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

Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

Tai and Titore

Tai (sea) and Titore (split open) sailed away in a ship over the sea to the other side, and they saw many lands, and they were taught by the people of England to write, and to read, and they came back to this land (New Zealand) and they joined in the wars at Hau-raki (Thames) and at Te-mahia (Table Cape) and also in the wars of Nga-puhi against the Nga-i-porou and the Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu, but at a future time these wars shall be given.

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Hongi-hika in England

When Hongi-hika (smell the barb) and Wai-kato (cutting water) were young they sailed away for England, to obtain guns to get revenge for the many evils that had come on Nga-puhi, and they were perhaps one year away, and they saw people of Hau-raki (Thames) on the other side at Port Jackson, and after this they made war on Mokoia (in the Tamaki) but these wars will be given after this.

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Tete and Te-apu

Tete (head of a spear) took the daughter of Hongi-hika to wife, and Te-apu (eat by hands full) was younger brother of Tete who went in the war party who attacked the Nga-i-porou tribe, and they were killed at the East Cape. There will be an account of this war given after this.

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Wars to Aopouri and the South

Before I could walk I was taken into war by my parents as they pikaued (carried me on the back) as we went from place to place in our attacks on the people we went to kill, I remember that we went from Hokianga to the North to Ahipara in one expedition. The people we went to kill was the tribe of Papahia, and the father of Papahia was the head chief at that time of the tribe we went page (Book 4A)(114)to kill, and the father was with the party we attacked at that time, and he the old man was killed with his people by our war party, we made the attack on this party just at the break of day and killed all, from this place we went on to Te Aupouri to attack a tribe who for years had been attacked by our Hokianga people but had never been subdued, these also we attacked at break of day and not one escaped, we killed them all, every one male and female young and old were killed. The people we took as slaves when we killed Papahia's father we did not kill but brought them back as slaves with us to Hokianga, from killing these last people we went on, still further into the Aupouri country to meet a party of our people who at the time we left our Homes in Hokianga had agreed to meet us at a certain place in Te Aupouri, this party we met at the place agreed on, and we all joined and returned to Hokianga by way of Maunga-Taniwha, we got Home by way of Mangamuka and remained in our place till the kumara crops were ripe, we had not got the crops into the Rua when a party of 200 men of the Rarawa came to Oroke from Whangape to revenge the death of those we had killed in our first expedition, from Oroke they came to the mouth of the Waima River and then killed a few people before our tribes had heard that they were in the district, by this time I could go a good journey without being pikaued, when the news of those killed at the mouth of the Waima River had been heard by all our Hapus, 150 of our bravest men mustered and went to Oroke in some canoes to meet and give battle to the enemy, just as our party arrived at Oroke the Rarawa were crossing over from Koutu-mangero in mokis to land at Te Rangi on the west side of the river opposite to Koutu-mangero, one canoe from our party gave chase and tried to stop some of the mokis, this was done to try and make them give battle on the sea, also the canoe that was sent in chase was small and very swift, she was sent to stay there till the other canoes could get up and a sea battle was to take place page (Book 4A)(115)but those in the mokis would not give battle, they had one canoe in their party in which were ten men, this canoe our canoe gave chase too and caught the ten men, these ten men were taken prisoners and brought alive by us to Rawene (Herds Port) up the river, where we killed and cooked and eat them all, These we eat as a whakamana mo te whawhai, this done we again went in pursuit of the other of the enemy, we landed at Te Mata and crossed the sand Hills and went on the coast to Whangape, where we found them in a Pa, then we attacked and took it and killed as many as we liked and took the rest slaves, those we killed we eat, having exterminated this Hapu we returned home to Hokianga and rested till the following sumer.

What I have related as account as two wars, as we were at Home beteween the two battles, and this is taken to be separate wars and it was also some time between the first attack we made on the Rarawa and our taking the last Pa at Whangape, I do not wish you to think what I have said is korero noa, it is he tino korero tapu, as I have repeated the sacred name of Papahia's father who was killed by us. If you were a Maori you could make a war at once now, by going to the tribe of Papahia and repeating what I have told you, we had not any pretext for going to kill the people we attacked, we went to have a little sport, and to get some men to eat, these wars did not glut our wish for fun and sport nor did we obtain enough human flesh to eat, but on our settling down at Home after these fights we were again impelled by the wish of sport to think of a war to the south of these Islands the war we now contemplated was taken in league with Hongi Hika to obtain revenge for our relatives who had been killed by the Natives of the south, these relatives of ours had been killed, some years before in an expedition which some of our people took to obtain the good mats by exchange for our weapons of war.

All our men collected at the Heads of Hokianga, and at the sandy bay of Omapere we performed our usual ceremonies to Niua, Pou-ahi, and Arai-te-uru page (Book 4A)(115A)when the Nga-puhi go on a war expedition each chief at his own home cuts a lock of hair from the top of his head, holding it in the right-hand, he stands up and looks towards certain hill in his district named in the karakia he repeats and says:

Kotahi ki reira
Kotahi ki Pou-ahi Name of a hill
Kotahi ki Niua do — do
Kotahi ki Arai te uru do — do

at the end of each line of his karakia where he repeats the name of a place he throws a portion of the hair he is holding towards that hill, and so on till he has thrown a piece to each.

He does this to gain the assistance of the gods and the spirits of the dead, to help him in the war.

The dead are buried in those hill named.

On the south side of the Hoki-anga heads high up in the cliff is a cave where from time long past the bones of the Hokianga people were put, this is one of the places to which food was offered by a war party before they left the district on a war expedition, the hill on which this cave is is called Rama-roa.

When this land was bought by Mr Martin the first Pilot of that River, the tribes took days to carry the bones away.

The cave is got at by those who go into it by being lowered down by a rope from the top of the cliff page (116)by Maunga-nui and on to Kaipara, this river we crossed and went on we started on our war expedition and went by the west, by the sea coast page (Book 4A)(116)by Kumeu and by Te whau and on to where Auckland now stands there we found a Hapu of the Waikato people living at a place called Mata hare hare, Puke kawa, and Waiariki, these we surprised and killed them all, these we cooked at each place as we killed them, as our party divided into small bands we attacked those places all at the one and same time, and each of our parties cooked the people they killed and eat them in each place so killed, on we went and going in a quiet manner we gave not any warning. We killed and eat every one who came in our way.

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We went on this war expedition, because there had been a fight between Nga-puhi of the Bay of Islands and some Wai-kato people not far from Motu-tapu. I had been away in the Thames at that time, so did not see it but heard of it from our chief called Tao-nui Hongi heard of this and was much enraged, and soon after this he heard of a party of Wai-kato and Kaipara Natives having located themselves at the Wai-te-mata (where Epsom now stands) about three hundred in all with the chief Re wharewha, and Hongi and Uru-ti or Kingi-hori thought it a good opportunity to go and kill them in revenge for the Nga-puhi killed by the Wai-kato near Motu-tapu so our war party started from the Hokianga heads, but the Wai-kato chief Re wharewha had heard of our coming and he and his tribe had dragged the canoes into the Manu-kau and had gone on the Wai-kato by way of Wai-uku we had gone by way of Kai-para and Hongi-hika and his party had come in canoes by the East Coast to the Wai-te-mata, and found the enemy had gone, and he sent spies out, and followed on in the Wai-uku road to Wai-kato, from his spies Hongi heard that Rewharewha intended to go and stay in the Pa of Te-rau-roha, as he knew if he did not get there and was overtaken by Hongi-hika he and his people would all be killed by Hongi-hika and eaten. Rewharewha got to Nga-rua-wahia and walked to the Pa at Horo-tiu, and in the mean time Hongi-hika had got to the Nga-ti-teata people and persuaded them to aid him in following Rewharewha and his tribe, these with Hongi went on to the Pa of Rau-roha, where the people of Rewharewha were, our war party danced outside of the Pa and demanded the Kai-para people to be sent out, Rewharewha jumped from the Pa, and came page (118)(2)towards the taua (war party) determined to save his life as dearly as he could, and determined to kill some one at once, he shouted for Hongi-hika who was in the war, who he thought might save him if he asked his life of him, but when Hongi-hika arrived in front of the Pa Rewharewha had been killed by the Nga-puhi people, he had fought with, and not till he had been run through by five spear thrusts did he come to fight, and then the war party rushed the Pa and drove the Kai-para Natives out of it, many of whom were killed and eaten, but the daughter of Po-mare saved the life of a child, and some were taken as slaves.

Hongi-hika returned and dragged his canoes the same way as he had come and went to Nga-puhi but Uru-ti went by way of Marama-rua, and took a much longer time to get back to Nga-puhi as they had stayed with the Thames tribes, and had killed any of the Wai-kato they could find on their journey.

Our people had sent spies out over the country and while these were away, I saw one of our Priests throwing the Niu, I went towards where he was showing the people the picture indicated by the different fern stalks he had used in the Niu, and I saw the tracks these fern stalks had made on the sand, and heard what these lines indicated, and heard who would be killed in the next battle, when this was done, he also spoke as if the spirits of the dead spoke by his voice, and told the people what they were to do, and where they were to go, but it was at night that he mostly spoke with the voice of the dead of old, but the spirits spoke in such a way that I could not be certain how the future would be, who would be killed and who should gain the victory in any battle, or what sub tribe would be the most brave of all our Nga-puhi people.

We had been some time at Wai-te-mata page (119)(3)and had eaten all those who had been killed by us there, so we now moved on towards the Tamaki or on the road towards Wai-kato, but I will return and give an account of our trip over from the head of Kai-para by way of the Kahu-topuri towards the Whau.

We had been two days from where we landed at Ao-tea, and in getting to Te-whau, on this journey we cooked all our food at night, that the fire or smoke of our fires should not be seen, and then we always lit our fires in some hollow, we did this in any out of the way place in some nook or a creek or steep bank, as we were always suspicious of some strong Maori of the enemy being out as a spy, and for fear of such being on some hill to look for us.

We sent some of our people from Te-whau to go on to One-hunga, there were six in this first lot of scouts, soon after these had left us a boy that I had taken a slave in Kai-para ran to me and said "Our spies have fallen in with a woman, have killed, and are now cooking to eat her."

When we had got near to where the Wai-kato people who had occupied the Wai-te-mata district had cultivated, some of our people found a girl near to one of these settlements hidden under some mats, they dragged her from her hiding place and killed her, and to show how shamed these Wai-kato people are, as this girl was dragged nude to be killed, she did not use her hands to ward off the blows struck to kill her but used her hands to hide her nakedness. I thought that this girl was of a supreme rank or she would not have died like a female god, as her act proved that shame was of greater power than death, when she had been killed Tarau of the Wai-hou people cut one of her legs off, and taking it by the foot with the thigh bone as page (120)(4)the bottom of a walking stick touching the ground, he walked long with it for his slaves to cook for him to eat.

Not any of our chiefs in this war ever cooked any food, nor did they come near, or were they to the lee side of any cooking which might be going on, and all the human flesh cooked was allowed to remain all night in the umu (cooking pit) as it was said that thus cooked the flesh was tender. The rest of the body of this girl I saw brought to our puni (camp) in baskets.

I was sitting looking at people in our puni when my slave boy ran up to me and said "Some of our people have caught a man, and are now cutting him up to cook." I ran to see what sort of a fellow the Wai-kato was, as I was then talking to a red headed girl we had found in the fern, we were then to the east of the old Maunga-whau (Mount Eden) Pa and had caught this girl there in the creek of the Rua-reoreo, I left her with those who had caught her with me, and went to see the Wai-kato man, as I arrived where they were, they were cutting the bones out of the flesh and one of them was cutting the bone of the knee out, I asked "What is the man was doing?" He said "The knee bone would make a nice pipe bowl, as he was of a family of an Uto (a family doomed to be killed, and the body used in any way that revenge or vengeance could suggest) and that the bone of his legs could be made into flutes."

In some of the main Houses we found the hands of those of our people who had been killed near Motu-tapu were tied to the sides of these Houses and on the hardened turned up fingers the baskets of what the Maori keep in baskets were hung on to them: These hands had been cooked and the skin had come off them and they were quite tea (light coloured) and the fingers were bent upwards.

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Tahua of Wai-hou, son of Muri-wai was out all the day seeking for food, and in going back to our camp at Mata-harehare (the scrub on the Parnell rise) from One-hunga by way of Maunga-kiekie (One-tree hill) he saw great crops of kumara and other vegetables growing on the flat scoria land there [at what is now called Epsom] in the midst of which there were some of our Nga-puhi women taking some of the crop, Tahua spoke in a loud voice thinking they were of Wai-kato, and the women having heard him ran away, we came on towards Mata-harehare and in the fern on the side of the road I saw the head of the red headed girl I had spoken with in the forenoon, going on I overtook a Wai-hou native of Nga-puhi with the headless trunk of the girl carrying it with the two arms around his neck to our camp to cook and eat.

One of our chiefs had sent some of our people to Te-kawau Island in a canoe to some of our people who were there to borrow canoes for us to proceed up the Wai-kato, but as our people came back without canoes, we were forced to go by way of the west coast, southward for the Wai-kato heads and as Hongi-hika had gone back, and as we had nothing to urge us to kill people but the delight to kill, we did not attack any tribes who allowed us to pass on southward, but if we were in any way annoyed, or our way blocked we fought, thus we passed over the country in less time than we otherwise would.

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About one hundred of our party determined to try and buy some kai-taka mats, as the Taranaki people were the best kai-taka mat makers, and they had the best kind of Tihore or Takiri-kau flax to make them of, but as soon as we went to buy these mats, our people had a quarrel amongst our selves, as to who should have the best mats when bought, our hundred men had separated our selves for a time from our great party, and now that we this hundred had quarreled amongst our selves we also divided into two parties, and as the one party who had left our hundred was headed by an old chief called Ramari he determined to do something that would make his name heard far and near, in their travels they found an old chieftainess gathering Tutu berries to make Tutu-wine and they killed and cooked and eat her, when they had put her body into a hangi (oven) the wood in the hangi blazed up, which was an omen if they attacked the next Pa they saw they would capture it and all the people in it. The blaze of the hangi (oven) was the courage of this old woman who was a Priestess, or that of her tribe, and having thus been expelled from her body her people lacking courage would be cowards and be taken in war.

The old woman's body had been cooked, and just as these people were taking it out of the umu (oven) one of their people who had been out as a spy, arrived and said "The people of whom the old woman belonged had heard of the murder, and were coming to take satisfaction from them". These fifty took the war belts and prepared to fight, and the other people came on them and appeared on a hill, but as the coming enemy were three to one more than this division of the one hundred, those of the one hundred fled, and in running away, the old chief who wished to gain fame was speared in the foot by the pursuing enemy, they fled on, and after a page (123)great dilemma they ran into a marsh, in the middle of which there was a hard spot, there they placed most of their people in three bodies ready for battle, and the rest went in search for food, as they had not any now, they had left the cooked body of the old woman behind when they fled, but they met the tribe of the old woman, and taking the reeds of the Tussock grass, they challenged them to war, and fought them at the side of the marsh and beat the tribe of the old woman, and took the dead and cooked and eat them and the old chief leader said his tongue was dry for fear and hunger, after this they did not go from the main body to buy mats but joined the tribe again.

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When we were at Kari-kawa, we saw a ship, we were not far from the Whanga-nui-a-tara (Port Nicholson) and this ship recalled an account that the old chief who killed the old woman who was found gathering Tutu berries to mind which he had heard when he was a boy at our home in the Nga-puhi. The old chief said "In olden times a Priest called Maoi said to his people the Nga-puhi just as he died I shall now die, but not many years after my death, a god would come on the water with spirals on its back, the god would be like a canoe, but much larger, and this god would go any where he liked on the open sea, and not be lost, as he would know where ever he was though land could not be seen, and after this god had been away from these Islands for a long time another god would come, which would be like the first god in shape, the first would come with sails, and the other would come with fire." Thus said the old chief who wished for fame, you see the first god out yonder on the sea.

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The old chief who led part of the one hundred said "When I first saw the Mai-tai (from the sea, Europeans) I thought they were gods, and that they were from some good land, and when I saw a gun, and when it was fired, I thought it was thunder and lightning kept in a tube, and that these gods could make it spark when ever they pointed the tube at any one or any thing, when they pointed the tube at some wild ducks, and the tube spoke, and the ducks were killed I thought these gods could make the thunder kill the ducks. I also saw biscuit and thought it was pumice stone from the good land of these Mai-tai (from — the sea) and then I tasted sugar, which I thought was the sand of the good land of these gods.

I remember when we had been to war at the East Cape against the Nga-i-porou, and some of our people shot some of the Nga-i-porou, when we attacked the next Pa, some of the warriors in the Pa came out to meet us each with a long tube of the Tutu tree, which had had all the pith taken out of it, these they lifted up and pointed at our men with the guns, thinking that the tubes they held would by the power of their incantations which they had chanted over their tubes of Tutu trees, emit thunder like our guns and kill us, our men fired at them and killed some, and the others threw their tubes away and ran into the Pa.

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My old friend the chief who wished for fame says "When I was young I went south from Nga-puhi to Tara-naki to plunder the people of the fine Kai-taka mats, I was one of one hundred and forty people, we travelled past Wai-te-mata, Wai-kato, Kawhia, and Wai-tara and not till we had got to the south on the coast below the Tara-naki mountain did we act as a war or plundering party would do. On the third day after we had got to the flat country near to Te-wai-mate Pa on the sea coast, did we kill any one, there we killed a woman who was out getting Tupakihi wine, we cooked and eat her, and soon after this one of her tribe came to the Nga-puhi and said "They would attack the Nga-puhi for the murder", and on the morrow at dawn the Nga-puhi occupied an old Pa, and soon after the sun shone the enemy appeared in a valley at the foot of the Pa, this Pa stood on a jutting point, and on all sides but the one joining the Pa to the main land were steep like precipices; and the Nga-puhi could distinctly hear the chiefs of the enemy encourage their people to attack the Nga-puhi with the words "Au, au - ki toa, ki-toa" the Nga-puhi would give the same order in these words "Ana, ana, kia toa, kia toa" (now, now be brave, be brave) and at another time after the Tara-naki enemy had had a war dance the leaders would encourage their people by saying "Au, au ki ka-a, ki-ka a" or as the Nga-puhi would give the same order by saying "Ana, ana, kia kaha, kia kaha" (now, now be strong, be strong).

The enemy or the Tara-naki commenced the battle by attacking the one hundred and forty of the Nga-puhi in the Pa. The Tara-naki were about one thousand five hundred one told strong, and they came up the page (127)valley to charge on the Pa against the Nga-puhi, the Nga-puhi gave way and fled, and the enemy gave chase and killed six of their chiefs, and my old friend who told this tale to me, in running on before his people, received a kokiri (dart or arrow) in the calf of his right leg, the scar of which he carried to his grave. The Nga-puhi fled for a great distance and left their dead on the field and in the Pa they had occupied for a time, as the enemy did not pursue them with any determination, the Nga-puhi had time to rally, and they formed themselves into four parties, and wait the enemies attack. The enemy arrived on the summit of a ridge, opposite to which was a rising ground, where the Nga-puhi were posted, and between them and the enemy was a small running creek, and behind the Nga-puhi was a forest into which if they were beaten they intended to retreat, as it was now at the close of the day, the enemy did not then make an attack on Nga-puhi, but began to throw up a breast work around the sites of fern and korokio (veroniea) with all that they could collect of other materials. The Nga-puhi sent their Priest to chant his incantations and to perform his ceremonies at the creek between them and their enemy, for their success in the coming struggle, and the Nga-puhi people in the absence of their Priest at the creek held a council to discuss the matter as to what they were to do or act, in the presence of their enemy, as they had been the aggressors, and had attacked the Tara-naki people without any cause, but the greed of kai-taka mats.

As their enemy were far more numerous than themselves, they agreed, that before the dawn of day, one fourth of their number should go and attack, that is rush on to the breast works of the enemy with the long spear as the attacking weapon, and other two fourths of the Nga-puhi; should go round page (128)by the border of the forest, which extended from their camp to the rear of the Tara-naki camp in a half circle, and that while the Tara-naki were engaged in attempting the repulse of the Nga-puhi in front as the Nga-puhi attacked with the Tao-roa (long spear) the Nga-puhi on the border of the forest were to charge the Tara-naki in the rear, but each of the fourth part of the Nga-puhi were to attack at a different point, while the rest of the Nga-puhi were to hold their camp and act as any emergency might require. All this plan was carried out, and the Nga-puhi made a terrible slaughter of the Tara-naki people, and as the Tara-naki fled before the Nga-puhi they lost fourteen chiefs who were cooked and eaten by the Nga-puhi, and the heads cured as Mokaikai (cured heads) to show to the people at Nga-puhi.

Old Pangari said when they fled before the Tara-naki up the valley from the old Pa they occupied Tawhai got a blow on his head, which stunned him, but some of his people carried him on with the fleeing people, and when they stayed to concoct a plan of war, some of his people warmed some oil and poured it into the crack on his skull, this crack was just above the ears, and not quite on the top of the head, the people thought he would have died but the warm oil cured him, which the people kept on the wound for days.

This party had only three guns amongst all the people when they attacked the Tara-naki tribes and when they returned by the west coast from the Wai-rarapa and on to Whanga-nui they took a new Pa which had been built since they had passed through the district, and going on past Tara-naki, Wai-kato, and Kai-para, they went by the west coast by Maunga-nui on to Hokianga, as they had been put across the Kai-para head by the Nga-ti-whatua.