Chapter Twenty — The History of Te Wera Hauraki
The History of Te Wera Hauraki
Gratitude shall be the keynote of this chapter, gratitude to one who, when the Ngati-Kahungunu people faced the greatest crisis in their history, rose as their protector and saved them from almost certain annihilation. With the dawn of civilisation in these islands the pakeha traders taught the natives to use muskets and powder and shot. Great Maori leaders throughout the country avidly bartered their flax, timber and, indeed, the more grisly dried human heads for these "civilized" weapons. The Ngati-Kahungunu people were slow, however, in obtaining and using the "firesticks," and had not the times produced the great Te Wera, there might have been no house of Takitimu to-day.
Te Wera first appeared on the East Coast as the enemy of the Ngati-Kahungunu, for about the year 1821 a party of the northern Ngapuhis led by him, raided the Mahia pa, Nukutaurua. Among the prisoners who were captured and taken to the Bay of Islands was a chief named Te Whare-umu.
Even previously the position of the Kahungunu people had been uncertain, for all over the Island leaders had arisen who were seeking supremacy for their tribes, a supremacy that could only be won by conquest. The great Rauparaha had arisen, Hongi Hika at Rotorua, Pomare in the North, while the Waikato, Ngati Raukawa (Otaki) and Tuwhare-toa (Taupo), all had able leaders. Sorties and threats from these enemies put the East Coast in continual turmoil and fear.
About 1824 a raid was made by the combined tribes of Nga-puhi, Hauraki, Waikato, Whakatohea (Opotiki) and Tuhoe (Urewera) against the Wairoa-Mahia section of the Ngati-Kahungunu tribes, resulting in the defeat of the latter at Titirangi, Nuhaka, Puke-karoro and other pas. The raiders who were brought together at the instigation of Te Mai-taranui, a warrior of the Tuhoe tribe, first assembled at Maunga-pohatu. On leav-page 164ing the Urewera centre, the raiders formed into two parties. The Tuhoe people under Te Mai-taranui came by way of the Ruakituri River, while the combined party of Ngapuhi, Hauraki, Whaka-tohea and Waikato, under the leadership of Pomare, came by way of Waikaremoana and along the Waiau Valley.
The raiders swept everything before them. As they neared Titi-rangi pa, a stronghold situated behind Frasertown, on a high hill above Pakowai, word came to the local people that the weapons of the raiders were pu. "Te rakau a Nga-puhi he pu." The word is usually used by the Maori to denote any instrument producing musical sounds. Thus we have pu-ta-tara and pu-torino. The defendants defied the raiders, saying "Haere mai ena puki ki enei pu." (Let those pu come and meet these pu.) As the army approached carrying their weapons at the trail, the locals remarked, "Ha! Ko te pito paku kei mua a, ko te pito rahi kei muri." (Hullo! the small end is in front and the large end behind.) But when the raiders used their muskets the local people found to their cost that they were not musical pu, but he pu tipua, or weapons of demons. They were unable to stand against the power of powder and shot. Many were killed in the first discharge. The remainder fled and of these many were also killed or taken prisoner. Amongst the killed was a chief named Te Whenua-riri, an ancestor of Mr. Turi Carroll. A song of lament was composed and sung by Te Whenua-riri's people. It is as follows:—
I tawhiti ano te rongo o te pu,
I kii ano koutou mawai ra e kawe mai.
Ki te kainga o Maahu-tapoanui,
Kia tu-matere ki te ake, ki te pae.
E koro ki nui, ki patu, ki tata e e,
I te rangi Maori.
Hemea ra kia kapi te waha,
Ka kitea rikiriki.
Ka peke mai tini o Irawaru,
Hei poke mo koutou.
Takoto mai ra e koro e,
Koutou ko whakahina.
I te hara kohuru nau era nohi,
E ware koutou ki a Te Toroa ma,
Tera te Porutu nana i kai atu.
page 165 Takoto mai ra e koro e,
I roto o tauiri,
I whea koia koe ka oho ai i to tapuwae,
Ata tu mai, ata tu hihiko mai.
He hihiko hei hiki mai i a koe,
Ki te rangi i runga ra,
Ko au wai ano to mata hei whakataha.
While distant was the fame of the gun,
All said, who dare to bring them here.
To the home of Maahu-tapoanui,
Tu, the swift indeed to strike within our bounds.
O Sir! of great, of warlike words and blows,
Heard in this ordinary world.
It was so said that mouth should be closed,
How indeed is seen inconsolable grief.
Spring forth the descendants of Irawaru,
To worry and tease you all.
Rest thee there O Sir!
Thee and thy grand-children.
Through the evils of murderous war,
Thine are the slain.
Have all forgotten Te Toroa's death,
Still lived Porutu who consumed them.
Prone thou liest O Sir!
In the vale of Tauiri.
Where wast thou that charmed not thy footsteps,
Stand forth, rise with vigorous strides.
Strides that will bear thee on,
To the heavens above us,
To those other waters turn thy face aside.
In the meantime the force of the Tuhoe tribes, under the leadership of Te Mai-taranui, which came by way of the Ruakituri valley, attacked the people of that place. Te Ua and Tu-akiaki were found in the Wai-reporepo pa, and were attacked, barely escaping with their lives. Te Ua received a deep wound in the back from a blow by the axe of Te Mai-taranui. As a result of this murderous attack, the latter paid the supreme penalty at the hand of Tu-akiaki at Kai-tarahae, above the Reinga Falls at a later date.
The two forces rejoined, proceeded on their war-path. On reaching Nuhaka, Te Ra-taau, a chief of that place, offered them page 166a greenstone axe named Te Rama-apakura as a peace offering (whakautu pahii). The weapon was accepted but peace was spurned. When the raiding party reached Puke-Karoro pa, at Te Awa-pata North, Te Ra-taau again attempted to make peace by presenting the raiders with two other weapons (meres) named Kahawai and Kauae-hurihia, but even this did not succeed. They were determined to capture the pa as well as the historic weapons, which Te Ra-taau must have given up with a severe wrench to his pride.
The siege of the pa went on until the people were overpowered. Many were slain when the pa fell. Those of the garrison who escaped fled in divers directions. Potiki, the leader of the Ngati-Maru, observing a small body of people hurrying along the beach, knew that they were endeavouring to escape with a person of rank, otherwise they would have scattered. He pursued them and captured one Kauhu, who was carrying on his back a child of high rank. Some state that this child was Te Kani-a-takirau, while others say it was Hirini Te Kani. The latter version is the correct one, because Kani was a grown-up person at that time.
Potiki was about to slay Kauhu with his patiti (iron hatchet) when the latter produced the prized greenstone mere named Te Heketua, and handed it to his captor, saying: "Friend, do not kill me with your common weapon. Here is a weapon for you to kill me with, that I may gently feel its blow." It was apparently a privilege to be slain with a blow from such a famous weapon. But Potiki rose to the occasion. He took the prized blade and gave Kauhu his hatchet in exchange saying, "Here is a weapon for you. Go; be active to save the child and yourself." That was how Te Heketua was obtained.
After the fall of Puke-karoro the raiders returned to their different homes by way of Rua-tahuna, but the Ngapuhi under Pomare, and the Ngati-maru under Potiki of Hauraki, proceeded to attack a section of Ngati-Rakai-paaka at their pa Moumou-kai, inland of Nuhaka. After stern efforts to take the pa, it was found to be an impossible task. Before departing, however, Pomare called out to the people in the pa: "Hear, you people up there in the pa, if there be a woman of high rank amongst you, who is pregnant, and should her child be born a male, let him be called as my namesake, Pomare, as a mark of honour for the efficiency of your pa."
It so happened that Hine-i-koia, a woman of high rank (wife of Te Matenga Tu-kareaho) was carrying a child. Shortly after page 167this the child was born and was a male. He was named Pomare, and became the father of Te Otene Pomare and others of Nuhaka.
Te Rama-apakura having fallen into the hands of the Nga-Puhi section of the raiding party, was carried away to the Bay of Islands. On reaching there, Te Whare-umu who had been previously captured saw and recognised the heirloom. Holding it in his hands he started weeping. When his captor, Te Wera, saw this, he asked why he was weeping. ("Heaha tau e tangi na, e mara?") Te Whare-umu replied that he was weeping because the weapon was now in strange hands, thereby conveying the thought that all his people at home must have been slaughtered, otherwise such an historic heirloom could not have been taken.
Te Whare-umu, who was conspicuous in warfare under his captor, was from that time no longer looked upon as a prisoner, but as head general. Te Wera then said to Te Whare-umu, "Since you have done me a faithful service, I am now going to return you and this heirloom to your home and people."
About 1826 Te Wera and his tribe proceeded to return Te Whare-umu and the heirloom to his home and people. On reaching Whangara he met Te Kani-a-takirau, who invited him in as his guest, and while he was there a permanent peace was made between them. After some days Te Kani-a-takirau said to his guest, "O! Te Wera, let you and I stay here, and then return by the coast by which you have just come." Te Wera answered saying: "Your request is good and will be carried out, but let me first complete my promise to return Te Whare-umu, then I will return and meet your wishes. Here follows what is recorded in Mr. T. Lambert's Old Wairoa, with some alterations.
"Te Wera's expedition then came on and reached Te Puke-nui at Mahia. He sent out messengers to summon the people of the land to appear before him, for there was not then a soul on the Coast. News had come of the taking of the Puke-tapu and the Aratipi pas at Heretaunga, by Ngati-Raukawa and Ngai-Tuwhare-toa, who were endeavouring to take the Heretaunga lands.
"The wild men, as they were then called (Ngati-Rakai-paaka and Ngati-Hikairo) came in only after much persuasion, for they were hidden in the bush inland of Nuhaka, and the other section had taken refuge at Wai-kawa (Portland Island). On their arrival, Te Whare-umu arose and said: 'Behold, O, Ngati-Rakai-paaka and Ngati-Hikairo; here am I. By my chief Te Wera, was I returned to you and the land. He shall be a father to youpage 168—a strong pa shall he be.' After ending his speech, he turned to Nga-Puhi and said: 'Behold, O, Te Wera, you have heard my words to my people. Now take you the people and the land. You will be a fence against this wind and that, and you and your tribe must permanently remain here.' Te Wera having consented to this request, took up the leadership of the people."
About 1830 Te Wera and some of the men he had assembled at Mahia sailed from there to Heretaunga, and landed at the mouth of the Tukituki River. Pareihe of that place proposed to Ngai-Te Whati-apiti that peace should be made with Te Whare-umu and Te Wera. Consequently Pareihe visited Nga-Puhi who, at this time, had removed to Tane-nui-rangi, a place seaward of Pakowhai. It was soon announced, "Here is Pareihe and his people. It is peace." Shortly after Pareihe and his people were in the presence of Te Wera and Te Whare-umu, bringing with them a calabash of preserved birds. Pareihe, after placing the calabash before Te Wera and Te Whare-umu as a friendly offering, sung this tau or beseeching song:
Kaore te po nei te kaikai nunui,
Ko Te Whare-umu rawa i konei maua.
Maku e iri atu ki tenei awe tukituki papa
Ki tenei awe pungahuru,
Maku anake koe ra a-a.
Alas; the power of darkness with strength consumes me,
I dreamt of Te Whare-umu and thought we were together.
My part is to rely on this destructive plume.
On this steadfast plume before me,
I take thee to me for my own.
Te Wera not hearing his name mentioned as a desired plume, asked that the song again be repeated by saying, "E mara; Whakahokia ano to tau." Pareihe, realising his ignorance and disrespect in passing over Te Wera for Te Whare-umu, repeated his song by substituting the name of Te Wera for that of Te Whare-umu. Directly after the song had been amended Te Wera was satisfied, and understanding the meaning thereof, the Nga-Puhi cheered in approbation.
For some days, Pareihe remained with Te Wera. It was then agreed that for the time being Pareihe and his people should move to Mahia, for the tohunga of Pareihe became aware of some signs of evil approaching Heretaunga. Te Ngoi said, "Let the axe which is now with Te Hau-waho be brought. He must give it up. My god declares that a war party is approaching page 169Heretaunga, and this land will be conquered." So Pareihe visited Te Hau-waho and said, "The axe that you have, give it to me." Te Hau-waho replied, "If I give it away to that one, where is one for me." Pareihe said, "Enough."
At the instance of Tiakitai, a well-known chief of Here-taunga, Te Wera and his musket-armed warriors accompanied the men of Heretaunga to Dannevirke, where they slaughtered the people of these pas: Pa-tu-kaihau, Te Matau, and the Whiti-o-tu, the latter being on the Waipaoa River.
After this Te Wera and his people returned to Mahia, and Pareihe proceeded to the Pakake pa in Ahuriri Harbour to try to induce Te Hau-waho's people to go and join Te Wera for safety. They refused to move, the chief himself saying, "Begone, and be a follower-tail to the other people, but I will not." Pareihe and his people then went on and rejoined Te Wera at his home on the Peninsula.
Very soon, there came the Wai-kato, Ngati-Raukawa, Tuwhare-toa and Ngati-Maniapoto men two thousand strong, and though great preparations had been made to defend the pa, which was situated on the site of the present Ahuriri Railway Station, it fell, and great slaughter resulted, no mercy being shown to the Coast dwellers. Many children at the breast were cast into the sea to die with their fathers and mothers, and the bodies were eventually thrown up along the present Napier sea front. The remnant fled to the Ruahine Range while the victors were feasting on their victory.
Ngati Kahungunu suffered that day and even the Wai-roa branch did not escape. Whakato and others were killed, while many people of high rank were taken prisoners. Among the latter were Te Hapuku and Te Koari, but Te Hapuku escaped and went to Mahia. Te Koari was released by Te Heuheu, when Te Koari sent twenty men with a mere to square matters.
Tareha Te Moana-nui, a celebrated chief, arrived from Te Wai-roa off the Pakake pa just as the pa fell, and thus escaped slaughter or the ignominy of slavery. Among those who were killed in the pa was the chief Te Hau-waho, of whom it was related that he would not hand over the sacred axe, nor follow Pareihe to join with Te Wera at Mahia. His body was hung up on a tree. Subsequently, when all those slaughtered were avenged, the people composed the following song of lament as well as of triumph:—
Taku whakaruru hau, taku nui ki te rangi,
Haere ra e pa, ka whakairia koe mo pa tu-kaihau
page 170 Mo te Matau, mo Te Whiti-o-tu.
Hoatu ai e koe, ko Keke-paraoa, ko Toko-a-kuku e e,
Ton hokinga mai, ko Omaku-kara, ko Te Roto-a-tara,
Ka marake te whenua e e i.
My shelter of winds, my greatness above,
Depart, O! Sir you have been crucified in payment for,
Pa Tu-Kaihau, Te Matau and Te Whiti-o-tu.
In return thou hast slaughtered them at Keke-paraoa and Toka-a-kuku,
On thy return from there, slaughtered Omaku-kara and Te Roto-a-tara,
Which swept the land clear.
After this most of the people of Heretaunga moved to Te Mahia Peninsula, which place became the refuge for the people of the Coast from Wai-rarapa to Mahia. After-events fully justified their faith in Te Wera, for great was the fear of Te Rauparaha, a fierce Ngati-toa warrior, and of other tribes.
About this time, Heretaunga was very much disturbed by the Ngati-Tuwhare-toa tribes of Taupo and Ngati-Raukawa of Maunga-tautari, near Cambridge. These tribes had conceived the idea of a permanent occupation of this part of Hawke's Bay, and no doubt they would have done so but for the aid rendered by Te Wera.
About 1832, Te Wera, with the assistance of his people, built a very strong fortified pa called O-kura-renga. The site of this pa was on the north-eastern side of the isthmus at Mahia. When completed, it was occupied by a very large number of people, including refugees from all parts of the Coast, extending as far as Wairarapa. Not very long afterwards, but certainly much sooner than was anticipated, the new pa had to stand a severe siege by a combined force of Ngati-Raukawa, Ngai-Tuwhare-toa, Wai-kato, Te Arawa and Tuhoe tribes. The three first tribes came by way of Heretaunga, and along the Coast. Finding that the people had left their homes and fled to Mahia for refuge, they continued their march and reached the pa O-kura-renga. The two last tribes came by way of Ruakituri, killing Tu-akiaki at his pa Raki-roa, just beyond Te Reinga, and then went on to Mahia, where they joined their allies.
The combined forces then laid siege to O-kura-renga, first killing all those found outside the pa. The enemy completely invested the pa on three sides with strong forces. The fourth side faced the sea over a steep cliff, a fact which saved the page 171besieged from a great disaster. Evidently they had had no time to lay in a store of provisions and were poorly-supplied with ammunition, while the raiders were well supplied with muskets and ammunition. But for a while, these proved ineffective, as those who constructed the pa selected a part where there was no commanding eminence to permit of gun-fire being effective. The attack on the pa continued for about three months. The people inside were very soon nearly starved out, being reduced to eating sea-weeds and, finally, clay. Here, we stand aside and introduce the facile pen of the late Hon. A. L. D. Fraser, M.L.C., who is well known as a Maori historian.
"It was in 1832 when the northern tribes, strengthened with the mystic gun of the European, intoxicated by a series of victories, thirsting for the blood of fresh victims, hurled themselves upon the pa of the Ngati-Kahungunu people. Kai-uku is the suggestive name of that pa, and it was situated on the south of the strip of beach dividing the peninsula from the mainland. Here were assembled the braves of the locality, unconquerable, true to the highest traditions of their race. Without were Te Heuheu and his toas, armed with modern weapons, trained to every strategic artifice of warfare. But these were as paper bullets or blank cartridges to the ironbound hearts of the besieged. Day followed night, week followed week, and month followed month and still there was no surrender from them. Natural food was exhausted, then starvation? No, there was still the heavens above, the earth below, and that earth was uku (a soaplike clay). So as manna was supplied to the Israelites in their distress, the blockaded braves knowing no white flag, fed upon what God provided."
From which circumstances the pa was afterwards re-named Kai-uku, or "clay-eating," a name which still appears on the County map, and is reserved and held by the Tairawhiti Maori Land Board as a monument to those braves. Matters had begun to look very serious for the starving people when one dark night the beleaguered received a welcome reinforcement, which reversed the positions of the contending parties and suddenly changed the fortunes of the day. One night, when further resistance seemed impossible, there arrived from the Bay of Islands a large war canoe full of men armed with flint-lock muskets and a good supply of ammunition. The beseiged, who became almost frantic with joy at the unexpected help drew their allies up the steep cliff, one by one with the aid of stout flax ropes. The defenders, gaunt-looking though they were, and sadly weakened by starvation page 172and disease, with the aid of their allies soon made a sortie and defeated the enemy. The tables were now turned, and what was at first but a defeat of the well-laid plans became a complete rout. The enemy were followed all along the beach to Te Wai-roa, many falling by the way. Thereafter no enemies troubled the Wai-roa district, until the time of the Hauhau craze, brought about by Te Ua Haumene of Taranaki and Te Kooti Rikirangi of Poverty Bay, in 1865-1870.
One of the stories which has been told of the assistance rendered to this pa, states that the aid was given by the Rongo-whakaata tribe, who came and fought the besiegers outside the pa. This story is rather weak, for the reason that the East Coast people were not in possession of fire-arms at the time.
One of the protective rights made by Te Wera and his musket-armed warriors against the common enemies of Ngati-Kahungunu, was fought at Keke-paraoa, near Puha-tikotiko, inland from Gisborne, past Te Karaka, about the year 1834. This came about through a certain section of the Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki tribe, called Nga-Potiki, who turned traitor and brought on the land their common enemy, the Te Whakatohea tribe, who invaded the land, and consolidated their position by building a strongly-fortified pa called Keke-paraoa. The invaded people, finding themselves unable to stand against the strong force of the invaders, departed to Toanga, near Waerenga-a-hika. It was then that they sent out an appeal to their distant relatives, drawing assistance from the fighting blood from Te Wai-roa to Tolaga Bay. Among the participants was none other than the famous Te Wera, who took an active part in organising the assault and overpowering the invaders. The first fight of the engagement took place near the Puha Railway line, but the main battle occurred at Puha-tikotiko. The rebel section was driven out and took up their defensive position at Keke-paraoa pa, which was located on the left side of the Whata-tutu Road. The pa was besieged until the defenders were reduced by starvation. The attackers then rushed the pa, succeeding in entering the fortification, and drove the defenders out. The attackers lined up, and only members of the leading local families were saved, the others being slaughtered by the warriors as they emerged.
Among the slaughtered was the chief named Te Awariki, whose head was cut off and fell to Te Apatu of Te Wai-roa, who held it until his death. Subsequently, through the influence of Christianity, the ancient Maori trophy was given up and was buried at Wai-hirere cemetery.page 173
The members of the Te Wai-roa contingent were all selected chiefs, Te Wera, Te Apatu, Ngarangi-mataeo, Puhirua, Tiaki-wai, Maihi Kai-moana, and others. It was on this account that a block of land adjoining this battlefield was afterwards named Rangatira. This was done as a mark of respect and appreciation of the services rendered by Te Wera's contingent, completely comprised of rangatira (chiefs). (Note: Reference to this battle was made and is mentioned in a lament and triumph song which has been related earlier in this history.)
The Ngati-Kahungunu had a grudge against the Whanau-a-Apanui tribe of Te Kaha, Bay of Plenty, for murdering Te Huki, who was waylaid at Te Arai Crossing, below the present bridge in Poverty Bay. Notwithstanding the severe punishment inflicted by Te O-Tane on these people at the battle of Whawha-po, as has been related in this book in the story of Te O-Tane, Te Wera also nursed the desire to avenge the death of his nephew, Te Marino, who had been killed by the same people in 1823. A large war-party was made ready, comprised of people from Wai-rarapa to Whangara, about 1,700 strong. These left in canoes. Toka-akuku was the battlefield, where large forces were engaged on both sides. Te Wera was the victor and the bodies of the slain were collected and piled upon the palisade of the pa. (None were eaten for christianity then had a strong hold over the people.) Two prisoners, named Te Wheuki and Hikataurewa, were ordered to be guardsmen of the heap of their own dead.
Note.—Reference has been made of this battle in a part of a song:—
E tipi taku mono kia Te Whe uki e kia Hikataurewa,
He Kai-tiaki koe no taku whata kao i Toko-a-kuku rawa, etc
My prestige will strive forth to Te Wheuki and Hikataurewa,
For you were the sentries of my platform of dried food at Toka-a-kuku.
Reference is also made in a triumph song earlier in this history. After this, Te Wera stood up amongst the 1,700 men resting in the war-canoes and said,
"O, my child, come forth from the stomachs and the teeth of the men who slew and ate you. Here am I, thy relative, seeking for thee, lamenting thee, and I turn from thee." Then, addressing his people, "Listen, O Nga-Puhi; Listen, O Ngati-Kahungunu; Enough; my sadness has ceased this day by your aid; O Ngati-Kahungunu behold, thy hand there. They lie in heaps in front of me. These are all chiefs, there are Kaka-patu-page 174riri, Te Kaka-paiwaho, Te Hau-torua and Tu Te-Rangi-noti. See, there are seventy of them in a heap—spread out and he (Marino) was but one. Now, in the morning we will be afloat. Desecrate not the bodies, you have done enough in causing their fall. O, people, listen to my words. I will return now as well as you, to Nukutaurua, you will never be abandoned by me, and I will die with you, O Ngati-Kahungunu."
At daylight the two tribes embarked for home, whilst those in the pa were still wailing for their dead. Along the sea coast came the war canoes until they reached Nukutaurua.
So the tribes of Ngati-Kahungunu dwelt at Nukutaurua, Te Wera being the fence, holding authority to guard them and conducting all transactions relating to warfare. Te Wera and his musket-armed warriors were firmly established at Mahia, being well-supplied with fire-arms through the people turning out and scraping flax to trade with European dealers. The news now came that a force led by Tukorehu and Wahanui had assembled at Heretaunga, and had laid waste the whole plain. He had taken a large pa at Roto-a-Tara and slaughtered the people. This was done by means of a causeway built across the lake. On hearing this sad news, Te Wera and his armed force, accompanied by the men of Heretaunga (Pareihe, Te Hapuka, Tareha, and others), proceeded to attack the invaders. On reaching the mouth of the Tukituki River, the fleet of canoes went up the river, and the warriors then dragged them overland about five miles. By this means they reached the lake with their canoes and surrounded the pa, which was on an island in the lake. The invaders were subjected to gunfire from all sides. They had no means of escape but by jumping into the lake and endeavouring to swim ashore, where they met the tomahawks of the attackers. Some were killed by gunfire, some by tomahawks, but most by being drowned. Their bodies were left strewn along the shores of the lake. This slaughter was mentioned in a lament song composed by the survivors, and is recorded in a later part of this history. The part is:
"He pukainga pakake ki Te Roto-a-Tara," or "the strewn like dead whales at Te Roto-a-Tara."
Having completely swept the enemy from the land and having another account to be squared with Ngati-Tuwhare-toa of Taupo, and Ngati-Maniapoto of Maunga-tautari, for slaughtering the people of Te Paka pa, an expedition now marched off on an avenging mission. Te Wera knew the great strength of his enemies, and selected only the most eminent fighting men, who page 175were guarded by their war-god Kahukura, with Moho as the medium (tohunga). Prior to reaching the pa of the chief Te Heuheu, which was the stronghold of the Ngati-Tuwhare-toa tribe of Taupo, they made preparations by drilling in a war dance or tutu-ngarehu. The wording of the haka is as follows:—
E Moho e; O, e Moho e; O, Tenei te ruru,
te koukou nei, kei runga, kei te tawhiti.
A, homai te here kia herea iho ki te here
matuku tangotango i popoko ai ki te reinga ra,
A, tahi maro hurt na patu, na paoa ki te
kereru tipi iho i tona kaki, tungoua, u, u, u.
This was used as a haka, or war dance. Without translating literally, the meaning is as follows: E Moho e is a call on the tohunga Moho by the conductor of the war dancers. O is a response by the party. Then repeating it. Tenei te ruru te koukou nei kei runga kei te tawhiti means "there is an owl which sits on the snaring rod, howling." A homai te here kia herea iho ki te here matuku tangotango i popoko ai ki te reinga ra is a request for a cord to bind the owl and to cast it into hades. A, Tahi maro huri, na patu, na paoa ki kereru tipi iho i tona kaki tungoua, u, u, u, means that "the hands will stretch forth with weapons which will bring pigeons flying down with their necks broken."
The raiding party, having had to tackle a numerous and stal-wart people, who lived in the fastnesses of the forest, regarded them as owls and wild pigeons that live in the bush.
When Te Heuheu heard of the raiding party, he sent out a spy to investigate the strength and the activity of the force. The raiders were made ready for the affray, while performing their war dance. The spy, who was concealed behind trees, saw every movement, and went back to Te Heuheu and reported his observations in detail, saying, "Kaore hoki tera, te tangata kotahi tonu te ringaringa me te waewae." (It was a marvellous sight, the movements of the whole army were so perfect and well timed. It looked as if there was only one hand and one leg.) "Oh!' exclaimed Te Heuheu, "can't we stand up against them, since we have the numbers and the strength?" "No," replied the spy, "we have the numbers, but they have the modern weapons, and are trained and armed to the teeth." "Well, what shall we do?" asked Te Heuheu of the man who was his head-general. "Call them in, and treat them as guests instead of foes." "Right," said Te Heuheu, "Go and invite them as guests, for I, Te Heuheu, desire to make peace with them." So peace was made. Te page 176Heuheu entertained them for three days, and then said to them, "O Te Wera, you have swept all the invaders off Heretaunga, by slaughtering them like eels in the basket and now you have trodden my stronghold and cemented between us an honorable peace, now why bother to go further?" Te Wera replied saying that he was only carrying out his duty as a protector of his people, but it was for the chiefs of Heretaunga to decide. To this request Pareihe, Te Hapuka and Tareha would not agree, for the last two chiefs had not forgotten their narrow escape at the slaughtering of their people at Papake pa. Te Heuheu then informed the raiders that, on their arriving at the place, they would come to two fighting pas. One was a large pa while the other was a very small one. He advised them not to underestimate the strength of the small pa, for the large pa was only to decoy the people into raiding and capturing it and that when they were in the pa they would be entrapped by gun-fire from the small pa which commanded an eminence over the big pa, which was not bullet-proof. The small pa had been constructed to meet all modern warfare and was well-equipped, therefore they should pass the big pa and tackle the small pa, and once that was overpowered the battle was won.
After the morning meal, the expedition proceeded to the place of battle. Reaching the big pa, they passed on to the small pa, which was taken and the people slaughtered, not only those in the two pas, but also all those in sight.
This pa was called Omaku-kara which has been mentioned in the song of triumph which has repeatedly been referred to.
The slaughter of this people and the complete extermination of those of Roto-a-Tara left the survivors lamenting for many years. One of their songs or Kai-oraora (indicative of hatred) was:—
Tera te whetu kamokamo ana mai,
Ka tangi te whaitiri hikohiko te uira.
Ko te tohu o te hoa i tukua atu ai,
Kaitoa koe kia mate nou i rere mua.
He waewae ka tapeka ki te ara pikeka,
He pukainga pakake ki Te Roto-a-Tara.
Mawai ra he huaki te umu ra i Kahotea,
Ma, Te Rauparaha, ma Tohe a Pare.
Mana e tahoe te awa ra i Ahuriri,
Kia riro mai ana taku kai ko Te Wera.
Me horo mata tonu te roro o Pareihe,
Hei poupou ake mo roto i ahau.
page 177 Iri mai e pa i runga i te turuturu,
To kiri rauwhero ka paenga ki tahaki.
Me koha tu mai te wahine i a te Puhi,
Tahuri mai o mata te hiwi ki Tirau.
Mo ai rokiroki ko te huna i te moa,
I makere iho ai te tara o te marama e, e, i.
There arose the flickering stars,
Followed by rumbling thunder and flashing lightning.
It is the sign of departed friends.
Served you right for taking hasty steps.
Your feet had strode on forbidden ground,
Which resulted in being heaped up at Roto-a-Tara like stranded whales.
Who shall avenge the effect of that hangi (Maori oven)
It will be by Te Rauparaha and Tohe of Pare.
Who will wipe out the people of Ahuriri (Napier inner harbour),
Who will then obtain Te Wera as my food?
The brains of Pareihe will be swallowed raw.
Which will cheer me in my sorrow?
Hung up, O Sir, on the hanging rack,
Your body of richness is stranded ashore,
Your body of love has passed beyond.
The comforting sight is the wife of Te Puhi.
Turn thy face, O Sir, to the hill at Tirau,
It was there that the spark of the moon fell.
The reprisal Te Wera and his band of warriors took for these injuries was so devastating, so complete, and made with such bravery that the Ngati-Kahungunu was never again interfered with, by surrounding tribes.
After the signing of the Treaty of Wai-tangi the Heretaunga natives who had taken refuge at Mahia sailed for their devastated homes in sixty-nine canoes in one day. The principal chiefs of the party were Te Hapuku and Tareha. It was stated to be a very imposing sight as the powerful flotilla was sent forward over the ocean, the movements of the paddlers being regulated by the kai-hautu (fugleman) while all hearts surged with feelings for home sweet home.
A gift of land was made to Te Wera on the Mahia Peninsula. This was ultimately surveyed and is titled "Wangawehi No. 1." This block was granted by the Native Land Court to his descendants and the Ngapuhi tribe. After the exodus of the Heretaunga people following the cessation of hostilities, and notwithstanding page 178the gift of the land and the earnest desire of the Mahia people that he should remain with them, Te Wera in his old age turned his eyes towards his ancestral home in the North Auckland. One can imagine the desire of a great chief that his bones should rest in his homeland. Farewelled by the tears of the people of Te Mahia, Te Wera left for the. North, that at his death, the path to Te Reinga should be shorter. At his death, chiefs from Hawke's Bay and other parts of New Zealand gathered to do honor to him. A song of lament in his honour was composed and sung by the people at his tangi:—
Give thought to Te Wera there,
Whose fame spreads afar,
Even the distant west,
For the sorrow overcomes me.
For the tears of my eyes,
That silently fall, etc.
"Te Wera continued to abide by his spoken word. The people who lived under his authority wondered at him, on account of his admirable government. Great was his name, and far spread his fame to all the bounds of the East Coast, and even to the West Coast. His magnanimity towards those under him was great. He never feared war, great was his knowledge of strategy in besieging pas and causing the overthrow of the enemy in battle. Never was he accused of evil deeds, nor did he ever abandon those who placed themselves under his guardianship or beneficent rule. He never presumed to advise any treacherous dealings towards other tribes, or evil of other kinds, nor wantonly attacked other tribes. If a messenger came asking his assistance, he carefully enquired into the cause, and if he saw it was unjustifiable he would say, 'Begone, do thy own work.' But if Te Wera saw it was a just cause, he would consent to conduct the war in order that it might be quickly closed."
In recognition and appreciation of his friendship, Te Wera's name was placed on the lowest figure on the rear ridge pole of Takitimu house.