Nearly 200 hundred years ago a battle between two Maori tribes was fought on local lands, a war so bloody it drove a whole tribe away from their homelands and remains as one of the most violent tribal conflicts recorded in New Zealand’s Maori war history; Te Ika-a-Ranga-Nui.
In February 1825, the 500-strong northern Nga Puhi tribe led by chief Honga-Hika and armed with approximately 300 muskets, trekked down from the Bay of Islands to take on a coalition of six Kaipara tribes, whose soldiers or toa, more than doubled the members of Nga Puhi, but were armed only with traditonal weapons and two guns.
As the two tribes clashed at Te Waimako stream near Te Hakoru [now Hakaru], fierce fighting ensued with the defenders at first able to push back the attacking Nga Puhi. However the collation tribe soon found themselves meeting ‘a storm of bullets’ and began to fall from the guns of Nga Puhi, leaving them no choice but to retreat. Relentlessly pursued by Hongi-Hika’s toa, survivors fled further west into the Kaipara and south to Omaha, leaving an abandoned land behind them.
Chiefs of the defending collation reported later that the stream ‘ran red with our blood’ and a tapu was placed on the waters of the Waimako and surrounding land.
Utu is said to be one of the reasons for the attack as one of the collation tribes, Ngati Whatua had previously killed a high ranking Nga Puhi chief at Mathesons Bay leading Hongi-Hika to avenge.
„ Ref Mangawhai Museum, MAORI WARS OF THE 19TH CENTURY