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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 65

Part I. — On matters relating to the Maori tongue

Part I.

On matters relating to the Maori tongue.

1. Of Errors on the part of Foreigners and Colonists, arising from their ignorance of the Maori language; especially of Maori proper names for persons, places, and things.—

That the Maori people had very many highly significant names for things in general, is pretty well known to those who are well acquainted with their language; although, on account of their plainness, some could only be translated into English by an euphemism. Just so it always was with their names for persons and for places. It is not, however, with reference to the meaning, the utility, or the beauty of such Maori names in their estimation, that I am now about to write,—but of the errors of Europeans respecting them; and these I purpose showing in a few instances (some highly ridiculous):—1. In the Orthography:—2. in the Meaning of the words. These two subjects, though distinct enough in English, go always together in the Maori language; because (as I have shown before in a former Paper*) the two languages differ so widely in

* Vide "Essay on the Maori Races," Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. I., § 48 of Essay:.—Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. XIII., p. 64, etc.

page 2 their construction. Twenty, or more, orthographical errors may occur in the columns of an English Daily Newspaper, without any one becoming or causing a serious error,—that is, making an entire change in the meaning of the word, the sentence, or the subject; or, even causing the word or words so spelt erroneously to mean anything else, or to be wholly misunderstood; but such is not the case in Maori,—here every orthographical error is more or less of a serious one; and as it is in the writing, so it is in the pronunciation, and, consequently, in the meaning and etymology.

For the present, however, I shall consider these separately: and, first, the erroneous orthography.

This commenced early, in Cook's time, as indeed might have been expected, seeing the Maoris had then no written language; the only marvel with me has ever been, that Cook and his party on the whole managed so well as they did, which must mainly be attributed to their having the Tahitian native Tupaea with them as a quasi Interpreter.* Unfortunately, however, these errors still continue! notwithstanding their settled, plain, written and printed tongue. I will give a few instances taken from the earliest and latest.

Although Capt. Cook was so very unfortunate in his first interviews with the Maoris at Poverty Bay, still he managed to obtain pretty correctly the names of two places there, which he has laid down in his chart,—Taoneroa (Te Oneroa=the long sandy beach), and Tettuamotu (Te Tua Motu—the little island off the N. head). A few days after, in anchoring and watering a little further to the N.,—first at Tegadoo (Te Karu, the headland at Anaura off which his ship

* In the large 4to. original edition of Cook's Voyages, Capt. Cook has a few racy and correct remarks on the N. Z. language, highly applicable here; he says,—" It is the genius of the language to put some article before a noun, as we do the or a; the articles used here were generally he or ko: it is also common here to add the word öeia after another word, as an iteration, especially if it is an answer to a question; as we say, yes indeed; to be sure; really; certainly: this sometimes led our gentlemen into the formation of words of an enormous length, judging by the ear only, without being able to refer each sound to its signification. An example will make this perfectly understood:—In the Bay of Islands there is a remarkable one, called by the natives Matuaro. One of our gentlemen having asked a native the name of it, he answered, with the particle, Komatuaro; the gentleman hearing the sound imperfectly, repeated his question, and the Indian repeating his answer, added, Ōeia, which made the word Komatuaroöeia; and thus it happened that in the log book I found Matuaro transformed into Cumcttiwarroweia: and the same transformation, by the same means, might happen to an English word. Suppose a native of New Zealand at Hackney Church, to enquire "What Village is this?" the answer would be, "it is Hackney": suppose the question to be repeated with an air of doubt and uncertainty, the answer might be, "it is Hackney indeed," and the New Zealander, if he had the use of letters, would probably record, for the information of his countrymen, that during his residence among us he had visited a village called "Ityshakueeindede."—Voyages, Vol. III., p. 476.

page 3 anchored "sheltered by the little island* there,") and subsequently at Tolaga Bay,—he seemed to have misapprehended altogether the name of this latter place. How he managed to get hold of, or to misconstrue that word of Tolaga,—has ever been to me a mystery,—and that too, after many enquires made early on the spot. The nearest and most reasonable approach thereto (seeing Tolaga is given as its Maori name) is Tuaraki=the N.W. wind; (l and g having been often confounded with r and k by Cook;) which wind, the old Maoris said, was blowing strongly at the time of his entering the bay, and the name was given to him by their fathers in answer to his repeated question of "the name"; they supposing he meant that of the wind then blowing: Maoris too, not generally having proper names for open bays.

In Cook's chart of Hawke's Bay, the strait between Portland Island and the Mainland is laid down as being called in Maori, Hauray; now the proper Maori name of that strait is the same as this here with us,—the strait, or channel, between the E. and W. Spits (Napier),—and significantly named by them Ahuriri=(the) fierce rushing (water).

One of the latest misnamed notable places among us, is the present terminus of the Railway, which has been named and written, and printed and painted, in all manner of ways except the right one! viz. Makatoha, Makatoko, Makatoku; the right one being the expressive and simple word Maaliotulvu=the stream of the white heron; a name very likely given to it in ancient days, from one having been seen or caught there. In the naming of this place (or, rather, the writing down of its old Maori name,) nothing was easier, as there were plenty of Maoris resident there who knew how to read and write, and could have given its proper orthography; and they have often since (when I have been in that neighbourhood,) joined in a hearty laugh at the invincible ignorance of the paheha (=foreigner) re Maori words.

These three errors in the spelling of that one word will serve as a simple example of what I have just said, that "every orthographical error in Maori is more or less a serious one"; for Makatoka means, (to) cast a big stone; Maltatoko=(to) cast a walking-staff, canoe-pole, &c.; Makaatoku=(to) cast my clothing-mat, or garment.

Another wrongly-named place, lately settled, and not far off from the last one, is Tahoraite; this Maori name, as it is now transformed by Europeans is pretty nearly nonsense! whereas its proper name of Tahoraiti is a Highly significant one, meaning, the little open wilderness, or, the little desert; which was very

* "Parkinson's Island," as laid down in the Original Map of the Voyage.

This agrees with what both Cook and Parkinson say.

This word is also a contraction of its longer original name,—Mangakolukutuku, having the same meaning.

page 4 suitable for it; it being originally (when I first knew it in 1845,) a small open wild surrounded by dense forests. The error however, in the spelling of the name of this place, has been often pointed out by me; but, it seems, the settlers there and others will have it so.

A similar error to this last noticed appears likely to be perpetuated in the name of the ford (and newly-erected bridge) across the Ngaruroro river, at a wild spot high up between the two mountain ranges—Te Kaweka and Ruahine. The old and peculiar Maori name of this ford is Kuripapango; which (after running a series of orthographical changes among the settlers, as usual,) has settled down to Kimpapanga. Here, again, you will observe, the terminal vowel is wrong, and this error spoils both the word and its meaning. When I first waded this river at this wild fording-place in 1847, (35 years ago!) and obtained its name I was struck with its peculiarity; as it did not convey to my mind any thought possessing a purely Maori derivation, (although the two words of which it is composed are pure Maori words,)—at all events, I strove hard and for a long time to find out its original meaning, but down to this day I am not satisfied about it. And, I may further say, that one reason is, the name seems to me to be closely allied to a suitable Sandwich Island (Hawaiian) word, or phrase, (like several other old and almost obsolete Maori words,—all tending to show the ancient oneness of this great and universal Polynesian language!) Kuripo,—is a pure Sandwich Island word, meaning, deep dark water, as in pools among the mountains; which meaning would be highly suitable there for that water, with the Maori adjective, pango=black, or blackish, added, to intensify it. Of course, I know, that instead of Kimpo (in the present name) it is Kuripa; that, however, is a slight alteration, which might have occured in the rare pronunciation of an obsolete or little-used word through non-usage during a long lapse of years,—and there are other known similar instances. In Maori, Kurt is a dog, and papango is the little black duck, or teal; these two words thus compounded, do not yield to my mind a correct Maori meaning, and the old intelligent Maoris (to whom I have formerly spoken about it,) have always laughed at it as being far-fetched and incongruous.* Kuripango—black dog, would have been a better Maori term, but still not satisfactory.

Another curious error (not, however, the first of its kind,) is made in the

* I may here mention in a note, that I have often enquired in years gone by of aged priests and chiefs respecting the derivation of this, and of many other similar and peculiar proper names, and have very frequently received the answer,—" It was given by the men of the olden time, and the reason is to us unknown." Here it should also be borne in mind, that in very many instances the ancestors of the tribe now dwelling in, or owning those places, were not those who had originally named them; they had been early killed and exterminated! and so it had gone on for ages in succession! See a very good Maori letter on this subject translated by me.—"Trans. N.Z, Inst.," Vol. XII., p. 97, note,

page 5 dividing of the Maori name of the place, though spelled correctly, into two words, each word beginning with a capital letter!—Onga, Onga: and it is pertinaciously stuck to!! Why on earth those settlers, and others, should so choose to write that common Maori word, Ongaonga (=Nettle) I cannot conceive. Is it because of its reduplication? Then, analogically, they should so write the English words,—mur mur, tar tar, pa pa, do do, &c.,—beginning each fragment also with a capital letter!

Some of the notorious old errors in the Maori names of places around us, I regret to say, still continue, (though many, happily, have been corrected,) as, for instance, the name of the rising township of Kaikoura, erroneously spelled Kaikora (sometimes Kikora), here the difference in the European pronunciation of these two words is not so great to the untrained ear, but the difference in the two Maori words is extreme (as well as in the Maori and true pronunciation of them); besides the commonly used one is simply ridiculous and unmeaning. The old proper name, Kaikoura=(to) eat fresh-water prawns, or, (an) eater of fresh-water prawns,—arose from the fact of that crustaceous shellfish (koura) being formerly found in the little stream there, where the Maoris used to go and catch them for food; whereas Kaikora literally means, to cat sparks of fire!—if indeed it can be said to mean anything at all in Maori.

Another place still nearer Napier,—well-known in its modern history as being notorious in bloodshed and in Law Courts!—is Omarunui, commonly called Omaranui: the first and proper Maori name meaning,—the residence (or cultivation) in old times of a Chief named Marunui=Great Slayer (a common and fitting name for a Maori chief); whereas the second and incorrect word means,—the residence &c. of a chief named Great Cultivation! which, according to Maori customs, was degrading and impossible, and, as in the former case of Kaikora, both wrong and ridiculous.—

Another place not far from the foregoing and nearer Napier, (and close to the present rising township of Taradale,) was called by the Maoris Taipo; this the settlers easily miscalled Taepo,—and then mark the consequence! Taipo, means the night tide, (or, no doubt in this case, from onomatopœia,=the night-sounding surf; as there, although 4 miles from the outer sea-beach, the surf resounds loudly from its curvilinear range of hills on a still night, as I have often heard it,) hence Taipo was, again, a highly suitable natural name. But Taepo, means to visit, or come, by night,—a night visitant,—a spectral thing soon in dreams,—a fancied and feared thing, or hobgoblin, of the night or darkness; and this the settlors generally have construed to mean the Devil!—and, of course, their own orthodox one!!*

* See a similar European error re "Hades" and Hell, exposed, in "Transactions N.Z. Institute," Vol. XII., p. 122., and note there.—As some who may read this paper may not have access to Vol. XII. "Transactions," I give here the European error alluded to above, in an extract from the said note (omitting, however, from its length the very interesting Maori legend). "A few years ago the Superintendent of the late Auckland Province (Mr. J. Williamson) sought to have an interview with a Maori chief of note on political matters; this, however, the chief would not grant, ending with saying,—"you and I shall never meet until we meet in the reinga." This, of course, was made much of. The dreadful bitterness of expression,—"never until we meet in hell"!—was intensified and dwelt upon shudderingly with much Christian feeling, but all throngh ignorance on the part of the Christian Europeans. The New Zealander had no such thoughts, and only made use of an old Maori saying; the English having chosen this word (reinga) as the equivalent for hell; a meaning, however, which it does not possess."

page 6
Worse still are the many errors concerning the names of two well-known places near Napier; both possessing rather long Maori names, which, while quite easy and mellifluous to the Maoris, and to those few Europeans who well-know their language, are a real pons Asinorum to the many! I could not take on me to repeat or recount the several broken and twisted patois names I have heard given to Kohinurakau and to its adjoining high hill Kahuraanake. Perhaps I had better give pretty fully the meaning of those two names (of places celebrated in the olden time), as such is not only interesting, but will again serve to show how correctly the ancient Maoris often named their localities. 1. Kohinurakau: when I first knew this place it was a delightful spot; a small grove of fine trees (some being pines), a perennial gushing streamlet of delightful water, and very fertile soil,—all in a small open dell or natural terrace near the summit of a very high hill (one of a long range), commanding an extensive view; where, for several years, the Maoris had their cultivations and a small village: Kohinurakau=choice-fat-of-the-woods,—including Maori game,—birds and delicious wood-rats, fruits, and pure water.*—2. Kahuraanalte: the name given to this high hill is a most expressive and very peculiar term, being really not a noun, but a sentence including a verb, and meaning,—(It-is)-only-by-it-revealed, shown or made known; or, The only, or pre-eminent, revealer. There arc, at least two derivations of this name:—1. The peculiar peaked and isolated broken summits of this big and lofty hill are seen from the N. shore of Hawke's Bay, 60-70 miles distant, as well as from all the intervening country; and towards it the eye of the old Maoris was always directed in steering their canoes in a Southerly direction across the Bay, or in travelling thitherwards from the N.—2. Whenever the summits wore a hood of mist or cloud, it was an unfailing sign of rain and of bad weather coming on; and so, with the old Maoris, It was the great revealer, or indicator, of the place to which they were going; and also of the coming weather. A short time ago I received a letter from an old and

* With the old Maoris, the fat, or oil, of lands, forests, &c., meant their choicest and plentiful fruits and productions; just as with the ancient Hebrews,—"fat of the land," "fat of fruits," &c.,—Gen, 45, 18; 49. 20. Num. 18. 12, 29. Ps. 81. 1; etc.

page 7 respectable settler, in which the name of Kohinurakau was written "Queen Arata"! which for some time, there being no clue in the letter to its true meaning, puzzled me pretty considerably.

For a long time, and until lately, our Newspapers constantly erred in confusing the names of two important seaports here on the E. Coast, viz. Turanga (Poverty Bay), and Tauranga (Bay of Plenty): also, in the names of Waikari (the river between Napier and Mohaka), and Waikare (the name of the lake in the interior of the County of Wairoa),—and this latter still continues! Some even go so far as to laugh at the difference! But the etymological meanings of those two names of waters are widely distinct, and, severally, are again very suitable; Waikari=water running through a deep cut, narrow cliffs, or channel (which that river does); and Waikare—rough, agitated, or surging water (which that open exposed sheet of water, high up among the mountains, often is).

A similar error on the part of the Newspapers, and the Settlers generally, was made in the name of the late principal Maori Chief of these parts,—Te Ha-puhu=the Codfish, (par excellence!) and its common name throughout New Zealand; this name was by them lowered to Hapuka,—a most unmeaning word in Maori,—with the further depreciation through the omission of the definite article,—Te. Of course, from the time of his being so called, here, on this Coast, another name was always used for that fish, viz. Kauwaeroa=long jaw; and time was when it would have been death to the offender if of Te Hapuku's tribe to have wilfully called this fish by its old name of Hapultu.*

Just so it is, again, respecting a place of anchorage and shelter from southerly gales on the N. side of Table Cape, its Maori name being Whangawehi=Fearing, or Apprehensive, Bay, or stopping-place, (a very good and suitable name, indicating its being exposed and open); this, the Colonists, and the Government too, have altered to Whanganhei! a word that has no good meaning whatever in Maori.

Here I may also briefly notice two modern Maori names of lately settled places near us, and that because of their ambiguity as those names are now printed and set up; viz. "Tomoana," and "Awatoto." By the Maoris of these parts, who well know how to pronounce those two names, the orthography though incorrect would be understood; but any Maori coining from a distance, and not having heard the true pronunciation intended, yet not shown, would be almost sure to pronounce them wrongly,—and so, perhaps, be laughed at; at all events, if not set right, he could not know their true Maori pronunciation and therefore their meaning; and this arises from their not being spelled as a Maori understanding their intended meaning would spell them. Sometimes the vowels in a Maori word are long, and sometimes short, (as in Latin,) and if such are not

* Vide "Essay on the Maori Races," Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. I., § 43.

page 8 distinguished in the writing, an error in reading is almost sure to be made,—unless, as I said before, the meaning is previously known to the reader. Thus, Tomoana should be Toomoana; and Awatoto should be Anatootoo; for the meaning of the word Tomoana (as it is now printed and painted up), is, To enter a cave; whereas, Toomoana means To be dragged or drawn from the sea; the true and intended meaning here.* So Anatoto means, the bloody river; but Anatootoo=the dragging river or passage;—which that little long and narrow winding creek was in former days truly enough! as I have known to my sorrow in early travelling (toilsome canoe-voyaging, or dragging) through it.
As we travel further S. into other districts, such errors thicken; witness,—the ugly and unmeaning " Taourakira Head " (the W. head of Palliser Bay), for the old name full of meaning of Turakrae=Windy Head, (lit. Forcibly-throwing-down-point):—the patois Petoni (near Wellington), for Pitoone=end of the sandy beach,—another suitable and highly significant name:—Wanyanui for Whanganui, &e., &c. In the Middle Island it is still worse! An appropriate well-timed modern example thence, we have at hand in the name of the fine new steamer from Dunedin, which arrived here in our roadstead only yester-

* As this new township has been named after the present resident Chief and Maori Member in the House of Representatives—Henare (Henry) Toomoana, and as his eldest brother, lately deceased, Karaitaina (Christian) Takamoana, was the Maori Member before him, and as both their compound surnames terminate with moana—Ocean; it maybe well to give in a note the origin of those names, or the cause of their being conferred on those two (uterine) brothers; for, like in many other instances, those surnames were not those of the family, nor their own earliest names.—

Some 50 years back, one of the then principal and powerful Chiefs of this place, Tiakitai, (always miscalled by the early foreigners " Jacky Ty"!) went on board of a ship in this Bay; and, the weather changing, he was earned off in her to Port Jackson and other places; he returned however safely to his home and tribe. Hence the name of Takamoana=to change, to roam, to go about from place to place by sea, was bestowed on this then young Chief and relative, in commemoration of that event. Toomoana, was also conferred as a name on the younger brother, on account of an insult or threat, spoken in the old days of feuds and bloody fightings, (and but a very short time before that I came here to reside,) in which the speaker threatened to drag up their canoe with its contents from the sea, and, of course, to seize it, &c. Hence, to keep the insult (which was a gross one) in remembrance among the sub-tribe, in order to its afterwards being fully avenged, this name of Toomoana=Dragged from the sea, was given to the boy. Such changes were common, and cause great trouble in unravelling their history, legends, &c. (See " Essay on the Maori Races," Transactions N.Z. Inst., Vol. I., § 28 (2): and, Vol. XIV., p. 15, notes.)

In the last edition of the Maori Bible this has been in a measure obviated, by using both long and short marks over the vowels where required; but this is more for the benefit of the English reader. I have never known a Maori so to write, but, on the contrary always to use the two vowels together to make the necessary long sound, which is also done by the other Polynesians. And here I may also remark, that the syllable too (in the Maori words above), is not pronounced as it would be in English, but as if written (in English) toe, or tow.

page 9 day; her patois name (it appears) is Maniapori, (a most incongruous unmeaning compound name or term in Maori, which has been disputed over, and further altered in the Newspapers of the day, to Manipori, Manapori, Manapouri, &e.,)—whereas the same—being the name of a large S.E. lake of the South Island, situated far inland among the mountains,—is Mananapore*=anxious, or apprehensive, heart. No doubt another proof of a highly suitable name once given to that sheet of water, expressive of the feelings of those who might have had to cross it in their small and frail fresh-water canoes, or rafts. Surely if it is deemed right to keep up the ancient Maori name of any place or thing, such should be spelled correctly according to the grammatical rules and construction of the Maori language? Such would prove of no small service hereafter in philological pursuits. For, as I have said before,—"Language adheres to the soil, when the lips which spoke it are resolved into dust. Mountains repeat, and rivers murmur, the voices of nations denationalized or extirpated in their own land." But, in order to this being done, care must be taken to transmit the same truly, whether by oral tradition or in writing. Strange thoughts arise at times within me, when I contemplate, oil the one hand, the uncivilised unlettered Maori carefully handing down the names of places and things obtained from his forefathers from time immemorial, without error or change; and, on the other hand, the civilised lettered European, who, while apparently desirous of retaining the same names, neither speaks nor writes them correctly, and, worse still, does not care about doing so! The great Provincial District of Otago still adheres to its erroneously spelled Maori (sic) name; (some, however, here among us, knowing that it is not Maori, might think it derived from the Gaelic!) That is still further outdone by their keeping to the horrid ungrammatical term of "Maori Kaik!" for, Kaainga maori. And worst of all, those errors (with many more of a like kind) are taught to our children in the Colonial Schools throughout the land.
And as I have here just touched upon the Colonial School-Books (Geography of N.Z.) and their Maps in use in our Schools, one other great and glaring error

* It is worthy of remark, that this ancient term, now but very rarely used, was one of those expressive ones spoken by Paikea, when swimming towards land, struggling far off in the Ocean. (Transactions N.Z. Institute, Vol. XIV., p. 20, v. 1.)

Essay "On the Maori Races," §51, par. 5; Transactions N.Z. Institute, Vol. I.

A few years back when I held the office of Government Inspector of Schools for this Provincial District, I was frequently sorely puzzled in my School visitations, owing to the erroneous orthography in many places in the Maps and School Geography of New Zealand. Very many Maori names of places I knew to be wrong, and others of places unknown to me I supposed to be so, as they were not given in true Maori, (of course I am referring to the edition of 1871; there may, however, have been subsequent editions with these errors altered.) And this was the more to be regretted, for the outlines and execution of the Maps were very clear and correct; and very much of the information given, (physical, descriptive, and historical—modern,) was of a superior and useful character.

page 10 contained therein I feel bound to notice more particularly, and that is the Maori name of the Southern Island. I do this the more especially as its true and proper name was early given correctly by Cook himself. Its old name is Te Wai Pounamu, or Te Moana Pounamu; meaning,—the water in which the Greenstone dwelt. For with them, the Greenstone (their greatest valuable) was a living being, and dwelt in the waters of the S. Island, whence it was obtained by the N. Maoris (through barter) at great expense and trouble, and believed to be only caught at certain seasons, and then only by the powerful use of many prayers, &c.* In our School Books, however, all this is set aside; and we are plainly and unpoetically told, that the S. Island is called in Maori,—"Te Wahi Pounamu, or the place of the Greenstone." This name, however, is not of Maori origin; it is another attempt on the part of the Colonist to correct the Maori name, and then to give to his own thought his own meaning! (supra,—Taipo, &c.)

Some of the errors in Maori nomenclature made by the early Naturalists and Botanists in this Country are highly amusing if not interesting; the more so because not unfrequently they also give their own safe (sic) deductions therefrom! First, making the mistake themselves in the orthography, &c., and then (secondly and consequently,) giving an erroneous meaning:—A few of them I will here briefly notice.—

The French Naturalist Lesson, (who accompanied Adm. D'Urville in 1826-1829,) gives the Maori names of several plants, a few of them are quite correct; of some, however, it is impossible to know what was originally said by the Maoris to him, or intended by the writer; one, in particular, has often made me to smile,—it is the little seaside plant Spergularia marina, whose Maori name, Lesson says, is "Notenoho"."This, however is not the name of a plant, but a pure Maori sentence, (given, no doubt in answer to a question,) meaning,—From the sitting or resting-place; i.e. (gathered by you) from the spot (where you were) resting, or sitting.

Dr. Dieffenbaeh, writing of our N. Z. Birds, says,—"the Cormorants have something solemn in their aspect, and are called by the New Zealanders Kaunau or the Preacher;" (!!)§ and, again, in his "Vocabulary," appended, (not, however, wholly of his own collecting!) he has, "Kaumau, a Shag; preaching." This arises, (1) from his mistake in the orthography and pronunciation of two words, here by him confounded, which widely differ; Kanau, being the common name for the Shag; and Kauwhau, to address an assembly, speak formally and lengthily, as the old Maori orators and chiefs; hence, to preach (modern). One

* The old legends respecting it are very interesting, of which more anon.

New Zealand Geography, page 3.

"Voyage de L'Astrolabe, Botanique," Vol. I., p. 315.

§ "Travels in New Zealand," Vol. I., p. 77.

page 11 might as well say, that the two English words, Cat, and Cart, were alike, in sound and meaning! (2) but this notion (like very many others in Dieffenbach's work) was not original with him; he had got it from Polack's book on New Zealand, published a few years before; who of course, characteristically adds thereto; and the Doctor, having once got hold of the ludicrous idea, (and not heartily liking the Mission-body,) evolved, German-like! the added "solemnity of the Shag's aspect," from the depths of his own mind!

Dieffenbach also, (passim,) delights in reduplicating common names of birds, &c.,—e.g. the Kiwi (Apteryx sps.,) is with him Kiwi Kiwi; the Ruric (owl), is Rurururu; the Weka (wood-hen), is Wekaweka; the Paraoa (sperm whale), is Paraparaua, &c., &c. Errors of this kind however were very common with most early foreign visitors, as I myself have often heard them used. The worst was, that the younger Maoris (always apt imitators, especially in the olden time,) not unfrequently copied from their visitors, especially if such were of some note, and hence those errors became perpetuated.

In the List of Maori names of Plants appended to Sir J. D. Hooker's "Hand-Book N. Z. Flora," there are several errors; some, no doubt, arising from the writers jotting down the Maori name they had just heard, according to their own foreign notion of writing it,—forgetting, that no Maori name or word, ever ends with a consonant.* I will select one, Toumatou, because its pseudo-

* I have often been struck some 40 years ago with the close phonetic rendering of many Maori names of Birds, Fishes, &c., by the two Forster's (father and son) who accompanied Cook on his second Voyage to N. Zealand, and with the large amount of patient toil they must have experienced in taking them down; albeit their orthography, at first sight, a-bounding in harsh double consonants, looks very barbarous, and is anything but tempting: also, with those of Lesson (already mentioned) and other Naturalists belonging to the French Discovery Expeditions of 50-60 years ago. Of course their orthography varies much from the far simpler one adopted in rendering the Maori tongue into writing; still it is such that I could have beneficially used in my early enquiries among the Maoris, which is more than can be said of many (so-called) Maori names more recently written, above referred to. A few of those old Maori names of Birds I will give here from Forster, as a curiosity. It will be seen that he, in many instances, adds the indefinite article (he=a) to the name of the Bird, and uses g and gh, hard for k.

English Name. Maori Name. Maori Name from Forster.
Sparrow-hawk Karearea Kari-area.
Owl Ruru Herooroo.
Kingfisher Kotare Ghotarre.
Parson-bird Tuii Toi.
Bell-bird Kopara Heghobarra.
Thrush Koropio Golobieo.
Fantail Flycatcher Piwakawaka Diggowaghwagh: Piouakaonaka, Less.
Robin Toitoi Ghatoitoi.
Pigeon Kereru Hagarrèroo.
Plover Tuturuwatu Doodooroo-attoo.
Blue Heron Matuku Matook: Matoucou, Less.
Paradise Duck Putangitangi Pooa dugghie dugghie.
Duck Parera He-Parerra.
Tern Tara He-Talle.
page 12 Maori name has been unfortunately made into a specific botanical one for the plant, by its describer M. Raoul,—Discaria Toumatou. Now this, I am sorry to say, is worse than rubbish! The correct Maori name of this plant is Tuma-takuru*=the demon-smiter, or striker of faces; which name, from its thorny structure and dense habit of growth, is very expressive, particularly to a Maori of the olden time—almost naked? Toumatou, however, is not a Maori word at all, and scarcely even a grammatical phrase; and if translated can only mean, thine-our,—or thy-we,—or albm-anus-tuus! But one of the grossest errors in that List, is the (pseudo) Maori name of a small plant said to be obtained by the Rev. R. Taylor from the interior, and given in full by him; Taylor calls it, " Te-pua-o-te-reinga"; and he translates it by "The flower of Hades (or hell)"! [This, however, was nothing new for Mr. Taylor, his book abounds in such!!] I have made many enquiries after this plant (partly at the pressing request of Sir J. D. Hooker,) which seems to be scarce, or, more likely, local and overlooked,—being but a small leafless parasite on the roots of trees in the forests. Very likely the Maoris who were with Taylor on that occasion, gave it the name of "Pua reinga," from noting his eagerness to get it, (which Taylor amplified into Te pua o te reinga! adding thereto his own mis-translation). Now Pua reinga, as given by them, means,—A (or the) flower eagerly laid hold of, grasped, sought after, or desired: just as in the common Maori term "Wahine reinga";—a (or the) woman eagerly followed, sought, &c. No such idea as "the flower of Hades,"—as we understand that term,—was ever associated by any Maori with that, or any other flower. The error, or strange jumble of ideas wholly foreign to the little plant, was evolved from Taylor's mind.§
We meet again, in his book, with a conceit very like this, which it may be well briefly to quote, as one will serve to illustrate the other: he says,—"A small fish is also found in the Rotoaira Lake, and in the streams which gush out of the sides of Tongariro, called the fi.sh of Hades, and is of a buff colour and spotted

* This plant was originally discovered by myself in 1838, and again in 1841, at Poverty Bay; and sent by me to Sir W. Hooker in 1842, who published it, with its Maori name, &c., in the "London Journal of Botany," Vol. III., p. 17, in January, 1844; it was also published by myself in the "Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science," Vol. II. p. 232, in 1843.

Loc. cit., p. 768.

Loc. cit., p. 255.

§ See a simple European error re "Hades" exposed, in "Trans. N.Z. Inst.," Vol. XII, p. 122, note there; and, note, p. 6 of this paper.

page 13 like a Leopard's skin," &c., (loc. cit., p. 499.) That there is such a little fish to be found there in that small lake, I well know, having dined on them, and it is delicious eating. It is called by the Maoris, Koaro, and is only found in that lake in the summer season. The Maoris say, that it comes out of the watery recesses of the neighbouring mountain Tongariro, whose waters feed that lake lying at its immediate base. But here, as before, the calling it a "fish of Hades,"—because, forsooth! the summit of Tongariro is an active crater—a burning mountain,—is not Maori at all, but is wholly a foreign fancy! another strange aberrant one of Mr. Taylor's; with such, however, his book abounds.

A notable instance of a similar strange and far-fetched notion arising from the same root ignorance of the true meaning of the Maori term or name, (accompanied with the dissonant English idea in the mind of the writer, or speaker, with whom "the wish was also father to the thought,")—I find in the last volume of the "Transactions N.Z. Institute," (XIII., p. 440,)—where it is recorded, that at a meeting of the Auckland Branch,—a Mr. Bates greatly interested them in informing them, that in the Maori tongue, "Wai meant water, roto meant lake, motu meant an island, and puhe a hill," &c., &c.; and then the President, Dr. Purchas, in the chair, said,—"The derivation of some of the Maori names was very interesting. Rangitoto, signified "red" or "bloody" heaven, which pointed clearly to a period when the Volcano was in active operation. The word ranga was usually connected with Volcanic appearances," &c., &c.

Here, as I take it, in the President's remarks (as well as in what followed), is an extra large amount of error,—or, rather, several errors!—
1.I doubt if ever any Maori so understood, or so used the word, or words, Rangi toto; the whole conception or idea is utterly foreign!
2.There are several hills known to me scattered throughout New Zealand, bearing this name, besides others, islets in the surrounding seas, which are not volcanic; but they are all rough and peaked, and more or less craggy at top, and are isolated, and generally higher than their neighbours;—e.g. four, at least, in the neighbouring county of Waipawa,—one near Tamumu, one near Takapau, one at Kairakau, and one near Black-head; one at the Mahia the N. side of Hawke's Bay; another in North Taupo; two in the country N. of Auckland; one at Wairarapa; and the Rangitoto islets in Cook's Straits.
3.The word "toto" has other meanings besides blood; one of which is, to ooze forth (as from minute leaks, and from pores of skin, rind, &c.,), to trickle down; another is, to arise in the heart or soul, to rise up within, to gush as strong feelings,—e.g. "Katalii ha toto ake te aroha o te ngakau!"=Then the heart-felt love arose, or, gushed upwards.
4.With the ancient Maoris all blood was not only of a red colour.
5.The word toto was not commonly used by the old Maoris for red-colour, page 14 —for which they had several proper names according to its hue; they rarely ever used "toto" at all in that way save figuratively.—
6.A red sky was never termed Rangitoto by the Maoris; they have several proper names for it, according to the time of the day, its peculiar appearance, and the intensity of its red colour.

Having made those observations by way of preliminary, I would further state, that, out of several archaic meanings pertaining to this word or phrase known to me, I should select this that follows, as being what an ancient thoughtful Maori might probably assign as originating that word or phrase; although there are others:—

With the primitive Maoris, Rangi (=Sky) was a personal being, their common Great Father. In their highly figurative early Myths, the Dew (To-mai-rangi=Drawn-downwards-from-the-sky) was his affectionate tears, dropping on his ever-parted wife Papa (=the Earth) beneath; and it was but a step in the same direction with them to conceive, that when he lovingly descended, seeking and grieving, and came nearer to his lost spouse, the jagged rocky hilltops, which they often saw separating the low clouds, and trickling with wet, were so through his blood; thus those ragged stony-crested hills bore the common name of Rangitoto,—or, the causing the blood of Rangi to ooze, or trickle down. Moreover the ancient name of the blue sky was Kikorangi—the flesh of Rangi.* And of this opinion it may be further said, that it is in agreement with their old tapu or sacred customs on meeting after separation,—crying largely with many tears, and cutting themselves to cause the blood to ooze forth and to trickle down.

Moreover, in support and further illustration of what I have just stated, I will here give an extract (translated) from an ancient East Coast version of the Creation and Beginning of all things, (written many years ago by an intelligent Maori tokunga—priest, or skilled man):—

—"After the separation of the husband and his wife, Rangi and Papa, (Sky and Land,) Rangi=Sky, the husband was (fixed) at a great distance off (from her); then the loving heart of Rangi began to work strongly (ngau—bite) towards Papa, and just so did the feelings of Papa work towards her separated husband; and they were continually affectionately lamenting their separation and each other's absence. The lamentations of Rangi above descends in his copious falling tears, namely, mists, heavy rain, showers, dew, and thick wet hazy clouds; these are given down by him as refreshment (kai) to her; while the usual rains are also sent down to moisten and comfort and feed Papa and her

* See "Trans. N. Z. Inst.," Vol. XIV., p. 67, note. Here, also, the peculiar name of the pink-flesh Kumara—Wairtta-a-ratigi, and its derivation, should be borne in mind.—"Trans. N. Z. I.," XIV., p. 54, note.

page 15 numerous children (trees and plants) growing on her hack, which she always maternally carries without feeling the heavy load."

For the present I make no remark on that other grave error; that "the word ranga was usually connected with volcanic appearances"; [which, however, I have yet to learn!]—only this, If it were so, what connection is there between ranga and rangi? Neither on what immediately follows, just as erroneous. I can only regret that such information (sic) respecting the ancient Maoris should ever have been admitted within a volume of the "Transactions of the N. Z. Institute," although not among the "Transactions" proper.

At the same time I would observe, that the study of ancient Maori names of places, plants, and and animals,—with, in many instances, their metaphorical meanings, is deeply interesting, and philologically useful; but it is a difficult one, and should only be prosecuted by a person very well skilled in the general Maori language, including old tribal or District dialects, (and that not merely colloquially,) as well as in their History, both legendary and real, and who, also, can think in Maori,—i.e. after the old Maori manner,—otherwise he would be sure to make a mess of it; for, as Schiller remarks,—"Against stupidity even the gods fight in vain."

Having shown the error arising from the mistake made in the etymology of the name of one of our noted hills, I may also briefly mention another, and a similar case. It is well known that one of the high mountains in the N. Island, and the only active volcano in N. Zealand, is called by the Maoris Tongariro. On this, the Rev. R. Taylor having brought forward a few extracts from "Mariner's Tonga Isles," respecting the natives of Tonga, and having summed them up, says,—"the identity of the Tonga natives with those of New Zealand is evident," (!) and then he goes on, characteristically, to state, as a clencher,—"Tonga is the name given by the Maoris to the S. wind, the highest (sic) mountain is also honoured with the same, being called tongariro. Tonga riro simply means, Tonga which has left or departed from its old position in the Tonga islands, and gone to the South."*

Was such a far-fetched and utterly incongruous idea as this ever before hatched? It is far more likely that the said mountain got its name from the snow often deposited by the S. wind on it, (by a figure of metonymy, so common with the Maori,)—tonga being also commonly used by them for biting cold, hence for snow,—the cause for the effect; and then, owing to the heat arising from the crater, the fallen snow remained but a very short time on the cone or

* "New Zealand and its inhabitants," p. 390. Moreover this idea is taken from Lang's strange book, "On the origin of the Polynesian nation," p. 67, (London, 1834,)—though there it is carried further and is still worse!—but then Lang knew nothing of the Maoris.

page 16 peak, and thus became riro=gone! So different, in this respect, from the neighbouring and higher crest, on which the snow permanently remains during many months of the year; which crest also bears the highly appropriate name of Para-te-tai-tonga=Dirt (or dregs) from the Southern Sea. (N.B. The term tonga is here again used.)

2. Of pure Maori names, and of their derivation, early given by the Maoris themselves to introduced European novelties.

This of itself is a highly interesting theme, as showing their genius for Nomenclature, and apt and fertile invention. Many of those names were highly expressive, particularly to the Maori people; and were most strongly shown, in (1) fitting compound words; (2) in names of things utterly different, yet resembling in form, or in their use, and so affording the idea and the name; and (3) in onomatopoeia. Enough might easily be brought forward to fill a pretty large paper; I will, however, give a few pregnant examples, as many of them are now become obsolete, or gone out of use, for the horrid unmeaning patois, or gibberish broken-English!

And first, of that article on which their whole heart and soul was early set,—a gun. This was named, in its entirety, a pu=hom the hollow cylindrical shape of its barrel; pu being their Maori name for the hollow and long stalks of large reeds, and for their long cylindrical wooden horns or trumpets. A musquet, and a flint and steel gun, were called a Ngutu-parera, (angl. Duck's-bill,) from the shape of its steel; a double-barrelled gun, was called, a puwaharua=gun with two months; the barrel,=Kamaka (N.), and powhatu (S.),—common Maori names for stone (they not having metals); the stock,=rapa,—from its flatness, &c.,—this being the Maori name for the blade of a paddle, the thin flat carved part of the upright stern of a war-canoe, &c.; the lock,=Kati, and Katipu,—this word being used for a catch, fastener, latch, &c.; to be at half-cock,=Kati-tu,—standing catch; for whole cock,=Kati-pupuhi,—firing-off catch; cock down,=moe,—at rest (lit. sleeping); to cock,=Keu,—to fix, make ready; the ramrod was called, Okaoka,—a reduplication from oka, any long sharp pointed instrument, as a fine dagger; to stab, &c.

2. Of a ship,—Kaipuke: seeing so much of error has long been prevalent and held, respecting the origin of this word, I shall give as briefly as 1 may, my opinion concerning it; which I have only arrived at after a great deal of toilsome research and study, extending over a very long period. A ship was early named at the N. of the N. Island Kaipuke (and Puke, poetical), but at the S. of the same Island it was called,—motu tawhiti=island (from) afar, and moutere=floating isle, it was also called, Pahi; this latter word is the Tahitian term for a large canoe, ship, &c.,* and it might have been obtained by the Southern

* It is also the term for a ship in the Hervey Islands, by dropping the h, (not used there,)—-pai for pahi.

page 17 Maoris from the Tahitian Tupaea who accompanied Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand,—or from Cook and his European party themselves, as they would be sure to use that (with them) known and accustomed term. A ship was also called pora, (especially by the Ngaitahu tribe on the E. Coast of the S. Island,) which name was very likely given to it on account of the flatness of the cielings below decks, as pora in the Maori tongue is the proper name for a flat-roofed house; also for a foreigner, &c.* Now, whence is this somewhat strange name of Kaipuke derived? Observe: (1) the word itself, though pure Maori, is not that of any other thing;—(2) the term is a compound one, kai and puke;—(3) this particle, kai, is in extensive use, and has very many meanings; one is, that when prefixed to any word—noun or verb—it denotes the acting, or the possessing that peculiar power, faculty, or thing, indicated by the word to which it is joined,—and that fully, entirely, or intensively,—e.g.
  • mahi,=work, labour: kai-mahi,—worker, labourer.
  • hanga,=to make, build: kai-hanga,=maker, builder.
  • hoe,=a paddle, to paddle: kai-hoe,=paddler.
  • riri,=anger, to be angry: kai-riri,=an enemy
  • maemae,—foot: kai-maewae,=footstep.
  • kaha,—strong, strength: kai-kaha,=a very strong man.
  • tohutohu,=to point out, direct: kai-tohutohu,=a, director, overseer, manager.
  • wawao,=to mediate: kai-mamao=a mediator.
  • whakamarie,=to console, to make quiet: kai-mhakamarie,—a consoler, a nurse.

—Another, and a very old meaning of kai, as a noun, is moveable property, possessions, goods, treasures, chattels,—valuables in the estimation of the ancient Maori.

(4) The word puke has also several meanings, but all derived from one root:—1. a hill:—2. a heavy billow, or high surge at sea:—3. a great and sudden flood, or rise of waters in the rivers, (often nai puke, note this word,):—4. (fig.) for a chief:—5. for any great obstruction, moral or physical.

* In writing on Polynesian nomenclature I may observe, that Pora (Pola) is also the term in the Sandwich Islands for the high platform seat for chiefs between a double canoe:—in Fiji it is the name given to a war-canoe from another land [Bola):—in Samoa, Pola is the name for plaited matting of cocoa-nut leaves, used to shut in a house;—also, as a verb, to carry flat on such a piece of matting—as a cooked pig, &c. [Here we have again in another form the Maori idea of flatness (supra); with the Maoris, also, a coarse kind of platted matting for floors, &c., is culled pora.] In the Tonga isles the same word (bola) is used for the leaf of the cocoa-nut platted for thatching and other purposes; and (bolavaka) for a similar covering for canoes,—which, I suppose, is extended horizontally over them, as was formerly the case in N.Z. I mention all this briefly, as showing the oneness of idea, root, or family connection existing between the several languages.

page 18

In the very old legend of the killing of the monstrous Saurian, Hotupuku, it is related, that when the enormous creature emerged from its cave, the rousing cry was,—"Ano! me he pukepuke nhenua!"=Verily! it was like a hill of earth I (N.B. It was not considered sufficient to say,—puke, or pukepuke,=hill, only; but, pukepuhe nhenua=hill of earth.)*

Further, it is to be borne in mind, that in order to render any word in Maori doubly emphatic,—whether adjective, or noun following in construction,—such word is used out of its common position in the sentence, and instead of following the noun, is placed before it:—e.g.
  • nui pai,—exceedingly great good:
  • nui kino,=exceedingly great evil:
  • nui tohora,—a very large whale:
  • nui tara,—&fish with remarkable spiny fins:
  • nui tangata,=a great multitude:
  • nai puke,—a. great hill of water;—a flood.

—So that kai puke may well have been intended emphatically to mean,—a floating hill possessing valuables,—property of all kinds.

And here I may also add, that at the Sandwich Islands (and other places in the Pacific), a ship is called a motu—island, (not unlike puke=hill, the main idea being the same,) through its being taken when first seen by those Islanders for an island. The old Maoris also had plenty of stories about floating and voyaging islands,—e.g. Motutere in the Taupo lake.

Having thus given pretty exhaustively what I believe to be the true origin of the word Kaipuke—skip, (which has long been a vexata quœstio,) I shall not enter on her various parts, for generally they bore the same names as the corresponding ones in their own big built canoes; a few only of the additions I shall notice.—

A man-of-war=k. nhatvhai, or k. nhai purepo,—lit. fighting ship, or ship possessing cannon:—

A merchantman;=k. kawe taonga,—lit. ship carrying goods:—

A whaler=k. patu, or nero tohora,—lit. a. ship for killing, or harpooning, whales:

A passenger vessel=k, eke, or k. kane tangata,—lit. a ship taking on board, or carrying men:—

All sailing ships, in contradistinction to steamers,—k. maori,lit. common, or usual ship:—

A 3-master=k. rakau-toru (N.), h. rena-toru (S.),—lit. a ship (with) 3 trees, or poles;—a ship (with) 3 heights, or high poles, understood:—

* See Transactions N. Z Institute, Vol. XI., p. 87, for this strange and complete legend translated by me.

K. here throughout, moans kaipuke.

See "Trans. N.Z. I.," Vol. X. p. 151, for examples of this use of the word.

page 19 Standing yards=kurupae,—lit. cross-beams of a large house, platform, &c.:—

A figure-head=ihu nhakapakoko,—lit. nose, or beak, having a carved image:—

Outer stern and taffrail=paremata, from pare, an ornamental peak, frontlet, border, for the face, and mata the full front of the face:—

Upper deck,=paparunga,—lit. upper boards:—

Shrouds and ratlines,=arakirunga, or arupikikirunga,—lit. (the) climbing-way-aloft:—

To sound with the lead,=nhakataatutu,—lit. to make touch the bottom (and) stand; a most expressive and fitting word.

3. Of common working-tools,—which, as Cook and others truly said, they prized beyond everything! most of the common ones, as the axe, hammer, chisel, auger, gimlet, awl, knife, large spike nail, small nails, &c., took the names of their own similar stone and bone implements; a few others however obtained some curious and striking names as—

An adze,=kapu,—lit. palm of the hand, sole of the foot, &c., so named from its curvature.

A small axe, hatchet, and tomahawk, panekeneke,—lit. strike-and-keep-moving-by-small-degrees!—a good expressive name, indicative of their manner of using it in the woods, scrub, &c., clearing before them; formerly no Maori of any rank travelled or moved about without one strung to his wrist; of this little useful instrument they were very fond.

A saw, and also a file=kani,—lit. to cut stone by friction, rubbing to and fro; as they cut their Greenstone, &c.

A plane,—narn,—lit. to scrape, cut, &c., give a smooth surface to;—as with obsidian, a sharp shell, &c.

A pinchers,—kuku,—lit. the big mussel shell-fish.

A grindstone, hone, &c.,—hoanga. the common name of their own sharpening stones, of which they had several kinds; the common grindstone very often took the additional term of huri=to revolve.

A pick, pickaxe,=kerinhenua,—lit. earth digger.

A hoe,—karaone,—lit. to tear, roughen, pare the ground.

A spade,=puka, kaheru, karehu, hapara, &c.; this useful instrument bore several names, according to the District and sub-dialects, but its general one at the N. was puka. At first and for a few years this name to me was a puzzler, for I could not find out why the spade had obtained this peculiar name, (which was also the name given by the Maoris to the cultivated cabbage,) I knew of nothing Maori that also bore it. At last I heard from an old intelligent priest, that there was a tree bearing a large leaf named puka, and thence their name for the spade (and cabbage)! For a long time I diligently sought this plant, offering rewards for it, no one, however, had page 20 seen it; at length I found one (in 1836), in a corner of Whangaruru Bay (S.);—its leaves were large, 12-20 inches long, and 8-9 inches broad, oblong, plain, entire, and stout, with a long thick stem.* I never saw another plant; its home was said to be on the Poor Knight's Islets, a small group in the sea just opposite. I suspect hapara to be the Maori attempt at pronouncing the word shovel

4. Of articles of food.—

The Potatoe bore several names, both what may be termed general,—each one extending throughout a large district, as, unhi, parareka, kapana, rinai, taena, &c.;—and particular,—i.e. of each variety or sort, of which they had a great number, many being of their own raising. Unhi, is also the name of other edible Maori roots, sometimes with a short inseparable affix, as unhipere—Gas-trodia Cunninghamii, nuhikaho=the yam, &c. Parareka=sweet mealy (substance), is a good Maori meaning name for the tubers of this plant; but all their many names for them had highly significant meanings.

Maize,=Kopakipaki,—from a verb to wrap up, to envelope; from its large spathaceous bracts of fruit leaves, closely clasping the fruit.

Bread,=Taro, from the large Taro root (Caladium esculentum) their bread.

Biscuit,=Taro pakeke,—lit. hard taro.

Turnip,=Korau (N.), the name of the tree-fern (Cyatliea medullaris), whose largo white pith or heart is eaten, which also the large white root of the turnip resembles in substance when cooked; at the South the name for this wild Turnip was rearea=greens, from its growing quickly with its large edible loaves and succulent flowering stems; rearea being the reduplication of the verb rea, to grow as vegetables, to spring.

5. Sundries.—

A Horse,=Kararehe-or Kuri-naha-tangata,—lit. the man-carrying-quadruped.

Sheep,=Pirikahu, from its fleece, like a garment to which all things stuck.

The Horn of a sheep, cow, &c.,=Taringa pihi (N.),—lit. budding ear; also, (S.), Maire=hard-wood.

Iron pot for cooking=Kohua,—so called from their own small circular earth-ovens. (Here it may be noted, that by most early European residents, not knowing this, it has been stated, that the term arose from the phrase "Go-ashore." (!!)

A Looking-glass,=Whakaata,—from the verb causing a shadow, reflection, likeness: formerly the Chiefs used certain sacred pools near their homes for this purpose, which bore the same name.

* Meryta Sinclairii, Hand-book N,Z, Flora.

page 21

Book, Paper,—Pukapuka,—the Maori name of the large white-leaved shrub, Brachyglottis repanda. [Here it may be observed, that the name of this shrub is pure Maori, being the reduplication and consequent lessening of the word Puka (the large-leaved tree, supra): I mention this, as by many it has been asserted, that this name was first given to the shrub by the Maoris from the English word book,—which, however, was not the case.]

Spectacles,=Titoko-kanohi, and Karu-wha,—lit. eye-upraiser (as by the sprit (titoko) of a canoe sail), and four-eyes.

Common green-black glass Bottle,=Pounamu, (their greenstone), from its colour, hardness, fracture, &c.

White Glass,=Hauhunga,—lit. thin ice.

The wild Radish plant=Whakaruruhau,—lit. causing a break-wind, or shelter; for which purpose and its quick growth, they commonly used it about their huts at the North.

A Frenchman=Wini, from their own manner of saying Oui, Yes.

I regret to say, that this pure and ingenious Maori nomenclature did not last very long, it gradually died away, partly through the carelessness and the ignorance of the foreign settlers, and partly through the clear capacious memory of the Maori by which they were enabled to remember the patois names of common things, &c., as used by the early settlers and visitors, and in doing so not un-frequently escaped more or less of ill-words. Moreover the Maoris in the earliest days of the Colony, and for some time previous, were very prone to abandon pure Maori among themselves for the incorrect broken Maori of the settlers; for as the Maoris had considered them, at first, as being a superior race, they largely took up their errors in common talk and pronunciation as well as in other matters; and had it not been for their obtaining a written language through the Church-of-England Missionaries, and also had books printed in correct Maori by them, the Maori language would have soon become irretrievably lost;—even as it is at present the loss is very great among themselves, more than most Maori scholars are aware, and it is daily becoming more contracted and corrupt.