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Volume 27, 1894
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Art. XXIX.—On the Bird Moa and its Aliases.

[Read before the Hawke's' Bay Philosophical Institute, 8th October, 1894.]

IT has long been a subject of discussion among the scientists of New Zealand and elsewhere as to whether the numerous-species of the Dinornis were contemporaneous with the present Maori race, many learned men maintaining the opinion that a Polynesian people inhabited New Zealand prior to the arrival of the Maori emigrants from the islands of Polynesia. That New Zealand was inhabited by Polynesian people other than those we call Maoris there seems little cause to doubt: in fact, tradition allows that such was the case. But these people do not seem to have been numerous, or of a fighting race, and were quickly conquered, enslaved, intermarried with, and so obliterated from the page of more reliable historical tradition. It is evident that this former people did not entirely exterminate the Dinornis, for we can show, through different lines of deduction, that the Maori killed the moa, a certain and conclusive proof of which I will endeavour to present to you in this paper.

In the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” vol. xxv., p. 413, Mr. Edward Tregear has a very able paper on “The Extinction of the Moa,” in which he treats this subject on the basis of comparative philology. From the word “moa” he deduces the following conclusions: that, whereas this word is used throughout most of the Polynesian islands to denote the domestic fowl (Gallus bankiva, var.), and as compounds of the word denote certain parts and attributes of the domestic fowl at those places, consequently, assuming that the word moa” was brought by the Maori emigrants as a part or integral portion of their vocabulary from those same islands, this word must still retain its original meaning as a domestic fowl, and therefore was not likely to, be used as a name for the Dinornis.

But Mr. Tregear does not explain this point: When Captain Cook brought and “turned into the forest,” and also gave to the Maoris, “pigs and fowls which we brought from the islands,” how was it the Maori recognised the pig as an old friend by the name of poaka—by which name, with its variants, it is known throughout Polynesia—but seemingly had no more knowledge of the domestic fowl than they had of the American turkey when introduced at a later date? Of this.

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we have proof, owing to special names built up and originating in the noisy disposition of both species, as pipipi, a turkey, from pipi, the cry of a bird, the cry of a child. This I take to equal our word “gobbler,” or the Scotch “bubbly-jock.” Now, instead of the Maori treating the fowl as an old friend and naming it “moa,” a new name was invented, founded on an original Polynesian word—heihei, noise; Hawaiian, hooheihei, a drum, to beat a drum, which would seem to mean the noisy bird, heihei, the domestic fowl. This selecting of a word denoting the noisy habit of the fowl corresponds exactly with the origin of our word “hen,” proving that the people of Europe and those of far-away New Zealand first studied the habits of the bird and then gave it a name suitable thereto. Professor Skeat gives: “Hen, from Anglo Saxon henn, hen, hoen; a feminine form (by vowel change) from Anglo-Saxon hana, a cock, literally ‘a singer,’ from his' crowing; chief form, Latin can-ere, to sing.” An old word which I remember in my young days, but which now seems obsolete, is chanticleer, from the French chant, singing, song; le chant du coq, the crowing of the cock, which is from the same root, kan.

As if to give us double assurance that the word “moa” was already in use, they invented a second name for the domestic fowl, tikaokao, apparently from ti, to deafen with clamour, and not the word kaokao, the ribs, the side of the body, but meaning. a sound approximate to the cry of the bird, as “the one who loudly calls kaokao. This word tikao-kao being of onomatopoetic origin—that is, from the cry of the bird—compares with our word “cock.” We find the allied form in Malay kukuk, crowing of cocks, and kakak, cackling of hens; and our word “cackle,” from middle-English kakelen, meaning to keep on saying kak; and Sanscrit kukkuta, a cock, Now, I will boldly advance the theory that the domestic fowl was brought to the Polynesian islands after the time when the Maori left the islands of Polynesia, which would give some four hundred years till the time of Captain Cook, who found poultry in abundance in many of the islands; and that the Polynesians are the remnant of a people who formerly inhabited a large southern continent now chiefly submerged or disappeared beneath the sea, which gives these people their tradition of “the Deluge”—a land where all kinds of moa and kindred birds existed in great plenty. In this land of giant birds the Polynesian ancestors lived and ate the moa, and in this lost country originated both the bird and its name of “moa.” This land may not have disappeared as a whole suddenly, but as the plains became slowly submerged the heights became islands, and so the Polynesian people became navgators of the intervening seas. But in later time some more

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sudden convulsion of nature swallowed up the greater portion of these isolated places: this was the Polynesian deluge. In the meantime the former alpine heights, now New Zealand, were allowed time by this gradual change to acquire a certain amount of trees and vegetation where formerly was a region of snow. With this vegetation came also a remnant of different species of struthious birds, and perhaps, at a later date, a few of the then bold navigators “who searched the waters for lost Hawaiki.” May not this be the meaning of the name Ha-wai-ki? When the domestic fowl was brought to the islands of the Pacific, the word “moa,” being still known but unoccupied, was used to name those birds; but the Maori of New Zealand, having still the skeletons of the moa, and the gizzard-stones, moamoa, round about him, in caves and on the surface of the ground, could not well give the fowl the same name, but named it as before mentioned. For example, the Maoris say they brought dogs, rats, and pukeko in their canoes, as giving us to understand that these were the most valuable or portable products of their former home; but not a word about bringing a moa, whether domestic fowl, ostrich, or cassowary. Yet I think it can be clearly demonstrated that the moa lived in New Zealand at that time, and was eaten by these people for several generations after their arrival in the country. But for some peculiar reason they seem to have spoken of the moa under other appellations, possibly owing to some influential person being for a certain cause named after the bird moa, and so the traditions of the killing of this bird have become obscure or disguised. Dr. Dieffenbach says, “It is known that in many of the islands of the great southern ocean the curious custom exists of changing arbitrarily words of the language, and of making others tapu or forbidden…. I found the traces of a similar custom amongst the natives of Roto-rua. Wai (water) has been changed into ngongi; kai (food) into tami. The name of a place near Tauranga, where a great fight took place and many of the natives were killed and eaten, was Waikeriri, but they now call it Ngongi-keriri. The cause of this singular innovation is that the old word becomes sacred, either from a chief adopting it for his name or from some other event sanctifying it.” The next paragraph is interesting: “I heard a curious tradition connected with a totara-tree in the neighbourhood. Near this tree they said their forefathers killed the last moa. From the few remains of the moa that have been found it has been declared by Mr. Richard Owen to be a struthious bird, and of very large size.” The few bones then known were found by Mr. Rule and forwarded to England. Date of the above anecdote, 1840.

But for some reason Mr. Rule would seem to have received

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or understood a garbled account of these bones—namely, that they were those of a giant eagle called “movie” (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxvi., p. 253). Dr. Dieffenbach says (vol. ii., p. 195), “To this order (Struthionidae) probably belongs a bird, now extinct, called ‘moa’ (or ‘movie’) by the natives. The evidences are a bone, very little fossilized, which was brought from New Zealand by Mr. Rule to Mr. Gray, and by him sent to Professor Richard Owen (Proc. Zool. Soc., 1839, p. 169). I possess drawings of similar bones, and of what may possibly be a claw, which are in the collection of the Rev. Richard Taylor, in Waimate. They are found on the east coast of the northern island of New Zealand, and are brought down by rivulets from a neighbouring mountain called Hikorangi.”* Such would seem to be the information collected or known in England about this bird in 1839. And we may ask on what authority Mr. Rule called the bird “movie” a gigantic eagle. Possibly he might conclude it must have been a bird of prey owing to the Maoris speaking of it as such a fierce and dangerous creature. The Mr. Gray mentioned was the then chief of the Zoological Department of the British Museum. Mr. Gray appended the notes on the fauna of New Zealand to Dieffenbach's “New Zealand.” May not the South Island account of poua-kai, the giant bird of prey, have been misunderstood on similar lines? I am unable to say if in Maori poua, an old person, is pronounced so as to allow of a comparison between that word and poua-kai. If such can be done we get poua-kai, old people's food, a bird on which the former Maori made his feasts, a bird which was eaten by the people, and not the bird which ate the ancestral Maori. This rendering of the name alters the whole character of the bird. Whether the bird poua of the Chatham-Islanders is an allusion to the moa as an old person or to the extinct swan is an open question. It is not spoken of as a bird of prey, but as utilized by man for food. In Maori we find poua-kaki-wa, a chief place of residence, possibly meaning “the old people's sleeping-place,” and poua-hao-kai, a supernatural being who helped to kill Tawhaki, an ogre, who was killed by hot stones being thrown down his throat. This word would seem to mean “the old person who ate greedily,” and the reference to hot stones may be merely an allusion to the known habit of the moa of swallowing stones to assist digestion. It must be borne in mind that verbal tradition would contain certain truths distorted in proportion to the lapse of time in which it had been in circulation.

Among the Maori traditions are many which mention the

[Footnote] * “Movie” is here added to Dieffenbach's account by Mr. Gray, following Mr. Rule (?).

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killing of ngarara, or monsters, such as ngarara-hua-rau, called also karara-hua-rau, the monster with numerous progeny. Such would seem to be flocks of moas, which probably lived in small parties. This particular creature was killed at Wairarapa by a chief called Tara, after whom is named the lake at Te Aute, in Hawke's Bay.* It was near or about this lake that Mr. A. Hamilton collected many remains of the moa in shallow water, after drainage. May not this lake have come by its name because it was utilized by the chief Tara and his companions when making a surround of a flock of moas, which they forced into the waters of the lake, whereby numbers were drowned, and a part obtained as food? We know for certain no person, whether Maori or any other, ever killed a crocodile or alligator in New Zealand, but that tradition states that a something was killed by such-and-such a person: what, then, is it likely caused the origin of the story? Did a certain brave man kill a tuatara lizard, and would the fact be recorded as a great victory? This is hardly likely: yet the tuatara is a ngarara. Is it not more probable that creature was one or more of the larger species of the moa, which were at that time becoming scarce? In support of this view, Dr. Dieffenbach makes the pertinent remark: “I had been apprised of the existence of a large lizard, which the natives call tuatera or ngarara, with a general name, and of which they were much afraid, …. and the natives killed it for food” (vol. ii., p. 205); also of animals they consumed—fishes, dogs, the indigenous rat, crawfish, birds, and iguanas (vol. ii., p. 18).

I would draw attention to the fact that the Maori, in the early days of their acquaintance with the pakeha, would seem to have spoken of the ngarara and the moa as if they were allied in partnership, or companions. Although we have read of the small bird (plover?) which fearlessly enters the open mouth of the crocodile inhabiting the district of the Nile, and feeds on the leeches which trouble the ugly saurian, yet we can see no reason to suppose that the ngarara and the moa should find a mutual benefit to be derived from their living together. The Rev. W. Colenso was told a story of a moa residing on a certain hill guarded by one or more ngarara. Dr. Dieffenbach says, “The natives could not understand what induced me to ascend Mount Egmont; they tried much to dissuade me from the attempt by saying that the mountain was tapu—that there were ngarara (crocodiles) on it, which would undoubtedly eat me. The mysterious bird moa, of which I shall say more hereafter, was also said to exist there. But I assured them I was not

[Footnote] * To-roto-a-tara.

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afraid of these creations of their lively imagination” (vol. i. p. 140). These and stories of a like nature are good evidences that the ngarara and moa were in partnership; in fact, that they were one and the same. The additions as to the ngarara resembling a magnified lizard (of which small creature the Maoris are as frightened as some Europeans are of a spider or a mouse, or even more so) is just what might be expected, owing to the use of the word ngarara, a reptile, in place of the word “moa.”

Dr. Dieffenbach is the only authority, so far as I am aware, who speaks of the Maori eating the tuatara lizard, and, from the lively fear displayed by the Maori at the sight of even the smallest lizard, it is highly improbable that such creatures were ever used as daily rations. Sir W. Buller, you will remember, turned several tuatara lizards into “Maui's garden,” and then felt perfectly satisfied that no Maori would venture near the place. How, then, would they catch such things for food, or ever have done so? That the killing of a large bird like the Dinornis should be spoken of as the killing of the monster (ngarara), and those who killed it be remembered as valiant warriors, is a very different matter from the recording of the killing of tuatara for food-supply, or any other purpose. Also, the supposition that the stories of killing ngarara in New Zealand at particular places, and by men whose pedigrees show that they lived and died in New Zealand, are simply a remembrance or tradition that the ancestors of the Maori fought with the crocodile in Papua, or lost Hawaiki, or any other place, is simply ridiculous. The Maori has merely confused himself by a one-time change of the word “moa” to that of ngarara, and the history of eatings, swallowings, scales, and twining tails are just built up on the magnified image of a wee lizard.

Most of these stories are understood by Europeans to refer to taniwha, or mythical monsters. As, for instance, a certain chief had a pet taniwha, which is said to have been a whale. But an absurdity of this kind will not prove that all taniwha or ngarara stories are without foundation. Such stories were once—that is, at the first telling, and for several generations of listeners—related so as to correctly describe all the different incidents of the act. But as time went on the hearers had no standard of comparison to judge by. The moa was now extinct, and the previous introduction of the word ngarara, and the placing a tapu against the use of the word “moa” for several generations among certain Maori tribes, caused confusion of thought. The moa becoming extinct about this time, the use of the word “moa” became obsolete, and future generations of Maoris—that is, of these particular tribes—continued to rehearse these original stories

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of the moa, but still using the nomenclature of ngarara—as Dieffenbach says, “ngarara with a general name.”*

The killing of a second ngarara-hua-rau is recounted by a native in the “book of the Polynesian Society.” In this case the creature is said to be a male, who carries off a woman to be his wife; he is a perfect saurian, but is capable of speaking the Maori language, and there are other incongruities in the tale. The most useful part of the story would seem to be in the name of the place where this occurred—Moa-whitu, the six moas (D'Urville Island). These Maoris are said to have come from the northern part of New Zealand, and so may be a part of those who caused the word “moa” to be tapu.

We are unable to account for the Maori words pero and moimoi, a dog, used only in the North. Dieffenbach mentions a tribe named Nga-te-kuri, “the descendants of the dog,” who at one time lived at Kaitaia. When this ancestor assumed the name of Te Kuri is it not possible that the word kuri, a dog, was caused to be tapu and pero or moi used in its place? (Vol. i., p. 218.)

I am unable to produce much evidence as to persons using the name “moa” as a cognomen. In the love-story of Hine-moa we get her name as the girl-moa, and two of her sisters are suitably named Tawake-hei-moa, the neck-ornament of moa (feathers?), or the moa-feast, or possibly the noisy moa. Here, it is remarkable, we find the word “moa” in juxtaposition to hei, and the modern word heihei is a domestic fowl. It is still more curious that the second suitor was named Ngararanui, the large reptile: here again we find “moa” and ngarara in propinquity, as forming the distinctive names of two brothers. These people lived at Rotorua, and are said to have living descendants at the present time. In the story of the stealing of a pet moa, mentioned in the Transactions, vol. xxv., we are given the original name of the hero as Ahahapaitaketake, which I translate “to keep on going crooked.” He had his thigh broken by falling over a cliff, but, notwithstanding this mishap, he secured the moa, and, owing to this accident, was afterwards called Hapakohi (hop and go one). From these similar names it seems more probable that this man was not lamed when stealing the moa, but at some previous occasion, and was then made permanently lame. The name of the woman who was taken from the tribe of the thief as compensation for the loss of the moa is said to have been Hine-moa-tu

[Footnote] * A Maori might use the words “moa” and ngarara as having one and the same meaning when talking to a pakeha; but, if the listener already knew ngarara as a name commonly used to denote a lizard, the figure of a lizard would be present in his thoughts, and a ngarara spoken of as dreadful or powerful would resolve itself into the conception of a erocodile or large saurian, and not that of a 9ft. high bird.

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or Hine-mo-atu. If the name is rightly divided in the first place we get the girl-moa, and, if tu is short for utu, “compensation,” the girl in compensation for the moa. Any way, it seems singular that this name should come so very close to verifying the truth of the story.

In Hawke's Bay we have a place or river named Moa-whango, which may mean the loud breathing or hoarse-voiced moa; and a gentleman's property is named Pa-hamoamoa, the village of the gizzard-stones of the moa. In Gisborne and elsewhere are places named Papa-moa, and a cave named Moa-ha.

It is very good evidence for my argument that Dr. Dieffenbach points out that the Maoris, in describing their food-supply, said that in former times they ate such-and-such things, and also the “ngarara with the general name.” Possibly they actually used the name Ngarara-hua-rau, the reptile with the numerous progeny—not meaning the tuatara lizard, as Dieffenbach supposed, but using the form of name adopted in place of the original word “moa,” which had long ago been considered tapu by that tribe.

Also, it is notable that the Maoris all through New Zealand know the domestic fowl by names not so utilized among the other branches of the Polynesian people. Yet the word “moa,” a fowl (Polynesian), is not lost to the Maori, but used to denote the Dinornis, and moamoa, ha-moamoa, to denote moa-stones.

The use by the Maori of tara-moa as the name of a plant having many sharp curved hooks on its branches is a score against me, for Mr. Tregear connects it in theory with the spurs of a cock, and other words in which the personality of the domestic fowl would seem to be referred to in Polynesian island languages. Can the moa have had a partiality to the berries of this shrub?

In spite of the charge of a repetition, I will give a résumé of my argument. If the Maori had a knowledge of Gallus domesticus, the domestic fowl, in times long ago—say, five or six hundred years back—how come they to have had such a fear of the traditional living thing the moa, a dreadful something which, in alliance with the ngarara, a second traditional being of great fierceness, guarded, or roamed through, little-known and inaccessible places, and about the tops of the highest mountains, and lived in caves? These fierce creatures, together or in company, were expected to destroy any person who was sufficiently daring to enter the regions where they lived. Now, is it reasonable to suppose that the Maori considered that a barndoor fowl was the companion of a dreadful crocodile (ngarara), and that this small-sized fowl could possibly kill or frighten a stalwart man—a fowl or domesticated

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bird, which some persons would have us think the ancestral Maori had bred and utilized as an egg-producer in some former home of the Polynesian people?

Dr. Dieffenbach, about 1839 or 1840, was told that if he attempted to ascend Mount Egmont these creatures would destroy him. Allowing, for argument, that the moa was a barn-door fowl, why did not Dr. Dieffenbach find it on Mount Egmont? or, when he saw the hen in the Maori villages, why did not the Maori say, “This hen will kill you on Mount Egmont if you break the tapu of that sacred place”?

Again, how do we account for the tradition of the bringing in canoes from Hawaiki of the dog, rat, and pukeko (Porphyrio melanotus), but no moa? On the contrary, Ngahue is said to have killed the moa, and taken by one account its skin, by another its potted flesh, in a calabash from New Zealand to Hawaiki, and told of the land of the greenstone and the moa.*

If the Maori knew the Dinornis, sp., as the moa previous to Captain Cook introducing the domestic fowl to their notice, then we can readily see that it would be very unlikely they would call the small domestic hen by the same name of “moa,” for, if the Maori had not at that time the living moa, yet they still had the bones and the remains of this gigantic bird of many varieties, the largest of which were dangerous to their most active warriors. With the Polynesians of the other islands it was different, for they had not the moa with them, yet may have kept a remembrance of a bird called moa, which was farmed by man as a food-product. When they obtained the domestic fowl—say, after the Maori exodus—and saw the useful properties of this bird, they may have thought it the bird mentioned in the traditions of their people—the lost bird, the moa. Note the Maori tradition of the wonderful bird Moa-kura-manu (the red-feathered bird moa), who, by drinking up the waters of the Deluge, saved the people who had fled for safety to the great hill, Hikurangi (see “Ancient History of the Maori,” vol. iii., p. 49). There is also a saying that the moa was lost at the time of the Deluge—i.e., long ago.

Dieffenbach, in 1839, says the Maoris informed him of a food which their ancestors ate before the introduction of the pig. It was “ngarara with a general name” (additional words?). This, being the common name for reptile or insect, was thought by Dieffenbach to mean a lizard which was not then found on the mainland—the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatum)—a specimen of which he ultimately obtained from a European, after offering the Maoris great rewards if they would get him one. Now, Dieffenbach caused this matter of the

[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxvi., p. 506.

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ngarara with the general name” to become more obscure, for he of his own thoughts made the creature to be an iguana. No doubt he was surprised to see the small size of his specimen tuatara, but may have got over that by thinking it a young one.

That the Maori ever ate a tuatara as ordinary food is highly improbable, for the Maoris have the greatest dread of all kinds of lizards. One species, Naultinus elegans, “if a man look at or let it fix its eyes on his own, is a cause of immediate death to that man.”* How, then, would a Maori dare to eat such baneful creatures? May we not rather suppose that ngarara, with the suffix, was for some reason used by certain tribes to denote the Dinornis sp.?

I would further suggest that the word ngarara may be a corruption or misused for ngara and ngangara, to snarl, allied to rara, to roar, kara, to call; Tahitian, ararà, hoarse through calling, hoarseness; and beyond Polynesian proper, Macassar, ngangara, to shriek. Possibly the male bird (moa) was ngarara, the one who called in a hoarse voice, the nasal sound “ng” being used as a prefix to arara or rara, to roar, which is lost in Tahitian arara, to call in a hoarse voice. The ngarara was the loud-calling male bird, and his mate, the female bird, was called “moa.” In Moa-whango, a place-name, we get the hoarse-voiced moa, similar to ngarara when rendered “the hoarse-voiced one.”

This would account for the saying that the two creature ngarara (the male) and moa (the female) lived in partnership in caves on the mountain-side. Then ng-arara-hua-rau and karara-hua-rau, a monster killed at Wairarapa by Tara, was the hoarse-voiced male moa and his numerous progeny, and not a saurian monster with numerous descendants.

This we can readily believe, for have we not the bones of all kinds of moas with us at this day, and in some places found piled in heaps, as it were, evidence that the Maori had surrounded flocks of moa and forced many into the waters of swamps and lakes, at which places we now get bones in one large collection in a small area? But we find no evidence of any monster saurian having lived in Tertiary times in New Zealand, nor can we thus account for the numerous descendants indicated by the suffix hua-rau, and so we may safely conclude that ngarara-hua-rau was the male moa and his attendant females, with their young, which the Maori at one time was accustomed to destroy wholesale.

It is currently reported among many scientists that we

[Footnote] * “Departed spirits are said to transfer themselves into this and the former species, and the natives regard them therefore with a certain dread, calling them atuas or gods.” (Dieffenbach, vol. ii., p. 203.)

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have no reliable mention, at an early date of the settlement of New Zealand, of the killing of the moa by the Maori, and I think therefore that the following extract from Dieffenbach's “New Zealand” must have been overlooked (see vol. i., p. 396): “On questioning the natives, as I usually did, relative to the natural history of their country, I heard a curious tradition connected with a totara-tree in the neighbourhood [Rotorua?]. Near this tree they said their forefathers killed the last moa. From the few remains of the moa that have been found it has been declared by Mr. Richard Owen to be a struthious bird of large size.”

This story was told to Dieffenbach between the years 1839–41, and he most likely did not know Professor Owen's decision, given 12th November, 1839, until he returned to England—that is, some time after he had noted this story of the last moa killed in the north of New Zealand by the Maori.

Surely this authentic story is above the suspicion of the stereotyped assertion “that the Maoris invented it to suit the occasion.” Further, it is remarkable that in other mention by the Maori of this bird to Dieffenbach it is a monster still to be met with, and seemingly more likely to kill men than to suffer itself in an encounter. You will see the justice of assuming that this is a story of the killing of the last moa by the Maori, and not as proving that the Maori said it was the last living moa at that time. It was the last that they themselves had killed, and the Maori, even in 1840, thought that the moa was still to be met with in out-of-the-way places, such as the higher parts of Mount Egmont, and other unexplored or tapu places.


Possibly the following might be the correct derivation of the word ngarara when used to denote the Dinornis. The prefix nga is the plural article of te, the—as for example, te manu, the bird; he manu, a bird; nga manu, birds. So, te rara, the roar; he rara, a roar; nga rara, much or many roarings—i.e., the one of many roarings, or loud cries. In the South Island dialect the plural article nga becomes ka, which change is also shown in ngarara-hua-rau and karara-hua-rau, the name of a monster of mythical fame killed by Ruru-teina and his brothers when returning home with his bride. This name might therefore be rendered “the one who loudly calls his numerous progeny.”

In verbs we have the following examples: whà, to be revealed; ko-whà, tawhà, and nga-wha, to burst open; and nga, used as a suffix to the obsolete word kara, to call—which is probably a variant of rara—in kara-nga, to shout.

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I feel certain that the record of killing different taniwhas, each one with its own particular name or verbal definition, is founded on actual fact, and so far is historically true, but that, owing to the Maori having no written records of the past, but of necessity having to repeat each story from father to son by word of mouth, and the original standard or model of the creature spoken of having thereby become obscured or lost sight of,—having long ceased to exist,—the present ridiculous and mythical monsters have been evolved—creatures made, added to, and embellished by each succeeding narrator, till nothing of truth remains but the name of the doer of the deed, or the chief director, and the name of the place where the deed was accomplished.