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p. 174


Introduction—Māui's visit to Hades—Māui and the great fire—Māui, the fisher-up of lands—The overturning by Mataaho—Mataora's visit to Hades—The origin of tattooing.

[IN the following two papers from Te Matorohanga's teaching, we are introduced to incidents connected with the visits of Māui and Mataora to Hades, and it is perhaps a little doubtful whether the Sages of old would have considered them as strictly belonging to the 'Kauwae-runga,' or 'Things Celestial.' But—if we are to trust to the genealogies and the apparent belief of the old Priests—the events occurred within a few generations of the birth of man! and scarcely belong to what we may call the strictly Historical Period—the 'Kauwae-raro,' or the 'Things Terrestrial.'

   Māui is not a god, according to the teaching of the Sages; but a hero. And yet the circumstances surrounding his adventures carry us back to a very ancient period; so far back indeed that the legends and myths partake of much the same character, and include some similar incidents, to those to be found not only in Aryan Myths, but in those of other races, e.g., in those of Egypt. We find, for instance, in Gerald Massey's 'Book of the Beginnings,' p. 145, what is evidently a reference to Māui as the Solar Hero. He says, "The first Celestial hero was not the Sun, but the conqueror of the Sun and solar heat;" and it was one of Māui's first exploits to conquer the Sun.1 In the Aryan Mythology we may find further references to the deeds of Māui, e.g., in the Celtic and Scandinavian myths—not exactly in the same form, it is true, but the ideas are similar, altered by environment. It has more than once been suggested that Māui's conquest of the Sun is the mythical belief and dimly remembered tradition of a time when the forefathers of the Polynesian race dwelt in a country where the days were very short, as, for instance, in some Fatherland far north of India, before the Aryan people migrated into that country. It is likewise a p. 175 question whether, indeed, Māui's visit to the Pō, or Hades, described below, was not in reality a visit to the ancient Fatherland in the north, the word Pō describing the long nights of the Arctic circle.2 What follows as to Māui is by no means a full account of his doings.

   Although the genealogies from this hero Māui show him to be one of the family of five brothers of that name, the impression derived from what little we know of this family is, that they flourished about fifty generations ago in Indonesia, and that in process of time the miraculous deeds of the solar hero—whether his name was also Māui or not—have become attached to the historical Māui, who (with his brothers) was undoubtedly an historical character, and a great explorer and navigator. It will be noticed in the story which follows that Te Matorohanga had no belief in the "fishing-up" of various islands.


   In the account of Mataora's visit to the Pō, or Hades, which follows, we have an entirely different description of Hades from that given by our two Sages, who describe it as a place of everlasting night, of profound darkness. Whereas in the story of Mataora we are led to infer that the Pō is a world like this, in which the inhabitants—the Turehu—were of a more advanced civilization than the Maori people at the date of the visit, and these people are described as fair in complexion, with 'flaxen hair.' It would seem that this story is in reality the account of a visit paid to some country bordering on the Fatherland, where certain arts were practised not then known to the Polynesians. The introduction into the story of some features common to the true Hades, probably indicates that it is so ancient that memory has failed to preserve the distinction between the two—that in fact in the process of time, when the name of this country of flaxen-haired people had been forgotten, it was ascribed to the Pō, the night, oblivion in the mental sense. Perhaps we may see some confirmation of this in the retention by the Urewera tribes of the name Mataora as that 'of a very ancient dwelling-place of the Maori ancestors. It was the place they removed to after leaving Au-roroa where Tāne and the other gods lived, and from Mataora they removed to Hawaiki-nui.'3 In this case the hero Mataora's name has been applied to the country or visa versa. But for the statement that the art of tattooing, by cutting deep incisions in the flesh, is said to have been brought from the Pō (or this country, if it be one) we might be induced to suggest that the 'fair p. 176 race with flaxen hair' is a dim recollection of such a people dwelling on the borderland of the ancient Fatherland. And, if as the gradually accumulating evidence seems to indicate, this Fatherland was India, we might be warranted in suggesting that this fair race was a part of the Grecian settlers left in Parthia, to the north-west of India, and who, it is known, in the centuries before Christ joined the Parthian Armies in warlike incursions into India. The Grecian noses of the Turehu—so different to those of the Polynesians—gives perhaps a slight support to this, as does their dances—again quite different to those of the Polynesians. Moreover, it will be noticed that the two gods of Hades—Whiro and Whakaru-au-moko—and the goddess Hine-nui-te-po, are not mentioned in this story of Mataora. However, this is not the place to dilate on this question.

   The folluwing account of Māui is not to be found in one place in the Sage's teaching, but they are here gathered together; nor does it profess to be a full account of that hero's doings.]


ON the 6th March, 1860, Te Matoro-hanga commenced his teaching by saying, "I will begin by reciting the traditions relating to Māui before going further:—

   Mahuika married Muri-ranga-whenua, and they had Taranga, who married Irawhaki, who had the following offspring:—

1. Māui-mua   4. Māui-pae
2. Māui-roto5. Māui-tiki-a-Taranga
3. Māui-taha

   Now, there is a long history about these Māuis; but we will take that of Māui-tiki-a-Taranga, so as to quickly reach the object sought by the meeting. The above are the Māui family.

   Let us go back to the defeat of the Pekerau family [see p. 146 Chapter IV.] at the time of the incident named 'Paihau-ka-roha.' Hine-nui-te-po [goddess of Hades, after the above defeat] sent against Māui the descendants of Huriwai, i.e., the Tini-o-Poto [the Poto tribe, the sand-fly, mosquito, etc., p. 128]. When Māui and his companions arrived there, the Poto tribe struck them on the head and legs; and when Māui slapped them, they escaped and carried off the blood they had sucked to Hine-nui-te-po, who was then dwelling at Kautere-rangi in the pa of her relative, Whakaru-au-moko [god of volcanic forces] at Rangi-riri.4 Hine-nui-te-po smeared this blood upon the p. 177 entrance and door of the house named Potaka-rongorongo, at the same time reciting the following words [as a spell, hirihiri, to nullify the object of Māui's visit]:—

Whose is this house? 'Tis that of Hine-nui-te-po!
'Tis the house of anger, in Ngana-te-irihia,5
The house of anger of Hine-nui-te-po
Within Ngana-te-wareware. Whose is the house?
'Tis my house, named Po-taka-rongorongo!

   After Hine-nui-te-po had ended this part [of her precautions] she applied [the same ceremonies] to the 'door of Rua-i-te-wareware' [the Pit-of-oblivion], to 'Rua-rautoka' [Pit-of-curses], to 'Rua-i-nokia' [Pit-of-the-overcome], and to 'Pu-mahara-kore' [the Very-negation-of thought].6 Here she finished and then retired to the innermost pillar of the house and there laid down. She was overcome with the heat and fell into a deep sleep, with her legs stretched out far apart. When Māui and his companions [the three birds already mentioned] arrived there they found her still lying at the back of the house, Potaka-rongorongo, with her legs wide apart. Māui then assumed the form of a rat, and asked his companions, "How do you think this will do?" [In order to understand this story, it must be remembered that Māui's object was to enter the womb of Hine-nui-to-po—the first truly human woman—and by passing through her vitals to her mouth, to destroy death.] Tatahore replied, "It will not do at all! It is quite different to what it ought to be. She will be aroused!" Māui then took on the form of a reptile (sic), the worm called noke. Tiwaiwaka said, "She will be waked up by the horns of the waxing Moon." So Māui then assumed the form of the moko-huruhuru [the hairy-lizard] and began squirming about the court-yard. His friends all laughed at this, and said [ironically], "That is better!" Māui now said, "Enough! My command to you two is, when I enter the womb of Hine-nui-te-po, you must on no account laugh. When I reach her heart and begin to gnaw it in order that she may be killed by us, if you see she begins to squirm then scoop out her eyes!" His friends replied, "That is well, we will do so!" Māui finally said to his companions, "Be sure that you do not laugh!"

   So Māui having taken on the form of the noke worm then entered the Paepae-o-Tiki [the womb], but as he disappeared within, the parts p. 178 of Hine-nui-te-po opened out. At this Tatahore burst out laughing, whilst Tiwaiwaka rushed out to the court-yard and began dancing about [with delight]. And then was aroused the 'World-of-light'—life7 of Hine-nui-te-po, and feeling the squirming of the worm within her, she closed her parts, and strangled the neck of Māui, who was thus killed. This death is referred to as 'Wai-kumia' and 'Wai-haro-rangi.'

   It will thus be seen that the 'cord-of-death' was not cut off by Māui. He was the only one who ever attempted to sever the 'current of death' that ever flows to everlasting night.

   [At this point one of the audience asked the Sage if he had not invented the 'worm,' and had this not some other meaning in reality. To which the Sage replied, "No! That is the true meaning. You may see in the noke worm to this day, on the head, the mark of the strangulation by which Māui died. If you come across the Tiwaiwaka [the Fan-tail bird] he will not fail to laugh at you and dance about [which, of course, is the habit of this sweet little bird].



   . . . . . . Think also of [the story of] Mahuika; from under his finger nails came forth the original or volcanic fire.8 It was Māui who planted this fire [in certain woods] and thus caused it to be seen on Earth. Māui died at Wai-kumia [see above], but [was nearly destroyed previously at] Tahu-kumia and Tahu-rangi. He called on his ancestors, Iho-rangi (10) and Tawhiri-matea (7) to withdraw the 'plug' of Mahu-tonga,9 because he was almost overcome by the Ahi-toro [the spreading fire] and the Ahi-turangi [fire as high as Heaven]. And then they [the above two gods] sent the snow first of all—but it did not extinguish the fire; then the rain, which was effectual. But by the time the fire was extinguished Māui had been much scorched by 'the fire of Mahuika.' At first [when in danger of the fire overtaking him] he assumed the form of an owl and fled to the depths of the p. 179 forest to seek shelter, but the fire of Mahuika came over the place, so he abandoned that. He then turned himself into a Sparrow-hawk; it was no use; it was just as before, he could do nothing but remain in the Great-Forest-of-Tāne. Next he tried the form of the Kite (Hawk) and soared up to a great height, and there was able to call on Te Iho-rangi (10) and Tawhiri-matea (7), hence was Māui saved [through these gods sending down the heavy rains which extinguished the 'Fire of Mahuika,' which was destroying the face of the Earth]. His narrow escapes at that time are known as 'Wai-haro-rangi' and Te 'Mata-whiti-o-tu'; and the semblance of these things are perpetuated in the Hawk, the Sparrow-hawk and the Owl to this day, for the singeing of the fire is shown on their brown feathers.



   [From a different part of the Ruanuku's teaching the following is taken:—] On a certain occasion it was decided by the people to go out to sea to fish. Māui-mua [the elder brother] said to his younger brethren, to Māui-taha, Māui-pae, and Māui-tikitiki, "O Sirs! Go ye all to catch some fish for us." They consented, and then Māui-mua said unto Pokopoko, Hou, and Moka, "Go and prepare the lines and hooks, and get ready the canoe named . . . . ." [not given]. Māui-taha then said, "Māui-tikitiki must remain ashore; he is a mischievous fellow; lest he play some trick on us." Māui-tikitiki said, "I will not remain ashore!" This caused much argument between the two; at last Māui-mua said, "Let your younger brother go with you," and thus Māui-tikitiki was allowed to go. And so the canoe was soon afloat on the deep ocean.

   When they had got out a long way the elder brothers said to Hou, "Let go the anchor of the canoe!" But Māui-tikitiki said, "What kind of fish can be caught here? Let us go further out!" So they went further out, and after paddling a long way Māui-taha called out, "O, Hou! We are a very long way out!" But Māui-tikitiki said, "This place is a reef!" and he let down his line and sinker, and showed them it was quite shallow, saying, "Look! It is quite shallow; it is a reef. There are none but little fish here." So the canoe proceeded on a very long way out, and then Māui-tikitiki said, "We are far enough; let go the anchor." So Hou let the anchor down, and the lines were soon dropped into the water. Māui-tikitiki asked his brothers to give him some bait for his hook, but his elder brothers said, "Where were you, that you did not procure some bait of your own?" Then Māui-tikitiki said to Hou, Moka, and Pokopoko, "Give me some bait for my hook!" They replied, "There is not p. 180 sufficient for yours and ours too." At this Māui was much disconcerted, and said to his companions, "I thought in asking you, you would not treat me thus."

   Then Māui withdrew his fish-hook from his basket, and his companions saw that his hook was made of human bone10—a man's jaw-bone, which he fastened on to his line. His hook was in reality the jaw-bone of his ancestor Muri-ranga-whenua. His line was named . . . . [not given], and the sinker was called 'Te Whata-a-Kiwa'.11 The hook descended and became fast on to the bottom. Thus he caught his 'fish'; he began to pull it up—he could not succeed in doing so. Māui-tikitiki shouted out to Pokopoko, Moka, and Hou, "Come and help me to haul up my fish!" The elder brothers ealled out, "Let your fish go; we shall all be destroyed." Māui replied, "The fish caught by the jaw-bone of my ancestor Muri-ranga-whenua, will not be allowed to go." And then they all proceeded to haul up the fish; when it reached the surface, lo! it was Ao-tea-roa [New Zealand], that fish of Māui-tikitiki.12

   The elder brothers now wished to cut up the fish; but Māui said, "Let the fish remain there quietly until it is cool, and then cut it up." But the elder brothers and their companions would not listen, and at once proceeded to cut up the 'fish.' Now hence is the broken nature [of the surface] of the 'fish' with its many mountains. If the elder brethren had not trampled all over it, the 'fish' would not present the [broken] appearance it does.

   There is another account of this incident which says, that Māui struck his nose until it bled, and then smeared the blood on his hook, and this was the bait that fished up the island.

   You now understand this version of the story; but the real meaning will be seen from the following:—



   You have all heard of the man named Mata-aho. In his times and those of Māui, Io-nui [the Supreme God], decided to send Rua-tau and Aitu-pawa13 down to Mataaho to inform him that the springs of Kiwa (52), one of the gods of ocean, Tawhiri-matea (7), god of tempests, and p. 181 Te Iho-rangi (10), god of rain, snow, hail, etc., would be loosened, that the Earth might be drowned14 and overturned down to Hades. After that Mataaho and Whakaru-an-moko (70) were to separate [distribute] the Earth, so that the head, the sides, the arms, and legs might all be separated.15 The reason of this decree of Io-nui was, his pouri [sorrow, regret, literally darkness of heart] on account of the warfare of Whiro-te-tipua (6) and his younger brother Tu-mata-uenga (11) at Te Paerangi,16 which was after the separation of the Sky-father and Earth-mother [and the evil of which] still endures even from that time to the present day. Peace has never been made between Tāne-nui-a-rangi (68) and Whiro-te-tipua (6)—hence the 'Maiki-roa' [sickness, death, all kinds of diseases] that still visits [and causes trouble] between them and [the offspring of] their elder brethren, and, hence also is 'Taheke-roa,' the 'road of death,' that descends to everlasting night when [men's spirits] pass over to the Po-tiwha and Po-kerekere [utter darkness] to Rarohenga [Hades], which consumes mankind and all else in this world. And, thence are all the troubles of this world.

   It will now be understood that the [nature of the] decree of Io-tikitiki-o-rangi [Io-the-exalted-of-heaven] which he delivered unto Mata-aho and Whakaru-au-moko (70) that the Earth should be thus treated at that time. Hence is this called 'Te Hurianga-i-a-Mataaho' [the-overturning-in-Mataaho's-time], which we have all heard of. Mataaho and Whakaru-au-moko (70) are the two who hold the power over the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Tawhīri-matea (7) has power over the winds. Te Ihorangi (10) rules the rain; and Kiwa (52) has the power to gather the waters, and confine them, or loosen them; to spread them over all places which they17 think propter. Those mentioned are the directors of the snow-storms, rain, the waters of the ocean, the earthquakes, volcanoes, and the fogs. These were all the powers delegated to them by Io-te-wānanga [Io-the-omnierudite].

   The five gods mentioned carried out the decree of Io-taketake [Io-origin-of-all-things], which resulted in 'The overturning-of-Mataaho' as it is called, and which we all know of. You are now clear as to the p. 182 meaning of that term—it was the original cause of the broken, mountainous, appearance of the Earth.

   Now, in consequence of this great disturbance by the five gods Māui said, "Leave my 'fish' [the Earth] to me; as a dwelling place for me and my elder brethren and our descendants." This was the 'taking possession,' enunciated at that time, and has remained so according to the covenant of Māui; and Māui's name18 became attached to this island, right down to the present time. The words of Māui have been fulfilled, for we, the descendants of those [five] Māuis now dwell here. All the people who dwell here on this island and right away to Hawaiki, are all descendants of those Māuis.

   As to the story about Māui's 'fishing up' of lands, it is a mere 'Winter Night's Tale,' told by people outside the Whare-wānanga; it is certainly not a story handed down in that house of learning.

   But enough of my discourse on Māui. Do not ever diverge from what I have told you. My [learned] companions are present and have heard what I have said [and if I had been wrong they would have corrected me].



   [Part of Te Matorohanga's teaching dated 26th January, 1865.]

Whakaru-au-moko (70)
 (god of volcanic action)
 married Hine-nui-te-Po
 (goddess of Hades, former
   name Hine-titama)
Hine-oi = Pu-tahanga
Manu-tionga = Ue-tanga
Niwareka = Mataora

   Niwareka came up from Hades to this world; she came with a party of Turehu [female flaxen-haired people], and on their arrival here above they discovered Mataora [a human being] asleep in his house named 'Te Rara-o-te-rangi.' So the party commenced to make fun of Mataora; and the following discussion took place amongst them; some said he was a man; others that he was an Apa [a messenger-god]; others again thought he was a Mata-ruai [meaning not known]; others said he was a Poporo-kewa19; others thought he was a Ruao p. 183 [meaning not known], and others thought he was just a man. Then said Niwareka, "I will have him for my husband!" Whilst the Turehu were thus discussing, Mataora came outside his house to look at the strangers, and he said to them, "Are you females?" They replied by asking him, "Are you a male?" Mataora turned his back to them, and stooped down, at which all the Turehu burst out laughing, some saying, "He is a male!"20 Others, "He is a man."

   Mataora now said to the company of Turehu, "Come inside my house so that I may give you something to eat." The Turehu consented, but said they would wait outside and the food could be given to them there. So Mataora went to his store-house to fetch some food for his guests, and then placed it before the Turehu. It was cooked food. Some of the Turehu said, "Is it good?" Others said, "It is rotten!" But Mataora replied, "No! It is quite good," and he ate some himself so that the Turehu might see it was all right; on which some of them came and opened his mouth, and said, "A! It is mussels!" Others said, "It is rotten food!" From this Mataora knew that these people could not eat cooked food; so he went to his fish pond and brought them some herrings. And then the company of Turehu made a meal of them.

   Mataora looked on at the people and saw that one of them was beautiful. When the feast was over, he took his maipi [or halbert] and commenced dancing before the Turehus; after which he sat down. And then the company of Turehus stood up to perform a haka [or posture-dance] before Mataora. As they danced, one of the Turehu women came in front of the others and danced backwards and forwards in graceful attitudes, singing,

"Thus goes Niwareka, Niwareka,"

in which all the other Turehu joined. Their kind of haka was by holding one another's hands and dancing with high stepping, whilst others passed in and out under the arms of the rest, at the same time singing, "Niwareka! Niwareka!" And then the haka of the people ended.21

   These people all had fair skins, and their hair was like the flowers of the plant toetoe (Arundo conspicua, i.e., flaxen-haired); and were beautifully built, with a straight upright mien. Their garments were like sea-weed, and worn only as an apron in front. Their hair fell down to their waists in thick tresses.

p. 184

   Mataora asked to have one of these women as his wife. They asked, "Which of us would you like as a wife?" Mataora pointed out the most beautiful one, which happened to be the daughter of Ue-tonga and Manu-tionga; it was she who came before the others and danced backwards and forwards.

   They were married, and dwelt together a long time. On one occasion Mataora asked his wife what her name was, she replied, "It is Niwareka. I am a high-born chieftainess, a daughter of Ue-tonga, I come from Rarohenga [Hades].

   After a long time Mataora became jealous of his elder brother Tau-toru22; he saw that he ardently desired his wife. In consequence he thrashed his wife Niwareka; which caused her to flee away to Rarohenga [Hades] to the home of her ancestors and parents. A great sorrow fell on Mataora, and he deeply lamented his beautiful wife.


   The tattooing of mankind in those days was only on the wing of the nose, the summit or bridge of the nose, and the brow and temples—those were all the parts tattooed on men. The tattooing on the women was a single cross on the forehead, and one on each cheek. Another kind was marks on the wings of the nose—they had no tattooing on the chin or the lips [as at present]. This latter custom is modern and is derived from the patterns carved on the tahā or calabash. All tattooing in those ancient days was [in reality only] painting in blue clay and red clay [oxide of iron]; the very dark skinned people were painted with white and red clay. The ornamentation on the houses was also all painted—not carved; and was called kowaiwai; or hopara-makaurangi; it was painted in red and white clay, with parts in charcoal; these were the only and original adornments in former times. Now, you understand what the ancient tattooing was like.


   And now Mataora started off to search for his wife. When he reached Tahua-roa in the country of Irihia,23 there he found the dwelling of Te Ku-watawata (23) and his companions at his house named Pou-tere-rangi [entrance to Hades]. The original name of this house was Whare-kura; the second, Rake-pohutukawa; the third, Hawaiki-o-Maruaroa24 [Hawaiki-of-the-Solstice]—those are all its names. The original name of this part [of the Fatherland] was Rangi-tatau [the Heavens-are-telling p. 185 (or counting)],25 and the second name given to it was Tahua-roa [which may be translated, 'the long plain']. When the army of Whiro-te-tipua (6) was defeated at Te Paerangi (see p. 134) by Tu-mata-uenga (11) and Tama-kaka (63) [both names of gods], the survivors, together with Whiro himself, descended to Te Muri-wai-hou or Rarohenga [Hades], then was the third name Taheke-roa [the long rapid, or fall] applied, as has been explained. This house [i.e., Hawaiki, see p. 112] had four doors, one opposite each cardinal direction; it was from these doors that came forth the winds,26 that spread forth the offspring of the Sky-father and Earth-mother over the surface of their mother Earth; and hence it is that the dead return from each quarter to its own particular door.

   It was at this period the name Hawaiki-nui [a name for the Fatherland] was given, and it is by that way the spirits pass on to Taheke-roa. I have already explained that a division takes place within this house; those spirits who have love for the Earth-mother proceed by the road of Taheke-roa to Rarohenga [Hades], whilst those who love the Sky-father proceed forth to the eastern door by way of the Ara-tiatia [way of steps, clouds, to the Supreme God Io]. At this time was finally determined the name of Whare-kura as Hawaiki-nui. But enough of this.

   When Mataora arrived at Pou-tere-rangi [the guard-house of Hades] he asked of Te Ku-watawata (33), "Did you not see a woman pass this way?" Te Ku-watawata asked in reply, "What was she like?" Mataora said, "She had an ihu-rakau [a straight nose, with little or no dent at the bridge—a Grecian nose, in fact—quite p. 186 different to those of the Polynesians] and long flaxen hair." Te Ku-watawata replied, "A, yes! She has gone on long ago; she was crying as she came along." Mataora then said, "Cannot I go to where she is?" Said Te Ku-watawata, "You can go there quite well." Then he opened the door of angi-nuku [the door of Hades] leading down to Hades.

   Mataora then descended, and, arriving at the middle of the descent he met Ti-waiwaka [the Fan-tail bird] and asked, "What are the people down below doing?" Ti-waiwaka replied, "Some are making the little heaps of earth for the kumara [Batatas tubers]; some building houses; some fishing; some tattooing; some flying kites; some whipping tops." Mataora asked, "Did you see a woman pass this way?" Ti-waiwaka replied, "She has gone on; her eyes were swollen, her lips were hanging down."

   So Mataoro went on until he came to a shed, at the village of Ue-tonga, where were many people. He found Ue-tonga engaged in tattooing; he sat down there to see the operation, and saw the blood descending from the cuts in the face. He called out, "Your system of tattooing the face is all wrong! It is not done in that manner up above." Ue-tonga said, "This is the custom below here; that above is quite wrong. That system is called by us kowaiwai [i.e., painted]." Mataora in reply said, "Hopara-makaurangi is the name above." Ue-tonga then said, "That kind of moko [or face tattooing] is used in house building, and is then called hopara-makaurangi, or painting. If the moko is done on a man it is called tuhi,27 or painting." Mataora replied, "That is called carving with us." Then Ue-tonga placed his hand on Mataora's face and rubbed it—and all the moko came off! The people all burst out laughing, and then Ue-tonga called out, "O ye above! O ye people of above! Ye are quite wrong in calling it carving. Behold the face is quite clean from rubbing. That is only painting. What we call carving [whakairo, also used for ornamentation of other kinds] is that practised by the women" [in the ornamental borders of their mats]. Ue-tonga then showed the garment on which the taniko,28 ornamentation was apparent, at the same time saying, "This is the woman's branch; whilst the man's branch is this (showing the carved head of his wooden maipi, or halbert). "This is p. 187 carving done on wood. If you go to my house you will see what real carving is. As for that moko on you it is only painting."

   Mataora now said to Ue-tonga, "You have destroyed the moko on my face; you must turn to and tattoo me." Ue-tonga replied, "It is well! Lie down!" Then Ue-tonga called on the artists to delineate the pattern on Mataora's face.29 When this had been done Ue-tonga sat down by the side of Mataora with his chisel and commenced to tattoo him. Great was his pain and his groans. He then sang his song:

Niwareka! that is lost, where art thou?
Show thy self, O Niwareka! O Niwareka!
'Twas love of thee that dragged me down here below,
Niwareka! Niwareka! love eats me up!
Niwareka! Niwareka! thou has bound me tight.
Niwareka! Niwareka! Let us remain in this world,
Niwareka! Niwareka! Leave behind this Hades,
Niwareka! Niwareka, and thus end my pain.

   When Ue-kuru, the younger sister of Niwareka, heard this, she ran off to Taranaki where Niwareka was engaged in weaving a garment—named 'Te Raupapa-nui'—for her father Ue-tonga, in the latter's house named Aroaro-tea. Ue-kuru said to her sister, "There is a man over there who is being tattooed; a very handsome man; who, whilst the operation was going on, was crying and singing. The words of the song often repeated your name." The female companions of Niwareka all said, "Let us all go and see!" When Niwareka and her companions reached the court-yard where the tattooing was going on, Ue-tonga was annoyed at their coming and said, "What have you come here for?" Niwareka replied to her father, "To fetch the visitor and take him to the village—he that stoops [lies] there." Niwareka said to her younger sister, Ue-kuru, "Go and fetch him, and lead him to the village."

   So Mataora was led off; and when they reached a Pohutukawa30 tree growing there, they found the place spread with mats. Then was heard the welcome of Niwareka and her lady companions, who became enamoured with the appearance of Mataora. She said to her friends, "His bearing is that of Mataora, whilst his garments appear to be my make." When Mataora had sat down on the mats, Niwareka asked, "Art thou Mataora?" He bowed his head and holding out his arms towards Niwareka opened and shut his hands [palm downwards—an old Maori custom of asking to draw near]. Niwareka then knew it was p. 188 indeed Mataora, and she commenced the usual tangi [crying, at the meeting between friends] over Mataora; the kauri31 was like laughter!

   After Mataora had dwelt there for some time the news reached Ranga-ahu, that Mataora was staying at Taranaki. Then [the spirit of] Te Whiriran came to see him—he was a younger brother of Mataora's who had been killed during the war at Hangarau which, I will explain later on—this was his spirit. But Mataora would not consent to his brother's proposal that he should accompany the latter to Ranga-ahu.32 This was due to the custom of Hades; when the aroaro-waimate33 of an invalid in this world is strongly felt towards his relatives who have preceded him to Rarohenga; those spirits came to fetch the sick man; or in other cases to return the spirit of the invalid to its house, that is, to its body. If the spirits of Rarohenga act in the second manner above, the sick man will not die. But, if their object is to take the spirit of the invalid with them, that man will surely die. But when the days elapsing between the birth of any one and the period when his navel-string drops off, are accomplished, then ends the time of farewells of the spirits of the invalid to its relatives in this world,34 and then the spirit of he who is dying turns his face towards Whare-kura, that is, to Hawaiki-nui. The company of spirits who come to fetch that of the dying man, lead it to Whare-kura; and on arrival, the spirit is purified by the Pou-tiri-ao [or guardians] of Whare-kura, and they subsequently let it proceed by Te-ara-nui-a-Tāne [the great-highway-of-Tāne (or of mankind)] to Rarohenga; or otherwise by the way of Te Toi-hua-rewa [the suspended-way] to the conjoint Heavens. If the spirit goes to Rarohenga, the spirits of that place conduct it. If it [desires to] end in the conjoint Heavens, then the spirits of those Heavens conduct it by the Toi-hua-rewa [to Io the Supreme God].


   Mataora, now said to Niwareka, "Let us both return to the Ao-tu-roa" [the long-standing-world—the Earth]. She replied, "The customs of the upper world are bad.35 Rather let us remain below, p. 189 and gather our thoughts and turn them from the evils of the upper world."

   Mataora: "We two will be able to effectually arrange that."

   Niwareka: "I will not consent without further thinking it over. But I will talk over with my father and brothers what you say as to our return."

   Mataora: "We two alone are concerned in this matter. Do not let your father and brothers know of it."

   Niwareka: "All the world above, as also here below, has heard about it already. Leave the course to be taken as I have said."

   So Niwareka told her father and brothers the reason of Mataora's visit—to take her back to the Ao-tu-roa.

   Ue-tonga: "Mataora! Are you thinking about returning above?"

   Mataora: "Yes! Niwareka and I."

   Ue-tonga: "You go back, O Mataora! Leave Niwareka here. A custom of the upper world is to beat women, is it not?"

   At this Mataora was consumed with shame. Tauwehe, the brother of Niwareka, said to him, "Mataora! Abandon the upper world—the home of evil—altogether, and let us both live down here. Cut off all above and its evil ways, let all below with its better customs be separate."

   [The Sage here states that the continuation of this conversation was very lengthy, and that he did not care to abbreviate it because he might be accused of ignorance. This led to a discussion, ending in the omission of much matter.]

   Mataora replied to Tauwehe, "I will in future adopt the methods of Rarohenga in the upper-world." Then Ue-tonga said to him, "Mataora! Do not let a repetition of the evil repute of the upper-world, reach here below. You must see that the upper-world has its works of darkness, whilst the under-world is really the 'world of light,' together with its works." Now, you see from the words of Ue-tonga that in the Ao-tu-roa ['world-of-long-standing,' or 'the enduring-light,' i.e., this ordinary world] alone are all evil and darkness, whilst in Rarohenga there are none; there is no night there, but light alone and good works. Hence it is that, even from the time of Hine-ahu-one,36 her descendants, and even down to the present time, not a single one has ever come back from there to this world to live.

   After this Niwareka, her father and brother, consented that she and her husband should return to this world. Ue-tonga said, "Mataora! p. 190 Listen! When you return to the world do not let a repetition of the evil deeds of the world be brought here." Mataora replied, "Look on my moko [face-tattoo]; if it had been painted it might be washed off, but as it is a moko cut in the flesh by you it is permanent and cannot be washed out. I will adopt in future the ways of this [lower] world and its works." After these farewell words of Ue-tonga to Mataora, the former presented to the latter the garment named 'Te Rangi-haupapa.'

   I had better complete the history of this garment. It was kept in Pou-tere-rangi [guard house of Hades], and it became the original pattern for the work of our women, such as can be seen to-day. The belt named 'Te Ruruku-o-te-rangi' was added to the other garment, and likewise has become a pattern for all later belts. It was from there came [the knowledge of] these two properties, and one cannot be used without the other. The garment of ancient days was a paroha [i.e., fastened at the throat], and girded by a belt—it was not like any of the white-man's clothing put on over the head [as a shirt].

   The original patterns of 'Te Rangi-haupapa' was made by Niwareka, from one belonging to Hine-rau-wharangi, daughter of Hine-ti-tama [and Tāne, see p. 148]. It is said that this garment was named 'Rena,' and was the same name as that used by Ue-nuku during his war with Whena, when the [people of the] bows of the canoe fought with those in the stern. This was [the occurrence called] 'Iwi-katea,' but the principal name of this war was 'Te Ra-tu-rua,' in which the death of Ue-nuku's children was avenged.37

   So Mataora and Niwareka started to return to this upper world. When they got to Pou-tere-rangi [guard-house of Hades], to the foot of the ascent, there they found Ti-waiwaka; he was the guardian of the ascent. Ti-waiwaka asked Mataora, "Where art thou going?" Mataora replied, "We are returning to the world above." Said Ti-waiwaka, "Go back! The world is now full of evil; but come again in Orongo-nui [Summer]." Mataora asked, "In what month?" To which Ti-waiwaka replied, "In the month of Tatau-uru-ora" [November].

   Mataora and Niwareka then returned to Taranaki [a place in Hades]. In November of the Summer they again went to the ascent where Ti-waiwaka said to them, "Take our youngsters with you to lead you out—that is Popoia [the owl] and Peka [the bat]." So they ascended accompanied by their guides to the summit at Pou-tea where they found Patatai [the land rail], who said, "Mataora! where art p. 191 thou going?" "To the world!" Said Patatai, "Take with you my youngster to the world, and let him go free. You will cherish him, and let him remain in the corner of the window [of your house] as a dwelling place. O Sir! O Peka! here is thy nephew!" Mataora said, "Presently he will be chased by the family of Tāne (68) [Birds]," to which Patatai replied, "Leave him at the tuāhu [altar] of the latrine, whilst Popoia and Peka, should be relegated to the night so they may not be worried by the family of Tāne."

   This is the reason why the owl and the bat never appear in the daylight, but always at night. There are three birds, the owl, the bat, and the miromiro [the wren], which, if one of them appears in an assemblage of men, it is a warning that some misfortune will happen to that house. It is the same with the Patatai [land rail] and Ti-waiwaka [the Fan-tail]. This is the reason that the two latter visit their relations mentioned above.38 Māui asked the Patatai, the Ti-waiwaka and the Tatahore to accompany him when he went to Hades to try and destroy Hine-nui-te-po [goddess of Hades, see p. 146].

   Mataora, Niwareka and their company, now went on towards the upper-world. When they reached Pou-tere-rangi [the guard house of Hades] they found Te Ku-watawata (23) [guardian of the entrance to Hades] there. He asked them, "Mataora! What are those properties beneath you?" The latter replied, "The works of the world above are done in the night; those of the under-world are done in the Ao-turama.39 Night has been separated off to the upper-world, and the daylight to the under-world. The second properties are the moko-whakatara (wood-carving), moko-whakanyao (face-tattooing), and whakairo-paepae-roa (ornamental pattern on the border of kaitaka mats); also the family of Ti-waiwaka and Patatai, who are travelling with us." Te Ku-watawata then asked Niwareka, "What is in that bundle on your back?" She replied, "It is nothing; only our old garments" [in which she was deceiving her interlocutor.]

   They now came to the door of Pou-tere-rangi, where Te Ku-watawata again said, "Mataora! The very origin, sprouts, the roots are henceforth cut off. The door of Pou-tere-rangi will never again be opened to [the living of] the world. But only those of the night [the spirits of the dead] will pass on to Rarohenga. The body will be separated off [and left] above, the spirit alone shall tread both the upper and the lower worlds." Mataora asked, "What is the reason for this?" p. 192 Te Ku-watawata replied, "Te Rangi-haupapa40 is with you! Why did you conceal it?" Then Niwareka took the garment out of her bundle, saying to Te Ku-watawata, "This is 'Te Rangi-haupapa,' leave it at 'the origin, the sprouts and the roots,' in Pou-tere-rangi there to become a pattern for the world and for Rarohenga." After these words of Niwareka Te Ku-watawata said, "It shall remain permanently here, 'Te Rangi-haupapa' will never be returned to Rarohenga, let it remain as a pattern for the 'enduring world,'" which ended the matter.

   I will explain the words of Te Ku-watawata to Mataora and Niwareka: 'The very origin, sprouts and roots are henceforth cut off' means that the door of Pou-tere-rangi leading to the 'Ara-whanui-a-Tāne' [the broad way of Tāne] will never again be trodden by man's [living] body, but rather will it be trodden by the spirits alone of this world and by those of Rarohenga. Enough for that. Now for Niwareka's speech, the 'Rangi-hau-papa' would remain permanently within Pou-tere-rangi as a pattern for the world above; it would never return to Rarohenga. This is the pattern by which all women are guided in weaving cloaks, that is, the taniko [pattern on the borders of the kaitaka cloaks]. It was Niwareka who made the facsimile of 'Te Rangi-haupapa' as has been explained.

Mata-ora = Niwareka
   1.Matakitaki = Hine-rau-mahora2.Hine-te-ārangi = Hau-ruia
[descends to Arawhita-te-rangi,
wife of Hemā, father of Tawhaki.]
[descends to Paikea, who is accredited with swimming to Ahuahu, or Great Mercury Island. The Sage states this to be a mistake. The Ahuahu island mentioned in the traditions is Ahuahu Island near Te Pakaroa, district of Whangara in Hawaiki (Tahiti).]

   Let us return to Mataora. After he had brought from Rarohenga that branch of knowledge relating to carving, he built his whare-tuahi, [house in which the arts were taught—it was not a tapu house], which be named Po-ririta. All men gathered here to gaze on the tattooing on Mataora's face. Tu-tangata said to him, "Would you be able to tattoo me in the same fashion as your own?" Mataora replied, "I can!" So Tu-tangata was tattooed by Mataora, and on completion the people p. 193 looked at it and then said to Tu-tangata, "O Tu! The tiwhana [pattern on the temple] is on your eyebrows! and the pihere on the nostrils! Your tattooing is very badly done!" Hence the adjunct to Tu-tangata's name, 'Tu-tangata-kino' [ugly Tu-tangata].

   After this Maru and Ue-kaihau were tattooed, and then for the first time was seen the beauty of the work of the kauri.41 When the news of this reached Awarau, Tonga-nui [? the Tonga group], Rangi-atea [? Ra‘iatea of the Society group], and Hui-te-rangiora—which are names of islands near Ta-whiti-nui42—a messenger was sent asking Mataora to go to Irihia, [one of the names of the Fatherland] to the home of Nuku-wahi-rangi, in order that they might see Mataora and his tattooing. His tattooing was on the wings of the nose, the pihere, the summit of the nose, and on the temples, which were all the designs that Mataora brought from Rarohenga. It was this upper world that completed the existing patterns; they were first carved on the finial figure of the gable of a house by Nuku-te-aio and Rua-i-te-pupuke who thus first made them known to the world. At this time Huru-waru the man of Te Pipi-o-te-rangi was tattooed, and when the latter saw him he said, "Moko-huruhuru [hairy-tattoo] shall be thy name."

   The tattooing of Niwareka was, two [crosses] on the forehead, two on the cheeks; there was neither chin nor lip-tattooing at that time on the women. In the times of Ti-whana-a-rangi, Ruhiruhi was tattooed on the lips for the first time. The chin pattern of the women originated here in this island [New Zealand], and was copied from a similar pattern cut on the neck of the calabashes; it was first tattooed on Ira-nui by Kahu-kura-nui, the pattern being first sketched by Kahu-kura-kotare.43

   Here ends my description of the origin of the moko [face-tattooing]. I am not clear as to the origin of the tattooing on the rape [buttocks]; it was never discussed [in the Whare-wānanga].

Here ends the 'Kauwae-runga,' the first part of
'The Lore of the Whare-wānanga.'

Sacred-Texts The Pacific Index


p. 174

1. It were easy to show from Mr. Massey's book that there are many striking coincidences in both incidents and names between Egyptian and Polynesian Myths, but this is not the place. At the same time one may record here that many of his Maori synonyms are not true.

p. 175

2. In this connection a study of Jnanendralai Majumdar's 'Eagle and the Sun,' published by the Indian Research Society, should be consulted. The Manu i te ra (the bird in the Sun) of Maori legend is possibly the Eagle of Indian Myth.

3. 'Hawaiki,' 3rd edition, p. 68.

p. 176

4. Rangi-riri, whether this same one or not, is not clear, was the place from which all fish originated, and the name is often quoted in the spells said to cause fish to bite.

p. 177

5. Ngana-te-irihia has some magical meaning; the translator's is, persistence-suspended. Ngana-te-wareware is the same; it is translated, persistent-oblivion.

6. These appear to be magical expressions denoting the goddess' determination to destroy Māui's mental powers, and consequently secure his death. Or, it is possible that the goddess applied these charms to herself to cause a deep sleep.

p. 178

7. That is, she came back to consciousness of life from her sleep.

8. This account of the fire of Mahuika is a mere brief illustration, and is not the full story. It is interesting to note in the Sage's account the reference to volcanic fire, for this is something quite new in the story hitherto told, and probably explains the origin of it. It seems to suggest that fire was originally obtained from a volcanoe, or at any rate that it was obtained on a certain occasion. Mahuika is the god of volcanoes and earthquakes amongst some branches of the race. The probability is that the 'Ahitoro' is the remembrance of some volcanic eruption, when the lava set fire to the country.

9. The 'house' in the south from whence came the cold winds, snow, hail, rain, etc.

p. 180

10. Fish-hooks made with human bones were supposed to possess great măna, or power, in catching fish.

11. 'The Store-house-of-Kiwa'—Kiwa (52) being one of the gods of ocean.

12. One of the names for New Zealand is 'Te Ika-a-Māui,' the fish-of-Māui; and this was the name learned by Captain Cook, in 1769, under the form of 'He hīnga-no-Māui' (a fishing-of Māui).

13. Two of the guardians of the 'Heavenly treasures,' and special messengers of Io.

p. 181

14. The word used is takapautia, which means, ended. But the Scribe says it means here, drowned.

15. The Earth, in these old myths, takes on the form of a woman's body. In other words it means the four quarters of the Earth; each people (or nation) was to be henceforth separate.

16. The wars of the gods—see p. 134.

17. They, probably, includes Tangaroa, the other god of ocean.

p. 182

18. That is 'Te Ika-a-Māui'—'Māui's-fish,' a name for New Zealand.

19. These are Apa-atua, a species of gods, dwelling in Te Rangi-tamaku, the next Heaven to the visible one. This name has, however, in more modern times been applied to a people dwelling in Fiji or Tonga, and may mean dark or black people, a name probably applied to the Melanesians.

p. 183

20. Toa = male of animals.

21. The description of this dance is entirely foreign to those performed by the Maoris or any other branch of the Polynesian race I am acquainted with—it is more like some of the old English dances, the May-pole dance for instance.

p. 184

22. Tautoru is a name for the constellation of Orion.

23. Irihia is one of the names for the Fatherland.

24. This appears to be the fifth temple mentioned in the introduction to Chapter I.

p. 185

25. Just here we may suggest what is perhaps a fanciful translation of this name; but anything that serves to throw light on the former history and the whence of the people, even if appearing now not quite apposite, may yet be of value in the future. I suggest the following: Rangi, at one time, evidently meant a district, a country, a realm, though at the present time it is not known as such, but is, nevertheless, found in numerous place names where the other meanings of rangi will not apply. Rangi-tatau may therefore mean the place, or district of counting, and if so, it indicates a place where the people were at one time enumerated—a census taken. And this points to a higher civilization—as do many other things—at one time existing amongst the Polynesians. Rangi-tatau, it will be noticed above is in Irihia, the Fatherland, not the Heavens.

26. Hau, wind; but the word with the causitive whaka before it means a 'command.' The Scribe tells me that the teaching of the old Ruanukas was, that from this 'house' Hawaiki, mankind spread to the four-quarters of the Earth, and the spirits of the dead from those four quarters came back there after death, carried by the wind from the quarters where they died—also a Greek belief. This is the Hono-i-wairua, the junction, or meeting place of spirits.

p. 186

27. Tuhi is the modern word for writing; perhaps there is a good deal in the meaning.

28. This is the beautiful ornamented border on the kaitaka cloaks, some of which is very handsome and delicate; it takes a woman a year to weave a piece four feet long by one foot wide.

p. 187

29. This was done by marking out in charcoal where the chisel was to follow.

30. Pohutu-kawa is the Metrosideros tormentosa tree of New Zealand.

p. 188

31. That is, the tattooing of his face was beautiful; often the soot of the kauri tree is used as the pigment in tattooing.

32. For fear he should not be allowed to return to the World of Light.

33. Explained as the strong desire of one who knows he has no hope of recovering from his illness—to depart for the realm of the dead.

34. The Scribe says the days of mourning for the dead are regulated by the length of the above period. Probably this means for the relatives living with the defunct only.

35. It will be remembered she had been beaten by her husband.

p. 189

36. The first woman; her daughter, Hine-titama, became goddess of Hades, See p. 144.

p. 190

37. This war occurred in the generation preceeding the emigration of the six well-known canoes to New Zealand from Tahiti, in circa 1350.

p. 191

38. This is not at all clear.

39. A peculiar expression for the light = the torch-lit world, or light-of-the torch.

p. 192

40. The garment given by Ue-tanga to Mataora.

p. 193

41. Kauri-soot is a common pigment for tattoo. We must suppose that a lengthy period had elapsed—perhaps centuries—and after the people had arrived in Eastern Polynesia, before the next incident comes in. Unless, indeed, the names of islands given were those after which the present ones are named, and this seems probable.

42. Tawhiti-nui, may be Tahiti-nui of Eastern Polynesia, or, that Tawhiti-nui which was the second station on the migration from the Fatherland, and which, in the Historical Part to follow, I have identified with some probability as Borneo—probably the latter is correct.

43. Kahukura-kotare was elder brother of Tamatea-ariki-nui, high chief and leader of the 'Takitimu' migration from Tahiti to New Zealand in about 1350.