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37  <Content>&lt;h2&gt;The Battle of Skull Creek&lt;/h2&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: 0.15pt&amp;quot;&gt;Flowing into the &lt;em&gt;Whangarei &lt;/em&gt;Harbour opposite &lt;em&gt;Tamatarau is &lt;/em&gt;Skull Creek. At its entrance, the &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;beach is restricted by a barrier of rock running into the sea, while a few yards inland steep cliffs &lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: 0.45pt&amp;quot;&gt;rise to a low-lying plateau called&lt;em&gt; Maungawhati, &lt;/em&gt;which in early days was connected to the bush&lt;em&gt; &lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;hills behind by a ridge.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: 0.45pt&amp;quot;&gt;This ridge, which was on the southern bank of the creek, was the site of&lt;em&gt; Maungawhati, &lt;/em&gt;a &lt;em&gt;pa &lt;/em&gt;belonging to the&lt;em&gt; Patuharakeke &lt;/em&gt;tribe. This tribe was a favoured one for it had an unlimited supply of fish and shellfish from the harbour, birds and timber from the bush, and&lt;em&gt; kumara, taro &lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;and&lt;em&gt; hue &lt;/em&gt;from their fertile flats&lt;em&gt;.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;Unfortunately, the rich harvests of their cultivations led to frequent raids. Eventually they decided to move their plantations about eight miles inland at the head of a tidal creek. This&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: 0.45pt&amp;quot;&gt;meant that their crops could be guarded and when ready, transported to their&lt;em&gt; pa &lt;/em&gt;to be&lt;em&gt; &lt;/em&gt;stored in&lt;em&gt; &lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;their &lt;em&gt;rua-kumara.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.1pt&amp;quot;&gt;Twice a year, most of the tribe went to the plantations, first to plant and later to harvest their &lt;/span&gt;&lt;em&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;kumara. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/em&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;While the people were working in their gardens, the chief, with a handful of old men, &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;kept a rigid lookout for the approach of any enemies.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.1pt&amp;quot;&gt;From the summit of his &lt;em&gt;pa, &lt;/em&gt;an unrestricted view, both up and down the harbour, made the &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;detection of a war party an easy task. Knowing that he had only a few men on the pa, the chief relied on strategy in case of emergency.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;But strategy was not his perogative alone. In the early 1800's, about a month before the &lt;em&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;kumara &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/em&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;harvest, a canoe manned by an observation party from the &lt;em&gt;Ngatipukenga &lt;/em&gt;tribe slipped &lt;/span&gt;out of &lt;em&gt;Tauranga &lt;/em&gt;Harbour and landed under cover of darkness on &lt;em&gt;Ruakaka &lt;/em&gt;Beach.&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;From here several warriors were sent to spy out the land and learn what they could about the rich crops of the &lt;em&gt;Patuharakeke. &lt;/em&gt;The remainder of the party took their canoe up the coast and went into hiding. They had been ordered to pick up the observation party in a week's time, and &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;then return to &lt;em&gt;Tauranga.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.1pt&amp;quot;&gt;During that time, the spies studied the layout of the &lt;em&gt;pa &lt;/em&gt;and learned that in a month's time most &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;of its people would be away at the cultivations. More important, only the chief and a few old &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;people would be left behind. Elated at what they had heard, they returned home to help make preparations for an assault on the &lt;em&gt;pa.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.1pt&amp;quot;&gt;A month later, the &lt;em&gt;Ngatipukenga of Tauranga &lt;/em&gt;sent a war party to the &lt;em&gt;Whangarei &lt;/em&gt;Harbour. Fortunately, the chief of the &lt;em&gt;Patuharakeke &lt;/em&gt;was on the lookout point on his &lt;em&gt;pa &lt;/em&gt;and saw his &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;enemies approaching. Stealthily drawing nearer and nearer towards Skull Creek were six or seven war canoes whose warriors were using piles of seaweed at high water mark as a camouflage to hide them and enable them to make a surprise attack on the &lt;em&gt;pa.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;The chief had about an hour before his enemies would be upon him. Quick decisions were vital. &lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.1pt&amp;quot;&gt;He sent a messenger to his cultivations asking his men to return with the swiftness of a bird's &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;flight, but even so, he knew the journey would take at least three hours before they could reach &lt;/span&gt;the &lt;em&gt;pa.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;So in the meantime, he instructed every available man to gather all weapons and take them to a place just below its summit. Then he told them to wait until the canoes reached a spot where &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: 0.25pt&amp;quot;&gt;there was a break in the mangroves and the &lt;em&gt;pa &lt;/em&gt;would be in full though distant view of the &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;enemy warriors.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.1pt&amp;quot;&gt;This was the moment for each man in turn to seize a weapon and run into position behind the &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;palisade, and then, unobserved by the enemy, make his way back to the pile of weapons. He was to keep repeating this performance over and over again until ordered to stop.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;As the war party came into sight, the chief watched anxiously to see whether his ruse would &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;baffle the attackers. It worked. The &lt;em&gt;Ngatipukenga &lt;/em&gt;were puzzled. He saw the canoes pause, the chiefs have a quick consultation, and finally retreat out of the harbour.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;But the chief was not deceived by this move. He knew that they would send out more spies to discover when his men were returning to the plantations. So he sent the women and children to &lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;the gardens and divided his warriors into two parties, one of which was to attack the raiders on &lt;/span&gt;&lt;em&gt;Maungawhati &lt;/em&gt;ridge and keep them occupied until attacked from the rear by the second party.&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;The second &lt;em&gt;taua &lt;/em&gt;he instructed to gather stones and dump them at high water mark just out of sight of the beach and hide their weapons nearby. At a signal from him, they were to fill the &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;enemy canoes with these rocks to make them too heavy to move.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;Each morning, both parties were ordered to move off as if going to the gardens so that the spies &lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: 0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;would signal this to the raiders. But in reality, the &lt;em&gt;Patuharakeke &lt;/em&gt;would steal back and take up &lt;/span&gt;the strategic positions arranged.&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;T&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;he chiefs confidence was well founded. In the early morning light some weeks later, their &lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;attack caught the &lt;em&gt;Ngatipukenga &lt;/em&gt;completely unprepared and they suffered a crushing defeat that &lt;/span&gt;destroyed their &lt;em&gt;mana &lt;/em&gt;&lt;span&gt;i&lt;/span&gt;n the eyes of other tribes for many years.&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt; &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p style=&amp;quot;margin: 6pt 0cm&amp;quot; class=&amp;quot;MsoNormal&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;When the victorious warriors returned to their &lt;em&gt;pa &lt;/em&gt;on the shores of the &lt;em&gt;Whangarei &lt;/em&gt;Harbour, they &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;brought back many canoes laden with the spoils of war. Their success was celebrated by a great &lt;em&gt;hakari &lt;/em&gt;that continued day and night for a week. The fame &lt;span&gt;of&lt;em&gt; &lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;their chief was immortalised &lt;span style=&amp;quot;letter-spacing: -0.05pt&amp;quot;&gt;in song and dance and stories of his exploits spread throughout the whole of the North and &lt;/span&gt;beyond.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p style=&amp;quot;margin: 6pt 0cm&amp;quot; class=&amp;quot;MsoNormal&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&amp;quot;#000000&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&amp;quot;font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'&amp;quot;&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Referenced from Florence Keene's &lt;em&gt;Tai Tokerau&lt;/em&gt;, Northland Room, Whangarei Library&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</Content>
38</Section>
39</Archive>
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