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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2



Tane-mataahi Personified form of birds in general (Tuhoe).
Tane-te-hokahoka Personified form of small birds.
Tane-i-te-rere Personified form of birds in general (Whanganui).
Punaweko Personified form of land birds (N. Kahungunu).
Hurumanu Personified form of sea birds (N. Kahungunu).
Tiki-kapakapa Personified form of birds in general.

One authority says that Tane-te-hokahoka was the origin of small birds, but we are also told that one Hokahoka was the origin of the two hawks and some other birds. Tane-te-hokahoka was also one of the forest guardians who nurtured and preserved the fruitfulness of trees. Punaweko and Parauri were to other such guardians of the forest of Tane and of the offspring of Punaweko, birds. Both Hokahoka and Tane-te-hokahoka appear as sons of Papa and Rangi.

(1) Moe-tahuna Personified form of the duck.
(2) Noho-tumutumu Personified forms of the shag.
(3) Terepunga Personified forms of the shag.
(4) Haere-awaawa Personified form of the kiwi.
(5) Tumataika Personified form of the kaka parrot.
(6) Rupe Personified form of the pigeon.
(7) Parauri Personified form of the tui or parson bird.
(8) Koururu or Popoia Personified form of the owl (rum).
(9) Kerangi Personified form of the hawk.
(10) Matuku Personified form of the bittern.
(11) Hine-porete Personified form of the parrakeet.
(12) Hine-karoro Personified form of the sea-gull.
(13) Hine-taro Personified form of the tern.
(14) Hine-wairua-kokako Personified form of the crow.

By referring to origin myths it will be seen that one name serves as a personificatory term as well as the name of a tutelary or originating being.

Of the above No. 1, 2 and 4 were, say the Matatua folk, the offspring of Tangaroa, together with two others, Turuki and Hakuwai. The latter is the name of a mythical bird, and Turuki is a word that denotes duck fledglings. The shag is occasionally referred to as "te mokopuna a Terepunga" the grandchild or offspring of Terepunga. Some of these personification terms are very appropriate, Moe-tahuna describes the duck's habit of sleeping on sand banks; Noho-tumutumu or Stump-sitter gives the favourite perching place of the shag, a stump or log in a river page 317bed. Haere-awaawa or Gully-traverser describes the habits of the kiwi; Kerangi includes the cry of the hawk as rendered by the Maori—ke-ke-ke! while Koururu includes the common name of the owl and one of its cries "Kou! Kou!" Koururu is called the child of Te Arawaru. When the famed house Wharekura was constructed in the old racial homeland the owl Koururu was the sacrifice buried at the rear wall thereof; hence the great glaring shell eyes of the wooden images fashioned for house decoration. When Maui asked Timutahi how he could reach his mother Taranga, Timu replied: "Assume the forms of Kerangi, of Kuku, of Karearea; when you start take the form of Karearea [sparrow-hawk]; when you reach the underworld take that of Kuku [pigeon]; when you return to the upper world that of Kerangi." In another version Maui is said to have assumed the form of Popoia, the owl. Parauri, Punaweko, Hurumanu, Te Arawaru, Hokahoka, and Tane-te-hokahoka were all sons of Rangi and Papa. In a song published by the late Hoani Nahe of Hauraki in 1891 occurs the following list of mythical origins of birds: "From Turunoa sprang the mumu, from Haere-awaawa came the woodhen, from Piki-maunga the crow, from Ketuketu-para the saddleback, from Pukana the owl, from Wiwi the Koekoea (cuckoo), from Noho-tumutumu the cormorant, from Moe-tahuna the duck." I know not mumu, as a bird name, but Williams's Maori Dictionary has "mu, a wingless bird". The crow, being descended from Hill-climber, is naturally found on high-lying ranges, even as the woodhen is the gully-raker. The saddleback, having sprung from Rubbish-scratcher, passes much time in scratching about in search of food; the owl traces his great staring eyes to his ancestor, the Glarer, while Wiwi should perhaps be Whiwhi or Whiti and denotes a reference to the cry of the cuckoo. The Stump-sitter and the Sandbank-sleeper we have already dealt with. Hine-tara the tern, and Hine-tore (possibly torea, a "long-shore bird"). To this family also belonged Punga, the father of reptiles, and Matuku, the bittern. Noho-tumutumu and Moe-tahuna were offspring of Punga.