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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Tai-Nui. [Vol. V]

Chapter II

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Chapter II.

Here I sit as in the long long nights of Matiti,
As bounds my aching, starting, throbbing heart.
O daughter! come nearer; come closer still,
As I, abashed, can only hold thee by my hand,
And think of canoe sent, and passing cloud,
As light of dawn springs up on Hau-mapu,
And feel as though my younger sister, dead,
Were here alive again, and come to me.
But who shall meet her now?
She's fled to lower world—to Pae-rau.
Come, multitudes, come back, come here.
The furious storm now shakes thee, Nga-toro,
And at a distance fells those forest-trees
At Taa-rua. Now, now abates
The love I feel for thee, my home.


Hotu-Mauea (sob for apparent food) was a very tall man, and was one of the progenitors of the Wai-kato people and also of the Nga-ti-haua.

He took a wife, and had a child, and he went on one side to take water out of a hole for his wife. Now, at this time the brothers of the wife of Hotu-mauea were concocting a plan by which they could kill the husband of their sister.

When these brothers had laid their plans to kill Hotu-mauea they in a body came towards the settlement of their sister, and found Hotu-mauea in the water-hole getting water for his wife. Now, Hotu-mauea had dug this pit [well] to obtain water for his page 22 wife. He had dug it down in sandy soil. These brothers, combined as a war-party, came to the settlement of their sister, and surrounded this water-hole, pit, or well, in which Hotu-mauea was at the time. The woman, their sister, accidentally looked up and saw her brothers, the war-party, going towards her settlement, and spoke to her husband and said, “O Hotu-mauea! there is a war-party. It consists of your brothers-in-law. You will be killed.” By the time the man Hotu-mauea looked up the war-party had encircled the pit in which he was, and were determined to kill him there. Hotu-mauea sat still and thought, and said to himself, “By which way shall I escape?” The war-party said to themselves, “We are sure of our man. We shall be able to kill him, as he has not any way of escape.”

Some of the war-party now went down into the well to kill Hotu-mauea there, and as they got near to him they held a weapon up to give him a blow. They struck him, but he warded the blow off. Hotu-mauea now saw that the road by which they had come down into the pit was clear for him to escape. At the same time the brothers who were still standing on the brink of the well called to those who had gone down to kill Hotu-mauea and said, “Do not strike him on the head, lest the skull be cracked, and the head be ruined when cured.”

When Hotu-mauea heard these words uttered about his skull he was very wroth, and in the excitement of the moment he sprang up out of the well, and with one bound stood on the brink, and, as those of the war-party who were there attempted to strike him with their weapons, he rose in power, and fled and escaped; but the war-party caught the woman and her child, which was a son. And, as they had taken her prisoner, her brothers went to examine the child to know its sex, and so determine what sex the heir of their sister was. The two brothers who went asked their sister, “What sex is your child?” She had placed her son in such a way that the child appeared to them to be a girl, and they were satisfied that it was of the page 23 female sex, and ceased to take further action against their sister and her child, as they thought it was a girl. If they had seen the child was a boy they would have killed him, that a son might not be alive to avenge the curse uttered on the head of its father when he was in the well.

Hotu-mauea fled, and, being a swift-running man, he escaped; but some of the war-party pursued him, and as they followed him and got near to where he was, close to the stem of a tawa-tree (Nesodaphne tawa) which was growing near the bank of the Horo-tiu (swift-flying) River, with one leap he stood in the top of the tree, towards which his pursuers went, and from the top of the tree he said to them, “Go back: I shall not be caught by you.” But they did all they could to get at him on the top of the tawa-tree. Hotu-mauea made one defiant jump, and leaped across the Horo-tiu River, which is perhaps twice ten and five fathoms across; and the place where he thus jumped is a little above Kirikiri-roa (long gravel), at the Nihinihi (steep), where the marks of his feet as they sank in the rock as he landed on the brink of the creek are seen to this day. Now, when he got to the other side of Horo-tiu River he went off and was looked at in vain by his pursuers; for, what could they do, as the river was between them, and only by crossing in a canoe or swimming could they be where he then was? At this day this river is voyaged on by steamers.

And hence the proverb: when a long man is seen, it is said of him, “Well, this man is Hotu-mauea.”

A Brave Woman.(Nga-Ti-Mahuta.)

In the days of ancient times, in the days when the descendants of those who came in Tai-nui made war on the old occupants and original owners of the land at Mokau—in those days the descendants of Hotu-roa (long sob) collected a band of warriors and attacked the forts of the original owners of the land, and the Tai-nui war-party went to attack the fort of the people of page 24 the land. The men of the fort had all gone to their daily labour in the fields, and not any of the men were left in the fort; but as the war-party were going towards the fort they intended to attack they were seen by a woman of the fort. Now, the path to the fort was by a narrow ridge, on each side of which was a perpendicular precipice. Along this ridge only one person could pass at a time. As the war-party got near to this path they were seen by this woman. She went and stood nude in the path, and began to dance and make grimaces at the war-party, who at once stood still to look at her antics. As she took some time thus to dance and make faces at them, a messenger had time to go and inform the warriors who were in the field of the events which had taken place at the pa. They at once came to the pa, and the woman ceased to make grimaces, and the warriors held a war-dance. When the war-party saw that they had been outwitted by the grimaces performed by a brave woman, in shame they went back to their own district, admitting they had been beaten by a woman.

The Wars in Ancient Days in Wai-Kato.(Nga-Ti-Tipa.)

In the days of ancient times the descendants of those who arrived in Tai-nui made war on the people who had occupied the interior of Wai-kato—that is, the Tai-nui attacked the original inhabitants of the land.

These people were called Te-upoko-tioa (the cold or sharp head), and were a people who had occupied that district long before the Tai-nui landed at Kawhia.

These people were attacked by the descendants of those who came over in Tai-nui. The men they killed, and the women were saved, and taken as wives by the Tai-nui. Those who attacked these people were of one family tribe of Tai-nui, and were descended from one ancestor, and were therefore uncles and nephews, who, after they had killed the inhabitants of Wai-kato, turned against and made war each on the other—uncle killed nephew, and nephew killed uncle; elder killed the younger, and younger killed the elder.

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The elder branches of the Tai-nui family lived on the land far up the Wai-kato River, and at a certain time some of these voyaged in their canoes towards the heads of Wai-kato—towards the sea. These people on their voyage collected all the pumice-stone they could find in the river, and threw it on shore on to the banks of the stream, while others of them collected the pumice-stone of the interior and threw it into the river. The reason they did this was that they might claim the Wai-kato River and all the adjacent country as their own.

This party voyaged on, and at last arrived at the fort of their nephews; but they had not been long there before they murdered some of those nephews, and put the bodies in their canoes and took them to another of their forts far up the Wai-kato River, and left them there unburied, so that the relations of the dead might go with a war-party and fetch them if they liked, and revenge this murder by shedding blood. Some of those to whose fort these bodies had been taken took some of their own houses and placed them in the river. These houses were made of toetoe (Epacris panciflora), and did not sink. Some of these people dived under the houses and stayed there, as there was sufficient room under the houses in which they could sit without being drowned. The stream carried these houses far down the river, and the houses looked like the driftwood of a flood. Nor were the occupants of these houses seen by those of their cousins who lived on the banks of the river, and hence those in the houses escaped the vengeance of their relatives, and were not killed by their cousins. The cause of these murders was that the elder branch of the family might possess the whole Wai-kato district. Not long after this event the elder branch of the family again made war on the younger line; but about this time a grandson of one of the elder branch of the family took to wife the granddaughter of a younger branch of the family. These had a son, and the child was not killed by the elder branch of the family. One night, when this boy had page 26 grown a big fellow, he fled with a tame tui (parson-bird) from the settlement of his father to his mother's people, and by him peace was made between the elder and younger branches of the family, and war between them ceased, and they lived in peace, and cultivated together in the Wai-kato district.

The Origin of the Great Tribes of Ao-Tea-Roa.

Te-arawa, Mata-atua, and Tai-nui are the first-mentioned canoes of all the canoes which came to these Islands. The first great tribe was called Nga-ti-hua-rere (descendants of Hua-rere—flying fruit), and from this tribe sprang Wai-taha (water at the side or water in a taha—calabash), and from Wai-taha came the Nga-ti-awa (descendants of Awa—river or creek). And after the Nga-ti-hua-rere came Tu-huke (Tu, god of war, the uncoverer), and after Tu-huke came Paeko (digging implement laid aside), and after Paeko came the Nga-ti-hako (descendants of Hako, spoon), and after these came Nga-ti-marama (descendants of Marama—light), and after them came the Upoko-tioa (cold or sharp head). A woman was the origin of this tribe, who came from Tauranga to Wai-kato. And after Upoko-tioa came Nga-ti-ika-tarake (the fish swept away).

This is the proverb for Paeko, which is repeated when any one is neglected at the time that food is portioned out at a feast:—

When food is eaten
Paeko is not feted [called to a feast].

Also, this is another proverb repeated when any one is passed by when food is given at a feast:—

Go to where Makaha (stone) was neglected.

Paeko came from O-hiwa (the watchful) to Hau-raki (the quiet wind) (Thames), and at the time of his arrival there a feast was given by the tribe of Tu-huke, and at the distribution of the food the name of Paeko was not called to any portion given at the feast. This was done, it is supposed, as Paeko was a stranger, page 27 and as he was also a very silent man, whose voice was never heard; but in battle his power was felt. When war was made in Hau-raki, and Tu-huke called for Paeko, Paeko answered by repeating the above proverb, and hence its origin.

Also, the proverb in which the name of Makaha is given had a similar origin.

This is also another proverb:—

Motai (for the sea) of hundred men.

Motai was one of the ancestors of Wai-kato; and in the days when men of Motai were killed or died this proverb was repeated, because the people of Motai were a numerous people, and when some died others were born to take their place.

And the following also relates to the proverbs quoted in the days when the tribes of Hau-raki called in the aid of Paeko to assist them. This is the word which Paeko repeated in answer to their request:—

Go to Tikapa (sea of the Thames),
Where the breath is driven out.

And this Tikapa-makaha was in the district where, at the distribution of food at a feast, the name of Paeko was not called; and also, the people of this district did not welcome Paeko to that place when he migrated from O-hiwa to Hau-raki.

The Nga-ti-hako, who are descended from those who came over in Tai-nui, were the first permanent people who settled in Hau-raki (Thames).

And Paeko was descended from the Nga-ti-awa Tribe, who resided at O-hiwa.

The tribes, who first resided at Hau-raki were the Nga-ti-hako, who were driven out by Nga-ti-awa, who in return were driven out by Upoko-tioa, who were attacked, and part of the land was taken by Paoa. And after Paoa the descendants of Hotu-roa took some of the land; and the descendants of Paoa and those of Hotu-roa have occupied the district ever since.

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The Migration of Tara. (Nga-Ti-Maru.)

This is the account of the migration of Tara (brisk) to Hau-raki (Thames) from Maunga-tautari (held by the upright sticks in a Maori house to which are tied the battens to which the kakaho—reeds—are tied).

The name of the pa (fort) in which Kotara (loosed, untied), his father, and younger brother lived was Tau-maihi (facing-boards of the gable of a Maori house).

The elder brothers of Tara occupied the higher portion of the pa, while Tara occupied the lower portion; and the people of the elder brothers scraped the filth of the houses of their part of the pa (fort) down on to the part of the pa (fort) occupied by Tara and his adherents. They scraped the filth, the dirt, old baskets, with the filth of children, on to the part of the pa which was occupied by Tara and his adherents. Tara thought this was an evil deed on the part of his elder brothers and his father towards him; so he assembled all the people of the pa who felt an inclination to migrate to some other home with him. When all had assembled, one hundred and seventy twice told were agreeable to migrate. These did not include women and children or men who, from youth, age, or sickness, were unable to fight—the one hundred and seventy twice told were all warriors.

They left the pa and came on and stayed first at a place called Tirau (peg, fork), where they were joined by a multitude of people who had lived with them as assistants.

They stayed some time at Tirau, then went on till they arrived at Te-aroha (the love), at a place or pa (fort) called Maru-tatai (authority explained). Some time after they had taken up their abode in this pa a company of people commanded by Te-ruinga (the shaker) passed that way, and He-kei (the stern), the son of Tara, joined them. Now, He-kei was very young at that time; but Tara remained in the pa at Maru-tatai, and Te-ruinga and his body of men went eastward to the sea-coast at Make-tu (ridge of the nose). As they went on a war-expedition, they page 29 attacked a pa there called Poporo-hua-mea (Solanum aviculare of fruit not worthy of notice), where He-kei killed a chief called Rangi-hou-riri (day of anger forced down).

Now, He-kei had seventy brave men twice told with him, who came back with him to Te-aroha; and on the following day a canoe with fish arrived from the island Ao-tea. The fish consisted of tawatawa (mackerel) and mango (shark). When Tara had eaten of the fish he said, “The aroma of the shark is felt even at the back of the head.” And Tara also ate of the tawatawa, and was greatly delighted with that fish. He ordered an expedition of his people to go and see that island; and when the time came for the expedition to start they paddled towards Ao-tea. When they had got to the point called Te-papa (the flat) Tara and his people were entertained by the people of the island, where Tini-rau (many hundreds), the daughter of Tara and sister of Tiki-te-aroha (image beloved) and He-kei, was taken to wife by Tu-awa (stand by the river).

The company of Tara came back and landed at Pirau-rahi (great rottenness), where Tara and his people stayed four summers and four winters, where his grandchild was born—that is, the child of Tiki-te-aroha, who was called Whaka-maro (made straight). And in those days Tu-noho-pane (the war-god who lives in the head) was murdered by the people who lived at Rua-wehea (the pit or food-store set apart or divided from other pits), and those who lived at Karanga-hake (call the deformed), and at Te-papa, and by those even as far up the river as Te-aroha. They were all concerned in the murder of Tu-noho-pane. So Tara and his descendants said, “Keep possession: hold fast to the place.”

Tu-noho-pane was murdered at the confluence of the Wai-wawa (babbling water) Stream with the Wai-hou (delving water), with a mere-paraoa (whalebone mere), and his head was beaten into a mummy, and his body was thrown into the Wai-wawa Creek. The day after he was murdered some of his people went to pay a visit to him, as was their custom; but did not find page 30 him at the settlement. They sought and called, but did not see or hear anything of him, and went back to the pa and told the news to the tribe. Tiki-te-aroha and He-kei rose with seventy men and went in search of the lost chief. They were all warriors who went in search of Tu-noho-pane. They found the body in the Wai-wawa Creek, and took it to Pirau-rahi, and at once built a pa (fort) at the Rewarewa (Knightia excelsa). On the following day a great multitude assembled—that is, five thousand seven hundred once told—and there also could be seen Tiki-te-aroha, He-kei, Awa-haea (the marked creek), and Hou-ma-wao-nui (cockade for the great forest), with their men, one hundred and seventy twice told, who were all warriors. These attacked the multitude and killed many, and followed the fleeing even to Te-papa (the flat), and only two of that pa escaped. In this slaughter were killed the children of Tini-rau and Tu-awa, with four of the one hundred and seventy of the warriors of Tiki-te-aroha. Then Tara went back to Pirau-rahi.

Soon after this battle all the young men of the tribe of Tara were assembled, and were found to number one hundred and sixty-four once told.

As the body of Tu-noho-pane had been found in a creek, and had been brought to the pa (fort), although his head had been beaten to a pulp, he was attended by the priests and learned men, and these saved his life. They gave him medicine and he became better, and was quite recovered. He and his family tribe assembled, and, with the young men of the tribe who had been numbered, he could muster two hundred and seventy twice told.

In those days children and women were in great numbers, so that when the news of the battle had been heard in Tauranga (to lie at anchor), Te-aroha, Wai-kato, and Whare-kawa, the tribes of Rua-wehea assembled, with those of Wai-hou, who numbered in all one thousand five hundred twice told, and were of the Nga-ti-hako (descendants of Hako—spoon), and sent page 31 messengers to collect a war-party to attack Tara. When this war-party had been collected they came by the way of the bank of the River Wai-hou, where they were seen by the spies of Tara. When Tara heard of the war-expedition of Nga-ti-hako coming to attack him he ordered his warriors to assemble in war-array at the borders of the forest; and when the host of Hako came on to battle Tiki-te-aroha stood out by himself and killed three men with one blow of his taiaha (hani) He-kei was on the other wing of the army. He also with one blow of his taiaha (hani) killed two men, one of whom was a chief called Uha-ka-kopa (the female will be lame). The multitude of Hako then fled, and were pursued by the people of Tara along the banks of the Wai-hou River, and of the flying enemy Motu (cut), Whakaruru (cause to be sheltered or tied together), Ngutu (mouth), To-tara (Podocarpus totara), and Toki (axe) were killed. The fleeing enemy rushed into the river and swam across to Te-manga-rahi (great branch). And when Tara saw Moua (back of the neck) standing on the opposite bank of Manga-rahi he called and said to Moua, “Do not flee to Manga-rahi.” Moua was related to Tara. But the enemy were still pursued by the people of Tara, and Mutu (end) was there taken and killed, as were also Whiunga (the struck at), Whero (red), and Taiki (wicker basket); and as Whakaaea (come up to the surface to breathe) was killed; the fleeing and pursuers had got near to O-hine-muri (behind the girl), at which place the head of Whakaaea was buried. And the hill on which this took place became sacred, and ever after was called Te-kai-a-whakaaea (the game of Whakaaea). But the descendants of Tara still followed the fleeing enemy, and in going along the bank of the O-hine-muri River they killed Matatira (in a row), Hara-rahi (great evil), and Tu-tawake (god of the patch). When the fleeing enemy and the pursuers arrived at the spot where the flour-mill now stands at O-hine-muri the people of Tara ceased to pursue their enemies, and from that place returned to their pa (fort) at Pirau-rahi.

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In these days the tribes were great and the chiefs were numerous, and in the battle just now given the sons of Tara took part and killed men of the fleeing enemy.

A long time after this the news of another war-party who were coming to attack Tara was heard by the people of Tara. Their approach was known by the people of Tara by the noise they made as they came on to the attack. This intimation caused Tara and some of his men to go and form a pa (fort) on the top of some trees, to which fort they gave the name of Rapa-tu (standing familiar spirit). In this Tara placed one hundred and seventy men twice told. Also two of the subtribes of Hako of the Nga-marama (the light) came from Rua-wehea and O-haroa (the scraper of flax to make it tow) to attack the pa on the trees called Rapa-tu. They assembled and took up a position at the root of the tree on which the pa was built, and cut the ladders (or vines) by which an ascent to the pa could be obtained. Then the party of Hako and Marama called to the people up in the tree-pa, and said, “By which way can you get down?” Tiki-te-aroha said, “By that way.” He-kei wished to jump down into the midst of the war-party who were at the root of the tree, but his companions objected. Tiki-te-aroha took his dog-skin mat and threw it down into the midst of the enemy. The mat was at once scrambled for by all the men of the war-party, each one of the warriors wishing to obtain it for himself. He-kei saw the scramble for the mat, and at once jumped down into the midst of the struggling warriors, and with one blow of his taiaha (hani) killed five of them. The one hundred and seventy twice told of He-kei leaped down from the tree-pa, and with their weapons attacked the people of Hako and Marama, who fled, and were pursued and killed by the descendants of Tara, even up to O-wharo (stretch out), at which place the men of Tara came to the pa Whakapapa-koura (lay the crayfish out in heaps). This pa they at once attacked and took; but the inhabitants fled, and the men of Tara pursued them. They went towards the pa Mimi-tu (make water page break
North Island Kiwi (Apteryx Mantelli).

North Island Kiwi
(Apteryx Mantelli).

page 33 standing), which was attacked and taken. The inhabitants fled, and were pursued to Wai-te-kauri (water of the kauri), where He-kei saw a chief called Tangata (man). As he was related to He-kei, He-kei ceased to follow and to kill his enemy at this place.

He-kei took to wife Wai-orohia (water at the sharpening), and after many years they had children called Hakari (feast) and Poro-kaki (nape of the neck). These were born at O-wharoa (the coughed).

At the time that Maioro (ditch of a fort), the child of Whakamaro (made tight), was born, it was in those days that the land was divided and the boundaries were made between the lands owned by each family tribe of Tara. These lands were situated between Pirau-rahi and O-wharoa.

And in the days of Hakari (feast), Poro-kaki, Maioro, and Awa-pu (very creek), the tribes of Tara were numerous; and in the days of those progenitors of our people the descendants of Tara lived in various localities. Each sub-tribe had its own district: some lived at Pirau-rahi, some at O-wharoa, and two hundred and seventy twice told guarded Tara in his old age at Pirau-rahi, and one hundred and twenty twice told occupied the O-wharoa district. In those days the people of Tara were increasing in number, and Tara had become old.

In those days the tribe Nga-marama had fled to Motu-keo (pointed island) and Wai-hi (hissing water), to Kati-kati (nibble), and even to Tauranga (lay at anchor).

The young men of He-kei went to see the women at Motu-keo. These young fellows were Maioro and his companion. The women they went to see were called Tai-paki-rehua (tide of the inquiry) and Tai-nanahi-po (tide of yesterday night).

They went and saw these women, and on their way there Maioro and his friend looked at themselves in a pool of water in a rock which was on the mountain-road they were travelling in the Motu-keo district. But so soon as Maioro and his companion had left to return to their home, the Nga-marama people went and took the stones in which were the holes that page 34 held the water for Maioro and his friend to look at themselves, and threw them all away on the side of the road. Maioro and his friend came back disheartened to O-wharoa, and to the Pirau-rahi Pa, where Tara lived, to whom they gave an account of their visit to the women at the pa at Motu-keo, and of their washing themselves to appear noble, and about the stones and pools of water in which they saw their faces reflected, which the Nga-marama people had broken and thrown along the side of the road.