The printing of this brief account of the coining of the Maori
to the Manawatu is prompted by a request to the Palmerston
North Polynesian Group for one of its members to address 3rd
Form pupils at the P.N.B.H.S.
This task was allotted to me and I felt that as the pupils
could gain no adequate knowledge from one lecture, something
of this nature should be provided.
Certain repetitions will naturally be disappointing but it must
be borne in mind that these notes are simply a resume of talks
given by me to the group, together with a brief account of Te
Raaparaha's invasion of the Coast and the advent of Christianity.
I make no pretensions to literary ability and the time avail-
able does not permit of any re-editing.
I offer no apologies for the inclusion of what may be con-
sidered extraneous matter as I believe everything included is
necessary to give a correct background to the subject as well as
to foster some desire for further studies in subjects affecting the
Maori people and the Maori history of New Zealand.
G. ALLW RIGHT,
c/o Palmerston North Polynesian Group,
1 5551 28
TJiere is much conclusive evidence that many parts of New
/ealand were quite densely populated before the arrival of "the
Fleet". These people are usually referred to as the Tangata
Whenua the people of the land.
Among the foremost writers on this subject are Herries
Heattie and G. L. Adkin.
Mr. Herries Eeattie is undoubtedly the foremost authority
on the South Island. Mr. Adkin, besides being a student of most
phases of Maori history, is also one of our foremost geologists.
His research work into the occupation of this south-western coast
by the Waitaha, his discovery of Waitaha artefacts in the Horo-
whenua district, together with geological data, shows conclusively
that these people lived here approximately 2000 years ago. Mr.
Herries Beattie has, I believe, collected more information regard-
ing the Waitaha and the Ngati Mamoe than any other European
and whilst some of his work has not yet received the approval
of certain people in high places, it is most surely quite as authentic
as any traditional history that we have.
A great deal of the following is gleaned from some study of
The only source of information concerning the Waitaha and
the Ngati Mamoe, apart from archaeological ones, is through the
genealogical tables of those people (principally the Ngai Tahu)
whose ancestors married into the Tangata Whenua tribes. Not
all Maoris can "Whakapapa-tupuna," i.e. arrange their ancestors
in correct genealogical order, even among those who made no
attempt to refer further back than the landing of their own par-
Although traces of the Waitaha have been found in the Horo-
whenua, Northland and quite recently in the Coromandel Peninsula,
practically the whole of the information upon which some reliabil-
ity can be placed comes from the South Island.
The Nga Puhi people of Northland have, however, a tradition
that helps lend credence to that of the Southern people.
There were two distinct Waitaha. One tribe were descended
from Taha who came to New Zealand in the Arawa canoe com-
manded by the chief Tama-te-Kapua. When these people decided
to settle in the South Island they would have found the land
already inhabited by a people of the same name who had been
there for at least 500 years, unless of course they had been
swallowed up and the remnant incorporated in the Ngati Mamoe
who were a much more warlike people. The original Waitaha
were Moa hunters and they possessed a culture much superior to
the Ngati Mamoe excepting that the latter had certain weapons,
including the whalebone patu-paraoa, which were superior to
the wooden weapons of the Waitaha. A most interesting exhibit
of these Waitaha artefacts such as fish-hooks, etc., showing the
most remarkable workmanship, and made of Moa bone, bird bone,
and human bone, is to be seen in the Canterbury Museum.
It seems quite definite that the Waitaha were practically
annihilated by the Ngali Mamoe and the remnant of these people
absorbed into the tribes of the latter. Then came the Maori who
treated the Ngati Mamoe in exactly similar fashion. A series of
six genealogical tables forwarded to the Polynesian Society early
in this century trace back through all three peoples to a common
Traditions, too, are very similar and minor discrepancies are
not of very much importance as will be evident in the following-
traditions of the first canoe.
1. The first canoe was Te-waka-Huruhuru-manu and the next
was Te Waka-a-Raki.
2. The first canoe was the canoe of Rangi and in consequence
of its speed was called Te-waka-huriihurii-maiiii.
3. The first canoe was that of Raki. After this came "Oruao" ;
Rakaihaitu was the man ; Uruao was the canoe.
This is exactly similar to the traditions handed down by the
people of the "Fleet" e.g.:
Ko Te Arawa te Waka; Ko Tama Te Kapua le tangata: Ko
Te Arawa te iwi. (Te Arawa is the canoe; Tama Te Kapua is
the man; Te Arawa is the tribe).
To the South Island people, Waitaha always means the
people who came in "Uruao" with Rakaihaitu whilst still holding
to the tradition of Te-waka-Huruhuru-manu.
The story goes that the latter canoe almost ran aground
near the North Cape; that the people named the land they had
discovered Te Aupouri ; that a landing was made and a pa Te
Ritua - built; that descendants of these people are still to be
found there in the form of fairies.
The story continues that the second canoe "I ruao made a
landing in the North Island but finding it already inhabited con-
tinued on to the South. The exact landing place is not known
but is considered to be in the North Canterbury or Kaikoura area.
Genealogical confirmation of the embodiment of the three-
peoples in one, is contained in the Whakapapa of Tare Te Mai-
aroa showing descent from Rakaihaitu through Waitaha and Ngati
Mamoe to Ngai Tahu (Maori) in six different lines covering
forty-two generations prior to 1900 A.I).
Further to the culture of these people it is claimed that the
rock paintings which are so numerous in the South Island are also
their work. Those in black are credited to Waitaha, who used red
solely for the painting of the dead, whilst the Ngati Mamoe used
red for all purposes. The preservation of the dead was an art
in which they were highly proficient and the natural colour of the
features was retained so well that they were readily recognisable
One Waitaha tradition claims that the land was inhabited
even before they themselves came. Their account of the existence
of Macro in the South and a fairy people in the north is strangely
akin to the Northern tradition.
The people of Aopouri tell us that the people of the land
were Ngati Kui who were a numerous people on Te-Ika-a-Maui.
"When the Ngati Kui had lived many years on the Fish of
Maui, another people came from the other side of the ocean who
were called Tutu-mai-ao. These people on landing assumed a
superior knowledge over the resident people, inter-married with
the remnant in the customary way and the people of Kui were no
more. So all authority over the land was assumed bv the Tutu-
"Uut again a people called Turehu came from the other side
of the ocean and dealt with the Tutu-mai-ao just as the latter
had done with Ngati Kui." "Then at last came a people who were
the descendents of the line of Maui and are called Maori. After
they had lived for ten generations in the land they acted in the
same way towards the Turehu and Turehu became extinct." The
legend continues: "Now, O People! Consider Kui, Tutu-mai-ao
and Turehu. These have all disappeared and not one is here to
whom we can bid welcome. Now Tutu-mai-ao has become an in-
distinct being and \vlien looked for disappears. And Turehti is
now represented by tlie Patupaiarelie who go to the mountains
where their language when heard is taken for that of man. but
which is only the voice of spirits who are now no more and whal
they knew and their history has been lost."
There does not appear to be any traditional record of the
Waitaha in the Manawatu or Horowhenua area but there is some
oral record of the Ngati Mamoe among the Maori tribes. In par-
ticular there is the story of the remnant of Ngati Mamoe being
driven to Kapiti by Tawhakahiku. The Ngati Mamoe occupation
of the South Island must have extended over a very long period,
for by the time they were invaded by the Ngai Tahu there was
no visible sign of former habitation by the Waitaha. In their turn,
the Ngati Mamoe were subjected to the same ruthlessness and
cruelty by Ngai Tahu as they themselves had meted out to the
Waitaha. The remnant of these people fled to the almost im-
penetrable fastness of the south-western part of the South Island.
For a very long time it was surmised that they were still in the
Sounds area and there were many rumours of a "lost tribe" living
By the year 1860 it was estimated that there were about #0
of these people - - principally men - - living in the Ngai Tahu
Earlier in the century a party under Te Ilium Rapa, on its
way to plunder a sealing station, captured a woman who called
herself Tu-ai-te-Kuru, and finding she was a Ngati Mamoe woman,
killed and devoured her on the spot. In 18'12 a sealing party
pulling up one of the Sounds observed smoke issuing from the face
of the cliffs. Investigation showed a cave which had evidently
just been deserted. They took possession of a feather mat, a whale-
bone patu-paraoa,, some fish hooks and some flax baskets in the
process of making. These artefacts were later exhibited to the
people as far north as J^iapoi and the patu-paraoa presented to
the Rev. S. W. Stack. Intermittent reports of the sighting of
these people continued till shortly before the close of the last
They are the people referred to by Ngai Tahu as Macro, or
"wild men of the bush" which is synonomous with that of the
North Island Macro, Maeroero and Mahoao.
Mention of other "tangata whenua tribes is made in the
following story of Toi:
Toi set out from Tahiti to search for his grandson, W'hatonga,
whose canoe had been blown out to sea in a great gale that blew
up during the progress of a race between the men of Tahiti and
Hawaii. He first called at Rarotonga but finding no trace of his
grandson decided to travel on "to the land discovered by Kupe at
Tiritiri-o-te-moana." Toi's company numbered thirty twice told
- hokotortf topu - and some of his companions had their wives
with them. He made this land at Tamaki which is now called
Auckland and landed there because he had seen smoke rising whilst
he was outside at sea.
The people living at Tamaki were Maruiwi, Ruaroa, Tai-
tawaro, Rua-tamore and Pana-rehu.
These people were described as "swarming like ants in a
The people of Toi took some of the Rua-tamore and Paiia-
neliu women as wives. Later when they had moved down to the
East Coast district they also incorporated into their tribe both
young men and women of the Ngati Pana-rehu whom they had
defeated in battle near Maketu.
In this manner the tribe became very numerous and are often
spoken of as Te Tini-a-Toi, the multitude of Toi.
During all this time, Whatonga and his newphew, Tu-Rahui,
had been at the island of Ra'iatea. When they finally returned to
Tahiti, Whatonga, learning that his grandfather was missing, made
ready a canoe to search the islands. At Raratonga he was told
that Toi had gone to "the land that Kupe told of, a land that lay
to the right of the setting sun, or the moon or Venus."
Whatonga found Toi at Whakatane and stayed with him for
some time. One account states that when Whatonga decided to look
for a place of his own, his young men were given wives of the
Te Tini-a-Toi and Te-Tini-a-Ngati Pana-rehu and that they moved
down to the Hawkes Bay district. The account that follows is
that given by the Rangitane people themselves.
It is said that the seven canoes were to rendezvous at Ngitangi
beach, Rarotonga, but that Kurahaupo and Aotea did not arrive
until the others had left. After an overhaul Kurahaupo left before
Aotea but was damaged on the edge of a great whirlpool near
Rangitahu, now known as Sunday Island, was beached there and
repaired. She continued her voyage, was overtaken by Aotea and
both canoes came on to New Zealand together.
Kurahaupo made landfall at a little bay called Nukutaurua
on the Mahia peninsula.
Ruatea, the principal chief of the canoe, decided to make his
home at Mahia, but sometime later Whatonga with his relatives
and immediate friends moved down to what is now the Hawkes
Bay. Near the present city of Hastings he built a pa or fortified
village for himself, within the palisades of which, stood his beau-
tifully carved house Heretaunga. Whatonga's first wife, Hotu-
Waipara, is described as a lady of turbulent temper and is some-
times credited with being the cause of his further wanderings. His
previous voyages in search of Toi give the impression though, that
his natural bent for exploration and possibly too, his personal ambi-
tion, would be sufficient to urge him onward. Finally he and a
band of his picked warriors took to the canoes, paddled down the
east coast of the Island, past Cook Strait and down the Kaikoura
coast. Finding the country rather inhospitable from his point of
view food was harder to obtain and there were no ponga or
wheki trees with which to build houses he turned back, paddled
through Cook Strait and up along the West Coast of the North
Island until he reached the mouth of a large river. Here he turned
in and working his way upstream came upon a veritable Maori
Here was everything necessary for the comfort and welfare
of his people. The river, swamps and lakes teemed with eels and
water-fowl. In the bush were myriads of Tui, Kaka and Kereru
(pigeon), besides fern, K^ttiKill2 and the berries of the Tawa, Miro
and Karaka. In the swamps was an abundance of finest flax
(Harakeke) with which to clothe his people and to make their
floor and sleeping mats. On the bank of the river stood the giant
Totara trees waiting to be felled and cut into canoes.
So impressed was he that, although the area was already in-
habited, he determined to come down and take possession. The
people living along the river at the time were the Xgati Mamoe,
sometimes referrd to as Tangata Whenua or people of the land.
They also, were a Polynesian people, who, if they did not
speak the same language as the Maori, at least spoke a dialect of
it. From them Whatonga learned that there was another way
hack to Heretaunga by way of Te Apiti - - now known as the
Manawatu Gorge. He went back by way of the river, gathered
together a strong party of his people, then returned and dis-
possessed the Tangata Whenua of their lands.
Although the history of this period is largely lost to us, it
would appear that the Rangitane and "the people of the land"
must then have lived in comparative peace for some two hundred
years. During that time the Rangitane had come through the
Gorge in ever-increasing numbers till they had built pas along
the river from Raukawa, near the junction of the Pohangina and
Manawatu rivers to Te Awahou on the left bank at the mouth.
Among the best known of these are the Motu-o-potoa, on top of
the cliff's at Hokowhitu, Puketotara just below the junction with
the Oroua river and Hotuiti near Foxton. The period of compara-
tive peace is placed at about 200 years through reference to the
whakapapa or tribal genealogies. A Rangitane maiden Whaka-
Rongotau, a niece of Tawhakahiku, was given in marriage to a
young Tangata Whenua chief named Houhiri who lived at Toko-
What is possibly the best history of the Manawatu states
that when Whatonga first returned to the Hawkes Bay he brought
back a strong band of his people "under a noted warrior named
To illustrate that this could be incorrect it is necessary to
give here some brief lines of descent. First the descent of the
Rangitane from Whatonga and his second wife Reretua ,of the
Hotu-Waipara = Whatonga = Reretua
Whatonga : Reretua
Rangitane ( Tane-iiui-a-Rangi
This table (Table 11.) is from the records of Hoani Meihana
Te Rangiotu who in the closing months of 1852 and the early
autumn of 1853, entertained a gathering of some sixty chiefs
at his village, for the sole purpose of checking and verifying
the genealogies of his tribe. Hoani Meihana was a very learned
man and realising that the art of memorising was becoming lost
to the new generation, committed a great deal of his store of
knowledge to the written word. Much of this has not yet been
However, Table 11 shows that Tawhakahiku could not have
been a contemporary of Whatonga.
Referring back to the marriage of Whaka-ronga-tau to Hou-
hiri. Whaka-rongo-tau's brother had been staying at Tokomaru,
fishing and bird-snaring with Houhiri. One day Houhiri returned
alone and gave his wife evasive answers as to the whereabouts of
her brother. She discovered that Houhiri had slain him and put
his body in the eel baskets for bait. The lady remained silent
about her discovery but sent for her uncle to come over and take
vengeance on her husband.
The battles that ensued from Tawhakahiku's destruction of
Houhiri's pa and the slaughter of his people resulted in the almost
total annihilation of the Ngati Mamoe and Ngati Ara, the remnant
of the people fleeing to Kapiti.
By this time Rangitane sub-tribes extended right down
through the Wairarapa and even on to the northern part of the
Tawhakahiku and his brother Mangere even raided some of
the Rangitane belonging to other sub-tribes and their own blood
relations. After raiding on the western side of the Gorge they
c-rossed back over the range and continued to raid down through
the Northern Wairarapa. Then crossing back again to attack the
pa at Manakau, they were by a lucky circumstance discovered. A
trap was laid for them and both were killed at the Manakau pa.
Despite inter-tribal warfare with neighbours who coveted
their rich lands, the Rangitane were at the turn of the 19th cen-
tury, a very numerous people. The Puketotara pa alone is said
to have housed b'OO warriors.
Yet by the time Te Rauparaha had settled in the Horowhenua
about 1823 their ranks and those of their Rangitikei neighbours
had been sadly depleted not only by battles between themselves
but also by a strong raid by the Waikato people whilst Te Rau-
paraha was on his way down. It may be of interest to mention
one or two of the battles with Ngati-Apa (Rangitikei).
In a fight at Pohangina, Rangitane were victorious but they
were so keen on capturing the Ngati Apa chief, Te Ahuru-te-Rangi
that they allowed some of his followers to escape. The prisoners
were set to work to dig ovens, carry stones and firewood for
them. When at last everything was ready and the victors had
lined up for their haka of triumph, a Ngati Apa force summoned
by the escapees fell on them and it was the Rangitane themselves
were consigned to the ovens prepared by and for their prisoners.
The Ngati Apa chief Te Ahuru was one of those who lost their
lives when the combined tribes attacked Te Rauparaha at Kapiti.
His son, also name Te Ahuru was one of the chiefs assembled
many years later to discuss a suitable name for the eastern portion
of the Palmerston North Square.
Another occasion when the Ngati Apa appear to have been
defeated was at the attack on Mararatapa. It has been claimed
that there were a thousand casualties in this battle. The word
mano, thousand, is however, used in the sense of meaning "a great
number" and was probably so employed by those who recounted
the story. The dead were collected in heaps and cremated. Crema-
tion was not a common practice although Te Waharoa, when he
recaptured his ancestral lands and the Matakitaki Pa in Waikato
cremated his fallen warriors because the enemy were yet strong
enough to turn the tables on him. On this occasion, however, the
bodies of the enemy, following the usual practise, had been dis-
embowelled and a Rangitane chief who passed by, noted certain
movement of the entrails. This movement, according to Maori
lore, meant that the slain were calling for revenge and so that
they should not be heard, the bodies were burnt.
The Taonui swamp extended eastward of the Oroua at Rangi-
otu was always a bone of contention between the tribes, for here
the choicest of eels and an abundance of water-fowl were to be
found. The last battle for its possesion, also a victory for Rangi-
tane, is notable principally because it was the first time that fire-
arms were used in the warfare between these two tribes.
Ngati Apa and Rangitane had been constantly raiding each
others territory over a very long period and yet neither tribe had
been able to assert any dominance over the other. The final result
was that the ranks of both tribes were being constantly decimated
whilst each still remained in possession of their original tribal
lands and fisheries.
Towards the end of the year 1818, whilst Te Rauparaha
delayed his migration to this coast, awaiting the harvest of food
supplies in Taranaki, a strong war party from Waikato attacked
the Ngati Apa, Rangitane and Muaupoko, defeating them badly
and driving them from their pas and villages.
So then the inter-tribal warfare combined with this latest
raid made the whole of the district an easy prey for the invader.
One of the first white men to journey up the Manawatu river
and through the Gorge was the surveyor, Mr. J. T. Stewart, in
the year 1863. In a very graphic account, Mr. Stewart mentioned
that he stayed over the week-end at Puketotara village where
the chief John Mason held a position among his people "equivalent
to that of squire and parson" held by certain gentlemen in Eng-
land. Stewart mentions, too, that the village contained both a
church and a store.
Puketotara village was situated a little further up the Mana-
watu river and closer to the Oroua than was the original pa of
the same name.
The name John Mason is synonomous with Hoani Meihana,
the second Te Rangiotu.
Te Rangiotu and Te Awe Awe were both chiefs of importance
among the Rangitane and it may be of interest to trace here their
descent from Kurahaupo and the intermarriage of the two families,
both of whom are well known in the district.
Hoani Meihana Te Rangiotu
Te Awe Awe
Hare Rakena Te Awe Awe
Manawaroa Te Awe Awe
Table III. is rather interesting. It shows that
had three sons, Rangitane's great grandsons, Hamua, Hauiti and
Awariki. Each of these was the progenitor of a sub-tribe or hapu.
A descendant of Hamua, Ilinn-ilakino maried Rairunga and was
the mother of Te Rangiotu whilst Roka, a descendant of Hauiti
was the second wife of Te Awe Awe and the mother of Hare
Rakena, Te Awe Awe himself being in direct line of descent from
Awariki. Te Peeti Te Awe Awe, whose statue stands on the
eastern portion of the Palmerston North Square, was the son of
Te Awe Awe and his first wife Tarake. Both of these chiefs have
a grand record in the Queen's service during the Hauhau rebellion.
Tarake = Te Awe Awe Roka
\ I .
Peeti Te Awe Awe Hare Rakena T e Awe Awe
The invasion of the coast by Te Rauparaha is regarded as
possibly the most important event in the Maori history of the
Manawatu because of its ultimate effect on the ownership of lands
in the Rangitikei. Manawatu and Horowhenua.
In these notes I have placed the principal migration of this
chief and his Ngati Toa as taking place about the year 1818-19.
However, Mr. S. Percy Smith, in his Maori Wars of the Nine-
teenth Century, checks various events of that period with the records
of certain missionaries and it is more than likely that it could have