The Stone Implements of the Maori
Evidence as to the Use of Toki Titaha, or True Stone Axes
Evidence as to the Use of Toki Titaha, or True Stone Axes
A Taranaki native (Tonga-awhikau) informs us that in the Hawera district there stood for many years a huge totara stump about 10 ft. high that was an excellent illustration of the manner in which trees were felled by the Maori in former times, ere the metal axes of Europe and America reached these shores. Two scarfs had been cut in the tree, one on either side, to a great depth. These cuts showed a depth (perpendicular) of about 3 ft. The marks of the tools page 154used were visible on the wood. The top and bottom of the scarfs had been carried in horizontally, or very nearly so. When the tree fell it did not break off at the bottom of the central part still remaining uncut, but at the top thereof. The method of felling trees, he stated, was to make two horizontal cuts in the tree, some distance apart, with a toki titaha, which was a toki tua, or felling-axe. Then a toki aronui (syn., toki hangai, an adze) was used to split out the block of timber between the two horizontal cuts, being used sideways, horizontally as it were. The upper and lower cuts were then carried a little further in, and the splitting out again done, and so on, until the cut was carried far enough in. The Maori had no tools with which he could make a -shaped cut in a tree. It appears doubtful that such straight cuts as the above could have been made with stone tools hafted as axes. We are inclined to believe that the tree must have been felled with some metal tool, possibly with a single-bevelled tool, such as a carpenter's axe, or with the chisel-hafted stone toki. As every axeman knows full well, in order to carry in the top cut horizontally a vast amount of extra trouble and strength must be expended. Nor is it clear as to what advantage would be derived from such a method of felling. The circumstances under which the tree was felled must have been abnormal. We are inclined to view with suspicion the alleged evidences of the work of stone axes in tree-felling, as seen on the stumps of trees. Some such stumps, when examined, show cuts far too clean and long to have been done with stone tools. Moreover, the natives must have been fairly well supplied with metal axes in the "thirties" of the nineteenth century, and it is doubtful if any stump of a tree felled with stone tools can now (1910) be less than seventy years old—i.e., since the tree was felled. No stump of our timbers that has been exposed for such a period would show much sign of the work of stone tools, or of any other kind for that matter. In the case of a cut in a standing tree, where the tree has not been killed thereby, the case is quite different.
This Taranaki native also made the disconcerting statement that the toki titaha was a stone celt hafted as an axe, the butt end being inserted in a slot in the foot of the handle, and there secured by lashing. This equals the statement made by Te Tuhi.
We have nothing on record to show that the Maori of yore possessed an implement hafted as an axe, but here give such information on the subject as we have been able to obtain from living natives.
Mr. A. J. Knocks, of Otaki, who has resided for sixty years among the natives of that district, states that the toki titaha was lashed on at right angles to the handle, and used in the same way for chopping page 155as we use our steel axes. He also states that in the early days American ships brought to New Zealand, for trade purposes, numbers of iron or steel faced axes that resembled in form the old-fashioned English mortising-axes, having a very narrow bit. This narrow blade was about 2 in. wide, and about 9 in. long. The Maoris called them toki titaha; so that they must have resembled, in form and position of the blade in regard to the handle, their own stone toki titaha.
Mr. Knocks also mentions another form of tool known as toki tahitahi that was bevelled on one side only, and hence had the chisel-shaped blade. Many of the old stone tools found here answers this description, having merely sufficient curve on the face to enable the tool to be used without "binding" in the timber, a form seen in our steel squaring-axes. Unfortunately, Mr. Knocks does not say whether this form was helved and used as an adze or as an axe. The name seems to imply a tool used for the purpose of hewing a fair smooth face on timber by hewing off very thin chips. The word tahitahi means "to scrape or shave" (cf., Hawaiian kahi).
In one of the rock shelters of the South Island is depicted, among other items, what appears to be just such a tool as the toki tahitahi as described above.
Again, Mr. Knocks mentions some form of iron cutting tool or blade introduced by early voyagers, apparently American, that was lashed on to a handle, and so used (cf., Figs. A, B, C, D, Plate XLI).
It seems that early voyagers provided the islanders with some form of axe-head, presumably the work of amateurs, that were not provided with an eye or socket in which to insert the handle. The Rev. W. W. Gill, in "Savage Life in Polynesia," speaks of seeing the first foreign axe acquired by the Mangaians. It was given to them by Captain Cook. It had, apparently, no eye for a handle; as the above writer says, "A suitable handle was prepared for it, and the axe secured by strong sennit. It was," he says, "merely a bit of iron; doubtless it was beaten out on the ship's anvil to please the natives. It has one excellence—it is easily fastened on a wooden handle with sennit." Cook is said to have manufactured some of these "axes" while on the coast of New Zealand.
On applying to Numia Kereru, of the Tuhoe Tribe, for information concerning the toki titaha, and some other forms, the following letter was received from him in reply to such queries. The writer thereof is one of the leading men of the Tuhoe Tribe, and a remarkably intelligent man:—
Ki a Peehi,— 6, 1911.
Tena koe. Tenei a korua patai kua kite ahau mo nga taonga o nehera, a ka whakaatu ahau i aku i rongo ai, i mohio ai.page 156
Patai tuatahi. Mo te titaha, tona tikanga he toki kohatu hei tope rakau kia hinga, hei poroporo kia motumotu, hei tata: i kiia ai he titaha, he mea titaha te whakanoho ki te kakau [sketch]; me tona tope rakau, poroporo, tata, he mea whiu titaha, e te katau, e te maui. Koia i kiia ai he toki titaha. He toki koma, he toki pounamu aua toki; he nunui etahi, he ririki etahi.
Ko etahi o aua toki hei toki tarei waka, papa whare, me era atu mahi tarei rakau. Ko te ingoa o ena toki, he toki hangai, he toki aronui. Tona whakanoho ki te kakau [sketch]. I whakahangaitia taua toki ki runga ki te kauae o te kakau. Tona tarai ki te rakau, he mea aronui tonu ki mua i te aroaro o te tangata, i hangai tonu ki te tarauma o te tangata, koina ena ingoa i kiia ai he toki hangai, he toki aronui. E rua ahua o aua toki, he nunui etahi, he ririki etahi.
Ka motu te rakau, ka tatatia e te toki titaha; ka rahirahi, ka mau ki te toki hangai, mea nui. Ko tena, he toki ao maramara. I muri ko te toki rahirahi, ko tena he toki heretua i nga tapa o te papa, kia tika te rakau. I muri ka whakahekeheke te tarai. I muri ko te toki whakapai i te rakau, ara he toki mirimiri, he toki whakangao, ka oti ai te tarai. Te ingoa o taua kohatu, he onewa; ka mahia hei toki, ka kiia he koma; ka mahia hei patu, ka kiia he patu onewa. Koinei te hoa o te pounamu.
I nga wa o mua noa atu, o nehe, ko Hine-tu-a-hoanga te kohatu oro i aua toki. Anei te waiata:—
Homai ra Hai whakakoi ra, E hine. Whakapiritia ki a Hine-tu-a-hoanga I te mata o te toki Hai oro i te toki, Hai tuatua i te wao a Tane He pua totara kauorohia, I te maramara o Tukehu He pua totara kauorohia, I te tama iara na Mumuwhango Kauorohia te ati tipua, Hai ara mo taua, kia whiti ai tau Kauorohia te ati tawhito Ki rawahi o te awa, E hine.
Te take o te whaihanga, ko nga mahi a Rua-i-te-hihiri, ki te mau toki, ki te mau whao, ki te hanga whare, whakairo kakahu, whakairo rakau, hihiri ki nga mahi katoa. Kaati ena.
Puta mai nei nga toki pakeha, ko nga toki i rite ki nga toki titaha o mua, tapaa tonutia he titaha. Ko nga toki i rite ki nga toki hangai o mua, tapaa iho he toki hangai.
E Peehi. Tera pea ki etahi iwi, rereke.
Your queries anent the items of former times I have now seen, and I will point out what I have heard, and what I know.
First query: Regarding the titaha, its meaning is a stone axe to cut trees in order to fell them, to cut them into lengths, and to cleave with. Termed a titaha on account of its being placed sideways on to the handle [sketch]; also, in regard to using it to cut timber, to cut through logs, to cleave, it was used in this sidewise manner, both right and left-handed. page 157Hence it was termed a toki titaha. Those axes were koma (a light-coloured stone) and pounamu (greenstone, nephrite). Some were large and others small.
Others of those toki were canoe-adzing toki, and for dressing house-slabs, and for other timber-dressing operations. The name of those toki was toki hangai or toki aronui. As to the manner in which they were fitted on the handle, they were placed at right angles on the kauae—i.e., the foot or shoe—of the handle. The manner in which it was used to hew timber was right opposite (opposing) the front of the operator; confronting at right angles with, the breast of the wielder. Hence those names, toki hangai and toki aronui, were applied to it. There were two kinds of such toki, large and small.
When a log was severed it was cleaved (rough hewn) with the toki titaha; when thinned down, then the large-sized toki hangai (adze) was used—that is, a toki ao maramara. Then was used a thin adze wherewith to dress the edges of the plank, in order to make them straight. Then the whakahekeheke style of adzing was employed, after which the final dressing was done—that is, the mirimiri or whakangao, which concludes the adzing. The name of that stone is onewa, which, when made into a toki, is called a koma; and when formed into a weapon, is termed a patu onewa. It is the companion stone of the greenstone (in the manufacture of implements).
In very old times, in ancient days, Hine-tu-a-hoanga was the stone for grinding those tools. Here is the song [not translated].
The beginnings of handicrafts were the arts of Rua-i-te-hihiri, the knowledge of using toki, of using chisels, of house-building, of embroidering garments, of wood-carving, of assiduous application to useful arts. Enough on that point.
When European toki appeared, those resembling the old-time toki titaha were at once styled titaha, while those that resembled the toki hangai (adzes) of yore were so named.
Among other tribes these things may differ somewhat.Numia Kereru.
The above account of a stone tool hafted and used as an axe is clear and convincing. So much proof is now coming forward anent the use of such an implement by the Maori in former times that the accumulating evidence can no longer be disregarded or brushed aside. No description of such a tool is given by early voyagers, and we have hitherto firmly believed that no such an implement as a true axe was known to the Maori before the arrival of Cook and other early voyagers. Of a verity, we are never too old to learn.
Numia gives sketches of both the stone axe and stone adze in his letter, each of which is a side view of the hafted tool. The former shows plainly that the toki titaha was helved as is an axe, with the cutting-edge in line with the handle. The sketch shows a crossed lashing, but is not clear in regard to how the axe was situated in page 158regard to its handle—whether inserted in a slot or otherwise. More evidence is also much needed as to which form of stone tool was so used as an axe. The double-bevelled forms are so thick that they would hardly be of any use in cutting wood, and the keen-edged tools examined are shaped as adzes, not as axes.
Numia says distinctly that these axes (toki titaha) were used wherewith to fell trees, to cut through logs, and to cleave with; that the first rough hewing of a log was performed with such tools, after which the adze was used to dress the baulk or plank. He also remarks that the stone axe was used in the same right and left manner as is our steel axe.
A further remark of interest is that concerning a belief of the Tuhoe folk that many of the arts of life, more particularly those pertaining to wood-working, originated with one Rua, an apparently mythical being of remote times.
In a later communication Numia remarks that the toki titaha was a double-bevelled tool, but the toki tarei, or adzing-tool, was singlebevelled, like our adze and squaring-axe. He has heard of the stone toki lashed to a long shaft and used in tree-felling by some tribes. It has been tried by his people (Tuhoe Tribe), who, however, principally used the toki titaha, or true stone axe, in cutting timber.
On applying to Numia for clearer information regarding the hafting of the toki titaha described by him, he sent the following reply:—
Tena koe. Tenei to reta kua tae mai ki ahau, he whakapai na korua mo aku whakamarama i ta korua patai mo nga toki a nehe, me to ki mai hoki i roto i taua reta mo nga mea i mahue i ahau, me taku titiro iho—e tika ana. …
1. Ko te kakau: He mea maro tonu te kakau. 2. He mea whawhao ranei te titaha ki roto i te kakau, ki waho ranei o te kakau? Ae, ki waho o te kakau te titaha. He mea tapahi iho tetahi taha o te kakau kia rite ki te koreke o te titaha te whanui, ka whakapiri te toki ki taua wahi.
Ko te mea i mau ai te toki ki te kakau, te ingoa he harakeke. Ka takiria he hitau, ka whiria he kaha, katahi ka houhia te kaha ki te toki raua ko te kakau. Te ingoa o taua hohou, he kauaerua—penei [sketch]. Ka haere ki te tope rakau, ka tuku ki te wai kia maku; ka maroke, ka tuku ano, e kore e makere. He maha nga hohou, he toi, he aka taramoa.
Greetings. Your letter has reached me, containing words of praise from you two regarding my explanation anent your question concerning the page 159axes of former times, and your remark in that letter about the things omitted by me, and which, on looking, I find to be correct….
1. About the handle: The handle was quite straight. 2. Was the titaha inserted in the handle, or was it placed outside the handle? Yes, the titaha was outside the handle. A piece was cut out of the side of the handle of the same width as the butt end of the titaha, and the axe was secured therein.
As to the material used to bind the axe to the handle, its name is hara-keke (flax, Phormium). Some fibre was prepared, and a cord plaited, which was bound round axe and handle. The name of that style of lashing is kauaerua. It is of this nature [sketch]. When going to fell a tree the [implement] was placed in water to wet it. On becoming dry it was again put into water, then it would not drop out (of the lashing). Many items were used for binding, as toi (Cordyline indivisa), and aka taramoa (a climbing-plant).
The writer's sketch shows a straight handle with a thick club-like end, wherein on one side, a short distance from the end of the handle, a slot or channel has been cut out in which to insert the butt end of the stone axe, which is secured in such slot by a crossed X-like system of lashing, termed kauaerua. When about to be used this implement was placed in water for a time, so as to cause the lashing to swell and thus tighten its grip on the axe-head. This process was repeated occasionally, as the cord became dry, which kept the axe-head firmly gripped in its place. The fibre of the toi, or mountain palm, mentioned by Numia, would make a better lashing than flax-fibre, inasmuch as it is much more durable.
In Plate XLII we have a hafted toki titaha, a genuine axe-form, hafted with the cutting-edge in line with the handle. This specimen is in the Buller Collection, lately presented to the Dominion Museum. This implement is not of adze-form, but the cutting-edge is formed by an equal bevel on both faces (the true axe-form, hafted as such, can scarcely be said to have a face and back). To haft this tool the foot of the handle has been flattened on one side and the implement laid on the flat surface, and secured by lashing with a plaited cord of half-dressed Phormium fibre. The poll is apparently butted against a shoulder, albeit concealed by the lashing. The length of the handle is 19½ in.
The stone implement is about 7 in. long, 2½ in. wide, and 1⅛ in. thick in the middle; weight, including handle, 2¼ lb. The surfaces have been ground, but not polished. The cutting-edge is badly chipped. This tool has been hafted since the European occupation of the country, but the hafter evidently knew that such an axe-shaped implement was formerly hafted with its cutting-edge in line with the handle—that is, as an axe.page 160
In regard to the term toki titaha being applied to a metal axe, Mr. Percy Smith says that the Maori applied the name to steel carpenters' axes introduced by Europeans. As is well known, these tools are shaped like a squaring-axe, but are smaller. The blade is bevelled on one side only, to form the cutting-edge.
The Rev. H. Williams has been good enough to interview Mohi Turei, of Ngati-Porou, on the subject of the toki titaha and other matters, for our benefit. Mohi is now a very old man, and is one of the best living native authorities on matters Maori, a fact that is recognized by all competent judges. Mohi states that the toki titaha, of which tool toki whakapae is another name, was a stone axe, bevelled equally on both faces, and showing no pronounced uma or shoulder. "The head was set as in the pakeha (European) axe"—that is, with the cutting-edge in line with the handle—and it was used for tree-felling. The method of lashing the tool on to its handle was that known as hohoupu. The scarf in tree-felling was termed umu whakahinga.
The above statement, coming from such an authority, much improves the case for the toki titaha, which cannot now be disregarded; and it seems fairly well assured that the Maori used a tool helved as an axe, but that they were not nearly so numerous or commonly used as were tools hafted and used as adzes.
Here is another point: If, as we have always believed and as stated emphatically by many authorities, the Maori possessed no tool hafted as an axe, but only such as were helved as adzes, why were the latter described by the distinguishing terms toki hangai and toki aronui, to show that adzes were meant? If all toki were hafted as adzes, as is maintained by some authorities, then the above qualifying terms would be quite superfluous. Why employ a special term to denote that a tool is hafted and used as an adze if no such tools were hafted or used in any other way? It is a parallel case to that of the toki titaha. If, as stated by Mr. Stowell and others, the latter was helved and used as an adze, why apply the peculiar expression titaha to it? The relative position of an adze and its handle is described by a native by the term hangai or aronui, and that of a true axe and its handle by the expression titaha or whakapae. Te Ture, a Whanga-nui native, gives four different names of toki titaha, and six names for as many kinds of toki hangai, or adzes.
Mohi also remarks that there was no form of stone tool known specially as a toki tata wahie, but that any such tool used for the purpose of firewood-getting might, in a casual manner, be so termed. He also adds two more names to our list of terms for these stone tools—viz., toki parakaraka and toki whakahekeheke. The former page 161was used only by a tohunga (adept) for dressing house-rafters in some particular way, and the latter for dressing timbers generally.
Mohi did not know the toki hengahenga, but remarked that toki hangahanga and toki whaihanga are terms sometimes applied to ordinary stone adzes employed in timber-working. The expressions would simply mean working-tools, or fashioning-implements, and would distinguish them from such as were used for weapons, &c. He was not acquainted with the names toki ao maramara, toki uri, and poki, but said that the poke was a European tool, and the panehe a small axe. It is thus possible that the name panehe was applied to small iron axes or tomahawks by some tribes, and to native-made metal adzes (as plane irons) by others. William's Maori Dictionary gives toki poke as a name for the steel American axe.
The toki parakaraka mentioned by Mohi Turei seems to have been used only by adepts at adzing, for dressing house-rafters in some peculiar manner. There may possibly have been some unusual significance attached to this act, but it is not explained.
It seems clear that different names were employed by natives to denote various kinds and sizes of both the old stone tools and modern steel or iron axes in different parts of the country, hence much confusion arises when one attempts to define the application of such terms.
Now, this is the fourth statement we have received describing a stone tool formerly hafted and used as an axe. One of these comes from Taranaki, one from the east coast, and one from Wai-rarapa. Two of these informants state that the poll of the stone tool was thrust into a slot in the end of the handle, and there secured. The third (Te Whatahoro, of Wai-rarapa) says that a withy handle was passed round the tool and tightly bound. Is it possible that all these natives, or at least three of them, can have separately evolved or invented the same story wherewith to delude the guileless pakeha (European) inquirer?
Te Whatahoro, an excellent authority on matters pertaining to the Maori, states that the stone toki that are bevelled equally on both sides are toki titaha, and that they were not used as chopping-tools, but in splitting logs. These tools were helved as axes—i.e., with the cutting-edge in line with the handle, as seen in our steel axes. They were not so much lashed on to a handle as the handle was lashed to them. These handles were formed of pieces of aka tokai, often termed rata vine by Europeans. A suitable piece was selected and trimmed into a desired form, then steamed for some time in a hangi or steam-oven, until it became quite pliable. One page 162end was then bent round the stone tool (toki titahd) below the poll, and forced round until it lay against the longer portion of the aka, to which it was lashed tightly. The stems of a small climb-plant or creeper, known as aka torotoro, was used for lashing. This lashing material was also passed over the poll of the axe, and when the lashing was finished the tool was put out and exposed to the cold air and damp, which caused the steam-heated wood to contract and stiffen until it gripped the stone tool like a vice.
In splitting timber, these toki titaha were used for two purposes for which steel axes are often employed by European bushmen. In the first place, they were used to cleave a passage for the entry of the wooden wedges (matakahi) employed in splitting timber. These wedges were made of hard wood, and were hardened by fire ere being used.
We often see our own woodsmen strike out a line across the end of a log as he intends to split it. This he does by repeated blows with his axe, the blade of which does not sink far into the wood, nor does it split or tend to split the great mass in any way, but it prepares the way for splitting-wedges, and enables the latter to be driven into the log with greater ease. The toki titaha was used for this purpose. When the wedges were driven in with the wooden beetle the toki titaha again came into use, being used to keep the "cut" (bushman's term) or split open. Used as we use a steel axe, it was driven into the split or crack made by the wedges: then the wedges were knocked out, and again inserted further along the split, which was kept open by the stone toki.
Te Whatahoro remarks that no stone wedges were used as wooden ones were, to be struck with a maul. He also states that the fire used when burning out the hull of a canoe, or in tree-felling, is termed an ahi kornau. After the fire has been allowed to burn for some time it was removed, and the charred wood was chipped off with stone adzes until the uncharred surface was reached, when the fire was again kindled. In some cases, he says, trees were felled by means of uncovering the large roots and burning them through. The toki titaha was not used for chopping, as we chop with a steel axe, nor was any Maori implement used in that manner. We have noted elsewhere in this paper that the double-bevelled wedge-shaped or axe-shaped tools carry a thick blade and cutting-edge, with which, apparently, it would be impossible to cut anything.
Ordinary stone adzes of the ao maramara type are often termed toki tamaku, according to the above authority. The disconcerting items contained in Te Whatahoro's remarks are—(1) That no toki was lashed axially on to a shaft (as has been page 163stated by many different authorities), (2) that no stone toki hafted as an axe was used to cut with in tree-felling. We cannot grasp the idea that a stone implement was laboriously made of a certain form, and hafted as an axe, simply to be used for the two minor purposes described above.
Mr. H. M. Stowell states, "There were two large kinds of stone axes—the one was termed toki aronui (broad-fronted or broad-breasted axe); the other was known as a toki tit aha. The toki tit aha was the axe that did the preliminary heavy work of tree-felling, and, in the case of canoe-building, cutting off the head of the tree. It was also used in the next operation (of canoe-building), of cutting out the interior or inside of the tree (canoe-wise).
"The toki aronui—i.e., toki haratua—was used to finish off the work of the toki titaha. English axemen would understand the uses, as follows: An ordinary axe is used for the felling of a tree and the lopping-off of the head. It would also be used for the rough work of preliminary squaring the tree (toki titaha), but the finishing process of squaring would be done by the "broad axe" (toki haratua).
"Two old natives-Tuta Nihoniho, of Ngati—Porou, and Te Kahu-pukoro, of Taranaki—agree as to the foregoing particulars."
Mr. H. M. Stowell also states that "the toki titaha is a stone axe narrowed equally half-way down its length. That is absolute." In a sketch of this implement, furnished by him, hedepicts a form wide at the cutting-edge and poll, but narrow in the middle (see page 166). This type has not been noted in any museum or private collection that we have had access to.
"A stone axe," writes W.B., "could only be shaped, consistent with strength, in one pattern."
The late Mr. T. H. Smith applied the name toki titaha to a stone tool lashed on to a long shaft in an axial manner, as a sort of huge chisel, and used in felling trees—in fact, the same implement as Mr. Percy Smith's poki. It seems strange that a Maori would apply the term titaha to any tool lashed on in line with the handle. One would rather suppose it would apply better to a tool fixed at right angles to the helve, as in our steel axes.
In a paper on "Stone Weapons of the Moriori and the Maori" (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xviii, p. 26) Professor von Haast says, "Mr Shand observes that he has never seen—in fact, doubts the existence of—any of the toki titaha, or large axes used by the Maoris, and common also to New Guinea, used for chopping the top and bottom edges of a cut, the ordinary form (i.e., adze-form) being used to cut out the chip by chipping sideways like an adze."page 164
This certainly sounds like a true axe, and may be compared with Mohi Turei's statement.
Mr. Stowell, however, has carefully explained to us that the toki titaha was truly and purely an adze, hafted and used as such. Its shape was peculiar, and one that has not been seen in any collections of stone implements examined by us. It was wide across the poll and across the blade, but narrow in the middle, a singular form for a stone tool. The tool was made of this shape, explains Mr. Stowell, because it freed itself better than if made with parallel sides. No Maori stone toki, says Mr. Stowell, was hafted as an axe. He also hands to us a sketch made by Tuta Nihoniho, of Ngati-Porou, showing the forms of the toki poke and toki titaha, both said to be stone forms, but both of which are delineated in the shape of metal axes that were obtained from early traders by the natives. Moreover, Tuta has distinctly depicted the handles of both the poke and titaha as being in line with the cutting-edges of the blades. We believe that Tuta made these sketches to represent not stone tools, but the old-fashioned iron axes introduced in early times by Europeans, and termed by them poke and titaha.
We are told by Te Whatahoro that early voyagers brought here for trading purposes flat iron toki without any handle-socket, and which were lashed to handles. They were narrowed just above the middle, and wider at poll and blade, hence they were easily lashed to a handle. Blacksmiths made these crude adzes in the early days of European intercourse. No stone adze was ever so narrowed between butt and blade.
It is not clear to us how any Maori would apply the term titaha to an implement hafted as an adze, nor yet why he should define an adze as a toki hangai or toki aronui, if he knew of no other method of hafting stone-cutting implements. However, we must reiterate the statement that Mr. Stowell emphatically denies that the Maori of former times possessed any such tool hafted as an axe. In support of this statement, he quotes a very curious and interesting matakite, or prophecy, uttered by an ancestor of the Hokianga natives, and which was to the following effect: A time shall come when an iwi kiritea (a fair-skinned people) will appear on these shores, a people who haft their toki by means of a hohou titika. This latter expression means the securing of a toki to its handle with the cutting-edge in line with the blade. Now, this is a very peculiar item, not only in regard to the remark anent the securing of an axe to its handle, which certainly supports Mr. Stowell's contention, but also in respect to the strange forecast it contains as to the advent of a fair-page 165skinned folk in the future. It would be of much interest to ascertain at what date that prophecy was uttered.*
Mr. Stowell also states that stone adzes were used in tree-felling in former times, being used sideways so as to work with the grain of the timber. In thus working at a large tree several men would work at once, following each other round the trunk as they chipped a rough scarf about 15 in. in height. Having carried this in for some distance, a fire was kindled in the cut (in the northern districts kauri gum was used as fuel), which expedited the work considerably. After the fire had been allowed to burn for some time the chipping process recommenced, and so on. The above authority also states that the expression hohou pu denotes the position of a stone adze when attached to its handle, being placed flat on the foot of the handle.
We have received the following communication from Mr. Stowell (Hare Hongi), to whom we showed the items furnished by Te Whatahoro and Mohi Turei, as also others, referring to the toki tit aha as a true stone axe possessed by the Maori in pre-European times—i.e., before the arrival of Europeans on these shores:—
* The Rev. R. Taylor mentions an old tradition, related about the year 1840, by one Haha-kai, an old Maori in the north, who stated that in a land contiguous to the Hawaikian fatherland of the Maori lived a people who had axes with holes in them, through which the handles were thrust, instead of being tied on.