The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: Tai-Nui. [Vol. V]
Awake and rouse thyself, lest thou
Be weighted down by blight at home,
And monster of the deep should then devour.
Who now of their own priests can chant
The incantations to an angry sky,
And coming evil turn aside,
That Koitia may in the midst
Stand up erect. The tribes departed
Each from each, and separated were
When offspring of the crew of Tai-nui
Held sway and power to rule.
An Account Of An Ancient [European] Navigator Called Rongo-Tute.
In the days of old, and in the days when the very old people of these days (1842) were very young, a vessel came to Aro-pawa (go to the entrance of the trap), and Rongo-tute (news of the expelled) was the name of the chief leader [captain] of that ship; and the crew of that ship were evil, and committed evil on the Maori people, so that the Maori people, being so annoyed and disgusted with them, and so enraged by the evil of their ways, attacked the ship, took her, and killed all the crew. These were cooked and eaten. This act was committed a long long time before Te-rau-paraha migrated to the south from Kawhia, to the Whanga-nui-a-tara (the great harbour of Tara, or Port Nicholson).
The people of this ship having been killed by the Maori of Aro-pawa, the Maori collected the ropes from the masts, and from the sails, and from the ship, and the ship was allowed to page 121 drift on to the beach, where the various things on board were taken by the Maori, and the dinner-plates were broken by the Maori and holes were bored in the pieces, which were worn by the people instead of the greenstone hei-tiki. Now, the figures on some of these pieces of plate were not unlike Maori trees, and hence these imitation plate hei-tikis were called Te-upoko-o-rewarewa (the head of rewarewa—Knightia excelsa), as the Maori thought the figures on the plates were like that Maori tree.
But it was not long after these Europeans had been killed and eaten by the Maori that an epidemic came on all the district. This was a fever, and little punctures were on the body of the invalid; and thousands of the Maori people died of this disease. From this ship a weapon was obtained which was not unlike a Maori mere pounamu in shape, which is still in the possession of the chiefs of the tribe called Nga-ti-hine; and that was the first time that iron was seen by the Maori. The nails were rubbed on stones to make them have a sharp point; these nails were then put on to a long spear. Other pieces of iron were made into axes like our stone axes which we call kapu. For these carved handles were made, and to these dogs' hair of our Maori dog [indigenous dog] was tied, and pieces of the paua (haliotis) shell were inserted, and these were also rubbed over with the gum of the tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides) tree. One of these axes was called by the name of Kai-tangata (man-eater).
Account Given By Hore-Ta-Te-Taniwha.
In the days long past, when I was a very little boy, a vessel came to Whitianga (crossing) (Mercury Bay). Our tribe was living there at that time. We did not live there as our permanent home, but were there according to our custom of living for some time on each of our blocks of land, to keep our claim to each, and that our fire might be kept alight on each block, so that it might not be taken from us by some other tribe.page 122
We lived at Whitianga, and a vessel came there, and when our old men saw the ship they said it was a tupua, a god (some unknown thing), and the people on board were strange beings. The ship came to anchor, and the boats pulled on shore. As our old men looked at the manner in which they came on shore, the rowers pulling with their backs to the bows of the boat, the old people said, “Yes, it is so: these people are goblins; their eyes are at the back of their heads; they pull on shore with their backs to the land to which they are going.” When these goblins came on shore we (the children and women) took notice of them, but we ran away from them into the forest, and the warriors alone stayed in the presence of those goblins; but, as the goblins stayed some time, and did not do any evil to our braves, we came back one by one, and gazed at them, and we stroked their garments with our hands, and we were pleased with the whiteness of their skins and the blue of the eyes of some of them.
These goblins began to gather oysters, and we gave some kumara, fish, and fern-root to them. These they accepted, and we (the women and children) began to roast cockles for them; and as we saw that these goblins were eating kumara, fish, and cockles, we were startled, and said, “Perhaps they are not goblins like the Maori goblins” These goblins went into the forest, and also climbed up the hill to our pa (fort) at Whitianga (Mercury Bay). They collected grasses from the cliffs, and kept knocking at the stones on the beach, and we said, “Why are these acts done by these goblins?” We and the women gathered stones and grass of all sorts and gave to these goblins. Some of the stones they liked, and put them into their bags, the rest they threw away; and when we gave them the grass and branches of trees they stood and talked to us, or they uttered the words of their language. Perhaps they were asking questions, and, as we did not know their language, we laughed, and these goblins also laughed, so we were pleased. The warriors and old men of our tribe sat in silence and gazed at these goblins. So these goblins ate the food we had presented page 123 to them, with some relish they had brought on shore with them, and then we went up the Whitianga River with them. Now, some of the goblins had walking-sticks which they carried about with them, and when we arrived at the bare dead trees where the shags roost at night and have their nests, the goblins lifted the walking-sticks up and pointed them at the birds, and in a short time thunder was heard to crash and a flash of lightning was seen, and a shag fell from the trees; and we children were terrified, and fled, and rushed into the forest, and left the goblins all alone. They laughed, and waved their hands to us, and in a short time the bravest of us went back to where the goblins were, and handled the bird, and saw that it was dead. But what had killed it? Our old people waited in suspicion, and went back to the settlement, as also did the goblins. We were now at quiet and peace with them, and they gave us some of the food they had brought on shore with them. Some of this food was very hard, but it was sweet. Some of our old people said it was punga-punga (pumice-stone) from the land from which these goblins came. They gave us some fat food, which the same old people of our tribe said was the flesh of whales; but the saltness of this food nipped our throats, and we did not care for such fat food.
After the ship had been lying at anchor some time, some of our warriors went on board, and saw many things there. When they came on shore, they gave our people an account of what they had seen. This made many of us desirous to go and see the home of the goblins. I went with others; but I was a very little fellow in those days, so some of us boys went in the company of the warriors. Some of my playmates were afraid, and stayed on shore. When we got on board of the ship we were welcomed by the goblins, whom our warriors answered in our language. We sat on the deck of the ship, where we were looked at by the goblins, who with their hands stroked our mats and the hair of the heads of us children; at the same time they made much gabbling noise in talking, which we thought was page 124 questions regarding our mats and the sharks' teeth we wore in our ears, and the hei-tiki we wore suspended on our chests; but as we could not understand them we laughed, and they laughed also. They held some garments up and showed them to us, touching ours at the same time; so we gave our mats for their mats, to which some of our warriors said “Ka pai,” which words were repeated by some of the goblins, at which we laughed, and were joined in the laugh by the goblins.
There was one supreme man in that ship. We knew that he was the lord of the whole by his perfect gentlemanly and noble demeanour. He seldom spoke, but some of the goblins spoke much. But this man did not utter many words: all that he did was to handle our mats and hold our mere, spears, and waha-ika, and touch the hair of our heads. He was a very good man, and came to us—the children—and patted our cheeks, and gently touched our heads. His language was a hissing sound, and the words he spoke were not understood by us in the least. We had not been long on board of the ship before this lord of these goblins made a speech, and took some charcoal and made marks on the deck of the ship, and pointed to the shore and looked at our warriors. One of our aged men said to our people, “He is asking for an outline of this land;” and that old man stood up, took the charcoal, and marked the outline of the Ika-a-maui (the North Island of New Zealand). And the old chief spoke to that chief goblin, and explained the chart he had drawn. The other goblins and our people sat still and looked at the two who were engaged with the chart marked with charcoal on the deck. After some time the chief goblin took some white stuff, on which he made a copy of what the old chief had made on the deck, and then spoke to the old chief. The old chief explained the situation of the Reinga (lower region, world of spirits) at the North Cape; but, as the goblin chief did not appear to understand, the old chief laid down on the deck as if dead, and then pointed to the Reinga as drawn by him in the plan. But the goblin chief turned and spoke to his companions, and, after page 125 they had talked for some time, they all looked at the map which the old chief had drawn on the deck; but the goblins did not appear to understand anything about the world of spirits spoken of by the old chief, so they scattered about the deck of the ship.
I and my two boy-companions did not walk about on board of the ship—we were afraid lest we should be bewitched by the goblins; and we sat still and looked at everything we saw at the home of these goblins. When the chief goblin had been away in that part of their ship which he occupied, he came up on deck again and came to where I and my two boy-companions were, and patted our heads with his hand, and he put his hand out towards me and spoke to us at the same time, holding a nail out towards us. My companions were afraid, and sat in silence; but I laughed, and he gave the nail to me. I took it into my hand and said “Ka pai” (“Very good”), and he repeated my words, and again patted our heads with his hand, and went away. My companions said, “This is the leader [captain] of the ship, which is proved by his kindness to us; and also he is so very fond of children. A noble man—one of noble birth—cannot be lost in a crowd.” I took my nail, and kept it with great care, and carried it with me wherever I went, and made it fit to the point of my spear, and also used it to make holes in the sideboards of canoes, to bind them on to the canoe. I kept this nail till one day I was in a canoe and she capsized in the sea, and my god (the nail) was lost to me.
The goblin chief took some of his own things and went with them to our old chief, and gave him two handfuls of what we now know were seed-potatoes. At that time we thought they were para-reka (sweet Marattia salicina), and we called them by this name, as the things he gave to the old man were not unlike the bulb of the Marattia salicina, or like the lower end of that fern, at the part where it holds to the stem of the fern-tree. The old chief took the gift and planted it, and we have partaken of potatoes every year since that time. These things page 126 were first planted at a place in the Wairoa called the Hunua (double canoe), half-way between Drury and the Taupo Settlement, east of the entrance of the River Wairoa, opposite the Island of Wai-heke (descending water); and the old chief to whom the potatoes were given was of the Nga-ti-pou Tribe, who occupied the Drury district at that time.
After these para-reka had been planted for three years, and there was a good quantity of them, a feast was given, at which some of the potatoes were eaten, and then a general distribution of seed para-reka was made amongst the tribes of Wai-kato and Hau-raki (the Thames).
The Nga-puhi tribes say they had the potato before any other tribes of New Zealand. This assertion is a fiction: we, the tribes of the Thames, first had potatoes, as we can show that even at this day the potato grows of its own accord in the Hunua district, from the fact that in the days of old the pa at the Hunua was attacked by a war-party, the pa was taken, all the people killed and eaten, their bones were broken and knocked like nails into the posts of the storehouses at their own home, and the place was sacred for a long time, not any one daring to go there, and was quite forsaken for years, but potatoes continued to grow there of their own accord on the banks of the streams, where the soil is carried by the freshes in the creeks, and potatoes are to be obtained there at this day.
After many years another ship of goblins came to Hau-raki, and the goblins of this ship worked the kahikatea (Podocarpus dacrydioides) of Wai-hou, and took them away.
And some time after this another ship came; but this ship was much larger than the former ships. And as this ship was leaving Hau-raki she fell in with a canoe which had been driven some distance away by bad weather. The people of this canoe were taken on board of this ship. There were only two in the canoe, but, as the gale continued, these two could not be landed anywhere on the coast, and they were taken away to the other side in this ship, and were away two years, and were brought page 127 back in another ship. It was from this ship that we, the Hau-raki people, obtained pigs.
One of our tribe was killed by the goblins who first came to Whitianga (Mercury Bay). We—that is, our people—went again and again to that ship to sell fish, or mats, or anything that we Maoris had to sell; and one day one of our canoes, in which were nine persons, paddled off to the ship; but one of that nine was a noted thief, and this man took a dogskin mat to sell to the goblins. There were five of them at the stern of the canoe and four in the bow, and this thief was with those in the stern. When they got alongside of the ship, the goblin who collected shells, flowers, tree-blossoms, and stones was looking over the side. He held up the end of a garment which he would give in exchange for the dogskin mat belonging to this noted thief; so the thief waved with his hand to the goblin to let some of it down into the canoe, which the goblin did; and, as the goblin let some of it down into the canoe the thief kept pulling it towards him. When the thief had got a long length of the goblin's garment before him, the goblin cut his garment, and beckoned with his hand to the man to give the dogskin mat up to him; but the thief did not utter a word, and began to fold up the dogskin mat with the goblin's garment into one bundle, and told his companions to paddle to the shore. They paddled away. The goblin went down into the hold of the ship, but soon came up with a walking-stick in his hand, and pointed with it at the canoe which was paddling away. Thunder pealed and lightning flashed, but those in the canoe paddled on. When they landed eight rose to leave the canoe, but the thief sat still with his dogskin mat and the garment of the goblin under his feet. His companions called to him, but he did not answer. One of them went and shook him, and the thief fell back into the hold of the canoe, and blood was seen on his clothing and a hole in his back. He was carried to the settlement and a meeting of the people called to consult on the matter, at which his companions told the tale of the theft of the goblin's garment; and the people page 128 said, “He was the cause of his own death, and it will not be right to avenge him. All the payment he will obtain for his death will be the goblin's garment which he has stolen, which shall be left to bind around his body where it is laid.” His body was taken and put into one of the ancient cave burial-places. Not any evil came from this death, and we again went to barter with the goblins of that ship, and the goblins came again and again on shore, nor was there one evil word spoken, or any act of transgression on our part for that death.
Account Given By Taniwha-Horeta (Goblin Of Red Ochre)
We were at Whitianga when a European vessel came there for the first time. I was a very little boy in those days. The vessel came to Pu-rangi (distant) and there anchored, soon after which she lowered three boats into the sea, which pulled all over the Whitianga Harbour. We saw the Europeans who pulled in those boats, and said that those Europeans had eyes in the back of their heads, as they pulled with their backs to the land to which they were going. These Europeans bought our Maori articles, and every day our canoes paddled to that ship, and what we bought from those Europeans was nails, flat iron (hoop), and axes. There were few axes, but knives and calico were in plenty; for which we gave our fish, garments, cockles, and oysters in payment. Now [since that time] I know how to buy and sell, as we have learnt from the vessels that spear whales [whalers]; and also we are now possessed of potatoes. The potatoes we had for sale in years past we took to the beach, where we piled the baskets in lines three baskets deep, for which we received a piece of calico as long as the row which the three deep baskets of potatoes made.
When that first ship came to Whitianga I was afraid of the goblins in her, and would not go near the ship till some of our warriors had been on board. It was long before I was reconciled to those goblins or lost my fear of them. At last I went on board of that ship with some of my boy-companions, where the supreme leader of that ship talked to us boys, and patted our heads with his hand. He was not a man who said much, but was rather silent; but he had a grand mien, and his appearance was noble, and hence we children liked him [were at ease in his presence], and he gave a nail to me.
Some of the great men of that ship made sketches of the land on shore, and also of the islands in the sea of Whitianga, and the great chief commanded our old chiefs to make a drawing of Ao-tea (New Zealand) with charcoal on the deck of the ship. So those old chiefs, as asked, made a sketch on the deck of the vessel with charcoal. This included Hau-raki (Thames), Moe-hau (Cape Colville), and the whole of the Island of Ao-tea (North Island of New Zealand), and taking in Muri-whenua (North Cape); and the great chief copied this into his book. He asked the names of all the places drawn by them, even to the Reinga (North Cape, the exit of spirits).
Those Europeans had much food, but it was different from that possessed by the Maori. We liked the biscuit best of all. Some of us said pork was the flesh of man, which was eaten by those Europeans, but others said that fat pork was the blubber of whale. We did not possess pigs in those days (we had not seen those animals), but after many years we got some of them.
One of our men was killed by the Europeans of that ship. page 130 A canoe paddled to the ship, and one of the crew was a thief. The men of that canoe took pet kaka (Nestor meridionalis), fish, and carved boxes in which the huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) and kotuku (Ardea alba) feathers are kept; and the thief took a kahu-waero (dogskin mat) to sell, which the Europeans wished to buy, but the European who was the most inquisitive to collect shells and stones was the most eager to buy it, so he let some calico into the canoe as payment for the dogskin mat, and as the calico was let down the thief took it and sat on it, and held the dogskin mat up to view. When this European had unrolled as much of the calico as he thought was the worth of the mat he cut the calico off from that which he held in his possession, and let it drop into the canoe, and called to the owner of the mat to hand it up to him; but the thief spoke to his companions, and they paddled towards the shore, taking the calico and the dogskin mat with them. The European went down into the ship and came up again with a gun, and fired the gun off at the canoe. The canoe got on shore, and the thief was lying stretched out in the bottom. He was shot in the back, and was nearly dead, and was taken on shore. A meeting took place at which it was said he had been the cause of his own death by his act of theft; so he was taken to his grave covered with the calico he had stolen, and this was all that was done in regard to his death. The Europeans came on shore as usual to buy our articles, nor did the least evil take place for his death.
A long time after this another ship came. I had become like a European at this time, and it was in these days that I understood what the old people conversed about; but I remembered well, and could recollect a very great deal about the chief leader of the crew of the first ship that came into Whitianga, as he had given a nail to me, and I had ever worn that nail suspended to my breast in lieu of a hei-tiki, and I used the nail to carve wood boxes to hold the huia-feathers; page 131 but in years after this I went out on the sea in a canoe, and our canoe capsized off the islands Puku-o (stomach of food) and Kopu-tau-aki (stomach beaten by the loved one), and my nail was lost. I dived to recover it, but could not find it.
The first vessel that ever went into Whitianga (Mercury Bay) on leaving that place sailed towards Hau-raki (Thames), and our people left Whitianga to come to Hau-raki. We had told the chief of that ship about our land at Whakatiwai (like a canoe without attached sides) and at O-rere (fleeing). As the ship had sailed to Moe-hau (Cape Colville), we had come across from Whitianga to Whanga-poa (wait for the bait). When we got to the peak of Whanga-poa and to Ara-paua (path to the haliotis), we saw the ship sailing away a little outside of the island called Wai-mate (dried-up water), with one boat dragging astern of the ship, and two boats pulling before her. The vessel went on and anchored off Wai-o-mu (water for the invalid) and Te-puru (the obstruction), and the tribes of Wai-hou said the Europeans of that ship went up that river to look at the kahikatea forest there. From that time we did not see that vessel any more.
After this a war-party came to conquer us; but the tribes of Hau-raki were not overpowered by them, and the land from Whitianga even to the Thames was kept by us, even as it was claimed and held by our ancestors in days of old.
The Wai-kato people were our most inveterate foes. They are a great and numerous people, and we are few. The Nga-puhi fought with Wai-kato, and Wai-kato fought with Tara-naki, so that war was universal from the North Cape even to the end of the Wai-pounamu (South Island); and our tribe joined in those wars, but we were not driven out of Hau-raki, but our lands were held by us by the power of our warriors.
In the days when we were attacked by a war-party from Tauranga we gained the battle, and they fled back to their home. And when the Nga-ti-whakaue Tribe came as a war-party on us from Roto-rua, we attacked them, and they fled to their home. page 132 We ever held firmly to our land, but when the days of extreme evil came we hauled our canoes up on shore; but at other times we paddled our canoes from Whitianga around Moe-hau (Cape Colvile), and hid them in places where they might not be found, and we gave battle to our enemies on the sea-beach. It was by the sea-shore that the Arawa Tribe came to attack us. And if a war-party of the Nga-puhi Tribe came in their double canoes to Hau-raki, we attacked and fought them on our islands in the Thames. They could not say they held possession of any one battlefield, but went back disheartened to their home in sorrow, as we had been left in sorrow at our homes. Our people kept our fires burning at all our homes.
The time came when war was evil in the extreme; so we took our canoes, and as we were living at Wanga-poua (harbour of the aged) we sank them in the Wanga-poua Creek, and placed stones on them to keep them down in the water and mud, that they might not be discovered by a war-party, and we, the people, scattered all over the mountains, where we could live unseen by the enemy. We lived on the Mau-paki (carry a girdle), the great and dividing range of Hau-raki from the east coast.
A time came when the Wai-kato people dragged their war-canoes across the portage at Marama-rua (double light) to the Thames at Pu-korokoro (net for catching eels), and attacked us at Kauae-ranga (jaws set in a line), and killed some of our people there. Also, some of our people were attacked at O-pou (the stake), and there, in the midst of a kumara-plantation, were killed; and we were attacked, followed, and killed on the sea; as also at the island Ao-tea (Great Barrier), where many of us were killed and our kumara-plantations destroyed: so that we felt quite overcome and beaten. But in time we began to recover, and a spirit of daring came into our hearts, and we lifted up the expanding nostrils with a powerful breath of life, and in this spirit we considered how we should be revenged for our late defeats. So we sent spies out to search for our enemies, page 133 and found some living on the banks of the Manuka Sea. These were the Nga-ti-te-ata branch of the Wai-kato Tribe, with their leader and supreme chief called Pou-whare-umu (post of a cooking-house), who were engaged in the summer season of fishing for shark; as were also the Nga-ti-whatua Tribe, of Kaipara, fishing for shark at the same time off Ngutu-wera (burnt mouth), in the Waite-mata (water of obsidian) (Auckland Harbour). The canoes of the Nga-ti-whatua were kept in the Whau (Avondale) Creek. The Nga-ti-te-ata were seen by our spies on the west side of the point westward of One-hunga (soft, powder-like soil), as it was at that place where the Nga-ti-te-ata hung the sharks up to dry which they caught in the Manuka Harbour.
Our spies came back to Wai-au (water of the stream) (Coromandel) from Manuka and Wai-te-mata, and our people manned twelve war-canoes all with warriors, and we crossed the Thames to the Po-nui (great night) Island, where we kept in hiding, as there were not any inhabitants on that island in those days. From this we paddled on in the night to the Rangi-toto (scoria) Island, and on the following day we sent some of our canoes out to catch fish; but other of our canoes were kept out of sight behind the great scoria boulders on the island. Our canoes went to catch fish off Motu-korea (island of small canoe) (Brown's Island). We sent these canoes out to fish because we could not keep all our canoes out of sight of our enemy, and hence we sent these out on the Wai-te-mata Harbour to fish on the same sea on which our enemy, the Nga-ti-whatua, were fishing for shark. As soon as it was night we went in our canoes into the Wai-tomokia (water gone into), up the Tamaki River as far as O-tahuhu, and at midnight we dragged our canoes across the portage between the O-tahuhu and Manuka waters; but as it was a very calm night we had to work in silence, for fear our war-party should be discovered. As soon as it was high water in the Manuka our canoes floated, and we paddled away in the Manuka waters, and paddled towards Mangere (a certain star), where we felt a breeze blowing from that place page 134 towards us. We paddled on towards One-hunga, but went in the deep part of the river. By the time it was dawn of day we were opposite One-hunga, from which we could see canoes and men, and when we got to the point a little to the east of the Whau we saw some dogs, which barked at us, and we were seen by some of the Wai-kato people, who took us for some of their own tribe, who were part of their people who had been shark-fishing, and were now returning to the locality where all the tribe were located. The greater part of our warriors laid down in the holds of our canoes, and the wind, with our few paddles, carried our canoes towards our enemies.
The canoes belonging to the Wai-kato people were all hauled up high and dry on shore, near to where the sharks they had caught were hanging up to dry; and the females were beginning to light the hangi (ovens) to cook the morning repast. We landed and rushed at them in a war-charge; but the people did not take us to be a war-party. Some of our warriors rushed and took possession of their canoes, others of us charged on those of the Wai-kato who were at the greatest distance from the high-water line, and others of us charged on the Wai-kato who were nearest the beach, while others of our warriors went off to attack the Nga-ti-whatua people who were on the waters of the Wai-te-mata (Auckland Harbour).
We fought those on the shore of Manuka, on the ridges of land of the Whau (Avondale); and those of us who went to attack the Nga-ti-whatua who were in the Wai-te-mata killed all they met there.
There were not any guns in those days, so that the noise of our war-party could not be heard as we went on our war-path killing our enemies. The war-weapons of those days consisted of tao, hani, waha-ika, hoe-roa, and mere. And we were avenged of our defeat in which we were killed in the midst of our kumara-plantation at O-pou, and for our living like the rat hamua on the island Mau-paki (carry the girdle).page 135
We broke up the canoes belonging to the Wai-kato, and we ate of the “ika takoto kino a Tiki” (the ill-lying fish of Tiki— dead killed in war). So our hearts were satisfied, and we went back to Hau-raki. There were many wars after this; but I am tired this evening. Wait a while: I will tell the rest some other night.
War-Canoe Whenua-Roa, and Death Of Wawaua.
The war-canoe called Whenua-roa (long land) belonged to Te-horeta (red ochre), of the Nga-ti-whanaunga Tribe; but this canoe was taken or obtained by the Nga-ti-paoa Tribe, and paddled on a war-expedition, and met the Nga-puhi at Mata-pouri (dark face), where Tai-heke (descending tide) and others were killed. On the return of this expedition my husband asked Te-manu (bird) for payment for making this war-canoe Whenua-roa, so that he might be able to pay the men who had helped him in making her; but Te-manu did not give anything to my husband, which grieved him much. My husband went to Korora-reka (sweet penguin) and went on board of a vessel, and went away and left me at Nga-puhi; but his elder brother, called Nga-whare (the houses), hearing of my husband's intention to go over the sea to Port Jackson, accompanied him to that place and to Calcutta, and afterwards to America, where my husband became very ill. While ill he heard that I had taken another husband; but this was false, and was taken to that country by a Maori called Titore (split), who had also gone there in a ship. My husband meditated on self-destruction, but, as his brother felt pity for him, he went and collected the roots of convolvulus for him, but, having eaten them, he became worse; then he ate of cockles, and when he was near death, and just before he died, he sang the following song for me:—
We sit on a bank of the sea-shore,
And gaze at the rippling ocean-wave;
While news of me was spoken by the tongue
page 136 And oft repeated to our tribe Te-po.
And can it be that I alone
Must be the one so slandered by the crowd
Of all who lived at Ti-o-ponga,
Or at the Kiri-rewarewa? But I
Will hide my evil deeds, of days
Long past, in death's old fountain,
Lest I still stay long in this world,
And think, regret, and love that only one.
He died, and was put into a box [coffin] by the Europeans; but while he was yet alive he said that when he was dead his head must be cut off and hung over the stern of the vessel; but his elder brother said it would cause a disgust, and would be thrown overboard. And so it was: the head was thrown into the sea. The elder brother came in a ship, and in the fourth moon of the year [September] this ship arrived at Hau-raki (the Thames) and came to Tu-whenua (leprosy), from which place a messenger came and told me that Wawaua (wrangle), my husband, was dead, and that the ship in which his elder brother Nga-whare was had returned, and had brought the news of the death of my husband. We all wept for his death. After five days my own brother Te-awhiawhi (fondle) came to see me, and said to me, “Do not commit suicide. I am going south to Ngawengawe (squeal in pain), to inform the Nga-ti-po Tribe, and to bring Te-ahi-horonga (fire used in the ceremony of taking the tapu—sacredness—off any person or thing) and Tara-tikitiki (influence the top-knot of hair on the head by charms), as the tribes of Nga-ti-po, Nga-ti-mahuta, Nga-ti-mania-poto, Nga-ti-apa-kura, Nga-ti-haua, and all the people of Wai-kato are great, and must be informed of the death of your husband. After I have come back, then you can go with me to Hau-raki to visit the tribe of your late husband.”
My brother then left me, and I was quite alone, and in great sorrow. I thought of killing myself; but I was guarded by the people of the settlement, by my brother in-law and mother-in-law, and by some children belonging to them. When the elder people went to their work they told the children to guard me page 137 with care. These children slept rather long one morning, and I waited for them to awake; but, as they kept sleeping, I put some mats on them to keep them warm, and I put my pureke (mat made of the green half of the korari—flax—leaf) on, and bound it to me with a belt. I then stretched forth my hands in the direction in which Te-uira (lightning) lived, with others, and towards all our tribe, and I wept, and as I wept I chanted this dirge:—
This is my evil,
O ye mighty men!
How can I live
Thus left by thee?
I would not now
Cast blight on home,
But sigh my love
In spirit and in sorrow
To the clouds now
Passing to the south;
And I will hearken,
Though I cannot heat
The ripple of the distant tide.
Yes, Pare told me
Of the fate of mine—
My own beloved.
O daughter of the Rau!
Come, look with me
At clouds which come
From where my own
Beloved now lies.
But, oh! I would not
Leave an evil in my track,
But still press on that path
Where grief shall cease
To cause one pang of pain.
And I took some stones and held them on each side of me, and went into a stream, and swam out and dived; but I was seen by a man called Tohunga-rau (priest of a hundred), who called and said I was in the water. My garments caught in some timber in the water, from which I tried to disentangle them. I was now nearly drowned, and had swallowed much water, and had lost my breath; my ears were pained, and I wished to rise page 138 to the surface, but I could not, as I could not get my pureke mat clear of the timber. I now felt much pain in the loss of my power to breathe, and all sorrow for my husband had fled. I felt the complete power of exhaustion, and a severe pain in my ears. I meditated how I could save myself from death, as I had lost all sorrow for my husband.
When Tohunga-rau saw me he rushed into the water, calling, “Rangi-wae (space of heaven) is committing suicide—is committing suicide in the river; she will die; she has dived in the water.” All the people heard what he said and they came into the water, asking, “Where is she? where is she?” Some said, “She is there—there where you are.” Some dived, and I was found. My brother in-law caught me by the foot; but, as he could not move me, he tore my pureke mat while in the water (by which I was held by the timber), and caused me to come to the surface, and I was carried on shore. A fire was kindled, and caused to make much smoke, in which smoke I was held head down towards the fire, so that the smoke might go up into my lungs and cause the water to burst forth from them. Thus I was brought to life again, and a priest performed his ceremonies and chanted incantations over me, and thereby I recovered the power to breathe again. Then two priests began to perform their ceremonies and chant incantations over me. One of them placed his hand on my chest, while he listened till the throbbing of my heart was felt, and I came to life again. I was unable to sit up for one day; but while I was lying so weak I heard what the people said, and when I was quite recovered I did not feel any love for my late husband, but waited for my mother, who was called Te-ahi-horonga (the fire used in the ceremony of offering gifts to the gods when the tapu— sacredness—is taken off a new house), who was expected. My father, Tara-tikitiki (power of the effigy), did not come to see me, but my mother expressed great sorrow for me, and spoke of the goods which had been collected by her son-in-law (my page 139 late husband), which she sent for; and of these goods a gun was brought to us.
A man from our settlement went to Hau-raki and told the news about me, at which the Nga-ti-paoa Tribe were very angry, and Moka (end of a place), the younger brother of Au-wawe (mist come soon), came and wept over me. And in the evening Moka spoke to his sister and said, “I came to detain the gun which has been taken by Te-ahi-horonga.” And in the morning of the next day he spoke to Ahi-horonga and me. Ahi-horonga said, “Come, O son! to fetch the goods. I shall not be afraid or silent in regard to them. I will not take your goods to Wai-kato, as they are the property of my son-in-law who died far away.”
And I also said, “Welcome, O the elder brother of my late husband! If you feel a great wish to take the gun I shall not remain with you. But you take the goods, as I am going to Wai-kato. Do not persist in keeping me.” And I sang this song to him:—
Oh! the shame I feel
Is as a fire in me burning:
Take the tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides)
And bruise it till the perfume
Captivate the messenger this way,
To tell me of the silent
Fire ever burning all unseen;
And I shall turn my face
To look some other way.
I am as branchless tree,
Despised as nought in Hau-raki,
Nor dare the lips of man
Or taunts of noble crowd
Speak of my want or nothingness.
Come, let us see thy noble form,
And show thy grandeur, O Te-puke-roa!
And stand as beauteous cloud
Displayed to all the land,
And be the one, sole one
Beloved by all mankind;
While I now go—depart
To be the gaze of all,
As though I were but tree
Like the Schefflera digitata.