The Battle of Parau (Big Muddy Creek)

The Battle of Paruroa changed the course of Maori history in Auckland forever. Kiwi Tamaki was the chief the Waiohua tribe that ruled most of the Auckland and developed the fortress sites of One Tree Hill and Mt Eden. He was killed in the battle in Titirangi, and Ngati Whatua took over control of Auckland.

This article in the NZ Herald describes it well.

Here’s the summary from AucklandCouncil’s The Muddy Creeks Plan.

Battle of Parua

Much of the important fighting in the battle actually took place at Smyth’s saddle in Waima- at what is now the intersection of Scenic Drive and Woodlands Park Rd – right by the old Filter Station.

West Auckland historian Jack Diamond wrote about the significance of this area in his book Prehistoric Archeological Sites of the Waitakere Ranges and West Auckland.

Kiwi heard of the Awhitu losses and set off for Big Muddy Creek to revenge these deeds. His men assembled at Paruroa Beach, Big Muddy Creek and advanced on the enemy. The Ngati Whatua, on seeing this advance, retreated eastwards up the spur (towards Waima Road). Kiwi and his men began the chase bu Te Whaakiaki determined to ambush the Waohua once they could see the Waitemata (Scenic Drive). This they did and Te Wahaakiaki recognised Kiwi and rushed at him, killing him with his stone weapon. On the death of their leader, Kiwi’s men fled towards the Manukau and were massacred by the pursuing Ngatiwhatua. It has been claimed that 3000 (probably excessive) were slain as the Waiohua were chased back to Paturoa Beach- and only a few escaped in canoes. From this time on the Waiohua tribe virtually ceased to exist.

He describes how early settlers found large numbers of human remains in the area:

Over large area around Waima Road. Early settlers record numerous human bones in forks of trees and hanging in baskets in this area; possibly remains of Kiwi Tamaki’s forces of 1750

This is supported by a story in the book Titirangi Fringe of Heaven. Estelle Bray began living just above the Nihotupu Filter station on Scenic Drive in 1939:

We walked around View Road (Kohu Road) to school and in the ways of children, it was never a straight run. We fossicked in the bushes along the way. One morning some boys from Konini Road threw a human skull to us that they had found in the bush not far from the school … I remember thinking it was possibly thinking it was probably from the Maori wars. We thought no more  about it and it never occurred to us to report  it to anyone.

An Auckland Regional Council research note written in 1990 (based on an article in Commonwealth Engineer 1951) supports this:

ARC Research Note

In Pioneer Tales, Arthur Armstrong (son of early settler Thomas Armstrong) tells a similar story.