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The Autobiography of a Maori

Maroheia Petrified

Maroheia Petrified

In his pursuit of Rongokako, Pawa left behind him, near his "stingaree" his little daughter, Maroheia, and, on his return, found her petrified and clinging to a rock called Ihu-toto, and even today you may find remnants of the forsaken little maid still clinging to Ihu-toto.

In Hinetawhirirangi's well-known song, wherein she mourns the death of her relative, Hamaiwaho, who jumped into the sea in order to escape from his Ngapuhi captors when near the Rurima Islands in the Bay of Plenty, an allusion is made to the legend. Hamaiwaho was drowned and his body was washed up on the Rurima rocks:

Naku i moumou, na Pawa i whakarere,
Koia Maroheia e awhi mai ra Ihu-toto.
I never tended thee as Pawa cast away
Maroheia, now hugging Ihu-toto.

It was probably the casting of Hamaiwaho on the rocks that suggested to the Maori lyric, Pawa's neglect of his daughter, Maroheia, which led to her death as she hugged Ihu-toto rock. The poetess, in a sense, blames herself also for the neglect of her relative whose body was found on the Rurima rocks, as Maroheia's was found clinging to Ihu-toto rock. The weaving of the idea of neglect into the two incidents, her neglect and Pawa's, is clever and displays high imaginative powers and a decided poetic turn of mind.

Maoris are fond of naming children with names page 35which perpetuate the memory of an incident. I knew an old woman called Arihia Rurima, so named because of the incident of Hamaiwaho's drowning near Rurima Islands.