Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga
The Rarotongan missionary, Aporo, is responsible for the following statement (13, p. 150):
There are no gods of their own in these two islands; their gods were stolen from Utone by Ngaro-purui and Ngaro-vaaroto; Patu-kare was the guardian of the gods, whose names were Te Puarenga and Te Uru-renga, whilst another god named Ikaera drifted ashore onto the island. Te Puarenga is at Tau-unu at the marae named Te Pouhiteru; Ikaara (sic) is at Tukao at the marae named Marae-okoroa; Te Uru-renga is at Rakahanga and Variu is the name of his marae.
Aporo landed in Manihiki in 1849 and thus had the opportunity of getting information before the culture underwent material change. The statement that the people had no gods of their own evidently means that there were no gods brought by the first settlers. Tupou-rahi made a statement that Huku, the brother-in-law of Toa, had a god named Mokoroa-i-taupo located at Maungatea in Rarotonga. It is natural that the god remained with him in Rarotonga and was not given to his sister, Tapairu. Toa was a warrior and brought no priest with him. The statement that the people had no gods thus fits in with traditional history. Toa's lack of scholarship receives further corroboration from the lack of any myths concerning Tane, Rongo, Tangaroa, and the brotherhood of major gods so widely spread through neighboring regions. Tangaroa is actually mentioned as the grandfather of the Maui brethren and the possessor of fire.
Aporo states that the first two gods were stolen by Ngaro-purui and Ngaro-vaaroto. In the first of these names we may recognize Ngaro-puruhi. He is evidently the youngest brother of Whati-akau, as given by the genealogy of Tupou-rahi (Table 13). As his elder brother, Tangihoro, is credited with making voyages to foreign parts, the younger brother is likely to have gone with him. The genealogy places Ngaro-puruhi in the 7th generation chronologically. Thus, owing to lack of teachers and priests, the people had no gods from the time of the settlement of Rakahanga until the 7th generation, a period of over 150 years. It is not evident from Aporo's statement whether the Utone mentioned was a man or a place, but clearly the two gods, Te Puarenga and Te Uru-renga, were introduced from another island in the 7th generation of occupation. Tupou-rahi stated that the care of the family gods (whare urunga) was entrusted to Ura, an elder brother of Ngaro-puruhi. This statement would have no force but for the additional information recorded by Aporo that gods were actually introduced by his brother, Ngaro-puruhi. The Patu-kare mentioned by Aporo as the guardian of the gods was probably Ura under another name.
Te Puarenga, one of the stolen gods, was established at the marae in the page 206 village of Tauhunu on Manihiki; the site is near the present church. The Aporo narrative gives the marae the name, Te Pouhiteru, but this is probably a misprint, as I was told that its name was Poututeru. Te Puarenga was the god of the Whainga-aitu ariki and was thus the principal god of the Heahiro and Mokupuwai tribes. This again fits in with genealogical evidence, because Ngaro-puruhi, the procurer of the god, was the youngest brother of Whati-akau, whose name was adopted by a subtribe of the Heahiro tribe.
The question of the establishment of the Poututeru marae is also raised. When Ngaro-puruhi stole the gods, he must also have brought away with him some of the observances associated with the gods. One observance was probably the building of the marae on which the necessary ritual could be conducted. It is likely, therefore, that the Poututeru marae was built in the 7th generation, when the knowledge of maraes was revived or introduced through the voyage to other lands. This again throws light on history, for it indicates that settlement on Manihiki had occurred by the 7th generation.
The guardianship of the god must have descended in the family of Ura or Patu-kare, but later, after the establishment of the dual arikiship, it passed to the Whainga-aitu of the tribe with which the god was associated. Another difficulty is created by our lack of knowledge of the details concerning the manner and time at which the change in guardianship took place, for the first Whainga-aitu, Temu-matua, was placed by his uncle Rikiriki under the protection of the god Hikahara, who belonged to the Whakaheo ariki. We can only assume that though retrospective history shows a clear-cut division between the ariki, gods, and tribes, this exactness was not actually defined in the 11th generation, but was inaugurated then and assumed clarity later.
Te Puarenga was offered up as a burnt sacrifice by the missionary Aporo after Christianity was accepted by the people. Te Raina, son of Aporo, related that his father examined the heathen idol before destroying it. He said that it was made of breadfruit wood (kuru), which again corroborates the foreign origin of the god, for the breadfruit has only been introduced into both atolls within the last few years. The wood was ornamented with sennit braid lashed in a pattern (whakatiki ki te kaha), inlaid with white shell (tiha), wrapped up in a mat (moenga), and further bound with sennit. It was kept in a special house on the marae. Its destruction constitutes an irreparable loss, for had it been preserved as a missionary trophy of the chase, its island of origin might have been revealed.
Te Uru-renga, the other stolen god, was kept at the Variu marae on Rakahanga, according to Aporo. Neither the god nor the marae was mentioned to me. However, as the god also was acquired by Ngaro-puruhi, it was probably also a Whainga-aitu god.page 207
Hika-hara, referred to by Aporo as Ikaera and Ikaara, was a locally manufactured god. Aporo stated that another god named Ikaera drifted ashore onto the island. What drifted ashore was a log from foreign lands (no hahake). It was cast up on the island of Motu-whakamaru in the southern part of Manihiki. The log was of reddish appearance in the water (muramura i roto i te wai). All drift material is of interest to a people isolated from foreign contact. The Whakaheo ariki went to Motu-whakamaru, viewed the log, and had it brought to Tukou, where he and his tribes lived. The log was laid outside the house of the ariki, and in the ordinary course of events various objects were laid upon it and against it. In the morning the objects were found scattered. The power of repelling objects was attributed to the log and revealed that it had power (mana). In the night the log was observed to show a phosphorescent light (purapura). It was deified by the Whakaheo as his god (kua whakariro hei atua nona). No information was obtainable as to whether the log was shaped and ornamented with sennit to follow the pattern of the stolen ready-made gods. If Aporo subsequently added it as fuel to the fire of his missionary zeal, he gave no detail of its construction.
Two prohibitions were enacted in connection with Hika-hare. First, no fire was to be lighted at night, and the people ate the evening meal in darkness. Second, if the hand was burned while cooking fish, on no account was it to be put in the mouth. Infringements of the two prohibitions were considered sins against the god, who punished the offender in one of two ways. The person who lit a fire felt a pain in his foot as if it had been stamped upon. Thus it was said that the god stamped upon the offender's foot (ka takahi te waewae), the foot swelled up, and death followed. If the hand was put into the mouth, the tongue swelled up and the person died. Thus the two punishments were swelling of the foot or swelling of the tongue, both followed by death.
As the Whakaheo was under the protection of the god, any sin against the Whakaheo was automatically punished by the god. The sin against the Whakaheo was to steal his food. For such an offence, Hika-hara metaphorically stamped upon the offender, who had nothing left to do but to die of a swollen foot.
If the Whakaheo became angry he called up his god (kua whai i tana atua), who sent wind, rain, thunder, and lightning, evidently to demonstrate that the Whakaheo had the tira or power over things celestial, and thus to warn his people not to proceed too far in a direction which angered him.
The statement that the Whakaheo himself went to view the log stranded on Motu-whakamaru indicates that Hika-hara could not have been created until the dual arikiship was in existence. Which one of the line of Whaka- page 208 heo went to Motu-whakamaru was not mentioned, but as Temu-matua, the first Whainga-aitu, was cured of his weak constitution by Hika-hara, the period is located as the 11th generation. The creation of the god was contemporaneous with the creation of his high priest, the priestly Whakaheo.
Hika-hara was located at a marae on Tukou, the Manihiki home of the Whakaheo tribes. Aporo says the name of the marae was Marae-okoroa, but my informants stated that it was called Te Koutu.
The above gods seem to have been the major gods, whose officiating priests were the Whainga-aitu and Whakaheo. They were in authority over the larger groups of two tribes. In addition, there were a number of minor gods that were the property of such smaller groups as subtribes.
It seems necessary to provide a church, temple, or dedicated space of ground where the people may watch the priests perform the ritual to the gods. The gods, the priests, and the people thus come together in their respective relationships to each other. The public religious gathering places were termed maraes in Manihiki and Rakahanga as in the neighboring areas. The maraes were constructed on the islands inhabited by the people, and as the occupied islands were small, the maraes were on the outskirts or actually in the villages of Te Kainga, Tauhunu, and Tukou. The result of this close proximity to villages which continued to be occupied throughout the Christian period was that all the maraes have been utterly demolished. They shared the destruction of the gods. No maraes were built on the other islands, and thus they had no chance of escape as did many of the maraes of Tongareva. The names, however, are remembered, and the sites can still be pointed out by the older men. The names of five maraes are associated with Te Kainga, but accounts from different sources are conflicting. In Manihiki there was one marae at each village.
1. Punariku was said to be the first established marae. It was in existence before the dual arikiship was established but was not built until the people began to increase. When the people split into four tribes, another marae called Huku-wananga was made. According to Pukerua, the Punariku marae was then used by the older tribes of Numatua and Tiangarotonga. The first marae built on Tongareva by the ancestor Mahuta was named Punaruku. The site of this marae was not pointed out to me on Te Kainga.
2. Avarua is on the seaward side of Te Kainga and was said to have been Matangaro's marae. The statement may apply to the Mata-ngaro group as a whole and not to Mata-ngaro, the son of Toa, as the marae was introduced with the stolen gods at a later date. That it belonged to the Mata-ngaro group is substantiated by its situation on their side of the village. The marae later served the Whainga-aitu tribes, Heahiro and Mokopuwai. It was said to have been paved formerly with coral slabs, but no evidence remains.
3. Huku-wananga on the lagoon side of Te Kainga, from its position, must have served the Hukutahu group and thus the Whakaheo tribes, Nu-matua and Tiangaro- page 209 tonga. Pukerua's statement (p. 208) is thus not supported by the site of the marae. No traces of pavement remain.
4. Mua was situated in about the middle of the village of Te Kainga and is still distinguished by a large rounded earthen mound, resembling the turtle ovens of Tongareva. Coral slabs were found lying here and there and were said to have formed part of the pavement of the marae. Mua was a public marae which, from its position, served all four tribes when they united for a common function. Avarua and Huku-wananga were the tribal maraes and Mua, the common national marae.
5. Variu (Whariu?) is the Rakahangan marae stated by Aporo to have been associated with the god Te Uru-renga, and it may possibly have been another name for the Avarua marae.
6. Poututeru, the Whainga-aitu marae at Tauhunu, occupied the site of the present church which supplanted it, and here the god Te Puarenga was established.
7. Te Koutu was the Whakaheo marae at Tukou where Hikatara was established. Aporo gives Hikatara's marae as Marae-okoroa, which may be an alternate name.
Each of the two tribal groups had its own marae in the separate villages on Manihiki, and in their separate divisions in the one village on Rakahanga. In Rakahanga they had, in addition, a common marae, as they lived close together. Undoubtedly, owing to their separation on Manihiki, no common marae was set up there.
Merely from verbal description, it appears that a space was set out and paved to define the marae. There may have been some coral pillars set around the boundaries, but the lack of cut slabs of coral on the neighboring graves indicates that the maraes were not so well made as in Tongareva (29, pp. 148–159). No evidence is forthcoming as to whether raised stone platforms were built to form altars as in Tongareva, but the god-house on the marae was present, according to Aporo.
No priests accompanied the first settlers, and consequently no specialized line of priests came down by descent. Functions of a priestly nature were discharged by the head of the group and probably were concentrated in the single line of ariki chiefs. In the 7th generation the introduction of gods necessitated the creation of a keeper of the gods. This office went to Ura or Patu-kare and probably descended in their line until the 11th generation, when the position passed to the dual ariki. The whakamaru also acted as the media of the minor gods. The acquisition of temporal power by the heads of the tribes certainly took away some of the temporal power from the dual ariki and forced them into the position of a senior priesthood. The establishment of the dual arikiship split the priestly powers exercised by the ariki so that one ariki exercised supernormal power in the air and the other on land and sea. This division of priestly power was symbolized by the words tira and papa.
The special function of the Whakaheo was to bring about good weather during the voyages between the two atolls and to control the wind and page 210 weather not only for voyaging but for fishing. The Whainga-aitu exercised his powers to induce productivity of the land and sea. If in good humor, it was said that he could invoke the sea so that fish came ashore (ka tarotaro i te moana kia haere mai te ika ki uta). On the other hand, if he were angered, he invoked his god so that the sea became rough and no fish or turtle could be procured. Both the Whakaheo and Whainga-aitu suffered from the lack of the hereditary background of scholarship that is the birthright of the established Polynesian priesthood.
Details of ritual are lacking. The ritual must have been influenced not only by the break of transmission in priestly ritual but also by the general poverty of the cultural and material environment. There was a lack of textiles with which to manufacture vestments and the poor range of foods restricted the choice and lavishing of offerings.
The general ritual (whai) took place on the marae. Individual incantations were termed tarotaro. When the Whakaheo or Whainga-aitu went to the marae, he was accompanied by the whakamaru of his tribe and subtribe, who acted as assistants. Food and fish were taken to the marae and after the ritual in which it was offered to the god, the food was divided among the people.
The following brief incantation was recited by the Whainga-aitu on such occasions, and the whakamaru joined in the refrain, “ua!”:
Taimaha i te popongi,
Koi mua ana ia.
Taimaha i te awatea,
Koi mua ana ia.
Taimaha i te ahiahi,
Koi mua ana ia.
Food in the morning,
First is He.
Food in the daytime,
First is He.
Food in the evening,
First is He.
“First is He” refers to the god. The god having thus been exalted, the material food could be distributed to the people. The ceremony was equivalent to a petition for blessing on the food.
It was generally held that the tukuwhare (subtribes) had gods of their own in addition to those controlled by the priestly ariki. Much confusion, however, has been caused by the attitude of different families to certain foods page 211 which are prohibited. Thus the members of one family group or subtribe will not eat crayfish because, if they do, they break out in a rash or hard lumps, the abdomen swells up, and they become exceedingly ill. Another family group will not eat the koveu or tupa land crabs. Some prohibited the use of certain fish, such as the taeha, hue, hakura (sawfish), mango (shark), and patuki-whara-kawa, and also the honu (turtle). Others will not touch certain birds, as, for example, the kotaha (frigate bird) and tawake (Phaeton rubricauda). These foods are arai (to prohibit). The eating of the arai is supposed to bring on illness, generally urticarial skin rashes and digestive troubles. In native psychology there is no distinction in principle between such manifestations of illness and those of swelling of the feet or tongue caused by breaking the prohibitions associated with the major god, Hikahara. The symptoms of illness are not associated in the mind with such natural causes as indiscretions of diet but with some supernormal agency which is offended. Punishment follows, as revealed by a form of illness which may result in death. The term atua, usually applied to definite established gods, is also applied to anything malign or disagreeable. Thus, when a Rakahangan refers to the koura (crayfish) as his arai, we know that it is prohibited in his family, as it will cause urticaria and digestive troubles if eaten. When, however, he states that the koura is his atua, we are not sure whether he regards it merely as being disagreeable and malign as far as he is concerned or whether he actually regards it as a family god. Both views seem to be held.
Tupou-rahi stated that the family atua (gods) were fish, birds, or crabs. His own was the hue fish. Such gods had material forms in wood or stone, which might be shaped to represent them. These were wrapped in matting, tied up, and perhaps kept in a basket. They were kept in a fenced-off place near the dwelling house of the guardian, the whakamaru. Tupou-rahi seemed to imply that the term whakamaru applied to the heads of family groups who had charge of the family gods. The title would thus apply to the heads of subtribes, but some informants restricted it to the heads of tribes. When the people moved from one atoll to the other, the whakamaru had charge of the basket containing the god. On arrival at the other atoll, the gods were deposited in small inclosures, not maraes, which were tapu, so that no one went near them except the whakamaru. Another informant, Araipu, said that such minor gods as the kotaha (frigate bird) were tukuwhare (subtribe) gods. They had material representations which were kept on the loft (pahata) of special houses. It was on the loft of these special houses that the body of a chief was placed after death.
The whakamaru (guardians) consulted the gods before any family enterprise, such as fishing or sea voyages. He recited the appropriate incanta- page 212 tion (tarotaro) in order that success (manuia) might crown the undertaking. If success did not follow, it was held that the ritual had not been correctly conducted (kua he te tarotaro) or that something else was wrong.
This mechanism indicates clearly that there were family gods, definitely treated as such. The weak part in the system is that the gods had no definite personal names but were alluded to by the general name of their species. Some informants maintained that the prohibited foods were not treated or worshiped as gods but merely regarded as arai.
The prohibited foods, if regarded as gods by the affected families, were not so regarded by the others. Family groups could eat all prohibited foods except their own arai and in doing so gave no offence. A patient, Metutera, whom I treated on Rakahanga, had the crayfish as his family arai. A party of us was going out in the evening torching for crayfish. Metutera informed me that were it not for his illness he would accompany me to give me good luck. Crayfish, he said, were attracted to him and though he would not kill them himself he was quite willing to attract them toward me in order that I might spear them. Some of the older men supported Metutera's statement about the attraction he influenced over crayfish, saying that they had seen it demonstrated. Metutera could not eat crayfish without developing an urticarial rash and gastric disturbance. He was a member of the church and had no religious attitude toward the family arai. He maintained the family prohibition because he had suffered from breaking it in the past. His present illness he attributed to inadvertence. Another family had cooked a crayfish in an earth oven with other food. He was offered some of the other food, and not knowing that a crayfish had been cooked in the same oven, he partook of it. Afterwards he broke out in a rash and hard lumps formed under the skin on his back. When I saw him, the skin had sloughed off and formed an ulcer about 5 inches across. He probably had had a carbuncle, but the coincidence of eating the tainted food with the development of the urticaria had convinced him as to cause and effect. However, the ulcer cleared up and he was on the way to recovery when I left. His attitude toward crayfish in general was not that of a person with superstitious fear of a family god but that of a normal person who realizes that he cannot eat a particular food without suffering for it. On the other hand, he derived satisfaction from the idea that there was some mystical bond between crayfish and himself which attracted them to him.
A traditional origin is given to some of the prohibitions. The crayfish prohibition is attributed to an incident in the voyage of Tuahu and Waikohu to some distant island said to be Hawaiki. Off Hawaiki, Tuahu dropped anchor outside the reef, and Waikohu swam ashore to explore. Waikohu saw a coconut tree, climbed it, and dropped a nut to the ground. An old page 213 blind woman, guardian of the tree, heard the thud of the nut striking the ground and came to the foot of the tree just as Waikohu was descending. Feeling about the trunk for the thief, her hands encountered the descending legs, which she immediately seized. She raised an alarm; her stalwart sons appeared. Waikohu was taken prisoner and his arms were bound. Meanwhile Tuahu, tired of waiting, proceeded to pull up the anchor. This he was unable to do, as the crayfish had massed at the bottom of the sea and jammed the stone anchor in a cleft of the rock so that he could not raise it. Thereupon, Tuahu decided to wait longer. The blind woman's sons, under her direction, lighted a fire to cook Waikohu. Waikohu succeeded in loosening his arms, and as he was thrown onto the fire he called, “Whakahinga!” (to cause to fall). The magic word caused a smoke screen to arise and fall between him and his captors. Under cover of the smoke screen, Waikohu escaped to the reef, plunged off, and swam out to the canoe. The crayfish, evidently realizing that Waikohu had returned, freed the anchor so that when Tuahu again hauled on the rope, the anchor came up readily. The timely action of the crayfish, by delaying the canoe, thus saved Waikohu's life. In gratitude, Waikohu prohibited himself and his family ever to eat crayfish. Thus the crayfish became an arai in the family descended from Waikohu. Unfortunately, I did not get Waikohu placed in a pedigree and cannot locate the alleged origin in its chronological position.
Another tradition concerns the tavake (tropic bird). Ngaro-tara-maunga, in an adventurous spirit, decided to sail across some whirlpool known as the rua tai koko. It was far distant, so he told his family that he would send a messenger back. Some time after Ngaro-tara-maunga had gone, a tropic bird alighted near the house of the family. The bird made no attempt to fly away when approached. It was caught and put in the oven for cooking. When the oven was opened the bird was uncooked, so the oven was covered over again. A second time the bird was uncooked, but at the third uncovering of the oven the bird was not only uncooked but so much alive that it flew away. It was then realized that the bird was the expected messenger from Ngaro-tara-maunga who had lost his life in the whirling waters of the rua tai koko. Perhaps from the failure to cook it, the tavake was prohibited as a food to the descendants of Ngaro-tara-maunga.
A short song commemorates the unsuccessful culinary operations:
Taku manu kua umu tahitia,
Rua raki e he rire,
Rua raki e he rire to,
Taku manu he ri to.
Taku manu kua umuruatia
He rua rakie he ri to.
My bird has been cooked once,
My bird has been cooked twice,
Taku manu kua umu teru tia,
Taku manu kua rere, kua ngaro,
He rua raki e he ri to.
Taku manu kua rere.
My bird has been cooked thrice,
My bird has flown, is lost.
My bird has flown.
The words, though simple, are pleasing in the native language and they record a historical incident, though the song has a mythical ending.
Most of the prohibited foods were associated with families, and I could get my informants to connect none of them except the turtle and the frigate bird with definite subtribes. The turtle (honu) was said to have been the arai of the Taupo subtribe of the Numatua tribe. The frigate bird (kotaha) was said to have been the arai of the whole Numatua tribe, but later, as the people increased, it became restricted to the Pu-tauhunu subtribe.
The presence of zoological gods with their prohibition as food naturally suggests totemism. However, in no instance is the prohibited food in its personified form regarded as having anything to do with the origin of the family which avoided it as food. All the families and subtribes had their normal origin from human ancestors, and the creation of material gods and the use of ritual in connection with them seems to be a late development. It is tempting to assume, from the nature of the symptoms associated with breaking the prohibitions, that the system had its origin in unpleasant experiences and reactions toward particular foods. Many people of other races cannot eat crayfish, lobster, crabs, or shellfish without digestive disturbances and the production of an urticarial rash. Some Rakahangan ancestor suffered in this way on eating crayfish and it became his atua in the sense of being disagreeable materially and malign through failure to appreciate natural causes of disease. The ancestor, therefore, tapued the food and ceased to collect it in his fishing operations within the lagoon. As it disappeared from his family menu, it also became tapu to his children. One can imagine the children asking the father why they did not have crayfish, like other families, and the father describing in detail all the symptoms that occurred on eating crayfish. He had to excuse what might have been regarded as a lack of skill by impressing upon his family the real cause for the absence of crayfish from the family diet. In this manner, he passed the prohibition on to his children. In Polynesian psychology there is a dual reaction that is extremely common and of great significance for an understanding of the attitude toward institutions. The very fact that a person suffers through eating crayfish indicates clearly that there is some supernormal influence that takes particular notice of him and selects him, so to speak, from his fellow men. His self-esteem is flattered. It is the common people of no account of whom the unseen powers take no notice. The inconvenience of a personal tapu is page 215 balanced by the satisfaction the individual experiences from being important enough to have a tapu. The satisfaction of the individual is shared by the family. The tapu becomes a family tapu, and in time a subtribal tapu. The crayfish that caused inconvenience to a single ancestor thus in the course of time becomes a subtribal arai. It may be that the idiosyncrasy toward the particular food reappears from time to time as manifested in the authentic case of Metutera, but with the mass of the subtribe the factor that keeps the prohibition from being broken is not so much fear of consequences as the pride in having a peculiar tapu. I know personally that men would be extremely disappointed if unpleasant symptoms did not arise after eating the arai. They desire so much that the power of the arai should continue that on some occasions symptoms are exaggerated and may even be falsified. The lack of reaction to the breaking of a tapu diminishes the status and self-esteem of the individual, and he would rather conceal the fact that the god had taken no notice of him than to blazon forth his own inferiority.
It is well known that around certain atoll islands certain fish are poisonous at certain seasons. An urticarial rash and gastric trouble are among the common symptoms of fish poisoning. Thus, besides an individual idiosyncrasy in regard to crayfish and crabs, disasters from the eating of poisonous fish provided the origin for fish tapus. These again were associated with certain families and spread to subtribes. Some of the present older inhabitants assured me that they had eaten their arai without ill effect, but this they attributed to the breaking down of the power of the old institutions through Christianity. On the other hand, I have been somewhat suspicious of the veracity of some who informed me that they could not eat their arai without suffering the classical symptoms. Little doubt can be entertained that in the original cultural background the person who broke a prohibition would suffer psychologically, but apart from an idiosyncrasy or a poisonous fish, the question of how far such psychological guilt would result in physical symptoms is a matter for conjecture.
That similar prohibited foods exist in Tongareva shows a similar physical reaction to similar causes. However, in the far-away high islands of Hawaii similar food prohibitions exist among families, and their supernatural association is believed in.
The missionary Aporo (13, pp. 150–151) states:
Another species of gods were stones; they would place them in their girdles when going out to sea or war, or when they slept. Another custom they had of making a god of a dead man. They used to take the head, teeth, nails, bones, and hair, after death. The bones of the ariki were given to the warriors, and his family…. Another god they had was Matariki (the Pleiades) which they worshipped, and another was the pukatea leaf, the paiku and the nikau (palm), and the oil of the coconut.