The Old-Time Maori
The maori had his rules about marriage from far back ancient times, and these were generally recognized and carried out by the people. He learned what was right at home gradually, as European children do.
Marriages were generally love matches, but sometimes a marriage was arranged between two people of rangatira1 families. No matter how it took place, though, the two people lived happily together.
There was no objection to a marriage within the whanau (family group) or the hapu (p. 34), as long as the couple were not too closely related. The old Maori was very much against the marriage of close relations, and termed it incestuous, even to the third and fourth generation from a common ancestor. If the two people belonged to the second generation from a common ancestor, they were considered too close to marry, but were allowed to, if they were at least three generations from a common ancestor. The following is an example of a type of marriage which took place, although the parties were considered too closely related to marry, according to the old Maori idea.
1 Rangatira, i.e. chiefs, well-born, people of standing and worth in the community.
From a European point of view, Marotaua and Makereta would be first cousins, and their children would be second cousins. To the Maori, Marotaua and Makereta would be tungane and tuahine,1 brother and sister, and the children of Marotaua would be termed tamariki of Makereta, and vice versa. The above genealogy shows that Ihaia married Makereta, he being the third, and she the second generation from a common ancestor. The marriage was considered too close, and was objected to, as Ihaia was marrying his whaea (aunt) according to the Maori point of view.page 62
In this case Te Wiremu of the fifth generation on his father's side married Ngahina of the fourth on his mother's side. This marriage was objected to because they were doubly related, and was always spoken of as a tungane and tuahine (brother and sister) marriage as on his father's side. Although Ngahina was of the fourth generation on her mother's side, such a marriage would always be termed a brother and sister marriage. When any relative asked Ngahina where Te Wiremu was, the question was put, “Kai whea to tungane?” meaning, Where is your brother? i.e. Te Wiremu her husband. The same thing happened when anyone met Te Wiremu and wanted to see Ngahina. He would be asked, “Kai whea to tuahine,” i.e. Where is your sister? meaning Ngahina his wife.
Their children would be referred to as aku mokopuna,1 my grandchildren. I was reminded of this on my last visit to New Zealand a few years ago One morning I was greeted with “Hello, grandma” by Ana, daughter of Kiri, who was a baby when I had seen her last, but now a grown girl. This sounded most comical to me, especially hearing it said in English, but it was quite a natural thing for her to say, and in Maori would have sounded quite differently. It showed that she knew our relationship, even though she had not seen me since she was quite a small child.
The Maori were very particular in all matters of etiquette, even the smallest points, and most exact in behaviour during any ceremonial. They were a communal people, and in the arranging of a marriage, especially in the rangatira class, the matter had to be discussed by the hapu or the tribe.
Generally, a kotiro (girl) rangatira would be asked for in marriage by a chief of another clan when she was at a marrying age, that is, about twenty to twenty-five. It might also happen that a chief who had a son born to him, on hearing that a certain chief had got an infant daughter, would pay him a ceremonial visit, and ask that the child might be given to him. At whatever age the kotiro may be, the chief would visit her father in this ceremonial fashion, with a retinue of people from his people from his hapu who would go and visit the hapu to which the girl belonged.
The tangata whenua (people of the village) would welcome and receive them in the manner due to distinguished visitors, and would not even know the object of the visit. After the ceremony of tangi (crying), whaikorero (speech-making), and whiu kai (giving of food), the visitors would enter the wharepuni (meeting house) which was prepared for their accommodation. In the evening there would be an assembly of the tangata whenua to entertain their visitors, and page 65 they would occupy the left side of the whatitoka (door), as you enter, the visitors being on the opposite side. More speech-making took place welcoming the visitors, followed by waiata (chants) and dances.
It would be during a speech made by the visiting chief that the reason for their visit would be made known. He would repeat his line of genealogy, which would show how he was related to the resident chief, ending his speech with these words: “I haere mai au ki to tiki mai to taua tamahine (or mokopuna) So and So,” I have come to get our daughter (or granddaughter, whatever their relationship may be from some ancestor far back) So and So; “Homai kai au,” Give her to me. When he asked for the girl or infant in this manner, the tangata whenua knew that he did not mean her for himself, but for his son or nephew. If he had a grown-up son, he would ask for a girl of a marriageable, or approaching a marriageable age. If he had a small son, he would ask for the chief's baby daughter. He would then lay taonga (presents) on a space near where he was standing. These would go to the girl and her people, but if there were any heirlooms, they would be given to the girl, who would take them with her as taonga for her husband, herself, and their children.
After a formal proposal like this, whether it came as a surprise or not, or whether it was welcome or unwelcome, not a word would be uttered by the tangata whenua immediately. The near relatives of the page 66 girl would make signs to one another to go out, and would leave one by one, so that they would not be missed. The departure would probably be managed while a waiata or haka (dance) was going on for the entertainment of the visitors. The relatives would meet in another whare (house) for a hurried discussion of this tono (proposal). Whatever their decision, the girl was seldom consulted as to her wishes. If it was the wish of the elders, a kotiro rangatira carried it out. They were like that in the old days.
Then one of the uncles, or the grandfather of the girl would make a speech, and end with “Kua rongo ra e pa ki ta koutou tono i ta tatau tamahine (or mokopuna, as the case may be)”, We have heard your proposal with regard to our daughter (or granddaughter); “Waiho i konei ta taua tamahine noho ai mo enei ra,” Leave our daughter here awhile.
The visitors would return to their home, and in due course, when the girl reached the age of twenty to twenty-five, the ceremonial handing over of the bride occurred. This was a very important function, and much preparation for it took place at the kainga (village, i.e. home) of the prospective groom, where a marriage feast was made ready, many clans being invited to attend it. The prospective bride would be accompanied by her relatives, people of standing, and they would bring many presents, such as cloaks, weapons, ornaments, and choice food. A kotiro rangatira never went to her husband's people empty page 67 handed. The relatives who brought the bride would be spoken of as Te Paakuha by the tangata whenua.
Te Paakuha would arrive with her, fifty, a hundred, or more people, and a great ceremonial welcome would be given them by the whole tribe of the chief whose son was to be the tane (bridegroom), all assembled on the marae in front of the wharepuni. The cries of Haeremai, Welcome, would be repeated by the women and girls, thirty to fifty or more, holding branchlets in each hand.
As Te Paakuha drew near to the marae, the women receded and mingled with the tangata whenua. A tangi would first take place, then ceremonial speech-making. A chief of the tangata whenua began with a welcoming speech to the visitors. After him would speak a visiting chief, and then chiefs of the tangata whenua and the visitors spoke alternately. All the speeches mentioned the great ceremony which brought all the people together, and each side hoped that the tie would bind the two groups even closer to each other.
All these things were presented to the tangata whenua with great ceremony and speech-making by a close relative of the bride, who walked up and down the marae beside the tahua (heap) of taonga and the tahua kai (heap of food). He would end his whaikorero with his staff in his right hand pointing to the tahua and shouting, “Ara ra kia ngati mea,” To the descendants of, or hapu of So and So, giving the name of the hapu of the tangata whenua. If there were other clans present with the tangata whenua to whom the bridegroom was related, these hapu would be mentioned in the presentation. None of these hapu would be left out even if only a few people represented them. The presentation in this case was only a matter of form. These hapu, although they were relatives who had come to support the tangata whenua by bringing much food of all kinds for the marae of their kinsfolk, and by being there to help them in welcoming and entertaining the Paakuha and other visiting clans, would not dream of taking the offered gifts. But they liked the relationship to be recognized, especially at an important ceremonial function like this, in which they felt themselves a part, through their relationship to the bridegroom. They page 69 knew that these valuable gifts should go to the chief who was father of the groom, and to his family group and hapu.
The tahua taonga (heap of valuable presents or treasures) and the tahua kai would remain on the marae for the best part of the day, and would be the centre of many speeches, words of which brought to mind other ceremonial functions in the past. The speakers praised at length the valuable presents in the tahua before them, these taonga given at this marriage ceremony. In doing these things they were only carrying on the old customs o nga koeke (of the old people). “Kia manaaki i nga tikanga a o tatau koeke,” the speaker would say, Keep in mind and respect the customs of our old people.
At these meetings many important things were discussed on the marae, things which affected the hapu and the tribe. Such discussions occurred whenever there was a hui (gathering) of the various hapu or of the tribe.
When the proper time came for the chief of the tangata whenua to make a ceremonial speech accepting the gifts, many of his people were round him. The chief would stand up with his taiaha (staff) in his right hand, and whaikorero, a long ceremonial speech, as only a Maori chief can, for they were wonderful orators. He would end his speech by presenting the two heaps of gifts to the hapu present who had come to support him, and who were relatives of his son, both on his father's and on his mother's side. Every page 70 speech ended with an appropriate waiata, sung in chorus by the people standing.
The hapu to whom the tahua had been presented by the chief would arrange for one special chief from among the hapu to make a final speech on their behalf with regard to the taonga (valuable presents). During his speech, he would say that he was speaking for all the hapu present who had been mentioned in the presentation of the taonga, and express how very much they appreciated the taonga which had been presented to them. He would end thus: “Kua kite iho ra i o tatau taonga,” We have seen these valuable gifts which have been presented to us; “Kua naomia iho,” We have handled them; “Kua kakahu ria,” We have put them on, and had the pleasure of owning them; “Ma te aha tenei?” What is greater than this? Then, on behalf of all present, the chief would mention his hapu and all the hapu to whom the gifts had been presented, and say, “E whaka hokia atu ana nga taonga nei ki a mea, me tana whanau,” We are returning these valuable gifts to So and So (giving the name of the chief of the tangata whenua, father of the bridegroom) and to his whanau (family group).
On the day of the ceremony, te wahine (the bride) was prepared and dressed for the occasion. She bathed in a stream, and rubbed herself with the sweet-scented oil of the titoki berries, further scented by putting in sweet-smelling leaves and gum. Round her neck was a hei which held a small bag of the page 71 scented karehu (Hierochloe redolens). She wore an ornamented maro (apron) which was tied round her waist and came down to her knees. This would be decorated with the red feathers of the kaka (parrot), and the white feathers of the kereru (pigeon). Round her shoulders would be a korowai (Plate X), koro-hunga,1 or kinikini cloak (Plate IX), made from the fibre of phormium tenax; the top of this cloak would be passed under her right arm-pit, and tied over her left shoulder. She would have whakakai pounamu, ear ornaments of greenstone hanging from the lobes of her ears, or perhaps ear ornaments of mako (shark's teeth). In her hair would be the tail-feather or feathers of the huia bird, or of the toroa (albatross), or perhaps both together. Her hair would hang loosely over her shoulders, and would be anointed with scented oil. The Maori women had beautiful thick long hair.
1 Border on ends larger than at sides.
A great feast would be prepared where there was choice food in plenty, with kinaki (relish) of various kinds. This was made ready by the women of the marae, who formed themselves into groups for doing the different things to be done. Whatever they did was always accompanied by pao (love songs), and they always entered into their work with great joy. When the food was cooked and the marriage feast was ready, the food was laid before the many guests with great ceremonial dances and songs. The young couple and their close relatives were served with food that had been specially cooked in a separate hangi (oven) and they were served at a short distance away from the gathering of people.
1 Incantation or make an incantation.
When a marriage took place between two rangatira people, either by ritual, or Paakuha, or by arrangement between two people of the same hapu who belonged to the same kainga (village, or home), there were always the ceremonial festivities of a hui, that is, gathering, of all the relatives in various hapu who would be invited. The couple would sit together throughout the hui ceremony and during the marriage feast, and as I have said, they and their close relatives would have their food specially cooked in a separate hangi, and would be served with it at a little distance away from the other people. This great marriage feast had taken many moons to prepare the food for it, and each hapu who came to the hui brought a plentiful supply of all the choice foods which helped to feed the big gathering of people who were present at the ceremony. The guests were not fed solely by the tangata whenua (people of the kainga), and the people of the kainga were not impoverished by the people who came to the ceremony just for the sake of what they could get to eat, as many ignorant writers have stated.
No individual persons were invited to a ceremony like this, but a hapu would be asked, and those who attended would represent their hapu. It would be said that Ngati So and So, i.e. the descendants or hapu page 74 of So and So, would attend the hui, and it would be known how many different hapu were represented. Each hapu of course had a chief or chiefs, for no hapu would attend a big function without one. The hapu had to be well represented, if they were to uphold their mana, and the more who went, the better, especially to a hui which took place to discuss the affairs of the tribe. It was generally an important set of men and women who attended and represented their hapu, and they were generally related to either the bride or the bridegroom. The men must be good orators, able to waiata (chant songs) and do all the haka, or dances, required of them. They must also have all the other accomplishments necessary for such a gathering. The women must be able to waiata, or chant and join in the songs, and dance the poi (the poi is a small ball of raupo), a dance performed by the girls who hold the poi balls (Plate XI) by the string in their hands, and swing them with a rhythm to the accompaniment of song and graceful movements of the body. Men and women must be fit to compete in all the events which took place during the evening of the hui, when each hapu tried to outshine the other. This competition was very important to a visiting hapu.
In the evening all the people gathered in the wharepuni and outside it, and the early part would be taken up with more speeches. The whaikorero of the Paakuha would be directed mainly towards the young couple, who would be seated with the husband's page 75 people. Each chief who stood up to make a speech would address the young couple at the end of his whaikorero with words full of advice and good wishes for their future happiness. The relatives would address the bride, one repeating her genealogy and expressing the hope that she would always remember her distinguished ancestors, and never bring disgrace on her husband and his people, for this would bring disgrace on her people too, as all that she did affected them also. She was reminded that she now belonged to her husband's people till death parted them. To the husband these words would be addressed: “E moe korua ko to wahine; manaaki tia e koe,” You and your wife are now one; take care of her. Then all the people would join in a waiata suitable for the occasion.
After this the entertainment began with the tangata whenua doing poi dances and hakas. Then the visiting hapu would also dance, and so the different clans would compete with each other all through the night. The couple would watch the dancing from the moenga (sleeping place) by the side of his parents. Often they would fall asleep in the midst of it all.
The next morning the visitors would probably depart, with the exception of the girl's family, who might stay on for a few days. When they left for the journey home, there were no parting tears, only a farewell hongi (pressing of noses).
Sometimes a whare was built for the young couple, but generally they lived with his parents, page 76 and slept in the wharepuni with them. The bride would be waited on in everything by her hungawai (mother-in-law), who saw to all her needs, and she was surrounded with love and kindness by her husband's family and relatives.
It was almost an unknown thing in the old days for a man to leave his wife and children. The Maori woman was a faithful and affectionate wife, who lived for her husband and family and hapu. There was great love between a couple who were married, and they generally lived happily to the end of their lives. The love they bore their children was very great. Indeed this love for their children was one of the most wonderful things in the character of the Maori. It seemed to bind the whole family together, even to the whole family group, and beyond that again to the hapu. The life of a Maori was surrounded with love from his infancy, and this love continued through the whole of his life. A person has to realize this thoroughly, and understand all the Maori's customs, knowing why he does certain things and not others, before he can sit down and write about the Maori. Otherwise his criticisms lack understanding.
With regard to taonga paakuha (gifts at a Pakuwha marriage) although they have been presented, it an understood thing that some day, either during the life-time of the givers or in the next generation when occasion arises, these gifts will be returned in kind. The heirlooms, if any, go to the young couple. page 77 These would never become the property of the husband, even though he might have them in his possession and use them all his life. They belong to his wife's family. If they have children, these taonga will pass on to them. Should the couple not have children, and the wife dies before her husband, the heirlooms will go back to her family. They would be returned in a ceremonial manner. The general thing would be this. If the wife died, and her hapu came to tangi (mourn) over her, they would during a speech make the request that her body be taken back to their kainga for burial. If the husband and his people consented, they would go in great numbers to take the body to her home. In this case the husband's family would discuss a return in kind of the gifts of the Paakuha, which had been presented at her marriage. The heirlooms, and many other gifts, would be used as kopaki to wrap round her and cover her body as she lay in state. Again, if the husband and his people did not consent to having the body removed, she was buried at her husband's kainga. Nga taonga would remain with his people until later years, when it would be arranged for the wife's bones to be exhumed and returned to her people with great ceremony. Nga taonga would then be used as a kopaki, and would be returned with her to her people, together with other things of value presented by the husband and his family.1
1 A woman's body may remain in her husband's country, so long as any of his family live there.
Very little ceremony was observed in marriages among the ordinary people of a hapu. If a couple fell in love, the parents were consulted, and if there was no opposition, the man took the girl to his parents' house, and they slept together there. There may be no ceremony, but the mere fact that he had taken her to his father's house and kua moe raua (they had slept together, or become husband and wife) was binding. Sometimes the couple went to the girl's people, and so lived with them. Even if the parents did not think it a suitable match, when once kua moe raua, either in his father's or her father's house, objections were generally overruled. They were husband and wife. In most cases the parents were consulted, but sometimes when the parents objected to the match, the couple would go to a relative's house a ka moe i reira and would sleep together there. If her parents objected, they would take her away, but if she still persisted in going back to him, objections would be withdrawn, and the couple would be sent for to return either to his or to her people. This would also happen if she was going to have a child.
Generally, if a boy and girl fell in love, he would make known his wishes to his parents. The parents would make their wishes known to her family, who would gather together the family group and discuss the matter. Each member of the family group liked to have his say. The girl would be with her page 79 family while all this was taking place. Should both family groups be agreed, the girl would be taken over to the boy's place, where a formal handing over occurred. After speeches, she was left with her tane's family, where the couple occupied a sleeping place prepared for them in the wharepuni with his people.
There were of course cases in which a couple fell in love and were not allowed to marry. In some instances, the couple were separated, and made to marry others.
But sometimes a couple ran away either to the bush or to some place unknown, and as the Maori had great love for their children, the couple were usually forgiven and asked to come back and live either with his or her people. This did not happen among people of rank, as girls generally did what their parents wanted.
Sometimes a wahine rangatira (woman of rank) fell in love with a tangata rangatira (man of rank) of another hapu which her parents did not approve of, and nothing could persuade them to agree to her marrying him, as they wanted her to marry someone else. Because her love was so great, and she was not allowed to marry him, she would whakamomori (die). She just pined away and ate nothing and died of a broken heart. There have been a number of these cases, and their songs, most pathetic and beautiful, are sung to this day. Some of them are of my own relatives.page 80
When a woman married, she did not take the name of her husband, but kept her own name, and her husband kept his. Each child had its own name, and did not take either the mother's or the father's. The giving of a name to an infant of rangatira parents was generally done by the grandparents and the family group, and seldom by the parents. The child might be named after an ancestor, or more often after some great event which happened at the time of birth. Te Huinga is an example, meaning “the great gathering”, probably for some important function at the time. Pipi, Shell-Fish, is another. Perhaps an invalid relative asked for it before his or her death at about the time when the child was born. Both these names would be for a female child. If a great chief died and was mourned by many people who attended the tangi, the child would be called Tangirau. He might receive this name after an erruption where many people were killed. Tangirau means the weeping of hundreds, or of many. If at the time a noted relative was drowned at sea, the child would be called Moananui, that is to say, The Ocean, or Te Ngaru, The Waves, or, if the wind that caused the storm was a west wind, the child would be called Hauauru.
Polyandry was never a custom of the Maori at any time, Monogamy was the general rule among them. It was only among tangata tino rangatira, men of very high rank, that polygyny was practised. It was not the custom to buy a wife. When a man took to himself a wife, he looked upon her as his possession, and she was tapu. He and his people looked after her, and if she bore him children, he esteemed her more. One of the most important things in the married life of the Maori was to have children, as many as they could have, and especially a son who would carry on the family tree and help his father in battle, and in everything he did. Such sons married women of standing who bore them many children, who, in doing brave deeds, became famous, and were spoken of as the sons of So and So, who did such and such a thing. If a wahine matua (first wife) was pukupa, i.e. barren, she encouraged her husband to take another wife, so that she could bear him children, and the first wife would rear and love those children as her own, and speak of them as her own. It was a great blow to a tangata rangatira not to have a son to carry on his kawai (line), and it was mainly for this reason that a chief took more than one wife, and not, as is often stated page 82 by writers, for the purpose of showing his importance and status. The number of wives made no difference to this, nor did it make a man a rangatira. A tangata rangatira, i.e. a chief of high rank, was important in his very self, by means of his high birth. It was his own greatness which gave him mana, and made him important in the eyes of the people, and made his reo (voice) heard and obeyed. His importance had nothing whatever to do with the number of wives he had.
In general, a chief's wives were of high rank only, but a chief had two wives of high rank, with one or two others who had been herehere, that is, captured in war, and these would do the menial work for the family. The first wife would be termed wahine matua, and if he had a second one, the two wives would be termed punarua, a pair, or the two wives of one husband. In speaking of each other, either wife would say “taku hoahoa”, i.e. one of the wives of the same husband. The word hoahoa is also used by two women who are married to two brothers, or by two men who are married to two sisters, when speaking of each other.
All the children of the wives shared whatever property or land the father possessed or the mother possessed, even the children of women who had been taken in war. They all shared alike. Many of the women taken in war were of the rangatira class.page 83
Sometimes a chief would offer his daughter to a victorious chief of an enemy tribe to cement peace after a battle in which he had been defeated, or after continuous fighting over a period. It was always a defeated chief who gave his daughter to cement peace. Sometimes a chief who had a daughter of marriageable age, wishing to make a certain alliance, would pay the chief a ceremonial visit, and offer his daughter as a wife for him. In a case of this sort, which did not often happen, the chief could not refuse to take the girl. Indeed it would be considered ungracious to do so, and such a refusal would give rise to the term whakahawea (despised). It would be said, “I whaka hawea tia a mea,” So and So has been despised, and the girl would whakamomori, i.e. die of shame.
Sometimes a man desires a certain girl for his wife, and she refuses his proposal. The man then may visit a Tohunga atahu, taking with him something which belongs to the woman. The Tohunga repeats a karakia to try to make the woman aroha (affectionate) towards him. After the karakia, the man takes the article back, and puts it under her moenga (sleeping place). This often succeeds in making her return his affections. The same procedure was followed when a man had been left by his wife, or a woman by her husband. A Tohunga atahu would karakia and try to get the wife back to her husband, or the husband to his wife, and it was wonderful how often this influence worked. Again, if a man page 84 and woman love each other very much, and their people object to the marriage, the man will visit a Tohunga atahu who is a wise man in the art of wehe ki te wai, separating or withdrawing with water. This used to be done to soften the pain of separation, and to withdraw the love from the heart. The ritual was performed by a Tohunga in a stream, standing in the water up to his pito (navel). He held some kokowai (red ochre) in his hand, and mixed it with a little water and fat, and rubbed them together in the palm of his hand. He then rubbed this mixture across the eyes and face of the love-sick man, and next over his chest. While the Tohunga is mixing water and fat with the kokowai, he repeats a karakia, and when he rubs the mixture over the man's face and breast, a different karakia is repeated. The Tohunga makes two mounds of sand by the stream, and on them the man places his feet, standing the while. The Tohunga has a green stick which he has broken off a growing karamu tree. With this stick he first strikes the water, repeating a karakia wehe, appealing to the Atua (gods) to withdraw this great love from the man's heart, and to lessen his pain. This was done in the case of my pāpā1 Mita Taupopoki, when it was arranged by the people that Herena was to be his wife. A Tohunga atahu performed this ceremony over him to lessen the pain and the aroha he felt for his first wife.page 85
A tangata rangatira can marry a woman of the ordinary class if consent has been obtained, or a wahine rangatira can marry a man of the ordinary class in the same way.
Children who were adopted were looked upon as brothers and sisters of the children of the people who adopted them. There was no law to prevent them from marrying, as long as the relationship of the adopted child was not too close to that of the children born of the people who adopted him or her. I have never heard of a marriage between a girl and her brother by adoption, nor between a boy and his sister by adoption. A boy generally looked upon an adopted girl as a true sister, and treated her as such, while a girl looked upon an adopted boy as a true brother.
Two sisters often married two brothers, and if one lost her husband, the husband's family would ask that she should become the wife of one of her husband's brothers, or become a punarua with her sister. This proposal would be made with ceremonial speech-making during the tangi (mourning) when the widow's people would be present, especially if she belonged to another hapu. This proposal would not bind the widow in any way. If she had a large family, her people would ask for one or two of the children, so that they could bring them up and keep the family ties closer, if the widow should decide to go to live with her husband's people. If page 86 she had no children, and wished to return to her own people after the death of her husband, there was nothing to prevent it. But in a case like this, the husband's people generally asked her to be the wife of one of the family, or to remain with them, and later, she could marry if she wished to, or she could return to her own people if she preferred to do so. Some time would elapse before this was carried out. There was no such thing as a widow and her children being left unprovided for, as among Europeans. She and her children were all looked after by her husband's or her own relatives.
Sometimes marriages were arranged with other tribes,1 but not often, as there was very little intercourse between them. They lived long distances apart, and there was no means of transit. Such marriages were arranged sometimes after continuous wars when a tribe wanted to make peace. Generally the chief of the defeated tribe would give his daughter in marriage to the victorious chief to cement it.
Marriage between two people of different hapu often took place after a hui or gathering, when many people gathered together at a kainga to discuss various matters of state. At these meetings there were many entertainments and competitions among the younger members of the various hapu. Just as Hinemoa and Tutanekai met at these meetings and eventually fell in love with each other, so also were many other matches made between others of the rangatira class, as well as between those of the ordinary people. Some matches are made when people gather at a tangi, to mourn for the dead, or at any other important meeting.
A mother-in-law was never looked on as among Europeans, but was generally loved and looked up to. Indeed she always proved to be the best friend of her hunaonga, whether it was the wife or the husband. If the husband was her son, she saw to the welfare of her hunaonga (daughter-in-law), and in fact tried to do everything for her comfort so that she was free to enjoy herself if she wished. She saw to it that her hunaonga was looked after in every way by the family. If she was the wife's mother, she proved a good friend to her hunaonga (son-in-law) all his life. She saw to his needs, and especially saw that he was treated with the greatest respect. Indeed she was his best friend. Sometimes a girl hunaonga was one who loved to be busy and do things. She would be to the fore in all manner of work and in entertaining the visitors at the ceremonies which took page 89 place at the marae of her hunarere (father-in-law), and she would be a great help to her mother-in-law.
If a wahine rangatira married a man from another hapu of lower rank than herself, and her husband came to live with her people, she would retain her mana. Generally she would never do anything to make him feel his position. Her husband would never order her to do anything. He might be a great warrior who had done noble deeds. His wife liked him to take his stand with her family as a general thing, and she would probably be very proud of him if he was good at the ceremonials which took place on a marae, apart from his deeds of war. But he never presumed, although he would be taken to the hearts of his wife's people. One of his best friends was his hungawai (mother-in-law).
When a woman married into another hapu, her parents or relatives would ask for one or two of her children, whom they would bring up among themselves. In cases like this the parents never interfered with anything arranged for them, even when they grew up. Often relatives belonging to other hapu would ask for a child to be given to them, either for a short period, or for all time. This was done hai pupuri i te aroha, to hold the tie of affection.
If both the tane and his hoa wahine (husband and wife) were of high rank, the husband held the mana over the family, nor would the wife have had it otherwise. A wife generally looked up to her tane, page 90 and upheld him in all that he did. Maori women were like this, and generally carried out the wishes of their old people. A Maori woman knew before her marriage what would be expected of her at her husband's marae. She was to be hospitable and karanga tangata (call and welcome people). The Maori was most hospitable. She was to see that there was plenty of food and kinaki for the marae, so that when visitors arrived unexpectedly, there was food at hand to be prepared for them. Although she might live happily all her life in her husband's home, she would never actually become a member of his hapu, except that she would have all the privileges, and especially if she had children, would have some of the mana as their mother. Nor does a man ever become a member of his wife's hapu, if he marries into another tribe or hapu and goes to live with his wife's people, even if he lives with them all his life. But through being the father of his children, he has all the privileges, and generally the great support of his mother-in-law.
Herehere, prisoners of war, are often spoken of mistakenly as slaves. In many cases these prisoners were men of high standing and exceedingly good looking. They were treated well by the chief and his people, and indeed, often married into the tribe.
If one of these men so far forgot himself as to carry on illicit love with the wife of one of the chiefs, the punishment was very severe. He was made page 91 impotent, not by incision of his sexual glands, but by lesion caused by tension with the kotiate (Plate XXIV, fig. 5). The victim was flung on his back, and was seized and held in such a manner that the scrotum could be entered and held in the orifice on one side of the kotiate. The appendage was then stretched until its membrane could be inserted into the other orifice of the kotiate. The weapon was then given a circular twist and a vigorous upward jerk. This had the effect of severing the spermatic cord, and resulted in the eventual atrophy of the organ.
Generally marriages were love matches, but in some instances among people of rank, a marriage had to be arranged by members of the whanau or hapu. If a girl was made a puhi, a husband of rank had to be chosen for her by the hapu, and the girl had no say at all in the matter. In the case of a taumou (betrothal) when a chief asked for a girl or an infant for his son, the girl became a puhi. She was looked after by her people until such time as she could be taken and handed over to her husband without a blemish to her name, as a puhi should be. If by any chance the puhi broke the rules with regard to her virginity, she was immediately killed. If a girl was a puhi and no husband had been chosen for her, and she fell in love with a man ka moe raua, and married him, her people would take her away from him. Or, if the man was of equal rank with herself, her people might sanction page 92 the marriage after the whanau and hapu had discussed it. In the case of Hinemoa, a husband had not yet been chosen for her when she fell in love with Tutanekai and swam across Lake Rotorua to him.
Hinemoa was the daughter of a great chief called Umukaria, and her mother was Hinemaru, also a great rangatira. When she was born, Hinemoa was made a puhi (she was made tapu), and a husband had to be chosen by her hapu when she grew up. She was very beautiful, and her fame spread far and wide. People came from distances to see her and ask for her hand in marriage. She lived with her parents and people on the edge of Lake Rotorua at a kainga called Owhata.
On an island called Mokoia which stands in the middle of Lake Rotorua lived another great chief called Whakaue, who had a family of five sons and one daughter. The three eldest sons were Tawakeheimoa, Ngararanui, and Tuteataiti, the younger were Tutanekai and Kopako, and the daughter, the youngest, was Tupa. When the eldest brothers heard of Hinemoa, each thought that he would like her for his wife.
Every year chiefs and members of various hapu living round Lake Rotorua and Rotoiti gathered together to hold a hui at Owhata to discuss matters of state regarding the tribe. At these meetings many young chiefs saw Hinemoa and fell in love with her. She was all that they had heard of, and of course a page 93 great rangatira. Many asked for her hand, and among them Whakaue's eldest sons. But the people had not yet chosen a husband for her.
Hinemoa lived in a whare belonging to her father, with her handmaidens who looked after her and waited upon her. She was not allowed to do anything in the way of work.
When the hui took place each year, Whakaue and his sons attended these gatherings, including Tutanekai, a younger son of whom he was very fond. At these meetings Hinemoa and Tutanekai saw each other, and although they never spoke, knew and felt that they were in love. When the different hapu danced the haka (posture dances) and war dances, Tutanekai excelled, as he did in all the games. He was also good to look at, well-built and strong. The hui often lasted many days, and Hinemoa saw Tutanekai each day from a distance on her father's marae (plaza). She thought him the most wonderful man she had ever seen, and her love for him grew until it filled her whole being. Tutanekai would glance at her and wonder if Hinemoa, a puhi, and a great rangatira, would deign to look at him when his elder brothers sought her hand also. He loved Hinemoa, but his love could only be sent by a glance and a look from his eyes.
When the hui ended, Whakaue and his sons returned to Mokoia. Tutanekai built himself an atamira (high stand) on a rise behind his father's page 94 house. He told his father that he wanted Hinemoa, and that his love was returned, and every evening, he and his friend Tiki took their pu (flutes), Tiki the torino, and Tutanekai the koauau, and sitting on the atamiro, played. On a quiet evening the sound of the music floated across the water to Owhata where Hinemoa lived, and she knew that it was her lover playing, and conveying his messages of love through his koauau. Each evening she sat and listened to her lover's music, and felt that she really loved Tutanekai, and could not marry anyone else.
Her people began to suspect this, and thinking that she would go across to Mokoia, dragged the canoes up each evening so that she could not paddle across. But one evening as she listened to the koauau, she could almost hear the message asking her to go across, and felt that she could not live any longer while Tutanekai was eating his heart away on his island home. As the canoes were well guarded, there was only one thing that she could do, and that was to swim across. “E kore ranei au e whiti ki te kau hoe?” Cannot I get across by swimming?
She then told her maidens that she was going to the whare tapere, the house where dances were performed and games were played, but instead of doing so, she went into a wharau (cooking house), and took six calabashes. She then rested on a rock called Iri iri kapua, which is there to this day, and after that went to the beach to Wairerewai, where she page 95 took off her clothes and left them before slipping into the water of Lake Rotorua with the six empty calabashes tied together, three under each arm. It was growing dark when she got into the water, but the sound of the flute gave her the direction of the island. After swimming for a time, she came to a tumu, a stump in the lake, called Hinewhata, which her father Umukaria used for tying his tanga (long fishing nets) on, and a bunch of fern to which the small fish toitoi and the koura (crayfish) stuck. She held on to the tumu and rested, as she was beginning to feel the strain. When the tired feeling left her shoulders, she started swimming again, guided by the sound of her lover's music in the darkness, which took her across to Waikimihia, a warm bath on the edge of Mokoia Island by the lake. Hinemoa knew that above Waikimihia was Tutanekai's home. She got into the warm pool, for she was shivering with cold. She also shivered through being whakama (shy and ashamed), wondering how Tutanekai would look on her action. She also realized that she had no clothes, and this made her very whakama indeed.
Now about the same time that Hinemoa was sitting in the waiariki (warm bath), it happened that Tutanekai felt thirsty, and sent his taurekareka (slave) with a calabash, saying, “Tikina he wai moku,” Go and get me water to drink. His taurekareka went to get the water, and had to pass the bath where Hinemoa sat. She asked in a gruff voice, page 96 “Mo wai te wai?” For whom is the water? The taurekareka answered, “Mo Tutanekai,” It is for Tutanekai. Hinemoa then said, “Homai ki ahau,” Give it to me. The calabash was handed to her, and after drinking the water she wanted, she broke the calabash. The slave asked her reason for doing this, but she gave him no answer. He returned to Tutanekai, who asked where the water was which he was sent to fetch. The slave replied, “The calabash is broken.” Tutanekai asked, “Na wai i wahi?” Who broke it? The reply came, “Some man did it.” Tutanekai asked him to take another calabash, and get him the water. When the taurekareka filled the second calabash with water, and turned to return with it to his master, Hinemoa asked again in a gruff voice whom the water was for, and the reply was that it was for Tutanekai. She asked him, still in a gruff voice, to hand her the calabash, which he did. Hinemoa again drank some water, and then broke the calabash by knocking it on the stone formation by the side of the pool. The taurekareka returned and told Tutanekai what had happened, and Tutanekai asked who had done this thing. The slave replied that he did not know the man, and that he must be a stranger. This made Tutanekai very angry, as the stranger knew that the water was for him, yet had dared to insult him by breaking his two calabashes.
He then dressed himself in his rapaki with a kaha- page 97 kaha cloak round his shoulders, and a tawaru cloak outside that, and with a patu pounamu (short-handled weapon) in his right hand, went forward to fight the stranger who had dared to break his calabashes.
When he reached the bath, he cried, “Kei whea te tangata i wahi nei i aku kiaka?” Where is the man who has dared to break my calabashes? Hinemoa knew the voice to be that of the love of her heart, and moved under an overhanging ledge of rock, for she did not want to be seen yet. She rejoiced within her heart to think that what she had done had brought out her lover to her, without her having to go to his house, having no clothes. Tutanekai felt round the edge of the bath until at last he caught her dripping hair and pulled her from under the ledge of rock, saying, “Ko wai tenei?” Who is this? Hinemoa answered, “Ko ahau, Tutanekai.” It is I, Tutanekai. Tutanekai said, “Ko wai koe?” Who are you? She answered, “Ko au ko, Hinemoa,” It is I, Hinemoa. Tutanekai exclaimed, “E! E! Hoake taua ki te whare,” Come, let us go home. She replied, “Ae,” Yes.
1 She was fair and graceful. Tapukoraki is the name of a bird; te kotuku is the white heron.
In the morning early the people rose to work and get ready the hangi to cook their food. After their food they missed Tutanekai, for he was still in his whare. His father said, “Katahi a te ata o Tutanekai, i moe roa ae,” This is the first time that Tutanekai has slept so long. Perhaps my child is ill; go and call Tutanekai, that he may have some food.
A messenger went to call him. He slid the pihanga, that is the small wooden window, of the house, and looked in. He saw that Tutanekai had a companion, and wondered who it was, and hurried to tell Whakaue, who sent him back to make sure that he had made not a mistake. The messenger returned to Tutanekai's whare, and saw and recognised Hinemoa, and with that shouted, “Ko Hinemoa, ko Hinemoa te hoa o Tutanekai,” Hinemoa, it is Hinemoa with Tutanekai!
When his elder brothers heard this, they would not believe it, and said, “He hori, he hori,” for they were very jealous of Tutanekai.
Just then, Tutanekai came forth from his whare, with Hinemoa beside him. His people could hardly believe their own eyes, but when they looked across the lake, they saw several war canoes coming from the direction of Owhata. They knew it was Umukaria, Hinemoa's father, with his people, coming across, as they thought, to take Hinemoa away. They expected war, but when Umukaria and his people page 99 came, instead of war, there was great rejoicing, and peace was made.
Hinemoa and Tutanekai lived happily ever after, and many of the people who live in and around Rotorua and the near lakes are descended from them. My own genealogy from Hinemoa is as follows:
There was great love between Hinemoa and Tutanekai, and many years afterwards, when Tutanekai passed away, Hinemoa sang her broken-hearted waiata for her lover husband who was always dear to her, a song sung to this day at a tangi when a descendant of hers has lost a husband.page 100
he tangi na hinemoa mo tana tane mo tutanekai
Te tau, e, te tau a te rau, ka wehe ia au, e,
Aha i wehe ai? Ka uru kei roto, te niho o Mokoroa,
Rarahu tuana, i ona peke ngaruhu,
Tangi ana, te wheoro, ki te tuakiri,
He whana taua nei, te wa o te mamae,
Tikina mai au, whaka waireka tia,
Kia hoki ake ai, te korou, ki te ao; e,
E kore hoki ake, he ngati mate pea; e,
Keria mai au, ki te ruahaeroa, e,
A ngaro ai ra, te wairua.
In days gone by when a puhi, a girl of very high family, was given in marriage, ritual defloration was practised on her, generally by her kuia.1 In my possession is a whakakai (ear ornament) called “Ahiwharau”, which was owned by Maihi te Kakauparaoa, my old koroua,1 For kuia and koroua, v. cap. I p. 47. and which he always wore in his ear. This whakakai was used in ritual defloration on several female members of our family, in days gone by, when they were given in marriage.
The Maori had no practice equivalent to that which is among Europeans called prostitution. I have seen it written by people who did not know the language or customs of the Maori that Maori women have sold themselves. I say, and with emphasis, that this is absolutely untrue. A Maori woman would never have sold herself for money, never! She might give herself to a man if she loved him, for there was no law against this, but never for any other reason. In the far back days of the early visits of the pakeha (European) to New Zealand, a pakeha rangatira has asked a chief for his daughter, and he has handed page 102 her over with ceremony to him to be his wife. The pakeha no doubt laid down a present when he asked for her, being told that it was the custom of the people. When the girl was handed over to him, the presents that accompanied her would be of much greater value than anything that had been given. It does not mean, that because the pakeha made a present of a few nails or an axe, that he was buying the girl. The reader has only to read our marriage customs to see this. These early writers spoke of things that they did not understand. The old chiefs treated a pakeha rangatira with the great respect due to his rank, and treated him as they would treat one of their own chiefs. The pakeha did not know the customs of the language of the Maori, and judged the Maori according to European customs. Much has also been written about the Maori and the sailors of the early days. A Maori girl would not have anything to do with a sailor or any other man unless she got to know him and they became friends. This friendship would have ripened into something more before she would have any intercourse with him. She would probably mention the matter to her parents, and with their consent, her father would hand her over to the man, treating him as he would one of his own people. To the Maori, kua moe raua, they were husband and wife. That girl would not dream of having any other man than the one she slept with. She would not give herself to any pakeha page 103 who came along. The Maori did not do this. Such behaviour may occur to-day under the deteriorating influence of western civilization, but to suggest that such a thing was done in the time of our old people—I emphatically say No! I feel sure, knowing my people as I do, that even at the present day, our Maori women would not sell themselves for money. There are many pakeha rangatira to-day who know and love the Maori who will bear me out in what I say, and only the people who do not know the Maori and his customs will make such false assertions. It is not any more difficult to defend the way of living of certain types in those old days than it would be to defend that of certain of the European women in Limehouse to-day. Morality is not confined to any one race. Some of the lower type of Maori may have consorted with sailors of a like nature as certain English women with foreign seamen in this country. One does not form an opinion of the womanhood of England from the conduct of these unfortunates.
It is the custom for Maori friends to sit with their arms around each other, two girls, or a girl with a boy or man, and they treated their pakeha friends in the same way out of pure friendship. The pakeha rangatira understood them thoroughly, and never dream of taking any liberties with them. The ignorant pakeha man or woman, not usually a rangatira, observing this custom, often drew wrong conclusions, and likened the Maori to themselves. They condemned page 104 us as utterly lost and beyond redemption, without first finding out what the customs of the Maori were.
Much has been written about the courtesy shown by the chief Manunui towards Bishop Selwyn. The chief looked upon the Bishop as a Tohunga1 who was very tapu, and sent handmaidens to look after him and feed him. When the handmaidens went to attend the Bishop, they found him praying, and waited until he had finished. When he arose from his knees and saw them, he was horrified, thinking that they had been sent as wives. He did not know the Maori custom, nor did the Maori know his. The chief, thinking that he had made a mistake in sending only two to wait upon so great a Tohunga, sent four or five. The chief acted in good faith and so did the Bishop in sending the girls away. The assignment of domestics and handmaidens by our old Maori hosts to their guests was merely an act of courtesy not dissimilar to that of the English host whose servants and family wait upon the pleasure of a guest. It is unfortunate that this action of the chief inspired by the dictates of courtesy should have been misinterpreted by baser minds. The old Maori was a gentleman, and assumed that his guests were no less. But from some of the things that have been written, it might appear that he was wrong in his assumption.
1 Priestly expert.
When such a taua happened, her hapu would be stripped of all the valuables they possessed, but they never murmured. They gave what they had freely to try to wipe out this debt of honour. No matter what the raiding parties did or said, her people said nothing in her defence. They just welcomed the taua parties in the usual way, and treated them with great hospitality, as was their custom, and gave them of the best in the larder. Through their relatives committing this sin, the disgrace came upon them all.
In the old days taua puremu seldom happened. I saw one as a small child, and did not see another page 106 for many years afterwards. The one I saw as quite a small child at Te Awa a te Atua was unforgettable.
In the early morning the cry went round the kainga, “Kua puremu tia a mea,” So and So has committed adultery with So and So. Long before day-light the stamping of feet could be heard keeping time to the takitaki, the leading song of a woman who led the taua party of a hundred people or more. There were the women in front. Then came the injured husband who was naked, with only two long plaits of torori (plaited tobacco leaf) hanging in front suspended from a cord of fibre which circled his waist. His face was traced with charcoal, he wore feathers in his hair, and in his right hand was his patu pounamu. The women had their skirts tucked above their knees, and as they led the haka taua, it was a terrifying sight, yet a wonderful one.
With movements of the body, pukana (eyes rolling), and tongue out, the taua party advance, all the while doing the haka movements led by the women, keeping rhythmic time with their feet and hands, and joining in words repeated in answer to their leader—words appropriate to the hara (sin) committed. The taua advance on the marae, where the tangata whenua all gathered together in front of the wharepuni, greet them with cries of “Haeremai, haeremai!” Welcome, welcome! As the party draw nearer, they repeat the haka appropriate for the occasion, demanding to know the reason why this page 107 woman had done this great wrong in giving her sacred body to another man. “He aha te take? He aha te take?” What is the reason? why? why?
The people of the kainga look on in silence and shame for this awful thing which had been done by a woman belonging to them. Although she committed the offence, the disgrace covers all her hapu, and is felt by them. So the taua goes on until at last the taua party have said all they wish to say and have sung all the songs they wish to sing and have danced all the haka dances for a taua.
Then the chiefs of the tangata whenua make speeches welcoming the visitors, while the women bring taonga (valuable presents) and lay them in heaps on the marae until there is a large heap, perhaps two large heaps. Men bring weapons and lay them on the whariki (floor-mats) beside the other taonga. Others call out in a loud voice that their whanau is giving so much land in such and such a place. Many heirlooms are given, and the presentation goes on until many taonga of great value are given.
After the taua party is served with food, it returns home with the taonga. Several taua parties come from different hapu to which the husband belongs, and in such a case, the wife's people are stripped of all their valuable possessions.
It was very seldom that a married woman puremu. When it did happen, and taua occurred, the marriage tie was broken. The dissolution of a Maori marriage page 108 was done by the taua. After a taua both parties were free to marry someone else. If there were children, they decided themselves as to whom they should go. There was no law making them go to one or the other party, and neither the father nor mother would influence them in making their decision.
Many rangatira Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irish-men married wahine rangatira in the old days after the custom of the Maori people, from about 1840, the time of the treaty of Waitangi, or a little earlier. A pakeha rangatira would fall in love with a chief's daughter and ask the chief for her hand, and hearing of the custom of giving presents, would present blankets, axes, and other things. The chief would discuss the matter with his whanau, and if the girl was willing, she was handed over with ceremony with presents of cloaks, greenstone ornaments, weapons, and many acres of valuable land. There were many such marriages, and although the ceremony was just a handing over of the bride, the couple lived together very happily until the end of their days, often rearing a large family. The Maori woman was a most affectionate and faithful wife, and generally lived for her husband and children. There were and are many of these rangatira Englishmen who belong to noble families in England who have married Maori wives and they and their wives have been devotedly attached to each other for fifty, sixty, or more years.
The children of such a union are a fine type, the page 109 girls being pretty, and many beautiful with olive skin, rosy cheeks, and brown eyes and hair. Some of them have very fair complexions with blue eyes and flaxen hair, the hair becoming brown as the child grows older. The boys have the same complexions and hair, and are generally very good looking, with fine physique, and strong and healthy. They are fond of sport. The children are quick to learn, and many of them hold important and high positions in New Zealand in the social and political world.
There are also marriages between ordinary pakeha and Maori women which are very happy and which last for life. These men also had families and made good husbands.
In all the pakeha and Maori marriages, it was the woman who married a pakeha. The Maori man would not have anything to do with a wahine pakeha. Such marriages were very rare. One case which I know is that of the chief from Ngapuhi, who visited England, and before he returned, married a pakeha woman. I never heard of one case among Te Arawa people. I often asked my uncles why this did not happen, and their answers were very funny. English people would not understand the reason, even if I wrote it.
1 Some of the pakeha in the old days were tino rora, pretty low down. Some were sailors who deserted their ships, and some wanted to settle down and start in a new country. A Maori would claim one of these as his pakeha, thinking that he might help him to deal with the pakeha traders. The pakeha would be free in personal matters, but in anything which affected the hapu, he had to conform to the rules of the kainga. He was a pakeha Maori, and one of them. Then there were the pakeha tino taurekareka (very low down indeed) who visited New Zealand in whaling vessels in the very earliest days. For the most part they congregated at Kororareka in the North, and in Cook's Straits on the North Island side. Their behaviour shocked the Maori although he was called a savage. Their drunken orgies, debauchery, filthy language, immorality, and vileness were a disgrace to the pakeha. If these vile creatures were the type of pakeha which the Maori of those parts saw, can you wonder that he classed all pakeha as such? Is it to be wondered at that some of the Maori learned to drink, and to use vile the words which he thought were the proper language of the pakeha?
I must apologize to the reader for what I am about to say, but in view of what one writer has published, I feel that I must discuss the subject frankly, in order to answer him adequately. This writer publishes the mistakes which a Maori makes when he tries to speak the English language. What a lot of fun they make of the poor uncivilized Maori, and how they take him off! These people forget that the Maori did much better in trying to speak English than many Englishmen who tried to speak the Maori tongue; only we don't publish these things nor make fun of the pakeha. Rangatira people don't do this sort of thing. With pride is published the fact that a South Island man in replying to questions gave replies full of the word “bloody”, a word learned from the pakeha. Some place was named Bloody Jack's Island after him. The writer should have added that “bloody” was not a Maori word, but a word frequently used by the people he met, people whose every other word was a vile oath. The writer also forgot to mention that the Maori hearing nothing but “Bugger yer” every few seconds, and repeated so often by the pakeha when speaking to him, felt sure that the expression was something very important to the white man, and so christened him pakeha, which is the nearest that he could get to the expression with the consonants and vowels at his disposal. There may be other reasons why the white man is called pakeha, but I have often heard from my old people that this is the reason for the name.
Then there were the men who went to New Zealand and settled for a few years, and married Maori women according to Maori custom. The pakeha would know and think that this was only a temporary affair, but to the Maori woman, he was her tane (husband) for all time. In due course, he would return to his own country with promises that he would page 111 soon return. He would leave without making any provision for his wife or family, but the wife would not think of this. All she thought of was that her husband should have enough for his wants on the journey back to his country so that he could travel comfortably. Indeed she often sold things belonging to her to help him. Of herself she never thought, or her children. She knew that her people would never let them want. There were many such cases, when the wife after years of waiting died of a broken heart.
The pakeha husband learned the Maori language from his wife, and more important still, learned from her what not to do, according to Maori custom. This was really important, because such ignorance of Maori custom was the cause of many of the troubles in the old days between the pakeha and the Maori. A man's wife's people backed him up in all that he did, but he did not always try to help the Maori.
The pakeha husband often taught his Maori wife the ways of attending to a pakeha house, of cooking his food, and how to understand, and sometimes to speak his language. In most instances, the wahine Maori tried her very best to carry out his wishes, and in many cases she succeeded.
The marriages nowadays are different. The husband and wife are joined together by the laws of the pakeha. But I doubt if these marriages are happier than those of the old days, or more binding than the old Maori custom of handing over the bride with ceremonial.