STORIES OF BANKS PENINSULA
MAORI HISTORY OF BANKS PENINSULA.
(Contributed by the Rev. J. W. Stack.)
To all who know how attentively the Maoris noted the physical features of the country, and the prolific character of their geographical nomenclature, it is somewhat perplexing to find that an isolated region, with a conformation so marked as Banks Peninsula, does not possess a distinctive Maori name: unless, indeed, the present inhabitants have lost the knowledge of it, and confined to a part a name which originally embraced the whole. I am inclined to think that this is the case.
In ancient times the whole island was spoken of as " The fish' and even now the northern part of it is called “Mua Upoko " (the front-head), while the southern part is called "Muri-Hiku" (rear-tail). I think it is highly probable that when the first explorers, looking south- wards from the neighbourhood of Kaikoura, saw the Peninsula looming up against the sky, they took it to be the limit of the land's extent, and called it accordingly the Hiku, or tail-end of the fish, But the combination of Rangi (sky) with Hiku may point to another derivation, since Hikurangi is the name of a mountain at the head of the Waiapu Valley, near East Cape. The name may possibly have been applied to this peninsula from some fancied resemblance in its appearance, when first sighted from the north, to the well-known mountain near the ancient home of the Ngatikahunu tribes.
Whether the Peninsula was ever inhabited by people of another race it is impossible to say, owing to the absence of conclusive evidence either one way or the other. My friend Dr. Von Haast rather inclines to the opinion that it was, being led to the conclusion by some discoveries he made in the Moa bone cave near Sumner. But there is nothing to be found in the existing traditions relating to the locality, which can be relied upon as affording any evidence that the Maoris knew that the country was occupied before they came here. The demigods of whom they speak as having been the first discoverers and explorers of these islands, cannot be regarded as the representatives of an aboriginal people, because the stories relating to them are common to all sections of the Polynesian race, and evidently belong to persons and events connected with Maori history in distant ages long before the migration from Hawaiki.
There is reason to believe that Banks Peninsula has been occupied by the Maori for a period of four hundred years, though the existing historical traditions of the people only reach back for half that period. The absence of the earlier traditions is, however, easily accounted for by the fact that two successive waves of conquest swept over the entire South Island after it was first peopled, the conquering tribe in each case being careful to obliterate as far as possible all traces of the former inhabitants, in order to render its own title to possession more secure.
The Waitaha, who came originally from Hawaiki to Maketu in the canoe Arawa, were the first Maori inhabitants of these parts. They gradually made their way from the Bay of Plenty to the South Island (then known as Tuaiuki), where they multiplied so rapidly that they are said "to have covered the face of the land like myriads of ants."
The Waitaha were conquered and destroyed, some-where about the year 1577, by the Ngati Mamoe, a tribe from the East Coast of the North Island, whose ancestors came to Poverty Bay from Hawaiki in the canoe Tokomaru. The Ngati Mamoe did not long enjoy the fruits of their triumph. In little more than a hundred years they were despoiled by Ngai Tahu, also an East Coast tribe, descendants of the crew of the canoes Taki Timu, Kura Haupo, and Mata Horua, and were by them subjected to the same cruel process of extermination by which they had secured their own conquest of Waitaha.
Before entering on the narrative of Ngai Tahu's doings on Banks Peninsula, it may be interesting to relate what the Maoris say about one monument of the former inhabitants that still remains, known as the
PA OF NGA-TOKO-ONO (THE PAH OF THE SIX)
Between Fisherman's and Paua Bay, on the edge of a bold cliff, may still be seen the remains of the most ancient Maori pah in this locality. The date of its occupation can only be a matter of conjecture, but if it belonged to the Ngati Mamoe, as generally reported, it must be from three to four hundred years old. When Ngai Tahu first arrived, the pah was in much the same condition that it is now: nothing but the earthworks remained to mark where it once stood. In answer to their inquiries respecting its origin, they were told that it was the pah of Nga-Toko-Ono, and that the tradition about it was, that six chiefs once dwelt there, who went out one day in their canoes to fish, about a mile from the coast, when they were caught by a violent north-west wind, and were blown out to sea and never heard of again.
Some light has lately been thrown upon the fate of these men by the Chatham Islanders, who say that their ancestors arrived at Wharekauri after being blown off the coast of their own land. They also speak of some of their ancestors coming from the foot of Te-Ahu-Patiki (Mount Herbert), and that the reason for their leaving was owing to the defeat and death of their chief Tira, who was killed while endeavouring to punish his daughter's husband, who had been guilty of adultery. On reaching Wharekauri, they were kindly received by Marupo, the chief of a Maori-speaking race. By the advice of their hosts, the new arrivals resolved to give up fighting and cannibalism. The Maori refugees carried Kumara seeds with them, but on planting them they died, so they returned to New Zealand for a further supply, the question naturally arises, how did Tira's people know of the existence of Wharekauri? It seems highly probable that, after discovering the islands, Nga-Toko-Ono or some of them returned to inform their friends, who gladly availed themselves of a safe refuge from the relentless Ngai Tahu, whose successes in the northern parts of the island were beginning to cause them anxiety regarding their future safety.
Not far from the pah of Nga-Toko-Ono may be seen the outlines of the protective works of another ancient pah, known as Parakakariki. It was situated at the end of one of the spurs on the south side of Long Bay, and was an important stronghold of the Ngati- Mamoe. It was captured and destroyed by Moki, who, in the celebrated war canoe Makawhiu, coasted round the Peninsula, and completely subdued all the Ngati Mamoe inhabitants.
This chief, who resided, after the Ngai Tahu migration, at Ote Kaue, near the mouth of the Wairau River, was induced to undertake the expedition against the Peninsula by the report brought to him by his wife's two brothers, Kaiapu and Te Makino, who had accompanied Waitai on his voyage from Wairau to Otago, when that chief, offended by Maru's determination to spare the Ngati Mamoe, seceded from the Ngai Tahu confederacy. These two men had noticed, while coasting southwards, the vast extent of the plains stretching from the sea shore to the snowy ranges, and had also been particular to mark the position of the numerous Ngati Mamoe pahs passed daring the voyage. When their canoe touched at Hikurangi, they had learnt that their old tribal enemy Tu Te Kawa was living not far off at Waikakahi, a piece of information which after wards led to important results.
After accompanying Waitai to Murihiku, and taking part in various encounters between his forces and the hostile tribes by which he was surrounded, Kaiapu and Te Makino were seized with a longing desire to avenge the death of a near female relative, and, in order to accomplish their purpose, they resolved to risk the journey overland to Wairau. As they travelled over the plains between the Waitangi and Waipara Rivers, they remarked with covetous eyes the luxuriant growth of the cabbage palms, so highly valued for the favourite kauru food prepared from the stems. They were astonished at the immense numbers of Wekas and rats which they came across in the long tussock grass, and were equally astonished to find all the streams and lakes throughout the country swarming with eels and lampreys and silveries, and the great Waihora Lake (Lake Ellesmere) full of flat-fish.
They passed safely through the hostile country, and reached the outskirts of Ote Kaue, when they made enquiries for Moki's house. They were told that they could not mistake it, as it was the loftiest building in the pah, with the widest barge boards to the porch. They did not enter the pah until everyone had retired to rest, when they made their way to the house indicated, and eat down close to the break- wind near the porch, where they waited till someone appeared to whom they could make themselves known. About midnight their sister came out, and after sitting a few minutes in the yard, rose to return to the house. Hoping to attract her notice without making any noise, one of them opened a parcel of tara mea scent, which he had concealed about him. She no sooner perceived the delicious fragrance than she approached the spot where her brothers were crouching, feeling her way towards them along the break wind.
As soon as she reached them they caught hold of her, when she gave a sharp cry, but they at once silenced her fears by telling her who they were. She was overjoyed by the discovery, and quickly re-entered the house to inform her husband. "Rise up, rise up, O Moki!" she cried, "here are your brothers-in-law, the sons of Pokai Whao; they have returned, and are awaiting your pleasure outside." Moki told her to bring the travellers in, and to prepare some food at once for them, but not to make their arrival known to the pah till the morning. Marewa knew how important it was for her brothers' safety that they should take food under Moki's roof, because it would ensure his protection in the event of their meeting with persons inclined to kill them; for in these stormy times it was the common practice for individuals to avenge their private wrongs, and in doing so it was quite immaterial whether they killed the person who had done them the injury, so long as they killed someone connected with him; unprotected people were therefore always in great danger of losing their lives. It was not surprising, therefore, that under the circumstances Moki's wife displayed the greatest alacrity in providing refreshments for her husband's guests, selecting the materials from her choicest stores, she listened till dawn to the story of their adventures by sea and land, and then she went to carry the news of their arrival to the other great chiefs of the place.
Te Rangi Whakaputa was the first to come and welcome them. He asked whether they had seen any good country towards the south. They replied that they had. "What food," he asked, "is procurable there?" "Fern root," they replied, "is one food, Kauru is another, and there are Wekas and rats and eels in abundance." He then retired, and Mango took his place and asked, "Did you see any good country in your travels?" "Yes," they replied, "Ohiriri (Little River), that is, a stream, we saw, and Wairewa is the lake." "And what food can be got there?" he asked. "Fern root," they said, "is one food, but there are many kinds; there are Wekas and kaka and kereru and eels." Mango replied, "Inland is a pillow for my head, on the east a rest for my feet." Te Rua Hiki Hiki, son of Manawa, was the next to enter and interrogate them. He, too, asked, "Have you seen any land?" They replied, "We saw Kaitorete, a plain, and Waihora, a lake." "What food can be got there?" "Eels," they said, "abound there, and Patiki and ducks and Putangitangi are food to be got there." "that shall be my possession," said Te Rua Hiki Hiki.
But there was another and still more powerful incentive than the acquisition of a rich food producing district to induce Ngai Tahu to undertake an expedition to the south, and that was the desire to vindicate the tribal honour. No sooner did Moki and the rest of the leading chiefs learn from the two travellers that Tu Te Kawa was still living at Waika- Kahi, than orders were immediately issued to prepare the great war canoe, Te Maka Whiu, for sea. This canoe was made out of an enormous Totara tree which grew in the Wairarapa Valley, the stump of which was shown until quite lately by the old Maoris there.
On the completion of the conquest of Ngati Mamoe, the canoe was drawn up at Omihi, where it was subsequently buried by a landslip, the projecting bow only being left exposed. It was regarded as a sacred treasure under the immediate guardianship of atuas, and one man, who presumed to chip a piece off as a memento, paid the penalty of his sacrilegious rashness by dying immediately afterwards.
TU TE KAWA
The feud between the chief Tu Te Kawa and the ruling family of Ngai Tahu was caused by his having put Tuahuriri's wives to death at Te-Mata-Ki-Kai- Poika, a pah on the south-east coast of the North Island. Tuahuriri had from some cause incurred the ill-will of a powerful member of his own tribe, the renowned warrior Hika-oro-roa.
That chief assembled his relations and dependents, amongst who was Tu Te Kawa, and led them to attack Tuahuriri's pah. When they were approaching the place at dawn of day, and just as the leader was preparing to take the foremost post in the assault, a youth named Turuki, eager to distinguish himself, rushed past Hika-Ora-Roa, who uttered an exclamation of surprise and indignation at his presumption, asking in sneering tones " how a nameless warrior could dare to try and snatch the credit of a victory he had done nothing to win."Turuki, burning with shame at the taunt, rushed back to the rear, and addressed himself to Tu Te Kawa, who was the head of his family, and besought him to withdraw his contingent, and proceed at once to attack the pah from the opposite side, and thus secure the victory for himself, and forever prevent such a reproach from again being uttered against any one of his family.
Tu Te Kawa, who resented keenly the insult offered to his young relative, instantly adopted his suggestion, and so rapidly did he effect the movement, that his absence was not discovered till he had successfully assaulted the pah, and his name was being shouted forth as victor. A few moments before the assault took place, Tu Te Kawa said to his nephew, "Go quickly and rouse Tuahuriri." The young warrior ran forward, and on reaching the pah called out, "O Tu." "What is it?" he asked. "Come forth." "Wait till I fasten on my waist belt." "Wait for nothing; escape, they are close here!" "Where?" "Just behind my back." Without stopping to put on a garment or to pick up his weapons, Tuahuriri rushed out of his house, climbed over the wall, and ran for his life to the shelter of a neighbouring wood.
Tu Te Kawa was the first to enter the pah, and at once made his way to Tuahuriri's house, where he found his two wives, Hina Kai Taki and Tuara Whati. These women were persons of great distinction, being related to all the principal families in that part of the country, and their lives ought to have been quite safe in the hands of their husband's relatives. But Tu Te Kawa turned a deaf ear to their appeal for protection, and killed them both. Though accused of killing these women unnecessarily, it is very probable that he may have put them to death to save the family honour, as it was no disgrace to die by the hands of a near kinsman, and he had good reason to suspect that Hika-Oro-Roa, having lost the credit of the victory, and having failed to secure the husband, would take his revenge on the wives. Tu Te Kawa might have argued, if they must die, it was better he should kill them.
When the war party were re-embarking in their canoes, a few hours after, Tuahuriri came out to the edge of the forest, and called to Tu Te Kawa, and asked him whether he had got his waist-cloth, belt, and weapons. On being answered in the affirmative, he begged that they might be returned to him. Tu Te Kawa stood up in his canoe and flung them towards him, telling him at the same time what had happened to his wives. After picking up his weapons, Tuahariri turned towards his cousin, whom he wished to reward for having saved his life, and called out, " O Tu, keep out to sea, or keep in shore, rather keep in shore."
This was a friendly intimation intended to save Tu Te Kawa from the destruction about to fall upon his companions in arms; for no sooner were the canoes under way than Tuahuriri retired into the depths of the forest, and there invoked the help of his atuas to enable him to take vengeance on his enemies, and by their agency he raised the furious wind known as Te-Hau-O-Rongo Mai. This tempest dispersed Hika-Oro-Roa's fleet, and most of his canoes were upset, and the crews drowned, in the stormy waters of Raukawa (Cook Straits).
Tu Te Kawa, forewarned, had hugged the coast, and so escaped destruction. After crossing the straits, he landed on the South Island, where he decided to remain, and so escape the inevitable consequences of the attack on Tuahuriri's pah. He had nothing to fear from the Ngati Mamoe, to whom he was related on the mother's side; and further, he knew that his presence amongst them would be welcomed, because he was willing to employ the armed force that accompanied him against the remnant of Waitahi who continued to maintain their independence.
Passing down the coast, Tu Te Kawa took up his residence at Okohana (Church Bush), near Kaiapoi, where eels were plentiful. He employed the few Waitahi whom he spared from destruction to work the eel fishery there for him. Hearing after a time that the eels of Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) were of a better quality, he removed to the shores of that lake, and built a pah at Waikakahi ( Wascoe's), while his son Te Rangi Tamau built another at Taumutu. Surrounded by his allies, and at such a distance from his enemies, Tu Te Kawa felt quite secure. But after the lapse of many years, and when he had grown old and feeble, his followers grew alarmed for his safety, owing to the rapid advance southwards of the Ngai Tahu. They urged the old chief to escape while the opportunity of doing so remained, but all their entreaties were in vain; his only reply was, "What will then become of the basket of flat-fish spread open here?" (an allusion to the lake).
They soon had ample evidence that their fears were well grounded, for the war canoe Te Maka Whiu, manned by the choicest warriors of Ngai Tahu, and commanded by the experienced leader Moki, was rapidly approaching his retreat, with the avowed intention of avenging Tuahuriri wives.
When the expedition arrived at Koukourarata, a Council of war was held, to decide whether to approach Waikakahi by sea or by land. Some advised an immediate advance on the place overland. This was opposed by Moki, who said he had been warned that Tu Te Kawa was sitting like a wood pigeon on a bough, facing his foes, and that if they approached him from the direction he faced, he would take flight before they could catch him. After much discussion, it was decided to go by sea.
The warriors accordingly re-embarked, and pulled southwards. As they approached Okain's Bay, Moki observed the groves of Karaka trees growing near the shore, and wishing to become the possessor of them, he whispered the following directions in his attendant slave's ear, "When I order the canoe to be beached, take care to be the first to reach the shore, and at once cry out aloud, “My land, O Karaka! "
The slave prepared to carry out his master's instructions, and, as the canoe neared shallow water, he jumped overboard, and tried to wade ashore in advance of anyone else. But he was forestalled by Mahi Ao Tea, one of the crew, who, suspecting Moki's design, sprang from the bows of the canoe on to the beach, shouting aloud, "My pah, Karaka! My bay, Kawatea!"
Encouraged by the success of the attempt to secure an estate for himself, this young man, who was only a chief of secondary rank, resolved to proceed overland to the destination of Te Maka Whiu. Accompanied by a few followers, he made his way from Okain's to Gough's Bay. In the forests he encountered Te Aitanga A Hine Mate Roa, a wild race (thought to be enchanted black pine trees), whom he overcame and destroyed; and between Poutakaro and Otu Tahu Ao he fell in with Te Ti A Tau Whete Ku, enchanted cabbage trees, that moved about and embraced each other like human beings.
He also came across Te Papa Tu A Mauheke, an enchanted broadleaf tree. After a very adventurous march, Mahi Ao Tea rejoined the expedition at Karuru (Gough's Bay), where he found the canoe already drawn up on the land, and preparations being made for the advance on Parakakariki.
He learnt that after his departure from Okain's the expedition had moved on to Otu-Tahuao (Hickory), where they encamped. There an incident occurred, which had caused considerable amusement. One of the leading chiefs had presented a basket of dried Barracouta for distribution among the crew. Those whose place was nearest the stern got the first helping, and by the time the basket reached those who occupied the bows, only a few fine fragments remained. These were handed to a conceited chief named Whakuku, a sort of captain of the forecastle, who, on seeing what had fallen to his share, said to his companions, "Hold tight, hold tight to the fish dust!" (Meaning that when his men fell in with Ngntimamoe, they should take care to secure for themselves something better than the leavings of the persons of higher rank). He dubbed the cave where they took their meal "The cave of fish dust eating," to commemorate his having been fed with the dust of Hikatutu's fish basket.
While the plan of attack was under discussion, Moki, the commander-in- chief, suddenly called out to Turangipo, a noted veteran, famed for deeds of valour performed on many a battle field in the North Island. Turangipo asked what Moki wanted. "You may eat," he replied,” the head of your Lady Paramount." Turangipo remained silent for some time, pondering over what was meant by this strange speech, He felt convinced that Moki was employing some spell to paralyse his energies, and rob him of any chance of gaining distinction in the coming encounter with Ngati Mamoe. He conjectured that Moki, annoyed at the failure of his attempt to secure for himself the Karaka groves at Okain's Bay, was now bent on making sure of better success at Parakakariki, and that, in order to gain his end, he was endeavouring to cast a spell over the man most likely to defeat his purpose.
Turangipo was, however, equal to the occasion, and, having exhausted every means he could think of to break the spell and neutralise its ill effects, he resolved to try its potency on Moki himself. "Moki," he cried. "What?" replied he, "You may eat the head of your Lady Paramount." Moki made no reply, and, from the course of subsequent events, it became evident that he neglected to employ any precautions to neutralise the spell.
While these two chiefs were exchanging these questionable civilities, the bulk of the warriors were wondering what their object could be in bandying such shocking expressions, for such allusions to the sacred head of a person of rank were regarded as blasphemous. Their speculations were interrupted by Moki suddenly calling out, "Who is for us?" (meaning who will act as scout). Whakuku instantly replied, "I am; I will act as scout" "How will you proceed?" "I will get above the pah, and, if you hear my voice sounding from high up the hill, then you will know that the pah is guarded; if my voice sounds low down, the pah is not guarded."
Whakuku then proceeded at once to reconnoitre. He was followed by the main body, who, as they approached the cliffs to the north of Fisherman's Bay, saw several canoes anchored off the coast opposite the mouth of Long Bay. Moki, wishing to know whether the presence of his force on the coast had been observed by Ngati Mamoe, fastened his white whalebone weapon to his foot, and dangled it over the brink of the cliff, but the fishers failed to take any notice of it, and Moki accordingly concluded that they were unconscious of the approach of enemies, and resolved to continue his march without waiting to conceal his movements under the cover of darkness.
He proceeded till he reached the woods on the south side of Long Bay. There the final disposition of the force for the meditated attack on the pah was completed; and, having found a suitable place of concealment, the men waited impatiently for the promised signals of their scout. Whakuku did not keep them long in suspense, for he soon succeeded in reaching a position overlooking the pah, where he at once commenced to imitate the cry of a wood-hen, ko-ee, ko- ee, ko-ee. The women of the pah listened, and said one to another, “Hark! What bird is that?” Sorely it is a female Weka that is crying in the wood above us."
He then climbed to a point still higher above the pah, where he commenced to cry “tee-wake, tee- wake, tee-wake.” The women said again, "Hark! Surely that is the cry of a male Weka." He then descended, and concealed himself in a shallow cave close to the pah. His companions, on hearing his signals, interpreted them to mean that although there were many women in the pah, they were not altogether unprotected. So the order was passed along the line to delay the assault till dawn.
The warriors with difficulty restrained their impatience, and as soon as the first rosy tints appeared in the eastern sky, they rushed out from their place of concealment, and took the pah by storm. Moki, who wished to secure the coveted distinction awarded to the warrior who killed the first foe man in battle, took care to occupy the foremost place.
As he rushed forward, he encountered what he imagined, in the dim light, to be two of the enemy. He struck a furious blow with his Taiaha, first at one and then at the other, shouting out at the same time, "By my hand has fallen the first foeman." But, to his extreme mortification, he discovered that, instead of men, he had only aimed mortal blows at two upright blocks of stone that came in his way, and which were ever afterwards known as “Moki's pair."
His failure on this occasion was attributed to his having omitted to remove the spell which he provoked Turangipo to cast upon him. That warrior having discovered the mistake Moki had made, rushed past him, and, having entered the pah, secured two women, Te Maeke and Ta Whera, as his prisoners. Te Ao Tu Tahi, the principal chief of the pah, was killed by Mahi Ao Tea. His son Uruhanga made an attempt to escape by a path along the cliffs, but, being observed, was pursued.
His superior knowledge of the dangerous footway might have enabled him to get off safely, but for Whakuku, who, concealed in a cave above him, was intently watching his approach; and, the moment he came within reach, Whakuku plunged his spear into his shoulder, and hurled him down the cliff in the direction of his pursuer, calling out at the same time, " Your man." "No," replied the other, "yours." "No," said Whakuku, ''you may have him, but do not conceal my name." After the fall of Parakakariki, Moki returned to Koukou- Rarata, carrying his prisoners with him. Having drawn up his canoe, and placed a guard over the prisoners, he advanced by a forced march over the hills to Waikakahi.
The shadow of Moki's form across his threshold was the first intimation Tu Te Kawa had of the arrival of the Ngai Tahu. The old chief, infirm and helpless, was found coiled up in his mats in a corner of his house, and Tuahuriri's sons, mindful of their father's last words, " If you ever meet that old man, spare him," were prompted 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.
It may be necessary to explain here why the Ngai Tahu chiefs hesitated at the last moment to carry out the avowed purpose of the expedition. Tuahuriri's injunction, and their desire to carry it out, were quite consistent with the Maori customs relating to feuds of this nature. Tutekawa had spared Tuahuriri's life, and therefore merited like protection at his hands. But Tu Te Kawa had killed Tuahuriri's wives, and their death required to be avenged, but not necessarily by the death of the person who killed them; it would be sufficient atonement if one of his nearest blood relations suffered for the crime. This practice will be fully illustrated in subsequent pages containing the account of the Kai Huanga feud.
Having ascertained that Te Rangi Tamau was away at Taumutu, and not knowing what course he might take to avenge his father's death, Moki gave orders that a watch should be kept at night round the camp, 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 arising from the neighbourhood of his father's pah, set off at once for Waikakahi , and arrived there after dark. Waiting till the camp was quiet; he passed through the sleeping warriors and reached his father's house. The door was open, and, looking in, he saw a fire burning on the hearth, and his wife, Puna Hikoia, sitting beside it with her back towards him. Stepping in, he touched her gently on the shoulder, and placing his finger on his lips as a signal to keep silence, he beckoned her to come outside. Then 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 give him this message: " Your life was in my hands, but I give it back to you,"
Then, taking off his dog skin mat, he re-entered the house, and placed it gently across Moki's knees, and then hurried away to the citadel of Waikakahi, which stood on the hill between Birdling's and Price's Valley, a few chains from the point where the coach road passes. The spot is still marked by the ditch and bank of the old fortress. When Puna Hikoia thought her husband was safe from pursuit, she woke Moki and gave him Te Rangi Tamau's message.
Moki felt the mat, and was then convinced the woman spoke the truth. He was greatly mortified at having been caught asleep, as it was always injurious to a warrior's reputation to be caught off his guard. Issuing from the house, he roused his sleeping warriors with a mighty shout, and the expression used upon the occasion has since become proverbial "Ngai tu whaitara mata hori," O unbelieving Tu Whaitara ! The next day negotiations were entered into with Te Rangi Tauiau, and peace restored between him and his Ngai Tahu relations.
NGAI TAHU TAKING POSSESSION
After the destruction of Parakakariki and the death of Tu Te Kawa, the various chiefs of Ngai Tahu engaged in Moki's expedition, who had not already secured a landed estate elsewhere for themselves, took immediate steps to acquire some part of the Peninsula.
The rule they adopted was, that whoever claimed any place first, should have the right to if, provided he went at once and performed some act of ownership there; and also that he should be entitled to as much land around it as he could traverse before encountering another selector. Te Rangi Whaka Puta hastened to secure Te Whakaraupo (Port Cooper). Huikai hurried off to Koukourarata; Mango to Wairewa; Te Rua Hikihiki landed at Wainui, and commenced at once to dig fern root, and prepare it for food; he then passed round the coast, leaving Manaia at Whaka Moana, and others of his party at Waikakahi, taking up his own permanent residence at Taumutu.
Tutakakahikura, one of Mrs Tikao's ancestors, leaving his sisters and his family at Pohatupa, walked quickly round the coast by the North Head of Akaroa Harbour, and up the shore as far as Taka Matua, and thence round by Parakaknriki to starting point. While crossing one of the streams that flow through the present township of Akaroa, he encountered O-I-Naka, a Ngati Mamoe chief, and a fugitive from Parakakariki. They engaged in mortal combat, and O-I Naka was killed, and the stream was ever after known by his name.
Te Ake, the ancestor of Big William, landed at the Head of the Bay, and after trying in vain to reach Wainui, owing to the rough nature of the coast, he retraced his steps, and tried to get round the other side of the harbour, but on reaching the grassy slopes between Duvauchelle’s and Robinson's Bays, he felt too tired to go any further, and took possession of the point and its surroundings by planting his walking stick in the ground; hence the place obtained the name of Otokotoko( walking stick).
Fearing that his boundary towards the south might be disputed, Te Ake begged Te Rangi Taurewa to cross over in his canoe to a headland that he pointed out, and there to hold up his white whalebone weapon, while he himself stood at Otokotoko and watched him. His friend did as he was requested, and the headland has ever since been known as the "Peg on which Te Rangi Taurewa's patu parao hung," on the south side of French Farm. The beach below the point was called "The shell of Hine Pani," after some Maori lady who found a shell there, which she greatly prized.
Some years after these events took place, another section of Ngai Tahu, under the command of Te Wera, a fiery warrior, destined to play an important part in the history of his tribe in the south, came in search of a new home.
They landed at Hikurangi, but finding that the place was already occupied, they sent to Whaka Moana for Manaia, a chief of very high distinction, the Upoka Ariki, or heir to all the family honours of more than one hapu in the tribe. On his arrival, a war dance was held in his honour, and there was much friendly speechifying.
Te Wera, after indulging in some rude witticisms on the personal appearance of their "squint-eyed lord," extended his right arm, and called upon Manaia to enter. Manaia rose up and passed under his arm, and so peace was confirmed between them; but, to cement their friendship still more firmly, Te Wera gave Irakehu, grand-daughter of Te Rangi Whaka- Puta, to Manaia in marriage, and she became the ancestress of Mr. and Mrs. Tikao, Paurini, and the other chief persons in the Maori community here.
Te Wera and his party then sailed away to the south, and established themselves for a time near Waikouaiti, where they were as much dreaded for their ferocity by other sections of their own tribe as by the Ngati- Mamoe, whom they were trying to exterminate.
For many generations the Maoris on the Peninsula remained in peaceful occupation of their new homes, undisturbed by foreign attacks or internal strife. Occasionally the bolder spirits amongst them would go away to take part in the wars against Ngati Mamoe, which were carried on for many years in districts further to the south, or else to take part in some quarrel between different sections of the Ngai Tahu tribe located elsewhere.
Among those who went off in search of military honours was a certain heretical teacher named Kiri Mahi Nahina, who left Akaroa for the seat of war near Moeraki, and fell at the battle of Tara Ka Hina a tea. This Tohunga had told Turakautahi the younger that Tiki made man, whilst the fathers had always maintained that it was so.
Te Wera adopted a novel method to prevent the survival of this man's false teaching, through his spirit escaping and getting into some other Tohunga. When the battle was over, he made an oven capable of containing the entire body, and then he carefully plugged the mouth, ears, nose, and every other aperture, and having cooked the heretical teacher, he managed, with the assistance of some of his warriors, to eat up every portion of him, and so successfully extinguished the incipient heresy.
The condition of those who remained quietly at home was enjoyable enough, for it is a great mistake to suppose that the old Maori life in peaceful times was one of privation and suffering; on the contrary, it was a very pleasant state of existence; there was a variety and abundance of food, and agreeable and healthy occupation for mind and body.
Each season of the year, and each part of the day, had its specially allotted work, both for men and women. The women, besides such household duties as cooking and cleaning their houses, made the clothing and bedding required for their families. They gathered the flax and Ti palm fibres used, and prepared and worked them up into a great variety of garments, many of which took several months to complete, and which, when finished, were very beautiful specimens of workmanship.
The men gathered the food and stored it in Whatas or storerooms, which were attached to every dwelling, and built on tall posts to protect the contents from damp and rats. Besides such natural products of the soil as fern root, Ti palm stems, and Convolvulus roots, they cultivated the Kumara, Hue, Taro, and Karaka. Fish of various kinds were caught during the proper season, and cured by drying in the sun. Wild pigeons, Kakas, Paradise ducks, and Mutton Birds were cooked and preserved in their fat in vessels made out of large Kelp leaves, and bound round with Totara bark to strengthen them.
Netting, carving, and the grinding and fitting of stone implements and weapons, occupied the old men, and much of the leisure time of the young. They beguiled the long winter evenings by reciting historical traditions and tribal genealogies, by repeating poetry and fairy tales, and by songs, dances and round games. It was only when they fell ill, or were harassed by their enemies, that the Maoris of olden time can with any truth be represented as having been miserable and unhappy.
TE MAI HARA NUI
The Ngai Tahu chiefs who exercised the greatest influence over the fortunes of their people in modern times were Te Mai Hara Nui, Taiaroa, and Tuhawaiki, better known by the whalers' sobriquet, "Bloody Jack." All three took a prominent part in the latter history of the Peninsula. Te Mai Hara Nui was the highest in rank, while his cousin Tuhawaiki came next; but, though slightly superior by birth, both were inferior in mental and moral qualities to Taiaroa, a noble man, whose conduct stands out in pleasing contrast to that of the two cousins.
For while they will only be remembered by the story of their cruel and evil deeds, he will always be esteemed for his brave and generous actions in war, and his wise and kindly counsels in peace. Te Mai Hara Nui was the Upoko Ariki, or heir to the ancestral honours of Ngui Te Rangiamoa, the noblest family of Ngai Tahu, but he gained still further distinction from the fact that several other noble lines met in his person.
As the hereditary spiritual head of the tribe, he was regarded with peculiar reverence and respect; the common people did not dare to look upon his face, and his equals felt his sacred presence an oppressive restriction upon their liberty of action, for even an accidental breach of etiquette while holding intercourse with him might involve them in serious loss of properly, if not of life.
His visits were always dreaded, and his movements whenever he entered a pah were watched with great anxiety by the inhabitants, for if his shadow happened to fall upon a whata or rua (the storehouse for food) while he was passing through the crowded lanes of a town, it was immediately destroyed, with all its contents, because the sacred shadow of the Ariki having fallen upon it, the food became tapu, and fatal to those who partook of it.
There was little in Te Mai Hara Nui's personal appearance to mark his aristocratic lineage, his figure being short and thick-set, his complexion dark, and his features rather forbidding. Unlike most Maori chiefs of exalted rank, he was cowardly, cruel, and capricious, an object of dread to friends and foes alike. At the same time he was a man of great energy and considerable force of character.
He was distinguished during his early years as a traveller, being continually on the move up or down the east coast of this island, engaged in visiting his numerous connections He was amongst the first to discern the advantages to be secured by encouraging trade with Europeans, and entered keenly himself into business transactions with the traders who came from Sydney to procure flax fibre.
To facilitate his intercourse with them, he took up his permanent residence at Takapuneke (Red House), in Akaroa harbour. He married Te Whe, a descendant of Manaia, and the eldest sister of Mrs Tikao's mother. By her he had three children, two sons, Te Wera and Tutehounuku, and a daughter, Ngaroi- niata.
His eldest son died when a child. The next son, on attaining manhood, went off in a whaling ship, and was absent for many years, during which he was mourned for as dead, and did not return till after his father was carried off and put to death, at Kapiti, by Rauparaha.
The peaceful course of Te Mai Hara Nui's life at Takupuneke was interrupted by the outbreak of a terrible blood feud amongst his near relations, a feud distinguished, not by the incident that caused it, but by the fearful atrocities that were perpetrated during the course of it, deeds that shocked even the hardened hearts of those who committed them.
KAI HUANGA (EAT RELATION)
The Kai Huanga feud was the first serious out- break amongst the Maoris of the Peninsula since their conquest of Ngati Mamoe. For nearly one hundred and fifty years they had been increasing in numbers and wealth.
Tu Te Kawa's son had revealed to them the secret pass he had found to the West Coast, and expeditions were annually sent across the mountains to procure greenstone, which, when manufactured, attracted purchasers from North and South, who exchanged mats and potted mutton birds, and other things, for the coveted greenstone.
The development of trade with Europeans promised a continuance of prosperity and peaceful enterprise. This promise was destined to be rudely broken by a feud that not only disorganised the entire social system of the various Maori communities here, but nearly annihilated the population of the district.
The immediate cause that roused all this animosity, and provoked so much bloodshed, must seem to Europeans most trivial and inadequate, but there is little doubt that mutual jealousies and old grudges were working below the surface in men's minds, and forcing on hostilities which, when once begun, led to further reprisals, and so the quarrel deepened and widened after every encounter. The immediate cause of the quarrel was owing to Murihaka, the wife of Potahi, putting on a dog skin mat belonging to Te Mai Hara Nui, which he had left in charge of someone at Waikakahi.
This act was regarded as an insult by the immediate relations of the chief, since everything in the shape of apparel belonging to him was held to be exceedingly sacred. The greatest consternation prevailed throughout the pah as soon as it became known what had happened.
At length some of the men grew so exasperated at the thought of Murihaka's sacrilegious act, that they fell, not upon the perpetrator of the deed, but upon a poor servant woman belonging to a relative of hers, named Rerewaka, and put her to death.
When her masters, Hape and Rangi Whakapaku, saw her dead body lying on the ground, they were much enraged, but instead of wreaking their vengeance on those who committed the murder, they went off to a village of Ngati Koreha, at Tai Tapu, in search of some member of the murderers' family. They succeeded in finding Hape, whom they killed.
This man was married to Hinehorahina, of Ngati Hurihia, sister of Tawhakiterangi, one of the principal chiefs of Taumutu. His widow took refuge with her brothers, who were greatly pained at witnessing her grief for the loss of her husband, of whom she was very fond. As they watched the tears streaming down her cheeks, day after day, while she sat pounding fern root for their daily meals, they meditated over some scheme for avenging her foes.
At last they decided what to do, they collected a small war party together, and then made a sudden attack upon Waikakahi, where they killed Puiaiti and Te Moroiti, the latter being a chief of Ngati Irakehu. His death brought the Taumutu people into collision with the greater part of the inhabitants of the Peninsula, and involved them in what proved to be a ruinous struggle with superior forces. They followed up their first attack on Wai- kakahi by a second a few weeks afterwards, when they killed Te Rangi E Pu, another Irakehu chief.
Te Mid Hara Nui was absent from the district at the commencement of the feud, having gone to Kaikoura to fetch a large war canoe which his relatives there had presented to him. He first heard of the outbreak on landing at Te Aka Aka (Saltwater Creek), where some persons met him, and told him that some of his family had been attacked, and several of them killed. He made no remark to his informants, but when he reached Kaiapoi, a few hours after, he said to his uncles, who resided there, "It is my turn now; Ngati Hui Kai is there, Ngati Hui Kai is here, Ngati Mamoe is there, Ngati Mamoe is here; Ngai Tua Huriri, do not move."
This was an intimation that he would avenge his relatives' death, and that it was his wish that the Kaiapoi people should not interfere. There was some probability of their doing so, as many Kaiapoi families were connected by marriage with the Taumutu people.
Having given expression to his determination, he proceeded on his journey towards Akaroa, followed by about twenty Kaiapoi men. On reaching Wairewa, steps were immediately taken to raise a war party, which was subsequently led by Te Mai Hara Nui against Taumutu. A battle was fought at Hakitai, which resulted in the defeat of the residents and the death of many persons, amongst whom was the chief Te Pori and several Kaiapoi women.
More of the latter would have fallen victims, but for the presence in the attacking force of the Kaiapoi contingent, who made it their business to protect, as far as they could, the lives of their kinswomen. It was in this way that Te Parure, sister of the chief Taiaroa, escaped death or dishonour. She had taken refuge with her children in a whata, but having been seen by Taununu, was pursued, and would have been captured but for Te Whakatuke, who came up just as Taununu was mounting the narrow ladder leading to her retreat, and, clasping his arms round that warrior's body, held tightly on to the ladder, and pressed him with such violence against it that Taununu was glad to desist from his purpose. Te Whakatuke, fearing the consequences of deserting his post, continued to keep guard till the engagement was over. So ended the first attack on Taumutu. Te Mai Hara Nui withdrew his forces, and dismissed them to their several homes.
The severe defeat sustained by the Taumutu people at Hakitai did not crush their spirits, nor weaken their determination to retaliate on the first fitting opportunity. But to accomplish their purpose it was necessary to obtain assistance, since they had received convincing proof in the late engagement that, single-handed, they were no match for Te Mai Hara Nui's powerful clans.
Accordingly, they commissioned Hine Haka, mother of Ihaia Whaitiri, a lady connected with many influential chiefs in the South, to proceed to Otakou and Murihiku, for the purpose of enlisting her friends' sympathies on their behalf, and raising from amongst them an armed force to aid them in the coming struggle.
She was successful in her mission, and returned in a few months, accompanied by a considerable body of men. But they were not destined to achieve any great victory or to inflict any serious loss upon their opponents.
On the arrival of their reinforcements at Taumutu, a messenger was despatched to Kaiapoi to invite the co-operation of all who wished to avenge their women killed at Hakitai. About a hundred warriors responded to the invitation, and set off at once for the seat of war.
The combined forces then marched up the coast to attack Wairewa. The engagement which followed afterwards known as Kai-Whare-Atua was almost bloodless, but is memorable for being the first occasion on which firearms were used in this part of the country. The Ngati Pahi, who possessed two guns, occupied a proud and envied position in the fore-front of the expedition. Though few ventured to touch the novel and dangerous weapons, all took a deep interest in their use, and hoped by their means to secure an easy victory, not so much from the execution in the ranks of the enemy likely to follow their discharge, as from the terror certain to be inspired by the report of firearms hoard for the first time.
These anticipations would probably have been realised, but for the chief Taiaroa, who kept far in advance of everyone and reached Wairewa in time to give the inhabitants warning of approaching danger. On nearing the pah sufficiently to be recognised, he cried out, "Escape! fly for your lives! take to your canoes and go to sea, for guns are our weapons!"
The mention of the dreaded guns was quite enough to create an immediate panic. Everyone who could move rushed off in headlong flight, and when the Taumutu army arrived, they found the place quite deserted, and the only person they succeeded in shooting was a servant woman named Mihi Nui, belonging to Pikoro.
In order to understand Taiaroa's conduct on this and subsequent occasions, it is necessary to bear in mind that although he had accompanied the Southern contingent in the capacity of a leader, he was in reality a Taumutu chief, and closely related to all the Peninsula people. He was a descendant of Te Rua Hiki-Hiki, who wrested that part of the country from Ngati Mamoe, but his family having removed to Otakou, Taiaroa had become identified with the people there.
Possessing in an eminent degree the qualities requisite to constitute an efficient Maori ruler, he was chosen at an early age by the people amongst whom he lived to act in that capacity, and acquitted himself so well, that he completely superseded the local chiefs. His fame for courage, wisdom, and generosity, spread far and wide, and during the troubled times that followed the Kai Huanga feud, he was unanimously elected to fill the post of chief military ruler of the Ngai Tahu tribe.
Though opposed to Hine Haka's mission, he joined those who rallied round her standard, hoping in the end to defeat her sanguinary purpose, and to put a stop to the fratricidal strife. On the first opportunity that presented, he carried his purpose into execution, and succeeded, as we have seen, in thwarting the attack on Wairewa. Foiled in their designs, the Taumutu forces returned home, but the Kaiapoi contingent, after proceeding some distance on their way, began to fear the jeers and taunts they were certain to encounter if they returned empty handed, so they turned back as far as Kaitangata, where they met and killed Iritoro, son of Whare-Take-Take and Hinei Wharitia.
They little imagined the serious consequences that would ensue, or they might have selected another victim. This man's mother was sister to Tau Nunu, a chief who had some time before migrated from the neighbourhood of Kaikoura to the Peninsula. He was attracted to these parts by the presence of numerous and influential relations, who were in possession of the land. Upon his arrival, several places were assigned to him, and he selected Ripapa (island), in Lyttelton Harbour, as the site of his fortified pah.
The chief no sooner heard of the death of his nephew than he planned and carried out a scheme of ample vengeance. The Kaiapoi warriors had barely reached their homes before he was on the war path, intent on surprising Whakaepa (Coalgate), a populous offshoot from Kaiapoi.His movements were so secret and so rapid, that he captured the pah without a struggle, and put everyone to death.
It was not till some time after Tau Nunu's return to Ripapa that the Kaiapoi people learnt the terrible fate that had befallen their friends at Whakaepa. The whole population was roused to frenzy by the news, and it was resolved to send as large a force as could be mustered to punish Tau Nunu, but, receiving intelligence that Taiaroa was marching up the coast, accompanied by a considerable body of men armed with muskets, the Kaiapoi leaders determined to await his arrival, and get him, if possible, to unite his forces with theirs.
Their proposal was ultimately accepted, but instead of proceeding at once to attack Ripapa, the combined forces first marched against Wairewa. Taiaroa repeated the warning he gave the inhabitants on a former occasion, and apparently with a like result, for when the besiegers arrived, they found that most of the inhabitants had escaped to their canoes. Pikoro was the only man on the spot they discovered, and he was killed, together with Tauakina, Te Ata Ka Hua Kina, and Kaihaiere, sisters of Te Mai Hara Nui. But Taiaroa's well-intentioned plan for securing the safety of his friends was not destined to be successful this time.
The Murihiku musketeers were unwilling to be again deprived of their prey. Having, after a short search, discovered two or three canoes, they pursued the fugitives, who, in their overcrowded vessels, were readily overtaken, when the majority of them were either shot or drowned. The cannibal feast that followed this engagement was regarded at the time as peculiarly atrocious, on account of the close relationship between the devourers and the devoured, and it was from what took place on this occasion that the feud came to be known in the annals of the tribe as "Eat Relation."
Leaving Wairewa, the expedition marched up the Okiri Valley, and over the Waipuna Saddle, and down the Otutu spur, to Koukourarata. The scouts in advance came there upon Te Ha-Nui-Orangi, an elderly chief, who was sitting in the sunshine quite unconscious of the existence of danger. His youthful companions were all asleep under the trees, at a short distance off, but before they could be alarmed he was killed.
The noise of the struggle roused the young men, who flew too late to his rescue, but they caught one of his assailants, Te Whaka Moa Moa. The rest of them took to flight, and rejoined their main body, who, hearing what had happened, decided to push on at once to Purau, fearing if they were to delay that night Tau Nunu might receive warning of their approach.
It was arranged that all who were armed with muskets should embark in canoes, and proceed by water to Ripapa, while the rest should climb over the hills, and assault the pah on the land side.
Taiaroa, who was desirous to give Tau Nunu a chance to escape, hurried forward, and was the first to get within hearing of the pah, when he shouted out, " Fly! escape! Guns are our weapons!" But Tau Nunu had anticipated an attack, and had already taken the precaution to cross the harbour a day or two before.
Many, however, adopted Taiaroa's friendly advice, and tried to escape in their canoes, but were not quick enough in getting out of musket range, for the attacking party that went round by water reached Ripapa almost as soon as their companions arrived by land, and they at once opened a destructive fire on the escaping canoes.
The result was that few who tried to get away by water succeeded; but, with the connivance of Taiaroa, many of the inhabitants passed through the assailants' ranks and reached the hills at the back of the pah, where they stopped pursuit by rolling great stones down upon all who attempted to follow them.
After the destruction of Ripapa, the Otakou and Murihiku warriors returned home, carrying with them the entire population of Taumutu, for they feared to leave them behind to encounter the vengeance of the survivors of the pahs that had lately suffered so severely at their hands. But they were soon followed to Otakou by Te Mai Hara Nui, who, with treacherous intent, employed every argument to induce the Taumutu people to return home. He assured them that all angry feeling had now subsided, that his followers were appeased, being satiated with vengeance. "Return," he urged, "to protect your rich preserves of flat-fish at Waihora."
He was so pressing in his entreaties, and so positive in his assurances of friendship and security, that Tawha and the rest of the people consented to return, with the exception of Pokeha and Tihau, who were distrustful, and remained under the protection of their southern friends.
Having gained the object of his visit, Te Mai Hara Nui did not want to accompany Tawha, but hurried back in advance to complete his treacherous designs. In passing up the coast he spent a few days at Te Waiteruati (Temuka), where he was hospitably entertained, and presented with a quantity of potted birds.
Only having sufficient men with him to carry his baggage, he begged his entertainers to provide him with porters to carry the Pokas they had presented to him as far as Akaroa. His request was readily acceded to, and several men were ordered to accompany him. The party travelled amicably up the coast, but on reaching the head of the harbour, Te Mai Hara Nui, without apparent cause or provocation, perpetrated one of the base and cruel deeds that have rendered his memory infamous. In spite of the remonstrances of his friends and followers, he fell upon the unfortunate carriers, and killed every one of them with his own hands; and then he cut up their bodies and sent portions to all the different pahs and hamlets on the Peninsula.
While this tragedy was being enacted in Akaroa Harbour, Tawha and his people were journeying towards their home, and were already nearing the mouth of the Rakaia. On being apprised of the fact, Te Mai Hara Nui despatched a messenger to Kaiapoi to order a detachment of warriors to come to his assistance. About two hundred obeyed the summons, without knowing what their services wore wanted for.
The narrative of what followed, I give in the words of Hakopate Atao Tu, an old Kaiapoi chief, still living.
"On reaching Wairewa, we met Te Mai Hara Nui and a large gathering of men. As soon as we were seated, the Ariki rose up and made a speech to us; then we learnt for the first time that we were meant to attack Taumutu. We were ordered to commence our march at once, and Te Mai Hara Nui kept in advance of every one, to prevent any of the chiefs who accompanied him from going forward to meet the returning refugees and exchange pledges of peace with them.
It was on this march down the Kaitorete spit that our old Kaiapoi warriors first handed a musket. It was very amusing to watch their efforts to conceal their nervous dread of the weapons; their hands trembled and shook as they took hold of them, and at the sound of the report that followed a pull at the trigger, they dropped the guns upon the ground exclaiming, “Eh he! How wonderful are the works of the Pakeha!' But they soon got over their fears, and learnt to use muskets with deadly effect.
We camped the first night at the spring midway down the spit, and the next morning rose early and marched past Taumutu before breaking our fast. On the march Te Mai Hara Nui caught sight of Te Rehe, a Waiteruati chief, who accompanied the Kaiapoi contingent, and made a rush at him with the avowed intention of taking his life, but my eldest brother, Te Whakatuka, came to his rescue, and an angry dispute followed.
Both were armed with muskets, which they pointed at each other, and dared each other to fire. The quarrel caused intense excitement, and there is no knowing what the result might have been, but for the interference of some old chiefs, who came up and parted the combatants. Te Whakataka was so offended with Te Mai Hara Nui that he went to the rear with his followers, and threatened to return home, but was dissuaded from his purpose, and shortly caught up to the army at Orehu, where, they stopped to cook food.
The place chosen for the camping ground was in a hollow overgrown with tall rushes, between a range of low sand hills. Sentinels were stationed on the high ground towards the south, and, laying our weapons aside, we all busied ourselves preparing food. Before our meal was over, we noticed the sentinels making signs, and, thinking they were hungry and asking to be relieved, someone called out, “Come and get something to eat.”
“How can we eat?” was the reply.
“There they all are close at hand.”
“Why, the enemy.”
We no sooner heard this than, forsaking our food, each one picked up his belt, and fastened it round his waist, and seized his weapons, and stood ready to meet the foe. Our leaders held a short consultation respecting the order of the battle. Tau Nunu cried, “I will command the coast side.” Whakauira said, “I will command the lake side.” “Te Mai Hara Nui said, “Then I will command the centre.”
All the warriors then ranged themselves under their respective leaders, and were ordered to lie flat upon the ground. We were not kept long in suspense. A number of men clad in red shirts, and armed with guns, soon appeared on a ridge at a short distance in front of us, coming towards us.
At the sight of such formidable antagonists, Te Mai Hara Nui's courage completely forsook him. He became very excited, and cried out, “Who can overcome them? Can these youths, inexperienced in the use of firearms, cope with those veterans?”
Then he got up quickly from the ground with the intention of running away, but Whakatuka, who was crouching beside him, seized him by the legs and pulled him down again. “Sit still,” he said, “and keep quiet; wait till I stamp my foot, and then rise.”
Te Mai Hara Nui's teeth chattered with fright as he sat cowering in the rushes, while being forcibly restrained from publicly exhibiting his cowardice. A great crowd of men, women, and children shortly appeared, following their advanced armed guard. As soon as the latter caught sight of us, they uttered a warning cry and fired. Then we all sprang to our feet and rushed forward. Those who had guns singled out the noted chiefs whom they recognised, and continued to fire till they fell. Tawha was the first who was shot. He was claimed by Tauawhara.
When the Taumutu people saw that their leader was killed, they took to flight, and all we had to do was to follow and kill as fast as we could. As I ran along I saw in front of me old Upokohina, a first cousin of Te Mai Hara Nui, trying to escape. He was carrying one little child on his back and leading two others by the hand. He called out to the man who was pursuing him, “Do not kill me.” Te Whakatuka, who was at a little distance, heard him beg for his life, and asked who it was. When he knew that it was Upokoliina, he called out, “Keep him till I come up, and take him as payment for Tokomaru,” for he wanted to avenge the insult offered to his friend Te Hepe and himself a few hours before. But Te Mai Hara Nui, who chanced to be close by, defeated his purpose, for, hearing Te Whakatuka's words, he ran forward, crying out in a loud voice, “Spare my cousin!” Upokohiua sat down and his pursuers stood round him.
When Te Mai Hara Nui came up, he at once rubbed noses with his relative, and with each of the children; then, without a moment's warning, he buried his hatchet in the side of the old man's head, who fell over with a groan; then, withdrawing the hatchet, he struck each of the children on the head, cracking their skulls like birds' eggs. Then, turning to Te Whakatuka, he said, “But for your exclamation I should have spared my cousin and his children, but I could not permit you to boast hereafter that you had either slain or spared any of my family. Our honour demanded their death at my hands.”
The slaughter at Orehu was very great, and the cannibal feasts that followed lasted several days. It was the last great encounter connected with the Kai Huanga feud, but the last victim was the chief Tau nunu, who was killed by Kaiwhata and Kaurehe at Otokitoki (close to the spring on the small promontory at the mouth of Lake Forsyth). These two persons were accompanying Taiaroa on one occasion to the South, and finding Tau Nunu alone, they tomahawked him, together with a woman named Takapau-Hiki-Hiki. This murder was never avenged. The appearance of Rauparaha at Kaiapoi put a stop for a time to these internal quarrels, and forced Ngai Tahu to combine together to resist the common foe, and so ended the disgraceful Kai-huanga feud.
RAID ON PANAU (LONG LOOK-OUT)
But it must not be supposed that these places were then occupied for the first time. One result of the Kai Huanga feud was to drive all who could escape from the destroyed pahs to take refuge in the bays on the north-east side of the Peninsula.
Those places were then so difficult of access by land that the refugees who took possession of them hoped to be quite secure from pursuit. In the course of a few years several populous settlements sprung up, and of these Panau and Okaruru (Gough's Bay) were the chief.
The inhabitants of these settlements might have continued in peaceful possession of them, but for the repetition by some of their number of an act similar to that which originated the Kai-Huanga quarrel, and which brought upon them the anger of their near neighbours, who were as familiar as themselves with the paths that led over the forest-clad hills to their several retreats. The circumstances that brought about a renewal of hostilities were as follows:
During Rauparaha's first visit to Kaiapoi, two chiefs, Hape and Te Puhirere (the latter was the father of Big William), accompanied by several other persons, some of whom belonged to Purau and the other bays just referred to, went to visit their friends at Kaiapoi.
While on the way, one of their companions, a woman named Te Whare Rimu, said, "My atuas (familiar spirits) tell me that our path is obstructed; there is darkness before us, destruction is in front of us, death is in front of us." Te Puhirere replied, "Well, my atuas tell me we are safe; there is no danger." He did not know (as Big William said when telling the story) that he was being sold to death by his atuas for a slight he had put upon them before starting on his journey.
Just before leaving home, his atua had cried out for food to be placed on its shrine. It had said, "I hunger after eel." Te Puhirere told his wife to give the atua what it asked for, but she grudged to give it the best fish, and not knowing the risk she was running by not doing so, being a new wife, the old and experienced wife being dead, she gave the atua a very small and thin eel. Her conduct exasperated the atua, who, to revenge itself, delivered Te Puhirere and his companions into their enemies' hands, by permitting them to continue their journey without warning them of the great risk they were running.
None of the party had the least suspicion that the approaches to Kaiapoi were in the hands of a hostile northern force. They journeyed on towards their destination till they reached the cause way through the Ngawari swamp, where they fell suddenly and unexpectedly into the hands of an ambuscade. Both Hape and Te Puhirere were killed, but some of their companions, by jumping into the swamp, succeeded in making good their escape, and found shelter in the pah.
After the massacre of Rauparaha's chiefs by the inhabitants of Kaiapoi, and his withdrawal from the neighbourhood, the survivors of the Akaroa party returned home. When passing the spot where they had been attacked, they found the clothing of the two chiefs who were killed, and not liking to lose such good mats, they picked them up and carried them home, and appropriated them to their own use.
In time it came to be generally reported that Hape and Puhirere had been kaipirautia, or dishonoured after death, by some persons who were known. When a full report of what had happened reached the ears of Te Mai Hara Nui, he expressed the greatest indignation at the indignity perpetrated on his deceased relatives by those who had dared to wear their mats.
He summoned the warriors of Ngai tarewa, Ngati Irakehu, and Ngati hui kai, and led them to avenge the insult by attacking in succession all the pahs erected by the refugees at Panau and elsewhere. A few only were killed; the majority were spared, and employed by their captors as slaves. Two of these prisoners, who had fallen to the lot of Paewhiti (old Martin), did not agree very well with their master, and ran away to their friends at Koukourata.
Tamati Tikao, who was then a boy, remembers how angry his father Taupori was because the runaways did not seek his protection; for he had been invited by Ngatata to leave Kaiapoi and to reside at Koukourarata, in order to shield him from any attack by the Akaroa people.
When the two men who deserted from Paewhiti were seen emerging from the bush above the Whatamaraki, everyone expected they would soon arrive at the settlement, but it soon became evident that they had passed on to a neighbouring village of Ngai Te Rangi.
Taupori could not contain his indignation at what he regarded as a grievous slight offered to himself by the travellers, and he demanded that Ngatata should send at once and fetch them back. His demand was complied with, and a canoe was immediately sent to convey them back.
On arrival, they were placed before Taupori, who asked them why they passed him. “Did you not know," he asked, “that I was here for the express purpose of protecting Ngatata and his friends? Did you doubt my power to protect your lives? I am in doubt now whether I shall not kill you both, for the insult you have offered to me." They then stood up one after the other, and replied to Taupori, and succeeded after a time in soothing his wounded pride, and inducing him to spare their lives. One of them, Te More, decided to remain and live with Taupore, but his companion asked permission to return to his friends.
But another runaway was not so successful in pacifying Taupori's eldest son, Te Whare Rakau, who felt injured in reputation by his distrustful conduct. Te Whare Rakau had gone with his eldest boy to Pigeon Bay to fell Totara trees for making canoes. He was engaged working on two; one called Te Ahi Aua, and the other Te Poho A Te Atua, when a man named Kahuroa made his appearance, accompanied by his wife and children.
When Te Whare Rakau saw him, he asked him to stay and assist him in his work. The man consented to do so, but during the night he went away with his family, and so quietly as not to awaken Te Whari Rakau. This made him very angry (pouri), because he had inadvertently endangered his own life and that of his son by entertaining an unfriendly guest, who might easily have killed him in his sleep. He was vexed with himself for having allowed such a person the opportunity of saying that he could, if so disposed, have killed Te Whare Rakau; that, in fact, he had spared his life. On returning home he told his father and their friends, who tried to quiet him, but without avail.
Some time afterwards he happened to be in a canoe, containing, amongst others, no less a personage than Momo, the great chief of Kaiapoi, and, while they were pulling along the coast, Te Whare rakau caught sight of Kahuroa on the beach. He immediately asked to be put on shore, that he might pursue him. "What!" said Momo, "would you slay your own kinsman?'' "What else can I do?" he replied. "Why did he deceive me? He might have killed not only me, but my son too. A little and we should both have fallen victims. For this he must die; I cannot let him live to boast that he spared my life and that of my son." Saying this, he ran after the unfortunate man, and, having caught him, killed him on the spot.
CAPTURE OF TE MAI HARA NUI
About a year after the raid on Panau, Te Mai Hara Nui was captured in Akaroa Harbour by Te Rauparaha, the noted warrior chief of Kapiti, who came, accompanied by one hundred and seventy men, in an English trading vessel, for the express purpose of securing his person.
The anxiety displayed by Rauparaha for the capture of this particular chief was caused by his determination to obtain the most distinguished member of the Ngai Tahu tribe, as payment for his near relative Te Pehi, who, in his opinion, was treacherously put to death by members of that tribe at Kaiapoi, but who, in the opinion of those who killed him, was lawfully executed for his treacherous designs upon those who were hospitably entertaining him.
Considering the circumstances that preceded the death of Te Pehi and his companions, the Kaiapoi residents had reasonable grounds for being suspicious respecting the intentions of their visitors. For Rauparaha arrived with a large armed force, uninvited, and without warning, before their pah, and red-handed from the slaughter of their clansmen at Omihi, whom he had been provoked to attack by a silly threat uttered by one of their chiefs.
The threat was, that "If Rauparaha ever dared to come upon his territory he would rip his body open with a Barracouta tooth." The defiant words were no sooner reported to Rauparaha than he accepted the challenge, and having fitted out a fleet of war canoes, and manned them with his choicest warriors, he crossed the straits, and coasted down as far as Kaikoura, where he attacked and killed the vain boaster, and destroyed every pah in the neighbourhood.
As the population was too numerous to be put to death, he sent a large number away to Kapiti, in charge of a detachment of his canoe fleet, while he himself proceeded further south with the remainder. Landing at Waipara, he drew up his canoes, and marched overland to Kaiapoi, where his arrival caused the greatest consternation.
He tried to quiet the alarm by assurances that his visit was a friendly one, and that he had only come to purchase Greenstone. To convince the people of the truthfulness of his statement, he sent several of his officers of highest rank into the pah, and amongst them his esteemed relative and general, Te Pehi.
By entrusting them with so many valuable lives, Rauparaha succeeded in reassuring the people, and allaying their fears. For although they learnt the sad fate of their friends at Omihi from one who escaped, they were obliged to admit the justice of their punishment, for a mortal insult such as the Kaikoura chief had offered to so renowned a warrior, could only be wiped out with blood.
For many days the inhabitants of Kaiapoi treated their guests with profuse hospitality, and dealt liberally with them in their bargains for greenstone, when all at once their worst suspicions were revived by Hakitara, a Ngapuhi native, who had lived many years with them, and who had been staying by invitation in Rauparaha's camp.
He returned early one morning with the news that he had overheard during the night, the discussion, in a council of war, of plans for the seizure of the place, and that they might be quite sure that treachery was meditated against them. His report received confirmation from the altered demeanour of their guests, who grew insolent and exacting in their demands for greenstone.
The Kaiapoi natives, after a short consultation, determined in self defence to strike the first blow, and at a concerted signal they fell upon the Northern chiefs and put them all to death. Rauparaha was over-whelmed with grief and rage when he learnt the fate of his friends, but, not having a sufficient force to avenge them, he retired to Waipara, after killing a few travellers who fell into his hands, and there he re-embarked in his war canoes, and returned to Kapiti.
Safe in his island fortress, he occupied himself for some time in devising a scheme of revenge. The plan he at length adopted was to engage the captain of an English vessel to carry him and a body of his men to Akaroa Harbour, where he hoped to secure Te Mai Hara Nui. The following is the account of the voyage given to me by Ihaia Pouhawaiki, who accompanied Rauparaha's expedition:
"We sailed from Kapiti in Captain Stewart's brig. There were one hundred and seventy men, under the command of Te Rauparaha, Te Rangi Hae Ata, Te Hikoi Tangia, Mokau, Te Mai Te Kia, and others.
On reaching Akaroa Harbour we carefully concealed ourselves in the hold, while Captain Stewart refused to have any communication with the shore till Te Mai Hara Nui arrived. For seven days and nights we waited for that chief, who was away at Wairewa, superintending the preparation of a cargo of scraped flax for one of his European customers.
Captain Stewart sent repeated messages to him to hasten his coming, and on the eighth day he arrived, accompanied by his wife, Te Whe, and his little daughter, Nga Roi Mata. He was cordially welcomed on reaching the deck by the captain, who took him below to the cabin.
He was hardly seated before a door opened, and Te Rauparaha entered, accompanied by several of his companions, who at once seized Te Mai Hara Nui, and taunted him with his simplicity in permitting himself to be so readily entrapped.
After the seizure of Te Mai Hara Nui, the shore canoes were encouraged to approach the vessel, but as soon as the occupants came on board they were led to the hatchway and thrown down the hold. Amongst those who were caught in this way were Apera Pukenui, the late chief of Port Levy, Paurini, and many others.
Canoes continued to come off for many hours, as there was no suspicion of foul play, it being a very usual thing for Maoris to remain for some time on board the traders that frequented the port.
On the second day after Te Mai Hara Nui's capture, Te Rauparaha attacked Takapuneke very early in the morning. The place was unfortified and undefended. About one hundred persons were killed, and fifty taken on board as prisoners. After the destruction of this kainga, the vessel sailed away for Kapiti.
During the voyage Te Mai Hara Nui smothered his little daughter, Nga Roi Mata, appropriately named The Tears, lest she should become the wife of one of his enemies.
His captors were very much enraged with him doing so, and fearing he might commit suicide, and escape the punishment in store for him, they secured his hands, and then fastened him by a hook placed under his chin to the cross beams of the hold. The torture occasioned exquisite suffering, which was watched with satisfaction by his vindictive enemies.
On reaching Kapiti, Te Mai Hara Nui was handed over to the widows of the chiefs killed at Kaiapoi, who put him to death by slow and nameless tortures.
Base as the means adopted for his capture were, and cruel as his fate was, it is impossible to feel much pity for Te Mai Hara Nui. His punishment was hardly worse than he deserved, since the treatment he received at the hands of his enemies was little more than a repetition of the cruelties he had himself perpetrated on members of his own tribe.
The remarkable pear-shaped promontory which divides the upper end of Akaroa Harbour into two smaller bays, is a locality possessing special interest to the Maori historian, not only from its having been from ancient times the reported abode of an atua or guardian spirit, but more particularly because it was the site of the last occupied Maori fortress on the Peninsula, and the scene of a terrible encounter with Rauparaha's forces.
The summit of Onawe was called Te-Pa-Nui-O-Hau (the chief home of wind}. There, amongst the huge boulders and rocks that crown the hill, and cover its steep- sloping sides dwelt the Spirit of the Wind.
Tradition tells how jealously it guarded its sacred haunts from careless intrusion. How it terrified the unwary or too daring trespasser by demanding with, startling suddenness, and in strange unearthly tones, "What doest thou here?" instantly following up the question by the peremptory command, "Turn back!" a command which none dared to disobey but those favoured persons who possessed the gift of spirit speech, which enabled them to hold intercourse with supernatural beings.
Unfortunately for all in these days whose curiosity to hear a spirit's voice might tempt them to violate the privacy of its abode, the articulate utterances of the Spirit of the Wind have long ceased. It has been mute ever since the report of a musket was first heard at Onawe, and the Maoris conclude that the loud and unaccustomed noise scared the atua away.
When the inhabitants of Akaroa became alarmed for their safety on account of Rauparaha's evident intention to extend his conquests to the south of Kaikoura, they resolved to erect a fortified pah, capable of containing all who might require to take refuge in it. They fixed upon Onawe as the most suitable site, though subsequent events proved their want of judgment in selecting a position so easily assailed.
The remains of the defensive works which still exist attest the size and strength of the pah, and awaken a suspicion in the observer's mind that the Maoris received the assistance of Europeans in their construction. But this they most positively deny.
They assert that the fortifications were entirely designed and executed by themselves, and that any departures from the ancient lines of construction that may be observable, were caused by the alterations necessary to meet the introduction of firearms.
A deep trench surrounded the pah, the earth taken from it forming the walls, along the top of which a strong fence was erected. All round the inside of the fence was a covered way for the protection of the defenders. The approach to a spring on the south side of the promontory was by a covered trench, protected by walls running parallel to each other, but to ensure a supply of water in the event of this road to the spring being cut off, a number of large canoes were dragged up into the pah, and filled with fresh water, and covered over with matting to prevent loss by evaporation, Ruas and whatas were stored with provisions, and every precaution taken to enable the occupants of the pah to sustain a siege.
The various preparations for defence were barely completed, before the startling intelligence was brought that Rauparaha had invested Kaiapoi with a large military force.
The inhabitants of Akaroa and its neighbourhood flocked at once into Onawe, and prepared for the worst. Tangatahara was placed in chief command, and under him Puaka and Potahi. They were able to muster about four hundred warriors, most of whom were armed with muskets, the rest having to content themselves with steel hatchets, or the more primitive weapons used by their forefathers.
During the six months the siege of Kaiapoi lasted, the occupants of Onawe suffered constant alarms from the reports that reached their ears of atrocities perpetrated by Rauparaha's foraging parties.
This condition of suspense was brought to a close by the capture of Kaiapoi, and the arrival of a party of fugitives with the news of its destruction, and the important intelligence that they had left Rauparaha in the act of embarking his men with the avowed intention of conveying them round to attack Onawe. Everyone was now on the alert, and many were in dread expectation of what was to follow.
Shortly after receiving this timely warning, the sentinels descried at a very early hour one morning, a large fleet of war canoes pulling up the harbour. Rauparaha evidently purposed to surprise the place, but his design was frustrated by the watchfulness of the defenders. Finding his plan had failed, he retired, ordering part of his force to camp in Barry's Bay, and part at the Head of the Bay.
Ngatitoa landed near the short wharf in Barry's Bay, where they commenced to prepare for cooking their food, while Ngatiawa landed near where Mrs Shadbolt's house stands, and prepared to do the same.
Innumerable fires were soon blazing on the little heaps of stones, gathered into the shallow basin-shaped holes scooped in the ground, and on which, when sufficiently heated, the food would be placed, and covered with matting and earth to cook.
Observing that Rauparaha had divided his forces, and that between the two divisions lay a thick wood, and a stretch of swampy ground, it occurred to Tangatahara that by falling suddenly upon Ngatiawa, now they were off their guard, he might overpower them before Ngati-Toa could come to their assistance.
He accordingly sallied forth from the pah, and skirted along the edge of the rising ground on which Mr Callaghan's house now stands. But the enemy's sentinels posted in the wood quickly discerned his intentions, and raised the alarm by running to the top of the hill and calling loudly upon Ngatitoa to come to their help.
Their cries were heard, and their comrades at once rushed forward, firing as they came floundering across the muddy beach that separated their camp from the promontory. Checked by the failure of this attempt to surprise the enemy, Tangatahara turned to meet the advancing Ngatitoa, and returned their fire.
Tahatiti was the first Ngai Tahu shot. On seeing him fall, his companions began to retreat slowly towards the pah. Big William, then a boy about twelve years old, ran back to report the fatal result of the enemy's fire. On reaching the gap in the cliff, near the gate of the pah, he caught up to Tama, who, having been wounded in the knee, was hobbling towards a place of shelter.
While the retreating band of Onawe warriors were standing about the gate, a number of Kaiapoi captives suddenly appeared amongst them, accompanied by their captors. Their appearance very much disconcerted the defenders of the place, who were loath to fire upon their kinsmen, and yet realised the danger of permitting any of the enemy to approach too near.
Rauparaha himself, accompanied by quite a crowd of Kaiapoi notabilities, came boldly up to the walls, where he had a very narrow escape, for Puaka, recognising him, pushed his musket through a loop-hole, and levelled it at him, and must have shot him dead but for Tara, PitaTe Hori's eldest brother, who was standing by Rauparaha, and pushed the muzzle of the gun aside.
The Kaiapoi captives, partly at the instigation of their conquerors, and partly moved by a jealous dread lest Onawe should escape their own fate, urged the inhabitants to surrender.
In the disorder and confusion occasioned by this unexpected parleying, some of the Northern warriors got inside the gates, and commenced killing everyone about them. A panic ensued, and for some minutes Onawe was the scene of the wildest confusion and bloodshed, the shrieks and cries of the dying mingling with the loud and furious shouts of the victors.
Big William relates how, terror-stricken by the fearful sights and sounds that surrounded him on all sides, he sought a hiding-place in one of the covered trenches, but, having been seen, was followed by a young Ngatiawa warrior, whose handsome face made an indelible impression on his memory.
Finding he was pursued, he picked up a spear and prepared to defend himself, and as the young man ran towards him in a stooping position, he thrust the spear at his face, and succeeded in piercing his cheek, and nearly putting out his eye.
Unexpectedly checked in this manner, the Ngatiawa called frantically for a gun to be brought to shoot his assailant, but another warrior running up the trench behind him, seized William, and, having tied his hands and feet, carried him down to his canoe, and eventually carried him off to Kapiti, where he grew so much into favour with his master, that he was treated more like a son than a slave, and finally allowed to return to his home in Akaroa.
Amongst those who escaped were two refugees from Kaiapoi Aperahama Te Aiki and Wi Te Pa. They happened to be outside the gate when the slaughter began, and at once sought shelter in the scrub that covered the hill sides to the water's edge.
They were observed by two men in charge of one of the northern war canoes, who pulled to the beach just under their hiding place, exclaiming "Our slaves, two for us," And they might have been caught, but for the courage of Wi Te Pa, who fortunately had a loaded gun with him.
Creeping down through the bushes, he stood concealed just above high water mark, and as the man in the bows was preparing to jump on shore Te Pa fired, and nearly blew the top of his head off, his companion, seeing what had happened, pushed the canoe back again into deep water with all speed, and the two fugitives made their way to the hills, where they were joined by the late Pita Te Hori and others, and having evaded the parties sent by Rauparaha in pursuit, succeeded in making good their escape to the south.
The majority of the inhabitants of Onawe were either killed or carried away into captivity. In the evening of the day on which the pah was taken, the prisoners were all examined, and the old men and women were picked out and put to death on the flax flat, now Mr Callaghan's paddock, in Barry's Bay. There the bodies were cut up, and so much carried off to the camps as the northern warriors required as a relish for their fern root.
The capture and destruction of Onawe almost annihilated the Maori inhabitants of the Peninsula. Of the few survivors, some had the courage to return to their homes, after the departure of the northern invaders, but others, unable to overcome their fears, fled for refuge to Otakou, where they remained till induced to join the expedition organised by Taiaroa and Tukawaiki to attack Rauparaha on the shores of Cook's Straits.
Before the capture of Kaiapoi, Taiaroa had escaped with about two hundred followers, purposing to return with a larger force for the relief of the besieged pah, but before he could execute his design the place was taken, and the subsequent capture of Onawe put a stop for a time to his movements, but having learnt that Rauparaha paid periodical visits to the settlement he had formed on the shores of Cook's Straits, he determined to go there and seek to avenge the injuries done to Ngai Tahu.
He was cordially assisted in carrying out his designs by Tuhawaiki, Karetai, and other chiefs, who headed the populous communities which still existed in the south. But though active in organising the first expedition, Taiaroa did not accompany it. It consisted of two hundred and seventy men, under the command of Tuhawaiki and Karetai.
They proceeded in war canoes from Otakou to Queen Charlotte's Sound, where they were successful in surprising Rauparaha, who had a very narrow escape from destruction. For in the frantic efforts made by his men to launch their boat, on discovering that they had fallen into a Ngai Tahu ambuscade, the keel was torn off, and the boat rendered useless.
Rauparaha, finding his followers falling all around him, and being unable to reach his canoes, which had got afloat, without running the risk of being detected and pursued, sought concealment in the kelp near the shore, where, by occasionally lifting his head under cover of the broad leaves as they swayed backwards and forwards with the waves, he was able to breathe.
He remained in his hiding place till the first fury of the attack was over, and then he swam to a canoe, which remained in the offing waiting to pick up any who might escape. Paora Taki, the old Native Assessor at Rapaki, always maintains that he might have killed Rauparaha on this occasion, if he had been properly armed, but unfortunately on the way up the coast he had been induced by a powerful friend to exchange his gun for a very simple weapon, which was nothing more than a sharp-pointed stake.
In the confusion which followed the rush on Rauparaha's men, both sides got mixed up in one close crowd. Someone brushed roughly past Paora, who, on turning round, saw it was Te Rauparaha himself. He had on a parawai mat, and was walking rapidly towards the water's edge, with his arms folded across his breast, and holding a greenstone mere in his right hand.
Paora, not daring to attack him with the simple weapon he possessed, tried to secure some inferior foe, and the first he encountered was a woman, whom he pushed over and pinned to the sand by a thrust through her thigh; he then called loudly for the loan of a tomahawk to despatch his prey.
A passing warrior, attracted by his cries, seized the woman by the hair, and was about to plunge the weapon into her skull, when he recognised her as one of the captured Kaiapoi people. "Why, Paora," he said, "it is your own aunt." Poor Paora tried to make amends for his rough treatment of his injured relative by a more than ordinary amount of nose rubbing, the Maori equivalent for kissing. After another successful encounter with their enemies, Ngai Tahu returned home.
Encouraged by the success of the first expedition, known as Oraumoa Iti, a second, on a much larger scale, was resolved upon, to be known as Oraumoa Nui. Some little time was spent in making preparations, and, when they were completed, it was found that upwards of four hundred warriors had assembled to take part in it, Taiaroa assumed the command, and, having despatched a portion of his forces by water, he marched up the coast, gaining slight accessions to his numbers at each stage.
On the way an incident occurred which throws some light on the motives which prompted those deeds of apparently senseless barbarity which so often darken the pages of the internal history of Maori tribes.
Accompanying Taiaroa's expedition was a chief noted for his harsh and cruel disposition, Te Whakataupoka by name. On reaching Taumutu, this man was with difficulty dissuaded from killing the surviving remnants of the hapus destroyed by Rauparaha, whom he found gathered there.
The reason he gave for wishing to perpetrate such a cruel deed was, that all his own friends and relations had been killed in the encounter from which these people had escaped , and he regarded their escape as having been purchased at the cost of those who perished, and therefore demanding the vengeance of surviving relatives.
His inhuman proposal was resisted by Tu te Hou Nuku, the long-lost son of Te Mai Hara Nui, who had arrived in a whaling ship at Otakou just as the second Oraumoa expedition was leaving, and who, approving of its object, had at once joined it.
Tu, unlike his father, was of a merciful and kindly disposition, and bestirred himself to protect the lives threatened with destruction. He sent off at once to Wairewa for his cousin Mairehe (Mrs. Tikao) and the few remaining members of his family still to be found there.
On their arrival, Te Whakataupoko found that he could not carry out his sanguinary purpose, as he would have been forcibly restrained from doing any harm to the sacred persons of the Ariki's family, who formed part of the remnant that escaped from Te Rauparaha, and whose presence protected their less influential fellow-sufferers from destruction.
DEATH OF TU TE HOU NUKU
It would needlessly prolong this narrative to relate the encounter between the several forces under Taiaroa and Rauparaha. Suffice it to say that the Southern expedition was successful. But a sad disaster befell it when returning, which resulted in the loss of many valuable lives.
Taiaroa's fleet, which consisted of twenty-nine canoes, was mainly composed of vessels specially adapted for ocean voyaging, formed by lashing two ordinary war canoes together, and further strengthening them with a deck, but the canoe in which Tu Te Hou Nuku and many of the oldest chiefs embarked was only an ordinary war canoe, quite unable to cope with the winds and waves of stormy Rau Kawa.
When rounding Cape Campbell, the fleet encountered a tremendous storm, and though Tu and his companions handled their canoe with all the skill of experienced seamen, it capsized before reaching the shore, and all but an old woman named Mawhai were drowned.
She managed to escape by clinging on to the canoe till it was washed up. Their comrades, who witnessed the accident from the beach, were unable to render them any assistance, but after it was all over they waited in the neighbourhood till the bodies were cast up.
On finding the remains of Tu Te Hou Nuku, they prepared at once to conduct his funeral rites, which were superintended by Te Wera. He commenced by killing the poor woman who had reached the shore alive, as an offering to the manes of the deceased. He then cut up the canoe, and with the fragments burnt the body of the young chief.
The actual handling of the corpse was assigned to Rangitihi, the husband of Wakatau's sister, who was in consequence subjected to the inconvenience of being fed for a long period by the hands of his wife, Te Wera. His own hands having become tapu from contact with the sacred body, he dared not touch anything in the shape of food, cooked or uncooked, nor engage in the cultivation of the soil, for a whole year afterwards. As Tu te Hou Nuku left no children, Te Mai Hara Nui's line became extinct at his death.
The depopulated Peninsula would have continued without Maori inhabitants up to the date of colonisation, but for the great change wrought in Rauparaha's warriors by Christianity.
Those fierce and cruel men, having been led by the teaching of the Rev. Mr Hadfield, the present Anglican Bishop of Wellington, to embrace Christianity, gave convincing proof of their sincerity by releasing all their Ngai Tahu captives, whose compulsory labours were a great source of wealth and profit to them. But they not only gave them their freedom, they even allowed them to return to their own land, and, in order to ensure them a safe reception from those who might during their enforced absence have usurped their estates, several notable northern chiefs accompanied them home.
Port Levy, Akaroa, Gough's Bay, and Wairewa could again count their inhabitants by scores, if not even by hundreds, while several small hamlets were formed in other places round the coast.
Port Levy became the principal centre, and where many important Maori gatherings took place, both before and after colonisation began. It was there that Rauparaha's son and nephew spent some time instructing the people in the doctrines of Christianity, and teaching them to read and write in their own language, endeavouring as far as they could to repair the wrongs done to Ngai Tahu by Rauparaha and his warriors. It was there that the northern chiefs met Taiaroa and other influential Southern chiefs and exchanged pledges of peace and good will.
The reoccupation of Kaiapoi, just before the arrival of the Canterbury Pilgrims, tended to thin the Maori population of this district, which has been still further reduced by the fatal effects of European diseases, rendered more destructive than they would otherwise have been, from the Maoris having been forced to crowd together on the limited areas reserved for them; where, surrounded by constantly accumulating heaps of pollution, deprived of the healthy excitement of hunting and travel, deprived of all political influence, without any fixed aim or object in life, a prey to ceaseless regrets and chronic depression of spirits, they have fallen easy victims to every form of epidemic that has appeared amongst them.
Knowing the disorganised state into which Maori society had fallen just before colonisation began, the public are too ready to credit that event with whatever improvement may be apparent in the present condition of the natives, and to conclude that the Maoris must be in every way better off than they could have been without the settlement of the country. But, as a matter of fact, it was not to colonisation, but to their own acceptance of Christianity, that the Maoris owed the restoration of peace and order.
When the first colonists arrived, the Maoris were a Christian nation. Without saying a word in disparagement of the colonists, who as a whole have honestly endeavoured to treat the Maori fairly, it cannot be denied that whatever benefits the Maoris have derived from colonisation have been the result of indirect rather than any direct efforts made by the colonists for their good.
Beyond being spared the prospect of a violent death, it is hard for a Maori to see that he has gained anything and even that benefit would have been secured to him under the reign of law established by the reception of Christianity.
Provision for the education of their children, and for the proper care of the sick and needy, was stipulated for by the Maoris when parting with their lands, so that no credit is due to the Colonial Government for what has been done towards fulfilling the conditions of the original deed of purchase.
But, whatever faults may be charged against our administration of Native affairs, and however disastrously our mistakes may have affected the interests of individuals of the Native race, it is gratifying to know that the more intelligent amongst them regard their misfortunes, not as the result of any intention on our part to injure them, but rather as the inevitable result of being brought suddenly into contact with a civilisation so far in advance of their own simpler mode of life.
The relations between the English and the Maori inhabitants of the Peninsula have always been of the most friendly kind, and although they do not hesitate to charge us with complicity in the murder of their great chief, Te Mai Hara Nui, they have never shown the slightest disposition to retaliate, and there is no instance on record of any European being killed by Maoris here, or even suffering violence at their hands.
The rarity of convictions for criminal offences speaks well for the general good conduct of the people, and the universal testimony borne to their honesty and kindliness of disposition by their English neighbours, show how deeply they have imbibed those Christian principles on which the only real civilisation rests.
Though their numbers have dwindled down from thousands to the insignificant total of two hundred and fifty, and the relative numbers of the two races inhabiting these parts are reversed, may the Maoris never have just cause to regret that they trusted the English.