The Poem 'Moka's Utu' reference Chief Moka Kainga-Mataa and use the analogy of the Kōtare to talk about his role as a fearless warrior and staunch challenger to English Colonist idealisations.

Moka Kainga-mataa was a Ngapuhi chief of Ngai Tawake descent, who along with his brothers Te Wharerahi and Rewa; formed the Patukeha hapū in memory of their slain mother Te Auparo and sister Te Karehu. Their mother and sister had been murdered and their bodies consumed, in an attack by the Ngare Raumati Iwi, upon Okuratope Pa, (Waimate North) in 1800. (

Moka and his two brothers participated in the bloody Musket Wars of the 1820s-1830s, which caused wholesale destruction across the North Island; resulting in numerous deaths, slavery, and the displacement of a large number of people. 'Moka, was...a distinguished chief among Hongi's [ Hongi Hika ] warriors...


Maori academic Brent Kerehona (Ngapuhi/Whakatohea/Tuhoe/Whanau-a-Apanui),

claims that on close inspection, it seems as though Moka was a person of high significance. He was an original signatory to the Declaration of Independence (the same document that the Crown had aimed to revoke), was the only Maori signatory to

the Proclamation and after raising specific issues, as well as questioning Hobson about pre-emption and illegal land transactions at the meeting at Waitangi, appears

not to have been satisfied with the explanations provided and chose not to sign the Treaty of Waitangi. (

(Maori) admired the Kōtare (kingfisher) for the way it perched without moving while stalking its prey, then suddenly attacked in a blur. A good sentry was likened to a kōtare (

The Kōtare is a fearless bird that readily attacks mamals and birds of it's own size and larger starlings are driven away, red billed gulls put to flight, a Tui killed, cats and dogs blinded in one eye and even weasels attacked. Every kind of small animal is attacked,

killed and eaten by the kingfisher. (

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