Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2
In the first place we will deal with the milder forms of magic, forms that do not come within the meaning of the Maori term makutu. In this survey we shall note the firm belief that the Maori had in the alleged powers of his tohunga or experts, including that of controlling the elements and natural phenomena generally. Illustrations of such beliefs have already been given elsewhere and others, with examples of the charms employed, etc., come under the present heading.
We have already (Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, p. 388) noted one method of laying a storm at sea and so calming the ocean. Such an act, also the charm used, is sometimes termed rotu moana, while another form of rotu charm served to put persons to sleep. When repeating charms we are told that it was quite necessary to concentrate one's attention on the matter in hand, and not to let one's thoughts stray to other subjects. In the story of the coming of the Arawa vessel from the isles of Polynesia we are told that, owing to an indiscretion committed on board, the vessel was swamped and came perilously near to disaster in the rough sea raised by the magic arts of Ngatoro, who called upon Tawhirimatea (representing wind) and Hinemoana and Ocean Maid to work their will upon the craft. He was induced, however, by Kearoa to calm the ocean and rescue her by means of his marvellous powers, and so "ka rokia te moand", the ocean was calmed, and "ka tupea te hau a Tawhirimatea kia mutu", the wind of Tawhirimatea was deprived of power and so laid. Ngatoro had been induced to come on board the vessel by page 116Tama in order that his powers as a tohunga might be utilised in protecting the Arawa from the ocean surges, the tuaropaki of the Ocean Maid, to weaken the powers of Tawhirimatea lest the vessel be roughly buffeted by the winds, to regulate the ocean currents that they might flow direct to Aotea (New Zealand), and to ward off Hine-te-ihorangi the Rain Maid. Such were the powers held by the expert Ngatoro-i-rangi.
In Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, p. 388 may be seen a brief reference to ceremonial stone adzes employed in a symbolical manner during the recital of a charm to calm an angry sea. These implements were manipulated by the tohunga, ritual experts, and were used to metaphorically hew a passage for the vessel through the billows, the waves were thus chopped up, as the recital has it, and so weakened. When, on her voyage to New Zealand some 500 years ago or more, the Takitimu vessel reached the Tuahiwi-nui-o-Hinemoana in mid-ocean, then a rough sea was encountered, as is usual in those parts, hence something had to be done whereby to subdue the wrath of Hinemoana. So Te Tongopatahi and a companion expert procured the two tapu stone adzes named Te Awhiorangi and Whironui, that were employed for such ceremonial purposes, and were kept in a small vessel brought hither on Takitimu. There were two implements that, on certain occasions, were "waved" (poia) to the gods Kahukura, Rongomai, Tama-i-waho, Hinekoraki, Uenuku-rangi, Tunui-a-te-ika and other deities. The experts wielding the implements went through the motions of "chopping" the waves with them, at the same time reciting a charm.
The rotu moana or ocean calming ceremony is paralleled in dealing with persons, who can be caused to sleep by means of reciting the following rotu charm:
E moe! e moe! ko te po nui, ko te po roa, te po i whakaaua ai to moe, e moe!
Spells employed to weaken and unnerve people are sometimes termed rotu, and tamoe is also used in this sense. This form of charm was employed when fighting. A form called wheawheau was one of several used by the Tuhoe folk when advancing against an enemy. The tohunga advanced to the front, thus preceding the fighting men; in his hand he carried a branchlet which he flourished before the enemy, at the same time reciting a charm designed to render that enemy nerveless, irresolute.
A form of charm was employed when it was desired to put an end to bad weather (see also Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, p. 388 et. seq., and Tuhoe, pp. 886-91). But if storms page 117could be calmed by the Maori magician, they could also be raised by him, and we encounter many incidents of this nature in old narratives. Thus in the tale of Hinepopo we are told that a violent storm was raised by magic arts in Cook Straits in the long ago, and this was done for the purpose of punishing a faithless husband. In this case justice seems to have overshot the mark, in-as-much-as about a hundred innocent persons were drowned in order to make sure of the guilty one. Colonel Gudgeon tells us that, during the Ngapuhi attack on Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua, a famed tohunga attempted to raise a storm that would swamp the canoes. Unfortunately the personal mana of the expert was at a very low ebb at the time, owing to the fact that his tapu had been much weakened by an inferior having stepped over him as he slept. Ngapuhi claimed that the storm was raised but that their own warlock, owing to his superior mana, was enabled to dispel it. The storm was laid, we are told, by very singular means, the Ngapuhi expert simply placed the bones of a celebrated ancestor in the waters of the lake. This would mean that the bones of an ancestor who had possessed great mana would empower the storm-dispelling charm of the warlock to perform its task, that is to say would endow it with mana. It is not explained how it was that the Ngapuhi raiders, so far from their homes, happened to be carrying the bones of an ancestor about the country.
When Manaia and Nuku had fought their sea fight off Pukerua, and landed at Paekakariki in order to settle matters of the morrow, Manaia seems to have taken a mean advantage of his enemy. In this wise: in the dead of night the warlock expert of Tokomaru, the vessel of Manaia, turned to his magic arts and called upon Tahu-parawera-nui, the fierce south wind, to arise and destroy. Then from the Anaputu hard by Pukerua to the Uruti and Otaki the very foundations of the roaring sea were torn up, sand and gravel were hurled ashore, in prodigious quantities, hence the long extent of sandhills now seen along that coastline, and hence the name of that long reach of sand dunes, the One ahuahu a Manaia. By that dread storm the vessels of Nuku, the enemy of Manaia, were broken up and most of his followers destroyed. The vessel of Manaia seems to have escaped the disaster, as also his followers, by some means or other, more magic possibly. On a previous occasion, when crossing Cook Strait from Rangitoto or D'Urville Island to Mana Islands, Manaia had raised by means of magic the southerly winds known as Mahutonga, Paraweranui and Tongahuruhuru.page 118
Persons in distress at sea are said to have sometimes called upon ocean monsters to bear them to land, or so to shelter their vessels as to enable them to reach shore. Sometimes whales are mentioned as the rescuers. The person who recited the charm that compelled these creatures to serve mariners would need to possess mana in order to render his charm effective. The following formula used for the purpose was contributed by Ngati-Awa of the Bay of Plenty:
Tutara-kauika! Ana ra te tangata e haere i waho i te moana nei.
Te wehenga kauki e! Waha atu au ki ata ra
Ki te hau e riri max nei, e niwha mai nei
Hoatu au ki uta ra e
Ka mao ki uta, ka mao ki tai
Ka mao ki nga koromatua, ki nga ruahine
Ka pae ki uta, ka pae ki tai, ka u ki uta.
Herein a distinct appeal is made to the whale family to bear the applicant to land. A particular case of such a rescue appears in the account of taniwha or water monsters.
We have a number of myths concerning persons who succeeded in crossing wide ocean spaces on vessels no more seaworthy than a baler, or a piece of wood, or the back of a sea monster, all of which marvellous acts were effected by means of magic arts backed up by mana and the gods who stand behind both. When the Takitimu vessel made her voyage to these isles the sea stores of her crew became exhausted according to one version, whereupon magic was relied upon to cause shellfish to rise from ocean depths and adhere to the vessel, whence they were plucked by the hungry crew. Curiously enough the species of shell fish so obtained are not those that abide in deep waters, but are found in coastal sand banks or adhering to rocks. This tale is given under the heading of Fables. When in Maori folk tales, a person cannot secure a vessel of any kind, then he sometimes resorts to swimming, but he utilises the aid of magic to enable him to perform his task. It was thus that Hinepopo succeeded in crossing Cook Strait from Kapiti Island.
The oho rangi rite to cause thunder to sound has been referred to elsewhere in Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, p. 361. I am informed by Ngati-Awa that thunder so generated by means of magic spells is of the kind personified in Whaitiri-pakapaka, that is thunder unaccompanied by rain. But Takitimu folk have said that, when certain calamities befell a community, then tears were demanded from Rangi, the Sky Parent, and so a thunder storm with rain was summoned by the powers of magic; page 119thus were the highborn dead wept for. This form of power over the elements was also exhibited during the tapu-removing ceremony succeeding an important rite, during the exhumation of the bones of prominent persons, and on other important occasions. The cave called the Ana whakatangi whaitiri, at Maungapohatu, is said to be a place where the oho rangi was performed in former times in connection with the opening of the game season. The object in all these performances was to add mana and "éclat" to the occasion, and to prove and enhance the mana of the performer. Such was the dictum of my informants.
It must also be said that the tohunga held the power to banish thunder and two marvellous instances of this power are given in vol. 14 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, pp. 56-57.
Mild forms of magic in connection with rain have already been dealt with in Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, p. 389. A charm called tuku-rangi was employed when heavy rains were desired, and others recited in order to cause rain to cease were termed puru-rangi and tua i te rangi. When reciting a charm to cause a flooded river to subside the reciter of the spell would throw a stone across the surface of the flood waters. One way of stopping rain was to procure a handful of ashes, cast them toward the rainy quarter, and repeat the following:
Whakatakataka te po, whakatakataka te ao. Kei te waruwaruhia te kiko o te rangi; tihore rangi.
The Tuhoe folk informed me that warlocks sometimes raised a wind for such purposes as the oho rangi rite, which was performed to give prestige to rite and man. In such cases certain winds were favoured, and different clans favoured different winds, so that one is inclined to speak of tribal winds; thus the wind of the Tamakaimoana clan of the Tuhoe tribe is the south wind called Tutakangahua, while that of the Urewera clan is Urukaraerae. When magicians wished to raise a wind for any purpose, offensive or otherwise, they were wont to rely upon these tribal winds. I cannot say as to how far this usage obtained among the various tribes. So to raise a wind is described by the expression whakaara hau, ere long we shall meet with various ceremonial performances into which magic wind raising entered. I have been told that, in some cases, a wind might be raised for some offensive purpose, as to cover an attack by raisers, whereupon it would be recognised as a magically raised wind by an expert of the enemy, and he would attempt to subdue it by means of more potent charms, thus a contest would arise between the two. The Hau-o-Rongomai, the Puaroa a Tairi, the Whakarara-o-te-rangi, page 120Hurmoana and Auru-whenua are said to be names of winds so raised by magic arts. These are not, apparently, ordinary wind names in common use, as are some others given in this narrative. A number of these wind names are special terms, honorific or personificatory.
When the Nga Maihi clan of Ngati-awa of Te Teko was attacked in its formidable fortified village of Puketapu by Ngai-Tamaoki, the latter folk utilised fire as an aid to attack. The high and massive earthworks prevented them burning the main stockades apparently, but by making a great fire on the windward side of the village and throwing green fern and brush thereon they hoped to enter the place under cover of the dense smoke. But within the fort was the famed tohunga Te Hahae, a man of parts, a man possessing powers that demanded obedience from the elements. By calling upon the south wind to rise he prevented the entry of the enemy, and the smoke was blown northward to befog the assailants. A fire was then kindled at the southern end of the fort, but Te Hahae raised the paeroa wind, and again triumphed. So the contest continued with yet other winds, but the doughty warlock of Nga Maihi saved his clan from the ovens of the baffled enemy. In future pages we will discuss another and more startling exhibition of Te Hahae's power over the elements.
When Awe-tupuke fled from Turanoa owing to certain domestic troubles she reached Waiaua on the third night. On that same evening Rongo-whakaata heard of her flight and at once set about overtaking her. The task might seem an impossible one, but all things are possible in Maori folk tales, Rongo prepared himself for his rapid flight, he raised the winds by magic arts to bear him swiftly on his way, he recited the tapuwae charm whereby the footsteps of man are hastened. So the wind bore him swiftly to his destination and he reached Waiaua the same day. Awe saw him passing and called out to him, but he heard her not owing to the roar of the fierce wind raised by Rongo.
The umu puru rangi was a magic rite performed in order to "plug up" the sources of wind, in obedience to the far spread Polynesian myth of the winds being confined in certain confined spaces or receptacles that could be opened or closed by experts in magic. Thus the winds are often spoken of as being confined in a calabash from which they emerge at times. The principal feature of these wind-raising and laying acts was the recital of the necessary charm; the following specimen of such formulae is known as a tokotoko, and was formerly utilised in order to banish undesirable winds:page 121
Tokona nga hau, tokona ki waho
Tokona nga hau, tokona ki uta
He toko uri, he toko tea, he mapuna, he kai ure
Kai ure! Kai ure!
The next act was the repetition of the puru rangi spell by means of which the wind apertures in the sides of the heavens were plugged up. Such an act is described as a tuaumu i te rangi, depriving the weather of power, weakening its forces; imu, umu, tuaimu and tuaumu are allied terms, and are all applied to the "scarf" in tree felling, whereby the tree is weakened. The phrase patu i te rangi conveys a similar meaning to the above. In these simple ceremonies a woman was sometimes employed to recite the charm, for women were supposed to possess certain powers that were highly effective in ceremonial performances of a suppressive nature. In some places a peculiar act was performed when suppressing wind or a storm; the operator would take a piece of charcoal in his left hand, and, standing in the waters of a stream, he would pour the charcoal under his left thigh. Whakaeo, tupe and rotu are other terms used to denote the act of suppressing, weakening or calming undesirable forces or conditions.
A simple method of dispelling a fog was to cast a handful of ashes into it; doubtless a charm would be uttered at the same time. Another method was to procure a piece of fern stalk (common bracken) split the lower end of it, then stick it in the ground with the cleft end upward, and in the cleft insert a clod of earth. This performance, I was assured, is, or was, very effective, and two such sticks set up would cause the heaviest fog or mist to dissolve and disappear.
Another way in which the ruanuku or wizards of yore were wont to interfere with natural laws was by shortening or lengthening the day, hastening or retarding the movement of the sun. When Rata sailed afar to attack Matuku-tangotango, his vessels lay out at sea off Paritoa until nightfall, lest they be seen by the people on land. In order to acquire time for landing and other movements the fleet wizard, one Apakura, set to work and prolonged the hours of darkness. When the vessels had been protected and other arrangements concluded then Aparangi busied himself in prolonging the hours of daylight so that there would be plenty of time for the fighting that lay before.
Katahi ka tu a Apakura ki te kukume i nga po kia po anake nga ra, a u noa atu ratau ki uta. Ka u ki uta ka mahipa mo ratau, kia oti rawa ka totoia nga waka ki roto i o ratau pa. Tahi ka tukua kia page 122awatea, ka kumea nga awatea kia roa, ki kore ai he po i a ratau e whawhai ana.
The here charm employed by travellers and others in order to "bind" the sun, to arrest it in its course, runs as follows:
Hai kona ra koe, e te ra! Tu mai ai
Tukua atu au kai rere haere
Tu ki tupua, tu ki tahito.
In place of the above sun-arresting act Maori experts are said to have sometimes caused the earth to contract and so shorten the distance to be traversed. Conversely they, of course, held the power to cause land to expand when such a movement was considered desirable. When Manunui went to search for the bones of his son on the forest-clad Huiarau range he employed the following charm in order to cause the land to contract and so lessen his labour of searching:
Taku tau kawe kino, taku tau kawe hara
Nau mai, e te tau! Ka haere taua i runga o Huiarau, kai waho o te kumi
Kia marama ai te mihi, te tangi ki a koe
Kumea ki roto, kumea mai nuku, kumea mai rangi kumea te whenua.
Another illustration of this marvellous wizardry is given at p. 385, et. seq., of Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint.
We have already scanned a number of superstitions and acts of magic connected with sickness, but other peculiar performances remain to be noticed.
The wero ngerengere is said to have been a malignant spell by means of which a person against whom it was directed was afflicted by leprosy. The natives of Taupo are said to have been endowed with the power so to destroy enemies. Any place at which a ceremony had been performed over such a sufferer with a view to healing him was afterwards treated as is a tipua, that is any person passing the spot would cast a stone upon it. The object of this act was to prevent the thrower being attacked by the disease. Probably some form of charm accompanied the act.
The superstitions pertaining to sickness and disease, and treatments of the same were legion (see Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, Part VII) Maori faith in the efficiency of charms, spells, incantations, call them that you will, was profound, and of these many pertained to the activities of the shaman. A long formula recited over a sick person by a so-called expert, is but one of a vast number of such recitals that were formerly employed by empirics of Maoriland. It is a remarkable compilation and seems to mention all possible sources of sickness from the Maori point of view.page 123
When the Maori first became acquainted with European medicines and grasped these, to him, new ways of dealing with sickness, he soon invented a number of extraordinary concoctions whereby to combat the arts and devilries of Maiki-nui, he who personifies disease and sickness. But more of this when we come to deal with omens and superstitions.
In the account of Tyerman and Bennet's voyage 1821-29 we are told of a case in northern New Zealand in 1824 wherein a plaster of uncommon strength was applied to a native suffering from pleurisy. The native's account of the combat that ensued between the demon gnawing at his vitals and the even more powerful Christian spirit vitalising the plaster was highly entertaining and worthy of record.
Charms termed hono were recited over persons suffering from broken bones, and these seem to come under the generic term of whai, which denoted charms to cure wounds, burns, etc.
The following is one of these healing charms:
He nonota, he karawa, he au ika
Tone tutakina te iwi
Tane tutakina te nana
Tane tutakina te kiko
Tane tutakina te kiri
Tane tutakina te parapara
Tane tutakina te kapiti rangi
E mahu akuanei, e mahu apopo, e mahu a takiritanga. O te ata.
When a tohunga recited such a charm over a patient he would first place his left foot on his prostrate body as he repeated: "Haruru ki tua, haruru ki waho, haruru ki runga ki tenei tangata"
The left foot of the operator placed in contact with the body of the subject imparted the necessary mana to the rite, and that mana emanated from the manea or hau that pertains to the human foot and footprint.
There is a formula recited by experts over married persons who desired to be divorced, and the wording of this recital is peculiar. The first part is a statement made by the reciter as to his fitness and capabilities, and mana for conducting of such a rite. The wording calls for the separation of the two in sleeping, eating, sitting, moving about, etc., after the manner of the separation of Rangi and Papa. Included is a brief charm recited in former times in order to cure blindness.
The late Sir George Grey collected the following note pertaining to ceremonial divorce among the Maori. The direct object of this particular ceremony was to efface, horoi, the emotion of affection in the heart of the subject (see the miri aroha page 124explained in Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, p. 369). The priestly expert would conduct the subject, male or female, to the wai tapu, the stream, or pond, or pool at which many rites were performed, where he would take some mixed ochre, kokowai, and water from a small vessel and smear it on the face and breast of the subject, repeating a charm as he did so. He would then form at the waterside two small mounds of earth or sand and take his stand thereon, having a foot on each mound. He would already have provided himself with a wand, tira, a small branchlet, and with this he struck the surface of the water as he intoned another formula. Apparently the formulae were not collected. The performance is described as "hei wehe i te aroha kia mauru ai" a detaching of the affections that they might be allayed.
In both black and white magic mediums were employed; such vehicles were usually material but sometimes immaterial, as we shall see anon. A note before me describes how an expert would ascertain the result of a case of murder. When a man was slain in manner treacherous, some of his blood would be collected and over this an expert would repeat a formula that would cause the wairua or spirit of the victim to appear before him. From the appearance of the wraith the expert would draw his deductions as to whether or not it would be an avenged death, mate ea, whether a raid to avenge it would, or would not, be successful. In some cases, as has been explained to me, the object of a similar rite was to cause the slayer's spirit so to appear, so that he might be recognised and dealt with in the manner Maori.
The tamoe and taumata spells referred to in Bulletin 10, p. 383, are allied to others of a similar nature. There were, in former times, a great number of charms and ceremonial performances employed for the purposes of warding off misfortune, weakening and unnerving enemies, and the prevention and dispelling of nervousness, indecisions, etc., in one's own folk. The poutama or kete poutama was one of these performances to render enemies powerless, and it necessitated the kindling of a tapu fire by generation, over which fire the spell was repeated. By means of this rite disaster was made the lot of the fleeing Maruiwi folk at Pohue, a tragic tale already recorded elsewhere.
The charm called taumata or ahi ta whakataumata seems to have been much the same performance as the poutama. A party of raiders about to attack an enemy village would halt some distance away from it and an expert would launch his spells at the village in order to sap the courage, etc., of its inhabitants. Such page 125spells were directed against the minds rather than the bodies of the subjects; they were projected through space at their objective; the following is one of these ahi taumata charms:
Hika ra taku ahi Tu, … e
Tu ki runga Tu … e. Tu hikitia mai … e
Kia kotahi te moenga, Tu … e
Ko te taina, ko te tuakana, Tu … e
Kia homai, Tu … e. Ki te umu, Tu … e, Ki te matenga,
Tu … e
These spells were often alluded to as ahi tahoka because they were launched at their objective. Tihoka, hoka and oka all mean to pierce, in various dialects. At such a time stormy weather would be produced by magic means to delude the enemy into the belief that no raiding force would move abroad in such weather. Tupe is another name applied to spells designed to deprive persons of power. The tamoe or umu tamoe spells would not only weaken the powers of an enemy prior to a fight, but would also prevent him obtaining satisfaction for his defeat. When the vessel Matatua arrived here from Hawaiki her experts pronounced the tamoe spell as the vessel ran down the coastline; this was with a view to suppress the evil designs of the coastal inhabitants of the new land. When Wharepakau prepared to attack the Marangaranga folk at Kuhawaea he first enfeebled them by means of this tamoe performance. The expressions rotu, whakangehengehe and whakaeo are used in a similar sense to that of tamoe, tupe, etc., the weakening of hostile persons, etc., by means of occult powers. Another term, that of tuaimu, has already been discussed. The hoa rakau or mata rakau charm recited over weapons in order to render them effective seems to be occasionally alluded to as a tuaimu.
When a Maori was about to step on board Cook's vessel at Dusky Sound he struck the vessel with a green branch held in his hand, and delivered some form of karakia ere he ventured on board. This would certainly be with a view to removing evil influences existing on the vessel, and not necessarily evil forces prompted or empowered by the people of the vessel. A very similar thing occurred when the vessel reached Queen Charlotte Sound.
The Maori was much influenced by fear of unseen dangers, and saw much danger in many strange places. There was always an element of danger in receiving presents, for example, for any gift might possibly be but a medium for the spells of black magic. But apart from such direct dangers as brought about by premeditated page 126activities of other persons, the Maori seems to have believed in a general atmosphere of dangerous influences as pertaining to certain places, areas, etc. Any extra tribal territory was held to be such an "unhealthy" region.
Magic, deadly or otherwise, was resorted to for strange purposes. For instance, the form of spell known as papaki was employed by a man whose advances had been declined by a woman, and its effect, we are told, was deadly, which same appears to have been rather a severe form of punishment. (Ka haere atu te tangata ki te wahine, a ka paraia mai e taua wahine, kaore e pai mai. Na, katahuri te tangata ra ka papaki, ka pakia e ia te wahine; ehara i te mea ka pa tona ringa, he karakia makutu te papaki kia mate te wahine.) Another magic spell called a taupa, word meaning "to prevent, to obstruct", was employed by a man leaving his home for some time. He would recite it over his wife in order to protect her, and any man who might interfere with her would perish miserably. In these two cases we have entered the domain of black magic. Another form of spell allegedly efficacious was known as taupa and whakapa, and this was recited over women in order to prevent conception. A piece of stone was used in this rite to symbolise the sterility it was desired to produce.
The whakaiho or takapau was another rite designed to weaken the powers of man or atua.
The peculiar condition termed hauhauaitu described in Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, pp. 353—354, is not connected with fear or cowardice, but is the result of some infringement of the restrictions of tapu. The subject feels helpless because he knows that he is alone in the world, that the gods have withdrawn from him their support and protection. Hence he would get a female ariki, a woman of high rank, to step over him as he lay on the ground, or he would thrust his head between her legs for a moment. Such an act would divert all evil influences and restore him to a normal condition. In the case of a party on the warpath, where no woman of rank accompanied the party, then a garment of such a woman, her apron, or maro, might be carried by the party and in this a sufferer from hauhauaitu would enwrap his head for a brief space. I have been told that the Chief Rewi suffered from this disability during the memorable fight at Orakau in 1864.
When a woman wished to procure abortion she could do so by commiting a peculiar form of sin, hara, termed taiki, a pollution of tapu. To effect this she would procure a small portion of page 127cooked food and pass it over a tapu person or place, or she might proceed to a tapu place, pluck and eat a leaf or fragment of some herb there growing. This would be quite sufficient, she had desecrated the place and so offended the gods, who would chasten her in the way desired.
A singular act performed by woman in order to cause conception was that termed piki whenua, which consisted of standing over the after-birth or whenua of some women who had just given birth to a child. Despite several narrations of such procedures, I collected no form of charm as pertaining to these acts and quite possibly none was employed. Another method explained to me by the Tuhoe folk was as follows: Acting under instructions from an expert the woman would procure a wisp of karetu (Hierochloe redolens) and place it in contact with her body, after which she handed it to the expert. He would recite over it a formula that would, in popular belief, have the desired effect, the following was the one employed when a male child was desired:
Ka whakato au i a koe ki a Papa-tuanuku
Kia puta mai a Papa-tuarangi
Kai niwha i toto i a koe, kia puta mai i roto i a koe
Ko wairua whai ao, ko wairua tangata
Ko Tu ka niwha, ko Tu ka riri, ko Tu whai ao, ko Rongo-ma-Tane
Kia puta i roto ko Tu-mataueuga
Kia mau ki te rakau, to rakau poto, to rakau roa
Puta ana mai ko Wahieroa na Tawhaki
Ka horohoroa i runga, ka horohoroa i raro
Ka puta ana ki waho ko te hapu oneone
Ka whanau i roto i a te hapu na Tiki-nui, na Tiki-roa, na
Tiki-apoa, na Tiki-tahito, na Tiki-hou
Ka pa ki te ruahine i a kahau ki waho, i a kahau ki uta,
i a kahau matire rau.
If a female child were desired then the names of Tu the war god would be omitted; also the references to bearing weapons, and the name of Rongo-mai-wahine would replace that of Rongo-ma-Tane, while words describing the tasks of females would be inserted.
The terms tumatawarea and tumatapongia denote two magic spells that were uttered in order to cause a person or a number of persons to become invisible. I am informed that these were extremely useful charms in former times, as in the case of fugitives from a stricken field. The last occasion on which the last named was employed to my knowledge was when, in May 1869, the stockaded village of Hareme at Ahikereru was taken during Whitmore's raid on Ruatahuna. On that occasion, I was informed, Tamehana of Ngati-Hamua lay in the fosse outside the page 128stockade and busied himself with reciting tumatapongia, whereby he escaped the attentions of the Arawa Native Contingent when the place fell.
A charm termed pokohoi had the effect of causing deafness in persons, the deafness of stubborness that impelled them to disobey commands, etc.
The magic spell termed hiki is one that causes persons it is directed against to become nervous, unsettled, irresolute, and so destroys their self confidence. When the Maruiwi folk of Waimana slew a child named Waeroa with malice aforethought and a club, one Tonukino set about the task of expelling them from the district. He proceeded to the village latrine where he grasped one of the supporting posts and shook it as he repeated the words of the hiki:
Hiki nuku, hiki rangi, hiki papa, hiki taua
Whakamoe te ruahine.
He then recited the ue spell in order to expel the offenders, to cause them to fly from unseen dangers:
Ue nuku … e! Ue rangi … e!
Ue tahitahi, ue papa
Uea ai te pu, uea ai te more, uea ai te aka, uea ai te tahetahe
Hopu ringa, hopu mau, kia mau i to tikitiki.
These spells are sometimes termed umu hiki and ueue. The result of the above act was the Maruiwi abandoned their fortified villages at Waimana and fled by devious ways to seek a refuge in the Heretaunga district; their flight was marked by many alarms and serious fighting, it ended in disaster of novel form that overtook them at Pohue, all of which is related in the pages of Tuhoe, pp. 63-79.
The peculiar action of shaking the post was a symbolical one, it exemplified the dislocating effect of the spell, the Maruiwi folk were to be shaken loose from the district as it were. Such symbolical acts were common in Maori thaumaturgics, they entered largely into both black and white magic.
In another version of the above tale, as given by Ngati-Awa, we are told that when the tohunga was about to repeat the magic charms that so affected Maruiwi, he dug a pit inside his hut and put his head in that pit, where he held it as he repeated his dread spells.
The people of Patea tell us of a marvellous act performed by a local magician in long past times. In order to avenge an injury he caused an area of land called Raumano to separate from the page 129mainland and transfer itself across Cook Strait where it is now represented by Titapua or Stephens Island. An equally notable story is told of one Mahu, a famed warlock of Nukutaurua, who joined that place, which was formerly an island, to the mainland by means of filling up the intervening channel, an act that seems to have been performed in a few minutes.
A number of Maori folk tales are based upon the world wide myth of magic streams and springs, a myth that ranges from Sinai to Samoa, from Mesopotamia to Manawatu. Thus, when the vessel named Tunuiarangi arrived from Hawaiki, fresh water was urgently needed, hence one Kakako thrust his spear into the sand at Ngunguru, and from the hole so formed water flowed abundantly. Unhappily those who drank of that water died, and hence one suspects friend Kakako of some malpractice.
When the renowned Tamatea of Takitimu was sojourning at the Anawhakairo at Waitangi, in the South Island, he is said to have produced two streams by means of his powers in the line of magic. He sent one Kopuwai to fetch him some water, but so far had the latter to go in seeking potable water that day was dawning ere he returned. Hence Tamatea decided to have a handier water supply; he bade Kopuwai procure two stones, one of which named Kirikiritatangi he cast afar off, and behold, along the line of the cast a fair stream began to flow. The other stone called Aroaro-ngaehe, he also threw, and another stream came into being. Both these streams are said to flow into Waitangi (Waitaki), and a curious passage in the tale seems to show that the magician meant to render Waitaki waters useless. (He mea kia kino ai te wai o Waitangi, kia kore ai e inumia). This result is curiously like that of Kakako's effort related above. These stream makers appear to have been strangely malevolent.
The old story of the Puna takahi a Ngatoro-i-rangi is a well known one, the spring that Ngatoro produced by merely stamping his foot on the ground.
Fire was also occasionally procured by means of magic in days of yore, as we see in the case of Ngatoro who caused volcanic fire to be sent to this land from Hawaiki when he was suffering from cold on the heights of Tongariro. But the most interesting tale concerning fire marvels is that concerning fire walking in former times. The following tale was related to me by Himiona Tikitu of Te Teko: In days of old Rangikahu of Nga Maihi went out from the Awa-a-te-atua on a fishing expedition, a storm arose, swamped his canoe, and Rangi perished, his body being cast ashore at Wairakei where the Tauranga folk found it and page 130promptly cooked and ate it. News of this double tragedy reached Te Hahae the warlock, he who raised the four winds at the siege of Puketapu, and Te Hahae resolved to avenge his kinsman. He caused seventy taro to be planted, each in a separate pit, and, when grown and matured, the crop was lifted. Many other food products were collected and a feast was organised, to which were invited the men of Tauranga who had slain Rangikakau, and bulky gifts of food were presented to the guests. When the ovens were being prepared wherein to cook provender for the visitors, Te Hahae busied himself in preparing the tapu steam oven. When digging the pit he repeated a charm; when he arranged the fuel therein he recited another; when placing the stones of the fuel he delivered yet another, and so on. When the fire had burned down and the stones were red with heat, then Te Hahae laid aside his garments, donned a frail girdle of green branchlets and leaves, stepped into the umu or pit and took his stand on the heated stones. There the old wizard stood as he repeated his magic spells that were to avenge the death of his relative, nor, as we are told, was he injured in any way by the heat. Having concluded his karakia he stepped from the pit and proceeded to arrange therein the specially grown taro. These he covered with leaves and fern fronds, over which he put a covering of earth, repeating further spells as he did so; then the umu was left until the contents were cooked, whereupon it was opened, the contents taken out, placed in baskets and presented to the guests.
The next part of the story deals with a consultation among the guests as to how they should make a return gift to Nga Maihi, but this would probably take place after they had returned home. They resolved to go fishing until they acquired a large number of fish to serve as a return gift to Nga Maihi, so the canoes of the fishermen put out to sea. Then Te Hahae proceeded to the bounds of Hinemoana, at the marge of the land he took his stand in the water and by his powers of magic raised the urukaraerae wind in furious violence. The sea was torn up, the fishing fleet was destroyed, the men who had eaten Te Rangikaku were no more. Of the above story we have no explanation, we know not why the taro were specially grown for the purpose, or why there should have been just seventy of them. Presumably the fire-walking act, if it may be termed so, and the accompanying incantations were connected with the final act of revenge, but still a final spell was needed when the fishermen were at sea.
The fire pit performance would certainly aid the warlock in avenging his relative in that it would enhance his mana, and page 131possibly the spells repeated had some effect in the way of weakening the mana or powers of resistance of his enemies. The narrator of the tale informed me that only one taro was allowed to grow in each prepared pit, all others that formed being taken away, as also were many small rootlets. Old leaves of the plants were removed and placed around the roots of the plant and covered with earth to serve as a form of fertiliser. The production of the single rootstock to each plant helped in some way to give force and power to the spells of the magician.
The late chief Tutakangahau of Maungapohautu informed me that, after Tuhoe had defeated Ngati-Awa at Te Kanga, his father, Tapui, performed a peculiar rite over the ahua or semblance of the victory in order to nullify any endeavours made by Ngati-Awa to avenge their defeat. In this case Tapui acted as had Te Hahae before him, he entered the heated pit and stood therein as he repeated his incantations. This singular act endowed the incantation with mana or power, such appears to have been the belief. The performance of Te Hahae should come under the head of black magic, but I did not gather that any fearsome qualities pertained to the rite performed by Tapui; it would probably be such a ceremony and spell as those termed tamoe and taumata already explained.
The Rev. T. G. Hammond has a few remarks on fire-walking among the Maori in his Story of Aotea, and makes it clear that the umu ti of Polynesia was also a ceremonial affair in New Zealand, and connected with fire-walking, he writes as follows: "I have often conversed, in different parts of New Zealand, with old Maoris on this custom of fire-walking, and they all agreed that at one time there were men among them who knew the secret, but it is now forgotten. At Temuka, South Island, during a visit to the Maoris. I was surprised to find the correct name was not Temuka, but Te Umukaka (a fierce oven). On making inquiries I found the name had relation to the cooking of the roots of the cabbage tree and the ceremony of fire-walking; but, as with other tribes, the art had long been lost; only the tradition remained. Paraparaumu, a station on the Manawatu railway line, is another place where this ceremony was at one time practised. The Patea and Waitotara Maoris assured me that the ceremony of fire-walking was at one time quite common among their ancestors, and they had a very clear traditional knowledge of that peculiar function." (The Story of Aotea, p. 61).
In the above extract we have allusions to the "secret" and "art" of fire-walking. Was there truly any secret or art in walking over page 132the hot stones? In the face of evidence from Polynesia it seems to be very doubtful, inasmuch as, at different isles, Europeans have taken part in the promenade and come from it unscathed. The cause of this immunity has been explained (see Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 33, p. 158-159).
The expression umu kaha, as referred to above, seems to have been merely a term to denote fierce fire kindled in an umu or pit used for cooking purposes, the Polynesian steam oven. In the Matatau district umu kaha was the name of a rite performed in order to endow artisans with the necessary energy, industry, perseverance, to enable them to accomplish a task, such as making a canoe or building a house, in an expeditious and satisfactory manner. It is described as an umu whaihanga or rite pertaining to artisans; the charms pertaining to it are unknown to us. In addition to such precautionary acts of a general nature there were a number of ceremonies and charms connected with various phases of such labours, as with tree felling and hewing for example.
In Dominion Museum Bulletin 9 appear instances of magic arts, and perhaps the most interesting of such practices connected with agriculture was that in which bones of the dead were employed in order to empower certain charms and acts designed to produce a bountiful crop (1976 reprint, pp. 93-96). Another medium so employed was the so-called "Kumara god", a rudely fashioned stone in more or less human form. The inherent powers of these two objects emanated from different sources; in the case of the bones the mana, power or influence, of dead forebears was the cause of the fertility powers, but with the stone figure it was the influence of an atua enshrined in the stones.
The late chief Ropiha gave an account of a tame bird, a tui owned by Iwikatere of the Wairoa in past times. This bird had been taught to repeat certain karakia, charms, etc., including one that was chanted over the sweet potato crop, and so was sometimes employed to perform that important duty. In Maori tradition we have also the story of how quipu messages were carried by birds in eastern Polynesia in former times. Here magic enters into postal arrangements. When it was desired to send a knotted string message the bird messenger was conveyed to the local sacred place, tuahu, and there some form of charm was repeated over it. Presumably this charm gave the bird knowledge of its route and destination!
Another way in which flight was controlled by means of magic was in connection with darts, such darts as were used in the game page 133of teka. There are a number of folk tales into which this peculiar act enters. One sets out to find a certain person or place, and the first act is to cast a dart over which a charm has been repeated. This dart always seems to speed through the air in the right direction and to cover marvellous distances in its flight. The magician follows the dart for many miles, and, no matter how bush-ridden or fern-clad the land may be he always seems to find the dart with marvellous ease. Another cast is made with a similar result, until at last the final one lands the dart at the sought for place or person, to be followed by the seeker. When Tama-ahua was seeking his errant wives, the Greenstone Maids, he employed the above method of tracing them, and so found them up the Arahura river. Owing, however, to the disregarding of the rules of tapu, those hapless women were all turned into stone, which stones still lie in the wilds of Arahura.
The story of Whare-matangi and his search for his father, one N0garue, contains a good account of the manipulation of the magic dart. Now Ngarue had left his wife many years before and moved south from the Kawhai district to his old home at Waitara. He had, ere he left, told his wife to send their son to seek his father, when he was grown up. He also handed her a dart named Tiritiri-o-rria-tangi to be used by the lad when seeking him, and told her of the charm to be repeated over it. This was a teka tipua, an uncanny or magic dart. Even so, when the lad Whare-matangi grew up he went forth to trace his parents in the south land. Now Ngarue gave distinct instructions as to how Whare was to employ the magic dart in seeking him, but, inasmuch as Ngarue was about to return to his old home at Waitara, there to end his days, one marvels at the use of the magic dart for finding him. The old track from Kawhia southward was one well known and would lead Whare direct to the home of his father. Such inconsistencies as this are numerous in Maori tales, but do not in any way disturb the equanimity of the Maori narrator, or that of his audience.
Ngarue gave instructions as to what charms were to be repeated over the dart by Whare, and these are here given:
Tenei au he pia nou e Ngarue i te whenua!
E Ngarue i te rangi! E Ngarue i te wawa!
E Ngarue i te moana waipu! Ki a koe, e Ngarue … ee … i!
Here the dart was to be cast and the following charm repeated:
E rere te hau whenua, he hau whenua, he hau moana
Whakaroro ki tai tonga, ki tai mauru
Ki te iho tu, ki te iho whenua, ki te iho tangata na Hineahuone
page 134 Tenei ka whai tapuwae, tenei ka whai traumata
Tenei ka whai marae whare ki te
Matua i au, e Ngarue … e!
Hoaia taku waewae, he tapuwae no Tane,
He tapuwae no Taumatauenga ka nguha mai ki tenei tama … e … i
The first of these charms is addressed to Ngarue "Here am I, a scholar of thine, O Ngarue … To thee, O Ngarue!" The second recital partakes largely of the nature of the tapuwae class of charm, which are employed for the purpose of rendering a traveller fleet of foot. The reciter calls upon the winds to blow towards the south as a help to him in his journey, and asks that his footsteps be charmed, assisted by supernormal powers.
When Whare made his first cast with his dart ere he left his home, his mother insisted that he should cast it so as to glance off her back, instead of utilising the small mound of earth usually made for that purpose. This act appears in several old myths, and the practice seems to have originated with Maui, hence the groovelike vertebral hollow seen on the back of man. So Uru the mother lay on the summit of the hill Potau while her son cast his charmed dart so as to glide along the awa or spinal groove of her back. Then the magic dart Tiritiri-o-matangi flew through space to come to earth at far Tirau. We are told that Whare saw it quivering as it struck the earth ere he had parted from his mother, which seems to point to marvellous powers of vision.
When Whare arrived at Tirau he recovered his dart, again recited the charm over it, and again cast it, to come to earth at Otara, Mokau district. In this case Whare was guided to the place where his dart fell by a rainbow. The next cast brought his dart to Parininihi (White Cliffs), another goodly throw, and the next to Rau-tahi-o-te-hui, Onaeroa. Then the final cast was made and the dart fell on the plaza of the house of Ngarue at Waitara, where it struck quivering in the earth before the eyes of Ngarue and his companions. These recognised it as a teka tipua, a magic dart, and so certain wise men rose and recited the charms taupa and takapau, in order to nullify any evil influence pertaining to that dart. Later Ngarue recognised the dart as the one he had left for his son Whare in the north, hence it was conveyed to the sacred place, tuahu, and, when Whare arrived, following the trail of the dart, then the pure rite was performed over man and dart alike.
When Whare, as a lad, used the famous dart in the throwing contests, toro teka, he employed the following brief form of charm:page 135
"Homai taku teka ko Tiritiri-o-matangi
He teka tipua na Ngarue i te whenua … e … i"
This is simply "Give me my dart Tiritiri-o-matangi, a magic dart belonging to Ngarue-i-te-whenua". It is difficult to see what effect the words of such a so-called charm could have on the flight of the dart, but in the simpler forms of karakia the Maori seemed to care little what the wording might be.
In the story of Maui we find an account of the teka incident alluded to above. He first induced all his brothers to lie down, and then so cast his darts as to glance off their backs, a ricochet motion, and this, was the origin of the curve in the human back. This is an interesting folk tale in the original. The Ngati-Awa folk give the following as the charm used by Maui when casting his dart:
Taku teka tau e kai ai he tangata
Haere i tua o nga maunga
Me kai koe ki te tangata; whiwhia, rawea.
(My dart your objective is man; speed forth beyond the ranges and assail man.) This, however, seemed to be a charm used on a special occasion, when Maui pierced with his dart the jawbone of Muri-rangi-whenua.
The tapuwae charm mentioned above in the story of Ngarue and Wharematangi is one of many that come under the generic term of hoa. The tapuwae was often employed in warfare by pursued persons, to enable them to escape, and by pursuers to enable them to catch the pursued.
The Maori seems to have placed but little reliance on amulets, but a great deal on charms and divers superstitious observances. The only true amulet I know of is that known as a pitopito, which was worn suspended from the neck in order to ward off sickness and disease. It consisted merely of a short piece of fern root, the edible rhizome of Pteris aquilina var. esculenta, which is personified in one Ariki-noanoa. Apparently the preventive or protective powers of the amulet were derived from Ariki-noanoa, to judge from explanations given by natives. Ko Ariki-noanoa, ara ko te aruhe, he atua ano, ina hoki ka mate te tangata i te mate aniani, rewharewha ranei, i etahi atu mate ranei, ka whatua te aruhe ka heia ki te kahi o te tangata e mate ana; ka kiia taua aruhe he pitopito, hei arai atu i te mate. We have already seen that a kind of restorative magic was practised occasionally on wounded persons (see Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint, pp. 370-376).page 136
At p. 75 of vol. 16 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, we find an account of a Maori "miracle" that has created some interest; many have derided it as an absurdity, others explain it by saying that some of the old tohunga must have possessed hypnotic powers. The story is of a visit made by Mr Chapman, an early missionary, to Te Unuaho, a famed tohunga of the Arawa tribe. So excellent an opportunity was not to be wasted, and so the saver of dark-hued souls endeavoured to save one more, that of a rival practitioner. Unfortunately he was, we are told, somewhat tactless, and so offended the warlock, who finally said that he would consent to be baptised by the missionary if he could show that he possessed superior powers. Unuaho then procured a dead dry leaf of ti, the common cabbage tree or Cordyline and asked the other if he could make that dry leaf fresh and green: "No, no man can do that" replied the missionary. Then Unuaho doffed his garment in manner orthodox and proceeded to recite a spell over the dry leaf, which turned fresh and green in appearance as he proceeded, whereupon the missionary retired.
Now the above is assuredly an interesting tale but it has one fatal weakness, it appears to rest on native evidence, and the Maori's love of the marvellous can accomplish many wonders. Miracles decrease sadly in numbers as knowledge and daily papers increase. If the above incident ever occurred then the worthy Unuaho must have been a hypnotist.
The story of the magician Te Mahoihoi and of how he clave asunder the hill known as Ruawahia, in the Rotorua district, is cast into the shade by the wondrous feats of Pourangahua, he who separated into two hills Orakaiwhaia and Taunga-a-tara at Te Papuni.
We have now scanned many illustrations of the milder forms of magic as practised in the Maoriland of other days; many other examples have been given in Bulletin 10, Part VII, Ritual Performances, pp. 305-391. We will now examine the darker side of the warlock's art and give some illustrations of black magic, the true makutu.