TALES OF THE MAORI.
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ON the left bank of the Hokianga River, about twenty miles from the Heads, was once a famous native settlement. The rich kumara grounds belonging to it were celebrated far and near, and right in front, half way across the river, was an island, fringed with mangrove trees, on the extensive flats of which, at low water, an unfailing supply of shell-fish, eels, and patiki were to be procured. Stingrays were also very abundant here, and I have seen them caught measuring five feet across. At the back of this settlement a high hill, the summit of which had, after great labour and skill, been fashioned by many hundreds of pair of hands into a formidable pa, hewn, as it were, out of the solid earth. It was the principal stronghold of the settlement; and even to the present day, though most of the outer lines have been filled up with dry leaves and rubbish, and the outer and deep ditch is now less than half its original depth, enough remains to form a good idea of what this fighting pa once was. It would probably have taken five hundred navvies, working with pick, shovel, and barrow, twelve months' hard work to cut down and form this work; but when one knows that all the tools with which this was undertaken and accomplished were only bits of hard wood, pointed and burnt hard in a fire, and the only means of carrying away the thousands of tons of earth, stones and gravel, were small buckets made of flax, one is forced to admire the courage and perseverance of the New Zealander in those days.
This pa was called Karewa Ki Runga (the Lofty Reared on High). Hence the Maori canoe song--
Puke tiki tiki te puke ne Karewa,
Iri noa aki taku aroha to maunawa.
O lofty hill, the hill Karewa;
Yet my love is loftier within my soul.
"Karewa Ki Runga" was the fighting pa of the Popoto tribe at the time I speak of, and they numbered over one thousand warriors, the most powerful tribe of the Ngapuhi, and Muriwae Te Tuku Take was its head chief, and at the period I tell of was in the prime of his life, a just man according to tradition, but a stern and terrible warrior in battle. He was the grandfather of Te Taonui, who
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proved himself such a staunch friend to the Europeans at the time of the war with Hone Heke. Taonui (Big Spear) was then about sixty years of age. His father, Te Ahuriri, died about 1849, and was supposed to be at least 110 years old at the time of his death. He remembered Captain Cook well, and at that time he had, so he said, wives and children, so Muriwae Te Tuku Take (his father) must have been about forty or fifty years of age when what I am about to relate occurred, and several years before the arrival of the great navigator Cook to these shores.
The Maori villages under Karewa Ki Runga were Otaehau, Te Horeke, Parepare, Mangatete, Mangaraupo, and Waikahanganui, and the slopes of Karewa, part of which were cultivated as calabash grounds. Karewa Ki Runga frowned aloft some 700 or 800 feet above the villages, and commanded the whole; but about a mile from this hill were two other pas, which had also been cut out of a solid hill top, but they were inferior to Karewa in height.
At the back of the Waikahanganui settlement, the village furthest off from the centre, was one of the most beautiful wooded valleys I can remember. A narrow brook of clear, ever-cold water ran through the middle of it; here and there were gigantic kauri trees, but the graceful miro were crowded on both banks of the little stream, and lined the valley stretching away to the ranges on each side of it. This stream, in the pigeon season, when the berries on the miro trees were red ripe, used to be covered from sight by thickly-leaved branches, which were placed over it. It was but a moss-lined little brook, about eighteen inches wide, but deep, and ran the same winter and summer. This covering over was a work of care, but places were left at intervals here and there for the birds to come to bathe and drink. Each of these drinking places was provided with innumerable perches for the birds to light and plume themselves upon, but rows of snares were placed in every direction, and meshes out of number. These were made out of the cabbage tree leaves, being much stronger than flax, and kept their shape like very thin steel. When this valley was used for bird meshing, about three miles of it was laid under snares, and during the season it was under strict tapu, and only visited each evening before sundown, to remove the captive and drowned birds and replace any of the snares which had chanced to get broken or displaced; but under no pretence whatever were strangers permitted to go there, either in or out of season; in fact, it was never thought that anyone could have dreamt it possible to go to places of this kind, not being one of the tribe, and death would have followed to a certainty anyone who so transgressed tribal rights. The usual take, or harvest, of birds in one month, during the full fruiting of the miro in its season, was from 4500 to 5000 birds, such as pigeons, parrots, and tuis; but even in my time, when I was a youngster, I used to accompany old Toenga Pou, when he went out bird snaring to this valley, and have helped to lift between 300 and 400 birds from the few hundred
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yards of the stream he had prepared in the way I have described. There were other valleys and places, bird snaring grounds, in plenty on the estate of the Popotos; but the Puna Valley was far away the best and most valued, as it was so complete and near to the settlements. Each of three pas, even when no war party was expected, was held by an efficient garrison, and the tribe took turn and turn about, naturally and by instinct, to guard them. Hundreds of short darts, so pointed at the ends that on striking an object the point would remain in the wound and, being barbed, prove difficult to get out, were kept in covered pits. Heaps of round iron stones, weighing from one to five pounds each, were collected from the beach and piled up for the use of the slingers (kotaha); and heavy logs and boulders were kept in place on the outer ditch to use in case of an assault, and ready to launch over the precipitous sides of the pas, in case such a defence was required. Before early dawn, which the tui and bell bird heralded each morn, the war note of the watchers in the pas proclaimed all was well, and a good watch kept. The slumbering tribe in the villages beneath now bestirred themselves, and soon hundreds of columns of white steam, shooting upwards to the sky, showed that the morning meal of the Popoto tribe was being prepared in the ovens. After this was eaten, the tribe betook itself to its different occupations, which varied according to the seasons. Behind the hills on which these pas stood were forests, extending for many miles, and where the young men and maidens used to go bird-hunting, and snaring and spearing tuis and parrots, and to gather the wild fruits of the forest, and collect scented moss for their hair.
I will now as well as I can remember, for it is many years since old Toenga Pou recounted his strange story to me, and which had been handed down to him by his forefathers, relate what he told me one night when we two were camped out in a miro bush on the Mataki Hills, where we had gone to get birds.
The once great Popoto tribe, of whom I am one, gave a feast in the pigeon season to the whole of Ngatiwhatua who lived on the Kaipara and Wairoa runs; the scaffolding alone which was to support the piles of food was six kumis long (a kumi means sixty feet, so the total length would have been 360 feet). Each scaffolding was one kumi in length, and tapered up from its base, which was twice the stretch of a man's arms (12 feet) to 40, 50, 60, and 75 feet in height, according to the strength or amount of food the hapu of the tribe it belonged to had, and tapered off at the top to about 18 inches broad. On the bottom tier would be about 600 baskets of kumeras; a strong platform was lashed over this to support the next tier of, say, 500 baskets; then another platform, and so on, until a single row of baskets graced the top of the pile. In all, to each piece of scaffolding there would be between 3,000 and 3,500 baskets of kumeras; here and there would be calabashes of
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preserved birds--pigeons, tuis, kakas, weka, kiwi, curlew, ducks, and widgeons; fish of all kinds, tons of them taken in immense tidal bag nets 70 feet long by 25 feet square at the mouth, narrowing off to 18 inches, an immense basket capable of holding two hogsheads fastened on the other end. These nets used to be set near the mouth of a creek in the tide way, and held in position by two stout spars firmly driven into the river-bed, and were filled to tightness each tide--bundles of dried dog-fish, sharks and eels, and baked dogs, preserved rats, etc., but at these tribal feasts, unless under peculiar circumstances, such as returning from war, or an impromptu feast on the death of an old chief, when, if a lazy slave taken in war could be spared, he would be eaten; no human flesh would form part of a feast such as described. Even when human flesh was eaten it was cooked in a separate oven, and not tossed about as a common article of food, except on the battle field, whatever may be said to the contrary.
The Ngatiwhatua accepted the invitation of the Popotos and came, to Hokianga by the coast from Kaipara, first assembling at Mangawhare, on the Wairoa River, making that their starting point. The party consisted of two thousand men and women; the young children were left behind, and all those who were old and infirm. They all, of course, went fully armed and prepared for war, for one could never tell what might happen. Besides, it was not wise or prudent to go unarmed and place undue temptations in the eyes of their hosts, the Popotos, or not to be able to take advantage of any good chance that might occur to themselves; but the head men of each family hapu of the tribe received a hint, in a speech addressed to the whole by the head tohunga, Puni, to keep the young men within bounds during the intended visit. (A large party of natives travel slowly; and though I walked once for a wager from Mangawhare to the sea beach, and on then to Hokianga to the settlement of Waimamaku in one day, and without anything to eat by the way, but which was not included in our wager, for I lost my provisions in the surf of a stream I crossed, Ngatiwhatua took one month to go this route.) At the head of the Hokianga River the party were met by a fleet of war, fishing, and other canoes, sent to convey them up the river. Each pa had its usual garrison doubled, and an extra row of manuka stakes was shown to have been placed round the already double palisaded pas. The green boughs and leaves were left on each stout stake, as a hint that any attempt to surprise the garrison would be vain and without hope of success.
The fleet of canoes drew near after the morning's meal had been consumed, and the noses of the canoes touched the landing-place pointed out for them at the settlement, and 1,500 warriors, not including the women, formed up in array. They were met by the Popotos and their allies, and a terrific war-dance took place on both sides, until (as Toenga Pou said) Karewa Ki Runga reeled again. Then the distant garrisons had each their war-dance, which contained, said Toenga, a very strong hint of power. The guests
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were then shown to their quarters, and after an abundant meal night closed over the whole.
The next day the feast was karangaed (called) that is each piece of scaffolding was formally handed over to a hapu of Ngatiwhatua by a corresponding hapu of the Popotos, and this was subdivided again and again until all the food and delicacies were distributed, and a week's feasting and unbridled license of all kinds was indulged in. But any vestige of morality that may have existed before amongst these children of nature was, as such, according to Toenga's strict account, considered out of place, and carefully put by where nobody could find it; but as it was not required, it was not sought for. The pigeon portion of the feast was extolled to the skies--the freshness, the flavour of the aromatic, miro-berry fed birds, the lumps of yellow fat! Alas! such have never been seen since. The backbone and thighs melted away in their mouths, and fairly bowled over the conceit of the Ngatiwhatua, who asked, "Where did you get these delicious birds?" This question was a breach of Maori etiquette; but a young chief without any brains replied, "These birds came from the Puna Valley. We had ten takings in one month, but only a few birds are here of what we took, and there are many large calabashes of preserved birds in the storehouses in the valley now," but this was a bit of bounce. Now, gluttony pure and simple, and before which passion all has to go down to gratify it, is unfortunately a leading trait, in the Maori character (said Toenga Pou). Once let gluttony get possession of a chief and his tribe, and they will not rest till it has been appeased.
"Ugh!" said Ngatiwhatua, amongst themselves, "more of these fat pigeons in calabashes at Puna Valley, are there? Why should these Popotos have retained these? If we could surprise and slay these people we could have all their nice settlement and the rich bird valley," and the water ran out of their jaws at the bare idea of continual feasts of pigeons and other birds.
Now, Te Koukou, a famous warrior of Ngatiwhatua, and his giant brother Ngahe, had been overtaken by this spirit of kaihoro (gluttony) and an opportunity was sought for; but our garrison never relaxed their vigilance, and it was hopeless to attempt anything unless these were overpowered first. But the time drew near for the guests to disperse and return to their homes, so the canoes were accordingly prepared to take them to the heads, so far on their way back, but all Te Koukou's and Ngahe's men declared they would return overland by way of Mangakahia, that being so much shorter than going by the round of the sea beach. At this a large proportion of the warriors said they would go that way too. So about 800 men left one morning for Mangakahia, and the rest left for the heads, accompanied by a number of Popotos in the canoes, little dreaming of what was about to take place.
Te Koukou had, according to custom, asked a small party of Popotos to see them as far as the forest, through which they would have to pass to get to their own country. This forest was about fifteen miles distant, and about twenty of them accepted and went,
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and one girl named Ponaiti (small joints). On reaching the forest, Te Koukou slew every man and ate them, but saved the girl, whom he told he intended to make his wife, a proposal and alliance which she cheerfully assented to then and there. The other division of Ngatiwhatua, on reaching their former camping place at the heads of the river, contrived to quarrel with their late hosts about a woman. This led to blows, and some of the Popotos were slain, and the rest fled back in dismay with their canoes to the settlement, vowing vengeance. They had barely ended their tale to the assembled tribe when Ponaiti, the girl, stood in their midst, nearly dead from fatigue and running; but she managed to tell her people of the slaughter of her father and other relatives, and what her destined fate had been, ending her horrible tale of blood by saying that Te Koukou was on his way to surprise the pas and kill everyone.
"Get ready for them," was the only sentence that fell from Muriwai te Tuke Take. The tribe was like a flock of birds all at once. Men with tapued back and still more tapued heads and arms seized huge baskets of kumeras, bundles of dried fish, calabashes of water, and streamed up the hill sides to their pas. In less than the roasting of a small kumera in the ashes, the villages were deserted, and all was quiet in the fighting pas and ready. Ponaiti said that she had so deceived Te Koukou as to lead him to think she had remained at Mangakahia till he returned; but she had made tracks through the forest after they had left, to get home before they could attempt their surprise. "They won't go to the villages," said the leading warriors, "but will attack us at dawn to-morrow; and they think they are sure to surprise us, when the destruction of the settlements would follow." Scouts were sent out down the hills to give notice of their approach. They returned soon, and reported the advanced guard of the enemy creeping up the hills, followed by the main body. "Let them come close, and be ready with the logs and boulders, and slings and spears. I will give the charge," said Muriwai te Tuke Take, and several trusty messengers were despatched, by the rear of the pa adjoining the bush, to warn the river natives at Opara, and at Taheki and Wairua, close to the Mangakahia forests, to warn them to look after and close up all the roads, so as to let not one of Ngatiwhatua escape after they were defeated--for that result was looked upon as a certainty, as the Tohungas had foretold. Silence now reigned supreme in the three pas, as the occupants waited the coming storm; but as the objects began to form out of the darkness, the enemy were seen within a few fathoms of the pa, preparing for the final rush up the steep rise in overwhelming numbers.
The chief Tohunga's son had been killed and eaten by the enemy before him, and the fighting chief passed the word, and then one horrible yell burst from Karewa ki Runga, quickly followed by two more frantic war cries from the two other pas. These were returned by the enemy, who had to win now or be eaten. It was
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in reality your head or mine, and the enemy sprang up the rise to the assault, but the varied collection of rocks and logs, and a shower of slung iron stones, accompanied by well-aimed darts, whistled about their ears and heads, and bore them down. But the enemy fought with determination, knowing the terrible result of defeat, especially in a case like theirs. Each pa was attacked simultaneously, but heavy logs rolling down the steep sides of the pas bore down tens of warriors, and many jaws were broken and skulls cracked by the slingers. At last, seeing their attempt was hopeless, the enemy broke and fled in every direction. "Now then," sung out the chief, "let them smell the pigeon's fat in the valley of Puna. The empty calabashes of our tribe will be filled before night. Show no quarter. Kill everyone, and we will have enough Mokai Mokai's preserved tattooed heads to adorn every post in the pa and village, and our women will sing to them from the flutes we will make out of their thigh bones," and the pas poured out their forces on the retreating enemy, while the old and infirm priests, who viewed the battle from the pas, cursed them in their flight. One special curse was so curious I have not forgotten it. "Haere! haere! Katahuna-e-au-ngahinu, o-to-tua-roa, he Turamahaeriwi i to wairua ki te reinga, haere! ha-e-re! Tenei au te haere nei." "Run! ay run! but I will render down the grease out of your backbones to light your soul to the reinga with. Run! ay run! Here I am now, in full chase."
Run they did. Many brave deeds were done; but what was the use of defeated men fighting? So many of them never warded off the blows given in anger, lest they should be made prisoners and tortured. Te Koukou and his big brother were both killed after a tough struggle. The majority of those who escaped fell into the hands of those who had been warned by the scouts to be on the alert, and their varied tortures afterwards amused the people for several days, until finally they were eaten. A very few ever reached their homes. The whole hillside, from summit to base, smelt of blood and the flesh and fat of men, for the slaughter had been great, and the Popotos rejoiced exceedingly at their splendid victory over Ngatiwhatua, who, in numbers, were once able to cope with them; but now their principal warriors were slain, and their heads would be preserved and stuck up on the edge of their pas, and on every carved post in the settlements beneath.
Many years afterwards, the Ngatiwhatua tried to retrieve their loss and get payment, but were met on the sea beach between the heads of the Kaipara and Hokianga rivers, and on this occasion the Popotos were accompanied by one European; this was the notorious Jacky Marmon. Here a fierce fight took place, which ended in the total rout of Ngatiwhatua, of whom many scores were killed and eaten.
Jacky Marmon himself related the history of this fight to me personally, and his description at the time made my blood run cold in my veins.
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The top of Karewa Ki Runga was oblong in shape, about 80 feet long by about 50 feet broad, about 35 feet above the rest of the hill from whence it had been formed, and the sides were steeper than an angle of 45 degrees. A deep ditch surrounded this fortified mound, which was 6 feet deep and 12 feet wide, and the earth taken out of it and from the cutting away to form the pa itself was used to make outer lines of breastworks, and make the rest of the hill steeper and smoother in doubtful places. A double palisade had stood on the outer edge of the ditch, and I remember several of the old puriri posts that had formed part of it as sound in their positions as if freshly placed there, but I believe puriri will last as long as iron.
During the war with Hone Heke in 1845-46, my father, Captain McDonnell, R.N., fortified Te Horeke, then our homestead, and had two 32-pounders dragged up to the top of Karewa Ki Runga and placed in position there, and at one time we had a garrison of 300 river natives, whom he partly armed with flint-lock Tower rifles and no end of ball-cartridges; and there is no doubt the news of our garrison, and one upper and lower battery of two 32-pounders, seventeen pieces of cannon lower down, consisting of 18-pound carronades and long sixes, had a grand moral effect on those natives who were hesitating which side to join, and also on Heke and Kawiti's men; but we had lively times of it for several months, and many Europeans were scared and left the district, never more to return to it. We saw it out; but few know, or would credit it at this distance of time, the hardships, troubles and dangers some of the pioneer settlers went through, or of the miserable returns made to them for their dogged perseverance and courage.
THE TRIBAL PAKEHA--STORY OF A FEAST AND A DOUBLE SUICIDE.
A favourite pastime of the Maori in the "good old times" was the "moari," or swing, formed by placing a long tapering ricker or spar firmly on some rising ground, and sometimes, for a love of peril, on the brink of a precipice. A number of ropes, according to the size of the spar, were fastened to the top of it, one below the other at intervals of a foot, from which the people would swing, grasping the ropes in their hands and then running swiftly round and swinging off into the air over the sloping ground, river or cliff, as the case might be. Then as each person alighted, the spar being relieved from the weight springs more erect, causing the individuals yet revolving in the air to be lifted higher with a jerk, and experiencing a feeling as if the ropes were being dragged out of their hands.
Serious accidents often used to occur. I have a very vivid recollection of losing my hold one day as I was swinging round a thirty-foot moari and of revolving through mid-air. I was flung into a swamp, where I was picked up much bruised and shaken. I once saw a Maori named Tamati Tutonu sent spinning through
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the air from a sixty-feet moari and disappear through the tops of some puriri trees. Fortunately for him he was not killed, but he could not bear us to touch him, as many of his bones were broken. A Job's comforter improved the occasion, and told him it had happened as a punishment to him for swinging on a Sunday; but the poor, ignorant, unsophisticated Maori said that if the rope had been new, in place of being old and rotten, it would not have occurred.
A rather romantic, though sadly tragical, affair occurred in connection with one of these swings. It chanced to be one of the tallest ever known, had ten ropes attached to it, and was situated near to a precipice that overlooked a mountain torrent, that hissed and dashed wildly over huge black-looking boulders and rocks. No accident had hitherto occurred from using this celebrated moari; perhaps the reason of this was that few dared stand the jerks of the outer ropes as the inner swingers landed. A great feast was given by the tribe at their chief settlement, where this moari stood, and which on this occasion was handsomely decorated with feathers and painted with red ochre. Thousands of dried sharks, eels, pigeons, whale-birds, tuis, wekas, potatoes, kumaras, and the large kai pakeha and taro were provided. Steamed dog, too, but the latter delicacy was for the chiefs and the men of high rank who were expected. There were several hundred pigs, dead and alive, which had been killed in the most approved way. Their legs had been tied, and then they were cast into the deep water. Piggie was soon drowned, when he would be dragged on shore and cut up. The reason the natives killed pigs in this way was to avoid losing the blood, as the meat ate shorter, and pleasantly reminded the converted cannibals of old repasts eaten in the blood. There were numerous bundles of the sugar ti plant. There never had been, said some, such a prodigious feast; but, as with the pakehas, so with the Maoris, there always will be croakers and wet blankets, and a few old and toothless men were heard to grumble. Certainly they had not been permitted to partake of the steamed dog that their mouth watered for. It was too bad! They spoke slightingly of the feast. "As a feast it was well enough; but to compare it with those given in their day by Kaikaru and Te Ngaungau, of the Patu Powhaitere tribe (eat eyes and the gnawer of the paraqueet-killing tribes, who used to serve up crushed and steamed infants in raurekau leaves) would be too ridiculous; but men were men in those days--gone, alas! never to return. We then lived upon our enemies; but now--ugh!" etc., etc.
Well, the feast was attended by many hundreds of men, women, and children, who had assembled from far and near. The flax belts were discarded now, and shark oil and pigeons' fat were used copiously, being well rubbed into the skins of the gluttons of the various hapus about to be pitted against each other, to enable them to eat the greater quantity. No Government officer or painstaking missionary were there, so no bursts of loyalty were recorded or frantic expressions of love and attachment to Queens and Governors,
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which sound so loud, and mean so little. No, this was a time for relaxation and real enjoyment. Everybody was allowed full swing, and to do just as they liked. This was true happiness! Only one pakeha was present--the tribal pakeha, "Our pakeha," who was owned by the chief of the tribe, though they all had a share in him, as will be seen by and by. He had been solemnly invited, and here he was, proud of the honour. Other pakehas, who were jealous, hinted, in a shabby sort of way, that it was because he had lately received an instalment of goods from Auckland, which instalment now dangled and streamed out from the scaffolding that supported the huge piles of food. These jealous pakehas used to relate afterwards that for the goods displayed that day "Our pakeha" merchant did not get paid. Paid? All I know is, that two years afterwards, at a return feast for the one mentioned in this account, he got for his share a nice little kit of dried tapued eels, of which none could, or dare, partake of, except himself; and he was, with great ceremony, presented with an ancient spear that had once belonged to the famous Horopuku (swallower of stomachs), and earnestly desired to take the greatest care of it. Not paid, indeed! He ate all the eels, and his emotion was visible when the ceremony of presenting him with the spear was over, and whenever he walked abroad through the village afterwards with the spear, as he often used to. After filing his schedule, and being allowed to wander out of prison a free man, he was, although destitute of cash or credit, ever certain of being saluted and welcomed by "Advance, the man who ate the sacred eels! Welcome, the pakeha ngawari (a complimentary term, meaning soft pakeha) who guards the spear of Horopuku!" This tribal pakeha died shortly after he was released from prison. The honour of the spear was either too much, or the sacred eels had disagreed with him, perhaps. He was buried by the tribe that owned him. The women composed a sweet, poetic lament over him, in which he was spoken of as "Tino pakeha ngawari, he pakeha pai (a real, good, soft pakeha, whose like they would never, never see again)."
I have forgotten the swing. On the afternoon of the day of the feast the guests began to gather about the maori, and inquiries were made aloud, "Will anyone show us how the swing works? Will anyone swing?" when presently six young men and four young women, one a handsome girl named Takiri, who was betrothed to a young chief named Te Whetu, came forward, and an old chief, a kind of Master of Ceremonies, sang out, "Clear away from the maori, so that the view be not intercepted." The six young men were stripped to the waist, and wore shawls firmly girded round their loins, reaching down to their knees. The girls were dressed in short bodices, reaching below the waist, over which they had bright-coloured shawls, fastened around the middle by gay scarfs. Te Whetu did not wish his betrothed to swing, but she would not be deterred. At a given signal they gave one strong pull all together to see if everything was safe, and the tall
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kauri ricker trembled and quivered from top to butt. Takiri sang the usual chant in her clear voice, and then away they whirled around, and off the brink of the precipice. Then came the cries of applause. "Well done! well done! Look! look at the muscle! Hold firmly! Well done! well done!" When suddenly there was a pause in the cheering. Takiri's shawl had given way at the waist, and, floating over the precipice, was wafted away by a current of air. "Takiri, Takiri," cried some of the women, "you had better send Te Whetu for your shawl." Te Whetu rose and walked away to one side. As soon as the young girl had alighted, she went, upright as an arrow, to the pa, dressed herself in her best mats, and returned. "Oh, Te Whetu, farewell! Do you not comprehend? I am going now to swing on the outer rope of the moari. Te Whetu, I am going." Then, turning to the crowd, she said, "Man the inner ropes--all of them. I am going to show I am brave, though I am but a girl. I don't care for the accident, or for your sneers, you women that have driven away my betrothed husband. Man the ropes!" The young men came forward and, in compliance with her request, seized the ropes. Then, with a loud cry as they stamped round, away they went, all alighting except Takiri. The moari, relieved from the weight, straightened with a spring, when, at that instant of time and trial, the poor girl cried, in a rapid, clear voice, "Farewell, tribe! farewell, Te Whetu! Here is for the reinga haere ake! Follow!" and relaxing her hold, she, as from a catapult, was hurled away and dashed out of all form on the rocks beneath. One loud wail of terror broke from the assembled natives. Te Whetu went straight to his hut and closed the door. Immediately after a dull sound was heard, the hut was entered, but Te Whetu had joined Takiri in the reinga. He had placed his double-barrelled gun to his chest, and pulled the trigger with his foot. After this the moari was cut down, and the settlement was deserted for many years.
HOHAIA-TE-RARAU'S VISIT TO ENGLAND AND THE RESULTS.
A young Ngapuhi chief went on a visit to England in the good ship William Hyde, sailed by Captain Gordon. The captain had taken a fancy to the chief, and offered him a free passage home. Hohaia te Rarua was the name of this New Zealander. He had a desire to visit England, and was much influenced by many things he had heard, and wished to see for himself as to the truth of the wonders he had heard of. He was a modest, well-behaved young fellow, and of the bluest Ngapuhi blood. It was in 1843 that he went home. His old father, the Taonui, was very much against his going, and after the ship had sailed away, used often to express himself somewhat as follows:-- "He will never, never return, either to his tribe or to his country; he will see the Queen, and she will make him an offer which he will be forced to accept; he will become her husband, and I shall not see him any more with my eyes. The Queen is only a woman
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after all, and will have no thought for me, his father, but only for herself, women are so wanting in thought." Te Taonui got some young fellows (Europeans) to write to the Queen for him, and to Hohaia. He begged Her Majesty on no account to have anything to do with Hohaia, and cautioned the latter on no account to marry anyone, whatever else he did.
When Hohaia returned to New Zealand after two or three years' absence, he was an English-speaking Maori, and as finished a rogue as ever Exeter Hall raved over. The Taonui fondly imagined that his letters had prevented him from milking any misalliance, and when Hohaia assured him they had, the old man gathered himself unto his fathers in peace. Hohaia became so outrageous in his ways that had he lived in Australia he would speedily have come to grief, but his career was brought somewhat suddenly to a close.
It is (or used to be) a native custom after the death and burial of a chief, to state at the time of interment when the remains were to be disinterred to allow the bones to be scraped and conveyed to their final resting place in the sacred caves belonging to the tribe. In the "good old days" the New Zealanders used to place their dead either in the fork of a puriri tree, or on a platform until the flesh had wasted away; but this ceased to be practised a short time after the introduction of the honey bee, as the bees used to visit the decaying bodies of the dead, and the natives had a prejudice to honey made, as they termed it, out of the fat of their deceased relatives. I used to tell them the bees were the best judges, and wished, no doubt, to flavour their honey and convert the fat into wax, but the Maoris could not see it in that light!
Great feasting used to take place at these gatherings to exhume the dead, and the office of bone scraping and polishing was always performed by tohungas (priests). A truly correct account of one of these hahungas (exhumings) would be too ghastly and sickening to give here. The priests would convey the remains to the nearest stream or creek, and literally scrape the cheesey flesh that adhered to the bones into baskets with their skinny fingers, and then empty the disgusting mass into the stream, and compliment the departed in a chant as the water swept it away. The skeleton would then be pulled to pieces, joint by joint, until the body was dismembered. The skull would be most carefully gone over, and all the flesh and hair that remained would be carefully picked off with their long-nails. Then the bones would be scraped and polished, and then smeared over with a preparation of shark oil and pigeons' fat and red ochre, and carefully wrapped in newly-dressed flax. The stench that came into the camp, where the tribe had assembled to feast in honour of these ghoul-like proceedings, was high in the extreme.
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TE ERIA: OR, CALIBAN THE ROBBER, AND HOW HE WAS LEGALLY ROBBED IN TURN.
The natives at the North were, as a rule, an honest and well-behaved people, and if proper respect were paid to their time-honoured customs and sacred places, were always hospitable and civil. But of course there were exceptions to this rule.
There was one noted thief on the Hokianga river named Te Eria. Theft was inbred in him; he would steal anything. He excelled in all his performances. In snaring pigeons, ducks, or snipe, none could equal him, and as he used to rob from the snares of others, he used always to bag more birds, though he often got into trouble in consequence. Being a fearfully ugly fellow, with double-jointed fingers, and a body somewhat inclined to deformity, his repulsive aspect had earned for him the name of Caliban; but robber though he was, he was never at a loss for employment in other ways, being so handy with either oar, axe, or spade, while on a wild cattle-hunting expedition, to have him as one of the party was to ensure success, as he was such a good tracker and bushman.
One evening it had been arranged that Caliban should accompany a hunting party I had organised, and I took him into the house I occupied to consult as to the best route to take. I showed him a bright brass cartouche-box full of ball cartridge, also my powder flask and shot belt, and about twenty figs of tobacco, the latter intended for the use of the natives going with me. Our talk over, I showed him out of the house, and shut the door. (We never used to lock the doors until after the natives had become civilised or demoralised--as far as the natives are concerned, it is a distinction without a difference.)
I rose at daylight to assemble our party, but Caliban could not be found; neither could my brass cartouche-box, flask, shot belt, tobacco, or my spare rugs. "Caliban again!" I exclaimed. Instinct led me to the beach by the river--to the shed, where I used to keep a pet racing canoe. That had gone too. I sought one Ipu, Toenga's son, and we held a council, and both of us solemnly declared war to the knife on Caliban.
The result of our deliberations suggested that the thief had crossed the river, and would make off with his spoil to the Rarawa tribe, from whom he came. Another canoe was quickly procured, and away we started, first arming ourselves with a couple of Tao's spears. I also took with me a heavy dog whip, perfectly new (for I never flogged my dogs), and an ugly weapon it was. We soon reached the other side of the river, where we found my canoe comfortably stowed away amongst the young mangroves, and presently we struck Caliban's trail, as we were familiar with his footsteps; they bore a marked resemblance to the Roman letter V, rounded off at the lower end. We hastened on, and about an hour's run on his track brought us to a native fishing village. I asked the first man I met, "Is Te Eria here?"
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"Yes," was the reply.
"He has robbed me," I said, "and we are going to have a taua on him."
"Not with the whip?" I was asked.
"Well," I said, "no--that is, if he will fight like a man." The native pointed to a house, saying, "He is in there; call him out."
"Puta mai ki waho" (come outside), I cried, "and defend yourself. Here I am ready to be killed. What is the good of life to me, now I have lost my brass cartouche-box, flask, and belt? Come out, I say, and finish the work you have commenced."
Ipu and I were ready to pounce upon him with our spears and give him a sound drubbing, and kept running up and down, not at all like persons waiting to be killed--that being merely a form of speech and a sort of apology to the inhabitants of the village in conformity with Maori politeness. As Caliban would not come out, we went in, and discovered him sitting on the earthern floor of the hut with one of my rugs on his shoulders. I tore it off, leaving him naked. "This is my rug."
"It was given to me," he replied.
Ipu by this time had found his bundle, and on unfastening it the desire for life returned, for here was the brass cartouche-box, flask, and all. Caliban grinned, but declared that for those articles to be found in his bundle was the most remarkable and curious thing he had ever known to happen.
"You will," I answered, "O Caliban, ever remember this remarkable occurrence by one just as curious and more unexpected," and out came the dog whip, and as he would not take his reward standing I gave him while sitting a sound lacing over the back and shoulders. He made some horrible faces, but never uttered a cry or stirred hand or foot.
After I had finished he said, "If you haven't finished you had better go on."
"I have ended," I said.
It was the first time he had been caught red-handed by us, and he richly deserved what he got.
Caliban now rose slowly, and declared he would go straight to the Rarawa tribe and return with a party of his friends, and thus he proceeded to tell what he would do, but his threats were too horrible to mention. Ipu at length cut him short with, "No Rarawa who can fight would ever follow a man who has showed himself to be no more than a dog. You had a chance offered you to defend yourself, but refused to do so; now, like a coward, you boast of what you are going to do with women and children." Then, addressing himself to me, he said, "It is too late now to go cattle-hunting to-day, and Te Eria must be punished for the threats he has made. Let us return and row up to his place with our party and muru (legally rob) him of his kumaras and hogs."
On our return home we launched the boats and pulled up the river to Caliban's farm and sacked it, and returned with two boat-
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loads of kumaras and several fat hogs bearing Caliban's ear-mark. We were well fed, too, by the other inhabitants of the village. The natives, when they heard of our taua, said that we had, under the circumstances, acted strictly within the law of muru (robbery), and that Caliban had been in the wrong all through, because no one would help him!
Caliban avoided our settlement for some time after this, as he was of opinion that he might be shot or speared for having tried to get a party to help revenge him, though he had failed. But one evening I chanced to see him paddling past our place in a great hurry. I was just starting for a pull in my canoe, so I gave chase, and in spite of his exertions I overtook him, and peace was made. A cattle-hunting expedition was got up, and my robber friend was to the fore as usual. Caliban continued to keep his name up as a robber until he died, but I believe we were exempted from his pilfering.
A MAORI SALUTE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
A tribe of natives, who lived near the head of the Hokianga River, having by some means recovered two cannons from the wreck of a vessel that had been cast away, were in high glee at their prize. What, indeed, were tuparas (double-barrel guns) and ngutu-pareras (duckbills, the name they had given to flint-lock pieces) to these puripos (guns of thunder).
This tribe determined to force an opportunity for displaying their treasures to their less fortunate neighbours, and trusted to make them play second fiddle in the matter of salutation. They would, in future, be known as the tribe who owned the thunder guns. To accomplish this much-to-be-desired notoriety, it was requisite to give a feast and invite the neighbouring tribes. They had plenty of powder, and set to work to put these guns in position on the sand, using a log of wood to elevate the muzzles. But, at the trial discharge, it was found that the guns would jump up in spite of various contrivances to keep them down. So, as carriages were unknown to the natives, a couple of ponongas (slaves) were told off to sit straddle-legs across the guns while they were discharged, and the ears of the multitude were ravished by the loud reports that woke the sleeping echoes in the opposite ranges of hills. The fame of these two guns got spread abroad, and the tribe became the envy of the river in consequence.
The eventful day of the feast arrived, and the visitors came from far and near in their canoes. The two cannons were placed in position about twenty feet from the palisading of the pa, and were loaded to the muzzle with powder and stones to discharge into the river. The two men told off for the duty now mounted on one of the cannons. "Fire," cried the chief in the pride of his heart. Flash! bang! and a tremendous report, followed by a shower of stones on the water, astounded the natives, and doubtless the visitors all felt small. But the gun had bounded up after the
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discharge, and the two natives were sent sprawling, one one way, and the other the other; but this was taken to be part of the performance by the lookers-on. They now prepared to fire off the other gun, a long nine-pounder, cast goodness knows when. Several pounds of powder had been well rammed into it, and some scores of round iron stones were packed on top of the powder. One native sat in triumph upon it with his face towards the touchhole, holding a lighted fire-stick in his hand. The word to fire was again given, and the light was applied, and a mighty explosion took place. As might have been expected, the old honey-combed gun had burst into fragments. None of the bystanders were hurt, but where was he who had fired the gun? Portions of him were found and gathered into baskets; a woman picked up a piece of the front part of the skull.
But as it was only a slave who had been killed, the sorrow was for the poor dear gun, the departed glory of the tribe. "Where are the eyes?" cried out the native lads, when the women exclaimed, pointing at the same time to the palisading of the pa, on which was seen plastered one temple, cheek and eyebrow of the unfortunate wretch who had been blown up, "Aue! a-na na! ehara i te hanga! e kamu mai ana ki au katahi ano."(Alas! well, well! was ever the like seen! he is winking at me, upon my word.) The quivering of the muscles of the eyelid had been mistaken by the woman for a piece of facetiousness on the part of the dead man's spirit as represented by his eye, and "he is winking at me," was passed about for several days afterwards by the native wits of the settlement.
Respecting the Maori Atua, the conception of the New Zealander with regard to the future state after death would seem to be very vague. They supposed there were many gods, but there were only two or three of them of any recognised importance, such as Maru, Tu, and Tauwhaki. After the death of anyone his spirit proceeded rapidly to a cliff near the North Cape and sprang off, disappearing into the sea and re-appearing again in the reinga, the abode of disembodied spirits; here they all assembled, the good, bad, and the indifferent. They carried on their contentions here as they used when they formerly inhabited the human form when on earth. They fought, they loved, and died again, but after this second death no one seems to be able to tell what became of them; even their tohungas do not pretend to say, except they became ngaro-noiho, viz., disappeared. Maru, Tu, and Tauwhaki ruled the destinies of man on earth, but it does not appear that they had anything to do with the reinga, and flitted about from place to place, appearing only to the seers and tohungas (priests). These deities were, on the whole, antagonistic to mankind, but if propitiated through their priests would permit the tribe to be successful in war or in any tribal undertakings. Then they would assist individuals in their pursuits. If a tribe was going to war they
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would make presents to propitiate the gods through the priests, who would place a number of reeds in the ground, and then retiring a short distance, pronounce an incantation, and then send short clubs whirling amongst the reeds, and judge by the way they fell whether the gods would crown the expedition with victory. If a man caught an unusually large or fat eel it was expected he would give, if not the whole, at least a portion, of it to the priest as a present for Maru or Tauwhaki, and thus secure a continuance of good fortune. Woe betide the unhappy person who should steal Maru's presents; certain death would follow such a transaction. There was no hope of reward hereafter or punishment for good or bad conduct during the life upon earth. Opinions differ as to the food eaten by the spirits in the reinga. Some say they live on large kumaras; other priests say they catch flies and insects and subsist on these, over which they quarrel and fight. On my return once to Wanganui from the North I happened to mention that I had been to the Rerenga Wairau (Spirit's Flight)--the cliff. An old man drew near me, and asked me if I had noticed any spirits leap off into the sea. I told him that they came so rapidly one after the other that the noise made as they jumped into the water made quite a disturbance. "Ah," he replied, "then it is true. I thought it was so, and what the missionaries have told us is wrong."
In the good old days young Maori girls were seldom if ever consulted as to their inclinations as regards marriage, though occasionally a damsel would show such determination and power of will as to get her own way, accepting or refusing a partner for life, or may be until she got tired of him, in spite of any previous decision of the tribe; but sad scenes used to occur too frequently, and often a young girl fell a victim to the manners and customs of her race. Desperate struggles used to take place between tribes somewhat related to each other, one party forcibly resisting another who came prepared to seize a girl as a wife for one of their young chiefs; the recognised law being that if the tribe who came to take the girl, by force if necessary, succeeded in dragging her away from her relations and the tribe she belonged to, their right to have and retain her became established and recognised, and no future tribal attempt would be made to recover possession of her, though single attempts at revenge were not altogether unknown to happen, when it would depend upon circumstances--supposing the person who made such an attempt got injured or killed--whether his people would make it a tribal affair. To sum up, it depended very much upon circumstances whether justice reigned triumphant, or was strangled for the sake of a tribal reason, but in this way they were no worse than their white brothers. At times the policy was to take the part of the revenger, when the tomahawk would be dug up, and bitter feuds take place.
To illustrate this state of things, I will relate the following
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occurrence that happened on the Hokianga River. I became slightly concerned in these events, but I had been fully cognisant of all that had previously transpired at the Taua tango wahine. 1
With her tribe at Pakanae, a settlement nigh to the heads of Hokianga, lived a young and handsome girl named Pupu, 2 who was deeply attached to a young man of her own tribe called Te Ngaru o te Moana, 3 and a very fine young fellow he was. At a feast given to Pupu's tribe by another tribe who lived near the source of the Hokianga River, up the Waihou, the beauty of Pupu attracted the eye of an influential young chief named Toetoe, who began, after the custom of the Maori--and really the customs in this way are pretty nearly the same all over the world--to make love to Pupu. But she would have nothing to say to him--would not give him "encouragement," as it is usually termed. All her heart was in the possession of The Wave. But Toetoe declared he would have her, and that, as no other way was open to him, he would take her by force; and Pupu knew too well what this meant.
The feast over, the guests returned to Pakanae, and soon after assembled in committee to decide whether they should permit Pupu to be taken away quietly when the abduction party appeared in their canoes, or whether they should seriously oppose them. It was just a matter of policy, as the other tribe were distant allies of theirs. But up to this moment the fact that Te Ngaru and Pupu had arranged their future was unknown to the tribe--or at least no official notice had been given by the young parties. It would have saved a lot of trouble if they had done so.
The argument in committee was rapidly going in favour of letting Pupu be carried away with or against her will, when Te Ngaru bounded up and made his speech. Te Ngaru's speech, of course, was opposed to anything of that kind, he declared that, cost what it might, his betrothed should never leave or be taken away as a wife for Toetoe, and he at once claimed Pupu for his wife, and called to the tribe to stand by him and the girl whom they had brought up.
After many hours of consultation and argument, it was definitely settled by Te Anga, the head chief of the tribe, saying, "The girl can remain and be your wife, O Te Ngaru, if you can get the willing hands of the tribe to help you to retain possession of her when Toetoe comes to take her away. But first of all, perhaps Pupu wishes to go. I dare say she gave Toetoe encouragement at the haka, 4 and spoke soft words to him, and would prefer living between the mountains up the river to remaining at Pakanae, where she can see the sea beach and hear the rumbling of the breakers over the home of Tamure and Araite Uru." 5
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Pupu demurely replied that she was content to remain where she was--and with Te Ngaru.
"Enough, then, has been said!" exclaimed Te Anga, "the meeting is ended."
About three weeks after these events four canoes, containing about a hundred men and women--for the latter play an important part in affairs of this kind--and a few elderly chiefs to see fair play, approached Pakanae; and about an equal number on shore at the village were ready to resist them in the coming struggle. Football is nothing to what used to take place, the girl being the ball, as it were. Poor Pupu had seated herself at a little distance from her party in a clear space, and was surrounded by a few old hags, who coquettishly related in a vain way what troubles they had gone through on account of their good looks in their time, and contemplating with the greatest possible satisfaction and delight the coming events of the day.
The visitors were now welcomed with loud cries and the waving of shawls and mats by the Pakanae natives, who formed up to meet them. The strangers were shown to a place of honour, and every luxury in the way of kumaras, shark, and mutton-fish, etc., was placed before them. Loud were the grunts of satisfaction as the baskets were rapidly emptied, one after the other, until all was consumed. Half an hour's rest, and then up rose Toetoe.
"I have come to fetch Pupu for my wife; we have a long way to return. Let Shell listen to this: we must go."
Then a few women, probably his sisters and aunts, and four or five strong-limbed young men, rose and went to where Pupu was sitting. A similar number of Pupu's people rose and sat down again by the side of Pupu.
"I have nothing more to say," cried Toetoe, who then went up to Pupu. Stooping for an instant, Toetoe caught Pupu by the waist, and placed her, in spite of her struggles, on his shoulders. Pupu now gave a loud wailing cry, in which horror, hate, and despair were strongly mingled. This acted as a signal, and at once poor Pupu became the centre of a surging, yelling, frantic mob of men and women, one party trying to carry off the girl to the canoes and the other trying to detain her.
In affairs of this kind, should the girl really wish to go, the struggle is but a sham--a make-believe. The girl is unhurt, and gets away with a little damage to her dress, and a few single wrestling bouts end the affair. But in Pupu's case the girl did not wish to go, and the blood of the young men was roused. No weapons were permitted to be used, though rough tumbles, tugs, and blows were exchanged to such an extent that the unfortunate girl was nearly pulled to pieces, and in less time than it takes to relate this Pupu was almost denuded of clothing. Now she was lifted high in the air, then pitched forward, dragged over the sand and back again by her limbs and hair, torn and mauled by the men as well as by the women--each side equally rough. But as yet no advantage had been gained by either side. At length the poor
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victim was left gasping, senseless, and bleeding on the rugged sandy beach, while each party mutually rested to get their breath. A short time elapsed, when at it they went again, and again the vile work was gone through.
Alas! poor Pupu. She was in the end borne off triumphantly by Toetoe's party, placed in one of the canoes, forcibly held down, and rowed away. "Cease the struggle," cried Te Ngaru; "let them take her." But Te Ngaru, though fate this time had forced him to relinquish his bride, had no intention of giving her up altogether; he knew that a certain time would be allowed to pass before Pupu would be forced to take Toetoe for her husband, and weeks probably would go by before she recovered from the terrible pulling about she had undergone.
About a month after the struggle, Te Ngaru, with his two brothers, came to the Horeke in a canoe. I knew them well; they often had worked for us on the station. Te Ngaru told me that he was going to steal back his betrothed, and wanted me to lend him our four-oared gig. One tide would, he said, take them to the place where Pupu was kept, one tide to wait in ambush, and the next ebb return. I had felt very sorry for both parties, and I thought it would be a splendid thing to help restore Pupu to Te Ngaru, so I made up my mind to run the risk from a certain quarter, and take the boat and go with them. I got my friend Ipu to go with us. We started away after all but ourselves had retired to rest, and a few hours' pull took us to a creek near to Toetoe's village. Ipu was sent to reconnoitre. To explain his presence there, he was to say he had come to visit an old relative who lived in that neighbourhood. This was carried out in the morning. We waited impatiently for his return, or for some sign, the place being about half a mile away. The day passed by, yet no sign. The tide began to ebb, and Te Ngaru now became more restive. He wanted to go to the village, and it was with difficulty I restrained him. Whether I would have been able to do so for long I cannot say; but we now heard footsteps rapidly approaching, and a great noise in the village.
"Cast off the ropes--out with the boat-hook--make ready to shove down the creek!"
This order had scarcely been whispered by me, when Ipu and Pupu, bright, but out of breath, sprang into the boat. In less than a minute we were in the main stream, and had the satisfaction of seeing several dusky figures on the edge of the river. They were calling out for Pupu, and wondering where she could be hidden, for we were in the deep shadows of the river.
We let the boat drift a bit, and then shipped the oars, and in a few hours we were safe at home. Pupu and the others at once got on board of their canoe and reached their home at Pakanae at day dawn.
Toetoe made an attempt to get back his wished-for wife, but he could only raise a few followers, as he had been dreadfully laughed at for not being able to keep what had been won for him. He got
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no sympathy, but in an encounter he had with Te Ngaru, he received from him a severe spear bayonet thrust through his thigh, which laid him up for some time, and as public Maori opinion went this time happily in the right direction, Toetoe had to become reconciled to his bad fortune. An old warrior tried to console him for his loss by telling him that it could not matter much; he could get another wife, who probably would attend to his requirements, and cook for him far better than the girl he had been deprived of.
Kai Hau (Eat the Wind), a Ngapuhi chief, once related to me an account of an expedition he had taken part in when a young man, that went from Hokianga and the Bay of Islands to the Auckland district and commenced a war on the natives there. He went on to say--I will give the account as nearly as I can remember him to have told it:--
"Ah, that was a taua! The number we killed was very great; and oh! the quantity of kumaras and human flesh that was eaten! I was a young man then, and one day I had, with a few others, returned to where Auckland is now, from Onehunga, which was then a fine kainga, with large kumara plantations. But all the land there is spoilt now, as stones have been placed upon it for carts to run upon. But that is just like pakehas' work. Well, I had captured a young girl (by his description about sixteen or seventeen years of age). I was young, and had intended to make her one of my wives when we returned to Hokianga, as she was a kohio pai (nice girl); but on descending the hill near the watu (Shortland Crescent) we were met by another party of our own fellows who had returned unsuccessful after their day's work. They asked me when I had captured the girl. (They noticed her, as she was momona--fat).
"Never mind where I got her," I replied; "I am going to take her back with us to Hokianga."
They asked me to let them have her to eat, as they were hungry, and seeing she was tetere (plump).
"I won't," I replied.
"We must have her," they cried, and before my companions could come to my assistance they seized her.
I held on by one leg, when presently one of them tomahawked her. I was very, very angry at this. If they wished for food they ought to have hunted for themselves. But I cut off the leg I held, and that was all I got of her for my trouble.
"What did you do with the leg?" I inquired.
"Do with it?" he asked. "Ate it, to be sure. What else should I do with it? But I was vexed, as I wanted to be kind to the girl, and the other natives had no right to act as they did. It was not fair. However, I had utu (payment) for it. I picked a quarrel with the man who tomahawked her, and speared him through the thigh, and several days afterwards the men who were carrying him were set upon by the enemy, and had to leave him; so he was cooked and eaten.
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"I think, now," he continued, after a pause, "that I am old, perhaps it was foolish for us to have eaten one another; and if the pakehas were to go away, I would not again eat human flesh. But we have pork and cows now."
"It is because the missionaries have told you how wrong it is to eat such food that you are now a Christian, I suppose? You have been baptized, have you not?"
"You are wrong," he answered, stoutly; "I have nothing to do with that tribe. They are nothing at all to me, and I won't be baptized. They told me that Tu, my ancestor, and Wharewera, my father, are in a big fire, being burned, and that I am a rewera (a devil), and, unless I am baptized, I will be burnt, too; but I don't believe it. Tu was killed and eaten, and he cannot be burnt now. I don't want anything to do with the tribe of missionaries. Tu and my father were toas (braves), and I prefer going to where they are. No, I will follow my ancestors to the reinga (spirit world) and to the kumara grounds; but if I am to be burnt, I am to be burnt, and don't provoke me to be talking about it."
Some of the tortures inflicted at times on prisoners of war may be interesting, to show the strange spirit that existed, especially in those who were acknowledged by the tribe to be first-class warriors. The prisoner to be tortured was brought forward amidst screams and yells from the women. One method was to lash the arms and legs to two strong stakes driven firmly into the ground and the width of the victim's body apart. The head was secured from rolling about by being lashed to a cross piece of wood placed behind the neck, and fastened at each end to the stakes to which the prisoner was tied, who was, of course, naked. An incision was now made with a sharp shell or piece of volcanic glass or tattooing chisel across the shoulders on each side of the spine. The operator would then cut slowly down by the side of the spine (but not to touch the bone) to the small of the back. The blood would then be licked from the wound by the women and children. Another cut would then be made, and the slice of flesh would be torn down the whole length of the back. This strip of flesh would be slightly roasted before the victim's eyes and swallowed, and he would be asked to look at a piece of his own back. Slices would be cut off in this way, and the children would be encouraged to throw hot ashes on the prisoner and pierce between his ribs through and through with long reeds, etc., until the unhappy wretch expired. Another way was to fasten the man down to the ground with cross stakes, and heated round stones would be placed on his body and allowed to burn out the flesh; and to finish off, the eyes would be burnt out of their sockets, and red-hot gravel put in the mouth to stop the screams. Heated rods would be placed in children's hands, and they would be desired to burn holes in the legs and arms for the amusement of the lookers-on.
The man who could stand by and see all this without showing by speech or action that he pitied the sufferer was considered a
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warrior of the first degree, as his heart was hard and all pity had left his breast.
DEATH OF THE CHIEF WILLIAM RIPA.
William Ripa, a northern chief of high rank, and the head of the Matapungarehu tribe, was one of the handsomest Maoris of his day. The tattooing on his face and his brow was beautifully done, every line had its graceful curve. He was a powerful chief, and as brave as a lion. His two brothers--younger than himself--were named Hetaraka te Ngo and Hone te Ware. Some dispute had arisen between the Matapungarehu tribe and the Whanau Pane. Turau, a chief of the latter, had insulted a near relation to Wi Ripa, who had avenged the insult according to Maori law, and had seized a horse belonging to Turau as payment. Here the affair was supposed by Ripa to have ended, but Turau had determined otherwise, and only waited a favourable opportunity to have his revenge.
The Matapungarehu had dispersed to their villages, as it was planting season. Wi Ripa, with his two brothers and a slave, had retired to their home on the banks of the Waihou River, and engaged in their usual occupations.
Turau heard of this and formed a plan to kill the chief. During the war at the North with Honi Heke, the Matapungarehu, under Wi Ripa and his brothers, rendered great service to the country, assisting to put down the enemy, many of whom, though now friendly to the whites, bore Wi Ripa and his tribe a deep grudge for what they had made them suffer. One of these, a chief of Te Taheke (I forget his name, but will call him Taheke) never forgot the treachery. This man was of high courage, but bore a bad character, and was noted for his animosity to Wi Ripa. To this chief Turau went and unfolded his designs, and Taheke promised to aid him all he could. They collected about thirty followers, all of whom hated Wi Ripa for his daring and pluck. Kepa, one of these men, said that nothing would please him better than to kill Wi Ripa, but that he would fight him fairly and face to face. Against the wish of the others he sent a messenger to the three brothers, that on a certain day a war party would attack them.
Wi Ripa demanded of the messenger the names of the chiefs who were to attack him. The man mentioned all excepting Taheke. "You can return now," haughtily replied Ripa; "four men will meet them. I will not disturb the tribe to drive those dogs away." Te Ngo wished his brother to let him fetch five men who lived close by, but could not win his consent. "No," said Wi Ripa; "they would summon the tribe from their cultivations." The day before the attack, a lad brought the news to Wi Ripa that Taheke was one of the thirty. Ripa regretted now he had not allowed his brothers to collect a few men. Te Ngo then proposed they should leave the village. "What!" cried Ripa, "and let Taheke say I fled before him? I killed his relations and
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will now kill him, though now, I foresee, I will fall also. I know my time draws nigh; but it is well."
The same evening, Wi Ripa, taking his gun and spear with him, walked to the bank of the river, and desired his favourite wife to bring him his son, and seated himself by the water's edge. When the lad was brought to him, he addressed his wife thus:--"Listen to my words and be brave. Take the child away from here to-night, at once. See well to his food, let him have plenty to eat; be careful of him; the actions of his fathers, my ancestors, will teach him what a chief ought to be. Go, enter the canoe, and pull up the river to the tribe." The wretched but obedient wife acted as she had been bidden. Who can tell what they both suffered, for each knew they would see one another no more.
Wi Ripa now returned to his brothers and requested them to leave him. "I am to die to-morrow; before this time I will have gone--get you to the tribe." They both refused to leave. "It is well," said Ripa. "Listen to me; the spirits call me. I am a dead man, they sound through the forests. Yes, I come; the tall fern trees will bow their curled heads in sorrow as I pass. I'll bid them farewell as I hurry on--farewell. On land, farewell! O rivers, my home, all parts, farewell! The mullet leap as the flood tide runs. I leap on the ebb. Remain here, O river Hokianga. I'll retire with the morrow's evening sun. Farewell, O tribe; all echoes repeat my words; be brave, be strong. It is enough my brothers, I have spoken. Apopo! apopo! i te ata!"(To-morrow, to-morrow in the morning we will be brave, to meet our enemies--the enemies of our tribe.)
Early the following morning the canoe containing the war party landed about 300 yards below the village, and where there was a huge block of stone, behind which Turau placed himself, sending the party on. As they advanced, Wi Ripa and his brothers stood up and cried, "Haere mai, haere mai" (Welcome, advance; welcome the strangers).
The party came up rapidly, Taheke leading.
"Stand!" cried Wi Ripa; "what seek you?"
Taheke advanced nearer. "I seek a horse; I seek blood. Give me your wife for Turau."
Te Ware levelled his gun. "Friend," he cried, "retrace your steps or I'll fire."
Taheke came nearer. Te Ware pulled the trigger, but the cap missed fire. "Advance, charge!" cried Taheke. "They have no powder in their guns."
There was a rush forward. Wi Ripa shouted his war cry; four double reports awoke the echoes, and two chiefs fell dead. Three bullets in Taheke's heart finished him.
"Re-load my gun, Te Ware," cried Wi Ripa, putting down his gun, and he dashed forward with his spear among the enemy.
Katahi, karua, katoru (one, two, three), and at each count a man fell, pierced through with the spear. Some badly-aimed shots were fired at Wi Ripa, who ran back to his brothers, and
they gave Turau's party another volley, who now commenced to retreat. Te Ware rushed after them, but was shot through the chest. He sank on the ground, but managed to re-load and fire, bringing down one of the enemy.
Wi Ripa jumped forward, and kneeling, embraced his brother. Te Ngo and the slave tried to part them. "I remain here," said Wi Ripa, "Te Ware is dead; take our guns and my mere (greenstone weapon) to our tribe. Go quickly."
Turau's party seeing Te Ware lying still on the ground, and his brother with his head on his breast, concluded both were dead, and returned. But Ripa jumped up, struck one down with his spear, and then seated himself on the ground. A man came up from behind and struck him down with a heavy spade; one more blow killed him.
Turau's party now placed the two bodies in a hut, collected their dead and wounded, five killed and seven badly hit, and made for the canoe. The tribe came down and took the bodies of their chiefs away, and hundreds of natives came to show their respect. A small Maori war ensued. Other chiefs and Mr Maning, an old settler, arranged terms of peace.
William Ripa's son, the lad his wife had conveyed up the river the night before the death of his father, was serving with the Ngapuhi Contingent on the West Coast (Patea) during the disturbances of 1868, and I had many conversations with him. He was apparently a fine young fellow, and was much moved when I told him I recollected his father's and uncle's death.
A well-known settler in Hokianga was one day seated in his house, the doorway of which fronted the river. A white pipi shell walk ran in a curve to the gate, which was fastened to the gate-post by a curved piece of iron hoop and a latch. The distance to the gate from the house was about one hundred yards. A chief, who had already killed three or four fellows in sudden fits of passion, had visited the settler this day, and brought his youngest and most favoured wife with him. The chief, whose name, by the way, was Kaitoke (eater of worms), was sitting just inside the threshold of the doorway, keeping his wife in view, who was seated on the grass a little to one side of the house, but out of sight of the settler, and had a huia (white-tipped feather of the New Zealand crow) stuck in her hair as an ornament.
It was about dinner time, and the settler's native servant had laid the cloth and knives, and had brought in the dish of potatoes. In fetching the things in he had to pass and repass the girl where she was sitting. On his return to the kitchen he halted, plucked the feather from her hair, and made as if he would place it in his own hair, and then replaced it and passed on. Kaitoke had seen this while conversing with the European (about spars, I think), when he quietly asked if there was such a thing as an axe or an adze in the house. "Yes, you will find an adze in that room,
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if you want one," replied the settler. Kaitoke rose, got the adze, and resumed the former subject of conversation.
When the native man returned with the dish of meat, his eye caught Kaitoke's, who then rose to his feet. The man now dropped this dish, and ran for his life towards the gate. Kaitoke jumped up in hot pursuit. The settler saw the two running, but did not know the reason, not having seen the by-play. He rose and looked beyond them to see what they were running for. The man gained the gate, but, whether paralysed with fear, or otherwise stupefied, I cannot say, he fumbled at the fastening, and could not at the precious moment open the gate. Kaitoke came on him, and, with a hideous yell, buried the adze in the back of his head, leaped the gate, and was away round a stoney point. The settler, a powerful, wiry man, took down his loaded rifle, and started away in hot pursuit, but only got one snap shot at him as he wound in and out of the huge boulders; and Mr. ----, I believe, never met him again, as he kept close. The murdered man was buried. He had been killed in a fit of mad jealousy by this chief. This occurred about 1845.
The influenza was very prevalent in Hokianga about the year 1846, and many of the natives fell victims to it through their mode of treatment, rushing when the fever was on them to the river and bathing themselves in the cold water. One tribe had suffered in particular, and many of them had died. The chief Tio (The Oyster) had successively lost three of his children, and the fourth, a fine lad of six years, was at the last stage of that sickness, when Tio summoned the whole tribe to assemble, and addressed them somewhat as follows:--
"Listen to me, O tribe! I have had a dream and a hui (a starting of the limbs in sleep), and I have discovered the cause of the many deaths that have taken place amongst us, including the death of my three children and of that which will soon follow--the death of my son now lying here. We and they have been all bewitched by the old man and woman, his wife, both of whom are now sitting yonder, and unless they die for the evil they have caused and brought upon us they two alone will soon represent this our tribe gathered together here. Therefore it is, O tribe, I have called you here to see justice done. I will kill them this day with my own hands as utu for those who have died through them, and in order that we may live and be saved alive. Lead them forth to the end of the beach to yon sandy point."
The old man and his wife said nothing. Probably they knew it would be of no use. They were led about a hundred yards away and seated by the edge of the river. Tio now stripped, and, taking his long-handled tomahawk, advanced towards them. The old grey-haired woman rose as Tio approached, and, avoiding the thrust he made at her, clasped the chief round his knees, and cried, "Kill me not. Alas! do not kill me. I am innocent, I am
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innocent." But he said she was guilty. It was of no avail; she was quickly dispatched. The old man now rose. The tide had, as if in mockery, drifted a branch of a tapakehi shrub to where he had been sitting. This he laid hold of, and--vain thought--attempted to do battle for life with his armed and powerfully-made chief. Alas, poor old man! bend your head to your fate, it will save you a few moments of pain. He warded off two blows, poor wretch! when the rotten stick broke in his hand, and he fell and joined his old wife in the spirit world.
One night I was returning home with a party of six natives from a fish spearing expedition we had undertaken the same evening. The fish we speared at night by torch-light during the run in of the young flood tide.
My old friend Toenga Pou, who, among his many accomplishments, prided himself on being a tohunga (priest), was sitting next in front of me in the nose of the canoe, humming a weird sort of chant to himself in a low dreamy tone, and keeping time with his paddle.
It was a beautiful clear starlight night, and midway up the sides of the two ranges of wooded hills that formed the background to each bank of the river, lightly floated a thin soft line of white mist, the tops of the ranges showing out distinctly against the starlit sky, the surface of the water might have been likened to a mirror in which the stars, mountains, and trees were clearly reflected.
It was a warm night, not a breath of air could be felt. All was serenely still. Our canoe cut her way rapidly through the water, urged forward by our paddles, leaving a long trail of phosphoric light in our wake. We were steering across the river to avoid the effects of the strong running tide, and were nearing a low line of mangrove trees, whose overhanging boughs, dipping and trailing in the tide, caused a ripple as the current swept past, and now and then was heard the gurgling sound made by the water, as it washed up and receded again from the hollow stems of the mangroves.
Suddenly, without warning, Toenga threw up his paddle and stopped in his chant. The action was so marked and unexpected that we all stopped paddling, and the canoe drifted with the tide.
"Heaha?" (what is it?) I asked.
"Taihoa" (wait) replied Toenga; "resume your paddles till we land."
Not a word more was spoken until the canoe touched the shore.
By the time we reached home it was nigh morning, and I went to my house, Toenga following me until I reached the door.
"My son," he said, "I must away to my home. Listen to me; the spirit of Nga Ripene (a young girl I knew well, and a niece of Toenga's) has passed up the river; it crossed the nose of the canoe just when I threw up my paddle on its way to my settlement and huts to carry her love and leave it with her relatives and with me. Alas! alas! Nga Ripene is dead; but I fear her spirit will try and
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get my daughter Haupu to go with her to the reinga (the next world). I must go now, as her people will be sure to bring her body up to-morrow to our settlement."
Old Toenga had been very merry over our fishing, and had been more successful than of any one of us. As his aim was so true and his sight so quick, he often succeeded in spearing fish that had been missed by others of our party. But now his mood had changed, and he walked towards his home with his head down, looking careworn and sorrowful. I doubted the truth of old Toenga's vision, as I had seen the girl a few days before, she having been one of a party of Maoris who had called at our settlement on their way down the river, when she had seemed in good health and spirits, and had looked remarkably handsome; and now Toenga had said she was dead! I could not believe it.
Toenga described the sensation he had felt by saying that his hair and flesh had moved of their own accord, doing a kind of obeisance to the spirit as it passed on its way.
About noon on the following day, a native named Puakawau came up the river on his way to Waikahanganui, where Toenga lived. He told me Nga Ripene was dead. She had died suddenly the previous day towards sundown. I told Puakawau the occurrence of the previous night, and what Toenga had said; but he expressed no surprise, only saying he was glad of it, as he would be prepared for the message he was taking to him.
The last request Nga Ripene had made was, that she might not be buried in the kari tupapaku (corpse garden) of the missionaries. She had been christened Matilda, but Toenga was to place her remains with those of her ancestors. Of course Toenga carried out to the letter this last request.
Nga Ripene's death was attributed to her having eaten some peaches that had been grown on a piece of tapued (sacred) ground by mistake. This occurred about 1850.
About the last act of cannibalism that occurred in this colony happened in 1845, at Kaiwhaiki, on the Wanganui River. A war party, led by the old Heu Heu and his tribe Ngatituwharetoa, of Taupo, swept down to Wanganui. On reaching Kaiwhaiki settlement, they found it had been abandoned. They dug up a corpse that had been buried for some days, took it to the river side, washed it free from the earth and clay, cut it up in pieces, cooked it and ate it. Several natives are now alive in Wanganui who witnessed this act of cannibalism. But, now I think of it, I am wrong in saying that the above was about the last piece of cannibalism that occurred in New Zealand, as Titokowaru's people ate and converted into soup portions of our men who were killed in action. In 1868 a man who had been shot dead in action, and who had been buried at the Manawapou Redoubt, was taken up, cooked, and eaten.
The following is an account of a strange crime committed at
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Murimotu some years ago. I believe it to be a true account of what then took place. A woman of Wanganui married a man from Tongariro, Taupo, and afterwards went with him to live on his lands at Murimotu. The result of this marriage, after a number of years, was six children--all boys. In the course of time, the woman was seized with a desire to go and see her relations at Wanganui. So, bidding her husband take care of the youngsters, she started away on her journey. Shortly after her departure a severe storm came on, which, for violence and duration of time, was without precedence. Snow fell heavily for ten days, covering the face of the country lying near the base of Ruapehu and Tongariro mountains, and the Patea and Murimotu plains. Day after day passed, but still the snow fell, and buried one after the other of the plantations, kumara, and taro pits. The very houses even were buried, and the snow lay thick in the forests and on the trees. In a few days' time the stock of food in the house where this man lived with his six sons was consumed, and hunger stared them in the face. They dug their way out of the hut and gazed around, but nothing but snow and the line of forest met their view. No food was apparently procurable, and the fall of snow showed no signs of abating. Two more days passed over. At length the father, roused to action by the cries of his starving children, said to the youngest, "Son, let you and I go to the forest to try and get some birds and firewood, lest we all starve to death." The young lad assented, and following his father's footsteps, they struck for the nearest point of the forest. On reaching their destination, the man said to his son "See, there lies a bird." The boy turned to look, and was at once killed by a blow from his father. The flesh was stripped from the bones, and made up into small parcels, and taken back to the house and there cooked and eaten. The other children were made to believe it was preserved birds' flesh. Time rolled on, and the man again requested one of his sons, the fifth, to accompany him to get food, and to assist him in searching for his brother, whom he declared had lost himself in the forest. On reaching the bush, this lad met the fate of his brother; the flesh was removed from the bones, and done up in leaves to represent hua hua, but one limb was left in the fork of a tree. Back trudged the man with his terrible burden, which he cooked for food on his return. The following day the snow began to melt away before a warm northerly wind. Pina, the mother of these lads, had been frightened at the bad weather in Wanganui, and on the first signs of clearing, she started on her journey homeward. On arriving at the settlement she asked her husband how he had managed to procure food. He told her he had picked up some frozen birds in the bush, adding, "We have still some of the flesh left; you are hungry, and had better eat of it." Pina said, "I cannot eat until I see all my children; only four are here, where are the two youngest?" "They were here just now," replied the man. But at last he said, "They have lost themselves in the forest during the snow storm while searching for birds." Pina's suspicions were now awakened, and catching up a
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mat she said, "I will return presently." She made straight for the bush, and in a short time she found the remains of her two sons, and their heads. On her return home she sent her husband away on an errand to the bush, and in his absence she left for Taupo with her family to seek protection and revenge on her husband. The presiding chief, on hearing her story, sent an armed party to capture or kill the man, but on reaching the settlement he was not to be found, nor was he, they say, ever after heard of. All his land was confiscated as payment by order of the head chief of that district.
The above facts were related before the Native Land Court to prove how a certain block of land came into the possession of a particular family, who had not based their claims to it upon ancestral titles
THE LAW OF UTU.--A TOURNAMENT.
When I was a lad of eighteen, the following occurred, which may not be without interest:--My father had gone on a trip to Auckland on some business or other, and I was left in charge till his return. But to understand what is to follow, a description of our house is necessary. The "Cottage," as we called the house my father and mother and younger members of the family lived in, was situated on the banks of the beautiful river Hokianga. A large fenced garden and vineyard enclosed these premises, and separated them from the business part of the establishment. The outer fence on one side formed one end of a large yard one hundred yards long, and was bounded by the river on one side, and the base of a hill on the other. A row of small cottages, including a large building used as a storehouse, lined the base of the hill. At the further end of this yard stood another cottage, having a passage through the centre of it leading into another large garden, orchard, and vineyard. This cottage I occupied with my brother George. Another row of houses had been built at right angles to those that fronted the river, running up behind them. One of these was used for an office. My brothers, George and William, in company with one of our native lads (a tall, ill-grown fellow), intended to go tui shooting, and while George went to our father's office to get the guns, we--that is, Moko, the native lad, my brother William and myself--were standing at some little distance from the office, and nearly opposite my house, looking at some cattle that were now walking between us and the office door. My brother George now appeared in the door way with a double-barrelled gun, which he levelled at the cows as they walked past, and he snapped the piece several times, thinking the gun was not loaded.
I called out, "Don't do that! The gun may be loaded; some of them are; and you might shoot the cows."
"It's not loaded," he replied, and pointed it at my head.
"Don't," I said; "it might go off."
"No, it won't," said he, and shifted his aim on to Moko, who was standing by my side, and just before William, who was a head
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shorter than Moko. He pulled the trigger, and bang went the gun. Moko gave a howl, fell backwards, and remained motionless on the ground. The gun dropped from George's hand.
"There--I told you so!" I said. "You've done for Moko now, at anyrate. A precious mess you have got us into!"
George was so troubled at the thought of what would happen that he made a clean run for the bush, to some caves we knew of. William and I turned Moko over and shook him, but, to all appearances, he was stone dead. However, when we commenced to lift him he groaned.
"Ain't you dead, Moko?" we asked.
"Kua mate rawa ahau" (I am quite dead), replied the corpse.
At last, with some trouble, we got him on his legs. The gun had been loaded with ball, which had struck him a little above the left temple, and running along his sloping forehead had ploughed a line over his head, leaving the skull' bare, but untouched otherwise. We got him into the house, and seated him on my bed, and with my pocket knife I cut the strip of scalp away with the hair attached to it. I bound up his head as well as I knew how, and gave him a glass of wine we fetched for him. We were very vexed for Moko's accident, but I was in a terrible state of mind for the results. According to the Maori law of utu (payment) we would be robbed, and if our whole place was not burned down, we might consider ourselves lucky. I blamed myself much for permitting George to enter the office. I desired William to stay with Moko and help him into the house, while I went to look for the other lad we had named Ipu, a fine brave young fellow, and about my own age. I soon found him, and told him of what had occurred. He came to see Moko; and I afterwards sent him to tell his father, old Toenga, a great friend of mine, and a tohunga (priest) of the accident, asking him to return as quickly as he could. I knew that Toenga would collect a few men and come to me at once, after he had sent messengers to Wi Hopihana, a chief of the Popoto tribe, to convey the news to him; for it was a most serious affair. During Ipu's absence I noticed a canoe putting towards the settlement. I went to the beach to meet it, and as it touched shore, I saw it contained Whakarei, a chief of some rank, and his daughter, who were related to Moko. I knew Whakarei very well, and the Maori custom also, which would, when I told him of our trouble, bind him to remain and assist us out of the ill-effects of the morning's work. So I told him what had occurred.
"Lucky for you," said Whakarei, "I happened to come down the river this morning. You have sent for Toenga?"
"Yes," I said.
"That was wise," he replied: "he will know and do what is required. Toenga will, of course, have a taua (war party) on you, a mere matter of form, but it will strengthen your cause against other tauas."(A family "taua" might consist of knocking you down, or sticking a spear through your leg or arm, seizing your cattle or any other property you happened to possess. It depended very
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much on the estimation your friends held you in; it was a toss up, in fact, what they would do. I knew old Toenga very well though, and he had partly adopted me as his white son.) "You must have plenty of food for those who comprise the tauas to-day, as they will remain to defend you against the Ihutai's tribe (it was only this tribe of blackguards I dreaded) who will hear of this by to-morrow. You had better give me the gun with which Moko was hit. I am his relation, and you can then say you have made restitution, and have given me the gun."
We now went to see Moko, and Whakarei unbound his head.
"You are badly hit," said he, "but you won't die, and I have got the gun."
* * * * * * * *
Toenga's party soon arrived, and were met by Whakarei, myself, my brother William, and Ipu, who had returned.
The next day another friendly taua came headed by the Chief Wi Hopihana. This over, news came that two war canoes containing a taua from the Ihutai were fast coming up. On they came with loud yells and brandishing their guns and spears, but I had armed our side with some fowling-pieces and old Tower rifles. The canoes landed their party, who formed up and then charged up the beach towards us, who were kneeling to receive them. They stopped short when within about fifty yards, and a dead silence reigned. At last, with a hideous yell, they sprang as one man erect, and had their war dance. We now shook our guns up and gave them a more awful dance than theirs had been. Again all was silent. At last old Toenga passed from left to right with his bayonet spear and challenged the enemy, calling out to their best man named Kaka.
"You challenge me, Toenga, do you?" said he.
"Yes," said the other, "come and be killed."
"Here I am," said Toenga, and as his opponent advanced to the right, Toenga advanced to the left. Then each of them tacked about, and so on, till they met at striking distance in the centre of the space between the tribes. (They set at each other just as I have seen game cocks do before they fly at one another.) Toenga now made a spring, the other man made a rapid feint, followed by a quick thrust at Toenga's thigh, but to touch my old tutor was not such an easy thing to accomplish, and the old fellow's blood was up. He did not attempt to parry the dangerous thrust, but uttering a frightful yell, he bounded off the ground, avoiding the bayonet, which he had jumped over. Round went his spear with a whiz, and down came the butt end on his antagonist's neck, knocking him off his legs, and laying him on the ground; then bringing the spear's point to the front, he buried it in the ground within an inch of the prostrate warrior's stomach. "Ha! ha! i tohungia ano koe!"(Ah, there, I've allowed you to live). Howls of applause came from our side. Two more now challenged. At last my turn came. Old Toenga gave me his spear, and bade me recall one particular feint and underthrust he had taught me. (Many a rap I got in learning it from him, to say nothing of what always awaited me
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at home whenever it was found out that I had been taking lessons from him.) "You do it," continued Toenga ,"just as I taught you. Attract his attention before you allow him to close. When making the feint, dart your eye into his with a glare, yell, and at the same time sink the butt of the spear and push forward instantly; the spear will do the rest, and if it does not run through his stomach it will stick into one of his legs, which will answer the purpose just as well. He can't ward off your thrust, as he will be deceived by your eye. Now, my son, move forward; keep your body limp, allow every muscle to have play, and as you close stiffen yourself into your spear." I advanced first to one side, then to the other, to meet my foe. On he came, a beetle-browed fellow, armed with a heavy hard-wood spear. I obeyed my instructions to the letter, and a howl informed me that the spear had done the rest. It had entered above his knee cap, and had gone home to the bone. As he stooped with the pain I brought the butt round with a swing, and down on his head. "Me he toke!" I cried. Ipu now sprang forward, and was met by another lad, and a pitched battle took place, which ended in the victory for Ipu. The Ihutai now asked for payment for the injury done to Moko. "I have given Whakarei the gun. I will give no more, and if I did, Kapetana would kill me when he returns from Auckland," was my reply. "Three of your men have been beaten; do you want any more?" They now moved towards the store which held goods to a large amount, and threatened to break in the door if I would not unlock it. "We cannot prevent them breaking the door open," said one native, "as they want payment, but we will fight them afterwards."
"Yes, I thought, and who will get the goods then?"
"No man breaks open that door," I cried, as three natives advanced with axes towards it.
I resolved to shoot them. I longed to do so now; a change had come over me.
"William," I said, "go to the cottage."
I levelled my short rifle. "Now, break down that door," I said in English, "and I'll shoot you!"
"Come back," cried Wharepapa, the chief of the tribe; "he means what he says, he'll fire, Hokimai come back," and they drew back. For a few seconds I felt sorry they had, but intensely glad for it a moment afterwards. This ended the affair, and a general shake hands all round soon took place. I gave Moko's avengers a feast of pork, potatoes, rice, and sugar on my own responsibility. The Wharepapa took his wounded grandson and the gun which Whakarei handed to him, and the tribe departed in peace to their own place. Wi Hopihana collected all the arms we had issued to our people, but the ammunition was not offered to be returned, and I did not ask for it. The next day they all returned to their different villages in great good humour. This happened about thirty-two years ago.
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PLAN OF TAURANGAIKA PA.
Abandoned by Titokowaru when attacked by the Colonial Force under Col. Whitmore, Feb. 3, 1869.