Home  |  Browse  |  Search  |  Introduction  |  Chronology 
nzepc | Holloway Press       
            Previous | Next  
When they were all bedded down at Okaihau
Rewa brought his people through the lines
round about the Lake: "I am in debt to you, Heke."
Next day, all day, they fought alongside Heke
against the Brits, against Nene, and Taonui.
At end of day Rewa said, "Well, that’s that.
We have cleared the debt." He gathered his people,
They left to cross the lines. They went to Taonui:
"I am in debt to you, Taonui. Next day, all day
they fought alongside Taonui. At end of day
Rewa said, "Well, that’s that. We’re in the clear."
He gathered his people. They went home.
C’est l’homme qui sait se conduire.
Rewarewa brought his folk from Whangaroa.
They only came to please him, but they came.
He thought Nene was lying like a flatfish:
a grudge fight with Heke, nothing highminded.
Rewa’s folk were kin to Heke’s and to Nene’s.
They split up, some went this side, some went that.
One day was quite enough; they showed willing.
Next morning they pulled out, heading for home.
A few stuck round to see what would happen,
there wasn’t much to do at Whangaroa that season.
Then word, "Soldiers are coming." They took off,
They wouldn’t even wait for matins at Waimate.
"Soldiers, now that’s a different matter altogether.
               We don’t quarrel with the Governor."
Soldiers are tricky, they won’t ask who’s your cousin.
                                                                                     19. 10. 88
Editor's note
Debts: first published in Auto/Biographies;an incident in the Northern war of 1845: Nene and Makoare Taonui, chiefs from the Hokianga, supported the government forces against Hone Heke; Nene built a pa at Okaihau near Lake Omapere and Kaikohe (Heke’s base) and there was fighting in the area; Rewa was a famous Ngapuhi chief from the Kororareka area; Rewarewa is presumably Rewharewha or Ururoa of Whangaroa; C’est l’homme qui sait se conduire: this was a man who knew how to conduct himself; Whangaroa: locality on east coast north of Bay of Islands, Northland; Waimate: site of mission station inland from Bay of Islands
Previous | Next