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

Chapter VII

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Chapter VII.

O thou sun, advancing high,
Beaming red, and blazing forth!
O thou moon, now moving onward,
Sending here thy lesser beams!
The hosts of heaven—
The gods now there—
Can see and gaze on you.
Come forth, thou hidden
Cause of blindness in mine eyes,
Thou blood-red blight
Of waters sweeping o'er my sight—
Come forth, that I
May live and see again,
And gaze as I was wont.

Attempt to Murder Tawhaki.
Kai-Tangata and Whai-Tiri. (Another Reading—Nga-ti-Hau.)

The great fame of Kai-tangata was the cause of Whai-tiri leaving heaven. She believed his reputation to be that of a warrior. She came from heaven to earth, and, having arrived at a little distance from where he lived, she slew her slave named Nono-kia (the servile commanded), and opened his chest and drew his heart out, to present it as a propitiatory offering to Kai-tangata. When she came into his presence she offered the heart to him. He was astonished at the gift, and expressed his horror and strong objection to such an offering. Whai-tiri said, “The fame I heard of you was that you were a warrior, and I fully believed that, as such, you were a man-eater; but I now find my conclusion to be false, and I have killed my slave to no purpose.” However, she became his wife; and their first-born was called Punga (sinker, or father of the lizard tribe), the page 96 second was called Karihi (sinker of the bottom of a fishing-net), the third and last was called Hema.

Now, the filth of these children caused Kai-tangata to say, “Heu, heu! the filth of these children!” Whai-tiri said, “And what sort of hands are yours that they should not collect and take the filth of our children away!” Kai-tangata answered, “Who could collect it? it is so very disgusting.” Whai-tiri was ashamed, and by the power of her incantations caused the day to be lengthened. Kai-tangata went out to sea to obtain fish, and in his absence Whai-tiri made a filth-pit, which was for men. She put up the first post of the structure, and called it Whaka-maro-te-rangi (the heaven drawn out); the second post she put up, and called it Mere-mere (morning star); and on the top of the structure, at its east end, she placed an effigy of the god Tu-tangata-kino (Tu the evil man), a lizard-god, who is the cause of all pain in the stomach; so that all the flies which might come from Hawaiki and alight there might be licked up by him.

Whai-tiri now sent the god Tu-tangata-kino out on the ocean to Tara-rere (the barb cast away), to follow the blade of the paddle of Kai-tangata. And she said to her children, “When your father returns call his attention to the filth-pit I have erected for him;” and, calling them by name, she said, “You, my first-born, are called Punga, after the anchor of your father's canoe; and you, my second-born, are called Karihi, after the sinkers of the bottom of your father's net: but you, my last-born—let your name be in remembrance of my shame when your father expressed his disgust at your filth.”

Whai-tiri was about to ascend on her return to heaven when she uttered these last words: “Children, remain here,” she said. “When Punga has children do not let any of them ascend after me.” Then she said to Karihi, “When you have children, do not let any of them ascend after me; but when she who is named after my shame has children, let them follow me.”

page 97

When Kai-tangata returned from the sea, and had come where his children were, he asked, “Where is your mother?” The children answered, “She has gone to heaven, to her home.” He asked, “What did she say to you?” The first-born replied, “She said I am named after the anchor of your canoe; this one (pointing to the second-born) is named after the sinker of your fishing-net; and our sister is named after the shame which our mother felt when you were so disgusted at our filth.” The children then led him to see the filth-pit.

Punga had offspring, which were lizards and sharks. Hema (the sister) had offspring, of whom one was called Ta-whaki. Her brothers took each a wife: the elder took Muri-whaka-roto (last inner part), and, the second took Kohu-whango (mist that produces hoarseness), or Pu-hango (effluvia). The offspring of these wives could not obtain wives, because all the females liked Ta-whaki.

Then the offspring of Punga and Karihi were jealous of Ta-whaki, and proposed that they should go and wash and comb their heads in the water which reflected the face—that is, in the pool called Rangi-tuhi (the heaven-reflecting). Ta-whaki went with them, and when they arrived there he chanted this incantation:—

Spring up, faint light of dawn.
Give my comb to me,
And the scratcher for my head.
I will go to the water—
To the pool Rangi-tuhi—
Yes, to the pool Rangi-tuhi.
My act is complete.

Now, when the offspring of Punga and Karihi saw that Ta-whaki was washing and combing his hair in the pool of Rangi-tuhi, they attacked him and left him for dead. They returned to their home. Muri-whaka-roto asked, “Where is your younger cousin?” Mango (shark) answered, “He is still at the pool, washing and combing his hair.” She waited some time, and, as Ta-whaki did not return, she called “Ta-whaki, O!” In answer to her the bird pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus) cried, “Ke.” She page 98 went in the direction whence the answer came, thinking it had been the voice of Ta-whaki; but, not seeing him, again she called, “Ta-whaki, O!” The bird moho (a rail) answered, “Hu.” She returned to the settlement and charged Mango and the others with the murder of Ta-whaki. They acknowledged their guilt, and said, “Did he not answer your call?” She said, “A pukeko and a moho answered my call.” But she added, “Perhaps he has gone to repeat his incantations and ceremonies, and to stanch the flow of his blood, to regain power and life.” Ta-whaki had not been killed by his cousins, but had been severely wounded, and, as Muri-whaka-roto had divined, he had gone a short distance to repeat his ceremonies and chant incantations to cure himself. This is the incantation which he repeated to stanch the flow from his wounds:—

The blood of whom?
Blood of the stars.
The blood of whom?
Blood of the moon.
The blood of whom?
Blood of the sun.
The blood of whom?
Blood of Ta-whaki.
The blood of whom?
The blood of Rangi-mahuki (the healing sky).

Having chanted this charm, he became strong again, and rose up and went far out on the sea, and slept there. On awakening from the depth of the world of spirits, he essayed to proceed on his journey, but found a great wave barring the way and ready to kill him. One of his ancestors, Te-kae-a-ea (sparrow-hawk), came near and startled him with his cry of “Ke, keke, ke,” so that he roused up and shook himself from his stupor, and took his weapon of war and held it out in an attitude of defiance, and exclaimed,—

Ward off the blow.
Let it pass by my side.
Let it glance, but
Clear of my skin.

He made a blow at the huge wave and went on his way, and page 99 reached the mainland, where he met his uncle Karihi. They wept over each other.

Now, as was said before, the cause of the attempted murder of Ta-whaki by his cousins was jealousy on account of the marked favour shown to him by females. The women would not accept the cousins as husbands, because they were so uncomely to look at; and they liked and admired the beauty of Ta-whaki, and showed their preference for him by inviting him to their house O-hou-raro (feather-plume from the north), and, when he came, entertaining him with their best services, and spreading most beautiful mats on the floor of the house for him to lounge on. Not so was it when Mango and his brother visited them. Ta-whaki was grandson of Tau-ra-rangi (the sheen of heaven). He was also a supreme lord, and most beautiful (purotu) in person.

Another matter which caused the females to admire Ta-whaki was, he was so clever in building beautiful houses; while the abodes of his cousins were filthy, and their floors were strewn with leaves of trees, instead of being covered with fine floor-mats, like those of Ta-whaki.

Ta-whaki and Karihi went on a journey. They arrived at the outer works of the defences of a fort, and passed over them. They went towards the palisading. Then Ta-whaki called to Karihi, and said, “Do you climb the palisading first.” But Karihi objected, and said, “Oh, no! you climb up first.” Ta-whaki repeated his request. Then Karihi put out his hand and took hold of the battlement whence stones are thrown against an enemy, and climbed upwards, whilst Ta-whaki chanted this incantation:—

O Tu! sever the heavens.
O Tu! fold up the heavens—
Fold them up from beneath—
Even from the earth.

Karihi slid down to the earth, and called to Ta-whaki, and said, “You repeated your incantation and caused me to slip down. Had it not been for your chanting I should have got to page 100 the top.” Ta-whaki said, “I did not repeat an incantation against you. But remain where you are, and allow me to ascend.” Ta-whaki stretched forth his arm, and with his hand laid hold of the prominent lower battlement, and repeated this incantation to aid him in his ascent:—

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the first heaven.
Ye boisterous, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the second heaven.
Ye violent, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the third heaven.
Ye furious, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the fourth heaven.
Ye impetuous, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the fifth heaven.
Ye vehement, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the sixth heaven.
Ye stormy, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the seventh heaven.
Ye angry, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the eighth heaven.
Ye frantic, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the ninth heaven.
Ye passionate, be calm.
Climb, Ta-whaki, to the superlative heaven.
Stand face to face;
Touch the face;
Hold on to the stability of heaven.

When Ta-whaki had gained the uppermost heaven, he cut in two the path by which he had ascended. Karihi called to him, and said, “O Ta-whaki! turn to me and help me up.” Ta-whaki answered, “Oh, no! you and your relatives attempted to murder me.” Ta-whaki went on, and arrived at the settlement of the old woman called Whai-tiri, whom he found quite blind, and sitting counting her small baskets (toto) of food. She was saying as she counted the baskets,—

One basket, two baskets, three baskets,
Four baskets, five baskets, six baskets,
Seven baskets, eight baskets, nine baskets,
Ten baskets.

Having got to this number, Ta-whaki pulled one of them away. She again counted them, and at the eighth Ta-whaki pulled page 101 away the ninth; when the old woman asked herself in surprise, “Ah! where is the ninth?” Ta-whaki pulled the eighth away, and there remained seven. She again counted her baskets, and Ta-whaki kept taking away one at a time, until he had taken all. Then Whai-tiri asked, “Who is it who is acting deceitfully with my baskets of food?” Ta-whaki answered, “It is I.” She said, You! Who are you?” He answered, “I am Ta-whaki-nui-a-hema” (Ta-whaki the great, of Hema). She exclaimed, “Well, well! it is my grandson.” Ta-whaki said, “You left word that I should follow up to heaven after you.” She answered, “Yes, that is true; but look at my eyes.” Ta whaki asked, “What is the matter with your eyes?” She answered, “You can see what the people are like with whom I live. When the sun sets this house is filled with them. Now, you must secrete yourself in the side of the house.” He asked, “Where is the entrance?” She answered, “By the window and by the door.” Ta-whaki made two nooses, and put one over the window and one over the door. He instructed the old woman by saying, “So soon as all the people have entered the house close up every hole and chink above and below, so that when they awake at dawn of day the house may still be in darkness.” She promised to do as instructed.

The sun was setting, and all came in crowds to the house. There were thousands of them. They appeared like very small birds, and Tonga-hiti (glow of the south—the god of headache) was with them. So soon as they were all in, old Whai-tiri closed up every aperture by which light might enter, while they in the house all slept. The star of the dawn had risen; but all still slept. Day had fully dawned; but they slept on. The rays of the sun had swept over all the earth; still they slept. The sun was now in the meridian (tu tonu te ra), when one of those in the house was heard to say, “How long this night is!” Whai-tiri answered, “Sleep on: day has not come yet.” Tonga-hiti called out, and said, “In nights past they soon came to an end, and day came on quickly; but as for this night, it is very long. Maybe page 102 Whai-tiri is dealing deceitfully with us.” Whai-tiri answered, “No.” Ta-whaki now came out of his hiding-place, and pulled away all that Whai-tiri had put up to shut out the light, and attacked and killed all but Tonga-hiti, who escaped by a hole he made at the base of one of the posts at the back of the house. These people were all killed, and Ta-whaki chanted his incantations over old blind Whai-tiri. This is one:—

Face held up, eyes held up.
Eyes flash forth, flash forth,
And follow the light of the sun,
So luminous, bright, and red,
And now in the west descending.
Touch, oh! touch with water
From the stream
The eyes of Whai-tiri.
Lave the water on my eyes;
Wash my eyes—eyes that were so dull.
Again, a second time
Touch the eyes of Whai-tiri
With water from the brook.
Look up, and see.
They sparkle now. Thy eyes
Now flash in mine—
In mine, the living eyes
Sustained by blood—
The blood of the
Eyes of Rehua.

Whai-tiri was cured, and uttered this sentence:—

Ah! my eyes are cured
By my grandson.

Which has since become a proverb indicating satisfaction and revenge.

Ta-whaki, looking at the head of old Whai-tiri, put out his hand to draw the hair through it. She said, “Keep your hand away, lest I be bewitched. But, look: there is your relative Maikuku-makaka, who ever waits to slay. Who can hope that you will escape?”

Ta-whaki left her, and, going thence, saw Nga-toka-tami-whare (house-plunderers and -destroyers), who were standing erect. Ta-whaki called to Whai-tiri, and asked, “What are these?” She answered, “Do not touch them. They are your page 103 ancestors.” But Ta-whaki went and trod on them; and they fled, crying, to the sea. Then Ta-whaki exclaimed, “Ah! so you flee, crying, to the sea. Though you attempted to slay me, yet I can make you cry whilst you flee from me.” This was an act of revenge on the part of Ta-whaki for their having on a previous occasion compelled him to go far out on the ocean.

Ta-whaki resumed his ascent, and saw Maikuku-makaka, with welcome looks, awaiting his approach. He drew near to her, and, while she made her obeisance, he touched her left side with the staff he held in his hand. It startled her. She drew herself together as if afraid. He remarked, “Ah! so you are afraid of the sanctity of Ta-whaki!” He touched her with his hand, and through that act she became his wife.

At that time her husband, Uru-rangi (head of heaven), who was away on a journey, had an omen which caused him to return home, and, having looked through the window of his house, he there saw the heads and feet of two beings who lay asleep. He put his hand in, and touched one of the heads; it was that of his wife. She arose. Ta-whaki also arose and left the house, and went in search of the settlement of his ancestor Maru (shade), in order that he might punish Uru-rangi. When he had come within a short distance from it, he sat down and chanted this incantation:—

Collect, O hosts of heaven!
Collect from far.
Collect. Evil is near.
Overcome and exhausted,
I am in spirit dead.
Oh! that the war-girdle
Might expand itself
And grow before Mua,
And flaunt itself
For me—for me!
I tremblingly cry;
I wail, O me!
And my calamity,
On the mountain of life,
In the midst of power.
page 104 Tu, come near to Maru,
And Maru, come near to Rongo;
And you, O Rongo!
Come near to me—
Come near to my calamity.
But, O my spear of war!
I vainly flourish it,
And only smite the air.
My battle-axe I hold;
But this I clasp in vain,
Without the power to strike—
Without the battle phalanx
Arrayed to storm my enemy.
Arise, ye bold; arise,
And stem the flood.
Shout loud the battle-cry;
And storm and conquer.

This chant—tui, or war-cry—has ever since been used to call the people together, and to inspire them with courage whenever their lord wishes to proceed to war.

Those at the settlement who heard this war-song sung by Ta-whaki knew that it was the war-cry to muster in battle array. And Maru lifted up his voice, and cried aloud to Ta-whaki, “Come to me—to the man who possesses the weapons of war.” Tu-te-ngana-hau (Tu who wars with the elements) rose and called, “Yes, and to me.” Rehua also called, and said, “To me also—to the man who possesses the elements of life.”

Ta-whaki went to Maru—to him who had the weapons of war, and who could amply avenge him. Ta-whaki saw the storehouse of Maru standing on poles, in which oil and fat were kept. These Ta-whaki began to eat, and at the same time he chanted in an undertone,—

The houses of Tu (the god of war),
The food in which is eaten
Whilst the eaters stand—
The food in which is eaten
Whilst the eaters fly.
O Rongo, the furious!
The houses of Maru (the god of produce),
The food in which is eaten
Whilst the eaters fly.
O Rongo, the furious,
The boisterous! Oh, hearken!
page 105 Show thyself on the whirlwind
And on the gale of the east.
Set fire to and burn
The Atua-rae-roa (the defiant god),
And send him into death—to
All the worlds below.
O root of the Pare-tao (the father of man),
Who caused the O power
Of Hawa-iki to grow!
I honour thee first.
Thy sacredness I own.
I honour thee
In ninefold honour.
Oh! give thy breath,
Though little, unto me,
To give to him who
Lacerates himself in woe.
Oh! give thy breath,
Though little, unto me,
To give to him who
Holds the power
Of sudden death.
Oh, give to me that power
Of him who can
With unseen blow—
With sudden instant death—
Smite those he hates.
My heart is sacred now
And full. It overflows.
'Tis big with fire—
The breath of gods,
That all consumes.

Maru was listening, and heard this incantation chanted. Ta-whaki then commenced to cut the hair of his head, as also did Maru of his head; and as they cut they chanted,—

Fountain of the lords above,
The supreme power of Ta-whaki,
The influence of Ta-whaki,
The hair of Ta-whaki,
The forehead of Ta-whaki,
The eyebrows of Ta-whaki,
The eyelashes of Ta-whaki,
The temples of Ta-whaki,
The eyes of Ta-whaki,
The nose of Ta-whaki,
The ears of Ta-whaki,
page 106 The cheeks of Ta-whaki,
The jaws of Ta-whaki,
The neck of Ta-whaki,
The joining of the head
And neck of Ta-whaki,
The shoulders of Ta-whaki,
The collar-bone of Ta-whaki,
The elbow of Ta-whaki,
The hands of Ta-whaki,
The chest of Ta-whaki,
Give these, that I by friction (d)
A fire may light, and these
As seeds may be—as seeds
For me to cook them
In my oven. The oven of whom?
The oven of Rohea-hua-te-rangi (goddess of Styx)
O signs in heaven!
Now show yourselves
At the fountain
Of the lords above.
O impotence of Ta-whaki!
O chest of Ta-whaki!
O rib of Ta-whaki!
O thigh of Ta-whaki!
O seat of Ta-whaki!
O knee of Ta-whaki!
O calf of the leg of
Ta-whaki! O feet of Ta-whaki!
O heels of Ta-whaki!
O soles of the feet of Ta-whaki!
O nails of the feet
And hands of Ta-whaki!
The completion of Ta-whaki,
The finishing of Ta-whaki,
The flight of Ta-whaki!
Give these, that I by friction
A fire may light,
And these as seeds may be—
As seeds to cook them
In my oven.
The oven of whom?
The oven of Rohea-hua-te-rangi.
O signs in heaven!
Follow on—come—
Come you, and be
The younger last-born child,
That I may be
The elder and first-born—
page 107 The first to chant
The sacred songs
In all the worlds—
First dawn of young
Creation's day.
The breathing lips now utter
Sacred lore; they breathe
The breath of gods,
And all that sacred is
Now show their sanctity.

While the chanting and cutting proceeded, the people assembled in battle array to witness their lords presenting then-hair with solemn ceremonies to the gods. This done, Ta-whaki and Maru placed themselves in front of the army, and led it forth to war. They slept on the road that night, and at dawn of day they prepared their eel-spears. On one they tied seven barbs, as an offering to the hosts of the heavens; on the other they tied one barb. Both spears were given to one of the priests, who went in and out and round the war-hosts, and then led them to the brink of a lake, where the warriors sat down while he entered it to spear eels for a propitiatory sacrifice for those who might be killed or wounded, and to obtain the aid of the gods in the battle they were about to fight. Taking first the seven-barbed spear, he caught an eel, and, whilst it writhed on the prongs, he lifted it up towards heaven, offering it to the gods above. He then took the one-barbed spear, and struck another eel, and held it up as he had done the first. Then he brought both spears, with their eels impaled, to the brink of the lake. The eel on the seven-barbed spear was left untouched by any one. Then arose a dispute: Maru said the eel on the one-barbed spear was his, and he alone should have it; Tu-te-ngana-hau said the head of the eel was his; and Rehua said the head was his by right: but Maru took the head, and Tu-te-ngana-hau wept in sorrow for the act.

The war-host now stood up, and their leaders divided them into two bodies. One division went by the road which would lead where they could destroy the sacred power of their enemy, who occupied the forts at Tutu-hira (great parade), at Raro-henga page 108 (lower margin); at Ku-paru (soppy soil), and at Wawau (stupidity), and had been banished in honour of the offspring of the gods Tanga-roa and Tane.

Maru took the lead of the other division of the war-host. With him was Te-maeaea (the emerging one), as junior and leader of the sub-tribe of Maru. They went by the road that led to the sea-coast. There they found the god Rongo-mai (the whale) lying on the shore, with swarms of flies collected on him. Maru mistook this god for a stranded whale, and called to the war-party, “Light a fire as an oven to cook our food.” Rongo-mai heard the order of Maru, and uttered an incantation to himself while the war-party collected wood and prepared the ovens. When the ovens were heated, the war-host rolled Rongo-mai towards them. Then he arose and caught the sub-tribe of Maru, called Te-kahui-maru (Maru's flock), with Te-maeaea, and cooked them in their own ovens. Maru-atua (god Maru) fled into a chasm of the rocks, and barely escaped the fate which had overtaken his children; but all the host which he had led was destroyed. The other division succeeded in the object of their mission, and did not fall into any disaster. Thus the insult offered to Ta-whaki was avenged.

Rongo-Mai. (Another Reading—Nga-Ti-Mahuta.)

While Rongo-mai lived on this earth he assumed the appearance and habits of a man, so that his heavenly origin was not suspected by those amongst whom he lived. But one day he was overcome by drowsiness, and lay down and slept for so long that the people supposed he was dead; so they heated an umu in which to cook him for food. When the oven was ready they rolled him up to it; but the warmth from the stones of the oven awoke him, and when he saw the fate he had just escaped he arose and slew one hundred and forty of them (d), and cooked their bodies in the oven which had been prepared to cook him, and ate the whole of them.

page 109

Maru (screen), although a god, was killed and his body eaten by Rongo-mai, just as were the bodies of the other people; but the spirit of Maru flew up to the heavens.

At the time Matoro (engender desire) gained the battle of Rau-toka(tonga) (leaf from the south) he worshipped Maru as his god; and the overthrow of Rau-toka remains as a proverb to this day.

Rongo-mai and Ihenga (dread) set fire to the house of Miru (grand) and burned it down. It was called Te-tatau-o-te-po (door of night).

Rongo-Mai. (Nga-ti-Hau.)

While our people were at war with the Nga-ti-awa (offspring of Awa-nui-a-rangi—great river of heaven), and at the time we had invested their pa at Otaki (pace to and fro when speaking) called Rangi-uru (red sky, or sky of the west), even in the full light of day, and when the sun was in mid-heaven, our priests performed their ceremonies and chanted their incantations to the god Rongo-mai, who was then known to reside at Tau-po (rest at night), that he would come and aid them in the attack, and join in the rush when the storming party should dash on the pa, which was then occupied by the allied tribes of Nga-ti-rua-nui (offspring of Rua-nui), Tara-naki (offspring of Tu-tara-naki), and Nga-ti-awa. Immediately this had been done Rongo-mai was seen by all our people coming flying in the air. His appearance was like a shooting-star, or comet, or flame of fire. He came on until directly above the pa, when he shot down right on to the marae (courtyard) with a noise like that of thunder, and the earth around was thrown up in heaps and scattered. We all heard the noise of his descent on to the marae, and were so filled with delight that in two days after this occurrence we took the pa by storm.

page 110

Ta-Whaki. (Another Reading—Nga-Rauru.)

When Ta-whaki was in the water (pool), and before his four brothers attempted to kill him, he chanted this incantation:—

Spring up, light of early dawn.
Give my comb to me,
That I may go to the water—
The pool Rangi-tuhi.
Hearken ye, hearken.

A voice called,—

“O Ta-whaki! Where are you?”
A pukeko-bird answered by saying,

Another voice asked,—

“O Ta-whaki! Where are you?”
A moho-bird answered by saying,

Another voice asked,—

“O Ta-whaki! Where are you?”
Ta-whaki answered by saying,—
“It grows in the hair of your head—
On your brow.
There the blood glows red—
The blood of Ta-whaki,
And of the sun,
And of the moon,
And of the auspicious sky
Now seen above.”

Ta-whaki rose out of the water, and, seeing the second battlement of the fort, he climbed to heaven, and met Whai-tiri on the road. Now, Whai-tiri was blind, and was sitting in silence. She addressed Ta-whaki, and requested him to cure her eyes of their blindness.

Ta-whaki complied, and chanted this incantation:—

Look up, O eyes!
Pierced be your eyes.
Let your eyes
Follow the sun
Which is now
Sinking in the west.
page 111 Bathed be your hollow
Eyes with the water
Of the stream.
Lift the water
To your eyes.
Eyes, eyes, look up—
Look to a distance.
First, the eyes of Whai-tiri
Look this way.
Flashing now with sight,
Look into my eyes—
To the blood-red
Eyes of Rehua.

Whai-tiri cautioned him, and said, “Be careful, in climbing to heaven, lest evil befall you—lest you be drawn into the mouth of Hine-nui-te-po.” Ta-whaki answered, “What! by that old woman whose stomach is full of leeches! She will flee from the power of Ta-whaki.”

He went on ascending, and saw Rehua, Wha-oko-rau (helper of many), and Maru. When he saw Maru he uttered his war-cry, which was this:—

Collect, collect the bloom
Of the kahika (white-pine tree).
Blow on the back of the neck;
Make him bald.
Ta-whaki has
One long war-train.

Ta-Whaki. (Another Reading—Nga-ti-Hau.)

When Ta-whaki went to the water to wash his head and comb his hair, he chanted this incantation as he stood on the edge of the pool Rangi-tuhi. These are the words of the incantation:—

Spring up, ye rays
Of light, at dawn of day.
Give my comb to me—
Give to me my dredge,
That I may go to the water—
To the water Rangi-tuhi.
Oh hearken! Yes, hearken.

When he had stepped into the pool his brothers attempted to kill him. They smote him and left him as dead. They came page 112 some distance from the pool, and the elder of them called and said, “O Ta-whaki! where are you?” The pukeko-bird answered “Ke.” The second brother called and asked, “O Ta-whaki! where are you?” The moho-bird answered “Hu.” The third brother asked, “O Ta-whaki! where are you?” Ta-whaki himself replied,—

It grows in the hair of your head,
And on your brow the blood glows red—
The blood, the blood of Ta-whaki,
And of the sun and moon,
And of the auspicious sky—
Of the sky now above.

Ta-whaki now arose from the water and beheld the distant horizon. He travelled thither—to the part which comes nearest to the earth, whence he was to climb to heaven to meet Whai-tiri. He ascended and met the old woman at her dwelling. She was quite blind, and asked him to cure her eyes. Ta-whaki chanted this incantation over her:—

Look up, ye pierced eyes,
And gaze at the sun,
Which is now going to the west.
Closed be your tears,
Dried up be your moisture
By my gaze.
Bound be your eyes,
And encircled
By Me.
Come life first
To the eyes of
Look; oh, look!
Shine in your brightness
To my eyes—to the
Blood-red eyes of Rehua.

When her eyes had been cured, she said, “Be cautious how you climb to heaven, lest Hine-nui-te-po drag you into her stomach.” He answered,—

She may be woman with a stomach full of leeches,
But she will not dare the power of Ta-whaki.

Having said this he went on his journey, and overtook Rehua, page 113 Wa-koko-rau (space of the hundred tui-birds), and Maru. Then Ta-whaki said to Wa-koko-rau,—

Collect, collect the bloom of the kahika.
Blow at it, strip it, make it bald.
Ta-whaki has one long war-party.

Ta-Whaki. (Another Reading—Nga-ti-Hau.)

If Ta-whaki, when his brothers had left him as dead, had gone to the Tatau-o-te-po (the first division of the world of spirits), and to his two ancestors, Rua-kumea (the pit which drags) and Rua-toia (pulled to the pit), he would not have been able to come back to the world of light, but would have been compelled to go on even to Ameto (extinction). Rua-kumea saw and called to him from Tatau-o-te-po; but Ta-whaki did not heed. He came back, and, to the surprise of those who attempted to kill him, he was seen by the living.

At the time his spirit was in the other world Hine-i-te-muri-whaka-roto had called, but called in vain, for him; for how could he answer when he was like one dead, and his spirit had gone towards A-meto? But he was not detained there.

On his return he asked his parents to avenge his death; but they were slow in the act to fulfil this request. So he went to heaven and trod on the Toka-tami-whare, although he had been warned by his mother Whai-tiri to be careful and not on any account to be in any way offensive to them, as they were his ancestors. He did not pay any attention to the words of his mother; and when she heard that her son had trodden on his ancestors she wept in sorrow for the evil that might befall him.

But Ta-whaki had a motive for this his act. He had been the subject of his brothers' jealousy and cruelty, and therefore he trod on the Toka-tami-whare living in the heavens, to prove to those on earth that not only could he gain the highest heaven, but could with impunity tread on some of their sacred powers.

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His mother wept many tears in heaven, and as these fell on the earth they flooded it and overwhelmed all men.

Some of our old tohunga (learned priests) say Hema was the father of Ta-whaki, whom Punga and Karihi attempted to drown in the pool, because of the jealousy which was occasioned by the great preference shown to him by the females. Punga and Karihi thought that Ta-whaki had gained the love of Hine-i-te-muri-whaka-roto, and it was on this account they attempted to drown him.

Ta-whaki was so strong that he could carry big trees, and perform even greater feats than this.