Bruce Moon, Hongi Hika, Marion du Fresne, Musket Wars, Ngapuhi, Te Rauparaha, Te Waharoa, Te Whero Whero

Bruce Moon: Before 1840

Musket Warriors
This illuminating article by Bruce Moon (no relation to Paul) appeared in the Northland Age last Thursday.


It is a curious fact that there are many part-Maoris today (though certainly not all) who have remarkably good memories about their alleged sufferings since 1840, but completely blank minds about what happened to them any earlier.

It is not hard to work out why this should be.

But it is more helpful, perhaps, to assist them in remembering a bit more about their earlier days.

When Europeans first arrived in New Zealand, Maoris were an aggressive warrior race, ready to attack for the slightest reason, as Tasman found out quickly to his cost. [1]

This happened again when, just over a couple of years after Captain Cook, Marion du Fresne arrived off our shores.

While fishing innocently in calm waters, as he thought, he broke a tapu unknown to him.

His fate was sealed.

He and 26 of his crew were massacred and eaten forthwith. [2]

As Lieutenant Roux, one of Marion’s officers, noted in his diary, the chiefs

“declare war upon the slightest pretext, which wars are very bloody; they generally kill any prisoners they may capture”.

Not content with dispatching Marion, about 1500 tribesmen assembled to attack the hospital the French had set up on Moturua Island.

Greatly outnumbered, the French defended themselves valiantly, using their firearms, of course.

And, with no further losses, they killed about 250 of the attackers, including many chiefs who were very conspicuous amongst them.

From this episode, the tribes quickly learnt two lessons.

The first was an enduring mortal fear of the “tribe of Marion”, confirmed ninety years later by Rev. John Warren. [3]

It was one reason of many chiefs for signing the Treaty of Waitangi (though to terminate the carnage of the Musket Wars which followed, was another).

The second lesson was of the vast superiority of European firearms over their traditional weapons. So bargaining for firearms with visiting ships became a highly important activity.

The culmination was Hongi Hika’s return from a visit to England with several hundred muskets, many exchanged in Sydney for gifts he had received.

This was soon followed by the most intense slaughter of the so-called Musket Wars amongst the tribes.

Hongi’s party returning from England reached the Bay of Islands on 11 July 1821. Shortly afterwards, he began to prepare for his campaign.

On 5 September, two thousand Ngapuhi, armed with one thousand muskets, laid siege to Mauinaina pa at Tamaki.

It was taken with great slaughter – those killed including Te Hinaki and 2000 of his men, as well as many women and children.

The victorious force remained on the battlefield eating the vanquished until they were driven off by the smell of decaying bodies.

It has been noted that “deaths in this one action during the inter-tribal Musket Wars outnumber all deaths in 25 years of the sporadic New Zealand Wars.” [4] (Our emphasis)

In December 1821, Hongi attacked, but failed to take, the Ngati Maru pa Te Totara.

Upon an idea said to be from his blind and bloodthirsty wife, Turi, he decided upon treachery.

A large party of Ngapuhi chiefs went to the pa to offer peace, which was accepted. They received two meres from the Ngati Maru to seal the deal.

In the night, Ngapuhi returned to the unguarded pa and slew those within — except the sons of the senior chiefs, who were taken prisoners.

Hongi drank the blood of one chief’s son while he was still alive.

Proceeding thence to the Waikato pa of Matakitaki, Ngapuhi attacked it with withering musket fire.

Even though the Waikato were led by chief Te Whero Whero, with only four muskets they were virtually defenceless.

Trying to escape, many hundreds were trampled to death in the deep ditch surrounding the pa, or by Ngapuhi firing down upon them until tired of reloading.

Hongi’s opponent, Te Waharoa of Ngatihaua, was equally bloodthirsty.

He is reputed to have been the equal of Hongi, and to have terrified Te Rauparaha and even Te Whero Whero.

Te Waharoa concluded an uneasy peace with the Ngati Maru chief, Takurua.

Then he and his tribe arose at midnight and massacred in cold blood the too-confiding Takurua and nearly every man of his tribe.

Their bodies were devoured, and their wives and property were shared by the ruthless Ngatihauas.

Te Whero Whero, for his part, decided to make war in Taranaki, and attack the formidable pa of Pukerangiora.

When the starving defenders broke and ran, Waikato attacked.

It is said at least 200 escapees died immediately, with Te Whero Whero killing 150 single-handedly with blows to the head.

It was only when his arm grew tired and swollen he was forced to stop.

Those captives with finely tattooed faces were beheaded carefully on a wooden block, so their heads could be preserved.

Later, dozens of slaves were dragged away, carrying the heads of their relatives to be hung as war trophies in the Waikato villages in the north.

It is thought that as many as 1200 Te Ati Awa people lost their lives at Pukerangiora.

Those that stayed behind in the pa watched the awful fate of their whanau unfold before them.

The scene that followed was terrible, with huge numbers of the dead gutted and spit-roasted over fires.

Some Waikato warriors indulged in a feast of such gluttony that they died.

Te Rauparaha was sometimes called “the Maori Napoleon” (but more accurately perhaps “the Maori Genghis Khan”).

He perceived that the Waikato were probably too strong for his Ngatitoa tribe.

So he commenced a long migration south, inflicting heavy slaughter upon Rangitane on the way.

Establishing himself on Kapiti Island, Te Rauparaha commenced an invasion of the South Island. He almost exterminated the northern tribes.

Then he fell upon the Ngai Tahu, first at Kaikoura, then Kaiapohia, and in 1832 upon Onawe, with bloody massacres, cannibalism and slavery in each.

The Ngai Tahu had already been weakened by their own “Kai Huaka” or “eat relation” feud.

These are but a sample of incidents from almost continuous warfare amongst Maori tribes in the decades before 1840.

By John Robinson’s careful estimates, 35,400 were killed in a population numbering around 127,000 in 1800, with more dying from wounds. [5]

The social impact must have been profound.

Paul Moon refers to

  • the “pervasive sense that communities faced the threat of destruction at the hands of their foes”
  • the “heightened state of fear that dominated most if not all Maori communities”, and
  • the “relentless and intense social stresses”.

He suggests that the consequences may still be felt today. [6]

It becomes clear that it is high time that this important part of our history should be recognized, and faced squarely.

It should be borne in mind when facing the substantial social problems which confront New Zealand society today.

Perhaps, for a start, a substantial part of the massive “treaty settlement” which Ngapuhi will undoubtedly be expecting, could be allocated instead to those other tribes which they harmed so.


[1]  Tu-mata-kokiri who confronted Tasman in turn got their comeuppance, being exterminated by Ngai Tahu and Ngatiapa, the last battle being in the Paparoas about 1800.

[2]  For a good account of this episode, read Ian Wishart’s “The Great Divide”, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9876573-6-7.

[3]  See T.L.Buick, “The Treaty of Waitangi”, 1914.

[4]  Many of the details in this account are taken from “The Encyclopedia of New Zealand” and other sources, easily obtained by “googling”. Much is summarised by Pember Reeves in “The Long White Cloud, 1898, republished as ISBN 0-85558-293-6.

[5]  “When Two Cultures Meet”, 2012, pp64-65, ISBN1-872970-31-1.

[6]  “This Horrid Practice”, 2008, pp151-3, ISBN 978-0-14-300671-8.

Andy Oakley, Department of Conservation, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa, Te Ati Awa, Te Rauparaha, Whale rights

Te Rauparaha's tribe honours spirit of whale by hacking off jaw with saw

Whale on Paraparaumu Beach

A kaumatua inspects the sacred whale before…

Whale on Paraparaumu Beach being butchered by iwi

…iwi butchers, protected by DOC, hack off the lucrative jawbone.

In the shadow of Kapiti Island, once home of New Zealand’s cruellest cannibal, Te Rauparaha, horrified onlookers yesterday watched the local iwi butcher a beached whale.

The tribe’s sacred purpose: to turn its jawbone into jewellery.

And to hell with anyone who didn’t agree with their traditional take on saving the whales… for themselves, that is.

Stuff bears witness to the gory spectacle:

Police and Department of Conservation staff had to hold back angry and upset onlookers … after those removing a whale’s jaw were left “up to their knees” in blood.  

Grief and anger erupted among the 300 onlookers as Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Ati Awa iwi members took three hours … to remove the jaw…  

Local whale-bone carver Owen Mapp said children were in tears and some of the crowd became angry about  the whale being butchered.  

“There was a lot of blood and guts. Some people were horrified.”

Creating cultural objects or carved artifacts enabled contemporary society to honour the spirit of the whale, he said. “It is a way the whale can live on.”  

I see, so the culturally appropriate way to honour a whale’s spirit is to hack off its jaw with a saw (an evil pakeha chainsaw, presumably), then cut it, gouge it, sand it, and sell it.

Cost of raw materials: nil. (Thanks, DOC.)

Profit: handy.

By this logic, do Te Rauparaha’s descendants also “honour the spirit” of their dead by ripping out and flogging off their sacred gold fillings?

Sounds more like the spirit of free enterprise to me.

DOC protocol allowed iwi first use of the whale.  

Er, shouldn’t that be “exclusive use of the whale”?

Did DOC contact the local Japanese community to see if they wanted to remove the meat?

Did they invite the descendants of New Zealand’s early whalers to “honour the spirit” of their ancestors by rekindling their family’s association with the great mammal of the deep? (See comment below from Andy Oakley.)

And they say there’s no Maori privilege.

Ngati Toa member Nelson Solomon said people complaining about the gory work did not have to watch.  

How thoughtful. Ngati Toa’s manners have obviously improved since Te Rauparaha’s dinner guests were forced to watch their companions being tomahawked, eviscerated, roasted and devoured, while they mentally prepared themselves for their role as his next course.

“We tried to put up barricades to stop the public going in.”  

Yes, how dare DOC’s Chosen People be interrupted in their sacred duty by stupid pakeha clinging to the wimpish notion that the best way to “honour the spirit” of a dead creature is to bury it intact?

“We are sorry if people were offended but we thought we did what was best in our interests.”  

And that’s the thing about tribes. Tribes care about themselves first, and others not at all. Anyone outside the tribe is the enemy.

It’s the same the world over, wherever tribalism has been tried.

(Which is pretty much everywhere. Including, of course, Britain, whose history runs red with the blood and gore of tribalism — Celtic, Roman, Viking and Anglo-Saxon.)

My point is, Britain and other societies have got beyond tribalism. It’s time Maori did too.

Shouldn’t whaler
descendants get first dibs?

Kapiti reader Andy Oakley made this comment on another thread yesterday:

We had a whale wash up on our shore yesterday.

The local iwi were quick to claim it, rope it off, and rip it open for the jaw bone.

The local council’s unelected iwi representative would have had a hand in this.

Surely the descendants of our country’s early whaler settlers had as much, if not more, cultural connection to this whale than local Maori?

New Zealand was founded by these early settlers and their whaling activities.

While there is no history of pre-European Maori whaling at all. (Though they would cut them up if they ever happen to beach themselves.)

But alas, the whaler descendants were never even consulted.

And here is the reason why:

If you are a descendant of a whaler — i.e. somewhere in your family history someone was a whaler — this does NOT give you the right to call yourself a whaler.

Obviously you are not a whaler. You are just a descendant of a whaler.

And you have NO special place in New Zealand.

However, if you are a descendant of a Maori — i.e. somewhere in your family history someone was a Maori — this DOES give you the right to call yourself a Maori.

And you DO have access to the dual set of rights our government attributes to Maori.

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this?

I have no problem with Maori culture, I embrace it.

I do have a problem when it finds its way into every part of our lives at the expense of all other cultures.

You and me both, Andy. Good point about the whalers.

Of course, the tide has turned on the business of hunting and harpooning the uber-mammal. That’s because the whale has joined the dolphin in the ranks of the cute, if not cuddly.

(And, no doubt, because we no longer crave lamp oil and whalebone corsets. Or share the Japanese taste for whale steak.)

But if it’s good enough for Ngati Toa to honour the bloodthirsty Te Rauparaha with a stadium in Porirua, it’s good enough for European New Zealanders to “honour the spirit” of the brave whalers and sealers, from whom so many of us (both white and brown) are descended.

Now how do we get DOC to help us make money out of it?

Chris Finlayson, John Key, John Robinson, Maorification, Ngati Toa, Te Rauparaha, Treaty of Waitangi, Waitangi Tribunal, Wellington

Appeaser-General to compensate cannibal's tribe for loss of South Island dining rights

Appeaser-General Chris Finlayson wants to pay the descendants of Te Rauparaha $10 million of your money for the loss of their right to capture, kill and cannibalise the Maori of the South Island.

In the words of Dr John Robinson in his book The Corruption of New Zealand Democracy — A Treaty Overview:

Mr Finlayson has made an offer for a Treaty settlement to Ngati Toa, which includes a payment of $40 million, plus $10 million in recognition of Ngati Toa’s former marine empire, $6.31 million for capacity building and an additional amount of $100,000 as claimant funding (the Government also promised to support applications for resourcing from the Crown Forestry Rental Trust).

Ah yes, the CFRT — the agency that refused to pay Robinson for his research on Maori depopulation until he’d reversed his conclusion to echo their politically-correct view of history. 

But how intriguing that Ngati Toa possessed a ‘marine empire’ — presumably patrolled by a blue-water navy. And not exactly for peacekeeping purposes, as we shall discover in a future post.

And how intriguing that the supposedly Honourable Chris Finlayson intends to give $10 million of your money to Ngati Toa for the loss of this marine empire?

I know Chris Finlayson. We were on good terms until I realised that he, along with John Key, were traitors intent upon giving my country back to its former owners, with no payment for improvements.

He is also a master lawyer and self-styled champion of plain English. He has the skills to say exactly what he means with deadly precision. When he wants to.

But this time — as with so many of his pronouncements on matters Maori — he doesn’t want to. So I’ll say it for him.

By ‘loss of Ngati Toa’s marine empire’, Finlayson means the loss of the right of these Taranaki invaders (who wiped out the tribe that had been here for centuries) to paddle across Cook Strait and slaughter, enslave and feast upon the South Island Maori.

Compensating the descendants of their chief cannibal, Te Rauparaha (whose depraved devourings earns him a separate post), for the loss of that right is going to cost you and me $10 million.

And that’s just the appetiser for a much larger Ngati Toa claim.

As part of the package developed to recognise Ngati Toa’s maritime empire, the Crown offers to explore the development of a redress instrument that recognises Ngati Toa’s role as Kaitiaki of Cook Strait and the coastal marine area in Port Underwood and Pelorus Sound… and supports Ngati Toa in developing a statutory plan articulating Ngati Toa’s values in relation to these areas.

While most of us cast our vote and make submissions, the Ngati Toa extended family will have the right to prepare management and planning documents — all because of the warfare of ancestors 190 years ago.

And not just warfare. Also the cruellest imaginable slavery and cannibalism — including the eating of women and children.

And for these despicable acts, plus wrongs done to them by the evil white man that Finlayson has yet to reveal (or should that be invent?) the tribe is to be rewarded. By you.

It is strange and indeed corrupt to make such a generous offer of taxpayers’ money without settling the grounds for the complaint.

As I wrote at the time to the Minister, “The situation as I understand it is in contradiction to common sense and logic. Surely there would be no consideration of a settlement in the absence of a clearly specified wrong.”

Surely not? Yet that’s exactly what’s happening. Finlayson wants to pay $10 million of your money to a tribe for no reason he is prepared to divulge.

Here the truth of what happened in a past century is not to be determined by historians in an open and public debate, but written by the aggrieved party, about to profit from a settlement based on a biased interpretation, behind closed doors and after the settlement is agreed.

Again in the words of Minister Finlayson, “The Ngati Toa historical account is being negotiated concurrently with the rest of the Ngati Toa settlement and will be agreed before the deed of settlement is signed… All settlement redress, including the historical account, is confidential while under negotiation.”

You read correctly. Your head lawyer is rewriting the tribe’s history with the tribe, behind closed doors, in order to concoct a reason to pay the tribe with your money for something your forefathers almost certainly did not do to their forefathers.

What kind of an idiot is Chris Finlayson? Answer: a ‘useful idiot’. 

But look at this next bit:

Even the very little information available shows that the basis of the settlement is wrong. The claimed maritime empire never existed. This was made clear by the Waitangi Tribunal:

“We consider the idea of a sustained ‘overlordship’ to have little basis in Maori customary thinking. … the idea of an overlordship is now seen as the legacy of an imperial rhetoric.”

So even the ridiculously pro-Maori Waitangi Tribunal does not agree with the Appeaser-General that Ngati Toa possessed a blue water navy.

The Maori had the great luck that the colonial power was 19th century Great Britain.

Damn right they did. Imagine if they’d run into the Spaniards. Or the Belgians.

Or, worse, if the tables had been turned and the Maoris had colonised Britain. Imagine that. Would they have treated with the inhabitants — or on them?

(Remember the Taranaki tribes’ discourteous response to being welcomed ashore by the peace-loving Moriori in the Chathams — to capture, enslave or exterminate all but a few of their hosts.)

The concept of citizenship developed through the Cromwell revolution, the Glorious Revolution, the French and American revolutions, and the calls to end slavery (which succeeded across the British Empire in 1833) had become accepted.

The British, like all races, had a bloodthirsty history. But by 1840, they’d put their piracy and slavery behind them.

British politicians and the Colonial Office wanted to work with other peoples and respect their rights. Article Three of the Treaty of Waitangi promises that equality.

That promise of equal rights by the then-greatest civilisation on earth to a population of Stone Age tribesmen was evidence that the British, far from being the bully boys of modern myth, were in fact the most compassionate of colonisers. 

But equality is nowhere near good enough for the Maori leaders of today. They quite sensibly prefer the reverse takeover model — especially as our leaders seem dumb enough to give it to them.

This should be the clear basis for constitutional reform if the country is to move forward together, 170 years later.

Instead there are continuing claims, and settlements, based on bloodthirsty conquest. The example of the fate of the Chatham Islanders is not unique.

The Moriori paid a high price for appeasing the Maori. As will we if the relentless Maorification of our institutions continues.

In the case that has interested me particularly here, concerning the south Wellington coast, we find that Ngati Toa showed no respect for Ngati Ira’s love of the land, customary title or wahi tapu.

They killed them, enslaved them, and drove them out.

Now their descendants demand the rights that were denied the former inhabitants of this land.

Words change their meaning. Culture, tikanga, changes with time as well as differing between tribes. Wahi tapu is said to refer to a few artefacts but is then called upon to justify control of the whole Kaipara Harbour.

And of course Kaipara Maori are using wahi tapu as an excuse to block the installation of power turbines on the harbour floor. No doubt greasing the iwi’s palm with the appropriate bribe will quiet the upset spirits.

Tangata whenua once was established by living in a place so that after just ten years in Wellington Te Atiawa could claim ownership and the right to sell that land.

Ngati Toa and Te Atiawa only arrived in Wellington two decades and one decade, respectively, before the settlers. And yet they demand compensation of many millions of dollars.

Now those who have lived their whole lives in a place, even for several generations, both Maori and non-Maori, are refused that status, which is claimed by descendants of the temporary residents of 1840, no matter where they now live.

Dr Robinson gets to the heart of the matter here:

The focus is no longer on a search for the truth. History is reinterpreted and reinvented to suit political aims. Historical accounts may even be omitted when making settlements, or written by the complainant behind closed doors, out of view of the public whose money and land are being handed over.

It’s time to expose the Maorification scammers, starting with the Appeaser-General who has made it all so very possible.

I’ll be blogging on this and more in due course.

You will read of the astonishing lengths to which Finlayson went to avoid saying the word ‘free’ when pressed by ACT’s David Garrett about public access to beaches during the Marine and Coastal Areas debate.

You will read gory evidence of what a depraved beast was Te Rauparaha,  for whose crimes against humanity you will soon be asked to compensate his great-great grandchildren. (That’s right, you will be paying them.)

You will read about the true history of the Treaty of Waitangi, including its fraudulent reinvention in the 1980s that kick-started the Maorification scam.

By the time I’ve finished, the Treaty conmen will be thoroughly exposed, with no big words to hide behind.

For now, I suggest you get a copy of The Corruption of New Zealand Democracy – A Treaty Overview by John Robinson.