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HOROMONA MARAHAU, OR BLIND SOLOMON.
ONE of the most interesting individuals at the Mission Station of Otawhao is Horomona Marahau, or "Blind Solomon," who has for some years acted very efficiently as a native catechist and teacher in connexion with the Church Missionary Society.
The account of the early life and exploits of this once celebrated warrior, and his subsequent change to Christianity, as narrated to me from his own lips, and translated by Mr. Morgan, affords a fair example of the troubled life of many of the New Zealand chiefs.
From a boy, Horomona accompanied his father on all his fighting expeditions. At the taking of a Pah at Waingaroa, he saw great numbers captured as slaves; he then went to Hanga, where many were slain and eaten; and at the taking of the great Pah at Maungataritari, forty men were killed, besides women and children, and all eaten. At a second fight at Maungataritari, whither Horomona accompanied his father, sixty men were killed and eaten. After this, an attack was made by the Nga-ti-Raukawa tribe upon the Pah in which Horomona resided; the assailants retreated, and were pursued by Horomona and his party, but the Nga-ti-Raukawas rallied again, turned back upon their pursuers, and slew upwards of one hundred of them; Horomona himself narrowly escaping. At Kawhia fight, sixty were killed and eaten. At Mokau, Horomona's party were beaten off and two hundred of them killed; here the chief met with another hair-breadth escape. Returning to Mokau, Horomona succeeded in taking the Pah, when two hundred were killed and eaten, and numbers of women and children taken as slaves. During the engagement, Horomona took the principal chief prisoner, but finding that on a former occasion his own brother had been saved by this chief, Horomona, as an act of gratitude, led his captive to the mountains, to enable him to get clear of his enemies, and then let him go.
The next expedition of Horomona was to Poverty Bay, where two hundred men were killed and eaten, or taken as slaves. He then went to Wanganui, and to Kapiti; the inhabitants of both Pahs flying at his approach. After this, Taranaki became the seat of war, great numbers being continually killed on both sides, and cannibal feasts held almost daily. At Waitara, Horomona and his tribe were attacked by Rauparaha's party, and ten of their number killed; they then fled to Poukerangiora, where they were surrounded by Rauparaha and his followers, and remained besieged for several months. When at length their supplies of food were exhausted, they contrived to send out a spy by night, who passed through the enemy's encampment, and reached the mountains in safety; travelling along the forest ranges until he reached the Waikato district, where he gave information of the condition of the besieged. Te Whero-whero, and Waharoa of Matamata, went to their rescue with a large party; they were, however, all beaten off by Rauparaha and twenty of their number killed; but the Waikatos again rallied, renewed the attack, rescued their friends, beat back Rauparaha, and returned home in triumph.
After this, the Nga Puis, from the Bay of Islands, headed by the famous E Hongi, who had then just returned from England with fire-arms and gunpowder, came down upon them like a host, and made an attack upon the great Waikato Pah called Matuke-tuke; the Waikatos had only native weapons with which to beat off their enemies, and with so unequal an advantage, the Nga Puis took the Pah in a few minutes. Horomona and Te Whero-whero were amongst the captured inmates. At this dreadful carnage two thousand were slain; and feasts were held upon the dead bodies on the spot where they lay. So numerous were the slaves taken during this attack, that the Nga Puis killed many of them on their road to the Bay of Islands, merely to get them out of the way. The escape of Horomona from the general slaughter was almost miraculous; he fled to the mountains, and after the retreat of their northern enemies, his tribe once more collected together, and marched to Poverty Bay, where the Pah was taken by them, and six hundred were killed, and eaten after the fight was over.
Not long subsequent to the attack on the Pah at Poverty Bay, Horomona became blind at Otawhao, where he first met with the missionaries. For the last four years he has been a native teacher under the Rev. J Morgan; and may be seen every Sabbath-day with his class, instructing them in the truths of the Scriptures, with an earnestness and energy truly admirable. The memory of Horomona is quite wonderful; he knows the whole of the Church Service by heart, and repeats hymns and many long chapters verbatim; at a late examination in the Catechism, Horomona was the only individual who knew every word correctly."
- Horomona Maruhau, or Blind Solomon
- Production date
- circa 1847
- hand coloured lithograph
- 300 x 190 mm
- Plate 29
- Credit line
- Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2009
- Accession no
- Copyright Expired
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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