Contains this description of the waves of Maori settlement
"About the middle of the twelfth century or thereabouts - in the days of our Henry II - a chief named Toi set out from the Society Islands in search of his grandson Whatonga, whose canoe had been blown out to sea and failed to return. As their story does not concern Otago we may merely recall that Toi and Whatonga, each searching for the other, eventually reached Aotearoa, where they settled down and intermarried with some earlier inhabitants whom they called Tangata-whenua, or Moriori.
Another couple of hundred years or so passed and, in the days of our John Wickliffe and the Black Prince, a whole fleet of canoes left the Society Islands for Aotearoa, bringing new parties of colonists. This memorable event is known in Maori history as "The Great Migration", and might also be likened to the voyage of the Mayflower of American history, or of the John Wickliffe in Otago's story. Many Maoris to-day proudly trace their lineage back to ancestors who arrived in the Great Migration in such famous canoes as the Arawa, Tainui, Takitimu, Tokomaru, and Aotea.
Six hundred years is a long period for the transmission of history in the only manner known to Maori, and that there should be somewhat varied accounts of events that took place in those days is only to be expected. It would appear, however, that the Takitimu came down south, was the only migration canoe to do so, and made port at the mouth of the Waiau River. Tradition links the Takitimu mountain range, on the eastern ban of this Southland river, with the name of the canoe, whose comander was the chief Tamatea. These new arrivals found the land partially occupied by Moriori, some of whom were slain and the remainder allowed to settle down peaceably with their conquerors.
For two hundred years or so the Waitaha, as Tamatea's tribe was known, lived undisturbed in Otago with the remnant of the Moriori; then from the north there came down a stronger tribe, Ngati Mamoe, and the Waitaha found themselves overtaken by the same fate that had already been the lot of the Moriori. The Ngati Mamoe (Footnote: In the southern dialect "ng" becomes "K", hence these names sometimes appear as Kati Mamoe and Kaitahu) enjoyed the fruits of victory for about one hundred years after which, about the middle of the seventeenth century - in the time of our Oliver Cromwell - they were in their turn invaded and conquered by the Ngai Tahu. This tribe came from the east coast of the North Island and after crossing Cook Straight fought their way right down to Otago. Many Ngati Mamoe were slain, many were cooked and eaten; the rest, too weak to offer further resistance, were allowed to settle down and intermarry with their conquerors, as had happened after the previous waves of conquest. So it was that, when pakeha arrived, the Ngai Tahu, some of them partly descended from Waitaha and Ngati Mamoe stock, were possessed of the southern part of the land.
Before taking leave of the old time Maori it may be of interest to recall a few stories linked up with various parts of Otago. It is said that long before the arrival of the white man that Maori had named every mountain and hill, every lake and river and stream, as well as many smaller natural features, names often being given as a reminder of people of events connected with them.
On the north bank of the Taieri River in its lower reaches there projects a rocky headland known as "Maori Leap" - Te Rereka-o-Tuokairaki. The name records the fate of a warrior who leapt from the cliff to escape from his enemies. Further down the river, almost at the mouth and on the south bank there is a high cliff called "Lover's Leap" - Te Rereka-o-Haketekura. These two places and the tales attached to them are often confused. The one that follows, previously unpublished it is believed, gives the story of Haketekura. Its material was secured in the eighteen-nineties by one who had exceptional opportunities for gathering reliable information relating to the locality - F.A. Joseph, a Taieri Mouth Pioneer.
While collecting information for the Jubilee number of the Otago Witness I heard the true account of a remarkable chapter in early Maori history for the lips of a lineal descendant of some of the Ngati Mamoe chiefs who took a leading part in the drama of which the "Lover's Leap" was but an incident. That the story related to me is the true Maori account of events that happened long ago is borne out by the verification from an entirely independent source by Cannon Stack in his Southern Maoris. It is more than legend, I believe, and though the whole story partakes of the character of romance, it is at the same time of historic value.
In the long ago, for the Maori keeps no calendar, although very precise about the exact number of generations in any line of descent, there lived in the North Island a very powerful Ngai Tahu chief called Manawa, whose name still lives in the local names of several places. A feud, which commenced in tragedy and ended in massacre, was occasioned by a love affair. Kingdoms have been lost and states from similar causes.
The daughter of Tukiauau, the principal chief of the Ngati Mamoe, was a Maori princess of remarkable beauty, tall and lithe of limb, with a voice that rivalled the tui and the bellbird for sweetness, and her nut-brown complexion was like the sky where it touches the sea at sunrise. The young Ngai Tahu prince, the son of Manawa, loved the daughter of Tukiauau, and begged his father to ask the hand of the beautiful princess in marriage. But the great chief of the Ngati Mamoe was proud of his ancient lineage and would not hear tell of the marriage. Long and angrily the two chiefs discussed the proposal, and at last, stung by an insult from Te Manawa, Tukiauau struck him down with his greenstone mere. Horrified at the result of the blow, which was not meant to kill, Tukiauau made hurried preparations for flight, fearing the vengeance of the relatives and followers of the slain chief.
Taking the principal families of his hapu with him he embarked in a number of large war canoes in the night, and pressed on southwards as fast as the strong arms of the stalwart men at the broad-bladed paddles could propel the canoes. Their first landing place was at the Waikakahi River in Canterbury, but the news of the slaying of Manawa had preceded the fugitives, for the Maoris had a wonderful system of intelligence by means of swift runners. Tuti Kawa, the chief, although of the same tribe as the fugitives, was very angry when he met Tukiauau, and bade him begone. Pointing to the sea whence he came, he said, "Go to your home, Tukiauau; there is no resting place for you here. You have destroyed one of the stars of Aotearoa, so flee for your life."
They did not tarry long after this hostile reception, and again the canoes set out upon the wide heaving sea, while the war of the surf on the shore was like the wrath of the avengers of Manawa. A landing was attempted at Timaru, but a hostile demonstration caused the fugitives to pursue their southward course. At Oamaru they were again coldly received, and it seemed to Tukiauau as if the sea was to be his only home till its waves swallowed him up with his whole hapu. They landed at Moeraki for a brief space, but the unfriendly attitude of the resident Maoris made the fleeing ones seek the sea again for safety.
At Otakou they fared better. The chief at that place gave them welcome and asked them to stay. But Tukiauau distrusted the friendly offices of the Otakou chief, besides which the harbour afforded too good a landing place for the war canoes of his avengers who were probably by this time hard upon his track. The fugitives were, however, glad enough to rest for a few days; but after replenishing their supplies of food and water they left again, and pushed on to the Taieri River.
The setting sun lit the rata blooms into a crimson flame as the canoes rounded the point of the island which stands sentinel at the portal of the lovely Taieri, against whose iron-bound coast the ocean expends its thunders in vain. A dense forest of giant rata covered the island at that time from crown to sea front, and from that circumstance the Maoris called it Moturata - Rata Island. Once round the point the canoes were in calm water, for the island imposes a barrier which acts as an effective break-water, leaving a quiet landing place on its western side. Hither the canoes of Tukiauau glided till they touched the beach of gleaming white sand, when the whole company disembarked, and hauled the canoes up on to the carpet of white tussock grass which clothed the sheltered nook.
Here Tukiauau would fain have stayed and built a pa, for the position was one of great natural strength. Food was easily procurable, as the immense bed of deep-sea tangle a mile off shore gave shelter to many varieties of fish, and other kinds were plentiful in the river near its mouth. Woodhens, kaka and pigeons abounded in the great forest on the mainland, and the mutton birds reared their young on the island. But there was one obstacle and that was the strong hapu that lived by the shore near where the river and sea met.
Tu Iriroa, chief of Taieri Moana - Taieri by the Sea - had to be dealt with. The Taieri chief was also Ngati Mamoe, and therefore of the same blood as Tukiauau, but the slayer of Manawa might be looked on with disfavour all the same. With no small misgivings the fugitive chief sent messages, with presents, to Tu Iriroa, to seek his friendship. He received the messengers kindly, sent return presents by them, and invited Tukiauau to visit him at his pa by the sea shore. On meeting, Tu Iriroa asked the fugitive, "Why do you cross the sea, O Tukiauau? Is it peace or strife you seek?" "It is because I killed Manawa," Tukiauau replied, "and fear has lent swiftness to my flight." Tu Iriroa's face grew dark with sorrow as he replied, "you have killed one of the noblest in the land. Manawa was my brother and your brother, and the friend of all the southern tribes. I cannot be your friend; go from my presence and do not let me see you any more."
Tukiauau departed in sorrow, and after holding a council of war sent his young men up the Taieri River to explore. While doing so they were struck by the remarkable beauty of the scenery in the densely wooded gorge with precipitous sides through which the river flows before it debouches into the sea. There they found no inviting place for a pa, but their quest met with its reward when their investigations carried them into the Waipori Lake by way of one of the tributaries of the Taieri River. An island between this lake and its companion, Lake Waihora (the original Maori name of Lake Waihola), formed an ideal spot for a stronghold, and there was, besides, the promise of abundance of food in the vicinity. The lake was black with wild ducks, which rested upon its clear bosom like the shadows cast by heavy clouds passing overhead on a calm day. Swamp hens were flying hither and thither in multitudes, emitting their characteristic cry, while the lake and tributary streams were filled with fish.
The young men having returned with a favourable report, the chief resolved to build a strong pa on Waihorapuka - Waihora Hill - overlooking both lakes. Here the fugitives lived in peace for a few years until again the wiles of a dusky maiden lured them to final destruction. There was no intercourse between the fugitives and any of the neighbouring hapus, neither at Taieri Moth not on Motua Hill above Henley, where three Ngati Mamoe chiefs dwelt in a secure stronghold. But on one of the many fishing excursions down the river to the sea Koroko Whiti, son of Tukiauau, had clandestinely met a Maori maiden whose beauty had won her fame far and near amongst her people's tribe. Ake te Kura, daughter of Tu Iriroa, was tall and graceful as the Kotuku or white heron that fished in shallow water of the stream that flowed past her father's pa. Her lithe limbs were strong and flexible as the supplejacks which grew in tangled masses depending from the tall trees in the great forest by the shore. Her large, dark eyes reflected the light like those of the night owl which sometimes came to sit upon the gate of the pa.
Ake te Kura had learned to love Koroko Whiti, and the notes of her song were tinged with sadness when she knew that she had to meet him in secret. The young chief having determined to make the lovely princess his wife, his father sent messengers, with a vast quantity of preserved food prepared as only the norther Maoris knew how to do so to the best advantage, to ask the hand of the maiden for Koroko Whiti.
The messengers took the present and the message to the Taieri chief, whose reply was characteristic. He bade the messengers go back to their chief and tell him that Tu Iriroa would not eat of the food sent, neither would any of his followers touch it. The daughter of Tu Iriroa would never marry the son of the slayer of Manawa; but he might kindle the ovens for Manawa and Tukiauau could then provide the food for the feast. Tukiauau was not slow to take the hint, and made preparations with all despatch to flee beyond the reach of vengeance ..."
Unfortunately the conclusion of Joseph's MS. is missing but it can be supplied from Canon Stack's account (South Island Maoris, Whitcombe & Tombs, 1898).
"..Accordingly he abandoned his pa at Waihora,
and embarked with his
followers in a large war canoe. As they were passing
below her father's pa,
Ake te Kura, eager to join her lover, jumped off the
cliff into the water; but in
doing so, either fell upon a rock or on the edge of the
canoe and was killed.
Tu Iriroa, overwhelmed with grief and rage at the loss
of his daughter, swore
to destory the man who was the cause of her death.
Waiting for a little while
to lull suspicion, he followed in Tukiauau's wake, but
could not for a long time
discover his retreat, which was at length betrayed by
the smoke of a fire on the
island of Rakiura (Stewart Island). Concealing
himself behind some islets, he
waited until a canoe, manned by a large number of persons
came out to fish;
when they had anchored, and their attention was fixed
upon their lines, Tu
Iriroa bore down upon them and cut off their escape.
Taken unawares without
their weapons, the crew were easily overpowered and put
to death, and all
their companions on shore soon afterwards shared their