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Volume 22, 1889
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Art. IX.—Tongarewa, or Penrhyn Island, and its People.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 14th October, 1889.]

When I had the honour of reading to the Auckland Institute my presidential address, on the 4th June, 1888, I ventured to call attention to one subject amongst others which our founders had laid down as part of our duty to follow up—viz., “the collection of material for the history and better understanding of the Maori race and the allied races of the South Pacific.” Acting on this precept, I have essayed in the following pages to place before you some notes on one of the Polynesian islands and its inhabitants, gathered from various sources, but principally from a work* by Mr. E. H. Lamont, of San Francisco, who, together with his comrades, was wrecked there, and lived amongst the people as one of themselves for over eight months.

Being one of the first Europeans who ever resided on the island, Mr. Lamont had opportunities of observing the people in their original savage state, which was typical of many of the coral islands of those seas before the advent of the pearl-fisher, the slaver, or the seeker after béche de mer. His narrative, therefore, is a valuable contribution to the study of the race.

My part in these notes has simply been to show the relation the customs and language of the people have to those of the Maori. I have not hesitated, therefore, to alter Mr. Lamont's orthography of names of places, people, and words to make them agree with the method of spelling adopted in all Polynesian languages, and to thereby render them capable of comparison. In so doing some errors may have crept in, but I believe them to be few.

The island has an interest to us just now, inasmuch as it is one of those lately annexed to the British Empire—a duty which was performed by H.M.S. “Egeria” in the early part of this year. It has this further interest also: that the people are very nearly allied to our Maoris in their customs and language—much more so, indeed, than the inhabitants of many islands nearer to New Zealand in point of distance. That the people are one and the same race no one who studies the names of places and list of words appended can have any reasonable doubt. And this fact is further borne out by the traditionary account of their origin given below, in which it is stated that they came from Rarotonga, from whence also came some portions

[Footnote] * “Wild Life amongst the Pacific Islanders.” E. H. Lament. London, 1867. Hurst and Blackett.

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at least of the Maoris on finally leaving their Pacific home. It is not intended to enter into this question here, further than to state that the more it is studied in all its bearings, the more certain is the conclusion that Rarotonga, and perhaps the neighbouring islands, were the homes of some of our Maoris, from whence they came here to New Zealand, though they were well acquainted with most of the islands forming the Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Tahitian groups as well.

Penrhyn Island, or group, situated in 9° of south latitude and 157° 10 west longitude, is a true atoll, thirty-five miles in circuit. It is composed of a ring of small islands, fourteen in number, surrounding a lagoon, which is some twelve miles long and eight broad. At two places there are deep entrances leading into the lagoon, which, according to Sterndale, forms a splendid harbour, suitable for ships of any draught. The islands are all formed of coral and sand, and nowhere rise more than 50ft. above the sea. They are generally covered with cocoanunt, pandanus, and a few other trees, one of which, called to, is used for building canoes; and underneath them is found a tall rank grass, called by the natives hara. The lagoon was at one time noted for its pearl-fishery; but the quantity of shell has been much diminished of late years, and little is now said to be found there.

The island was first made known to Europeans by Lieutenant Watts, of H.M. transport “Lady Penrhyn,” who discovered it in August, 1788, on his way from Tahiti to China.

The United States surveying-vessel “Porpoise,” forming one of Commodore Wilkes's fleet, visited the island in February, 1841. From the account of the expedition given by Wilkes I abstract the following notes, principally to show how thickly populated the island was at that time: “The ‘Porpoise’ stood off and on all night, and on the morning of the 15th February, at sunrise, canoes were discovered approaching the brig in great numbers, many of them large. At seven o'clock two came alongside, and others soon followed them. As the number of the visitors increased they became more bold, and clambered up the sides, uttering loud and savage cries. They were the wildest and most savage-looking beings we had ever seen, vociferating in a frightful manner, and accompanying their exclamations with the most violent contortions and gesticulations: they seemed frantic with excitement. These natives were quite naked, except a few, who had a small maro of cocoanut-leaves…. On the north-west side of the island there appears to be a continuous village, with cocoanut groves throughout its whole extent, and the island is evidently thickly populated. The ferocity of the savages prevented the possibility of landing.”

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This brief account reminds us of many similar scenes in other Polynesian islands in their first intercourse with Europeans. The fearless ferocity and daring, so often noticed, and so characteristic of the race, and which was frequently exemplified in the intercourse of the Maori with Cook on our own shores, is well shown here. It required no small amount of courage to board a vessel which was entirely new to their ideas of maritime craft, manned by those whom they looked upon as gods. It is no wonder that, amidst scenes to them so new, their actions should have been looked on by their visitors as violent and vociferous.

The island was evangelized in 1854 by native teachers from Rarotonga, who found not the least difficulty in making themselves understood. In 1864 the island was almost depopulated by Peruvian slavers: Sterndale states that at least one thousand men, women, and children were at that time taken away to South America.

The native name of the island, as stated above, is Tongarewa, which may be translated as “Floating Tonga,” or “Tonga floating in Space;” but its ancient name was Fararanga, which is translated by the Rev. W. Wyatt Gill as “Land.” A local name for the group was also furnished to Lamont—Te Pitaka, or “The Ring,” no doubt in reference to the disposition of the islands on the reef. The nearest land to the island is Rakahanga, distant about 230 miles in a south-south-west direction; and twenty-five miles further off is Manihiki, both of which islands are inhabited by the same race of people, and from whence the first inhabitants of Tongarewa came. A man, named in their traditions as Mahuta, with his wife Okura, were expelled from Rakahanga for some misdeeds, and found their way to this solitary island. From this pair the present inhabitants trace their descent. Tradition says that they brought with them cocoanuts, fish, the hara plant, and the birds of the island. The people of Rakahanga trace their origin to Rarotonga, as related in the following tradition, which the Rev. William Gill gives in his “Gems of the Pacific,” page 280:—

“There is every reason to believe that these tribes, both on Manihiki and Tongarewa, separated by six hundred miles of latitude from Rarotonga, came originally from that island. Their appearance, their manners and customs, their language, and their traditions alike lead to this conclusion. As a specimen of their traditions on this subject, we will give one preserved by the people of Manihiki and confirmed by the old people of Rarotonga: ‘The first man who came to these lands was Iku. He came from Rarotonga, and landed on Manihiki. On his first visit from Rarotonga this land was scarcely above the level of the sea. He only saw the white surf breaking

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over the reef. He then returned to Rarotonga. Afterwards three brothers came in their large canoe; their names were Maui the elder, Maui the second, and Maui the third. These brothers were fishermen. The elder brother let down his hook—his large hook—and caught a fish called urua; the second let down his hook—his large hook—and caught a kakai; then the third came near the reef and let down his hook—his large hook—and, behold! he drew up the land. In drawing it up, Maui the elder and Maui the second were drowned, and then the third was alone. He landed, and thus the land became his own; but he was alone. At this time it was made known to Iku at Rarotonga that the island had been raised, and that Maui dwelt on it. Iku then came to the island, and, behold! it was even so. The island was high up above the sea. Iku went on shore. Maui and Iku fought. Iku designed to kill Maui; but Maui was great and powerful. In the battle Maui stamped with his foot on the ground. The large island was by this stamp of Maui's foot broken up into many parts, and this is the origin of the many islands in this part of the sea. Immediately on stamping Maui was caught up into the air, and ascended into the heavens, for he was a god. Iku the Rarotongan was then left alone on the land, and he planted the first cocoanut there—his was the parent cocoanut. Iku then returned to Rarotonga. He told to his sister and her husband all he had seen and done in this land. Her husband was a great warrior—his name was Toa; but he was vanquished on Rarotonga. He and his wife put to sea in a canoe. They remembered what Iku had said about Manihiki and all the lands broken by Maui. Toa came with his wife to this land, and, behold! they found it just as Iku had said. The land was here, so were the cocoanuts, even the parent cocoanut from Rarotonga.* Four children were born unto Toa: they were all daughters. These were their names: Vai, Navenave, Pae, and Nanau. This Nanau became Toa's wife, and Te Poriakaivai, a son, was born. Two other sons were born, whose names were Makatangaro and Ikutau. The daughter of Navenave became the wife of Ikutau, and their children were—Te Mokopu-ongoro-tonga, Te Mokopu-ama, Te Mokopu-o-ngaroepe, and also Meau and Vaititiri. This is true. Toa and his wife, from Rarotonga, were the parents of all the people on these lands, and the lands were divided to their children. This is true. The saying is ended.'”

We observe in this tradition that the old story of Maui, so well known in New Zealand and many of the Pacific islands,

[Footnote] * It must be remembered that in Maori and Polynesian traditions or histories the name of the principal actor, or leading chief, alone would be given. We must not, therefore, suppose that this tradition implies that Toa and his wife alone came in the canoe from Rarotonga.

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has here again found a local habitation, mixed up with the relation of what, no doubt, is the true history of the first population of the island of Manihiki. This is, no doubt, evidence of the antiquity of the myth, and shows that it was common to all the Polynesians before the great dispersion of the race which appears to have taken place from twenty-two to twenty-eight generations ago. It will be noticed that Iku—or Hiku, as it would be with our Maoris—returned to Rarotonga after his struggle with Maui—a voyage of over six hundred miles—reminding us of the voyages of Kupe and of Ngahue to New Zealand when they rediscovered this country, and who on their return informed the subsequent immigrants of its existence and suitability as a home for them. To those who have not given much consideration to the question it would almost seem impossible that the Polynesians should have been able to make such extensive voyages as they evidently were in the habit of doing. But the double canoe, or amatiatia, which was commonly used, was a craft capable of withstanding very rough weather, and with a considerable capacity of stowage for provisions.* The number of voyages of over a thousand miles in length, now on record, are so numerous and so well authenticated that there is no room left for doubt as to the sea-going qualities of their canoes. Want of water would be one of the great difficulties they would have to contend with on these extended voyages; but with a large supply of cocoanuts they would be able to overcome this difficulty and traverse a considerable breadth of ocean. I believe there was a time in the history of the race when they constantly traversed the central parts of the Pacific Ocean, guiding themselves by the regular roll of the waves driven before the trade-winds in the day-time, and by the stars at night. Judging by the traditions of the race in various islands, the active period of these voyages closed some twenty-two to twenty-eight generations ago, at which time there appears to have been some cause at work tending to a general dispersion of the people; but what this cause was we have not the means of knowing, beyond the traditionary accounts which assign wars as the origin of the movement. We can only account for the fact of nearly every little island in the Pacific either having, or having had, a population, by the ability of the people to traverse great breadths of sea. The knowledge that the Maori has of so many of the islands shattered far and wide across the wide expanse of the Pacific can only be understood in this manner. It is generally known that the Maori traces his origin to Hawaiki, which has been identified with various groups of

[Footnote] * See the Rev. W. Wyatt Gill's “Savage Life in Polynesia,” chap. xviii., for a description of the starting of an expedition of this nature.

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islands, but is most commonly believed to have been Savaii, in Samoa. I have come to the conclusion that the Maori has since his arrival here given to this word a much more general meaning, and that it is used by him as a comprehensive name for the islands generally. A study of their traditions, ancient poems, and karakias, or incantations, will show that they were acquainted with the following islands for certain, and also with others whose identification is at present uncertain: viz., Savaii, Upolu, Tutuila, Apolima, Manono, Nukutere, and possibly Olosenga, in the Samoa group; Tonga, Vavau, and Tofua, in the Tonga group; Fiji; Tahiti, Raiatea, Moorea, in the Tahiti group; Rarotonga and Auau (the ancient name for Mangaia), in the Hervey group; Rurutu, in the Austral group; and not improbably with Rapanui, or Easter Island.* It is also probable that in ancient times the race had a knowledge of the coast of South America. Hiku's voyage, therefore, from Rarotonga to Manihiki, with the favouring South Sea trades, would present no difficulties nor be considered a very serious undertaking for these old sea-rovers, or, as a friend of mine terms them, the “Vikings of the Pacific.”

The names of the fourteen islets which constitute Tongarewa are as follows, according to Mr. Lamont; Mangarongaro, Hakahuha, Sararaka (or Hararaka), Tahiti, Motukohiti, Omuka, Te Puka, Matunga, Motumuno, Hangari, Tokerau (at the north-east end. Tokerau in Maori means the east coast), Ruahara, Tautua, Etukaha (?), and a smaller one called Tamata. It is noticeable that one of the islets is called Tahiti, showing probably a knowledge of that island. This is only natural, however, for the Rarotonga people, from whom the Tongarewans sprang, trace their origin to Tahiti and to Samoa.

Lamont was wrecked on Tongarewa in 1853, and he mentions that the only white man, according to the natives' account, who ever landed there before him was so alarmed at the attitude of the people that he attempted to swim off to the vessel from which he had run away, but was speared and killed by the savages. Lamont therefore saw the people before their habits and customs had been altered by contact with Europeans. Some of these customs I have endeavoured to describe below, and to show their similarity with those of the Maori.

[Footnote] * A gentleman whose opinion is entitled to great weight doubts if the Maori ever had such an extensive knowledge of the islands of the Pacific as is here mentioned; but every one of the names given can be found in Sir George Grey's “Ancient Poetry of the New Zealanders” (with slight alterations sometimes, it is true), and most of them in Mr. J. White's” Ancient History of the Maori,” the authenticity of either of which cannot be questioned.

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It cannot be gathered from Lamont's account whether the Tongarewans believed in or worshipped the gods common to the Polynesian race, such as Tangaroa, Tane, Rongo, Tu, &c., but that they had some form of rude worship, accompanied with many ceremonies, is evident. The same word, atua, common to Polynesia, was applied as a general one, signifying a spirit or god. Of these they possessed four minor ones (the names are unfortunately not given), represented by various objects; two of them being in their attributes malicious, and two beneficent. The latter were supposed to give life and all necessary to maintain it. The visible representation of one of these atuas was a long stick with a large bunch of feathers fastened to one end; of another, a piece of wood with a bunch of human hair attached.* Others were made of cocoanut-wood, a wood which, in some form, was generally connected with their superstitious observances. They believe that the spirit, after the death of the body, haunts its former home for some time, and then leaves for distant regions. The stars were supposed to represent deceased spirits. In the case of severe illness the patient was taken to the marae, where the priest invoked the atua in his favour with many prayers and incantations, finally touching the sufferer with one of the emblematic gods. In the case of death the body was wrapped in mats and taken to the marae, to remain there some days, and was then returned to its former dwelling, where it was hung up on the rafters of the roof, the widow remaining constantly with it for lengthened periods in a state of mourning, and tapu, or, as the Tongarewans appear to call it, hui-atua. After a time the body was buried in the marae.

The priests appear to have had great power, and were consulted on all important occasions. The maraes, or sacred enclosures, some of which were as much as a hundred yards square, and where all the religious ceremonies were conducted, were enclosed by upright slabs of stone, standing as much as 6ft. out of the ground. Inside were other stones standing on end, said to be tombs. There were several of these maraes in different parts of the group, some deserted and evidently not in use for ages. One, at Te Puka islet, appears to have been the most celebrated of them all, and here, tradition says, was the tomb of Mahuta, their great progenitor. Any one entering a marae became tapu, and could not mix with his fellows until he had gone through certain ceremonies. In

[Footnote] * Mr. John White, in his lectures on “Maori Customs and Superstitions,” describes Ihungaru, one of the Maori gods brought here from Hawaiki, as “formed of a lock of human hair twisted with a rope of aute (paper-mulberry bark), kept in a house made of wood brought from Hawaiki.”

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more than one place Lamont noticed remains which did not appear to have been the handiwork of the present inhabitants, but belonged to a bygone age. He says, “Some distance beyond this were what appeared to be the foundations of stone walls, many of them intersecting our path. I afterwards saw similar erections in other parts of the island, but could never get a proper explanation of them, the natives merely saying that they had been houses, but apparently knowing nothing more of them than I did. These remains, like the huge stones of the maraes that are evidently made of composition—though the natives believe them to have come out of the sea—led me to believe that another race must have at one time inhabited this little portion of the globe.” In another place he says, “I observed that the mound was hollowed out like a cave, and intersected with paths of large flat stones, some lines of which crossed over the summit and descended to the water's edge. The place had at one time been used for some peculiar ceremonies, but of what nature I could never learn.”

The marae, or temple, is common in some form or other in most of the islands of eastern Polynesia. Cook's description of them at Tahiti will be remembered. They appear always to be connected with the superstitious observances of the people, and are the depositories of the visible incarnation of their gods, and the place where the priests performed their incantations and offered up sacrifices, frequently of human victims. The term marae in Maori was formerly applied to a sacred enclosure, but latterly to the open space in a pa and to the courtyard in front of their houses. The maraes of Tongarewa were held to be very sacred: no women or children were ever admitted within their precincts except on the occasion of the death of a husband, when the wife or wives were allowed to follow the body and be present when the incantations of the priest were recited.

Personal Appearance and Customs.

The men are described as tall, stout fellows, with brown skins and handsome bushy beards, generally black, but sometimes tinged with auburn, the hair generally long and straight, but sometimes curly. The women were much smaller, with delicate fingers and beautifully-formed hands, and very pleasing in appearance up to twenty years of age. More than one woman is described as having auburn hair and a fair skin, answering to the urukehu or reddish-coloured hair sometimes seen amongst the Maoris. Both sexes were virtuous whilst young, in which they differ materially from the usual custom of the Polynesians.

In their habits they were cleanly, bathing every morning in baths formed at the edge of the lagoon, and subsequently in

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pools of fresh water, of which there appear to have been several on the islands. They were hospitable and generous, like the Maori, and also, like them, often entertained their visitors till they had exhausted the whole of their supplies. They sat cross-legged, like the Maori, were very talkative, accompanying their conversation with much gesticulation, were easily worked up to a great pitch of excitement, very sensible to ridicule, fond of laughter, and “fickle as the wind.” They had great bodily activity, were much given to singing as they paddled over the smooth waters of the lagoon or travelled along from island to island over the reef. Superstitious dread of evil spirits prevented their venturing out at night except in numbers. They did not steal from one another except on organized foraging expeditions, when a dearth of cocoanuts obliged them to make incursions on to a neighbouring island. Fire was procured by friction exactly as the Maoris do, by the use of two sticks, one laid on the ground and held in position by the foot, whilst the other was rapidly passed backwards and forwards till a groove was formed and the dust in it ignited. Counting was performed by pairs, just as with the Maoris.

The men employed themselves in fishing, making canoes, spears, or their household utensils, whilst the women did the cooking, scraping the cocoanut-kernel to prepare niu wara—with a shell scraper held exactly in the same peculiar manner that the Maori woman holds the pipi-shell to scrape kumara or potatoes. Salutations were performed by the hongi, or rubbing of noses, as with the Maori, to which the same name was given. Bathing was the general panacea for all ills, except of a very serious kind, when the priest was feed to exert his influence, and by incantations to remove the cause. They appear to have been almost as much at home in the water as on land. It was the duty of the women to swim out into the lagoon with a basket attached to a paddle, and there dive to great depths for shell-fish, often bringing up the great paua or Tridacna. Sometimes the whole population of a kainga, or village, would surround a shoal of porpoises outside the breakers on the reef, and by their shouts and noise drive them ashore. In doing this the women practised the same custom as their Maori sisters—i.e., placing their elbows near their sides they brought down the hollowed hands on to the surface of the water, causing a loud report.

Marriages were not allowed between relatives nearer in degree of consanguinity than second cousins. Lamont describes a marriage ceremony as follows: “The relatives and people, having taken their morning meal, assembled near the hut of the chief, where the bridegroom was already seated. The bride herself was not visible, custom rather than modesty

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compelling her to remain in retirement. The men then formed in a row for the pihu, or dance, and the women, before sitting down in front of them, arranged their tiheis or petticoats so as not to crumple them, as they prepared to join in the chant. The bride had mean while not appeared, and it was not until she had been angrily called that from a closed hut some young girls emerged with what seemed to be a bundle of mats in the centre. This, however, was really the young bride, who, coming forth, ran towards the hut where the bridegroom was seated, and then, darting back, was again enveloped in mats and withdrawn to the remotest corner of the house. The bride does not entirely disrobe herself of matting for several days after the marriage, when she appears with the tihei, which she wears constantly for the remainder of her life. Whilst the bride hides herself under the matting, the bridegroom sits in front of the hut, and the ceremony of pihu commences, accompanied by an extra amount of crying, cutting, and bleeding, making a most melancholy affair of the happy event. The bride is then handed over to the oldest relatives present for some further ceremonies, which over, the affair is completed.” In Mr. Wyatt Gill's “Life in the Southern Isles” is given a pretty picture of a Manihiki bride, which seems to depict much the same dress as here described. The ceremony itself seems to be allied to the Samoan custom on similar occasions—for which see Dr. Turner's “Samoa”—and is more formal than that in vogue with the Maoris.

Of their superstitious ceremonies Mr. Lamont gives several descriptions, one of which, evidently a form of purification to remove the evil effects which might arise from contact with their foreign visitors, was briefly as follows. Part of it appears to be called a hai, a ceremony very closely allied to that called by the Maoris pukanakana, or whakatama—a kind of dance of defiance, accompanied with much grimacing and gesticulation. Lamont and his companions were led to the marae by the men, the women and children not being allowed to enter: “Four young men rushed with their spears to the edge of the marae, as if about to attack an enemy, facing each other with the most horrid grimaces, and rapidly uttering a kind of incantation. When this hai, as it is called, was over, the whole concourse of men hastened within the precincts of the marae. Two old priests, girt round with cocoanut-leaves, took seats on either side of the marae, some distance further up than the rest. Three young cocoanuts were then placed on the flat stones in front of us, near which stood four young men decked with wreaths of green cocoanut-leaves. At a signal from the priests two of these, stripping pieces of husk from the cocoanut-leaves before them, ran to a point, where they deposited one piece of husk, and immediately darted

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back. Each then got behind one of the stones near the priests, and presented the other parts of the husks. This they did in a slow and decorous manner, raising their hands high above their heads and putting the husks down before the priests, who took them with a meek and reverend air, bent over them, and, uttering a low, hurried incantation, threw them over their left shoulders. After repeating this in different parts of the marae the whole party advanced to an altar—a heap of rude stones. A youth, having cut three small branches of young cocoanut-tree, plaited the leaves into something resembling the form of a man, and handed them to an old man. On receiving these three gods he ascended the altar, and all heads remained bowed in awe till the ceremony was over. The priest, on ascending the altar, seating himself in front of a large stone while he held the gods in his hands, began to glance round in every direction over the heads of the people before him. A trembling motion, commencing in his hands, extended through his whole body, till every limb shook in a violent manner, the muscles working and veins swelling almost to bursting—a sign that he was possessed by the spirit. After uttering a few incoherent sentences, which subsided into a low prayer or incantation, he lifted his leafy god and struck him violently against the stone, repeating the process with all three. They were then unceremoniously thrown on one side. The three cocoanuts were now removed, and we were marched once more out of the marae, and seated outside. Here the nuts, after further ceremonies, were divided and handed to us to eat. The natives then took us to a small pool of fresh water, where, stooping their heads, with a peculiar motion of the arms, they splashed themselves and us all over.” They were then taken to a place where the women were, who performed a dance which Mr. Lamont calls a shukai or hukai, but which from the description is an exact counterpart of the Maori haka. Following this was a genuine Maori tangi, with the usual accompaniments of cutting the flesh, weeping, wailing, &c.

Another of their ceremonies was called harahara, a welcome to strangers, apparently just like the same custom of the Maoris, and in which the Maoris sometimes use the ancient chant beginning, “Hara mai hea, tere tere nui o Tu, &c.” Pihu (or piu, perhaps) was the name given to a chant and dance which is very similar to the Maori haka or kani-kani. In making speeches the men were accustomed to take short runs up and down, and at each turn to pour forth their eloquence, exactly as the Maori does.

The Tongarewans appear to have the same form of tapu as elsewhere amongst the Polynesian race; but according to Lamont the word used was huiatua, which would mean the

“company of gods,” and it is used in this sense in some of the islands. I think it not improbable that Mr. Lamont has from his imperfect knowledge of the language, misunderstood this word, and used it instead of tapu, when it really has the meaning I give above.

At parting they used the words “E hana, e noho,” exactly as the Maoris do; the hana in this case being the Taranaki whano, to go, which in other parts of New Zealand would be haere.

According to the Rev. W. W. Gill (“Jottings from the Pacific,” p. 147), the sacred fish of these islanders in olden time were the robber-crab, a species of land-crab called tupa, the octopus, and the conger-eel. Turtles—called onu—and porpoises were eaten only by the men; and the killing of the former, as in so many of the islands, was accompanied with many ceremonies, which Lamont describes. The priest repeated an incantation or prayer over it, apparently to drive out some evil spirit. It was then taken to the marae, where further ceremonies were performed, and there beheaded and disembowelled. A fire was then lit, the turtle cooked, and offered on a rude altar to the gods. It was then taken outside the marae and eaten by the men, the women showing the greatest horror when part was offered by the Europeans to them: One or more of all fish caught was similarly first offered to the gods before being eaten.

The Tongarewans do not appear to have differed from the Maori or eastern Polynesians in their love of fighting. In this little group of fourteen islets, many only separated from one another by the shallow waters of the reef, it was certain death for the inhabitants of one to trespass on the shores of another, unless in the few cases where they were allied for mutual protection. Each little islet had its iriki (Maori, ariki), who ruled his tribe and led it in war. Their arms consisted of long, light spears, called tao—the same weapon and with the same name as that of the Maori—laboriously split out from cocoanut wood with their shell toki or adzes. These were from 12ft. to 14ft. long, and sometimes tipped with fish-bone. They were highly polished with a rasp of fish-skin called a poirari. The koirari, or club, is made of the same wood, but is stronger, and in shape like a paddle; it was generally ornamented with carving on the blade part. These clubs were frequently used by the women in battle to break the spears of the enemy. It was rare that the women so engaged were hurt by the men of the opposing party. Such was the constant state of dread the people lived in, that they never moved about far from their homes without arms in their hands. Much of the fighting was done in canoes on the smooth waters of the lagoon. The women were sent with

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offers of peace—another custom common to these people and the Maoris.

Of their manufactured articles their canoes must rank as the first in importance. They were of all sizes, the largest capable of holding forty or fifty men, and they invariably had an ama, or outrigger. They were made of a tree called to—not the ito, or ironwood, of the other islands, but a much softer wood. A tree from 3ft. to 4ft. in diameter was selected, and then patiently hacked down with their shell tokis. The log is then rolled to the sea, where the action of the waves partially softens the wood—sufficiently so to allow the builders to split it up into variously-sized pieces, the longest and narrowest of which is selected to form a keel about a foot broad, rounded at the bottom and hollowed inside. The keel is shaped so as to gradually slope up at either end, terminating above the water in the ihu, or bow, at one end. Various pieces of irregular shape are now cut to fit one another, and with them the sides are built up, each piece being carefully rounded off so as to conform to the general contour. They are polished with coral to make them fit, and the edges of each piece are bored with a sharp stone or shell to receive the lashings which hold them together. The joints are cemented together with a preparation of pounded cocoanut-husk steeped in water. The body of the canoe is not built the whole length of the keel-piece, but projecting parts are left, both at stern and bow—the latter to act as a cutwater, which, being bluff, prevents the vessel from sinking in the trough of the seas. The upper tier of pieces has a projecting ledge on which the paddlers sit, whilst in the stern is a raised seat used to steer from. The paddle is long, the blade narrow, and usually carved.

The natives also make kumetes, or bowls for their food; cocoanut-shells serving for cups. Their toki, or adze-handles, as also their shark-hooks, are made of a hard wood like myrtle. Everything else is formed of cocoanut, excepting their tuis (spoons) and mataus (fish-hooks), which are formed out of pearl-shell, the former of which are often carved. Their houses appear generally to be mere huts made of cocoanut-leaves, open at the sides; but in the better class mats to lift up and down are used to keep out the wind: in this they correspond with the houses of Samoa. The floors and vicinity of the houses are spread with rounded white pebbles of coral, which gives them a neat and cleanly appearance. The people sleep on mats made from the pandanus-leaves, which they call kie. Ropes are made of cocoanut-husk after it has been beaten and soaked, as are also their fishing-lines. The former are called kaha, the same as the Maori word for rope. Bags and nets are also made from the same material, and are

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called toto. A collection of houses is called a kainya, the same as in Maori.

Their clothing consists of the universal maro worn by the men, made of cocoanut-leaves. The tihei, worn by the women, is a garment made of finer cocoanut-leaves, split into strips and fastened on a cord at top, which secures it round the waist and allows it to fall to the knees. The Tahitian and Maori word for the same article of dress is the same. The pareu is a short mantle of plaited cocoanut-leaves, narrowed round the neck, and falling over the shoulders to the waist. A large garment called kahu (Maori, kakahu) is sometimes used as a covering at night. They also make a pare (same word in Maori) to shade the face from the sun.

Their diet did not contain much variety. Cocoanut in its various forms was the staple article, flavoured with fish, which was cooked in an oven of stones exactly like a Maori umu, or hangi. A light meal of raw cocoanut was taken soon after rising, a more substantial one at noon, and the principal meal of the day just before sunset, in all of which they resembled the Maoris. The general name for cocoanut at Tongarewa is niu, a word common to most of the islands, with slight variations. In some parts the leaf is called ni, and from this I think the Maori derived the name of our only palm, the ni-kau, which may be translated ni-only, or ni-without—a very natural name to be applied to a palm similar to the cocoanut, but without its fruit. The niu has, however, in all the islands various names in its different stages of growth. In Tongarewa they appear to be as follows: In its earliest stages it is called makomako. Vaimanga is the top of the young fruit before it has become husk; in that state it is eaten by the natives with fish. Niu-mata is the half-grown state, with the soft pulp from which is made niu-wara (or, as Lamont spells it, niu-oara), the common food of the people (mata, in Maori, means unripe), The motumotu is the ripe nut with the husk still green: from this is made poe in the same manner as niu-wara, but it has not such a delicate taste. There is a particular kind of cocoanut called mangaro (which in Maori means mealy), the green husk of which is sweet-flavoured. Old dried cocoanuts are called hakari (akari in Rarotonga), from which is made ororo, a preparation which is considered a great delicacy. If the cocoanut fails, the people have nothing to fall back on but fish and the drupes of the pandanus, for neither kumaras, taros, nor yams appear to have been known to the people in former times. The Rev. W. Wyatt Gill mentions in one of his works a proposition then on foot to remove the people to some other island, as they were in a state of starvation. The only animal was a small rat, which

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was not eaten. It is believed that human flesh was eaten on very rare occasions.

Such, then, are some of the customs of the Penrhyn-Islanders; and I think it will be allowed that they resemble those of the Maori in many remarkable particulars. Sterndale says that the people of Rakahanga, Manihiki, and Tonga-rewa call themselves maori. It is quite probable that this is so, and, though the word cannot be taken as having a racial meaning, it is naturally applied to themselves as distinguished from foreigners. The word may be translated as—indigenous, native, common, ordinary, &c.; and it was possibly never heard of as a racial and descriptive name until contact with foreigners necessitated its use.

In the following list of names of people and words, I have, where necessary, reduced the spelling to the form commonly used in Maori, after a careful study of the sound of each word, as given in the peculiar style of spelling adopted by Mr. Lamont, which is a compound of English and Polynesian. There are, no doubt, errors in some of them, but not, I trust, many. I hope they will prove of interest to the philologist until a better collection is procured, though I fear that is not likely now to occur. It was found by the Rarotongan native missionaries that the language was so similar to their own that the Scriptures, written in Rarotongan, were at once introduced, and from them the people learnt to read and write; and thus probably the native dialect would die out together with the people, who number now but a small remnant of those who lived there thirty-five years ago, in Lamont's time. Sterndale says that at least a thousand of them were taken away by Peruvian slavers to work in the mines of that country. Judging from Lamont's spelling of the words, there are two peculiarities of pronunciation which are worthy of note: the first is, that when the letter “i” follows “t,” it has the sound of “chi”—as tamaichi, instead of tamaiti, as in Maori. It is somewhat strange that the Moriori of the Chatham Islands—separated from Tongarewa by over two thousand miles of ocean—has the same pronunciation of the same letter; and, if we may trust Mariner, the same thing is found in Tonga. The second peculiarity is one we are more accustomed to in the Ngapuhi dialect, but is found in no other tribe in New Zealand. The Tongarewans appear to pronounce the “h” as if it had an “s” before it. This is illustrated in the works of early visitors to New Zealand, where such words as Hokianga, Hauraki, Hongi, &c., were spelled Shokianga, Shauraki, Shongi, &c. Those who know the Ngapuhi dialect will recognise that there is some justification for this mode of spelling, although the sound intended to be represented

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is not, strictly speaking, given by the “s,” but would be better rendered by a compound of that letter and a “y.”

Names of People.

Paetangata, Moshishe (? Moehe), Taranga, Mahuta, Naratairo, Tokarora, Otura, Monitu, Opaka, Pikoke, Terapuna, Taharua, Maukakara, Taneowhare, Turua, Ruperauhe, Te Po, Moana Mauri or Maori, Taha, Tere, Hakamoekakara, Hakaputa, Tangira, Kaipoa, Hihi, Turu, Puhi, Tupa, Pare, and Hare.

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List of Tongarewa Words and Maori Equivalents.
Tongarewa. Maori. English.
Awai! aue! alas!
Akino kino bad.
Au au and ahau I or me.
Ava (an outrigger) amatiatia double canoe.
Atua atua a god.
Aha? aha? what?
Arorangi foreign.
Ae ae yes.
E e, e noho, e inu sign of the present
E he the article “a.”
Etahi (one){ etahi tahi some. one.
Fono fono (in Samoa) a council.
Fibe (a knife) tipi to cut off.
Hangi hungry (according to Lamont).
Hoe hoe a paddle.
Hana whana and whano to go.
Huiatua huiatua, in Maori, means “the company of gods” tapu.
Honu onu or honu (in several Polynesian languages) a turtle.
Hoki hoki to return.
Hare whare a house.
Hai a welcome.
Hakakikite whakakite to cause to see.
Hatitiri whatitiri thunder.
Hakama whakama shame.
Hara whara-whara (?) a long grass.
Iriki ariki chief, lord.
Ika ika fish.
Ihu ihu bow, nose.
Ino kino bad.
Inu inu drink.
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Kavio kavio (in Polynesia) a crab.
Koai? kowhai? who?
Kai kai food.
Kaoia koia truly.
Koirari a club.
Kakara kakara scent.
Kino kino bad.
Kumete kumete a bowl.
Kite kite to see.
Ki ki at.
Kie a mat of kiekie.
Kapa kapa a dance.
Karanga karanga to call.
Kikite kite (?), kiakite to see.
Kore kore not.
Koe koe thou.
Ko (a pointed stick) ko a wooden spade.
Kahu kakahu clothes.
Kainga kainga a village.
Kaha kaha a rope.
Maro maro a garment.
Marae marae a sacred enclosure.
Maitake maitake (in Rarotonga) good.
Makona makona satisfied.
Matua matua parent.
Matuaoahine matuawahine mother.
Manu manu a bird.
Matau matau a fish-hook.
Makumaku cocoanut.
Motomoto cocoanut.
Mangaro mangaro cocoanut (“mealy” in Maori).
Mata mata an eye.
Mata mata unripe.
Moe moe sleep.
Mau mau to possess.
Mate mate death.
Manga manga food.
Mararo flying-fish.
Maumau mama to Jeak.
Mai mai hither.
Masanga to tattoo.
Masanga rahui to preserve.
Maniniwa silence!
Maruanui big mouth.
Mou mo or mou for you.
Matamata beads.
Niu cocoanut.
Niuoara cocoanut.
Niumata cocoanut.
Noho noho to sit, to stay.
Nui nui large.
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Na na by, of.
No no from.
Na nga plural form of the article.
Ngahuru ngahuru ten.
O o food.
Oa kua sign of past tense.
Oahine wahine woman.
O o of.
Oau au your.
Ororo cocoanut.
Oaka waka canoe.
Oati an exclamation.
Oahea wahea broken.
Oe koe thou.
Pareu pareu (in Tahiti) a garment.
Pihu or Piu tangi a wailing or crying.
Pitaka a ring.
Puro husk of cocoanut.
Poirari a scraper.
Piki (?) piko crooked.
Piko piko crooked.
Paua (Tridacna) paua Haliotis.
Pare pare a sunshade.
Poe cocoanut.
Poro cocoanut (dry husk).
Puhi conger-eel.
Rangi rangi the sky.
Rua rua two.
Rakau rakau a tree, wood.
Raurau driving fish with cocoanut-leaves.
Raro raro below, down.
Ruti a species of fish.
Reihei a species of fish.
Rca roa long.
Sumarenga (?) the best.
Shongi hongi to rub noses.
Shukai haka (?) a dance.
Sumaria humarie beautiful.
Sakaki or hakahi cocoanut.
Sharashara harahara (?) a welcome.
Tihei tihei a garment.
Tui a spoon, a shell scraper.
Tao tao to cook, to bake.
Tao tao a spear.
Tamaiti tamaiti a child.
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Tuahine tuahine a sister.
Tera-rangi foreign lands (?).
To ? tou, Cordia a certain tree.
Toki toki an adze.
Toto toto a bag, a net.
Tupa land-crab.
Tuka toka a rock.
Toka toka a rock.
To to your.
Tamari (boy) tamariki boys, children.
Taka oati ! an exclamation.
Tangi tangi to cry.
Tika tika correct.
Te'i tenei this.
Teina teina brother or sister.
Taina taina brother or sister.
Te te the.
Tane tane a male.
Tai tai salt.
Tangata tangata man.
Tibe (a knife) tipi to cut off.
Tera tera “there is,” that.
Tukau tekau (topu) ten, twice told.
Uto uto (in Tahiti) apple of the cocoanut.
Vai wai water.
Vaevae waewae foot.

In the above list of 150 words it will be seen that nearly every one of them is pure Maori, and that they are more akin to that language or dialect than even the Rarotongan, showing, probably, that Toa, the progenitor of the Tongarewans, came from the very same tribe or stock as our Maoris. In conclusion, I would say that the words are taken from Mr. Lamont's narrative just as they occur in connection with the events related. He did not attempt to provide a vocabulary, or doubtless the number would have been very greatly increased.