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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2

The Story of Hatupatu and Hine-ingoingo, the Tahurangi

The Story of Hatupatu and Hine-ingoingo, the Tahurangi

The story of Rata is one that was carried hither from Polynesia by the Maori immigrants from that region, but the following tale page 208is apparently a local production. Our hero Hatupatu was evidently a genuine ancestor of the Maori folk of the Rotorua district, but the myth-loving Maori has evolved a story concerning him in which he cohabits with a supernormal being, a female Tahurangi of the strange folk said to dwell in forest solitudes. Several miraculous incidents are included in this peculiar folk tale. The name of the hero appears in one tradition as Hau-tupatu (see Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 34, p. 295) while that of the forest woman appears as Kurangaituku in the version collected by Sir George Grey and published in his Polynesian Mythology, pp. 114-125.

In the Grey version we see that the uncanny forest woman used her lips in order to spear birds, evidently she was provided with a birdlike form of beak. The term ngutu employed denotes both beak and lips. She captured Hatupatu in the forest simply because she was swift-footed and was also assisted by the use of her arms which she used as wings. The twain lived together as man and wife, and Ha found that his strange wife was a raw-eater, she never cooked any food, this meant that Ha had to do his own cooking, his wife being ignorant of that useful art. He found an assortment of weapons and garments in the cave dwelling of Kurangaituku and there were also in or about the cave a number of reptiles and birds that appear to have been familiars of Kuranga. At a certain time Ha told his wife to go afar off in the forest and there busy herself in spearing birds, and, during her absence, he strove to escape. He took a selection of garments and weapon from the stock in the cave, and then set about slaying the reptile and bird companions of Kuranga; one bird only escaped, and that one flew away to fetch Kuranga. She returned apace and pursued Hatupatu, but he saw her coming and, by means of his knowledge of magic, he caused a mass of rock to open and so afford him a place of concealment, when it closed again and so protected Ha for a time. The pursuit continued as far as Rotorua, where Kuranga perished in one of the boiling springs at that place. The further adventures of our worthy hero are not connected with Kuranga the forest woman.

In another version of the above tale collected by myself the name of the woman Tahurangi is given as Hine-ingoingo, but her other name is also mentioned. A rendering of it is given below.

This person Hatupatu was given to stealing food. He was in the habit of belabouring himself so as to cause blood to flow, which blood he would smear over his body in order to avert suspicion from himself; then he would rob houses and burn them, so that page 209reprisals might be made on other persons. His elder brothers were Hanui and Haroa, and when these brothers discovered that Hatupatu was the thief they attacked him while they were bird spearing in the forest, and left him for dead. They cast his body into a pit, the result of a tree stump having been consumed by fire, thinking that he was dead, not so, he was still living. When he had lain there for two nights he came to himself, clambered out of the pit and, by means of using a stick, proceeded along the path. He then met a certain woman, one Hine-ingoingo, who was a Turehu, and she spoke to Ha, saying: "Why man, you are in distress; come, let us proceed to my home, and, when you have recovered, you can go to your home."

Hatupatu consented to this and so they went off together, and, on reaching her home, Ha found that she was living in a cave. It was a large and far reaching cave, the interior being very fine and of a very singular appearance. Within was the couch of Hine-ingoingo, and there also were suspended native garments of all sorts, likewise such weapons as patu onewa, spears, and taiaha. Hatupatu enquired: "Where are the people of your home?" Hine-ingoingo answered him: "They ever dwell upon the lofty hills so that they may obtain a fair view of the far spread lands of the earth."

Now it came about that Ha and Hine-ingoingo became man and wife, and he was not yet aware that his wife was a Tahurangi or Turehu, that is an atua. He found her to be a very attractive and desirable person. Upon a certain day Ha enquired, "O Ingo! In what district of this land do your folk dwell?"

Hine-ingoingo replied: "No raw raw a au, no te aopouri." [This remark may be rendered as "I belong to the north, to the Aopouri (tribe)" or as "I belong to the lower world, to the realm of darkness." Aopouri is the name of a far northern tribe.] Said Ha to himself: "O my highborn one belongs to the Ngapuhi country, inasmuch as she is a member of the Aupouri."

Upon a time Hine-ingoingo said to Ha: "I am going to collect supplies of food for us two, remain you here at our dwelling place." He consented to do so, and, ere long, the woman returned with her basket full of birds, the feathers of which were plucked and utilised as floor covering for their reclining and sleeping places. Such then was their mode of life, and so time ran on until arrived the Ahoturuturu month of the tale of divisions of the year (July). By this time Ha was quite obsessed by a feeling of longing for his home and parents, but he also brooded over the strong affection of Hine-ingoingo for himself during all the time page 210they had lived together in her house Uruwhenua. Ha found it impossible to decide as to which course he should pursue, whether he should be controlled by his desire to see his parents, or by his affection for Hine-ingoingo. Hine-ingoingo enquired of Hatupatu: "O Ha! What is the matter with you?" He replied: "I have no troubles." Said Hine-ingoingo: "You have the appearance of being disturbed when we are together." Then Ha said: "It is true, I am fretting for my home and parents." Hine-ingoingo remarked: "The way to home and parents is a fair one; give heed lest such feelings so disturb the mind as to seriously distress the body, rather brace up the body, for by such means is the welfare of all things in the world assured." Ha replied: "My feeling of affection for you is great, and so your remarks distress me, rather would I prefer that we go together." Thereupon Hine-ingoingo laughed and ran to Ha and clasped him round the neck saying: "O Ha! I see the thoughts in your mind as clearly as I see the streams flowing seaward." [A peculiar sentence. It may have been intended to mean that his heart turned to his home as streams flow to the ocean.] Ha enquired: "Why do you speak to me in that way, Hine-ingoingo?" Hine-ingoingo replied: "Maybe trouble lies in wait before you; trouble, trouble." Here Hine-ingoingo smiled and said: "O Ha! O Ha! I held that these thoughts came from above; first the eyes, then the ears, then speech, then body to body, then the eating together, then sleeping together, at which juncture the bodies of man and woman are firmly bound together, and so fade away all thoughts of home and parents."

When a certain period of the season was reached, the month of Taperewai (September) Hine-ingoingo said: "O Ha! Remain here at our home while I go forth to seek food supplies for us." Said Ha: "Go to Hurakia, the place most prolific in food products, where the back of a man bends when carrying a bag of birds." Hine-ingoingo replied: "It is well, I will do so." Ha enquired: "Are you looking at the ranges to select one by which to reach Hurakia?" Hine replied: "Yes, the way to the southwest lies just before me." Ha remarked: "Very well, proceed, but if you find birds plentiful and secure many, then put them in a safe place and we will convey them to our home later." Hine-ingoingo agreed to this, and so went on her way to Hurakia. Another name of Hine-ingoingo was Kurangaituku.

After Hine had departed Ha busied himself in collecting the native garments and weapons, with which he started for Rotorua. He first slew the reptiles and birds that guarded the cave, and page 211then destroyed by fire all appurtenances pertaining to the sleeping place of Hine, and her tapu places used by her for ceremonial purposes during the time they had lived together there. Ha did this so as to deprive Hine of the power to harm him, or to pursue him; all these things were done by him. One bird eluded him and escaped, it was a miromiro; others were the titipounamu and tatahore. Those birds fled, and Miromiro the tit kept calling out: "O Hine-ingoingo. O! The home is destroyed, the property is gone, the tapu places are defiled, the sleeping places laid-waste, the innate powers of man have been tampered with by Hatupatu and taken away to his home; your place of refuge is deserted."

Hine-ingoingo now returned, calling out as she came: "O Ha! was it my fault or yours? Let your path be lengthened that I may overtake you." Then she repeated: "Hatupatu, draw out and lengthen; Hine-ingoingo to approach closely."—So the woman kept calling out as she advanced. The birds flew forward and hovered before Hatupatu, ever crying out "Koreti! Koreti!" [A cry betokening ill luck] so they continued to cry out before him. He concluded that the bird, the mata, was warning him that he would never reach his destination. He now noticed a rock standing by the wayside, whereupon he repeated the words: "O stone, split and open."—and the stone was open, whereupon Ha concealed himself within it.

Hine-ingoingo now came and stood by the side of the stone, and said: "O Ha! Here am I just outside; though you conceal yourself yet you cannot remain hidden from me; so come forth." Again she spoke, this time to the stone: "O stone! Split and open." Whereupon the stone lay open and she saw Ha lying therein, then she spoke: "O Ha! How unkind you have been to me, Hine-ingoingo." Ha now came forth from his hiding place, whereupon Hine embraced him and wept, saying: "O Ha! Unkind indeed has been your treatment of me; was it my own fault, or were you alone responsible for your unkindness to Hine-ingoingo?"

Hine-ingoingo or Kurangaituku is alluded to as a Tahurangi, which is equivalent to saying that she was a Turehu, or Heketoro, or Patupaearehe, for all these names were applied to certain mythical beings, forest dwelling folk of strange habits concerning whom we shall have much information later on. The hero of the story seems to have made but a poor return for the kindness displayed towards him by Hine-ingoingo, and he also appears to have left her to do all work in the collecting of food supplies. The page 212name of Hine-ingoingo may or may not have had some meaning assigned to it, the word ingoing means "yearning"; the term koroingo, employed by Hatupatu, bears a similar meaning. When we compare this tale with the version collected by Sir George Grey we see how discrepancies creep into folk tales. The endowing of animals, and even inanimate objects, with the powers of speech is, of course, a common feature of fables, so that we need not be surprised at the birds repeated warning. Hine resorted to the powers of charms in order to lengthen the path traversed by Ha during his flight from her, and also to contract that part of the path being traversed by herself. The cry of " Kore-ti" uttered by the birds in front of Ha is said, by Ngati-Awa of Whakatane, to be the call of the mata or fern bird, and to hear that cry is viewed as a sign of non-success. The rock opened by Ha through the power of a charm remains open, as it was when he left it; it yet stands by the roadside near Atiamuri, and upon it are seen the scratches made by the fingernails of the "ogress" when she was endeavouring to recapture the elusive Ha. An excellent illustration of this hollow rock appears in the late Capt. Gilbert Mair's Reminiscences and Maori Stories, p. 42.

The above story has not a satisfactory conclusion, perchance it has been curtailed; as a rule we are told that Hine-ingoingo, while in pursuit of Hatupatu, fell into a boiling spring and so perished miserably.

In Taylor's Te Ika a Maui, 2nd ed., p. 154, is given yet another version of the above tale, wherein Kurangaituku is described as a Patupaearehe and a giantess who speared birds with her long fingernails. Her house contained every kind of bird, and there Ha was entertained until he wearied of the life. In this case he did not slay the bird attendants but merely sealed up the house to prevent them escaping when he fled to his house, but through a small, crevice, the little riroriro bird escaped and flew to call Kuranga, crying out: "Riro! Riro! Riro!" (Riro bears the meaning of "gone away"). Then comes the rock opening episode, after which Ha sought refuge, underground, while Kuranga, when pursuing him, lost her life in a boiling spring at Whakarewarewa.