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Volume 24, 1891
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Answers of the Rev. J. W. Stack, Missionary to the South Island Maoris.

[Note.—I have thought it best to leave in the signs of quantity placed by Mr. Stack over the vowels to aid pronunciation.]

1 and 2. The tools used in the manufacture of greenstone were—

(a) Kūrū Pōhātū.—A stone hammer. Nothing more than a conveniently-shaped boulder of greenstone about the size of a human skull. If the piece to be broken off was for a mere it was necessary to insure against any cracks. This was done by cutting a deep groove before striking the piece off. [I have made a large and interesting collection of stone hammers, some of which must have had wooden handles, while others were used in the hand. They are of trap, quartz, and various other stones. I have never seen one of greenstone. I have a great many hammers of very small size, evidently for very fine work. Bruising is mentioned by White and others as a mode of reducing angles and points. Two unfinished axes in the Colonial Museum, at Wellington, show admirably that bruising was used to reduce the size of the handle part.— F. R. C.]

(b) Pūrihi pōhātū.—A sharp-edged chip of trap or any other hard stone for cutting grooves. [Called a hard cutter in the text.]

(c) Hōāngū.—Sandstone or other gritty kind of stone for rubbing down the rough surface and polishing. [For this I have adopted the word “rubber,” as the words “grindstone” and “whetstone” are inapplicable. They are coarse or fine according to the work to be done.—F. R. C.]

(d) Kūrūpākū.—A micaceous stone, plentiful on the West Coast,

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used for rubbing down and polishing. [See references to Brunner and Heaphy's Journal.]

(e) Mātā.—Obsidian for pointing the drill, or pirori. [I have many of these in flint and quartzite, commonly but erroneously called chert: they are in every stage of wear.—F. R. C.]

Having procured a suitable-sized piece of stone for the article to be made, the workman placed it either on the ground or on a slab of wood cut to fit it. The surface was then rubbed down with a hōāngā, the greenstone being kept constantly moistened with water. The only tools employed in forming the hei-tiki were those above mentioned.

3. They are portraits of ancestors, and were highly valued. [“Mementoes of ancestors,” used later by Mr. Stack, is a better term.—F. R. C.] It was the custom to bury them with the wearer after death, and then to remove them when the bones were taken up for final sepulture. The nearest of kin employed in the rites connected with the removal of the bones to their final resting-place became the possessor.

4 and 5. The custom of wearing the hei-tiki was probably imported from Hawaiki. During a visit to the Thames about twelve years ago, Paraone, a chief residing in Grahamstown, showed me a small illformed hei-tiki which, he said, had once belonged to Marutuahu, son of Hotunui (vide “Polynesian Mythology,” by Sir G. Grey, p. 246), one of the original immigrants from Hawaiki. One branch of the family resided near Taranaki; one at the Thames. This hei-tiki had passed backwards and forwards from one branch to the other during successive generations, the relatives who performed the ceremony of hāhūngā taking possession of it each time. If this particular hei-tiki was a fair specimen of the workmanship of the original settlers, the Maoris in later years had improved in the art of making them. Both the knowledge of macrving wood and working in stone must have been imported by the original immigrants from Hawaiki. Most of the hei-tiki in existence were made before the beginning of this century, and are of comparatively modern workmanship. As far as I can recollect, the best specimens I have seen were those said to be about a hundred or a hundred and fifty years old.

6. No. Since intercourse with Europeans became constant (say, 1820), the Maoris have ceased to make hei-tiki. They were difficult to make, only the most skiful tohungas, such as could macrve and tattoo, undertaking the manufacture. Meres, axes, pendants, &c., required little skill, and their manufacture was the favourite occupation of elderly gentlemen.

7. They are very highly prized as heirlooms for having been actually in contact with the sacred bodies of their revered and noted ancestors.

8. Axes, chisels, adzes, meres, ear-pendants, as well as hei-tiki.

9. Seven different varieties:—

(a) Inanga.— A whitish stone, not much prized, rather opaque. [I cannot quite assent to the expression “not much prized,” as I have been informed by many good authorities that it comes next to kahurangi, which is the rarest stone.—F. R. C.]

(b) Kāhōtēa.—A dark-green with spots of black through it, rather more opaque than the other varieties. [I presume the expression “spots of black” would include patches and streaks. A large number of chisels, &c., of this description have been found at Murdering Beach. Vide post, Dr. Shortland's answers, tuapaka.—F. R. C.]

(c) Kāwākāwā.—A very bright green; semi-transparent. [This is the beautiful greenstone of commerce, much used by lapidaries.— F. R. C.]

(d) Aūhūngā.—Pale-green, between inanga and káwakawa. Not so transparent as the latter.

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(e) Kāhūrāngī.—A darker green, without flaws or spots; semitransparent.

(f) Kahurangi.—Like the former, but with pale streaks of inanga through it.

[As kahurangi is repeated, I presume that the former is a hard clear stone, and the latter similar but with beautiful fleecy clouds in it of the whitish tint of inanga. The most beautiful piece I ever saw is in the possession of Wi Parata, of Waikanae, the grandson of the great Te Pehi.—F. R. C.]

(g) Kōkōtāngīwāi.—A soft and brittle variety found at Piopiotahi or Milford Sound, and in small pieces along the beaches to the northward of that place. Beautifully clear and transparent, with the appearance of water-drops in the texture of the stone. Hardens on exposure to the air. When first taken from the block can be worked with an ordinary knife and file.

All the other varieties of greenstone are extremely hard. When found in the river-beds the surface of the stone resembles that of the surrounding boulders, and only the trained eye can detect its presence among them.

[When free from cracks, flaws, or joints, all the kinds of greenstone save kokotangiwai or tangiwai (tear-water) are so hard that the steel point of a penknife will not scratch the stone, but will leave a metal trace.— F. R. C.]

10. Up the Arahura River and other streams between Hokitika and Greymouth, and at Milford Sound. As far as I have been able to ascertain, greenstone has only been found in detached blocks, varying in size from pebbles to rocks 20ft. square.

11. I do not know.

12. Wai Pounamu. All greenstone, till the occupation of the country by Europeans, and the consequent clearing of the forests on the West Coast, was found either in river-beds or along the beaches.

13. Vide “Polynesian Mythology,” by Sir G. Grey, K.C.B., page 132. [Already narrated.]

14. I heard from the late Tamihana te Rauparaha that when the Rev. Riwai te Ahu returned from a cruise in the Melanesia Mission vessel he brought back from some island a piece of greenstone.

15. The boulders were broken up with hammers into convenient-sized pieces, and then ground down with hōāngā.

16. I can recall nothing at present.

17. I have always been told that Rauparaha came for greenstone, Rerewaka's curse giving him a good reason to put forward for his invasion. Rerewaka was a Kaikoura chief, and after his destruction and that of his people there was no reason for Rauparaha going a hundred miles further south, unless he went, as alleged, for greenstone. Just before the European occupation of the country greenstone was fast being recognised as the medium of exchange, and the Maoris, since they became familiar with our money, have often spoken of greenstone as the Maori's money in time past. Rauparaha was shrewd enough to see the advantage of possessing an unlimited supply of the existing medium of exchange.

18. I do not know of any in particular, but I do know that in times past wars occurred from one tribe, or a section of a tribe, desiring to get possession of articles of value as ancestral relics, which were wrongly retained by others. Most of the greenstone worked up in the South Island was macrried across the Southern Alps on men's backs in a rough state. The labour of procuring the stone was very great. The tracks across the mountains were most dangerous, and some one skilled in prayers and charms always attended the party of macrriers, who led the

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way, uttering petitions for safety whenever the party reached any particular difficulty. On reaching the coast the tohunga performed certain religious rites, and retired to rest alone, and in his dreams a spirit would come and indicate the spot where a stone would be found. On waking, he would summon his companions, and, spreading themselves along the river-bed, they would proceed up stream till they reached the spot indicated in the vision, when the stone was sure to be found, and received the name of the spirit who revealed its position. This method of discovery is still adopted; and I have a piece of greenstone in my possession that is known by my name, the finder, an old chief at Arahura, having found it in a place indicated to him by my spirit during the visions of the night.