This talk is of the brothers Te Whareumu and Tarahape, famous chiefs of the iwi Ngati Pou, whose descendants largely are found amongst Te Roroa at Waimamaku, South Hokianga. Grandchildren of the tupuna Tuiti by his Ngati Pou ki Tamakimakaurau wife Marohawhea , the brothers continued the ancient name Ngati Pou because of much mana associated with the name in times of war and peace, including fighting, composing, carving, building and cultivating. Indeed, Ngati Pou were the great gardeners and pa builders of Tai Tokerau and it was due to their influence that kumara were spread throughout the region and further afield.
The father of the brothers was Rangihana, eldest child of Tuiti and Marohawhea, a man of much influence and many kainga. He lived principally at Taiamai, Lake Omapere, Taheke and Waima. At Otaua he married Kuiawai a well-born lady of Otaua, Punakitere and Manawakaiaia and later at Raewai pa Taheke, her half-sister Mahuri. It was his second marriage to Mahuri that gave rise to the whakatauki “Te Keri whakapakau a Rangihana – freely,the digging with two sticks of Rangihana “in reference to his concurrent marriages to two sisters. The hapu name Ngati Pakau (a contraction of pakakau), who continue to live at Taheke, commemorates that event. In time Rangihana died at Waima, his tupapaku being interred in the urupa there called Matuakai, while Kuiawai was buried at Kaitakapau urupa, Otaua.
Rangihana had a sister Tutahua, who married Tauratumaru a famous chiel of Upper Hokianga, and two brothers Korohue and Wheti many of whose descendants became embroiled in later wars between Ngapuhi and Ngati Pou. Korohue founded the Ngati Korohue hapu of Ngati Pou which still dwells at Lake Omapere.
Te Whareumu and Tarahape were both born at Te Raewai pa, Taheke and when young men journeyed to Waimamaku to wed the Te Roroa sisters Huia and Kie. With their elder sister T e Kura, who married Pakauwhati of Te Uri O Hau, Huia and Kie were the daughters of Taitua and his wife Murare, granddaughter of Rangitauwawaro of Te Roroa.. The brothers took their wives back to Otaua and it was there on one occasion that they were visited by their mother’s half-brother Kohuru, a great carver, who then was called Piwai and before that Te Whata. Wishing to make trouble, the hosts called out “Food for Piwai” which is a great affront according to kawa Maori. They should have called his slaves to take it. A fuming Kohuru returned to his pa Mangatawa, came back to Otaua and there killed a man in the presence of his relatives as payment for the affront. In remembrance of that murder he then was called Kohuru.
Subsequently Te Whareumu and Tarahape proposed to kill Kohuru in utu but, their people objecting, they razed their houses, abandoned Taheke and migrated to their wives’ home at Waimamaku. There the brothers, their wives and people lived in the pas Kukutaepa and Kaiparaheka. Kukutaepa was Tarahape’s pa at Poka’s Road, Waimamaku near the kainga Hawaiki while Kaiparaheka, at the Waimamaku entrance to the Waiotemarama Gorge Road, was Te Whareumu’s pa.
While at Waimamaku Te Whareumu and Tarahape were visited by their relatives Tamatea and Taonui, sons of their great uncle Kairewa and his wife Waimirirangi of Whirinaki. During those visits the brothers were constantly reminded that utu had never been obtained for their grandfather Tuiti who had been injured by the Ngati Whatua chief Tutaki. But the underlying reason was that Tamatea and Taonui wanted revenge for the death of their father Kairewa at Kaihu by the people of Haumoewarangi but by themselves lacked numbers to fight the Kaihu people.
Consequent upon those discussions Tuiti’s classificatory nephew Toronge, who had married Kairewa’s daughter Haereitera, arose to initiate fighting against Haumoewarangi and his father-in-law Tutaki. Visiting the Ahipara war leader Tamaariki, Toronge was there given a strategy of arranging an ambuscade of Tutaki’s people. Ngati Pou then built a whare manuhiri (carved visitors’ house) named variously as Te Rakau-a-Tu, Tutangimamae or Nga Rakau-a-Tu-ka-tangimamae and then invited Tutaki’s people to come to Waimamaku to assist them against a pretended enemy.
Tutaki’s people arose from Kaihu, journeying by way of Omamari and Maunganui Bluff along the coast to Waimamaku. There part of the taua was welcomed at Kukutaepa pa, the pa of the Ngati Pou chief Tarahape, where stood the whare manuhiri. The remainder of the taua went to Kaiparaheka, the pa of Tarahape’s elder brother Te Whareumu. Once Tutaki and his people were assembled in the whare manuhiri, Tamatea and Ngati Pou produced their hidden weapons turning on their unarmed guests until there was not a survivor left. Thus fell Tutaki.
Tamatea then set off for Kaiparaheka pa only to find there that the slaughter of the manuhiri had not commenced. “Kahore ano i patua no atia te kararehe mo to koutou nei manuhiri? kua maru ke te kararehe mo taku ope ” – “Have you not commenced killing the dogs for your guests?” he said. “My dogs have long been killed for my party.” Then commenced the slaughter of the Kaiparaheka pa manuhiri by Tamatea in which he was joined by the tangata whenua of the pa.
This kohuru is remembered as Te rore-piko-wawe-a-Tamatea – Tamatea’s quickly sprung snare. It commemorates utu for both Kairewa and Tuiti. At that time Toronge uttered his whakatauki: “Tutaki ki runga te kete toheroa, ka wehe Toronge ki raro, te kahawai te whitia”. The meaning of this cryptic saying is that although Toronge had not the strength by himself to open the kit of toheroa (Tutaki’s people), or avenge his relative himself, with the aid of the northerner Tamaariki he succeeded by an entry from below in catching the kahawai (chiefs).
The Ngati Pou successes were not welcomed by Waitarehu, the wife of the Te Roroa chief Toa, who was concerned that her uncles were seizing the mana of her ancestral land at Waimamaku. She therefore prevailed upon Toa, who then was living at Waipoua, to organise a taua against Ngati Pou. In time a large taua of Te Roroa, Ngati Rangi, Nga Ririki and others, who probably proceeded by canoe to Omapere, descended upon Waimamaku. Amongst the taua was the famed Tainui toa Kawharu.
Through an approach by way of the Waiotemarama gorge, the taua apparently first attacked Kaiparaheka pa under Te Whareumu which fell to them. From his nearby pa of Kukutaiepa echoed Tarahape’s poroporoaki to his elder brother: “Haere ra e tama ra. Ko koe i te po, ko ahau apopo” – Farewell o son. It is thy turn tonight, mine tomorrow. At dawn the taua attacked Kukutaepa pa , which also succumbed. Thus fell the Ngati Pou brothers Te Whareumu and Tarahape in the battle still remembered as Rau Kumara, Kumara Basket, because the dead were piled up like kumara in a basket.
The victorious taua then dismantled the carvings from the whare manuhiri bearing them off to Kaihu where they remained for some time. In the lifetime of Tutaki’s great grandson Tumupakihi the carvings were removed to Aotea, South Kaipara and from there to Otakanini pa. At the latter place they formed part of a whare karakia (house of incantations) for Ngati Whatua tuturu. During the musket wars the carvings were hidden in Te Hihi creek, from where some of them later were recovered and deposited in Auckland Museum. A whakawe, or doorjamb, from the whare manuhiri in recognisable Ngati Pou style (though wrongly attributed to Ngati Whatua tuturu) is described in Te Maori (ed by Sidney Moko Mead) as one of the great treasures of Maori Art.
Although Te Whareumu and Tarahape were dead, they left behind their children who grew into a great people both at Waimamaku and elsewhere. Toihaumaku, Wharepoke, Rauruhaea and Hine Te Wairoa were Te Whareumu’s children, while Te Taonga and Te Ata were the children of Tarahape. Te Taonga was a fighting chief of much mana who initially led the whole of Ngati Pou in their wars against Ngapuhi and who gave his name to the Waimamaku places Te Raeroa a Te Taonga (The long Forehead of Te Taonga) and Kahumaku a Te Taonga (The Wet Cloak of te Taonga). His son Tukarawa, who was described as a great chief with 2000 warriors under his command, did likewise for Ngati Pou at Whangaroa.
Na Gary Hooker