Polynesian Mythology and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race
The Voyage to New Zealand
The Voyage to New Zealand.
When the canoes were built and ready for sea they were dragged afloat, the separate lading of each canoe was collected and put on board, with all the crews. Tama-te-kapua then remembered that he had no skilful priest on board his canoe, and he thought the best thing he could do was to outwit Ngatoro-i-rangi, the chief who had command of the Tainui. So just as his canoe shoved off, he called out to Ngatoro, “I say, Ngatoro, just come on board my canoe and perform the necessary religious rites for me.” Then the priest Ngatoro came on board, and Tama-te-kapua said to him, “You had better also call your wife, Kearoa, on board, that she may make the canoe clean or common, with an offering of seaweed to be laid in the canoe instead of an offering of fish, for you know the second fish caught in a canoe, or seaweed, or some substitute, ought to be offered for the females, the first for the males; then my canoe will be quite common, for all the ceremonies will have been observed, which should be followed with canoes made by priests.” Ngatoro assented to all this, and called his wife, and they both got into Tama's canoe. The very moment they were on board, Tama' called out to the men on board his canoe, “Heave up the anchors and make sail;” and he carried off with him Ngatoro and his wife, that he might have a priest and wise man on board his canoe. Then they up with the foresail, the mainsail, and the mizen, and away shot the canoe.
Up then came Ngatoro from below, and said, “Shorten sail, that we may go more slowly, lest I miss my own canoe.” And Tama' replied, “Oh, no, no; wait a little, and your canoe will page 86 follow after us.” For a short time it kept near them, but soon dropped more and more astern; and when darkness overtook them, on they sailed, each canoe proceeding on its own course.
Two thefts were upon this occasion perpetrated by Tama-te-kapua. He carried off the wife of Ruaeo, and Ngatoro and his wife, on board the Arawa. He made a fool of Ruaeo too; for he said to him, “O Rua', you, like a good fellow, just run back to the village and fetch me my axe Tutauru; I pushed it in under the sill of the window of my house.” And Rua' was foolish enough to run back to the house. Then off went Tama' with the canoe, and when Rua' came back again, the canoe was so far off that its sails did not look much bigger than little flies. So he fell to weeping for all his goods on board the canoe, and for his wife Whakaoti-rangi, whom Tama-te-kapua had carried off as a wife for himself. Tama-te-kapua committed these two great thefts when he sailed for these islands. Hence this proverb, “A descendant of Tama-te-kapua will steal anything he can.”
When evening came on, Rua' threw himself into the water, as a preparation for his incantations to recover his wife, and he then changed the stars of evening into the stars of morning, and those of the morning into the stars of the evening, and this was accomplished. In the meantime the Arawa scudded away far out on the ocean, and Ngatoro thought to himself, “What a rate this canoe goes at! what a vast space we have already traversed! I know what I'll do, I'll climb up upon the roof of the house which is built on the platform joining the two canoes, and try to get a glimpse of the land in the horizon, and ascertain whether we are near it, or very far off.” But in the first place he felt some suspicions about his wife, lest Tama-te-kapua should steal her too; for he had found out what a treacherous person he was. So he took a string and tied one end of it to his wife's hair, and kept the other end of the string in his hand, and then he climbed up on the roof. He had hardly got on the top of the roof when Tama' laid hold of his wife, and he cunningly untied the end of the string which Ngatoro had fastened to her hair, and made it fast to one of the beams of the canoe, and Ngatoro feeling it tight thought his wife had not page 87 moved, and that it was still fast to her. At last Ngatoro came down again, and Tama-te-kapua heard the noise of his steps as he was coming, but he had not time to get the string tied fast to the hair of Kearoa's head again, but he jumped as fast as he could into his own berth, which was next to that of Ngatoro, and Ngatoro, to his surprise, found one end of the string tied fast to the beam of the canoe.
Then he knew that his wife had been disturbed by Tama', and he asked her, saying, “Oh, wife, has not some one disturbed you?” Then his wife replied, “Cannot you tell that from the string being fastened to the beam of the canoe?” And then he asked her, “Who was it?” And she said, “Who was it, indeed? Could it be anyone else but Tama-te-kapua?” Then her husband said to her, “You are a noble woman indeed thus to confess this; you have gladdened my heart by this confession. I thought after Tama' had carried us both off in this way that he would have acted generously, and not loosely in this manner; but, since he has acted in this way, I will now have my revenge on him.”
Then that priest again went forth upon the roof of the house and stood there, and he called aloud to the heavens, in the same way that Rua' did, and he changed the stars of the evening into those of the morning, and he raised the winds that they should blow upon the prow of the canoe and drive it astern, and the crew of the canoe were at their wits' end, and quite forgot their skill as seamen, and the canoe drew straight into the whirlpool, called “The throat of Te Parata,”* and dashed right into that whirlpool.
* The people of New Zealand have another name for this whirlpool; they call it “the steep descent where the world ends.”
When these things all took place, the heart of Ngaroto was moved with pity, for he heard, too, the shrieks and cries of the men, and the weeping of the women and children. Then up stood that mighty man again, and by his incantations changed the aspect of the heavens, so that the storm ceased, and he repeated another incantation to draw the canoe back out of the whirlpool, that is, to lift it up again.
Lo, the canoe rose up from the whirlpool, floating rightly; but, although the canoe itself thus floated out of the whirlpool, a great part of its lading had been thrown out into the water, a few things only were saved and remained in the canoe. A great part of their provisions were lost as the canoe was sinking into the whirlpool. Thence comes the native proverb, if they can give a stranger but little food, or only make a present of a small basket of food, “Oh, it is the half-filled basket of Whakaoti-rangi, for she only managed to save a very small part of her provisions.” Then they sailed on, and landed at Whanga-Paraoa, in Aotea here. As they drew near to land, they saw with surprise some pohutukawa trees of the sea coast, covered with beautiful red flowers, and the still water reflected back the redness of the trees.
Then one of the chiefs of the canoe cried out to his messmates, “See there, red ornaments for the head are much more plentiful in this country than in Hawaiki, so I'll throw my red head-ornaments into the water;” and, so saying, he threw them into page 89 the sea. The name of that man was Tauninihi; the name of the the red head-ornament he threw into the sea was Taiwhakaea. The moment they got on shore they ran to gather the pohutukawa flowers, but no sooner did they touch them than the flowers fell to pieces; then they found out that these red head-ornaments were nothing but flowers. All the chiefs on board the Arawa were then troubled that they should have been so foolish as to throw away their red head-ornaments into the sea. Very shortly afterwards the ornaments of Tauninihi were found by Mahina on the beach of Mahiti. As soon as Tauninihi heard they had been picked up, he ran to Mahina to get them again, but Mahina would not give them up to him; hence this proverb for anything which has been lost and is found by another person, “I will not give it up, 't is the red head-ornament which Mahina found.”
As soon as the party landed at Whanga-Paraoa, they planted sweet potatoes, that they might grow there; and they are still to be found growing on the cliffs at that place.
Then the crew, wearied from the voyage, wandered idly along the shore, and there they found the fresh carcase of a sperm whale stranded upon the beach. The Tainui had already arrived in the same neighbourhood, although they did not at first see that canoe nor the people who had come in it; when, however, they met, they began to dispute as to who had landed first and first found the dead whale, and as to which canoe it consequently belonged; so, to settle the question, they agreed to examine the sacred place which each party had set up to return thanks in to the gods for their safe arrival, that they might see which had been longest built; and, doing so, they found that the posts of the sacred place put up by the Arawa were quite green, whilst the posts of the sacred place put up by the Tainui had evidently been carefully dried over the fire before they had been fixed in the ground. The people who had come in the Tainui also showed part of a rope which they had made fast to the jaw-bone of the whale. When these things were seen, it was admitted that the whale belonged to the people who came in the Tainui, and it was surrendered to them. And the people in the Arawa, determining to separate from those in the page 90 Tainui, selected some of their crew to explore the country in a north-west direction, following the coast line. The canoe then coasted along, the land party following it along the shore; this was made up of 140 men, whose chief was Taikehu, and these gave to a place the name of Te Ranga of Taikehu.
The Tainui left Whanga-Paraoa* shortly after the Arawa, and, proceeding nearly in the same direction as the Arawa, made the Gulf of Hauraki, and then coasted along to Rakau-mangamanga, or Cape Brett, and to the island with an arched passage through it, called Motukokako, which lies off the cape; thence they ran along the coast to Whiwhia, and to Te Aukanapanapa, and to Muri-whenua, or the country near the North Cape. Finding that the land ended there, they returned again along the coast until they reached the Tamaki, and landed there, and afterwards proceeded up the creek to Tau-oma, or the portage, where they were surprised to see flocks of sea-gulls and oyster-catchers passing over from the westward; so they went off to explore the country in that direction, and to their great surprise found a large sheet of water lying immediately behind them, so they determined to drag their canoes over the portage at a place they named Otahuhu, and to launch them again on the vast sheet of salt-water which they had found.
* Whanga-Paraoa, the bay of the sperm whale, so called from the whale found there.
We now return to the Arawa. We left the people of it at Tauranga. That canoe next floated at Motiti;* they named that island after a spot in Hawaiki, because there was no firewood there. Next Tia, to commemorate his name, called the place now known by the name of Rangiuru, Takapu-o-tapui-ika-nui-a-Tia. Then Hei stood up and called out, “I name that place Takapu-o-wai-tahanui-a-Hei;” the name of that place is now Otawa. Then stood up Tama-te-kapua, and pointing to the place now called the Heads of Maketu, he called out, “I name that place Te Kuraetanga-o-te-ihu-o-Tama-te-kapua.” Next Kahu called a place after his name, Motiti-nui-a-Kahu.
* Kei Motiti koe e noho ana—“I suppose you are at Motiti, as you can find no firewood.”
At last Rua' said, “O mother of my children, go back now to your new husband, and presently I'll play upon the flute and putorino, so that both you and Tama-te-kapua may hear. Then do you say to Tama-te-kapua, ‘O la! I had a dream in the night that I heard Rua' playing a tune upon his flute,’ and that will make him so jealous that he will give you a blow, and then you can run away from him again, as if you were in a rage and hurt, and you can come to me.”
Then Whakoti-rangi returned, and lay down by Tama-te-kapua, and she did everything exactly as Rua' had told her, and Tama' began to beat her, and she ran away from him. Early in the morning Rua' performed incantations by which he kept all the people in the canoe in a profound sleep, and whilst they still slept from his enchantments the sun rose and mounted high up in the heavens. In the forenoon Rua' gave the canoe a heavy blow with his club. They all started up. It was almost noon, and when they looked down over the edge of their canoe there were the hundred and forty men of Rua' sitting under them, all beautifully dressed with feathers, as if they had been living on the Gannet Island, in the channel of Karewa, where feathers are so abundant. And when the crew of the Arawa heard this they all rushed upon deck, and saw Rua' standing in the midst of his one hundred and forty warriors.
Then Rua' shouted out as he stood, “Come here, Tama-te-kapua; let us two fight the battle, you and I alone. If you are stronger than I am, well and good, let it be so; if I am stronger than you are, I'll dash you to the earth.”
Up sprang then the hero Tama-te-kapua. He held a carved two-handed sword, a sword the handle of which was decked with red feathers. Rua' held a similar weapon. Tama' first struck a fierce blow at Rua'. Rua' parried it, and it glanced harmlessly off; then Rua' threw away his sword, and seized both the arms of page 93 Tama-te-kapua. He held his arms and his sword, and dashed him to the earth. Tama' half rose, and was again dashed down; once more he almost rose, and was thrown again. Still Tama' fiercely struggled to rise and renew the fight. For the fourth time he almost rose up; then Rua', overcome with rage, took a heap of vermin (this he had prepared for the purpose, to cover Tama' with insult and shame), and rubbed them on Tama-te-kapua's head and ear, and they adhered so fast that Tama' tried in vain to get them out. Then Rua' said, “There, I've beaten you. Now keep the woman as a payment for the insults I've heaped upon you, and for having been beaten by me.” But Tama' did not hear a word he said; he was almost driven mad with the pain and itching, and could do nothing but stand scratching and rubbing his head; whilst Rua' departed with his hundred and forty men, to seek some other dwelling-place for themselves. If they had turned against Tama and his people, to fight against them, they would have slain them all.
These men were giants: Tama-te-kapua was nine feet high, Rua' was eleven feet high. There have been no men since that time so tall as those heroes. The only man of these later times who was as tall as these was Tu-hou-rangi: he was nine feet high; he was six feet up to the arm-pits. This generation have seen his bones; they used to be always set up by the priests in the sacred places when they were made high places for the sacred sacrifices of the natives, at the times the potatoes and sweet potatoes were dug up, and when the fishing season commenced, and when they attacked an enemy. Then might be seen the people collecting, in their best garments, and with their ornaments, on the days when the priests exposed Tu-hou-rangi's bones to their view. At the time that the island Mokoia, in the lake of Roto-rua, was stormed and taken by the Nga-Puhi, they probably carried those bones off, for they have not since been seen.
After the dispute between Tama-te-kapua and Rua' took place, Tama and his party dwelt at Maketu, and their descendants after a little time spread to other places. Ngatoro-i-rangi went, however, about the country, and where he found dry valleys, stamped page 94 on the earth, and brought forth springs of water; he also visited the mountains, and placed Patupaiarehe, or fairies, there, and then returned to Maketu, and dwelt there.
After this a dispute arose between Tama-te-kapua and Kahu-mata-momoe, and in consequence of that disturbance Tama' and Ngatoro removed to Tauranga, and found Taikehu living there, and collecting food for them (by fishing), and that place was called by them Te Ranga-a-Taikehu. * It lies beyond Motuhoa. Then they departed from Tauranga, and stopped at Kati-kati, where they ate food. Tama's men devoured the food very fast, whilst he kept on nibbling his, therefore they applied this circumstance as a name for the place, and called it “Kati-kati-o-Tama-te-kapua,” the nibbling of Tama-te-kapua; then they halted at Whakahau, so called because they here ordered food to be cooked, which they did not stop to eat, but went right on with Ngatoro, and this circumstance gave its name to the place; and they went on from place to place till they arrived at Whitianga, which they so called from their crossing the river there, and they continued going from one place to another till they came to Tangiaro, and Ngatoro stuck up a stone and left it there, and they dwelt in Moe-hau and Hau-raki.
They occupied those places as a permanent residence, and Tama-te-kapua died, and was buried there. When he was dying he ordered his children to return to Maketu, to visit his relations, and they assented and went back. If the children of Tama-te-kapua had remained at Hau-raki, that place would now have been left to them as a possession.
Tama-te-kapua, when dying, told his children where the precious ear-drop Kakau-matua was, which he had hidden under the window of his house; and his children returned with Ngatoro to Maketu, and dwelt there; and as soon as Ngatoro arrived he went to the waters to bathe himself, as he had come there in a state of tapu, upon account of his having buried Tama-te-kapua, and having bathed, he then became free from the tapu and clean.
* The fishing bank of Taikehu.
Ngatoro then took the daughter of Ihenga to wife, and he went and searched for the precious ear-drop Kaukau-matua, and found it, as Tama-te-kapua had told them. After this the wife of Kahu-mata-momoe conceived a child.
At this time Ihenga, taking some dogs with him to catch kiwis* with, went to Paritangi by way of Hakomiti, and a kiwi was chased by one of his dogs and caught in a lake, and the dog eat some of the fish and shell-fish in the lake, after diving in the water to get them, and returned to its master carrying the captured kiwi in its mouth, and on reaching its master it dropped the kiwi, and vomited up the raw fish and shell-fish which it had eaten.
When Ihenga saw his dog wet all over, and the fish it had vomited up, he knew there was a lake there, and was extremely glad, and returned joyfully to Maketu, and there he had the usual religious ceremonies which follow the birth of a child performed over his wife and the child she had given birth to; and when this had been done, he went to explore the country which he had previously visited with his dog.
* Apteryx Australis.
They saw some one approaching, and cried out, “A stranger, a stranger is coming here!” As soon as Ihenga heard these cries he sat down upon the ground, and then, without waiting for the people of the place to begin the speeches, he jumped up and commenced to speak thus: “What theft is this, what theft is this of the people here, that they are taking away my land?” for he saw that they had their store-houses full of prepared fern-roots and of dried fish, and shell-fish, and their heaps of fishing-nets, so as he spoke, he appeared to swell with rage, and his throat appeared to grow large from passion as he talked—“Who authorised you to come here and take possession of my place? Be off, be off, be off! leave alone the place of the man who speaks to you, to whom it has belonged for a very long time, for a very long time indeed.”
Then Maru-punga-nui, the son of Tua-Roto-rua, the man to whom the place really belonged, said to Ihenga, “It is not your place, it belongs to me; if it belongs to you where is your village, where is your sacred place, where is your net, where are your cultivations and gardens?”
Ihengs answered him, “Come here and see them.” So they went together, and ascended a hill, and Ihenga said, “See, there, there is my net hanging up against the ricks;” but it was no such thing, it was only a mark like a net hanging up, caused by part of a cliff having slipped away; “and there are the posts of the pine round my village;” but there was really nothing but some old stumps of trees. “Look there, too, at my sacred place a little beyond yours. And now come with me and see my sacred place, if you are quite sure you see my village and my fishing-net—come along.” So they went together, and there he saw the sacred place standing in the shrubbery, until at last he believed Ihenga, and the place was all given up to Ihenga, and he took possession of it and lived there, and the descendants of the Tua-Roto-rua departed from that place, and a portion of them, under the chiefs Kawa-arero and Mara-aho, occupied the Island of Mokoia, in Lake Roto-rua.page 96a page 97
At this time Ngatoro again went to stamp on the earth, and to bring forth springs in places where there was no water, and came out on the great central plains which surround Lake Taupo, where a piece of large cloak made of kiekie-leaves was stripped off by the bushes, and the strips took root and became large trees, nearly as large as the Kahikatea tree (they are called Painanga, and many of them are growing there still).
Whenever he ascended a hill he left marks there, to show that he, claimed it; the marks he left were fairies. Some of the generation now living have seen these spirits; they are malicious spirits. If you take embers from an oven in which food has been cooked, and use them for a fire in a house, these spirits become offended. Although there be many people sleeping in that house, not one of them could escape (the fairies would, whilst they slept, press the whole of them to death).
Ngatoro went straight on and rested at Taupo, and he beheld that the summit of Mount Tongariro was covered with snow, and he was seized with a longing to ascend it, and he climbed up, saying to his companions who remained below at their encampment, “Remember now, do not you, who I am going to leave behind, taste food from the time I leave you until I return, when we will all feast together.” Then he began to ascend the mountain, but he had not quite got to the summit when those he had left behind began to eat food, and he therefore found the greatest difficulty in reaching the summit of the mountain, and the hero nearly perished in the attempt.
At last he gathered strength, and thought he could save himself if he prayed aloud to the gods of Hawaiki to send fire to him and to produce a volcano upon the mountain (and his prayer was answered); and fire was given to him, and the mountain became a volcano, and it came by the way of Whakaari, or White Island, of Mau-tohora, of Okakaru, of Roto-ehu, of Roto-iti, of Roto-rua, of Tara-wera, of Pae-roa, of Orakeikorako, and of Taupo; it came right underneath the earth, spouting up at all the above-mentioned places, and ascended right up Tongariro, to him who was sitting upon the top of the mountain, and thence page 98 the hero was revived again, and descended, and returned to Maketu, and dwelt there.
The Arawa had been laid up by its crew at Maketu where they landed, and the people who had arrived with the party in the Arawa spread themselves over the country, examining it, some penetrating to Roto-rua, some to Taupo, some to Whanganui, some to Ruatahuna, and no one was left at Maketu but Hei' and his son, and Tia and his son, and the usual place of residence of Ngatoro-i-rangi was on the island of Motiti. The people who came with Tainui were still in Kawhia, where they had landed.
One of their chiefs, named Raumati, heard that the Arawa was laid up at Maketu, so he started with all his own immediate dependants, and reaching Tauranga, halted there, and in the evening again pressed on towards Maketu, and reached the bank of the river opposite that on which the Arawa was lying, thatched over with reeds and dried branches and leaves; then he slung a dart, the point of which was bound round with combustible materials, over to the other side of the river; the point of the dart was lighted, and it stuck right in the dry thatch of the roof over the Arawa, and the shed of dry stuff taking fire, the canoe was entirely destroyed.
On the night that the Arawa was burnt by Raumati there was not a person left at Maketu; they were all scattered in the forests, at Tapu-ika, and at Waitaha, and Ngatoro-i-rangi was at that moment at his residence on the island of Motiti. The pa, or fortified village, at Maketu was left quite empty, without a person in it. The canoe was lying alone, with none to watch it; they had all gone to collect food of different kinds—it happened to be a season in which food was very abundant, and from that cause the people were all scattered in small parties about the country, fishing, fowling, and collecting food.
As soon as the next morning dawned, Raumati could see that the fortified village of Maketu was empty, and not a person left in it, so he and his armed followers at once passed over the river and entered the village, which they found entirely deserted.page 99
At night, as the Arawa burnt, the people, who were scattered about in the various parts of the country, saw the fire, for the bright glare of the gleaming flames was reflected in the sky, lighting up the heavens, and they all thought that it was the village at Maketu that had been burnt; but those persons who were near Waitaha and close to the sea-shore near where the Arawa was, at once said, “That must be the Arawa which is burning; it must have been accidentally set on fire by some of our friends who have come to visit us.” The next day they went to see what had taken place, and when they reached the place where the Arawa had been lying, they found it had been burnt by an enemy, and that nothing but the ashes of it were left them. Then a messenger started to all the places where the people were scattered about, to warn them of what had taken place, and they then first heard the bad news.
The children of Hou, as they discussed in their house of assembly the burning of the Arawa, remembered the proverb of their father, which he spake to them as they were on the point of leaving Hawaiki, and when he bid them farewell.
He then said to them, “O my children, O Mako, O Tia, O Hei, hearken to these my words:—
“There was but one great chief in Hawaiki, and that was Whakatauihu. Now do you, my dear children, depart in peace, and when you reach the place you are going to, do not follow after the deeds of Tu', the god of war; if you do you will perish, as if swept off by the winds, but rather follow quiet and useful occupations, then you will die tranquilly a natural death. Depart, and dwell in peace with all, leave war and strife behind you here. Depart, and dwell in peace. It is war and its evils which are driving you from hence; dwell in peace where you are going conduct yourselves like men, let there be no quarrelling amongst you, but build up a great people.”
These were the last words which Houmai-ta-whiti addressed to his children, and they ever kept these sayings of their father firmly fixed in their hearts: “Depart in peace to explore new homes for yourselves.”page 100
Uenuku perhaps gave no such parting words of advice to his children, when they left him for this country, because they brought war and its evils with them from the other side of the ocean to New Zealand. But, of course, when Raumati burnt the Arawa, the descendants of Houmai-ta-whiti could not help continually considering what they ought to do, whether they should declare war upon account of the destruction of their canoe, or whether they should let this act pass by without notice. They kept these thoughts always close in mind, and impatient feelings kept ever rising up in their hearts. They could not help saying to one another, “It was upon account of war and its consequences that we deserted our own country, that we left our fathers, our homes, and our people, and war and evil are following after us here. Yet we cannot remain patient under such an injury, every feeling urges us to revenge this wrong.”
At last they made an end of deliberation, and unanimously agreed that they would declare war, to obtain compensation for the evil act of Raumati in burning the Arawa; and then commenced the great war which was waged between those who arrived in the Arawa and those who arrived in the Tainui.page 100a