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

Chapter VI

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Chapter VI.

In vain I look within myself
To know the cause of death to thee,
And why the gods swept thee away
When gifts to them were burnt
In sacrifice to thy grand ancestor, Pa-whai-tiri.
Death does not come from herbs.
Of old death was by Ma-u-i,
When Patatai (a rail) forgot and laughed,
And caused him to be cut in two;
Then mist arose, and Ti-wai-waka
Flew, and rested where all refuse lay.
Now evil comes on thee.
But peace is made,
And each his work may do.
But in the days of yore
Thy ancestors no power had,
But wandered to and fro
Like Keha-keha in the world.
Oh, hence! depart (in death).


Mu and Weke (diminutive) were the persons who found the maro (apron) of Hine, and who took it and nourished it into a child, which they brought up to manhood and taught all learning, so that he became a god (man of supreme power).

The first act of Maui was to cause the destruction of the kumara-cultivation of Maru at Tau-whare-aitu (impending evil). He prayed for rain, and it came down and caused all the crop to rot. In return for this Maru caused frost to blight the crops of Maui and his ancestors.

The second act of Maui was breaking to pieces a block of stone called Tai-koia (harvest of the sea), which was intended for manufacturing into axes. Both these actions he performed whilst he still lived above, in the heavens.

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Maui longed for, and sorrowed much that he could not find, his father Te-raka, and his mother Hine; so he asked his foster-parents Mu and Weke to show him the path that would lead him to where they were. They answered “O Maui! you know who your parents are.” He said, “I certainly know that I am of Te-raka and Hine, but to that extent only do I know who they are.” Then they pointed out the path by which he should go to find them. Having seen the road, he flew down from the sky, and, having been seen by his brothers on the earth, who thought he was an ordinary child, Maui joined with them in a game of throwing spears, the result of which was that the carved end of the house of Te-raka was broken all to pieces, and Maui was severely censured by Te-raka as being the cause of it. This was the third act of Maui.

His next act was to wrench away the jaw-bone of his ancestor Muri-raka-whenua, and to wash it in water, and to allow the fish to eat of the matter which adhered to it.

His fifth performance was to tie the sun, so that it might not go so fast over the sky.

His sixth was the blighting of the cultivation of his ancestor Mahu-i-ka.

His seventh act was the transformation of his brother-in-law Ira-waru.

His eighth was the killing of Tuna.

His ninth was fishing the land up from the ocean.

And his last act was an attempt to pass through Hine-nui-te-po, when he met with his death. But his brothers were the cause of this, for they disobeyed his commands and laughed, and so Hine-nui-te-po closed her power on him and killed him. This is one of Maui's chants:—

Yes, yes, it is Tara—
It is Tara—Tara-rau-riki.
Maui says the seventh moon
Is evil, and so the eighth.
Open the power of coming spring,
And beautify the heavens
And all the year. Yes, oh, yes!

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Tihi-tihi (idling), Rake-raki (calm sky), Ngutu-mata-riha (riwha) (harelip), Te-ao (the world), and Te-kore (the broken), were the names of the hills on which Mu and Weke reared and brought up Maui, and fed him on the juice of the tutu and milk.

When Ao-nui and Ao-roa heard that Maui was taken and was being brought up by Mu and Weke, they came for him and took him up to the sky and there kept him; and hence the saying that Maui was reared in the sky.

Maui. (Nga-ti-Hau.)

Maui was descended from Tara-ma-i-aia (the light one who was driven away) by his father Ta-raka (or Taranga) and his mother Hine-muri-raka-whenua, but he was reared by the goblins Mu and Weka (Wheke—octopus). Maui was originally something left in a house, which after a time was seen to move and to have life, and was taken by Mu and Weka and tended until it became a child—a goblin-child, and sacred; then it grew into a man, and resided above, and assisted in cultivating the kumara. But the elder brother of Maui, called Maru-a-te-whare-aitu (shelter in the doomed house), blighted the cultivation of Maui with frost, and Maui retaliated by causing rain and snow to fall on the cultivation of Maru-a-te-whare-aitu and blight it. Their parents were angry at this, and said, “Live in peace with each other, and do not destroy each other's food.”

After this Maui's ancestors sent him from above (the heavens) to take some kumara and yams (uhi) for his parents, so that they might see that kind of food. On arrival at the settlement of his parents he found his elder brothers playing a game. He stood in their midst and said, “I, the one who was cast aside, am here;” and when he had presented himself to his parents in the house Maui joined his brothers in the game of niti. Now, the niti of Maui struck against the house of his elder relative, and then hit the house of Hine and threw it down, and Hine was angry with her sons, the elder brothers of Maui. Maui made himself known to her, and said, “I, your last-born, am page 82 here;” and she remembered and acknowledged him as her child, and wept over him in joy because she had again found her youngest child.

After this Maui became the food-bearer for Muri-raka-whenua, but he so neglected his duty that the old man died of starvation; and when the elder brothers of Maui went to visit their relative, they found him dead, and his body completely dried up. Maui, who was with them, took hold of the old man's lower jaw and pulled it away from the head, to make a hook to catch codfish with.

Maui said to his mother, “Let me stay in your house, as the dusk of evening is coming on.” He lay down to sleep there that night, but soon rose up again and pulled the centre post of the house on one side, and felt the wind of this world blowing up through where the end of the post had stood; and, looking down, he saw fire, men, and trees, and the ocean; he also saw men busily employed in the pursuit of their usual occupations in this world, and he flew down and alighted on the fence surrounding the land which some men were cultivating. These men made a noose to snare Maui; but they could not catch him. He flew from place to place in the cultivation till he alighted on the ko (implement to dig the ground) belonging to Ta-raka, which was standing in the middle of one of the gardens. Ta-raka saw him, and asked, “Are you from above?” Maui said, “Yes,” and asked that the ko should be given to him. Maui then began to teach Ta-raka how to dig the ground, and chanted this song as he worked:—

Yes, yes, it is Tara-rau-riki—
Rau-riki, to whom Maui says
It is wrong to cultivate on
The seventh and eighth moon.
Let the year roll round
And let the bright sky come.
Then—yes, then, then
Spear the birds and snare the birds,
Even in the presence of Ta-raka.
The summer wanes,
And days of weariness arrive,
Then—yes, then call the dogs,

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And with sudden fright let her
Who lost her spouse
Stand awe-struck in the world (d).
Let all the women start
To see the goblin.
But, no: call the dogs.
I once again revisit
This my home, and join
In labour of abundant years.

Maui put all the fire out which was in this world, and then went to fetch sacred fire from Mahu-i-ka; and when he had obtained all the fingers and thumbs of her hands, he asked for the toes of her feet, and obtained them all but one—the little toe of one foot alone remained; and then Mahu-i-ka began to think and say to herself, “Perhaps this is the man about whom so much is said in the sky.” Maui then transformed himself into a kahu (Circus gouldii), and flew up and skimmed along the sky, set fire to this earth, and killed Mahu-i-ka. Then he sent rain and snow, and put the fire out, and returned to the earth with the fingers and toes, which he had preserved, and not extinguished as he had declared to his ancestor; and, as there was no other fire left in this world, he sought for trees into whose wood he could put this fire, so that it might be reproduced when needed by friction; and for this purpose he chose the hinahina, patete, and kaikomako; and hence, when the timber of these trees is subjected to friction fire is produced from that deposited there by Maui. But he gave the little toe of the foot of Mahu-i-ka to Ta-raka.

Maui then stayed in this world, and took to wife Hine-a-te-repo (daughter of the swamp), the sister of Ira-waru, who before long was seduced by Tuna, the son of Manga-wai-roa (son of the long creek). Tuna also swallowed two of Maui's children. Though Tuna originally came from above, at this time he lived concealed in a water-hole called Muri-wai-o-hata (the sea-coast of Hata), which is in the Island of Ao-tea-roa. The first time he had taken liberties with Hine she did not inform Maui of it, but when he repeated them she told Maui of Tuna's conduct.

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Maui went into the forest to obtain wood to make spears and implements to dig the ground and plant the kumara. With these he dug a trench to let the water out of the pool in which Tuna lay hid. This trench he called Kari-tapu (sacred digging). He placed a net across the trench, and then performed his ceremonies and chanted his incantations to cause rain to descend and flood the land. Tuna was carried down by the flood; and when Maui saw him in the net he stretched forth his arm and with a blow of his stone axe smote Tuna and cut off his head, and it and the tail fell into the ocean. From the body of Tuna came the Puku-tu-oro (the stomach that roars) (d) and other monsters of the sea known on the Island of Ao-tea-roa; also from the body of Tuna came the bramble, and the tough vines which shoot from the pirita (Rhipogonum scandens); and from the hairs of Tuna came the toro (Persoonia toro) and aka (Metrosideros scandens), the kareao (Rhipogonum scandens), the raupo (Typha angustifolia), and ko-areare (the edible root of the Typha angustifolia), and the titoki (Alectryon excelsum) and all the eel tribe. The head became fish, and the tail became the koiro (ngoiro—conger-eel). Thenceforth the offspring of Maui were killed no longer, and they flourished and multiplied.

Maui had a canoe called Rua-o-mahu (pit of warmth). The brothers of Maui went out to sea in this canoe to fish, and Maui took his fish-hook made of the jawbone of Muri-raka-whenua, intending to accompany them; but they forbade him to go with them, so he went and got into the bows of the canoe and hid himself, and at dawn of day they went to sea. Maui asked them for some bait for his hook, but, as they would not give him any, he cut off the end of his nose, and put that on his hook for bait. His hook caught a fish; he pulled it up. This fish is the Island of Ao-tea-roa, which thus came up, with the people who then occupied it.

Maui then went with his elder brothers on a journey over the Island of Ao-tea-roa, and met a female called Hine-nui-te-po, whose lips were damp. Maui began to eat her, commencing page 85 at her feet. He had eaten her body and was eating her throat when the old woman started up, and the brothers of Maui laughed, and she shut her lips and caught Maui, who called and said, “Let me go;” but she held him tight until he died. His brothers buried him in a cave called Te-ana-i-haua (the cave that had been excavated). This was the origin of death in the Maori race. If Maui had not died, he could have restored to life all who had gone before him, and succeeded in eradicating death.

Maui. (Nga-ti-Hau.)

Maui saw that the sun set too soon; so, after meditating for some time, he took council with Mu and Weke (Wheke), and then made exceedingly strong ropes of flax, with a noose on the end, and one morning, before the sun rose out of his cave, they placed the noose over it, and caught the sun, and held it fast for a considerable time. The sun called and said, “Maui, let me go. I am a terrible fellow.” But Maui answered, “Let the food in the umu (oven) of Hine be cooked first.” But the sun said, “Maui, let go your hold of me. I am a terrible fellow.” But Maui detained him until the food in the umu was cooked, and then let him go.

These were some of the notable acts of Maui after he came down into this world: He partly destroyed the house of his parents; he tied the sun; he starved Muri-raka-whenua to death; he caused a blight to come on the kumara-crops of Ta-raka; he taught Kereru (pigeon) the art of transforming himself into a bird, and to have wings to fly, and the way to fly down to this world; and he smeared with the paint which his mother Hine gave him the feet and mouth of Kereru, and made them red.

Maui and Ira-Waru. (Nga-ti-Hau.)

Ira-waru was a descendant of Ha-pupuhi (breath that blows), Ha-tatere (unsteady breath), Paipai-whenua (disease of the world), and Wawa-te-rangi (mediate for those in the sky). His page 86 mother's name was Repo (swamp). The name of his sister was Hine (daughter), and her he took as his wife.

When Ira-waru had become a man he went into the field to assist in cultivating the kumara-crop, and, finding Maui there, he said to him, “How annoying for us to have to stay here! We will now leave this work and return some other day and finish it.” So away they went to the brow of a hill and enjoyed themselves, and there fell asleep. One day after this they went to the cultivation and finished their work; and while Hine was cooking some food and the people were resting and enjoying themselves, Maui and Ira-waru went again to the top of the hills called Nuku-tahi (first distance), Nuku-tea (white hill), Nuku-tahuhua (hill like the roof of a house), Te-ngutu (the mouth), Tiha (Tihe) (sneeze), Ao (light), and Te-kore (the fissure). They sat down on one of these hill-tops, and Maui went to sleep. When he awoke he asked Ira-waru to cleanse his head, and when it was done Ira-waru asked Maui to cleanse his head, and whilst Maui was so doing Ira-waru went to sleep. While he slept Maui pulled his jaw, ears, and mouth like those of a dog; he pulled his arms, and made them like the fore-legs of a dog; and the legs of Ira-waru he turned backwards like the hind-legs of a dog; and his backbone he drew out like a tail, and left him and went to the settlement. Hine asked him, “Where is your brother-in-law?” Maui said, “He is where we were sleeping on the top of the hill. Call him.” She called; but Ira-waru did not answer. Maui said, “Whistle to him, and call ‘Moi, moi.’” She did so, and Ira-waru answered with the howl of a dog, and came towards his sister. Hine exclaimed, “Maui the deceitful, you have cursed my brother, and turned him into a dog.”

From grass (or herbs) came the germ, and by it the origin of dogs in this world.

The reason why Maui turned Ira-waru into a dog was because part of a bed in the kumara-field was not dug up and planted.

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Sun and Moon. (Nga-ti-Hau.)

The path of the sun and moon in the heavens is called Whiti-reia (crossed by flying). It lies between the first and second heaven, counting from the earth; and the crest of Whiti-reia is called Tau-mata (peak). The Tau-mata of Whiti-reia is near that of Taranga (the time when incantations were chanted and ceremonies performed) (the father of Maui). The abode of the gods is far above Whiti-reia.

Tu-nuku (standing in space) and Toatoa (challenge) were the father and mother of the sun. They were two very muscular beings. Tu-raki (standing in heaven) was the progenitor of the moon. The moon said to the sun, “Let us travel together in the night;” but the sun said, “Not so. You travel in the night and I will travel in the day. On the morrow you will light up the pit of death.” The moon replied, “And on the morrow you will be the support of the bloodstained girdle” (war and murder).

When the sun has gone down along the ridge that divides this world from the world of spirits, it gives its light to them until it returns again on the other side of our world, and rises as the morning sun.

Hina. (Rarawa.)

“To Hina (the moon) belongs the night and the day,” is a proverb; so also is “Hina-man-consumer.” The moon was a female and a source of death. Her principal desire was to extend her limbs, so that day should be perpetual and night should not be. Monoa (disable by charms), the attendant of Maui-mua (or Rupe), seeing the limbs of the moon wide apart, laughed; and the moon closed her limbs together, and thus made night.

Maui said to Hina, “Let death be very short”—that is, Let man die and live again, and live on for ever. She replied, “Let death be very long, that man may sigh and sorrow”—that is, Let man die and return to the world of darkness, and be the cause of grief and wailing to his friends.

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Maui again said, “Let man die and live again, as you, the moon, die and live again;” but Hina said, “No: let man die and become like soil, and never rise to life again.”

Maui. (Nga-Puhi.)

Maui lived on some rocks out in the ocean, towards the west. His wife was Hina. She and Maui's younger brother, Taki, lived there with him.

When Hina had given birth to two children by Maui, and they had become men, Maui killed them that he might obtain their lower jaws, out of which to make fishing-hooks. Their right eyes he flung up into the sky that they might become stars. One eye is now the star Ta-wera (morning star), the other is Mere-mere (evening star.)

Maui was a most powerful fellow to catch fish. He could even drag a whale on shore, and drag it high up on the beach.

One day Maui went to fish. His fishing-hook was the jawbone of his eldest son, and the bait was part of the ear of the same child. He caught a great fish, and was not able to pull it up at once: he was three moons in pulling it to the surface of the sea. He caught a pigeon —that is, he caught Rupe—and gave it the end of his line. Rupe flew up to the sky, and pulled the load up, but did not stay in the sky—he came down again to this world. When the pigeon is heard to cry at night it is an evil omen —of death, or hurricane, or defeat in the next battle—to those who may hear the cry of the bird. That which gives power to the bird to foretell future events is, the spirit of Maui is in it.

When these islands of New Zealand came up, and dry land appeared, Maui walked over them and occupied them. He saw men there, and fires burning. Taking hold of the fire, he burnt his hands, which made him utter a cry of pain, and run into the sea. He dived, and came up with Te-puia-i-whakaari (White page 89 Island) on his shoulders. He set that island on fire, which has kept burning through all the generations of men who have lived on these islands of New Zealand.

At the time Maui rushed into the sea to wet his burnt hands the sun set for the first time, and darkness covered the earth. Maui ran after the sun, and dragged it back, so that it might shine on the earth; but it ran away again to the west, and he again dragged it back, and took a rope and tied one end of it to the sun and the other end to Hina (the moon), so that as the sun set the moon would be dragged after it, and so give light to him (Maui).

When Maui saw the people who inhabited the land he had fished up, he attempted to teach them; but they were a very stupid people, and did not learn the lessons he taught. He was therefore angry, and said, “It is a waste of light for the sun to shine on such a stupid (moho) people;” so he put his hand between them and the sun, and thus stopped the rays of the sun from coming down on them; but his hand was not powerful enough to accomplish what he desired, so he put his hand between this earth and Hina (the moon) that there might be alternate light and darkness from the moon.

Maui caught, and holds a power over, all the winds save the west wind. He put each wind into a cave, so that it might not blow. He sought in vain for the west wind, but could not find from whence it came. If he had found the cave in which it stayed he would have closed the entrance to that cave with rocks. When the west wind blows lightly it is because Maui has got near to it, and has nearly caught it, and it has gone into its home, the cave, to escape him. When the winds of the south, east, and north blow furiously it is because the rocks have been removed by the stupid people who could not learn the lessons taught by Maui. At other times Maui allows these winds to blow in hurricanes to punish that people, and also that he may ride on these furious winds in search of the west wind. The winds on which Maui likes best to ride in search of the west wind, are the south and north winds.

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Maui was like a man, but one eye was like an eel, the other like pou-namu (greenstone).

Taki (seek after), his younger brother, assisted Maui in all his work, and when Taki became very old Maui chanted incantations that Taki might climb by spiders' webs up to heaven.

The right eye of Taki is now a star, and is called Taki-ara (follow the road) (the Pole-star; also a very bright morning star). The reason his eye was made into a star was because he was such a noble-looking man; and hence also the brightness and beauty of that star.

Maui and Monoa. (Au-Pouri.)

Hina (the moon) is the cause of death. Hence is the saying, “Hina the man-eater.” Hina holds power over night and day. She opened wide her limbs that it might be light—that night should not be. But Monoa (disable by witchcraft), the vassal of Maui-mua (or Rupe), laughed at her, and she folded her limbs up again; and hence we have light and darkness—the day and night.

Maui-potiki said to Hina, “Let death be of short duration, and, as the moon dies and returns with renewed strength, so let man die and revive.” But Hina said, “Not so. Let death be long, and when man dies let him go into darkness, and become like earth, that those he leaves may weep and wail and lament.” And so it was. This is why men cry over their dead.

Maui. (Nga-ti-Hau.)

When man dies he will not live again in this world, because Hine-nui-te-po has shut him in.

There were five Mauis—Maui-mua, Maui-taha, Maui-roto, Maui-pae, and Maui-tikitiki-a-taranga, who was also called Maui-potiki, from his being the last-born, and Maui-i-ata-mai, from his being so liberal and kind to his people, and Maui-i-toa, because of his superior power and bravery.

When the sun and moon were placed in the heavens they would page 91 have flown away, but that Maui tied each in its place, so that, having run its daily race it was obliged to return to its starting-point.

Maui killed Tuna-roa, the goblin whose home was in the water. He cut its head off and cast it into the sea, and it became a koiro (conger eel). He threw the tail into fresh water, where it turned into the common eel. The scrotum he threw into the earth, and it became the kare-ao. The blood was absorbed by the rimu, the totara, the toatoa, and some other trees, and their timber is red in consequence.

Maui was in his canoe Au-raro-tuia, fishing with his hook Piki-rawea, with its point Awenga, and the bait the body of a man named Aki, when he fished up the earth.

Maui did not wish men to die, but to live for ever. Death appeared to him to be “he heke no te tupu o te tangata” (degrading, and an insult to the dignity of man); so, to escape this, he sought for man a death like that of the moon, which goes and washes in the Wai-ora-tane (life-giving water of Tane) and is renewed again; or like that of the sun, which daily sets in Te Po (darkness) and with renewed strength again rises in the morning. For this purpose he tried to enter the womb of Hine-nui-te-po, and had he succeeded he would have secured for man continual youth and life for ever; but he unsuccessful, and died in the attempt.

Maui invented the barb for the tara (bird-spear), and so captured all the birds he speared; but Maui-wareware lost all his birds because his spear was without a barb.

Maui also invented the trap for the hinaki (eel-pot); and when he had done fishing he removed the trap: so his brothers could not understand why he caught eels and they did not.

Maui. (Arawa)

Maui asked his elder brothers to tell him where their father and mother lived, and to direct him, so that he might go and search for them. His brothers said, “We do not know. We have not seen the place. It may be up (in the south) or it may page 92 be down (in the north), or it may be at a distance from where we now live.” Maui said, “I mean to search for it, and to find it.” They answered, “By what means will you, our youngest brother, find the place, when we, your elders, have not been able to discover where our parents are hidden? You saw at the time you were first made known to us and your mother—on the first night you slept with us—that on the following day she had disappeared, and we were alone in the house in which we all slept; and such was her custom every night she slept with us.” Maui said “Remain here and take heed of what may take place.”

Now, Maui remembered that on the night their mother was with them they all joined in a haka (dance), and that their mother sat behind him while the haka was being performed, and counted her children thus, “Maui-taha (Maui of the side), Maui-roto (Maui of the inside), Maui-pae (Maui of the horizon), Maui-waho (Maui of the outside);” and, seeing another, she said, “Ha! Whence comes the fifth? “Maui-potiki (Maui the last-born) answered her, “I am yours.” She again counted her sons, and said, “There are only four which are mine;” and, turning to Maui-potiki, she said, “Now for the first time I have seen you.” Then they had a long argument whilst the haka was being performed. At last she said to Maui-potiki, “Depart from this house. You are not a child of mine; you are of some other mother.” Maui answered, “Yes, I must go elsewhere, and I am the child of some one else; but I am none the less your child, for I was born near the sea-coast, and was thrown by you on to the foam of the rea. But I was folded in your tikitiki (topknot of hair for the crown of the head). I got wrapped round and round by the kelp of the sea, and the friendly winds and gentle breezes drove me back on the coast, amongst the driftwood and weeds of the sea-beach; and the flies and birds alighted and swarmed on me until my ancestor Tama-nui-ki-te-ra (great child of the sun—heat) came along. Seeing the flies and birds swarming round, he picked up the bundle in which I was wrapped page 93 and opened it; and when a human being was beheld by him he took me up and carried me into a house and hung me up where the warmth of the fire and the smoke should reach me. By his great attention I became strong and full of life. Then I heard of the famous haka performed in this house, and I came here. But long before, while I was yet within you, I heard the names of those your elder sons whom you have just counted, and up to this night I have constantly heard you repeat their names. Hence I know their names and can repeat them: they are Maui-taha, Maui-roto, Maui-pae, and Maui-waho; and I who now sit before you am called Maui-potiki.” Then his mother said, “You are my last-born—you are the child of my old age; and I now call you Maui-tikitiki-o-taranga” (Maui, the topknot of Taranga) (Taranga — place where or time when charms or incantations are repeated).

Soon after this conversation between Maui and his mother she said to him, “Come, O my last-born! and sleep with your mother, that I may salute you with a hongi (rub noses), and you can salute me in the same manner.” So Maui slept close by his mother that night. When this was observed by his elder brothers they said amongst themselves, “Our mother truly nursed us with great care, and laid us on the sacred mat (d), but we were not allowed to sleep near her, to be fondled and hugged by her, when we were infants; but now that this abortion (and who knows who he is?) has come, who was wrapped round by the sea-kelp, and who may be the son of the sea, or of some foreigner, he is allowed to sleep near her. Who would have thought an abortion which was thrown into the sea would have come back a living man! And now the fellow claims to be equal with us!” Then two of them said to the others, “Nevertheless let him be a loving friend of ours, so that he may be with us in prosperity and adversity. And, O brothers! the nobility of man lies in succouring mankind, in cultivating the land to produce food, in attending to all the rites and ceremonies for the dead, and in practising all those arts which conduce to the maintenance of peace.

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Let us not be like the children of Rangi-nui (great heaven) and Papa-(tu-a)-nuku (extensive plain), who turned on our ancestors and wished to kill them.” All were convinced by this argument, and one said, “Yes; it was little respect Ta-whiri-ma-tea (god of the winds) had for our progenitors when the other gods had succeeded in separating the husband from his wife. He made their act of separating Rangi and Papa a pretext to wage war on the other gods, his elders. So Tu-mata-uenga also made war on the gods who were his elders, and eventually on his parents, Rangi and Papa, also. Now, let us not commence strife amongst ourselves, lest we be separated, and the same evil thoughts which moved the gods take possession of us and produce similar evils to those which fell on the sons of Rangi-nui (great Rangi) and Papa.” They all agreed that the speakers were right, and that murmuring at Maui-potiki (Maui the last-born) should cease.

Their mother Taranga again visited them, and retired with them as usual; but before dawn of day she had taken her departure. When her sons arose the elder brothers were not surprised, for they knew that this was her practice. Maui thought she had left the house to prepare food, but this was not the case; she had gone away until the time for her next visit. It was sunset when she next appeared. The boys began to entertain her with hakas and songs, and when these were over Maui-potiki said to her, “Let me sleep near you again.” She consented, and he slept near to his mother. At dawn she again disappeared. Maui-potiki began to think that their mother was playing a trick on them; so the next night she came, while all the others slept, he took the girdle and green-coloured waistmat of his mother, and hid them; then he stopped up the windows and the door and the openings in the house, so that the light of dawn might not enter, and that his mother might not know when the day dawned. At her usual time she awoke, but, not seeing any light, she said, “This is a long night, and not like other nights,” and lay down again to sleep, although it was day outside. When next she arose she was unable to find page 95 her garments, and, seeing a ray of light, she went and pulled down the stoppings which Maui had put into the windows, and, seeing that it was full day, she hurriedly covered herself with some old mats she found, and rushed out, exclaiming that she had been shamefully treated by her children. The tricky Maui at once rose and looked out of the door, and saw his mother pull up the root of a rush-bush and descend by the hole thus made; then she placed the bush again in its place, and departed like an ant down its hole. Maui ran and lifted the bush up, and, looking down, saw a clear open space far below, and then returned to the house and said to his brothers, “Sleep on, O friends! Awake, cease to sleep, and rise, or we shall ever be the playthings of our mother.” The brothers all rose, for the sun was high in the heavens, and Maui again asked, “Where is the place where our father and mother reside?” “We do not know,” was the answer: “though we are the elder Mauis we have not seen where our parents live. And do not imagine that you will discover the place. Why do you trouble yourself about the matter? Why not live in quiet with us? What do we want with a father or mother? Did they feed us, that we have grown to manhood? Nay; but Rangi has been our parent, and he has sent his offspring, the Land-breeze, the Rain, and the Dew, and the other elements to feed and strengthen us, and Papa has caused the seeds to grow, by which her children live in this long-standing world of light.” Maui-potiki said, “That is true; but, if I had been privileged like you, instead of being reared in the froth of the sea-shore, I should have had intellect, and would have proposed some line of action; but I say it is for you to seek the residence of our mother, where you were fed at her breast. As to the food Rangi and Papa produced for you, that was not needed till you had been nursed and become old enough to require the care of our mother no longer. O my brothers! I did not drink of life at the breast of our mother, yet I am of her, and now so love her that I wish to see the place where she and my father live.”

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His elder brothers were astonished at his words, and desired him to go and seek for the home of their parents.

Some time before this Maui-potiki had used his power of transformation, and assumed the shape of every bird known. This he had done in the house when he first met his mother and brothers, as they were amusing themselves with the haka. At that time none of the forms he assumed appeared to satisfy them until he assumed the appearance of a pigeon: then they were pleased, and approved, and said, “Now, O son! for the first time you look grand. You are more beautiful in the shape of a pigeon than in that of any other bird.” But that which made him beautiful was the green-coloured apron of his mother, with its fringe of white hair from a dog's tail, which adorned his breast, and her dark waistband which encircled his neck. Now that he wished to find where his parents resided, he assumed this appearance again, and his brothers praised and admired, and said, “O son! you look so beautiful that when you sit on a branch of a tree a thrill of pleasure will strike all beholders, and when you nod your head with so much grace, they will repeat this proverb, ‘The pigeon that sits on a bough.’”

On the following morning Maui said to his brothers, “Remain here, but attentively observe my conduct. My great love for our parents urges me to seek for them. My actions which you have seen may be right. A man without power cannot transform himself into the appearance of a bird. I, who am your youngest brother, have been able to do great acts, but in this undertaking perhaps I may be baffled and overcome.” His brothers asked, “Then are you going to war? Nay, but you are going in search of those we love, and when you find them your great love will express itself in exclamations of delight, and we can visit them, and they can visit us.” Maui said, “Such is the object of my mission, and if I succeed in finding them I will approve that which is right and condemn that which is evil in their conduct.” They said, “What you say is right. Go in the might of your own knowledge.”

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Maui-potiki then went into the forest, and returned in the form of a pigeon, and at the sight his brothers were completely overcome. He then went to the hole whereby his mother had disappeared, and went down, but carefully replaced the root of rushes again. In two sweeps of his wings he had gained the open space below, and flew straight to where he saw people sitting beneath some trees called Mana-pau (authority all taken) (d). He alighted on the topmost twig of one of them, and was at once observed by his mother, who was reclining with his father beneath those trees. He heard the names of his parents repeated by those who were with them, and thought, “Why, here are my father and mother and other relations.” He moved a little lower down and took a berry from the tree, and let it drop. It hit his father on his forehead, and some of those who were sitting near said that a bird had caused the fruit to drop, but the father of Maui said, “Oh, no! it has fallen of itself.” Maui took another berry and let it drop on another of his relatives; this caused some pain, and made them all rise to their feet and look up into the tree, but they failed to see Maui until he uttered a coo. Then every one of them took stones and pelted the bird, but not one of them could hit him. Then his father took deliberate aim, and Maui so placed himself that the stone hit him on the left wing, and he fell to the ground, and all ran to catch the bird. But as they approached he assumed the form of a man, and the people fell back afraid of him, because his eyes were as red as the sacred red ochre Takou. “No wonder,” said some, “we could not hit him with the stones we threw. If it had been a bird it would have flown away; but the bird was a man.” Others said, “It is a god. We have not seen a bird like this since Rangi and Papa were separated.” Taranga said, “One thing like this (a man) I saw each night when I went to my children; but he was much nobler than the man we now see.” Now, hearken: when I went on the sea-coast I gave birth to a child, and wrapped it in my topknot, and threw it into the page 98 froth of the sea, and that child of mine was fed by his ancestor, Tama-nui-ki-te-ra” (great child of the sun). Then she told them what Maui had related to her in the house where they had the haka, and, turning to Maui, who was now sitting in front of them, she said, “Where do you come from—from the west or from the north?” Maui said, “No.” She said, “Then from the east?” “No.” “Then from the south?” “No.” Then are you from the wind that blows on my skin?” Maui said, “Yes.” She said, “This man is my son.” She asked, “Are you Maui-taha (Maui of the side)?” “No.” “Are you Maui-tikitiki-o-taranga (Maui of the topknot of Taranga)?” “Yes.” She said, “This man is my son. The company of winds, the company of breezes, and the wanderers on the mountain-peaks have reared him, and now he is a man. Welcome, O son! Come, climb to the centre of the house of your ancestress, Hine-nui-te-po” (great daughter of night).

Maui was then taken by his father to the water and baptized, and offerings were made to the gods on his behalf; but his father, Ma-kea-tu-tara (white rock at the side of the house), was oppressed in his mind on account of having omitted some words and some offerings during Maui's baptismal ceremony. This grieved him so that he did not enter his home till evening.

Maui returned to his brothers, and soon afterwards accomplished his first great act of evil by killing the daughter of Maru-te-whare-aitu (Maru of the house of evil omen); and then he chanted his incantations over the food of Maru-te-whare-aitu, and destroyed it all; and then he fished up a small portion of land. He then went back to his parent, and resided with her. There he daily saw the people carrying food for his ancestor, Muri-ranga-whenua (sea-breeze on the land). He asked them, “For whom is the food you are taking?” They answered, “For Muri-ranga-whenua.” He asked, “Where is she?” They answered, “She is yonder.” He said, “Your work may cease: I will henceforth take the food for her.” He took it each page 99 day; but, instead of conveying it to her, he left it some distance away from her. This he did for some time, until Muri-ranga-whenua became aware of his acts, and one day, when he went to take the food as usual, she sniffed and began to extend her stomach to swallow him. She sniffed to the south; but could not discover anything there. She sniffed to the other winds, but could not discover anything; but when she sniffed to the west she smelt something, and said, “Are you from the wind that touches my skin.” Maui coughed assent. She knew that he was her grandson, and her stomach began to subside. If it had not been that he had come from the west she would have swallowed him. She asked, “Are you Maui?” He said, “Yes.” She asked, “Why are you practising your tricks on me?” He answered, “That your jawbone be given to me.” She said, “Take it.” He did so, and went back to his brothers. Soon after this he observed that the time between the sun's rising and setting was very short, and he said to his brothers, “Let us tie the sun, that it may not go so fast, that man may have time to provide food for himself.” But his brothers said, “Man cannot go near to the sun on account of the heat,” Maui said, “You have seen the many acts that I have performed. I have taken the form of a bird, and again resumed that of a man, while you have ever had the form of man. And now, my brothers, I can do what I propose, and even greater acts than this.” His brothers consented, and commenced to plait ropes. And now they discovered how to plait flat ropes and three-plait ropes. When these had been made Maui took his weapon, made of the jawbone of his progenitor, Muri-ranga-whenua, and his brothers took their weapons and the ropes, and they started at dusk, and by the dawn of day they had got far away on the plain; the next night they went on, and thus for many nights they journeyed till they had got near where the sun came up. Maui, addressing his brothers, said, “Beware you do not surprise and unnecessarily startle the sun; but let his head and shoulders be page 100 fully within the noose, and be ready when I call to pull the opposite ends of the ropes. When the sun is caught I will rise and beat him. But let the ropes be securely fastened that he may be held for some time. And, O young men! do not heed his cry of pain. Then we will let him go.”

The sun came up like a blazing fire, and when his head and shoulders had entered the noose Maui encouraged his brothers to action by saying, “Now pull.” They did so, and the sun drew his limbs together with a twitch. Maui rushed at him with his weapon, and scarce had the sun time to call before Maui was belabouring him, and continued to do so for some time. When they let him go he went away crippled, and in the anguish of his pain he uttered another of his names, Tama-nui-a-te-ra (great child of the sun), and said, “Why am I so beaten by you, O man! I will have my revenge on you for having dared to beat the great child of the sun.” He departed on his way, but was unable to travel so fast as before. Maui and his fellows returned home, and rested for some time before they went to fish. But Maui-potiki continued to rest, and his wives and children began murmuring against him for his idleness in not going to catch fish. Then he was heard to mutter, “Now, O mothers and children! I have accomplished many great deeds, and shall the act of procuring food be too great for me! You cannot imagine the abundance of food that shall this day be shone on by the sun on shore here.” And this saying has since become a proverb. He made ready his fish-hook, the jaw of Muri-ranga-whenua, and plaited his line. One of his brothers said to the other, “Let us prepare our canoe for sea.” Another said, “And let us go again and fish.” Maui got into the canoe, but the brothers objected to his going with them, and said, “Do not let Maui go with us, for fear he plays tricks on us.” So Maui stayed on shore while they went and caught much fish and returned. Maui had taken notice of the part of the sea where they had fished, and as night came on he went to the canoe and hid himself page 101 beneath the seats. On the following day the brothers again put out to sea in the canoe to fish; but they were not aware that Maui was with them until they had got far out to sea, when Maui rose up from his hiding-place. Then his brothers proposed that they should take him on shore; but he uttered incantations to himself, and caused the ocean to extend itself and the land to become distant, so that by the time his brothers looked round to where the land had been, the mountain-ranges had become nearly lost to their view. Then Maui said, “Will you agree that I remain on board to bale the water out of the canoe?” They said, “Yes.” So they went on until they reached the fishing-place of their ancestors, when the elder brother said to Maui, “Let our anchor down.” Maui said, “Not so: let us go farther out.” They went on, and when they had arrived at another ancient fishing-place, even to the outermost one, they again said to Maui, “Let our anchor down.” Maui said, “Do you think the fish to be caught here are worth fishing for? Rather let us go out even to the deepest part of the sea, and then let our anchor down. If we go to where I wish our anchor to be put down our lines will not touch the bottom before fish will follow and take the hook, and before we can wink we shall have filled our canoe with fish, and then we can return.” So they paddled on again for some time, and said, “Let us stay here;” but Maui said, “Let the mountain-ranges be lost to view; then let our anchor down.” They went on till they got to the place to which Maui had determined they should go; and when they began to fish the lines had not got to the bottom when the fish came up even to the canoe after the hooks, and they had put the lines over but twice when the canoe was filled with fish. His brothers said to Maui, “Let us return to land;” but Maui replied, “Wait awhile: let me throw my line into the sea.” They replied, “What can you obtain without a hook?” He said, “I have a hook.” They said, “Then throw it into the sea.” Then, as he drew his hook, with its carving and shining paua (haliotis), furnished with the page 102 long hair of the kuri-waero (ancient Maori dog), from under his garment, where he had it concealed, it flashed in the light and looked most beautiful. Maui said, “Give some bait to me.” His brothers said, “We will not provide you with any bait.” Maui then clinched his fist together and smote his nose, and besmeared the hook with the blood thus produced, and threw it into the sea. It went down and down, and passed the tekoteko (carved figure on the gable) and the facing-boards on the gable-end, and reached the door, of the house of Tonga-nui (great blemish), and caught the sill of the door; then Maui pulled his line, and was drawing it up, and had partly lifted the house, when it became very heavy and the sea became agitated. Then the brothers opened their mouths and in a voice of wailing cried against Maui, saying, “He has brought us out into the current of the ocean to wreck us and give our bodies to the fish to eat.” Maui chanted an incantation to obtain power to pull his fish up, and said,—

Why, O Tonga-nui!
Art thou sulkily
Biting below there?
On thee has come
The power of Ranga-whenua
To bind thee together.
The foam and noise,
Gathered into small space,
Draw to the surface.
Shout my triumph
Over the grandson
Of Tanga-roa-meha.

The fish of Maui was up—a fish of land, part of Papa-tu-a-nuku—and their canoe was lifted with it high and dry on the land. Maui said to them, “When I have departed forbear to eat in my absence, and do not cut or disfigure our fish; but rather let me first go and offer the propitiatory gift to the priest, that he may present it to the gods, and that he may perform all the ceremonies and chant the incantations for us, and, on behalf of the females, that he may perform the ceremonies and chant the incantations to the goddesses, and that he may, after digging page 103 a pit, with a shell scrape the spirits of evil, who have led us to transgress the laws of tapu, into that pit, that we may be free from all guilt; then I will return, and we can cut this fish up (apportion a part to each of us) and each can claim his own, and any portion which may not be appropriated will remain unhurt and unmangled, and each may take his own portion in a seemly manner.” Then Maui left his companions in the canoe and returned home; but no sooner had he left them than they disregarded his words, and began to cut and eat the fish before the offerings and gifts had been presented to the gods of the men and to the gods of the women to conciliate them. Then the fish turned on the brothers, and writhed with its head and tail, and dorsal and throat fins, even as though it were in the sea; and thence came the mountains, valleys, plains, and cliffs, which would not have been—for the earth would have been level and beautiful—but for the disobedience of the brothers.

Now, this reclamation by Maui with the jawbone of his progenitor Muri-ranga-whenua of part of the land which had been submerged when the battle between Rangi and Ta-whiri-ma-tea took place, was an event next in greatness to that of the separation of Rangi and Papa. The Matau-a-maui (the fishing-hook of Maui) is the name of a point of land on the south of the harbour of Napier.

Maui now resolved that he would extinguish the fire of his progenitor Mahu-i-ka (heat that ignited); so one night he took water and put out the fires in each settlement, and at dawn of the following day he called out and said, “I am faint with hunger,” and one went to obtain fire, and sought, but nowhere could fire be found. The mother of Maui said to the servants, “Go and fetch fire from Mahu-i-ka;” but they did not heed the command, nor would they even hearken to the orders of the people, who urged them to go. Maui then said, “I will go and fetch fire, shall I? But which is the path by which I shall go?” The people said, “Go by the main road, and you will come to your progenitor, and if you are questioned, mention your name, and you page 104 will be known by her; but be cautious, and do not practise any of your tricks on her. We say this because we know that you are a tricky fellow—more so than any other man —and you may perhaps be tempted to practise your tricks on her.” Maui said, “I will go for fire only, and return at once.” He went and saw his progenitor, and marvelled at her for some time, and then said, “O old woman! rise. Where is the fire? I am come for some.” She rose and said, I do not know. But who is this man?” He said, “It is I.” She said, “Whence do you come?” He answered, “From this country.” She said, “You are not of this district. Your looks say you are not a man of this place. I say you are from the north.” Maui said, “No.” Then are you from the east?” “No.” “Are you from the south?” “No.” “Are you from the west?” “No.” “Then are you from the wind that blows on my skin?” “Yes.” “Oh!” said Mahu-i-ka, “then you are my grandson. And what do you want?” Maui said, “I am come to obtain fire of you.” “Welcome, welcome,” was the reply. “Here is fire for you.” Mahu-i-ka plucked fire from her little finger, and Maui saw that she plucked it from her fingernail, at which he wondered more. Maui took the fire and went a little distance away and extinguished it, and returned to his ancestor and said, “O old woman! the fire you gave me has gone out. Give me some more.” Mahu-i-ka plucked some more from her nails. This Maui took, and, going a little distance away, he put it out also, and returned to her and said, “O old woman! give me some more fire. That which you gave me has gone out.” Thus Maui continued until he had obtained all the fingers of her hands and all but one of the toes of her feet; and the old woman perceived that he was playing tricks on her, for he had obtained all but the big toe of one foot, and still importuned for more, though he had extinguished all she had given him. So, taking the last remaining big toe, she threw it into the soil, and the land caught fire. Maui fled; but as he went the fire followed him from one place to another. He still fled, but the fire had page 105 got so close to his back that he threw some of his mats away and leaped into the water; but the water had become warm through the land and forests being on fire, and, now at his last extremity, he called to his progenitors, Tawhiri-ma-tea and Whati-tiri (thunder), to give him water, and these were the words of his request:—

Give water to me,
To put the fire out
Which is pursuing me.

Then the families of winds and of breezes, and of great rain and long rain, the offspring of Tawhiri-ma-tea, came and put the fire out. The old woman, Mahu-i-ka, was still following with her fire to kill Maui; but the rain drenched her so much that she returned to her house completely soaked with it, and her wailing was even as great on account of her drenching with the rain as was that of Maui with the heat of the fire.

Thus ended another of Maui's great acts, for he had extinguished the fire of Mahu-i-ka. But he placed his own fire in the kai-komako tree to preserve it from extinction, and returned to his own home. His mother and father said to him, “You heard our instructions, but you went and played your trick on your progenitor, and you have been completely beaten.” Maui answered, “What do I care! Do you think I shall cease? Rather I shall persist for ever and ever.” His parents said, “Yes, of course you please yourself and persist, for life or death; but if you follow what we teach, you will have life.” Maui then went away, but returned again to his father, who said, “O son! your mother has told me that you are a brave man, and that you can do great as well as small deeds in the land of your birth; but now that you have come to the home of your own father, perhaps you may be overcome.” Maui said, “By what shall I be overcome?” His father answered, “By your progenitor Hine-nui-te-po, whom you may see sparkling in the horizon yonder.” Maui said, “So let it be. Let us investigate the matter, whether life or death shall follow.” The father said, “There is evil page 106 impending over you. When I chanted the incantation at your baptism I forgot some of the words of the ceremony, and for this I divine you are to die.” Maui asked, “Will this be by Hine-nui-te-po? and what is she like?” The father said, “Her eyes, which you see flashing yonder, are dark as greenstone; her teeth are sharp as obsidian; her mouth is like that of the barracouta; the hair of her head like the kelp of the sea: her body only is in human form.” Maui asked, “Is her power like that of Tama-nui-te-ra, who, until I caught him and beat him, and retarded his speed and diffused his heat by the blows of my weapon, was consuming man and land and water, and would soon have consumed the world if his heat had continued as great as before. Now he shines on all parts of this world. The ocean was also greater than the land until I, the fruit of your declining years, drew up the land and increased it.” His father said, “It is true, O my last-born, and the power of my old age! Now, then, rise and go and see your progenitor, who like lightning flashes yonder on the horizon.” No sooner had Maui and his father ended their conversation than Maui sought for companions, and there came to him the miromiro (Petroica toitoi), the pitoitoi, the tataeko, the kori-roriro, the tirai-raka(tiwai-waka), and many other birds; and when all were assembled they started off, and in the evening they arrived at the house of Hine-nui-te-po, who was asleep. Maui said to the birds, “If I go into the stomach of this old woman, do not laugh until I have passed through her and come out at her mouth; then you can laugh at me.” His friends said, “O son! you will be killed.” Maui said, “If you laugh at me when I have only entered her stomach, I shall be killed; but if I have passed through her and come out of her mouth, I shall escape, and Hine-nui-te-po will die.” His friends said, “Go, then. The decision is with you.” Maui advanced, and, twisting the thong of his weapon round his hand, he entered the house, and when he had thrown off his garments his skin, like the scales of a mackerel, shone and sparkled with soot of kauri and the marks made by the many- page 107 pointed chisel of Ue-tonga (sense of pain suppressed). He entered the stomach of Hine-nui-te-po head first: his shoulders and chest had disappeared, when the tiwai-waka (or tirai-raka) burst out into laughter, and thus awoke the old woman, who with a start opened her eyes as the chest of Maui was just entering her throat. She shut her mouth with a snap, and cut him in two at his waist, allowing his lower limbs to tumble from her mouth. And thus Maui was truly killed.

But, though Maui was killed, his offspring survived. Some of these are at Hawaiki, and some are at Ao-tea, but the greater part of them remained at Hawaiki.

We say that the death of Maui-tiki-tiki-a-taranga, who was bitten in two by Hine-nui-te-po, was occasioned by the laughter of the tiwai-waka (or tirai-raka), and hence our proverb, “Man may procreate, but Hine-nui-te-po strangles his offspring.”

Thus ends the account of the acts of the sons of Makea-(mangea)-tutara (annoyed with defamatory gossip) and Ta-ranga, and also of those of Rangi and Papa. This history was handed down by the generations of our ancestors of ancient times, and we continue to rehearse it to our children, with our incantations and genealogies, and all other matters relating to our race.