Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto strike back
Seeking revenge for the losses at Motunui in 1822, Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto forces invaded Taranaki, taking Pukerangiora pā, a Te Āti Awa stronghold, in December 1831. The siege of Pukerangiora had a devastating impact on Te Āti Awa, with many killed in the most horrible manner.
The invaders carried on to Ngāmotu (Ōtaka pā – now part of New Plymouth) in early 1832, intent on further retribution. The Ngāmotu people consisted of various sub-tribes of Te Āti Awa, including Ngāti Te Whiti, Ngāti Tawhirikura and Te Matehou.
At Ōtaka, the raiding party was not as successful. The people of the pā were aided by European traders including John Love and Dicky Barrett, and the attackers were repelled. This attack provided the impetus for Te Āti Awa of Ngāmotu to follow their relations south to the Wellington region.
The Tamateuaua migration
In 1832 the Te Āti Awa people from Ngāmotu moved south in considerable numbers. This migration was known as Te Heke Tamateuaua. Ngāti Tawhirikura were led by Tautara, Ruaukitua, Ngātata-i-te-rangi, Te Wharepōuri and Hēnare Te Keha. Also in the migration were the people of Ngāti Mutunga, led by the chiefs Rangiwāhia, Hautohoro, Onemihi, Te Ito from Waitara and Te Puponga (William Keenan) from New Plymouth. Some Ngāti Tama people came with their chiefs Te Tū-o-te-rangi, Te Rangikatau, Te Kāeaea (Taringakurī) and Te Rangitamarau.
Not everyone left: some preferred to remain on their ancestral lands and risk the return of the Waikato tribes.