John White.

The ancient history of the Maori, his mythology and traditions .. (Volume 1) online

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into the mouth of Hine-nui-te-po.^^ Ta-whaki answered,

" What ! by that old woman whose stomach is full of

leeches ! She will flee from the power of Ta-whaki/'

He went on ascending, and saw Rehua, Wha-oko-rau
(helper of many), and Maru. When he saw Mam he
uttered his war-cry, which was this : —

Collect, collect the bloom

Of the kaJiika (white-pine tree).

Blow on the back of the neck ;

Make him bald.

Ta-whaki has

One long war-train.

Ta-avhaki. (Another Reading — Nga-ti-iiau.)

When Ta-whaki went to the water to wash his head and
comb his hair, he chanted this incantation as he stood on
the edge of the pool Rangi-tuhi. These arc the words of
the incantation : —

Spring up, ye rays

Of light, at dawn of day.

Give my comb to me —

Give to me my dredge.

That I may go to the water —

To the water Eangi-tuhi.

Oh ! hearken ! Yes, hearken.

When he had stepped into the pool liis brothers at-
tempted to kill him. They smote him and left hiiu as


(Icud. They came some distance from the pool, and the
elder of them called and said, " O Ta-whaki ! where are
you ? " The ^rwAre/co-bird answered " Kc.'' The second
brother called and asked, "O Ta-whaki! where are you',?'*
The moho-hvcdi answered " Hu." The third brother
asked, " O Ta-whaki ! where are you ? " Ta-whaki himself
replied, —

It grows in the hair of your head,

And on your brow the blood glows red —

The blood, the blood of Ta-whaki,

And of the sun and moon,

And of the auspicious sky —

Of the sky now above.

Ta-whaki now arose from the water and beheld the
distant horizon. He travelled thither — to the part which
comes nearest to the earth, whence he was to climb to
heaven to meet "V^Tiai-tiri. He ascended and met the old
woman at her dwelling. She was quite blind, and asked
him to cure her eyes. Ta-whaki chanted this incantation

over her : —

Look up, ye pierced eyes.

And gaze at the sun,

Which is now going to the west.

Closed be your tears.

Dried up be your moisture

By my gaze.

Bound be your eyes,

And encircled

By life.

Come life first

To the eyes of


Look; oh, look !

Shine in your brightness

To my eyes — to the

Blood-red eyes of Eehua.

When her eyes had been cured, she said, " Be cautious
how you climb to heaven, lest Hine-nui-te-po drag you
into her stomach." He answered, —

She may be a woman with a stomach full of leeches,
But she will not dare the power of Ta-whaki.

Having said this he went on his journey, and overtook


Iiehua^ Wa-koko-rau (space of the Imndrecl ^«i-birds), and

Then Ta-wliaki said to Wa-koko-rau, —

Collect, collect the bloom of the liciliiha.
Blow at it, strip it, make it bald.
Ta-whaki has one long ^Yar-part3•.

Ta-whaki. (Another Reading — jN'ga-ti-iiau.)

If Ta-wliaki, when liis brothers had left him as dead,
had gone to the Tatan-o-te-po (the first division of the
world of spirits), and to his two ancestors, Rua-kumea (tiic
pit which drags) and Rua-toia (pnlled to the pit), he
would not have been able to come back to the world of
light, but would have been compelled to go on even to
Ameto (extinction). Rua-kumea saw and called to him
from Tatau-o-tc-po ; but Ta-whaki did not heed. He
came back, and, to the surprise of those who attempted to
kill him, he was seen by the living.

At the time his spirit was in the other world Hine-i-te-
nuiri-whaka-roto had called, but called in vain, for him ;
for how could he answer when he was like one dead, and
his spirit had gone towards A-meto ? But he was not
detained there.

On his return he asked his parents to avenge his death ;
but they were slow in the act to fulfil this request. So
he went to heaven and trod on tlie Toka-tami-wharc,
although he had been warned by his mother AYhai-tiri to
be careful and not on any account to be in any way
offensive to them, as they were his ancestors. He did not
pay any attention to the words of his mother; and v/hen
she heard that her son had trodden on his ancestors she
wept in sorrow for the evil that might befal him.

But Ta-whaki had a motive for this his act. He had
l)een the subject of his brothers' jealousy and cruelty, and
therefore he trod on the Toka-tami-wharc living in the
heavens, to prove to those on earth that not only could he
gain the highest heaven, but could with impunity tread on
some of their sacred powers.


His raotlicr wept many tears in licaven, and as these
fell on the earth they flooded it and overwhelmed all men.

Some of our old tohuntja (learned priests) say Ilema
was the father of Ta-whaki^ whom Punga and Karihi
attempted to drown in the pool, because of the jealousy
which Avas occasioned by the great preference shown to
him by the females. Punga and Karihi thought that
Ta-whaki had gained the love of Hine-i-te-muri-whaka-roto,
and it was on this account they attempted to drown him.

Ta-whaki was so strong that he could carry big trees,
and perform even greater feats than this.


Climb, ascend, O Ta-whaki !
To the first heaven.
Soar to the second heaven.
Where sacred powers reside.
And sacrifices are made,
And offerings arc given.
Go to thy many hosts.
Great Ta-whaki of Hema,
Where, in the temple
Whare-to-reka, the chants
Ke-echo, and delight.

Ancient incantation, clianted to Ta-uhaki.


Ta-whaki and Hapai. (Nga-i-tahu.)

Ta-whaki was a man of this earth. Hapai (lift up)
observed his noble appearance, and came down at nij^ht
and found him asleep. She gently lifted his covering, and
lay down beside him, and they slept together. He thonp,ht
she was a woman of this world, but ere the dawn of day
she had disappeared and had gone up to heaven. She
continued to treat him thus up to the time she was certain
to become a. mother. She gave birth toPihanga (window),
after which she stayed in this world, and was seen by Ta-
whaki in the light of day. He then knew that the woman
who had slept with him was from the heavens. She said to
him, " When we have a child, if it is a boy I will Avash
him, and if a girl you must wash her." A daughter was
born. He washed the child, but became annoyed with the
odour of it. Hapai, seeing his disgust, wept, and went
and stood on the carved figure at the gable end of his
house fdj. He attempted to catch her, but could not.
She ascended with her infant daughter in her arm&


till lost to sight fd). lie waited for her return till moons
had come and gone. lie then called to his two vassal»
and said, " Let us go on a journey in search of my
daughter." When they liad gone some distance on the
road he said to them^ " When we arrive at the pa of
Tonga (Toko) -meh a (restrain the feelings of loneliness), do
not look at the place, for fear you be killed." But one of
them did look, and had his eyes gouged out by Tonga-
meha. Ta-whaki and his other slave went on till they
ari'ived at the settlement of the old woman called Mata-
kere-po (eyes quite blind), whom they fou.nd counting her
/aro-bulbs. Being blind, the /«?'o-bulbs were lying in a
heap before her. She began to count them, and, having
done so from one to nine, Ta-whaki took the tenth away.
Again she counted, and Ta-whaki took the ninth awav.
Again she counted, and found she had only eight bulbs.
She now began to sniff around, and to blow out her
stomach that she might swallow him. She sniffed towards
the south, to the east, and to all the winds, and on sniffing
to the west she smelt something, and called and said,
" Are you come with the wind that blows on my skin ? "
Ta-whaki uttered a grunt. She said, " Oh ! it is my
grandson Ta-whaki;" and her stomach began to collapse. If
it had not been that he had come from the west she would
have swallowed him. She asked him, '^ Where are you
going to ? " "I am," said he, " going in search of my
daughter." ''Where is she?" she asked. " She is in the
heavens," he answered. " Why did she go to the heavens ? "
she said. " Her mother, the daughter of Whati-tiri-ma-
takataka (crashing rumbling thunder), was from the
heavens." She said, " Here is your road ; but stay
here till morning, and you can ascend." He now
called to his vassal to cook some food, of which Ta-whaki
took some, and spat upon it, and rubbed it on
the eyes of the old l^lind woman, and cured her of her
blindness. lie slept there, and on the morrow he again
ordered his vassal to cook food to make him strong to
travel. Having eaten, he took the vassal and presented


liim to the old woman in payment for her kindness. She
said^ " Here is the road. Hold tight with your hands,
and when you have climbed far up, do not look down, lest
you he giddy and fall. If you fall down you will be good
I'or me to cat.^' He climbed, and the old Avoman chanted
this incantation : —

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the first and second heaven,

And explore the vast deep of space.

Tuck up the mat round the waist.

This is the road of Ta-whaki, son of Hema.

Ta-whaki, climb to the first and second heaven.

It is the road of Ta-whaki,

The road of Hema.

He got up, and made himself as uninviting in appearance
as he could, and went on, and was seen by his brothers-in-
law and their men, who were adzing a canoe, who called and
said, " There is an old man for us." He went on and sat
down near them. When it was evening they called to him
and said, " O old man ! carry these axes." He took them,
and they again said, " Take them to the settlement." He
answered, " You go on to the settlement, and I Avill follow.
I cannot travel as fast as you can." They went on, and
Ta-Avhaki adorned himself, and took an axe and dubbed the
canoe. He began at the bows, and Avorked up to the stem
on one side ; then he vrorked from the stern up to the boAvs
on the other side, and finished both sides. He now took
the axes and went to the settlement. There he saw Hapai
sitting with his daughter. He essayed to go and sit doAvn
beside them. All the people called aloud to Avarn him
away, and said " Do not go where Hapai is sitting : it is
sacred, and you Avill become sacred." He went on Avithout
heeding the cautions of the people, and sat down with
Hapai, where he remained till daAvn of day. On the
morrow his brothers-in-laAV said, " O old man ! lift the axes
again, and take them to the canoe Avhich is being made."
He took them, and they all started. Having got Avhere
the canoe was, his brother-in-laAv said, '^''The canoe has a
different appearance now from Avhat it had ;" but they
worked till the day Avas evening. Again Ta-whaki was asked


to carry the axes. Tlic people all left and proceeded to the
settlement, Ta-whaki again adorned himself"^ worked at the
canoe, and returned to the settlement, and sat down near
Hapai, and caught the daughter of Hapai in his arras.
Many of the people, seeing this, fled to another place, as the
settlement of Hapai had become tapu by the act of
Tawhaki [d] ; but those who remained uttered a loud
shout of surprise at the noble look of the stranger — in
other days he had appeared so mean and shabby. He
now took his wife Hapai, and said to her, " I am come
that our child may be baptized.^' She assented. On the
following day the side of the house was opened [d), that
the child might be taken out. While she was being
carried out the incantation was chanted : —

The daughter is gomg —
Going by the great road —
By the long road of Tini-rau.
Go out, and come in
The daughter who is
Rejoiced over with the
Pealing voice of the people.
Go to Motu-tapu (sacred island),
And flash there lightning.

Lightning then flashed from the arm-j)its of Ta-whaki, when
the daughter was taken to the water and baptized. The
words of that ceremony were these : —

Clear the great courtyards.

Clear the long courtyards —

The courtj^ards of the daughter.

Baptize Puanga in his water,

At the source of the stream of Puanga

In this world.

Move ; yes, moving.

Closing quite near.

Baptize with a wave.

Turning away.

Baptize with a wave,


Baptize to Tu,

The face of the last wave.

To control, to explain.

The water of Puanga.


Peak of fho promontory.
It is Puanga
In the worid.
Move ; yes, mov'ing,
Closing quite near.

Wai-tiri and Kai-tangata. (Nga-i-taiiu.)

Wai-tiri (booming watcr^ thunder) lived in lieaven. The
fame of Kai-tangata (man-eater) was heard there. Now,
Kai-tangata lived in this world ; but his name^ ^'^JNIan-eater/'
in no way described his character, though Wai-tiri thought
so. Wai-tiri came to the house of Kai-tangata, and he took
her as his wife. He went out to sea to fish, and returned
without having taken any, as his hooks were without barb.
She asked him to let her see his fish-hooks. Having seen
that they had no barbs, she said, ''Are these the hooks
you fish with? Why, they are barbless. Look here." And
she made grimaces at him. He reproved her for her conduct,
and left the house. Next time they met she said, ''When
you go again to fish you may perhaps catch a hupuku" fa
cod). He went to fish, and she remained at home and made
a hand-net. He caught a cod, and the noise of his blow
to kill it was heard by her on shore. He pulled home
again and gave the fish to her. She offered it to the gods,
and repeated over it the incantation, " Hapukn." On the
morrow Kai-tangata again went out to fish. Wai-tiri from
the shore saw the canoe of Tupeke-ti (game of leaping)
and Tuj)eke-ta (game of wrestling) . She at once went
and took her net down to the beach, and dived in the water.
When she was seen under the canoe, Tupeke-ti said, " Is
it a man or a bird ? " Tupeke-ti stood up to get a better
view, and was speared by her, his stomach cut 02)cn, and
his body put into her net. Tupeke-ta ran to the middle of
the canoe to spear her. She smote him with the korrpi
(knife made of shark's teeth). He fell into her net. She
swam on shore, but left the net with the bodies in it
behind. When she arrived at the settlement she ordered
the women to haul the net on shore. They saw in it men's
feet. Those slain were ancestors of Kai-tangata. When


Kni-tangata returned from tlic sea Wai-tiri asked liira to
cliant the incantations and pciiorm the usual ceremonies
in presenting offering of liuman flesli to the gods. He an-
swered, " I do not know how to perform that ceremony."
She said, " Nay, but offer the sacrifice to the gods. I
have obtained it for our child." This she said, as she
expected soon to become a mother. He answered, " I do
not know how to perform the ceremony." She said,
" But you must perform the ceremony for our child, as
my child is yours." She performed the ceremony, and
then cut the bodies up, and cooked and ate them, and hung
their bones up in her house. As soon as they "were dry they
-were stolen by Kai-tangata, "stIio hid them that he might
make fishing-hooks. He made the barbs of the hooks
from the bones, and took them out to sea and caught cod-
fish. He filled his canoe lyith fish and returned on shore.
The fish -were cleaned and cooked, and when Wai-tiri had
partaken of them her eyes were smitten -with blindness.
She sat in silence. At night she slept, and dreamt a
Avoman in the world of spirits said to her, " No wonder
that you have been smitten with blindness. The bones of
your sacrifice were taken by your husband to sea ; with
them he caught the hapiiku (breath of the stomach) you
have eaten ; therefore this evil has come upon you." Thus
she lived until her son Hema was born. The child grew,
and could be taken outside. One sunny day Kai-tangata
was with his child when men came to see him. They slept
in his house, and on the morrow went outside and sat
down. They asked Kai-tangata, " "What is the woman who
lives with you like ? " He asked, " Is it the woman who
lives with me you inquire about ? " " Yes," they said.
" She !" said Kai-tangata. " Her skin is like the wind, her
skin is like tiie snow." Wai-tiri overheard these re-
marks. Kai-tangata went into his house, and she asked
him, ^'' What were you and the men talking about?" He
said, " What could it be but ordinary talk ? " She again
asked, " What were you talking about ? " He answered,
" Whai-tane (she who has a husband) inquired about you,


aud it was you we spoke about/' He was hiding the
matter. She was overwhelmed with sliame, and said to
her sou Hema, " Do not follow me now ; but v,"hen you
have children let them come after me to the sky of Tama-i-
waho." She ascended, Kai-tangata made an attempt to
catch hold of her garment, but failed. She went vip to the
Pu-o-te-toi (the root of all things), and there remained.

Hema took to wife Kare-nuku (ripple on earth), younger
sister of Puku. She begat Pupu-rnai-nono (tie in a bundle
the binders for the canoe), Karihi (the sinker of a net),
and Ta-whaki. Kare-nuku remained with her children for
some time. Hema went to the settlement of Paikea, Kewa,
(extinguish), and Ihu-puku (the silent), and was killed.

Ta-whaki and Karihi sought for their father, and swam
out far into the ocean, but, swallowing much sea-water, they
returned on shore. Pupu-mai-mono, their sister, asked,
" Where have you been? '^ " We," they said, " went out
to swim across the sea, but had to come back."' She said,
''If you had asked of me, I would have given you that
which you required." She repeated this chant : —

Pluck the feather from Earo-hara(whara) [sail

of the war-canoel,
Where they speal: of splashing
In the expansive throbbing sea

Before us —
The expanse of beautiful ocean

Before us.
Charm repeated once, twice,
And even to the tenth time.

Having repeated this charm, they started and arrived at
the home of AVai-tiri. who was jabbering to herself. She
killed all who went near to lier, and ate them. She Avas
counting her food, " One, two, three," to nine. Ta-whaki
knocked the tenth away, and Karihi caught it. She could
not divine where the tenth had gone. She said, " Who
is meddling with my food ? " and began to count again ;
when she found the ninth had gone. She again asked,
"Who is meddling with my food?" and counted again,
and found the eighth was gone. She said, " There must


be some one meddling -witli my food." The seventL was
lost. Again she said, " Some one must ho meddling with
my food." Thus she repeated till all her food had l)een taken
away from, before her. She was blind — her hands alone
could feel the food had gone. Karihi smote her eye, and
sight v.-as restored to it. She said, —

Blinded has been my eye by Karilii.
Ta-whaki smote her eye, and she said, —

Blinded lias been my eye by Ta-whaki.

She now saw clearly, and said, " Oh, it is my two grand-
sons who have been meddling with my food." They stayed
at her place. She again began to chatter to herself. They
thought they would be killed by the old woman, as she
continued to chatter and keep them awake. At dawn
of day they went down to the sea-side, where they saw
shells sticking to the rocks. They took some of these and
placed them on their eyes. Each looked at the other, and
said, " They will suit. You look as if your eyes were open,
though you may be asleep." They returned to the house,
where they saw the bones of men who had been eaten by
Wai-tiri strewed all around. They asked her, " Who pro-
cures food for you ? " She said, " My grandchildren."
" Which way do they bring it ? " She said, " That is it."
" Which," they asked, " is the road ? " She said, " That
is it you see." They went along it. They found it led to
the place of filth, to the place where firewood was obtained,
to the place where water was got, and to the hill-top
where the temple was, where incantations were chanted and
ceremonies were performed. They returned, and told
Wai-tiri they could not find the road by which food was
brought to her. Again and again they went, but failed to
find it. They slept at her settlement that night, and she
wished to kill them, but as she saw the shells on their eyes
she thought they were awake, and did not kill them. On
the morrow they again asked, " Where is the road ? "
She said, " Look at me. I am the road." They asked,
^' Have you the road ? " She said, " Yes. Now go, and


if you meet females on the road, they are the wives of
Taka-roa, called Pakihi-ka-nui (great plain), Korero-ure
(speak of procreation), and Korero-tara (speak of begetting) ."
She then asked Ta-whaki and his brother for some food.
She again said, '' After those females pass you, and you
meet with others, if they are silent those are your rela-
tions, and are Pupu-mai-nono, and Hapai-nui-a-maunga
(great lifter of the mountain), and Hine-nui-a-te-kawa
(great daughter of baptism) . Again the two brothers
asked, " Where is the road ? " She answered, " It is with
me." They took hold of her neck, and found a rope there.
She shook it, and they saw that one end was attached to
the sky. She said, " When you go up draw your feet
up to your body." Ta-whaki said, " You, Karihi, go up
first." Karihi swung fmoaj himself off the earth. She
said, '' There is one thing by which you may be beaten —
that is, the winds of the Uru-rangi (head of heaven), and
the winds which beat downwards." Karihi climbed up,
and did not repeat any incantations. Ta-whaki was pos-
sessed of the knowledge of the incantations, and thus began
to chant : —

Climb in surprise, climb in surprise, climb and ascend.

Eat together above. It is the heaven to climb to.

Do not stumble above. The heaven is above.

Climb to heaven, ascend to heaven.

Pant a little. Climb, Ta-whaki, to the first heaven ;

Ta-whaki climbed to the second heaven,

To the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth,

And tenth, and came out at the heaven of deceiving breath,

Deceiving breath. Then came out at the assembling,

And at the fire with Echua.

They climbed up and away aloft ; but Karihi was beaten
back by the winds of Uru-rangi. Ta-whaki climbed on,
and, seeing Karihi falling, he attempted to hold liim ; but
Karihi fell down to the place of Wai-tiri, and was killed
by her. Ta-whaki climbed, and was beaten down by the
winds of Uru-rangi, and was swept near to the ocean. He
climbed again, and got up, and met Tuna (eel), to whom he
said, " Salutations. You are come. Where are you going? "


Tuna replied^ " It is liard and dry up ahovc/^ Tuna camo
down. lie had oversliadowing his forehead tlic ancient
head-dresses called Te Kawa (the haptism) and Marae-nui
{great courtyard) . He and Ta-whaki saluted each other.

This is the genealogy of Tuna : TJira (liglitning) hegat
Tuna. Uira was descended from Te Kanapu (brightness),
Te Kohara (opened), and Rau-toro (expanding leaf).

Tuna had been living in bogs. These were becom-
ing dry ; and, as they did not suit him, he went
down to the Muri-wai-o-ata (sea-coast of the light —
clear sea-coast) ; and Ta-whaki went upwards, and heard
the offspring of Taka-roa talking. By-and-by he met
them and let them pass on. He met Hapai-nui-a-maunga,
whom he caught and took as his wife, and begat Ware-
(whare)- tua-te-ao (house of baptism of the world). He
then followed and caught Hine-nui-a-te-kawa (daughter
of the great baptism), who became his wife and went with
him to the settlement; and as they passed in together, the
bones of his father rattled in recognition of his presence.
Ta-whaki chanted his incantation, which was a long one,
and went and resided at the place of Paikea, and others.
Hine-nui-a-te-kawa was the wife of Paikea ; but she
fell in love with the noble man Ta-whaki, and so left her
husband. When evening came, Ta-whaki nudged Paikea
near to the fire, and Paikea nudged him, till Ta-whaki called
out, " I shall be burnt.'' Hine-nui-a-te-kawa asked Ta-
whaki to put Paikea out of the house. The day follo-o ing
she was recognized as the wife of Ta-whaki, and she soon
expected to have a child.

Ta-whaki commanded the people to go and procure firc-
Avood. They all went. Ta-whaki also went, and brought a
very long piece of wood on his shoulder ; and when all the
others had put their loads down he threw his block
down. The noise startled Paikea and others, who came
to the doors of their dwellings to see what had taken place.
Ta-whaki said to himself, " Ah ! now I know how to startle
them." That night Ta-whaki said to Hine-nui-a-te-kawa,
"" When your child is born call it Wahie-roa (long firewood) ,

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Online LibraryJohn WhiteThe ancient history of the Maori, his mythology and traditions .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 27)