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

Chapter XXI

Chapter XXI

Life of Ihaka Whanga and wars in his time
and Nga-puhi


The father of Ihaka Whanga was treacherously slain at Mahia by the Whakatohea tribe, a people

Extract from "Te Waka Maori O Niu Tirani"

page (314) (164 English)

residing at Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty; his name was Te Ratau. They were instigated to this act of treachery by Tukareaha—a relation of Te Ratau, and a chief of the Nuhaka people south of Te Mahia, at which place he resides at the present time. This man, jealous of the power and influence of Te Ratau, determined to put him out of the way. Proceeding to the Bay of Plenty, the residence of his wife's relations, he returned with a chosen band of warriors to the Mahia. The people of Te Ratau, in the meantime, having heard of the threatened attack, had entrenched themselves in a fortified pa at Table Cape. The attacking party, finding no one at the Mahia, halted to deliberate upon the best means of getting Te Ratau into their power. A messenger was sent to Table Cape to assure him of their peaceable intentions, and to request him to come and see them, so that they might be assured of his good feeling towards them. The old man, depending upon their good faith, and the presence of his relative, Tukareaha, came to see them, unattended by any of his people. He was received with all seeming respect, and led into an enclosure erected for the purpose; the usual forms of welcome were gone through; food was placed before him, as if in mockery, whilst the oven was being heated in which his body was to be cooked; when, suddenly, whilst in the act of rubbing noses with one of his enemies, he was seized by the hair of the head and a blow or two of a paraoa (a whalebone weapon) settled the business. He was spared the pain and indignity of being himself made to collect fuel to heat the oven in which he was to be cooked, as was sometimes done when they wished to add insult to injury. The chief Tu-kare-aha in consequence of the part he had taken in this affair, returned with his friends, the Whakatohea, to their country; and subsequently he took up his residence among the Ngapuhi, in the Bay of Islands. His father's life being sought by Te Ratau's people as utu, he attempted to follow his son with 100 followers; he was waylaid, however, by the Turanga Natives, and himself, and some fifty of his followers, were slain in retaliation for the murder of the Ratau. His name was Tamawheti. The Matenga himself kept out of the way until Christianity was introduced, when he returned as a teacher and was received, if not with cordiality, at least with forbearance and forgiveness. Subsequently, finding himself secure, his religious fervour somewhat abated, and he is now content to be simply Tu-kare-aha the Maori rangatira as of old.

In those days of strife and violence, when every man was an experienced warrior, and when one tribe lived in a manner by preying upon another, fierce battles were matters of constant occurrence; and there is hardly a hill or a gully in the whole district, particularly on the coast line, which has not been the site of some hard-fought batrtle where many a bold warrior breathed his last bravely struggling in defence of his birth-right against the hordes of ruthless Waikatos and others by which the district was overrun before its inhabitants were able to procure fire-arms for their defence. We might, therefore, relate many a story of adventure and danger in which Ihaka Whanga bore a part; but we must content ourselves with one only.

On the north side of the Mahia Peninsula is to be seen the site of an old pa called the Pa Kai uku (clay-eating pa)—a place of peculiar interest to the Natives of the district from its having been the scene of a long siege by the Waikatos. About the year 1830 the principal portion of the Natives of the peninsula were concentrated at this pa, Kai Uku.

Extract from "Te Waka Maori O Niu Tirani"

page (315) (165 English)

The Waikatos at that time came down by way of Taupo in several parties against the Ngatikahungunus, seeking revenge for the death of Te Arawai, one of their chiefs killed in a previous encounter with the people of Heretaunga, or Ahuriri. They besieged Te Pakake pa at the entrance of the Ahuriri, or Napier Harbour, and took it, slaughtering many of its defenders and taking others prisoners. Among the latter were Hapuku, Te Moananui, Karaitiana Takamoana and Tiaki Tai, all of whom were marched off for the Waikato country under charge of a strong party. Te Hapuku, however, escaped on the road, somewhere in the vicinity of Tarawera, and returned to Ahuriri. Tiaki Tai was afterwards drowned, together with some twenty or thirty others, on a passage from Ahuriri to Turanga. After the fall of Te Pakake the war party proceeded along the coast to the Wairoa, where they were joined by another party of Waikatos which had approached the coast by another route. The whole party then, in conjunction with the Ureweras (who joined the enemy to save themselves), attacked the people of Ngarangimataeo of the Wairoa, killing many and taking a number prisoners—Ngarangimataeo himself with a considerable number of his people escaped. The chiefs Pitiera Kopu and Henara Te Apatari, also all the Natives of the lower part of the Wairoa River, together with those located along the coast extending to the Mahia, amounting to probably 2,000 men, had previously mustered at the Kai Uku pa, from information received of the approach of the Waikatos. Ihaka Whanga, also Puhara, a late chief of the Whatuiapiti tribe, well known to the early settlers of Te Ahuriri, were among the tribes collected at Kai Uku at this time. Ngarangimataeo and his people had been induced to remain at the Wairoa, from the assertions of an old magician named "Mohaka" that the approaching Waikatos would be "food for the dogs," and they suffered in consequence, as related above. After consummating the work of slaughter and devastation at the Wairoa, the enemy approached Kai Uku and sat down before it in the summer season. For two months and a half they closely invested the place, but without any decided success. The besieged held out bravely, and many feats of individual prowess were performed on both sides. The defenders of the pa were only able to muster about thirty guns all told, whilst the Waikatos were well supplied with arms procured from European traders in their own country. At the expiration of a month the provisions of the besieged began to fall short, and at the end of two months they were all but totally consumed. At this time the only persons who were supplied with any food at all were those who possessed guns, and the scanty stock of provision remaining was carefully husbanded for their use, lest, weakened and exhausted by hunger, they should be unable to keep the necessary watch against the approach of the enemy, And well did these men perform the duties expected of them. Not a Waikato could show himself without attracting a shower of bullets. Night and day the defenders were on the alert, and a most vigilant look-out was kept. The fortunate possessors of the guns were of the Ngapuhi tribe, a party of whom had previously settled in that part of the country commanded by Te-wera, and were allies of the Ngatikahungunus. The besieged at length, being in great distress from the want of food, and reduced to mere skeletons, resorted as a last resource to a most novel expedient to support life. The side of the pa facing the beach was clear of the enemy, there being no shelter to protect them from the fire of the defenders of the pa. On that side, therefore, they dug away the bank until the blue clay of which the

Extract from "Te Waka Maori O Niu Tirani"

page (316) (166 English)

(see 166 A, B, C & D English)

cliffs of the coast are composed was laid bare. This they dug up and used as food, mixing it with water until of the consistency of thick mud, and then boiling it in the same manner as they now prepare ………., or flour and water. It is most astonishing that life could be sustained by such a means, unless indeed this clay contains some nutritious vegetable deposit. This hard fare was occasionally varied and improved by the capture of a good fat Waikato or two, who had been feeding on the cultivations of the beseiged; and no doubt life was principally sustained by this means and the little fern-root they were enabled to procure by sorties from the pa. The patience of the enemy being at length exhausted, and having lost several of their men, they decamped by night, and the worn-out garrison were enabled to procure some kumaras (sweet potatoes), which were just coming into season. In allusion to the strait to which they were reduced in this pa, the loyal Natives used to say, during the period of the Hau Hau troubles, that "The Waikatos gave them clay, but the Queen gave them flour."

In this war party of the Waikatos there was a white man, called "John" by the Natives who was in the habit of going into the pa to gossip with the besieged. Several also of the Waikato chiefs at various times entered the pa on a pretence of making peace, and tried to induce Te Wera (a Ngapuhi chief) to come out with them; he was however, restrained from doing so by his friends, who advocated eating the messengers. To this he objected, and they were allowed to depart unmolested. Considering the starving and desperate condition of these people, a people too whose common food in times of war was "man," this was an instance of forbearance seldom equalled in savage life—more especially as they were well aware that treachery was intended by the Waikatos.

During the siege Te Kani-o-takirau came from Turanga with his people (the Hauiti and Rongowhakaata tribes) to the relief of the beleagured pa, but the Waikatos defeated them on the north-east side of the neck of the peninsula, and pursued them northwards along the beach, killing about 200 of them—Te Kani-o-Takirau himself barely escaping with his life. Some twenty chiefs were killed in this action. A few months after this European traders made their appearance on the coast, from whom the Natives obtained a good supply of arms and ammunition in return for flax, in the preparation of which the whole population (men, women, and children) engaged night and day, so great was their anxiety to obtain arms for their defence against the Waikatos. Subsequently, being well armed, they were enabled to hold their own, and make reprisals upon their enemies.

Note: Another paragraph in manuscript (crossed out)

Reference - Page 166 English Te Waka Maori O Niu Tirani (316)

Extract from "Te Waka Maori O Niu Tirani"

page (313) (179 Maori)

Ihaka Whanga

E mau pouri rawa ana matou ki te peni ki te tuhituhi i te matenga o tetahi tangata ngawari, pai, tika rawa, o nga rangatira o Niu Tirani—ara, o Ihaka Whanga, o te hapu o Ngatirakaipaka, o te Mahia, Haake Pei, i mate i te 14 o Tihema nei. He tangata kaha rawa ia ki te hapai i te ture raua ko te pai, he tino hoa aroha tumau rawa ia ki te tangata, tuku ki te whawhai he hoa-riri whakaaro rangatira ia, he aroha ki te tangata. He Ateha ia, ko tetahi hoki ia o nga whakamutunga o nga rangatira kaumatua o te taha ki raro o Haake Pei. He nui ano tona mana i roto i nga iwi o te Tai Rawhiti, a kaore he tangata o nga Pakeha tawhito o taua tai i kore e whakaaro pai ki a ia, kore kia kotahi noa nei. Ko tona hiahia tonu tena kia noho nga Pakeha i tona taha, a i kaha tonu ia ki te awhina i a te Makarini i te hokonga o te Wairoa me te Mahia ki a te Kawanatanga i te tau 1864. Ko Te Mahia tona kainga tuturu—he kainga ia e waiatatia ana, e korerotia ana hoki i roto i nga korero tupuna. He kainga ia e manaakitia nuitia ana e nga Maori o reira i runga i o ratou whakaaro aroha ki nga mahinga o mua. Ko te kainga tena i noho ai nga kaumatua o mua, ka wawata noa o ratou ngakau i runga i te korerotanga ki nga tamariki o nga mahi toa o mua—nga mahi o te whawhai, o te oraititanga, o te mate o te tini o te tangata. I whawhai ki reira o ratou matua, i heke o ratou toto ki reira, i mate ratou ki reira, a kei reira e takoto marire mai ana o ratou wheua.

He tino hoa tonu a Ihaka Whanga no te Kawanatanga; i uru ano hoki ia ki roto ki nga whawhai ki te Hau Hau i Haake Pei i roto i nga tau kua hori atu nei.