The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 7 (October 1, 1936)
The Wisdom of the Maori — A Father's Tangi for his son
Maori lore, written and unwritten, is rich in beautiful and touching laments for the dead. This is an all but forgotten waiato tangi, composed and chanted by the chief Hone Mohi Tawhai (ex-M.H.R.), of Waima, Hokianga, on the death of his son, Graham (Kereama) Tawhai, in 1886. Graham was a promising young man. who was educated in Auckland and was studying law in Whitaker and Russell's office when he suddenly became ill, and was taken home only to die shortly after he reached his Waima birthplace. The following is a translation of the principal part of the elegiac chant: —
Alas! my son! In boyhood thou hast gone
Thy way, nor waited till the moon in fullness
Graced the sky. Thou didst not seek
Men's admiration, yet thou wert prized,
And precious as a greenstone jewel
To thine own people; for thou wert worthy
Of that renowned ancestral name Rahiri.
* * *
The tribe, in sorrow bowed,
Weep for thee in their distant homes.
The lightning flashes through the darkened sky,
And strikes the sacred height of Whakatere,
A sign of death. Thou wert too quickly snatched away
To rest among thy forefathers,
Who have slept so long in Okahu's red sands
Where all are now alike.
Rise up, O son, that we may stand together,
That by some magic power thy eager step
May pace our home again;
And let thy voice, which moved each heart, be lifted up,
That thousands may give ear.
* * *
Daughters of Kiri! Once ye dandled Graham
In your arms, as though he were a poi,
And bore him in the great canoe
To Rangitoto, there to gaze around
Upon the little hills of Tamaki,
The land and waters of thy ancestors.
* * *
Let the moaning sea around Taranga's isle
Hear our lament; lei the sound of grief be borne away
To Kokako and all the mainland heights.
* * *
Whakamautara stood forth to greet thee
At Kaikohe and take thce home to Hokianga,
To thy childhood's valley, there to rest for aye.
We took thee to our loving home,
Yet thou did'st, linger with us, O my son,
But one short night, and now thou sleepest,
O thou prized jewel of the tribe,
The last and quiet sleep.
Who is there now among us
To carry out thy mission, take up thy work of love!
Shall it be left to Wi, or to Hand,
Or perish in the sighing winds of death?
Kumara: A Question of Pronunciation.
A correspondent, Mr. W. G. Whitton, writing from Ohura, raises the question of the pronunciation and meaning of the name, Kumara, in Westland. He mentions that he travelled through Kumara in 1872, four years before the gold rush there, when he was driving from Hokitika to Greenstone. “What is now the main street,” he narrates, “was then a lovely avenue of tall rima from Sandy's Hill to the old Zigzag. In 1876, when I revisited the place, it was a lively town with a population of 5,000, and forty-nine pubs., most of them just dance houses. Many of the buildings were only calico on frames. Now the population is about 250, with four or five pubs.” Regarding the place-name, Mr. Whitton says:
“Kumara was not named after the sweet potato of the Maori, but after the native clematis, which grew very plentiful there, and the old residents always stressed the second syllable.”
“Tohunga's” reply is as follows: In the absence of Maoris of Westland who could be questioned about these names, it is not possible to endorse my correspondent's version of namemeaning and pronunciation. Pakeha residents, unless they are Maori linguists, cannot be depended on for the correct pronunciation of a name; they usually stress the wrong syllable. I do not think Kumara was used to signify anything but the sweet potato. But there are various plant-names of which Kumara forms the first part. There is Kumara-hou (“New Kumara”), which is applied to four different plants in various districts, i.e., the shrub Pomaderris elliptica; the small tree Quintinia serrata; the shrub Olearia Colensoi, and the herb Angelica Rosaefolia.
There arc also Kumara-kai-torouka, the shrub Olearia furfuracea; and the Kumara-rau-nui (large-leaved kumara), the shrub Qlearia Colensoi. None of these names is accented on the second syllable.
Kumara (sweet potato) and Kumarahou are accented on the first syllable. The others are not particularly stressed; all syllables are given the same value.
It does not appear that Kumara is anywhere a name for the clematis. The words for that plant are pikiarero and pua-wananga. Possibly the flowers of the Kumara-hou shrub were confused with those of the clematis by some of the early pakehas.
The Southern Lakes.
This euphonious name of New Zealand's most beautiful lake is really a corruption of the original Maori and is also misplaced, through a pioneer map-maker's error. It is from manavia-popore, meaning “throbbing heart,” which is one of the Mavora lakes, in the ranges near Wakatipu. The ancient and very appropriate name of Manapouri is Motu-rau, meaning “Hundred Islands,’ or “Many Islands,” This information was given to me by old Maoris of Southland in 1903.page break
Viceregal Visit to Railway Workshops.
(Rly. Publicity and “Evening Post” photos.)
On 20th August, their Excellencies, Lord and Lady Galway, paid a visit to the Railway Department's Workshops in the Hutt Valley, Wellington. The illustration show: (1) and (2) their Excellencies, accompanied by the Minister of Railways, the Hon. D. G. Sullivan, and the General Manager of Railways, Mr. G. H. Mockley, at Lambton Station before their departure for the Workshops; (3) and (4) arrival at the Workshops; (5) in the Heavy Machine Shop (M: W. D. Burton, Works Manager, on left); (6) in the Erecting Shop; (7) and (8) scenes to the Moulding Shop.