these were being echoed in the valley below the sound of whose death cries were ringing in the ears of those in the Pa, the voices of the old warriors joined in with a bold cry as they rushed up the slope in which the Pa stood, though such a scream of death and the vengeful hurrah of the advancing warriors cowered the hearts of the young in the Pa, the brave ones stood their ground without fear, the taua were received with a calm and determined stand, the taua not expecting such a reception, with a feigned appearance of cowardice withdrew as though they were running away, and came down the slope in quick haste, this gave those in the pa who had become terrified a respite and they with glee joined the warriors of the Pa and all rushed out and followed the retreating taua down on to the level ground, the taua having thus drawn the people of the Pa out of their stronghold, turned face and smote the now bewildered people who in fleeing back to their Pa were followed so closely that the taua entered with the people, and page (B No.1 White)(143)a indiscriminate slaughter took place within the stockade, where not any age or sex were spared, but on the marae of their own Pa most of the old and young were dragged by the most powerful of the taua and then killed by blows from the mere.

In the dawn of day before the taua had been seen, and at the time those who had gone to weed the kumara plantation others of the men of the Pa had gone out to sea in their canoes to fish, as these were so distant and as the battle had come on the Pa with such surprise not any of the Pa had made a signal to those at sea.

So soon as all in the Pa had been killed and those taken slaves had been captured and tied some of the taua made a long torch with dried brush wood, going out of the Pa on to the highest point they lit the torch and waved it up and down, the smoke of this attracted the attention of those at sea who taking up their anchors came in for shore, two of the tribes of the taua laid in ambush one on the right and the other on the left near the beach in the scrub where the fishermen would land, the canoes came on and on and landed, as all was still in the Pa, and as it was sufficient distance not to discern the faces of those who might be seen walking about near the stockade of the Pa, these fishermen not having seen anything to arouse their suspicion hauled up their canoes on to the beach in places safe from the breakers of the coast, then each one took the fish he or she had caught, some one some six, and some more, in a body walked up towards the Pa, so soon as they were in the trap the ambushers rose and surrounded them when all save ten men escaped in a canoe which was a light one these ten in the melee got her out in the surf and hid in a cave, all the rest fell by the hands of the taua, whose bodies were cut up on the beach and the bodies taken up to the Pa, the heads and intestines left on the beach for the sea gull to eat.

On the evening of that day some of the young men of the taua in exploring the vicinity of the Pa on the coast found the ten men in a cave where they were all killed and eaten.

The children taken in the Pa were caught by the taua and being held by the legs with a swing in the air their heads were dashed to the ground and killed, the heads of these were page (B No.1 White)(144)cut off and the bowels taken out, and in some cases 2, 3 and even 6 were together put into a basket and cooked in a umu in one group.

The young women were kept as slaves, and as wives for the taua, whose hair was plaited into flax, which like a rope became part of the hair, these were tied to the arms of the owners whilst they slept thus keeping a strict guard over them. The fishing hooks of those who had been out to sea were discovered to be made of human bone, so that the fish caught by them were not touched for fear that some of the bones of the two men for whose death this war was undertaken might be some of those on the hooks, and to eat the fish caught with such would cause death to the relatives of those two if such relatives were to eat of these fish.

When the Pa was entered by the taua and the slaughter commenced, it being on a cliff some in attempting to escape fell down the cliff and were knocked to pieces.

When all was over and before any human flesh of those killed in the Pa could be eaten, the hearts of two of the highest in rank (a man and a woman of the Pa) were cooked for the Priest, these were cooked by the Priests of junior rank for the highest Priest as an offering hau to Tu, when these hearts were cooked, the high Priest took each one in his hand, the man's heart in his right hand, and the woman's in his left hand, he held them up waving his hands up and down before him he repeats as with a loud voice, as he could make: page (145)

There is the pit (to commemorate an act)
Of Rua-te-po, of Rua-te-ao
Of Rua-te-wha-tonga
The pit of the upheaving earth
Of the upheaving sky of the giddy
Of the pale brain, and of these
Who are sent down to the world of darkness
Of The-fish (corpses) sent to the world of spirits
They are The-fish, which have been cut up.
The-fish which have been cut in strips
The-fish which have been cut in lines
The-fish which have been broken to pieces.
Give up the fish of Itu-paoa
Give up the fish of Hanga-roa
Give up the fish of Rongo-mai
A-fish to cut in lines
A-fish to cut in strips
A-fish to break in pieces
A-fish to cut into pieces
The-fish of the gods
The-fish of the Elders,
The-fish of the Priests
The-fish of the flock of goblins
Of the flock of the Priests
For this son (the war party)
For this disciple (for all the people).

page (146)

When he had repeated this he held the two hearts up as high as his arms could stretch he said "o - i, e, taumaha atu na e" (o - i - e there is the offering then to all the gods), he then sat down and with his left hand held the hearts, and eat them, this done, the bodies of all the slain could be cooked and eaten by the tribe.

They stayed at this Pa for about six weeks, and for fear of some relative tribe of the Tokakuku people the taua occupied the Pa all the time occupying the huts and eating the kumara, taro, dried fish and Roi, with the bodies of those who had collected these things.

page (147)

Those in the Pa who were killed and were relatives of any of the taua, the bodies of these were collected by such relatives and carefully taken apart from the Pa and burnt, before these bodies were burnt those related to any collected round such corpses and held a tangi which being over the body was burnt to ashes this was done to prevent the bones of such being taken and used by any one as fish hooks bird spears or food fork by an enemy.