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Mangaian Society

Crashing Eva

Crashing Eva

The crashing dirge (eva ta), so translated by Gill (6, p. 273) from ta (to strike, to crash), was a war dirge which differed from the eva puruki in that the type of weapon was a wooden sword about an arm span long, and in that the recital of battles was concluded by a comedy. A good example was composed by the Ngati-Tane warrior Arokapiti in honor of Ruru page 196(6, pp. 276-280). This eva was performed by the mother's tribe (Ngati-Tane) and followed the adz eva which had been performed by the father's tribe. The dance opened as follows:

Ia Ruru te toko i te ra oi. Ruru was the prop of the sun [high chief].
Tera, e Ruru, te uira vananga ei unu'i i to manava, There, O Ruru, is the lightning flash to loosen thy spirit,
O Ruru 'atia vaie — O Ruru, broken alas!
Te kutu i te mangungu e karara i te rangi. The thunder crashes in the heavens [to salute you].
(Ie koko koko.) (War dance.)

After the recital of historical battles, the comedy part was introduced by the soloist, who stated that the drinking nuts of Ina, the moon goddess, were being stolen. The chorus divided into two and successively urged various kinds of land crabs to climb the coconut tree to catch the thieves.

One Half
E kake ra koe, e te unga. You climb, O robber crab.
Other Half
Auā au e kake; na te irave e kake. I will not climb; let the irave crab climb.

So each side alternately suggested a kind of crab until the unga, irave, papaka, tupa, karau, and kari'i were all enumerated. The rat (kiore) was then mentioned, and two men who had climbed a hala tree with ripe fruit called out, "No'ai teia nga'i?" (Whose place is this?) The full chorus then sang words which represented the sounds made by rats eating the hala fruit, squeaking and fighting.

Ake! ake! Keka! Keka! Tutute! Tutute!
Ngenengene! Ngenengene! Kaika! Kaika!

The "rats" showered handfuls of the ripe keys of the fruit over the performers below as they sang the final verse of the eva ta.