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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

The Maori Immigration

The Maori Immigration.

Amidst some variations in detail, the general account given by the natives of the first arrival in the islands constitutes a generally harmonious narrative. Some of their traditions state that before the arrival of the Maoris there were no men in the land, which was covered with forest. According others, when their forefathers came to New Zealand they found the land thinly populated with a race short and plump, but physically inferior to themselves, called Moriori, and many circumstances tend to show that this latter tradition is the most correct one. All tradition is consistent to three points, viz., that the Maoris came from a place called Hawaiki; that their departure from the latter place was caused by a great civil war; and that they found a race of gigantic birds in Aotearoa, as New Zealand was first called by them.

There is also a general consensus as to the names and number of canoes in which the migration was effected, especially with regard to those which conveyed the progenitors of the Auckland contingent, viz., the "Arawa," "Tainui," "Kurahaupo," and "Matatua." The Arawa, which carried the renowned Tama-te-Kapua, left a few persons at Maunganui, at the mouth of the Tauranga harbour, and the remainder proceeded to Maketu. This canoe is said to have brought over from Hawaiki certain stone images and other objects of great renown, and field is the highest veneration, one of which, the smaller, was given to Sir George Grey some years back, and is now in the Auckland An Gallery among the other art and archæological treasures presented to the city by Sir George Grey. Another, the largest, was buried on the island of Mokoia, in the middle of Lake Rotorua, and was the occasion of some little excitement when disinterred a 1883; while of the other two, one was destroyed by Hongi Hika in his Rotorua raid and the other is said to have been carried of at the same time by a tohunga, who escaped page 3 the Mokoia massacre, and by him hidden away somewhere in the fastnesses of the Horohoro range. The Tainui immigrants became the progenitors of the Waikato, Ngatimaniapoto, Ngatiraukawa, Ngatitoa, and other tribes occupying; the country from the Waikato to the West Coast of the island.

The Kurahaupo carried the ancestors of the Poverty Bay tribes, and those of the natives occupying the country around and to the north of the Bay of Islands.

The Matatua canoe was dragged on shore at Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty, and from her crew sprung several of the East Coast tribes. With regard to the time which has elapsed since the migration of the Hawaikiani to New Zealand, Tawhiao is said to be the sixteenth in direct descent from Hoturoa, who landed at Kawhia from the Tainui, and the genealogies of the principal chiefs whose forefathers came in the various canoes will all be found to cover a similar period.