Art I.—On the Life and Times of Te Rauparaha.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 21st August, 4th September, 2nd, 9th, and 30th October, 1872.]
The position occupied by the great chief Te Rauparaha in connection with the establishment and earlier progress of the New Zealand Company's settlements in Cook Straits, would alone justify us in recording all that can still be learnt of the career of this remarkable man; but when, in addition to the interest which his personal history possesses for us in this respect, we find that he took a very important part in the events that occurred in these Islands between the years 1818 and 1840—leading as they did to an immense destruction of life amongst the then existing population, and to profound changes in the habits and character of the survivors—it becomes important, for the purposes of the future historian of the Colony, that we should preserve the most authentic accounts of his career, as well as of that of the other great chiefs who occupied, during the period in question, positions of power and influence amongst the leading New Zealand tribes. As with Hongi, Te Waharoa, and Te Wherowhero in the North, so Te Rauparaha in the South carried on, during the interval referred to, wars of the most ruthless and devastating character, undertaken partly for purposes of conquest, and partly for the gratification of that innate ferocity for which the New Zealanders have long been remarked. His own immediate tribe, the Ngatitoa, though insignificant in point of numbers, when compared with most of the leading tribes of the North Island, had long been celebrated for their prowess as1 warriors; and the reliance they placed upon the sagacity
and valour of their chief added to the prestige of frequent victories, and, above all, to the confidence inspired by the possession of new and powerful weapons, unknown, in most cases, to their earlier opponents, led them unhesitatingly to engage in enterprizes, the difficulties and dangers of which might otherwise well have deterred even bolder men. Nor was the special confidence inspired by the possession of firearms at all surprising, when we remember the extraordinary results which have recently been brought about, even amongst European nations, by mere improvements in the construction of the weapons used in warfare. In the case of Austria, for example, the power of one of the greatest military nations of the world was almost annihilated, and has certainly been permanently reduced, in consequence of the possession, by their recent adversaries, of weapons of somewhat greater precision than their own. We cannot, therefore, wonder at the results which would be produced upon even the most warlike savage people, where the arms on the one side were muskets, and on the other mere clubs and wooden spears and more especially where those who used the latter had had no previous knowledge of the destructive power of the more deadly weapons brought against them. My narrative will, indeed, often recall the graphic language of De Foe when describing the effect produced by the guns of Robinson Crusoe and Friday upon the savages engaged in butchering their prisoners: “They were, you may be sure,” he says, “in a dreadful consternation, and all of them who were not hurt jumped upon their feet, but did not immediately know which way to run or which way to look, for they knew not from whence their destruction came.” We shall find, in effect, that this was the principal reason why the wars carried on by Te Rauparaha were, notwithstanding the smallness of his own forces, quite as disastrous to the numerous tribes which occupied the scenes of his exploits, as those which were waged against their own neighbours by the more powerful chieftains in the northern parts of the country, and that Te Rauparaha contributed as largely as most of the former to the enormous destruction of life which took place during the two-and-twenty years above referred to. But before entering upon the immediate subject of this memoir, I have thought it desirable to compile a short account, showing—the habits and character of the New Zealanders; their laws in relation to the acquisition and ownership of land; their customs in war; the general condition of the tribes before the introduction of firearms, and the effects which that circumstance in their history produced upon them. I have thought it would be satisfactory to my readers that I should adopt this course, not merely as a matter of speculative interest, but because some knowledge upon these subjects will really be found necessary to a full appreciation of the events I propose to relate, and of the characters of the chief actors in those events.
I propose in the present chapter to inquire, shortly, into the habits and
customs of the New Zealanders in especial relation to the ownership of land, and to war, and then to offer some observations regarding their social and individual characteristics; and I may at once say that in compiling the following notice of these matters I have availed myself largely of Mr. White's “Lectures on Maori Customs and Superstitions,” and of Mr. Colenso's “Essay on the Maori Races,” which, though by no means exhaustive, are sufficient to enable those who have had any opportunities of personal observation, and who may, therefore, read them by the light of locally acquired knowledge, to obtain reasonably clear ideas upon these points. It would appear from the facts collected by these and other writers, and from the traditions of the New Zealanders themselves, that from the very earliest times they clearly understood the value of the possession of land. This was, of course, naturally to be expected in a people dependent upon the cultivation of the soil for a considerable proportion of their ordinary means of subsistence, for although New Zealand, as a rule, is a fertile country, and possesses a mild climate, and is almost everywhere covered with a dense vegetation, its natural vegetable productions, suitable for the proper sustenance of man, are extremely limited; and the Natives would often have suffered from want if they had been wholly dependent for their supplies of food upon the indigenous vegetation, and upon the uncertain results of their rat-chases and their fisheries. No doubt, whilst the Moa still abounded in various parts of both Islands, it afforded them a better class of animal food than any other they possessed before the introduction of the pig, but we have no positive information as to the date at which this source of supply failed them, nor do I think the materials for the determination of this question are at all likely to lead to any certain results upon the point. There can be no doubt, indeed, that long before the time of Cook, the most valuable articles of food used by the Maoris were not indigenous, as, for example, the Kumera (Convolvulus chrysorhizus), the Taro (Caladium esculentum), and the gourd-like Hue, in the growth of each of which a special and most careful mode of treatment was necessary. We find, accordingly, that a very large part of the time of the people of all classes was taken up in these cultivations, as well as in the preparation of such indigenous substances as were at all suitable for food; for, independently of the immediate family wants, the hospitalities of the tribes—to which all the members must necessarily contribute, especially on solemn occasions—led to the expenditure of large stores of provisions. As I have before observed, it was natural that a people, whose ordinary wants necessitated the cultivation of the soil to any large extent, should attach great value to the possession of land; and we find, in effect, that every tribe claimed its own special domain, and preserved the most accurate knowledge of the extent and limit of its territorial rights.
“There is no point,” says Mr. White, “on which a New Zealander's
indignation can be more effectually roused than by disputing his title to land. This love for his land is not, as many would suppose, the love of a child for his toys; the title of a New Zealander to his land is connected with many and powerful associations in his mind. He is not, of course, what we call a civilized man, but in dealing with him we deal with a man of powerful intellect, whose mind can think and reason as logically on any subject with which he is acquainted, as his more favoured European brethren, and whose love for the homes of his fathers is associated with the deeds of their bravery, with the feats of his boyhood, and the long rest of his ancestors for generations. The New Zealander is not accustomed to law and parchment, or to wills and bequests, in gaining knowledge of or receiving a title to the lands of his fathers; nor would he quietly allow any stranger to teach him what lands were his, or what lands were not; what were the names of the boundaries, the creeks, mountains, and rivers in his own district. The thousand names within the limits of his hereditary lands were his daily lesson from childhood. The son of a chief invariably attended his father, or his grandfather, in all his fishing, trapping, or spearing excursions; and it was in these that he learnt, by occular demonstration, the exact boundaries of his lands, and especially heard their various names. It was a custom with the Maoris in ancient times to eat the rat—a rat indigenous to this country, and caught in traps set on the tops of the mountain ranges. This was a source of part of their daily food, and it was therefore, with them, a point of great importance to occupy every available portion of their lands with these traps; and as most of the tribal boundaries are along the range of the highest hills or mountains, and as these were the common resort of the rat, every New Zealand chief soon naturally became acquainted with the exact boundary of his land claims. He did not, however, limit these claims to the dry land—they extended to the shellfish, and even out to sea, where he could fish for cod or shark, or throw his net for mackerel; nor did he go inadvertently to these places, and trust to chance for finding his fishing grounds—he had land-marks, and each fishing-ground and land-mark had its own peculiar name; these to him were more than household-words; his fathers had fished there, and he himself and his tribe alone knew these names and land-marks. Where a creek was the dividing boundary of his lands this was occupied by eel-dams. These dams were not of wicker-work, that might be carried away by a flood—labour and art were bestowed upon their construction, so that generations might pass, all of whom in turn might put their eel-basket down by the carved and re-ochred totara post which their great grandfather had placed there. When the dividing boundary between two tribes ran along a valley, land-marks were put up; these consisted generally of a pile of stones or a hole dug in the ground, to which a name was given significant of the cause which gave rise to such boundary being agreed
to; such, for instance, as Te Taupaki—the name given to the dividing boundary on the West Coast between the Ngatiwhatua and Tainui tribes—which means the year of peace, or the peaceful way in which a dispute is adjusted. This boundary had its origin from a chief of the Ngatiwhatua, called Poutapuaka, going from Kaipara to take possession of land with his paraoa, or bone spear. His intention was to go along the coast as far as the quantity of food which he carried would enable him to travel, and return from the point at which his food was expended; he had succeeded in taking possession of the whole of the line of sandy coast called Rangatira, and on arriving at the top of the hill, now known as Te Taupaki, he met the Tainui chief Haowhenua. They both halted, sticking their spears in the ground, and inquiring of each other the object of their being there. They found that they were both on the same errand, and at once agreed that this meeting point should be the boundary dividing the lands of the tribes whereof each was the representative. The Ngatiwhatua chief at once dug a hole with his bone spear, and the boundary so established has remained to this day. I may state,” adds Mr. White, “without fear of contradiction, that there is not one inch of land in the New Zealand Islands which is not claimed by the Maoris, and I may also state that there is not a hill or valley, stream, river, or forest, which has not a name—the index of some point of the Maori history. As has been stated above, the New Zealander knows with as much certainty the exact boundary of his own land, as we could do from the distances and bearings given by a surveyor. But these boundaries are liable to be altered at times; for instance, when lands are taken by a conquering tribe, or are given by a chief for assistance rendered to him by another tribe in time of war, or when land given to the female branch of a family again becomes, after a certain time, the property of the male branch of the family. In certain cases, also lands are ceded by a tribe for a specific purpose, with certain restrictions, and a tenure conditional on certain terms being complied with.”
Mr. Colenso, in his “Essay on the Maori Races,” tells us that their views of property were, in the main, both simple and just, and in some respects (even including those most abnormal) wonderfully accorded with what once obtained in England. Amongst them, property was usually divided into two classes, namely, peculiar and common. Every man, for example, had a right to his own, as against every one else, although this right was often overcome by might. A man of middle, or low rank, caught, perhaps, some fine fish, or was very lucky in snaring birds—such were undoubtedly his own; but if his superior, or elder chief, wished or asked for them, he dared not refuse, even if he would. At the same time, such a gift, if gift it might be termed, was (according to custom) sure to be repaid with interest, hence it was readily yielded. The whole of a man's movable property was also his own, which
included his house and fences, as well as all his smaller goods. All that a freeman made or caught, or obtained, or raised by agriculture, were his own; although his house, created by himself, was his own, yet if not on his own land (rarely the case) he could not hold it against the owner of that spot, unless such use had been openly allowed to him by the owner before all (i te aroaro o te tokomaha). So a plantation planted by himself, if not on his own land (also a rare thing), he would have to leave after taking his crops, on being ordered so to do; but not so if he had originally, and with permission, felled the forest, or reclaimed that land from the wild; in which case, he would retain it for life, or as long as he pleased, and very likely his descendants after him. To land, a man acquired a peculiar right in many ways:—
1. Definite.—(a.) By having been born on it, or, in their expressive language, “where his navel string was cut,” as his first blood (ever sacred in their eyes) had been shed there. (b.) By having had his secundines buried there (this, however, was much more partial). (c.) By a public invitation from the owner to dwell on it. (d.) By having first cultivated it by permission. (e.) By having had his blood shed upon it. (f.) By having had the body or bones of his deceased father or mother, or uterine brother or sister, deposited or rested on it. (g.) By having had a near relative killed or roasted on it. (h.) By having been bitterly cursed in connection with that piece of land, i.e.—this oven is for thy body, or head; on that tree thy liver shall be fixed to rot; thy skull shall hold the cooked birds, or berries of this wood. (i.) Or by the people of the district using for any purpose a shed which had been temporarily put up there, and used by a chief in travelling.
2. Indefinite.—(a.) By having been invited to come there by the chief with a party to dwell (lit., having had their canoe in passing called to shore). (b.) Through his wife by marriage; but such would only be a quasi life-interest to him, i.e., during her life and infancy of the children, as, in case of children, they would take all their mother's right. (c.) By having assisted in conquering it. (d.) By having aided with food, a canoe, a spear, etc., an armed party who subsequently became conquerors of it. All these equally applied, though he should belong to a different tribe or sub-tribe.
3. Beyond all these, however, was the right by gift or transfer, and by inheritance, which, not unfrequently, was peculiar and private. This (which has of late years been much contested, and too often, it is feared, by ignorant and interested men, or by those who have too readily believed what the talkative younger New Zealanders now say,) may clearly be proved beyond all doubt:—(1.) By the acts of their several ancestors (great-grandfathers) to their children, from whom the present sub-tribes derive their sub-tribal names, and claim their boundaries; such ancestors divided and gave those lands simply to
each individual of their family, which division and alienation, however unfairly made, has never been contested. (2.) By their ancient transfers (gifts or sales) of land made by individuals of one tribe to individuals of another, as related by themselves; and from which gift or alienation, in many instances, they deduce their present claims. (3.) By their earliest (untampered) sales and transfers of land to Missionaries and to others, which were not unfrequently done by one native (as was notably the case in the first alienation of land by deed to Mr. Marsden, at the Bay of Islands, in 1815). Although the foreign transferees (not knowing the native custom) often wished others, being co-proprietors, to sign the document of transfer; and this, bye-the-bye, came to be looked upon as the New Zealand custom; whence came the modern belief that all must unite in a sale; and thence it followed that one could not sell his own land! But such is not of New Zealand origin.
It will be observed, that there is some difference of opinion between the two writers from whom I have quoted, as to the existence of definite individual rights of property in land, as distinguished from tribal, or common, or indefinite rights; but as this is a point which little concerns the purpose of my narrative, I shall do no more than refer to it here. The extracts above given, at all events sufficiently show that the Maoris always attached the greatest value to the ownership of the soil, and took the utmost care to preserve an accurate knowledge of the boundaries of the tribal estate. The very value, however, attached to the possession of land naturally led to aggression and to the use of various other means of acquiring title to it; and not only in many of their traditions, but also in all other accounts of the habits of the race, we find mention of wars undertaken for purposes of conquest, and of marriage alliances being contracted, and other devices resorted to, for the purpose of peacefully securing additions to the tribal territory. Upon the first of these points, Mr. White tells us that a tribe, in going to war, had one or more of three objects in view:—1. To take revenge for some real or supposed injury. 2. To obtain as many slaves as possible. 3. To extend its territory. “A tribe,” he says, “seldom became extinct in consequence of war, but when this resulted, the conquering tribe took all their lands, and from the slaves taken in war the conquerors learnt the boundaries of the land thus taken. But, if a portion of the tribe escaped, their claim held good to as great an extent of land as they had the courage to occupy. If, however, they could manage to keep within their own tribal boundary, and elude their enemy, their right to the whole of the land held good. Hence the meaning of a sentence so often used by old chiefs in their land disputes: I ko tonu taku ahi i runga i taku whenua (my fire has been kept burning on my land); meaning that other tribes in war had never been able to drive them entirely off their ancestral claims. The right to lands taken by conquest rests solely on the conquering party actually
occupying the taken district, to the utter exclusion of its original owners or other tribes; thus, in a war of the celebrated Hongi, he drove all the tribes out of the Auckland district into Waikato, and even as far as Taranaki; but though the whole district thereby became his, yet, as he did not occupy it, the conquered tribes, on his return to the North, came back to their own lands; and we found them in occupation when Auckland was established as an English settlement. Again, in, the case of a tribe which had been conquered and had become extinct, with the exception of those who had been made slaves by the conquering party, these slaves could, by purchase, recover the ownership of their tribal rights to land, or they could be liberated and return to their own lands on a promise of allegiance to the conquerors, rendering them any assistance, if required, in times of war, and supplying them, for the first few years after their return, with a certain amount of rats, fish, and fernroot; and eventually, on presenting the conquerors with a greenstone battle-axe (the mere pounamu), they were again allowed to be called a tribe, and claim the lands of their fathers as though they had never been conquered.
The claims in connection with lands given to a tribe for assistance rendered in war are more complicated than any other. Although the land was given to the leader of the tribe rendering such assistance, it did not thereby become vested in that individual leader, inasmuch as the assisting tribe were seldom alone, but had brought their allies, and, if these allies had lost any of their chiefs in battle, each relative of the deceased chiefs had a claim in the land thus given; and each relative of any chief who had been killed, of the tribe to whose leader the land was given, had also a claim. But the complication of land claims does not end even here. It was necessary that the land given should be occupied so that possession of it be retained, and as the assisted and assisting tribes became related by intermarriage, the tribal lands of the assisted tribe were claimed by the issue of these marriages, according to the laws relating to the ownership of land as affected by the marriage tie, so that after a few generations their respective claims not unfrequently became the cause of another war. An instance of this happened about four generations ago. One of the northern tribes rendered assistance in time of war to a southern tribe, now residing not far from Auckland, and a portion of land was given to the northern tribe; shortly afterwards the daughter of the southern chief was taken in marriage by one of the chiefs of the northern tribe; the two sisters of this woman were married to chiefs of the southern tribe, and thereupon their children's claims held good; but when the time came for the offspring of the sister, who had married the northern chief, to give up their land, the colonization of New Zealand had commenced, and land became a marketable commodity. This offspring retained their claims against all right and argument, and to this day there is a rankling feeling between the tribes concerned;
and if, in this disputed land, incautious dealing by Europeans takes place, it would probably result in a Maori war. The war in the Bay of Plenty, which has been continued until very lately between certain chiefs, also originated in a like cause; the contending parties were all of one tribe, and sprung from one ancestor, but, by intermarriage, some have a more direct claim than others. The descendants, who, by intermarriage, are related to other tribes, have made an equal claim to the land over which they have but a partial claim, and resistance to this was the cause of the war. Disputes of this kind are not easily unravelled. I believe that were it possible to teach the Maoris the English language, and then bring them into some Court, allowing each contending party to plead his cause in such a dispute as I have mentioned, not according to English law, but according to Maori custom, both sides would, according to native genealogy and laws, make out their respective cases so clearly that it would take a judge and jury, possessed of more than human attainments, to decide the ownership of the land.
While speaking about lands claimed by conquest, I will give a few instances of land claimed by the offspring of those male or female chiefs who have been made slaves in war. It would not generally be supposed that lands disposed of at the southern end of this Island would affect any native at the northern end of it, yet such is the case. A chieftainess who was taken slave from the South by the Ngapuhi and other northern tribes, became the wife of a Ngapuhi chief; her claim stood in the way of completing a sale of the land, and it was not until the consent of her son by the Ngapuhi chief was gained, that the land could be disposed of by the natives residing on it, and to him, in due course of time, a portion of the payment was transmitted. Again, a chief who was taken slave from the Bay of Plenty by the northern tribes, having taken a northern woman to wife, and having a family, his relatives from the Bay of Plenty made presents to the chiefs by whom he was taken, and procured his return home; but he was obliged, according to Maori laws of title to land, to leave his wife and daughters with the Ngapuhi people, for if he had taken them with him, they would have lost their claim to land at Ngapuhi, and would not be allowed any claim to land in the Bay of Plenty; while his son, whom he took back with him, now claims, by right of his grandfather, an equal right to the lands of the Bay of Plenty tribe. Again, one of the northern chiefs having taken to wife a woman whom he had made slave from Taranaki, and having a son by her, this son returned to the tribe of his mother and claimed as his right, derived from his grandfather, a share in their land, which was not disputed, because, as I have before stated, the great-grandchild in the female line has a claim to land. I remember another instance of this: a certain block of land was sold by a tribe near Auckland, and when the purchase money was portioned out amongst the claimants, a
northern chief rose up and rehearsed his genealogy, by which he proved that he was the great-grandchild (in the female line) of one of the claimants of the block sold. He thereupon, as a matter of course, received a part of the purchase money. He was a northern chief, and had only been known to the settlers by name.”
In addition to the above points, which more especially affect the events of my narrative, Mr. White gives us details of other modes of acquiring title to land, with illustrative cases of the most interesting kind; but there is one custom which he does not refer to, and which was mentioned to me by Wi Tako Ngatata, namely, that in some cases a conquered tribe, absolutely driven from its lands, was formally restored to possession by the conquerors. He stated, as an instance, that this was done in the Wairarapa, after the Ngatikahungunu had been forced to the northward by the Ngatiawa, under E Puni and himself, in revenge for some isolated acts of violence perpetrated upon members of their own tribe. He informed me that this proceeding was always a highly formal and ceremonious one, and was carried out, in the instance in question, in consequence of many intermarriages having taken place between the two tribes since the settlement of the Ngatiawa near Port Nicholson, and of the absence of any desire on the part of the latter to push their vengeance to extremity. It would lead me too far, were I to enter more at length upon the points above referred to, and I will now proceed shortly to notice some of the leading features in the character and habits of the natives in other respects. There can be little doubt that, both in intellectual and physical capacity, the Maori occupies a high position amongst savage people; but I cannot agree with Mr. White when he says, “that in dealing with him, we deal with a man of powerful intellect.” I admit that he possesses much intelligence, and a quick perception, but he is wanting in one of the chiefest characteristics of the civilized man—a characteristic only acquired by a long course of national education—namely, the power of foreseeing the result of these special classes of actions to which his contact with Europeans gives the greatest importance. It is not, however, altogether in this respect that I propose to view his character, for the principal events in my narrative took place before the colonization of the Islands; and their want of foresight when dealing with the agents of the New Zealand Company would not have produced effects injurious to them, but for the occurrence of events which have taken place since the death of Te Rauparaha. “Their ordinary course of life,” says Mr. Manning, speaking of the natives, “when not engaged in warfare, was regular, and not necessarily unhealthy; their labour, though constant in one shape or other, and compelled by necessity, was not too heavy. In the morning, but not early, they descended from the hill pa to the cultivations in the low grounds; they went in a body, armed like men going to
battle, the spear or club in one hand, and the agricultural instrument in the other. The women followed. Long before night (it was counted unlucky to work till dark) they returned to the hill in a reversed order; the women, slaves, and lads, bearing fuel and water for the night, in front; these also bore, probably, heavy loads of kumera or other provisions. In the time of year when the crops, being planted and growing, did not call for their attention, the whole tribe would remove to some fortified hill, at the side of some river, or on the coast, where they would pass months in fishing and making nets, clubs, spears, and implements of various descriptions; the women, in all spare times, making mats for clothing, or baskets to carry the crop of kumera in, when fit to dig. There was very little idleness, and to be called “lazy” was a great reproach. It is to be observed, that for several months the crops could be left thus unguarded with perfect safety, for the Maori, as a general rule, never destroyed growing crops, or attacked their owners in a regular manner until the crops were nearly at full perfection, so that they might afford subsistence to the invaders; and, consequently, the end of the summer all over the country was a time of universal preparation for battle, either offensive or defensive, the crops being then near maturity.” This picture exhibits a very unhappy condition of existence, for it is manifest that no race, in such a position, could ever rise further in the scale of civilization (paradoxical as the language may appear) than was sufficient to improve their knowledge of the art of war. But, notwithstanding this unsatisfactory condition of the tribes, the people appear, in their social and domestic relations, to have been, generally speaking, good natured and hospitable, though being little, if at all, fettered by conscientious motives or restraints, they were at all times easily roused to acts of violence and cruelty. With them, moreover, revenge was a most persistent feeling, and the duty of ministering to it was considered of sacred obligation. Their love of war was universal and intense, and in its prosecution they were as reckless of the consequences to themselves as they were of the results to their foes. “Nothing,” says Mr. Manning, “was considered so valuable or respectable as strength and courage; and to acquire property by war and plunder was more honourable, and also more desirable, than by labour.” Their cruelty to their prisoners was frightful. Cannibalism was considered glorious, and this habit led not only to the most dreadful atrocities, but also to a degree of callousness, in regard to the sufferings inflicted upon others, which appears to be utterly incompatible with, and renders singularly remarkable, the kindliness of feeling which they constantly exhibited in their domestic relations. It is clear, however, that whatever good qualities the Maori possessed in his quiet and social moments were utterly lost when he was acting under the impulse of passion. Mr. Colenso, in describing their character, particularly alludes to their love for children,
and remarks that “nothing more clearly shows the truth of the old adage, ‘the best corrupted is the very worst,’ than that a party of New Zealanders should be so carried away by the diabolical frenzy of the moment as wholly to forget their strongly and highly characteristic natural feelings, and kill, roast, and eat little children.” I need not, however, dwell any further on the subjects specially treated in this chapter, for their habits and customs must necessarily come, more or less, under further consideration throughout the course of my narrative.
Before noticing the condition of the New Zealand tribes during the twenty years immediately preceding the systematic colonization of the islands, I think it necessary to call attention to the accounts we have received, both from early voyagers and from late writers of authority, as to the extent of the native population, and their habits of life, previously to the introduction of firearms; and I do this chiefly for the purpose of showing, that notwithstanding the savage character of the former wars of the New Zealanders, the effects which those wars produced upon their numbers were as naught when compared with the destruction of life, both direct and indirect, which followed upon the use of the more deadly weapon of the civilized man. The earliest notice we have of the present race, occurs in the history of the voyage of Abel Tasman to the South Seas, in the seventeenth century, from which we learn that, in December, 1642, he discovered a high mountainous country, which he named Staaten Land, or Land of the States, but which is now called New Zealand. A day or two afterwards, he anchored in the beautiful bay at the north-western extremity of the Nelson Province, formerly named Massacre, or Murderer's Bay, on account of the murder to which I am about to refer, but which is now known, on the maps of the Nelson Province, as Golden Bay. He says that he there found abundance of inhabitants, whom he describes as very large made people, of a colour between brown and yellow, with hoarse voices, and with hair long, and almost as thick as that of the Japanese, combed up and fixed on the top of their heads with a quill or some such thing, that was thickest in the middle, in the very same manner the Japanese fastened their hair behind their heads. Some of them covered the middle of their bodies with a kind of mat, and others with what Tasman took to be a sort of woollen cloth; but their upper and lower parts were altogether naked. Tasman remained in the bay for several days, and on the 19th of December the savages, who had previously been shy of close intercourse, grew bolder and more familiar, insomuch that they at last ventured on board the “Heemskirk” (one of his ships) to trade. As soon as he observed this, he sent his shallop, with seven men in it, to put the people in the
“Heemskirk” on their guard, and to direct them not to place too much trust upon the good intentions of their visitors. The men in the shallop were at once attacked by the savages, and, being without arms, three of them were killed, the remaining four fortunately escaping by rowing for their lives. Tasman intended to have taken revenge for this murderous assault, but was compelled to leave without doing so, in consequence of rough weather coming on. It is probable that the people, by whom his boat's crew was attacked, belonged either to the Ngaitahu tribe—who, under the leadership of their ancestor Tahu, a chief of the Ngatikahungunu, crossed Cook Straits nearly three hundred years ago—or to the Rangitane and Ngatiapa, large numbers of whom also crossed Cook Straits some time before Tasman's visit, and took part in the destruction of the Ngatimamoe and other tribes which had previously occupied the northern parts of the Middle Island; but I am unable to determine this point. It is clear, however, that the number of natives then living in Massacre Bay was large, and that they exhibited the same fearless and ferocious character which led to such frequent hostile collisions with them, during the visits of subsequent voyagers. Our next accounts are derived from our own navigator, Cook, who had been directed to follow out the discoveries of Tasman regarding New Zealand and Van Dieman's Land, in order to ascertain whether they constituted part of the then little known continent of Australia. In October 1769, Cook first made land at a place which he named Poverty Bay. He did not then know that he had fallen in with the Staaten Land of Tasman, and the country he had found formed the subject of much eager discussion amongst the voyagers, the general opinion inclining to the belief, that it was part of the continent of Australia. He described the country in the neighbourhood of his land fall as being thickly peopled, and was greatly struck with the appearance of a pa, the use of which he was unable at the time to conceive. “Upon a small peninsula, at the north-east head of the bay, we could plainly see,” he says, “a pretty high and regular paling, which enclosed the whole top of the hill, which was the subject of much speculation, some supposing it to be a park for deer, others an enclosure for oxen and sheep.” Of course, Cook soon afterwards discovered the nature of these structures, which will be fully referred to in the sequel, and which had nothing to do either with deer, oxen, or sheep. Having landed for the purpose of watering the ship, his people were at once attacked with spears and “a sort of war hatchet of green slate, capable of splitting the hardest skull at a blow.” Notwithstanding all his efforts to conciliate, he found it impossible to come to any amicable understanding with the natives, even though Tupia (his interpreter) assured them that no harm was intended; and his seamen at last only effected their retreat in safety, after killing one of their assailants. The next day he again endeavoured to open friendly intercourse
with the natives, and succeeded in approaching them, but they then became as thievish as they had previously proved daring. They endeavoured to snatch the arms out of the men's hands, and were only prevented from doing so by some of them being wounded with small shot.
Failing in his attempts to communicate satisfactorily with them on land, Cook now endeavoured to secure some of those who came out to the ship in their canoes, intending to try and win their confidence by kind treatment. In carrying out this design, four more of the natives were killed, but two lads were captured and carried aboard, where they soon became reconciled to their fate, and eat and drank voraciously. These lads were afterwards landed, but the people still remained as hostile and dangerous as before. Cook then followed the coast, northward, as far as Hawke's Bay, everywhere observing vast numbers of people watching the ship from different parts of the shore, all of whom, however, displayed the same hostility, coming off in their canoes, and menacing the ship “with great bravado.” When some of them came near enough, Tupia told them of their folly, explaining “that the white men had weapons that, like thunder, would kill them in a moment, and tear their canoes to atoms.” In order to show them the effect of the guns, without hurting them, a four-pounder, loaded with grape, was fired, which by its flash, its roar, and the effect of the shot far off on the water, astonished them for a moment; but only for a moment. Being at last induced to come near, for barter, they took everything offered, but then refused to give the articles required in exchange, and ultimately seized and attempted to carry off Tayeto, Tupia's boy, who had been sent down into one of the canoes, in order to hand up such articles as the natives might agree to part with. This compelled Cook to fire on them again, when one man was killed, and two others were wounded, and the boy, during the surprise, sprang into the water; where, however, he was only protected till he regained the ship, by the firearms of the crew. This occurred at Kidnappers' Point, and Cook then proceeded southward as far as Cape Turnagain; from whence he returned to the north-eastward. On passing Portland Island, a chief and four others, in a canoe, boarded the ship—Cook's kindness to the lads whom he had previously seized having, apparently, produced the effect he intended. Their canoe was hoisted on board, and they stayed all night without any misgivings. In the morning they were put ashore at Cape Table, appearing to be much astonished at finding themselves so far away from home. From this time the ship was frequently visited, and it was found that the events which had taken place at Poverty Bay were well known all along the coast. According to Cook, “kindness and the cannon” both contributed to produce this more friendly feeling.
At Tolega Bay, some of the scientific men attached to the expedition
landed for the first time, taking Tupia and Tayeto with them. Here they had their first close view of the houses and mode of life of the people. They entered some of the huts, and saw them at their meals. These huts are described as being very slight, and generally placed ten or fifteen together.
The chief food appeared to be fish and fern-root, the fibres of which were spit out, like quids of tobacco, into baskets set beside them for the purpose. This was in October, and Cook learnt that, in the more advanced season, the natives had plenty of excellent vegetables, but no animals except dogs, which they ate like the South Sea Islanders. They visited the native gardens, which consisted of from one acre to ten, and altogether, in the bay, amounted to 150 or 200 acres in extent. These gardens are described as being planted with sweet potatoes, coccos or eddas (such as are used in the East and West Indies), yams, and gourds; but few of them were then above ground, and the plantations were carefully fenced in with reeds. They found both men and women painted with red ochre and oil, but the women much the most so; and that, like the South Sea Islanders, they saluted by touching noses. They wore garments of native cloth, made from the fibre of New Zealand flax, and a sort of cloak or mantle of a much coarser kind. The women are described as being more modest in manner, and more cleanly in their homes, than the Otaheiteans. They willingly bartered their cloth and war weapons for European cloth, but they set no value on nails, having then no knowledge of iron or its uses. What astonished the visitors greatly was to find boys whipping tops exactly like those of Europe. Cook then visited a pa, and learned that these enclosures were used for purposes of defence against invasion, the houses, within the enclosure, being larger and more strongly built than those on the shore. He describes the men as having their faces wonderfully tattoed, and their cheeks cut in spiral lines of great regularity; and states that many of them had their garments bordered with strips of dog and rat skins, which animals, however, were said to have become very scarce. They measured one canoe, made out of the boles of three trees, which was sixty-eight and a half feet long, five wide, and three high. These, as well as the houses, were much adorned with carvings, in which spiral lines and distorted faces formed the main points, but the work was so well done, that Cook could scarcely believe that it was executed with any of the tools he saw.
He then followed the south-east coast as far as Mercury Bay, and from thence to the Bay of Islands, everywhere observing villages full of people, who constantly came off in their canoes to utter defiance to the ship, displaying, on all occasions, the same reckless daring and unreflecting courage, which were so conspicuous during the late war. It was surprising, indeed, that half-a-dozen naked men, in a crazy canoe, should defy a large ship with all its cannon and musketry, even after they had seen its destructive effects. Sometimes they
assumed a more friendly aspect, and began to trade; but as soon as they had obtained what they wanted, they refused to give up the equivalent, and laughed at all menace of consequences, till they suffered wounds or death as a punishment, and then the survivors paddled off for a time. These accounts are confirmed, in all particulars, by other voyagers who visited New Zealand during the latter part of the last, and the earlier part of the present century, and lead to the conclusion that, prior to the year 1818, the native population was very large; and although we know, as I have before observed, that neighbouring tribes had been for ages constantly engaged in war with one another, it would also seem that the general results of their conflicts had not, until after the introduction of fire-arms, been such as materially to interfere with the maintenance of their numbers.
Mr. Manning, one of the judges of the Native Lands Court, a gentleman whose opportunities of acquiring knowledge on this subject have been unrivalled, also bears testimony to the former large numbers of the native people. “The natives,” he says, “are unanimous in affirming that they were much more numerous in former times than they are now, and I am convinced that such was the case for many reasons.” In support of this opinion, he refers to the existence, in most parts of the North Island, of numerous hill-forts or pas, many of them so large as to have required immense labour to trench, terrace, and fence. As he points out, the absence of iron tools must have greatly increased the difficulty of constructing these fortresses; whilst, even with the aid of such tools, the present population of the surrounding districts would, in most cases, be insufficient to erect them within any reasonable time. He also mentions that many of these forts were of such an extent that, taking into consideration the system of attack and defence necessarily used before the introduction of fire-arms, they would have been utterly untenable, unless held by at least ten times the number of men which the whole neighbourhood, for a distance of two or three days' journey, can now produce; and as, in those times of constant war, the natives, as a rule, slept in their hill-forts with closed gates, the bridges over the trenches removed, and the ladders of the terraces drawn up, it is evident that the inhabitants of each fort, though numerous, consisted only of the population of the country in its close vicinity.
“From the top of one of these pointed, trenched, and terraced hills,” says Mr. Manning, “I have counted twenty others, all of equally large dimensions, and all within a distance, in every direction, of fifteen to twenty miles; and native tradition affirms, that each of these hills was the stronghold of a separate hapu, or clan, bearing its distinctive name.” We have, moreover, evidence that vast tracts of land which are now wild, and have been so for time out of mind, were once fully and carefully cultivated. The ditches for
draining are still traceable, and hundreds of large kumera pits are to be seen on the tops of the dry hills all over the northern part of the North Island.
These pits, in the greatest number, are found in the centre of extensive tracts of uncultivated country, whose natural productions would now scarcely sustain a dozen inhabitants. The extent of the ancient cultivations with which they are connected is clearly traceable, and what is more remarkable, and undoubtedly indicates the former existence of a large population, is that tracts of land of what the natives consider, as a rule, to be of very inferior quality, were formerly cultivated, leading to the inference either that the population was fully proportioned to the extent of available land, or that these inferior lands were cultivated in consequence of their vicinity to some stronghold, or position of greater consequence, in the eyes of the natives, than the mere fertility of the surrounding country. “These kumera pits,” says Mr. Manning, “being dug generally in the stiff clay on the hill-tops have, in most cases, retained their shape perfectly, and many seem as fresh and new as if they had been dug but a few years. They are oblong in shape, with the sides regularly sloped. Many collections of these provision stores have outlived Maori tradition, and the natives can only conjecture to whom they belonged. Out of the centre of one, which I have seen, there is now growing a kauri tree, one hundred and twenty feet high, and out of another a large totara. The outline of these pits is as regular as the day they were dug, and the sides have not fallen in in the slightest degree; from which, perhaps, they have been preserved by the absence of frost, as well as by a beautiful coating of moss, by which they are everywhere covered. The pit in which the kauri grew had been partially filled up by the scaling off of the bark of the tree, which, falling in patches, as it is constantly doing, had raised a mound of decaying bark round the root of the tree.”
Mr. Manning points out, as further evidence of the former existence of a large population, that each of the hill-forts referred to contained a considerable number of houses. Every native house, as we know, has a fire-place composed of four flattish stones or flags, sunk on their edges into the ground, in which a fire is made to heat the house at night. Now, in two of the largest hill-forts he examined (though for ages no other vestige of a house had been seen) there remained the fire-places—the four stones projecting, like an oblong box, slightly above the ground; and their position and number clearly denoted that, large as was the circumference of the huge volcanic hill which formed the site of the fortress, the number of families inhabiting it, required the strictest economy of room. The houses had been arranged in streets, or double rows, with paths between them, except in places where there had been only room, on a terrace, for a single row. The distances between the fire-places proved that the houses in the rows must have been as close together as it was possible to build them;
and every spot, from the foot to the hill-top, not required, and specially planned for defensive purposes, had been built on in this regular manner. Even the small flat top, sixty yards long by forty wide—the citadel—on which the greatest care and labour had been bestowed to render it difficult of access, had been as full of houses as it could hold, leaving only a small space all round the precipitous bank for the defenders to stand on.
It would not be difficult to multiply authorities, in order to prove that the New Zealanders were formerly much more numerous than when the Islands were first systematically colonized by Europeans, but I conceive that I have afforded sufficient evidence on this point, and it now remains for me to notice the principal causes which led to their decrease.
“The natives,” says Mr. Manning, “attribute their decrease in numbers, before the arrival of the Europeans, to war and sickness;” but I have already shown, that although the weapons they used before they obtained firearms were sufficiently formidable in close combat, the destruction of life incident to the possession of such weapons would, probably, never have brought about the deplorable results which followed upon the introduction of the musket into their system of warfare. Indeed, Mr. Manning himself leans to this opinion. “The first grand cause,” he says, “of the decrease of the natives, since the arrival of the Europeans, is the musket.” Now, it was not until after the year 1820 that fire-arms were extensively used in native warfare. Shortly before that date, the Ngapuhi chiefs, Hongi and Waikato, had visited England, from whence they returned laden with valuable gifts, of which no small part consisted of guns and ammunition, for which, too, they soon bartered the remainder of their newly-acquired treasures, with traders from New South Wales.
Then commenced a period of slaughter almost unparalleled in any country, when compared with the total population engaged in the conflicts. Bands of the Ngapuhi, armed with weapons whose destructive power was unknown to the great majority of the native people, marched from one end of the North Island to the other, carrying dismay and destruction wherever they went. The population of large districts was exterminated or driven into mountain fastnesses, where they either perished, in numbers, from famine and exposure, or contracted diseases which ultimately proved fatal to them. The great tribes of the Arawa and Waikato, against whom the first efforts of the Ngapuhi were directed, seeing the necessity of at once obtaining similar weapons, in order to avoid threatened destruction, suspended all their usual pursuits for the purpose of preparing flax, to be exchanged with the European traders for guns, powder, and ball. As fast as these were obtained, they were turned against weaker neighbours, and the work of destruction received a fresh impulse. Hongi, Epihai, Tamati Waka Nene, and Tareha, amongst
the Ngapuhi chiefs,—Te Wherowhero, and others of the Waikatos,—and Te Waharoa, with his Ngatihaua, were all simultaneously engaged in the most ruthless wars against their neighbours; whilst, as I have before observed, Te Rauparaha was carrying on operations of a similar character in the South, and the number of people slaughtered was tremendous. On this head, I might quote many graphic passages from Mr. J. A. Wilson's “Story of Te Waharoa.” In speaking of the ultimate destruction of the great pa at Matamata, he tells us, “That at that time a number of Ngatimaru, with Tuhurua as their chief, resided at Matamata, an important fortress, not far from Mangakawa, Te Waharoa's own place, and therefore in a position which rendered them specially open to his incursions. Nor could they expect any effective aid against these incursions from the other sections of the tribe, whose internal jealousies, and constant dread of the Ngapuhi, then using their newly acquired weapons, in taking vengeance for former injuries, prevented them joining Ngatimaru proper against the common enemy. But for these circumstances, of which Te Waharoa was, no doubt, well aware, it is considered questionable whether he would have succeeded in his designs, as the Thames natives, before they lost the Totara Pa, mustered 4,000 fighting men; and, even after that disaster, he was unable, by mere strength, to wrest it from its possessors.” The following events, however, determined him to prosecute his war with Ngatimaru, and greatly contributed to his ultimate success.
“In 1821,” says Mr. Wilson, “a taua of Ngapuhi, under the celebrated Hongi, arrived at the Totara Pa, between Kauaeranga and Kopu, at the mouth of the Thames. So numerous did they find Ngatimaru, and the Totara so strong, that, hesitating to attack, they affected to be amicably disposed, and were received into the pa for the purposes of trade and barter. Towards evening Ngapuhi retired, and it is very remarkable—as indicating that man, in his most ignorant and savage state, is not unvisited by compunctions of conscience—that an old chief of the Ngapuhi lingered, and going out of the gate behind his comrades, dropped the friendly caution ‘kia tupato.’ That night, however, the Totara was taken; and, it is said, 1,000 Ngatimarus perished. Rauroha was slain, and Urimahia, his daughter, was carried captive to the Bay of Islands, where she remained several years. This calamity, while it weakened Ngatimaru, encouraged Te Waharoa.
In 1822, Hongi again appeared, and sailing up the Tamaki, attacked and carried two pas which were situated together, on part of the site now occupied by the village of Panmure. Many of the inhabitants were slaughtered, and some escaped. I would here observe that these two pas, Mauinena and Makoia, had no connection with the immense pa which evidently at some time flourished on Mount Wellington, and which, with the traces of a very
great number of other enormous pas in the Auckland district, betokens the extremely dense Maori population which once existed upon this isthmus—a population destroyed by the late owners of the soil, and numbered with the past; but which, in its time, was known by the significant title of Nga Iwi—‘The Tribes.’
Leaving naught at Mauinena and Makoia but the inhabitants' bones, having flesh and tendons adhering, which even his dogs had not required, Hongi pursued his course. He drew his canoes across the isthmuses of Otahuhu and Waiuku, and descended the Awaroa. At a sharp bend in the narrow stream, his largest canoe could not be turned, and he was compelled to make a passage for her, by cutting a short canal, which may yet be seen.
At length he arrived at Matakitaki, a pa situated about the site of the present township of Alexandra, where a number of Waikato natives had taken refuge. The pa was assaulted, and while Hongi was in the act of carrying it on one side, a frightful catastrophe was securing to him the corpses of its wretched occupants on the other. Panic-stricken at the approach of the victorious Ngapuhi, the multitude within, of men, women, and children, rushed madly over the opposite rampart. The first fugitives, unable to scale the counterscarp, by reason of its height, and of the numbers which poured down on them, succumbed and fell; those who had crushed them were crushed in like manner; layer upon layer of suffocating humanity succeeded each other. In vain did the unhappy beings, as they reached the parapet, attempt to pause—death was in front, and death behind—fresh fugitives pushed on; they had no option, but were precipitated into, and became part of the dying mass. When the deed was complete, the Ngapuhi came quickly up, and shot such as were at the surface and likely to escape.
Never had cannibals gloated over such unexpected good fortune, for more than 1,000 victims lay dead in the trench, and the magnitude of the feast which followed may, perhaps, be imagined from the fact that, after the lapse of forty-two years, when the 2nd Regiment of Waikato Militia, in establishing their new settlement, cleared the fern from the ground, the vestiges of many hundred native ovens were discovered, some of them long enough to have admitted a body entire; while numberless human bones lay scattered around. From several of the larger bones, pieces appeared to have been carefully cut, for the purpose, doubtless, of making fish-hooks, and such other small articles as the Maoris were accustomed to carve from the bones of their enemies.”
Nor was Te Waharoa idle during all this time. Having, by his courage, activity, and address, acquired the leadership of his own people, he had long determined to extend the boundaries of their territory by conquering that of the Ngatimaru; but, before commencing his sanguinary wars against that tribe, he had felt it necessary to form offensive and defensive alliances with the
Ngatimaniapoto and to check Te Wherowhero and the Waikatos, by whom he had been threatened, but into whom he succeeded in inspiring a wholesome dread of his strength, whilst he also repelled, with heavy loss, the incursions of the Ngapuhi, which were directed indiscriminately against all the tribes south of the Auckland Isthmus. He succeeded, moreover, in causing Te Rauparaha, as pugnacious and skilful a warrior as himself, to leave Kawia with his people. He then pressed his alliance upon the Ngaiterangi, who occupied Tauranga and the surrounding country, an alliance, which, by the way, proved very disastrous to them, whilst it greatly aided his own projects. Having done all this he commenced his more regular operations against the Ngatimaru, who were then established in great strength at Hauwhenua, where they had been joined by the refugees from Mauinena and Makoia. He had naturally viewed the establishment of this stronghold with the utmost jealousy, and it had no little effect in hastening the commencement of hostilities between the two parties. Feeling that his own warriors were not sufficiently numerous to attack the hostile pa, he summoned some of his Waikato and, Ngatimaniapoto allies to Maungatautari, who, only too ready, at once joined him to the number of 200 warriors. His own force comprised some 700 Ngatihaua and Ngaiterangi.
In the meantime, the Ngatimaru had spared no pains to strengthen their important stronghold, their garrison having, moreover, been increased by numbers of Ngatitematera and Ngatipaoa. The pa thus became a very large one, and densely peopled, not only with warriors, but with women, children, and slaves. Their numbers appear to have inspired them with much self-confidence, for when it became known that Te Waharoa had arrived at Maungatautari, with a taua 900 strong, they boldly determined to meet him in the open field. Perhaps they wished to decide the matter before he could receive further reinforcements; or perhaps they desired to avoid the mortification of seeing the enemy sit comfortably down before their pa, and regale himself on their cultivations. At any rate, they marched forth and took post on the hill, Te Tihi o te Ihimarangi—the place where the descendants of Waharoa's warriors opposed General Cameron in 1864; and, when the enemy was seen to approach, they rushed down and joined battle with him on the plain to the eastward. The contest was a severe one, but resulted in the complete defeat of the Thames natives. They were driven back over Te Tihi o te Ihimarangi, and down its reverse slope, and were pursued, with great slaughter, over the long narrow bushy plain that extends to Hauwhenua. At the end of a long and sanguinary day, the dejected men within the pa sat dreading the morrow's light, whilst Te Waharoa calmly considered his own and his enemy's positions. After resolving the matter for some time, he sent a herald to proclaim to the occupants of the pa “that during the next four
days anyone might retire unmolested from the pa, but on the fifth day Hauwhenua, with all it contained, would be taken and destroyed.” No answer was returned, but during the interval a multitude of all ages and sexes issued forth from the pa, and marched in close order along the road by Matamata to the Thames. That night Te Waharoa's ranks were recruited by many slaves, who deserted, under cover of darkness, from the retreating Ngatimarus, and on the following day the pa was assaulted and taken. The fall of Hauwhenua, which occurred about 1831, terminated the residence of the Ngatimaru on the Waikato; and was followed by operations, from a Waikato basis, which were successfully conducted against them, on the line of the Piako.
Whilst the earlier of these events were proceeding, the Ngatimaru chief, Takurua, maintained his position at Matamata; but about that time he appears, after much fighting, to have judged it advisable to accept terms of peace proposed by Te Waharoa. They were to bury the past in oblivion, and both parties were to live at Matamata, where, it was said, there was room for all. These terms were practically ratified by Te Waharoa and Takurua living side by side, in the utmost apparent friendship, for a period of about two years. Waharoa then, however, committed an act of perfidy, condemned even by the opaquely-minded savages of that day, by which he obtained sole possession of Matamata, and so turned the balance of power in his own favour, as greatly to aid him in his ultimate designs. One afternoon he left Matamata on pretence of a necessary journey to Tauranga—a circumstance rather calculated to lull suspicion than otherwise—and during his absence, his tribe at midnight rose, and massacred, in cold blood, the too confiding Takurua, and nearly every man of his tribe. Their bodies were devoured, and their wives and property were shared by the ruthless Ngatihauas.
This Maori St. Bartholomew's day occurred about 1827, and so weakened Ngatimaru, that Te Waharoa was enabled, after the fall of Hauwhenua, to push his conquests to the foot of the Aroha, and it is difficult to say where they would have ceased, had not his attention been unexpectedly diverted by the casual murder of his cousin Hunga, at Rotorua, in the latter end of the year 1835.”
I make no apology for citing these instances of atrocity, which exhibit, in the strongest light, the dreadful character of the wars carried on by the great chieftains in the North, during the twenty years succeeding Hongi's return from Europe. Indeed, this period has been well characterized by Mr. Colenso “as a fearful period in New Zealand.” “The Ngapuhi,” he says, “being well armed with muskets, revelled in destruction, slaying thousands. At Kaipara, Manukau, Tamaki, the Thames, the interior of Waikato on to Rotorua, and
even to Taranaki; and they also came in their canoes as far South as Ahuriri or Hawke's Bay, remorselessly destroying everywhere as they went. The tribes further North were also fighting against each other—the Rarawa destroying the Aopuri, who were very numerous about the North Cape. Te Wherowhero, at the head of his people, was slaughtering, for many years, on the West Coast, from Taranaki to Wanganui; Te Waharoa, and other chiefs, in the interior and overland to Hawke's Bay; the Rotorua tribes in the Bay of Plenty; and Te Rauparaha exterminating in the neighbourhood of Cook Straits and along the East Coast of the Middle Island. From 1822 to 1837 was truly a fearful period in New Zealand. Blood flowed like water, and there can be no doubt that the numbers killed during this period of twenty years, including those who perished in consequence of the wars, far exceeded 60,000 persons.”
The preliminary sketch contained in the foregoing chapters, though brief, will, I hope, convey to my readers a sufficiently clear idea of the manners and customs, and character of the New Zealanders, and of the condition of the tribes previously to the systematic colonization of the Islands, and will, be found to aid them materially in understanding the events which will be detailed in the following pages. It shows, moreover, the frightful results brought about by placing the deadly weapons of European warfare, in the hands of a savage and warlike race, whilst still uncontrolled by those milder influences, to which, notwithstanding their ferocity, the New Zealanders have shown themselves so singularly open and amenable.
At the time of the birth of Te Rauparaha, and, indeed, for many generations before that event, the Ngatitoa tribe occupied the country lying between Kawhia and Mokau on the western side of the North Island, and extending backward, from the coast line, to the seaward slopes of the beautiful Pirongia mountain, and of the chain of hills to the southward, which bounds the valleys of the Waipa and the Mangarama. This tribe, in fact, claims to have held the country in question ever since its settlement by their ancestor, Hoturoa, a leading chief amongst those who are said to have come from Hawaiki in the “Tainui” canoe. It will be remembered that this canoe was dragged across the portage at Otahuhu after the disputes between Tama Te Kapu and Manaia about the dead whale, its chiefs and their followers settling in and around Kawhia, and their descendants gradually spreading to the eastward as far as Maungatautari. The Maoris, in various parts of the Islands, believe that several of the canoes in which their ancestors came from Hawaiki have been transformed into stone, and a remarkable block of limestone, close to the sea-shore, on the north side of the harbour of Kawhia, is
pointed out as being part of the “Tainui.” This rock, with the land immediately surrounding it, was formerly under strict tapu, but the sanctity of the place, and of the supposed relic, have succumbed to the march of civilization, and curiosity-hunters have long since marred the picturesque outline of the stone by breaking off corners. Hoturoa is also said to be the ancestor of the Ngatiraukawa, Ngatikowhata and Ngatimaniapoto tribes, the order of descent in the several cases being much as follows:—From Hoturoa, through Hotumatapu and Kouwe, sprang Raka, whose eldest son, Tuihaua, was the ancestor of Toa Rangatira, the actual founder of the Ngatitoa as a separate tribe, and from whom they derive their name. From another son of Raka, named Kakati, through Tawhao and Turonga, sprang Raukawa, from whom the Ngatiraukawa derive their name. From Toa Rangatira, in direct descent, came Kimibia, the mother of Werawera, who married a Ngatiraukawa woman named Parekowhatu. These two were the parents of Te Rauparaha, and of his sister Waitohi, the mother of Rangihaieta, who will be frequently mentioned in the course of this narrative. Besides Te Rangihaieta, Waitohi had other children, of whom a daughter named Topiora is still living at Otaki, and is the mother of Matene Te Whiwhi, for many years past, and still, one of the most influential chiefs of the Ngatitoa and Ngatiraukawa tribes. Topiora's husband was a Ngatiraukawa man, of high rank, named Te Rangi Kapiki, who himself claimed to be closely connected to Ngatitoa, both by ancient descent and through frequent intermarriages between members of the two tribes. Tracing back again, we find Te Urutira and his sister, Hine Kahukura, in the third place in the ascending line from Toa Rangatira. From Hine Kahukura sprang Parewahawaha and Parekowhatu, the former of whom married Tihau, by whom she had a son named Whatanui, the father of the great chief of that name, who was at the head of the Ngatiraukawa tribe, during the career of Te Rauparaha. We see, therefore, that the leading chiefs of the Ngatitoa and Ngatiraukawa tribes claim descent from common ancestors, and that frequent intermarriages took place between the members of these tribes, since they branched off from the common stock. The same remarks apply, but in less degree, to the descent of the Ngatimaniapoto and Ngatikowhata, who also claim Hoturoa as their remote ancestor; but it is unnecessary, for the purposes of my story, that I should trace up the history of these tribes, as they do not appear to have taken any prominent part in the events in which the Ngatitoa were engaged after their departure from Kawhia.
As my readers are doubtless aware, Kawhia is the only harbour of any note between the Manukau, which lies about sixty miles to the northward of it, and Wanganui, which lies at some distance within the entrance of Cook Straits; but, like all the other harbours on the West Coast of the North
Island, its entrance is somewhat impeded by sand-banks. The entrance is narrow, but inside the Heads the waters spread out for many miles in length and width, having numerous navigable channels leading to a series of small rivers, which flow into the harbour from the eastward. At full tide, this sheet of water is extremely beautiful, surrounded, as it is, with picturesque scenery, which attains its highest effect at the north-east end, in the neighbourhood of the Awaroa River. Rock masses, assuming the forms of towers and castles, occupy its shores, whilst the gullies and valleys of the streams which fall into it contain tracts of fertile and highly cultivated soil. The character of the landscape continues the same far up the slopes of the surrounding mountains, the name of the “Castle Hills” having been given to them in allusion to the masses of white limestone which emerge, in huge castellated forms, from the forest with which these mountains are generally clothed.
Between Kawhia and the Waipa valley, a little to the northward of the former, is the beautiful Pirongia mountain, “an ancient, dilapidated volcano,” whose many peaks and ravines afford a grand spectacle when bathed in the mellow light of the setting sun; whilst the soil on its slopes, derived from the decomposition of the trachytic rock of which it is composed, is of the most fertile kind. The climate of the whole district is delightful, the orange and the lemon yielding their fruit with a luxuriance unsurpassed even in the delicious valleys of Granada. The seaward aspect of the mountain chain to which I have alluded, as well as the slopes of the Pirongia, are, however, densely wooded, rendering travelling through this country toilsome and difficult. At the time I speak of, the Ngatimaniapoto occupied the country lying along the coast to the northward, whilst the Waikato tribes, of whom Te Wherowhero was the head chief, claimed the principal part of the valley of the Waipa, and of the country extending to the inner shores of the Manukau. To the eastward, beyond the range shutting in the Waipa valley on that side, and stretching from Otawhao to Maungatautari, lay the possessions of Ngatiraukawa proper, comprising some of the most fertile and beautiful country in the North Island. The Ngatituwharetoa, or Taupo tribes, under the leadership of Tukino Te Heuheu, one of the greatest of the old New Zealand chieftains—a man of gigantic stature and commanding presence, and whose deeds still form the theme of many a wild tale—clustered round the shores of Lake Taupo, and the spurs of Tongariro. As is well known, Te Heuheu met his death by an awful catastrophe in 1846, his village, Te Rapa, having been overwhelmed during the night by a huge land-slip, under which he and his six wives, with upwards of fifty other persons, were buried alive.
I have thought it necessary to mention the tribe of this chief amongst the others above referred to, for although he took a comparatively trifling part in the events in which Te Rauparaha himself was concerned, his friendship and
alliance were of great service to the latter, and permitted a ready means of communication between him and his Ngatiraukawa allies during the prosecution of his designs in the South.
It is almost impossible to determine the date of the birth of Te Rauparaha, but from the best information I have been able to obtain as to his probable age at the time of the Treaty of Waitangi, I am disposed to fix it at about the year 1770. He was born at Kawhia, where, except during occasional visits to other parts of the Island, and especially to his kindred at Maungatautari, he resided until he obtained the complete leadership of his tribe. He had two brothers and two sisters, all older than himself, but his brothers never assumed positions of importance amongst their people, and neither of them ever exhibited the particular qualities which have made Te Rauparaha so famous in the history of “Old New Zealand.” Te Rauparaha is said to have been a good, pretty, and playful child, possessing, amongst other qualities, that of obedience in a high degree. It is recorded of him, that on one occasion when directed by an old slave of his father's, named Poutini, to fetch water in a calabash, an order which, considering his rank, he would have been quite justified in disregarding, he at once obeyed and fetched it. But, like other youths, he now and then got into scrapes, and, to use the naif language of his son, “he did many good and many foolish actions.” As he advanced in years, his mind developed rapidly, and he soon exhibited an extraordinary degree of wisdom, though his parents scarcely gave him credit for qualities quite apparent to strangers; and, as it seems, were rather inclined to snub him in favour of his elder brothers. But this condition of things did not long continue, and the following incident brought his peculiar talents prominently before his people, and enabled him at once to assume a position of great authority amongst them, leading, ultimately, to the absolute chieftainship of the tribe. It was a custom amongst the Maori chiefs, before the introduction of christianity, to assign a wife to each of their male children, even before the latter had attained the age of puberty. In the case of Te Rauparaha, a girl named Marore had been given to him as the wife of his boyhood, of whom, as he grew up, he became very fond, and in whose cause he obtained his first experience as a warrior—his “baptism of fire.” It appears that his parents had invited a large number of the tribe to a feast, and when the food—the fish, the eels, and the kumera—had been placed upon the platform, Te Rauparaha saw that the portion allotted to Marore had no relish. This made him very sad, and after some consideration he asked his father's permission to lead a war party into the country of the Waikatos, in order that some people might be killed as a relish for the food apportioned to Marore. In those days his wish was, no doubt, considered strictly reasonable and proper—strictly tika in fact—and his father
at once placed under his leadership a number of young warriors, who were, as we may suppose, perfectly willing to join in such an expedition. During this time, as I have been informed, Te Rauparaha was suffering from some disease, attended with a good deal of physical pain; but notwithstanding this, and against the suggestions of his father to postpone the expedition until his health was better established, he determined to prosecute it, and the war party advanced into the territory of the Waikatos, with whom, at that time, they were in profound peace. In ignorance of their intentions, their advanced parties were permitted to enter a pa of the enemy, who, however, soon discovering their error, flew to arms, and succeeded in driving them out again with some loss. Te Rauparaha, with the remainder of the taua, seeing the rout of his advanced guard, at once took cover, unperceived by the Waikatos; and as the latter, in some disorder, were pushing the pursuit, he and his warriors attacked them in flank and rear, and defeated them with much slaughter, at the same time taking many prisoners, amongst whom was Te Haunga, a principal chief, who, with several others, was afterwards killed and eaten “as a relish” to the food apportioned to Marore. The success attending this expedition, and the skill shown by Te Rauparaha in taking advantage of the disorder of the enemy, at once rendered him famous as a Maori warrior; and from thenceforth he occupied a position of influence, not only with his own immediate tribe, but also with those to which it was allied, whilst his growing talents and power were looked upon with much respect and dread by those who had any reason to fear his prowess or his revenge. The event above referred to, naturally led to frequent battles with the Waikatos, in which Ngatitoa, under Te Rauparaha, were generally successful, although occasionally defeated with considerable loss.
In the intervals of peace, Te Rauparaha visited his kindred at Maungatautari, then under the general leadership of Hape Te Tuarangi, a distinguished old warrior, who had fought many battles against the Waikato tribes, and particularly one at Kakamutu, on the Waipa, in which the latter were defeated with tremendous slaughter. On the death of Hape, which will be more specially referred to in the sequel, Te Rauparaha married his chief wife, Akau, who became the mother of Tamihana Te Rauparaha, still living at Otaki, from whom I have obtained a large amount of information respecting the career of his celebrated father. Te Rauparaha, also kept up a constant intercourse with his friends at Rotorua, and frequently visited Te Heuheu, who was much impressed with the character of his visitor, and became his fast and valuable ally. Besides this, he made several excursions to the Thames in order to obtain the alliance of Ngatimaru—then a very powerful people, but who were subsequently nearly annihilated by the Ngapuhi from the North, and by Te Waharoa and his Ngaiterangi allies, as mentioned in the last chapter.
From the chiefs of this tribe, Te Rauparaha obtained a musket, with a quantity of ammunition, gifts of very great value at that time, and indicating the estimation in which he was held by his hosts. He also visited Kaipara, where he soon gained the friendship of the Ngatiwhatua, and other tribes in that district, and on his way back went to the Waitemata—he succeeded in forming an alliance with Kiwi and the son of Tihi, chiefs of the great tribes which then occupied that part of the country. I am led to understand that these visits took place between 1810 and 1815, and that Te Rauparaha then entertained the design of forming an extensive alliance against the Waikatos, under Te Wherowhero, with the intention of completely destroying them; but he found it impossible to effect his object, and chiefly for the following reason: After the establishment of the convict settlements in Australia, the South Seas were much frequented by whale ships, and the eastern coast of New Zealand, which then afforded a large supply of these valuable animals, became one of the principal whaling grounds. In the course of their voyages the ships often resorted to the Bay of Islands and the Harbour of Whangaroa for supplies of water and vegetables; and during these visits, the natives first learnt the use and power of the musket. The tribes with whom the chief intercourse took place, were the Ngapuhi, who at once saw the immense power which the possession of such a weapon would confer upon them in their contests with their enemies. Previously to this period, their own country had been constantly devastated by the powerful and warlike tribes of the Thames, and they naturally burned for revenge. Singularly enough, they were much aided in their object by the establishment of the mission stations, formed in the year 1813 under the Rev. Mr. Marsden, who had brought down with him, from Australia, pigs and poultry, and many kinds of vegetables, amongst which, the most valuable were the Indian corn and the potato. The pigs were suffered to run wild, and, having increased very much, were usually caught with dogs when wanted for purposes of trade, the natives themselves rarely using them for food, but they eagerly and successfully cultivated all the species of vegetables which had been introduced. Moreover, during the intercourse which took place between them and the whale ships, many natives visited Port Jackson, where they had further opportunities of learning the destructive power of the European weapons, and the eagerness of the tribes to procure them became so great, that twenty hogs, obtained at the expense of enormous labour, and worth to the ships more than as many pounds, were often given in exchange for a musket not worth ten shillings. In effect, the muskets usually sold to these natives were of a very worthless kind, and would not, in a contest with European troops, have been considered particularly dangerous weapons; whilst the natives own want of knowledge of the proper mode of taking care of them, soon led to the greater number of them becoming hopelessly out of
order. But unskilfully as they used the musket, and little as it might have been feared by Europeans, such was the dread of its effects amongst the natives, more especially on the part of the tribes which did not possess them, that the strength of a war party was, at that time, not so much calculated by the number of its members, as by the quantity of fire-locks it could bring into action; and when Paora, a northern chief, invaded the district of Whangaroa in 1819, the terrified people described him as having twelve muskets, whilst the name of Te Korokoro, then a great chief at the Bay of Islands, who was known to possess fifty stand of arms, was heard with terror for upwards of 200 miles beyond his own district.
But the musket was not the only weapon which the natives obtained from the European traders. The bayonet and the tomahawk, the former of which was fixed to a long handle, began to replace in their fights the wooden spear and battle-axe, and naturally added greatly to the offensive power of those who possessed them in any numbers. As fast as the Ngapuhi acquired these arms, they made hostile expeditions against the Ngatimaru, and other tribes occupying the Thames, and the shores of the Tamaki and Waitemata, carrying terror and destruction wherever they went. But in proportion as the whale ships and traders from Sydney extended their intercourse with the natives, the Ngatimaru, the Ngatihaua, and the Arawa, gradually acquired similar weapons, and thus fought on terms of greater equality; and it was also during this period, as mentioned in the last chapter, that Te Waharoa began to mature his designs for the destruction of the first of these tribes. I may here remark, that the trade referred to was almost confined to the Eastern side of the North Island, and that the tribes on the West Coast, at all events below the Manukau, had but little opportunity of obtaining the much coveted weapons. The wars in which Ngatimaru were engaged against Ngapuhi and Ngatihaua, and the want of a sufficient quantity of fire-arms amongst the tribes at Kaipara and Hokianga, coupled with their total absence amongst the other tribes on the West Coast, went far towards preventing Te Rauparaha from carrying out his designs against Waikato, whilst such designs became gradually less feasible, owing to the position of the latter, who, in consequence of the offensive and defensive alliance which they had formed with Te Waharoa, were enabled, without difficulty, to obtain supplies of muskets and ammunition.
When Te Rauparaha found it impossible to carry out his design, he returned to Kawhia, where, by a succession of victories over Waikato, and by the practice of hospitality, he greatly increased his power and influence with his own tribe, whilst he cultivated the friendship (due partly to good feeling, but largely to fear) of the Ngatiawa, who occupied the country to the southward, stretching from Mokau to Taranaki. He is represented
as having been, during this period, “famous in matters relative to warfare, cultivating, generosity, welcoming of strangers and war parties.” He is also said to have been particularly remarkable for the following reason: “If a party of visitors arrived just as the food of his workmen was cooked, and if those workmen were strangers to his treatment of visitors, and gave them their food, he ordered them to take it back, saying that fresh food was to be cooked for the visitors. The workmen would then be ashamed, and Te Rauparaha applauded as a man whose fame had travelled amongst all the tribes. When the workmen were satisfied, Te Rauparaha would cook fresh food for the visitors, who, when they had partaken, would leave. Hence, amongst his tribe a saying is used, ‘Are you Te Rauparaha? When his workmen are satisfied, food will be prepared for visitors.’
It appears that in 1817, or about three years before E Hongi left for England, and after the failure of Te Rauparaha's attempt to form an alliance against Waikato, a large war party arrived at Kawhia under the command of Tamati Waka Nene and of his brother Patuone, who invited Rauparaha to join them in a raid upon the southern tribes. Tamati Waka's people had a considerable number of muskets on this occasion, but the expedition had no special object beyond slaughter and slave-making, with the added pleasure of devouring the bodies of the slain. Te Rauparaha joined them with many warriors, and the party travelled along the coast through the territory of the Ngatiawa whose alliance with Ngatitoa, however, saved them from molestation. Hostilities were commenced by an attack upon Ngatiruanui, who were dispersed, after great slaughter. This first success was followed by attacks on all the tribes on the coast until the taua reached Otaki, great numbers of people being killed, and many slaves taken, whilst the remainder were driven into the hills and fastnesses, where many of them perished miserably from exposure and want. At Otaki the invaders rested, Rauparaha visiting Kapiti, which he found in possession of a section of the Ngatiapa tribe, under the chiefs Potau and Kotuku. It would seem that even at this time Te Rauparaha, who was much struck with the appearance of the country, formed the design of taking possession of it, and, with his usual policy, determined, instead of destroying the people he found on the Island, to treat them with kindness, though he and the other leaders compelled them to collect and surrender much greenstone, of which this tribe especially had, during a long intercourse with the Middle Island, and by means of their own conquests of the Ngaitahu, obtained large and valuable quantities. The hostile party then continued their course along the coast, destroying great numbers of people. On their arrival at Wellington, then called Whanganui-a-tara, they found that the inhabitants—a section of the Ngatikahungunu—alarmed at the approach of the ruthless invaders, had fled to the Wairarapa. Thither followed the
taua, and discovered the Ngatikahungunu, in great force, at a pa called Tawhare Nikau. Undaunted, however, by the strength of the fortress, they attacked and carried it with great slaughter. Large numbers of the unfortunate inhabitants escaped to the hills, where they suffered greatly, whilst the invaders, after following the fugitives as far as Kawakawa and Porangahau, killing many, fell back upon Tawhare Nikau, in order to gorge themselves upon the bodies of the slain. The party then returned to Wellington and proceeded to Omere, where they saw an European vessel lying off Raukawa, in Cook Strait. Tamati Waka Nene, immediately on perceiving the ship, shouted out to Te Rauparaha, “Oh, Raha, do you see that people sailing on the sea? They are a very good people, and if you conquer this land and hold intercourse with them you will obtain guns and powder, and become very great.” Te Rauparaha apparently wanted but this extra incentive to induce him to take permanent possession of the country between Wellington and Patea, and at once determined to remove thither with his tribe, as soon as he could make such arrangements as would secure him in the possession of his intended conquest. The taua returned along the coast line as they had first come, killing or making prisoners of such of the inhabitants as they could find as far as Patea. It was during the return of this war party that Rangihaieta took prisoner a woman named Pikinga, the sister of Arapata Hiria, a Ngatiapa chief of high rank, and whom he afterwards made his slave wife, a circumstance much and absurdly insisted upon in favour of the Ngatiapa title during the investigations of the Native Lands Court into the Manawatu case. Laden with spoil, and accompanied by numerous slaves, the successful warriors reached Kawhia, where Tamati Waka Nene and Patuone, with their party, left Te Rauparaha in order to return to their own country at Hokianga.
As I have before mentioned, Te Rauparaha had, during the progress of this raid upon the South, conceived the idea of leaving the ancient possessions of his tribe at Kawhia for the purpose of settling at Kapiti and upon the country on the main land in its vicinity; and accordingly, after the period of festivity and rest usually indulged in by a returned taua, he began to take the necessary steps, not only to induce his own people to accept his resolution, but to enlist the sympathies and assistance of his relatives at Maungatautari and elsewhere. During a visit which he paid for this purpose to the Ngatiraukawa, he found their great chief Hape Tuarangi in a dying state, and the circumstances which then occurred contributed greatly to the ultimate success of his designs. It appears that, notwithstanding the respect in which the offspring of the Maori aristocracy are usually held by their own people, and the influence they generally exercise in matters affecting the tribe, it is not unusual for the natural ariki of a tribe, or chief of a hapu, to be, in some
respects, supplanted by an inferior chief, unless the hereditary power of the former happens to be accompanied by intellect and bravery; and such an occurrence took place in regard to the natural hereditary ariki of the Ngatiraukawa at the death of Hape. Te Rauparaha himself, though by virtue of common descent, and by marriage ties, entitled to be treated as a chief of Ngatiraukawa, was not considered to be of high rank, on the grounds that, in the first place, he was the offspring of a junior branch of the ariki family of Tainui; and, in the next place, that the influence primarily due to his birth had been weakened by the intermarriage of his progenitors with minor chiefs and with women of other tribes. But when Hape, on his death bed, the whole tribe being assembled, asked “if his successor could tread in his steps and lead his people on to victory, and so keep up the honour of his tribe,” not one of his sons, to whom, in succession, the question was put, gave any reply. After a long period of silence, Te Rauparaha, who was amongst the minor chiefs and people, sitting at a distance from the dying man and from the chiefs of high rank by whom he was surrounded, got up and said, “I am able to tread in your steps, and even do that which you could not do.” Hape soon after expired, and as Te Rauparaha had been the only speaker in answer to his question, the whole tribe acknowledged him as their leader, a position which he occupied to his dying day. But even in this position his authority was limited, for though in his powers of mind, and as a leader of a war party, he was admittedly unsurpassed, either by Te Waharoa or by the great Ngapuhi chief, E Hongi, and therefore fully entitled to occupy a commanding position in the tribe, the mana which he acquired on the occasion in question extended only to the exercise of a species of protecting power and counsel whenever these were required, whilst the general direction of the affairs of the tribe still remained vested in their own hereditary chiefs. The influence he had obtained, however, materially aided him in ultimately inducing a large number of the tribe to join him in the conquest and settlement of the territory of the Ngatiapa, Rangitane, and Muaupoko, as will be shown in the sequel. It may seem strange that a people occupying the fertile slopes of the Maungatautari and the beautiful tract of country stretching along the Waikato to Rangiaowhia and Otawhao, could have been induced to abandon such a country in order to join in the conquest and settlement of a distant, and not more fertile, territory; but it must be remembered that, at the time in question, the whole Maori people were engrossed by one absorbing desire—that of acquiring fire-arms—and the inland position of the Ngatiraukawa, and their known wealth in much that the natives then considered valuable, invited attack, whilst the former circumstance prevented them acquiring to any extent the much coveted European weapons. It is true, that through their relatives at Rotorua they succeeded, from time to time, in obtaining some
muskets and ammunition, but the quantity was not sufficiently large to afford them the means of successfully resisting the probable attacks of the tribes nearer the coast, whose opportunities of trade with the whale ships enabled them to acquire an abundant supply of both, as well as of tomahawks and other iron weapons of the most deadly character. Te Rauparaha, no doubt, represented to them the probability of obtaining similar supplies from ships frequenting the shores of Cook Strait, whilst the severe blow inflicted on the tribes occupying the territory in question, by the war party under Tamati Waka Nene, Patuone, and himself, afforded a prospect of easy victory. It was not, however, until after he and his people had reached Taranaki, in the course of their migration, that he succeeded in inducing Watanui, one of the principal chiefs of the Ngatiraukawa, to concur in his project, under circumstances which will be related hereafter. In the meantime, he and his own tribe made up their minds to leave, and finally departed from Kawhia in 1819 or 1820; but I reserve, for the next chapter, the account of this highly interesting event, and of those which took place during their subsequent journey southward.
The voluntary migration, from their ancestral possessions, of an independent and comparatively powerful tribe like the Ngatitoa, with a view to the conquest and settlement of a new territory, must, under any circumstances, be looked upon as a remarkable event in the later history of “Old New Zealand;” but our wonder at the undertaking ceases, when we reflect upon the peculiar position occupied by this tribe—and, in fact, by all the tribes on the western coast of the North Island, to the South of the Manukau—at the period when it took place, more especially with reference to the opportunity of acquiring fire-arms, which had become an absolute necessity to any tribe desirous of maintaining a separate independent existence, whilst we are forced to admire the sagacity of the chief who conceived, and of the people who adopted, such a design. There can, indeed, be little doubt that had the Ngatitoa attempted, in the then changed circumstances of native warfare, to retain possession of their ancient territory against the increasing power of the Waikatos, more particularly after the alliance of the latter with Te Waharoa, they would certainly have been annihilated.
I ought to have mentioned in the last chapter, that in the long period during which the Ngatitoa, Ngatiawa, and Ngatitama occupied adjoining districts, frequent intermarriages took place between members of these tribes, so that the leading chiefs, especially, of each came to be connected with those of the others by ties of blood. Te Rauparaha himself was in this position, and this circumstance, added to his great fame as a warrior and
statesman, gave him an influence in the councils of Ngatiawa and Ngatimata, which was of much value and importance to him, in the furtherance of his immediate projects, whilst they ultimately led to his example being followed by those tribes, after the severe losses inflicted upon them by Te Wherowhero and the Waikatos at Puke-rangiora. It appears, indeed, that long before this blow fell upon them, Te Rauparaha had pointed out the danger to which they would be exposed at the hands of the Waikato chief, when he and his people no longer stood between them and the latter, but the united Ngatiawa and Ngatitama were at that time a very powerful tribe, their ancient mana as warriors extending through the length and breadth of the land, and they ridiculed the possibility of serious defeat or disaster befalling them, and even urged Te Rauparaha himself to abandon his design, as unnecessary, and as being incompatible with the honour of his tribe. But the sagacious chief of the Ngatitoa had seen the change produced in the relative positions of the Ngapuhi and Ngatiwhatua, on the one side, and of Ngatimaru and other Thames people on the other, owing to the opportunities possessed by the former of acquiring, in abundance, the powerful European weapons, and he had early appreciated the fact, that in all future contests in New Zealand, the party which could only bring the wooden spear and battle-axe into the field, against the musket and the bayonet, must eventually be destroyed. On this point, very decisive testimony is given by Major Cruise, of the 84th Regiment, in his account of his residence in New Zealand in 1819 and 1820. He mentions that, on the arrival of the “Dromedary” store ship at the Bay of Islands, for the purpose of taking in a cargo of kauri spars, they found the people of the Bay daily expecting the return of a numerous war party, which had started some months previously for the purpose of attacking the natives at the River Thames. Shortly afterwards, in effect, this party arrived at the head of the bay, and he and some of the other officers of the “Dromedary,” went to meet it. The returned party occupied a fleet of about fifty canoes, many of them seventy or eighty feet long, and few less than sixty; all of them were filled with warriors, who stood up and shouted as they passed the European boat, holding up numbers of human heads as trophies of their success. The barter of powder and muskets, he says, carried on by the whalers, had already distributed some hundred stand of arms amongst the inhabitants of the Bay, and as the natives at the Thames were unprovided with similar weapons, they made little opposition to their more powerful invaders, who, in that instance, told him that they had killed 200, whilst they returned with the loss of only four men. Tui, one of the principal chiefs of the Bay, in a conversation with Major Cruise on this occasion, made one continued boast of the atrocities he had committed during an excursion to the same place about two months before, and dwelt with marked pleasure upon
an instance of his generalship, when, having forced a small party of his enemies into a narrow place, whence there was no egress, he was enabled, successively to shoot twenty-two of them, without their having the power of making the slightest resistance. Now, such facts as these were well known to Te Rauparaha, and satisfied him that the utmost valour, backed even by very superior numbers, must be of no avail against a weapon of so deadly a character as the musket, when wielded by so daring and bloodthirsty a people as the New Zealanders. He, therefore, never wavered in his design, and from the time when Tamaki Waka Nene pointed out the ship sailing in Cook Strait, until his actual departure from Kawhia at the head of his people, his mind and his energies were constantly engaged in devising the means of carrying it to a successful issue. It was not, however, until upwards of two years after the return of the war party, mentioned in the last chapter, that the necessary arrangements for the migration were completed, and during this interval he frequently visited the Ngatiraukawa, at Maungatautari, for the purpose of urging them to join him, whilst he also held constant intercourse with the chiefs of Ngatitama and Ngatiawa, in regard to the assistance his people would require from them, whilst passing through their territory. I must caution my readers from inferring from the relationship and general friendliness which existed between the Ngatitoa and the Ngatiawa, that either of these tribes would have felt much delicacy or compunction in destroying the other. At the period in question, more, perhaps, than during any other in the history of the race, moral considerations had but little weight in determining the conduct either of the individual or of the tribe. The ruthless wars which were then being prosecuted all over the North were rousing, to the highest pitch, the savage instincts of the race, and even the nearest relatives did not hesitate in destroying and devouring each other. Of this utter abandonment of all moral restraint many frightful instances might be quoted, but the fact is too well known to those who are acquainted with the history of the New Zealanders during the thirty years preceding the colonization of the Islands by the Europeans to require demonstration here.
But however essential to the success of the enterprise were the friendship and co-operation of Ngatiawa, it was no less necessary that Te Rauparaha should be enabled to effect his object without danger of molestation from his old enemies, the Waikatos, who would naturally be disposed to take advantage of any favourable circumstance, in connection with the event in question, in order to wreak their vengeance upon a foe from whom they had received many disastrous blows. In the last chapter, I mentioned that the Ngatimaniapoto, then occupying the country extending along the coast to the northward of Kawhia, were connected by common descent, as well as by intermarriages, with the Ngatitoa; and I may now add that, although
occasional disputes took place between these two tribes, they had always lived on terms of friendship, and usually made common cause against an enemy. But the Ngatimaniapoto were also, in a considerable degree, connected with the Waikato tribes, under the leadership of Te Wherowhero; and Rauparaha, determined to make use of this double connection in order to establish a firm peace between himself and the great Waikato chief before he commenced his movements towards the south. Through the influence of Kukutai and Te Kanawa, with both of whom Te Rauparaha was on good terms, he succeeded, very soon after his return from the expedition under Waka and himself, in inducing Te Wherowhero to agree to a cessation of hostilities, whilst he also informed them of his intention to leave Kawhia, with his people, and promised to cede it to Te Wherowhero on his departure. The easy acquisition of so valuable a territory was naturally looked upon by this chief as a matter of great moment to his people, besides the even more important circumstance attaching to it, namely, that the removal of a powerful enemy would enable him to concentrate his forces along his eastern frontier, so as to keep in check the increasing power of Te Wahoroa, whom he dreaded, notwithstanding that an alliance then existed between them. The proposed peace was accordingly made, and Te Rauparaha and his people being thus as secure as could be expected against attack on the part of the Waikatos, and having made satisfactory arrangements with Ngatitama and Ngatiawa for their passage through the territory of the latter, proceeded to make final preparations for departure. The principal point in this respect was the necessity of providing for a supply of food during the journey, which must obviously be a slow one on account of the aged, and of the women and children, whilst the distance was too great to be accomplished within a single season, and it was essential, therefore, to establish resting places where cultivations could be carried on in order to provide for the continuation of the march in the ensuing year. In the next place, Te Rauparaha knew that he could not conceal his intentions from the tribes whom he was about to invade; and that, although their power had been greatly shaken during the previous raid, he could scarcely hope to occupy their territory without further resistance. It was, therefore, necessary to provide for the contingencies which the possibility of such resistance naturally involved, and this could only be done by a careful management and disposition of the forces under his command, and by securing the co-operation of some of his more immediate relatives and allies. Testing his foresight in all these matters by the ultimate success of his enterprise, we are entitled to believe that the arrangements he made were well calculated to ensure the safe accomplishment of his design; and we know, at all events, that during the interval which took place between the peace with Te Wherowhero and the actual departure of himself and his people from Kawhia, Te Rauparaha took
care to provide for such supplies of food as would carry them through the first stage of their intended journey, whilst he also determined in detail the principal arrangements for the entire march. These preparations having all been satisfactorily completed by the beginning of the year 1819, he visited Waikato, for the last time, in order to bid farewell to Kukutai, to Pehikorehu, to Wherowhero, to Te Kanawa, and to all the chiefs of Waikato, saying to them, “Farewell; remain on our land at Kawhia; I am going to take Kapiti for myself, do not follow me.” He then returned to Kawhia, where he at once assembled his tribe and started for the South, the number leaving Kawhia itself, including persons of all ages, being about 400, of whom 170 were tried fighting men. On the morning of the day of their departure, he and his people came out of their pa at Te Arawi, having previously burned the carved house named Te Urungu-Paraoa-a-te-Titi-Matama. They then ascended the hill at Moeatoa, and looking back to Kawhia were very sad at leaving the home of their fathers. They cried over it, and bade it farewell, saying, “Kawhia remain here! The people of Kawhia are going to Kapiti, to Waipounamu.”
Savage, even ruthless, as those people may have been, we can still understand their sorrow at leaving their ancestral possessions. “The love of the New Zealander for his land is not,” says Mr. White (from whom I have before quoted on this point), “the love of a child for his toys. His title is connected with many and powerful associations in his mind; his love for the homes of his fathers being connected with the deeds of their bravery, with the feats of his own boyhood, and the long rest of his ancestors for generations.” Every nook and inlet of the beautiful harbour of Kawhia was endeared to the departing people, not only by its picturesque beauty, which the New Zealander fully appreciates, but also by its association with the most ancient traditions of the tribe. Every hill, every valley, was connected, in their memory, with scenes of childish joy, whilst many of the singular and gloomy caverns in which the district abounds, were crowded with the remains of their ancestors, and were the subjects of their reverence and awe; and from these circumstances, not less than from the uncertainty which necessarily hung over the future of the tribe, we may estimate the strength of their faith in the sagacity of the chief who had induced them to embark in so remarkable a project.
The march was at length commenced, and at the end of the third or fourth day the people arrived at the Pa of Puohoki, where Te Rauparaha determined on leaving, under a sufficient guard, a number of the women (including his own wife, Akau) who, by reason of pregnancy, was unfit for travel. The remainder of the tribe continued their journey, and settled for the season at Waitara, Kaweka, and Taranaki, living in the pas of the Ngatiawa and
Ngatitama. Shortly after this, Te Rauparaha determined to return to Te Puohu's pa, in order to bring up the women who had been left behind, and selected twenty of his warriors to accompany him. His tribe were unwilling that he should undertake this expedition with so small a number of men, urging him to go in force in order to prevent the risk of any treacherous attack upon his party. Te Rauparaha, however, insisted on limiting his followers to the twenty men he had chosen, and started on his journey. On crossing the Mokau River, he found the body of Rangihaieta's only child, who had been drowned from Topiora's canoe, as she and part of the tribe came down the coast during the general migration. It was in order to commemorate this circumstance, that the name Mokau, as a nickname, was assumed by Te Rangihaieta. Te Rauparaha wrapped the body of the child in his clothing, and carried it with him to Puohu's pa, where it was interred with due solemnity. On his arrival, he found the women and the people he had left all safe, and at once made arrangements for removing them to Waitara. In the meantime his wife, Akau, had given birth to Tamihana, who is now living at Otaki. On the third day after his arrival the party left the pa, Te Rauparaha carrying his infant child on his back in a basket. Just before reaching Mokau, it being dusk, they were threatened by a considerable war party of Ngatimaniapoto, who had crept down the coast after the evacuation of Kawhia and the surrounding district, and Rauparaha had strong reason to fear that he and his people would be attacked and cut off. By a clever stratagem, however, he imposed upon the enemy, for, after clothing twenty of the women in men's mats, and placing feathers in their hair, and arming them with war clubs, he sent them forward under the charge of his wife, Akau, a woman of commanding stature, and who, on this occasion, wore a red mat named Hukeumu, and brandished her weapon and otherwise acted as if she were a redoubtable warrior, whilst Te Rauparaha himself covered the retreat with the men, the remainder of the party marching between these two bodies.
The Ngatimaniapoto, mistaking the strength of Te Rauparaha's force, commenced a retreat, but were attacked by him, and five of their number killed, amongst whom was Tutakara, their leader, who was slain by Rangihoungariri, a young relative of Te Rauparaha's, already renowned as a warrior. The party then continued their march and reached the Mokau River at dark, but were unable to cross it in consequence of its being swollen by rain and the tide being high. Rauparaha knew that the danger was not over, and that the Ngatimaniapoto would, under cover of night, attempt to take revenge for their loss. He therefore ordered twelve large fires to be made, at some distance from each other, and three of the women of the party, still disguised as men, to be placed at each fire, to which he also assigned one of his warriors, whilst he, with the remainder, acted as scouts. The men near
the fires were to keep watch during the night, and occasionally to address the others, saying, “Be strong, oh people, to fight on the morrow if the enemy return. Do not consider life. Consider the valour of your tribe.” Besides this, the women were directed to make much noise with their speeches, so that Haiki even might hear their voices. This further stratagem appears completely to have deceived Ngatimaniapoto, who did not attempt to molest them any further. During the night, however, a peculiar incident, illustrative of Maori life, occurred, which might have been productive of disaster but for the course taken by Te Rauparaha. Amongst the women who were with the party was Tangahoe, the wife of a chief, who had an infant with her. This child in its restlessness began to cry, and Te Rauparaha, fearing that his stratagem would be betrayed by the cries of the child, told its mother to choke it, saying “I am that child.” The parents at once obeyed the command, and killed the child. Towards midnight the river fell considerably, and at low tide the party left their fires and crossed it, continuing their march until they reached a pa of the Ngatitama, greatly rejoicing at their escape. Early on the following morning Rauparaha's party, with a reinforcement of Ngatitama and Ngatiawa, returned to the spot where the fight of the previous afternoon had taken place, and secured the bodies of Tutakara and the others who had been killed. These were taken to Mokau, where they were cut up and eaten, amidst great rejoicings on the part of Ngatiawa and Ngatitama at the chance thus afforded them of paying off some old grudge which they had against Ngatimaniapoto. The success of the stratagems employed by Te Rauparaha on this occasion, added greatly to his renown as a warrior, and, moreover, invested him with an attribute of almost sanctity, not only in the eyes of his own tribe, but also in those of his allies. Te Rauparaha then joined the main body of his people, who were engaged in the necessary preparations for the resumption of their migration.
Shortly after this, it would appear that Te Wherowhero and Te Waharoa, deeming the opportunity a good one for striking a deadly blow against Rauparaha, had collected a large force at the head of the Waiapa, with which they marched upon Taranaki, intending to attack the Ngatitoa at Motunui, before the latter could obtain any material assistance from Ngatiawa or Ngatitama, the main body of whom were chiefly stationed at Te Kawaka, Urenui, and other places. The plans of the Waikato leaders were so carefully laid in this respect, that Rauparaha received no intimation of their advance until they were close upon him, but he at once sent intelligence to Kaiaia, the leading chief of the Ngatitama, since better known by the name of Ta Ringa Kuri, with instructions to join him at Motunui. However, before Kaiaia could come to his assistance he assembled his own forces, including a small body of Ngatiawa; and, having a better knowledge of the country
than the enemy, he fell upon them suddenly, his forces attacking in a compact body. After encountering an obstinate resistance, he succeeded in completely routing them with a loss of nearly 150 men, including the principal chiefs Hiakai and Mama, whilst many other chiefs, and a large number of inferior people, were taken prisoners. The latter were hung, and their bodies, as well as those of the men who had fallen in the battle, were duly devoured, with all the ceremonies attendant upon such a feast after a great and successful battle. Te Wherowhero and Waharoa were the only great chiefs of note who escaped on this occasion, the slaughter of leaders having been peculiarly heavy, and even they owed their lives to the connivance of Rauparaha, who, apparently for reasons of his own of which I am not informed, but possibly to avoid driving them to desperation, did not care to attack them on the following day. It is said, whether truly or not I cannot decide, that Te Waharoa did not exhibit his usual bravery on this occasion, but had fled early in the day. It appears, too, that had Kaiaia's portion of the Ngatitama arrived in time to take part in the battle, the whole of the Waikato force would have been destroyed. Be this as it may, during the night after the battle Te Wherowhero approached the camp of the Ngatitoa, and cried out to Te Rauparaha, Oh, Raha, how am I and my people to be saved?” Te Rauparaha replied, “You must run away this night. Do not remain. Go, make haste.” Te Wherowhero and his men fled during the night, leaving their fires burning; and when Kaiaia's forces came up on the next morning they found the Waikato camp deserted, whilst the bodies of many of those who had been wounded in the previous day's engagement, and had died during the night, were left behind. These bodies were at once cut up and devoured by Ngatitama, Te Rauparaha and his people joining in the feast.
After all danger of further attack on the part of Waikato had ceased, Te Rauparaha determined, before resuming the movement southward, again to visit his friends at Maungatautari, in order to induce the latter, if possible, to join him in the expedition. For this purpose he travelled to Taupo taking the road from Taranaki by the Upper Wanganui and Tuhua. At Tuhua he had a long conference with Te Heuheu, who promised to afford him any assistance he could in effecting his settlement at Kapiti and on the main land, but would not consent to take any other part in the undertaking. He then proceeded to Opepe, on Lake Taupo, where a large number of the Ngatiraukawa had assembled, under Whatanui, in order to discuss Te Rauparaha's proposals. Here a great tangi was held, at which Whatanui made a speech to Rauparaha, and gave him many presents, as they had not met for a length of time. After the ordinary ceremonies were concluded, Te Rauparaha again opened his proposals to the assembled chiefs, representing
the many advantages that would accrue from adopting them, and particularly insisting on the opportunity it would give the tribe of obtaining abundant supplies of fire-arms, as Kapiti and other parts of Cook Strait had already begun to be visited by European ships. He also dwelt on the rich and productive character of the land, and the ease with which it might be conquered, whilst there was nothing to prevent, at the same time, a large number of the tribe from remaining at Maungatautari, in order to retain their ancient possessions there. To all this, however, Whatanui gave no reply, and the meeting broke up without any indication that any part of the tribe would join in the proposed expedition. Te Rauparaha then visited other sections of the tribe, and another great meeting took place, at which he was not present. At this meeting the chief objection raised was, that by joining Te Rauparaha he would become their chief, and there was an unwillingness on the part of the tribe, notwithstanding what had occurred at the death of Hape, entirely to throw off their allegiance to their own hereditary arikis. This resolution was communicated to Te Rauparaha by Horohau, one of the sons of Hape, by Akau, then Rauparaha's wife, and the reasons specially assigned for it grieved Te Rauparaha very much. Seeing the apparent impossibility of inducing Whatanui's people to join him in his project, he went on to Roturoa, and ultimately to Tauranga, where he urged Te Waru to join him. Te Waru, however, refused to leave Tauranga on account of his love for that place, and for the Islands of Motiti and Tuhua. Whilst Te Rauparaha was at Tauranga, news reached that place that Hongi Heke, with the Ngapuhi, was besieging the great pa of the Ngatimaru at the Thames, which, after some delay, they took, as mentioned in a former chapter, slaughtering great numbers of the inhabitants. Amongst others of the killed on this occasion, were the infant children of Tokoahu, who had married a grand-niece of Rauparaha's. He appears to have been greatly exasperated at the absurd manner in which the people of this pa had permitted it to be taken, and at the destruction of his relatives, and at once went over to Roturoa, whither another taua of the Ngapuhi, under Pomare, had proceeded after the defeat of the Ngatimaru. Here he had an interview with Pomare, and expressed his determination to kill some of the Ngapuhi as a payment for the slaughter of Tokoahu's children, to which Pomare consented, he being also in some degree connected by marriage with Tokoahu. The Ngapuhis, accompanied by Te Rauparaha, proceeded to Paeoterangi, where Tuhourangi and some others were duly sacrificed, with great solemnity, in order to appease the manes of Tokoahu's children. Pomare then gave over to Rauparaha a number of men who had been under the leadership of Tuhourangi, who, from that time, became attached to and incorporated with Ngatitoa, and accompanied him on his return to Taranaki shortly after the sacrifice in question. On reaching Taranaki, he made
preparations for continuing the migration, and succeeded in inducing Wi Kingi Rangitake, since celebrated in connection with the Waitara war, and his father, Reretawhangawhanga, with many other chiefs, and a considerable number of the Ngatiawa tribe, to accompany him, his followers then consisting of his own people (the Ngatitoa), numbering 200 fighting men, of the Ngapuhis who had been transferred to him by Pomare, and of Wi Kingi's Ngatiawas, numbering nearly 400 fighting men, and their several families. During the interval between the commencement of the migration and its resumption from Taranaki, after Te Rauparaha's last return thither, a large war party of Waikatos, under Tukorehu, Te Kepa, Te Kawau (Apihai), and other chiefs, had descended the East Coast, from whence they invaded the territory which Te Rauparaha was about to seize. The Muaupoko, Rangitane, and Ngatiapa, were all attacked on this occasion, and again suffered great loss, a circumstance which became known to Te Rauparaha through some Ngatiraukawa men who had joined the Waikatos in their expedition, and had communicated its results to him during his last visit to Maungatautari. It appears, moreover, that after he had left Taupo, Whatanui and a large party of Ngatiraukawa made up their minds to join him at Kapiti, but instead of following the same route which he intended to take, they determined to proceed via Ahuriri, having been invited thither by the Ngatikahungunu, for some purpose which I cannot clearly make out. On their arrival there, however, a dispute took place between the two parties, and a battle ensued, in which the Ngatiraukawa were defeated with considerable slaughter, the remainder of the party being forced to retreat upon Maungatautari. Late in the autumn of 1819, no doubt after the ordinary crop of kumera had been gathered in, Te Rauparaha resumed the march, which was uninterrupted until they reached Patea, where five of the Ngatitoa men, and a male slave of Topiora's named Te Ratutonu, who had formerly been a chief, were murdered. To avenge this murder, Rauparaha killed a number of the people occupying Waitotara, and thence his party proceeded to Wanganui, the greater portion of the women and children travelling along the coast in canoes, whilst the warriors, with most of the leading chiefs, travelled by land, Rauparaha himself, however, travelling by water in a large canoe taken from the Waitotara people. I may here incidentally mention that his designs, at this time, were not confined to the acquisition of Kapiti, and the adjacent country; he had also made up his mind to invade the Middle Island after he had become well settled in his new abode, in order to obtain the great treasures of green-stone which were believed to be in possession of the people of that island. Of course, he could only hope to effect this by obtaining a number of large canoes, and, to use the words of his son, “canoes were at that time his great desire, for by them only could he cross over to the Island of Waipounamu.” Amongst the
leading chiefs who accompanied Rauparaha, was Rangihaieta, who, as will be remembered, had, during the previous invasion, taken prisoner a Ngatiapa woman of rank named Pikinga, whom he had made his slave-wife. When her brothers heard of the arrival of Ngatitoa at Wanganui, they, with a party numbering altogether twenty men, came to meet her, and accompanied Ngatitoa as far as the Rangitikei river, for, as the weather continued extremely fine, Te Rauparaha thought it desirable to push the advance as rapidly as possible. On arriving at the mouth of the Rangitikei the people rested for some days, those in the canoes landing for that purpose. During this rest, armed parties were sent inland, in various directions, for the purpose of capturing any stray people whom they could find, in order that they might be killed and eaten; but these parties found the country nearly deserted, the remnant of the original tribes having taken refuge in the fastnesses of the interior. Te Rauparaha then pushed on to the mouth of the Manawatu, where he and his people again halted, parties here, also, going inland in search of Rangitane, with the same intentions with which they had previously sought the Ngatiapa, and with very much the same result. Their next stage was Ohau, where Ngatitoa settled until after they had taken Kapiti, as will be mentioned in the sequel. During this time the Muaupoko occupied the country inland of Ohau and stretching to the Manawatu River, having a pa on Lake Horowhenua, and on the banks of Lake Papaitanga, which is close to it. Shortly after Rauparaha had settled at Ohau two of the chiefs of Muaupoko visited him, and offered, if he would come over to their pa at Papaitanga, to make him a present of several large canoes. He was extremely delighted at this offer, and at once consented to go. Rangihaieta, however, endeavoured to dissuade him, saying, “Raha, I have had a presentiment that you will be murdered by Muaupoko,” but Rauparaha laughed at his fears; and, attracted by the prospect of obtaining the canoes—which had been glowingly described to him by the two chiefs—would not listen to any suggestions against the proposed visit. He even refused to take any large force with him, confining himself to a few men, and to some of his own children. It appears, however, that a plot had been laid between Turoa and Paetahi (father of Mete Kingi, lately one of the Maori members of the Assembly), chiefs of the Wanganui tribes, and the leading chiefs of the Muaupoko, to murder Te Rauparaha, and the invitation to Papaitanga, with the offer of the canoes, were only steps in the plot for that purpose. It is quite clear that he apprehended no danger, and that he fell into the trap laid for him with wonderful facility. It was evening when he and his companions arrived at the pa, where they were received by Toheriri, at whose house Rauparaha was to sleep. His people were all accommodated in different parts of the pa, Rauparaha alone remaining with Toheriri. The
murder was to be committed at night by a war party from Horowhenua, and when Toheriri believed that his guest was fast asleep, he rose and went out, intending to inform the war party that Rauparaha was asleep in his house. His movements, however, aroused Te Rauparaha, who at once suspected some foul design, a suspicion which was soon converted into certainty by the cries of some of his people at the commencement of the bloody work. He then escaped from the house, and, being entirely unarmed, fled towards Ohau, which he succeeded in reaching, but quite naked. During the attack Rangihoungariri, who, it will be remembered, distinguished himself when Rauparaha's party were attacked by Ngatimaniapoto, near the River Mokau, had succeeded in getting well away, but hearing Hira's sister calling out to him that she would be killed, at once returned to her aid, but was soon overwhelmed by numbers and slain, Te Poa, Hira's husband, having been killed previously. Hira, and a girl named Hononga, were not killed, but were carried off to Ruamahunga, in the Wairarapa, where the former afterwards married Taika, a distant relation of Rauparaha's. These two girls were the daughters of that Marore whom I mentioned in a former chapter as having been his boy wife. This treacherous murder provoked the wrath of Ngatitoa, who, from that time, proceeded to destroy Muaupoko without mercy. Toheriri was taken prisoner, and afterwards hung and eaten, undergoing dreadful tortures. Before this event Muaupoko were a somewhat powerful tribe, but their power was utterly broken by the Ngatitoa and their allies, in revenge for the attempted murder of their great chief. After this escape Rauparaha settled at Ohau, and occupied the main land as far as Otaki, his war parties constantly hunting the people at Rangitikei, Manawatu, and Horowhenua; but a remnant of these tribes still held Kapiti, notwithstanding several attempts to take possession of it.
Amongst the chiefs who accompanied Te Rauparaha in the migration, was his uncle, Te Pehi Kupe, who, by virtue of his seniority of age and rank, was undoubtedly entitled to the leadership of the tribe; but, although not deficient in talent, and admittedly a great warrior, he was inferior to his nephew in those special qualifications, which had enabled the latter to acquire the power he held over his own tribe, and the influence he exercised in the councils of the Ngatiawa and Ngatiraukawa. It has, however, been asserted that there are grounds for believing that Rauparaha was somewhat jealous of Te Pehi, and that dreading the possibility of an attempt on the part of the latter to assume the leadership of the tribe in virtue of his higher social position, he would not unwillingly have sacrificed him. Indeed, it is said, that the taking of Kapiti was primarily due to a
treacherous act on his part, committed for the express purpose of involving Te Pehi, and a number of other members of the tribe, in destruction; but it is difficult to suppose that Rauparaha could have maintained his high position if this charge, and others of a similar nature, were in any degree well founded. My own impression is that the whole affair was planned for the express purpose of throwing the defenders of Kapiti off their guard, and so of securing a conquest which had already been several times attempted in vain, but which he felt to be absolutely necessary for the success of his ultimate designs. It appears that one day he started with a large force of Ngatitoa and Ngatiawa for Horowhenua, for the avowed purpose of harrassing the remnant of Muaupoko and Rangitane who still wandered about that district, and that before dawn of the morning after his departure (which had been made known on the previous day to the people on the Island through their own spies), Te Pehi, and his own immediate followers, crossed the Strait and attacked them. Thrown off their guard by the knowledge of Rauparaha's absence with the bulk of the warriors, they had neglected their ordinary precautions against surprise, and were easily defeated, many being slain, although the greater number escaped in their canoes to the main land, and found refuge in the forests and swamps of the Manawatu. On the return of Rauparaha's war party, he at once passed over to Kapiti, where he usually resided from that time until his death. Shortly after the taking of Kapiti, Wi Kingi and the great body of the Ngatiawa returned to the Waitara, only twenty warriors remaining with the Ngatitoa. Thus weakened, they were ultimately compelled, by events which I am about to relate, to abandon their settlements on the main land, and to remove to Kapiti, where they formed and occupied three large pas, one named Wharekohu, at the southern end of the Island; another named Rangatira, near the northern end; and one named Taepiro, between the other two, Te Rauparaha and Rangihaieta, with the main body of the people, residing in the latter. Before relating the events which took place after the departure of the Ngatiawa, it is necessary that I should call attention to many affairs of importance which occurred between that event and the first settlement of the Ngatitoa at Ohau. It will be remembered that at the close of the last chapter I mentioned the attempt made by the Muaupoko to murder Rauparaha, near Lake Papaitanga, and the determination of himself and his tribe to lose no opportunity of taking vengeance for the slaughter which had taken place on that occasion. At the time of this occurrence, the Muaupoko were still numerous and comparatively powerful, having suffered much less during the previous incursions of the Ngapuhi and Waikatos, than the neighbouring tribes; but they were, nevertheless, no match for the better armed and more warlike Ngatitoa, and therefore rarely met them in the open field, relying for security rather upon the inaccessibility
of their fortresses and upon their intimate knowledge of the fastnesses of the Manawatu district, than upon their prowess in the field. They then occupied a number of pas in the country around Lakes Papaitanga and Horowhenua, as well as several which they had erected upon artificial islands in the latter lake, in the manner so interestingly described by the Reverend Mr. Taylor, in a paper recently read before this Society. Now, it appears, that in pursuance of his intention to destroy these people, Rauparaha constantly detailed war parties to attack them, as well as to harrass the unfortunate remnant of the Rangitane who still lurked in the country to the northward of their territory.
Finding themselves unable to check these attacks, the Muaupoko took refuge in the Lake Pas, which the Ngatitoa however, determined to attack. Their first attempt was on that named Waipata, and, having no canoes, they swam out to it, and succeeded in taking it, slaughtering many of the defenders, though the greater number escaped in their canoes to a larger pa on the same lake, named Wai-kie-kie. This pa was occupied in such force by the enemy, that the party which had taken Waipata felt themselves too weak to assault it, and, therefore, returned to Ohau for reinforcements. Having obtained the requisite assistance, they again proceeded to Horowhenua, and attacked Wai-kie-kie, using a number of canoes, which they had taken at Waipata, for the purpose of crossing the lake. After a desperate, but vain resistance, they took the pa, slaughtering nearly 200 of the inhabitants, including women and children, the remainder escaping in their canoes, and making their way, by inland paths, in the direction of Paikakariki, where they ultimately settled. In the course of these several attacks, a number of the leading Muaupoko chiefs were taken prisoners, all of whom, except Ratu, who became the slave of Te Pehi, were killed, and their bodies, as well as those of the people slain in the assaults, duly devoured. It is matter of note that, notwithstanding the occasional murder of men of the Ngatiapa who happened to be found on the south side of the Rangitikei River by the Ngatitoa and Ngatiawa war parties, Rauparaha had, up to this time, preserved friendly relations with that tribe, some of whom occasionally fought in his ranks; this was chiefly owing to the connection of Rangihaieta with Pikinga, but events which occurred shortly after the expulsion of the Muaupoko from the Horowhenua country, led to a rupture of this friendship and to the ultimate complete subjugation of the Ngatiapa. It was after the defeat of the former at Wai-kie-kie that the Ngatiawa returned to Waitara, but although, as I have before observed, their departure greatly weakened Rauparaha, he and his people still maintained their settlements on the main land, and continued their raids against the remnants of the defeated tribes. Amongst the expeditions thus undertaken one, in which a larger force than usual was
engaged, was directed against a pa at Paikakariki, occupied by the Muaupoko who had fled from Waikiekie, which was taken after an obstinate struggle, in which many of the occupants were slain, the conquerors remaining in possession for nearly two months for the purpose of consuming their bodies and the stores of provisions they found in the pa. They were there suddenly attacked by the Ngatikahungunu from Wanganuiatera and the surrounding country, and driven upon Waikanae with considerable loss. This event, coupled with the threatening attitude assumed by that powerful tribe, and the fact that the remnants of the Muaupoko, Rangitane, and Ngatiapa, were again collecting in the vicinity of their former settlements, determined Rauparaha to abandon the main land, and to withdraw the whole of his people to Kapiti until he could obtain the assistance (which he still confidently expected) of his kindred at Taupo and Maungatautari. He had no sooner retired to Kapiti, than the Rangitane erected a large pa at Hotuiti, on the north side of the Manawatu, within the tract now known as the Awahou Block, where they collected in force, and were joined by three Ngatiapa chiefs of note. Rauparaha hearing of this, determined to attack them, and he and Rangihaeata marched to Hotuiti with a well appointed taua, accompanied by Pikinga, who, on the arrival of the party before the pa, was sent into it to direct the Ngatiapa chiefs to retire to the district occupied by that tribe on the north side of the Rangitikei river. This they declined to do, and Rauparaha then sent messengers to the Rangitane, offering peace, and desiring that their chiefs should be sent to his camp to settle the terms. Being advised by the Ngatiapa chiefs to accept the offer, they sent their own head men to Rauparaha's quarters, where they were at once ruthlessly slain, and whilst the people in the pa, ignorant of this slaughter, and believing that hostilities were suspended, were entirely off their guard, it was rushed by the Ngatitoa, and taken after a very feeble resistance, the greater number of the unfortunate people and their families, as well as the three Ngatiapa chiefs, being slaughtered and devoured, such prisoners as were taken being removed to Waikanae in order to undergo the same fate. After this treacherous affair, Rauparaha and his force returned to Waikanae, where they indulged in feasting and rejoicing, little dreaming that any attempt would be made to attack them. It appears, however, that the Ngatiapa at Rangitikei, incensed at the slaughter of their three chiefs, determined to revenge their loss, and for this purpose had collected a considerable war party, which was readily joined by the refugees from Hotuiti and by a number of Muaupoko from Horowhenua. Led by Te Hakeke, they fell upon the Ngatitoa at Waikanae during the night, killing upwards of sixty of them, including many women and children, amongst the latter being the four daughters of Te Pehi. At the commencement of the attack, a canoe was despatched to Kapiti for reinforcements, which were at once sent, and
upon their arrival the enemy fled, but without being pursued. In consequence of this attack, Rauparaha and Rangihaeata became (to use the words of Matene Te Whiwhi) “dark in their hearts in regard to Ngatiapa,” and resolved to spare no efforts to destroy them, as well as the remnants of Rangitane and Muaupoko.
Rauparaha had, of course, become aware of the defeat of Whatanui and the Ngatiraukawa in their attempt to reach Kapiti by the East Coast, but immediately after the departure of the Ngatiawa he had sent emissaries to Taupo, in order again to urge upon the chiefs to join him in the occupation of the country he had conquered. In the meantime, however, a storm was brewing which threatened utterly to destroy him and his people. Ratu, the Muaupoko chief who had been enslaved by Te Pehi, escaped from Kapiti and fled to the Middle Island. Being anxious to avenge the destruction of his tribe, he proceeded to organize an alliance between the tribes occupying the southern shores of Cook Strait and those which held the country from Patea to Rangitikei, on the North, and the Ngatikahungunu at Wanganuiatera and Wairarapa, on the South, for the purpose of attacking Rauparaha with a force, which, in point of numbers, at least, should be irresistible. In the formation of the desired alliance he was completely successful, and about the end of the fourth year after the first arrival of the Ngatitoa, nearly 2,000 warriors assembled between Otaki and Waikanae, consisting of Ngarauru, from Waitotara; the people of Patea, Wanganui, Wangaehu, Turakina and Rangitikei, the Rangitane of Manawatu, and the Ngatikahungunu, Ngatiapa, Ngatitumatakokiri, Rangitane and Ngatihuia, from the Middle Island. They were provided with ample means of transport, “the sea on the occasion of of their attack,” to use the words of my informant, who was present on the occasion, “being covered with canoes, one wing reaching Kapiti from Otaki, whilst the other started almost simultaneously from Waikanae.” The landing of the warriors composing the right wing was effected about four in the morning, but the alarm having already been given by the chief Nopera, who had discovered and notified their approach, the invaders were at once attacked by the Ngatitoa, of Rangatira, with great fury, whilst messengers were at the same time despatched to Taepiri, where Rauparaha lay with the bulk of his people, to inform him of the invasion. Before he could reach the scene of the conflict, however, the enemy had succeeded in pushing the Ngatitoa towards Waiorua, at the northern end of the Island. Pokaitara, who was in command, being desirous of gaining time in order to admit of the arrival of reinforcements, proposed a truce to the enemy, which was granted by Rangimairehau, a Ngatiapa chief, by whom they were led, who hoped, on his side, during the truce, to be able to land the rest of his forces, and then effectually to crush the Ngatitoa. Shortly after the truce had been agreed to,
Rauparaha and his warriors reached the scene of action, and at once renewed the battle with the utmost vigour; and, after a long and sanguinary conflict, completely defeated the invaders, with tremendous slaughter; not less than 170 dead bodies being left on the beach, whilst numbers were drowned in attempting to reach the canoes that were still at sea. The remainder of the invading force made their way, with all speed, to Waikanae and other points of the coast, where many of them landed, abandoning their canoes to the Ngatitoa, who had commenced an immediate pursuit. After the battle Rauparaha composed and sang a “song of triumph,” the words of which I regret that I have not been able to obtain. The result was in every way advantageous to his people, for no further attempt was ever made to dislodge them, whilst they, on the other hand, lost no opportunity of strengthening their position and of wreaking vengeance on the Ngatiapa, Rangitane, and Muaupoko, the remnant of whom they ultimately reduced to the condition of the merest tributaries, many of the leading chiefs, including Te Hakeke, becoming slaves. It would be useless for me to give anything like a detailed account of the incursions of the Ngatitoa into the country on the main land, often extending as far as Turakina, in which numbers of the original inhabitants were killed and eaten, or reduced to slavery; but it is perfectly clear that their power was completely broken, and that after Waiorua, the Ngatitoa and their allies found no enemy capable of checking their movements. The news of the battle having reached Taranaki, with rumours of Rauparaha's astounding success, Te Puaha, with a detachment of Ngatiawa, came down to Kapiti in order to learn the truth of the matter, and having ascertained how completely Rauparaha had defeated his enemies, he returned to Taranaki for the purpose of bringing down a number of his people to join the Ngatitoa in their settlement of the country, as well as to take part in the prosecution of Rauparaha's further designs. Accordingly, he shortly afterwards brought with him, from Taranaki, a considerable number of fighting men, with their families, consisting partly of Ngatiawa proper, partly of Ngatihinetuhi, and partly of Ngatiwhakatere, being members of a hapu of Ngatiraukawa, who had escaped from a defeat on the Wanganui River, and had incorporated themselves with the Ngatiawa. This formed an important accession to the force under Rauparaha, which received further additions shortly afterwards from Te Ahu Karamu, a Ngatiraukawa chief of high rank, who, against the feeling of his people, had determined to join his great Ngatitoa kinsman. This chief, having heard from Rauparaha's emissaries of the difficulties in which he was likely to be placed by the defection of the Ngatiawa, had started from Taupo with 120 armed men, of his own immediate following, and arrived at Kapiti shortly after the battle of Waiorua, and then took part in many of the raids upon the original tribes which occurred after that event.
After remaining with Rauparaha for some months he returned to Taupo with part of his followers, where he reported the improved position of Ngatitoa, and urged his own section of the tribe to join them. Finding them still unwilling to do so, and being determined to effect his object, he ordered the whole of their houses and stores to be burned down, declaring it to be the will of the atua or spirit, angry at their refusal to obey the words of their chief. This being done the people gave way, and he took the necessary measures for the journey. In the meantime Whatanui and Te Heuheu had also determined to visit Rauparaha, in order to inspect the country he had conquered; the former chieftain intending, if it met his approval, to carry out his original design of joining the Ngatitoa in its occupation. In pursuance of this determination they, with a strong force of their own warriors, joined Te Ahu Karamu's party, the whole travelling down the Rangitikei River along the route followed by Te Ahu on his previous journey. During this journey they attacked and killed any of the original inhabitants whom they happened to fall in with. This migration is known amongst the Ngatiraukawa as the heke whirinui, owing to the fact that the whiri, or plaited collars of their mats, were made very large for the journey. Amongst the special events which occurred on the march was the capture of a Ngatiapa woman and two children, on the south side of the Rangitikei. The unfortunate children were sacrificed during the performance of a solemn religious rite; and the woman, though in the first instance saved by Te Heuheu, who wished to keep her as a slave, was killed and eaten by Tangaru, one of the Ngatiraukawa leaders. Shortly after this Ta Whiro, one of the greatest of the Ngatiapa chiefs, with two women, were taken prisoners, and the former was put to death with great ceremony and cruelty, as utu for the loss of some of Te Heuheu's people who had been killed by the Ngatiapa long before, but the women were spared. On the arrival of this heke at Kapiti, Te Heuheu and Whatanui held a long conference with the Ngatitoa chieftains, and Whatanui was at last persuaded to bring down his people. For this purpose he and Te Heuheu returned to Taupo, some of the party passing across the Manawatu Block, so as to strike the Rangitikei River inland, whilst the others travelled along the beach to the mouth of that river, intending to join the inland party some distance up. The inland party rested at Rangataua, where a female relative of Te Heuheu, named Reremai, famed for her extreme beauty, died of wounds inflicted upon her during the journey by a stray band of Ngatiapa. A great tangi was held over her remains, and Te Heuheu caused her head to be preserved, he himself calcining her brains and strewing the ashes over the land, which he declared to be for ever tapu. His people were joined by the party from the beach road at the junction of the Waituna with the Rangitikei, where the chief was presented with three Ngatiapa prisoners, who had been taken during the
ascent of the river. These were immediately sacrificed to the manes of Keremai, after which the whole body returned with all speed to Taupo. Before the return of Whatanui and his people to Kapiti, that place had been visited by some European whale ships, and Rauparaha at once traded with them for guns and ammunition, giving in exchange dressed flax and various kinds of fresh provisions, including potatoes. I may mention that until the arrival of the Ngatitoa the potato had been unknown in the Manawatu district, but at the time I now speak of it was extensively cultivated between that place and Taranaki, and formed one of the staple articles of food of the natives. He had no sooner obtained a supply of fire-arms and ammunition than he resolved to carry out his long-conceived intention of invading the Middle Island, a design in which he was greatly aided by the capture of the war canoes which had been abandoned by the allied forces after the battle of Waiorua; but, although he at once made preparations for carrying out his project, he postponed its actual execution until after the return of Whatanui. Shortly before the visit of the ships with which Rauparaha had carried on his trade, Te Pehi, observing one passing through Cook Strait, went out to her in a canoe, and, having managed to conceal himself until the canoe had left her, he succeeded ultimately in reaching England, his design being, like that of E Hongi, to obtain a supply of fire-arms and ammunition. His visit to England, where he was known under the name of Tupai Cupa, evidently a corruption of Te Pehi Kupe, is described in the volume for 1830 of “The Library of Entertaining Knowledge.” We are enabled by means of this incident to fix the dates of some of the principal events in Rauparaha's career, for we know that it was in 1826 that Te Pehi managed to secrete himself on board the vessel above referred to.
Rauparaha's immediate designs were in the meantime somewhat interfered with by a rupture between a section of his people and the Ngatitama, under Puaha, some fighting taking place, which resulted in loss to both sides; but he at once peremptorily ordered peace to be made, an order which was obeyed by both sides. It seems that this dispute arose out of the occupation of some of the conquered land, which was claimed by both parties, and Waitohi, a sister of Rauparaha, foreseeing that constant disputes were likely to arise from the same cause, more especially when their numbers were increased by the expected arrival of the main body of the Ngatiraukawa, unless there was some definite arrangement as to the division of the country between them, suggested to Rauparaha that the Ngatiawa should all remove to Waikanae, and should occupy the land to the south of the Kukutawaki stream, whilst the country from the north bank of that stream as far as the Wangaehu should be given up to the Ngatiraukawa. This suggestion was adopted by all parties, and it was determined that the Ngatiraukawa, already
with Rauparaha, should at once proceed to occupy Ohau, then in the possession of the Ngatiawa. Having been assembled for this purpose they were escorted to their new location by Rauparaha and all the principal chiefs of Ngatitoa, travelling along the beach. On their way up they were feasted by Ngatirahira (a hapu of Ngatiawa) upon the flesh of black-fish, a large school of which had been driven ashore at low water, where the natives ingeniously tethered them by their tails with strong flax ropes, killing them as they were wanted for food. The Ngatiraukawa having been put into quiet possession of the houses and cultivations of the Ngatiawa, the latter removed to Waikanae, which continued for some time afterwards to be their principal settlement. The wisdom of Waitohi's suggestion above referred to is apparent from the fact that no further land disputes occurred between the several tribes until the fighting at Horowhenua many years afterwards, as will be related in the sequel.
Between this event and the date of Whatanui's return to Kapiti with the main body of his people, a heke composed of 140 fighting men with their families—called the heke kariritahi, from the circumstance that the warriors armed with muskets, had enlarged the touch-holes so as to be enabled (shrewd fellows as they were) to keep up a more rapid fire upon an enemy by saving the trouble of priming—came down from Maungatautari under the command of Taratoa. Whatanui accompanied this heke for the purpose of conferring with Rauparaha on matters of importance, but finding that the chief was absent, he at once returned to Taupo in order to bring down his people. The constant arrival of these armed bodies, and the manner in which they roamed over the Manawatu and Rangitikei districts, treating the remnant of the Ngatiapa and other original tribes with the greatest rigour, induced the latter to throw themselves upon the hospitality of the Ngatikahungunu at Wairarapa. In pursuance of this resolve, some 300 of them, including women and children, proceeded thither, but in consequence of a murder, followed by an act of cannibalism, which had been committed by some of the Rangitane upon a Ngatikahungunu man not long before, that tribe not only refused to receive the refugees, but attacked and drove them back with slaughter. The Ngatiapa then formally placed themselves at the mercy of Rangihaeata, whose connection, so frequently alluded to, with a chief of their tribe induced him to treat them with leniency, and they were accordingly permitted to live in peace, but in a state of complete subjection. The remnant of the Muaupoko, in like manner, sought the protection of Tuauaine, a chief of the Ngatiawa, who agreed to defend them against the long standing wrath of Rauparaha, but, as it appears, in vain; for it seems that having been informed by some of the Ngatiraukawa that these people were again settling at Papaitangi and Horowhenua, Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, with a war party of Ngatitoa and
Ngatiraukawa, proceeded thither and attacked them, killing many and taking a number of others prisoners, amongst whom was Toheriri, their chief. Toheriri's wife composed a lament on the occasion of the death of her husband, which is still recited amongst the Maoris. In this song she reflected on the broken promise of Tuauaine, who, though very sad at this slaughter, was entirely unable to prevent it. I merely mention this incident here, in order to show that lapse of time had in no degree weakened the revengeful feelings of Rauparaha, and that he considered the manes of his murdered children insufficiently appeased by the slaughter of the hundreds whom he had already sacrificed.
In about a year after the visit of Whatanui with Te Heuheu the former returned to Kapiti with the main body of his tribe, this migration being known as the heke mairaro, or “heke from below,” the north point being always treated by the Maoris as downward. From that time forth for some years parties of the same tribe constantly recruited their countrymen in their settlements on the Manawatu, gradually extending their occupation over the whole country between Otaki and Rangitikei, although their chief stations were in the Horowhenua and Ohau districts; whilst the Ngatiapa, under the protection of Rangihaeata and Taratoa, occupied some country on the north of the Rangitikei, yielding tribute to both of these chiefs as a condition of their being left in peace.
Not long after the arrival of Whatanui with the heke mairaro, Rauparaha put in execution his long meditated project of invading and permanently occupying the northern coasts of the Middle Island. It appears that his fame as a warrior had reached the ears of Rerewhaka, a great chief of the Ngaitahu, whose principal settlement was at the Kaikoura Peninsula. This chief had been excessively indignant at the defeat of the allies at Waiorua, and on hearing of the song of triumph, chanted by Rauparaha on that occasion, in which the latter indicated his intention of attacking and subduing the Ngaitahu, he had declared “that if Rauparaha dared to set a foot in his country he would rip his belly with a niho-manga, or shark's tooth,” a curse which was reported to Rauparaha by a run-away slave, and which—his memory for small matters being remarkably tenacious—would afford him, at any distance of time, ample pretext and indeed justification for attacking Rerewhaka and his people. In 1828, having accumulated a considerable quantity of fire-arms and ammunition, he started with 340 picked warriors, comprising Ngatitoa, Ngatiawa, Ngatitama, and Ngatiraukawa, under Niho, the son of Te Pehi, Takerei, Te Kanae, Te Koihua, Te Puoho, and other chiefs of note, and first made for D'Urville Island, at the north-east head of Blind Bay. At this time D'Urville Island, the Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds, the Wairau and the Awatere, were all occupied by a numerous section
of the Rangitane tribe, which had settled in these places after destroying the Ngatimamoe some 200 years before. But though numerous, and in that sense powerful, so long as their warfare was carried on with the ordinary New Zealand weapons, they were no match for the chosen warriors of Te Rauparaha, more particularly when armed with the more deadly European weapons. The consequence was that they were everywhere disastrously defeated, hundreds of them being killed and devoured on the spot, whilst numbers of the prisoners were taken to Kapiti to undergo the same fate, the wretched remnant being kept in abject slavery by such of their conquerors as settled in the newly acquired district.
Whilst Rauparaha was engaged in these operations Te Pehi returned from England, and at once joined him with a considerable number of followers. Shortly after this the main force divided, a subdivision of the Ngatitoa named the Ngatirarua hapu, under Niho and Takerei, the Puketapu and Nutiwai hapus of Ngatiawa, under Te Koihua, and the Ngatitama, under Te Puoho, proceeding to Blind and Massacre Bays—and whose exploits will be hereafter referred to—whilst Rauparaha, Te Pehi, and other chiefs, with 300 well armed men, flushed with victory, and grown strong upon human flesh, left Rangitoto for the Kaikoura Peninsula, in order to afford to Rerewhaka the opportunity of putting his long made threat into execution. But the Ngatitoa chief felt sure of a comparatively easy victory, for notwithstanding a great numerical superiority on the part of the enemy, he knew that they were indifferently, if at all, supplied with fire-arms, whilst the great bulk of his own men were well furnished with guns, powder, and ball. It will be observed that, in accordance with the well known habit of the New Zealanders, Rauparaha had never forgotten Rerewhaka's curse, and he felt highly elated at the prospect of a revenge, which the force at his command rendered almost certain. But besides this prospect of vengeance, and the anticipated additional gratification of devouring the bodies of the slain, he expected to acquire large quantities of green-stone weapons and ornaments, in which, as he had been informed by the slave who had reported Rerewhaka's foolish boast, the Ngaitahu of the Kaikoura and Amuri were especially rich, for notwithstanding the introduction of fire-arms into their system of warfare, the mere pounamu, or green-stone battle-axe, and other implements of war manufactured from that substance, was then, and indeed always has been, held in great estimation by the Maoris. Rauparaha, therefore, longed to add the acquisition of such treasures to the gratification which he would derive from wreaking vengeance upon the Ngaitahu chieftain, for the insult under which he had so long suffered.
As my readers are probably aware, the green-stone or nephrite, from which the more valuable of the weapons in question are made, is found
exclusively on the West Coast of the Middle Island, and it appears that the Ngaitahu of Kaikoura and Amuri especially, had long been in the habit of sending war parties across the island, for the purpose of killing and plundering the inhabitants of the district in which it was obtained. These expeditions sometimes passed through the Tarndale country to the Upper Waiauua, and from thence through the Kopiokaitangata, or Cannibal Gorge, at the head of the Marina River, into the valley of the Grey, from whence they ran down the coast to the main settlements from the mouth of that river to Jackson Bay, and at other times passed from the Conway and other points on the East Coast through the Hanmer Plains to the valley of the Ahaura, a tributary of the Grey, and so to the same localities. The line of route by the Cannibal Gorge runs partly through a tract of country which I now occupy as a cattle-run, and my men have frequently found stone axes, pawa shells, remains of eel-baskets, and other articles, left on the line of march; similar articles being also found on the line through the Hanmer Plains. The scenery of the upper country on the line by the Cannibal Gorge is very grand and beautiful, the valley of the Ada, the head waters of which rise within half a mile of those of the Marina, running through an immense cleft in the Spencer Mountains, the summits of Mount Una and the Fairy Queen, capped with perpetual snow, rising abruptly on each side of the stream, to a height little under 6,000 feet, whilst the valley itself is rarely more than a quarter of a mile in breadth. The Cannibal Gorge is extremely rugged, and the fall of the river tremendous, its waters, when swollen by rain and melting snow, pouring down the gorge for miles in a perfect cataract of foam, and with a roar, which, echoed from the rocky glens on each side, rivals that of Niagara. During their journeys to the coast through these rugged scenes the war parties lived entirely on eels, wekas, and kakapos, which, at that time, were numerous in the ranges; whilst on their return, after a successful raid, human flesh was often carried by the slaves they had taken, and the latter were, not unfrequently, killed in order to afford a banquet to their captors. During these expeditions large quantities of green-stone, both in rough blocks and in well-fashioned weapons—an art especially known to the West Coast natives—were often obtained, if the approach of the invaders was not discovered in time to permit the inhabitants to conceal themselves and their treasures, and it was the accumulated wealth of many years which Rauparaha expected to acquire in case he should prove victorious in his projected attack upon Rerewhaka and his people.
It was not until the morning of the fourth day after leaving D'Urville Island that the war party reached the Kaikoura Peninsula, and as they had
arrived before daylight they anchored a short distance from the shore, in order that they might be enabled at dawn to reconnoitre the position of the enemy before landing. It would appear that the Ngaitahus at that time expected a visit from a southern chief of their own tribe, with a considerable following, and that on the morning in question, seeing the canoes of Rauparaha's party at anchor, and not having noticed the direction from which they had come, they mistook them for those of their friends, and large numbers of the people of the pa ran down to the shore, shouting the cry of welcome to the supposed visitors, who, at once seeing the advantage which the mistake would afford them in their intended attack, made for the shore with all possible speed, and having reached it jumped out of the canoes and immediately commenced the attack. The unfortunate people, being quite unarmed, and taken by surprise, endeavoured to escape by retreating towards the pa, which, in the general confusion, was taken without difficulty, some 1,400 of the people, including women and children, being killed or taken prisoners, amongst the latter of whom was the chief Rerewhaka, whose threat Rauparaha was then avenging. After remaining for some time to feast upon the bodies of the slain, and to plunder the pa of its treasures, the victorious Ngatitoa returned with their prisoners to Kapiti, where the greater number of the latter, including Rerewhaka himself, were put to death and eaten, the chief having been sacrificed with great cruelty on account of the threat which had been the prime cause of the attack. In consequence of this circumstance Rauparaha named the battle the “niho manga, or battle of the shark's tooth.” At the time of this event another section of the Ngaitahu tribe occupied an extensive pa called Kaiapoi, about fourteen miles north of Christchurch, with the inhabitants of which Rauparaha made up his mind to pick a quarrel at the first convenient opportunity, but he felt that the force he had under his command at Kaikoura was too small for the purpose of any attack upon it, particularly after the enemy had received notice of the fall of the latter place, and had had time to make preparations for defence. In the following year, before he had had an opportunity of devising any particular scheme for the purpose of bringing about a quarrel between himself and the Kaiapoi people, he was induced again to attack the remnant of the Ngaitahu at Kaikoura, in consequence of an insult put upon Rangihaeata by a Ngatikahungunu chief named Kekerengu, who, dreading the consequences, had fled across the strait and taken refuge with them. Rauparaha collected a considerable force of Ngatitoa and their allies, under his own leadership, with Te Pehi, Pohaitara, Rangihaeata, and other principal chiefs under him, and started for the Wairau, from whence he made his way along the coast to Kaikoura. On his arrival there he found that the pa had been evacuated on their approach, the inhabitants flying down the Amuri. They were overtaken
by the war party at a pa called Omihi, where they were attacked and routed with great slaughter, numbers of prisoners being also taken. These were left in charge of a detachment, whilst the rest of the force pushed with all speed for Kaiapoi, in order that Rauparaha might put his design against its inhabitants into execution. The pa of that name was situated just within the line of the coast dunes of Pegasus Bay, about a mile to the south of the River Ashley, and was erected upon a promontory about nine or ten acres in extent, which extends into a deep swamp lying between the sand dunes and the bank of the river. This swamp, which is very deep, nearly surrounds the site of the pa, and prevented it from being attacked at any point except in front; and along the line of the front, extending from one branch of the swamp to the other, a distance of about 250 yards, it was defended by a double line of heavy palisading and a deep ditch, with two large outworks, from which a flank fire could be maintained on any party attempting to scale the palisades. I have frequently visited the site of this pa, which still exhibits unmistakeable evidences of the conflict which took place there, including many relics of the special festivities with which the Maoris invariably celebrated their victories. I was informed that after its fall (which will shortly be fully detailed) the principal defenders threw large numbers of their choicest green-stone weapons and ornaments into the deepest part of the swamp, where they still lie, to reward any enterprising person who will drain it for the purpose of recovering them.
When Rauparaha and his people arrived at the pa, they at once opened intercourse with the chiefs, pretending that they had come to seek their friendship, and desired to barter fire-arms and ammunition in exchange for green-stone, in which the people of Kaiapoi, like their kinsfolk at Kaikoura, were extremely rich, but the latter, having been informed by some refugees of the slaughter at Omihi, distrusted the good intentions of their visitors. In order, however, to remove all pretext for hostilities they received them with great appearance of cordiality, and treated the chiefs who visited their houses with ostentatious hospitality. Rauparaha himself, however, could not be induced to enter the pa, the wily chief feeling that he had too surely earned their animosity by the slaughter of their kinsfolk, and, therefore, could not justly place much trust upon their professions of friendship. It appears, according to the Ngatitoa account of the affair, that Te Pehi, who in order to keep up the deception had carried on a trade with some of the people, let the cat out of the bag; for a Ngaitahu chief having expressed great unwillingness to part with a coveted green-stone weapon, was told by Te Pehi, in anger, “Why do you, with the crooked tatoo, resist my wishes; you, whose nose will shortly be cut off with a hatchet.” This confirmation from the Iips of one of the chiefs in command of the Ngatitoa of their preconception of
the real designs of Rauparaha's party, determined the people in the pa to strike a blow which would prevent Rauparaha from further prosecuting his design, at least at that time; and, for this purpose, they resolved to kill the chiefs then in the pa, amongst whom, besides Te Pehi, were Pokaitara, Te Aratangata, of Ngatiraukawa, and others of note. Pokaitara had taken to wife from amongst the prisoners at Kaikoura the daughter of Rongatara, one of the Ngaitahu chieftains then in the pa, and having been invited to the house of the latter under pretext of receiving a present of green-stone, proceeded thither without suspicion of foul play. As he stooped to enter the house the old chief, Rongatara, took hold of his mat, saying, “Welcome, welcome, my daughter's lord,” at the same time killing him by a blow on the head with the green-stone club which he expected to have received as a gift. The death of Pokaitara was the signal for a general slaughter of the Ngatitoa chiefs, who were at once despatched, their bodies being destined to the umus of their murderers. The slaughter of his uncle, and of so many of his leading chiefs, was a severe blow to Rauparaha, who, with the rest of his party, at once fell back on Omihi, where he re-united his forces. In part revenge for the murder, he at once slew all the prisoners, and, after devouring their bodies, returned to the Wairau, from whence they crossed over to Kapiti. The Ngaitahu account of the origin of the quarrel is different, and I give it from a petition presented, in 1869, to the House of Representatives, by Patterson, then Maori member for the Southern Maori Electoral District. The petition refers to a letter addressed to Patterson by the runanga, or local council, of the Maoris living near the European village of Kaiapoi, which is situated on the banks of the Waimakariri River, some miles north of the pa above referred to. The following is the text of the letter, which I give nearly entire, as being of much interest in connection with my story:—
“O friend, salutations to you, and to the Assembly, that is to say, the great chiefs who work for justice and truth.
“O sir, this is the matter which we submit to you, do you publish it to the Assembly, so that the great doctors may examine this disease. The disease is the sale by Ngatitoa of this land.
“After you had left, the runanga gave their attention to the question of the affliction under which they are suffering, and now it is submitted to the great doctor to be prescribed for by him. Had the defeat of the people at this land been equal to that of the people of Rangitikei and Manawatu by Te Rauparaha and Ngatiraukawa, where the people were killed and the land was taken possession of, and has been kept up to this time, then it would have been right that we should suffer under this affliction. But, as for the defeat of the natives of Kaiapoi, the Maori runanga consider that it is very clear
that the battles in which the Kaiapoi natives were defeated were not followed up by occupation on the part of the victors. According to our view the killing of the Kaiapoi natives was caused by the Rangitane, who said that Te Rauparaha was to be killed with a stick used for beating fern-root. He then attacked the Rangitane, and defeated them. When Rerewhaka heard that his relatives had been slain, he said that he would rip Te Rauparaha's belly up with the tooth of a barracoota; it was through that that this evil visited this place. Rerewhaka was living amongst the people of Kaiapoi when he said that. Te Rauparaha should have killed that man, for he was the cause of the crime; he spared him, but killed the descendants of Tuteahuka. O friends, the men of Kaiapoi were in deep distress on account of the killing of their relatives at Kaikoura and at Omihi. Now these two pas were destroyed by Te Rauparaha; then Ngatituteahuka and Ngatihikawaikura, the people of Kaiapoi, bewailed their defeat. Te Rauparaha should have borne in mind that the flesh of our relatives was still sticking to his teeth, and he should have gone away and left it to us to seek payment for our dead after him, but he did not, he came to Kaiapoi. When he came the old chiefs of Kaiapoi wished to make peace, and sent Tamaiharanui to Te Rauparaha. On their meeting they made peace, and the talk of Tamaiharanui and Te Pehi was good. After Tamaiharanui had started to come back Te Rauparaha went to another pa of ours, called Tuahiwi, and there sought for the grandmother of Tamaiharanui. They dug her body up and ate it, all decomposed as it was. Tamaiharanui was greatly distressed, and threatened to kill the war party of Te Rauparaha. Then his elder relatives, the great chiefs of Kaiapoi, said to him, ‘O son, do not, lest further evil follow in your footsteps.’ He replied, ‘It would not have mattered had I been away when this decomposed body was eaten, but, as it is, it has taken place in my very presence.’ Well, as the chief gave the word, Te Pehi, a great chief of Ngatitoa, and others were killed. Then Te Rauparaha went away.”
Such is the Ngaitahu account of the origin of the quarrel, which I am inclined to accept. It will be thought strange that Te Rauparaha did not, without seeking any pretence for the act, attack the pa in force, but to have done so would have been a violation of the Maori etiquette in matters relating to war. He had taken vengeance for the threat of Rerewhaka, and it was for the relatives of the latter to strike the next blow, which it appears they were unwilling to do, dreading the very results which afterwards followed in revenge for the killing of Te Pehi.
Rauparaha brooded much over this murder of his relative, who, having accepted a secondary position in the tribe, no longer excited his jealousy, and had greatly assisted him as a wise counsellor and valiant leader. After full consultation with the other chiefs of the tribe, he resolved that his revenge
should be carried out by an act as treacherous as that by which the death of Te Pehi and his companions had been brought about; and whilst still revolving in his mind the best means of accomplishing this design, an European vessel arrived at Kapiti from Sydney, after having passed through Foveaux Strait and visited the Auckland Islands for the purpose of leaving a party of sealers at the latter place. Amongst the passengers by this vessel was Hohepa Tamaihengia (who lately died at Porirua), a near relative of Rauparaha, who, on reaching Foveaux Strait, had heard of the murder of Te Pehi and his companions from the Maoris there. Hohepa himself at once conceived the project of seizing and killing some of the Ngaitahu chiefs in utu for their death, and entered into arrangements with the master of the vessel to proceed to Akaroa for that purpose. This plan, however, having become known to some European passengers who were about to join a whaling party in Queen Charlotte Sound, they dissuaded the master from carrying it into effect, and the vessel proceeded direct to Kapiti. Hohepa communicated his design to Rauparaha, who determined to follow it out on the first convenient opportunity. Sometime after the departure of this vessel, the English brig “Elizabeth” arrived at Kapiti. This vessel was commanded by a person named Stewart, to whom Rauparaha offered a large cargo of flax if he would carry him and a chosen party of warriors to Akaroa, for the purpose of seizing Tamaiharanui, the principal chief of the Ngaitahu, who had been present at Kaiapoi, at the time of the murder of Te Pehi, and had indeed taken an active part in counselling it.
Stewart assented to the proposal, and conveyed Rauparaha and his warriors to Akaroa, where the European scoundrel, at the instigation of his charterer, opened communication with the unsuspecting Tamaiharanui, and ultimately induced him, with his wife and daughter, by the promise of some guns and powder, to come on board, where he was at once seized by Rauparaha, who, with his men, had up to this time remained concealed in the hold of the vessel. Having bound the captured chief they remained quiet until nightfall, and then, landing in the ship's boats, attacked the Ngaitahu in their village, of whom they killed large numbers. The bodies of the slain were taken on board the vessel, which at once set sail for Kapiti. On the passage up the successful taua feasted on these bodies, using the ship's coppers for cooking them. It may be that when Stewart engaged his vessel for this expedition he was not made aware of the intentions of Te Rauparaha, or did not foresee the results which followed, whilst he was certainly unable to prevent the atrocities which were perpetrated on board of her, but his name will always be infamous for his connection with this atrocious affair. It appears that the unfortunate Tamaiharanui attempted to commit suicide, in consequence of which he was chained in the cabin, but his hands being free,
he managed to strangle his daughter, and to push her body through one of the after ports, in order to save her from the indignities to which she would be subjected by her ruthless captors, but he himself was taken alive to Kapiti, where he was delivered over to the widows of Te Pehi, who subjected him to frightful tortures, until at length he was put out of his misery by a red-hot ramrod being passed through his neck.
The following is the account given to me by Tamihana Te Rauparaha of the mode in which the unfortunate chief was delivered over to his death:—“When the vessel arrived at Kapiti it was proclaimed that Tamaiharanui was on board, and the people were delighted. Ngaitahu had thought there was only the flowing sea (i.e., that there was no one going to attack them), but they were deceived, and Tamaiharanui was taken. There were not many people left in charge of Kapiti when the ship returned; they were at Waikanae and Otaki scraping flax as cargo for the vessel. Te Pehi's widows were at Waitohu, near Otaki, scraping flax. Tamaiharanui was then taken to Otaki in Rauparaha's canoe to be shown to those widows, as it was to be left to them to determine whether he was to be killed or allowed to live. When they arrived at Otaki he asked Rauparaha to spare him, but Rauparaha replied, ‘If the party killed, that is, Te Pehi, belonged to me, I would save you, but as the dead belonged to Ngatitoa I cannot save you.’ He was then taken to Waitohu, to be seen by the widows, and by Tiaia, the chief wife of Pehi, and was then delivered over to them. They hung him on a tree and killed him with great torture, and he died when a red-hot ramrod was put through his neck by Tiaia. Rauparaha did not witness his death.”
It is impossible to conceive that women could descend so low in the scale of humanity as to commit such atrocities without any sentiment of compassion or of remorse, but those who are familiar with the history of the times of which I write, may recall many frightful instances of barbarity of the same kind. Amongst these, one of the most cruel which has come under my notice is the following, related by Mr. Wilson in his “Three chapters in the Life of Te Wakaroa”:—“We may here mention a tragedy—all are tragedies in this chapter of horrors. Mr. Knight was accustomed, every morning about sunrise, to attend a school at Ohinemutu Pa, but as there were no scholars on the morning of the 12th May, he went to the place where he was told they would be found. There he perceived a great number of people sitting in two assemblages on the ground—one entirely of men, the other of women and the chief Pango. The former company he joined, and conversed with them, as well as he was able, on the sin of cannibalism, but Korokai and all laughed at the idea of burying their enemies. Their conversation ceased, however, on Knight hearing the word patua (kill) repeated several times; and looking round toward the women, he was horrified to see
the widow of the late chief Haupapa, who had been killed at Maketu, standing naked and armed with a tomahawk, whilst another woman, also nude, and Pango were dragging a woman taken prisoner at Te Tumu, that she might be killed by Mrs. Haupapa, in the open space between the men and the women. Mr. Knight immediately sprang forward, and entreated them not to hurt the woman, but Mrs. Haupapa, paying no attention, raised her hatchet; on this, Knight caught the weapon and pulled it out of her hand, whereupon the other woman angrily wrenched it from his grasp, and would have killed him had not Pango interposed by running at him and giving him a blow and thrust that nearly sent him into the lake. He was, however, about to return when the natives seized him and held him back. Just then, the poor woman slipping out of the garments she was held by, rushed to Knight, and falling down, clasped his knees convulsively, in an agony of terror. Her murderers came, and abusing the pakeha the while for pokanoaing (interfering or meddling), with difficulty dragged her from her hold. The helpless pakeha says, ‘It would have melted the heart of a stone’ to hear her calling each relative by name, beseeching them to save her, for though a Tauranga woman, she was connected with Rotorua, and to see her last despairing, supplicating look, as she was taken a few yards off and killed by that virago Mrs. Haupapa. Now this scene occurred simply because Haupapa's widow longed to assuage the sorrow of her bereaved heart, by despatching, with her own hand, some prisoner of rank as utu for her lord. The tribe respected her desire; they assembled to witness the spectacle, and furnished a victim by handing over a chief's widow to her will.”
It may, as I have before observed, seem strange that Rauparaha did not at once take the bolder and more manly course of attacking the Ngaitahu at Kaiapoi, in the ordinary way of warfare, for the purpose of avenging the murder of Te Pehi and his brother chiefs, but I am informed by his son that the course he adopted was strictly tika, or, in other words, in accordance with Maori etiquette in such matters, and that, indeed, any other line of action would not properly have met the exigencies of the case. That Rauparaha was not limited to the adoption of what we should consider the treacherous plan of revenge above related is clear from the events which I am about to refer to, for in about a year after the capture of Tamaiharanui our chief determined, in furtherance of his original design, to attack the great pa at Kaiapoi. For this purpose he assembled a large force, comprising Ngatitoa, Ngatiawa, and Ngatiraukawa, part of whom made their way through the Wairau Gorge and the Hanmer Plains to the Waipara River, which flows into the sea near the north head of Pegasus Bay; whilst he, with the main body of his forces, passed over to the East Coast, through the country now occupied by Messrs. Clifford and Weld, and from thence down that coast to the mouth of the
Waipara, where they were joined by the inland party. The inland line of march runs through some of the most picturesque country in New Zealand, the gorge of the Wairau, especially, being rugged and grand in the extreme. I was the first European who ever passed through this gorge, which I did in 1859 or 1860 for the purpose of determining whether it would afford a practicable line of communication between Nelson and Canterbury, and on that occasion I was accompanied by a Ngatitoa man, who had been one of the inland war party on the occasion above referred to. Singular to state, however, I found, after passing through the gorge, that he had entirely forgotten the line of route between Tarndale and the pass into the Hanmer Plains, and the season was, unfortunately, too far advanced to permit of my attempting to discover it independently. Indeed, my party was snowed up for several days, and as we ran some risk of getting short of food for the return journey, I was reluctantly compelled to give up the design. This was, however, of little importance, as Mr. Weld, now Governor of Western Australia, had, a few days before my passage through the upper part of the gorge, found his way into Tarndale over the mount near the junction of the Wairau and Kopiouenuku Rivers, and had established the connections between that place and the pass known as Jollie's Pass, leading from the Clarence River into the Hanmer Plains. Subsequent explorations of my own resulted in the discovery of the country in the Upper Waiauua and the line of the Cannibal Gorge, and of a shorter and easier pass from Tarndale into the Hanmer Plains, being probably the one used by the native party above referred to.
After the junction of the two bodies Rauparaha proceeded at once to Kaiapoi for the purpose of attacking the pa. The Ngaitahu were evidently quite unprepared for this fresh invasion, a large number of their warriors being absent at Port Cooper, whither they had accompanied Taiaroa (father of the present member of the House of Representatives of that name), who was then the leading chief of that portion of their tribe which occupied the country in the neighbourhood of the present site of Dunedin, and who was returning home after a visit to his kinsfolk at Kaiapoi. Others of the people were engaged in their cultivations outside of the pa, which was, in fact, only occupied by a small number of able-bodied warriors and a few of the older men, and some women and children. So carefully had Rauparaha concealed the approach of his war party that the first intimation which the inhabitants of the pa received of it was the sound of the firing as his force attacked the people in the cultivations, and the cries of the dying and wounded; and they had barely time to close the gates of the outworks and to man the line of defences before a number of the enemy appeared in front of it. The Ngatitoa at once sprung to the assault, hoping to carry the defences by a coup de main,
but were repulsed with some slaughter; and after renewing the attempt and finding them too strong to be thus overcome, they determined to commence a regular siege. For that purpose they intrenched themselves on the ground in front of the pa, at the same time occupying some sand-hills which commanded it on the eastern side, but from which it is separated by a branch of the great swamp before referred to. In the meantime, some of the Ngaitahu who had escaped from the first attack, favoured in so doing by their intimate knowledge of the line of swamps which occupies the intervals between the sand-dunes and the sea coast as far as Banks Peninsula, managed to reach Port Cooper, where they informed their people of the attack upon the pa, arriving there in time to stop Taiaroa and those who were about to accompany him to Otago. After collecting reinforcements from the villages on the peninsula, Taiaroa and his forces made their way along the coast line as far as the Waimakariri, availing themselves of the swamps above referred to, for the purpose of concealing their march from any detached parties of the Ngatitoa. On reaching the Waimakariri they crossed it on rafts (commonly called mokihi by the natives) made of dried stalks of the Phormium tenax, and concealed themselves until dark. Finding the hostile forces encamped along the front of the pa, and warned by their watch-fires that they were on the alert, they determined to ford the swamp at a narrow point on its western side, and to enter it through an outwork erected there, that being the only point along the line of the swamp which was at all weak. Using the utmost caution in their approach to this point they succeeded in reaching it without having attracted the notice of the besiegers, and at once plunged into the swamp, trusting to be able to struggle through it and to enter the pa without being attacked by the Ngatitoa. Knowing, however, that the defenders would also be on the alert, they shouted the name of Taiaroa as they plunged into the water, in the hope that their friends would recognise their voices and take the necessary steps to admit them; but the latter, believing it to be a ruse of the Ngatitoa, opened fire upon them, which was kept up vigorously for some time. The error having at last been discovered, and little damage having fortunately been done, the main body of the warriors were admitted into the pa, to the great joy of the handful of people by whom, up to that time, the defence had been maintained. The siege operations were, however, in but a slight degree affected by this accession of strength to the besieged, for although they made frequent sorties against the works of the Ngatitoa these experienced warriors held them without difficulty, and repulsed them all with loss to the assailants. The Ngaitahu, dispirited by their failures, soon abandoned these tactics, and, trusting in the impregnable nature of the pa, confined themselves to purely defensive operations. I ought to mention that at the time the siege commenced the pa was well provisioned, besides which
the lagoon yielded large supplies of eels, so that the defenders ran little risk of being obliged to surrender on account of famine, whilst the besiegers, on the other hand, were compelled to depend on foraging parties for supplies, and frequently ran short of provisions. Indeed, the difficulty of feeding his men was the chief cause which led to the adoption of a plan of attack which, so far as I am aware, was then adopted for the first time in Maori warfare. A council of war having been held, it was determined to sap up to the two outworks, and as soon as the head of the sap had been carried up to them, to pile up in front of them immense quantities of dried brushwood, which were to be set on fire when the wind blew in the direction of the pa, and to rush it so soon as the palisading had been burned down. This plan was carried out, and the two lines of sap exist to this day, and are as well carried out as if done by the most experienced European engineers. At first Rauparaha suffered considerable loss, for the enemy, foreseeing that the pa must be taken if this plan of operation was successfully carried out, made the most strenuous efforts to prevent it, but having been defeated in every encounter, and Rauparaha having taken precautions to prevent future loss, they allowed the saps to be pushed close up to the outworks. So soon as the besiegers, however, had piled the brushwood in position it was fired by the people of the pa, the wind at the time blowing from the north-west; but a sudden change occurring, both the outworks, as well as the general line of defences, were soon enveloped in a mass of flame and smoke, from which the defenders were compelled to retreat. When the palisading had thus been destroyed, the Ngatitoa rushed through the burning ruins, and a general massacre ensued. Many endeavoured to escape by swimming across the lagoon, and some few succeeded in doing so, whilst others were interrupted by bodies of Ngatitoa detached for that purpose. The slaughter was tremendous, whilst numbers of prisoners also fell into the hands of the victors. Some conception may be formed of the numbers slain and eaten, when I mention that some time after the settlement of Canterbury the Rev. Mr. Raven, Incumbent of Woodend near the site of the pa in question, collected many cartloads of their bones, and buried them in a mound on the side of the main road from the present town of Kaiapoi to the north. Ghastly relics of these feasts still strew the same ground, from which I myself have gathered many.
Having thus captured the main stronghold of the Ngaitahu, Rauparaha sent detached parties of his warriors to scour the plains as far south as the Rakaia, as well as to ravage the villages on the peninsula, by whom hundreds of the unfortunate people were slaughtered; after which he made his way back to the shores of Cook Strait, and from thence to Kapiti, laden with spoil, and accompanied by large numbers of captives, some of whom were kept in slavery, whilst others were used in the ordinary manner in the festivities by which his triumph was celebrated.
Rauparaha having thus completed his design of conquering the Middle Island, next turned his attention, at the earnest request of the Ngatiraukawa, to avenging a defeat which the latter had sustained some time previously at the hands of the tribes occupying the line of the Wanganui River. In this defeat only a few of the chiefs had escaped the general slaughter, amongst whom were Te Puke and his younger brother Te Ao, both of whom succeeded in making their way to Kapiti. In consequence of this resolution, a war party numbering nearly a thousand fighting men, under the most distinguished chiefs of the three tribes then united under the general leadership of Rauparaha, was despatched to lay siege to Putikiwaranui, a great pa of the Wanganuis, which was occupied and defended by nearly double the number of the attacking force. The siege lasted upwards of two months, during which many sorties were made, but the besiegers maintained their ground, and ultimately carried the enemy's works by assault, slaughtering an immense number of them. Turoa and Hori Te Anaua (lately known as Hori Kingi) the head chiefs, however, escaped, but the fact that no attempt was even made to avenge this serious disaster, is of itself the strongest evidence of the power of Te Rauparaha and his allies, and of the absurdity of supposing that his occupation of the country he had conquered could for a moment have been disturbed by the remnant of the Ngatiapa, Rangitane, and Muaupoko tribes which had still escaped the general destruction of their people. Soon after the year 1835, the great body of the Ngatiawa, under the chiefs E Puni, Warepouri, Wi Tako, and others, and accompanied by numbers of the Taranaki and Ngatiruanui tribes, came down the coast, many of them settling around and to the southward of Waikanae, whilst others took possession of Port Nicholson and the Hutt country, from which they drove the section of the Ngatikahungunu, which up to this time had occupied those districts. This migration took place after the destruction of the great Ngatiawa pa of Pukerangiora, inland of the Waitara.
It appears that many years before this event the Waikato tribes, under Te Wherowhero and Taiporutu (father of Waharoa and grandfather of William Thompson Tarapipi, so celebrated in connection with our own Waikato wars) had suffered severely at the hands of the Ngatitama under the leadership of Kaeaea, by whom Taiporutu was crucified in the gateway of a pa defended by this ruthless warrior. It was indeed from this circumstance that Waharoa took his name, which signifies the large gateway of a pa. This defeat, as well as that which they had suffered at the hands of Te Rauparaha and his allies, during the migration of the Ngatitoa from Kawhia, naturally rankled in their minds, and in one of the intervals of the wars of Te Waharoa against the Ngatimaru, he and Te Wherowhero concerted a campaign against the Ngatiawa. There is
little doubt, however, that but for the great superiority in the weapons of the Waikato force, they would have thought twice before attacking their old foes, who had always been notorious for their bravery, and who in their frequent migrations had proved themselves more than a match for even the most warlike tribes to which they became opposed. But the possession of a large supply of fire-arms gave to the Waikato chieftains an almost irresistible offensive power, and they did not hesitate, therefore, in attacking the Ngatiawa, even in the midst of their own country and in their principal stronghold. The pa was defended by a large number of warriors, and withstood for many months the most vigorous assaults, only falling at last after the unfortunate inhabitants had suffered much from famine. When taken, hundreds of prisoners fell into the hands of the victors, and it is related of Te Wherowhero that upwards of 250 of them were slain with his own hands, in order that they might be prepared for the ovens. It is said that, as he sat on the ground after the assault, the unfortunate wretches were one by one placed alongside of him, their heads within his reach, and that he despatched them succesively by a single blow on the skull with a celebrated mere pounamu, now in the possession of his son, the present Maori King. After killing this great number he threw the mere down, exclaiming, “I am tired, let the rest live,” and accordingly their lives were spared, but they were kept in slavery until some time after the establishment of the European settlement of New Plymouth.
The heavy blow thus inflicted upon the tribe, and the fear of complete annihilation, determined those who still remained to join Rauparaha and the Ngatiraukawa, whose forces, thus increased, would be more than a match for any war party which the Waikatos could bring against them, even if the chiefs of the latter tribes felt disposed to carry hostilities into Rauparaha's country. It appears that, shortly after the arrival of the Ngatiawa on the coast, they formed the design of taking possession of a large part of the country occupied by the Ngatiraukawa, and particularly that in the neighbourhood and to the north of Otaki. It would seem, moreover, that there was dissension amongst the Ngatitoas themselves, a portion of them taking part with the Ngatiawa, out of jealousy at some apparent favouritism extended by Rauparaha to the great Ngatiawa chieftains, and more particularly to Whatanui, whose relationship to Rauparaha, together with his high character as a chief and warrior, gave him great influence with the latter. The immediate cause of the fighting to which I am about to refer, however, was a robbery committed by a party of Ngatiruanui, who were caught by the Ngatiraukawa in the very act of plundering their potato pits near Waikawa. A conflict at once took place, in which a leading chief of the Ngatiruanui, named Tawhake, was killed, and this led to hostilities being carried on between the two tribes at various
points on the line of their settlements between Manawatu and Waikanae. This state of affairs continued for a considerable time, the forces engaged on each side being numerous and well armed, the result being that large numbers were killed on both sides. Soon after this civil war had commenced Te Rauparaha, who at once saw the disastrous results which must follow from it, sent messengers to Te Heuheu, urging that chief to bring down a force sufficiently strong to enable him to crush the Ngatiruanui, who were the most turbulent of the insurgents, after which he hoped to be able to bring about a peace between the remainder of the contending parties. He was much grieved, moreover, at the dissension in his own tribe, part of which, as I have before mentioned, had joined the Ngatiawa leaders, and had taken an active part in the numerous engagements which had already occurred. The loss on both sides had been severe, and Rauparaha knew full well that he required the whole strength at his command to maintain his position against the Wanganui and Ngatikahungunu tribes, who would have been but too ready to attack him if they saw any reasonable prospect of success. In this connection, I may observe that at this period the shores of Cook Strait were frequented by numbers of whale and other ships, and the tribes along the coasts found no difficulty in obtaining fire-arms and ammunition, which were the principal articles received in barter for flax, then largely used in Australia for the manufacture of wool-lashing. This facility of obtaining European weapons placed the tribes in question upon a footing of comparative equality in their contests, and Rauparaha could no longer reckon upon a continuance of the advantages which his own earlier possession of them had given him in his wars, and it was, therefore, of the utmost moment to him that nothing should take place which would tend to weaken his influence or his numbers. It was, therefore, with great satisfaction that he received intimation from Te Heuheu of his intention to bring a large force to his aid; and, in effect, within two or three months after the commencement of hostilities, that chief, accompanied by other chiefs of note from Maungatautari and Taupo, amongst whom were Tariki and Taonui, reached Otaki with nearly 800 well-armed fighting men. No sooner had they arrived than they proceeded to attack the Ngatiawa at Horowhenua, a pa close to the Otaki River. But even with this great accession to his forces, the contest raged for several months with varying success, the slaughter in some instances being very great. In one of the battles Papaka, a favourite brother of Te Heuheu, was killed, and in another Te Tipi, a son of Rauparaha.
At length a great battle was fought at Pakakutu, in which the Ngatiruanui were defeated with serious loss, their chief Takerangi being killed and their pa taken. This battle put an end to the war, for soon afterwards the whole of the leading chiefs on both sides met, and upon the
advice and urgent entreaty of Te Heuheu and Whatanui, a peace was made, which was not again broken until the fighting at Kirititonga, which (as will be mentioned in the sequel) took place on the day before the arrival of the “Tory.” Immediately after peace had been solemnly ratified the parties divided, the Ngatiraukawa proceeding to re-occupy their former settlements around Ohau and Horowhenua, and also the district between the Manawatu and Rangitikei Rivers, whilst the Ngatiawa retired below Waikanae, occupying the various points, including Port Nicholson, in which they were ultimately found by the agents of the New Zealand Company. Rauparaha, however, was so much grieved at what had taken place, and more particularly at the defection of that part of his own tribe which had joined the Ngatiawa during the recent struggle, that he determined to accompany Te Heuheu back to Maungatautari, and settle there for the remainder of his days. In pursuance of this resolve, he collected his more immediate followers and proceeded as far as Ohau, where, however, he was overtaken by messengers from Otaki and Kapiti, urging him to abandon his resolution and to remain with his people. In this request they were joined by Te Heuheu, and after much discussion and persuasion he consented to their request, returning to Kapiti, after taking leave of his great ally.
This was the last great struggle in which Rauparaha was engaged, but it seems that during the intervals of rest between his various more important undertakings, he was ever mindful of the treacherous attempt of the Muaupoko to murder him, and of the actual slaughter of his children, and had unceasingly persecuted the remnant of this tribe, until at last they, as well as the Ngatiapa and Rangitane, sought the protection of Te Whatanui. In the words of Te Kepa Rangihiwinui (better known as Major Kemp), son of Tunguru, one of the chiefs of the Muaupoko, who had been concerned in the murder, “Whatanui took them under his protection, and promised that nothing should reach them but the rain from heaven;” meaning that he would stand between them and the long-nursed and ever-burning wrath of Te Rauparaha. The latter unwillingly yielded to the wishes of his great kinsman, and from that time ceased directly to molest these unfortunate people, who were suffered again to occupy part of their original territory in the neighbourhood of Lake Horowhenua; not as a tribe, however, but simply in the character of tributaries, if not actual slaves, to Whatanui. In the words of Matene Te Whiwhi, “Rauparaha was anxious to exterminate Muaupoko, but Whatanui interfered. Some had been taken prisoners, but others were living dispersed in the mountains. When they came to Horowhenua, they came like wild dogs; if they had been seen they would have been caught and killed. There was one there, a woman of rank, whose possessions had covered all Otaki, and who had been a slave of mine. She was the wife of Te Kooku.
They had been taken but not killed.” But it is clear, nevertheless, that although Rauparaha refrained from directly molesting them, he was not unwilling to join in any indirect attempt to exterminate them, for we find that on one occasion Wi Tako, in conjunction with some of the Ngatitoa chiefs, having been instigated by Te Rauparaha to do so, invited the whole Muaupoko people to a great feast to be held at Ohariu—upon some one of the numerous pretexts which the Maoris knew so well how to use for engaging in festivities, it having been arranged beforehand that these guests should all be murdered and eaten. The bait took, notwithstanding the advice of Whatanui, who, distrusting the reasons assigned for the festival, cautioned the Muaupoko not to attend, predicting some disaster to them. Notwithstanding this caution, upwards of 150 attended the festival, all of whom were slaughtered, and their bodies duly consigned to the ovens; but this was the last great act of slaughter of the kind which took place.
Shortly after the close of the civil war to which I have lately alluded, a section of the Ngatiawa tribe, known as the Ngatimutunga, which had taken up their quarters in Port Nicholson, chartered the English brig “Rodney” to carry them down to the Chatham Islands, which had been reported to them by a member of their hapu, who had visited the islands in a whaling ship, as being thickly peopled with an unwarlike and plump-looking race, who would fall an easy prey to such experienced warriors as his own people. This occurred about the year 1836, and within less than two years after the expedition reached the islands the aboriginal inhabitants were reduced from 1,500 to less than 200 people, the greater number having been devoured by their conquerors. In one of the cases in the Wellington Museum may be seen a bone spear, which formerly belonged to Mokungatata, one of the leading chiefs of the Ngatimutunga, who was known to have lived for a considerable time almost exclusively on the flesh of young children, as many as six of them being sometimes cooked in order to feast himself and his friends.
Harking back to the division of Te Rauparaha's forces, just before he left D'Urville Island for the purpose of attacking the Kaikoura Pa, that portion which remained under the leadership of Niho, Takerei, Te Koihua and Te Puoho, proceeded to attack the settlements of the Rangitane and Ngatiapa in Blind and Massacre Bays, which they entirely destroyed. Te Koihua settled near Pakawau, in Massacre Bay, where I frequently saw the old man, prior to his death, which happened but a few years ago. Strange to say, his love for green-stone was so great that even after he and his wife had both reached a very advanced age they travelled down the West Coast in 1858, then a very arduous task, and brought back a large rough slab of that substance, which they proceeded diligently to reduce to the form of a mere. Niho and Takerei, leaving Te Koihua in Massacre Bay at the time of their original incursion,
proceeded down the coast as far as the Hokitika River, killing and taking prisoners nearly all the existing inhabitants. Amongst the prisoners was Tuhuru, who was afterwards ransomed by the Ngaitahu for a celebrated mere called Kai Kanohi, now in the possession of the descendants of Matenga Te Aupori. Niho and Takerei settled at the mouth of the Grey, whilst detached parties occupied various points along the coast, both to the north and south of that river. I do not think it necessary to refer in any detail to the events which took place between the Horowhenua war and the arrival of the “Tory” with Colonel Wakefield in 1839. On the 16th November in that year the ship reached Kapiti, and Colonel Wakefield was informed that a sanguinary battle had just been fought near Waikanae on that morning between large forces of the Ngatiawa on the one side, and of Ngatiraukawa on the other. This fight is commonly known as the kirititonga, and was caused by the renewal, at the funeral obsequies of Rauparaha's sister Waitohi, of the land feuds between the two tribes. The forces engaged were large, and the killed on both sides numbered nearly eighty, whilst considerable numbers were wounded. Rauparaha himself took no part in the battle, reaching the scene of action after the repulse of the Ngatiraukawa, and narrowly escaping death by swimming off to his canoe, his retreat being covered by a vigorous rally on the part of his allies. This was the last contest which occurred between the natives along the coast in question, the arrival of the European settlers having entirely changed the aspect of affairs.
I need not here detail the arrangements made by Colonel Wakefield for the purchase of the country in the neighbourhood of Wellington, and along the coast to the northward, but it is worth while to extract from Mr. E. J. Wake-field's “Adventures in New Zealand” the account he gives of the colonel's first meeting with Rauparaha, of the appearance of the latter, and of the impression which he made upon his European visitors. “We had just made up a boat's crew,” he says, “from the cabin party, to go over and see the field of battle, the surgeons taking their instruments with them, when a message arrived from Rauparaha. He was on Evans Island, the nearest to the ship of the three islets, and expressed a desire to see Colonel Wakefield. We therefore pulled round and went to see him. He had just returned from the scene of bloodshed, whither he asserted that he had gone to restore peace; and seeing the arrival of our ship, which was taken for a man-of-war by many even of the Europeans, he had betaken himself, with all his goods, to the residence of an English whaler, named Thomas Evans, on whom he relied for protection from some imaginary danger. We had heard, while in Cloudy Bay, that Rauparaha had expressed himself in somewhat violent terms towards us for purchasing Port Nicholson without his sanction; and he was described by the whalers as giving way to great alarm when told what the ship was, and as having
inquired anxiously what natives we had on board. As we leaped from our boat he advanced to meet us, and, with looks of evident fear and mistrust, eagerly sought our hands to exchange the missionary greeting. During the whole of the ensuing conversation he seemed uneasy and insecure in his own opinion, and the whalers present described this behaviour as totally at variance with his usual boastfulness and arrogance. He made us a pious speech about the battle, saying that he had had no part in it, and that he was determined to give no encouragement to fighting. He agreed to come on board the next day, and departed to one of the neighbouring islands. He is rather under the average height, and very dignified and stately in his manner, although on this occasion it was much affected by the wandering and watchful glances which he frequently threw around him, as though distrustful of everyone. Although at least sixty years old he might have passed for a much younger man, being hale and stout, and his hair but slightly grizzled. His features are aquiline and striking, but an overhanging upper lip, and a retreating forehead on which his eyebrows wrinkled back when he lifted his deep sunken eyelids and penetrating eyes, produced a fatal effect on the good prestige arising from his first appearance. The great chieftain, the man able to lead others, and habituated to wield authority, was clear at first sight; but the savage ferocity of the tiger, who would not scruple to use any means for the attainment of that power, the destructive ambition of a selfish despot, was plainly discernible on a nearer view. Innumerable accounts have been related to me of Rauparaha's unbounded treachery. No sacrifice of honour or feeling seems to have been too great for him, if conducive to his own aggrandizement or security. He has been known to throw one of his own men overboard in order to lighten his canoe when pursued by the enemy, and he had slaughtered one of his own slaves at the late feast at Mana to appear opulent in the eyes of his assembled guests. This was one of the poor, submissive, hard-working tributaries whom we had seen at the Pelorus. In his intercourse with the white whalers and traders and the shipping in the strait, he had universally distinguished himself by the same qualities. By dint of cringing and fawning upon those who showed power and inclination to resist his constant extortions, and the most determined insolence and bullying towards those whom he knew to be at his mercy, he succeeded in obtaining a large revenue from the white population, whether transient or permanent, which he invariably applied to the extension of his power among the natives. He was always accompanied in these marauding excursions, which he frequently extended over to Cloudy Bay and Queen Charlotte Sound, by Rangihaeata, who had become his inseparable companion since his rise in authority. Their respective stations were pithily described by one of the whalers, who told us that ‘the Robuller’ as he mispronounced his name,
‘cast the bullets, and the Rangihaeata shot them.’ Rauparaha was the mind, and his mate the body, on these black-mail gathering rounds. They had both acquired a violent taste for grog, and this, with fire-arms and powder, were the principal articles demanded.”
Such is the account given by a writer, by no means favourable to Rauparaha, of the impressions he had formed of the chief upon their first interview, and although in some respects the picture he draws is not a favourable one, we may clearly see that its worst features are owing to the intercourse of Rauparaha with the class of European traders who then frequented the coast. Master as he was of all the treacherous arts practised by the Maori warrior, and ruthlessly as his designs were carried out, and fearful as the results may have been, it must be remembered that he was doing no more than his great countrymen, E Hongi, Waharoa, Te Wherowhero, and other leading chiefs who, during the same period, carried on wars in various parts of the islands. Those who knew Te Wherowhero Potatau will recall the peculiar dignity of his manner, and certainly no one would have supposed that the tall, graceful-looking man in the full dress of an English gentleman, who conversed with quiet ease with those whom he met in the drawing-rooms of Government House, at Auckland, was the same person as the savage who sat naked on the ground at Pukerangiora smashing the skulls of hundreds of defenceless prisoners, until he was almost smothered with blood and brains. Nor can I believe that Rauparaha was ever guilty of the treacherous conduct towards his own people with which he is charged by Mr. Wakefield. Their love and respect for him were very great, and the influence he acquired with such men as Te Heuheu and Whatanui indicates that he possessed the highest qualities as a chief. I had not intended to carry my story beyond the arrival of the “Tory,” but I think it as well to give Rauparaha's own view of the disastrous affair at the Wairau in 1843, and of its results as related to me by his son.
“I will now,” he says, “leave my account of the battles of Te Rauparaha at this end of the island, and speak of the folly of the Europeans and Maoris at Wairau, where Wakefield met his death. The fight, and death of Wakefield and the other European gentlemen in 1843, were caused by the deceit of Captain Piringatapu (anglice Blenkinsopp). He deceived Rauparaha in giving him a big gun for the purchase of Wairau. He wrote some documents in English, which said that he had bought that land. Rauparaha did not know what was in those documents, and signed his name in ignorance. Captain Piringatapu told Rauparaha that when he saw the captain of a man-of-war he was to show him the documents that he might know that they were chiefs. Rauparaha thought that it was all correct. When Rauparaha
returned from Cloudy Bay, near Wairau, he gave the documents to Hawea* to read; when he had read them he told Rauparaha that all his land at Wairau had passed away to Captain Piringatapu, and that he had received a big gun for it. Rauparaha was angry, and tore up the documents and threw them in the fire, also the documents held by the chiefs of Ngatitoa at Kapiti, and Ngatitoa of the other island. When Wakefield arrived, and the settlements of Nelson and Wellington were formed, he (Wakefield) went to Wairau for the purpose of surveying. Rauparaha did not consent as he had not been paid for it, since he had been deceived by Captain Piringatapu. Rauparaha's thought was that the land ought not to be taken by Wakefield, but that they should consider the matter before the land was handed over. Trouble and wrong was caused by the hurried attack of Wakefield and party upon Rauparaha. Rauparaha has told me a good deal about this matter. It was not his desire that the Europeans should be killed; his love to Wakefield and party was great. Rangihaeata, Rauparaha's nephew, was misled by his own foolish thought and want of attention to what Rauparaha had said. When Wakefield and party were dead, Rauparaha rose and said, ‘Hearken Te Rangihaeata, I will now leave you as you have set aside my tikanga, let those of the Europeans that have been killed suffice; let the others live, do not kill them.’ Rangihaeata replied, ‘What about your daughter that has been killed.’ Rauparaha replied, ‘Why should not that daughter die?’ Rauparaha also said, ‘Now I will embrace christianity, and turn to God, who has preserved me from the hands of the Europeans.’ This was the time when he embraced christianity. I was absent when the fight took place at Wairau, having gone to preach to Ngaitahu. I went as far as Rakaia. I was there one year, and was the first person that went there to preach. It was on this account that my father did not go there to fight. When Rangihaeata again occasioned trouble to the Europeans at the Hutt, Rauparaha was sad at the folly of Rangihaeata in withholding the land that had been purchased from him and Te Rangihaeata by the Europeans for £200. Rauparaha endeavoured to persuade Rangihaeata to cease causing trouble about that land, but he would not hearken.
“Rauparaha was afterwards taken prisoner by Governor Grey at Porirua without sufficient pretext. The following is the reason why he was taken:—A letter was written by some one, and to which the name of Te Rauparaha was signed; it was then sent to the chiefs of Patutokotoku at Wanganui. It is said that Mamaku and Rangihaeata wrote the letter and signed the name of Rauparaha to give it force. I was at school at this time with Bishop Selwyn at Auckland, together with my wife Ruth, and did not see the
[Footnote] * Hawea, or Hawes, was a European trader residing at Kapiti at the time of the transaction.
capture of my father. When I returned and arrived in Wellington, I went on board the ‘Calliope,’ the man-of-war in which my father was a prisoner, to see him. When I saw him we cried together, and when we finished he said to me, ‘Son, go to your tribes and tell them to remain in peace. Do not pay for my arrest with evil, only with that which is good. You must love the Europeans. There was no just cause for my having been arrested by Governor Grey. I have not murdered any Europeans, but I was arrested through the lies of the people. If I had been taken prisoner in battle it would have been well, but I was unjustly taken.’ I returned on shore with Matene and went to Porirua, and there saw Ngatitoa and Rawhiri Puaha. We told them the words of Rauparaha respecting good and our living at peace. We then went on to Otaki and repeated the same words. At this time we (two) caused the town of Hadfield to be built at Otaki. From this time Ngatiraukawa and Ngatitoa commenced to do right. At this time a party of Ngatiraukawa came to Ngatiwakatere at Manawatu—this was the tribe that befriended Rangihaeata;—200 of the tribe came on to Otaki, and when they arrived we assembled. Rangihaeata invited these people that they might know the thoughts of Matene and myself respecting Rauparaha, who was held as a captive on board the vessel. He wished to destroy Wellington and kill the Europeans as a satisfaction. I told them the words of Rauparaha when we (two) went to see them (i.e., the chiefs) and the young men. I told them they must put an end to this foolish desire, and not hearken to the tikanga of Rangihaeata, but that they must live in peace and cease that bad desire. They consented. The Ngatiraukawa consented to build that town, that they might obtain a name. When Rauparaha was liberated in the year 1846, he urged Ngatiraukawa to build a large church in Hadfield Town, at Otaki. Had he not returned, the church would not have been built. He had a great desire to worship the great God. He was continually worshipping until he died at Otaki on the 27th November, 1849.”
Such is the history of the life and times of a very remarkable man, and of habits and customs which have already become so much things of the past that in the course of another generation there will be scarcely an aboriginal native left who will have the slightest knowledge of them. Indeed, the memory of the events I have related is already becoming indistinct, even to those of the principal actors in these events who are still living.