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Tohi Rite or Dedication

page 5

Tohi Rite or Dedication

Ka tohia atu koe,
Ki te tohi nuku, ki te tohi rangi.
Kia hoaia koe ki te putiki whara,
Kia tiaia koe ki te manu rere rangi.
Te rau o titapa kia pai ai koe,
Te haere i runga ra.
I rangahaua koe i te po-uriuri,
I te po-tangotango.
I rakaitia koe ki te piki kotuku,
Te rau o te toroa, te huia titama.
Whakina e tama nga kupu o te riri,
Nga kupu o tawhiti hemea ka mau mai.
Ka kapiti runga e, ka kapiti raro e,
He pokanga nuku, he pokanga rangi.
Pou hihiko, pou rarama,
Tiaho i roto, marama i roto.
Tena te pou, te poutokomanawa,
Te pou o enei korero.
Hui te marama, hut te ora e-e.

Thou wilt be anointed (tohi)
by the blessing of earth and heavens.
Thou wilt be decorated with top-knot,
and be dressed as the flying bird.
The leaf of titapa (tree) to enable thee,
to march forward above.
Thou wast acclaimed from the depth of darkness,
and in the changeable nights.
Thou has been beautified with kotuku's feather,
and the feathers of toroa and huia.
Display my son the action of war,
And those far-reaching words you have learned.
Heaven will be closed and earth be united,
page 6 and will be at thy comman.
Be ambitious and clear-minded,
be shining within three and brightness upon.
Those the pillar, the main post of wisdom,
the post of protector of these saying.
Assembled brightness, and settled life.

For the benefit of our pakeha readers who have no knowledge of the custom of tohi we may here explain its purpose and the effect thereof. There were two kinds of tohi recited and performed by the Maori:—

Firstly, the tohi whakawahi or baptism or dedication. A form of this tohi has been used in the dedication of this book on the preceding page. The general purpose was: (1) To instil into the student insight and wisdom. (2) To fortify the student against the effect of black magic or evils brought about through trespassing on sacred places. (3) To implant courage to face and overcome any danger brought about by man's power.

Secondly, the tohi riri or tutu-ngarehu (war dance). This was performed to inspire enthusiasm and bravery and to create savagery. For these hakas there were no fixed incantations. Each party would call on its own special war-god, composing their rites according to their idea of the desire of their god. The rite was performed only by the leader or priest, as medium of the god, as is related in this book.