Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

Chapter VI. The Log-Books of the Migrations

page 77

Chapter VI. The Log-Books of the Migrations.

Several branches of the race have preserved in their traditions, a record of their migrations; but of all these that of the Marquesans is most full. In trying to locate the many places mentioned in these accounts, we shall succeed only with some of them, for this reason principally the tribal organisation amongst the Polynesians appears to be of very ancient date, and this was much emphasized when the people occupied Indonesia, from the fact of different branches having been separated from the others for generations in the numerous islands of that Archipelago. Even supposing the race to have been one in speech, customs, beliefs, etc., at the time it left the Father-land, progress through, and settlement on, the islands of the Archipelago in places separated by many miles of ocean, must have tended through local environment and lapse of time, to have caused a more or less tribal arrangement of the people. It thus came about that when the time arrived for them to move on into the Pacific, each tribe under its own chiefs and priests formed separate hekes, or migrations, carrying with them the ideas, modified customs, beliefs and speech, which they had acquired in their temporary homes. As these expeditions passed onwards towards the sunrise and discovered fresh lands —dwelling there for more or less lengthy periods—they would give names to these new lands which are retained in the page 78traditions of each particular branch of the race, but which may be quite unknown to other branches. A party of migrants arrives at some island, settles there for a time, gives the place a name, then moves onward, actuated by the growing desire of discovery—the desire to know what lies before them,—and departing, leaves no sign that can be interpreted into a name by those who follow. Other parties again follow somewhat different routes, giving different names to their discoveries; or they follow in the wake of the first-comers, but not knowing the names already given, apply fresh ones, which alone are retained in their records—to the exclusion of those given by the first discoverers. Hence we find such differences in the "logs" of the migrations. It is not until we approach Fiji, the general gathering ground of the race, that the names begin to accord more closely, and that because the later migrations found people of their own race in occupation of settled homes.

There is another cause of difficulty in reconciling these names, but it may be, and often is, overcome as further knowledge is gained. This is due to the change that takes place from time to time in the names of islands and places, which of course would only be known to the people who remained there, whilst those who have migrated would retain only the earlier name. The causes of these changes are not always apparent, but in some cases are probably due to the well-known Polynesian custom of altering the name of any thing or object when such name enters into that of one of their tapued chiefs; or, on the other hand it may be due to the occurrence of some notable event in the history of the people. The names of New Zealand illustrate these changes, though the origin of them is unknown: Nukuroa and Ukurangi (or Hukurangi) were page 79both, ancient names, but are now known to very few, the name of Aotea-roa having replaced them.

Some of these "Log-books" may now be quoted. That of the Maoris is extremely meagre; it is stated by the east coast tribes that they came from Tawhiti-nui, to Tawhiti-roa, to Tawhiti-pa-mamao, to Te Hono-i-wairua, and thence to New Zealand. Of course there are innumerable other names of places mentioned in Maori tradition, many of which have been noted, but this is the only statement I remember that gives the course of the migrations in regular sequence. The identification of these names is very difficult. It has been shown that the first of these names is that of a mountain in the fist of these names is that of a mountain in the original Hawaiki-nui, and Tawhiti-nui may here be used as a synonym for that name. Tawhiti-roa (Long Tawhiti) may be intended for Sumatra, Java, or the whole of Indonesia. Tawhiti-pa-mamao (the nearer Tawhiti) may be either Fiji or Tahiti, and Te Hono-i-wairua cannot be identified.*

There are indications in their traditions, but not precisely stated in sequence, that the later course of the migrations was viâ Mata-te-ra, Waerota, Waeroti, to Whiti, (Fiji). All of these islands can be shown by the traditions of other branches to lie to the north and west of Fiji though not now known by those names.

The Rarotonga account is more full; it is embodied in a karakia, or recitation called a kauraura, to be found in

* Tawhiti, in Maori, means distant, but in no other dialect of the Polynesian language is anything like it to be found. I therefore think it is a modern word in this sense, coined since the arrival of the people in New Zealand, and derived from the island whence they came—Tahiti—and really meant when first used, "as far off as Tahiti." Ta is a prefix of a causative nature, whiti, or hiti, is to rise up, as the sun.

page 80the Mss. brought by myself from Rarotonga in 1897, and another version of which, but not so full, has been published in the Rev. Dr. W. Wyatt Gills's "Life in the Southern Isles."

(Intoned by the Priest).
Speak thou ancient Tangaroa!
To thy worshippers.
Praise Tangaroa, praise him!

(By the People).
Praise him! praise him
Ha! Ha! (with dance)
Let the gods speak,
Let the chiefs rule,
We offer worship, O our Gods!

(Intoned by the Priest).
Atia-te-varinga-nui is the original laud
From which we sprang.
Avaiki-te-varinga is the original land
From which we sprang.
Iti-nui is the original land
From which we sprang.
Papua is the original land
From which we sprang.
Enua-kura is the original land
From which we sprang.
Avaiki is the original land
From which we sprang
Kuporu is the original land
From which we sprang.
Manuka is the original land
From which we sprang.

page 81

As to Atia-te-varinga-nui, or Atia, as it is called in other chants, I have already shown the probability that this is India. The second name Avaiki-te-varinga, is probably Java. Iti-nui (Whiti-nui in Maori) may be one of the Maori Tawhitis, and from its position may be one of the Indonesian Islands, but it is more probably Fiji, though, at the same time if this is so, it should not precede the two following names. Papua is some island north of Fiji which cannot be identified—it is not New Guinea, as might be supposed by the similarity of names, because, that name is Malayan, and is descriptive of the woolly-haired Papuans who dwell there, and has been given long since the Polynesians left Indonesia. Papua is found in "Rarotonga and other places as a local name.* Enua-kura —the land of red feathers—I suggest, may refer to New Guinea—the red feathers, so very highly prized by all Polynesians being those of the Bird of Paradise. Avaiki is the Savai'i of the Samoan group, as Kupolu is Upolu, and Manuka, Manu'a, of the same group. This recitation describes the route of the migration to which both Maori and Rarotongan belong, the last named place being the little island from which Makea Karika emigrated to Rarotonga circa 1250.

The Samoans have no "official log-book" of their migrations so far as I am aware, and the names of ancient dwelling-places of their ancestors are very few. The name of their "spirit land," as of the Tongans, is Pulotu, which is not known to other branches of the race—except indeed in Fiji, where it is found under the variant "Mbulotu." If this is the name for the "spirit land," it is obviously also the name for their ancestral home in the far west, for we have already seen that the Samoan belief is identical with that of the other branches as to the flight of the

* In the Marquesas it means "a garden."

page 82spirits of the dead to the west. It has been suggested that in this name Pulo-tu, we can see a reference to the very common name—Pulo—of islands in Indonesia; but Pulo, an island, is a Malay word and is not known to the Polynesians as such, consequently this identification must fall through, for the Malays are a more modern people in Indonesia than the Polynesians. It has further been said that Pulotu is identical with Bouru, or Buro, or Buro, a large island to the west of Ceram, and that tu means sacred. But it should first be shown that Bouru is an ancient name dating from before the Malay occupation, and that tu really means sacred—I know of no such meaning in Polynesian. Dr. Carroll* traces the name back to "Burattu or Burutu, along the central part of tha Euphrates river in Mesopotamia." Beyond this name of Pulotu, Samoans possess very few records of ancient countries, though Fiti (Fiji), Tonga, 'Atafu (Kandavu of the Fiji group), Papatea, Tokelau, Uea (Wallis Island), and a few others are mentioned in their old chants, etc., but all referring to islands in the Pacific. The fact is, as it appears to me, the Samoans and Tongans formed part of the first migration into the Pacific, and they have been there so long that they have forgotten their early history. All the numerous legends as to their origin seem to express their own belief in their being autocthones, created in the Samoan Islands.

Of Tongan traditions we really know very little, beyond what Mariner has written, and a few scattered notices in other publications.

The Tahitians, though having an extensive knowledge of the Pacific, before European intercourse, have no "log" of their migrations, so far as I am aware. Tupaea's chart,

* Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. iv., p. 153.

page 83drawn for Captain Cook and first published by Forster* in 1778 shows the extent of their geographical knowledge, but it is confined to the Pacific.

We, therefore, pass on to the "log" of the Marquesan migrations, which, as has been said, is more complete than any other. It is taken from the documents of the late Mr. T. E. Lawson, who collected a large amount of matter from the Marquesan natives, which has not yet been published, except the following table in brief form by Judge Fornander in his work "The Polynesian Race." There are thirteen different chants relating to these stopping places of the Marquesans (or "Take," as they call themselves) describing various incidents of their residence in each; and two accounts of this "log" have been preserved—the Atea account, and the Tani (or Tangi) account—by different tribes.

In the table below, the Atea migration does not enumerate those marked with an asterisk, and the Tani "log "omits Havaii. As these people do not sound the letter "r "and omit the "g "when it precedes "n,"(as do Hawaiians) and often the "k,"I have given in a second column the probable equivalents in Maori, so as to admit of comparison. The "log "is in the form of a recitation like that of the Rarotongans, with a somewhat similar chorus; the words, "the Take wandered, or spread" following each name. It is headed "Te tau henua o Te Take" or "the lands of the Take."

* "Observations made during a Voyage round the World," by J. R. Forster, Ll.D., F.R.S., &c, 1778. In "The Reports of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science" for 1898, I republished this chart, and identified most of Tupaea's names.

page 84
Maori form of name.
1. From. Take-heehee, the Take spread Take-herehere
2.To Ahee-tai, the Take spread Ahere-tai
3. To Ao-nuu Ao-nuku, or Aro-nuku, or Raro-nuku
4. " Papa-nui
5. " Take-hee Take-here
6. " Hovau*
7. " Nini-oe* Nini-ore, or Nini-kore
8. " Ao-eva* Ao-reva, or Aro-reva, or Raro-reva
9. " Ani-take Rangi-take
10. " Hovau*
11. " Vevau* Vavau, or Wawau
12. " Havaii Hawaiki
13. " TeTuuma Te Turuma, or Tūma
14. " Meaai Mea-rai
15. " Fiti-nui Whiti-nui
16. " Te Mata-hou
17. " Tona-nui Tonga-nui
18. " Mau-eva Mau-rewa, or Maru-rewa
19. " Te Piina Te Piringa
  • Una te tai te Take fio, Then over the sea the Take spread to,
20. " Te Ao-maama nei To Ao-marama here (Marquesas)
A fio te Take, fio o fio e The Takes wandered, spread
Te Take a fio! Spread the Takes.
Of the names mentioned, Take-heehee was no doubt the original land known to them, but it cannot now be identified; it would seem from the absence of the name

Te Tuuma, may be intended for Rotūma, or Wallis Island. The Rarotongans call it Tūma.

page 85Hawaiki, Tawhiti, or Vavau in the early part of this log, that all the names down to 15 Fiti-nui, refer to Indonesia and the islands of New Guinea, Soloman, and New Hebrides. Apparently this migration came on to Vevau, which, from other traditions, is some island to the north of Fiji, and not Vavau of the Tonga group, from whence they went to Hawaiki, which by other traditions is probably in Indonesia, thence to two islands that cannot be recognised, but probably some of the islands to the north of the Fiji group, then to Great Fiji (No. 15), from there they passed to the east by way of Tonga-nui (probably Tonga-tapu) and three other islands to Te Ao-maama, which is their general name for the Marquesas. It is probable that No. 3 (Ao-nuku) may be identical with Raro-nuku, an island mentioned in Rarotonga traditions, but very far to the N.W.—probably in Indonesia. In a long chant in Mr. Lawson's collection we have the names of the ruling chiefs in some of these islands. Commencing with No. 2, Ahee-tai, they are as follows:—

* Possibly these two names have some connection with the Maori Koko-uri and Koko-tea, now said to be the names of stars, but some obscure allusions seem rather to indicate their having been persons' names originally.

2. Ahee-taiThe chief was Makoiko
3. Ao-nuu" was Koui (Ko-uri) and his wife Kotea*
4. Papa-nui" was Atea, and his wife Atanua
5. Take-hee" was Papa-tanaoa and his wife Heihei-toua
9. Ani-tai (Ani-take)" was Tani-oa-anu, and his wife Tane-oa
12. Havaii" was Tona-fiti and his wife Mavenapage 86
13. Te Tuuma" was Moe-po, and his wife Tounea
14. Mea-ai" was Ono-tapu and his wife Moe-veihea
16. Matahou" was Manu-io, and his wife Atoo-mai.

According to the genealogical tables, Atea and his wife Ata-nua who ruled in Papanui, lived 74 generations ago, or circa the commencement of the Christian era. The people apparently dwelt in the land of Papa-nui and Taka-hee for a lengthened period, for there is more about them in the chants than any other lands. It is to be hoped these Marquesan chants may be translated in full some day.

The next "log-book" we have is that of the Pau-motu islanders, which was obtained by me in Eastern Polynesia in 1897. It seems to go back to the Hawaiki and Vavau of Indonesia, mentioned in the Marquesan chants. It is as follows:—

Grew up the land Hawaiki,
With its King Rongo-nui;
Then grew up the land Vavau
With its King Toi-ane.
Then appeared the land Hiti-nui (Fiji)
With its King Tangaroa-manahune.
Then appeared the land Tonga-hau
With its King Itu-pava.
Then appeared the land Pa-hangahanga
With its King Horo-mo-ariki.
page 87 Then appeared the land Tahiti
With its King Mari-tangaroa,
And another King Mangi-o-rongo,
And another King who stirred up war.
Then appeared the land Meketika*
With its King Tu-hira,
And the King Tara-tu-vahu,
A promoter of war.
Then grew up the land Makatea
With its King Taruia,
And Puna-a-mate-hao-rangi,
A chief who encouraged war.
Then grew up the land Rangiroa
With its chief Tamatoa-ariki,
And Itu-pava, a chief
Who stirred up war.
Then grew up the land Ngaru-tua
And its chief Torohu,
A promoter of stife.
Grew up the land Kaukura
With its chief Maroturia,
And another Rongo-nui,
A promoter of war.
Grew up the land Apataki
With its King Te Pukava,
Another chief Tahuka-tuarau,
A stirrer up of war.

* Meketika, now called by Tahitians Ma?ite?a or Osnaburg Island, is one of those mentioned by the West Coast Maoris as a former dwelling-place of their ancestors—it lies to the east of Tahiti, about 150 miles.

page 88 Grew up the land of Niau
With its chief Ru-huki-kangakanga,
And another Riri-tua,
A stirrer up of war.
Grew up the land of Toau
With its chief Rahua-tuku-tahi,
And another Te Mate-ki-Havaiki,
A stirrer up of strife.
Grew up the land Fakarava
With its chief Makino,
And another Maoake-taharoa,
From whom came forth a line of chiefs.
Grew up the land Faite
Whose chief was Rahui,
And another named Hekava,
From whom came forth a line of chiefs
Grew up the land Faite
With its chief Tuamea,
And another Mahanga-tuaiva,
From whom came a line of chiefs.

In this long chant, all the islands mentioned subsequently to Tahiti, are in the Pau-motu group, with which ancestors of the Maori, in the long ago, have very evidently had much, to do; even the names of the chiefs here given, are all pure Maori, as is the wording of the chants. In the name of the chief who ruled this branch of the race in Hiti-nui (Great Fiji)—Tangaroa-manahune, we may probably recognise the chief of the same name, who is shown on the Tahitian genealogies as living 40 generations ago, or about the year 950, which is the period of the page 89second era of migration and voyages, starting from the Fiji group, as will be referred to later on. Tonga-hau is probably the Tonga group, though I think the second part of the name is not now known to the Tongans themselves. Whilst at this group, the name of the ruling chief was Itu-pava, the same as one of the gods brought over to New Zealand in the Arawa canoe circa 1350—a fact of some significance.

The above exhausts the lists of "logs" I am acquainted with, and taken altogether they give a good deal of information as to the stages of the different migrations, more especially of those branches of the race with which the Maoris were in the past most closely connected, "i.e., Rarotongans, Tahitians, Paumotuans, and Marquesans. I cannot here adduce the evidence on which this connection rests, but will merely point out that the above four branches are the Cannibal division of the race.