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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (April 1, 1937)

A Name of Dark magic

A Name of Dark magic.

With the passing of years and the accretion of mana and tradition about the prophet, there grew a certain respectful fear of Ruatapu among his Urewera people, especially among those who lived up in the mountains. Highlands foster strange beliefs and faith in the occult. He was credited with the uncanny power of makulu; in local belief he could cause the death of anyone who offended him, simply by wishing or praying one to death.

His name was a terror to naughty children at Maungapohatu. “I'll tell Rua” was a threat that enforced better behaviour.

When Rua went into Maungapohatu for the summer months—he spent the winter in the warmer climate at Matahi, down in the Waimana Valley —the quiet mountain settlement took on an air of stir and industry. Rua saw to it that everyone was usefully employed, and cleanliness was one of his commandments. Everyone must wash, and must keep the home clean. Frequent bathing in the creek was a pleasure of the people in the warm outer lands; it was not always so congenial in the valleys among the lofty ranges, where the rivers came rushing in cold as ice from the mountain canyons.