The Coming of the Maori
1 — The Family and the Tribe
The Family and the Tribe
The first settlers of new zealand, who earned the nameof tangata whenua(people of the land) by priority of occupation, consisted primarily of the three groups formed by the crews of three canoes. As these crews expanded into larger family groups, they received distinctive names formed of the term Tini (Myriad) prefixed to the names of the original canoe commanders with the possessive particle o connecting them; Tini o Maruiwi (Myriad of Maruiwi), Tini o Ruatamore, and Tini o Taitawaro. A fourth group which split off from one of the crews, was named the Tini o Pananehu after one of the original voyagers. As the family group expanded and spread, they came to occupy the area now comprised of the provincial districts of Taranaki, Auckland, and Hawkes Bay. During this period, the increasing population split into later subdivisions which assumed or were given distinctive names.
The arrival of two voyaging canoes under Toi and Whatonga introduced new blood, and the crewmen took wives from the numerous population already established. Though quarrels took place and some groups may have suffered severe casualties, the process of intermixture took place and the tales of the annihilation of the tangata whenua have been grossly exaggerated. The mixed groups developed around Whakatane, where Toi had taken up his residence, and those more closely associated with him were named the Tini o Awa, after Awanuiarangi, a grandson of Toi. The groups of mixed descent were also alluded to under the more general term of the Tini o Toi. Whatonga moved south and his descendants occupied the Wellington provincial district, those occupying the area around Wellington Harbour assuming the group name of Ngaitara, after a son of Whatonga named Tara. In spite of intermixture, the majority of the people were descended from the original tangata whenua, or first settlers. In the following list given by Te Matorobanga (81, p. 76) the tribal groups were mostly if not wholly composed of tangata whenua. I page 333have omitted the tribal prefix of Ngati, which, though used by Te Matorohanga, was probably a later development.
The third influx of settlers, in 1350, was more numerous than the second and the crews of the various voyaging canoes settled in different parts of both the east and west coasts of the North Island. The parts occupied by the third settlers have been referred to with each canoe under the heading of "Canoe settlement" (pp. 51 ff.). As the later settlers expanded, they came into contact with the various tribes which had preceded them. In spite of inevitable conflicts, intermixture took place; and in the course of time, the earlier settlers were absorbed into the new tribal groups which developed. The Maori tribes which were in existence at the time of European contact were composed of mixed blood derived from all three waves of settlers in varying degrees.
The Formation of the Tribe
The smallest social unit is the biological family, which the Maori termed whanau, derived from whanau, to give birth. With each generation, the number of families increased and reached such numbers that the restricted term of whanau could no longer be applied to the group. The term hapu (pregnancy) was used to denote this expanded family group for it expressed the idea of birth from common ancestors and thus stressed the blood tie which united the families for the purpose of co-operation in active operations and in defence. If all went well, the hapu expanded still further in succeeding generations making it necessary for groups to separate from the original settlement and take up land in neighbouring localities. Thus the original hapu expanded into a number of hapu, but, as numbers were important in the frequent wars which took place, the hapu still recognized their common blood descent and united when occasion arose. The term iwi (bone) was brought into current use to include all the hapu descended from common ancestors and thus related to each other by a blood tie. To denote the groupings in English, the iwi has been termed tribe and the hapu a sub-tribe.page 334
Some sub-tribes remained restricted in numbers or even disappeared through ill fortune in war and other sub-tribes expanded so much that they assumed the status of a tribe and split into sub-tribes. Hence, the descendants of an original pair of ancestors became, in time, grouped into a number of tribes, each with its own sub-tribes. The connecting tie between sub-tribes was close and strong, and, though quarrels broke out between them, they were always ready to combine under tribal leadership for co-operation in tribal affairs. The tie between tribes descended from common ancestors was not so strong but it was recognized and served to bind them together loosely in a form of tribal federation. Such tribes often fought bitter wars between themselves but would unite against outside tribes for common defence or aggression. A similar sentiment would often unite tribes whose ancestors belonged to different families but who came in the same voyaging canoe. The claim for co-operation was the waka, or ancestral canoe, and an eloquent orator could arouse sentiment to the point of action.
The Naming of Family Groups
Mention has been made that the expanded family groups of the first settlers were named after ancestors with the prefix Tini as in the Tini o Maruiwi. Later groupings received descriptive names without a prefix as in the Purukupenga and Waiohua. Later again the prefix Kahui was used as in the Kahui-maunga.
The terminology used in the third settlement period consisted usually of a prefix applied to the name of the ancestor from whom the group traced their descent. The prefixes varied with Ati, Nga, Ngai, and Ngati. The tribal prefix Ati occurred in Tahiti in early times but appears to have been dropped in more recent times. It occurs in Maori legends relating to Hawaiki, such as in the story of the Atihapai, but it was also dropped in New Zealand apparently in favour of the Nga variations. It survives in Taranaki in the name of the Atiawa tribe. The other prefixes are variations of the plural demonstrative adjective nga and carry the meaning of the descendants of the ancestor indicated by the prefix. Of the three forms, Ngati is by far the most used, and the others seem to have been used for euphony. Thus we have Ngati Porou, Ngaitahu, and Ngapuhi. In most tribal names, the eponymous ancestor is a male but instances occur in which the ancestor selected is a female, as in the Ngati Ruanui of Taranaki.
Some tribes have kept the biological family term of whanau as a designation for the tribal group as in the Whanau a Apanui of the Bay of Plenty. Others have used the term aitanga, the noun formed from the verb ai (to produce, to copulate) as in the Aitanga a Hauiti of the east coast. Both Whanau and Aitanga, associated with an ancestral name, stress the blood tie of birth descent from that ancestor.page 335
A number of tribes adopted the ancestral name without any prefix, as in Tuhourangi of Rotorua, Rongowhakaata of Poverty Bay, Manukorihi of Waitara, and Tuhoe of the Urewera district. Others again have adopted a name from a historical event, as the Aupouri (au, smoke; pouri, dark) of North Auckland, whose ancestors vacated their beseiged fort in the Whangape district under a smoke screen created by burning bracken fern. Such a name may have been accepted to avoid conflict in selecting a chiefly name from among a number whose descendants felt they had equal rights to the honour. The name of the Rarawa tribe of North Auckland is held to have been derived from the action of an ancestor in eating the flesh of an exhumed enemy (kai rarawa) in order to heap disgrace on the enemy line. In recent times, a direct descendant of the Rarawa ancestor referred to some other chiefs as not belonging to the Rarawa tribe because they were not descended from the particular ancestor whose action gave rise to the name. The other chiefs immediately selected one of their own ancestors, named Kahu, as an eponymous ancestor and declared tiemselves independent of the Rarawa as the newly organized tribe of Ngati Kahu.
The first family group which expanded in a certain locality adopted a group name from a common ancestor, usually the first leader of the group. When the locality became overcrowded, it was usually a junior family which moved out under their own leader. The moving family would be referred to as the whanau, or family, of that leader. When it expanded into a sub-tribe, the whanau name became a hapu name. A similar process occurred in the development of other sub-tribes. The senior group, which remained in the first locality settled, had no need to adopt a new name for it retained the group name from the original first leader. Thus, though the first group name became a tribal name, it also denoted the senior sub-tribe which remained at the original headquarters of the tribe. The Ngati Awa tribe of the Bay of Plenty has a number of sub-tribes, but the group residing at the original landing place of Whakatane also retained Ngati Awa as a group name.
Life flowed on; new tribes developed, and old names were dropped. Turi, the commander of the Aotea, belonged to the Ngati Rongotea tribe in Hawaiki but in New Zealand, his descendants through his daughter Ruanui adopted her name in the tribal name of Ngati Ruanui but his descendants through his eldest son Turangaimua assumed the tribal name of Ngarauru from one of Turi's ancestors. The people inhabiting the thermal district of Rotorua were known originally as Ngaohomata-kamokamo, but that name was abandoned after the development of the present tribes. My own family group is descended from a tribe known as Ngati Kahukura; but when the descendants of Mutunga increased in numbers, they adopted the name of Ngati Mutunga and dropped the page 336earlier name of Ngati Kahukura. The birth of new names and the death of old ones were a natural result of changes in population.
Though sentiment served as a link between tribes whose ancestors came in the same voyaging canoe, there is only one instance in which the canoe name was actually used in current speech as a term to include a number of tribes. This, however, occurred in post-European times during the period when Sir George Grey was Governor of New Zealand. When Sir George was collecting information concerning Maori legendary history, his informants of the Ngati Whakaue tribe of Ohinemutu very naturally stressed the importance of their own tribe in the history relating to the Arawa canoe. The neighbouring tribes of Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Uenukukopako, Tuhourangi, Ngati Pikiao, and others who were all descended from tile crew of the Arawa felt that they were being left out of the historical record and being submerged under the name of Ngati Whakaue. To obviate the dissatisfaction, a general name to include the tribes on equal terms was sought and the canoe name, Te Arawa, adopted. Thus Te Arawa is a federation of the tribes extending from Lake Rotorua to Maketu on the coast and claiming descent from members of the crew of the Arawa. The descendants of Ngatoroirangi, the priest of the Arawa, are merged in the Ngati Tuwharetoa of Lake Taupo, which is independent of the Arawa federation.
A number of related tribes have been grouped together under a territorial term, as it saves enumerating a number of tribal names some of which are little known to outside tribes. Such are the Waikato and Whanganui tribes which inhabit the valleys of these rivers. The Whanganui tribes refer to themselves under the embracing name of Te Atihau o Paparangi. Another tribe has the name of Taranaki, which was also applied to Mount Egmont, which is in their territory. The name was afterwards applied by the European settlers to the provincial district of Taranaki.
Some tribes have attributed their descent to two canoes and the origin of some tribes is doubtful. In the intertribal wars which took place after the introduction of firearms, some tribes moved out of their original territory and occupied new areas. The Ngati Toa under Te Rauparaha vacated Kawhia and enlisted the aid of the Atiawa and Ngati Raukawa tribes in conquering territory in the Wellington district The Ngati Raukawa occupied land at Otaki and Horowhenua, the Atiawa at Waikanae and the present city of Wellington and Petone, and the Ngati Toa at Porirua. These tribes also crossed to the South Island and conquered territory in the Marlborough and Nelson districts. The Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama tribes of the Atiawa confederation also crossed to Chatham Island and dispossessed the Moriori inhabitants.page 337
The following list gives the main tribes claiming descent from the historic canoes, and the districts they occupy.
Principal Maori Tribes
|Tainui||Waikato tribes, Ngari Haua, Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa, Ngaitai (Bay of Plenty)||Waikato, King Country, Hauraki, Coromandel, Cambridge, Kawhia|
|Tokomaru||Ngati Tama, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Rahiri, Manukorihi, Puketapu, Atiawa, Ngati Maru||North and Central Taranaki|
|Kurahaupo||Taranaki, Atihau (Whanganui), Ngati Apa, Rangitane, Muaupoko; Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa||Taranaki, Whanganui Manawatu, Rangitikei, Horowhenua, North Auckland|
|Aotea||Ngati Ruanui, Ngarauru Atihau||South Taranaki Whanganui|
|Te Arawa||Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Whakaue, Tuhourangi, Ngati Tuwharetoa||Maketu, Matata, Rotorua, Taupo|
|Matatua||Ngati Awa, Tuhoe, Whakatohea Whanau a Apanui||Whakatane, Urewera, Bay of Plenty|
|Takilimu||Rongowhakaata, Ngati Kahungunu Ngaitahu||Poverty Bay, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, South Island|
|Horouta||Ngati Porou||East Coast of North Island|
|Mamari||Ngapuhi, Rarawa, Aupouri||North Auckland|
|Mahuhu||Ngati Whatua||Kaipara; Auckland|
The Maori regarded their people as falling into two main classes. Those of chiefly rank were termed rangatira; and those who were not, were regarded as ware or tutua. Though the two classes correspond to what in western culture would be termed the aristocracy and the commoners, the terms ware and tutua carry a more depreciatory meaning than the English word commoner. It is somewhat difficult to understand the origin of the tutua class, since all the members of the sub-tribe or tribe were descended from common chiefly ancestors and they were more or less related to the chiefly families of their period. However, it must be taken into account that though the Maori carried out many communal activities and shared the products of their labour to some extent, their social system was by no means democratic. Rank and leadership went by primogeniture in senior families, and purity of descent was jealously guarded by selection in page 338marriage. Therefore, the most feasible explanation of the origin of the tutua class is that the descendants of junior families who intermarried with other junior families got farmer and farther away from the prospects of exercising chieftainship over family groups and thus passed automatically out of the rangatira class. A member of a junior family could be raised in social status by being taken in marriage by a member of the senior branch. Apart from this limited opportunity, the only means by which a junior family could prevent its descendants from passing into the tutua class was by moving out to form the nucleus of a new sub-tribe or by migrating to a new land where the process of tribal development would commence all over again. However, the Maori of to-day have become merged in an introduced democracy, in which all are rangatira and the tutua class has strangely disappeared.
The priests, or tohunga, who exercised religious duties, were members of a profession and cannot be regarded as forming a definite grade in society. They were probably all of the rangatira class; and high chiefs, because of their seniority of birth, often conducted religious ritual. Skilled craftsmen were also termed tohunga, which has the basic meaning of expert. The term tohunga was qualified to distinguish the craft, as tohunga tarai waka (expert in building canoes), tohunga ta moko (tattooing expert), and tohunga whakairo (carving expert). The military did not constitute a distinct class, for they were drawn from the entire male population and only served when the occasion arose. Those who had distinguished themselves in battle were termed toa and were usually of the rangatira class, for ruling chiefs had to lead in war as well as in peace. Experts trained the young men in the use of weapons as part of their general education. Chiefs were usually attended by adherents of humble birth who discharged the necessary menial duties, and such servants were termed pononga.
People of both sexes who were captured in military campaigns were often spared to perform menial work. In fact, their capture was deliberately undertaken at times as a solution to the labour problem. They were treated as slaves, termed taurekareka, and did not enter into the social grades of the tribe.
All members of a Maori tribe are related to each other by blood descent, and the record of a common tie is preserved in the family genealogies which form oral registers of the births and marriages extending back to the common ancestors of the tribe. The kinship terms in use are capable of expressing the relationship between any two members of the tribe and any doubt is settled by a recital of the lineages of the persons concerned.page 339
In the biological family, the kinship terms cover the two preceding generations of parents and grandparents, the generation of the person concerned, and the two succeeding generations of children and grandchildren. In a genealogical count, if we place the generation of the individual concerned as zero (0), his parents are one shorter (–1) and his grandparents are two shorter (–2) whereas his children are one longer (+1) and his grandchildren two longer (+2). In the following list, the kinship terms are placed in the five generation strata described above, for it forms the key by which the relationship between any two members of a tribe may be established.
|Generations||English Terms||Maori Terms||Maori Collaterals|
|– 2||Grandparents||Tipuna, tupuna|
|Grandfather||Tipuna tone||= Grand uncle|
|Grandmother||Tipuna wahine||= Grand aunt|
|Father||Matua tane||= Uncle|
|Mother||Whaea, whaene||= Aunt|
|0||Elder brothers of male||Tuakana||= Cousins|
|Elder sisters of female||Tuakana|
|Younger brothers of male||Teina, taina|
|Younger sisters of female||Teina, taina|
|Brother of female||Tungane|
|Sister of male||Tuahine|
|+ I||Children||Tamaiti (s), tamariki (pl.)||Tamaiti keke Iramutu nephews and nieces|
|Grandson||Mokopuna tone||= Grand nephew|
|Granddaughter||Mokopuna wahine||= Grand niece|
A greater number of terms is given by Best (16, vol. 1, p. 362), but the above are those in common use.
In the grandparent's and grandchildren's generations, the terms tupuna and mokopuna are of common gender and, as there are no special terms to denote sex, the qualifying words of tane (male) and wahine (female) are added to indicate gender. Thus the grandfather is a tipuna tane or male grandparent and the grandmother is a tipuna wahine or female page 340grandparent Similarly, the grandson is a mokppuna tane and the granddaughter is a mokopuna wahine. The qualifying term tane is added to matua (parent) to denote the father or male parent. The female parent is matua wahine, but the specific terms whaea, whaene, and koka have been evolved also to denote the mother relationship. The fact that three terms are used by different tribes indicates that a specific term for mother is not very ancient. In the children's +1 generation, the term tama for child is widely spread through Polynesia, but it has been qualified by terms which have fused into single words. Thus tamaiti, which is singular for child, is composed of tama iti (little child) and the plural is tamariki, a euphonious shortening of tama ririki (little children). Probably iti and riki (ririki), meaning "little ones" was used originally as forms of endearment, but the terms now have a wider meaning. In Mangareva, the term teiti (te iti, the little one) is used for child and in Hawaii, the dialectal form of keiki is used similarly. To denote sex, the qualifying terms of tane and wahineare also used, as in tama tane (male child) and tama wahine (female child). However, daughter has received the specific term of tamahine, in which tama is qualified by hine. Though hine may originally have been a shortening of wahine, it is now an independent word meaning "girl" or "young unmarried woman". Thus, daughter having received a specific term, the term tama was free to be used for son without causing any ambiguity, though tamaroa was also used. However, tama came to mean first-born son and tamaroa was applied to the other sons.
In the four generations already dealt with, the kinship terms denote the place in lineal descent and, when required, the sex. In the zero generation of brothers and sisters, a new element was introduced by the framing of terms to denote the succession of birth in the one family. This is indicated by the terms tuakana (senior) and teina (junior) but they can be applied only to members of the same sex. To sum up briefly, a male is tuakana to all his younger brothers and teina to all his older brothers. Thus the first-born son (matamua) is tuakana to all his brothers and teina to no one. Similarly, the last-born son (whakapakanga, potiki) is teina to all his brothers and, as he is last, is not tuakana to anyone. The intermediate brothers have and are both tuakana and teina. If there are any daughters in the family, they follow the same principle, being tuakana to all their younger sisters and teina to their older sisters.
As the terms tuakana and teina cannot be used between brothers and sisters, their relationship is expressed by a different set of terms. A male terms his sister tuahine and a female terms her brother tungane. Thus tuahine and tungane are cross terms indicating sex. The system is simple but it was of vital importance in succession to rank and in prestige.
The kinship terms listed in the table cover five generations which is sufficient for all practical purposes. Great grandparents and others farther page 341back are included under the general term of tipuna, which includes all ancestors. Similarly, great grandchildren and their children are included under the general term tnokopuna. However, great grandparents and great grandchildren may be designated by adding the term tuarua, as in tipuna tuarua (grandparent to the second degree) and mokopuna tuarua (grandchild to the second degree). Further detail is expressed by reciting the immediate lineage and ticking off the generations with the fingers.
The kinship terms used for collaterals—such as grand uncles and grand aunts, uncles and aunts, and cousins—are the same as in the similar generation levels in direct lineal descent. For uncles and aunts, however, the term matua may be qualified by the term keke which means in a different line of descent to that of father and son. The line of descent from the uncle or aunt (matua keke) will result in a nephew or niece who may also be distinguished by the term keke as a tamaiti keke. Nephews and nieces have also received the specific term of iramutu. The terms matua keke, tamaiti keke, and iramutu are of common gender, and sex can be indicated by using the qualifying terms of tane and wahine. However, in discussing relationship, the persons interested are using personal names and the sex of the person mentioned is usually known. Thus it is rarely necessary to use cumbersome combinations except to explain matters to students belonging to another culture.
In the cousin relationship, the terms tuakana and teina are also used; but, as in lineal descent, they are confined to persons of the same sex. The prestige of the tuakana is inherited, for the cousin whose father was tuakana or senior in birth to the father of the other cousin remains tuakana and his cousin remains teina. It follows that all the sons of a tuakana brother remain tuakana to all the sons of a teina brother, hence relationship is perpetuated through succeeding generations for this particular lineage. Thus the tuakana and teina relationship which commenced with the individuals of one family is carried on as a family group relationship. Some individual members of a teina family may be older in years than some members of a tuakana family but that does not alter the relationship. Hence it is preferable to refer to the relationship as senior and junior rather than as older and younger.
A similar use of the tuakana and teina terms applies to female cousins. The cross terms denoting sex, as tungane and tuahine, apply to cousins in the same way as between brother and sister.
The question of the relationship between individuals far removed is easily decided by the lineages of the two concerned and the five-generation key of kinship terms in the table. Each person in turn recites his lineage from the nearest common ancestor's family, at the same time counting the number of generations down to himself. The two totals are then subtracted and the difference in number decides the kinship terms they may page 342use towards each other. For example, if the difference is two generations, the person who is two generations shorter is in the –2 generation stratum and is thus tipuna to the other. The other, who is correspondingly two generations longer, is in the +2 generation and thus is mokopuna to the first. Similarly, if the difference is one generation, the person who is one generation shorter (–1) is matuaand the other, one generation longer (+1), is tamaiti. When the number of generations is equal (0), they are in the cousin stratum which uses the terms tuakana and teina. However, in their recital from the first common family, they have already made known which of their ancestors was senior to the other. And, as this seniority is inherited, the question of who is tuakana and who is teina has been already decided. If the difference is more than two generations, the terms tipuna and mokopuna are still used. Even when the two lineages are not equal, the family claim to the tuakana seniority is considered of more importance than the other kinship terms. Though one may be mokopuna to the other on the lineage count, he may also be tuakana from family descent. He is thus both mokopuna and tuakana to the other. If this double relationship is translated into the most literal English, he occupies the unique position of being both grandfather and elder brother to the same person. This absurdity shows the danger of identifying terms in another culture with the nearest English equivalent and treating them as synonyms.
The double relationship is recognized and honoured by the term karanga-rua, which means two relationships. In the course of several generations various complications may arise from later marriages. Thus, if members of senior and junior families married two sisters, the classification would undergo change if the senior male married the junior sister. His children would remain tuakana on their father's side but become teina on their mother's side. Though the father's line was usually the more important, it sometimes happened that the mother's line was more aristocratic and powerful. In such an instance, the junior family on their father's side would naturally stress their acquired seniority in their mother's family line. In the double relationships, the family claim to seniority was more important than the individual relationship derived from a lineage count. Thus, through all the ramifications of lineage, seniority carried the greatest prestige.
The use of similar kinship terms for close relatives and distant relatives had a valuable psychological effect in Maori society. When I was told that an aged visitor whom I had never seen before was a tipuna to me, my heart warmed towards him. I placed him in the same category as my other tipuna who resided in the same village and had lavished affection upon me. He was a member of the family. I believe that the kinship terms meant more to the Maori than such terms meant to Europeans. The use page 343of the Maori kinship terms helped to keep alive the fact that all members of the tribe belonged to the same family, and the stressing of the blood tie made them stick together through fair and foul weather.
Rank and Leadership
Leadership in home and foreign affairs was exercised by males, and primogeniture in the male line was the deciding factor in succession to chiefly rank. The numerous tribal genealogies record chiefly descent from the leaders of the crews of the voyaging canoes which landed in this country. Though some of the canoe leaders may have been minor chiefs in their homeland, their position at the head of the local lineages gave them a rank and prestige which may have been partly due to the later successful achievements of their descendants. Among the rangatira class, which comprised the aristocracy, extreme deference was paid to the seniority involved in tuakana birth. The first-born son (matamua) of a chiefly first settler succeeded his father in rank and power and he was tuakana not only to his brothers but also to the families of his father's younger brothers. His first son, in turn, inherited his rank and seniority with regard to the families of his generation. All going well, this seniority and chieftainship was transmitted through succeeding generations, and when tribes and sub-tribes were developed, the senior son of the senior family exercised authority over a large number of people. The senior chief was a rangatira, but his position of seniority to all others received the special term of ariki.
The term ariki is widely spread throughout Polynesia, but the meaning of the term has undergone change in some groups. Thus in Hawaii and Samoa, [unclear: ali'i] (dialectal form of ariki) has come to include lesser chiefs and the term has acquired a diminished value equivalent to that of the Maori rangatira. Hence in those islands, qualifying terms were used or new terms were coined to distinguish the higher ranking [unclear: ali'i] from the lesser [unclear: ali'i]. In Hawaii, the highest ranking [unclear: ali'i], who were equivalent to the Maori ariki, were termed [unclear: ali'i nui] and [unclear: ali'i aimoku]; and the lesser chiefs, who would correspond to the Maori rangatira, were graded into [unclear: ali'i] with various descriptive adjectives. In Samoa, special titles were created, titular terms coined for the high-ranking senior positions, and [unclear: ali'i] became a general term corresponding to the Maori rangatira.
In central Polynesia, the additional term mataiapo was applied to a first-born son and became a title which could also be granted to later appointments in rank. The term ariki (Tahiti [unclear: ari'i]) also became a title which was reserved to a few of the original senior families. Special terms were also applied to these ariki positions. In the Cook Islands, the name of the first holder became the title name, such as Makea, and each holder used his personal name with the title. Thus when Tinirau succeeded to page 344the Makea title, he became Makea Tinirau to distinguish him from previous holders of the Makea title.
In the Cook Islands, the term rangatira was present as a junior title lower than the mataiapo. Both titles were conferred by the ariki of a district and were subsequently inherited by seniority in the family line. In the Society Islands, the equivalent term of ráatira diminished in prestige and it was applied to landholders, some of whom may have received gifts of land originally for services rendered to the governing chief and not necessarily through chiefly descent.
From a comparative study, it is evident that the terms ariki and rangatira as well as succession by seniority were introduced from central Polynesia. The Maori, however, appear to have adhered more closely to the original meaning of the chiefly terms. A rangatira was such by reason of birth and the conferring of titles was never contemplated. Where tribal lands were used by all, there was no landholding class. The term ariki could be used within a family as a descriptive term for the eldest son but as a distinctive title, it was reserved for the first-born son of the senior family in the tribe. The lineage of a person was termed aho (line), and the senior line was termed the aho ariki of that tribe. As Best (16, vol. 1, p. 345) has pointed out, there could be no higher rank than ariki and the terms ihorei, whatukura, and tumu-whakarae, were honorific terms which did not constitute specific titles. The [unclear: ariki's] personal name was sufficient title in Maori society, and the elaborate installation ceremonies of central Polynesia were not present in New Zealand.
An unbroken line of male first-borns was rare. The first-born was sometimes a female and, though she could not succeed to the active leadership of the tribe, she was treated with the greatest respect as a female ariki. Among the Waikato tribes, the female ariki was termed an ariki tapairu. In the Cook Islands, the term tapairu, the feminine of the masculine term mataiapo, was applied to a female first-born and thus tapairu is evidently a carry-over from central Polynesia. The Ngati Kahungunu applied the term mareikura to first-born females of senior families, and, according to Best (16, vol. 1, p. 348), they possessed the privilege of adorning their faces with marks in pukepoto blue clay which were termed tuhi mareikura. They were treated with the greatest respect and it was probably this attitude which led the Ngati Kahungunu to allow women of high rank to make public speeches, a procedure absolutely forbidden by other tribes. Women of high rank were also alluded to by the general term wahine ariki (female ariki) and kahurangi, a term also applied to possessions of the greatest value. In rare instances, a female ariki, such as the famous Hinematioro of Ngati Porou, was raised to queenly pomp and power by her people.
When the first-born happened to be a female, the functioning position page 345of ariki passed to the first-born male child. It was probably this desire to retain leadership by seniority in the male line which led to the restriction of the seniority term of tuakana to members of the same sex. The use of the term gave expression to what actually functioned in the society, and priority of female birth was controlled by the fact that she could not function as tuakana to her younger brother.
The preclusion of females from exercising the privileges of seniority is illustrated by the custom of sounding a shell trumpet to announce the birth of a first-born son. When it was known that the high chief's wife was nearing her confinement, the people grew interested at the prospects of a future leader. The consuming desire of the prospective parents was for a male child. If the child was a male, the trumpet was sounded long and loud to announce that the wish of the parents and the people had been realized. If the child was a female, the trumpet remained silent. In my own tribe of Ngati Mutunga, our eponymous ancestor, Mutunga, married a first-born woman named Te Rerehua. When Te Rerehua's younger brother Te Hihiotu was born, the shell trumpet was sounded. In recent years, a descendant of Te Hihiotu claimed that his ancestor was the first-born of the family, because the shell trumpet had been sounded at his birth. However, traditional history is very definite that Te Rerehua was the first-born of the family and Te Hihiotu, the first-born male was second in the family.
In the family of the late Te Heuheu Tukino of Tokaanu, the first-born was a female; but the mother, desirous of announcing her first-born, ordered the trumpet to be sounded. The order was obeyed. Later, a male child was born but the trumpet had already been blown. Hence the boy was named Tureiti which was the Maori approximation of Too-late. He was too late for the trumpet call but he inherited his father's rank and leadership just the same. Later his first name was changed to the family name of Te Heuheu Tukino.
Though a first-born male could not be deprived of his seniority of birth, he was sometimes deprived of his leadership through physical or mental incapacity which prevented him from carrying out the duties of his position. Poor leadership lowered the prestige of the tribe and the people turned to a younger brother to supply the energy and administrative ability which his senior brother lacked. The wise son of a weak ariki could regain leadership, for if he displayed ability, his uncles, cousins, and the people would recognize and respect his seniority. The tuakana is always the tuakana, though some may fall by the wayside.
Attributes of Chieftainship
The ariki chiefs, by reason of their exalted birth, were imbued with the two inherited attributes of mana and tapu. These attributes have a variety page 346of meanings, depending upon whether they are applied to human beings or to inanimate objects. The mana of a chief carries the meaning of power and prestige. The first-born son inherited the power to rule and direct his tribe, but this mana lay dormant within him, so to speak, until it was given active expression on his father's death or his retirement through age or some other disability. He also inherited the prestige of his position, and the greater the prestige acquired by the family and the tribe, the greater the mana that was inherited. Besides the inherited mana, a new ariki could acquire additional mana by the wise administration of his tribe at home and by the successful conduct of military campaigns abroad. Even though tribal successes might be primarily due to good advisers, sub-tribal leaders, and noted warriors, the prestige acquired by the tribe was concentrated on the ariki as the figurehead or human symbol of the tribe. On the other hand, poor administration and defeats in war might lead to loss of power and prestige. The mana of a chief was integrated with the strength of the tribe. It was not a mysterious, indefinable quality flowing from super-natural sources; it was basically the result of successive and successful human achievements.
The power which a high chief had over his tribe is perhaps best illustrated by an example of the control which was sometimes exercised in the heat of battle. The warrior chief, Uerata, of the fighting Ngati Tama of North Taranaki once attacked the many-tiered fort of an enemy. He carried terrace after terrace until only the topmost tier remained, and then he rested his men before the final assault. But the chief of the defenders knew that one of his ancestors had come from a leading family of the Ngati Tama, and in this knowledge there was an inkling of hope that he and his surviving tribesmen might be saved from annihilation. He stood on the topmost parapet and called down for the leader of the war-party. Uerata rose with spear in hand and gazed upwards. The desperate chief voiced his petition, "O Uerata, what token from the past have you for me?" Uerata recognized the claim, raised his spear horizontally above his head with both hands, and then deliberately broke it across his knee. Without a word, he turned his back and walked down the slope on his homeward way with his warriors following quietly behind him. It was a grandstand play, but only a chief with great mana could have accomplished it. Incidentally, this act of chivalry added more to Uerata's prestige mana than he would have gained had he exterminated the garrison.
The tapu of a chief is difficult to define, but it is probably best regarded as a form of personal sanctity. The arikiinherited it through his senior lineage (aho ariki), and he inherited the tapu observances which his family had created in previous generations. His people treated him with a respect which sometimes amounted to awe and dread. The term for page 347dread is wehi and high chiefs were sometimes welcomed with the greeting, "Haere mai te mana, haere mai te tapu, haere mai te wehi" (Welcome to power, welcome to sanctity, welcome to dread). With this reverence, as distinct from worship, there was a feeling of satisfaction and pride in having a person of such distinction as the head of the tribe. Some authorities have stated that the tapu of the ariki was intensified by the fact that the senior line was descended more directly from the gods, but I doubt that the people needed to think back as far as that. It is true, however, that the ariki had to perform certain priestly functions which could not be conducted by the professional priests. An example is afforded by the ritual feast which followed the exhumation of the bones of the dead in the North Auckland area. A special oven of food was ceremonially restricted (tapu) for the ariki, and only he could open the ritual feast by partaking of the food cooked in the special oven. The whole exhumation procedure was saturated with tapu, and unless the direct representative of the line-age, senior to all who were present, opened the ritual feast by partaking of his restricted oven, the ceremony could not be carried out. Thus in the North Auckland area, the ariki had to attend all exhumation ceremonies in his priestly capacity.
The tapu of a high chief's person was particularly concentrated in his head. His hair cuttings had to be safely disposed of so that no harm could come to others. If his lips touched a calabash when he drank water, the vessel could not be used by others. Hence the economical procedure was adopted of pouring water into the chief's cupped hands in order to save the calabash. It is amusing to think back on the story of the wrath of a white woman whose cup was deliberately broken by the chief who had drunk from it. He had merely taken the only step which would prevent disaster from overtaking those of her family who would subsequently drink from the vessel. The head tapu could also be conveyed to ground where the head had rested in sleep. Hence a high chief was sometimes asked by his host before leaving not to leave anything behind. The chief touched with his hand the spot where his head had rested during the night and, raising the hand to his nose, inhaled his tapu back into himself. A similar procedure occurred in the Tongan moemoei obeisance rendered to the Tui-tonga high chiefs. People entering the house where the Tui-tonga was seated, made obeisance to him by touching the soles of his feet with the backs of their hands. On retiring, they performed a similar act and thus returned the tapu which they had received on first contact. Should the Tui-tonga be engaged when they left, the second obeisance was made to a wooden bowl placed outside as a receiving proxy for the Tui-tonga. Contact with tapu was equivalent to a psychological infection which resulted in physical symptoms usually followed by death.
Statements have been made in the literature that a chiefs head must page 348not be touched because it is the seat of the soul. This may be an impression gathered-in Melanesia and Micronesia, but it certainly is not true of Polynesia. Among the Maori, there are a number of words—such as mauri, hau, and manawa-ora—which refer in some way to the vital principle, or essence, within man, but these are evidently extinguished when life becomes extinct. However, the wairua leaves the body after death, and it is apparently the nearest to the "soul" of the higher cultures. The wairua apparently occupies the whole body during life and it can no more be corralled into an organ or specific part of the human body than can the soul of civilized man.
Personal tapu was sometimes intensified to such a degree that the ground which the ariki walked upon was rendered tapu and thus prohibited from use by its owners. The proper prophylaxis was to keep the chief's feet off the ground by carrying him during passage over other people's property. This occurred but rarely in New Zealand, but more instances are recorded in Tahitian traditions. The personal tapu of chiefs also extended to their personal property, particularly to articles, such as clothing and ornaments, which came in contact with the body. In this form, tapu was a useful safeguard in protecting property from promiscuous borrowing.
Special forms of obeisance towards tapu chiefs were observed in some parts of Polynesia. In Tahiti, the people promptly sat down on the ground and bared the upper part of the body when the [unclear: ari'i] passed by. In Hawaii, there were two forms of obeisance, termed the sitting tapu (kapu noho) and the prostration tapu (kapu moe), which were rendered to chiefs who derived the most intense form of tapu as the results of close inbreeding. The prostration tapu was given to chiefs whose parents were full brother and sister, the sitting tapu, to offsprings of marriages a little more removed, such as between a half-brother and half-sister. The excuse for these consanguineous marriages was that there was no one outside the family of sufficiently high rank to mate with, and what would have been regarded as incest by others was glossed over by conferring upon the progeny an extra allowance of tapu. Chiefs who were given the prostration obeisance were regarded as divine (akua), and as their presence among the people in the daytime would disrupt their labours, they usually confined their walks to the night time. The Tongan moemoei obeisance has been referred to. Among the Maori, their respect for their chiefs and ariki was not less than in other parts of Polynesia, but they never approached the stage of servility indicated by elaborate forms of obeisance.
The very ancient institution of tapu accompanied the early voyagers into Polynesia. In the course of time, degrees of intensity and extra observances were added to the nuclear concept. Distinct variations were developed in different island groups by chiefly and priestly families to add page 349to their social prestige and power. Thus tapu observances might vary even between different families in the same tribe. In my mother's lineage, the general prohibition against eating food in a sleeping-house was extended to not giving a child the breast within a sleeping or assembly house. If the child cried for the breast, the mother went outside to feed it. Any inconvenience caused by tapu observances were more than compensated by the prestige they gave the family.
As junior families merged into commoners, they lost their tapu. But in observing the tapu prohibitions of their chiefs and priests, they incorporated some of these observances in the social etiquette which functioned among themselves. In serving a chief with food, it must not be passed over his tapu head, and the absent-minded person guilty of such a lapse was punished either directly or by the unseen agencies which guarded the chief's tapu. It is conceivable, therefore, that the fear of the consequences attending such an act led to its general avoidance in serving or passing food even among commoners. Though the commoner's head had no chiefly tapu, the act of passing food over a head created an uncomfortable feeling and constituted a breach of social etiquette. It became bad manners, and a vague spirit punishment was replaced by the condemnation of public opinion. Hence some social observances, particularly with regard to food, originated from tapu sanctions, for, after all, the social etiquette of any people consists primarily of a series of "don'ts". Even in modern times, vessels used with food must not be used for washing clothes or vice versa even if they are disinfected with boiling water. Boiling water may kill microbes but it will not wash away mental associations.