Discoverers of the Cook Islands and the Names They Gave
A raised-reef island, described as roughly circular, or oval in ahape, reflecting the outline of the submerged volcano.
Area: 18.4 km2. Diameter: 6.4 km N-S, 4 km E-W. Radius: 2.51 km.
The centre is a low-lying and flattish basalt plateau: 3.2 × 2 km; 30 m above sea level. Surrounding makatea: up to 1.6 km wide; 20 m above sea level. Between makatea and plateau swamp-land in the east, west, and north. A reef, pierced by six passages encircles the island. Depth of ocean floor: 4,500 m.
Position: 20°08′30″S, 157°21′20″W. Population: 1966: 671, 1971: 763. 1975: 806.
Mauke to Rarotonga: 277 km, to Atiu: 92 km, to Mitiaro: 59 km.
The most easterly of the Cook Islands is named after a settler from Avaiki called Uke or Uki. The “Land of Uke” was called Mauke (Ma'uke) or Mauki(1). (In a genealogical account Uke is called Uke-umu-o-te-vaarua-kino, that is: Uke-oven-of-the-evil-pit. “He came to this world, and became a man,” the account says, inferring that his ancestors were gods. His primeval parents were Atea and Papa. Uke married Puai-angauta, and their daughter, Tara-matie-toro, was taken as wife by Tura, a son or grandson of Atiu-mua from Atiu. “It was these two who spread the population of Mauke and Atiu.” The genealogy gives then 25 generations down to Pare-pora, who lived at the time of the introductoun [sic] of the Gospel (2).
On a visit to Mauke Tangiia of Rarotonga married two sisters, Moe-tuma and Pua-tara, who according to one accoun were daughters of Uke (3).
Ruatapu of Aitutaki paid a visit to Mauke too. During his stay in Tonga, Ruatapu sent his son by a Tongan woman to his son in Rarotonga. The latter, however, sent his younger brother, Moenau, to the Nga-Pu-Toru. Moenau settled on Mauke, and married Te Rau-maro-kura. Their son, Te Au-kura, became ariki of Mauke-tau. Before Ruatapu himself arrived at Mauke, his son was killed by the Maukeans at Avaavaroa. Recognising his grandson, Ruatapu took revenge by killing great numbers of the Mauke people (4).
For some time prior to the arrival of the Gospel the Maukeans had been under the domination of Atiu. Raiding parties from Atiu went over from time to time for food and women (5).
Once the wife of a Maukean chief was abducted by a chief from Atiu, named Aka-ina. When the husband killed Akaina. Rongomatane of Atiu crossed over to Mauki in a fleet of eighty war canoes. Instead of defending themselves, as the Miti-aro people had done, the Maukeans fled to their caves, but many were hauled out, clubbed to death, and baked in ovens. Rongomatane placed one of his men, Tarero, in charge of the island.page 25
The remnant of the fugitives rebuilt their huts, and then turned under the leadership of Maiti against the small party of Atiuans, killing some of them, including the father of Tararo. One of the Atiuans, Kairae, succeeded in launching a canoe, and via Mitiaro reached Atiu. Once again Rongomatans went to Mauke, and Maiti and his warriors were cooked and eaten, but women and children were spared. Tararo was again left in charge (6).
The classical names of the island are Te Rae-O-Te-Pa'u, meaning: The Lip of the Drum; it was also the original name of Rurutu (7), and Akatoka- Manava (8). Gill gives as the meaning of “akatoka”: Stony. “Manava” means “heart” (seat of emotions). Thus he translates Akatoka-Manava as “Stony Heart” It was according to him the secret name of the island's etherial form in the netherworld (9). Against this translation is the fact that in Maori the adjective comes after the noun.
An informant gave the following explanation: When Uke came ashore, he had here his first good rest since he started his voyage. When he awoke, he called the place: Akatoka-Manava, that is: My Heart Rested. Hence other translations: The Place of Rest (10), A Heart in Peace, or A Heart in Love (11).
Mauke was discovered by John Williams on June 23, 1823 (14), not in 1822 (15). In 1823 John Williams and Mr Bourns decided to go to Aitutaki, and from there search for Rarotonga. As they did not find Rarotonga, they went to Mangaia, and from there to Atiu. Rongomatane accompanied the missionaries to Mitiaro and Mauke, where he exhorted the people, subject to him, to destroy their idols and to accept the word of Jehovah. The teacher who took up residence at Mauke was Haavi (16). The population at that time was estimated at about 300 (17).
The next ship was the “Blonde”, commanded by Captain Lord Byron, who had conveyed the bodies of the Hawaiian King and Queen, who died in England, to their own country. The “Blonde” arrived at Mauke on Aug. 8, 1825. Lord Byron named it Parry Island in honour of Sir Edward Parry of the Admiralty. He spelt the native name as Mauti (18). Other spellings were: Manke (19), Maute (20), Mauké (21), Maouti, and Mante (21a).
The Gospel did not end the Atiuan domination. In the 1840s an armed expedition of Atiuans went to Mauke, but returned home without battle, when they heard that a resident European trader had supplied the Maukeans with muskets (22). In 1895 Tararo ariki was deprived of his rank by the Atiuan ariki, Ngamaru, and during the Protectorate period land leases had to be approved by the Atiu-an ariki (23). Tararo, who died in 1909, was a descendant of Rata (24) and of Ruatapu (25).
On Nov. 1, 1888 Captain Bourke of H.M.S. “Hyacinth” hoisted the British Flag (26), and Mauke became a member of the Cook Islands Federation until it was annexed to New Zealand in 1901. The population at that time was 370 (27).
The sea-shore village of Kimiangatau was founded in Sept./Oct. 1904 as a result of the animosity between those who remainad faithful to the L.M.S, and those who had recently accepted the Roman Catholic Faith (28).
Torea Katorika 1916, p. 1344
189: I 359
This Rarotongan ironwood image in the British Museum is labelled: ‘Te Rongo and his three sons’. There is no record that the Rarotongan god Te Rongo had three sons, but the Mangaian god Rongo was the Father of the three ancestors of the Ngariki tribe.
(After photographs in Poignant's Oceanic Mythology, opposite inside frontcover, and p. 36).