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The Coming of the Maori


The kupe tradition as told by te matorohanga states definitely that there were no human inhabitants in New Zealand at the time of his visit. A west coast tradition from the Tainui area, however, states that Kupe saw people in the west digging up fern root with a pointed stick. A Whanganui informant told me that the fantail Kupe saw was flitting about above a latrine and queried the absence of inhabitants by asking, "To whom did the latrine belong?" It is possible that in some parts of the country there were people whom Kupe did not see.