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Arachne. No. 3

(1) Lullabies (Popo, ara, oriori)

(1) Lullabies (Popo, ara, oriori)

When a child was born, a child of chieftain lineage whose ancestors performed feats of valour, a lullaby would be composed by its mother, father or grandparents. Some of the most famous Maori poems belong in this class.

The narrative would open as far back as Hawaiki, the feats of arms, the catastrophes would be recounted, and then would come the migration to these islands; the famous ancestors would be mentioned and the battles and disasters that happened here.

If perhaps an unavenged defeat or insult lay somewhere on the child's ancestral line, he or she would be incited to deeds of valour.

Associations of his ancestors with the brave chiefs of old would be recited and sometimes curses would be showered on the heads of the doers of the evil deeds that brought defeat and disaster upon the child's ancestors. Scholars are delving into waiatas of this type for allusions that will confirm historical data found in the tales of olden times. It is a well known fact that there is much Maori lore, the lore of the Whare Wananga—House of Learning, of the priests of the various tribes, contained in these poems.