Te Ika a Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants
Chapter II. Mythology
Chapter II. Mythology.
The Mythology of an isolated race like that of the New Zealander, is an important aid in ascertaining the locality, from whence it originally sprung; embodied in it, the most ancient remains of its history are to be found, as well as peculiarities of its religion; and it is there amongst fables and foolish tales, that some faint remains of ancient truth, are to be discerned.
Of their traditions it may be remarked, that the most ancient, are those which are common to other islands, as they evidently belong to a period anterior to their arrival in New page 13 Zealand; whilst such as are totally dissimilar to any other, may be supposed to belong peculiarly to themselves, and thus mark the turn which the native mind has taken, after it has been cut off from every other portion of the world. This clearly shows how the human mind, when left to its own resources, without the means of being cultivated and enlarged, becomes deteriorated, loses its manly character, and falls into a childish frivolity and weakness; whilst in the same degree that the mental powers are impaired, the fierce passions of the savage, brute force and violence, increase.
The knowledge which has even now been acquired, of the mythology of this singular people, is very imperfect; and as the old people, in whose breasts it is locked up, are rapidly passing away, much of it will perish with them. The rising generation is indifferent to the traditions of the past; the mind being now occupied with so many fresh subjects of interest, which European intercourse is introducing, it cannot be wondered, that it should be disinclined to burthen itself, with long strings of names and rites, which, generally speaking, are preserved in language, as dissimilar to that now spoken, as Spencer or Chaucer is to ours; and this also presents a great difficulty in the research, as it is only the old men who can explain words, which have long been obsolete.
* Speaking to Te Heuheu, the powerful Chief of Taupo, of God, as being the creator of all things, he ridiculed the idea, and said, is there one maker of all things amongst you Europeans? is not one a carpenter, another a blacksmith, another a ship-builder, and another a house-builder? And so was it in the beginning; one made this, another that: Tane made trees, Ru mountains, Tanga-roa fish, and so forth. Your religion is of to-day, ours from remote antiquity. Do not think then to destroy our ancient faith with your freshborn religion.
There is a degree of thought perceptible in their traditions of the creation, which mark a far more advanced state than their present. Their ideas in some respects are not so puerile, as those even of the more civilized heathen nations of old, and without the light of inspiration, we cannot expect they would be more advanced than we find them.
The first period may be styled the epoch of thought—
“From the conception the increase,
From the increase the thought,
From the thought the remembrance,
From the remembrance the consciousness,
From the consciousness the desire.”
The second period is that of night—
“The word became fruitful;
It dwelt with the feeble glimmering;
It brought forth night:
The great night, the long night,
The lowest night, the loftiest night,
The thick night, to be felt,
The night to be touched,
The night not to be seen,
The night of death.”
This (we are told) is all we have to do with night; during these periods there was no light—there were no eyes to the world.
The third period is that of light—
“From the nothing the begetting,
From the nothing the increase,
From the nothing the abundance,
The power of increasing,
The living breath;
It dwelt with the empty space, and produced the atmosphere which is above us,
page 15 The atmosphere which floats above the earth;
The great firmament above us, dwelt with the early dawn,
And the moon sprung forth;
The atmosphere above us, dwelt with the heat,
And thence proceeded the sun;
They were thrown up above, as the chief eyes of Heaven:
Then the Heavens became light,
The carly dawn, the early day,
The mid-day. The blaze of day from the sky.”
The fourth period—
“The sky above dwelt with Hawaiki, and produced land. Taporapora Tauwarenikau, Kuku-paru, Wawau-atea, Wiwhi-te Rangiora.”
These are the names of lands or islands, supposed to have been first created; Hawaiki is the island they originally came from, which is regarded as the cradle of their race.
The fifth period: the land being thus formed, then were produced the gods—
“Ru-ou-hoko, Ruatupu, Ruatawiti Rua-kaipo, &c.”
The sixth period, when men were produced—
Ngae, Ngaenui, Ngaeroa, Ngaepea, Ngaetuturi, Ngapepeke.
Tatiti, Ruatapu, Toe, Rauru-tama-rakei-ora.”*
*Na te kune te pupuke
Na te pupuke te hihiri
Na te hihiri te mahara
Na te mahara te hinengaro
Na te hinengaro te manako
Ka hua te wananga
Ka noho i a riko riko
Ka puta ki waho ko te po,
Ko te po nui, to po roa,
Te po i tuturi, te po i pepeke,
Te po uriuri, te po tangotango,
Te po wawa, te po te kitea,
Te po te waia,
Te po i oti atu ki te mate.
Oti atu koutou ki te Po—e.
[During this period all was dark—no eyes.]
Na to kore i ai,
Te kore te wiwia
Te kore te rawea,
Ko hotupu, ko hauora,
Ka noho i te atea,
Ka puta ki waho, te rangi e tu nei,
Ka noho i Hawaiki,
Ka puta ki waho ko tapora pora,
Ko tauware nikau, ko kukuparu
Ko wawauatea, ko wiwhi te rangiora,
Ko Ru, no Ru, ko ou hoko
Na ouhoko, ko ruatupu,
Ko rua tawito, na rua tawito
Rua kaipo, na rua kaipo
Ko ngae, ngae nui, ngae roa,
Ngae pea, ngae tuturi, ngae
Pepeke, ko Tatiti, ko Rua
Tapu, ko toe, ko rauru
Ko tama rake i ora ko &c.
[The natives are very proud of their genealogies, and generally those of great men are traced up to the gods, and even before them; this may be the case here; if so, the latter part will be some great Chief's genealogy attached to this Song of the Creation.]
Ko te rangi e tere tere ana
I runga o te whenua
Ka noho te rangi nui e tu nei
Ka noho i a ata tuhi, ka puta
Ki waho te marama, ka noho.
Te rangi i tu nei, ka noho i a
Te werowero, ka puta ki waho
Ko te ra, kokiritia ana
Ki runga, hei pukanohi
Mo te rangi, ka tau te
Rangi, Te ata tuhi, te
Ata rapa, te ata ka
Mahina, ka mahina
Te ata i hikurangi.
There were either ten or eleven Heavens;* the lowest was separated from the earth, by a solid transparent substance like ice or crystal,† and it was along the under side, or that next to the earth, that the sun and moon were supposed to glide. Above this pavement was the grand reservoir of the rain, and beyond that was the abode of the winds.‡
Each Heaven was distinct, the lowest being the abode of rain; the next of spirits; the third of the winds; the fourth of light, the highest of all, being the most glorious, and therefore the chief habitation of the gods.
Tawaki's Ascent to Heaven.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituatahi,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituarua,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituatoru,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituawa,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituarima,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituaono,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituawitu,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituawaru,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituaiwa,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Piki ake Tawaki i te Rangituarea,
E rongo te Mahaki.
Pipiri moko, pipiri moko, raraumoko raraumoko,
Rarauki taha tu o te rangi.
† The following is a description given by an old Chief, of the Heavens:— He tua whenua te rangi, he kohatu nga wetu, he kohatu nui te ra, namaui i titoko ake te rangi, ko enei enei, ko era kohatu era, i piri atu ki tera oneone. He kiko rangi i tera, he mangu iho ra (blue sky) no tua atu i te kiko rangi te ua, tua atu he tangata: kei tua mai o te kiko rangi te hau. Nga taepanga o te rangi, nga tatutanga ki raro.
‡ Tawaki is said to have danced with such violence upon the pavement of heaven when in a great rage as to crack it, and so let the water through, which fell on the earth and caused a deluge.
The earth's skin, or covering, was the tutu;
Her covering was the wehe-wehe;
Her covering was the bramble;
Her covering was the nettle.
Don't grieve that the earth is covered with water;
Don't lament for the length of time.
The ocean's reign shall be broken;
The ocean's surface shall be rough,
(with the lands springing up in it)
With mountains standing forth,
Girdling round the sea.
Yes, round the sea.
Broken up shall you be (O earth).
Do not grieve,
Yes you, even you,
Lest you should grieve through love;
Lest you should grieve for your water covered surface;
Lest you should lament for the time.
The offspring of Rangi and Papa, were first the Kumara, which came from the face of Heaven, being a plant which requires heat. Next came the fern-root, which sprung from the back of Rangi, intimating its hardy nature, being found on the cold hills, and needing no sun to make it grow. The first living being they produced was Tane, from whom proceeded trees and birds; what he was they do not seem clearly to know, a god, a man, or a tree; he is also called Tane Mahuta.
The second was Tiki, from whom man proceeded; his wife's name was Marikoriko, or Twilight. The first woman was not born, but formed out of the earth by the Arohi-rohi, or quivering heat of the sun and the echo. The daughter of Tiki and Marikoriko was called Kauatata.
The third son of Rangi and Papa was Tutenganahau, the grand author of evil.
Their fourth was Tahu, the author of all good. Tahu is the name for husband, and may have a figurative reference to marriage.page 19
The fifth was Tawirimatea, the father of the winds; and the last was Tangaroa, the father of all fish, and the great god of the ocean. This god in Tonga, is regarded as the creator of all things; he is there called Tangaloa; and in Tahaiti, where he is known as Taaroa, he is viewed in the same light.
This is also the case in Hawaii, * or the Sandwich isles. Orongo, another of the most ancient deities at Hawaii, was worshipped by the name of Orono; and Captain Cook, on his arrival there, was taken for that god, and he permitted the islanders to reverence him as such, and even to offer up sacrifices to him, which eventually caused his death. Tane and Tiki† were also known in Tahaiti, the latter by the name of Tii, so likewise was Ru,‡ and Hine nui te po, or Great Mother Night, the womb of nature. The same idea prevailed there of the malignant character of the Atua Potiki, or infant gods, who were called Hotua Pou; and supposed to delight in mischief.
* At Hawaii he is called Tanaroa; amongst the Maori he is the god who reveals secrets. Tangaroa piri whare, which implies that he is an eavesdropper, listening to what others are saying, and making mischief of it. It is not improbable that he was the original god of the Polynesians; perhaps before they inhabited these islands at all: see Buddle's Lectures.—I am inclined to think the same
† A small image of a man, cut out of the much-prized green stone, which is worn round the neck; its name is Tiki, the father of man.
‡ Ru is also a Tahaitian god. The same tradition of the heaven being joined to the earth is there found, and that they were only separated by the Teva, an insignificant plant, Draconitum polly phillum, till their god Ruu lifted it up.
|“Na Ruu i to te rai,”||Ru did elevate, or raise the heavens.|
|Onga onga te kiri,||As the nettle to the skin,|
|Kei mihi ki te ipu,||Do not grieve for thy partner,|
|Kei tangi ki te tau,||Do not cry for your husband,|
|Tangaroa watia,||Let ocean be broken (in two),|
|Tangaroa tara||Let ocean be far apart,|
|Anga tonu ko e ki tai-e,||Be you united to the sea,|
|Ki tai e,||Yes to the sea, O earth,|
|Wati ko koe kei mihi,||Broken asunder are you two,|
|Ko koe kei aroha,||Do not grieve,|
|Kei mihi ki te ipu,||Do not (continue) your love,|
|Kei tangi ki te tau.||Do not grieve for your partner.|
When the earth and sky were separated, she was told to shrink from contact with her former partner, as the skin does from the nettle and bramble. The ocean was to be divided, being their joint offspring; half was to go to Rangi, and form clouds; and half to remain with Papa, to form the sea.
Tane Tuturi—the bending; from doing so in upheaving the sky.
Tane Pepeki—the bowing; when his feet were against the sky.
Tane Uetika—straight as a tree.
Tane Ueka—strong as a tree.
Tane te Waiora—the person who opened the fountain of living water.
Tane nui a Rangi—the great Tane who propped up the heavens.
* Ka noho a Tane, ka noho ia a Mumuwhango, ka puta ki wahoko te Totara, ka noho a Tane i a te Puwhakahara ka puta ki waho ko te Kahikatoa, te Ake rautangi, ka noho a Tane ka noho i ate Ata tangirea, ka puta ki waho te Maire rau nui, ka noho a Tane ka noho i a Parauri, ka puta ki waho ko te Tui, ka noho a Tane ka noho i a Papa, ka puta ki waho ko te Kiwi, ko te manu hunahuna a Tane, ka noho a Tane ka noho i a Haerea wawa, ka puta ki, waho ko te Wekaka noho a Tane i a Tuwairore, ka puta ki waho ko te ka-hikatea, ko te Rimu, ko te Totara, ko te Aratau-waiti o Tane ko nga tamatama a Tane motu to nga nahau ko te kiri, ko te kahi-katoa, hei whare mo Kahu-kura, i maru ai a kahukura.
From Tane and Mumuwango came the Totara
" Kahikatoa trees.
" Ake-rau-tangi trees.
" Ata-tangi-rea " Maire-rau-nui trees.
"Parauri " Tui birds.
" Papa " Kiwi birds.
" Awa awa " Weka birds.
" Kahikatea trees.
" Rimu trees.
Of Tiki little is preserved: his great work was that of making man, which he is said to have done after his own image. One account states, that he took red clay and kneaded it with his own blood, and so formed the eyes and limbs, and then gave the image breath. Another, that man was formed of clay, and the red ochreous water of swamps, and that Tiki bestowed both his own form and name upon him, calling him Tiki-ahua, or Tiki's likeness. The most prized ornament is an uncouth image of a man, formed of green stone, and worn round the neck as an “Heitiki” image, or remembrance of Tiki.* The new-born infant is called “he potiki,” or a gift of Tiki from the Po or Hades. And the top knot of a Chief's head, the most sacred part of the person, is called “He Tiki.”
Some traditions say that Tiki is a woman, but the general idea is the contrary.
* The word Tiki in Nukuhiva, or Tii in Hawaiian, means an image.—See Buddle's Lectures.
Maui-i-nukurau, or the Potiki.
The last is the most important character: his elder brethren were surnamed Ware-ware, which signifies that they were forgetful or absent. Maui Potiki appears to have had many names, which are expressive of his power: thus he is called Atamai, from his liberality; Toa, from his superior strength, and by some he is also called e tiki tiki a tarangi, which signifies that he possessed the tiki, (top knot,) or power of his father.
His brethren, however, professed to despise and underrate their younger brother, and to take every advantage of him. When they went out fishing, they would give him what they caught to cook, and then eat all up themselves, only giving him the scales for his portion. He likewise appears to have returned evil for evil, sometimes refusing to join in their fishing until they had finished; he would then throw his hook into the water, and at one pull would catch more fish than they had all taken together. Some traditions also allude to his playing tricks on his kuia and waea—his grandmother and mother. He is also said to have been guilty of great impiety in taking the jaw-bone of his grandfather Muri Rangawhenua, and making a fish-hook of it, which he kept concealed under his mat. One of Maui's works was to tie the sun and moon in their places, so that having run their appointed courses, they should daily return to their starting post. Another work of this Maori Hercules was to kill Tunarua, a great taniwa or monster, who lived in the water. He cut off his head, which he cast into the sea, where it became a koiro, or conger eel; the tail he threw into the fresh water, and it turned into the tuna, or eel. Another part was thrown on the ground, and the kareao or supple-jack sprung up. The blood was absorbed page 25 by the rimu, totara, toatoa, and other trees having red wood, which accounts for their being so.
Afterwards Maui Atamai accompanied his brother Maui Ware-ware to the woods to get makaka, a strong flexible climbing plant, used for the manufacture of eel pots. Maui Ware-ware made an opening at the end of his eel pot for the fish to enter in by, but as he used no precaution to hinder them from going out again, they only eat the bait and went away. But Maui Mohio, made a tohi, or door, to the entrance into his eel pot, to hinder the fish from escaping; so that whilst his elder brother had no fish, his eel basket was filled. On their return home, Maui Mohio privately removed his tohi, lest his contrivance should be known; so when his disappointed brothers saw that his eel basket was filled, they inquired the cause of his success, and examining his basket, found to their surprise that it was just the same as their own. Afterwards the elder brothers made some spears for birds; all their points were smooth; but Maui added a barb to his; when they went to the woods to spear birds, they wounded, but could not secure them, as they slipped off the smooth point. Maui secured all his, as the barb of his spear held them firm. When they returned home, Maui privately removed the barb, and put on the smooth point again, which his brothers had made, that they might not find out the cause of his success.
Afterwards the elder brothers made some fish-hooks; Maui lid the same, but his were barbed, whilst theirs were smooth. They went to the sea; his brothers caught fish, but they escaped: Maui secured all his. His brothers called out to him, let us see your hook; he held up one that was unbarbed like their own. They returned home, but without fish; Maui the cunning only had any. His brethren were very angry, and turned him out of their canoe; they told him and Irawaru, his brother-in-law, to go to sea in a canoe by themselves. Maui gave the baits to him to put on the hooks, but, like a greedy dog, he eat them all up. This made Maui very angry, and when they landed he called to his brother-in-law to go on before and lie down, as a skid. Irawaru did so, and Maui dragged the canoe over his back, and, behold! it was broken; page 26 and he was turned into a dog.* Maui left him, and returned to the village. His sister asked him, where is your brother-in-law? Maui replied, he is there taking care of our fish. His sister went and called Irawaru, Irawaru, Irawaru (his second name was Kooa); she returned, and said he is not there. He inquired, did you go as far as the canoe? She said, yes. Maui then bid her return and call moi, moi (the usual way of calling a dog). The woman went, and when she arrived at the canoe she cried moi, moi, and behold Irawaru ran up to her; the tail was turned into the head, and the head into the tail. The woman returned to her brother: when she came to Maui she said, why have you acted in this way to your brother-in-law, to turn him into a dog? Maui replied, because he eat our baits like one. Thus Irawaru became the father of the dog, which being descended from a god was considered sacred.
* In another tradition, the following is given as the incantation used by Maui to turn Irawaru into a dog:—
|E hau koe-i tai,||Bark you from the sea,|
|E hau koe-i tai,||Bark you from the sea,|
|Kai to atua nui,||Consume you great divinity,|
|Kai to atua roa;||Consume your long-enduring divinity;|
|Ko i a witi,||You pass over,|
|Ko i a pana,||You be thrust out,|
|Ko i a taratara,||You be rough with hair,|
|Waka hokia, waka hokia mai,||You be caused to go and return at the bidding,|
|Ekoe ki taku moi moi;||My dog;|
|Tautika, tautonu hoki,||To go straight, to go always,|
|Ki to matua he mihi,||To your master,|
|He aroha, moi a rua.||To fawn, to love, this is your law, my dog.|
† According to another tradition, Aurarotuia was the name of the canoe, Pikiawhea the hook, Awhenga the face of it, and Ko ake, a man, the name of the bait. Some say, that he cut off a piece of his ear for a bait.
Angi angi ki te wakarua, Blow gently from the wakarua, Angi angi ki te mawaki; Blow gently from the mawaki; Taku aho ka tangi wiwi nei; My line let it pull straight; Taku aho ka tangi wawa; My line let it pull strong; Taku aho kai iria ka mate, My line it is pulled, Tu ana he wata mano wai. It has caught, Manowa mai hoki, It has come. Te watu wiwia, The land is gained, Te watu rawea, The land is in the hand, Te watu ko ronga ta, The land long waited for, Au ni ka wai atu The boasting of Maui, Ki moana, ka wainga His great land, Waka nene a Maui For which he went to sea, Waka nene a-ka-tau, His boasting, it is caught. He Hirihiringa mo te hutinga a te ao)
* Ka mau ta Maui ki tona ringa ringa e kore e taia te ruru. What Maui has got in his hand he cannot throw away; which has passed into a proverb.
* According to the Nga-puhi tradition:—Te pirita o te rangi te waka, tuwhawakia o te rangi, te mata o te matau nga kawae o muriranga-whenua, i tona haeretanga i te moana, kai ponu tona hoa kua motokia tona ihu muri iho ka puta mai he toto ka mea atu nga hoa o Maui kia Tukua te ika, ka mea atu kei hea hoki ta Maui i hoe ai i te wai?
Taupiri, an isolated mountain, is said by some to have been the first land which was seen.
The next great work of Maui is his contention with Mauika. Some traditions make him to be the grandfather of Maui; others deny it. He appears to have been a kind of Maori Pluto; his body was filled with fire. The name Maui-ka seems to imply that he was a member of the Maui family and distinguished by his being fire; at any rate, it is generally supposed that fire first proceeded from him. Some traditions represent Mauika as being a woman.
† Maui is also the name of a game closely resembling “cats cradles,” which represents the different scenes of the Maori creation, such as Hine-nui-te-po, Maui's fish, &c.
Emboldened by his success in thus destroying Mauika, and extinguishing his fire, he next tried to put out the sun and moon. He set snares to catch them, and kept repeating his work, but in vain; for as often as he placed his traps, the powerful rays of the sun bit them in two. After all this hot work, Maui naturally became very thirsty; he, therefore, asked the Tieke to go and bring him some water. The bird paid no attention to his request; he threw it into the water. He then called another bird, the Hihi: and asked it to go and bring him some water; it also took no notice of his request: he cast it into the fire, and its feathers were burned in the flames, which accounts for its color. He next tried the Totoara, but it did not comply with his request: he placed a streak of white near its nose, as a mark for its incivility. Maui next asked the Kokako; that bird was immediately obedient to his wish. When it reached the water it filled its ears; and then returned to Maui; he drank and quenched his thirst: as a reward he pulled the birds legs to make them long, because he was attentive to his wish and brought him water.
His last work was to do away with death. He noticed that the sun and moon were not to be killed, because they bathed page 31 in the living fountain, the Wai ora Tane; he determined, therefore, to do the same and to enter the womb of Hine-nui-te-po, that is Hades, where the living water—the life-giving stream—wassituated.* Hine-nui-te-po draws all into her womb, but permits none to return. Maui determined to try, trusting to his great powers; but before he made the attempt, he strictly charged his friends, the birds, not to laugh. He then allowed great mother night to draw him into her womb. His head and shoulders had already entered, when that forgetful bird, the Piwaka-waka, began to laugh. Night closed her portals, Maui was cut in two and died! Thus death came into the world! Had not the Piwaka-waka laughed, Maui would have drank of the living stream, and man would never have died. Such was the end of Maui!
He does not appear to have been generally prayed to as a god; yet he was invoked for their kumara crops and success in fishing. A karakia, or pure, addressed to him begins as follows:
Maui e hoea mai to heru,
Mo nga pa tana,
Te heru o Maui,
Ko i wano ai, whiti mai
Te marama, &c., &c.
Maui is also said to have tattoed the lips of the native dog; and that accounts for its muzzle being always black.†
* One account states that his object was to kill Hine-nui-te-po, and carry off her heart.
† Ko ta Maui uhi, i taia ki te Kuri, ko ta te kahuitara i taia ki te rangi, ka kikiwai, kairunga i taia ano hoki ki te tangata