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Legends of the Maori

The Origin of “Ariki Toa.”

page 199

The Origin of “Ariki Toa.”

SOON after Mr. Massey became Prime Minister of New Zealand the name of his Ministerial residence in Tinakori Road, Wellington, was changed to “Ariki-Toa.” This is the story.

Mr. Massey, Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Coates, Sir James Carroll, myself and one or two others met in Bellamy’s one day. The chief was in excellent form. He told a story so tall that we all roared with laughter. Sir James Carroll punched me in the ribs and spoke in Maori. He asked: “He tangata pewhea to Ariki?” (“What manner of man is this chief of yours?”).

I replied in Maori, on the spur of the moment: “I te wha o te kata he ariki katakata. I te wha o te riri e! He ariki toa!” (“In time of mirth a laughing chief, in time of war a fighting chief!”)

“Timi Kara” was so enamoured with this that he stopped the buzz around the table, and said to Mr. Massey: “Pomare has coined a new proverb for you,” which he proceeded to quote.

This was the birth of the name “Ariki-Toa.” It pleased Mr. Massey so much that it took the place of “Awarua” on his gate.