Maori Religion and Mythology
Chapter VI. Claiming And Naming Land
Chapter VI. Claiming And Naming Land.
No place in the world ever received a name which could not be accounted for, though there are hundreds of such names of which we can now give no explanation.—Farrar on Language, p. 22.
Ihenga set out with four companions. He went in a different direction to that of his former journey. He now went by way of Mataparu, Te Hiapo, Te Whare-pakau-awe. When on the summit of the ridge he looked back towards Maketu, and greeted his home there. Then turning round he saw the steam of the hot springs at Ruahine. Believing it to be smoke from a fire, he said to his companions, “Ha! that land has been taken possession of by some one. Let us go on.” They entered the forest, and having passed through it, came to a waterfall. Afterwards they came to a lake in which was a large island. Proceeding along the shore of the lake Ihenga gave names to various places. On arriving at a point of land jutting out into the lake, which he named Tuara-hiwi-roa, they halted; for they saw a flock of shags perched on the stumps of some trees in the lake. They made snares and fastened them to a pole to catch the shags, and placed the pole on the stumps of the trees. Presently the shags perched on the pole, and were caught in the snares, some by the legs and some by the neck. But the shags flew off with the snares, pole and all. The young men thought they would alight in the lake, but Ihenga said, “No, they are flying on; they will alight on Te Motu-tapu-a-Tinirau.” page 69 Ihenga had given this name to the island, which was afterwards named Mokoia by Uenuku-kopako.
Then Ihenga went alone in pursuit of his birds along the borders of the lake. He passed by Ohinemutu, where he found the hot springs, and the steam which he had supposed to be the smoke of a fire. When he reached the hill at Kawaha, looking down he saw the smoke of a fire burning below at Waiohiro; so he thought with himself, “Shall I go on, or no?” He decided on the no; for he saw a net hanging near a stage, on which there was food, so he went to look for the tuahu or sacred place for the net. When he had found it he forthwith set to work to carry off the earth, and the posts, and the old decaying inanga, in order to make a tuahu for himself by the face of the cliff at Kawaha. Then he brought fresh earth and new posts to the tuahu of the man of the place, and carried away some posts partly burnt by fire. He also stript off the bark from branches of koromuka and angiangi, and fastened them together with flax, and set them up in the inclosure of the tuahu belonging to the man of the place. When Ihenga had done all this secretly, he named his own tuahu Te Pera-o-tangaroa, and went on to the place where the fire was burning.
As soon as he was seen, the people of the place waved their cloaks, and shouted cries of welcome. And when the ceremony of uhunga was ended, the chief, whose name was Tu-o-rotorua, inquired when Ihenga had come to the lake.
“Ho! this is my own land,” said Ihenga.
“Where is your land?” asked Tu.page 70
“Why, this very land,” replied Ihenga. “I ought rather to ask you how long you have been here?”
“Why, I have been here this long time.”
“No, no! I was here first.”
“No,” said Tu, “I and your uncle were first here.”
Ihenga, however, persisted. “Ho! surely you came last. The land belongs to me.”
“What sign have you,” said Tu, “to shew that the land is yours?”
“What is your sign?” replied Ihenga.
“A tuahu, “said Tu.
“Come on,” said Ihenga, “let me see your tuahu. If your tuahu is older than mine, you truly came first, and the land is yours.”
Tu consented, and led the way to his tuahu. When they arrived there, it had the appearance of having been newly made.
Then said Ihenga, “Now come and look at my tuahu, and my ngakoa.1 So they went together to the Pera-o-tangaroa, where they found a heap of decaying and dried old inanga which Ihenga had brought there from the tuahu of Tu-o-rotorua. So when Tu beheld them, and the old burnt posts which Ihenga had stolen, he was so puzzled that he was almost persuaded that Ihenga must have been the first to occupy the land. However, he said, “let me see your net.”
1 Ngakoa were offerings to the Atua of fish and other kinds of food.
“Why, that is a landslip,” said Tu.
“No,” said Ihenga, “it is a net quite new. Look at that other net which is hanging up, and looks black; that is the old net.”
Tu thought it must be as Ihenga said, so he agreed to leave the land, asking at the same time who lived on the island.
“The name of the island, said Ihenga, “is Motu-tapu-a-Tinirau. I named it.”
Then said Tu, “Will you not consent to my living there?”
“Yes,” said Ihenga, “you may go to the island.” Thus the main land came to the possession of Ihenga.
1 Different kinds of wind instruments resembling the flute, only varying in their length
A canoe, a canoe,
A canoe of flax, a canoe.
Tie up carefully
With leaf of flax,
Whakatauihi made this haka. His was also the proverb, “ko te ure tonu; ko te raho tonu.” He it was who avenged the death of Tuhuruhuru.1
When Ihenga got nearer he perceived that they were not men, but Atua. There was a fire burning on a tree. So he stopt suddenly to look at them, while they looked at him. “A nanakia,” shouted one of them, running forward to catch him. But Ihenga fled, and, as he was running, set fire to the dry fern with a lighted brand he had in his hand. The whole fern was ablaze, and the tribe of Fairies fled to the forest and the hills. Then Ihenga went back to look at their Pa which had been burnt by the fire. There he found the kauae or jaw-bone of a moa, so he named the place Kauae. He then returned to the shore of the lake, and went on in his canoe. He named the hill Ngongotaha, because of the flight of the Fairies.
1 Vide “Traditions and Superstitions,” p. 68.
“See what food you have lying there,” said Ihenga. hine-te-kakara caught up a bundle of rats, and when she saw their teeth she exclaimed “ē, ē, he iko kiore” (eh! eh! a rat's tooth). So the place was named te Niho-o-te-kiore. Again she made an exclamation of admiration at the heap of birds, “In truth, in truth, a wonderful heap. Come, sirs, come and look at it.” So that place was also named “Kahui-kawau,” or Flock Shags. Then the birds were cooked, and the next dy they all departed to return to Maketu. They went to fetch Kahu. The food, the shags, the bundle of rats, the gourd of inanga, and the gourd of porohi1—a tempting bait to make Kahu come.
1 Porohi, a small fish of the lake
They reached the Hiapo, and rested there the night. Kuiwai and Haungaroa gave that name, because they left their brother Hiapo there, and he died there. Hiapo saw the koko hopping about the trees, and remained behind while his sisters went on to Maketu to carry messages from Hawaiki to Ngatoroirangi.
The next day they went on, and when they reached Totara-keria they were seen from the Pa by Tawaki. Then came shouts from the Pa, “Come, heaven-sent guest, brought hither by my child from beyond the sky. Come, come.” They arrive—the tangi commences—then speeches are made. Meanwhile food is being prepared. When they had done eating the food, Tawaki said to Ihenga, “Tell us about your travels. Whence come you, lost one?”
“I have seen a sea,” said Ihenga, “I found a man there.”
“Who is the man?” asked Tawaki.
“Marupunga-nui, and his son.”
They all knew that the son was Tu-o-rotorua. So Kahu inquired “Where is your uncle and his father?”
“They remain there,” said Ihenga, “I have made them go to the island.”
“Well done, son-in-law,” said Kahu.
Then the food brought by the men was laid in a pile before Tawaki in the courtyard of Whitingakongako. And Tawaki said to his sister “Give some for me and your father.” So she gave the bundle of rats, and the shags, and the gourd of inanga, and the other fish. And Tawaki and his father sent them to their own dwelling-place.page 75
As he was eating the food Kahu exclaimed “Ha! ha! food sent from the sky, food of Aotea-roa. Why that land of yours is Hawaiki. Food falling into your mouth.”
“Yes, yes,” said Ihenga, “first kindle the oven. When it is heated you fetch the food from that sea in baskets full.”
Then said Kahu “Ah! that land is a land for you, and for your wife, and for your offspring.”
“Let us all go there,” said Ihenga. To which Kahu consented.
Then Ihenga said, “Let the mana of that land go to you. You are the Ariki of that land—you and your offspring.”
“Yes,” replied Kahu. “Since you, my Ariki, are so great a gentleman as to bid the younger brother's son dwell on that land of yours. Yes—I consent that we all go.”
Then the food brought by Hinetekakara was portioned among the whole tribe.
Ten days afterwards they left Maketu, twenty in number, ten of the rank of chiefs, and ten men to carry food. When they reached the small lake, discovered by Ihenga, he said to Kahu “You are the Ariki of this lake.” Hence the song of Taipari—
By Hakomiti was your path hither
To Pariparitetai, and to that Rotoiti of yours,
Sea discovered by Ihenga,
Thereof Kahu was Ariki.
Thence they went on to Ohou-kaka, so named by Kahu from a parrot-feather hou-kaka, which he took page 76 from the hair of his head, and stuck in the ground to become a taniwha or spirit monster for that place. When they reached the place where their canoes had been left they launched two, a small sacred canoe for Kahu, and a large canoe for the others. Then they embarked, and as they paddled along coming near a certain beach, Kahu threw off his clothes, and leaped ashore, naked. His two grandsons, Tama-ihu-toroa and Uenuku, laughed and shouted “Ho! ho! see, there go Kahu's legs.” So the place was named Kuwha-rua-o-Kahu. In this way they proceeded, giving names to places not before named, till they reached Lake Rotorua. They landed at Tuara-hiwi-roa, and remained there several nights, and built a whata, or food-store raised on posts; so that place was named Te Whata.
Then going on by way of the Hot Springs, they arrived at Te Pera-o-tangaroa, and Wai-o-hiro, the stream where Tu-o-rotorua formerly dwelt. Next they came to Ngongotaha, which Kahu named Parawai, after his garden at Maketu.
After they had dwelt two whole years at Parawai Kahu determined to visit his nephew Taramainuku. Taramainuku and Warenga, the elder brothers of Ihenga, had abandoned the land at Moehau. The former had gone to the Wairoa at Kaipara, and the latter to the Kawakawa at the Bay of Islands, and had settled there. So Kahu set out with his son-in-law Ihenga, and his son Tawaki, and some travelling companions. He left behind at Parawai his daughter Hine-te-kakara, and her son Tama-ihu-toroa. He also left Uenuku, the son of Tawaki, and his wife, Waka-oti-rangi, to keep possession of Parawai as a permanent abode for them.page 77
Arriving at the hills they rested, and Kahu sought a shelter under a rata tree, which he named Te Whakamarumaru-o-Kahu (Kahu's shelter). Thereupon Ihenga perceiving that Kahu was giving his own name to the land, pointed to a matai tree; for he saw a root jutting out from the trunk of the tree resembling a man's thigh; he therefore named it Te Ure-o-Tuhoro. He named it after his father's ure to weigh down the name of Kahu, his father-in-law, so that the place might go to his own descendants. And it went to his descendants, and is now in possession of Ngatitama. As they went on Kahu's dog caught a kakapo, so he named the place Te Kakapo. A little further on they came to a part of the hill where a stone projected from the face of the cliff. Then Kahu chanted a karakia called Uru-uru-whenua:—
I come to Matanuku,
I come to Matarangi,
I come to your land,
Feed thou on the heart of the stranger.
Put to sleep mighty spirits,
Put to sleep ancient spirits,
Feed thou on the heart of the stranger.
So he named the place Matanuku, which name remains to this day.
Arriving on the banks of the river Waikato he crossed over and rested while food was being cooked. The young men were very dilatory, and Kahu was angry at their laziness; so he named the place Mangare. Afterwards they came to the river Waipa, crossing which they passed over Pirongia to Waingaroa, and thence along the sea beach to the mouth of the river Waikato. Here page 78 they fell in with Ohomairangi. He came in Tainui. He was the brother of Tuikakapa, a wife of Houmaitahiti, and mother of Tama-te-kapua and Whakaturia.
From Waikato they proceeded along the sea beach to Manuka, so named by Kahu who set up a manuka post there as a rahui or sacred mark. Here Kahu's companions embarked in a canoe, while he prevailed on a taniwha or sea monster of that place, named Paikea, to carry him on his back. At length they drew near to Kaipara, and falling in with some of the men of Taramainuku were conveyed by them in their canoes to Pouto, where Tara was residing on the banks of the river Wairoa.
The tangi resounded, and speeches of welcome followed—“Come here, come here, my father. Come to visit us, and to look on us. I have deserted your elder brother and your father” (meaning their bodies left buried at Moehau).
“It is well,” said Taramainuku; “has not your son, Tawaki, a child?”
“Then carry home with you his cousin to be his wife.”
To this Kahu consented. So Taramainuku's daughter, Hine-tu-te-rauniao, was given to Kahu to return with him to Rotorua. The son of Uenuku and Hine was Rangitiki.
When Kahu saw the para, he asked, “What food is this?”
“It is para,” replied his nephew.
“And where does it grow?” asked Kahu.
“It grows in the woods.”
“Ho!” said Kahu, “this is the food your ancestor ate. It is the raho of your ancestor, Tangaroa. This is the first time I have tasted para. You must call this place Kaipara.”
1 Toheroa, a species of bivalve.
2 Hinau, berry of Elœocarpus dentatus.
3 Hue, a small gourd.
4 Para, a species of fern having a tuberous root.
“Who?” inquired Kahu.
“Ho! where is he?”
“He has gone away,” replied Huarere. “He came in search of you. He set up a stone for a token for you.”
“ē, ē, my papa, ē, ē,” murmured Kahu.
Huarere continued: “After the arrival of your papa he went directly to disinter the bones of Tama and Tuhoro.”
“That is well,” said Kahu.
Having remained three nights Kahu and his companions, with Huarere, climbed to the summit of the mountain where Tama-te-kapua had been laid to sleep. Therefore the mountain was named Moe-hau-o-Tama, or Sleeping Sacredness of Tama. After three nights Kahu went on to the forest, and set up a Ri, or sacred mark, as a warning to prevent anyone from passing further that way. It remains there to this day. Then descending to the beach he turned his face towards the mountain, and chanted a lament to the resting place of his elder brother; so that place was named Tangi-aro-o-Kahu. He then went to see the stone which Ngatoro had set up as a token for him. That place is named Te Kohatu-whakairi-a-Ngatoro, page 81 and the stone remains there to this day. Then he climbed another hill, and placed a stone on its summit. The stone was named Tokatea. Thence they travelled along the ridge of the hills till they reached a lofty peak. They ascended it, and remained seated there, while Kahu looked about on every side. “Ho! ho!” said Kahu, “this is an island,” and turning to Huarere, “your land, my child.”
They went along the ridge of the hills that they might see the goodness of the land. The goodness of the land was seen, and Kahu said to his nephew, “The goodness of the land is this; there are two flood tides. The east tide flows while the west tide is ebbing.” Then they descended to the water side, where they saw fish called aua,1 so they named the water Wai-aua.
Kahu and Huarere then parted. The descendants of Huarere grew and multiplied there, and all those lands became filled with them.
1 Aua, a fish resembling the herring.
At length they entered the forest which extends towards Rotorua. Rain fell, and they were drenched with water dripping from the trees. Then Kahu chanted an invocation to Rangi, and the rain ceased. Kahu named the place Patere-o-Kahu, from their having been drenched with the rain. At the birth of the son of Hopo, the child was named Patetere.
At length they passed through the forest, and arrived at Parawai. Their journey was ended, for they had reached the dwelling place of his daughter, and of his daughter-in-law, and of the two children, Uenuku and Tama-ihu-toroa.
The following day Hinetekakara said to Kahu, “Sir, Marupunganui has crossed over to the main land.”
“Where?” inquired Kahu.
“To the Ngae.”
Then said Kahu, “To-morrow we will go to Motu-tapu.”
So when daylight came they set out, and found Tu-o-rotorua dwelling on the island; but his father was not there. Tu welcomed Kahu in these words: “Come my teina to your island to be its Ariki.”
“Yes,” replied Kahu, “this sacred island is mine; but do you, my Ariki, continue to dwell on it.”page 83
Thus the island was given up to Tu-o-rotorua. But the mana of the land was Kahu's. Hence the song of Taipari before mentioned; for Taipari sprang from the race of Tama-ihu-toroa. Tama's son was Tuara, and Tuara was an ancestor of Taipari.
As they paddled away from Motu-tapu Kahu bid farewell to Tu-o-rotorua—“Abide there, my child, you and your father. Alas! that I have not seen your father.”
“Go, sir, go,” were the parting words of Tu. “Go to guard your ancestor; go to the Arawa.”
Leaving their canoes at the Toanga they went on towards Maketu. On the way Kahu's grandchild became thirsty, and cried for water. Kahu had compassion for the child, and chanted a karakia, and when the karakia was ended he stamped on the ground, and water came forth. Hence that place was named Te Wai-takahi-a-kahu (the water of Kahu's stamping).
Kahu afterwards remained at Maketu, and died, and was buried there. When he died the mana of Maketu went to his son Tawaki-moe-tahanga. When Tawaki died, the mana-rahi of Maketu went to Uenuku, who also died at Maketu when an old man. Then his son Rangitihi abandoned Maketu, and went to Rotorua, and settled at Matapara with all his family.
When Kahu left Ihenga at Kaipara at the dwelling place of his elder brother Taramainuku, he thus bid him farewell—“Sir, be quick to return to your child, my grandchild, Tama-ihu-toroa. Do not delay.” So Ihenga remained at Kaipara for a short time. Then travelling page 84 northwards he came to Ripiro. The food of that place was toheroa. Kupe placed it there for food for his daughter, Tai-tu-auru-o-te-marowhara. The great rolling waves on that coast have been named after her. So says the proverb, “Tai-hau-auru i whakaturia e Kupe ki te Maro-whara.” Going on they arrived at a certain place where Ihenga ate all their toheroa privately in the absence of his companions.
“Who has eat our food?” inquired his companions.
“How should I know?” said Ihenga.
“Why, there was no one but you. You alone remained here.”
1 “Te rakau e takoto nei, tungou, tungou” are the Maori words. Tungou=ἀνανεύω—a sign of dissent with the Greeks, but the common sign of assent with the Maori.
At length Ihenga reached Mataewaka at the Kawakawa, where his elder brother Warenga dwelt. He remained there one month, and when the new moon appeared he and his brother Warenga went to the lake Te Tiringa to fish. There inanga were caught, some of which Ihenga preserved in a gourd filled with water, in order that he might carry them alive to Rotorua. He also caught some koura, or small cray fish, which he preserved alive in the same manner. This done, the brothers parted.
Ihenga travelled by way of Waiomio, giving names to places as he went. Te Ruapekapeka was named from the thousands of bats found there in the hollows of the trees. Also Tapuae-haruru, from the noise made by his footsteps. The sons of his brother Warenga were his companions. They made known the names given by Ihenga. Maiao was one of these sons. The son of Maiao was Te Kapotai, who was an ancestor of Tamati Waka Nene.
The hill Motatau was so called from Ihenga talking to himself. Going on they came to a river where Ihenga page 86 saw his own image in the still water, so the river was named Te Wai-whakaata-a-Ihenga (Ihenga's looking-glass). They came to another river, and dug up some worms to throw into the water. The fish would not come to the bait. Then Ihenga threw into the water some of his inanga. Then he called the eels, but they did not come. He called the inanga, and they came. He called the worms, and they came. Then he called on Tangaroa, and Tangaroa sent the eels. The mode of calling was a karakia. Going on he ascended a mountain. There he called on Thunder. He commenced his karakia, and as soon as it was finished thunder was sent, and lightning struck the top of the mountain, which is still named Whatitiri, or Thunder.
When they arrived at Whangarei they collected some muscles from a shoal, and roasted them on the fire, and that place is still called “Te Ahi-pupu-a-Ihenga” (Ihenga's muscle fire).
The chief of that place was Tahu-whakatiki, the eldest son of Hei. When the Arawa reached Wangaparoa Tahu and his younger brother Waitaha quarrelled. So Tahu and his family remained behind, while Waitaha and his father went on in the Arawa. Then Ihenga embarked in a canoe belonging to Te Whanau-a-Tahu. Two of the sons of Tahu—Te Whara and his younger brother Hikurangi—went with him in the canoe. They touched at Taranga,1 and sailing by Hauturu2 they reached Moehau.
1 The islands Hen and Chickens.
2 The Little Barrier island.
The inanga which he had brought with him from the Kawakawa he placed in the stream Waitepuia at Maketu. Before going to Rotorua he again caught them, and carried them with him in a gourd of water, and placed them in the lake; but the koura he placed in the water at Parawai.