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

Chapter VIII

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Chapter VIII.

Thou makest noise, O nose! A loud confused noise
Maybe an omen is that I am spoken of,
Because I shook the power of man off me.
Twas well that I such action took
That fame of me should be to distance heard.
But, O ye tribe! my act was all mine own.
I felt a touch, and knew its whole import,
And saw that you, O man! of distance were.
And what, O woman! have I got from thee?
I nothing kept, but all went back with thee,
And all that kept thee at thine home.
Though I but dream of one beloved,
The tongue inventive evil speaks of me,
And tells of nod or touch; and, though
A smile is seen, the heart so hates
That outward sign and inward truth are deadly foes.

The Nga-Ti-Maru Answer By Song.

When the Nga-ti-maru had heard the song composed by the poet of the Nga-ti-paoa the poet of the Nga-ti-maru composed the following poem in answer.

Now, Toko-ahu lived at the Popa (Pupa—eructate), at Wai-hou, and Toka-tapu lived at Whare-kawa. This is the song of Toko-ahu:—

I feel confused
At fiction heard;
And all my thoughts
Are lost in southern breeze,
As comes the air
Of shifting westerly wind.
Then why, why didst not thou
Think of the mother, now
page 113 So left—that she
Was tended to and wept
O'er by stranger tribes?
But go and pierce
The mountain Aroha,
For by a path
That led that way
Did Kahu-topa-rangi go,
E'en like a wild
Dog of the forest gloom,
And like the food
Long cooking in the steam.
But this my thought
May be a vain attempt
To parry blow of him
Mine enemy. But still
I think that Hiko,
And Hiko alone,
Cast all away,
And paid for all the food
In storehouse kept.
But we example set
By Pakiri-kiri,
Who cut the waist
In two, and nothing
Sacred then was left,
And all the creatures of the sea
Were cast on shore,
And then was said,
“Nought has come in.”
But far away is
Still the fountain-head,
And birds may still
Mount high in air,
And thou canst catch
The down of kotuku (white crane)
And still press on
To peak of snow-
Capped hill. And whose
Ancestors went with Kori,
And whose the hands
That were like the
Fronds of ponga fern,
Or like the human chest
That burnt with heat of fire?
Where now the brave
Who still maintain their stand
On battle-field?
page 114 But they have gone.
O'er all the seas
That Kupe sailed,
And seen the home
Of that great tribe
The Wai-o-hua,
And Nga-ti-whatua too,
Who made thee parentless—
That powerful tribe
Thus spoken of by thee:
“A tribe who cannot
Hold a home.” But
Thou canst come
To know the tribe
That made thee parentless,
And own their power,
And be as part of them.

And Toko-ahu composed also this song, in addition to the one already given:—

Shine, O sun ! so smoothly on the skin.
But hearken to the thoughts within,
Which sound like booming, noisy surf.
Thus comes the sound of slander from afar,
Across the little peaks, beyond the sea,
Where is the famed and known Tara-kihi,
And Whakairi and Moe-hau, with Aroha.
The mountains stand, nor can the hills
Be moved by power of man; and,
Though the west winds sweep across those hills,
And play on them, as though it passed o'er sea,
Yet Mama and old Tu-kino, of whom ‘tis said
By you, they go, and pass the tribes, and are
The envied of the host, as greenstone slab
Is wished for by the tribe. Nor dare
A hand attempt to touch old Po-mare,
Or Mau-kiri-ngutu, or Taupo,
Or Rangi-ka-heke, or Te-apoapo,
Who are the noted lords of Roto-rua
So spoken of. Te Kowhete was there.
So then the smallest part may still come
Back unto the tribe, as thou didst kill
The Kowhawha at Wai-taka-ruru
And I climbed o'er mountain height
At Tu-ahu-o-ure, and caught up at the spring
Of Pu-roto-roto, where can be heard
The noise of waterfall in Wai-kato,
And where the listening ear of man can hear the voice
page 115 Of slaves taken in war, and these repeat,
“I hold as yet nought in my hand.” But, O
My child ! I hold the whole collection still
Of history past—that brought by me from out the north,
Far from the eastward tide, where southern damp
Touches the skin, and news is kept by man,
And taunted orphans flee. How noble
Is old Matahi ! that grand canoe in which
Is carried all whose heads are cracked in war.
But, though one family, not one was carried
From the battle-field of Raka-kuku, at Wai-apu.
But who shall dash the rock far down
From peak of Rangi-toto, or rock from Wharenga?
Shall acts like this be done in sleep?
Or shall the war-weapon be held fast in the hand,
As looks contemptuous sit upon the face
Of Tonga-rewa, or on face of Komako?
These slaves were taken in the sea of O-ruhi,
And placed with heaps upon the far-outstanding point
At Wai-mango, where each could rest,
And life again came back, and man was seen to live.
I still am thy old foe, and still my weapon
Clashes against thine own in war, as in the days of old.
And thou canst own I saw thee three times
In the trench around thy fort at Weta-hara—
A home in which to rest. But this
Slid to the sea; then thou didst shift
To Hau-raki, to home of peace, of Rotu,
And to the paper-mulberry, whose leaves are not
Shaken by the wind, and where great chiefs assemble,
And armies meet in war array, and thousands
Come to where there is no dread of war-weapon.

Toka-tapu composed a song in answer to this, but the old men who related this history to me could not remember it.

The time in which I write this history is at night, as at such time my old-men companions will rehearse the history; but in the day they will not stay at home, but go off to the cultivations. And so ends the battle of song fought by those old chief-poets.

The Murder Of Toto. (Nga-Ti-Mahuta.)

Toto (pulled) was murdered at O-tahuhu (the ridge-pole), in the Manuka district—that is, he was murdered on the road by page 116 which canoes are dragged from the Tamaki River to the sea on the Manuka side near to Mangere (lazy), at Onehunga (soft light soil). These are the particulars, and the reason for his being murdered:—

Toto went to Wai-kato to see his younger brother, whose name also was Toto. He lived at the mouth of the Awaroa (long creek) Creek, which creek is gained by going over the road called the Pae-o-kai-waka (the ridge consumed by the canoes), whence canoes go down to the Wai-kato River. He lived on the west side of the mouth of the creek, as you go out into the Wai-kato. Toto met his younger brother, and, they having cried over each other according to custom, and Toto having stayed for some time, the day came when he must return home; so some of the party came back by way of the Awa-roa, and landed at Purapura (seed), and dragged the canoe across the Pae-o-kai-waka to the landing-place at Wai-uku (water where clay is found and used instead of soap), and paddled down the Wai-uku River into the Manuka, and paddled on to O-tahuhu.

But some of the party who went with Toto to see his brother went back by way of the Wai-kato River: these paddled up the river from the mouth of the Awa-roa to the Auaunga (repeated), where they landed, and came on to the pa called Titi (mutton-bird), then on to Patu-mahoe (weapon made of the mahoe— Melicytus ramiflorus—wood), and thence over the Turorirori (stagger) plain; and at the Karaka (Corynocarpus lævigata) they crossed the river, and went on to the pa at Manu-rewa (floating bird), and then on to the pa at Matuku-rua (two bitterns), and on to O-tahuhu.

Another part of the troop who went with Toto came back from the mouth of the Awa-roa by way of Tauwhare (overhang), and thence on to the west coast, and along the beach to Pehi-a-kura (Dicksonia squarrosa), thence on till they entered a forest, in which they saw an old man sitting at the root of a tree, eating some cooked tui (Prosthemadera novæ-zelandiæ) which he had roasted in a fire. When these men saw him they burst out into page 117 laughter, then asked him, “Is this all that you have to eat?” The old man did not utter a word, so they again asked, “Have you not a son who can roast birds for you?” but the old man sat in silence. Now, this old man had a son, who all this time was up in the tree at the root of which his old father was sitting; but the people of Toto did not see him. When the people had passed on and had gone out of sight the boy came down from the tree, and asked his father, “What did the people say to you?” The old man said, “This is what they asked me; but I did not answer them. They asked, ‘Is your food all like that? Have you not a son who can cook birds for you?’” When the boy heard these words he was sorrowful, as the questions of these people were a taunt to his father and himself. The son went to obtain assistance to make war on these men. Those to whom he applied at once joined him. They were all brave men, and with their weapons went on the road leading to the Karaka, which was at the mouth of the Wai-uku River, where it enters the Manuka Harbour. They crossed the Wai-uku River at the Karaka, and went along the eastern shore of the Manuka Harbour to the mouth of the Pukaki (head spring) Creek, where they cooked and partook of food; they crossed the Pukaki Creek and went on towards O-ta-huhu; and, when near to the break of day, they came to where the men who had questioned the old man were, with the rest of Toto's party: this they knew because they saw the canoes of Toto there. They attacked the people of Toto and killed them, and Toto was killed. Toto was on his way home at the time he was murdered, and was going back to his tribe at Hau-raki (Thames).

Heke-Te-Wananga and Korako (Nga-Ti-Haua)

Ha-nui (great breath) and Heke-te-wananga (departure of the medium of the gods) went with a body of men on a journey into the interior of Wai-kato. Having arrived at a forest they saw an old man called Korako (albino) sitting in the hollow of a tree which had been burnt by fire. Heke-te-wangana said to page 118 Ha-nui, “I will climb up the tree and make water on the head of the old man, to lower his dignity [degrade him in society].” Ha-nui strongly objected to this insult being offered to the old man, as the old fellow was related to him. Now, the old man Korako was nephew of Marama-tu-tahi (first moon of the year), who was elder brother of the father of Korako; the old man was therefore a near relative to Korako: but Heke-te-wananga persisted in doing what he had proposed, nor did he in the least listen to the objections of Ha-nui, but climbed up the tree, and from there made water on the head of the old man Korako, and, as he did this, he called to the old man and said, “Ho, ho! you who sit below there. Your rank as chief has been degraded, as my water has dripped on your head.”

Ha-nui and the party went on their way, and the old man Korako left the burnt hollow tree and went in search of his son, and as soon as he got to the bank of the Wai-kato River he saw some children playing on the opposite bank of the river near to their home and pa, to whom he called and said, “Go to my son Waenganui (middle), and say he must come and bring a canoe for me.” But the children said, “We will bring a canoe for you.” The old man said, “Do not; I do not wish you to bring a canoe for me. Go and call to Waenganui: he will bring a canoe for me.” The children went and said to Waenganui, “Your father calls for you, and says that you are to take a canoe for him.” Waenganui asked the children, “Why could not you paddle a canoe for him?” The children answered, “We said we would paddle a canoe for him, but he refused to allow us to do so, and said you yourself must take a canoe for him.” Waenganui paddled a canoe towards his father, and when he got to where his father was he called and asked him to come down to the water's edge and get into the canoe; but the old man called from above upon the bank, and said, “You come up here to me.” Waenganui landed, and climbed up to where his father was sitting. Waenganui knew that his father had something page 119 very important to tell him. Waenganui sat down and said, “What is the object of this line of action you have taken?” The old man said, “O son! evil has befallen me by the act of your elder relations Ha-nui and Heke-te-wananga.” The son asked, “What insult have they offered to you?” The old man answered and said, “The evil that has fallen on me is this: Heke te-wananga climbed up on my house—that is, the tree in which I lived-and made water on my head, and he called down and said, ‘Ho, ho! your dignity is lowered.’ The son said, “Then you by the merest accident escaped murder by the hands of those chiefs. I will be avenged of them: my weapon shall crack their skulls.” And Waenganui went back in his canoe to the pa.

Messengers were sent to all the tribes, who assembled for war; and when these had met, Waenganui told them of the insult offered to his father. They all assembled that night, and held a meeting at which they discussed the various proposals as to how they were to avenge the insult offered to the father of Waenganui, their aged chief. They agreed to start as a war-party in the morning, and attack Ha-nui and his friends. At dawn of day each one prepared for war. They numbered one hundred and fifty twice told, and started to attack the pa of Ha-nui.

Now, there were three hundred warriors twice told in the pa of Ha-nui, who, when they saw the war-party going towards their pa, came out on to the open ground and gave battle to the coming enemy. But they had to flee and go back into their pa, and were pursued; and as they entered the pa the enemy went in with them, and they were killed by the army of Waenganui. While the battle was raging Waenganui lifted up his voice and said, “O Ha-nui! be quick, you and your children, with your wives, and get on to the top of your houses.” They did so, and were not killed. The rest of the people of the pa were killed; but those who were saved were taken as vassals for Waenganui, and the descendants of these are vassals even in these days.