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Title: An Old New Zealander; or, Te Rauparaha, the Napoleon of the South.

Author: Thomas Lindsay Buick

Release date: January 22, 2014 [eBook #44726]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Pinfield, Shaun Pinder, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber's Note:

Discrepancies between the detail of the list of illustrations, and the text accompanying the illustrations themselves, have been retained.

The list also omits the table of Te Rauparaha's wives and children, that has been inserted at the end of the book before the map of his and Te Puoho's raids. It is reproduced in this version.

Apparent typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained.



After a drawing in the Hocken Collection, Dunedin.









I have been constrained to write the story of "An Old New Zealander" largely to gratify the frequently expressed desire for a more comprehensive sketch of Te Rauparaha's career on the part of many readers of my former books, in which fitful glimpses of the old chief were given. These references have apparently awakened some considerable interest in the life and times of the great Ngatitoan, and although this period of New Zealand's history is by no means barren of literature, I am hopeful that there is still room for a volume in which much heterogeneous matter has been grouped and consolidated. There may be some amongst the reading public who will question the need, or the wisdom, of recording the savage and sanguinary past of the Maori; but history is always history, and if this contribution serves no other useful purpose, it may at least help to emphasise the marvellous transformation which has been worked in the natives of New Zealand since Te Rauparaha's time—a transformation which can be accounted one of the world's greatest triumphs for missionary enterprise. It may be, too, that some critics will not subscribe to my estimate of the chief's character, because it has been the conventional view that he who refused to part with his own and his people's heritage was destitute of a redeeming feature. Owing to the misrepresentation of the early settlers and traders he has been greatly misunderstood by their successors; and they have further added to the injustice by sometimes seeking to measure one who was steeped in heathen darkness by the holy standard which was raised by the Founder of Christianity. As in the careers of most conquerors, there is much in the life of Te Rauparaha that will not bear condonation; but in every British community there is a wholesome admiration for resourcefulness, indomitable will, and splendid courage; and, if the succeeding pages serve to balance these high qualities of the chief against his failings, they may assist in setting up a more equitable standard whereby future generations will be able to judge him.

In compiling this work I have necessarily had to draw upon many of the existing publications on New Zealand, and I now desire gratefully to acknowledge my obligations to their authors. I have also to thank Mr. S. Percy Smith, F.R.G.S., for the kindly interest he has displayed in the progress of my work, and in no less degree must I pay my respectful acknowledgments to Mr. H. M. Stowell and to Mr. J. R. Russell for their judicious criticisms and suggestions, whereby I have been assisted in arriving at a correct historical perspective. To Mr. T. W. Downes, of Whanganui, who has enthusiastically co-operated with me in procuring some of the illustrations, and to Mr. J. W. Joynt, M.A., for his careful revision of the proofs, I am equally indebted, and now beg to tender to these gentlemen my sincere thanks for their assistance.

Humbly acknowledging the force of Carlyle's dictum that "Histories are as perfect as the historian is wise and is gifted with an eye and a soul," I now present the result of my last year's labour to the reader.

THE AUTHOR. Victoria Avenue, Dannevirke, N.Z., May 23, 1911.




After a drawing in the Hocken Collection, Dunedin
From a painting by K. Watkins, Auckland.
By kind permission of the Artist
From a photo by Jonston
From a painting by W. Wright, Auckland.
By kind permission of the Artist
The Point from which the Ngati-Toa
migration commenced
Erected on the site of the pa destroyed
by Te Rauparaha
By kind permission of Miss Gilfillan.
From a sketch by her Father
Erected by public subscription, 1869.
Photo by Macey
After a drawing by G. F. Angas
After a drawing by C. D. Barraud, Esq.
At end


Composed by Hinewhe, and supposed to be sung by Te Rangihaeata.

I Alas! my heart is wild with grief: There rises still The frowning hill Of Kapiti, in vain amid the waters lone! But he, the chief, The key of all the land, is gone! II Calm in the lofty ship, O ancient comrade, sleep, And gaze upon the stillness of the deep! Till now, till now, A calm was but a signal unto thee To rise in pride, and to the fray Despatch some martial band in stern array! But go thy way, And with a favouring tide Upon the billows ride, Till Albion's cliffs thou climb, so far beyond the sea. III Thou stood'st alone, a kingliest forest tree, Our pride, our boast, Our shelter and defence to be. But helplessly—ah, helplessly wast thou Plucked sword-like from the heart of all thy host, Thy thronging "Children of the Brave," With none to save! Not amid glaring eyes; Not amid battle cries, When the desperate foes Their dense ranks close: Not from the lips of the terrible guns Thy well-known cry resounding o'er the heath: "Now, now, my sons! Now fearless with me to the realms of Death!" Not thus—not thus, amid the whirl of war, Wert thou caught up and borne away afar! IV Who will arise to save? Who to the rescue comes? Waikato's lord—Tauranga's chief, Thy grandsons, rushing from their distant homes, They shall avenge their sire—they shall assuage our grief. While you, the "Children of the Brave," Still sleep a sleep as of the grave, Dull as the slumbering fish that basks upon the summer wave. V Depart then, hoary chief! Thy fall— The pledge forsooth of peace to all— Of Heaven's peace, so grateful to their God above, And to thy kinsmen twain, by whom Was brought us from the portals of the "land of gloom," This novel law of love— This law of good: Say, rather, murderous law of blood, That charges its own crimes upon its foes— While I alone am held the source whence these disasters rose!


An Old New Zealander


Probably no portion of the globe is so pregnant with the romance of unsolved problem as the Pacific Ocean. For thousands of years before Vasco de Balboa, the friend of Columbus, stood upon the heights of Panama and enriched mankind by his glorious geographical discovery, this great ocean and the islands which its blue waters encircle had remained a world in themselves, undisturbed by the rise and fall of continental kingdoms, unknown even to the semi-civilised peoples who dwelt on the neighbouring continental shores. But although thus shut out from human ken and wrapt in impenetrable mystery, we are entitled to presume that during all this period of time Nature, both animate and inanimate, had been there fulfilling its allotted part in the Creator's plan, though no pen has fully told, or ever can tell, of the many stupendous changes which were wrought in those far-away centuries either by the will of God or by the hand of man. That vast and far-reaching displacements had been effected before the Spanish adventurer's discovery of 1513 broke this prehistoric silence, there is little room to doubt, for the position and configuration of the island groups are as surely the results of geological revolutions as their occupation by a strangely simple and unlettered people is evidence of some great social upheaval in the older societies of the world. Precisely what those {2} geological changes have been, or what the cause of that social upheaval, it would be imprudent to affirm, but there is always room for speculation, even in the realm of science and history, and there is no unreasonable scepticism in refusing to subscribe to the belief that the Pacific Ocean always has been, geographically speaking, what it is to-day, nor rash credulity in accepting the ruined buildings and monolithic remains which lie scattered from Easter Island to Ponape, as evidences of a people whose empire—if such it can be called—had vanished long before the appearance of the Spaniards in these waters.

But even if the opinion still awaits scientific verification that the islands and atolls which sustain the present population of the Pacific are but the surviving heights of a submerged continent, there is less room to doubt that the dark-skinned inhabitants of those islands can look back upon a long course of racial vicissitude antecedent to the arrival of the Spaniards. What the first and subsequent voyagers found was a people of stalwart frame, strong and lithe of limb, with head and features, and especially the fairness of the skin, suggestive of Caucasian origin.[1] Although of bright and buoyant spirits, they were without letters, and their arts were of the most rudimentary kind. Of pottery they knew nothing, and of all metals they were equally ignorant. For their domestic utensils they were dependent upon the gourd and other vegetable products, and for weapons of war and tools of husbandry upon the flints and jades of the mountains. Their textiles, too, were woven without the aid of the spindle, and in much the same primitive fashion as had been employed by the cave-dwellers of England thousands of years before. In {3} the production of fire they were not a whit less primitive than the semi-savage of ancient Britain. They thus presented the pathetic spectacle of a people lingering away back in the Palæolithic period of the world's history, while the world around them had marched on through the long centuries involved in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

But though devoid of these mechanical arts, the higher development of which counts for much in national progress, these people were no sluggards. They were expert canoe-builders, and their skill in naval architecture was only equalled by the daring with which they traversed the ocean waste around them. They were bold and adventurous navigators, who studied the flow of the tides and the sweep of the ocean currents. They knew enough of astronomy to steer by the stars, and were able to navigate their rude craft with a wonderful degree of mathematical certainty. Whether their wanderings were in all cases due to design or sometimes to accident, cannot now be definitely affirmed; but there is abundant proof that their voyages had extended from Hawaii in the north to Antarctica in the south, and there was scarcely an island that was not known and named in all their complex archipelagos.

Of literature they, of course, had none, but they revelled in oral traditions and in a mythology rich in imagination and poetry, which accounted for all things, even for the beginning of the world and for the ultimate destiny of the soul. Being deeply religious and as deeply superstitious, they interpreted natural phenomena in a mystic sense, and Pope's lines on the poor Indian would have been equally applicable to the ancient Maori in Polynesia—

"Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind: His soul proud science never taught to stray Far as the Solar Walk or Milky Way. Yet simple Nature to his hope has given Behind the cloud-capt hill an humbler heaven; Some safer world in depths of woods embraced, Some happier island in the watery waste, Where slaves once more their native land behold,{4} No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold."[2]

The cradle of the Polynesian race was undoubtedly Asia; and to arrive at a clear understanding as to how it became transported from a continental home into this island world it will be necessary to carry the mind back probably more than 200,000 years. At that time the dominating section of the human family was the Caucasian—fair-skinned, blue-eyed, and revelling in the glory of long, wavy hair. Their civilisation, however, like their weapons of chipped stone, was of the most primitive character; but they had advanced sufficiently in the ascending scale of human progress to show that they valued life by paying pious respect to their dead. They preserved the memory of the departed by erecting over their burial-places huge blocks of stone, many of which monuments stand to-day to mark the course of their migrations. And, except possibly a flint axe-head or a rude ornament found deep in some ancient gravel-bed, these megalithic monuments are amongst the most convincing evidence we have of the wide diffusion of the human race in prehistoric times. From the most westerly point in Ireland, across the European and Asiatic continents, they stretch by the shores of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean in the former, and the plains of Siberia in the latter, until they reach the waters of the Pacific. Even this wide expanse of ocean proved no insuperable barrier to the onward march of wandering man; for it is by the presence of his stone-building habit in so many of the Pacific Islands that we are able {5} to construct a probable hypothesis of the process by which Polynesia first became inhabited.

In the light of modern knowledge, the theory which finds most ready acceptance is that in Palæolithic times the Caucasian race, being more or less a maritime people, had obtained possession of the coastal districts of Europe. As they multiplied and spread, they followed the ocean's edge to the northward, and, as the Arctic regions were then enjoying a temperate climate, there was a plenteous and pleasant home for them even in the most northerly part of Siberia. But later a drastic climatic change began to take place. The great ice-sheet, which is known to have twice covered northern Europe and Asia, began to creep down upon the land, driving man and beast before it. Impelled by this relentless force, there began a momentous migration of Palæolithic man, who swept in hordes southward and eastward in search of a more hospitable home. In course of time a section of these fugitives, travelling across the Siberian plains, reached the Pacific coast, and here their old maritime spirit reasserted itself. With the pressure of climate behind them, and in their breasts the love of adventure, the sea soon became as much their domain as the land.

At first their canoes were of the frailest character; but experience and unlimited opportunity soon taught them the art of constructing safe sea-going craft, which could carry considerable numbers on a course of discovery. The tales of new lands found, and their warm and genial climate, no doubt stimulated the spirit of exploration, so that gradually, and almost imperceptibly, the tide of migration which was flowing from the centre of the continent was drawn across the sea to the region of eternal summer.

From somewhere in the vicinity of the Japanese archipelago, fleets of canoes set off at various times carrying with them a freight of humanity destined to found a new people in a new land. But, in order to account for the transportation of large numbers of women and children on vessels which, at the best, must have been mainly {6} constructed of reeds, we must assume smaller intervals of ocean than exist now. There are evidences of other kinds that startling geological changes have occurred in this portion of the globe; and this assumption would help to explain feats of travel otherwise apparently impracticable to a rude and poorly equipped people.

For how many centuries this stream of venturesome humanity flowed southward no one can tell; but it is safe to assume that great numbers must have taken the plunge into the unknown, some resting by the way, others pushing on to a point beyond the furthest preceding colony, until the main groups of islands were occupied, and outpost after outpost was firmly established. With them these people carried their simple mode of life, their primitive arts and customs, not the least of which was their stone-building habit, which, as already shown, had originated in their desire to perpetuate the memory and preserve the bones of their dead. Hence arose in their new home those strange structures of uncemented stone which astonished the early discoverers, and which stand to-day, broken and decrepit relics, like ghostly wraiths from a long-forgotten past.

But, whatever its duration may have been, two causes operated to bring this period of migration to a close. The first of these influences was the dispersion of the Mongolian race from Central Asia; the second, the subsidence of the land along the Asiatic coast. Either of these events would have been in itself sufficient to cut off the supply of emigrants to the islands. The descent of the more warlike Mongols from their high plateau would effectually close the inland route across the north of Asia to the gentle Caucasians; while the sinking of the land-bridge, along which they had been wont to pick their way, would so increase the hazard of the journey that none would care to risk a voyage across the greater stretch of sea. Thus the first stratum of the Polynesian race was laid by an invasion of European people embarking from Asia; and these light-skinned, fair-haired {7} Vikings, who were driven out of their ancient home by the descent of the giant glaciers, plunged into the abyss of uncertainty, little dreaming that from their stock would arise a people whose life-story would be, as it still is to some extent, one of the world's unsolved problems.

Amongst the many features which have seemed to intensify the shroud of mystery enveloping these people is the combination of a dark skin with tall and stalwart frames and a head-form usually belonging to fair races. Also the strange stratification of their customs discloses a social condition so contradictory as to amount almost to a paradox. Why a dark-skinned race should possess features which find their counterpart in the whites of to-day, or why the most primitive method of obtaining fire—by friction—should be found side by side with highly scientific methods of warfare, especially displayed in the art of fortification, seemed difficult of explanation, until the idea of a second invasion, comprised of dark-blooded people, had been conceived and had taken root.[3]

The theory of a grafting of a dark race on to the Caucasian stem which had already been planted in Polynesia explains much. It would account for the olive-coloured skin of the present-day natives, and it would provide the reasonable supposition that, being later comers, they would import with them newer ideas and more modern customs, some of which would be adopted in their entirety, others in a modified form. With the advantage of many centuries of contact with neighbouring peoples, they had necessarily learned much of the art of war, which had been quite unknown to the islanders in their isolation. These dark invaders were therefore able to come in the spirit of conquerors; and {8} consequently the masculine arts, such as the making of weapons and the building of forts and canoes, received an impulse which placed them considerably in advance of anything of which the original people had ever dreamed. But the domestic arts would be but little changed, for the reason that the invasion, being one of warlike intent, would be comprised largely of males, the women who were taken to wife after their lords had been vanquished being allowed to retain their old modes of life. Hence the methods of twisting threads of fibre, of weaving mats, and of making fire, would remain the same as had been practised by them from time immemorial, while there would be a distinct advance in those arts which came more exclusively within the domain of the males. In two respects, however, these newcomers did not better the condition or raise the standard of art amongst the people with whom they were about to mingle their blood. They introduced neither pottery nor the use of metals. It is therefore clear that the section of the human family to which they belonged had not advanced beyond the Stone Age when their invasion took place; and this fact helps us to some extent in our inferences as to the period when this second migration commenced and when it terminated.

For the direction whence these dark-skinned invaders came we have to rely on a careful comparison of the traditions and genealogies of the present-day people, who have preserved in a remarkable way certain leading facts, which serve as landmarks by which their journeys can still be traced. By the aid of these, the thread of their history has been followed back to a time at least several centuries before the birth of Christ, when a dark-skinned people dwelt upon the banks of the river Ganges. Here, by contact with other races, probably the Egyptian and Semitic, they acquired that smattering of mythology which, as preserved by the ancient Maori, resembled so closely the beliefs still prevalent in many parts of the Old World. But although versed in the mysterious philosophy, if such it can be {9} styled, of their time, they were entirely ignorant of the principles of the Buddhist religion; and from this circumstance it is fair to deduce that they had left India before Gautama, who died in 477 b.c., had commenced his teaching of "Nirvana and the Law."

But when we come to inquire into the causes which operated to inspire this migration, we get little information beyond the explanation commonly given as the root of all Polynesian movements, that "great wars prevailed." If this be the true reason why a whole nation should move en masse, then it is not unreasonable to suppose that the future Polynesians were the defeated people, and were forced by irresistible waves of invasion to abandon their home in India. Slowly they were pushed southward and eastward by the more warlike tribes who came down from the north; and as they made their way along the coasts of the Malayan Peninsula, circumstances, climate, and assimilation with other peoples continued the process of racial modification which had commenced before they abandoned the valley of the Ganges. For three hundred years or more they drifted from point to point. We know little more, for there occurs a comparative blank in the story of their journeyings as they moved along the coast of Sumatra and down the Straits of Malacca.

In the year 65 b.c., however, we again get a glimpse of them on the island of Java. From this point, although their movements are often vague and shadowy, they are never entirely lost to sight. Tradition, at this period, speaks of a renowned personage named Te Kura-a-moo, who "went to the east, to the rising sun, and remained there." To precisely what spot in the east he journeyed is uncertain, but his objective is generally supposed to have been the island of Java, which was then known as Avaiki-te-Varinga. This is the first suggestion of migration which we have in Polynesian tradition; and as it corresponds in date with other large ethnic movements which are known to have occurred in the Malayan archipelago, it is more than probable that pressure from {10} other invaders compelled the occupation of Java, which thus became the parent Hawaiki, towards which the Maori stands in much the same relationship as does his brother pakeha to the Garden of Eden.

But the same cause which drove these wandering Asiatics into Java, at a latter period led to its evacuation. And still the movement was in an eastward direction, towards the islands of Indonesia, the people as they moved becoming more and more expert in the art of navigation and sea-craft. In view of the scattered nature of the archipelago in which they now found themselves, their voyages became gradually longer, requiring larger canoes and more daring seamanship. They were beginning to leave the beaten path which hitherto had been the common course of the human race—the mountain, the river, and the plain. With them the sea was gradually becoming the broad highway which had to be traversed in order to find fresh resting-places, or to maintain communication with established outposts in more advanced situations. The spirit of the sea-gipsy, which led them to do and dare, was rapidly developing within them, and the knowledge thus born of courage and experience was shortly to prove invaluable to them in carrying to a successful issue their own great policy of conquest.

Wars and rumours of wars are again heard of, and are given as the underlying cause of the next movement southward from Indonesia, the date of which is so uncertain that it cannot safely be defined more strictly than as between the first and fourth centuries. It is unfortunate that we are driven to this loose estimate of time for so important a national event, because it was this final migration which led to the actual entry into Polynesia of these dark-blooded wanderers, and if our first hypothesis be correct, to their ultimate fusion with the fair-skinned, stone-building people who had preceded them by many centuries.

They had obviously come into contact with strange people and strange animals, for the existence of the {11} former has been preserved in their traditions and the memory of the latter in their fantastic carvings. Not the least interesting of their stories is the finding of a fair-complexioned people, whom their fancy has elevated into the realm of fairies, and from whom they claim to have learned the art of net-making. Whether these mysterious people, who are said to have laboured only at night and to have vanished when the sun rose, were the original Caucasians who, we have supposed, set out from the eastern coast of Asia, and who were about to be absorbed by the more virile emigrants from India, or whether they were, as some suggest, a few wandering Greeks or Phœnicians on the coast of Sumatra, we cannot pretend to decide. But, in all its vagueness and fanciful setting, the tradition is interesting, as indicating the existence on their route of a people fairer than themselves, and the fact that they must have come into close personal contact with them. A careful reflection upon the probable circumstances attending the story of how Kahu-kura captured one of the fairy's nets inclines us to the opinion that it is the first evidence we have of the contact of the Indian branch of the Polynesian race with their whiter predecessors. These they would meet in island after island as they moved down the Pacific towards Fiji, which group they are believed to have occupied about A.D. 450.

Like all other dates connected with Polynesian migrations, this one can only be approximate, for the people were without any mode of reckoning time, except by reference to ancestral lines. But there is traditional authority for supposing that their descent upon Fiji was made in considerable numbers, and that for a time these islands constituted one of their principal colonising centres. Whether Tonga and Samoa were settled from this point seems doubtful; but it is certain from the marvellous stories which find credence in the traditions of this period that an era of extensive voyaging had set in, and that the newcomers began to spread themselves with considerable rapidity from atoll to island and {12} from island to archipelago. These excursions into new realms naturally gave promise of an attractive home amongst the palm-covered islands; and, simultaneously with their policy of conquest and colonisation, they began the absorption and assimilation of the resident people. As the defending warriors were driven out or annihilated, the women of the vanquished were taken possession of by the victors, and their domestic arts were taken with them. This blending necessarily, in the course of many centuries, worked appreciable modifications in the physique and customs of both races, and gave to the world the Polynesian people as we know them to-day.

A race of stalwarts, long-headed, straight-haired, and brown-skinned, warriors from birth, full of courage, and ardent for adventure, they were not altogether devoid of those higher ideals which make for the elevation of man. They were deeply imbued with a love of poetry, which enabled them to appreciate in a rude way the beautiful in life and to preserve in quaint song and fantastic tradition the story of their wanderings and the prowess of their heroes. They were even enterprising enough to attempt the solution of the marvellous natural phenomena everywhere presented to them, which, to their simple minds, could have no origin except in the intervention of the gods.

With a continuous stream of fresh immigrants flowing in from the north to reinforce the southern outposts, the conquest and colonisation of the islands was now only a matter of time. Before we come to the period directly connected with our story, some seven hundred years had elapsed, during which every trace and even the memory of the original people had been effaced, and but for their stone monuments, which have withstood alike the shock of invasion and the ravages of time, their very existence would have remained as one of the problems of a forgotten past. But long before this period had been reached, some great ethnic or geographical event had occurred to terminate the further inflow of these invaders from the north. Either the movements of the nations upon the Asiatic continent supervened to make continued {13} migration unnecessary, or geographical changes in the distribution of land and sea operated to make it more difficult, if not impossible. Certain it is that the supply of warriors was effectually cut off, and that at a time before the parent people had learned the use of metals. From this period, down through the ages until the day of their discovery by the Spaniards, the gulf which separated them from the rest of the human family remained unbridged, and the Polynesians were suffered to evolve their own racial peculiarities and develop their own national spirit, untrammelled by exterior influences. Isolated from the rest of the world, they lived in total ignorance of the progress with which other peoples were advancing towards a higher type of human development and loftier ideals of national life. They knew nothing of the growth of science or of art, and they derived no benefit from the stimulating effect of competition, or from the bracing conditions of a strenuous life. Nature was bountiful to them in the ease and abundance with which their simple wants were supplied, for it required neither labour nor ingenuity to provide for their daily needs. Hence there was little incentive to depart from traditional customs, or to seek more advanced methods than their fathers had learned and applied in that far-off time when they lived on the banks of the Ganges. Had it been otherwise, the Polynesians would not have been found still clinging to their stone clubs and flint axes, while the continental peoples surrounding them had acquired a written language, the use of metals, and the arts of husbandry, pottery, and weaving. The complete absence of these primary evidences of civilisation amongst the islanders gives us the right to assume that they came into the South Seas before man had acquired any knowledge of the metallic arts, and that their migration ceased before pottery and the weaving spindle were known.

Polynesia must, therefore, have been occupied during the Palæolithic and Neolithic periods of the world's history. From that time down to the Spanish era all communication with the surrounding nations was completely {14} cut off, and the Polynesians were allowed to sleep the sleep of centuries and to work out their own destiny in the midst of their tragic isolation. As the evolution of the race progressed, there was gradually developed a rude system of tribal government, administered by acknowledged chieftains, who claimed and obtained unquestioned obedience. So, too, victory or defeat became gradually the chief factor in determining the home of each tribe. These tribal boundaries were, however, by no means arbitrary lines of exclusion, and, in fact, there were frequent visits of friendship between the different sections of the race. These voyages necessarily led to a wide knowledge of the Southern seas and their archipelagos, and often contributed surprising results. While the sea-captains navigated their canoes with wonderful accuracy, unaided as they were by chart or compass, their vessels were not always under absolute control, and in stress of sudden storm, or influenced by some unexpected current, they were frequently carried far out of their intended course.

It is probable that in some such way the first canoes reached New Zealand, for it is known that individual vessels had visited these shores long before the historic migration known as "the fleet" left Rarotonga in or about the year 1350 a.d. The stories brought back by these pioneering mariners excited the cupidity and fired the imagination of the islanders, and when a fleet of several great canoes arrived at Rarotonga, and found that group already fully occupied, they decided to set out in search of the strange land which had been dragged from the depths of the sea by the miracle-working Maui, and discovered by the great sea-captain Kupe.[4] Here they hoped to capture the giant bird, the flesh of which Ngahue had preserved and brought back with him, but more than all they were eager to enrich themselves by {15} the possession of the toka-matie, or much prized greenstone, the beauty of which they had heard so much extolled.

The story of this migration is recorded amongst the classic traditions of the New Zealanders: how the Arawa canoe came perilously near being lost in a tempest, and descended into the mysterious depths of the whirlpool, Te Parata; how the crew of the Taki-tumu suffered the pangs of starvation; how the Kura-haupo suffered wreck; and how, on landing, the crew of the Arawa practised the deceit upon the sleeping Tainui of placing the cable of their canoe under that of the latter, in order that they might, with some hope of success, set up a claim to first arrival. One by one the canoes reached these shores, the major part of them making land in the vicinity of East Cape, thence sailing to the north or to the south, as the whim of the captain or the divination of the tohunga decided their course. In this way they spread to almost every part of the North Island, which they found already peopled with the remnants of prior migrations, who were living in peaceable possession. With these the warlike Vikings from the Pacific fought and contended until they gained undoubted supremacy, thus giving a starting-point to New Zealand history by establishing ancestral lines from which all Maoris love to trace their descent. These tribes soon became the dominant power in the land. The weaker tangata whenua[5] were subdued and absorbed. Their traditions, arts, and customs disappeared, except in so far as they may have unconsciously influenced those of their conquerors. The latter grew in strength and numbers, extending their influence far and wide, as they marched towards the development of their national existence and their final consolidation into the Maori race.

Unto these people was born, about the year 1768, a little brown babe who was destined to become the great Te Rauparaha, chief of the Ngati-Toa tribe.

[1]   "The distinguishing characteristic of the Marquesan Islanders, and that which at once strikes you, is the European cast of their features—a peculiarity seldom observable among other uncivilised peoples. Many of their faces present a profile classically beautiful, and I saw several who were in every respect models of beauty" (Melville).

[2]   "I found that the Natives had not formed the slightest idea of there being a state of future punishment. They refuse to believe that the Good Spirit intends to make them miserable after their decease. They imagine all the actions of this life are punished here, and that every one when dead, good or bad, bondsman or free, is assembled on an island situated near the North Cape, where both the necessaries and comforts of life will be found in the greatest abundance, and all will enjoy a state of uninterrupted happiness" (Earle).

[3]   "It is most certain that the whites are the aborigines. Their colour is, generally speaking, like that of the people of Southern Europe, and I saw several who had red hair. There were some who were as white as our sailors, and we often saw on our ships a tall young man, 5 feet 11 inches in height, who, by his colour and features, might easily have passed for a European" (Crozet's Description of the Maoris at the Bay of Islands).

[4]   The knowledge which the Polynesians possessed of the Southern sea, and their skill as navigators, was such that when "the fleet" set out from Rarotonga, they did not go to discover New Zealand, but they went with the absolute certainty of finding it.

[5]   "Man of the land, native, aboriginal." Probably these people were a mixture of the Melanesian and Polynesian types.



If the genealogies of the Maori race can be relied upon, it may be accepted as a fact that the immediate ancestors of Te Rauparaha came to New Zealand in the canoe Tainui, which is said to have been the first vessel of the fleet after the Arawa, prepared for sea. By an unfortunate circumstance there sprang up between the crews of these two canoes a fatal rivalry, which repeated acts of aggression and retaliation were continually fanning into open ruptures, even after they had landed and were widely separated on the shores of New Zealand. This ill-humour, according to the tradition, was first engendered by Tama-te-kapua, the chief of the Arawa, depriving the Tainui of her high priest, Ngatoro-i-rangi, by inviting that renowned tohunga on board his vessel for the purpose of performing some of the all-important ceremonies which the complex ritual of the Maori demanded on such occasions, and then slipping his cable and putting to sea before the priest had time to realise that he had been deliberately led into a trap. But this act of treachery on the part of the bold and unscrupulous captain cost him dear, and bitterly must he have repented before the voyage was over his trifling with the dignity of so consummate a master of magic as Ngatoro-i-rangi. But that story belongs to the voyage of the Arawa. Of the voyage of the Tainui, under Hoturoa, we know little; but presumably she had a comparatively uneventful passage until she touched land at a point near the north-east end of the Bay {17} of Plenty, which her people named Whanga-poraoa, for the reason that there they found a newly stranded sperm-whale. But scarcely had they disembarked than a dispute arose between them and the Arawas, who had beached their canoe at a spot close by, as to the ownership of the carcase. The result of the debate was an agreement, arrived at on the suggestion of a Tainui chief,[6] that the crew which had first touched land should be the acknowledged owners of the fish, and to establish the date of arrival it was further agreed that they should examine the sacred places which each had erected on the shore, and on which they returned thanks to the gods for guiding them safely across the ocean. Here the ingenuity of the Arawa people enabled them to outwit the Tainuis. While the latter had built their shrine of green wood, the followers of Tama-te-kapua had taken the precaution to dry the poles of their altar over the fire before sinking them into the sand. Precisely the same process had been applied to their hawsers, so that when the examination was made for the purpose of determining priority of arrival the Arawa temple carried with it the appearance of greater age, and the Tainuis, without detecting the trick, conceded the point and yielded the prize to their rivals.


From a painting by K. Watkins, Auckland, by kind permission of the artist.

Hoturoa then decided to make further explorations to the north, and moved off in that direction with his canoe, to be followed a few days later by the Arawa. The Tainui skirted the coast, noted and named many of its prominent features as far as the North Cape, and then, {18} as the land terminated at this point, the canoe was put about and retraced her course as far south as Takapuna.[7] Here a halt was called, and exploring parties were sent out to ascertain if all the district promised was likely to be realised. Upon ascending one of the many hills[8] which mark the landscape in this particular locality, the voyagers were surprised to observe flocks of sea-birds, some flying over from the westward, others wheeling with noisy flight in mid-air. To the experienced eye of the native, who had been bred on the borders of the sea, this circumstance bespoke a new expanse of water to the west. The canoe was once more launched, and on their crossing the Wai-te-mata[9] harbour a critical examination of the eastern shore revealed to the astonished visitors the fact that a narrow portage existed at the head of the {19} Tamaki River, over the ridge of which lay another arm of the sea, apparently as wide and as deep as that which they had just entered.

In the meantime they had been joined by the Tokomaru canoe, and the joint crews decided upon the bold scheme of hauling their vessels over the narrow portage at Otahuhu.[10] The Tokomaru was the first to be taken across, and under the guidance of the chiefs she glided with perfect ease and grace over the carefully laid skids into the deep, smooth water. But when the drag-ropes were applied to the Tainui, pull as they would, she remained fast and immovable. Tradition says that Marama-kiko-hura, one of Hoturoa's wives, being unwilling that the weary crews should proceed at once upon this new expedition, which the chiefs were evidently projecting, had by her power as an enchantress so rooted the canoe to the ground that no human strength could move it. Against this supernatural agency the stalwart boatmen struggled unavailingly, for, although there was a straining of brawny arms, a bending of broad backs, and much vocal emulation, inspired by the lusty commands of those in authority, the charm of the enchantress could not be broken. In this distressful emergency the womanly sympathy of a second wife of the chief was stirred within her, and she, being even more gifted in the art of magic than her sister, chanted an incantation so great in virtue that instantly the spell was loosed and the wicked work of a disappointed woman undone.[11]

The song which was chanted on this memorable occasion has long since been embalmed amongst the classics of the Maori, and has become the basis of many another chant which is used while canoes are being drawn down to the sea.

"Drag Tainui till she reaches the sea:{20} But who shall drag her hence? What sound comes from the horizon? The Earth is lighting up, The Heavens arise, In company with the feeble ones Welcome hither! Come, O joyous Tane! Thou leader and provider. Here are the skids laid to the sea, And drops the moisture now from Marama, Caused by the gentle breeze Which blows down from Wai-hi; But still Tainui stays, And will not move. Red, red is the sun, Hot, hot are its rays, And still impatient stands the host: Take ye and hold the rope, And drag with flashing eyes And drag in concert all. Rise now the power To urge. She moves and starts, Moves now the prow, Urge, urge her still."

Under the exhilarating influence of the singer's musical voice, together with a profound faith in her skill as a mistress of magic, the weary crews once more bent themselves to their task. Their renewed efforts were rewarded with success; for with one vigorous pull the canoe was seen to move, and was soon slipping and sliding on her way to the bosom of the bay below.[12] Once fairly launched, the Tainui was soon speeding her way to the open sea; and, having successfully crossed the Manukau bar, she passed out into the Western Ocean to battle with adverse winds and tides. Evidently, {21} the physical features of this coast were not greatly to the liking of the explorers. Unlike the eastern side of the island, there were fewer shelving beaches and favourable landing-places; the predominating aspect was high and abrupt cliffs, fringed with jagged and evil-looking rocks, against which the surf beat with deafening roar. The sea, too, was much more turbulent; so that, after travelling only some eighty miles, the canoe was headed for the sheltered harbour of Kawhia,[13] and there Hoturoa and the tribes who accompanied him determined to bring their wanderings to an end.

The canoe which had brought them safely over so many miles of open ocean was hauled to a secure spot on the beach, there to await the ravages of decay, the spot where she rested and finally rotted away under the manuka and akeake trees being still marked by two stone pillars,[14] which the natives have named Puna and Hani. The next thing was to erect an altar to the gods for having thus far prospered their journey. The spot chosen was that afterwards called Ahurei, in memory of their old home in Tahiti;[15] and, doubtless for the same sentimental and patriotic reason, the spot on which the wives of Hoturoa first planted the kumara[16] was called Hawaiki. {22} With these preliminaries settled, the pilgrims from the east were now faced with the most serious duty of all, to arrive at an equitable division of the new land which was about to become their permanent home. What method of adjudication was employed in the apportionment we cannot now say; but two main divisions mark the final arbitrament. The Waikatos occupied the country from Manukau in the north to the Marokopa River in the south, while the tribe afterwards known as Mania-poto occupied a domain which extended from that point to one about two miles south of the Mokau River. Within these comprehensive boundaries was embraced the acknowledged territory of the numerous sub-tribes; but to only two of these need we refer at this stage, namely, to the Ngati-toa, who lived on the shores of Kawhia Bay, and to the Ngati-Raukawa, who had settled further inland, in the country of which Maungatautari is now the centre.

When the Tainui people landed on the shores of Kawhia and began to spread their settlements throughout the valleys of the district, they did not find, as they might have expected, an empty land. At some time, and by some means, man had already established himself in New Zealand, and before the organised migration, of which the Tainui was a part, had set sail from Rarotonga, the country was already extensively peopled. Whether these tangata whenua, as the Maoris called them, were Polynesians like themselves, and the fruits of some of the prior migrations which are known to have taken place, or whether they were a lower order of mankind struggling through the process of evolution to a higher plane of civilisation, is a point which cannot well be debated here. But whatever manner of men they were who lived in the balmy climate of Kawhia, they were already well established there in their villages and gardens, and for many generations—perhaps for many centuries—they had been burying their dead in the secret caves which honeycombed the limestone cliffs that rise in beetling precipices sheer from the harbour's {23} edge. Although they are generally credited with being a less combative and virile race than the fierce and hardy tribes who came with the fleet, they were not disposed to surrender or divide their estate without a struggle, and Hoturoa found that, if he was to become master of Kawhia, it could only be as the outcome of a successful war. But Kawhia was a country worth fighting for. Early travellers through New Zealand, who saw it before the devastating hand of man had marred its beauties, speak with eloquent enthusiasm of its extremely picturesque and romantic landscape.[17] At full tide the harbour shines in the sunlight like an unbroken sheet of silver, in which the green and gold reflections of the surrounding bush are mirrored and magnified. For many miles in length and breadth the sea runs inland from the bay's bar-bound mouth, stretching its liquid arms right to the base of the mountains which encircle the harbour like a massive frame. Rugged and picturesque are these mountains, with their cloak of deep verdure, through which huge masses of limestone rock protrude their white faces, suggesting the bastions of some old Norman tower covered with gigantic ivy. So marked, in fact, is this resemblance, that the character of the peaks has been preserved in their name—the Castle Hills.[18] Down the sides of these slopes run innumerable streams, the largest being the Awaroa River, which enters the harbour at the north-east end, where the scenery attains its most impressive grandeur. A little to the north-east of Kawhia, and over the ranges, lies the broadly-terraced valley of the Waipa, and between this district and the harbour stands "an ancient and dilapidated volcano," called Pirongia, upon which the evening sun directs its blood-red darts, lighting up its many peaks and towers until they resemble a giant altar raised by some mighty priest. The climate, too, is mild and soft, like that of Southern Spain, and there the {24} orange and the lemon might bud and blossom with all the luxuriance found in the valleys of Granada.

Such was the home in which the people of the Tainui canoe sought to gain a footing, when they abandoned their vessel; but these exiles from far Hawaiki were yet to pass through the bitter waters of tribulation before their arms were blessed with success and their claims ceased to be contested. In the quaint language of an old tohunga we are told: "In the days of the ancient times the descendants of those who came in the Tainui made war on the people who had occupied the interior of Waikato. These people were called Te Upoko-tioa, and were the people who had occupied the land long before the Tainui arrived at Kawhia. These people were attacked by those who came over in the Tainui. The men they killed, but the women were saved and taken as wives by the Tainui. Those who attacked these people were of one family, and were descended from one ancestor, who, after they had killed the inhabitants of Waikato, turned and made war each on the other—uncle killed nephew, and nephew killed uncle: elder killed the younger, and the younger killed the elder."

Of the various battles which the Tainui people fought during the conquest of their new home we have scarcely any account, beyond vague and general statements of the most fugitive character. These, unfortunately, do not afford us any wealth of detail, the possession of which would enable us to picture in vivid colours the doughty deeds by which the invaders overcame the strenuous resistance of the tangata whenua, who maintained the struggle with the desperation of men who were fighting for their very existence. The story of the conquest of Kawhia may be regarded as lost in the misty distances of the past, but it is not surprising to discover by shadowy suggestion, such as quoted above, that, after the original inhabitants had been effectually subdued, the turbulent nature of the Maori should lead to devastating and sanguinary internecine wars. One of the traditions of the Tainui tribes is that they left {25} the South Pacific because of a great battle called "Ra-to-rua," which originated in a quarrel between Heta and Ue-nuku; and it would be quite unreasonable to expect that they should suddenly forsake their warlike passions on reaching New Zealand, a country in which there was so much to fight for. With the Maori war had now become more than a passion: it had become part of his nature; for, through all the long centuries of migration, the story of the race had been one of incessant struggle with other races and with circumstances. They fought their way into the Pacific, and were in turn submerged under the tide of a second invasion, which gave to the world a people inured to the hardships inseparable from strife, who had tasted the bitterness of defeat as well as the joys of victory—a proud and haughty race, sensitive to the slightest insult, and so jealous of their honour that they were ever ready to vindicate their fair name before the only tribunal to which they could appeal—that of war. Steeped as they had been from birth in this atmosphere of strife, they had grown to expect the clash of arms at every turn, and, as they grew to expect it, they grew to love it. It is small wonder, then, that, when they found their enemies at Kawhia and its neighbourhood vanquished, they occasionally turned their hands upon each other, in the attempt to efface some real or imagined wrong.

But, fatal to national progress as these inter-tribal wars must have been, they, nevertheless, played an important and valuable part in spreading the Maori over New Zealand. A tribe defeated in battle was forced to fly before the pursuing enemy, with no alternative but either to appropriate some district still unoccupied or to displace some weaker people, upon whom the burden was cast of again establishing themselves where and as best they could. Thus the tide of fortune and misfortune rolled and recoiled from Te Reinga to Te Ra-whiti, until an asylum was sought by the last of the refugees even across the waters of Cook Strait. Although we have no accurate information on the point, it is probable {26} that these blood-feuds contributed in no small measure to the ultimate distribution of the Tainui people; for their subsequent history is eloquent of the fact that, while they claimed common descent from the ancestral line of Hoturoa, this family bond did not prevent hatred and hostility springing up, and at times bathing their country in blood.

The first migration, however, of which we have any record did not apparently ensue upon the result of a battle, although a quarrel was its underlying cause. Hotu-nui, who was one of the principal chiefs of the canoe, is said to have taken as his wife a daughter of one of the tangata whenua, and was apparently living in the same village and on terms of perfect friendship with her people. Having been wrongfully accused of an act of petty thieving, he determined to rid the pa of his presence; and so, with one hundred of his immediate followers, he, it is said, moved off towards the Hauraki Gulf. As the years rolled on, and the systematic exploration of the country began to be undertaken, many similar expeditions, no doubt, went out from the parent home at Kawhia, one at least of which was fraught with fateful consequences. A chief named Raumati,[19] whose story has been embalmed in tradition, had taken a band of followers with him and travelled across the island, past Rotorua, until he finally came to the shores of the Bay of Plenty, where his mother's people lived. Here he was in the Arawa country, and it was not long before he heard that their canoe was lying at Maketu, some distance further to the southward. It will be remembered that there had never been good feeling between the Tainui and Arawa peoples, and Raumati determined upon an act which would demonstrate beyond all doubt that he, at least, was not disposed to hold out the olive-branch to Arawa. His scheme was to effect the destruction of the great {27} canoe which had brought the hated rivals of his tribe to New Zealand. Once decided upon, his plan was put into execution with a promptness worthy of a better cause. Travelling along the coast from Tauranga to Maketu, he and his followers arrived at the latter place when all its inhabitants were absent in quest of food. But his trouble was that the Arawa had been berthed on the opposite side of the Kaituna River, where she had been housed under a covering of reeds and grass to protect her from the ravages of the weather. Nothing daunted, however, Raumati soon proved that his ingenuity was equal to the desperate circumstances in which he found himself placed. Taking a dart, and attaching to the point of it a live ember, he hurled the smoking stick across the water with unerring aim, and, to his intense satisfaction, he saw the firebrand fall in the midst of the combustible material which formed the covering of the canoe. The fire was soon in full blast: the glare of the flames lit up the surrounding country and was reflected in the red glow of the evening sky. The first impression of the people out in the forest was that the Maketu pa had been destroyed; but in the morning they were undeceived, for then they saw that it was their beloved canoe which had been burned, and all that remained of her was a heap of glowing ashes.[20]

The unanimous conclusion was that this had been the work of an enemy, and messengers were sent far and wide to acquaint the tribesmen of the fate of the canoe and call them to council upon the subject. At the meetings the debates were long and serious, for the tribe was torn between its desire to live in peace with all men and its natural impulse to revenge the burning of the Arawa, which "they loved and venerated almost as a parent." They remembered the injunction which had been given to them by Hou when on the point of leaving Hawaiki: "O my children, O Mako, O Tia, O Hei, {28} hearken to these my words: There was but one great chief in Hawaiki, and that was Whakatauihu. Now do you, my children, depart in peace, and, when you reach the place you are going to, do not follow after the deeds of Tu, the God of War: if you do, you will perish, as if swept off by the winds; but rather follow quiet and useful occupations, then you will die tranquilly a natural death. Depart, and dwell in peace with all; leave war and strife behind you here. Depart and dwell in peace. It is war and its evils which are driving you hence: dwell in peace where you are going; conduct yourselves like men; let there be no quarrelling amongst you, but build up a great people."

These were, no doubt, excellent words of advice, and they expressed a very noble sentiment; but the practical question which they had to determine was whether they could afford to adopt an attitude of passivity while these acts of aggression went on around them: whether they should declare war on account of the destruction of their canoe, or permit the act to pass without notice. This was the problem over which they pondered; and, as they discussed and debated it, "impatient feelings kept ever rising up in their hearts." But at last an end was made of deliberation, the decision of the tribe being in favour of battle as the one and only sufficient means by which they could be compensated for the burning of their canoe. In the words of the old tradition, "then commenced the great war which was waged between those who arrived in the Arawa and those who came in the Tainui."[21]

[6]   On this occasion Hotu-nui is credited with having addressed his people in the following terms: "Friends, hearken! Ours was the first canoe to land in New Zealand before any of you had arrived here. But let this be the proof as to which of our canoes landed first. Let us look at the ropes which the various canoes tied to the whale now before us, and also let us look at the branches of the trees which each have put up in building an altar, then the owners of the rope which is the driest and most withered, and of the altar the leaves of which are the most faded, were the first to land on the coast of the country where we now reside."

[7]   After the canoe left Whanga-poraoa the first stopping-place was at Whare-nga, where the crew amused themselves with various games on the beach. To mark the spot, one legend has it, they placed one large stone on top of another, while a second story has it that this monument, which is still existent and is called Pohatu Whakairi, represents one of the crew who was turned into stone. The next point of interest was Moe-hau, now known as Cape Colville. They then landed at Te Ana-Puta, where, it is said, the canoe was moored to a natural arch of rock jutting into the sea. For some reason the anchor was left at a spot between Wai-hou and Piako, and under the name of Te pungapunga (the pumice stone) is still to be seen on the coast by those who are curious enough to look for it. The course was then deflected slightly to the west, and the canoe crossed to Whaka-ti-wai and coasted along the mainland past Whare-Kawa, where, it is said, Marama, one of the wives of Hoturoa, desired to be put ashore with one of her male slaves. Here they were left, and, according to one version of the tradition, it was her misconduct with this slave which prevented the crew dragging the Tainui over the portage at Otahuhu. The canoe then went on, some accounts say, as far as the North Cape, and others seem to imply that she was shortly afterwards put about and, returning into the Hauraki Gulf, sailed past the islands of Waiheke and Motu-Korea, until land was once more made at Takapuna.

[8]   Now called Mount Victoria or "Flagstaff Hill."

[9]   Waitemata may be interpreted as "the waters of volcanic obsidian," no doubt a reference to the eruptive disposition of Mount Rangitoto.

[10]   Otahuhu signifies "ridge-pole." This portage is only 3,900 feet long and 66 feet high.

[11]   There are different versions of this tradition, some attributing the transfixing of the canoe to Marama, others crediting her with releasing it. The version given in the late Sir George Grey's Polynesian Mythology has been here adopted.

[12]   Some authorities are of opinion that the Tainui was not taken across the portage at Otahuhu (ridge-pole), and they base this contention upon the fact that no traditional marks have been left inside the Manukau harbour. All the points of interest which have been handed down, and are remembered, are on the sea coast; and from this circumstance it is argued that the canoe was never in Manukau harbour at all. Others say that some of the skids of Tainui were left at South Manukau Heads.

[13]   As they were passing the mouth of the Waikato, the priest of the canoe, noticing that the river was in flood, named it by calling out "Waikato, Waikato, kau." Further on, noticing that there were no landing-places, he threw his paddle at the face of the cliff and exclaimed, "Ko te akau kau" (all sea coast). The paddle is said to be still embedded in the face of the rock, and is one of the traditional marks by which the course of the Tainui can be traced. At the entrance of Kawhia Harbour they ran into a shoal of fish, and the priest gave this haven its present name by exclaiming "Kawhia kau." Another account is that the name comes from Ka-awhi, to recite the usual karakia on landing on a new shore, to placate the local gods.

[14]   The distance between these stones is 86 feet, indicating the probable length of the Tainui canoe.

[15]   Now called Te Fana-i-Ahurei (or, in Maori, Te Whanga-i-Ahurei, the district of Ahurei).

[16]   The Tainui brought the species of kumaras known as Anu-rangi (cold of heaven) and the hue or calabash. Those planted by Marama did not come up true to type, but those planted by Whakaoti-rangi, another of the chief's wives, did.

[17]   "I reckon this country among the most charming and fertile districts I have seen in New Zealand" (Hochstetter).

[18]   The natives call them Whenuapo.

[19]   His full name was Raumati-nui-o-taua. His father was Tama-ahua, who is reputed to have returned to Hawaiki from New Zealand, and his mother was Tauranga, a Bay of Plenty woman.

[20]   The date of this incident has been approximately fixed at a.d. 1390, or forty years after the arrival of "the fleet."

[21]   "It is to be presumed that Raumati's relatives and friends at Tauranga made his cause their own, for they met the Arawa people somewhere near Maketu, where a great battle was fought. Raumati's party, though successful at first, were defeated, and their leader killed by the power of makutu, or witch-craft, for Hatu-patu, the Arawa chief, caused a cliff to fall on him as he retreated from the battle, and thus killed him" (Polynesian Journal).



In one of the many sanguinary battles of those intertribal wars which raged in Old New Zealand from this period down to the introduction of Christianity, Werawera, the father of Te Rauparaha, was captured, killed, and eaten. The subject of our sketch was at that time a mere child, and the grim old warrior who had made a meal of Werawera was heard to remark that, if ever the youngster fell into his hands, he would certainly meet a similar fate, as he would make a delicious relish for so great a warrior's rau-paraha. The rau-paraha here referred to was a juicy plant of the convolvulus family, which grew luxuriantly upon the sand-dunes of the seashore, and was largely used by the Maori of those days as an article of food. Such a tragic association of the child with the plant was never forgotten by his tribe, and it was from this circumstance that he derived that name which has stood paramount amongst Maori toas[22] of all time—Te Rauparaha—the convolvulus leaf. The branch of the Tainui people to which Te Rauparaha belonged was the Ngati-Toa tribe, who have already been described as occupying the country immediately surrounding the shores of Kawhia harbour. Like all the other Tainui tribes, these people claimed direct descent from Hoturoa, the admiral of the canoe; but the ancestor from whom they derived their name was Toa-rangatira, and from him Te Rauparaha was descended in a direct line on his father's side. Werawera, however, {30} had married a Ngati-Raukawa lady, named Pare-kowhatu, and this fact, placing a bar sinister across Te Rauparaha's escutcheon, destroyed in a measure the purity of his pedigree from the Ngati-Toa point of view, although, as compensation, it gave him an influence with the Ngati-Raukawa tribe, which in after years carried with it fateful results.

The Ngati-Raukawa people were closely allied to Ngati-Toa by ties of blood and friendship; for Raukawa, the ancestor who gave them name and individuality as a tribe, was related to Toa-rangatira, both chiefs being descendants of Raka, and through him of Hoturoa. This common ancestry gave these two tribes a common interest and sympathy, which were steadily increased by frequent inter-marriages; and to these bonds they appear to have been faithful through all the varying fortunes of their history. Conflicts between the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Raukawa tribes were less frequent than was the case with the majority of the tribal families; and when the time came to mould their affinities into a closer union, Te Rauparaha used this long-standing friendship as the central argument, by which he eloquently sought to convince Ngati-Raukawa that there was but one destiny for them and for Ngati-Toa.

Te Rauparaha had two brothers and two sisters, all older than himself; but none of them ever achieved a great position or reputation in the tribe, except perhaps Waitohi[23], who might claim the reflected glory of being the mother of that fiery and volcanic soul, Te Rangihaeata. This chief, whose life enters largely into early New Zealand history, rose to be the fighting lieutenant {31} and trusted adviser of his more famous uncle, and, in these questionable capacities, he was probably the most turbulent spirit who crossed the path of Wellington's pioneer colonists. Towards them he ever manifested an uncompromising hatred, the one redeeming feature of his hostility being the absolute frankness with which he proclaimed it.

Unfortunately but little is known of Te Rauparaha's boyhood. Presumably he was brought up by his mother, after his father's death, between the settlements at Maungatautari[24], where he was born about the year 1768, and Kawhia, where his father's relatives lived. As he grew in years, the greater part of his time was spent at Kawhia with the Ngati-Toa tribe, by whom he was regarded as a hereditary chief and as one of their future leaders. His influence with Ngati-Raukawa did not commence until he had attained to early manhood; and the visits which he paid to his kindred at Maungatautari during this period had no military importance, and could only be regarded as interchanges of friendship. His sojourns at Maungatautari were always welcome, for as a boy he is said to have had a particularly sunny disposition, and to have entered eagerly into all the amusements dear to the heart of Maori children of that day. These enterprises frequently led him into mischief, and into those moral pitfalls which beset the path of high-spirited lads. But, for all his boisterous spirits, the boy never failed to pay respect to his elders, and one of the marked characteristics of his nature at this time was his willing obedience to those who were entitled to give him commands. He was even known to have performed services at the request of a slave, whom he might very well have ordered to do his own work, since his birth and breeding placed him far above the behests of a menial.

As Te Rauparaha grew to youth and early manhood {32} he began to display qualities of mind which soon attracted the attention of the leading Ngati-Toa chiefs; but, strange to say, his mother was the last to discern these exceptional talents in her son, and always maintained that Nohorua, his elder brother, was the clever boy of the family. These maternal expectations, however, were not destined to be realised.

Before the introduction of Christianity amongst the Maori, it was the custom to assign to a young chief some girl from his own or a neighbouring friendly tribe as his wife. Neither of the parties most directly interested in the alliance was consulted, and their feelings or wishes were not considered to have any important bearing upon the question. Such a system frequently led to unhappiness and heart-burning, but in the case of Te Rauparaha, the choice made for him proved to be a happy one, and Marore[25], a girl of tender grace, made him an admirable wife. Of her he became extremely fond, and out of this affection arose the first military enterprise which gave him fame and reputation as a leader of men.


Photo by Jackson.

As not infrequently happened in Maori life, his own people had prepared a great feast for some visiting tribesmen; but when the food which had been collected for their entertainment was distributed to the various families, Te Rauparaha observed with considerable displeasure that the portion given to Marore was of the very plainest, and contained no dainty morsel which she was likely to enjoy. The want of consideration thus shown towards his child-wife preyed upon the young chief's mind, and he speedily determined that, come what might, he would find with his own hand the relish which his friends had failed to provide. Accordingly he petitioned those in authority at Kawhia to permit him to organise a war party for the purpose of invading the Waikato country, where he hoped to take {33} captive in battle some warrior who would make a banquet for his bride. At first his proposals were received with opposition, for the reason that he was himself at this time in delicate health, and it was deemed prudent that he should await recovery before embarking upon so desperate a venture. Moreover, the tribe being then at peace with Waikato, the chiefs were naturally reluctant to sanction any act which would inevitably embroil them in a quarrel with their neighbours. But the fiery enthusiasm which Te Rauparaha displayed for his own scheme, and the persistency with which he urged its claims, overcame the resistance of the tribal fathers, who thus acknowledged, for the first time, the strength of the personality with whom they had to deal.

Armed with this authority, he at once set about marshalling his forces, and his call to arms was eagerly responded to by a band of young bloods equally keen for adventure with himself. The taua[26] made its way safely to the nearest Waikato pa, where the profound peace prevailing at the time had thrown the defenders off their guard. In the belief that the visitors were on a friendly journey, they invited their advance guard within the walls of the village. Soon, however, the error was discovered; and the inhabitants, realising the position, flew to arms with an alacrity which sent the invaders flying through the gate of the pa. The impetuous energy of the Waikatos, led by Te Haunga, induced them to push the pursuit a considerable distance beyond the walls of their stronghold; and it was the strategic use which Te Rauparaha made of this fact that gave him the victory and established his claim to leadership in future wars. Owing to the difficulty which he experienced in walking, he had not been able to march with the leaders, but was following with a second division of his men, when he saw, to his dismay, his warriors being chased out of the pa. His own force was as yet concealed behind an intervening hill, and, quickly taking in the situation, he ordered his men to lie down amongst the manuka scrub, {34} which grew to the height of several feet beside the narrow track which they had been traversing. He saw that the fugitives would follow this line, in order to rejoin him as speedily as possible, and in this anticipation his judgment proved correct. At full run they swept past, closely followed by the angry Waikatos, who, having escaped from one trap, little dreamed how simply they were falling into another. Close in his concealment, Te Rauparaha lay until the last of the pursuing body had rushed by; then, bursting from his hiding-place, he attacked them in flank and rear with such vehemence that they were at once thrown into disorder. The tumult of his assault checked the flight of the Ngati-Toas, and the Waikatos, now wedged in between two superior forces, sustained heavy losses. Te Rauparaha is credited with having slain four of his opponents with his own hand, and the total killed is said to have numbered one hundred and forty. Amongst these was Te Haunga, the principal chief of the pa, who formed a specially valuable trophy in view of the purpose for which the raid had been organised. His body was carried home to Kawhia to provide the relish which Te Rauparaha so much desired for Marore.

Although this attack upon Waikato was only one of the many sporadic raids so common amongst the Maori tribes, and could not be regarded as a military movement of national importance, Te Rauparaha had conducted it with so much skill and enterprise that his achievement became the chief topic of discussion throughout the neighbouring pas, and, in the words of an old narrator, "he was heard of as a warrior by all the tribes." The fame which he had thus suddenly achieved, and the desire to live up to his reputation, inspired him with a new sense of responsibility, and he became a keen student of all that pertained to the art of war as practised in his day. He was shrewd enough to see the advantages attending military skill amongst a people with whom might was right, and, even at that age, he was ambitious enough to dream dreams which power alone would enable him to {35} realise. He aimed at making the acquaintance of all the great chiefs of the surrounding tribes; and, when it was safe to visit them, he travelled long distances to sit at the feet of these old Maori warriors, and learn from them the subtle methods by which fields were won. These journeys gave him a familiarity with the country and the people which was very useful in the disturbed and precarious relations between Ngati-Toa and the neighbouring tribes. In these warlike excursions, which were as often of an aggressive as of a defensive nature, Ngati-Toa was not invariably successful. But, even in their defeats, the reputation of Rauparaha increased with his years, for he was ever turning to account some new device of tactics or giving some fresh proof of his personal courage.

Nor did he neglect to cultivate the good opinion of his tribe by generosity in the discharge of his social duties. His bounty was never closed against the stranger; and when he invited his friends to a feast, his entertainment was always of the most lavish kind. Even to his workmen he was strikingly considerate. He abolished the practice indulged in by the field labourers of giving a portion of the food provided for them to strangers who happened to arrive at the settlement, by insisting that the kumara-planters should retain their full ration and the strangers be fed with food specially prepared for them. This unconventional liberality speedily created the desired impression,[27] and became the subject of general remark amongst those who were on visiting terms with the Kawhia chief. It even became proverbial, for it was sometimes said of a benevolent Maori, "You are like Te Rauparaha, who first feeds his workmen and then provides for his visitors."

Reference has already been made to the fact that Te Rauparaha had been in the habit of making frequent visits to parts of the country distant from Kawhia, for {36} the dual purpose of completing his education in the art of warfare and of strengthening his personal relations with influential chiefs, who might be useful to him in future diplomacy. During one of these excursions he had proceeded as far as what is now known as the Valley of the Thames, in the Hauraki Gulf, to pay his respects to the chiefs of the Ngati-Maru[28] tribe, who were then both numerous and influential in that part of the island. How much he was esteemed by the leaders of this people may be judged by the fact that, when he was about to return, they, amongst other gifts, presented him with a firearm and a few cartridges, his first acquisition of the kind. To us the gift of an old flintlock might seem a trivial circumstance; but to a Maori, who was lingering on the fringe of the Stone Age, such a weapon was a priceless treasure. So dearly were they prized by the natives at this time that only the consideration of warmest friendship could have induced the Ngati-Maru to part with even one. There was in these rusty and erratic "fire-spears" that which would before long revolutionise the whole system of native warfare; and the shrewdest of the natives saw that the tribe which acquired the largest number of guns in the least time would have an enormous advantage in the field of battle.

For some years a few vagrant and adventurous voyagers, together with the more honest whalers, had been making the Bay of Islands one of their principal rendezvous; and in the desultory trade which had been carried on between the crews and the natives, guns had first fallen into the possession of the Nga-Puhi tribe. The deadly use which these warriors had made of this new instrument of destruction, in their skirmishes with their neighbours, had so impressed the native mind that forces hitherto well-disciplined were seized with panic when marched against guns, until it was felt by the inland tribes that such weapons were absolutely indispensable {37} to safety or victory.[29] Many of the natives, whose curiosity had been aroused by the novel sights which they had seen on the visiting whalers, had shipped as seamen before the mast in the hope of seeing more of the great world from which the pakeha came. In this way they had been carried to Port Jackson, where they had witnessed on a more extensive scale the destructive power of the European weapons. Owing to the misjudged generosity of the Sydney public, some had been able to bring a few muskets back with them, while others had secured hatchets and bayonets, which, fastened on the end of long handles, were soon recognised as weapons vastly superior to the spears and taiahas of their fathers. These discoveries accentuated the desire to replace their obsolete arms with others of a more modern type; and as a result of the excessive demand thus created, the commercial value of a musket rose in the market, until the traders asked, and the Maoris willingly gave, as much as a cargo of flax for a single weapon. The effect of this musket-hunger was to change completely the existing relations between the pakeha and Maori, going far to remove the estrangement and distrust which had been generated between the two races. Up to this time but little respect had been shown to the dark-skinned natives of these far-away islands by the rude sailors who had visited them; and in their contempt for the "niggers" they had been guilty of many outrages which would have staggered humanity, had humanity been able to grasp the full measure of their ferocity.[30] Retaliation, culminating in the murder {38} of Marion du Fresne and the burning of the Boyd, followed upon outrage, and hatred, fed by misunderstanding, was daily driving the two peoples further and further asunder.[31] But the need and the hope of acquiring muskets suddenly changed all this, for the natives now saw that it was necessary to their very existence that they should cultivate the European, in order that they might trade their flax and pigs for guns; while the white man, seeing that he could procure these valuable products at so insignificant a cost, was nothing loath to forget the many injuries which had been inflicted upon his own race.

Thus the spirit of crime and revenge, which for years had darkened the page of New Zealand's history, suddenly disappeared in the eagerness for trade, and in its stead came the spirit of industry, which sent countless natives toiling in the swamps and on the hill-sides, preparing in feverish haste the fibre wherewith they might purchase this new weapon of destruction. This mad rush for muskets did not escape the keen observation of Te Rauparaha, who saw with unerring precision what its ultimate effect must be. Had he been a resident of the east coast there is little doubt that he too would have plunged with enthusiasm into the fatal scramble, trusting to his natural shrewdness and business acumen to secure for him a fair share of the market's prizes. But he was at the outset placed at this disadvantage. His country was on the west coast of the island, where the whalers and traders seldom came; and the Ngati-Toa, unlike the Nga-Puhi, had few or no opportunities of holding intercourse with the pakeha, {39} from whom alone the coveted muskets could be procured. It was therefore with a heavy heart and sorely perplexed mind that Te Rauparaha returned to Kawhia, for he knew with absolute certainty that so soon as the Waikatos succeeded in arming themselves with firelocks it was only a question of time when they would decide to attack him and his people, in satisfaction for many an old grudge. Then the day would go hard with Ngati-Toa, who could only encounter this new invasion with stone clubs and wooden spears.

As the result of many years of intertribal wars the country surrounding Aotea harbour, to the north of Kawhia, had become almost denuded of population. A few inconsiderable pas still remained, but their defenders were so inefficient as to constitute a living invitation to some stronger people to come down and exterminate them. Thus it was not surprising that a section of the Ngati-Mahanga tribe, whose home was at Raglan, should, after a successful raid in this quarter, decide to permanently occupy so inviting a district. They immediately attacked and drove out the feeble occupants, and then sat down to enjoy the fruits of their conquest. This act of aggression was hotly resented by Te Rauparaha, who could not suffer his allies to be buffeted in so unceremonious a manner, and within an incredibly short period of time he had his fleet of canoes on the water carrying a taua to Whanga-roa, where he met and decisively defeated Ngati-Mahanga. The report of this Ngati-Toa victory soon spread throughout the enemies' domain, and in due course reached the ears of those branches of the tribe living at the mouth of the Waikato River, who at once resolved to espouse the cause of their defeated friends. Manning seven large canoes, they came down the coast with a well-disciplined force under the renowned leader Kare-waho, and landing at Otiki, they first demolished the pa there and then passed on to Ohaua, whither the fugitives had fled, and delivered their attack upon that stronghold. No decisive result was achieved, as the rupture appears to have been healed {40} before victory crowned the arms of either side, and the invaders were as eager to return as the besieged were glad to see them go. But the peace thus hastily made was as speedily broken, and a series of events was soon to ensue which was fated to have far-reaching results. Shortly after the return of the northern raiders a noted Waikato warrior, named Te Uira, came into the disputed Aotea territory, and while there varied his sport as a fisherman by killing a stray Ngati-Toa tribesman. On hearing of this tragedy Te Rauparaha and a war party promptly went over and retaliated by slaying Te Uira. Though to all appearances strictly within the code of morality which sanctions the taking of a life for a life, the Waikato people chose to regard this act as one of treachery, and the magnitude of the crime was measured by the value of the life taken. Te Uira was a man who had ranked high in their esteem. As a warrior and a leader of men he was a toa, indeed, and his death was to them a disaster. They therefore determined that the annihilation of Ngati-Toa was the only adequate solace for their injured feelings, and on this end they now concentrated their energies. War party after war party was sent over to Kawhia, and many desperate battles were fought, out of which Ngati-Toa seemed to emerge generally with success. But the gloom of impending disaster was gathering round Te Rauparaha, for the powerful Ngati-Mania-poto tribe became leagued with Waikato against him; and, although he had no difficulty in defeating them singly when they met, their coalition with his old enemy was a more serious matter. Stung by a recent repulse at Ta-whitiwhiti, they hurried messengers to all their distant friends, and in answer to their call a combined force of 1,600 men under Te Rau-Angaanga, father of the more famous Te Wherowhero, was soon marching against Kawhia's diminishing band of defenders. Crossing the ranges, they soon fell upon the Hiku-parea pa, which they invested at the close of the day. During the night half their force lay concealed in ambush, and when the garrison emerged in the {41} morning to give battle to an apparently small body of besiegers they were mortified to find themselves so hopelessly outnumbered and outgeneralled that there was nothing left for them to do but die as bravely as they might. The invaders then marched to attack the great Te Totara pa, where Te Rauparaha was personally in command, and here again the defenders were driven in before the swift onslaught of the allies. But where his arms had failed him Te Rauparaha's diplomacy stood him in good stead. He managed to soothe Te Rau-Angaanga into agreeing to a truce, and a temporary peace was patched up, only to be broken by the turbulent temper of the Ngati-Toa, who saw no impropriety in committing fresh aggressions so soon as their militant neighbours had returned home.

The position was thus becoming grave for Te Rauparaha, and in an effort to stem the threatening disaster he sought to turn to some practical purpose the influence and prestige which he had now gained with the neighbouring chiefs. He suggested to his more trusted friends amongst the Maori leaders the need and wisdom of a confederation of all their tribes against the oppression of the Waikato people. But, though conducted with consummate tact and skill, these negotiations were destined to be futile. While all were friendly enough with Te Rauparaha, mutual jealousies existed amongst the other tribes, which destroyed any prospect of that unanimity and cohesion so essential to the success of such a scheme. Nga-Puhi remembered how Ngati-Maru had invaded their territory in days of old, and now that they were possessed of muskets they saw a prospect of repaying the debt—a chance much too promising to be lightly thrown away. Te Heuheu, the great chief at Taupo, would not coalesce with Ngati-Maru, and the Arawa still nursed their grudge against Tainui. These ancient grievances, which never seemed to die, kept the tribes outside Waikato apart, while the fact that Te Wherowhero had been able to form an offensive and defensive alliance with the Blücher of Maoridom, Te {42} Waharoa, so strengthened his position that, after months wasted in fruitless appeal, Te Rauparaha returned to Kawhia more than ever convinced that if his tribe was to be spared the humiliation of defeat, and perhaps annihilation, self-reliance must be the keynote of his future policy.

During the next two years (1816-1818) Te Rauparaha devoted himself to occasional excursions against Waikato, in which he was moderately successful; but his more important operations at this period were directed against the tribes of Taranaki. The peculiar ethics of Maori warfare were largely responsible for the first of these southern descents upon a people with whom he was now beginning to enjoy considerable intercourse. A marriage had been celebrated between Nohorua, his elder brother, and a Taranaki lady,[32] and by way of commemorating the solemnity, a feast on a sumptuous scale had been given to the bridegroom's friends. Te Rauparaha, with the generosity for which he was at this time remarkable, was not slow to return the compliment, and in the course of a few months he journeyed southward to Te Taniwha pa, where Huri-whenua, the brother of Nohorua's young wife, lived, bringing gifts of dried fish and other seasonable foods. These social amenities led to still more intimate relations, and at the end of the following kumara and taro harvest the chief of Te Taniwha proceeded northward in his fleet of canoes on a promised visit to Kawhia. A fair wind beating into their triangular sails carried the canoes to within ten miles of their destination, and at the close of day the fleet headed for the shore at Harihari. Next morning they were met at their camp by Te Rauparaha and Rauhihi, who assured them of a cordial welcome at Kawhia and then proceeded overland to prepare their reception. In the meantime a rolling surf had set into the bay where the canoes were beached, and in the operation of launching them several were overturned and their crews nearly drowned. This {43} misfortune, which involved the loss of all the food intended for the feast, angered Huri-whenua exceedingly, and he adopted a strange but characteristically Maori-like method of seeking balm for his injured feelings. Gathering a party of his people together, he set off in pursuit of Te Rauparaha and his friend, and, attacking them, succeeded in killing Rauhihi, but not Te Rauparaha, who reached Kawhia after an exciting chase. His assailants, knowing full well that this unprovoked attack upon their chief would excite the indignation of Ngati-Toa, retired in haste to their home, which they immediately began to place in a condition of defence against the day when Te Rauparaha would return to seek satisfaction for the contemptuous disregard of his hospitality and the menace offered to his life. Nor were their precautions taken a moment too soon. Scarcely had the walls been strengthened and the Waihi stream dammed up so as to form a wide lake on one side of the pa than Te Rauparaha appeared, accompanied by Tuwhare,[33] one of the most celebrated Nga-Puhi chiefs of his day. This was Tuwhare's first visit to the south. He had gladly accepted the invitation to join the expedition, for his purpose in coming to Kawhia had been to lead an invasion into Taranaki territory, in order to secure some of the valuable mats, for making which the people of that part were widely famed.

Tuwhare's contingent consisted of not more than two hundred men, but they brought with them something which, at this period, was more to be dreaded than men—the deadly musket. A few of these arms were carried by the invaders, while the defenders had not as yet even heard of or seen them.[34] The precautions {44} of the garrison had robbed the northerners of all hope of successfully capturing the pa by assault, and so they sat down to besiege it in the most leisurely fashion. For several weeks besiegers and besieged watched each other across the wide lagoon which had been formed by the waters of the Waihi. At last Te Rauparaha and his people, growing weary of the enforced inactivity, sent proposals of peace to Huri-whenua. These were accepted, and subsequently ratified, but not before the pride of Ngati-Toa had been salved by their insistence upon a quaint condition. Te Rauparaha, recognising that the damming of the Waihi stream had been the means of frustrating his plans, demanded that, before the siege was raised, the dam should be removed. The point was conceded and the barrier broken down; and, as the waters rushed back into their bed, the northerners ostentatiously discharged their muskets in token of victory, and "then," says a Maori chronicler, "this ignorant people of these parts heard for the first time the noise of that weapon, the gun." The war party remained for some time on amicable terms at Te Taniwha, and before they had resolved to return home they were importuned to engage in further aggressions by Te Puoho, of whom we shall hear more anon. This warrior was a man of influence amongst the Ngati-Tama tribe, who held what has been called "the gate of Taranaki"; and it was due to the numerous connections by marriage between the northerners and Ngati-Tama that the former had been permitted to pass unmolested to the attack upon Te Taniwha. Te Puoho now sought recompense for his friendship by enlisting the sympathies of the northern leaders in the redress of his own grievances. He solicited their aid in an attack upon Tatara-i-maka pa, the home of those who had been responsible for the death of his sister not long before.

Obedient to Te Puoho's summons, and eager to secure mats and heads and slaves, the war party marched upon the pa, which stood with its terraced ramparts upon {45} the sea-coast eleven miles south-west of New Plymouth. Seeing the invaders approach, the defenders went out to meet them, and gave them battle on the open space in front of the pa; but the sound of the guns, and the sight of men falling as by the hand of some invisible enemy, so terrorised the defenders that their lines were soon broken, and they fled, a demoralised host, back to their stronghold, which was immediately stormed and taken with great slaughter. This incident inspired the following lament, which was composed by one of the Taranaki people, in memory of those who fell at Tatara-i-maka:—

"Sweet is the Spring, the September month, When brilliant Canopus stands aloft, As I lay within my solitary house, Dazed with sad thoughts for my people Departed in death like a flash. To the cave of Rangi-totohu— Emblem of sad disaster— They are gone by the leadership Of Uru, of the fearsome name. 'Twas there at the hill of Tatara-i-maka The foe advanced in wedge-like form, Whilst our gathered people bid defiance At the entrance of the pa, Where Muru-paenga[35] forced his way— The army-raiser, the leader— His was the fatal blow delivered, At the ascent of Tuhi-mata: Hence I am dried up here in sorrow."

{46} From Tatara-i-maka the taua moved southwards, attacking Mounu-kahawai as they went. This pa was taken under cover of the smoke caused by firing the dry raupo which grew in the neighbouring swamps, and then Tapui-nikau was invested. Here the defenders, though fighting only with their rakau maori, or native weapons, made so gallant a resistance that not even the guns of the invaders could penetrate it. They had filled the fighting towers of the pa with huge boulders and smaller stones, and the branches of the trees which overhung the trenches were lined with men, who handed the missiles to those best able to drop them upon the enemy as they swarmed round the walls.[36] Changing their tactics, the invaders drew off to a position which closed all communication with the pa, and at the same time gave them complete control of the surrounding country, so as to prevent the possibility of succour reaching the beleaguered pa. It was during the respite from active hostilities thus secured that there occurred one of those strange incidents which, though common enough in Maori warfare, appear so anomalous in the light of European custom. Te Ratutonu, one of the {47} defending chiefs, had been so conspicuous in repelling attacks that his gallantry and skill in arms became the subject of universal admiration throughout the northern camp. But not alone upon the men had his bravery made its impression. Rangi Topeora, Te Rangihaeata's sister, had witnessed his prowess, and, charmed by his handsome figure and manly strength, had been seized with a desire to have the hero for her husband. When the clash of arms had ceased, she persuaded her uncle, Te Rauparaha, to have Ratutonu "called," a ceremony which was performed by some one approaching the beleaguered pa, and under a guarantee of safety, inviting the warrior into the camp. Ratutonu obeyed the summons, and came down from the pa to meet Topeora; and to her he was married after the orators had delivered themselves of speeches rich in eulogy of their new-found kinsman, and full of admiration for the virtues of his bride.[37]

This unexpected union had raised a hope in the breast of the defenders that the rigour of the siege would now be relaxed, and that peace would be made as a fitting sequel to the romantic nuptials. In this they were, however, doomed to disappointment, for the Nga-Puhi, knowing that the food of the pa must be failing, would listen to no suggestion of compromise. But, moved by a more generous impulse, Ngati-Awa, the Taranaki section of the allies, entered into secret communication with the garrison, and finally arranged that the defenders should be allowed to pass through their lines by night and escape to the neighbouring hills. Next morning, great was the excitement in the camp when it was discovered that there was neither smoke ascending from the fires nor sound from the ramparts of the pa. The enemy had {48} slipped from under their very hand; had flown from under their very eyes; and, as Ngati-Awa kept their own counsel, there was not a trace to show or suggest how the trick had been accomplished. Nothing, therefore, remained for the outwitted besiegers to do but avail themselves of what plunder had fallen into their hands, and make the best of their way back to their homes.

Upon the return of the taua to Kawhia, its composite forces separated and departed to their respective districts, but not before the plans of a still more extensive campaign had been discussed. These operations, however, did not commence for a year, and, in the meantime, the seriousness of his position in relation to the Waikato people was more than ever apparent to Te Rauparaha, whose inability to come into contact with the whalers, and the consequent difficulty he experienced in becoming possessed of muskets, brought him much "darkness of heart." But, as he meditated, his anxiety of mind was to some extent relieved by the arrival at Kawhia of the northern portion of the war party, the raising of which had previously been agreed upon. In accordance with this arrangement, Tuwhare, accompanied by Patuone, and his brother, that picturesque figure in Maori history, Tamati Waka Nene[38]—whose influence and eloquence were subsequently to be so powerfully used to secure the acceptance by the natives of the Treaty of Waitangi—left Hokianga in November, 1819, and proceeding by a circuitous route which embraced the country of the Waitemata, reached the home of Te Rauparaha, and found there a force of four hundred men waiting to welcome them.


From a painting by W. Wright, Auckland, by kind permission of the artist.

Accredited estimates give the strength of the combined {49} contingents at fully one thousand men, and they were armed with a greater number of muskets than had ever previously been carried into the field by any Maori organisation. A further distinction was the presence of many leaders whose deeds were to be deeply imprinted upon the records of Maori history. Each tribal section was under chiefs who are acknowledged to have been amongst the classic warriors of their time; so that, in the matter of skilful direction and heroic example, the taua might consider itself more than usually fortunate. The primary purpose of the expedition appears to have been no more than a love of adventure and a desire to kill and eat a few of their enemies; but embraced within this scheme was a secondary motive, which involved the redress of a grievance which Te Puoho had acquired against the Whanganui people, whom he considered accountable for a slight put upon his daughter. The friendly relations which prevailed between Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Tama ensured the war party an uncontested passage through "the gate of Taranaki"; and, although Ngati-Awa assembled to oppose them, they were satisfied to desist, upon Te Rauparaha consenting to pay the tribute of ownership by requesting permission to pass through their territory.

The first important halt was made at Manu-korihi, on the north bank of the Waitara River, where a stay of some length was made for the purpose of finally determining the order of their plans. The Manu-korihi people became deeply interested in the muskets which the visitors had brought with them; and curious to observe their effect—at the expense of some one else—they persuaded Te Rauparaha and his friends to commence hostilities against the famous Puke-rangiora pa, whose inhabitants had been guilty of some cause of offence. The invitation to attack the great stronghold was accepted with alacrity; but when the war party presented themselves before the walls, they found it so strongly fortified and so keenly defended that discretion dictated a less valiant course, and so they passed Puke-rangiora, {50} and went over the mountain track to Te Kerikeringa in search of a meaner enemy. This pa was a central point in the system of defence set up by Ngati-Maru, who had established populous settlements and made great clearings in the forest east of the present town of Stratford. Their great fighting chief was Tutahanga, who in former days had subdued the pride of both the Waikato and the Nga-Puhi. Now he was old, but his martial bearing was still such that, when the invaders inquired of their guides how they might distinguish him from those of inferior rank, they were told, "He is a star."

Graced by the red plumes of the tropic bird, the northerners moved up to the attack, but were met with so stout a resistance by the defenders, who had donned the white feathers of the sacred crane, that, in spite of their muskets, their combination broke, and they retired in disorder to the western slopes, where they were compelled to resort to the tactics of a regular siege. From these heights, which dominated the pa, they were occasionally able to shoot down an unwary defender who exposed himself to their fire; but they did not rely entirely upon this method of fighting to effect their conquest. Frequent assaults were made upon the gateway, in one of which they succeeded in shooting Tutahanga, and in another Patu-wairua, his successor in command. Before his death, Patu-wairua, persuaded that the pa could not hold out much longer, desired to make peace if possible; but his conciliatory views were overruled by the less diplomatic leaders of the tribe. Patu-wairua then sat down and sang a lament for his people, whose impending fate he deplored with all the affection of a father. In the next sally he was killed in the fore-front of the fighting line, bravely sustaining the unequal contest, in which the mere was matched against the musket.

With their two great leaders gone and many of their tribesmen dead, a feeling of depression settled down upon the garrison, whose position was daily growing less {51} secure. But while they were sinking under the weariness begotten of incessant vigilance, a Maori-like episode occurred, in which the arts of the women were employed to do that in which the stalwart arms of the men had failed. As a last device, the Ngati-Maru generals hit upon the idea of sending all the young women of the pa into the camp of the invaders, to beguile the warriors with their charms, and so induce them temporarily to relax the severity of the siege. History does not record the fate of these maidens of Te Kerikeringa; but they deserve at least a certain immortality. For during the diversion thus caused the pa was silently evacuated, the survivors of the siege making their escape across the Waitara River along the Tara-mouku Valley, and through the dense forest which stretched for many miles into the heart of the island.

The tidings that Kerikeringa had fallen spread with such rapidity that, before the rejoicings of the victors had concluded, the tribes to the southward had succeeded in concealing themselves within their mountain fastnesses. Consequently we hear of no conflicts with Ngati-Ruanui or Nga-Rauru, as the victorious taua passed over the old forest track which leads out into the open country near the town of Normanby. This peaceful passage was not interrupted until they reached the Whanganui River, where they found the resident tribes drawn up in battle array to oppose them at the Turua pa. This pa was situated on the eastern bank of the river, a little above the present town of Whanganui; but, in reaching it, the northerners were faced with a serious initial difficulty, inasmuch as they had no canoes of their own, and Te Anaua, of Whanganui, had taken the precaution to remove his flotilla to the opposite shore. But the ingenuity of Tuwhare and Te Rauparaha was equal to an emergency of that kind. Ordering their men into the neighbouring swamps, they employed a month in cutting dry raupo leaves, out of which they constructed a mokihi fleet, and on these vegetable rafts the whole force was eventually transported across the wide and deep river. {52} The capture of the pa was a work of no great difficulty; for here, as elsewhere, the muskets exercised their terrifying influence upon natives coming into contact with them for the first time.

Southward the march was once more directed, and skirmishes followed with Ngati-Apa in the Whangaehu and Rangitikei districts. No protracted fighting was possible where the panic-stricken inhabitants fled before the all-destroying guns. Across the Rangitikei the taua passed into the fertile district of the Manawatu, which since the traditional days of Whatonga had been the home of the Rangitane people. Of this hostile descent upon the coast the Rangitane people declare that they, secure in their mountain fortresses, heard nothing until the arrival of the war party at Otaki. Thither some of the children of Toki-poto, the chief at Hotuiti, near Awahou (Foxton), had gone on a visit to their friends; and there they met Te Rauparaha, who inquired of them the whereabouts of their people and the number and strength of their pas.

The patronising and fatherly demeanour which this warrior could assume[39] when his ends were better served by the concealment of his true purpose completely won the confidence of the lads, and, in their innocence of the man, to whom they were confiding the secrets of the tribe, they readily told him all that he wished to know. When the desired information had been obtained some of Te Rauparaha's followers proposed, as a precautionary measure, that the children should be killed; but Te Rauparaha, more far-seeing than they, interposed, for he had not yet exhausted their usefulness. In the depths of his cunning he had conceived the idea of making the children of Toki-poto the instruments by which that chief should be delivered into Ngati-Toa's hands. Accordingly, he resisted the demand for their blood, saying, "No, let them alone, they are only children. Rather let {53} us go and take Toki-poto out of the stern of the canoe." This was his expressive and figurative method of conveying to his warriors that he sought a more valuable trophy than the life of a child, and that he had resolved upon no less a scheme than the assault of the Hotuiti pa. To Mahuri, the eldest son of Toki-poto, he then turned, and in dulcet tones he said, "Go to your father, I will see him."

Accompanied by the Ngati-Toa warriors and their leader, the lad led the way to a small lake pa at Hotuiti, whither Toki-poto had gone with the major portion of his people from their main settlement on the banks of the Manawatu River. The pa itself was built on one of the many miniature islets which dot the face of the lake; and, while Te Rauparaha and his followers lurked in the bush which fringed the margin, he sent the unsuspecting Mahuri to tell his father that Te Rauparaha wished to talk with him. The first thought to arise in the mind of the Rangitane chief was one of suspicion, and he at once exclaimed, "No, I will not go. I shall be slain." But the boy, into whose good graces Te Rauparaha had completely ingratiated himself, ridiculed these fears, and urged his father to go. To these entreaties, and possibly to fears of retaliation if he did not comply, Toki-poto at last yielded, and, taking a few of his people with him, went in his canoe, unarmed, to welcome his visitor.

Scarcely had they reached the edge of the wood when they were set upon by the secreted warriors, and in the massacre which followed the chief and a number of his followers were killed, the remainder, with the exception of two, being taken prisoners. The two who escaped were Mahuri, the innocent cause of the disaster, and Te Aweawe, the father of the well-known family who still reside upon the Rangitane lands in the Manawatu. Side by side with Toki-poto, there fell that day another chief named Te Waraki, whose greenstone mere, a weapon famous in the annals of the tribe, was buried on the site of the massacre by the mourning people, and there {54} it remained hidden for full sixty years, until it was discovered in 1882.

Strange to say, Te Rauparaha did not press the advantage gained by the removal of Hotuiti's chief by attacking the pa, but contented himself with carrying off his prisoners to Otaki, where he rejoined Waka Nene. Here the two chiefs rested for a time, pursuing vigilant inquiries into the number and disposition of the resident tribes. They visited for the first time the island stronghold of Kapiti, and found it in the possession of a section of the Ngati-Apa people, under the chieftainship of two men named Potau and Kotuku. The visit was made with a simulation of friendship, for the time was not ripe for an attack; and the northerners were satisfied for the moment with examining the strategical features of the island, and extorting from Potau and Kotuku a considerable quantity of the greenstone which they had accumulated during the course of their traffic with the Ngai-Tahu of the South Island.

Refreshed by their sojourn at Otaki, and considerably enlightened as to its military possibilities, the northern war party then pushed on southwards, fighting as they went, first at Wai-mapihi, a fortified pa, the remains of which are still to be seen not far from the Puke-rua railway station. The pa was captured, it is said, by treachery suggested by Te Rauparaha, and the Muaupoko, whose valour had defied the most desperate efforts of their assailants, were hunted in and through the bush by their fierce pursuers. Here, and at Porirua, a number of canoes fell into the hands of the invaders, some of whom now decided to vary the monotony of the land journey by the exhilaration of the sea route. This determination ended disastrously. Ignorant of the silent currents and treacherous tides of Cook Strait, the Nga-Puhi men of two canoes were swamped while taking the outer passage in rounding Sinclair Head, and fully one hundred of them were drowned. The remainder of the canoes, steering a course inside the reefs, escaped the {55} danger of shipwreck, and reached Whanganui-a-Tara[40] almost simultaneously with the party who had journeyed by land.

The country surrounding this great basin was then held by the Ngati-Ira, a sub-branch of the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe, whose possessions practically extended from Gisborne to Cape Palliser, on the eastern side of the North Island. They were a brave and numerous people, and when their pa at Pa-ranga-hau was attacked, they fought with a desperation which extorted admiration even from their enemies. Though considerable numbers of Ngati-Ira were killed in this conflict, Nga-Puhi did not escape scatheless; for one native account says: "Ngati-Ira charged them in the face of the flames of their muskets, and with their native weapons killed many Nga-Puhi." Hunger was now beginning to assert its inconvenience; and the war party were at this time compelled to live exclusively on the flesh of their slaves, of whom large numbers were killed, each chief undertaking successively to provide the necessary supply. Disease also attacked their camps, of which there were two; and some mysterious pestilence was responsible for the death of many warriors and several chiefs, whose heads were preserved and their bodies burned, to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy. Scarcely had the stricken host recovered from the prevailing sickness than the Ngati-Ira swept down upon the bivouac at Te Aro in the dead of night, and, in the first shock of the surprise, inflicted sore loss upon the sleeping warriors. Thanks to their guns, the northerners were ultimately successful in beating off the attack, and immediately afterwards the pas which skirted the harbour were deserted by their inhabitants, who, reluctant to accept the responsibility of battle under such unequal conditions, beat a stealthy retreat into the Hutt Valley, whither the northern chiefs followed them, though their force was now only a remnant of what it had formerly been. They travelled by canoe up the river which waters the valley, and, as they {56} went, the resident people, confident in their numbers, collected along the banks to jeer at them, and contemptuously invited them on shore to be eaten.

The details of this campaign are but a repetition of successive slaughters; for the panic created by the strange sound and deadly power of the gun left the unhappy defenders no spirit to resist the onslaughts of their assailants. For several weeks they remained in the valley, guided from pa to pa by their slaves, who, to save their own lives, were forced to sacrifice those of their tribesmen. Every nook of the dark forest was penetrated, and even the steeps of the Rimutaka Range were climbed in vengeful pursuit of the fugitives. In connection with these manœuvres the reputation of Te Rauparaha has again been besmirched by suggestions of treachery—and treachery of the blackest type; for nothing could be more hurtful to the honour of a high chief than that he should prove faithless while feigning hospitality. It has been recorded by the Nga-Puhi chroniclers that, as they pushed on through the forest, they came upon a strongly built and populous pa, which left some room for doubt as to what the issue of an attack would be. To tempt the warriors into the open was the policy advocated by Te Rauparaha, and to achieve this end he sent messengers to the Ngati-Ira chiefs with offers of peace. To render the bait more seductive, a feast was prepared, to which the warriors of the Hutt were invited; and, on assembling, a northern man sat down beside each one, prepared at a sign from their chief to spring upon the unsuspecting guests. Into the marae the women brought the food, and, as the unsuspecting Ngati-Ira were revelling in the delights of the banquet, the fatal signal was given by Te Rauparaha, and a massacre commenced, which ended only with the capture of the pa and the rout of its inhabitants.[41] Whether the name of Te Rauparaha will ever be cleared of this odious imputation which the {57} Nga-Puhi record has branded upon it is uncertain. But, as a counterpoise, it must be remembered that those who have made the accusations were at least willing participators in the schemes which they ascribe to him, and that, if the plans were his, the execution of them was undoubtedly theirs.

Having exhausted the field of conquest open to them in the valley of the Hutt, the war party returned to the harbour where their canoes were beached, and, undeterred by the fact that their numbers had now dwindled to less than three hundred, they set off by sea for Palliser Bay, by which route they had determined to enter the Wairarapa. A successful reprisal by the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe, who had cut off and annihilated a small party of the northerners, was the immediate justification for this new development in the plans of Tuwhare and Te Rauparaha. The opposing forces met at the Tauhere Nikau pa, near Featherston, which was strongly fortified and bravely defended; but the muskets which these rude imitators of Cortés carried with them were here, as elsewhere, sufficient to spread consternation through the opposing ranks, and the pa soon fell before the Ngati-Toa assault. Numbers of the besieged escaped to the hills, where they suffered the biting pangs of hunger, and the bitterness of soul inseparable from the aftermath of war.[42] Others, keeping to the open country, were pursued as far as Porangahau, in Hawke's Bay; and then the war party, weary of their bloody work, made their way back to Tauhere Nikau, where they spent some days demonstrating their contempt for the enemy by eating the bodies of the slain.

When hunger and tribal hatred had been sated, the victorious warriors, observing ominous signs of a gathering storm, returned to the west coast, and remained for a few days' rest at Omere.[43] While here, {58} the eagle eye of Waka Nene descried a vessel[44] in full sail beating through Cook Strait. To the quick intellect of the chief, the sight of the ship opened up in an instant fresh possibilities; for he knew what intercourse with the pakeha had done for the Nga-Puhi, and he saw no reason why the same advantages should not be shared by his friend and ally, Te Rauparaha. Doubtless that chief had confided his fears to Waka Nene, and they had probably consulted long and anxiously as to the growing weakness of the position at Kawhia. When, therefore, Tamati beheld the passing ship, he saw at a glance that, if this part of the coast was frequented by vessels of the white man, it offered the same facilities for obtaining arms and ammunition which Hongi enjoyed at the Bay of Islands. With unrestrained excitement he called out to his comrade: "Oh, Raha,[45] do you see that people sailing on the sea? They are a very good people; and if you conquer this land and hold intercourse with them, you will obtain guns and powder and become very great." This optimistic little speech was apparently all that was required to confirm Te Rauparaha in his growing desire to take the decisive step of migrating with the whole of his people from the storm-threatened Kawhia; and when the chief turned his face towards home, it was with the full resolve to come back at the first convenient season and make the country his own.

The homeward journey was characterised by the same ruthless behaviour towards the resident people which had been practised on the way down, those who were {59} captured being killed and eaten without any unnecessary ceremony.[46] What occurred within the confines of the Manawatu district we do not know, because the present-day representatives of the Rangitane people declare that they saw and heard nothing of the invaders. As they proceeded further north, however, we hear more of them; for while they were in the Rangitikei district an incident occurred which it suited the Ngati-Apa people not to forget. In one of the many excursions made into the interior in search of prisoners, a young chieftainess, named Pikinga, was captured by a party of Te Rangihaeata's men. Pikinga was the sister of Arapata Hiria, the Ngati-Apa chief against whom Waka Nene and Te Rauparaha were operating at the moment; and, if the gossip of the day is to be believed, she was possessed of no mean personal charms. She, at least, was attractive enough to captivate the most ruthless of the party, for it was not long before Te Rangihaeata fell a victim to her charms and made her his wife.

Whether this was merely a passing whim on the part of an amorous young warrior or a move in a much deeper game of diplomacy, it would be difficult to say at this distance of time, particularly as each tribe now imputes to the action of the chief a different motive. The Ngati-Apa claim, with some insistence, that the marriage was the expression of a bond of perpetual peace between them and Te Rauparaha: while the Ngati-Raukawa, to whose lot it fell some fifty years later to contest the point, contend that no such wide construction could be put upon Rangihaeata's action, and that, even if it involved the tribes in a treaty of friendship at the time, the compact was subsequently denounced by Te Rauparaha on account of the treachery of Ngati-Apa. It is quite within the region of possibility that Te Rauparaha, {60} having regard to the political aspect of the situation, would, so soon as he had measured their strength, lead the Ngati-Apa to believe that he desired to cultivate their goodwill; because immediately he had determined to seize the country opposite Kapiti, he would perceive the wisdom of having some friendly tribe stationed between him and his northern enemies, upon whom he could rely to withstand the first shock of battle in the event of a Waikato invasion. Such tactics would not be foreign to the Ngati-Toa leader, for that part of his life which was not spent in battle was occupied in the development of schemes whereby the efforts of one tribe were neutralised by the efforts of another; and if he could make pawns of the Ngati-Apa, he would chuckle to himself and say, "Why not?"

But Te Rauparaha was not the man to seriously contemplate anything in the way of a permanent peace with Ngati-Apa, or with any one else whom he felt strong enough to destroy. And even assuming that he encouraged them in the belief that Rangihaeata's devotion to Pikinga was a common bond between them, he would not dream of maintaining such an understanding a moment longer than it suited his purpose. It seems, therefore, more likely that, when he satisfied himself that the people of the Rangitikei were no match for his own warriors, and that he could subdue them at his leisure, he was at some pains to impress them with a sense of his magnanimity, but only because he desired to use them as a buffer between himself and the Waikatos. Years afterwards, when he felt secure against invasion, he repudiated all friendship with Ngati-Apa, and ordered his people to wage eternal war against them. The claim which the Ngati-Apa subsequently made to the land in the Rangitikei-Manawatu districts, on the ground that they were never conquered by the Ngati-Toa, because this marriage protected them from conquest, was therefore not well founded, the ordinary occurrence of a chief taking a captive woman to be his slave-wife being invested with a significance which it did not possess. {61} Upon the consummation of this happy event, the war party, laden with spoil and prisoners, made their way back to the north. When they reached Kawhia, after an absence of eleven months, Tuwhare being dead,[47] Waka Nene, who had now assumed command of the northern contingent, took his leave of Te Rauparaha, and Te Rauparaha prepared to take leave of the land of his fathers.

[22]   Braves.

[23]   Waitohi had other children, one of whom, Topeora, afterwards became the mother of Matene Te Whiwhi, one of the most influential and friendly chiefs on the west coast of the North Island. Topeora is perhaps more famed than any other Maori lady, for the number of her poetical effusions, which generally take the form of kaioraora, or cursing songs, in which she expresses the utmost hatred of her enemies. Her songs are full of historical allusions, and are therefore greatly valued. She also bore the reputation of being something of a beauty in her day.

[24]   There appears to be some doubt as to the exact locality of Te Rauparaha's birth, some authorities giving it as Maungatautari and others as Kawhia.

[25]   Marore was killed by a member of the Waikato tribe—it is said, at the instigation of Te Wherowhero—while she was attending a tangi in their district, about the year 1820.

[26]   War party.

[27]   The traditional accounts of the Maoris have it that at this period Te Rauparaha was "famous in matters relative to warfare, cultivating generosity, welcoming of strangers and war parties."

[28]   This tribe was afterwards partially exterminated during the raids of Hongi and Te Waharoa.

[29]   "When Paora, a northern chief, invaded the district of Whanga-roa, in 1819, the terrified people described him as having twelve muskets, while the name of Te Korokoro, then a great chief of the Bay of Islands, who was known to possess fifty stand of arms, was heard with terror for upwards of two hundred miles beyond his own district" (Travers).

[30]   "If we take the whole catalogue of dreadful massacres they (the New Zealanders) have been charged with, and (setting aside partiality for our own countrymen) allow them to be carefully examined, it will be found that we have invariably been the aggressors: and when we have given serious cause of offence, can we be so irrational as to express astonishment that a savage should seek revenge?" (Earle).

[31]   Marsden, writing of this time, says that such was the dread of the Maoris that he was compelled to wait for more than three years before he could induce a captain to bring the missionaries to New Zealand, as "no master of a vessel would venture for fear of his ship and crew falling a sacrifice to the natives." As an extra precaution, all vessels which did visit the country were supplied with boarding nets.

[32]   Whare-mawhai, sister of Huri-whenua, chief of the Ngati-Rahiri, who lived at Waihi, four or five miles north of Waitara.

[33]   Tuwhare belonged to the Roroa branch of the Nga-Puhi tribe.

[34]   When the musket was first introduced into Taranaki, a slave was very anxious to know how it was used. A Nga-Puhi warrior explained to him the method of loading and priming, then told him to look down the muzzle. The slave did so, whereupon the Nga-Puhi pulled the trigger, and the top of the unfortunate slave's head was blown off, much to the amusement of the surrounding crowd.

[35]   Associated with Tuwhare and Te Rauparaha in this raid was another and equally famous chief, named Muru-paenga. That he was a great warrior is proved by the fact that his enemies speak of him in the lament already quoted as "the army-raiser, the leader," while his friend Te Taoho, in a tangi composed after his fall, refers to his "warlike eloquence," and compares him to "a richly-laden vessel, with all knowledge and great courage." But Muru-paenga is not merely famed in song, for his achievements have in a measure passed into proverb. In the taking of pas, one of his favourite stratagems was to stealthily approach the enemy's fort at nightfall, and pounce upon it with the first light of dawn. This involved the sleeping of his men amongst the tender ferns growing on the outer edge of the bush, which in the morning necessarily bore a trodden-down appearance, a fact which did not escape the keen observation of those who had oft been the victims of his tactics. Consequently, when Muru-paenga was killed by Nga-Puhi in 1826, the joyful news went through the country which he had previously devastated, and the saying was composed, in significant suggestion that the ferns and the people would no longer be crushed, "Rejoice, O ye little ferns of the woods, Muru-paenga is dead."

[36]   "During the siege, Tawhai (afterwards Mohi Tawhai), father of the late Hone Mohi Tawhai, M.H.R., who was with the northern contingent of the taua in the attack, was close under one of the towers of the pa when one of the defenders hurled a big stone at him which split open his head. But by careful doctoring he recovered—careful doctoring according to Maori ideas meant that they poured hot oil into the wound and then sewed it up" (Polynesian Journal).

[37]   Topeora did not secure her husband without a struggle, for another lady, Neke-papa, had also taken a fancy to the handsome warrior, and as Te Ratutonu was leaving the pa, a dispute arose as to which should have him. But Topeora, being fleet of foot, ran to meet the advancing warrior, and cast her topuni, or dog-skin mat, over him, "and this being in accordance with Maori custom, Te Ratutonu became the husband of Topeora."

[38]   His home was on the banks of the Hokianga River, on the western side of the country, opposite to the Bay of Islands. He afterwards became a convert to the Wesleyan Mission, and received at his baptism the prefix "Thomas Walker" to his old Maori name of Nene, hence the name by which he is known in history—Tamati Waka Nene.

[39]   The late Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, who knew Te Rauparaha well, has assured the writer that when it suited him the wily old chief could "lend a most angelic expression to his countenance."

[40]   Now known as Wellington.

[41]   "All these works of treachery, ambushes, murders, and all these wrongs done by the taua of Nga-Puhi, were taught them by Te Rauparaha" (Nga-Puhi account).

[42]   The female prisoners were secured by plaiting flax ropes into their long hair, and the men were imprisoned in enclosures made for the purpose.

[43]   Omere is a high bluff just to the south of Ohariu Bay. This bluff was the place which Maoris always visited to see if the Straits were calm enough to cross: hence the reference in the old song—

Where Omere projects outside, The look-out Mount for calms.

[44]   It has been suggested that this vessel was either the Wostok or the Mirny of the Russian scientific expedition sent out by Czar Alexander I. in 1819, and which visited Queen Charlotte Sound. If this is so, the date of this event was either late in May or early in June, 1820.

[45]   A contraction for Rauparaha.

[46]   On one occasion, when Te Rauparaha was conversing with Mr. George Clarke, then Protector of the Aborigines, the latter asked him how he made his way from north to south. With a wicked twinkle in his eye, Te Rauparaha replied, "Why, of course, I ate my way through."

[47]   On reaching Whanganui, a division in the councils of the leaders took place, Ngati-Toa and Nga-Puhi remaining on the coast, while Tuwhare made an intrepid dash up the Whanganui River with his own immediate followers. They fought their way up into the "cliff country," in the upper reaches of the river, and here, in an engagement at the Kai-whakauka pa, Tuwhare received a wound on the head from which he shortly afterwards died. On receiving the fatal blow, he contemptuously remarked to his assailant: "If thine had been the arm of a warrior I should have been killed, but it is the arm of a cultivator."



When the period of feasting and enjoyment, which invariably followed upon the return of a successful Maori war party, had terminated at Kawhia, Te Rauparaha immediately became involved in a fresh struggle with Waikato. The cause of the hostility was remote; but, as Waikato had vowed to drive him out, no pretext was too slight upon which to base a quarrel. Thus the killing of one of their chiefs by a Taranaki warrior, to whom Te Rauparaha was related, was sufficient to justify the marching of a large war party against him. Their force advanced in two sections: the one came down the inland track, and the other, which was to actively engage Te Rauparaha, entered Kawhia from the sea. Two pas, Tau-mata-Kauae and Te Kawau, speedily fell before the invaders, and again Ngati-Toa were defeated at the battle of Te Karaka, on the borders of Lake Taharoa, after an heroic struggle, in which it is said that three hundred Ngati-Toa fought more than a thousand Waikatos. These disasters were indeed darkening the outlook for Ngati-Toa, and the position has been graphically described by one native historian, who states that "the losses of the tribe of Te Rauparaha were very great; by day and by night they were killed by Ngati-Pou." Success had also attended the arms of the section of Waikato who, under Te Wherowhero, had swept through the Waipa Valley and across the forest plateau until they reached the Wai-Kawau pa on the sea-coast, just north of the Mokau River. This they stormed and sacked by force of overpowering {63} numbers, and, surfeited with victory, they united with their comrades at Te Karaka, and then triumphantly marched home.

With so many of his pas obliterated and his warriors slain, Te Rauparaha retired upon Te Arawi, a coastal stronghold built upon the summit of a forbidding-looking rock, which at full tide is completely surrounded by a breaking sea. Here he had leisure to reflect upon the lessening radius of his freedom and to formulate his plans for extricating his people from a position of increasing peril; and we may fairly assume that it was now that his final decision to migrate from Kawhia to Kapiti was taken. Once resolved on this course, he applied himself systematically to the task of persuading his people to enter into the spirit of the scheme, over which he himself had become so enthusiastic, and which he now deemed necessary to their safety. The task was by no means a simple one, for the impending danger was not so apparent to all the tribe as it was to their chief; and, moreover, there centred in the spot which he was asking them to leave the traditions and associations of all the centuries which had passed since their forefathers had first landed there from the pilgrim canoe. They knew each nook and corner, from the caves to the hill-tops, every point of which spoke to them of the beloved past. Here a rock which had been a trysting-place in some tragic love affair, there a haunt of spirits, yonder a burying-ground made sacred by the bones of their ancestors, and there again a battlefield hallowed by the memory of the fallen. Each of these was a tie dear to the Maori; and they were loath to leave all that linked them to the past and face a future full of doubt and uncertainty.

But the confidence which Te Rauparaha had inspired, and the prospect of guns and ammunition in abundance, gradually overcame these sentimental objections; and before long the Ngati-Toa people agreed to follow their chief whithersoever he might lead. Te Rauparaha was, however, prudent enough to recognise that his own {64} section of the tribe, though brave at heart, were few in numbers for so serious an undertaking as the conquest of a new territory. As soon, therefore, as he had secured the consent of his own tribe, he paid a visit to Maungatautari, for the purpose of obtaining the co-operation of Ngati-Raukawa. With them he was no more successful at first than he had been with his own people. He pointed out their liability to attack, the difficulty in obtaining guns, shut out as they were from communication with the whalers, and the prospect of an easy victory over the weakened tribes of the coast. But they were reluctant to give up all that they possessed for a visionary and problematical success, and it was not till quite a year later that he was able even partially to break down their resistance. In pressing his claims upon the Ngati-Raukawa, he was materially aided by a somewhat romantic incident which occurred during his stay at Maungatautari. Although his mother was a Ngati-Raukawa woman, and by virtue of that fact he could claim chieftainship amongst them, Te Rauparaha was not regarded as a particularly brilliant star in their peerage; but what he lacked in pedigree was more than compensated for by his mental initiative and personal courage. Conscious of his own power, he never lost an opportunity of impressing it upon others; and it is therefore not a matter for surprise that he made the death of the Ngati-Raukawa chief the occasion of advancing his own claims to leadership.


TE ARAWI PA, KAWHIA. From which the Ngati-Toa migration commenced.
Photo by Jackson.

Thus it was a fortunate circumstance for him that, while he was advocating the conquest of Kapiti, Hape Taurangi, the great chief of Maungatautari, was seized with a fatal illness, and, while the whole tribe sat silently waiting for the end, the question of succession seemed to trouble him, as he probably realised the absence of a master-mind amongst his own sons. To them he put the question: "Can you tread in my steps and lead my people to victory? Can you uphold the honour of the tribe?" To these interrogations not one of his sons replied, and the silent suspense remained unbroken, until {65} Te Rauparaha, springing from the ring of warriors, exclaimed, "I am able to tread in your steps, and even do that which you could not do." The apparent presumption of this speech was lost in the general satisfaction, and, when Hape passed into the Great Beyond, Te Rauparaha took over his wives and his leadership, the latter of which he retained to his dying day.[48] But the measure of authority which had passed to him on the death of Hape did not include the sole direction of Ngati-Raukawa's affairs. The tribe still looked to their natural leaders for guidance in domestic matters, and the new influence gained by Te Rauparaha in their councils, though considerable, was not sufficient to overcome the obduracy of the tribe towards what they chose to regard as his chimerical proposal.

Nothing daunted, however, by the refusal of his kinsmen to participate in his bold enterprise, Te Rauparaha proceeded with patient deliberation to make his own arrangements. These involved the most careful planning and delicate negotiation, for failure in any one direction might wreck the whole scheme. The first consideration was to secure safe conduct for his people through the territory of the Taranaki tribes, and the establishment of resting-places where the very old and very young could recover their strength, and where sufficient food could be grown to carry them on to the next point of vantage. To this end negotiations were entered into with the Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Tama chiefs, who were more or less connected with Ngati-Toa by inter-marriage. It would, however, be a mistake to elevate this racial relationship into a bond of sincere friendship between these tribes, for neither would have hesitated long about a proposal to destroy the other, had a favourable opportunity presented itself. Their attitude towards each other was distinctly one of armed neutrality, which at any moment might have {66} broken out into open rupture. But even this negative attitude of the tribes proved useful to Te Rauparaha, as it enabled him to approach Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Tama with at least the semblance of friendship, while it deprived them of open hostility as a reason for refusing his requests. The concessions which the Ngati-Toa leader asked for were therefore granted, though grudgingly; but he could no more persuade Ngati-Awa to go with him than he could impress the Ngati-Raukawa; and when he reminded them of the change which was coming over the system of Maori warfare, and the weakness in which they would be left by his departure, they laughed at his misgivings, boasted of their ancient mana, and told him that his fears were altogether unworthy of a chief of his standing. How dearly they paid for their lack of foresight is told in the fall of Puke-rangiora pa a few years later, when the Waikatos swept down upon them and drove them flying into the arms of the man whose counsel they had so carelessly despised.

Having thus diplomatically arranged an open road for the passage of his people to the south, he found it equally essential to secure an unmolested departure from the north. He therefore appreciated the necessity of making terms with his old enemy, Te Wherowhero, of Waikato, and in this important negotiation he availed himself of the services of two Ngati-Mania-poto chiefs, who occupied the country close to Kawhia and were on friendly terms with Te Wherowhero. These chiefs paved the way for a conference, at which Te Rauparaha appears to have been unusually candid with his old antagonist. He frankly unfolded to him the details of his proposed migration, and, in consideration of Te Wherowhero's guaranteeing him immunity from attack, he, on his part, agreed to cede the whole of the Ngati-Toa lands to the Waikato tribes after his people had vacated them. Such easy acquisition of a valuable piece of country was not without its influence upon Te Wherowhero. But he was even more impressed by its strategic than by its inherent value. The migration of {67} Ngati-Toa would rid him of a troublesome enemy on the west, and enable him to concentrate all his forces on his eastern frontier, where he would be the better able to resist the aggressions of that other remarkable figure in Maori history, Te Waharoa, should it ever occur to that warrior to attack him. On the understanding, then, that Kawhia was to be formally ceded to him, Te Wherowhero undertook not to molest the migrating tribe, either during their preparations or on the actual march.

The question of immunity from attack having been thus satisfactorily disposed of, the next matter which Te Rauparaha had to consider was the securing of an adequate supply of provisions for his people during their pilgrimage. As it was impossible to complete the journey in a single season, it was necessary not only that large quantities of food should be carried with them, but that planting-places should be established at various points along the route of march, where these supplies could be renewed from time to time. None of these details were overlooked, but all were worked out with mathematical exactitude by the consummate organiser in whose brain the migration had been planned; and the smoothness and precision with which these precautions dovetailed together furnish a remarkable example of high organising capacity. As a final preparation, it was necessary that the disposition of his fighting men should receive some attention, because he could not hope to conceal his real purpose from the people whose country he was about to invade. It is true he did not anticipate any serious opposition, because the defeats inflicted upon them by the recent expedition under Tuwhare, Waka Nene, Patuone, and himself had so reduced their strength as to render serious opposition impossible; but, in view of the limited force at his command, and the unlikelihood of increasing it, unnecessary waste had to be guarded against. He therefore divided his warriors into suitable sections, and, appointing a sub-chief to lead each company, he retained the supreme command of affairs in his own hands. {68} The carrying out of these varied preparations had now occupied several months, and when all was ripe for departure he paid a last visit to the surrounding tribes and chiefs—to Kukutai, of Lower Waikato, to Pehi-Tukorehu, of Ngati-Mania-poto, to Te Kanawa, of Waikato, bidding them good-bye, and, as an example in good faith, he kept his word to Te Wherowhero, saying to that chief: "Farewell! remain on our land at Kawhia; I am going to take Kapiti for myself: do not follow me." At Mungatautari a final effort was made to induce the Ngati-Raukawa to join him; but, although there were evidences of weakening resistance, he had still to wait several months before their objections were so far overcome as to permit him any measure of hope that they would yet yield and follow him. The tour of leave-taking at an end, Te Rauparaha returned to his pa at Te Arawi, and there summoned his people to prepare for the fateful march. When all was ready, the blazing flaxstick was put to the walls of the great carved house which had adorned the pa, and as the smoke of its destruction arose, the whole tribe of fifteen hundred souls passed through the gate which they were never again to enter.

In the case of unlettered peoples there is necessarily some difficulty in determining the precise periods at which important incidents in their history have occurred; and in this instance we have nothing to guide us except the arrangement and comparison of subsequent events. By this mode of reasoning we are led to the conclusion that the migration from Kawhia must have occurred during the latter months of the year 1821. But, whatever obscurity rests upon this point, tradition is clear[49] {69} that the circumstances under which the exodus commenced were singularly auspicious. The day broke with a cloudless sky, and, as the sun rose into the blue dome, the landscape for miles was lit by the rosy tints of morn, rendering every peak and valley more beautiful. On the route of march lay the hill of Moeatoa, and to its summit the pilgrims climbed, in order to take a last fond look at their ancient home. As they turned and gazed upon old Kawhia the memories of the past came crowding back upon them, and it is easy to understand their deep manifestations of sorrow at leaving their ancestral domain. The softer sentiments associated with home and country are not the exclusive prerogative of civilised beings. These people, savage and ruthless though they were, thrilled with the same patriotic feeling which prompted the Prophet of Israel to exclaim: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem! may my right hand forget her cunning." And although their form of expressing it was neither so beautiful nor so poetical, they were, nevertheless, quite as sincere when they cried upon the mountain-side: "Kawhia, remain here! The people of Kawhia are going to Kapiti, to Waipounamu." "The love of a New Zealander for his land is not the love of {70} a child for his toys," says a well-known writer.[50] "His title is connected with many and powerful associations in his mind, his affection for the homes of his fathers being connected with their deeds of bravery, with the feats of their boyhood, and the long rest of his ancestors for generations." And there is no reason to suppose that these feelings were less active in the Ngati-Toa at such a moment than they were in other Maori tribes.

The closing scene in the life of the Ngati-Toa at Kawhia has been beautifully described by Thomas Bracken, whose word-picture of the scene on Moeatoa Hill is amongst the finest that came from his poetic pen:—

"Beneath the purple canopy of morn, That hung above Kawhia's placid sheet Of waters crystalline, arose on high The golden shield of God, on azure field, With crimson tassels dipping in the sea! And from its burnished face a shower of rays Shot up the hills and gilt their spires and peaks In lambent sheen, until the turrets seemed Like precious ornaments of purest gold On mighty altars raised by giant priests In olden times, to offer sacred fire As sacrifice unto the Fount of Light, From whence the planets and the myriad stars Drink their effulgence! In the wild ravines And gorges deep, the limpid babbling creeks Sang matins as they left their mother hills To mingle in united waters, where They lost their little selves, and merged in one Pellucid flood that gathered stronger life From day to day! as God's great human church, Now building on the earth shall gather all The little sects and creeds and small beliefs That split mankind into a thousand parts, And merge them in one universal flood Of boundless charity. The dazzling points {71} Of morning's lances pierced the bursting hearts Of all the flow'rets on the fertile slopes, And waked red Kawhai's drops from sleep And shook the dew buds from the Rata's lids, Until its blossoms opened up their breasts And gave their fragrance to the early breeze That played amongst the Koromiko's leaves, And stole the rich Tawhiri's sweet perfume, And strung the flax-leaves into merry tune To woo the Bell-bird from his nest, to ring The Tui up to sing his morning hymns. The scene was made for man, not savage man, The cunningest of brutes, the crafty king Of beasts! but Man the Spiritualised, With all the light of knowledge in his brain, With all the light of love within his heart! And yet they were but savages who stood On Moeatoa's hill, above the scene, Mere savages, a step beyond the brute! But still there were bright sparks of God-lit fire Within their breasts! they loved their native vales With heart and soul! for they had hearts and souls Far nobler than some milk-faced races who Have basked 'neath Calv'ry's sun for ages long, And yet lie grov'lling in the nations' rear, With hearts encased in earth too coarse and hard For Calv'ry's glorious light to penetrate. Poor savages! that Orient had not yet Shed its benignant rays upon their souls, To melt the dross that dragged them down to earth In carnal bonds! they knew not yet the road To reach the standard of their better selves. Yet they were men in all save this! brave men With patriots' hearts, for as they stood and gazed O'er fair Kawhia's hills and vales That stretched into the sea, o'er which their sires In ages past sailed from Hawaiki's shores, The tears ran down their tattooed cheeks, and sobs Welled from their bosoms, for they loved the land With all the love intense a Maori feels For childhood's home! The hist'ry of their tribe Was written there on every rock and hill That sentinelled the scene, for these had known Their deeds of prowess, and their fathers' deeds Of valour! And the caverns held the bones Of those from whom they'd sprung! Their legends wild, {72} And weird traditions, chained them to the place, And ere they burst those links of love they gave A long sad look on each familiar spot And wailed above Kawhia's lovely vale:
Oh! Kawhia, remain, Cavern, gorge, and bay, Valley, and hill, and plain— We are going away.
Oh! Kawhia, remain, Take our tears and our sighs; Spirits of heroes slain, Rise up from Reinga, rise.
Oh! Kawhia, remain, With thee, Tawhaki, stay; Long may he o'er thee reign— We are going away."

The first stage of the journey ended with the close of the fourth day, when the pa of Puohoki was reached; and here Te Rauparaha decided to leave his wife Akau[51] and a number of the women and children under a suitable guard, while he and the bulk of the people pushed on as far as Waitara. Here they were received by the Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Awa tribes, in whose pas they were quartered for the season; and, except that a spirit of parsimony seemed to pervade their welcome, they had every reason to feel rejoiced at the success which up to this moment had attended their venture.[52] After the lapse of a brief period spent in perfecting his arrangements, Te Rauparaha decided to return for his wife and her companions, and on reaching the pa where they were staying he learned to his great joy that Akau had borne him a son. This infant lived to be the well-known missionary chief, Tamihana te Rauparaha. {73} Against the advice of his tribe, Rauparaha had only taken a band of twenty warriors with him, and on the journey back to Waitara his strategic abilities were tested to the full to escape annihilation. Three days after his arrival he left on his return journey, carrying his infant son in a basket on his back. Knowing that he had left Kawhia, a party of the restless Ngati-Mania-poto had crept down the coast in the hope of finding some stragglers of his party whom they might conveniently kill. But instead of meeting, as they had expected, a few irregulars, they came suddenly upon Te Rauparaha himself near the mouth of the Awakino River. To some extent the surprise was mutual, but the stress of the position was all against Te Rauparaha. Supported only by a limited force and hampered by the women and children, he was in serious difficulties, as the enemy might cut off his retreat and then attack him in force. Suddenly a brilliant idea struck him. Before the enemy approached within striking distance he ordered twenty of the most active women to disrobe and don the mats and headgear of fighting men. Then arming each of them with a stone club, he placed them under the charge of Akau, who was a woman of magnificent physique, with instructions to march in the van brandishing their weapons after the manner of veteran warriors. The more helpless women and children were placed in the centre, while he and his fighting men covered the retreat. Misled by the stratagem, the Ngati-Mania-poto were tricked into the belief that the Ngati-Toa force was much stronger than it really was, and instead of attacking they began to retire. Observing this, Te Rauparaha immediately accelerated their panic by charging down upon them, and in the skirmish which followed Tutakara, their chief, was killed by Te Rangi-hounga-riri, Te Rauparaha's eldest son by his child-wife Marore, who was rapidly making a name for himself as an intrepid warrior. But, although the position was somewhat relieved, Te Rauparaha felt that the danger was not yet at an end. He was experienced enough in native tactics to know that {74} the Ngati-Mania-poto would be tempted to return at nightfall and renew the attack in the hope of avenging the death of their chief. He therefore could not consider himself safe until the Mokau River was crossed, and, unfortunately, when he reached its banks the tide was full and the river was in flood. Nothing remained to be done except to wait, but in order still to maintain the deception twelve large fires were kindled, at each of which three women and one warrior were stationed, while the chief and the rest of his followers lay prepared for emergencies. It was also an injunction to the sentinels at the fires to address each other occasionally in the heroic language of the time. "Be strong, O people, to fight on the morrow if the enemy return. Take no thought of life. Consider the valour of your tribe." These stimulating exhortations, which were intended for the enemy's ears as much as for their own, were supplemented by fervid speeches from the women, whose shrill voices were carried out into the night air as a warning to the enemy that they would not lag behind their lords in the coming battle.

Meantime, Te Rauparaha lay waiting for the enemy, who never came. Either having no stomach for another encounter with so redoubtable a warrior, or still not understanding the true position, they wisely declined to provoke a battle, about the result of which they could be by no means sanguine. At midnight the tide turned, and the river fell sufficiently to be fordable.[53] Leaving their fires burning, the Ngati-Toa crept silently down to the bank, and, wading across, made their way to the pas of their friends, which they reached amidst general rejoicing. Early next morning the scene of the previous day's battle was revisited and the bodies of the slain {75} enemy recovered to make a feast, at which the sweet revenge harboured against Ngati-Mania-poto was surfeited.

While the Ngati-Toa plans were developing in Taranaki, another misfortune was falling upon the people of the southern districts from the opposite direction. Towards the middle of 1820 a band of six hundred warriors, under Apihai Te Kawau, of Ngati-Whatua, Te Kanawa, and Tu-korehu, of Waikato and Ngati-Mania-poto, and other prominent chiefs, longing for some new excitement, had journeyed down the east coast through Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa, for no particular purpose except to kill, eat, or make slaves of whoever might fall into their hands. In the course of this pilgrimage of blood they crossed over to the west, and there attacked in succession the Muaupoko, Rangitane, and Ngati-Apa tribes, upon whom they inflicted sore and mortal wounds; and when they retired back to the north they left the conquest of Kapiti a matter of comparative simplicity to Te Rauparaha. But they were soon themselves to feel the sting of defeat. Passing into the Taranaki country on their homeward march, they were set upon by the Ngati-Awa people, who strenuously opposed their further progress at Waitara. This was a strange reversal of all previous policy on the part of Ngati-Awa, who had always been friendly to, and had frequently co-operated with, the Ngati-Mania-poto and Waikato peoples on similar raids. By some authorities this new antagonism has been attributed to the sinister influence of Te Rauparaha, who was still at Ure-nui waiting to harvest his crops. He had not forgotten the anxious moments to which he had been subjected on the banks of the Waitara River, and it would have been more than human on his part had he not sought to balance accounts now that the opportunity offered. "By means of plotting and deceit," says one writer, "he succeeded in rousing Ngati-Awa—or the greater part of them—to take up his quarrel." Whatever the cause of Ngati-Awa's hostility, the effect was a series of determined and well-organised attacks upon the {76} northern taua, which ultimately drove them to seek refuge with a friendly section of the Ngati-Awa in the famous Puke-rangiora pa. Here they were besieged for seven months, fighting repeatedly, and, towards the end of that period, suffering intense privations. Frequent attempts were made to send intelligence of their straits through the enemy's ranks to their friends; but so close and vigilant was the investment that their messengers were invariably captured, and their heads fixed upon poles and exhibited to the besieged in a spirit of exultant derision. One, Rahiora, a young man of the Ngati-Mahanga tribe, did at length succeed in evading detection, and travelling into the Waikato by Kete-marae and Whanganui, thence by Taupo and Waipa, was able to communicate to the great Te Wherowhero the critical plight of his tribesmen. Te Wherowhero immediately made his call to arms, and soon a numerous relief party was on its way to join the force already in the field, which had vainly endeavoured to cut off Te Rauparaha at the Mokau. The junction of these forces was successfully accomplished, and the pride of Waikato's military strength, under two of the greatest chiefs of that time, Te Wherowhero and Te Waharoa, marched southward for the dual purpose of raising the siege of Puke-rangiora and of attacking Te Rauparaha. Though they failed to reach within striking distance of the beleaguered pa, their movement indirectly achieved its object, for the advent of so large a force lightened the pressure of the siege by drawing off a considerable number of the besiegers. Of these Te Rauparaha took command, and to his strategical genius was due the victory which he ultimately achieved on the plain of Motu-nui. This plain stretches along the sea-coast between the Ure-nui and Mimi Rivers. At this point the shore is bounded by perpendicular cliffs, fully one hundred and fifty feet high, along which are dotted several small pas, used as fishing-places in olden times. Away to the eastward of the plain run the wooded hills, on the steep sides of which rise the numerous streams which rush across the plain to the sea. On the southern {77} end of one of the spurs descending from the range was built the strongly fortified Okoki pa, which was made the point of assembly by the Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Toa warriors.

The Waikato taua came on as far as a place called Waitoetoe on the southern bank of the Mimi River, and there commenced to make a camp preparatory to throwing down the gage of battle. To the watchers in the Okoki pa their fires had been visible for several miles; and when it was seen that they had determined to pitch camp, there was a general request that their position should be at once attacked. Personally, Te Rauparaha preferred to take no risks until the portion of his force which was still holding Tu-korehu in check at Puke-rangiora should have come up. He, however, yielded to the importunities of some of his chiefs, and consented to send out a hunuhunu, or reconnoitring party, to test the mettle of the enemy. To meet the possibility of the skirmish developing into a more serious encounter, he took the precaution of concealing a strong reserve force, composed of the older men, in the bed of one of the wooded streams which ran close beneath the pa. Having instructed Rangiwahia, of Ngati-Mutunga, in whose charge he left these supports, he took eighty of the younger men with him, and advanced across the plain by stealthy marches. So secretly was the movement effected, that they were within a stone's-throw of the Waikato camp, and had actually commenced the attack upon some of the Waikato warriors, before their presence was discerned. In the first onset Te Rauparaha's followers were roughly handled, and, in accordance with their preconcerted plan, they began rapidly to fall back, sustaining severe losses the while from the guns of the enemy. Their retirement soon developed into a general retreat, which might have been much more disastrous but for a fatal division of opinion which sprang up amongst the Waikato leaders, as to whether or not the fugitives should be pursued. Te Wherowhero was content to have repulsed them, and advised resuming the {78} interrupted work of building their shelters; but others, not so cautious, urged immediate pursuit, and, these counsels prevailing, the whole Waikato force was soon in full cry after the retreating scouts. The chase was fierce and stern, and many a good Taranaki warrior dropped upon the plain as he sped towards the pa, for the pursuers kept up as hot a fire as their rapid movements rendered possible. Seeing the men falling round him, a chief who was running close to Te Rauparaha repeatedly urged him to turn and attack the pursuers; but the crafty general, knowing that the time was not yet, declined to forestall his prearranged strategy. He held on his way, only urging his men to faster flight, while Te Wherowhero incited his marksmen to single out the Ngati-Awa chiefs for death. Some two miles of the plain had been covered, and the southern warriors were nearing their supports. As the foremost reached the wooded gully, they waited there to recover their breath, and allowed the pursuers to close in upon them. Weary and blown with their long and exciting run, the Waikatos came straggling up, innocent of the trap into which they had fallen. At the psychological moment Te Rauparaha gave the signal, and out dashed his veterans, fresh and eager for the fray, charging down upon the exhausted and astonished Waikatos. Their chiefs who were in the forefront of the chase were the first to go down, and their numbers were perceptibly diminished as they were beaten back by repeated charges across the blood-stained field. Te Wherowhero fought through the reverse with supreme courage, engaging and vanquishing in single combat no less than five of Taranaki's greatest warriors; and to his fine defence and heroic example is attributed the fact that his tribe was not completely annihilated on the field of Motu-nui. On the other hand, it has been whispered that his companion in arms, Te Waharoa, did not bear himself in this fight with his wonted gallantry. Waikato paid a heavy toll that day. They left one hundred and fifty men dead on the field, and the slaughter of chiefs was a conspicuous tribute to their bravery—Te {79} Wherowhero and Te Waharoa being the only leaders of eminence to escape.

For some inexplicable reason, Te Rauparaha did not pursue his victory to the bitter end, as was his wont.[54] This forbearance on his part is especially surprising in view of the fact that Te Wherowhero had specifically promised to remain neutral during the progress of the migration. Possibly the consciousness that he would have done the same thing himself induced him to take a lenient view of his old antagonist's want of good faith; for there can be no doubt that the bloody wars which were at this time ravaging the country had completely sapped the old Maori sense of honour. "At the period in question, more perhaps than at any other in the history of the race, moral considerations had but little weight in determining the conduct of either the individual or the tribe. Even the nearest relatives did not hesitate to destroy and devour each other." There was thus nothing unusual about Te Wherowhero's conduct; but his experience of Te Rauparaha on this occasion was such that from that day onward he left him severely alone.

The effect of these successive victories was to enhance enormously the prestige and power of Te Rauparaha. He began to be regarded with reverence by Ngati-Awa and with something akin to worship by Ngati-Toa. As a tangible proof of the gratitude which his hosts felt for the services which he had rendered them, food, which had been grudgingly supplied up to this time, was now given in abundance to his people, and, what was of even greater moment to Te Rauparaha, adherents began freely to flock to his cause. But, although he had beaten off both the Ngati-Mania-poto and Waikato tribes, the {80} position was still unsatisfactory to him from the point of view of numbers, and so he resolved to make one more effort to persuade Ngati-Raukawa to join him. Accordingly he journeyed back to Opepe, a village on the shores of Lake Taupo, where he met young Te Whatanui, a chief destined to become famous in after years as the protector of the Muaupoko people whom Te Rauparaha wished to destroy. Upon the assembled tribe, and upon Te Whatanui in particular, he again impressed the merits of his scheme, pointing out the altered position occupied by the tribes who had managed to become possessed of fire-arms, as compared with those who had only wooden spears and stone meres. He dwelt upon the fact that ships were beginning to frequent Kapiti, and that there they could obtain guns, as Nga-Puhi had done at the Bay of Islands. He also reiterated all that he had formerly told them about the fertility of the soil and the ease with which the country might be conquered: but in vain. Te Whatanui volunteered no sign of approval. He gave many presents to Te Rauparaha, as marks of respect from one warrior to another. He also made him a long oration, skilfully avoiding the all-important topic upon which Te Rauparaha had travelled so far to consult him; nor did the majority of his people conceal their objection to coming under Te Rauparaha's immediate command, to the exclusion of their own chiefs. Angered at this perversity, Te Rauparaha shook the dust of Opepe from off his feet and proceeded to Rotorua, and as far as Tauranga, where he sought the aid of the great Te Waru. But he met with no success, for Te Waru had schemes of his own which claimed his personal attention. While resting with the Tu-hou-rangi branch of the Arawa tribe on his return to Rotorua from Tauranga, Te Rauparaha (according to accounts) perpetrated an outrage upon Nga-Puhi which was destined to inspire one of the most disastrous wars and one of the most daring assaults known in Maori history. His motive for "sowing the seeds of evil counsel" is not clear. By some it is alleged a jealous envy of Nga-Puhi's success in procuring arms, {81} while others find it in the consuming desire for revenge for the death of a young relative killed a few weeks before at the fall of the Te Totara pa at the Thames. Whatever the motive, before leaving he took occasion to recite a karakia, or song, informing the Tu-hou-rangi that there was a small band of Nga-Puhi travelling about in their vicinity, and broadly insinuating that "death and darkness were very good things." This hint, however enigmatical, was taken and acted upon. When Te Pae-o-te-rangi, Hongi's nephew, and a company of his Nga-Puhi followers arrived at the Motu-tawa pa, from which Te Rauparaha had just departed, they were treacherously set upon and killed by the Tu-hou-rangi people. It was to avenge the death of Te Pae-o-te-rangi that Hongi performed the Herculean task of dragging his canoes from Waihi, near Maketu, to Lake Rotorua, and on the island of Mokoia slaughtered the unfortunate Ngati-Whakaue (Arawas), who had been entirely innocent of the original crime.

Before quitting Rotorua, however, Te Rauparaha had the good fortune to fall in with the Nga-Puhi chief Pomare,[55] who handed over to him a few of the men who had accompanied him to the Lake district on a mission of bloodshed. With this small reinforcement Te Rauparaha returned to Taranaki and prepared to resume his journey southward, having in the meantime enlisted the services of some four hundred Ngati-Awas under one of the most famous men of his time, Rere-ta-whangawhanga, father of Wi Kingi Rangitake.[56] The force at Te Rauparaha's command now numbered about eight hundred fighting men and their families. With these he resumed his march in the autumn of 1822, when the kumara had been gathered in, and advanced without interruption or mishap until he reached Patea. {82} Here a slight skirmish took place, and six of the invaders were killed, their deaths being immediately avenged by the slaughter of some Waitotara people. From them a large canoe was captured, and was employed in the transportation of some of the women and children by sea, thus saving them the labour and fatigue involved in the land journey. Te Rauparaha himself also travelled by water with the women, but, with the exception of those required to propel the canoes, the men continued on foot along the coast, capturing and killing an occasional straggler who had lingered too long in the vicinity of the warpath.

At the mouth of the Rangitikei River the canoe was drawn up on the beach, and the whole party halted for several days. Hearing of their arrival, the friends of Pikinga came down to the camp to welcome her, but the remainder of the Ngati-Apa tribe fled to the hills and concealed themselves amongst the mountain fastnesses. It would therefore appear that the friendship which they afterwards alleged to have existed between Te Rauparaha and themselves was not of a very substantial character.[57] Nor did the marriage of their chieftainess with Te Rangihaeata avail them much; for while the bulk of his people rested by the river, odd bands of their fighting men were continually scouring the country in search of some plump Ngati-Apa who was needed to keep the ovens fully employed. While the weather continued fine, Te Rauparaha was anxious to lose no more time than was absolutely {83} necessary. So soon, therefore, as his people had been refreshed by the rest, he pushed on again, making his next stage the mouth of the Manawatu River, where he harassed the Rangitane people by the inroads of armed parties on their settlements. But comparatively few captures were made, as the pas were deserted immediately the inhabitants scented the danger.

The migration which Te Rauparaha was thus conducting had for its objective a sweet and fertile spot on the banks of the Ohau stream; and when the remaining portion of the coast had been traversed without opposition, and the tribe had reached its journey's end in safety, preparations were at once made to establish them permanently on the land. A pa was built large enough to accommodate the whole party, and ground was cleared for cultivations, in which the potato was planted for the first time on this coast. Their nearest neighbours were the Ngati-Apa, who held possession of the island of Kapiti, and the Muaupoko tribe, who were settled round the shores of Lakes Horowhenua and Papaitonga. In what light the former regarded the aggression upon their borders it is difficult to say; but the latter were evidently very ill at ease, for they had a heavy presentiment of what the ultimate result would be. But how to avert the danger was no simple problem, as they had learned enough in the stern school of experience to recognise that victory in open battle was not to be hoped for. Strategy was therefore determined upon. Learning from two Whanganui chiefs, who were then on a visit to Horowhenua, that Te Rauparaha's vulnerable point at this period was his desire to obtain canoes, they resolved to tempt him with the bait to which he was most likely to fall a victim. The ease with which the chief fell into the trap was due to his excessive ambition and the further large schemes towards which his aspirations soared.

He had heard strange stories of a treasure-trove of greenstone which the Ngai-Tahu people had stored in {84} their pas over on the Middle Island; and as he stood on the beach at Ohau and looked across the Strait towards the hills of Waipounamu, he dreamed of this wealth and how he could possess himself of it. Without a fleet of canoes to convey his warriors over the intervening sea, the project of invasion was visionary; but even with the frailest vessels he might make it a reality, and at one bold stroke add to his dominions, gratify his avarice, and satiate his hate by waging war upon the southern tribes.

Of canoes the Muaupoko had many. Residing as they did upon the shores of two lakes, these vessels were almost as essential to them as gondolas to the Venetians; and when they learned of Te Rauparaha's eagerness to obtain what they possessed, a device was cautiously planned by which they might rid themselves of a neighbour whose coming they felt boded them no good. Into this conspiracy of murder the Rangitane people of Manawatu were admitted; and for thus allowing themselves to be made the cat's-paw of others they paid a bitter penalty, for they succeeded in nothing except in arousing the eternal hatred of the great chief, who seemed invulnerable alike to their cunning and their force. The authors of the scheme were Turoa and Paetahi, both of the Ngati-Apa tribe; and the willing instrument in their hands was Toheriri, a leader of the Muaupoko, whose part was, shortly after the arrival of the Ngati-Toa at Ohau, to send an invitation to Te Rauparaha and a number of his followers to pay a friendly visit to his pa at Papaitonga. As already indicated, the inducement held out to Ngati-Toa was the promise of a gift of canoes, and, under the circumstances, a more artful pretence could not have been conceived. "Canoes were at this time his great desire, for by them only could he cross over to the island of Waipounamu," is the explanation of the position given by Tamihana Te Rauparaha; and, if the Muaupoko could gratify that desire, Te Rauparaha was not the man to refrain from making a convenience of his {85} enemies, as well as of his friends. Accordingly he accepted the invitation, notwithstanding the earnest remonstrances of his nephew and lieutenant, Te Rangihaeata, who declared his irresistible conviction that murder, rather than hospitality, was the secret of the Muaupoko invitation.

Rauparaha was in no mood to speculate about omens, good or evil. Canoes he wanted, and canoes he would have, even if the gods or the devils were against him. His unusual recklessness even carried him so far that he selected only a few warriors to accompany him, and with these he arrived, just at the fall of evening, at Papaitonga. The party was, of course, received with the most profuse expressions of friendship. Toheriri and his fellow-chief Waraki conducted their visitors in state to view the canoes which were to be handed over in the morning; but, on returning to the pa, they were careful to conduct Te Rauparaha to a house at one end of the settlement, while his followers were provided for at the opposite end. This fact appears to have aroused no suspicion in the Ngati-Toa mind; for at night all slept soundly, until the shouts of the combined Rangitane and Muaupoko war parties were heard in the early morning as they rushed upon the slumbering pa.

The assailants appear to have been too precipitate in their onset. Instead of first surrounding the whare in which Te Rauparaha lay, they commenced the massacre of his followers at the other end; and Toheriri, who was lightly sleeping in the same compartment as Te Rauparaha, was compelled to go out and direct them to the particular hut in which their common foe was lying. This delay was fatal to their design, but fortunate for Te Rauparaha. In the absence of his host, he stayed not to take his leave, but bursting through the raupo wall which formed the end of the whare, he slipped away between the houses; and when the tardy Rangitane rushed up to the hut, their prey had flown, and nothing remained but to wreak their vengeance upon {86} the less distinguished victims, whom they slaughtered without mercy. Included amongst these victims of treacherous onslaught were several of Te Rauparaha's wives and children. Of the latter, however, two were spared, Te Uira and Hononga, the former of whom was a daughter of his child-wife Marore. The reason for this partial clemency is not clear; apparently vengeance was satisfied by sending them prisoners to the Wairarapa, where they afterwards became wives of men of renown in the district.[58]

Amidst the chaos of treachery which surrounds this incident, it is pleasant to record an act of chivalry of an heroic type. Amongst those who accompanied Te Rauparaha on this eventful visit was his son, Rangi-hounga-riri, who, it will be remembered, had distinguished himself by slaying Tutakara, the chief of the Ngati-Mania-poto, when that tribe attacked Ngati-Toa at the Awakino River. He, being strong of body and lithe of limb, had managed to break through the attacking cordon, and, had he chosen, might have made his escape. But, as he hurried away, his ear caught the sound of a girl's piteous crying for help. He recognised the voice as that of his sister, Uira. Heedless of consequences he rushed back to the pa, and, forcing his way to the side of the girl, placed his protecting arm around her, and fought her assailants until overpowered by superior numbers. By his death, Te Rauparaha lost one of his most intrepid lieutenants, and the Ngati-Toa tribe one of its most promising leaders. As chivalrous as he was brave, he was the type of chief whose nobility lifted the ancient Maori above the level of the mere savage, and illustrated the manly qualities which so impressed those early colonists who took the trouble to understand the people amongst whom they had come. The qualities are still there, and justify the hope that, by sound laws, and sanitary and educational reforms, such as are now being {87} effected, it may yet be possible to stay the process of degeneration which set in as the result of the first contact of the Maori with the European.

Te Rauparaha, having slipped from the snare of his enemies, plunged into the long grass which surrounded the pa, and, in the semi-darkness, succeeded in eluding his pursuers, eventually reaching his settlement at Ohau, weary, angry, and almost naked. Bitterly disappointed at the result of his mission, and deeply enraged at the treatment he had received, he in his wrath cursed the Rangitane and Muaupoko peoples, and, calling his tribe around him, he charged his followers to make it the one special mission of their lives "to kill them from the dawn of day till the evening." This doctrine of extermination was not preached to unwilling ears; and from that day the fixed policy of the Ngati-Toa tribe was to sweep the Muaupoko and Rangitane from their ancestral lands. In the reprisals which followed as the result of Rauparaha's vow of eternal vengeance, the former tribe seems to have suffered most; and there is little room for doubt that they would have been ultimately uprooted and effaced from amongst the tribes of New Zealand, but for the kindly offices of that dark-skinned humanitarian, Te Whatanui, who, years afterwards, took them under his protecting mantle, and declared, in the now historic phrase, that "nothing would reach them but the rain from heaven."

The Rangitane people were more fortunately situated, having the impassable forests of the Manawatu and its inaccessible mountain fastnesses to protect them. But they by no means escaped the bitterness of persecution, as bands of Ngati-Toa were constantly roaming their country in search of some one to kill and devour. The constant absence of these parties convinced Rauparaha that the small band of men whom he had with him was by no means sufficient for the magnitude of the task which his ambitious mind had conceived, and so he determined upon doing two things. The first was to strengthen his position by conquering the island of {88} Kapiti, which was still in the possession of a section of the Ngati-Apa people; the second, once again to despatch ambassadors to the north, to persuade some of his former allies to join him in mastering a district which promised a rich supply of guns and ammunition. As a preliminary to the former scheme, he extended his frontier as far as Otaki, from which point he could the better watch the movements of the islanders and sweep down upon them at a favourable moment. But the intervals in which there was lack of vigilance were few and far between, and consequently the first series of attacks failed signally. The defenders were strongly posted and incessantly watchful; so Rauparaha, seeing that the frontal attack, however well delivered, would not avail, decided upon a stratagem which, judged by its success, must have been admirably planned.

His device was to lull the defenders of the island into a false sense of security by apparently withdrawing all his forces from Otaki for the purpose of some larger movement in the north, at the same time leaving a small band of well-tried men, whose duty it was to make a dash for the island and seize it before its inhabitants had recovered from their surprise. He accordingly marshalled his forces one morning, and, with an amount of ostentatious display which was calculated to attract the attention of the Ngati-Apa spies, he marched away to the Manawatu at the head of his warriors. The Ngati-Apa saw this movement, but did not understand it. Believing that the absence of Te Rauparaha meant a period of respite, they withdrew their sentries and gave themselves up to rejoicing. This was precisely what the Ngati-Toa chief had hoped for and calculated upon. He also had the satisfaction of knowing that the most critical part of his scheme was in safe hands. His uncle, Te Pehi Kupe, who was left in charge of the attacking party, was a tried and grim veteran, and, true to the trust imposed upon him, he came out of his concealment just before dawn on the morning after Te Rauparaha had left. Silently the intrepid little band launched their {89} canoes, and as silently they paddled across the intervening water, reaching the island at the break of day. They found the inhabitants still sleeping, and unconscious of any danger until the shouts of their assailants and the cries of the wounded warned them that some desperate work was on hand. Not many of them stayed to fight, and those who were not killed in the first onslaught scrambled into their canoes and made for the mainland, thus ingloriously leaving the last independent stronghold of the Ngati-Apa in the hands of the invaders.

It has been charged to the discredit of Te Rauparaha, that, in planning this attack upon Kapiti, he cherished a guilty hope that Te Pehi might fall in the assault, and by his death rid him of a powerful rival in the councils of the tribe. But, while his critics have never been slow to attribute to him the grossest treachery towards his enemies and infidelity to his friends, there is absolutely no evidence that on this occasion he meditated a crime, such as sacred history imputes to the King of Israel when he placed Uriah the Hittite in the forefront of the battle. Te Pehi was a great chief. He was Te Rauparaha's senior in years and his superior in birth. His prowess in battle was known far and wide, and the circumstances under which he afterwards emulated the example of Hongi by visiting England, and like him, subsequently procuring for his tribe, guns and ammunition at Sydney, stamp him as a man of strong initiative and individuality. But he did not possess the political genius with which his nephew was endowed; he lacked the organising power, the tact, and the gift of inspiring others with his own enthusiasm. While Te Pehi might lead a charge with brilliancy, Te Rauparaha could often gain more by diplomacy than he by force of arms; and these statesmanlike qualities gave the younger chief an influence with the tribe which Te Pehi did not and never could possess. Indeed, the tragedy associated with his death at Kaiapoi, in 1828, is sufficient to convince us that he was strangely lacking in conciliation and tact. {90} So far as can be learned, there is nothing to lead us to suppose that Te Pehi ever questioned his nephew's superiority in the diplomatic department of his tribal office; on the contrary, he seems to have cheerfully accepted a secondary position, and loyally aided Te Rauparaha in all his projects. Under these circumstances, it is somewhat difficult to imagine what Te Rauparaha was to gain by sacrificing so brave an ally. Moreover, the intense grief which he manifested when Te Pehi was killed at Kaiapoi, and the signal vengeance which he took upon the Ngai-Tahu tribe for their act of treachery, render the suspicion of foul play on his part utterly improbable. In view of these considerations he may fairly be exonerated from any criminal intent towards Te Pehi. It is clear that the seizure of Kapiti was but an essential move in his policy of conquest, and that the manner of its seizure was but a cleverly designed piece of strategy, certainly not unattended by risk, but affording very reasonable chances of success.

The capture of this natural fortress did not result in its immediate occupation, for Te Rauparaha still had abundance of work to do on the mainland before he could regard the power of the enemy as broken and the conquest of his new home complete. In pursuance of his policy of extermination, he had been interspersing his larger movements with repeated raids upon Rangitane and Muaupoko, in which he invariably made them feel the sting of his revenge. Finding that these attacks were becoming more frequent and more vigorous, the chiefs of the latter tribe conceived a plan by which they hoped to elude the persistency of their implacable pursuers. Hitherto their pas had been built on the shores of the picturesque lakes, around which they had lived since their advent into the district, centuries before. But they now decided to abandon these strongholds, which were exposed to every raid of the enemy, and build their dwellings in the centre of Lakes Horowhenua and Papaitonga. At the cost of an amazing amount of industry and toil, they constructed artificial islands {91} upon the beds of these lakes at their deepest parts, and upon these mounds they built a miniature Maori Venice. The construction of these islands was most ingenious, and desperate indeed must have been the straits to which Muaupoko were driven before they imposed upon themselves so laborious a task.

Proceeding to the bush, their first operation was to cut down a number of saplings, which were pointed and then driven into the soft mud, closely enclosing in rectangular form sufficient space on which to place the foundations of the houses. Smaller stakes were then driven into the centre of the enclosure, upon which were spitted those compact masses of vegetation known as "Maori-heads." A layer of these gave the builders a solid basis upon which to work, and huge stones, earth, and gravel were brought in the canoes from the shore, and poured into the enclosures until the pile of débris rose some height above the level of the water. Six such islands were formed on Lake Horowhenua and two on Papaitonga, and on these whares were erected, which were gradually extended by the addition of platforms reaching a considerable distance beyond the islands. Round each of these platforms ran a stout palisade, which served the dual purpose of preventing the very young children from falling into the water and offering a formidable barrier to the assaults of the enemy. As the only means of communication with these islands was by canoe, and as it was well known to the Muaupoko people that Te Rauparaha had few such vessels, they felt comparatively secure from attack so soon as they had transferred themselves to their new retreat.

But they little reckoned on the kind of man with whom they had to deal, when they imagined that a placid sheet of water could interpose between Te Rauparaha and his enemies. Canoes he had not, but strong swimmers he had; and it is a fine tribute to their daring that, on a dark and gloomy night, a small band of these undertook to swim off to one of the Horowhenua pas and attack its sleeping inhabitants. With their weapons {92} lashed to their wrists, they silently entered the water, and by swift side strokes reached the walls of Waipata, the pa which they had chosen for their attempt, and were swarming over the palisades before a note of warning could be sounded. Taken at such a disadvantage, it was not to be expected that the Muaupoko resistance would be effective, for they were both stunned by surprise and paralysed by fear at the awful suddenness of the attack. Flight was their first thought, and such as were not slain in their sleep or caught in their attempt to escape, plunged into the lake and made for the nearest shelter. In this endeavour to escape death all were not successful, and it is estimated that, between the killed and drowned, the attack upon Waipata cost the Muaupoko several hundred lives, besides adding to their misfortune by shattering utterly their belief in the inaccessibility of their island pas. The adjoining pas upon the lake, warned of the impending danger by the tumult at Waipata, at once prepared for a stubborn defence; but the attacking party, feeling themselves unequal to the task of a second assault, discreetly withdrew to the mainland before it was yet daylight, and at once made preparations for another attack upon a more extensive scale. But both prudence and necessity dictated the wisdom of delay; it was wiser to wait until Muaupoko had relapsed into their former state of confidence, and, moreover, the plan upon which it was proposed to make the attack required time for its development.

Recognising the strength of the Waikiekie pa, against which the energies of his tribe were next to be directed, Te Rauparaha saw that success was not to be expected unless he could attack it in force. This involved the transportation of a large body of men over the waters of the lake, which could only be effected by means of canoes. These he did not possess in numbers, and, even if he had, he must still devise means of conveying them to the lake, which was several miles from the coast. His ingenious mind, however, soon discovered an escape from these perplexities, and he at once decided upon a plan, {93} which was not without precedent in European warfare or imitation in subsequent Maori history. His scheme involved the haulage of his canoes over the belt of land which separated the lake from the sea, and the enterprise seems to have been as cleverly executed as it was daringly designed. Out of the lake runs an insignificant stream, which slowly meanders over shallows and between narrow banks down to the ocean; and to the mouth of this creek were brought such canoes as had fallen into Te Rauparaha's hands at the taking of Kapiti, and a larger one which had been procured from his friends at Whanganui-a-Tara.[59] Where the water was deep enough, or the reaches straight enough, the canoes were floated up the bed of the stream; but as this was possible only at rare intervals, the greater part of the distance was covered by dragging the vessels over the grassy flats and ferny undulations. Such a task would be laborious enough under any circumstances; but on this occasion it was rendered even more wearisome by the necessity for conducting it in absolute silence. As the success of the expedition depended mainly upon the completeness of the surprise, it was essential that no note of warning should be given, and therefore it was impossible to encourage the workers to greater exertions by song or speech; but so heartily did they bend themselves to their monotonous task, that the three miles of toilsome road were traversed before the break of day.

The outflow of the lake was hidden by a clump of trees which grew close to the water's edge, and behind this natural screen the canoes were concealed, and the men lay down to rest until the moment came to strike. At the first appearance of dawn, the canoes were shot into the lake, and before the inhabitants of Waikiekie had shaken slumber from their eyes, the shaft was on its way that would send many of them to their last long sleep. The pa was attacked on every side, and with a vigour which left little chance of escape. Such resistance {94} as was possible in such a situation was offered by the drowsy defenders. But the mortal fear with which they had come to regard the Ngati-Toa, together with the fury of the onslaught and the completeness of the surprise, spread panic amongst them, and the resistance was soon left to a desperate few. Their valiant efforts brought them nothing but the glory which attends the death of the brave. They were quickly borne down before the onrush of the assailants, whose shouts of triumph, joined with the terrified cries of the fugitives, filled the morning air. Large numbers, who looked to discretion rather than valour, plunged into the lake, and by swimming, diving, and dodging, a few managed to elude both capture and death. But many were slain as they swam, and, while their bodies sank to the bottom, their blood mingled with the waters of the lake, until it lay crimson beneath the rising sun. Warriors and women, old men and children, to the number of two hundred, we are told, perished on that fateful morning, which saw the Muaupoko tribe driven from Horowhenua, and the epoch of their greatness brought to a close. A mere remnant of the tribe escaped, and made their way through the forests and mountain fastnesses towards the south, where, within the space of another year, they were again pursued, hunted, and slaughtered, with all the old relentless hatred of their destroyer.

Having inflicted this crushing blow upon Muaupoko, and feeling convinced that they could never again be a serious menace to Ngati-Toa, the section of the Ngati-Awa tribe who, under Rere-ta-whangawhanga and other chiefs, had accompanied Te Rauparaha from Taranaki, now determined to return to their own country at Waitara;[60] and it was this decision which made it imperative that the Ngati-Toa leader should seek efficient aid from some other quarter. He accordingly, without delay, despatched {95} messengers to the north, once again to invite his kinsmen of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe to come and join him. These emissaries, having arrived at Taupo, learned that an attempt to reach Kapiti by way of the east coast had already been made by Te Whatanui, but without success, as he had been defeated by a Hawke's Bay tribe and driven back. This experience had somewhat cooled his ardour; but when Te Rauparaha's messengers came with the news that Kapiti had been taken, and told of his marvellous success at Waipata and Waikiekie, interest in the project at once revived. Especially was a young chief, named Te Ahu-karamu, fired with its romantic prospects, and he immediately organised a force of one hundred and twenty men and set off for the land of promise.

Almost simultaneously with the arrival of these reinforcements, additional strength was gained by the accession of another band of Ngati-Awa from Taranaki; and, with these additions to his ranks, Te Rauparaha felt himself strong enough to resume once more active operations in the field. He accordingly moved upon a skilfully built pa situated at Paekakariki, some miles to the southward of Kapiti, whither the escaping Muaupoko had fled and taken refuge. In this adventure a larger force than usual was employed; for not only were the new arrivals keen for a brush with the enemy, but the natural strength of the pa was such that Rauparaha knew it would be useless to approach it without a force of adequate proportions. In these anticipations his judgment was correct, as usual, for the struggle proved to be an exceedingly obstinate one and the death-roll on both sides considerable. After some days of incessant attack, in which the few muskets possessed by Ngati-Toa played their fatal part, the Muaupoko defence was pierced, and the victory was sealed with all the atrocities associated with the savage warfare of the ancient Maori.

The capture of this pa proved to be a rich prize for Rauparaha. Not only did it uproot the last stronghold of the Muaupoko people, but it brought a substantial {96} addition to his supplies. Large quantities of provisions were discovered within the stockade, evidently collected in anticipation of a lengthy siege. So provident, in fact, had the inhabitants of the Paekakariki fort been in this respect, that the large attacking force spent the succeeding two months feasting upon the captured stores, interspersed with an occasional cannibal repast. This period of rest the visitors were prepared to enjoy to the full; for after a battle nothing was more congenial to Maori warriors than to lie idly about the sunny places in the pa, and discuss in every detail the stirring incidents of the fight.

It was while thus basking in fancied security that the tables were suddenly turned upon them, and from a most unexpected quarter. Hearing from some of the fugitives of the capture of the Paekakariki pa, and burning to avenge the raid which Ngati-Toa had previously made into the Wairarapa, the members of the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe residing at Wairarapa and near Wellington believed that this was their golden opportunity. Secretly collecting a fighting force of considerable strength, they made their way through the bush to Paekakariki, and there fell upon the unwary and self-indulgent invaders. To them it was something of a novel experience to be thus repaid in their own tactics; but the swiftness and audacity with which the blow was delivered completely demoralised them, and the erstwhile assailants suffered the humiliation of being beaten back upon Waikanae with inglorious precipitancy. The whole procedure necessarily involved considerable loss on the part of Ngati-Toa and their allies, and the bitterness of the reverse was especially galling because it was the first occasion on which they had been worsted in arms since their occupation of the country had commenced. The closeness of the pursuit did not slacken until the fugitives had reached Waikanae; but beyond this point Ngati-Kahungunu did not press their advantage. They were now rushing into touch with Rauparaha's permanent settlements, from which the echoes {97} of the strife might draw reinforcements at any moment. Unwilling to overrun their victory, the men from Whanganui-a-Tara withdrew to the south, well pleased with their achievement, which was not without its lesson for Te Rauparaha.

The chief saw that the time had not yet arrived when he could relax his life-long vigilance. Heavy as had been the defeats which he had inflicted upon the resident people, he saw that their spirit had not yet been completely crushed. Brave as his own followers were, he saw that they were not proof against the panic which often springs from a surprise attack. The thing, however, which caused him most concern was the hostile attitude which was now being adopted towards him by the Ngati-Kahungunu people. Hitherto this powerful tribe, whose domain was a wide and populous one on the eastern coast, had remained comparatively neutral in the contest for supremacy in the west. But now this attitude was abandoned, and under the encouragement afforded by this prospect of protection, the displaced tribes were gradually venturing back to their deserted settlements. Should an effective alliance be formed between his enemies on the two coasts, the position would at once become so charged with danger that his comparatively small force would find itself in a most critical situation. It was, then, the threatening attitude of his neighbours which caused the Ngati-Toa chief to decide finally upon the abandonment of the mainland and the transference of the whole of his people to Kapiti, there to await the result of his mission to his friends at Maungatautari. In the meantime three strongly fortified pas were built upon the island, and every preparation made against possible attack. These pas, situated one at either end, and the third in the centre of the island, were designed with as keen an eye for trade as for the purposes of defence. Te Rauparaha had not lost sight of the main purpose of his conquest, which was to bring himself into close association with the whalers, from whom he hoped to obtain, by purchase, {98} barter, or bullying, additions to his store of guns and ammunition. For this purpose Kapiti was easily the key to the position. Favoured by deep water and safe anchorage, it afforded the securest of shelter to vessels seeking to escape from the dirty weather which comes whistling through the Strait. Boats lying snugly at anchor under the lee of the land would have opportunities for trade from which all others would be cut off; and there is little doubt that this commercial advantage was coolly calculated upon when the pas on the mainland were evacuated and those on the island were occupied. This much at least is certain, that, whether part of a premeditated scheme or otherwise, the move proved to be a masterstroke, for it gave to Te Rauparaha a virtual monopoly of the white man's patronage, a privilege which for years he guarded with jealous exclusiveness.

When it became known that Te Rauparaha had retired to Kapiti, and there seemed less danger of immediate molestation, the Rangitane people again began to collect in force near their old home at Hotuiti. They built a strong pa near the present town of Foxton, and here they were joined by a number of Ngati-Apa chiefs and people from Rangitikei. This proceeding Te Rauparaha regarded as a danger and a menace to his safety; for he had no reason to believe that he enjoyed their friendship, and no means of ascertaining when they might think fit to wreak their vengeance upon him. He therefore decided to take the initiative and attack them. Accordingly, with Rangihaeata and his Ngati-Apa wife Pikinga, he marched his war party up the coast and at once invested the place. The method by which he sought to reduce the pa to submission was a clever stratagem—perfectly honourable, perhaps, according to the Maori code of warfare—but utterly repulsive to civilised ideas; and, to those who judge him by the latter standard, it lowers Te Rauparaha from the high plane of a classic warrior to the level of a cunning and unscrupulous savage. His first act of generalship {99} aimed at separating the two tribes, a step which has been attributed by some to a desire to spare the Ngati-Apa, because of their relationship with Pikinga. Others, however, can see in it nothing but a clever ruse to divide the defending force, so that he might the more easily attack and defeat them singly. He therefore sent Pikinga to the Ngati-Apa chiefs with a request that they would withdraw to their own territory beyond the Rangitikei River. Probably he promised them safe-conduct on their journey; but, if he did, it was of no avail, for they firmly refused to evacuate the Hotuiti pa, and doggedly remained where they were. Feigning, then, to abandon his campaign, Te Rauparaha sent to the Rangitane chiefs, inviting them to come to him and negotiate terms of peace.

In view of their past experiences it might have been expected that such a request would be scornfully declined; but after long and anxious debate it was decided—mainly, it is said, on the advice of the Ngati-Apa chiefs—that the leading Rangitane warriors should meet the Ngati-Toa leader and make the best terms possible with him. The result was, of course, the old story: the ruthless slaughter of the confiding ambassadors, who found that Te Rauparaha had come, not with peace, but unrelenting war. Treachery was no more suspected inside the pa than out of it; and while the people were deluded into the belief that the war-clouds had passed away, they were being secretly and silently surrounded. At a given signal the walls were stormed and a bloody massacre followed, from which the Ngati-Toa warriors emerged sated with gruesome triumph. The slain were eaten on the spot, and the prisoners were taken to Waikanae, there to await the returning appetite of their captors.

So dastardly an attack upon their friends and so gross an insult to their tribal pride could not be ignored; and although time might elapse before the Ngati-Apa peoples would be able to strike an avenging blow, it was quite certain that so soon as the favourable moment arrived {100} the Ngati-Toa would have to pay the penalty of their treachery. But Te Rauparaha never dreamed that they would have the temerity to attack him upon his own land, and while he was lying in fancied security at Waikanae, the storm suddenly burst upon him. The Ngati-Apa, under Te Hakeke, had hurriedly collected their war party, and obtaining reinforcements from the fugitives who had escaped from the massacre at Hotuiti, came by stealthy marches down the coast and fell upon the unsuspecting Ngati-Toa in the dead of night. Next morning the camp was in ruins, Te Rauparaha's force was in flight, and sixty of his followers, including four of Te Pehi's daughters, were lying dead amongst the débris. The balance of battle honours having been thus somewhat adjusted, the aggressors retired, well satisfied with the result. They were allowed to depart without a resumption of hostilities, for the supports who had come over from Kapiti were either not strong enough, or not keen enough, to pursue them.[61]

Whatever may have been Te Rauparaha's previous disposition towards Ngati-Apa, whether he was genuinely disposed to befriend them or whether he was merely playing on their credulity, is of no further importance, for from that day he took on an attitude of undisguised hostility towards them, revoking all promises of peace, stated or implied, and becoming, in the characteristic language of Matene-te-Whiwhi, "dark in his heart in regard to Ngati-Apa." The shield of friendship having been removed, this unfortunate tribe was now exposed to all the fury of the most ruthless man in New Zealand; and in the raids which his warriors made against them, neither man nor woman was spared who was unfortunate enough to fall into his hands. These misfortunes created a bond of sympathy between Ngati-Apa and their neighbours, the Rangitane and Muaupoko, and paved the way for an alliance against the common enemy. Although banished from Horowhenua and wandering about the solitary places {101} of the coast, a broken and shattered people, there was still sufficient energy and hatred remaining in one of the Muaupoko chiefs to make a final effort to recover their departed mana.

Te Raki, who had suffered captivity at the hands of Te Pehi, aspiring, after his escape, to be the regenerator of his tribe, became the active apostle of a federation which was to embrace the tribes who had felt the weight of the Ngati-Toa hand. From Waitotara in the north to Arapawa and Massacre Bay in the south, and Wairarapa in the east, he organised an alliance which could hurl two thousand fighting men against their redoubtable adversary. Canoes from far and near brought this host to the appointed rendezvous, the northerners assembling at Otaki and the southerners at Waikanae. From these two points this army converged upon Kapiti, their canoes "darkening the sea" as they went. The magnitude of the armada, however, was greater than its discipline, and before it had proceeded far its movements were discovered. The noise of the paddles, as the canoes approached the island in the early morning, caught the keen ear of Nopera, and when the right wing landed at Rangatira Point, they were opposed by the people whom they had expected to surprise. The attack was fierce and desperate, and when Pokaitara, the Ngati-Toa commander, found himself being driven back towards Waiorua, he astutely proposed a truce. It would give him a welcome respite while it lasted, and perhaps some advantage in the first moment of its violation. Ignorant of the fact that a message had been sent to Te Rauparaha, who happened to be at the centre of the island, and hoping for the speedy arrival of his own laggard reinforcements, who were still at sea, Rangi-maire-hau, the Ngati-Apa chief from Turakina, in a weak moment, agreed to a suspension of hostilities. Scarcely had this been arranged, when Te Rauparaha, with the major part of his people, arrived upon the scene, and repudiating the agreement to which his lieutenant had committed himself, he recommenced the sanguinary work, and fought {102} to such purpose that the issue was soon placed beyond doubt. With one hundred and seventy of their tribesmen slain, the Ngati-Apa attack began to slacken. Presently their ranks were seen to waver, and an impetuous charge at this decisive moment drove into rout what had hitherto been an impenetrable front. The slaughter of pursuit was scarcely less than that of resistance. Dead and dying lay on every side, and many found a watery grave in their vain effort to swim to the canoes, which had not yet reached the shore.

News that disaster had overtaken the advance guard quickly spread to the other sections of the allied forces; and, without attempting to retrieve the fortunes of the day, they turned and precipitately fled in whichever direction safety seemed to lie. When he realised that his host had been worsted in the battle, Rangi-maire-hau disdained to fly, but threw himself upon the mercy of Te Rangihaeata, who had borne himself with conspicuous bravery throughout the attack. That haughty chief, however, saw no reason why he should spread his protecting mantle over his would-be exterminator, even though the appeal was founded on the bond of relationship with his Ngati-Apa wife; and, steeling his heart against every entreaty, he ordered Rangi-maire-hau's immediate death. With this exception, it is recorded to the credit of Ngati-Toa that they used their victory with unusual moderation. Thus, the largest force which had ever been marshalled during the Maori wars along this coast was defeated by one of the smallest; the organisation of two years was dissipated in as many hours; and the invaders were only the more firmly established in the land by this futile attempt to uproot them. This great victory, which settled for ever the question of supremacy, was duly celebrated by feasting and dancing, during which Te Rauparaha chanted a song of triumph, which was especially offensive to his enemies, taunting them, as it did, with a lack of courage, and foretelling even greater misfortunes that were yet to befall them:—

{103} "When will your anger dare? When will your power arise? Salute your child with your nose. But how salute him now? You will see the rejoicing tide Of the warrior's coming glee, And the departure of Rongo-ma-whiti."

While Te Rauparaha was enjoying the fruits of his victory, his forces received welcome reinforcements from two quarters. The news of battles fought and laurels won had reached Taranaki, where the Ngati-Tama chief, Te Puoho, and some of his followers, whose curiosity had been aroused by the tales told by their returned tribesmen, came down to learn the truth of the matter for themselves. Close upon their heels came the long-hoped-for band of Ngati-Raukawa, who signalised their advent by at once attacking the settlements in the Rangitikei and Manawatu districts. While one party skirted the coast,[62] the other struck inland, and under their chiefs, Te Whatu and Te Whetu, surrounded and captured a Ngati-Apa pa at Rangiure, and then proceeded to Pikitane, where they killed a number of the resident people and made the rest prisoners. These two settlements had been taken completely by surprise, their people little dreaming that a war party was marching through the land. No better prepared were the Ngati-Apa then living at Awahuri, who were next attacked, and their chief, named Te Aonui, was added to the train of captives. The invaders then pushed their victorious march down the course of the Oroua River, as far as its junction with the Manawatu. Here they crossed the larger stream, and immediately attacked the pa at Te Whakatipua. This assault was stoutly resisted by the chiefs, Kaihinu and Piropiro, who paid the penalty with their lives, but the remainder of the people who were not shot by the invaders were spared on proffering a humble {104} submission. This was practically the only discreet course open to them. Not only were they placed at a serious disadvantage, away from their fighting pas, but many of the Ngati-Raukawa were armed with guns, while the Rangitane people had not as yet been able to discard the wooden spears and stone clubs of their forefathers.

The rapid movements of the Ngati-Raukawa, and the completeness of their captures, had prevented the news of their presence being despatched to the adjoining settlements; and, as a consequence, when they ascended the Manawatu and came upon the little pa at Rotoatane, situated not far from Tiakitahuna,[63] they were able to attack and capture it almost before the people could be summoned from the fields. Not that it was a bloodless victory. A Rangitane chief, named Tina, fought with desperation, and, before he was overpowered by superior numbers, three of the assailants were stretched dead at his feet. Once more the advance was sounded, the objective this time being the pa at Tiakitahuna itself. This settlement was under the chieftainship of Toringa and Tamati Panau, the latter being the father of the chief Kerei te Panau,[64] who until recently lived at Awapuni. These men were evidently more alert than their neighbours, for no sooner did the taua come in sight than they took to their canoes and paddled across to the opposite bank of the river. While the two tribes were thus ranged on opposite sides of the stream, the Rangitane had time to consider the position. Tamati Panau was the first to seek an explanation, by calling out to Te Whatu, "Where is the war party from?" Clear and quick came the answer back, "From the north." That was sufficient for Toringa, who had already tested the mettle of the northerners, and he at once sent a curse across the water, hurled at the heads of the invaders with all the venom that tribal hatred and a sense of injured {105} vanity could instil. Whether it was the dread of Toringa's denunciation, or whether the Ngati-Raukawa were satisfied with their unbroken course of victory, is not clear to the present-day historian; but the Rangitane traditions relate that, after firing a single shot from one of their muskets, the invaders retired from the district, taking their prisoners with them, and made their way south to join Te Rauparaha, who was anxiously awaiting their coming.

The prospect opened up to these new-comers was far beyond anything that they had dreamed. In fact, so fascinated was Te Ahu-karamu with the new and beautiful country which his great kinsman had conquered that, after a reasonable rest, he returned to Taupo for the purpose of bringing the whole of his people away from a position which was daily becoming more exposed to the aggression of the Waikato tribes. But his designs in this direction were nearly thwarted by the persistency with which the tribe clung to their northern home, even in defiance of his threat to invoke the wrath of his atua[65] if they dared to question the command of their chief. Finding that the terrors of his god had no influence upon them, Karamu adopted an instrument of the devil, and, taking a torch in his hand, brought his obdurate tribesmen to their senses by burning every house in the pa to the ground. Rendered thus houseless and homeless, there was nothing for the dejected people to do but to follow their imperious leader. In his journey back to Kapiti he was joined by two of the most famous chiefs of that day—Te Whatanui and Te Heuheu, the former of whom was destined to become the patriarch of Horowhenua and the protector of its persecuted people. Collecting a strong retinue of followers, the three chiefs set off in 1825 by the same route which Karamu had previously travelled down the valley of the Rangitikei, varying the monotony of the journey[66] through the Ngati-Apa {106} country by occasionally chasing frightened fugitives, in order to gratify their pride and glut their appetite.

Upon their arrival at Kapiti long and anxious consultations followed between the chiefs, the result of which was that Te Whatanui at last consented to migrate[67] and throw in his fortunes with Te Rauparaha. This was eventually accomplished in 1828-29, the consolidation of the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Raukawa tribes making their future absolutely secure and bringing Te Rauparaha's wildest dreams of conquest within measurable distance of accomplishment. His broadened aspirations had long before this extended across the Strait; and, next to the conquest of the coast on which he was now operating, it had become his greatest ambition to measure his strength against the natives of the Middle Island. Their reputed wealth in greenstone had aroused his avarice, while {107} the prospect of acquiring additional territory appealed strongly to his love of power.

But before he was able to perfect his plans for carrying into effect this new stroke of aggression, an event occurred which was destined to have important results. It will be remembered that the crowning circumstance which had induced Te Rauparaha to leave Kawhia was the sight of a vessel beating through Cook Strait. He had there and then settled in his mind that this part of the coast was soon to become an important rendezvous for whalers, &c., and already his anticipations were being realised with an amazing rapidity. The whalers were now frequent visitors to Kapiti, and many were the marvels which they brought in their train. But most of all were the natives absorbed in the prospect of securing from these rough seafarers guns and ammunition, steel tomahawks, and other weapons, which would give them an advantage over their enemies in the only business then worth consideration—the business of war. Many of these ships, however, had not come prepared for this traffic,[68] and the lack of guns, rather than any hesitation to part with them, made the process of arming a tribe a slow one. It had at least proved much too slow for some of the more restless spirits of the race; and impatience, added to a natural love of adventure, had led some of them to ship to Sydney, and even to England, in the hope of bringing back with them the means of accelerating their enemies' destruction. Of these latter Hongi had been a conspicuous example, and the success which had attended his mission to England roused a spirit of emulation in the breasts of other chiefs, who were only waiting the opportunity of following his example. Of these, Te Pehi Kupe, the conqueror of Kapiti, was one of the few who were signally successful. Knowing no language but his own, having only the vaguest notions of what a voyage to {108} England meant, and a very precarious prospect of ever being brought back, this man had thrown himself on board an English whaler, and, resolute against all dissuasions, and even against physical force, had insisted upon being carried to a country of which he had but two ideas—King George, of whom he had heard, and guns, which he had seen and hoped to possess.

Thus it came about that, while the ship Urania was lying becalmed in Cook Strait, about five or six miles from the land, on February 26, 1824, Captain Reynolds perceived three large canoes, fully manned, approaching the vessel. Doubtful what such a demonstration might portend, Captain Reynolds put his ship in a condition to resist an attack if necessary; and when the canoes were within hail, he, by word and sign, endeavoured to warn them off. Had he chosen, he might easily have sent the frail-looking barques to the bottom by a single shot from the ship's guns; but, unlike many another skipper of those days, Captain Reynolds was a man actuated by considerations which went beyond himself, and the thought of the retaliation which might fall upon other mariners coming to the shores of New Zealand restrained him from committing any such act of brutality. Fortunately there was no need for drastic action, and the behaviour of the natives was such as to leave no doubt in the mind of the captain that their intentions were of a peaceable character. Te Pehi boldly directed his crew to paddle alongside the ship, and, divesting himself of all his clothing except a mat which was slung across his shoulders, he, with the swiftness of an athlete, climbed on board. When he reached the deck, he endeavoured by signs and gestures to convey to Captain Reynolds that what he wanted was arms and ammunition, and, on being informed that the ship had none to spare, he coolly indicated that, such being the case, he had decided to remain on board and proceed to Europe[69] to see King George. These words {109} he had evidently learned from some of Captain Reynolds' predecessors, for he was able to pronounce them with sufficient distinctness to be clearly understood. The audacity of this proposal completely staggered the master of the Urania, and he at once tried to nip such ambitious hopes in the bud by peremptorily ordering the chief back to his canoe. Te Pehi, however, met this direction by calling to his men to move the canoe away from the ship, and the captain next sought to give his command practical force by throwing the chief overboard, in the hope and belief that the canoes would pick him up out of the sea. But in this he was again checkmated. The chief threw himself down on the deck and seized hold of two ring-bolts, with so powerful a grip that it was impossible to tear him away without such violence as the humanity of Captain Reynolds would not permit. At this critical juncture a light breeze sprang up, and Te Pehi improved the favourable circumstance by ordering his men to paddle to the shore, as he was going to see King George, and that he would soon return. This command was at once obeyed, and the breeze carrying the Urania off the land, Captain Reynolds was reluctantly compelled to keep the chief on board that night. But, far from satisfied with his self-constituted passenger, he next day made another effort to force Te Pehi on shore, and nearly lost his ship in the attempt. This narrow escape, and the favourable conditions for getting away from New Zealand, to some extent reconciled the captain to an acceptance of the situation; but his chagrin was as great as was the delight of the chief, when it was found that there was no option but to keep him on board for the remainder of the voyage.

With more intimate acquaintance, the relations {110} between the captain and chief grew to be of the most friendly nature, and they lived together, both on shipboard and on shore, the captain taking a kindly interest in explaining to his protégé the mysteries of the great world upon which he was entering, while the native clung to his new-found friend with a confiding affection.[70] The Urania ultimately reached Liverpool, where Te Pehi was the subject of much public attention. He was shown over the principal manufactories in Manchester and London, his great anxiety to see King George was gratified, and, although he was subject to a good deal of sickness, yet, thanks to the care of Captain Reynolds, he made an excellent recovery. After about a year's residence in England, he was placed on board H.M. ship The Thames, and in October, 1825, he sailed for his native land, loaded with presents of clothing and agricultural implements, which were given him by benevolently minded people in the hope that, combined with the knowledge of their use and blessing, which he had acquired in England, they would exercise an elevating influence upon his countrymen when he should return amongst them. Vain hope; for on his arrival at Sydney, Te Pehi reversed the beautiful biblical allegory, and turned his pruning hooks into spears and his ploughshares into guns and ammunition, to aid in the work of waging eternal warfare against the enemies of his tribe.[71]

Early in the year 1824, and immediately after Te Pehi's departure for England, Te Rauparaha found that, in consequence of the many recent additions to his forces, the number of natives who had placed themselves under {111} his command was then sufficient to enable him to begin the main purpose of his conquest, namely, the systematic occupation of the land.[72] He and his own immediate tribe having decided to occupy the island of Kapiti, where they could be in closer touch with the whalers, he now proceeded to partition the country along the coast amongst the new arrivals. The first division led to civil war and domestic feuds between a section of Ngati-Raukawa and the Ngati-Tama from Taranaki, under Te Puoho, which at one time threatened to destroy all that he had already accomplished; and it was not until a new allotment was agreed upon, by which Ngati-Awa, to whom Ngati-Tama were closely related, were given exclusive possession of the country south of the Kukutauaki stream, and the Ngati-Raukawa sole dominion over the district northward of that boundary as far as the Wangaehu River, that his power to resist his enemies was restored by the restoration of harmony amongst his friends. Not that there was any immediate danger of attack; for his incessant raids upon the Ngati-Apa and Muaupoko tribes had reduced them to the condition of a shattered and fugitive remnant, incapable alike of organised attack or organised defence.

It was probably one of the proudest days of Te Rauparaha's life when, standing on Kapiti, he formally transferred the whole of the coast to his followers by right of conquest, than which no Maori could hope for a better title, and proclaimed to the assembled people the precise districts which were to be their future homes, where they were to cultivate, to catch {112} eels, to snare and spear birds. These dispositions, however, did not imply that he was prepared to surrender his supreme authority over the lands, and the fact that he desired to, and intended to, retain his right of suzerainty was made abundantly clear. "The lands I now give you are in our joint rule, but I shall be greater in power than you individually"; such were the terms in which the transfer was made, and the people acquiesced in a unanimous "It is right, O Raha! it is as you say." But Ngati-Toa, Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Awa were commissioned to do something more than merely occupy the land. In imperious tones the great chief commanded them: "Clear the weeds from off my field." In other and less figurative words, they were to kill and persecute the conquered peoples without pity and without mercy; and perhaps it would have been well for Ngati-Raukawa had they more faithfully obeyed his instructions, instead of extending a sheltering arm to Ngati-Apa and Muaupoko, both of whom subsequently proved themselves so unworthy of this clemency.[73]

Under the arrangement thus determined upon at Kapiti the country round the beautiful lake at Horowhenua was taken possession of by that grand old member of a magnificent race, Te Whatanui, and those people who had come from the north with him. The district now known as Lower Manawatu was occupied by another section of the Ngati-Raukawa people, under Te Whetu, and, still higher up, Rangitikei came under the dominion of Nepia Taratoa, a chief who seems to have been as generous to Ngati-Apa as Whatanui was to Muaupoko. Southward of Horowhenua, as far as the present harbour of Wellington, the country was subsequently given over to Ngati-Awa, who were in settled possession when the {113} first European colonists arrived. Here in 1825-26 Pomare, their chief, led the Ngati-Mutunga hapu of the Ngati-Awa people, who forcibly occupied the shores of the great bay, where they hoped to cultivate the friendship of the whalers,[74] whose commerce was so profitable to them. Their tenure, however, was not an undisputed one. They were subjected to frequent raids and incessant harassment from the Wairarapa tribe, whom they had displaced, and who deeply resented being thus deprived of their one avenue of communication with the pakeha. This tribe, though powerless to retrieve the aggression of Ngati-Awa, missed no opportunity of irritating them, and Pomare was not reluctant to hand over his trust to some other chief, so soon as he could be honourably relieved of it. This opportunity came when, after the fall of the Puke-rangiora pa in 1831, the survivors of that (for Ngati-Awa) disastrous day, together with the flower of their tribe from their other settlements, abandoned Taranaki, and came down, a fugitive host, to shelter under the protecting wing of Te Rauparaha.

With Te Puni, Wi Tako, and Wharepouri, an arrangement was entered into in 1834, whereby the land round the harbour and the right to contest the ownership of the territory with the unexterminated portion of the Ngati-Kahungunu were to be ceded to them for the consideration of a greenstone mere. Pomare was perhaps the more ready to relinquish possession of what is now amongst the most valuable land in the Dominion, because he had become possessed of information which seemed to open up a much more agreeable prospect than resisting the inconvenient incursions of his Wairarapa enemies. One of the young men of his tribe, Paka-whara, who had shipped on board a whaler, had just returned {114} from a southern cruise, with the intelligence that the Chatham Islands were populated by a sleek and inoffensive people, who might be expected to fall an easy prey to such hardened veterans in war as Ngati-Awa could now furnish. Pomare at once acted upon the inspiration; and chartering, partly by payment and partly by intimidation, the British brig Rodney, he sailed with his followers in November, 1835, for the Chathams, where, by a fearful destruction of human life, the well-conditioned, unwarlike Morioris were reduced within the short space of two years to a remnant of two hundred souls.

Whether the allocation of these districts to these particular chiefs was due to their own choice or to the will of Te Rauparaha is not known; but in the case of Te Whetu the former appears to have been the fact. During the raid which he made upon Manawatu while migrating to Kapiti, he had secured amongst his captives a handsome young Rangitane woman named Hinetiti, whose charms so pleased him that when he reached Kapiti he made her his wife. Hine's gentleness moved her lord and master in a way that sterner methods would not, and she soon obtained such an influence over him that her will became his desire. Doubtless the memory of her old home was ever present with her, even amongst the beauties of Kapiti; and, when the partition of the country was being spoken of in the kaingas, she urged Te Whetu to take her back to the banks of the Manawatu, where she might be once more with her friends and relatives. In deference to this wish, Te Whetu brought her to a little settlement named Te Iwi te Kari, near Foxton. With them came the Ngati-Wehiwehi hapu, bringing the prisoners whom they had taken eighteen months before, and together they occupied the district around Matai-Kona.

The Manawatu was still well stocked with Rangitane, for many of their larger settlements in the upper portion of the district had not been so completely depopulated as some of the more southern pas by the captures and {115} slaughters of the marauding northerners. The presence of the Ngati-Raukawa in the midst of their country put no check upon their freedom, and, according to their ancient custom, they moved about from one kainga to another at their pleasure. Indeed, the relations between the Rangitane and Ngati-Raukawa appear to have been of the most friendly nature after the return of the captives from Kapiti, a fact which the former attribute to the marriage of Te Whetu with their chieftainess, but which in reality was due to the generosity of the Ngati-Raukawa, who, had they chosen, might have left nothing but smoking ruins and bleaching bones to tell of the Rangitane's former existence.

The feeling, however, was not so cordial between the Rangitane and the natives immediately under the leadership of Te Rauparaha, who allowed no circumstance to mitigate his extreme desire for revenge; and, although no pitched battles took place, there were occasional skirmishes and massacres which served to keep alive the fires of hate. In like manner he constantly harried the Muaupoko and such members of the Ngati-Apa tribe as he now and then fell in with, until these people, feeling life to be unbearable if they were to be hunted like beasts of prey, decided to place themselves beyond the reach of so relentless a tormentor. They accordingly, to the number of three hundred souls, including women and children, determined upon flight into the Wairarapa; and there they threw themselves upon the mercy of the Ngati-Kahungunu, who might be expected to display some sympathy for other victims of the suffering from which they themselves had not escaped. But here again the hapless people were doomed to a bitter experience. Instead of being received with the open arms of welcome, they were cruelly set upon and driven back over the Tararua Ranges, because of some old and unavenged act of violence which their friends had committed, but of which they had probably never heard.

Spurned from the only asylum which appeared to be open to them, Ngati-Apa returned to Rangitikei and {116} sought the protection of Rangihaeata and Nepia Taratoa, to both of whom they paid tribute for the right to live. Muaupoko placed themselves under the protecting arm of a Ngati-Raukawa chief named Tuahine, whose heart was touched by their destitute and defenceless condition. But his intervention was of little avail. However willing he might have been—and there is no reason to doubt his sincerity—he proved quite unable to shield them against the never-dying wrath of Te Rauparaha. Hearing from some of the Ngati-Raukawa people that the remnant of the Muaupoko tribe was once more beginning to gather round the Horowhenua and Papaitonga lakes, he organised a force of Ngati-Toa, Ngati-Huia and Ngati-Tama warriors, and marched upon Papaitonga in defiance of the vehement protests of Tuahine and many other Ngati-Raukawa chiefs, who wished to have done with this incessant slaughter. This lake, which covers an area of about one hundred and twenty-five acres, lies a few miles to the southward of Horowhenua. From time immemorial it had been the home of the Muaupoko tribe, by whom it was originally called Waiwiri, but in more recent days the name of the larger of the two gem-like islands encircled by its waters has been applied to the whole lake. Papaitonga, which signifies, "the islet of the South," is a name which reveals in bright relief the poetic fancy of the Maori; for, even now, when its scenic charms have to some extent succumbed to the demands of settlement, the lake and its surroundings still present one of the most charming beauty spots in the whole Dominion. A deep fringe of tree-ferns and underwood, backed by a dense forest of native bush, skirts its north and northeast shores. Southward, through occasional breaches in the woods, can be seen the open undulating ground, gradually rising until it reaches the foot of the Tararuas, whose snow-capped peaks seem to touch the azure sky. Westward, stretching away to the sea, are the low flats over which meanders the slow-winding Waiwiri stream, which forms the outlet of the lake. Here the visitor is indeed on classic ground, for there is scarcely a feature {117} of the landscape which has not, for the Maori, some historic association, some tragic story, some deepening memory of the hoary past. To this day the island of Papaitonga, so restful with its luxuriant crown of soft foliage, but which in the days of old was a sanguinary battle-ground, remains "a perfect necropolis of human bones," lying concealed beneath a living shroud of vegetation, which has silently risen to obscure from human sight the gruesome evidence of human savagery.

It was to this spot that Te Rauparaha now, in 1827-28, led his warriors, arriving there late in the afternoon. His first care was effectually to surround the lake. This he did by posting strong detachments of men at various points, the reason for this disposition being a doubt as to which direction the fugitives would take in their flight, which rendered it expedient to intercept them at every possible avenue of escape. Ten men were then left in concealment near the canoe-landing, the smallness of the number being designed to deceive the inhabitants of the island, who at this time numbered several hundred. It was arranged that these men should, in the early morning, call to the people on the island to bring them a canoe, the intention being to create the impression in the minds of the islanders that they were a party of friends. Accordingly, when those in the pa began to be astir, Te Riu called out to Kahurangi:—

"E Kahu, e! Hoea mai te waka ki au. Ko tou tangata tenei." (O Kahu, bring over a canoe for me, I am your man.)

Either the call was not heard, or a lurking suspicion forbade a ready compliance with the request, for no movement was made by the islanders in the direction desired until Te Riu had called again:—

"Hoea mai te waka, kia maua ko to tangata. Ko Te Ruru tenei." (Send a canoe for me and your friend. Te Ruru is here.)

This last appeal was not without avail. A chief named Takare ordered two men to paddle a canoe across and bring Te Ruru to the island, at the same time impressing {118} upon them the need of keeping a sharp lookout on shore to prevent unpleasant surprises. No sooner had the canoe put off than two of the Ngati-Toa divested themselves of their clothing, and waded out amongst the raupo flags which grew near the landing, keeping only their heads above the water. One was armed with a tomahawk, and the other with a stone club known as an onewa, and their mission was to prevent the return of the canoe, should the men who brought it refuse to take the party on board. On came the canoe; but when passing the bulrushes, the rowers, who were peering cautiously about, detected the heads of the two men amongst the raupo, and in an instant the conviction of treachery flashed upon them. The man in the stern of the canoe excitedly called to his companion to shove off; but Whakatupu, the Ngati-Toa, was too quick for him. Springing from his concealment, he laid hold of the bow of the canoe and began to haul it towards the landing. The Muaupoko nearest to him made a lunge at his head with the paddle, but Whakatupu skilfully parried the thrust with his short-handled axe, and then, turning upon his assailant, with an unerring blow cleft his skull, and sent the lifeless body reeling back into the water. When the man in the stern of the canoe saw the fate of his companion, he immediately leaped overboard, and dived, coming to the surface again well out of the reach of the enemy. By diving and swimming, he at length succeeded in reaching the shore, where he concealed himself amongst some low brushwood, only to find that he had been tracked, and that it was his fate to be shot by Aperahama.

The report of the gun, echoing through the silent bush and across the face of the placid lake, was the signal to the concealed warriors that the day's work had commenced, and to the unhappy islanders the announcement that the dogs of war had again been let loose upon them. They instantly prepared for flight, for to men without guns resistance was hopeless, even had it been possible. While they were swarming into their {119} canoes, their panic was considerably accelerated by the sight of a Ngati-Huia warrior swimming towards the island discharging his musket as he swam. He had tied his cartouche box round his neck, and with his hands he loaded and re-loaded his gun, while he propelled himself through the water by his legs. When he reached the island, the inhabitants had already left, and were making for the shore. Here they were met by a deadly fusilade from one of Te Rauparaha's detachments, who were quietly waiting for them. They then turned their canoes, and made an effort to land at another point, only to be driven back by a second attack as disastrous as the first. Attempt after attempt was made to land, and here and there a strong swimmer or a swift runner succeeded in escaping; but the harvest of death was heavy, the bulk of the people, including all the chiefs, being shot. "As for the few who escaped," says a native account, "some took refuge at Horowhenua, and others fled to the mountains. After the fall of Papaitonga, the war party went on to Horowhenua, where there was more killing. Driven from there, the Muaupoko fugitives crossed over to Weraroa and fled to the hills. Then the war party returned to Papaitonga. What followed was according to Maori custom, but who would care to tell of it? I have a horror of that part of the story. If you want to know, ask the old men of the Ngati-Toa—Ngahuku, Tungia, and the others. That is all." Amongst those who were slain in this fight was Toheriri,[75] a Muaupoko chief, whose wife was inspired by the occasion to compose a lament in which she mourned the death of her husband, and implied that Tuahine had broken his pledge by exposing her people to the raid. But, in justice to that chief, it has to be admitted that he was {120} entirely powerless to interpose on their behalf; while, on the other hand, the whole incident serves to show how ruthlessly Te Rauparaha cherished his desire for revenge, and how inadequate he considered the lapse of time and the slaughter of hundreds to satisfy the manes of his children murdered by Muaupoko at Papaitonga.

So Muaupoko died—or what was left of them lived, and were suffered to retain some of their lands around Horowhenua Lake. Pathetic laments for their lost lands and their departed mana have been composed, and are still sung amongst them. One chanted by Taitoko in a lamentation over the dead of his tribe is universally known and sung by the Maoris of the coast:—

"The sun is setting, Drawn to his ocean cave— Sinking o'er the peak of Pukehinau. Here wild with grief am I, Lonely as the bird in the Great waste of waters. Wait, wait awhile, O Sun, And we'll go down together."

[48]   "It is not unusual for the natural ariki, or chief of a hapu, to be, in some respects, supplanted by an inferior chief, unless the hereditary power of the former happens to be accompanied by intellect and bravery" (Travers).

[49]   I have here followed the narrative of Travers; but, in his History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast Mr. Percy Smith makes it appear that at the moment of migration Te Ariwi was being besieged; that the exodus was not premeditated, but was suggested to Te Rauparaha by a Waikato chief as the only means of escape, and that the evacuation of the pa was carried out at night. As affording an interesting sidelight upon the diversity of opinion which prevails as to the cause of Te Rauparaha's migration, I here append the following note which I have received from Mr. H. M. Stowell, a descendant of the great Hongi. "There is one striking Rauparaha fact which has not yet been properly given: Rauparaha had become a pest among his own people, and they warned him to beware—this at his Kawhia home. Consequently, when the taua, or war party, of my people, under Waka Nene and his brother Patuone, arrived at Kawhia on their way south, and invited Te Rauparaha to join them, he was only too willing. He was in personal danger at home, and he could only lose his life, at the worst, by coming south. He therefore came. When the war parties returned to Kawhia, Rauparaha at once gave out to his people that he intended to move south permanently. This being so, his people did not take any steps to molest him, and in due course he came south. These facts are important, as showing that his coming south was not a mere whim or accident; on the contrary, it was imperative, because he had made himself obnoxious to his own people."

[50]   John White, Ancient History of the Maori.

[51]   This woman was one of the wives whom Te Rauparaha had taken over after the death of Hape Taurangi at Maungatautari.

[52]   On the way down one disaster overtook the party. In the passage of the Mokau a canoe capsized and the only child of Te Rangihaeata was drowned. It was due to this circumstance that Rangihaeata in after years sometimes adopted the name of Mokau.

[53]   During the night a peculiar incident, illustrative of Maori life at this period, occurred. One of the women, the wife of a chief, had a child with her, which, in its restlessness, began to cry. Te Rauparaha, fearing that his stratagem would be betrayed by the wailing of the child, told its mother to choke it, saying, "I am that child." The parents at once obeyed the command, and strangled the child.

[54]   As illustrating the peculiar methods of Maori warfare, it is said that during the night following this battle Te Wherowhero came close to the Ngati-Toa camp and called out: "Oh Raha, how am I and my people to be saved?" To which Te Rauparaha replied: "You must go away this very night. Do not remain. Go; make haste." Following this advice, the Waikatos left the field, leaving their fires burning, and when the Ngati-Awa reinforcements arrived in the morning, no enemy was to be seen.

[55]   This is according to Travers's account. Some authorities say that Pomare could not have been there at that time.

[56]   Afterwards a thorn in Te Rauparaha's side: the saviour of Wellington in 1843, and the honourable opponent of the British forces in the Waitara war in 1860.

[57]   Between the years 1863-69 a violent dispute raged between the Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Apa tribes as to their respective rights to sell a valuable block of land known as Rangitikei-Manawatu to the Provincial Government. Ngati-Raukawa claimed the land on the ground of conquest, while Ngati-Apa urged that the marriage of Pikinga, their chieftainess, with Rangihaeata was a bond between them and Te Rauparaha, which induced him to protect rather than to destroy them. Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata were furious when they heard of these pretensions, and severely upbraided Ngati-Raukawa for not having permitted them to exterminate Ngati-Apa, whom they described as "the remnant of their meal."

[58]   Te Uira was at this time the wife of Te Poa, who was killed at this massacre. Hononga was Te Rauparaha's daughter by his second wife, Kahui-rangi.

[59]   Now Wellington.

[60]   This decision, it is said, was taken partly because they took umbrage at Te Rauparaha's overbearing manner, and partly because they had heard that another Waikato raid upon Taranaki was imminent. This was in the year 1823.

[61]   This would be about the year 1824.

[62]   This force, to the number of 120, was led by Te Ahu-karamu, a chief who afterwards became a prominent and progressive leader of the Maori people on the west coast.

[63]   Called by the early European settlers "Jackeytown."

[64]   Kerei te Panau was at this time a lad of about ten years of age, and probably owes the fact that he lived to be about ninety-four years of age to this flight across the river in the canoes.

[65]   Atua—a god.

[66]   This migration is known to the Ngati-Raukawa tribe as the Heke Whirinui, owing to the fact that the whiri, or plaited collars of their mats, were made very large for the journey.

[67]   For this purpose, he and Te Heuheu returned to Taupo, some of the party passing across the Manawatu block, so as to strike the Rangitikei River inland, whilst the others travelled along the beach to the mouth of that river, intending to join the inland party some distance up. The inland party rested at Rangataua, where a female relative of Te Heuheu, famed for her extreme beauty, died of wounds inflicted upon her during the journey by a stray band of Ngati-Apa. A great tangi was held over her remains, and Te Heuheu caused her head to be preserved, he himself calcining her brains and strewing the ashes over the ground, which he declared to be for ever tapu. His people were joined by the party from the beach road at the junction of the Waituna with the Rangitikei, where the chief was presented with three Ngati-Apa prisoners. These were immediately sacrificed, and then the whole party resumed the journey to Taupo. Amongst the special events which occurred on the march was the capture of a Ngati-Apa woman and two children on the south side of the Rangitikei River. The unfortunate children were sacrificed during the performance of some solemn religious rite, and the woman, though in the first instance saved by Te Heuheu, who wished to keep her as a slave, was killed and eaten by Tangaru, one of the Ngati-Raukawa leaders. Shortly after this, Te Whiro, one of the greatest of the Ngati-Apa chiefs, with two women, were taken prisoners, and the former was put to death with great ceremony and cruelty, as utu for the loss of some of Te Heuheu's people who had been killed by Ngati-Apa long before, but the women were saved (Travers).

[68]   The native trade consisted of dressed flax and various kinds of fresh provisions, including potatoes, which, prior to the advent of the Ngati-Toa tribe, had not been planted on the west coast of the North Island.

[69]   The words which Te Pehi is reported to have used were "Go Europe, see King Georgi." Dr. John Savage in his Account of New Zealand, refers to the apparent preference which the natives had for the word Europe over that of England. He says of a native whom he took to London with him, from the Bay of Islands: "I never could make Mayhanger pronounce the word England, therefore I was content to allow him to make use of Europe instead, which he pronounced without difficulty." Possibly Te Pehi experienced the same difficulty of pronunciation.

[70]   The Maori became popular in the Urania, and at Monte Video plunged into the sea and rescued the drowning captain, who had fallen overboard (Rusden).

[71]   Captain Reynolds was allowed a sum of £200 by the British Government as compensation for the trouble and expense to which he had been put by his enforced alliance with Te Pehi (see N.Z. Historical Records). The account of the chief's visit to England will be found in the volume of The Library of Entertaining Knowledge for 1830.

[72]   One of the migrations which took place about this time consisted of 140 Ngati-Raukawa men under the leadership of Nepia Taratoa. It is known in history as the Heke Kariritahi, from the fact that those warriors who were armed with muskets had hit upon the shrewd plan of enlarging the touch-holes of their guns, in order to save the time which otherwise would be occupied in priming. They were thus able to keep up a much more rapid fire upon the enemy. Te Whatanui came down with this heke, to consult further with Te Rauparaha, but finding him absent from Kapiti, he returned to Taupo to prepare for the migration of his own people.

[73]   During the hearing by the Native Land Court in 1869 of the dispute which arose between the Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Apa tribes as to the right to sell the Rangitikei-Manawatu block of land to the Provincial Government of Wellington, Chief Judge Fenton remarked to Mr. Travers, who was appearing for Ngati-Raukawa, "The fact is, Mr. Travers, it appears to me that the flaw in your clients' title is that they did not kill and eat all these people."

[74]   At times there were many whalers there—as many as a hundred—of various nations. Here they stayed while whales came near the coast: but when these ceased to come near the coast, the whalers went out on the ocean, and the ships which were full of oil went each to its own land, and Rauparaha went back to his people and home at Kapiti (Ngati-Toa account).

[75]   Toheriri was prominent in the conspiracy of 1822 in connection with the gift of canoes. After that event, he, with his particular hapu, went to the Wairarapa for two years, and then returned to Papaitonga, where he was killed on this occasion, it is said, with great barbarity.



The events just narrated have brought us in point of time to early in the year 1828, by which period Te Rauparaha was unquestionably master of the whole coast from Whanganui to Wellington. Not only was his supremacy indisputable in that he had completely silenced his enemies, but success had brought its natural result in the shape of numerous reinforcements, which had come from the shores of Taupo to share in his adventurous cause. Thus he was both free and able to give his undivided attention to the realisation of a dream which he had long cherished, and which he one day hoped to realise. This was no less ambitious a scheme than the invasion and conquest of the Middle Island, the forest-clad hills and snow-capped mountains of which were plainly discernible as he gazed wistfully across the broken waters of Raukawa (Cook's Strait). But it was not the scenic beauties of the island which attracted the keen eye of Te Rauparaha, for these alone would have no charm for him. His mind was cast in the material rather than in the æsthetic mould; his thoughts ran to practical rather than to artistic ends, and the real magnet which attracted him southward was the hope of possessing himself of the large store of greenstone which, according to report, the Ngai-Tahu people had collected at Kaikoura as the result of their periodical excursions to the west coast, where alone this valuable jade could be obtained.[76] Avarice and {122} love of conquest were driving forces in his plans, but there was yet another motive operating to impel him onward. If the reader will recall the circumstances attending the battle of Waiorua, it will be remembered that the host which on that occasion invaded Kapiti had been collected from far and near. Some among them had even come from the tribe of Ngai-Tahu, which was then the most powerful branch of the Maori race occupying the Middle Island, of which they had dispossessed the Ngati-Mamoe some two hundred years before. One of the principal pas of these people in the northern end of the island was situated on a high cliff overlooking the bay of Kaikoura, which at this time was estimated to contain between three and four thousand souls, living under the direction of a chief named Rerewaka. When the fugitives from Kapiti reached their settlements on the Middle Island, and carried with them marvellous tales of Te Rauparaha's prowess in battle, these stories only tended to intensify the feelings of hatred and envy already cherished by the southern chiefs. Their impotent rage found expression in a vain and unfortunate boast made by Rerewaka, which supplied Te Rauparaha with the strongest of all incentives to a Maori raid—the desire for revenge. Rerewaka had not himself been present at the battle of Waiorua, otherwise he might have been more modest in his language towards the invincible Te Rauparaha. But he had had friends with the allies, and the chagrin felt at their annihilation, and the taunting song of triumph chanted by the victorious Ngati-Toa, in which the subjection of the Ngai-Tahu was hinted at, provoked him to declare in an unguarded moment that "if ever Te Rauparaha dared to set foot on his land, he would rip his belly open with a niho mango."[77] This oral indiscretion was overheard by a slave standing by, who shortly afterwards, {123} making his escape, reported Rerewaka's boast to Rauparaha. The chief of the Ngati-Toa heard with placid countenance of his threatened fate, and in answer merely remarked, "So he has said," the apparent unconcern of his reply justifying the native proverb concerning him: "Ko te uri o kapu manawa whiti" (No one knew his thoughts, whether they were good or evil). He was really glad at heart of this further pretext for attacking and conquering the tribes of the Middle Island.[78] But while he had his mind bent upon revenge and his eyes fixed upon the treasure of greenstone, he was in no haste to put his design into execution. Leisurely action would enable him to mobilise his own forces, and serve to wrap his enemies in imagined security; and so for two years he waited patiently, keeping his warriors in fighting trim by repeated skirmishes with the shattered remnants of the Muaupoko and other northern tribes. But now his plans had fully matured, and by this time he had succeeded in gathering a large quantity of arms and ammunition from the Europeans, who, having learnt its advantages, were making Kapiti a frequent port of call and a place of some importance in the whaling industry. With these weapons he equipped his chosen men, who, when fighting with their native meres, were superior even to the best of the Ngai-Tahu or Rangitane, but, when armed with the more modern implements of the pakeha, became simply invincible. His fleet of canoes[79] also had {124} been strengthened by the captures he had made after the battle of Waiorua, so that he had ample accommodation for the three hundred and forty men who comprised his expeditionary force. With this force, the most perfectly equipped that he had yet commanded, Rauparaha crossed the Strait, making Rangitoto (D'Urville Island) his first place of call. Here he found a section of the Rangitane tribe, the descendants of the people whom Captain Cook had first met at Ship Cove, who had now become powerful in the sense of being numerous. But where the odds of skill and arms were against them, numbers only supplied more victims for the cannibal feast which followed the battle. Everywhere the islanders were defeated and put to rout, many of them being eaten on the spot, and as many more carried back to Kapiti, there to await the dictates of their captors' appetites. Or, if they were fortunate enough to have their lives spared, the reprieve only enhanced their misfortune by carrying slavery and degradation with it.

Rauparaha on this occasion swept like a withering blast over the whole of the northern portion of the Marlborough Province, neither the seclusion of the Pelorus Sound nor the inaccessibility of the Wairau and Awatere Valleys protecting the inhabitants from the rapacity of his warriors. Deflecting their course from D'Urville Island, they next proceeded to the point known in Maori legend as "Kupe's spear," but more recently styled Jackson's Head. Here a temporary division of their forces took place, the Ngati-Awa allies proceeding up Queen Charlotte Sound as far as Waitohi, the Pelorus Sound being the objective of Te Rauparaha. The tribe who occupied the shores of this great waterway was the Ngati-Kuia, an offshoot of Ngati-Apa, who were famed for their skill as fishermen, but who did little cultivation. Their principal pa, a semi-fortified village called Hikapu, stood at the junction of the Pelorus and Kenepuru reaches; and, when the fleet of northern canoes was seen sweeping up the Sound, the cry was raised "Te Iwi hou e!" (The newcomers! the new {125} people!) That their coming boded them no good, Ngati-Kuia knew, and those who could, disappeared into the forest, while those who could not stayed to fight for the mana of their tribe and the honour of their ancestral home. For them the battle was one against fearful odds; for, this being their first acquaintance with firearms, they were seized with panic, and the fight soon degenerated into a massacre. "What are those lights and the smoke we see at the village?" inquired a boy as he was being hurried through the bush by his fugitive father. "That," replied the sobbing parent—"that is Ngati-Toa burning your ancestors' and our houses."[80]

Whatever hesitation Te Rauparaha may have had about raiding the Wairau during this campaign, was dispelled on its being reported to him that the Rangitane chief of the valley, Te Rua-Oneone, whose pa, called Kowhai, was situated near the mouth of the Wairau River, had heaped a curse upon his head, an insult which called for prompt and vigorous action. As yet the Wairau natives had had no experience of Rauparaha's qualities as a fighting chief. But they had heard rumours, and had listened to tales of his doings on the other island, which, although painted in glowing colours, had nevertheless been regarded with contempt by many of the leading chiefs. Amongst these incredulous persons was Te Rua-Oneone, who treated the matter so lightly as to remark that "Te Rauparaha's head would one day be beaten with a fern-root pounder." According to the Maori code, there was but one way of dealing with a scoffer who could speak so contemptuously of a chief; and therefore, when the natives of Pelorus, D'Urville Island, and Totaranui had been hopelessly beaten, the canoes were ordered to the {126} Wairau, where the boastful Te Rua-Oneone had direct experience of what manner of man Te Rauparaha was. The fight, which took place on the land now enclosed within Bank Farm, was soon over, and could only have one result. The Rangitane were brave men, but their stone and wooden weapons were useless against the muskets of the Ngati-Toa. Te Rua-Oneone was captured and carried as a slave to Kapiti, where he had time and opportunity to reflect upon his defeat, which Rauparaha, with appropriate sarcasm, called tuki tuki patu aruhe, which signifies "beaten with a fern-root pounder."

Nor was this merely a raid of bloodshed. Rauparaha sought territorial aggrandisement, and adopted the Roman principle of securing the fruits of his conquest by planting a colony of his tribe at every centre along the route of his victorious march. In each case the newcomers made slaves of the strong amongst the men and the beautiful amongst the women of the people whom they vanquished.[81]

No sooner had this shattering blow been delivered against the fortunes of Ngai-Tahu than Te Rauparaha gave his attention to a matter which from force of circumstances had been neglected for many months. At the earnest solicitation of Ngati-Raukawa, he now agreed to march against the Whanganui people, who, it will be remembered, were responsible for the destruction of one of the several Ngati-Raukawa migrations prior to the first visit to the South Island. A force which, it is said, numbered nearly a thousand fighting men, led by the most distinguished chiefs of the allied tribes, with Te Rauparaha in supreme command, proceeded up the coast and attacked the Putikiwharanui pa, which was defended by a garrison almost twice as numerous as the assailants. Though not protracted, the struggle was {127} fierce. The defenders made many desperate sorties, fighting with great determination and affording a fine example of courage, during the two months over which the investment extended. The damage, however, which they were able to inflict had no effect in causing the forces of Te Rauparaha to relinquish their grip. After a spirited defence of eight weeks, the assailants succeeded in carrying the place by storm, and the inhabitants suffered so severely that they were never afterwards able to seek the satisfaction of retaliation.[82]

While the Ngati-Toa were engaged in these minor operations, an event occurred which increased the mana of their chief amongst his own people and added considerably to his reputation abroad. This was the opportune arrival of his uncle and former comrade, Te Pehi Kupe, who, laden with the store of weapons which he had procured in Sydney, was brought back to New Zealand at this critical juncture in the history of the tribe.[83] The jubilation at such an event was necessarily great; not so much, perhaps, because of the wanderer's return, as because of what he had brought with him. There is at least no denying the fact that Te Pehi soon forgot what little of civilisation he had learned, except in so far as it enabled him to become a more destructive savage. He at once coalesced with his former leader; and with this valuable addition to his staff of councillors, and the enhancement of his munitions {128} of war, Te Rauparaha felt more than equal to the task of carrying the battle to the gates of Kaikoura.

Out of this extreme confidence grew a further development of the Ngati-Toa scheme of conquest. Their forces were now divided into two sections, the one proceeding to the great bays on the Nelson Coast, where they intended forcibly establishing themselves, while the remainder, under their old leader, aided by Te Pehi and a staff of other warriors, prepared to test the merits of Rerewaka's boast. It was a fateful day in the summer of 1829 when the canoes with three hundred men left D'Urville Island and turned their prows to the south. Although few in numbers compared with the enemy they were going to meet, they knew that the advantage of arms was with them, almost every man being provided with a musket. Moreover, they were full of the animation which is born of complete confidence in one's leader, and which, in this case, almost amounted to a superstition. No war party with Rauparaha at its head ever took failure into account, some of the warriors even going so far as to declare that "it was only necessary to strike the enemy with the handles of their paddles in order to secure a victory."


Erected on the site of the old Kaiapoi Pa.

Thus, well-armed and confident, the Ngati-Toa proceeded down the coast, resting the first day at Cloudy Bay, and subsequently at various other points, and arriving off Kaikoura before dawn on the fourth day. Not knowing what the exact disposition of the enemy's forces might be, and not being disposed for risks, Rauparaha anchored his canoes under the shadow of the peninsula, and then waited for the light. In this decision his characteristic good fortune did not desert him. It so happened that the Kaikoura natives were at that very time expecting a visit from some of their tribesmen in the south; and, when the first glimmering of dawn revealed a fleet of canoes on the bay below, there being nothing to indicate the direction from which they had come, the unsuspecting Ngai-Tahu assumed that their anticipated visitors had arrived. The early risers {129} in the pa set up the song of welcome—Haere-mai, Haere-mai—and soon the whole settlement throbbed with life and activity, indicative of the jubilant expectation of a reunion of friends. Whilst the elders busied themselves with preparations for the hospitable entertainment of the strangers, the younger people rushed, shouting gaily, down to the beach, to escort the guests back to the pa. The quick eye of Te Rauparaha at once saw the trap into which his enemy had fallen; and, elated at his amazing good fortune, he ordered the advance of the canoes, which, with a few sweeping strokes of the paddles, were driven swiftly across the intervening water. Before the unwary victims had recognised their mistake or recovered from their surprise, the Ngati-Toa warriors were amongst them, dealing death-blows on every hand. As might have been expected, the Ngai-Tahu, being totally unarmed and unprepared for the attack, were slaughtered without remorse or resistance, and, as their only safety lay in flight, they beat a breathless retreat towards the pa, where for a time the semblance of a stand was made. But the muskets of their assailants were now doing their work of death, while their ruthless charges increased the havoc. Before long Rerewaka was a prisoner, over a thousand of his people were slain, and his stronghold was in the hands of his most detested enemies.

This decisive achievement was fully celebrated during the next ten days, with all the atrocities peculiar to cannibal feasts; and after the savage appetites of the victors had been surfeited with the flesh of their victims, and the nephritic treasures of the pa had been collected, the war party returned to Kapiti, carrying Rerewaka and four hundred additional prisoners with them, to be killed and eaten at the leisure of their conquerors. The majority of them in due course met this fate, Rerewaka himself being killed with especial marks of cruelty and indignity, because of the insulting nature of his language towards the Ngati-Toa chief.[84] In consideration of the {130} circumstances which led to this attack upon Kaikoura, the victory has ever since been known as Niho Mango, or "the battle of the shark's tooth."

After the humiliation of Rerewaka and his people at Kaikoura, Rauparaha's greatest ambition was to pit himself in battle against that section of the Ngai-Tahu tribe who, under Tamaiharanui, Rongotara, and other powerful chiefs, held the strongly fortified pa at Kaiapohia. But before he had a reasonable excuse for picking a quarrel with the people of Kaiapoi, and so attacking them in a manner that would be strictly tika, or proper, he had another opportunity of returning to Kaikoura, to retrieve the dignity of himself and his friends. The cause of this second invasion, like the previous one, was somewhat remote; but, unlike it, it arose out of a superabundance of love rather than of hate. The offence complained of was not committed against Te Rauparaha, but against his nephew, Rangihaeata. Rangihaeata was at this time rapidly rising into fame as a daring and successful warrior, and his place in the tribe naturally demanded that much of his time should be given up to the business of war, with the result that his functions as the head of his household were much neglected. During one of these prolonged periods of absence, his pa at Porirua was visited by a chief of the Ngati-Ira (a branch of the Ngati-Kahungunu) tribe, named Kekerengu. According to tradition, this Kekerengu was a man of remarkable beauty of figure and grace of deportment. Tall and stalwart of frame, easy of carriage, and engaging in manner, his personal charm was still further enhanced in Maori estimation by a particularly artistic moko, or tattoo decoration. The introduction of this social lion {131} into Rangihaeata's family circle was the cause of all the trouble. Kekerengu had so insinuated himself into the affections of the warrior's wives, that when Rangihaeata returned from the wars, the breath of scandal was busy with the proceedings of his family circle during his absence. The anger of the chief, on learning what had occurred, knew no bounds. Forthwith he sent the fiery cross from pa to pa, and in a short space of time a force sufficient for his purpose was enrolled. Te Rauparaha, to whom the scent of battle was sweet, at once espoused the cause of his injured relative, and together they set out in search of the destroyer of Te Rangihaeata's domestic happiness.

Kekerengu knew that, as the result of his indiscreet conduct, retribution would in some form follow him; but, in order to delay the evil day, he judiciously took to his canoe, and with a few of his followers crossed the Strait and sought refuge amongst the Ngai-Tahu of Kaikoura.[85] Thither Te Rauparaha tracked him; but the inhabitants of the pa were not to be taken by surprise a second time. Knowing that they were no match for the force they saw approaching, they at once abandoned their settlement and flew down the coast, through the Amuri, towards Kaiapoi. But this escapade was not to stand between the Ngati-Toa and their revenge. When they arrived and found the pa empty, they at once decided to go in pursuit. The march was swift and forced, and the invaders soon fell in with the fugitives, as they were camped at the Omihi stream. Here the unhappy wretches were attacked and routed with great slaughter, the few who escaped death or capture flying in precipitate haste into the bush, through which they made their way to the minor settlements further south. {132} Kekerengu's guilt[86] was now expiated in his own blood and that of his hosts, and therefore Ngati-Toa might have returned to their homes fully satisfied with the results of their expedition. But the opportunity was so favourable for carrying out the long-cherished design of attacking Kaiapoi, that Te Pehi strenuously counselled going on. Te Rauparaha, it is said, was seized by some dark foreboding that Fate was trifling with him, and endeavoured to argue his lieutenant out of his warlike enthusiasm, but without avail. Te Pehi was bent upon storming Kaiapoi, and for once Te Rauparaha allowed himself to be overruled by his less cautious comrade. To facilitate the movements of the war party, which numbered about one hundred men, all encumbrances in the shape of prisoners were left in charge of a detachment at Omihi, and the canoes, which had been brought round from Kaikoura, were manned and taken as far down the coast as the Waipara River. There the force disembarked, and hauling the canoes beyond the reach of the tide, pushed on across the plains towards the southern stronghold.

Kaiapoi was one of the oldest of the Ngai-Tahu pas, as it was admittedly one of their strongest fortresses. It had been built by Tu Rakautahi in 1700 A.D., at the close of the thirty years' war, which had resulted in the expulsion and the almost total annihilation of the Ngati-Mamoe people. Its position had been selected with some strategic skill, for it stood on a narrow tongue of land about five acres in extent, which ran out into the Tairutu lagoon, and was surrounded on three sides by the dark waters of that extensive swamp, which stretched for several miles to the north and the south. On the {133} landward side it was protected by a wide and deep ditch, which in peaceful times was bridged over, while its double row of palisades, erected upon massive earthworks and surmounted by curiously carved figures representing gods and ancestors, rendered it so impregnable in the popular estimation that it was sometimes compared to "the inaccessible cliff of God," which none had dared to scale. The internal arrangements were in keeping with the importance of the pa as the social and military centre of the tribe. Its population was numerous, wealthy, and distinctly aristocratic, and therefore the domains of the rangatiras and the commonalty were well defined. The dwellings of the chiefs were large and commodious structures, "ornamented inside and out with carving and scroll work." There were storehouses for the man physical, shrines for the man spiritual, playing grounds for old and young, and a burial-place for both when their earthly sojourn was over. The commerce of the pa was conducted through three gates, two of which, Kaitangata and Hiaka-rere, faced the deep moat, and the third, Huirapa, the lagoon on the western side, being connected with the opposite shore by a light wooden footway. But with all its vaunted strength, the pa had, according to critics, a fatal weakness, in that, if subjected to a close investment, it was liable to have its food supply cut off owing to its semi-insularity. Its builder had been twitted with this supposed defect when he determined upon the site of his stronghold, and he silenced his critics more by his ready wit than by the soundness of his military judgment. For he said "Kai" must be "poi," or food must be swung to the spot. "Potted birds from the forests of Kaikoura, fish and mutton birds from the south, kiore and weka from the plains and the mountain ranges"; and so down through the century or more which had passed since then it had been an essential part of the policy of those in authority at the pa to see that its commissariat was not neglected, and that its whatas were {134} always full against the day when its gates might have to be barred to a troublesome enemy.[87]

Such was the place which, in the opening months of 1829, the northern force marched to assault; but they had sadly misjudged the position if they imagined that they could take it by surprise. Ngai-Tahu had warning enough to enable them to gather their people within the palisades, to cut away their bridges, and to stand upon the alert at all the most vulnerable points. When, therefore, Te Rauparaha arrived under the walls of the pa, he adopted the most diplomatic course open to him, and made a virtue of necessity by feigning that he had come only with the most peaceful intent. His first care was to select a suitable site for his camp; he fixed it upon the south-western side of the lagoon, and there calmly sat down to await developments. Nor had he long to wait. Tamaiharanui, the high priest and leading chief of the Ngai-Tahu tribe, accompanied by a native named Hakitara, proceeded under commission from the people in the pa to inquire the purpose of so unexpected a visit. Hakitara was a Nga-Puhi native, having come originally from the northern portion of the Auckland Province. When Te Rauparaha had exchanged salutations with him and the venerable Tamaiharanui, he proceeded to furnish the explanation which they had come to seek. In the course of his oration he recited a tau, or war song, the idiom of which was more apparent to the Nga-Puhi than to his companion, who was less learned in northern lore. This battle chant conveyed a message to Hakitara {135} which was sinister and disturbing. The protestations of Te Rauparaha were most ardent in the direction of peace, and his declarations full of the promise of friendship; but the words of his song had been so suspiciously indicative of evil intent, that Hakitara felt it incumbent upon him to advise the immediate return of Tamaiharanui to the pa, while he himself remained in the Ngati-Toa camp to pick up what scraps of useful information might drop from the lips of incautious retainers. By dint of sedulous inquiry, particularly amongst the slaves, he gleaned enough to stimulate his suspicions, which were more than confirmed when he heard that the northerners had desecrated a newly made grave which they had passed on the march to the pa. Such an outrage to the dead of Ngai-Tahu was not the act of friends; and now the living witnesses of Te Rauparaha's hostility began to pour into Kaiapoi, viz., the fugitives who had escaped from the slaughter at Omihi. For days they had wandered in the bush and in the by-paths of the open lands, hoping to evade the clutch of their pursuers; and when they arrived with their tale of terror, something more than fair words were needed to convince the inhabitants of the semi-beleaguered pa that Ngati-Toa had come so far south on a mission of peaceful commerce, and not of resentful war. Te Rauparaha, with his usual clarity of vision, saw the predicament in which the inopportune arrival of the fugitives had placed him, and promptly determined upon a desperate expedient, which, he hoped, would allay the dark suspicion which he hourly saw growing up around him, and which, if unchecked, would assuredly frustrate his enterprise. Not only did he feel it necessary to reiterate his assurances that nothing but a desire to trade for greenstone had brought him to Kaiapoi, but he did more. With a recklessness which only a critical situation could justify, he permitted his principal lieutenants—a liberty hitherto denied them—to freely enter the enemy's pa, and carry on, with well-simulated earnestness, negotiations for the exchange {136} of greenstone for their own ancient fire-arms and doubtful powder.

Amongst the first of the Ngati-Toa chiefs to avail himself of this permission was Te Pehi,[88] who, it will be remembered, had, with fatal enthusiasm, inspired the raid, and urged it upon an unwilling leader. Together with Pokaitara, Te Aratangata, Te Kohua, Te Hua Piko, and several other chiefs equally renowned in Ngati-Toa warfare, Te Pehi continued to visit and revisit the pa for several days, carrying on a brisk trade, and incidentally noting the interior arrangements of the fortress, its people, and the chances of its speedy capture. Meanwhile, the Ngai-Tahu agent in Te Rauparaha's camp was not idle, and not the least of Hakitara's successes was the fact that he had been able to ingratiate himself into the good opinion of Te Rauparaha. That astute personage, usually so keen a judge of character, was completely deceived by the clever Nga-Puhi, whom he had hopes of weaning from the Ngai-Tahu cause. To this end he presented him with one of the most attractive of his slaves, a lady named Te Aka, whose charms it was hoped would prove sufficiently strong to draw the Nga-Puhi warrior back to the north. But Te Rauparaha's cold calculations were soon set at naught by the warmth of a human heart. Te Aka was not a free woman. She was a slave, whose pa and whose people had been overrun and destroyed by the ruthless invader, and within her breast there burned the undying desire and hope for revenge. Therefore, when she and Hakitara came to understand each other, there was soon a joint wit at work to worst the man who fondly believed that the human passions {137} were being harnessed to his political schemes. So confident was he that he would win Hakitara over, that he neglected even ordinary prudence in discussing his plans within his hearing. To such excess was this overconfidence carried, that one night he called his chiefs together to a council of war, which was held under the eaves of the whare which Hakitara occupied, where every word could be heard by the occupants. Here the whole scheme of the capture of Kaiapoi was discussed and decided upon; and so hopeful was Te Rauparaha of success, that he boastingly remarked to Te Rangihaeata, "Soon we shall have our pa." "Beware of the Nga-Puhi man," was Rangihaeata's whispered advice; but Rauparaha dismissed the warning by an impatient gesture and a petulant remark that nothing was to be feared from that quarter. Hakitara had, however, been greedily listening to all that had passed, and when the council broke up he was in possession of every detail of the tactics by which the pa was to be assaulted on the morrow.

As might be surmised, sleep came but fitfully to the faithful Hakitara that night, and just as the first silver ray of dawn was breaking in the east, he rose, and, wrapping himself in a large dog-skin mat, crept out of the hut into the grey morning, determined to warn his friends in the pa, if fortune did not desert him. The Maori system of warfare, though quaint in many respects, was practical enough to include the posting of sentries round the camps; and, even if they were not invariably vigilant, there was always the risk that one might happen to be watchful at an awkward moment. This fear haunted Hakitara as, with beating heart, he wormed his way between the huts and through the tufts of waving tussock grass. Tradition records that he was successful in eluding a direct challenge; and when he was well beyond the circuit of the sentries, he rose to his feet and ran with all his speed to the nearest gate of the pa. The gate was instantly opened to him, and in a hurried whisper he bade the keeper {138} summon the chiefs to a conference in a neighbouring house. When the warriors were assembled, he disclosed to them in hot, hurried words all that he knew of Ngati-Toa's intentions, which, in remembrance of a treaty negotiated only the previous day, could be regarded in no other light than as a shameless breach of faith. The council decided that they would not wait for the blow to fall upon them from outside, but would forestall the northerners in their own methods. They knew that some of the Ngati-Toa chiefs would, in keeping with the custom of the past few days, visit them again for the purpose of trade; and they were hopeful that, by a special effort, they might be able to induce the great Te Rauparaha himself to come within the gates. It was agreed that the chiefs, once within the walls, should be attacked and killed, and that then a sortie should be made upon the unsuspecting camp outside. Scarcely had this decision been arrived at, when Te Pehi and several of his fellow-chiefs entered the pa and began to mix with the populace, who were now busy preparing for the business of the day, and were in total ignorance of the decision of their leaders or the circumstances which had dictated it. There was thus no change in the demeanour of the people to excite uneasiness in the minds of Te Pehi and his friends. They, on the other hand, knowing that their plans were nearing fruition, and believing that the pa was virtually in the hollow of their hands, adopted a more insolent air, and were at no pains to conceal the contempt with which they regarded the rights of Ngai-Tahu property. Thus, Te Pehi boldly entered one of the houses, and seizing a large block of greenstone, attached to it a rope of flax, and proceeded to drag it towards the Hiaka-rere gate, evidently intending to carry it into the northern camp.

The pa was now alive with men and women, for the day was well on, and the audacious cupidity of Te Pehi aroused both astonishment and anger. As he strode towards the gate, he had to pass a group of excited onlookers sitting in the marae, or open space which {139} served the purpose of a sports ground. One of these, Moimoi, rose and challenged Te Pehi's right to purloin his greenstone in that unceremonious fashion. With scorn unspeakable, Te Pehi turned upon his interrogator, and in tones of bitter contempt inquired by what right he, a menial, dared to call in question the actions of a chief. "You of the crooked tattoo, what use would your ugly head be to me if I were to carry it back with me to Kapiti? It would be worth nothing towards the purchase of a musket. But," said he, turning to a stalwart native standing near by, "here is a man whose head would be worth the taking, but you with the worthless head, how dare you cavil at the actions of the great Te Pehi?" The slighting reference to the inartistic facial decoration of Moimoi was intended to be particularly insulting, for every native was wont to pride himself upon the completeness of his moko, and Te Pehi had good reason to regard himself as something of an authority upon this branch of Maori art, for his own tattoo was more than usually elaborate. But the most alarming portion of his taunt was his thinly-veiled reference to the sale of Moimoi's head. Every one knew that at this period a considerable traffic had sprung up in native heads,[89] which were preserved by a crude process and traded away to Europeans in exchange for muskets. Te Pehi's reference to the matter could, then, only be taken as an indication that during his visits to the pa he had lent his eye to business, and, in this connection, business meant the assault and sacking of the fortress. The full force of this indiscreet admission had flashed upon the astonished listeners; but, before they could reply, their attention was diverted from the {140} arrogance of Te Pehi by another incident which had occurred at the Hiaka-rere gate. Pokaitara, one of Te Rauparaha's most intrepid lieutenants, had approached this entrance, and was seeking admission to the pa, which was being denied him. Observing who the visitor was, Rongotara, the superior resident chief of Kaiapoi, ordered the keeper of the gate to admit him, exclaiming as he did so, "Welcome my younger brother's lord," a reference to the fact that Rongotara's brother had been made a prisoner at Omihi by Pokaitara, and was at that moment in his keeping. The gate was immediately thrown open; but the Ngati-Toa had no sooner bent his head beneath the portal than Rongotara dealt him a crushing blow with his miti, or stone club, which he was carrying in his hand, and the lifeless body fell with a heavy thud to the ground.

It was this opening episode in the Ngai-Tahu policy of checkmate which had suddenly diverted attention from Te Pehi. But the incident had been as visible to him as to those around him, and the moment he saw it, the critical nature of his own position dawned upon him, and, taking no further thought of the greenstone, he sprang with the agility of a tiger towards the south-western angle of the palisading, and commenced to scramble up the wall by clutching the vines which bound the upright posts together. His plunge for safety would probably have proved successful—for several shots which were fired at him flew wide of the mark—had not Tangatahara, a Ngai-Tahu warrior of great strength and personal courage, closed with him, and, pulling him to the ground, despatched him with a blow from his tomahawk.[90] The other northern chiefs who were in the {141} pa were apprised of the mêlée which was proceeding by the sound of the fire-arms discharged against Te Pehi, and were not slow to grasp the situation. Realising that they had been trapped, they knew that it would be of little use attempting to escape by the regular gateways, which were all securely guarded; and, with one exception, those who were free to do so flew to the walls, hoping to scale them, and so get safely to their camp. But they were for the most part either overpowered by numbers and tomahawked on the spot, or were shot while scrambling up the aka vines. The exception referred to was Te Aratangata, who happened to be at the northern end of the pa, and was at this juncture bargaining to secure a famous greenstone mere called by the Ngai-Tahu people "Te Rau-hikihiki." The moment he saw what was happening, he dashed toward the gate Huirapa, hoping to force his way past the guard, who, he supposed, could offer but feeble resistance to his own exceptional strength, courage, and skill.

There is every reason to believe that Rongotara rather precipitated matters by killing Pokaitara at the gate, as it had been decided that an attempt should first be made to induce the great Te Rauparaha himself to enter the pa, in the hope of including him in the holocaust. Still, the plans of the Kaiapoi chiefs were sufficiently mature to meet the emergency when it suddenly arose; and so Te Aratangata discovered to his alarm that, although he was at the further end of the pa from that at which Te Pehi had been attacked, he was just as closely surrounded by enemies. When he started for the gate, he had virtually to fight every inch of the way. He had little difficulty in disposing of the first few who intercepted his path; but, as he drew nearer to the gate, his assailants increased, and before he had struggled on many yards he was attacked by over twenty persons armed with all manner of weapons. Against those who ventured at close quarters he valiantly defended himself with his {142} mere, all the time pressing on towards the gate. A gun-shot wound temporarily checked his onward course, and he was soon further handicapped by several spear-thrusts, which left the spears dangling in the fleshy parts of his body, and from which he found it impossible to disengage himself, pressed as he was on every side. These difficulties perceptibly weakened his defence, but he was still able to fight on, keeping his opponents at bay by swift and desperate blows with his mere, which, up to this moment, had accounted for all who had ventured within his reach. The brave Ngati-Toa had now reached within a few paces of the gate, and may have even yet had dreams of escape, when the crowning disaster came in the breaking of his mere. A shot, which had been intended for his body, struck the greenstone blade, and shattered the faithful weapon into a hundred fragments, leaving only the butt in Aratangata's hand. Now utterly defenceless, weakened by his wounds, and hampered by the dragging spears, the undaunted chief turned upon his assailants, and, with his last strength, grappled with those who came within his reach. The unequal struggle could not, however, be long maintained. Emboldened by his helpless condition, his pursuers pressed in upon him with angry tumult, and he was borne to the ground by Te Koreke, who finished the deadly work with a succession of blows with his tomahawk upon the prostrate warrior's head and neck.

So fell Te Aratangata, and so fell the flower of the Ngati-Toa tribe that day. In all, eight great chiefs[91] were killed, who, by their heroism on the field and their sagacity in council, had materially aided Te Rauparaha in all his great achievements. They had added brilliancy to his battles, lustre to his victories, and had lent a wisdom {143} to his administration, whereby the fruits of his enterprise had not been wasted by internecine strife. So dire a tragedy as the death of the princes of his tribe was a great blow to Te Rauparaha. But it is doubtful whether the sacrifice of so much mental and physical fibre was more keenly felt by the Ngati-Toa chief than the loss of prestige and damage to his reputation, which he might reasonably apprehend from his being outwitted at his own game, and that, too, by a people whom he had hitherto despised as opponents. That they would turn upon him in what he chose to regard as an unprovoked attack was something which was not reckoned upon in his philosophy, for he had trusted to his blandishments to soothe away their suspicions, or to his great name and reputation to awe them into submission. And when the blow fell, and he saw his patiently laid plans tumbling about his ears, he received the result with mingled feelings of surprise, indignation, and something akin to dismay. In this frame of mind he deemed it expedient to anticipate any further unexpected eventualities by withdrawing his force and making good his retreat with as little delay as possible. Consequently his camp was at once broken up, and the little army made its dejected way across the plain to Double Corner, where the canoes had been left, and next day Te Rauparaha set sail for Omihi and Kapiti, having, as the result of his first raid upon Kaiapoi,[92] added neither greenstone to his treasure nor glory to his reputation as a warrior.

For the better part of two years Te Rauparaha nursed his wrath against Ngai-Tahu, and spent the intervening time in devising schemes whereby he might secure a vengeance commensurate with the disgrace of his repulse and the death of his well-loved friends. One thing on which he had fully determined was that Ngai-Tahu should pay for their temerity with the purest of their blood, for he would take no plebeian in payment for so royal a soul as Te Pehi. His schemes were therefore {144} directed against the life of Tamaiharanui,[93] who has already been described as the embodiment of spiritual and temporal power in the southern tribe. He was the hereditary representative of all that stood for nobility amongst the sons of Tahu. His person was regarded as so sacred that the common people scarcely dared to look upon his face. He could only be addressed by his fellow-chiefs with the greatest deference and in the most reverential language; and if, while passing through the congested streets of a village, his shadow should fall upon a whata or a rua, the storehouse and its contents would be immediately destroyed, to prevent the sacrilege of a tribesman consuming food upon which even the shade of so sacred a personage had lighted. Indeed, so sanctified and ceremonious an individual was he, that his presence was sometimes oppressive to those who were not accustomed to live in an atmosphere of ritual; for the slightest disregard of what was due to one so endowed with the spirit of the gods might involve them at any moment in the loss of possessions, and even of life.


From a sketch by Gilfillan, by kind permission of Miss Gilfillan.

To secure so eminent a scion of Ngai-Tahu aristocracy would be a trophy indeed; but Te Rauparaha knew that it was no ordinary task that he was contemplating. An attack upon regular lines might easily defeat its own purpose, for a chief so sacred to the tribe as Tamaiharanui would scarcely be permitted to sacrifice himself upon the field of battle, even if his own inclinations impelled him to lead his people, a point of personal courage by no means too well established.[94] Strategy must therefore be {145} employed, and it must be strategy of the most delicate kind, for, in the naïve language of the younger Te Rauparaha, "the chief must be enticed, even as the kaka is enticed." For the scheme which was finally adopted it has been claimed that Te Rauparaha was not originally responsible, but that the idea was first conceived by a relative of his, named Hohepa Tama-i-hengia, who had been working on board a whaler in the southern latitudes, and heard the story of Te Pehi's death on the ship calling in at a bay on the coast of Otago. Hohepa, who, in his contact with the European, had lost none of that eternal thirst for revenge which marked the ancient Maori, at once besought the captain to employ his vessel in the capture of Tamaiharanui, promising a large reward from Te Rauparaha on his handing over the prisoner at Kapiti. The captain, however, was discouraged in the idea by the rest of the ship's company, who were eager to reach Queen Charlotte Sound, there to resume their whaling operations; and thus the execution of the brilliant suggestion had perforce to be suspended until the ingenious author of it himself reached Kapiti. There the daring plan was laid before the fighting chiefs of the tribe, who were readily convinced of its practicability.

Their first overtures were made to Captain Briggs, whose ship, the Dragon, was then lying at Kapiti. This seaman has, with a frankness amounting to brutality, explained that he ultimately declined their proposals, not because the enterprise was repugnant to him, but because Te Rauparaha insisted upon taking more men with him than he deemed it prudent to carry in his ship. The manner in which the captain of the Dragon was approached was diplomatic in the extreme. The chiefs explained to him that Te Pehi had been to England, and that, as a mark of gratitude for his generous treatment there, he had always been the friend of the English. Tamaiharanui, on the other hand, had killed more white men than any other chief in New Zealand, from which fact they adroitly argued that they and Captain Briggs had a mutual interest in compassing his death. Briggs {146} seems to have been convinced that Tamaiharanui was a "monster," whose death would be a distinct benefit to society, and he unhesitatingly offered to take Te Rauparaha and two of his best men to Akaroa to effect the capture. Te Rauparaha and Te Hiko, however, stipulated for twenty men; but, as the cautious Briggs considered that "this would have given the chiefs more power in the vessel than he cared to part with," he declined further discussion. This rebuff delayed, but did not extinguish, the purpose of the chiefs. They still hoped that other captains would be more amenable to persuasion or more susceptible to reward. There was thus considerable excitement at Kapiti on a certain day towards the close of the year 1830, when a vessel was seen rounding the Taheke Point, and the cry of "A ship, a ship!" was raised from every corner of the settlement. Rauparaha immediately ordered out his canoe, and, putting off with Te Hiko and a full crew, boarded the stranger, which proved to be the British brig Elizabeth of 236 tons, commanded by Captain Stewart.[95] The chiefs were fortunate in the type of man with whom they had come to negotiate. Stewart was one of the semi-buccaneer breed, who, at this period, were all too common in these waters, and whose depredations have contributed so many of the ugly pages of our country's history. Nor was this case to be an exception. Before committing himself, however, Stewart took the precaution of consulting Captain Briggs, who advised him not to undertake to carry more natives on board than he could safely control. But this counsel[96] was not followed, and a {147} bargain was eventually struck, whereby it was agreed that the captain was to carry the chiefs and their party to Whanga-roa (now Akaroa) Harbour in Banks's Peninsula, in consideration for which he was to receive fifty tons of dressed flax—valued roughly at £1,200—immediately upon his return to Kapiti. The conclusion of this contract gave intense satisfaction to the chiefs, and according to his son, "the heart of Te Rauparaha lived in joy."

Some of the apologists for Captain Stewart have endeavoured to show that he was not made fully aware of the real intentions of the chiefs, and that, when the savage purpose of the voyage was borne in upon him, he was then powerless to avert the tragic scenes which were afterwards enacted. It has been further urged in extenuation of his crime that, when he arrived on the coast of New Zealand, he discovered to his dismay that his cargo was totally unsuitable to excite trade with the natives, and that he was, therefore, constrained, in the interests of his employers, to accept a charter against which there was no law, and which promised a rich and speedy remuneration. What measure of truth there may be in the former defence it is now difficult to determine. It is possible that events developed in a manner and to an extent that had not been contemplated by Stewart; but it must be remembered that he had discussed with due deliberation the whole project with his friend Captain Briggs, and that, if he afterwards found himself powerless to control the passions of his charterers, the blame was entirely his own for disdaining the advice of his fellow captain regarding a limitation of numbers. As to the unmarketable nature of his cargo, that specious plea is flatly disproved by the ship's manifest. So far from the goods carried being unsuitable {148} for trade, there was scarcely anything brought in the Elizabeth for which the natives were not eagerly craving. Indeed, there is no room to doubt that, had Captain Stewart chosen to confine himself to legitimate commerce, he could have easily bartered his guns and his powder, his flints and his tobacco, for a cargo which would have given his employers an adequate return, without requiring his zeal in their behalf to outrage the feelings of humanity. Similarly, it is scarcely to be supposed that Stewart's knowledge of the law was so wide that he was aware there was no statutory decree prohibiting his entering into this unholy compact. He was clearly just as indifferent to its moral aspect as he was unaware of its legal bearing. Otherwise he would have known that, viewed from this standpoint, there was no distinction between a crime committed against a savage and that perpetrated upon a civilised being. The absence of any law regulating the conduct of individuals placed in such circumstances is no palliation for the outrage which he committed; and, so far from his being unwittingly led into an error of judgment, his treatment of Tamaiharanui after his capture dispels any supposition that he had repented of his bargain, or that he was in the least degree revolted by the excesses of the natives. Having regard to these facts, the impression conveyed by a study of the general character of the man, as revealed by his actions, is, that the purpose of the voyage would not have caused him much scruple, so long as the reward was ample and easily obtained. Howbeit, a few days after the bargain was struck, he received on board his vessel Te Rauparaha and one hundred and seventy of his followers, accompanied by five of his remaining lieutenants—Te Rangihaeata, Te Hiko, Tungia, and Tama-i-hengia, and on October 29th set sail for Banks's Peninsula.

The voyage appears to have been propitious enough, for, in due course, the vessel arrived at Whanga-roa Harbour, on the shores of which then stood the Takapuneke pa, and now nestles the sequestered town of {149} Akaroa.[97] The coming of a ship was an event much more rare at Akaroa than it was at Kapiti, and, consequently, the natives of the pa were stirred to the highest pitch of excitement, and desired to enter into immediate trade with the vessel, which they misjudged to be an honest whaler.[98] Meanwhile Te Rauparaha had carefully concealed all his men beneath the hatches, and enjoined upon them the strictest seclusion; for the success of his scheme altogether depended upon the concealment of the fact that a force of natives was on board. Acting under instructions from the chief, Captain Stewart, through his interpreter, forbade any of the resident natives to board the Elizabeth until Tamaiharanui had returned; for it so happened that, at the time of the brig's arrival at Akaroa, that chief was absent from his pa, superintending the preparation of a cargo of flax which he had sold to an English captain. A message was accordingly despatched to Wairewa, urging him to come and see a pakeha who was eager to trade. It was not, however, till the eighth day that Tama arrived, and, during all that time, the Ngati-Toa warriors had been cooped up under the hatches, being permitted only a few minutes on deck under the cover of darkness. These precautions prevented any suspicion reaching the shore; and yet some doubt seems to have lurked in the minds of the resident people, for they eagerly inquired of Cowell, the interpreter, whether there were any natives on board, and were put off with the laughing assurance that such was impossible, as the vessel had just come down from Sydney. This statement was seemingly fair enough; but, if Sydney was the last port of call, how came those hutiwai burrs clinging to the clothes of some of the crew, {150} which a keen-eyed native had just espied? Hutiwai burrs do not grow in Sydney, nor upon the broad ocean. Then the lie that came handiest was that on the way down they had called at the Bay of Islands, and the sailors had probably picked up the burrs while carousing on shore. The evasion, however palpable, was at least successful in silencing the doubts which were just growing to dangerous proportions in the minds of Tamaiharanui's people, and the incident had no influence in cooling their ardour for trade, for further messengers were shortly afterwards despatched to hasten their chief's coming. When Tamaiharanui came, he brought with him his wife, Te Whe, his sister, and his little daughter Ngaroimata,[99] a name full of pathetic suggestion. He was cordially welcomed by the captain, who invited him to his cabin below with every show of courtesy and hospitality. But no sooner was the chief seated than the door opened, and, to his intense amazement, his mortal enemies, Te Rauparaha and Te Hiko, stood before him. To overpower and bind him was the work of but a few moments, and then the Ngati-Toa let loose upon him the full flood of their invective, taunting him in bitter scorn with his infantile simplicity in falling so easily into their trap. Te Hiko added insult to injury by advancing and drawing back the captive's upper lip, sneeringly remarking, "So these are the teeth which ate my father."

In all innocence of what was passing within the cabin, the followers of Tamaiharanui swarmed round the ship's side in their canoes, clamouring for admission, so that they might trade for the needful guns and casks of powder. This permission was granted to a few at a time, who, immediately they reached the deck, were conducted by the crew to the open hatchway and promptly shoved headlong into the hold, where they were secured by Te Rauparaha's men and made prisoners as easily and as simply as their chief had been. The failure of these people to return to the shore evidently did not excite {151} any uneasiness. It was no uncommon thing for natives visiting a ship in the offing to remain for several days, or even longer, if their presence could be tolerated. Events were thus playing into the hands of Te Rauparaha more effectually even than he might have reasonably expected; and so, on the evening of the second day after the capture of Tamaiharanui, having secured all the visitors to the ship, he was now in a position to deal with those who had remained on land. Boats were accordingly got out some hours after nightfall, and a strong and well-armed party was sent ashore to attack the Takapuneke pa. Ngai-Tahu accounts of this fight would have us believe that an heroic resistance was offered to a cyclonic assault; but the circumstances render such an account most improbable. The place was not a fighting pa, and for the purposes of war was practically defenceless. The people, too, were awakened from their sleep by the tumult of the attack, and, shorn as they were of their leaders and their warriors, there was little hope of any organised defence being made. The attack therefore became a rout, and the rout a massacre; and before morning broke the people of Akaroa were either helpless captives, bound in the evil-smelling hold of a ship, fugitives flying for dear life, or lying dead amongst the smoking ruins of their ancestral home.

Having achieved a complete success, Te Rauparaha collected a quantity of human flesh for consumption on the voyage, and set sail for Kapiti, where the final scene in the tragedy was to be enacted. Tamaiharanui and his family were housed in one of the fore cabins, and apparently some degree of liberty was permitted him, for on the first night out from Akaroa,[100] he, after consultation with his wife, seized a favourable opportunity to strangle his little daughter as she lay asleep, and afterwards cast the lifeless body into the sea. This extreme course he justified to his conscience as averting {152} the eternal disgrace of her ever becoming the wife of one of his enemies. His unnatural action, however, had the effect of rousing the fury of his captors.[101] Fearing that his next step would be to take his own life, and so deprive them of the legitimate fruits of their mission, they took immediate and adequate precautions by pinioning him fast in a position which caused him exquisite torture, and his sufferings they watched with intense delight. On the voyage northward high revels were kept by the natives, who, if the interpreter's testimony is to be credited, were even permitted to cook the flesh of their victims in the ship's coppers, without protest from the captain or any of his equally degenerate crew.

Upon the arrival of the Elizabeth at Kapiti, on the 11th of November, the pas were almost deserted, the majority of the people being absent in the swamps and on the hill-sides, preparing the flax which was to be Captain Stewart's payment. The news, however, soon spread that the great Ngai-Tahu chief was a captive on board, and crowds came flocking from the mainland to verify the reported triumph of their leader. The major part of the prisoners were landed on the 12th of November, and the natives now expected that Tamaiharanui would also be handed over to them at once, to be disposed of in their own fashion. But on this point Captain Stewart was obdurate, for he probably saw but little prospect of securing his flax if once the prisoner passed beyond his keeping. He therefore resisted the tribe's demands for this species of habeas corpus, and detained the chief, heaping upon him the additional pain and ignominy of keeping him in irons until he could be redeemed by the fulfilment of Te Rauparaha's promise. Either this was no simple matter, {153} or, more likely still, his followers, having to some extent satisfied their craving for excitement and revenge, relaxed their efforts in the fields, preferring to discuss in the kaingas the strange adventures of their comrades at Akaroa. From whatever cause, there was a distinct failure on their part to complete the contract. Day after day went past, and still a residue of the flax was wanting. At the end of six weeks, Captain Stewart was persuaded that it was hopeless to wait longer, and, probably wishing himself well out of the whole business, he handed Tamaiharanui over to Te Rauparaha, and made his course with all speed to Sydney, arriving on January 14, 1831.[102]

The prisoner was taken on shore in Rauparaha's canoe, and, at a great feast held in honour of the occasion, was surrendered to the wives of Te Pehi to do with him as they pleased. A final appeal for life was made to his captor by Tama; but Te Rauparaha took high ground, and replied that if it was a matter that rested with himself, he would most certainly spare him, but the death of Te Pehi was a calamity which affected the whole tribe of Ngati-Toa, and hence the final decision must rest with them. About the precise time and mode[103] of the {154} unfortunate chief's death there is much doubt, for scarcely any two accounts agree, except in the central fact that Tamaiharanui subsequently met his fate at the hands of Tiaia, Te Pehi's principal widow. The most favourable view of this lady's conduct in revenging the death of her lamented husband is given us by her own tribe, who have averred that "on landing, the chief was given up to the widow of Te Pehi, who took him and his wife to her own house, giving up half to their use. They talked like friends to each other, and the widow behaved so kindly to him, that a stranger would have taken them for man and wife, rather than a doomed captive and his implacable enemy. She used even to clothe him in her finest garments and deck his head with choice feathers. This continued for about two weeks, until she had assembled her friends, or thought her victim sufficiently fat to kill.[104] She then suddenly caused him to be seized and bound, with his arms stretched to a tree, and whilst he was in this position she took a long iron spear, with which she stabbed him in the jugular artery, and drank his warm blood as it gushed forth."

Harrowing as this spectacle must have been, and awful as it is to contemplate, it must be remembered that the manner of Tamaiharanui's death was not more savage {155} than that of many another leader of men, perpetrated in Christian countries and in the name of a higher cause. By the Maori code the death of the Akaroa chief was not only justified, but necessary to appease the spirit of the departed Te Pehi, and the more humiliating his death, the more adequate the compensation to the dead. A student[105] of Maori life and character, than whom perhaps none have had better opportunities of mastering Ngai-Tahu history, and who, from his calling, could scarcely be accused of callousness towards Tamaiharanui's sufferings, has given it as his mature opinion that, "base as the means adopted for his capture were, and cruel as his fate was, it is impossible to feel much pity for Tamaiharanui. His punishment was hardly more than he deserved. The treatment he received at the hands of Ngati-Toa was little more than a repetition of the cruelties which he had himself inflicted upon members of his own tribe." Possibly the knowledge that he would not have acted differently himself assisted the unhappy captive to resign himself to his fate. For, although he has been described as both cruel and cowardly, by one whose verdict it is not easy to challenge, this much must be laid to his credit: that neither the mental nor the physical torture invented for him by his barbarous enemies was sufficient to break down his rugged fortitude or to tame his defiant spirit.

When the Elizabeth reached Sydney, the circumstances attending the death of the Akaroa chief were reported to Governor Darling by Mr. Gordon Browne, and the Governor, with commendable promptitude, ordered the arrest of Stewart and proceeded to put him on his trial. The depositions were referred to the Crown Solicitor on February 17, but that official expressed doubts as to the statutory power of the colony to bring the offender to justice, it not being clear whether offences committed in New Zealand against New Zealanders were punishable under the laws of New {156} South Wales.[106] Darling was in no way disconcerted by this legal difficulty, but urged with some vehemence that the point should be tested, holding that it was "a case in which the character of the nation was implicated, and that every possible exertion should be used to bring the offenders to justice." Stewart retained Dr. Wardell, a lawyer eminent in his day, for his defence, and while the officers of the Crown were seeking to make good their ground, the delay was utilised to spirit away the witnesses whose testimony might be fatal to Stewart. Meanwhile, the Elizabeth was allowed to put to sea under another captain, and Stewart was held on bail, notwithstanding the strenuous protests of his counsel. With the witnesses out of the way, Dr. Wardell became more confident, and boldly demanded the release of his client. But the Governor could not but be influenced by the prayer of the more honourably disposed white residents of New Zealand, who expressed the fear that their "lives would be made answerable for the proceedings of their countrymen," or by the touching appeal of the natives, who came personally to plead that speedy steps might be taken by England to put a curb upon the unbridled behaviour of her degenerate sons. The curb which Darling proposed to apply was to appoint a resident representative of the colony in New Zealand, and he suggested to the Secretary of State for the Colonies that Captain Sturt[107] should be employed in this capacity. The carrying out of this scheme was {157} delayed by the recall of the Governor, and the appointment of Sir Richard Bourke as his successor, to whom Darling deemed it prudent to leave the initiation of a system which it would be his lot to administer.

All this time justice was tardily picking her way amongst the complicated meshes of the law, and it was not until the 21st of May that Stewart was called upon to face his trial. Even then the Crown Solicitor was not prepared to proceed upon the main indictment, but sought to get a conviction upon a minor offence, to which course Dr. Wardell took the strongest exception, and warmly demanded the discharge of Stewart's recognisances. The Crown justified its action on the ground that its witnesses were not forthcoming, for great remissness had been shown in letting them depart; and, notwithstanding Dr. Wardell's protest that it was unfair "to hold Stewart to bail in a sum of £2,000 for an indefinite period," the Chief Justice decided to adjourn the matter, and allow it to come up for consideration on a future day. When that day arrived, the Crown Solicitor was still unready, and applied for leave to abandon the charge of misdemeanour, and proceed upon the main information so soon as his witnesses were available. But his witnesses were the same intangible quantity that they had been ever since they had first vanished, and there was not the remotest prospect of their appearing. Dr. Wardell knew this, and bantered his learned friend upon his unfortunate predicament, in which he was compelled to "skip from a charge of murder to a misdemeanour, and then to murder back again." He earnestly pleaded the hardship imposed upon Stewart by these delays, for which he was in no way responsible, and claimed either instant dismissal or immediate trial for his client, who, he believed, or affected to believe, was the unhappy victim of circumstances.[108] {158} To all this the Crown might have justly retorted that the disability placed upon Stewart was gentleness itself compared with his own conduct towards his fettered captive. Possibly this view was influencing the Court, for it still refused to take the responsibility at that stage of discharging the prisoner, but appointed the 20th June as the day on which Dr. Wardell might make application for the discharge of Stewart's recognisances. But when, after further adjournments, that application was argued on June 30th, the Crown was unable to convince the Court that the accused man should be indefinitely detained, and the Bench, reluctantly, no doubt, announced that he must be "discharged on his own recognisances in the sum of £1,000." So ended Governor Darling's sincere endeavour to make national reparation for one of the blackest crimes which have ever dishonoured the relations of the white man with the Maori, a deed which must be counted dark even at a time when the spirit of humanity seemed to slumber. Whatever palliation the apologist may find for the rough sea captain, whose occupation and environment were not conducive to the gentler qualities, it is not to the credit of a civilised community that its public opinion was apathetic in the presence of such an atrocity as that in which Captain Stewart had steeped his hands. It is to be feared that the Governor failed to receive the support from his officers, or from the community, which a jealousy for the national honour might have demanded;[109] while it is equally true that active sympathy {159} with Stewart was largely responsible for the ease with which the witnesses were got out of the way. It was, perhaps, due to the fact that he was never brought to trial, rather than to any other cause, that no jury of Sydneyites acquitted Stewart.

The tidings of Te Rauparaha's successes in the south were rapidly filtering to the ears of his friends in the north, by the agency of the devoted messengers who were repeatedly travelling backwards to their old home. With each fresh tale of victory told by ardent tongues to wondering ears, some new hope or ambition was awakened in the breast of the Ngati-Raukawa who still lingered in their settlements round Lake Taupo. Apart from the larger migrations which from time to time came down to join Te Rauparaha, less important bands were continually being attracted by the glory of Ngati-Toa's splendid achievements. Many of these soldiers of fortune reached Otaki and Kapiti with little adventure; for there was no inclination on the part of the subdued remnant of the Ngati-Apa to risk a conflict with these fiery spirits as they pushed across the ferny hills of Rangitikei. But one small company, travelling further to the northward than was customary, came into conflict with, and met disaster at the hands of, the Whanganui people, who secured the momentary advantage of a victory. From out of this defeat, two young men, Te Puke and his brother, Te Ao, succeeded in making their way to Kapiti, where the story of their misfortune made a deep impression upon chiefs and people alike. But matters more urgent and nearer home were pressing in upon the chief, and because of lack of opportunity, rather than of desire, the day of reckoning with Whanganui must be indefinitely postponed.

The business which thus preoccupied the mind of Te Rauparaha was the need of adjusting the differences and unravelling the complications, which were daily accumulating, as the result of accretions to his forces. With the arrival of every new contingent of warriors, {160} provision had to be made for their immediate entertainment, and for their ultimate settlement on the land, in order to leave them comfortable and contented. This their mutual jealousies made somewhat difficult, and no small measure of diplomacy was needed to avert civil ruptures, such as afterwards threatened to destroy all that unity and unquestioning devotion to his authority had accomplished. Though there was this simmering of discontent between the men of Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Awa, fortunately for Te Rauparaha no crisis occurred, and any ill-feeling that might lead to such an event was soon forgotten in the thrilling announcement that another attempt was about to be made to capture the great pa at Kaiapoi. This decision was, we are led to understand, arrived at somewhat hurriedly, and was largely accelerated because of a vision seen by a hoary seer of the tribe, who had interpreted the manifestation as a mandate to go forward to the attack. His mata, or prophecy, has been preserved amongst the oral treasures of Ngati-Toa, and has been freely translated as follows:—

"What is the wind? It is north-east, it is south. It is east in the offing, oh! Come then, O Raha! That you may see the fire On the crimson flat of Kaiapohia. By the prow of the canoe, By the handle of the paddle, The hold of the canoe of Maui May be overturned to cover it. Then pound, pound the sea! And stir it with your paddles. Behold my flock of curlews Hovering over the backwater Of that Waipara there. The fight will be on the other side; Embrace it, get closer and closer. Fierce will rage the fight."

It might be supposed that, with the capture and death {161} of Tamaiharanui, and all the carnage that had followed upon the Akaroa raid, Te Rauparaha would have felt that he had taken sufficient vengeance upon Ngai-Tahu for the slaying of Te Pehi and his comrades in arms. We are, however, assured by an authority deeply versed in the intricacies of Maori etiquette that no such limit was placed upon his actions, and that, so far from his proposal to again attack Kaiapoi being anything but strictly "correct," no alternative course would have adequately met the exigencies of the case. No sooner, therefore, was the chief's decision to obey the tohunga's call to arms publicly proclaimed, than preparatory measures on an exceptional scale were commenced with alacrity and enthusiasm. There was to be no trifling with the occasion, which, it was generally understood, would be pregnant with the fate of tribes; for Te Rauparaha had determined that as the result of this priest-ordained raid either Ngati-Toa or Ngai-Tahu would be for ever humbled in the dust. The force to be raised was to consist of seven hundred and fifty warriors, and only the pick of the men were to be taken—the Ngati-Toa, the Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Awa tribes contributing their quota in nearly equal proportions. The traffic in arms and ammunition had now become so lucrative at Kapiti that there was no difficulty in arming every man with a musket more or less serviceable. Food was also abundant, for so rich had been the harvest of captives that at this time, it is said, Te Rauparaha had upwards of two thousand slaves constantly employed in planting or reaping the crops, which grew abundantly on the alluvial flats along the mainland coast. The question of transport presented greater difficulty. The conveyance of so large a force across the rough waters of Cook Strait was a serious problem, as there was no adequate supply of canoes for the purpose. This perplexity was, however, solved by the decision to transport the force in sections. The first division was to be landed at the Wairau, with instructions to march over the inland track, which led through the wild and picturesque Wairau {162} Gorge, and over the Hanmer Plains, to a rendezvous appointed for them at the mouth of the Waipara River. While this detour was being made purely in the interests of adventure, the remainder of the warriors were to embark at Kapiti, and make their way by slow stages down the coast, until they should unite with the inland party at the Waipara. Here the canoes were to be beached, and the whole force was then to march rapidly upon the doomed pa, in the hope of surprising the inhabitants and carrying the fortress by one swift and resolute stroke.

So soon as the summer of 1831 was sufficiently advanced,[110] these plans were put into execution, and, as far as is known, were carried out with admirable precision. The two sections of the allied forces met at the appointed place, and, with as little delay as was permissible, set off in good order across the plain. But their movements had not been so secretly conducted as could have been wished; for the fleet of canoes had been espied coming down the coast, and a breathless messenger had carried the startling intelligence to the people in the pa. The first impulse of the latter was to gather all the people in from the fields and out-stations, and then to consult the patron deity of the tribe, and endeavour to ascertain by a process of revelation what the issue of the invasion was to be. The Rev. Canon Stack has left on record a description of the elaborate but idolatrous ceremonial by which the movements of a wooden image, dangled in the hands of a shrieking priest, were to reveal the future. The consultation of the atua was most piously performed at a spot outside the pa, consecrated for the purpose of this and similar religious rites. There the prescribed questions were put to the nodding image, in the presence of a trembling people, and the answer, as read by the priests, was that there was to be one defeat. This prophecy they immediately interpreted as foretelling the ultimate repulse and humiliation of the approaching {163} enemy. So satisfactory a termination to the toro was received with much congratulation, and served instantly to revive the drooping spirits of the people, who returned in jubilant procession to the pa. But the gates were scarcely closed before the muskets of Te Rauparaha's men were heard snapping in the distance, as they kept up a running fire upon some belated stragglers.

That the pa was surprised is now a matter of history, but fortunately for its slender garrison, Te Rauparaha did not realise how hopelessly unprepared they were. During the year or more which had elapsed since his raid upon Akaroa, the people of Kaiapoi had been deeply immersed in the endeavour to cultivate a trade with the itinerant whalers who paid their fitful visits to Whangaraupo[111] and other parts of Banks's Peninsula. In their anxiety to make the utmost of these infrequent opportunities, they had lost sight of the probability of another attack upon their settlement, and this unwary attitude had been encouraged by the fond belief that the difficulties of transporting from Kapiti a force large enough to assault the pa with any prospect of success were so formidable that even Te Rauparaha would never seriously contemplate such an undertaking. How illusory these dreams of safety were, and how little they understood the dogged spirit of the man against whom they were called upon to contend, they now realised to their cost. At the moment of Te Rauparaha's arrival the pa was deserted, except for a guard of old people and a number of women and children. The greater part of the population had only a few days before gone off to Whangaraupo, in company with the influential Otago chief Taiaroa, who had been paying a friendly visit to Kaiapoi. Some had gone merely to bid their great kinsman farewell; and so remote was the need of strong arms and stout hearts at home considered that many of the younger men were purposing to travel southward with him to Otakou.[112] Kaiapoi was thus practically denuded of its fighting men, and it says much for the {164} courage and ingenuity of those who were left that, in this sudden emergency, they were able to make so brave a show along its ramparts as to utterly deceive the northern leader. Had the pa been attacked promptly and vigorously, there is no room to doubt that it would have fallen, for its thin veneer of resistance must soon have been pierced; but this was one of the few occasions on which the Ngati-Toa chief's clearness of perception and promptness of decision failed him, and the price of his vacillation was a long weary siege, and the loss, to him, of many valuable lives.

As a preliminary step in the defence of the pa, the Kaiapoi people had hurriedly removed the few temporary houses and fences which had been erected immediately in front of the landward approach, and which would have afforded some degree of shelter to the approaching enemy. Their destruction left not only an unbroken view of the movements of the enemy, but deprived them of every vestige of cover, so that, in rushing to the assault, they had to pass over ground exposed to the pitiless fire of the defenders. For this reason, the first attack was repulsed with considerable loss, as was also a second, which was delivered with some additional energy. The defenders had entrenched themselves behind the first line of palisades, and, with their bodies protected by the deep ditch which ran the whole width of the narrow isthmus between the converging swamps, they were able to concentrate their fire upon the advancing warriors with so deadly an effect that Te Rauparaha was led to believe the defence to be much more formidable than it really was. Surprised that his coming had been so evidently anticipated and so amply provided against, and irritated to find himself baffled in his hope of snatching a victory from a napping victim, he retired beyond the range of the Ngai-Tahu guns to deliberate on his next move. As the result of a consultation with Rangihaeata, Te Hiko, and his other lieutenants, it was agreed that all hope of carrying the fortress by a coup de main must now be abandoned, and it was decided to adopt the more prosaic {165} course of investing the pa and subjecting it to the annoyance and humiliation of a regular siege.

A camp was formed immediately in front of the pa, and so placed as to intercept the path which led to its main entrance. A wing of this camp stretched round amongst the sand-hills to the westward, so as to command the approach to the Huirapa gate. In these quarters Ngati-Toa and their allies sat down in patience, to tempt the enemy to a sortie, but ever ready to profit by any momentary looseness or indiscretion on the part of the defenders. Meantime a few of the residents of Kaiapoi who had been shut out when its gates were closed, but had succeeded in evading capture by their superior knowledge of the surrounding maze of swamps, had fled southward to carry the news of the invasion to their friends who had gone to Whangaraupo with Taiaroa. These messengers were fortunate in intercepting their tribesmen before they had departed for the south, and, at the earnest solicitation of his Kaiapoi relations, Taiaroa agreed to return and lead the defence of their fortress. All possible reinforcements were speedily gathered from the Peninsula pas, and the combined forces set off along the coast to endeavour to raise the siege. Their march to the Waimakariri River was rapidly executed; but here some delay was occasioned, owing to the difficulty in getting the people across the broad and rapid stream. At the cost of much labour, a mokihi flotilla was constructed, on which they crossed to the northern bank; and then, fearing that their movements might be discovered if they approached nearer to the pa before darkness set in, they lay down to await the fall of evening. Under the cover of darkness they resumed their march, which was still conducted with the utmost caution, more especially as they approached the vicinity of the besieged pa. By the glowing watch-fires which they saw in the distance they knew that the enemy was sleeplessly alert, and that any impetuosity on their part might easily prove fatal to themselves, and equally disastrous to their friends watching and waiting their coming. It had been decided that the {166} attempt to enter the pa should be made on the western side, where the swamp which fringed the fortress was narrowest, and where they could be admitted by the Huirapa gate. It is probable that when Taiaroa came to this determination he was not aware that he must pass near to a section of the enemy's camp. But here fortune favoured him, for the high wind which was blowing at the time drove those of the besiegers who were keeping watch to crouch closely over their fires, and, by agitating the surrounding foliage, aided materially in concealing the movements of the warriors as they crept cautiously through the long and waving grass. By adroitly advancing when the breeze blew with greatest violence, and throwing themselves flat upon the ground when it lulled, they drew so near to the Ngati-Toa lines that they could plainly hear the sentries conversing amongst themselves. Their position at this juncture was most critical, and in the intensity of their excitement they scarcely dared to breathe. Nothing, however, occurred to betray their presence,[113] and, at a preconcerted signal, every man rose from his concealment, and shouting, "Taiaroa to the rescue! Taiaroa to the rescue!" plunged into the dark waters of the swamp and swam towards the pa.

It is doubtful whether the surprise of the Ngati-Toa sentries or of the defenders was the greater, as they were suddenly aroused by the tumult of the struggling horde which had swept in upon the scene. The first thought of the defenders was that a clever ruse to gain admission to the pa was being practised by Te Rauparaha, {167} and they at once lined the walls, and began a brisk fusilade upon the splashing forms in the water below. Darkness, uncertainty, and excitement, however, made their aim extremely erratic, and no damage of any consequence was done before the voices of the leaders were recognised, and what had seemed a daring and ingenious assault was discovered to be the eagerly-looked-for succour. The firing instantly ceased, and the Huirapa gate was thrown open to the dripping warriors, who, as they emerged from the water, were received in the warm embraces of their grateful friends.

With the arrival of Taiaroa and of the Kaiapoi chiefs whom he had brought with him, a new spirit animated the population of the pa, and its defence was organised upon a more systematic plan than before. To Whakauira was entrusted the defence of the Kaitangata gate, and Weka was given a similar responsibility over Hiaka-rere. Other vulnerable points were similarly entrusted to the personal care of the best and bravest of the chiefs, who were not only to defend their particular positions against attack, but were to lead all sorties made by their own companies. In guarding against surprises, the garrison were greatly aided by a watch-tower, which stood close to the Kaitangata gate. This tower was no pillar of masonry, such as a Norman of old would have attached to his castle, but was merely the tall trunk of a totara tree, firmly set in the ground, on the top of which was perched a little wooden hutch, after the form of a native whata.[114] The sides of this cabin were constructed of thick wooden slabs which had been carefully tested, and demonstrated to be proof against any bullet fired from the nearest point to which an enemy could safely come. Before daylight every morning a faithful watcher crept into this elevated cabin, and, peering through slits cut in the sides, was able to command a view of all that was passing within the enemy's camp, and communicate the results of his observation to those {168} within. In this way the defenders were able to anticipate and successfully counteract the tactics of Te Rauparaha, who, much to his chagrin, found all his movements checked. But the rôle of attack was not confined to the Ngati-Toa; for, in the early stages of the siege, frequent sorties were made by the defenders, though, it must be admitted, with but doubtful success. Their fighting was of a more emotional order than that of the northern men, who were desperate fellows, and just as willing to submit to punishment as they were to administer it. Their tenacity of purpose, combined with the fact that they were led by the most skilful native tactician of his day, gave them an undoubted superiority in these hand-to-hand contests; and the Ngai-Tahu defenders derived but little comfort from their spasmodic efforts to disperse the enemy's camp. One excursion of this kind, however, was more than usually heroic. Intelligence having been brought that Te Rauparaha had moved his canoes down the coast from Double Corner, where they had been left when he first landed, to the mouth of the Ashley River, Taiaroa, on a dark and stormy night, took a few men with him, and, swimming and wading through the swamps, succeeded in reaching the spot where the fleet was lying securely beached. The purpose of the sortie was to destroy the canoes. But here was furnished an example of that want of forethought which is to be so frequently noted in Ngai-Tahu warfare, and which stood in such marked contrast to the methods of Te Rauparaha. The expedition had armed itself with only light hatchets, which proved to be quite incapable of making any material impression upon the heavy hulls of the canoes. Consequently, Taiaroa and his men had to content themselves with merely slashing at the lighter timbers and severing the cordage which lashed the thwarts and side boards, which would, at least, render the vessels unseaworthy until repaired. Finding it impossible to achieve their object with the axe, an attempt was made to burn the canoes; but the blinding rain-storm {169} which was raging at the time rendered futile every effort in this direction, and the bold little band was compelled to return to the pa, having succeeded in nothing beyond risking their own lives and imposing a passing inconvenience upon the besiegers.

Three anxious months had now passed since the siege began, without anything decisive having been accomplished on either side. Te Rauparaha had hoped that hunger and the losses they had suffered would have sapped the strength of the defence; but in this he was mistaken, for events were proving that the old idea, that the pa could be starved into submission, was a delusion. As a matter of fact, the defenders were well supplied with food, their storehouses having been filled with the fruits of the early crops, while the surrounding swamps provided them with an abundant supply of eels. On the other hand, Te Rauparaha was frequently hard pressed for supplies; while, on the score of losses, he had fared rather worse than the defenders. Finding that he was making no progress along the orthodox lines of attack, he now decided to revolutionise his methods. He recalled to mind the words in the song of the seer Kukurarangi, "Embrace it, get closer and closer"; and, acting upon this prophetic injunction, he conceived the idea of sapping[115] up to the walls of the pa and demolishing the palisades by fire. He accordingly ordered three trenches to be dug, one by the Ngati-Toa, one by the Ngati-Raukawa, and the third by Ngati-Awa, no doubt relying upon a spirit of friendly rivalry between the tribes to accelerate the work. At first they suffered considerably, for the men working in the open trenches offered a conspicuous mark to the riflemen concealed behind the outworks of the pa. The casualties were, however, sensibly reduced when Te Rauparaha ingeniously deflected the line of the sap and carried the trenches forward in a zigzag direction. The spademen were thus protected by the angle at {170} which they worked, and additional security was given them by the placing of slabs of wood across the top of the open sap. These precautions almost entirely neutralised the efforts of the sharpshooters, and the sap proceeded rapidly, and with a regularity and precision which excited the admiration of those early colonists who saw the trenches before their symmetry had been destroyed.

These proceedings were naturally viewed with considerable alarm by the garrison, and frequent sorties were resorted to for the purpose of putting a check upon the progress of the work. These excursions, whether unskilfully conducted or badly executed, may have hindered the operations of the sappers, but they certainly failed to compel the abandonment of the sap. As an answer, the besiegers occasionally delivered a surprise attack, and it was in repulsing one of these that Te Ata-o-tu fought with such heroic courage that by his signal bravery he has helped to redeem the general ineptitude of the defence. The story of how "Old Jacob" (for as such he was known to the early Canterbury colonists) slew Pehi Tahau has been worthily told in the warrior's own words:—

"Towards the close of the siege, after standing sentry at the foot of the watch-tower all one stormy night, during which heavy showers of rain had fallen, and being very wet and very sleepy, I was dozing with my head resting upon my hands, which were supported by the barrel of my gun, when I was roused by a hand on my shoulder and a voice whispering in my ear, 'Are you asleep?' I confessed I was, and asked if anything was the matter. My questioner, who was one of our bravest leaders, said: 'Yes; the enemy have planned an attack, and I wish a sortie to be made at once to repel it: will you take command?' I readily consented on condition that I should choose my own men. He agreed; and I picked out six of the bravest men I knew, and got them to the gate without arousing the rest of our people. I told my men to wait while {171} I and another reconnoitred. We entered the sap and approached the shed where the attacking party, numbering about two hundred, were sleeping, awaiting the dawn. They were lying all close together like herrings in a shoal. I motioned to my men to come on. Just at that moment one of them who had gone down another trench called out: 'Let us go back; I have taken spoil—a club, a belt, and a cartouche box.' The result of this injudicious outcry was very different from what might have been anticipated. Startled by the sound of his voice, our sleeping foes sprang to their feet and immediately bolted panic-struck in the direction of their main camp. The coast was now quite clear for me, and, emerging from the trench, I proceeded cautiously in the direction taken by the runaways. I had not gone far before I noticed the figure of a man a short distance in front of me. He had nothing on but a small waist-mat, and was armed with a fowling-piece; and walking beside him was a woman, who, from the way he kept pushing her forward, seemed unwilling to accompany him. Happening to look round, he caught sight of me, and immediately cried out to his fleeing companions: 'Come back! come back and catch this man; he is all alone!' But as no one did come back in answer to his appeal, and as I heard no answering call made, I felt confident that I had nothing to fear at the moment from his comrades, who were not likely to come to his aid till it was quite light; and that if I could only close with him, I might overcome him, and have the satisfaction of carrying his dead body back with me into the pa. I determined therefore to try and force an encounter at close quarters, my only fear being that he might shoot me before I could grapple with him.

"I had only a tomahawk on a long handle, having left my own gun behind because the charge in it was wet from the previous night's rain. The ground we were passing over was covered with large tufts of tussock grass, and I leapt from one to another to deaden the sound of my footsteps, squatting down whenever I saw {172} the man turning round to look at me. I kept following him in this way for several hundred yards; fortunately he did not keep moving towards Rauparaha's camp, but in a different direction. By dint of great agility and caution, I got within a few feet of him, when he turned suddenly round and pushed the woman between us, and instantly fired. It seemed to me at that moment as if I were looking down the barrel of his gun. I squatted as quickly as I could on the ground: fortunately there was a slight depression of the surface where I stood, and that saved my life. The flame of the charge set fire to my hair, and the ball grazed my scalp: for a moment I felt stunned, and thought I was mortally wounded. My opponent kept shouting for assistance, which never came: for his panic-stricken companions, I afterwards learnt, were at the very time up to their necks in water in an adjoining swamp, clinging in their terror to the nigger-heads for support, their fears having magnified my little party of followers into an army. The shouts of my opponent recalled me to my senses, and, recovering from the shock I had received, I made a second attempt to grapple with him, but without success: as before, he slipped behind the woman again, and aimed his gun at me; I stooped and the bullet flew over my shoulder. We were now on equal terms, and I had no longer to exercise such excessive caution in attacking him. I struck at him with my hatchet; he tried to parry the blow with the butt-end of his gun, but failed, and I buried my weapon in his neck near the collar-bone. He fell forward at once, and I seized him by the legs and lifted him on to my shoulder, intending to carry him out of the reach of rescue by his own people. It was now quite light enough to see what was going on, and I could not expect to escape much longer the notice of the sentries guarding Rauparaha's camp. Just then one of my companions, who had mustered sufficient courage to follow me, came up to where I was, and, seeing signs of life in the body I was carrying, ran it through with his spear; and at the same time drew my attention to the {173} movements of a party of the enemy, who were evidently trying to intercept our return to the pa. Hampered by the weight of my prize, I could not get over the ground as quickly as our pursuers, but I was loath to lose the opportunity of presenting to my superior officers such unmistakable evidence of my prowess as a warrior, and I struggled on with my burden till I saw it was hopeless to think of reaching the pa with it, when I threw it on the ground, contenting myself with the waist-belt, gun, and ear ornaments of my conquered foe, and made the best of my way into the fortress, where I was received with shouts of welcome from the people, and very complimentary acknowledgments of my courage from my commanders. I owed my life at the fall of Kaiapoi to that morning's encounter. For, when I was lying bound hand and foot along with a crowd of other prisoners after the capture of the pa, Rauparaha strolled amongst us inquiring whether the man who killed the chief Pehi Tahau was amongst our number. On my being pointed out to him as the person he was in search of, instead of handing me over, as I fully expected he was going to do, to the relatives of my late foe, to be tortured and put to death by them, he addressed me in most complimentary terms, saying I was too brave a man to be put to death in the general massacre which was taking place, that I had fought fairly and won the victory, and that he meant to spare my life, and hoped that I would, in time to come, render him as a return for his clemency some good service on the battlefields of the North Island."

At the end of the fourth month the trenches had, by dint of incessant labour, and in the face of repeated attacks, been brought to within a few feet of the wall, and then Te Rauparaha was in a position to develop the second phase of his scheme—the burning of the hitherto impregnable palisades. For many weeks his people were employed in cutting down and binding into bundles the manuka scrub which grew in abundance on the flats in the immediate vicinity of his camp, and when these {174} bundles had been dried in the sun, they were carried into the trenches and passed along to the further end, where a stalwart warrior seized and threw them with all his power in the direction of the doomed pa. This was a work which cost Ngati-Toa dearly, for there was an interval of time, in the act of hurling the sheaf of manuka forward, during which the body of the thrower was exposed to the galling fire of the defenders; and they placed their best marksmen in a position from which they were able to take unerring aim at the unprotected figure in the trench. Many a brave fellow who had passed safely through the stress of siege and sortie met his fate in that twinkling of an eye. But, notwithstanding the peril of the post, there was no lack of volunteers to accept its awful responsibility, and as soon as one martyr to duty went down with a bullet in his brain, another sprang forward to fill his place. So the work of piling up the combustible material went on with scarcely an interruption. At first, the defenders made bold to emerge from the gates of the pa at night, and hurriedly scattered the piles of brushwood which had been accumulated during the day. But this was only a temporary respite, and no permanent obstruction to the policy of Te Rauparaha. Day by day the process went on of hurling the bundles of manuka from the trenches, until at last the quantity to be moved became so great that the defenders, in their brief rushes, were unable to disperse it. Then it began to mount higher against the palisades, and every night saw the position becoming more and more critical, with scarcely any resistance on the part of the besieged.[116] Indeed, the semblance of a panic was now beginning to make its appearance within the pa, and the opinion was rapidly {175} taking root that their relentless enemy was slowly gathering them within his toils. A feeling of deepest depression fell upon the populace, and proposals were even secretly discussed by some of the younger men to abandon the pa before the inevitable catastrophe plunged them in disaster. Taiaroa actually adopted this course. Taking his Otago contingent with him, he left the pa under cover of night, and made good his escape through the gloomy swamps. To some this might appear an act of base desertion; but it is the duty of the historian to rescue the name of so brave a chief from so dark an imputation. The secret motive which impelled him to leave Kaiapoi at this juncture was his settled conviction that some diversion must be created, during which the inhabitants would have a reasonable prospect of clearing the walls of the dangerous pile of manuka. His intention was, therefore, to proceed southward to his own dominion, where he hoped to raise a large force, and return to meet Te Rauparaha in a decisive battle on the open field. Events, however, moved too rapidly for him. Before he was able to give effect to his plan, Kaiapoi had fallen, and nothing remained to him but to shelter its unhappy fugitives.

With the departure of Taiaroa for the south, the people seemed to feel themselves deprived of the moving spirit of the defence, and, instead of redoubling their energies, they sullenly yielded to the pessimistic impulses of their mercurial nature, and abandoned themselves to brooding and despair.[117] Te Rauparaha, now finding his tactics less seriously opposed, made strenuous efforts to ensure the perfection of his plans; and, having done all that remained to be done, he resigned himself to wait with such patience as he could command for a favourable wind to carry the fire from his flaming bundles against the walls of the pa. And now a curious contest arose {176} between the tohungas of the opposing tribes; for, while the priests of Ngati-Toa were daily repeating incantations for the purpose of inducing a southerly wind, the priests of Ngai-Tahu were as piously imploring the gods for a wind from the north. The impartiality of the deities in these circumstances was remarkable, and distinctly embarrassing; but it is nevertheless a fact well remembered in connection with the fall of Kaiapoi, that while the conflicting prayers filled the air, an atmospheric calm set in, and for several weeks no breeze of any violence blew from either direction. But it was not to be supposed that this condition of aerial negation would continue for ever. At length, on a day some six months after the siege had been commenced, the dawn came in with a nor'-west wind blowing strongly across the plains. To the besiegers, this appeared to be all in favour of the besieged. But those within the pa knew from long observation that the nor'-wester was an exceedingly treacherous wind; that sudden changes were apt to be experienced when the wind was in that quarter; and that, regarded in the light of experience, their situation was by no means as rosy as it looked. That their fate was hanging by the most slender thread was a fact perfectly apparent to the chiefs in command, who, after consultation, came to the conclusion that their only hope of safety lay in the bare chance that, if the menacing brushwood, which lay piled against the wall, was fired from the inside, the wind might hold out long enough to carry the flames away from the pa until the source of danger was removed. This view was strongly held by Pureko, who was now entrusted with the defence of the threatened portion of the pa; and he decided to take upon himself the responsibility of proving the accuracy of his theory. Accordingly, he seized a firebrand, and thrust it into a pile of manuka, which instantly became a seething mass of flame.

When Te Rauparaha saw that his enemy was likely to circumvent him, he at once ordered his men to belt up, take their weapons with them, and carry the burning {177} brushwood against the palisades, so that the fuel which had been collected at such infinite pains might not be consumed in vain. Without staying to question the wisdom of this order, a rush was immediately made by the younger warriors to obey the command; but they were met by a fusilade from the defenders who lined the walls, which worked havoc amongst their ranks. Had the contending parties been left to fight the issue out untrammelled by the intervention of external agencies, it is more than probable that Te Rauparaha would have been worsted in this attempt to fire the pa, and would have been compelled either to abandon the siege till the ensuing summer or to repeat during the impending winter the toilsome process of laying his fire train to the gates of the fortress. But at this juncture, as in so many others of his eventful life, his characteristic good fortune did not desert him. While his men were being mown down under the galling musketry of the enemy, the wind suddenly swung round to the south, and the whole aspect of the combat was instantly changed. The flames were carried high against the walls, licking the palisades with fiery tongues, while dense clouds of smoke rolled backwards, driving the garrison from the trenches and from every station of defence.

By this marvellous reversal of fortune Te Rauparaha was not slow to profit; and no sooner had the firing of the defenders slackened than his men crept up to the walls, and, as an essential precaution, filled up the loopholes through which the Ngai-Tahu marksmen had taken aim. This must have seriously hampered the defenders, had they been disposed to stand to their posts. But they were no longer animated so much by the desire to save the pa as to save themselves. Panic had now taken the place of heroism, and despair had completely extinguished all idea of defence. The sauve qui peut of Napoleon became equally the policy of Ngai-Tahu, and from this point there was nothing heroic in the defence of Kaiapoi. In a marvellously short space of time, the flames had completely enveloped the outer works; and, while they {178} were eating their way through the wooden walls, many of the besiegers were indulging in the wild joy of the war dance, which, according to one native chronicler, was so vigorously conducted that "the noise they made was like thunder, and the earth trembled." As soon as a breach had been made, the attacking force rushed between the burning palisades, and the massacre—for it can be described by no other word—commenced.

"Through the fire, and through the smoke, Swiftly Ngati-Toa broke With a scream and a yell; And the glare and the flare Of the fire-tongues in the air Flung a demoniac light On the horrors of the fight: And the children in affright, And the women in despair, Shrieked for mercy, but in vain. And the blazing timbers threw A ghastly lurid hue On the wounded and the slain. And, as the fierce light gleamed On the warriors, they seemed Like fiends unloosed from hell. A struggle, fierce and short, And the keepers of the fort Were slaughtered for the feast: And the red sun in the west Went down as Kaiapoi fell."

No semblance of resistance was offered except by a desperate few, and those who still lingered were either struck down by their infuriated pursuers, or were captured and bound, to be spared or killed, as future circumstances might dictate. When the stampede commenced, the Huirapa gate was made the first avenue of escape, as it led directly into the surrounding swamp. But Te Rauparaha had provided against this by posting a strong body of men on the opposite bank; and, as fast as the fugitives landed, they fell into a snare as fatal as that from which they had just escaped. Numbers of the more active, impatient at the delay caused by the total inadequacy {179} of this single outlet, scaled the walls, and dropped down into the swamp below, swimming or wading in the direction of the plains to the westward. Those who selected this mode of retreat were almost all successful in making good their escape, for they were able to secure the friendly shelter of those dense clusters of vegetation[118] which freely studded the face of the swamp; while the black smoke-clouds, which were carried on the wind, hung low upon the water, and effectually screened them from the searching eyes of their pursuers.

It is estimated that some two hundred of the fleeing garrison reached safety by concealing themselves in the slimy waters and rank vegetation of the Tairutu lagoon, until the vigilance of the northerners had relaxed sufficiently to enable them to creep out and slip away to the southward, or to Banks's Peninsula, where they could rely upon finding shelter in some of the tribal pas.[119] But by far the greater part of the inhabitants, who could not have numbered less than a thousand souls, met death in various ways. Many, especially the women and children, who essayed to cross the swamps, were either drowned in the attempt or shot down as they swam. Others, who, owing to age and infirmity, were slow in eluding the attack, were never able to leave the pa at all. The aged and the very young were killed without ceremony; but the more comely were for the most part overcome and bound, destined either for the feast or for a life of slavery, adorning the household of a chief or working {180} as menials in the fields. Pureko, who had put the brand to the burning, was one of the first to fall, being disembowelled by a gun-shot; and within a few moments there was also witnessed the pathetic death of the patriarchal Te Auta,[120] the venerated priest of the tribe, who was slain as he knelt at the shrine of his patron deity, vainly imploring the assistance of Kahukura[121] in this their hour of greatest need. The air was rent by the shrieks of the dying, the shouts of the victors, and the crash of falling timbers, mingled in one hideous din, which typified all that is blackest and most brutal in human passion.[122] {181} When an end was made of this gruesome work, and the smoking walls were ruined beyond repair, the captives were removed to Te Rauparaha's camp, situated on the spot now known as Massacre Hill; and there the full rites of the cannibal feast were celebrated at an awful cost of human life,[123] every detail being observed which, in the light of national custom, would ensure the eternal humiliation of the defeated tribe.

Kaiapoi having now fallen, and the dispersal of its people being complete, Te Rauparaha might have reasonably retired from the scene, satisfied with the laurels which his conquest had brought him. But it would seem that lust of victory and greed of revenge were in him insatiable. He knew that there were still some well-populated pas on Banks's Peninsula, and he was determined not to return to Kapiti until he had reduced them also. The canoes which had been damaged by Taiaroa were, therefore, repaired with all possible speed, and, after provision had been made for the prisoners who were to be taken to Kapiti, the remaining canoes were directed to proceed to Banks's Peninsula. A small pa on Ri-papa Island, in Lyttelton Harbour, was first attacked and reduced, and then the canoes were steered for Akaroa, from which point the war party was to move to the assault of Onawe. This pa had been but recently constructed, and owed its existence to the widespread dread which the name of Te Rauparaha had now inspired. {182} When it was known on the peninsula that he had laid siege to Kaiapoi, a feeling of insecurity crept over the natives there, who were seized with a grave presentiment that their turn might come soon. And how inadequate were their small and isolated pas to withstand the shock of assault or the stress of siege! They accordingly hastened to concentrate their forces in one central pa, and the spirit-haunted hill of Onawe[124] was the point selected for a united stand. The pa, which was built upon the pear-shaped promontory which juts out into the Akaroa Harbour, dividing its upper portion into two bays, was both extensive and strong, and into its construction several new features were imported, to meet the altered conditions of warfare caused by the introduction of fire-arms.

With the fall of Kaiapoi, the alarms and panics to which the people of the peninsula had been subjected through Te Rauparaha's foraging parties were brought to an end, and they then knew that their worst fears were about to be realised. On the day after the sack of the pa, a few of the fugitives had arrived at Onawe with the doleful intelligence that the fortress had fallen, and that, so far as they could gather, the northern canoes were at that very moment being made sea-worthy, for the purpose of conveying the victors to Akaroa. Hurried messengers were then sent to all the outlying pas, calling the people in to Onawe, and preparations were at once made to resist the impending attack. Tangatahara, who, it will be remembered, had been the immediate cause of Te Pehi's death, was placed in chief command, with Puka and Potahi as his subordinate chiefs. The garrison, which consisted of about four hundred warriors, was reasonably well equipped for the struggle, for they had been moderately successful in securing fire-arms from the {183} whalers, and those who did not carry muskets were at least able to flourish steel hatchets. In these circumstances, Te Rauparaha found them a much more formidable foe than had been the Muaupoko of Horowhenua, or the Ngati-Apa of Rangitikei. There he had all the advantage of arms; here he was being opposed on almost even terms; but there still remained in his favour a balance of spirit, courage, and tenacity of purpose. In the matter of provisions the pa was well provided against a protracted siege, while one of the features of the new fortification was a covered way, which led to a never-failing spring on the southern side of the promontory. Scarcely were the people gathered within the pa, and all the preparations for its defence completed, than the sentinels posted on the lookout descried, in the early morning, the northern fleet sweeping up the harbour. The alarm was at once given, and every man sprang to his post to await the oncoming. The canoes paddled to the shore below the pa, and there Te Rauparaha committed an error in tactics, the like of which can seldom be laid to his charge. He had hoped that, by his early arrival, he would have been able to take the garrison by surprise and effect an easy victory; but in this the vigilance of the defenders had frustrated him, and he therefore decided to delay the attack. In the meantime, he permitted his men to land, but unwisely allowed them to become separated. The Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Raukawa went to what is now known as Barry's Bay, and Ngati-Awa occupied the beach at the head of the harbour. In these positions respectively the sections of the invaders immediately began to establish their camps, and numerous fires, eloquent of the morning meal, were soon smoking on the shore.

Tangatahara saw with some satisfaction the disposition of the enemy, and shrewdly determined to profit by the advantage which their want of cohesion gave him. He resolved upon the manœuvre of first attacking Ngati-Awa, in the hope that he might defeat them before Te Rauparaha could come to their assistance, and then he {184} would be able to turn upon the unsupported Ngati-Toa and drive them back to the sea. But either Tangatahara was much mistaken in his calculations or his directions were only indifferently executed, for his manœuvre failed ignominiously. As his men sallied out of the pa, their movements were noticed by the sentries of Te Rauparaha, who lost no time in communicating the fact to their leader. Instantly, the Ngati-Toa camp was in a state of intense excitement; every warrior dropped his immediate employment and rushed to secure his belt and arms. When equipped, they went off in hot haste, floundering through slime and soft mud, to reinforce the threatened Ngati-Awa. Tangatahara, seeing that his movement was observed and understood, hesitated and was lost. A halt was called, and, while his men stood in indecision upon the hill-side, the advancing Ngati-Toa opened fire upon them with fatal effect. Tahatiti was the first to fall, and several were wounded as the result of the opening volley. The Ngai-Tahu then began to fall back, firing the while; but their musketry failed to check the onrush of Te Rauparaha's veterans, who were now thoroughly seasoned to the rattle of bullets and the smell of powder. The retreat to the pa was safely conducted; but, for some reason, the defenders did not immediately pass through the gates and shut them against the invaders. They continued to linger outside, possibly to watch with greater ease the approach of the enemy. As they were thus engaged, a number of the captives taken by Te Rauparaha at Kaiapoi suddenly came over the brow of the hill and entered into conversation with those of their own kin who were still outside the gates. During this friendly parley, Te Rauparaha came boldly up to the walls with his own followers and demanded the surrender of the pa. Those within the walls were now placed in the dilemma that they could not fire upon the enemy without imperilling the lives of their own friends; and it was equally unsafe to open the gates to admit them, as the besiegers might rush in with an impetuosity that could not be resisted. In these {185} circumstances the parley was continued, Te Rauparaha pointing to the presence of so many Kaiapoi notables as a living evidence of his clemency, while the captive Ngai-Tahu joined with him in advising the policy of surrender, chiefly, no doubt, through a jealous apprehension that the inhabitants of Onawe might escape the misfortune and disgrace which had befallen themselves.

Thus the battle, which had opened with visions of courage, degenerated into a war of words, of which the best that can be said is that the insincerity of the invaders was only equalled by the indecision of the defenders. Only one man in the pa appeared to have a clear idea of what his duty was. This was Puaka, who, recognising Te Rauparaha amongst the crowd, pushed his gun through a loophole, took aim, and fired almost point-blank at the chief, whose miraculous escape was due to the fact that one of the Kaiapoi captives, who was standing close to Puaka, pushed the muzzle of the musket aside just in time to deflect the shot. As might be supposed, the incident served only to intensify the confusion and disorder. Some of the invaders seized a moment's want of vigilance on the part of the sentries at the gate to force an entrance into the pa, where they commenced killing every one around them. All the brave vows which had brought the Onawe pa into existence were then forgotten, and the high hopes which its fancied strength had inspired were shattered in this moment of supreme trial, which revealed in all its nakedness the inherent weakness of the Ngai-Tahu character. Panic seized the people, and for some time the pa was the scene of the wildest confusion. Here and there a brave show of resistance was offered; but for the most part the defenders were too dazed at the swiftness of the Ngati-Toa rush even to stand to their arms, which, in their distraction, numbers of them even threw away. Of those outside the pa, not a few dashed for the bush as soon as the fighting commenced, and made good their escape. But those within the walls were caught like rats in a trap; and, during the conflict, the shrieks and imprecations {186} of the miserable fugitives were mingled with the hoarse shouts of the victors, as they rushed bleeding and half naked from one place of fancied security to another. The conquest of Onawe, though swift, was none the less sanguinary. After the last vestige of resistance had been stamped out, the prisoners were collected and taken down to a flax-covered flat. There the old and the young, the weak and the strong, were picked out from their trembling ranks; and, at the command of the chief, those who from excessive youth or extreme age were regarded as valueless were at once sacrificed to the manes of the dead, while the more robust were preserved as trophies of the victory.

For a few days following the fall of Onawe, the surrounding hills and forests were scoured by the restless victors, in search of such unhappy fugitives as might be found lurking in the secret places of the bush. Few, however, were captured, and in some instances successful retaliation reversed the fortune of the chase, and the pursuers became the pursued. When the prospect of further captures was exhausted, the northern warriors asked for and obtained leave to return to their homes, and the canoes, with the exception of that of Te Hiko, immediately put to sea, a rendezvous being appointed for them at Cloudy Bay. Te Hiko was detained by the fact that his canoe stood in need of repair, and, during the operation, an incident occurred which justified the high estimate of his character which was subsequently formed by many of the earliest colonists.[125] He was the son of Te Pehi, whose death two years before {187} was the immediate and avowed cause of this southern raid. If, then, the fires of hate and fury against Ngai-Tahu had burned more fiercely within him than in others of his tribe, there might have been some justification for it. But Te Hiko proved to be more chivalrous than many who had received less provocation. Amongst the prisoners who had fallen into his hands at the taking of Onawe was Tangatahara, the commander of the fortress, who, it will be remembered, had been the most active agent in causing the death of Te Hiko's father. What ultimate fate was intended for Tangatahara is uncertain, but he was fortunate enough to be spared an immediate death. He was, however, closely guarded; and, as he was sitting on the beach surrounded by Ngati-Raukawa warriors, two of the women who had accompanied Te Rauparaha's forces espied him, and immediately put in a claim to Te Hiko for his death, in compensation for the injury which the captive chief had caused them. The claim, though clamorously made, was firmly resisted by Te Hiko who endeavoured first to persuade and then to bribe them, by a gift of rich food, into a more reasonable frame of mind. Neither his blandishments nor his bribes were successful in appeasing their desire for the captive's life; and it was not until Te Hiko gave them plainly to understand that he was determined not to give his prisoner over as a sacrifice to them, and that he regarded his authority as outraged by their persistency, that they sullenly consented to compromise their claim. What they now asked was the right to debase the chief by using his head as a relish for their kauru, a vegetable substance which a Maori chewed, much as an American chews gum or tobacco. To this modified proposal Te Hiko reluctantly consented, and the women, approaching the captive, struck his head twice with their kauru, which they proceeded to masticate with enhanced enjoyment because of the flavour which it was thought to derive from his degradation.

Though he had thus far humoured the women, the want of consideration shown by them for his position {188} as a chief so incensed Te Hiko that he there and then determined to release his prisoner, and so prevent his authority in regard to him being flouted by irresponsible personages. That night he roused Tangatahara from his sleep, and, taking him to the edge of the bush, bade him escape, a command which he was not slow to obey, nor found it difficult to fulfil.[126]

[76]   To the ancient Maori greenstone was invaluable as a material out of which to manufacture weapons and ornaments; but after the introduction of fire-arms the mere was superseded by the musket, and it is doubtful if, when the trinkets of the European were available, the native would take the trouble to laboriously work out an ornament from so hard a substance.

[77]   A shark's tooth fixed upon a stick and used as a knife.

[78]   This could scarcely have been otherwise, for Rerewaka's insolent speech amounted to a kanga, or curse, which, according to the Maori code, could only be atoned for by the shedding of blood.

[79]   The canoe used by Te Rauparaha on many of these southern raids was called Ahu-a-Turanga, and for this reason it is supposed that it came from the Manawatu, that being the name of an ancient track over the Ruahine Ranges near the Manawatu gorge. It is said that this canoe is now lying rotting at Porirua Harbour. Another famous canoe of this period was called Te-Ra-makiri, a vessel captured from the Ngati-Kahu-ngunu at Castle Point by Ngati-Tama, and presented by them to Te Rauparaha. This canoe was held to be exceedingly sacred, and now lies at Mana Island.

[80]   "Having reached at sunset to within a mile of the spot where the Pelorus anchored, we again encamped on a shingly beach in a bay on the east side of the Sound. At this spot there were some ten or fifteen acres of level ground, on which we were shown the remains of a large pa, once the headquarters of the tribe conquered and almost exterminated by Te Rauparaha" (Wakefield).

[81]   It was to this policy of settlement, following upon conquest, that Marlborough owes the presence of the little cluster of northern natives who are settled on the banks of the Wairau River—the most southern outpost that now remains to mark the aggression of Te Rauparaha.

[82]   Hori Kingi Te Anaua, a chief well-known in after years as the firm friend of the Whanganui settlers, escaped from this defeat, as one quaint native account puts it, "by dint of his power to run."

[83]   Some difficulty has been experienced in closely tracing the movements of Te Pehi. He left England on board H.M.S. Thames in October, 1825, and the Thames reached Sydney on April 11, 1826. Whether she came on to New Zealand bringing the chief with her, I have not ascertained. The probabilities are that she did, for the late Judge Mackay, who is an excellent authority, says Te Pehi returned direct to New Zealand, but afterwards made the voyage back to Sydney to procure arms, from which place he returned in 1829, at the juncture referred to in the text.

[84]   Here we meet with one of the many discrepancies in the published histories of the time. The Rev. Canon Stack makes it appear in his Kaiapohia that Rerewaka was killed during the battle, but Mr. Travers (Life and Times of Te Rauparaha) states that he was taken prisoner; and this version is sustained by Tamihana te Rauparaha in his published account of his father's life, wherein he says Rerewaka was taken to Kapiti to be "tamed."

[85]   Canon Stack would seem to imply that Kaikoura and Omihi were one and the same place; but from a petition presented to the House of Representatives in 1869 by the Ngai-Tahu tribe, it seems clear that they were separate places, and that their destruction took place at different times. Omihi is about 15 miles south of Kaikoura, near the Conway River, but the battle took place on the hills near the valley which leads down to the Waipara.

[86]   Some accounts make it appear that Kekerengu was killed by a wandering band of Ngai-Tahu after he landed on the Middle Island, and that, although he had greatly offended Te Rangihaeata by his impropriety, it was really to avenge his death and not to punish him that this raid was made upon Kaikoura and Omihi. But these are variations in tradition that we can scarcely hope to reconcile at this date.

[87]   Kaiapoi is a popular abbreviation of the old name—Kaiapohia, which signifies "food gathered up in handfuls" or "a food depôt," but Kaiapohia was seldom used except in formal speeches or in poetical compositions. The name originated in the incident related in the text, and the place became in reality a food depôt, because, owing to its peculiar situation, large quantities of food, particularly kumaras, were raised every year, not only for local consumption, but for the purposes of exchange with other branches of the tribe which possessed abundance of particular kinds of provisions which could not be procured at Kaiapoi.

[88]   Tamihana te Rauparaha would lead us to suppose that his father was averse to this course, and was again overpersuaded by Te Pehi's impetuosity. He makes him say to Te Pehi, "Be cautious in going into the pa, lest you be killed. I have had an evil omen: mine was an evil dream last night," But what, says Tamihana, was the good of such advice to a man whose spirit had gone to death?

[89]   At first only the heads of chiefs were sold, as they were the most perfectly tattooed, but when chiefs' heads became scarce, the native mind conceived the idea of tattooing the heads of the slaves and selling them—the slave being killed as soon as his head was ready for the market. Sometimes the slave was audacious enough to run away just as he was attaining a commercial value, and the indignation of one merchant who had just sustained such a loss is humorously described in Manning's Old New Zealand.

[90]   In an account of this incident given by a Captain Briggs to the newspaper Tasmanian, in 1831, he states that a European named Smith, who had been left at Kaiapoi by a Captain Wiseman, for the purpose of trade, attempted to save Te Pehi's life, and was himself killed for his interference. If this was so, the Ngai-Tahu accounts are discreetly silent on the point; but Briggs infers that Te Rauparaha and Te Hiko made it one of the arguments by which they sought to convince him that he ought to assist them to capture Tamaiharanui, and so revenge the death of his countryman.

[91]   The names of the chiefs who were killed on this fatal day were Te Pehi, Te Pokaitara, Te Rangikatuta, Te Ruatahi, Te Hua-piko, Te Kohi, Te Aratangata, and Te Rohua. Tamihana te Rauparaha states that in all some twenty of his father's people were killed, but that a number were successful in escaping by clambering over the palisades.

[92]   The Rev. Canon Stack considers that this event occurred either late in 1828 or early in 1829.

[93]   It is doubtful whether Tamaiharanui took any part in the killing of Te Pehi and his comrades, but that would not relieve him of his liability to be killed in return, as the whole tribe was responsible for the acts of every member of it.

[94]   There was little in Tamaiharanui's personal appearance to mark his aristocratic lineage. His figure was short and thick-set, his complexion dark, and his features rather forbidding. Unlike most Maori chiefs of exalted rank, he was cowardly, cruel, and capricious—an object of dread to friends and foes alike, and however much his people may have mourned the manner of his death, they could not fail to experience a sense of relief when he was gone (Stack).

[95]   The Elizabeth arrived in Sydney in July, 1830, and in the following month left for New Zealand. A contemporary Australian newspaper described her cargo as consisting of four cases and eighteen muskets, two kegs of flints and bullets, two bales of slops, two kegs of gunpowder, one bundle of hardware, and five baskets of tobacco and stores.

[96]   A more or less exaggerated account of this raid appeared in the newspaper Tasmanian on January 28, 1831, and in a subsequent issue, Captain Briggs, in passing some comments upon it, said the penalty which Captain Stewart had to pay for disregarding his advice was that "the natives wanted to do as they pleased with him and his ship." He further said that he endeavoured to persuade Stewart not to deliver Tamaiharanui over to Te Rauparaha after their return to Kapiti, but that worthy declined to carry the chief to Sydney, on the ground that "The Marinewie," as he called him, "had been too long on board already."

[97]   Properly spelt Akau-roa—"the long coast line"; doubtless referring to the deep inlet which forms the harbour of Akaroa.

[98]   According to a Parliamentary Paper published in 1831, the Elizabeth carried eight guns, two swivels, and a full supply of small arms. This fact, it is said, deluded some of the natives into the belief that the ship was a British man-o'-war.

[99]   Signifying "tear-drops."

[100]   Some accounts say that this occurred before the vessel left the harbour.

[101]   It is said that the action of Tamaiharanui also so roused the righteous anger of Captain Stewart that he deemed it his duty to have the chief triced up to the mast and flogged. This met with the most marked disapproval from Te Rauparaha, who maintained that as his prisoner was a chief he should not be punished like a slave.

[102]   The Australian newspaper records the arrival of the Elizabeth, Captain Stewart, in Sydney, on the above date, with a cargo of thirty tons of flax, and carrying Mr. J. B. Montefiore and Mr. A. Kemiss as passengers.

[103]   When the Elizabeth returned to Kapiti, her company was increased by a Mr. Montefiore, who was then cruising round New Zealand in his own vessel, in search of commercial speculations. Hearing of what had occurred at Akaroa, he became apprehensive of his own safety, and fearing that all the white people in the country would be killed, he joined the Elizabeth in the hope of being carried away from New Zealand at the earliest possible moment. In giving evidence before a Select Committee of the House of Lords, in 1838, he related what he knew of the capture and death of Tamaiharanui. He claimed credit for having protested to Captain Stewart against the chief being held in irons, and succeeded in getting the fetters struck off, as the prisoner's legs had commenced to mortify. He also stated that his appeal to Captain Stewart to take the chief to Sydney, and not to hand him over to his enemies, was futile. According to Mr. Montefiore, who said he went ashore and "saw the whole process of his intended sacrifice," Tamaiharanui was killed almost immediately after being given up, but other accounts supplied by the natives place it some weeks later. The wife of Tamaiharanui, unable to bear the sight of her husband's agony, ran away from the scene of the tragedy, but was recaptured and subsequently killed. Tamaiharanui's sister became the wife of one of her captors, and lived at Wellington. It is generally admitted that Te Rauparaha did not witness, or take any part in, Tamaiharanui's death. Heaven knows, he had done enough.

[104]   If this is an accurate statement of what occurred—and there is every reason to believe that it is—the treatment of Tamaiharanui presents an interesting parallel to the manner in which the Aztec Indians of Mexico regaled their prisoners, destined to be sacrificed at the annual feast to their god Tezcatlipoca.

[105]   Rev. Canon Stack.

[106]   The Sydney Gazette, in referring to the case, remarked that its peculiarity lay in the fact that it involved "the question of the liability of British subjects for offences committed against the natives of New Zealand." The point was never tested, but it is doubtful whether the Imperial Statute constituting the Supreme Court of the Colony of New South Wales (9 Geo. IV., cap. 83) gave express power to deal with such offences as that of Stewart. An amendment of the law in the following year (June 7, 1832) made the position more explicit.

[107]   Captain Sturt afterwards did valuable work as an explorer in Australia, but received no suitable recognition from the Imperial Government. Sir George Grey vainly endeavoured to procure for him the honour of knighthood.

[108]   There is not much doubt that, had the case gone to trial, counsel for the defence would have endeavoured to prove that Stewart was compelled by the natives to do what he did; for the Australian, a paper controlled by Dr. Wardell, argued that it "could not divine the justice of denouncing Stewart as amenable to laws which, however strict and necessary under certain circumstances, were not applicable to savage broils and unintentional acts of homicide, to which he must have been an unwilling party, and over which he could not possibly exercise the slightest control."

[109]   It will be charitable, and perhaps just, to suppose that this feeling arose more from personal antipathy to the Governor than from any inherent sympathy with crime. Governor Darling had succeeded in making himself exceedingly unpopular with a large section of the Sydney community, which resulted in his recall in 1831.

[110]   The expedition probably started about the end of January or beginning of February.

[111]   Now Lyttelton Harbour.

[112]   His pa was in the vicinity of what is now the city of Dunedin.

[113]   The Rev. Canon Stack relates how one of the Ngai-Tahu men, Te Ata-o-tu, was carrying his infant son on his back during this march. When they approached the pa, some of his companions, seeing how closely it was invested, whispered to him to strangle the child, lest it might cry at a critical moment and betray them. The father, however, could not find it in his heart to take this extreme step, but he wrapped the boy tightly in a thick mat, and, strapping him across his broad shoulders, carried him safely through the dangers of that terrible night. The child, however, was only spared to be drowned in the waters of the swamp as his mother vainly endeavoured to escape a few months later, when the pa fell.

[114]   A storehouse erected upon a high central pole, to protect the food from the depredations of rats.

[115]   So far as is known, this was the first occasion on which the principle of the sap was applied in Maori warfare.

[116]   An interesting parallel to these proceedings is to be found in Gibbon's description of the siege of Constantinople: "To fill the ditch was the toil of the besiegers; to clear away the rubbish was the safety of the besieged; and, after a long and bloody conflict, the web which had been woven in the day was still unravelled in the night."

[117]   It is a popular belief in some quarters that the reason why the defenders so lost heart was that they were oppressed by the guilty knowledge that they had acted treacherously in killing Te Pehi and his companions.

[118]   Popularly known as "Maori-heads" or "Nigger-heads." Flax and raupo also grew freely in the swamps.

[119]   This was rendered more difficult owing to the fact that for many days Te Rauparaha's followers were scouring the country, far and wide, in search of fugitives. The Rev. Canon Stack mentions the pathetic instance of two young children who were in hiding with their father. He left them to go in search of food, promising to return; but he never did so, having in all probability been captured and killed. The children, who afterwards lived to be well-known Canterbury residents, sustained themselves by eating raupo roots for several months, until they were found by an eeling party in the bed of the Selwyn River.

[120]   Te Auta is described as a man of grave and venerable appearance, who was a strict disciplinarian in all matters pertaining to the religious ceremonies of the pa, his authority in these respects being considerably enhanced by his long white hair and flowing beard. He was one of the last of the Ngai-Tahu tohungas, who were deeply versed in all the peculiar rites of Maori heathendom.

[121]   Kahukura was the patron divinity of the Ngai-Tahu tribe. His cultus was introduced by the crew of the Takitimu canoe, who were the ancestors of the Kaiapohians (Stack).

[122]   Amongst the prisoners taken was a boy named Pura, who excited the interest of Te Rauparaha. The chief took him under his personal protection, and on the night that Kaiapoi fell, he led him into his own whare. In order to prevent any possibility of escape, Rauparaha tied a rope round the boy's body and attached the other end to his own wrist. During the early hours of the night the chief was exceedingly restless, but after he fell asleep Pura quietly disengaged himself from the rope, and tied the end of it to a peg which he found driven into the floor of the whare. He then crept stealthily to the door, but in passing out he had the misfortune to overturn a pile of manuka which was piled up outside. Luckily, the brushwood fell on top of him, completely covering him, but the noise aroused Te Rauparaha, who, as soon as he perceived that his captive had flown, raised the alarm, and in an incredibly short time the whole camp was in a state of uproar and panic. The warriors, suddenly aroused from their sleep, were in a condition of extreme nervous tension after the excitement and exertion of the day. Some imagined that the prisoners had risen in revolt, while others believed that the fugitives had returned in force to attack the camp, and it was some time before order could be restored and the true position explained. Meanwhile, Pura lay panting with fear and trembling lest he should be found, for recapture meant certain death. His hiding, however, was not discovered, and when the camp had once more settled down to sleep, he quietly pushed the brushwood aside, and, threading his way out into the swamp, made good his escape to the south, where he afterwards joined the main body of the fugitives. Pura subsequently became a well-known resident of Lyttelton, under the name of Pitama.

[123]   "Some conception may be formed of the numbers slain and eaten when I mention that some time after the settlement of Canterbury the Rev. Mr. Raven, incumbent of Woodend, near the site of the pa in question, collected many cartloads of their bones, and buried them in a mound on the side of the main road from the present town of Kaiapoi to the north. Ghastly relics of these feasts still strew the ground, from which I myself have gathered many" (Travers).

[124]   "The summit of Onawe was called Te-pa-nui-o-Hau. There, amongst the huge boulders and rocks that crown the hill and cover its steep sloping sides, dwelt the Spirit of the Wind, and tradition tells how jealously it guarded its sacred haunts from careless intrusion" (Tales of Banks's Peninsula).

[125]   "Te Hiko struck us forcibly by his commanding stature, by his noble, intelligent physiognomy, and by his truly chieftain-like demeanour. His descent by both parents pointed him out as a great leader in Cook Strait, should he inherit his father's great qualities. He was sparing of his words and mild in speech. He had carefully treasured up his father's instructions and the relics of his voyage to England.... He was said to pay his slaves for their work, and to treat them with unusual kindness, and the white men spoke of him as mild and inoffensive in his intercourse with them" (Wakefield).

[126]   "Before the northern fleet got clear of Banks's Peninsula, a number of the prisoners escaped, the chief person amongst them being Te Hori, known in after years as the highly respected native Magistrate of Kaiapoi, the only man of acknowledged learning left amongst the Ngai-Tahu after Te Rauparaha's last raid" (Stack).



The conquest of the southern districts being now completed, and the winter months approaching, the whole of the northern fleet took its departure for Cloudy Bay, where, according to the records of the whalers who were there at the time, scenes of the wildest excitement prevailed for many days, and the unhappy condition of the captives was observed with much compassion by persons who were powerless to intervene. From Cloudy Bay the main body of the conquerors passed over to Kapiti, and there the scenes of unbridled ferocity were resumed, until sufficient slaves had been killed and eaten to fittingly honour the returning warriors. These rejoicings at an end, Te Rauparaha set himself to seriously administer the affairs of his own people, which were always in danger of violent disturbance, due to the mutual jealousies of the tribes when not preoccupied by the excitement of war. This work of domestic management almost wholly absorbed his attention during the next few years; and it was fortunate for the Kaiapoi captives that he had so much on hand, as the pressure of circumstances and the stress of inter-tribal complications more than once compelled him to treat them with greater consideration than might otherwise have been their lot. While these events were proceeding in the North Island, the Maoris in the south were slowly reorganising their forces. The majority of the fugitives from Kaiapoi and Onawe had travelled southward until they reached {190} Taiaroa's settlement at Otago, where, under his guidance, they began to formulate their plans for avenging their many humiliations. Amongst these fugitives was Tu-te-hounuku, the son of the treacherously captured Tamaiharanui, who, recognising that his own people were not equal to the task of accomplishing vengeance, sought the aid of the great Otago warrior, and chief of Ruapuke, Tu-Hawaiki. This chief had received from the whalers the startling appellation of "Bloody Jack,"[127] not so much because of his sanguinary disposition as from the lurid nature of his language. He was a warrior of the progressive type, who at once saw the advantage of intimate intercourse with the white man; and to this end he made common cause with all the whalers stationed along the coast. He assisted them in their quarrels, and they in return supplied him with the implements of war necessary to overcome his tribal enemies. In this way he managed to acquire the mastery over a large area of country, and to amass a considerable amount of wealth. He owned a small vessel, which was commanded by one of his whaler friends, in which he frequently made trips to Sydney. There he formed an acquaintance with Governor Gipps, who presented him with a number of old military uniforms; and on his return to New Zealand he enrolled a squad of his own tribe, clothed them in the soldiers' garb, drilled them, and on state occasions paraded them as his personal bodyguard, "all the same the Kawana."[128] To this enterprising barbarian the prospect of a brush with Rauparaha—or {191} with any one else for that matter—was a most agreeable one, and so the alliance with Tu-te-hounuku was entered upon after the most trifling negotiation.

Although Taiaroa appears to have taken some part in organising the expedition, he did not accompany it. The leadership was therefore entrusted to Tu-Hawaiki, who came and secreted himself in the vicinity of Cape Campbell, being thus favourably situated for an attack upon the Ngati-Toa, who now had entire control of the northern portion of the Middle Island, where a section of their people were continuously settled. Moreover, it had become one of their practices to visit Lake Grasmere for the purpose of snaring the paradise duck, which then, as now, made this sheet of water one of their favourite breeding grounds; and it was while upon one of these bird-catching expeditions that Te Rauparaha nearly lost his life. Being intent upon the manipulation of his snares, he was unconscious of the approach from behind the Cape of Tu-Hawaiki and his horde, until, with a savage yell, they pounced upon the unwary Ngati-Toa. For the latter the situation was indeed critical, and all its difficulties were taken in by Rauparaha at a glance. He saw that in point of numbers the odds were terribly against him, and that to stand his ground and fight it out with such a formidable foe could only result in certain death. On the other hand, the chances of escape had been almost completely cut off; for when the party landed at the lake, the canoes, with one exception, were drawn up on the beach, and were now high and dry. The delay in launching these meant the difference between life and death, so closely were they pressed. But fortunately for him, one still remained in the water some distance from the shore; and on observing this solitary gleam of hope, Te Rauparaha swiftly made up his mind that discretion was the better part of valour. He raced for the sea, and, plunging into the surf, swam to the canoe with rapid and powerful strokes, followed by at least forty of his own people. At the canoe a general scramble {192} ensued, in which only the fittest survived, the remainder being left struggling in the water to escape as best they could, or be despatched by their enemies as opportunity offered.

In the meantime, those of the Ngati-Toa who had not been able to plunge into the sea were unceremoniously killed on the spot, and those of the attacking party who were not actively engaged in this sanguinary work at once launched the canoes lying on the Boulder Bank, which divides the lake from the sea, and set off in hot pursuit of the retreating Rauparaha. As might be expected, the chase was a desperate one, each party straining every nerve to defeat the object of the other. Rauparaha, standing in the stern of his canoe, by word and gesture urged the men at the paddles to renewed exertions; not that they required much exhortation, for they knew that their lives depended entirely upon themselves. But, notwithstanding their utmost endeavours, it soon became painfully evident that their pursuers were gaining upon them, owing to the overloaded condition of the canoe. Rauparaha then determined upon a course which can scarcely recommend him to our admiration, although Nature's first law, self-preservation, might be urged in extenuation of his crime. Without further ceremony he ordered half the people in the canoe, many of whom were women and children, to jump overboard, and those who demurred were forcibly compelled to obey.[129] Thus relieved of some of its burden, the canoe gradually forged ahead, and the diversion of the pursuers' attention to the jettisoned passengers, who were struggling in the water, enabled Rauparaha to make good his escape to Cloudy Bay. The Ngai-Tahu people are especially proud of this encounter, {193} which they regard as a brilliant victory, and have called it Rua Moa iti, or "The battle of the little Moa's feather."

It could not, of course, be supposed that a man of action, such as Te Rauparaha was, would long remain idle while so black a stain upon his reputation as a warrior remained unavenged. He therefore lost no time in sending his messengers to a branch of the Ngati-Awa tribe, who then resided at the Wairau, soliciting their aid in a mission of retaliation. The request was readily granted, and, with this reinforcement, a war party of considerable strength set sail in their canoes for the karaka groves which grew luxuriantly at O-Rua-Moa Bay, immediately to the south of Cape Campbell, where it was fully expected that the enemy would be resting. In these anticipations they were disappointed. The prey had flown; and if the purpose of the expedition was not to fail utterly, there was nothing for it but to push on until the object of their search was found. They were soon rewarded, for close to the shore, at the mouth of the Flaxbourne River, Tu-Hawaiki and his braves were encamped, and here the gage of battle was thrown down. That the encounter was a desperate one may be judged by the fact that both sides claimed the victory, and they seem to have withdrawn from the combat mutually agreeing that they had each had enough. According to the Ngai-Tahu account, Te Rauparaha's stratagem of sending one hundred and forty men of Ngati-Awa down the steep face of a cliff to cut off Tu-Hawaiki's retreat was successfully circumvented, the flanking party being caught in their own trap and every one of them destroyed. The Ngati-Toa are equally positive that the palm of victory rested with them; but in that event the advantage gained was not sufficiently great to justify them in following it up, for Tu-Hawaiki was allowed to depart next morning unmolested to Kaikoura. On the journey down an incident occurred which betrayed the savage side of this man's nature, and showed how much he deserved, in another sense, the title of the old whalers, when they styled him "Bloody Jack." During the voyage the canoe commanded by Tu-te-hounuku was {194} capsized in a southerly gale, and the young chief was drowned, although every other man was saved. The selfishness of the men in seeking their own safety and letting their leader perish so enraged the fiery Tu-Hawaiki, that as soon as he heard of the accident he ordered the canoes ashore, and with his own hand slew every one of the surviving crew.[130]

Immediately after this skirmish Te Rauparaha returned to the North Island, where there was urgent need of his presence. With the coming of the Ngati-Awa, Ngati-Ruanui, and other Taranaki tribes, the domestic disagreements, of which he stood in daily dread, began to ferment, and were already breaking out into open rupture. The Ngati-Awa had cast envious eyes upon a piece of country under tillage by Ngati-Raukawa, in the vicinity of Otaki, and were openly boasting of their intention to make it their own. Their cause was espoused by their Taranaki relatives, and even a section of Te Rauparaha's own people threw in their lot with them against their old allies, the Ngati-Raukawa. This defection, which was especially distressing to Te Rauparaha, arose from some act of favouritism—real or fancied—displayed towards Te Whatanui, the great Ngati-Raukawa chief, for whom Te Rauparaha ever felt and showed the highest regard. These strained relations, however, did not break out into actual civil strife until the Ngati-Raukawa people discovered the Ngati-Ruanui malcontents looting their potato-pits at Waikawa. Up to this point the Ngati-Raukawa had borne the pin-pricks of the Taranaki braggarts with some degree of patience; but this act of plunder satisfied them that, unless they were prepared to defend their property, they would soon have {195} no property to defend. They therefore stood no longer upon ceremony, but straightway attacked the Ngati-Ruanui settlement, and thus let slip the dogs of civil war.[131] In the conflict which ensued Tauake, a Ngati-Ruanui chief, was killed, an incident which only served to fan the flame of internecine strife, and hostilities of a more or less virulent nature involved all the settlements along the coast from Waikanae to Manawatu. Both sides were equally well armed, for guns and ammunition were now plentiful, the traders having learned the Maori's weakness, and being prepared to pander to it for the sake of cheap cargoes of flax and potatoes. The consequence was that in each skirmish numbers of the belligerents were killed, and Te Rauparaha saw with increasing dismay the havoc wrought amongst his fighting men, and the useless waste of tribal strength which must ensue from these insane proceedings. Only too clearly he realised that, watched as he was by enemies both on the north and to the east, this state of division might at any moment be seized on as an opportunity for attack. His own efforts to reconcile the disputants were unavailing; and when he saw the spirit of insurrection growing and spreading beyond his power of control, he determined upon making an appeal for outside aid. He accordingly dispatched a mission to Taupo, requesting Te Heuheu to bring down a large force wherewith to crush out the seeds of rebellion, by inflicting a telling defeat upon the most turbulent insurgents. Te Heuheu's reply to this appeal was of a practical kind. Within a few months he marched out from Taupo with an effective fighting force of eight hundred men, officered by some of the most famous of his own and the Maungatautari chiefs of that time. Almost immediately upon their arrival on the coast, they, in conjunction with Ngati-Raukawa, proceeded to attack the Ngati-Awa at a pa close to the Otaki River, and for several months the conflict was maintained with fluctuating success. Notwithstanding the numbers brought against them, the Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Ruanui proved themselves stubborn {196} fighters, maintaining their ground with heroic desperation.

In several of the battles the slaughter was exceedingly heavy, amongst the slain being counted many important chiefs attached to both sides; but still the issue hung in doubt, and so it remained until the great battle of Pakakutu had been fought. On this occasion a supreme effort was made by Te Heuheu, and the struggle culminated in the decisive defeat of Ngati-Awa. Their pa was taken, and their chief Takerangi was slain. With his death was removed one of the principal factors in the quarrel, and the way was paved for a settlement honourable in its terms to all the parties. A conference of considerable importance was immediately held at Kapiti, at which the disquieting issues were discussed, and in the debates upon these contentious points both Te Heuheu and Te Whatanui raised their voices with force and eloquence in the cause of peace. As a result of these negotiations, the differences which had so nearly wrecked Te Rauparaha's consolidating work of fourteen years were amicably settled.[132] The general result was that Ngati-Raukawa were reinstated in their possessions at Ohau and Horowhenua and as far north as Rangitikei, while Ngati-Awa retired southward of Waikanae, and extended their settlements as far in that direction as Wellington, where they replaced Pomare, and where, under Te Puni and Wharepouri, they were found by Colonel Wakefield and his fellow-pioneers of the New Zealand Company when they came to the spot in 1839.

But, though the civil war had thus ended in a manner satisfactory to himself and to his friends, Te Rauparaha was stung to the quick by the knowledge that his authority had been so completely set at defiance by Ngati-Awa. And this feeling of irritation was further intensified by the fact that some of his own tribe had {197} shown him so little regard as to aid and abet them in their rebellion. Their disloyal conduct so preyed upon his mind that, as the result of much serious reflection, he determined to absolve himself from all further responsibility on their behalf, by abandoning the business of conquest and returning with Te Heuheu to Maungatautari, where he proposed to live for the remainder of his days the quiet and restful life, to which waning years look forward as their heritage. To this end he collected a number of his most trusty followers, and, shaking the dust of Kapiti from his feet, had travelled as far as Ohau in the execution of his petulant decision, when he was overtaken by representatives of all the tribes, who begged him to return and once more become a father to them. In these entreaties the suppliants were joined by Te Heuheu, whose advocacy broke down the chief's resolution. He at length agreed, amidst general rejoicing, to retrace his steps, and none rejoiced more sincerely than the repentant Ngati-Awa.

Between the date of the battle of Pakakutu and the arrival of the ship Tory, Te Rauparaha does not appear to have been engaged in any conflict of great importance in the North Island, the years being spent in visiting the various settlements which had been established under his guiding genius. These journeys frequently led him across Cook Strait to the Middle Island, where, at Cloudy Bay, there was now a considerable colony of his own and the Ngati-Awa people, who were actively cultivating the friendship of the whalers.[133] These visits also more than {198} once led him into sharp conflict with his old enemies, the Ngai-Tahu, who were ever vigilantly watching for the favourable moment to repay their defeat at Kaiapoi. Once they met him on the fringe of Port Underwood, at a spot still called Fighting Bay, where they claim to have defeated him with considerable slaughter. From this engagement, in which his small force was neatly ambushed, the great chief only escaped by diving into the sea and hiding amongst the floating kelp, until he was picked up by one of his canoes, and, availing himself of a heavy mist which suddenly enveloped the scene of strife, fled, leaving his allies, the Ngati-Awa, to continue the unequal struggle. After the fight, the bones of the slain were left to bleach on the beach, where they were repeatedly seen by the first settlers at the port.[134]

This success did not induce the Ngai-Tahu to pursue {199} the retreating enemy across the Strait; but, elated in spirit, they returned to the south for the purpose of fitting out an expedition on a much more extensive scale, with which they hoped to inflict a crushing blow on their hated enemy. These operations were superintended by Taiaroa, who in a few months had gathered together a flotilla of canoes and boats sufficient to transport some four hundred men. These he commanded in person, and with them proceeded by slow stages to the neighbourhood of Cloudy Bay. Hearing that Te Rauparaha was at Queen Charlotte Sound, the southern warriors steered their fleet for Tory Channel,[135] but failed to encounter the enemy until they had reached Waitohi, near the head of the Sound. Here they met, and immediately attacked a large party of Te Rauparaha's followers, who were under the personal direction of their chief. The ground upon which the battle took place was broken and wooded, and it was difficult to bring the whole of the respective forces advantageously into action at once; and therefore the combat resolved itself into a series of skirmishes, rather than a pitched and decisive battle. At the end of the first day Te Rauparaha shifted his position, a fact which has encouraged the Ngai-Tahu people to claim the credit of a victory. But Ngati-Toa did not retire from the field altogether; and for several days hostilities continued to be carried on in a succession of duels between the champions of the opposing tribes, in which the battle honours were fairly evenly divided between them. In these contests Te Rauparaha is said to have warned his men against risking defeat by coming too confidently into close quarters with the enemy. Numerous incidents during the siege of Kaiapoi had served to impress him with Ngai-Tahu's prowess in this class of warfare, and {200} any recklessness on the part of his warriors might therefore easily lose him a valuable life. Thus, when a Ngati-Toa and a Ngai-Tahu were struggling upon the hill-side in full view of both forces, and victory ultimately rested with the southern warrior, Te Rauparaha exclaimed to those about him, "I kiia atu ano" (I told you it would be so). But though an occasional success of this kind attended the southern arms, nothing of a decisive nature was accomplished by Taiaroa on this raid. Scarcity of provisions shortly afterwards compelled him to withdraw to the south; and before he had time or inclination to devise fresh reprisals, events of an external nature had so operated upon the Maori mind as to make any further conflict between the Ngati-Toa and Ngai-Tahu tribes undesirable if not impossible.

It is now fitting to remember that, while these events had been proceeding along the eastern coast of the Middle Island, the process of subduing the southern tribes had not been neglected on its western shore. Out of the extreme confidence which pervaded the Ngati-Toa mind upon the return of Te Pehi from England, a wider field of conquest was sought than appeared to be provided by the plains of Canterbury. In obedience to these aspirations, an important division of their forces was sent across the Strait for the purpose of forcibly establishing themselves in the bays of the Nelson coast. Hapus of the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Awa united in this expedition, which was attended with unqualified success. They immediately moved to attack the Ngati-Apa settlements in Blind and Massacre Bays, from out of which they drove the inhabitants with ruthless severity, and immediately assumed possession of the soil. Those who had fought under Te Koihua and Te Puoho, the Ngati-Awa leaders, built pas and remained in permanent occupation of the conquered country;[136] but Niho, a son of {201} Te Pehi, and Takerei took their Ngati-Tama, and perhaps a few of their Ngati-Rarua, warriors across the wild and almost trackless mountains which intervene between Blind Bay and the west coast. From the Buller district they worked their way southward, killing and taking prisoners almost the entire population as they went, until they reached the Hokitika River, where resistance ceased and the need for further aggression disappeared.

Niho and Takerei settled at Mawhera, on the banks of the Grey River, the centre of that romantic region, the greenstone country, which for centuries had been the Eldorado of Maori dreams.[137] At various other points, both to the northward and southward of Mawhera, the northerners established themselves in permanent pas, to the total exclusion of the weaker tribes, who had formerly controlled the barter of the precious nephrite. From these points of colonisation the restless spirit of the invaders was ever carrying them further southward and eastward in search of excitement and adventure. No systematic occupation of the land appears to have been attempted southward of Hokitika; but stray bands of marauders were frequently setting off on predatory expeditions into the pathless mountain-waste of western Otago, which then sheltered the shadowy remnant of the Ngati-Mamoe race. Further and further these adventurers penetrated into the deep glens, rugged passes, and dark forests, until they knew the geographical secrets of the interior almost as intimately as did its former conquerors.[138]

In the absence of written records, many of these {202} militant journeys have necessarily been effaced from memory, and no tradition has been left to commemorate those whose valiant spirit led them into the wilds of a hostile country, from which only a lion-hearted courage could bring them safely back. Of one such venture, however, undertaken about the year 1836, for the purpose of attacking Tu-Hawaiki on his island fortress at Ruapuke, the story has been preserved; and, because of its ambitious conception and dramatic ending, it is worthy of being narrated here as it has been told in the tribal traditions. The chief concerned in leading the adventure was Te Puoho, who came originally from the country south of the Mokau River, in Taranaki, to assist Te Rauparaha in his policy of conquest. He was at this time the head chief of the Ngati-Tama tribe, who were closely allied to Ngati-Awa, and whom the fortune of war had now settled round the great bays on the Nelson coast. Hearing that the inhabitants away to the south were "a soft people," Te Puoho conceived the idea of raiding their country, and, in addition to matching himself against Tu-Hawaiki, securing a large number of slaves,[139] whom he intended to use as beasts of burden. To this end he first completed a strong stockade, in which he intended to herd his captives, and then he set off with a fighting force of some seventy men, and a small number of women, to pierce his way through the dense forest and dangerous passes of the overland route. Arrived at the {203} Grey River, where Niho and his people were settled, he expected to be largely reinforced from amongst his former friends; but, to his consternation, he found that his old comrade, Niho, was distinctly hostile, and most of his people coldly indifferent. A number of his own followers, finding that the purpose of the expedition was not approved by Niho, declined to proceed further in the enterprise and returned to Cook Strait. But at length Te Puoho, nothing daunted, succeeded in persuading a section of the Ngati-Wairangi to reverse their decision not to accompany him, and then with about a hundred followers he commenced his march southward.

His first route took him over the sinuous tracks which hugged the coast line until they reached Jackson's Head, a distance of many hundred miles from the point of departure. Few particulars of this stage of the journey have been preserved: but it is known that they returned northward as far as the Haast River,[140] where they deflected their course to the eastward, and proceeded inland by way of the Haast Pass. At Lake Hawea they met a Ngai-Tahu eeling party, from whom they ascertained that the chief with his two wives had gone to Lake Wanaka. On the pretence of guiding two of Te Puoho's men thither, the chief's son, Te Raki, succeeded in getting them deeply entangled in the bush; and then, abandoning them to their own resources, he slipped away to his father's camp and advised him of what had occurred. Arming themselves, they went in search of the two men, who were now wandering aimlessly about, and, finding them floundering in the forest, they soon succeeded in killing them. When {204} it dawned upon him that he had been duped, Te Puoho exacted utu from amongst the other members of the eeling party, and pushed on further into the interior. They navigated the upper waters of the Molyneaux on mokihis, and made their way down the valley of the Mataura through the country of Wakatipu. In view of his previous achievements in that direction, no one would have been surprised had Te Rauparaha or his people attempted an invasion of these far southern districts by sea; but no one ever dreamed of a blow being struck at them by an inland route. Consequently, when this war party marched down the valley of the Mataura, the inhabitants were wholly off their guard, and fell an easy prey to the invaders. An eeling party was captured at Whakaea, and their store of food proved exceedingly welcome to the hungry wanderers, whose only provender up to this time had been wild cabbage, the root of the ti palm, and a few wekas. These wanderings had now occupied the northern men nearly two years, during which many of them had died of cold and hunger. But, though a "dwindled and enfeebled band," they were still strong enough to secure another party of Ngai-Tahu, whom they found camped in the midst of a clump of korokiu trees, which then grew upon the Waimea Plain. Te Puoho believed that he had secured the whole of the party, but in this he was mistaken. Some few escaped, and, hastening off to the Tuturau pa, warned the people there of the approaching danger, the fugitives making their way to the Awarua whaling station. Te Puoho and his party immediately proceeded to occupy the abandoned pa, in the hope that a prolonged rest would recruit their exhausted powers; and, innocent of the fact that retributive justice was at hand, they settled down to leisurely enjoy the recuperative process.

From Awarua news of the raid was dispatched to the island of Ruapuke, where Tu-Hawaiki and his men were. Memory of the event is still well preserved on the island, as the last occasion on which oblation was offered to the god of battle. In accordance with ancient Maori custom, {205} this ceremony took place in an immense cavern, which opens to the sea beach beneath the island fortress. It may still be seen, a dark abyss; and, although geological periods must have elapsed since it was instinct with the life of mighty waters, the echo-swish still sounds and resounds, as if acting and reacting the story of its birth. Shut up amidst these ghostly sights and sounds, the tribal tohunga spent the night in severe exorcisms. Outside in the open was heard the clash of arms, plaintive wails and lamentations of the tangi for the dead. At dawn of day the prescribed spells to weaken the enemy were cast and the invocation to the spear was spoken. The followers of Tu-Hawaiki then sailed for the mainland and effected a landing at what is now known as Fortrose. Concealing themselves during the day, they marched under cover of night, reaching Tuturau early on the morning of the third day. Being unapprehensive of danger, the inmates of the pa were in their turn caught napping, and the recapture was effected as smartly as had been the original capture. As the attacking force crept cautiously within gunshot, Te Puoho was observed sleeping on the verandah of one of the houses. A slight noise fell upon his quick ear and startled him. He sprang to his feet; instantly the report of a gun rang out, and he fell a lifeless heap upon his bed. Some thirty in all were killed. The rest, with one exception,[141] were taken prisoners, and {206} confined on Ruapuke Island, whence they were afterwards smuggled away by a pakeha-maori boatman named McDonald, who, under an arrangement with the Ngati-Toa tribe, landed them safely back at Kapiti.

The Haast River raid, as the exploit of Te Puoho is known in Maori history, becomes interesting not only because it was on this occasion that the followers of Te Rauparaha reached the most southerly limit of their aggressions upon Ngai-Tahu, but because it affords another evidence, if such were needed, of the extremes to which the Maori was ever ready to go in order to get even with an enemy. Primarily, the raid was designed as a stroke of retaliation upon Tu-Hawaiki, whom they hoped to surprise by pouncing upon him from a new and unexpected quarter. To effect this, a long and dangerous journey had to be braved; they had to penetrate into a region in which Nature seemed to have determined to impose in the path of human progress her most forbidding barriers. Not only had this band of half-clad savages to cross what the late Sir Julius Von Haast has described as "one of the most rugged pieces of New Zealand ground which, during my long wanderings, I have ever passed," but they had to contend with snowfields lying deep in the Southern Alps, the swollen torrent, the pathless forest, and the foodless plains. Not even the roar of the avalanche as it swept down the mountain-side, the impassible precipice as it loomed dark across their path, nor the severity of the climate, with its oscillations from arctic cold to tropical heat, was sufficient to chill their ardour for revenge. So for two {207} years they wandered amidst some of the grandest and gloomiest surroundings, at times suffering bitterly from cold and hunger. In the stress of these privations the weaker ones died; but the survivors were sustained by the enthusiasm of their leader, who directed their course ever to the southward, where they hoped some day to meet and vanquish their hated rival. Of the fate which overtook them, history has told; and, though future generations may be reluctant to endorse the purpose of their mission, they will not refuse to credit them with a certain spirit of heroism in daring and enduring what they did to accomplish their end.

The peace which had been dramatically concluded at Kapiti by Te Heuheu breaking the taiaha across his knee, and which closed what is known as the Hao-whenua war, was sacredly observed by all the tribes for some years; and this respite from anxiety afforded Te Rauparaha freedom of opportunity to pursue his grudge against the Rangitane and Muaupoko peoples. The humiliated remnant of the Muaupoko tribe had by this time sought and obtained the protection of Te Whatanui, who had promised them, in his now historic words, quoted many years afterwards by Major Kemp, that so long as they remained his dutiful subjects he would shield them from the wrath of Te Rauparaha: "I will be the rata-tree that will shelter all of you. All that you will see will be the stars that are shining in the sky above us; all that will descend upon you will be the raindrops that fall from heaven." Although slavery was the price they had to pay for the privilege of breathing their native air, it at least secured them the right to live, though it did not secure them absolute immunity from attack. More than once Te Whatanui had to protest against the inhumanity of Ngati-Toa towards those whom he had elected to save from utter destruction; and these distressing persecutions did not cease until the Ngati-Raukawa chief told Te Rauparaha, in unmistakable language, emphasised by unmistakable gestures, that, before another hair of a Muaupoko head was touched, he and his followers would {208} first have to pass over his (Te Whatanui's) dead body. Unwilling to create a breach of friendship with so powerful an ally as Te Whatanui, Te Rauparaha ceased openly to assail the helpless Muaupoko, though still continuing to harass them in secret. He plotted with Te Puoho to trap the Rangitane, and with Wi Tako to ensnare the Muaupoko: the scheme being to invite them to a great feast at Waikanae, to partake of some new food[142] which the pakeha had brought to Kapiti. So far as the Rangitane were concerned, the invitation was prefaced by an exchange of civilities in the shape of presents between Mahuri and Te Puoho; and when it was thought that their confidence had been secured, the vanity of the Rangitane was still further flattered by an invitation to the feast. A considerable number of them at once set out for Waikanae; but, when they arrived at Horowhenua, Te Whatanui used his utmost endeavours to dissuade Mahuri, their chief, from proceeding further. Knowing Te Rauparaha as he did, he felt convinced that he could not so soon forget his hatred for those who had sought to take his life at Papaitonga: and, while he would have had no compunction about killing in open war every man and woman of the tribes he was protecting, his generous soul revolted against the treachery and slaughter which he feared lay concealed beneath the present invitation. His counsel was therefore against going to Waikanae; but the impetuous young Mahuri saw no reason for alarm, and, heedless of the advice of Te Whatanui, he led his people to their destruction.

On their arrival, the hospitality of Te Puoho was of the most bountiful nature. The visitors were shown to their houses, and no effort was spared to allay any suspicion of treachery. But one night, as they sat around their fires, the appointed signal was given, and the guests were set upon by a force superior in numbers by two to one, and, to use the words of a native[143] who {209} knew the story well, "they were killed like pigs," only one man escaping from the massacre. This was Te Aweawe, whose life was spared at the instigation of Tungia, in return for a similar act of humanity which the Rangitane chief had been able to perform for him some time before. In justice to Te Rauparaha, it should be stated that this massacre was not entirely prompted by his old grudge against the Rangitane people, but partly arose out of a new cause of grievance against them, which serves to illustrate the complexity of Maori morality and the smallness of the pretence upon which they deemed a sacrifice of life both justifiable and necessary. The offence of which the Rangitane people had been adjudged guilty enough to deserve so terrible a punishment was the fact that they were somewhat distantly related to the Ngati-Kahungunu tribe, resident in the Wairarapa. These people had some time previously killed a number of Ngati-Toa natives, whom they believed to be plotting their destruction; for, while they were discussing their plans in one of the whares, a Ngati-Kahungunu, who was sleeping with at least one ear open, overheard their conversation, and at once gave the alarm, with the result that the tables were turned on the scheming Ngati-Toa. Their deaths, however, had to be avenged; and it is easy to understand how gladly Te Rauparaha would avail himself of this new excuse for wiping out old scores.

The morning after the massacre, Tungia took Te Aweawe outside the Waikanae pa, and, placing a weapon in his hand, said, "Go! come back again and kill these people." The released chief at once made his way back as best he could to the Manawatu, where he found most of the settlements deserted by the terror-stricken inhabitants, in consequence of the appalling news which had just reached them of the death of their friends. He, however, succeeded in collecting about thirty warriors, and with these he travelled down the coast, receiving additions by the way from a few stragglers belonging to his own and the Muaupoko tribes. When they reached {210} Waikanae, they found the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Awa peoples busily engaged in gathering flax to trade away for guns and powder and little suspecting an attack. They had beguiled themselves into the false belief that the shattered Rangitane would not be able to collect in so short a time a force sufficiently strong to harm them. When, therefore, Te Aweawe, at the head of his brave little band, burst in upon them, dealing death at every blow, they, in their turn, were at all the disadvantage of being taken completely by surprise. Upwards of sixty of the followers of Te Rauparaha were killed, amongst them a chieftainess named Muri-whakaroto, who fell into the hands of the enraged Te Aweawe, and was despatched without the slightest compunction. Matea, the Rangitane chief second in command, was more chivalrous to Tainai Rangi, for he spared her and brought her back, a prisoner certainly, but still alive. Such of the flax-gathering party as were not slain made good their escape down the coast; and the avengers of Mahuri, fearing that they might soon return with a large and active war party, beat a hasty retreat, well satisfied with the result of their mission of revenge—the last great act of slaughter perpetrated by the resident people as a protest against the conquest of their country.

Any policy of retaliation which Te Rauparaha and the chiefs who were co-operating with him may have contemplated, as a step towards restoring the equilibrium of tribal honour, had to be indefinitely delayed, owing to the rapidity with which events developed in another direction; and that delay robbed them of future opportunity. The death of Waitohi, Te Rauparaha's sister, and mother of Rangihaeata, had just occurred at Mana, where she had been living with her son. The demise of so high-born a woman necessarily demanded a tangi on an unusually elaborate and extensive scale, and the whole of the tribes who had been associated with Te Rauparaha in his scheme of conquest assembled on the island to attend the obsequies of the honoured dead. Levies of provisions were made upon all the tributary tribes on {211} both sides of the Straits, and for several weeks the peculiar rites of a Maori funeral were continued without intermission.

It is said that, for no other purpose than to appear opulent in the eyes of his guests, Te Rauparaha ordered the killing and cooking of one of the poor slaves who had come from the Pelorus with his people's tribute to the feast. Be this as it may—and it is by no means improbable under the circumstances—the strange admixture of funeral and festival, which marks the Maori tangi, was observed at Mana in all its completeness and elaboration. But the death of Waitohi brought in its train something more than a great tangi; for indirectly it was the cause of the renewal of hostilities between Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Raukawa, culminating in the engagement known in Maori history as Kuititanga, which was fought on October 16, 1839. It is not clear why or in what way the old sore between these comrades in arms was re-opened, but the weight of testimony inclines towards the assumption that Te Rauparaha's irrepressible passion for intrigue was the moving impulse in urging Ngati-Raukawa to take the step they did. Whether he had grown jealous of Ngati-Awa's increasing numbers and power, or whether, having achieved all he could hope to accomplish, he wished to shake himself free from any further obligation to them, cannot of course be asserted with any confidence. Ngati-Raukawa were nothing loath to join in any conspiracy against Ngati-Awa. Living, as they did, north of Kapiti, they began to find themselves somewhat out of touch with the whalers; and probably it was the rapid extension of trade, enabling Ngati-Awa to procure guns as readily as Rauparaha himself, that induced him to instigate Ngati-Raukawa to break the truce which had existed since the battle of Pakakutu. No breach of the peace actually occurred at Mana, but bickerings and threats foretold the coming storm; and when Ngati-Awa returned to their pas on the mainland, it was with the full consciousness that the attack would not be long delayed. {212} The Ngati-Raukawa mourners remained at Mana for some time after Ngati-Awa had left, and it would have caused the latter no surprise had Ngati-Raukawa made an attack upon them—as indeed they invited it—as they passed Waikanae on their way to Otaki. This Ngati-Raukawa did not do, but went on with every semblance of peace, even ignoring the shots of defiance which were fired by Ngati-Awa as they passed. Towards evening, however, they altered their tactics, and, doubling back, surrounded the Kuititanga pa during the night, in preparation for the attack at daybreak. A reconnoitring party was sent out to investigate the state of the defences, one of whom was indiscreet enough to enter a house, and, rousing a boy by his intrusion, attempted to cover his blunder by asking him for a light for his pipe. The boy sharply recognised his visitor as a Ngati-Raukawa; and knowing that no friendly native would be prowling about at that unseemly hour, sprang for his gun, and fired point-blank at the intruder. The echo of the shot rang through the clear morning air, and was the signal for a general movement on both sides. The women and children made a hurried flight to the neighbouring settlements, from which Ngati-Awa reinforcements swarmed up to the assistance of their beleaguered tribesmen; and by daylight the full strength of both forces—variously estimated at between eight hundred and a thousand men—was actively engaged. The pa, which bore the brunt of the first assault, stood close to the seashore on a narrow tongue of sand, between the Waikanae and Waimea Rivers.[144] At the inception of the attack it was defended by a slender company of thirty men, who offered so stubborn a defence that the assailants were held in check until assistance arrived. A strong company of Ngati-Awa crossed the Waikanae, and, catching Ngati-Raukawa between two fires at this point, caused them to deploy and so open an avenue, by which the supports reached the pa. Trenches were now hurriedly dug in the loose {213} soil, which, together with the protection offered by the stockade, afforded them a friendly shelter from the fire of the enemy. In this respect they were more fortunate than the aggressors, who, fighting in the open, suffered a greater number of casualties, including several of their principal chiefs.

Te Rauparaha took no part in the battle; but that he anticipated its occurrence is proved by the fact that he landed from his canoe shortly after it commenced. And when, at the close of an hour's desperate fighting, Ngati-Raukawa, who had his silent sympathy, if not his active help, began to waver under their heavy losses, he thought it prudent to get beyond the danger zone, and, plunging into the surf, swam towards his canoe. Ngati-Awa, who knew that he was inside the enemy's lines, saw the movement, and made a spirited effort to frustrate it, in the hope of capturing the man to whose subtle intrigues they attributed all their misfortunes. An equally vigorous rally on the part of Ngati-Raukawa intercepted their rush, and saved the chief, though at heavy cost to themselves. With Te Rauparaha safe amongst the whalers, who were watching the conflict from their boats, Ngati-Raukawa began rapidly to fall back; and, after maintaining a slackened fire, retired from the field altogether, taking their wounded with them, but leaving to Ngati-Awa the victor's privilege of burying the dead. Sixty of the Ngati-Raukawa had fallen, but only sixteen of the defenders. There were, however, many wounded in both camps. These were attended to by the medical men on board the Tory, which arrived at Kapiti on the day that the battle was fought; and, as Dr. Dieffenbach has left a graphic account of what he saw, no better authority can be here quoted:—

"All the people of the village were assembled; and, though grief was expressed in every face, they received us with the greatest kindness and attention, and we were obliged to shake hands with everybody. They regarded us as friends and allies, for we had brought with us from Te-Awaiti some of their relations; and when they saw the medical men of our party giving assistance to the wounded, {214} their confidence and gratitude were unbounded. Some of the women gave themselves up to violent expressions of grief, cutting their faces, arms, and legs with broken mussel-shells, and inflicting deep gashes, from which the blood flowed profusely. We had brought with us E Patu, the son of a chief in East Bay, whose uncle had been killed in the battle. We found the widow standing on the roof of a hut, deploring in a low strain the loss of her husband. When E Patu approached she threw herself upon the ground, and, lying at his feet, related to him, in a funeral song, how great had been their happiness, how flourishing were their plantations, until the Ngati-Raukawa had destroyed their peace and bereft her of her husband. During this time E Patu stood before her, convulsively throwing his arms backwards and forwards, and joining in her lamentations. An old woman, bent down under the burden of many years, had her arms and face frightfully cut; she was painted with red kokowai, with a wreath of leaves round her head, and gesticulated and sang in a similar manner. In this place there were no wounded; they had been carried to the principal and most fortified pa, which lies a little to the northward. This latter village was very large; it stood on a sand-hill, and was well fenced in, and the houses were neatly constructed. Everything was kept clean and in good order, and in this respect it surpassed many villages in Europe. The population seemed to be numerous, and I estimated it, together with that of the first-mentioned village, and a third, about a mile higher up, to amount, on the whole, to seven hundred souls. Several native missionaries, some of them liberated Ngati-Awa slaves, live here; and the natives had built a large house, neatly lined with a firm and tall reed, for their church and meeting-house. At the time of our visit they were expecting the arrival of a missionary of the Church of England from the Bay of Islands, who purposed living amongst them. The medical aid which they had given to their wounded was confined to binding the broken limbs with splints made of the bark of a pine, or of the strongest part of the flax-leaves, and carefully protecting the wounds from external injury by means of hoops. Some of these bandages had been very well applied. I went to the beach on the following day to attend my wounded patients and to visit the scene of battle. This was at the third village, and many traces of the strife were visible: trenches were dug in the sand of the beach, the fences of the village had been thrown down, and the houses were devastated. The Ngati-Awa buried their own dead; and the improved state of this tribe was shown by the fact that, instead of feasting on the dead bodies of their enemies, they buried them, depositing them in one common grave, together with their muskets, powder, mats, &c., a generosity and good feeling as unusual as it was honourable to their character. The grave of their enemies they enclosed, and made it tapu (sacred)."

{215} While this internecine strife raged up and down the coast, its disturbing influence had almost completely suspended the systematic settlement of the land by Europeans. There were many in Australia who, but for the peril of life and uncertainty of title, would long before this have swarmed over to New Zealand and occupied its shores. Only the most wanton and the more adventurous had come, and of these latter a few had been invited by the chiefs to remain, land being given to them on which to reside and establish themselves as traders. In isolated instances attempts had been made, chiefly by some subterfuge, to acquire from the natives large tracts of country for a nominal consideration; but these examples of dishonesty almost invariably brought their own punishment. One of the most unscrupulous of such perfidious transactions was that of Captain Blenkinsopp. He had sailed these seas in command of the whaler Caroline, and had made more than one trip to Cloudy Bay. There he became infatuated with a Maori woman of the Ngati-Toa tribe. His alliance with her gave him influence with Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, who, about the year 1834, entered into a bargain with him, the spirit of which was that for the right to procure wood and water for his ship while at Cloudy Bay, the captain was to present the tribe with a ship's cannon,[145] which he had {216} then with him at Kapiti. The conditions of this bargain were reduced to writing by Blenkinsopp, but not the bargain Te Rauparaha had counted upon. For wood and water, Ocean Bay and the magnificent Wairau Plain were substituted in the deed; and Rauparaha, with that reckless disregard for the value of his signature which he exhibited at all times when fire-arms were concerned, had signed it with the lines of his moko.

The Wairau Plain is the floor of the valley through which the Wairau River runs. Terminating on the shores of Cloudy Bay, it recedes in ever-increasing elevation and diminishing breadth back for many miles, until it vanishes in the gorge at the foot of the Spencer Range. Covering an area of 65,000 acres, it comprises some of the richest agricultural and pastoral land in the Middle Island, and was at this time treasured by Rauparaha as one of his principal food-producing centres. Eager as he was to procure weapons with which to slaughter his enemies, he was equally sensible of the value of this valley; and it is scarcely reasonable to suppose that he would have parted with so rich an estate for a single piece of rusty artillery, subject to the additional disadvantage of the difficulty involved in its transport. Knowing that he was, for such purposes, ignorant of the English language, Blenkinsopp, with a touch of irony, presented Te Rauparaha with a copy of the deed, and told him to show it to any captain of a man-o'-war who might visit Kapiti. Te Rauparaha did not wait for a naval officer, but gave the document to a whaler protege of his, named Hawes, then living at his island fortress. Hawes explained to Rauparaha that by the deed he had parted with all his land at the Wairau: whereupon the chief, in a fit of anger, tore up the paper, threw the fragments into the fire, and declared that, so far as he was concerned, the contract was at an end. Not so with Blenkinsopp. He sailed to Sydney, and there proceeded to raise a substantial sum of money upon the security of his deed from a solicitor named Unwin, then practising in that city. For reasons which {217} need not be discussed here, Mr. Unwin eventually claimed the valley as his own; and his attempt to occupy the district, its disastrous failure, culminating in the massacre at the Wairau Bar, in 1840, of his manager and all his men, are now matters of history, affording another instance of how the just sometimes suffer for the unjust. Nor were the deception of Mr. Unwin and the death of Mr. Wilton and his fellow employees the full measure of the toll exacted as the result of Blenkinsopp's perfidy. When Colonel Wakefield met at Hokianga the native woman who had formerly been Captain Blenkinsopp's wife, and was now his widow, she showed him a document which purported to be the original deed to which her late husband had secured Te Rauparaha's signature. As a matter of fact, the document was no more than a copy which had been left amongst the captain's papers, but, believing it to be genuine, Wakefield purchased it for £300;[146] and it was largely on this spurious foundation that his brother, Captain Wakefield, subsequently, and with such fatal results, sought to build up the New Zealand Company's claim to the Wairau. This transaction, in which Captain Blenkinsopp was so scandalously concerned, was but typical of many another, by which the credulity of the natives was cunningly exploited. Their influence had, however, been so far comparatively harmless, and the measure of injury they had inflicted had told more heavily upon the unscrupulous speculators than upon the natives.

But now Te Rauparaha, and those tribes with whom he was associated, were about to be brought into contact, and to some extent into conflict, with a more persistent earth-hunger, and more powerful land-buyers, than any which had yet operated upon the coasts of {218} New Zealand. The spirit of colonisation was abroad in England, and the restless genius of Edward Gibbon Wakefield[147] was busy coining schemes whereby the spirit of the hour might be embodied in action. Canada and South Australia had each attracted his attention; and now his eyes were turned to New Zealand as a field suitable for the planting of his quasi-philanthropic projects. His writings upon the subject of colonisation had drawn within the circle of his influence a galaxy of men, whose liberal education, lofty ideals, and generous impulses had earned for them the title of "philosophic radicals," and with these men, who stood for the most advanced development of English political aspiration, as its sponsors, the New Zealand Company was founded in 1839. With the story of this Company's early political troubles we are not concerned, for they bear only slightly on subsequent events in New Zealand. But the central fact with which we are concerned is that the Company was established for the purpose of acquiring land from the natives and transporting emigrants from England to settle thereon. To this end, the expeditionary ship Tory was hurriedly despatched from the Thames, and arrived safely in New Zealand waters, bringing with her Colonel Wakefield, brother of the founder of the Company, with a staff of officers charged with the duty of conducting the negotiations for the purchase of land and arranging other preliminaries—which appeared to be regarded in the light of mere formalities—incidental to the introduction of a great colonising scheme. In furtherance of her mission, the Tory paid a brief visit to Queen Charlotte Sound and Port Nicholson, and reached Kapiti on October 16, 1839, the day on which Ngati-Raukawa had been routed by Ngati-Awa at the fight of Kuititanga.

The first tidings of this engagement was brought to {219} the officers of the Tory by a canoe-crew of natives who had just left the scene of strife; and although the sea was high, a boat's company had been organised, and was on the point of starting for the battlefield, when a message came from Te Rauparaha, who had returned to Evans' Island, that he wished them to pay him the honour of a visit. Accordingly, the course of the boat was deflected to the island, and there the chiefs of the two races met for the first time. Te Rauparaha was sitting upon the ground beside his wife, a woman who has been described as being of the "Meg Merrilies" type. He was deeply smeared with red ochre, and evidently in an uneasy frame of mind. His manner was restless, his glance furtive, and he was obviously depressed at the result of the battle. As Colonel Wakefield and his party approached, Te Rauparaha rose and hastened to exchange with them the missionary greeting, shaking them by the hand. With equal alacrity he sought to convince them that he had been in no way concerned in promoting the fight. In these protestations it cannot be said that he was in the least successful, for the Englishmen had already been prejudiced against him by the tales of his duplicity told them by both whalers and Ngati-Awas at Cloudy Bay; whilst his wandering, distrustful glances, as he spoke, were not calculated to inspire confidence. Though, on the whole, his conduct was unsatisfactory, the interview was occasionally illumined by flashes of his imperious nature, the inborn power to lead and command momentarily asserting itself, only to be again clouded by a mean cringing, which seemed to bespeak a craven spirit.

Being assured that there were no hostile natives harbouring on board the Tory, Te Rauparaha left Evans' Island for Kapiti, promising to visit the ship on the following morning. Next day he was received by Colonel Wakefield with a salute of guns, which filled him with alarm, until it had been made clear that the demonstration was intended as a great compliment to him and those chiefs who were with him. The preliminaries of {220} the reception being over, the question of the land purchase was introduced to the chiefs; but Colonel Wakefield discovered them to be distinctly hostile to his proposals, an opposition which he attributed to the influence of Mr. Wynen, the agent for a Sydney land syndicate, whose headquarters were then at Cloudy Bay. The energies of this gentleman had been insidiously applied to prejudice the native mind against the Company's scheme of colonisation; and it was only with the greatest difficulty that the Colonel was ultimately able to dissipate these prejudices, and to obtain their consent "to look over their land, and if he found it good, to take it." A gale which raged through the Strait prevented all communication with the shore and suspended the negotiations until the 21st, when Colonel Wakefield made a definite proposal to purchase all the Ngati-Toa possessions, together with their rights and claims on both sides of the Strait. After he had exhibited to their wondering eyes a great portion of the goods—the finery and the trumpery—which he intended to dignify by the term "payment," his proposals were doubtingly accepted, Te Hiko pressing for more soap and clothing, and Te Rauparaha clamouring for more arms. Te Rauparaha dictated to Mr. Jerningham Wakefield the names of the localities involved in the sale; and the binding nature of the bargain was impressed upon the natives as clearly as the linguistic limitations of Dicky Barrett, the interpreter, would permit.

These preliminaries settled, the following day was appointed for the distribution of the goods; but the ceremony was intercepted by the indisposition of Te Hiko, whom Colonel Wakefield regarded as an indispensable party to the transaction, and he refused to proceed without him. This refusal greatly aggravated Te Rauparaha, whose hands were itching to grasp the guns, which had been thrown like leaven amongst the heap of worthless stuff; and he railed bitterly against the deference paid to one whom he designated "a boy," {221} destitute alike of any interest in, or knowledge of, land. "Give us the goods," said he, "with more powder and arms. Of what use are blankets, soap, tools, and iron pots, when we are going to war? What does it matter whether we die cold or warm, clean or dirty, hungry or full? Give us two-barrelled guns, plenty of muskets, lead, powder, cartridges and cartouche boxes." This militant appeal was coldly ignored by Colonel Wakefield, who steadfastly declined to consider the question of distribution until Hiko's return, which did not occur until two days later. On the 23rd, however, the chiefs again assembled, and the merchandise, which the Company offered as payment for the land, was ostentatiously displayed on the deck of the Tory. The consummation of the transaction was, however, still to be delayed. While Te Hiko was busy trying on one of the coats which he had selected from the pile of clothing, Te Rauparaha, Tungia, and several of the warlike chiefs made an unseemly rush to secure some of the fowling-pieces, which were lying on the companion hatch ready for distribution. This exhibition of selfishness so exasperated Te Hiko that he at once threw down the garment, and, calling to Rangihiroa to accompany him, went down over the ship's side and made for the shore in a fit of ill-humour, out of which he could not be cajoled until next day.

Colonel Wakefield immediately suspended the proceedings, whereupon Te Rauparaha again became deeply offended at the consideration shown for one whom he regarded as so much his inferior; but, in spite of importunities and threats which sorely tried his patience, the Colonel refused to recede from his former attitude, and declined to take one step towards the sale in Hiko's absence. As Wakefield was adamant against all their menaces and blandishments, nothing remained but to return on shore for the purpose of placating Te Hiko, which they shortly succeeded in doing. Next day, unsolicited by Colonel Wakefield, both Te Hiko and Te Rauparaha came off to the ship, and, after entertaining {222} themselves for some time with the novelties of the pakeha, they asked that the deed of sale might be read over to them, the map being at the same time consulted. After questions had been asked and answered, and all doubts on either side apparently cleared away, the fateful document was signed, Te Rauparaha making a mark peculiarly his own, and Te Hiko subscribing the sign of the cross. Each then left the vessel, possessed of a gun, promising that the rest of the chiefs would come on board and sign on the next day. This ceremony was duly performed, but only eleven signatures were obtained, Te Rauparaha and two minor chiefs signing as proxy for the natives on the opposite side of the Strait. A share of the gifts was reserved for Te Rangihaeata, who was at Mana, and had taken no part in the negotiations. On Thursday, 24th October, Colonel Wakefield was able to report to his Directors in London that he had acquired by his purchases at Port Nicholson and Kapiti, at a cost of a few guns, some powder, lead, and miscellaneous goods, "possessions for the Company extending from the 38th to the 43rd degree of latitude on the western coast, and from the 41st to the 43rd on the eastern." But Colonel Wakefield still had some reservations as to the completeness and validity of his purchases; for he added to his report this qualifying sentence: "To complete the rights of the Company to all the land unsold to foreigners in the above extensive district, it remains for me to secure the cession of their rights in it from the Ngati-Awa, and, in a proportionately small degree, from the Ngati-Raukawa and Whanganui peoples."

Three days later he had an interview with the Ngati-Awa people at Waikanae, and they, being excited by the spirit of war and fearful of another attack by Ngati-Raukawa, were easily tempted by the sight of guns and the prospect of powder. Several of the elder chiefs addressed the assemblage, and urged their followers to acquiesce in the Colonel's proposals, conditionally upon their receiving arms and ammunition. To this stipulation Wakefield felt no reluctance in agreeing, and, for the {223} purpose of giving it effect, a conference was arranged to take place on board the Tory. On the appointed day (8th November) the natives were astir bright and early; soon after daylight they "began to come on board, and by 12 o'clock more than two hundred had assembled on the deck, including all the principal chiefs of the Sounds." To these unsophisticated dealers in real estate was produced the deed, phrased in stilted terms, which purported to convey to the Colonel, as agent for the Company, and in trust for the Company, a vast area of country, over much of which the signatories had absolutely no authority whatever.

"Know all men that we the undersigned chiefs of the Ngati-Awa tribes, residing in Queen Charlotte's Sound, on both sides of Cook Strait, in New Zealand, have this day sold and parted with, in consideration of having received, as full and just payment for the same, ten single-barrelled guns, three double-barrelled guns, sixty muskets, forty kegs of powder, two kegs of lead slabs, two dozen pairs of scissors, two dozen combs, two pounds of beads, one thousand flints, the land bounded on the south by the parallel of the 43rd degree of South latitude, and on the west, north and east by the sea (with all islands), and also comprising all those lands, islands, tenements, &c., situate on the northern shore of Cook Straits, which are bounded on the north-east by a direct line drawn from the southern head of the river or harbour of Mokau, situate on the west coast in latitude of about 38 degrees South, to Tikukahore, situate on the east coast in the latitude of about 41 degrees South, and on the east, south and west by the sea, excepting always the island of Kapiti, and the small islands adjacent thereto, and the island of Mana, but including Tehukahore, Wairarapa, Port Nicholson, Otaki, Manawatu, Rangitikei, Whanganui, Waitotara, Patea, Ngati-Ruanui, Taranaki, Moturoa, and the several sugar-loaf islands and the river or harbour of Mokau."

The goods which were specified in the deed as the price of the land were carefully arranged on deck; but {224} during the process of distribution a violent altercation took place, which was only quelled by a threat from the Colonel to send the wares below and proceed to sea, if peace was not immediately restored. Advantage was taken of the "momentary calm" thus secured to obtain the coveted signatures, and consenting chiefs to the number of about thirty appended their marks to the document. Scarcely had the distribution of the beads and bullets recommenced than another mêlée, even more violent, took place. "In a moment," says the Colonel in his report to the Company, "the most tumultuous scene we had ever witnessed took place, in which many blows were exchanged: never did a ship witness such a scene of violence without bloodshed." A similar, "if not more unfriendly," riot occurred on shore amongst those natives who had first conveyed their goods to land before they commenced their peculiar method of division; but it mattered nothing to the Company's representative how the natives abused their goods or each other so long as they had put their marks to his deed. Equally was it a matter of indifference to the Maoris how many deeds they signed, so long as they became possessed of arms and ammunition. It was sufficient for the one that he had outwitted his rivals, and appeared to be doing well for his employers, and for the other that they had satisfied the most pressing need of the moment. Neither looked beyond the immediate present, or took a single thought for the long years of mistrust and misunderstanding that were to follow upon their hasty and ill-considered transactions. Confident that he had made "a full and just payment" for the land described in the deed, Colonel Wakefield on 9th November went on shore and took possession of the estate, in the name of the Company; and, in order to distinguish their possessions, "which so greatly predominate in this extensive territory," from those of other buyers, he designated them North and South Durham, according to the respective islands in which they were situated. Having completed his purchases at Kapiti to his own satisfaction, {225} Colonel Wakefield, on 18th November, sailed northward, intending to call in at Whanganui for the purpose of perfecting his purchases there, as he regarded that district as one of some importance. But before he left he had received a glimmering that his proceedings had not been perfectly understood, and the first shadow of doubt must have crossed his mind when Te Rauparaha calmly informed him that he (Te Rauparaha) wanted more guns, and, in order to get them, intended to make further sales, embracing territory which the Colonel believed he had already bought. Language of the most reproachful character was used towards the chief, and his speedy repudiation of a solemn bargain was characterised in unmeasured terms; but Te Rauparaha steadfastly maintained that, so far as he was concerned, the sale in the Middle Island had not included more than D'Urville Island and Blind Bay at Nelson. Subsequent investigations proved that Te Rauparaha was right and the Colonel was wrong; but it is doubtful whether, when he left for Whanganui, the latter had realised the full extent of his error, and therefore he parted from the chief with bitterness in his heart and an angry word upon his lips.

While these events were in progress in New Zealand, the operations of the Company and its contemporary land-speculators had not passed unnoticed in England. The British authorities were beginning to regard those islands with an anxious eye, but they displayed a painful indecision in adopting measures to meet the political emergency which they were commencing to realise was inevitable. As a tentative step, Mr. Busby was sent from New South Wales in the capacity of British Resident; but his usefulness was shorn down to the point of nullity by the purely nominal nature of the powers with which he was endowed. Negative as the results of this experiment had been, it nevertheless encouraged the British authorities to take a still bolder step in the appointment of Captain Hobson, R.N., as the accredited British Consul, who was authorised to negotiate with the chiefs, {226} and, if possible, to acquire the country by cession, preparatory to annexing it as a dependency of New South Wales. Even Hobson's position was extremely anomalous until the now famous Treaty of Waitangi had been formulated and successfully promulgated amongst the tribes. The ratification of this document by the chiefs was a severe blow to the New Zealand Company, while it is doubtful whether the Maoris had more than a nebulous idea of its real meaning. It, however, gave the British Government the colour of right to institute the principles of established authority in those islands, where it had become their imperative duty to control the colonisation which their indifference had not been able to thwart. With the policy of the Treaty of Waitangi we are not now concerned, beyond recording the fact that, in order to give effect to that policy, it became necessary to procure the signatures of all the principal chiefs, as acknowledging their assent to the solemn obligations involved in the covenant. To this end Archdeacon Williams came southward, and in due course reached Kapiti, where, on May 14, 1840, he succeeded, but by what means we are not told, in inducing Te Rauparaha to sign the treaty. Similarly, Major Bunbury, an officer of the 80th Regiment, had been despatched by Captain Hobson in H.M.S. Herald, charged with the mission of securing the assent of the chiefs in the Middle Island to the proposals of the Government. After having visited all the southern pas of importance, and proclaimed the sovereignty of the Queen both at Stewart Island and Cloudy Bay, he arrived at Kapiti on June 19th, and to him we are indebted for the following account of what there occurred:—

"When we arrived off the island of Kapiti several canoes were leaving the island, and on my preparing to go ashore, fortunately the first canoe we met had on board the chief Rauparaha, whom I was anxious to see. He returned on board with me in the ship's boat, his own canoe, one of the most splendid I have yet seen, following. He told me the Rev. Mr. Williams had been there, {227} and had obtained his signature to the treaty, and on inquiring for the chiefs Rangihaeata and Te Hiko, I was informed that we should meet them both, probably at the island of Mana, and, as this lay on our route to Port Nicholson, thither we proceeded, the chief Rauparaha remaining on board the Herald, his canoes following. On our arrival, the Herald having anchored, I went on shore, accompanied by Mr. Williams and Rauparaha. We learnt that Hiko, son of the late chief Te Pehi, had gone out on a distant expedition. The other chief, Rangihaeata, after some time returned with us on board, accompanied by Rauparaha, when both signed the treaty."

What arguments or other inducements were held out to the chiefs to lead them to append their marks to the document is not clear. Rauparaha subsequently boasted that he had received a blanket for his signature, but whether this gift, or bribe, was tendered by the missionary or the Major is equally a matter of doubt. It would, however, be safe to assume that the blanket was a more potent factor in securing the allegiance of the chief to the policy of the treaty than any arguments that could have been pressed upon him. It is certainly asking much of the intelligence of Te Rauparaha to assert that he was seized with the full significance of the step he had taken, seeing that the terms and intentions of the treaty were afterwards so diversely interpreted by cultured Englishmen.[148] Major Bunbury, when being {228} sent out on his southern mission, was instructed by Captain Hobson to assemble the chiefs, to explain the provisions of the treaty to them, and further, to give them "a solemn pledge that the most perfect good faith would be kept by Her Majesty's Government, that their property, their rights and privileges should be most fully preserved." In direct conflict with this official view, which was an accurate reflex of the instructions given to Captain Hobson himself by the Marquis of Normanby, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, Lord Howick persuaded a Committee of the House of Commons to condemn the treaty as "a part of a series of injudicious proceedings," and with a light-hearted ignorance of Maori reverence for landed rights,[149] to assert that the acknowledgment of Maori property in wild lands subsequent to the Queen's assumption of sovereignty was "not essential to the construction of the treaty, and was an error which had been productive of serious consequences."

Whether or not Te Rauparaha and his fellow-signatories were able to analyse the language of the treaty with the precision of an English statesman, they had certainly never placed upon it such a loose interpretation as this. And when tidings of the Committee's deliberations reached the colony, the alleged "serious consequences" which had followed upon the observance and {229} administration of the treaty as laid down by Captain Hobson were safety itself compared with the catastrophe which might have followed from this rash attempt to repudiate, in the interests of the New Zealand Company, the essential principle of the treaty—that the "full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other possessions" was guaranteed to the natives by the Queen. Fortunately, at this time there was at the head of Britain's Colonial Department a Minister who held national honour to be dearer than personal gain. Lord Stanley, to his credit, refused to comply with the recommendations of the Committee to confiscate the native land "without reference to the validity or otherwise of its supposed purchase from the natives," and at the end of the famous three days' debate induced the House of Commons to adopt his view of the nation's obligations to the Maoris.

The Crown having now assumed sovereignty over New Zealand, it became necessary to administer its affairs impartially in the interests of both Maori and pakeha population; and, in this connection, one of its first and most pressing duties was to make an honest effort to unravel the complex web of land claims, in which both races had become unhappily entangled. The Government of Lord John Russell accordingly appointed as a commissioner to adjudicate upon claims of all classes of buyers Mr. Spain, an English lawyer, who, it is said, had been a prominent electioneering agent on the side of the Liberals. Mr. Spain arrived in New Zealand on December 8, 1841, and immediately took steps to establish his court. He has been described as a man of solid intelligence, but burdened with a good deal of legal pedantry; slow in thinking and in his apprehension of ways of dealing with new emergencies; steady and plodding in his methods, thoroughly honest in his intentions, and utterly inflexible to threats, though, perhaps, not unsusceptible to flattery. Considering the magnitude of their alleged purchases, the claims of the New Zealand Company naturally took precedence over {230} all others in the business of the court; and, having regard to the temperament of the Commissioner, an inauspicious start was made by the representatives of the Company metaphorically shaking their fists in his face. In some degree their annoyance may have been pardonable, for they, believing themselves to be the pioneers of a great colonising scheme, had flattered themselves that not only the merit of their cause, but the fact that they had made their purchases prior to the proclamation of the Queen's sovereignty, would have placed them outside the exacting conditions of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The coming of Mr. Spain, and his insistence upon an exhaustive examination of their titles, was a heavy blow to them, which they at first thought to ward off by affecting an attitude of amused indifference. They laughed at the treaty, with its engagement to respect Maori rights in land, and its elevation of the Maori to a civil status equal to themselves. But amidst this simulated merriment they exhibited an ill-concealed chagrin that the little self-governing community, which they had hoped to set up on the shores of Cook Strait, had been so unceremoniously superseded by the sovereignty of the Queen, and they resented with fear and anxiety the appointment of a commissioner, who might deem it his duty to ask awkward questions regarding their titles. Their policy was, therefore, one of delay and evasion, which was inaugurated by their raising technical objections to the constitution of the court, its jurisdiction, and its forms of procedure, but, most of all, to Mr. Spain's determination to call native evidence. That was surely an unnecessary elevation of the savage, and a corresponding degradation of the white man. In fact, they openly asserted that to put the testimony of the one against the other was a gratuitous insult to the dignity of the British subject. But this was not the full measure of Spain's offending in the eyes of the Company's champions. He was audacious enough to ask Colonel Wakefield to submit proof that those natives who had signed the Company's deed had the right to sell the land {231} which they thus purported to convey to the Company; and some of them made themselves conspicuously offensive in the manner in which they ridiculed this demand as preposterous and ridiculous.

The proceedings of the court at Wellington[150] do not materially concern our purpose, for Te Rauparaha took no part in the sale of Port Nicholson, nor need we burden the narrative with the interminable finesse which took place before the court was able seriously to attack the work which lay before it in other districts. When this condition was at length reached, Spain soon saw that he was faced with a most serious problem. That the Company's purchases were in most instances bad he had little hesitation in declaring. But there was no blinking the fact that hundreds of settlers had risked their all on the assurances of the Company that they could give them a title, and it would have been cruel indeed to visit the sins of the Company upon the unfortunate colonists. Spain, therefore, halted between justice to the Maoris and equity to the settlers, satisfying the requirements of his office by issuing interim reports, hoping that in the meantime some {232} workable compromise might be evolved. This was ultimately found in an arrangement whereby Mr. Clarke and Colonel Wakefield were to agree upon what additional compensation was to be paid for the land purchased, and, failing their arriving at an understanding, Mr. Spain was to be the final arbitrator. At the outset of these negotiations, Mr. Clarke stipulated that the natives were not to be evicted from their pas or their cultivations, nor were their burial-places to be disturbed; but to these reasonable reservations Colonel Wakefield could not at first be induced to frankly agree, while his unwillingness, or his inability, to comply with the ultimate awards tended to accentuate rather than to soothe public irritation.

Meanwhile, Rangihaeata had been busy entering his practical protest against what he believed to be a violation of his rights at Porirua. He, in conjunction with Te Rauparaha and Te Hiko,[151] stoutly contended that Porirua, like the Wairau, had never been sold; and when, in the early part of 1841, the Company's surveyors went there to survey, Rangihaeata blocked up the forest track, levelled the surveyors' tents to the ground, and, at the end of each day, undid all the work which they had performed. This interference with the survey was obviated by an assurance being given to the chief, that, even if the land were surveyed, the Company's title must still be investigated by Mr. Spain before the settlers would be permitted to enter upon it. But, in defiance of this assurance, Colonel Wakefield, in April, 1842, issued leases to four settlers—Joseph Hurley, Thomas Parry, Benjamin Lowndes and Josiah Torr—who at once proceeded to erect houses and {233} occupy their holdings. Two of the houses were nearly finished when the intelligence was brought to the chief. Rangihaeata immediately gave the settlers notice of his intention to pull their houses down; and this threat, so chivalrously declared, was duly executed next day, without any unnecessary violence, by the chief and a band of fifty men. The indignation which followed this assertion of native authority found expression in a public meeting at Wellington, at which the arrest of Rangihaeata was violently demanded, and those present declared their readiness to assist the Sheriff in effecting his capture. With the mandate of this meeting Mr. Murphy, the magistrate, refused to comply,[152] and when, in the following June, the huts were again demolished, he wrote to the Governor declaring his determination not to interfere "to prevent any natives keeping land which they state they have not sold, until Mr. Spain decides upon the claims." This determination to regard the Porirua land claims as sub judice met with the entire concurrence of Captain Hobson, but was as bitterly assailed by Colonel Wakefield, who committed the indiscretion, almost criminal under the circumstances, of declaring, when speaking at Wellington, that he had not treated with the natives for a settlement of their claims, but preferred to employ the inconvenience created by these claims as grounds of complaint against the Government, and as arguments in aid of his efforts to secure the removal of the Governor. With such a feeling of declared insincerity pervading Colonel Wakefield's conduct, it is small wonder that the differences between the natives and the Company were slow of settlement, or that the efforts of Spain and Clarke to that end were unduly protracted. Equally true is it {234} that thereby the cares and worries of the Governor were unnecessarily aggravated, while both brown and white populations were exasperated almost to the point of desperation by the vexatious delays. The irritated state of the public temper thus engendered not only made acts of violence possible, but even encouraged them, and these only added fuel to the threatened conflagration. A native woman was found by her friends murdered at Wellington, and suspicion fell upon a European. Only a few months later a settler was discovered lying upon the Petone road with his skull fractured, and questioning eyes were at once turned in the direction of the Maoris. The burial-grounds of the natives were being repeatedly desecrated by pakeha looters in search of greenstone ornaments, and in the prosecution of this shameful traffic, deep offence was given by the secret exhumation of the body of Te Rauparaha's brother, Nohorua, at Cloudy Bay. For this act of violence to the honoured dead the natives would at one time have taken swift vengeance; but, acting under the restraining counsel of Mr. Clarke, they consented to refer their complaint to the Government for settlement, a forbearance which the Protector, in his letter to Captain Hobson, assured the Governor greatly surprised him.[153] The weight of these and other accumulating troubles began to tell heavily upon the frail physique of Captain Hobson, and borne down by the stress of his increasing responsibilities, he died at Auckland in September, 1842. Before his successor, Captain Fitzroy, arrived in the Colony, the tragedy for which the country was being rapidly prepared had been enacted, and the faithlessness of the New Zealand Company had been written in letters of blood on the floor of the Wairau Valley.

[127]   "Amongst these, there was a great chief named Tu-Hawaiki in Maori, 'Bloody Jack' by the Englishmen, because in his English, which he learned mostly from the rough whalers and traders, he often used the low word 'bloody'" (Memoirs of the Rev. J.F.H. Wohlers). Tu Hawaiki was both the patron and the pupil of the whalers, and was referred to by them as an evidence of what they had done in civilising the aborigines. "He was undoubtedly the most intelligent native in the country in 1840, and his reputation for honesty was such that Europeans trusted him with large quantities of goods" (Thomson).

[128]   "Just like the Governor."

[129]   Travers doubts the occurrence of this incident, holding that had Te Rauparaha been guilty of such conduct towards his own people, he could never have retained the respect of his fellow-chiefs. Wakefield, on the other hand, insists upon it, and it is also referred to in a Ngati-Toa account of Te Rauparaha's life found in White's Ancient History of the Maori.

[130]   A modified version of this incident states that all the crew were drowned except an old woman, who escaped by clinging to the overturned canoe. Tu-Hawaiki and his friends waited about the shore for some days until the bodies were cast up, and then the old woman was killed, her death being part of the religious rites performed at the funeral ceremonies. But there are discrepancies in the tradition, upon which it is now impossible to arbitrate.

[131]   This war is known in Maori history as the Hao-whenua war.

[132]   Te Heuheu's peace was made at Kapiti. He took a taiaha and broke it across his knee. Some people then gave him a long-handled tomahawk, and Hoani Tuhata gave a sword, and peace was made (Native Land Court Record).

[133]   I am indebted to my friend, Mr. Robert McNab, for the following note, culled from an American whaling captain's log, which probably refers to this period, the incident described having occurred at Cloudy Bay on Saturday, April 30, 1836:—

"At 4 had visit from Roabolla (Rauparaha), the head chief of this Bay (just returned from a marauding expedition), accompanied with the customary demand of lay of tobacco, muskets, and cask of powder, which I peremptorily denied. This they returned with a threat that I should not whale here, to which I replied I was perfectly willing to go to sea, for I would not submit to any imposition, although I would present them with the same the English ships and parties did, but no more, and if they would not take that they should have nothing. They finally consented to receive a dozen pipes, 10 lbs. tobacco, and a piece of low-priced calico of about 30 yards, priced 17s. 4d., and a tin pot, then dismissed them with a blessing. He afterwards came and demanded supper, which I, of course, declined furnishing him, and bade him goodbye. There is no other way to deal with these people only to be positive with them, and let them know you do not fear them, as if any timidity is shown, they demand everything they see, nor would the ship hold enough for them, and the bad conduct of masters has encouraged them to be very importunate. I am willing to allow a lone ship here, not well armed, might be obliged to comply with their requisition, but no excuse can be offered for any one to do so now, as there are seven ships here all partially armed, and yet he showed me three muskets given him by the captains of ships the other side, to their shame be it spoken, for if they only reflected they would know 'tis for the interest of these natives to keep on good terms with us, as they know if ships are hindered coming here, adieu to their darling tobacco, muskets, and pipes. I have adopted this line of conduct from my own conviction, and the advice of the English masters now here who know them well."

[134]   This fight is known in Ngai-Tahu tradition as Oroua-moa-nui. The Rev. Canon Stack says that Paora Taki, afterwards a well-known Maori Assessor at Rapaki, who was fighting under Tu-Hawaiki, recognised 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 with which to assault him.

[135]   Dieffenbach says: "Ten or twelve years ago (1827-29) the southern headland of Tory Channel was the scene of a sanguinary contest between the original natives of the channel and the tribes of the Ngati-Awa. Rauparaha, at the head of the latter people, earned inglorious laurels by shutting up his opponents on a narrow tongue of land and then exterminating them."

[136]   "Te Koihua settled near Pakawau, in Massacre Bay, where I frequently saw the old man prior to his death. Strange to say, his love for greenstone was so great that even after he and his wife had reached a very advanced age, they travelled down the west coast in 1858, then a very arduous task, and brought back a large rough slab of that substance, which they proceeded diligently to reduce to the form of a mere" (Travers).

[137]   "Every tribe throughout Maoridom prized greenstone above everything else, and strove to acquire it. The locality in which it was found was known by report to all, and the popular imagination pictured untold wealth to be awaiting the adventurous explorer of that region" (Stack).

[138]   When Mr. Edward Shortland was travelling in the Middle Island in 1843-44, an account of which he has left us in his Southern Districts of New Zealand, he had for guide and assistant a native named Huruhuru, who employed the leisure of his evenings in giving Mr. Shortland information about the interior of the country, with which he was well acquainted. He drew a map of the four great lakes in central Otago, described the country through which the path across the island passed, and was able to name the principal streams, and even to point out the various stopping-places at the end of each day's journey.

[139]   In confirmation of at least one purpose of the expedition—that of securing slaves—it is interesting to note that, with the exception of two children who were killed and eaten at Lake Wanaka, none of the prisoners were sacrificed, although the temptation to do so must have been difficult to resist, as the party often suffered severely from hunger.

[140]   "For three miles we followed this stream, flowing in a north-north-east direction, through a comparatively open valley, with occasional patches of grass on its sides, and arrived then at its junction with a large stream of glacial origin, and of the size of the Makarora, which came from the eastern central chain, and to which, according to the direction of His Honour the Superintendent, I gave my name. This river forms, before it reaches the valley, a magnificent waterfall, several hundred feet in height" (Haast's "Geology of Canterbury and Westland").

[141]   The exception above referred to was Nga-whakawa, Te Puoho's brother-in-law, who escaped in the dim light of the early morning. Mr. Percy Smith, writing in the Polynesian Journal, says: "His was a most unenviable position. A distance of nearly five hundred miles in a straight line separated him from his own people, the intermediate country being occupied by tribes bitterly hostile to his, who would welcome with joy the opportunity of sacrificing him. But notwithstanding the exceeding difficulties which lay in his path, this brave fellow decided to try to rejoin his relatives at Massacre Bay, at the extreme north end of the South Island. How long his arduous journey took I know not, but it must have been months. He dare not keep near the east coast, which was inhabited by his enemies, but had to follow the base of the mountains inland, seeking his sustenance in roots of the fern, which is very scarce, and of the taramea, occasionally snaring a weka or other bird. So he made his toilsome way by mountain and valley, swimming the snow-cold rivers, ever on the alert for signs of wandering parties of his enemies, only lighting fires after dark by the arduous process of hika-ahi, or rubbing two sticks together, enduring cold, fatigue, and hunger, until, after making one of the most extraordinary journeys on record, he at last reached the home of his people at Parapara, Massacre Bay. Here he was the first to bring the news of the disaster which had befallen Te Puoho and his companions. The daughter of this man, born after his return, named Ema Nga-whakawa, was still living at Manawatu a few years since."

[142]   This food was composed of pumpkins, probably the first grown on the coast.

[143]   The late Rangitane chief at Awapuni, Kerei te Panau.

[144]   Kuititanga means the wedge-shaped piece of land which is formed by the junction of two rivers.

[145]   This celebrated cannon is now at the town of Blenheim. Its history has been stated as follows, by the late John Guard, of Port Underwood. In 1833, his father, the original "Jack Guard" of the Harriet, brought this gun from Sydney and traded it away to Nohorua, a brother of Rauparaha, for the right to establish a whaling station at Kakapo Bay. This bargain was greatly facilitated by a demonstration which Guard gave by loading the gun and firing it off, for its power vastly pleased the natives, who christened it Pu-huri-whenua, "the gun that causes the earth to tremble." In 1834, Captain Blenkinsopp came upon the scene, and is said to have carried the gun away from Kakapo Bay "without leave or licence," and bartered it to Rauparaha for the Wairau Plain and Ocean Bay. Subsequently, it was brought back to Port Underwood by Rauparaha, and again given to Guard's father. After his death, it was taken possession of by the province of Marlborough as an historic relic, during the superintendency of Mr. Eyes.

[146]   "Previous to sailing, Colonel Wakefield purchased from a lady, representing herself to be the widow of Captain Blenkinsopp, some deeds professing to be the original conveyances of the plains of the Wairau by Rauparaha, Rangihaeata, and others to that gentleman, in consideration of a ship's gun. They were signed with elaborate drawings of the moko or tattoo on the chiefs' faces" (Wakefield).

[147]   According to Lord Lytton, Edward Gibbon Wakefield was "the man in these latter days beyond comparison of the most genius and widest influence in the great science of colonisation, both as a thinker, a writer, and a worker, whose name is like a spell to all interested in that subject."

[148]   Mr. Somes, one of the champions of the New Zealand Company in London, thus expressed the views of the Directorate upon the treaty: "We did not believe that even the Royal power of making treaties could establish in the eye of our courts such a fiction as a native law of real property in New Zealand. We have always had very serious doubts whether the Treaty of Waitangi, made with naked savages by a Consul invested with no plenipotentiary powers, could be treated by lawyers as anything but a praiseworthy device for amusing and pacifying savages for the moment." To this Lord Stanley replied through his secretary that he was "not prepared, as Her Majesty's Secretary of State, to join with the Company in setting aside the Treaty of Waitangi after having obtained the advantage guaranteed by it, even though it might be made with 'naked savages,' or though it might be treated by lawyers as a praiseworthy device for amusing and pacifying savages for the moment. Lord Stanley entertains a different view of the respect due to obligations contracted by the Crown of England, and his final answer to the demands of the Company must be that, as long as he has the honour of serving the Crown, he will not admit that any person, or any Government, acting in the name of Her Majesty, can contract a legal, moral, or honorary obligation to despoil others of their lawful and equitable rights."

[149]   "Long before the arrival of the white man in New Zealand there was a proverb amongst the Maoris—'He wahine he whenua, e ngaro ai te tangata,' which may be rendered in English 'For land or wife man stakes his life'" (Clarke).

[150]   When the court opened at Wellington on 16th May, one of the first witnesses called was Dicky Barrett, who had acted as interpreter to Colonel Wakefield when making his purchases, and Mr. George Clarke, who appeared as the representative of the natives, has left us the following sketch of Dicky's appearance in the box: "Barrett was a shore whaler who had married a native woman; he was a decent fellow enough among men of his class, but he was very ignorant, and I soon made him show, in the course of his evidence, that he did not even understand the English meaning of the deeds he professed to interpret. He admitted, too, that instead of telling the natives, as the deed set forth, that one-tenth of the surveyed lots should be reserved for their use, he had simply put it that one lot of the alienated land should be kept for the Maoris and one for the pakehas, and so on through the whole—that is, one half the land should be kept for their use. He admitted, further, that he had taken no account of many natives who were unwilling to sell. It soon became clear that Barrett's qualification to interpret was that he spoke whaler Maori, a jargon that bears much the same relation to the real language as the pigeon English of the Chinese does to our mother tongue."

[151]   "Te Hiko, whose signature Colonel Wakefield had boasted of obtaining in 1839, being examined before the Governor, the Chief Justice, Colonel Wakefield, the Rev. O. Hadfield, and others, denied that he had signed any deed of sale of Porirua. E. J. Wakefield asserted the contrary. The ignorant Barrett ... admitted that Hiko's signature was 'not obtained willingly,' and Clarke, the Protector, skilled in the language, declared that the document signed was calculated to mislead the natives. Hiko was constant in his denial of Wakefield's statements, and Hobson's mind was 'left with the impression that he had not sold' the land" (Rusden).

[152]   Subsequently, a similar application was made to Chief Justice Martin, when he arrived in Wellington in October, 1842, but he also declined to issue a warrant for the arrest of Rangihaeata, partly because the application was ex parte, and argument was requisite before judgment could be given on so grave a matter, and partly on technical grounds connected with the Police Magistrates Ordinance.

[153]   Mr. Spain, writing to Captain Hobson in 1842, remarked that the natives at Wellington had, upon many occasions, shown the greatest forbearance when deprived of their cultivations, and he very much doubted whether their white brethren would have followed their example if placed in similar circumstances.



Amongst the many unsatisfactory negotiations for the purchase of land entered into between Colonel Wakefield and Te Rauparaha, few seem to have been so ill-defined as that relating to the Wairau Plain. Whether Wakefield really believed that he had bought it, or whether Rauparaha was equally confident that he had not sold it, will never be known. Certainly it is difficult to understand how such a wide difference of impression could have arisen between them, had they both been sincere in the transaction. It is true the Colonel might have considered that the plain was included in the purchases made in 1839, when he bargained for four hundred miles of country, extending from the 38th to the 43rd degree of latitude on the west coast, and from the 41st to the 43rd degree on the east coast. But he knew that the plain had never been specifically named, and in his heart he must have felt that no valid title could rest upon a purchase made as this one was, its full purport not being clearly explained by Dicky Barrett, who acted as interpreter, and the signatures of three chiefs only being obtained to the deed, when thirty thousand natives had, by native law, a voice in its disposal. That Colonel Wakefield did have some reservation, later on, about his right to the land is almost certain, for, after the settlement of Nelson had been in progress about a year, he strongly opposed the suggestion of his brother, Captain Wakefield, to include the Wairau in the district to be surveyed, partly because he considered that its occupation might {236} militate against the success of the Wellington colony, but chiefly because he anticipated that the Company's title would be disputed by other claimants and by the natives. It would therefore seem that Captain Wakefield, the resident agent of the Company, was the more to blame for the improper occupation of the valley and for all the subsequent trouble, which he expiated with his life. He was as conversant as the Colonel with the whole circumstances of the case, perhaps more so; and, had it not been that he had no alternative between opening up the Wairau and acknowledging the ignominious failure of the Nelson settlement, he would hardly, in the face of so many warnings, have persisted in his high-handed and injudicious course.

The story of the Nelson settlement repeats the tale of undue haste, imperfect preparations, a disposition to make florid promises and hold out inflated inducements, that characterised all the New Zealand Company's attempts at colonisation. One of the essential features of this settlement was that each settler should receive 150 acres of rural land, 50 acres of suburban land, and one town acre. But after the most thorough exploration of the region round Blind and Massacre Bays, it was found that, although a great deal of inferior country had been included in the sections laid off by the surveyors, there was still an enormous deficiency in the area required to provide for all the settlers who had either paid for their land in advance or were waiting to settle on it. Misled by the reports of some of his officers, Captain Wakefield had caused it to be broadly published that there was more than sufficient land at Port Whakatu to meet the requirements of the settlement, and it was while looking round for some tangible fact to justify his assertion that he bethought him of the Wairau.

During his many excursions in search of rural land, Mr. Tuckett, the Company's chief surveyor, had discovered a route via Top House, by which the Wairau might be reached after a journey of 110 miles. This fact was reported to Captain Wakefield, who ordered that a complete {237} examination of the district should be made by Mr. Tuckett. He, accompanied by his assistant, Mr. Davidson, and Captain England, a landowner in the settlement, made an extensive exploration, and subsequently conveyed the discomfiting intelligence to the resident agent that the Wairau Plain was the only available surface between Cape Farewell and Cape Campbell sufficient to afford the number of sections required to complete the settlement. The survey of the plain was then decided upon, but intelligence had reached Kapiti that the pakehas had been down to the Wairau and that they intended to take possession of it. Immediately upon the receipt of this news, Rauparaha, accompanied by Hiko and Rangihaeata, crossed over to Nelson and sought an interview with Captain Wakefield. In plain and straightforward terms the natives told the Europeans, who had gathered in Dr. Wilson's residence to hear the korero, that they had not sold the Wairau to the principal agent of the Company, and that they had no intention of doing so, unless (to use Rauparaha's own expressive phrase) "the cask of gold was very great." They therefore warned them not to go there, as they had no right to the land.

Captain Wakefield's answer was that he intended to proceed with the survey, as he claimed the land in the name of the Company. Rangihaeata vehemently denied the sale, and backed up his protestations by a threat that if Captain Wakefield attempted to carry out his intentions he would meet him and take his head. The agent was in no way disturbed or shaken by the hostile attitude of the chiefs; and to Rangihaeata's boisterous manner he calmly replied that, if any interference was offered, he would come with three hundred constables and arrest the belligerent natives. This unconciliatory attitude did not in the least assist to clear the atmosphere, for Rangihaeata went about the settlement during the next few days openly threatening with death every one who, he conceived, had any authority amongst the colonists, if they ventured to annex the Wairau, unless they could first succeed in {238} killing him, in which event, he said, the land would remain as the lawful possession of the conqueror. Rauparaha, on the other hand, assumed the air of the diplomat, and professed not to sympathise with the policy of his lieutenant, whom he described as a "bad man." At the same time, in his fawning fashion, he entreated the Europeans not to go to the Wairau, and begged that the dispute might be referred to Mr. Spain, the Government Land Commissioner, who had been appointed to investigate the claims of the Company. But Captain Wakefield repudiated the jurisdiction of Mr. Spain in the matter, and refused to comply with the request. The chiefs, finding that neither threats nor persuasion could shake Captain Wakefield in his determination to take possession of the Wairau, indignantly left the settlement, Rauparaha expressing his intention to lay the whole circumstances of the case before the Queen's Commissioner and demand an immediate settlement of the claim.

Scarcely had the angry Ngati-Toas left Nelson than the three chiefs who were resident at the Wairau arrived. These natives were sons of Rauparaha's elder brother, Nohorua, the oldest of whom, Rawiri Puaha, had previously informed Mr. Tuckett, when that gentleman visited his pa, that the plain was theirs and that Rauparaha had no power to sell it. They were gratified at the idea that the Europeans looked upon it with a favourable eye, but, at the same time, they were in no haste to enter into any negotiations for its sale until they had considerably extended their cultivations, in order that they might fairly claim a larger compensation. Doubtless one of their reasons for desiring closer intercourse with the pakehas was that, in addition to their clearings, they had a large number of pigs running on the plain, which they used as a marketable commodity with the settlers at Port Underwood. But as fast as they cleared and cultivated the land and reared their pigs, Rauparaha was in the habit of coming over and coolly helping himself, with the result that his relations with the {239} resident people were by this time considerably strained, and they probably thought that the presence of the settlers would check these depredations on the part of their high-handed relative. When they heard that Rauparaha had been to Nelson, they, being utterly mistrustful of his methods, at once concluded that he had gone there for the purpose of selling the plain; and it was to counteract this policy, as far as possible, that they went to see Captain Wakefield. The latter had always been much more considerate to resident natives than to those whom, like Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, he described as "travelling bullies."[154] He was therefore most anxious to make a valid and binding bargain with Puaha, to whom he offered a small schooner, and any reasonable quantity of goods, if he would acknowledge that the Wairau had been purchased by his brother, the Colonel. This Puaha refused to do, and therefore, at a subsequent interview, the resident agent adopted another line of argument, contending that the Company had already a legal title to the district by virtue of its being included in the latitude and longitude purchases made in 1839, and by right of a deed bought from Captain Blenkinsopp's widow for £300. Puaha denied the validity of both titles, pointing out that "the Wairau" had evidently been written into the first deed after signature; and that, in the second case, if Rauparaha had sold any portion of the land to Blenkinsopp, he had no right to do so without his (Puaha's) consent, which had never been asked and never given. For three days the conference was continued by the agent and the chief, without either being able to convince the other; but, at last, Puaha withdrew, still protesting in manly and dignified language against the views of the agent as to his title to the land.

After these animated interviews, it might have been {240} supposed that Captain Wakefield would, in his calmer moments, have seriously reviewed the position, and that against the vague and shadowy rights of the Company, as expressed in the two deeds in his possession, he would have set the fact that the authenticity of these sales was being stoutly contested by the resident and non-resident natives interested. He might have been expected also to recognise that the whole question, having been placed in the hands of Mr. Spain, was sub judice, and as such should remain in abeyance until the court had pronounced its judgment. These considerations were, however, altogether outweighed by the desire to placate the settlers, who were clamouring for their land, and to prevent the exposure of the Company's inability to fulfil its engagements. The fear that, if this could not be done, he would be open to crushing censure from all with whom they had entered into engagements, and the desire to rescue his own and his brother's reputation from public anger and ridicule, biased his otherwise judicial mind against the merits of the opposing case. Accordingly, he decided to act upon the impulse that moved him most, and on April 15, 1843, he entered into three contracts for the survey of the plain with Messrs. Barnicoat and Thompson, Mr. Cotterell, and Mr. Parkinson. In view of the probability of native interference, a special provision was inserted in the tenders that the contractors were to be indemnified in case of loss; and, on this understanding, the surveyors, with forty assistants, arrived a few days later, and commenced operations—Messrs. Barnicoat and Thompson at the Marshlands side of the valley, Mr. Cotterell in the neighbourhood of Riverlands, and Mr. Parkinson still higher up the plain, towards Grovetown.

At first, the resident natives allowed the work to proceed with but slight resistance. Once or twice they refused to permit timber to be sawn for pegs and ranging rods; but with the exercise of a little tact and patience these difficulties were overcome, and the work had proceeded with so little friction that before Rauparaha {241} arrived Messrs. Barnicoat and Thompson had practically completed their contract, the others not being quite so far advanced.

Rauparaha and Rangihaeata were at Mana when the news of these proceedings reached them, and they at once engaged with their English friend, Joseph Toms, to convey them and a portion of their party in his schooner, Three Brothers, to Port Underwood, whence they intended to reach the Wairau in their canoes. On the 1st of June the schooner and the canoes arrived at the port, and Rauparaha, with one hundred armed followers, at once proceeded to the house of Mr. Cave, who for seven or eight years had been employed there as cooper for the whaling stations, and with whom they were on the best of terms. To him they declared their intention of burning the surveyors' camps, and for that purpose they left for the Wairau the same evening, in eight canoes and a whaleboat. Next morning Rauparaha, with thirty of his people, appeared at Mr. Cotterell's camp on the Opawa River, and, after stripping his huts, burned the toetoe grass with which they were covered, as well as the survey pegs and ranging rods prepared from manuka sticks. They then assisted the surveyors to carry their belongings to the boats, and shipped them off to the pa at the mouth of the river. Their next proceeding was to paddle up the Wairau to Mr. Barnicoat's camp, which was situated on the river-bank close to the Ferry Bridge, and there they re-enacted their settled programme. In these proceedings Rauparaha was very firm, yet conciliatory. There was no exhibition of temper or violence towards persons or property. He simply gave the surveyors to understand that he would have none of them or their surveying there, and that the sooner they returned to Nelson the better he would like it;[155] and, to this end, he assisted them to remove their instruments and personal effects to a place of safety before demolishing their whares. In logical fashion, he argued that the toetoe, having grown upon the land, was his, that he was {242} entitled to do what he pleased with his own, and that so long as he did not interfere with any of the articles brought from England, he was committing no breach of justice.

The instruments and baggage were placed in the boats and taken down to the pa, where they were safely landed and their owners treated with every consideration. But, before matters had reached this crisis, the contractors had despatched a joint letter to Mr. Tuckett, at Nelson, explaining the gravity of the situation, and asking him to come down at once and certify to the work already done. On receipt of this communication Mr. Tuckett, accompanied by Mr. Patchett, at once set out for the Wairau; and, on his arrival at the bar, on 3rd June, he was met by Mr. Cotterell, who briefly related all that had transpired since the arrival of Rauparaha, and the present position of natives and contractors respectively.

So soon as he had grasped the situation, Mr. Tuckett hastily wrote a letter in pencil to Captain Wakefield, giving details, and intimating his intention of remaining on the scene until the Captain should make his pleasure known to him. This letter he entrusted to Mr. Cotterell, who at once left with his men in the boats for Nelson. The chief surveyor then set off up the Opawa River to the site of Mr. Cotterell's camp, where he pitched a tent and remained all night. In the morning he proceeded, in company with Mr. Patchett and Mr. Moline (Mr. Cotterell's assistant), to search for Mr. Parkinson, and, when they arrived at his hut, they found it in possession of a few natives, who had in no way interfered with it. The surveyor and his party not being there, Mr. Tuckett inquired for Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, who he was informed were in the bush. He thereupon explained that he intended to go over to the Awatere, that he would be absent about three days, and that at the end of that time he desired to meet the chiefs at Mr. Cotterell's camp, where he would converse with them over the recent events. The natives gladly undertook to convey this message to Rauparaha, who, with Rangihaeata, a number {243} of their followers, and Mr. Parkinson's men, were awaiting them at the appointed place of meeting when the party returned from their explorations beyond the Vernon Hills. Here the expected conference took place, Rauparaha calmly but firmly explaining his reasons for interference. He claimed the Wairau as his own, but since there was a dispute about it, he had, on his return from Nelson, placed the matter in the hands of Mr. Spain, who had appointed a day on which to hear the case, Rauparaha on his part undertaking that in the meantime none of his people should enter upon the land. The day appointed by Mr. Spain had passed, and fearing that, if the survey was finished before he adjudicated upon their claim, they would lose their land, they had determined to stop the proceedings. Rauparaha expressed himself as being still willing to abide by Mr. Spain's decision, but the survey must cease and the Europeans must leave, until such time as that judgment should be given. Mr. Tuckett vainly endeavoured to point out the hardship this course would impose upon the contractors and their men, who were dependent upon their work for their living. He also explained that he was expecting instructions from Captain Wakefield, and asked permission to remain until he heard from his superior.

His request for delay was met by a command to remove his tent to the boat, and, upon his refusing to obey, Rangihaeata burst into a violent passion, and, in a torrent of invective, reminded Mr. Tuckett of the warning he had given him in Nelson, ironically remarking that, if he was so fond of the Wairau, he (Rangihaeata) would bury him there. This insulting outburst was treated with studied contempt by the chief surveyor, who quietly rebuked Rangihaeata for his ungentlemanly behaviour, telling him that he would not converse with him until he mended his manners. While this brief altercation was proceeding, Rauparaha had remained silent, although he was evidently exercising a restraining influence upon his comrade. But he now advanced, and once more politely requested Mr. Tuckett to have his tent {244} removed; but that gentleman still persisted in his right to remain, whereupon Rauparaha, becoming impatient, ordered some of his own people to carry out his behest, and in a few minutes the tent was struck and stowed away in the boat. Mr. Tuckett then deemed it unwise to offer further objection, and, together with the two chiefs, he agreed to go back to the pa.

It had been Mr. Tuckett's intention to embark for Nelson next morning, but in the night a south-easterly gale came up and blew for three days, causing such a surf on the bar that Rauparaha advised him not to attempt to cross it. During this compulsory stay, the chief was most profuse in his expressions of goodwill towards the Europeans, and by his fawning and obsequious manner created a feeling of revulsion in the minds of the Englishmen. Rangihaeata, on the other hand, left them severely alone, seeking neither favours nor intercourse of any kind, and, save on one occasion, his isolation was complete. That exception arose from the fact that one of the men reported that he had lost a handkerchief and a billhook, which he had seen in the possession of Rangihaeata's people. Mr. Tuckett at once approached the chief, and asked to have the property returned. His reply was that he had some bad men as well as good ones amongst his followers, with the sarcastic addition that perhaps Mr. Tuckett was in the same position; but that, as he had come to the Wairau to defend his own and not to thieve, if the surveyor could identify the man, he would have his property back; failing that, he could have utu instead. The billhook was soon found, and here the incident ended; but the impression it made upon Mr. Tuckett was that, if Rangihaeata was more violent than Rauparaha, he was up to this point certainly the more noble of the two.

As soon as the weather cleared, the chief surveyor prepared to take his departure, but, as the boat would not carry both passengers and baggage, it was finally decided that Messrs. Barnicoat and Parkinson should remain, while Messrs. Tuckett, Patchett, and Moline proceeded to {245} Nelson, although the chiefs raised no objection to the whole party remaining until additional boats could be brought, or until they could be conveyed to one of the whaling stations at Port Underwood. By noon on the following day Mr. Tuckett and his companions had got well into Blind Bay, when they observed the Government brig Victoria under full sail. A gun was fired from the ship as a signal to board her. On doing so, they learned that the vessel had just left Nelson, and was proceeding to the Wairau with the police magistrate (Mr. Thompson), Captain Wakefield (the Company's agent), Captain England, J.P., Mr. Cotterell, and some of the would-be proprietors of the proposed settlement, as well as the chief constable, Mr. Maling, and twenty-four labouring men who had been sworn-in as special constables. The agent informed the chief surveyor that, after Mr. Cotterell had arrived at Nelson and made his report, it had been decided to proceed as soon as possible to the scene of operations, and arrest the chiefs on a charge of arson, a warrant having been granted by Messrs. Thompson, P.M., Captain Wakefield, Captain England, and A. McDonald, Esq., Justices of the Peace. Mr. Tuckett was naturally surprised and deeply grieved at this intelligence, and, in deprecation of the rash and impolitic step he informed Captain Wakefield of Rauparaha's interview with Mr. Spain, and of the chief's willingness to abide by the decision of the court. He further pointed out the great care observed by the natives not to interfere with any of the surveyors' property, or to injure the persons of any of their employees. He proceeded to argue that the men on board would not number one-half the strength of the natives then at the Wairau; and contrasted this numerical weakness with the threat made by the Captain at Nelson, that, if Rangihaeata interfered with the survey, he would come with three hundred constables to arrest him. His impression, therefore, was that the smallness of the party would inspire confidence in the minds of the natives rather than dread, and he strongly urged that, however {246} satisfied the agent might feel about the result, prudence demanded that they should appear on the plain with such a force as would completely overawe the Maoris, and to which there would be no humiliation in surrendering. In support of his views, he handed to Captain Wakefield a letter which he had received from the Rev. Mr. Ironside on the day that he had met Mr. Cotterell at the bar, in which the missionary, ripe in experience of Maori feeling, and knowing how tenaciously they clung to their rights in landed property, ventured the opinion that, unless this dispute was most diplomatically handled, the result might be extremely serious.

Mr. Ironside, taking the missionary view of the Company's scheme of colonisation, expressed great anxiety lest a collision might arise out of the subject of the claims to land, which would eventually terminate in the extinction of the native tribes, as had been the case in other countries settled by Europeans. He urged upon Mr. Tuckett not to be precipitate in endeavouring to include the Wairau in the Nelson survey, informing him that the resident natives and Rauparaha were at issue about the land, to such an extent that the former, if left to themselves, would probably withdraw from the Wairau, and treat with the Nelson agent for the sale of it.

Captain Wakefield expressed himself deeply thankful for the counsel contained in Mr. Ironside's letter, and also for the advice tendered by Mr. Tuckett, with whose whole conduct he entirely acquiesced. So impressed was he with the force of the chief surveyor's arguments that he at once went into the cabin where Mr. Thompson was, and requested him to read Mr. Ironside's letter, stating that from it and other considerations urged by Mr. Tuckett he had come to the conclusion that it would be wiser to return to Nelson. Mr. Thompson was totally averse to turning back. He begrudged missing the opportunity of giving the natives what he called "a prestige for the law," and of showing the Government the correct way to deal with such troublesome fellows. At the same time he expressed the opinion {247} that, if the authorities at Wellington had dealt with these chiefs as he had dealt with Ekawa at Massacre Bay, they would long ago have ceased to give annoyance. He also stated that, if they returned at that stage, they would simply be laughed at by the settlers, and he was not going to put himself in that undignified position. In his determination to go on Mr. Thompson was seconded by the Crown Prosecutor (Mr. Richardson), who begged that the expedition might not be given up, as he considered it was "only a lark"; and, in deference to the aggressive mood of the magistrate and the jocular anticipations of the lawyer, Captain Wakefield surrendered his better judgment. Mr. Tuckett, still apprehensive that disastrous consequences would follow if these unwise counsels prevailed, earnestly remonstrated with Mr. Thompson, taking up the attitude that he was exceeding his rights in proceeding to execute his warrant with an armed force. The magistrate admitted the correctness of Mr. Tuckett's premises, but hotly resented the assumption that he intended to use the force at all. He explained that he was not sure that he would land the men. Certainly he would not give out the arms or take the force into the presence of the natives until he had first exhausted every plausible means of getting the chiefs to submit themselves to trial on board the brig. Should they refuse to do so, which he did not expect, then he would investigate the charge on the spot, and afterwards decide whether he should call in the aid of the armed party or not. Had this plan of operations been strictly observed, much that afterwards happened might have been averted; but in no single particular did the magistrate follow his promised line of action, for as soon as the vessel arrived at Cloudy Bay, the men were supplied with fire-arms and landed at the mouth of the Wairau River.

On seeing the Government brig enter the bay, the Maoris had abandoned the old pa at the bar and retired further up the plain. Next morning the magistrate's band of special constables was ordered to get ready and go in pursuit. Perceiving that his worst fears were likely {248} to be realised, and that the magistrate would not go without the armed force, Mr. Tuckett made a final appeal to Captain Wakefield, and offered to go himself and see Rauparaha, in company with the chief constable and the interpreter, if only the men bearing arms were allowed to remain where they were. To this suggestion the Captain readily agreed, and at once put the proposal before Mr. Thompson, who also consented, and ordered the chief constable to prepare himself for the journey; but when Mr. Maling announced himself ready to go, he presented such an armour-plated appearance that the chief surveyor absolutely refused to be seen in his company. He wore a cutlass at his side, a brace of pistols and a pair of handcuffs in his belt, while in his hand he carried a pair of heavy leg-irons. How he proposed to get Rauparaha down to the bar when he was both handcuffed and hobbled is not very clear, nor did he have time to explain. Mr. Tuckett at once drew attention to his accoutrements, and pointed out that the leg-irons would have an especially exasperating effect upon the natives; while, if he insisted upon carrying pistols, it would at least be judicious to conceal them, and so avoid the appearance of intimidation. The magistrate at once ordered that the irons should be discarded, but also intimated that he had changed his mind as to the mode of procedure, and that he had now determined that the whole force should participate in the arrest, a decision from which no amount of persuasion could induce him to deviate.

At the outset an attempt was made to ascend the river in boats, but as the tide was on the ebb and the wind unfavourable, the travelling was both slow and laborious, and before they had proceeded very far, the boats were abandoned, and the party, except Mr. Cotterell and his men, who remained in a whaleboat, commenced the march along a survey track which ran parallel with the river. By this time the ardour of the men had considerably cooled; the bitter cold night experienced at the bar had helped to extinguish their enthusiasm, and now {249} the keen morning wind and bad walking through the long wet grass completely dissipated all idea that the affair was to be regarded in the light of a pleasure trip. During the course of the journey, which was both a slow and irritating one, Captain Wakefield expressed the opinion that the natives were more inclined for trade than for war, and that the prospect of their attempting to fight in the event of a forcible arrest being made was very small. In reply to this, Mr. Tuckett still adhered to his former opinion that the Maoris would most certainly offer resistance if the armed force was taken into their presence. While this discussion was going on, the party reached the bend in the river at the back of Grovetown, where they met a number of resident natives, who, in consequence of their differences with Rauparaha, were quitting the Wairau and returning to Port Underwood. Amongst them were Puaha, a lad named Rore (who afterwards became the honoured and respected chief of the Wairau natives), his father, and a few other Maoris cutting timber in the bush. Of these they inquired the whereabouts of Rauparaha, and were informed that he was a few miles further up the valley, at the Tua Marina stream. Night coming on, they decided to camp in the Tua Mautine wood, but took the precaution to send Puaha forward to acquaint Rauparaha with the nature of their visit; and he was followed by the remainder of the natives at a later hour. Mr. Thompson was careful to explain to Puaha that he had not come to interfere with him; but it was noticed that his countenance bore a most anxious and concerned expression, and in the brief interview which he had with the magistrate, he not only advised, but earnestly entreated him not to precipitate a quarrel by taking the armed men into the presence of Rauparaha and his followers. If he did so, it would be impossible to convince them that he had not come for the purpose of shedding blood. The pained look that fell upon the face of Puaha when he realised the magistrate's intentions made a deep impression upon Captain Wakefield, and he several times made reference {250} to it. Even when waking from his sleep in the night, he spoke of the fact as though he had a gloomy presentiment that all would not be well on the morrow. Mr. Thompson did not appear to be troubled with any such forebodings; his concern was that he would not have the opportunity of arresting the chiefs, who would probably make good their escape as soon as Puaha conveyed his message to them. He endeavoured to make light of the agent's fears by explaining that Puaha's troubled looks were due to the conflict between the dictates of his barbarous nature and the influence of his Christian teaching, which, under the circumstances, would naturally burn within him—a course of reasoning that Captain Wakefield seemed to cheerfully accept.

At dawn next morning,[156] the camp of Te Rauparaha was easily located by the smoke rising through the forest trees at the mouth of the Waitohi Valley, about four miles away. The magistrate then mustered his constables, and served out to each man eighteen rounds of ball cartridge. All told, they numbered forty men, bearing muskets, bayonets, and cutlasses, besides ten or twelve gentlemen who were without arms, the chief surveyor and Mr. Cotterell being members of the Society of Friends, and refusing, in accordance with their religious principles, to carry them. After a short march across the plain through the fern and toetoe, they arrived at the foot of the Tua Marina hills, and there they halted, having, during the course of the journey, been cautioned not to fire unless ordered to do so.

The constitution of the arresting party was not calculated to ensure success in the event of resistance on the part of the Maoris. They were untrained and without discipline. Some of them were even unwilling participants in the expedition, for they had been coerced into coming by the threat that they would lose their employment in the service of the Company if they refused to assist in the arrest of the chiefs. Their arms were old-fashioned and not in the best of repair; there was a {251} total lack of organisation, and apparently no common understanding as to who was in authority. Under these circumstances, the result could scarcely have been different, regard being had to the character of the men with whom they had to deal.

Anyone sitting on the hill-side even now can, without the aid of a vivid imagination, picture the animated scene which unfolded itself on that bright June morning. What are now grass paddocks were flats, more or less covered with native scrub. Of what was then dense bush only a few detached fragments now remain, but otherwise the physical features of the landscape are but little changed. The Maoris, when they first observed the Europeans, were squatting around their camp-fires on the western side of the Tua Marina stream. They immediately hailed them and inquired if they intended to fight. Mr. Thompson answered in the negative, and, after explaining the purpose for which he had come, asked the natives to place a canoe across the stream that he might come over and talk the more freely to them. Rauparaha consented to this course, but stipulated that the armed men should not be allowed to cross over; and, the magistrate agreeing to this condition, the special constables were left in charge of Captain England and Mr. Howard, who had instructions to act if called upon. He himself, accompanied by Captain Wakefield, Mr. Patchett, Mr. Tuckett, Mr. Cotterell and Mr. Brooks,[157] the interpreter, crossed over in the canoe, which was immediately drawn back again alongside the bank by a native nicknamed Piccawarro (big-fellow), to prevent any surprise from the force on the other side of the stream. When the magistrate walked into the presence of the natives, he observed that they numbered about ninety men and thirty-five women and children; but, as an indication of their peaceful intentions, they had placed in the midst of their group three women, the wives of Rauparaha, Rangihaeata, {252} and Puaha, while the party of resident natives sat on one side, and the immediate followers of Rauparaha on the other. The noble and dignified Puaha stood in the centre with a Bible in his hand, reading from it select passages, and exhorting both parties to peace, while the natives sitting around chanted the usual welcome, Haere-mai, Haere-mai. Rangihaeata lay concealed behind some bushes, but Rauparaha came forward frankly when Mr. Thompson inquired for him, saying "Here am I," and offered to shake hands with the strangers. But this courtesy was declined by the magistrate, who pushed the chief's hand away, and it was left to Mr. Tuckett and Mr. Cotterell to perform the politeness of a friendly greeting.

In reply to Rauparaha's inquiry as to what had brought them there, Mr. Thompson proceeded to explain to him, through Brooks, the interpreter, that he was their prisoner. Rauparaha disdainfully replied that it would be time enough to indulge in such talk when Mr. Spain had made his inquiry about the land. They then strove to make him understand that, as this case had nothing to do with the land, but was a charge of arson, it did not come within the province of Mr. Spain to inquire into it, but that the charge must be heard on the brig. Rauparaha declared that he had not destroyed any European property, in proof of which he appealed to Mr. Cotterell, who admitted the truth of his assertion, and therefore he would not go on board the brig, but he was quite willing that the matter should be adjudicated upon there and then, and, provided the compensation demanded was not excessive, he would be prepared to pay rather than there should be any ill-feeling between the two races. Thereupon he was told that, if he would not go voluntarily he must be taken by force, and a pair of handcuffs were produced to impress him with the sincerity of this threat. His chieftain blood was aroused by this insult; he indignantly dared them to try to imprison his hands in such implements and bind him like a slave, but begged for longer time to talk {253} the matter over. The magistrate, who was now rapidly losing his temper, began to stamp and rave, and scorning the need for further argument, desired the interpreter to finally ask Rauparaha to say whether he would go on board the brig or not; and, upon his still firmly refusing to do so, Mr. Thompson turned to Brooks and exclaimed, with a violent gesture in the direction of the opposite bank, "Then tell him there are the armed party; they will fire on them all." A native from the Bay of Islands who was present amongst Rauparaha's people, and who understood a smattering of English, told those of Rauparaha's party that an order to fire had been given, and sixteen of them at once sprang to their feet, and, presenting their muskets at the magistrate, awaited the order from their chief to fire. The mistaken impression under which this hostile display had been made was at once removed by the chief surveyor and Mr. Patchett, who walked over to them and explained that only a threat, and not an order, to fire had been given, and on this assurance they immediately subsided to their seats on the ground.

The altercation between Mr. Thompson and Rauparaha still proceeded. The former produced his warrant, which he told the chief was the "book-a-book" of the Queen "to make a tie," and that he was the Queen, again adding, in high and excited tones, stamping his foot the while, that if Rauparaha did not consent to surrender himself, he would order the Europeans to fire on them. This was quickly interpreted to the armed natives by the stranger from the Bay of Islands, and they instantly sprang to their feet and pointed their muskets at Mr. Thompson and his companions, as before. At this point, the peace-making Puaha[158] stepped forward {254} with his Testament in his hand and said, "Don't fight, don't fight! This book says it is sinful to fight. The land has been made good by the preaching of the missionaries. Don't make it bad again." In this way he strove to reason with Mr. Thompson, but the latter in his frenzy and rage pushed the native aside, and angrily called out for Rangihaeata to come forward. That chief, on hearing his name, came from behind the bushes which concealed him, and, leaping into the midst of the throng, began to brandish his hatchet in dangerous proximity to the magistrate's head, meanwhile upbraiding him in a most violent manner. "What do you want with Rangihaeata that you come here to bind him? Do I go to Port Jackson or to Europe to steal your lands? Have I burned your house? Have I destroyed tents or anything belonging to you?" Such were the pertinent inquiries made by the angry chief; and, as it was quite evident from his flashing eyes and bitter tones that he was in no mood to be trifled with, Mr. Patchett appealed to the chief surveyor to interfere, "otherwise," he said, "we shall all be murdered." Rauparaha, seeing that his companion's manner was not likely to improve matters, ordered him to retire and leave the settlement of the matter to Puaha and himself, at the same time leading Rangihaeata's lame wife, Te Rongo, to him, so that she might be under his protection. Mr. Tuckett then seized the opportunity of pointing out to Captain Wakefield that, in the event of Rangihaeata's temper getting the better of him, they would be completely at the mercy of the natives, seeing that their retreat had been cut off by the removal of the canoe. After a brief consultation with Puaha, they agreed that it would be wiser to restore the means of communication between themselves and their party on the other side of the stream. Captain Wakefield, taking the initiative, jumped into the canoe, and with the aid of a pole shoved the bow down the stream until he found a convenient landing-place on the other side. While this movement was in progress, Mr. Thompson[159] had made {255} another attempt to place the handcuffs upon Rauparaha's wrists. Just at that moment, when the chief had indignantly wrested his hand from the magistrate's grasp, and was bitterly protesting against the conduct of the Queen's officers, Captain Wakefield stepped on to the opposite bank of the creek, and, noticing a threatening movement towards Mr. Thompson on the part of the natives, in a loud voice gave the command, "Men, forward; Englishmen, forward!" The company at once obeyed, and four of the men who were in the front, Morgan, Clanzey, Ratcliffe and Tyrrell, jumped into the canoe for the purpose of crossing over to assist Mr. Thompson. Almost simultaneously the latter turned and entered the canoe at the other end, with the result that she was nearly capsized. A momentary confusion ensued, during which one of the Englishmen, in striving to get in front of his companions on the bank, tripped and fell, and in the fall his gun was accidentally discharged. That was the fatal crisis, for it turned what had hitherto been only stirring drama into fearful tragedy.

The natives had now no doubt that the Europeans had come to fight, and Te Rauparaha, believing death to be imminent, turned, and, stretching his arms heavenward, exclaimed, "Hei kona e te ra, hei kona e te ao marama—haere mai e te po, haere mai e te mate" (Farewell, O sun, farewell, thou world of light; come on, O night, come on, O death). This was a cry which a chief would only utter in a situation of deepest stress, and no Maori loyal to his leader would refuse to obey the call, even though it should cost him his life. The natives therefore briskly returned the fire, the first volley being fatal to Tyrrell, who was shot in the throat. Clanzey and Ratcliffe were also shot by the first discharge of musketry, {256} and their bodies fell into the water and sank to the bottom. The Englishmen returned volley for volley, and, in the midst of the general fusilade, Mr. Thompson and his party passed safely over in the canoe. Mr. Tuckett was the last to leave the bank on which the natives were, which he did by entering the stream, and, with one hand on the canoe, pulling himself through the water. At this stage of the fight the natives might easily have killed every one of the leading Europeans; for, when the latter started to cross the stream, the muzzles of the native guns were no more than a few yards away from them. The fact that they were not shot must have been due to some chivalrous sentiment on the part of the natives, who, seeing them unarmed, honourably abstained from attacking them. For some ten minutes after crossing the creek, Mr. Tuckett stood no more than twenty yards away, fully exposed to the fire that was being kept up by the natives and fourteen or fifteen of the European rank and file. Beside him stood Messrs. Barnicoat, Cotterell, Richardson, Patchett, and Maling. The two latter were shot almost at the same moment. Mr. Richardson bent over Mr. Patchett and inquired if he was hurt, to which he replied, "I am mortally wounded—I am mortally wounded; you can do no good for me; make your escape."


Photo by W. Macey.

The bullets now began to rain down upon them thick and fast. As several of the labourers had fallen in the vicinity, including Northam, Smith, and Burton, Mr. Tuckett and his friends retired to the foot of the ridge, whither the other officers had gone with a portion of the men to consult as to the best course to pursue. They decided to retreat up the hill, and called to Mr. Tuckett and the rest of the party to follow them. This act of mistaken generalship cost them dear, for up to that time their fire had kept the natives penned up on the other side of the stream. But the moment they observed the Europeans falling back, they dashed into the water, and, carrying their guns above their heads to keep them dry, crossed over and took possession of the trees which grew on the {257} opposite edge. Secure within this cover, they opened a galling fire upon the Europeans, who were now hopelessly exposed upon the face of the fern-clad hill.

Mr. Thompson did his utmost to steady the party by exclaiming, "For God's sake, men, keep together!" But his appeals were for the most part disregarded, not more than a third of the men remaining with their leaders, the rest retreating up the ridge and firing haphazard as they went. Captain Wakefield's attempts to instil something like discipline into the men were likewise frustrated by some panic-stricken individual rushing up and shouting out, "Run for your lives, lads, run!"—an injunction which they were not slow to obey. In an instant all semblance of organisation had disappeared. Time after time a few men were got together, but the majority were always utterly beyond control. On the last partial rally Captain Wakefield and Warrant Officer Howard ordered the men to fix bayonets and charge the natives; but on one of the men (Richard Painter), who had been in the artillery, pointing out that there was no one visible to charge at, the idea was abandoned. The natives were still maintaining a steady fire, and a protest on the part of the artilleryman, who declined to remain where he was "and be shot down like a crow," led to a further retreat up the hill-side. On the second brow of the hill they met Mr. Cotterell, who was sitting down with a double-barrelled gun at his side. At the commencement of the quarrel he had been unarmed, but he had now seized this weapon in self-defence. He appeared deeply distressed at what had occurred, and expressed his intention of quitting the scene; but he was dissuaded from this course by Captain Wakefield, who, addressing him in most earnest tones, said, "For God's sake, Mr. Cotterell, don't attempt to run away; you are sure to be shot if you do." Mr. Cotterell therefore remained with the party, only remarking to Painter, one of his own men, "This is bad work, Dick."

Being now out of range of the native fire, a council of war was held of such of the party as could be got {258} together, and finally it was decided that Captain England and Mr. Howard should bear a flag of truce to the natives, and endeavour to settle the dispute by negotiation. A white handkerchief was accordingly fixed on a stick, and, with this fluttering in the breeze, the two officers started towards the wood. As an indication of their sincerity in desiring to relinquish fighting, Captain Wakefield ordered all those who were with him to lay their arms on the ground, and the natives, seeming fully to appreciate the nature of the advances that were being made to them, ceased firing, and a number of them left their muskets behind the trees and came out to meet the bearers of the flag. Captain England and his comrade had almost reached the wood, when some of the Englishmen who had halted much higher up the hill than Captain Wakefield, seeing the Maoris emerging from the bush, commenced to fire upon them, notwithstanding that they had seen the flag of truce, as well as their companions laying down their arms. Regarding this as a dastardly act of treachery, the Maoris beat a hasty retreat into the bush, and reopened a rapid fire upon the Englishmen, whereupon Captain England and Mr. Howard ran back to the hill, and reached the spot from which they had started, uninjured by the native bullets.

This attempt at conciliation having failed through the folly of their own people, the magistrate and Captain Wakefield decided to go further up the hill and meet those who were in advance of them, to induce them, if possible, to act in concert with the rest. In this they were no more successful than before, for no sooner did the one section begin to advance than the other began to retreat. Seeing that this must go on indefinitely, Mr. Tuckett endeavoured to persuade Captain Wakefield that their best hope of reaching the beach and getting back to the brig was to abandon the ridge which they were climbing, and strike down into the plain. Although this advice was twice pressed on Wakefield, he took no notice of it, and Mr. Tuckett thereupon, calling to Mr. Barnicoat and a labourer named Gay to follow him, descended in {259} an oblique direction on to the plain below. For a moment Mr. Cotterell hesitated which course to take, but finally decided to go up the spur with the rest, and this decision cost him his life. When Captain Wakefield and his party began their last retreat, most of them left their muskets lying on the brow of the hill, and were therefore quite defenceless; but the Maoris kept up a running fire as they gradually crept up the side of the range. As they approached the summit of the first knoll, Mr. Cotterell stopped and surrendered himself when the natives reached him, calling out, "Enough, enough! that will do the fight," in the hope of assuring them that the Europeans wanted peace. But he was immediately struck down and his body thrown into a manuka bush. Captain Wakefield followed his example by surrendering a few minutes later, as did also Captain England, Messrs. Richardson, Howard, Brooks, Cropper, McGregor, and the magistrate. A few of the younger natives were in the van of the pursuit, and these held the prisoners in hand until the arrival of Rauparaha, whom they had outstripped. At first gold was offered as ransom, and it seemed as if the feud would end without more bloodshed, for the chief had accepted the assurances of Captain Wakefield that the shooting had been a mistake, and had shaken hands with them all. But Rangihaeata, who had killed the wounded as he found them lying on the hillside, panting with haste and anger, rushed up and called out to Rauparaha, "What are you doing? Your daughter Te Rongo[160] is dead. What are you doing, I say?"

Scorning the acceptance of gold, he then fiercely demanded {260} the lives of the principal Europeans as the only utu that would compensate him for the loss of his wife, exclaiming in impassioned tones, "We are sure to be killed for this some day. The white people will take utu; let us then have some better blood than that of these tutua (common men). We are chiefs; let us kill the chiefs, and take utu for ourselves beforehand." To this Rauparaha was at first reluctant to agree, and his objections were well supported by Puaha and the other Christian natives; but he felt that, in view of Te Ronga's death, the demand was a reasonable one, and he at length yielded to the powerful appeal of his lieutenant, and delivered the unfortunate colonists over to their fate.

At this juncture Mr. Thompson seemed, for the first time, to be apprehensive of serious consequences attending his conduct, and he implored Rauparaha to save their lives. But that chief haughtily answered, "Did I not warn you how it would be? A little while ago I wished to talk with you in a friendly manner, and you would not; now you say 'Save me.' I will not save you." The whole party then retired a little lower down the hill, and there the massacre commenced. Captain Wakefield and Mr. Thompson were killed by Te Oru,[161] a son of Te Ahuta, the first native who fell in the fight, as a retribution for the death of his father. Brooks, the interpreter, was struck down by Rangihaeata and despatched by the slaves, which would account for the mangled condition in which his body was found by the burial party from Port Underwood. The rest of the slaughter, according to native accounts, was conducted mainly by Rangihaeata. His method of procedure was to glide silently behind the victims while they were standing amongst the crowd of natives and brain them with a single blow of his tomahawk. The peculiar part of the tragedy was that none of the Englishmen, except Captain Wakefield, made the slightest resistance, and even he was checked by Mr. {261} Howard exclaiming, "For God's sake, sir, do nothing rash!" Perhaps their ignorance of the native language prevented them from understanding all that was passing around them until they received the fatal blow. But there was no struggle, no cries, except from the native women, led by Puaha's wife, who pleaded with the men to "save some of the rangatiras, if only to say they had saved some." No Englishman who survived actually saw the massacre, and therefore it is impossible to describe the exact method of its execution; but the colonists to all appearances met their fate with the greatest equanimity. George Bampton, who had concealed himself amongst the fern only a few yards from the spot where the tragedy was enacted, in giving evidence at Nelson a few days after the event, deposed that "he heard neither cries nor screaming, but merely the sound of beating or chopping, which he supposed at the time to be natives tomahawking the white people."

In accordance with Rauparaha's express orders, none of the dead bodies were mutilated or stripped, although Captain Wakefield's watch was taken by Rangihaeata and buried with Te Rongo, while one native furnished himself with a pair of white gloves and another with a pair of silver-mounted pistols. After burying their own dead in the Waitohi Valley, the two chiefs, with their followers, came down to the mouth of the Wairau River, bringing with them their own canoes and the whaleboat which had been taken up by Mr. Cotterell and his men. In these they went first to Robin Hood Bay, and then to Te Awaiti, in Tory Channel, where they remained a few days, finally crossing the Strait to Mana and Otaki, there to await developments.

Shortly after the skirmishing began, a Sydney merchant named Ferguson, who had been a passenger in the brig to Nelson, and had accompanied her to the Wairau under the impression that he would have a pleasant outing, had taken one of the wounded men, Gapper, down to the river where the boats had been left that morning, and, with him and the boatman who had been stationed in {262} charge, had paddled down the river to the bar, and reached the brig that afternoon. A number of the men had also gone down the Waitohi Valley, which was then densely bushed, and by this means had evaded pursuit until they could return to Nelson by the overland route. Others, again, who had broken away from the main body had made for the sea, so that before Mr. Tuckett and his two companions had proceeded very far they were joined by eight of the original party, one of whom, John Bumforth, was badly wounded in the shoulder. Mr. Tuckett first proposed that they should divide into two parties, the one to proceed to the bar and the other to the vicinity of Port Underwood, thinking that by this means the chances of some of them reaching the brig would be increased. But the men stoutly refused to separate, and the chief surveyor then decided to proceed to the corner of Cloudy Bay nearest the port, where luckily they found one of Mr. Dougherty's fully equipped whaleboats riding in the bay a few chains off. They hailed the boatmen, and explained that they wished to be taken to the brig, which was anchored some seven or eight miles away; but owing to the heavy swell that was rolling into the bay at the time, and the large number of the party, there was the greatest difficulty in persuading the whalers to comply with the request. Even after the danger of embarking had been overcome, the headsman had almost made up his mind not to risk the voyage to the brig, but to land the party at Port Underwood. But fortune still favoured the fugitives, for at this moment another boat's crew, who had been watching their movements, imagining that they had sighted a whale, came out in pursuit, and the two boats raced for the brig, which was almost reached before the pursuing crew discovered the true position of affairs. Up to this point the whalers had not been informed why Mr. Tuckett and his friends desired to get on board the brig, but they were now told that a fracas had occurred between the Europeans and the natives, that the leaders of the party were Rauparaha's prisoners; and a promise (that was {263} never fulfilled) was extracted from the boatmen that they would convey the intelligence to the other settlers at the port, and prepare them to act as they might think best under the circumstances. The captain of the brig then sent his boats to search the shore, in the hope that other fugitives might have reached the beach; but no one was seen, and no unusual circumstance was noted except the burning of a large fire at the mouth of the river, which had been lit for some purpose by the natives. The brig then weighed anchor and sailed for Wellington, the captain, whose inclination was to enter Port Underwood, adopting this course at the earnest solicitation of Mr. Tuckett, who believed that, if assistance was necessary, it could be more easily obtained from the larger centre of population.

When the news of what had happened spread through the infant settlement early next morning, the excitement ran wild and high, and the settlers, believing that at the worst Captain Wakefield and his friends were only prisoners in the hands of the natives, immediately organised a band of volunteers to effect their forcible rescue. Their departure was, however, delayed by a gale, which had the effect of making most of the volunteers seasick; and, by the time the storm had abated, wiser counsels prevailed, and it was decided that only a quorum of magistrates and Dr. Dorset, the surgeon of the settlement, should proceed to the scene, the impression having gained ground that intercession was more likely to prevail with the Maoris than the presence of an armed force. The brig left Wellington for Cloudy Bay that night, and it was when she arrived at Port Underwood that Colonel Wakefield and Mr. Tuckett learned for the first time the appalling nature of the tragedy which had been enacted. They also learned that the natives, both resident and visiting, had hurriedly left the Wairau, believing that retaliatory measures would speedily be taken against them.

Altogether about twenty-seven of the arresting party had managed to elude the pursuit of Rangihaeata's warriors. After undergoing intense privations, some {264} wandered back to Nelson, but most of them went to Port Underwood, a few suffering from wounds, and all from protracted hunger and exposure. The first to arrive were Morgan and Morrison, who reached Ocean Bay with their trousers worn to their knees, and they were shortly followed by others who were in no better plight. Their wants and wounds were attended to by Mrs. Dougherty, who ministered to them with the kindest of care, and it was by these few survivors that the whalers were first apprised of the catastrophe. The Rev. Mr. Ironside had heard vague rumours about impending trouble between the chiefs and the Government; but, as he had not seen the arrival of the brig, he paid no heed to them until the following Sunday, when, in the midst of a heavy rain-storm, he noticed a Maori swiftly paddling his canoe up the bay. Knowing that a native would only be out on such a day under exceptional circumstances, Mr. Ironside sent one of his mission-boys to inquire. The boy did not return, which only increased the anxiety, and later on, when a few particulars did reach the station, they were only sufficient to indicate that a collision had taken place, without any details. That night the missionary and his wife retired to rest a prey to harrowing suspense.

Next morning the storm had increased to a perfect hurricane, and as it was impossible to launch a boat, they could do nothing but wait. By Tuesday the weather had moderated, and a boat's crew of whalers took Mr. Ironside down to Ocean Bay, where the two chiefs and their exultant followers had arrived. From them the whole story was gleaned, and by them the tragedy was justified; "for," said Te Rangihaeata, "they killed my wife, Te Rongo, and they did not punish the murderer of Kuika."[162]

Mr. Ironside at once asked permission to go and bury {265} the dead, whereupon the fiery Rangihaeata ejaculated, "What do you want to go for? Better leave them to the wild pigs. But you can go if you like." Still the gale was too severe to admit of venturing across the twelve miles of open sea; but so anxious had they all become, that next morning a start was once more made from Ngakuta, and at the imminent risk of their lives the brave crew pulled their boat across the stormy bar into the river. On arriving at Tua Marina, Mr. Ironside and his party found that all the bodies had been left as Rauparaha had directed—unmutilated. The watch of Captain Wakefield was gone, one of the pistols, which he had evidently attempted to fire, had been laid across his throat in compliance with Maori custom, and a piece of "damper," in savage derision, had been placed under his head. The body of Brooks, the interpreter, was found to be in the most mangled condition, the others apparently only having received the one final and decisive blow, when they were struck down by the enraged Rangihaeata. Five bodies were discovered in the bush close to the creek, and were there interred with the benefits of Christian burial, while those who were slain on the brow of the hill, thirteen in number, were buried close by with similar rites. This fatiguing work had been almost completed by the devoted missionary and his band of native helpers when Colonel Wakefield, with the party from the brig, arrived to assist. On an extended search being made by the combined parties, one more body was found at the point where the road turns into the Waitohi Valley, and it was buried where it lay. Probably it was that of Isaac Smith, who had either sought to escape after {266} being mortally wounded, and had died in the attempt, or had been overtaken in his flight and killed where he was found. Mr. Patchett was buried in a single grave on the spot where he fell, and Tyrrell and Northam were interred together close beside him.

In recognition of the kindly and humane service rendered by Mr. Ironside during this critical and anxious period, the Nelson settlers presented him with a testimonial in the shape of a handsome edition of the Bible, bound in three volumes. The gift was gracefully acknowledged by the reverend gentleman in a letter to Mr. Domett, dated from Wellington on February 20, 1845.

Upon the return of the party to Port Underwood, Messrs. Spain and McDonough (the magistrate at Wellington) set about collecting, with all possible speed, all available information concerning the disaster from those of both races who had been present, and who had now arrived at the settlement. Amongst those whose depositions were taken were two Maori boys, who had both been wounded, and were being taken care of by female relatives. Their story was a general corroboration of the Maori version, and they were both unanimous in declaring that, when the Europeans were overtaken on the brow of the hill, Puaha, who was one of the first to reach them, offered them his hand and did all in his power to obviate further bloodshed by pointing out that he had counted the slain, and, as both sides had exactly the same number shot, there was no need for further utu. In this view Rauparaha at first concurred, but he finally gave way before the vehement protestations of Rangihaeata, who reminded him in violent tones of his duty to his dead relative, Te Rongo. He had then allowed his enraged lieutenant to work his wicked will, which Puaha and his people, being unarmed, were powerless to prevent. At the conclusion of his inquiry, Mr. Spain left for Wellington, taking the wounded with him; and those of the survivors who had escaped uninjured proceeded back to Nelson, some in the boats and some overland. {267} Before leaving the port Mr. Tuckett was authorised by Colonel Wakefield to act as agent for the settlement until the pleasure of the New Zealand Company should be known. His journey home was rather an adventurous one, as he had a very narrow escape of being intercepted by the natives when sailing through the French Pass. Some of his companions who were venturesome enough to call in at Tory Channel, were detained there for a week by the natives, but were ultimately permitted to take their departure unharmed.

The body of Mr. Maling, the chief constable, had not been found when Mr. Ironside made his first search upon the scene of the massacre, a fact which created no surprise at the time, for it was thought probable that he had succeeded in making good his escape into the bush. But, as he had not arrived at any of the settlements, the missionary again returned to Tua Marina for the dual purpose of making an extended search and of protecting the graves already made from desecration by the wild pigs, with which the valley was at that time thickly stocked. He was successful in finding two bodies floating in the stream, being the remains of Clanzey and Ratcliffe, who had been shot while crossing in the canoe. These were reverently interred on the banks of the creek near where Mr. Patchett had been laid. The last resting-place of these men bears no mark to distinguish it from the surrounding landscape, but a plain though substantial monument has been raised over the spot where Captain Wakefield and his companions fell; while a memorial church, built by the Wakefield family, stands prominently upon the point of the hill, and solemnly presides over the whole scene.

It would be difficult to describe the intense excitement which agitated the whole colony as the tidings of the massacre flew from settlement to settlement; and in the white heat of their anger the settlers were guilty of saying and doing many rash and intemperate things. Few of them had made themselves conversant with the whole facts of the case, and fewer still stayed to reason out the {268} natural actions of men under the circumstances. All that they knew, and all that they cared to know, was that their countrymen had been, as a Nelson settler forcibly expressed it, "brutally butchered by a parcel of miscreant savages, ten thousand of whose useless lives would have all too cheaply purchased their survival, let the cant of ultra-philanthropists say what it will." But this fierce indignation was not participated in by the Europeans alone. Flying from the scene of the tragedy, Te Rauparaha arrived with his retainers at Waikanae, cold and wet with the sea spray which had swept over him on the passage across the Strait. He immediately assembled the Ngati-Awa people and told them the tale of the massacre, holding their attention by the graphic nature of his narrative. At first his listeners were unsympathetic, but he appealed to their sympathies by feigning physical distress. Bent in body and trembling in voice, he appeared to speak with difficulty, and used a hacking cough with some effect to melt their sternness. But his most telling point was made when, advancing a few steps, he held up his shaking hands and dramatically exclaimed, "Why should they seek to fetter me? I am old and weak; I must soon pass away. What could they gain by enslaving me? by fastening irons on these poor old hands? No; that is not what they seek. It is because through my person they hope to dishonour you. If they can enslave me they think they can degrade the whole Maori race."

This was the dart that struck deep into Maori pride, and wounded their sense of honour. Instantly the tribe rose responsive to the suggestion, and weapons were gripped, eyes flashed, and the spirit of war surged in every breast. Missionary Hadfield was present, and saw the sway wielded by the old chief's oratory. He saw, too, how critical was the position, and gladly availed himself of the timely suggestion made by one of the missionary natives to ring the bell for evening prayers, and thus bring back the warriors' thoughts to a more peaceful frame. Next morning Te Rauparaha journeyed to Otaki, and there harangued the fighting men of Ngati-Toa. Here {269} there was no need to adopt the arts of the stage. His auditors were his own followers, many of whom had been with him since childhood. They knew him and trusted him, and with them his word was law. He therefore threw off the guise of broken manhood, of fettered limbs, of tottering steps, and stood before them the bold and imperious chief that he was. His words ringing with the timbre of commanding confidence, were direct and to the purpose. "Now is the time to strike. You see what the smooth speech of the pakeha is worth; you know now what they mean in their hearts. You know now that tyranny and injustice is all that you can expect at their hands. Come then and sweep them from the land which they have sought to bedew with our blood."

In these warlike counsels he was ably seconded by Te Rangihaeata, who, reasoning as a Maori would reason, had always strongly held the view that, as the white men would be certain to seek satisfaction for the massacre, their duty was to get what utu they could while the opportunity to do so was theirs. He therefore joined with his chief in urging an immediate march upon Wellington, in order by one swift stroke to obliterate the pakeha and his settlements. These sanguinary proposals were not preached to unwilling ears, for it was but natural that the Maori should judge the settlers by their leaders, the representatives of the New Zealand Company, whose bad faith now appeared so audaciously transparent. But there was one chief who was proof against the hysteria of blood which had seized the tribes. Side by side with Hadfield he stood like a rock above the billows of hate which surged around him, and by his calm and stedfast loyalty broke the fury of the storm. This was Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake, the Ngati-Awa chief of Waitara. His resolute opposition to Te Rauparaha's plans was an obstacle which that chief could not overcome. He carried his own people with him, while Hadfield soothed the Ngati-Raukawa into neutrality. Without Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Awa, Ngati-Toa was not equal to a task which with their united forces would have been a simple matter. {270} That the Maoris had the power at this time to drive the colonists into the sea, had they chosen to exercise it, has been freely admitted by the settlers themselves,[163] so that the service which Wiremu and the good missionary Hadfield rendered to the Colony at this juncture can only be estimated at the value of the infant settlement itself. And, with regret be it said, Wellington is even now destitute of any monument to which the passing generations might point as a public recognition of the fact that these two men once stood between it and extermination.

Before Te Rauparaha was able to extend his projects for avenging his wrongs beyond his own immediate sphere of influence, he was visited by Mr. George Clarke, the Sub-Protector of the aborigines, who gave him his most solemn pledge that the Government would not attack him without first hearing his side of the question, and begged him to try and keep the natives quiet until the case could be investigated. Following close upon Mr. Clarke came Mr. Spain, deputed by the magistrates at Wellington, and empowered to speak as one in authority.[164] He strove to assure the natives that they were mistaken if they imagined that the Europeans would wage war against them indiscriminately by way of retaliation for the death of Captain Wakefield and his comrades. The question of punishment rested solely {271} with the Governor, and, until he could decide who should be punished and what the punishment should be, there would be no act of aggression against the natives.

"Your words are very good, but who can tell what will be the words of the Governor?" was the comment of one of the chiefs upon these assurances. To this Spain could only reply by pointing to their past intercourse, and asking if during their long acquaintance they had ever known him to deceive them. Fortunately, his record stood him in good stead, and the chief agreed that he for one would help to protect the Europeans. While this discussion was proceeding, Rauparaha had joined the assembly, and at this point he rose and delivered what Mr. Spain considered "a most powerful speech." He traversed anew the events which had led up to the fracas, and vehemently asked, "Is this the justice which the Queen of England promised to the Maori? You are not satisfied with having taken all our land from us, but you send a Queen's ship headed by a Queen's officer to fire upon us and kill us." Spain endeavoured to expound to the angry chief the niceties of British law, under which a warrant to arrest did not necessarily imply established guilt; had he surrendered he would probably have been admitted to bail until the day of the trial, and, so far from the Queen and the Governor being to blame for the conduct of the magistrate, they had never heard of the warrant. On Spain expressing his abhorrence of the killing of the captives, Te Rauparaha admitted the error of the step, which he palliated as due to their own custom and Rangihaeata's grief at the death of his wife. He then proceeded to question Spain with an acumen which astonished the lawyer, and forced him to form a very high estimate of the chief's intellectual capacity; for his examination was as keen "as if I had undergone that ordeal in Westminster Hall at the hands of a member of the English Bar." What Te Rauparaha wished to guard against was treachery. He wanted everything open to the light of day, and the conference ended by his saying to Spain, "If the Governor should decide upon sending {272} soldiers to take me and Rangihaeata, let us know when they arrive, because you need not take the trouble to send up here for us. If you only send word I will come down to Port Nicholson with a thousand Maoris and fight with the pakehas. If they beat us, they shall have New Zealand, and we will be their slaves, but if we beat them, they must stand clear."

Mr. Spain next proceeded to Otaki. There he was told that the natives intended to stand loyally by their chiefs, and that any attempt to seize them would lead to immediate reprisals. Following closely upon Mr. Spain's departure, Mr. Jerningham Wakefield reached Otaki. He came from the north, and, as he drifted down the Whanganui River, he received the first tidings of the death of his uncle. It was difficult at first to give credence to the nebulous rumours which reached him; but the constant reiteration of the same story about a fight with the pakehas and the death of "Wideawake" gradually compelled attention, and ultimately received confirmation at the white settlement then known as Petre.[165] Here Wakefield was the recipient of a message from Te Rauparaha, demanding to know whether he was for peace or for war, and preferring a request that "Tiraweke" would come to Otaki to korero with him. In the meantime he had sent his canoes to Manawatu, and was preparing for his retreat into the interior should he be attacked. Wakefield left Petre, and at the end of the first day he was met at Rangitikei by the old Ngati-Raukawa chief Te Ahu karamu,[166] who had gone thither with an armed party to conduct his friend safely through the disturbed district. On reaching Otaki, Wakefield went to Rangi-ura pa, the principal settlement, where the Maoris placed only one interpretation {273} upon his coming—vengeance upon Te Rauparaha for the death of his uncle.

For two days Wakefield rested at Otaki, but saw nothing of the chiefs. Rangihaeata was reported to be some distance in the interior, building a strong pa, where it was understood that the chiefs had determined to make a stand should the authorities seek to pursue them. Te Rauparaha was at the Pakakutu pa at the mouth of the river, endeavouring to break down the influence of Mr. Hadfield and Wiremu Kingi. His efforts to consolidate his forces were various, as suited the circumstances. He sought to ingratiate himself into the good opinion of the missionary natives by appearing to become zealous in religious observances; on the feeling of others he played by a recital of his wrongs; and towards the European residents of Otaki he assumed an attitude of unconcealed hostility, and ordered their removal from the district. This step he deemed to be necessary, in order that he might be free to act unhampered by spies in the supposed impending campaign against the Queen's troops, and it was this mandate which brought the chief and Wakefield face to face.

As a result of Rauparaha's prohibition, a pakeha settler named White, who had been living under the patronage of Te Ahu karamu, found himself suddenly stopped at the Otaki River while in the act of driving some thirty head of cattle on to the land upon which his patron chief had invited him to settle. This high-handed action naturally aroused the anger of the Ngati-Raukawa chiefs, who had hitherto assumed that they were masters of the territory which they had chosen to "sit upon" when the division of the conquered lands was made. Te Ahu was especially angered at what he regarded as an uncalled-for encroachment upon his prerogative as a chief. He therefore announced his determination to proceed to the Pakakutu pa and demand from Te Rauparaha a complete renunciation of his views. Wakefield was invited to be present, and to his facile pen we are indebted for a graphic account of what followed. {274} The korero did not commence immediately upon the arrival of Te Ahu's party at the pa, and Wakefield employed the interval in the kindly office of helping to dress the wounded leg of a Maori, whom he has described as one "particularly gentle and dignified in his manners." While thus engaged, Te Rauparaha approached him, and, with evident signs of apprehension as to the propriety of his doing so, offered a friendly salutation. Wakefield coldly declined to grasp the hand which he naturally believed was imbrued in his uncle's blood; and Rauparaha, immediately acknowledging the delicacy of his position, muttered "It is good," and returned to his seat. The speech-making commenced by his entering upon a lengthy narrative of himself and his conquests, for the evident purpose of riveting in the minds of his hearers the fact that he was the brain and the heart of the tribe. His story was eloquently told, for not the least of his great natural endowments was the precious gift of the silver tongue. The tale of conquest ended, he was proceeding to refer to the incidents of the Wairau, when Wakefield rose and checked him. Naturally the latter was sensitive upon the point of prejudging so dreadful a tragedy, by listening to an ex-parte statement of its facts, when he was fully persuaded that at no distant date he would hear the truth disclosed before an impartial tribunal. He therefore told Te Rauparaha that he would not remain if he proposed to discuss the affair of the Wairau, but begged him to confine his speech to a justification of his extreme and arbitrary desire to drive the Europeans away from Otaki.

Te Rauparaha acknowledged the reasonableness of this request, but so anxious was he to excuse himself in the eyes of Wakefield, that his oration had not proceeded far before he reverted to the subject of the massacre. Thereupon Wakefield rose, and, walking to the stile at the outer fence, was in the act of stepping over it to proceed home, when a chorus of shouts called him back, and a promise was given that there would be no {275} further reference to the Wairau. Te Rauparaha then earnestly addressed himself to the status of the pakehas at Otaki, claiming the land as his alone. He admitted the validity of the sales of the Manawatu, Whanganui, and Taranaki, but not those of Otaki or Ohau, and insisted that the white people, whalers included,[167] must remove to those districts which the Company had fairly bought. He upbraided the Queen for sending her constables to tie his hands. "Who is she," he asked, "that she should send her books and her constables after me? What have I to do with her? She may be Queen over the white people; I am the King of the Maori! If she chooses to have war, let her send me word, and I will stand up against her soldiers. But I must have room; I must have no white people so near."[168]

Challenged as to the inconsistency of these views with his action in signing the Treaty of Waitangi, he wheeled sharply round and exclaimed, "Yes; what of that? They gave me a blanket for it. I am still a chief, just the same. I am Rauparaha. Give me another blanket tomorrow and I will sign it again. What is there in writing?" The attitude of absolute authority assumed by the chief distinctly alarmed Wakefield, who saw in it the elements of unlimited trouble for the New Zealand Company. For if Te Rauparaha's claim to exclusive jurisdiction over the land was well founded, then verily many of their purchases had been brought to the brink of repudiation. Turning hastily to Te Ahu and several of the chiefs around him, he sought enlightenment on the point, reminding them that they had frequently laid {276} claim to large possessions in the neighbourhood, but had never acknowledged Te Rauparaha as having the least right or interest in them. Then Te Ahu proceeded in a tone of apology and regret to elucidate one of the many intricate phases of Maori land tenure which were now beginning to prove so embarrassing to the Company. He explained that when the tribe burned their houses at Maungatautari and came down to assist Te Rauparaha in his conquest, they had selected Otaki out of the conquered lands to be their future home. In times of peace Rauparaha would have made no claim to the land, nor would his claim have been acknowledged if he had. In proof of this, he quoted the scorn with which Rangihaeata's assumptions over the Manawatu had been rejected by Ngati-Raukawa; but now that the war clouds were in the air, the riri, or anger, had completely altered the whole aspect of affairs; the land had reverted to him who had conquered it, and Ngati-Raukawa had no land which they could call their own. "And then he rose," says Wakefield, "and endeavoured to persuade Rauparaha to change his determination. He reminded him of the 'war parties which he had brought to him on his back to assist him against his enemies, through dangers and troubles more than he could count.' He related how 'he had burned the villages of the tribe at Taupo to make them come with him to be by the side of Rauparaha on the sea-coast.' He counted how many times he had adhered to him 'in his feuds with Ngati-Awa,' and described 'how much of the blood of Ngati-Raukawa had been spilt for his name.' Te Ahu had now warmed with his subject, and was running up and down, bounding and yelling at each turn, and beginning to foam at the mouth, as the natives do when they seek to speak impressively. 'Let the cows go!' he cried. 'Let them go to my place!'

"Rauparaha seemed to consider that Te Ahu's eloquence was becoming too powerful, and he jumped up too. They both continued to run up and down in short parallel lines, yelling at each other, with staring eyes and {277} excited features, grimacing and foaming, shaking their hands and smacking their thighs. As they both spoke together, it became difficult to hear what they said, but I caught a sentence here and there, which gave me the sense of the argument. 'No!' cried Rauparaha; 'no cows; I will not have them.' 'Let them go!' yelled Te Ahu. 'Yield me my cows and my white man—the cows will not kill you.' 'No cows, no white men! I am King! Never mind your war parties! No cows!' answered Te Rauparaha. 'The cows cannot take you,' persisted Te Ahu; 'when the soldiers come we will fight for you, but let my cows go.' 'No, no, no, indeed,' firmly replied the chief, and sat down.

"Te Ahu remained standing. He took breath for a minute, then drew himself up to his full height, and addressed his own people in a solemn kind of recitative. 'Ngati-Raukawa,' he sang, 'arise! Arise, my sons and daughters, my elder brothers and my younger brothers, my sisters, my grand-children, arise! Stand up, the families of Ngati-Raukawa! To Taupo! to Taupo! to Maungatautari! To our old homes which we burned and deserted; arise and let us go! Carry the little children on your backs, as I carried you when I came to fight for this old man who has called us to fight for him and given us land to sit upon, but grudges us white people to be our friends and to give us trade. We have no white men or ships at Maungatautari, but the land is our own there. We need not beg to have a white man or cows yielded to us there if they should want to come. To Maungatautari. Arise, my sons, make up your packs, take your guns and your blankets, and let us go! It is enough, I have spoken.' As he sat down, a mournful silence prevailed. An important migration had been proposed by the chief, which no doubt would be agreed to by the greater part of the Otaki, Ohau, and Manawatu natives, on whom was Rauparaha's chief dependence for his defence.

"I noticed that he winced when he first heard the purport of Te Ahu's song; but, while Te Ahu continued, his countenance gradually resumed its confidence. Much {278} as I abhorred his character, I could not but yield my unbounded admiration to the imperious manner in which he overthrew the whole effect of Te Ahu's beautiful summons to his tribe. Instead of his usual doubting and suspicious manner, his every gesture became that of a noble chief. He rose with all the majesty of a monarch, and he spoke in the clearest and firmest tones, so that the change from his customary shuffling, cautious and snarling diction was of itself sufficient to command the earnest attention of his audience. 'Go,' said he, 'go, all of you!—go, Ngati-Raukawa, to Maungatautari! Take your children on your backs and go, and leave my land without men. When you are gone, I will stay and fight the soldiers with my own hands. I do not beg you to stop. Rauparaha is not afraid! I began to fight when I was as high as my hip. All my days have been spent in fighting, and by fighting I have got my name. Since I seized by war all this land, from Taranaki to Port Nicholson, and from Blind Bay to Cloudy Bay beyond the water, I have been spoken of as a King. I am the King of all this land. I have lived a King, and I will die a King, with my mere in my hand. Go; I am no beggar; Rauparaha will fight the soldiers of the Queen when they come, with his own hands and his own name. Go to Maungatautari.' Then, suddenly changing his strain, he looked on the assemblage of chiefs, bending down towards them with a paternal smile, and softening his voice to kindness and emotion. 'But what do I say?' said he; 'what is my talk about? You are children! It is not for you to talk. You talk of going here and doing that. Can one of you talk when I am here? No! I shall rise and speak for you all, and you shall sit dumb, for you are all my children, and Rauparaha is your head chief and patriarch.'"

This fearless rejection of Ngati-Raukawa assistance, culminating in an arrogant assumption of absolute authority over their movements, completely won him his point, and one of the highest chiefs said to Wakefield, "It is true, Tiraweke! He is our father and our Ariki. {279} Rauparaha is the King of the Maori, like your Queen over the white people." The others, full of conscious dignity in being followers of such a leader, acknowledged his authority by bowing a silent assent. Rauparaha remained inflexible in refusing to permit the cattle to enter the district, but, in deference to the urgent persuasions of the chiefs, he subsequently relaxed his prohibition against the white men already settled in the district, but stoutly refused to sanction the coming of any more.

But this effort of Te Rauparaha to consolidate his forces was in no sense the full range of his preparations. To augment his fighting strength was as much his policy as to unite those who already acknowledged allegiance to him. And this he sought to do in a quarter which, in view of past events, he would have been least expected to approach, and where his advances, once made, would have been least likely to touch a responsive chord. His scheme involved no less a delicate task than salving the wounds of the Ngai-Tahu tribe, and negotiating a friendly alliance with the men whose mana he had so rudely trampled in the dust at Kaikoura and Kaiapoi. To this end he collected a number of the most influential prisoners whom he had taken at the latter place, and, bidding them go back to their tribe, charged them to use their utmost endeavour to promote a good feeling towards him amongst their people. This unexpected act of clemency—or apparent clemency—which restored to them their much esteemed chief Momo, their great warrior Iwikau, and others equally noted in their history, went far to soothe the injured pride of Ngai-Tahu, who, after much serious debate, decided to forget the past, make peace, and accede to the new proposals. As an earnest of their acceptance of Rauparaha's terms, Taiaroa at once paid a visit to Kapiti, and, as he professed to be aggrieved at the manner in which some land transactions had been conducted in the south, there is little doubt that, had an attack upon Wellington been contemplated, he and his people would have combined with their {280} former enemies to effect the annihilation of the colonists.[169]

A fearful uncertainty thus continued to agitate the breasts of the settlers; and when H.M. ship of war, North Star arrived in Wellington on 31st August, as the result of a memorial sent by the settlers to Sir George Gipps, Governor of New South Wales, she was received with a salute of guns and a display of bunting, which indicated a belief that the day of retribution was at hand. It was not, however, for four days that her commander, Sir Everard Home, was able to enter into communication with Major Richmond, the principal officer of the Government in Cook Strait. By him he was assured that "he had received various reports of meditated attacks upon Wellington by the natives under Te Rauparaha; that the chief was at a pa not more than fourteen miles away, with between five hundred and a thousand of his fighting men; that Taiaroa, the chief from the Middle Island, had joined Te Rauparaha, and, having been an ancient enemy to him, had made peace; that the pa at Porirua was fortified, and every preparation made for an attack on the town of Wellington." To this Sir Everard, having regard to his explicit instructions not to intervene unless the natives and the whites were at actual war, replied that, in his judgment, the circumstances did not warrant his interference, but that he would keep his ship in the harbour as a salutary check upon Maori aggression. In the meantime he penned the following letter to Te Rauparaha:—

"Friend Rauparaha,—It has come to my knowledge that you are collecting the tribes round you, because you expect that I am going to attack you. Those who told you so said that which is not true. It was to keep the peace and not to make war that I came here. {281} You know that where many men are met together, and continue without employment, they will find something evil to do. They had best go home."

Sir Everard Home, having satisfied himself that no immediate crisis was likely to arise at Wellington, unless it was precipitated by the settlers themselves, was constrained by reports of seething discontent at Nelson to visit the settlements in Blind Bay. But, before proceeding thither, he decided to call in at the island of Mana, and there personally discuss the situation with Te Rauparaha himself. Accompanied by Major Richmond and Captain Best, he left Wellington Harbour on the morning of October 5th, and anchored the North Star under the lee of Mana that afternoon.

"As soon as the ship anchored," says Sir Everard in his official report, "I landed, attended by Major Richmond and Captain Best, who commanded the detachment on board the North Star. We first went to the whaling station, or great pa, where we found Mr. Chetham (clerk of the Court), who had been sent to join us. We also soon after met Mr. Clarke. He informed us that Te Rauparaha had left that morning at daylight for Waikanae, which must have been a voluntary movement, as no person knew our intention till the Strait was entered. We immediately went round to the pa where the tribe was established. Here we found no one on the beach to receive us, and, having landed, walked to the huts, where we found a few persons sitting together. Rangihaeata, they said, had fled to the bush, Te Rauparaha was at Waikanae, and, finding that nothing could be done, we returned on board."

During this visit to Porirua, the attention of the official party had been directed to the presence of the New Zealand Company's boat, which had been brought by the natives from the Wairau, after the massacre, and hauled up on the shore of Taupo Bay amongst some twelve or fifteen canoes; and this fact was made a subject of discussion next day when the frigate reached Kapiti.

Landing at Waikanae, where the interview was to take place, Sir Everard Home says—

"We were received by the Rev. Mr. Hadfield, a missionary, a gentleman of high character and great intelligence, who, living in {282} the pa amongst the natives, knows every movement, for none could take place without his knowledge. He at once declared all the reports (of an intended attack upon Wellington) to be without foundation. Having walked to his house, which is within the pa, we proceeded to his school-yard, and the chiefs, Te Rauparaha, and Rere, chief of the tribe inhabiting the pa of Waikanae, came, accompanied by about fifty men. I then stated to the chief all that was reported of him, and asked him what he had to say to contradict it. He replied that, far from wishing to continue the quarrel with the Europeans, which had been commenced by them, and not by him, his whole time was occupied in travelling up and down the coast, endeavouring to allay the irritation of the natives and to prevent any ill consequences arising from the provoking language and threats with which they were continually annoyed by the Europeans travelling backwards and forwards. That, for himself, he believed them to be lies invented by the white men, having been assured by the Police Magistrate that no steps would be taken until the arrival of the new Governor, or the pleasure of the Queen was known. He also declared that they all stood in fear of the white men, and asked why I had come if it was not to fight with and destroy them, for they had been told that was my intention.

"I told them that the Queen's ships went to all parts of the world, and that my object was to preserve peace rather than to make war, and he was advised to believe no reports which he might hear, but to inquire into the truth of them of Major Richmond, through Mr. Clarke or Mr. Hadfield."

The conference then dispersed, but at a later hour Te Rauparaha was sent for to Mr. Hadfield's house, and asked if he would send a letter to the principal chief at Porirua, requesting him to deliver up the Company's boat to Sir Everard Home. His reply was that he had but little influence amongst the Porirua people, but that, as he had always been against the retention of the boat, he would assert what authority he had to secure its return. He then became curious to know if the surrender of the boat would end the quarrel; but Major Richmond discreetly declined to commit himself on the point, and appealed to Te Rauparaha's position as a chief to see that justice was done. Te Rauparaha then penned the following letter, which he addressed to the Porirua chiefs:—

"Go thou, my book, to Puaha, Hohepa, and Watarauehe. Give that boat to the chief of the ship; give it to the chief for nothing. {283} These are the words of Te Rauparaha. Your avarice in keeping back the boat from us, from me, Mr. Hadfield, and Mr. Ironside, was great. This is not an angry visit, it is to ask peaceably for the boat. There are only Mr. Clarke, Mr. Richmond, and the chief of the ship: they three who are going peaceably back to you that you may give up the boat.

"This is my book, "Te Rauparaha."

Armed with this authority Sir Everard Home returned to Porirua, where, after lying at anchor all day on Sunday, he landed on the following day, and made a formal demand for the return of the boat. At first, Te Rangihaeata was inclined to resist the request, but, on receipt of a private message from Te Rauparaha that a refusal might mean trouble, he yielded the point, and the boat was ultimately handed over with "the greatest good-humour."

During the interview at Waikanae, Te Rauparaha had given the most profuse assurances that he, relying upon the promise that there would be no reprisals until the facts surrounding the massacre had been investigated, was employing his best endeavours to pacify his people. But his efforts, he said, were often nullified by the disturbing rumours which reached them of armings and drillings[170] by the settlers at Wellington, which seemed to portend war rather than peace. But the seeds of irritation and mistrust had already been sown much further afield than Waikanae and Otaki; for the natives, on leaving the Wairau, had taken with them, as well as the boat, the handcuffs and leg-irons which had been foolishly brought down by Mr. Maling to ensure Rauparaha's capture. These were sent from one pa to another, and wherever they were exhibited, the enemies of the pakeha were not slow to insinuate that, when the English became numerous in the land, they would provide leg-irons for the whole of the natives. The sight of these manacles, and the dark hints with which they were everywhere accompanied, {284} created bitterness and resentment against settlers, with whom the Maoris had always lived in perfect harmony; so that before many weeks had passed away it only required a single spark of indiscretion to set the whole colony in a blaze of war. At no period of her history has New Zealand stood so much in need of firm, discreet and conciliatory guidance as in this critical juncture;[171] and fortunately the hand of authority was strong enough to prevent the spark being kindled. Acting-Governor Shortland, taking a bold but unpopular initiative, on July 12, 1843, issued the following proclamation:—

"Whereas it is essential to the well-being of this Colony that confidence and good feeling should continue to exist between the two races of its inhabitants, and that the native owners of the soil should have no reason to doubt the good faith of Her Majesty's solemn assurance that their territorial rights should be recognised and respected. Now, therefore, I, the officer administering the Government, do hereby publicly warn all persons claiming land in this Colony, in all cases where the claim is denied or disputed by the original native owners, from exercising rights of ownership thereon, or otherwise prejudicing the question of title to the same, until the question of ownership shall have been heard and determined by one of Her Majesty's Commissioners appointed to investigate claims to land in New Zealand."

The wisdom of thus holding the hands of the settlers until the title to their lands had been settled by a constitutional course was not at first apparent to the pioneers, who treated the proclamation with scant respect, and roundly abused it and its author in the public press.

"If," said one writer, "it had been the desire of its framer to hound a troop of excited savages upon a peaceable and scattered population, to destroy the remains of friendly feeling existing between the two races, to imbrue in blood the hands of both, and lead to the extermination of one or the other, such a proclamation might have served its purpose."

{285} This style of exaggerated invective will serve to show the unreasoning pitch to which even the better class of colonists had allowed themselves to be worked by the news of the catastrophe. Nor were they content with merely upbraiding the authorities in the press and at public meetings; deputations waited upon the Acting-Governor at Auckland, urging him to take immediate steps to avenge the death of Captain Wakefield. The Nelson deputation consisted of Dr. Monro and Mr. A. Domett, and the essence of their petition was contained in the following paragraph:—

"We have no hesitation in stating that it is the general opinion of the settlers at Nelson that our countrymen who were killed at Wairau Plain lost their lives in endeavouring to discharge their duties as magistrates and British subjects, obedient to British law, and that the persons by whom they were killed are murderers in the eyes of common sense and justice."

They therefore hoped that impartial justice would be done, and that the penalties of the law would certainly overtake those whom its verdicts pronounced to be guilty. But to this and all other petitions of a similar tone Mr. Shortland staunchly refused to accede. In his reply to Dr. Monro and Mr. Domett he clearly set forth the error under which the settlers were labouring, when they ascribed the disaster to the performance of duty on the part of the magistrates, and pointed out that it might be more fairly attributed to an excess of duty on the part of those officials, in attempting to annex land which had never been legally purchased. After dwelling upon the criminality of those who were responsible for the final conflict, he proceeded:—

"But whatever may be the crime, and whoever may be the criminals, it is but too clear that the event we must all deplore has arisen from several parties of surveyors, without the concurrence of the local Government, proceeding to take possession of and to survey a tract of land in opposition to the original native owners, who had uniformly denied its sale. His Excellency therefore deems it proper to inform you that the New Zealand Company has not selected {286} any block of land in the valley of the Wairau, nor has the local Government yet received any intimation that it is the intention of the Company to select a block in that district."

To say that the Englishmen were trespassers is the mildest way in which the case against them can be stated, especially in view of the forceful opinion expressed by Mr. Swainson, the Attorney-General, who described their conduct as "illegal in its inception and in every step of its execution, unjustifiable in the magistrate and four constables, and criminal in the last degree on the part of the attacking party." Writing from Port Nicholson ten days after the massacre, Mr. Spain confirmed Mr. Swainson's condemnation of their conduct, which he declared to be "an attempt to set British law at defiance and to obtain, by force, possession of a tract of land, the title of which was disputed, and then under the consideration of a commissioner specially appointed to investigate and report upon it." From the information he had been able to collect, Mr. Spain arrived at the conclusion that at the commencement of the affair the natives exhibited the greatest forbearance, and the utmost repugnance to fight with the Europeans. His views were cordially endorsed by Mr. Clarke, the Protector of the aborigines, who reported to the Acting-Governor that he was "satisfied that such an unhappy affair as that of the Wairau could never have occurred had not the natives been urged to it by extreme provocation." These emphatic opinions from men who were not only capable of arriving at a judicial conclusion, but were impartial in the sense that they were not concerned in the catastrophe, together with the decision of the Attorney-General that no act of felony had been committed by the natives in burning the huts, fortified His Excellency in ignoring the violent clamour of the settlers for revenge. They induced him even to go further, and prohibit the military displays which they were beginning to organise amongst themselves under the plea that they were in imminent danger of being attacked by the natives. This prohibition was to their excited {287} minds the crowning injustice of all; and in October, when H.M.S. North Star arrived at Port Nicholson, the Wellington and Nelson settlements were practically in a state of open rebellion. When Sir Everard Home was applied to by the colonists to execute a warrant against Rauparaha and Rangihaeata for murder, he was compelled to "decline the honour," and admit candidly that he did not consider a force so necessary to put a check upon the natives as to keep in subjection the irate settlers themselves. The settlers further memorialised Sir Eardley Wilmot, Governor of Tasmania, for assistance, and he immediately sent a battleship to their aid. But he took the precaution to warn Captain Nicholson not to land his troops unless the natives and Europeans were in actual conflict; and this not being the case when the ship arrived, she soon after took her departure. In their extremity the settlers then turned to a French frigate which was lying in New Zealand waters; but Major Richmond, on hearing of the proposal to call upon her captain for aid, indignantly vetoed it as being "a stain upon British arms."

The social and political atmosphere was still in this condition of ferment when, towards the close of the year, Captain Fitzroy, the newly appointed Governor, arrived. It was not, however, until February that he was able to give his undivided attention to the adjudication of matters connected with the massacre; but he then spared no pains to make himself master of all the facts upon which a decision was to be based. He first studied the merits of the European case, and then journeyed to Waikanae, where he landed on February 12, 1844, with his suite, consisting of Sir Everard Home, Mr. Spain, the officers of the North Star, Major Richmond and Mr. Symonds, the Wellington magistrates, and Mr. George Clarke, the Sub-Protector of the aborigines. There he met Rauparaha and Rangihaeata with upwards of four hundred of their tribe, congregated for the korero in an enclosure in the centre of the pa, the Governor being provided with a chair, Rauparaha sitting by his side. {288} His Excellency, addressing the assembled natives through Mr. Clarke, said:—

"I have heard from the English all that happened at the Wairau, and it has grieved my heart exceedingly. I now ask you to tell me your story so that I may compare the two and judge fairly. When I have heard your account of that dark day, I will reflect and then tell you what I shall do. The bad news I have just heard about killing the English after they had ceased fighting, and had trusted to your honour, has made my heart very dark, has filled my mind with gloom. Tell me your story that I may compare it with the English, and know the whole truth. When I first heard of the death of my friends at the Wairau, I was very angry and thought of hastening here with many ships of war, with many soldiers, and several fire-moved ships (steamers). Had I done so your warriors would have been killed, your canoes would have been all taken and burnt, your houses and your pas would have all been destroyed, for I would have brought with me from Sydney an irresistible force. But these were hasty, unchristian thoughts: they soon passed away. I considered the whole case. I considered the English were very much to blame even by their own account, and I saw how much you had been provoked. Then I determined to put away my anger and come to you peaceably. Let me hear your story."

Rauparaha then arose, and after being exhorted by several of his tribe to speak out that all might hear, he began in slow and measured tones to narrate their land troubles with the Company in the Wellington settlement, and then he passed on to the Wairau. This land, he declared, was taken away by Thompson and Captain Wakefield, and he described the visit of Rangihaeata and himself to Nelson to protest against its occupancy; nor did he omit to mention the threats then used towards them by Captain Wakefield. Then he told how they had gone over and stopped the survey, and brought Messrs. Cotterell and Barnicoat down to the bar, and how they had afterwards met Mr. Tuckett, and likewise refused him permission to remain.


Where Te Rauparaha was captured.

"After Mr. Tuckett had gone to Nelson," said Rauparaha, "we continued our planting, till one morning we saw the Victoria (the Government brig). Then were our hearts relieved, for we thought Mr. Spain and Mr. Clarke had come to settle the question of our lands. Being scattered about on the different places on the river, we {289} took no further notice, expecting a messenger to arrive from Mr. Spain; but a messenger came up to say that it was an army of English, and that they were busily engaged in cleaning their arms and fixing the flints of their guns. They met Puaha, and detained him prisoner. They said, 'Where are Rauparaha and Rangihaeata?' Puaha said, 'Up the river.' After Puaha and Rangihaeata arrived, we consulted as to what we should do. I proposed going into the bush, but they said 'No, let us remain where we are: what have we done that we should be thus beset?' The Europeans slept some distance from us, and, after they had breakfasted, came on towards us in two boats. We remained on the same spot without food. We were much alarmed. Early in the morning we were on the look-out, and one of the scouts, who caught sight of them coming round a point, called out, 'Here they come! here they come!' Our women had kindled a fire and cooked a few potatoes that we had remaining, and we were hastily eating them when they came in sight. Cotterell called out, 'Where is Puaha?' Puaha answered, 'Here I am, come here to me.' They said again, 'Where is Puaha?' Puaha again saluted them. Cotterell then said, 'Where is a canoe for us to cross?' Thompson, Wakefield, and some other gentlemen crossed over with a constable to take me, but the greater number stopped on the other side of the creek. Thompson said, 'Where is Rauparaha?' I answered, 'Here.' He said, 'Come, you must come with me.' I replied, 'What for?' He answered, 'To talk about the houses you have burnt down.' I said, 'What house have I burned down? Was it a tent belonging to you that you make so much ado about? You know it was not; it was nothing but a hut of rushes. The materials were cut from my own ground; therefore I will not go on board, neither will I be bound. If you are angry about the land, let us talk it quietly over. I care not if we talk till night and all day to-morrow; and when we have finished, I will settle the question about the land!' Mr. Thompson said, 'Will you not go?' I said 'No,' and Rangihaeata, who had been called for, and who had been speaking, said so too. Mr. Thompson then called for the handcuffs and held up the warrant, saying, 'See, this is the Queen's book, this is the Queen to make a tie, Rauparaha.' I said, 'I will not listen either to you or your book.' He was in a great passion; his eyes rolled about and he stamped his feet. I said I would rather be killed than submit to be bound. He then called for the constable, who began opening the handcuffs and advancing towards me. Mr. Thompson laid hold of my hand. I pushed him away, saying, 'What are you doing that for?' Mr. Thompson then called out 'Fire!' The Europeans began to cross over the creek, and as they were crossing they fired one gun. The women and children were sitting round the fire. We called out, 'We shall be shot,' After this one gun, they fired a volley, and one of us was killed, then another, and three were wounded. We were then closing fast; the {290} pakehas' guns were levelled at us. I and Puaha cried out, 'Friends, stand up and shoot some of them in payment.' We were frightened because some of them were very close to us. We then fired; three of the Europeans fell. They fired again and killed Rongo, the wife of Rangihaeata. We then bent all our energy to the fight, and the Europeans began to fly. They all ran away, firing as they retreated; the gentlemen ran too. We pursued them and killed them as we overtook them. Captain Wakefield and Mr. Thompson were brought to me by the slaves, who caught them. Rangihaeata came running to me, crying out, 'What are you doing, I say?' Upon which some heathen slaves killed them at the instigation of Rangihaeata; neither Puaha nor the Christian natives being then present. There was no time elapsed between the fight and the slaughter of the prisoners. When the prisoners were killed, the rest of the people were still engaged in the pursuit, and before they returned they were all dead. I forgot to say that during the pursuit, when we arrived at the top of the hill, Mr. Cotterell held up a flag and said, 'That is enough, stop fighting!' Mr. Thompson said to me, 'Rauparaha, spare my life.' I answered, 'A little while ago, I wished to talk to you in a friendly manner, and you would not; now you say, 'Save me,' I will not save you. It is not our custom to save the chiefs of our enemies. We do not consider our victory complete unless we kill the chiefs of our opponents. Our passions were much roused, and we could not help killing the chiefs."

At the conclusion of Rauparaha's address, Captain Fitzroy desired time to reflect upon what he had just heard, and, at the expiration of half-an-hour, he announced his decision as follows:—

"Now I have heard both sides, I have reflected on both accounts, and I am prepared to give my judgment. In the first place, the English were wrong; they had no right to build houses upon lands to which they had not established their claim—upon land the sale of which you disputed; on which Mr. Spain had not decided. They were wrong in trying to apprehend you, who had committed no crime. They were wrong in marking and measuring your land in opposition to your repeated refusal to allow them to do so until the Commissioner had decided on their claim. Had you been Englishmen, you would have known that it was wrong to resist a magistrate under any circumstances, but not understanding English law, the case is different. Had this been all, had a struggle caused loss of life in the fight—wrong and bad as it would have been to fight in the sight of God—I could not have blamed you so much as the English. The very bad part of the Wairau affair—that part where you were {291} very wrong—was the killing of the men who had surrendered, who trusted to your honour as chiefs. Englishmen never kill prisoners; Englishmen never kill men who have surrendered. It is the shocking death of these unfortunate men that has filled my mind with gloom, that has made my heart so dark, that has filled me with sorrow; but I know how difficult it is to restrain angry men when their passions are aroused. I know you repent of your conduct, and are now sorry that those men were killed. As the English were very greatly to blame, as they brought on and began the fight, and as you were hurried into crime by their misconduct, I will not avenge their death."[172]

In arriving at this determination, Captain Fitzroy may have been actuated to some extent by considerations of expediency; for, had he decided in any other way, the reprisals of the English would undoubtedly have created a war with the natives, which the Government was not in a position at that juncture to carry to a successful issue. Therefore, to have provoked hostilities with Rauparaha would have meant the obliteration of all the settlements before the necessary reinforcements could have arrived. At the same time, there was a large measure of justice in the course he chose to adopt, which, in the calmer judgment of to-day, must receive the endorsement of all impartial men, as it did that of Lord Stanley, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, immediately the Governor's decision was known to the Home authorities. In his despatches on the subject, Lord Stanley made it clear that, in his opinion, Mr. Thompson and Captain Wakefield had needlessly violated the rules of English law, the maxims {292} of prudence, and the principles of justice; and having thus provoked an indefensible quarrel with a barbarous tribe, they could not reasonably complain at the barbarities practised in the subsequent conflict. He was therefore satisfied that, in declining to make the Wairau massacre a subject for criminal proceedings, the Governor had taken a wise, though undoubtedly bold, decision. As might have been expected, the action of Captain Fitzroy in refusing to arrest the two chiefs created a tempest of ill-will against him amongst the settlers, but, on the other hand, the Maoris were overjoyed at the prospect of once more possessing the friendship of the pakeha, and instantly resumed a sociable demeanour towards the colonists. This feeling, upon the advent of Captain Grey as Governor, was gradually reciprocated by the Europeans, who in time came to recognise the folly of their fears, and the absurdity of their hostile attitude. In this way, the startling nature of the catastrophe, which had paralysed the efforts of the New Zealand Company and thrown a pall over the settlement of the whole Colony, began to lose its deadly effect, and the splendid scheme of setting a new gem in the British Crown was rescued from the disaster which threatened it.

[154]   On the 13th June, Captain Wakefield wrote to his brother from Nelson: "The magistrates have granted a warrant, and Thompson, accompanied by myself, England, and a lot of the constables, are off immediately in the Government brig to execute it. We shall muster about sixty, so I think we will overcome these travelling bullies."

[155]   As told to the author by the late Mr. Barnicoat.

[156]   Saturday, June 17, 1843.

[157]   John Brooks had been engaged as a sawyer at Cloudy Bay. He was thoroughly acquainted with the native language and habits, having been eight years resident amongst the Waikato tribes.

[158]   Rawiri Kingi Puaha was born at Kawhia, and belonged to one of the best of the Ngati-Toa families. He migrated southward with Te Rauparaha, and was married to one of Te Pehi's daughters. He died at his own village, Takapuahia, Porirua Harbour, on September 6, 1858. He was a man widely respected by the colonists, and to the day of his death he "maintained a high character as a consistent and conscientious Christian."

[159]   "The conduct of Mr. Thompson has been unquestionably the means of bringing about the fatal conflict in which he himself lost his life. There is only one way of accounting for the part he has acted in that affair; as far as he is concerned, no more blame can be attached to him than to any other lunatic, for such he was to all intents and purposes, and such he was well known to be, even to Mr. Shortland" (Martin's Letters).

[160]   Te Rongo was not the daughter of Te Rauparaha, as that word is generally understood by Europeans, but a much more distant relative. She was the widow of Te Whaiti, a nephew of Rauparaha and a first cousin of Rangihaeata, who married her because she was the widow of his near relative. The story that she was shot while standing in front of Rangihaeata to protect him is pure romance. She was killed by a stray bullet while hiding in the swamp at the rear of the Maori camp.

[161]   "Yesterday we passed (near Maraekowhai) the grave of Te Oru, the chief who killed Captain Wakefield at the Wairau" (Crawford's "Travels in New Zealand").

[162]   This referred to an incident which occurred in 1839. A degenerate whaler named Dick Cook had cruelly murdered a native woman, Rangiawha Kuika, who was the wife of an Englishman named Wynen. The natives wished to deal with him in their own summary way, but the Rev. Mr. Ironside persuaded them to send him to Wellington to be tried according to the British forms of justice. He was charged with the crime at the Supreme Court, but was acquitted, the evidence being mainly circumstantial, his own wife (also a native woman), who saw him do the deed, not being allowed to give testimony against him. This was a delicate point which the natives could not understand, and they ever after retained the firm conviction that an injustice had been done in not punishing him.

[163]   Mr. Clarke, Sub-Protector of the aborigines, estimated that in 1843 there were 11,650 natives capable of bearing arms inhabiting the shores of Cook Strait. In a petition to Parliament signed by seven hundred residents of Wellington shortly after the massacre, it was stated "that it is in the power of the aborigines at any time to massacre the whole of the British population in Cook Strait, and Rauparaha has been known to declare that he will do it."

[164]   On the 29th June, the Wellington magistrates met at Mr. McDonough's house, and on the motion of Dr. Evans, seconded by the Hon. J. Petre, it was resolved: "That Mr. Spain, the Commissioner of Lands, be requested to go in his capacity as one of the magistrates to communicate to the native chiefs and tribes of Cook Strait their determination, which is not to take or to sanction any attempt to take vengeance for the death of the white men at Wairau, but to leave the whole matter to the decision of the Queen's Government, who will inquire into it and decide according to law."

[165]   Now known as Whanganui.

[166]   Te Ahu karamu's son was travelling with Wakefield on this journey, and under the impression that Wakefield would kill him in revenge for the massacre, Te Ahu "had furiously urged the Otaki natives to join Rauparaha and Rangihaeata in an attack upon Wellington."

[167]   "Some of the whalers present laughed at this, having too many friends and relatives by their wives to fear being turned out. Taylor, among the number, laughed outright, for he had lived with the tribe for many years and was a general favourite among them. Rauparaha turned to him and said, 'You must go too, Sammy'" (Wakefield).

[168]   Wakefield has said that Rauparaha not only rebuked the Queen, but spoke offensively of her. But it must always be remembered that he was naturally prejudiced against the chief, and that he was frequently vindictive towards those from whom he differed.

[169]   "Taiaroa talked to me for some time about land in a disgusting jargon composed of whaling slang, broken French, and bad English, so that I was obliged to beg him to speak in Maori, which I could better understand. I then made out that he was angry with 'Wideawake' (Colonel Wakefield) and other white people for taking so much land, and he said he would turn the white people off to the southward if he did not get plenty of utu" (Wakefield).

[170]   These displays had a distinctly disturbing effect upon the native mind, the Maoris regarding them as a sure and certain sign that the settlers meditated an attack upon them.

[171]   The entire military force in the Colony at the moment of the massacre was one weak company of infantry stationed at Auckland, and there was no vessel of war on the station (Mundy).

[172]   This decision was written out in pencil and handed to Mr. Clarke to read out to the assemblage. Because Governor Fitzroy did not claim the Wairau district as having been paid for with blood—a course which the chiefs fully expected would be taken, in accordance with their own customs—British prestige and power are said to have suffered considerably in their estimation, and Rangihaeata is reported to have remarked, "He paukena te pakeha" (The Governor is soft, he is a pumpkin). When the Middle Island was sold to the Government by Taiaroa and the descendants of Tamaiharanui, Rangihaeata claimed part of the payment as compensation for the death of Te Pehi and his friends killed at Kaiapoi, and his claim was allowed by Governor Grey.



The decision of which Governor Fitzroy had delivered himself, as the result of his hurried investigation into the circumstances attending the tragedy at the Wairau, brought him into bitter conflict with the more influential colonists, and added to his native troubles a European difficulty, which ultimately played no small part in his official undoing. Fitzroy had, with a patriotism worthy of the best traditions of our race, sacrificed place and high prospects in the homeland to assume the Governorship of New Zealand, a post which was afterwards described by Lord Stanley as "a laborious, responsible, and ill-remunerated office in a distant colony." Without money, or the means of obtaining it, to carry on his civil administration, and destitute of military support wherewith to assert his authority, he found himself defied by the natives and thwarted by the Europeans. His appeals for soldiers were unheeded, and his schemes for supplementing his revenue were disallowed by the Home authorities, who, instead of repairing their policy of parsimony, recalled the Governor. Thus was cut short a career upon which Robert Fitzroy had entered with only the highest motives, throughout which he had acted with the utmost devotion, and in which he had failed only because with his limited opportunities it was humanly impossible to succeed. His successor in the arduous task of soothing the dual discontent was Captain Grey, late of the 83rd Regiment, who was then serving the Crown with conspicuous distinction as Governor of South Australia. His success {294} in dealing with native difficulties there, his achievements as an explorer, added to his valuable personal qualities, were his chief recommendations for the new responsibilities which it was proposed to ask him to assume. That the judgment of those responsible for the selection was sound, history has proved; but the administrations of Fitzroy and Grey cannot fairly be compared, for the reason that, while the former was expected to rule a turbulent population without either men or money, the latter was freely supplied with both. The new Governor was further invested with the additional prestige derivable from the title of Governor-in-Chief, and from the fact that he was supported by a Lieutenant-Governor, who, in his subordinate authority, was stationed in the Southern province. Captain Grey assumed the duties of his new office on November 18, 1845. His first recorded contact with Te Rauparaha was on the occasion of his receiving from him and other chiefs a memorial, in which they expressed their anxiety to know his political intentions, and begged him to give them someone skilled in both native and European laws, who would advise them how best to avoid conflict with the pakeha. They were, they said, deeply anxious to obey the laws of the Queen, and just as they had teachers amongst them to lead them to a proper understanding regarding the will of God, so, in order to avoid misunderstanding, they desired some one to act as their guide and friend in the matter of the temporal law. Grey was more than gratified with this evidence of loyalty and desire for harmony, and, in his reply, endeavoured to make it clear that it was his duty so to direct his authority as to secure the peace and happiness of all under his jurisdiction. "Maoris and Europeans," wrote the Governor, "shall be equally protected and live under equal laws, both of them alike subjects of the Queen and entitled to her favour and care. The Maoris shall be protected in all their property and possessions, and no one shall be allowed to take anything from them or to injure them; nor will I allow Maoris to injure one {295} another. An end must be put to deeds of blood and violence." This clear and explicit declaration of his determination to permit of only one law for the pakeha and Maori, and to hold the racial balance justly before the eyes of the world, touched a responsive chord in the heart of the Maori nation; and Te Rauparaha was but expressing the general sentiments of the people when he wrote in reply to the Governor's message: "We have heard your words, which are like the light of day to us; our hearts are glad. Friend, now will I hold fast your words for good, and for living in quiet, both of natives and Europeans. Your protecting word has come forth for one and for the other; your kind words are a light to us. Now, for the first time, I can say the light has dawned for the Maoris, and now no wrong-doing shall spring from me. I mean the errors of the natives. If you cannot come hither, will you write to me?" Not less reassuring was the word of Wi Kingi Rangitake, of Ngati-Awa.

With these pronouncements of loyalty from the two most powerful chiefs on the west coast, Grey felt more than equal to the task of subduing the malcontent natives under Taringa-kuri, chief of the Kaiwara pa, whose depredations in the Hutt Valley had been causing the greatest anxiety to the Wellington settlers. Both Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata had laid claim to part payment for the land which the New Zealand Company had purchased in this valley, their claim being based upon the alleged conquest of the country. This conquest Mr. Spain held to be incomplete, inasmuch as they had not resided on the land, which was really occupied by Ngati-Awa. He therefore disallowed their claim, although Mr. Clarke, junr., was anxious to pay out of the £1,500 awarded to the natives a sum of £400 in liquidation of their rights, he having come to some such arrangement with Rauparaha at an interview which took place at Waikanae in the presence of the Governor. Hearing of Mr. Spain's objection, Rauparaha, on February 3, 1844, penned a letter to him, Mr. Clarke, {296} and the Governor, in which he warned them against paying the purchase-money for Port Nicholson over to "wrong parties," and listening to "strange men," at the same time urging them to make haste and come to Otaki for the purpose of explaining their intentions to Rangihaeata and himself.

"Friend Mr. Clarke, Mr. Spain, and the Governor,—This letter is from me and Rangihaeata, respecting your foolish work in paying for the land. This was the cause of you and us going wrong at the Wairau, the foolish paying to wrong parties. Do not listen to strange men, but make haste and make known to us your intentions, that the truth of what you have said may be seen. Friend Clarke, make haste. Desist from listening to any man. Son Clarke and Mr. Spain, desist also from carrying your payment to men who have nothing to do with it, but bring it straight to us—myself and Rangihaeata. This is all my speech to you by us.

"Rauparaha.   "Rangihaeata."

To this Mr. Clarke replied on the 29th, assuring Rauparaha that anything that he had promised him in the matter of payment would be carried out. Simultaneously, Mr. Spain arranged to hold a court at Porirua, in order to comply as speedily as possible with Te Rauparaha's request. This court, which was opened on 8th March, was attended by most of the leading chiefs and upwards of two hundred natives. After the preliminary addresses had been disposed of, Mr. Spain formally opened the court by saying, "Rauparaha, I received your letter asking me to settle the Port Nicholson purchase, and after inquiry I have decided that the natives who owned the land are entitled to more money, and I therefore offer you new terms." To this Te Rauparaha answered, "My wish was to settle my claims at Port Nicholson, but you want me to give up the Hutt." "Did you not consent to receive £300 for Port Nicholson and the Hutt?" inquired Mr. Spain in an injured tone; to which Te Rauparaha replied that he had not regarded the bargain in that light. Efforts were made to convince him that he had signed a deed in which the Hutt was {297} included, but he insisted that the boundary was not to go beyond a creek known as Rotokakahi. "I am aware of the cause of this objection," said Mr. Spain. "That man sitting by your side, Taringa-kuri, is cultivating land at the Hutt to which he has no right." Te Rauparaha's answer was that the land belonged to Taringa-kuri, as he was the oldest man of the resident natives; whereupon Mr. Spain rose to depart, and as he did so he turned, and, more in sorrow than in anger, upbraided Te Rauparaha for thus breaking faith with him in so flagrant a manner.

The court then adjourned without either party having been able to convince the other. But Te Rauparaha did not permit the grass to grow under his feet, for he at once despatched Taringa-kuri to cut a line through the scrub and bush dividing the Upper from the Lower Hutt Valley, in order to define clearly what territory he considered belonged to the pakeha and what to the Maori. On hearing that this work was in progress, Mr. Spain felt it incumbent upon him to go out and warn Taringa-kuri that he was committing an illegal act, and that the boundary he was attempting to create would not be recognised by the Government. Mr. Spain's reception was not an encouraging one. "If you have come to make remarks about our cutting this line, you may as well return, as we will listen to nothing you have got to say, nor will we be deterred from it by you, by the Governor, or by the Queen," was the truculent declaration of the first native whom he met. Taringa-kuri was not less uncompromising. "I am cutting a line to divide the lands of the settlers from our own, and I am doing it under Te Rauparaha's orders," was his emphatic reply to Mr. Spain's demand for information as to why this work was proceeding. And in answer to the Commissioner's protest that the line being cut was not the line agreed upon, the chief, with a fine show of indignation, accused him of hostile intentions. "It is plain," he said, "you are not peaceably disposed; you heard at Porirua that Rauparaha would not agree to {298} your boundaries, and you appear determined to insist upon them. You had better return to the land of your birth."

Immediately upon his return to Wellington, Mr. Spain despatched a letter to Rauparaha again severely censuring him for committing a breach of faith in sending Taringa-kuri to cut the line contrary to his (Mr. Spain's) decision, and concluding by saying, "Let me tell you that after all that has occurred, Kuri is acting contrary to the laws of the Governor, and, if he persists in his illegal acts, he will be punished by the law accordingly." This letter Mr. Spain first showed to Mr. Hadfield, who approved its contents, and translated it into the native tongue for him, Mr. Spain thinking that this course would enhance its value in the native estimation. On the 27th Rauparaha replied that it was not he who was withholding the land, but Rangihaeata, who had negatived his voice in the councils of the tribe. But he still reiterated his former contention that he had never agreed to sell the Hutt.

The remonstrances on the part of Mr. Spain having proved fruitless, the Governor first pacified Heke[173] and Kawiti in the north, and then came south in February, 1846, with all the prestige of a successful "fighting Governor," to direct his operations against the truculent Taringa-kuri. In an interview, the Governor peremptorily demanded the evacuation of the valley. The chief pleaded for time to reap and remove the standing crops; but the Governor, strong in the knowledge that he had right on his side, and an ample force to sustain his demand, refused to consider any compromise, and gave the chief no alternative between immediate compliance and a declaration of war. The natives hesitated to test the question by an appeal to arms, and sullenly withdrew from the disputed territory, but not from the valley itself. They fell back upon a pa up in the ranges, which the Governor afterwards described as {299} "the strongest position he had seen in any part of the world." From this mountain fastness they made sudden and destructive raids upon the peaceful settlements in the vale below. Two hundred soldiers were left to render the settlers what measure of protection they could, by defensive tactics. Their instructions were not to attack the rebels in their stronghold, but, by vigilantly preventing them from securing supplies, to endeavour by starvation to render its continued occupation impossible. This policy had early the anticipated effect, and, acting on Te Rauparaha's assurance that the rebels had abandoned the pa, the Governor visited the spot, and has thus described what he saw:—

"The forest which had been held by the enemy was traversed by a single narrow path, almost impassable for armed Europeans. This path ascended a narrow ridge of rocks, having a precipice on each side covered with jungle. The ridge of rocks was so narrow that only one person could pass along it at a time, and it led to a hill with a broad summit, upon which a fortress had been constructed in such a manner as completely to command the path, which was rendered more difficult by an abattis placed across it. The rear of this position was quite as inaccessible as the front, and on each flank was a precipice; from the number of huts placed upon it, it must have been occupied by from three hundred to four hundred men."

No sooner was this position abandoned than another, almost equally impregnable, was taken up, and from this lair in the depth of the hills a band of marauders crept down through the forest early in April of 1846, stole past the troops, and late in the afternoon murdered a settler named Gillespie and his son, while they were engaged threshing wheat. There were soldiers in the vicinity at the time, but they were more intent upon getting grog from Burcham's public-house than upon protecting the settlers; and so stealthily was the attack carried out, that no one knew of the tragedy until Charles Gillespie, returning home in the dusk, found his father and brother in the throes of death. Te Rauparaha disclaimed, and probably with truth, all {300} knowledge of or participation in this treacherous act, and even offered his assistance in bringing the murderers to justice. Rangihaeata was not so frank—or it may be that he was even more frank—for he instantly betook himself to the hills, and openly declared himself in sympathy with those who were thus contesting the question of the supremacy of the races. He refused to give the murderers up to the authorities, and busied himself with preparations for continuing the contest. Nor had the military long to wait for his onset. The most advanced British post in the valley was known as Boulcott's Farm, commanded by Lieutenant Page, who had a force of fifty men with him. Here, just before dawn, on May 16, 1846, the sentry, as he kept his lonely vigil, was startled by seeing some dark body creeping through the grass towards him. Without waiting to challenge, he fired, and in an instant the air was rent with the savage yells of a horde of warriors, who, under Mamaku, had left Rangihaeata's pa at Pahautanui on the previous day, and, scaling the mountain range, had fallen upon the sleeping camp. The sentry and the picket were soon overpowered and killed, but not before the alarm had been given by Allen, the bugle-boy attached to the company. Roused from sleep by the commotion, he seized his bugle, and was in the act of sounding the call to arms, when a blow from a tomahawk struck the instrument from his hand. He still had time to recover it, and blow a blast which awakened his sleeping comrades, before he was laid low by a second stroke of the murderous axe. A galling fire was at once opened upon the outpost from the surrounding bush by the secreted natives, and Lieutenant Page and two men, who were with him in one of the out-buildings, hurried off to join their comrades who had been sleeping in the stockade. Intercepted by a swift rush on the part of a band of natives, they were only rescued from their perilous position by a determined effort on the part of the sergeant, who rallied some of the men and went to his commander's relief. {301} Three men went down with wounds, and the remaining six fought the savages hand to hand, checking their onslaught until the wounded were got safely away and the remainder were able to retreat to the barn. Here the available force was assembled, and, leaving a sufficient garrison to defend the position, Lieutenant Page[174] and his men sallied out in extended order, firing as they went. Under this pressure the attack soon slackened, and, on the arrival of reinforcements, was turned into retreat, but not before six men had been killed and four wounded. During the following month there was another skirmish in the valley, which did not redound greatly to the credit of the British arms.

These repeated raids convinced the Governor that he must lance the lairs which were harbouring these human wolves, who represented all that was worst in the native race. He had been desirous of deferring field operations against these malcontents until the winter was over; but, realising that every successful attack only encouraged the enemy to further excesses, and diminished the enthusiasm of the loyal natives, he now determined upon an immediate and active campaign. The policy of road-making, which had been initiated some months before, was vigorously prosecuted, the friendly natives, as well as the soldiers, being employed in the work. The deep paths which were thus cut through the luxuriant beauty of the wilderness to Porirua and into the heart of the Hutt Valley robbed the forest of much of its terror, and were masterly counter-strokes to the secret tactics of Rangihaeata's followers. That chief's reply to the Governor's policy was to build a pa at Pahautanui, so skilfully situated and so strongly fortified that he openly boasted that nothing but British artillery could drive him from it. But he did more than this. A tapu placed on the Porirua track for a time disturbed and paralysed our native allies; but the {302} inconvenience was only temporary, and the Governor succeeded in gradually breaking down the chief's authority.

An important military post was established at Porirua, garrisoned by three hundred men, and the services of the friendly natives were enlisted in the contemplated movement against the forces of Rangihaeata. His pa was reconnoitred on the night of July 8th by Lieutenant the Hon. Charles Yelverton, of the Royal Artillery, and Mr. McKillop, then a midshipman on board H.M.S. Calliope, and the conclusion at which they arrived was that the artillery might easily be brought forward against the pa, and that in all other respects its investment was feasible, so soon as the Governor had a sufficient force at his disposal for the purpose. But there was one other factor to be taken into account. What would Te Rauparaha's attitude be if Rangihaeata were attacked? In his pa at Taupo, on the shores of Porirua Harbour, he occupied a strong strategical position; and, though he had consistently professed his friendship for the Governor and his loyalty to the Queen, he was supremely distrusted, both by the authorities and by our native allies. As early as June of 1846, Major Last had reported to the Governor, from Wellington, that he was "a little suspicious of Te Rauparaha";[175] but the insinuation of disloyalty coming to the chief's ears, he challenged the Major's suspicions by offering to come to Wellington to prove the contrary. In view of the intensely hostile feeling prevailing amongst the European population against the chief, Major Last deemed the proposed visit to be ill-timed and impolitic, and declined to encourage Rauparaha in his intention. But the bold and fearless proposal must have shaken the officer's confidence in the grounds for his aspersion. {303} The position of the chief at this time was a most unenviable one, for there is evidence that the Governor had begun to share the doubts of Major Last. It must not be forgotten, however, that the seeds of suspicion may have been assiduously sown in his mind by Rauparaha's tribal enemies, who would have exulted in embroiling him in a dispute with the local authorities. Even his friends who were with Rangihaeata in the field, either to further their own schemes or out of resentment at his passive attitude, sought to draw him into the vortex of the struggle. The mana of the chief was still great, and Rangihaeata and Mamaku endeavoured to conjure with his name and claim his sanction for a letter to some tribal comrades containing an appeal for assistance.

The native carrying this letter was captured, and the intercepted document placed in the hands of the Governor, who immediately sailed for Porirua in H.M.S. Driver. On board the vessel he was visited by Te Rauparaha, and, during the interview, the incriminating message was produced and handed to the chief, who instantly denounced its contents as falsehoods and its writer as his enemy. "I watched him narrowly at the time," says Grey, "and his manner was such as to lead me to think that he really had no knowledge that such a letter had been written." Though thus frankly confessing that the letter was an injustice to the chief, the Governor, either from some innate mistrust of his visitor or a too ready disposition to listen to the sinister suggestions made against him, resolved that he would take no risks as to the future conduct of the man whom he believed he had to checkmate. He therefore determined that, before moving against Rangihaeata, he would forestall any possibility of an attack upon his lines of communication by capturing Te Rauparaha and holding him hostage for the good behaviour of his tribe. Without indicating by sign or word to the chief that the friendship between them was at an end, and without permitting him even to suspect the existence of any doubts as to his loyalty, the Governor took his farewell {304} of Te Rauparaha, and on the afternoon of July 22 left Porirua. For the purpose of allaying suspicion, the Driver, in which he sailed, ostentatiously steamed to the north; but during the night she returned and stealthily anchored at the entrance of the harbour. Boats were lowered, and a company of a hundred and thirty men, under Major Last, Captain Stanley, of H.M.S. Calliope, and Lieutenant McKillop,[176] landed, and silently surrounded the stockade of the Taupo pa, in which the chief and his people were sleeping. The arrangements of the capturing party were so admirably made that no suspicion of what was moving around them was allowed to reach the natives until the stormers rushed into Rauparaha's whare, and, seizing the chief in his bed, carried him, in spite of his struggles and protestations, down to the boat side. Lieutenant McKillop, who personally accomplished the seizure of the chief, has left on record the following account of the exciting incident:—


After a drawing by C. D. Barraud. Esq

"I was sent for soon after we arrived, and had an interview with the Governor, who informed me of Rauparaha's treachery, and his wish to have him and three others taken prisoners, if possible by surprise; and knowing that I was acquainted with their persons and locality, he asked me if I would undertake the capture of the 'Old Serpent' myself, allowing me to choose my own time and method of doing it, Major Durie, the Inspector of Police, being selected to take the others. Accordingly it was arranged that we were to leave the ship before daylight the next morning and land quietly on the rocks some little distance from the pa in which our treacherous allies lived, taking a mixed force of bluejackets and soldiers, amounting to two hundred men, to support us in the case of the natives rising before we had effected our object. It was the Governor's particular desire that we should not lay our hands on these men until we had told them they were prisoners for treason, but on no account to let old Rauparaha escape. I took Mr. Dighton with me to act as interpreter, and four of our men unarmed, giving them instructions to seize upon the old chief as soon as he was made aware of the charge preferred against him, and to hurry him down to the boat before he could rouse his people, the principal object being to secure him. We landed at break of {305} day, and while they were forming the troops on the beach, I with my small party ran on, as it was then light, fearing that conscious guilt might sharpen their ears and frustrate our plans. When we reached the pa not a soul was stirring, but our heavy footsteps soon brought some of the sleepers to the doors of their huts, knowing we were not of the barefooted tribe. We could not wait to give any explanation, but pushed on to the hut which contained the object of our search, whose quick ears had detected strange footsteps. Never having liked me, he did not look at all easy on perceiving who the intruder was, although his wife showed no alarm and received me with her usual salutation. Upon informing him that he was my prisoner, he immediately threw himself (being in a sitting posture) back into the hut, and seized a tomahawk, with which he made a blow at his wife's head, thinking she had betrayed him. I warded the blow with my pistol and seized him by the throat, my four men immediately rushing in on him, and, securing him by his arms and legs, started off as fast as his violent struggles would allow of, which for a man of his age (upwards of seventy) were almost superhuman. He roared out lustily 'Ngati-Toa! Ngati-Toa!' endeavouring to bring his tribesmen to his rescue, and in a few seconds every man was on his legs and came rushing over to see what was the matter with their chief; but the troops and bluejackets coming up at the same time and surrounding the pa prevented any attempt at a rescue, as he was already in the boat. His last effort to free himself was fastening with his teeth on to my coxswain's shoulder, who bore this piece of cannibalism unflinchingly. I sent Mr. Dighton off to the ship with him, there being not much chance of his escaping from the boat, particularly as he was informed that he would be shot if he attempted to escape. I then returned to the pa to search for arms and ammunition, and also to see if the other prisoners had been secured. The interior of the pa presented a woeful spectacle, the women all howling in chorus with the pigs and the children, the two latter being much knocked about in the search for arms."

In the mêlée which ensued upon the capture of Te Rauparaha, four other natives were also seized by Major Durie, and in the same arbitrary manner were carried off to the ship.[177] Two of these were the influential chiefs, {306} Te Kanae (the ariki of the Ngati-Toa tribe) and Hohepa, and two were men of inferior rank. By some writers who have been at no pains to conceal their hostility to Te Rauparaha, it is alleged that upon his arrival on board the Driver he manifested the most craven spirit, until he was assured that it was not the Governor's intention to hang him from the yard-arm. But, whatever be the truth of this assertion, he at least retained sufficient dignity and self-respect as a chief to strenuously object to the additional humiliation of being imprisoned in company with men of no standing in the tribe; and, in deference to his injured pride and his vehement expostulations, Pohe and his companion were sent ashore and released from their brief captivity.

Naturally, the little settlement at Taupo was thrown into a state of intense excitement. The seizure of their chief was so sudden, so unexpected, that its reality could not for the moment be grasped; but when its full significance broke in upon the astonished tribe, the startling tidings was immediately despatched to Te Rangihaeata, who was still sitting in defiance in his stronghold at Pahautanui. He at once made for the coast, but was too late. The Governor had several hours' start of him, and he was compelled to make a wide detour to avoid the British post at Porirua. He arrived on the wooded hill-side above Te Rauparaha's pa only in time to see the war-ship with her captives steaming down the coast.[178] Enraged and disappointed at what he must have regarded as the perfidy of the pakeha, and disheartened at his own impotency, he gloomily retired to his lair, there to sing[179] that beautiful lament, in which he {307} mournfully acknowledges the increasing ascendancy of the stranger, and chides the waning loyalty of his own people.

"My brave canoe! In lordly decoration lordliest far, My proud canoe! Amid the fleet that fleetest flew— How wert thou shattered by the surge of war! 'Tis but the fragments of thy wreck, O my renowned canoe, That lie all crushed on yonder war-ship's deck! Raha! my chief, my friend! Thy lonely journey wend: Stand with thy wrongs before our god of battle's face: Bid him thy foes requite!— Ah me! Te Raukawa's foul desertion and disgrace— Ah me! the English ruler's might!

Raha! my chief of chiefs! Ascend with all thy griefs Up to their Lord of Peace—there stand before His face— Let Him thy faith requite!— Ah me! Te Toa's sad defection and disgrace— Ah me! the English ruler's might!

One counsel from the first I gave, 'Break up thy forces, comrade brave, Scatter them all about the land In many a predatory band!'— But Porirua's forest dense, Ah, thou wouldst never stir from thence, 'There,' saidst thou, 'lies my best defence,'— Now, now, of such design ill-starred, How grievously thou reap'st the full reward!

Hence, vain lamenting—hence, away! Hence, all the brood of sorrow born! There will be time enough to mourn In the long days of summer, ere the food Is cropped, abundant for the work of blood. Now I must marshal in compact array, Great thoughts that crowding come of an avenging day!"[180]

{308} The seizure of Te Rauparaha, at such a time and in such a manner, is one of the many debatable points in the history of this period, and, notwithstanding that many pages have been written upon the incident, the ethics of the act are apparently as far from final determination as ever. To the present writer its justification lies in its success. There is no doubt that, however high-handed and arbitrary, it was a tactical stroke which compelled waverers to pause, and paralysed those who were already in active hostility. On the other hand, it might just as easily have roused the whole Maori race into a frenzy of injured pride, and plunged the country into the vortex of a retaliatory war. Only one thing saved New Zealand from this calamity, and that was the tribal dissensions. Had the Maori been a united people, this unprovoked indignity put upon one of their greatest men must have excited their bitterest passions against the perpetrators of the deed; and one almost shudders to realise in what a hair-balance the fate of the little Colony trembled at this moment of her history. In criticising the Governor's policy, however, it must be borne in mind that he, with his knowledge of Maori conditions, may have counted upon these very intertribal hatreds to prevent anything in the nature of a general rising. This being assumed, his action is shorn of some of its rashness and impolicy, and he becomes entitled to credit for the success of his methods of overawing the turbulent spirit of the malcontent Maoris. On no other ground than that the end justifies the means can the seizure of Te Rauparaha be defended, nor, so far as the writer is aware, has any other defence ever been seriously attempted. The most that can be urged against the chief is that, unlike Te Kingi Rangitake, he did not join the allies and enter upon active hostilities against the so-called rebels. Of the fact that he secretly aided them there is little evidence and no proof. What evidence there may be is confined to the intercepted letters, admitted by the Governor himself to be forgeries, and to the unsupported statements of natives, some jealous of his power, and others {309} aggrieved at his previous treatment of them. In this respect Te Rauparaha must have felt that, having sown the wind, he was now reaping the whirlwind; for those natives who had gone down under his hand in war, or had been outwitted by his diplomacy, were only too anxious to represent him in an unfavourable light to the Governor, and were never tired of insinuating, and even broadly asserting, that his spirit was behind the rebellion, even though his hand might be invisible.

In communicating with Mr. Gladstone on July 23, 1846, Grey described his military operations, which were designed to check a company of some two hundred rebels who, he had reason to believe, were marching from Whanganui to join Te Rangihaeata. He landed at Waikanae, Otaki, and Ohau, where he had a conference with the friendly chiefs. He proceeded to say: "The whole of the chiefs with whom I had interviews declared that these disturbances were to be entirely attributed to the intrigues of Te Rauparaha." How much his mind was influenced by the opinions of the chiefs may be judged by the fact that on the following day he launched his successful stroke, but how little he had weighed the value of their testimony may also be inferred from the circumstance that a year later he wrote a despatch to Mr. Gladstone's successor at the Colonial Office, in which he was forced to admit that after retaining Te Rauparaha in captivity for ten months his difficulties in deciding how to dispose of him were enhanced by the fact that all his "efforts made to secure the evidence of Pohi[181] failed, consequently it was not possible to prove Te Rauparaha's guilt in a court of law."

It is strange, if so many chiefs knew that the brain of Te Rauparaha was forging the balls which Rangihaeata was firing, that none were able to testify to the fact in an established court of law, and, travesty upon British justice though it may seem, it is nevertheless a fact that {310} the man who had relied upon the Treaty of Waitangi to secure him his rights and liberties was detained a prisoner without formal charge and without the chance of a trial until it was thought possible to prove his guilt. How far Te Rauparaha's seizure and continued detention were a palliation to the wounded feelings of the European settlers it is difficult to pronounce, but it is not in the least unlikely that the Governor paid some regard to the popular effect of the step, even if he totally ignored its judicial aspect. In all probability Te Rauparaha was at this time the best-hated man in New Zealand. The memory of the massacre at the Wairau had not yet died out, and there were many who, misunderstanding that fatal event, could not look upon the chief whose name had been so tragically associated with it in any other light than as a social and moral outcast. To this not inconsiderable section of the community imprisonment was much too good for Te Rauparaha, but it was preferable to the negative attitude of Governor Fitzroy, and Grey, no doubt, counted upon standing well with these extremists by the initiation of a policy in which there was a touch of retribution, however barren it might be of justice.

With the European population, then, the kidnapping of the Ngati-Toa leader was, on the whole, a popular move, and with a number of the natives it was hailed as an act of retribution, long delayed, but nevertheless a judgment at last. Upon his own people the effect was different. They were stunned by the swiftness of the blow and confounded by its audacity. Here in a twinkling the very eye had been plucked out of their head, the heart torn from their body, and that, too, at a time when they had no quarrel with the Government, and by a man whom they had been wont to regard as their friend. Their first impulse was to fly to arms. To attack Wellington, to sweep the pakeha into the sea, to avenge the wrongs of Te Rauparaha, was the cry. Te Rangihaeata called his own followers about him and sent out his appeals to the northern tribes: "Friends and {311} children, come and revenge the injuries of Te Rauparaha, because Te Rauparaha is the eye of the faith of all men. Make haste hither in the days of December." But his design for the extermination of the Europeans was doomed to be frustrated. His own particular faithfuls were few in number, and the one great chief, Te Heuheu, to whom he might have looked for encouragement in such an emergency, was dead, buried beneath a huge landslide which had overwhelmed his village on the shores of Lake Taupo. Of others with whom he had been accustomed to co-operate in the days gone by, some were espousing the cause of the enemy, and some, having embraced the Christian faith, had grown weary of incessant war. Their reply, which was something in the nature of a rebuke, betokened that they had realised the futility of opposing the further progress of the pakeha. "How can you dry up the sea? That is why we say, finish fighting with the European." Such was their answer to his summons to arms, and Rangihaeata was left to fall back upon his small band of war-worn desperadoes to carry on a struggle which was hopeless from the first.[182]

Abandoned to his own resources, he applied himself to his duties of leader with the energy of despair. Realising that his position at Pahautanui was no longer tenable, as its swamps and shallows were no protection against the artillery which he knew was collected at Porirua, he withdrew his forces into the deeply wooded Horokiwi Valley. Through this forest defile, tangled and matted by an almost impenetrable undergrowth, he {312} was pursued by a force of 1,000 men, composed of militia and native allies, under Major Last. Te Rangihaeata's generalship proved equal to the peculiar circumstances in which he found himself, and his genius for war won for him the warmest encomiums from British officers, who have generously expressed their admiration for the skill with which the chief conducted his retreat. Into the density of the wooded valley he led his pursuers, enticing them by a simulated resistance, but abandoning his camps as soon as they pressed too closely upon him. In one of these semi-fortified resting-places the British soldiers discovered the bugle which had been taken from the boy Allen when he was struck down at the fatal fight at Boulcott's Farm.

At length, retreat being no longer possible, the rebel chief turned at bay and fought his pursuers at a point near the head of the valley. His decision to throw down the gage of battle here was not the result of accident or impulse, but was due to deliberate calculation. The position was admirably chosen, and he held the enemy in check long enough to enable him to fortify it effectively. He threw a rough breastwork of tree-trunks across the narrow neck of a spur springing from a densely wooded hill, the approach to which was flanked by steep ravines, leaving so narrow a ridge that it could only be passed abreast by a very limited force of men. This wooden rampart, which presented so imposing a front to an enemy, was liberally perforated with loopholes, through which the defenders were able to concentrate their fire with deadly effect upon any approaching force. This arrangement, combined with the inaccessible nature of the ground, made its seizure by storm practically impossible. Nevertheless, an attack was determined upon, and on the morning of August 6, 1846, fire was opened upon the position, but with no other visible result than that Ensign Blackburn[183] and two {313} privates were killed and nine others wounded. On the following day the assault, which had been so inauspiciously commenced, was suspended, for Major Last had now seen enough to convince him that some projectile more searching than bullets was necessary to dislodge the defenders from their stronghold. He accordingly sent to Porirua and procured two small mortars, which, after infinite labour spent in dragging them into position, were discovered to be absolutely worthless for purposes of attack, for the high forest trees made accurate gunnery impossible. Seeing his troops in a deplorable condition, even after this short bush campaign, and hopeless of driving Rangihaeata out, except at an enormous sacrifice of human life, Major Last decided to withdraw the regular troops and leave the friendly natives, under Puaha, to watch and wait for hunger to work its effects upon the stubborn garrison. A few days sufficed for this. On the 13th the allies were surprised by a hail of lead suddenly raining down upon their lines. No sooner had they sprung to arms than they saw that the enemy was afoot, the volley which they had fired being the signal for retreat. Immediately the real nature of the movement was ascertained, Puaha and his loyalists rushed forward over the fallen trees and broken ground, and reached the breastwork only in time to see the last of the defenders escape by the thickly veiled forest track, where they were swallowed up by the bush and lost to human view.

Hunger and cold had done their work, for there were no signs of food supplies inside the camp except some edible fern. Nor did the escape of the defenders to the open avail them much, for they were so harried by the followers of Puaha as they fled along the snow-covered mountain ridge that the opportunities for procuring food were few and uncertain. Some made their perilous way to the coast, in the secret hope of finding food and shelter amongst their friends in the pas, but these were for the most part found by the vigilant Wiremu Kingi, and either driven back into the mountain fastnesses or {314} promptly secured as prisoners of war.[184] Deeming himself fortunate to have so far evaded death or capture, Te Rangihaeata retreated northwards with his famished adherents until he reached the lowlands of the Manawatu. There, beaten though still defiant, he retired to a pa built in the midst of the swamps and marshes of Poroutawhao, where he laid down his arms and, sullenly drawing his mat about him, prepared to watch the irresistible march of the pakeha, though refusing to acknowledge defeat at his hands. "I am finished," he wrote to the Governor, "but do not suppose that you conquered me. No; it was these my own relatives and friends, Rangitake and others. It was by them I was overcome, and not by you, O Governor."[185]

A new cause for anxiety, in the outbreak of hostilities at Whanganui, now diverted Grey's attention momentarily {315} from the fugitive chief, who improved the respite thus given by refraining from any act of violence. Although no formal peace was declared, Grey wisely decided not to precipitate further trouble by following him into the marshes of Poroutawhao. True, on the very day (April 18, 1847) that the news of the outbreak at Whanganui reached Wellington, the chief made a sensational descent upon Kapiti. In the grey of the early morning a whaler named Brown was awakened by a sound at the door of his hut, and, as he raised himself on his elbow, he saw the tall form of Rangihaeata enter the room with a tomahawk in his hand. The whaler not unnaturally thought he had come to take his life, and, in his subsequent narration of the incident, he indulged in some heroics, telling how he had challenged the chief to slay him on the spot. But Rangihaeata was not in search of a defenceless whaler's blood. He had come to demand some powder which was rightly his, and which he had left there for safe keeping. When he had secured his property, he went harmlessly away, after shaking hands in the most friendly manner with the frightened seaman. Some of his followers, however, were not quite so scrupulous; and, in searching the hut for the powder, they had appropriated a bundle of bank notes and some sovereigns, and secreted them about their persons until they returned to the pa. Here Rangihaeata discovered the theft, and immediately sent back the plunder to the Governor, accompanied by a characteristic note, in which he made it clear that, however much he might be in opposition to the Government, he had no desire to be esteemed a common thief.

With Rangihaeata beaten out of the field, we may now return to Te Rauparaha, whom we left in the hands of his captors. To ensure his greater security, he was, immediately upon the arrival of the Driver at Wellington, transferred to H.M.S. Calliope,[186] where he was placed {316} under the watchful eye of Captain Stanley, for whom, we are told, he afterwards acquired a high regard. On board this ship he was detained with some show of liberty for upwards of ten months, visiting the principal ports of northern and central New Zealand, as the duties of the station demanded the presence of the vessel. During all this period no attempt was made to bring him to trial, though no pains were spared by the Governor to secure the evidence which would ensure his conviction. In a despatch written to the Colonial Office on December 1, 1846, Grey endeavoured to explain his position and justify his halting attitude, but, in the trenchant words of one of his critics, his was a justification which itself required to be justified:—

"A number of designing Europeans, who are annoyed at my interfering with their illegal purchases of land, have thought it proper to agitate the question of the justice and propriety of my arresting Te Rauparaha. Some most improper publications have already appeared, and I regret to state that I find a great effect is being produced upon the minds of the native chiefs. The difficulty of my position is that I am not yet quite satisfied whether or not it will be expedient or necessary to bring the old man to trial. In fact, I am rather anxious to avoid doing so, and I fear that, were I to make public the various crimes for which he has been seized by the Government, and the proofs of his guilt upon which the Government justify his detention, a large portion of the European population would be so exasperated against him that it would be difficult for the Government to avoid bringing him to trial; and, if I were compelled to adopt this step from having made known the charges against him, I should probably be accused of having ungenerously prejudiced the public against him previously to his being brought to trial."

The only impression which the unbiassed student can {317} derive from a perusal of this specious reasoning is that the Governor, in seeking to excuse himself for an unjustifiable action, has in reality delivered his own condemnation for a grave breach of trust. If the "various crimes" of which the chief was suspected were as defined as the Governor implies they were, and if "the proofs of his guilt upon which the Government justified his detention" were clear and unimpeachable, obviously then it was his bounden duty to the Colony and to Te Rauparaha that the chief should be brought to trial at the earliest possible moment. But the real fact was that the offences of Te Rauparaha were as imaginary as the proofs of his guilt were mythical, and he was kept captive on a ship of war while the Governor was diligently endeavouring to find Pohi, who was supposed to be possessed of important secrets, or was sedulously filling in the missing links in the chain of evidence which he hoped would establish the fact that certain messengers, who were known to have carried information to Rangihaeata, were indeed sent by Te Rauparaha.

A fruitless ten months was spent in these endeavours to bring home guilt to Te Rauparaha, and at the end of that time Grey was forced to admit that he was still unable to prove the chief guilty in a court of law. He therefore began to consider how far he was justified in longer detaining him, while still refusing to do him the justice of giving him a clear acquittal. He temporised with other reasons, from which it is clear that he regarded the step as one of expediency rather than of right. "The detention of the prisoners," he wrote to Earl Grey, "has caused expense and inconvenience to the Government"; and therefore, to relieve his administration of something which it had forced upon itself, he was magnanimous enough to loose the chains from off the chief. But the Governor was also influenced by other considerations. He believed that the capture and long captivity of Te Rauparaha had completely destroyed his mana, so that he was now incapable of originating any new mischief, even if he were so inclined. But we {318} may also do him the justice of believing that he was genuinely anxious to placate the Ngati-Toa people, who had repeatedly petitioned him for their leader's release, and to allay an ugly suspicion, which had gained credence amongst them, that Te Rauparaha had been murdered, and that his so-called detention was merely a subterfuge to cover a desperate crime.

"Repeated applications," wrote the Governor, "have been made by Te Rauparaha's tribe for his release, and this step seems to be quite justified by his ten months of good conduct. Waka Nene and Te Wherowhero also petitioned for his release, and went guarantee for his good behaviour. Upon the whole, with the larger force that will be placed at my disposal, and after the convincing proofs which the natives have so frequently afforded of their regarding their interests as identical with those of the Government, I entertain no apprehension of Te Rauparaha being able to effect further mischief, even if he were disposed to do so. I therefore determined to order his release, merely requiring Te Wherowhero and Waka Nene to pledge their words for his future good conduct, and although I exacted no conditions either from themselves or from the prisoners, I recommended them to require both Te Rauparaha and Hohepa to reside on the northern portions of the island until I felt justified in stating that I had no objection to them permitting Te Rauparaha to return to his own country."

Under the guarantee of good conduct given by Te Wherowhero and Waka Nene, Te Rauparaha was released at Auckland, and was received as a guest into Te Wherowhero's house, which had been built for him by the Government in what is now the Auckland Domain. Here, though nominally free, he must have felt the bitterness of his exile, for he frequently displayed the humiliation which was surging within his soul by relapsing into periods of deep melancholy, during which he doubtless meditated upon the departed glory of the past and the hopelessness of the future. With him times had indeed changed. From the imperious leader of a victorious tribe, supreme and absolute, his word the word of authority, his very look, his merest gesture, an unquestionable command, he found himself shorn of his {319} power, degraded by captivity, destitute of influence, and little more than a memory—the hoary vestige of a stately ruin. But his path was not all strewn with thorns, and there were not wanting those, both Maori and European, who strove to lighten his burden and salve his wounded soul. Visitors frequently sought to cheer his drooping spirits, and, as a compliment to the conqueror of Kapiti, Te Wherowhero brought the flower of the Hauraki chiefs to do him honour. In September, 1847, two hundred of these warriors, casting aside their tribal prejudices, came and visited him. As the kilted band of strangers advanced, Te Rauparaha, dressed in a dogskin mat and forage cap, went out to meet them. He saluted several of the leading men according to native custom, and then followed the speechmaking inseparable from Maori gatherings. Squatting in a semicircle upon the ground, the assemblage listened with rapt attention to the oration delivered by Te Rauparaha, of whom all had heard, but whom few had previously seen. His speech was a dignified recitation of his past deeds, and while he spoke of his struggles with Waikato, his pilgrimage, and his conquests, he delivered himself brilliantly and dramatically, for the fire of the old warrior seemed to burn again within him and the blood of the victor to pulsate once more through his veins. But when he came to describe his seizure and captivity, the injustice and humiliation of it all bore down his valiant spirit, and he concluded his oration with difficulty and almost in tears. To this great effort of Maori eloquence replies of a lengthy and ceremonial nature were delivered by Taraia, Te Wherowhero, and several members of Hauraki's aristocracy, and then food was served on a sumptuous scale to the strangers. It was, however, noticed that Te Rauparaha ate but sparingly and was ill at ease. He rose and walked to his house, into which he was followed by two of the women, who there sang to him of the deeds of his fathers, and of the heroes of the ancient line from which he had sprung, the lament bringing a flood of tears to the old man's dim eyes. {320} Still under the surveillance of Te Wherowhero, Te Rauparaha spent six months in the country of the Waikatos, the scene of some of his youthful exploits; but, feeling his freedom to be liberty only in name, and himself a stranger in a strange land, he preferred a request to the Governor to be allowed to return to his own people by the shores of Cook Strait, where was centred everything in life that he valued. The Governor granted his request, believing that he had now nothing to fear from the chief, and recognising that his return would have a quieting influence upon Rangihaeata, who, during his uncle's absence, had steadfastly refused to believe that the man by whose orders Wareaitu[187] had been executed would be more merciful to Te Rauparaha. Accordingly, in January of 1848, the Governor, Lady Grey, Lieut.-Colonel Mundy, Te Wherowhero, Taraia, Te Rauparaha, and several other chiefs, embarked on board H.M.S. Inflexible and steamed for Otaki. Arrived there, the vessel was immediately boarded by Tamihana Te Rauparaha, who, clothed in the garb of a clergyman, came off to welcome his father.

The morning of January 16, 1848, was the time appointed for the restoration of Te Rauparaha to his people. When the boats had been lowered to row the party ashore, the old chief came upon the quarter-deck dressed in full naval uniform, even to the cocked hat and the epaulets. His surprise and indignation were, however, considerable when he observed that the Governor and his suite had no idea of regarding the event as a State occasion, and were clothed in simple undress coats. Nor was his ill-temper improved when the Governor further robbed the incident of ceremonial importance by refusing to accord to him the honour of a salute from {321} the ship's guns as he left the vessel's side. With eyes flashing and nostrils dilated, he sprang back into his cabin, and, throwing off his brilliant uniform, immediately reappeared wrapped in the sombre folds of an ancient blanket. Wounded in spirit at the absence of those impressive features which would have made his homecoming something of a triumph, he landed on the Otaki beach in no enviable mood; and, as the party proceeded towards the inland pa, he turned away from them, and sitting down in the sand with his face towards the ocean, covered his old grey head with his mat, and for two hours sat and sobbed like a child. During this meditation of tears no one approached him. Maori etiquette forbade his kinsmen breaking in upon his grief, and European courtesy dictated a discreet respect for the feelings of one who had come back to find the times so vastly changed, and for him so sadly out of joint.

In that brief time, as the old warrior sat sighing in sympathy with the sobbing sea, there must have passed before him in vivid picture the whole panorama of his eventful life—his struggles, his schemes, his dreams, the anguish of defeat, the glut of victory, and then the final triumph in which tribe after tribe went down before him, and his name became wonderful and mighty throughout the land. But now, because of the advent of the pakeha, power had melted in his hand like snow. His life, like the wind-swept ruin of his old heathen pa, which stood broken and dilapidated a few chains off, had become but a shadow and a memory of the past; an exemplification of the fallible and transitory nature of mundane things. At length, rousing himself from his reverie, he proceeded to the new Christian settlement of Hadfield, at Otaki, which had been built mainly by the efforts of his son, Tamahana te Rauparaha, and his nephew, Matene te Whiwhi. A motley crowd of five or six hundred people poured out of the little settlement to welcome their chief, the Governor, and Lady Grey; and, as an evidence of the elevating influences which {322} were operating amongst them,[188] prayers in the native tongue were read in the open air, before the feast which had been prepared for the visitors was placed before them. A glass-windowed, carpeted whare was the banquet-room, and a clean damask cloth covered the table at which the guests were seated, while a daughter of Rangihaeata courteously discharged the duties of hostess.

On the following day Te Rauparaha presented himself before the people, and was received with the usual evidences of Maori jubilation—interminable speeches, wild and barbarous dances, and endless feasting. Almost immediately he exercised the prerogative of his freedom by visiting Rangihaeata, who was hovering in the neighbourhood of Otaki, but with what intent no one knew. Te Rauparaha was accompanied by Te Wherowhero {323} and some of the visiting chiefs, and the korero lasted several days. What the precise nature of their discussions was will never be known; but that they were not of a treasonable nature may be inferred from the fact that the Governor, hearing that Rangihaeata was at that time harbouring a notorious murderer, whom he refused to deliver up to justice, sent a letter to Te Rauparaha calling upon him and his compatriots to show their displeasure at Rangihaeata's conduct by instantly withdrawing from his presence. At the time the letter arrived, the chiefs were on the point of sitting down to partake of Rangihaeata's hospitality; but without hesitation they rose and left, though not before telling the obdurate chief their reason for doing so.[189]

This evidence of unfailing loyalty to the Crown was as gratifying to the Governor as it must have been aggravating to Rangihaeata, who, when he met His Excellency at Otaki, roundly abused him and all the pakehas for their presumptuous interference with his affairs. He declared that he was not tired of war, but evidently men and women had changed with the times, and now preferred to fight with the tongue rather than the mere or the musket. His contempt for the Europeans and all their doings was still as vehement as ever,[190] and in his violent denunciation of their encroachment upon his privileges as a chief, he declared that he wanted {324} nothing of them, and he wore nothing of their work. He was then standing before the Governor, a tall and picturesque figure arrayed in a lustrous dogskin mat, with adornments in his hair; and when Grey quietly exposed his inconsistency by pointing to a peacock's feather dangling about his head, he angrily muttered, "True, that is pakeha," and cast it scornfully from him.

Though Rangihaeata never accepted the Christian faith, in course of time his feelings mellowed and his attitude somewhat modified towards the occupation of the land by the white people. He not only acquiesced in the policy of road-making, which he had at first so strenuously opposed, but in 1852 he constructed two lines at Poroutawhao at his own expense. A school was even established at his pa, and subsequently his declared principles not to use British goods were so far modified that he purchased and drove in an English-made buggy along roads made by British soldiers. His feelings, too, towards the Governor considerably softened, and when, in 1852, Sir George Grey was about to proceed to England for a holiday, the chief wrote to him in terms of genuine friendship, which gave proof of the surprising change which had come over the hitherto untamable spirit of "the tiger of the Wairau":—

"O Governor! my friend, I send you greeting. I need scarcely call to your remembrance the circumstances attending my flight and pursuit: how it was that I took refuge in the fastnesses and hollows of the country, as a crab lies concealed in the depths and hollows of the rocks. You it was who sought and found me out, and through your kindness it is that I am at this present time enjoying your confidence and surrounded with peace and quietness. This, then, is the expression of my esteem for you, which I take occasion to make now that you are on the point of leaving for your native land."

The release of Te Rauparaha was the signal for a furious outburst of hostile criticism against the Governor, and Colonel Wakefield led the agitation in one of the biased and bitter effusions usual with {325} him where Te Rauparaha was concerned.[191] But the anticipation of the Governor that the chief could, or would, cause the authorities no further trouble, appears to have been amply justified. So far as is known of him from this time until his death, he lived quietly and unostentatiously at the Otaki settlement. It would seem that he accepted with as good grace as he might the new order of things, and even sought to assist his people in reaching a higher plane of civilisation than at his advanced years he himself could ever hope to attain. It is at least accounted unto him for righteousness by his son, Tamahana, that it was at his suggestion the Ngati-Raukawa people built the now famous church[192] at Otaki, wherein the tribe has so often heard the glad tidings of "peace on earth and goodwill towards men," so strongly contrasted with their old heathen doctrine of blood for blood. A striking feature in the architecture of this church is its central line of large totara pillars, which rise to a height of 40 feet, carrying the solid ridge-pole above. These wooden columns were hewn out of the forest on the banks of the Ohau, which in those days ran into the Waikawa, forming one large stream. The trees were felled in the bush, floated down the river {326} to the sea, and thence dragged along the coast, one native standing on the tree with pole in hand to guide it through the surf, while a string of stalwart men tugged at the heavy tow-ropes, as they marched along the sandy beach. Column after column was, in this way, eventually landed at Waitohu, near Otaki, and then hauled across the sandhills by hundreds of brawny arms to the site where the church now stands. There the trees were, with infinite labour, dressed and prepared with native adzes, which are still kept in the church as interesting mementoes. No machinery of any kind was available to assist in the construction of the sacred edifice. Hand labour was everywhere brought into requisition, and only the most cunning workmen were employed, men of reputed skill being brought from the Manawatu to design and execute the carvings of the interior, while the reed lacework round the walls was also dexterously woven by these same masters of Maori art.

Some attempt has been made, but with dubious success, to prove that Te Rauparaha ordered the building of this church because he had become deeply and genuinely religious, and his son has given us the pious assurance that he spent these last of his days "continually worshipping."[193] "I saw," says an intelligent but newly arrived clergyman, who visited him at this time, "amongst the other men of note, the old and once powerful chief, Te Rauparaha, who, notwithstanding his great age of more than eighty years, is seldom missed from his class, and who, after a long life of perpetual turmoil, spent in all the savage excitement of cruel and bloody wars, is now to be seen every morning in his accustomed place, repeating those blessed truths which teach him to love the Lord with all his heart and mind {327} and soul and strength, and his neighbour as himself." This amiable picture, drawn in a spirit of enlarged charity, is unfortunately dimmed, and the sincerity of the chief's religious convictions discounted, by the story related of him by a conscientious, if unfriendly, critic. "A few days before his death," says this writer,[194] "when suffering under the malady which carried him off, two settlers called to see him. While there, a neighbouring missionary came in and offered him the consolations of religion. Rauparaha demeaned himself in a manner highly becoming such an occasion, but the moment the missionary was gone, he turned to his other visitors and said: 'What is the use of all that nonsense?—that will do my belly no good.' He then turned the conversation on the Whanganui races, where one of his guests had been running a horse." Such an incident, if true, leaves behind it the impression that the chief was shrewd enough to observe that the Christian faith had taken root amongst his people, and conventional enough to adopt it for fashion's sake, without realising any real spiritual change. But we will not attempt to pass judgment upon one who was at so manifest a disadvantage in grasping the mysteries of a faith which centuries of science and learning have left still obscure to many more fortunately circumstanced. But, whatever the chief's spiritual condition may have been, it was not vouchsafed to him to witness the completion of his building scheme. He had long passed man's allotted span, and life's last stage was closing in upon him. He was in his eighty-first year, and was stricken with an internal complaint, the precise nature of which has not been ascertained, but which necessitated his taking much rest. His last days were therefore spent in enforced inactivity, and, while practically an invalid, his greatest delight was to recount to those capable of appreciating his narrative the stories of his early campaigns. The late Bishop Hadfield was especially favoured in this respect; and when he grew weary of the company {328} of his own people (of whose intellectuality he had so small an opinion that he once remarked that they could talk of nothing better than dogs and pigs), he would send for the missionary, and regale him with stories of the past, told with a native force which aroused astonishment and admiration in the mind of his hearer. His descriptions of former fights were generally dramatic, frequently graphic, and always eloquent, for his vocabulary was rich in words and phrases which were far beyond the linguistic capacity of the natives by whom he was surrounded. It is to be regretted that these recitals have perished with the good Bishop. Until quite late in his life a vivid impression of them remained in his memory, and his constant readiness to refer to them confirms the claim that Te Rauparaha was a man of superior intellect, in so far as that term may be applied to a Maori of his day.

Towards the end of November, 1849, the complaint from which he was suffering begun to assume a more malignant form. On the 24th of that month he received a last visit from Rangihaeata, and bade farewell to his erstwhile comrade in arms. Three days later he was dead; the event was consummated for which Colonel Wakefield so devoutly wished when, ten years before, he wrote: "It will be a most fortunate thing for any settlement formed hereabouts when he dies, for with his life only will end his mischievous scheming and insatiable cupidity." Had Te Rauparaha been asked to pen his opinion of the promoters of the New Zealand Company, he might have couched his judgment in much the same terms. But now that he was dead there was no need, and little desire, to keep open the floodgates of vituperation, and there were many who in his lifetime could find no kindly thought for him, but were willing to bury the bitterness of racial misunderstanding in the grave wherein the chief was so soon to be laid.

The news that Te Rauparaha was dead spread like a prairie fire, and natives from all parts of both islands flocked to Otaki to swell the weeping multitude who {329} wailed around the bier of the dead chief. So altered, however, had the times become, that, though there was a feast, there was little tangi of the barbarous sort, for his son Tamahana, who was sincere and consistent in his emulation of European methods,[195] discouraged in the native people, as far as possible, the indulgence in their time-honoured mourning customs, and, according to a contemporary authority, the whole proceedings were conducted "in a most decorous manner." The interment took place on 3rd December, the last resting-place being a spot chosen by his friend Rangihaeata, within the church enclosure, and immediately in front of the unfinished building. A procession of fifteen hundred people {330} followed the body to the grave, where the beautiful burial service of the Anglican Church was read by Mr. Ronaldson, the native teacher from Whanganui. The coffin, made in the usual manner, was covered with black cloth, and the final chapter in the life of this remarkable man was written on the brass plate which adorned the casket:—


27 O NOWEMA 1849

[Te Rauparaha died on November 27, 1849.]

[173]   Heke had asked the pertinent question, "Is Rauparaha to have all the credit of killing the pakeha?"

[174]   "From what I know of the young lieutenant, I have no doubt he laid about him vigorously. Even had burly Rangihaeata confronted him, I should not have feared the result" (Mundy).

[175]   It was quite the orthodox thing for natives on opposite sides to hold intercourse with each other during war, and Rauparaha, having many relations engaged with Rangihaeata, would, in accordance with this custom, keep up a certain connection with them, and they with him. This, not being understood by the British authorities, was probably mistaken for treachery.

[176]   Afterwards McKillop Pasha, an Admiral of the Khedive of Egypt.

[177]   Grey, in his despatch to the Secretary for the Colonies, describing the seizure of Te Rauparaha, states that a "considerable quantity of arms and ammunition belonging to the disaffected portion of the Ngati-Toa tribe" was also seized, though he makes no attempt to explain what steps were taken under the exciting circumstances to ascertain who the precise owners were.

[178]   On the voyage to Wellington the prisoners were quartered in the workshop above the boilers. During the night a great disturbance was heard in this direction, and, on an examination being made, it was found that the room was full of steam. One of the boilers had sprung a leak, but the natives imagined that their vapour bath was an ingenious contrivance to compass their death.

[179]   Mr. Percy Smith is my authority for saying that Rangihaeata did not actually compose this lament, as is generally supposed, but merely adapted it from a very old original.

[180]   In October, 1850, Dr. Dorsett, as Chairman of the Settlers' Constitutional Society, in a letter addressed to Earl Grey, complained of the inadequacy of Te Rauparaha's punishment. Sir George Grey replied by quoting two laments, of which this was one, "to show the light in which the natives regarded the punishment inflicted on him."

[181]   Pohi was one of the inferior chiefs arrested with Te Rauparaha and afterwards released. Subsequently, Grey discovered that this man was supposed to possess "important information."

[182]   For the passive attitude adopted by many of the Ngati-Toa people some credit must be given to Te Rauparaha, who had already advised his son to go to the tribes and tell them to remain in peace. "I returned on shore," says Tamahana, "and saw Ngati-Toa and Rawhiri Puaha. We told them the words of Rauparaha respecting that which is good and living in peace. Two hundred Ngati-Raukawa came to Otaki. Rangihaeata wished to destroy Wellington and kill the pakehas as satisfaction. I told them the words of Te Rauparaha, that they must put away foolish thoughts, live in peace, and cast away bad desires. They consented."

[183]   Ensign Blackburn, who was a fine officer and a great favourite with the troops, was shot by a native secreted in a tree, and he in turn was almost immediately brought down by an artilleryman.

[184]   Under the chilling atmosphere of bleak winter the enthusiasm of our native allies soon began to cool and the vigour of their pursuit to slacken. Power, in his Sketches in New Zealand, gives an amusing account of a big korero held at Otaki to decide whether or not they would continue the chase, in which he says: "Rangihaeata's sister was present and addressed the meeting in favour of her absent brother, making at the same time some very unparliamentary remarks on the aggressions of the pakehas and the want of pluck of the Maoris in not resisting them, as her illustrious brother was doing. An old chief requested her to resume her seat, informing her at the same time that she was the silly sister of a sillier brother. He then put it to the meeting whether pigs and potatoes, warm fires and plenty of tobacco, were not better things than leaden bullets, edges of tomahawks, snow, rain, and empty bellies? All the former, he distinctly stated, were to be enjoyed on the plain; the latter they had had plentiful experience of in the mountains, and was it to be expected that they—and he confidently relied upon the good sense of the meeting—could be such fools as to hesitate for a moment? The applause of the old man's rhetoric was unanimous, and it received no slight help from the timely appearance of a procession bearing the materials for a week's feasting."

[185]   Lieutenant McKillop, writing on this point, says: "We never had any such decided advantage over him in our various skirmishes with his tribe as to dishearten him, and had we been unassisted by friendly Maoris I have no doubt he would have held out and carried his point."

[186]   While the Calliope was lying at Wellington, Te Rauparaha was visited by his son Tamahana, who has left it on record that, in that trying moment of his life, his father displayed a spirit of calm forgiveness towards those who had so treacherously deprived him of his liberty. His advice was: "Son, go to your tribes and tell them to remain in peace. Do not pay for my seizure with evil, only with that which is good. You must love the Europeans. There was no just cause for my having been arrested by Governor Grey. I have not murdered any Europeans, but I was arrested through the lies of the people. If I had been taken prisoner in battle, it would have been well, but I was unjustly taken."

[187]   In his Travels in New Zealand, Crawford remarks: "During the march to Pahautanui, a Maori named Martin Luther (Wareaitu) was taken prisoner and was some months afterwards tried by court martial and hanged. I cannot help thinking that this was a blunder." Dr. Thomson is even more emphatic, and declares that "Luther's death is a disgrace to Governor Grey's administration."

[188]   Visitors to modern Otaki cannot fail to notice a tall pole erected near the roadside opposite the church. The totara tree out of which the pole was hewn was brought there at the outbreak of the Maori war. It was intended as a flagstaff, but Mr. Hadfield persuaded the Maoris to remain perfectly neutral and make no demonstration one way or the other. The tree lay for many years on the common until the Rev. Mr. McWilliam induced the Maoris to shape the tree into a tapering obelisk 40 feet high, with the dates 1840 (the year when Christianity was established at Otaki) to 1880 (the year the obelisk was erected) going spirally round it from bottom to top, and so it became a memorial of the English Church Mission at Otaki. It was first erected in the middle of the common, but in 1890, that is, the fiftieth year of the mission, it was moved into the corner opposite the church gate. It is called by the Maoris the "Jubilee." There was a great gathering of Maoris on that occasion, and fifty of them were clad in white and took part in the ceremony. The chief speaker was Kereopa Tukumaru, an old chief from Kereru, who had been one of the first converts to Christianity, and was now able to tell what great things the religion of Christianity had done for the Maoris. "This man," says Mr. McWilliam, "was the most consistent Christian I have ever had the privilege of knowing." He was most industrious, but when not working he was reading his Bible. He knew nearly the whole of it by heart. His grave may be seen near the Kereru railway station on a small natural mound. It is an oblong raised vault, built of concrete, with a beautiful white marble angel standing over one end.

[189]   Colonel Mundy mentions that a remarkably plausible report was circulating in Wellington at this time, to the effect that Rangihaeata—in order to prove himself a convert to civilisation—had signified his intention to kill and eat the aforesaid murderer, and then "go into the best society."

[190]   As illustrating Rangihaeata's intolerance of Europeans, Crawford, in his Travels in New Zealand, mentions that when he visited Fraser's whaling station on Mana in 1839, he saw sitting in the corner of the room a large Maori wrapped in his mat. "He listened to the conversation, but said nothing. At last, as if displeased, he uttered a hideous and prolonged grunt, and rose to his feet: I was struck with his height and imposing, although savage, appearance—he grunted again and walked out of the room without speaking. This was Rangihaeata, the great follower or coadjutor of Te Rauparaha—the Ajax of his tribe, as the other was the Ulysses."

[191]   As illustrating the feeling of the time, we may mention that very great indignation was expressed in Wellington because Bishop Selwyn had taken Te Rauparaha to the house of the Rev. Mr. Cole, a clergyman of Wellington, to stay there during a visit to the city. Major Richmond, the Superintendent, and the Sub-Protector, Mr. Forsaith, had gone to Porirua and provided for his safe escort to Wellington. The Bishop had publicly refused to shake hands with Rangihaeata, showing to the natives his horror of the massacre at the Wairau on every occasion. But he refused to recognise Te Rauparaha as responsible for it, and did no more than his clear duty in providing for his safety on this occasion. The outcry raised against him was bitter, but was quietly ignored by him (Brett's "Early History of New Zealand").

[192]   The church, which is a noble specimen of native architecture, was built under the supervision of Archdeacon Hadfield and Rev. H. Williams. It was commenced in 1849 and opened in 1851. Its length is 80 feet, its breadth 36 feet, and its height 40 feet. The ridge-pole is hewn out of a solid totara tree, 86 feet long.

[193]   "Te Rauparaha was not baptized, and, although his son wished the burial service of the Church to be used at his funeral, the minister did not feel himself justified in doing so; however, a lay member of the Church Missionary Society from Whanganui, opportunely passing through the place, read the service over him, and thus terminated the eventful life of the New Zealand warrior" (Rev. Richard Taylor).

[194]   The late Sir William Fox in his Six Colonies of New Zealand.

[195]   In 1868, Tamihana te Rauparaha and his wife Ruta (Ruth) lived by themselves about half-way between Otaki and Waikanae on his sheep run, but he now and again came to his town house in Otaki and stayed a few weeks. He was a fine, handsome man, tall and stout, but active and mentally energetic. He always dressed well, and in cleanliness and neatness was a thorough English gentleman. He had been home to England and presented to the Queen. He never forgot what he saw there, and he wished to be considered an English gentleman. For that reason he lost influence with his tribe. He held aloof from tangis and other Maori feasts, but was most hospitable and generous to Europeans. His wife was a most ladylike and charming woman. She was not so well educated as Tamihana, but for all that she had the manners and taste of an English lady. She died several years before him, and he erected a small marble stone over her grave; but when he died, and was laid by her side, no monument of any kind was erected to his memory; the cast-iron fence, which had been broken accidentally, was not even repaired. The Maoris did not care much for him, because he was too civilised and pakeha-like for them, so they made no general mourning at his death. In his youth, Tamihana te Rauparaha and Matene te Whiwhi had journeyed all the way to the Bay of Islands to beg for a missionary, and in response to their request Mr. Hadfield (who was afterwards Bishop of Wellington and Primate) came back with them to Otaki, and lived amongst them and taught them Christianity for thirty years.

The graves of Tamihana te Rauparaha and his wife are enclosed with an iron railing. On the tombstone of the wife is the inscription: "Te ohatanga tenei mo Ruta te Rauparaha wahine O Tamihana te Rauparaha, i mate ki Otaki i te 10 o nga ra so Hurae, 1870."



Te Rangihaeata survived his uncle by seven years, living during this time quietly at Poroutawhao. Though ceasing his violent opposition to the occupation of the land by the settlers, he still clung to his refusal to traffic in the native estate, either with individuals or with the Government. Almost immediately after the close of the war, Lieutenant-Governor Eyre and the Rev. Richard Taylor penetrated through the bush and swamps which surrounded Poroutawhao, and met the chief in the very heart of his stronghold. He was then, says Mr. Taylor, an old man with a head as white as the top of Tongariro, and a spirit somewhat resembling that active volcano, always fuming. His white hair strongly contrasted with his bronzed features and highly tattooed countenance. The missionary thus describes the retreat in which they found him, and the reception they met with:—

"A long, low, narrow strip of land, running through deep swamp, led to his retreat; the name of the place aptly describes it, being a cork, or stoppage, to war, and few would have liked to draw it out. The pa was on a mound, the only one in the vicinity, and strongly fortified in the native style, with thick, lofty posts deeply sunk in the ground, and bound together with a huahua, or connecting pole, running round at a height of about ten feet. Inside the outer fence there was another, behind which the defenders could post themselves, and take aim through the outer one. The pa was divided into a number of small courts, each equally well defended, and connected by very narrow passages. We found the chief with his wives and his head men assembled in the chief court, or marae, sitting on mats in front of his house. {332} Fresh fern was strewed on the ground, and new mats laid on it for us; we were received with great respect, and welcomed with a loud haeremai: we sat down on the chief's right hand, and conversed on various subjects, until we were invited to enter a neighbouring house, where no one followed us, except a neatly dressed and good-looking lady, who was appointed to wait upon us according to Maori etiquette: there was a kind of table formed of two boxes, one placed on the other, with a new red blanket placed over it, and a form similarly covered in regal style. On the table was placed a dish of good fresh-baked cakes, another containing sugar, a knife, spoon, and two basins, one nearly allied to a wash-hand basin in size. The lady then brought a tea-kettle, and filled our cups with an infusion of mint, which she called tea. The wash-hand basin was, of course, placed before the representative of Majesty, who viewed with dismay its enormous capacity, which, being given him from respect, he could not well avoid draining to the bottom. After enjoying the Governor's perplexity, when the lady left the room, I emptied the contents of our bowls into a calabash, from which our natives were drinking; our repast being ended, we returned to the chief and sat by his side. The Governor requested me to ask the chief to sell some land, which I respectfully declined doing. He then attempted to do so himself: at first he was not understood, but when the chief comprehended what he meant, he gave a savage look of defiance, thrusting out his tongue and rolling about his eyes in such a way, that his Excellency, who had never seen such a display before, stared in amazement, and evidently felt anything but at ease. It need not be said that the land negotiations were speedily terminated, and we were soon threading our way back along Rangihaeata's swamp-girt road."

Not less interesting was the experience of Lord Charles Butler and Mr. Carnegie, two officers of the Calliope, who, upon the cessation of hostilities, conceived the adventurous idea of visiting the chief in his lair at Poroutawhao. Starting from Wellington, accompanied by Lieutenant Servantes of the 96th, who during the war had acted as interpreter with the Government troops, and Tamahana Te Rauparaha, they experienced considerable difficulty in pushing their way across the country to the place of Rangihaeata's retreat. By dint of perseverance they at length reached the borders of the swamp surrounding the small hillock on which the pa was built, and, meeting some of the natives there, they sent them on to the chief to ascertain if he would {333} be prepared to receive them. A messenger soon returned to say that Lord Charles and Tamahana might come on, but that if Ewie (Lieutenant Servantes) attempted to do so, he would be shot. Rangihaeata had persuaded himself that Servantes had been acting the spy in the late proceedings against him. This impression, which was quite erroneous, doubtless arose from the fact that this officer had been a great deal in the company of the natives before the outbreak of hostilities, that he was thoroughly conversant with their language, customs, and haunts, and consequently was frequently acting in conjunction with the native allies when no other Europeans were near. There being no opportunity to offer explanations which might remove the chief's prejudice, Servantes deemed it prudent to respect Rangihaeata's mandate, and remained where he was, the others proceeding to the pa. As they approached, sounds and evidences of excitement, which they were at a loss to understand, greeted them, and as they drew nearer, several armed natives came out of the pa, pointing their muskets at Mr. Carnegie, at the same time abusing him with a tornado of picturesque native epithets. This hostile demonstration arose from the fact that they had mistaken the naval officer for Servantes; but, when the guides had silenced the clamour sufficiently to obtain a hearing, the necessary explanations were made, and the party was led into the pa. They found Rangihaeata leaning against his whare, and taking aim at the gateway with his gun, having fully determined to end the days of the supposed spy if he dared to enter the pa. The introductions were, however, satisfactory, and, putting away his musket, he gave his hand to his guests, whereupon his tribe likewise disarmed themselves, and prepared to extend hospitality to the visitors. Lord Charles opened the proceedings diplomatically, by presenting Rangihaeata with a few pounds of tobacco and a red blanket; and, as soon as the chief had filled his pipe with the fragrant weed, and adjusted the blanket to his brawny shoulders, he {334} sat down and entered into a most amiable conversation with the pakehas, for whose refreshment he took care that food should be brought. He plied his visitors with many questions concerning Te Rauparaha and those natives who were prisoners with him, and closely inquired of those Europeans with whose names he was acquainted, making special reference to Lieutenant McKillop, of whose conduct in the war he had formed an excellent opinion. He was also exceedingly complimentary to Lord Charles, of whom he said he had received very flattering reports, but he was equally regretful of the conduct of his own people in deserting his standard, and spoke bitterly of his experiences since he had abandoned his pa at Porirua. These misfortunes did not, however, detract in the least from his hospitality to his visitors. He begged them to remain with him until next day, in order that he might have the opportunity of killing a pig and regaling them with due splendour on the morrow. This kind invitation they modestly declined, and, after explaining that their visit was of purely a private nature, and not one which would warrant them in carrying back any message to the authorities, they took their leave of the chief, whom they have described as being particularly dirty, but a fine handsome man.

By his winning ways and the generous use of presents, Governor Grey several times induced Rangihaeata to leave his retreat at Poroutawhao for the purpose of holding conferences with him; and when he believed that he had sufficiently ingratiated himself into the good opinion of the chief, he ventured to propose the sale to the Government of the Waikanae district. "It would have been the subject for an artist," says one writer, "to picture the indignant look of the chief as he flatly and rudely refused, telling the Governor to be content with what he had already got. 'You have had Porirua, Ahuriri, Wairarapa, Whanganui, Rangitikei, and the whole of the Middle Island given up to you, and still you are not content. We are driven up into a corner, {335} and yet you covet that also.'" But, though his overtures were thus indignantly spurned and rejected, the mana of the Governor did not suffer any diminution in the estimation of the chief, who to the end of his days continued to regard Grey with that chivalrous respect which is extended by one warrior to another whom he deems to be worthy of his steel.

In 1856, while still residing at Poroutawhao, Rangihaeata was stricken with measles in a particularly malignant form, but, with his characteristic recklessness of consequences, he refused to take the ordinary precautions to facilitate his recovery. Though still in a high state of fever, he decided to visit Otaki, and ordered his groom to drive him thither. When passing the Waikawa River, he thought to abate the fever by taking a cold bath; and, stopping the buggy, he plunged into the river, from which he emerged with the hand of death upon him. He was taken on to Otaki, where his malady rapidly increased, and two days afterwards he passed away. His body was taken back, at the head of an enormous procession, to Poroutawhao, where he was buried beside his wife, the tangi in his case being marked by all the barbarous features of native mourning, interspersed with not a few of the prevailing European vices.

When in the prime of life, Rangihaeata stood over six feet in height, a handsome man, magnificently built. Like his more notorious uncle, he too had features of aquiline mould, lit up by a pair of piercing black eyes, which instantly flashed out their resentment on any real or fancied insult. He was exceedingly jealous of his mana, and quick to blaze into a fit of indignation at any word or act which he might construe to be a reflection upon his authority as a chief. That authority he frequently asserted by levying toll upon the settlers and whalers, but never in any case from pure cupidity, or where he did not, by Maori law, have some good and valid claim to utu. Against these extortions, as they were pleased to regard them, the whalers {336} appealed to such authority[196] as they could find in the islands; and when they were unable to obtain what they deemed to be justice in that quarter, they took the law into their own hands, and tried to rid themselves of their tormentor by means of the poison-cup. Frequent attempts were made to poison him at the whaling stations; and we are credibly informed that, on one occasion, he was induced to swallow a pint of raw rum heavily drugged with arsenic. But, in their excess of zeal to compass the chief's death, they had been led to apply too great a quantity of poison, and instead of its acting as they anticipated, it merely acted as an emetic. If this statement be well-grounded, or if the whalers were as Major Bunbury described them to be, when he visited Mana in order to procure Rangihaeata's signature to the Treaty of Waitangi, it is not to be expected that such dissolute associates would afford the chief much light and leading in the path of rectitude.

The reckless disregard by the settlers and whalers of the sanctity of native custom was responsible for many of the misunderstandings, which they have debited against {337} Rangihaeata for malice and mischief; while no attempt has been made to exonerate him on the ground that he probably saw the act only from the point of view of his native origin and upbringing. He was in spirit and in the flesh a Maori, and gloried in it, openly professing a detestation for the pakeha and all that he had brought to the country. He affected a supreme contempt for the luxuries of the white man; but the weakness of human nature had blinded him to the inconsistency of which he was daily guilty in acquiring and gratifying an uncontrollable love of tobacco and rum. When under the influence of liquor he was querulous and violent; but his drinking indiscretions were generally redeemed as far as possible by the payment of ample compensation, for, savage though he was, Rangihaeata was not destitute of a liberal sense of justice.[197] This he applied to himself as rigorously as to others. When he was flying before the troops in the Horokiwi Valley, he frequently inquired if those who were hottest in pursuit were relatives of the victims of his anger at the Wairau; for to him "a life for a life" was an inexorable law, to which even he must bow, if the friends of the massacred men should overtake him. In the cause of what he believed to be the liberty of his people he did and dared much, enduring intense hardships for the maintenance of a principle, and when we charge him with harbouring criminals and refusing to deliver them over to justice, our resentment against his conduct may be mitigated by the reflection that his loyalty to these misguided friends was not so much due to a sympathy with crime, as it was a practical protest against what he believed to be their unfair treatment by the New Zealand Company. Rangihaeata {338} stoutly resisted all attempts to convert him to the Christian faith, clinging to his heathen gods as closely as he clung to his antipathy to European settlement. His convictions on these points were deep-rooted and irrevocable; and he died as he lived, a savage, guilty of much bloodshed, yet not altogether devoid of nobility. Though he never rose to the level of Te Rauparaha as a warrior or a statesman, he was, nevertheless, a strong man amongst his people, opposed alike to the missionary and the settler, but only because he saw with a prophetic eye that the growing ascendancy of the pakeha meant the ultimate subjugation of the Maori race. Viewed from this standpoint—the only one equitable to Rangihaeata—his policy of hostility cannot be characterised as that of a stubborn rebel, but may with greater justice be regarded as the policy of a patriot.

The character and personal attributes of Te Rauparaha have been the subject of much conflicting comment, and the pen-portraits of him which have come down to us have consequently varied, in sympathy with the mood or interest of his critics. In physical appearance, all, however, agree that he was short of stature and aquiline of feature;[198] and, though at times obsequious in manner, he was equally capable of displaying an imperious dignity of deportment which marked him as a man accustomed to wield unquestioned authority. While in repose, the general expression of his countenance was placid and {339} thoughtful; but when under the influence of excitement or agitation, a receding forehead, a furtive glance, and tusk-like teeth, revealed by a curling lip, detracted considerably from his impressive appearance. Though upwards of sixty years of age when he came into contact with the Europeans (for he claimed to have been a boy when Cook visited the country), he was still possessed of a wiry frame, and was capable of exerting great physical strength and activity, his limbs being straight, his step elastic, and his athletic vigour little diminished by age. Perhaps the most graphic description given of the chief is that penned by Mr. Jerningham Wakefield, whose cameo-like portrait may be accepted as faithful, and typical of others given by contemporary writers of equal integrity, if of inferior literary skill. Wakefield saw Te Rauparaha for the first time on the morning after the battle of Kuititanga, from which the chief had just returned; and to the excitement of that event may be attributed the agitation observable in his manner, the "wandering watchful glances" he threw around him, and the air of "evident fear and distrust," all of which contributed so forcefully to the creation of an unfavourable impression on the minds of his visitors.

"As we leaped from our boat, he advanced to meet us, and, with looks of evident fear and distrust, eagerly sought our hand to exchange the missionary greeting. During the whole of the ensuing conversation he seemed uneasy and insecure in his own opinion, and the whalers present described this behaviour as totally at variance with his usual boastfulness and arrogance. He made us a pious speech about the battle, saying that he had had no part in it, and that he was determined to give no encouragement to fighting. He agreed to come on board the next day, and departed to one of the neighbouring islands. He is rather under the average height, and very dignified and stately in his manner, although on this occasion it was much affected by the wandering and watchful glances which he frequently threw around him, as though distrustful of every one. Although at least sixty years old, he might have passed for a much younger man, being hale and stout, and his hair but slightly grizzled. His features are aquiline and striking; but an overhanging upper lip and a retreating forehead, on which his eyebrows wrinkled back when he lifted his deep-sunken eyelids {340} and penetrating eyes, produced a fatal effect on the good prestige arising from his first appearance. The great chieftain, the man able to lead others, and habituated to wield authority, was clear at first sight; but the savage ferocity of the tiger, who would not scruple to use any means for the attainment of that power, the destructive ambition of a selfish despot, were plainly discernible on a nearer view."

Such was the man who, in or about the year of Bonaparte's death, began to play the Napoleonic rôle in New Zealand.[199] Like the Corsican conqueror, to whom his life affords an interesting historical parallel, he derived no especial advantage from hereditary lineage, for his place in the Maori peerage was only sufficient to lift him above the native plutocracy. In his rise to eminence birth played but a minor part, his path to fortune being carved out by innate enterprise, inherent courage, wonderful executive capacity, and that dash of political unscrupulousness which is seldom absent from leaders of men. From his youth up he displayed masterful qualities of mind,[200] which infallibly lift their possessor above the level of mediocrity, and when such qualities are found, whether in savage or civilised society, the measure of success attained is only limited by the degree of opportunity offered. Te Rauparaha's escapades as a boy reveal his natural bravery; his care as a young man for the generous entertainment of his visitors indicates an appreciation {341} of the value of a good social impression; his exertions to master the art of war were sustained by a clear recognition of the fact that authority in an age of strife was impossible without military success; and his ambition to furnish his people with guns was just as clearly the result of the knowledge that military success was impossible without a weapon as efficient as that wielded by the enemy. It was not any doubt of the bravery or fidelity of his people that induced his anxiety regarding their safety at Kawhia, but a conviction that, unless they could procure muskets and fight Waikato on equal terms, their doom was sealed.

But there was also that in him which made him hunger for conquest just as keenly as he desired to evade being conquered; and if the discovery of an escape from his dilemma at Kawhia was accidental, he was, as a rule, careful to leave nothing to accident in the execution of his fully matured plans. The migration from Kawhia to Kapiti was a bold and daring conception, fraught as it was with difficulties of transport, peril to old and young, and, more than all, with the certainty that every inch of the way would have to be either bargained for or fought for. Yet it is the manner in which the idea was executed rather than the idea itself that calls for our admiration. It was characterised by wise planning, discreet forethought, accurate calculation, clever diplomacy, skilful strategy; and, when all else failed, there were the strong right arm and the courageous heart to compel compliance, if compulsion were needed. That Te Rauparaha was blessed with abundant confidence in his own prowess is demonstrated by the lightheartedness with which he assumed the rank and responsibilities of the dying Hape Tuarangi; and it was just this spirit of cheerful self-sufficiency which inspired others with that unbounded trust and confidence in him, which enabled him to lead his people away from the ties of their ancestral home, and induce them to share with him the dangers and uncertainty of a great enterprise. It is at least a tribute to Te Rauparaha's talents as a leader that, so long as the Maori {342} remained unchanged by European influences, he continued to receive the loyal support and unfailing allegiance of his people. He was always popular with the masses, otherwise he could not have accomplished a tithe of what he did. No criticism of Te Rauparaha is sound which represents him as wholly bad. There is in human nature a rough method of arriving at what is right; and no public, whether savage or civilised, will for long tolerate, much less venerate, a leader whose only policy is his own aggrandisement.

The undisputed position which Te Rauparaha enjoyed in the affections of his own people, the fidelity with which they followed him, till the mana of the chief was superseded by the ascendancy of the pakeha, afford proof that they, at all events, were able to discern some meritorious qualities in him, even though not endowed with the higher ethical vision of a modern critic. It has been suggested that, in after years, when dissensions arose amongst the tribes which acknowledged his chieftainship, the revolt was due to shattered confidence, this shaken faith being traceable to a belief that he was treacherously plotting with Ngati-Raukawa to compass the expulsion of Ngati-Awa from Waikanae. But it must not be forgotten that, by this period, the advent of the pakeha had created a new atmosphere around the Maori, and the policy of the missionary in extolling the convert to the disparagement of the chief had, in a measure, destroyed the power of the people's leaders. And, in the general decline of hereditary authority, Te Rauparaha's mana had suffered with the rest. It had therefore become more difficult—and it may have been impossible—for him to quell internecine strife by the peremptory means which he would have employed in the days of his absolute supremacy.

No candid review of the chief's career can, however, fail to take cognisance of the fact that his methods frequently gave rise to suspicions of deepest treachery, the doubtful honour of these proceedings having long since passed into song and proverb. In common with {343} all successful leaders, he possessed the virtue of keeping his own counsel. He made his plans, nursed them in his own mind, and, in the fullness of time, gave his orders accordingly—a secretive habit which gave origin to the saying: "No one knew his thoughts, whether they were good or evil." This reticence has, by some writers, been given an interpretation which does not rightly belong to it: because he was reserved, therefore he was treacherous. Such a deduction does not necessarily sum up the whole position. But, even when this has been admitted, there still remains the imputation of treachery, left by the derisive songs and proverbs, to be either admitted or combated. The unblushing apologist for Te Rauparaha might conceivably argue that these chants were but the creation of prejudiced or malignant minds; but the charges of deception, amounting to treachery, are too frequently reiterated to be rejected as altogether groundless. Barbarous though the Maori was, he had a code of honour which could not be lightly violated; and when a member of a tribe was killed, it was not the fact that he was dead which agitated his friends, but the circumstances of his dying. "Was his death tika?[201] Had it been compassed in fair fight? Or was it kohuru?"[202] These were questions always demanding a satisfactory answer, for the laws governing life and death were well defined. And, judged by these laws, it is impossible to hold Te Rauparaha blameless of the crime of treachery. The killing of the Rangitane chief, Toki-poto, the capture of the Hotu-iti pa, the seizure of Tamaiharanui, and possibly many another similar deed not so specifically recorded, were all acts of treachery, and serve to dim the lustre of his larger achievements conducted strictly in accordance with Maori military law. Nevertheless, it is possible that there has been much exaggeration in relation to this phase of the chief's character. When his troubles with the New Zealand Company began to develop, and more particularly after the Wairau massacre, it became {344} the mission of a section of the European community to represent him as the incarnation of all that was cruel, treacherous, and unspeakably wicked. In this connection it becomes especially dangerous to accept unreservedly the judgment of the Wakefields, who were early prejudiced against him by his opposition to their colonising methods, and were afterwards deeply embittered towards him by the death of their relative at the Wairau. Impartiality under such circumstances is almost too much to expect; and it is only just to Te Rauparaha to say that they availed themselves fully of their special opportunities for disseminating a prejudice against him, so that a view so long uncontradicted can hardly now be eradicated.

In no respect has the reputation of Te Rauparaha suffered more from bitter hostility than in connection with the Wairau massacre. And we cannot wonder; for at the time of its occurrence he had arrayed against him a galaxy of literary talent, such as the Colony has never seen since, and day by day these wielders of facile pens fed with scholarly vituperation the flames of racial animosity, which were already burning at white heat. They spoke of murder; they clamoured for revenge; and all who failed to see as they saw were exposed to the darts of their merciless sarcasm. But, with the softening influence of time, men's hearts have mellowed, stormy passions have subsided, and we of this day are able to review the facts with more sober judgment than was possible to those who lived and wrote in the heated atmosphere of the time. In this unhappy quarrel it must now be accepted as an established fact that the New Zealand Company were the aggressors. The Wairau Valley may, or may not, have been included in their original purchases; but Captain Wakefield knew that this point was being contested by the natives. He knew further that the dispute had been by them referred to Mr. Spain, and therefore no reasonable excuse can be advanced for his attempt to seize the valley while its title was still subject to judicial investigation. Te {345} Rauparaha's attitude in the early stages of the trouble amounted to no more than a temperate protest. He personally interviewed Captain Wakefield at Nelson; he was as conciliatory in requesting the surveyors to leave the field as he was decided that they must go; he calmed Rangihaeata's violence at the conference with Mr. Tuckett; and, as Mr. Spain's final decision was fatal to the Company's claim, the charge of arson preferred against him dwindles into a legal fiction. The conciliatory tone thus manifested by the chief was equally marked in the more acute stage, which arose at Tua Marina. While the magistrate fumed and raged, the chief stood perfectly calm. He more than once begged that time should be taken to talk over the case; but the mad impetuosity of Thompson would brook no delay in determining a cause the merits of which he, the judge, had already prejudged in his own mind. For the precipitation of the conflict which followed, who shall say that the fault was Te Rauparaha's? It was neither his hand nor his command which put the brand to the bush, nor does it appear that it was ever within his power to control the outburst of human passion which flamed up upon the firing of the first shot. What part he took in the fight is uncertain. It has never been suggested that he bore arms, and therefore we may assume that he was an excited spectator, rather than an active participant in the mêlée. That he was early on the brow of the hill, after the retreat had ceased, would appear to be beyond doubt; but his first act on reaching the Europeans was to shake hands with them, a proceeding which seemed to imply that, even after all that had passed, his friendship had not been irretrievably lost. Indeed, there is nothing to lead us to suppose that he harboured any thoughts of retaliation, until Rangihaeata violently demanded utu for the death of Te Rongo.

This demand placed Te Rauparaha in a serious dilemma. Against any feeling of friendship for the Europeans which may still have lingered in his heart, he had now to set a claim which was wholly in accord with native {346} custom; a right, in fact, which had been recognised by his forefathers for more centuries than we can with certainty name; a feature of Maori justice supported by ages of precedent, and which, imbibed from infancy, had become a part of his nature. This was undoubtedly the crisis of the tragedy. Had Te Rauparaha decided against Rangihaeata, there would have been no massacre; but where his detractors are unfair to him is in appearing to expect that he should have suddenly risen superior to his Maori nature, and, in place of allowing his actions to be governed by Maori law, that he—a heathen—should have viewed the attempt to seize his land and his person, together with the death of Te Rongo, in the forgiving spirit of a Christian. No Ethiop was ever asked to change his skin more rapidly; and if Te Rauparaha failed in the performance of the miracle, he only failed when success was morally impossible to him. In the massacre itself he had no share; and, beyond the fact that, under intense natural excitement, he gave a tacit consent to Rangihaeata's deed, he appears to have stood outside it.

Of his relations with the whalers, accounts vary. If we accept the Wakefield view, we must believe that by them he was heartily detested and distrusted. That he was acquisitive to the point of aggression is possible; that he was often overbearing towards them may be equally true, for these are characteristics frequently seen in the powerful savage; but there are also instances recorded in which he showed a ready generosity and a strict sense of justice towards the whaling community.

"The whalers and traders, who had the best opportunity of being intimately acquainted with him, and that, too, at a time when his power to injure was greatest, invariably spoke of him as ever having been the white man's friend. He always placed the best he had before them, and in no instance have I heard of his doing any one of them an injury. Speaking of him to an old whaler, he said emphatically that Te Rauparaha never let the white man who needed want anything he could give, whether food or clothing; in fact, his natural sagacity told him that it was his interest to make {347} common cause with the Europeans, for it was through them that he acquired the sinews of war, guns, powder, and shot, and everything else that he required."[203]

The impartiality with which he held the balance between the two races may be gathered from the following incident: A whaleboat had left Waikanae to proceed to Kapiti, the crew taking with them a native, who sat in the bow. On the journey over the Maori managed to secrete beneath his mat the small hatchet which the whalers used to cut the line, and was quietly walking off with it when the boat reached the island. Before he had gone many steps one of the crew whispered to the headsman what had happened, whereupon that worthy picked up the harpoon and drove it straight through the Maori's back, killing him on the spot. The native population was at once thrown into a state of uproar and fury, threatening dire vengeance upon the whalers, but Te Rauparaha quelled the disturbance in an instant, and, after inquiring into its cause, walked away, declaring that the native had only met with his deserts.

Towards his native enemies Te Rauparaha was unquestionably merciless and cruel, though not more so, perhaps, than was sanctioned by the spirit of the times in which he lived. Yet that he was not wholly incapable of admiration for a worthy opponent is shown by his seeking out and sparing Te Ata o Tu, the Ngai-Tahu warrior, who fought so bravely against him at Kaiapoi. Even in this case there are persons who affect to believe that self-interest rather than chivalry may have been the moving impulse in his conduct, for he possibly counted upon so skilful a fighter being invaluable to him in his northern troubles. But surely we can afford to be magnanimous enough to concede to so fine an example of generosity a less mercenary motive?[204] Though relentless to a degree {348} towards those tribes who came between him and his ambitions, it must always be remembered that his ruthlessness is not to be judged from the Christian standpoint. His enormities, which were neither few nor small, were those of a savage, born and bred in an atmosphere into which no spirit of Divine charity had ever entered. Compared with the excesses practised in civilised warfare by such champions of the Cross as Cortés and the Duke of Alva, his deeds of darkness become less repugnant, if not altogether pardonable.

The attitude which he adopted towards the European was in exact opposition to that assumed by Te Rangihaeata. He welcomed rather than resented the coming of the white man, although he found reason to protest against the methods employed by the New Zealand Company in acquiring land on which to settle them. Nor in this respect can it be said that his objections were captious or ill-founded; in fact, with the exception of the Hutt dispute, the Commissioner's decisions were invariably a vindication of his contentions. Some doubt has necessarily been cast upon his loyalty to the Government (which he accepted when he signed the Treaty of Waitangi), by virtue of the fact that he was seized and held captive because of his supposed infidelity. There are those with whom it is only necessary to accuse in order to condemn. In this case accusation carried condemnation with it, but condemnation without proof of guilt is injustice. Whatever the measure of Te Rauparaha's duplicity may have been, the Governor conspicuously failed to do more than suspect him, and as conspicuously failed to bring the chief face to face with his accusers. It was never proved, nor was any attempt ever made to prove before a court of competent jurisdiction, that Te Rauparaha had held communication with the enemy. {349} Even if he had so communicated, an easy explanation might have been found in the native practice, under which individuals in opposing forces frequently visited each other during the progress of hostilities. Te Rauparaha had many friends with the rebels, and it would appear perfectly natural to him to hold friendly correspondence with them, whilst himself maintaining an attitude of strict neutrality. Considering the contemptuous disregard which many British officials displayed towards rites and customs held sacred by the Maori, it is not to be expected that they would trouble to understand, or try to appreciate, this subtlety in the native character. And so, what was to the Maori a well-established and common custom, was by them translated into treachery, for which Te Rauparaha was made captive in a manner which leaves us but little right to talk of open and honourable tactics.

His conduct while a captive on board the Calliope appears to have been exemplary enough, and he succeeded in impressing those with whom he came into contact by his quick perception, particularly of anything meant to turn him into ridicule, of which he was most sensitive. He frequently became much excited and very violent, and at other times, when talking of his misfortunes, he would become deeply moved, and the tears would run down his wrinkled cheeks. It is recorded that he was very grateful for any kindness shown him; and when Lieutenant Thorpe left the ship to return to England he expressed the most intense sorrow, crying the whole day, and repeating the officer's name in piteous accents. This, it was noted, was not merely a temporary affection. When, a year later, the Calliope was leaving the New Zealand station, he sent his favourite a very handsome mat, begging the officer by whom it was sent to tell Lieutenant Thorpe how glad he would be to see his face once more, and how well he would treat him now that he was free. Similarly, when Lieutenant McKillop was proceeding home, Te Rauparaha took him aside and entreated him to go, on reaching England, and convey to {350} Queen Victoria his regard for her and express his keen desire to see her, only his great age and the length of the voyage standing between him and the consummation of that desire. "He hoped, however, she would believe that he would always be a great and true friend of hers, and use all his influence with his countrymen to make them treat her subjects well, and that, when he became free again, there would be no doubt as to his loyalty, as he would himself, old as he was, be the first to engage in a war against any who should offend her or the Governor, of whom he always spoke with the greatest respect." During his captivity the news of the outbreak of the war in the Sutlej reached the Colony, and, noticing the excitement on board the Calliope, he asked to be informed of the contents of the papers giving details of the battles. In this subject he maintained the liveliest interest; and, when he had sufficiently grasped the details, he was perceptibly impressed by the magnitude of the armies engaged and the tremendous resources of the Empire, about which he, in common with all natives, had been distinctly incredulous. That his release was marked by no exhibition of resentment is at least something to his credit, and the ease with which he afterwards adapted himself to the strangely altered order of things is proof that his nature was capable of absorbing higher ideals than are taught in savage philosophy, although it is doubtful if he ever reached the purer heights attained by a clear conception of the beatitudes of the Christian religion.

In the life of Te Rauparaha there is much that is revolting and incapable of palliation. But, always remembering his savage environment, we must concede to him the possession of qualities which, under more enlightened circumstances, would have contributed as fruitfully to the uplifting of mankind as they did to its destruction. His superiority over his fellows was mental rather than physical; his success lay in his intellectual alertness, his originality, strategic foresight, and executive capacity. He was probably a better diplomat than he was a general, but he had sufficient of the military instinct to make him {351} a conqueror. And if, in the execution of his conquests, the primary object of which was to find a safe home for his people, the weaker tribes went down, history was but repeating amongst the Maoris in New Zealand the story which animate nature is always and everywhere proclaiming, and which, in the cold language of the philosophers, is called "the survival of the fittest."

[196]   "On shore, I was much tormented by the zeal of some European sailors, who appeared to be a drunken set of lawless vagabonds, belonging to the different whaling establishments in the neighbourhood. The only respectable person amongst them was a stock-keeper in charge of some sheep and horned cattle, and the captain of a whaling vessel ahead of us. I asked the sailors, who were complaining that some of the property taken was theirs, if they had any specific charge to make against Rangihaeata, who was the most powerful chief in the neighbourhood. However, I could get nothing from them but vague declarations against native chiefs in general, to which I replied that the fault was probably as much on their side as on that of the natives. The old chief, who was present, appeared to understand the drift of the conversation, for he went into his hut and brought out several written testimonials of good conduct; on which I desired Mr. Williams to explain to him how much I was gratified in perusing them, and that I trusted that under the Queen's Government he would continue equally to deserve them: that he would find the Government just and even-handed, and that punishment would follow evil-doers, whether they were natives or Europeans. To which he replied, 'Kapai,' apparently much satisfied" (Major Bunbury).

[197]   "On Saturday (November 24, 1849), Rangihaeata and a party of his followers paid a last visit to Te Rauparaha. At the Ohau ferry Rangihaeata demanded some spirits from the temporary ferryman (the regular one being absent). On being refused, he knocked him down, and then helped himself, but afterwards tendered utu for the violence offered and the spirits taken" (New Zealand Spectator, December 1, 1849).

[198]   In an enclosure opposite the Maori church at Otaki there stands upon a pedestal a marble bust of Te Rauparaha. The bust was procured in Sydney by Tamihana te Rauparaha at a cost of £200, and the likeness, which is said to be a very faithful one, was copied from a portrait painted by Mr. Beetham. Because Te Rauparaha had not become even "nominally Christian," Mr. Hadfield refused to permit the erection of the bust within the church enclosure, and for two years it lay upon the common, packed in the case in which it had come from Sydney. Subsequently, Mr. McWilliam, the native missionary, collected a few pounds with which to purchase the pedestal, and had the bust erected where it now stands. On the authority of Dieffenbach and Angas, it is said that Te Rauparaha possessed the physical curiosity of six toes on each foot.

[199]   It is estimated that during the course of Te Rauparaha's campaigns no less than 60,000 lives were sacrificed.

[200]   Mr. Spain, in one of his reports, has said: "Rauparaha is the most talented native I have seen in New Zealand. He is mild and gentlemanly in his manner and address; a most powerful speaker; and his argumentative faculties are of a first rate order."

"He must have been a most powerful man, and, if his mind had been cultivated, would, no doubt, have been a most clever one. As it is, he seldom gets the worst of an argument about his own proceedings, puts such searching questions and gives such evasive answers, that he puzzled the best of our logicians on many occasions when endeavouring to get him to give a decided answer about his not giving us the assistance he promised when we were trying to capture the murderers from Rangihaeata" (McKillop).

[201]   Correct, according to prescribed rules.

[202]   Treachery, amounting to murder.

[203]   Rev. Richard Taylor.

[204]   "I must not omit to mention that, cruel and bloodthirsty as this man appears to have been, he must occasionally have made exceptions, as one of his slaves voluntarily accompanied him into captivity on board the Calliope, waiting on him and paying him every attention for a period of eighteen months, knowing from the beginning that he was quite free to leave him at any time. He was offered a rating on the ship's books, but this he refused, saying there would be no one to wait on the old man if he was otherwise employed" (McKillop).




Shewing routes taken by Te Rauparaha and Te Puoho in their various raids