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Power of Words History Story: Follow the Cry     © Jenny Jenkins 2015      https://sites.google.com/site/valueslessons  

Chapter 1
(Show Image 1) Te Aokapurangi shuddered as she watched Chief Hongi Hika step from his canoe waving a long barrelled musket in each hand. It was 1821 and he was back home in Kerikeri, in the far north of New Zealand, after a year away visiting England. His warriors raced to greet him. Excitedly they began unloading the guns he had traded for in Australia, on his way home.  
‘Many more people will die,’ Te Aokapurangi thought, sadly. ‘Just as my father died, and my husband and his whanau in Maketu.’
Two years before, Hongi Hika and his warriors had sailed down to the East Cape, killing their enemies and taking prisoners back to Kerikeri to be slaves. Te Aokapurangi vividly remembered the terrible day she had been wrenched from her children and captured as a slave. A chief called Hauraki had taken her for his wife. He called her Ao, and was kind to her as she grieved the death of her family. Gradually she had been first accepted and then respected by the Ngapuhi tribe. Last year, she had given Hauraki a baby son, but her thoughts often returned to her children in Maketu. ‘My son Hihiko must be almost a man by now,’ she reflected. ‘I’m so glad he is still free. How I long to see him.’
Her brother, Te Awaawa, had also been captured by Hongi Hika, and was now one of Hongi’s warriors. She could see him helping to unload the waka, and exchanged a worried look with him as he strode past, carrying a case of muskets and a cask of powder.
Three hundred muskets were taken from Hongi’s huge war canoe and carried up to a storehouse. “The king of England gave you these?” Hauraki asked Chief Hongi in amazement.
“Just this one.” Hongi pointed to a gun lying in the canoe. “And some armour,” he added. He picked a shining steel helmet and fitted it onto his head. Lifting a suit of chain mail, he held it up proudly.
“You’ll look like King George of England in those,” Hauraki grinned.
“King Hongi of Aotearoa,” Hongi laughed. Ao didn’t smile. She knew that he meant it.
(Show Image 2) 
Within two months of arriving home, Hongi Hika had raised an army for war. Ten Ngapuhi chiefs and two thousand warriors, half of them armed with muskets, assembled in Whangarei, ready for war. They were a fearsome sight paddling down the harbour; fifty carved war canoes, intent on revenge.
Several years earlier, three southern tribes had attacked and slaughtered many Ngapuhi people. These tribes still had the numbers to defend themselves, but none had the guns. As she watched the waka sailing away, Ao remembered those same canoes as they landed on the beach near her pa at Maketu. Death sailed with them.

Three long months later, Ao welcomed Hauraki back. Late at night, sitting around the fire, he told stories of their battles; how no tribe could stand before the mighty power of their muskets. They had slaughtered at least two thousand of their enemies, and brought back as many slaves. “A fitting revenge,” he boasted. “No one will dare to attack us again!”
Ao’s eyes filled with tears at the memory of her father falling in battle. Was her tribe safe, or would Hongi attack Maketu again?
Hauraki told how one of his fellow chiefs, Pomare, had disagreed with Hongi before the last battle at Te Totara Pa, near Thames. Hongi had used treachery, pretending to make peace. Returning quietly after dark, Hongi’s army caught the pa off guard. A thousand people were massacred that night.
But Chief Pomare had left before the battle and sailed south to the Bay of Plenty. A group of them travelled inland towards Rotorua.
Meanwhile, news of the massacre at Te Totara Pa had reached the Te Arawa people of Rotorua. Some of their families had been visiting Te Totara and had been killed in the treacherous Ngapuhi attack. Now a much smaller group of Ngapuhi were right here on their territory. What an opportunity for revenge!

The unsuspecting Ngapuhi men arrived at Lake Rotokakahi to find the local Te Arawa people gathered at a pa on an island. Pretending to be friendly, they invited the travellers to their island for a feast. 
(Show Image 3) Hiding their largest waka, they sent a small canoe to ferry the Ngapuhi across, twenty at a time. However, when they landed around the far side of the island, a large mob of people met them, pulled them from the canoe and drowned them. A fitting revenge, they felt, for the treacherous massacre of their whanau who were visiting Te Totara Pa.
The last group of Ngapuhi, waiting to be paddled across, saw a swimmer, trying to escape from the island, being chased by a canoe. They became suspicious. Noticing blood spots on the canoe when it returned to pick them up, they turned and fled for their lives.
Chief Hongi Hika was furious when the survivors returned home to the Bay of Islands. More than a hundred of his warriors had been murdered by treachery. He began making plans for immediate revenge, but Hauraki disagreed. “We’ve just come home from war,” he cautioned. “Our provisions are low. Wait until summer, when we have good supplies of dried fish and kumara. Then we will get revenge on Te Arawa. Men fight better on full bellies.” Hongi Hika agreed. 
(Show Image 4) 
Ao, standing beside her brother Te Awaawa, was listening. She gasped. Te Arawa was their tribe!
Hauraki glanced towards them. “Te Awaawa is from Te Arawa tribe,” he declared. Ao froze. Would she lose her brother too?
For a long moment, Hongi studied him. “Return to your people,” he said at last. “Take your gun. Tell Te Arawa that Ngapuhi are coming to wipe them out!”
Relief mingled with sorrow, as Ao watched her brother walk away.

Chapter 2
Warriors chanted, paddles flashed, a seagull called from the sky. Leaning forward in the huge waka canoe, Ao’s heart quickened as she sighted the familiar cliffs of Maketu on the horizon. When they drew closer she noticed with relief that her village was deserted. A stray dog, yapping noisily from the waters edge, was the only sign of life.
While in Tauranga the night before, Hongi Hika had learnt that many Te Arawa people had fled to Mokoia Island, in the middle of Lake Rotorua, taking all their canoes with them.
Hongi had asked, “Is there a way to get our waka inland to the lake?” There was, but it was difficult. It involved paddling up the Pongakawa River, dragging the waka a long distance overland through the bush, and paddling across two lakes to a channel which cut through to Lake Rotorua.
“We’ll do it,” Hongi declared. A Te Arawa man, in Tauranga to purchase a gun, was captured to use as a guide.
They camped that night at the mouth of the Pongakawa River. Ao felt at home here, as this was land that belonged to her first husband’s family, the Ngati Awa. But she feared for their lives.
When Hauraki was relaxing by the fire after they had eaten, she knelt by his side. “My children’s people, the Ngati Awa, live along this river,” she whispered. “I am concerned for their safety. It is not the Ngati Awa you must avenge, but Te Arawa.”
“Talk to the chiefs,” he murmured.
(Show Image 5)
Ao sat with her head bowed, silently gathering her courage. Then, heart pounding, she moved quickly to where Hongi Hika sat with the other chiefs. Would he heed her, or would he have her punished for her boldness?
After listening to her quiet appeal, the chief agreed. Their quarrel was with Te Arawa, who had treacherously murdered their kinsmen at Lake Rotokakahi. They would not attack the Ngati Awa villages, as they paddled up the river. Ao thanked him. Her children’s whanau were safe.

Hauling seven huge waka overland through thick bush was a difficult job, but Chief Hongi was in no hurry. He had nearly 700 warriors and they worked in shifts. One group cut down trees to clear a track; another cut and laid skids under the hulls, some pulled on ropes from the front, and others held the sides to keep the heavy waka upright.

Only a week later, Ao stood on the shore of Lake Rotorua. Behind her, at anchor in the Ohau Channel, lay seven huge waka. She gazed across the water at the smoke of cooking fires drifting into the air above Mokoia Island. Her son, Te Hihiko would probably be on the island, as would her brother, Te Awaawa, and the rest of her family. She must save them.
(Show Image 6)
Hauraki joined her on the lakeshore, and noticed the worried frown on her face. He spoke first. “Your people took no part in the massacre. We have no quarrel with them. Shall I kill your brothers? Speak again to the chiefs.” She smiled gratefully, and they walked up the beach to the camp.
After listening to her, the chiefs acknowledged that her family clan, the Rangiwewehi, had taken no part in the murder of the Ngapuhi party at Rotokakahi Lake.
Ao felt a surge of hope. “Thank you for sparing my children near the Pongakawa River,” she said. “Would you please show mercy to my people on Mokoia Island also?” She waited silently while they talked amongst themselves. Once again they agreed.
A wave of relief swept over Ao. “I would like to visit the island tomorrow,” she continued, “to ask my people to separate from the rest of Te Arawa, and take no part in the war.”
The next morning Ao paddled across the mirror calm water of the lake. As she drew close to the island her chief, Hikairo, recognised her and assembled her beloved Rangiwewehi people on the beach. Her heart was filled with joy as she spotted her son Hihiko, and other loved ones she had not seen for many years. Surely they would see their danger and accept her offer of help?
She called her greetings. “Move to the north of the island,” she cried, “and the Ngapuhi will not harm you. Gather there, away from the rest of Te Arawa and be saved. It is a place of refuge. Please, go north.”
Without hesitation, Chief Hikairo answered, “It was noble of Ngapuhi listen to you, but we cannot withdraw. Tell Ngapuhi, ‘Bring your terror, so that one fire may consume Te Arawa.’”
Sadly Ao turned the canoe and paddled back to the lakeshore. Hauraki met her on the beach, and his eyes showed his sympathy.
Ao sought out Hongi Hika and passed on Chief Hikairo’s reply. “I have one last request,” she continued. “May I go with you into battle, stand with your warriors, and call to my whanau to come to me for protection? Would you spare those who come?” she pleaded.
“On one condition,” he answered. “Those who seek sanctuary must first pass beneath your thighs.” Ao hesitated, then nodded.

Chapter 3
(Show Image 7) Early the next morning, as the tui birds sang and the mist lay over the lake, seven huge war canoes filled with armed warriors glided silently out of the channel and steered towards Mokoia Island. As they approached the sand-spit on the east of the island, a flock of gulls was startled into the air, screeching a warning to the warriors gathered on the beach.
The seven waka lined up in the shape of a spearhead and drove towards the beach, paddles flashing in perfect rhythm. Chief Hongi stood in the prow of the foremost canoe, chanting a war song and flourishing his mere. The sunlight flashed off his steel helmet and chain-mail armour.
Leaning over the side of Hauraki’s waka, Ao scanned the faces waiting on the beach. Her heart quickened as she saw her brother, Te Awaawa. She watched as he raised the musket Hongi had given him almost a year ago in Kerikeri, when he was sent home to warn Te Arawa. No one else on the beach appeared to have a gun. 
(Show Image 8)
As the huge war-canoes drew near the shore, a single shot rang out. Hongi fell backwards into the canoe. A gasp of dismay filled the air. For a brief moment over a thousand warriors, from both sides, held their breaths, waiting. Hongi struggled to his feet, bareheaded. Hongi’s helmet had saved his life. Five hundred Ngapuhi warriors leapt to their feet with a roar of triumph.
The canoes shuddered onto the shore and the Ngapuhi leaped out onto the sand. The thunder of gunfire deafened Ao as they fired their first volley. Wounded men screamed, warriors yelled spine-chilling war cries as they leapt into the air, and the sound of gunfire was constant. Clambering ashore, Ao watched her people bravely charge forward, again and again, only to be cut down by a hail of bullets.
Four servants, loading five guns, surrounded Hongi Hika and he fired without a pause. When almost two hundred lay dead on the sand, the Te Arawa tribe turned and fled, the Ngapuhi warriors charging after them.
Ao ran forward into the midst of the fighting. “My people, come to me and be saved,” she cried desperately. “Follow me! I will lead you to safety!” She continued calling loudly as she moved up the beach, and across to a large meeting-house. A stream of people followed her, crowding close to her for safety. Remembering the words of Hongi, she thought, ‘There are too many to pass under my thighs. They are frightened and won’t understand. What can I do?’ 
(Show Image 9)
Looking upward at the large sloping roof of the meeting-house, she saw a carved figure on the ridge-pole above the doorway. ‘Of course,’ she thought. Nimbly she scrambled up the low roof and climbed onto the top. She straddled the ridge-pole, one leg hanging down each side of the roof as she sat high above the doorway.
The crowd below stood staring up at her in confusion. “Go in,” she called. “You’ll be safe inside.”
There was a lull in the gunfire and Ao’s voice rang out strongly across the battlefield. “The gates of mercy are open! Hurry and come inside!”
Streams of people were fleeing towards her; staggering, crawling, weeping. Her eyes shone as her brother called a greeting before limping inside.
The meeting-house filled and the crowd overflowed off the porch and onto the marae in front. And still she called. Smoke stung her eyes as buildings were set on fire around her, but hers was left untouched. Chief Hongi strode up, stared up at her in silence, then walked away. She had obeyed his words; he must keep his promise.
Fewer people were coming now. Few were left alive. Some had tried to escape the island in small canoes, or by swimming. Some drowned. Others were pursued by canoe. A few, like her son Te Hihiko, escaped off the island unharmed. But all who took refuge beneath the thighs of Te Aokapurangi were saved.
The following evening, Te Hihiko, returned to Mokoia Island to see his mother. 
He crept silently towards the door of the meeting-house, hoping to slip inside, unnoticed by his enemies. 
(Show Image 10) With a shout, a warrior leapt towards him waving a musket. It was Hauraki. He had been standing in the shadows guarding the doorway. When he realised who the intruder was, he opened the window and called inside, “Ao! It’s your son, Te Hihiko!”
The crowd inside parted, allowing Ao to push through and greet her son, tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. Outside the roar of gunfire deafened them as Hauraki ordered his followers to fire a round of gunshot in Te Hihiko’s honour.
Early the next morning, Hauraki called Te Hihiko and his elders out to talk, and Ao stood quietly watching. Relief swept through her as a peace treaty was made between Te Arawa and Ngapuhi. She smiled as Hongi Hika gave Chief Hikairo a token of this peace - his dented helmet.

© Jenny Jenkins 2015  Resource: A Wild Wind from the North, by Don Stafford. (Reed 2007)

Discussion Questions
1. When was the first time Ao used her words to save her family? (As they travelled up the river, through the territory of her first husband's people, the Ngati Awa.) Who did she appeal to first? (Her husband Hauraki) Next? (Chief Hongi) Why was she listened to?
2. What was the second time Ao used her words to attempt to save her family? (On the shore of Lake Rotorua, as she asked for her own people to be spared as they had not been involved in the treachery.) Who did she appeal to first? (Her husband Hauraki) Next? (Chief Hongi) Last? (Her own chief on the island.)
3. What did her own chief say in response to her plea to separate from the rest of the tribe and go North to safety? (Bring your terror, so that one fire may consume Te Arawa.’) Why? Did his words come true?
4. What would have been the outcome for his people if he had led them to safety?
5. Why do you think Chief Hongi said that only those who passed beneath Ao's thighs would be saved? (To humiliate them. It would be only in desperation that a man would do this.) When he realised his words had been turned into a means to save so many of his enemies, did he change his mind? Why?
6. What can we learn from Ao about the use of our words?


Visual Aid
Print out the images or make a Powerpoint presentation with them, to help your students to visualise the story. 
1. Chief Hongi Hika https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/06/Hongi_Hika.jpg/220px-Hongi_Hika.jpg
2. War dance http://www.thevirtualarmchairgeneral.com/pictures/Maori%20War%20Dance%202.jpg
3. Canoe http://66.165.146.27/images/wakapiciii.JPG
4. Te Awaawa with gun http://www.ace.net.nz/larryogden/graphics/Maori.gif
5. Chiefs http://www.lindaueronline.co.nz/media/41934/timeframes_maori%20group%20who%20visited%20england%20with%20william%20jenkins.jpg
6. Maori woman http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/sites/schools.natlib.govt.nz/files/a-080-049_1.jpg
7. Waka canoe http://www.theprow.org.nz/assets/Maori/Te-Awatea-Hou.JPG
8. Man with rifle http://i.ytimg.com/vi/qNIWro6VWzo/maxresdefault.jpg
9. Meeting house http://www.tapeka.com/Treaty%20House.jpg
10. Warrior with musket http://dccimages.durham.gov.uk/dlimuseum/im/2104.jpg