Topic: Traditional Story: Te Manuwhakahoro

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Some time after the Battle of Kokowai, Te Kumikumi of the Waitaha people (near Te Puke) was killed by a party of Ngai Te Rangi. His son’s Ruataumanu and Whiti devised a plan to avenge their father’s death. They learnt the art of kite making and one early morning they flew their kites on the shore near Hopukiore (Mt Drury) to simulate a flock of birds diving on a school of fish. The Ngai Te Rangi living on Mauao saw what they believed were birds and rushed down to the beach with their nets ready to catch fish. The birds fell out of the sky and the exhausted fishermen were attacked by the waiting Waitaha warriors who massacred them on the beach in front of Motuotau (Rabbit Island).

Archived version here.

After Ngaiterangi took the great pa at Maunganui, there were other fights between them and the Waitaha and Ngati Ranginui people of Tauranga Moana. In one fight the Waitaha chief, Kumikumi, was killed. His son, Tipuake, wanted to avenge his father's death. Waitaha were weak and defeated, so he went to the Tapuika chief, Te Ruinga at Te Puke, for help. This was the same Te Ruinga who had killed Rangihouhiri at Poporohuamea. Te Ruinga was getting too old now to join actively in any campaign for utu. Instead of setting up a war party, he gave to Tipuake a bird made of plaited toetoe and raupo. It was not a toy but it had a name – Te Manuwhakahoro, the falling or swooping bird. The bird had a serious purpose and Te Ruinga explained all this to Tipuake before sending him back home to Tauranga Moana.
 
Tipuake made a number of these birds, carefully plaited from the leaves of toetoe and raupo. He and his men took them to the shore near to a pa of Ngaiterangi. They concealed themselves in bushes at the water's edge. Then they began to throw the birds. They flew and swooped into the water. The people in the pa saw the birds swooping into the water and said to themselves there must be fish down there. They gathered up their nets and rushed down to the water's edge to catch all these fish. But it was Ngaiterangi who became the big catch themselves, the fish of Tipuake.

Te Manuwhakahoro (Birds or Kites Made to Fall) by Duane Moyle

Te Manuwhakahoro (Birds or Kites Made to Fall) by Duane Moyle

The Waitaha men leapt out of the bushes and fell on Ngaiterangi who were unarmed. And so Tipuake avenged the death of his father and Waitaha hit back at Ngaiterangi who had pushed them out of their fine lands of Tauranga Moana. Because of the birds, this fight is known as Te Manuwhakahoro.

Other stories are found off the article - An Introduction to this collection (please click) 

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Traditional Story: Te Manuwhakahoro


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