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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2

Origin of Houses

Origin of Houses

The Matatua folk tell us that the first of all houses was that known as the Tatau o Rangiriri, which house was the abode of Tu, Tangaroa and others. When that house was erected and the kawa ceremony was performed therein, such was the origin of that rite that has endured even unto this day. The Takitimu people have a myth to the same effect, that houses originated in the days of the gods. A house named Wharekura was situated in Rangi-tamaku, the second of the twelve heavens, counting upward, and this was taken as a model for the first house erected on earth, and which was also named Wharekura. Paia, Tane and Rongo-maraeroa were the beings who busied themselves in introducing the art of house building into the world. This first of earthly houses, Wharekura, was erected at Te Hono-i-wairua, in the old homeland, according to the usual teachings, though some state that it was situated at Tapu-te-ranga, at Takewhenua. The original Wharekura in the heavens seems to have belonged to Nuku-te-aio; it was erected at Parauri by Rua-te-pupuke. The semblance of that house was brought down to earth by Tane, and Rua then constructed the second Wharekura. This was used as a repository for the tapu knowledge pertaining to Io, to the twelve page 289heavens and the denizens thereof, hence the intense tapu of that house. Tupai, Tane and others acted as guardians of that house. The next house erected was Taiwhetuki; it belonged to Whiro, and Tangaroa, and was situated at Te Pakaroa, Kaupekanui, and in that house was conserved the knowledge of evil, of black magic, of the arts of death. We are told that, when Wharekura was erected at Te Hono-i-wairua, one Whiro, the son of Kewa, not Whiro-te-tipua, was slain and his body buried at the base of the rear post (pou tuarongo) of the house was a whatu or talisman to retain the mana, etc., of the sacred building.