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

Chapter VI

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Chapter VI

Keen sorrow day and night,
And pain of lacerated flesh,
My rembling frame o'erpowers.
Oh! would some priest
Enchantments bring, and in the stream (d)
Revive my soul, and drown my love,
That I may grieve no more
My loss of him, my all in life,
Whose form the waves now babble over in the deep.
Go, O loved one! ne'er by me
Shall all thy fame and noble deeds
Amidst the crowd be lost.
Yes, e'en in war, and all that
Man calls great in sport or love,
I'll hold thee forth to public view,
E'en as the beauteous prow of war-canoe
Attracts the gaze, and shouts of
Western tribes' applause.
I'll hold thee forth as beam of
Sacred house all carved around with moko lines
Of thine own ancient tribe and seers.
Oh, yes! I know 'twas said of old,
The house where Tatau was,
And where the Mae-waho in crowds
All met their doom, and slept in death;
Where all the Pona-turi's voice was hushed to speak no more.
So I for thee will joy
That full revenge was sought and found
As that for Hema's death so amply gained.

Death of Wahie-Roa—(Continued.)
Mythological Chant Respecting Whai-Tiri, Kai-Tangata, and Rupe (Nga-Rauru.)

Blow, gentle breeze; sweep o'er the face of heaven,
And pinions break in Rupe's wings;
Bedim the glow of red that paints his perch,
That ne'er again, with outstretched wings,
He sail across the sky.
page 82 Great Rua's bird now folds his pinions close;
Then spreads again, to soar in gentle air;
Then dazzled sight but dimly sees the earth and heaven.
His certain knowledge wraps him round as with
A girdle, bound in self-sufficiency; but night,
Dark night, in gloom would stultify his power.

Tai-tu-tini (ever-standing sea) begat Taki (follow) and Mare (cough), who begat Tai-ra-tu (tide of the shining sun), Tai-aro-pai (gentle-looking sea), and Tai-rapa-pai (gentle rippling tide), who begat Pu-whe-tongi-tongi (origin of the nibbling dwarf), who begat Te-ninihi (sneak out of sight), Parata (god of the ocean), Pare-kuku (nipped plume), and Pare-wawau (plume of the stupid).

Now let the thicket here beneath,
Though small it be, a home for gods be made;
Yet let some gods return,
That room may be for man.
Shells live in the sea, and heed not
Foam nor noise, nor court the summer air.
No dread nor trembling can their scaleless bodies feel,
Nor fear of thunder's peal, nor net
Nor noose that man on earth
Can set or use.

Tuhi (flashing forth) begat Rapa (crashing noise), who begat Uira (lightning), Awha (storm with rain), and Wara-wara-terangi (babbling of heaven), who took Roro-te-rangi (front of heaven) and begat Whai-tiri (thunder), who took Hiakai-tangata (Kai-tangata) (hunger for man) and begat Punga (anchor), Punga-nui (great anchor), Punga-roa (long anchor), Tau-tau (suspended), Tau-tau-iri (suspended in straps), Tau-tau-mate (suspended dead), Tupua (goblin), and Tawiti (rat-trap).

Rupe and Rehua (Nga-I-Tahu.)

Rupe (folded together, or pigeon) ascended to heaven in search of Rehua, and, having arrived at a settlement, he asked, “Are there people above here?” and received for reply, “Yes, there are people above here.” He asked, “Can I go there?” and was answered, “No, you cannot: these are the heavens which page 83 were sewn together by Tane.” Rupe pushed all impediments aside, and went into that heaven. This he did again and again till he had gained the tenth heaven.

He gained the place where Rehua resided, who came to welcome him (d). They wept over each other. Rehua wept in ignorance as to the identity of Rupe; but Rupe repeated an incantation as he wept by which Rehua discovered his guest. Having concluded their greeting, Rehua ordered his people to light a fire. This having been done, calabashes (d) were brought and put down in front of Rehua. Rupe, seeing these were empty, could not imagine where food could come from to fill them. He now saw Rehua unbind the aute (d) (strings by which his hair was tied in plaits on the top of his head). It flowed over his shoulders. He shook it over the empty calabashes, and out of it flew a number of koko (tui, or parson-birds), which had been eating the vermin in his head. These birds were caught by the people of Rehua, and killed and plucked, and put in the calabashes and cooked, and brought and placed in front of Rupe, who was invited by Rehua to partake of them. Rupe said, “I shall not eat of them. I saw you unloose your hair and shake the birds off your head. I will not eat of them, as they have lived on the vermin on your head.” Rupe durst not eat them, as Rehua was his elder and lord.

Rupe asked Rehua, “Have you heard any murmur of voices from below?” Rehua said, “Yes, I have heard a confused noise of voices at Motu-tapu (sacred island).”

Rupe transformed himself into a pigeon, and flew down to Motu-tapu, and lighted on the sill of the window of the house of Tini-rau (many hundreds), and was seen by the people of that place, who exclaimed, “A bird! a bird!” Some said, “Spear it, spear it.” Bird-spears (here) were brought, and an attempt was made to pierce it; but the bird dexterously turned the spear aside, and the point of the spear was broken by striking against a tree. They now made a noose (tari) and attempted to put it over the head of the bird; but it bowed its head and turned its page 84 neck, so that the noose was of no avail. Now, the sister of Rupe, who was wife of Tini-rau, said to those who were attempting to take the bird, “Let it stay, that I may look at it.” Having surveyed it, she recognized it as her brother, and asked it, “Why did you come here?” The bird opened and closed its mouth, but did not speak. She now said to Tini-rau, “O friend! this is your brother-in-law.” He asked, “Who is it?” She said, “It is Rupe.”

On that day she gave birth to a child. Rupe now sang this song to his sister as he sat on the tree:—

Hina—yes, Hina (d) is the sister,
And Rupe is the elder brother.
By which way come?
From beneath,
From above.
Let your path be upward,
And express your love—
Express it to those at Motu-tapu.

His sister also sang a song to him thus:—

Rupe is the elder brother,
And Hina the sister.
By which way come?
From beneath,
From above.
Ascend your path
To Rehua.

At once, when his sister had ended her song to him, he caught her and her child up, and flew away with them to Rehua; but in the flight the placenta fell into the ocean and was swallowed by a shark, and hence the egg-like balls found in the shark.

They went to Pu-tahi-nui-o-Rehua (principal home of Rehua), which they found in a very dirty state; and Rupe said to Rehua, “O Rehua! verily your place is dirty;” and again he said, “But never mind, O old man! If each piece of dust were an insect you could slap it and frighten it away.” Rupe thought he would clean the home of Rehua, and therefore made two wooden spades (papa)—the name of one spade was Tahi-tahia (sweep page 85 away), and of the other Rake-rakea (scratch away)—with which he cleared the place and made it beautiful. Rupe also made a heke-tua (filth-pit), into which he put the filth. To this he placed a post, by which any one going there could hold. The name of this post was Te-pou-o-whai-tiri (the post of Whai-tiri).

Now, at this time the son of Rehua was out on the sea, and on his return he exclaimed, “Oh! this settlement has been cleansed;” and, seeing the heke-tua, he wished to prove its utility. He was in the act of lifting one foot up, and reaching out his hand, having got hold of the post of Whai-tiri, he bent forward, when the post fell, and with it he went down, and was killed. His name was Kai-tangata (man-eater). His blood is still seen in the red clouds of the sky, and hence the proverb, “Kai-tangata's blood marks the sky red.”

Rupe, by his deceit, was the cause of the death of the son of Rehua. Rupe's original name was Maui-mua (first-born Maui): not till he had turned himself into a pigeon was he called Rupe.

Rupe and Hina-Te-Iwa-Iwa.
(Another Reading—Nga-ti-Hau.)

This is the tale of Rupe and his sisters, who were named Hina-te-iwa-iwa (glimmering moon), Hina-te-ota-ota (the new moon), Iti-iti (the diminutive) Ma-reka-reka (the pleasant), Rau-kata-uri (music, or laughing leaf of the young shoot), and Raukata-mea (leaf that ever laughs, or makes music).

Rupe came from the heavens in search of his sister Hina-te-ota-ota, and found her at Motu-tapu (sacred island). He came to the window of her house, and wept, and chanted these words:-

It is Hina,
It is Hina,
Who was lost
At Motu-tapu,
Yes, truly
She is here.

page 86

His sister sat still in the house, and, weeping, also chanted this song in reply:—

It is Rupe,
It is Rupe,
The elder brother.
Yes, truly
He is here.

After they had so wept and sung, Rupe stayed at the home of his sister for days and months, even till the Mangere-mumu (the cold winter months, when man cannot work, but sits and murmurs). Then he returned to his home in the heavens. On his way thither he arrived at Tawa-tu-papa (flat-opped ridge), where he was overtaken by Te-ngana-o-tahuhu (intense cold of the ridge-pole nearest the sky). So he chanted this incantation to cause feathers to grow on his body:—

Grow, O feathers! grow!
Flap, oh! flap the wings!
Skim in the sky. Oh, fly!
The bird floats in the sky;
With new-fledged pinions
The bird soars—the bird of Tane.

Though Rupe flew and struggled upwards, he was beaten down by the Ngana-o-tahuhu, and, thus detained, he became hungry, and partook of the vermin of the head of his great progenitor, which made his voice to become hoarse. Hence the pigeon (who is the offspring of Rupe) can only moan and say, “Ku, ku.” But when the season Paki-o-takapou (the calm warmth of summer) arrived the great heat of the third month matured his feathers, and Rupe was enabled to ascend to his home again.

It was Rupe taught man the art of fashioning stone axes, and also how to make the handles for them. He said, “Make the handle in the shape of man's leg and foot, so that the part which resembles the calf of the leg may be held in the hand, and to that part which resembles the sole of the foot the axe may be fastened.”

He also showed man the various purposes to which the axe could be applied.

page 87

Whai-Tiri and Kai-Tangata (Or Awa-Nui-A-Rangi), Rata and Matuku. (Nga-I-Tahu.)

Whai-tiri's (thunder) custom was to eat men; and when this news came down to this world Awa-nui-a-rangi (great river of heaven) climbed up to the heaven of Whai-tiri. On his arrival she was absent from her home on a man-killing expedition, and to obtain human flesh for a burnt offering at the dedication of the house called “Raparapa-te-uira” (flashing lightning). Awanui-a-rangi asked the guardian of her house, “Where is Whaitiri?” The guardian answered, “She is above, killing men for burnt offerings for her house.” “When will she return?” said he. “Her return cannot be mistaken,” was the reply: “the noise her legs make will be the signal.” Awa-nui-a-rangi waited and listened for some time, and heard the voice of (Whai-tiri) Makere-whatu (dropping hail) pealing so that his ears were deafened. Awa-nui-a-rangi asked the guardian, “Where shall I conceal myself from her, lest she should kill me?” He was shown to the recess of a window, where he stayed till Whai-tiri arrived. She had two prisoners: one she killed, and the other, called Te-ai (ahi)-ahi-o-tahu (the fire attendant of the husband), was taken by Awa-nui-a-rangi for his wife. Te-ahi-ahi-o-tahu gave birth to Kiri-kiri (pebbles), who begat Rotu-henga (performer of the thank-offering ceremony over food for the workmen), who begat Ngongo-tua (suckle on the back), who took Rangi-te-iki-wa (heaven-devouring space) and begat Tamanui-te-ra (great child of the sun), who begat Ao-whaka-maru (beclouded day), who begat Ue-te-koro-heke (trembling old man), who begat A-niwa-niwa (unlimited good, the rainbow), who begat Poro-u-rangi (adhered to the end of heaven) and his younger brother Tahu-po-tiki (companion of the last born).

To go back to Whai-tiri, who misjudged Kai-tangata, as is shown by the remark made by Awa-nui-a-rangi, “Let” that one live as the finale to the conference with Kai-tangata (man-eater)” page 88 —Whai-tiri had been fully impressed with the idea that man was to be eaten; but found such was not the case, and she afterwards took Kai-tangata (man-eater), whose other name was Awa-nui-a-rangi, as her husband. Kai-tangata was not a descriptive name. They begat Hema. When Hema had grown to maturity, Whai-tiri asked, in regard to the acts and disposition of Kai-tangata, “Why in all this time has Kai-tangata not eaten man's flesh?” and was answered, “Kai-tangata is but a name.” She observed, “I thought men were to be eaten, and this induced me to come down.”

Whai-tiri now determined on driving the food away, so that it should not be all consumed through being so convenient and easily obtained by her husband; and now he had to seek long before he could get any.

When the time came for her to return to her home, she said to her fellow-wife, “Remain here, O woman! with our child and our husband. Stay here. I am the cause of food being scarce and hard to be obtained by our husband. I am called Whai-tiriwhakapapa-roa-a-kai (the cause of long action being taken before food can be obtained). This, her full name, was now for the first time given by her, and it remains to this day a proverb of the tribes. Whai-tiri now taught her fellow-wife the ceremony and incantations, the performance of which would prevent blight and cause food to become abundant. She said, “When our husband comes back from the sea, tell him to bring two pieces of sea-weed. One must be dried by the heat of the sun and then thrown on our house; the other you must take and pass it through a fire, and repeat incantations over it, and breathe on it, and then throw it away. If you remember to do this, food will be plentiful for you and our child.”

Now, a cloud had come down and rested on the earth, and this cloud then enveloped her, and she was taken up to the heavens. Some time previously Whai-tiri had said to her fellow-wife, “If our child has children let the name of the first be Tawhaki (wanderer), and the name of the second be Karihi (sinker page 89 of a net). They can climb up to the heavens above.”

When Kai-tangata came on shore Ahi-ahi-o-tahu said, “O man! the woman who lived with us was a goddess. She has gone to heaven. A cloud came down for her, and now she is there. We hear her voice as it booms in the thunder every year.” Ahi-ahi-o-tahu then taught him the ceremonies and incantations which she had learned of Whai-tiri. That night Ika-whenua (fish of the land) fell from heaven as food for her child. It lay in heaps, and partly covered the trees; and when Kai-tangata went to sea for fish, he was able for the first time to procure a quantity.

Hema had now grown to maturity, and took Ara-whita-i-te-rangi (crooked road to heaven), who begat Ta-whaki and Karihi. When these two became men they heard what had been said of them by their grandmother—that they were to climb up and follow her. They attempted to climb up. Ta-whaki succeeded, but Karihi failed and was killed, because of his presumption in endeavouring to take precedence of Ta-whaki. Ta-whaki took his younger brother's eyes out, and carried them to the settlement of Whai-tiri, and his body he buried. He found Whaitiri blind, but she was counting taro-bulbs for her grandchildren, Maikuku-makaka (crooked finger-nails) and Hapai-o-maui (Maui's butler). Whai-tiri had counted nine, and as she was taking the tenth Ta-whaki pushed it away. She again counted her taro-bulbs, and when she had counted to the eighth he pushed the ninth away. In this way he pushed all aside till she had only four bulbs left, when she said, “O me! I am quite perplexed. The taro were here, but now nearly all (which were for my grandchildren) have gone.” Again she counted them, and when she had got to the third Ta-whaki pushed the fourth away; and again she counted, and he pushed the third away. She had only two left. Grasping these, she said, “You may not page 90 be far from me, O man who are so deceiving me! and it may be you are one of those of whom I spoke.”

Ta-whaki took the eyes of Karihi and threw them at Whaitiri, saying,

Spark of heaven, light your eye by Karihi.

She replied,

By your eye, O Ta-whaki !

Then she saw and wept over her grandson Tawhaki. He now busied himself in cleansing the home of his grand-mother. The filth had become so great that it even reached into the house. When the settlement was fair to look on he asked Whai-tiri, and said, “O aged! who are those yonder splashing and bathing?” She answered, “They are your female relatives, Maikukumakaka and Hapai-a-maui; but let me warn you in respect to them. When they return do not be in haste to take hold of them, but let them warm themselves, and let their finger-nails go back into their sheaths.” Ta-whaki obeyed all these instructions, and when he said to Maikuku-makaka, “You shall be my wife,” she said, “Yes, O my husband !” They had a child, whom they named Wahie-roa (long piece of firewood).

When Wahie-roa had become a man he went to war with Te Pou-a-hao-kai (the centre of the food-collection) and Matukutangotango (crane selector), but was killed by them. At that time Rata, his first-born, was merely an infant.

Rata said to his mother, “I must go and take satisfaction for the death of my father.” His mother gave her consent, and he went to the forest of Tane and felled a tree, and came back to the settlement. The following day he found the tree as though it had not been cut down. He cut it down again, and hid himself close by. After some time he heard the noise of the Haku-turi (bow-legged) coming, who, with the Roro (doorway), lifted tee tree up again. He called to them, and said, “Let my tree lie page 91 down.” The many of Roro and the many of Haku-turi began to repeat their incantation thus:—

It is Rata. Rata, you are
Felling the forest of Tane.
Fly this way, the splinters of Tane;
Stick together and hold.
Fly this way, the chips of Tane;
Yes, stick together, hold tremblingly.
Fly this way, the ribs of Tane;
Yes, sticking together; yes, holding.
Stand straight up, O! stand up green and fresh.
Lift up; stand growing green.

The tree was again standing erect. Rata then said, “You are mischievous beings to put my tree back to its old position.” They replied, “You unceremoniously laid your ancestor low. You did not acquaint us. Had you told us first, then you could, without any interruption, have severed the neck and laid low your ancestor Tane-mahuta” (Tane leap up). Rata spoke. They answered, “When you cut a tree down make haste at once and take the root and leaves of the pare-tao (drooping head-dress—the fern Asplenium obliquum), and place them on the stump (d); then you can take the body of the tree.” He cut the tree down again, and followed these directions, and adzed his canoe, and called the name A-niwa-niwa (great unlimited good; rainbow). Having completed his preparations, he launched his canoe; and when in the midst of the ocean he asked his fellow-warriors how Te Pou-a-hao-kai and Matuku-tango-tango conducted their wars. They replied, “As you come near their pa Te Pou-a-hao-kai will call to you and say, ‘Little heads, little heads,’ and when your army lands he will swallow all—not one will escape.” Rata said, “Te Pou-a-hao-kai and Matukutangotango will be killed by me.” Rata, addressing his warriors, said, “When Pou-a-hao-kai calls out, ‘Little heads, little heads,’ I will answer, ‘Quickly, Big Face, spread it over the expanse of heaven.”’ Having thus addressed his army, the canoe went on and came to a rough sea near the coast. Te Pou-a-hao-kai called, “Little heads.” Rata answered, “Quickly, Big Face, page 92 spread it over the expanse of heaven.” They landed, and, being so many, they covered the sandy beach from end to end, and, though Pou-a-hao-kai opened his mouth wide, he was unable to swallow them. While they were hauling their canoe up on the beach out of the tideway, Pou-a-hao-kai went to order food and houses for their accommodation. Rata said, “If Pou-a-hao-kai again calls, ‘Little heads,’ I will answer again by saying, “Quickly, Big Face, make an opening in the wall of the house at the screen.” When they had pulled up the canoe, they went to the settlement, where Pou-a-hao-kai called from within a house, “Little heads.” Rata answered, “Quickly, Big Face, make an opening in the wall.” Rata's warriors then broke an opening in the side of the house and entered, when Pou-a-hao-kai called and said, “Occupy the side of the house which has been covered with matting.” Rata called and said, “Occupy the side not covered with matting.” And so they did. Pou-a-hao-kai went out of the house and ordered a feast for Rata and his army. The feast was spread before them, but each of the warriors only put the food to his mouth and did not partake of it. Rata asked Pou-a-hao-kai for some water. The god (Pou-a-hao-kai) went to get it, but as he went to it the water receded. On he followed till he was tired. Now, Rata, with his incantations, had caused the water to dry up as Pou-a-hao-kai followed it; so he called to him to come back. Pou-a-hao-kai, on his return, said, “I went, but the water went from me. I am quite cold in following it.” Rata said, “Enough. My thirst has been slaked with the rain of heaven, which I caused to come.” He asked Pou-a-hao-kai to come near to the fire and warm himself, and ordered the warriors to cook some food for him. They placed four stones on the fire. When they were heated, Rata lifted one and repeated an incantation, and said, “Here is food for you.” The god opened his mouth, and the stone was thrown into it and swallowed. Immediately there was a loud noise—the stone had burst and splintered in his throat. Rata said page 93 “Here is another.” The god said, “Give it to me.” It was given and swallowed. When all the stones had been thus swallowed, his bowels burst asunder, and many canoes and men were seen. Thus Pou-a-hao-kai was killed by Rata. Now, one of the men-swallowing gods, of the name of Tama-uri-uri (black son), was taken prisoner by Rata. Rata asked him, “Where is Matukutangotango?” “He is down in his cave eating men,” was the reply. Rata asked, “What day will he come up here?” “When the moon is full,” was the answer, “he will come up to perform his ceremonies, repeat incantations, and bathe.” Tama-uri-uri now acted deceitfully towards Matuku-tango-tango by calling to him and saying, “O you! Matuku.” He answered, “Oh! what?” “Come up, O Matuku, thou son of Tama! The moon is up. This is the third night of the full shining moon.” Matuku answered, “The nights are not propitious, O Tama-uri-uri !” “Yes, they are,” said Tama-uri-uri. “Climb up here.” Now, ropes had been laid over the spot where he would come up, and Tama-uri-uri had instructed the warriors to make certain fences, four of which were to be made to hold up the Wai-apu (obsidian) wings, and four for the Tu-hua (obsidian) wings, so that the wings might be beaten for a long time. Up he came. The warriors of Rata had been placed in ambush on every side of the entrance to the cave. When he saw how numerous they were, he laughed with delight at the prospect of so much food. He was unaware of the death of Pou-a-hao-kai (d). Tama-uri-uri said, pointing to the people standing by, “That is why I called you up. They will cause sport for those of our settlement.” At the same time Tama-uri-uri took a weapon of war and made a faint blow at Rata. Matuku-tangotango hastened up. His head was out of the mouth of his cave, but when his shoulders were seen the warriors pulled the ropes tight, and he was caught by the neck. Rata and his warriors fell on him and battered him; and by the time one set of fences was broken, one of his wings had been page 94 broken also, and the other wing was broken by the time the other fences gave way; then his body was killed. Thus were these man-eating gods slain.

Rata took the bones of Wahie-roa and returned to his home. They brought Tama-uri-uri back as a prisoner. Rata then took Kani-o-wai (rubbed in the water) as his wife, and begat Pouma-tangotango (the unsteady post), who took Ranga-hua (heap of fruit) and begat Pai-mahu-tanga (delight of the ripening crop).