Topic: Traditional Story: Te Ika Hui Rua a Hikapa

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After the Battle of the Kokowai when Ngaiterangi pushed Waitaha and Ngati Ranginui out of the great pa on Maunganui, there were more fights around Tauranga Moana. Hikapa was a chief of Waitaha and his pa was at Maungatapu. In one of these fights, two men of Ngaiterangi were killed. They were Tamapinaki, the brother of Tamapahore, and Tamapiri, son of Tamapinaki.

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This incident is remembered in the saying, Te ika hui rua a Hikapa, the double catch of fish by Hikapa. This means much the same as the English saying, to kill two birds with one stone.
This killing by Hikapa of his brother and nephew was very humiliating for Tamapahore. Already Tamapahore had been humiliated when Ngaiterangi settled on Maunganui. It had been thought that Tamapahore had not been as active in supporting the campaign as he should have. When Tamapahore settled on the lower slopes of Maunganui, some of Kotorerua's party rolled boulders down into his pa. Tamapahore took the hint and moved into the Papamoa area. His pa was Te Whaaro. All this humiliation occupied the mind of Tamapahore and he thought a great deal about how he could secure utu for these insults. He was growing old, too old and weak now to lead a war party himself. So he pinned his hopes on his young grandson, Rangihouhiri a Kahukino. This was the same Rangihouhiri who had taken his bride, Hinewa, daughter of Takau, from Ngati Ranginui of Otumoetai.

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Rangihouhiri had not yet proved himself in battle. It did not take much persuasion by Tamapahore to encourage him to attack Hikapa and Waitaha. The problem was that the pa on the point of Maungatapu was a strong one; it was difficult to get to and there were many fighting men in it. Some say there were nearly two thousand. Just as trickery had been used to take Maunganui, so more trickery would be needed to take Maungatapu. The old man and his grandson carefully worked out a plan of action.
Rangihouhiri was anxious to get started on the campaign, but his grandfather was cautious. He looked over the Rangataua arm of the harbour from Te Whaaro, his pa high on Hikutawatawa in the Papamoa hills. "Wait until you see the waters of Rangataua glistening." Rangihouhiri gazed eagerly down on Rangataua. "Nga tai o Rangataua e whakarara mai nei. Kei ake a ano takahitia ai e au," replied Rangihouhiri. "See how the waters of Rangataua glisten in the sun. When, oh when, can I go?"
Soon it was time to go and Rangihouhiri led his party of several hundred men around the shores of Rangataua to a place east of Ranginui. Here a small stream cut a channel through the mudflats on its way to the main channel on the Matapihi side. Other groups of men hid in the wiwi and scrub in the swampy shore line around Ranginui. As the tide went out, Rangihouhiri and another group of men waded from Ranginui toward Maungatapu, shouting taunts at the men of Waitaha. The men in the pa needed little encouragement to go out and attack these cheeky young Ngaiterangi led by Rangihouhiri. Hikapa was away from the pa, but the Waitaha men came out onto the mudflats led by Tarapukao.
There was a lot of fighting and killing on both sides. The carefully laid ambushes were partly successful. By the time the battle had been carried on across the mudflats all the way to Ranginui, both sides were very tired. Ngaiterangi decided to retreat back to Papamoa. Waitaha numbers had been reduced but Ngaiterangi had lost more men than they expected too. There seemed no point in continuing the battle. Waitaha were subdued over the next two generations by more peaceful means.
There was a man called Taraka living among Ngaiterangi who had taken a wife, a woman called Hinewai, who was closely related to Waitaha. It was decided these two should go and live with the wife's relatives at Maungatapu. Some Waitaha were very suspicious of this move and wanted to kill Taraka. Hikapa warned them that would not be an honourable thing to do. And so Taraka and Hinewai settled down in Maungatapu. Soon they were joined by the Ngaiterangi relatives. Over the next two generations, Ngaiterangi gradually infiltrated the community. Before long, a chief of Ngaiterangi called Turapaki had become rangatira of Maungatapu. Some of the Waitaha were still unhappy about all these Ngaiterangi immigrants. Some marriages were made between Waitaha and Ngaiterangi. The Waitaha people who did not like all this moved away to live at Manoeka and Otawa near Te Puke.
There are many stories about Rangataua and its people who are mostly descendants of Tamapahore – Nga Potiki, the younger sons. The people of Maungatapu were called Ngati He, after a misunderstanding about the fate of their chief, Turapaki, a great-great-grandson of Tamapahore, at Motuohora, Whale Island, while on a journey to Te Kaha. There is a saying, a whakatauki, Ngaro noake te tangata, waiho ma nga papaka o Rangataua e mihi. The people may disappear but the crabs of Rangataua will always be there to greet you. The mudflats of Rangataua were a training-ground for young warriors. Rangataua is also described as he moana hoehoe a nga tupuna, the waters our ancestors paddled through. He aha kia kiia a Rangataua? He paruparu nga kai. He taniwha nga tangata. What should be said of the people of Rangataua? Their food is shellfish. Their men have the boldness of a taniwha.

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


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Traditional Story: Te Ika Hui Rua a Hikapa by Tauranga City Libraries Staff - HC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License