Art. III.—The Ancient Tribe Te Panenehu.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, 12th October, 1895.]
The following account of an ancient tribe called Te Panenehu, the descendants of a chief named Ngatorohaka, who came in the Nukutere canoe from Hawaiki, was given to me by an old man of the Whakatohea and Ngapotiki Tribes at the hearing of the Whitikau Block, Opotiki, 1880:—
Nukutere was the canoe which sailed from Hawaiki about the same time as Matatua canoe, of which Toroa was captain. She landed at Waiaua, near Opotiki. The people who came in Nukutere were called Te Wakanui, and Ngatorohaka was their chief. These people multiplied and spread all over the Opotiki Valley and adjacent country, Te Kareke Tribe occupying Ohiwa, the Ngatai and Te Whananapanui settling between Torere and Te Kaha; but the three latter were a distinct people, their forbears having come in Matatua.
Seven generations had passed, and Tutamure was the dominant chief. He had given his sister Taneroa in marriage
with one of Kahungunu's people, who lived in Kakaparaoa Pa, on the Waikohu-Matawai Block, near Turanga. They had nothing but fern-root to eat, and Taneroa constantly repined for the abundant food at her brother's place at Opotiki; so her husband, Rongomainotai, one day said, “Well, if food is so plentiful there, let us go to Tutamure.” Accordingly they went, but on arrival were only given some cold kumara to eat. Rongomainotai exclaimed, “If this is all we can get here, better to have lived on the fern-root at Kakaparaoa.” He was very angry, and returned to his own place, stealing on the way some seed-kumara belonging to Tutamure. By-and-by, when Taneroa heard that he had an abundance of food, she followed him; but he, without speaking one word to her, went off to Turanga. Thither she followed, so he moved on to Nukutaurua. She overtook him there, and he fled towards Wairoa, telling his people to kill Taneroa if she persisted in following after him, and they did so.
When Tutamure heard of his sister's death he assembled a war party and killed a number of Kahungunu's people, even-tually attacking that chief in his pa, called Maungaakahia, at Nukutaurua. As the ope (war party) drew near, Kahungunu asked who was the leader, and Tutamure answered, “Tama i hongia te Whakarua ka rangaranga te muri, ka tere tamure” (When the north-east wind blows, and the sea-breeze drives the waves into ridges, then is the tamure (snapper) seen). The opposing parties fought, and Tutamure's wooden spear (huata) and taiaha were both broken, so he armed himself with a patu paraoa (a whale-bone weapon), exclaiming, “Taua i te huata, taua i te ake, tangohia i te ika nui a tu kanapa napa ana te paraoa ki runga o Maungaakahia, ka ora taua nei ka nenehu” (Having fought in vain with spear and taiaha, then seizing weapons made from the whale, the great fish of the war god, the whale-bone flashes over Maungaakahia, I triumph over my foes, who disappear). This boast or speech of Tutamure's passed into a proverb, and his descendants henceforward were known as Te Panenehu. After the fight Kahungunu sued for peace, and, Tutamure consenting, Kahungunu offered him his sister, Tauhei, to wife. Now, Tutamure, though an exceedingly brave man, was an ill-favoured and insignificant-looking person; and when he went to a spring close by to adorn himself and saw his reflection in the clear water his heart failed him lest Tauhei should not return his affection; so he said to his young brother Taipunoa, who was handsome, “Take you Kahungunu's sister Tauhei for your wife, so that peace may be established between us and them.” Taipunoa did so, and Tauhei bore him a son, whose name was Mahaki, who begat Ihu and Whakara, from whom are descended all the Hitangua, Mahaki, and Ngapotiki Tribes. The
spring where Tutamure looked on his plain features is called to this day “Te Waiwhakaata a Tutamure” (Tutamure's looking-glass).
Some time after this Ngaitai quarrelled with the Panenehu, defeating them at Waikurapa. The quarrel was about pigeon-preserves in Whitikau and Whakapaupakihi Blocks. Ngaitai again attacked them at Otaitahu and Waireporepo. Then the Panenehu gained a victory at Ruruarama. Ngaitai retaliated by murdering two chiefs named Tukuaterangi and Rongomaiaia. Again they defeated the Panenehu with great slaughter at Waikoni, driving the remnant to Turanga. Eventually they returned, defeating the Ngaitai at Aururangi and at Paripapoa. Ngaitai were obliged to flee to Hauraki, taking with them the body of a Panenehu man called Tarahamama to eat by the way. They were subsequently expelled from the Thames district for having bewitched the son of Tuterangianini. They were kindly received by the Panenehu, who had by this time adopted the name of Te Whakatohea. Having murdered a Whakatohea woman named Tohikirangi, they fled to Turanga, but had to leave on account of trouble with the wife of Toroa Apukai. The Whakatohea again gave them shelter, and gave them two women of rank in marriage—Hinepare and Waimarama. After this, and when Taraia was a young man, Tuterangianini, the great chief of Ngatimaru, came to seek payment for the death of his son. He fell upon the Whakatohea at Waiaua, killing many hundreds. The fight took place on the beach, and, as the incoming tide rolled the numerous slain about on the sands, the battle was called “Te Paengatoitoi” (the shoal of toitoi-fish cast ashore). The remnant of the Whakatohea escaped to Turanga, but, a number having been killed by Ngatikahungunu at Kakaparaoa and Waikohu, they returned to Opotiki to find that Ngaitai had occupied all their country.
So they were made to suffer for the sin of Ngaitai in bewitching the son of Tuterangianini; and then these people tried to take their lands. However, they gave battle to Ngaitai, killing many at Awahou, and at Ahitarakihi, where the Town of Opotiki now stands, and so regained possession of their ancestral lands.
The Panenehu used to deposit their dead in a very large pukatea tree called “Te Ahoroa,” which stood on the left bank of the Otara River. There was a hole in the top, 50ft. or 60ft. from the ground, and the dead were hoisted up and, thrown in.*
[Footnote] * In 1881 some settlers living up the Opotiki Valley reported having discovered a great quantity of human bones. I immediately visited the spot, and found it was the place described by Maiki Whenua as Te Ahoroa (“the long line”). An enormous pukatea tree, some 22f. in girth, had fallen against the hill-side, and, splitting open, disclosed cartloads of skeletons. I counted 397 perfect skulls, but an equal number, probably, had crumbled away, or been broken up by the trampling of cattle.
I will give my genealogy from Ngatorohaka:—
[Footnote] * In 1864 about eight hundred rebel natives from the East Cape, Tekaha, and Opotiki came up the coast with the object of forcing their way through the Arawa country to assist the King natives in Waikato. The loyal Arawa defeated them at Lake Rotoiti, and drove them back to the coast. They then attacked Maketu, but were again defeated and driven back towards Opotiki. The Arawa overtook them at Tekaokaoroa, near Matata, and killed between sixty and seventy, pursuing them to Te-Awa-a-te-Atua, and capturing their canoes. One of their principal chiefs, Te Aporotanga, was desperately wounded and taken prisoner. On the Arawa side, Tohi te Ururangi Winiata Pekamu, a man of high rank and a great warrior, was mortally wounded while directing the attack. About a dozen others were wounded, including Apiata, a Ngatiwhakane chief, who had his eye carried away by a musket-ball. About midnight it was seen that Tohi te Ururangi's end was approaching. Large fires were lighted near, and the chiefs, gathering round, wept over their dying leader, and addressed him with farewell speeches, making complimentary reference to his great deeds in many a past battle. His faithful old wife sat supporting his head, overwhelmed with grief. The other wounded men lay near in pain and anguish. It was a solemn and touching scene; yet it had its comic aspect when, as the old warrior's spirit was about to depart, his wife (Mata), overcoming for the moment her grief, rose up and, addressing the chiefs, said, “You have bidden farewell to my lord according to our usual custom and in the language of our ancestors; but it would be more appropriate for me, who have been educated in a missionary family, to speak in English.” Then, turning to her dying husband and affectionately clasping his body, she exclaimed, “Kuru pai mi poi. Hau a iu? Were were, taikiu ha.” (Good-bye, my boy. How are you? Very well, thank you, sir.) These few words comprised her whole stock of English, and were uttered with feelings of apparent pride. In a few minutes all was over, then Mata was heard whispering to Apiata and asking how to load a gun. Those standing by did not interfere, as they thought she was about to shoot herself and accompany her lord to the spirit-land, as the widows were wont to do. Indeed, it would have been a groos breach of etiquette to have interfered. However, she had no such intention, for, having loaded the musket, she shot Te Aporotanga dead, saying he was to wait upon her husband in the next world. A reference to the genealogical table shows that Te Aporotanga was twentieth in descent from Ngatorohaka. Old Tohi te Ururangi carried from a string round his neck Tutanekai's bone flute, “Te Murirangaranga,” which is now in the Museum. A few minutes after his death, Pokai te Waiatua came to the body and tried to take away the flute unperceived, but old Mata managed to detach it from the string and thrust it into the dead man's throat for concealment, whence it was removed next day on arrival at Maketu and given to Ngahuruhuru Pango (Tutanekai's lineal descendant), who gave it to me on the occasion of the defeat, of Te Kooti at Ohinemutu on the 7th February, 1870. Touching this same flute, I may state that it was made from the armbone of a tohunga named Te Murirangaranga, who lived in the time of Whakane.
[Footnote] Shortly after Tutanekai's birth Whakane called upon this tohunga to perform the baptismal rights over his son—te tohi o Tu, or dedication to the war god. Having performed this sacred office, the priest became strictly tapu during the lunar month, according to Maori custom, during which time he could not touch food with his hands or feed himself. However, before his purification (horohoronga) had been accomplished he was seen one day at Paparata, on the edge of the forest behind Ohinemutu, gathering and eating poroporo berries. This was equivalent to cursing Tutanekai, and a deadly insult to Whakane, so he had the unfortunate tohunga put to death by drowning (it being unlucky to shed the blood of a priest), and had the right armbone made into a flute for Tutanekai. When Tutanekai grew up he became famous for his skill in playing this instrument, and his descendants the Ngatitutanekai still pride themselves upon their ability to emulate their ancestor in this respect.
I will shortly furnish you with some notes on Maori musical instruments, and also give some particulars respecting two other bone flutes (koauau) now in the Auckland Museum.