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Mangaian Society

Religious Feasts

page 185

Religious Feasts

Religious feasts (kai pure) were sometimes held on the marae. The commoners brought food and, after depositing it on the marae, retired to a distance. Only the people in authority (arongo mana) had the privilege of sharing the feast on the marae. At Orongo those who were to share in the feast divested themselves of their ordinary attire at Puritia at the top of the makatea cliff where the track descended to the marae. Here they put on special white tapa cloth. It is related that two young men, Titiro and Naonao, went to a kai pure feast but received no share of food. Evidently the shares in the feast were for selected persons. On the return of Titiro and Naonao to their home at Tonga in the Veitatei district, the following song (pe'e) was composed:

E tapu te pure i Orongo, The service at Orongo is sacred,
K kore au e tu'a'ia o te raurau. I would not receive a food platter.
Tei Tonga 'oki na tangata At Tonga are people
O Titiro o Naonao, Named To-look-on and To-reach-for,
Ua kapiti'ia o Ngere. Who have been bracketed with Passed-over.
Ngerengere i'o i te pure, Passed over in the service,
Na'ai 'oki te mangaika i kai? Who then ate of the food?