Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2
B. Myths and Historical Traditions
B. Myths and Historical Traditions
Mythical accretions universal. But the Angels of Mons do not disprove reality of Great War, Kupe and the Octopus. Story of Rata. Ha-tupatu and Hine-in-goingo. Story of Hau and Wairaka. Whiro and Tura.
It has been observed that historical traditions are ever liable to be affected by myths, often owing to a love of the marvellous. Among barbaric and scriptless peoples such records may be honey-combed with wonder tales, and a people may attain to a fairly high stage of culture and yet retain such abnormal features in their literature, as witness the marvellous miracles we read of in the west, and the mixed fable and history of some oriental folk.page 203
It is but a few days since that I read a cablegram from Italy describing a volcanic outburst and the destruction caused by flowing lava. In order to save a doomed village an image of a revered atua was brought from a church and placed in front of the lava flow, where it was besought to stay that flow. Alas for human hopes, for the lava flowed on and that image had to be hurriedly placed in a cart and trundled away. This is 1928 and we still marvel at the blind faith of the barbaric Maori who carried the amorangi of his atua at the head of a raiding party in order to confound his enemies. Some cast doubt on all traditional lore of scriptless folk, but this extreme course is too severe in the case of a people noted for the careful preservation of tribal lore; myths creep into historical events even among modern civilised nations, but they cannot persist to the extent that they formerly did. We cannot affirm that the Great War never occurred because of the existence of a childish myth concerning the Angels of Mons. Even in our own time wondrous tales are related regarding individuals among highly civilised folk. As Tylor put it—"Nothing is more certain than that real personages often have mythic incidents tacked onto their history, and that they even figure in tales of which the very substance is mythic." In Maori lore we find that Rongakako, evidently a genuine ancestor, is credited with having traversed the east coast of the North Island by taking prodigious strides many miles in length, and, as proof of this we are referred to his footprints, deep holes in far-sundered rocks. A great number of such illustrations might here be given.
We will now scan some old time legends pertaining to what were apparently genuine historical characters, and note how they have become encrusted with myth, commencing with a survey of the story of Kupe the seafarer, who reached these isles from eastern Polynesia apparently about one thousand years ago.
The Story of Kupe and the Wheke a Muturangi
The full story of Kupe the Polynesian voyager has been recorded in Vol. 4 of the Memoirs of the Polynesian Society, pp. 41-68. This is the version generally known; another version differs somewhat. Kupe and Ngake (also known as Ngahue) were two seafaring men of the eastern Pacific who made a voyage into these southern seas and discovered New Zealand; they are said to have found these islands uninhabited by man. Kupe is said to have lived at Tahiti, though his father hailed from Rarotonga and page 204his mother was from Rangiatea isle now known as Ra'iatea. It would appear that, when the trouble arose that induced Kupe to make his famous voyage, he was living at Rarotonga. We are told that Muturangi, with whom he quarrelled, belonged to Rarotonga; and one version of the story of the quarrel states that it occurred at Rarotonga.
Tradition states that the cause of the quarrel was the antics of a cuttle-fish, said to be a pet or retainer of Muturangi, a chief of those parts. This pernicious cuttle-fish always appeared when Kupe and his companions went a fishing, and filched the bait from their fish hooks, hence they could catch no fish. In this activity the cuttle-fish is said to have been influenced by Muturangi, to whom Kupe appealed without avail. Kupe then busied himself in fashioning a canoe, the vessel known as Matahorua, the stone anchors of which were obtained from the Maungaroa hill at Rarotonga. On this vessel he and his companions set forth to slay the giant cuttle-fish that had interfered with their fishing operations at the fishing ground known as Whakapuaka. That creature was a giant size, its body being three arm-spans in length while its arms were five arm-spans long. The great Wheke-a-Muturangi, as it was termed, fled out into the deep ocean. Ngake, on his vessel Tawirirangi at once took up the pursuit of Wheke, this being employed in the narrative as a proper name for the creature, while Kupe hastened to land in order to procure a stock of sea stores ere he set forth to follow Ngake. Unfortunately Kupe was a married man, and so domestic troubles broke out when he stated his intention of faring out on the ocean. In the end it was decided that his wife, Hine-te-aparangi, and their five children should sail on Matahorua. Far out on the ocean the vessel of Ngake was overtaken.
Even so did Kupe the seafarer and his companions pursue Wheke across wide seas until they saw land loom up before them, and so they came to Muriwhenua in the far north of New Zealand. Still in pursuit they came down the coast, but Kupe landed at one place and went inland and across to Hokianga, where both he and his dog Tauaru left deep footprints in soft clay; in the course of time that clay was converted into rock, and in that rock are still seen the footprints of Kupe and his dog Tauaru.
Kupe overtook Ngake again at Rangiwhakaoma (Castle Point) where Wheke had sought refuge in a cave still known as the Ana o te Wheke a Muturangi. There is a place at Castle Point named Rerewhakakaaitu after one of Kupe's children, also another, apparently, lower down the coast at Pahaoa. Many places were so page 205named after those children, but in narrating this semi-mythical story a native always states that the children were left at such places, hence we are told that Mokotuarangi was left at Akitio, Rere-whakaaitu at Pahaoa, Mataoperu at Tuhirangi, Matiu and Makaro at the Whanganui-a-tara, and so on. Matiu and Makaro are represented by Somes and Ward isles in Wellington Harbour. All these marooned children are said to have been fed on wind, in which case they assuredly had no lack of provender. And so we hear how Kupe left his children at divers places on the coast and of how they are still seen standing in the form of rocks. Some narrators explain that such places were simply named after Kupe's relatives, but the Maori prefers the other version and so states that a certain rock is so and so, an ancestor of his.
Another popular tale connected with Kupe the voyager is that he severed several parts of this land and so formed islands. Thus he formed the isles of Kapiti, Mana and Arapawa, as shown in the following song:
Ka tito au, ka tito au, ka tito au ki a Kupe,
Te tangata nana i topetope te whenua,
Tu ke a Kapiti, tu ke Mana, tu ke Arapawa,
Ko nga tohu tena a taku tupuna, a Kupe
Nana i whakatomene Titapua, ka tomene ia te whenua nei
Herein Kupe is also credited with having not only formed the three islands mentioned, but also with having explored Titapua, but if this is the name of Stephens Island, as stated by one informant, then it should not have taken him long to explore it.
Here follows another form of the short song concerning Kupe and his doings, it refers to his slaying the Wheke a Muturangi, To Nga Whatu islets, and the famed cormorant or Potoru that perished at French Pass.
Ka tito au, ka tito au, ka tito au ki a Kupe
Te tangata nana i hoehoe te moana e takoto nei
Te tangata nana i patu te Wheke a Muturangi
Koia Nga Whatu-Kaponu, koia Matairangi i roto o Puna-te-waro
Hei ma … i te kawau paihau tahi a Potoru
E angi noa mai ra i te Aumiti, Auel Ha!
Yet another myth that has been attached to the name of Kupe is to the effect that he and Ngake found Wellington Harbour a fresh water lake, and that both endeavoured to force an entrance thereto. Ngake tried to force his way through what is now Kilbirnie isthmus, but failed, he merely succeeded in forming Lyall Bay. Daylight overtook him ere he had completed his task, and these supernormal beings cannot continue such activities during hours of daylight. We are not told why he did not continue page 206the job the next night. Meanwhile, however, Kupe had succeeded in forcing his way through the barrier and so forming the present entrance to the harbour.
When Kupe and his fellow voyagers reached Palliser Bay they landed at Oruapaeroa, near the outlet. This place was so named because of the long trench-like hollow formed by the canoe of Kupe in the sand when it was hauled ashore. Our voyagers then came onto Wellington Harbour, where they sojourned a space and then moved onto Sinclair Head. One version of the tale has it that Kupe left his daughters here while he continued his pursuit of Wheke, which he seemed in no great hurry to do. He was absent so long on his trips that his daughters concluded that he had perished, hence they mourned for him after the manner Maori, lacerating themselves and so causing their blood to flow and stain the surrounding rocks red, even as we now see them. Such was the origin of the colour of what we call the Red Rocks at Sinclair Head. These are samples of the myths that become attached to the names of famous persons in Maori tradition. In my own youth an almost equally absurd story was related in connection with Capt. James Cook, who was credited with having sailed into Wellington Harbour over the Kilbirnie isthmus.
While at Sinclair Head (Te Rimurapa) our voyagers saw afar off Wheke crossing the ocean, whereupon Kupe commenced to exert his magic powers in order to enfeeble Wheke, he did so by repeating certain charms termed tupe and matapou. He then despatched two of his young relatives, Titapu (or Titapua) and Whatu-kaiponu, also their attendant the komakohua (this is a shark name) in pursuit of Kupe. These overtook Wheke in Cook Strait, where Kupe joined them, and then occurred the great sea fight between Kupe and his companions on the one side, and Wheke, the great cuttlefish, on the other. Wheke grasped the canoe of Kupe with his long tentacles, and we are told in one version that the spread of these arms was forty cubits, which seems to indicate a robust form of devil-fish. Kupe threw overboard a bundle of gourds which Wheke at once attacked, and so Kupe was able to attack and slay the cuttle-fish. The eyes of Wheke were taken out and placed upon a rock at the islet known as The Brothers to us, but as Nga Whatu (The Eyes) to the Maori, and ever since that place has remained tapu, or at least until godless Europeans built a lighthouse there.
The next act of Kupe was to exercise his magic arts and so cause a strong current to be established near Nga Whatu so that no canoes would venture to approach the tapu spot. There are page 207two other quaint stories connected with Kupe and Cook Strait. One of these concerns what was apparently an attempt made by Kupe to throw a land bridge across the straits. We are told that he laid down his spear (tao) across the Strait, but that the strong current swept it aside, and so the would-be bridging feat ended in disaster. A portion of that bridge remains in the form of the headland at Queen Charlotte Sound known as the Tao-o-Kupe (Spear of Kupe) and Taonui-o-Kupe to the Maori, but to the Pakeha folk as Jackson Head.
Another weird tale is that connecting the famous Pelorus Jack of the French Pass with Kupe. This creature has been credited by the Maori with a fairly long life, inasmuch as it is said to have guided Kupe in his pursuit of the Wheke of Muturangi about a thousand years ago. Pelorous Jack was known to the Maori as Tuhirangi, and Tuhirangi guided the vessel of Kupe hither from the far-off isles of Polynesia. Even so was Kupe led to New Zealand, to Castle Point, and into Cook Strait, after which Tuhirangi took his place at Te Aumiti or French Pass. It was here that the vessel of Potoru was wrecked and so the duty of Tuhirangi down the changing centuries has been the guiding of canoes through the Pass, even as, in late times, he has guided the steamers of the white man. As usual we find references to these tales in Maori song, as in the following:
Ko te ngaro pea i a Tuhirangi ki roto o Kaikai-a-waro
I waiho ai e Kupe hei rahiri waka rere i te Aumiti i raru ai Potoru
All these quaint fables have become attached to what was, apparently, a voyage made from Polynesia to these isles by one of the old Polynesian sea rovers in times when such adventures were not uncommon.
Now afar off at the Marquesas the word Veke denotes a malefactor, and in the Tuamotus "crime". It is possible that the wheke pursued by Kupe was a human enemy who was followed to these isles even as Manaia was hunted by Nuku. It seems at least possible that the wrong meaning of the word has been stressed.
In the story of Rata we have another illustration of what is possibly a distorted account of an old-time voyage. It appears under the heading of Nature Myths.
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.
The Legend of Hau and Wairaka
This tale includes names of some ancestors of the Maori folk, but, as in other cases, many marvels have been credited to those old Polynesian colonisers. The following table shows the position of the two leading persons in this legend—page 213
The ancestor Poupaka was, we are told, a daring Polynesian sea rover concerning whom several sayings have been preserved. His daughter Aparangi was taken to wife by Kupe the sea rover, he who came hither to New Zealand, and whose surprising adventure in Cook Strait is related elsewhere in this chronicle. In as much as two near descendants of Kupe were named Haunui native speakers always add the name of the mother, as in the table, in order to avoid confusion. Popoto in the table came to New Zealand in the vessel Kurahaupo with Whatongo, grandson of Toi, according to traditions preserved by the Ngati-Kahungunu folk. Tauira, an elder brother of the Hau or Haunui of our story, seems to have been the eponymic ancestor of the old-time tribe of the Wairoa district known as the Tini-o-Tauira. According to a mean of sundry lines of descent Tauira and our hero Haunui-a-Nanaia lived twenty-seven generations ago. The two wives of Hau are shown in the table, Wairaka being the hapless one who yet stands on the drear, storm lashed coast of Pukerua, where Poawha looks out on lone Kapiti.
Hau and his elder brothers are said to have returned to the isles of Polynesia, if so then they may have gone with Tama-ahua, also a Kurahaupo immigrant, and who sailed back to Hawaiki. Hau left his wife Wairaka here when he sailed away; these folk seem to have lived somewhere about the Mahia, and we know that Whatonga of Kurahaupo settled at Nukutaurua in that district.
Some time after Hau and his brothers sailed away to northern isles his wife Wairaka was carried off by two slaves or serving men named Kiwi and Weka. They seem to have taken her across the island and down to Pukerua, just south of Paekakariki, Wellington district, where they were found by Hau on his return from Hawaiki.
Meanwhile Hau and his brothers had reached the far land of Hawaiki, where they heard of one Rakahanga, daughter of page 214Tumataroa, a young woman famed for her personal attractions. Here Hau was deserted by his brothers, who set off to visit the home of Tumataroa and his daughter Rakahanga, where they proposed to entertain their hosts by performing a posture dance. Some time later Hau followed his brothers, and, on reaching the village, found the men of the place collecting firewood, whereupon he asked: "For what purpose are you gathering fuel?" They replied: "To furnish light for the posture dancing." Said Hau: "Give me some of your fuel." They did so and he took his burden of fuel and entered the village with the others, where all deposited their loads of fuel, while Hau hastened to enter one of the houses to escape notice.
All the people assembled in order to witness the dancing, and Hau entered the big house with the others. He now took steps to secure the famous Rakahanga for himself by the exercise of the powers of white magic. He caught an insect, a kind of fly, and repeated over it a form of love charm or atahu, after which he placed it beneath the threshold of the door. When Rakahanga arrived to join the assembled people, as she stepped through the doorway the powers of the charm affected her and caused her to look favourably on Hau, the worker of marvels. When she did so enter, Hau made his way to her and she made no demur when he claimed her as his wife.
On the morrow it became known the Rakahanga had taken a husband, and so her parents asked her where he was. She replied: "I do not recognise him among all these people, for as dawn came, he hastened to conceal himself." Her parents said: "When you come together again be sure to detain him when day dawns, should you not be able to do so then mark him by scratching his face." The woman now understood what to do. The next morning her husband attempted to withdraw again ere daylight arrived, whereupon Rakahanga strove to detain him, but he broke away from her, though not before she had succeeded in scratching his forehead.
Again the parents of Rakahanga asked where her husband was, would she point him out. She looked around her but did not see him, and said: "I cannot see him now." Again she looked for him: "Ehara! Yonder he is, sitting in the corner. Behold my husband; see the scratches I made on his forehead." Then all looked at the man, and brothers of Hau saw that it was he who had gained the love of Rakahanga and had been baffled by her. Those brothers then rose and returned to their own place, where they at once set to work to prepare their vessel for a sea voyage, page 215that they might return home to Aotearoa (New Zealand). They were angry with Hau for having won Rakahanga and intended to desert him and so return home by themselves. But a nephew of Hau informed him of the decision that his brothers had come to, and that the vessel was being prepared. Hau told him to return and make a hiding place for him in the forepart of the hold of the vessel, wherein he might conceal himself and so return to Aotearoa unknown to his brothers.
When the vessel sailed for Aotearoa, Hau was in his hiding place, while his friendly nephew was in charge of the baling well of the forepart of the vessel. So they fared hitherward across the Ocean of Kiwa. In nearing the coast of Aotearoa Hau's nephew left his post at the forward baling place, whereupon one of Hau's brothers proceeded to bale out the well. While doing so he discovered the stowaway in his place of concealment, and at once attacked him. Hau managed to escape from his brother, but was forced to leap overboard in doing so. He at once resorted to his own strange powers and so called upon the fish of the ocean to assemble and succour him by bearing him to land. Ere commencing this last and most extraordinary part of his voyage Hau found time to repeat a matapou charm in order to stay the progress of his brother's vessel, and render it immovable on the face of the waters.
Hau reached land at the beach called Rarohenga, at Kahutara, near unto Nukutaurua. Now when morning came Popoto came forth from his fortified village, and, on looking down on that beach, he saw some object bethronged by sea birds and concluded that it was a stranded fish. He sent a man down to the beach to examine the object, and, when the man reached it, he saw the eyes of Hau looking at him, but the body of Hau was hidden by sea-wrack. The man returned and reported to Popoto: "The stranded object is a man who says that you are his father, and he desires that a fire be kindled to warm him." Then Popoto took fire, and fuel, the same being wood of the maire tree, and descended to the beach; a fire was made on the strand and the body of Hau was warmed thereat, and many say that the remains of the fuel are still seen at that place.
Hau was conveyed to the village where his mother, Nanaia, enquired of him: "Where are your elder brothers?" Hau replied: "They are out yonder on the ocean, observe the sail of their vessel like unto a small cloud far away on the horizon." Then were performed the strange acts of yore, a tapu steaming pit was kindled, and food was placed therein to be cooked, then the page 216firebrands were taken and utilised in a singular ritual performance whereby winds were caused to spring up, in this case a wind favourable to the vessel of the brothers of Hau. That vessel now approached the land, and Hau went down to the beach to meet it. As the vessel neared the beach the elder brothers of Hau looked at him as he stood there; said Te Matawharite: "Yonder is Hau standing on the beach." But Tauira remarked: "How could a man cast overboard at sea be here." So the brothers of Hau came safe to land in their vessel, Papa-huakina.
Hau then returned to his father's home where he questioned his mother about his wife, and Nanaia replied: "She has been taken away by your two servants Kiwi and Weka." Then Hau rose and went forth into the south in search of Wairaka his wife, and her two abductors. He came to Taiporutu but found her not, and Hau signed as he thought of his lost wife. At this time Kiwi, Weka and Wairaka had ascended Taumata-hinaki, where Wairaka heard the sighing of Hau, and so said her companions: "The sound that comes to me reminds me of Hau." They remarked: "How can the man who went over seas be here."
Hau now proceeded on his way and crossed over to Whanganui whence he turned southward and so came to Whangaehu, a name said to have been derived from the fact that he baled water out there, though we are not told what it was baled from. Turakina was so named because he overthrew something there (a tree in one version) and Rangitikei from his striding over the land. Other names given by him were Manawatu, Waiarawa, Hokio, Ohau, Waikawa, Waitohu, Otaki, Waimeha and Waikanae. At Paekakariki he reached the end of the sandy beach. Ere long he came to a barrier of rock through which he forced a passage by means of his powers of magic, and so we have the Ana o Hau or Cave of Hau.
Again Hau fared on, and, on reaching the beach at Wairuapihi, below Pukerua, he at last came upon Wairaka. He asked her where Kiwi and Weka were, and was told that they would return in the evening. Hau awaited their return, and, when they arrived, he attacked and slew them. Hau then commanded Wairaka to go to the off-shore rocks and gather shellfish, when she had waded out some distance he recited the dread matapou spell and thereby transformed Wairaka into a rock. Thus when you look down the iron road of the white man upon the bounds of the sea of Raukawa you will see the storm lashed rock that represents the hapless Wairaka.page 217
In the above we have what may very well be an historical tradition into which Maori narrators have worked a number of their beloved marvels. So it is with the records of scriptless man, and not with such only.
The Legend of Whiro and Tura
Here we have another story that apparently pertains to another historical personage, an old Polynesian sea rover who eventually came to New Zealand. In one version of the story this hero of the southern seas has one Tura associated with him, and this version has gathered some peculiar mythical accretions in the course of time; certainly this is the more popular form of the tale. In another and superior version of the story of Whiro, for which see the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 31, pp. 111-116, we find that the name of Tura does not appear, and that nothing more extraordinary appears than an exhibition of white magic.
In the former version Whiro and Tura set forth from one of the isles of Polynesia on a voyage, but after a time they parted company. We are told that Whiro sailed off to "the wawau", which may possibly mean the island of Wawau mentioned in Maori tradition (Vavau, an old name of Borabora Island, is probably the Wawau of the Maori). After this separation we hear no more of Whiro in this version, and the story then concentrates on the story of Tura. The superior version shows that Whiro reached New Zealand on that occasion, landing at Oakura on the Taranaki coast, where he is still remembered, from that place he moved to Karioi, hence the full name, Karioi-a-Whiro.
Meanwhile Tura is said to have reached a far land where he encountered a strange people who knew not the use of fire and lived on raw food products. Also in that land were seen certain singular creatures called in story the Aitanga or offspring of Nukumaitore, strange beings who lived in trees, who had bodies but no heads. Tura declined the uncooked food offered him and set about kindling a fire in order to cook food for himself; when the fire flared up, and the smoke rose, the people were so alarmed that they fled into the forest. When, however, the oven was uncovered, and the savoury odours of cooked food were wafted far, then some returned and begged to be allowed to taste the food so strangely prepared.
Tura the voyager took to wife a woman of the fireless raw-eaters, and, as time rolled on, a child was about to be born when some women came to the abode of Tura, women who brought with them keen edged stone flakes such as were used for knives. page 218Tura enquired their errand, whereupon he was told that they had come to operate on the mother and so ensure the delivery of the infant. Thus Tura found that, among those strange folk no infants were born in the usual manner, but always the dreadful operation that necessitated the death of the mother was performed. Then Tura set about mending this state of things, and so prepared conveniences for his wife, and gave her certain instructions, the result being that their child was born in the normal manner as known to ordinary people.
Again time rolled on, until at a time the wife of Tura said to him: "O Tura! What are the white marks on your head, the white streaks I see among the black hair?" Said Tura: "Those white streaks are the grey hairs that betoken age, decay and death." Again she enquired: "Do they truly portend everlasting death?" And Tura replied: 'They are the forerunners of eternal death." "O Tura! Does man, then, die two deaths?" she asked. Then it was that Tura came to know that he must leave that land, that death must not be allowed to enter that realm, he must go far away, to some distant land, ere death came, ere Maiki-nui came from Taiwhetuki to call him to his fathers.
For the space of two days Tura wept over and greeted his child and wife, for two days his wife mourned over him. Then Tura, over whom hung the shadow of death, left wife and child and went forth from the land that death might not enter, to seek in unknown places a home whereat to die. When extreme old age came to him in a far land, when he could no longer walk erect, but crawled on all fours, then, in the dark hours of night, he called upon his son in his far away home. As that son, Iraturoto, slept, he heard the voice of Tura the mortal one calling: "O Iraturoto! O Iraturoto!" The son told his mother of the voice of Tura heard by him at night; then he took oil and oiled his body carefully, he prepared for a long journey and fared north across far lands in search of Tura, his father, ever listening to the cry of "O Iraturoto!" that came upon the night wind. In a far land that gives upon the hanging sky Ira came to the home of Tura at last; but one had reached that place before him, for dread Maiki-nui had come, borne by the Wind Children, and called upon Tura to tread the path that leads by Tahekeroa to the underworld of Rarohenga.
In another version we are told that Tura, Whiro and Hua, a brother of Whiro, sailed away over the ocean and encountered great danger in the wahu o te kanihi, whatever that may be, possibly something similar to the waha o te Parata. This latter is page 219said to be an abyss or whirlpool in mid-ocean. Tura went ashore, apparently allowing Hua and Whiro to continue their voyage, and on the strand of Matiti encountered the strange Aitanga o Nukumaitore. We are distinctly told that Tura took one of these folk, Turakihau by name, to wife, that her people were astonished at Tura's plan for bringing infants into the world unaccompanied by death of the mother. But it appears that, after all, the death of the mother was not of a permanent nature, having expired during the Caesarian operation her body was conveyed to the wai ora a Tane where it was bathed in those life-giving waters with marvellous results, for she at once regained the life of this world.
A brief version of the Whiro and Tura story was recorded by Wohlers; it resembles the first version given by John White, both pertaining to the South Island. (White, Ancient History of the Maori, vol. 2, p. 13). The Wohlers version speaks of the Nukumaitore folk as having shrunken bodies and very short limbs, and apparently living in trees (Transactions of N.Z. Institute, vol. 8, pp. 121-123).
Grey hairs are spoken of as though they originated with Tura, and they are termed the Tarutaru o Tura, or Weeds of Tura, often Nga Taru o Tura. In the second version mentioned above Turakihau asks Tura the meaning of his grey hairs, and he replies: 'They are a token of the decay of man, a sign of coming death." Then she asks: "O Tura! and will you truly die, and die forever!" When told that he would she took the child and fled from him, leaving Tura to end his days in sad solitude. But, when Tura waxed old and feeble his child sought him and tended him until his death. He conveyed Tura to the waters and bathed his body, but to no avail. So Tura died, and so, even unto this time, have greys hairs and death come to mankind.
In other accounts of Whiro, both Maori and Polynesian, no mention is made of Tura, and we have merely a tale of duplicity and tragedy pertaining to Polynesia, and the voyage of Whiro to New Zealand. Whiro was known far and wide athwart Polynesia, and there are several accounts of his doings in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vols. 12, 21, 25, 26 and 31.