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Hawaiki: The Original Home of the Maori; with a Sketch of Polynesian History

Raro or Roro

Raro or Roro.

The above word enters into so many names of ancient places, that it probably had at one time the meaning of "land, region, country, etc.,;" of course Raro and Roro are identical—the change from "a" to "o" being very common in Polynesia—and is possibly connected with oro, which clearly meant at one time, a mountain, of which many illustrations might be given. The following names are given in Maori tradition:—Raro-whara, Raro-henga or Rorohenga, Raro-hana, Raro-whana, Raro-pouri, Raro-waia, and Rarotonga, which last is undoubtedly the island of that name, chief island of the Cook group. But it is questionable if this latter can be classed with the others, for we have the distinct statement in the traditions that its name was given by Tangiia (circa 1250) on securing directions where to find it, by going west (raro) and south page 56(tonga) — the previous name was Tumu-te-varovaro. Raro-hana may probably be looked for in the far west, for it is connected with the story of the Deluge; but the others cannot be identified, unless we are justified in thinking Gi-lolo or Ji-lolo of Indonesia to represent One of them. But we do not know to what language Gi-lolo belongs—it may have been the original Polynesian name of that island, corrupted into its present form by the later occupants. Fornander identifies O-lolo-i-mehani, found in the Hawaiian traditions with Gi-lolo—lolo being the stem word of the name.