John White.

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

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Raki-roa (long sky) . — The most learned priest in regard
to all the ceremonies and incantations to be performed to

Tiru-TUPU-NUi-A-UTA (grcat king of the land) was he
Avhose prayer obtained the power of Tane when the heavens
let the rain down and filled all the land with water, and
destroyed all the people ; but he and his children were
saved. They were : Para-whenua-mea (scum of the flood) ,
Tiu (skim like a bird without flapping its wings) , and Reta
(distant) . The power of God followed Tiu and Tupu-nui-a-
uta when they and their children went in a covered caiioe
on the face of the waters, as if it were dry land, for the
space of eight moons.

Taka-ka(ro) (playful), the man of the greatest designing
and constructive knowledge, was the son of Para-whenua-

Tu-tawake (great repairer) was formed by God from
the loins of Hou-mea; and when the time drew near
that he should be born he sent his messengers before
him. His elder brothers wished to kill the messen-
gers, but were not brave enough to attempt the deed. On
this account Tu-tawake began to repeat his incantations,
on the comj^letion of which he came forth, with a hani (d)
in his hand ; and when seen by the people of Tai-rea
(growing tide) they wondered. He addressed the great
nations of the world, and said, "Hearken to my words;''
but they would not listen : hence he destroyed the thou-
sands of Tai-rea, and drove multitudes of them into the
forests. This was called the battle of Tai-pari-pari (flow-
ing tide) .

Rua-tai-ao (pit of the world stream) was the most
learned in all matters relating to life. He preached the
words of life to Rua-tai-po (pit of the night stream) and
the greater portion of his people. Rua-tai-ao called to
those disobedient people, and said, '' Hearken. I am pos-
sessed of the power to make peace and give life to this world .
I possess the knowledge of true worship. I also have the
knowledge of eating temperately. I have the power to


keep man from looking aside. I have also the power
to make fire burn for sacrifice and for the service of man.
I have the power to teach man not to eat whilst walking.
I have all power over life in this world.^^ He laid before
Rua-tai-po the whole of this knowledge; but that proud
disobedient evil-doer would not heed the words of Rua-
tai-ao; but persisted in doing evil. This caused Rua-
tai-ao to draw out his left hand over Rua-tai-po and all his
people^ and send them by thousands to destruction.

Marohi (power) succeeded Rua-tai-ao, and preached the
doctrines taught by Rua-tai-ao.

Whena (like as). — He who first preached, to Ha-rutu
(panting) and his people ; but they did not hearken to the
teaching of Whena, nor would Ha-rutu listen to his words.
Whena therefore called, and said, " I will soon bring con-
fusion on you." He drew aside the power that restrained
evil falling on them. Death came on that obstinate
people, and God killed all that unbelieving race.

Ka-tahua (Nga-tahua) (the mounds). — He who spoke
strictly in accordance with what his parents taught him.

Tu-raki (rangi) (standing in heaven) . — He who strictly
fulfilled all the laws laid down by Tane.

\Yi (ironstone nodules) , — He who had great power to ex-
pound all the lavrs promulgated by Tane, and for this derived
the wisdom and power from God to conduct Tipu-nui-a-uta
and his children on the face of the waters when they went in
a covered raft. Wi spoke to Wa (space), and Miru (tlu'cads),
and "all the tribes, and said, '^ O friends ! hearken to the
words by which we may be saved : Live peaceably, do not
work evil, do not be disobedient, do not be intemperate,
do not offer false^ lying worship, but let worship be true."
But these people and their leaders resisted. Wi spoke
privately to Wa and Miru, and said, " O young people ! you
two hearken to my word which I now utter : When you eat
give thanks. Educate and build up the soul that it may
go "correctly to the world of spirits. Believe what I now
tell you, as this is the truth of the world." They did not
hearken. Wi thus preached for two years to that un-


believing people. He then called to tlicm^ and said,
" Friends, licurkcn. Soon on the morrow (a time not far
distant) the land will he overturned by God." And when
the days were fulfilled he prayed to God ; and the 'pa of
Wa and the i)a of Miru were overturned, and thousands of
their people were killed in the overturning.

HuA (fruit) . — The man who practised the evil deeds of
Tu(-mata-ucnga) and Roko (-ma-rac-roa) .

Aio-RiRi (calm after strife) . — The great man who up-
held the doctrines of Rua-tai-ao.

PuTA (through). — The man who was commissioned to
call on all the people of the world to believe in God. He
built a temple in which to teach men how to become noble.
The tribes were rebellious, and called to Puta, and said, " O
son ! can your worship save you ? or will the sacredness of
your temple save you ? " Puta replied, " Friends, hearken
to the words which tell of the works of Raki — the words
which were given to Tane — the words I now disclose to
you ; or soon the hosts above will make an accusation,"
That proud people answered Puta, and said, " Friend, your
words are lies." Puta was grieved with Mata-eho, as he
was the most obstinate unbeliever, and wished to be the
sovereign of all the world. Puta, addressing him, said,
" O young man ! you are an evil man. You are attempt-
ing to ignore the doctrine of Tane. You have all heard
my word, which I utter to each and every j-ja. To-morrow
an accusation will be made by Raid against the world.".
Soon after this the child of Puta died. The child was his
first-born, and lord of all his family. Puta cut the big
toe off the child's foot and cooked it in an oven, and with
incantations and ceremonies took the sanctity off the toe ;
he then jjut it into his mouth and spat the slaver produced
by it over all the houses. Then he took into his hand a
calabash containing the sacred offerings of life^ and, having
arrived on the bank of a stream, he opened the calabash,
and then closed it again ; and saw a cloud standing in the
heaven, bright as the brightness of a fire burning on the
earth. He called to Raki to overturn the earth, and he


struck the earth ^ithhis knife fmaipij, and the earth turned
upside down^ and all the people of the "world perished.
Puta and his people alone were saved. Thenceforth this has
been rehearsed as the overturning of !Mata-eho by Puta.

Te-morina (remove the taj)u from the crops) . — He vrho
was learned in the ceremonies and thank-offerings for
food .

Raka(Ranga)-were-w-ere (collector of small things). — A
noble man whose appearance had never changed. Other
men changed and grew old^ but he kept his youthful coun-
tenance even unto death.

Tu-TE-RAKi-NOA (staiid ill the common heaven) , or Tu-
te-raki-paoa (stand in the smoky heaven). — He whose face
was like that of God.

Hui-aua(awa) (confluence of water). — He who wor-
shipped on the breast of Raki.

īIua-tipua(tupua) (goblin-pit). — The man v.ho was
ignorant J and perplexed himself with his dream. He could
not understand his dream^ and was entirely absorbed in
the thought of it.

Te-whai-po (incantations chanted at night). — He who
was baptised in the water by his grandparents, and smitten
with leprosy. His skin Avas not like that of other men,
but all white and leprous.

Kae-ho (pouting) .- — He who was complete in all the
knowledge pertaining to Raki.

Karu(Ngaru)-ai-papa (rippling on the earth). — He
who taught all the ceremonies and worship of the gods.

Tu-ake (stand up) was most learned in all the laws of

TuKi-TUKi-PAPA (beating the earth) . — He who Avorshipped
at the loins of God.

Take-take (foundation) . — He Avho knew how to build
a beautiful house for himself, and with whom originated
the customs and incantations performed over new houses.

RoKo(RoNGo)-xui (far famed) was his OAvn enemy,
and Avas driven into the forest by a war-party.


Tu-RAKi(iiANoi) (standing in heaven). — He who was as
fierce as Tn (-raata-iicnga) and R,oko(-ma-rac-roa) to wage
war. He was very jjowcrful.

Tu-TE-Hou-NUKU (Tu who burrows into the earth). — He
who exalted the incantations and ceremonies of Tu(-mata-
ucnga) and lloko (-ma-rae-roa) .

Pu-MATE-Aio (origin of calms). — He whose virtuous
life procured the constant presence and the blessing of

Tu-iioTo-ARiKi (sobbing lord as he stands). — The most
empty, vain, and self-complacent of men in the world.

Waiho-nuku (leave the world). — A great teacher of all
the various ceremonies and incantations.

RuPE-TU (shake violently whilst standing). — He who
studied and practised the doctrines of Rua-tai-ao.

Raki-xuia (heaven made great) . — He who exceeded all
men in selfishness and vanity.

Tahau-ri (front of the thigh screened). — He who was
bold to teach all the rites, ceremonies, and incantations.

Tau-tixi (long space of time). — He who was good and
kind, and diligently taught the customs and ceremonies of
worship when it became known that the world was to be

Tari (carry) . — He who guarded those things which God
gave into his charge. To him was given power over all
things. He discovered and taught the art of making fish-
hooks from wood.

E.A-KURU (boxing day). — He it was who first committed
theft, by stealing the fishing-hook belonging to Tari. The
wood of which the hook was made vvas dedicated to God.
Ra-kuru saw that the hook always caught fish, and there-
fore stole it. Tari was grieved at his loss, because the
hook had the power of God on it. Tari called an as-
sembly of all the aged men of the Tribe of Rei-hi (chest
held forward), and inquired of them where his hook was.
They wxre not able to inform him. Tari prayed to God
that the thief might be discovered, and then the people
saw the hook exposed in the scrotum of Ra-kuru. Tari


called to tlie assembly, and said, '' Friends, v^e liave
seen the matter revealed, and Ra-kuru lias my fishing-
hook." Ra-kuru M'as ashamed, and ■s\ent to commit
suicide. Tari said to his sister, Hine-i-taitai (daughter
of the sea-coast), ''Go and counsel your husband; and
if he confess and show where the fish-hook is, I will
forgive him, and so evil will be averted from you all."
Ra-kur.u was in the act of committing suicide, and, when
nearly dead, she said to him, " O friend ! have you the fish-
ing-hook of your brother-in-law ? " " Yes," he said ; '' here
it is with me." She asked for and obtained it. She put
it into her mouth, and went two days on the sea of Wai-rapua
(the sought water), and v/as seen by Kumi-kumi-maro (stiff
beard), who took her as his wife. They lived by faith.
They had neither garments, nor food, nor house, nor water ;
but they prayed to God to give them those things. God gave
them -what they asked, and built a house for them. Hine-
i-taitai conceived and brought forth a son, who was called
Tau-tini (many years). He was the man whose knowledge
of God was the most perfect. Ti-tipa (skim away) asked
and obtained his canoe from him. Tau-tini was afterwards
sorry for the loss of his canoe ; but God said to him,
" Make a canoe of wood, and let it be the size of a jiaka
[kumete — oval bowl), and let it be painted outside with
reperepe (a red colour obtained from certain sea-shells)."
Tau-tini did so. The water could not get into the canoe.
He went on a voyage in it. God guided him. After two
months spent on the sea he arrived at Rewa-nui (great
elevation), the home of Ti-tipa, and there sav/ his own
canoe out on the sea, with men in her, fishing. They saw
the canoe, or bowl, of Tau-tini floating on the sea, and
wondered at its fine appearance. They lifted it up and
took it into their canoe, and patted and rubbed it with
their hands. They went on shore, and all the people
were rejoiced at the beauty of the new canoe. It was at
that time very light, and they carried it on shore ; but
shortly afterwards they found it was heavy as a hill of
earth, and they were not able to lift it. Then they left it


on tlic sca-shoro, and on the morrow all the people saw that
a house had been erected, and a stage had been put up on
Avhich to keep food, and there were many garments there
and much food collected. Tau-tini was lonely in his house
by himself ; hut two "women, Ti-mua (first til — edible
root) and Ti-roto (inside tii), came and saw him and his
property, and desired him as their husband. He stayed
there two years, and recovered the fish-hook of his uncle
Tari; and his heart w^as rejoiced, as he had obtained
that for W'hicli he had voyaged so far, and travelled
through so many lands [islands] . But he stayed in that
land for many years. The food he wanted and the gar-
ments he required he prayed to God for, in accordance
with the teaching of Tane. When the time vras fulfilled
he went home.

Reava-rewa (float) was a good man, and believed and
taught all the ceremonies and incantations of Eaki and

Taka-roa (take a long time to do anything) was a
just and most learned man in the doctrine and teachings
of Tane.

Taki-rau (A-taki-rau) (led the hundred). — He who
boldly taught all the laws of Tane.

Raki-nui (great heaven) was learned in and practised
the doctrines taught by Tane.

Peke-i-tua (jump behind). — A good and upright man,
to whom God gave power to carry out all his projects.

The Deluge. (Nga-i-tahu.)
Men had become very numerous on the earth. There
were many great tribes. Evil prevailed everywhere. Th
tribes quarrelled, and Avars were frequent. The worship
of Tane was neglected, and his doctrines openly denied.
The teachings of Para-whenua-mea {debris of the flood)
and Tupu-nui-a-uta (the king of the interior) respecting
the separation of Rangi (heaven) and Papa (earth) were
disputed, and men obstinately opposed their doctrines, and
declared them to be false teachers, and asserted that Rangi


and Papa were now as tliey were when the world was made,
and that Tanc had not done any of the things lie was
said to have clone. Bnt Para-whenna-mea and Tupn-uui-a-
uta continued to preach until the tribes cursed them by
saying, " You two can eat the words o£ your history as
food for you, and you can eat the heads of the words of
that history." Then these two teachers were very much
grieved because of the words " Eat the heads/' and they
became angry. Then they commanded the people to build
a house in which to teach the ancient legends and history,
and the knowledge of the doctrines of Tane, and also the
incantations and ceremonies for all occasions. Then were
the people filled with sorrow, and turned aside, and uttered
the curse of ^^ Eating the heads."

Tupu-nui-a-uta and Para-whenua-mea then got their
stone axes and cut down totara (Podocarpus) , and kahika-tea
(Podocarpiis dacrydioides), and other light-timber trees,
which they dragged together to the source of the River
Tohinga (the baptism) . They bound the timber together
with vines of the pirita fRhipogormm scandens) and ropes,
and made a very wide raft fmokij. When the raft had
been built, the incantations of Whaka-pio (to cause to be
adequate) were repeated to heaven (Rangi). Then Tupu-
nui-a-uta and Para-whenua-mea repeated together an incan-
tation-prayer, and put some water into a paiia-sheW (halio-
tisj, and used the water in the ceremonies, and repeated the
incantation, and built a house on the raft, and put much
food into it — fern-root, kumara, and dogs.

Para-whenua-mea and Tupu-nui-a-uta then repeated in-
cantations, and prayed that rain might descend in such
abundance as would convince men of the power of Tanc,
and prove the truth of his existence and the necessity of
the ceremonies of worship for life and for peace, and to
avert evil and death.

Then these teachers, with Tiu (fly as a bird without
flapping its wings), Reti (snare), and a female named Wai-
puna-hau (source of the wind), got on the raft; but there
were other women on the raft besides.


Tiu prayed Jind repeated incantations for rain. No"w,
Tin was the priest on tlic raft. The staff representing rain
had been set up. He prayed that rain might descend in
great torrents ; and when it had so rained for four or five
days and nights, he repeated incantations that it might
cease, and it ceased.

On the next day the flood had reached the settlement,
and on the folloATing day the raft began to be lifted by the
waters, and floated down the River Tohinga. The water
was now great, like an ocean, and the raft began to move
about hither and thither. All men and women and
children were drowned of those who denied the truth of
the doctrines preached by Tane.

The raft now floated away; and these are the nights
and moons, and the matters relating to the days, and also
to the works which were performed by those on the raft
whilst they floated about, even to the day it again touched
the land : —

It floated on down the river Tohinga, and came to the
Au-whiwhi (entangled stream), Au-matara (stream a short
distance away) , Au-kuha (rugged stream) , Au-puha (stream
blurting out), Au-mahora (stream spread out). The raft
here was unimpeded, and descended, going straight on in
the stream. It came to the Au-titi (descending sti-eam),
Au-kokomo (stream going into), Au-huri (turning stream),
Au-take (origin of the stream), Au-whawhao (stream filling
in), Au-kawha(ngawha) (stream broken up), Au-mate (dead
stream). The stream now ceased to be, and the current
went right on, and down, and heaved, and went forward,
and sighed, and came to Ha-wai-ki (water of breath filled),
Hawa-i-ki (chipped and filled), Ha-wai-ki (iti) (water of
small breath), Hawa-iki(iti) (broken small).

The raft was now quite out on the sea, and arrived at
To (pulled), Tapa-tapa (give a name to), Nga-rimu (the
sea-weed), Te Tukunga (the allowing to depart).

Wlien they got to Tapa-tapa those on the raft repeated
incantations and performed ceremonies and called aloud
the names of the gods ; and when they arrived at IS^ga-


rimii they repefited the ceremonies and offered sacrifice to
the gods.

When they arrived at To Tukunga, they repaired the
raft with great energy, and by friction procured sacred
fire. Para-whenua-mea took grass, and held it over the
sacred fire and took it away again ; again he held it over
the sacred fire. This he did so that they might cook food
for themselves on that fire. (From this ceremony is de-
rived the custom of onr people in regard to the sacred
ceremonies and incantations performed and repeated over
canoes.) He took the grass from the fire and divided it
into small bundles. One for the gods vras the first laid
aside, one for the males of mankind, oqc for the females,
and one for the aged females ; and then one, with some
fern-root, was offered in recognition of their being j)reserved
whilst being carried hither and thither by the flood, and as
an offering from those who at harvest-time take the first
fruits from the crops. This was for the male line only ■;
another like it was also offered for the female line.

"When these presentations and thank-offerings had been
made to the gods, they took some fern-root, and with it
touched the lips of ail — first of the men, then of the women,
and then of the children. Then, for the first time, they
partook of cooked food.

They lived on this one meal for two days, and did not
eat of any other food from the time they had performed
the thank-offering to the gods.

They now saw goddesses wandering on the face of the
ocean. They were Hine-ahua (maiden of the altar), Hine-
raka(ranga)-tai (maiden arranging the sea), Hine-apo-hia
(maiden that gathers together), Kare-nuku (agitated Avorld),
Kare-rangi (agitated heaven) . These came to make a com-
motion in the sea, that the raft might be destroyed and
those on it might perish. The sea was boisterous, but the
raft and its occupants were not overwhelmed.

The raft floated on, and came to Te-wiwini (the
tumbling), Te-wehi (the dread), Te-wana (bud forth), Te-
pa (the touched), Kare-tua-tahi (first ripple), and on to


the second, and to the tliird, and to tlic tcntli ripple, and
they arrived at Te-tarawa (suspended). At this time
expired the sixth moon of their livinj^ on the raft and of
their drifting on the ocean.

The raft still drifted on, and came to Te-hiwi (path),
Te-M'hana (put forth power), Te-riaki (strain), Te-hapai
(lift up), Te-tiketikc (the high up), Te-rahi-rahi (the thin).
At this time Tiu had a desire to land on the shore. They
went on till they came to Te-kapunga (caught at), Te-
whatinga (the broken), Te-horonga (the falling down in
pieces), Te-whaka-huka (making foam), Te-whati-tata
(broken near), Pou-hoatu (the staff given), Tuturi (kneel-
ing), Ekenga (got on), Uta (on shore), Mae-ra-uta (com-
ing from inland), Tira (company of people), Moana-nui
(great sea) .

When they had been floating about on the raft for seven
moons, Tiu spoke to his companions and said, " We shall
not die ; we shall land on the earth ; '^ and on the eighth
month he added to his words, and said, " The sea has
become thin ; the flood has begun to subside.'^ Para-
whenua-mea and Tupu-nui-a-uta asked him, '^ By what do
you know ? ^^ He answered, ''' By the signs of my staff .^'
He had kept his ivananga, or altar, on one side of the deck,
Avhere he performed his ceremonies and repeated his incan-
tations, and observed his staff, which he also kept there ;
and by his knowledge and constant devotion to his cere-
monies he understood the signs of his staff. Hence he
again said to his companions, " The blustering winds of the
past moons have become less strong. The great winds of
the past moons have become weaker now, and the winds
of this month have died away, and the sea has become

On the eighth moon the rolling motion of the raft had
changed : it now pitched up and down and rolled. Hence
Tiu thought they were near to land, and that the sea had
become shallow. He said to his companions, " This is the
moon on which we shall land on dry earth, as the signs of
mv staff indicate that the sea is becoming less deep."


All the time they "«ere floating about they repeated the
incantations and performed the ceremonies to Tane.

They landed on dry earth at Ha-wai-ki. They thougl^it
that some of the people of the Avorld might perhaps still
be alive, and that the earth might have the same
appearance as it had before the flood came ; but on
landing they saw that there was not one human being
left alive, and the land had materially changed : it had
cracked in parts, had been turned upside down, and had
been confused by the power of the flood ; and they found
that they were the only survivors of all the tribes of all
the earth, and that the earth had completely changed in

When they landed on the earth their first act was to per-
form ceremonies and repeat incantations. They performed
these to Tane, to Rangi, and to Rehua, and all the gods.
Sea-weed was the sacred offering given in place of slain
sacrifice. The ceremonies and incantations, with the offer-
ing, were first performed to Te-po, then to Te-ao, then to
Te-kore, then to Tc-maku, then to Rangi, then to Rehua,
and lastly to Tane, In offering this sacrifice they held
the sea-weed in their hands, and repeated the ineantatio)i
to each god in succession. As they addressed each god
consecutively, a portion of the sea-weed of the length
of the two thumbs of the priest was broken off the main
piece. Each god was addressed at a different spot. The
altar to each god, on which each offering was left, and
before which the incantations were repeated, was a root
of grass, a shrub, or tree, or flax-bush. These were the
altars of the gods at that time ; and now, if any of the
people of the tribes go near to such altars the food they
have eaten will swell in their stomachs and kill them. The
chief priest alone may go to such places. If the people go
to such sacred spots, and afterwards cook food at their
settlement, that food would kill those who ate it. It
would be cursed by the sinful act of desecrating the
sanctity of the altar ; and the punishment on the cateris
would be death.


When all the ceremonies and enstomary acts had been
pori'ormcd for the removal of the tajm, fire was obtained at

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Online LibraryJohn WhiteThe ancient history of the Maori, his mythology and traditions .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 27)