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Legends of the Maori

Yon Enchanted Isle. — A Song for Whakaari

page 305

Yon Enchanted Isle.

A Song for Whakaari.

This waiata was heard at Matata, Bay of Plenty, 1903, sung by an old man as he sat on the banks of Te-Awa-a-te-Atua, looking out across the sandhills and the sea to Whakaari (White Island). He compared the ceaseless fires of the volcano to his long-ago youthful love for the girl Hinehore.

Far o’er the sea
Whakaari’s snowy vapours curl
And poise in clouds on high.
From goblin torch those clouds arise,
The island Tipua’s* flames and smoke
Even like the ceaseless fires
Of yon enchanted isle
Burns my abiding love
For the young maid Hinehore.
Alas, only in fancy, only in words
Can I embrace her;
She is parted far from me.

* Tipua, a tutelar spirit; genius loci. In this case the volcanic forces of White Island personified.