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The Coming of the Maori



In the birth of twins, some difference of opinion exists as to which was more important. The general view was that the one born first was the more important and he was marked in some way to avoid subsequent confusion. The later child was believed to be stronger and more virile. In my own lineage, it was held that the second child was more important because, as an old man told me, "The womb was his house and he kicked the other child out of it." However, as our family is descended from Te Rangihiroa, the younger of two twins, the story may have been a local rationalization to suit our particular circumstances. A descendant of Te Pawa, the elder twin, would probably have had a different story. On the other hand, Best (22, p. 15) states that the Tuhoe tribe held that "the first-born of twins was viewed as an interloper hanging on the outside of the nest', and so in some cases slain."