Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (digital text)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Horo-Uta or Taki-Tumu Migration. [Vol. I]

Chapter III

page break

Chapter III.

The evil one has fallen—altogether fallen.
Tane was before, the younger brother behind;
And Tane would not deign to turn or answer him.
Then dried up streams, the dreaded lizard died,
Thou beaten, broken, and forsaken vessel.
One prop is above, and one below.
One night, the nights of the gods;
One night, the nights of the ancients.
Abhorrent brightness gleams on night,
And wails of woe fill all its gloom.
Give soul and greater power,
And give thy living spirit now.
Thy spirit now is overcome,
Thy spirit is subdued,
And in the wicker basket closed;
And, though subdued, life now can live.
Thine is the breath, but mine the soul,
And mine enjoyment, mine delight.
Bow on thy knee, be cautious still;
Submit to thy defeat: now thy dejected mien
Cannot again provoke fierce ire.

Tane And Rebellion of Spirits.

When Tane had gone up to heaven, Tu-mata-u-enga (Tu of the inciting face) and Roko(Rongo)-ma-rae-roa (Rongo of the long forehead) said, “Now that Tane has gone, let us kill some of the creatures he has made, that we two may see if they are palatable.” They killed one of the offspring of Tiki-kapa-kapa (Tiki the flapping one—birds), and offered it as a sacred sacrifice to Rehua, to whom they said, “O aged! to what do you liken that food of man?” Rehua answered, “Is it not palatable? Perhaps you think it is sweet.” Now, Rehua did not know what the food he had eaten was. Tu-mata-u-enga and Roko then page 37 killed another of Tane's creatures, which they again took and offered to Rehua, saying, “O friend! how sweet is that food!” Rehua answered, “O you! you two agreed to kill those offerings. Now hearken: these creatures were made by Tane to live in the world, for the use of man.” Tu-mata-u-enga and Rongo captured and plucked of the offspring of the many different families of Tiki. Hence the offspring of Tiki-kapa-kapa (flapping Tiki) and Tiki-to-hua (Tiki fruit-bearer) have been captured and plucked.

Then there was another killing of sacred offerings by Tu and Roko: these were of the offspring of Puku-puku-te rangi (the mounds of heaven). The lungs of these offerings were taken and offered to their lord Rehua.

Fire was first kindled by Rehua, on which was roasted the korari (Phormium tenax), the fruit of trees, and fish. Then commenced the art of cooking by fire.

The Tau-mata (temple, or holy peak of a hill) of Rehua was called Te-taki-taki (the recitation of song), and was in the fourth and fifth heavens.

Then Tu and Roko determined to go up into heaven and there make war, and kill the occupants of that region. They went to Tau-mata (the peak), and to Kahu-raki (the blue sky), and to Puke-nui-o-hotu (the big hill of sobbing), and to Puke-nui-papa (large flat hill), and to Puke-nui-tauranga (hill of battle), and slaughtered the tribes as they went. After this the battle of Taku-tai-o-te-raki (the border of heaven) took place. And after this another battle took place called Awa-rua (the two rivers), where Tu-mata-u-enga was mortally wounded. Now, before the battle Rongo had counselled the slaughter of all the enemy; therefore, as Tu lay dying he said, “You remember my advice, when you replied,‘Let us allow part to escape by making faint blows at them.’ Now you will die, and it will be left for me to obtain revenge for your death in this world.”

Then Roko rose to revenge the death of Tu; and this was the war that was waged even up to the high peaks of the hills of heaven. The name of that battle was Te-uru-rangi (the head of page 38 Heaven). A great many beings fell—namely, Puku-nui (great stomach), Puku-roa (long stomach), Puke-i-ahua (stomach that was caused to swell), Puku-i-kakia (ngakia) (fostered stomach), Te-whaka-whenua-i-ere-no-tu (the exhausted land of Tu), and Hua-take (fruit of the root), and Koe-erea (joy exhausted), and Kura-waka (red plumes of the medium), and Kura-tahia (plume that was cleaned), and Tipia (skim lightly), and Pito-rei (point of the chest), and Hutihuti-maukuku (the ti-root drawn up). And also Tahi-uri (black side) was killed there; and Taha-tea (light side), and Taha-ma (white side), and Taha-poko (dark side), and Taha-whero (red side). But two men escaped and fled into the forest: one was called Tama-he-raki (rangi) (child bewildered in heaven), the other was Raki-whakaka (heated heaven). From this time were known and practised the incantations used by the Maori people.

Tu-mata-u-enga and Rongo-ma-rae-roa were the originators of evil in ancient times. They caused disobedience and war in the heavens; they were powerful for war and battle, and also caused confusion among their adversaries. But this was the cause of sorrow to Tane, and made him say to those disorderly companies, “I will not allow you to live here. Go ye below.” He then threw all that company—that tribe and their chief Roko—tumbling down to the worlds below; and this party, which had gone up in confidence, returned in confusion, and came to the place Kai-hewa (eat in doubt), where they lived in dismay and dread.

Rebellion in Heaven.
(Another Reading—Nga-I-Tahu.)

It will be remembered that Tane, and Rangi his father, dwelt in the upper worlds with their spirit-hosts. Of these the Kahuianu (flock of cold) persisted in their efforts to draw the Kahuitahu (flock of plenty) and the Kahui-tao (flock of blessings) to evil and rebellion. Raki therefore gave the order to expel them, and to Tane the power to cast them out and throw them down page 39 from the first heaven, that they might all fall down to the various Pos. Because those flocks continually persisted in doing evil, Raki said, “Chase them away, as they will not hearken to teaching, and will not live peaceably.”

On their arrival in the Pos they did not cause very great evil, but they taught Tama-tau-weka (son of persistent battle) and Rongo-ma-rae-roa (fame of the long forehead) to kill the creatures Tane had made on earth, and thus be revenged for having been thrown down from the heavens.

(Hine-)Ti-tama (the absconding wife of Tane) joined those flocks, to assist in taking revenge on the creatures made by Tane.

Then was killed one of the offspring of Tiki-kapakapa (image of the flapping—fish). This first one killed was offered to Rehua. There was also killed one of the off-spring of Tiki-to-hua (image pregnant with egg), which was also offered to Rehua. Then first men began to eat fish and birds.

Another and second rebellion was caused by Ru (tremble) and Ro (inherent), who gave battle in the heaven, called Puku-puku-te-rangi (swellings in heaven). They were spirits who were fostered by Tane, and fled down into this world, and from them sprang the aruhe (fern-root) and many other sorts of food which have been lost to man. This is why the fern-root was used by man as a sacred offering to be given to the gods.

Another and third rebellion was fought on the back of Raki. This battle was called Awa-rua (the double river), also Taku-tai-o-te-raki (sea-coast of the heaven). From Awa-rua arose the angry feelings of Tane to those rebels Tu-(mata-u-enga) and Roko-(ma-rae-roa). Tu was killed by the beings of Tane, and his spirit allowed to go to the Po. Thousands of the rebels were killed—that is, as far as spirits could be killed—in that battle.

Tane and Raki consulted. Tane persisted in his determination to kill all, but Raki referred to a proposal he had made some time previously—that the world should be divided and the heavens separated from the earth, so that these spirits could page 40 become human by assuming bodies—but Tane would not agree. Through this misunderstanding these spirits were doomed to stay in darkness. This was the result of this second rebellion. These rebels were driven from the upper heavens, and their unalterable fate was, to live in doubt in this world and in the worlds of darkness.

It is from the Kahui-anu (flock of the cold space) that all the evils which now afflict the Maori race came. Our seers say, when a sudden death occurs, that the Atua-kikokiko (the god of flesh) is killing the people; and when two or, may be, three deaths occur on one day, incantations are repeated and ceremonies performed to avert death from the tribes. These incantations and ceremonies were repeated and performed to Mihi-mihi-tea (acknowledge the obligation, and lament for the fair one) and also to Tapa-tapa (the one called for).

It was Rehua who dispersed sadness and gloom from the minds of the weak as well as the strong. He was lord of kindness. His innumerable host reside in the heavens. It was Tu-mata-uenga and Rongo-ma-rae-roa who caused war and its attendant evils. Rehua (host of kindness), Kahu-kura (red garment), and Tane were great leaders; and besides, there were Rongo-nui-a-tau (the great news heard) and Weka(Wheka)-i-te-ati-nuku (garments of those driven into cold space). The latter was guardian and sustaining god, who, with the aid of Tu-hina-po (Tu of the twilight), conducted our race over the vast ocean. They are gods of the ocean, and therefore seaweed is the offering presented and laid before them.

After the battle at Tai-o-rua-tapu (the tide of the sacred pit) Ue-nuku (trembling earth) and his son Rua-tapu (sacred pit) were, and continue to this day to be, the protecting gods of their descendants. If any of their offspring are inclined to evil they correct them, and they are the guardians of those who lead good and untainted lives.

Kahu-kura and Rongo-nui-a-tau are the arbiters of life and death in war or peace, and are the gods who care for invalids, and are also the guardian gods of travellers.

page 41

Prayer must be offered to Kahu-kura when the body is afflicted by disease, so that the disease may be sent elsewhere. Kahui-tahu-o-rangi (flock of warm ones of Rangi) cannot cure those who are sick; but, though they are unable to heal, submissive prayers must be made to them, and offerings of sea-weed and grass presented to them, so that they be not enraged, but that they may be pleased and act kindly towards man, over whom their power is such that nothing can in any case remove it.

Incantations and ceremonies repeated and performed for life and health are performed and repeated to Rangi; so also are those that are repeated and performed to guide the spirits of men to the lower worlds, or to conduct them to the heavens of brightness, where they may ramble and live (d). Rangi is also the god of battle, and to him are incantations repeated and ceremonies performed to obtain bravery and power for an army, that it may overcome its enemies. Raki is a good god.

Some of our high priests state it was Tu-(mata-uenga) and Rongo-(ma-rae-roa) who first made war and killed men; but the beings killed were not like man as he now is—they were gods. The men of Tiki were those who first killed each other.

Rau-riki (gather the small ones) was the first to kill man in this world. He killed Hotu-a (eagerly desire for god). Rau-riki was envious of Hotu-a because the females loved Hotu-a, and because he was a noble-looking and beautiful man. When the news of his death reached his relatives and tribes they sought for satisfaction: they repeated their incantations to Tu-(mata-uenga) and Rongo-(ma-rae-roa), and went and dipped the first finger of their left hands in the blood of Hotu-a and held their hands up to heaven; then they pointed with their fingers to the thousands below; then they took some of the clotted blood of Hotu-a in their left hands, and with them pointed to the sky, and then again pointed below, with each movement repeating their incantations, and naming each god of the heavens and all those below, also the names of all the heroes above and below; page 42 then they repeated the incantation of “Life,” and of the “Origin of all Things;” then they repeated the incantation “Incense of Gum,” and went in a body and attacked the settlement of Rau-riki, and killed him, and cooked and ate his body; then they repeated the grand incantations of the Ika-nui-a-tahua (the slain offering) and Te-umu-titia (the burnt offering adorned with feathers). These last two were repeated in the sacred place. Retiring thence they presented the heart of the slain to the high priest, and not until he had eaten it could the army partake of ordinary food.

When war is proclaimed, and men have fallen, the heart of the first one slain is taken out and presented as an offering to the gods.

The most delicate part of man is the thigh, which is placed in a bowl made of sea-kelp, and cooked in an umu (d). The chiefs alone partake of this.

When a party is about to set out on a war expedition, they catch and kill a bird called a ma-tata (swamp wren), carefully saving all the blood, and with incantations and ceremonies offer the body to the gods and then deposit it in the sacred place. The blood alone of the bird is used in the ceremonies when the offering is made. This being done the army return home dancing and singing and chanting incantations to Tu-(mata-uenga), and then remain for one or two months, devoting a great portion of their time in throwing the niu (d). Then a war-party is selected, and the army leaves the settlement, and when some distance on the road they all join in chanting incantations to Tu (the god of war), so that the power of the enemy may not be able to repel their attack.

This was all done when the army to revenge the death of Hotu-a attacked and took the pa of Rau-riki. He himself escaped, but all the people were either slain or taken prisoners. When the fight was over, they assembled the prisoners, and, after killing the first one captured, they took his heart and presented it to the high priest; this he cooked, and when he had eaten it they killed all the other prisoners, carefully saving all the blood, which they offered with great ceremony as a page 43 sacrifice to the gods; and then the bodies of all those slain were cut up and cooked and eaten by the army. This was the commencement of cannibalism in this world, and the practice has been continued down to the present time.

Rau-riki fled and took shelter with Kura-tahea (sacred red ochre obtained). The army pursued, and, in the attack which followed, Rau-riki was slain, and his blood was drunk by the high priest whilst it was warm. His head was cured: the brains were first taken out and a piece of wood placed in each nostril; the skin of the neck sewn round a hoop of kare-ao (Rhipogonum scandens), so that it might not shrink; the lips were sewn together to prevent the teeth appearing; it was then carefully covered up with grass and placed on the top of an umu and cured (d). His bones were made into needles to sew the garments then used by the people, some into hooks to catch fish, and some into barbs for birds and eel-spears. The hands were dried with the fingers bent in towards the palm, and the wrists were tied to a pole which was stuck into the ground, and baskets containing the remains of a meal were hung up on these fingers.

At this time Kahu-kura (the god of the rainbow) was personified by a figure carved in wood. To this incantations were chanted, and the effigy was held up in the hands of the priests and shaken about to delight the people.

The practice of curing the heads of distinguished enemies has continued down to the present time, so that the trophies of war and the power of the people might be seen. These were set on the tops of the posts surrounding the enclosure of the marae (courtyard), so that visitors might see them.

Rebellion in Heaven.
(Another Reading—Nga-I-Tahu.)

The family of Rangi by his second wife, Poko-harua-te-po, was the multitude of the Tahu. Amongst them were: Ka-tu, page 44 Werohia, Whaka-iria, Tao-kai-maiki, Tao-iti-a-pae-kohu, Tahuatu, Tahua-roa, Karanga-a-tuhea, Ika-rimu, Whakatu-koroua, Kokiri, and Kopu-nui.

Immediately connected with these are the hosts of Te Anu and Tao. Rangi begat Ka-mau-ki-waho, who begat Pari-nui, who begat Pari-mate, who begat Moe-waho, who begat Anumatao, who begat Te-anu-whaka-rere, who begat Te-anu-whaka-toro, who begat Anu-mate. These are the source of death.

To these also must be added many of the deformed off-spring of Rangi, as Tane-tuturi, Tane-pepeke, Tane-ku-nawhea, Tane-tuoi, Tane-te-wai-ora, together with some of the offspring of Tane and Hine-tauira, as Tahu-kumea and Tahu-whaka-ero. These were not willing to obey the commands of Rangi; they persisted in disobedience and wrong-doing, and were swept by his orders down to the lower worlds. Rangi commissioned Tane to drive these rebels from the worlds above to the worlds below. By these mankind is drawn down to the dark worlds. They are ever employed to tempt and draw man to great evil and death.

Rebellion in Heaven.
(Another Reading—Nga-I-Tahu.)

After Tane had arranged the stars, and had made his father Rangi beautiful, and had formulated the laws of tapu, he visited the earth, and again went up to the heavens. After his departure, the spirits who occupied the lower worlds (they who had been driven from the heavens for their disobedience to Rangi) sought to be revenged on Tane for the part he had taken in driving them thence. They first caused evil amongst the fish of the sea, and multitudes of them were destroyed. Then they caused evil amongst the birds of the air, and flocks of them perished. And when men were made and had multiplied, they also caused evil amongst them. Tu-mata-u-enga and Rongoma-rae-roa page 45 were the leaders of the hosts of the war spirits which slew mankind. Thus was evil introduced into this world, and man, birds, and fish became antagonistic. Man killed man, birds destroyed birds, and fish devoured fish; and thus death was first known in this world.