Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Mangaian Society

Ngati-Tane and Manaune; Aillance

Ngati-Tane and Manaune; Aillance

While the Ngati-Vara were fighting among themselves and quarreling with sections of the Ngariki, the Ngati-Tane and Manaune families enjoyed a respite from persecution. As both Te-vaki and Manaune enjoyed the protection and friendship of Mautara, the Ngati-Vara had no active animosity toward these growing families. Furthermore, Mautara worshiped Tane and in spite of the subsequent transfer of allegiance to the god Te-aio it is evident from the incident regarding Rautoa (p. 70) that a section of the Ngati-Vara continued to worship Tane. In the providing of human sacrifices to Rongo, the Ngati-Tane also enjoyed a respite, for the Ngati-Vara turned their atten-tion to the Tongaiti as victims and almost exterminated that tribe. The Ngariki, split by the dissensions between its three sections, were in an un-organized condition. When the dissatisfaction against the "candlenut rule" ('au kai tuitui) reached its height, Makitaka, the last supreme ruler of Ngati-Vara, found himself opposed by the leading families of Manaune and Ngati-Tane, who owed their very existence to the clemency of the great Mautara. The Manaune families were under the leadership of Revareva, the younger brother of Manaune. Of the mixed Ngati-Tane and Ngati-Amai group, a leading family was that of Te-tonga. Of his sons, Arokapiti was a prominent warrior. Two of his daughters, Tungane and Kie, made marriages which brought male children into the group on the female side. Tungane married Poito of Ngati-Vara, and the sharing of children resulted (Table 12).

page 79
Table 12.—Genealogy of Te-tonga

Table 12.—Genealogy of Te-tonga

Of the family of 7 sons, 4 remained with the father and 3 went to the mother's tribe. It was not explained why the first and second sons both went to the mother's share, as one would have expected the eldest son to remain with the father. Both Motuanga and Pakuunga became a source of strength to the Ngati-Tane.

Another important marriage was that of Kie to Atatoa, a chief of Keia and a member of one of the Ngariki divisions (Table 13).

Table 13.—Genealogy of Paeke

Table 13.—Genealogy of Paeke

Iramata was given in Mamae's manuscript as a sister of Akunukunu of Ngati-Vara. Kaunio, during the faction fights between Ngati-Vara, became bitterly opposed to Atatoa for supporting the section opposed to him. page 80Kie, fearful that the enmity against the father would be directed against her children, persuaded her family to adopt her children, Mura-ai and his brothers, into the Ngati-Tane tribe. Thus when Kaunio attacked and slew both Atatoa and his father Tukua, the children of Atatoa remained safe from attack. Kie was a very handsome woman and was referred to in song as te tau'inu para o Marua (the fair-leaved tauinu of Marua). Marua is the place where the Atatoa family lived in Keia. Kie displayed the greatest courage in remaining beside Atatoa during the attack and carrying her mortally wounded husband from cave to cave in her attempt to save his life. The other section of Ngati-Vara came to the succor of Atatoa, but too late to save his life. To requite the kindness of those who had tried to save him, Atatoa, before he died, gave one of them, Kapua, the authority over the makatea in the Keia district. Koroa and Tuka, who were both in the section of Ngati-Vara supported by Atatoa, composed laments to his memory. In the lament by Tuka, reference is made to the adoption of Kie's children into the mother's tribe (12, p. 299).

Na'ai ra e ranga?
Na Tamarua, na Metua-iviivi, Who shall obtain revenge?
Na tama va'ine ia Tane e! Tamarua and Metua-iviivi,
E Mura-ai aura koe e vavao e ! The children allotted on the female side to N'Tane!
Kia 'u'una atu ite mata ra i te metua e — O Mura-ai never forget,
Thy father's face was hidden away.

Note: Tuka, the poet, evidently looked upon Kie as belonging to the Ngati-Tane tribe. The revenge referred to was for the death of Atatoa.

By the adoption of Mura-ai and his brothers the Ngati-Tane was further strengthened. Arokapiti, the third son of Te-tonga, was a leader of the Ngati-Tane. Parima was also a leading chief. The priest of Tane was Vaekura.

The political alliance of Manaune and Ngati-Tane forced the abdication of Makitaka. Makitaka was deserted by the chiefs who had formerly accepted him. Revareva, the leader of the Manaune, was selected as the temporal lord, and he succeeded Makitaka without any opposition in battle from the divided Ngati-Vara. He could not take office, however, without a human sacrifice to Rongo.

The Manaune held a meeting in their district of Karanga. They consulted their priest as to who should be the sacrifice, and their god, speaking through the priest, said, "O Teata." A Manaune warrior named Te Orouna announced that he would secure the victim. Te Orouna, however, was diverted from the immediate quest of the victim through an amour with a Ngati-Tane woman. Day dawned without his having secured the victim. Since then his family have been taunted as failing in achievement through being deflected to sex matters.

page 81

The delay, however, enabled Ngati-Tane to hear of the Manaune meeting. Arokapiti sought further details from the Manaune but was everywhere told, "Kare mau i reira." (There is nothing for you there.) The Manaune wished to do without the services of Ngati-Tane in securing the sacrifice, as it influenced the distribution of land which was to follow. Arokapiti, however, found that the victim nominated was to be Teata who lived in Tamarua. On the next night, when the Manaune warriors arrived at Tamarua, they were immediately joined by Arokapiti and some of his warriors. The hut of Teata was found to be empty.

Teata had left his residence and was staying in a house built on poles in a taro swamp. That same evening Teata, his sister's son Rokoia, and another relative had been rehearsing songs and discussing the prevailing famine. According to Gill (6, p. 303), Teata, who belonged to one of the tribes dedicated to providing victims for sacrifice, patted his own head and said, "Could they only get this (as an offering) the gods would send plenty again." Rakoia, on returning to his own hut, met the searching warriors. As he foresaw a reward in land for information regarding the victim, he led the way to the place where Teata was staying. A race took place among the warriors as to who should be first to slay the "fish." One version states that Arokapiti entered the hut first and killed Teata. Another version maintains that the first spear to enter the body of the sleeping victim was that of Ararua and the second that of Mauria, a son of Revareva. Be this as it may, Arokapiti insisted that the victim be carried to the marae in Keia by the direct route on the right side of the island and not by the longer route through the Manaune territory in Ivirua and Karanga. The victim was thus carried through Arokapiti's territory, and his share in the proceedings could not be overlooked.

The victim was laid on the marae that night and thus ushered in the rule of Revareva, who took the new name, Pangemiro. According to Gill (12, p. 311), the date was about 1814.

The feelings of Makitaka at his desertion and the loss of his temporal authority were expressed by the poet Tuka. A portion of the song recorded by Gill (6, p. 314) is given below, but I have departed from his translation.

Ua riro rai Mangaia rai e te'au Mangaia is lost to me and the rule.
Ua 'e ia Makitaka, Disaster came to Makitaka,
O te ivi koia i 'akamoea i e! The people also have been deceived.
Teipoi arire riro ake ra Mangaia e i te rave. Alas! Mangaia has gone through craft.
The power was with Makitaka
la Makitaka te ua. But his prowess was ended by the victory of Tane-ngaki-au.
A motu te toa ia Ngaki te miro.
la Ngaki te miro ia Te'ata: Tane-ngaki-au had victory through Teata:
O te uri 'oki na 'Aemata. A descendant of Aemata,
Tei nunga ē i te kapua. Placed upon the altar.
Kore rai ooku taeake, I have no friends,
Korekore rai e taeake tangi e! No friends to weep for me!
E tini na Tane i ka riro Mangaia. Through the multitude of Ngati-Tane Mangaia has passed [from me].

After the placing of the sacrifice upon the marae, the sympathies of Te Ao, the Inland High Priest of Rongo were opposed to Pangemiro. He refused to sound the drum of peace on the grounds that Pangemiro was too young to hold the position of supreme ruler. This statement supports the page 82contention that the Manaune and Revareva listed in Table 11 could not have been contemporaries of Mautara, and that about three generations have been omitted from the genealogy. The opinion of Te Ao found expression in the following song composed by Makitaka's sister.

Mangaia kiritia, Power cast away,
Mangaia raveravea, Power being played with,
Raveravea 'ua 'ia e teia takinga tamariki. Played with by a youthful generation.
Takinga tangata e — A generation of men is discarded,
Takinga i te tamariki. A generation of children supplants them.

In spite of the lapse in ritual, Pangemiro retained the power. He lived in the Karanga district, and the position of authority and the taro lands were divided up among the leading chiefs of Manaune and Ngati-Tane. The Ngati-Vara had lost their supremacy but were still a force to be reckoned with. According to Aiteina, Koroa had not been killed in the last battle of Rangi-ura as Gill records (12, p. 311).

After about seven years of Pangemiro's rule, the factions of the Ngati-Vara joined together to make a bid for temporal supremacy. The battlefield was Araeva in the Keia district. The Ngati-Tane determined to insure success by offering a voluntary sacrifice to Rongo during the battle.

The person selected to offer his life was Maungaati, a younger brother of Arokapiti, who was to allow himself to be killed in the name of Rongo during the early part of the battle. After the battle commenced, Arokapiti sought out Koroa to avenge an insult about his head.

One day as Arokapiti of Ngati-Tane was having his hair combed, Koroa passed a disparaging remark saying, "E a'a e upoko tapu ? Va'i ki te aro'a." (What, is it a sacred head? Split it open with a four-sided club.) As his head was not sacred, it could be split open without any trouble.

Koroa at this time must have been a much older man than Arokapiti. The two met, and youth prevailed. As Arokapiti pierced Koroa with his spear, he said, "O te upoko tapu." (It is the sacred head.) The battle continued to be waged for a considerable time without success to the Ngati-Tane. Arokapiti thereupon found that his younger brother Maungaati had stayed at home with his wife and refused to come to the battle to offer himself up as the "fish" of Rongo. Arokapiti decided to offer himself in his brother's place and thus bring victory to his tribe. He went out of the fight temporarily, plucked a ripe banana, and ate it to fortify himself. He then returned to the battle and allowed himself to be killed by the enemy. This voluntary sacrifice to Rongo turned the day, and the combined forces of Manaune and Ngati-Tane prevailed over Ngati-Vara.

The victory over Ngati-Vara in the battle of Araeva (the forty-first battle in Mangaian history) gave Pangemiro his second mangaia. Reonatia (6, p. 304) was selected as the victim for sacrifice to Rongo.

Reonatia was betrayed to the searching warriors by Rouvi and speared on his return from fishing at night. The body was borne to the marae of the Inland High Priest in Keia and left there. The cold air revived Reonatia, who had not been killed by the spear which transfixed him. He managed to crawl off the marae and ascend the hillside for a few yards. The returning warriors, however, discovered him and dispatched him with a stone adz. The body was again laid on the altar, but dissension page 83arose over the manner in which the victim had been offered. It was held that the gods were angry, and it can be inferred from his former disagreement with Pangemiro that Te Ao, the Inland High Priest, was only too ready to seize upon the incident as a reason for obstructing the ceremonies. Owing to the refusal of Te Ao to accept the victim at the inland marae, the victim was not taken on to the shore marae of Orongo and hence the drum of peace could not be sounded.

The slaying of Reonatia took place a month or two before the arrival of the first missionaries in 1823. He was the last victim to be offered to Rongo.

Te Ao, as Inland High Priest, had authority over the subdistrict of Rupetau-i-uta in the district of Keia. After his refusal to sound the drum of peace on Pangemiro's first election, he had made friends with Vaipo, who was chief over the subdistrict of Taiti in the district of Tavaenga. Vaipo gave Te Ao a share of land in Taiti. Later Te Ao began to plot with sections of the Ngati-Tane to dispose of Vaipo by having him made a human sacrifice for some ceremony so that he might succeed in chieftainship over the Taiti subdistrict. Vaipo, however, discovered the plot and deprived Te Ao of the land he had given him in Taiti. Pangemiro also had a grudge against him, and, as his power was assured by the battle of Araeva, he deprived Te Ao of his office of Inland High Priest. He conferred the office upon Numangatini, whom he had appointed Shore High Priest after his first accession. For the first time in history, the office of Inland High Priest and Shore High Priest were combined. Numangatini was both ariki-pa-uta and ariki-pa-tai.

In the distribution of office and land which followed Pangemiro's victory, the titles of pava over the six districts (puna) into which Mangaia had been divided and the titles of kairanga nuku over the subdistricts (tapere) in each district were divided up among the Manaune and Ngati-Tane chiefs. (See p. 127.)

The history of Mangaia has been brought down to Pangemiro, who was ruling in the eventful year 1823. The subsequent history may be satisfactorily written only after the changes wrought by Western culture are more clearly understood.

page 84