Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No. 55 (June 1966)
– 19 –

HE MAEMAE MO WAHINE-ITI
A DEATH CHANT FOR WAHINE-ITI

Ko wahine-iti he rangatira nui no Ngāti Kauwhata, hapū o Ngāti Raukawa, o te wā ano e noho ana a Ngāti Kauwhata i te takiwa ki Maunga-tautari, i mua atu i te heke o Ngāti Raukawa i raro i a Te Whatanui i roto hoki i ngā ope a Te Rauparaha i heke ai ki te takiwa ki Kapiti. Na Ngāti Kauwhata tēnei maemae mo Wahine-iti i tōna matenga.

I haere a Wahine-iti rāua ko Hape i roto i te ope-taua a Ngāti Maru o te takiwa ki Ohinemuri. Itaua wā he rangatira toa-taua a Wahine-iti rāua ko Hape no Ngāti Raukawa. He tungāne a Hape no Pare-kōhatu, te whaea o Te Rauparaha. I moe a Pare-kōhatu i a Werawera o Ngāti Toa ka puta; ko Rangi-katukua, ko Wai-tohi, ko Te Kiri-pae-ahi, me te whakapākanga, ko Te Rauparaha. He taitamariki te nuinga o te ope a Ngāti Maru, a ko ta rātou haere e ahu ana ki ngā whenua ki te tonga ki te rapu me te muru taonga mo rātou i roto i ngā poka me ngā ana tūpapaku.

Kāore i whakaae a Ngāti Kauwhata kia haere a Wahine-iti, kaati kāore a ia i whaka-rongo ki te pupuri a tana iwi i a ia; ka kī a ia kāore ia e pai me mate tara-a-whare a ia, ēngari me hinga ki te pakanga; ma te rau o te patu ma te taoroa rānei.

I ngā waahi i haere ai te ope-taua a Ngāti Maru he tō wāhine ētehi o a rātou mahi. I te taenga ki te wā i hoki mai ai ki te wā kāinga i ahu mai rātou ma Roto-a-ira, ka piki mai ma Te Ponanga a ka tae mai ai ki Te Rapa, ki a Te Heuheu 11. He whanaunga a Te Heuheu ki a Hape, a nāna i hoatu ngā i hoatu ngā waka hei whakawhitinga i te Moana o Taupo. I mua i te hoenga o ngā waka ka kī atu a Te Heuheu ki a Hape, “E Hape, kia mau te ihu o te waka ki Tōhine-o-tu.” He kūrae a Tōhine-o-tu kei te taha hauauru o te

 

Wahine-iti was a high chief of the Ngāti Kauwhata, a sub-tribe of the Ngāti Raukawa, of the time when the Ngāti Kauwhata were living in the Maunga-tautari district, and before the Ngāti Raukawa migrated under Te Whatanui as part of the migration under Te Rauparaha to the Kapiti district. This death chant was composed by Ngāti Kauwhata on the death of Wahine-iti.

Wahine-iti and Hape accompanied a war-party of the Ngāti Maru of the Ohinemuri district. Wahine-iti and Hape were warrior chieftains of the Ngāti Raukawa. Hape was a brother of Pare-kōhatu, the mother of Te Rauparaha. Pare-kōhatu married Werawera of Ngāti Toa and had: Rangi-ka-tukua, Wai-tohi, Te Kiri-pae-ahi and Te Rauparaha, the lastborn. Most of the Ngati Maru war-party were young men, and their expedition was to southern lands to seek and plunder for treasures for themselves in the graves and burial caves of the dead.

The Ngāti Kauwhata were not in favour of Wahine-iti going, but he took no heed of his people's pleas to detain him; saying that he did not want to die in his own house, but that he would rather die in battle; laid low by the blade of the war club or by the long spear.

In the various places raided by the Ngati Maru war-party they sometimes committed outrages against the womenfolk. When they turned back on the homeward journey they proceeded by way of the lake of Roto-a-ira, ascended by way of Te Ponanga and arrived at Te Rapa, to the presence of Te Heuheu 11. Te Heuheu was related to Hape and he lent the canoes for the crossing of Lake Taupo. Before the canoes set off Te Heuheu spoke to Hape and said, “O Hape, keep the bow of the

 
– 20 –
 

moana, e tata ana ki te waahi i huaina ai ko Te Pae ki a Raukawa. Kei tērā waahi ngā hapū o Ngāti Tūwharetoa e whanaunga ana ki a Ngāti Raukawa.

No te hoenga o ngā waka ka peka ngā waka o Ngāti Maru ki Pūkawa, i te taha hauauru o te moana, kātahi ka whakawhiti ki Motutaiko ki te hahu i ngā wheua o Te Rangi-tua-matotoru, he rangatira nui no Ngāti Tūwharetoa i ōna ra, he koroua hoki no ngā wāhine punarua a Te Heuheu 11; no Nohopapa rāua ko Te Mare. Na te hahunga i ngā wheua o Te Rangi-tua-mattotoru ka ara ngā tahatika o te moana, a ka whāia te ope a Ngāti Maru e ngā ope—taua a Ngāti Tūwharetoa. I waho i te pa o Omaunu ka mau atu i te ope a Te Heuheu ka pakangatia a ka hinga a Ngāti Maru. Ki ngā kōrero a Ngāti Tūwharetoa i mate ki reira a Wahine-iti, me ngā rangatira tokorua, me Pātaua rāua ko Te Hau o Taranaki. (J. Te H. Grace Tūwharetoa whārangi 250.) Kāore e whakaae ana a Ngāti Raukawa i mate a Wahine-iti ki taua pakanga.

I wehe a Hape rāua ko Wahine-iti i te ope—taua a Ngāti maru, ka arahina e ētehi o Ngāti Te Kohera (e whanaunga ana ki a Ngāti Raukawa), ki te takiwa mai ki Orākei Kōrako, e whakamau ana mai ki ngā huarahi ki Wharepūhunga me Maunga-tautari. No te huarahi ka pāngia a Wahine-iti e te mate ohorere a ka hemo. I te paanga mai o te mate ki a Wahine-iti ka whakarērea atu e Hape ki te kāinga o tētehi o ngā hapū o Ngāti Tūwharetoa e whanaunga ana ki a Te Arawa, e whanaunga ana hoki a Wahine-iti ki tērā hapū. Na taua hapū hoki i hari a Wahine-iti ki te marae i Orākei Kōrako tanigia ai.

I roto i ngā whakatupuranga o muri nei e whakaarahia ana tēnei maemae i ngā tangihanga tūpapaku mo ngā tāngata nunui o roto i ngā iwi i puta mai i roto i ngā kāwei maha o tērā tupuna o Raukawa. Otirā he maemae tēnei e whānui ana te whakaarahia i roto i ngā iwi o Tainui, i ngā ra o muri nei.

Ka tahuri! Ka tahuri!
Ngātoro', i te whenua, ka ngatoro!
He po tataka mai i runga o ‘Tautari,
Ka hora te kura a Rongo takaawhio!
Ka maroke te puhi
O Mōtai-tangata-rau,
E Hape, e!

Kauwhata! Raukawa!
E ora ana ki te aha?

 
 

canoe towards Tōhine-o-tu.” Tōhine-o-tu is a headland on the western side of the lake, in the vicinity of the locality known as Te Pae ki Raukawa (The Frontiers of Raukawa). In that district live the sub-tribes of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa who are related to the Ngāti Raukawa.

On the way the canoes of Ngāti Maru turned in to Pūkawa on the western shores of the lake, and then crossed over to the island of Motu-taiko to disinter the bones of Te Rangi-tua- matotoru, a former high chief of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa, and who was also the grandfather of the two wives of Te Heuheu II; Nohopapa and Te Mare. The desecration of the remains of Te Rangi-tua-matotoru roused the peoples of the shores of the lake, and the war-party of Ngāti Maru were pursued by war-parties of Ngāti Tuwharetoa. Outside the fortified place of Omaunu the war-parties of Ngāti Tūwharetoa caught up with and defeated the Ngāti Maru war-party. According to Ngāti Tūwharetoa accounts Wahine-iti was killed there, together with two other chiefs, Pātaua and Te Hau o Taranaki. (See J. Te H. Grace, Tuwharetoa page 250). The Ngāti Raukawa do not agree that Wahine-iti was killed during this fighting.

Hape and Wahine-iti separated from the war-party of Ngāti Maru and were led away by some of the Ngāti Te Kohera, who were related to Ngāti Raukawa, in the direction of Orākei-Korako and on pathways that would eventually lead to Wharepūhunga and Maunga-tautari. On the way Wahine-iti was stricken by a sudden illness and died. When Wahine-iti was stricken Hape left him at the home of one of the sub-tribes of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa who were related to Te Arawa tribes, and to whom Wahine-iti was also related. It was this sub-tribe who took the body of Wahine-iti to the village of Orākei-Kōrako for the mourning ceremonies.

In the succeeding generations this death chant has been chanted at the tangihanga, or mourning ceremonies, of notable men of the tribes who are descended from the ancestor, Raukawa. Indeed this death chant is widely used in these latter days.

Overwhelmed! Overwhelmed!
O Ngatoro', now beneath the soil, list to the roar!
Now that night has come upon ‘Tautari.

 
– 21 –
 

Tē mate ai,
I te unuhanga o mangamanga-i-atua!
Te tara o te marama!
Ka whati koe i te aha?
E te hika pounamu!
Kei whea to pāpā?
Kei te hinga, kei te mate,
Kei te whakapikinga o Taurarua,
I horahia ki te takapau o Te Arawa,
I whiua reretia e Hape ki te tahora,
Tau! Takoto ana!

He aha, he aha te taonga
I haere ai koutou ki te mate?
He tara, tara, tara i teke!
Pa tehe, tehe, tehe!
He huruhuru whare riha!
E te tiki pounamu!
Kia māwhiti te karu e!

Wahine-iti, o runga i te rangi!
Tuku iho ki raro ra,
Ka hē o kōrero!
Kīhai koe i werohia ki te taoroa,
I ākina ki te paraoa;
Kia whakatauki ake te mamae,
Aue! Taukiri, e!

Ngā Whakamārama

 

And spread round about is the mantle of Rongo!
Dried up is the plume
Of Mōtai-of-a-hundred-progeny
O Hape, alas!

O Kauwhata! O Raukawa!
Why live on?
Better to die,
Now a demi-god has been withdrawn!
O horned moon!
What was it that broke you in two?
O beloved wearer of the greenstone heirloom!
Where is your father?
He fell, he died
At the ascent of Taurarua.
Spread out was the sleeping mat of Te Arawa
When the fleeing Hape left him by the wayside,
Prone! There he did lie!

What were the treasures
That lured you all to death?
They were wanton deeds of tara and teke
Pa, tehe, tehe, tehe!
Feathered places, and flea-infested houses!
O wearer of the greenstone tiki!
Your eyes, indeed, should stare in wonder!

Wahine-iti, now in the heavens!
Come down here below,
The words you spoke were wrong!
You were not pierced by the long spear,
Nor were you struck with the whale-bone club:
Wherefore let me exclaim with this pain within,
Aue! Alas, ah me!

Notes

2Ngatoro' Te roanga ko Ngatoro-i-rangi ko te tohunga nui o runga i a Te Arawa waka. Te tikanga he haere mai a ia i runga i a Tainui, kātahi ka tahaetia e Tama-te-kapua i Raro-tonga, i te wā e hoe mai ana ki Aotea-roa nei.

3‘Tautari Te roanga ko Maunga-tautari, he maunga kei nga tahatika o te awa o Waikato, e tata ana ki Kēmureti me Arapuni. I tēnei takiwa ngā kāinga o Ngāti Raukawa i mua.

4Rongo Te atua o te maungārongo.

5Mōtai He tupuna rongonui no nga iwi o Tainui.

7Hape Kuawhakamāramatia i te whakaupoko.

8Kauwhata Kuawhakamāramatiai te whakaupoko. Raukawa Kuawakamāramatiai te whakaupoko.

11Mangamangaiatua He kupu whakarite mo Wahine-iti.

12Takapau o te Arawa He reo whakamihi mo te tangihanga mo Wahine-iti ki te marae i Orākei-kōrako.

21–25 He aha te taonga, etc. Kei roto i te whakaupoko nga korero mo ngā mahi a te ope taua a Ngāti Maru.

28–34 Wahine-iti, o runga i te rangi, etc. Kei te whakaupoko ngā whakamārama mo ngā mea e whakahuatia nei i roto i ēnei rārangi.

2 Ngatoro' In full, Ngatoro-i-rangi, high priest of Te Arawa canoe. He was to have come on the Tainui but was stolen by Tama-te-kapua at Raro-tonga, en route to Aotea-roa (New Zealand).

3 ‘Tautari In full, Maunga-tautari, a mountain on the banks of the Waikato River, near Cambridge and Arapuni. The homes of Ngati Raukawa were in this district in former times.

4 Rongo The god of peace.

5 Mōtai A famous ancestor of the Tainui tribes.

7 Hape Already explained in the head-note.

8 Kauwhata Already explained in the head-note.

Raukawa Already explained in the head-note.

11 Demi-god Figurative for Wahine-iti.

12 Sleeping mat of Te Arawa A complimentary reference to the lying in state of Wahine-iti on the courtyard at Orākei-Kōrako.

21–25 What were the treasures etc. The head-note gives an account of the deeds of the war-party of Ngāti Maru.

28–34 Wahine-iti, now in the heavens etc. The head-note explains the various references in these lines.

– 22 –

Visitors at Huirau

Huirau Maori School, Ruatahuna, last March played host to 40 Standard 4 pupils from Sunset Road Primary School. The visitors stayed in one of the school class-rooms and spent five days studying Maori life in the community and surrounding area.

Mr D. Morrison, the master in charge of the party, said that the trip had proved successful. It had enabled the children to see how country folk lived and were employed.