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Medicine Amongst the Maoris, in Ancient and Modern Times

Appendix to Part I

page 80

Appendix to Part I.

The first part of this thesis would not be complete unless brief mention were made of two other divisions of supernatural beings.

  • (1).Kehua or Kikokiko.

    These are disembodied spirits. They are the spirits of dead persons who have not yet gone to the Underworld. They are especially liable to be met with at night after a death. They frighten people who meet them but they do not cause disease. A piece of cooked food or in modern times a lighted pipe or cigarette is supposed to keep them from molesting the traveller.

  • (2). Taniwha.

    A taniwha is a fabulous monster who corresponds to the dragons of other races. They take the form usually of whales or fish such as sharks, skates or eels. Another form living on the land were of the reptile order and many stories are extant of the slaying of huge reptiles. These stories are usually regarded as a localisation of the larger reptilian seen by the race when they lived in the East.

    Some of these taniwnas were the embodiment of the spirits of ancestors. They obeyed the chief or priest of the family with which they were connected by pedigree. They punished any violation of the tapu of their human protege over whom they had a protective influence. This punishment was generally by drowning when the offending person came near a river, stream or sea. They generally abstracted an eye to snow that it was a taniwna which had wrought the punishment. In rarer instances such as that of Puni, of whom mention has been made, they could enter the body of the transgressor as a disease demon.