The Fall of Te Tumu Pa, near Maketu, Bay of Plenty, May 9th, 1836

Author: S. Percy Smith | Part of: Volume 32 1923 > Volume 32, No. 127 > The fall of Te tumu pa, near Maketu, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, by S. Percy Smith, p 121-130
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The Kaituna River, which carries off the surplus waters of Lake Rotoiti, after a northerly course of some twenty-five miles comes within a short distance of the coast of the Bay of Plenty, and then turns abruptly to the east for another five miles and falls into the sea at Maketu. A short distance within its mouth, on the eastern side, is where the “Arawa” canoe landed after its long voyage from Tahiti in the fourteenth century; and here she was burnt by Raumati of the West Coast tribes. The eastward bend of the Kaituna runs parallel with the coast, leaving a long peninsula about a mile or less wide, which is low and with sand-hills on the coast itself.

Not far from the commencement of the easterly bend the Papamoa hills come down to the flat land, and within a mile or so to the east was situated Te Tumupa. built on the flat, not on a hill as Maori pas usually are, and which was fortified with palisades and ditches.

The following account of the siege of the pa was dictated to me by Tarakawa in October, 1900, and written down in Maori shorthand at the time. The original Maori is not given, but the translation is as faithful as it can be made. The story commences with the reasons that actuated Te Arawa tribes in attacking the pa, and the exact date of the fall is derived from the “Life of Archdeacon Henry Williams,” who was at Maketu at the time, vainly endeavouring to stop the bloodshed that was taking place.

Tarakawa says—The battle of Mataipuku (which took place just to the west of the present town of Rotorua) was caused by the murder of Hunga, of the Ngati-Haua tribe of Waikato, by Haere-huka 1 of- 122 Te Arawa tribe near Ngongotaha mountain, Rotorua. (This event took place 6th August, 1836, see J. A. Wilson's “Life of Te Waharoa.”) When the news of the death of Hunga reached Te Waharoa, chief of Ngati-Haua, at his home at Matamata, Upper Thames Valley, messengers had also just arrived there from the Ngai-Te Rangi chiefs of Tauranga, from Taipari and Tutae, asking Te Waharoa to join them in attacking Te Arawa tribe and avenging Hunga's death. This was agreed to and Ngati-Haua proceeded to Tauranga, where they were joined by Ngai-Te-Rangi, and the tauathen went on to Maketu, where they defeated the Tapuika branch of Te Arawa, at Te Totara, killing a chief of the former tribe named Kato-hau. The taua then attacked Maketu, took the pa, 29th March, 1836, and killed two chiefs named Te Haupapa and Te Ngahuru of the Ngati-Whakauē branch of Te Arawa tribe. After this the taua returned to Tauranga, and the Ngati-Haua to Waikato.

Some time elapsed and then Ngati-Haua advanced on Rotorua, and the battle of Matai-puku took place, 6th August, 1836 (as referred to above), and the local people, Ngati-Whakauē, were beaten losing a chief named Matai-awhea. On the same day Ngai-Te-Rangi (of Tauranga) suffered defeat at Rotoehu Lake (lying to the east of Rotorua), at the hands of Te Arawa, and lost two chiefs named Rangihau and Tawhiwhi. After the defeat of Ngati-Whakauē at Matai-puku, Ngati-Haua returned to their homes at Matamata. 2

Te Kahawai, chief of Ngati-Rangi-wewehe (of Rotorua) felt very deeply the death of his nephew Te Ngahuru at Maketu (as related above), and, determining to avenge him, raised his tribe and departed for the coast, occupying thepa of Otawa at Te Puke, some three or four miles south-west of Te Tumu pa, awaiting there for reinforcements to assist in the attack on Te Tumu. After he had left Rotorua Hikairo, of Te Arawa tribe, felt it his duty to help his elder relative Kahawai, and for that purpose proceeded to Rotokakahi Lake where dwelt the Tu-hourangi branch of Te Arawa, to secure their assistance. At that place was Taumaia, wife of Te Amohau, 3 (and through her influence) the people agreed to join in the war against Ngai-Te-Rangi (of Tauranga). At this period Te Tumu pa had been occupied by Ngai-Te-Rangi. A great assembly of Te Arawa took place at Te Ngae (on the east shore of Rotorua) preparatory to an advance to the coast; there were some 800 warriors altogether gathered there. On starting, Ngati-Whakauē proceeded by way of Te Kaharoa (along

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the old Maori track now followed by the coach road from Rotorua to Maketu), while Te Arawa proper, travelled by Te Iwiroa track that comes out at Rangiuru behind Te Puke, and on their arrival joined those under Hikairo, who with his party had gone a long way round, even as far as Matamata, the home of Ngati-Haua, where they had fired some volleys in defiance, and then made their way over the ranges by Te Wairere Falls (along the old Maori track from the Thames Valley to Tauranga Harbour) and on to the Wairoa River (which falls into Tauranga Harbour), where they fell on and killed some of the local people, the Ngati-Hangarau. They also found some of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe (of Waikato) there, but their lives were saved by Tarakawa (father of my informant) and Tara-mataki-taki of Ngati-Rangi-wewehe (Te Arawa). And so this party came on and joined their forces to the main body of Te Arawa at Te Puke.

When the whole of the army was assembled at Te Puke, a great war-dance was performed in order to learn if akorapa would occur or not. (The korapa, is the same as a kohera, referred to in a former paper, “Journal Polynesian Society,” Vol. XXVII., p. 212, and means an evil omen.) This is the puha, or song, accompanying that war-dance:—

Ka tito au, ka tito au,
Ka tito au ki a Kupe,
Te tangata nana i hoehoe te moana,
Tu ke a Kapiti, tu ke Mānā,
Tu ke a Aropaoa,
Ko nga tohu tena a toku tupuna
A Kupe; i hoehoe te moana,
Ka taraki te whenua i a au—ē.
I will sing, I will sing,
I will sing of Kupe
The man who paddled over the ocean.
Kapiti and Mānā separately stand,
Aropaoa (South Island) is divided off.
Those are the signs of my ancestor
Of Kupe, who sailed over the ocean.

(Apparently there were no evil omens.) A model of Te Tumu pa was now made in the earth, when it was seen that there were three entrances, the outer, or seaward one of which was held by Werohia of Ngai-Te-Rangi; Tareha of the same tribe guarded the middle one; Hikareia and Tupaea were on guard at the inland one at Te Paiaka, facing the Kaituna River. The pa was a tuwhatawhata (palisaded) with double lines of posts, with ditch and bank, and within the pa were 300 of Ngai-Te-Rangi as defenders.

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Hikairo now arose and said, “Listen to me, O Te Arawa! I will take the middle part of the pa.” Then Te Rangi-puawhe (father of Kēpa Te Rangi-puawhe of Tu-hourangi clan, who died a few years ago) said, “I will take the head of the pa” (that held by Werohia). Then arose Te Anuhau and Te Puku-atua and Haere-huka and said they would take the hukeor back part of the pa. And then Te Arawa forces arose in the evening preparatory to the attack. But before doing so, the god Weka was sent on to observe the conditions at Te Tumu pa. That god was sent by its kaupapa, Te Kahawai, to observe the pa. The god went and returned. If it had not returned things would have gone wrong, but as it did return it was known the pa would be stormed, and many men killed.

[I break off the narrative here to offer a suggested explanation of the despatch of the atua (god) to spy out the condition of the pa. My informant could give no explanation, merely saying that the story was as it was told to him by his elders. Had I, at that time, been aware of the probable explanation of this and many similar occurrences in Maori history, possibly I could have obtained some useful information to support the view now to be explained. In the first place kaupapa is the guardian, keeper, medium of communication between the gods and men in the person of atohunga or priest; of which Kahawai was one. The study of traditions from all parts of Polynesia, for many years past, has forced on me the belief that the most learned men of the race (who were the priests and chiefs) were acquainted with some branches of the science of Psychology, such as Hypnotism, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Trance, etc. Of the practise of these branches of psychics many illustrations might be given, as they appear to me, and I think the particular case we are dealing with comes under the heading of hypnotic trance, in which the kaupapa can project his subliminal or subjective mind to any distance and behold whatever is passing at such distant spot. There are thousands of known instances of this power, all undertaken under conditions excluding any possibility of fraud. For instance, Mr. T. J. Hudson in “Psychic Phenomena,” says of the self-induced hypnotic state, “In this state many of the most wonderful feats of the subjective mind are performed. It sees without the use of the natural organs of vision; and in this, as in many other grades, or degrees, of the hypnotic state, it can be made apparently to leave the body and travel to distant lands and bring back intelligence, oftentimes of the most exact and truthful character.”

I have been told (though I never witnessed it myself) that when the tohunga is about to enter into the state during which he professes to communicate with the gods, that he is in a quite abnormal condition of mind and body; the eyes staring, the limbs somewhat convulsed, sometimes foaming at the mouth, and presenting quite a

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different appearance to his normal condition, afterwards suffering from great apparent exhaustion.]

The Arawa taua then advanced by way of Kainga-pakura, near the Papamoa hills, and so by the Tauranga or western side of the pa. By sunset they had reached Te Kopua, where the taua was asperged with water by the tohunga Te Kahawai. [This refers to the tohi-taua ceremony in which the priest sprinkles water on each warrior with a branch ofkaramu tree, repeating a karakia over the men at the same time. It is called the “Baptism of War.”] And then the god Te Weka came to the priest and said, “E te he! E te he!” [An expression couched in the usual cryptic language common to communications from the gods—witness the old Greek oracles—and which is very difficult to translate into English, and at the same time render its intended meaning. “O the wrong! O the trouble!” seems to be its meaning, and this is supported by the medium's interpretation to follow.] Then Te Kahawai (the tohunga) announced to the eight hundred, “The pa, Te Tumu will fall; you will prevail over your enemy; but I shall be the payment therefor.”

Then the taua advanced to Te Whakarauhe (about 30 chains from the pa), and there the forces separated to the sides assigned to them at the three different points of assault, at about three hours of the morning. The Tu-hourangi and Ngati-Rangi-wewehe were met by musketry fire, and several fell. Tu-hourangi made several assaults, and then they were exhausted, for thirty-seven of them had fallen, including one of their chiefs, Kanohi-mohoao, which caused them to retire to a sand-hill and remain inactive. Then Werohia (of the garrison) launched an attack or sortie against Ngati-Rangi-wewehe, after having just heard that Tareha of the pa had been killed, and hence he made his assault against those of the party attacking the centre of the pa. And now fell Te Kahawai (as he had predicted) with three bullets through him; A shout arose, addressed to Hikairo (of Te Arawa), “Te Kahawai and Tamina (of Ngati-Rangi-wewehe) have fallen!” Then arose Hikairo in the midst of his people, grimacing and shouting his ngeri (or war song):—

Homaito whirikaha, to torokaha!
Kia wetewetea, ā tē! ā tā! ā tāū!

Now Ngati-Rangi-wewehe turned upon the charging party from the pa, drove them back, entered the pa, and reached the far side of it. Thus Te Tumu fell, and Ngai-Te-Rangi were defeated; and Werohia, Tareha, Whare-pohue and Rore were killed. On the fall of the pa several escaped and fled—Tupaea, Takarangi, Rangi-pokia, Makiti, Te Mutu-takupu, Taipari, and Tutaki, chiefs of Ngai-Te-Rangi—they fled towards Tauranga, and were followed by Te Arawa, but the most of them escaped; only Hikareia was caught, who was killed

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at Te Houhou near Wai-rakie (on the beach) and hence was Wai-rakei afterwards determined on as a tribal boundary at the very place where Hikareia was killed (see below).

Tareha was killed by Te Uru-kehu of Ngati-Rangi-wewehe, and Whare-pohue by Kaingaroa and Tu-karanga. Ngai-Te-Rangi lost seventy killed, and Te Arawa lost forty-three.
After the fight, the “Ika-a-Tu” (the victims of the war-god Tu) were consumed, and on completion of the “feast” the Arawa forces returned to Rotorua. The following is one of the laments for the priest Te Kahawai:—
Ka ngaro ra—e— Now alas! is lost!
A Ngati-Rangi-wewehe, The Ngati-Rangi-wewehe tribe,
Nga toetoe-tarahae The rasping-edged toetoe
Na te aha i tukituki? By what means was it stricken?
Na te tapatē By gales from the sea,
Ki waho ki te moana—i—. From out yonder on the ocean.

Tarakawa told me also that Hikareia (see above) was quite an old man at the time of his death and had, in his time, been a great warrior. He escaped with some others from Te Tumu pa, and ran along inside the sand-hills, which here line the coast, towards Tauranga. Tarakawa (senior) and some of his particular clan where in chase, and when the old man saw them close upon him, he turned off to the beach at Te Houhou near Wai-rakei, whilst his younger companions, after vainly endeavouring to persuade the old man to continue his flight, fled on towards Tauranga. Arrived at the beach the old man threw off his garments and made off out to sea, hoping thus to escape Tarakawa. Te Amohau and Nikahere got on to the beach just as the old man rushed into the tide. But a heavy breaker knocked him over and washed him ashore again, where Nikahere seized and was about to kill him, but Tarakawa struggled with him for the possession of the old man, which he succeeded in doing, and then killed him. His body was dragged up to the sand-hills, where Tarakawa took the flint out of his musket, cut the old man open, took out his heart, etc., and then proceeded to roast and eat it, with the help of the others present.

Hikareia was thus killed in revenge for deeds done long ago, and the following is the story about it: The death of Te Rangi-i-tahia, of Ngati-Awa of Whakatane, was the reason that Hikareia was killed by my father Te Ipu-Tarakawa. In former times Rua-moana, of Motiti Island, killed Te Rangi-i-tahia because of envy due to the possession, by the latter, of some small islands named Motu-nau and Motu-haku in that part of the Bay of Plenty celebrated for the Oi birds, used as food, and also because of his ownership of the Hapuku (a fish) grounds named Te Paru, Matau-whati, Hanea, Pakura-nui,-

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Matara-kutia and others. These toka (rocks) are off Maketu and Wai-rakei. Te Rangi-i-tahia held the măna(authority, rights) of the whole of these rocks—as evidence of which may be quoted the proceedings of the Native Land Court held at Tauranga, in which Tupaea (of Ngai-Te-Rangi) acknowledged Te Rangi's right to the islands and the fishing rocks. Originally they belonged to the children of Hine-tapu, mother of Rauru, my ancestor.
Old Te Rangi-i-tahia, and his young men, on one occasion put forth to fish for hapuku off Hanea and Matau-whati, when they were overtaken by a southerly storm, and driven before it to Motiti Island, and succeeded in landing at Mata-rehua on the shores of that island. As soon as they landed they were seen by the people of the pa, by the Ngati-Tauwhao clan of which Rua-moana was the chief. A shout was raised, “There is a canoe on the beach with five men in it.” At once Rua-moana knew it must be Te Rangi-i-tahia's people from Maketu, for at that time he was living in thepa Pekerau at Maketu.

Rua-moana gave orders to light a native oven, and when it was ready Te Rangi-i-tahia and his companions were fetched, and on arrival at the pa, alongside the oven Rua-moana gave the order, “Cast him into the oven!” The old man was knocked down and thrown into the oven together with his companions. The old man squirmed on the oven until he and all of them died, and finally they were eaten by Ngati-Tauwhao.
This death—this murder—remained unavenged for a long time, until it was almost forgotten, indeed it was not known what had become of Te Rangi and his companions; it was thought they had perished in the storm, until, in fact, Rua-moana's grandson Hikareia grew up. Rua-moana's daughter was named Tokerau, and she married Tarake, and their son was Hikareia.

Now sometime after the murder Hine-hurihia heard of it from Ngati-Pukenga, when at Whangarei. She (Hine-hurihia) was taken prisoner by the Ngati-Maru tribe of the Thames when they took the Pekerau pa at Maketu, and was carried away to Hauraki, where she was with Ngati-Maru in the pa at Te Totara (a little south of Shortland), 4when Hongi-Hika besieged and took the pa in December, 1821, and she was captured with many others by Nga-Puhi and Ngati-Pukenga, which latter tribe was assisting Hongi at that time. Hine-hurihia eventually got back to Maketu, where she informed the Arawa chief Hikairo, and his younger brothers, of the murder. She told them the story secretly, saying, “Let our ancestor's (Te Rangi-i-tahia) death be avenged by you. He was murdered at

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Motiti by Rua-moana.” For Hine-hurihia was also a grand-daughter of Te Rangi-i-tahia.

This brings us to the date of the fall of Te Tumu pa, May 9th, 1836, as related above.

As Tarakawa (senior) was following up the fugitives, he shouted out to Hikareia, “My papa! (elder relative) I shall not consider you. Thine were the deeds of darkness, so will be mine.” (Referring to the murder by Hikareia's grandfather.) As soon as Hikareia was killed, Tarakawa took out and swallowed his eyeballs (a frequent custom in cases of revenge), then cut out his heart, which was also eaten (as related above). And now Tarakawa felt satisfied that the death of his grandfather, Te Rangi-i-tahia, had been avenged.

Now, when Tupaea, of Tauranga, learned that Tarakawa had eaten the body of Hikareia, and having also heard the lament composed by Tāmāku (see infra), he started off by canoe in the night for Whakatane to visit Toehau. On his arrival he said, “O Sir! What was the reason my grandfather was eaten in the broad daylight?” Said Toehau, “Who of Te Arawa was it that ate Hikareia?” Tupaea replied, “It was Te Ipu-Tarakawa.” Then said Toehau, “It was quite the correct thing to do! It was done to avenge the death of Te Rangi-i-tahia who was cooked alive in the oven by Rua-moana.” Tarakawa was a descendant of Te Rangi-i-tahia. Said Toehau, “He po tāu! he awatea tera! he mutunga pukana i te awatea, i te ra e whiti ana!” (“The deed of (thy ancestor) was one of darkness (treachery); the other (death of Hikareia) was done in the daylight, after open warfare, under the shining sun.” To this Tupaea replied, “When I return I shall take away from Tarakawa his wife Te Whakau-mata, my cousin.” 5

The meaning of Tarakawa's address to Hikareia (My papa! I shall not consider you, etc.—see above) is this: He was referring to their relationship, for both descended from Ikapuku who married Ikapare of Ngai-Te-Rangi, and their son was Tauwhao the eponymous ancestor of the tribe that killed Te Rangi-i-tahia.

The following is the apakura, or lament, for Hikareia composed by Tāmāku, a lady somewhat celebrated for her poetical composition:—

Taku whakatakariri,
Taku honohonoa,
Ki tutahi koia e ora roa,
He tangata i te mahara,
Taipari whiuwhiu korero,
Ki Wāikāto ra—e—
Ki a Te Waharoa,
Te ahu ra uta ki te whare kai-kino

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Ki a Huka, ra—e—(Haere-huka)
Hoki ke mai nei
Ki Te Paki-no-ruhi,
I horahia ra hoki,
Moe wāre i te hau,
Me ko Te Haupapa,
Me ko Te Ngahuru,
Te puhi o Te Arawa,
No reira te hoa,
I huripokina ai,
Koutou ko ou tamariki
Taku waka whakarei
Tena ka paea,
Ki roto o Te Houhou
Mate ika warehou
Na Tarakawa te kai,
Ma Te Heru, ma Te Riuwaka,
Ma Koroiti tana angaanga.
Ki roto o te kohua, i.

The following story was told by the same informant in May, 1901, and as it illustrates Maori customs and ideas, it may find a place here, especially as it has reference to Te Rangi-i-tahia who was murdered at Motiti Island as related above.

Te Rangi' at this time was living at the Puketapu pa, situated on the east side of the Whakatane River, and just above that great mass of rock called Pohatu-roa, that projects into the river leaving just space enough inland of it for the present main road to pass. Puke-tapu has been a strong place in its time, with the usual fosses and ramparts, with precipitous hill-sides sloping away from it.

As already noted, Te Rangi' was a chief of the East Coast Ngati-Awa, whose head-quarters are around Whakatane, into which river entered the “Mata-atua” canoe that brought their ancestors from Tahiti in the fourteenth century. He married Te Kapua-i-rangi (the cloud-in-heaven) of Te Whanau-a-Apanui, a tribe living a few miles further along the coasts of the Bay of Plenty to the eastward. As time went on Te Rangi' suspected that his wife was not faithful to him, and had an intrigue on hand with one named Whakapiki-rangi.

A day came when all Ngati-Awa crossed the broad river (here half-a-mile or more wide) taking their fishing-nets with them in their whaka-taurua, or double canoes, 6 to await on the sandy opposite shore a favourable opportunity to put to sea. Te Rangi' told the people he would follow later on if they left one of the (smaller) canoes for him.

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As the night fell, Te Rangi' retired to his house in Puketapu pa with his wife, having first made a rope fast to the sliding door in such a manner that he could close the door from his sleeping place under the window. His wife who occupied the tuarongo, or back part of the house, after a time said, “I thought you were going across the river after the people?” Te Rangi' in reply merely raised his head, but made no other reply. Presently he heard a footstep outside the door, and then a tap on the door, but as there was no answer the intruder—who turned out to be the lady's lover, Whakapiki-rangi, who having heard Te Rangi's words to the people, thought the coast was clear—pulled back the door and stooped down to enter (for all doors in the Maori houses of former times were generally not more than three feet high). No sooner was his head inside than Te Rangi' suddenly pulled tight the rope, and thus caught the intruder by the neck, and jambed him between the door-post and the door. There he struggled in vain, but the door was fastened too tightly for him to escape. It was not until the blood issued out of his mouth, nose, and ears that Te Rangi-i-tahia released him.

In the morning the fleet of canoes returned and landed at Otua-whaki (the projecting mass of flat rock now used as a wharf for the coastal steamers trading to Whakatane), and commenced unloading the great haul of fish they had secured. Te Rangi' looking down from the pa above called out, “Ngati-Awa e! I muri i a koe ka hinga taku parekura;ko Whakapiki-rangi! (“O Ngati-Awa! After you left I gained my battle; it was Whakapiki-rangi!”) On hearing this, a great shout arose; for others had suspected what was going on between the lady and her lover. Whakapiki-rangi's father was with the fishing party. He called out in reply, “It is well! If my son had been killed in stealing food it would be a disgrace, but stealing a woman is different.” Whakapiki-rangi who was not killed, only much hurt, was then fetched by his people from the pa, and his hurts attended to.

Ngati-Awa as a tribe resented the words of Whakapiki-rangi's father, as a slight on themselves, so expelled all the Whanau-a-Apanui people from Whakatane.


Footnotes & References.

1. See the origin of this family name—“J.P.S.,” Vol. XXV., p. 163.
2. Tarakawa has somewhat mixed up the order of events here, for Matai-puku took place after the fall of Te Tumu, not before, as his narrative would lead one to suppose.
3. I knew Te Amohau in 1880, then a very old man probably over ninety. It was through his influence the present town of Rotorua was laid out. He was not a tall man, but very much tattooed, and of great influence with the Arawa tribe.
4. See account of the taking of this pa in “Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century,” p. 190.
5. Fourth cousin once removed, according to the genealogical table.
6. This statement as to the use of double canoes in the Bay of Plenty, as late as four generations ago, is interesting.

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