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The Coming of the Maori

Canoe Settlement

Canoe Settlement

Tainui. The Tainui, under the command of Hoturoa, with Rakataura as priest, sailed from Whangaparaoa along the coast. One of the women of rank, named Marama, expressed a wish to walk along the shore, so she was landed with a slave attendant and was picked up again farther on. The canoe sailed into the Waitemata and paddled up the Tamaki arm. Seabirds were seen flying over from the other side, and investigation showed the Manukau arm of the sea evidently opening out towards the west coast. It was decided to haul the canoe across the dividing land and explore the west, but when the crew tried to haul the canoe, it would not move. Then Marama sprang forward to the bow of the canoe and recited the well known chant beginning with the words:

Toia Tainui Haul Tainui
Tapatu ki te moana, To reach the sea,
etc. etc.

In the course of the chant, Marama revealed that she had demeaned herself with her slave. Once she had confessed, the canoe slid forward page 52and was portaged across into the Manukau. She was paddled out through the Manukau Heads into the western sea and turned south along the coast. Some of the crew disembarked near Whaingaroa (Raglan) and others at Kawhia and at Mokau. The Ngai Tarapounamu were the last group left on board and they beached the Tainui at Te Waiiti. Hearing that the canoe was neglected, a party from Kawhia came overland and refloated the Tainui. They called at Mokau where the anchor was left. They proceeded to Kawhia where the vessel was drawn up into a grove of manuka below the shrine of Ahurei and two stone uprights mark its length. The canoe was hauled up on skids which the Kawhia people state were brought from Hawaiki in the vessel. They were left on the shore and grew. The plant was named Nga rongo o Tainui (Skids of Tainui). However, botanists have identified the plant as Pomaderris tainui and they state that it is indigenous to New Zealand. Hence the skids were made locally and the Maori name perpetuates a historical event.

The canoe anchor with a constricted neck between two rounded parts remained in the shallow water near the north bank of the river until recent times. I saw it in company with Tamati Kingi te Wetere, the hereditary chief of the district. He expressed a wish to place the anchor in the Auckland Museum but on his death, his people removed it from the river and placed it on his grave in the Awakino cemetery as a memorial to him.

The descendants of the crew of Tainui spread over a large area extending from the Mokau River to the Manukau Harbour on the west coast and including the Waikato and King Country areas and across through Maunga tautari (Cambridge) to the Thames Valley and the Coromandel Peninsula.

Tokomaru. The Tokomaru canoe which formed one of the Fleet has had its traditional history beclouded by confusing its command with Manaia who has been shown to have lived at an earlier period and to have commanded a vessel named the Tahatuna. The true commander and navigators of Tokomaru are disclosed in the Atiawa lament containing the following lines:

E iri e te hoa i runga o Tokomaru, Recline O friend on Tokomaru,
Te waka o Whata, The canoe of Whata,
Na Rakeiora na Tamaariki By Rakeiora and Tamaariki
I hoe mai ki uta. It was paddled to land.
Huaina te whare ko Maraerotuhia, The house was named Maraerotuhia,
I tu ki Mohakatino. It stood by the Mohakatino River.

When I originally wrote this song from dictation, I mistook the words "na Tamaariki" in the third line for "nga tamariki" and translated them page 53as "the children" in the original Cawthron lecture. This error on my part shows how easy it is, even for those who know the language, to make mistakes from dictation.

Of the three names mentioned in the song, Whata appears to have been the commander or builder of the Tokomaru but I have no information about him. The old men who might have told me passed away while I was acquiring a European education. Tamaariki and Rakeiora were apparently responsible for the navigation of the canoe. Tamaariki was the eponymous ancestor of the fighting Ngati Tama tribe which at one time occupied the territory north and south of the Mohakatino River. Rakeiora was the priest and he was evidently deified after his death for his symbol was so effective in promoting the fertility of the sweet potato that it was stolen by Rangihawe, a chief of the Ngati Ruanui tribe of south Taranaki. In my youth, I have slept in the tribal meeting-house of the Ngati Tama at Pukearuhe. It bore the name of Maraerotuhia in memory of the original house on the banks of the Mohakatino. Maori tribes do not use historical names unless they are entitled to them.

The Tokomaru made land on the east coast in the Bay of Plenty. Grey's doubtful version (44, p. 221) introduces the incident of the stranded whale but does not say anything about Tokomaru Bay being named after the canoe. The Tokomaru sailed around the North Cape and according to Grey it landed at the Tongaporutu River where the god Rakeiora was left. The people went north to the Mokau River where the stone anchor of the canoe was left near the mouth of the river near its north side. The people then worked south as far as the Waitara River where they fought and defeated the local people at Rohutu. In enumerating the places encountered on the way south, Grey's informant came to the Onaero River before reaching the Urenui River and thus adds to the errors of his story. The anchor located in the Mokau River was that of Tainui and not of Tokomaru. The Tokomaru anchor was kept for centuries on a ridge near the south bank of the Mohakatino. It disappeared in later times but was ploughed up by a cousin of mine in a hollow below the ridge where it had been kept. It had evidently been rolled down and covered over by the old people to save it from curio hunters. The anchor is fairly large with a bored hole for the anchor rope. Whether or not it came from Hawaiki, it has historic value and Sir Maui Pomare and I persuaded our tribes of Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama to deposit it in the New Plymouth Museum in safe keeping for posterity.

The errors of Grey's informant commenced with giving the command of the Tokomaru of the Fleet to Manaia. He borrowed the stranded whale and the anchor site in the Mokau River from the Tainui tradition. He landed the canoe at the wrong river and his local geography was inaccurate. The few lines of the lament I have quoted are worth more page 54than the whole text of his published account and I say this for the guidance of students.

The descendants of the crew of Tokomaru spread north to the Mokau River which formed the boundary with Tainui. They spread south and the Atiawa carried the boundary to Onukutaipari, south of New Plymouth, where they junctioned with the Taranaki tribe who claim descent from the Kurahaupo of the Fleet.

Kurahaupo. The Kurahaupo has a debatable history. If Kurahaupo was the name of the canoe in which Whatonga came to New Zealand in 1150, it must not be confused with the Kurahaupo canoe which came in the Fleet period of 1350. According to one tradition, the Kurahaupo was wrecked at Rangitahua in the Kermadecs and her crew was transferred to the Aotea. Another tradition held by the Aupouri and Rarawa tribes is that she was repaired and came on to New Zealand under her own manpower. A reef off the east coast of the Auckland Peninsula is supposed to be the petrified form of the canoe.

The distribution of tribes claiming descent from the Kurahaupo differs from that of other canoes in being broken and detached. The first group is that of the northern people off whose territory the petrified canoe lies.

A second group is formed by the Taranaki tribe which is wedged in between the Tokomaru people on the north and the Aotea people on the south, the northern boundary being Onukutaipari and the southern being Oeo. Mount Egmont is in their territory and its Maori name of Taranaki was either adopted as a tribal name or the tribal name was given to the mountain. The Taranaki tribe accepts the version that the Kurahaupo was wrecked and in their laments they refer to it as the wrecked canoe (te waka i pakaru). It is possible that the territory they occupy in Taranaki was due to their ancestors having been transhipped to the Aotea canoe but this does not fit in with the northern version of the petrified canoe. The Taranaki tribe maintains that the commander of the Kurahaupo was Te Moungaroa and their chiefly lineages descend from him. As previously stated, the Matorohanga school claims that Maungaroa came in the Kurahaupo of Whatonga but the Taranaki lineages fit in with the Kurahaupo of the Fleet.

A third group is separated territorially from the Taranaki tribe by the intervening territory of the Aotea people. They occupied the area from Whangaehu to Horowhenua. The Whanganui people on their northern boundary have mixed ancestry from the Aotea on the north and from the Kurahaupo on the south. The southern group claims that their ancestor Ruatea was the commander of the Kurahaupo.

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Aotea. The Aotea, commanded by Turi, landed north of Kawhia, and the harbour on which the present town of Raglan is situated was named Aotea after the canoe. The canoe was left at Aotea and the crew journeyed south on foot along the coast seeking a river facing the west as described in the Kupe tradition of discovery. They appear to have named nearly every river and stream they crossed after some incident connected with Turi. The fact that the names have been accepted and credited to Aotea by those who permanently occupied the Tokomaru territory would seem to indicate that the Aotea landed before the Tokomaru though it is difficult to understand how an incoming group would know that names had already been given by people who had passed on.

The principal gods brought were Maru, Te Ihingaoterangi, Kahukura, and Rongomai, and the lesser gods (atua iti) were Rehua and Haereiti. Some symbols of a religious nature termed mana were Hunakiko, Kohatumua, and Kohatuteihi. Hunakiko was also referred to as a kura and it was unwrapped and displayed (hurahanga) during the journey at places which were named Oakura and Maraekura. From the use of the word kura, it is possible that the symbol was decorated with the red parakeet feathers used to decorate religious symbols in central Polynesia. The adze named Te Awhiorangi was also stated to have been brought in the Aotea.

Turi's party finally reached the river facing west (parara ki te uru) and, as his people threw down their burdens (patea) there, it was named Patea or, in full, Pateanui a Turi. A village (pa) was built on the south bank of the river and named Rangitawhi. Turi's house was named Matangirei. The spring which supplied fresh water was named Pararakiteuru and the village latrine was named Paepaehakehake. The karaka seeds alleged to have been brought were planted, and a cultivation named Hekehekeipapa was prepared for the seed sweet potatoes which Turi's wife, Rongorongo, had brought in a belt wrapped around her body.

Turi's daughter, Taneroroa, married Uhengapuanaki, who came in the Takitimu canoe. When she became pregnant, she desired to eat some dog's flesh and ordered her husband to kill a dog belonging to her brother Turangaimua. A quarrel resulted and Taneroroa, smarting under the accusation of theft, moved with her people to the north side of the Patea River. Her descendants became the Ngati Ruanui and they spread north as far as Oeo, the boundary with the Taranaki tribe from the Kurahaupo canoe. Turangaimua's descendants became the Ngarauru and they spread south to Waitotara and Kaiiwi where their boundary met that of the Whanganui tribes.

Te Arawa. Te Arawa, commanded by Tamatekapua, worked along the coast westward to Maketu where she paddled in towards the mouth page 56of the Ngapuna River. As they came in, the chiefs indulged in tapatapa-whenua or taunaha which is the custom of pre-empting land by naming it after parts of their body. Thus Tamatekapua pointed to the point now known as the Maketu Heads and called out, "I name that place Te Kuraetanga o te ihu o Tamatekapua" (The projection of the nose of Tamatekapua). Tia identified the place now known as Rangiuru with the abdomen (takapu) of his son Tapuika, and Hei named Otawa the abdomen of Waitahanui a Hei. This ceremony effectively reserved the land indicated for those whose anatomical parts had been publicly announced, for no one would subsequently dare to cultivate on Tamatekapua's nose or build a house on someone else's abdomen. The canoe entered the river and the bow and stern were made fast to a rock in the stream named Tokaparore and to an outcrop of rock on the beach named Tuterangiharuru. These rocks are referred to metaphorically as the anchors of Te Arawa.

The tradition states that Ruaeo, the husband of Whakaotirangi, who had been abducted by Tamatekapua when he left Hawaiki, had already arrived on a canoe named Pukateawainui. Ruaeo challenged Tamatekapua to single combat and, after defeating him, told him to keep the woman as recompense for his injuries. He then left for parts unknown. Tamatekapua subsequently explored the coast line as far as Cape Colville (Moehau) where he lived a space and died. Meanwhile other members of the crew settled at Maketu and the neighbouring country towards Tauranga. Ihenga explored inland and discovered the Rotoiti and Rotorua lakes. The Rotorua country was occupied by Marupunganui, the son of Tuarotorua, who belonged to the earlier settlers. Ihenga, however, dispossessed him by the trick of making a shrine (tuahu) with moss covered stones and old dry leaves to simulate prior occupation.

Ngatoroirangi, the priest, had some marvellous adventures in keeping with his profession. Some of these have been related in the story of Manaia (p. 32). He later left Motiti Island and explored the Taupo district. During an ascent of Mount Tongariro, he nearly froze to death. He called for fire to be sent from Hawaiki and subterranean fires broke out at White Island and other parts along the route to Tongariro. After thawing out, Ngatoroirangi descended the mountain to a milder level.

The descendants of Tamatekapua and his contemporary chiefs occupied the country from Maketu to the Rotorua Lake area and Ngatoroirangi's progeny remained in the Taupo district. Hence it is said that the bow of the Arawa canoe rests at Maketu and its stern piece is formed by the mountain of Tongariro.

Matatua. The Matatua canoe under Toroa made the Bay of Plenty and paddled in towards the mouth of a river. The ground swell made page 57Toroa's daughter, Wairaka, seasick (kohi) and hence the point on the east side of the river was named Kohi. The canoe paddled into the river and was beached. The crew scattered to view the land but Wairaka remained near the canoe. As the tide came in, the canoe began to float off, so Wairaka nerved herself by saying, "Me whakatane au i au" (I must quit myself like a man). She managed to drag the canoe higher up on the beach and hence the river was named Whakatane. The canoe anchor is said to be in the bottom of the river but is only visible when trouble is impending.

Wairakewa, the mother of Toroa, who had remained in Hawaiki, received an omen (tohu) that the ritual concerning the landing of Matatua was not being conducted properly. She took speedy passage on a manuka shrub she pulled up by the roots and arrived next morning in time to direct the correct ritual. The unique manuka shrub was planted and grew for many generations. Unfortunately it died out before botanists could identify it.

The descendants of Toroa remained at Whakatane but the descendants of others spread west to meet the Arawa boundary, inland to the Urewera forest country, and east along the Bay of Plenty to Cape Runaway, where their borders met those of Horouta.

Horouta. The Horouta canoe, according to the Ngati Porou authority, Pita Kapiti (55), was built in New Zealand and made a voyage to Hawaiki under the command of Kahukura to obtain the sweet potato. (See page 34.) After filling the hold of the Horouta with sweet potatoes for seed, Kahukura decided to remain in Hawaiki. He instructed the crew, however, not to allow the sweet potato to come into contact with fern root. The Horouta was commanded by Pawa on its return voyage to New Zealand with its precious freight of sweet potatoes, rats, and swamp hens. The canoe also brought the magic digging stick named Penu, a mapau (Myrsine urvillei) named Ateateahenga to be used in planting ceremonies, and two hutukawa (Metrosideros tomentosa) named Te Rohutumaitawhiti and Otekomaitawhiti. The Horouta made land at Ahuahu (Great Mercury Island, Bay of Plenty) where a woman passenger named Kanawa went ashore and brought some fern root on board without being noticed. The canoe sailed on but the sweet potato became so furious at the presence of the fern root that the elements sympathized by gathering into a violent storm. The priests diagnosed the cause and attempted a cure by throwing the woman overboard off Whakatane. However, the victim had a short-lived satisfaction before she drowned, for she capsized the canoe by hanging on to its bow. The Horouta drifted ashore at Whakatane evidently retaining the sweet potatoes for they were subsequently distributed at Whakatane and elsewhere.

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The crew hauled the canoe up high on the shore where repairs were considered. Pawa and a party went in search of suitable timber for a topside plank for the canoe. Awapaka and another party set out to catch birds as food for the workmen repairing the vessel. Rangituroua, the priest, and others remained with the Horouta. Pawa found suitable timber by a mountain, which was given the name of Maungahaumi. As the streams were too small to float his timber, Pawa increased the volume of the streams into rivers by micturating into them. This gargantuan feat was accomplished with the aid of a magic chant. The rivers formed were the Waioeka, Waikohu, and Motu. Awapaka and his bird catchers procured a goodly supply of birds, which they cooked and preserved in fat with the chants appropriate to this industry. Being unable to connect with the canoe party, they consumed the preserved birds during their search, and this action has been recorded by the names given to the places where they left empty calabashes.

Rangituroua and his party repaired the canoe without waiting for Pawa. It is stated that Rongokako had been sent out to look for Pawa. The cargo was reshipped and the Horouta proceeded down the coast from Whakatane "distributing the kumaras to various places right to Waiapu, where the hold of Horouta was finally emptied." Hence is the saying which refers to the abundance of kumara in Waiapu:

Ka mahi te tainga o te riu o Horouta.
Behold the results of bailing the hold of Horouta.

The bailer and the anchor of the canoe are said to be seen at Waiapu.

Mohi Turei (104, vol. 4, p 6.) stated that the first kumara were planted in a cultivation named Whakararanui and its site is indicated by a hutukawa tree named Otekomaitawhiti. The sacred mapau rod named Atiatihinga (Ateateahenga) also took root near the cultivation.

The descendants from Horouta developed into the Ngati Porou tribe, which also claims that their eponymous ancestor Porourangi was descended from an ancestor who came in the Nukutere canoe (104, vol. 3, p. 41). The people from the two canoes evidently amalgamated and spread north to Whangaparaoa to meet Matatua, and south towards Gisborne to the boundary with Takitimu.

Takitimu. The story of Takitimu as told by Te Matorohanga (81, p. 238) teems with detail much of which has been referred to. Tamatea, the commander, was accompanied by his two sons, Ranginui and Kahungunu. The priests were Ruawharo, Te Rongopatahi, and Tupai and the gods they brought were Kahukura, Tamaiwaho, Tunuiateika, Hinekorako, Rongomai, and Ruawharo. The names of the paddles, anchors, and other equipment are too numerous to retail.

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The Takitimu made her landfall at Whangaparaoa and anchored off shore where Tamatea was visited by Hoturoa of the Tainui and Ngatoroirangi of the Arawa, their canoes having arrived beforehand. After discussion, the Takitimu sailed round the North Cape to Hokianga. After a while, Tamatea sailed back around the North Cape and down the east coast. At Nukutaurua (Table Cape), Ruawharo, Tupai, and others left me canoe to setde down. They took the god Kahukura wrapped up in a dogskin cloak (?) named Tawhirirangi. At Whanganui a Tara (Wellington Harbour), Tamatea met Whatonga's son, Tara, who, if there, must have been at least 150 years old. He continued south as far as the Waiau River, where the Takitimu ran onto a reef but though floated off, she had to be abandoned. A range of mountains was named Takitimu as a memorial to a gallant ship.

Tamatea built the Karaerae canoe, sailed up the east coast of the South Island, passed through Cook Strait to the west, and finally paddled into the Whanganui River. An extremely doubtful episode is introduced here in that he sent to Patea for Turi who came with his family. Uhengaariki of Tamatea's party was married to Turi's daughter Taneroa and the famous adze, Te Awhiorangi, was given to Turi's family as a wedding present.

Tamatea then journeyed up the Whanganui River and crossed over to Taupo to have a chat with Ngatoroirangi. He shot the Huka Falls in another canoe with just a wetting and the loss of his provisions. After various minor visits on the east coast, he returned to Hokianga in a borrowed canoe. Here ended an adventurous career which earned him the name of Tamatea Pokaiwhenua (Tamatea, the circumnavigator).

The Matorohanga account is too full of detail and apparent rationalization. Thus Tamatea interviews the captains of the Tainui and Aotea and the priest of Te Arawa twice. The marriage of Uhenga and Taneroroa according to the Aotea version took place at Patea but holding it at Whanganui afforded an opportunity for restoring the Awhiorangi adze to the Aotea people, in whose possession it had always been.

Tamatea's sons setded in Poverty Bay and Hawkes Bay and Kahungunu became the eponymous ancestor of the numerous Ngati Kahungunu tribe which occupied the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa districts. Some descendants remained in Poverty Bay, others spread to the South Island. The Takitimu area began at the boundary with Horouta near Gisborne, extended south along the east coast to Wellington, and crossed over to the South Island.