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The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions. Te Arawa [Vol. VII, English]

Chapter XI — The Canoe the Arawa (Nga-ti-hau)

Chapter XI
The Canoe the Arawa (Nga-ti-hau)

Company of travellers,
Long in the south,
Let our thoughts be known
Each to the other.
Now thy long absence is o'er,
And back thou art come.
How changed in appearance,
Nor like the same man!
Oh! wait not, nor stay
Alone at Ko-peo.
The path of old Kewa
Is divergent, and leads
Up to Kiekie;
But come to thy home,
The home of the past-
To Kai-taruru-
And rest with thy tribe
At Wai-ariki,
In quiet and calm.

The account of the canoe the Arawa has been handed down from ancient times. The men of old said that it was from one tree that some of the canoes were made which sailed from Hawa-iki to these islands [New Zealand]. The tree was but one tree, but its branches were exceedingly large, and the Arawa was made out of one of the branches, in which Hou (burrow into), Hei (ornament of feathers for the head), Tia (parent), and Tama-te-kapua (son of the cloud) could come here [to New Zealand].

The reason these men determined to come from Hawa-iki was because of their theft of the fruit of the poporo (Solanum aviculare) owned by Ue-nuku (trembling earth); and Ue-nuku killed the dog of Tama-te-kapua, and ate it; and the tribes had a battle, and Tama-te-kapua and others sailed here in the canoe the Arawa. And as they sailed here over the sea the crew were grieved that they had not any priest, to guide them on their voyage, by his ceremonies and incantations, so that they should sail correctly on, page (24)and also that they should be able to eat of cooked food on the voyage, and not be liable to insult the gods, and that the sea should be calm, and that they should not be met by any adverse storm; so they held a council, and determined to go back to Hawa-iki to obtain the presence of Nga-toro-i-rangi (stretch out to the sky) and his wife to perform the ceremonies and chant the incantations on board of the Arawa: the wife should perform those for the female gods, and the husband those for the male gods.

Nga-toro-i-rangi was priest of Tai-nui (great tide), which canoe was also on the eve of leaving Hawa-iki for these islands (New Zealand), and hence Nga-toro-i-rangi was more easily deceived by the crew who left in the Arawa. And this was the act of deceit practised on Nga-toro-i-rangi by Tama-te-kapua and his associates: Some of the crew of the Arawa went to ask Nga-toro-i-rangi to go and perform the ceremonies over the Arawa so that the leak of that canoe should cease or be stopped, and then he could return to his own canoe Tai-nui. He went as requested, and went on board of the Arawa; and as he was performing the ceremonies down in the hold of the canoe the crew were poling the canoe out to sea, and as soon as it was dusk the sails of the Arawa were set and the canoe sailed away on the sea, and by the time that Nga-toro-i-rangi had come on deck only a distant dark line indicating the land could be seen on the horizon, and he was very sorrowful. But it was not long after this when Tama-te-kapua seduced the wife of Nga-toro-i-rangi, and this again enraged him, so he caused the Arawa to sink into the sea; and the crew cried to him, and by the power of his ceremonies and incantations he delivered the canoe from wreck or foundering, and she came up again out of the throat of the Parata (sea god) and she and her crew were saved.

The canoe sailed on and landed at Whangaparaoa (harbour of the whale), outside of the island called Tiritiri-matangi (blustering wind); and Tai-ninihi (tide stealing away) saw the coast, and he was glad of the sight of the bloom of the hutukawa (pohutukawa – Metrosideros tomentosa) on shore, and he threw his plume of feathers, which he had brought from Hawa-iki, into the sea, and the plume drifted on to the beach, and was found by one called Ma-hina (the moon); and Tai-ninihi asked that his plume might be given to him again, but Ma-hina would not give it, but repeated these words, which have became a proverb to the descendants of this generation:—

The drifted plume of Ma-hina.

Tai-ninihi went on shore to obtain what he thought were kura (plumes), but on his arrival at the spot where they were he found they were the bloom of trees, and soon were faded, and were not like his own plume which he had thrown into the sea, and that they were not plumes made of the feathers of the bird amo-kura (Phaeton rubricauda).

I will again relate the cause of the Arawa being nearly lost at the time that Tama-te-kapua (son of the clouds) seduced the wife of Nga-toro-i-rangi. The canoe sailed over the sea, and Tama-te-kapua took liberties with that woman, and the wife told the evil to her husband; and Nga-toro-i-rangi was very wroth, and chanted incantations by the power of which the canoe might be engulfed in the ocean and Tama-te-kapua be thereby killed. He chanted and said thus:—

Lift the gong [or alarum]
Of Rongo-mai-mua,
Of Rongo-mai-hiti,
And hearken to the call
Of Nga-toro-i-rangi,
To his determined riddle
Uttered to the first post,
To the second post,
And outer post,
Rise, rise, rise on
To your symbols of sin,
The symbols of sin
On the canoe Arawa,
And the rising of the power
Of ocean-god.
Rise, rise, rise,
Oh Tanga-roa!
Rise, thou god of the sea!
Slide on, oh! slide.
Meet in multitude
And provoke the gods.
Rise, oh! rise up now.

Now, when the anger of Nga-toro-i-rangi was put into action, and he had caused the Arawa to sink in the ocean – that is, to sink into the throat of the sea-god Parata – that is, into the rere (the deepest part of the sea), as that was really the throat of the god Parata – and when the crew of the canoe cried out in fear, and called to Nga-toro-i-rangi and said, "O Nga-toro-i-rangi! the pillow of Kea-roa, your wife, is falling," as the canoe was going perpendicularly down into the sea; and when the pillow of the bed of Kea-roa fell into the sea, then Nga-toro-i-rangi chanted his incantation, and by the power of this the canoe came up out of the sea, and it and all the crew were saved. And she sailed, and landed at Whanga-paraoa; from thence she sailed to Ao-tea (white cloud), thence she sailed into Hau-raki (Thames), and again she turned and went to Moe-hau (sleeping wind) (Cape Colville); thence she went to the island Ahuahu (Mercury Island), and landed there at a place called Repanga (flapping), where Nga-toro-i-rangi let his pet birds loose. Takere-to (dragged keel) was the name of one, which was the male, and Mumu-hau (a slight air) the name of the other, the female. The canoe sailed from hence to Katikati (nibble), to a place called the Ranga-a-tai-kehu (the row of people of Tai-kehu – red tide), where the people of the Arawa found some of those who had come over in the Tai-nui located; and the latter said they had come from Hawa-iki and had landed at Whanga-paraoa, and that Tai-nui had sailed to Katikati, and that page (25)the crew of Tai-nui had taken possession of the Tauranga district, and that the canoe Mata-atua (god-face) had also sailed from Hawa-iki, and she had landed at Whakatane (like a male), at a place where the daughter of Toroa (albatross) had stood like a man, on the sea-coast outside of the entrance to the Whakatane River.

Raumati (summer) and his associates stayed at Tauranga, and the Arawa sailed away from the Ranga-a-tai-kehu to Maunga-nui (great mountain), where she landed at the headland on the east of the Tauranga entrance, on the sea-coast that stretches towards Maketu; and when the Arawa had arrived at Maunga-nui, Tu-taua-roa (Tu of the long war-party), who was one of the crew of the Arawa, bespoke that hill for himself, and he and his children remained and lived there. The next day at dawn the Arawa sailed, and that night they slept at Wai-raka (the water where the feet were entangled), and on the following day they landed at Maketu, where the Arawa was finally dragged on shore, and the anchors of the Arawa were dropped in the Maketu River. One of these was called Toka-parore (the rock of the parore – mangrove-fish), which was the anchor of the bow; and Tu-te-rangi-haruru (Tu of the booming heaven) was the name of the other, which was that of the stern.

Nga-toro-i-rangi resided on shore, and, though his canoe Tai-nui had arrived, and his people, he did not live with Raumati and the others at Tauranga, and thereby add to the number of his own people who had come in Tai-nui; but he lived at Maketu, where Tama-te-kapua also resided, with Hei, Tia, Wai-taha-nui (great side of the water), who was the son of Hei, and also Tapu-ika-nui-a-tia (great sacred fish of Tia), the son of Tia, where all these resided when the crew of the Arawa first landed on these islands [of New Zealand]; and the Arawa was hauled up on shore at Maketu, and a house made over her to protect her from rain and sun.

Raumati and his companions lived at Tauranga, and when he heard that the Arawa had been hauled on shore at Maketu he and his family tribe went and burnt the Arawa. When Ha-tu-patu (the breath of the battle) heard of the Arawa having been burnt, he rose and chanted an incantation, to give him bravery to seek satisfaction for the burning of the Arawa, and he chanted and sang,-

The tide of the sea extends.
O sin! our day.
O sin! our day.
Bind it up.
Tied up, brandish
Your arms while
You shake the scalps.
The sewn-up face,
The face that is shaded.
O sin! our day.
Great breath, long breath,
Breath of battle.
It is Karika
Extended on the ocean-tide.
O sin! our day.
O our day! bind it up.

Then the war-party of Ha-tu-patu went along the sea-beach of Maketu towards Maunga-nui, where they met Raumati and his people. A battle ensued, and Raumati was killed by Ha-tu-patu at the entrance of the harbour of Tauranga, where Ha-tu-patu put a post up, on which to place Raumati, at the spot where he had been killed. Ha-tu-patu called the spot Parepare (head), because the head of Raumati had been placed on the top of the post; and Ha-tu-patu returned to Maketu, and as he went along the coast he chanted incantations and waved the scalp of the slain. The old people of the pa (fort) at Maketu came out to welcome him with waving their mats, and as they welcomed the returning war-party they loudly called and chanted this chant:—

From whence come
The great party of Tu (god of war)?

And the war-party answered by another part of the same incantation, and said,-

Come from the seeking,
Come from the searching,
Great paty of Tu.

The old people again chanted part of the incantation, and said,-

Come from the discovery,
Great party of Tu?

The war-party answered by chanting,-

Tu has possessed,
Tu is exultant,
Tu is calmed,
And shouts with glee.

The old people again chanted and said,-

Even as the great calm
Of the great heaven,
Now seen above?

The warriors again chanted and said,-

Possessed and delighted,
Revived, sweet smell,
Great body, great body,
Great body of Tu.

Then the war-party went to the water, where incantations were chanted and they all dived in; and when they came up to the surface they went on shore, and went to the settlement and partook of food, and slept that night and the following night, and after that they went to their daily occupations.

Some of the people of the Arawa stayed at Maketu, and some went to the Roto-rua (two lakes), and some went to Tau-po (lay at anchor or rest, or bark at night), and some went to Whanga-nui (great harbour), and some sailed away to the Wai-pounamu (water of greenstone) (South Island), and these became estranged from the people who lived on the Ika-a-maui (the fish of Maui) (the North Island).

The son of Tapu-ika-nui-a-tia, called Maka-hae (ripped barracouta), lived at Maketu, and from him came that line of descent of whom Te-puku-atua (god's stomach) is the representative, which is said to be the sixteenth generation from the time of the arrival of the Arawa in Maketu, where she was burnt by Raumati; but numbers of tribes have their origin from those who came over in the Arawa from Hawa-iki to New Zealand. Even the Nga-i-te-rangi take their origin, from the Arawa migrations; but they are also by intermarriage connected with those who came in the Mata-atua (god's face) canoe, which canoe landed at the river Whaka-tane (like a man), in the district taken up by Toroa (albatross), and those who came in that canoe took up their residence at O-potiki (place of the youngest child), in the district in which the Whaka-tohea (cause to be poor, as exhausted soil through cultivation) and the tribes of the Uri-wera (hot descendants) live in these days. These tribes gradually forced the Arawa people out of the district at Maketu, and made them migrate to Roto-rua (two lakes), where all the Arawa people lived in one body. But in time the Roto-rua Arawa, urged by their own desire, again went and took up their abode at Maketu, and there resided till they were attacked by a joint body of Wai-kato and Nga-i-te-rangi Tribes. But the Arawa could not be made to move from Maketu, and the combined tribes again assembled and attacked the pa at the Tumu (bluff), and it was taken, and the Arawa fled to their old home at Roto-rua, and the Nga-i-te-rangi took up their abode at Maketu, and have held possession to this day.

page (26)

The Arawa people went back to Roto-rua, and at times they were urged by a desire to migrate, and some of them went to Hau-raki (calm wind) (Thames); but the descendants of those who had come in Tai-nui had long resided in that district. Now, Tai-nui had sailed up Hau-raki (Thames), and when she had gone up the Tamaki (start involuntarily) she was dragged over the portage at O-tahuhu (ridge-pole) into the sea at Manuka (regret), and was taken out by the mouth of the harbour into the open sea, and sailed along the west coast towards Kawhia (embraced), where she was hauled on shore and where she and her people remained.

The descendants of those who came in the Tai-nui canoe are called Tai-nui to this day. The supreme leaders of this canoe, who commanded her in her voyage from Hawa-iki, were Hotu-roa (long sob), Hotu-ope (sob of the migration), Hotu-mata-pu (sob of the face of the trumpet), and their sisters, who were called Whakaoti-rangi (concluded of heaven) and Marama (moon); and these women brought the kumara (Ipomœa batatas), taro (Colocasia antiquorum), and hue (gourd) to these islands [of New Zealand].

The Wai-kato, Kawhia, Ao-tea, and Manuka people say they are descended from the people who migrated from Hawa-iki in the canoe Tai-nui to these islands [of New Zealand]; as also do some of the Hau-raki (Thames) tribes, as those at Hau-raki are descendants of the three sons of Maru-tuahu. And also the Nga-ti-toa and Nga-ti-raukawa Tribes say they are descendants from the Tai-nui people; as also some of the Nga-ti-kahu-ngunu people claim to have their origin from the Tai-nui migration, from women who were taken as wives by Kahu-ngunu men. But it is said Kahu-ngunu himself came from the Au-pouri district, where Nga-puhi now reside; and he came from that part to Turanga-nui (Poverty Bay), and some of the Arawa women took Tai-nui husbands; hence the tribes have but one ancestor.