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Te Ika a Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants

Chapter XIV. Origin, as Traced by the Language

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Chapter XIV. Origin, as Traced by the Language.

The Burial Place at Puke Tapu Atene on the Wanganul

The Burial Place at Puke Tapu Atene on the Wanganul

One of the principal aids in discovering the Origin of a remote and isolated race, like that of the New Zealander, must be language; it is an historical record, which cannot be falsified. As we can recognize a friend by his voice, though his person may be concealed, so may we identify a people by their language.

The word Maori, which they apply to themselves as their peculiar name, signifies anything that is native or indigenous. Maori has precisely the same meaning as the word Moor, and a singular resemblance to it, especially to the more ancient one of Mauri. The root of the word is uri, which means dark. Hence Mauri is the heart, the dark blood, and uri is the root of many other words. Pouri, darkness; kokouri, page 180 dark, over-hanging cloud; wheuri, dark deep water; tua uri uri, blackening masses, dark clouds; kakarauri, getting dark, dusk; kauri, the kauri pine, most probably derived from the rezin which, when burnt for tattooing, is black. But uri also signifies offspring; the uri Tangata, the beginning of man, is lost in darkness.

There are two other African words identical with New Zealand ones, which may be alluded to without endeavouring to draw any inference from them. One is dōōr, the Siloe of Morocco; it is a cave made in the earth to keep wheat in, and is entered by a small door or opening on the top, which is closed by a large stone or block of wood. This is precisely the description of the New Zealand duá or rua, which is made to hold the kumara.

The New Zealand word for the sun is ra. The Coptic one is the same; the Egyptian rah; and hence, perhaps, the origin of the East Indian word Rajah Maha. The great rajah or prince, Maha, is a New Zealand word for a multitude; the sun being the light of heaven, the prince that of the multitude. So the New Zealand word rangatira, or chief, when dissected, is ra-nga-tira, which simply means the light of companies, or assemblies of men.

There is another New Zealand word of great interest, being a root of many, and bearing an analogy to words of almost every language, that is ka, to burn; we have it in our word candle, and in the Latin from whence we obtained it, and, perhaps, in the old word kindle; it is seen in καιω; in Tartary, and throughout the East, even to China, in kang, an oven or stove; and in the khan, an edifice erected for the warmth and shelter of the wayworn traveller; in kapura, fire, which implies the substitute for the light of day. In kakano (seed) which contains the germ of life; and in kai (food) the fuel that sustains the flame of life.

This word is also connected with another of great interest, and one which stands out as a landmark to guide us in the search after the origin of the New Zealand race, and that is kava. In old Arabic, the word for wine is kahweh,* and before

* See Lane's Egypt.

page 181 we proceed further, we must show that this is a Maori compound word, bearing a most appropriate meaning for any intoxicating beverage, being the substance that burns and carries off the senses. Ka we have already considered; in va or weh we have the Latin veho, Sanscrit wahana, English wain, waggon, and the simple root in Maori wa, to carry.*

But to return, from kahweh wine, we have kahveh, Turkish, for the Italian caffe and English coffee. But what, it might be asked, has this to do with wine? A great deal, for when Mahomet forbad his followers the use of the one, they found out a substitute in the other; and, therefore, they naturally transferred the word for wine to it. The false prophet propagated his faith, not with the sword of the Word, but of steel, and wherever he went, he carried his law and institutions with him. How far west did his faith prevail? even to the pillars of Hercules. Europe itself was threatened; its fairest parts fell under the sway of his followers. The Bysantine throne itself was ascended, and Spain for many years was the abode of the Moor. So also in the East, Persia, Central Asia, India, and even the remote islands of the Indian Archipelago and Polynesia, bowed to the crescent Therefore, we shall not be surprised to find kahweh preserved in the word kava, the intoxicating beverage of the South Sea Islands, and their substitute for wine and coffee, which in their successive migrations from island to island, they lost, but the name they retained. And thus, when they reached New Zealand, the word is still preserved, in the kawa kawa, the piper excelsum, or pepper tree of New Zealand, and perhaps in the casava of America.

The name for a girl is Hine; but when old enough to become a bearer of burthens (poor woman's province) she is a wa hine; so when she is a mother and has to carry a child, not in her arms but on her shoulders, the Maori way, she is a waea, a waene or e wae, and her offspring are wanau, and her burthens also are called wahanga.

* Having no vehicle, it is applied to burthens carried on the shoulder. In Tahaiti, royalty itself was carried on the shoulders; regular relays of men being appointed, as soon as one grew tired, the royal burthen vaulted from one pair of shoulders to another.

page 182

Another remarkable word for its travels is Paradise. Every nation has pictured to itself some place of bliss, some abode of rest for the soul. Men vary in their idea of the character of that happy spot, but still the idea exists, and all of them are included between the extremes of the sensual paradise of Mahomet, and the spiritual and holy one of the Christian. The word paradise itself conveys the idea of a garden enclosed, a garden of delight; it is the place of repose, it is protected from every foe; no enemy can enter, or disturb the rest of the soul. The Hebrew word is pardés; the Arabic firdaus, plural faradisa; Syriac and Armenian partes; and Sanscrit pradisa, or paradisa, a circuit or district; firdusi, Persian, a pleasure garden; Παραδεισος, an enclosed garden, paradise; it is seen in the English words park and pale, and is preserved in parae, New Zealand, a small plain enclosed with forest. The simple root of all these words appears to be Pa, to obstruct, hence Taie-pa or Pa-korokoro, are fences for farms; Rai he-pa and Parepare are fortifications for towns; and the same root is found in the New Zealand word pare, to ward off, and in the English parry.

We next suppose the canoes of the first colonists of New Zealand have reached its shores; wearied with their long voyage, they gladly step on shore, and anxiously they look around to supply the cravings of hunger. Reduced to the greatest extremities, we may imagine they would lose no time in ascertaining what were the edible products of the country they had reached. One of the first objects which would arrest their attention when they entered the luxuriant forest of their newly-discovered home, would be the palm tree; coming from the sunny isles, whose beauteous shores are fringed with the cocoa nut trees, which mainly supplied them with food, the palm would immediately arrest their attention, and excite their hopes, that they had found the well-known tree. The name for the cocoa palm in most of the isles of Polynesia, is ni; in the Brumer isles, niu. When they found to their disappointment that the New Zealand palm did not produce fruit, they would naturally exclaim, it only bears leaves, and that is precisely the meaning of its name ni-kau, only leaves. The page 183 niu of the Brumer isles, signifies the tree producing milk, u being milk, that is, the true cocoa nut. But it is reasonable to suppose that we should find other proofs of their search after food, and we have them. Uwhi or ufi, the yam of the South Sea Islands, is given to a small one that is indigenous to New Zealand, and to the root of a fern, which is also edible, and slightly resembling in form the yam. The uri, the fruit of the kiekie; the largest New Zealand fruit, is also the name of the bread fruit. The ti, (dracena Australis,) is a name common to all the isles; it produces a long fleshy tap root like a carrot, and was formerly much used as food. Nearly all the names of edible substances are identical with those of the islands. The taro, the kumara, the hue, many of the trees which resemble those of the isles they left, bear the same names; thus we have the aka, the hutu, mai, miro, rata, and wau. Poi is the New Zealand word for a ball, this in Tahaiti is also the name of the bread fruit when made up into balls. This valuable fruit is not known in the colder climate of New Zealand, but the word remains.

The pigeon bears two names, the kuku and kukupa, which are common to the isles; so also is that of the ruru (owl). The only animals there known have similar names: kiore (rat) and kuri (dog). The kuku (muscle), a shell-fish universally eaten, is generally known by the same name. But it is not necessary to carry this list of identical names further; it applies to plants, stones, insects, implements, manners, customs, mythology, gods, in fact to everything, for the language itself is radically the same, and clearly shows that the Polynesians form one grand family. And whilst it is evident, from the greater or less variation existing, of the more recent or remote connection of one with another, it does not diminish the probability of their having had a common origin.

There is another word which we seem to recognize in the Turkish hookah, which is the same in substance, I believe, with the meerschaum and ecume de mere; huka is the New Zealand word for the froth of the sea. When the New Zealanders arrived, they then saw snow for the first time, which to them would appear more like the froth of the sea than any- page 184 thing else; they naturally applied that word to it, and called it huka. It has generally been supposed that the Malay is the grand progenitor of the Maori; but I do not see on what grounds, beyond the resemblance of a very few words. The affinity between the Maori and Sanscrit is much closer, as well as their customs; the widow sacrificing her life at the husband's death is a remarkable agreement. The figures sculptured on the caves of Elora and Salsette bear a singular resemblance to the Maori hei tiki in their form.

The New Zealanders are decidedly a mixed race; some have woolly hair, others brown or flaxen; some are many shades darker than others.* The peculiar features of the Tartar are also very common; the oblique eye, the yellow countenance, the remarkable depression of the space between the eyes, so that there is no rise in the nose, seem clearly to indicate that some portion at least of the race is of Chinese or Japanese descent; and this supposition is strongly supported by a similarity of custom in chiefs tying up their hair in a top knot. The natives now copy us, as being a more highly civilized race than themselves. This would naturally have been the same, had any number of the Chinese or Japanese arrived amongst them. Hence the chiefs adopted the top knot as a sign of higher rank. This resemblance seems to have struck Tasman most forcibly; in describing them, he says, “They were of a color between brown and yellow, their hair long and almost as thick as that of the Japanese, combed up and fixed with a quill, or some such thing, in the very same manner as the Japanese fastened their hair behind their heads.” About the year 1839, one of the members of the Church Mission, when paying a visit to the district of Wangaree, found a party of natives sitting round a fire, where they were cooking potatoes in an old-fashioned bell. Being much struck with the singularity of the circumstance, as well as the peculiar appearance of the bell, he inquired into the way they became

* So dark are some of these natives, that they are joked by others as being Pokerekahu, which is a name for a very black kind of kumara; in fact, they have many terms of reproach amongst themselves for these dark persons, such as kiwakiwa, pangopango, signifying black.

page 185 possessed of it. The account he received was, that some years before a great storm threw down a large tree, and disclosed this old bell under its roots, and that they had constantly used it as a pot to boil their potatoes in, stopping up a hole where the ring of the clapper had been fixed with a potatoe. The bell was immediately purchased, and I had the gratification of seeing it; the rim was jagged, as if the outer one had been broken off, which was most probably the case, as it appeared to be far too shallow for its width: there was a legend round it, which appeared to be Japanese, the characters being too square and regular for Chinese.

There is, therefore, good reason to suppose, that at least one junk, if not more, has reached New Zealand, and imparted a character to their race, as well as an influence to their customs. That the neighbouring tribes would endeavour to obtain the alliance of a more civilized people than themselves, and secure them to strengthen their tribes by giving them their daughters in marriage seems highly probable. These strangers, too, may have introduced some articles of food as well as their customs, and thus proved a blessing to them. It is a question whether they did not introduce the art of weaving, which seems to be carried to greater perfection than we could reasonably expect them to have been capable of. I am not aware that either in Tahaiti or Hawaii they had attained to a similar degree. The general clothing of the islands being the tapatapa, cloth made from the bark of trees, chiefly the wau (or paper mulberry), and though the making of that cloth has long ceased, yet traditionally, it was once made in New Zealand. The name is preserved in the aute, from which ribbons were formed, even up to a late period; but the cloth itself appears to have been superseded by the more durable and elegant product of the loom. The finely embroidered borders of their garments betoken a far more advanced state than they can lay claim to in the other arts, which they are acquainted with. Their houses likewise seem to betoken a Chinese or Japanese origin; they are built in a similar way to those which are erected of bamboo, being ornamented with arapaki, or lattice work of various colors and patterns, indicating much skill and even page 186 elegance and taste. In ship building, they do not seem to have acquired anything from them; not having iron, they could not advance on the skill of their forefathers.

There is scarcely any work relating to the Polynesian Isles to be compared with that of Mariner's Tonga Isles, either for the faithfulness of the description given of their manners and customs, or for the general interest of his narrative. From it we gather many particulars of resemblance between the inhabitants of New Zealand and Tonga; whilst the former believes that Maui fished up his island, which thence bears the name of his fish, the latter also states that his isles were drawn out of the water by Tangaloa, whilst fishing with the line and hook (see vol. ii., p. 99). Tangaloa, we have already said, is identical with Tangaroa, one of the most ancient of the Maori deities. He is also viewed in Tonga as the god of the ocean. Their ideas likewise agree in the pre-existence of the ocean, and in the sky being solid, originally resting on the earth.

The Hotua Pou, who are spoken of as mischievous gods, whose attribute is never to dispense good, but petty evils, not as a punishment, but indiscriminately from a pure mischievous disposition, exactly agrees with the Atua Potiki of the Maori.

The New Zealander also has some idea of high chiefs, or arikis, going to heaven after death, whilst those of inferior note went to Po, which is their Hades; also that their gods manifest themselves to their descendants or priests, under the form of lizards, spiders, moths, whirlwinds, flashes of lightning, &c.; that they often enter the body of individuals, and surprise them, using their voice to utter their will.

Their ideas of omens are also similar, as well as the word for divination (vol. ii., p. 191), ta niu, although the way of divining is different, the Tonga native drawing a favorable or unfavorable conclusion from the spinning of the cocoa nut.

The tuitonga and veachi, sacred chiefs, have no representative in New Zealand, except that every high chief or ariki is a sacred character, and supposed to have the power of conversing at pleasure with his ancestral gods, and, in fact, to be one himself on earth. The former seem to have been rather spiritual kings, more nearly resembling the Dairi of Japan, page 187 the Lama, the Sovereign Pontiff of Thibet, or the Pope of Rome (vol. ii., p. 110). The carnal intercourse of atuas and females is the common belief of both races. The way that gods speak to men, by whistling from the roof of houses, (vol. ii., p. 124), is also the same. The customs of widows committing suicide, and of burying in a sitting posture, are identical.

The malai corresponds with the marae, being the principal court in a pa, or the open space before the priest's houses, where strangers are received, and all their grand councils held. The word for a king in Tonga is how, although there is no similar dignity in New Zealand, and therefore the word is naturally not to be found, yet there are others derived from this root; of such is the kai waka howhow, the person who gives command in a war canoe to the paddlers, and regulates the time. Kauhow, to teach, to instruct, or direct. In Tonga, an adept in anything has the prefix of kau: a kau-tang-ata, is a skilful man; a kau-moana, a skilful sailor. In New Zealand he is called au moana; the word is found in kau-matua, an elder.

The description of the tapu, and of their feasts, will do for either race.

The custom of cutting the person with shells or obsidian, and allowing the blood to dry on the person, is also the same, although in New Zealand it is chiefly practised by the women, and confined to the forehead or chest.

Elegiac ballads were also written in honour of great chiefs, and most frequently by their widows.

In all these particulars, and many others, the identity of the Tonga natives with those of New Zealand is evident; in fact, the language is so nearly alike, that the natives can make themselves understood to each other. Tonga is the name given by the Maori to the south wind. The highest mountain is also honored with the same, being called tonga riro.*

The points of agreement between the Feegee and Maori are not so evident; there are, however, many particulars in which they likewise agree. The following were received from a

* Tonga riro simply means Tonga, which has left or departed from its old position in the Tonga Islands.

page 188 Wesleyan Missionary stationed at Mere (Rev. Mr. Hazlewood). The spirit of the still-born child is very much feared.

Makutu, or witchcraft, is practised in a similar way to that of the Maori, by procuring some of the parings of the food which the person to be destroyed has eaten; these are buried, and as they decay, the victim also pines away and dies.

Langi, heaven (rangi, New Zealand), literally the place where the heaven and the earth unite, or the distant horizon, from whence the European was thought to come, it being considered his remote home, and therefore he is called papa-langi, or the person who comes from the surface of heaven.

Uto, the bread fruit, is also the heart. New Zealand uri, ufi, or uwi, the yam; ndalo; talo (Tonga), taro (New Zealand), the edible species of the arum. The word koli agrees with the New Zealand kuri (dog).

Circumcision universally obtains in the Feegee Isles. There is a rite nearly approaching to it in New Zealand, called the putéte, which consists in tying up the prepuce with a string, and then fastening the end of it to the girdle; this was done when on a journey or going to fight.

Thake means above, as the sun or the east, as ake does in Tonga and New Zealand.

Ra, down below, as the sun raro, New Zealand. In Feegee it is the west, in New Zealand the north.

Toka lau, the north, is tokarau, which is north-east in New Zealand.

Kau, the plural prefix, is used ordinarily for men; kau matua, elders; and how is the plural for chiefs and gods. Fango is the plural for animals. Ngahi, for inanimate objects. Onga is the dual prefix before animals.

Iro, to peep, is the same as tiro in New Zealand. Dalinga, the ear, agrees with the New Zealand taringa.

The following words were taken from a list of Malayan dialects, as spoken in Borneo:—

English. Malay. New Zealand.
Two. Dua. Dua, rua.
Three. Tiga, taru. Toru.
Five. Lima, rimch. Rima.page 189
Mother. Ma. Waea.
Woman. Ini. Hine.
Man. Orang. Tangata.
Head. Kapala (caput). Upoko.
Ear. Telinga. Taringa.
Eyes. Mata. Mata.
Nose. Idong. Ihu.
Mouth. Mulat. Mangai.
Teeth. Gigi, nipun. Niho.
Water. Ayer, ai. Wai.
Dead. Mati mate. Mate.
Fire. Api. Ahi.
A path. Suntah, arau. Ara.
Sky. Langit. Rangi.
Stone. Batu. Kohatu, kowatu.
Bird. Mutah, menuk. Mann.

The final k in Malay is often mute.—The consonants b, d, may have the intervening vowel a, e, i, o, or u, changed at pleasure.

The resemblance between the New Zealanders and the natives of the Society and Sandwich Isles is still more remarkable, and, perhaps, of all islands, the little one of Waiho, or Easter Island, is the most perfect. It appears highly probable that some of its inhabitants found their way to New Zealand, and remarkable that the spot which they would be the most likely to make by the prevailing current in reaching New Zealand, should be called Waiho,* the name of their isle. Easter Island also seems to have become the abode of the progenitors of the Polynesian race before it had lost some of its original knowledge of the arts. The large stone monuments still existing there, speak of a bygone skill, and, perhaps, of acquaintance with the use of iron. The form, too, of the covering of the heads of those figures bears a remarkable resemblance to those seen in Egyptian hieroglyphics, especially of that supposed to refer to Shishak's victory over Rehoboam.

* Waiho, also a name of one of the Sandwich Islands, signifying to leave or abandon.

page 190
It is evident the New Zealanders, from their own account, did not all come either at the same time, from the same place, or to the same part of the island:* the peculiar difference of dialect still existing amongst the tribes, would, to the skilful Polynesian philologist, point out almost the precise locality from whence each came. In one part the k is not used, in another the ng is omitted. In the Society and the Sandwich Isles we find the same. But this is a subject for those better acquainted with the Polynesian dialects. It is sufficient at present to dwell upon generals, and leave the more minute investigation to that time when all these languages, and the leading ones of the globe, shall be brought together. In the mean time, I shall add at the end of this chapter a list of a few words which seem to bear an affinity to many we are accustomed to, and conclude with venturing to hint, that the many points of resemblance in feature, general customs, and manners, may enable us to discover in the widely-spread Polynesian race, a remnant of the long-lost tribes of Israel, and when the time arrives for their restoration from all countries

* This is clearly seen in the variation of names which we find in different parts of the island, which evidently proves, that each emigration gave them according to the impressions formed on first landing. Thus, in the

  • North Kukupa is in the South Keriru, a pigeon.—Kuku, pigeons preserved in their own fat.

  • North Tui is in the South Koko Tui.

  • North Tupakihi is in the South Tutu, Coriaria sarmentosa.

  • North Kapura is in the South Ahi, Fire.

  • NorthPaua is in the South Hau, Smoke.

  • North Tomai rangi is in the South Hau nui, Dew and flowers.

Nearly all the trees differ in their names; thus in the North the phormium tenax is called korari; in the South, that is the name of the flower stalk only, the plant itself is called harakeke. So also the names of address vary in different parts: the Nga puhi say E koro, or E mana; those in the South laugh at it. There they say, E tama or E hoa. And in the more central part of the island, it is E pa. In fact, we have a remarkable instance of this difference occurring in recent times: when that valuable tuber, the potatoe, was introduced by Captain Cook, and given in the North, the natives there called it kapana. In the Thames, where he also left it, they named it riwai; and in the South, or Cook's Straits, it goes by the name of Taswa. Still later, the hen was called in one part a heihei, in another a tikaokao; so the horse was a hoiho, and also a kuri, or big dog, that being the only animal they were then acquainted with.

page 191 in which they have been dispersed, from “Hamath and the Isles of the Sea” that, in that day it will be found, even to these ends of the world, the fearful denunciation of Divine wrath has driven his apostate people, who, forsaking the true light given them, and preferring heathen darkness, were to be suffered to dwell in that darkness, until they had fulfilled their appointed times. We have no reason to suppose, that when the ten tribes were carried captive by Assyria, that they were all placed in the same spot, or were likely to remain in those spots in which they were first placed; on the contrary, we have the denunciation that they should be scattered, and we cannot suppose that the mere taking them but of their own land was the termination of their punishment, but rather that it was only the commencement of it, as in after times, when Jerusalem fell first before the King of Babylon, and lastly before Titus, the first fall was but the beginning of numberless others. True, Cyrus permitted the Jews to return, but did all do so? Why the exhortation of the prophet, “Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.” The Jews, born in the city of their captivity, lost the love of their native land; it was only a few who hung their harps on the willows; the merchandize and traffic of that wonderful city, had more charms for the great bulk of the nation than Judah, and thus they remained, willing captives. When Titus sacked Jerusalem, the Jews radiated from it to their flourishing communities in Africa, in Asia, and in every part of Europe. So when the King of Assyria carried away the ten tribes, though he placed them primarily on the shores of the Caspian, that would not long suit their habits of traffic. They would doubtless seek the grand marts of commerce; no longer possessing fixed homes, they became merchants, as a matter of course, and those who still continued to love war and independence, or a pastoral life, would retire before their enemies, and thus, should it be proved that the Affghans are Jews, we see how they would reach that country. Whilst some, perhaps those from Babylon, remained in India, as the black Jews state they have done, some would pass on thence and people the Indian Isles, as the Malays. From the Caspian, page 192 many may have followed the caravans across Central Asia, Thibet, and Tartary, until they reached the Eastern Coast, and thence, from island to island, this race, doomed to wander, may have done so, either intentionally or otherwise, as ships are constantly picking up large canoes, which have drifted away from their island homes. Doubtless this has ever been the case, and whilst numbers have thus miserably perished, some few have escaped, and become the inhabitants of many a lone island of the Pacific Ocean. There is no saying where they may not have gone. The first and most civilized settlers of the Americas seem to have passed by the Aleutian Isles to the continent; others, drifted by the course of currents, have reached the Sandwich Isles, and thence gone even to Easter Isle. The natives, in their traditions, preserve the name of the island they came from, which is Hawaiki. In this name, which is identical with that of Hawaii, we have a proof how languages change in process of time. The Maori preserve the use of the k and ng; their ancestors have lost them. Thus, were the Anglo-Australians to be entirely cut off from the parent stock for several centuries, it is reasonable to suppose that changes quite equal to these would take place in the language; but that the offset should preserve the original purity of their tongue is the most remarkable. The Anglo-Americans make a similar boast, but with what truth is another thing. Hawaii is still the name of the largest of the Sandwich Isles. It only wants the k, this the New Zealander called * Hawaiki tawiti nui, or the very distant Hawaii; thence they came to Hawaiki patata, or nearer Hawaiki, literally the lesser isle, being smaller than Hawaiki, that is Tahaiti; and having remained there until their numbers were too large for the size of the island, they again migrated to Hawaiki ki te moutere. Supposing this to have been Easter Island, which is situated at the end of the south-east trade winds, we shall have a very natural and easy course to Coromandel Harbour, New Zealand, which, as we have already remarked, bears the same name as that of Easter Isle. All their


I Kunemai i kawaiki,The seed of our coming is from Hawaiki.
Te kune kai te kune langata,The seed of food, the seed of man.
page 193 traditions state, they came from the East. Here, then, native memory has preserved the recollection of three several removes. How many more may have been forgotten!

At Parapara, a small native village on the road from Kaitaia to Doubtless Bay, there resided (1840) an intelligent old chief, named Hahakai, a tohunga deeply versed in the traditions of his country. Although unbaptized himself, yet most of the members of his family were, he therefore became attached to the Missionaries, and freely answered all their enquiries about his ancestors, a few years ago he said such a thing would not have been thought of; and hence we see how unlikely it is that mere strangers, passing through the country, can acquire a knowledge of traditions held to be sacred, and which even amongst themselves are only perfectly known to a small number.

He repeated a list of twenty-six generations from their first coming to this island, namely:—


















Tutenga nahau.


Tau mumu hue.


Taua na nga.


Te niho o te rangi.


Mumu te awa.


Rapa rapa te uira.


Nuku tawiti.


Hae (a woman).


Moe rewa (lived to be very old).


Papa waka miha miha.


Te turu.


Heke rangi.






Koro awio.







The last, is an old woman, a great priestess, who was then living at Knuckle Point. The old priest in his first half-dozen names seems to have gotten amongst the gods. If we allow thirty years to a generation, and take away six of them, it will give a period of six hundred years; and even this I am inclined to think is too long by one hundred.

He stated that their ancestors originally came from three islands, Hawaiki, Mata tera, and Wairota, all which lay to the page 194 East. That the hills of these islands were covered with kumara, which there grew spontaneously. That a quarrel caused them to leave, but there was no fighting, having no weapons, and not being then a warlike race. That they came in a fleet of canoes, and first landed at Waiapu, near the East Cape. That in the third generation Po came to this part, to Taimaro. That in a neighbouring island to theirs, there were beasts which carried men on their backs, and that in some of those islands, there were axes having holes in them, through which the handles were thrust, and so did not require tying on, as their native stone hatchets did. That in one island in their vicinity, there were men whose skins were perfectly black, who went without clothing, and did not so much as wear an apron before them. And also in another isle, there were men who had sandy hair; that they had nuts, with oil in them (cocoa), that they had cloth made of the bark of trees. That they brought the tapu with them (i.e. their religion), and it grew with them. That originally they were not cannibals. That this horrid custom was of recent origin, having only commenced when he was a little boy; that it arose from anger, and not from extreme hunger; that it began with his tribe, which was thence called patu. That they did not tattoo their faces when they first came, but used to mark them with charcoal,* and this was done several generations after their arrival; that tattooing was a late invention. This was the substance of the information we received from the old chief relative to his forefathers. He like wise said that he remembered the coming of Captain Cook, who stood off Doubtless Bay, and sent a boat on shore for fire-wood; they landed and planted potatoes and sowed cabbage and turnip seed. One of the natives went on board; they were much alarmed lest he should be eaten. They received presents of red cloth. He said he was then old enough “to catch a fish and cook it.”

Before iron axes were brought into the country, all used to laugh at him about the tradition of there being axes which

* Even now, when they go to war, the young men thus disfigure their faces with charcoal.

page 195 had handles fastened on without being tied, supposing it was impossible, and thinking the tradition was only an idle tale of their fore-fathers, to excite their wonder; and their ideas were the same about there being animals which carried men. This old chief accompanied some of his people to Waimate, and there saw a horse for the first time, with some one riding on it, he was greatly delighted, and reminded his followers of their traditions, saying, You would not believe me about the beasts on the other side of the water, whence our fathers came, but you see I was right. In the north, the memory of Captain Cook is much revered, but that of Governor King far more so; he is spoken of with great affection; it was by him that pigs were first introduced into the northern part of this island. They were a very large kind, but did not increase: some got into their sacred groves and rooted amongst the dead, for which they were shot, the others were used as horses, the natives taking them (I suppose) for the wonderful animals their fore-fathers spoke of, and so hard did they try to turn them into horses, that they soon killed them all. Governor King visited the north end of the island, and it was his kindness to two natives, Haru and Tuki, who were carried to Norfolk Island to teach the prisoners how to manufacture flax from the phormium tenax, which endeared him to the natives, and was, under Providence, the cause of the Gospel being brought to this island. On such apparently trifling circumstances do the greatest events often turn! for Mr. Marsden's first desire to send Missionaries to New Zealand, arose from his there meeting with those two natives, and being struck with their superior intelligence. They were afterwards sent back to their country, enriched with presents, and the natives of that part boast that they were the first who received Europeans with kindness, and indeed they have invariably done so, never having, except in one single case, injured any who landed on their shores. It was from those further south, at Wangaroa and the Bay of Islands, that they were ill treated. When Tuki and Huru returned, the natives flocked around them, and were anxious to learn how the Europeans had behaved to them, and on hearing of the page 196 uniform kindness they had received, it made such an impression in favor of Englishmen, as never to be since erased from their memory.

The natives of the north, above Kaitaia, state, that the first wheat which was sowed in the island was by Governor King, at Kapo Wairua, where he first landed.

In all languages, some words may be found which resemble those in another; this, of course, is the case with those tongues which have derived much either from neighbouring countries, or in common with them from some more ancient tongue; as is the case with most of the European languages.

But when this resemblance or identity of words, exists in such a remote and isolated race as the Maori, and that too with European tongues, then we can only account for it by supposing that there is a natural tendency in the human race to adopt the same symbols; a natural unity of thought, arising from causes common to all. For an example, when poultry were first introduced into New Zealand, they immediately gave it a name from its crow, ti kao kao, as our ancestors did when they called it the cock: one people deriving its name from the crow, the other from its cluck. So with the duck, which is most likely so called from its quack; the natives adopting the same sound to the idiom of their language, call it rake rake, which is nothing more than quack quack.

In fact, all the birds of New Zealand are named from their notes, and this seems quite natural. When our settlers first reached New Zealand, they fancied that the cry of the owl resembled the words more pork, and more pork they all call it. The natives of the north fancy its note resembles the word kou-kou, and that is its name there: in the south, they think it sounds like ru-ru, and so it is called. But although in this instance there is so much difference, yet in many others there may be a remarkable resemblance of thought, and we may meet with similar words in most remote languages, which are evidently derived from sound; thus, in New Zealand, the beautiful word ha-ru-ru is taken from the shaking or vibratory sound of water, the noise of the surf; ha, is the breath, and page 197 is the natural sound of an aspiration; ru is the simple word to shake, and the reduplication increases its power; ru has thus naturally become the term for an earthquake, which has a similar motion to that of a wave.

In general, however, it must be evident, that when similar words, which cannot be traced to sound, occur, there must have been some previous connection of the languages, although the remembrance of it may have long since passed away.

A most interesting word is taki, which means to track. Now it appears very remarkable, that these two words, which are not very dissimilar in sound, should both alike possess two very different meanings. Taki means to hawl a canoe by a line, and this is likewise the legitimate meaning of the English word. Taki also means to trace or track a man by his footmarks, and so does the word to track and both also mean a track, made by footsteps. This resemblance can scarcely be a chance one.

Haere, to go, is another; it is the same in Latiu, ire, with a like signification, so in the Old English, hie; hiegan, Saxon; allez, French.

The word pata, to patter as rain, or drop as water, is another, which seems to present a singular resemblance to the European one. From pata may be derived the word patu, to batter or strike, and the French battu. Tu also signifies to strike; and here again we have the same in tue, French, to kill, and the Greek word τυπτω; and again in tutu, when one stands against another as an adversary.

To give one more instance, we take the letter u, the nipple of the breast, to which the infant clings for its support; hence u signifies to hold. The canoe, when it touches the land, is said to u or hold to the land; hence uta is the shore, u is to hold, ta to touch or strike; utaina is to land; uranga is the anchorage; kia u is to hold on; wai u, water of the breast, or milk; uma is the breast; umu is an oven, whence food is drawn for man, as it is for the infant from the uma. Urunga is a pillow, to which the head clings for rest; urungi is the paddle used in steering, which causes the canoe to hold on its course; utu, revenge, payment from u to cling, or hold on to, and tu page 198 to stand up as a foe, utu is also to draw water; and many more derivatives of this letter might be produced, such as ua, rain, which is the nipple of the sky above, i.e. the cloud This root is preserved in ουτθαρ (Gr.), uber (Lat.), and in the English words udder and bosom.

It is unnecessary to multiply examples of this kind. The subjoined list of words will afford the philologist matter for consideration.

Ahi (Maori.) ignis (Latin.) aghni (Sanscrit.) fire (English.)
Ai (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible]χ[gap — reason: illegible] (Greek.) aigan (Gothic.) to have, to possess (Eng.)
Ai (Maori.) aio (Lat.) to say (Eng.)
Ai (Maori.) aye, yes (Eng.)
Amo (Maori.) a — m — n (Hebrew) implies nurturing, fostering, to support, sustain, (amun-ra Jupiter Ammon), the lower part of the arm, hence to carry (Eng.)
Apo (Maori.) avarus (Lat.) greedy (Eng.)
Atua, Etua (Maori.) Deus (Lat.) Dewa (Sans.) God (Eng.)
Awa (Maori.) aven (Welch.) aqua (Lat.) ahwa (Goth.) awin (Gaelic.) a river (Eng.)
Dua or rua (Maori.) δυω (Gr.) duo (Lat.) deux (French.) dwi (Sans.) two (Eng.)
Haere (Maori.) ire (Lat.) allez (Fr.) heya (Goth.) hiegan (Sax.) hie (old Eng.) to go (Eng.)
Hamuti (Maori.) mutir (Fr.) to mute or dung, a privy (Eng.)
Hapainga (Maori.) α[gap — reason: illegible]αβα[gap — reason: illegible]νω, απτω (Gr.) haf-yan (Goth.) lift up, help, ascend (Eng.)
Hari (Maori.) gero (Lat.) carry (Eng.)
Haua (Maori.) to be hewed (Eng.)
He (Maori.) a (pron. as the English article a)
Hekina (Maori.) echinus (Lat.) a sea egg (Eng.)
Hine (Maori.) gin (Australian.) zhena (Russian.) ghena (Sans.) girl (Eng.)
Hohoro (Maori.) curro (Lat.) hurry (Eng.)
Homai (Maori.) διδωμαι (Gr.) do (Lat.) da' homai (Sans.) to give (Eng.)
Hua (Maori.) φι[gap — reason: illegible]ω φυω (Gr.) to beget, to bear fruit (Eng.)
Huka (Maori.) hookhah (Turkish.) froth, snow (Eng.)
Huna (Maori.) to hide (Eng.)
Huri (Maori.) χυλιω (Gr.) to turn (Eng.)
Ika (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible]χ[gap — reason: illegible]υ[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) ikan (Malay.) fish (Eng.)
Iti iti (Maori.) little (Eng.)
Iwi (Maori.) bone, Eve (Eng.)
Ka (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) khan (Sans.) to burn (Eng.)
Kakano (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) a corn, kernel (Eng.)
Kano (Maori.) a kind (Eng)
Kapo (Maori.) capio. carpo. (Lat.) to crop, take (Eng.)
Kapura (Maori.) πυζ (Gr.) fire (Eng.)page 199
Karanga (Maori.) kara (Heb.) [gap — reason: illegible]λ[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) to cry. to call (Eng.)
Karanga (Maori.) ϰηζυξ (Gr.) a herald. clangor (Eng.)
Karere (Maori.) ϰηζυξ (Gr.) messenger (Eng.)
Kawa (Maori.) sawer (Tentonic.) sour (Eng.)
Kete (Maori.) pa-kete (Anglo-maori.) basket, kit (Eng.)
Kiko kiko (Maori.) ϰ[gap — reason: illegible]ια[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) carnis (Lat.) flesh (Eng.)
Kiri (Maori.) cortex (Lat.) bark (Eng.)
Ko (Maori.) ko (Mexican.) the native spade, hoe (Eng.)
Kokonga (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) cinis (Lat.) cinder (Eng.)
Kokonga (Maori.) corner (Eng.)
Koroheke (Maori.) γ[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) old man (Eng.)
Kuia (Maori.) γυω[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) quay, or quee (N. A. Indians) old woman, term of respect (Eng.)
Kumete (Maori.) thibet (Heb.) ark, bowl (Eng.)
Kuri (Maori.) ϰυω[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) cani (Lat.) cuan (Sans.) cur (Eng.)
Kutikuti (Maori.) to cut with scissors (Eng.)
Maha (Maori.) μ[gap — reason: illegible]γα[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) magnis (Lat.) meikle (Scot.) mikils (Goth.)
Mahi (Maori.) mekin (Heb.) machina (Lat.) work, make (Eng.)
Mangai (Maori.) manger (Fr.) to munch. mouth (Eng.)
Maori (Maori.) mauri (Lat.) moor. native (Eng.)
Marino (Maori.) (calm, smooth, unruffled surface of the sea.) marine (Eng.)
Mate (Maori.) moth (Heb.) mord (Ger.) more morte (Lat.) murthur, morgue (Fr.) mauthr (Goth.) maithrine (Sans.) death, murder (Eng.)
Ngau (Maori.) ϰ[gap — reason: illegible]α[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) gnaw (Eng.)
Pa, Papa (Maori.) αββα (Gr.) papa (Eng.)
Paraha (Maori.) planos (Lat.) a plain (Eng.)
Pare, pa (Maori.) (a fortification in New Zealand.) a stoppage, a bar, to parry or ward off an enemy (Eng.)
Parirau (Maori.) πιτιζον πτ[gap — reason: illegible]ζον (Gr.) wing, feathers (Eng.)
Pata (Maori.) to patter, as water dropping, drops of rain (Eng.)
Patu (Maori.) battre (Lat.) battu, beaten. to beat batter (Eng.)
Poki (Maori.) (to poke in earth over an oven (Eng.)
Pono (Maori.) pono (Lat.) to place confidence in. truth (Eng.)
Pu, tupu (Maori.) φυ[gap — reason: illegible](Gr.), bhu (Sans.) to spring, to be, to shoot (Eng.)
Puha (Maori.) gills of fish (Eng.)
Pupu (Maori.) to boil (Eng.)
Pupuhi (Maori.) to swell (Eng.)
Putake (Maori.) root (Eng.)
Rangatira (Maori.) (ra sun—ngatira company, the light or chief of men. rajah (Sans.) a chief (Eng.)
Rangi (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible]νζα[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) langi (Malay.) heaven (Eng.)
Remu (Maori.) rim or hem of a garment (Eng.)
Rere (Maori.) rir (Heb.) [gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) reo (Lat.) to flow, to fly (Eng.)
Rere (Maori.) rete (Lat.) net (Eng.)
Ripo (Maori.) rivis, a river (Fr.) ripple (Eng.)
Riri (Maori.) herē (Heb.) [gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) ira (Lat.) anger, ire (Eng.)
Rite (Maori.) a rite, custom, ceremony (Eng.)page 200
Rite (Maori) recte (Lat.) straight (Eng.)
Rite (Maori.) right (Eng.)
Ta (Maori.) tap, touch (Eng.)
Tai (Maori.) tide (Eng.)
Taimaha (Maori.) m.na (Heb.) μνα (Gr.) mina (Lat.) weight (Eng.)
Tane (Maori.) α[gap — reason: illegible]η[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) a man (Eng.)
Tango (Maori.) τιγω (Gr.) tango (Lat.) to take (Eng.)
Tara (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) to dare (Eng.)
Tari (or tatari) (Maori.) tardo (Lat.) tardy, tarry (Eng,)
Tatu (Maori.) (to mark the skin by striking) the tattoo, the striking on a drum, from ta. to strike (Eng.)
Tawiri (Maori.) to twist, to wring, as clothes (Eng.)
Te (Maori.) the (Eng.)
Tika (Maori.) Διϰαιος Διϰη (Gr.) dica (Lat.) just (Eng.)
Tini (Maori.) θ[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) many (Eng.)
Toa (Maori.) tough, strong (Eng.)
Toru (Maori.) τζ[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) tres (Lat.) trois (Fr.) tre (Ital.) tri (Sans.) three (Eng.)
Tu (Maori.) τυπτ[gap — reason: illegible] (Gr.) tuer (Fr.) to kill, to strike (Eng.)
Uma (Maori.) ουθαζ (Gr.) uber (Lat) udder, breast, bosom (Eng.)
Umu (Maori.) ων[gap — reason: illegible]ς (Gr.) oven (Eng.)
Wa, wahanga (Maori.) veho, vehiculum (Lat.) wahana (Goth.) to carry on the shoulders, waggon, wain (Eng.)
Wahine (Maori.) γ[gap — reason: illegible]η (Gr.) woman, or carrying, woman, a mother (Eng.)
Wai (Maori.) [gap — reason: illegible]δωζ (Gr.) mai (Ethiopic), wasser (Goth.) water (Eng.),
Ua rain (Maori.) (Gr.) mai (Ethiopic), wasser (Goth.) water (Eng.),
Waka (Maori.) fac (Lat.) fhaka (Tonga.) to make or cause (Eng.)

In New Zealand, we are often surprised to find how easily we may be mistaken in words, and fancy some are real Maori, when they are only introduced ones. To find out whether they are so or not, we must endeavour to discover their roots, for there are few words in the language which may not thus be traced to a monosyllabic origin.

For instance, we have one word admitted into our translation of the Testament which I very much doubt whether the translators, though our first Maori scholars, ever suspected was anything but a genuine Maori word, and that is toronaihi, a sickle. Wondering what this toronaihi could be originally, as they had nothing like a sickle, or anything sharper than a green-stone adze, or hatchet, I put the question to an intelligent native, who laughed and said, “Why, don't you know what it is, since it is one of your own words?” I page 201 expressed my ignorance. He said, that the toronaihi is the sharp knife which whalers use to cut up blubber with—the drawknife. The word has been naturalized perhaps for half a century; and since that little destructive animal, the mouse, has so increased, as to become a pest—for it cuts down the ripened wheat with its sharp teeth, and so clean, that it almost appears to have been done with a knife;—the natives have bestowed upon it the name of toronaihi, as being most descriptive of its destructive powers.

It appears very probable that the language was originally monosyllabic; many of the words in Maori, may be traced to simple roots, and not a few of these will be recognized as roots in other, and far distant languages; a few are here given:

Ka—to burn. Ka-pura, seeds of burning fire. Ka-pura, seed. Ka-kano, seed or grain. Ka-ha, strength; breath of fire.

Ku—narrowing. Ku-iti, narrow. Ku-raru raru, jammed up with business. Ku-ku, to pinch. Ku-rehe, to fold up clothes, wrinkles. Ku-kuti, to crouch down. Ku-mu, anus. Ku-ku, a shrinking dread; pinching up. Ku-papa, to crouch down.

Ni—seems to imply the bending of the leaf, as the cocoa-nut leaf; an arch, as of the mouth. Ni-ho, tooth. A-ni-wa-ni-wa, rain-bow; the water arch.

Pa—A fence; to touch; ward off; turn aside. Pa-tu, to touch, so as to wound. Pa-re, to ward off. Pa-ia, to turn or push aside, a fence. Pa-re-pa-re, a fortification; a barrier to push away the enemy; hence, Pa-reare, to push away the snow; a sandal. Pa-re, a fillet, or bandage for the head. Taia-pa, a fence.

Po—night, season; a measure of time. Po-uri, darkness (the offspring of night). Mata-po, blind (the eyes of night). Po-ka, a pit, to dig into a bank; to force through any obstruction. Po-kake, to force in an opposite direction. Po-ka-noa, to break through, or do any thing without leave; offlcious.

Rei—to hinder; to jump. A-rei, a skreen. Rei-nga, the skreen between this world and the next, or a jumping place. Rei-rei-rua, the double jump, or to gallop.

Ri—root of Ri-nga-ri-nga, hand. Ri-ma, five. Tu-ri, knee. Ri-ake, to lift, raise. Ri-ri, anger, or any weapon of war, from the agent ri. Ri-aka, to strain the hand in labour. Ri-e, two, the two arms.

page 202

Ta—to strike, to print, to tap. Ta-too (properly Ta-tu), to make strokes that stand or remain, to tatoo by striking a small chisel with a hammer. Ta-ia, strike him. Ta-tu, to count by strokes. Ta-tauranga, the act of striking, or fighting. Ta-piri, an assistant; a patch or thing added.* Ta-nga-ta, to print the prints, man.

Tau—to alight as a bird; to arrive; a year. Tau-hou, a stranger. Tau-tangata, a foreigner. Tau-tohe, a quarrel, when one views another as a stranger, anciently syn. with enemy. Tau-reka-reka, to fall into one's power as a captive, for food. Syn. he-mokai, which is both a pet and also food, as birds, pigs, and slaves, kept as pets until they are fat enough to kill; hence mokai, dried heads Tau-ki, a proverb or saying. Tau-ke, a separate place.

Tu—the standing or bearing of a person. Tu-puna, to stand, to spring; an ancestor; to stand, to be struck; hence, Tu-pu, to grow, to spring. Pa-tu, to touch, to strike. Tu, god of war. Tu-tu, quarrelsome. Tu-a, to stand near or beyond; any thing beloved. Tu-a-kana, an elder brother. Tu-a-hine, a sister. Ma-tu-a, parents. Tu-a, also means to stand beyond or behind. A-tu-a, beyond, as a man's shadow; hence, a spirit, the shadow of man; God, or anything beyond our comprehension. A clock, a compass, were thus viewed as an A-tu-a. Tu-a-tahi, first beyond the speaker. Tu-a-rua, second, &c. Tu-a-whenua, main-land; spoken by a coast native, the land beyond. Ki-tu-a, behind. Tu-a-nga huru, tenth. Tu-ara, the back. Tu-a-roa, the back wall of a house.

Wa—to carry. Wa-ha, mouth or passage of the breath.

Wae—to clear a path, by laying the fern on either side with the foot. Wae, the entire leg. Wae-wae, the foot, implies motion, walking. Wae-renga, a clearing in the forest.

Ahi—fire; to beget Ahi-ahi, time for lighting fires, i.e. evening. Taku-ahi, my fire lighter; a name for a wife, a producer of posterity.

Ahu—to mould the earth with the hand, in forming kumara hillocks. Ahu-a, likeness.

Anga—to incline. Anga-anga, the skull appears to be derived from the child crawling, the skull being always inclined to the ground; hence, Anga-atu, to inclino outwards.

Are—implies concavity, or over hanging, an area. Wh-are, house. Pu-are, open Tau wh-are, over hanging. Waka-are, the opening

* Ta is still used as a term of address for man, as e ta,; it also signifies to touch, to alight, to breathe.

page 203 up of the horizon after rain, leaving a space between the earth and heaven, for the wind to enter in and clear the sky. Are-are, excavating, opening, concave.

I—before O, will almost always contain the idea of a curl, as Io, tough, knotty, curled; Io, a curl of hair. Awh-io, giddy. Awh-io-wh-io, to whirl round. K-oi-ngo o te ngakau, a wringing or thirsting of the heart. Am-io-m-io, syn. Awh-io wh-io.

Ri—little. Iti-iti, a plural adjective. R-iki, little. Ririki, plural adjective.

Oe—tapering to a point. Koe, a spade. Oe, a paddle.

Re-hu—a flute; dissolving away, fainting, hazy, soft, mellow, dying away. Ko-rehu, a haze. Rehu-rehu, evening twilight.

Tama—child. Tama-iti, little child. Tama-hine, female child. Tama-riki, children. E tama-ma, my friends.

Ura—red. K-ura, red ochre. Ko-ura, cray fish. Waka-ura, to make red, to blush. Ura-nga o te ra, redness of the sky. Rangi-ura, red sky. Wai-kura, rust. Ura-ura, sea shore.

He Pareare, A Sandal or Snow Shoe.

He Pareare, A Sandal or Snow Shoe.