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Medicine Amongst the Maoris, in Ancient and Modern Times



The treatment of makutu was similar to the above. It consisted of exorcising the demons that had taken possession of the patient at the command of the inimical tohunga. In the diagnosing ceremony of hirihiri at the waterside, altar or paepae, the wai-page 63rua, spirit, of the person who had caused the mischief appeared before the tohunga. In cases where a relative or friend of the patient went to the tohunga, the spirits of both the patient and the wizard appeared. The tohunga would tell the patient or friend who had wrought the evil and ask what he should do to him. The usual thing was to exorcise the demons and turn them against the wizard who died unless he was on his guard and had protected himself. Thus witchcraft was a dangerous weapon to use, for if the person against whom it was aimed was not killed, it was very apt to turn against the tohunga who had impelled the magic shaft.

In the cases of heriditary makutu aimed at causing a certain family to die out, the treatment after discovering the cause, was by means of the sacred oven to remove the effects from the patient's family or to obtain the bewitched object that had been concealed and by means of incantations remove its virulence and power.