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Volume 33, 1900
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Art. LVIII.—Maori Origins: Part II.*

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 15th October, 1900.]

Origin of Man.

The origin of man, according to the old Maori mythology, is mixed up with that of animals, birds, and fish, inasmuch as all are descended from Rangi, the Sky Father, and Papa, the Earth Mother. Tane-nui-a-rangi, son of these lordly beings, was the progenitor of the human race. His first action was to produce the various trees of the forest, after which he married Hine-rauamoa and begat man.

Here we see that two of the children of Rangi and Papa produced Te Ra (the sun), Te Marama (the moon), Nga Whetu (the stars), Te Hinatore (phosphorescent light), Pari-kiokio, and Hine-rauamoa. Pari-kiokio is the origin of the kiokio, a forest fern. Hine-rauamoa is the mother or origin of man.

After Tane had forced his parents apart and lighted the world he then sought to produce man. He took Hine-tu-maunga,

[Footnote] * For Part I., see vol. xxxii., page 294.

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who had Para-whenua-mea, the personification of flood-waters. He took Hine-wao-riki, who produced the kahika and matai, forest-trees. He took Momuhanga, who had the totara, a forest-tree. He took Tukapua, who had the tawai, a forest-tree. He took Mangonui, who had the tawa and hinau, forest-trees. He took Te Pu-whakahara (said to be the name of a star), who had the maire. He took Rerenoa, who produced the rata. He took Ruru-tangi-akau, who produced the rata. He took Rerenoa, who produced the kotuku-tuku, the patate, as also all kinds of insects. He took Tutoro-whenua, who produced the aruhe (fern-root).

In like manner, Hine-mahanga was the origin of the tutu shrub; Tawake-toro, of the manuka; Huna, of the harakeke (flax); Tawhara-nui, of the kiekie.

(Other accounts state that Tane took to wife one Kura-waka, grandchild of Tiki.)

After Tane had long searched for a female by whom he might produce man, he went to Rangi and asked, “Kei hea te uha” (Where is the female)? And Rangi replied, “Kei raro te whare o aitua e hamama ana, i runga ko te whare tena o te ora, kei raro te uha.” Then Tane took Hine-rauamoa and begat man. They had Rongo, who is the personification of peace and the tutelary deity of cultivation and the husbandman. They had Hine-te-iwaiwa, who is the tutelary deity of the art of weaving; and Tangaroa, the Polynesian Neptune, who rules the ocean and the denizens thereof; and Tu, god of war; and Tawhirimatea, who holds the winds; and Ioio-whenua, and Putehue. The latter had Makara, who had Mahuika and Hine-i-tapeka, the origin and deities of fire.

Tane and his brethren dwelt in the primal home Auroroa. In the days of Maui Mataora was the home. In the days of Rongoatau it was Hawaiki-nui.

The Maori of yore traced his descent primarily from chaos and space, before the world was, through Rangi and Papa; and later through the personifications of the elements of fire and water, as also the sun, stars, and moon.

Sex originated in the far-distant past when chaos obtained, long ages before Rangi and Papa. The first two beings were Te Pu and Te More; the former was of the male sex, the latter of the female. They became one and were inseparable. They possessed the two names, but these were applied to the one being.

Origin of Speech.

The power of speech is derived from Rangi and Papa, and a different speech was given to man and a different speech to birds, and to dogs, and to fish, and to insects. For birds, and reptiles, and fish all possess the power of speech, although

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it be not understood by man. We cannot understand the words of their speech. It is only when we are dreaming that we hear dogs, and birds, and reptiles make use of human speech.

Origin of Affection.

The feeling of affection originated with the heavenly bodies. The sun and moon moved together, and a great love sprang up between them. The sun embraced the moon, and they ever greet each other, in all season. A time came when the sun said to the moon, “Go you to your own place, as also our brethren the stars; let us ever love our brethren.” Such was the origin of affection, which we still know in the world. And it ever continues with these people of the heavens; they never quarrel, but go their ways in peace. They know not death as we, their descendants in this world, know it. They die neither in war nor yet by the house-wall. The saying is, “Rurea taitea, ka tu ko taikaka” (Reject the taitea = sapwood, and leave the taikaka = heart wood, standing). Let us explain: The taitea represents the people of this world, who dwell in evil towards each other. They perish like the sapwood of timber. But the taikaka is the durable heartwood, which resembles the heavenly bodies on high. But no trees of earth equal them; they perish and decay, while the sun and moon and stars live on for ever; neither do they fall from on high.

When Tane and his brethren disputed over the question as to whether or not their parents (Heaven and Earth) should be separated or not, that was the origin of family quarrels, which are ever known on earth.

And Papa (the Earth Mother) still provides food for her descendants in this world; she produces all the foods upon which we subsist.

Origin of Karakia (Invocations).

Invocations were first used in primal chaos, long ages before man was. In the time of Te Pu and Te More their invocation to their gods (Te Ao-matinitini and Te Wherikoriko) was this:—

Te Wherikoriko, naumai koe, haere i mua ra
Te Rangi-matinitini, naumai, haere koe i mua ra
Ki o taua uri.
Haere i tua, haere i waho

Tangaroa-akiukiu had two daughters, Hine-raumati (raumati = summer) and Hine-takurua (takurua = winter). They are the personifications of the two seasons. They both became wives of the sun. Hine-takurua attends to the work of sea-fishing, while Hine-raumati attends to the cultivation

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of food (the Polynesian Ceres—for corn substitute kumara = sweet potato). Hine-raumati gave birth to Tanerore, who was the origin of the haka (posture dance). On a hot summer day you may see the haka of Tanerore (i.e., the quivering of heated air).

Origin of cooking Food.

When Rongomaui obtained the kumara from Whanui he brought them down to this world and gave them to Pani-tinaku. And Rongo said to Pani, “Take these and prepare the sacred food in the sacred ovens” (i.e., to take the tapu off the kumara). This was the first occasion on which food was cooked by man. Had it not been for Rongomaui man would still be eating his food in a raw state, as birds and dogs do, for they do not know how to cook food.

Peace and peace-making and the peaceful arts originated with Rongo-matane and Ioio-whenua. The great upholders of peace were Te Hapu-oneone. All peace and gentleness in the world of men proceeds from those remote beings.

Origin of Fire.

As stated, Mahuika and Hine-i-tapeka were the origin of fire and the tutelary deities of that element. The children of Mahuika were Takonui, Takoroa, Manawa, Mapere, and Toiti. These were represented by her fingers, and were themselves the primal fire.* When Maui went to Mahuika to obtain fire for mankind she gave him one of her fingers; but Maui the deceitful surreptitiously destroyed the borrowed fire and returned for more, until all the offspring of Mahuika were destroyed. Then rose Hine-i-tapeka, and Maui fled, pursued by the fire. But Maui, as he fled, repeated an invocation which caused rain to descend in such volume that the pursuing fire was threatened with extinction, and was only saved by concealing itself in the kaikomako tree—i.e., it took shelter with Hine-kaikomako, the personification of that tree. Hence it is that man ever obtains fire from Hine-kaikomako.

(The kaikomako furnishes the best wood for the purpose of obtaining fire by friction, and the sticks carried by travellers were generally of that timber. If the kauahi are seasoned a competent person will produce fire in about three minutes, as I have often seen.)

The fire that burns in the underworld is said to be the fire of Tapeka.

Origin, or Prototype, or Personifications of Birds.

The kawau (cormorant) sprang from Noho-tumutumu, the parera (brown duck) from Moe-tahuna, the weweia from Ruku-ruku,

[Footnote] * These are yet the names of the fingers among the Tuhoe Tribe: Takonui (the thumb). Takoroa (the index finger), &c.

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the seagull from Hine-karoro, the pakura from Wairua-kokako.

Rehua (a star name) is said to be the origin of the koko bird (tui), and also of the inanga (whitebait). The inanga said to Rehua, “What are we to do?” Rehua replied, “When you see a red appearance in the sky that is a sign for you to go to your ancestor Wainui (the personification of the ocean) and give birth to her grandchildren; when they are grown you will all return (to the fresh water).” Thus when men see the red light in the sky they say, “O people ! The inanga are migrating.” For theinanga are taking their young to their ancestor Wainui (the ocean), there to be born. The pahore, the koputea, the porohe (all small fish), and eels all go. The old inanga return to the rivers when they have parted with their young, who follow after. These fish begin to go to the sea in the moon Rakaunui. There are two other migrations afterwards, known as Takero and Te Kohi-o-Autahi-ma-rehua.

Both Rehua and Takero are star names, as also, I believe, is Naha, the origin of the patiki (flounder).

Stones and pounamu (greenstone) are descended from Tangotango (see Part I., vol. xxxii., art. xxxiv.). Kopu (the star Venus) is also another origin of rock and stones—the kinds of stone known as mata, kiripaka, kamaka, kurutai, tuapaka, and turua.

The origin of house-building was the house known as Te Tatau-o-rangiriri, built by Tane and his brethren in the far land of Mataora; and there also originated the rite of the kawanga whare. One Rua, an ancestor of very remote times, is said to have been the origin of the art of wood-carving.

The personified form of snow and ice is one Nganga. The origin of snow, according to Maori folk-lore, is as follows: The mountain of Tongariro is said to be a male, while Pihanga is a female. Rangi gave the latter to Tongariro as a wife, and to them were born the sleet and drifting snow. Reference to this occurs in song—

Kati au, ka hoki ki taku whenua tupu
Ki te wai koropupu.
I haria mai nei i Hawaiki ra ano e ana tuahine
Te hoa tau te pupu e hu nei i Tongariro
Ka mabana i taku kiri, na Rangi mai ano
Nana i whakamoe, ko Pihanga te wahine
Hai ua, hai hau, hai marangai ki te muri-e

The origin of weaving is assigned to Hine-rauamoa, before mentioned, while Hine-ngaroa is credited with the invention of weaving in coloured patterns.