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Legends of the Maori

The Legend of Maui Tikitiki-O-Taranga — His Search for His Sister Hina

page 134

The Legend of Maui Tikitiki-O-Taranga
His Search for His Sister Hina

IRA-WHAKI and his wife Taranga had five sons, whose names were: Maui-mua, Maui-taha, Maui-pae, Maui-roto, and Maui-Tikitiki-o-Ta- ranga. Maui-Tikitiki-o-Taranga, the youngest, was prematurely born, and, as the custom was in those days, he was cast into the sea. His mother, before doing this, wrapped him up in the topknot of her hair. Hence his name Maui-Tikitiki-o-Taranga (Maui—who-was-wrapped-in-the-topknot-of-Taranga’s hair). Tangaroa (Neptune), the god of the sea, took pity on the shapeless mass of Maui, and thus Maui was brought up by him till he reached matured manhood. Then he was told about his birth and origin, after which he longed to go to his own people. He appeared at a gathering of musicians and dancers where his mother and brothers were.

Now, it was the mother’s custom to count her children before ret ring to rest, and this evening when she counted them there were five instead of four. Maui revealed himself and was acknowledged by his mother as being her lastborn child. His brothers became jealous of him because their mother showered her love on Maui. The mother used to disappear every day. Maui-Tikitiki, having noticed this, determined to find out where she went, and so, one night he hid her cloak and delayed her considerably till it was quite daylight. Then he followed her and found her disappearing beneath a tuft of wiwi grass. After she had gone for some time he lifted up the wiwi and found it was the entrance to a large cave.

Transforming himself into a pigeon, he followed his mother till he came to a new bright world, and there he sat on a tree. The inhabitants of this new world all exclaimed, “He rupé, he rupé!” (“a pigeon, a pigeon”), and all began to pelt him with stones. His father, luckier than the rest, struck him on the breast. He came fluttering to the ground, but, lo! when they went to lay hold of him he transformed himself into a man, and so his mother made him known to his father.

Now, Maui had a most beautiful sister, Hina by name. She was married to Ira-Waru. Maui and his brother-in-law one day went a-fishing. Ira-Waru caught all the fish, which irritated Maui to a great degree. Eventually, their lines became entangled, and Maui claimed the fish as being on his line, while the brother-in-law protested the fish was on his. However, when Maui pulled in the fish he found to his great surprise that his brother-in-law was right. In unhooking the fish he noticed that his page 135
Maui Transforms Himself into a Pigeon.

Maui Transforms Himself into a Pigeon.

page break page 137 brother-in-law’s hook had a barb and his had none. When they got ashore Maui said to Ira-Waru, “You get under the outrigger while I lift the canoe.” But as soon as he perceived that Ira-Waru was well under he jammed the outrigger on to him. Then, by rnagic, he prolonged his nose into the snout of a dog, and his backbone into a tail, and thus Ira-Waru became the progenitor of dogs. When Maui reached home his sister asked him as to what had become of his brother-in-law, and in reply Maui said: “You go down to the canoe and help him bring back the fish, and should he be out of sight, you call to him in this wise, ‘Moi, moi.’” So Hina went down and did as she was bidden, and lo! Ira-Waru, her husband, answered her call by crying, “Hao, hao, hao!” and when he appeared he began licking her hand and wagging his tail.

When Hina discovered this vile deed she committed suicide by throwing herself into the restless sea. Now, Maui-mua wept and longed for his lost sister, and being consumed with grief, he sought aid from Rehua, the deity, whose habitation was in the Tenth Heaven. When he reached Naherangi he said to the god, “O great Rehua, in thy musings hast thou heard murmurings from the worlds below?” and Rehua answered and said, “Yea, even so, from Motutapu, the Sacred Island.” Maui-mua, changing himself into a pigeon, pursued his noiseless flight through the ten heavens to the abode of Hina, his sister.

Hina, after throwing herself into the sea, was for many days buffeted by the waves, and she was wafted by the wind to Motutapu. Two brothers, Ihu-atamai and Ihu-weriweri, found her and, with the aid of incantations and the sacred fire, she was restored to her former beauteous shape and looks. Tinirau, the overlord of the Island, hearing of her great beauty, sent for her and made her his chief wife. This naturally led to dissensions in is household. Consequently, Hina was badly treated by the other wives. It was at this time that Maui landed on the window-sill of Tinirau’s house, where all the people exclaimed, “He rupé, he rupé (“a pigeon, a pigeon”) and they began to throw spears. But “Rupe” dodged all the spears, and then he transformed himself into a man, thus revealing himself to his sister, whom he took with him to the Tenth Heaven to offer his thanks to the Supreme Being.

Now, Rehua had a son, Kaitangata by name, who became enamoured with Hina. Maui, in building a latrine for Kaitangata, put in the post of Whaitiri loosely, so that when Kaitangata took hold of the post it became uprooted and he, falling over the cliff, was killed. That is why-even to this day-when a Maori beholds the blood-red skies in the west, he exclaims, “Ka tuhi Kaitangata” (“Behold, the besmeared blood of Kaitangata”).