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The Maori: Yesterday and To-day

A Love-Charm. (Atahu)

A Love-Charm. (Atahu)

This little karakia is a love-charm of the Waikato and Taranaki people (given by the old man Kerei Kaihau, at Otautu, Patea, 1904). It is a potent karakia to gain the affections of a girl. page 101 Should the lover be doubtful of his success with the young woman he would go out into the bush and by using a pépé or call-leaf, or by chirruping in imitation of bird-notes, would gather the birds around him. He would then kill one of the birds with a stick, and taking it in his hand (“a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”) would repeat the charm, likening the desired female to the captured bird. Straightway, says the Maori, should the lover have sufficient mana tangata (personal prestige and psychic force) the girl's heart would fill with love for him and she would be his “manu-tupu-tangata.” These are the words of the charm:—

He hara wa te manu?
He pitori te manu,
He hara wa te manu?
He karewa te manu,
I whano ki reira, “titi” ai
I whano ki reira, “kete” ai,
I whano ki reira tutu mai ai;
Te manu atu tupu ra tangata,
Matua i a Tané.
Nau mai!
Kia piri, kia tata.

What is this bird?
It is a wood-robin.
What is the bird?
Now, 'tis a sparrow-hawk.
It jumps hither and thither, chirping “Ti-ti!”
It jumping there, calling “ke-te!”
It skips, it flutters from bough to bough.
This is the bird that is to bring forth men,
The parent of mankind.
O wife of mine.
Come hither!
Approach and fly to my embrace.