Polynesian Mythology and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race
The History of Paoa, the Ancestor of the Ngatipaoa Tribe
The History of Paoa, the Ancestor of the Ngatipaoa Tribe.
When Paoa came to this country, bordering on the river Thames, Waihou and Piako, he came from the southward, from the Ngati-kahunghu tribe; the Whai-a-Pawa (East Cape) was the country of his ancestors; his father was named Rongo-tiu-moe-whara.
Whilst Paoa was living with his father, he had a quarrel with his wife; and she, being overcome with shame, went away to other places, to stop there, and mourn and weep for the manner in which she had been treated by her husband. For a long time after she had gone Paoa remained, expecting that his wife would come back again; and after he had expected her return for very many days, at last he surmised she must have gone to some very distant place; so he thought, “Perhaps she has gone to a great distance, I will go and find her.”
Then he set off on his journey, with his slave as a travelling companion, and went through many villages searching for his wife, and she could not be found; for when she heard the voice of Paoa she hid herself. However he continued to travel in search of her, but as he could nowhere find his wife, at last he returned to his father and his relations, that he might once more see them. And when he arrived at their village he wept towards them, saying, “If we cannot find her, I and my slave will return to search this town and that town, and this village and that village. If we cannot find her, I and my slave will still continue to search for her.”page 195
Then his father spoke, saying, “Yes, go, my son, but take some of your brethren with you to bear you company upon the road.” And Paoa answered, “'Tis well, I will take them; if we find her, then we will all return to you; if we cannot find her, I will send my brothers back to you; but, as for myself, I will not in that case return to you, but I and my slave will persevere in our efforts, and will continue until we have searched every town and village.” His father replied, “Be it so, my son.”
Then Paoa and his brothers started and traversed the forests until they came out into the Taupo country, and at last reached the Lake of Taupo; but Paoa's wife could not be found there; so he then said to his brethren, “Now, then, my young brothers, you must return to our father, to cheer up his heart once more.” But his brothers earnestly entreated him to let them still bear him company, and spoke most affectionately to their eldest brother; but Paoa spoke angrily to them, and positively ordered them to return. So they went on their way home again, and returned from Taupo to the Whai-a-Pawa.
So Paoa pursued his journey in peace and reached Tongariro, and thence came out upon the Taranaki country; but his wife could nowhere be found. Then he pursued his journey up the west coast, until he came out upon the river Waikato, some distance above its mouth, in the interior of the country, and stopped at a village there. And when the people of the village saw Paoa, they questioned his slave, saying, “Who is this?” and they were answered by the slave, “It is Paoa.” And they asked the slave again, “Whence does he come?” And the slave told them thus, “We come together from the eastward, from the rising sun.” Then they questioned further, saying, “What made you undertake this journey?” And the slave answered them, “We came to try to find his wife, and we have searched everywhere, and, lo! she has not yet been found.” Then the people of the village said to the slave, “Why should such a woman be sought after in this manner by you? here is a maiden as a wife for him; why should you search further? If there are maidens in your country, have we not as good here? Why should such a page 196 woman be sought after in such a manner by you? Lo, here is a maiden as a wife for your master.” Then Paoa was married to a maiden of that place.
Then he removed a little way from that village to Kaitotehe, and dwelt there, and made it his permanent residence; and two male children were there born to him; the eldest was named Toa-whena, the second Toa-poto. And after he had lived there for some time, Paoa cast his glances on a very beautiful young woman, but who was a slave of very mean origin; and Paoa made love to that woman, caught by her beauty—that was the cause that led Paoa to make her his slave wife—and he deserted his wife of high rank and his children. When Paoa's slave saw that his master had deserted his wife of rank, he said to himself, “As for me, I will return to my lady.” So he returned to his mistress, and continued to live with her as her slave; and, in order to support her children, his mistress was obliged to work with her slave. And they cultivated together a garden of sweet potatoes, and were fortunate, for in the first year they had one hundred baskets of sweet potatoes, and in the second year they had two hundred baskets of sweet potatoes; and the slave and his lady went on working most industriously, and extending their cultivations.
Paoa and the woman he had taken as a slave-wife also laboured together, and they extended their cultivations as much as they could; but strangers kept on dropping in, consuming from time to time a few basketfuls of their produce; for visitors who came never went to any other house; they naturally all resorted to Paoa, that it might be seen that they regarded him as the principal person; and thus it went on each year.
At last, after the third season of harvest, some distant connections of Paoa's principal wife came in their canoe into the river Horotiu, and landed at Pepepe, where was their young female relation, the wife of Paoa. So the travellers asked her, saying, “Where shall we find Paoa?” And she told them, “Oh, Paoa's place is a little lower down the river, at Kaitotehe.” Then the travellers went straight on board their canoe again, and pulled down the river to Kaitotehe, and landed there; and there was page 197 Paoa. And some of his people raised the cry of “Strangers! strangers! Here are strangers come to visit Paoa!”
Now it happened that the slave-wife of Paoa had just come back from the forests, from gathering the curved sprouts of the mamaku trees, and sprouts of the mauku, and such coarse kinds of wild food as are eaten in times of scarcity; and as soon as she had come back she bound up the sprouts she had collected in the leaves of the wharangi and of the karamu, that they might be so cooked as to be juicy and tender, and then put them under the hot ashes of the fire. She was just caught doing this by the strangers who had arrived; and off she ran on one side, leaving her vegetables cooking, not having had time to take them out of the fire. In came the strangers, straight up to the village from the river; and whilst some of them went up to the houses, others came straight to the fire where the food was cooking; and seeing the hot ashes heaped up, they said amongst themselves, “Some one is cooking eels here;” and those amongst them who were very glad at the thought of getting such good food said, “Ah! there are no doubt some nice eels cooking in this fire.” And the travellers lingered about the fire, waiting until the person the food belonged to should come back again, and, taking off the fire, should take out the dainties they longed for. But not a bit did the woman come back to her fire again; she was nearly dead with alarm lest the strangers should see the food cooking in her oven, and should say, “See what beggarly stuff this wretched creature eats.” As for Paoa, too, he could not open his mouth to say a word, he felt so disgraced at not having any food to set before his guests.
At last Paoa told his slave-wife to run to his principal wife and bring a few sweet potatoes for the visitors; but the woman said to him, “What is the use of my going? she will not let us have any.” But Paoa answered, “Never mind, you had better go; even if you get none, you can but try.”
So the woman hurried off to carry Paoa's message; and whilst she was still coming, and a long way off, she was seen by the children of Paoa's principal wife; and off ran the children to their page 198 mother, and told her, saying, “Here comes that slave-wife of Paoa's.” When their mother heard what they said, off she ran too, and got into her house to hide herself. However, the other woman came straight on to the house, for she had seen Paoa's wife go into it; and when she reached the doorway she bent down, and, peeping into the house, there she saw Paoa's wife working away, weaving a garment of flax. So she saluted the wife of Paoa, and his principal wife saluted her too; and when the ceremonies of the salutation were completed, the slave-wife delivered her message, and said, “I have been sent here by Paoa to fetch a little food for the strangers who have just arrived.” Now Paoa's principal wife had guessed very readily that the woman had been sent by Paoa to fetch provisions; so she in her turn spoke and said, “I send provisions for the strangers indeed! Whence should I have provisions? Am I a man, that I should be strong to labour and till the ground? Has a poor woman strength to labour? I will not part with any of my hard-earned little store of food. I shall keep it to nourish my deserted children, lest they perish from want.”
All this time Paoa was waiting anxiously until his messenger returned; and as soon as ever she came back he questioned her, saying, “Well, what does she say?” and the woman answered, “She will not give any provisions; she says she has nothing to give her children, and they are famishing.” When Paoa heard this, he had not a word to say; he felt so completely abashed, that he could give no answer; but he turned to the strangers and said, “We have no food here, and shall be very hungry, so that we can have no pleasant conversation. It is only when the appetite is satisfied that conversation runs agreeably.”
The strangers still sat until evening began to close in, till almost starving with hunger; then his guests returned to their own village. On the very same day that they had arrived they got into their canoe again, and pulled away. As for poor Paoa, he was left overwhelmed with shame, and he said that he would abandon that country, and be off and seek some new abode; and that very night he departed a fugitive from his own place.page 199
Thus Paoa started in the night, and he went straight from the Waikato for Hauraki, up the valley of the Manga-wara Creek, which runs out into the Waikato, at the base of Mount Taupiri, on its eastern side. When the day dawned, Paoa was still pushing hurriedly on; and at last he reached the hills of Tikitikimaurea, where the Mangawara has its source; and ascending these, he rested there, and saw the Waikato lying far behind him, and Hauraki lying before him: and then he wept sore for grief at leaving his children, and his people, and his place. He wept long as he thought of these things; and when tears had somewhat assuaged his grief, he bid them all farewell, and ceased sorrowing.
Then he resumed his journey again, and pushed straight on for the river Piako, and at last came out upon the banks of that river, and stopped at a fortified village named Mirimirirau, and he stopped there and dwelt there amongst the people of that place, and they became a people for him, and they dealt kindly with him, and he was as a chief to them, and he dwelt there; and a year passed away, and by degrees the fame of Paoa spread into the district of Hauraki, and at length it reached the village of Ruawhea.
And it chanced that a visiting party started from the fortified village where Paoa dwelt, and went to Ruawhea, where a large part of the people of Hauraki were assembled; and when they saw the party of visitors approaching, a cry was raised, “These strangers come from a great distance; they come from the river Piako.” Then, indeed, loud were the cries of “Welcome! welcome!” which were raised; and the visitors took up their abode in some of the buildings which belonged to Tukutuku (she was the daughter of the chief of Ruawhea); and they seated themselves there, and had not sat long—indeed, but a very short time—when their hospitable young hostess had fires lighted to roast fern-root in, to stay their appetites whilst other food was prepared; and they rose up and went to the fires, and partook of the fern-root whilst better food was preparing; and when the food was cooked, it was spread out before them, and consisted chiefly of delicate eels. When they had finished their meal, they lay down to rest; page 200 and when day broke they went to the residences of other people, each one going to the place of those friends he had come to visit.
After many days the several persons of this visiting party all assembled again at the residence of Tukutuku previous to returning home, and they rested there, intending to sleep there. As soon as it grew dark, a bright fire was lighted in the house, and the dancers were all ranged in order; for the residence of a chief was known by the people dancing there.
Whilst the dance was going on, Tukutuku took an opportunity of questioning some of the strangers, saying, “Where is he of whom we have heard so much here?” Then the strangers answered, “Whom do you mean?” The maiden replied, “I mean Paoa;” and they answered her, “Oh, he is living on the Piako.” And she said, “Do you think we shall ever see Paoa here?” and they replied, “We cannot tell; perhaps he will come here.”
The young maiden was still unmarried. Many chiefs flocked about her to try to win her favour, but she never would consent to take them. Now when her parents heard their daughter asking in this manner after Paoa, they said to one another, “Why, surely the girl must have taken a fancy to Paoa: do you hear how she is asking after him?”
When the morning broke, the party of visitors departed for the Piako, filled with wonder at the greatness and rank of the maiden, and the number of her dependents. Her real greatness was shown by her courteousness and generosity to all her dependents; and when they saw this, their hearts were moved, and they brought to her as presents large quantities of food, such as dried shell-fish and other delicacies, so that she could show great hospitality to strangers.
When the party from Paoa's fortified village, who had been visiting at Hauraki, arrived near their own place, the people of the fortress saw them returning, and they waved their garments and cried out, “Hasten here, hasten here!” as a welcome to them upon their return; so those who were returning landed, and entered the fortress, and seated themselves in the court-yard, and page 201 began to relate all that they had seen and heard. And they talked until evening, and Paoa was seated with them; and as they talked they mentioned the great rank of Tukutuku, the maiden whom they had seen, and they said to Paoa, “Oh! father, the maiden questioned us about you.” And he replied, “About whom, say you, did the maiden question you?” And they said, “She questioned us about you, saying, ‘Where is the man whose renown has been so much heard of here?’ and we answered her, ‘Who is it you are asking after?’ and she told us, ‘It is Paoa I am speaking of;’ and then the maiden said to us, ‘I should much like to see him; for his fame is noised over the whole country, far and wide.’ Then we told her, ‘he is to be found at his own fortress;’ and she questioned us again, saying, ‘Where is his fortress?’ And we answered, ‘At Mirimirirau.’ Then she said to us, ‘Do you think he will visit my residence, or not?’ And we answered the maid, ‘Who knows? perhaps he will visit this place.’” When Paoa heard this, he said to them, “Wait a little, we will all go and see her in the tenth month, when our crops are harvested and stored; let us go on our journey unembarrassed with work, lest whilst we are absent on the journey our hearts should feel anxious about our homes;” and all his people fell in with this arrangement, saying, “Yes, yes; we will start in the tenth month. Let the party be large; let not one of us fail of going.” And he said, “Be it so; let the maiden's request be complied with;” and when this understanding had been come to, the party broke up.
When the tenth month arrived, Paoa started with a very large retinue, on a visit to Hauraki; they went in their canoes, and they stopped at Kerepehi, and there they slept the first night; and the next day they continued to pull down the river, until they reached its mouth at Rawaki, and there they rested a little and partook of food; and as soon as the tide began to flow, they again embarked in their canoes, and entered the Hauraki river, and they went up the river rapidly and without pulling hard; for they went in with the flood tide. And when the people of the village at the entrance saw them, they shouted aloud to them with cries of welcome; so they landed there, and went towards the village in a body, with page 202 Paoa in the midst of them; and as they all moved along, Paoa towered high above them all; he looked, as he walked along, like the bird called the “stilts” moving in a flock of little birds. And as they moved towards the village, loud cries of “Welcome, welcome!” continued to resound; so they went gladly on until they reached the village. Paoa had put on his old coarse cloak, made of the leaves of the Ti-tree: next his body he had a rough cloak, such as chiefs wear, outside of that a cloak made of flax, and over all his coarse cloak made of Ti-leaves. They all seated themselves in a court-yard; and then the people of the village all looked hard at them, trying to make out which was Paoa, saying, “Who is that in the coarse cloak? perhaps it is the chief of whom we have heard so much.” They had not rested very long, when their hosts brought bundles of firewood and fern-root, and stones to pound it on; then they lighted up clear, bright fires, and began to bake the pieces of fern-root, and then to pound them with wooden mallets; and the noise of the rapidly beating mallets was loud as the confused murmur of a multitude. In a little time they laid out on one side the pieces of baked fern-root, which they had duly pounded, with baskets of cooked fish; and the visitors, rising from their seats, went to partake of the food prepared for them; and Paoa seated himself in the midst of them; and the people of the village (who still had their eyes fixed upon him) picked out a basket with fine salmon (kahawai) in it, and laid it before him for his portion; they thought, “We will find out whether he is an affected fellow, or a really great man. If he is a weak, conceited fellow, he will only eat the best food, and refuse the worst.” But Paoa, just looking at the basket of beautiful fish they had placed before him, pushed it on one side for his companions to eat, pulled a flax dish, with the refuse food in it, towards him, and ate of that, and so fast, too, that he appeared hardly to have dipped his hand twice in it when he had finished it all; and when some of the people of the village saw the manner in which he ate, they said to one another, “After all, he's a low fellow; see what stuff he eats;” but the old men of the village said, “That man is a chief, he is only trying to appear to be a person of no importance.”page 203
Presently Paoa took another flax dish of refuse, dirty food, and swallowed that also. Then one of the people of the village, no longer able to restrain his curiosity, asked a young lad of the party of their guests, “Who is that man?” And he was answered by the lad, “That is Paoa.” When he heard this, he went to the place where the chiefs of the village were sitting by (watching their guests eat), and told them, “That is Paoa; how dirtily he eats!” Some of the people who heard this said, “It is Paoa, the greedy;” thence that proverb has ever since been applied to the Ngatipaoa tribe; so that men say, “as greedy as a Ngatipaoa!”
Paoa being thus at last recognised and being known to them all, they all collected and crowded round to gaze at him, saying, “It is truly no wonder that such reports have spread here of this man, that he was such a fine handsome fellow.”
When Paoa's people had all done eating, they all retired again, and took their seats upon the ground on one side. Then the people of the place brought forth a present for Paoa—a “pueru” cloak, and a cloak which they were weaving, and which was nearly finished. They then all lay down to sleep.
As soon as the day broke, the travellers entered their canoes, and pulled away again upon their journey. As they came up the river, they were seen by the people of Turua, which is a fortified village; and the greater part of Paoa's people said, “We had better not land here;” but the people of the place waved their garments, and cried out to them, “Welcome, welcome!” Then Paoa said, “When there is a call to a feast, open your ears” (Let the drum of your ears be then not thick); and the Ngatipaoa have ever since kept that saying amongst them as a proverb.
So they landed there, and they were received and treated just in the same manner as at the former village. Paoa did not throw off his warm cloak manufactured of Ti-leaves, but continued to wear it; and the people kindled fires and cooked fern-root for them, and they ate food and slept there; and as soon as day broke, they again embarked in their canoes and continued to pull up the river.page 204
They next halted at Te Kari; for they were invited to stop there by the inhabitants of that fortified village: so they landed there, and they were all at once recognised by the people of that village; for some of them had formerly visited the Piako, and had seen Paoa; but those persons in the village who had not previously seen Paoa, came to gaze upon him, and admired him extremely. The tide was now ebbing, and it was difficult to pull against the stream; but in the evening the tide began to flow again, so they then sent off a canoe up the river to Ruawhea that they might hear that Paoa had arrived in their district; and as they pulled along in the dark, the people of the village of Rangiora heard the noise of their paddles, and they called out, “Where do you we hear paddling in that canoe come from?” And they answered them, “Oh, we belong to this district.” Then they again asked them, “Which of our villages are you coming from?” And they told them, “We come from Te Kari!” Then they asked them, “What is the news there?” And they replied, “Oh, not much; the great piece of news is, that Paoa is there; and we are going up the river that Taharua may hear the news.” Then they asked, “Will Paoa and his party come up the river to-morrow?” And they answered, “Yes, in the morning, as soon as the tide makes and some food has been cooked for them to eat before they start; but we must pull on.” And the others answered, “Depart, then; pull well on your journey.”
And when the people at the village of Te Matai heard their paddles as they pulled up the river, they asked them just the same questions as they were asked at Rangiora; they then pulled on to the village of Te Mangarahi, and told the people there the very same news; and, in the same manner, as they passed the village of Tutu they told the news there. At last they landed at Opukeko, which was the fortified village of the chief Taharua. There also they asked them the news, saying, “What news have you brought, that you thus come pulling up the river by night?” And they answered, “We come to let you know that here is Paoa arrived at the village of Te Kari.” And they asked, “Is it really Paoa, or some of his people?” They replied, “It is really page 205 Paoa.” “When will he arrive?” They answered, “By and by; he will probably not be able to travel quickly. The people of the villages will try to detain him; for he is a stranger in these parts, and they will wish to entertain him.” Then the others asked them, “But which place is it that they are coming to visit, to stop there for some time as guests?” They answered them, “It is here they are coming—to this village; therefore it was that we came here, that you might be aware of their intention.” And the others replied, “It was very good of you.” Then they all slept.
The next morning Tukutuku arose very early, and employed herself in melting fragrant gums to perfume her house with. As for the visitors who were coming to stay with them, they continued their journey, and pulled up the river as far as the village at Rangiora; and there, as the people called to them with cries of “Welcome, welcome!” they landed, and remained for that day and night.
The next morning they again resumed their journey; and when they reached the village of Mangarahi a large number of people ran out to welcome them, and to beg them to stay there; and being thus invited by the inhabitants of that village, they landed and remained there. As for Paoa, he still would wear his old coarse cloak. And his companions said to him, “O, father! will you not throw off that old coarse thing? before much longer its stiff, rough collar will rub all the hair off the back of your head.” And he answered, “Never mind; it will do well enough.” In all respects he behaved in the same way in this village as he had done in the others they had rested at.
They slept there that night, and the next morning they again continued to pull up the river. And when they reached the village of Tutu, its inhabitants all shouted out to them with cries of welcome and invited them to come on shore. And the people all went down to the river to escort Paoa up to their village; and he stopped there, and passed the night at that village.
In the evening a messenger, who had been sent from Taharua's fortified village, reached Tutu. He had been sent there to see if page 206 Paoa had arrived so far upon his journey; and as none of them at Taharua's village knew him, as he was a stranger, the messenger had been directed to observe his appearance, so as to be able to point him out from his companions when they arrived, that they might all know which was Paoa. This messenger, having ascertained that Paoa and his party intended the next morning to pull up to the village of Taharua, returned there the same evening; and when he reached the village, he told them that the guests who were coming to visit them would arrive there on the morrow.
When Tukutuku heard this, she spoke to her servants, saying, “Now, my people, rise early in the morning, and gather leaves to strew the courtyard and the house for the strangers.” She had already prepared scents and fragrant gums to perfume the house with; and having now given these orders to her people, they all retired to rest.
But the next day, very early in the morning, Tukutuku arose, and went and gave the necessary directions for preparing abundance of food for the strangers, and then returning she smeared the inside of her house with perfumes and sweet-smelling gums; for it was her house which was to be allotted to the strangers on their arrival; and when she had thus perfumed it, she drew close the sliding-door and the window, that the perfume might not escape; so that the house might smell delightfully, and be agreeable to her guests when they arrived. She next caused the floor of the verandah in front of her house to be covered with clean fine mats for the strangers to sit upon.
The same morning the party who were coming to visit them continued their journey, and the people of the village of Tutu came with them, to escort them upon their way. As they pulled up the river, they were seen coming by the people of Taharua's village, who were collected upon the top of the parapets of the fortification to salute them with songs of welcome; then was heard the cheering joyful sound of the ancient Maori song of welcome for strangers.
On they came, pulling straight for the landing-place; and as they landed they were saluted with cries of “Welcome, welcome!” page 207 and they came on towards the village; and when Paoa rose up in the canoe to land, he put on the same coarse old mat made of the leaves of the Ti-tree. All the rest of his party were dressed in handsome cloaks; he alone wore an old, exceedingly shabby coarse cloak. His friends were all quite vexed with him, and asked him to throw off that shabby old thing; but he only replied, “That'll do; I'll keep this cloak on.” Although the rest were so well dressed, and Paoa so badly, yet those who had not seen him before had not long to look before they distinguished which was him, and said, “There! That's Paoa!” because his appearance was so much superior to that of the others; and yet they could not see his good garments, because they were covered by his coarse old cloak; and as for his hair, it was all rough and disordered, twisted up behind by the high collar of his old cloak, so that his hair all stuck up and his head looked quite shaggy. His friends felt quite discontented; for they said they wished him to look to advantage there, where he was a stranger. Thus they went along on the path to the village through the crowd which had collected to look at the strangers. At length they entered the village, and the court-yard which had been strewed with leaves for their reception; and those who were in front seated themselves in the verandah of the house which had been prepared for them. In the meantime Paoa followed on, the main part of the people thronging round him to look at him. When he came up to the house, he called out to his party, “Let us all go inside the house, and leave the outside vacant for these people to sit there.” Then those of his party who were in front went on, and some of them laying hold of the door of the house drew it back; and no sooner was the door opened than out issued a very delicious smell, the sweet scent of the perfume; and they all cried out, “Oh! oh! how very sweet the house smells!” But what did Paoa care for the sweet perfume? And although the house was so beautified, and although the floor of it was covered with such beautiful variegated mats that he ought for very shame to have thrown aside his coarse old cloak, nevertheless he would not take it off, but, as soon as he had got into the house, lay down in it, to sleep in it, just as he was.page 208
No long time elapsed ere food was spread before the strangers; it consisted of eels and sweet potatoes. As for Paoa, he did not show himself outside the house, but ate his food inside it, and then lay down to sleep there again until evening, when the people of the village assembled to dance before the strangers; for amongst the natives of New Zealand the dances of the evening distinguish the village of a chief. When the ranks of the dancers were formed, Paoa came out into the verandah of the house, and seated himself there to look on, but he did not mingle with the dancers. When the people of the village had finished their dancing and singing, their visitors stood up to dance and sing in their turn; and at length they also ceased.
Then, when their guests retired into their house, after the dances were over, the principal inhabitants of the village all crowded into it also, to hear what took place; and there also came young Tuku-tuku, the daughter of Taharua, the chief of the place, and she went and seated herself in the dark corner at the farthest end of the house, whence she could watch Paoa without being seen. She often tried to draw near to Paoa, but from shyness she could not do so; and although she stayed in the house with the others, talking until the morning broke, she never once approached him.
In the early morning, food was prepared for the visitors; and as soon as it was spread before them, they ate their food. Two days they remained there; and for two days and nights Tukutuku tried to approach Paoa, but she could not overcome her shyness, and she came not near him. Upon the third day Paoa told his people that they must return to their own place, that he felt dull and tired from stopping so long. The inhabitants of the village heard of this his intention, and so did Tukutuku. So the young chieftainess came to try to detain the strangers; and having come, she said, “I hear you are about to return.” And her visitors answered her, “'Tis true.” And she said to them, “Do we not give you food enough, that you leave us so soon? Nay, stop a little longer; then presently you shall return to your own village.” And they replied, “Be it so.”page 209
It was not yet evening when the servants of the young chieftainess appeared, bringing a feast for the strangers, and laid thousands of nicely dressed eels before them, so that her guests now, for the first time, were fully aware of her wealth and substance; and when night closed in, the dancers arranged themselves in ranks, and all the people of the village assembled, because the strangers were to start the next day; and they all continued for a long time to dance and sing, and at length ceased, and then they all assembled in the house of their guests. Then came the young chieftainess, Tukutuku, and seated herself at the door of the house. Paoa, too, was lying at the side of the house, next to the door; that was the place he had occupied ever since his arrival; for that seat in a house is always set apart for a chief, and no inferior person may occupy it. And it was not long before the young girl, according to the custom of her country, stretched out her hand, and taking Paoa's hand, pressed it. Of course the young girl had told her father and her mother of her love for Paoa, and they had given their consent to it; therefore it was that she stretched forth her hand to take Paoa's. But Paoa did not like this at all; for he feared, if he accepted her love, that he and his party might be slain by her tribe. He thought that her parents had not consented to her wishes. In the meantime the young girl again tried to take his hand; but Paoa rudely thrust her hand away.
Then also Paoa felt so vexed about her, that he ordered his people to stop the song and dance. So the people of the place all broke up, and went out from the house of the strangers, and returned to their own homes, and the young girl was forced to go with them. When she reached her father, she told him how she had put forth her hand to take Paoa's; and the old man said to her, “Did not he appear pleased at this sign of your love?” and she answered, “Alas! no.” Then her mother said to her, “Go back again, and try again, and take some of your female friends as witnesses with you, lest the man say that your anxiety to gain his love arises from your own wishes alone. He is doubtless afraid lest he and his people should be slain. He thinks undoubtedly page 210 that your father and I have not given out consent. Go, and do not be afraid.”
Then the young girl went, with four of her female friends, she making the fifth; and she seated herself for a time outside in the open air (for she felt herself abashed at Paoa having so rudely thrust her hand away), and she then told one of her companions to go and fetch him. When this female came to Paoa, she said to him, “Come along alone with me.” But Paoa answered, “Where to?” and she said, “Oh, just here. It is a young lady who sent me to you.” Paoa's young men, observing this, said, “Oh, we had better all go together.” But the female who had been sent to fetch Paoa said, “No, no; do you all stop here; do not come.” Then Paoa's people murmured amongst themselves, saying, “Who may this woman be?” and others of them answered, “Oh, it is one of the female friends of Tukutuku, whom we see always going about with her in the daytime.” And they answered them, “So it is; perhaps, then, Tukutuku sent her to fetch Paoa.”
In the meantime Paoa had gone off with the messenger. They went along together until they came to a house, in the verandah of which they found Tukutuku sitting with her female friends. The floor of the house was nicely covered with floor-mats, and the house was made to smell sweetly from sweet-scented Tawhiri leaves being scattered about it.
As soon as Tukutuku saw Paoa coming, she welcomed him by crying out, “Welcome, welcome!” As for him, he sat down at the door of the house, for he felt quite ashamed when he saw that there were only females there. But Tukutuku's friends called out to Paoa, “You are welcome; pray walk inside the house.”
So Paoa entered the house, and seated himself; as for Tukutuku, she and her friends were seated in the verandah. One side of the house was left for Paoa. The house was lighted with a lamp, made of twisted flax dipped in shark's oil; and one of Tukutuku's companions kept on trimming the lamp which she held.
When Tukutuku and her friends had entered the house, her companions said, “We will go now.” But Tukutuku stopped page 211 them, begging them to stay, saying, “Let us all pass the night here, until to-morrow's dawn has well broken.” They still, however, persisted in leaving her; but she still detained them; so they remained, and they let the lamp go out, and they all prepared to sleep.
Then Paoa said to Tukutuku, “Are you of noble birth?” And she answered him, “I am nobly born. There is no other great prince in these districts except my father.” Then he replied, “That is very good; as you say it, it is true, and pleases me.” Again he spoke to her, saying, “Is your nation a powerful nation?” And the young girl answered, “They are so. If you would see the greatness of my race, look as far as the mountains of Moehau [at Cape Colville]; they reach to there. Did you see them as you passed Rawhaki?” Paoa answered her, “Yes, I did see them.” And the young girl said again, “From thence my father's territories extend right round the Cape and along the coast to the eastward as far as Katikati; there they end, that is the limit.”
Paoa then spoke to her, saying, “As for me, I have no people over whom I rule, I am but a sojourner in the land; my own country is Whiapu [or the East Cape];” and then he related to her the manner and cause of his coming to that country, down to the time of his arriving at her village.
When the next day had well broken, Paoa arose and returned to his friends, and to the people who formed his retinue, and the young girl and her companions returned to her mother's house; and her companions spoke to her mother, saying, “Paoa came to our house.” And the old lady asked them, saying, “Who brought him there?” And they answered, “We did; our young mistress told us to bring him there!” And her mother answered, “It is well.”
Before long the news became spread abroad, that Paoa and Tukutuku were man and wife. Then a war-party, led by the young chiefs who would fain have had Tukutuku for their wife, came to molest Taharua, the father of the young girl, and to demand a payment from him, and they said they would also attack and rob Paoa and his people out of revenge; but Taharua page 212 stopped them, saying, “Let the war-party rob me alone; but do not go to our guests. What right have you to trouble men who have done no wrong?” In truth, the young girl was betrothed to no man; she avoided all her lovers, she did not like any of them; therefore the war-party molested Taharua without any just cause or reason. Yet that day many war parties came to molest and rob Taharua; and then they ceased, there was an end of them.
Finally those who accompanied Paoa paddled away to their homes again; but he remained with his young wife, with Tuku-tuku. When a month had expired, he said to her that he was anxious to return to his own village on the Piako. And the young wife answered, “So? Well, then, let us go together, and make our journey in such a manner that you may see all my subjects and all my relations, and that they may see me, lest they get vexed at my long tarrying away from them; for it is some time since I sent to them, saying, ‘I am about to come down the river to see you!’” Paoa replied to her, “Yes, yes; do let us go together.”
So they rested that night, and next morning, as soon as the sun rose, they got into their canoes and paddled down the river, and they landed at each one of the same villages which Paoa had stopped at when he came up the river, village for village, until they came out of the mouth of the river into the gulf; and by this time her subjects had given to their young chieftainess two large canoes full of baskets of shell-fish, which had been taken from their shells and then strung upon strings and dried in the sun. Thus Paoa saw how great was the esteem in which they held his young wife, so that he said, “Nothing could be better than his young wife for a great chieftainess for the country.”
Having quitted the river, they paddled on and landed at Tararu, and stopped there, and his young wife left there the presents of dried shell-fish which she had received, intending to take them on board the canoes again upon her return; and they slept that night at Tararu.
The next morning, when the sun arose, they again paddled on upon their journey, until they reached Te Puru, where they page 213 landed, and there a present of dried fish was made to them; and they returned the same day to Waiau.
There Paoa first tasted the mussels of Waiau, which place belonged to his wife; and he liked that place very much on account of the goodness of its mussels; then they continued their homeward journey from that place, and, as they returned, six canoes full of baskets of dried shell-fish were given to them; and when they again reached Tararu, they began to return up the river towards the Piako. When they arrived at Pareparenga, Tukutuku desired the people to give her a supply of fish, and they obeyed her orders; and Paoa was therefore much pleased with the people of Pareparenga, and said that his wife should indeed be a ruler over them. Thus she continued to act towards all the people that they met with upon their journey, until they reached Paoa's own village; they there presented him with a canoe full of dried fish; presents of dried eels had been made to them from place to place, as they pulled along the shore. And the people of Paoa's village were all charmed with Tukutuku; they all quite devoted themselves to her. She treated them most kindly, and they in return dealt very affectionately with her. And when all the provisions she had brought with her were consumed, from the liberal manner in which she shared them with Paoa's people, she, in no way daunted, began to work most industriously to collect new supplies, by digging up the roots of the whanake, and of the pohue, and of the karito, and by collecting aruhe and fresh-water mussels (unios). And when Paoa's people saw this, they exclaimed, “It is no wonder that the fame of this girl spread so far and wide; is not she truly industrious?” And when they saw their chieftainess labour so industriously, they for very shame began to labour also: hitherto they had not known the value of the above sorts of food; and partly from that cause, partly from their indolence, partly because those sorts of food were so common, they had not taken the trouble to collect them. But now they repeated the proverbs—“The deeds of a real chief surpass those of other men;” and, “The hard inside heart of a Tawa tree differs much, in the uses it can be applied to, from the soft page 214 outside sap of the tree;” and, “Well done! you are a chief of men indeed!”
The chieftainess dwelt there, and greatly increased the number of the new tribe she was collecting round her; many resorted to her; at first she had but very few dependants; but from her generosity and graciousness they now became many, so that her fortified village was thickly inhabited. And she had many children; for ten had been born to her. One of them was her renowned son, Horowhenua; he was the youngest, the last-born of her children.
Paoa dwelt there with her too: he had grown old, so that he was forced to support his steps with a staff. At last his affection for his first children broke forth; and he said to his sons who were with him, “My children, let me be taken to see your elder brothers.” They all assented to his wish but Horowhenua; and he said, “Sirs, they will set our sire a task to do; those children of his are a thoughtless set.” His brothers asked him, “What task will they give him to do?” And he answered them, “He is aged, and a sacred person, and they will detain him there, to bless their plantations of sweet potatoes for them, that they may bring forth abundantly; but take him there, as you seem to wish it.” But they said, “Nay, but rather let him go with twenty chosen men of our people to take care of him.” Horowhenua answered them, “'Tis well; then if our brethren detain him there, let those who go with him return here to us, that we may be certified by them that he is so detained; then will we go and bring him back here again.” His brothers answered him, “So be it.” Then he said to his father Paoa, “Sir, do not delay long there. If you had been younger, it would have been well that you should have been longer absent; but now that your days must be so few, we cannot afford to lose any of them: and as for this, also, remember that none would think it fitting that an aged man, as good as dead, should have a task appointed him to do.” And Paoa answered, “Oh, you don't think they will give me some task to do?” And Horowhenua replied, “They will give you a task. Who can believe they will treat you with the consideration that we do? page 215 But at least delay not long away from us; remain with them for ten days (that will be long enough) and then return to us. Certainly you should see your children.” Paoa answered, “'Tis well; I will sleep here this night, and as the morrow dawns I will depart upon my journey.”
So Paoa started to see his first family; and as they separated from their friends to go upon their road, Horowhenua said to those who were sent with the old man to take care of him, “If they detain him there who we commit to your charge, return here speedily, that we may all go and fetch him back with us;” and they answered him, “It shall be so.”
Then they continued their journey, and reached the top of the range at Tikitikimaurea; and Paoa beheld from thence his own former abode, and the abode of his children, and he wept; and as he gazed on the Waikato district, and saw the fires at the village of Waitawheta sending up columns of smoke, he told those who accompanied him that there was the dwelling-place of his children, and he wept again; and then they proceeded on their journey. And they halted for the night and slept upon the road, for they travelled slowly from having Paoa under their care; for he was old, and stayed his steps with a staff.
When the day broke, again they went on their way, and just as the evening closed in they reached the outskirts of the village; and as soon as the inhabitants of it saw them, they began to call out, to warn the others, “Strangers! strangers! here are strangers coming here.” And one ran to meet them to find out who they were, and he, finding out that it was Paoa, ran back again, and, being questioned as to who the strangers were by the crowd who had assembled at the outcry, he told them, “It is Paoa, and he has grown very aged, and supports his steps with a staff.”
As for Paoa, he stopped with his party at the first house which was inhabited that he came to on the outskirts of the village; but his sons remained in the fortress of Waitawheta, because this was the first time that the old chief had returned to see his children since he had separated himself from them and from their mother.page 216
The next morning the old man took his belt to gird himself with, and said to those who accompanied them, “Now let us go to the fortified village, that I may see my children;” and they answered, “Be it so.” Then came those who had been appointed to conduct him to the village, and those who had been sent to bring him a present of food, that he and his people might be refreshed before the ceremonies of weeping and lamenting took place at his meeting his sons.
Paca bid those who had accompanied him to eat heartily of this food, and they did so; and when their meal was ended the messenger who had been sent to conduct them said, “Now let us proceed to their village;” and Paoa answered, “Certainly; so now, my friends, get on your backs again the loads which you have carried so far, and let us start.”
Then when those in the fortified village who had climbed up upon the fences, or crowded outside the gates, saw Paoa and his party coming along, they raised the usual cries of welcome, and waved their garments; and the old man wept aloud as he came slowly towards them. And so, he weeping and they loudly shouting “Welcome, welcome!” he came slowly on; and when he reached the open space in the centre of the fortified village, all the people wept aloud, and their voices sounded loud as howl a great company of dogs; and they continued thus to lament aloud throughout the day, until evening closed in; then they all collected in a semicircle, and seated themselves on the ground, and then arose the sons of Paoa and made speeches welcoming their father in the presence of the whole assembly, and the old man rose up and addressed his sons and all their people in their turn. Then were many flax baskets of food brought forth, and piled up to a very goodly height, and they all feasted until after night-fall. The principal people then assembled in the house which had been set apart for Paoa, that they might mutually hear and tell the news; and the hearts of the sons of Paoa were filled with gladness towards their aged sire; for they thought within themselves, “Surely he is come to bless our plantations of sweet potatoes for us, that they may produce abundantly.”page 217
After a time his sons said to him, “Great is our good fortune, that you have thus come to us.” And he answered them, “Why so, my children?” And they answered him, “That you may bless for us our plantations of sweet potatoes.” And when the old man heard them say this he laughed; and his sons said to him, “Why laughest thou, O our father?” And he answered them, “Nay, I did but laugh.” But they answered him again, “Nay, but tell us wherefore thou didst laugh, O father.” And he replied, “It was but something your servant Horowhenua said.” And they answered him, “Whose saying do you speak of?” And he replied, “It was a direction given by your servant Horowhenua.” And they answered, “As for us, we regard not what he says.” But the old man said to them, “Look, now, my children; you had better be careful what you do, for he is strong and fierce.” But they answered him with the proverb, “Who fears for a fierceness not more terrible than that of a rat?” Again he said to them, “My children, his elder brothers said not a word against my coming here; he alone opposed my wishes, objecting to my coming here; he alone opposed my wishes, objecting to my coming here; he would hardly let me come.” And they said, “Very well, then, we will not now let you return to him.” But he answered, “Nay, do not detain me; for then your servant will come and take me forcibly away.” And they said, “Let him not venture to come here to take you away; for if he does, we will slay him.”
Those who had been sent to bear Paoa company sat by and heard these things said, and straightway they returned; and when they reached the Piako, even the village from which they had started, Horowhenua questioned them, saying, “Is there any news?” And they said, “Yes, there is news: Paoa is detained and will not be permitted to return here.” Horowhenua then asked, “Who detains him?” And they replied, “His sons.” And he said, “Aye, I knew it would be so.” Then they added, “But Paoa spoke to them and said, ‘Now, take care; for if you detain me here, your servant will presently come and take me away by force, he will not remain where he is, he will come for me;’ and your brothers said to him, ‘Who will come and do page 218 this?’ and he answered, ‘Horowhenua will come and do it;’ and they replied, ‘If he ventures to come here we will slay him;’ then Paoa answered him, ‘That you are not strong enough to do; your servant is like a mighty fish, which cannot be held in the fisher's net, but rends it;’ and they again replied, ‘Nay, rather we say, is a net so strong that it is a fit enemy for great whales?’”
When Horowhenua heard this he said, “Well, they shall have what they wish. I shall see them lying dead before me ere long.” Then he rose, and said aloud to those around him, “Gird yourselves for the battle, start for your journey to bring back our chief and father. Before he went, I cautioned you, saying, ‘Let him not go;’ it is you who have brought this upon us.” And his elder brothers dared not to open their mouths, or to say a word in reply, because they felt that their advice had turned out badly. So Horowhenua commanded them all, saying, “Gird yourselves for war.” And his brothers consenting, their warriors all did so, and proceeded on their expedition; one hundred and forty warriors started to bring home Paoa by force.
So they travelled upon their way, and by the evening they had reached the summit of the range at Tikitikimaurea, and looked over the district of Waikato; and there they could see the fires of the village of Waitawheta burning brightly with long columns of smoke ascending from them. There in the village was Paoa dwelling with his sons and six hundred of their warriors. When they had for some time gazed over the extensive district which lay beneath them Horowhenua said, “Let us descend from the mountain range, and sleep at its base, at the head of the river Mangawara.” Then they journeyed on, till they reached the place he had named. He said, “Halt! we will make our camp here; at the morning's light we will go to the fortified village of my brothers, and urge them to let our father return with us; and if his sons then refuse to let him go, it is enough, what more can we do? Then we will return; we can do no more; we shall at least have come to fetch him back with us.” His brothers assented to what he said, and they discussed the matter; and when they had page 219 ended their conversation, food was shared out for all; and when they had eaten, all slept.
They had not slept long when the seer Tipa cried out, and roused them, saying, “You who sleep there, awake, arise; I have been troubled by visions which bode ill; the omens have filled me with alarms: there will be a battle to-morrow in which many will be slain. The omens warned me, making me start on my right or fortunate side; and then on my left or enemies' side I felt it too. Then four times my left side shuddered, and then four times my right side; thence the victory is to be to us. So I will address myself to sleep again; then, if the spirit who is propitious to our foes repays the omens of the spirit friendly to us by making my left side again involuntarily to shudder, the omens will be unpropitious, and this very night we will return, in which case the battle upon the morrow, in which the gods foretell so many will fall, will not take place.”
Then another of the party spoke, and said that he, too, had shuddered in his sleep, and, starting, had thrown his arms out from his side as if striking down a foe, which was a good omen; on the other part, a third said that he had dreamt they were all eating the provisions they had brought with them—a dream which portended much evil. Before they had slept they had intended at the dawn of day to have gone to the fortified village as friendly visitors, and then to have tried to bring Paoa back with them. Now from these evil-boding dreams, they all feared the thoughts of approaching the village.
When it drew near to the morning, the seer Tipa rose again, and said, “Their gods have given me no bad omens in return for the good one I had received; I have kept expecting it in vain, but the dreadful shuddering has not returned to me. Lo, I see the signs of dawn; awake, arise, and let us arrange our plans.” Then the warriors all arose, and Tipa addressing them said, “Without doubt the old and sacred man has, according to the custom of our priests, gone out in the early morning light to bless the plantations of sweet potatoes belonging to his sons, which lie immediately outside the fence of their fortified village;” and the page 220 warriors all agreed that such was probably the case. Then said Tipa, “Which, then, of you will go and see?” And Horowhenua answered, “That be my care. I will go and see; and if I find him I will bring him here.” And Tipa answered, “'Tis well; and having got there, delay not.”
“There stands the consecrated staff;
It is the staff sacred to the God Turora, to Rereahi,
And to Turongo.
There is the holy staff;
There, there it stands.
There stands the staff,
With the toctoc* sacred to the God Haka
And to Haua.
There stands the holy staff;
There, there it stands.”
The instant the aged chief had finished his blessing, there stood Horowhenua before him. Day had not yet fully broken; but the dawn was just breaking. The old man, seeing some one, said, “Who is this?” And Horowhenua answered, “It is I.” And his father knew his voice, and he murmured lowly in reply, for he feared lest he should be slain by his other sons; for there were very many warriors in the fortified village—there were six hundred of them. Then his father asked him, “Who have borne you company?” And his son ran over all their names for him; and when he had finished them all, the old man was filled with pity for them, and with wonder at their boldness. Then Horowhenua said to him, “Let us begone, the day begins to break.” And his father consenting, they hurried away together.page 221
In the meantime the people in the fortified village kept listening for the voice of the old man, when he might call them out, having finished his mystic ceremonies. And having waited a long time without hearing it, some of them said, “Surely he has become tired and has fallen asleep.” His sons answered, “Some of you go and see.” So some of their people went to search for him; and they called as they went, “Where are you, Sir, where are you, Sir?” At length, not finding him, some of them said, “Perhaps he has fallen asleep on the sand at the river's edge.” So they searched along the banks, and there they found on the sand foot-prints going right inland. By this time day had so fully broken that men could see each other's features; therefore the footprints could be seen quite plainly, and they saw that they were those of Horowhenua and Paoa; so they knew that the old man had been carried off by Horowhenua. So they raised the cry of “He has been carried off, taken away by Horowhenua.” And Paoa's sons heard the outcry, and they sprang to their feet, and they and their six hundred men rushed out of the fortress: so the fugitives were pursued. And when Horowhenua reached his brothers and his warriors, he gave no time to welcome their father and chief with tears and weeping according to the usual custom, but they went straight upon their way homewards, for they heard the uproar from the pursuers in the distance. And ere long the pursuers came in sight of them, and saw them winding up a steep ascent of the mountain range: those who were leading the old chief and helping him on his way were in front; and Horowhenua brought up the rear with the rear guard. On came the six hundred warriors in pursuit, dashing at them as a Kahawai (salmon) darts at a fly, and soon drew near them. Already had those who were in front, conducting Paoa, won the very summit of the ridge at Tikitikimaurea: then the old man said, “Children, leave me here, and save yourselves. I am an old man; why should you run this risk for me? My life is not worth that of one of my children.”
In the meantime their pursuers pressed close upon them. And Horowhenua rushed back in front of the rear guard, and then page 222 took a firm stand, brandishing his weapon. When Horowhenua thus stood firm, the whole hundred and forty warriors of his party took their stand with him; and then when Horowhenua made a charge to the rear, they all charged with him. Here some of his warriors were slain; five of them fell. At last Horowhenua was left fighting alone, right in the front of the battle; and his half-brother Toawhena seeing him there, strikes a blow at him with his weapon; Horowhenua parries it with his, and away it glances. Then Toawhena in his turn is fiercely smitten by Horowhenua; and down, down he goes. In the meantime up comes Toapoto to his brother's aid; he lets fly a blow at Horowhenua, which he parries on his right side, and returns a left-handed blow, which fells Toapoto to the earth. And when the warriors saw their two chiefs thus slain, they broke and fled in confusion, but they were pursued and slaughtered; four hundred of them were slain, two hundred of them escaped; and then Paoa was carried off in triumph by his children.page 223page 224
* A species of reed, the leaves of which were tied on the staff.