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I thought, my child, I had severed the hold of night over us

When at thy birth the fruitful winds of years of plenty blew.

And met in crowds, and heralded the coming Pleiades,

And banished famine, hunger, want, and need from man.

Then man was guided to the island Wai-ro-ta ;

The star Pu-auga led him to Earo-tonga,

Where he built the house Maru-ao-uui,

And, guided by To Whaka-ha, he went to Hawa-i-ki.

And built the house called llaugi-aio,

And i)laced the twins of Tai-nga-hue [sun and moon]

Far in the sky, as signs for ever in the heavens.

Ancient Maori lament of Tii-ra7i-kaiva for his murdered child.


V. I

Some explanation of the disjointed nature of th©
contents of this work is, no doubt, due to the

The histories of other peoples are based upon
monuments, inscriptions in wood or stone, or upon
other records : the Maori had not reached this
state of advancement, and, though he valued know-
ledge in the very highest degree, it was entirely
preserved in memory and transmitted orally.

He had for ages held tenaciously to the mode
of life imposed upon him by the laws and customs
of his mythology, and he held his sacred knowledge
in such awe that to divulge it to those not of his
own race, or even to the junior branches of his own
people, was to incur the penalty of death. So
thoroughly was he imbued with the principles of
his early teaching that, even after he had been
taught and had adopted the tenets of the Christian
faith, his priests would not dare to disclose some
of their secrets.

When reciting the history of the Taki-tumu,
a priest gave certain portions, and left other parts
untold ; and when asked to fill up the omission he
replied, " The parts I have not related are so
sacred that I withhold them in dread of sudden
death." Nor could any logic or persuasion rid him
of that fear, or prompt him to give the information.


In the liistory of Te-Arawa, the priest acted in
a similar manner, and excused himself by saying,
" I cannot ^nve some of our sacred history, as not
an old priest now remains alive v/ho has the power
to perform the ceremonies to save me from the
penalty of divulging the sacred words of the gods."

When the yonng chief who wrote the histor}^ of
Tai-nui from the dictation of an old priest asked
that the whole of it should be related to him, he
was answ^ered, " Since the Whare-kura, in which
our learned priests taught our history, have been
neglected, no house is sacred enough for the
whole of our history to be recited therein, and I
am not able to defend myself from the consequences
which would most certainly follow^ if I were to
teach you the whole of our sacred history."

The Mamari priests refused to give all their
sacred history for the same reason, and added, " Our
gods are not annihilated — they are only silenced
by the superior influence of the European God.
We are still in the power of our Maori gods, and
if we divulge the sacred lore of our ancestors the
gods will punish us with death."

Therefore, to give the most perfect history of
the Maori people possible under such ch-cum-
stances, it was deemed best to compile it as herein
given, and, further, as the priests of difierent fami-
lies of the same migration give different readings of
the same parts of their history, to give all these, so
that they may explain each other.

Such chiefs as Matiaha-Tira-morehu, of the
South Island ; Reihana-Waha-nui, of Wai-kato ;
Wiremu Maihi-Te-Eangi-ka-heke, of Eoto-rua; and
Aperahama-Tao-nui, of Nga-puhi ; men of supreme


rank, who under the old regime Vvould have held
first rank in Whare-kiira, whose minds have been
thoroughly transformed by the truths of Christi-
anity, would have given the whole Maori historj^
consecutively from the creation, with the myth-
ology, migrations, wars, customs, superstitions,
rites, and ceremonies ; but, unfortunately for us,
these men were born too late — that is, their edu-
cation began after the Whare-kura and its rites had
been neglected.

The poem, song, or chant placed at the head
of each chapter (translation of which is given in
the English part) is the expression of the feelings
of joy or sorrow of its composer ; who also set the
tune or chant to which it should be sung (a). The
Maori poet never sang of an imaginary joy or

Over each fragment in this volume is placed the
name of the tribe (Jiajni) from which it was ob-
tained ; and it will be observed that these are the
names of the principal tribes (iwi) representing the
various migrations at the present day.

The Maori version is given as written by, or
from the dictation of, the priests. In a few places
tlieir language is more forcible than elegant : the
Maori scholar will observe that the translation of
such passages, if not quite literal, includes the
sentiments of the composers ; and where a sacer-
dotal or obsolete word or idiom occurs, a synonym
follows in a parenthesis.

The priests speak of the gods as moved by
human passions, and as acting and speaking like
men. Their accounts of creation, of the gods,
and of the chronological order of parts of their


mythology, and of the creation of the world, and
of man and woman, vary considerably; so also do
the names of several of the gods, and of priests,
and of battles ; in many instances even the sexes
of the gods, and priests, and heroes do not agree ;
neither do the navigators always agree as to the
canoes, or the localities of some of the ancient
battles, or the heroes who took part in them.

When a name differs in form or orthography, or
where it bears more than one meaning, these are
respectively given, with explanations of various
other matters on which the priests differ, in the
dictionary to be appended to the complete work,
as indicated by the letter (d) in the several volumes :
these explanations, it is hoped, will aid, not only
the young Maori scholar, but also the ethno-
logical investigator in his researches respecting
the various tribes who occupy the islands of the
South Pacific.

Genealogical charts of the various migrations
will be given in a separate volume, and it will
be seen that the work has been compiled in the
order in which it now stands in accordance with

I would record my obligations and thanks for
matter received from the late Eev. C Creed,
the late Rev. R. Taylor, and the late Eev.
J. F. H. Wohlers.

With great pleasure and gratitude I also record
here the names of those priests who have given
the histories of the respective migrations,
namely : —

Nepia-Po-huhu, Wairua, Paratene-oka-whare,
Apiata, Eihari Tohi, Karauria-Nga-whare, Waka-


Tahu-ahi, Paora-Te-kiri, Ihaka-Nga-hiwi, Harawira-
Ta-tere, and John Jiiry-Te-whata-horo, of the
Taki-tumu ;

Wi Maihi-Te-rangi-ka-heke, Tohi-te-uru-rangi,
Haupapa, Wiremu-Hika-iro, and Te-ao-o-te-rangi,
of the Arawa ;

Kiwi-hua-tahi, Wiremu Nero-Te-awa-i-taia,
Tikapa, Euihana-Te-whakaheke, Wata-Kuku-tai,
Wiremu -Te-wheoro, Hoterene-Tai-pari, Hoani
Nahe, Hohepa - Tama-i-hengia, and Te-ao (of
Kawhia), of the Tai-nui;

Te Otene-Kikokiko, Te Keene-Tanga-roa, Wi
Tipene, Paikea, Matitiknha, Tipene (of Whanga-
rei), Paora-Tu-haere, Waka-Nene, and Te-Ngau,
of the Mahuhu ;

Mohi-Tawhai, Taka-horea, Taku-rua, Hakiaha
(of Omanaia), Pereha-Te-kune, Te Mangumangu,
Papahia, Aperahama-Tao-nui, Moe-tara, Te-Atua-
wera, and Whare-papa, of the Mamari ;

Hori Kingi-Te-anaua, Te-mawae, Hoani Wire-
mu Hi-pango, Kawana-Paepae, Pehi-tu-roa, Apera-
hama-Tama-i-parea, Mahau, Ihaia - Kiri-kumara,
and Piri-Kawau, of the Ao-tea.

The recital of these names recalls the delight-
ful hours, spread over the last half-century, when
their possessors, most of whom are no longer in
the flesh, sitting under a shady tree, on the out-
skirts of a forest, and remote from the abodes of
men, rehearsed the sacred lore of their race, and
in solemn dread slowly repeated the sacred incan-
tations of their mythology, or performed the cere-
monies of the Niu, Tohi-taua, Awa-moana, Ki-tao,
Pihe, and other rites, as they were taught by those
of past generations. In them I recognize men of


noble and heroic spirit, who, wliile they acknow-
ledged and dreaded the malignant power of the
gods of their fathers, yet dared to disclose some
of their sacred lore to one of an alien race.


Wellington, 3rd January, 1887

Note. —The alphabet of the Maori language consists of fourteen
letters, which are hereunder given in the order in which they were ar-
ranged by those who first compiled the alphabet, namely : —

A is pronounced as a in Father

Fj „ a „ Fate

I „ e „ Ea,t

O „ „ No

U „ 00 „ Boot

H is called ha, the a pronounced as a in Father

K „ ka,

M „ ma,

N „ na,

P „ pa,

R „ ra,

T „ ta,

\V „ wa,

Ng is a nasal sound, and rather difficult to obtain ; but if the
English word " sting " is written thus, " stiuga," and the added a
sounded as a in " Father," the sound of the IMaori Ng will be

e-O'iiH ^'b-




The gods, liow represented
Notes and words
I. Whare-kura

VScliool of Agriculture . .
Astronomical School . .

II. Mythology of Creation

Origin of various gods . .

Origin of Tane

Gods of the winds

Gods of the upper worlds

Seasons of the year

Cold and heat

Gods of misfortune and disease

Produce of the earth eaten

Gods of food

III. Tane and Rebellion of Spirits

Fire first known
Battle in the heavens . .
First murder in the world
Origin of cannibalism . .
Origin of death

IV. Division of Heaven and Earth

Origin of stars and clouds
Origin of sun and moon
Stars and their names
Ta-whaki worshipped . .
Offerings to gods, how jiresented
Origin of fish . .

Ta-whaki in quest of his father
Ta-whaki ascends on a .spider's thread
Ta-whaki kills his enemies
Birth of Wahie-roa and Rata
V. Death of Wahie-roa
Eata's voyage
The attack . .
The stone axes
Matuku killed
Prisoners taken
Warriors embark




Chapter. Page.

VI. Dkitii of Wahie-roa . . . . . . . . . . 81

Rchua and Rupo . . . . . . . . . . 83

Death of Kai-tangata . . . . . . . . 85

Awa-nui-a-rangi .. ., .. .. ..87

Death of Karihi .. .. .. .. ..89

Rata and the fairies . . . . . . . . . . 91

Attack on Matuku . . . . . . . . . . 93

VII. Attempt to Murder Ta-whaki . . . . . . . . 95

Whai-tiri and her children .. .. .. ..97

Attempt to murder Ta-whaki . . . . . . . . 99

Ta-whaki ascends to Heaven . . . . . . . . 101

War on the fairies . . . . . . . . . . 103

Death of Maru . . . . . . . . . . 105

Offerings to gods . . . . . . . . . . 107

Revenge of Rongo-mai . . . . . . . . 109

Whai-tiri the blind . . . . . . . . . . Ill

Hine-nui-te-po . . . . . . . . . . 113

VIII. Ta-whaki ascends to Heaven .. .. .. .. 115

Hapai and Ta-whaki . . , . . . . . . . 117

Ta-whaki baptizes his child . . . . . . . . 119

Whai-tiri and Kai-tangata . . . . . . . . 121

Ta-whaki and Karihi . . . . . . . . . . 123

Ta-whaki and Tama-i-waho . . . . . . . . 125

Whati-tiri mistaken . . . . . . . . . . 127

Tawhaki and Hapai-a-maui . . . . . . . . 129

Tane and Hine-hau-one . . . . . . . . 131

IX. Creation op Woman . . . . . . . . . . 133

Tane in search of Rehua . . . . . . . . 135

Tane in search of Hine-hau-one . . . . . . 137

Ocean made .. .. .. .. .. .. 139

Tane separates Raki and Papa . . . . . . 141

The living water of Tane . . . . . . . . 143

X. The God Tane . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

Trees produced by Tane .. -.. .. .. 145

Tane in search of his wife . . . . . . . . 147

Stars obtained by Tane . . . . . . . . 149

XI. Creation op Man and Woman . . . . . . . . 151

Creation of man . . . . • - » . . . 153

Creation of woman . . . . . . . . . . 155

Rangi and Papa separated . . . • . . . . 161

Woman made . . . . . . . . . . 163

'XII. The Deluge .. .. .. .. .. ..165

Chiefs and high priests . . . . . . . . 167

The flood .. .. .. .. .. ..173

The raft on the waters . . . . . . . . 175

Flood subsides , . . . . . . . . . 177

Offerings made for delivery . . . . . . . . 17 9

The earth convulsed . . . . • . . . . . 181




I. Nga Whare-kuea ,.


Whare-kura, ako ki te ngaki kai

. 10

Whare-kura, tatai

. 13

II. Te Ao

. 16

Nga atua

. 17

Ko Tane

. 10

Ko Tanga-roa

. 21

Nga wahinc a Rangi . .

. 2'i

Nga uri a Rangi

. 25

Te kahui anu

. 27

III. Rehua

. 29

Nga atua tupehu

. 31

Rehua raua ko Kahu-kura

. 33

Hotu-a raua ko Rau-riki

. 35

Pare-kura i te rangi . .

. 37

IV". Raki ka weiiea I A Papa

. 39

Raki raua ko Paia

. 41

Rangi raua ko Paia . .

. 43

Ko Puaka raua ko Tama-rcreti . .

. 45

Whai-tiri me Kai-tangata

. 47

Rurulii kere-po

. 4U

Ta-whaki me Mai-waho

. 51

Te patunga a Ta-whaki

. 53

Karihi raua ko Ta-whaki

. 55

Tama-i-waho ko Ta-whaki

. 57

V. Wahie-roa

. 59

Ko Rata

. Gl

Ko Rata, ko l\īatuku . .

. C3

Ko Rata, ko Tama-uri-uri

. G5

Pu-nui, te waka a Rata

. G7

Ko Whiti, ko Matuku . .

. G9

VI. Whai-tiri raua ko Rupe

. 71

Tane raua ko Rehua . .

. 73

Ko Rehua

. 75

Ko Whai-tiri . .


VII. Ta-wiiaki

. 84

Ko ]Maru

. 93

Ko Rongo-mai

. 95

Ko Ta-whaki . .

. 97







Ko Wai-tiri . .
Ta-wliaki raua ko Wai-tiri
Ta-whaki raua ko Karilii
Ta-whaki raua ko Tania-i-waho
Kai-tangata raua ko Whai-tiri . .
Whai-tiri raua ko Ta-whaki
Tane raua ko Iline-hau-ouo

. 100
. 105
. 107
. 109
, 111
. 113
. 115
. 117


Tane . .

Tanc raua ko liohua .


Tane nic te moana


. 119

. 121
. 123
. 125
. 127


Tane ..

Hine-a-te-po . .

. 129
. 131
. 133

Tiki-au-aha . .

♦ " "

. 135


Rangi raua ko Papa
Tiki-au-alia . .
Waliine i hanga
Rangi raua ko Ke\va .
Tangata i hanga

. 13G
. 137
. 139
. 141
. 143
. 145
. 147


Nga Ak]ki o Xkhe
Te-waipuke . .
Nga atua wahine
Nga Tu-ahu . .
Ka puta a Kahu-knra.

. 148
. 157
. 159
. IGl
. 163

f, - -^Mi«§ir^>«;j - 9



Page 8, lino 4,/o)- dca read death.

Page 8, line 7, /or wa o-ead was.

Page 8, lino 18, for ris read rise.

Page 25, line 33, /or Tane-mi»i-\vhafc read Tane-nii;);i-\vhare.

Page 72, line (},for Matuku-nri-uii read ]\Iatukn.

Page 79, after line 32 add " My food is man."

Page 81, line 3, for rembling read trembling.

Page 81, line 24, /or Mae-walio read Mac-wa-hiia.

Page 94, line 7, /or Pou-ma-tango-tango read Pou-ma-tang«-tanga.

Page 121, line 7, /or Pu-o-te-toi read, Pu-o-te-toc.

Page 131, line 29, for Hine-i-tauira j-fflf? Hine-«/a-uira.

Page 142, line 33, for Huru read Hurunga.

Page ISO, line 19, for īo read īa.

Page 158, line 20, for To-wheta-mai read lo-whota-niai.

Page 171, line 13, /or Kumi-knmi-maro (stiff beard) 7rad Kunu-kurai-

maroro (strong beard).
Page 176, line 9, for Te Kapz/nga read Te Kaponga.
Page 176, line 12, for Pou-hoatz/ (the staff given) rt'ftfZ Pou-hoatfl (spear

stuck upright).
Page 176, line 14, /w Moana-?;»/ (great sea) read 'Moana.-iiri (black



Maori title-page, for 1886 read 1887.

Page 1, line 10, for Wercngitanc read Werengitana.

Page 7, line 38, for akono read akona.

Page 10, line 18, for kia e korc read kai e kore.

Page 10, line 20, for mokio read mokrt/.

Page 11, line 8, for e marama a read e maraina ai.

Page 39, line 4, for ka ek/ read ka eke.

I'age 40, line 7, for tika ua read tika ana.

Page 50, line 10, for tuakina read tuakrnia.

Page 61, read line 32 without the full stop at the end.

Page 65, line 33, /or ano read ami.

Page 69, line 25, for kahora read kahorf.

Page 72, line 17, for Te mane read To mare.

Page 72, lino 18, for Te mane read Te mare.

Pago 73, line 4, for Tane read Rupe.

Page 77, line 38, for Wo-hai-tiri read o Whai-tiri.

Page 84, line 25, for Puanga read Punga.

Page 115, lino 4, for Mate i-ead Mate/.

Page 115, lino 7, for Mate read IMata.

Page 119, lino 25, for Totaread Toto.

Page 144, line 27, for Riwa i-ead Kewa.


The New Zealander shall speak for himself. Un-
acquainted with letters, and living in the Stone Age
of the world, he shall relate the history of a people
isolated for ages from the civilized nations of the
world, and shall tell how his race for ages lived,
loved, worshipped, worked, and warred.

His traditions, preserved with the most austere
religious care, and rehearsed from age to age in the
presence of the most select circles of youths by
high priests of most ascetic life, who had received
their knowledge from the gods, have preserved for
him a history reliable as the histories of tribes
sharpened by continual contact, and ripened by
emulation in the art of literature.

His atuas, or divinities —

Tu, god of war ;

Ta-whiri-ma-tea, god of the sky ;
Kongo, god of the kumara ;
Tanga-roa, god of the sea ;
Sau-mia, god of the fern-root —

had each his course of priests, through whom he
communicated with the people in benevolence and
love, or in di-eadful majesty, and by whom only he
was invoked, in solemn and awe-inspiring cere-
monies — commanded the reverence of all classes
of the people in every action of their lives.

No undertaking of any kind was commenced

without propitiating and invoking the aid of the

particular divinity within whose province it lay.

Thus the services of the priests were in continual



demand, and their influence was unbounded in their
respective tribes.

The office of the priesthood was hereditary ;
but birth and intellect alone would not qualify —
the evidence of undaunted courage and unlimited
hospitality was essential also. The jjriests were
the educators of the people. Their schools of
astronomy, mythology, pharmacy, and history were
open to the eldest sons of the high priests only.
Sometimes the second sons were admitted if they
exhibited remarkable promise of excellence.

To the schools of agriculture, manufacture, fish-
ing, and hunting, all classes were admitted. A
symbol of its presiding god was kept in each school.
These symbols were sticks of equal length, with a
knob at one end of each ; but there the resemblance
ceased. That of Tu-mata-uenga was perfectly
straight, and stood erect, as Tu did at the deluge.
That of Ta-whiri-ma-tea was in form not unlike a
corkscrew, to represent the whirling of the winds
and clouds when Eangi attacked Tu at the time of
the deluge. That of Tane had a semicircular bend
at half its length, on either side of which it was
straight. This bend represented the swelling and
growth of bulbs, shrubs, and trees. The toTio of
Tanga-roa was of a zigzag form, not unlike the
teeth of a saw, to represent the waves of the sea.
That of Eongo was in roimded wave-lines along
its whole length, to represent the growth of the
tuberous humara as it raised the earth in little
imounds. The toJco of Hau-mia had three half-circles
bending in one direction, equi-distant h'om each
other. These were to represent the iiTegular and
twisted form of the fern-root when newly dug up.


'OLC^- ^OOL^e


Besides these divinities there were malignant
spirits who became agents for evil for those who
possessed the power for exorcising them. This art
of witchcraft was known to a few only of the high
priests. Its ceremonies and incantations were of
the most awe-inspiring character, and those sup-
posed to possess a knowledge of it were looked
upon with the utmost dread. This knowledge
came direct from the spirits themselves.

The task our Maori has undertaken is no less
than to give the traditions of his race as they relate
to the creation of the world, the origin of its
animal and vegetable life, the ancient wars in the
home of his progenitors, the migrations and perils
and arrivals of the several canoes in New Zealand,
the people they found here, and the territory they
respectively occupied ; the names given to the
mountains, rivers, headlands, and their meaning ;
the tales of folk-lore, of fairies, ghosts, and spirits,
of monsters of the earth and sky; his traditions
relating to the art of tattooing, and the ceremonies
connected with births, marriages, deaths, and tapu ;
and the songs and proverbs of his peoj^le.

As this will be all told in the language of the
historian, the translator has resolved to add to his
part of the work a glossary and appendix, which
will elucidate and explain ambiguities, and give
illustrations of the affinity of the Maori language
with the languages of several of the islands of
the Pacific Ocean.

He acknowledges with thanks the valuable con-
tributions he has already received from enthusiastic
friends, whose names will be published hereafter.


Wherever tho letter (d) occurs, further information respecting the word
immediately preceding it will be found in the a])pendix.

The nnmes in brackets at the heads of cha])terfi, &c. {i.e., Nga-i-tahu), are the
names of tribes or sub-tribes wlicuce the tradition was obtained.

A : Was the name given to the Author of the Universe, and signifies " Am
the unlimited in power," " The conception," " Am the leader," and
"The beyond all."

Ao : Dawn, preceding day.

The following are four versions of names for the star Canopus : —
Ao-tahi : Ao, cloud, dawn, day ; tahi, one.
Au-tahi : Au, stream, current, ripple ; tahi, one.
A-tu-talii : A, is ; tu, stand ; talii, one.
Tu-tahi : Tu, stand ; tahi, one.

A-niwa-niwa : Eainbow. A,&m.; 7iiwa, giea.t,

Atua, a term now used to signify "god," is a compound word, consisting
of A, Tu, A.

Atua-toro : Inquisitive, reconnoitring god. A-tua — a, drive, compel ; tua,
to repeat incantations, ceremonies of worship, to invoke ; toro, to
follow after as a spy, to creep as the vine of a plant on the groimd, to
blaze up as a fire.

Au : Compelling power, current, stability, king.

JSika : To procure fire by friction. Two iDieces of wood, called kau-rivux-
riiiia or kai-kolmrc, and kau-ati, were used. The kau-rima was
about ten inches long, sharpened at one end in form of a boat's bow.
This was rubbed perpendicularly lengthwise on the kau-ati. The
friction of the katt-rbna on the kau-ati made a groove in which a
dark dust collected in a ball at the end of the kau-ati furthest from
the operator, which eventually emitted smoke ; this was taken and
placed in a wisp of dry kie-kie leaves, and waved round and round
till it broke out into a flame. Fire was thus procured for every
occasion of life when that element was required. Hika (d).

Ika-whenua : Lizard, fish of the land. When Rangi came to punish the
five gods who separated him and Papa, the sons of Tanga-roa consulted
whither they should flee. One went into the sea, and became a
.shark ; the other remained on land, and became a lizard. Lizards
and all the reptile family, when offered to the gods, are called ika-
whcnua, fish of the land.

lo : Power, soul, muscle, life.

KaUu-kura : Ped garment, god of travellers, war, life, disease, and death,
now represented by the rainbow.

Kai-īcaka {kai, to eat ; toaka, medium through which a god acts) : Con-
sumer or destroyer of mediums. This star is the harbinger of the
new year.


Kaliui-rua-maliU : Flock of the warm pit, time of year about our April in

New Zealand.
Kai : Food. Birds, humara, fern-root, and fish arc the four coward gods,

Tane, Rongo, Hau-mia, and Tanga-roa, who, to escape the wrath of

Rangi, transformed themselves into these respectively, and, though

now degraded, are still partially gods nevertheless. Man, being of

lower rank than these, may not, when offering gifts, or propitiating

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