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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 1

Matakite; Divination

Matakite; Divination

As a noun the word matakite denotes a seer, any person believed to be possessed of second sight, one who practises divination; also any act of divination, or any utterance that embodies a prophecy or augury. The terms mata and kite are also employed separately to denote such an utterance, while matatuhi is used as is ma takite, to define a seer. It is also used in an adjectival sense, as in he tangata matauhi (an oracular person, one who practises divination). Such a diviner is also termed a tangata titiro mata, or tohunga titiro mata; in some cases the form tirotiro mata is used; matamata aitu also denotes a seer. The word mata, in ordinary speech, denotes the eye; kite means "to see, to discover, to perceive"; while tiro and titiro mean "to look."

The Maori had, and has, a very strong faith in signs and omens. He loves to see meaning in dreams, in certain manifestations of nature, in the actions of animals, in everything that his strange mentality could extract a meaning from. To his strangely constituted mind practically every activity held some hidden meaning. Thus it was that, in order to meet a felt want, and doubtless to enhance page 279their own importance, certain persons set themselves up as seers, and their business was to explain all signs and omens, also to practise divination by consulting the gods, and in other ways to foretell the future. There were assuredly different grades of these seers. Some were but tricksters of low status, shamanistic jugglers who performed sleight-of-hand tricks, and by kindred means gained influence over superstitious minds. Others, such as high-grade tohunga, apparently scorned the trade tricks of the tohunga kehua class, and confined themselves to more reputable functions. These also may have been imposters, but at least their activities were more dignified then those of the ordinary necromancer. Some Europeans claim that some of the old tohunga possessed extraordinary powers—that they employed both ventriloquism and hypnotism in their performances; but these things are not capable of proof.

In his remarks on native seers the Rev. R. Taylor wrote: "The matakite, or seers, pretend to do many supernatural things, and cause their gods to appear at pleasure, but from my personal knowledge of many I am persuaded they are ventriloquists, and thus deceive the people; although in some cases they may deceive themselves with the idea that the god is in them; generally, however, they are gross imposters who only seek gain or influence by their pretended powers." It would be unwise to include all tohunga maori as humbugs, however, and it is well to bear in mind that missionaries never acquired any knowledge of the superior phases of native beliefs and ritual.

Thomson, in his Story of New Zealand, takes a different view, and writes: "The New Zealand priests were not rogues; they had a superstitious belief in their own powers, combined with a good deal of cunning, and ventriloquism was practised by them for professional purposes. When asked to foretell whether an expedition would prove successful, they generally awarded victory to the strongest battalions." In these remarks Thomson was evidently not referring to the low-class shaman, but to the superior class of tohunga.

The oracular utterances made by the mediums of spirit gods were treated with great respect by the Maori, and were firmly believed in. They were so believed in because they were held to emanate from the gods, who vouchsafed these warnings to man through their human mediums. Thus it may be said that divination was essentially a part of Maori religion. In certain divinatory acts performed by these mediums the result was as much a matter of chance as that of tossing up a coin, but they contained no element of chance in native belief; they were manifestations of the gods page 280who live for ever. It will thus be seen that what would appear to us to be a childish act would be of very great import to a native. Survivals of such old pagan beliefs and customs are found in the highest forms of religion of the present day.

The Maori seer of good standing, was obliged to be exceedingly circumspect in his behaviour. Inasmuch as he was the human medium of an atua, he had to be very careful in regard to his own tapu condition. Any infringement of the laws of tapu simply meant the withdrawal of the favour of the gods, in which two misfortunes would be the lot of the hapless seer. In the first place he would be deprived of the power of second sight; he would also be reduced to an utterly defenceless condition in what may be termed a spiritual sense. His spiritual and even his physical welfare became exposed to all sorts of dangers, and, having lost the protecting power of the gods, dread Whiro might at any time strike him down—which means death. The first thought, then, of a person so situated was to regain the favour of the gods, and this was effected by means of conciliation, called whakaepa. He would make an offering to the offended atua, accompanied by a karakia, or ritual formula, a form of charm believed to possess the power of placating the estranged being. As an illustration of this kind of dilemma we may note the case of a seer who has been so imprudent as to recline on that part of a house-floor occupied by the women, or to use a woman's garment as a pillow. The consequence of such acts is that the tapu of the seer becomes polluted, and he is afflicted by the condition termed kahupo (syn. hinapo)—that is, he becomes blind. Not blind so far as ordinary sight is concerned—that is expressed by matapo and kapo; but spiritually blind—that is, he is no longer able to see the warning signs of the gods, and has lost his powers as a medium.

The explanation given above goes to show that divination occupied a very important place in Maori life, and the faith in omens was equally strong. When a people believe that most trivial and natural activities are the result of a superior intelligence, then apparently nothing is too' absurd to inspire faith in omens derived from such. The belief lying behind faith in trifling actions denoting the trend of future events, &c., is that the gods send warnings of future events to man in innumerable ways, and the seers have the task of interpreting the meaning of such warnings. The media utilized by the gods are somewhat startling in their wide range and diversity, extending from the appearance of stars to muscular twitchings of the human body; from page 281crashing thunder in the heavens to the appearance of a lizard in one's path.

In many cases the oracular utterances believed to emanate from the gods were made known by the mediumistic seer in the form of a song. This applies to the more important subjects, and a number of such songs are now on record. Such a song would be sung by the seer to the people, and accompanied by explanations of its meanings. In the case of an expected fight the kite or mata—that is, the song of prophecy—was often adopted as a war-song for that particular expedition or engagement. It would be chanted as is a peruperu or ngeri—delivered in loud tones, with vehement emphasis, and accompanied by the fierce, rhythmic gestures so dear to the Maori.

Another peculiar feature of some of these prophetic utterances concerning war is that of the papa. This term denotes some object that, according to the prophecy, must be seen, captured, or slain in order to secure a victory. This singular behest of the gods sometimes led, as may well be imagined, to very extraordinary actions being committed by an armed force. In order to illustrate this custom we may quote the case of the prophetic song pertaining to an expedition of the Tuhoe Tribe against the Taupo natives, a raid that occurred over a century ago. This song was made known by one Uhia, medium of the war-god Te Rehu-o-Tainui, a famed seer of Tuhoe. The song was employed as a war-chant by the warriors of that historic raid. It runs as follows:—

Ko wai te waka…e?
Ko Te Hiahia te waka…e
Me he peke mai a Te Kiore
Ki runga ki nga taumata o Uru-kapua ra
Ki reira tirotiro ai. E…ha!

  • (What canoe is it? The canoe is "Te Hiahia." Should Te Kiore but leap to the crests of Uru-kapua, then shall we see.)

The explanation was that there were two papa connected with this act of divination. In the first place, a canoe named "Te Hiahia" must be seen, and a man named Te Kiore, clad in a red garment, must be found and slain, ere victory could be gained. To pursue any other course would ensure disaster to the expedition. No serious attack might be delivered until the two papa were secured. Quoth Uhia: "Fulfil the commands of the atua [god], and nought shall remain save the birds that ever drift upon the waters of Taupo-moana." Even so the raiders marched to Taupo to avenge a former raid on their own tribal district, and reached Orona, where the fortified village of Uru-kapua looked out upon the lake. The party was under the command of Uhia, who, as page 282the medium of Te Rehu-o-Tainui, directed their actions. Thus for two days he would allow no attack to be made, but instructed his warriors merely to repel attacks made by the local natives. On the third day the raiders saw a canoe approach the shore, and in it was a man clad in a red cape. Here at last were the two papa of the prophecy, and, keenly excited, the savage bushmen of Tuhoe leaped to the ranks and thundered forth the roaring war-song of Te Rehu. As the echo thereof rang out from the cliffs over the placid waters of Taupo, the canoe grounded, the raiders rushed to the fray, Te Kiore was. slain, and the canoe was secured. Knowing full well that victory was assured, our raiders then attacked and took Uru-kapua, and then lifted the return trail to their rugged mountain home. The joy of the savage heart was theirs, for the raid of Taihakoa on Ruatahuna was avenged, and, in the exaggerated language of the Maori, "nought remained save the drifting waters of Taupo-moana."

When the Wairoa people attacked Tuhoe of Ruatahuna, one Mohaka was their prophet, and in his explanation of the dictum of the gods he said there were two papa of the matakite, a lone tree and a fair-haired person (urukehu) The first of these had to be seen, and the second captured, but not slain. At the first village attacked a man named Matangaua was pursued and caught near a lone tree on the Manawaru Range. As he was a fair-haired person the prophecy was in a fair way of being fulfilled, but the eager raiders slew their captive, thus breaking the commands of the war-god under whose sway and tapu they were. Disaster alone could result from such an act, and disaster followed swiftly the offence, Mohaka and his merry men being pursued as far as the Huiarau Range. Other instances of such prophetic visions and oracular sayings, with their attendant papa, might be given, but the above will suffice. It will be noted that any commands contained in these oracles must be completely and literally obeyed, otherwise failure is assured.

It occasionally happened that a seer would advise the people that victory was assured them so long as they obeyed the instructions of the atua, but that he, the seer himself, would perish. When Ngapuhi, during one of their southern forays, attacked Ngati-Awa at Okahu-kura, the seer of the latter, one Tama-a-rangi, prophesied that the raiders would be repulsed, and that he alone would be slain. This, we are told, was the actual result of the fight. Colonel Gudgeon has recorded another case in which one Titau, a seer attached to the Native Contingent of Whanganui, foretold his own death during the operations around Opotiki. When, the fighting being over, Titau was still very much alive, and the force was to return home the next day, page 283his tribesmen looked askance at him. As the Colonel put it, "We were to embark on the morrow, and if he intended to die the time was very short, he would have to be smart about it—and he was." We are told that worthy Titau went off in a canoe to the vessel that was to take the Contingent home; that the canoe capsized in the surf, and that those on board reached the shore safely—save and except worthy Titau, who threw up his arms and went down to Rarohenga in the cold embrace of Hine-moana, thus proving the correctness of his matakite. It was a case of death before dishonour.

When seer or shaman of unpleasing ways became obnoxious in Maoriland there was always an element of danger attached to the profession. Colonel McDonnell tells us of one Pero, who foretold, with great accuracy, the death of sundry persons. Having been detected in an attempt to poison the colonel himself, by means of strychnine, his oracular efforts were discouraged, and he himself died soon after. This occurred in 1860; and a few years later my very worthy old friend Himiona Titiku, of Ngati-Awa, shot a tribesman whom he suspected of felonious designs in the way of witchcraft against his child. Tikitu sought refuge among the Urewera bush folk, where he remained for some time, until handed over to Captain Preece. He was not hung, for which I am truly thankful, because, some three decades later, he furnished me with a considerable amount of tribal and racial lore.

Polack and other writers have drawn attention to the trickery and deception practised by Maori seers, and undoubtedly much of that sort of thing was done. The superior class of the priesthood certainly included men whose activities were of a more genuine nature, and who believed in certain things that we view as absurd. As to how far these men practised deception it is impossible to say.

The art of the seer was not confined to the male sex, but women who practised this pseudo-science seem to have confined themselves to lower branches of the art. Judge Wilson tells us that the Waikato chief Waharoa had a private priestess who attended to the art of divination in connection with his man-slaying activities. Other writers mention having seen female seers. In 1865 Maraea, of Tuhoe, acted as seer for the party of that tribe that fought Ngati-Manawa at Te Tapiri. No woman, however, was admitted into the superior class of tohunga maori.

The Maori seer in many cases claimed that when he appealed to the gods in cases of divination their answer was imparted to him during the hours of sleep. At such a time any dream would be viewed with much seriousness, and meanings of grave import would be derived from it. In some cases a seer would become page 284"possessed" by an atua in his waking hours, and would, in manner frenzied, retail the result of such possession to the people in the form of an oracular utterance. As observed, many of these were in the form of songs, which were often extremely vague in any allusion made to the subject of the appeal. The gods were said to communicate with their human mediums in a whistling tone of voice, which is perhaps the reason why natives never whistled, and dislike to hear Europeans whistling. Curiously enough, it was once an article of faith along the Scotch border that the speech of spirits is a kind of whistling.

Any tohunga about to perform a rite of divination would assuredly fast until the ceremony was over, and that was probably an important cause for such ceremonies being performed early in the morning. A seer about to put himself into a trance-like state might fast for a much longer period. Captain Cruise, who sojourned in New Zealand in 1820, made the following remarks in his journal: "An elderly female, or kind of priestess, of the tribe of any warrior who is going to fight, abstains from food for two days, and on the third, when purified and influenced by the atua, after various ceremonies, pronounces an incantation for the success and safety of him whom she is about to send forth to battle." It is, however, doubtful if there was much of this divination in time of war as regarding a single person; such acts were performed to ascertain the fate of the party or force as a whole. Further illustrations of songs containing oracular expressions may be found in vol. 11 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, p. 55 onwards.

As to how far hallucination entered into the incoherent speech and frenzied actions of the Maori shaman we know not, but doubtless persons were able to work themselves into such a condition with comparative ease. The writer has seen negroes of the southern States act and talk like raving lunatics at their camp meetings, though not one iota more foolishly than some white folks he has heard ranting at Salvation Army meetings.

The account given by Maning in Old New Zealand of the Ngapuhi raid on Motiti illustrates well the dubious aspect of some oracles as delivered by native seers. In this case the prophecy consisted of a brief expression, viz., "A desolate land!" This was accepted by Ngapuhi as a highly favourable omen—evidently the land of the enemy was to be desolate; but the result was absolute disaster to the raiding force, so that evidently a wrong interpretation had been assigned to the matakite. A similar case was that of the page 285Tuhoe contingent at Orakau. The omens were favourable to them as an attacking party, but they made the mistake of holding the hastily constructed redoubt as against an attacking force of Europeans. This error was, of course, their undoing. The attacking force certainly won the fight, but then the enemy was the attacker.

A native who joined a party of northern natives that harried Taranaki and the south in 1820 made the following remarks when relating an account of the raid: "I saw our tohunga performing the augury with the niu, and so I drew near. He was teaching the people the meaning of the signs of the niu. Then I saw the furrows in the earth made by the fern-stalks (niu), and learned their meaning, and the names of the hapu (clans) that would fall in battle subsequent to the performance. At the end of this the priest spoke in a frenzied manner, and explained to the people how to conduct themselves, and told of the lands we should pass over. It was during the night, however, that the priest spoke with a particularly ghostly accent, but, as his voice was incoherent, I could not quite understand it all, nor was I clear as to whether our party was to conquer or to die in the battles which were to follow." This narrative, taken from Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century, by S. Percy Smith, shows that the dubious utterances of some seers were extremely puzzling and difficult to understand. The niu referred to was a method of divination by means of casting sticks or short rods. Auguries were derived from the manner in which such sticks fell. There were several different ways of manipulating the sticks. The name of niu applied to the sticks and the ceremony is of interest, for it would appear to have been introduced from Polynesia, where the coconut is so termed. In those isles that nut was much employed in divination ceremonies, as described in Mariner's account of the Tonga Islands. (See also vol. 1 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, p. 47.) In New Zealand the word is used as meaning "divination," as well as a specific term for the sticks referred to.

The following explanations of several methods of manipulating the niu have been culled from the writings and unpublished notes of the late Mr. John White, author of The Ancient History of the Maori:

The expert stuck two sticks in the ground in an upright position, and tied another stick to them in a horizontal position. He then took a wand of koromiko {Veronica) to which a lock of hair from the head of a tapu priest or chief was attached, and waved it repeatedly across the sticks, at the same time reciting a charm. page 286Auguries were drawn from the movements of the hair, and as to whether or not it struck the horizontal stick. This was employed in ascertaining the fate of a proposed attacking party in war. One would suppose that the result lay entirely in the operator's hands, but we are informed that his slightest movements were controlled by the gods; and who shall say it was not so?

Mr. John White has told us that the sticks used in the niu were named by the tohunga who manipulated them, and that among such names were those of Te Ata-mounu, Te Manu-i-te-ra, and Tongohiti. The atua, or supernatural being presiding over this divinatory practice, was one Korohahatu. The priestly adept, by means of a certain charm, caused this being to become an indwelling spirit in the sticks employed, for the duration of the ceremony.

In one method adopted by such experts the proceedings were of the simplest nature. Two pieces of stick were procured, one of which represented an enemy force, the other that of his own people, and over these he recited a brief charm, such as the following:—

Kiamana e Korohaha-tu
Korohaha-to, Korohaha-rere
Korohaha matai taua
Kia mana.

(This expresses a desire that the divinatory act be rendered effectual by Korohahatu, the critical observer of armed forces.) The manipulator then casts the two sticks down on the ground. Should one of them be then found to be lying across the other, then the party represented by the uppermost stick will be successful in the coming fray.

A still simpler method adopted in affairs of minor importance consisted merely of clapping the open hands together. Good or bad omens were drawn from the position of the fingers, whether they struck each other, or interlocked. On this occasion the following charm was repeated:—

Tenei te nui ka rere
He niu na Paki
Ko te he kia puta.*

(This effusion proclaims that the niu instituted by Paki is about to be operated, and asks that ill luck be made clear, or abolished.) This charm was also employed in cases where sticks were thrown, as described above. In the hand-clapping it was deemed a good omen if the fingers interlocked, a bad one if they did not. Persons about page 287to make a journey would perform this simple act in order to ascertain whether or not any danger or trouble lay before them.

Another method, practised by the Ngai-Tahu folk of the South Island, was as follows: Three small branchlets were stuck lightly in the earth at the sacred place of the village. One of these represented an armed force about to go forth and attack a hostile pa (fortified village), another represented that pa itself, and a third the people of that place. The experts then waited until a bird chanced to alight upon one of the branchlets. Should one so settle on the branchlet representing the war party, and should it chance to fall, the fact of its fall is taken to mean that the party will be defeated. Should the branchlet not fall, then the party will be successful. Similar omens were derived from the effect of a bird alighting on either of the other branchlets.

Here is another specimen of the charms used by niu augurers:—

Moko torotoro, moko torotoro
Murare, murare
Kei haramai koe
Kei whakawareware i taku niu
Kia toa.

The following is the most elaborate style of niu divination. This method was adopted in cases of importance, such as the despatch of an armed force to attack an enemy.

At early dawn, prior to the kindling of any cooking-fires, the priestly expert proceeds to a small rude shed situated at the midden or refuse-heap of the hamlet, a shed erected by men who have slain enemies. Therein he spreads a mat on the ground, and sits down by the side of it so as to be facing the east. He has with him a number of pieces of the stalk of the rarauhe (Pteris aquilina), each about 6 in. long, one for each chief of the party about to set forth, and also one for each chief of the enemy about to be attacked. These sticks he holds in his right hand, and then, with his left hand, he takes them one by one and lays them on the mat before him, naming each one as he does so after one of the chiefs above mentioned, until all lie in a row before him. He then takes an equal number of such sticks and fixes them in the ground in a vertical position, thrusting them through the mat, leaving intervals of space between them. These receive the same names as the corresponding sticks. He then takes up the stick at the right-hand end (No. 1 of bottom row) and lays it on the palm of his hand, which is open and with straightened fingers, so that it lies in the middle of the hand, parallel with the fingers. He then extends that hand toward stick No. 1 of the upright row, which bears the same name, then withdraws it, extends it again, page 288 The Niu Divinatory Rite page 289 once more withdraws it. He then lifts that hand as high as he conveniently can, and repeats—

Ko Papa tu a nuku
Ko Papa tu a rangi
Ko Papa tu a whenua
Haere ki te riri mau.

He then lowers his hand, and, with a quick forward jerk, casts the stick off his hand towards No. 1 of the upright sticks. Should it pass to the right of No. 1 it is said to be outside and unprotected, the same being an evil omen. If it passes between upright sticks 1 and 2 it is a good omen. All other sticks are cast in like manner, and should the last thrown pass to the left of No. 6 it is an evil omen. Having completed this performance the tohunga or expert throws the sticks away on the midden.

Niu tuaumu.—Our expert then proceeds with the second part of his performance, known as niu tuaumu. He procures a piece of stick for each chief who is to remain in the village while the warriors are absent on their raid, and an equal number to form an upright row. All these are named as before, and the same operation gone through, but the words repeated by the expert are these: "Tahuri ki muri, haere ki pa ka hurihia" ("Turn to the rear, go to a fallen fort"). He also repeats the names of any tribes or clans that might possibly attack the home village during the absence of the war-party. As each stick leaves his hand he repeats, "He aha tau, e te wahine?" ("What is thine, O woman?"), and also mentions the names of any tribes from whom assistance might possibly be received. In this case the omens apply to an enemy attacking the home village. The word tuaumu seems to imply weakening, or depriving of power, It is applied to a charm to weaken an adversary or enemy, also to the "scarf" in tree-felling.

The expert then lifts the tapu, and the people may then proceed to cook the morning meal. In this tapu-removing ceremony the expert marks a line on the ground, between himself and the mat, with his thumb, and also spits on or at the sticks, but we are not clear as to what these actions meant.

This final act of the ceremonial connected with the enemy is known as niu tuaumu. The expert explains the result of his divinatory acts to the people, and they are careful to bear in mind all instructions, so as not to bring misfortune or disaster on themselves.

The sticks that are thrown are known as kaupapa, and to each one is attached a small strip of Phormium leaf so arranged as to leave a loop projecting. When thrown, should this loop fall over the corresponding upright stick, this is looked upon as a lucky sign for page 290the person or clan represented by such stick. If the stick thrown chances to strike the upright one and falls with the loop downward it is a sign that the person represented will die a natural death.

Niu kowhatu.—Another mode of divination, known as niu kowhatu, was performed on the bank of a river, pond, or lake. Ere lifting the war-trail the warriors accompanied their tohunga to the waterside. Each provided himself with three stones, one of which he threw into the water, one behind him, and one upward overhead. As each man cast his stones the expert proclaimed the omen betokened. Auguries were drawn from the sound caused by the stones thrown into the water: the more noise made the better the omen. Of the stones thrown backwards, those that inclined to the left of the thrower foreshadowed bad luck, those that swerved to his right were tokens of good fortune. Those thrown upwards that fell in front of the thrower were lucky, those that fell behind him unlucky. When all had cast their stones, then the expert gave a general decision, according to the total numbers of lucky and unlucky casts.

In his work Te Ika a Main the Rev. R. Taylor tells us that "In consulting the niu each one had his stick, to which his own name was given, and in throwing the stick, if the one representing the consulter fell under the other, it was a sign of his death."

Mr. Yate, a missionary who sojourned in New Zealand in the "thirties" of last century, gave the following account of a niu performance, probably as practised in the far north. The performer cleared a small space, about 6 ft. square, in a sheltered spot. He procured a number of sticks of equal size to represent the clans of both sides that would be engaged in the fight. He stuck the sticks in a vertical position in the earth, in two rows, and apparently but loosely, not firmly, inserted in the ground. He would then recite a charm over the sticks and wait until a wind caused them, or some of them, to fall. According to the manner in which they fell he drew his auguries as to the fate awaiting the different clans represented. Any stick that fell backwards betokened a routed clan. If any fell in an oblique manner, then such clans would be "partly routed", as the writer puts it. Those that fell forward represented the clans that would be victors. Another method practised, according to the same writer, consisted of another person being called in, one ignorant of the disposition of the sticks as allocated to different clans, and this person overthrew the sticks in a haphazard manner. One may marvel at men placing any faith in such puerile trickery, and it can only be explained by the knowledge that they firmly believed that their gods were behind all such functions; that the so-called oracles page 291were manifestations of supernormal beings that controlled the destiny of man.

In November, 1833, the Rev. A. N. Brown wrote as follows: "Titore was sitting on a bank, relating his exploits. … On their right hand were fourteen human heads, stuck on short poles…. Tohitapu … after addressing Tu (one of their gods) in a chanting tone, threw a piece of stick which he had in his hand toward three heads of their friends, which Titore had brought from the southward. The chiefs stopped their conversation to see whether the stick, round which he had tied a piece of flax, would fall with the knot upward or downward. It was upward, which they took for a good sign in the event of their returning to the southward again to give battle to their enemies."

In April, 1831, the Rev. R. Davis gave an account of another form of niu that he witnessed. Two seers took part in this performance, which seems to have begun with the recitation of some ritual formula. Each then procured a cockle-shell, and they cut each other's hair, an act that entered into many native ceremonial performances. In a secluded spot, well sheltered, they stuck up a stick, and balanced thereon two others. They then retired, and were to return later on to see if the balanced sticks had fallen. If such sticks fall off on the eastern side of the upright one, then success is assured; if on the western side, a defeat will be suffered.

The Rev. J. Buller, in his Forty Years in New Zealand, mentions a mode of niu that was possibly the same as one described by Mr. Yate: "Divination was used to foretell the results of the impending action. No food was eaten while these were being performed. Early dawn was the orthodox time. The chiefs of both sides were represented by as many fern-stalks, and these were called by their names. Each stalk had a strip of flax tied to it, while another set was prepared without the flax. They were all fixed into the ground. A stick was thrown across them, and according to the way in which the fernstalks fell were the chances of the fight."

In his Story of Te Waharoa Mr. J. A. Wilson describes a mode of niu employed by a force about to attack a pa, or fortified village: "This ceremony was performed by taking a number of small sticks, each representing in the tohunga's mind a particular clan, and throwing them haphazard towards a small space described on the ground, which betokened the pa. The tohunga was able, by the way they fell upon the ground, and the directions they pointed in, to presage whether an attack would prove successful, and, if so, to assign to the various clans the parts they should take in the proposed assault."

page 292

The late Colonel McDonnell gave the following description of a niu performance: "If a tribe was going to war, they would make presents to propitiate the gods, through the priests, who would place a number of reeds in the ground, and then, retiring a short distance, pronounce an incantation, and then send short clubs whirling among the reeds, and judge by the way they fell whether the gods would crown the expedition with victory."

In yet another method of this niu performance the sticks seem to have been thrown all together. If they fell in a scattered manner the augury was a good one; if together, then trouble lay before.

Tylor held the view that ancient and barbaric divinatory functions may survive as games in civilized communities, which appears probable. Some of the forms of niu described above might certainly degenerate into some form of dart-throwing game. It is an assured fact that many of our modern sports and pastimes are survivals of exercises and ritual performances of former times. They originally had a meaning, and were held to be not only useful activities, but also indispensable to the well-being of the people.

Polack tells us how he came upon a party of six natives about to perform a divinatory ceremony of the niu kind. All were naked, as was customary when what we may call a religious rite was performed and they were much relieved when told that the traveller had not yet partaken of food. The operators fixed in the ground some small sticks about 2 ft. in length, each of which represented a person. On the top of each stick was carefully balanced a small stone. After the lapse of a certain time the place would be revisited, and if all the stones were still in position, then the journey about to be undertaken would be safely accomplished. If, however, any of the stones had fallen off the sticks, then the persons represented by those sticks would perish during the journey. On another occasion this writer saw the same performance gone through in order to ascertain the fortune of war. In this case about twenty sticks were erected in two rows, one row for each tribe about to fight.

Missionary H. Williams tells us how, in 1832, he came across some natives manipulating the niu sticks in order to ascertain the fortune of an expedition by canoe. All the experts engaged in the performance were in a state of nudity, and a stick about 1 ft. long was erected for each canoe of the fleet.

Dr. Thomson, in his Story of New Zealand, the best of the earlier works on these isles, wrote as follows: "Before the army took the field the chiefs of the host, in order to infuse confidence, asked the gods to fortell whether the expedition would prove successful. This divine opinion was obtained through the priests in various ways. page 293Sometimes sticks representing the combatants were stuck in the ground, over which the priests performed certain ceremonies. Then food was cooked for the gods and the army. After partaking of this the priests returned with the people to the place where the sticks were placed; and should the sticks representing the enemy have fallen down, the gods were supposed to announce success; if otherwise, defeat; in which last case the expedition was postponed to a future occasion."

In a paper by the Rev. T. G. Hammond published in vol. 10 of the Journal of the Polynesisn Society the writer in mentioning the Mangaroa Stream, near Turanga-rere, says: "Where this stream turns in its course the tohunga divined the omens by watching the course sticks would take in the current, and advised the warriors accordingly, in relation to impending conflicts." Now, this mode of divination through the agency of floating sticks was also practised at the baptism of a child of rank, at least among the Kahungunu folk. This was with the view of ascertaining the future fortunes of the child. Polack mentions that one versed in ariolation was sometimes employed to ascertain the sex and qualities of an unborn child.

The native treatment of disease was empirical with a vengeance. Even herbal remedies were not used by the Maori practitioner, for he was the village priest, the shaman, and so taught that all forms of sickness and disease emanated from the gods. Such afflictions were held to be punishments inflicted by the gods for offences, as against the laws of tapu, or were the result of black magic. Even in the latter case the powers of the magic that caused the affliction came from the gods. Thus, divination entered largely into the activities of the tohunga when dealing with illness. His first aim was to ascertain either the cause of the attack, the particular offence of the sufferer against the gods, or the name of the atua so afflicting him, or that of of the wizard whose knowledge of the black art was responsible for affliction. In the charm recited by the shaman priest would probably be inserted the names of certain atua, of certain offences, or certain wizards, or a combination of these. Should the patient gasp, or make some involuntary movement, or expire, during the repetition of the charm, then the person named or offence being mentioned at that precise juncture was held to be the cause of the person's illness. Thus the words, "house," "bed," "garment" would probably appear in the karakia hirihiri, or divinatory charm, diagnostic ritual. If the word "house" were indicated in the above manner, then was it known that the patient had offended against the laws of tapu in regard to a tapu house, and so on. The names of known warlocks were mentioned and viewed in the same way. In some cases this ceremony was page 294performed at the edge of a stream, and, should the diviner discover that a certain wizard had caused the trouble, he would say, "It is—, I see him standing beside you."

In some cases the attendant tohunga would prepare a small umu, or steam-oven, in which he cooked a small portion of food, over which he recited a charm that comes under the generic term of hoa. This charm had the effect of endowing the food (or the ceremonial performance) with the power to manifest the death or recovery of the patient. When the oven was opened, then, if the particular article of food over which the charm had been repeated was found to be thoroughly cooked, the recovery of the patient was assured. If, on the other hand, it was found to be underdone, then the sufferer would assuredly die. In the first case, that of the favourable omen, were the patient's illness the result of witchcraft, then the death of the wizard was looked upon as assured.

Another method, and apparently one more frequently adopted, was as follows: The tohunga, or expert, would seek a flax-plant (Phormium), and would grasp one of the young, undeveloped inner leaves. As he did so he repeated the following charm:—

A seeking, a searching,
To seek whither?
To search the land, to seek the origin,
To seek the base, to search the unknown,
To seek out the atua.
May it be effectual!

He then pulled the young leaf out from the fan of leaves. If the act was accompanied by a peculiar screeching sound that it sometimes causes, then it would be known that the patient would recover. It must be understood that the charm has the effect of making that leaf a medium of the gods, as it were, through which they made known their fiat to man.

The following illustration is that of an east coast method resembling the above, but a small shrub took the place of the Phormium leaf. A curious form of divination was practised among the Ngati-Porou Tribe. It was employed in cases of illness, though its use was not confined to such cases. The method adopted was as follows: Should a person be suffering from illness, then some one would go and convey the mariunga to the priestly adept, who would proceed to the forest and there search for a small shrub of karangu (Coprosma robusta) to be used as a medium for the ceremonial charm. When found, he repeated these words over it:—

Reveal the token of death;
Reveal the token of life.

page 295

He then grasped the stem of the shrub firmly with both hands and repeated another charm, after which he pulled the shrub up by the roots. Should the roots come up intact, without breakage it was a sign that the invalid would recover; but if they broke and remained in the earth, then the sufferer would not survive.

What the mariunga may be is not known, but it was probably some object to represent the personality of the invalid. The following is the original, as given by Tuta Nihoniho:—

Me he mea e pangia ana e te mate tetahi tangata, ka haere tetahi tangata ki te kawe i te mariunga ki te tohunga. Ka haere ia ki te rapa i tetahi rakau hei whakaari, ka kite ia i te karangu ririki e tipu ana, ka takutaku atu ia ki taua rakau, ara:—

"Tohungia te tohu o te mate;
Tohungia te tohu o te ora."

I konei pupuri nga ringa ki taua rakau, ka karakia ano:—

"He unuhanga a nuku, he unuhanga a rangi
Ka unu i to peke mua, ka unu i to peke roto
Ka unu i to peke waimarie."

Hei konei ka unuhia taua rakau; ki te riro katoa ake nga paiaka, ka ora te turoro; ki te motu atu nga paiaka ki ro oneone, kaore e ora taua-turoro.

Some of these shamanistic experts, when called upon to treat a sick person, would first inquire as to what part was affected, whereupon he would affect to know the particular atua that was afflicting the sufferer. He would then go and pull up a stalk of the common fern (Pteris), and, if the rhizome thereof broke with a clean fracture, the fact was viewed as a lucky omen—the patient would recover. If, however, the fracture was jagged, then the outlook for the patient was but a gloomy one. As he pulled up the plant he repeated the words "To ara, to ara" ("Your path, your path"). He then carried the stalk of the plant to the patient, and, placing one end on the sufferer's head or body, he repeated "Naumai, haere! Naumai, tahuti atu! Kua kitea koe!" ("Now go! Now run away! You are detected!"). The fern-stalk was supposed to furnish a path or way by which the demon afflicting the patient might leave his body. The warlock then recited another charm:—

Ngau atu ki te rangi
Ki nga poke ao
Ki te rangi tuatahi
Ki te rangi tuarua, &c., &c.,
Ki te rangi tuangahuru
Ki te wai ora a Tane.

(Assail the heavens and cloud-wrack at the first heaven, the second heaven, &c., the tenth heaven, the wai ora of Tane.)

We show elsewhere the meaning of the last cryptic phrase.

Our practitioner would then leave the fern-stalk in position on the patient and proceed to kindle fire by friction, at which fire he would roast or heat a few leaves of puha, an edible plant. page 296These leaves he took to the patient, and with them touched various parts of his body. Then, holding the leaves up in his left hand, he chanted:—

Ka kai rangi nui, ka kai rangi roa,
Ka kai rangi pouri, ka kai te ao
Ka kai te kapua, ka kai te moana
Ka kai Papa-tuanuku, ka kai te Po
Ka kai nga atua, kakai nga tipua
Ka kai! Ka kai!
Ka kai te ra, ka kai te marama
Ka kai nga whetu, ka kai nga mano tini
Ka kai! Ka kai!

In this curious effusion the heavens, earth, clouds, ocean, underworld, sun, moon, stars, gods, demons, &c., are called upon to eat, as the leaves are held up. Another portion of food is now cooked, a piece of which the shaman takes in his left hand and holds out toward the east as he repeats a charm called a taumaha, the conclusion of which runs:—

Motu te upoko o te whaiwhaia
Motu te upoko o te kana kana
E kai hika, e kai ure
E kai te rangi nui e tu nei
E kai te papa e takoto nei.

This appears to denote the thwarting of the powers of evil magic, and the participation of both male and female elements in the work of restoration.

Some of the cooked food was given to the patient to eat; and cooked food has a very disturbing effect on these demons and evil spirits, often banishing them.

Should a patient appear to be in extremis, the tohunga might recite over him a charm known as whakanoho manawa, which was held to have the power of implanting the breath of life in a person apparently dying. The restorative powers of this charm were believed to be amazing.

Post mortem divination was by no means uncommon in Maoriland. It was practised in order to ascertain the cause of death, and such ceremonies were often of a very singular nature, not to say absurd, from our point of view.

In still another method the divining expert stuck a number of small branchlets in the ground, each of which represented a certain party, clan, or place. Thus, one might stand for an attacking party, and one for the people to be attacked. The expert recited certain charms or incantations over these branchlets, and these are said to have had the effect of causing them to move, or fall, or their leaves to drop off, from which happenings omens were derived by the expert. Old Hamiora Pio, of Ngati-Awa, told the writer that many page 297 The Raurau Rite (Showing the small mounds of earth, each of which has a green branchlet stuck in it. The sticks opposite each mound represent the advance of the attacking forces.) years ago he saw this ceremony performed at Roto-iti, when he saw the leaves fall in numbers from a branchlet representing a clan that was defeated in the subsequent fight. Twigs used for the above purpose were styled hau. In some cases they were stuck in small mounds of earth. One description given to the writer is that of a very curious performance, and was as follows: Each clan was represented by a mound, in which a hau was inserted. A short piece of stick was laid on the ground before each mound, and pointing towards it. These sticks represent the attacking party, and the officiating tohunga, or seer, then recited a form of charm in order to cause the sticks to advance, each on its respective mound, and "attack" the hau thereof. Some of these charms I have collected, but I cannot trust myself to translate them, on account of the occurrence of archaic sacerdotal expressions of which we know not the meanings. (For an attempt at such see the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 11, p. 39.) We are told that after the seer has repeated his magic formula, which induced the gods to animate the sticks, as it were, those sticks would be seen to move towards the mounds. At the same time, as the sticks were advancing, leaves would be seen falling from the branch-lets to the extent of one leaf for each man who would fall in the coming fight. This was the raurau rite.

When an enemy force was about to attack the fortified position of Rangihoua, at the mouth of the Wairoa River, the local seer, by virtue of his art, advised the occupants of the pa to vacate it and page 298retire to Whareokoro, an islet in the Wairoa River. This advice was disregarded, with disastrous results. It is unwise to neglect the warnings of the gods.

A very singular mode of divination was practised occasionally when it was desirable to ascertain whether a defeat, or slaying of a single person, would be avenged or not. The body of a slain tribesman is laid on the ground in the middle of the village plaza, the priestly expert stands forth and intones certain ritual, and then, if the disaster is to be avenged, the stiffened body will be seen to turn slowly over. Again, a grim method is described in vol. 24 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, p. 70. A captive in war was laid face upward on the ground, his limbs were lashed to pegs driven into the soil, then a spear was thrust through his body and into the earth. A seer, reciting his charms, stood watching the oscillations of the spear-shaft as the hapless captive writhed in dreadful torture. The desired oracle hinged upon the movement of the spear, as to which side it finally inclined.

It has now been made fairly clear that almost any occurrence of doubtful result might be employed as a vehicle for an oracle, and so consulted in regard to divination. It mattered little what it was, the one thing needful was the inducing of the gods to use such activity as a medium for the prophetic manifestation. That mana was imparted to the medium by the ceremonial performance of the seer.

Polack tells us that seers practised trickery in manipulating sticks used as mediums or vehicles in divination, and this is probably correct, at least so far as the lower grade of tohunga is concerned.

Colonel Gudgeon tells us of a case in which a weapon possessed of mana was employed as a vehicle in divination. If the oracle was a favourable one the weapon would slowly turn itself over as it lay on the ground. A common way in which to fortell the result of an enterprise was to fall asleep, and then note any involuntary movement of the arms during sleep. This usage was quite a study in itself, and demands a knowledge of many curious expressions. Another mode of divination was by means of flying a kite. In one well-known case the kite persisted in hovering over a village in which resided certain malefactors, whose whereabouts the seer wished to discover. Polack mentions another mode in which a small circle was marked on the ground, and a number of sticks thrown up into the air, auguries being derived from such sticks as fell within the circle. The same writer tells us that the cannibal Maori derived auguries from the appearance of the intestines of a body that was being cut up. This resort to haruspication was probably most frequent in time of war. He also describes another method, the throwing of a shell, page 299or a stick, at a number of dried heads of enemies slain in war. The heads were placed in a row, and the augury was derived from the position in which the object fell in relation to the heads.

In some cases divination was by means of fire—that is, by noting the direction the smoke took when a fire was kindled. A good illustration of this method is given at p. 38 of vol. 11 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society. At p. 47 of the same volume appears a description of the ahi mahitihiti, wherein it is shown that, by causing his fighting-men to leap through the flames of a fire, a chief was enabled to know which men would fall in the coming fight.

In cases where prophetic utterances were falsified by the trend of events the Maori seer seems to have been exceedingly ingenious in forming excuses. The blame was often assigned to some person or persons who, it was alleged, had transgressed some law of tapu. There was always some form of excuse handy; and the credulity of barbaric man is a very amazing quantity.

When Tutamure attacked the Maunga-a-kahia fort he told his brother to fill a gourd vessel with water and throw it over the stockade. The vessel did not clear the tops of the palisades, and so fell outside and was broken. This was accepted as a token that the place would not be taken. Colonel McDonnell tells us of a case he witnessed in which a thief was detected by means of a reed twirled in the hands of the operating seer; this being a far-spread device.

Colonel Gudgeon has recorded how Tipoki-o-rangi was consulted or manipulated in order to foretell the future. This object was a gourd that became in some unexplained manner the shrine of an atua. A priestly expert, the human medium of the spirit abiding in the object, invoked the powers of the oracle, with the result that water contained in the gourd bowl became agitated. Auguries were drawn from the extent of such agitation—whether any water flowed over the side or not, whether it flowed over at one part of the rim only, or at several, or all round. It seems probable that shamanistic fraud entered into such manifestations. Of a truth, many of the native methods of divination in former times were of an exceedingly puerile nature.

The highly energetic saltatory exercise called tutu waewae by the Maori, and "war-dance" by us, was practised as a vehicle for divination. When performed for this purpose only, however, it was alluded to as a turanga-a-tohu. Experts keenly watched the performance, to note whether or not any false movements were made by the dancers, inasmuch as such errors portended misfortune.

page 300

We have on record two remarkable prophecies uttered by natives of past generations concerning the coming of a strange folk to these isles in the future. One of these was recorded by Colonel Gudgeon in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 16, p. 65. This was a prophetic utterance made by one Tiriwa, a warrior-priest of the Ngati-Apakura Tribe, and was as follows: "Kei tua i te awe kapara he tangata ke mana e noho te ao nei, he ma" ("Behind the tattooed folk stand strange people who will yet populate the world; they are white"). Did we possess exact knowledge that this was a genuine utterance made prior to the arrival of Captain Cook on these shores it would be of exceeding interest. There here enters, however, the question of still earlier European voyagers who sailed these seas. The natives of the far north saw Tasman's vessels, as also did those of other districts, and such an amazing event would assuredly be preserved in tradition, and possibly lead to such thoughts as apparently prompted the above oracular remark.

The other instance was recorded by Mr. S. Percy Smith in his Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century, p. 11, but was, I fancy, collected by the late Mr. John White. It was related by one Pangari, of Hokianga, about the year 1820. He stated that the prophecy was uttered by one Maoi of "the days of old," but no proof appears as to the actual period during which he lived. Maoi was of the Ngapuhi Tribe, and, when near his end, said, "It will not be long before I die, nor long after I am dead that an atua [supernormal being] will come on the crest of the wave, and kehua [spirits, ghostly apparitions] will be on its back. That atua will be like a canoe in appearance, but much larger, and will sail all over the ocean. Nor will it ever be mistaken in its course across the ocean; so it will sail away. After a long time another atua will appear; it will resemble the former one, but while the first will move with the aid of sails, the second will do so by the aid of fire." Now, it is possible that a traditionary knowledge of foreign ships may have led to hazarding a statement as to the return of such vessels, but the present writer draws the line at a Maori of the stone age foretelling the arrival of steamers.

Yet another prophecy recorded by Colonel Gudgeon concerns one Rangi-tauatia, of Ngati-Porou, who is said to have prophesied the coming of Europeans, as also of the raiding forces of Ngapuhi from the far north that ravaged the district early in the nineteenth century. A weak point of all these illustrations is that we are not informed of the period at which the prophets lived, which might be done with approximate accuracy by means of genealogical page 301evidence. The particular utterance of Rangi-tauatia was as follows: "Kia toro te pakiaka hinahina i runga i au, ka rongo ake au e mara ana, e kihi and" ("When the roots of the hinahina tree have grown over me, I will then hear the mara and kihi"). Now, the word mara is a form of greeting employed only among the Ngapuhi folk, while kihi is used to describe the sibilant English speech. And the time was to come when Ngati-Porou were to hear too much of the salutation "E mara!" for their own comfort, and the folk of the hissing speech have long overrun their district.

The following relation is an account of the ceremonial initiation of a matakite, or seer, as performed by the higher order of tohunga of former times. It was given to the writer by an old man of the Kahungunu Tribe: Perchance a sleeping person dreams that he sees the spirit of his father, or that of his grandfather, or of his own child. Were that son, or other relative, a person of knowledge, and thus his surviving relatives much regretted his death, then the person who saw his spirit might desire that it would appear to him again, hence he would hie him to the tohunga tuahu, or the tohunga ahurewa (the two highest classes of priestly experts), and to none other. The applicant would request that the spirit of the defunct one be caused to reappear to him, that he might be protected and assisted by it. When he so interviewed the priest, that person would reply briefly to his request "Yes" or "No." If he consented, then he added, "Go, catch a bird." Now, the bird to be so caught must be taken alive, and must be either a miromiro (Petroeca toitoi) or tatahore (Certhiparus albicapillus). So the bird-seeker would go his way, and if he secured the bird then all would be well; but if he did not manage to catch one—that is, on the same day—then he would not attain his desire. If he did so capture the desired bird, then he conveyed it to the tuahu (sacred place where rites were performed) before day dawned. The bird was placed in a basket or ceremonial gourd vessel, and there left. The applicant was conducted to the waterside, where the priest performed the pure rite over him. Both divested themselves of their garments and entered the water. The applicant advanced toward the right side of the priest, passed behind him, and took his place on his left side. The priest then asked the applicant, "Are you a whiro or an ahurangi?" (i.e., "Are you of evil or good character"), and the applicant might reply, "He ahurangi tenei tama nau" ("This man of thine is of good character"). The priest would be a matakite (seer), and so would know whether or not this statement was a true one. He then proceeded to chant a certain formula, one that had the page 302effect of abolishing all moral impurities pertaining to the applicant. This cleansed the applicant, as it were—absolved him from all dangers arising from any wrong acts committed by him from childhood onward.

Now, should the applicant speak untruthfully, conceal his misdemeanours, such as theft, or the practice of black magic, the priest would detect the deceit. Should he so conceal a treacherous act of man-slaying, the priest would inquire, "What was the cause of the death of so-and-so?" Should it be seen by the priest that the applicant was a person of evil habits, not of good character, he would dismiss him in anger. If the person were a man of goodly life, then he would gain his desire. The priest would then stretch forth his left hand to the right hand of the applicant, and the right hand to his left, and chant the following ritual:—

He ahurangi, e Io, e!
Tenei ka turuki atu
Kia turuki mai te ata a rangi o ….
Kia whakaupa ki tenei tama tamaua take
Nau, e Io-taketake!
He koronga ka tu ki a koe
He koronga ka whani ki a koe
Kia urutu, kia urutaketake ki tenei tama
He tama ahurangi nau, e Io, e!
Tawhia tamaua take ki tenei pia,
Ki tenei taura na tenei tama
Kia mohunga ki mohikutu tenei tauira ki marae nui,
Ki marae whakapau tangata ki a koe, e Io, e!

(The expression ata a rangi is used to denote the wairua or spirit of man, and the Supreme Being of Maori belief, Io, is asked to cause the spirit of the defunct one to abide with the applicant. The name of the person whose spirit is thus desired is inserted in the blank space. Stress is laid upon the fact that the applicant is an ahurangi, or person of good character. It is a curious and highly interesting fact that the absolutory ceremony performed over persons about to take part in some ritual or religious performance seems to be the first introduction of ethics into the religion of these barbaric folk. This is one of the illuminating phases of Maori religious observances and beliefs that throw such light upon the study of the development of religion. The above invocation is a high-class one, as are all such formulae which were addressed to the Supreme Being. The terms pia, taura, and tauira denote three different grades of learners of esoteric lore.)

When the priest finished his recital he told the applicant to immerse himself in the water, and he still retained hold of his hands. The man then immersed the whole of his body in the water. As he emerged therefrom the priest placed his left hand on the head of the applicant, page 303while, with his right hand, he dipped up a little water and sprinkled it over him, repeating the following words as he did so:—

Tapihai nuku, tapihai rangi
Ki a koe, e Io-matua, e!
No tenei tama.

As he finished the repetition of the above the priest said: "Now leave the water, but do not endeavour to remove any water clinging to your head or body." As the man regained the bank the priest immersed his own body in the stream seven distinct times. He then joined the applicant, and both returned to the tuahu. There the priest took the bird from the receptacle it had been placed in, and bade the man whakaha the head of the creature. (This expression means to "inhale the breath," and such an act in ceremonial performances was a mode of absorbing the essence, or tapu, or mana of a person, &c.) This act was performed three times after which the man and bird were conducted to a hut by the priest, and the door closed on them, the bird being allowed its freedom within the hut. Thus, having shut up man and bird in the hut, the priest returned to the tuahu.

As day dawned the man opened the door of the hut and allowed the bird to fly away; he then joined the priest at the tuahu. Now, if the bird released chanced to be a miromiro the priest would inquire, "Has Miro gone?" The man would reply, "Yes." Then the priest would say, "Kneel down"; whereupon the man would kneel before him and the priest would lay his hands upon his head, and intone the final karakia, or formula, that endowed the subject with full powers of the seer, and of the pseudo-science of oneirology. This invocation had been forgotten by my informant.

All karakia or invocations connected with wairua tangata (the human soul) were addressed to Io, the Supreme Being, not to the lesser gods, otherwise they would not have the desired effect: this with regard to the priests of the first grade.

The above account is of what may be termed a high-class performance, as conducted by a member of the superior order of priests over a person who wished to become a seer of superior standing. No such priest would have any dealings with low-class shamanistic jugglers, such as tohunga kehua. Another specimen of the formulae chanted over would-be seers and mediums is given in the addenda.

The following karakia, or ritual chant, is one that was repeated over a person in order that he might be endowed with a clear understanding of spiritual matters, and to induce the gods to look favourably upon him, to abide with him and treat him as their medium. page 304It is a specimen of what may be termed the higher class of ritual, as seen in the invoking of the Supreme Being, Io, and in the phraseology employed. Such matter as this was known to the upper class of priests only:—

Tau ake nei au i taku tau Ki nga mareikura, ki nga kahurangi
He tau na nga tuaiho He tahito huru nuku, he tahito huru rangi
He tau na nga whatu kura
He tau na nga tahurangi Awhitia mai, tamaua mai ki tenei tama
Tenei to aro te turuki atu nei Kia aropiri mai ki tenei taura
Tenei to pia te whano atu nei Ki tenei tama … e.
Tenei to taura te whakamau atu nei ki to aro
Tenei au; turuki mai o mahara taiahoaho
Ko to aro, ko taku aro Turuki mai o mahara tipua ki tenei tama
Ko to manawa nguha ko taku manawa Turuki mai o mahara whatu kura ki tenei tama
Ko to manawa pore ko taku manawa
Ko to manawa nui ko taku manawa Turuki mai o mahara apa atua o nga rangi
Ka whakapau ki tenei tama
E Io matua … e … i. Ki au, ki tenei tauira
Turuki mai o mahara poutiriao ki tenei tauira
Tenei au he uriuri no nga tuaiho
Tenei au he hekehekenga iho no nga tawhito Ka ea, ka ea ki tenei tama, ka ea
Tenei au he uru tu, he uru tau
Tenei au he aro no nga tipua He uru matua ki a koe
Tenei au he pia ariki no nga apa rangi E Io matakaka … e … i.
E Ruatau … e … i.
Tamaua i roto o to pia
Tenei au to aro, he aro tawhito Tamaua i roto o tenei tama
He aro no nga apa tahurangi Tamaua i roto i te pu mahara
He aro no nga apa a rangi Tamaua i te iho tu, i te iho taketake
Ka whakamau atu nei I te iho i te pu, i te weu ki tenei tauira
Ka whakapiri atu nei Tamaua kita, tamaua whita
Ka whakatata atu nei tenei tama ki nga tipua, Whitawhita ki tenei tauira.
Ki nga atua, ki nga whatu kura

In the above archaic formula the Supreme Being is beseeched to endow the subject with a clear mental outlook, a quick understanding and to favour him in all ways. Some of the cryptic expressions employed pertain to sacerdotal matters only, and their meaning can only be conjectured, hence a translation would be feeble.

In his work The Martyrdom of Man Winwood Reade has the following enlightened passage: "The savage lives in a strange world, a world of special providences and divine interpositions, not happening at long intervals and for some great end, but every day and almost at every hour. A pain, a dream, a sensation of any kind, a stroke of good or bad luck, whatever, in short, does not proceed from man, whatever we ascribe, for want of a better word, to chance, is by him ascribed to the direct interference of the gods." Herein we note the mental attitude of the Maori, and the passage may be applied to him as an explanation of his beliefs in regard to matakite.

* Much of this matter seems to have been taken from Taylor's Te Ika a Maui.