Polynesian Mythology and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race
The Two Sorcerers. — (Ko Te Matenga O Kiki.)
The Two Sorcerers.
(Ko Te Matenga O Kiki.)
Kiki was a celebrated sorcerer, and skilled in magical arts; he lived upon the river Waikato. The inhabitants of that river still have this proverb, “The offspring of Kiki wither shrubs.” This proverb had its origin in the circumstance of Kiki being such a magician, that he could not go abroad in the sunshine; for if his shadow fell upon any place not protected from his magic, it at once became tapu, and all the plants there withered.
This Kiki was thoroughly skilled in the practice of sorcery. If any parties coming up the river called at his village in their canoes as they paddled by, he still remained quietly at home, and never troubled himself to come out, but just drew back the sliding door of his house, so that it might stand open, and the strangers stiffened and died; or even as canoes came paddling down from the upper parts of the river he drew back the sliding wooden shutter to the window of his house, and the crews on board of them were sure to die.
At length, the fame of this sorcerer spread exceedingly, and resounded through every tribe, until Tamure, a chief who dwelt at Kawhia, heard with others, reports of the magical powers of Kiki, for his fame extended over the whole country. At length Tamure thought he would go and contend in the arts of sorcery with Kiki, that it might be seen which of them was most skilled in magic; and he arranged in his own mind a fortunate season for his visit.
When this time came, he selected two of his people as his companions, and he took his young daughter with him also; and page 170 they all crossed over the mountain range from Kawhia, and came down upon the river Waipa, which runs into the Waikato, and embarking there in a canoe, paddled down the river towards the village of Kiki; and they managed so well, that before they were seen by anybody, they had arrived at the landing-place. Tamure was not only skilled in magic, but he was also a very cautious man; so whilst they were still afloat upon the river, he repeated an incantation of the kind called “Mata-tawhito,” to preserve him safe from all arts of sorcery; and he repeated other incantations, to ward off spells, to protect him from magic, to collect good genii round him, to keep off evil spirits, and to shield him from demons; when these preparations were all finished, they landed, and drew up their canoe on the beach, at the landing-place of Kiki.
As soon as they had landed, the old sorcerer called out to them that they were welcome to his village, and invited them to come up to it; so they went up to the village: and when they reached the square in the centre, they seated themselves upon the ground; and some of Kiki's people kindled fire in an enchanted oven, and began to cook food in it for the strangers. Kiki sat in his house, and Tamure on the ground just outside the entrance to it, and he there availed himself of this opportunity to repeat incantations over the threshold of the house, so that Kiki might be enchanted as he stepped over it to come out. When the food in the enchanted oven was cooked, they pulled off the coverings, and spread it out upon clean mats. The old sorcerer now made his appearance out of his house, and he invited Tamure to come and eat food with him; but the food was all enchanted, and his object in asking Tamure to eat with him was, that the enchanted food might kill him. Therefore Tamure said that his young daughter was very hungry, and would eat of the food offered to them; he in the meantime kept on repeating incantations of the kind called Mata-tawhito, Whakangungu, and Parepare, protections against enchanted food, and as she ate she also continued to repeat them; even when she stretched out her hand to take a sweet potato, or any other food, she dropped the greater part of it at her feet, and hid it under her clothes, and then only ate a little bit. After she page 171 had done, the old sorcerer, Kiki, kept waiting for Tamure to begin to eat also of the enchanted food, that he might soon die. Kiki having gone into his house again, Tamure still sat on the ground outside the door, and as he had enchanted the threshold of the house, he now repeated incantations which might render the door enchanted also, so that Kiki might be certain not to escape when he passed out of it. By this time Tamure's daughter had quite finished her meal, but neither her father nor any of his people had partaken of the enchanted food.
Tamure now ordered his people to launch his canoe, and they paddled away, and a little time after they had left the village, Kiki became unwell; in the meanwhile, Tamure and his people were paddling homewards in all haste, and as they passed a village where there were a good many people on the river's bank, Tamure stopped, and said to them, “If you should see any canoe pulling after us, and the people in the canoe ask you, have you seen a canoe pass up the river, would you be good enough to say, ‘Yes, a canoe has passed by here?’ and then if they ask you, ‘How far has it got?’ would you be good enough to say, ‘Oh, by this time it has got very far up the river?’” and having thus said to the people of that village, Tamure paddled away again in his canoe with all haste.
Some time after Tamure's party had left the village of Kiki, the old sorcerer became very ill indeed, and his people then knew that this had been brought about by the magical arts of Tamure, and they sprang into a canoe to follow after him, and pulled up the river as hard as they could; and when they had reached the village where the people were on the river's bank, they called out and asked them, “How far has the canoe reached, which passed up the river?” and the villagers answered, “Oh, that canoe must have got very far up the river by this time.” The people in the canoe that was pursuing Tamure, upon hearing this, returned again to their own village, and Kiki died from the incantations of Tamure.
Some of Kiki's descendants are still living—one of them, named Mokahi, recently died at Tauranga-a-ruru, but Te Maioha is still page 172 living on the river Waipa. Yes, some of the descendants of Kiki, whose shadow withered trees, are still living. He was indeed a great sorcerer: he overcame every other sorcerer until he met Tamure, but he was vanquished by him, and had to bend the knee before him.
Tamure has also some descendants living, amongst whom are Mahu and Kiake of the Ngati-Maruu tribe; these men are also skilled in magic; if a father skilled in magic died, he left his incantations to his children; so that if a man was skilled in sorcery, it was known that his children would have a good knowledge of the same arts, as they were certain to have derived it from their parent.