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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Horo-Uta or Taki-Tumu Migration. [Vol. III]

Chapter IV

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Chapter IV.

At eventide again rehearse, and tell
The acts and fame of heroes gone.
Speak of the days of long, long past,
And those who lived in that past age
Of our great leaders and ancestry.
Far in the distant south,
Kept by the Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu,
Is the moa-bird, the bird from which
I may a plume obtain, to
Flaunt me in my days of joy.

Tama-Tea and Rongo-Kako.

Taki-tumu landed at Tauranga, and Tama-tea was left there. The canoe was then taken charge of by Rongo-kako, Kupe, Rua-wharo, and Ngake, who brought her to Turanga, where they left some more of the crew, and some food for them, and came on and landed at Te-mahia, where others of the crew stayed, and by witchcraft brought whales to shore for their food. Coming on again, the canoe landed at Ahu-riri, where Ranga-tira, the son of Rua-wharo, was left, with the pipi (cockles) for his food. Coming on again, the canoe landed at Kopu-tau-aki, where Maku, a daughter, was left, with some moki (a fish) and pakake (whale), “the food of Tama,” for her to live on. Coming on again, the canoe landed at Po-ranga-hau, where the pipi (cockles) called Ti-raki was left. Coming on, the canoe landed at Te-wai-nui (great waters), where Matangi-awhiowhio (whirlwind), the son, was left. He lived on karengo (an edible seaweed). Coming on, the canoe sanded at Aki-tio (beat the page 93 oyster off), where the daughter of Kupe, called Moko-tu-a-rangi (tattooing like cloud-streaks on the sky), was left. Her food was korokoro (lamprey). Coming on, the canoe landed at Rangi-whakaoma, where the crew stayed two days to recruit from the fatigue of paddling on the sea. At this place Kupe and Ngake challenged each other to make the best canoe. One of them said, “Let it be dusk of evening when we commence to make our canoes.” When evening had come each set to work to finish his canoe first. At midnight Kupe had finished his; but Ngake had not completed his at dawn of day, so he was beaten and silent. Therefore these canoes were called Rangi-whaka-oma and Kapua-rangi (cloud of heaven) respectively.

Taki-tumu sailed away again, and landed at Matakitaki (gaze at), where two of the children of Kupe, called Rere-whaka-itu (flee from a calamity) and Mata-o-peru (thick lips), were left, with some food consisting of taro and powhata (sow-thistle). From this place they looked to the South Island; and hence its name Matakitaki (to view, to look at). Then the canoe sailed to Te Rimu-rapa (edible sea-weed), where Kupe hung his stone axe on the cliff at the entrance to Port Nicholson, and then sailed to O-takou. On his trip across Rau-kawa (Cook Strait) Kupe threw overboard Te-whatu-kaiponu (the stone which holds the canoe back); and hence it is that canoes find it so difficult to pass over the strait.

Pawa and Hou-Nuku. (Nga-Ti-Kahu-Ngunu.)

Horo-Uta belonged to Tama-kawa (the baptised son), Hiki-tapua (sacred incantation), and Tu-kari-kawa (dispute at baptism); and Pawa got her from them, in order that he and his people might voyage over the sea to these islands (New Zealand).

These are the names of those who came in her: Hou-nuku, Hou-rangi, Hou-atea (clear, not obstructed), Hou-arero (plume like a tongue), Hou-taketake (the veritable plume), Taaki-rangi, Taki-whenua, Pawa, Tari-toronga, Koneke, Tane-here-pi, Te-paki (the calm), Te-kura, Waha-paka (dry mouth), Whio-roa, page 94 Tao-roa, Ta-puke, Rere-pari (fly over the cliff), Tai-kehu, Tu-tapa-kihi-rangi, Karo-taha, Tai-a-roa, Te-hirea (the indistinct in sound), Manu-rewa (uplifted bird), Tu-mata-haia(haea) (scratched face), Mahau-tu-tea (the open verandah), Tahore, Tane-whai-kai (the husband of much food), Pa-rutu (oscillating pa—stockade), Rangi-tu-roua (the heaven touched with a pole), Tahu-karanga (husband or wife calling), Ta-raua (the canoe paddled sideways), Toki-puanga (axe used in the ceremonies connected with the star Rigel), Te-a-maru (the sail), Ira (pimple or wart on the skin), Te-iki-rangi (the consuming sky), Hiki-te-pa (ceremony performed over the hook to cause the fish to take it), Hiwara (watchful), Te-ha-totoi, Rourou-a-tea (the pole used by Atea—space), Rongo-topea, Nga-rangi-ka-ihia (the heavens divided), Tane-toko-rangi (Tane who propped the heavens up), Timu-rangi (omens of heaven), and others.

These are the names of the women of the highest rank who came in the canoe (but there were many other women on board): Makawe-uru-rangi (hair of the head offered to the heavens), Mapu-hia-a-rangi, Hauhau-i-te-rangi (cool in the heavens), Te-roku (the coward), Te-manawa-roa, Hine-mataotao, Hine-hau-ki-te-rangi (famous daughter of heaven), Hine-huhu-rangi (striped daughter of heaven), Kite-rangi (see the heaven), Hine-ruruhi-rangi (ancient daughter of heaven), Hine-hehei-rangi (daughter of the breast-ornament of heaven), Whiti-anaunau (cross over and search for), Koia, Tangi-wai-tutu, Hine-kapua-rangi, Tanga-roa-kai-tahi, Ta-poto, Hine-rau-kura (daughter of the red plume of the head), Taka-paheke (slide and fall), Matangi-rau-angina (the wind of many breezes).

This canoe landed at O-hiwa (watchful), and stuck on the rock called Te-tuke-rae-o-kanawa (the eyebrow of Kanawa), and was held there. When the crew who were engaged in saving her from being wrecked had time to attend to the people, it was found that their female relative of highest rank, Hine-kau-i-rangi (daughter swimming in heaven) had left her companions, and taken with her her immediate vassals and page 95 friends, and gone inland. Some priests say she had a party of two hundred and sixty with her. Some of the people at once followed her, and when they got to where she and her companions had rested they gave a name to that place, and thus they gave names to each place where she had rested, or taken food, or sat on any peak or hill.

When those who followed her got to Tupa-roa, the one hundred and forty men under the leadership of Pou-heni, who were carrying the mahiti (white dog-mats, made of the hair of dogs' tails), puahi (white mats made of dogskin), and paepae-roa (mat with broad ornamental border), and various other sorts, had not arrived there. This party had travelled by the coast, and was sacred; therefore they did not carry fire or food with them. They slept without shelter wherever they were benighted; thus all and each of the places where they slept was called Po-ure-tua (the night of power cast down).

Those who went in pursuit of Hine-kau-i-rangi entered the forest and came out at Tai-harakeke, in the same district where the people with Awa-paka had been catching and preserving birds in their own fat. The party of Awa-paka had all slept on the ground and died where they slept; and to this day their bodies are seen there as stones stretched on the ground.

Again the pursuing party entered the forest, and travelled on until they came out at Ana-ura, where they cooked food in umu (ovens), and left. These umu are to be seen there to this day. Again they entered the forest, and travelled on till they came out at Whanga-ra, where they found the sacred party of Pou-heni like dead men, and covered with blowflies. They had become so weak for want of food that their teeth were clenched. The pursuing party lit a sacred fire, and put urine into calabashes and heated it; then with sticks they opened the jaws of the apparently dead, and poured the urine into their mouths, and they all recovered. Pou-heni left a fire and some food for them, and formed his immediate followers into different parties, page 96 to provide food for the whole party. To Te-paki (fine weather) he gave the dogs; to Ko-neke, the weapons of war to protect them; Tane-herepi had the spears to spear birds; Kahu-tore (apron) had charge of the sacred food as offerings to the gods; Kura had the eel-pots, and a number of people to help to obtain food for the whole party. Others carried the gods. The party of Ira were the most healthy of all the various sections of the people.

When they arrived at Turanga they found Ira and Kei-wa (at the space) living there, and the canoe Horo-Uta laid up at Te-muriwai, where they also took up their abode; and there they found the bird-trap, which was a pole with a snare on the top, called whaka-manu (like a bird), which was brought from the other side of the ocean; they also found Te-kuri-a-Pawa (the dog of Pawa) turned into a stone.

They stayed there some time, and then went back on the same road over which they had come in pursuit of their elder female relative Hine-kau-i-rangi, even back to Te-kere-u (very dark). The object of this journey was to search for a haumi (a piece of timber to lengthen the canoe) for Horo-Uta. Having found a haumi on a certain mountain, they called the mountain Maunga-haumi (the mountain of the piece of timber to make a splice); and at the mountain now called Kai-kamakama (eat food quickly) Pawa made water to float the haumi, and in doing so he stretched forth his hands and chanted this incantation:—

Stretch forth, O water
Extend to a distance.
This is the stream
Of the circumcision.
Stretch forth, O water!
Extend to a distance.
It descends, and
Is the Wai-roa River.

And the two rivers, called Te-wai-roa (long water) and Te-motu (circumcised) are from the water of Pawa; but the timber for the haumi was left there, as the canoe had been brought from Te-tukerae-o-kanawa to Te-wai-roa.

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They therefore came back to Turanga, where they put another haumi on the canoe, and mended her in those parts which had been broken.

Pawa and Tai-Pupuni. (Nga-I-Porou.)

I will tell you the cause of the wreck of Horo-Uta, the canoe of our ancestors. This canoe was that in which the first kumara was brought to these islands from Hawa-iki. The crew was composed of Pawa (gall), Tai-pupuni (high water), Tai-wawana (flowing tide), Rangi-tu-roua (the heaven reached), Hou-taketake (descend to the depths), and other priests and followers. When all were on board and ready to leave, Kahu-kura stood up on the shore and addressed them, saying, “Depart in peace to the new land, and when you arrive there do not place Rongo-marae-roa (the god of the kumara) with Ariki-noanoa (the god of the fern-root), lest Rongo-marae-roa be angry, and leave you to perish. Let there be but one god in your canoe, and let that god be Rongo-marae-roa. It is contrary to the teaching of all our ancient priests that the ceremonies and offerings to Rongo-marae-roa should be mingled with those to Ariki-noanoa. Moreover, the kumara is the food to be eaten in times of quietness and peace. The fern-root is the food for times of commotion and war, and is the only food a war-party can rely upon while marauding in the country of an enemy. Neither is it customary to store the fern-root with the kumara; nor are they cooked in the same manner, for, while the fern-root is roasted in the fire because of its astringent fibre, the kumara is cooked in the oven, and thus forms a delicious food. And so we have always heard the proverbs repeated: ‘The astringency of the fern-root,’ ‘The pungency of the taro,’ ‘The bitterness of the flax,’ ‘The sourness of the kare-ao’ (supple-jack).” But the priests of Horo-Uta did not observe the counsel of Kahu-kura, nor did they caution their people to follow his instructions; for, when they landed at Ahuahu (mounds) (Mercury Island, off Cape Colville, near the Thames), a woman named Kanawa (dazzle, shine) brought some fern-root on board page 98 of Horo-Uta, as a supply for the rest of the voyage. When they were again in mid-ocean, Rongo-marae-roa, in anger, caused a great storm to rise, so that the spray of the waves covered the canoe, and it was only by the mighty efforts of the crew that Horo-Uta was got near to O-hiwa (watchful), where she was upset, and drifted on shore. Soon, however, she was made seaworthy again, and when the crew had replaced the cargo they sailed along the east coast of New Zealand, and left some kumara at each place at which they landed. Thus was the kumara brought to these islands.

Kahu-Kura and Toi. (Nga-Ti-Porou.)

When Kahu-kura landed in these islands (New Zealand) he found Toi and his people living here. The people of Toi cooked food for Kahu-kura and his friend, which consisted of tii-root, ponga (Cyathea dealbata, or C. medullara), and roi (fern-root). Of this they partook, and, in return, the people of Kahu-kura cooked some food which they had brought with them from Hawa-iki for the people of the land (the people of Toi).

The friend of Kahu-kura, who was called Rongo-i-amo (Rongo who was carried in a litter), unloosed his waist-belt and poured some dried kumara (kao) out of it. The kao was put into seventy calabashes, and mixed with water with the hand into pulp. Toi and his people smelt the aroma of the kumara as they partook of it, and asked, “What is the name of this food?” Kahu-kura answered, “It is kumara.” Toi said, “Perhaps it cannot be brought to this land?” Kahu-kura said, “It can be brought here.” Pointing to a shed, he asked, “What is that over which a shed is built to protect it from the sun and rain?” Toi answered, “It is a canoe.” Kahu-kura said, “By that the kumara may be brought here.”

The name of the canoe was Horo-Uta, and it belonged to Toi and his children and people. They at once determined that the kumara should be brought in her from Hawa-iki.

That night the people held a meeting, and ceremonies were page 99 performed and incantations chanted that the gods might close up the holes out of which the wind blew, and calm the waves of the sea, and also attend and guard and uphold the canoe on her voyage, that she might skim swiftly over the sea to Hawa-iki.

Horo-Uta was put into the sea, and twice seventy men embarked as her crew. Seventy sat on each side and paddled the canoe. Kahu-kura accompanied them.

It was midnight when they landed in Hawa-iki, and soon after the kumara-crop had been taken up and stored in sacred storehouses (rua). Therefore Kahu-kura had to dig on the cliffs of the coast to obtain the kumara, and to make the kumara fall into the canoe. To gain his object he chanted this incantation:—

The digging-pole, the big rain, the long rain,
The hail, sunshine, and shower,
And the big drops of rain,
Of squall, and gale—
Rangi, allow them to depart.
Rangi, oh! make them bald,
And let the offspring of Pani
(The kumara god) now greatly stare,
And let the offspring of Matuku
(The murderer) now timidly stare.
My skin is rough,
And chapped by Rangi
Oh! that I could hear
The gods now speak!
Oh! that I could hear
The ancients now speak!

When be had ended his chant the kumara fell from the cliff and loaded the canoe. Again he chanted that the kumara might cease to fall, and sang,—

I am satisfied.
I have handled
The great and valuable
Of Mata-rangi
(Face of heaven).
I am satisfied
With what I have
Obtained from the cliff
Of Ha-wa-iki.

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As he ended his chant the kumara ceased to fall into the canoe, and she was laden.

The priests commanded the crew not to carry any other food but the kumara in Horo-Uta, as the kumara was sacred to the gods of peace.

Kahu-kura stayed in Hawa-iki. Horo-Uta came over the sea and landed at Ahuahu; and when she left that island one of the crew obtained a bundle of aruhe (fern-root) there, and took it on board. When the canoe arrived at Whaka-tane the gods who had charge of her became very angry because of the bundle of fern-root, and caused a great wind to rise—as the proverb says,—

The big wind,
The long wind,
The assembly of winds,
The whistling winds of heaven.

To appease the gods the crew threw a woman called Kanawa (war-weapon of the senior warriors—syn., hani or tai-aha) overboard; but she rose to the surface of the water and caught hold of the bows of the canoe. The crew called to her and said, “Loose your hold of the canoe, or she will capsize.” But she would not, and the canoe turned over. And they called the place where the canoe was upset Te-tuke-rae-o-kanawa (the eyebrow of Kanawa).

The canoe was damaged, and the piece spliced on to make it longer (the haumi) was broken off, and it drifted on shore. All the people wept for the damage done to their canoe. They held a meeting and decided to obtain another haumi. The priests divided the people into two parties, seventy to guard the canoe and seventy to get the timber required.

Pawa was the leader of those who were to get the haumi. Others were deputed to spear birds and provide food for Pawa and his party, under the leadership of Awa-paka; Koneke carried the tao (war-spear); Tane-here-pi carried the here (bird-spear); Te Paki had charge of the dog to catch the birds kiwi, weka, and tara-po (kaka-po); and it was for Awa-paka to say where the birds taken by his companions were to be cooked page 101 and preserved in their fat in calabashes. The names of the places where they potted the birds were Pua-o-te-roku (heavy blossom) and Po-rutu-ru (booming noise of splashing).

When the birds had been preserved a messenger from those who were mending the canoe came to Pawa and Awa-paka, and said, “O Awa-paka! take your calabashes of preserved birds out of the forest. Horo-Uta has been mended, and has sailed again. She will go into Wai-apu and meet you there.”

Awa-paka and his party started at once, and came out at Tau-mata (top of the hill), and there they ate some of the preserved birds, and called that hill Tau-mata-kai-hinu (hill-top where fat was eaten). There they performed the ceremonies and chanted the incantations, and offered one of the remaining calabashes of preserved birds as a thank-offering to the gods for the recovery of Horo-Uta. The name of the calabash so offered was Toetoe (shreds).

When Pawa and his party arrived at Awa-nui, Horo-Uta had passed by that place; but there the crew left her anchor, baler, sinker, and some kumara for those who might occupy the district of Wai-apu. The bird-preservers left a calabash of preserved birds there, which turned into stone, and is to be seen to this day.

The messenger who had been sent on a former occasion to Awa-paka was again sent to him, and met him between Wai-piro and Mata-ahu, where they rested for a time, and left the remainder of the calabashes of preserved birds. These also turned into stone, and are there to this day. They called that place Te-kai-hinu-a-awa-paka (the eating of fat by Awa-paka).

The party led by Pawa could not get back to assist in mending Horo-Uta, nor did they obtain a haumi for her.

He who righted the canoe was called Rangi-tu-roua (the day he was bound with cords). He took titoki (Alectryon excelsum) wood, and bound it round her, and turned her over. At the same time this was chanted:—

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O power! O power!
Bound round and confined!
O power! O power!
Bound round and confined!
Lift, O earth!
Lift, O heaven!
Breathe, O breath!
Lift the procreating power.
Breathe, O breath!
Raise the procreating power.
Now it comes, it comes.
“Tis done—yes, 'tis done.

As the voices ceased to chant these words the canoe recovered her upright position, and the people dragged her beyond the reach of the tide, where they could mend her.

When they were dragging her they chanted these words in a loud voice:—

Who shall cause her
To slide along?
She will slide by the
Power of Tu-te-rangi-aitu
(Tu the heaven-god).
Famous axe of Mata-po (the blind)—
Yes, Mata-po and Huri-te-po
(The night turned over).

They mended the canoe, and put the cargo of kumara on board again, and came on to Whanga-paraoa (harbour of the whale), Wai-apu (bale the water up with the hand), Tu-ranga (long standing—of Rua), Nuku-tau-rua (distance of the canoe carrying a net), Here-taunga (tied two-together), Whakawhitinga (crossing), and to Kai-koura (eat the crawfish). They left some kumara at each place; and hence the origin of the words in the incantation chanted when planting the kumara, and repeated by the descendants of those who came in Horo-Uta, and by some also of those who came in the other canoes:—

Hill up the mounds that make the kumara grow—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Whaka-tau(tane) the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Wai-apu the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
page 103 At Wanga-paraoa the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Turanga the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Nuku-tau-rua the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Here-taunga the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Whakawhitinga the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.
At Kai-koura the kumara grew—
We had a mishap by the waves of the sea.

I will explain why the kumara is not put, or used in conjunction, with fern-root: The kumara is called Rongo-marae-roa (Rongo of the long courtyard), and fern-root is called Ariki-noanoa (the lord of little sacredness); and they were the children of Rangi and Papa (heaven and earth). Rongo-marae-roa was ordained to be the god of Tu-mata-uenga (god of man and of war), and Ariki-noa-noa as food for man in time of war. When an enemy is on the way to attack a pa the inhabitants of the pa take some kumara and place them on the road over which the enemy will come to attack them, and chant over the kumara this incantation:—

Sprouting germ,
Germs dispensing,
Dust of the earth,
Dust of heaven—

and leave them on the road. If the war-party come near to these kumara a panic will take place, which will be caused by the power of the incantation chanted over the kumara, and the war-party will flee back to their own home.

The kumara is also used as a god in the following way: The kumara which the priests take, and over which they chant the incantations previous to the crop being planted, are taken to a stream and placed in it and offered to the god Kahu-kura (god of the rainbow), as that god is supreme god of crops. When a few of the kumara which are to be planted have had the ceremonies and incantations performed and chanted over them, page 104 and have been set, the priests go to consult Mua. If the god Kahu-kura (a small image of wood) is seen to tremble or shake he by this sign informs the priests that he acquiesces in the wish of the people that the gods, or an enemy, or flood will not destroy the crop. The people then put the whole crop into the ground.

The fern-root, or Ariki-noanoa, is also a god of Tu-mata-uenga (god of man). When the hair of the head of man or woman is cut it is put in the fire, together with a piece of fern-root. When the fern-root is roasted it is kept as a charm to protect the possessor from harm.

But Rongo-marae-roa (the kumara) does not in any way cease to feel his disgust to the Ariki-noanoa (fern-root) in regard to the pungent taste of the raw fern-root, as it is more bitter than that of any other plant; and hence the meaning of these proverbs : 1. “The sweet aroma of the ocean-breeze.” 2. “The bitter gum of the flax.” 3. “The gall of the sparrow-hawk.” 4. “The pungent bitter of the taro” (Colocasia antiquorum). 5. “The astringency of the fern-root.” If man had not a tongue to make him aware of these bitter things what would be the effect on him? He would lick all these bitter things to his own harm.