Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Ena, or, The Ancient Maori

Glossarial Appendix

page 281

Glossarial Appendix.

Atua.—God, applied also to any object of superstitious regard.

Aurora.—"Star, comet, sign of war."—Taylor.

Batatar.—The common sweet potato of the tropics, now much cultivated in New Zealand.—Hooker.

Gong.—Suspended by cords from an elevated stage, hungs a wooden frame twelve feet long, not unlike a canoe in shape, which, when struck with a wooden mallet, emitted a sound heard in still weather twenty miles off.—Thompson.

Heiteiki.—This is the most valued of all the ornaments of the Maori; it is a curious image representing a human being with an enormous face and badly shaped legs of disproportionate size; it is not unlike a Hindoo image; in size, the Heiteiki is from one to eight inches long, and from half an inch to three inches broad; it is generally not more than three-eighths of an inch in thickness; it is made of greenstone, and it is suspended round the neck. When a long absent relative arrives at a village, the Heiteiki is taken from his neck and wept over for the sake of those who formerly wore it; it is deposited with the bones of the dead, until they are removed to their final resting-place; it is handed down from father to son. Every page 282tradition regarding this image is forgotten, but it is evidently connected with their mythology. Haumiatiki-tiki is the god of cultivated food among the New Zealanders; and tiki, in various South Sea islands, is the name of an image.—Thompson.

Kakarikis.—There are two species of this bird, one the green, the other the crimson-crested parrakeet.

Kareao.—Known to the settler as the supplejack. O. Liliacea; G. Rhipogonum; S. R. Scandeus. Stems very slender, knotted, forming interwoven wiry mazes in the forest; bears a scarlet berry. The long underground rootstalks have been used as sarsaparilla by the settlers, and the stems as cord and for basket-work by the natives.

Kiwi.—There can be no better description given of this bird than this from the "Ranolf and Amohia":

"Long neck and bill, and swiftly running fled,
'T was nothing but that wingless, tailless bird
Boring for worms."

Kuku.—Wild pigeon.

Kumara.—O. Convolvulacæ; G. Ixomea.

Kuri.—A dog.

Manuka.—O. Myrtaceæ; G. Septospermum.

Meri.—Greenstone implement, about eight inches long; an emblem of rank; the sceptre of the New Zealand chief:

"That heavy batlet bright of nephrite pure,
Green, smooth, and oval as a cactus leaf."

The meri is often given by the native chieftains to each other, and also to white men of position and distinction, as a token of esteem. A late instance of the custom is from Whar nganui. A Maori chief presented a meri e to a friend, at the same time apologizing for the shortness of the weapon, by the allegation that in killing a man with page 283it he had splintered its end, and it had to be ground down.

Moa.—An extinct bird. There is at present a portion of the neck of a Moa in the Colonial Museum at Wellington; it was discovered in a cave in the province of Otago, South Island. Rumours are occasionally circulated that a live Moa is seen by some one in some distant corner of the South Island; but those who are most competent to hold opinions on such a subject are almost convinced that the Moa is indeed extinct; it is certain that the extensive grass plains of the southern provinces were the last haunts of the Moa in New Zealand.

Ngaio.—O. Verbenacæ; G. Myoporum Lætum. A shrub or tree, fruit edible. The ngaio trees seen by the writer near the site of old Wairauki pah were quite twenty feet see p 5. in height, and were of full and handsome proportions.

Ngatiraukawa.—One of a family of four tribes, whose lands extended from Whar nganui river to a few miles south of Otaki, and extending to mountain ranges. In the year, 1863 these four tribes numbered 2278 souls; their lands measured 2,069,161 acres.—Wm. Colenso, Esq., "On the Maori Races of New Zealand."—Vol. i. Trans. N. Z. Institute.

Pah (War-pah).—Fortified place. The war-pah of the New Zealand native has won the admiration of military men. The admirably constructed Raupekapeka, Owhea, and Orakau pahs were well known in the old wars in this country; so are the Gate, Rangariri, Wa ereroa, and Ngatapa pahs in our late quarrels with the natives. Indeed, so civilized were the latter becoming in the diabolic art that I cannot do better to prove my assertion than to quote a passage from a work by Mr. Travers, of Wellington, "On the Life and Times of Te Rauparaha." page 284At p. 67 Mr. T. says, "A council of war having been held Kaiapohia (on the occasion of the siege of Kaipoi pah in the South Island), a plan of attack was adopted which, so far as I am aware, was then used for the first time in Maori warfare; it was determined to sap up to the two outworks, and as soon as the head of the sap had been carried up to them, to pile up in front of them immense quantities of dried brushwood, which were to be set on fire when the wind blew in the direction of the pah and to rush it as soon as the palisading had been burnt down."


Pepe.—Butterfly; the form often assumed by the gods, when they manifest themselves to man.—Taylor.

Pihoihoi.—The New Zealand ground-lark.

Quid (Bituminous).—"A kind of bitumen, which was sometimes found thrown up on their coasts, though rarely, and called by them Kauritawhiti. This they chewed; in using it, they passed it freely from one to another without hesitation."—Colenso.

Rata.—O. Myrtaceæ; G. Metrosideros; S. M. Robusta. In the month of December the forest is adorned with the deep crimson flowers of this magnificent tree.

Runanga.—A council-house.

Ruru.—The owl.

Tapu.—A sacred rite. "The tapu regulated, or pretended to regulate, all the movements of the New Zealander. It certainly enabled him to accomplish many heavy and useful works, which without it he could not have done His large cultivations, fisheries, villages, hill-forts, canoes, houses, carvings, and many other things, were accomplished through the laws of the tapu. Crime was punished, errors lessened, their headstrong passions controlled; it had great influence over them, their page 285fiercest chiefs bowed like an infant before it, not daring to disobey it; in all their changes they held it to the last, and only relinquished it by slow degrees."—Colenso's Essay, quoted before.

PauaTana.—Haliotus or sea-ear; a shell-fish.

Tangi.—A wail for the dead.—Taylor.

Taniwha.—A fabulous reptile, supposed to reside in deep water, or under mountains.

Tan utan uamoa.—A quarrel in which few take part.

Tan uatara.—One of the six species of lizard which are found here. I have seen one in the Colonial Museum at Wellington, which lived for some weeks, but it pined and died; it was about 18 inches long, and of a proportionate depth of body; its general colour, olive, shaded with brown, the back strongly serrated. It is believed by some that the lizard has the power of not only reproducing its tail, when by accident it happens to lose that appendage, but also that the reptile is able to refix the severed member, thus making itself perfect as before; there is a coincidence with this belief to be found in the 1st. vol. of the "Jerusalem Delivered" of Tasso, book ix. v. 535, Hoole's Translation—

"Dissevered thus a serpent's tail is seen
To seek the part divided on the green."

Taranaki (or Mount Egmont).—An extinct volcano, 8280 feet high.

Tattooed.—Lines indelibly marked on the face, adopted to inspire terror, or as a mark of distinction or ornament, and to obscure the advance of years. For the last two objects it is now alone kept up; and there is no doubt that it makes the young look old and the old young.—Thompson.

page 286

Tauhinau.—O. Rhamnear; G. Pomadevis; S. Pericifolia. A heath-like shrub, with numerous white flowers, sweet scented.

Tawai.—O. Cupuliferæa; G. Fagus; S. F. Fusca. A handsome tree, 80 to 100 feet high.

Te Whiro.—Evil spirit: he walked on stilts.—Taylor.

Tohunga.—A skilled person, a wizard, a priest.

"And fell magician famous far and near;
A Thaumaturge regarded with more fear
Thau any living or than most deceased."

Toi-toi.—O. Gramineæ; G. Arimdo; S. A. Conspicua. The largest New Zealand grass; culms 3 to 8 feet high, used for thatching and for lining houses; as in the "Ranolf and Amohia," by Mr. Domett.

Totara.—O. Coniferæ; G. Podocarpus; S. Ferruginea. A lofty timber tree, 80 feet high; fruit tastes of turpentine, greedily eaten by birds.

Tui.—Parson bird; a beautiful black bird, size of a thrush, white delicate feathers under the throat; its song is of few notes, but of great sweetness and fulness of tone.

Musical notation for the call of the tui

This stave has been copied by me from a work in New Zealand, to show the musical range of the notes of our bush birds generally, but particularly of those of the Tui. I regret to add that among my papers I cannot find the author's name.

Tutu.—O. Coriaricæ; G. Coriaria; S. C. Ruscifolia. A perennial shrub, 10 to 18 feet high; the juice of the so-called berries (fleshy petals) is purple hued, and affords a grateful beverage to the natives, and a wine like elderberry wine has been made from it.

page 287

Uenuku.—God of the rainbow: if an army were seen approaching under the arch of a rainbow, it was held a sure sign that it would be conquered.

Wariwari.—A god like a cloud.—Taylor.

Weka.—The wood hen.

Whiki.—A voice heard in the trees, like a female crying.—Taylor.

page break page break page break page break page break