Sacred-Texts The Pacific Index Previous Next
Introduction—The ancient houses of teaching—The Whare-wānanga, and its methods—The Pō, or ages, or æons of darkness—The months, etc.—The Whare-maire—The Whare-porukuruku.
[THE following is the teaching of Moihi Te Matorohanga (who will be referred to in the future as 'the Sage'), of Wai-rarapa, East Coast of New Zealand, on the subject of the Maori College, in which the young lads who shewed a disposition towards learning, and had been observed to be accomplished in telling stories, etc., were taught by the old Priests (or Tohungas) all that tended towards making them accomplished in the higher knowledge that was necessary to the chiefs and priests.
This teaching was divided into two branches as follows:—
1. Te Kauwae-runga 2. Te Kauwae-raro
(the simple translation of which is, the upper-jaw, and the lower-jaw). These branches were also sometimes designated, Te Kauhanga-runga, and Te Kauhanga-raro.* The expressions had a clear meaning to the Maoris, the first representing everything pertaining to the gods, the heavens, the origin of all things, the creation of man, the science of astronomy, and the record of time, etc. The second (Te Kauwae-raro) deals with the history, properly so called, of the people, their genealogies, migrations, the tapu, and all knowledge pertaining to terrestrial matters. We may thus say that the first represents 'Celestial things,' the second 'Terrestrial things'; though, as will be seen, the distinction is not always adhered to.
In order to a clear understanding of the Sage's teaching in reference to the Whare-wānanga, it is necessary to know a good deal of his other teachings—which follows after this chapter—on the Kauwae-runga. So far as possible the notes will aid in this.
The meaning of the words Whare-wānanga is somewhat difficult to express shortly in English; but probably the nearest meaning is, the 'house of learning,' or 'house of teaching,' with the understanding that the higher learning is meant—in some cases esoteric learning. Whare, of course, is a house, a building.* Wānanga, means the higher and sacred knowledge, and to recite that knowledge—it is, in fact, very similar to the meaning of Veda in the Sanskrit, as used in the name of the Hindu sacred books, the Rig-veda-Samhita.†
In some parts the Whare-wānanga is called Whare-kura (where Kura has the same meaning as wānanga) and Whare-maire. But it will be seen later on that the Sage makes a considerable distinction between the first and the last, and rarely mentions the second, though that name is well-known to many tribes; and the late Mr. John White in his "Ancient History of the Maori," Vol. I., has described the Maori College under the name of Whare-kura.
The Whare-wānanga was an extremely sacred institution, as will be seen by the Sage's description. Some of the tribes have preserved the principal names of these institutions right away from the original Fatherland—indeed, even from the Heavens themselves—down to their extinction in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Sage gives the following succession of houses used by his ancestors; but it does not profess to be a perfect list—only the more important being mentioned:—
|1.||Mattangi-reia. This was the original of all the Whare-wānanga, and the pattern from which subsequent ones were built, and from whence came all knowledge, brought from the twelfth heaven—Te Toi-o-nga-rangi—by the god Tāne-matua; this was the temple of the Supreme God Io. It is said to have been situated in the Sun's path in the heavens, the name itself having that meaning.|
|2.||Rangi-atea. This was another temple in the twelfth heaven, where were deposited the whatu-kura on the Ahu-rewa, or altar, the whatu-kura being the sacred stones connected with the teaching, and were in charge of the male and female guardian spirits (Whata-kura and Marei-kura*) at that part of the twelfth heaven which was the marae, or court yard, or plaza of Rangiatea, named Rau-roha. Rauroha means a wide space, as of the heavens. Rangi-atea, describes the complete absence of cloud in the skies. The Sage declared this to be "the teaching of the Whare-wānanga, and must not be questioned."|
|3.||Tawhiri-rangi. This was the temple—not necessarily a Whare-wānanga—in which the spirits of mankind, who were deemed worthy to ascend to the presence of Io, the Supreme God in the twelfth heaven, were purified before their admittance into that heaven. It was situated in the first heaven, below the summit (probably), the entrance to which, was named Pu-motomoto, and opened downward into space. The door of departure of the spirits upwards to Io from this heaven was named Uru-rangi. [Entering-heaven.]|
|4.||Whakamoe-ariki, was a sacred house (probably) in the twelfth heaven, where dwelt the minor gods, Rua-tau, Aitu-pawa, Rehua, and the spiritual beings named Te Tini-o-Pono-aua (the Pono-aua tribe), who were the servants of the Apas, or messengers of the gods.† The three first named were the guardians of the heavenly treasures, and, from their association with Io, the Supreme God, were considered to rank above the other gods.|
|5.||Whare-kura, was a temple situated in Rangi-tamaku, or the first above the lowest heaven (according to one description), and which served as the prototype of the terrestrial temples; from it succeeding temples took their generic name of Whare-kura. In this place were suspended the (emblems of the) teaching of Tāne, together with the whatu or sacred stones brought down by him from the twelfth heaven. The
teacher in this house was Uru-te-ngangana (also Nuku-te-aio and Rua-i-te-pukenga).|
[In another place, the Sage states that the second temple named Whare-kura was situated "at Te Hono-i-wairua (the gathering place of spirits) at Tawhiti-pa-mamao (the Fatherland) in the spot where the teaching of the Whare-wānanga originated," (i.e., where man was first taught the doctrines brought down from Heaven by Tāne) "and where were created the land, the great ocean, the forests; the plants of the land, the fish of the sea, according to their kinds, the birds of each kind, the reptiles whether of the land or the sea, and over which temple presided the ancestor Uru-te-ngangana" (who was one of the gods).] It rather seems as if some confusion exists as to whether or not there were two temples of this name.
|6.||Tangi-te-wiwini, was another temple situated in the ancient Fatherland of Irihia, at Tawhiti-pa-mamao, at Te Hono-i-wairua. It is also said another temple, named Te Rangi-tapu, at Kaupeka nui, was built in the ancient Fatherland of Irihia, or Hawaiki-nui.|
|7.||Wharau-rangi, was another temple built in Irihia; the teacher was Māui-mua,* assisted by others. From the fact of Māui-mua being the priest, it is probable this temple was built after the first migrations of the people from the Fatherland—the name Irihia probably covering more than one country.|
|8.||Takapau-rangi. In this house Taka-waerangi and others were the teachers, but it is not stated where it was situated, but, probably in some of the lands the people resided in for more or less lengthy periods on their migrations from Irihia, or Hawaiki-nui, to the islands of the Pacific.|
|9.||Te Mahu-rangi, in which house Uenuku-rangi was the principal teacher, besides others—no locality stated, but Uenuku-rangi flourished about thirty-seven generations ago (or, say, in the eleventh century), and, if so, the people probably were then in the Hawaiian Islands,† for this branch of the Maori p. 83 people seem to have come to the Southern Pacific viâ those islands.|
|10.||Te Kau-whanga-nui. In this house Te Pae-whenua was the chief teacher. It is not stated where the building was situated, but it probably was in Tahiti.|
|11.||Te Hauhunga-roa, was the house, and Timu-whakairihia was the teacher, and, as he certainly lived in Tahiti or the adjacent islands, we may safely say it was in use about the twelfth or thirteenth century.|
|12.||Te Kohu-rau. This whare-wānanga was a cave (or had a cave attached to the building) and the teaching under Whare-patari was removed from number eleven to this place. The date would be about the beginning of the fourteenth century. There is a place with the same name in the Maori Hades.|
|13.||The same place as above, but Te Rongo-patahi, Rua-wharo, and Tupai were the teachers. Under these three priests the sacred stones, emblems of the gods, the sacred axes, and other paraphernalia pertaining to the temple, were brought to New Zealand in circa 1350, in the 'Takitimu' canoe.|
|14.||Te Rawheoro, was the house, and Hinganga-roa the teacher. This house was built at Uawa (or Tologa Bay, twenty miles north of Gisborne, East Coast, New Zealand). The house, or, more probably one named after it, was in use up to the middle of the nineteenth century.|
|15||and 16. The Sage enters no names; he probably was not certain about them, or had forgotten.|
|17.||Maunga-wharau, some thirty miles south of Napier; Taewa was the priest, who also had a whare-marie there (see infra as to description of latter). Taewa (or properly Taiwha) flourished about eighteen generations ago, and was said to be the most learned man of his time.|
|18.||Ira, a whare-wānanga at Uawa.|
|19.||Whariki-awatea, a house built at Okawa, Omāhu, near Hastings, over which Te Haku-rangi presided and taught.|
|20.||Nga-mahanga, in which Nuku-tama-roro taught.|
|21.||Te Poho-o-Hinepae, Te Iho-o-te-rangi being the teacher.|
|22.||at Nuku-taurua, Te Mahia peninsula, but the teachers names are not given. It was used as lately as 1840, if not later.*|
It was in these temples, colleges, or houses of learning, that the priests of old taught the young men of their particular tribes, with the constant admonition never to depart from what they learned, nor to allow other subjects than those taught by the tribal priests to be introduced into the colleges. The Sage states that youths from other tribes might be taught therein; in which probability he means the series of tribes of the East Coast who all, more or less, are related to the descendants of the crew of the "Takitimu" canoe that came here about 1350, and also to the original tangata-whenua people, about whom we shall learn later. It would seem from the difference in the teachings found in other tribes that this is so.
It is to be noted that all the teachings of the Sage on the subject of the Whare-wānanga are here brought under one heading in the translation, though the sources of the information are to be found scattered through his various teachings (in Maori) in other parts which will follow this. We may now leave the Sage to tell his own story. He died in 1884, aged about eighty years.]
IN February, 1865, Rei, addressing Te Matorohanga said, "O Moi Explain to us about the Whare-wānanga and its teachings." The Sage replied, "What of the Whare-wānanga indeed! It is similar to the [teaching of the modern] church; do not we wash ourselves in the pots used for cooking [nowadays]?"1
Attention! O Sirs! Listen!: There was no one universal system of teaching in the Whare-wānanga. Each tribe has its own priests, its own college, and its own methods. From tribe to tribe this was so the teaching was diverted from the true teaching by the self-conceit of the priests which allowed of departure from their own doctrines to those of other Whare-wānanga. My word to you is: Hold steadfastly to our teaching: leave out of consideration that of other [tribes]. Let their descendants adhere to their teaching, and you to ours; so that if you err, it was we [your relatives] who declared it unto you [and you are not responsible]; and if you are in the right, it is we who shall leave to you this valuable property [and should have the credit thereof]. The omissions in our discourse, you will be able to adjust, whether it be of the foundations of knowledge or that which proceeds from it. The omissions in my teaching, or innovations, the variations, the interruptions, or divergence from the main argument or p. 85 true story, Paratene Te Okawhare2 and Nepia Pohuhu3 will be able to supply. Their teaching is the same [as mine]—one of them can adjust this. My wish was, if Te Ura had consented, there should have been only one house of teaching for all of us together; in that case there would have been no trouble, for one of us would have laid down the main line of teaching [and discourse thereon], whilst two would have listened in case of any divergence, and one of them would supplement it, or in case of the 'solution of continuity' the other would cause the discourse to flow again,4 and to become reaffixed to the root of the subject, or supply any emissions. It was thus in the Whare-wānanga—not less than three teachers took part, not counting the many other tohungas (or priests) present. In this way all went properly. The tauira (or pupils)5 are not here considered, for unto them was poured out the properties (teaching) in the basket-of-knowledge.6 Their business was to listen, and to firmly fix in their hearts, in their very roots and origins, all they are taught, with also the strong desire to retain it all.
The Whare-wānanga is for use by those young men who are considered by their tribe to be suitable for learning; who are intelligent and alert, and display perseverance in learning what is taught them. It is those [alone] who are allowed to enter the Whare-wānanga. They have to undergo a preliminary teaching amongst their own tribe before entering. The house of teaching is for such cases, and for all tribes—not for a single tribe or for one or two only.
Now, in constructing the Whare-wānanga let the site be outside the palisaded pa, and away from the village, or the food-cultivations, or the bird-preserves, or canoe-landing places, or distant from paths where men pass. This was done because the Whare-wānanga was a whare-tapu—a sacred house—and the sacredness extended to the ahurewa, or altar, the marae, or court, and the latrines; together with all those who took part in teaching and learning—all were extremely tapu. In case p. 86 the dedication karakias [prayers, incantations, etc.] only covered as far as the paepae-awha,7 it would not render the house sufficiently tapu; a house trodden by the feet of [ordinary] men [in such case] would not have sufficient măna [prestige, power, etc.]. Nothing that took place within the house during the teaching might be disclosed—it was sacred. The whole of the marae is tapu, as well as all belonging to a properly constituted Whare-wānanga.
The sleeping houses, cooking houses, store houses of every kind together with the cooks must all be outside the sacred marae; and only those who are officiating in the Whare-wānanga (or Whare-maire, as some call it) may enter therein. No one from outside may enter either the marae or the house, lest they be stricken with mumutu8 (or as some call it take-whenua). No woman who has cohabited with a man may cook food for the staff, or even enter the marae; the reason being that she has a bloody flux [and is hence impure].9
The following is the course adopted in the construction of the Whare-wānanga: The foundation of the house must be carefully cleared and swept. This done, a commencement is made with the pou-tua-rongo, or rearmost pillar, then the pou-toko-manawa, or central pillar, and lastly the pillar by the door. These three pillars are kept to their proper height by the aho-tatai, or cord stretched from rear to front; the rear pillar is four fingers breadth lower than the centre one, and the latter the same below the top of the front pillar. It is the same with the floor of the house, the rear must be four fingers breadth below the front [and, adds the Scribe, the width of the building must be four fingers breadth greater in front than in rear, and the opening of the doorway four fingers wider on the inside of the jambs than outside. This is supposed to allow smoke to escape, and the dimensions have been decided on from experience. All measurements are always made inside the house. For particulars of an ordinary Maori house see 'Journal Polynesian Society,' Vol. V., p. 145, and they do not differ much from a Whare-wānanga, which averaged about forty feet long by twenty feet wide, and fifteen to twenty feet high].
In the process of building, before placing the rearmost pillars in the ground, there are deposited in the hole three whatus,10 of which Rakai-ora [emblematical for a green lizard] is the first; or if none are at hand, then the 'son of Pekerau,' a tuatara.11 If that could not be procured, the 'son of Arawaru,'12 the karearea [or sparrow-hawk] was used [all these things have to be collected before the home is started, otherwise it would be a whare-aitua, or house of ill omen—says the Scribe]. Before placing them the whole, the three whatus were brought in a kete (basket), and a mat laid down in the middle of the kauwhanga, or passage down the centre of the house, when the second priest seized the tuatara, and the third priest placed them on the mat. After this the last priest repeated a karakia, or prayer, to whakanoho, or place the whatus in position on the mat. Two of the whatus are then placed in the hole, the karearea remaining. The green lizard and the tuatara having been buried, the post is placed in position, and when it is upright, the 'son of Arawaru' [see note twelve] is put by the first priest on top of the rearmost pillar, between it and the ridge pole. He p. 88 then commences his karakia, whilst all pull out a few hairs from their top-knots and place them on top of the karearea. The priest who has placed the whatus, then fills in the first of the earth, and after that other priests proceed with the work of building the house, by starting at the right hand comer of the walls. This concludes the ceremonious part connected with the building of the house.
After the house is finished it is closed. Let me explain this further: At daylight the digging of the holes for the three pillars is started, with the ceremonies already described. When the three pillars have been firmly rammed, the ridge pole is placed in position; all must be finished before the sun rises above the horizon; after that the other work goes on. No woman is allowed in any part of this building [whilst it is building, or at any other time]. The day before the opening of the house, the priests alone are allowed within, in order to consecrate it, and to place some small whatus, or stones [see note forty-one], at the rearmost pillar; these stones are to be fed to the pupils who are to be taught the wānanga (or syllabus). This part of the house is called the Ahurewa or (most) sacred spot or altar.13 Let this be quite clear: The tuāhu (or ordinary altar) is outside—not in the house. There are two (proper) sites for the tuāhu, one near the latrine,14 one by side of a tomb—those are the only proper sites. The reason of this is lest (the tuāhus) should be desecrated by the approach of food, or by food being suspended near them.15 I have heard of tuāhus being placed in other spots. This is correct; but in that case they are used only for the uruuru-tapu [where witchcraft is taught, or where the umbilical cord, and hair when cut, is deposited], or as places where offerings are made to the gods, purification after touching a dead body, or removal of the tapu from anyone, etc.
In case the two stones mentioned above cannot be procured [or in p. 89 some other cases] eleven stones16 of huka-a-tai,17 or of rehu, are substituted and four are placed on each side of the Ahurewa, and three at the takuahi, or fireplace of the house.18 The reason they are so placed is that these stones are common ones, carefully sunk in the ground as seats for the pupils when the College is opened, and then the priests recite their karakias from those stones at the takuahi [fireplace], or from the kauwhanga or passage of the house. The eight stones near the rearmost pillar, are used when the college breaks up in the month of Tapere-wai (September), and the session ends. The three stones at the takuahi are called 'Te Rongo-taketake19 of Rongo-marae-roa' [or the abiding-place-of-Rongo-marae-roa—god of all cultivated foods], and the eight stones are called 'Nga-whatu-matāki.'
[Just before the final ceremony of 'breaking up' (I am informed by the Scribe) the pupils were told to stand on the mat, already referred to which was placed; just in front of the Ahurewa, or altar, under which mat the Whatu-kura (or Stones of Knowledge) were placed; and then all the priests gathered round them and placed their hands on the pupils heads, at the same time repeating an invocation to p. 90 ensure the permanence of what the pupils had learned. The Whatu-kura were sacred stones, and the Sage says in another place that they were white, or, failing them, sometimes of basalt of a reddish brownish color.] That is all about these stones.
On the closing of the College, those taught by the priests were taken to the paepae, or bar, of the turuma, or latrine of the precincts, to remove from them the state of tapu induced by their sojourn in the College; and there the pupils bit the paepae, or bar.20 After this all proceeded forth from the marae in a state of nudity; their usual clothes were deposited in the houses outside the marae. The clothes worn whilst in the Whare-wānanga were returned to that building by the priests [and deposited at the Ahurewa, or altar].21 This course was pursued every day whilst the teaching lasted. On the day of final departure from the precincts of the sacred marae, the priests took from the pupils a lock of their hair, the dirt of the feet, the spital, the perspiration from under the arms or between the thighs, and carried them to the rearmost pillar of the house and their buried them. All of this was done for fear that any such parts should be used in bewitching, or be a means by which the pupils were made to disclose any of the teachings they had acquired.22 After all this the pupils were taken to the water and ducked therein [as a cleansing from the tapu; there was near every village a wai-tapu, or sacred water, used in many ceremonies].
But before the final departure of the classes from the sacred marae of the Whare-wānanga, they all stood in rank within the veranda (or porch) of the house, facing outwards. The door and the window23 were both closed; and the pupils were confined by the paepae-awha p. 91 [see note 7], or threshold of the porch, whilst the priests stood in the marae in order to address the pupils, the speeches being made by two of them. The addresses were, firstly, in the nature of commendation for good behaviour; secondly, exhortations to be careful how they carried themselves, and to guard what they had been taught; thirdly, a statement of the month in which they should return [to complete their courses]. This ended they marched, the priests leading, to the bounds of the marae, where they stood facing the direction of the door of the house; and then one of the priests taking a kaunoti24 made a sacred fire, whilst another priest recited a karakia. The reason of this proceeding was: if the sacred fire burnt, then Pu-oro-rangi or Rangi-whakarara sounded: the former being the rolling or rumbling thunder, the latter sharp claps of thunder. Only two claps would be heard.25 It was then that the pupils discarded their sacred garments and went forth from the marae, and only returned in the month that had been fixed for further teaching.
[Each day the lessons commenced at daylight, after the priests had said a prayer, and ended at pou-tu-maro, or high noon; no teaching was carried on after that, for it was against Maori custom, says the Sage in another place.]
Now, when the Whare-wānanga is opened for a session by the priests and pupils, when all are assembled within, the door is closed, and the following karakia is recited:—
Here am I with an ardent desire, a perseverance equal to thine, O Ruatau!26
Give to these pupils, to these acolytes [all knowledge]
close the door of this my house, like
Te Rangi-kaupapa, door of the Tawhiri-rangi27
p. 92 That opens up through the plane of Te Toi-o-nga-rangi,28
O Pawa26 eh! shut close Tauru-nui [the main entrance],
And Tauru-ata-mai of Whare-kura;29
Cover, cover up thy way, cover the cracks,
The apertures, the tiny cracks, with the door of . . . . .
(Here he mentions the name of the particular house of teaching in which they were.)
By thy ardent learner, by thy acolyte, O Rehua! and Ruatau!26
The house is then purified by the priest by the following recitation; he stands at the rearmost pillar in the midst of the eight stones, those placed as already referred to; he waits until the first rays of the sun appear in the sky, and then commences as follows:—
[In this, and following karakias, I have attempted, with the aid of the Scribe, to render these exceedingly difficult, cryptic and elliptical compositions, in a form from which a slight understanding of the meaning may be gathered, with, however, very little satisfactory result. No one who has not tried it knows how difficult it is to render this class of composition into understandable English.]
By the occult powers of the dark, of the light, ages—
Such powers as thou, O Rongo-marae-roa!30 can exert.
Be fruitful, be plentiful, give the great and enduring power to remove all evil—
The inherent original power, unto me, unto this one.
Here the priest strikes the rearmost pillar of the house with his hand, and continues his karakia thus:—
Be fruitful thy knowledge as also thy love of it,
Be fruitful as the learned high priests of old,
Be fruitful thy memory, as the all-knowing gods,
Be fruitful of all things outside, as far as the the thoughts may extend,
Be fruitful of knowledge of the Sacred Heavens—
Of the Heavens where first arose the priests,
To the distant Heavens, to those divided from the uppermost Heavens
Disclose thy way, with the ancient and erudite,
The way of the gods, O Io-the-origin-of-all-things!
p. 93 Cause to descend without and beyond—
To descend within these pupils; these sons;
[That their memories may acquire the support of the gods]
The ancient learning, the occult learning,
By thee, O Io-e!
Grow, grow, as young sprouts, shooting up like spreading leaves
The ardent desire towards thee, O Tāne-the-life-giving!31
Descend [thy spirit] into thy offspring, O Tāne! O Rua-tau!32
Inform [their minds with the spirit] of Tāne-the-all-knowing-of-Heaven31
With a matured memory, a god's memory, with thoughts of thy ascent,33
[Hold all within] thy god-like memory.
Be fixed, hold fast, at the back of your strenuous desire—
Firmly affix to the inception of thought, thy ardent wishes,
To the ancient origin of thy offspring, O Pai!34 O Tāne!
Enter deeply, enter to the very origins,
Into the very foundations of all knowledge,
Gather as in a great and lengthy net, in the inner recesses of the ears,
As also in the desire, and perseverance, of these thy offspring, thy sons.
Descend on them thy memory, thy knowledge,
Rest within the heart, within the roots of origin;
O Io-the-learned! O Io-the-determined!
This prayer of the priest ends here. This invocation is to purify the house and make it very tapu; to call on the gods to exert their god-like powers; on the Pou-tiri-ao [or guardian spirits, gods35] and their powers; on the Apas [or messengers of the gods35]; on the company of male gods; to make the ears and the understanding of the pupils receptive, and also to confirm and strengthen in their minds the matters taught in their presence.
When the Whare-wānanga is opened to the pupils, the first thing taught is that of the uruuru-matua. After all that course has been explained, then follows the branch called uruuru-tipua, and then finally the uruuru-tawhito. [These are the three divisions, or syllabus, into which the knowledge was divided. An explanation of them will be found in Chapter III.] When all these branches have been explained, it ends the teaching of the Kauwae-runga [or Celestial things], as taught to the young men.
After this the priest, or priests, stand forth, and enquire of the pupils which of the three branches of knowledge for that day the pupils desire to be taught. When this is settled, they are divided into classes, and those who desire to be taught the uruuru-tawhito [or third division] are taught first; on another day will be explained the uruuru-tipua [second class]. The third is occupied in the teaching of the uruuru-matua [first class]. And thus it continues until the end of the months appointed for this purpose.
[The Scribe explains, that these three classes are not taught in the same house, but in separate buildings adjacent to the main Whare-wānanga. It is here the pupils are taught by a priest told off for the purpose, the special branch the former have selected. The branch of knowledge called uruuru-tawhito is taught in the main building. Having passed in that subject the pupil passes to the other branches, and thus all acquire some knowledge of the branches. Before the end of the Session an examination is held by the priests, by cross-examining the pupils on the subjects they have learned. It is thus seen who are proficient, and these, in the final ceremony, are placed on the stones at the right-hand side of the rearmost pillar, whilst those less proficient, and who have to go through a second course, are placed on the left-hand stones, a process which causes these latter pupils much sorrow and trouble. Those who turn out to be dunces are placed on the stones by the fireplace. Hence arised the questions of old days, "Where were you purified?" (or passed, in this case.) If the one questioned has passed well, he replies, "By the side of the rearmost pillar, on such and such a stone"—for each of these stones had a name. It is thus known that the pupil passed a good examination. The lock of hair taken from the pupil, as described above, was buried under the stone alongside of which the pupil stood.]
Again, the three 'baskets of knowledge are opened,' and those parts appropriate to the Kauwae-raro [or Terrestrial things] are brought forth [disclosed]. The proceedings are similar to those in the teaching of the Kauwae-runga [Celestial things]; but in this second division are taught [the origin] of the 'spark of life' unto 'The Ao-marama' [World-of-light];36 that is, the genealogical descent from the twelve heavens,37 down to Papa-tua-nuku [the Earth, the Earth-mother] from whom [through Tāne] was Hine-hau-one [the first woman] made. Papa-tua-nuku and Rangi-tuhaha were conjoined, and we now live p. 95 beneath the shade [or shelter] of the Kauwae-runga and the Kauwae-raro. This is outside of that branch of the subject, that developed to Whakaru-ai-moko, Hine-nui-te-po and Whiro-te-tipua,38 in Te Muri-wai-hou and Rarohenga.39
There were seven enterings [courses of lectures] in the Whare-wānanga each year; there were never more and never less. At the end of the last series the basket, in which the whatus—stones—which are given to the young men to swallow, was taken down from the rearmost pillar, where it hung, as has been explained. Some of the small stones are collected by the priests and then deposited in the recepticle of the two whatus that have been mentioned. These stones are in appearance, a rehu [white, like mist ? chalcedony]; a huka-a-tai [white, like sea-foam]; a para-karaka [reddish, or golden in colour, like the drupes of the karaka tree], or quartz pebbles, that is, a hua-kuru,40 which is green in colour. These are all suspended in a basket at the rearmost pillar of the house. The priests take out the stones and place them in the pupils mouths, one to each.41 The pupils are seated on the floor of the house—these pupils were those who had been taught the subjects pertaining to the uruuru-matua; those taught the other two subjects were placed on the four stones of the rearmost pillar, and then part of the incantation abstracted from that of Tupai42 was recited, the first p. 96 priest, who directed the teaching, commenced it, and he who finally ended the teaching took up [kapo43] the recitation which is as follows:—
Cause to descend, outside, beyond
[On these pupils, the power of retaining the acquired knowledge,
Let their understanding be accute and far seeing]
Cause to enter into these offspring, these sons,
The ancient prized knowledge, the esoteric learning, O Io—e!
When the end of this part of the prayer is reached where the invocation [to the Supreme God Io] comes in, the pupil must swallow the stone, and immediately after the priest continues his prayer. This is it:—
Be received, be possessed, be it affixed,
This esoteric knowledge; be firm in thy thoughts, nor deviote,
From the powerful, the ancient, the god-like knowledge,
Be fixed in thy root and origin; affixed thy constant attention,
Firm be thy inspiration, thy ardent desire,
Within the roots, and rootlets of thy thoughts.
May it grow, the fullness of this knowledge—
This ancient knowledge, this original learning,
And be like thine, O Io-omnierudite e, i!
Let ardent desire direct from thee, O Io-all-knowing! be his.
May thy inspiration grow [equal to thine]. O Ruatau-e!
And to that of Tāne and of Paia-who-acquired-all-knowledge—
And to Tangaroa [god of ocean] and Tawhiri-matea [god of strong winds]
In the beating and the trembling of the heart.
Hold firm, for ever, with desire towards the ways of Tu [the god of war]
May he draw forth the abundant knowledge.
And entwine in his desires, the ways of Rongo [the god of peace]
Let them combine with matured inspiration.
Be effective, the sanctifying meal of Tu-horo-mata,44
And full advantage be taken of the teaching, by these sons,
For they are thy offspring, that desire thee, O Io-the-all-father e!
Then is the thunder of Uruao45 resounded. Those taught in the Whare-wānanga now go forth [the Session is ended]. In the month of Tikaka-muturangi [April] they all return together with others who are desirous [of learning].
The following are the months of the year:—
|Devoted to gathering |
in the crops
|The planting months||September|
These are all the names of the months [kaupeka]; that is, the marama [moons]; there are other names given by other priests to these months [which are more generally used].
The 'properties' [teaching] in the 'baskets' called uruuru-tipua and uruuru-tahito contain also the karakia makutu [witchcraft spells] and other spells for destroying growing food or annulling the proceedings connected therewith, desired by [evil-minded] men; as well as all matters that may be desired for the well-being of man, or the tribes. But these [evil] works are not approved or taught in the Whare-wānanga; this [evil] branch of knowledge is only taught in the depths of the forest, by the side of a stream, or on the lower side of the turuma [or latrine]. [The same priests taught Makutu, as those of the Whare-wānanga, but in a different place]. This is done to avoid the presence of man. After the sun has disappeared beneath the horizon, and before it appears in the morning, the teaching ends [i.e., it is taught at p. 98 night]. But let my explanation of this subject end; for my knowledge does not include this branch of the properties of those 'baskets'; that is, we three, Pohuhu, Okawhare and myself. I have, however, seen two men, named Whinu and Te Maka, fed with excrement47; those men were taught at Nuku-taurua [Te Mahia Peninsula, East Coast, New Zealand], below the latrine of Kai-uku.48 It was from that teaching they derived their [evil] name for that kind of work. They obtained the powerful spells, named "Taru-aitu," "Tunawhea," "Tuarowhea," "Maiki-nui," and "Maiki-roa."49 This evil work ends in huhu and haha [emaciation and shortness of breath]—they—the spells—are what gives force to man-killing. But enough of this; let those who have been initiated into this work explain the foundation of it and its methods.
O Sir! My word to you is this: Do not take up this branch of knowledge; it is the occupation of plebeans. All the evil teaching contained in the [branches of knowledge called] uruuru-tipua and uruuru-tawhito,50 spring from Whiro [god of Hades, of evil] who descended by the Taheke-roa [the long-rapid], by which way the current of death takes men to Hades. Hence, never consent to those doctrines—it means affliction both to the body and to the mind. Rather adhere to the life-giving ritual of man, and of food. Enough of my teaching on this subject; adhere to Rongo-marae-roa [the god of peace] to bring to you the branch [of the ceremonies and arts connected with the] knowledge of the ocean; the branch that was given to Lady-ocean and to Para-whenua-mea51; they will respond to appeals. All things p. 99 [gods, etc.] will be responsive if properly appealed to by appropriate ritual and prayer.
The proper time for carrying on the proceedings in connection with the two 'baskets' referred to above [i.e., the evil branches of knowledge] commences in the month Aho-turuturu [July] and ends with Iho-matua [August],52 it is never longer than that. The reason why this is so, is that the great 'war of the gods,' named Te Pae-rangi, between Whiro-te-tipua and Tu-mata-uenga and others, commenced in July and ended in August.53 It was then that Whiro [god of death and evil] was defeated, and expened by Tāne and his brethren to the Muriwai-hou at Rarohenga [Hades], and to the following [summary of] names:—Hawaiki-nui [Great Hawaiki], Hawaiki-roa [Long Hawaiki], Hawaiki-taketake [The original Hawaiki], Puhi-aitu [Death], Puhi-rakerake [where Spirits separate], Te Piere-nuku [where Spirits ascend to Heaven], Te Toi-o-te-reinga [the Uppermost Hades], Angiangi-tu [out of Sight above], Angiangi-raro [out of Sight to Hades], Whakaoti-nuku [beyond Earthly influences], Hou-turu and Hou-motu [absolutely divided off from Earthly life].54
Now, hence are recited [or quoted] the pos [or nights, ages, æons] of Tua-nuku [the Earth-mother] and of Rangi-nui [the great Heaven-father], in the periods called Whetuki, Whekoki, Maru-aitu. When these were assigned to the stem [the origin, the root, to the exact spot] of Mahu-tonga [the home of the winds], of Para-wera-nui [the fierce westerly gales] and to Tahu-makaka-nui [the heavy westerly gales], to the east and north-east. These were [otherwise called] Paepae-té-irihia, -té kakea, Oi-nuku, Oi-roa; and then ended the pos of that branch [of cosmogony]—they were as follows:—
|1. Te Po-tamaku [the age smoothed off]|
|2. Te Po-kakarauri [the age of extreme darkness]|
|3. Te Po-aoao-nui [the age of great dawn]|
|4. Te Po-uriuri [the age of deep black darkness]|
|5. Te Po-kerikeri [the age of darkness]|
|6. Te Po-tiwhatiwha55 [the age of gloom]|
Now, it must be understood that these po [æons] were assigned to Pou-tere-rangi [to the entrance to Hades] to sweep away the misfortunes of the long-standing world down to Rarohenga [Hades], and where Te Kuwatawata and his companions are stationed—as will be explained. [See Chapter III.]
Some of these po have been separated off to our woman-kind [i.e., the menstrous periods]. Another division of these po were assigned to Te Marama-i-whanake,56 and its younger brethren [the stars], which has already been explained [under the names of the months]. They are:—
|1. Te Marama-i-whanake [the waxing moon]|
|2. Te Marama-i-roa [the lengthened moon]|
|3. Te Marama-i-whiro [dark night of the moon]|
|4. Te Marama-whakaata [moon with faint light]|
|5. Te Marama-waha-roa [great mouthed moon]|
|6. Te Marama-atua [the moon of the fifteenth day]|
|7. Te Marama-mutu-whenua [the last days of moon]57|
Enough of my explanation of its names. These are the po, or nights:—
|1. Te Po-taruaitu [the night with light faintly seen]|
|2. Te Po-whatu-ao [the night with the eye of light]|
|3. Te Po-atarau [the night of moonlight]|
|4. Te Po-para-uriuri [the night with fragments of blackness]|
|5. Te Po-turu [the night confirmed]|
|6. Te Po-whiro [the night of darkness before new moon]58|
Here end the pos assigned to 'The Waxing Moon' [i.e., the Moon generally]; and hence were separated the Moon and its elder brother [the Sun], and 'The ridge-of-Lady-ocean'59 was fixed as a termination [a sphere of influence ?] in this world; these are 'Te Moana-waipu' [the deep ocean] and Te Moana-tarahau [? rough ocean].
This is also an explanation: Whakaahu, a star [Castor, in the constellation Gemini] was appointed [or set up] at Te Rono-i-wairua60 in Hawaiki. I have already explained that there were four doors in the temple of Whare-kura,61 one road [into which] the ara-matua, or main way was to the south, at one end, another to the rawhiti or east. It was there that Whakaahu [Castor] stood; whilst Puanga [Rigel of Orion] was fixed at the east of Rarohenga [Hades].
Let me explain just here about a discussion amongst the priests of the Whare-wānanga when we were at Uawa,62 in the college named Rawheoro. Some held that Puanga [Rigel], Kopu [Venus] and Tawera [also Venus] were names for one and the same star. Some said that the three names were all intended for Puanga, and Kopu was a secondary name as the star appeared suspended above the horizon at daylight, and Tawera was a third name for it as it rose in the heavens. Enough: this contention remained unshaken [with them]. We held that Puanga was a distinct star; but Kopu and Tawera are the same [as is most commonly believed by all Maoris].
[It may be remarked just here, that, however clear to the Sage may have been his teaching on the subject of the Pō, or nights, ages, æons, the subject is very difficult to understand without a much more full and explicit exposition than is herein given. It seems to the translator that there has come about in the process of ages of teaching, a confusion between the one series of Pōs relating to the cosmological ages preceding the birth of the gods, and another series under the same p. 102 name, which are more intimately connected with Astronomical Myth and the nights of the Moon, &c. Much of this has been lost. The ordinary meaning of Pō is night; or a period of time; or the æons darkness (mental and physical) prior to the birth of the gods.]
The Whare-maire63 is a house of witchcraft; men are therein taught the ritual for man-slaying, destruction of food, blasting of trees or the land, spells for [retarding] men's footsteps, and spells said over weapons in war, or the ritual for divorce, &c. All these are taught therein besides other matters; and hence is it called a Whare-maire. A true Whare-maire has only one whatu (stone) in it, at the main pillar; it is the stone called mata-waiapu [obsidian], and it is this the pupils have to bite at first, and after that they are taken outside, and exercised in the "Tipi-o-Houmea" [name of a spell] against a tree; the tree drys up. After that the same spell is directed against a bird such as a Miromiro [wren] or Pekapeka [bat]. If this is successful, the spell is tried on his mother, or elder-brother, or first-born—and if not one of them, the spell is directed towards the priest of the Whare-maire himself. If this is successful, the pupil leaves the marae of the Whare-maire, and thus he has acquired the power of the gods.
In the event of the victims of his magic being at sea, or on the water, the Sorcerer calls on the god Ruamano to enforce his spell. But if on land he applies to the gods Tu-nui-a-te-ika, Maru, or Uenuku-rangi—besides others. [These are all minor, or tribal gods; Maru, particular, is a god of sorcery, and war-god of the West Coast tribes. It seems probable that they were all deified men, famous in their time for acts of sorcery, or distinguished in war.]
This kind of house is used for the same sort of teaching as in the Whare-maire, but it pertains to a single family, whilst the Whare-maire is used by all the neighbouring tribes. It is not like the Whare-wānanga where only the sons of chiefs are taught, whilst the Whare-marie and Whare-porukuruku are open to plebeans, and the p. 103 cult of the evil gods is taught therein. [The teaching of these inferior houses] was a former cause of strife and trouble among the Maori tribes; the proper course would have been to adhere to the teaching of the Whare-wānanga alone.
[It comes out with tolerable clearness in what is written above, the broad distinction between two classes of priests of former days. The one, and the higher class, did not concern themselves with sorcery, though they had the same (supposed) power over the forces of nature as the other—or tohunga-makutu, i.e., Sorcerers—and used enumerable incantations for most purposes considered necessary for the tribal welfare. This distinction is not always emphasised, or properly known of by writers on the other side of the world who, indeed, have to rely on the publications of local authors who, themselves, have either not been aware of the fact, or have not given sufficient prominence to it.]
* The meaning of these two terms is not quite clear, but Kauhanga was the name given to the imaginary plane separating the various heavens from each other, and in that sense they are approximate to the meaning of the upper and lower planes.
* In Maori, that is; for in Rarotonga it has also a collective or plural meaning, as e are ariki, the chiefs, or collection of chiefs; e are atua, the company of gods, etc.
† See Prof. A. A. Macdonell's 'A History of Sanskrit Literature,' p. 29. This is not a philological work, or we might, perhaps, be able to show that Wānanga and Veda come from the same root.
* Whatu-kura is applied both to the male guardian spirits and to the sacred stones.
† It is said that it was from this temple, a sacred stone called a papa-tatau (or inscribed tablet) was brought to New Zealand by Manaia, Te Ha-tauira and others, and deposited in a house built at Oakura, nine miles south of New Plymouth. See "Taranaki Coast," p. 156. This, however, is not derived from the Sage's teaching.
* Māui-mua was the elder of the five brothers Māui, the youngest being the Solar hero, Māui-potiki.
† There is a doubt at present about this Uenuku, for though one of that name is shown as above at thirty-seven generations back, there is another Uenuku, who is sometimes called Rangi, who flourished twenty-four generations ago, when the people were in Tahiti.
* In 'Journal Polynesian Society,' Vol. IX., p. 229, will be found a similar list of Whare-marie known to the Nga-Rauru people of the West Coast, Cook's Straits. They are, however, quite a different tribe to that of the Sage's, and had their own teachings.
1. The Sage here deplores the abrogation of all tapu, and illustrates his meaning by calling attention to the fact that men's sacred heads are now washed in the same utensils in which food has been cooked or placed—a most shocking thing under the old regîme, and entirely distructive of the tapu.
2. This was one of the old priests of Wairarapa.
3. Nepia Pohuhu's teaching we shall have largely to draw on later.
4. Whakarewa is the word used; i.e., to float. But it also means to cause the uprising of a war-party ready to start on the war-trail, a meaning not found in the Dictionaries. This is the origin of the name Whakarewa at Rotorua.
5. The pupils are here referred to as tauira-horomata. Tauira is the ordinary word for pupil. But, horomata, is the name for a very small quantity of food—generally aruhe, or fern root—given to the pupils just before the teaching commenced, to cause their minds to become absorbed in the subjects taught, known emblematically as Tu-horo-mata.
6. Kete-wānanga = basket of knowledge, used emblematically as the subject taught. It is difficult to find an English equivalent; syllabus is something like it.
7. The paepae-awha is the squared and carved log which extends from side to side of the house inside the front gable; it is about two feet high, and over which people step into the open porch of the house. Outside this is the marae or court, or plaza, where, in ordinary villages, meetings, ceremonies, etc., are held.
8. This is leprosy, otherwise called ngerengere or take-whenua (which is the original term). It is called mumutu because the fingers drop off, whence the word.
9. The Scribe states that only those women who never have menses are ever allowed within the marae.
10. The whatu is some object buried at the foot of the pillar to ensure sanctity and prestige. In a high-chief's building this was often a slave who was made to squat in the hole embracing the pillar, and then buried alive. This was also done in the case of some of the main posts of the fortified pas.—See 'Journal Polynesian Socicty,' Vol. XX., p. 15. It was suggested in the Introduction to these Chapters, that the Angami tribes of Assam, India, were a belated branch of the Polynesian people. This ceremony of placing a whatu at the base of the main post of a house was known to them as well as the Maoris, as the following extract from Vol. XX., No.2. 1909—of "Folk Lore" will show—Mrs. T.C. Hodson therein says: "The head man of a large and powerful village on the frontier state of Manipur was engaged in building himself a new house, and to strengthen it seized this man—a Naga—and forcibly cut off a lock of his hair, which had to be buried underneath the main post of the house. In olden times the head would have been put there, but by a refinement of some native theologian a lock of hair was held to be as good as a whole head." The Angami people are a branch of the Nagas and live just north of Manipur.
11. A large lizard, twelve to eighteen inches long, Sphenadon punctatus, which, although now only found on the off islands, was common on the mainland formerly.—See 'Journal Polynesian Society,' Vol. XX., p. 40.
12. The Whanau a Te Arawaru raua ka Kau-mahi (the family of Arawaru and Kau-mahi) were numerous; they consist of several of the bivalve shell-fish. Their names are given by the Sage in another part of his teaching as follows.—Te Pipi-toretore, Te Pipi-taiawa, Te Pipi-pokai, Te Pipi-rapaki, Te Pipi-koura, Te Pipi-awanga, Te Pipi-koroputa, Te Pipi-tuangi, Te Pipi-peraro, Te Pipi-kapeo and Tairaki—some, if not all, of which are emblematical names. The story is that a war once took place between the Pipi (bivalve) family and the Kuku (mussel) family at Waiharu, and the former drove the latter to the One-tahua, or beach between the tides.
13. The Ahurewa was a most sacred altar at the back part of the home, near the pou-tuarongo. In front of it was laid a woven mat that had been made sacred. This covered the whatu-kuras, or sacred stones.—See infra. The Ahurewa was also the spot where the priests kept their sacred clothing worn during the teaching, and there also was deposited the ipu-tapu, or sacred vessel, in which 'holy water' was kept, which was offered to the gods by throwing a few drops over the left shoulder.
14. It is strange how sacred a place the latrine is in all Maori ceremonies; we shall frequently find mention of it as this narrative progresses. The Tuāhu of the Whare-wānanga, says the Scribe, was the right-hand post of the rail, usually carved, where people sit to ease themselves.
15. It has already been mentioned that food contaminates or abrogates the tapu of all sacred places or things.
16. Probably this number represents the eleven heavens, exclusive of the twelfth, sacred to the Supreme God Io.
17. Huka-a-tai = Sea-foam, or like sea-foam. It was explained to me by the Scribe, that this is not a common stone found on the surface of the earth. Originally it was believed to have been brought from the heavens, and was the material out of which the Whatu-kura-a-Tāne and the Whatu-kura-a-Tangaroa were made—see description of these later on. Rehu is sea-foam.
18. Takuahi. The ordinary fire-place of a Maori home is situated near the middle of the floor, and is a shallow hole with a flat stone on each of its four sides. In the ancient temple named Hawaiki (from which all subsequent places of that name derive their origin) there were four takuahi, one opposite each door, but in the centre of the temple, the doors being opposite the four cardinal directions; it was by these the spirits entered from the four points of the compass, and it was in this temple spirits of the dead separated—some to the Supreme God Io, others to the evil spirit, and fallen god Whiro. See later on. The Scribe says these stones were about nine inches high, and the pupils who have passed a good examination are placed on the right-hand stones, those who have to come up again on the left. Each stone has a different name, as mentioned below.
19. Rongo-taketake, is a form of peace-making between hostile tribes, in which the war-gods of the opposing parties are supposed to be present, and through their priests, confirm and consent to such peace. It was the most enduring form of peace of all. In the Ure-wera country it is known as the 'Tatau-pou-namu' or 'Jadeite-door,' presumably meaning that the peace was as enduring as a door made of that material—not, however, that this valuable substance was ever used for such a purpose—the expression was allegorical. Rongo-taketake as used here implies that the knowledge gained by the pupils will last; he will never forget.
20. This ceremony is often referred to in Maori history. The act of simulated biting is said to induce the 'hardening,' or remembrance of the teaching. It is also said to shew the determination of the pupil to adhere to the teaching, a form of declaration that they were equal to anything, however repulsive, in order to show their proficiency.
21. The clothing consisted of a short flax kilt, called a pekerangi—so called from the fact that when not in use and hung out to air, they were placed on the pekerangi, or outside palisade of the pa.
22. As a matter of fact, all but the koukou, or what may be calied a scalp-lock, was close clipped or shaven in both men and boys, whether being taught or not. It was considered highly advantageous if the wizard could procure any part of the victim he intended to bewitch, over which to say his incantations, and hence the care exercised, as described above.
23. The window, in all houses, was on the right of the door as one entered, and within the door on the left hand side was the place of honour for guests in an ordinary house. Both door and window were closed by sliding panels.
24. Kaunoti, is the dry stick laid on the ground and on to which the pointed kaurimarima is briskly rubbed to procure fire—the common Polynesian method. In travelling these dried sticks (of certain woods only, in which Māui had placed the 'seeds of fire'), were carried suspended round the neck to keep them dry, and thus by contact with the body they became tapu—so says the Scribe, but I think the ahi tapu means rather a sacred fire, especially generated in connection with various ceremonies.
25. Of course we unbelieving White people cannot exactly swallow this. There is probably some esoteric meaning here not explained.
26. Ruatau, Aitu-Pawa, and Rehua were of the minor gods, guardians of the treasures of the uppermost heavens where Io dwelt, As we shall see in Chapter III., they are heavenly priests, to whom Io delegated the power of consecration, to purify Tāne on this ascent to the highest heaven.
27. Tawhiri-rangi, see number three in the list of Whare-wānanga ante. Te Rangi-kaupapa is the name of its door. The reciter asks that the door of the college may be as closely shut as that of the heavenly house, so that nothing may be heard of the teaching outside.
28. Te Toi-o-nga-rangi, the Twelfth Heaven, abode of Io and his immediate servitors.
29. Whare-kura, see number five of the list quoted above. Tauru-ata-mai, means to exclude all evil. The reciter appears to address these learned gods to inspire the pupil with understanding, and so to close np the place of teaching that no extraneous matters should divert the attention of the pupils, etc.
30. Rongo-marae-roa, god of peace.
31. Tāne, god number sixty-eight.
32. Ruatau, one of the guardians of the heavenly treasures.
33. For Tāne's ascent into Heaven see Chapter III.
34. Paia, one of the gods.
35. See hereafter as to these things.
36. That is, everyday life of this terrestrial world.
37. The Sage here makes use of the expression Rarigi-tuhaha, which is a comprehensive term including all the heavens.
38. These three are gods of the underworld, about which we shall learn later on.
39. Names for the underworld or Hades.
40. The name hua-kuru is interesting; it means 'fruit of the bread-fruit-tree,' and is possibly so called because the stones used in some former habitat bore the appearance of the green bread-fruit, which, of course does not grow in New Zealand, though common all over the warmer parts of Polynesia.
41. The Scribe tells me that during this ceremony of stone-swallowing, one of the larger stones deposited at the rearest pillar was elevated on a kind of stool, called a pou-turu, and in the centre of this stone was a circular hole, over which the pupil places his left hand, the right hand resting on the shoulder of the priest, who, then taking one of the small pebbles in his mouth, recites a karakia; after which he places the stone in the month of the pupil, who swallows it. This pebble is afterwards recovered, and always retained by the pupil. In cases where he has to recite any of the matter taught in the College, he places this stone in his mouth whilst speaking. It is then called a kohatu-mataki, or puaroa; and the belief is that by its means the full recollection of all he has learned in the College comes back to him. One of these stones I saw, was a little piece of chalcedony, about the size of a walnut, and had probably been a Moa gizzard stone.
42. Tupai was one of those who accompanied the god Tāne to the uppermost Heaven when he went to obtain the three 'baskets' of knowledge. It was also the name of one of the priests that came in the 'Takitimu' canoe to New Zealand circa 1350.
43. Many of these karakias had to be recited without a break to take breath; a solution of its continuity destroyed its efficacy. When the first priest's breath was exhausted, another one would kapo, or take up the strain, and carry it on without break to the end. Such is what the Sage refers to. It is well-known that the old Hindu priests acted in a similar manner to these Polynesians, in ancient days, and, that according to them, to be effective the prayers (mantras) must be completed in one breath.
44. See note five, ante.
45. Uruao, the 'Cloud Piercer': but the name is also that of the first canoe built by these people in the Fatherland, of which Tama-rereti was commander, and as we shall see, in it he explored some countries to the east—probably Indonesia. This canoe, Te Waka-a-Tama-rereti, is now represented in the Heavens by the constellation Scorpio. Uruao above means a single clap of thunder. The Scribe says that the first canoe built by these people was copied from the constellation. This Celestial vessel is supposed to be laden with many of the smaller stars, which sometimes fall out, and are then known as meteors.
46. Though the months here start with January, the Maori year really begins with the rising of the constellation Matariki [the Pleiades] at sunset at the first new moon in June. Other priests say the year commenced with the rising of the star Puanga (Rigel); about this much might be said, but this is not the place.
47. This starement will no doubt cause surprise and disgust. But it was one of the ordeals that a pupil under instruction in the art of witchcraft had to pass through, as showing his readiness to undertake any of the other and severe ordeals, before he became proficient in the art. There is a Maori expression, he tangata kai tutae (a man who would eat excrement), implying that such a one would face any difficulty in order to accomplish his end—a man who would fight to the death to secure victory for his side.
48. Kaiuku, a name given to a pa at Te Mahia on account of a notable siege in which the inhabitants were reduced to eating clay—which is the meaning of the word. See "Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century," p. 328 (2nd Edition, 1910).
49. These spells were supposed to be all powerful in witchcraft. An example of their (supposed) effect is well illustrated in the story of "Mahu and Taewa," 'Journal Polynesian Society.' Vol. VII., p. 127. A very much more complete account of these incidents, in which the several ordeals are described, will be published later. Different forms of affliction are also known by the above emblematical names.
50. These will be explained in Chapter III.
51. Para-whenua-mea, emblematical for one of the gods of the 'Deluge.' The word is also used to represent the effacement of nature due to the flood. Para-whenua-mea is connected also with the Hawaiian godess of voloanoes, Pele.
52. This statement must not be confounded with a previous one, where it is said that the Session lasts from April to October; the Sage is here referring to the months in which witchcraft is taught.
53. This great division of the gods, known as 'The War of Pae-rangi,' will be fully described in Chapter III.
54. Such are the meanings given by the Scribe. They are no doubt emblematical names used by the priests to recan certain events or circumstances to their minds. We shall come across others of a similar nature later on.
55. It is difficult to explain in English (or even to understand) the ideas conveyed by the expressions in the above paragraphs; but approximately the words express the various ages or æons of cosmical darkness, during which the Sky-father adhered closely to the Mother-earth, and during which, and due to which, the gods were conceived and born. Many other recitations give ten as the number of æons prior to the coming forth of the gods to the light of the world. These æons seem to be personified, endowed with semi-personal and material charaoteristics, as the next paragraph shows. The Scribe says they are the names of the po (nights, ages, &c.) of the Reinga, or Hades, where no light is ever seen—it is always thus. But compare the story of Mataora given in Chapter VI., which seems to contradict this.
56. The rising or waxing moon, an expression the Sage often employs for the moon.
57. The Scribe states that this division of the lunar month, is the ancient division into four-day periods.
58. These are other names for division of the month acoording to brightness of the moon.
59. Ridge = tuahiwi; The ocean between New Zealand and Hawaiki is supposed to have a 'ridge' in it, where boisterous weather, according io tradition, was frequently met with—it is probably the meeting point of the Trade-winds and the generally prevailing westerly winds, between latitude 25° and 30°. Cook's Straits is equally supposed to have a tuahiwi in it. But it is clear that the tuahiwi mentioned in the text is far more ancient than the two here referred to, and refers to that tuahiwi in the heavens, otherwise the Milky Way, which was appointed as a division between the spheres of the sun and moon, after their strife.—See Chapter V.
60. Te Hono-i-wairua, the assemblage of spirits; where the spirits of the dead gathered at the first Hawaiki prior to their separation, some to the supreme god Io, others to the realms of Whiro in the under-world.
61. Here assumed to be identical with Hawaiki, the temple.
62. Tologa Bay. East Coast, twenty miles north of Gisborne. For Rawheoro, see introduction to this Chapter.
63. The Scribe says the name maire is derived from the tree of that name, of which weapons were made; and as the Whare-maire was used for the teaching of witchcraft principally (according to these tribes, but not to others), leading to death, the house was so called in consequence.
64. This is taken from another part of Te Matorohanga's teaching. The Whare-porukuruku was a temporary house of learning, used when the people were away from their permanent homes, says the Scribe.