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Old New Zealand: Being Incidents of Native Customs and Character in the Old Times by A Pakeha Maori


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A pakeha tutua—A mean, poor European.—p. 18.

Bare Motiti—The Island of Motiti is often called “Motiti wahie kore,” as descriptive of the want of timber, or bareness of the island. A more fiercely contested battle, perhaps, was never fought than that on Motiti, in which the Ngati Kuri were destroyed.—p. 158.

E aha te pai?—What is the good (or use) of him? Said in contempt.—p. 18.

Haere mai! &c.—Sufficiently explained as the native call of welcome. It is literally an invitation to advance.—p. 14.

Hahunga—A hahunga was a funeral ceremony, at which the natives usually assembled in great numbers, and during which “baked meats” were disposed of with far less economy than Hamlet gives us to suppose was observed “in Denmark.”—p. 13.

Jacky-poto—Short Jack; or stumpy Jack.—p. 152.

Kainga—A native town, or village: their principal headquarters.—p. 13.

Kia Kotahi ki te ao! Kia kotahi ki te po!—A close translation would not give the meaning to the English reader. By these words the dying person is conjured to cling to life, but as they are never spoken until the person to whom they page 214 are addressed is actually expiring, they seemed to me to contain a horrid mockery, though to the native they no doubt appear the promptings of an affectionate and anxious solicitude. They are also supposed to contain a certain mystical meaning.—p. 200.

Ki au te mataika—I have the mataika. The first man killed in a battle was called the mataika. To kill the mataika. To kill the mataika, or first man, was counted a very high honour, and the most extraordinary exertions were made to obtain it. The writer once saw a young warrior, when rushing with his tribe against the enemy, rendered almost frantic by perceiving that another section of the tribe would, in spite of all his efforts, be engaged first, and gain the honour of killing the mataika. In this emergency he, as he rushed on, cut down with a furious blow of his tomahawk, a sapling which stood in his way, and gave the cry which claims the mataika. After the battle the circumstances of this question in Maori chivalry having been fully considered by the elder warriors, it was decided that the sapling tree should, in this case, be held to be the true mataika, and that the young man who cut it down should always claim, without question, to have killed, or, as the natives say, “caught,” the mataika of that battle.—p. 174.

Mana—As the meaning of this word is explained in the course of the narrative, it is only necessary to say that in the sense in which it is used here, it means dominion or authority.—p. 3.

Mere ponamu—A native weapon made of a rare green stone, and much valued by the natives.—p. 24.

Na! Na! mate rawa!—This is the battle cry by which a warrior proclaims, exultingly and tauntingly, the death of one of the enemy.—p. 58.

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No hea—Literally, from whence? Often used as a negative answer to an inquiry, in which case the words mean that the thing inquired for is not, or in fact is now-where.—p. 2.

Pakeha—An Englishman; a foreigner.—p. 3.

Rangatira—A chief, a gentleman, a warrior. Rangatira pakeha—A foreigner who is a gentleman (not a tutua, or nobody, as described above), a rich foreigner.—p. 20.

Tangi—A dirge, or song of lamentation for the dead. It was the custom for the mourners, when singing the tangi, to cut themselves severely on the face, breast, and arms, with sharp flints and shells, in token of their grief. This custom is still practised, though in a mitigated form. In past times, the mourners cut themselves dreadfully, and covered themselves with blood from head to feet. See a description of a tangi further on.—p. 3.

Taniwha—A sea monster: more fully described further on.—p. 30.

Taonga—Goods; property.—p. 20.

Taua—A war party; or war expedition.—p. 42.

Tena koutou; or Tenara ko koutou—The Maori form of salutation, equivalent to our “How do you do?”—p. 54.

Tino tangata—A “good man,” in the language of the prize-ring; a warrior; or literally, a very, or perfect man.—p. 30.

Toa—A warrior of pre-eminent courage; a hero.—p. 179.

Torere—An unfathomable cave, or pit, in the rocky mountains, where the bones of the dead, after remaining a certain time in the first burying place, are removed to and thrown in, and so finally disposed of.—p. 72.

Tu ngarahu—This is a muster, or review, made to ascertain the numbers and condition of a native force; generally page 216 made before the starting of an expedition. It is, also, often held as a military spectacle, or exhibition, of the force of a tribe when they happen to be visited by strangers of importance: the war dance is gone through on these occasions, and speeches declaratory of war, or welcome, as the case may be, made to the visitors. The “review of the Taniwha,” witnessed by the Ngati Kuri, was possibly a herd of sea-lions, or sea-elephants; animals scarcely ever seen on the coast of that part of New Zealand, and, therefore, from their strange and hideous appearance, at once set down as an army of Taniwha. One man only was, at the defeat of the Ngati Kuri, on Motiti, rescued to tell the tale.—p. 153.

Tupara—A double gun; an article, in the old times, valued by the natives above all other earthly riches.—p. 12.

Tutua—A low, worthless, and, above all, a poor, fellow— a “nobody.”—p. 18.

Utu—Revenge, or satisfaction; also payment.—p. 26.