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]


page break


Wherever the letter (d) occurs, further information respecting the word immediately preceding it will be found in the appendix.

The names in brackets at the heads of chapters, &c. (i.e., Nga-i-tahu), are the names of tribes or sub-tribes whence the tradition was obtained.

  • A: Was the name given to the Author of the Universe, and signifies “Am the unlimited in power,” “The conception,” “Am the leader,” and “The beyond all.”

  • Ao: Dawn, preceding day.

  • The following are four versions of names for the star Canopus:—

    • Ao-tahi: Ao, cloud, dawn, day; tahi, one.

    • Au-tahi: Au, stream, current, ripple; tahi, one.

    • A-tu-tahi: A, is; tu, stand; tahi, one.

    • Tu-tahi: Tu, stand; tahi, one.

  • A-niwa-niwa: Rainbow. A, am; niwa, great.

  • Atua, a term now used to signify “god,” is a compound word, consisting of A, Tu A.,

  • Atua-toro: Inquisitive, reconnoitring god. A-tua—a, drive, compel; tua, to repeat incantations, ceremonies of worship, to invoke; toro, to follow after as a spy, to creep as the vine of a plant on the ground, to blaze up as a fire.

  • Au: Compelling power, current, stability, king.

  • Hika: To procure fire by friction. Two pieces of wood, called kau-rima-rima or kai-kohure, and kau-ati, were used. The kau-rima was about ten inches long, sharpened at one end in form of a boat's bow. This was rubbed perpendicularly lengthwise on the kau-ati. The friction of the kau-rima on the kau-ati made a groove in which a dark dust collected in a ball at the end of the kau-ati furthest from the operator, which eventually emitted smoke; this was taken and placed in a wisp of dry kie-kie leaves, and waved round and round till it broke out into a flame. Fire was thus procured for every occasion of life when that element was required. (d).

  • Ika-whenua: Lizard, fish of the land. When Rangi came to punish the five gods who separated him and Papa, the sons of Tanga-roa consulted whither they should flee. One went into the sea, and became a shark; the other remained on land, and became a lizard. Lizards and all the reptile family, when offered to the gods, are called ika-whenua, fish of the land.

  • Io: Power, soul, muscle, life.

  • Kahu-kura: Red garment, god of travellers, war, life, disease, and death, now represented by the rainbow.

  • Kai-waka (kai, to eat; waka, medium through which a god acts): Consumer or destroyer of mediums. This star is the harbinger of the new year.

    page 5
  • Kahui-rua-mahu: Flock of the warm pit, time of year about our April in New Zealand.

  • Kai: Food. Birds, kumara, fern-root, and fish are the four coward gods, Tane, Rongo, Hau-mia, and Tanga-roa, who, to escape the wrath of Rangi, transformed themselves into these respectively, and, though now degraded, are still partially gods nevertheless. Man, being of lower rank than these, may not, when offering gifts, or propitiating the other gods, go near to cooked food.

  • Kaka-ho: Arundo conspicua, reed-grass.

  • Kore: Divided, rent, cracked, nothingness.

  • Maku: Watery, moist, damp.

  • Mata-ariki (mata, face; ariki, lord): The Pleiades. This constellation appears in the first month of the Maori new year, and presides over winter. These stars form the prow of the canoe Tainui.

  • Mauri: Soul, seat of life. To hiccup is called toko-mauri (tako, to start, to leap up; mauri, life within).

  • Mua: Medium, mediator, representative; first, commencement, origin; an altar, a spot where offerings are presented, indicated by a mau-ku (tree-fern) or flax-bush.

  • Pa: To hinder, to block, to obstruct; a fortified settlement, a citadel, a fenced village.

  • Pa-tau: The young centre fronds of the korau—Cyathea medullaris, tree-fern—was a considerable article of diet in olden times.

  • Poi: To toss up and down, to dandle; a game for females, played with balls about the size of a fist. Poi (d).

  • Pu-anga (pu, centre; anga, affix): Highest, extreme point, climax, zenith; star of midwinter, Rigel, which ended the Maori year. The new year commenced with the first new moon afterwards.

  • Po: Gloom, nothingness, night.

  • Pu: Sanctity, origin, centre of knowledge, king.

  • Rangi: Heaven. Ra, sun, certainty; ngi, laugh, shrivelled, unfinished, unattractive.

  • Rehu-a (rehu, to chip off by blows, to procure fire by friction; a, nominal affix): The broken, the splintered. Rehua was a god whose attribute was to cure the blind, resuscitate the dead, and cure all diseases. Is now represented in the star Sirius.

  • Rimu: Sea-weed, the rehia which is used in modern times as funeral chaplets, and offerings to the manes of the dead.

  • Roi: Dwarf, shake, entangled, fern-root. This was one of the five gods who divided Rangi, Heaven, and Papa, Earth; who, when Rangi came to punish them, turned himself into roi to escape destruction. Roi (d).

  • Taha-raro: North side. South is called runga, up; and north, raro, down. All ancient temples and dwellings were built to face the east. The seats of honour in each were on the north side; the first on entering was the most sacred, and the others descended relatively from it.

  • Take: Foundation, origin, cause, king.

  • Ta-ne: To slap in sport, to deride, to defy disaster.

    page 6
  • Taku-rua (taku, deliberate, slow, according to custom, guided by necessity; rua, pit, storehouse): Winter, time of slow action, inactivity, cautious use of food stored for winter; star Sirius, or dog-star.

  • Tiki: First man created, a figure carved of wood, or other representation of man.

  • Tapairu: Queen, supreme head of the female sex, high priestess, receiver of sacrifices and offerings made to the goddesses.

  • Ta-pu: Ta, mark or paint; pu, root, origin. The sacerdotal colour was red, and all prohibited things were painted with koko-wai. Honu, Tareha, (d).

  • Toe-toe-whatu-manu: Split in shreds. Whatu, to weave, plait; manu, bird, kite; toe-toe, used in making kites.

  • To-haere-roa: Drag on a long distance. Another name of Kahu-kura. Also means, to follow, to reconnoitre, to spy, a scout.

  • Tu: To stand erect, the equal, the same, the character, the manner.

  • Tua: A word limitless in meaning—namely, “Beyond that which is most distant,” “Behind all matter,” and “Behind every action.” It also means the essence of worship, and is employed in the invocations to the elements and the heavens, and the ceremonies of baptism of male children. Of similar meaning, but of less extent, and of more local significance, are the names lo, Pu, Take, Tumu, Mua, Tapairu, and Au; yet these were at times used as synonyms for Atua, in regard to authority or leadership.

  • Tumu: That which projects beyond all other objects, headland; a rest, or perch, or prop; king.

  • Tu-tahi: See Ao-tahi.

  • Wahine: Woman. Man was created by the gods; woman was an emanation from ra, sun, and riko-riko, quivering heat. Man, coming from the gods, is sacred; and woman, being of lower origin, is not; nor is she honoured at baptism by the rites of Tu, the god of war.

  • Wero-i-te-ninihi, Wero-i-te-kokoto, Wero-i-te-ao-marie (wero, to call attention; ninihi, to sneak out of sight; kokoto, changed, decayed; marie, quiet, peaceable): These were the names of ceremonies performed to Mango-roa (d) (Magellan Clouds).

  • Whare-matoro (whare, house; matoro, to incite, to woo): A house in which the youth of both sexes passed their winter nights — a resort of all who could relate tales of folk-lore.

  • Whai: To follow, to search after, to scout; a game not unlike that of cats'-cradle.

  • Wi-wi: Dread, trouble, wonder; the common rush, juncus.

page break
Tattooing Practised by Mata-Ora.

Tattooing Practised by Mata-Ora.