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

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but when she who is named after my shame has children,
let them follow me."


When Kai-tangata returned from the sea, and had
come where his children Trere, he asked, " Where is your
mother ? " The children answered, " She has gone to
heaven, to her home/' He asked, " "UTiat did she say to
you? " The first-born replied, " She said I am named after
the anchor of your canoe ; this one (pointing to the second-
born) is named after the sinker of your fishing-net ; and our
sister is named after the shame which our mother felt
when you were so disgusted at our filth." The children
then led him to see the filth-pit,

Punga had offspring, which were lizards and sharks.
Hema (the sister) had offspring, of whom one was called
Ta-whaki. Her brothers took each a wife : the elder took
Muri-whaka-roto (last inner part), and the second took
Kohu-whango (mist that produces hoarseness), or Pu-hango
(effluvia). The offspring of these could not obtain
wives, because all the females liked Ta-whaki.

Then the offspring of Punga and Karihi were jealous of
Ta-whaki, and proposed that they should go and wash and
comb their heads in the water which reflected the face —
that is, in the pool called Rangi-tuhi (the heaven-reflecting) .
Ta-whaki went with them, and when they arrived there he
chanted this incantation : —

Spring up, faint light of dawn.

Give my comb to me,

And the scratcher for my head.

I will go to the water —

To the pool Eangi-tuhi —

Yes, to the pool Eangi-tuhi.

My act is complete.

Now, when the offspring of Punga and Karihi saw that
Ta-whaki was washing and combing his hair in the pool
of Eangi-tuhi, they attacked him and left him for dead.
They returned to their home, Muri-whaka-roto asked,
*' Where is your younger cousin ? " Mango (shark)
answered, " He is still at the pool, washing and combing
his hair," She waited some time, and, as Ta-whaki did
not return, she called '' Ta-whaki, O ! " In answer to her
the bird pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus) cried, " Ke." She


went in tlie direction whence the answer came^ thinking it
had been the voice of Ta-whaki ; hut, not seeing him, again
she called, ''Ta-whaki, O!" The hird molto (a rail)
answered, " Hu." She returned to the settlement and
charged ]\Iango and the others with the murder of Ta-
whaki. They acknowledged their guilt, and said, " Did he
not answer your call ? '' She said, " A pukcko and a moho
answered my call/' But she added, "Perhaps he has gone
to rejjeat his incantations and ceremonies, and to stanch the
flow of his blood, to regain power and life/^ Ta-whaki had
not been killed by his cousins, but had been severely
wounded, and, as Muri-whaka-roto had divined, he had gone
a short distance to repeat his ceremonies and chant incan-
tations to cure himself. This is the incantation which he
repeated to stanch the flow from his wonnds : —

Tho blood of whom ?

Blood of the stars.

The blood of whom ?

Blood of the moon.

The blood of whom ?

Blood of the sun.

The blood of whom ?

Blood of Ta-whaki.

The blood of whom ?

The blood of Eangi-mahuki (the healing skj').

Having chanted this charm, he became strong again,
and rose up and went far out on the sea, and slept there.
On awakening from the depth of the world of spirits, he
essayed to proceed on his journey, but found a great wave
barring the way and ready to kill him. One of his
ancestors, Te-kae-a-ea (sparrow - hawk) , came near and
startled him with his cry of " Ke, keke, ke,'' so that he
roused up and shook himself from his stupor, and took his
weapon of war and held it out in an attitude of defiance,
and exclaimed, —

Ward off the blow.
Let it pass by my side.
Let it glance, but
Clear of my skin.

He made a blow at the huge wave and went on his way.


and reached the mainland, where he met his uncle
Karihi. They wept over each other.

Now, as was said before, the cause of the attempted
murder o£ Ta-whaki by his cousins was jealousy on account
of the marked favour shown to him l)y females. The
women would not accept the cousins as husbands, be-
cause they were so uncomely to look at ; and they liked
and admired the beauty of Ta-whaki, and showed their
preference for him by inviting him to their house 0-hou-
raro (feather-plume from the north), and, when he came,
entertaining him with their best services, and spreading
most beautiful mats on the floor of the house for him to
lounge on. Not so was it when Mango and his brother
visited them. Ta-whaki was grandson of Tau-ra-rangi
(the sheen of heaven). He was also a supreme lord,
and most beautiful (purotuj in person.

Another matter which caused the females to admire
Ta-whaki was, he was so clever in building beautiful
houses ; while the abodes of his cousins were filthy, and
their floors were strewn with leaves of trees, instead of
being covered with fine floor-mats, like those of Ta-whaki.

Ta-whaki and Karihi went on a journey. They arrived
at the outer works of the defences of a fort, and passed
over them. They went towards the palisading. Then Ta-
whaki called to Karihi, and said, " Do you climb the pali-
sading first. ^' But Karihi objected, and said, " Oh, no !
you climb up first." Ta-whaki repeated his request.
Then Karihi put out his hand and took hold of the
battlement whence stones are thrown against an enemy,
and climbed upwards, whilst Ta-Avhaki chanted this incan-
tation : —

O Tu ! sever the heavens.
O Tu ! fold up the heavens —
Fold them up from beneath —
Even from the earth.

Karihi slid down to the earth, and called to Ta-whaki,
and said, " You repeated your incantation and caused mc
to slip down. Had it not been for your chanting I should


have got to the top." Ta-whaki said_, "1 did not repeat
an incantation against you. But remain where you are, and
allow me to aseend." Ta-whaki stretched forth his arm,
and with his hand laid hold of the prominent lower battle-
ment, and repeated this incantation to aid him in his
ascent : —

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the first heaven.

Ye boisterous, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the second heaven.

Ye violent, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the third heaven.

Ye furious, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the fourth heaven.

Ye impetuous, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the fifth heaven.

Ye vehement, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the sixth heaven.

Ye stormy, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the seventh heaven.

Ye angry, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the eighth heaven.

Ye frantic, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the ninth heaven.

Ye passionate, be calm.

Climb, Ta-whaki, to the superlative heaven.

Stand face to face ;

Touch the face ;

Hold on to the stability of heaven.

When Ta-whaki had gained the uppermost heaven, he
cut in two the path by which he had ascended. Karihi
called to him, and said, '' O Ta-whaki ! turn to me and help
me up." Ta-whaki answered, " Oh, no ! you and your
relatives attempted to murder me." Ta-whaki went on,
and arrived at the settlement of the old woman called Whai-
tiri, whom he found quite blind, and sitting counting her
small baskets ftoioj of food. She was saying as she
counted the baskets, —

One basket, two baskets, three baskets,
Four baskets, five baskets, six baskets,
Seven baskets, eight baskets, nine baskets.
Ten baskets.

Having got to this number, Ta-whaki pulled one of
^liena away. She again counted them, and at the eighth Ta-


whaki pulled away the ninth ; when the old woman asked
herself in surprise^ " Ah ! where is the ninth ? " Ta-whald
pulled the eighth away^ and there remained seven. She
again counted her baskets, and Ta-whaki kept taking away
one at a time, until he had taken all. Then Whai-tiri asked,
" Who is it who is acting deceitfully with my baskets of
food ?" Ta-whaki answered, " It is I." She said, " You !
Who are you?" He answered, ^^I am Ta-whaki-nui-a-
hema" (Ta-whaki the great, of Hema). She exclaimed,
"^ Well, well ! it is my grandson." Ta-whaki said, "You left
word that I should follow up to heaven after you." She
answered, "Yes, that is true; but look at my eyes." Ta-
whaki asked, "What is the matter with your eyes?" She
answered, " You can see what the people are like with
whom I live. When the sun sets this house is filled with
them. Now, you musl; secrete yourself in the side of the
house." He asked, "Where is the entrance?" She
answered, " By the window and by the door." Ta-whaki
made two nooses, and put one over the window and one
over the door. He instructed the old woman by saying,
" So soon as all the people have entered the house close
up every hole and chink above and below, so that when
they awake at dawn of day the house may still be in
darkness." She promised to do as instructed.

The sun was setting, and all came in crowds to the
house. There were thousands of them. They appeared
like very small birds, and Tonga-hiti (glow of the south —
the god of headache) was with them. So soon as they were
all in, old Whai-tiri closed up every aperture by which light
might enter, while they in the liouse all slept. The star
of the dawn had risen; but all still slept. Day liad fully
dawned ; but they slept on. The rays of the sun had swept
over all the earth; still they slept. The sun was now in.
the meridian (tu tonu te raj, when one of those in the house
was heard to say, " How long this night is ! " AVhai-tiri
answered, " Sleep on : day has not come yet." Tonga-
hiti called out, and said, " In nights past they soon came
to an end, and day came on quickly ; but as for this night.


it is very long. Maybe Wliai-tiri is dealing deceitfully
with lis." AVhai-tiri answered, " No." Ta-whaki now
came out of his hiding-place, and pulled away all that
Whai-tiri had put up to shut out the light, and attacked
and killed all but Tonga-hiti, who escaped by a hole he
made at the base of one of the posts at the back of the
house. These people were all killed, and Ta-whaki chanted
his incantations over old blind Whai-tiri. This i.s one : —

Face held up, eyes held up.
Eyes flash forth, flash forth,
And follow the light of the sun,
So lummous, bright, and red.
And now in the west descending.

Touch, oh ! touch with water
From the stream
The eyes of Whai-tiri.
Lave the water on my eyes ;
Wash my eyes — eyes that were so dull.

Again, a second time
Touch the eyes of Whai-tiri
With water from the brook.

Look up, and see.
They sparkle now. Thy eyes
Now flash in mine —
In mine, the li\ing eyes
Sustained by blood —
The blood of the
Eyes of Eehua.

Whai-tiri was cured, and uttered this sentence : —

Ah ! my eyes are cured
By my grandson.

Which has since become a proverb indicating satisfaction
and revenge.

Ta-whaki, looking at the head of old Whai-tiri, put out
his hand to draw the hair through it. She said, " Keep
your hand away, lest I be bewitched. But, look : there
is your relative JNIaikviku-makaka, who ever waits to slay.
Who can hope that you will escape ? "

Ta-whaki left her, and, going thence, saw Nga-toka-
tami-whare (house-plunderers and -destroyers), who were
standing erect. Ta-whaki called to Whai-tiri, and asked,
''^What are these ?" She answered, " Do not touch them.


They are your ancestors.'^ But Ta-^vhaki -«'ent and trod on
them ; and they fled, crying, to the sea. Then Ta-whaki
exclaimed, " Ah ! so you flee, crying, to the sea. Though
you attempted to slay me, yet I can make you cry whilst
you flee from me.^^ This was an act of revenge on the
j)art of Ta-whaki for their having on a previous occasion
compelled him to go far out on the ocean.

Ta-whaki resumed his ascent, and saw Maikuku-makaka,
Avith welcome looks, awaiting his approach. He drew near
to her, and, while she made her obeisance, he touched her
left side with the staif he held in his hand. It startled her.
She drew herself together as if afraid. He remarked, '' Ah!
so you are afraid of the sanctity of Ta-whaki ! " He touched
her with his hand, and through that act she became his

At that time her husband, Uru-rangi (head of heaven),
who was away on a journey, had an omen which caused
him to return home, and, having looked through the window
of his house, he there saw the heads and feet of two beings
who lay asleep. He put his hand in, and touched one of
the heads ; it was that of his wife. She arose. Ta-whaki
also arose and left the house, and went in searcli of the
settlement of his ancestor Maru (shade), in order that he
might punish Uru-rangi. "When he had come within a
short distance from it, he sat down and chanted this
incantation : —

Collect, hosts of heaven !

Collect from far.

Collect. Evil is near.

Overcome and exhausted,

I am in spirit dead.

Oh ! that the war-girdle

Might expand itself

And grow before Mua,

And flaunt itself

For me — for me !

I tremblingly cry ;

I wail, me !

And my calamity,

On the mountain of life,

In the midst of power.


Tu, come near to ]\Iaru,
And Maru, come near to Rongo ;

And you, O llongo !
Come near to me —
Come near to my calamity.
But, my npcar of war !
I vainly flourish it.
And only smite the air.
My battle-axe I hold ;
But this I clasp in vain,
Without the power to strike —
Without the battle phalanx
Arrayed to storm my enemy.
Arise, ye bold ; arise,
And stem the flood.
Shout loud the battle-cry.
And storm and conquer.

This cliaut — tui, or war-cry — has ever since been used
to call the people together^ and to inspire them with
courage whenever their lord Avishes to proceed to war.

Those at the settlement who heard this war-song sung
by Ta-whaki knew that it was the war-cry to muster in
battle array. And Maru lifted up his voice, and cried
aloud to Ta-whaki, " Come to me — to the man who pos-
sesses the weapons of war." Tu-te-ngana-hau (Tu who
wars with the elements) rose and called, " Yes, and tome."
E,ehua also called, and said, " To me also — to the man
who possesses the elements of life."

Ta-whaki went to Maru — to him v/ho had the weapons

of war, and who could amply avenge him. Ta-whaki saw

the storehouse of Maru standing on poles, in which oil and

fat were kept. These Ta-whaki began to eat, and at the

same time he chanted in an undertone, —

The houses of Tu (the god of war),
The food in which is eaten
Whilst the eaters stand —
The food in which is eaten
Whilst the eaters fly.
Kongo, the furious !

The houses of I\Iaru (the god cf produce).
The food in which is eaten
Whilst the eaters fly.
O Eongo, the furious.
The boisterous ! Oh, hearken !


Show thyself on the whirlwind
And on the gale of the east.
Set fire to and burn
The Atua-rae-roa (the defiant god),
And send him into death — to
All the worlds below.

root of the Pare-tao (the^athcr of man),
Who caused the power

Of Hawa-iki to grow !

1 honour thee first.
Thy sacredness I own.
I honour thee

In ninefold honour.

Oh ! give thy breath,

Though little, unto me,

To give to him who

Lacerates himself in woe.

Oh ! give thy breath,

Though little, unto me,

To give to him who

Holds the power

Of sudden death.

Oh, give to me that power

Of him who can

With unseen blow —

With sudden instant death —

Smite those he hates.

My heart is sacred now

And full. It overflows.

'Tis big with fire —

The breath of gods.

That all consumes.

Mam was listenings and heard this incantation chanted.
Ta-whaki then commenced to cut .the hair of his head, as
also did Maru of his head ; and as they cut they chanted, —

Fountain of the lords above,
The supreme power of Ta-whaki,
The influence of Ta-whaki,
The hair of Ta-whaki,
The foreliead of Ta-whaki,
The eyebrows of Ta-whaki,
The eyelashes of Ta-whaki,
The temples of Ta-whaki,
The eyes of Ta-whaki,
The nose of Ta-whaki,
The cars of Ta-whaki,


The checks of Ta-whaki,

The jaws of Ta-whaki,

The neck of Ta-whaki,

The joming of the head"

And neck of Ta-wliaki,

The shoulders of Ta-whaki,

The collar-hone of Ta-whaki,

The elbow of Ta-whaki,

The hands of Ta-whaki,

The chest of Ta-whaki,

Give these, that I by friction (d)

A fire may light, and these

As seeds may he — as seeds-

For me to cook them

In my oven.

The oven of whom ?

The oven of Rohea-hua-te-rangi (goddess of Styx)r-

O signs in heaven !

jSTow show yourselves

At the fountain

Of the lords above.

impotence of Ta-whaki

O chest of Ta-whaki !

O rib of Ta-whaki !

O thigh of Ta-whaki !

O seat of Ta-whaki !

O knee of Ta-whaki !

O calf of the leg of Ta-whaki !

O feet of Ta-whaki !

O heels of Ta-whaki !

O soles of the feet of Ta-whaki I

nails of the feet

And hands of Ta-whaki !

The completion of Ta-whaki,

The finishing of Ta-whaki,

The flight of Ta-whaki !

Give these, that I by friction

A fire may light,

And these as seeds may be —

As seeds to cook them

In my oven.

The oven of whom ?

The oven of Rohea-hua-te-rangi.

O signs in heaven !

Follow on — come —

Come you, and be

The younger last-born child.

That I may be

The elder and first-born —


The first to chant

The sacred songs

In all the worlds — •

First dawn of young

Creation's day.

The breathing lips now utter

Sacred lore ; they breathe

The breath of gods,

And all that sacred is

Now show their sanctity.

While tlic chanting and cutting proceeded_, the people-
assembled in battle array to \7itness their lords presenting
their hair Avith solemn ceremonies to the gods. This done,
Ta-whaki and Maru placed themselves in front of the army,
and led it forth to war. They slept on the road that night,
and at dawn of day they prepared their eel-spears. On
one they tied seven barbs, as an offering to the hosts of the
heavens j on the other they tied one barb. Both spears were
given to one of the priests, who went in and out and round
the war-hosts, and then led them to the brink of a lake,
where the warriors sat down while he entered it to spear eels
for a propitiatory sacrifice for those who might be killed or
wounded, and to obtain the aid of the gods in the battle
they were about to fight. Taking first the seven-barbed
spear, he caught an eel, and, whilst it writhed on the
prongs, he lifted it up towards heaven, offering it to the
gods above. He then took the one-barbed spear, and
struck another eel, and held it up as he had done the first.
Then he broiight both spears, with their eels impaled, to the
brink of the lake. The eel on the seven-barbed spear was
left untouched by any one. Then arose a dispute : INIaru
said the eel on the one-barbed spear was his, and he alone
should have it ; Tu-te-ngana-hau said the head of the eel
was his ; and llchua said the head was his by right : but
Maru took the head, and Tu-tc-ngana-hau wept in sorrow
for the act.

The war-host now stood up, and their leaders divided
them into two bodies. One division went by the road
which would lead where they could destroy the sacred
power of their enemy, who occupied the forts at Tutu-hini


(great parade)^ at Raro-henga (lower margin), at Ku-paru
(soppy soil), and at Wawau (stupidity), and had 1)ccn ban-
ished in honour of the offspring of the gods Tanga-roa and

Maru took the lead of the other division of the war-host.
With him was Tc-maeaea (the emerging one), as junior and
leader of the sub-tribe of Maru. They went by the road
that led to the sea-coast. There they found the god
E,ongo-mai (the whale) lying on the shore, with swarms of
flies collected on him. Maru mistook this god for a
stranded whale, and called to the war-party, " Light a fire
as an oven to cook our food.^^ Rongo-mai heard the order
of Maru, and uttered an incantation to himself while the
war-party collected wood and prepared the ovens. "When
the ovens were heated, the war-host rolled Rongo-mai to-
wards them. Then he arose and caught the sub-tribe of
Maru, called Te-kahui-maru (Maru's flock) , with Te-maeaea,
and cooked them in their own ovens. Maru-atua (god
Maru) fled into a chasm of the rocks, and barely escaped
the fate which had overtaken his children ; but all the host
which he had led was destroyed. The other division suc-
ceeded in the object of their mission, and did not fall into
any disaster. Thus the insult offered to Ta-whaki was

RoNGO-MAi. (Another Reading — Nga-ti-mahuta.)

While Rongo-mai lived on this earth he assumed the
appearance and habits of a man, so that his heavenly
origin was not suspected by those amongst whom he lived.
But one day he was overcome by drowsiness, and lay down
and slept for so long that the people supposed he was dead;
so they heated an umu in which to cook him for food.
When the oven was ready they rolled him up to it ; but
the warmth from the stones of the oven aAvoke him, and
when he saw the fate he had just escaped he arose and
slew one hundred and forty of them (d), and cooked their
bodies in the oven which had been prepared to cook him,
and ate the whole of them.


Maru (screen), although a god, was killed and his body-
eaten hy Rongo-mai, just as were the bodies of the
other people ; but the spirit of Maru flew up to the

At the time Matoro (engender desire) gained the battle
of Rau-toka (tonga) (leaf from the south) he worshipped
Maru as his god ; and the overthrow of Rau-toka re-
mains as a proverb to this day.

Rongo-mai and Ihenga (dread) set fire to the house of
Miru (grand) and burned it down. It was called Te-tatau-
o-te-po (door of night).

Rongo-mai. (Nga-ti-hau.)

While our people were at war with the Nga-ti-awa
(offspring of Awa-nui-a-rangi — great river of heaven),
and at the time we had invested their ^ja at Otaki (pace
to and fro when speaking) called Rangi-uru (red sky, or
sky of the west), even in the full light of day, and
vvhen the sun was in mid-heaven, our priests performed
their ceremonies and chanted their incantations to the god
Rongo-mai, who was then known to reside at Tau-po (rest
at night), that he would come and aid them in the attack,
and join in the rush when the storming party should dash
on the pa, which was then occupied by the allied tribes of
Nga-ti-rua-nui (offspring of Rua-nui), Tara-naki (offspring
of Tu-tara-naki) , and Nga-ti-awa. Immediately this had
been done Rongo-mai was seen by all our people coming
flying in the air. His appearance was like a shooting-star,
or comet, or flame of fire. He came on until directly
above the pa, when he shot down right on to the marae
(courtyard) Avith a noise like that of thunder, and the
earth around was thrown up in heaps and scattered. We
all heard the noise of his descent on to the marae, and
were so filled with delight that in two days after this
occurrence we took the pa by storm.


Ta-wiiaki. (Another Reading — Nga-rauru.)

When Ta-Avliaki was in the water (pool), and before his
fonr brothers attempted to kill him, he chanted this in-

.cantation : —

Spring up, light of early dawn.
Give my comb to me,
That I may go to the water —
The pool Rangi-tuhi.
Hearken ye, hearken.

A voice called, —

" Ta - whaki I Where are you ? "
A pukeko-hiid answered by saying,

Another voice asked, —

" Ta-whaki ! Where are you ? "
A moho-hiid answered by saying,

Another voice asked, —

" Ta-whaki ! Where are you ? "

Ta-whaki answered by saying, —

" It grows in the hair of your head —

On your brow.

There the blood glows red —

The blood of Ta-whaki,

And of the sun,

And of the moon.

And of the auspicious sky

Now seen above."

Ta-whaki rose out of the water, and, seeing the second
battlement of the fort, he climbed to heaven, and met Whai-
tiri on the road. Now, Whai-tiri was blind, and was sitting
in silence. She addressed Ta-whaki, and requested him
-to cure her eyes of their blindness.

Ta-whaki complied, and chanted this incantation : —

Look up, eyes !
Pierced be your eyes.
Let your eyes
Follow the sun
Which is now
Sinking in the west.


Bathed be your hollow

Eyes with the water

Of the stream.

Lift the water

To your eyes.

Eyes, eyes, look up —

Look to a distance.

First, the eyes of Whai-tiri

Look this way.

Flashing now with sight,

Look into my eyes —

To the blood-red

Eyes of Eehua.

Whai-tiri cautioned Mm^ and said, " Be careful, in

-climbing to heaven, lest evil befall you — lest you be drawn

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