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

Chapter VIII

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Chapter VIII

Oh! hearken then, Tu-tane-kai,
And Ariari-te-rangi too,
To this my evil omen seen,
Twice seen, before the post
That props and holds the roof
Above myself and home,
Were ever seen by me.
It was my heart,
But now my every act and self
Are less than sacred.
O Take! cease to sneer at me,
And let my body still live on,
And rest on top of peak
Where Hemo basks in shining sun,
And waves the offering to his god.
And thou dost step
On noble altar at Tau-hara,
And view from thence Whaka-ipo
And Ranga-tira, and see
Tama-mutu at Wai-hi,
And Taka at Tahau.
Nor can we hope that they
Will turn a thought to Tonga-riro,
Though Heuheu be at Te-rohu,
Or Wai-marino, or Korohe.
And Te-harakeke shall be
The dainty food of Wekuweku, my slave.
And then the Tu-awatea
Has gone from me,
Has slept the sleep of death
With To-whare,
And I am lost in shame and dread.

The Migration of Te-Arawa

The tribes at Hawa-iki fought amongst themselves, and many were killed, and some of the tribes wept; and those of them who had been beaten thought of departing from Hawa-iki and seeking some other land for themselves, where they could live and where they could not be molested by their enemies.

These tribes held consultations amongst themselves, and all consented to migrate to some other land; but, as the sky was not propitious – that is, the sky did not indicate good weather, so that they might sail on the sea of Kiwa (closed) – they waited at Hawa-ika for fair weather, and when it came they sailed from Hawa-ika. The supreme chiefs in the canoe were Tua-matua (parent of the west), Hou-mai-tawhiti (pushed through from a distance), Tama-tea (light-coloured son), Wahie-roa (long firewood), Rata (kind, tame), Maka (rope), Tia (parent), Koro (voice of a bird), Hei (necklace). These were the men who suggested and planned the path by which the people should sail across the ocean.

The Arawa sailed from the following places: Rongo-kuao (news of the young animal), Ranga-ti (or Rangatira – chief).

The names of those who made the Arawa were: Wahia (firewood), Ma-rita (by the spirit), Ika (fish), Rongo-pu-ae (whale of the famed sea).

They commenced to make the Arawa, and when she was completed all the fittings were made for her; and when all was propitious Rongo-pu-ao (fame of the perfect day) went to obtain some kumara as provisions for the crew of the canoe when out at sea, and also to serve as seed to plant in the land they – the crew of the Arawa – were about to seek.

When Rongo-pu-ao arrived at the place where the kumara was to be obtained the people of that place stood up and murmured against him, and he was angry with them, and grieved for his having to forsake the land they were now about to leave, so he sat down and wept, and all his tribe joined in the wailing, and all the people of the place wept over him and his people; so he stayed at that place, and did not return to go on board of the Arawa – on board of which canoe he could seek some other land, that he might be away from his enemies.

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Tama-te-kapua (son of the clouds) waited for Rongo-pu-ao to return to him and go on board the canoe Arawa; but, as he did not go back to Tama-te-kapua, the latter was angry on account of not having a priest for his canoe, so Tama-te-kapua sent a messenger to Nga-toro-i-rangi (stretch out the arm to the heaven) and to his wife, named Kea-roa (long influenza), that they might come and perform the ceremonies and chant the incantations to take the tapu (sacredness) from the canoe, that the crew might be able to partake of food on the voyage. Nga-toro-i-rangi and his wife came to Tama-te-kapua, and went on board of the Arawa, and that canoe sailed on the sea and came to Whanga-ra (harbour of the sun), when they put Tahu (wife, or husband), Maru (protection), and Rau-mea-mai (leaves drawn towards) on shore on that island (at the East Cape of New Zealand). The canoe sailed on for some time, till the eyes of Ngaka (heart) and Tau-ninihi (beloved sneak away) were weary, and looking at Hi-teitei (very high), an island in the ocean, they began to weep for their home at Hawa-iki. The canoe sailed on, and Kea-roa was seduced by Tama-te-kapua, and Nga-toro-i-rangi was very angry for the act of murder committed on her by Tama-te-kapua. Now, Nga-toro-i-rangi was a very learned priest, and he chanted his incantations to his gods to cause the canoe Arawa to be swallowed down the throat of the Parata (the great god of the ocean of Kiwa); so the Arawa went down into the throat of that god, and the pillow of Kea-roa fell from her bed, and the people (crew) trembled and wept. Nga-toro-i-rangi had pity on them, and chanted incantations to his gods that the canoe might be allowed to come up again out of the throat of the god; and these are the words of his chant to lift the canoe out:—

Recite the chant of baptism,
The first baptism.
Recite the chant of baptism,
The second baptism,
The third baptism,
The fourth baptism,
The fifth baptism,
The sixth baptism,
The seventh baptism,
The eighth baptism,
The ninth baptism,
The tenth baptism.
Recite the chant of baptism,
The baptism for Tanga-roa.
Now oozes the power,
Now the damp is seen,
Now the chant is repeated and sung,
Now comes the influence of the charm
Close up to the heaven.
Rise, Tanga-roa,
Rise, and come on to
The assembly,
To the gods provoked.
Lift the post out,
The post before,
The post within,
The post for shade.
The gods of distant heaven
Come down from your path.
A great sail of war-canoe
Is the path of Nga-toro[-i-rangi],
Is a path to darkness,
The great darkness,
The long darkness,
Darkness of hundred wands of divination,
Darkness of many lands.
Oh! my canoe the Arawa,
Swarm with the Parata,
Rise, Tanga-roa,
Rise and come on to
The assembly,
To the gods provoked.
Thy garment, O Rongo! is damp,
The baptism of earth.
Chant the name of Heaven,
Chant the name of Papa,
Chant the name of Tane,
Trembling earth,

A Whatu, or Sacred Stone

The sacred stone Whatu was sent down from the tribe of Apu-a-pawa (host of Pawa), and hence Nga-toro-i-rangi was able to lift the Arawa out of the throat of the Parata.

A whatu is a stone which is carried by the kaka (Nestor productus), by which he can sharpen his beak, and that stone is used by the priests as a power to aid them in their acts. This stone the priests swallow and keep in their chests.

The word whatu is also used to define the power of incantations, or the ceremonies used by the priests.

A Whatu

The Whatu (sacred stone, core) was let down from the midst of the Apu-a-pawa (the company of Pawa), by which Nga-toro-i-rangi was able to draw the Arawa out of the throat of the Parata (god of the ocean).

The stone carried by the kaka is called a whatu, by which he sharpens his beak. Also, the priests use the same whatu as a power – that is, they swallow it, and take it into their chests, where they keep it.

The word whatu is the name of the power by which the priests can accomplish all their work.