Hawaiki: The Original Home of the Maori; with a Sketch of Polynesian History
Chapter II. Genealogical Connections and Chronology
Chapter II. Genealogical Connections and Chronology.
And moreover, unless we can fix some approximate date to the various legends, they are of little value in this particular connection—they serve to show the ideology and beliefs of the race, but without dates they cannot form history. We are met at the outset with this difficulty: that the Polynesian has no idea of time in our sense of the word. All he can say with respect to any event is, that page 22it occurred in so-and-so's time, and that it was after or before some other event. But luckily we have an approximate means of fixing dates in Polynesian History through the genealogical tables. It is probable that no race has more highly valued their pedigrees, or possessed so many—it was considered to be an essential part of the education of everyone having any pretentions to chiefdom to be able to recite his pedigree for at least 20 generations, and to know the family alliances to remote degrees. The notion of kinship was carried to degrees of relationship very distant, according to our ideas, and it is quite common to hear one person referring to another as his elder or younger brother or sister, who is, according to our ideas only an eighth or a tenth cousin. In former times the genealogies were considered to be sacred and were used for what may be called religious purposes. Amongst some branches of the Maoris they were recited at marriages, at the naming of a child, and in cases of difficult birth, always accompanied by Karakius or invocations. The old songs often contain genealogies, as did the Karakias. A good example of a very lengthy genealogy embodied in a formal song or recitation is to be found in the "Song of Kualii" of Hawaii.
* Wherever Fornander's dates are quoted herein, they have been converted to the 25 year scale.
As a rule the Polynesian genealogies are reliable within certain limits and go very far back. I cannot at all agree with Mr. Basil Thompson* that they "do not carry us back for more than seven or eight generations, and beyond this limit we are apt to step into the regions of mythology." This is a very surprising statement to emanate from one who has passed some years amongst various branches of the race, i.e., Tongans, and the half-caste Polynesians of Fiji. To those who have studied this question amongst various branches of the race, no proof is necessary as to the general accuracy—always within certain limits—of Polynesian genealogies; but as Mr. Thompson has—very rightly—acquired a good deal of fame by his writings, it is necessary to show that his estimate of the value of these genealogies is mistaken. At the same time, for the purpose I have in hand, some evidence is also requisite, in order to judge of the degree of reliability that may be placed on the dates to be used herein.
First may be mentioned, that the great migration to New Zealand took place at 21—22 generations back from the year 1900, or in the year 1350. This date is arrived at by taking the mean number contained in over 50 genealogical tables going back to those who came here in the fleet, all of which will agree to within 4 or 5 generations in number. Where many women come into the lines, they are naturally longer.
* See Journal Anthropological Institute, vol. xxxii., p. 83.
|Hawaii (from Hua)||23 generations.|
|Raiatea (Tahiti) (from Hiro or Whiro)||21 "|
|Rarotonga (from Iro or Whiro)||24 "|
|New Zealand (from Whiro and Hua)||24 "|
This conformity of record from four different sources shows that a considerable amount of agreement is to be found in the genealogical tables as preserved by different branches of the race, and clearly demonstrates their common ancestry. From the above figures we may—by allowing twenty-five years to a generation—arrive at an approximate date in Polynesian History, which can be utilized as a basis for others. We may therefore say that Whiro and his brother Hua flourished a.d. 1250 to 1275, and as will be seen later on, this is a very important date in the history of the race—it is during this period that Tangiia, the great ancestor of the Raro-tongans, flourished, and about 100 years afterwards the fleet left those parts to settle in New Zealand.
It must now be shown how the principal lines of ancestry of the Polynesians join, and the agreement, or otherwise, must be pointed out.page 25 page 26
* Fornander, vol. ii., p. 49.
† Annual Report Hawaiian Historical Society, 1897. I do not feel sure that Moa and Mou'a are identical names, but the rest of the words clearly indicate the same locality.
With respect to the above table, 'Olopana and his wife Lu'ukia, lived either twenty-four or twenty-six generations ago, according to which of the Hawaiian lines is taken. That these people are identical with Tu-te-Koropanga and his wife Rukutia of Maori history must be taken as almost certain, for it is extremely improbable that two men of the same name should marry wives of the same name —and their period is the same. Moreover, both from Hawaiian and Maori story, Rukutia appears to have been a woman of advanced ideas. With the former people she is accredited with having invented the female dress called pau, which the Hawaiians 'make to this day, for no other reason than because the pau of Lu'ukia was of five thicknesses." In Maori history her name occurs in an ancient karakia page 28used in tatooing the women, wherein the operator says, "Be you tatooed after the likeness of Rukutia." In another song it is said, "Gird thee with the dress (mat) of Rukutia"—perhaps a reference to the Hawaiian story. Again she is referred to as a poetess. That she was distinguished as a danseuse, the long story of the troubles between her and her first husband, Tama, will show.
According to my Maori informants, Tu-te-Koropanga's daughter was Anu-matao, and she was a matua to Whiro, which may mean an aunt as well as a mother. The other Maori accounts state that Whiro was the son of Moe-tarauri, as do the Rarotongan histories, which latter give his mother's name as Akimano, and this is confirmed by Tahitian history, where Hiro's mother is shown to be a Fa'imano,* a name which is identical with Akimano. The name in Maori would be Whakimano.
Whether Tu-te-Koropanga is identical with Tu-'Oropa-'a-maeha'a (in Maori letters, Tu-Koropanga-mahanga) of the Tahitian line, there is more uncertainty; but they are shown to have flourished within the same, or the next, generation, and they both lived in Hawaiki by Maori account, in Tahiti by the Tahitian account—places which will be shown to be identical. The Hawaiian 'Olopana was of Southern extraction, though his father lived in Oahu. His grandfather Maweke was one of those Hawaiian chiefs who voyaged backwards and forwards from Hawaii to Tahiti.
* Journal Polynesian Society, vol. ii., p. 26.
A constant difficulty met with in the names of Polynesian people is, that they had several, or often changed them trom the occurrence of a death or other circumstance. Hence the same ancestor is often known under different names by separate branches of the race, or even by different tribes of the same branch. It was an ancient custom amongst the Polynesians that chiefs visiting strange islands should take a wife from the people of such islands. It was often the case, also, that these wives and their children remained with their own tribe. So that we have lines of people in different islands, descending from one ancestor, page 30who are not known to the records of other islands by the same name.
Taken altogether, we see that these genealogical lines, from New Zealand, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Hawaii, all tend to prove one another, and that we may deduce from them a fairly accurate date for the period of Tangiia, viz.: the year 1250, which will agree with the period of Whiro; and these two men were contemporaries, as we shall see later on.
In order to show the data relied on for dates, a reference must now be made to the large general table of Rarotonga ancestors at the end of this book, for on it depends the dates of events in Rarotongan and Polynesian history as herein deduced. That table, starting from the earliest traditionary period when the people lived in Atia-te-varinga-nui, comes down to the time of the occupation of Rarotonga in 1250. We are now getting into the "misty past" and cannot expect such agreement in the lines as has been shown in those of later epochs, and of which other examples might be adduced.
We must first consider the agreement or otherwise of the two long lines shown in the table with one another and with a third to be found in vol. iv. of the "Journal of the Polynesian Society," page 129. The latter was communicated to the late Rev. J. B. Stair, in 1842, by Matatia, of Rarotonga, and should therefore have a considerable value attached to it, considering its date. All these three lines commence at the same ancestor, Te Nga-taito-ariki, and come down to Tangiia, or to his contemporary, Iro (or Whiro, of Maori history). I shall have to point out directly that the Iro and Tangiia lines differ in places as to the order of names, and they also differ in the names themselves, so much so that they must be different lines of descent, not two editions of the same. page 31It is within my own experience that a group of names is sometimes misplaced on a genealogy, though the total number may be correct, and this is what I think has occurred on the Iro line.
|By the Tangiia line||66 generations.|
|" Iro line||69 "|
|" Tangiia line||71 " (By Matatia)|
Giving double weight to the first Tangiia line above, we may take the mean as 68 generations back from Tangiia, or 92 from the present time to that of Te Nga-taito-ariki. By converting this into years, we arrive at a date very far back in. history, or to the year 450 B.C.
The only other line of Rarotonga which may be compared with this, is that of the Tamarua family, but it contains three groups of names on it which causes me to doubt whether it is not a cosmogony, or the three groups of names are different ones for three different persons rather than a genealogy. It originates from Tu-te-rangi-marama, the nephew of Te Nga-taito-ariki, and between him and Tangiia are 119 names instead of the mean of 68 of the other lines. By taking out the three doubtful groups, there are 72 left, which does not differ so much from the mean. The full line will be found in the Tamarua history, so that Polynesian scholars may then judge of its value.*
* This history has not yet been published, but it will appear Later on in the "Journal of the Polynesian Society."
If the Marquesan Atea is the same as the Rarotongan, then we get greater discrepancies still. Mr. Lawson gives the number from Atea to the present day as 74 generations; Mr. Christian as 123, and 140; and Commodore Porter as 88. Commodore Porter spent several months in the Marquesas in 1813, in command of an American squadron, and learnt a good deal about the natives. It will not be too much to add two generations to his number, which will make the period of Aotea 90 generations back from 1850 as against the 92 of Rarotongan, a difference not too great to allow of their being the same person. But the Marquesan genealogies in their earlier parts contain the names of islands,* and otherwise do not seem reliable. There is nothing but the name, moreover, to connect this Atea with that of Rarotonga.†
* It is of course possible that names of islands might have been borne by their ancestors, of which other illustrations might be given; but the order in which they come, causes me to be doubtful of them.
† Since the above was in type, information has come to hand in reference to Atea, the ancestor of the Aitutaki islanders, who flourished 64 generations ago; and this Atea I take to be identical with the Marquesan ancestor, of 74 generations ago, who did not live in the ancient Hawaiki, but in one of the stopping places in Indonesia—Papa-nui, referred to later on.
There is one argument against the Marquesan Atea being the same individual as the Rarotongan Atea, which has some weight attached to it. It is said, as we shall see later on, when we come to consider the "logs" of the migrations, that the Marquesan Atea did not live in the ancestral fatherland, but at Papa-nui, which was the fourth stage in their travels; and as his place on the Marquesan genealogies is 74 generations back from the present day, this would bring us to the year a.d. 50, or about 100 years after the period which is deduced from the Rarotonga tables as that at which the migrations arrived at Hawaiki, or Java. Papa-nui, according to the Marquesan "log," is certainly in Indonesia, and the period of Atea, i.e. a.d. 50, is that in which all evidence agrees in showing the Polynesians to have been living in those parts. Atea, is not nearly the first name shown on the Marquesan tables. So the balance of evidence is that he is not identical with Rarotongan Atea, nor with Hawaiian Wakea.
The Moriori genealogies go back further apparently than any others. We find on them the name of Tu-te-rangi-marama, the great Rarotongan ancestor, and he lived, according to the Morioris, 103 generations ago, as against Rarotongan 91. Again, it is not certain if this is the same man, but he is one of the few of whom anything is said in Moriori genealogy; he is accredited with inventing a new kind of mat or garment, which is remarkable, when nothing is noted of many born before and after him. We shall see later on that the Rarotongan ancestor of the same name introduced many innovations.
The Maori tables are not reliable beyond say 40 or 50 generations, and therefore admit of only partial comparison with the old Rarotongan ones.page 34
The Samoan tables, earlier than about 40 generations, are cosmogonies rather than genealogies; the longest I have seen is 55 generations or ages.
The Tongan tables appear to go back only 35 generations, or to just before the island of Tonga was colonized from Samoa or Fiji. This, however, was not the first occupation of that island.
No Tahitian tables are at present available for a greater length than 40 generations. So far as they go, they compare fairly well with Hawaiian and Maori.
The Rotuma tables go back for 106 generations, but contain only perhaps one name identical with Rarotongan ancestors, and he is too far out of place to be the same. The whole of the names indicate a Samoan origin, so psssibly this people entered the Pacific as part of the same migration. Rotuma is just on the route the migration must have followed.
Easter Island lines go back for twenty-three generations by one line, twenty-seven by another (A. Lesson) and appear to be all local, i.e., have lived on that island. Thompson gives the number as fifty-seven from Hotu-matua, who came there "from the east" with his large canoes—from Marae-toehau, and named Easter Island, Te Pito-te-henua. This "coming from the east" is another mystery of this celebrated island, which, together With its enormous statues and incised inscriptions on wooden tablets, renders it one of the most interesting places occupied by the Poly-nesian race.
There is thus not much help to be derived from these various genealogies; our main dependance must be placed page 35on those of Rarotonga, which we will now proceed to further consider.
Passing downwards on the line from Tu-tarangi, at the forty-eighth generation from now, we come to the name of Ui-te-rangiora. Unfortunately we have no means of checking the period of this man, but he was perhaps the most distinguished and daring navigator of the Polynesian race, as will be seen when we come to deal with him. According to the table, he lived about the year 650.
Another check on this long line may be shown as follows: according to the table at the end hereof, we shall find the Rarotongan ancestors Taaki and Karii (in Maori: Tawhaki and Karihi) to be brothers who flourished forty-six generations ago. Turning to the table published in the "Journal of the Polynesian Society" vol. vii., p. 40, we there find these two brothers, according to Maori account, to have lived forty-nine generations ago. With respect to this Maori table, the compiler Mr. Hare Hongi, says he is prepared to uphold its accuracy against all comers. The difference of three generations is not too much as between Maori and Rarotongan history. On Mr. Hongi's table will also be found the following names in the order given; Ru-tapatapa-awha, Ueuenuku, Ueuerangi. Now the same names are shown in the same order on the general page 37table of Rarotonga ancestors at the end of this work, but very far back in time, which bears out what has been said to the effect that the names given on this particular Rarotongan line (Iro's) are misplaced.
Continuing down this same line from Tu-tarangi, at thirty-eight generations ago, will be found the name of Kati-ongia, which is one of the very few that can be placed in Samoan genealogies. According to Mr. Steubel, there was an ancestor of Samoa of the name of 'Ati-ongie (which, allowing for the difference of dialects, is exactly the same as Kati-ongia), who flourished, by one line, twenty-five, by another thirty, generations ago. These differences are too great to allow of the persons named being the same, though one may have been named after the other. The father's and son's names are also different: but they both lived in Samoa.
Again continuing our downward scrutiny of the Tu-tarangi line, at thirty six generations ago, we find the name of Atonga, who lived in Kuporu (Upolu), and in his time was built the celebrated canoe named Manu-ka-tere, which I shall have to refer to as being known to the Tahitians. In the times of Atonga also lived some of the Rata family known to Maori history. Here we have an independent check on the period of Atonga, for a reference to the "Journal of the Polynesian Society" (vol. iv., p. 129) will show that Rata-vare (known also by that name to the Maoris), who "owned the forest in which the canoe was made," lived eleven generations before Tangiia, or thirty-five generations ago, which differs only one generation from the period assigned to his contemporary Atonga, on the line we are considering. The best Maori genealogy I have from Rata makes him to have flourished thirty-one generations ago, but I feel sure there have been several people of the page 38name of Rata, which could easily be proved, and the deeds of this one have been confused with those of others; through causes which will be suggested in the next subject dealt with.
Taken altogether, we thus see that there is a fair amount of agreement amongst these tables, sufficient I think to justify us in assigning approximate dates to a number of important epochs in Polynesian history, which are given at the end of this volume. As we proceed, it will be seen how the dates fit into the traditions derived from various sources.
Having shown the data relied on to fix the dates in Polynesian history, the geographical evidence as to their whence, deduced from the traditions, will now be adduced.