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Legends of the Maori

Roina and Urirau Return to Aitutaki

page 88

Roina and Urirau Return to Aitutaki

The younger brother. Roina, was the first to return to Aitutaki. He was at once taken before the marae of Rongo, and was requested by the Ui-ariki to pray to the god. He replied: “My elder brother, Uri, is coming.” Thus he lost his arki-ship. Not long afterwards the elder brother, Urirau, arrived. Upon approaching the reef he shouted: “Here am I, Taruia-maki-toro, who have come to my land of Avarua. Where is my division?” He was then taken by the Ui-ariki before the marae to recite his incantations. Upon his praying the living sacrifices at once fell dead. He was at once installed as the divider of food, priest and protector of Avarua, as his descendants are at this day. They claim also to be ariki from their ancestor, but this has not been conceded to them.

Ruatapu retained the title of ariki until his death, when it went to his grandson, Maevakura, son of Kirikava. Maevakura begat Maeva-rangi, who took to wife Puri-te-rei’. to whom was born Maine-marae-rua (a daughter); she migrated to Rarotonga and was married to Tamaiva.

Tamaiva died without issue. Maine-marae-rua then married a second husband named Te-ii-mate-tapu, who was a branch of the ariki family of Iro. To them was born Marouna, who was a bad ariki, killing his people. Marouna took to wife Ratia, to whom was born Tane. At this time old Maevarangi sent the canoe of Tuoarangi to Rarotonga with instructions to find the children of Maine-marae-rua and ask them to come to Aitutaki and slay the Aitu clan—a tere (or migration) of warriors who had arrived at Aitutaki. He, being old and feeble, wished them to come at once.

Tuoarangi arrived safely at Rarotonga and gave his message to Maine-marae-rua, who at once sent for her son, Marouna, and informed him of the arrival of the messenger from his grandfather at Aitutaki, with the message that he was to be in haste and not waste time in building a canoe but to try and procure one already made. After much trouble Marouna succeeded in purchasing a canoe from Angainui, the name of which was Te-mata-o-te-kovi-riviri, with the proviso that the name of the canoe was not to be changed. He then set to work to collect picked warriors, amongst whom was his own son Tane.

They then set sail and arrived at Mangaia (A’ua’u was its name at that time). Here he landed, and after several battles succeeded in persuading Ue and Kavau, with their warriors, to join his tere. He then changed the name of his canoe and called it by the new name of Rau-ti-para-ki-a’ua’u. Leaving Mangaia they arrived at Maketu (now named Mauke). Landing there, they again went to war, and succeeded in getting the warriors, Tara-te-ku’i and Tara-te-kurapa to join them. Again starting, they page 89 sailed to Nukuroa (now called Mitiaro). Here in the same way as at the other islands they gave battle to the inhabitants and were reinforced by the warriors Tara-tutuma and Tara-tuau, who joined the tere. From Nukuroa they went to Te-enua-manu (now called Atiu), where they were joined by Tara-apai-toa-i-Atiu. From Te-enua-manu they went to Te-tapuae-manu (now called Manuae or Hervey Island), at which island they again gave battle, and after several victories sailed towards Aitutaki, having been joined at Te-tapuae-manu by a warrior named Kaura. Arriving off Aitutaki, they fell in with a canoe on board which was Koro-ki-matangi and Koro-ki-vananga, who were out in search of their father, Tavake. Marouna told them to go on shore and await his return. He would not land as he was going to Vare-a-tao (Niue, or Savage Island) to get more warriors. After a tempestuous voyage Marouna arrived there, and after a great deal of fighting succeeded in getting the warrior Titia, and returned to Aitutaki.

He arrived at Aitutaki during the night, and entered the passage Ruai-kakau, and anchored his canoe at a place called Turi. The same night he, with some comrades, went on an exploring expedition. Meeting some of the natives, they enquired: “Where is the house of Maeva?” Upon the house being pointed out to them they approached and knocked at the door. Maeva was inside, and hearing the noise, enquired as to who was there. He received the answer, “It is I, the son of Maine-marae-rua.” Maeva replied: “I do not believe you; you are telling me lies. How did you manage to come here, and where do you come from?” Marouna replied, “I have come because you sent Tuoarangi to fetch me.” Maeva was delighted at this, and, opening the door, fell on the neck of his grandson in an ecstacy of joy. Marouna then, by order of Maeva, sent for all his people to come ashore and drag up the canoe.

This they did as silently as possible, at a place called Tangoro. They then endeavoured to conceal their canoe, which they accomplished by placing it at the bottom of a pool of water; this pool they called Vai-veu (muddy water), which name it retains to the present day. They then returned to the house of Maeva, at Te-rangi-atea, and refreshed themselves, and Marouna crept secretly to the neighbouring houses. It being night time he entered without being seen. He crept around, feeling with his hands the heads of the sleepers. If the head felt heavy he strangled the sleeper, as he deemed the heavy heads to be warriors; the light heads he allowed to sleep on. So he went on from house to house, and returned home before morning. He then roused his warriors and went to battle with the Aitu clan. Having so many noted champions with him he routed them completely. He and his men killed all they could find. Thence he and his page 90 warriors went on to the islands in the lagoon, shouting their war-cries, saying Marouna had conquered eight lands and was lord over all. There was only one man left out of the Aitu tribe, who had concealed the corpse of his father in a screw-pine tree (ara). This man’s name was Tangaroa-iku-reo. Upon the departure of Marouna and his warriors to the motu, or islands, Tangaroa-iku-reo wrapped the body of his father in leaves and dragged it through the sea to a passage named Ra’o-taka, where he meant to send it to the ocean. But, approaching the passage, he saw a number of sharks and other large fish awaiting their prey. He changed his mind and went to another passage called Te Maora. Here were the sharks as before, so he went to the passage called Vaimoa. The sharks were also here, so he travelled on to Take-take; here he launched the body to sea. The passage was then named Teka’ia-kikau-a-tuauru.

He then swam back to the mainland and landed at Pou-tua-kava. He afterwards took to wife Veka.

Upon the return of Marouna from the islands he divided out his warriors and procured wives for them from the women who owned the lands, which was given to them by Te-erui. Marouna was installed as ariki, and his descendants are the arikis of Aitutaki to this day. The present principal land-holders of Aitutaki are also the descendants of the warriors of Marouna, who were married to the women left of Ru’s tribe, amongst whom the land was divided by Te-erui.