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

The Papuan Race of Indonesia

The Papuan Race of Indonesia.

Again, there ought to be traces of some recollection of the black or very dark brown Negritto races of Indonesia, called Papuans, which name is said to be derived from the Malay word Puapua, frizzled hair. Students of New Zealand history are aware that in the Maori traditions there are incidental notices of an ancient people called Manahune or Manahua, who are by some supposed to be a diminutive race, and somewhat like the elves of old-world stories. But they are not said to have lived in New Zealand. This people is also known in Hawaii under the same name, where they are described as somewhat like those of the Maori traditions. They appear to have been page 103at one time very numerous, and lived in the mountains, but were in a state of subjection to the Hawaiians, performing for them many works that required great numbers, in order to complete the task at once. Like the Patu-pai-arehe of New Zealand story, these people are said not to like the daylight, but worked at night. Many of the heiaus and some of the loko-i'a, or fish-ponds, of Hawaii are said to have been built by the Manahune. Again, in Tahiti we find mention of the same people, Manahune, who in Ellis's time formed the lower orders of the people. But they were an ancient tribe, or people, for Miss Henry tells me that the Tahitian expression Ari'i o te tau Manahune refers to the time when kings were born to the plebeians of Tahiti, begotten of the gods, and not wearing the chiefly maro-ura, or scarlet girdle, the insignia of the ruling chiefs of Tahiti. In a Paumotu genealogy in my possession, I find one of their chiefs named Tangaroa-Manahune, who lived many generations ago; and it is known that there was a tribe in old times in Mangaia named Manaune. We shall find later on a reference to them in Rarotonga history, where they are again referred to as little people. The word manahune, both in Maori and Rarotonga, means a scab, or mark on the body. None of the accounts I have seen infer that these people ever differed in colour from the brown Polynesian. The Patu-pai-arehe or Turehu of the Maori, on the contrary, are distinctly stated to be white or light-coloured, and had the Manahune been of that colour, or black, the fact would probably have been mentioned. It may be that the origin of the name is due to the people who bore it being marked with cicatrices (manahune). Fornander seemed to be of the opinion that this was a racial name applied by the Polynesians to themselves in ancient times, and derived from one of their remote ancestors named Kalani-Menehune; but from page 104Maori and Rarotonga accounts, they appear rather to have been an alien race. The vague notions the Polynesians generally now have in regard to the Manahune—their living in the mountains and forests, the wonderful powers of sorcery, &c., accredited to them—seems to point to their having been a race living in the remote past conquered by the Polynesians, and probably often enslaved by them. In fact, the traditions no doubt point to the Papuan or Melanesian race, who, it is well known, mark their flesh in gashes as an ornament, instead of tattoo, as with the Polynesians.

There seems to be two possible or probable theories to account for the Manahune. Either they were the first migration into the Pacific, or they were one of the races the Polynesians came into contact with in Indonesia, or further to the west, and some of whom they brought with them in their migrations as slaves. In this latter case, the stories of their having inhabited Hawaii and Hawaiki are Indonesian events localised in process of time in the Pacific homes of the Polynesians. The latter theory is probably the more consonant with what is known of the Manahune. It would be quite in keeping with what we know of Polynesian customs, that on conquering the Papuans they came in contact with, they would enslave them, and carry them with them in their voyages to form part of their crews. Large numbers of the women would be enslaved and taken as wives, and hence the Papuan element in so many Polynesians of the present day. But this element was doubtless much increased during the lengthy sojourn of the Polynesians in the Fiji group. All history, tradition, and observation go to prove that Indonesia was occupied by this Negritto race from the very earliest times, and the Polynesians must have had page 105constant communication with them, making war on them, ousting them from the lands, and enslaving them.

The same Nga-Puhi tradition which was quoted a few paragraphs back, goes on to state, "Some of the people of those parts were very black, a people who smelt very strongly when near, * * their hair was bunched out to be stiff During the period that the people were dwelling in Avaiki-te-varinga, which is certainly in Indonesia, we meet with the story of Maui, the great Polynesian hero or demigod. He is said by Rarotonga history to have been the son of Tangaroa, by the wife of Ataranga (Maori, Taranga), named Vaine-uenga. It seems that this Tangaroa was really a man, and not the god of that name, though in the process of time the attributes of the latter have been in some cases ascribed to the man Tangaroa. It is scarcely necessary to say that Tangaroa has been used as a man's name from remote times down to the present day, as a reference to the genealogical table at the end hereof will show. I suppose this particular Tangaroa to have been one of the adventurers and voyagers of the Indonesia sojourn; and he is accredited with having discovered a new kind of food, or fruit, the name of which, however, does not throw much light on what it was. It is called in Rarotongan history ui-ara-kakano,* and was found by

* I can only make a guess at the meaning of this word. Ui is the Rarotongan name for the yam. Ara has no sense in this connection. Kakano is a seed, such as that of the pumpkin, &c. I am not aware if any species of yam bears seeds. Mr. Taylor White (Jour. Poly. Soc., Vol. X., p. 205) suggests that it was the egg of the Maleo, one of the Megapodidae, which is found in the Celebes. It seems to me probable that Mr. White is right. In the original tradition the words are "Tangaroa went away and found a white thing in the sand, and brought it back. His wife was pulverising the vari (rice); he threw the white fruit (ua, a fruit; also means egg) into the vari, and it thereafter became a principal food of that household."

page 106Tangaroa on the beach; it was white in colour, and became a common food of the people, almost to the exclusion—as history says—of the vari, or rice. Tangaroa met with some notable adventures with a monster fish called a Moko-roa-i-ata, which is probably intended for an alligator, and which "fish" with a stroke of its tail, inflicted a humiliating defeat on Tangaroa. Tangaroa married Ina, the daughter of Vai-takere; and if this is the same person as mentioned in the genealogical table, the period must be fixed as early as the first century.

We find the names of several countries or islands mentioned that Tangaroa visited (besides the skies), such as Rangi-ura, Vai-ono, Avaiki, Vairau-te-ngangana, Raro-nuku,§ Rangi-make, &c.

Vai-takere, Tangaroa's father-in-law, is accredited with the introduction of the bread fruit to the knowledge of his

The change from ka to nga being common to the language, we may probably see in this name the Maori Mango-roi-ata.

In the Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. III., p. 105, it will be seen that the Maoris have retained in their traditions the name Wairua-ngangana as the place from which they originally obtained the taro, and introduced it into Hawaiki. The two names are not exactly the same, the u and the a being inter-changed. No assistance in identifying the island can be derived from the native habitat of the taro, which seems to have been common to India and Indonesia.

§ This is the island which I suppose to be represented by the name Ao-nuku in Marquesan traditions. (See a former page.)

page 107people. The story about it is overlaid with mythical incidents, as are so many Polynesian tales, but there is no doubt a substratum of historical fact. It appears to have A Fijian, Polynesia-Melanesian type. been first discovered growing in the mountains. There were great rejoicings at the discovery. Vai-takere's wife is accredited with having produced the ii, which is, I think, page 108the Tahitian ifi, ihi, or chestnut,* called also by the Rarotongans mape. The story says that two new foods having been discovered in Avaiki, the use of vari, or rice, was abandoned.

Notwithstanding the fanciful dress in which we find these stories in the original, they point strongly to the first arrival of the people in a strange land, where new kinds of food were discovered.

The bread fruit is stated by De Candolle in his "Origin of Cultivated Plants" to be a native of Java. "The bread fruit is evidently a native of Java, Amboyna, and the neighbouring islands; but the antiquity of its cultivation in the whole of the archipelago, proved by the number of varieties, and the facility of propagating it by buds and suckers, prevent us from knowing its history accurately." The rice of course grows in Java at the present day, and I hold the probability is the Polynesians first introduced it there from India; and it is also tolerably certain that they brought the bread fruit from Indonesia with them on their migrations, for the varieties now growing in Polynesia are seedless, and can be propagated only by suckers. It is clearly not a native of Polynesia.

At this time the people were apparently divided into tribes, for we find the names mentioned of Ati-Apai and Ngati-Ataranga, both Ati and Ngati being tribal pre-nominals.

The hero Māui is said above to have been the son of Tangaroa. It has long been thought by some people that Māui, or one of the Māuis, was in reality an early voyager into the Pacific, who through his exploits has been clothed

* Inocarpus edulis, which grows in Indonesia, but is thought to be a native of America. It is probable that the Polynesians brought the seeds of this tree with them into the Pacific, where it is believed to be a cultivated plant.

page 109by succeeding generations with the miraculous deeds of a god. The Rarotongan story seems rather to bear this out, whilst at the same time relating much of the marvellous. After describing his nurture in a cave and his wonderful uprising therefrom, which reminds us of the Tahitian story of Hono-ura,* it then relates his overcoming the sea monster Moko-roa-i-ata to avenge the insult to his father, after which he started on his travels. During this, voyage—if it may be so called, but no mention is made of a canoe—he visited and fished up Mani-hiki Island, north of Rarotonga, then went to Tonga-ake, which is the name of the east side of Tonga-tapu, then to Rangi-raro, to Rangi-uru, to Avaiki-runga (the Tahitian group), to Vaii (the Hawaiian group), to Ngangai, Te-aro-maro-o-pipi, then south to the Marquesas, the several islands of which groups are referred to as Iva-nui, Iva-rai, Iva-te-pukenga, Rauao, and Iva-kirikiri, then westward to Paumotu, Tahiti, Raiatea, Porapora, to Atiu, Mangaia, and Rarotonga of the Cook group, from whence he returned westward, and finally to Na-vao, the place of departed spirits in Avaiki. It was on this voyage also that he visited U-peru, which on a former page I have suggested may be Peru.
There are some things worthy of note in this expedition. I would particularly call the attention of Hawaiians to the fact that Māui is stated to have called that group Māuiui, in remembrance of his efforts in "lifting up the heavens;" and he gave it another name, Vaii (or Vaihi or Waihi,§ known

* Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. IV., p. 256.

This is an instance of a more modern story incorporated in a very ancient one.

Iva is retained still in the present name of Hiva-oa and Nukuhiva of the Marquesas.

§ It is well known that Captain Cook gives the name of Owyhee to the Sandwich Islands, or Hawaii as they are now called. This name has always been supposed to be a corruption of the proper name of the largest island of the group—Hawaii. If we separate this name of Owyhee into its component parts, it is "O," the demonstrative which precedes all proper nouns, as ko in Maori; and "wyhee" is in Polynesian letters waihi. As Captain Cook had with him a native of Tahiti when he discovered the Sandwich Islands, and as the islands were known to his people as Vaihi, it seems that we have here the true origin of the name Owyhee, rather than that it is a corruption of Hawaii.

page 110as such both to Tahitians and Maoris), and a third name he gave was Ngangai. Now in Hawaiian this would be Nanai; and as the change from r and l to n is common in Polynesian, we may see the origin of the name of Lanai Island, off Māui, Hawaiian group. It is stated that Māui named this last island on account of the ui-tatauanga, or "tattooing with the ui," or tattooing comb. It was in Avaiki-runga (which by one account is made to include the Hawaiian Islands) that he visited Mauike, te pu o te āi the lord of fire, whose daughter—amongst others—was Pere (the Hawaiian fire goddess Pele). Now this is a remarkable deviation from the Maori and other stories relating Māui's visit to Mahuika, the god or goddess of fire, whose residence is always said to be in the nether world: here it is said to be in Hawaii; evidently a reference to the volcanoes of that group. I am not aware whether any of the ancient names of the Hawaiian Islands bears any resemblance to Te Aro-marovo-pipi,* but the Hawaiian Island of Māui is clearly that indicated above as Mauiui.
I would suggest that Māui's "lifting up of the heavens" is a metaphor used to describe his onward course from horizon to horizon "where the sky hangs down," and his penetration into new seas beyond the limit of the knowledge of his compeers. The lifting—in fact—of the clouds of ignorance by the discovery of fresh island worlds. This

* "The dry or hard front of Pipi," or perhaps "The dry chasm of pipi."

page 111has an analogy in the Maori account of "felling with an axe" the storms and difficulties they met on the voyage to New Zealand in later times.

Whether the theory hinted at above as to Māui being a real historical person or not is correct, must be left to the decision of some one who will study the whole body of legends relating to him as derived from all branches of the race; but the Rarotongan account in a measure supports Fornander's hypothesis that this series of legends is older than the migration into the Pacific.* There have been very many Māuis in Polynesian history, and in process of time the deeds of some ancient and mythical Māui have become confounded with those of men who lived in later ages. The Rarotongans do not, so far as I know, trace any descent from Māui of this period, though Hawaiians and Maoris do from one who lived in a later age.

* Fornander, Vol. I., p. 200.