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A Leaf from the Natural History of New Zealand



Aheihei, the rainbow

Aitu, in most of the islands, a spirit; here, a spirit of revenge, satisfaction, atonement

Aitua, an ill omen; a satisfaction for injury

Aniwaniwa, the rainbow. Syn. with Aheihei. Ki te koma te Aniwaniwa ka mate te tangata

Apiti, a curse. Syn. with Kanga

Ariki, a priest of the first rank; the chief priest; the first born; the head of a family or tribe is an Ariki by birth

Atamira, a bed; a coffin; a tomb

Ati, ancient name for God

Atua, a god; a demon; a spirit. Great chiefs say they have an atua in them or different spirit; any destroying cause, as a pestilential wind, epidemic, or disease; a lizard which is supposed to gnaw the entrails of departed men; not formerly known in our sense as a self-existent eternal Being. This term is applied to any moving substance the cause of whose motion is not apparent, as a clock or watch

Atuakikokiko, a spirit taking up its abode in some one's body, and through him,

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speaking to those who came to worship or consult him

A wiowio, a whirlwind; this was the way their gods were supposed to manifest themselves to men

A whiro, a deified ancestor

A wipapa, a god

Eiomaki, an offering

Engahu, a praying stone

Haehae, to cut, as with a shell in crying

Haere a wawa, the father of the weka; the native idea is that everything had its own creator, who is styled its ‘father’

Hahu, to remove the bones of the dead

Hahunga, removal of bones; a feast on the same occasion

Hapiro, eating at a sacred spot

Hau, wind; blowing through the hair, a token of the presence of the Deity

Haumia, Te aha haumia, fern root worshipped as a god

Hawepotiki, a great chief killed by Turi

Henga, a god

Hika, to perform a religious service by which people are supposed to be preserved from the evil effects of eating at a sacred spot

Hongi, salute with the nose; this is considered sacred by the New Zealanders; so much so that a chief, whose pa might be attacked, would save himself and tribe by thus saluting his enemy

Horohoronga, a rite to take off the tapu from a new born child; it consists in cooking food in three ovens, one potion being for the Atua, one for the priest, and the other for the parents; a Karakia (prayer) accompanied the offering to the Atua

Horomatua, a priest of the third rank

Horonga, sacred food

Hukere, a god

Hurianga, a god

Hurukakariki, a god

Hurukokoea, a god

Ihenga, a spirit; the god of the Kumara

Irawaru, father of dogs, lizards, rats

Iri, Iro, native baptism

Irirangi, a voice from heaven; a voice from a deity

Kaauwa, a celebrated man

Kahaukura, Kahukura, a deified man

Kaiakarara, a god

Kanga, a curse

Kapua, a deified ancestor

Karakia, a religious service

Karukaru, a god

Kauika, the individual who page 39 placed the seed of fire in the trees; he appears to have been the native Adam

Kauikanui, the son of the above

Kauikaroa, the grandson of do.


Kehua, a ghost

Kereru, wood pigeon; originally he came from heaven seeking his sister, A Rupe; when he found her he tangi'd, and then remained on earth; he went on the top of the tawa and after he had fed on its fruit it gave him a hoarseness so that he lost his voice and now can only say ku, ku. Na te ngana o tahuhu a Rupe i tukituki ki runga ki tawa tupapa

Ketu, removing a corpse

Koko tangata

Korongomai, a deified man

Kotemata, a god

Kumara, in going to war they did not eat of the kumara because it was the son of Tiki

Kurihetuna, an offering to Rehua from the sick, if not he died

Maikukumakaka, wife of Tawaki

Maimai, a dance used at Tangi hangas, where those who engage in it put their bodies in peculiar postures and distort their features; it is a slow procession, the parties engaged appear to be stretching out their arms to the spirits of the deceased friends

Mangoikuroa, a sea god

Manu, tapu, matata; a small bird living amongst reeds; was offered as a propitiatory sacrifice in the north; in the south the Koroatiti or Wetito were offered for the same purpose

Marongorongo, a god

Maru, great god of Wanganui; offerings of food were made unto him; if these were omitted he was angry

Marua, a grave

Mata, the natives always offered their first fruits to their gods; they placed a part by itself, and when cooked laid it on a small altar or stage as an offering to their god, this offering was called Mata

Mate, a spirit worshipped at Rangitikei and Manawatu

Mataao, a man said to have turned the world upside down. Te hurianga i Mata ao

Mataika, first killed or taken captive in a fight

Mataiki, this word may be derived from the custom of putting a hair plucked page 40 from the head into the mouth of the first fish caught in a fishing expedition, and then suffering the fish to swim away with the prayer that it might escape and bring other fish to their nets

Matamua, Matua the first and first born, derived from Mata

Mauhika, the person who placed the seeds of fire in the Patate, Kaikomako, Mahohe, Totara, and Puketea; he tried to put them in the Rata, Hinau, Kaikatea, Rimu, Matai, and Miro, but they would not take it

Mawe, the father of the island; he fished up the island, hence the saying:—te hi o Mawe; his sons were Tangaroa, Tane, Irawaru, Ngarangihore, and Ru

Mere, green stoneimplement, about 8 inches long; an emblem of rank; the sceptre of the New Zealand chief; highly prized; it is used as an instrument of war, especially for cleaving the skulls of the captured; also formerly used for the purpose mentioned, Deut. 23, 13

Mititoto, a god

Moehewa, a dream. Syn. with Rekangakanohi; it is by dreams the natives suppose they hold converse with their deceased friends; it is a common expression, I was in the Reinga last night and saw so and so

Moiri he hau, a corpse exposed to the wind

Moituturu, placing the heads of enemies upon the pins used in making mats

Mokaikai, dried human head

Mokoikuwaru, a lizard god

Mokomokai, dried human head

Moko tawhiorangi, a god

Mokotiti, lizard, 6 in. long; prayed to as a god; it eats the liver

Mouri, a sacred place; the open space in a pa where strangers are received

Nahirangi, name of the house in the sky

Natuaririki, a sea god

Nenguku, a man; he was prayed to in war

Ngahu, a religious service. Syn. with Tuahu

Ngana, the man upon whose account the world was upset by Mataao

Ngarangihore, father of stones, rocks; a son of Mawe

Ngarara, lizard the supposed cause of every pain; the Tohungas profess to be able to call them out and so heal the sick

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Ngatoirangi, a deified man; a tupuna

Niu, name of sticks used in the religious service called Tuahu

Ohoeua, the man who ate Turi's dog

Oka, a sea god

Orangipatiki, a god who ascended into heaven

Otuna i a rangi, god of the fern root, of the Kokohiko or Koromiko, and of the Rito of the Harakeke

Ouenuku, a rainbow

Owa, father of the dog

Owahieroa, a deified man

Pahaka, a god of kumara

Pahiko, father of the kaka

Pakuhua, a marriage, or the giving up of a woman to be another's property

Paireiti, a god

Pakoko, barrenness; if a man was childless he cut his shoulders with a flint and uttered a karakia whilst the blood was flowing

Pananuku, the earth

Pani, god of the kumara; the first fruits were always offered to him

Paniireira, a sea god

Paouru, a god

Paroro, a god

Papa, father of the kiwi; the earth; a female

Papapa, a sea god

Papapapakura, a sea god

Papatupuna, a board about 3 feet long notched like a saw; used to count their generations by

Paraoa, a high priest of the ware kura

Parapara, a sacred place; first fruits of fish cooked before the rest are ashore

Parauri, father of the tui

Parawenuamea, a sea god

Pareho, spirits of departed

Paretaua, a god [men

Patuanuko, a spirit; a deified man; a god of the kumara


Pepe, moth or butterfly; the form often assumed by the gods when they manifest themselves to men

Pipiwarauroa, a god; the name of a cloud extending across the sky commonly called Noah's Ark; when seen it is a sign of the arrival of strangers or distant friends

Pito, expiatory offering

Po, Hades; place of departed spirits; a lower and darker region than the Reinga

Potiki, infant gods; or the spirits of infants supposed to be the most malignant of all; they appear to be a totally different race from the fairies, who do not appear to have visited the antipodes

Puhi kai ariki, water used in native baptism

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Punga, father of the lizard

Pungawerewere, spider; a favourite form assumed by the gods; it is generally in this shape they manifest themselves

Purakau, he atua makutu

Pure, sacred service over the dead; sacred food

Purei, cutting of the hair; which was considered a very sacred operation; when a number of persons required it to be performed on them the tohunga repeated a karakia over them and then cut the hair of the principal chief and his children, after that the rest acted as barbers for each other; the act of cutting the hair rendered the person unclean for some time; a portion of the hair was cast into the fire; cutting the hair was supposed to cause thunder and lightning; the karakia used on this occasion was:—Oe he pikinga he kakenga ka e kei tua, kei waho, kei tua tua, kei te karawa kei te rangi nui e tu nei pikimai te rangi tua tahi pikimai te rangi tua rua, pikimai te rangi tua toru pikimai te rangi tua wa pikimai te rangi tua rima pikimai te rangi tua ono he rangi he hei te uru uru. The following was also used on the occasion:—Mori mori ta kiki morimo rita kaka I te waruhanga a te mata ko i to, ko ata i taku ipu waka iro iro

Pureinga, removing of the tapu

Putai, a god

Rahui, a mark denoting a sacred place

Rakautapu, the Matipou, Karamu, Mahoe, Pitoa, Karaka, and Manoa were sacred trees, also the Hara Keke

Rakiora, a god prayed to for kumara

Rangi, heaven; the husband of Papa

Rangiawatea, a woman taken up into heaven

Rangimatinitini, a name of one of the heavens

Rangimoetane, husband of Pananaku; the earth; the sky

Rangitutawaki, a deified ancestor

Rangitawaki, owner of the staff of life. Tokotoko o turoa

Rangiwakanohinohi, highest heaven; there are eleven heavens according to the native idea

Reheua, a deified man

Rehua, a spirit to whom offerings of food were made, especially by the sick, who

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were thought to be certain of dying if they omitted doing so

Reinga, abode of spirits; or more properly, the entrance to their abode; a place at Cape Van Diemen where the spirits are said to jump into the sea from a ledge of rock; the same custom prevails in the island of Upolu, where the name of the jumping off stone is Fatuasafia

Reua, a spirit

Ririho, principal god worshipped at Rangitikei

Rita, an evil spirit

Rohe, a mark denoting a sacred place. Syn. with Rahui

Rokuariro, one of three men taken up to heaven

Rona, a woman who went one night to draw water and dip the Upaki, or kets, and leaves used in covering the oven, in the stream; the moon suddenly becoming obscured she struck her foot against a stone, which caused her to vent her wrath against the moon, who, to punish her, immediately descended and took both her and the things she held in her hands, and the spot she was standing on as well, and placed them in her bosom

Rongomai, great god of Taupo; he presided over war; in form like a large eel; a star also bears his name

Rongorongo, wife of Turi

Roparoa, a god

Ru, father of lakes, rivers; an earthquake

Ruawahine, priestess of the third rank

Rupa whenua mea, a god

Rupe, father of the pigeon

Taipo, female dreamer; a prophetess; an evil spirit

Takaka, a god

Takapotiri, father of the Kakariki or green parrot

Takati, a sea god; like a patiki or flat fish

Takawaenga, mediator or peace maker

Takiura, sacred food; cooked at the removal of the bones of the dead

Takitaki, one of three men taken up to heaven

Tamaikuku, a celebrated person in the native mythology

Tamangemange, a man deified by Tu; he was prayed to in the North the same as Tawaki in the South, and is perhaps the same individual

Tamure, a sea god; also a fish

Tane, father of the Tui and of birds and trees in general

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Taniwa, a god or large fish supposed to reside in deep holes in rivers, or under mountains; if a cliff falls it is said to be occasioned by a Taniwa who is hid beneath and struggles to get free

Tangaroa, father of all fish

Tangaroa matipua, a god

Tangi, a wail for the dead. Taku hei piripiri Taku hei mokimoki Taku kati taramea. E hara mai ai-e i runga te angai-e

Tanumanga, burial place

Tapatapa, giving the name of a person to anything, whereby that thing is made sacred

Tapu, a sacred rite

Tarapakiwa, a karakia for a child

Tarauri, name of an immense lizard; said to have lived on the banks of the Wanganui; it was killed by falling down a precipice; its putrid body destroyed all the fish in the river

Taukanuku, tapu on new potatoes for Tawaki

Tauatapu, or taua toto, fight for blood; the party sallies out and kills the first person who is met, whether friend or foe; if not successful, the Matata, a small bird, is killed and the Tohunga pulls up some grass and throws it into a running stream, or ties it with the bird to the top of a pole, and utters a certain form of karakia before it

Taunga piki, a god

Taupotiki, the god who, when the heaven at first laid flat on the earth, lifted it up and propped it in its present position, and placed the sun, moon, and stars in it to give light to the earth

Tautika, a deified man; god of the kumara

Tawaki, a deified man; the grandson of Maru, and Waitiri; the only person in the native mythology who did no evil; he is said to have gone about doing good, working miracles, healing the sick, and afterwards ascended up into heaven; when he prayed it thundered and rained; he lived in the highest heaven, and ascended or descended like a spider by its thread; the natives say he was their Christ; he was combing his hair and washing in the stream when a Ngarara killed him; when baskets of food were offered to him to heal the sick, they counted out the tenth basket, and lifted it up to the god, and then page 45 they counted out the ninth and lifted that up, and so on until the entire ten were thus counted out to him

Tawaki, inferior god of Taupo; he fed on human bodies; he was a deified man, and was taken up alive into heaven

Tawiorangi, green stone; a god

Tearatukutuku, mother of Teihi; a great Taniwa

Teihi, chief of the Taniwa; he is said to have been a man who, when rowing with another at Taupo, suddenly left the canoe and took to the water

Temangoaururua, a god

Temataoterangi, a god

Tepouatehuri, a god

Terimurapa, a god

Tetautari, tomb surrounded with wicker work

Tiki, the first man; he took clay and kneaded it with his own blood and formed man

Tipua, a divinity whose place of abode is often marked by a large stone

Tohekitewai, native baptism

Tohi, a religious ceremony performed after a battle, and also at the baptism of a child

Tohunga, a priest of the second rank

Tokotoko, tongitongi, the staff laid up in the ware kura which Kauika broke; it belonged to Maierangi

Tokotokooturoa, the staff of life laid up in the ware kura; it belonged to Rangitawaki

Tote, god of sudden death

Toma, a place where the dead are deposited

Torere, an abyss. Ko te ara tonu ia i haere ai toku torere

Toroa, a sea bird; a form assumed by the gods

Toto, to perform the ceremony of native baptism

Totowahine, brother of Ron gorongo, Turi's wife

Tu, a god; he was supposed to be the wind, or to reside in the wind. He atua mo te riri. He was the first murderer. Tu signifies to stand up to strike; jealousy was the cause of the crime; before the committed it he took some flax and girded himself with it; hence, in going to battle the warrior is girded

Tua, native baptism

Tuaahau, a sacred house or place

Tuahu, native religious service with sticks to ascertain whether the omens are favourable for war or peace, answering to the augury of page 46 the Romans; a praying stone; a kind of pillar against which the priest leaned whilst praying; all children were brought to it to be prayed over, and all offerings to the gods were carried to it

Tuahu, a post or stone stuck in the ground, to which the priest addresses his prayers for success in battle; he takes a small piece of fern stalk, which he pretends to throw against the enemy and to send against the hostile god; he makes it appear to be hurled back against him, and if it be broken in pieces it is a sign they shall be conquered; if only a little bit is broken off the stalk it is a sign that there will be a few killed on their side, and consequently that they will conquer; it is evident that all depends on the inclination of the priest for war

Tuawakaparuate, he atua makutu

Tuhioterangi, a sea god

Tumutumuwenua, father of rats

Tupapaku, a dead body; touching a corpse rendered the person unclean for several days, who was obliged to be fed by another, as he could not touch food

Tupana, a deified man

Tupe, a prayer used in battle by one who is pursuing an enemy. Tupe hinga, tupe takoto

Tupua, name of a god; also of a large lizard

Turange, eldest son of Turi

Turi, first man who came to the Western coast and the commander of the Kuruaopo

Tutangatakino, a lizard god

Tutekoronaki, a god

Tuuatai, a god

Tuwawakiaterangi, name of Mawe's fish hook. Ka hi ra taku matau tuwawakia te rangi

Tuwarea, the tenth heaven

Uenguku, god of the rainbow; he was chiefly worshipped by the Ngatiraukaua; if a taua was seen approaching under the arch of a rainbow it was a sure sign it would be conquered, if on one side that it would be victorious. A star also bears his name; with some tribes he is the chief god; the feathers of the hawk are sacred to him

Uhu, a ceremony performed over the bones of the dead. Syn. with Hahu

Uhunga, name of the ceremony

Uira, lightning

Uripapa, the posts of an Urupa page 47 Urumanu, a god; one of three men taken up to heaven

Urupa, a burial place, literally the fence round it

Wahitapu, a sacred grove

Wainga, a ceremony performed in a new house

Wairua, a spirit; a soul

Wairua, the soul; whilst a canoe was making (to convey it across the styx perhaps) it remained with its body; they placed food in the canoe for three days, with sail, paddles, &c.

Waitiri, the ancestor of Tawaki, who cured her of her blindness, by kneading clay with his spittle and anointing her eyes with it

Waiwaia, witchcraft

Wakaaiho, operation of cutting the hair pure; the name given to the shell with which it is done

Wakahapainga, a causing to be lifted up; the native term for a sacrifice; the food offered in sacrifice was cooked by the priest and lifted up as it was carried to the place where it was offered, when it was placed on an elevated stage

Wakahere, sacred food; propitiatory to a deity; an offering

Wakamahunga, name of the ceremony for rendering sacred those who planted or dug up the kumara; certain persons were set apart for this duty, who were tapued, and others were appointed to feed them, for they were not allowed during that period to touch food themselves; these planted the kumara, and during that period they were put, as it were, out of the camp; they first dug up a portion of the kumara, part they offered to Pani, and part they eat themselves apart from the rest of the people

Wakanoa, to make common; to take off the Tapu

Wakapakoko, an image; an idol; idol worship was confined to the Wanganui river; the images carved on houses; Watas and other places were not objects of worship, although frequently emblematical of ancestors, neither the green stone ornament; the idols were about 18 inches long, being sticks with carved heads, which were pointed at the other extremity to be stuck in the earth when worshipped

Wakapakoko ware, a house-hold god; an image of a child generally carved with great care and adorned page 48 with the family ornaments; it has the name of the master of the house given it, and when any of his wives are childless they nurse this image that they may prove fruitful, and address it with endearing expressions, such as are used by mothers to young children, but no other worship is used; this custom is confined to Wanganui; some say this image was only nursed for amusement by the barren ladies the same as a doll is by children

Wakapapa, Turi's dog

Wakatau, the person who burned down the ware kura with a thousand persons in it, who all perished in the flames

Wakatapu, making sacred

Wakataurotiki, a god

Wakatohua, a karakia for a child

Wakau, a religious rite performed by a person who arrives at a certain place for the first time; it consists in uttering a short prayer and then casting a stick with a bit of grass tied to it on the stone, rock, or whatever constitutes the sanctity of the spot. Piki piki maunga a tangaengae Kake maunga tangaengae Ta hau ariki mau e kai Te manawa o te tau hou

Wakaumu, a hole dug in the ground, or a stone to mark the spot where any one has fallen in battle

Wangaihau, feeding of the wind; a native expression for a sacrifice; a song over the dead. Syn. with Pihe

Warau, a sepulchre

Warekura, an ancient temple in which all the tribes assembled to worship; in it were placed the images of all their gods; it had its priests, high priest, its adytum, &c.; it is said to have been burned by Wakatau, and thence to have become the cause of every subsequent evil

Wariwari, a god; like a cloud Syn. with Pipiwarauroa

Weke, a lizard god

Weroiteone, a karakia to the stars

Whike, a voice heard in trees like a female crying

Wiro, the evil spirit; the god of thieving; he could steal anything; he walked on stilts

Witikikaeaea, a god