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No. 69 (1971)
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TAHARĀKAU

I te hui i tū ki Te Muriwai mō te ekenga o te Rau Tau o te Hāhi Ringatū a Te Kooti Rikirangi, ka puta ētahi kōrero nunui mō tēnei tangata i reira. Ehara taua marae, i tū nei te hui, nō tēnei tangata nō Te Kooti Rikirangi; he whanaunga anō rā ki a Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, ēngari nō Tūāraki, wāhi o Manutūkē, tōna taha nui, nō te tipuna nei nō Taharākau, hapū o Ngāti Maru, i ahu mai i a Rongowhakaata o Tūranganui. E kīia ana he hapū nui tēnei i ōna wā, i te wā e ora ana tēnei mea te tangata; e kīia ana anō, i pokia te whenua e tēnei hapū. Nō rātou hoki te whakatauāki nei: He tini whetū ki te rangi, ko Ngāti Maru ki raro; he tini kahawai ki te moana, ko Ngāti Maru ki uta.

Ko tēnei tangata ko Taharākau, ehara i te tangata rahi rawa tōna karangatanga, ēngari he tangata toa, māia, kakama hoki ki te whakahoki pātai i ngā pātaitai a Tamateate-rangi, ariki o Te Wairoa. He mea hoki kāore i hoki i a Taharākau, e kīia ana kua patua pea, kua kainga; kāore noa rānei, i te kore wāriu o tōku nei tipuna, o Taharākau. Otirā, i hoki ngā pātai.

I ui hoki a Tamatea, ‘E Taha, he aha te kōrero o Tūranga?’ (He mōhio pea nō Tamatea kāore he kōrero nunui o Tūranga.)

Ka whakahoki a Taharākau, ‘Kāore he kōrero o Tūranga, ēngari te kai o Tūranga. He ahi kouka ki te awatea, he wahine ki te pō.’

Ka pātai anō a Tamatea, ‘E Taha, he aha te tohu o te rangatira?’

Ka whakahoki a Taharākau, ‘He whare tū i te wā he kai nā te ahi, he tohu hoki nō te ware; he whare tū ki te pā tūwatawata he tohu nō te rangatira.’

Ko tēnei tangata ko Taharākau, he pākē, tōna kākahu; kāore hoki e makere ana tōna pākē. Whiti te rā, marangai rānei,

 

During the centenary celebrations of the Ringatu Church held at Muriwai, there was a great deal of important discussion on its founder, Te Kooti Rikirangi. He did not belong to this marae, although he did have some connection with the Ngai Tamanuhiri people; but the marae with which he was most closely connected was Tuaraki in the Manutuke area, the people there being descendants of Taharakau of Ngati Maru, a sub-tribe of Rongowhakaata of Gisborne. It is said that, in their heyday, Ngati Maru were a virile and prolific people and that their lands were densely populated, hence this saying: As the myriad of stars in the sky, so are Ngati Maru on the earth; as the multitude of kahawai in the sea, so are Ngati Maru on the land.

This ancestor, Taharakau, although he was not of very high rank, was a man of valour, and renowned for his witty replies to questions asked of him by Tamatea-te-rangi, a chief of Te Wairoa in Hawke's Bay, for had he not been able to give satisfactory answers, it is said that he might have been killed and eaten; on the other hand, perhaps not, because my ancestor Taharakau was of no great value (in rank). However, the questions were answered.

Tamatea asked Taharakau. ‘Taha, what is the main saying about Turanga [Gisborne]?’ (Tamatea probably knew very well there were no noteworthy sayings connected with Turanga.)

Taharakau answered, ‘Turanga has no noteworthy sayings, except the saying about the special foods of the district, In the daytime, the cooked heart of the cabbage tree; in the night, a woman.’

Tamatea next asked, ‘Taha, what is the sign of a chief?’

Taharakau replied, ‘A house standing in open country will perish by fire and is a sign of the low rank of the owner; a house standing within a stronghold is a sign of a chief's high rank.’

It was Taharakau's habit always to wear a pākē, a roughly woven type of rain cape made from undressed flax or kiekie; he was

 
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mau tonu. Nāna hoki te kōrero nei: ‘E roa a raro, e tata a runga.

Ko te marae o tēnei hapū o Ngāti Maru kei Matakakā e tū ana ināianei, kei roto o Tūāraki, Manutūkē; ko tō rātou wharepuni, ko Te Poho-o-Taharākau te ingoa. Tēnei ingoa a Matakakā he taniwha nō roto i te roto o Pokokonga, kei te taha tonu o tō rātou marae. Tēnei roto, a Pokokonga, e rua ngā putanga, arā, ngā waha o tēnei roto ki te moana; te taha māui rere atu ai mā Otiere, ka tae ki te awa o Tāwhao, arā, o Waipawa, i reira ki te moana; te taha katau rere atu ai mā Oweta ki Waipawa, ki te moana. He nui te wai o tēnei roto i mua, kāore ināianei — kua maroke. Tipu ai te raupō ināianei, ā, kua mate te ngāngara o roto.

E kīia ana kāore tēnei hapū e wehewehe ana; noho huihui tonu ai. Ki te hoki rātou ina haere ki waho o tō rātou puni, i runga tonu te rā, ka hoki ki te kāinga kei pau i te kēhua. Koiarā i kīia ai ko Tūāraki tō rātou whenua. He rā tūāraki; waiho tonu kei runga te rā tūāraki; ka hoki. Ko tēnei hapū kua hanumi noa iho. Kua moe atu, kua moe mai, kua Tamatea-te-rangitia katoa, kua Taharākautia katoa.

 

never without it, keeping it on both in sunshine and in rain. Another saying attributed to him is: ‘The sky is not far above and the way is long.’ [Travellers should be prepared for rain.]

Ngati Maru's marae stands on Matakaka in Tuaraki, Manutuke. [Their meeting house is called Te Poho-o-Taharakau.] This Matakaka is called after a taniwha of that name who used to live in Pokokonga Lake, right beside their marae. This lake has two outlets to the sea, that on the left draining into the Otiere creek, then into the Tawhao or Waipawa river and on into the sea, while that on the right flows out by way of the Oweta river into the Waipawa and thence to the sea. There used to be a great amount of water in this lake, but nowadays it is dry. Raupo now grows there and the taniwha that once lived in it is dead.

It is said that this sub-tribe never separated; the people always kept together. If they happened to leave their camp they would always make sure to return while the sun was still up, for fear of being eaten by a ghost. That is why their territory is named Tuaraki, from the phrase, ‘while the sun is still up’, their saying being, while the sun is still up, let's go home. This subtribe has now become an intermixture. Through intermarriage they have now all become both Tamatea-te-rangi and Taharakau people.

Notes on the answers to the questions

The Ngati Maru people used to live a communal life. They used to do and share everything together such as digging, planting, harvesting, fishing, sea-food gathering, eeling, hunting, bathing, dancing, games, cooking, eating and sleeping. The people woud also follow a leader's example in intermarrying, etc., hence Taha's answer to the first question, ‘He ahi kouka ke te awatea, he wahine ke te pō’.

Tamatea being a chief of high rank was the best dressed, having high quality native birds' feathers woven into cloaks and capes, and the best of ornaments for his head, neck and ears. It was said he was a finelooking chief. He made his second question knowing he had the emblem of a rangatira, but not so Taharakau — he had only a very cheap type of pākē, made from raw flax buried in the ground for two or three months, and then woven very closely to make it waterproof. Therefore he gave his answer, ‘He whare tū i te wā he kai nā te ahi, he tohu no te ware.’

On one occasion Tamatea asked Taharakau to accompany him on a journey to his country. After he finished putting on his very best, ready for them to make their trip, he looked Taharakau up and down and remarked, ‘What you have on is too heavy. You'll be scorched. The day is very hot, and it's a long journey ahead of us.’

Here Taharakau made his saying for the first time, ‘E roa a raro, e tata a runga’ — The way down is long but the sky is close. They had not gone halfway with their trip when it began to rain, and then it poured. Taharakau shook his shoulders to shake the

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rain off his pākē. He did this a few times, and then looked up at his chief to see how he was faring. It was Taharakau's turn to look him up and down. Tamatea was wet to the skin and shivering with the cold. It was said ‘Papā ana ōna kauae i te makariri’ — His jaws were shivering with the cold. Taharakau took pity on his chief and put his pākē skirt on Tamatea for a cape. He remarked, ‘I kīia atu rā hoki e roa raro e tata runga’ — I told you the way down is long but the sky is near.

They didn't complete the journey, but called in to a neighbour's place. From then on they became the best of friends, from this coming the intermarirage between their offspring.