Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Maori: Yesterday and To-day

Chapter IV. — Maori Cosmogony and Religion

page 49

Chapter IV.
Maori Cosmogony and Religion.

Old beliefs, ancient religions, linger long after a primitive people has made outward acceptance of modern creeds. It is but natural that immemorial faiths, deep in the heart of the race, should be perpetuated to some extent, preserved by word-of-mouth instruction, as the real religion to which the people turn in time of sickness and stress. In such manner the respect for tapu is handed on. Strong, too, among many primitive folk is the belief in witcheraft and in the efficacy of certain spells for the relief of sickness and protection from the arts of wizardry.

The Maori-Polynesian religion, broadly stated, consisted in a reverence for the personified powers of nature, and a worship or propitiation of the spirits of ancestors. A belief in the animation of all nature pervaded and influenced the whole life of the Maori, and equally strong was his faith in the divinity of his great Ariki forefathers, ancestors who had long passed to the Reinga-land, yet whose spirits still held dominion over their descendants and were powerful to bless or ban. The Maori invested the elements and forces of the cosmos with names and human attributes; these and his reverenced dead stood to him for deities. That universal primitive religion which takes the form of animism is nowhere to be found more copiously embodied in priestly karakia, or ritual, and sacred legend than among the New Zealanders and the islands of Polynesia; and nowhere are ancestral spirits so venerated, their names held so sacred that page 50 their repetition is in itself a prayer. So carefully are the genealogies preserved that their recitation forms a large portion of many a karakia; any mistake in the repetition destroys the efficacy of the prayer or formula, and is even fatal to the suppliant.

The Maori, for all his primitive savagery, had not evolved the idea of hell. The prospect of an eternity of torment, on which the mediaeval pakeha founded his dismal religion, had not occurred to the Polynesian. He did not carry his hatreds into the other world. When the missionary of a century ago introduced the Christian hell to the Maori mind, even the cannibal declined to accept the alien theological horror, and annoyed the brethren by questioning its probability. The missionary for his part quite failed to grasp the sublimity and beauty underlying the old Maori religion. Few of the excellent men who pioneered the Churches in New Zealand took the trouble to investigate the system of beliefs they were supplanting. It was but natural that they should decline to study the faiths and practices that appeared to them nothing but “idolatrous abominations.” Indeed it is only within comparatively recent times that the intellectual nobility embodied in the heart of the ancient religion has come to be understood and appreciated by the student of faiths ancient and modern.

There is much that is sublime in the ancient cosmogonies. The Maori could conceive of uncountable aeons of Chaos and primeval Darkness (Po), gradually giving place to light until the Ao-māramai the World of Light was evolved. Ages upon ages of Nothing (Kore), as the old tohungas recited, preceded the gradual Dawn of Life and the coming into being of the Heavens and the Earth. Many tribal genealogies go back to the source of all things, page 51
Tumakoha, the ArawaTohunga. This learned man, a priest, mystic, bard and genealogist, was the highest tohunga of the old religion in the Arawa tribe surviving in modern times. He lived at Lake Okataina, and died about 1895. Like some other great tohungas he was not tattooed, because he was highly tapu.

Tumakoha, the ArawaTohunga.
This learned man, a priest, mystic, bard and genealogist, was the highest tohunga of the old religion in the Arawa tribe surviving in modern times. He lived at Lake Okataina, and died about 1895. Like some other great tohungas he was not tattooed, because he was highly tapu.

page 52 to the time when the world was “without form and void.”

The idea that seems most strongly to pervade the Maori mind, the conception that colours all his theories as to the origin of everything in nature, is the dual principle, the generative power of male and female, of the active and passive forces. Everything he endowed with sex, even the successive periods of Darkness and of Light, before man was. Light was to him the primal active generating force, operating upon Po, the Darkness, the passive, the receptacle for the mysterious Vivifier.

The following cosmological recital is the first portion of a very long genealogy which I obtained many years ago from one of the chief families of the Ngati-Maniapoto tribe in the King Country. The whakapapa or genealogy begins with the seldom-uttered name, Io, the mystic First Power, and then come the successive cycles of Darkness and Light, Night and Day, opposed to each other as Male and Female:

Whetu (the Stars)
(Female Element) (Male Element)
Te Marama (the Moon) Tera (the Sun)
Te Po-nui (the Great Darkness) Te Ao-nui (the Great Light)
Te Po-roa (the Long Darkness) Te Ao-roa (the Long Light)
Te Po-papakina (the Darkness that can be felt) Te Ao-papakina (the Light that can be felt)
Te Po-pakarea Te Ao-pakarea
Te Po-ki-tua (the Darkness Beyond) Te Ao-ki-tua (the Light Beyond)
Te Po-ki-roto (the Darkness Within) Te Ao-ki-roto (the Light Within)
Te Po-tawhito (the Ancient Darkness) Te Ao-tawhito (the Ancient Light)
Te Po-ruru (the Sheltered Darkness) Te Ao-ruru (the Sheltered Light)
Te Po-aio (the Calm Darkness) Te Ao-aio (the Calm Light)
Te Po-whero (the Red Darkness) Te Ao-whero (the Red Light)
Te Po-ma (the White Darkness) Te Ao-ma (the White Light)
Te Po-pango (the Black Darkness) Te Ao-pango (the Black Light)
Te Po-whakararu (the Darkness agitated) Te Ao-whakararu (the Light agitated)page 53
Te Po-kumea (the Darkness Drawn Out) Te Ao-kumea (the Light Drawn Out)
Te Po-whakarito Te Ao-whakarito
Te Po-i-runga (the Darkness Above) Te Ao-i-runga (the Light Above)
Te Po-i-raro (the Darkness Below) Te Ao-i-raro (the Light Below)
Te Po-i-matau (the Darkness to the Right) Te Ao-i-matau (the Light to the Right)
Te Po-i-maui (the Darkness to the Left) Te Ao-i-matau (the Light to the Left)
Papa-Tu-a-Nuku (The Earth) Rangi-Nui-E-Tu-Nei (The Heavens)

Rangi and Papa, the Sky-Father and Earth-Mother, were the parents of the following deities, who are the chief gods of the Polynesians and the Maoris:

Rongo (God of Cultivations and of Peace).*
Tane (God of Man, also Forests and Birds).
Tangaroa (God of the Ocean and Fish).
Tawhiri-matea (God of the Wind and Storms).
Haumia (God of Fern-root and Uncultivated Foods).
Ruai-moko (God of Volcanoes and Earthquakes)
Tu-mata-uenga (God of Man and of War).

To resume the genealogical recital: from Tu-mata-uenga the divine descent to Tiki, the first man, is as follows, each name representing a distinct stage in the evolution of man:

Aitua; Aituere; Aitu-kikini; Aitu-tamaki; Aitu-whakatika; To Kore; To Kore-nui; Te Kore-roa; Te Kore-para; Te- Kore-te-whiwhia; Te Kore-te-rawea; Kore-te-oti-atu-ki-te-po; Ngana; Ngana-nui; Ngana-roa; Ngana-ruru; Ngana-maoe; Hotu-wai-ariki; Tapatai; Tiki; Tiki-te-pou-mua; Tiki-te-pou-roto; Tiki-i-ahua-mai-i-Hawaiki (Tiki-who-was-made-in-Hawaiki), the first human being.

Following upon the begetting of their seven children (there are many others mentioned in legends and genealogies), came the separation of Heaven and Earth. For ages Rangi, the Sky-Father, and Papa-tua-nuku, the Earth-Mother, clung closely to each other and no glimmer of light penetrated to their numerous children. At length these rebelled, and forcibly parted the primal pair. It was Tane-mahuta who forced his parents apart

* Rongo was also the deity of Sound, according to Haré Hongi.

page 54 by standing on his head and thrusting Rangi upwards with his feet. Tane's limbs were the trees; it was with these forest-pillars that he propped up the leaning sky, so that the Sky-Parent henceforth dwelt on high, dropping down his tears on Papa's face in the form of rain and dew. “Tears” are a poetic euphemism for the procreating and fecundative powers of the Sky, the Clouds, the Rain, and the Sun. These potent influences Rangi showers upon his spouse the Earth, who in return brings forth abundantly of all plants and trees and foods, and who ever exhales her tokens of love or aroha in the form of mists and soft clouds. These vapours of aroha are night after night wafted on high to her Sky-Husband, her Tane, whose face and breast are so grandly adorned with myriads of stars. Papa (a term interchangeable, as word-students know, with the equally universal “mama”), is the all-nourishing, all begetting one, the great Mater Genetrix.
Beyond and above the personification of natural forces and objects, the Earth, the Ocean, the Wind, the Sun and Moon and Stars, there was the belief in a Great First Cause. This supreme being is Io, a name exceedingly sacred and not to be mentioned lightly. “Io was really the God,” says a Maori. The protection or shelter of Io (“Te Maru a Io”), is an expression in an ancient prayer. In a Ngati-Porou (Takitimu) cosmological recital, written for me by an old chief, Io is coupled with Hå as one of the two high deities. Hā, however, means the breath of life, the vivifying force. Io may be from the original iho, the core, the animating force of all things. Io is the Jewish Jehovah, the Greek Zeus.*

* “The word io, commonly used for “god” by the natives of Mangaia, Cook Group, properly means “pith” or “core” of a tree. What the core is to the tree, the god was believed to be to the man. In other words, the gods were the life of mankind.” When the missionaries spread the Christian faith, the islanders transferred its name Io oro, or “the living god,” to the Bible Jehovah. (Rev W. Wyatt Gill).

page 55 Like the original Jewish name for the supreme spirit, it was too sacred to be uttered publicly.*

If we resolve such names to their beginning we find that Io and Jehovah and their equivalents are simply the names adopted to denote Nature, the first object of worship of all peoples. The countless systems of theology to which the world has pinned its faith are artificial structures; the natural religion of man is the primal faith of all, the worship of the elements, the heavenly bodies, the mystery and magic of earth and sea and sky.

* Jehovah: “By mutual and sacred agreement they [the Talmudists] accepted Jehovah as the substitute for Jah or the mystery word Iao. Alone the initiated knew of it.” (“Isis Unveiled.”)

“Whenever the Eternal awakes from its slumbers and desires to manifest itself it divides itself into male and female. It then becomes in every system the double-sexed deity, the universal father and mother.” (“Isis Unveiled.”).

Our Maori wood-carvers illustrate this belief in their parata, the front end of the massive ridge-pole, that section in the roof of the porch or mahau of a decorative house. The under-side of this tahuhu is carved in a representation of Rangi and Papa, the Sky Father and Earth Mother; they are invariably represented in the act of sexual connection in the conventional fashion of the whakairo art.

Io and the Twelve Heavens.

An aged wise man of the Upper Whanganui people, Te Haupapa-o-Tané, of Orongonui, Tuhua Country, wrote this statement of ancient religion for Mr. S. Percy Smith, President of the Polynesian Society, in 1908:

“The great god of all in our belief—that is the Maori people—above all gods, was this, Io-matua, the meaning of which is, that he was the parent of all things; in the heavens or in the worlds. His second name was Io-mata-ngaro [Io-the-hidden-face], which name means that he is never seen by man. His third name is Io-mata-aho [Io-seen-in-a-flash], so called because he is never seen except as in a flash of light or lightning. A fourth name is Io-tikitiki-o-rangi [Io-exalted-of-heaven], called so because he dwells in the highest and last of the heavens. A fifth name is Io-nui [Io-the-great-god], because he is greater than all the other gods that are known as dwelling in the heavens or the earth.

page 56

“The heavens above us are twelve in number, and their names are:

Rangi-tikitiki Rangi-tauru
Kirikiri-o-matangi Rangi-te-mata-waiwai
Rangi-aoao-ariki Rangi-mairehau
Rangi-tu-te-wawana Rangi-paraparawai
Rangi-nui-ka-taki Rangi-tamakumaku
Rangi-mata-uraura Rangi-whakataka

“These are the names of the heavens as described in the recitations of the learned men of old.

“The following are the Apa of those heavens. [The Apa are messengers, ambassadors, companions]:—

Te Apa-whawha-kura Te Apa-kaukau
Te Apa-whatu-kura Te Apa-tahu-rangi
Te Apa-rauao Te Apa-tahu-maero
Te Apa-rahui-kura Te Apa-tahu-whakaaweawe
Te Apa-matangi-hau Te Apa-tahu-para
Te Apa-mata-wai Te Apa-tahu-mahaka

“Besides these there are many other Apa-atua [? celestial messengers], but the above are the companions of the god Io.

“The offspring of Rangi-takataka and of his wife Papatiraharaha [the earth] number seventy, all of whom are males.

“Now, it was related by the Ruanuku [wise-men, learned-men] of old, and so came to my father, that some of the offspring of Rangi-takataka and Papa-tiraharaha separated their parents [the sky and the earth] and hence this saying:—

Rangi dwells apart,
Papa dwells apart,
Behold Rangi stands up above
Papa lies here below.

“It was also narrated by those old men that the separation of the sky and the earth was the work of Tane, Paihau, Tu-matauenga, Tu-mata-kaka and others by propping up the sky. It was told, too, by those old men that Rangi had great love for his wife Papa-tiraharaha, and he called down to her, ‘O old woman! I will send down to you the wai-tangotango-uri [ice and snow] as greetings to you.’ The wife [the earth] replied, ‘It is well; I will send up to you the wai-tau [mists and fogs] of my body as greetings to you.’ In consequence of the strength of their mutual love they clung to one another; at which Tu-mata-uenga [god of war] and Tu-mata-kaka seized upon the axes named ‘Te Awhiorangi’ and ‘Te Whiro-nui,’ and with them cut off the arms of their parents, and thus separated them. It is from this cutting, that the horu, kokowai, pukepoto and tahurangi [red and blue coloured clays used for paints] are used by man to paint their dwellings, and the same [red colour] is seen in the skies denoting their blood, as a sign to their offspring.”

Nature-worshipper as the Maori was, everything was personified—the trees, the streams, the rain and page 57 dew, the mist and sunshine. He had deep respect for the forest of tall timbers—the “Vast and Holy Woods of Tané.” In the fogs that rose like fleecy wraiths from the rivers and the swamps were the Hau-Maringiringi, the dewy children of Rangi and Papa. These, too, were the divine offspring of the Sky-Father and Earth-Mother: Hau-nui and Tomairangi the dew; Tane-uarangi, the heavy rain; Hau-maroroto, rain in big drops; and the grateful warmth of midsummer days was the Tou-a-Rangi.

Greenstone tiki

Greenstone tiki

There are numerous legends describing in great detail the formation by Tane-nui-a-Rangi of a woman from the earth, named Hine-ahu-one, the “Earth-formed Maid.” Into her he breathed life, and when she became a living being, he took her to page 58 wife, and their son was Tiki, the parent of mankind. One of Tane's daughters was named Tikikapakapa, which seems to be an allegorical name for the birds of the forest, sometimes spoken of by the Maoris as “Nga aitanga kapakapa a Tane” (“Tane's wing-flapping children”). It was Tane's daughter Hine-a-Tauira who descended to the Po, the Underworld, and took the name of Hine-nui-te-Po, the Great-Woman-of-Night. She is the personification of Death. Human beings are spoken of as “Nga Aitanga a Tiki”, the begotten of Tiki.

The Maori greenstone neck-pendant, carved in grotesque resemblance to a human form, and called tiki, is probably a representation of Tiki, the father of mankind.

The Maori strongly believed in his divine descent. His genealogies all go back to the gods. The following is a translation of an oriori, or chief's lullaby to his little son, frequently sung at the present day in the Wairarapa and along the East Coast by the people of Takitimu descent:

From heaven's pinnacle thou comest,
O my son,
Born of the very Sky,
Of Heaven-that-Stands-Above.
Yes, from the Sky-God thou art,
From the vast and lofty Rangi;
From Tane, too, and Paia,
Who raised on high the firmament
At the separation of Heaven and Earth.
From the very elements, the Winds,
The whistling, swirling Winds of Heaven,
The brightly flashing Lightning,
And the rumbling, loudly crashing Thunder.

Deep in the heart of the Maori-Polynesian was the belief that everything in nature had its mauri or soul-force. “Everything,” said a Ngati-Porou tohunga, “has a mauri: Heavens, Sun, Moon, Stars, Seasons, Lightning, Wind, Rain, Fogs, Winter, Summer, Darkness, and Light—there are religiou page 59 ceremonies appropriate and peculiar to each. Man has a mauri, so also have animals, the earth, mountains, trees, food, birds, rivers, lakes, and the many things of the earth, and there are incantations and ceremonies proper to each.”

The term mauri is a difficult one to explain clearly to the pakeha mind. It can be translated as “soul”, but the Maori does not intend to convey the idea that animals (kararehe) have souls, when he speaks of their mauri. Again forests and cultivation-grounds have their mauri, the intangible quality that makes them fruitful as sources of food supply. When the historic canoes landed in New Zealand, the new arrivals deposited their sacred stones (kura, or mauri-kohatu) in the forests to preserve the hau of the birding-grounds, that is their power of productiveness. The expression hau, as applied to man, is used in the sense of soul or life-essence, but it is not always easy to distinguish between hau and mauri. A man's hau, the intangible embodiment, if the expression is intelligible, of his vital principle, could be taken by an enemy, by means of witchcraft, and unless the spell were counteracted, his mauri-ora would depart from him, and he would die. Man's mauri-ora has been translated as “vital spark.”

Wairua is the common Maori term for man's spirit or soul, which is capable of leaving him at times and communing with other souls. When a person is asleep, the wairua wanders abroad, and visits the Reinga, the underworld, or spirit world; visions in dreams are those which one's wairua sees when temporarily absent in the spirit-land. An often-sung Maori love-ditty begins:

Hokihoki tonu mai te wairua o te tau,
Ki te awhi-Reinga ki tenei kiri e.

(Oft may the spirit of my love return to me,
To embrace in Reinga-land this form of mine).

page 60

The Reinga is here the Land of Dreams.

Besides the great deities, the seven of Rangi and Papa, there were the innumerable lesser deities of the Maori pantheon, a vast company of atua, to whom invocations and propitiatory incantations were addressed; atua of earth and sky, of cultivation and food, of fishing and seafaring, of the forests and waters, and particularly of war. These were in general deified beings of mortal origin. Amongst a people whose great glory was in battle, deities of war held high place. Each tribe had its war-god, and each god had its kaupapa or medium,
A Maori tuahu, at Hauraki, near Puhirua, Rotorua. The stones set in the ground represent the principal gods of the Arawa tribe: Marute-whare-aitu, Rongomai, Ihungaru, and Itupawa. The tuahu was the sacred altar of the priests, and here the gods were placated by karakia and offerings.

A Maori tuahu, at Hauraki, near Puhirua, Rotorua. The stones set in the ground represent the principal gods of the Arawa tribe: Marute-whare-aitu, Rongomai, Ihungaru, and Itupawa. The tuahu was the sacred altar of the priests, and here the gods were placated by karakia and offerings.

page 61 the person into whom the god was supposed to enter, when it was desired to invoke or consult him. Uenuku was the special war-god of several tribes, including those of Waikato and Taranaki; his aria or visible form is the rainbow. The god Maru is the Mars of the Whanganui tribes. Kahukura (synonymous with Uenuku) is the principal god of the Ngai-Tahu tribe. The Arawa tribe recognise Uenuku, Maru, Rongomai, Itupawa, and Makawe as their war-gods. The Urewera people have several who were invoked in time of war; belief in them has not yet disappeared. Eru Tamaikowha, the fierce old fighting chief of the Ngai-Tama and Urewera at Waimana, who died a few years ago, professed to be the medium of the war-gods Te Hukita and Te Rehu-o-Tainui.

Besides the national and tribal deities, each family also had its special atua, its ancestral spirits, the names of chiefs of sacred rank and priestly powers. A person often had—and still has, in Maori belief—a kind of astral guardian. Te Heuheu Tukino, M.L.C., head chief of Ngati-Tuwharetoa, of Taupo, said to me:

“Our tribal gods are Rongomai, Uenuku or Kahukura, Tawhaki, Puhaorangi, and others. Some of these were ancestors. Rongomai is my personal god. I am a Christian, and believe in the pakeha God, nevertheless my own god has not vanished. The saying of my family is ‘Ko Rongomai te Atua, ko Te Heuheu te Tangata,’ (‘Rongomai is the God, Te Heuheu is the Man’), He is our guardian atua, and our god of war. His aria (form) is a star; in the olden days it was a shooting star (whetu-rere). Rongomai still appears on certain occasions. He has accompanied me on my travels at night. I was once riding along the shore of Lake Taupo, when the tohu (sign) of Rongomai appeared to follow me page 62 in the sky as I went on my way. He is my kai-tiaki, my protector.”

There is a remarkable modern instance of this tendency to exalt tribal and national heroes to the rank of gods. Te Kooti, the famous warrior who led his Hauhaus from 1868 to 1872, continually chased by the Government forces but never captured, is regarded as little short of a god by the Urewera people. “For three years he fought your Government troops,” they will tell you, “and yet you never got him. He was a wonderful man, and he had mana-tapu and influence with the gods. Indeed he was a god himself (he atua ano).” Many singular stories are related of Te Kooti's supposed supernatural powers. Since his day another prophet has arisen in the Urewera Country, but Ruatapu-nui of Maungapohatu is not a Te Kooti.

A Tohunga, Werewere te Rangi-pu-mamao, of Taupo (died about 1892).

A Tohunga, Werewere te Rangi-pu-mamao, of Taupo (died about 1892).

page 63

Modern Religions of the Maori.

“In the Iceland of the Heroic Age,” says the saga-man, a “little of the older lore was cast aside, though men were baptised and were Christian in name.” This was exactly the condition of very many Maori people up to quite lately, and indeed it describes the attitude of some of my friends of to-day. Earth-magic, forest-magic, water-magic, are still strong in their hearts.

The first numerical survey of the religious professions of the Maori was published by the Government Statistician in June, 1928; it was compiled from the census of 1926. It revealed the fact that the English Church, which was the first to Christianize the Maori, is still the most favoured sect. Another salient feature of the analysis of faiths was the popularity of the latest-born sect, the Ratana Church, founded by the Rangitikei evangelistic preacher and faith-healer Wiremu Ratana. The most interesting religious cult of all is the Ringatu religion, which includes those who avow themselves Hauhaus. This is the present-day off-shoot of the old Pai-Marire religion, the fanatic faith of the Maori War days. Founded in Taranaki in 1864, Pai-Marire became the gospel of blood and fire throughout a large area of Maori country, and it united many tribes in a common bond, violent opposition to pakeha government. With various modifications and shorn of its original barbarisms, it survived for many years, and from it the Ringatu Church of to-day has been evolved.

The list is headed by the Church of England, which had 21,738 adherents at last census, or just over a third of the Maori population. Next in importance is the Church of Ratana, with 11,567 followers. There are 8,558 Roman Catholics. The Ringatu (literally the “Uplifted Hand,” the old page 64 Pai-Marire gesture) number 4,540 people; these are chiefly among the Bay of Plenty, Arawa, Urewera, and East Coast tribes. The next class is Methodists, 4,066. “Mihinare,” as the Maoris pronounce and write the word “missionary”, is the religion entered by 3,804 people. These are probably adherents of the Church of England. The Mormon Church (Latter Day Saints) was very popular among the Maoris some years ago. There are still 3,461 natives returned as of this belief. Presbyterians number 638.

The followers of Te Whiti and Tohu, the prophets of Taranaki, who in their day had a great native town at Parihaka, where thousands of the faithful assembled, have not yet altogether vanished from the land. The memory of Te Whiti and his fellow-preacher of self-determination for the Maori, and of strange mystical doctrines, is held in worshipful reverence by a remnant of the faithful, 375 according to the census. But 3,193 Maori declined to state their religious beliefs and it is probable that a number of these are Te Whiti disciples and others Ringatu. A few hundreds of natives declare themselves followers of various small sects, including the Seventh Day Adventists, and a Maori church in the Wellington provincial district known as “The Seven Rules of Jehovah.”

There is a fine catholicity of religious taste in the Maori. He is no zealot or bigot denying to others the religions that please them. At a great camp-meeting at Wiremu Ratana's township, Ratana, in the Rangitikei district, services were held not only by the disciples of the Ratana Church, but by the native Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, and Ringatu. (One explanation of the gesture of the “ringa-tu,” the uplifted hand, from which the religion takes its name, is that page 65
An early days Maori Minister: The Rev. Karaka Terawhiti, of Ngati-Whawhakia, sub-tribe of Waikato. He was associated with the Rev. B. Y. Ashwell, of Kaitotehe, Taupiri, in English Church missionary work in the Waikato, before the war.

An early days Maori Minister: The Rev. Karaka Terawhiti, of Ngati-Whawhakia, sub-tribe of Waikato.
He was associated with the Rev. B. Y. Ashwell, of Kaitotehe, Taupiri, in English Church missionary work in the Waikato, before the war.

page 66 this is derived from the feat of the ancient Hebrew tohunga whose hands were held up by his people until the battle turned for his warriors.) After each sect had had its service in its tent or the local church, all the denominations gathered round the flagstaff with its large banner of the Rongo-Pai (“Glad Tidings”), and at the mast-foot each sect in turn was addressed by its minister. Each church respected the views of the others; there was no monopoly in modes of worship.

The chants and prayers in the Ringatu sect are mostly from the Psalms of David, and there is much beauty in the service, with its long-drawn chantings and its responses like the Church of England ritual. The priest of the service places the tips of his fingers together as he recites the prayers and the people in responding hold up the right hand on a level with the face. Saturday is the holy day of the Ringatu, and there is a kind of special festival once a month.

In Taranaki the adherents of Te Whiti-ism—quite a different brand of old-time religion from the Ringatu—have their monthly meetings for prayer and exhortation at Manu-korihi, on the Waitara. The followers of the late Tohu Kakahi, Te Whiti's fellow-prophet, hold similar gatherings on the 17th and 18th of each month at Ketemarae, near the township of Normanby.

There is much that is poetical and inspiring in these survivals of the olden faiths, and the conservative Maori finds in them a heart-link with his fathers and a mode of expression for his spiritual fervour, a very strong characteristic of the native and closely bound up with his intense love of his ancestral home.

There is a remarkable survival of an ancient faith in the Hokianga district, North Auckland. page 67
A tohunga and orator: Hetaraka Tautahi, of NgaRauru tribe, Waitotara (West Coast of North Island). He was a Hauhau and an adherent of the leading Taranaki war-chief Titokowaru.

A tohunga and orator: Hetaraka Tautahi, of NgaRauru tribe, Waitotara (West Coast of North Island). He was a Hauhau and an adherent of the leading Taranaki war-chief Titokowaru.

page 68 This is the cult of the Nakahi, which is a god with a Karakia or a ritual of its own. “Nakahi” is not a true Maori word; it is the native rendering of “snake,” the word used for “serpent” by the translators of the Bible into Maori. A long story, too long to give here, could be told of the fashion in which legends of the dragon and snake—foreign to the Maori—have been grafted on to the original belief in Tu-kai-te-uru, a deity whose visible manifestation was a glow on the western horizon, distinct from the sunset glow. Omanaia, a village in a quiet Hokianga valley, is the headquarters of this cult; spiritualistic seances are held and the ancient Karakia are taught and olden chants are sung. Associated with these the memory of the great tohunga Te Atua Wera, who was the priest of Tu-kai-te-uru and the Nakahi a century ago, is revered throughout the Hokianga and especially at Omanaia, which was his home. The olden priests were ventriloquists, and could produce strange voices to mystify the people, and “whiowhio” or spirit-whistlings have been a feature of the Northern seances, especially at Omanaia and in the villages of the Mahurehure tribe in the Waima Valley.
Memorial canoe set up at the grave of a pakeha whaler at Te Awaiti, Tory Channel. [From a sketch by J. A. Barnicoat, 1843

Memorial canoe set up at the grave of a pakeha whaler at Te Awaiti, Tory Channel.
[From a sketch by J. A. Barnicoat, 1843