Te Pakanga o Kokowai (The Battle of Kokowai) c1700 by Duane Moyle (2010)
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The Ngati Ranginui tribe lived undisturbed on the slopes of Mauao until approximately 1700 when they fell foul of the Ngai Te Rangi of Maketu. The Chief of the Ngai Te Rangi, Kotererua, devised a plan to sack the virtually impregnable Ranginui pa. The attack was aided by the stormy, dark conditions which meant that there would be less visibility for detection of intruders. Kotererua came to the entrance of the pa with one hundred and forty warriors of his tribe and a gift for Kinonui, the principal Chief of Mt Maunganui. The visitors stated intentions were that of making peace with Ranginui but in reality the gift baskets of kokowai (red ochre pigment) had only a thin layer of kokowai that concealed weapons. Others in the attacking party had been busy making holes in the Ranginui canoes so that any who tried to escape would drown. As the two chiefs discussed important diplomatic matters, most of the Ngai Te Rangi warriors climbed the northern face of Mauao, attacked and captured the summit, then waited for the signal to come down to attack the rear of the main pa. A Ngai Te Rangi messenger arrived and spoke quietly to Kotererua, telling him that everything was ready. The visitors left the whare, jammed the door shut and set fire to it, incinerating all who were inside. The remaining Ranginui were slain in a brief battle or drowned as they attempted to escape and Mauao was claimed for the Ngai Te Rangi.
My painting is looking up at Mauao from the base, in-between the harbour and the sea, with a tukutuku structure based on the Kaokao pattern which is thought to represent the arms and torso of warriors in the action of a haka. This pattern was dedicated to the war-god, Tumatauenga, and used to inspire warriors before battle.
More information: http://duanemoyle.wordpress.com/