This was a spell of magic in the form of a chaunt or dirge. It was used in order to slay a person or persons sometimes living far away. The following is a tangi tawhiti composed and chaunted by the Tuhoe people in order to avenge the death of Te Umu-ariki, one of their chiefs who had been slain at Whangara:—
Taugi taukuri ai, e te mamae ra
Takaro ra mota ki whakaaro iho
Koia te tangata ringa taupoki patu kohuru
Ko tama e tu, ko Rehua tu roa Rite rawa lara te toa taurekareka
Whakaorahanga ki te ra, ki te marama
Nou te kaha ki te ika tere
Ka pae kai a Matioro
Turanga o te tipua o Paoa, o Takitumu
O Ruawharo, o Timu-whakairia, o Rongokako
Ka mene kai roto o te puku nui o Tahaia
Aurara ou ringaringa, kai te rokiroki
Kai te penapena, kai te rakai whenua
Tetea nga niho o Tara-mai-nuku
Te niho o Tipoki ka whakatara ki te whetu
Te niho o Tipoki ka whakatara ki te marama
Ona niho kai tangata
Ka ngau ki te mata o Hoturoa
Ripia mai nei e te paea
Te taha maui ki tana (ripi)
Te Tipi a Houmea ki te one poutama
Tena te tohu na te tipua
Ka mau kai te kiri o te toa horopu
He ringa kia tu
Ka maha noa atu e roto—i.
The tipi a houmea mentioned above is identical with the papahāro, a most grievous affliction. It is a rite of magic which is used to blast the fertility of lands and render them sterile, or to destroy shellfish, &c., on a beach. The performing priest smooths a little sand or earth, which represents the lands whose fertility is to be destroyed. He then scores it across with a wand, repeating at the same time his spell of magic to blast the fertility of that land. Or he will take a stone and recite over it his spell, and then throw the stone across the land or water to be sterilised. It is the mănă of his ancestors, whom the priest invokes, that is the destructive power. The incantation to restore the good products of such lands to their original state of vitality is known as “pare-hao-kai.”
The following is an interesting tangi tawhiti: A female relative of Piki, of Tuhoe, was bewitched by Taratoa. Piki, who was at Whakatane, chaunted this tangi tawiti in order to slay Taratoa, who, with all his people, was living inland. Taratoa saved himself and two relatives by means of counter-charms, but the rest of his relatives died:—
E hine, Marunui i te tapui
Ka taka i ou tuakana
Tu ake hoki, e hine! ki te tu wharariki
Hai whakakakara mo hine ki te moenga
Te moenga tē whita, te moenga tē au
Oti tonu atu koe ki raro—e—e
Taupae atu ra i tua o Te Wharau—e hine!
Ka wehe ko te po, ka wehe ko te ao i a koe
Tokona atu ra ki tawhiti
He tokouri, he tokotea, he mapuna, he kai ure
Kai ure noa ana, e hine!
Nga tohunga i nga atua kia mate
Koi tonu nga niho ki te ngau.
Na Maui i hangarau, e hine!
Tana ika tapu, ko te whenua nui
E noho nei taua
I tikina ki raro wheuriuri, kia Hine-nui-te-Po
Hai ngaki i te mate
I tukua mai neiki āna karere,
Ki te waeroa, ki te nainu poto
Hai kakati i te rae.
I te mata o te hurupiki—e hine!
Ko ta paua (?) ka ea te maie
O te hiku rekareka nei, o te tuna—e-i
Takoto mai ra, e hine!
I roto i te whare papa
Ko te whare ra tena o to tipuna, o Tama-a-mutu,
I tuhia ai—e-ki tuhi marei kura
Koia a Ngai-Tama-tuhi-rae
I whakairi ai—e-ki runga ki te rakau
Koia te kauhau i to papa, i a Maui, e hine!
Tera ia te rua o tini raua ko mano
I karia ki te oneone ika nui—e hine!
Hurihuritia iho ra, e hoa ma—e!
Ta tatau mahuri totara
No te wao tapu nui a Tane
No te awa-e-i Oatua.
No runga-e-i Okarakia
No nga pinga-e-i roto i te Kopua
Taku totara haemata,
Te rite ai, e hine!
Ki a koe—i—a.
Oatua is a stream and Okarakia a settlement at Ruatahuna. The tuna mentioned is Puhi, the eel-god, who was slain by Maui for interfering with Hine-nui-te-Po, Goddess of Hades.
The Maori possessed spells of potent magic to contract the land, and others to stay the sun in its course. These were used by travellers. Others were used by persons engaged in searching for anything. If a person were supposed to have been slain or perished from hunger or in a snowstorm while travelling, a priest (tohunga ruanuku, or magician) would perform a certain rite in order to “awaken” the bones of the dead—a ka hu mai aua wheua, and the bones would resound to show their whereabouts.
The punga was a spell to lessen the speed of a person pursuing one, or of a person one is pursuing.
The hearts of slain enemies were cooked at a fire termed “ti-rehurehu,” and spells were repeated over them to sap the bravery of the enemy and render them faint-hearted.
The whakaumuumu is a magic spell used to destroy human life. To ward off a threat of magic the following brief phrase is used: “Kuru ki whakataha.
If a person is put to shame before people he may wish to be transported elsewhere. He will therefore call upon his familiar taniwha, or monsters—probably ancestors of his, who assumed that form at death—to bear him hence. He will summon them by repeating the following:—
Tangi atu au ki te ninihi nui o te moana
Ki te parata nui o te moana
Ki te taniwha nui o te moana
Ki te paikea nui o te moana
Kia hara mai, kia horomia hine
Ko Hine whakaruru taua
Kei a rawea e koe
Tutakina ki te rangi taua.
The toko-uri and toko-tea are said to be two posts or sticks which are erected at the sacred place of a village. One is the emblem of misfortune, sickness, and death; the other is the emblem of health, vigour, and life. The one is subjected to magic rites that misfortunes may not assail the tribe—to expel sickness, death, &c. The other is similarly treated to cause it to retain the health, vigour, &c., of the tribe.
It is excessively bad form to be inhospitable to a visitor. Should he arrive while you are eating, ask him at once to join you. Should you neglect so to do, thinking, perhaps, that he is a person of low birth and an ignorant, yet he may possess powers of magic and destroy you for slighting him. Hence the old saying, “Kai ana mai koe he atua, noho ana ahau he tangata” (You are eating there as a god; I am sitting here as a man).
When red war has siezed upon the land it is quite probable that you will find yourself, spear in hand and patu in belt, about to measure strength with an enemy; or trouble may arise in other ways, and it is decided that you settle the matter by single combat. You first carefully perform the rite of tuaimu, and repeat the spell or incantation known as a “mata-rakau” or “hoa rakau.” This has the effect of rendering a thrust or stroke of your weapon most effective. Before you commence to repeat the charm you must spit upon your weapon. If you wish to kill your adversary you add the words “Mau ka oti atu ki te Po, oti atu” (Away to the shades for ever) to your tuaimu spell which is meant to weaken your enemy. But, if your adversary is a relative, you probably do not wish to slay, but merely to wound him. Therefore the above words are omitted, and when you have struck down your foe you stand over him, and, expectorating upon your fingers, rub them over the face of the fallen man, at the same time repeating: “Mau ka hoki mai ki te ao nei”. (Return you to the world of life). Understand, you yourself are under tapu at this time, and therefore your spittle even is, as it were, impregnated with that tapu. Therefore the action just described has the effect of imparting mana, or power, to your magic.