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Mangaian Society



Offerings to the gods were accompanied by appropriate words. With the minor gods, it was sufficient to say, "Teia ta'au, e Rua'atu." (Here is your share, O Ruaatu.) A similar simplicity accompanied the feeding of the gods at the national godhouse or before a feast: "Here is your food, eat." The phrase announced to the god that he was not neglected. For the public ceremonial on the marae, incantations had been composed by the priests in ancient page 184days and were transmitted in set form to their successors. The rhythmic chants by the priest formed part of his stock-in-trade, and the set words were valuable immaterial property. When the chants ceased to be of value with the change of religion, they ceased to be taught and consequently were not transmitted to the present generation. Gill, however, obtained two incantations from Numangatini, the last priest of Rongo. One chanted on the marae of Akaoro, after referring to the victim sacrificed to Rongo, contains the following verse, translated somewhat differently by Gill (6, p. 296):

Ka tupu o te toa, The ironwood tree shall grow,
Ka rito o te toa, The ironwood tree shall sprout,
Ka rara o te toa, The ironwood tree shall branch,
Ka kokoti o te toa, The ironwood tree shall be felled,
Ka 'era o te toa, The ironwood tree shall be divided,
Ka maikuku o te toa, The ironwood tree shall be wedged,
Ka nga'a o te toa. The ironwood tree shall be split open.

The ironwood tree was split open to make weapons for the warriors. The incantation was repeated later on the marae of Orongo and included a part dealing with the division of lands.

The second incantation was chanted at Orongo, when the drum of peace was sounded (6, p. 299); it is quoted with alterations in the translation:

'Aki'akia Maruata 'ikitia taku atarau. Maruata has been selected and lifted onto my altar.
Iaia ia vaerea te tarutaru 'enua Through him are cleared the weeds of the land
O 'Avaiki mai raro e Of Avaiki from below.
Drums and Voices
Tei mā ia, rangi mā ia, rangi vaerea, Clear, the clear sky, the weeded sky (cloudless),
Tei mā ia, rangi ma ia, rangi vaerea, Clear, the clear sky, the weeded sky (cloudless),
Vaerea ta'i taru vaerea. Weed out a weed, weed out.
Vaerea, vaerea i to makita, makita. Weed, weed out …
Makitaria kitaria, kua rangi riri ē. (Sound of the drum.)

Note: The evils of war are referred to as weeds (taru) which are weeded out (vaerea) by the offering of the human offering on the marae. A play is made on the word makita, as it fits in well with the beating of the drums. The chant, commenced at Orongo, was repeated on all the maraes during the circuit of the island.

The incantations were called karakia and the process of reciting was 'ai karakia (Maori, what korero). The high priests must have had a large number of incantations, for it is said of Rauue, an Inland High Priest of Rongo, that once while officiating on the marae, the people said, "E 'ai koe e Rau e tae atu te ra i runga ia Tava'i-kura." (O Rau, chant until the sun rests on Tavai-kura.)