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Niuē-fekai (or Savage) Island and its People

Ko E tia-kupega

Ko E tia-kupega

51. Ko Fakapoloto mo Hakumani ko e faoa ia ne iloilo ke tiakupega. Ko Mele mo Lata, ko lautolu oti ia ne tufuga tia, e filo mo e tia ke tatau ai e tau ika mo e heu aki e tau manu-lele. Ke taute e kupega ke tamata, ti ui atu ni ki a Fakapoloto mo Hakumani, ko Mele mo Lata foki, ke vagahau atu ki ai ke fakailoa mai e tia he kupega.

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52. Kupega (fishing net) and Keho (? coral) came down to fish in the great sea; Kupega pressed (?) whilst Keho took the basket, he was at the row of fish to draw in the first net, after twice (?) pressing, the bag of the neck was quickly filled with many fish, and then they returned to their own country (the heavens).

53. Puga, or Puga-tala, or Puga-feo, was a member of Huanaki's family. He saw how successful the family of Faka-poloto and Hakumani were in fishing; a little time and they were able to return home; and it was thus every night. Then he thought he could do likewise, but, without success, because darkness came on so soon.

54. When those two returned to fish, Puga begged them to give him the basket of the net to hold; but they refused. But when he asked them quietly, they gave it to him. When they came to (?) press the tane of the net, it was scratched by the coral, and the back arm of the fish-bag taken off. and the basket in which the fish were gathered also broken; when they poured in the fish to fill it, they fell out of the back of the basket into the sea. They tried again with the same result. Then they wondered what made it thus difficult; and they tried in a deep place, where the net got entangled; so they both dived after their net, and Puga did the same and lashed it, so that it was more firmly caught. Daylight was near, but the fishing net was most firmly caught; so they abandoned it and came up.

55. When the light of the morrow came, Puga went down and carefully undid the net; and when he had accomplished it, brought it up and spread it in the sun till it was dry; then undid (the knotting) and saw how it was made from the commencement. Thus Niuē learned how to make nets through the schemes of Puga; Niuē now knew how to make different kinds of nets, even until this day.

56. Puga was one of the family of Huanaki, and a wise man. We see the coral reticulated like the meshes of a net. in the pools of the sea, and the pools of the reef. He was the man who stole the net of Faka-poloto and Huanaki; it is said, Keho and Kupega are the servants when they go to catch fish.

(This story, though differing in detail from the Maori account of how they learnt to make fishing nets from the Patu-pai-arehe, is based on the same ideas, i.e., that they learnt it from the gods, or, in other words, from a strange people. It also does away with the idea that the story is a purely New Zealand one).