Kahupeka of Ngāti Whanaunga

Here is an extract from an article by George Graham concerning whāngai. He recounts a story pertaining to Kahupeka, a well known kuia of Kaiaua.

'A granddaughter was born unto a Ngati Whanaunga chief of fame of recent times. His ohahi was that the girl was to be an ingoa (namesake) for him. The name indicated was “Kahupeka,” his grandmother's name. In due course he, in Maori customary way, bestowed a piece of land (tukua he whenua) as an abiding-place for his ingoa. Her family settled down there, built their houses, fenced and cultivated the land for some years. However, the old gentleman without prior reference to his ingoa's parents, sold that land to a Pakeha. This act was regarded as kohuru (treachery), and wiped out all respect for his ohaki. First destroying all the houses by fire, chopping down the fruit trees, fencing, etc., they vacated the land, leaving a curse thereon. They migrated to another place where forgetting not, they forgave not.  Later the old man full in years died after an unsuccessful effort to effect a reconciliation with his ingoa's family. His death was then attributed to the long drawn-out ill will (whaka-mauhara) on the part of Kahupeka's people. Later Kahu's hand was sought in marriage by one of the old man's grandsons. A visiting party came to claim her as a bride (tomo wahine) 4 by virtue of the ohaki of the aged man. The request was promptly refused, the reason given being the dishonouring of his ohaki by the old man. For he had by that act of transgression belittled his ingoa before his and her tribal communities. His ohaki therefore ceased of mana and effect. Yet still another tomo wahine party came again to urge the marriage of Kahupeka to their chosen spouse, and thus to heal the ill-feeling now long-lasting, and so extinguish this long-slumbering fire of ill will, “me he ahi komau e ka ana.”  But this second tomo wahine effort was likewise rejected in these words: “He kowhatu i taka mai i te pari, ekore e taea te whakahokia.” (A stone fallen from the cliff face cannot again be replaced.) Again to show the depth of their feelings of resentment despite the passing of the years, a final retort was: “He tara whai ka uru ki rote, e kore e taea te whakahokia.” (A stingray's barb, deeply thrust in, cannot be withdrawn.) Kahupeka was ultimately allowed to marry the man of her own choice...'

See 'Whangai tamariki' (Nga ritenga mo te whangai tamariki), by Geo. Graham, p 268-278, Journal of the Polynesian Society, Volume 57, 1948, No. 3.