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The Maori: Yesterday and To-day

Appendix. — The Pao-Miere Ritual

page 261

The Pao-Miere Ritual.

Karakia to Slay Sorcerers.
(Pages 8283.)

The following is a complete translation of the series of karakia used by the priests of the Paomiere religious cult, in the King Country, for the purpose of causing the death of tohunga makutu, the practitioners of witchcraft. These incantations form part of the olden lore of the “black art” as preserved by some of the elders of Ngati-Maniapoto:


The spell beginning with the words “He po tenei, e rua nga po”:

“This is the Night, the two-fold Night [invoking the powers of darkness]. One power is the head, one is the body; the upper one his arms (to climb with), the lower one his legs (to walk with). These thoughts are uttered so that we may discover the cause of death and sickness. It is witchcraft, it is the life-destroying invocation of the powers of earth and sky.”


The karakia beginning: “Ko wai ka hua e tangi koe ki ahau?” (a spell to return the sorcerer's makutu to the source whence it came):

“Who knows that you will lament for me?—That you will eat of my liver, that you will consume my lungs [deprive me of breath]? Let the fish be ripped up in the Night, slashed in the daylight [invoking the forces of darkness and light]. I also have that weapon [the life-destroying spells], the spear wherewith to pierce you, to thrust through your belly, to penetrate your now defenceless body. Vainly the soul of your evil gods shall strive against my power.”

page 262


The final death-dealing karakia, beginning with the words:

Pokia i runga, pokia i raro;
He ahi, he huhunu, he puratoke”:

“Swarm upon him, O spirits from the sky; swarm upon him, O spirits of the earth! Let the mystic fires consume him; let him be cast to the place of the glow-worms. Let him be as a mussel, a water-sleeping mussel beneath an overhanging rock! That Death may gather him up as shellfish are gathered up. He sways and staggers, he is in the midst of fire and smoke. He is squeezed, tightly gripped, then released, shrunken, powerless. Seize the head of the worker of witchcraft! Thrust his head to the ground; let his legs wave to and fro! May he be dried up within and without, reduced to nothing. Let him go to the deep pit, let him be scattered and destroyed, as a floor clean-swept. Let him be cast to the deepest darkness, to the darkness utter and perpetual!

“Cry to your father, cry to your mother! Let your lips be drawn back from your teeth, your eyes wildly glare! You are cast to the night, into the pit. Thrust him down, O Rangi [Sky]; immerse him in the depths, O Papa [Earth]! Let him not appear again in the light of this world… . Darkness of death envelops you! The sun of life shines forth on me!”

For explanations of many cryptic terms and allusions in this series of karakia used in the arts of wizardry I am indebted to Haré Hongi, high authority on the Maori language and its peculiar idioms and esoteric expressions.

(See Maori originals, Chapter VI.)