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No. 16 (October 1956)
– 44 –

Kawiti's Chant

Te Takuake a Kawiti

Kahore te mamae e waahi ake nei
E whakapatuana te tau o Takuate e
Kite iwi raia kua hurihia atu nei
Ki raro ite maru ote Kuini ee
Hei hapai mai ite patu a ware ee
Ki runga ki taku kiri ngarahu e
Te ngu o taku ihue whakamaua mai ra

Etini ete hoa kia waiho ko ahau
Hei matangohi mo roto ite pakanga
Imahara hoki au ee hei riri kotahi ee
Hei riri pupu te riri a Ngapuhi, te riri a Rahiri ee
Te riri a kaharau.
Kai tohia iho ana kite tohi ote riri ee
Kite tohi nei o Karakawhati ee
Kirunga ki te kauae ote riri ee
Hei huna ite tangata ee kite po nui o Rehua eei

Tenei ka whakaohirangi te tapu ite tinana
Te tapu ite whenua ee
Etitiro ana au e nga hau e wha ee
Onunga ote rangi ee
Tenei ka tukumai ko Ngaitai kote mere
Whakakopa ee
Ite hauauru he tai tama taane e
Kote maroharanui, kote ripoharanui i waho
o Mapuna,
E tangi ana ia he mumutai he waa whenua ei

Kia too te marino ki roto o Hokianga
I tupu mai i Panguru i Papata eei
Nga puke iringa korero ote hauauru ee
Katere-te-Taitapu te kauanga ote rangi
He au maunutanga-toroa, he hurihanga-waka-taua
Kite riri tauaki, kite riri horahora ee
Kite riri whanannga ki roto o Ngapuhi

Kaati kawea mai te riri ate manu waitai
Kiroto o Ngapuhiko wahaorau eei
E kore au e mutu te tu kiroto ate pakanga
Kia kai rano au ite rereua ote po,
Katahi ano au kamutu te tu kite pakanga
Ka hinga hoki ra te-wao-nui-o-tane
ki raro naai.

The sorrow of love wells up within me,
strikes at my heart strings
for the people who have turned away
to find their shelter under the Queen
and have raised weapons of slaves
to set upon the tattoo of my skin,
the spirals sculptured on my nose.

Oh my many friends, why forsake me
to become first-slain in this battle?
I thought this a war for all,
war of men bound together, a Ngapuhi war,
war of old man Rahiri, war of Kaharau,
to be baptised to the rites of battle,
the ceremonial of Karakawhati, before the shrine
of war,
for the hiding of men in the great night of Rehua.

I perceive now holiness in the body,
holiness in the land, as I look up
to the four winds of heaven,
Ngaitai arrives with the hidden mere,
from the western seas—the male child—
from the great ocean currents, mighty surges
beyond Mapuna,
resounding the roar of the ever moving tide
crashing upon the land.

Let the great calm spread through Hokianga
springing from Panguru and Papata,
mountains, heavy with tales, in the west.
The sacred tide flows, crossing the sky,
the current bearing the albatross, turning the
warriors' boats
to the war up-flung, the war out-spread,
the war of kinsmen of Ngapuhi.

So let the war, brought here from the sea
enter Ngapuhi of a hundred folds.
I shall never cease to fight my kinsmen
until I taste the driving sleet of death.
Only then shall I cease to fight my kinsmen
for the great tree of Tane will then lie low.

Explanatory Notes:

Rahiri Kaharua, Karakawhati: ancestors of Ngapuhi tribes.

Panguru, Papata: mountain ranges in Hokianga.

– 45 –


Certain questions persistently arise in connection with the Ruapekapeka battle: Firstly, why is it that there is no written record of where the soldiers fell, where they were buried, and the number of the dead? My informants said that they were buried in one L-shaped grave, head to head, below the position where the troops were camped. Secondly, why do all written records end abruptly, giving little or no Wanaunga or other details of the one and only encounter which took place of Ruapekapeka? Some of my informants declared that by the time the soldiers arrived back to their camp the main body of Maori warriors on Kawiti's side had already left for their homes. If this then be true, the Maoris who were left behind may have done the burying, hence their more detailed knowledge of this affair. The soldiers certainly left a lot of cannon-balls behind them on the camp site. Many years afterwards a quantity was found in a gully near by.

Others declared that the Maoris followed a long way after the retiring soldiers, but did not relish the idea of shooting them in the back. However, stories such as these, lacking detailed accounts of some actual happenings, cannot be relied upon.

In connection with the wounded, a story is told of one, Te Whata, who was wounded in the groin. He was carried to and bathed in a spring some distance to the south of Ruapekapeka Pa. The spring is called Tou-wai-nou (towai—tou to dip, wai—water) to commemorate this event.

It will be admitted, because of the lack of information to the contrary that the pa was breached by the heavy pounding it had been subjected to. It would be difficult at this time to estimate the extent of the damage, but the pa was still in the fight. The Maoris had not considered abandoning it. The soldiers on the other hand, realising that it had still plenty of sting in its tall, and probably realizing too that the lay of the country did not favour an assault, decided on the method adopted, that of attacking on Sunday after first spying out the ground. To think even for one moment that Kawiti's men outside would consider clearing out into the bush without a fight, would be entirely false. If anything had happened to the old leader they would have fought to the last man.

There is no support for stories that the Maoris were driven into the forest.


This battle however, brought to a close the war in the North. Each tribe had had its share of the fighting. Kororareka had been pakehas' territory, to Okaihau, Heke's: to Ohaeawai, Pene Taui's: ending at Ruapekapeka, Kawiti's choice.

To continue would have meant a struggle to the point of extermination. Reckoning up the costs in lives lost during the fighting every one appeared to have arrived at the same conclusion, that an honourable peace should now be concluded.

It may be of interest to relate here a story written by an ex-soldier in his diary. This story concerns the emmissary who on behalf of the Governor, asked Kawiti whether he had had enough of the fighting. The reply was “If you have had enough I have had enough, but if you have not had enough then I have not had enough either”. The pakeha replied, “You are a noble sort of a New Zealand savage”.

The peace which followed was an honourable one with no lands confiscated. It no doubt brought happiness to the Maoris of the Bay. War had come to an end and men and women could return to their homes and families. Those who had been kept in readiness for any further fighting would now be disbanded.

So Kawiti went to Whangarei to return one of the tribes who came to help—the Waiariki. One Waiariki warrior, Tuhaia, had lost his life at Ohaeawai.

The meeting took place at Pukepato, a pa near Glenbervie on the road to Nganguru. This must have been an event of no little importance for the local tribes. For, was not this the Kawiti who answered ‘Yes’ to Whareumu's appeal for help against his enemies in the past? Was it not right that he should return the death of Tuhaia? “Ka tika”—quite right.


During the meeting it is said that Kawiti uttered the now famous saying “E te whanau, i tu au ki te riri ki te atua o te po, a, kahore au i mate. Na reira, i tenei ra takahia te kino ki raro i o koutou waewae. Kei takahia e koutou nga papapounamu a koutou tupuna e takoto nei i te moana. Tirohia atu nga tuatea o te moana. Hei poai pakeha koutou i muri nei. Kia mau kite whakapono. Waiho mate kakati o te namu ki te wharangi o te pukapuka, ka tahuri atu ai. Whai hoki, te tangata nana i tatai te kupenga, waiho mana ano a tuku, mana ano e kume”.

“My beloved people. I have stood before the God of Darkness, and I was not destroyed. Therefore, from this day, trample hatred under your feet. Do not dishonour your ancestors' peace memorials in greenstone that lie on many seas. Observe the white objects of the ocean. You shall be pakeha boys. Be firm to retain religion, turning only when the sandfly bites upon the page of the book. Also, whosoever weaves a net let him set it himself, and let him draw it in himself.”

– 46 –

The last clause, an ancient proverb, conveys the meaning that the net maker knew best how to float his net and is also best able to draw it in. A warning is made against taking part in someone else's quarrel. In this case it was Hone Heke's quarrel with the British for the loss of his harbour dues from shipping that used to call at Kororareka; and Pomare's quarrel because he no longer collected payment from American ships that called at Otuihu across from Opua, to the south. After the signing of the treaty, Pomare found that the monies received from the American shipping agent ceased to come to him. On enquiring he was told to “behold the flag that flies above Kororareka”. So that was the cause. Hence Kawiti's instructions to cut off its hands and feet.


For many years after Heke's final felling of the flagstaff (it was felled three times) it had remained down. The pakehas, no doubt fearing another rising, wisely left it alone till some twelve years later. Kawiti had passed on. His youngest son Maihi, had become chief in his stead.

During the war Kawiti sent him away to Mangakahia—to use the Maori term, “hei putanga tangata”, a remnant of the tribe, in case of defeat. After Kawiti's death Maihi returned.

It was to him then that Waaka Nene came, proposing that he was the fit person to re-erect the flagstaff. Maihi replied “Mau ano e whakaara tau tupapaku”. “You resurrect your own corpse”.

After further representations Maihi agreed to set up the pole. A kauri pole was procured from up the Whangai River about a mile or so from Opua.

The re-erection of the flagstaff took place during the time of Governor Gore-Browne. It then became known as the Maihi Flagstaff. As a mark of appreciation, and to show the friendly relation between them, Maihi accepted Governor Gore-Browne's proposal of using Browne as a namesake so Maihi became Marsh Browne Kawiti. There is also a seal, said to signify Queen Victoria's hand on a clenched female hand of ivory. This was presented by the Governor, and is still in possession of Maihi's descendants.

As a “whariki” or mat for the flag to repose on, Maihi offered to the Governor all lands between Karetu and Moerewa to north of Waiomio and as far south as the Ruapekapeka Pa. This offer was accepted but was paid for at half the value.

Whereas Kawiti was a warrior whose past-time was fighting, Maihi was different. He was more peaceful, and he spent much time in settling his people into a more peaceful system of living. There were many difficulties. The Maoris at this period, were still in the twilight of the dawning day. They were still trigger-happy—or shall we say “patiti” happy. The least provocation or even suspicion of provocation would start off a chain of events which took a great deal of trouble to stop. Tribes, who were allies in war, found that when they tried to settle down in peace, they were again in opposite camps regarding land rights, but their differences were now resolved by more civilised means.

Te ao tawhito was drawing to a close, Te Ao Hou welcomed the dawn of a new day. The old net is cast aside, the new net goes afishing.

Wellington Diocesan Synod was told last week that 64 Maori scholars now hold scholarships from the Otaki and Porirua Trusts Board. Seventeen of these are attending Anglican schools.

Delegates said it was most satisfactory to note that a number of scholarships had been renewed for the third, fourth and fifth years. This meant that the parents were placing the true value on higher education.

It was revealed that the number of scholarships from another trust board, the Papawai and Kaikokirikiri, has increased over the last three years from 60 to 112, of which 36 are held at Anglican schools. Seven students are also receiving grants for higher education.