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Forest Lore of the Maori

The Tui or Koko, or Parson-bird (Prosthemadera novae-zealandiae):

The Tui or Koko, or Parson-bird (Prosthemadera novae-zealandiae):

Here we have another bird that was highly prized by the Maori, and for two reasons, it was taken in great numbers in olden times, and its flesh was specially favoured by the gourmets of Aotearoa. From another point of view this bird can claim an exalted lineage and a semi-divine origin, inasmuch as it originated with one Parauri, one of the offspring of the Earth Mother and Sky Parent; likewise this Parauri was one of three guardians appointed in times remote to preserve the welfare and fertility of the forest, as also of its occupants, the children of Punaweko, birds. So far so good, but you never know just where you are when collecting Maori lore; having obtained this note as to the origin of the koko or tui I should have let well alone, but this I failed to do, I unwisely moved to another district, and there found that the koko had sprung from one Rehua. This Rehua was closely concerned with forests, and so lehua came to denote a forest in at least one area of Polytiesia. In another paper I have discussed the visit of Rupe (Mauimua), or of Tane according to another Version, to Rehua, when a flock of koko sheltering in the hair of Rehua served as food for the visitor. Those birds fed on the kutu or parasites of the heads of Rehua and others, such as Miro, Maire, Matai, etc., and here it is clearly shown that Rehua personifies the forest, and that the parasites are the berries of the forest-trees named. In many cases Maori origin-myths are double-barrelled, as here shown, and Matatua natives teil us that Rehua is represented in the constellation of Scorpio, where he appears as Antares.

The tui is also called kōkō, while kokouri, kopurehe, kokotaua and tute are said to be names for the male bird, kokotea and kouwha for the female. These names are in use among the Matatua folk, who apply the names kopurehe and kouwha to the male and female birds for a season only, i.e., from the time of the flowering of the kotukutuku (native fuchsia) until the fruiting of the hinan. The male is called kokouri, and the female kokotea during the rest of the year. At Waiapu tataki is said to denote a large tui, a male bird, perhaps a noisy mann tute, for the local natives have a saying that runs Nga koko tataki o Te Akatea, which seems to be applied to very page 292talkative people. Te Akatea is a place name at Waipiro. Another east coast saying runs: Koko tatakī no te waotu, he tangata tohu taua, tohu marae, so apparently an eloquent speaker is often, in Maori belief, an able director of warlike activities and social functions. Certain quarrelsome birds of this species that endeavour to drive other birds away from a tree are often alluded to as tute or manu tute; others state that tute simply means a male bird, quarrelsome or otherwise. Williams gives tākaha as a name for the male tui, and manu takaha (cf. manu teka) as a bird that acts as a sentry while the others are feeding, also teoteo, a word meaning 'small', as a name for the female-tui. Hoani Hipango of Whanganui stated that the newly hatched young tui are called pi, when somewhat grown pikari, when well grown purehe, when fat koko. The birds are fat from May to August and they are called koko at such a time, because they relieve themselves of superfluous fat by thrusting (koko) their bills into their bodies, and this pecking causes the fat to exude from their bodies. They are afterwards seen on the hou [?], rewarewa, rata and other trees. When summer comes they build kopae (nests); the first clutch will number three eggs, the second five, the third six, and all will appear in the one season from September to April; hatching out occupies two and a half weeks. (See No. 17 of Addenda).

The quaint notion concerning the action of tui in tapping themselves as over-full receptacles of fat has been heard by many of us when among natives. The Rev. R. Taylor seems to have accepted it in all seriousness, but in vol. 3 of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute Buller exposed the Maori myth.

In some places at least it was deemed to be an unlucky thing to see an albino tui, pigeon, or kaka parrot; a sage has declared that death soon overtakes the person who sees one, or perchance his relatives will be smitten in his place; also that such birds of evil omen are termed manu tute. But in many places natives explain tute as meaning tui that try to jostle (tute) other birds away from a desirable perch on a fruit or honey-yielding tree. Tui also drive away the large wood-pigeon, who is a sort of pacifist and so 'too proud to fight.' I have seen tui harrying the more-pork owl and driving it afar. A flock of tui is called a wiri koko or pokai koko, or tui when flying according to local usage.

Wairekeia is a puzzling word said to be connected with the arts of the fowler, but of which I gained no clear explanation; it occurs in an obsolete form of dialogue, as: Kai hea a Wa? To which query came the reply: El Kai te ngaherehere, kai a Wairekeia. Apparently the questioner asks where the people of the place are, and is told that page 293they are in the forest and busily engaged with Wairekeia, whatever that may mean. It is a place-name in one district.

A much frequented feeding-ground of the koko is referred to as a hapua koko, and at some of these the birds became very fat, as, for instance, when feeding on the berries of the kohe tree (Dysoxylum spectahile), and so a very fat person was sometimes alluded to as he koko kai kohe (a kohe eating koko).

Early European visitors to these shores, commencing with Captain Cook, referred to the tui as the poe, poi, or poy bird, and the origin of this name has not been satisfactorily settled. As the word pohoi is said to have been a name for the tuft of white feathers on the throat of a tui, also known as kumikumi, werewere and peruperu, then it would appear quite probable that this was the origin of the poe or poi name. But its origin has been definitely assigned to Tahiti, as we shall see anon. Ere expatiating on this peculiar name we will tarry a while with this kumikumi or tuft of white feathers so conspicuous on the throat of this bird, which gained it the name of parson bird, and which, I have been told, is smaller in the female bird than in the male. A writer on birds has told us that it is really composed of two small tufts each of which consists of eight or nine feathers about 1 in. long, but the Maori teils us that there are twelve feathers, all told, and this is one of several similar tallies mentioned when a Maori is alluding to the frequent use of the number twelve among the ancestors of the Polynesians. So it is that he refers to the twelve heavens, the twelve companies of male and twelve of female denizens of those heavens, the twelve names of Io and of Tane, the twelve lunar months of the Maori year, the twelve Po periods ere man appeared, the twelve guardians of occult knowledge, the twelve spines of the nohu fish, the twelve white-tipped feathers of the tail of the huia, and, lastly, the twelve white feathers of the kumikumi of the tui. Here we recall the words of Ruatapu to Wehi-nui-o-mamao, when he said: "In after days look upon the twelve feathers of the kumikumi of the tui: when the long nights of winter come I will move abroad; let survivors assemble at the hill of Hikurangi." Elsewhere a sage has told us how the offspring of the Earth-Mother gave to Rona the guide of the moon the sign of twelve, i.e., the twelve lunar months, also to the child of Punaweko, that is the tui, also to the foster-child of Huru-te-arangi, viz., the huia tuwhiti; all these serve to commemorate the twelve Po periods that represent the conception and child-bearing of Papa the Earth-Mother, together with the tally of great Rongo (personified form of the moon).

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But the twelve feathers of the kumikumi are not upheld by cold facts, I fear, though the twelve white-tipped feathers of the tail of the huia are verified by actual count. In Bayly's Journal of Cook's second voyage we read of the tui that "under the throat are 4 fine curling white feathers growing in a tuff. These are called Poey-birds." Bayly made a sad job of his counting, apparently; an examination of a specimen in the Dominion Museum showed it. to have 34 such white feathers in its 'tuff'; Drummond made the count 16 to 18, Thomson made it but two. Do the numbers differ so widely?

We now face the puzzle of the name of poey, poe, poi, poy (for all these forms were used) applied to the tui or koko by early voyagers. The puzzle is the origin of this peculiar name, and we might be excused if we traced it to a Maori name for the little neck tuft of white feathers, viz., pohoi, otherwise the word pohoi is the name of a bunch of feathers worn attached to the ears in former times, such feathers being usually if not invariably white. Apart from the similarity of sound there is, however, no proof that the name originated here. We are told that poe is a Tahitian word meaning a pearl, and that the beads introduced by traders at that isle are known by the same name; it has been said that our tui was named the poe bird because its white tuft of feathers resembled pearls worn by Tahitians. Cook wrote as follows of the bird in the account of his second voyage: "The poy-bird is less than the wattle-bird. The feathers of a fine mazarine blue, except those of its neck, which are of a most beautiful silver-grey, and two or three short white ones, which are on the pinion Joint of the wing. Under its throat hang two little tufts of curled, snow-white feathers, called its poies, which being the Otaheitean [Tahitian] word for ear-rings, occasioned our giving that name to the bird; which is not more remarkable for the beauty of its plumage than for the sweetness of its note. The flesh is also most delicious, and was the greatest luxury the woods afforded us." Herein Cook, like many other writers, wrote of ear-rings when he meant ear pendants; such pendants are described as rings when they carry no remote resemblance to a ring. Cook does not say here that the so-called rings were pearls. His remark quoted above seems to shew that he had heard the white feather-tufts called poi (?pohoi) here in New Zealand, and, if so, then his poi is but a corruption of pohoi. In his account of his third voyage Cook writes of our local birds, and speaks of the tui as being "of a black colour, with a greenish cast," and that it "is remarkable for having a tuft of white curled feathers hanging under the throat, and was called the Poy bird by our people." In a footnote to the above we are told that: "It had this name from its tuft of feathers, page 295resembling the white flowers used as ornaments in the ears at Otaheite, and called there Poowa." This poowa is evidently the Maori pua, a generic term for flowers. In The New Zealanders, published in 1830, the tui is referred to as the poe or poi bird.

This referring of the origin of this name to pearls and flowers, to poe and pua, is confusing, and not very convincing; it still seems to me that Cook or one of his co-voyagers may have obtained the name pohoi as that of the tuft of white feathers, and that this name was corrupted by them, as many others were. Tupaea the Tahitian no doubt obtained names of artifacts, etc., from the Maori, when the eccentric orthography of the voyagers would account for the strange forms in which such names appear. Hence we have teeghee for tiki, hippah for he pa, while G. Forster evidently obtained the name of tui in the phrase he tui (a tui); like Cook he combined article and noun, and so wrote atuee. He then strayed still further from the path of rectitude, and confused this weird form with atua, hence he spoke of the tui (atuee) as 'the bird of the divinity,' and teils us that the name of atuee is sometimes given to a species of creeper (certhia cincinnata), adding: "Our sailors called this the poe-bird. Its common New Zealand name is kogo [koko]"

A Tahitian dictionary gives 'poe=a pearl, also beads,' while a Marquesan vocabulary teils us that poe is the name of an ornament for the feet that consists of feathers and hair. Here we do find that feathers enter into the meaning of the word. Poe in Tuamotuan denotes a pearl, a ring, and a curl.

Wilkes, the American voyager, introduces another diversion that teils against my pohoi theory; he wrote as follows concerning the tui: "I saw it only in a cage, and its note did not strike me as pleasing, but several of our gentlemen saw and heard it in the woods; they describe its note as rather louder than that of the bird called by the Samoans 'poe,' and it is at times said to utter a cry resembling the sound of a trumpet." Here we are distinctly told that poe is a bird name at Samoa, yet it does not appear in Pratt's Samoan Dictionary. Wilkes wrote the above in 1840.

The name poe seems to have been used by other writers for many years after Cook's first use of it; in Menzies' Journal of Vancouver's voyage we find, under date 21 November, 1791: "I went on shore and in a short time shot about a dozen and a half of the Poe birds … Nov. 22. I went on shore and shot another parcel of Poe birds." These 'parcels' are not so common nowadays as they formerly were. It seems assured that we cannot be certain as to tb true origin of the name poe or poi.

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The tui was formerly taken by means of a number of devices; these were:—

1—The mutu snaring perch, as used in taking the kaka and pigeon.
2—The tumu snaring perch.
3—The pewa snaring perch.
4—The tahei method, as used in taking the pigeon.
5—The tao or spear, as already described, used at certain times or on certain trees only.
6—The hauhau or striking method.
7—The hopu or whakamoe, catching by hand.

The first three of these are Takiri methods, i.e., a single snare arranged on a perch, wherin birds are snared by the feet, not by the neck, the long cord attached to the snare being pulled with a quick tug {takiri) by the fowler, as we noted in the case of the kaka. With regard to the second method, tumu is employed in some places as a name for the mutu, already explained, but the Raukawa tribe apply it to.a snaring perch formed of two slim branchlets of a standing tree, and not to any portable perch. As to the mutu method, this is often alluded to as the tutu mode of snaring, albeit the latter name pertains, as a rule, to the tree on which the snaring perch is used, not to the implement itself,

The food supplies of our tui consists of berries, insects, and the nectar or so-called honey contained in the flowers of Metrosideros robusta (rātā) and its congeners, also of the honeysuckle (rewarewa), Phormium, fuchsia (kotukutuku) and kowhai (Sophora tetraptera); the tawhiwhi, a climbing Metrosideros with red flowers is one of these nectar-providers. The berries eaten by the tui include those of the following trees, etc.: Kohe, houhou, kahikatea, matai, rimu, maire, mahoe, mako, poporo, fuchsia, papauma, taupata, manono, karamu, kohia, etc. Our tui gets very fat when feeding on some of these berries such as those of the kohe and papauma, for example; both tui and pigeon feed on the berries of Olea lanceolata and 0. Cunning-hamii, but it is said that the pigeon does not eat those of O. montana, although the tui does. Natives have told me that these Olea berries are not fattening diet. These birds were taken by one or more of the devices mentioned above onmany of the trees mentioned, and on others not included in the list. The earlier part of the winter is the fattening season for all these birds, under ordinary conditions as to food-supply.

Like other birds the tui is easier to take when its food supplies are short, and so it seems to be more watchful and cautious when page 297it is in good condition. This aspect of shyness or carelessness on the part of birds was always taken into consideration by the Maori fowler, for it affected his choice of methods to be employed in taking them. Another thing to be noted is that fowlers would not be taking the different species of birds at one and the same time. Certain species might be feeding on a much-favoured food-supply and be in excellent condition, when others were not so, and so these would often be left alone until they put on condition. Hence fowlers would not commence to take a certain species until the birds were feeding on a certain food-supply; long experience had taught them how to conduct their activities. I have known Europeans to shoot large numbers of pigeons when they were 'on the puruhi'; feeding on such leaves as those of the kowhai, etc., when the birds are poor and very inferior eating. Again, we must remember that, when taking birds of a certain species by means of spear, snare, or other method, birds of other species might at any time intrude themselves, and so be snared, speared, or struck down by the all-embracing fowler if in good or fair condition.

The mutu method of taking the tui was not employed to the extent that it was in taking the kaka parrot. When tui and pigeons were caught in set-snares unattended by the fowler, they perished quickly, and so were found hanging motionless by the fowler when he came on his rounds. Not so the pugnacious kaka parrot, a creature that ever practices self-help, and is always ready for trouble; hence when one is caught in an unattended snare it will probably free itself by severing the snare cord; its wood-rending beak would make short work of it. When the tawhiwhi (Metrosideros spj, a climbing plant, was in flower, some of its nectar bearing flowers were tied to the outer end of the snaring-perch of the mutu, and these served to attract the tui. In some cases a small form of mutu was used for taking this bird, but even so many must have settled on the larger mutu kaka when this parrot was being taken, and would probably also be taken. The small mutu koko are said to have been moss-covered, and so must have resembled pewa.

This method of taking tui was called ti haere by Mohi Turei when he described it, and he applied the name peke to the mutu; it will be remembered that ti haere is the name of the portable rod to which the mutu and its snare are attached. The manipulation of the mutu was described when we dealt with the kaka. should a fowler consider that a snaring-perch looked somewhat too new, or too neat or smooth, he would attach thereto some moss or liehen so that it would look more like a tree-branch; fowlers always strove to give such implements a hiwi or pukeko appearance, i.e., old and page 298weather-beaten look. Tui and pigeons were frequently taken in this way on rimu and matai trees, hence in that connection such trees would be termed tutu.

The tumu device for taking tui represents another takiri method; that is to say it was a snaring-perch worked in the same manner as the mutu and pewa, hence it necessitated the constant presence of the fowler. This name of tumu is used by the Raukawa folk for the device about to be described, but in some districts it is applied to the more elaborate mutu, or to the pewa. For the tumu of Raukawa is not a carefully-fashioned perch; it consists merely of a small double branch unworked in any way, and by no means durable; probably they were not preserved at the close of the snaring-season, but cast away, and replaced by new ones next season. The fowler sought a branch that divided into two small, pliant, fairly straight branchlets about lin. in diameter, and which formed an acute angle at the point of junction with the parent branch. It would appear that, in some cases at least, the Raukawa folk did not cut such branches from the tree or shrub, but selected such forked branchlets as were suitable and rigged the snares thereon. At Waiapu, however, a fowler seems to have procured a number of such branches, cutting them off just below the junction of the two branchlets, trimming them, attaching snares thereto, and then lashing them in a suitable position to the branches of the tree on which the snaring was to be done. This method was usually practised when the tui was feeding on the berries of the poporo (Solarium aviculare), these berries being known as houto and horeto when ripe, and at such a time bell-birds and saddle-backs would be taken by the same means, also some other species in lesser numbers. A number of these contrivances were often used by one individual, as in the case of the mutu.

Having procured the material our fowler proceeded to affix the snaring apparatus thereto, and this process will be understood by referring to Fig. 6. From end to end the double branch might be 2ft. in length, and the two branchlets were tied together at the outer end, so that the lower one acted as a kake, as shown in the pewa in Fig. 6, which lower piece is called the peuraro by Ngati Raukawa. This towwas lashed to branches of the shrub or small tree so that the peuraro or kake was immediately underneath the perch, on which perch was secured a cord-loop. On the outer end was secured some attractive bait; when set on a poporo then some ripe berries of that shrub were tied to the outer end of the perch, while between the berries and the cord-loop was arranged the open snare, which was opened out and allowed to hang down on either side of the perch when the two bights were drawn underneath the kake and one was page 299drawn loosely through the other, to keep the snare-loop in position. This loop was attached to a long cord that passed through the small loop on the perch and lead away to where the fowler was concealed, or partially so, behind some branches or large fern fronds stuck in the earth, which rude booth might be 12ft. to 20ft. away. The end of the cord in the booth was tied to a pointed peg called at Waiapu a makamaka. A bird would alight on the perch in order to eat the berries, whereupon the fowler, within his shelter, pulled at the end of the cord, and the noose caught the feet of the bird just as a kaka is caught on a mutu.

A number of these contrivances would be fixed on a poroporo shrub, or shrubs, each having a long cord attached to its snare, and each of such cords was led to the booth, where the fowler was concealed. Within that booth each cord was tied to a peg as described. When a bird settled on one of the perches, the fowler took up the peg to which the cord of that particular snare was fastened, and gave it a strong tug, thus snaring the bird as described. He would then thrust the peg into the ground, being careful to keep the cord taut so as to hold the captive bird fast. This pegging of the caught bird meant that it was not necessary for the fowler to go and take each bird as caught, if birds were numerous and 'biting' well he would hold them on the peg until all, or perchance nearly all his snares held a captive bird. He would then emerge from his shelter, secure the snared birds, and reset his snares. These snaring operations conducted so were suitable only when the birds were feeding on shrubs or small trees; the mutu or pewa worked with a ti haere rod were better when working aloft. Mohi Turei termed this crude form of perch a mutu, another illustration of the confusion of names when one collects data from different tribes. Mohi spoke as follows: Ko te mutu he mea mahi ki runga o te poroporo, mahia ai he aho hei kumenga e mau ai te waewae, he mea mahi nga poroporo kia maha ki te moka o te mutu. Kia rere mai te koko ki te kai i nga poroporo o te mutu, ka tau ki runga o te mutu, ko reira takiritia ai te aho i whakamaua ki te mutu, ka mau nga waewae o te manu.

It will be seen that these crude but useful appliances were used on small trees and shrubs laden with berries on which birds were feeding; at such a time these birds would not heed the pepe or call-leaf. they could not be lured away to a pae koko where they were taken by the hauhau or 'striking' method; so it is that, when these birds were fat and feeding on the poporo, they were taken by means of spear and tumu.

We now turn to the third takiri method and the form of snaring perch known as pewa, which is shewn in Fig. 6. This illustration shews page 300the pewa as I know it, that left us by Ranapiri in his paper on the arts ofthe fowler published in vol. 4 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society cannot be accepted, the details of the pewa there shewn represent no old Maori practice.* Referring to the above mentioned Fig. 6, 1 represents the ti haere, or tata, as used with the mutu previously described; to the upper end of this was lashed a short perch termed the pewa (4), this being braced and strengthened by lashing the kake or strut (3) to the rod (1) and the outer end of the perch. The crosspiece or turi (2) acts as an additional brace when lashed on and also serves as a pekapeka or korera, i.e., it forms a crotch by means of which the apparatus was hooked over a branch when a fowler was about to commence his snaring operations. A lure consisting of ripe berries, or in the case of honey-eaters like the tui, of nectar-containing flowers, was often secured to the outer end of the perch. When taking this bird the flowers of the tawhiwhi, a Metrosideros, were often so used; such a lure is called poa. Moss or lichen was often attached to the perch and upper end of the ti haere, as seen in Fig. 6, this with a view to deceiving Prosthemadera novae zealandiae. The snare loop (5) or tohe was arranged so as to hang down on either side of the perch as shown, and one part was tucked into the other under the kake, or peuraro as some term it. This snare was attached to a long cord (aho) (6) that passed through the head of the ti haere and was pulled by the fowler when a bird settled on the perch, as in the case of the mutu. The fowler was particular when selecting a piece of wood to serve as a perch; he sought a piece having a rough, rugged (whekewheke) surface,. hence the Raukawa folk sometimes called the perch a wheke; toatoa and tawhero (Phyllocladus and Weinmannia) were favoured woods for the purpose. The Maori teils us that, unless care is displayed when making these perches, the birds will not alight upon them, that even the arranging of the kohukohu (moss) has to be carefully done, or birds will avoid them.

Our Maori fowler was wont to employ the call-leaf when taking; the tui, the leaf used being that of the manono (Coprosma grandifolia) or the patate (Schefflera digitata). When in good condition and provided with abundance of suitable food, these birds do not respond readily to the lure-call, but they do when enhungered. Berries of the karamu, patate, poporo, manono, etc., were used as a lure, being tied to the outer end of the perch. The rearea (korimako) or bell-bird, tieke or saddle-back, kokako or crow, were also taken

* The diagram of the parts of a pewa that appeared in Ranapiri's paper were probably not his work, but that of some European not familiar with such artifacts.

page 301by means of the pewa, as well as the tui (koko) and tihe (stitch-bird, Pogonornis cincta).

In the first volume of Buller's Birds of New Zealand, 2nd ed., p. 89, another form of pewa is described and illustrated, though termed a tuke by the writer; this name was also applied to the mutu, as we have seen. Of this appliance the author wrote: "This snare … is formed of a carefully selected piece of kareao [supplejack] vine, having the necessary curve upwards. The lower part of this is fastened to the thick end of a bush rod, eight or ten feet in length, through a small hole in which a looped flax line is passed, a crook, to serve as a support, being placed on the opposite side. At the upper extremity of the artificial perch thus produced, a circular flower holder, made of split vine, is fixed, and a string connects it with the stem of the tuke, whilst the attachment of the lower end to the support is concealed by a covering of soft moss, carefully tied round with a strip of green flax, every precaution being taken to give it a natural appearance. Having baited and set his snare, the bird catcher hitches it by the crook to a branch in some favourable Position, and prepares for action. Concealing himself in a shelter of fronds, torn from a tree-fern and hastily stuck into the ground with the tops overlapping, he imitates the alarm cry of the bird by means of a nikau leaf placed between his lips. The call is soon responded to, and birds from far and near hurry to the fatal spot. The artful Maori then stops calling, and the birds, as soon as their excitement has subsided, begin to look about them, and are attracted by the flowers. The instant one touches the treacherous perch, a pull on the string, bringing the loop home, secures it firmly by the leg. The tuke is then gently unhitched and lowered from the branch, cleared of its victim, and quickly reset."

The above is a simple form of pewa, composed of three pieces according to the description, though the perch and projecting korera or hook might be in one piece if lashed to the rod. The only brace is the cord attached to the rod and the outer end of the perch which acts as a non-rigid kake, but would have little bracing effect.

The taking of the tui by the tahei method of snaring calls for little remark, inasmuch as we have already examined the procedure in connection with the pigeon, but snare-set troughs formed no part of the fowler's appliances when engaged in taking our parson-bird. Should a tui so far forget himself as to get caught at a pigeon-snaring trough, or on a parrot-snaring perch, then assuredly he died the death. Tahei koko, or taking these birds by means of setting snares on the branches of trees, without any mutu or pewa perch, was a common practice, and in fruitful years, white pine trees were page 302covered with snares, also other trees providing a plentiful supply of berries appreciated by the tui; they were snared on the kowhai when it was in flower. These snares are termed tahei by the Matatua tribes, which word is also used as a verb, some tribes call them taeke, and other names have already been mentioned. They were set for the tui and other birds on such small trees as papauma (Griselinia littoralis), karamu, manono (Coprosma lucida and C. grandifolia,* the berries of the latter being known as kueo), poporo, also on fuchsia and other species. The tui and koekoea (cuckoo) ate the berries of the mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus), and were sometimes snared on that tree. Tahei koko or tui-snaring was a busy time when birds were plentiful, and, when a fowler made the round of his snaring trees, he would sometimes find rows of these birds dangling in the nooses; of such a sight one would say: Me te raparapa tuna, thus comparing the row of black birds to a number of spitted eels in front of a fire. In long past years I pitched my humble 8 x 10 in a small bush-clearing called Heipipi, which place had derived its name from that of a majestic white-pine tree hard by, which tree was a famed taheitanga koko where these birds were taken in great numbers in former times. Oft times rows of snared birds might be seen suspended in taut snares from sagging tāhū, and so looking like a string of pipi (cockles). Hei is a term used to denote anything suspended from the neck, as a verb 'to snare by the neck, to tie or wear round the neck.' Of such a row of snared pigeons our Maori fowler would say: Me te rau rangiora, (like rangiora leaves), in which the white-fronted birds were likened to a row of the white-backed leaves of Brachyglottis repanda. The term tahei does not seem to be applied to snares until they are arranged on trees, at least in the Matatua district, prior to which they are called mahanga; to form such snares from strips of fibrous leaves. is described by the terms whapiko, kopiko, tapiko and rapiko.

In taking the tui by means of the spear the shorter form of spear (maiere and tao poto) was much used, simply because the birds. were often feeding on small trees and shrubs when so taken. The bird spear was employed at times when these birds would not respond to the lure call, that is when they were regaling themselves on a bountiful food-supply; thus when the mako (Aristotelia racemosa), poporo (Solarium aviculare), Coprosma, and some other trees and shrubs were in good fruit, then the fowler sallied forth with his spear. A Raukawa friend told me that, when engaged in spearing the tui, the fowler preferred windy or stormy weather for such

* There is no general agreement as to the Maori names of the Coprosmas.—Ed.

page 303operations. Having a good supply of food the birds were much more difiicult to approach than when short of rations, and the noise caused by the wind and rain served to deaden sounds made by prowling fowlers, such as the snapping of dead sticks, etc.

The hauhau or striking method of taking the tui or koko and bell-bird was carried out at a pae koko (pae=a perch or rest). The fowler was most particular in selecting a site for this perch; he maintained that these birds are very fanciful, and the perch and its site must find favour in their eyes, otherwise they will decline to settle on the pae. The latter was a straight rod about 8ft. in length, and an inch or somewhat more in diameter, and this was lashed in a slanting position to two saplings, one end being much lower than the other. Close to this lower end was erected a rude shelter to conceal the fowler. Such a booth has already been described; it is often termed a whare rau ponga (tree-fern frond hut), if made of that material. The perch is sometimes called a rongohua; as Mohi Turei put it: "In the hauhau method a call-leaf was used, the birds would fly to the rongohua and settle on it, when they would be struck down, and so be killed."

The hauhau manu (bird-striker) or whiu as it was sometimes called,. was a round rod about ¾in. to lin. thick and 5ft. or so in length; a straight rod of manuka was often used, and it was suspended in the smoke of a fire for some time to give it an old appearance; for the bark was stripped off, and the look of the peeled wood might cause birds to be wary. The fowler squatted within his shelter, and held the rod against the perch, so that, when a bird settled on that perch, he used the perch as guide for his stroke, as he swept the hauhau swiftly along the perch and.so struck down the hapless bird sitting thereon. The fowler used a call-leaf in this method, and besides the tui, the tihe (stitch bird), kopara (bell-bird), tieke (saddle-back), korako (crow), and tataeto (whitehead) were taken in this way, together with birds of any other species that were imprudent enough to settle on the pae. Leaves of the patate (Schefflera digitata) and manono ( Coprosma grandifolia) were used as pepe, or call-leaves; this word is also employed as a verb, to lure by means of a call-leaf. Such a leaf was placed between the lips, usually doubled, but often flat, and a chirping sound was made by a quick intake of breath; different cries were so produced. Pepepe is the name of a plant, Dianella intermedia, the leaves of which were used for bird-calling. Whakapipi means to make a chirping noise to attract birds; Williams gives two other words, pakoire and iretoro, having similar meanings. page 304As a rule the fowler endeavoured to imitate the cry, or a cry, of the species he strove to lure. Waiapu folk told me that, when taking the tui and kopara (bell-bird) by means of hauhau and pepe, the pae or perch was fixed by them in a horizontal position, not slanting, as many arranged it. The leaf used as a pepe in that district was often that of the pāpā or whangewhange, syn. hangehange (Geniostoma ligusirifolium), and sometimes a young leaf of mahoe (Melicytus rarniflorus). The hauhau and pewa methods of taking the tui were considered suitable ones when the white-pine berries were ripe.

This pae method was also employed at the bank of a small stream, whereat the water served as a lure. The water was covered as in the case of pigeon-snaring explained above, and when the birds came to drink early in the morning they would alight on the perch and so be struck down. Some allude to this mode as puna wai.

Mr. Downes has told us that, in the Whanganui Valley, the tui was taken by the help of decoys in the form of mokai tui, captive birds; but on the east coast and in the Bay of Plenty region this method does not seem to have been employed; the Matatua people informed me that pigeons and tui were worth nothing as decoys, whereas in taking the kaka, kakariki (parakeet), and pihipihi (blight-bird) decoys were most useful.

Maori fowlers have always persistently impressed upon me that the tui is very particular as to the various forms of perches and lures prepared for its accomodation and destruction; if a pae does not meet with its approval, or some error has been made as to the site selected for it, no birds will be taken, or but very few, and the fowler knows that he must improve the perching-apparatus, or select a new site for it. When the birds flocked readily to his call, and were not too suspicious of the prepared perch, then it was known that all was well and a good bag would be the result. Under these conditions he would, when the day's work was over, be careful to dismantle his perch and booth and conceal the materials thereof, so that no other fowler should annex his desirable pitch. The birds might settle on branches on either side of a pae or pewa, but refuse to settle on it; then the fowler would proceed to alter it, or procure a new one, or, if a pewa, arrange the enveloping moss in a different manner. "We believe," said an old Raukawa fowler, "that these birds will settle readily on any perch that looks natural to them, that looks like a place whereon birds have perched themselves." Such is the belief of the Maori; but the tui may possibly have other views that induced it to alight on the perch.

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The call-leaf alluded to was a common method of attracting small birds, more especially when taking them by means of the hauhau or striking-rod. Other birds, such as parakeets, stitch-birds, etc., that settled on the perch all went to swell the fowler's bag.

When luring the momoutu or bush-wren, the fowler not only imitated the cry of the bird, but also 'twiddled' a leaf between the fingers of an outstretched hand. I was informed that, if these lures were carried out well, then the little bird would fly into the hands of the fowler, as it mistook the twirled leaf for one of its young.

In a Summer's Excursion in New Zealand (1854), by Major J. L. Richardson, occurs the following paragraph in a description of a tramp through the bush near Ohangai, Hawera district: "We witnessed a curious instance of infatuation early in the day. Our guide, on hearing the twitter of a bird resembling a green linnet, plucked a leaf from an adjoining tree and applying it to his mouth produced a sound somewhat similar to that which the bird had been uttering, at the same time he brought both hands to his face in the attitude of a person catching a ball; entranced, the birds flew around him from all quarters, and so closely that by merely stretching out his hands he nearly caught several of them, and at length one flew directly into his extended arms."

When food supplies are scarce the bell-bird answers to the lure-of the leaf-call; Waiapu natives state that both the tataihore (white-head), and bell-bird were formerly taken in large numbers on the karangu (Coprosma), shrubs. The weka was also attracted by calling. A day's take of birds might be merely strung together with a piece of fibrous leaf, as of Phormium, Cordyline or Freycinetia (flax, cabbage tree or kiekie), or conveyed home in baskets (kete). Williams gives tūpē as a 'receptacle for game'.

It remains to deal with the hopu or whakamoe method of taking; these parson-birds, and a peculiar method it assuredly was. The task of the fowler was a chilly one, inasmuch as this method was practised in winter only, and never by day, but only during the latter half of the night, say from midnight, but was discontinued some time before the first sign of dawn. The aim was to take the birds when they were stiff with cold, chilled to the marrow, or to the place where the marrow ought to be. Hori Ropiha gave me the following brief account of the procedure: "Another way of taking. the koko was by the whakamoe method in the months of June and July. In the first place tracks were cleared to the roosting-places of the birds, and torches of kahikatoa, totara, or kahikatea- bark were prepared, these to enable the fowlers to reach the roosting-page 306places and ascend the trees. The next thing was to find the roosting-places of the birds, and by diligent seeking this was done, and they would find perhaps three birds in one place, five in another, and perchance six in another. When a roosting-place was so found it was tautuhitia or marked by means of laying down a line of rangiora leaves, white side uppermost, right out to one of the tracks mentioned. One man would attend to from ten to fifteen of such roosting places, and a start would be made after the first sleep (tuamoe), say about midnight, when the fowlers would rise, light their torches, and go forth into the forest. Passing along a clear pathway they would come to where one of the leaf-marked tautuhi trails branched off, and one or two persons would turn aside here to go and secure such birds as were roosting on the marked tree. The white-backed leaves of the rangiora, and the long fronds of the kaponga tree-fern (Cyathea dealbata) that are white underneath, were used to mark the way; these laid on the earth with white sides uppermost were easily picked up by torchlight. Having reached the roosting-tree the fowler would climb up it to where the birds were and take them by band; they would be asleep, and would not be awakened by the advancing fowler; their extreme fatness would cause them to sleep, but nowadays they are not given to sleeping in that manner; European guns have broken them of the habit." (See No. 15 of Addenda.)

Such was Hori's account of this strange procedure, and he gives a fair account of the method, but omits to state that in many, if not all, cases two persons worked together, one held the torch while his companion ascended the tree. Cold, frosty nights were the best for this night-fowling; the severe cold is said to have so affected the tui that they could not fly away, and if struck, or pushed, or jarted off the branch, they simply feil to the ground. The Rev. R. Taylor refers this to a change of climate, and wrote: "In the morning its legs and wings are so benumbed with cold that it is easily shaken from its perch, which it has not strength to leave before the sun warms its half-frozen body; this seems to prove that the climate has become colder than it was formerly." The line of reasoning seems to be a novel one.

Waiapu natives allude to this method of taking tui as rutu, and told me that their method of taking these birds on a frosty night consisted of striking the branch on which they were roosting a sharp blow, which caused the birds to fall to the ground, hence rutu (=to 4ash down). A companion on the ground would busy himself in striking the birds with a rod, and so disabling them, ere they could Escape. The man on the ground carried the torch of manuka-bark while his mate dislodged the fat and frozen birds. In late times dogs page 307were sometimes employed to catch the chilled and bewildered birds ere they could take wing, but the dogs may have been such as had been brought hither by Europeans, or perchance a mixed breed. We are told that this method of taking these birds was not always a suitable one, its success seeming to have demanded an extreme fatness in the birds, otherwise the cold did not reduce them to the necessary lethargic and helpless condition to ensure success, and they did not attain such a condition of fatness in all years.

Raukawa folk state that eight or ten birds were often found rbosting in one place; the number might be greater or less. They who sought to find such roosting-places would be guided, in many cases, by a peculiar cry uttered by the birds as they sought their pae moenga or sleeping-perches, and which they continued to utter for a time after they had reached such places. The cry so uttered is represented in this manner—Koee!—by the Maori, and the seeking of the roosting places was conducted just before darkness fell. The birds would not, and indeed could not, fly away, according to my informants, their claws being so contracted and benumbed by the cold of the frosty night that they could not release their grip of the roost. These operations were carried on only on frosty nights, and always before dawn, lest the birds recover a little warmth and so be able to fly away. An old saying: He koko whakamoe ka mate te tangata, was quoted when a band of raiders found a village unguarded by watchmen, and so took it with ease to themselves, but with dire tribulation to its inhabitants, love of sleep meant death in such cases.

Fowlers sometimes relied on the ara pawhati described at p. 28 to enable them to find roosting places previously located, instead of the tautuhi or white leaf trail we have noted. Like the fisherman the Maori fowler employed the word rama to denote, not only a torch, but also to the act of taking his prey by the aid of a torch, thus one might say: Me haere taua ki te rama i ta taua whakamoe, in which words he would propose to another that they go and take benumbed tui by torchlight. The man who ascended the tree to take the birds sometimes carried a basket in which to put them.

Apparently the tari method of taking birds, i.e., by means of slipping a running noose over the bird's head, the noose being attached to the end of a rod and manipulated as in taking parakeets, was not favoured by the fowler when dealing with the tut I have acquired but one brief note as to its having been used in taking that bird; it was used in taking the owl, woodhen, parakeet and, occasionally, some other species.

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While kaka and pigeons were counted in braces (pu), yet tui were in some districts at least, counted by threes, that is three birds were termed a pu. Others have told me that four, or six constituted a pu, so that so far as tui were concerned, the unit seems to have differed in different places.

We have seen that, occasionally, a captive kaka parrot was taught to repeat a few words, but it was the tui that was favoured by the Maori when he desired to possess a talking bird, for this bird could be taught to memorize and repeat sentences or recitals containing forty or fifty words; in fact several of such in some cases. It was on account of the handsome plumage of these birds, and of the talking powers of trained birds that early visitors to these shores procured them and endeavoured to take them back to Europe, a project that generally failed. Polack, a resident of the Bay of Islands in the 'thirties of last Century, teils us that: "The natives vend the tui or mocking-bird, in wicker cages, to their transient visitors."

Some of the early writers on New Zealand mention the powers of mimicry possessed by the tui, hence settlers often called it the mocking-bird; this habit led to some confusion on account of the corruption of one of the names of the bell-bird, viz. makomako, which we pronounced mock-a-mock, or mokamok. Doubtless the Maori noticed the mimicking powers of the tui and so began to keep it in captivity, and to teach it to talk. The Rev. W. Yate wrote as follows of the bird: "There is not a note of any bird of the woods but what it exactly imitates; and, when confined in a cage, it learns with great ease and correctness to speak long sentences. It imitates dogs, cats, turkeys, geese, and, in fact, every sound which is repeated a few times in its hearing." Of this bird, as heard in the forest of the Hutt Valley in the 'forties, Colonel Mundy wrote: "This bird has a high character for elocution, and is readily domesticated. His mimicry of all kinds of sounds when caged is truly surprising: bark of mastiff, yap of cur, crow of cock, pipe of canary, the deep bass voice and hollow cough of the old man, and the shrill laugh of the young girl, are all within the compass of the Tui." Dieffenbach falls into line with the following remarks on our 'parson-bird': "He has a soft fluting voice, which re-echoes in the forest from the morning to the evening. His imitative faculty is remarkable. I heard one that barked like a dog, another that crowed like a cock, and a third that talked long phrases."

The Maori uses the term ngotongoto to describe some of the peculiar sounds made by the tui, and all say that it was necessary to trim or clip the brush-like growth at the end of the birds' tongue ere it could speak distinctly. This trimming act was termed tohi and page 309waruwaru, and the brush puhihi. The Maori view was expressed as follows: Me he mea kaore e tohia ngapuhihi o te koko ka kino te reo. In the Waiapu district one hears occasionally a peculiar remark made to a person who does not confine himself to the truth; Tapahia to arero penei me to te koko (Trim your tongue as that of the tui is trimmed).

A brief fugitive note on hand is to the effect that, in some cases, some slight cut was made at the base of the tounge of the tui, and this, we are told, enabled the bird to pronounce Maori words better. Other bird-trainers employed another method to gain a similar result; they are said to have enlarged the throat of the bird by means of thrusting down it a small piece of wood.

The cages made to contain these captive birds were often constructed of slim, straight wands of manuka, the thin, branchless rods produced when the growth is dense, these are termed katoa and tari. In most cases such cages were woefully inadequate, as to size, and caged birds had a very poor time of it in a Maori Community. The Maori was just about as heartless as we are in the caging of birds; a cone shaped prison but 13in. in height, and 15in. wide at the bottom. The framework consisted of four wooden hoops, which were tied to two other inverted U-shaped pieces that cross each other at right angles, the lower ends being well lashed to the bottom hoop, across which a straight brace also was tied, thus imparting rigidity to the modest structure. The whole was covered in with very slim manuka rods or wands, each of which was tied to the various hoops it might cross, and to one of the crosspieces. The mode of manufacture reminds one of the Maori-made eel-pots. A small aperture on one side of the base served as a means of entrance for the hapless captive. Small vessels (paepae) were sometimes made to contain food and water for a captive tui, and occasionally the owner would decorate such little bowls with carved designs.

Dieffenbach teils us that captive tui were fed on potatoes and biscuit, but these are post-European supplies; in olden times cooked kumara (sweet potatoes) were often fed to them, but were roasted, not steamed, as was the general method of cooking them. No woman who was unwell was allowed to prepare food for a captive tui, for if she did so then the bird would lose its power of speech. The Maori of old, and indeed those of my own time, were convinced that any tui, or at least any captive bird of that species, was quite aware of the condition of such a woman when she approached it. They certainly believed that the presence of such a woman at an ahi titi, a fire kindled to attract mutton-birds as they flew in from page 310seaward, was known to the birds, and so but few would be taken. Such women were affected by a number of restrictions, many services they were not allowed to carry out, lest serious trouble overtake the the tasks being performed at the time, or those performing them, lest crops fail, lest shellfish hie them to other parts, and so on.

It will be seen anon that these trained birds were taught to welcome visitors, to cry them welcome after the manner Maori. Any bird that had acquired a knowledge of such cries would certainly repeat them now and again, and to this fact was probably due the statement made by some natives that these captive birds were gifted with a kind of second sight; that they could foretell the Coming of visitors. The fact that a bird had been taught the cries employed when guests arrived, and the commands to prepare a meal, to sweep the plaza, etc., seems to have been lost sight of, and so, we are told, when a bird ordered food to be cooked, or a house to be swept, etc., the people would obey, being confident that such a procedure was necessary. They would sweep the plaza, prepare a house, and proceed to cook a meal. In this I fear me that my informant was exaggerating somewhat, but assuredly he was most entertaining. An early settler stated that, early one morning, he crossed a certain river to see one Hone Pihama, and, to his surprise, found a meal cooked and ready at an unusually early hour. He was informed that a pet tui had ordered the meal to be prepared, but that no person knew who the expected visitors might be.

It was the custom to assign names to all captive birds, whether birds used as decoys, as the kaka, or mere pets such as the tui. A famous talking tui that belong to natives at Heipipi, one of my old camps, was named Tauaiti after an ancestor. Another such bird, named Hine-te-iwaiwa, belonged to one Tuteao of Matahina, who having gained the dislike of his people by slaying his younger brother, moved away to Opotiki. Here disaster overtook him, for Apanui, being enamoured of the eloquent bird slew Tuteao and commandeered the bird.

The following notes were obtained from members of the Ngati Porou of the Waiapu district: Regarding the tui that were taught to talk. the Maori would not essay to teach any young bird, but only such as were taken from nests situated near a cascade or waterfall, or some such condition of flowing water causing a ceaseless murmur of sound. Now the belief was that the young birds were ever listening to the murmur of the waters and that this fact would enable them to learn to talk much more readily and better than any bird not so happily situated during its chickhood. As the Maori puts it: Te mahi a nga pi he whakarongo tonu ki te tangi a nga wai, a ma page 311tena e whakapuare a roto o nga taringa—Such listening to the waters opened the ears of the chick. A cage was constructed for the accommodation of the bird, which would be kept in some secluded place until its education was completed, lest it be confused by hearing different voices and differing lessons. One person only would do the teaching, and this would be done by means of repeating the chosen words over many times. Such birds were assigned special names, such as Manu-whetoi, a famous one of the Turanga district, and, when thoroughly tamed, were sometimes released from their cages, in which case such a bird would sometimes get into the habit of perching on the shoulder of its master. Also they were taken out on the marae or plaza in order to call out a welcome to approaching visitors. A well-tamed bird released at such times would not attempt to escape. Cases have been known in which such a bird, released during the absence of its master, has gone afield in search of him. The following effusion is a speech that these birds were taught to repeat upon the arrival of visitors at the village:

  • Kiki tai pa whakatakataka horohoro ana ki tua O Waiheke. Takeho, takeho, ko te rangi toariari koe, ko te rakau huru mai, e karangatia, Haere mai! Haere mai! Haere mai. E te manuhiri tuarangi; kaore he kai o te whenua nei, kai tawhiti te kai; moi, moi, to-to, to-to ka aitu!
  • Ko Tu koe, ko Rongo koe, ko Ha koe, whakamatara tu ki te korero. Tahia te wananga, ko matiti kura, ko matiti aro, ko te rehi, ko te whare pa taua. E hui te rangi ora, karangatia, Haere mai! Haere mai!

Tuta Nihoniho remarked that, in his youth, he knew three tarne tui that used to repeat this speech. When visitors were being received on the village plaza, these birds would perch on their master's shoulder, or on a house-top, or perchance stand on the ground, and repeat the above, and such repetition would be received with acclamation by the visitors.

Oporo Paerata of Te Karaka, Gisborne district, informed me in 1919 that he had had some experience in training these birds, and that only the male bird makes a good talker; that attempting to teach a female bird is a waste of time. That, when young, it is difficult to distinguish the sex of a tui, and that the tohi act is merely a trimming of the hair-like appendages of the tongue, not a cutting of the tongue as some think. If this is not done then the bird will not speak distinctly. The cage in which the tui was confined contained a thick layer of para rakau, crumbled up decayed wood, this to prevent the crippling of the bird through tender feet. When being trained it was kept at some quiet place away from the village, page 312otherwise, being a confirmed mimic, it would imitate any sounds heard, such as the barking of dogs, the cries of children, etc. In some cases a small tunnel or cave would be excavated in a sideling, and in this the bird would be kept during the period of training, this so that all sounds would at least be deadened. The bird would be fed principally on roasted potatoes, but in olden times they were often given different kinds of berries as they ripened. Each day the owner of the bird would visit it and repeat a short phrase a number of times, until the bird repeated such phrase correctly, after which another phrase would be taught in a similar manner. It takes about three months to teach a tui such a recital as the Apanui one.

Some natives teil us that the cage containing a tui would be covered with a garment or mat while it was receiving lessons in talking. Others explain that a small temporary enclosure was made for the bird, to serve while it was being trained only. A length of supplejack was bent and stuck hoop-wise in the earth, then another such was fixed across it at right angles, and on this frame being covered with mats, a cage of sorts was provided for the mokai koko. Food was placed at one side of this gloomy cage, and water at the other. After the bird had become fairly proficient as a talker it was provided with a cage made, in most cases, of slim manuka wands. Some left two small apertures, one at either side of this cage, and just outside these small wooden troughs or bowls were placed, one to contain food, the other water; these were called paepae by my Waiapu informants, others termed them waka or oko, and occasionally these were adorned with carved designs. These cages were often hung up in the open end or porch of a house, and the enclosed bird would be heard very early in the morning. The first of such birds seen and heard by me carries memory back to the early 'sixties; it was a tui that an early settler at Porirua had obtained from his Maori neighbours at Takapu-wahia, and it spoke Maori well. My childish mind marvelled at this amazing and uncanny accomplishment of the child of Parauri.

I have heard that the owner of one of these gifted birds would occasionally, while reclining, place the cage containing the bird on his breast, so as to accustom the bird to the odour of his body and breath, and, at the same time, he would probably keep repeating some recital that he wished the bird to acquire. No second person was allowed to take part in the teaching. Some say that these captives were never released, others say that some were, but that they did not endeavour to escape.

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Here follow some of the formulae learned by mokai tut of past generations:—

1.Moi, moi, moimoia mai te kuri. Haere mai te manuhiri. No hea te manuhiri; no runga te manuhiri, no raro te manuhiri; no tutu, no ngangana, no wewehi, no whakaioio. Tapu kerekere, tapu wananga, ka ea Hawaiki; ko matiti, matiti tua, matiti aro; ko te kehu, ko te ngana. Te whare pa tahi, te whare pa rua, te whare patoto; e hui te rangi ora, e roro ki waho ra.
2.Wharikitia te whare mo te manuhiri; kia pai te whare mo te manuhiri; tahia te marae e, tahuna he kai ma te manuhiri, etc.
3.Tenei koa, e te pou matua, te kore matua te tokotoko i Herangi, te tokotoko i Henuku; te mori nuku, te mori rangi, tuki e, toki e; ko te mumu, ko te awha, ko te tukinga, ko te rapanga. Ko te manihi kai o te takerekere ponapona ka tini ki runga, ka rau ki raro; ka whai tamore ki runga, ka whai tamore ki raro. Tenei te pou ka tu, ko te pou o Rongo, he rongo.
4.Haere rawa ano ki rakau whakatu, ki te kainga i tukia ai koe, i ngangi ai koe, mate te matua, motu te rauru, rauru whea, korikori takataka, whakariuriu mai te tamaiti,
5.Ka pua koa nga kakaho o te waru kei tai, kei nga totara wahi rua a Tangaroa i tai; ka tae, ka tae i a raua ko tona matua, e naumai!
6.Uia te manuhiri me ko wai, uia te manuhiri me ko wai. Ko Ta koe, ko Rongo koe, ko Whakamau tarawa. Tahia te wananga e, ko Matiti, ko Matiti-kura, ko Matiti-aro. Ko te wheu, ko te whare, te whare patahi e; hui te rangiora, e rongo ki waho. Haere mai! Haere mai, e te manuhiri tuarangi; kaore he kai o te kainga, kai tawhiti te kai. Moi, moi, e! Haere mai! Ehe! Ehe! Kai tuwha!
7.Ko Tupato, ko Hikairo, te kuti, te rapa, te haua. E ko Apanui, Apanui e! Mau ki te hoe, Tutaki e! mau ki te hoe, ko te hoe nui, ko te hoe roa, ko te hoe na Matatua, Tikina ra kaua te tai o Pakihi, kai hika mokai ko koe. Moi, moi, e! Haere mai! Ehe! Ehe! Kai tuwha.
8.E ai ana, tataki ana te waha o to puta. Ka rure te wahine, e! Te wahine takiri tohetohe, e rere taua. Korihi ake te ata. Karangatia, e, haere mai! Haere mai, e te manuhiri tuarangi! Kaore he kai o te kainga, kai tawhiti te kai. Moi, moi, e! Haere mai! Ehe! Ehe! Kai tuwha!
9.Koka e! Tahia te marae! Koka e! Me tohutohu tu te kai! Me tohu te rua iti, me tohu te rua rahi; koi tae ki te whitu me te waru. Tukutuku karere ki raro ki te whakahawea na. E, haere mai, e te manuhiri tuarangi! Kaore he kai o te kainga, kai tawhiti te kai..Moi, moi, e! Haere mai! Ehe! Ehe! Kai tuwha!
10.Kiki tai pari, kiki tai pari; whakataka horohoro ki tua o Maketu, maranga mai. E . . u . . e! E . . u . . e! Ka ki te tai, ka heke te tai. Ka whakarara koa nga tai o te awa, he tai taua . . e! Ehe! Ehe! Kai tuwha!

The first of these speeches commences with: "Call the dog. Welcome, O visitor! Whence comes the visitor, the visitor comes from above, the visitor comes from below"—then it trails off into page 314a maze of words that I decline to deal with. The short declamation in No. 2 calls upon the home folk to clean house and have it in good order for the visitor, also to sweep the plaza and cook food for the guest. No. 6 commences with "Ask who the visitor is"— and ends with "Welcome! Welcome, O visitors from afar! There is no food in the hamlet, afar off is the food. Welcome!" The last four words represent peculiar sounds made by the bird. In No. 9 Koka, which may be a person's name here, is adjured to see that the plaza be swept and food prepared for guests. Much of the wording, however, is irrelevant, and refers to activities that seem to have no connection with the arrival of visitors.

We hear strange tales of the powers of some of these speech-gifted tui of former times, of how they were taught to recite formulae, charms, even tapu ones, and so were employed to recite such at ceremonial functions. Thus the natives of Te Wairoa, Hawkes Bay, teil us of a famed tui that belonged to a man named Iwi-katere in the days of long ago. That bird was able to repeat the charms (karakia) pertaining to rites connected with crops. Great was the knowledge of customs and other things possessed by that bird; it would give commands and recite the necessary charms, and when the autumn of Poutu-te-rangi (April) arrived then that bird would repeat all charms connected with the pure rite performed over the sweet-potato crop. Now in a certain season one Tama-te-ra sent a messenger to Iwi-katere to procure his bird for the purpose of repeating such formulae. So off the man set, and, on reaching his destination, said to Iwi-katere: "I came hither to procure your bird to recite the pure over our kumara crop." Iwi-katere replied: "Wait a while; my crop has not yet been purea; when the ceremony has been performed over mine, do you then come and procure the bird." The messenger returned to Tama-te-ra and complained of the attitude of Iwi, whereupon Tama-te-ra remarked: "Tarry a while until night comes, and when the people are overcome by sleep, go you and filch away the bird of Iwi-katere." Even so, when night came, and the village was asleep, then it was that the Messenger of Tama went and entered the village, where all were found asleep so the thief went to the hut of Iwi-katere and his pet koko. Now as the thief approached that bird came to know that a person was Coming to steal him, hence that bird strove to awaken its master; in vain it called upon him, for Iwi-katere slept on; in vain once more the bird cried "O Iwi! I am being carried off. O Iwi! I am being taken away by a thief. Wake up Iwi! I shall be filched away." All to no purpose, the thief clutched the bird and bore it away.

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When Iwi-katere awoke in the morning he listened for the sound of his bird chattering, but could hear nothing; he went forth from his hut to look for his bird, and found it gone. It may be explained that the bird's habit was to talk in the morning and the people listened to its speech. Iwi lamented the loss of his bird, and concluded that Tama-te-ra had stolen it, hence an armed force was despatched, and Te Koura-kairapaki was slain, even so was the bird avenged. This quarrel was continued, and Iwi-katere went afield as far as Turanga to raise a force. The two parties came together at Te Waiau, where the party of Tama-te-ra was defeated in the fight of Tauparoa, and many men went down to the spirit World in payment for the pet bird of Iwi-katere. After this Tama-te-ra and his father, Ngarengare, left the Wairoa district and moved down the coast to Heretaunga, while Iwi-katere and his offspring have remained at the Wairoa down to the present time. Ngarengare and Tama-te-ra settled at Heretaunga and their descendants are found as far off as Wairarapa, while some returned to the Wairoa; the Chiefs of Here-taunga are descended from the bird-thief, and here is a line of descent from him:—

family tree

Taupara seems to be the name of another of the fights that occurred when Iwi-katere strove to avenge the abduction of his prized bird, though not included in the original of the above Version (for which see No. 18 of the Addenda). Ngarengare and his people seem to have come from Turanga to the Wairoa, where they found an old time folk known as Te Tauira living, these folk having a fortified village at Huramua. Some time after Ngarengare arrived, his son stole the bird we wot of, and the name of the bird was Tane-mitirangi, a bird that had so great a knowledge of magic spells that it was able to destroy persons by bewitching them, and also it was closely page 316acquainted with the punctilious observances pertaining to social functions. Iwi-katere seems to have been defeated in a fight at Turiroa, according to another Version, and so applied to Rakaipaka for assistance. The Rakaipaka folk had moved south before Ngarengare came to Wairoa, but had settled at Te Mahia; they now joined the Tauira people, and the two parties expelled the Ngarengare group, which latter people fled to Porangahau.

Judge Wilson has left us a vivid account of another feud that originated over a tarne tui, the property of one Kahukino, a chief of the famous Tawhitinui fortified village, near Opotiki; this quarrel is said to have taken place fourteen generations ago. The bird is reported to have been a gifted one; it could repeat many charms, spells, and other recitals, and this excited the admiration of a visitor from Waiaua, who asked Kahukino to give him the bird, only to be met with a refusal. The result was that, some time after the above ineident, the late visitor led a surprise attack on Tawhitinui one night, when the place was taken and its surviving inmates fled to the east coast in search of a refuge.

Many of us are acquainted with the quaint old myth of the Ponaturi folk, followers of Tangaroa of the great ocean, strange beings that appear to be amphibious, for they spend their days in ocean depths but come to land every night to sleep. It was this Tangaroa who stole the child of Rua and set the child's body up on the gable of his house in place of a carved image. Another version of this story is to the effect that it was a trained talking bird, a tui, that was so stolen, and even of this version there are several variant forms. One of these is to the effect that a certain man possessed a clever talking tui of which he was very proud, and that this bird was purloined by the strange sea-denizens and taken off to their ocean-home. The bereaved bird-owner sought his pet in vain, but, as time wore on, he seemed to hear, on calm nights, the sound of his bird's voice as though it came from the sea. At such times he would call out to his lost bird, and again he would hear the bird's speech sounding across the waves. Now far out at sea there was a rocky islet, a place where no man lived, but wheron the strange amphibious sea-folk of Tangaroa had constructed a house wherein they passed the night. Every day these beings passed in roaming the waters of the great ocean, every evening they returned to land, to the lone islet, where they passed the night in their sleeping-house. Oft-times it seemed that the sound of the birds voice came from that far off isle, and so at last the man decided to follow the lure of the bird's cry, and endeavour to find it. Being a tohunga, a medium of all-powerful page 317beings, and so quite capable of performing marvellous deeds in the world of life, he resolved to swim to that distant isle and there seek his bird. He then prepared for his long swim by placing himself in the hands of the gods, by reciting spells to calm and subdue the ocean waves, and to ensure the assistance of the monsters of the ocean. Throughout a long day and far into the night he swam, and, ere day had dawned, he landed on the isle.

The doorway of the house of the sea folk had its janitor, whose name was Tatau (a word that means 'door'), and when any member of the sea folk awoke during the night he would call out to ask Tatau if it was yet dawn. The janitor would reply and say if dawn was nigh, or not, it being necessary for the strange sea folk to return to the ocean ere daylight arrived. Here this tale breaks into two different versions, in the ordinary one a janitor named Tatau is employed to guard the doorway, in another and little known version the door (tatau) itself is gifted with powers of speech, and so answers all questions put to it. Thus when the bird-seeker approached and called out to his bird to answer him, it was the door that answered him, and this strange occurrence seemed so uncanny to the tohunga that he busied himself in quietly repeating a protective charm of the mātāpuru class, even that no harm might come to him in this weird place. He then asked who it was who had answered him, and the door replied that it had done so, and that it was the door of the house of the people of Tangaroa. We of this world know the Tangarao folk as fish, but these Ponaturi beings seem to have been amphibious.

The tohunga then made a pact with Tatau (or the tatau) to detain the sea folk in the house for the whole day, by telling them that it was still night whenever they asked if dawn was at hand; this would give him time to recover his bird and return with it to his home. So it was that the sea-folk were induced to remain and sleep all night, the next day and following night, which enabled the tohunga to escape with his bird and swim back to the mainland. During the day time all the fish in the ocean were much perturbed owing to the absence of their superiors, who slept in the house ashore every night. They tried to find the missing ones, but were unable to travel on land, as they leaped out of the water in their efforts to search the land, and Kanae the mullet was the one who jumped the highest out of the water, hence you see his descendants of these days still jumping out of the water. Now such is the story of the first of talking birds known, and these things happened in very remote times, when strange creatures lived and strange things happened.

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