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Volume 31, 1898
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Art. LXV.—The Art of the Whare Pora: Notes on the Clothing of the Ancient Maori, their Knowledge of preparing, dyeing, and weaving Various Fibres, together with some Account of Dress and Ornaments, and the Ancient Ceremonies and Superstitions of the Whare Pora.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 10th October, 2898.]

The following notes on the above subject have been collected from one tribe alone—viz., from Tuhoe, of the Urewera country. They therefore embody only such information as the elderly people of that ancient tribe have preserved of the art of the whare pora of Tuhoe Land in pre-pakeha days, together with a brief and imperfect account of divers strange customs and ceremonies pertaining to the art of weaving, as practised by the old-time Maori.

It would appear that in former times the Maori was by no means the cultureless savage that some would have us believe. The youthful Maori, male or female, passed through a regular education in the days of yore, even as does the Teuton of our advanced culture stage, though necessarily of a different nature. When the stalwart sea-rovers of old colonised these islands they found that their lives must here be lived under somewhat harder conditions than those which prevailed in the isles of the Sunlit Sea. This fact would naturally tend towards stimulating their inventive faculties, and rendering the race mentally and physically stronger.

More especially would this be the case in regard- to clothing. The pleasant, sun-wrapped isles of Polynesia called for no more warm or durable garment than those formed from the

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bark fibre of the aute, but the more rigorous climate of New Zealand demanded something better. Doubtless this was the reason why the culture of the aute, or paper-mulberry, was almost abandoned here, the fibre thereof being in later times merely used to construct flying-kites, or as covering for the symbol of an atua (god).

Thus the Polynesian migrant would turn his attention to searching for a stronger and more lasting material with which to clothe himself. This he found in the fibres of the harakeke (Phormium tenax), the toi (Cordyline indivisa), and kiekie (Freycinetia banksii). These he utilised, and, as time passed on, there came the knowledge of how to prepare and weave these fibres into suitable garments. And although but a hand-weaver, yet has the Maori acquired the art of making cloaks and other articles of a very close, neat, and durable nature. Many of their finer cloaks were very beautiful, and Maori weaving must not be judged by the articles made by them for sale to Europeans.

I was fortunate in finding here in Tuhoe Land some of the elder people who yet retain much of this interesting and ancient knowledge of the art of weaving, and also in inducing them to weave in the old style some of the garments of bygone days, that the same may be placed in various museums in the colony, and thus conserving, by these various illustrations, the knowledge of this art as it was taught in the whare pora of old.

In the realm of Tuhoe every important village possessed certain houses which were specially built for, and devoted to, the study and prosecution of various matters important to the Maori. We will give the names of these, and purposes for which they were used:—

The Whare Maire, or Whare Takiura.—This was a sacred house set apart for the teaching of the ancient history, genealogies, religion, &c., of the tribe. It was the head university and Herald's College of the district.

The Whare Mata.—This house was devoted to Tane, god of forests. In it was taught and carried on the manufacture of snares, traps, and other devices for the taking of birds; also certain rites pertaining to such matters were here performed.

The Whare Tapere.—This was the house of pleasure, where the young people of the village met at night to play the various games of old. It was devoted solely to amusement, the allurements of the rehia.* The presiding deities of this house were Takataka-putea and Marere-o-tonga, who were the parents or inventors of all games.

[Footnote] *Rehia = pleasure, amusement. An ancient term.

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The Whare Pora.—This was the house specially set aside for teaching the art of weaving in its various branches, and in it were performed the ceremonies connected with the installation and teaching of the tauira, or students.

It will thus be observed that the above houses were schools for the teaching of various subjects; but they were also something more, for the various labours, rites, &c., pertaining to such subjects were continually carried on in these ancient colleges by the elder members of the tribe.

There are other whare of a special nature, and which are often mentioned in the unwritten archives of Tuhoe Land, but they were not schools in any sense. The whare potae, or whare taua, was the house of mourning, but in many cases the term was merely a figurative one, and used much as we use it. An expression of a still less literal nature is “te whare o te riri “—i.e., “the house of war.” The whare kahu was a rude hut, often specially constructed for the purpose, occupied by women during confinement. When the infant was about two nights old, mother and child were transferred to the whare kohanga, or nest house. But to return to the whare pora.

We will now endeavour to give some idea of the initiation of a student in the whare pora, having fortunately been able to obtain the information from one who has been through the ceremonies.

When a young woman is desirous of entering the whare pora in order to be taught the various arts pertaining to the manufacture of clothing she first obtains the services of a tohunga (priest or wise man). It is not necessary that he should be a tohunga of high rank, but he must be acquainted with the rites and karakia (invocations, incantations, or ritual) of the whare pora. She will then say to the mohio (person of knowledge), “Puhatia ake ahau ki to maramara, he hiahia noku.” A strange expression this, and one which applies to a peculiar custom, as we shall see anon.

The tohunga and the tauira (pupil) are alone in the whare pora; no others may be admitted. The pupil seats herself before the turuturu: these are two sticks about 1 in in diameter and 4 ft. in length; they are stuck in the ground some distance apart, according to the width of the garment to be woven; the upper ends of the sticks often rest against the roof near the walls of the house. This is all the frame used by the Maori weaver—these upright sticks—though in weaving such cloaks as korowai four turuturu are used. To these sticks is attached the tawhiu, which is the first aho, or woof-thread. The tawhiu is pulled taut and secured, and then to it are attached one end of the io, or warp-threads (known as “whengu” among some tribes), which io are thus suspended

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from the tawhiu, and hang down to the floor of the house. Thus the work is held or supported by the tawhiu and braced by the turuturu. The cross-threads, or woof (aho), are woven from left to right across the frame. Bach aho is composed of four twisted threads (miro). Two of these are passed on either side of each io, being woven in and out, over and under, in a very dexterous manner, and forming, if the aho are not too far apart, a very close, neat, and strong garment.

The first aho to be woven next the tawhiu is the aho tapu, or sacred woof-thread. It is imbued with the sacredness of the house, the weaver, and the various ceremonies.

But the tohunga and the tauira are waiting for us. She is seated before the turuturu. The right-hand one is the sacred turuturu; the left-hand one is noa (common, devoid of tapu), and is known as “Rua.”*Before the pupil are spread out or suspended various garments of a fine design, woven by a master-hand in fine patterns of dyed fibre. It is desired that the pupil may be taught to do such fine -work as that before her; that the knowledge, taste, dexterity, and power be forced into her during one lesson, as it were, and not drawn out through a long series of lessons, extending maybe over a considerable period of time, as is the case with the benighted pakeha. You may imagine this to be an impossibility. Not so: the gods who live for ever can accomplish it.

The pupil takes in her hand some prepared fibre, and holds it while the tohunga is reciting the karakia, known as “More-more puwha”:—

He Moremoer Puwha.
(E poua ana tena i te tangata.)

  • Poua mai te pou, ko te pou-e

  • Ko whakahihiri, ko whakahohoro

  • Tu-mata-ihi, Tu-mata-whare

  • Tukua mai te aho kia kawitiwiti

  • Kia taia hotaoro mo te oti wawe

  • Wawe ki runga, wawe ki raro

  • Wawe ki te oti o te hikuhiku

  • Oti tatahi, oti ki te whare

  • Buru te puke

  • Puki-i-ahua, Puke-i-apoa

  • Apoa ki te rangi

  • Whanui ki te whenua

  • E oti. E oti-e.

As the tohunga finishes the karakia the pupil stoops forward and bites the upper part of the sacred turuturu—i.e., the right-hand one. She then takes the prepared fibre she has been holding, and weaves the aho tapu across the frame. She has now woven the sacred woof, and come under the influence

[Footnote] * The name of Rua is also applied to the aho tapu.

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of the priestly invocations. She has entered the whare pora. She is a daughter of Rua and Hine-ngaroa.

The next item is the ceremony of whakanoa, which is to take the tapu off the pupil, her work, and surroundings. This is known as the hurihanga takapau (the turning of the takapato, or floor-mat); but this is purely a figurative expression; it means the lifting of the tapu, the tapu itself is the takapau. This important invocation having been repeated by the priest or elder, the pupil takes up the puwha and eats it, or merely places it to her lips and hands it to the tohunga to eat.

Some authorities state that the puwha is placed upon the garment which the pupil proposes to copy in her work, from which she takes it at the time when it is to be eaten, that the desired pattern may be clear to her, and thoroughly understood.

Another karakia used in the above rite was known as a “pou. “It was to force home the newly acquired knowledge, and render it firm and lasting. In all such initiations, whether of the whare pora, the whare maire, or whare mata, the first task of the priest was to recite an invocation to render the pupil clear-headed and quick to grasp the new knowledge, to endow him or her with a receptive mind and retentive memory. A similar ceremony was performed over warriors about to engage in a fight, to make them observant, clear-minded, and brave—in a word, to ward off the horrors of the pahunu, the hinapo, and the parahuhu, which ever appear in the train of Tu-mata-rehurehu, of dread memory.

We will now give another description of the above ceremony, With additional karakia, as supplied by that fine old patriarch, Tu-takanga-hau, of Maungapohatu, for to him and Paitini, of Ngati-tawhaki, am I indebted for my being initiated into the mysteries of the whare pora:—

Ki te puta te whakaaro a tetehi tangata ki tana tamaiti, ki tana mokopuna ranei, hai pupurn i nga korero, i nga whakairo rakau ranei, whakairo tangata ranei, whakairo kakahu ranei, katahi ka mahia e ia tetehi mea hai whakamaunga mana mo taua mahi, ki tana tamaiti, ki tana mokopuna ranei. Ko te kupu tuatahi:—

  • Ka zna Rua, ka ma Rua-ki-te-hihiri

  • Ka ma Rua-i-te-rarama

  • Ka ma taku hau tu, ka ma taku hau korero

  • Ka ma taku hau i taea e te ata hapara.

Ka nautu enei, ma Rua ena e kai. Ko Rua tona, aria he rakau Katahi ka tangohia ko te puwha. Ko nga kupu enei:—

  • Te umu tirama nuku, tirama rangi

  • Ko koe, koi wetekia noatia e koe

  • Whiwhiou ngakau, ou tangata

  • Kia puta ki te wai ao

  • Ki te ao marama.

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  • Tana te umu

  • Te umu ka eke, te umu kai a koe

  • Ha te umu o enei korero

  • Ka ma nga koromatua

  • Ka ma hoki tenei tauira.

Ka kainga te puwha e te tangata, ara e te tauira. Katahi ka poua ki ie karakia:—

He Pou

  • Pou hihiri, pou rarama

  • Tiaho i roto, marama i roto

  • Wananga i roto, marama i roto

  • Tena te pou, te pou ka eke

  • Te pou kai a koe na

  • Ko te pou o enei korero.

Then, striking the side of the house, the tohunga repeats:—

  • Ka pa ki tua, ka pa ki waho

  • Ka pa ki te whare

  • He wahanga nuku, he wahanga rangi.

Heoti ano, kua noa, kua puta te tauira kai waho.

After the pupil has woven the oho tapu she will probably weave in more woof-threads beneath, and thus make a band of some few inches in depth, copying the work of the garment spread before her; but this is never worn, nor even completed in the form of any garment; it is her “pattern piece “(mea tauira). When the ceremony of the hurihanga takapau is over the tapu is lifted from the participants, and the pupil may now leave the whare pora and partake of food.

The custom described above, of repeating invocations in order to make a person receptive and clear-headed, was one that called for action at a remarkably early period of life. When the iho, or umbilical cord, of a child is severed, and the end thrust back, a priest recites certain karakia to cause the marama (clearness) to enter and abide in the child; to cultivate the perceptive faculties, that it may be possessed of a quick understanding; and also to cause all pouritanga (darkness, sluggishness of intellect) to be cast out with the severed pito. These karakia whakamarama, together with the pou invocation, had a strong and satisfactory effect on Maori students of old, for, whether they were passing through the whare pora, whare takiura, or whare mata, they were thus, by Divine aid, enabled to assimilate and retain all matter, through hearing or observation, in one lesson—that is to say, no repetition of a lesson was ever necessary. Genealogies and karakia of a truly alarming length were repeated but once in the whare maire. Those who have passed through the whare pora will, if shown a new pattern of weaving, faithfully reproduce that pattern on the first trial. Should the weaver but obey the rules of the whare pora she can make no error. The gods are behind her. I obtained a short while since a rather in-

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tricate but handsome pattern for the ornamental border (tanika) of a maro-kopua, which I wished to have reproduced. I therefore sent for the old lady who is chief ruwahine of the decaying whare pora of Rua-tahuna, and requested her to weave me such a one. The pattern was new to her, but she sat down and studied it for about half an hour. She then departed, with a promise to complete the order, but with no request to be allowed to take the pattern. She finished the piece to perfection, it being an exact counterpart of the pattern. The only error she made was, I grieve to state, caused by myself. I stopped at the kainga one day to see how my taniko was progressing, and foolishly continued to smoke as I sat in the weaving-house. Of course, there could be but one result from such a godless and impious act. A mistake was at once made in the pattern of the weaving, and I was requested to leave forthwith.

The term “pou” is applied to” the karakia given, but it is also, used as a verb. Old Whatu, speaking of his wife's knowledge of weaving, said, “Kua poua e au taku wahine ki tenei mahi, kua whangaia ki te puwha, kua karakiatia.” She was therefore supposed to be able to do anything in that line.

The above ceremony would also appear to have the effect of rendering a person energetic at the work taught. An old man said in my hearing, “Of a woman indolent at weaving it is said, ‘Ko tenei tamaiti, kaore i poua e ona matua’ (she was never poua by her parents).”

The puwha (sometimes “puha “) used in this ceremony has been the source of much tribulation to me. Some assert that it is the common edible puwha that is used; others that the term is applied to the kohukohu and other small plants. Yet again I have been informed that it is a generic term for what–ever sacred food is used in the ceremony, and that its use is to cause the pupil to retain the knowledge imparted to him or her, and to assist the pou invocation in driving home the lesson. This puwha is also used in other whakanoa ceremonies, when it is eaten by the ruwahine employed to take the tapu off. Also, when a priest is reciting the invocation known as “takutaku” over a sick person, in order to cause the evil spirit assailing such person to leave him, that priest takes a piece of the long-leaved puwha and passes it under or round (tapeka) the left thigh of the invalid, and then across his body—hai ara mo te mate, kia puta ki waho—as a path by which the affliction or evil spirit may leave him.*On this same subject another authority states that when the takutaku

[Footnote] * After which the priest throws or waves (poi) the puwha towards the heavens.

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was repeated a young leaf or shoot of flax was laid across the body of the invalid as a pathway for the atua which was supposed to be gnawing at the vitals of the haura (invalid), after which the tapu was taken off by the horohoro ceremony, into which entered the puwha, wrapped around a piece of cinder (ngarahu ahi mate).

Going, back to the tauira, old Ngahoro, of Ngatimahanga, says, “Ka moremore puwhatia te tauira, ha whangaia hi a ia”—the priest wraps a piece of puwha round a small stone and repeats his invocation over it. He then holds it to the mouth of the pupil (tauira), who simply bites the puwha, but does not eat it. The priest then takes the stone to the tuahu, or sacred place of the village, and there leaves it. The pupil will then be able to learn his tasks, and retain anything shown or repeated to him but once (kua marama a roto). A similar ceremony was held over a pupil in the school for wood-carving. In these degenerate days the puwha is replaced, I regret to state, by the common domestic pipe. So much for the Moremore puwha and its uses.

We have mentioned one Rua as a kind of tutelary deity of the whare pora. One of the turuturu is named after him. The name is also applied to the house-post on which the maro is suspended at the time of the kawa ceremony. At some remote period in the history of this ancient tribe of Tuhoe, or of the people from whom they sprang, there has flourished a popular, hero chief or wise man of this name. Rua is probably a deified ancestor, and the name enters largely into the mythology and sacred lore of Tuhoe Land, usually under the forms Rua-te-hihiri and Rua-te-pupuke. A member of the Ngatiawa Tribe—H. Tikitu, of the Pahipoto hapu (sub-tribe)—told me that Rua-te-pupuke was the originator of whakairo, a term which is applied not only to wood-carving, but also to tattooing and the weaving of coloured patterns in cloaks, &c. He states that on a cliff near Te Kaokao-roa, at no great distance from Te Awa-a-te-atua, are incised all the known patterns of whakairo. They were engraved thereupon by the gods of old, and from those patterns the old-time Maoris derived their knowledge of whakairo. A strange story this, and an interesting one when we reflect upon the fact that the art of wood-carving as practised by the Maori of New Zealand appears to be a home production. Again, it is said that Te Tini-o-te-Hakuturi, a tribe of wood-elves of far Hawaiki, taught Rua the art of wood-carving, and that he obtained patterns or designs from spiders' webs. Others” state that Rua-te-para-kore and Rua-te-kuka were the fathers or originators of carving. The former said, “Let all dust and small chips be carefully cleaned out of all wood-carvings.” “Not so,” replied Rua-

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te-kuka; “let them remain, that the red-ochre paint may adhere.” Whoever the original Rua may have been, it is more than probable that he was a denizen of the Hawaikian fatherland. It is here worthy of note that Tahiti would appear to be known to the Maori of New Zealand as Tawhiti-nui-a-Rua. Among my notes on Rua I find the following: Rua-te-pupuke was asked to go fishing. He replied, “Na wai te kokomuka-tu-tara-tohare i kiia tea haere?” (Who says that the kokomuka growing on the house-walls should go abroad?) The kokomuka-tu-tara-whare is a species of Veronica which is often seen growing upon the earth-covered whore puni of this land. The aged Rua meant to imply that he was too old to go a-fishing; he had grown to the walls of his house. This term is often applied to people of a stay-at-home nature. Also Te Tini-o-tie-kokomuka-tu-tara-whare is said to have been the name of one of the ancient tribes of this region.

The following is a fragment taken from one of my notebooks, and presumably a portion of a karakia:—

Rua te pupuke, Rua te hotahota
Takoto te ika whenua i te rangi
Katahi ka uraki mai
Ki te whanau o te manumanu kikino
Ki te Aitanga a Punga i au-e.

And again, in an ancient tangi or lament for one Rangi-uia, a famous ancestor of the East Coast:—

Whiti tuatoru.

Ko wai ra e hika
To mata i haere ai koe ki te Po
Ko Turanga wahine, ko Turanga tane
Te mata tena o to tupuna
O te Ao-ariki i te Mann tukutuku
Ka hinga tona puta ko Wai-o-tira-e
I oma atu ra kia Papa raia
I huribia atu ra e Tane ki raro
Ka puta atu ki waho ko Ruau-moko-e
Tarawa i coua puta ko te Baukape ra
Ko Tama-reo-rangi ka kume i a Tini
E waitohu ake ki te ao marama
Ka ngarue te whenua, ka ngaoko te moaoa
Ko te tuxnu o te rangi, ko te take o te rangi
Ko Maru-i-tauira, ko Maru-i-torohanga
Ko Maru-i-taura, ko Maru-i-tawai
Ko Maru-i-taketake, ko Maru-whakatupua
Ka ea ki runga ra
Ko te Tumoremore, ko te Tuhaha
Ko Rua-kapanga-e, Te Manu-nui ra
Ko Rua-te-bohonu, ko U-wawe-ki-uta
Ko Manawa-pou-e
Ko Kourunga ra, ko Tu-mauri-rere
Me ko Rongo-wbakaata, ko Rongomai-hi-kau
Ko Rua-whetuki-e
Ko Hitamu-rira, ko Turourou ra
Ko te Ika whakata ki roto o Turanga.

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Here Kua-te-hohonu appears in a connected genealogy, as has been proved by independent evidence. When Poura-ngahua went from Turanga (Poverty Bay) to Hawaiki he there obtained the kumara, and it is said to have been Rua who lent him the Manu-nui of Rua-kapanga as a means of bringing the kumara to New Zealand. This occurred at Ahuahu-te-rangi, at Hawaiki. One account states that it was to bring the Kura-o-tai-ninihi here, but this may be simply a term for the prized kumara. As for the Manu-nui, my informant says, “Ko Tane taua manu” (that bird was Tane), but whether in the form of a bird or a canoe I know not.

Te Whatu, of Tuhoe, says, “Mata-ora was an ancestor of the very remote past. He it was who first taught the art of boring or piercing (poka) in wood-carving. His knowledge descended to Rua.”

In a lament composed by Ranga-ika for his son, who was slain by Moko-nui-a-rangi, we find:—

Kati ra E faika
Te takoto i raro o Papa-tahua-roa
E ara ki runga ra. E mau ki to toki
Haua atu ra ki te Riu o Tane
E mau ki to patupatu hai tono kai mau i te ata
Nga mahi E hika! Na Rua-te-pupuke
Na Rua-te-hotahota, na Hine-ngaroa
Ra mahue i a koe
Ka puta mai te karere i a fee whare kahu ra
Ka pae Ngati-ngahere, he homai i te huia
He homai kakahu i te remu ngorengore
I te wai whinau, te Whatu o Poutini
Hai kawe i a koe ki te unahi o te Ika o Pararaki
Ki te awe mahiti mo Te Whata-angaanga
Ko te upoko ra E Waru-kai-tutae!
E Hongi-kai-hamuti! E Nini-ngau-tara
Ko taku ai pahu ra
Hai kohu manu ki Whitikawa raia
Mo te tai ruru-e, ki te pu whakatangi
Mau e ui mai mo te ara i whea mo te tamaiti-e
Ka riro nei i a koe
Taku waka to kau, he pitau whakarei
Taku waka whakatekateka.
Ki te tau o te wai-e.

This Hine-ngaroa here mentioned is said to have been a famous ancestress of the misty past, and who was a contemporary of Rua. She taught the art of weaving baskets and sleeping-mats in coloured patterns. It is probable this name is a form oi Hinganga-roa, who is here said to have been a child of Houmea-taumata and Tautu-porangi of wondrous fame. Houmea was probably of this region, inasmuch as a small pond on the summit of Huia-rau is known as Te Puna-a-Houmea, while Te Toka-a-Houmea is a huge rock situated in a paddock and near the roadside about a mile from Whaka-

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tane Township, on the road to Rua-toki. In “White's “Ancient History of the Maori “(vol. 2, p. 163) it is stated that Hinganga-roa built the first carved house from patterns, obtained by Rua from Tangaroa (the Polynesian Neptune). The story of Rua and Tangaroa-a-whatu as retained by Tuhoe is of great interest.

Of the origin of the art of weaving, H. T. Pio, of Ngatiawa, says, “The first of our ancestors to understand the art of weaving clothing was Hine-rauamoa, who was the wife of Tane-nui-a-rangi. She wove the garments known as hudira, tawhiri, maro-waiapu, huna, and tawhara-nui.* That was the commencement of “weaving among men, and the knowledge of weaving and ornamenting cloaks increased as time passed on.” Among these ancient garments Pio mentions te kiri o Tane, or tree-bark. This may possibly be a reference to the ante of Polynesia.

Of the kuaira, Pio says, “He huruhuru no tetahi iwi no mua noa atu o Mataora. He huruhuru manu pea. Ka mahia hai kakahu.” The kuaira was (made of) the huruhuru (hair, fur, or feathers) of a very ancient tribe of remote times, of the realm of Mataora. It may have been feathers of birds. It was used for clothing. In Tregear's dictionary “kuara” is given as a sandal.

While passing through the ceremonies described above, as also those pertaining to the whare maire, &c., the novice is not allowed to parbake of food, nor even to approach any place where food is cooked, kept, or eaten; nor may the pupil have any communication with his or her family. Should the rites or lesson not be completed during the first day, then the pupil must either sleep in the whare where the initiation takes place or else go off and sleep by himself somewhere outside. Wherever he may sleep, he and his sleeping-place are tapu. Not until after the tapu is taken off may the pupil eat food or retire to his own domestic circle.

After the flax-fibre has been obtained from the leaf by a scraping, or, rather, stripping, process (hangu, or haro), it is known as whitau, hitau, or muka. This fibre is then hung up in the sun to bleach, otherwise it will become discoloured (pango, whero, or puwai). For the finer class of cloaks, kilts, &c., it is then put through a beating process. The operator takes a hank of the fibre, and, placing it on a stone, beats it with a stone club (patu hitau). This makes the fibre very soft, and tends to bleach it. Fibre intended for the io (warp) is thus treated until quite soft (ngakungaku), but not so that intended for aho (woof-threads). The patu, or stone club, is about 10 in. long, and is well formed, being as symmetrical as

[Footnote] * Tawhara-nui = a garment of kiekie fibre.

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a war-club, though not polished. They were made of hard volcanic stone (kara or uri), the rough grain of that stone being preferred. A piece of quartz was lashed to a handle, and with this crude implement the club was chipped into form, albeit a long and tedious process. A good patu was much prized by weavers, and was handed down for many generations. The patu of the hard maire wood were too smooth to be appreciated for the above work, but were used for pounding fern-root, and some for pounding bark for dyeing.

Two kinds of threads are used in weaving—namely, miro and karure. The miro is simply a piece of fibre twisted by being rolled under the hand. The fibre is placed across the leg just above the knee, and held by the left hand. The right hand is placed upon it and thrust outwards, thus rolling and twisting the fibre beneath it. This movement is termed a “maui.” The same movement is then repeated, but backwards—i.e., towards the body. This is called a “katau.” The two rollings complete the process, and the miro is complete. This word “miro” is used as both verb and noun, as also is the term “karure.” The karure is formed by twisting two miro together, the result being a very strong thread. The thrums for korowai, &c., are usually karure.

Tihoi: This term is applied to short aho (woof-threads) woven into the centre of cloaks, maro, &c., in order to widen the centre, and give them a rounded form, that they may fit better. It is equivalent to the mata-whiti, or skipped mesh, in netting. The tihoi cross-threads do not extend to the edges (tapa) of the garment.

Tami: This word is applied to the tihoi, to denote completion Kua tami te tihoi—that is, the short aho are completed.

Kamo: To close or finish off a pattern in taniko (ornamental border to a cloak or kilt, woven in patterns with different-coloured threads) is expressed by the term “kamo.” In weaving the diamond pattern, when a diamond is finished off at the lowest point it is “kua kamo.”

Tăuă: This expression is applied to commencing the weaving of a garment. It is an ancient word, and applies only to weaving. Thus the aho tapu is known as the aho tauatanga (= aho timatatanga), or commencing woof-thread. Also, should I say “E whatu ana ahau i taku hihi-ma” (I am weaving my hihi-ma) the expression would not be good form; it savours of conceit; people will think that I am very proud of my knowledge of weaving. It is much better to say, “E taua ana ahau i taku hihi-ma (he kupu whakaiti tena)”—, Lam beginning to weave my hihi-ma, the same being a fine cloak with white thrums (hukahuka). In like manner is the

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expression “karukaru kete” made use of. Thus, I may say, “I am going to collect my karukaru kete.” I do not say “my property,” lest people should say that I was conceited; but still it has that meaning. Again, in a manuscript book written by my worthy old teacher, H. T. Pio, of the sons of Awa, I find this: “Ka rewa te taua. Ka ki-atu te tangata o te kainga, ‘Haere, kia pai te haere. Te karukaru kete kei mahue, te părărā kete kei mahue. Kei piki i mua o te aroaro o tetohunga, te mate o tena he kahupo, kaore e hopu i tetehi karukaru kete, me te mea e matapo ana. E kore rawa e hopu. He hara”—“The war-party goes forth. The people say, ‘Farewell! Be cautious. Forsake not the karukaru kete (take food with you). Forsake not the părărā kete (the sacred basket of the priest, in which is carried the tapu food for the Taumata and Kete rites before battle), lest ye pass before the person of the priest and be afflicted by the kahupo. If so, you will take no karukaru kete (loot, or prisoners), but be aa one blind. You will take none, because you have sinned.’” However, this is digression.

Kaupapa: This word is applied to the body of a feather cloak. The body or basis or groundwork is woven of dressed flax-fibre, and is termed the “kaupapa.” The feathers are inserted as the weaving proceeds/being secured by the aho.

Kiri kiore: An expression applied to close, neat weaving, in which the aho are very close together. Of neat work in weaving or carving a mohio will say, “Na te rehe.” This word seems to be applied to a small-handed dexterous person, handy at fine work, and of a quick, nervous temperament, as in “Ou mahi a te rehe,” “He rehe, na te rehe,” and “He maikutu tona tukunga iho.” “Maikutu” means meddlesome. Of a. child who is continually handling, fingering, or pulling things about we say, “Ou mahi a te maikutu.”.

Hinarunaru (= hingarungaru): This word is used to denote rough, poor weaving; it has a ridgy and uneven appearance. It is also applied to a rough or lumpy sea.

Taheha and takeka are words used to describe rough, unsightly weaving.

Hukihuki means unfinished: “Ko te korowai i tukuna e koe, haere hukihuki ana” (the korowai cloak that you sent goes in an unfinished state).

Ruha is a term given to worn-out fishing-nets, the same being made of whitau. They were often utilised as kilts, &c. An old proverb says,”Ka pu te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi” (the old net is cast aside when the new one is brought into use), a saying applied to a young person taking up the labours of his aged parents.

Parahuhu: To draw fibre across the thumb-nail in order to scutch it.

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Tawewe and katoatoa are words used to describe slovenly weaving, the aho being too far apart.

Kawitiwiti denotes that the io have been spaced too wide.

Whatu: To weave. Ta: To net. Ta is also an abbreviated form of tahei (to set snares for birds on trees).

Some interesting allusions to the art of the whare pora and other matters are contained in a lullaby composed by Hautu for her granddaughter, Te Pare-kānga:—

He Oriori.

E hine, e moe nei. Kati ra ke te moe
E ara ki runga ra, e mau ki te hoe
Ko te hoe nui e. Ko te hoe roa-e
Ko te hoe na Mata-hourua i tutu ai i te ata-e
Taia atu ra te tata, te takerepapa ra
Kia mimiti. kia pakora te tai ki Hawaiki—E hine ra.
E hine, hai noho i te taha ki te ahi, hai te koko-pouri
Kia whakarongo to taringa ki te waha o Tane
E ko* i te ata
Ko te tohu o te raumati, E hine
Toia ake ra te tatau, ka titiro ki waho ra
Haea mai ra ko te ata i tua, ko te ata i waho
Ko te ata e whano ai e tu te horopito i raro-e
Kao, ka awatea-e.
Ka hopu ra to ringaripga ki te turuturu
Komau whakaarahia i te putahi
Tuaumutia ra, ka kai Rua-i-te-hihiri
Ka kai Tangaroa me tana wbanau wahine
Me Hine-karekare, me Hine-ahu-one
Ko nga wahine ra tena i haere ai
Taputai roa i Hawaiki
E hine ra, taumahatia ra
Tuia a uta, tuia a tai, tuaia i te pito-e
Whatua mai te aho kia kawitiwiti, kia katoatoa
Mo te oti wawe, E hine
Waiho te whare, E hine,
I to tipuna, i a Faia
Hua rawa atu nei, ka matau rawa i a ia
Te whata a to tipuna, a Raumati-ninihanga
Para whetau e
Na Turu-whatu te whata a Pouroa i Tahuna-a-tapu
Mou ra, E bine, koi bikaia. koe ki te ahi o te ruhi
Ki ke ahi o te ngenge, ki te ahi o te whakamatiti
Mo te kore rawa, E hine.

Another term to express bad weaving is “ngekingeki.” If the io do not lie flat, smooth, and regular (he karawhiti no nga io) this word is used.

Ngaurăpărăpă: A term applied to whakairo kakahu. “Mo te whakairo a te wahine, kaore i mau te whakairo ki runga ki te tuara, ki te kaki ranei o te kakahu, engari ki nga waewae.

[Footnote] * Ko = an expression used to denote the morning and evening concerts of forest-birds; also known as the “māra o Tane.”

[Footnote] † Ahi whakamatiti = an incantation to cause the hands of a meddlesome person to shrivel or contract.

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Kia titiro iho ana e whai ana te ngauraparapa, ehara te wahine kokoti rere i te kakahu.’ Mo te wahine pakihore, rorirori.”

Taurekereke: A term applied to the margin or edges (tăpă) of cloaks.

Men sometimes entered the whare pora as students, and passed through the same ceremonies as women. They generally turned their attention to the whakairo—that is, the weaving of ornamental borders in various colours; also to learning to sketch and colour the patterns painted on the rafters of important houses.

Fine cloaks of dressed flax-fibre, such as the korowai, aronui, paepaeroa, hihi-ma, &c., and the finer maro, are termed kakahu, but the rough cloaks, formed of inferior material, and often covered with short pieces (hukahuka) of unscraped flax (harakeke), never received that name. Still they had distinctive names, as follows: All rough coarse flax cloaks are known by the generic name of “mai,” though they include different kinds, such as the timu or whakatipu, the pora, the manaeka, the tatara, &c.

The rough serviceable cloaks formed from the fibre of the kiekie are known as pākē, while those made of the fibre of the toi, or mountain palm, are styled “toi.” A list of the different cloaks, kilts, &c., as manufactured in Tuhoe Land is as follows:—


Aronui: This fine cloak, now no longer seen, was made from carefully prepared fibre of the best variety of flax. The body of the garment was left the white colour of the bleached fibre, and was without thrums (hukahuka). It was a much-prized garment, and worn by leading chiefs alone. It had a wide taniko, or border, woven in tasteful patterns of black, white, and red fibre at the bottom, and a similar border, but narrower, at the two sides.

Paepaeroa: This large cloak ranked equal with the aronui. It was made of the same material, but had a wide taniko at both sides and end. It had no thrums. In weaving the paepaeroa, the taniko, or ornamental border, was the first part woven, but in the aronui it was the last.

Parawai: A large cloak of same material as above. It had no thrums.

Parakiri: Same material. Taniko on two sides only; none on lower end (remu). A large cloak, with no thrums.

Horihori: Same material. Taniko on sides only. No thrums.

Korowai: Same material. A fine large cloak. No taniko, but the white ground covered with thrums of fibre dyed black. This garment is still made.

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Tahuka: Same material. It resembles a korowai, but has no thrums.

Pakipaki: Same material. It is like an aronui, with taniko on all sides. Ifc has an extra whakairo piece woven on to the taniko, “which piece is termed pakipaki; hence name of cloak. Papaki means to fasten one thing on another, to sew together. Among. Tuhoe the terms “papai” and “rāpā” are used to denote the sewing of a patch on a garment.

Hihima: Same material, but is entirely white. It has no taniko or whakairo, and all the thrums are white.

The taniko, or ornamental coloured borders, are, as a rule, woven on after the body of the garment is finished. About ten threads are woven at once, all of. which are miro except two, which are karure (double threads). These karure. are termed the “ngakau,” and are used to prevent the piece being woven from puckering or becoming irregular (hinarunaru). They are frequently pulled by the weaver, to keep the work straight and even. Names of famous weavers are long remembered. Should a koeke (elder) be watching my ruwahine weaving taniko, he will say, “Whakairo ana a Te Waha-mu” (Te Waha-mu is weaving), the latter being the name of her great grandmother, a famous weaver.

The above given were the swell, cloaks of Tuhoe Land—that Ik, of the flax garments; but -we yet have the feather cloaks to deal with, many of which were particularly striking. No cloaks have the taniko in centre or on the body of the garment, nor yet on upper end.

In making feather cloaks the ground (kaupapa) was woven of flax-fibre as in making a korowai, the feathers being inserted in regular rows, and bound by the aho as the work proceeded. The feathers were secured so as to overlap, and in a well-made cloak were almost as smooth, regular, and even as the plumage of a bird. Very beautiful is a well-made feather cloak, inasmuch as the various coloured feathers are often worked in regular and tasteful patterns. Again, some are white with a deep border of black feathers, others in squares of black and white. A fine one in my possession is worked in small triangles of black and. white alternately, the edges of each figure being marked by a row of red feathers of the kaka. The cloak is a very handsome one, and was presented to me as an oha by the Tama-kai-moana hapu of Maunga-pohatu.

These feather cloaks are known as kakahu kura or huruhhuru. When made wholly of the feathers of one species of bird they received such names as kahu kiwi, kakahu kakapo, kahu kereru, &c. Some fine feather cloaks are yet made in this district.

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Timu, or Whakatipu: This is a rough, strong, and serviceable cloak (as, indeed, are all mai and pākē) worn over the shoulders. They are not long trailing cloaks like the kakahu, already described, which are often as large as a single blanket. The mai, pake, toi, and kiekie might be described as capes. They are tied with a cord, and are so constructed as to turn rain well.

The timu is woven of the coarser varieties of flax, and is covered with short pieces of undressed flax about ¾in. wide, which lap over each other, and turn rain as a shingled roof does. The strips of undressed flax (harakeke) are about 6 in. long, and are scraped for about 1 in. in the centre, to enable them to be bent easily and lie flat on the body of the cape. They are inserted under the aho (cross-threads) as the garment is being made, being held by the aho in the centre, the two ends hanging down over the kaupapa, or body of cape. On the top of the cape is a thick twist of undyed whitau, which is the whiri (collar). Interwoven with the whiri is a cord of fibre dyed black, the ends of which hang down at either end and are used to tie the cape. These capes are about 4 ft. by 3 ft.

Manaeka (= mangaeka): This is a species of timu, but is somewhat more showy, as the strips of harakeke (hukahuka) covering it are dyed in various colours. A manaeka in my possession is of three colours, the covering-strips being in black, brown, and yellow. The black and brown are arranged in vertical bands about 4 in. wide, while the yellow strips are attached in bunches of four each, set at intervals; also five bunches of ten each are attached to the whirl, or collar. Manaeka (the elided “g” is a peculiarity of the Mataatua dialect) is the name of the yellow hukahuka, or strips; hence the name of cloak. “Ka manaekatia te whakatipu” is said of inserting these yellow hukahuka. The word “whakaewaewa” bears the same meaning as “manaeka.” These yellow thrums (hukahuka), known as “manaeka,” are so coloured by being scraped (hanunu. Cf. hangu = hāro) by means of a shell (kuku), and heated before a mass of glowing embers.

Pukaha, or Pureke: This is a very rough cape of inferior whitau.

Pora, or Tuapora: A rough cape of harakeke.* Used as a generic term.

Tatara: A cape of whitau ground covered outside with

[Footnote] * Rough shoulder cloaks and capes were also made of the fibre of the leaves of the ti or cabbage-tree, the dead leaves (kuka) of which were used as aho and hukahuka.

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short hukahuka of dried and curled harakeke (undressed flax), which rattle as the wearer moves.

Tihetihe: Resembles a timu.

Pauku, or Pukupuku: A thick mat-like cloak, very closely woven, and worn in battle as a defence against spear-thrusts. Before entering into a fight these pauku were soaked in water, which caused the fibre to swell, thus rendering it a very fair shield. A warrior would wear two of these mats, thus protecting his body against the thrust of huata, or tokotoko, and the impact of the tarerarera, a rude spear thrown by means of a whip.

Pokeka: A rough cloak. Used as a generic term for such.

Pekerere: A shoulder-cape. Some resemble a pora, others are closely set outside with thick thrums of coarse, roughly dressed flax, like a mai.


Piupiu: This is a kilt made of long strips of green flax, which are scraped about every alternate inch, and dried so that they curl into a round form (topuku = cylindrical). They are then dyed. The scraped portions become black, but the unscraped parts remain almost the natural colour of dried flax. The ends of the strips are scraped and woven into a band 4 in. to 6 in. wide, which passes round the waist, and is tied by cords left at either end. Thus the kilt is really composed of long, loose, detached strips which hang to the knee, but do not interfere with one walking, although they conceal the limbs. It is, in fact, a rational dress, and a picturesque.

Kinikini, or Pokinikini: Similar to the piupiu, but which rattles as the wearer moves, which the piupiu does not.

Rapaki, or Papaki: These were kilts made like a mai, but smaller, and would turn rain. They are not picturesque.

Kiekie Capes.

Rough but serviceable shoulder-capes were woven from the fibre of the kiekie, but, unlike the flax (Phormium tenax), the leaves of the kiekie had to be put through a retting process. They were steeped in water until only the fibre remained (kiangakungaku), to soften it, which fibre was then worked up.

Toi Capes.

These were very strong and durable shoulder-cloaks, and the fibre of the toi or mountain palm (Gordyline indivisa) was for centuries the only good material possessed by Tuhoe for the manufacture of clothing. For Nature has frowned upon

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that ancient tribe of mountaineers, even from the dim, mistladen epoch when Te Maunga (the mountain) descended from on high, lured to earth by the fleecy charms of Hine-pukohu-rangi (the Goddess of the Mist), and unto them was born Potiki (the child), from whom sprang Nga-potiki (the children), a tribe now known as Tuhoe and Te Ure-wera. Frowned upon by Dame Nature were these Children of the Mist, for, look you! so inhospitable are those savage ranges of Tuhoe Land that, save for the abundance of birds in their great forests, no man might dwell therein. For the kumara and taro could not be cultivated; and, as for clothing, no flax grew in the realm of Potiki save the inferior kinds found on cliffs, which were useless. Thus, when the snow and sleet of the whaturua (midwinter) drifted down from giant Huiarau, the only salvation for these bushmen were the wharepuni and the toi cloaks. It is only in recent times that the better lands of flax have been introduced and cultivated here. It is said that Taitua first introduced the better flax, from Waikato, some six generations ago. The kiekie fibre was formerly used by the people of the lower Whakatane and Tauranga Rivers, but it does not grow far inland, the nearest to Rua-tahnna being at Hana-mahihi. In ancient times the leaves of the mauku (Asplenium bulbiferum) were woven into a sort of rude mat, and a very poor and perishable one it must have been. Hence the old-time sayings for this district: “Rua-tahuna kakahu mauku,” and “Rua-tahuna paku kore.” These mauku mats were worn at night only, being warmed at a fire and used as a covering. They were too perishable to be worn outside. It is thus a fact that in ancient times these mountaineers wore scarcely any covering, and in winter they remained in their semi-subter-ranean houses.

The toi capes are made in the same style as a timu. The fibre is much coarser than that of flax, and much resembles in colour and appearance the cocoanut-fibre seen in floor-matting. In making these capes only enough leaves are cut for one day's weaving, for if left longer they cannot be prepared; they become dry, and the vegetable matter cannot be disengaged from the fibre (ko te para kaore e pahuhu). The midrib (tuaka) is taken out of the toi leaves, it being too hard to work, after which the leaves are beaten to soften them and disengage the para or vegetable matter. These fine leaves are often seen 8 in. wide. The hukahuka of this cape are strips of the toi leaf, not bruised or beaten, or they would not lie close and flat, but curl up. (Kaore e pai kia marū a waho, engari kia tupa tonu, kia kaua e kopa.) The toi capes are dyed black when finished, and will remain waterproof for many years. The old dried leaves of the toi are termed

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kuka”; they are used for the hukahuka of the capes (strips same as for timu) and for the aho. This term “kuka,” also “koka,” is applied also to the dry leaves of the ti (cabbage-tree), of which, however, there are very few in this region. “Ou mahi a te tuakoka, kaore he kăkă, he aha, no reira ha kakahu i te kuka ti.” This terra “tuakoka” is applied to a poverty-stricken person or place. “E tuakoka ana te kainga nei,” said of a place where food is scarce.

Kahu Kuri (Dogskin Cloaks).

These were probably the most highly prized of all the ancient) cloaks. There is but little information on record -anent the old Maori kuri. Pio, of Ngatiawa, states that the ancient tribes of New Zealand possessed the dog, it being known as “kuri ruarangi.” The kuri was used for hunting the kakapo, weka, and kiwi, and was also eaten. The tails and skins were used for cloaks, or, rather, to adorn the same, for the body (papa, or kaupapa) of the cloaks was almost invariably of whitau.

Kahu-waero: This was the most highly valued. The cloak was woven of dressed flax, and so thickly covered with white dogs' tails that papa of the cloak was quite concealed. The hair of these tails was long, and the tails thick and bushy.

Mahiti: This was of the same materials as the kahu-waero, but the tails were not so numerous, being attached at wide intervals.

Puahi: This was made of the skins of white-haired dogs, the skins being cut into strips, and sewn on to the body of the cloak.

Topuni: This was made in the same manner as the puahi, but of black skins.’ This was the least prized of these cloaks; still, all were worn by chiefs only.

Ihupuni: Of similar make to the topuni, and of black skins.

Tapahu: A war-cloak of dog-skin. Used, as a protection against spear-thrusts. “He tapahu o Irawaru” is an ancient saying, Irawaru being the tutelary deity of dogs. This cloak was formed by sewing together the skins of dogs, no flax being used in its contraction.

We have given a list of such cloaks as were used by the natives of this region in former times. These cloaks and capes were all worn across the shoulders, and were fastened either in front or on the right shoulder. The rougher class of such garments were fastened by means of the two strings before mentioned but the finer ones (kakahu) were often fastened

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by means of cloak-pins, termed “autui.” These autui were slender curved pins, about 4 in. in length, very neatly made of whalebone, and in later times from boars' tusks. A man would often have a bunch of these autui suspended to his cloak in front, as an ornament. The aurei were small, oblong, flat pieces of whalebone, similar to the kakara fastened to a dog's neck when hunting the kiwi. Four or six of these aurei were fastened to a chief's cloak in front, so as to make a rattling sound as he moved.

Ochre: No Maori chief or exquisite could be happy unless his dressing-case were well supplied with red ochre, red being the colour most esteemed by the Maori. This ochre (horu, or kokowai) was applied to both the body and the clothing in days of yore. It was mixed with shark-oil, or the oil expressed from the berries of the titoki, and thus used as a paint. Lateral bands of this pigment painted across the forehead were considered a great ornament, and were known as” tuhi korae,” or “tuhi marae kura.” Bands or stripes of the same crossing the face diagonally from the corner of the forehead down, over the eye to the cheek were termed “tuhi kohuru.” Ochre was either collected from certain springs or by burning certain earth. Famous springs of this kind generally had distinctive names, such as “Nga Toto-o-Tawera,” near Ohaua.


Shoulder-cloaks, large and small, were the principal clothing of the Maori. Garments wherewith to cover the lower limbs were a secondary consideration. The rapaki, or kilt, was usually a small mai, or a piupiu, as we have seen. Besides these, there were different kinds of maro used by both males and females. The maro may be described as an apron, being much smaller than a rapaki (kilt). Neither did the maro extend round the body, but was either drawn between the legs (ka hurua te maro), and fastened behind to the belt, or else two maro were worn, one in front and one behind (taumua and tau-muri).

Maro-kopua: This was a triangular apron or girdle worn by girls of good family. It was woven of fine dressed flax-fibre, and was adorned with taniko and hukahuka (thrums). The desired shape in this maro was obtained by means of the tihoi process.

Maro-waiapu: This was also a woven maro ornamented with thrums. It was square in shape, and was worn by chiefs only; never by the ordinary people. It will be remembered that this was one of the garments woven by Hine-rau-a-moa, the inventor of weaving. H. T. Pio gave the genealogy of Hine-rau-a-moa as follows:—

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Table Showing the Descent of the Earth-Dwelling Sons of Man from Chaos Through Hine-rau-a-moa.
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Mara-waero: This was a prized maro worn by chiefs only, and was made as a kahu-waero, being adorned with dogs' tails.

Maro kuta: This was a small single maro, worn by girls, the tau or cord being fastened to the belt behind. The maro kuta was made of a species of sedge or coarse swamp-grass known as “kutakuta,” or “paopao.” (He meet, takiri, ka paieretia, ka mahia hai maro mo nga wahine.) Two aho, or cross-threads, were woven across the coarse fibrous paopao to bind same, the ends hanging loosely down, as in a piupiu.

Maro-huka: This is said to have been a maro made of flax-fibre. It appears to have been worn only by priests, or during certain rites or ceremonies, as was also the case with tu-hou. The maro-huka was worn during the war-dance, and was donned by a priest when about to engage in some sacred task. (“Ka huihui mai nga tohunga ki te tuahu ki te inoi, ka tatua ki te tu-hou, ka maro-huka, ka whakatavrangi, ka pakauroha nga ringa.”)

Tu-hou, or maro-tuhou: This appears to have been a rude maro of leaves of the karamuramu, or other shrubs. It was worn by priests during ceremonies of various kinds. It was also known as a “maro-taua.”

Maro-purua is a term used to denote a married woman.

Tau-maro: This was not a woven maro, but merely a bunch of flax-tow or refuse (hungahunga) worn by young girls (hai huna i te aroaro). Boys wore nothing; not even the proverbial postage-stamp, as a rule.

The term “maro” is also applied to certain karakia, or invocations, used in war, such as Te Maro-o-whakatau.

Tatua and Tu, Belts and Girdles.

The generic term for belts is “tatua,” but they are of different kinds. The term for belts made of undressed flax is “tatua whara.” Belts formed of one woven band, whether of dressed or undressed material, are invariably termed “tatua.” Those formed of many plaited strands are known as “tu.” These tu, as known by the present-day Maori, are belts worn by women, whereas men wore the tatua pupara, which comes under the heading of “tatua whara.”

In former times, however, the name “tu” was applied to a belt, girdle, or maro worn by warriors in battle, and also by priests. It is not clear as to whether this tu was simply a waist-belt or an apron, such as the maro. Possibly the term was applied to a combination of the two, inasmuch as the term “tu - maro” is used in connection with certain ceremonies. (Ka mau te tohunga ki tana tu-maro, ka karakia i te karakia makutu mo te hoariri. Katahi ka karakia i te Maro me te Wetewete.)

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Tu karetu: This was a woman's belt, or waist-girdle. It was formed of ten or twelve plaited strands (kawai or kawekawe) of the leaves of the karetu, a sweet-scented grass. The midrib (tuaka) is taken out from each leaf, or the leaves would be too brittle, and break when dry. The plait is usually of the rauru pattern. These plaited strands are only connected at the ends, where they are fastened together by the tau, or cord used for tying the tu round the waist. This cord is of plaited dressed flax-fibre, usually dyed black and red.

Tu-muka: This tu is made of dressed flax-fibre. It is composed of twelve strands, four being white, four black, and four red, the whole forming quite a showy girdle. The ends are plaited together to form the tau, or tying-ends. The strands have a singular appearance. Each strand is composed of two twisted threads (miro), which are twisted together by the rolling process before described, thus forming a karure. The operator then holds tightly the end of one of these threads, and pushes the other back (he mea koneke) until, instead of enveloping the held strand in a long spiral, it appears to be “seized” round it at right angles. (Ko te kawai, he mea parahuhu. Ka miro, a ka parahuhu.)

Tu-maurea: This tu is made from the bright reddish-yellow leaves of the maurea, but had a proportion of flax-fibre mixed with the maurea in order to strengthen it. This and the sweet-scented tu karetu were favourite material for belts with women. The mawrea is not found in Tuhoe Land, but was obtained from the southern end of the Kainga-roa, near Taupo. The karetu has been destroyed by stock about Rua-tahuna, but may be found in the secluded gulches around Lake Waikare-moana, and the wilds of the Parahaki, on the Upper Waiau. A famous saying is, “He maurea kia whiria.” Should a war-party be out on the trail, and encounter a stray person, or come to a village on the line of march, and propose to slay such person or persons, the latter will say, “Kaua e kohiti. te patu. He maurea kia whiria”—that is, “Don't slay us, the common weeds, but go on and secure the maurea.”

We observe a reference to the prized maurea in a lament composed by one Tama-ruru for a dead child:—

Taku piki kotuku-e. Taku mapihi maurea-e
Tena ka mamate ra ki tua o nga roto-e
Ki taku kai kapua nana i ahuru-e
Nana ra i tekateka kia tu ki te riri-na
Taitaia ra e te hune o te toroa
Kia pai at koe ra te takoto i te kino-na.

Another tu was known as tu-wharariki, which is said to have been made pleasant to the young ladies of old by having the sweet-scented kopuru moss inserted therein. Tu were

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also made of the culms of the hangaroa. In ancient days women often had a tu tattooed round their waists.

Tatua: As observed, tatua-whara is a generic term for all belts made of harakeke, or undressed flax.

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Tatua-pupara: This is a man's belt. It is woven about 5 in. or 6 in. wide, of strips of flax about 1/8in. in width, some of which are dyed black. The belt is woven in patterns, usually of a vandyke form. When woven the band is folded or doubled, thus forming a belt of some 2 ½ in or 3 in. in width, the edges being turned in and stitched together, with a cord of dressed flax. The tau, or tying-strings, are then fastened on at each end. This belt was sometimes used to carry small articles in, as Taukata of old carried the famous kao kumara.

Women's belts of undressed flax were woven about 4 in. wide, of black and white strips of flax, in various patterns, the zigzag pattern known as “whakakokikoki” being a favourite one. Two plaited cords (kaha) of dressed fibre dyed black are fastened along the inside of the belt, and at each end thereof are plaited to form the tying-cords in the poutama pattern. Such a belt is termed a “poutama,” from this style of plait.

The belts of dressed flax-fibre, generally black, often worn-by women now, are said to be a modern style, copied from the make of the green-hide saddle-girth. -The following are names of patterns used in the making of belts, baskets, and sleeping - mats: Poutama, whakapatiki, tokarakara, whaka-kaokao, panatahi, whakarau - nikau, whakatutu, tapuwae-kotuku, papaki-ngaro, torua.

Baskets were made of many different shapes, and used for many purposes, in former times. Many are quite handsome, being worked in patterns of different colours—that is, in white, black, and red. A fine bright-coloured red strip for plaiting into baskets is obtained from the midrib (totaled) of the toi palm. Baskets were made of undressed flax, also of undressed strips of leaves of the ti or cabbage-tree.

Kete - kai, or food-baskets: These were roughly woven of broad strips of green flax, and were for temporary use only. They supplied the place of plates and dishes, and were known by many names, such as ‘“paro,” “tonae,” “taparua,” &c.

Putea: This was a generic term for a finer class of baskets, used for holding small articles, such as ornaments, dressed fibre for weaving, &c. There are several different kinds of putea. Some have a flap to them, which covers the, mouth of the basket, and is secured with a string. These are termed “kopa,” and generally have a cord attached for the purpose of carrying them slung over the shoulders. They are made of narrow strips of flax, undressed but dried, some

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of which are dyed black. They are woven in patterns with these black and white strips, and have a very neat appearance.

The pu-kirikiri was a basket used for holding seed kumara when that valuable tuber was being planted. The pu-tutu was used for straining the fruit of the tutu, the basket being lined with the feathery heads of the toetoe, or pampas grass, which retained the huirua, or poisonous property of the berries. The ngehingehi was a long kete used for squeezing the crushed berries of the titoki, for the purpose of expressing the oil. The toiki, or tukohu, was a long kete of a round shape, used to contain food when steeping in water. In former times large toiki were made of pirita, or supplejack, to store seed kumara in when placed in the whata, or storehouse.


We here give a list of varieties of this valuable fibre-bearing plant, which, list, however, is by no means complete, this not being a flax-producing district:—

Oua: This produces the best fibre.

Pari-taniwha: Gives a good fibre, which, however, requires to be steeped in water so soon as it is stripped, otherwise it assumes a reddish colour. After being steeped for some time it is taken out and hung up to bleach.

Wharartki: Sleeping-mats are made of this.

Rātāroa: A medium fibre.

Ngutu-nui: Used (undressed) for making nets and bird-snares.

Huhi: Has a very inferior fibre.

Tutae-manu: A very poor fibre.

Taneāwai: The variegated flax.

Ruatapu: He harakeke tapu. A sacred flax. Used for tying the hair in former times.

Dyes and Dyeing.

Two very good and fast dyes were used by the weaving, fraternity of the whare pora. They were red and black. The black ii, used for both dressed and undressed flax, and its use is still common. The red dye is now but little used, for two reasons: First, the practice of taniko is almost obsolete; and, secondly, because the natives are beginning to use European dyes, which, I take it, is the death-knell of the ancient whare pora.

Black Dye: For this purpose there are two processes through which the fibre has to pass. It is first soaked in

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water in which certain barks have been steeped, and afterwards it is placed in a certain black mud. For this black dye the bark of either the hinau, tawai, tawhero, or hinau-puka is used. This bark is placed upon a stone and beaten with a wooden mallet of maire wood, shaped like a thick pestle, until the bark is all bruised and broken up. The patu for beating fibres are made of black volcanic stone (karä and uri), which have a rough, open grain, the same being considered preferable for pounding fibre for io threads. These beaters are very neatly made, and were highly prized, being handed down for many generations. The one here obtained for the Auckland Museum is five generations old. When thoroughly crushed a portion of the bark is put into a wooden trough or bowl, or a trough hollowed out of a log. A layer of crushed bark is placed in the bottom of the trough. On this is placed a layer of fibre, then another layer of bark, and soon. The trough is then filled with water, and the fibre left to steep in the dye thus formed for twelve or sixteen hours. When taken out the fibre is sticky to the feel and by no means black, but of a dirty-brown colour. The fibre is then steeped for twenty-four hours in a peculiar black mud, such as is found in a white-pine swamp, and in which is seen a reddish exudation. (Kia noho tetahi mea whero, waikura whenua, kai roto i te repo. Hai te woo kahikatea te paru pena. Ko aua tu paru he mea heri ki etahi kainga, ka whakato ki tetahi repo, a ka nui haere.) Such swamps are famous places, and have been used for centuries, such as the one at Rakau-whakawhitiwhiti, near Te Umu-roa, while at Kaka-nui is a small swamp to which the desired mud has been “transplanted” from the former. This mud renders the fibre a deep black; in fact, it is the black dye, while the dark sap of the bark sets the dye of the mud. (Ko te hinau hai pupuri i te pango o te paru.) When dried the fibre is ready for the weaver.

Red Dye: This was obtained from the bark of the toatoa (or tanekaha). The bark is pounded and broken up. A separate fire is then kindled away from the settlement. It must not be a fire at which food it cooked, nor may it be kindled from such a fire. Thus there is a certain amount of tapu about this fire, and the process of dyeing fibre thereat must not be witnessed by others save the manipulators, otherwise the latter would lose their knowledge (ka riro te matauranga), which, however, may mean that onlookers would thus acquire the knowledge of dyeing, a circumstance by no means desired by the conservative members of the whare pora.

The crushed bark is placed in a vessel, which is then filled with water and placed on the fire, where it is allowed to boil for some time. In ancient times the bark was placed in an oko

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and stone-boiled,* but now iron pots are used. After being allowed to boil for some time, the fibre to be dyed is placed in the vessel, the water in which is now coloured with the red sap of the toatoa bark. After being boiled for some time, a bed of hot, white, clean ashes is prepared, the fibre taken out and placed in these hot ashes, which is raked over the fibre. A stick is used as a poker, to separate the fibre, and keep turning and raking it, so that every part may come into contact with the hot-ashes, and yet not be singed, burnt, or discoloured by the heat thereof. This process is hai pupuri i te whero, koi mawhe (to set the dye and prevent it from fading). The fibre is then again boiled in the dye for about ten minutes, after which it is hung up to dry, and is then ready for use.

In a district such as Rua-tahuna, where the toatoa-trees are few, they were much prized, and had special names. This tree is found on the Huiarau and Putai-hinu Ranges, but is scarce in the lower country.

Te Kiri-o-te-Rangi-tu-ke is a lone toatoa-tree, situated on the Tahua-roa Range. It is named from an ancestor of the Ngatitawhaki hapu, and from it is obtained the bark used in my own whore, pora.

Te Kiri-o-Koro-kai-whenua is another such tree at Te Weraiti. Only the descendants of those two ancestors may take bark from those trees.


In former times feather-quills (tuaka) were used as needles, the base of the quill being used as the point and the thread of flax-fibre fastened to the end of the feather. It was used for mending cloaks, &c. The name of this quill-needle was “toromoka,” which word also means “to sew with the same.” (Toromokatia toku na.)


Many different plaits are known to the Maori, each of which has its special uses. Among others are the following:—


Whiri-papa: A flat plait.

Whiri-kawe: A flat plait of three strands (kawai).

Whiri-tuapuku: A round (topuku) plait of four strands.

Rauru: A flat plait of five strands.

Iwi-tuna: A round plait of four strands.

[Footnote] *i.e., boiled by means of hot stones being placed therein, a common practice in ancient Maoriland.

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Whiri-pekapeka: A flat plait of nine strands.

Whiri taura kaka: A square plait of ten strands. This pattern is said to have been copied from the peculiar square stem of the plant known as “Te Whiri-a-Raukatauri.”


In an account of certain wars of the Ngatiawa Tribe, which occurred some six generations back, and which was given to me by H. Tikitu, of that tribe, I find the following: “Te “Whata-manu and Te Manawa were kept by Te Rangi-ka-wehea as beaters of aute, for that was the clothing of old, and those two were clever at that work.” This is the only note I have obtained from natives as to their knowledge of this ancient clothing, nor do I think that it obtained to any extent at that period.

Sandals, &c.

Several different kinds of sandals and gaiters were used in former days by the mountaineers of Tuhoe Land, principally in traversing the snow-clad ranges in winter. My notes on this head are meagre, and soon disposed of:—

Parengarenga: These are said to have been leggings of flax, woven into a broad piece, and then laced on to the leg extending from the ankle to just below the knee. In modern times sandals of pigskin were worn with these.

Tumatakuru: These were a species of sandal and galligaskin combined. They were made by a netting process, from the plant tumatakuru (Aciphylla squarrosa). A. colensoi is the taramea, an alpine spear-grass. The late Mr. T. Kirk gave me the native name of the former as “kurikuri.” The tumatakuru were a kind of sandal and half-legging combined. They were folded over the foot and above the ankle and laced on, being stuffed or lined with rimurimu (moss).

Rohe: This was a sandal and legging combined.

Kapa: This appears to have been another name for the folding sandal, as the word implies.

Papari: A combined sandal and legging made of green flax, and staffed or lined with moss. They are said to have been a great boon to travellers in the snowy ranges.

Paenaena: This was a sort of toe-cap, netted of muka (= whitau), or dressed flax-fibre. They were used as a protection to the toes in walking, and were fastened with a cord passed round the ankle.

Tauri-komore: It is difficult to procure precise information as to this article. The name “tauri” or “Jauri-komore” is applied to an anklet or bracelet. Some are narrow bands

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woven of dressed flax-fibre and ornamented with taniko; such anklets were worn by women of rank. Others were made of the hollow culms of a plant called “hangaroa,” through which threads of flax-fibre were passed, a band being formed of these. Te Kowhai, of Ngatiruapani, states, “The tauri-komore was an anklet. It was a tohu rangatira—a sign of good birth. They were made by stringing the komore (?) upon cords of plaited flax-fibre. The komore were hollow white objects brought from afar—I think, from the ocean. Many such cords were thus made and worn on the leg as an ornament.” H T. Pio says, “Te tauri-komore kei raro tena i nga waewae o nga rangatira e here ana.” The name was also applied to bands tattooed on the wrists or ankles. (Komore = a sea-shell.)

Pohoi: These were ear-ornaments of bird-skins. Such skins, minus head and wing- and tail-feathers, had a piece of round wood placed in them (hai whakatopuku), so that they would dry in that shape—i.e., in a cylindrical form. They were worn suspended from the ears.

Poro-toroa: These were short pieces of the bones of the albatros, cut into lengths of about 2 in. They had a cord passed through them, and were suspended from the neck, the bone resting on the wearer's breast. I have seen but one native so adorned here, though the various greenstone pendants, kuru, whakakai, kapeu (or tangiwai), are numerous.

Heru, Combs: It is stated that these were formerly made of the stalks of the heruheru fern (Todea intermedia), also of bone and wood. The fine-toothed combs are made otmapara, the hard resinous heart-wood of the kahikatea. One such in my possession is ingeniously and neatly laced in the pattern known as tapuwae-kautuku.

Chaplets, &c.: These were made from the sweet-scented, leaves of various shrubs and plants, such as the tanguru-rake, koareare, kotara, and pua-kaito, and were worn by women. Also bead ornaments of feathers and various prized plumes were worn. The generic terms for the above ornaments appear to have been “pare” and “rakai.” Rakai, or whaka-rakai, also means to adorn the head with such gear. Hakari also means to adorn, as with, clothing. Pigeon-oil and the oil expressed from the titoki-berries were scented with a moss called “kopuru,” or the gum of the tarata-tree, which tree is chipped at certain times to cause this gum to flow. Bird-skins, such as that of the pukeko, were prepared as for pohoi, and, having been scented with this oil, were worn suspended from the neck. This is termed a “pona tarata.” The hei raukawa was composed of strips of albatros-skin, with feathers attached, about 2 in. wide. Such strips were fastened to the odorous leaves of the raukawa shrub, and worn as

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above. The kopuru and tarata gum were used in a like manner. Such were the ornaments of Rua-tahuna paku kore and Rua-tahuna kakahu mauku.

Potae taua: These were mourning-caps, or, more properly speaking, fillets, inasmuch as they possessed no crown. They were worn by widows in former times. They were made of a kind of large rush found growing on the margin of lakes, and known as “kutakuta,” or “paopao,” or “kuwawa*(ko te paopao, mehemea ka parahuhutia ka pakepake nga mea o roto). The stalks were peeled of the outer covering, leaving the white inner part, which was then formed into a fillet for the head. In some cases the material was died black and a reddish-yellow (menaeka), the last colour being obtained by the same process as that described in making the manaeka. These coloured materials were then woven into a fillet, the hukahuka of which hung down all round the head, and covering the eyes of the wearer. The potae taua was secured by being tied at the back of the head. Other such mourning-caps were made of bird's tails (Kotore or humaeko) fastened entire to the fillet, and which waved to and fro as the wearer moved.

Floor-mats, Sleeping-mats (Whariki and Takapau).

Whariki is a generic term for mats or covering for the floor, whether woven mats, coarse or fine, or merely leaves or Lycopodium, as is sometimes used. Takapau is applied to the finer class of sleeping-mats. Coarse mats, such as that termed “tuwhara,” are placed on the ground, and the fine-woven takapau of flax or kiekie over these. The leaves of the kiekie are split into narrow strips, which are bleached until quite white, the mat having a very neat and clean appearance. When split these strips are hung in the sun until half-dry, when they are taken down and beaten on the ground, the operator taking a handful (tata) and threshing them on the ground. They are then hung up again for a while. This process is repeated several times, until the strips are quite white. No dye or pattern-weaving obtains in connection with the kiekie mats.

Coarse floor-mats were also made of the kutakuta, described above. Mats of these kinds are made in several widths or pieces (papa), the leaves of the flax, &c., not being long enough to run right through. When a midrib (tuaka) is thus formed in weaving mats it is termed a hiki, which is the joining of two papa. (Ka patai tetahi wahine, “E hia nga hiki o to whariki e toe ana?” Ka ki mai tera, “E toru.” Na, kua mohio e wha nga papa.) The turning of the ends of the strips at the ends of a mat is termed “tapiki.”

[Footnote] *See “maro-kuta.”

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We will now conclude by giving some of the rules pertaining to the art of the whare pora, and explain the various aituu (evil omens) that were liable to overtake those who did not strictly adhere to such rules.

The finer class of garments (kakahu) and the ornamental taniko thereof may be woven during the day-time only. So soon as the sun sets the weaver must release the right-hand turuturu and roll up or cover her work until the next day. Common garments (puweru) may be woven at night, but not the high-class articles. A weaver may, however, work at preparing the io, aho, or hukahuka at night. Should the above rule be broken the weaver will lose all knowledge of her art; the shades of night will deprive her of such. Should she weave such a garment at night, the same is a tatai mate, an evil omen, and a tüpö.

Aroakapa: When asleep, should a weaver, or her husband, dream that she sees a garment suspended before her (as on turuturu), it is the sleeper's spirit (wairua) that discloses such to her, as a token of misfortune to come. It is the impending misfortune that sends notice of its coming. This is known as an aroakapa. It is useless trying to escape from this aitua.

When engaged in weaving, should a stranger approach the weaving-house the weavers will cry him welcome, but at the same time each grasps the right-hand turuturu (the sacred one), and lays it down, or leaves it at an angle across her work. If left standing it would mean an aroakapa, and an evil omen for the offending weaver or her friends. If the guest is from afar the omen assumes an appalling magnitude. In this latter case the garment is taken off the turuturu and put aside, carefully covered, otherwise the aroakapa, will be on hand. If it is a large party that arrives, and they enter the house where weaving is going on the work is rolled up and placed aside. If only one or two people known to the weavers, then the women will remain seated by their work, and join in the conversation. But the sacred turuturu are still lying on the ground, and no weaving is done. If a stranger approaches such a house, and sees the turuturu are standing, he at once leaves or proceeds on his way. He knows that he has come unawares upon the weavers, and has brought disaster upon them. It is therefore a good place to migrate from.

When I paid a visit to Te Wai-o-hine, a famous weaver of Rua-tahuna who has made many old-time articles for me, as I entered the whare where she was weaving a korowai she seized the sacred turuturu and leaned it against the wall at an angle of 45°, thus slacking the tawhiu, but not covering or removing the garment, as she would have done had I been a

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stranger. She, of course, ceased working until I had seated myself, when she re-erected her turuturu, and went on with her work.

Women will not smoke while weaving, and should they eat in the same house where the weaving is being done they will cover their work and go aside to eat.

Hukiora: If a chief from a neighbouring village arrive at the weaving-house, and should the weaver lean the turuturu over without detaching the work therefrom, that is a hukiora—she has saved herself from the evil omen. As the chief seats himself he will say, “Erect your turuturu.”

Tahakura: It is an evil omen for the weaver to leave an aho uncompleted at sundown, when she leaves off work—that is, the aho is not carried out to the margin of garment at the right-hand turuturu. This is termed a tahakura. (“Kua tahakura to whatu.”) That garment will never be finished by the weaver, for every succeeding aho (woof-thread) will prove to be short, and thus will not run out to the margin. The weaver will never again be able to concentrate her mind on the work to complete the same. The tahakura has unnerved her, and destroyed her power of continuity. That garment will have to be thrown away. As that worthy old adept, Te Whatu, of Rua-tahuna, remarked to me, “Such is the result of not having gone through the ceremony of Moremore puwha; one is afflicted by the tahakura and the aroakapa,” Moral: Let not the sun descend upon an incomplete aho, and enter thyself betimes as a novice for the all-powerful Moremore puwha.

But should a close acquaintance—i.e., a man—chance upon a woman weaving, such is not an evil omen for her, albeit he will not remain. (Ka ahua konekone, ara ka whakama, he kore hoa tane mona hoi hoa noho.)

Some authorities state that if an aho turns out to be too short the result is a pouaru—that is, either the weaver or her husband will shortly die. Should a person go behind a garment that is being woven—that is, on the opposite side to the weaver—and look at that garment, that also is an aroakapa.

In preparing miro (twisted threads) for the io and aho (warp and woof) of fine garments it is an aitua (evil omen) to throw the hungahunga or tow into the fire. All the knowledge of the weaver will be lost; it will be destroyed by the fire.

Weaving of fine garments must invariably be carried on under cover, never in the open, although it is quite sufficient if the weaver has merely a rough shelter of branches over her

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work. Should this rule be transgressed the evils of the tahakura will descend upon the unhappy weaver.

When weaving, should the aho become knotted, it is a sign that visitors are coming; they will arrive to-morrow.

Should a turuturu fall without being touched—na te roe tangata i turahi—the brow of approaching man has overthrown it—that is, visitors are coming.

Contrast of colours: The Maori seems to have a good idea of contrasting colours in weaving. The term. “hae,” or “wana,” seems to bear this meaning. When speaking of making a tu muka, Te Whatu said, “Let us have three colours, two are not enough; kaore e hae (they will not hae). (Ara, kaore e wana te titiro atu i runga i te kakano kotahi, e rua ranei, tena ki te toru, ka nui te wana. Ko aua mea kai te ririri, e whakaputa ana i tona pai tetahi, e whakaputa ana i tona pai tetahi—koina te hae.)”

Such are the meagre notes collected anent the ancient whare pora and the art of weaving as practised by the neolithic Maori of New Zealand. Meagre are they, and of a disconnected nature; yet is it well to preserve the little information on these matters that is accessible in these days of the pakeha. For the art of the whare pora is doomed, and the aronui and maro-kopua of old have been replaced by print dresses, the levelling prints of Manchester and the wooden-nutmeg State, which are procurable alike by slave and chief-tainess. The rays of the setting sun are lingering on the dismantled and empty whare pora, the tauira come not, the tohunga has gone in search of the laving Waters of Tane, which he shall never find. The Moremore puwha is unknown to the present generation, the tahakura and aroakapa are objects of scorn. And even as I look from my tent-door out across the primitive vale of Rua-tahuna the declining sun drops behind the golden Peak of Maro, the purple shadows glide across the darkening forest, and the art of the whare pora is lost.