Story: King Country region

Lament for Kāwhia

In 1820 Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto warriors attacked Kāwhia. They defeated the resident iwi Ngāti Toa, led by Te Rauparaha, in a major battle near Lake Taharoa, not far south of Kāwhia. This defeat contributed to Ngāti Toa's great migration south, which ended at Kapiti. Te Rauparaha composed his famous lament for Kāwhia while at Te Arawai on the west coast, where the tribe had fled after their defeat. This pā, and other places mentioned in his lament, are recorded on this map, along with notes about places of historical interest. It is a 1941 copy of a map drawn by Tainui historian Pei Te Hurinui Jones.

This is an English translation of Te Rauparaha's lament:

The tides of Honipaka,
I now depart.
My spirit still clings
To the cloud
Above Te Motu.
You stand apart from me.
I now leave my precious homeland
In this unexpected parting.
I bow in tribute to those who have passed:
Sleep on in that endless sleep.
The tides rise, standing, flowing,
Rising. Carried away with this, unrelenting,
Te Kawau at Muriwhenua.
There is my bird, my cherished bird,
Held captive in this house, the imminent new year.
By the house of mourning,
By Te Āti Awa,
Travelling in company,
I shall bury all my sorrows.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: MapColl-CHA-2/4/5-Acc.36920

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'King Country region - Māori settlement and occupation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/34841/lament-for-kawhia (accessed 25 June 2019)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, updated 30 Mar 2015