Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 75



But not for long. A bright and sunny morn finds us aboard our little craft, bent on the exploration of Waikare-moana. The tents end an ample supply of stores are stowed away, the Kaumatua takes his seat in the stern, as becomes the guide and philosopher of the party, the Native boatmen seize their oars, and we glide out of the little cove of One-poto and pass over the placid waters of the "Star Lake." Behind us rises the hill Rae-kahu, and between it and colossal Pane-kiri is a narrow pass or gulch, known as Te Upoko-o-te-ao, which faces the lake in the form of a steep cliff. This cliff was a famous ahi-titi in former times—that is, a place where the titi, or mutton-bird, was taken at night. This was done by means of a net, which was set up on the edge of the cliff, the net being braced or supported against poles, which were inserted in the ground and tied together at the top in the form of a triangle. The upper rope of the net was termed tama-tane (the son) and the lower one tama-wahine (the daughter); the X of the poles where lashed together above was called the mata-tauira. A fire was kindled on Be extreme edge of the cliff in front of the net; behind the fire, and immediately in front of the net, the titi-hunters seated themselves, each with a short stick in his hand for despatching the witless birds. Two men remained standing, their task being the kirilling of such birds as flew against the mata-tauira. Attracted by the fire, the titi flew against the net, where they were killed with a blow from the bird-hunter's stick. Should the first bird taken chance to fly against the tama-tane or mata-tauira, it was deemed an omen of ill-luck—the hunters would be unsuccessful (puhore). Should the bird, however, strike the net at or near the tama-wahine—that is, near the ground—then the titi-hunters looked confidently for a good bag. A foggy night was selected for this important function, and great numbers of birds were thus taken in the old pre-Pakeha days, the same being highly prized as an article of food by the Maori. This industry is now, however, a thing of the past, for the European rat has driven the titi to the more remote and inaccessible parts. There were many such places around the lake, where this bird was formerly taken, another famous ahi-titi being the cliff near Te Wharawhara, and immediately above Te Ana-o-tawa. At Te Upoko-o-te-ao is seen the old redoubt where a detachment of the Armed Constabulary was stationed for many wears. The crumbling walls of this relic of the war-times show plainly that the days of peace are here, and have "come to stay." Looking at this old defence, it is somewhat difficult to imagine what earthly or unearthly reason the builders thereof can have had to page 16 build in such a position, for it is situated in a narrow saddle, with high hills on either side commanding it at short range. Fortunately, however, for the defenders, they were never attacked at this station.

We are now approaching the point known as Te Rahui, between which and Te Upoko-o-te-ao is Otau-rito. Te Rahui is a kind of meeting-place of the winds, and is much dreaded by Native cancemen when the lake is rough. The saying at such a time is "Ku ata whakaputa i Te Rahui"—that is, "Be careful in passing Te Rahui." If a canoe reaches Otau-rito safely when crossing in bad weather, the paddlers thereof consider that all danger is past. The tohunga* of "Mata-atua," as the Native crew have named our craft now commences his arduous task of initiating us into the ancient lore of Waikare-moana. Thus the Kaumatua: "The large, isolated rock you see at the point of Te Rahui is an ancient whare pito tamariki, or takotoranga iho tamariki, a spot where the iho (umbilied cord) of new-born children was placed as a tohu whenna. The custom, as it obtained in Tuhoe land, was to place the iho of children of succeeding generations at certain spots, in order to preserve the tribal influence over the lands adjacent. The iho was secured to a stone, and after the former decayed, the stone still maintained the name and power of that iho. This is an old custom and I myself have seen it carried out. And across the lake, where you see the hill Ngaheni, at Opu-ruahine, there lies the iho of Hopa's brother, which preserves our mana over those lands. And it is from such dangerous places as Te Rahui that the lake derives its name of Waikare-whanaunga-kore. 'Ka puta i Te Rahui, a ko te marama'—'If you pass Te Rahui, you shall look upon the world of life.'"

We are now passing beneath the great Pane-kiri Bluff, which rises up 1,000ft. above us. This great cliff is one of the most imposing sights of this picturesque region, its white surface and bush crowned summit being a striking landmark from many [unclear: deffer] points. The encroaching forest which meets the waters of the [unclear: ls] has assailed the bluff of Pane-kiri, and strips of hardy shrubs [unclear: ch] desperately to its rugged face, fill the narrow ravines and [unclear: crevi] clamber along ledges, and finally, in several places, gain the [unclear: towing] crest far above. Frequently the softer strata of the perpendicular cliff have been weathered out, leaving a projecting ledge traceable for a long distance.

At Te Ara-whata is a steep ravine or cleft in the cliff face, when it is possible to ascend to the crest of Pane-kiri. This [unclear: diffic] ascent was often made in former times when the kaingas of [unclear: Nga] Ruapani were numerous on the lake-shores: hence the origin of the name.

Close to Ohiringi Bluff is a little cove, a good landing-place and here was situated one of the old Native settlements of years

* Wise man, expert, priest.

page 17 gone by. The old cultivations are grown up in scrub of many varieties; and at the base of Pane-kiri, which from this point trends off from the lake-shore, is the dark beech forest, mixed with rimu and miro. Looking out upon the lake from this point the scene before us is magnificent, for the waters of the lake, with a slight ripple thereon, are flashing in the rays of the morning sun: the preen and beautiful forest sweeps up from the very water's edge to the peaks of the great ranges; the mass of Nga-moko stands boldly forth, while far away Manu-aha, snow-capped and rugged, looks clear and distinct across the lower ranges.

Past Te Papa-o-te-whakahu, a rock named after an ancestor of Ngati-Ruapani, who lived some ten generations back, we come to Tau-punipuni, where from the little inlet a noble view is obtained of the massive frontlet of Pane-kiri. The next little bay is Wai-tio, where a small stream runs into the lake, a stream famous for the number of pigeon-frequented trees which obtain near its source at the base of the cliff. Far above us we see the dark entrance to a cave, where doubtless the bones of many an old warrior lie, while far away westward across the Whare-ama Eange there loom the great snowy mountains which stand above Waiau and Parahaki. Then on across the rippling waters to Wai-kopiro, another ancient settlement, with its wooded spurs and shrubs of many shades. At this place a small rivulet trickles down a rock-face into the lake, pd these waters are said to possess some strange properties (he wai kakara, scented waters), for at certain seasons the little maehe fish come in myriads to drink these waters as they flow down the rock into the lake, at which times they are taken in great numbers by the Natives. This maehe, a small species of kokopu, is said to be the only fish in the lake, together with the koura, or fresh-water crayfish. Some Natives say that eels are also to be found, but that they have been introduced in late times from the Waikare-taheke River. Next comes Te Umu-titi, so named from the ovens (umu) used for cooking the mutton-bird (titi) which formerly abounded here. Then Paenga-rua Bay, a place noted for being windy; if the wind down this opening be strong no canoe can come out of Wairau-moana. The saying, "It is bad weather at Paenga-rua," is heard as far away as Rua-tahuna. Te Piripiri, is a famous spot among kaka (parrot) snarers, and Te Rawa, also a favourite resort of bird-catchers, the adjacent spurs of the whare-ama Range being a famous whenua pua—that is to say, a land rich in the peculiar berries, and so forth, which the kaka, koko (or tui), and kereru (pigeon) feed upon. We are here informed by the Kaumatua that his tribe have a reserve at this place; doubtless a clear-headed people, these Tuhoe. At Te Rawa is a delightful little bay with a sandy beach, an ideal spot for the genus picnicker. Indeed, all around this inlet are many little coves and camping spots, the scenery being delightful; the bush slopes running back from the beach, and white cliffs visible at intervals through the dense forest growth.

page 18

We now head our craft round for the entrance to Wairaw moana, a long arm of the lake, which extends miles away to the west and south. As "Mata-atua" glides through the blue waters towards the narrow strait between Wairau and Waikare-moans, the glory of a gallant sun is upon the far forest ranges, and snowy peaks, the white cliffs to the far east are reflected in the clear waters of the lake, and far away across the silent waters are seen the blue cliffs which mark the approach to the land of "The Rainbow" (Te Aniwaniwa). At the point known as Te Horoings the Kaumatua holds forth upon the local legend, which is to the effect that this point has the singular habit of changing its loaction, for it is said to recede before an approaching canoe, but remains stationary if the canoe stops—a habit doubtless that has been the primal cause of much aboriginal profanity. We note a reference to this belief in one of the local waiata or songs, "Ko te Horoinga e haere ana, e kore e tata mai":—

Tera te marama
Tau whakawhiti rua mai,
Kei runga;
Au ki raro nei noho noa ai ko au anake,
Aroha ki te iwi ka nawaki ke atu ki tawhiti.
Mokai ngakau,
Ako noa au ki te mahi,
Ka hua ai, a ko wai?
Ko te takakautanga i mua ra.
Hua mai koutou e noho tikanga ianei,
Tenei te tinana te whakapakia nei e te ngutu.
Tu au ki runga ki nga haere a Te Riaki,
Hei kawe i ahau,
Arai kamaka ki Wha-koau.
Au kia tu tonu he puna ngahuru,
Nga kari noa,
Koia ra nga tau i Te Horoinga.
E haere and e kore e tata mai.
I te puke nui kei mate au.

Behold the moon, there resting
In its double path above,
Whilst I alone am solitary below,
Filled with love for the tribe so distant.
In my despondent heart
Vainly seek I some diversion.
Methinks I am some other self.
Had I but the freedom of yore!
Thinkest thou that I am free from anguish
Whilst this body is pierced by the lips' weapons?
Would I could join with Te Riaki's company,
And bear me far away.
Beyond the screening rocks of Whakoau!
But stand I like the springs in summer,
Fruitlessly sinking, with vain striving,
Like Te Horoinga of the song,
Which passes onward, but is never reached.
Let me not hero die by the great hill's side.*

* All Maori poetry is acknowledged to be extremely difficult to translate indeed, to do so correctly requires the help of the composer. The above, and those to follow, are rough attempts to render into English something of the composer's meaning, but our language is wanting in many words to exactly express those of the originals. The Maori is a poet by nature, and his poetry contains many beautiful ideas when read in the original, which are universally marred in the translation.—Editor.

page break

Ohiringi Bluf and the Outlet(Waikaretaheke)

page 19

Before entering the famous Strait of Manaia, we will take a look back at Waikare-whanaunga-kore,* for we shall not see the main lake again for some days.

This mountain-lake lies at an elevation of 2,050ft. above sea-level, and the Huia-rau Range rises some 2,000ft. above the lake. Waikare-moana is fed by many streams, the largest of which are the Wai-horoi-hika, commonly called the Huia-rau Stream by Europeans, the Opu-rua-hine, Mokau, Aniwaniwa, and Wai-o-paoa. There is but one outlet, which is at Te Wha-ngaromanga, also known as Te Wharawhara, close to Onepoto. The waters of this lake have an eccentric habit of rising and falling as if endowed with tidal power. This is due to heavy rains or melting snows, which cause the lake to rise and overflow through the narrow rock-channel at Te Wharawhara. Should the inflow from the many streams be merely normal, the lake waters sink until the outlet-channel is dry, and the only escape for the waters is by the subterranean passages which are so numerous in the vicinity of the outlet. During our visit the lake was at this low-water stage, and in traversing the rough boulder-strewn beach from Te Kowhai Point to Te Ana-o-tawa we could see in several places the waters rushing down between the rocks, and hear the hoarse rumbling far below. At many places, also, there are strong springs of water rising from below the bed of the lake, and as we passed over them in the boat we could see the rush of water issuing from the lake-bed and ascending with many air bubbles to the surface. The outlet is a narrow passage some 12ft. in depth, cut by the waters through the solid rock, and is about 16ft. to 20ft. in width. When overflowing the lake waters rush through this passage with great force, a tumbling mass of waters, in which, as my informant tersely expressed it, "neither man, dog, nor timber could live." At low water the underground outlets carry the escaping water through the narrow rock-ridge to various points some distance below the lake level, at which places it is seen issuing from the hillside with tremendous force, and thence descends the steep range in a series of cascades and foaming torrents to form in the valley below the Waikare-taheke River.

On account of the broken nature of the country, Waikare-moana is of somewhat singular form, there being so many inlets, bays, and points. The Wairau branch, known as Wairau-moana, contains the post beautiful scenery, for here are many little wooded islets, sandy beaches, and small bays, with forest-covered points extending out into the lake, the whole forming a most delightful and charming scene. The surrounding forest contains many varieties of the most beautiful ferns, and on the higher ranges are seen numerous rare

* See ante, "Waikare, the relationless."

page 20 plants and shrubs. Within two hours' walk of the Whanganui-o-parua Inlet is the Waikare-iti Lake, a beautiful and little-known sheet of water, which lies some 500ft. higher than Waikare-moana.

It would be difficult to select a more delightful place in which to spend a holiday than the bays and inlets of the "Star Lake," as it is often termed on account of its shape, and the camper, artist, or geologist who would fail to enjoy such a holiday in Tuhoe land, let him camp by city streets, nor venture to lift the trail for Waikare moana.

But we are now passing the narrow strait between Waikare and Wairau-moana, which is known as Te Kauanga-o-Manaia. This Manaia is said to have been a chief of the ancient tribe Te Tini-o-Tauira, and, having swam across this passage in those bygone times when his people held sway here, the strait has ever since been known by the above name. On our left is Nga-whatu-a-Tama, a small mound on a point of land jutting out into the lake, and connected with the mainland by a low, narrow neck. This mound was one of the ancient pas of the Ngati-Ruapani Tribe, by which then held this district. Hither the refugees from Whakaari fled when defeated by the sons of Tuhoe. Like all the old forts around the lake, it is now covered with a dense forest growth. It is said to have been named after Tama or Rongo-tama, another chieftain of the ancient Tauira Tribe. An historic spot this, as it guarded the entrance to Wairau-moana in the old fighting days, when the shores of the now lonely sea of Waikare, were covered with many cultivations, and men worked with weapons in their belts, and the many fighting pas were thronged with the children of Ruapani and Hinekura, of Te Uira-i-waho and Parua-aute. And well might Tama of old watch the Pass of Manaia, for were not the ancient Nga-Potiki, the "Children of the Mist," who dwelt among the snows and cliffs of Maunga-pohatu, ever watching and waiting for an opportunity to attack the "People of the Rising Sun," who slew Hatiti, born of the "Mountain Maid"?

As we round the protruding "Eyes of Tama" the beautiful Inlet of Te Puna opens up to the west. The morning mist is rising from the glassy waters, the sun glitters and dances along the smooth surface and lights up the green forest, which meets the gleaming waters; the song of many birds comes from the hillsides and beautiful islets across the placid waters, the great ranges in the far distance bound the line of vision.

It is Ohine-kura, the place of many baylets and miniature isles, named from Hine-kura, an ancestress of Ruapani, slain by Tuhoe some ten generations ago. Here we are hailed with an old-time greeting by a son of the soil, Hurae Puketapu, of Ngati-Ruapani, the only human being encountered by us in our trip round the lake and who is hunting the wild hog and shooting pigeons on the lands of his ancestors, occupying the intervals in hewing out a canoe which we opine will be ready to launch some time before the dawn of the twentieth century. And Hurae is evidently a hospitable fellow, for page 21 he invites us to land and partake of his forest fare, and then, recognising a Pakeha, he bids him welcome to Wairau and the fatness thereof, "for we are one people now." So we exchange greetings from the shining waters below and rocky cliff above, while the crew of "Mata-atua" fill the cheering pipe and watch the koura, or crayfish, on the sandy bottom 30ft. beneath her keel. So we fare on by point and bay and wooded isle to Korotipa, remarkable for the number of pretty little coves in its vicinity, and from which place the view, looking ahead up Wairau, is a sight for the gods, for the great encircling ranges in the background seem to give the lake a double beauty. Then the baby islet of Nga-whakarara, another old stronghold of the Ruapani people, and where they were defeated by Tuhoe and hunted far away towards the coast. And where—but the Kau-matua here goes out on strike, and says that the story of that fight is too long to relate now, but we will have it round the camp-fire at night, merely stopping to point out the spot where Tipihau, of Tuhoe, slew Pare-tawai during that sanguinary struggle.

Thence we come to Nga Makawe-o-Maahu. We are drifting back into the remote past now, and the ao marama (or world of light and being) is far behind us, inasmuch as the renowned Maahu shad his being in the dim dawn of time when gods deigned to dwell on earth. For was it not he who engaged Haere, the rainbow god, in combat, what time the Tini-o-kauae-taheke people descended the sacred pohutukawa* before the divine sons of Houmea? And Hau-mapuhia, son of Maahu; who has not heard of his great feat in forming the Waikare-moana Lake in the misty days of yore? Maahu, of the mystic land, a name to conjure with on the classic shores of Wairau-moana! And here is Nga Makavve-o-Maahu, the hairs of his sacred head, represented by those plants of harakeke (niative flax) growing on the cliff yonder. They are very sacred hairs as befits so great a man, and if they are touched or interfered with in any way, woe betide the luckless wight who so offends, for if the gods do not kill him they will cause him to remain the balance of his days in Wairau-moana, and be the waters never so calm, and paddle" he never so bravely, yet shall it be in vain, and he who insults the hairs of Maahu shall never pass through Te Kauanga-o-Manaia, but spend his weary days in paddling ever towards Nga-Whatu-a-Tama, which he shall never reach.

Those singular round boulders on yon point are also named in honour of this famous ancestor. They are Nga Whanau-a-Maahu, the "Children of Maahu," who are probably awaiting the return of their erring parent from the great ocean of Kiwa. However, those "children" are by no means sacred, and you may go and look closely at them if you wish, or even at the sacred things of this land, for these laws do not possess mana (power, influence) over the Pakeha.

* The spirits of the dead descend over the cliff at the North Cape to Te Reinga, or Hades, by means of the roots of pohutukawa trees.

page 22

Past Te Ana-a-kakapu is the beautiful bay of Wha-kenepuru, a lovely spot, with a short sandy reach of shore-line, and the pictures some wooded isle of Te Ure-o-patae in the foreground. Across the [unclear: cal] waters of the bay a black swan* glides in a stately manner, followed by her young, wondering, no doubt, at this invasion of her [unclear: lo] domain.

One-tapu—the sacred strand of Maahu—where the Kaumatua tells us how the rebel leader Te Kooti, when retreating from Mohaka brought a mob of horses through the back country to Te Waii-o-paoa, at the extreme south-west point of Wairau-moana, thence by the rugged shore to the sandy beach of One-tapu, where he and his band camped for some days amusing themselves by holding horse races on the beach. From here Te Kooti took the horses as far as Nga Whatu-a-Tama, where he swam them over Te Kauanga-o-Manaia to the opposite shore, and then, ascending the rugged spurs of Huia-rau, managed to get some of his stud of stoles horses across that fearful country to Rua-tahuna, though marry were killed during the journey. As we glide past Motu-ngarars, a bush-covered island on which yet another ancient Maori pa stands, we see a large flock of ducks paddling along the shove front, and regret the absence of our gatlings.

At the promontory of Te Kaha, almost surrounded by water we land and lunch, and, while the boatmen are elevating the sober "William" that cheers without inebriating, we will take a look back on Wairau-moana. For it is truly magnificent, with the little isles looking as groves of trees upon the face of the shining lake, and the sun flashing in the waters of many inlets; with the noble forest of Tane sweeping back by ridge and [unclear: ran] to colossal Huia-rau, with its covering of glittering snow, and Manu-aha, which pierces the distant sky-line. So the Kaumatus and the Pakeha look upon this most picturesque of mountain lakes, and discourse anent the ancient history thereof and the wondrous tales of old—of wood-elves in the sombre forests, and fierce taniwha (demons, dragons, &c.)—in deep pools, of strange creatures among the great mountains, and goblins by cliff and cave—until the call to a frugal meal comes from the "children," and is promptly obeyed.

It is well that we have dined, for we are now approaching there most sacred places where it would be the blackest sacrilege to convey cooked food. These places are Te Pa-o-Maahu, where that tupuno (ancestor) was wont to reside; Te Wai-kotikoti-o-Maahu the sacred spring of Maahu; and Te Puna-a-taupara, whence the Maahu household derived their water-supply for domestic purposes, and in which the ill-fated Hau-mapuhia came to an untimely end, and thereby acquired god-like powers. Te Pa-a-Maahu is a most picturesque little wooded knoll standing on a small flat at the head of the bay. Another relic of Maahu is

* Black swans were introduced from Australia many years ago.

Tane, the god of forests, and birds.

page break
Wairau-moana, looking N.E. from Te Ure-o-patae Island.

Wairau-moana, looking N.E. from Te Ure-o-patae Island.

page 23

his sacred dog, an animal possessed of strange powers, and which lives beneath the waters of Te Roto-nui-a-ha, a small lake at Te Tapere, where are also two other lakes, known as Roto-ngaio and Roto-roa. The aforesaid dog has the faculty of makakite or prophecy, and is heard to bark beneath the waters of the lake whenever the death of a chief is near. At Te Putere also the remnants of Ngati-Manawa found a refuge when they fled from Te Waiwai and Tarawera, where they had retreated after the fall of Okarea Pa, on the Wai-a-tiu, a tributary of the Whirinaki, near unto Te Whaiti-nui-a-Toi. And though Tuhoe had assisted Ngati-Pukeko at the siege of Okarea in order to avenge the killing of Matua, Tai-mimiti, and Tuara-whati, yet they took the refugees of Manawa from Te Putere to Rua-tahuna, where they appear to have treated thein well, with the exception of having put them in old kmiara pits in lieu of houses, and to this day it is not meet to mention those pits to Ngati-Manawa. And, again, at Te Putere is a waterfall which flows over a cliff on which are two projecting rocks, called respectively Kupe and Ngake, though how the names of those most ancient heroes and navigators came to be located here is indeed difficult to say. However, they serve a useful turn, as when, in chasing eels down stream, the Natives drive them over the fall, they are dashed by the waters down on to the back of Kupe, whence they rebound on to Ngake, who indignantly casts them far out upon the bank below, where the wily Maori secures them.

But we must return to Te Wai-kotikoti-o-Maahu, which is the name of a spring of water, and a sacred place (tuahu*) of Maahu of old, where the most sacred operation of hair-cutting was performed on his thrice sacred head. It was also a wai-whakaika of that ancient warrior, where, after the hair-cutting ceremony, he went through the rites of the wai taua, of which there are several, all attended with many sacred karakia (incantations) and due solemnity. The tira was one of these, a rite by which the sins and evil thoughts of the members of a war party were wiped out, and they went forth on the war trail with a clean sheet, prepared to serve the god of war, Tu, with faithful devotion. In this tira ceremony the tohunga, or priest, took off all his clothing and donned the maro-huka, the sacred girdle. In this scant attire he went to the wai-whakaika, where he termed two small mounds of earth, in each of which he placed a twig of the karamu tree, called a tira, or wand. One of these is the tira ora, or wand of life, and the mound of earth it rests in is the tuahu-o-te-rangi the (altar of heaven). The other is the tira mate, the wand of death, the mound being puke-nui-o-papa (the great hill of earth). By means of his potent karakia the priest causes the tira mate to absorb all the sins and evils of the members of the taua (war party)-that is, it is the aria (or medium) of those evils. The priest then dons his tu-maro (war-girdle) and proceeds to weaken

* Tuahu, a place where incantations were offered up and other rites performed: an altar, in fact, though unlike one in shape.

page 24 the tribal enemies by means of makutu (or witchcraft), which comprehends a vast series of prayers, incantations, and ceremonies, the final karakia being those named maro and wetewete.

Also at this holy spring was cut the hair of the tauira or students of the wharekura, a building where the ancient lore, genealogies, and history of the tribe were taught. At the completion of the lesson in wharekura—that is, at dawn of day—the priest led the scholars to the spring, where he cut the hair of each one with a flake of mata (obsidian), which rite was termed wai kotikoti. After this came the wai-whakaika and wai-taua, as described above.

But we must leave the sacred spring of Maahu and urge on, for the sun is hanging low on the ranges and we must camp betimes We are now approaching the end of Wairau-moana, and the opposite shore trends in towards us as we advance. A lone rock with a single stunted tawai-tree growing thereon, the smallest of islets, lies 100 yards from the shore: it is Te Whata-kai-o-Maahu, where that old warrior was wont to store his food.

So "Mata-atua" is turned to the beach, and we land at Wai-o-paos and pitch our teuts on a little grassy flat, having hauled our good craft ashore. And while the "children" are fixing the camp and gathering fuel we will ascend the fern-ridge between the two streauns, for a most beautiful view of the Wairau branch is obtained from that point. The lake lies far beneath, broken into innumerable inlets with bushy islets and points; the ranges shelve steeply down to the lake-shore; the range of Whare-ama cuts off the view of the main lake, though great Pane-kiri is still in evidence. A great silence broods over the shining waters of Wairau; the forest, the waters, the hills of this ancient abode of man are silent with the desolation of a passing race. The fighting pas of old lie numerous before us; the lake-shores are covered with the sites of former cultivations, each hill and point, bay and isle carries its legend of the long ago, when the children of the soil were numerous in the laud of the ancient people. No smoke arises in all this great expanse, no human beings but ourselves lay down to rest this night on the shores of Wairau-moana. Kati! Let us hurry back to camp that we may learn of Maahu, and Rua, and Maru of old before it is too late. For the lands of Waikare are in a transition stage—the Maori has gone, though the Pakeha has not yet arrived; yet a little while and in will be too late.

Night settles down upon the silent lake, the cheerful camp fire gleams brightly across the placid waters and lights up the white tents, a myriad brilliant stars are seen in the clear bosom of Wairau-moana, reflected from the clear sky above. The rime of white frost sparkles on sedge and rock, but the fire, built by cunning hands, is bright and warm, and the joy of the Bohemian mind is with us. Anon the white mist creeps down the sombre gulches and spreads out across the silver lake, obscuring isle, and mount, and rocky cliff.

The blankets are spread before the tent and facing the cheery

page break
Wairau Arm, Waikaremoana, looking N.E. from Wai-o-paoa.

Wairau Arm, Waikaremoana, looking N.E. from Wai-o-paoa.

(From a sketch by S. Percy Smith.)

page 25

log fire, and, with the beloved pipe, which softeneth the heart of man, we take in the beauty of the glorious scene before us, while the Kaumatua recites the tales of yore, the deeds of the god-like men of old, strange doings of monsters and semi-human creatures which lived in these weird places of the earth, before the Maori came across the dark ocean. The boat has gone away in care of the "children"; gone to One-poto, the parts trodden by the white man, and the Kaumatua and the Pakeha are left alone in the realm of Maahu, the lonest spot in lone Wairau. And then, with the kaingas (dwelling-places) of the ancient people around us, the scenes of the exploits of the ancestors of Tuhoe and Ruapani, the forts of the old-time tribes still vivid in the mind, alone in the great, silent expanse of Wairau-moana, the time has surely come to learn what is known of those who lived and fought and died in these mountain solitudes, long centuries before the white man dared adventure the great ocean of Kiwa.

The Kaumatua draws his blanket around him, his deeply-tattooed visage lighting up with interest, he extends his bare arm towards the lake, and the "Oracle of the Rocky Mountain"* speaks:—

"E pai ana, Ehoa! Now that Hine-pukohu-rangi is descending from her ancient love, our ancestor Te Maunga, whom she lured to earth in the days of long ago, and here among the silent homes of the ancient people, it is well that I should tell you the legends of the 'Sea of the Rippling Waters,' for that is why I followed you through the dark forests and across the snowy mountains which lie far away, where the sky hangs down. And it is not an idle journey, but one in which there is much to be learned and much to be seen. But do you not be alarmed at the monsters which inhabit this 'Sea of Waikare,' for I am an ariki taniwha, I am descended from Rua-mano, and Nga-rangi-hangu, and Te Tahi-o-te-rangi, who were taniwha ancestors of mine, though some descended from the trees of the forest—that is, from the children of Tane-mahuta, such as the Te Marangaranga Tribe—therefore it is well that I should be with you, for no taniwha will molest me; and do you be strenuous in retaining what I impart, for I know that you have not eaten of the sacred herb which binds knowledge acquired. Remember the 'Ahi-o-pawhera' and the fate which overtook that ancestor of Tuhoe land. Friend, it is well that we are alone, for my children who go with us have little love for the gallant stories of old, and I will tell them to you and to one other and no more, that you may preserve these traditions of my people and record their ancient customs, that they may be retained in the world of light. And do you write them plainly in your paipera,§ that all who love such things may understand, for I would even hope that my children may yet return to the kura| of Tuhoe and of Potiki and be proud of the achievements of their ancestors. Tena!"

* Rocky Mountain, Maunga-pohatu, the Kaumatuas' ancestral home.

It is meet, O Friend!

Lord of dragons.

§ Bible; any large book used for according is so called by the Maoris.

| Knowledge, valuable possession.