Rise and Fall of the Ngati-Vara
Rise and Fall of the Ngati-Vara
The family to which Mautara belonged were known as Te Amama (The Open-mouth), from the opening of the mouth of their ancestor Papaaunuku when the god Motoro took possession of him. The name referred to their priestly functions. As a social group they were known as Ngati-Vara, through the acceptance of Vara, the son of Papaaunuku, as their eponymous ancestor. The Ngati-Vara were evidently the only tribe that managed to preserve genealogies until the post-European period, when they were written down by Mamae. Two lines, springing from two sons of Mautara, have been given in Table 3 as a chronological record. Mamae, in his introduction to the full Ngati-Vara genealogies, sketches the origin of the tribe from Papaaunuku. After describing the priestly functions of Papaaunuku, whose father and mother were not known, he goes on:
Tera te ingoa o ta Papa-au-nuku va'ine, o Te Rangi-ti'a. Anau mai ra a raua puke tamariki tokorua, e tamaroa teta'i, e tama'ine teta'i. Tapa i'ora te ingoa o te tamaroa, o Vara-i-te-manuku. Tera te aite anga o tona ingoa, e "au manga," e mangakai nei. O te aite anga ia o te manuku. Nona te ingoa i taiku'ia i nunga i te kopu tangata ra e, e Ngati-Vara. The name of Papa-aunuku's wife was Te Rangi-tia. Their group of children born were two, one a boy, one a girl, The name given to the boy was Vara-i-te-manuku. The meaning of his name was "food," a portion of food.
That is the meaning of manuku. His was the name that was given to that tribe, the Ngati-Vara.
Tera te ingoa o tona tua'ine, o Rangi-rutua. Kua rave i'ora a Vara i nga va'ine tokorua nana, o Tonganui te in-goa o teta'i, 0 Raurau te ingoa 0 teta'i. The name of his sister was Rangi-rutua. Vara took two wives for himself, Ton-ganui [being] the name of one, Raurau [being] the other. 'Anau mai ra ta te va'ine mua tamariki, toko'a. Tera to ratou au ingoa, o Te Rau te tama, o Te Ni'a, o Tuarau, o Nga'ae te openga, e puke tamaroa. The children born from the first wife were four. Their names were Te Rau the first-born male, Te Nia, Tuarau, Ngaae the last, a group of boys. 'Anau mai ta tata'i va'ine ta Raurau, e tamoroa, o Te-ivitu te ingoa. 'Okota'i 'ua ra ana. One only [was] hers. Borne by the other wife, by Raurau, [was] a son, Te-ivitu [being] the name. Kareka o te 'anau a Vara nei, kua mate eta'i toko'a, ua taia e te Ngati-Tangiia, e te Ngati-Tonga'iti, e te Ngariki 'oki. But of the family of this Vara, some died, numbering four, killed by the Tangiia tribe, by the Tongaiti and by the Ngariki also.page 58 'Okata'i 'ua tei ora mai, o Te Rau, e te metua 'oki o Vara. Only one survived, Te Rau, and the father also, Vara. Ua vai'o'ia e Ngariki ei pi'a atua no ratou. [They] were spared by the Ngariki as a priest for them. Kareka o Te Ni'a, e Tuarau, e Nga'ae, e Te-ivitu, ua taia ratou. I taia i Tangikura i teta'i nga'i i te tapere o Veitatei. O ta ratou ia ta'ua puruki o ratou anake ua mate i'ora a Te-ivitu, pue'u rikiriki eta'i i te ra'ei i te makatea. Thus Te Nia, Tuarau, Ngaae and Teivitu were killed. [They were] attacked at Tangikura in a part of the district of Veitatei. On their battle-field, Te-ivitu was killed, the others fled to the rocks in the makatea. E tae ake ra i teta'i tuatau, kite atu ra i teta'i nga'i, o Mangonui te ingoa, tei te tapere i Tamarua. Taia i'ora e mate atu ra. 'Aere atu ra a Vara i te kimi aere i te 'anau ma te aue ia ratou. On reaching a certain time, [they were] seen at a place, Mangonui by name, in the district of Tamarua. [They were] struck down and died. Vara went to search for his family and wailed for them. E tae atu ra a ia i teta'i nga'i o Tuauko te ingoa, tei te tapere i Kei'a, no'o i'ora i reira ma te 'akuru i teta'i puakapa nona i runga i teta'i tua'ivi maunga ma te aue 'ua ra i te 'anau, no te mea kare ratou. When he reached a place called Tuauko, in the district of Keia, he stayed there and raised a shelter for himself on a ridge of the mountain and he wailed for his family because they were no more. Mari ra o tana tama mua 'ua tei 'akaora'ia e te kopu Ngariki, ko ia 'oki Te Rau, e te matua katoa 'oki o Vara. Ua mate e toko'a. But his first-born son alone was spared by the tribe of Ngariki, namely Te Rau, and the father also, Vara. Four were killed. Tera te pue i 'atua no te 'anau a Vara, no Va'arua i 'atu: This is the song composed for the family of Vara, composed by Vaarua: "Tanumia i Nukuroa te toa, i kotia e tupeke ia Mautara, O te ivi o Tu e — " 'Ae. "Planted was the ironwood at Nukuroa and cut down to drive out Mautara of the tribe of Tu-e-Ae. "Kauero te ra i Uira, ua tangi mai a Nga'ae i te uru kainga i te tapere " 'Ae. "The sun rises over the hill of Uira, Ngaae weeps for his home and the district [of Veitatei]. "No'o mai Vara i Tuauko "Vara remains at Tuauko, "'Ua reka tana moe i te 'anau tei te ra'ei kere. "His sleep is sound but his family are in the black rocks. "'Akaronga atu e Te Ni'a e e te tangi o te tai." "O Te Nia, listen to the sound of the sea."
Note: The reference to the sun rising over the hill of Uira conveys to the composer and his hearers the picture of the fugitive Ngaae watching, from his refuge in the rocks, the sun rise over a hill in Veitatei where their home was situated, and brings up the poignant grief for the home and the land which they will never occupy again. Similarly, Vara sleeps the comparative sleep of safety which his sons in the black rocks will never more enjoy. All that is left to Te Nia is to listen to the sound of the waves over Which he will never more ply his canoe in safety.
E tae ake ra i te tuatau i no'o va'ine ai a Te Rau, o 'Uitau te ingoa o tana vaine. 'Anau mai ra ta raua tamaiti, o Pa'eke. O Amo ta. Pa'eke va'ine. 'Anau mai ra te raua, o Anukunuku te tama, o Te'ora te tua'ine. When the time was reached that Te Rau married, Uitau was the name of his wife. Born was a child to them [two], Paeke. Amo was Paeke's wife. Born to them [were] Akunukunu, a son, [and] Teora, [his] sister. Riro atu ra a ia e va'ine na Rurae. No roto ia tangata i te kopu o Manarangi. 'Anau, ai ta raua tamaiti, o Mana'une te ingoa. Koia 'oki tei karanga'ia ra e o te kopu o Mana'une. She [Teora] was taken as a wife by Ru-rae. That man belonged to the tribe of Manarangi. Born was their son, Manaune [was] his name. Hence was named the tribe of Manaune. E tae ake ra i te tautau i no'o va'ine ai a Akunukunu, o Kura-pe'au tana va'ine. E tama'ine na Te Rangai, o Te Vaki te tungane, o Te-moea'u to raua metua va'ine, o te va'ine ia a Te Rangai. E tama'ine a Moea'u na Ivi. No roto a Ivi i te kopu o Tonga'iti. When the time was reached that Akunu-kunu married, Kura-peau [was] his wife. [She was] a daughter of Te Ran-gai, Te Vaki was her brother, Te-mo-eau was their mother, she [being] the wife of Te Rangai. Te-moeau was a daughter of Ivi. Ivi belonged to the tribe of Tongaiti. E tama va'ine te Ngati-Vara i roto i te Ngati-Tane. The Ngati-Vara were connected on the female side with Ngati-Tane.
Note: Except in adoptions, the children belonged to the father's tribe but were termed tama va'ine to their mother's tribe. Thus Ivi was a Tongaiti and his daughter, Te-moeau, was also Tongaiti. Te-moeau married Te Rangai of Ngati-Tane, and their daughter Kura-peau was a Ngati-Tane. Kura-peau mrried Akunukunu of Ngati-Vara and their children were Ngati-Vara but were tama va'ine to the Ngati-Tane through their mother Kura-peau. The Ngati-Vara as a tribe were said to be tama va'ine to Ngati-Tane because Kura-peau was the mother of Mautara, the most famous of the Ngati-Vara and from whom the tribe really spread out.
E tae ake ra i te tuatau i 'anau mai ai ta Akunukunu ia Kura-pe'au, koia 'oki Mautara. When the time arrived that a child by Akunukunu was born of Kura-peau, then it was Mautara. O Te-ko ta Mautara va'ine. 'Anau mai ra ta raua 'anau tokovaru tamaroa, to-korua tama'ine. Te-Ko was Mautara's wife. Born was their family, eight sons, two daughters. Tera nga tamaroa: o Te Uanuku, te ki-komua, o Rauhea, o Ikoke, o Karaea, o Takurua, o Karorau, o Kakina, o Ngara. These are the sons: Te Uanuku, Raumea, Ikoke, Karaea, Takurua, Karorau, Kakina, Ngara. I mate uki 'ua Karorau e Kakina. Itaia e te tamaki i te po. Karorau and Kakina died without issue. They were slain in a fight at night. Tera nga tama'ine: o Kura-pe'au te 'ine, o te ingoa o tona metua, va'ine ra; o Te-uoro. These are the daughters: Kura-peau, the eldest daughter, named after her mother, Te-uoro. Ka ta'inga'uru te 'anau a Mautara te ka-toatoa. Tera te pe'e i 'atua no nga tokovaru a Mautara. No Koroa i 'atu. Tera te tumu: The family of Mautara was ten in all. This is the song composed for the eight [sons] of Mautara. Koroa composed it. This is the theme:page 60 "Teia te vao ra e ngati ra ia Raupo, "This is the valley that forms a tribe at Raupo, "Nga tangata i Te Tuapoto ia kai ake to 'anau e — "Taipo e. "The men of Te Tuapoto [subdistrict] who enabled the family to eat [in plenty]. "O Ngara koe i Te Rimu-kura, "O Ngara, thou art at the Rimu-kura. "Nga tokovaru i te anaunga a Te-Ko, e — "The eighth born of Te-Ko. "'Ae e. "Raumea pa'a, o Te Uanuku "Raumea and Te Uanuku, "Nga tama i mua a Mautara, "The first-born sons of Mautara, "Ka tupu e — "[The tribe] will increase from Te-Ko." "O a Te-puakato e —"
Note: This song contains the reference to the commencement of the Ngati-Vara greatness through the eight sons of Mautara. The vao (valley) was, according to Mamae's notes, a valley of men who formed the ngati (tribe). Raupo, Te Tuapoto, and Rimu-kura are place names associated with Ngati-Vara, and Te-puakato was another name for Te-Ko, the mother of the eight.
It is clear from the genealogy given by Mamae (Table 8) that as the four brothers of Te Rau were killed in the third generation, in the sixth generation Mautara was the sole male of the Ngati-Vara stock. The first two battles against the Ngariki were fought when Te Uanuku and Raumea were grown up and married. Te Unauku was married to Tangitoa, the sister of Akatara, whom he slew. Mautara and his sons formed the nucleus of a group recruited from the defeated members of other tribes, for the Ngati-Vara, as a tribe of blood kinsmen, did not develop sufficient numbers to make themselves felt until the second and third generation after Mautara. However, of the mixed group which conquered the Ngariki at Arira, Mautara supplied the brains and his two warrior sons the leadership and personal valor in battle.
Though defeated at Arira, the Ngariki refugees in the Cave of Terns were too numerous for the country to be at peace. Though Te Uanuku held the mangaia, he could not order the drum of peace to be sounded until he had forced another more decisive battle to consolidate his position. The forces of Ruanae remained in the Cave of Terns by day and sallied out at night to forage for food and to cut off stragglers. They avoided a pitched battle and waged guerrilla warfare. Among the refugees in the cave were Mautara's aunt Teora with her husband Rurae and their son Manaune. Women often accompanied their husbands into exile, though they were not molested by their own tribe should they be the conquerors. Manaune (Table 8) was a Ngati-Vara on his mother's side and first cousin to Mautara. His father, however, being on the enemy side, made the son an enemy also, and his life was not safe from the conquerors should he fall into their hands. His mother, realizing that the defeat of her husband's party was only a question page 61of time, determined not only to save her son's life but at the same time to provide for his future:
She accordingly made her way by night with her son to Mautara's encampment in the west. Entering Mautara's hut, Teora, after paying her respects to her nephew, begged him to adopt her son into his tribe. Mautara consented and after seeing her on her way back to the Cave of Terns to recover her property there, Mautara and Manaune returned to the camp. According to Gill (12, p. 196), the news of the adoption had got about, and as they were sighted the armed warriors made a dash toward them and fought a mimic battle in honor of the occasion. My informants say that Te Uanuku and Raumea, on sighting Manaune, dashed up with the intention of killing him. Mautara, however, shouted at the top of his voice, "Spare him that he may cut grass with which to floor your houses." A show of attack ended the affair. The sons of Mautara were always suspicious of Manaune and made disparaging remarks about him, for they felt that in any battle he would side with his father's tribe.
During the period preceding the adoption Raumea had put the Inland High Priest, Kanune, to the test:
Raumea sent one of his younger brothers ahead of him into Kanune's plantation when he knew the owner would be there and told the boy to pick a bunch of bananas in page 62the sight of Kanune. The boy did so, and Kanune, after reviling him, threw him into the adjacent taro swamp. As the boy was crawling out, Kanune pushed him back with his foot. Raumea arrived on the scene and demanded an explanation. Words led to blows, as Raumea had planned. They were the two strongest men in Mangaia at that time. Raumea killed the priest. When Mautara heard of it, he was very angry with Raumea, saying that misfortune would come upon him as he had angered the gods by slaying that which the gods had commanded him to set up.
The fugitive tribe of Ruanae, after months of cannibal feasting on the stragglers they could cut off, determined to pay a visit to the Tamarua district to get a supply of coconuts.
Ruanae traveled at night to pick the nuts at the light of dawn. The day before, Te-Ko, wife of Mautara, had had a waking dream in which she repeated the words, "Te kere puru i au tamariki tei A'atea." (The fallen chestnut flowers of my sons are at Aatea.) She went on to say, "Aua e oro re poke." (Do not grate provisions.) Mau-tara regarded his wife as a medium through whom her god Tane-ngaki-au spoke on occasion. He was accustomed to interpret her sayings. He thus considered that the fallen chestnut flowers referred to the number of the enemy and that they would be gathered at Aatea in the Tamarua district. The injunction not to scrape taro for food indicated haste. That very night Te Uanuku and Raumea, accompanied by the newly adopted Manaune, set off with an armed force for the Tamarua district. In the early ' morning, while advancing stealthily over a ridge at Puke-o-toi, they espied the forces of Ruanae engaged in gathering coconuts. Some were up in the trees hurling down the fruit, and others were busy on the ground husking the nuts on pointed stakes. Manaune, in his haste to prove himself, dashed over the hill to kill the first man. According to Gill (12, p. 193), the father of Manaune had already fallen in battle, but my informants maintained that the first man that Manaune found descending a tree was his father, Rurae. Rurae, realizing his hesitation in staying his hand, said, "Kill me quickly that your adoption may be sealed with my blood." Manaune slew him and in a fit of frenzy at what he had done performed prodigies of valor. Ruanae's forces were cut off from their weapons, which they had stacked together in one place. Those in the trees fought by hurling coconuts down on their enemies, and those on the ground fought with the pointed husking sticks of green wood. However, a decisive victory was gained, and so many were killed in this thirty-third battle of Puku-o-toi that the tribe of Ruanae ceased to be a menace to the rule of Te Uanuku. The drum of peace was sounded after the sacrifices to Rongo, and an era of peace commenced.
Manaune, suffering from the psychological effect of his patricidal act, was said to have been demented for some time as a manifestation of the anger of the gods. He finally rose to a high position in the favor of Mautara and was granted the rule over a district. From him sprang the Manaune tribe which was to be afterwards instrumental in wresting the supreme power from the descendants of Mautara, the man who had saved Manaune from death.
The great Raumea was wounded in the thigh with a green husking stick. The wound became infected, and Raumea died from a trivial hurt that was rendered fatal by the anger of the gods at his slaying of Kanune.
The short rule of Te Uanuku, the first of the Ngati-Vara Lords of Mangaia, was beneficent, and the people enjoyed some two years of peace page 63and prosperity. It was ended by an act of human frailty. The story, based on the narrative by Gill (12, pp. 209-213), is as follows:
Te Uanuku had a love affair with the wife of Raei, a secondary chief of the Ngariki. Raei discovered his wife's misconduct but he could not himself attempt to kill Te Uanuku, as they were both worshipers of Motoro. He drew public attention to his wrongs by acting as one demented in parading the district of Keia with a red hibiscus flower stuck above his ear. This, in Mangaia, was an insult to the gods and had resulted in the slaying of the supreme lord, Te-aio for a similar offense. Mautara, who would have taken steps to punish the offense, questioned Te Uanuku as to the cause; on hearing the truth, he refrained from action. After some time, the trouble seemingly died down. Raei, however, had planned revenge by plotting with Kikau and the Tongaiti people to kill Te Uanuku. Te Uanuku returned from Keia to his home in Te Ivirua and on the very night of his arrival he was killed by Kikau and his men. Kikau thereupon gathered a large force on the northern end of the island with the intention of crushing Mautara's party and obtaining the mangaia for Raei. They marched over the hills into the Keia district and took up a position at Aua.
Meanwhile Mautara had been warned. He crossed the hills with members of his family to Ivirua to secure the corpse of his son, which he hid. He then gathered recruits for his army, most of them being obtained from his ancestral district of Veitatei. His total force was much inferior in numbers to that of the enemy.
In Kikau's army a private conference was held by three influential men, Namu, the official Ruler of Food of the island, Manini, a great warrior, and Parae, the priest of the Tongaiti tribe. Manini asked whom they should pity, Mautara or Raei. Namu at once replied, "Te atua" (the god), meaning Mautara in his capacity as priest of Motoro. It was thereupon plotted that Parae should warn Mautara that night in order that he might make a sudden attack in the early morning before the hungry army of Raei could have their morning meal. The three friends, with their adherents, were to attack Raei's troops in the rear. The priest did not go, but he delayed the feeding of the troops by ordering a set feast. The taro had to be grated instead of cooked whole. The preparations for the feast thus delayed the meal for some time. In the midst of the preparations, Mautara and his small army appeared descending the hill above the encampment. The priest Parae saw at a glance that the path by which Mautara was descending would lead him onto dry ground where the full weight of Raei's superior numbers could be hurled into action. As all faces were turned toward Mautara's force, Parae from his position at the back could not be observed. He therefore waved with his hands to catch Mautara's attention, and having secured it, signaled for Mautara to change his course and approach on the rear of one flank. This Mautara did, with the result that the lie of the taro patches prevented the full force of the enemy from becoming engagd against him at the same time. In the midst of the battle, the three friends who had maneuvered their forces into position without being suspected suddenly attacked on the rear. The army of Raei was caught between two forces without chance of escape. In the slaughter that took place, Raei was killed and Kikau captured. Victory once more smiled on Ngati-Vara.
Kikau was taken before Mautara and asked why he had killed Te Uanuku. Torture, which is not common in Polynesia, was resorted to. After the question, a finger was cut off with a sharp piece of stone. The same question was repeated until the fingers, toes, hands, feet, and limbs were in turn severed. To each question, the unfortunate Kikau replied, as long as he could, "Kua 'e i a Ra." (I erred through Raei.) This, as Gill (12, p. 212) remarks, became a saying.
A human sacrifice was offered to Rongo on the same day, but the drum of peace was not sounded until after the funeral ceremonies connected with Te Uanuku had taken place. Both Te Uanuku and Raumea, the warrior page 64sons of Mautara, being dead, Mautara himself took the mangaia, thus combining temporal power with his priestly office. In the redistribution of lands which always followed a battle, Namu, Manini, and Parae, who helped materially to decide the day, received ample reward.
With regard to the favorable attitude of the three plotters towards Mau-tara, it is easy to understand Manini's action, for he was married to Mautara's two sisters. Namu, after a previous battle, had been pursued by his enemies of the Tongaiti and had for months concealed himself in the makatea. His wife had become a servant to Mautara. Mautara, on learning from her that Namu was still alive, had restored him to his hereditary office of Ruler of Food in the period between the battles of Arira and Puku-o-toi. For conducting the religious ceremonies in connection with his office he had been rewarded with three subdistricts of land. At the time of Te Uanuku's death, he was still under Mautara's protection. He probably found himself with. Raei's army because his own division of the Ngariki had mobilized with the others of that tribe. How they fought on the battlefield was subject to their own chiefs. Namu's gratitude to Mautara thus influenced his reply. The action of Parae is not so clear. Parae was priest of the remnants of the Tongaiti who were deeply involved by Kikau's slaying of Te Uanuku. He was evidently a great friend of Manini and Namu, and Namu's reply that their sympathy should undoubtedly be with the medium of the god must have appealed very strongly to another priest.
Mautara is regarded as the wisest and most sagacious priest and leader that Mangaia produced. His wisdom is illustrated by the manner in which he discovered the murderer of his nephew, Raumea. Raumea, not to be confounded with the warrior brother of Te Uanuku, was treacherously murdered on the summit of Rangimotia, the central peak of Mangaia. The reason of the murder is not clear. The story runs:
Moerangi, a son of Tokoau, seeing Raumea descending one of the paths from Vei-tatei on his way to Ivirua, arranged his own rate of progress so as to meet him near the summit of Rangimotia. As Raumea passed, Moerangi threw a sennit rope noose (puao-'uru) over his head so as to imprison his arms. Raumea was rendered helpless and was killed. Moerangi drew the corpse under some ironwood trees and covered it with dead leaves. Raumea was missed, and as he had not arrived at Ivirua foul play was suspected. Moerangi, to divert suspicion from himself, made the announcement that if the body was found in the valley the murderer might be himself, but if found on the mountain, then the murder was committed by Ue-vai and Tanga, high chiefs of Paparangi against whom he nursed a grievance. When the body was found on the mountain, Mau-tara sent for Ue-vai and Tanga and charged them with the murder, which they strongly denied. As they realized that Mautara still suspected them, the two chiefs imbedded two large stones upright in the ground before Mautara's house as an everlasting monument that they spoke the truth. These two rocks are still to be seen firmly imbedded. Mautara accepted their action as absolute proof of their innocence.
Mautara now turned his attention to the accuser, Moerangi, whose plan had miscarried. Moerangi lived at Tamarua. At the same place dwelt Parai, a noted man of page 65learning ('are korero). This was probably the priest of Tongaiti whose assistance had saved Mautara at the battle of Aua, for though Gill spells the name "Parae," it should, most likely, have been "Parai."
Mautara sent a woman to Parai to ask him if he could shed any light on the murder of Raumea. Her instructions were that if Moerangi was present, as he most likely would be, she was to listen to Parai but secretly to watch Moerangi's face during the interview. The woman duly arrived at the house of Parai, where she also found Moe-rangi. After due greetings, she made known her embassy. Parai immediately said, "Have not Ue-vai and Tanga been charged with the killing?"
"Yes," replied the woman, "but they have proved their innocence by imbedding two upright stones before the house of Mautara."
Parai bent down his head in deep thought. He had reason to suspect Moerangi, but Moerangi was his kinsman. If he evaded with a lie, his reputation as an 'are korero was at stake. When at last he raised his head with the determination of telling the truth, Moerangi, seated at an angle towards the side of the woman and anxiously watching Parai, felt that he was going to voice his suspicion. Unknown to the woman, as he thought, he caught the glance of Parai, closed his eyes, and bent his head as a signal not to tell. Parai had opened his mouth to speak but he hesitated and then lamely said, "I do not know anything."
The woman returned to Mautara, who asked, "What did you hear?"
The woman said, "Parai says that he does not know anything."
"Now," said Mautara, "what did you see?"
The woman replied, "After I had told him of the innocence of Ue-vai and Tanga, Parai bent his head and remained silent for some time. He finally raised it and opened his mouth to speak, but out of the corner of my eye I saw Moerangi frown, whereupon Parai hesitated with open mouth and said he knew nothing."
"You have done well," said Mautara," Moerangi was the slayer of Ramuea."
The subsequent punishment of Moerangi is told elsewhere. (See p. 160.)
Mautara is supposed to have ruled more than 25 years and to have lived until his teeth dropped out through sheer old age. Much land was planted for food, and it was said that "the chestnut trees fruited on the trunks as well as the branches"—a figure of speech used to denote a period of plenty. No battles occurred. As Gill (12, p. 212) says, the enormous fan and ornamented staff took the place of spear and club. Mautara composed the following chant:
Ua purukia e a'u tamariki My sons fought battles E maraerae io Mangaia o —. That brought peace to Mangaia, Ka 'aere 'ua ra to raua metua. So that their father walks about in peace.
During Mautara's rule, his cousin Manaune prospered and became rich in land and authority. Rori, the grandson of the Tahitian craftsman, Una, had, since his escape from the twenty-fourth battle of Maueue, been living in the makatea. Much romance surrounds the story of Rori (12, pp. 222-239), for the technical skill of his grandfather in carving, sennit work, and working stone had been handed on to him. When he escaped, he took with him some of the original red parrakeet feathers that Una had brought from Tahiti. His father had deliberately sacrificed his own life that his son might escape and the family knowledge of craftsmanship might be transmitted to future generations.page 66
In the makatea Rori built himself two houses thatched with birds' nest ferns (rau-kota'a), as hala was not available. He made stone adzes but used banyan bark in place of the unobtainable coconut husk fiber. He snared birds and stored up a quantity of feathers for headdresses. From stalactites, he made food pounders. Thus, by means of his craft knowledge, he whiled away the many years of his exile and accumulated much valuable property. On one occasion he left the makatea and joined with the cannibal tribe of Ruanae in the Cave of Terns, but having been warned by a friend that it was proposed to eat him, he again escaped to his home in the makatea. He made sandals of banyan bark to protect his feet from the sharp coral points. On several occasions he was seen and pursued, but his extraordinary fleetness of foot, combined with the use of sandals, made his escape easy. On one occasion he was surprised with his sandals off. He dashed away with them in his hands and, after gaining a little distance, man-aged to put them on. He then turned to his pursuers and told them to go back, as he had his sandals on. The phrase, "Kua mau nga tamaka o Rori" (Rori has his sandals on), became a saying. The drum of peace sounded after many battles, but Rori had learned to distrust both friend and foe.
Manaune and a companion, going down to the beach, surprised Rori where he was making a meal from the scrap of food discarded by a woman's fishing party. As Rori was about to flee, Manaune recognized him from their previous meeting in the Cave of Terns. Manaune called to him to stay and carve his god for him. The craftsman's interest was aroused and Rori paused. After hearing that Mautara was ruler, and the whole island at peace, Rori accepted Manaune's offer. He thus returned to civilization and was given land and a home in the Ivirua district. The replica of the gods housed in a marae in Keia had been burned and Rori was given the work of reconstruction.
During Mautara's lifetime six of his eight sons had produced issue and they in their turn had produced families. In the sixth generation from Papaaunuku, the Ngati-Vara consisted of one male, Mautara. In the seventh generation it consisted of eight males, making nine with Mautara. The eighth generation assembled 24 more males, and the ninth generation added 92 males. The Ngati-Vara increased in strength and became an actual tribe. They held the power in Mautara's time and the one or two generations following, not because of their numerical strength but through mobilizing other families and groups to their assistance.
After the death of Mautara from natural causes, war broke out. Gill (12, p. 213) states that the new generation wished to avenge the slaughter of their sires. Aiteina states that the battle of Tuopapa (thirty-fifth) in the Tavaenga district was fought between the Ngati-Amai and a section of the Ngati-Vara.
The Ngati-Amai were said to come from Rarotonga and desired to make a bid for supremacy. They were under the leadership of Uarau. In the battle Ikoke, the third son of Mautara, was killed. Both his son, Potiki, and grandson, Koroa, were present and seem to have ruled the Ngati-Vara forces. The Ngati-Amai were defeated, and Potiki called to his son Koroa, asking who should have the power ('Ei a 'ai te 'au?). Koroa replied, "Ei 'Uarau." (Uarau.) The father consented, so Koroa pursued the fleeing Uarau, calling upon him to wait (E 'Uarau no'o mail). Uarau fled the faster, but Koroa gained on him and shouted, "E tu mai!" (Stand!) As Uarau came to a standstill Koroa approached him and cried, " 'Amama mai to va'a." (Open your mouth.) Uarau obeyed, and Koroa spat into his open mouth, thus transferring to him the power ('au) of the winning side.
Uarau was subsequently invested with the supreme temporal power, which he held on the sufferance of the Ngati-Vara. Aiteina could not explain why the fruits of victory should have been handed over to the defeated side, but probably there was some political cause that has been forgotten. Uarau's warrior support (toko) was Manini. This Manini was probably the man who had married Mautara's two daughters and who had supported Mautara at the thirty-fourth battle of Aua. He was subsequently murdered by Moerangi at the instigation of Potai, who wished him out of the way, as he was aspiring to power.
Uarau had a short reign of about two years. He decided to hold a feast (takurua) on the central peak of Rangimotia. Ngara, the last son of Mautara, who had succeeded his father as priest of Motoro, regarded the idea as an act of excessive pride ('akangateitei) in elevating himself above those who had held similar positions. Uarau, at his command, was peace-fully deposed from his position by the Ngati-Vara—"I pukea mai te mangaia ia 'Uarau." (The mangaia was taken away from Uarau.) A woman named Ike was laid on the altar of Rongo as the sacrifice, and Ngara became Lord of Mangaia without a battle. The title was thus held in order by the eldest son, the father, and the youngest son. Ngara, like Mautara, held both the temporal office of Lord of Mangaia and the religious office of priest of Motoro. He had a peaceful reign of about 15 years (12, p. 213) and died of natural causes.
In order to follow the manner in which the mangaia passed to various members of the Ngati-Vara, the main lines of descent from Mautara are given in Table 9.page 68
After the death of Ngara, Te Ka, a son of Raumea, became priest of Motoro.
It is related that Koroa, grandson of Ikoke, wished a woman named Te-umu-kura to be married to Te Ka, but the woman was frightened of him because he had very prominent eyes. She fled and took refuge with Tongia, son of Karaea, who eventually married her. Tongia returned from fishing with a pu'i eel which he handed over to his wife, and then went off to wash his nets and bathe himself in fresh water. While he was away, Te Ka and a younger brother who had been watching from the Ara-kiore track on the inner cliff of the makatea in Keia descended and came to the house. The woman, thinking that the visit was an ordinary one, welcomed them, saying, "Come and sit down while I cook for you the pu'i eel caught by your relative." The younger brother had a short weapon concealed in a wrapping. He came up to the woman and killed her. Tongia, on his return, found his wife slain and saw the murderers ascending the Ara-kiore path. He called to them challenging them to wait for him and, seizing his club, was about to dash off in pursuit, when a cousin persuaded him to desist as it was near night.
Subsequently Tongia found that his section of the Ngati-Vara would not assist him in killing Te Ka and his brother. He therefore sought assistance from the Tongaiti tribe and with them attacked Te Ka's family and supporters at the battle of Te-opu (thirty-sixth) in the Karanga district. On the opposing side was Kirikovi, whom Gill (12, p. 213) says was the grandson of Mautara. If so, he must have been the son of Manini who married Mautara's daughter (Table 9), for he does not appear in the male lines from Mautara. In the battle, Marokore, son of the Te Ka, was the toko of Kirikovi. Marokore personally engaged his second cousin Tongia and killed him. The Tongaiti were defeated, and the supreme power passed with Marokore's consent to Kirikovi, who was a tama va'ine (female line) to Ngati-Vara.
The first victim selected to cement Kirikovi's office was Arauru of the Teipe tribe. When he was placed on the marae of Rongo, Uanuku, a scholar and member of the winning tribe, objected so strongly to the recitation of prayers over the body of his relative that they were not completed. A second victim without powerful friends was selected in Maruata, also of the Teipe tribe. This man, in spite of the promises of safety, was enticed out of his cave of refuge and killed. He formed the "fish of Rongo" which legalized Kirikovi's accession to the title of Lord of Mangaia.
Any doubt as to Kirikovi's being tama tane to one of the Ngariki tribes is removed by Korea's song for Maruata (6, p. 307). In speaking of the promises (erepua) of safety made by the victors to Maruata, he says:
Atuia mai taua e! All alas! soon broken by Pae atiati Ngariki e! Deceitful, lying Ngariki.
Kirikovi's rule lasted about five years. During Kirikovi's term of office, Captain Cook appeared off the coast of Mangaia in March 1777 (4, vol. 1, pp. 170-173).page 69
Mourooa, who went aboard the "Resolution" and whose picture, drawn by the artist Webber, appears in Cook's Atlas, was identified by Gill (12, p. 244) through native informants as Mourua, a friend and relative of Kirikovi. He afterwards took the name Kavoro. Mourua told Cook, through the Tahitian interpreter Omai (Mai), that the chief of the island was "Orooaeeka." Leaving out the definite article O, which Cook invariably attached to proper names, the word becomes "Rooa-eeka," which is the exact pronunciation of Ruaika. Ruaika II was the ninth High Priest of the Interior and was thus holding the senior High Priest's office at the same time that Kirikovi held the secular power. Kirikovi was among those who swam out to the boats, and he received from Cook a metal ax which was afterwards used for slaying the human victims selected as a sacrifice to Rongo (6, p. 265).
Captain Cook was known to the Mangaians as Tute, and his Tahitian interpreter as Mai. Gill (12, pp. 251-258) recorded a song used in a pantomime description of Captain Cook's visit which was composed by Tioi and formed part of an entertainment organized by Poito, a chief of the Ngati-Vara. Both Tioi and Poito died before the advent of Christianity.
About this time a seemingly trivial incident led to the defeat of Kirikovi and the transfer of the mangaia to his brother, Pai (12, pp. 275-282).
A stone thrown in the dark struck Kaiau, brother of Kirikovi, on the chest. Some time after, the culprit, Toe, confessed to his friend Paoa that it was he who had thrown the stone that struck his father Kaiau. Kaiau, learning the name of the offender, wished to kill him but was restrained by the fear of disturbing his brother's reign. However, he made his son promise never to ally in marriage with Toe's family in order that he might wreak his vengeance later should opportunity occur. Paoa, with his wife and sister, went to live in another part. He forgot his promise to his father and allowed his sister to marry his friend Toe. When Kaiau heard what had happened, he was furious with his son and ordered him to leave the island. Paoa sulked over his father's words, and, in spite of the protestations of his wife and friends, he paddled out to sea in a small single canoe determined to leave the island alone and forever. A number of relatives, hearing the news, put out to sea in their small canoes to overtake the fugitive and bring him back. Among them was Te Ivirau, the twelfth High Priest of the Shore. The wind changed and the sea became rough. When night fell, no canoes had returned. The people ashore set fire to the dry undergrowth on the mountain as a beacon. In the middle of the night, several canoes returned with the news that the fore-most canoes had almost overtaken Paoa when a huge wave capsized the boats and drowned both the pursuers and the unfortunate fugitive.
Kaiau, hearing of the disaster which had drowned prominent men as well as his son, became frantic with grief. He took the name Pai (Voyaging-canoe) to commemorate the death of his son. He determined on a plan of revenge to kill, first of all, Toe, whom he blamed for the whole misfortune. He called in his cousin, Mourua, and their followers went on killing until the people ranged into two parties, one supporting the temporal lord Kirikovi and the other his brother, Pai. A fratricidal battle was fought at Taukuara (thirty-seventh battle) in the Keia district. Kirikovi was defeated and Pai declared Lord of Mangaia. Before the marae ceremonies could be completed, Mourua was killed at night in a surprise attack carried out by Kirikovi and his friends.
The reasons for the selection of Kirikovi and Pai as temporal Lords of Mangaia are not clear. The Ngati-Vara were still powerful and had not been defeated in battle. Tongia fought as an individual with the Tongaiti because his own section of the Ngati-Vara would not espouse his cause against another section of the tribe. Evidently the battle between the two brothers, Kirikovi and Pai, was a family affair which concerned their own divided page 70tribe. The leader of the winning force automatically took office as Lord of Mangaia after the religious ceremony. The powerful Ngati-Vara looked on while the office of ruler passed temporarily out of their hands. A train of events, however, took place which was to force them again into the fighting arena.
Potai, a nephew of Namu, the Ruler of Food, was an ambitious man of one of the Ngariki tribes. He had engaged in the various minor engage-ments during the campaign of Pai. (See 12, pp. 283-285.) Potai was utterly unscrupulous and began removing people who might stand in his way to supreme power.
By pretending a mortal sickness he induced his uncle Namu and the great warrior Manini to visit him. While in his house, both were slain by a party of Tongaiti whom Potai had invited to carry out the murders. Though he could not shed his tribesmen's blood during peace, he held his uncle by the hair until the Tongaiti slew him. This disregard for the claims of kinship is referred to by the poet warrior Koroa in a lament for Namu (12, p. 158).
Mamae's manuscript describes the events leading to a change of regime:
In the division of the Ngariki owing to the struggle between Kirikovi and Pai, Potai 1 had ranged himself on the side of Kirikovi. He plotted the death of Mourua, or Kavoro, as he was the chief supporter of Pai. Before the murder Mourua was encamped with a party of friends at Avarua for the purpose of fishing. In the party were Te-aki and Vaitumu of the Te-aaki tribe and also Rautoa, son of Ikoke by his second wife Mika and a prominent member of the Ngati-Vara. Rautoa was a learned man ('are korero) devoted to the services of his god (e tangata miri atua) Tane, though most of the Ngati-Vara had changed to the worship of Te-Aio. Potai wished to be rid of Raittoa because of his status in the Ngati-Vara. The Ngariki, recognizing that the god Tane was in Rautoa (tei roto i a ia taua atua ra o Tane), were also inimically disposed to Rautoa, for they had maintained an inherited animosity to the Ngati-Tane which included any followers of the god Tane. In the plot laid against the members of the fishing party, Potai had especially exhorted his men to be sure to include Rautoa in the killing. Kirikovi, who was related to Rautoa on his mother's side and had also a personal friendship for him, came to him secretly at night ('aere poiri) and warned him not to sleep at Oneroa or he would be killed. The next day Rautoa visited his half-brother Potiki and his kinsmen Te-Ka, Te-pa, and Uri-aute in the Veitatei district. They had a family feast with the drinking of kava. Rautoa's farewell words to Uri-aute were "E Uri e, nga atua!" (O Uri, the gods!) The farewell indicated that he was prepared to die for his god, and was also an exhortation to his kinsmen to remain faithful to the gods even though death threatened. He pressed noses with his kinsmen and returned to Oneroa. That night the Kirikovi section of the Ngariki under Potai attacked the fishing camp, and Rautoa, Mourua (Kavoro), Te-aki, and Vaitumu were slain. The same night Kaukare, a leading chief of the Ngati-Tane, was killed in his home at Tamarua. Takurua of the Ngati-Vara was also killed.
These killings not only prevented the carrying out of the ceremonials connected with the mangaia of Pai, but they precipitated a wider conflict. The Ngati-Vara under the leadership of Potiki, son of Ikoke by his first wife, took the field to avenge the murder of Rautoa. The force of Potai numbered 200 (rau); that of Potiki was only 120 (ono takau). The battle was regularly arranged and took place at Akaoro in the Keia district:page 71
The field (ta'ua) was cleared of bananas and shrubs, and the Ngati-Vara drew up into position. The day was well advanced and Potai made no move to place his men in position opposite the ranks of Ngati-Vara. Te-Ka, a son of Potiki, threupon taunted Potai, saying, "Pota'i oi, e a'a ai e roa ai?" (O Potai, why is it so long?) To this Potai replied, "Vao'o ra o taua anatu ma'ie 'ua ra, ia karo ke i te ra. O te ra e 'opu atu, o au atu ia." (Let our meeting wait a while that the sun may be gazed upon. The sun that sets may be me.) Potai's premonition of the setting of his life was realized, for in the engagement that followed he was slain by Potiki.
The battle of Akaoro was the thirty-eighth in Mangaian history and by it the Ngati-Vara regained the supreme power. The rule of Pai automatically ended without his having been properly inducted to office. Potiki, the leader of the victorious force in the last battle, became Lord of Mangaia and was regularly inducted. Gill (12, p. 311) places the date as somewhere about 1787.
The rule of Potiki extended over a prosperous period. Toward its end it was broken by jealousies among the leading families of Ngati-Vara. The tribe split into two factions, the leader of one being Marokore, a son of Te-Ka, who had succeeded his uncle Ngara as official priest of Motoro. Marokore was a warrior of note, having been the prop of Kirikovi in his first campaign. Old grievances were remembered against the Tongaiti tribe and a number of them were killed. The depleted tribe planned a surprise midnight attack on the Ngati-Vara, but the plot was revealed by a woman and failed.
The remnants of the Tongaiti took refuge in the cave of Tautua in the Tamarua district, where they were safe, as the entrance could be reached only by a ladder. The Ngati-Vara, enraged by the plot against them, resolved to exterminate the Tongaiti. They could not carry the cave by assault, but they blockaded the entrance. Their only sustenance was that brought by the wives and relatives who were allowed to visit them. The Ngati-Vara, however, determined on extermination, began searching all visitors and depriving them of any food concealed in their belts or long hair. In spite of a little food which came in through a secret passage at the back of the cave, the Tongaiti were being starved to death. They became so weak that they could hardly keep guard at the mouth of the cave. On one occasion an enemy named Terake climbed up the ladder at night and killed the sleeping guard, Ngakau-varaea, with the iron ax that Captain Cook had given Kirikovi. Another fugitive named Matenga was saved by his wife, who was a sister of Raoa, an influential chief in Keia (12, p. 291). Now and then a refugee was caught while searching for food. The bodies of the slain were collected and sun dried. When they had accumulated to about 50, they were taken and offered up on the marae of Orongo, on the coast.
At last the governing tribe decided to put an end to the fighting by electing Maro-kore as supreme ruler. An official human sacrifice to Rongo-was needed. A warrior armed with Captain Cook's ax climbed up the ladder to the Tautua cave and killed Ngutuku, the sleeping guard. The remaining survivors within the cave were too weak to offer any active opposition, so the body of Ngutuku was thrown down the cliff and borne off as the sacrifice to Rongo.
The rule of Potiki ended thus, and the mangaia passed to Marokore with-out any definite battle. The drum of peace was sounded and the few survivors of Tongaiti were saved from extermination. The rule of Marokore page 72was evidently of short duration. Aiteina states that the next battle was due to a land squabble.
Komata, a son of Te Tonga of Ngati-Tane, had been awarded the chieftainship over the district known as'the Pauru-o-Rongo-i-katau (Tamarua). He wished to add to it the district of the Pauru-o-Rongo-i-kaui (Ivirua). This desire was opposed by the section of Ngati-Vara under Koroa, the son of Potiki, and supported by Marokore, the Lord of Mangaia. The two sections of Ngati-Vara met at the battle of Te-atu-apai (thirty-ninth) in the Ivirua district. Marokore was killed and the mangaia passed to Koroa, the leader of the victorious section of Ngati-Vara.
Koroa was a great poet as well as leader, and many of the death chants composed by him are recorded by Gill. He was also a tirango (expert) responsible for providing the knowledge and ceremonial in connection with fishing and was said to be absolutely fearless on the sea.
According to Aiteina, considerable jealousy was aroused in the families of the younger sons of Mautara, Karaea, Takurua, and Ngara.
Though a dispute had occurred between the senior Raumea and Ikoke families, the junior families began to envy their senior cousins, not only because of their power over the lands but because they had a greater share of women, owing to their success in war. Vaarua, a son of Ngara, thereupon stole Poroiti, a wife of his nephew Koroa, the supreme ruler. Vaarua was promptly evicted from the land he held at Oaki in the Veitatei district. A second cousin named Vaangaru, descended from Tukurua (Table 8), saw him weeping and asked the cause. Vaarua replied, "Ua tangi i te marumaru ko'atu i O'aki." (I weep for the shade of the rocks at Oaki.) Vaangaru repeated the saying to his elders and they explained that the words referred to the eviction of Vaarua. Vaangaru determined to restore his cousin to his lands by arms and raised a force among the dissatisfied junior families. To obtain success, a man named Ika-kona was killed at Tamarua as a sacrifice to Rongo. The body was carried to the official marae of Akaoro in the Keia district, but as Koroa lived in the intervening district of Veitatei, the body was taken around the back of the island through Ivirua so as to avoid any chance of interference at Veitatei. Koroa, however, appeared at the marae and taunted his junior cousin, Vaangaru, on his immaturity with the words, "To ure piapia." (Your glans penis [is still covered] with smegma.) The taunt conveyed the idea that Vaangaru was so young that he had not yet gained experience in sex matters, let alone aspiring to fight. Vaangaru replied with considerable spirit, "E ure piapia 'ua ra ia e a'u taeake, noku ra ia teia kai'ara." (I may only have such a penis, O my relatives, but the victory in battle will be mine.) Koroa asked where the battlefield (vai tamaki) should be and the answer was at Rangi-ura in Veitatei.
The Ngati-Vara was thus involved in another intratribal war (tamaki kopu tangata). On his side Vaangaru enlisted Makitaka, a grandson of Ikoke by his second wife Mika. Makitaka, who had succeeded Te Ka as priest of Motoro and was ninth priest from Papaaunuku, was probably jealous of Koroa, who was descended from Ikoke's first wife, and saw an opportunity of wresting the power from his senior cousin. In the battle of Rangi-ura (fortieth), Koroa was defeated. According to Gill (12, p. 311) he was killed, but Aiteina maintains that he was not slain until a later battle. The power thus passed to the younger branches of Ngati-Vara, and Makitaka was elected supreme ruler.page 73
Makitaka's rule lasted about three years and was marked by a season of famine. Discontent grew up among the people, and his reign ('au) was referred to disparagingly in song.
Te 'au o Makitaka, The reign of Makitaka E 'au kai tuitui. [Was] a candlenut-eating reign.
Makitaka was deposed, without battle, by a combination of two tribes that had been increasing steadily in numbers while the Ngati-Vara were being torn by intratribal warfare.