Polynesian Mythology and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race
The Story of Maru-Tuahu, the Son of Hotunui, and of Kahurere-Moa, the Daughter of Paka
The Story of Maru-Tuahu, the Son of Hotunui, and of Kahurere-Moa, the Daughter of Paka.
Hotunui was one of those chiefs who arrived in New Zealand from a land beyond the ocean. The Tainui was the canoe in which he arrived in these islands. He left Kawhia, where he first settled, and came overland to Hauraki, and finally took up his residence in a village called Wakatiwai. He had at Kawhia, a son called Maru-tahu, but Hotunui was not there when this child was born.
The cause which made him come from Kawhia to Hauraki was a false accusation that was brought against him regarding a store-house of sweet potatoes belonging to another chief, a friend of his. The accusation arose in this way. Hotunui went out of his house one night, almost at the same moment that a thief had gone out to rob this storehouse; it was very unfortunate that they should both have gone out nearly at the same moment, just about mid-night. When day dawned, Hotunui came out of his house, and people in the morning had seen his footsteps, right along the path by which the thief had gone, and there were the sweet potatoes dropped all along the path, and as the soles of Hotunui's feet were very large, his footprints had quite erased those of the thief; so presently they brought an accusation against Hotonui, that he had stolen the sweet potatoes. At this time Hotunui's wife had just conceived Maru-tuahu, but he was so overcome by shame at the accusation brought against him, that the thought came into his mind to run away from wife and all, and go to Hauraki to seek another residence for himself. His corn was ready, and he had page 154 dug his farm, and prepared the ground for planting it, but had not yet put in the seed, when he went to his wife and said, “Now, remember, when the child is born, if it is a boy, call it Maru-tuahu, and if it is a girl, call it Pare-tuahu [either name meaning the field made ready for planting], in remembrance of that cultivation of mine, prepared for planting to no purpose.” Then Hotunui went off to Hauraki, and resided at Wakatiwai, and became the chief of the people of that country, and he took another wife, the young sister of a chief named Te Whatu, and she bore him a child named Paka.
When Maru-tuahu came to man's estate, he took up his club, and asked his mother, saying, “Mother, show me the mountain range that is near my father's abode;” and the mother said, “Look, my child, towards the place of sunrise.” And her son said, “What, there?” and he was answered by his mother, “Yes, that is it—Hauraki;” and Maru-tuahu answered, “'Tis well; I understand.”
Then Maru-tuahu started with his slave, and travelled towards Hauraki, and they carried with them a spear for killing birds; this they took as a means of procuring food on the journey, as they came by way of the wooded mountains where birds are plentiful. They were a whole month before they arrived at Kohu-kohunui, and reached the outskirts of the forests there early one morning at the same time that two young girls, the daughters of Te Whatu, the chief of Hauraki, were coming along the same path from the opposite direction. Maru-tuahu was up in a forest tree, spearing Tui birds, at the moment when the two girls saw the slave sitting under the tree in which Maru-tuahu was killing birds, and his master's cloak lying on the ground by him. The two girls came merrily along the path; the youngest sister was very beautiful, but the eldest was plain; and when they saw the slave of Maru-tuahu, the youngest one, who had seen him first, called out playfully, “Ah! there's a man will make a nice slave for me.” “Where?” said the elder sister, “where is he?” and the youngest replied, “There, there, cannot you see him sitting at the root of that tree?” Then up they ran towards him, sportively contesting page 155 with one another whose slave he should be; and the youngest got there first, and therefore claimed him as her slave.
All this time Maru-tuahu was peeping down at the two girls from the top of the tree; and they asked the slave, saying, “Where is your master?” He answered, “I have no master but him.” Then the girls looked about, and there was the cloak lying on the ground, and a heap of dead birds; and they kept on asking, “Where is he?” but it was not long before a flock of Tuis settled on the tree where Maru-tuahu was sitting; he speared at them, and struck a Tui, which made the tree ring with its cries; the girls heard it, and looking up, the youngest saw the young chief sitting in the top boughs of the tree; and she at once called up to him, “Ah, you shall be my husband;” but the eldest sister exclaimed, “You shall be mine,” and they began jesting and disputing between themselves which should have him for a husband, for he was a very handsome young man.
Then the two girls called up to him to come down from the tree, and down he came, and dropped upon the ground, and pressed his nose against the nose of each of the young girls. They then asked him to come to their village with them; to which he consented, but said, “You two go on ahead, and leave me and my slave, and we will follow you presently;” and the girls said, “Very well, do you come after us.” Maru-tuahu then told his slave to make a present to the girls of the food they had collected, and he gave them two bark baskets of pigeons, preserved in their own fat, and they went off to their village with these. Maru-tuahu stopped behind with his slave, and as soon as the girls had gone, he went to a stream, and washed his hair in the water, and then came back, and combed it very carefully, and after coming it, he tied it up in a knot, and stuck fifty red Kaka feathers in his head, and amongst them he placed the plume of a white heron, and the tail of a huia, as ornaments; he thus looked extremely handsome, and said to his slave, “Now, let us go.”
It was not very long before the two young girls came back from the village to meet their so called husband, that they might all go in together; and when they came up to him, there he was seated page 156 on the ground, looking quite different to what he did before, for he now appeared as handsome as the large crested cormorant; he had on outside, a Peuru cloak, within that, a cloak called the Kahakaha, and under that again, a garment called the Kopu (this in ancient times made up the dress of a great chief); the two young girls felt deeply in love with him when they saw him, and they said to Maru', “Come along to our father's village with us;” and he again consented, and told his slave to keep with them, and as they all went along, Maru' stopped a little until he was some way behind, for he thought that the girls had not found out who he was; as they proceeded, seeing that Maru' did not follow them fast, they asked his slave, who kept along with them, “What is the name of your master?” and the slave answered, “Is there no chief of the west coast of the island whose fame has reached this place?” and the young girls said, “Yes, the fame of one man has reached this place, the fame of Maru-tuahu, the son of Hotunui?” and the slave answered, “This is he;” and the girls replied, “Dear, dear, we had not the least idea it was he.” By this time Maru' was coming up again to join them, for he guessed the girls had asked his slave who he was, and that they had been told, but the girls ran off together to Hotunui, and their father Te Whatu, to inform them who was coming, as they had previously left the old men waiting for their return; but presently the two girls changed their plan, and arranged between themselves that the youngest should run off quickly to tell Hotunui that his son was coming, and that the eldest sister should be left to lead Maru-tuahu to the village; and in this way they proceeded, those who were going slowly to the village loitering along, whilst the younger sister was far ahead, running as fast as she could, and crying out as she came near the village, “Are you there, O Hotunui? here's your son coming—here is Maru-tuahu.” Then Hotunui called out with a loud voice, “Where is he?” and she replied, “Here he comes, he is coming along close behind me; make haste and have the floor of the house covered with fine mats for him, so that he may have a fitting reception.”page 157
Maru-tuahu soon came in sight, and as he was seen approaching, he looked as handsome as the beautiful crested cormorant. The people got upon the defences of the village, and ran outside the gates, to look at him; and the young girls all waved the corners of their cloaks, crying out, “Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, make haste, make haste;” and he stepped boldly out, and reached the village. As soon as he had arrived there, they all wept over him; and when they had done weeping, they sat down, and formed a semicircle, with Maru-tuahu at the open part; and Hotunui stood up to make a speech of welcome to his son, and he spoke thus: “Welcome, welcome, oh, my child, welcome to Hauraki, welcome. You are very welcome. You have suddenly appeared here, urged by your own affections. You are very welcome.” Having said this, Hotunui sat down again; then Maru-tuahu jumped up to make a speech in reply, and he said, “That is right, that is right, oh, my father, call out to your child, ‘You are welcome.’ Here I am arrived at Hauraki, here I am seeking out my father's village in Hauraki, but I, who am the mere slave of my father, can say nothing in answer to his welcome; here I am arrived at your village, it is for you to speak; a young man just arrived from the forests has no fitting word to say in your presence.”
Thus he ended his speech, and a feast was spread out, and they all fell to eating, for they had killed ten dogs for the feast, and the chiefs all ate, and the two young girls; but, although no one knew it, the two sisters were all the time quarrelling with each other as to which of them should have Maru-tuahu for a husband: the heart of one of them whispered to her, he shall be mine; but the heart of the other young girl said just the same thing to her.
The feast being ended, they left the common part of the fortress where food was eaten, and moved on one side, to the sacred precincts. When the evening came on a fire was kindled in the house, and the eldest girl not seeing her younger sister, went to her father to ask for her, and was told that she had been given as a wife to Maru-tuahu. At this she was exceedingly vexed, and provoked with her sister; for although she was plain, she thought page 158 to herself, I am very pretty, and I am sure, there's not the least reason why Maru-tuahu should be frightened at me; and she went off to quarrel with her younger sister; but Maru-tuahu did not like her on account of her plainness, and her pretty sister kept him as her husband.
Te Paka, the son of Hotunui, the nephew of Te Whatu, and the younger brother of Maru-tuahu, had grown up to be a young man, so they gave him the elder daughter of Te Whatu to be his wife; thus the elder sister was married, as well as the young one, who was given to Maru-tuahu for his wife; and Te Paka's wife bore him a daughter, whom they called Te Kahureremoa.
The youngest daughter of Te Whatu, whom Maru-tuahu married, bore him three children, Tama-te-po, Tama-te-ra, and Whanaunga; from Tama-te-po sprang the Ngati-Rongou tribe; from Tama-te-ra sprang the tribe of Ngati-Tama-te-ra, and from Whanaunga sprang the Ngati-Whanaunga tribe.
Whilst Maru-tuahu was living at Hauraki, his father Hotunui told him how very badly some of the people of that place had treated him. These were the facts of the case, as the old chief related them to him:—“One day when the canoes of the tribe came in full of fish, after hauling their nets, he sent down one of his servants from his house to the canoe to bring back some fish for him, and when the servant ran down for this purpose, the man who owned the nets said to him, ‘Well, what brings you here?’ upon which his servant answered, ‘Hotunui sent me down to bring up some fish for him; he quite longs to taste them.’ Upon which the owner of nets cursed Hotunui in the most violent and offensive manner, saying, ‘Is his head the flax that grows in the swamp at Otoi? or is his topknot flax, that the old fellow cannot go there to get some flax to make a net for himself with, instead of troubling me?’ When Hotunui's servant heard this, he returned at once to the house, and his master, not seeing the fish, said, ‘Well, tell me what is the matter;’ so he replied, ‘I went as you told me, and I asked the man who had been hauling the net for some fish, and he only looked up at me. Again I asked him for some fish; and then he said, ‘Who sent page 159 you here to fetch fish, pray?’ Then I told him Hotunui sent me down to bring up some fish for him; he quite longs to taste them. Then the man cursed you, saying to me, ‘Is Hotunui's head the flax that grows in the swamp at Otoi; or is his topknot flax, that the old fellow cannot go there to get some flax to make a net with for himself?’”
When Hotunui had told this story to Maru-tuahu, he said, “Now, oh, my son, this tribe is a very bad one; they seem bent upon lowering the authority of their chiefs.”
The heart of Maru-tuahu felt very gloomy when he heard his father had been treated thus, and Hotunui said to him, “You may well look sad, my son, at hearing what I have just said; this tribe is composed of very bad people.” And Marua-tuahu replied, “Leave them alone; they shall find out what such conduct leads to.”
Then Maru-tuahu began to catch and dry great quantities of fish for a feast, and he worked away with his men at making fishing-nets, until he had collected a very great number. It was in the winter that he began to make these nets, and the winter, spring, summer, and part of autumn passed before they were finished; then he sent a messenger to the tribe who had cursed his father to ask them to come to a feast, and to help him to stretch these nets; and when the messenger came back Maru-tuahu asked him, “Where are they?” and the messenger answered, “The day after to-morrow they will arrive here.” Then Maru-tuahu gave orders, saying, “To-morrow let the feast be ranged in rows, so that when they arrive here they may find it all ready for them.” Upon this they all retired to rest, and when the dawn appeared they arranged the food to be given to the strangers in rows. The outside of the rows was composed of fish piled up; but under these was placed nothing but rotten wood and filth, although the exterior made a very goodly show. He intended this feast to be a feast at which those who came as guests should be slaughtered, in revenge for the curse against Hotunui, which had exceedingly pained his heart.
Soon after daybreak the next morning the guests came, and seeing the piles of provisions which were laid out for them, they page 160 were exceedingly rejoiced, and longed for the time of their distribution, and when they might touch this food, little thinking how dearly they were to pay for it. The guests had all arrived and taken their seats on the grass, when Maru-tuahu and his people came together;—they were only one hundred and forty.
As they were to stretch the great net made up of all the small ones upon the next morning, on that evening they put all the nets and ropes into the water to soak them, in order to soften the flax of which they were made, so that they might be more easily stretched; and when the morning dawned those who had come for the purpose began to draw out the net, stretching the rope and the bottom of the net along the ground, and pegging it tight down from corner to corner, and thus whilst Maru-tuahu's people were preparing food for them to eat, the others worked away at stretching the net taut, and pegging it fast to the ground to hold it; it was not long before they had finished this and had put on the weights to sink it.
About the time that Te Kahureremoa, Paka's daughter, became marriageable, a large party of visitors arrived at Wharekawa, the village of Te Paka; they came from Aotea, or the Great Barrier Island; at their head was the principal chief of Aotea, and he brought in his canoes a present of two hundred and sixty baskets of mackerel for Te Paka, and they became such good friends, that they thought they would like to be connected; so it was arranged that Te Paka's daughter, Te Kahureremoa, should be given as a wife to the son of that chief. Part of Te Paka's plan was to get possession of Aotea for his family, for he thought when his daughter had children, and they were grown up, that it was possible they would secure the island for their grandfather, or for their mother's family.
When the party of visitors was about to return to Aotea, having formed this connection with Te Paka's tribe through the girl, her father gave her up to them to take to Aotea to her husband, and he told his daughter to go on board the canoe, and to accompany page 162 them to Aotea; but he told her to no purpose, for she did not obey him; in short, Te Kahureremoa refused to go. So the old chief to whom the canoes belonged said, “Never mind, never mind, leave her alone, we shall not be very long away, we shall soon return, we shall not be long before we are back;” and they left Te Kahureremoa with her father, and paddled off in their canoes.
In one month's time they came back again, and brought with them a present of thirty baskets of mackerel, and as soon as they arrived they distributed these amongst their friends; and down ran Te Kahureremoa from the village to the landing-place to take a basket of mackerel for herself. As soon as Paka saw this, he gave his daughter a sound scolding for going and taking the fish; this is what Paka said to his daughter: “Put that down, you shall not have it: I wanted you to go and become the wife of the young chief of the place where these good fish abound, and you refused to go, therefore you shall not now have any.”
This was quite enough; poor little Te Kahureremoa felt entirely overcome with shame, she left the basket of fish, dropping it just where she was, and ran back into the house, and began to sob and cry; then her thoughts suggested to her, that after this, it would be better that she should be no more seen by the eyes of her father, and that her father's face should be no more seen by her, and her heart kept on urging her to run away to Takakopiri, and to take him for her lord; she had seen him, and liked him well; he was a great chief, and had abundance of food of the best kind on his estates; plenty of potted birds of all kinds; and kiwis, and kiores and wekas, and eels, and mackerel, and crayfish; in short, he had abundance of all kinds of food, and was rich in every sort of property.
As she thought of all this, the chief's young daughter continued weeping and sobbing in the house, quite overcome with shame, and when evening came she was still crying, but at night, she said to herself. “Now I'll be off, whilst all the men are fast asleep;” so she get up and ran away, accompanied by her female slave. The next morning when the sun rose they found she was gone, page 163 and she had fled so far, that when those who were sent to seek her came to the footprints of herself and her slave, their edges had so sunk down, that the pursuers could not tell how long it was since she had passed.
Waipuna was the village from which Te Kahureremoa started, and they had left Pukorokoro behind them, and by the time it was full daybreak they had reached Waitakaruru, and as the full rays of the sun shone on the earth, they were passing above Pouarua; then for a little time they travelled very fast and reached Riwaki, at the mouth of the river Piako; and this they crossed and pushed on for Opani, and thence those in pursuit of them returned, they could follow them no further; the tide also was flowing, which stopped the pursuit.
Just then some of the canoes of the up-river country were returning from Ruawehea, and when the people in the canoes saw her, they raised loud cries of—“Ho, ho! here's Te Kahureremoa, here's the daughter of Paka;” she stepped into one of the canoes with them, and the people kept crying out the whole way from the mouth of the river up its course as they ascended it, “Here's Te Kahureremoa;” and they rowed very fast, feeling alarmed at having so great a chieftainess on board, and so confused were they at her presence, that throughout the whole day they kept on bending their heads down to their very paddles, as they pulled. They stopped at Raupa, where the Awa-iti branches off to Tauranga, and there they spent one night; and the next day they went over the range towards Katikati: the people of Raupa urged her to stop there for a little; she, however, would not, but driven by the fond thoughts of her heart, she pressed onwards, and reached the summit of the ridge of Hikurangi, and looked down upon Katikati, and saw also Tauranga; then the young girl turned, and looked round at the mountain at Otawa, and although she knew what it was, she liking to hear his name, and of his greatness, spoke to the people of the country, who, out of respect were accompanying her, and asking said, “What is the name of yonder mountain?” and they answered her, “That is Otawa.” And the young girl asked again, “Is the country of that mountain rich in page 164 food?” and they replied, “Oh, there are found kiores, and kiwis and wekas, and pigeons, and tuis; why that mountain is famed for the variety and number of birds that inhabit it.” Then the young girl took courage, and asked once more, “Whom does all that fruitful country belong to?” and they told her, “The Waitaka is the name of the tribe that inhabit that country, and Takakopiri is the chief of it. He is the owner of that mountain, and he is the great chief of the Waitaka; and when the people of that tribe collect food from the mountains, they bear everything to him; the food of all those districts, whatever it may be, belongs to that great lord alone.” When the young girl heard all this, she said to the people, “I and my female slave are going there, to Otawa.” And the people said to her, “No; is that really the case?” and she said, “Yes, we are going there. Paka sent us there, that we should ask Takakopiri to pay him a visit at Wharekawa.” She said this to deceive the people, and prevent them from stopping her; and immediately started again upon her journey, and came down upon the sea-shore at Katikati. The Waitaha, the tribe of Takakopiri, inhabited that village; and as soon as they saw the young girl coming, there arose joyful cries of—“Here is Kahureremoa! oh, here is the daughter of Paka!” and the people collected in crowds to gaze at the young chieftainess. She rested at the village, and they immediately began to prepare food, and when it was cooked, they brought it to her, and she partook of it, and when she had done it was night-time; then they brought plenty of firewood into the house, and made up a clear fire, so that the house might be quite light, and they all stood up to dance, that she might pass a cheerful evening.
After they had all danced, they continued soliciting Te Kahureremoa to stand up and dance also, whilst they sat looking on to see how gracefully and beautifully she moved. Upon which she coyly said, “Ah, yes, that's all very well; do you want me to dance indeed?” At last, however, the young girl sprang up, and she had hardly stretched forth her lovely arms in the attitude of the dance, before the people all cried out with surprise and pleasure at her beauty and grace; her arms moved with an easy page 165 and rapid action like that of swimming; her nimble lissom fingers were reverted till their tips seemed to touch the backs of the palms of her hands; and all her motions were so light, that she appeared to float in the air; then might be seen, indeed, the difference between the dancing of a nobly-born girl and of a slave; the latter being too often a mere throwing about of the body and of the arms. Thus she danced before them; and when she had finished, all the young men in the place were quite charmed with her, and could think of nothing but Te Kahureremoa.
When night came on, and the people had dispersed to their houses, the chief of the village came to make love to her, and said, that upon account of her great beauty he wished her to become his wife; but she at once started up with her female slave, and notwithstanding the darkness, they plunged straight into the river, forded it, and proceeded upon their journey, leaving the chief overwhelmed with shame and confusion, at the manner in which Te Kahureremoa had departed. However, away she went, without any fearful thought, on her road to Tauranga, and by daybreak they had reached the Wairoa. When the people of the village saw her coming along in the dawn, they raised joyful cries of—“Here is Te Kahureremoa;” and some of Takakopiri's people, who were there, would detain the young girl for a time: so she rested, and ate, and was refreshed; thence she proceeded along the base of the mountains of Otawa, and at night slept at its foot; and when morning broke, she and her slave continued their journey.
There, just at the same time, was Takakopiri coming along the path, to sport in his forests at Otawa; his sport was spearing birds, and right in the pathway there stood a tall forest tree covered with berries, upon which large green pigeons had settled in flocks to feed. The two girls came toiling along, with their upper cloaks thrown around their shoulders like plaids, for the convenience of travelling, the slave-girl carrying a basket of food on her back for her mistress. As the girls drew near the forest they heard the loud flapping of the wings of a pigeon, for the young chief had struck one with his spear; so they stopped at page 166 once, and Te Kahureremoa said to her slave, “Somebody is there, just listen how that bird flaps its wings;” and her slave answered, “Yes, I hear it.” And Te Kahureremoa said, “That was the flapping of the wings of a bird which somebody has speared;” and her slave replied, “Yes, we had better go and see who it is.” And they had not gone far before they heard a louder flap, as the bird was thrown upon the ground; they at once approached the spot, and seeing a heap of pigeons which had been killed, lying at the root of a tree, they sat down by them. Takakopiri had observed them coming along, and as he watched the girls from the tree, he said to himself, “These girls are travelling, and they come from a long distance, for their cloaks are rolled over their shoulders like plaids; they are not from near here; had they come from the neighbourhood they would have worn their cloaks hanging down in the usual way.”
Then the young chief came down from the tree, leaving his spear swinging to a bough: as he was descending, the girls saw him, and the slave knew him at once at a distance, and said, “Oh, my young mistress, that is Takakopiri;” and Te Kahureremoa said, “No, no, it is not indeed;” but the slave said, “Yes, it is he, I saw him when he came to Hauraki;” and the young girl said, “You are right, it is Takakopiri;” and her slave said, “Yes, yes, this is the young chief who has caused us to come all this distance.” By this time he had reached the ground, and he and the girls cried out at the same time to each other, “Welcome, welcome;” and the young man came up to them, and stooped down, and pressed his nose to the nose of each of them. Te Kahureremoa felt and knew whose face touched hers, but Takakopiri did not know whose nose he had pressed.
“Welcome, welcome, thou who comest
From afar, from beyond the far horizon;
Our dearest child hath brought thee thence;
Welcome, oh, welcome here.”
And each of the many hundreds of persons who had come out to welcome her, as she passed his residence, prayed her to stop there; but Takakopiri continued to say to her, “Press on, follow close, quite close, after me;” and so he led her through the throng of people, each of whom felt so moved towards the young girl, that, although they were in the very presence of their young lord, they could not help soliciting her to stop at each house as she came by. At length she arrived at Takakopiri's dwelling, and there for the first time she stopped and sat down, and the people came thronging in crowds to gaze upon her; and they spread before the two young girls food in abundance, the birds which the young chief had taken upon the mountains; and a feast was made for the crowd that surrounded them; thus they remained feasting, and admiring that young girl, and when the sun sank below the horizon, they were still sitting there gazing upon her. The youths of the village thought they could never be weary of looking at her, but none dared to utter one word of love for fear of Pakakopiri. Before a month had passed she was married to the young chief, and she bore him a daughter, named Tuparshaki, from whom, in eleven generations, or in about 275 years, have sprung all the principal chiefs of the Ngatipaoa tribe who are now alive (in 1853).