Hawaiki: The Original Home of the Maori; with a Sketch of Polynesian History
The Rarotongan Account of the Maori Migration
The Rarotongan Account of the Maori Migration.
But any doubt as to whether this island is that known in Maori History will be set at rest by what follows. It is now several years ago since Mr. J. T. Large, who had been page 205 page 206on a visit to Rarotonga, informed me that the names of the fleet of canoes which came to New Zealand in about 1350 were known to the Rarotongans. At that time I was under the belief that these names might have been learned from some Maori visitor to Rarotonga, of which the earliest on record is that of a few men who had been taken by the notorious Goodenough from New Zealand in the year 1820 or 1821. This Goodenough, who was well known on the northern coasts of New Zealand about that time as an unscrupulous trader, of which there were so many in those times, made a voyage to the Pacific, and there discovered the lovely island of Rarotonga; but his conduct is said to have been so atrocious in his dealings with the people that he kept his discovery a secret, and thereby lost the honour of being recognised as its discoverer. It was the Rev. J. Williams who first made known the existence of Rarotonga, where he arrived from Ra'iatea in a small schooner in April or May, 1823. Williams brought back to Rarotonga from Aitutaki a woman named Tapairu, who was a relative of the Makea family. She had been taken away by Good-enough (or Kurunaki as the Rarotongans called him; his Maori name was Kurunape) and she helped materially in the introduction of the Gospel.
But the visit of Kurunaki was not the first occasion on which the Rarotongans became acquainted with the white man. Pa-ariki told me that many years before Kurunaki appeared, a large ship was seen in the offing, and one man was daring enough to go on board amongst the atua, or gods, as they supposed the crew to be. On his return he described the many wonders he had seen, and amongst other things he said they had groves of breadfruit trees growing there, and streams of running water. The captain's name was Makore. There can be little doubt as to what ship this was. It will be remembered that the page 207unfortunate Bligh in the "Bounty" had been sent to Tahiti to convey the breadfruit tree to the West Indies, and no doubt it was the "Bounty" that first discovered Rarotonga. The name of the captain, Makore, which no doubt is intended for McCoy, one of the ringleaders in the mutiny, points to the fact that the vessel sighted Rarotonga after the mutiny itself, or in May, 1788.
To return to the New Zealand canoes. Mr. Large states that "the migration of Naea came from Avaiki to Iva (supposed to be Nukahiva, in the Marquesas) and from Iva to Tahiti, and thence to Rarotonga. This was before the time of Tangiia and Karika." This latter statement is however, I think, a mistake, for the migration of Naea arrived in Rarotonga late in the life of Tangiia—it confuses the two men of the name of Naea, the first of whom did visit— perhaps live for a time, in Iva. Mr. Large adds: "The following are the names of the canoes of Naea and his tere:— Tainui, Turoa was captain; Tokomaru, Te Arava, Kura-aupo, Mata-tua, Takitumu, Okotura, Muri-enua, Arorangi, Rangiatea, Ngaio, Tumu-enua, and Mata-o-te-toa; Tamarua being captain of Tumu-enua, and Te Aia captain of Mata-o-te-toa.
"The two last named were called the fighting canoes, and the first eight went on to New Zealand, the remainder staying at Rarotonga."
* According to Maori tradition, Hotu-roa was captain of the Tainui, his brother Hotu-nui, was the priest.
"A man named Ava formerly came to this country; he landed at Poko-inu (west of Avarua). He came from Iva. It was he who brought the kokopu (a fresh-water fish) here first, hence the name Vai-kokopu near" here, of which the old name was Avana-nui, a name given to it by Ată. The migrations to this land occurred in this order: Tangaroa, Aio, Tangiia—Ava came after Tangiia.*
* There is a Maori tradition that Awa-morehurehu went from New Zealand to Hawaiki. He lived two generations before the fleet arrived here in 1350. Little is known of the story of this Awa, however. It was in answer to my question as to this Awa that the old man replied as above. The date agrees well with that of Awa-morehurehu.
"I do not know the name of Kupe, nor of Aotea canoe, nor of Turi, as forming part of the fleet. Aotea-roa is the name, I know, for New Zealand. I heard of the doings of some of the people who went to New Zealand. Te Arava canoe arrived there first and Tainui second, and the crew of the latter on their arrival found the crew of Te Arava asleep, so they took their anchor and passed the cable underneath that of Te Arava. When the crew of Te Arava woke up next morning and on seeing the cable of Tainui underneath theirs, they were annoyed and claimed that they had arrived first. "No"—said the people of Tainui, "see the position of our anchor." I don't know how they settled the dispute. This is the same kind of discussion as occurred when Toutika and Tonga-iti arrived at this island. Taki-tumu canoe came back to this island after going to New Zealand, and did not return. Perhaps it was through her crew that our ancestors learnt of the dispute between Te Arava and Tainui crews.
"There was a canoe named Papaka-tere that came here in ancient times from Mata-kura; she went away no one knows where.
"Yes, I know the name Mamari as that of a canoe which left these shores long, long ago. She went to some place in the direction of Tuanaki, and did not come back, so far as I ever heard. I know nothing more about her.
* The New Zealand greenstone is always said to be a fish.
Such is the substance of what I learned from old Tamarua Orometua. It was pleasant to see the bright intelligent look that came over his face when he heard the questions asked—they seemed to awake old memories of things long forgotten, and he would then give without hesitation a lot of detail which I could not take down. Every now and then he was at a loss for a name, but, after looking down with serious furrowed brow for a time, he would glance quickly up, with a bright look of triumph on his face, as if pleased at his success in recalling the name. Had he not been so very deaf, much more information could doubtless have been got from him. I was most particular in getting his age; and it will be seen that, if he was twelve years old when he attended the first takurua, and that he was at ten of them before 1823, he would be about ninety-six when we visited him, and therefore a full-grown man, hearing and learning the ancient lore of his ancestors, before the disturbing influences of the Gospel obliterated them. He is a scion of one of the most ancient families of Polynesia, as may be seen in the history of the Tamarua family, a name they have borne continuously for some thirty generations—one of his ancestors was captain of the Tumu-enua canoe, referred to in Mr. Large's account a few pages back.
With reference to the island called Tuanaki, I learnt that this was supposed to be due south of Rarotonga, and in page 212former times the Rarotongans used to visit it. It took them two days and a night to reach there in their canoes. There is no such island at the present time, but the Haymet Shoal exists in latitude 27° 30', which is about 360 miles south of Rarotonga, a distance their canoes would sail over in about the time mentioned.* The toka-matie puzzled us all at first, for the translation is "grass-stone," but it soon dawned on me, and was confirmed by Tamarua, that they used the word matie to describe the green colour of the stone brought back by Ngaue. The expression is therefore an exact translation of our word "greenstone," or the pounamu† of the Maori. When I asked the old man if he had ever seen the greenstone, he said he had not, and, on my showing him a piece I had with me, he exclaimed, "Ah! It is true then what our ancestors told us of the toka-matie—there is such a stone." He was very pleased at this but his pleasure scarcely equalled mine in finding that the Rarotongans had a traditional knowledge of the greenstone, and the fact of their giving it a different name showed that they did not derive their knowledge from the Maoris.
* Judge Wilson told me that a trading vessel from Auckland used, at one time in the early forties, to visit an island, the exact position of which was kept secret. But on a subsequent visit the island had disappeared. Col. Gudgeon, in answer to my request that he would make enquiries as to any further information the Rarotongans might have about Mr. Wilson's story, says, "Certainly there is a remembrance of the Tuanaki people and island, and old John Mana-a-rangi had seen some of the people. I do not think the island disappeared more than 70 years ago."
† Namu is an old Tahitian word meaning "green."
* I have the evidence of this, but it is too long to quote.
As to where the New Zealand fleet came from prior to its stay in Rarotonga, I much regret that the excitement caused by finding such a complete knowledge of New Zealand history in Rarotonga, caused me to forget to ask Tamarua's opinion on the matter; but from the information obtained by Mr. Large, and what was told me by the late Te Pou-o-te-rangi, of Rarotonga, they came from Tahiti, though perhaps not from the Marquesas, as Mr. Large learnt. Whilst there can be no reasonable doubt that in those days, the Maoris and Earotongans were perfectly familiar with the Marquesas (Iva, or in Maori Hiwa), we cannot neglect the important statement of the Maoris themselves that they came from Tawhiti, or Tahiti, especially when taken in conjunction with the Tahitian names of the west coast of that island, preserved by the Ngati-Awa people of the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. That Tahiti and the neighbouring islands was the home of the Maoris some generations before their migration has been proved by the identity of ancestors.
As to the time of departure of the fleet from Rarotonga to New Zealand, the information obtained by Mr. Large shows that the canoes arrived in Rarotonga with those of Naea. If this is so, then the Maoris must have stayed in Earotonga for at least three generations, for Naea arrived there in the latter days of Tangiia, This is unlikely, however, because there is nothing in Maori history to confirm it, and, moreover, had there been such a prolonged stay, the names of Maori ancestors immediately preceding the heke, or migration, would certainly be shown on some of the numerous genealogical tables obtained by me in Rarotonga.
But there are no such names. The only Maori ancestors in those tables (of this period) are the four last shown in the margin.page 215
According to Maori History, Uenuku and Ruatapu lived in the generation that the fleet left Hawaiki; and it was not long before the departure that the incident known as "Te huri-pure-i-ata" occurred, when a number of young chiefs were drowned through the action of Ruatapu, his brother Paikea alone escaping, to become afterwards a famous ancestor of the Maoris.* It will be remembered that Euatapu's parting words to Paikea were, that in the eighth month he would visit his father's people, and that they were all to flee to Hikurangi to save themselves from the inundation which Euatapu promised. This flood in Maori History is known as "Te tai o Ruatapu;" in Raro-tonga it is known as "Te tai o Uenuku;" and local tradition says the people saved themselves by fleeing to Mount Ikurangi, a graceful mountain just behind Avarua, Earotonga. Whether the scene of this inundation is really connected with Earotongan Ikurangi, or some other (according to Rarotonga story this mountain was called after another of the same name in Tahiti), is doubtful. As to the nature of the inundation, it was probably an earthquake wave. I myself saw the effect of the wave of 1868, where, after traversing the whole breadth of the Pacific, from South America, it struck the Chatham Islands with such force as to leave whaleboats thirty feet above tide level.
* Col. Gudgeon is strongly of opinion that Paikea was an aboriginal of New Zealand, not one of this family. But he admits that Kahutia-te-rangi, which was, according to most accounts, another name for Paikea, did migrate here.
We will now see how the genealogical accounts of Maori and Rarotongan agree as to the period of Ruatapu. On the particular line from which the fragment in the margin has been taken, Ruatapu is the eighteenth back from Queen Makea now living. But, if we take the mean of a considerable number of lines to fix the date of Tangiia we shall find he lived twenty-four generations ago. Counting down from him, we shall find that Ruatapu flourished twenty generations ago. The mean of a large number of Maori genealogies back from 1850 to the date of migration to New Zealand is twenty generations, and it is known that Uenuku and Ruatapu lived in the generation that the heke left Hawaiki. Hence we see the records of the two people agree remarkably well. They are in fact history not myth.
Motoro, mentioned in the marginal genealogy, was sent by his father Tangiia to become high priest of the god Rongo at Mangaia, as mentioned by Dr. Wyatt Gill in "Myths and Songs," and he is mentioned as a Maori ancestor also.
It was about this period of Rarotongan history, that flourished two priests named Paoa-uri and Paoa-tea who voyaged to Ra'iatea to present a big drum called Tangi-moana to the god Oro, at Opoa, where they were both killed, the full story of which is known to Tahitians.
The above is perhaps as accordant an account of events in Polynesian History as will ever be obtained. As this book will be read by many who are not familiar with Maori History, it is necessary to say that the migration to New Zealand herein described is by no means the earliest one of which we have records, on the contrary, it was the page 217last of several, but at the same time by far the most important.
It seems probable, that between the date of Tangiia's settlement on Rarotonga in 1250, and the arrival of the fleet in New Zealand in 1350, occurred a number of solitary voyages to New Zealand under Tu-moana, Paoa, Kupe, Ngahue, and several others, the exact dates of which are very difficult to fix. Many of these people returned to Eastern Polynesia, leaving some portion of their crews in New Zealand. After 1350 we have the record of only one voyage back to Hawaiki, and that was in the same generation that the fleet arrived. Since that time down to the arrival of Capt. Cook in 1769, the Maoris, like the Hawaiians, remained isolated from the rest of the world.
It seems then from what has been said above, and from other evidence that might be adduced, that the Maori migration which came to New Zealand, circa 1350, in the canoes Tainui, Te Arawa, Mata-atua, Toko-maru, Taki-tumu, and Kura-haupo, came from the west side of Tahiti, and that they called in at Rarotonga on the way. On their further course to the S.W. they met with bad weather, the remembrance of which is retained in the Arawa Traditions, where the descent of the canoe to Te Waha-o-te-Parata is no doubt the description of a tempest given in the allegorical form so common to all Polynesian legends. The Taki-tumu account of the starvation they experienced, shows what straits they were put to. Their canoes all make the land in the neighbourhood of the East Cape, and from there coasted along to the places their crews finally settled in—Mata-atua, at Whakatane, Te Arawa at Maketu (both places in the Bay of Plenty) Tainui was hauled over the isthmus at Otahuhu, near Auckland, and then proceeded by the west coast to Kawhia where they settled; Toko-maru probably went round the North Cape, landing her page 218crew at Mohakatino, or its neighbourhood, north of Taranaki; Taki-tumu went on to the South Island, and was finally wrecked off Moeraki in Otago; whilst Kura-haupo, after its wreck at Rangi-tahua, appears to have made the land near the North Cape, where some of its crew remained, whilst others settled in Cook's Straits, near Mana-watu. It is said that she was finally wrecked on the west coast of the South Island.
The Aotea canoe, sailing from Ra'iatea, did not call at Rarotonga, but came on to Rangi-tahua (or Sunday Island), and had apparently fallen in with the Kura-haupo on the way, or—as some evidence seems to indicate—this island may have been appointed a rendezvous for the whole fleet. Here Kura-haupo was wrecked and many of her crew came on in the Mata-atua to New Zealand but the probability is, that the canoe itself was subsequently repaired, and finally reached New Zealand, as has just been stated above.
The above is the only instance recorded of a fleet arriving in New Zealand, but there are numerous references to other canoes which came previously—such as Mamari, the canoe of the northern tribe of Nga-Puhi; the Mahuhu, the canoe of the Ngati-Whatua tribe of Kaipara, which probably arrived in the times of Toi, or about the year 1150; the Horouta, Paoa's canoe, which came to the east coast, somewhere about 1200, besides many others.
Many of the Maori genealogies go back to long before the date of any of the above canoes, and some of them appear to refer to ancestors who have never lived outside New Zealand, but there are now no means of checking them, and therefore it is impossible to say when New Zealand was first peopled. From these tables, it may be inferred that one Ti-wakawaka was living in the Bay of Plenty, when he received a visit from a Polynesian navigator named Maku, who however, did not remain in the country, not page 219liking it. Doubtless, the contrast, in the matter of food, with his own prolific isles, was not to his taste. The probable date of Ti-wakawaka is the year a.d. 850. It is quite likely it was first colonised in the times of Ui-te-rangi-ora, who flourished in Fiji, circa a.d. 650, and in whose time the Pacific was nearly all explored by him, his contemporaries, and immediate descendants.
It is from the chiefs of the canoes that formed the fleet of 1350 that Maori aristocracy loves to trace descent; the descent from the old tangata-whenua, or previous migrations, is with many tribes ignored or made little of. There is plenty of evidence that this last migration was composed of people more advanced in ideas and of far greater warlike powers than the original inhabitants; and it is clear that within a few generations they had practically conquered and absorbed the others, often enslaving them; for it is stated in Hamiora Pio's Mss. that the tangata-whenua were a peaceful people, not like the ferocious cannibals of the fleet. Indeed, it is probable that these latter people brought cannibalism with them. In the mountainous country of the Urewera, tribes are to be seen the purest descendants of the older inhabitants, who, although very much mixed with the later migration, still show some difference in appearance that approximates them more to the Morioris of the Chatham Islands, who are no doubt the same people.
These ancient people were, however, the same Polynesian. race; there is no sign of any previous Papuan or Melanesian people ever having inhabited New Zealand, or indeed any part of the Pacific now occupied by the Polynesians. The few slight indications that some writers have fancied indicated a previous race are all referable to contact of the Polynesians with Papuans or Melanesians in their migrations to the Fiji and other Melanesian Islands.page 220
If what has been said about the connection between Maori and Rarotongan ancestors is true, it follows that the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands formed part of the same branch of the race, together with the Hawaiians. The Morioris have a good many words in common with the Rarotongans, which the Maoris have not retained in their dialect. The Hawaiians and Morioris are the only two branches of the race—so far as I am aware—that use the causitive form of the verb in hoko (Hawaiian ho'o). Of the principal dialects of Polynesia, the following are the most alike, in the order given:—Maori (and Moriori), Rarotongan, Tahitian, and Hawaiian.
The Moriori traditions are very precise in many respects. They say that they arrived at the Chatham Islands (Re-kohu) from Hawaiki; but as they have retained the common name of New Zealand, Aotea-roa, in their traditions, besides another old name of the North Island, Huku-rangi, and moreover knew the old name of the north end of the South Island, Aropaoa, there seems little doubt that they went to the Chathams from New Zealand, the more so, as we now know that this country was also called Hawaiki, i.e., Hawaiki-tautau. They are acquainted also traditionally with the names of several New Zealand trees not known elsewhere. The two lines of genealogies we have of this people, show that the migration to the Chatham Islands took place, by one line twenty-seven, by the other twenty-nine, or a mean of twenty-eight generations ago.*
The Moriori traditions mention more than one incident in Polynesian History before this date, but only one, I think, that is supposed to have occurred since, and this is very doubtful. I refer to the story of Manaia, who, by one Maori account was captain of the Tokomaru canoe that came here in 1350. Many old Maoris whose ancestors, are supposed to have come in the Tokomaru canoe, do not know this ancestor at all, and will not allow that he came in that canoe. This seems to indicate that it is an old Polynesian story, that has in process of time been accredited to the voyage of the Tokomaru canoe, but in reality the incident took place long before. I would add, that if the period of Toi be taken from the table published in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. vii., p. 40, then if the time of Rauru be taken as that at which the Morioris left New Zealand, the number of generations will be twenty-nine back from 1850, or one more than I have shown above.page 222
For the use of Polynesian scholars, I add a table of events and dates, derived from these Rarotongan and other sources. They are of course only approximate, but will serve the purpose of a summary of the history of the people, on which others may build.