Te Ika a Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants
Chapter III. Mythology. (Continued.)
Chapter III. Mythology. (Continued.)
* These were some of the creative fathers:—
Tane was the parent (by some the mother) of the tui, of birds in general and of trees.
Ru, the father of lakes and rivers.
Rupe, the father of the pigeon.
Tangaroa, the father of the fish.
Irawaru, the father of dogs.
Nga-rangi-hore, the father of stones.
Mauika, the father of fire.
Maui, the father of land.
Mumuhanga, the father of the Totara.
Parauri, the father of the Tui. Tane and Pararui were married.
Papa, the father of the Kiwi.
Owa, the father of the dog: he was also the father of Irawaru.
Pahiko, the father of the Kaka.
Punga, the father of the shark, tuatini, and lizard.
Tutemanoa, the father of the Kahikatoa.
Hina-moki, the father of the rat.
Tuwairore, the father of the Kahikatea and Rimu.
Haere-awa-awa, the father of the Weka.
Rongo, the father of the Kumara.
Tiki, the father of man.
Tute-nga-nahau, the father of evil.
Tahu, the father of all good.
Tawiri-matea, the father of the wind.
* Whanan Moana o te tamaiti tua toru o Turi, ka panga tona ewe ki to moana, ka pae ana ki te one, ara ki te uraura. ka kitea e nga tangata, ka tongohia mai, waka-iria ki te tunga roa o te whare, i kitea atu ka korikori, kua wai tangata, no te putanga mai he tangata, ka rere mai ka whai mai i tona tinana Whanau Moana, ka noho ai ki Wai totara, ko tai ake, o te one kaha wai, na ka puta ki waho ko Tararere, ko Tarapunga te Manu i te ra Tarakapu whenua Kapunga rauru.
Whanau Moana was the offspring of Turi's third son; his navel string having been thrown into the sea, drifted on the shore, where it was seen by some persons, who carried it away, and suspended it to the ridge pole of their house; they noticed that it moved about and had life; it grew up a man and had wings; he was called Whanau Moana, and lived on the side of Wai-totara next the sea; he became the father of Tararere, Tarapunga, the bird of the day. Tarakapu whenua, Kapunga rauru. These winged people flew openly in the day; at first they had no regular home, but went abroad from one place to another, sometimes alighting on the top of mountains, sometimes flying to some island of the sea, until one of their number, named Tara pu-whenua, caused them to dwell in pas. This wonderful race belonged exclusively to Waitotara, and lived at Tieki Moerangi. The last person who had wings was Te Kahui-rere; he lost them by a woman pressing them down when he was asleep.
In fact, in the accounts which the natives give of their gods, and of their exploits, we have but a magnified history of their chiefs, their wars, murders, and lusts, with the addition of some supernatural powers. They were cannibals; they were influenced by like feelings and passions with men, and they were uniformly bad. To them were ascribed all the evils to which the human race is subject; each disease was supposed to be occasioned by a different god, who resided in the part affected. Thus, Tonga was the god who caused headache and sickness; he took up his abode in the forehead. Moko Titi, a lizard god, was the source of all pains in the breast; Tu-tangata-kino was the god of the stomach; Titi-hai occasioned pains in the ankles and feet; Rongomai and Tuparitapu were the gods of consumption, and the wasting away of the legs and arms; Koro-kio-ewe presided over childbirth, and did his worst to unfortunate females in that state. In fact, the entire human body appears to have been shared out amongst those evil beings, who ruled over every part, to afflict and pain the poor creatures who worshipped them. This portioning out of the body was, however, much the same amongst the heathen generally. The Greek and Roman mythology had their gods and goddesses, each having his page 35 or her peculiar department, and they have been succeeded by the male and female saints of the Greek and Roman churches, which have thus carefully preserved a close relationship to their veneratod heathen ancestors.
There is one of the native gods who bears a remarkable resemblance to Mars. Like him, Maru is the god of war; he was killed and eaten when on earth, but his divinity flew up to heaven, and the planet Mars, from his fiery color, is called Maru. This god had many names, as
Maru i te Aewa
„ — Koeta
„ — Anaunau
„ — Waka tamara
„ — Tahuri mai
„ — Takotua
„ — Tawakarere
„ — Riri
„ — Nguha
„ — Mataitai
These names were descriptive of his various evil qualities; his going to and fro as an adversary; chattering defiance; looking down malignantly; causing disease; flaming with wrath; full of anger and bitterness. We can scarcely have a more perfect description of the evil spirit. Maru was a god of the Sandwich Isles. This deity being constantly engaged in evil, had no time to grow food, and was indignant if he were not liberally supplied, and with the best. He must have been a god highly esteemed by his priests, who grew fat in his service.
A native history of one of these gods will be a specimen of all, and such narratives furnish a faithful index of the national mind. No god figures more in the Maori mythology of later ages than Tawaki. Originally men were not aware that he was a god, until one day he ascended a lofty hill, and some one who was cutting brush wood, saw him throw aside his vile garments, and clothe himself with the lightning: they then knew he was a god.
When Waitiri (his grandmother) descended from heaven, the fame of Kai-tangata and his bravery reached her; on her page 36 arriving near his dwelling, she slew her favorite slave Anonokia, and took out his lungs as an offering for Kai-tangata; which, when she came to him, she presented. Kai-tangata feared her. Waitiri said, the fame of your bravery reached me; it was an uncertain report, however. I immediately came to judge for myself, and have killed my favourite slave, to propitiate your favour. They became man and wife: their first born was Punga, afterwards Karihi, and the youngest Hema.
Their children were not particularly clean. Kai-tangata turned up his nose and said, Hu! the filthy children! Waitiri was offended. She then gave names to her children, and said to them, Punga, the anchor of your father's canoe, this is the name for the elder; for the second, the Karihi, or sinker of your father's net; for my youngest, I leave as a name Whaka Makanga, my shame, on account of your father's word about your filth. Afterwards she ascended to heaven; her parting words were,—When Punga has children, do not let them follow me; she called to Karihi, when you have grown up, do not suffer your children to go and seek me; when my Waka Makanga has a child, he may come to me; these were the parting words of Waitiri; she then ascended up to heaven. When Kai-tangata returned from the sea, he asked his children, Where is your mother?— They answered, she has gone to heaven, to her dwelling place. Kai-tangata inquired, what did she say to you?—She said, that Punga, the anchor of your canoe, was to be my name; that for this here (pointing to his brother), the name was to be Karihi, the sinker of your net; that for our sister, the Waka Makanga of our mother, for your turning up your nose at our fifth: they went and showed the Paepae to their father.
The offspring of Punga and Karihi were the lizard, shark, and dog-fish. The child of Hema was Tawaki. The elder brethren took Muri-waka-roto and Kohuhango as their wives: these women were not satisfied with their husbands; they preferred Tawaki. His elder relatives hated him; they said, let us go to Wai-ranga-tuhi, where he had gone to wash. Tawaki prayed—page 37
“Let the morning spring forth: give me my comb, my beautiful comb, that I may arise and go to the water of Rangatuhi, Rangatuhi.”
They found their brother there, and slew him: after he was dead, they returned home. Muri-waka-roto demanded, where is your younger brother? Mango (the shark) said, at the water combing his hair. She waited a long time, and then went and called Tawaki-e-. The Pukeko (a bird) answered, -ke-. She went and again called to Tawaki. The Moho (another bird) answered, -hu-. She returned home and said, you have killed your brother: they confessed they had done so. They inquired if he did not answer her call; she replied, the Pukeko and the Moho were the only things which heard her. No, Tawaki is gone to karakia, and to mix his blood with water-blood, with star-blood, with the blood of what? With the blood of the moon, with the blood of the sun, and the blood of Rangi-Mahuki; this is the flowing of Tawaki's blood, truly the causing his blood to grow,* that he might be restored to life. Tawaki is alive again! He slept soundly on the sea shore after his resurrection from below, from the Reinga, he sleeps by the sea side; a great wave appeared, rolling in from afar; that wave came to kill Tawaki, but his ancestor, the Kaiaia (the sparrow hawk), appeared, and cryed, ke-ke-ke-ke. Tawaki awoke; he started up from his sleep, he seized a stick, and (casting it) defied the wave, it glanced on one side of the billow, which was drifting towards him from afar. Enough. Tawaki left the shore and went inland. His uncle Karihi overtook him; they wept together.
Afterwards they arrived at the outside, or verge of heaven, and at the fence, which divided it from the earth. Tawaki called out to his uncle, Do you climb up first? His relative answered, No, do you go before. Tawaki again called upon him to go first. His uncle did so, and laid hold with his hands on the fence which encircled it. Whilst Karihi was climbing up, Tawaki uttered this charm:—
* The union of all these kinds of blood formed life, and thus resuscitated Tawaki.
E tu te rangi motuhia, Stand the severed heaven, E tu te rangi pukai, Stand the heaped up sky, Pukai atu ana, Heaped up apart from the earth. I raro ite whenua.
His uncle slipped down to the earth, quite down to the ground. When Karihi came to him, he said, it was your spell which made me fall, otherwise I should have quite ascended. Tawaki denied his having uttered any: now, said he, do you remain, and let me try. Tawaki's hand laid hold of the fence, and he uttered this spell:—
Ascend, Tawaki, to the first heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the second heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the third heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the fourth heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the fifth heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the sixth heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the seventh heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the eighth heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the ninth heaven: let the fair sky consent. Ascend, Tawaki, to the tenth heaven: let the fair sky consent. Cling, cling, like the lizard, to the ceiling. Stick, stick close to the side of heaven.
* It is said that Tawaki ascended to heaven by a spider's thread. Another tradition states, that Waitiri uttered the spell, and Tawaki slipped down.
Irimata, Irimata, Wave before your eyes, wave before your eyes Weromata, Weromata, Thou smitten blind, thou smitten blind, He wai o mata ki te ra, Be your eyes bright, He hurumai ra, Like the sun that rises there, He pa ko rirerire, Since you are so greatly afflicted, Hae tahi ki te mata, Once to the eyes of Watitiri,page 40 O watitiri rua ki te, Twice to the eyes of Watitiri, Mata o watitiri, Titiromai ra, Look this way, Kakanomai ra, Glance this way, Ki te mata ora, With your healed eyes, Ki te mata o Rehua, With your star like eyes.
Aye, aye, my eyes are cured, my grandson.
Then Tawaki went and saw the Toka Tamiware, which stood there: he asked the old woman what is this? Waitiri replied, do not touch them with your hands, they are your ancestors. Then Tawaki stumbled against it: the stone fell down by the sea. Tawaki went crying, you also shall cry, who slew me. From that stone which fell, commenced the revenge which Tawaki took against his brethren. He drove the shark and the dog-fish from the land, and compelled them henceforth to live in the sea.
Afterwards, Tawaki went to Maru and his ancestors, that they might strive to kill him, in order to shew them his great power. Maru cries out to him, that he is his adversary. Tutenganahan cried out, that he also was his adversary; Rehua cried out, he was his adversary. Tawaki went straight to Maru, the man of war, to devise his death. Tawaki saw He Wata, the sacred food store of Maru: the oil stood within it. Tawaki eat some of it; he uttered a spell to take off its tapu; then Maru took away the tapu of Tawaki; by his spell he cursed every member of his body. The gods, his associates, held a solemn feast to destroy Tawaki, but quarrelled about the head of an eel on which they had feasted; each wanted it for himself; and at last Maru obtained it, which caused contentions amongst themselves. One party went by the sea-shore, headed by Maru; they saw Rongomai, in the shape of a great whale, laid on the shore, with the flies swarming about him. Thinking it was a dead whale, Maru ordered an oven to be heated, to cook their prize; and when it was ready, they began to roll the body into it. This awoke Rongomai, and he immediately arose and slew them all, and cast their bodies into the oven prepared for himself, page 41 and eat them. Maru, the god, flew up to heaven; but his body was devoured, and had not he taken refuge in the fissure of a rock, his divinity also would have been destroyed.
Such is a portion of a very long myth; a great deal of which will not bear repeating. It is interesting as shewing what were their ideas of their gods, and of heaven, which, from this account, differed little from the earth; it had its dwellings, its cultivations, the same as the earth; its inhabitants had their labors, quarrels, passions, need of food, like men. The persons alluded to, were chief gods. There are many others, but it is not necessary here to name more—they had gods many and lords many. The way in which their gods manifested themselves to men, were various—the whirlwind indicated the presence of a deity; the rain-bow was exclusively the property of Uenuku; the lightning and thunder belonged to Whiro; meteors, or any unaccountable noise, were tokens of the presence of a god. Sometimes they manifested themselves in the forms of spiders, moths, and flies; but most chiefly by the mouths of their priests, of which they took possession. During that period, the person thus possessed appeared quite frantic, uttering the most fearful cries, and being distorted in every limb; whilst in this state, every thing he said, or did, was considered as the immediate act of the god within him.
Heroes were thought to become stars, of greater or less brightness, according to the number of their victims slain in fight; they scooped out their eyes and swallowed them, in order to obtain the spirit and power of the enemy slain. The spirit of a chief, thus consuming those of the chiefs slain, was raised above men; he became a god even upon earth, and after death, a bright luminary of heaven.
Of the gods of the night, Hine-nui-te-po ranks the highest, more being spoken of her, than of all the others; and yet, she only appears to be a personification of night and Hades. Prayers, however, were addressed to her. She was known in Tonga, Tahaiti, and Hawaii, with a slight change of name and history. Po, or night, was the great name for Hades, although, in general, the Reinga, which is only the entrance page 42 to it, is spoken of, instead of the place itself. The word reinga, literally meaning the place where these spirits jumped into Po.
* The following account was given by a Chief, who was in a war expedition against the Ngatiawa, at Otaki. They were endeavouring to storm the powerful pa Kakutu, at Rangi-uru. At noon, when encamped opposite the beleaguered place, Puta, the Priest of Taupo, who was in their party, stood and prayed to Rongo-mai, the great god of his tribe, that he would manifest himself in their favor, and give the pa into their hands. Immediately a great noise was heard in the heavens, and they saw Rongo-mai rushing through the air, his form, which is that of a whale, was of fire, with a great head; he flew straight into the pa, which he entered with his head downwards, knocking up the dust which arose in a cloud with a crash like thunder. The Priest said in two days the place would be taken, which accordingly came to pass. My informant, a very sensible Christian Chief, believed it was actually the god who appeared, bid him draw his form, which he did; it was evidently a meteor, and a very bright one, to have been thus apparent at noon. It is remarkable that it should have been seen at the very moment the Priest was praying for his god to appear, and further that it should have fallen into the very pa they were attacking. It was natural that it should have been regarded as a favorable omen by one, and as the contrary by the others; but had the besieged not been intimidated, and fought courageously and conquered, then it would doubtless have been considered as a favorable omen for them. It is according to the result that these sights are estimated, and as many are seen without anything remarkable occurring, so nothing is thought of them, but only of the few which are attended with a particular result, as in this instance. A similar case occurred to me during a journey into the interior of the Island. I was preaching from the words, “Behold I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven.” I had no sooner concluded, than the chapel, a dark building of raupo, with only the door and a small aperture to admit the light, was suddenly illuminated; we all rushed out, and saw a splendid meteor, like a drawn sword. My congregation, with almost one voice, exclaimed, “there is Satan falling from heaven.” My son once saw a brilliant meteor in the middle of the day, he immediately ran into the house to tell us, but we were only just in time to see its receding rays. Some few years ago four or five meteoric stones were seen at Wanganui, during the day, rushing with great noise and so near that some Europeans who were there went in search of them. Meteors are very frequently seen in New Zealand.
* A remarkable instance of this kind fell more immediately under my notice. One morning a native came to me with a very long countenance, and said, that the Taupos were coming to fight against us, with a determination of putting an end to the “waka pono,” as the Christian religion is called. I inquired where he got the news from; he told me a female named Erina had seen the enemy; and upon further questioning him, he said the Atua, who was in lore with her, had showed her the hostile party. I laughed at him, and replied, if that were all he knew about the Taupo enemy, I should not have much fear. I went, however, to the woman, and told her I was sorry to hear she had been spreading such an idle tale; she said it was not [gap — reason: illegible] but the spirit who came to her. I inquired how did he inform you of what is coming to pass. She said he bid me hold out my hand, and he put a drop of blood in it, telling me to look attentively into it: I did so, and I saw Te Heu-heu Herekiekie and several other Taupo chiefs on one side, and on the other the church, with you and the teachers standing before it He told me it was a taua (or war) against the church. I said pray what form did the spirit appear in? She answered, he came as a shadow. I was very much struck with the remembrance of this, when some years afterwards I read an almost counterpart of it in Lane's Egypt. That an ignorant girl should hit upon so close a resemblance was very remarkable.
The Mata Kite or seers pretend to do many supernatural things, and to cause their gods to appear at pleasure; but from my personal knowledge of many of them, I am persuaded they are ventriloquists, and thus deceive the people, although in some cases, they may deceive themselves with the idea that the god is in them; generally, however, they are gross impostors, who only seek gain or influence by their pretended powers.
A gentleman who resided several years in New Zealand, and travelled a great deal amongst the natives, had once an opportunity of seeing this pretended power exercised; he was in company with two young natives, one an heathen chief of some rank, who expressed his firm belief, not only in the existence of their gods, but likewise in their willingness to appear to their own relatives when asked to do so. He was told that he could not believe such to be possible, but if he actually saw one in their gods, then he should cease to doubt their existence; the young chief immediately offered to give the proof demanded, he invited the unbelieving European to accompany him, to an old lady, who formerly had exercised this power. It was In the evening when the conversation took place; they went directly to her abode. She was then living in a little mahinga or cultivation at some distance from the village. They found her sitting in a long shed by the side of a fire. After some general conversation, the young chief made her acquainted with the object of their visit, telling her that their companion, the European, did not believe in the existence of native gods, or that they could hold intercourse with men, and therefore he wished her to show him that such was really the case, by giving him an actual proof. For some time she hesitated, stating that she had given up such things, and had become a praying woman; at last, however, after much entreaty, she consented, and bid one of the party take away some of the brands from the fire, and throw them outside, as the gods did not like too much light, (which was doubtless very true.) This was accordingly done. The old woman sat crouched down by the fire, with her head concealed in her blanket, swaying her body to and fro. The young chief laid himself full length on the ground, with his face downwards; he bogan by calling on the different gods by name, who were considered to be his relatives, addressing them as though present; his being the eldest son of the eldest branch of his family, was supposed to confer this privilege upon him. At first, they appeared to pay no attention to their relative, he thereupon spoke to them in a louder tone, but still without success; at last, he called to them in an angry tone, telling them if they did not speak, the European would go away and disbelieve in their existence; the old woman sat still, and appeared to take no notice of any thing. The European kept his eye steadily fixed upon her, and went and sat by her side; suddenly he heard a scratching as of a rat running up the raupo, and along the roof of the house, until the sound seemed to come from the spot exactly over their heads; he thought it was done by some accomplice outside, but he was not aware of any one being there, besides the party in the house; he detected no movement of the old woman, beyond that of rocking her body to and fro. Then he heard a low whistle, and could distinguish the inquiry, what did they want with him? The Maori gods always speak in a whistling tone. The young chief replied, that they wanted him to come and shew himself to the European; ho said he should kill him if he came; the chief insisted that he should render himself visible; the god held back, but the chief would not allow his divine relative to escape; at last, he consented to assume the form of a spider, and alight on his head. The European said, if he descended straight on his head, he would believe he was actually present; but if he only saw a spider on his side or legs, he should not be satisfied. The old woman then got up, and went to the other side of the hut, and fumbled about in the thatch of the house, as though she was searching for a spider, to act the god, but her search was vain, she only found a little beetle, which consumes the raupo. She then came and sat by his side, but he narrowly watched her. The chief reproached the god for not descending at once upon his head; the god replied it was from an unwillingness to injure the European. He demanded a blanket for having spoken to him, and said he had seen him before in the Bay of Islands, which was false, as he had never been there; but he at once assented, to see whether the god might not tell some further lies, when he found that the first was agreed to; he then imitated the Nga puhi dialect, and said, he had seen such and such chiefs with him, and several other things equally untrue, again repeating his request for a present; but though urged to render himself visible, he obstinately refused, to the great mortification of the chief, who still believed he actually heard a god speak, when the interview terminated. The two youths dared not return to the pa; and the Christian feeling was so strong, that they were not permitted to enter it for three days. I asked my informant if he did not think the woman was a ventriloquist? he said that it had not struck him before, but now he felt persuaded she was. He knew that it was a deception, but could not find it out; now all was quite clear. He said the calling of the young chief on the gods, reminded him of the priests of Baal calling on their gods. In the case just given, it is evident that there is nothing said beyond what a cunning old woman might say, nothing to indicate any superior intelligence; generally these ventriloquists are distinguished by their possessing a greater degree of shrewdness and acquaintance with what is going on, than their neighbours, and thus sometimes draw conclusions, which, though natural, being beyond the perception of their neighbours, when time verifies them, they appear prophetic, and seem to indicate a supernatural power.
Besides gods, the natives believed in the existence of other beings, who lived in communities, built pas, and were occupied with similar pursuits to those of men. These were called Patu-paearehe. Their chief residences were on the tops of lofty hills, and they are said to have been the spiritual occupants of the country prior to the arrival of the Maori, and to retire as they advance. The Wanganui natives state, that when they first came to reside on the banks of the river, almost all the chief heights were occupied by the Patu-pae-arehe, who gradually abandoned the river, and that even until a few generations ago, they had their favorite haunts there. These may be accounts of an aboriginal race mixed with fable; there are several things to warrant the idea that the Maori were not the first inhabitants of the land.
The Patu-paearehe were only seen early in the morning, and are represented as being white, and clothed in white garments of the same form and texture as their own; in fact, they may be called the children of the mist. They are supposed to be of large size, and may be regarded as giants, although in some respects they resemble our fairies. They are seldom seen alone, but generally in large numbers; they are loud speakers, and delight in playing on the putorino (flute); they are said to nurse their children in their arms, the same as Europeans, and not to carry them in the Maori style, on the back or hip. Their faces are papatea, not tattooed, and in this respect also, they resemble Europeans. They hold long councils, and sing very loud; they often go and sit in cultivations, which are completely filled with them, so as to be frequently mistaken for a war party; but they never injure the ground; the only harm they appear to be guilty of, is that of entering the whare puni, or hot-houses of the natives, and smiting the inmates, so that for a time they appear to be dead; it is only the Mata Kite, or seers, who are able to discern them. These quick-sighted gentry were not aware of the noxious effects of the fumes of charcoal, with which their houses were heated.page 47
The belief in the Patu-paearehe is very general; many have affirmed to me, that they have repeatedly met with them. Albinos are said to be their offspring, and they are accused of frequently surprising women in the bush. The following is an account of a man being caught by a Patu-paearehe lady, which is, therefore, a very interesting circumstance:—
Kurangai-tuku was a Patu-paearehe, a giantess in stature; she was like a tree, her fingers and nails were extremely long, with these she was accustomed to spear her game, which chiefly consisted of pigeons and parrots. One day, when she was out hunting, she came to a large totara tree, in which she espied a pigeon roosting; she sent her long nails completely through the trunk of the tree. A chief, named Hatupatu, was also out spearing birds at the same time. He likewise saw the pigeon from the opposite side of the tree, but did not perceive the lady until her nails appeared through the tree; and at the same time she saw the here (barb) of his spear, which had likewise penetrated to her side. She looked around with astonishment, and perceived Hatupatu. It was the first time she had ever seen a man, so she captured him alive, and carried him to her house, as a mokai, or pet. This lady appears to have been a great ornithologist, and her house was a regular aviary, being filled with every kind of bird, which she tended with great care; amongst these she placed her new capture, doubtless considering him to be a very rare specimen. Here he remained some time, until he began to be weary and anxious to escape. She, however, treated him with great kindness, and carefully provided for his support. One day she asked him what food he would like to have; he replied, some birds. She then enquired, pae-hea? What ridge or range of hills was she to go to for them? Was she to go to the first? He said, no. Was she to go to the second range? He replied, still further. She continued asking him, until she demanded whether she was to go to the sixth range, which was very far off. He then said, yes, in order that he might have time to escape whilst she was going so far for the birds. Kurangai-tuku did not much relish so long a walk, still she very good-naturedly set off, and rapidly strode from pae to page 48 pae, or from one range to another, for though she went bare foot, yet she seemed to possess the virtue of the seven-leagued boots. Hatupatu in the meantime stopped up all the holes and crevices of the house with muka (flax), that none of the birds might escape to inform their mistress of his departure; but he overlooked one very little hole. When he crept out of the house, he carefully closed the door after him; the riro-riro, which is the least of all the New Zealand birds, perceived the small opening which had been left, and she managed to squeeze her little body through it; she had no sooner done so, than she flew straight to her mistress, exclaiming, Kurangai tuku, Kurangai tuku—e—ka riro a taua hanga! riro, riro, riro! Our property is escaped, it is gone, gone, gone! Hence has this little wren derived its name, riro-riro. She at once returned, and Kumea Warona stretching out her legs and dragging them onward, she was soon at home, and snuffing up the wind, quickly found the direction he had taken, and immediately set off after him and Kumea Warona: she soon came in sight, and nearly reached him, whilst he was approaching a steep cliff. Now Hatupatu was the youngest son of his mother, and to make up for such a great disadvantage, his kind and considerate grandmother had bestowed a very powerful charm upon him—he had not a minute to spare—he therefore immediately put it to the test, and pronounced the spell, matiti, matata, open and cleave asunder. The powerful words were no sooner uttered, than the rock obeyed; it at once opened and received him into it, and then closed again. Kurangai-tuku immediately afterwards reached the spot, and was strangely puzzled to find out what had become of Hatupatu. She began scratching about with her long nails on the rock, exclaiming, Ina ano koe, e Hana, Where have you got to, O Hana, which is short for his name. Now, if you ever go from Rotorua to Tarawera, and ask your guide, he will show you these marks of her scratches, which still remain on the face of the rock, several inches deep.
When Hatupatu thought that she had gone away, he came out again at some distance from the spot he entered. But she was too sharp-sighted to miss him; again was she in full chase, page 49 and Kumea Warona would have overtaken him, but perceiving his danger, he again uttered the potent words, matiti, matata; the earth, obedient to the spell, opened at once and received him. Puzzled at his strange disappearance, she again scratched about and cried, Ina ano koe e Hana? Are you here, Hana? After some time, he once more ventured from his hiding place, but she soon caught sight of him, and pursued: he cried out to a tuft of toe toe, matiti matata, or, as another account states, tatenga tatanga; it immediately lifted up itself, and he went under, thus she was again disappointed in her search. The last time he entered the ground, he came out behind Ohine motu, near a ngawha, or boiling spring. The ground around these is generally only formed of a very thin deposit of stone, which arches over a large portion of the gulf, and poor Kuran-gai-tuku stepping upon this, it was too weak to bear her great weight, she fell in, and was boiled. The name of that hot spring is Waka-rewa-rewa.
Besides the Patu-paearehe are the Tua-riki,* who appear closely to resemble them, and the Maero, who is described as being a wild man, living on inaccessible mountains, occasionally making a descent and carrying off any he can lay hold of. He is said to be covered with hair, and to have long fingers and nails, eating his food raw.†
* This word is short for Atua-ririki (little gods).
† The natives say, that the Tararua range is now his only habitation, in the northern island, where he is still, He hapu mariri (a numerous tribe), and that he is identical with the Nga-ti-mamoe, who live on the lofty mountains of the middle island.
A story is told of a person named Tamamutu, who was sleeping on the shore of the island Haka-e-pari, in Tara-wera lake. When Te Ihi, the chief of the Taupo Taniwha, arose out of the lake, and carried him away, he took him under ground, and came out in Taupo lake, where he was kept by the Taniwha for several days. They offered him some of their food, which he refused to partake of, well knowing that if he had touched any portion of it, he could not have returned; at last, they held a council, whether they should kill him or let him go back to his home; the latter opinion prevailed, and they carried him to the very spot from whence he had been taken, where he was found asleep by his friends, who were amazed to find that he had become perfectly bald—there was not a hair left on any part of his body. This man only died lately, and one of his wives is still living.† He described the Taniwha as being like great Ngarara or lizards. This Ihi, the grand head of the Taupo Taniwha, is stated traditionally to have been a man who one day when paddling with another in a canoe, on the Taupo lake, suddenly leaped into the water, and diving down disappeared; they thought he was drowned; but some time afterwards, he made his appearance at Rotorua. The token of his coming is a boiling up of the water, producing greatwaves. His mother, Te-Ara-tuku-tuku, was the great progenitor of all the Taniwhas. At her death, four pas were swallowed up at Taupo. The names of two of them were Kohuru Kareao and Waka Ohoka. The death of Pipiri, a chief priest of Motutere, was foretold by Ara-tuku-tuku, because he went to fish whilst she was engaged in prayer. She said that his canoe would be lost, which was the case; the natives, in revenge, killed her, and then the four pas were swallowed up. The land where they stood became deep water, as well as the spot where she was buried.
† A chief stated to me that he received a similar account from the lips of Tamamutu himself.
Formerly, there was a formidable monster of this kind at Orawaro, near Pakerau; he was of an enormous length and size; he swallowed two children at a meal, with their green stone ornaments. On another occasion, as a woman was passing near his den, he suddenly crawled out and seized her, compelling her to become his wife; and lest she should escape, he kept her tied with a rope; she naturally became afraid of such a husband, and hit upon the following expedient to effect her escape:—complaining of great thirst, she induced him to let her go to the water, but the wary monster still kept her tied with the rope; and to make him think that she had no desire to escape, she left her girdle with him: he was thus deceived. When she reached the water, she tied the rope to a tree, and ran off to her home. When the Taniwha thought she had stayed long enough to quench her thirst, he pulled the rope, and was amazed at the resistance; thinking she was very strong and obstinate, he went out of his cave to see the cause, and then found out the trick which had been played off upon him. The woman went and told all her friends and relatives, and further suggested, that the best way of killing the monster, would be by a poa poa, or live bait. Fifty persons, therefore, immediately armed themselves with sharp ko or spades, determined to kill him, or perish in the attempt. When they reached his cave, they all went behind it, and there laid in ambush, sending only one of their number in front, as the poa poa. Taraka-piri-piri, when he saw the man, crawled a little way from his abode; the man stepped forward a few paces, until he had succeeded in drawing him completely out of his den; the fifty men then rushed all at once upon him, and soon dispatched him, thrusting their sharp ko into his body. They then cut him open, and found all the green stone ornaments of the poor children in his stomach, and the woman's girdle in the cave.
In fact, at one period New Zealand appears to have been as dreadfully plagued with Ngararas and Taniwhas, as Europe was once with dragons; and had it not been for a race of heroes who patriotically devoted themselves, like St. George of old, to the work of freeing their country from such fearful pests, there page 52 is no saying what would have become of it; it certainly would have been anything but a desirable field for colonization. At Wanganui, there was a dreadful monster, who lived below the cliff, at Taumahauti, called Tutai-poro-poro; he was at last killed by Aukehu, whose canoe with all his party, had been swallowed up by the monster, but fortunately Aukehu himself, being last, made his escape by slipping out at the end of the canoe as it went down his throat; he then cut into his belly with his mira tuatini or knife, and let in the water which killed him. This monster originally came from Rotoaira to Retaruki and thence down the Wanganui.
At Kapenga, on the Kainga roa plains, there formerly lived a Taniwha, named Hotu-puku. After having devoured great numbers of people, he was at last destroyed by a party of brave men from Rotorua; they made strong ropes, and formed a large circular snare; stationing a party at each end of the rope, and sending another to entice the monster out of his den, as soon as he smelled the scent of men, he came out and pursued them; they retreated through the snare, he followed, and when the two parties who laid in ambush on either side of the road, saw that his head and shoulders had entered, they immediately pulled the ropes tight: the monster struggled very hard, they therefore drove strong stakes into the ground to which they made fast the ropes, when the entire party united and attacked the Taniwha, and at last despatched him. He was of an enormous size, being described by the Maori narrator as “he puke puke whenua,” a mountain, and when he was dead he was as large as a great whale, but covered with scales, and with large spikes on his back. When they opened him, they found the remains of great numbers of persons, with weapons, green stone ornaments, &c. of all kinds, so that his stomach resembled te whare huata a Maui—the armoury of Maui.
The same party, justly celebrated by this exploit, were immediately sent for to destroy another great Taniwha, who resided at the bottom of a deep fountain, called “te wharo uri:” when they reached the banks of the river, they repeated all their most potent incantations, the puni, the whakaruhi, the page 53 wero-wero-Taniwha, the wakapuru to tumangai, the whanga-whangai, the whakautu-utu, and many others; they also made a taiki, a large cone-shaped basket, in which they descend to the bottom of lakes to catch cray and other shell fish, and one bold chief named Pitaka, with his comrade, volunteered to descend into the abyss, and pass a rope round the monster. Whilst he was in the water, the party above kept repeating all their spells, to weaken the Taniwha and strengthen the divers; the monster, immediately he saw them, elevated the spurs on his back, with delight at the prospect of such a feast, but Pitaka and his friends, nothing daunted, at once passed a rope round him, and then gave a signal to be drawn up. The party above by a strong pull, brought both the men and Taniwha up together, a thing which would have been impossible for them to have done on account of the enormous weight of the monster, but for the power of the spells used; they then killed and eat him. Four hundred and fifty men were engaged in this exploit; they found bodies, mats, &c., in his stomach, the same as in the others. His name was Pekehaua, when his ribs were bare of flesh they looked “Ano te Riu o tane mahuta,” like the hollow trunk of Tane mahuta.
Another Taniwha, named Katorore, was also killed by the same party, and thus that district became freed from those fearful reptiles.*.
Such are the supernatural beings who were thought by the natives to have an existence; but in every place there were other objects which were viewed with reverence, as being the peculiar abode of certain spirits: rocks, stones, trees, rivers, fountains, even large eels were reverenced, and prayed to, and had daily offerings made them: the sacred trees were known by their being daubed over with red ochre, and by rags tied round them, something in the way of the fetish tree of Africa, each visitor leaving a rag as he passed by.
* See Sir G. Grey's Overland Expedition to Taupo