Within a few generations after Tahu Pōtiki and Porourangi began living on the East Coast, their descendants were intermarrying with the local
Ngāti Ira people and also with the children and grandchildren of Kahungunu, who were more recent arrivals to the Tai Rāwhiti district. It was during this early period that whānau and hapū, descendants of these ancestors started to engage in regular conflict which, in turn, caused them to forge whakapapa-based alliances with each other. As a result of the conflict, these ancestors begin to disperse to areas outside of Tūranga, including some of the earliest migrations south to Te Māhia, onward to Nuhaka and ultimately to Te Wai Pounamu.
Although not a major character in the events outlined here, one of the participants in the battles with Tūtekohi, who was an important east coast chief contemporaneous with Mahaki and Rakaihikuroa, was Rakawahakura, the great, great grandson of Tahu Pōtiki and the grandfather of both Tūhaitara and Kurī. It is from these two ancestors, that the primary lines of Ngāi Tahu whakapapa claim their affiliation to Tahu Pōtiki. Their descendants ultimately spread throughout the Wairarapa, Te Whanganui-ā-Tara and Te Wai Pounamu, marrying into the iwi residing in those places at the time.
During a period of considerable tension in the Tūranga district Rākaihikuroa, the grandson of Kahungunu, killed his twin nephews because they were more popular than his own son, Tupurupuru. As a result, Tupurupuru was killed and Rākaihikuroa was permanently exiled.
Despite the conflicts Rākaipaaka and Hinemanuhiri, the children of Rākaihikuroa, remained in the district residing at Waerenga-a-Hika.
After a time Rākaipaaka decided to visit the local chief Tūtekohi. Tūtekohi laid on a spectacular feast for the visitors but as all of the most choice delicacies were presented to the feasting mat the chief fed them directly to his dog, Kauerehuanui, leaving only the bones to be passed to the visiting dignitaries. The visitors did not react at the time but following their return home one of the party, Whakaruru-a-Nuku, upon the instruction of Whaitiripoto, travelled back to the pā of Tūtekohi.
Once there he found a way to entice the dog outside whereupon he killed and then ate poor Kauerehuanui. When it was discovered that the dog was missing, suspicion immediately fell upon Rākaipaaka and plans for revenge were made.
Tūtekohi enlisted the aid of allies and a series of skirmishes ensued, including well-planned ambushes and strategic assaults on the Waerenga-a-Hika stronghold, Takutaioterangi.
One such engagement occurred at another feast that included the Ngāi Tahu ancestors Rakawahakura, Whakaruru-a-Nuku and Whaitiripoto.
The invitation was actually a ruse designed to give the impression that a splendid meal was in the making. This perception of much food was enhanced by the appearance of false fish, eel and bird bodies carved from wood and hung on the storehouse platforms. It is for this reason that the ensuing battle was named Te Whataroa.
During the festivities children began to play games until the adults also joined in. The games, though, were merely a ploy to distract the visitors until the hosts could organise themselves to attack their unwitting guests. The visitors’ dogs were also being killed in preparation for the feast and the whole time the ovens were being prepared for the victims. As a result the smoke from the fires provided cover for some of the visitors to escape.
Following the battle, Tūtekohi and his allies were ultimately victorious and nearly all of those affiliated with Rākaipaaka were forced to move from the district. This included the Ngāi Tahu ancestors who were making their first steps towards their ultimate destination in
Te Wai Pounamu, and the cause of this southward migration was a dog.
The waiata below describe one of the battles immediately following the killing of Tūtekohi’s dog.
I nōhia katoatia e kā urī a Tahu Pōtiki rāua ko Porouraki kā pito maha o Te Tai Rāwhiti. Nāwai rā, nāwai rā i moemoe atu ēnei uri ki kā iwi o Kāti Ira me kā mokopuna o Kahukunu-Matakirau kātahi anō i nuku mai. I taua wā hoki i tipu mai te raru i waekanui i kā iwi nā reira ētahi whānau i hono atu ki ētahi atu whānau kia pakari ai rātou mō te whawhai kai te haere mai. Nā ēnei raru hoki i tīmata te hekeka atu o ētahi o kā tīpuna ki kā wāhi kē i waho atu o Tūraka, arā ki Te Māhia, haere tou ki Nuhaka, tae atu ki Te Wai Pounamu.
Ahakoa he iti noa iho kā kōrero mō Rakawahakura nei ko ia tētahi o kā tīpuna i kākari i te taha o Rākaipaaka mā hai hoariri o Tūtekohi. Ko Rakawahakura te hua mokopuna o Tahu Pōtiki, ko ia hoki te poua o Tūhaitara rāua ko Kurī. Nō ēnei tokorua nei kā kāwei mātua i heke mai i a Tahu Pōtiki atu ki a Kāi Tahu whānui. Ko ō rāua uri kā tīpuna i hunuku atu ki Wairārapa, ki Te Whakanui-ā-Tara, me kā pito whakatetoka o Te Waipounamu moemoe atu ki tērā iwi, ki tērā hapū i a rātou e heke
Ko te waiata e whai ake nei he kōrero mō tētahi puta i muri tou i te whakamateka a te kurī a Tūtekohi.
I noho a Rākaihikuroa, mokopuna o Kahukunu, i te rohe of Tūrakanui-a-Kiwa. I te mea i aro atu kā tākata katoa i tana tama Tupurupuru heoti anō i whakamihi atu rātou ki āna irāmutu nāhana i patu rāua kia mate rawa. Nā taua patuka i whakamatea hoki a Tupurupuru, ā, i putaina a Rākaihikuroa ki waho tē hoki mai.
Ahakoa kā raru nui i noho tou a Rākaipaaka rāua ko Hinemanuhiri, kā tamariki a Rākaihikuroa, ki Waereka-a-Hika.
Nāwai rā, nāwai rā i haere a Rākaipaaka kia kite i tētahi rakatira nui ko Tūtekohi. I tino whakamanuhiri atu a Tūtekohi ki te tira haere, ā, i horahia te whāriki ki kā kai reka. Heoti rā i hoatu ia i kā puru rourou ki tāna kurī ko Kauerehuanui, ko waiho ake kā wheua anake mō ana manuhiri. I a rātou e hākari ana he pai te āhua o Rākaipaaka mā heoti i te hokika atu ki te kāika nā Whaitiripoto i whakahau mā Whakaruru-a-Nuku e hoki ki te pā o Tūtekohi.
Ka tae atu ia ki taua pā ka whakapoapoa atu a Whakaruru ki te kurī ra kia puta ki waho, ā, nuku mai a Kauerehuanui ki a ia ka whakamate, ka kai. I te ata tou ka mōhio te iwi a Tūtekohi ko karo atu te kurī, ā, ka toko te whakaro ko Rākaipaaka te kai-kohuru, nā reira i rewa te tauā kia kaki i te mate o Kauerehuanui.
I tono atu a Tūtekohi ki ōna hoa-whawhai hai tuarā mōna me tana whakaariki kia whakatoke i te iwi o Rākaipaaka, ā, kia whakaeke i te pā o Takutaioterangi ki Waereka-a-Hika.
Ko tētahi o kā puta ko te hākari o Te Whataroa nā kā tīpuna a Rakawahakura rātou ko Whakaruru-a-Nuku, ko Whaitiripoto
Ko te tikaka ia he nuka kē te hākari hai tāware ai te iwi o Tūtekohi kia haere mai rātou mō te kai. Ko te āhua o te kai he rūpahu kā ika, kā tuna me kā manu i tāraia ki te rākau, ā, kātahi e rewa ana ki kā whata anō he kai tūturu. Koina ka meatia atu ko Te Whataroa te ikoa o te puta nei.
I a rātou e tatari ana ki te hākari i haere te huka taiohi ki te para-tamariki, ā, nāwai rā ka para-matua hoki kā pakeke. I a rātou e para-matua ana ka patu haere rātou i kā kurī o te ope manuhiri hai kai mō te umu. Kātahi ka tīmata te iwi a Rakawahakura mā ki te patu hoki i kā tākata nō roto i taua ope. I te mea i kā te ahi mō te umu i puta mai te auahi, heoti ko taua auahi hai ārai i a rātou e whati ana ki waho.
Whai muri mai i kā pakaka katoa nā Tūtekohi me ōna hoa-whawhai i toa. Nā rātou hoki i pana a Rākaipaaka rāua ko Hinemanuhiri ki waho noa o taua rohe. Ko ētahi o rātou i pana ki waho ko kā mātua tīpuna o Kāi Tahu whānui. Nā rātou kā tapuae tuatahi ki kā kāika katoa o Te Wai Pounamu nei, ā, ko te take o tēnei heke whaka-te-toka ko te kurī o Tūtekohi.
Nau mai tunu taua e hine i kune
Whakaroko ake ai ki tōu matua e
Tēnei koa te whare a Takamairoto,
Takamaiwaho nei e,
Te kai takaroa mai a Te Urukotia
I rapu haere e tau tahunga ki te mapara
Ka mate i reira Kohatutoa
Ka rere a Manumai
I Rakatoatoa i roto i te auahi o te ahi
Ka ea hoki ia i ō tīpuna
Koia te Kaiwhakatari i a Whaitiripoto nei
Whakaruru a Nuku, a Tamanuhiri
A Rakawahakura i te wawa a kaha
Waka mai rā i tawhiti
Koia te Whataroa i tukutuku
Turaki rā i ahuahu hoki e.