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Legend of the Emigration of Turi

(The Progenitor of the Whanganui Tribes)

THE following narrative shows the cause which led Turi, the ancestor of the Whanganui tribes, to emigrate to New Zealand, and the manner in which he reached these islands.

Hoimatua, a near relation of Turi, had a little boy named Potikiroroa; this young fellow was sent one day with a message to Uenuku, who was an ariki, or chief high-priest, to let him know that a burnt-offering had been made to the gods, of which Uenuku, as ariki, was to eat part, and the little fellow accidentally tripped and fell down in the very doorway of Wharekura, the house of Uenuku, and this being a most unlucky omen, Uenuku was dreadfully irritated, and he laid hold of the little fellow, and ate him up, without even having the body cooked, and so the poor boy perished.

Turi was determined to have revenge for this barbarous act, and to slay some person as a payment for little Potikiroroa, and, after casting about in his thoughts for some time as to the most effectual mode of doing this, he saw that his best way of revenging himself would be to seize Hawepotiki, the little son of Uenuku, and kill him.

One day Turi, in order to entice the boy to his house, ordered the children of all the people who dwelt there with him to begin playing together, in a place where Hawepotiki could see them; so they began whipping their tops, and whirling their

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whiz-gigs, but it was of no use; the little fellow could not be tempted to come and play with them, and that plan failed.

At last summer came with its heats, scorching men's skins; and Turi, one very hot day, ordered all the little children to run and bathe in the river Waimatuhirangi; so they all ran to the river and began sporting and playing in the water. When little Hawepotiki saw all the other lads swimming and playing in the river, he was thrown off his guard and ran there too, and Turi waylaid him, and killed him in a moment, and thus revenged the death of Potikiroroa.

After killing the poor boy, Turi cut the heart out of his body, which was eaten by himself and his friends; but when, shortly afterwards, a chieftainess, named Hotukura, sent up a present of baskets of food to their sacred prince, to Uenuku, carried in the usual way by a long procession of people, some of Turi's friends pushed into the basket of baked sweet potatoes prepared for Uenuku the heart of Hawepotiki, cut up and baked too, and so it was carried up to Uenuku in the basket, and laid before him, that he might eat it.

Uenuku, who had missed his little boy, being still unable to ascertain what had become of him, could not help sighing when he saw such an excellent feast, and said: 'Poor little Hawepotiki, how he would have liked this, but he now no longer comes running to sit by my side at mealtime'; and then he himself ate the food that was laid before him. He had hardly, however, ended his meal, when one of his friends, who had found what had been done, came and told him, saying: 'They have made you eat a part of Hawepotiki.' And he answered: 'Very well, let it be; he lies in the belly of Toi-te-huatahi'; meaning by this proverb that he would have a fearful revenge; but he showed no other signs of feeling, that he might not

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gratify his enemies by manifesting his sorrow, or alarm them by loud threats of revenge.

At this time Turi was living in a house, the name of which was Rangiatea, and there were born two of his children, Turangaimua and Taneroroa. One evening, shortly after the death of Hawepotiki, Rongo-rongo, Turi's wife, went out of the house to suckle her little girl, Taneroroa, and she heard Uenuku in his house, named Wharekura, chanting a poem, of which this was the burden:

'Oh! let the tribes be summoned from the south,
Oh! let the tribes be summoned from the north;
Let Ngati-Ruanui come in force;
Let Ngati-Rongotea's warriors too be there,
That we may all our foes destroy,
And sweep them utterly away.
Oh, they ate one far nobler than themselves.'

When Rongo-rongo heard what Uenuku was chanting, she went back to her house, and said to her husband: 'Turi, I have just heard them chanting this poem in Wharekura.' And Turi answered: 'What poem do you say, it was? Then she hummed it gently over to her husband, and Turi at once divined the meaning of it, 1 and

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said to his wife: 'That poem is meant for me'; and he knew this well, because, as he had killed the child of Uenuku, he guessed that they meant to slay him as a payment for the boy, and that the lament his wife had heard evinced that they were secretly laying their plans of revenge.

He, therefore, at once started off to his father-in-law, Toto, to get a canoe from him, in which he might escape from his enemies; and Toto gave him one, the name of which was Aotea; the tree from which it had been made grew upon the banks of the Lake Waiharakeke. Toto had first hewn down the tree, and then split it, breaking it lengthways into two parts; out of one part of the tree he made a canoe, which he named Matahorua, and out of the other part he made a canoe which he named Aotea. He gave the canoe which he had named Matahorua to Kuramarotini; and the canoe which he had named Aotea he made a present of to Rongo-rongo; thus giving a canoe to each of his two daughters. Matahorua was the canoe in which a large part of the world was explored, and Reti was the name of the man who navigated it.

One day Kupe and Hoturapa went out upon the sea to fish together, and when they had anchored the canoe at a convenient place, Kupe let down his line into the sea; and he said to his cousin, Hoturapa: 'Hotu', my line is foul of something; do you, like a good young fellow, dive down and release it for me'; but Hoturapa said: 'Just give me your line, and let me see if I cannot pull it up for you.' But Kupe answered: 'It's of no use,

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you cannot do it; you had better give a plunge in at once, and pull it up.' This was a mere stratagem upon the part of Kupe, that he might obtain possession of Kuramarotini, who was Hoturapa's wife; however, Hoturapa not suspecting this, good-naturedly dived down at once to bring up Kupe's line; and as soon as he had made his plunge, Kupe at once cut the rope which was attached to the anchor, and paddled off for the shore as fast as he could go, to carry off Hoturapa's wife, Kuramarotini. When Hoturapa came up to the surface of the water, the canoe was already a long distance from him, and he cried out to Kupe: 'Oh, Kupe, bring the canoe back here to take me in.' But Kupe would not listen to him, he brought not back the canoe, and so Hoturapa perished. Kupe then made haste, and carried off Kuramarotini, and to escape from the vengeance of the relations of Hoturapa, he fled away with her, on the ocean, in her canoe Matahorua, and discovered the islands of New Zealand, and coasted entirely round them, without finding any inhabitants.

As Kupe was proceeding down the cast coast of New Zealand, and had reached Castle Point, a great cuttle-fish, alarmed at the sight of a canoe with men in it, fled away from a large cavern which exists in the south headland of the cove there; it fled before Kupe, in the direction of Raukawa, or Cook's Straits; when Kupe arrived at those straits, he crossed them in his canoe, to examine the middle islands; seeing the entrance of Awa-iti (now called Tory Channel), running deep up into the land, he turned his canoe in there to explore it; he found a very strong current coming out from between the lands, and named the entrance Kura-te-au; strong as the current was, Kupe stemmed it in his canoe, and ascended it, until he was just surmounting the crown of the rapid. The great cuttle-fish or dragon, that had fled from Castle

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[paragraph continues] Point, which Kupe named Te Wheke-a-Muturangi, or the cuttle-fish of Muturangi, had fled to Tory Channel, and was lying hid in this part of the current. The monster heard the canoe of Kupe approaching as they were pulling up the current, and raised its arms above the waters to catch and devour the canoe, men and all. As it thus floated upon the water, Kupe saw it, and pondered how he might destroy the terrible monster. At last he thought of a plan for doing this; he had already found that, although he kept on chopping off portions of its gigantic arms, furnished with suckers, as it tried to fold them about the canoe, in order to pull it down, the monster was too fierce to care for this; so Kupe seized an immense hollow calabash he had on board to carry his water in, and threw it overboard; hardly had it touched the water ere the monster flew at it, thinking that it was the canoe of Kupe, and that he would destroy it; so it reared its whole body out of the water, to press down the huge calabash under it, and Kupe, as he stood in his canoe, being in a most excellent position to cut it with his axe, seized the opportunity, and, striking it a tremendous blow, he severed it in two, and killed it. 1

The labours of Kupe consisted in this, that he discovered these islands, and examined the different openings which he found running up into the country. He only found two inhabitants in the country, a bird which he named the Kokako, and another bird which he named the Tiwaiwaka; he, however, did not ultimately remain in these islands, but returned to his own house, leaving the openings

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he had examined in the country as signs that he had been here.

Thus he left his marks here, but he himself returned to his own country, where he found Turi and all his people still dwelling; although it was now the fourth year from that one in which he had slain little Hawepotiki; but Turi was then on the point of flying to escape from the vengeance of Uenuku, and as he heard of the discoveries Kupe had made, he determined to come to these islands. So he bad his canoe, the Aotea, dragged down to the shore in the night, and Kupe, who happened to be near the place, and heard the bottom of the canoe grating upon the beach as they hauled it along, went to see what was going on; and when he found what Turi was about to do, he said to him: 'Now, mind, Turi, keep ever steering to the eastward, where the sun rises; keep the bow of your canoe ever steadily directed towards that point of the sky.' Turi answered him: 'You had better accompany me, Kupe. Come, let us go together.' And when Kupe heard this, he said to Turi: 'Do you think that Kupe will ever return there again?'--and he then continued: 'When you arrive at the islands, you had better go at once and examine the river that I discovered [said to be the Patea]; its mouth opens direct to the westward; you will find but two inhabitants there [meaning the Kokako and Tiwaiwaka]; one of them carries its tail erect and sticking out; now do not mistake the voice of one of them for that of a man, for it calls out just like one; and if you stand on one side of the river, and call out to them, you will hear their cries answering you from the other. That will be the very spot that I mentioned to you.' 1

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Turi's brother-in-law, Tuau, now called out to him: , why, Turi, the paddles you are taking with you are good for nothing, for they are made from the huhoe-tree'; Turi replied: 'Wherever can I get other paddles now?'--and Tuau answered: 'Just wait a little, until I run for the paddles of Taiparaeroa'; and he brought back, and put on board the canoe, two paddles, the names of which were Rangihorona and Kautu-ki-te-rangi, and two bailers, the names of which were Tipuahoronuku and Rangi-ka-wheriko. Then Turi said: 'Tuau, come out a little way to sea with me, and then return again, when you have seen me fairly started upon my long voyage.' To this Tuau cheerfully consented, and got into the canoe, which was already afloat; then were carried on board all the articles which the voyagers were to take; and their friends put on board for them seed, sweet potatoes, of the species called Te Kakau, and dried stones of the berries of the Karaka-tree; and some five edible rats in boxes, and some tame green parrots; and added some pet Pukeko, or large water-hens; and many other valuable things were put on board the canoe, whence the proverb: 'Aotea of the valuable cargo.'

At last away floated the canoe, whilst it was yet night, and Tuau sat at the stem, gently paddling as they dropped out from the harbour; but when they got to its mouth, Turi called out to his brother-in-law: 'Tuau, you come and sit for a little at the house amidships, on the floor of the double canoe, and let me take the paddle and pull till I warm myself.' So Tuau came amidships, and sat down with the people there, whilst Turi went astern and took his paddle. Then Turi and his people pulled as hard as they could, and were soon far outside the harbour, in the wide sea, Tuau, who had intended to land at the heads, at last turned to see what distance they had got. Alas! alas! they were far

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out at sea; then he called out to Turi: 'Oh, Turi, Turi, pray turn back the canoe and land me.' But not the least attention did Turi pay to him; he persisted in carrying off his brother-in-law with him, although there was Tuau weeping and grieving when he thought of his children and wife, and lamenting as he exclaimed: 'How shall I ever get back to my dear wife and children from the place where you are going to!' But what does Turi care for that; he still thinks fit to carry him off with him, and Tuau cannot now help himself. They were now so far out at sea that he could not gain the shore, for he could scarcely have seen where the land was whilst swimming in the water, as it was during the night-time that they started.

Lo! the dawn breaks; but hardly had the daylight of the first morning of their voyage appeared, than one of the party, named Tapo, became insolent and disobedient to Turi. His chief was therefore very wroth with him, and hove him overboard into the sea; and when Tapo found himself in the water, and saw the canoe shooting ahead, he called out to Turi quite cheerfully and jocosely: 'I say, old fellow, come now, let me live in the world a little longer'; and when they heard him call out in this manner, they knew he must be under the protection of the god Maru, and said: 'Here is Maru, here is Maru.' So they hauled him into the canoe again, and saved his life.

At last the seams of Turi's canoe opened in holes in many places, and the water streamed into it, and they rapidly dipped the bailers into the water and dashed it out over the sides; Turi, in the meanwhile, reciting aloud an incantation, which was efficacious in preventing a canoe from being swamped; they succeeded at length, by these means, in reaching a small island which lies in mid-ocean, which they named Rangitahua; there they landed, and ripped all the old lashings out of

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the seams of the canoe, and re-lashed the top sides on to it, and thoroughly refitted it.

Amongst the chiefs who landed there with them was one named Potoru, whose canoe was called Te Ririno. They were carrying some dogs with them, as these would be very valuable in the islands they were going to, for supplying by their increase a good article of food, and skins for warm cloaks; on this island, they, however, killed two of them, the names of which were Whakapapa-tuakura and Tanga-kakariki; the first of these they cooked and shared amongst them, but the second they cut up raw as an offering for the gods, and laid it cut open in every part before them, and built a sacred place, and set up pillars for the spirits, that they might entirely consume the sacrifice; and they took the enchanted apron of the spirits, and spread it open before them, and wearied the spirits by calling on them for some omen, saying: 'Come, manifest yourselves to us, O gods; make haste and declare the future to us. It may be now, that we shall not succeed in passing to the other side of the ocean; but if you manifest yourselves to us, and are present with us, we shall pass there in safety.' Then they rose up from prayer, and roasted with fire the dog which they were offering as a sacrifice, and holding the sacrifice aloft, called over the names of the spirits to whom the offering was made; and having thus appeased the wrath of the offended spirits, they again stuck up posts for them, saying as they did so:

'Tis the post which stands above there;
'Tis the post which stands in the heavens,
Near Atutahimarehua.'

Thus they removed all ill-luck from the canoes, by repeating over them prayers called Keuenga, Takanga, Whakamumumanga, etc., etc.

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When all these ceremonies were ended, a very angry discussion arose between Potoru and Turi, as to the direction they should now sail in; Turi persisted in wishing to pursue an easterly course, saying: 'Nay, nay, let us still sail towards the quarter where the sun first flares up'; but Potoru answered him: 'But I say nay, nay, let us proceed towards that quarter of the heavens in which the sun sets.' Turi replied: 'Why, did not Kupe, who had visited these islands, particularly tell us? Now mind, let nothing induce you to turn the prow of the canoe away from that quarter of the heavens in which the sun rises.' However, Potoru still persisted in his opinion, and at last Turi gave up the point, and let him have his own way; so they embarked and left the island of Rangitahua, and sailed on a westerly course.

After they had pursued this course for some time, the canoe Ririno getting into the surf, near some rocks, was lost on a reef which they named Taputapuatea, being swept away by a strong current, a rapid current, by a swift-running current, swiftly running on to the realms of death; and the Ririno was dashed to pieces: hence to the present day is preserved this proverb: 'You are as obstinate as Potoru, who persisted in rushing on to his own destruction.'

When the Ririno had thus been lost, Turi, in the Aotea, pursued his course towards the quarter of the rising sun, and whilst they were yet in mid-ocean, a child, whom he named Tutawa, was born to Turi; they had then but nine sweet potatoes left, and Turi took one of these, leaving now but eight, and he offered the one he took as a sacrifice to the spirits, and touched with it the palate of little Tutawa, born in mid-ocean, at the same time repeating the fitting prayers. When they drew near the shore of these islands, one of the crew, named Tuanui-a-te-ra, was very disobedient and insolent

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to Turi, who, getting exceedingly provoked with him, threw him overboard into the sea. When they had got near enough to the shore to see distinctly, they foolishly threw the red plumes they wore on their heads into the sea, these being old, dirty, and faded, from length of wear, for they thought, although wrongly, the red things they saw in such abundance on the shore were similar ornaments.

At length the Aotea is run up on the beach of these islands, and the wearied voyagers spring out of her on to the sands, and the first thing they remark are the footprints of a man; they run to examine them , and find them to be those of Tuanui-a-te-ra, whom Turi had shortly before thrown overboard; there can be no doubt of this, because some of the footprints are crooked, exactly suiting a deformed foot which he had.

Turi having rested after his voyage, determined to start and seek for the river Patea, which Kupe had described to him, and he left his canoe Aotea in the harbour, which he named after it. He travelled along the coast-line from Aotea to Patea, having sent one party before him, under Pungarehu, ordering them to plant the stones of the berries of the Karaka-tree, which they had brought with them, all along their route, in order that so valuable an article of food might be introduced into these islands. Turi, who followed with another party after Pungarehu, gave names to all the places as they came along; when he reached the harbour of Kawhia, he gave it that name or the awhinga of Turi; then he came to Marokopa, or the place that Turi wound round to another spot; the river Waitara he named from the taranga, or wide steps which he took in fording it at its mouth; Mokau, or Moekau, he named from his sleeping there; at Manga-ti, they opened and spread out an enchanted garment named Hunakiko, and as all the

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people gazed at it, Turi named the place Mataki-taki; at another place (near the lake at the Gray institution at Taranaki), Turi took up a handful of earth to smell it, that he might guess whether the soil was good enough, and he named that place Hongihongi; another place, six miles to the south of Taranaki, he named Tapuwae, or the footsteps of Turi; another place he named Oakura, from the bright redness of the enchanted cloak Hunakiko; another place Katikara, twelve miles south of Taranaki; another river he named Raoa, from a piece of food he was eating nearly choking him there; another spot he named Kaupoko-nui (a river thirty-four miles north-west of Patea), or the head of Turi; when they arrived there, the enchanted cloak Hunakiko was twice opened and spread out, so he called the spot Marae-kura; a place that they encamped at he named Kapuni (a river at Waimate), or the encampment of Turi; another place he called Waingongoro, or the place at which Turi snored; another spot he named Tangahoe, after his paddle; Ohingahape, he named after the crooked foot of Tuanui-a-te-ra; a headland where there was a natural bridge running over a cave, he named Whitikau, from the long time he was fording in the water to turn the headland, because he did not like to cross the bridge (this is five miles north of Patea).

At length he reached the river which Kupe had described to him; there he built a pa, or fortress, which he named Rangitaawhi, and there he erected a post which he named Whakatopea, and he built a house which he named Matangirie, and he laid down a door-sill, or threshold, which he named Paepaehakehake; and he built a small elevated storehouse to hold his food, and he named it Paeahua; the river itself he named Patea; and he dug a well which he named Parara-ki-te-uru. The farm he cultivated there he named Hekeheke-i-papa; the wooden spade he made he called Tipu-i-ahuma:

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then he had his farm dug up, and the chant they sang to encourage themselves, and to keep time as they dug, was:

'Break up our goddess mother,
Break up the ancient goddess earth;
We speak of you, oh, earth! but do not disturb
The plants we have brought hither from Hawaiki the noble;
It was Maui who scraped the earth in heaps round the sides,
In Kuratau.'

There they planted the farm; they had but eight seed potatoes, but they divided these into small pieces, which they put separately into the ground; and when the shoots sprang up, Turi made the place sacred with prayers and incantations, lest any one should venture there and hurt the plants; the name of the incantation he used was Ahuroa; then harvest-time came, they gathered in the crop of sweet potatoes, and found that they had eight hundred baskets of them. The deeds above related were those which our ancestor Turi performed; Rongo-rongo was the name of his principal Wife, and they had several children, from whom sprang the tribes of Whanganui and the Ngati-Ruanui tribe.


151:1 The discovery of a plot by guessing the meaning of a song which persons were overhead singing was a common circumstance with all the races and throughout all the islands of the Pacific; for instance, in Pitcairn's Island, when first occupied by part of the crew of The Bounty and some Tahitian men and women, we find:

'Brown and Christian were very intimate, and their two wives overhead one night Williams's second wife sing a song. Why should the Tahitian men sharpen their axes to cut off the Englishmen's heads? The wives of Brown and Christian told their husbands what Williams's second wife had p. 152 been singing; when Christian heard of it, he went by himself with his gun to the house where all the Tahitian men were assembled; he pointed his gun at them, but it missed fire. Two of the natives ran away into the bush.'--Pitcairn's island and the Islander.

154:1 They show several spots upon the east coast where Kupe touched with his canoes; but I have not yet had time to arrange and transcribe the various traditions connected with his landing at those places.--G. G.

155:1 It will be seen that they did not follow Kupe's directions, thinking that he was deceiving them, he being probably friendly to Uenuku.

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