Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (digital text)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

Chapter IV

Chapter IV

My love is cast aside
As is the ripped-up fish
In ocean-battle killed,
What do these eyes portend
As gushing tears now come,
And I, in anguish,
Weeping, flee to home at Wai-hi?
Who can be deaf
As words of love are heard
By fond beloved and wife?
And I in dream can see
The plume of Hongi
Flaunting, waving in her head,
And nearer coming, nearer still,
Till flash of red reflected
From the plume is seen
On Parahama and Riri-hore,
Who in their home
Would not refuse to have
The noblest gift you make
As did the servile soul
Of Tu-rihariha,
Though evil came, and death
Was in the last word said.

A very ancient chant sung by Pehi-tu-roa
at Whanga-nui


This song was in relation to Te-arawa, and alludes to persons and events connected with the coming of that canoe from Hawa-iki, and the arrival at Maketu of the ancestors of the Roto-rua and Tau-po tribes.

The day now dawns,
And the beloved is seen.
My bird now sings
Upon the bird's own perch.
My kaka of loud voice
Now speaks at home
To your elder brother.
I ask to know the path
That leads by inland route,
As no canoe is near
To take you hence.
But your canoes shall be
And Rangi-pu-rere-o-tane,
The known canoes of Tanga-roa
And Te-waka-ihu-ngaru,
The canoe of Rongo-mai,
So often seen at Wai-o-rua,
Where you must go, and there be seen
And gazed on with delight-
That beauteous red-stained skin of thine,
That skin so fragrant with
The scented oil, with raukawa.
And should they ask thee,
Answer them, and say,
My wife by evil men
Is taken far from me;
And yours are ears so deaf,
And could not hear
page (6) That I of Arawa am,
Of Nga-toro-i-rangi,
And am escaped and fled
To live at Make-tu,
Where fights of Totara-karia,
And Ihu-motomotokia
Had origin; and winds of Punga-were
Blew all to sea, and thence
The death of Muru-tahanga,
And Mana-hua's multitude were killed.
Take thine axe, and stand, and speak
Of battles fought at Te-whaka-horo,
And of thy sons
In battle caught,
And taken all alive
In one canoe as prisoners.
And, O my parent!
I am not of idle hand,
But oft have carried you
With power to battle-front.
But coward soul,
That dared not take revenge
For the death of Tau-wha-o-te-rangi,
Or Wai-pohue,
Or for Te-riu-here-taunga,
Or battle of Te-roto-a-tara.
I still remember these,
And memory holds them
As a dread, to point
To you to take revenge
On thousands yet,
Nor darest thou quake,
Or feel an awe of fear,
To cause thee now to say,
Oh, pain! Oh, dread is me!

Ngahue and Tama-te-kapua

This man Nga-hue (the calabashes) was from Hawa-iki. On account of a person being jealous of him and his pet fish living so peaceably in that land [at Hawa-iki], his enemy was angry, and Nga-hue was expelled by this person from Hawa-iki. Hine-tu-a-hoanga (daughter like a whetstone) expelled Nga-hue from Hawa-iki. Hine-tu-a-hoanga was the chief of a great tribe at Hawa-iki, and this tribe was numerous, and possessed many outrigger canoes by which they could sail on the ocean to the islands of the Hawa-ikian sea. Nga-hue was like the man Tini-rau (many hundreds), who took great trouble with his pets, which were whales, on which he could go across the sea; and it was on account of their obedience to his commands that his enemy (Hine-tu-a-hoanga) was enraged with him, and so expelled him from that land, that he might go and find a home for himself where he could live or sink in the sea and be drowned. So Nga-hue was expelled from Hawa-iki; and he got on to one of his pets, a whale, and sailed away for the islands of the sea, and landed on an island and there lived; and the whale sailed about the islands. After they had remained there some time Nga-hue surmised that his enemy might come there and turn him off that island, so he went on his pet whale to another island. Having lived there some time he left, and went to another land, at Ao-tea; and when he had seen the land they went towards Whanga-paraoa (harbour of the whale), and Nga-hue landed there; then they went to Tauranga, and Nga-hue went on shore, and travelled overland and went into Hau-raki (Thames), and he went on to Wai-hou (water that excavates down), and he got to the Wai-rere (waterfall), and on to Taupo (rest at night), where he stayed for some time, and then came back to Hau-raki (Thames), and went to Moe-hau (sleeping wind) (Cape Colville), where he again got on to his pet whale and went by the east coast, and went to all the various places near Tauranga (lay at anchor) – Whai-a-paoa (skate of Paoa), Wai-apu (water baled up into the mouth by handfuls), Turanga (standing), Te-mahia (the sound of a voice), Here-taunga (predetermined; the place of anchorage or alighting), Matau-a-maui (the fishing-hook of Maui), Matai-kora (a certain stone used in working the pounamu), Wai-rarapa (glistening water) – and he crossed over the sea of Rau-kawa (green colour) (Cook Strait), and he sailed on to the Wai-pounamu (Middle Island), and on to Ara-pawa (road of smoke), Ara-hura (road made clear by pushing the scrub aside), and Whaka-tupa (unfruitful, not yielding any produce); and he found the greenstone at Whaka-tupa, and he took a slab of greenstone, out of which he made the greenstones called Kaukau-matua (anoint the parent) and Tuku-rangi (the heavens beclouded). From this place, he again went on his pet fish to the Aroha (love), where the bird moa (swing to and fro) was seen at the Wai-rere (waterfall). This bird he killed, and cooked in an oven (hangi) and put it into a basket made of totara-bark, in which preserved pigeons are kept, and took it back with him to Hawa-iki, and made a present to the people at Hawa-iki, and said, "There is a land I have discovered: it is a good land, and that is the food found there – big birds, fish, fern-root, and many other sorts of provisions." They asked, "By what path do you get there?" He answered, "You must voyage in canoes, and look to the stars of night to show the road." So the people began to make canoes, and hence Tai-nui (great sea), Te-arawa (shark), Ao-tea (clear day), Taki-tumu (lift the king on the side), Kura-hau-po (red night of wind), and Toko-maru (bruised pole) were made, and other canoes also; and Tama-te-kapua (son of the clouds), Nga-toro-i-rangi (stretch out the arm to the sky), Hotu-roa (long sob), Turi (deaf), and Manaia (haughty) were the leaders of those who came over in these canoes.

These canoes were made, and they sailed from Hawa-iki and came towards these islands [of New Zealand]. And at the time the stern-piece was made to fit on one of the canoes an evil befell the people.

The son of Manaia named Tu-te-ngana-hau (god of war who persists in obtaining the scalp of his enemy) had an evil befall him in being crushed by the stern-piece (haumi) of the canoe; and those who were fitting the stern-piece to the canoe buried the body of the boy in the chips made in constructing the canoe, after which they worked as fast as they could to complete the canoe, to be able to go on their voyage at once and get out to sea, for fear the body of the boy should be found while there were in Hawa-iki, when evil or battle would be the result.

Now, this boy was descended from a line of great chiefs, and was therefore of great rank, and some priests say the cause of his death was that he taunted, or made sport of, or sneered at Hotu-roa at the time the canoe Tai-nui was being made; and Hotu-roa was angry at the sneering words of Tu-te-ngana-hau, and slew him and buried him in the chips made in constructing the canoe; and the boy was supposed to have gone to his relations, so he was not sought for by the people.

The canoes were finished and the Arawa sailed away from Hawa-iki, but before she put off from the land Tama-te-kapua called loudly to Nga-toro-i-rangi to go on board of his canoe, the Arawa, to perform all the ceremonies page (7)and chant the incantations to take the sacredness from the canoe, that the crew might be able to eat cooked food on the voyage, without incurring the anger of the gods; and that his wife Kea-roa (long discharge of the nose) should also go on board, that she might perform all the ceremonies and chant all the incantations to the female gods for the same object. So they two went on board of the Arawa, and as they were engaged in performing the ceremonies requested by Tama-te-kapua, and were lost in thought on the performance of these correctly, Tama-te-kapua ordered the canoe to be put out to sea, and by the time these two had performed all the ceremonies, and had again come up on deck, the canoe had gone far out to sea, and, though they asked to be taken back to the shore, their request was not listened to, though they said they wished to go on board of the canoe Tai-nui. And the canoe sailed straight on, and when far out at sea Tama-te-kapua seduced Kea-roa; and it was by the veriest chance that the canoe was not foundered by Nga-toro-i-rangi for the insult offered to him, but it was his pity for the people on board of the canoe that saved them. So they came on in the Arawa till she landed at Ao-tea; but they did not sleep in the hold of the canoe, but, as they were sacred, they had to sleep on the deck in a shed built for them. The canoe landed at Whanga-paraoa (whale-harbour), and went thence to Tauranga (lay at anchor), and on to Maketu (ridge of the nose) and Whakatane (like a man), from whence the canoe came back to Maketu, where she was hauled on shore and her anchors were cast into the Maketu River. The Arawa was afterwards burnt by Raumati (summer).

The Tai-nui sailed over the sea and landed at Whanga-paraoa (whale-harbour), and she sailed up the Tamaki River to O-tahuhu (the ridge-pole, or roof), where she was hauled across the portage into the Manuka water, and she sailed in that lake [river], and out at the entrance at the west coast, and along the west coast to Kawhia (embraced), where Hotu-roa (long sob) went on shore and took up his permanent abode, and where Tai-nui turned into stone, and can be seen at this day.

The Ao-tea (clear cloud) sailed from Hawa-iki and came into Hau-raki (Thames), where the crew stayed some time; but she sailed from thence up the Tamaki (start involuntarily) in company with the canoes Tai-nui and Toko-maru – that is, she was also called Tonga-maru (bruised south) – where they were hauled across the portage there; and when they had been put into the Manuka sea they were paddled in that sea and out on the west sea-coast; and the canoe Ao-tea landed at Ao-tea, and Tai-nui at Kawhia, and Toko-maru at Tara-naki (bravery around) – that is, at the home of Nga-ti-awa [Tribe], the tribe about whom these proverbs are repeated: "Nga-ti-awa of heaven," and "Nga-ti-awa, the axe that does not become loose by the effects of the heat of the sun" – where the people of the canoe Toko-maru stayed.

Now, as these canoes had left the land (Hawa-iki) and some of the tribe had stayed in the land – that is, those who forced the others to migrate – so they who stayed in Hawa-iki sought for the son of Manaia, but could not find him at any of the homes of his relatives; but a god called Tu-parau-nui (Tu the great fiction-teller) by the smell of the dead child discovered the body, and it was buried as the people lamented and wept. But they could not be avenged, as the murderer had left the land; so the son of Manaia was buried unavenged, like the burial of one of little note of Hawa-iki.

Evil at Hawa-iki

Hou-mai-tawhiti (push through a thicket from a distance) had two sons, and from Hou-mai-tawhiti came the evil that began at Hawa-iki. Now, I will relate the origin of that evil, by which war began between the people at Hawa-iki, and in which they killed each other, and by which some of them were forced to migrate from that land to these islands, Ao-tea-roa (New Zealand).

The tribe lived at Hawa-iki in peace and plenty; and they had their sacred places and places that were common; and they had their homes, where they lived. But it came to pass, on a certain day, that the sons of Hou-mai-tawhiti possessed a dog called Potaka-tawhiti (whipping-top of a distance), and that dog went into the sacred place and ate the offerings presented to the gods, which act was not known for some time; but as soon as the theft of the offerings by the dog was discovered the dog was killed by the discoverers, Toi (pinnacle) and Ue-nuku (trembling earth), and cooked and eaten by Toi-te-hua-tahi (the pinnacle of one fruit). This caused Tama-te-kapua (son of the cloud: he walked on stilts) and Whakaturia (cause to stand up erect), the two sons of Hou-mai-tawhiti, to be very sorry on account of the loss of their dog. As the dog had not been seen by them for some time they sought for it, but for some time could not find it. They went to each settlement, and kept calling for it as they went; and when they arrived at the pa of Toi-te-hua-tahi they called for the dog, and it answered "Ow, ow," from the stomach of Toi-te-hua-tahi; and when they heard it so call in his stomach, and Toi-te-hua-tahi also heard the howl of the dog in his inside, he remarked "I closed my mouth very tight, but your howl was not smothered, you slave; and still you howl." And hence these words of Toi-te-hua-tahi have become a proverb, and have become repeated thus: "Slave, you were hidden in the great stomach of Toi, yet you still howl, you slave." So Tama-te-kapua and his brother Whakaturia now knew the cause of their dog's absence from his home. They went back to their home in silence [did not make any remark about the dog to Toi-te-hua-tahi, or any other person], and concocted a plan by which they could be revenged on Toi-te-hua-tahi and Ue-nuku.

Now, they were not accusing Toi-te-hua-tahi falsely, as when they first called the dog in the pa of Toi-te-hua-tahi, and the dog howled in his stomach, they did not then accuse him for the loss of their dog, but when Whakaturia again called the dog, and it again howled in the stomach of Toi-te-hua-tahi, then they said, "Truly Toi-te-hua-tahi had killed the dog, and he had also eaten the dog," and hence they determined to be fully revenged on him for the death of their dog. So they laid a plan, and went to the water, but they left their garments on the bank of the stream all that night till dawn of the following day, and then, at night, they took their garments to the front of the tuahu (altar), and left them there that night, and till page (8)the following night also had passed, while they performed the ceremonies and chanted incantations to their gods at that altar, and made gifts to their gods; and at the dawn of the third day of their performing their ceremonies and offering their gifts they saw blood on their garments, which garments they laid before the altar. This they took to be an omen of evil, and an indication of a future war. So they went to obtain saplings to make stilts, which, when they had made a pair, Tama-te-kapua took, and used them to walk on, and Whakaturia went with him for a walk; and at night they went towards the settlement of Ue-nuku, and, having seen a poporo (Solanum aviculare) tree in full fruit – which tree stood as a shade to the house of Ue-nuku, and was sacred because it stood near to Ue-nuku's house, and his house was sacred on account of his being sacred, and, of course, the tree shading that house was also sacred, and the fruit of such tree could not be eaten by man – Tama-te-kapua went on his stilts – that is, on his feet that walked in the clouds – to that tree, and he plucked the fruit of the tree, and he and his brother Whakaturia ate the fruit; and when they had satisfied their appetites with the fruit of the tree they went back to their home and family tribe. They went each night after this to the tree for the same object; and Ue-nuku noticed that the fruit of his poporo-tree became less in quantity, and he wondered what could cause it to disappear; and he looked on the ground where the tree grew, but could not see the marks of the feet of men there, but only the holes made by the saplings on which Tama-te-kapua walked. Ue-nuku did not know what these marks on the ground indicated; but at night spies were placed near the tree to discover how it was the fruit grew less in quantity, and after a time Tama-te-kapua and his brother Whakaturia came again to the tree to eat of its fruit, and they saw the spies, who rushed out and caught Whakaturia; but Tama-te-kapua escaped. The spies took Whakaturia to the sea-beach, and some of them said, "Cut this fellow to pieces – hand from hand, foot from foot, and chest from ribs – and let the pieces be thrown into the sea, that the limbs may float away."

Whakaturia said to them, "I cannot be killed by you on this sea-coast, but take me inland and then kill me." So they took him inland, and as he was taken before the great company of Ue-nuku, who all assembled to see him executed, some of them said, "Cut him to pieces;" others said, "No; plait a large basket and put him into it, and hang him up in it in a house, so that the smoke of the house may annoy him." And all the great company agreed to this, and he was placed, as proposed and agreed to, in the house where the people assembled to amuse themselves at night. A fire was kindled in the house in the evening, and the people began to haka (d), and to amuse themselves with games of various sorts; and Whakaturia looked down and saw the haka, and thought it was performed in a very slovenly manner, and was not acted in so good a way as the people of Hou-mai-tawhiti could do. And such was the haka performed every night.

Hou-mai-tawhiti and his people heard of the spot where Whakaturia was kept alive, and Tama-te-kapua said he would go and see his younger brother; and he went at night, and climbed up on to the top of the house, and made an opening in the roof of the house just above where Whakaturia was suspended, and Tama-te-kapua spoke and said, "O Whakaturia! are you still alive?" Whakaturia said, "Yes." Tama-te-kapua asked, "What do that people amuse themselves with at night?" "They haka," answered Whakaturia. "Do they haka in a perfect way?" inquired the brother. "No." was the reply; "They perform it in a confused manner – it is not performed well." Tama-te-kapua again asked, "Do that people have a kindly feeling towards each other?" Whakaturia answered, "No, they are a quarrelsome people, and dispute and argue each with the other." Tama said, "You tell that people that they perform their haka in a very disagreeable manner, and if they ask, 'Then how can it be performed better?' you say that you must be allowed to be taken down, that you may show them how to haka well; and if they let you down on to the floor of the house, ask them for nice garments, as your garments are all soot, and that they give you plumes for your head, and that the pake-kura (red rough mat made of kiekie – Freycinetia banksii – or flax) of Ue-nuku be given to you, that you may be able to perform the haka well, and that the maipi or hani of Ue-nuku be given you to hold in your hand. And when you rise to haka I will be outside at the door of the house, and when you haka you can run out of the house, and I will bolt the door, and we can run away."

When it was evening, and the people of the house again assembled in it, and Ue-nuku was present to see the haka, Whakaturia called from above and said, "O you people! I have seen your mode of haka, and I say that style of haka is not like the haka of my people." The people asked, "Then what is your haka like? Is your haka a good haka?" Whakaturia answered, "My haka perhaps may be the haka which you will approve." And Ue-nuku said, "Let him be taken down, and let us see the grandeur of his haka." So he was taken down, and the people said, "Haka now."

Whakaturia said, "Give some water to me, that I may wash, or allow me to go and wash myself." So he and some attendants went to the stream where he could wash, and on his return to the house the people said, "Now haka."

He said, "Give some fine garments to me, and the red garments of Ue-nuku, and his maipi (taiaha), that I may look well while I haka;" and these things were given to him, also a comb made of kapara (wood of koroi – white pine) to stick in his hair. And the fire was made to blaze, and he began to haka, which he had not long continued to do, when he jumped from where he was haka-ing, and went outside of the house, and the dor was shut and bolted by his brother Tama-te-kapua, and they two fled. The people of Ue-nuku were bolted in the house, and were as though they had been shut up in a cave. The two brothers fled to their own home and people, and when their people heard how Whakaturia had been treated by Ue-nuku they were enraged, and determined to make war on him for it; but Tama-te-kapua and others pondered over the matter, and said they must go from the land of Hawa-iki. But by the time they had arrived at this determination Ue-nuku had called a war-party together, and this body of warriors had left their home to attack Hou-mai-tawhiti and his people. These tribes met, and a battle took place, and the people of Hou-mai-tawhiti were worsted, which made them downcast, and they thought of canoes in which to migrate over the sea, and find some other land for themselves where they could be out of the reach of their enemies, and live in peace. They made the canoe Arawa and other canoes, and Tama-te-kapua, in the Arawa, left Hawa-iki with his people. But he had done a very wrong act towards a chief of the canoe Tai-nui. Tama-te-kapua deceived the chief Nga-toro-i-rangi (extend in the heavens) by false words, and the wife of this chief, whose name was Kea-roa (long influenza), had been deceived in the same way. These two were asked to go on board of the Arawa to perform the ceremonies and chant the incantations to take the sacredness off the canoe, so that the crew might be able to eat cooked food while out at sea, and not incur the anger of the gods; but as soon as they had gone on board of the Arawa the canoe was put out to sea, and they were stolen away by Tama-te-kapua. And hence the supreme leader of those who were to come in Tai-nui was taken away in the Arawa, and the descendants of Nga-toro-i-rangi have to this day been wrongly mixed up with the descendants of those who came in the Arawa, and at times they are spoken of as of the Arawa people; but they are of the Tai-nui migration.