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Legends of the Maori

Part II. — Polynesian History — The Origin of the Coconut—A Legend of — Manahiki Island

Part II.
Polynesian History
The Origin of the Coconut—A Legend of
Manahiki Island

page 79

The Traditions of Aitutaki, Cook Islands
The First Inhabitants of Aitutaki
The History of Ru

THE first man who came to Aitutaki from Avaiki [Hawaiki] was Ru. He came in a canoe named Nga-Puariki, seeking for new lands. The canoe was a large double one, a katea, namely two canoes fastened together. The name of the cross-pieces of wood which fasten on the outriggers are called kiato. The names of the kiato were as follows: the foremost Tane-mai-tai, the centre one Te-pou-o-Tangaroa, and the after one Rima-auru.

They arrived at the island and entered a passage named Aumoana. They landed and erected a Ma, which they named Pauriki, after their canoe. (Ma means a place of evil spirits.) They also erected a Ma inland, which they named Vaikuriri, which was the name of Ru’s god, Kuriri, brought with them from Avaiki.

Ru called the land Araura, which means, the place to which the wind drove him in his search for land. He appointed a number of Koromatua as lords of the island, (Koromatua=literally, old people, or tupuna.) Their names were: E Rongo-turu-kiau, E Rongo-te-Pureiau, Mata-ngaae-kotingarua, Tai-teke-te-ivi-o-te-rangi, Iva-ii-marae-ara, Ukui-e-Veri, Taakoi-i-tetaora.

These were the lords of the island as appointed by Ru. There remained the rest of the people who came with him, consisting of men, women and children. Ru’s people must have numbered over 200. These people settled down on the land and increased to a large number. Now follows the genealogy from Ru: page 80 and many others. These formed the tribe of Ati-Ru, which is also Ngati-Ru. The families branched off and populated the island.

It was said that it was Ru who raised the heavens, as they were resting before his time on the broad leaves of plants, called rau-teve. Hence his name, Ru-Te-toko-rangi. He sent for the gods (tini atua) of night and the gods of day, the god Iti, and the god Tonga, from the west and north, to assist him in his work. He prayed to them: “Come, all of you and help me to lift up the heavens.” And they came in answer to his call. He then chanted the following song:

“O son! O son! Raise my son!
Raise my son!
Lift the Universe! Lift the Heavens!
The Heavens are lifted.
It is moving!
It moves,
It moves!”

The heavens were raised accordingly. He then chanted the following song to secure the heavens in their place:

“Come, O Ru-taki-nuku,
Who has propped up the heavens.
The Heavens were fast, but are lifted,
The Heavens were fast, but are lifted,
Our work is complete.”

Thus the heavens were securely fastened in their place. The work being finished, the god of night and the god of day returned to their homes; the god Iti and the god Tonga returned to their homes, and the gods from the west and north also returned home; the work was done. The heavens and the earth being now in a settled condition, the people commenced to increase and multiply, and they also built marae, or sacred places.

page 81

The Migrations after Ru

Afterwards another canoe arrived at the island, at the head of which was Te-erui, also from Avaiki i raro (westward). This was the second canoe that came to the island Araura, afterwards named Aitutaki.

The ancestors of Te-erui were:— whose brothers were Matareka and Tavi, besides three sisters—Raua, Puanga and Naoa.

Te-erui built a canoe which he called Viripo. The outrigger was named Moe-takauri. The name of the mast was Tu-te-rangi-marama. He set out on his voyage in search of lands. After being at sea for some time he encountered heavy gales of wind and was compelled to return to Avaiki. He was asked by the priests the reason of this return. He replied: “Because of the tempestuous weather.” The next question by the priest was: “What was the name of your mast?” The reply was: “Tu-te-rangi-marama.” The priest then informed him that this name was the reason of his being sent back. “Where is the mast of Rongo and Tangaroa?” The priest then enquired the name of the canoe. The answer was: “Viripo and Moetakauri.” The priest then informed him that was another reason of his failure. The priest then set to work and built a canoe which, when finished, they named Rangi-pae-uta, and the outrigger they called Rangipae-tai. They set up two masts belonging to Rongo and Tangaroa; the forward one was Rongo’s and the after one Tangaroa’s. These are the names of the stays to the masts: Iku-manavenave mua, and Iku-manavenave-muri. The name of the baler was Au-au-maro-renga.

He then made another start with his people (tini tangata) and reached Aitutaki (“led by the gods”). When close to the reef, he slew a victim (ivi) named Te-rua-karaea; he also slew Te-rua-ku. He then entered the passage through the reef, which received the name of Ruaikakau. Upon Landing he commenced boasting of his ancestors, saying: “I am Te-erui; page 82 I was the foremost warrior of Avaiki; I am the maker of harbours; I made the harbour at Avaiki, and I found the road to Aitutaki!”

He then slew a victim named Mokoroa, and went on killing others until he came to Perekiatu, when he went inland and remained there, and named the place Kakeu-te-rangi. The brother Matareka stopped at Ureia, also named Aurupe-te-rangi, while Te-erui proceeded inland, killing people as he went, that is the tribe of Ru.

Upon returning home to his marae he had a good inspection of the island, and saw it was a fine land, and beautiful. He then went into his canoe and sailed as far as Arutanga, and there rested, and called it the “Tears of Te-erui.” He then went as far as Reu-reu. He again went ashore and named the place Tukinga-rangi. Proceeding further inland he erected a marae, which he called Kopu-le-rangi. Here he established himself and settled down, and took possession of the district, which was called Te-Reureu-i-te-mata-o-Te-erui (“Tears of Reureu”).

War now began, and the tribe of Ru were exterminated, with the exception of the women, and Te-erui was left lord of the land. Te-erui gave a quantity of land back to these women who were saved, who were called Pa-aitu-vaine-a-Ru. He divided the land among these women, who were declared to be the legitimate owners of the land, as their descendants are at the present day. The following divisions of districts were made:— (1) To Maine Pirouru and Maine Puarangi he gave the district of Kukunoni. (2) To Are-kaponga and Kava he gave the district of Vaiorea. (3) To Tutapuiva he gave Kaiau. (4) To Ruanoo he gave Taravao. (5) To Tepaku-o-avaika and Tetua-ono-ariki he gave Tatu. (6) To Tekura-i-vaea he gave Mataotane. (7) To Pau he gave Vaipae. (8) To Pa-Tepaeru he gave Oako. (9) To Pakiara he gave Avanui. (10) To Kura-i-te-ra he gave Vaipeka. (11) To Tutunoa and Te-kura he gave Vaitupa. (12) To Tearoitau he gave Taakarere. (13) To Ara-ki-te-ra he gave Punoua. (14) To Te-kui-ono-taua and Roroara he gave Anaunga. (15) To Te-vaine-pirirangi he gave Punganui. (16) To Ara-au he gave Ureia.

Te-erui kept the district of Arutanga and Reu-reu for himself, which are the two harbours; thus this district became the regal district-there were no ariki at this time. The land was now settled and quiet.

Te-erui had the following descendants: His sons Take-take, and Onga; these begat Ati-auru-upoko, who begat Rongo-mai-eau, who begat Uta-taki-enua, who gave the island the name of Aitutaki, making two names. Uta-taki-enua begat Ru-paaka, who begat Taruia-ariki. This was the first of the ariki in the land.

Upon his death the title came to Taruia-iria, then to Taruia-akatipi-tipi, then to Taruia-munaea, then to Pitoroa, then to Moukaki. These are all Taruia who held the title of ariki.

page 83

The Explorations of Ruatapu

Afterwards another canoe arrived at Aitutaki from raro mai (westward). This made the third canoe that came to the land. This canoe belonged to Ruatapu, who came in search of his children, who had sailed away before him. The eldest son was sent away first, with instructions from his father to go to Avarua (Rarotonga) and be an ariki. His name was Tamaiva. He was followed by his brother, named Moenau, with instructions from his father to go in search of his brother to Avarua: “You will both be ariki there.” Upon the arrival of Ruatapu at Avarua in Rarotonga, where he found his eldest son, who was there ruling as an ariki. Ruatapu at once enquired where Tamaiva’s brother was. He replied: “1 have sent him to Maketu” (? Mauke). At this reply the father said: “Why did you do this? If this is true I have nothing to say; your brother is dead.” Then he went on to say to his son: “O, my son, I am going to find your brother.”

He sailed away, and at last reached Mauke, where he landed and went in search of his son. In this search he examined all he could find in the hope of recognising him. One day he came across a little child with the exact features of his son. He enquired from the child: “Whose child are you?” He replied: “I am the son of Moenau.” As this reply the grandfather became agitated, and said: “You are my own.” He recognised the features of his son, and then enquired from the child: “Where is Moenau?” The child replied: “He is dead; he was killed at Avaavaroa.”

The father, Ruatapu, was much grieved at this, but endured his sorrow in silence. He set his wits to work to find a way for revenge on Mauke for the slaying of his son, who was much beloved. He sent for the people of Pu (Tini o Pu) and the tribes of Oata, who made war on Mauke and exterminated the people. He took his grandson and sailed with his tere for Atiu; here he landed, breaking the makatea (coral rocks) for a road, and did other work there.

He then left Atiu and sailed to the westward until he reached Manuae (Hervey Island). Upon landing there he found the island populated and everything going on well and peacefully. To leave his mark he planted a gardenia (tiare maori) and a coconut tree. The gardenia he named Arava’ia, and the coconut he called Tui-o-rongo.

Ruatapu again went to sea, and sailed to the westward until he reached Aitutaki. He landed through a passage which he called Kopu-a-onu, or “the Belly of Ruatapu.” Upon landing the people quenched their thirst with coconuts at a place which they called Oka, that is, the opening page 84 (of the nut). He there took to wife Tutunoa, to whom was born a son, named Kirikava. Tutunoa and Te-kura, of Oneroa, were the lords of Vai-tupa. When this child reached maturity he built two marae, which were named Au-matangi and Aputu. The boy Kirikava then took to wife Tekura of Oneroa; to them was born a son, named Maevakura.

Ruatapu and Kirikava now set to work and manufactured two long fish-nets. Upon casting their nets all the luck was in favour of the son, while the net of Ruatapu was very unfortunate. This led to a quarrel between them. Ruatapu left his grandson and went to Anaunga, and stopped at Ana-uka. Whilst here a number of people came close by to procure food for the ariki, at Avarua. In those days the people were obliged to bring offerings to their ariki, or lords. (Note.—The people were obliged under severe censure, to carry to the ariki food grown on their land, pigs, large fish, such as sharks, turtle, urua, etc.) Ruatapu enquired from these people: “Where are you going?” They replied: “We are going to procure food for the ariki.

Ruatapu then asked: “Who is the ariki?” They replied: “He is Taruia, who lives at Tara-au-i-o-Rongo.” Ruatapu then sought means to be taken notice of by the ariki. This is the plan he finally adopted. He manufactured toy boats from leaves, and sent them adrift in the lagoon. One of the boats floated close to the seat of the ariki, and was taken before him, who then enquired who this ariki was “who is living at Te-upoko-enua” (head of the land). Ruatapu manufactured another toy canoe made from the leaves of the utu (Barringtonia speciosa). This also ultimately came before the ariki, who made enquiries again as to who this ariki was who lived to the eastward, and sent messengers to have him brought before him.

Delighted with the success of his plan, Ruatapu came before the ariki, Taruia, who was much pleased, and installed Ruatapu as a rangatira, or chief. They henceforth lived as one family. Ruatapu now became acquainted with the ariki’s ways and customs. He saw all the food and fruits that were growing on the island brought as an offering to the ariki, as also all the large fish, such as sharks, turtle, urua, eels, etc. He saw what a fine position the ariki held in the land. Ruatapu now became jealous, and sought means to secure the position for himself.

One day as he was conversing with Taruia he asked Taruia if he would not like another wife. Taruia said: “I would like to get another wife very much. The difficulty is where to find a suitable one.”

This being exactly what Ruatapu wanted, he replied: “I know where there are many handsome women, at the islands I have visited. We will build two canoes and sail to the islands in search of a new wife for you.”

page 85
Kirikava Casts His Net.

Kirikava Casts His Net.

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This being agreed upon, they set to work to build two large canoes, one for each of them. The canoe of Ruatapu being finished first, he proposed to Taruia that he should sail first, and Taruia should follow. This was agreed to, and Ruatapu set out. He had not gone further than Maina (a small islet inside the lagoon, but about five miles to the south of the mainland of Aitutaki), when he overturned his canoe purposely.

Upon the completion of Taruia’s canoe he also set sail, and overtook the canoe of Ruatapu floating on the water. Taruia was astonished to find his friend’s canoe overturned, and hastened to his assistance; but Ruatapu said to him: “Never mind, O King! you continue on your voyage; I can manage to right my canoe without your assistance.” So the ariki, Taruia, proceeded on his voyage to Rarotonga, and left Ruatapu to follow him. After Taruia had got a long distance off, Ruatapu quietly righted his canoe and returned to the land, and at once assumed the title of ariki in Taruia’s place.

The Voyage of Taruia to Mangarongaro (Penrhyn Island)

Taruia had not proceeded very far on his voyage when he was overtaken by heavy gales from the south, and his canoe was driven to Puka-tea, otherwise called Mangarongaro (now Penrhyn Island). Here he was made a chief. He landed through a passage which he named Taruia, after himself. The passage retains this name to the present day. He became sole ruler of this island, and took to wife Ruaatu, to whom was born Toaua, who took to wife Te-ara-kena, to whom was born Maui, who begat Taruia and Maru-o-te-ra. Taruia had a son named Urirau, and Maru-o-te-ra had a son named Roina.

These were the last words of the fathers to their sons Urirau and Roina: “When you have grown enough, go in search of Aitutaki, that is our true land. We do not belong here. The name of our piece of land (kainga) is Te-Poatu-papaia-a-te-tupuna, at Aitutaki. You are ariki, there, from your forefathers; the land is now being occupied by others.”

It appears that about this time something went wrong in the offerings at the marae of the god Rongo, in Aitutaki. The living sacrifices did not fall dead when the incantation was recited. So the people said: “The real ariki is not here; let us search for him.” Ultimately they discovered the real ariki at Mangarongaro Island.

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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.


The native historian of Aitutaki who gave the foregoing history of the Island people, added the following genealogical list:—

Ruatapu married again and begat Tamaiva and Moenau. (See history of Ruatapu.) Having sailed back to Aitutaki, he lived there and he married Tutunoa and begat Kirikava; Kirikava married Tekura-i-Oneroa, and they begat Maevakura. He married Te-nonoi-o-Iva, and they begat Maeva-rangi. He married Puri-te-Reinga, and they begat Maine-Marae-rua, page 91 who married Te-ii-mate-Tapu. Their child Marouna married Uenuku-kai-Atia. and they begat Tane Teaukura. He married Aka-ariki-o-te-Rangi, and they begat Te-tupu-o-Rongo, whose spouse was Katapu-ki-te-marae. The children of this pair were Ngarikitoko-a, Tekii-Koro, and Te Pare. From Ngariki the descent of the narrator of this history is:

The four chiefs of Aitutaki are all descendants of Ruatapu, viz. Tamatoa, Vaerua-rangi, Te-urukura, and Manarangi.

page 92

The Origin of the Coconut
A Legend of Manahiki Island

ONE beautiful evening my aged friend, a Maori of the old type, I finding the atmosphere of the whare too warm, proposed that we should bathe in the lagoon. I readily assented. The golden moon was just rising over the placid waters as my companion and I sat down to gaze silently at the bewitching scene, and drink in the enchantment of the place. After swimming for some time I rejoined my companion and picked up the shell of a coconut lying on the beach. While looking at it I was struck by the wonderful resemblance it had to a human face; and I remarked on it accordingly.

The old chief said nothing for a long time. At last he broke the silence by saying: “E papa koe, kaore e hinengaro ki nga tupuna” (“You are a white man, you will not care for our ancestral lore”). I must have offended him, for he then said, “Kaore he pekapeka” (“There is no harm”); and then I listened to the story of Tuna and his undying affection for Hina.

* * *

Away back in the twilight of fable, when the sons of the gods sometimes lived on earth (said the old man), there lived on this island a most voluptuous and beautiful maiden, by name Hina. She was eagerly sought after and wooed by the young arikis from near and far, but she favoured none with her love. Suddenly, for no accountable reason, a cloud of sadness seemed to settle over Hina. This increased as time went on, until all commented on it; and Hina grew sadder and thinner each day. At length Maui-potiki set to work to find out the cause of her trouble, and at last by accident he discovered it.

Hina was in the habit of coming down each evening to bathe in this very pool. It is and always has been a favourite bathing place of our people, and as Hina was sitting on this very rock, a man suddenly appeared. He was Tuna, Tangaroa’s first-born son, the handsomest merman in all his father’s realms. As only half of his body was visible, Hina did not know that he was a merman. He was so captivating that she fell in love with him at first sight; and to the lulling music of ocean wavelets they pledged their love. Tuna extorted a promise from the beautiful Hina that she should never enquire into his history, nor his dwelling place, and that she was to be content with seeing him only at night.

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Maui and Tuna.

Maui and Tuna.

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At first Hina was very happy, but one day she discovered that her husband was not as other men. His embraces were cold and clammy, and the mystery of his existence worried her. This went on for many moons until the lines of sadness cut deep into her face. For her there were no garlands of flowers; her soul no longer responded to the messages of love from “te ariki o te po” (the queen of the night).

Maui, the desperate lover, watched afar in silence; and as he sat one night by the water’s edge dreaming of Hina, he saw the form of a man rise out of the sea—yet it was not a man, for it was partly a fish. Maui hid himself in the thick vegetation. He saw Tuna disappear in the direction of Hina’s abode and recognised him, for know that Maui was nurtured by his great ancestor Tangaroa when he was cast into the sea in the top-knot of his mother Taranga’s hair.

Maui then knew the cause of all Hina’s troubles. As he passed Hina’s house next day he greeted her. “Kia orana” came the pathetic reply.

“You have been married a long time,” Maui said.

“Are you a god?” asked the startled Hina.

“I am,” said Maui. “Your husband only visits you during the night.”

“You are indeed a god,” replied Hina.

“I am,” said Maui. “His embraces are cold and clammy; his past is a mystery to you; you have never beheld him in the light of day. Hina, say but the word and I will dispel this cloud of darkness hovering o’er you. Give me the reward of reciprocated love, and happiness will be yours till, hand in hand, we shall walk in the land inhabited by the spirits of our, ancestors.”

“Maui, you must be a god,” said she. “And I would that I could listen to your words, but, as you know, I am barred by honour till my husband dies.”

The next day Maui was busy putting down skids, apparently for the launching of his canoe. These skids went straight along the place where Tuna generally came to Hina’s whare. At night he waited. He saw the majestic form of Tuna rise out of the depths and disappear.

When Tuna reached his wife’s abode he said: “Hina, I am about to die, I have a presentiment of evil. When you see my head severed from my body, run and bury it at the head of our favourite atamira (couch). Watch it and water it with your tears. After many days it will grow into a tree, and will bring forth much fruit. In each fruit you will see the matted hair and sorrowful face of your husband, Tuna, which will be as meat and page 96 drink to you and your children for ever. But remember it, Hina, as the token of my undying affection for you.”

Maui intercepted Tuna as the man-fish returned to the water, and he slew him. He severed the head of Tuna from his body on one of the skids. Hina followed out the instructions of the merman who had been her husband, and lo! the tree grew. The fruit appeared; and to this day Tuna lives in the memory of all men, for are not all these coconuts still named by the children of Hina, “te mata o Tuna” (the face of Tuna)?

“And so, friend,” said the old man as he ended his tale, “even to you Tuna and his undying love have been revealed. Kia orana.

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