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

Arrival in Fiji

Arrival in Fiji.

From the period of Vai-takere, when, as appears un doubted the people were living in Indonesia, down to that of Tu-tarangi, whose epoch has been shown to be about a.d. 450, there is again complete silence as to the doings of the people, and nothing whatever is related of the sixteen ancestors who separate the two people mentioned. In Tu-tarangi's time the people were living in Fiji, for that place and Avaiki are named as his country, which from the names of other places now for the first time mentioned, such as Amama and Avarua, means Avaiki-raro, which name—

Amama is generally mentioned in connection with the Fiji Group, sometimes with Wallis and Horn Island. This is supported by Tahitian tradition, where Ra'i-hamama is shown to be near Fiji, but Miss Henry says Ra'i-hamama is also an ancient name of Ra'i-roa of Paumotu.

page 112to the Rarotongans—covers the Fiji, Samoan, and Tonga groups. It is probable that, during this period of 450 years between Vai-takere and Tu-tarangi, that the people had moved on from Indonesia to Fiji, and had occupied part of the latter group. It is obvious from the incidental references in the legends that they were there in considerable numbers at this time, which would lead us to infer that their occupation of that group had already extended over some time. Fornander quotes the year a.d. 76 as corresponding with the commencement of the Malay Empire in the Indian Archipelago, and "then commenced those wars against the Rakshasas, the Polynesio-Cushite pre-Malay inhabitants, which ended in their subjugation, isolation or expulsion throughout the archipelago. Eighty years from that time bring us to the period of Wakea, and the same time possibly brought the Malays from Java and Sumatra, where they first set foot, to Timor, Gilolo and the Philippines."* But by the method of computing dates used in this work, Wakea's period would be about the year a.d. 390, and this is probably more reasonable. This intrusive Malay race—if they were Malays, no doubt they were the Malas, &c, referred to by Forlong who began to spread over the Archipelago about b.c. 125—would not probably in eighty years have spread all over the Archipelago in sufficient numbers to have expelled the Polynesians. No doubt there was a time when the two races were in contact, and the Malays learnt from the Polynesians some words of their language, together with some of their customs. On the other hand, it is very probable that part of the Polynesian race never left the Archipelago, and that the Polynesian influences on the Malay language and customs may have been derived from those who remained.

* Fornander, vol. i, p. 162.

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The people called by A. R. Wallace, Galela, and who live on the northern shores of Gilolo, are, in all probability, remnants of the Polynesian race. Mr. Wallace describes them ("The Malay Archipelago" p. 325) thus: "They are a very fine people of light complexion, tall, and with Papuan features, coming nearer to the drawings and descriptions of the Polynesians of Tahiti and Hawaii than any I have seen."

We cannot, however, at the present time settle when the Polynesians left Indonesia. All that can be said is that, so far as the Hawaiian and Rarotongan branches (including the Maoris) are concerned, they left between the first and fifth centuries. From the want of any direct traditions amongst the Samoans and Tongans, it is probable that they had preceded the others and were the first to enter the Pacific. They have been so long in their present homes that all tradition of their arrival is lost, and hence they have come to look on themselves as autochthones. The very vague references in Samoan history to arrivals from without the group have little value for historical purposes.

Starting from Avaiki-te-varinga, which is probably Java, the route followed by the migrations would be viâ the Celebes, Ceram and Gilolo where, no doubt, there were colonies of their own people, to the north shores of New Guinea. Finding this country already occupied by the Papuans, they would coast along to the south-east end, where, it would seem, a very early migration settled, which is now represented by the Motu and cognate tribes. This same route was probably followed by the ancestors of the Rarotongans, until they branched off past New Britain and the Solomon Islands on their way to Fiji, probably leaving a colony at Hikiana, or Steward's Island, off the coast of the Solomons, where the people speak a dialect of Maori or Rarotongan, and are Polynesians. Whether Howe's page 114Island, or Le Veneva (which I suspect is Le Venua), also called Ontong Java, was peopled at this time is uncertain. It is inhabited by Polynesians, as Mr Churchill tells me. Possibly Nuku-oro and Luku-noa also were colonized at this time. In more than one Rarotongan tradition an island or country is mentioned, named Enua-kura, or the "land of red feathers," which is possibly New Guinea, so called by the Rarotongans after the Bird of Paradise, the beautiful feathers of which would be to them treasures of the highest value—such treasures as Europeans who do not know the race can hardly believe in; they were their jewels. Again, in one of their traditions is mentioned Papua, a name that is also to be found on Rarotonga itself. Whether this Papua is New Guinea cannot be determined until we know positively whether this is an old name of New Guinea, or any part of it, or not. It has been doubted, and the name said to be of Malay origin. Papua is certainly one of the places, according to their traditions, where the Rarotongans called or stayed at on their migration. It is mentioned by Rarotongan tradition, and shown on Tupaea's chart of 1773, long before any Polynesians could have been acquainted with the present name of New Guinea.

In the time of Tu-tarangi a. d. 450, one tradition states that the people had arrived in Iti, or Fiji, but I think this may be interpreted to mean the eastern part of Fiji, not that they first then arrived in the group. The story says, "Tu-tarangi was the chief who made war in that country. He conquered Iti-nui, Iti-rai, Iti-takai-kere, Iti-a-naunau, Tonga, Nuku, Anga-ura, Kuru-pongi, Ara-matietie, Mata-te-ra, Uea, Vai-rota, Katua-pai (? Atu-apai), Vavau, Enua-kura, Eremanga, and all other islands in that neighbourhood. He also conquered part of Manuka, but on proceeding to the other side he lost his chief warrior Kurueke." The page 115reason given for this war is, like so many Polynesian stories, rather childish. Tu-tarangi owned two birds named Aroa-uta and Aroa-tai,* which he valued very much for the purpose of catching fish. They were borrowed by Tane-au-vaka, who killed them. Then comes an account of the making of some sacred spears, in which the gods take part, and with which Kuru, the famous warrior, kills Ti-tape-uta and Ti-tape-tai, the children of Tu-tavake, besides others, and finally slays Tane-au-vaka, the destroyer of the birds. Eventually Kuru goes to Amama, where he himself is killed by Maru-mamao.

From a study of the various traditions relating to this period, it would seem, that prior to, or about the time of Tu-tarangi (a.d. 450), the people had already reached the Tonga Group, and communicated with Samoa, possibly establishing colonies there, but in no great numbers, and the people whom they came in contact with would be the original migration of Samoans—Polynesians like themselves. There is nothing but probability to indicate the presence of the true Fijians (or Melanesians) in Fiji at that time, and the wars referred to seem to have been with their own race—that is, with some of the other tribal organisations who probably arrived in the group from Indonesia at nearly the same period or may have been with the Melanesians. As yet, there had been no mention of any of the groups of Eastern Polynesia, in connection with their migrations—we only now meet with their names for the first time.

* It is singular that we have in New Zealand two mountain peaks standing close together named Aroha-uta and Aroha-tai, identical with the names of these birds.

There is only one genealogy of the Maoris, that I know of, in which Tu-tarangi is shown, but he is there placed in much too modern times. That it is the same man is, I think, proved by the fact that Te Irapanga is shown to be his grandfather, whilst the Rarotonga lines make him to be Tu-tarangi's father.

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We know so little of Tongan history that nothing of great importance can be adduced in support of the supposition that at this time (a. d. 450) the group was first peopled. And yet, the few notices there are on the subject, outside the Rarotonga history, seem to indicate that this must have been about the time of the colonization of Tonga-tapu, and that it was this Maori-Rarotongan people who were found in possession when a later migration from Samoa took place. It is certain, however, that in the time of Tu-tarangi's grandson, or great-grandson, that the Maori-Rarotongan branch of the race was living in Tonga-tapu, Vavau, and Haapai.

The migration from Samoa to Tonga, alluded to above, took place in the days of Alo-eitu, the second of that name, and the second of the sacred kings, or Tui-Tongas. According to two genealogical tables showing the descent from Alo-eitu to the time of death King George Tubou (1893) the number of generations is 34. Therefore it would have been about the year 1050 that this second element was added to the inhabitants of Tonga-tapu island. These people came from Samoa, and first landed on the east end of the island near Lafonga, where they settled, and there built the celebrated Trilithon called Haamonga, which has remained a puzzle to later generations. These people, after living there for many years, eventually removed to the east entrance into Mua inlet, and some of them still live there. For the above I am indebted to the Rev. J. E. Moulton of Tonga. This account of the origin of Haamonga. differs from that given by Mr Basil Thompson in "Jour: Anthro: Inst:" vol, xxxii, p. 81, wherein he states on the authority of Mateialonga, Tongan Governor of Haabai, that the Trilithon was built in the times of Tui-ta-tui, or circa 1275 (according to my method of deducing dates—Mr. page 117 The Trilithon at Haamonga, Tonga. Photo by J. P. McArthur, Esq. page 118Thompson says, about the latter half of the fourteenth century).

The late Judge Te Pou-o-te-rangi of Rarotonga told me in 1897, that previous to a visit he had made to Tonga and Samoa a few years previously, the late Te Ariki-taraare last high priest of Rarotonga, told him that the Haamonga Trilithon was built in the times of Makea Karika (of Samoa and Rarotonga), or circa 1250, and that the latter had had a hand in the work.

These various statements are too conflicting to be reconciled, and the probability is that we shall never know the origin of this structure, any more than that at Stonehenge.

The Rarotonga histories say that, in consequence of the wars originated by Kuru, Taa-kura and Ari, the people spread out (from Fiji) to all the islands—to Avaiki-runga (Eastern Polynesia), Iti-nui (Great Fiji) Iti-rai (Large Fiji), Iti-anaunau, Iti-takai-kere, Tonga-nui (or Tonga-tapu), Tonga-ake (probably East Tonga), Tonga-piritia, Tonga-manga, Tonga-raro (Leeward Tonga, perhaps Eua Island), Tonga-anue, Avaiki-raro (Savāi'i), Kuporu (Upolu), Manuka (Manu'a), Vavau, Niua-pou, (Niua-fou), Niua-taputapu (Keppel's Island), &c. Many of these Tonga islands cannot be recognised under the names here given, but they are most likely Rarotongan names for the several islands around Haapai and between there and Tonga-tapu.

It was during this period, when the people occupied the Fiji Group, and were spreading gradually to Samoa and Tonga, that flourished the Polynesian hero Tinirau, about whom there are quite a number of legends. The Native History of Rarotonga contains one version of this series, and from it we learn that Tinirau lived in Iti-takai-kere, one of the Fiji Islands, but which cannot now be determined. Here he married Tu-kai-tamanu's daughter Te Mūmū-ikurangi. After a time, Tinirau removed to Upolu, page 119and here is laid the scene with Kae, a chief of Savāi'i, well known in Maori history, and referred to in Samoan traditions. The marvellous enters this story, as it does with nearly all those of the heroes of this epoch. Tinirau possessed an island called Motu-tapu, which at his bidding moved from place to place, besides some wonderful object endowed with the powers of Aladdin's lamp. It is clear, however, that Tinirau was an historical personage, and the Maoris trace descent from him. He was "a chief of great power and beauty, and of great fame in ancient days; whilst numerous wonders were due to his action. He possessed a famous fish-pond at Upolu, and it was in Upolu also that Ari-built his house, of which the pillars were stone, as were the rafters, whilst a stream flowed through it." Ari has been shown to be contemporary with Tu-tarangi (circa a. d. 450), and here he is accredited with being the builder of what I believe to be Le Fale-o-le-Fe'e, situated in the mountains behind Apīa, Upolu, the origin of which is not known to the Samoans. It is possibly through Tinirau's connection with this famous fish-pond, called" "Nga-tama-ika-a-Tinirau," that he subsequently came to be considered the king of all fish in Mangaian traditions, as related by Dr. Wyatt Gill in his "Myths and Songs from the Pacific." In Maori story, Tinirau is connected with an abundant harvest of fish, which at his order filled all the village in which the scene is laid; but he is not alluded to as the "King of Fish," as in Mangaia.

The next historical note we have is about Renga-ariki, who lived in Fiji. He flourished fifty-one generations ago, or in the time of Tu-tarangi's great-great-grandson, in other words about the year 575. There is a long story about him and his doings, together with those of his wife Kau-oia-ki-te-matangi, but none of historical interest. Renga-ariki's son was Tu-tonga-kai-a-Iti, and he was expelled from Fiji to page 120Tonga-nui, where he became a ruling chief, "without a god, he himself was his own god." But his brother, Turi-pakea, was a tangata araara atua, a worshipper of gods, which gods befriended him in the trouble he got into with his brother Tu-tonga.

In the times of Tu-tonga-kai-a-Iti, who lived in Tonga-nui, intercourse was frequent with Upolu; we find him sending there a present of kura (red feathers) to induce a seer named Tara-mata-kikite to disclose to him the name of the person who had stolen a valued pig, about which there is a long story in the Rarotongan Native History.

The people—the Tonga-Fijians of Samoan story—at this time had evidently spread all over the groups around Fiji, and had occupied Samoa; but, I apprehend, only the coasts of the latter group. From this period onwards for some twenty-five generations, the intercourse between the Rarotongan ancestors and those of Samoa was close and frequent, for even after the former moved onwards to the east, voyages were constantly made backwards to Samoa as we shall see. The Samoan traditions very frequently mention the intercourse between Samoa and Fiji, and it seems to me that the Rarotonga traditions explain why this is so, the fact being that the Samoans in visiting Fiji, met with people of their own race, and not the Melanesian Fijians who now occupy that group, otherwise the frequent inter-marriages of Samoans with Fijians noted in the traditions of the former would shew in the Samoans of to-day, which they do not; there is little or no sign of a Melanesian intermixture.

I take this epoch to be the commencement of that at which, according to Samoan story, the so-called Tongans and Fijians commenced to occupy the coasts of Savāi'i and Upolu, but who were in reality the Maori-Rarotonga branch of the race—who, in alliance with their Tonga relatives, page 121for a long time inhabited parts of Samoa. It is said that the Tongans occupied the south side of Savāi'i, whilst the Fijians resided on the north; and it must have been the same in Upolu, for Samoan story says that the ruins of the stone foundations of the houses, roads, enclosures, &c., in the interior of Upolu are remains of their ancient habitations during the time the Tonga-Fijians occupied the coasts. The close of this occupation was at the time known in Samoan story as that connected with the "Matamata-me," when, after the defeat of the Tonga-Fijians at Alei-pata, east end of Upolu, and when they were chased along both coasts by Tuna and Fata, chiefs of Samoa, peace was made at the west end of the island, and the King (ruling chief) of Tonga engaged not again to return to Samoa except in peace. It was at this time the first Malie-toa took his name. From a mean of five genealogical tables given by Messrs. Bülow and Stuebel (varying from twenty-three to twenty-eight) we may take the period of this Malie-toa as twenty-four generations ago, or about the year 1250. This occupation of Samoa may therefore be said to have extended over some 550 to 600 years, and a very important period in Polynesian history it was, as we shall see. The year 1250 is about the date of Karika's leaving Samoa to settle in Rarotonga, of which more anon.*

It was probably at the time of this spreading of the people from Fiji to Samoa and Tonga, and when they were in alliance in their occupation of these groups, that they visited other islands to the west, as quoted by Fornander in the following note, vol. i, p. 34: "We now know, from New Caledonian traditions, as reported by Dr. V. de Rochas ('La Nouvelle Caledonie,' &c.), that in olden times

* The incidents connected with this expulsion of the Tonga-Fijians, and the origin of the name Malie-toa, will be seen in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. viii, p. 238.

page 122joint and singular expeditions of Fijians and Tongans frequently invaded New Caledonia and conquered tracts of land for themselves, and that the higher aristocracy and subordinate chiefs of to-day claim descent from the leaders of those predatory parties; that, owing to this influx, the language possesses a great variety of idioms; that the main stock, however, of the population is of the original Papuan (Melanesian). And, as circumcision is also practised amongst them, it may, for want of more precise knowledge of its origin and introduction there, with great probability be ascribed to that same Tonga-Vitian element." This element is, I think, no doubt the Maori-Rarotongan one, that then occupied Fiji.

It is due to this intercourse with New Caledonia no doubt, that the Polynesians became acquainted with the jade which is found there, and also in New Guinea, besides New Zealand. Several writers have referred to the fact of the jade having been found amongst the Polynesians, but my reading has failed to show any positive statement on the subject. At the same time the Rarotongans were acquainted with it, as we shall learn later on, but this came from New Zealand; and quite recently—in 1902—an old jade axe has been dug up on Niue Island. This shows the connection with New Caledonia, as probably does the statement in one of the Maori traditions, to the effect that on the migrations leaving Fiji for the east, some of the canoes "went to the west and they were lost" i.e., no further communication ever took place again with those who went to the east.

During this time of the occupation of the Fiji group, or on the way thither from Indonesia, it is probable that colonies were established in some of the New Hebrides islands, where their descendants, very much crossed with the Melanesian people, are still to be found. Again it is page 123very likely that Tukopia and Taumako islands, near the Santa Cruz group, received their Polynesian inhabitants during this period.

It is very probable that these islands are some of those mentioned in the "logs" of the migrations under different names, but which names cannot now be identified, such as Waerota, Waeroti, Mata-te-ra &c., for it is clear they were to the north west of Fiji.

In the time of Tu-tonga-kai-a-iti mentioned above, Mataru was ariki of Upolu, who was succeeded by his youngest son Te Memeru, whose grandson was Te Emaema-a-rangi, whose son was Emā, the father of Taaki and Karii, very famous ancestors of the Maoris, who name them Tawhaki and Karihi, and who flourished about the year 700.

From about the period of Emā (Maori Hema) commences Maori history. From his sons descend lines of ancestors to people now living in New Zealand, whilst other lines come down to people living both in Rarotonga and Hawaii and probably in Samoa also. But we have now arrived at a very important epoch in Polynesian history, and it will be necessary to go back for a couple of generations and show in what this importance consists, and consider