Whatonga Visits Rangiatea
At one time there came to Tahiti some chiefs from another island; from Ahu were those people; Tuhua was another name of that island and it lies far beyond Tahiti.
After their arrival at Tahiti there was much talk; amongst other things they said that the men of Tahiti could not compete with them in canoe work.
This subject became a considerable one and was much disputed by the local people.
Owing to the strength of the dispute, it was decided to set up a canoe race within the waters of Pikopiko i whiti.
All the chiefs of Hawaiki consented to this as did several others from islands outside Hawaiki.
It was finally agreed that the trial of skill was to take place on the day, ‘Orongonui’ (27th day of the moon), in the month Tatauuraora (November).
It was said, “Let it be at the time when we have plenty of food.”
After this the people of Tuhua returned to their own island; whilst the local people proceeded to build canoes of excellent quality.
Whatonga, grandson of Toi te huatahi, and his nephew Turahui, entered heartily into this scheme.
When the time arrived, all the tribes assembled at Titirangi, Te Pakaroa and at Whangara, so they might be near Pikopiko o whiti.
It was arranged that the competing canoes should turn back home a long way out at sea, and after all had consented to this, all the people, including the old men, ascended Puke Hapopo to behold the race.
When the canoes were all afloat, there were, it is said, probably thirty twice-told.
After long paddling ‘Te Wao,’ the canoe of Whatonga and his nephew was urged ahead, and got beyond all the others far out in the ocean.
As the canoes were about to return to the shore there arose a fierce wind from the direction of the land, ‘kaore i tatahi mouri te paanga mai,’ its strength was not to be faced.
They could not make the land, so some of the canoes were blown away to sea, whilst others managed to make a landing.
The canoe of Whatonga and his nephew Turahui was driven away to the deep ocean.
Night came on, the day followed, and on the next night a thick dense fog came down on to the surface of the sea, so that it could not be seen.
Now indeed were they all confused, and paddled on not knowing in what direction they were going.
At day light the fog lifted, and they saw before them an island on the surface of the sea.
They paddled towards it and finally made the land, where they immediately began searching for food amongst the rocks, and lit a fire.
Now, when some of the people of that island saw the fire they came to ascertain the cause, and there found the voyagers sitting round it.
The local people asked, “Where do you people come from?”
The others replied, “From the ocean!”
Then the local people said, “You must return to your own island from which you came, the law of this land does not allow of strangers from other places, if you do not obey, you will be killed.”
Whatonga said to Turahui, “We have heard the law of this land, let us go!”
But Turahui replied to his uncle, “I will not consent to return to sea, lest I be eaten or torn to pieces by the great sharks.
Leave me ashore, that I may have a takapau for myself.” Whatonga was grieved at the answer of his nephew.
The local people now said, “Let us all go to the ariki of the island, so that you may hear what he has to say.”
This was consented to, and the local people then embarked in their waka tiwai, whilst Whatonga and his party went in their own canoe.
As they went along Turahui said to his own particular friends, “When we arrive, remain all close together, do not be persuaded to separate; so that if the ariki sends for us to the place he wants us, we may not be killed one by one; another thing is, let us all stick close to the ariki of the people, so that in case of trouble we may seize and kill him as payment for our own deaths, and he may become whariki for us.”
All this was agreed to, and soon after they arrived at the village where they were to sleep.
At daylight came the messenger to guide them to the ariki.
On arrival at the marae, they found it crowded by numerous people.
The strangers were told to remain in the midst of the others, and on their doing so the ariki, Rangiatea by name, stood up and questioned them.
“From which island do you come? and what canoe has brought you to this place?”
Then Turahui arose and said: “The canoe from Hawaiki, from whence the sun comes, we were blown out to sea by the wind, and landed here on this island, we did not know the direction of our home on account of the fog and could not therefore return, and so landed here to rest after our fatigue, the cold, and hunger.”
Rangiatea turning to his people said: “You have now heard that these people belong to our god Tamanuitera, I now for the first time hear that our god has another people besides ourselves.”
Now, indeed, were Whatonga and his people safe.
They were then invited into the house.
After some time, Hineariki, the daughter of Rangiatea, was given to Turahui as a wife, and then Whatonga and all the rest of their crew were also furnished with wives.
There were children born unto them, and Turahui had a son, a grandson to Rangiatea.
There is a great deal more of this history, but what has been told is sufficient for this part.
After a lengthened time had elapsed, Rangiatea said to Whatonga “So you do not desire to return to your own land and people, O Tonga?”
The latter replied, “Yes! If it were clear which way the bows of the canoe should be directed to reach that land.
Then would the desire be strong, O Rangi!”
Toi Te Huatahi Starts For New Zealand.
Now we will leave this narrative here, and return to the time at which the canoe of Whatonga was blown off the land.
At that period the people of Tahiti made search for the canoes that did not make the shore, but none were found.
Then they went to the tohunga tuaahu to ask them whether Whatonga and the lost people were alive or not.
Some of the gods said, they had been lost at sea; others declared they were still alive, but at a great distance, whilst others again asserted that they were in the moana riporipo still paddling along.
The replies of the gods were very confusing, and in consequence a great anxiety came over Toi te Huatahi.
He said: “I shall go in search of my grand-children.”
Now, at this time Toi decided to go in search of Whatonga and his nephew.
He came on to Rarotonga, where he met Toarangitahi, and asked about his grandson.
“He has not been here,” said Toa.
Toi then decided that he would go on to the land at ‘Tiritiri o te moana’ in order that he might ascertain whether the lost people had reached that country.
“If anyone comes in search of me, tell them I have gone to that land, if I reach there, it will be well; if not, I shall be found in the Kopu o Hinemoana,” said Toi to the local people.
Toi then started with his companions, who were thirty twice-told in number, some of whom had their wives with them.
Toi made this land of Aotearoa at Tamaki, which is now called Auckland, and landed there because he had seen smoke when outside at sea.
Here they remained some time with the people known as Te Tini o Maruiwi, Ruaroa, Taitawaro, Ruatamore, and Pananehu.
These people were living like a ruaroro, men, women and children.
They lived with these people a long time until they became fully acquainted with their ways, and found them evil; they were a murderous people amongst themselves.
Some of the people of Toi married with their women.
After a time Toi said to Putahi o Rongo, “O son! Let us proceed to explore this land and see what it is like.”
So they arose and proceeded in their canoe as far as Aorea, where they stayed some time; and then they went on to Tuhua.
It was Toi who gave the island this name, in remembrance of his engaging in the canoe race in which his grandchildren were lost, i.e., Whatonga and Turahui.
They stayed at Tuhua a long time, and then went on to Whakatane, where the Pa of Toi was built and called Kaapuu te Rangi, an old pa still in existence on top of the range behind the modern township of Whakatane.
Here it was they settled down permanently.
After they had built that and other pa, the women of Tamaki, who had intermarried with his people were asked, what were the foods of this country.
One of them named Raru replied to Toi, that birds, fish, both salt and fresh-water, cockles and fruits of the forest, were the food of this land.
Then they proceeded to try which of these fruits were good to eat, that is the mamaku tree fern, the species of fern-root named the aruhe para, aruhe papawai, aruhe whatiwhati, aruhe-paranui, pikopiko, young shoots of fern; the Ti, or whanake, cabbage tree, the kouka,raupo roots, the matai and kahikatea berries, the patotara berries, the korau, wild cabbage, the koka, the poniu, the tutu, the konini and the poroporo; the paraa hua kareao, tawa, karaka, for at that time there were neither kumara nor taro in either this island or the South Island.
Trouble Commences With The Local People.
Some time elapsed and then some of the people of Toi went to the inland part of the Maketu district.
Here the local people were very angry with the strangers because they did takahi their lands and take possession of them, together with some of their young women as wives for themselves and their young men.
Some of the people of Toi were killed over this affair. So the people of Toi arose and fell on them, but lost, killing Te Oke, Purawaha and Poaio, four of them were killed, whilst six escaped and made their way back to the pa of Toi, when they reported what had occurred, saying, “We have been killed by the people of the land, by Ngati Pananehu, who dwell inland of Maketu.”
Toi replied to them, “Go and kill them; but if you are successful, let your killing be in moderation; leave some alive, bring hither the young men, women and children.
Fame is acquired through killing unto death, likewise also in saving alive.”
So the people of Toi went on their errand, whilst he remained behind with his grandson, Awanui a rangi, and the many other children of those who had gone.
The taua proceeded to its destination and there fell upon the local people, who were still at the same place.
They succeeded in capturing about two hundred men and women, besides children who were not counted.
After these captured people had remained with Toi for a lengthened period they came to appreciate his kindness towards them.
When these people had been living together for some time, Toi and his wives went from Whakatane to Tauranga; his wives were from those people who lived about in different places in that neighbourhood.
When Toi reached Tauranga he was attacked and wounded by a party of Ruatamore.
On this becoming known, up rose Te Koautaranga and all Ngati Awa, nearly four hundred of them, and a battle was fought in which Ngati Ruatamore was beaten at Te Mangakino on the east side of Mokau, and some one hundred young men and about five hundred young women of a marriageable age were brought away prisoners.
Among these prisoners was Piopio, a daughter of Pohokura. When the latter heard of this, at the pa, Okoki, in the Urenui district, Taranaki, where he was living, and that his daughter was still alive, though a prisoner to Toi, he started off to Whakatane to interview Toi, and on his arrival he said, “O Toi! I come here about your slave, Piopio, who is my daughter, to ask you to give her up, and let her return with me.”
Toi replied, “It is well. When you get back home let her name be Kairakau.”
To this Pohokura replied, “Since you have given her a name let her remain as a wife for you, for I know that you will take care of my child.”
Toi then said, “I consent so far, that she shall be a wife for my grandson Te Atakore.”
Pohokura having given his consent to this arrangement, he returned to his home in the west, and to his own people.
Te Tini O Awa.
Now the above is the cause which led Ngati Awa to Taranaki originally, through Pohokura and Toi and their arrangement for the marriage of Te Atakore and Piopio.
And it is also the cause why Ngati Awa increased so, because of their intermarriages with the local people who have been referred to above, and also to the fact that the boys of that people were taken to increase their numbers.
It was from that time that the name of Te Tini o Awa was applied to Ngati Awa.
In consequence of the above named marriage many of Ngati Awa dwelt with Pohokura on the west coast until the time of his death, when great troubles arose between Ngati Awa and the local Taranaki people involving all the hapu of that part, and during which Te Tini o Maruiwi and Tini o Ruatamore were sorely smitten, and finally fled to Mokau, then to Whanganui and on to Turanganui and to the Wairoa in Hawkes Bay, dwelling in each place for a time.