Story: Tribal organisation

A waiata about musket warfare

A waiata about musket warfare

This waiata (song) was composed by women of Te Namu , Taranaki, after they had successfully withstood a siege by Te Āti Awa around 1816 or 1817. The war party was armed with two muskets, which made a great noise, but killed nobody. Although this waiata is scornful about muskets as weapons, they were soon widely used by warring tribes to settle old scores.

I rangona atu ngā pū
Kei Te Taniwha
Kei a Huri-whenua
I tangi ki taku hawenga i raro – e –
Keua e ana pū
Ka whano mangu – o –
Kei ōka tapa, papatoa
He pū-notinoti ngā tapa
He kuru tūmata tai haruru,
E! ka ngenengene,
He mata aha, he koi pū,
Ka tū ki runga hā.
E! ka roa ko te tapa,
Ka moho ki te whenua,
E! ka ngenengene.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: F.003654-06

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Source: S. Percy Smith, History and traditions of the Maoris of the west coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840. New Plymouth: Thomas Avery, 1910, pp. 284–285

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How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Tribal organisation - The history of Māori social organisation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/981/a-waiata-about-musket-warfare (accessed 22 October 2019)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 8 Feb 2005