1907 - Wilson, J. A. The Story of Te Waharoa...Sketches of Ancient Maori Life and History - [Front Matter]

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  1907 - Wilson, J. A. The Story of Te Waharoa...Sketches of Ancient Maori Life and History - [Front Matter]
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Judge Wilson

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A Chapter in Early New Zealand History



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Te Waharoa's waiata of defiance to Ngapuhi--a message sung to Mr. Wilson (father of the author) on the 29th March, 1837, at Te Papa Tauranga.

Ko au anake ra te waihou nei, i te ngatu raiaha--Ka tu, raiaha--Ka haere, raiaha--Ka pana, raiaha-- Mahia, aha--Onoia-onoia raiaha--Ka kote aha-- Korero mai roto, Korero mai roto.


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THE following pages furnish a truthful narrative of some past events, which occurred in New Zealand, during the life time of the father of the present Chief, William Thompson--and form, if the paradox may be allowed, a chapter in the history of Auckland, South of Auckland, before Auckland was Auckland.

In Part I., an effort has been made to clear the early incidents related from the dimness and uncertainty with which time, and lack of written record, has involved them; while the views, submitted in Part II., have been formed by a disinterested, and not unobservant, spectator. And, in reference to Part III., I feel assured that the historical statements contained will be found to be of a very reliable nature.

I would add that the only evidence accepted in this "STORY OF TE WAHAROA" is such as has been directly received from Missionaries, Pakeha-Maoris, and Maoris, who were contemporaneous with, and personally well acquainted with, that remarkable Chief; and though a knowledge of Waharoa and his times, was not acquired by me yesterday, still, I beg to thank those friends with whom I have lately conversed, for their kind efforts to recall circumstances that were well nigh forgotten and lost.

I will conclude by observing that I have not sought to multiply horrors,--if much has been said, much also remains unsaid, for there was no lack of materials. Very repelling scenes have been omitted; and the reader is not to suppose that this slight sketch contains all the dreadful things that were done in Waharoa's time.


Remuera, Auckland, 1866.


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It is forty years since the Story was published, during which time not a single statement of fact therein regarding Maori history has been questioned, much less refuted. So far as I am aware, only one fact has been questioned, and that is outside the range of Maori history, namely, whether the disappointed immigrants who arrived at Sydney from New Zealand, went pearl fishing. A gentleman attempted to verify the statement by searching the records in Sydney. He found that the disappointed immigrants had arrived from New Zealand; their port of departure, as stated in the Story, being Hokianga; but he failed to trace them to the pearl fisheries, which is not surprising, as other vessels suitable to pearl fishing would be used by the immigrants, and not the deep sea ship in which they had come from New Zealand.

I was asked for my authority and gave it, namely the late Mr. Fairburn, of the Church Missionary Society, formerly a resident of Sydney, who told the story of the immigrants and their wanderings to my father in 1833, when weather-bound together at the same sand-spit island, while voyaging in an open boat from the Thames to the Bay of Islands.

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The information contained in this Story was gathered by me from many sources, my principal informant being my father, the late Rev. J. A. Wilson, of the C.M.S., also the late Rev. T. Chapman, C.M.S., the Rev. J. Hamlin, C.M.S., Mr. H. Tapsal, and many other persons both European and Maori, also from personal observation.

Here I would note that the Story of Te Waharoa served a useful public purpose in rectifying an error that the Native Land Court, then new to its office, had fallen into, when laying down the dictum called its 1840 Rule (vide Oakura judgment delivered by three judges, including the Chief Judge, while sitting in the Compensation Court). Apart from its circumlocution, this decision meant that the Maoris had killed and eaten each other and taken each other's land without rhyme or reason, and the N.L. Court, after two years' search, had failed to find any. Whereas the Story of Te Waharoa shewed that native movements, political, in war, or otherwise, were subject to cause and effect, not to blind chance. It also showed that the natives were accustomed to defend their lands with their lives. At Rotorua, in 1836, the chief cried: "Let me die upon my land." The tribe rallied and repulsed the invaders. At Maketu, another chief used the same words, his tribe stood firm, and they died almost to a man in defence of their land. Thus we find that the following passage in the decision does not hold good:--"Land with its

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places of strength, concealment, and security seems to have been regarded more as a means of maintaining and securing the men who occupied, than the men who occupied it as a means of defending and maintaining possession of the land." Many other examples might be added, not contained in the Story, in which the natives state that they fought for their land to the death.

Again, in vesting ownership the decision drew an arbitrary line across the threads of native tradition and custom, a course that necessarily failed when a better way was found; this was aptly pointed out by the late Judge Heal, of the Native Land Court, who remarked to me some time afterwards, saying, "Since your little book appeared we heard nothing more of the 1840 Rule." This was a useful public purpose served.

I have now to amend, on my own initiative, certain details that led to the Te Haramiti expedition. Instead of two girls quarrelling in the water while bathing at Kororareka beach, there were four girls, or rather two pairs of sisters. The first pair had lately been the favourites of one Pereri (Freddy), a Pakeha-Maori of Kororareka. They belonged to a hapu on the north side of the Bay. The second pair were their successful rivals, and belonged to the tribe at Kororareka. The first pair seeing their enemies bathing entered the water and assaulted them so violently that their mother waded in to their rescue, and submerged

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the assailants until their insensible bodies were drawn out of the water by their friends. The mother seeing this exclaimed, "What does it matter, they will make a nice relish for our new potatoes." This allusion to the girls as food was a curse, greatly offensive to their hapu, who requested Hongi Hika, chief of their side of the Bay, to avenge the insult. Hongi prudently declined to bring about a civil war, but other chiefs were less circumspect, and, raising a war party, attacked Kororareka and were repulsed with loss that led to the disastrous Te Haramiti expedition described in the Story. The Sketches of Ancient Maori Life and History may receive some slight additions, which I will briefly state. The Tawhitirahi pa mentioned as overlooking Kukumoa stream, at Opotiki, lately became the property of a gentleman who proceeded to level the ramparts; along the line post holes were found, time had removed the wood, but in each hole there was a human skeleton; the workmen disliking the look of the thing abandoned the job. Tawhitirahi was no doubt a pa of great antiquity, and the men that built its battlements are a mystery. Their manners and customs, judging by this glimpse, appear to have resembled Fijian horrors described by the early European visitors to that country. They could not have been of the Hawaiki-Maori race, whose traditions, generally precise, would have furnished a clue. The same may be almost as certainly said of earlier Maui-Maori people. Other pas

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have been levelled in many places, but no such ghastly remains, so far as I am aware, have been discovered.

It is known however, that a people other than the Maui-Maori nation inhabited New Zealand before the advent of the Hawaiki-Maori. These were the Urukehu, or white New Zealanders, with red hair. This tribe, possibly a remnant of a larger people, lived as lately as nine generations ago at Heruiwi and country westward and southward from there, along the margin of the forest towards Mohaka River. The Urukehu were not a martial people. They were unable to resist the Hawaiki-Maoris, who attacked them under the chiefs Wharepakau and Patuheuheu, his nephew, who drove them from Heruiwi and other possessions, until they took shelter in a large and strongly-fortified pa. This pa was carried, and thereafter the Urukehu ceased to be a tribe.

Wharepakau and Patuheuheu had landed at Te Awa o te Atua, thence they secured themselves and their followers in a pa on the mountain of Whakapoukorero, from which point they made war on the Urukehu. I incline to the opinion that these adventurers were of Ngatiawa lineage, thrust out from the Bay of Islands.

Traces of the Urukehu red hair were frequently visible in the Bay of Plenty fifty years ago.

I now come to my last topic, namely, the occupation at the Bay of Islands and Hokianga

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by Ngatiawa, and their expulsion therefrom by Ngapuhi. When Ngatiawa, of Mataatua canoe, under Muriwai, their chieftainess, arrived at Whakatane, they seemed to have deliberately wiped six generations of sojourn at the Bay of Islands off their traditional slate, and landed at Whakatane as though they had come straight from Hawaiki. This may have been devised by their leaders in order to appear with prestige, and to avoid the danger in their new location of appearing as a beaten people. This revised tradition is still firmly held at Whakatane, the head-quarters of Ngatiawa, and has been set forth by me in the "Sketches." The true story of Ngatiawa is that Mataatua, after the meeting at Ahuahu described in the "Sketches," went north like Tainui and Te Arawa canoes, but, unlike them, did not turn back south. She landed at Tako, at the bottom of the first bay, immediately north of the Bay of Islands. Here her immigrants settled and spread; thence to Rangihu, on Te Puna peninsula, where they had a strong pa, and, where, known as Te Whanau o te Hikutu--a thoroughly Ngatiawa tribal appellation--they ascended Waitangi and Kerikeri Rivers, and, crossing their watersheds, descended into Hokianga country by the Waihou River. They had strong earthwork fortifications, some of great size and ruas--underground food stores-- at Puketonu, and near Waimate East. At Hokianga they held much of the land extending along the left bank of the river, from above Utakura to Motu River.

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Another Ngatiawa canoe from Hawaiki landed at or near Doubtful Bay. Her people extended their settlement through Kaitaia to the south side of Hokianga Heads, where they had a pa near Oponini. Communication subsisted between these and the Ngatiawa opposite Kohukohu. Such was the state of Ngatiawa settlement in the north 150 to 180 years after the landing at Tako, when war arose. Rahere, a half-caste Ngatiawa-Ngapuhi chief became offended with his Ngatiawa relations, and attacked and destroyed the pa near Hokianga Heads. The war became general, Ngapuhi joined Rahere, and Ngatiawa, with few exceptions--including Te Whanau o te Hikutu, were driven out of the Bay of Islands and Hokianga districts by the all-conquering Ngapuhi.

It was then that Mataatua, under Muriwai, went to Whakatane, or it was probably another canoe named after her--150 to 180 years being possibly too long a time for a canoe to remain in a seaworthy condition. It was probably a result of this war that the chiefs Wharepakau and Patuheuheu, who seem to have been of Ngatiawa connection, landed at Te Awa o te Atua.

From the landing of Mataatua at Tako, the number of the generations of the descendants of her mixed people at Hokianga tallies exactly with the number of generations for Tainui and Te Arawa.

A singular feature of this war is that the descendants of the belligerents on both sides,

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apart from a few at Hokianga, know little or nothing of its history. My late father in the thirties saw the earthworks at the Bay of Islands, and sought to learn their origin, but he was only told that they had been built by Ngatiawa, nothing more could the natives tell. The late Dr. William Williams, Bishop of Waiapu, who had lived many years at the Bay of Islands in the twenties and thirties, said exactly the same thing to me thirty years ago, when he asked me if I had solved the mystery which I had not then.

The Ngapuhi, coming from Hawaiki, landed on the south side of the Bay; the Ngatiawa, as we have seen, landed on the north side of the Bay of Islands; necessarily, therefore, the boundary between the tribes, tacit or acknowledged, would probably be in the vicinity of the bottom of the Bay. Accordingly we find Ngatiawa, with strategical skill, fortifying the Waitangi valley, and westward of the same, where the river takes a bend. As time advanced and population increased, each tribe doubtless became a menace to the other; friction would ensue, and the Ngapuhi, recognising the strength of the position in their front, made an outside movement via Kaipara and the coast road to Hokianga Heads as a beginning to the war.

In this preface I regret I have not always been as precise as I could wish in the names of persons and places in the story of the Urukehu--white New Zealanders--and in the

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account of the occupation in the North, the reason being that I am not permitted to peruse my Judge's notes in the records of the Native Land Court without payment, which I cannot consent to, seeing the information is required for historical purposes only.



2nd October, 1906.


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Introductory--Te Waharoa's Youth, Captivity, Liberation--The Ngatiwhakaue--Waharoa Chief of Ngatihaua--Defeats Te Rauparaha--Enters into alliance with Ngatiterangi--The Ngatimaru-- War with Ngatimaru--Te Totara taken--Mauinena and Makoia taken--Matakitaki taken--Battle of Te Ihimarangi--Fall of Hauwhenua--Maori St. Bartholomew--The Wakatohea--Te Rohu takes Te Papa at Opotiki--Waharoa repulses Tareha--Missionaries and Pakeha-Maoris--Voyage of the "Herald"--Tauranga and Ngatiterangi--Panorama of Bay of Plenty--Its Tribes, Soil, and Climate-- Te Rohu takes Te Papa, at Tauranga--How Ngaiterangi invaded Tauranga--"Haws" Tragedy--Ngarara writhes his last--O tempora! 0 mores! --Tamati Waka bold to rashness--The Girls' quarrel--Heke wounded--Haramiti's Taua--Slaughter at Ahuahu --Slaughter at Tuhua--Carnage at Motiti--Te Waru's wakamomori, or the Captor driven Captive.


Pakeha-Maori murdered--Missionaries arrive at Puriri--Unsuccessful Immigrants--Ferocity of New Zealanders--Their depravity --Maori Ladies--Maramarua--Maori Religion--The Tohungas-- Missionary Regime--Governors Hobson and Fitzroy, their Policy --Native Protectorate--Governor Grey--Flour and Sugar Policy-- Unable to fight the Maoris--Campaign against the early Missionaries--An old Missionary--First English Bishop arrives--St. John's College founded--Reflections.

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Huka murders Hunga--Te Waharoa wages war with the Arawas--Fourteen guests murdered--Missionaries reprove Te Waharoa--Fall of Maketu--Loss of European Property--Te Tumu, its people, its fall--Tautari repulses Ngaiterangi--Dreadful state of the Country--Two of the Missionaries do not retire--Mrs. Haupapa-- Tarore killed--Ngakuku a Christian--Matiu Tahu--A coup de main --Tohi Te Ururangi--Ohinemutu Campaign--Mission Station burnt--Cannibal Scene--Taharangi's Taua--Te Patutarakihi-- Waitioko's Sweet Waters--Te Waharoa's Death--Te Arahi-- William Thompson.






The Ngatipukenga Tribe......210

The Ngatirawharo Tribe.....214

The War of Ngatipukeko of Mataatua with Ngatimanawa of Te Arawa.....215

A Maori Duel ...222

Another Maori Duel...223

Maori Communism....226

The Tuwhakairiora Tribe...233

THE HAWAIKI MAORI IMMIGRATION (Supplementary Chapter).....251


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Judge Wilson.......... frontispiece.

Te Rauparaha ...............6

Rev. Henry Williams (afterwards Archdeacon of Waimate).....20

Upper part of Whangaroa, showing where the "Boyd" drifted after taking fire.....32

Residence of Colonel Wakefield, principal agent of the New Zealand Company, Wellington.....47

Capt. William Hobson, R.N., First Governor of New Zealand......64

Sir George Grey...............68

Bishop Selwyn...............78

Judge Maning (a famous "Pakeha Maori")......88

Kororareka Beach, Bay of Islands, in 1836......98

Storehouse for Kumara............128

Native Stores for Flax............132

The Downy Rata (Metrosideros tomentosa)......140

Pohutukawa Tree, Kawhia Harbour.........172

The people of Turi's canoe, after a voyage of great hardship, at last sight the shores of New Zealand........184

A Maori War Expedition............208


Waka Nene...............228

Wood Pigeon...............240

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