1893 - Stack, J. W. Kaiapohia: the Story of a Siege [1990 reprint] - CHAPTER VII. PURSUITS OF RAUPARAHA, PEACE, COLONIZATION, CONCLUSION, p 87-94

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  1893 - Stack, J. W. Kaiapohia: the Story of a Siege [1990 reprint] - CHAPTER VII. PURSUITS OF RAUPARAHA, PEACE, COLONIZATION, CONCLUSION, p 87-94
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AS soon as the fugitives from Kaiapoi had sufficiently recovered from the terrible shock which their feelings had sustained from their crushing defeat, they commenced to organize an expedition for the purpose of avenging the destruction of their Pah and people. Their cause was warmly espoused by their kinsman in the south, who were so impatient to carry out the project of revenge that two hundred and seventy of them started northwards under the leadership of Tuhawaiki and Karetai, before they had time to properly equip themselves for the struggle. Their object in hurrying away was to surprise Rauparaha, who made a practice of visiting the lagoons near the mouth of the Wairau river every year at that particular time, which was the moulting season of paradise ducks, and the other waterfowl, which he went there to procure. These birds after being plucked and cooked were packed in vessels, formed out of large kelp leaves protected on the outside with strips of totara bark, the vessels so formed being air-tight preserved the contents for a long time.

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The Kaiapohian expedition which has ever since been known as Oraumoa-iti (small Oraumoa) in contradistinction to a subsequent expedition sent up for the same purpose, called Oraumoa-nui (or great Oraumoa) was within an ace of accomplishing its object. It arrived on the spot along the coast where Rauparaha meant to land a few hours before he reached it, and having concealed their canoes, they placed a number of men in ambush in the woods, close to the beach; but owing to one of Rauparaha's men finding some trace of recent visitors at a short distance from high water mark, he gave the alarm, and though the southern men rushed from their place of concealment, and attacked Rauparaha's force, they only succeeded in killing a few of them. The old Chief escaped by hiding in the kelp near the rocks, till one of his canoes, still afloat, approached near enough for him to get on board. Paora Taki, the well-known native assessor at Rapaki, who was with the expedition recognized Rauparaha, and might have killed him as he brushed past him on his way to the water, if he had only possessed a better weapon than a sharpened stake to assault him with.

The Kaiapohians, who did not think it prudent to continue the pursuit of their enemies, who had recrossed the straits, returned home to reorganize and recruit their forces. A few months afterwards, a second expedition numbering four hundred warriors, under the

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command of Taiaroa, started for Cook's Strait in a flotilla of canoes and boats. They proceeded along the coast as far as Queen Charlotte's Sound, and at the head of it they met a large force of Rauparaha's men, whom they immediately attacked. The ground was very broken and wooded, and only a portion of the men on both sides got into action. Towards evening the northern men withdrew from the place, and the southerners claimed the victory. For some days in succession, encounters between the forces took place with varying results. In one of these engagements which took place on a steep hill-side two warriors were engaged in mortal combat, in a position where there movements attracted the notice of their respective sides, who watched with eager interest the struggle between them. Clasped in a close embrace, each one strove with desperate efforts to throw the other down. Te Hikoia, the southern man, feeling that his antagonist, Te Kaurapa, had the advantage over him from his being on the upper side of the sloping ground, and that he was about to be overcome, cried out, "Iwikau e!" I am going! His nephew, who was armed with a fowling piece, hearing his cry of distress, flew to his assistance, calling out as he ran towards him, "disentangle yourself, throw him over your hip;" his object in giving the direction, being to get a shot at the enemy without endangering his relative's life. Hikoia, by a

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supreme effort, succeeded in doing what he was advised; and Iwikau seizing the opportunity, shot his uncle's opponent, who fell dead at his feet; and then seeing the fallen man's weapon (maipi) lying on the ground, he picked it up, and carried it off as a trophy. Rauparaha, who witnessed from a short distance the whole transaction, remarked to his companions, "I kia atu ano," (I told you it would be so), alluding to the advice he had given his men not to come to close quarters with their Ngai Tahu foes, whom they knew from past experience to be desperate fellows at a hand-to-hand encounter. The scarcity of food compelled the southern warriors to return before they were able to accomplish anything decisive. Shortly afterwards, circumstances occurred which led to the total cessation of hostilities between the two parties. Rauparaha's tribe quarrelled with their neighbours and allies, the Ngatiawa and fearing a coalition being formed against him, the wily Chief of Ngatitoa resolved to make peace with Ngaitahu; and selecting the Chiefs of highest rank from amongst his Kaiapohia prisoners, he sent them home under the charge of an honourable escort, desiring them to use their influence with their friends to accept his friendly overtures. The unexpected return of Momo, a Chief of very high rank, and greatly beloved on account of his amiable disposition, and the noted Iwikau, and other valued leaders of the tribe, accompanied by a band of Rauparaha's

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trusted friends, whose lives were now in their power to spare or take as they pleased, won the goodwill of the Kaiapohians, who accepted the terms offered to them, and made peace with their late foes.

But though peace was established the bulk of the Kaiapohians prisoners carried to the north were still kept in bondage. There were influences at work however on their behalf, which soon resulted in their release and return to their own land. The humanizing influences of the Christian religion, which was first introduced to the Maori people in the vicinity of the Bay of Islands by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, in 1814, had gradually penetrated the country, till in 1839 it reached the tribes over which Rauparaha ruled, who as soon as they embraced the Christian faith released all their prisoners, and assisted them to return home.

When New Zealand was proclaimed a British Colony in 1840, several of the Kaiapoi Chiefs attached their names to the Treaty of Waitangi, by which the Maoris transferred the rights of sovereignty to the English Crown, the deed having been brought to them for signature by the Captain of H. M. S. Herald.

In 1843, Tamihana, the only surviving son of Rauparaha, and his cousin Matene te Whiwhi, inspired with the noble desire to repair as far as they could the injuries inflicted upon the Ngai Tahu by their relatives, visited the South Island, where they spent two years, during

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which period they visited every Maori settlement in it, for the purpose of imparting to the inhabitants a knowledge of the Christian faith, which they had both embraced: having been baptized shortly before undertaking their mission by Mr. Hadfield, the present Primate of the Anglican Church in New Zealand. During the whole time spent amongst the Ngai Tahu, these two young men were in momentary danger of being put to death, either to gratify the feeling of hatred cherished in many hearts towards their kinsmen, or by some one who felt impelled by the ancient custom of blood feud, not to miss such an opportunity of avenging the death of dear relatives who had perished by the hands of Rauparaha's tribesmen, during their various raids on the south. The heroic courage and fervent zeal of the two young missionaries was rewarded by the conversion of the entire population, who were won over to the Christian faith by witnessing in their conduct and demeanour, the evidence of its divine power to change hate into love, and the bitterest enemies into the firmest friends.

In 1848, the Chiefs of Kaiapoi, and other sections of the tribe assembled at Akaroa to meet Mr. Commissioner Kemp, who had arrived there in H. M. S. Fly, for the purpose of negotiating with them for the purchase of their lands. The negotiations were successful, and Mr. Mantell was sent shortly afterwards to survey the portions which the Maoris had

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reserved from sale for their own occupation. Amongst the reserves made was the site of the old Kaiapoi Pah, to which Mr. Mantell referred as follows in his dispatch to the Governor, written in 1848:-- "I have guaranteed to the natives that the site of the ancient Pah, Kaiapoi, shall be reserved to her Majesty's Government, to be held sacred for both Europeans and Natives." As long as the old Maoris lived who regarded with veneration the spot associated with so many proud and pleasant, as well as so many sad and humiliating memories of the past, the site of the old fortress was not willingly and knowingly desecrated. But since their removal by death, their degenerate representatives have shewn an utter want of decent respect for the site of the ancestral home of their tribe, and for the sake of securing a paltry sum paid as rent, they have allowed an unsightly fence to be erected right across the front wall of the Pah, which was before that in a state of excellent preservation, and cattle to be depastured within the enclosure, the result being that the walls have been trampled down, and the ditches filled in and many interesting marks of its former occupants obliterated. There is still time to rescue what remains to mark a spot rendered famous by its past history--a spot which will be regarded with increasing interest as years roll on.

Seven years ago the Kaiapoi Maoris agreed, at a meeting convened in their Runanga house,

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to erect a stone monument, on which the chief incidents connected with the history of the Pah were to be inscribed; but so few of them have given anything towards carrying out the project, that it has remained in abeyance. Perhaps some of those who are equally entitled with the Maoris to call Kaiapoi their birth-place, may be induced, after reading these pages, to help to protect the remains of this famous fortress, and to perpetuate the memory of its defenders.

The story of the Old Pah is ended, and if it has been properly told, the reader will concur with the writer in the opinion that amongst those whose deeds deserve to be kept in remembrance by the people of this country, are the brave defenders of


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