Art. V.—Food Products of Tuhoeland: being Notes on the Food-supplies of a Non-agricultural Tribe of the Natives of New Zealand; together with some Account of various Customs, Superstitions, &c., pertaininy to Foods.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, 6th October, 1902.]
It will probably surprise many to learn that a non-agricultural tribe of Maoris obtained in the North Island of New Zealand to within comparatively late times. It was in this wise: Before their conquest of the Ruatoki and Waimana districts the Tuhoe or Urewera Tribe possessed no lands on which the kumara, taro, or hue might be cultivated, their country consisting of remarkably rugged and high-lying ranges, with narrow gullies between them, and with nothing in the way of flat land or alluvial soil. The three cultivated food plants enumerated above, possessed by the Maori in pre-European days, will not thrive in this region, and hence the denizens of Tuhoeland, the Children of the Mist, were compelled to subsist upon the products of forest and stream. Of course, when the potato was acquired from the early European voyagers to these shores, then it was found that the new
tuber flourished exceeding well in Tuhoeland, and this new food product must have been an immense boon to these bush-men.
Until the introduction of the potato there were practically no clearings in the great forest which covers this rugged district. As the people had nothing to cultivate, and, moreover, as all their food-supplies were obtained from the forest, it behoved them to interfere with that forest as little as possible. The natives lived in small, scattered settlements, each consisting of a few huts situated in a small clearing. Also in those days but little fern-root was obtainable within the boundaries of the Tuhoe Tribe, and it was not until they occupied the Ruatoki, Waimana, Te Whaiti, and Waikare-moana districts that they came into the possession of lands producing the aruhe, or edible fern-root.
According to Maori belief, the Earth Mother it is who provides her descendants with food, which she does out of affection for her offspring, who were scattered afar across the world in the days of the gods. One division of the Tuhoe people—viz., Ngai-Tama, of Te Waimana—carried their respect for the Earth Mother so far as never to bury their dead in the ground, but always placed the bodies up in trees. It was not right, according to their ideas, to put the bodies underground, as it is the earth which produces food for man.
Food ever occupies a very important position in the native mind. Their thoughts, conversation, proverbial sayings, and stories deal frequently with this subject. This probably springs from the fact that food was difficult to procure in the old days, and called for almost continuous effort in one way or another, hence such work occupied their minds almost as much as their time. Each month, as it came round, in all seasons, had its task for the bushmen, birds or rats to be caught or certain berries to be gathered and preserved.
It is not my intention in this paper to describe the innumerable methods of taking birds and rats (kiore), with the rites, superstitions, &c., pertaining thereto, which obtained here in former times. The task is too lengthy for the time at my disposal now; and, moreover, I hope to include such in a paper on “Forest Lore and Woodcraft,” to be prepared and forwarded in the future.
As observed, the procuring of food occupied much of the time; skill, and thoughts of the Maori. The man who was diligent in procuring food was thought much of, while other accomplishments would often appear to have taken second place. I chanced to remark one day that Piki, of Tuhoe, must have been a great composer, so many songs being attributed to him. An old native observed, “Yes; he composed
a great many songs, but I think that means that he was a very lazy man.”
Times of scarcity of food were by no means rare. These would usually occur before the bird-taking season in the interior of the island, and often on the coast when the sea was too rough to permit of fishing-canoes going forth. At such a time natives would exert themselves as little as possible, and would spend most of their time in lying down. They would rise late, take an enormous drink of water, and then lie down again. Some time after they would partake of the one scanty meal of the day, after which they would again lie down. They drank great quantities of water at such times.
Usually the old-time Maori would have two meals a day. They would rise early and proceed to the work of the day, in the cultivations or elsewhere. Having worked several hours, they would partake of the first meal, prepared by the women, at nine or ten o'clock. They would then recommence work and proceed until quitting-time, which was usually early. After this the second meal was eaten. In returning to the protecting fort for the night the women would bear on their backs great bundles of firewood or of food.
When the Rev. Mr. Colenso visited Waikare-moana in December, 1841, he found the natives of that place had scarcely any food at the time, and were living upon roots and herbs and a few potatoes which they had left from the previous year.
The Maori is ever closely in touch with nature, owing not only to their ever searching for the products of forest, plain, and waters, but also to the fact of their genius for personification and the belief that the human race, animals, fish, birds, trees, &c., are all sprung from a common source, are all descendants of the Sky Father and the Earth Mother. We shall note some singular results of this belief in the present and also in future papers.
The Maori larder was sadly deficient in flesh foods, and this may possibly have had something to do with their cannibalism, for they were undoubtedly fond of human flesh as a food, with the exception of those who were koto—i.e., who had a feeling of repugnance towards that unnatural diet.
The domestic dog (kuri) was not numerous enough to form an important item in the native bill-of-fare, but its flesh was highly esteemed. This dish, however, only appeared on important occasions, as at a feast, or when prepared for a distinguished visitor. The hindquarters of the kuri are said to have been the best eating. Its flesh was sometimes used as an o matenga, or food for the death journey, on account of its delicacy from a Maori point of
view. When a person was near unto death a special food would be prepared as a last meal for the dying person. Earthworms (toke) were a favourite article for this purpose, and it is said that the sweet flavour (tawara) of that prized food would be detected on the palate of the eater for two days after the meal.
Apparently the kuri, or at least one breed thereof, that known as ruarangi, was possessed by the first Maori inhabitants of this land. Judging from the way in which this animal is spoken of in the local traditions, it appears probable that there were two breeds or varieties of the domesticated dog here in former times.
The flesh of the kiore, or native rat, was highly prized by the Maori, and formed one of the principal food-supplies of Tuhoeland. This little creature was very numerous in this district formerly, more especially on the high-lying ranges, where it fed on the beech mast, and was trapped in great numbers. It disappeared about the early “fifties.” The expression “tau niho roa” was applied to a season when the kiore were particularly numerous, and hence bold in stealing from the food-stores of the natives. The flesh of the rat was preserved for future use in the same manner that birds were—viz., by taking out the bones and placing the flesh in a vessel, which was then filled up with melted fat, which preserved the contents. Rats and birds preserved in this manner are termed huahua. Old natives say that the bones of the rat were pulled out quite easily, that the flesh did not appear to adhere to them. When cooked for immediate consumption the rat was wrapped in leaves of the fern termed petipeti and placed in the hapi, or steam-oven. Such a wrapper or envelope for birds or fish is termed kopaki or poutaka. The rat was cooked without being skinned. They were caught in traps and pits, which we will describe later on. It is said that two kinds of rats obtained here, the matapo, a black variety, and the tokoroa, a grey one.
An old myth of the Bay of Plenty tribes tells us that Pani was the (mythical) mother of the kumara, and that one Hinemataiti, a younger sister of Pani, was the origin of the rat.
Regarding the cannibalism of the Maori, human flesh was not only eaten after a battle, but also it was preserved for future use as huahua, in the manner described above. When rations fell short or some special food was required for a feast or to place before a guest a slave would be very likely knocked on the head, and his body consigned to the oven. Again, special raids were often made for the purpose of procuring human flesh or to capture a person to be slain, cooked, and eaten, in order to give prestige to certain rites of old, such as the opening of a new house, the tattooing of a chief's
daughter, or the performance of the tua rite over a new-born child.
The diet of the Tuhoe Tribe was ever largely vegetable, and we will commence with those plants or trees of which the roots or subterranean parts were eaten.
This is the root of Pteris aquilina var. esculenta, the plant being known as rarauhe, and the young shoots or fronds thereof as mokehu. It is the common fern seen almost everywhere in unimproved open country.
Among various peoples, more especially those living in the more primitive culture stages, a feeling akin to reverence is evinced for staple foods. Mahomet said to the Arabs, “Honour the date palm, for it is your mother.” In like manner the Maori should honour the fern-root, for it has ever been a most important article of food in these isles, more especially among those tribes who had no access to the coast, and with whom the kumara and taro did not flourish or thrive without much labour and care.
However, the Maori has honoured the aruhe by assigning to it a celestial origin, thus placing it on a level with man: for the origin, personification, or parent of the aruhe is Haumia, one of the offspring of Rangi and Papa, the Sky Parent and the Earth Mother, and brother to Rongo, the origin of the kumara, or sweet potato. For Maori mythology teems with such allegories or personifications, and with many singular metaphorical terms.
Hence fern-root is often termed the peka o Haumia, and was often spoken of as the salvation of man, it being a great and ever-obtainable stand-by when other food-supplies ran short. An old native once said to me, “Let me explain to you. The ancestor who ever provides for his descendants is Haumia. The food he provides for man is seen on hill and plain and in the valleys between. That is the good work of Haumia, the supplying of his descendants with food. For Haumia is the origin of the mokehu (fern), and the children of the mokehu are the waeroa (mosquitos), who, with their companions the namu (sandfly), ever wage war against man. And haumia-roa (a term for fern-root) was the principal food of the ancient people of this land before the kumara and taro were brought hither from Hawaiki.”
This Haumia must not be confused with his descendant Haumia-nui, who was a female, and who married Tiwaka-waka, the earliest human resident in Aotearoa (New Zealand) of whom tradition tells us. We give below the descent of Haumia from Rangi and Papa:—
Haumia is spoken of in an allegorical manner as being the bones and flesh of Papa (the earth). “Papa, the Earth Mother, said to her offspring, ‘I will provide sustenance for you.’ Hence the Maori people dig into the earth to procure fern-root from their ancient mother. Just think of man. A child is born of the female parent, and is fed on the milk of the mother and attains manhood. Even so is man fed by his ancient mother, the earth”.
The natives recognise different varieties of fern-root, each having its name. We give here a list of such names obtained in this district:—
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|Motuhanga, said to be the best variety;||generic term, aruhe.|
|Manehu, said to be good, a mealy variety;|
|Paka, a good variety;|
|Kaka-nui, inferior, but occasionally eaten;|
|Koata,* very inferior; it is not eaten;|
The term tuakura is applied to inferior fern-root, which is brown or reddish in appearance when broken. The prized varieties are thick roots, containing very few of the black fibres (kâkâ), and which are brittle when broken, exposing a fine white interior. A cake made of the pounded meal of the fern-root is termed komeke.
The principal implement used for digging fern-root was the kaheru, which was made from a hard wood, as maire or mapara, and was from 2 ft. to 3 ft. in length. One end thereof was sharp and flattened, about 4 in. in width; the other end, being the hand-grip, was round (topuku). Another implement sometimes used for the purpose was the rapa maire, a sort of rude wooden spade. The ko, or planting-tool, was also sometimes used to dig fern-root.
[Footnote] * Possibly koata refers to the young shoots of fern.
When engaged in digging for fern-root a karakia, or charm, known as a tewha was recited in order that a plentiful supply might be obtained. We append specimens of these charms:—
Ko rua uri, ko rua tea
Ko rua i te whatiwhati
Ko rua i te monamona
Te peka o tu aruhe
Te homai nei
Te whakawhiwhia mai
Te whakarawea mai
Ki te mata o tenei kaheru
Oi whiwhia, oi rawea
Tu mai te toki
The following is a taumaha, a form of charm used for much the same purpose as we say grace before meals. Such invocations were much used in ceremonies pertaining to the first fruits of birds, fish, crops, &c.
Taumaha te peka o tu aruhe
Te homai nei
Te whakawhiwhia mai
Te whakarawea mai
Ki te mata o tenei ko
I whiwhia, i rawea
Homai taku aruhe.
Prior to the repeating of the above the first root dug was roasted at a sacred fire by the priest officiating, who would probably eat the roasted meal of the aruhe himself, he being the medium of the gods.
A place where fern-root was dug was termed a tawaha aruhe or karinga aruhe. The fern was burned off these places about every third year, for two reasons—to render the roots white, and to prevent the fern being smothered or overgrown (kaikairakau) by scrub, such as manuka, mako, &c. This burning was done at the time when the hinau and whakou* were in bloom. If the burning was left until the blooming of the rata and the korukoru,† then the fern-root would become brownish (mawera) in appearance, and be unfit to eat. Fern-root was dug when the mokehu, or young growth of fern, had attained its full height—that is to say, in the early summer. But in times of scarcity it would be dug at any time.
The fern-root when dug was thrown into heaps (koputu), and afterwards carried to the village and stacked on a sort of stage termed a titara aruhe, where it was left exposed to wind and rain until “cured,” or dried, when it was packed
[Footnote] * Whakou: The flower of the tawari tree is so termed in Tuhoeland.
[Footnote] † Korukoru: Name of the pirinoa, a parasitical plant, when in flower. It usually grows on tawai trees.
into baskets (kete) in layers, this latter process being known as whakamātāa. These baskets are then stored in the cooking-huts or food-stores. When the cooked article is required the fern-root is roasted at a fire and the outside part scraped off, and the root is then beaten and pounded with a short club 10 in. or 11 in. in length.* When pounded the black stringy fibres are taken out and the root again pounded, after which the mealy portion is eaten. Or the meal is cleaned and pressed into cakes termed komeke, which are round and about 8 in. in length. These were again roasted at a fire, which prevented them from crumbling and formed them into a compact mass. These cakes or rolls were sometimes steeped in the juice of the berries of the tutu shrub, of which more anon. This latter was quite a treat to the neolithic gourmands. Komeke aruhe was the chief food carried by war parties when on the trail of Tu. It is said to be a very sustaining food.
When fern-root was required to be kept for some time it was placed under water in some convenient pool, where it would be kept for possibly a year.
Fern-root grounds were jealously guarded in former times, and woe betide the outsider who attempted to dig roots there. Tapuha, of Ngati-Apa, was slain by Te Arawa at Pekepeke, on the Kaingaroa Plains, for the above offence; while Ngati-Hape slew Te Rakau, of Ngati-Apa, for taking fern-root and eels on the Kuha-waea Block, at Galatea. Serious inter-tribal wars were often caused by these acts of trespass.
“Te manawa nui o Whete” (the sustaining-power of Whete) is a local saying applied to the fern-root. Whete was a valorous ancestor who, prior to going into battle, would consume a large quantity of fern-root cakes, and then perform prodigies of valour.
“Kaua e patu i te aruhe i te po. He upoko tangata, he tohu aitua.” Do not pound fern-root at night-time. A human head, an evil omen. If you do so, then your head will soon be pounded by the weapon of an enemy.
“Ka ora karikari aruhe, ka mate takiri kaka.” The fern-root digger will survive when the parrot-snarer is assailed by hunger. You can obtain fern-root at any season, but parrots are only taken during the winter.
Roi = aruhe = fern-root. A generic term.
Rotari.} A term applied to young fern-root not yet fit for digging.
Aupatu aruhe. A bundle of dried fern-root.
[Footnote] * This club, termed by Tuhoe a patu aruhe, but by some tribes a paoi, is here made of the hard wood of the maire tree, but among some tribes stone ones were used.
Mata kai awatea. A term applied to fern-root. The first word is probably mātā (see above), while the last two words refer to the prejudice against pounding fern-root at night.
Te aka o tuwhenua is another expression used for fern-root. The creeper of the solid earth, in allusion to the far-reaching roots of the rarauhe.
He Tau (a Song).He aha te kai e ora ai te tangata
He pipi, he aruhe,
Ko te aka o tuwhenua
Ko te kai e ora ai te tangata
Matoetoe ana te arero i te mitikanga
Me he arero kuri
“The perei is an orchid, scientifically known as Gastrodia cunninghamii. It is not at all a common plant.”*
When camped at Ruatoki last summer our camp cook drew my attention to several plants of perei growing near the creek, where they were sheltered by a growth of scrub, and so protected from stock. The stalks were from 2 ft. to 3 ft. in height. At the foot of each was a mass of small tubers or roots from ½ in. to ¾ in. in thickness.
Some singular notions prevail among the natives in regard to the perei. It did not, according to the Maori, originate in or from the earth, but was formed by the gods. Again, when engaged in digging for the roots the word perei must not be mentioned or no roots will be found. At such a time it is termed maukuuku. For a similar superstition in Tahiti, see Tregear's Dictionary under Kapara; also a singular note concerning the mandrake-root in Lang's “Custom and Myth.” Similar beliefs also exist among the Maori in regard to birds.
The perei was dug in the winter season, and dried by exposure, as fern-root is. It was either roasted at a fire or cooked in the steam-oven. It was not found in any quantity, but would be dug up when seen.
Ti (Cordyline, the Cabbage-tree of the European Settlers).
The ti is known on the East Coast as kouka, and in some other districts as whanake.
The various species of Cordyline as recognised by the Tuhoe Tribe are as follows:—
1. Ti kouka (Cordyline australis), the common “cabbage-tree.”
2. Ti kapu (Cordyline banksii).
3. Tōī (Cordyline indivisa).
[Footnote] * From Mr. T. F. Cheeseman.
4. Ti ngahere.
5. Ti para.
The ti tawhiti does not appear to have been known here, unless it is identical with the ti para, above.
All of the above species provided food for the Maori. The young leaves were sometimes eaten. The roots of the above varieties of Cordyline, except that of the toi, were all eaten. The top or head of the tree was cut off in the fourth month of the Maori year—i.e., the month Mahuru, which is the spring month (August-September)—in order that the sap might not rise, or, as the Maori puts it, that the sap might return to the tap-root. Then, when the planting season (koanga) arrived the root of the tree was dug up, usually in the fifth month of the Maori year, and placed in a steam-oven, where it was cooked for two days. It was then taken out and allowed to become cold before being eaten, the fibrous matter being, of course, rejected. It is said to be remarkably sweet. Hence, doubtless, the reason why it was prized by the natives, whose saying for the food, “He kouka ki te awatea, he ai ki te po,” shows the estimation in which it was held.
The ti para was the most highly prized of the Cordyline, as it furnished the best food material, and both trunk and tap-root (more) were cooked and eaten. The trunk was about 2 ft. to 3 ft. in height in this district. This variety was cultivated for food, and does not appear to have grown wild here. It is now extinct in the district. This variety is said to have been eaten by the chiefs only.
The head (kouru) of the toi was cooked in a steam-oven and eaten—i.e., the top of the trunk, which is the soft part, the young unexpanded leaves of the tree. This section of the trunk was split into two or more pieces before being placed in the oven.
Tradition states that one Roau brought seeds or plants of the ti, taro, and karaka (a tree, Corynocarpus lœvigata) to New Zealand in the “Nukutere” vessel. The two former are known in this district as Te huri a Roau (the seed of Roau). The ti brought by him is said to have been planted at Pokere-kere, and its name was Whakaruru-ma-tangi. The “Nukutere” canoe made the land at Waiaua, near Opotiki.
Raupo (Typha angustifolia, Bulrush).
The soft, mealy roots of this swamp plant were eaten, the larger ones being selected for food. These roots are termed karito. The outer part was peeled off, leaving the soft interior, the ıho, which was eaten both raw and cooked in a steam-oven (hapi).
A peculiar kind of food was made from the pollen (tahuna
among the Mātātua Tribes, but termed tahune elsewhere) of this plant. The tahuna is described in Williams's Dictionary as the “pappus of seed of raupo.” The raupo is only found on the outskirts of Tuhoeland, hence it did not form an important part of the Tuhoean food-supply. A good description of the making of a sort of bread from the tahuna may be found in the Rev. Taylor's “Te Ika a Maui.” My own notes on the subject are meagre.
We will now see what berries or fruits were included in the food-supplies of the Tuhoe people, this being an important source of food of these forest-dwelling people, for the three principal items in such supplies were the berries of the hinau and tawa trees and birds.
The berries of the hinau (Elœocarpus dentatus) were largely used in former times, and even now to a small extent. The kernel of the berry is covered with a mealy substance, which is the edible part. This meal is made into a sort of cake and so cooked. The berries are collected from the ground under the trees into baskets and put into a house until dry, probably for a couple of days. They are then poured into a wooden trough (kumete), and pounded with a short club or pestle of hard maire wood or stone. This process is termed tuki, and is to free the meal from the stones of the berries. The pounded berries are then put in a basket, which serves as a sifter, and is made of strips of ti leaf, with small openings left between the strips. This basket is called a tatari or kete puputu. The meal is sifted over a closely woven mat, and the meal escapes from the basket and falls upon the mat, the stones of the fruit being retained by the basket. This meal is then put into another basket with smaller spaces and again sifted, in order that any stones (karıhı, or iwi, or iho) that may have escaped the coarser sieve will be retained. The refuse—i.e., the stones—still have a certain amount of meal (termed renga) adhering to them. They are therefore cast into a wooden trough or bowl, water is poured over them, and the mass is stirred about with the hands until the adhering meal is washed off. Then the stones are scooped up with the hands and cast away. The meal-and-water mixture (termed wai haro) is then stone-boiled (huahua) by means of throwing hot stones into it, and is then drunk. It is a sort of gruel.
The meal which has been sifted is collected from the mat and placed in a bowl, where water is poured on it, and it is mixed (poipoi and pokepoke) into a mass and then placed in shallow baskets termed rourou. These baskets are made from the leaves of the mauri or of the kokaha (probably both Astelia), and are lined with leaves of the paraharaha
(a fern). The meal in the basket is also covered with the same kind of leaves, the covering process being known as raupi. By this time the steam-ovens are ready, and the baskets of meal are put into the ovens and covered up. They are cooked for two hours or more, and are then taken out and placed in the food-stores, where these cakes, or rather steamed puddings, will keep good for a long time. In late times the meal has been mixed with honey in place of water. In appearance this food when cooked is dark in colour, and looks both solid and heavy. It somewhat resembles a dried linseed poultice. I have eaten it, but may say that I prefer my bread and beefsteak. This, however, may be mere racial prejudice on my part.
The following saying is applied to the above food: “Kia whakaara koe i taku moe, ko te whatu turei a Rua” (When you awaken me from my sleep let it be for the purpose of eating the whatu turei a Rua—hinau meal).
The kernel of the fruit of the tawa tree (Nesodaphne tawa) furnished a large proportion of the food of these bushmen in former times, and, moreover, it was an article that could be kept as a stand-by for years. Hence during seasons when this fruit was plentiful large quantities of the kernels were dried and put away in the food storehouses.
The kernel only of this fruit is preserved. The pulpy outside matter is only eaten by children. This food is still in use here. The fruit is collected from beneath the trees where it has fallen and spread out to dry, after which it is placed upon a flax mat and beaten, in order to free the kernels from the skins and pulp. In cooking the tawa berries natives are most careful in preparing the steam-oven for same. After the fire is raked out and the oven arranged a layer of karamuramu leaves is used to line the oven with, then a layer of fronds of the heruheru fern is put in, then a layer of manono (syn., raurēkau) leaves, then a layer of hanehane leaves, then one of leaves of the rau-tawhiri, and finally a layer of fronds of the paraharaha fern. The kernels of the tawa are then poured in loose and covered with the same covering (rautao, generic term) and the oven closed. The paraharaha leaves are said to have the effect of destroying the natural odour or flavour of the tawa kernels and of imparting to them its own. These particular leaves are used because they are said to impart a brown appearance to the tawa, which colouring is considered desirable. They are allowed to remain in the steam-oven for forty-eight hours before being taken out. This long process of cooking is termed tāwhâkâmoe, or taopaka. After the long steaming they are spread out on mats until thoroughly dry,
when they are put away in the stores. When it was required that a meal of the tawa should be prepared, the kernels were placed in a wooden trough with water and stone-boiled until soft, when they were pounded or mashed and so eaten. The Arawa people use their boiling springs instead of the steam-oven for the above purpose. Latterly it has been the custom to mix honey with the mashed kernels, and, of course, stone-boiling is a thing of the past. The ovens used for such purposes as the above were long ones, and not the small round kind generally used.
A peculiar article of food was made from the berries of the tutu or puhou shrub (Coriaria ruscifolia), also known as tūpā-kihi. The berries of this shrub grow in clusters, and ripen in the seventh and eighth months of the Maori year (Hakihea and Kohitatea). The clusters are plucked from the branches and squeezed or crushed in a bowl (kumete), and the stalks thrown away. A small bag or basket is made of split strips of ti leaves, and some plumes of the toetoe (Arundo conspicua) placed inside it as a lining. This bag is termed a pu tutu. The liquid mass of crushed berries is poured into the pu, which is suspended over a bowl, which receives the liquid as it drips from the pu, but the huarua, or seeds, of the tutu berries are retained by the lining of the bag.* The juice is usually kept in gourds, where it soon becomes tetepe—i.e., “set”—and resembles jelly, but is more liquid below than on top. Prepared fern-root was sometimes mixed with this jelly. Thus prepared the berries are quite harmless, but if eaten before being strained, and so freed from the poisonous huarua, then the result is disastrous. Many natives died from eating these berries in former times, principally children. Persons so affected were placed bodily into cold water, and, it is said, would sometimes recover when treated so. Since the advent of Europeans salt has been used as an antidote for tutu poison; presumably it was used as an emetic. Te Rauna, of the harassed Poho-kotia Tribe, when so poisoned, took about half a bottle of painkiller as a cure. He survived both poison and cure.
Fern-root was usually eaten with the tutu in this district. In an account of his sojourn in the Ngati-Porou country, on the East Coast, the Rev. Mr. Colenso says, “In the houses of the natives a quantity of thick succulent fucus was hung up to dry, which they used as an article of food, mixing it with the expressed juice of the tupakihi to give it consistency. This fucus they called rimurapa.”
Groves of the tutu shrub were often preserved to the right-
[Footnote] * The bag is squeezed in order to force the juice out.
ful owners by means of the rahui, of which more anon. Such a grove, called Ure-takohekohe, grew at Ohae, on the Whai-tiripapa Block, at Ruatoki. Any person coming to take fruit from that grove in defiance of the rahui would be slain.
“Me te whata raparapa, tuna e iri mai ana te tutu” (the tutu berries hang as thick and black as eels on a drying-stage) is a saying applied to the tutu when covered with the ripe fruit.
Te pu tutu e pehi mai nei
Kaore ka kite koe
Te taru kino nei
A te pukupuku nei
A te ruriruri na
Tena na, tena na
E hoki to kete
Waiho ano tatari ana
Kia whakawaia te kaki rourou—e.
Many kinds of small berries or fruits were eaten by the natives; for instance, those of the rımu, kahikatea, matai, and totara trees. In gathering these berries the person would climb far up into the head of the tree, and, gathering the same, would put them into a basket, which, when full, he would lower to the ground by means of a long cord attached to it. These baskets would be taken to a stream and the contents washed to free the same of leaves and rubbish, after which it would be eaten, without cooking.
The berries of the tapia, a parasite which grows on the puahou* tree (syn., houhou and tauparapara), are also eaten without cooking, as also are those of the kotukutuku† and poporo,‡ the fruit of the former being termed hona and that of the latter kahoho. The karaka does not grow in this district.
The small berries of the mako tree (Aristotelia racemosa) were eaten.
The flower-bracts (tāawhără) and fruit of the kiekie (Frey-cinetia banksii) were eaten, but this climbing plant does not obtain in these highlands, although it is found, together with the nikau and mamaku, in the lower part of the Whakatane Valley.
We now come to the plants, &c., of which the leaves were used as food, including several of which the undeveloped leaves were eaten.
Mamaku (Cyathea medullaris).
This is the black fern-tree of the settlers. The part eaten is that termed the koata—i.e., the soft inner part of the upper
[Footnote] * Panax arboreum.
[Footnote] † Fuchsia excorticata.
[Footnote] ‡ Solanum aviculare.
portion of the trunk. The main part of the trunk and the curled undeveloped fronds were not eaten. Koata is a term applied to the upper part of acrogenous plants, and from which the leaves or fronds grow. This section is cut off and then the hard outer part is chipped off, a stone axe being formerly used for these purposes. The soft interior part is then cooked in a steam-oven for forty-eight hours, but the food is always eaten cold.
The koata of the nikau was also eaten, the circular butts of the leaves being stripped off (koere) until the soft, white, edible inner part is reached. “Mehemea ka koeretia te rau ote nikau, ka rărā te waha” (when a leaf of the nikau is torn off its voice shrieks), said my informant, alluding to the peculiar sound caused by tearing off these leaf-bases. We have already seen that the koata of the Cordyline are used in a similar manner.
I am informed that a species of harakeke (Phormium tenax) formerly grew, or was cultivated, here at Rua-tahuna of which the bases of the leaves were cooked and eaten. It must surely be very different to any harakeke I wot of. The leaves were dark-coloured (pango), with brownish (whero) edges.
We will now give a list of small plants of which the leaves were eaten as we use greens, and which therefore come under the generic term of puwha with these people, and of various other plants of which the berries, &c., were eaten.
Raupetı, a Solanum: Leaves eaten as greens.
Poniu: Leaves eaten.
Pohue: A climbing plant, a convolvulus. The leaves are eaten here, but among some tribes the roots are eaten. There appear to be two kinds here. One, bearing a white flower, is found growing among fern and scrub; the other, which has a pink flower, is seen in swamps.
Pikopiko: This name is applied to the young, curled, undeveloped fronds of Asplenium bulbiferum. A favourite kinaki for potatoes.
Rērětî: A fern; the young fronds eaten.
Pārâhârâhâ: A fern; the young fronds eaten.
Pôrôrûa: The leaves were used to wrap round kiore and kokopu when being cooked. The wrapper (kopaki) was then eaten with the food it enclosed.
All the above were cooked in steam-oven and eaten as greens.
Pukatea (Gnaphalium (?) luteo-album): The young leaves were chewed by children.
Panakenake: A kind of chickweed. Cooked as greens.
Kohukohu: A kind of chickweed. Cooked as greens.
Tohetaka (the introduced dandelion): Leaves eaten.
Maikaika: An orchid (Microtis porrifolia). A small plant. The roots produce a small tuber or bulb. Eaten by children. Sometimes tubers are roasted.
Pakauroharoha (Polypodium (?) semigerum): A fern. Young fronds eaten.
Pa totara (Leucopogon frazeri): Berries eaten by children.
Kukuraho: A swamp plant. Roots or base of plant eaten. Roots are covered with peculiar black knobs—ko aua mea pango nei, ko nga raho ena o Tuna (the eel-god).
Para taro.—This is unknown to me. It is no longer found here, though said to be still found growing in the wild country up the Waioeka River. It was formerly eaten. It is said to have leaves something like those of the nikau, but small.
Pororua, rau-roroa, and puha-tiotio are three kinds of sow-thistle, all eaten as greens.
Ongaonga: The tree-nettle (Urtica ferox). The name puruhi is also applied to it, and sometimes it is called houhi. It is the inner bark which is eaten, a thin film resembling the inner layers under the bark of the houhi (Hoheria populnea). It is not cooked in any way, and has a sweet taste. The ongaonga is said to begin life as a number of small plants, which spread (papa uku) over the ground, and are afterwards replaced by a single large stem.
The Rev. Mr. Colenso states, in his pamphlet before quoted, “The natives [of Rotorua district] masticate continually a kind of resinous gum, insoluble in water. This they obtained from the pukapuka (a shrub).” I cannot ascertain that this gum was so used here, but a gum which exudes from the manuka was eaten.
Under this generic term the Maori places many kinds of small plants, all of which are termed “toadstools” by us bushmen. Many of them were used as food formerly, and are still used to a less extent. Those coming under the generic term of harore grow up in the winter-time or as winter comes on, and are then collected, cooked, and eaten. They comprise the following kinds:—
Hawai: This is often eaten without cooking. Grows on dead stumps and trees in summer-time.
Wairuru: Grows in winter, from ground; generally found among petipeti plants and at base of tawa trees.
Tikı-tehetehe: Grows among manuka and not in bush. Grows all the year.
Maiheru: Grows from ground in open country all the year round.
Tipitaha: The mushroom.
All the above kinds are eaten. One kind of harore, known as the puapua-a-autahi, is poisonous. It is sometimes called mekemeke, on account of its rough surface (humekemeke = whekewheke, terms applied to a rough surface, as of bark, &c.). Should a person eat the puapua-a-autahi raw, or without being properly cooked, he will be seriously affected thereby, and stagger about, unable to control himself. To cook this article it was wrapped in many layers of leaves of the rangiora shrub, then tied round, and baked among hot ashes and embers. When cooking-pots were acquired then it was boiled. The puapua grows in spring, from the ground, and is usually found growing among puahou, rautawhiri, and kokomuka trees.
If harore grows plentifully it is said to be a sign of a lean season (tau hiroki); other foods, birds, &c., will be scarce. Harore is cooked by what is known as the tupuku method—i.e., it is put into a basket and that basket is placed bodily in the steam-oven.
The species termed keka and hakeka (syn., hakeke) is not here styled a harore. It grows on dead trees and on decayed logs of tawa and mahoe. It grows all the year round. Some puwha, or greens, and in late times potatoes, are cooked with the keka as a towhiro. This latter term is applied to any food cooked and eaten with an inferior food in order to render it palatable, a practice which formerly obtained in seasons of scarcity. Hence the greens or potatoes are eaten with the hakeka, which is, I believe, the fungus of commerce (Himeola polytricha).
Another variety of such food is the tawaka, a species of Agaricus. This plant grows in the summer, and upon dead trees or logs of tawa, houhi, and mahoe, hence it is not termed a harore, which spring up in the winter. The tawaka grows to a great size; I have seen them a foot across growing upon dead tawa stumps. These were eaten, and were cooked either in the steam-oven or stone-boiled in a wooden vessel. In the latter case “ka mumura katoa te wai i tunua ai taua tawaka”—the water in which the tawaka was cooked becomes red (or perhaps brown).
A curious superstition is connected with this plant: “If a person has eaten of the tawaka he is not allowed to go into the hue (gourd-plant) cultivations, for if he did so all the fruit of the gourd-vines would decay prematurely. Or were that person to go a netting the kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus, a fresh-water fish) he would not catch any, not a single one.”
The Hue, or Gourd.
Although not properly belonging to this paper, I propose to insert the few notes that I have collected locally anent
the gourd. This plant does not flourish in this cold high-lying country, although it may possibly have been grown formerly in the lower Whakatane Valley—that is to say, below Karioi pa. When, however, Tuhoe acquired the alluvial flats of Ruatoki and Te Waimana they were then enabled to cultivate the hue, kumara, and taro. A few hue used to be grown at Omakoi, but they did not do well.
The hue was the only cultivated food plant possessed by the autochthones of New Zealand, and that was a poor one. The origin of the hue is said to have been one Pū-tee-hue, one of the offspring of Tane (see genealogy). A learned native friend and tutor of mine said, “The name of the ancient hue is Pū-tē-hue. It was not brought hither from Hawaiki;* it was grown by Toi and his people, and came from his own ancestor, Pū-tē-hue. At the proper season the seed was planted. It was planted when the nights Turu and Rakaunui of the moon arrived [these are the seventeenth and eighteenth nights of the moon]. The following is the karakia (charm) used:—
Kia tuputupu nunui koe
Ka porotaka i nga ringaringa
Kia ahuahu nunui koe.
Pūtēhūe said, ‘The seeds which are within me shall be [vessels] for containing water for my descendants. Some of those seeds are male seeds, and they will not produce off-spring.’”
In Maoriland seeds were planted at the full of the moon, in order to render them prolific and insure a good crop. Seeds of the hue (and of the pumpkin in late times) are subjected to a process known as whakarau before being planted. They are first soaked in water and then placed in a small basket (kono) which contains a mixture of earth and decayed wood (popopo rakau). The seeds are imbedded in this mixture. The mould is then covered over with grass or leaves, and the basket is buried in the ground near a fire until the seeds sprout, when they are planted.
When the putaihinu leaves of the gourd-plant are put forth, then the care of the cultivator commences, and he proceeds to loosen the earth round the plants. The above term is applied to the second pair of leaves put forth by the seedling. When the head of the embryo runner falls, that is the hika stage of growth; after that it starts to run (toro), and ashes are placed round the roots and under the runners to “feed” the plant. Earth is heaped round the roots and pressed down during the hika stage of growth.
[Footnote] * i.e., not brought by the last migration of Maori.
The product of the gourd-plant is only eaten while young and soft, before the rind becomes hard. In this stage it is termed kotawa. When grown they are used to contain water; these were the water-pails of the Maori. They were sometimes cut in half in order to form bowls (oko), which were formerly much used. The very large ones were used to contain preserved foods, birds, rats, tutu berries, &c. These are called tahā.
The following names are those of different varieties of hue as recognised by the Maori:—
We will now speak of some of the “small deer” that the Children of the Mist were in the habit of eating formerly, such as grubs, beetles, earthworms, &c., for all was fish that came to the Tuhoean net.
A grub called mokoroa, which is found in the houhi and kai-wētā trees, was eaten.
The small green beetle which is found on the manuka bushes when in flower in summer-time was an article of food. It is called kekerewai or tutaeruru.* It is also known as the Manu a Rehua, presumably a sort of emblematical term. They were collected in quantities and pounded up, then mixed with the tahuna of the raupo plant, already mentioned, cooked in a steam-oven by the process termed tapora—i.e., packed in a small basket—and eaten.
The moka is a caterpillar which settles itself on the leaves of several plants, including the potato, and draws the edges of the leaves in to form a shelter for itself, and then closes the apertures with some whitish substance. There it remains until its wings grow. It also was eaten formerly, before plenty, in the form of the potato, arrived in the land.
The anuhe is also eaten while it is in its mokoroa, or grub, stage of growth. In this state it bores holes in logs and ensconces itself therein, covering the mouth of the hole with a sort of lid. To take them this lid is lifted and water poured into the hole, when the grub climbs out and is deposited in the stomach of the Potiki a Tamatea.
The tuatara lizard was formerly eaten, but has now disappeared from this district. Wai-o-hau and Tawhiu-au were places famed for these creatures, as also was Putauaki, or Mount Edgecumbe. The natives say that should a woman eat of the tuatara she would be doomed, because all the tuatara would collect and attack her.
[Footnote] * The latter while in its young state.
The wood-boring grub found in logs or dead trees of matai, rimu, and kahikatea, and known as huhu, is eaten, either raw or roasted, in its first two stages of growth. The following are its names in the four stages:—
1. Tunga rakau or tunga haere: The ordinary grub state, actively engaged in eating wood.
2. Tataka: The grub ceases to bore, remains in a cell, and casts its skin.
3. Pepe: The wings and legs develope. Colour still white.
4. Tunga rere: Emerges from cell and flies abroad, a brown cockchafer.
Toke or Noke (Earthworms).
Here follows a list of the native names of the earthworms found in this district. Some species grow to a great length:— Kuharu: A large, long, white earthworm. It is eaten.
Noru: A short white kind, found in stony places. Also eaten.
Wharu: A large worm, larger than the whiti, found in loamy soil. This kind and others which contain earth are stripped with the fingers before being prepared for eating. This forces the earth out of them.
Pokotea: A short white worm.
Kurekure: A short red or brown worm about 6 in. in length. Found in stony places.
Whiti: Usually found where a land-slip has taken place. These two last are famed for their sweetness of flavour.
Tai, or noke tai: A small light-coloured worm.
To cook these worms some water is placed in a bowl and rendered warm (not hot) by means of hot stones. The worms are then cast into the water and allowed to remain there for some hours. Before long (before the sun sets) the worms will have become dissolved, or partially so, but were the water too hot they would not melt. Some cooked puwha (greens) is added to the mess and a prized dish is ready; the gods who live for ever would smile at the sight of it.
The two most prized kinds, mentioned above, were reserved as food for the chiefs. The sweet flavour (tawara) of those kinds is said to remain in the mouth for two days. I cannot speak from experience.
Worms were preserved in gourds for some time. The best kinds were favourite o matenga of former days: the last food taken by a dying person is so termed. The flesh of the kiore was another favourite o matenga.
In the way of fish the denizens of Tuhoeland are probably worse off than any other tribe. In the first place, having no seaboard, they could do no sea-fishing, although doubtless they would occasionally obtain sea-fish from the coast peoples formerly in the way of presents. Again, the streams of this district have ever been poorly supplied with fish, the kokopu being the most numerous. Eels have always been scarce here on the headwaters of the Whakatane, Tauranga, and Whirinaki Rivers. The natives also state that there are no eels in Waikare-moana. Other smaller fish were also scarce.
The origin of the eel, according to the mythology of the Maori, is, like that of other fish, the great Tangaroa, who presides as a sort of tutelary deity over the denizens of ocean, stream, and lake. One Tuna, or Puhi, is often mentioned in legend as the eel-god, a sort of supernatural creature, who is credited with the performance of some singular deeds.
This Puhi, alias Tuna, appears to have flourished far back in the night of time, when heroes and demigods obtained. Maui, of immortal fame; discovered that Hine-nui-te-Po, the goddess of Hades, was carrying on something more than a flirtation with Tuna, the eel-god. Maui, being attentive to the morals of other persons, proposed to put a stop to the above state of things. He did so by destroying Tuna. This was one of Maui's acts which eventually caused his death, for Hine was not taking interference quietly, and so, by dread arts of magic, caused the death of Maui.
In White's “Ancient History of the Maori,” vol. ii., page 69, we read that Maui married Hine, a daughter of Tuna and Repo, and that he slew Tuna for interfering with Hine. When slain the head of Tuna fled to the fresh water, and that is the origin of fresh-water eels; while the tail of Tuna fled to the ocean and became the conger-eel.
At page 76 of the same volume a Ngati-Hau legend states that Hine was a sister of Irawaru, and Tuna a son of Manga-wai-roa. Also that Tuna concealed himself in a pool named Muriwai-o-Hata (? Muriwai o Ata), where he was slain by Maui. “Then from the body of Tuna sprang Puku-tuoro, which is the monster (taniwha) of Aotea-roa.” And it is the blood of Tuna which renders red the totara, rimu, and some other timbers.
The tuoro, according to the Tuhoe legends, is a huge monster which lives underground and burrows great tunnels as it moves on its subterranean way, uprooting trees and changing the face of the earth, for the valley of the Waikare Stream at Maunga-pohatu was so formed. There is a place at Te Whaiti called Te Ana Tuoro (the Tuoro Cave), albeit the cave has long disappeared.
One authority here states that Maui married Pani, and it
was Pani who was interfered with by Tuna, who lived in the water. Ngati-Awa say that Pani, she who gave birth to the kumara, was the wife of Rongo-maui. Another legend gives Pani as being another name for Taranga, the mother of the Maui brethren.
This Puhi has been extremely useful to the Maori, however. Persons of sufficient priestly power could obtain his assistance when in trouble upon the waters, and Puhi, would convey them to land.
The following is a list of names of varieties of eels as known to Tuhoe:—
Ngaeroero: A name applied to small eels.
Three different methods of taking eels were usually followed—viz., spearing, taking in eel-pots, and bobbing. The eel-spear (matarau) is an implement about 3 ft. in length, and consists of a straight shaft (tātā) with several tines or points of hardwood ingeniously lashed on to the end. These points are usually of mapara, the remarkably hard resinous inner part of the kahikatea tree, which is left sound and hard after the rest of the tree has decayed. The two small cross-pieces of wood lashed across the tines (mata) of the spear are termed kauaerua. The lashing underneath is tui ihu.
The bob used is a small ball of dressed fibre of the native flax, the fibre of which is called whitau, but the green plant is harakeke. The bait (mounu), consisting of earthworms, is tied on to the bob, which again is attached to a fishing - rod by a short cord. The bob is used for taking eels and kokopu. The rod used is called matire, a name which, in Nukuoro, is applied to the bamboo. The use of the rohe, or fish-bag, while bobbing, is explained under “Kokopu.”
Eel-fishing in the day-time was formerly done with the spear, but since the advent of Europeans a steel fish-hook, fastened firmly to the end of a stick, and with which the eels are hooked, not fished for, has come into use. Anyhow, the fisher trudges off, sans clothing, and prowls along in the
stream, feeling under the banks with his hand for the wily tuna (eel, generic term), and groping under stones in the riverbed with his feet. Should he feel the water somewhat warm to his foot he knows that there is an eel near the spot, and proceeds to spear or hook it.
In eel-catching by torchlight (rama tuna) the fishers start when the koko birds have ceased singing in the evening (kita mutu te ko a te koko i te ahiahi), not the short song given by that bird towards midnight. The spear was generally used formerly, though some fishers used hand-nets, like those used for taking kokopu, but larger. The eels are seen lying on the bottom in pools and calm reaches, and can be approached iE the fisher is careful not to disturb the water, or “shake it,” as the natives put it.
If moths are seen to be numerous round fire, that is a sign of a good night for eel-fishing. In rainy weather also is a good time—that is, the marangai, which is an “eel rain”—and the Maori proceeds to set his eel-pots. When day dawns then Tangaroa will perish. A cloudy night (po tuahuru) is good for eel-fishers.
Tuna-kapakapa is a small tributary of the Whirinaki River, near Te Whaiti. In olden days the natives cut a ditch from some distance up this stream to the Whirinaki River, and used to turn the creek into it. When eels were travelling the water would be turned off into the old bed, which left the eels writhing in a dry channel, and thus easily secured. Hence the name of the stream—Tuna-kapakapa (writhing eels).
When a young man went eel-fishing for the first time he had to be most careful in regard to his catch. On returning to the village a fire was kindled and the eels cooked. This fire is termed an ahi parapara. On no account might women be allowed to partake of this catch; only males might do so. This is in order to insure good luck for the fisher in the future, that he may be a successful eel-fisher. Afterwards his catch may be distributed among the people. As the Maori of old put it, “When Tangaroa perishes in the hinaki (eel-pot) then the ahi parapara is kindled.” This rite comes under the generic term of whakaepa (conciliation), concerning which there are many customs and invocations, all for the purpose of procuring good fortune for the invokers. Eels are sometimes cooked by the tapora process—i.e., put in a small basket woven of mauri or kohaha leaves (wha), and then covered over with puwha or mauku leaves, and so cooked in the steam-oven, the said leaves being eaten as greens. If these greens be not obtainable, then leaves of the paraharaha and rereti ferns are used. Or they are sometimes cooked by the kopaki process—i.e., wrapped up in the leaves
of the rangiora and so cooked, the leaves being plucked two on a stalk for the wrapping or binding (kopekope) process, which is cleverly done, no tying being necessary. In this style of cooking the eel is cleaned, and the entrails cooked in a small separate kopaki. In the tapora they are not cleaned. To cook in a hangi food wrapped up in leaves is denoted by the generic term konao.
Eels are preserved for future use by means of drying over a fire termed an ahi rārā tuna. They are split open, cleaned, skinned, the backbone taken out, and the head and end of tail cut off, and then laid on a staging of green sticks over a fire, which dries and half cooks them. They are then packed in baskets in layers (this packing process is termed whakamātā), or sometimes simply hung up in a shed. These dried eels are cooked in a hangi when required.
Natives state that eels when in pain, as in being speared, make a peculiar sound (ka kēkē te waha).
One Hine-i-wharona is said by the Ngati-Manawa Tribe to be a sort of patron taniwha (demon, monster) of eels. This demon dwells in a lagoon at Te Puta-kotare, near Galatea, or used to do so. The eels which bear the taniwha's mark, a stripe or band, when caught, must be cooked in a separate oven and eaten by one person only, otherwise luck in eel-fishing will desert the tribe.
A huge eel which lived in a deep hole of the Whakatane River, at Ruatoki, used to come and help itself from the natives' nets when they were catching upokororo. Another famed great eel was Karitake, at Hana-mahihi; it was eventually caught with a large iron hook. Wondrous stories are told of some of these monster eels.
When in days of yore Tu-tamure and his daughter were crossing a range near Te Wera they fell athirst, whereupon Tu plucked a hair from his leg, and, casting it upon the ground, repeated so potent an invocation that a spring of water at once gushed forth from the spot. This legend is doubtless true, because my informant tells me that the spring still flows, and in it dwells an eel with eight tails. This spring is called Tangiwai and Roto-nui-a-wai. Another version says that it was Tamatea-nukuroa, a Nukutere migrant, who performed the above act, to assuage the thirst of his daughter Rangiwaka.
A curious custom obtained in regard to eels moving up stream. In order to prevent them from going up beyond the boundaries of the tribal lands a certain rite of the black art was performed, and a material token of the spell or ban was set up at the edge of or in the river, such as a pole. Such a one used to be at Puke-toatoa, on the lower Rangitaiki River. Another was a moving totara log, named Tangi-auraki, a
sawyer, at Nga-huinga, above Galatea. When the Native Contingent were stationed at Fort Galatea they are said to have tried to destroy the mana of this log, but without avail.
Pio, of Ngati-Awa, discourses on the benefits derived from the gods: “The ancestors who dwell in the heavens are the persons who assist and succour their descendants of this world. Those ancestors are Pueaea, Whaitiri-pāpā, Ku, Whaitiri-pakapaka [the foregoing are personifications of thunder and thunderstorms], and Marangai-areare [personification of rain]. The benefits we derive from them are fine weather and rain. When they send down the rain of the heavens then the people within the waters move abroad and perish within the hinaki of the Maori. That tribe is [that of] Tangaroa. Their names are paewai, rino,” &c.
It was customary in olden times to have a sort of talisman termed a mauri, which was really a material token or representation of certain rites and invocations performed and recited in order to preserve birds or fish. It prevented such being driven away from tribal lands and waters by the power of makutu, or witchcraft. It was often the case that a tribe would have several such talismans, one in the forest to retain the birds, another to protect eels in the rivers, and another by the coast for salt-water fish, not to speak of the mauri of the tribal home, which protected the people thereof from such harm as might be inflicted by means of the black art.
A mauri was sometimes located at an eel-weir. The mauri of the Rangitaiki River, in the Ngati-Manawa district, is a stone by the side of the river above Murupara. O-tangiroa is the name of an eel mauri in the Whakatane River, near Ruatoki. It is a log in the bed of the river, and eel-fishers used to repeat an invocation at that place when going a-fishing.
“Kopaki tuhera, tu ana Tama-ika” (When an oven of baked eels is opened Tama-ika is sure to be there). This saying is applied to those who make it their business to be where food is about ready for eating. Tama-ika was an ancestor who had a great liking for eels, and used to appear when any were cooked.
A fishing-ground is usually termed a tauranga, as tauranga paewai, a place frequented by the paewai eel, and hence where it is fished.
“He ua ki te po, he paewai ki te ao” (Rain at night, the paewai eel in the morning). Eels travel during a rainy night, and many will be found in the pots next morning.
Pārua: A hole about a foot deep dug in the earth by the side of an eel-fisher, and into which he puts his catch, unless he is using a rohe.
Kaui: A cord on which anything is strung or suspended, as kaui tuna, kaui kokopu, and kaui tiki.
Eel-Weirs (pa tuna and pa tauremu).
On this subject I have practically no information to give, inasmuch as eels were, and are, very few in these parts, and hence weirs were not used inland, although they were so at and below Rua-toki.
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Eel-weirs are made by erecting a sort of brush fence in the bed of the river, and constructed often in the form of a capital W with openings at the two lower acute angles—1/3/2/3/1 Sometimes only one open space is thus left. To these outlets are fixed nets, known as rohe and purangi, in which eels and other fish are caught. The two lines of fence marked 1 above are termed paihau (wings). The middle part of the weir, marked 2, is called the tuki. The spaces marked 3 are occupied by the whakareinga (or whakatakapau), which are a sort of hurdle made by wattling fern or manuka brush, and which are staked down on the bed of the stream between the tuki and each paihau, extending as far as the open space. These are to prevent the water scouring out a hole in the bed of the stream. The fences are made by driving into the river-bed rows of stakes, termed matia, and wattling or tying fern or manuka brush to them in such a manner as to make a close fence; hence fish must pass through the spaces left open in going up or down stream.
The hinaki, or eel-basket, is still used by the natives in many parts, in rivers and also lakes and lagoons. The shape of this eel-pot is well known to most of us. The funnel-shaped entrance is termed the akura, and to the inner end of it is fastened a small piece of netting, called a rohe, which prevents any fish from passing out through the entrance. Eel-pots are made of small tough roots or twigs, such as slender manuka twigs, placed parallel and fastened together with fibrous rootlets, &c. The tough twigs of the kāi, or young matai tree, are also used, as are the tough creepers known as tonakenake.
The different outlets of an eel-weir often had special names assigned to them. The large posts of the weir were some-times carved in the most elaborate manner, and the weir generally was quite a permanent affair, although the fences would occasionally need repairing or renewing. The taumaha, or first-fruits ceremony, performed over the first-caught eels of the season, was the same as that for birds, save that the name of Tangaroa was used instead of that of Tane, the former presiding over fish and the latter over forests and birds.
The following is a charm repeated to cause eels to come and be caught at an eel-weir:—
Te ika i Heretaunga, te ika i Ngaru-roro
Te ika i Tukituki, te ika i Porangahau
Te ika i Te Whakaki
Te takina mai ki te turuturu
Ki tenei tapa ngutu
Ki tenei tauremu
I whiwhia mai a Tangaroa
E tuku, e heke ki to moenga
Ki tenei kupenga, ki tenei tauremu
Ana oti kai a koe
Whereas the following charm is repeated by a person who is fishing for eels with a bob:—
To poa, to poa,
To poa tahuri ke
To poa ka rapa ke
Tangaroa kia u
Tangaroa kia ngoto mai
Oi whiwhia, oi rawea
Here is another version:—
E Raro! E Raro!
Te Po tahuri ke
Te Po tahuri mai
Tau mounu tikina mai
The Raro here mentioned seems to be a sort of mystical term for the earth, or the underworld. A very ancient legend mentions that Puanga, Takurua, and Matariki (all star names) ascended from their mother Raro to the heavens; also that the kumara of Raro is the kumara-hou (a tree).
The expression “kopua kanapanapa”* is applied to the Kawerau Valley on account of eels and other foods being plentiful at that place. The following song refers to it:—
He aha taku tamaiti i waiho ai
I kakara ke (?) hei kai ra
Te whakahokia ai
Ki te kopua kanapanapa
[Footnote] * Also kopua kaniwhaniwha, applied to a deep dark hole in a river, &c.
E tuhera tonu nei.
He aha te kai o roto?
He rino, he kete taro mo potiki
He katokato no potiki
He kete uhi no potiki
Katahi nei au ka kai
I te kumara nei
Kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus).
This small fresh-water fish is well known to those who dwell in the lone places of the land. It is fair eating, but the bones are troublesome. It is best cooked in the native manner, in a steam-oven. The kokopu was, and still is, the most numerous fish of this district.
Natives recognise three varieties of kokopu, viz.:—
1. Rau-mahehe (known as maehe at Waikare-moana).
2. Rērētawa, smaller than rau-mahehe, found in shoals (pahihi); is the soundest sleeper.
3. Pārā: The largest.
Koawheawhe: The young of the para are so termed.
Porohe, koeaea (or kaeaea), and uruao are terms applied to the young of the inanga, kokopu, and tipokopoko fish.
The first two of the list have not so many bones as the para, which requires much care on the eater's part. The reddish colour of some kokopu is said to have been caused by the blood of Murirangawhenua, when Maui washed the jawbone of that ancestor before using it as a fish-hook.
As observed, the kokopu is sometimes taken with a bob, but the usual method is by use of a hand-net, of which there are two kinds. The first kind of these nets (kupenga) is that used by women, who do most of the fishing for kokopu. To construct this net a piece of green supplejack (pirita) is procured, bent into an oval form, and the ends then fastened together. A piece of cord, called the tautata, has one end secured to one side of the oval hoop in the centre, and the other end is passed round the opposite side. Then by pulling the cord the two sides are brought to within 8 in. of each other, thus flattening the oval. The cord is so secured, and keeps the net-hoop from spreading. Another piece of pirita is bent in two places so as to form three sides, having two right-angles, the two upright ends being about 18 in. in height and the length of the bottom piece is 2 ft. The ends of this titoko, as it is called, are fastened to the above hoop, which is termed tutu, and the framework of the net is completed. The fastening of the titoko to the tutu is effected by doubling the ends of the former over the latter and so lashing them. A net is then made to fit this frame. It is made by knotting or netting (ta kupenga) narrow dried strips of undressed flax (harakeke), the mesh (mata) being ¾ in. in length. This net-
ting is done over a small flat stick, termed a papa kupenga. It is 6 in. to 8 in. in length and about ⅝ fin. in width for the kokopu nets. It is used in order to insure regularity in the size of the mesh. This papa is slipped along as the work progresses. Nets with a belly (ngake) to them, as the large nets for sea-fish, are commenced in the middle. Two sticks are placed upright in the ground; to these a cross piece on the top is attached, and to this piece the net being made is attached. The first row netted—i.e., the hiki, or rib—is called the ara whakamata. The net for the above-described frame is made to fit the same, so that it fits tightly over it, and, when fastened to the tutu, that and the titoko keep the net taut and in position. The cord round the top of the net is bound to the tutu by a lashing (aho whakamau), except a short space left free on one side to enable the fisher to grasp the tutu in his hand when using the net. This style of hand-net is termed a kupenga titoko. A specimen may be seen in the Auckland Museum.
In netting a bellied net the desired shape is attained by the mata whiti* (skipped mesh) process. This has the same effect on the shape of the net as the tihoi process has in weaving a cloak, as described in a former paper.
Another style of net used for taking the kokopu is that known as a kape, which is used by men. It differs from the kupenga titoko in form, and it is made of dressed flax-fibre. It does not narrow to the bottom like a woman's net, nor is the tutu rounded in any way, two of the angles being obtuse and two acute; hence one end of the frame, and necessarily also of the net, is wider than the other. This net is fastened to the end of a short pole, the free end of which is gripped by the fisher. The narrow end of the net is towards the user, and to this narrow end is attached the mouth of the ngake, a small net which serves the purpose of a fish-bag, for when a fish is scooped up in the main net the fisher raises the same and causes the fish to slip down into the ngake, where it remains until the fisher quits work or the ngake becomes full. Probably the above description is not very clear, but I hope to be able to secure one of these nets for the Museum ere long.
These nets are used at night, it being useless to try to catch the wily kokopu with them in daylight. The first thing done is to provide torches of the resinous mapara wood, strips of this being tied together for the purpose of making a torch, which is termed a rama,† † hence the terms for taking kokopu
[Footnote] * Also termed mata whakapaheke.
[Footnote] † The verb is tirama, to look for with a torch, &c. This is a good example of ti as a causative prefix.
or eels at night—rama kokopu and rama tuna. The Tuhoean ladies march forth, bare-limbed and with fish-basket (puwai or tauremu) strapped round the waist, torch held in the left hand and net in the right. They wade up stream, keeping a keen look-out for the hapless kokopu. Now, this fish during the day-time is either concealed or moving about, but at night they come out into the middle of the stream, in the current (ia), and there lie and sleep, with their heads up stream and tails gently waving to prevent them from drifting with the current. The fisher, on sighting a fish, moves carefully until close by, and then quietly lowers her net (held in the right hand) and moves it up close to the fish. She then advances her left foot and gently touches the fish on the near side. The startled fish invariably darts off in the opposite direction, and hence enters the net, which is raised out of the water, the fish secured and thrust into the puwai, or fish-basket. Or, if a kape net is being used, the fish is allowed to slip into the ngake. The act of poking the fish with the foot is described by the verb kape, hence the name of the kape net.
The best time of the lunar month wherein to net kokopu is the Tangaroa stage of the moon—i.e., on the hinapouri, or dark nights. The fish sleep more soundly then than at any other time. They do not sleep soundly on moonlight nights. There is one particular night of the first moon of the ngahuru (autumn) which is the best of all nights for taking kokopu, for they then sleep sounder than on any other night, and are even found sleeping in shoal places, half out of water, but jump away when touched.
Kokopu are taken in summer and autumn. They are said not to be good eating after the first frosts appear, for they then have a sickly apppearance and change colour, becoming lighter or grey-looking. It is said that they are affected by the frost. Also they do not sleep out in the stream during the winter, but conceal themselves.
In the autumn the kokopu go to the rapids to spawn, and at that time are not found in the calm reaches (wahi tomarino) of the stream. They lie concealed among the stones during the day-time, and at night come out into the current. Below are given the nights of the moon, as supplied by Tuhoe, together with remarks concerning kokopu fishing:—
Whiro (kua kohiti te marama): A good night for fishing.
Tirea (kua aho): A good night for fishing.
Hoata (kua kitea): A good night for fishing.
Oue: A good night for fishing.
Okoro: Fish do not sleep sound; a poor night for fishing.
Tamatea-tu-tahi: Not a very good fishing-night.
Tamatea-anana: Not a very good fishing-night.
Tamatea-aio: A bad night; fishers do not go out.
Tamatea-kai-ariki-whakapa: A bad night; fishers do not go out.
Ari-matanui: A bad night (ka aho te rama, ka rere te ika, ka torohihi haere—fish frightened by the torches).
Huna: A bad night; the fish are concealed (huna), hence the name of this night.
Mawharu: Not a good fishing-night.
Maure: Not a good fishing-night.
Rakau-nui: Moon too bright for fishing.
Korekore-piri-ki-te-tangaroa: Fishing begins after mid, night (kia kaukau ki te ao).
Tangaroa-kiokio: Good nights for fishing.
Mutuwhenua: A very good night.
The following is a charm or invocation repeated by fishers who are about to go a-fishing:—
Taumaha kai te motumotu
Kai te kapekape, kai te rorerore
I aua kia mate, i aua kia irohia
Ka ma Tūpā, ka ma Rakaihika
Ka ma te kapititanga ki tamoe
Tena hoki taumaha ka eke kai ou ringa
Maire mai ki taumaha,
Popoko mai ki taumaha.
The following is a charm repeated in order to beguile the kokopu into taking the bait (mounu) of the bob-line:—
E kai, E te kokopu, i tana kai
Ki te uru ti, ki te uru ta
Ki taku wahine kotungatunga, koratarata.
Hai konei, E Kopu E!
Kopu nui, kopu roa
E hi ana, e rawe ana
Tongia mai runga, tongia mai raro
Tongia mai nga taita
E hi ana, e rau ana
The rohe is a kind of bag-net used by fishers of eels and kokopu. It is not termed a kupenga, presumably for the reason that it is not used for catching fish, but merely for holding them when caught. It is funnel-shaped, and the big end is fastened to a circular hoop of pirita (supplejack). It is made by netting (ta) strips of flax. The rohe is placed just before the fisher, and the lower end of it is in the water, while the upper part is above water. It is kept in position by means of two cords attached to the hoop and to sticks or branches by the stream-side. When a fish is secured it is swung up and dropped into the rohe, which really acts as a fish-basket. The term hi denotes fishing with a line (and hook or bob), but must be followed by ika (fish), or the name of the particular fish—as hi tuna, &c.—inasmuch as the original meaning of hi seems to have been “to draw up.” Hooks were not used for taking fresh-water fish.
Kokopu are cooked in a tapora, a sort of small basket (though not called a kete) made of woven leaves of the mauri or kokaha plants. This is lined with fronds of the rereti fern and leaves of the mauku (Asplenium bulbiferum) which have been stripped from the stalk (tuaka) or midrib. The fish are placed in this without any cleaning, and covered over with puwha, or any leaves used as greens. The package is then tied and placed in the steam-oven for cooking. The puwha, rereti, and mauku are all eaten with the fish.
When a party start out on a night-fishing expedition they light their torches as they go forth. If a member of the party stops by the wayside that is a puhore (ara ka noho ki te mimi), or sign of non-success, and that person will not catch any fish. Should a person run his or her head into a spider's web on the track that also is an omen of non-success. Such persons will not attempt then to catch fish, but will carry the torches for the rest. If the first fish seen is not caught, but escapes, that is a puhore for the whole party, who will return without going any further. But if the first-seen fish is caught then the person who caught it will at once throw it aside, not back into the stream, for that would be another puhore. His object in throwing it away is that he may be lucky in his fishing, and to insure the puhore afflicting only those who encountered the ill omens (kia mau te puhore ki ona hoa i tu tohu anake). There are innumerable customs and superstitions pertaining to fishing and fowling, but they must be reserved for a future paper.
In torchlight netting of kokopu the fishers usually proceed up stream in a straggling manner, but when returning they come down stream all abreast; because though most of those fish not secured by the fishers have concealed themselves, yet it is said that the para is attracted by the disturbance of the
water caused by the passage of the fishers and works up stream, following the muddied water, possibly finding food therein. Anyhow, they are so met by the returning fishers, who manage to secure some of them, although the fish are by no means asleep.
To preserve kokopu for keeping they are placed on a platform of sticks over a fire, but are not cleaned for this process as eels were. This fire is known as an ahi rārā ika; it dries and preserves the fish. When required as food they are cooked in a hangi.
At Lake Rotoiti a practice obtains of tying a cord to a bundle of fern (rarauhe) and lowering it to the bed of the lake. This bundle is termed a tārūkě. It is said that koura (cray-fish) and kokopu enter these bundles and lie there, attracted by the nehu (? pollen) of the fern. The bundles are hauled up and the fish secured. The taruke would appear also to have been used for taking salt-water crayfish, for which see a passage in White's “Ancient History of the Maori,” vol. ii., page 63. But a net, known as a paepae, is generally used for taking koura in lakes. It is dragged along the bottom of the lake. The ngehe is a soft-shelled koura, found at Rotorua and other lakes. It is not eaten. It is soft and flabby (konohenohe). Koura are not found in the Ruatahuna district, but are found in lagoons at Te Houhi, in the Rangitaiki Valley. They are best eating in the summer season.
This small fresh-water fish is taken in great numbers in the lower parts of the rivers of this district, although not found in the headwaters of the Whakatane. They are taken in summer-time, in close-woven nets termed pouraka, and in former times used to be taken in great quantities at the eel-weirs at the time they were migrating to the sea.
“You have seen Rehua. It is a star which stands above, on the breast of his ancestor, Rangi. Rehua is a bird, and is an ancestor of the Maori people. He has one sound wing and one broken one, as you can see for yourself. Below the sound wing of that bird the Waka-o-Tama-rereti moves across the heavens. Whanui (Vega) swings up on the seaward side. The descendants of Rehua are the inanga, pahore, koputea, kai-herehere, and the koko bird.* On the nights Turu and Rakau-nui, of the ninth month [of the Maori year], they begin to migrate to their ancestress, Wainui. The reason is this: that they hasten to their female ancestor in order that they may give birth to their young. For his inanga descendants asked
[Footnote] * The first three are small fish, the kai-herehere is a kind of eel. The koko is the tui (bird).
Rehua, ‘What are we to do?’ And Rehua replied, ‘When you see a gleaming redness in the sky, that is a call to you to go to your ancestor, Wainui, and produce your young. When they have grown they will return themselves.’ There are three migrations of the inanga, and then the young are born and left with their ancestor, Wainui. These young are called kaeaea. This is the song for those young:—
Te kaeaea i tuku mai rara
I hara mai koe
I te tai honuhonu o Meremere
Ki maturu tara (?) koia.
So the young are left behind and the old return [to fresh water]. People see them returning, and observe that they are thin and light; and the Maori people note the red sign in the heavens, and the cry is heard, ‘O, friends! the inanga are migrating.’ Then the nets and pots are set at the weirs and great numbers are taken. Another great migration takes place during the Kohi o Autahi-ma-Rehua (autumn), and again many are taken. The third migration is when Takero [a star] is seen, and the migration is known by that name. The pahore, tuna, koputea, and porohe join in it. In the months Matahi and Maruaroa the old fish return, but not yet the young. Many are caught as they return.”
So much for Maori myth and observation. The natives assert that when the Kohi o Autahi comes then all freshwater fish migrate to the sea. Autahi is a star, otherwise known as Atutahi-ma-Rehua. The expression Kohi o Autahi means the cold of autumn settling down on land and water. Wainui, mentioned above, is the origin and personification of waters of the ocean, rivers, and lakes.
The inanga produce their young in salt-water, and leave them there to be dashed about by the waves. Then the hiwi (their parent fish) return to fresh water, but the young ones do not come up the rivers until the fourth month (of the Maori year).
There is some confusion in regard to the various names allotted to these fish. Some assert that the inanga and pahore are different fish, but they are probably the same at different stages of growth. So far as I can make out, the terms kaeaea (or koeaea), and tuarenga, and porohe are applied to the young fish.* They are termed inanga about December and marearea about February. The old thin fish are styled karaha and pahore (nga pahore o Rehua). These latter are the old fish which have spawned, and it is said that the skin comes off them, hence the term pahore. The
[Footnote] * An old native tells me that the terms porohe, koeaea, and uruao are applied to the young of kokopu, inanga, and tipokopoko.
term inanga probably is applied here to the half-grown fish. Marearea is here the common name for the fish. The name koputea is applied to some of these fish which have white bellies.
Inanga are cooked fresh in the steam-oven, and were formerly dried in large quantities for future use. They would be packed in covered bundles or baskets or placed in bowls for preservation. They were dried by means of spreading on a shingly river-bed, and when dried (pakā) by the sun were packed in baskets. The term whakahunga is almost equivalent to whakamātā, before mentioned. It is applied to the above packing process, and also to the baskets of packed fish (e rua nga kete whakahunga i a maua).
The korokoro, or lamprey, is only found in the Waikare-taheke River in this district. It is taken in a large kind of kape net. When Matariki (the Pleiades) is seen by the eye of man, then the korokoro comes forth and strolls round the waters, and man is on hand to catch them.
The small fresh-water patiki is found in the lower part of the rivers, but not on the headwaters.
The papanoko, a small fresh-water fish, is eaten. Both it and the kokopu have decreased in numbers of late years. The papanoko appears to be termed papane in the north. It was often caught by hand.
The titarakura, also known as tipokopoko, maruru, and toitoi (the latter is the Arawa name), another little fish of these rivers, was formerly eaten until some few generations ago, when it became tapu, owing to the spirit of a still-born child entering it. It was taken by net.
There is a small fresh-water shrimp in the lower Whakatane River; and the puene, a little creature having six legs, is eaten by children.
The upokororo,* formerly plentiful in the lower parts of these rivers, but not found on the headwaters, has entirely disappeared since the war. The roe of this fish is known as the roro o Tangaroa (the brains of Tangaroa, the god of fish). It was taken with a net or at the weirs, which were built in numbers in the rivers near the coast in former days. Another way of taking them was by means of a koumu. A place is selected where a bend is in the river and low flat land or a shingle-bed in the bight. A ditch is cut from the lower river-side into the tongue of land, so that the water will enter it, but is not cut right through the tongue of land. The fish are then driven up stream, while persons stand in the river to prevent them going up past the mouth of the koumu, and
[Footnote] * “The upokororo go to the sea to spawn, but we do not know whether the eel and kokopu do so or not.”
force them to enter the latter, when the entrance is blocked up and the fish taken. Sometimes, instead of the ditch, a wall of stones is built in shoal water.
Fish-hooks do not enter into this article, inasmuch as they were not used here. They were made of tough woods, as manuka and tanekaha, and also of bone. They were used for sea-fishing. Puwai, tauremu, and papawai are names applied to the fish-basket used here. It was tied at the side of the fisher by means of a cord round the waist.
The fresh-water mussel, or kakahi (Unio menziesii, Gray), was formerly an article of food here, but is not sought for now. A smaller variety, and lighter coloured, the tairaki, is found in Waikare-moana, and the natives inform me that extremely large kakahi are found in the old lake-bed at Te Pa-puni. The natives grope in the mud of lagoons with their feet and pick up the mussels with their toes. But in suitable places, such as Roto-iti, an instrument termed a heki is used. It is a kind of rake and net combined, with stones fastened to it to make it sink into the mud. The following is a song connected with the mussel:—
Tane rou kakahi—e
Aitia te ure
Tane moe i te whare
Kurua te takataka
Ara ra e! ki Rotorua ra
Kia kinaki ai ki te kumara
Ara ra! ka reka ra
Ki te umu tahanga nui.
Besides the various kinds of nets already mentioned, the following were used in lake and river fishing:—
Kaharoa: A very large net, also known as riritai. As much as 14 maaro in length (kumi ma wha te roa). The maaro is the fathom of the Maori. This net required four men (kai whakakau) to manipulate it. Much used in tidal rivers. The word whākau describes the stretching of a net across a river—ka whākautia te kaharoa.
Korohe: A large net used for many kinds of fish.
Purangi: A net about 4 fathoms in length. It was set across a river and allowed to remain some time in position before being drawn. The expression “Te kawau moe roa” is applied to eel-pots, and such nets as are left in the water,
[Footnote] * A song while food is being carried to visitors.
like the purangi, and not merely dragged. It is also applied to set bird-snares, because net, pot, and snare “sleep” day and night, but they secure food just the same. Hence the saying, “Ou mahi, E te kawau moe roa!” The pouraka net was used for taking the marearea fish. In these degenerate times a piece of scrim is used for a net for taking that fish.
Truly some strange things were eaten by the Maori of old; and one notes how they were keen for anything sweet to eat. Hence they ate the sweet gum which exudes from the trunk and branches of the manuka, and shook out the honey from the flowers of the native flax into vessels, which was sometimes kept for future use.
Another article eaten for its sweet taste was the mimi koekoea, as the natives here term it, but which is probably the excrement of that bird (the large cuckoo). It is found on the leaves of trees, often dropped by the bird when startled, and is licked off by the natives.
The pororua, rau-roroa, and puha-tiotio, three plants of which the leaves are eaten as greens, also furnished in former times a chewing-gum, of which the women and young people were extremely fond. This gum was the sap of those plants hardened and toughened by exposure. To procure it the leaves were plucked from the plants, and the white, milky sap, exuding from the wounded surfaces, gathered and stiffened on the stalks, when it would be collected and placed in a leaf. When a sufficiency was thus obtained it was pressed into a ball for use. The bitter taste soon disappeared on the pia being chewed, but it always retained a taste of its own. This chewing-gum was much used formerly. Such a ball would be handed down from mother to daughter. My informant possessed one which had been used by her family for three generations, until it was lost in the fight at O-rangikawa.
In times of scarcity a certain kind of clay (uku) was eaten. When the Kura-renga pa (fort), near Te Mahia, was being besieged by the Taupo, Tuhoe, and northern tribes, the garrison was reduced to the necessity of eating clay. The natives of Roto-mahana also ate a kind of clay found at that place.
Birds constituted the most important food-supply of these mountain dwellers. Apart from eating them while in season, they were preserved in great numbers for future use. Kiwi, weka, kaka, koko (tui), kākāpo, kereru, and also smaller birds, were preserved in the following manner:—
The birds are first plucked and cleaned, and then the bones are all taken out in the most ingenious manner, the process being known as makiri, after which they are placed in rough baskets termed poutaka. These baskets, with their contents, are then placed in cold water until the birds are
thoroughly cold and set. This tends to prevent them going bad (koi kino i te pumahana, koi pirau). On being taken from the water the birds are ready for the ahi matiti. This is the name of the fire at which the birds are both dried and cooked. Before a strong, clear fire are set up several stakes in a line. These stakes have a series of notches cut in them on the side next to the fire, the notches being cut in level lines on the posts, so that a straight pole may be laid in them. Another series of such notches is cut a little higher up the stakes, and so on. The birds are spitted on long sticks (huki) or poles, and when the pole is full of birds it is laid in the bottom row of notches (kaniwha) in the stakes (pou). Another series of birds are spitted on another pole, and the pole inserted in the next series of notches, a little higher up the stake. The series of notches are close enough to each other to allow the layers of spitted birds to overlap to a certain extent. This process is repeated until the matiti is full. Beneath the bottom row of birds runs a wooden trough—a wooden slab hollowed out (kowaka)—one end of which is raised somewhat higher than the other. Beneath the lower end of this trough a wooden bowl, or kumete, is sunk into the ground. The heat of the fire melts the fat of the birds, which fat drips into the trough (waka) and runs down into the kumete. When done the birds are placed in vessels, usually large gourds (tŭhā), the calabash, or sometimes vessels of bark. Red-hot stones are now put into the bowl of fat until it boils (this process is termed huahua), and then the fat is poured into the calabashes which contain the birds until the birds are covered. These vessels of preserved birds (tŭhā huahua) are then set away in the storehouses for use in the future. Rats (kiore) were preserved in a similar manner. Food so preserved is spoken of as huahua. The expression matiti seems to imply numbers —“Matiti ana te haere a te koko ki runga ki te kahika”— of a large number of koko (tui) birds alighting on a white-pine tree. The modern expression would be, “Kore e rika-rika te mahi a te koko.” Te Matiti is a place-name at Te Whaiti.
When these calabashes of preserved birds or kiore were brought to adorn a feast, or be placed before a distinguished guest, they were adorned in a manner truly Maori. They were the centre-pieces of the banquet. The calabash was covered with a piece of fine woven matting and three or four carved wooden legs were lashed on, from the top of which were suspended bunches of feathers, from which the quills (tuaka) had been stripped, in order to render them less rigid. A carved wooden mouthpiece (tuki) was placed on the top of the calabash, and this was sometimes covered with a carved
wooden lid (kopani), and sometimes merely with leaves of the rangiora shrub. The hand is thrust through the narrow opening on the top of the calabash in order to procure the food within. The term ngutu iti is often applied to these vessels on account of the small opening.
Water was, of course, the universal drink of the Maori, and he has quite a fine taste therein. In olden times, when a bowl of drinking-water was fetched from the creek, and before handing it to the drinker, a few green fern-fronds were plucked and laid on the surface of the water, thus, to the Maori mind, rendering the water much more attractive. As my informant put it, “Even were the person not thirsty, yet he would drink of the water so prepared, the appearance of the leaves being so attractive”—He momona nona ki te wai pena, ko aua otaota i tukuna ki roto i te wai hai whakainu atu.
Before proceeding to speak of divers customs, &c., pertaining to food and the cooking thereof we have a few modern items to place on record, albeit they do not rightly belong to this paper, which is supposed to treat of the food-supplies of a non-agricultural people in pre-pakeha days. However, the word is “Kohia nga maramara o Matatua”—while yet the daylight is with us; and the shades of night are swiftly approaching.
When the potato and maize were introduced into New Zealand by the early navigators those food products made a great change in Maori life and domestic economy. More especially was this effect caused by the potato, which can be easily grown in all districts, and produces much food with a minimum of labour; and more especially did those tribes benefit from its introduction who are located in high-lying districts. Hence it became possible for the denizens of Tuhoeland to cultivate food, and swiftly they took advantage of it. For the first time the realm of Tane was invaded by the stone axe and fire, for by these, agencies were the clearings made at Ruatahuna. Potatoes were acquired before intertribal warfare ceased, and it is astonishing to see the remote places in the wild back country where are the signs of former cultivations. Potatoes are now the main food of these people, and for some months of each year they have little else to eat, being too indolent to cultivate any variety of foods. In fact, when they speak of kai (food) they mean potatoes; to any other article of food the distinctive name is applied. In like manner the term puihi (bush) stands for wild pigs only. When a native says that he is going to hunt puihi he means that he is going pig-hunting.
The Tuhoe people first acquired potatoes in the time of Tangata-iti, of whom we give a genealogy:—
This genealogy will serve as an illustration of several remarks concerning the potato. It is probable that Tuhoe acquired their first potatoes from Ngati-Awa, the latter being a coast tribe, from whom these bushmen obtained their first European implements, &c, by means of barter. Moni, of Ngati-Awa, went north to the Ngapuhi country and brought back the first potatoes, guns, and steel axes to the Whakatane district. Now, many old natives assert that they possessed several kinds of potatoes, and cultivated them, long prior to the advent of Europeans. It is probable that they did so before they encountered any Europeans, having acquired the article from the far north, or other distant places, by means of the seed being passed from tribe to tribe. The evidence against the statement is this: that the generic terms for the potato (riwai and taewa) do not appear in song or story of ancient times as foods of the people, yet how often the kumara, taro, &c., are thus mentioned. Tamarau, of Ruatoki, mentions as evidence in favour of the pre-European theory that Moenga, mother of Tama-riwai (see genealogy), was living when the riwai was being cultivated; that, despairing of having a child, she dressed up a potato (riwai) as a sort of sooterkin, and nursed it as she would a child. Afterwards she gave birth to a son, and named him Tama-riwai, in memory of the potato incident. Quite so; but it is only three generations from Moenga to Numia, a middle-aged man now living, although the line is longer through Tama-riwai and Karetehe. The statement made by Puihi that the potato was acquired in the time of Tangata-iti may be but little removed from the truth.
Tamarau states that there were two kinds of potatoes in pre-European days—the taewa and the riwai Maori; that the latter had a smooth surface, without indentations. Its name was waiararo, the flesh being white and the skin whero (brown or reddish). The taewa had white flesh and skin. The peculiarity of the riwai was that it very soon became cold (maeke) after being taken from the oven. It died out during the late war.
Puihi says that the rokoroko and araro were two ancient varieties of potato cultivated at Ruatoki, but that they are no longer seen.
Pio, an old man of Ngati-Awa, told me that he had heard white men say that the natives had a potato in very early days; also that the aka raupo, a white potato, and the tatairongo, a dark mealy one, were formerly cultivated, but are now lost. Altogether, the case for the pre-European potato is not proven.
The following are names of varieties of potatoes as recognised by these natives:—
Piakaroa: A dark-coloured potato—i.e., inside.
Tatairongo: Now lost.
Maori: Now lost.
Tapapa: White flesh. Also known as karu-parera.
Parareka: Dark flesh. No longer seen here.
Pokerekahu: Dark flesh. No longer seen here.
Pungapunga: One of first kinds acquired from Europeans. White flesh. Not seen here now.
Uwhi: Not seen here now.
Kapa or parihi: White flesh and white skin.
Tekepo: White flesh and white skin.
Aka raupo: No longer grown. White flesh and white skin.
Raparuru or wairuru: White flesh.
Maitaha: White flesh. Also called rokeroke.
Para-kokako: A dark-fleshed potato. No longer grown here.
Para-kotukutuku: A white flesh.
Kimokimo: A white flesh. No longer grown here.
Wini-harete: A long curved variety.
Hua-karoro: A long white variety. No longer grown here.
Marikena (? American): No longer grown here.
Kara kaone (? gown pattern).
Kotipo: No longer grown here.
Hope taone (Hobart Town).
Parakaraka: No longer grown here.
The fruit of the potato (potato apples) are termed takuru. Potatoes growing from these seeds are termed monemone, on account of their smoothness, the indentations being small. The takuru of the Maori variety only were considered fit to eat.
The potato-crop is taken up in the month Pou-tu-te-rangi (about March). If left too late they deteriorate, in which state they are termed tauhere or kopura.* New potatoes are termed tamahou, and old ones of last season are styled pukeko. Self-sown potatoes are termed patohe, but are sometimes styled piwai, from a word which describes rooting up an old cultivation with a wauwau in search of self-grown potatoes. The wauwau is a wooden implement used for rooting up fern-root, &c., and for loosening earth in fort-building. Some varieties of potatoes reproduce themselves for many years. When camped at Nga-putahi some time back I used to obtain my supplies of potatoes by turning up the soil in an old potato-ground all grown up in bush and scrub. It had been a cultivation of one Koura, and has been abandoned for many years. Observe:—
This was the famous Koura, whose hand lay heavy upon the Pu Taewa and the Tiaki Tutu, or descendants of Tionga.
These people had a novel method of cleaning potatoes before the pipi shell came into use for that purpose. This was the korua hukari kai. A hole was dug in the ground and lined with bark. The potatoes were poured into this hole, and upon them was thrown a kind of sand termed tenga kakariki (from its resemblance to the inside of the crop of a parroquet). Then the ladies passed into the hole and trampled the potatoes with their bare feet; the friction caused by the trampling, helped by the action of the sand, rubbed the skin off the potatoes, which were then washed and cooked.
[Footnote] * Kumara left in ground too long before being dug are termed hou-hunga. They will not keep, but are eaten at once.
The use of tobacco was soon acquired by the natives, and they used to obtain it from traders on the coast in barter. In fact, in the early colonial days these natives used to drive pigs from Ruatahuna all the way to Auckland in order to obtain European goods. Their names for the brands of tobacco so obtained are purupuru, pongi, and parehe, not to mention nikahere (negrohead). However, they obtained seed and have since grown their own tobacco, their names for the kinds grown here being arero-kuri, porakaraka, taretare, and mohoao, also a variety named Witimoa, after Major-General Sir George Whitmore, from whom they obtained the seed.
What is known as “Maori cabbage” is here termed paed. The natives say that it is named after a very early European voyager, from whom the seed was obtained. Now, Captain Cook was known as Paea amongst the natives of Poverty Bay, he being so named from the circumstance of calling out “Fire!” when he ordered his men to fire on the natives.
The rearea, a kind of pohata, or turnip, presumably introduced by early voyagers, was grown in cultivations and the leaves used as greens. It has very dark leaves. The root was dried and converted into kao in the following manner: The plant was grown in the enclosures used for growing potatoes, and when intended for kao the leaves were not allowed to be plucked for greens. When the root was matured the whole plant was pulled up and stacked away to dry in a pataka (food-store) or on a stage built in a hollow tree. When dry the roots were cut in pieces and cooked in a hangi, the rautao, or covering in the oven, being leaves of the hanehane, manono, rau-tawhi, and tutumako, also fronds of the paraharaha fern. The roots became impregnated with the flavour of these leaves, which appears to have been considered desirable. The cooking lasted twenty-four hours, and the chopped roots were then taken out, placed in the food-stores to become dry and hard, after which they were placed in baskets, which were hung up in the cooking-sheds for a few days and then put away in the food-stores until wanted. When eaten this kao was placed in a bowl, water poured over them, and then pounded until mashed up; this porridge-like mixture was then ready to be scooped up with a wooden spoon (koko) and eaten. The term kora is here used as a sort of generic name for such things as are used as greens. The leaves of the raorao, poniu, and raupeti plants were used as greens, as also were those of the rērēwai, a water-plant.
When the natives first obtained soap here they took it to be pork fat, and essayed to eat it. Flour was thought to be ashes, and was sometimes thrown away as such. Molasses was thought to be the sap of the rimu tree.
Cooking of Food.
Possibly you might like to know the origin of the cooking of food. It is this: When Rongo-maui returned from the heavens (from the star Whanui) he brought back with him the kumara (sweet potato) and gave it to Pani-tinaku, saying “This food must be carefully prepared in ovens known as kohukohu, kirihau, potaka, and waharoa.” “Hence the art of cooking became known to our ancestors. Had it not been for Rongo-maui men would have lived like birds, insects, animals, and other tribes of people, who eat their food raw.”
One Auahi-tu-roa was the personified origin of fire by which food is cooked. Auahi-tu-roa was a descendant of the sun, and married Mahuika: thus the fire-children were produced.
Cooking is done sometimes in the open, but usually in sheds constructed for that purpose. In the earth floor of these sheds the steam-ovens are often constructed. These cooking-sheds are termed kauta, or whare-kaunga, or here-imu, or muri (also kāmuri in Williams's Dictionary).
The principal method of cooking formerly used was that of the steam-oven, termed hapi, or umu, or imu, or hungi, or tonihinihi, &c. This process of cooking is termed tao. Roasting was also practised, and is called tunu. Stone-boiling (huahua) obtained to a certain extent, as we have seen, but, it would appear, merely to heat food, &c., not to actually cook anything that required long immersion in boiling water. This latter was reserved for those people living near boiling springs.
Stone-boiling (huahua) was done in gourd bowls (ipu) and wooden bowls (kumete). The term kohua, applied to metal cooking-vessels obtained from Europeans, is said by these natives to have been applied in pre-European times to vessels, such as the above, that were used for stone-boiling, as the latter part of the word would imply.*
We have already seen how the various foods of old were cooked by these bushmen of Tuhoeland. In these degenerate times cooking is mostly done in iron pots and “billies,” and the potatoes and other foods so cooked are much inferior to those cooked in the steam-oven. In boiling maize some ashes of burned rimu or kahikatea bark are cast into the pot. This has the effect of causing the skin of the maize to peel off. The ashes of these barks are used because they do not grit between the teeth when the maize is being eaten.
The steam-oven is prepared in the following manner: A circular hole of the required size is made in the ground about 15 in. in depth for a small hangi, and in this a fire is kindled
[Footnote] * Note the word upoko-kohua, certainly an ancient term. Kohua as derived from “go ashore” is not permissible.
and dry wood piled on. Stones are placed on the top of the wood, so that when the fire has burned down to a mass of embers these stones are extremely hot. The stones are then thrust aside with a stick, and the embers are raked out of the hole. The hot stones are then arranged in the bottom of the oven, and some water is sprinkled upon them until all ashes have been washed off the stones; or, if water be not used, some fern-leaves are placed on the stones. Then the koronae (or koropae), a woven band of mauri, or kokaha, or flax leaves, is placed so as to line the sides of the oven, thus leaving a circular space into which dirt cannot drop from the sides. The food is now placed on the stones within the koronae—potatoes, greens, and fish, or meat, or birds, or whatever the kinaki (relish) may be—and then water is plentifully sprinkled over the food, finding its way to the hot stones beneath. Then the food is covered with the rautao, a piece of matting woven of flax-leaves. Over that is placed the tāk&car;, another piece of matting, leaves of the ti kapu being the best material for this. This last mat is also known as ritaka. The whole is then covered with earth until no steam is seen escaping. When, finally, the steam is seen to burst forth, that is a sign that the food is cooked, and the oven is uncovered (hukea) and the food taken out and put in baskets.
The stones used for the ovens were carefully selected, a hard stone not liable to be fractured by heat being sought for. The stone termed turua is much esteemed for this purpose. Suitable stones were often brought great distances. In cooking while hunting or travelling any stones are used, and leaves used for covering food in an oven. When opening an oven, the earth is taken off, and then the covering-mats carefully lifted, shaken, and put aside for future use.
The umu tahanga nui is a term applied to permanent ovens constantly in use, as those of a permanent home.
The umu konao is an oven in which no fire is kindled. The stones are heated at a separate fire and then conveyed to the oven. This style of cooking is said to be superior to the above, and was introduced from the north.
Ovens figured largely in sacred rites of the Maori, food being cooked for various ceremonies, such as lifting the tapu from persons, houses, land, &c. These ovens seem invariably to be termed either umu or imu in this district, and never hangi, hapi, kopa,* &c. Certain persons were employed or appointed in former times as kindlers and tenders of these sacred ovens (umu tapu). Such persons were termed takuahi, and they were thought to be taunga atua—i.e., they were
[Footnote] * Kopa = a steam-oven (syn., hangi, hapi, &c.). Probably the European term “copper Maori” comes from this name.
mediums, to a certain extent, of the gods whom they served. Theirs was a position much sought after, inasmuch as their peculiar duties afforded them opportunities to acquire the invocations and other knowledge of the priests. So largely did these sacred ovens enter into the life of the people that the term umu (with its variant form imu) seems to have been used as equivalent to “rite” or “incantation,” as umu hiki, umu pongipongi, imu kirihau, umu pararahi, &c.
The expressions tāwhanarua and tāmahana mean to cook a second time—i.e., if when an oven is opened the food is found not to be quite done and so is recooked. In the cooking of birds, however, this was not allowable. If an oven of birds on being opened was found to be underdone the birds would be eaten in that state. To cook them a second time would have the effect of depopulating the tribal forests—the birds would forsake them. You must be careful how you treat the offspring of Tane.
Regarding the Maori oven, as described above, compare a passage in Ossian: “It was on Cromla's shaggy side that Douglas had placed the deer…. A hundred youths collect the heath, ten warriors wake the fire, three hundred choose the polish'd stones.” A foot-note by the translator states, “The ancient manner of preparing feasts after hunting is handed down by tradition. A pit lined with smooth stones was made, and near it stood a heap of smooth, flat stones of the flint kind. The stones, as well as the pit, were properly heated with heath. Then they laid some venison in the bottom and a stratum of the stones above it, and thus they did alternately till the pit was full. The whole was covered over with heath to confine the steam. Whether this is probable I cannot say, but some pits are shown which the vulgar say were used in that manner.” (From “The Battle” scene.)
The terms tamoe and tawhakamoe mean long in the process of cooking in a hapi, as in the cooking of tawa berries (pokere) and the roots of Cordyline (see above). A rite known as umu tamoe was performed for the purpose of weakening, unnerving an enemy to render him harmless.
The term tupuku is applied to food, such as potatoes, being cooked in baskets, and not placed loose in the oven.
The expression niho-wera is applied to a woman who keeps cooking and eating small pieces of food while she works. Kapekape is a stick used to rake out embers or food from a fire. Rorerore is a stick used as a poker to stir a fire with. Pinohi, a bent stick, used as tongs in order to carry hot stones, as in stone-boiling. Tāngutu is applied to a big fire or large pieces of firewood—“Tikina atu he tangutu mo to tatou ahi.” Pepeke is also applied to large pieces of firewood.
A much-used saying here is, “Mahia he wahie mo taku-rua, mahia he kai mo tau”—i.e., “Prepare firewood for the winter, but prepare food for the whole year.”
On the coast about Whakatane in former times pipi shells and pumice-stone were used as fuel—i.e., placed on a fire of manuka to supplement or assist the scanty supply of firewood.
In olden days firewood was broken into the required lengths, hence the expressions tātā wahie and whatiwhati wahie. Even now some of the old people still use these terms, albeit the steel axe is in use everywhere. A stack of firewood (wahie) is termed an apaapa wahie. Dry wood was stored in the sleeping-houses as fuel. Slings of aka, a tough forest creeper, were secured to the wall of the back end (tuarongo) of the house, being some feet above the floor. In these slings the firewood was stacked and so kept suspended. Dried firewood is usually stacked in the cooking-sheds for use there; in fact, the walls are sometimes composed of stacks of fuel.
Having no knowledge of the ceramic art, the Maori utilised wood, gourds, and seaweed from which to fashion vessels to contain liquids. In this district wooden bowls and gourds were used, as we have seen. Also, vessels termed pāpā and pātua were made of totara bark, the former to contain huahua foods, the latter to contain water, and also used for stone-boiling. Small pātua* were also made for temporary use (to contain water) of bark of the puahou and mako trees. These however, soon shrunk and became useless. Oko were bowls made by cutting a gourd in half. Ipu, or calabash water-vessels, were sometimes ornamented by carving them, the designs being similar to the tuhituhi patterns of house-rafters. The poha was a vessel made of seaweed, and in which the titi, or mutton-birds, were preserved; but these were only occasionally seen here, being obtained from coast-dwelling people. Ripa was another name for the oko; or bowl made from a gourd.
When food was taken from the oven it was placed in small baskets woven from leaves (wha) of flax, mauri, or kokaha. These baskets were termed honae, tonae, rourou, tipoti, &c. The two latter were sometimes used to cook food in. These rough baskets were simply used once, as plates, and then thrown away. The custom was for several persons to have a basket of food between them, round which they sat and helped themselves with their hands, the kinaki, or relish, of birds or fish, &c., being placed on the top of the vegetable
[Footnote] * Pātua is, in Williams's Dictionary, marked with short accent over first “a,” but the first syllable is long—at least, in this district.
food, humara, or taro, or greens, or potatoes. Persons of importance would often have a basket to themselves, and persons under tapu would take their food apart from others. When a person was under a special amount of tapu, such as a tohunga taua, or chief priest, after he has been engaged in cutting the hair of the sacred mātāmua, or first-born of a high family, or a priest who is attending a lying-in woman, then it required several persons to feed that priest, who could not touch cooked food with his hands. One person would prepare the food in a special oven and hand it to another, who bore it to another person, who took it to the person who was appointed to feed the priest (as if the latter were a helpless child). Only this last person would approach the priest; the others kept afar off. At the present time the dishes are used here in which to place the food, and one often sees the dogs joining in the repast. The water in which greens have been boiled is poured into the dish among the food, and each person will lift the dish in his hands and drink of this delightful beverage.
Spits on which food, such as birds, &c., was stuck in order to be roasted are of two kinds. One, termed huki, is simply a pointed stick. The other, called a korapa, has two points, made by splitting the end of a stick and opening the divided halves out.
Food-stores were formerly an important item in the Maori domestic economy, and the pātākā, or raised storehouses for keeping food in, are too well known to need any description here. Stages or platforms, termed whata, were also much used for the same purpose. The elaborately carved storehouses of old were generally used for containing the more prized articles of food, such as huahua. Pataka pu kiore is an expression applied to storehouses built so that the rat cannot enter them, by placing a broad slab on the top of the posts supporting the floor of the store.
The whata-ā-rangi is a stage or platform erected in a tree, and is used for storing foods on. The whata poto is a stage built on high posts, and used for stacking food-supplies on. It has no house on it, or permanent roof, merely a thatched roof to protect the stores from the rain. The whata pu kiore is a stage built on two, four, or six posts, and on which a wooden building of neat and close construction is built. These stores were reached by means of rude ladders (ara-whata), usually a log with a series of notches cut therein for steps.
The Maori does not use any implements in eating saving the time-honoured “Tokorima a Maui”—i.e., his five fingers. In the case of a person under tapu, and hence unable to touch cooked food with his hands, he would either get some person
to feed him or use a pointed stick as a fork to convey the food to his mouth. Such a fork is termed tirou or purou. Failing these, the food would be placed on the ground before him, and he would gnaw it as a dog would—a very lame dog at that.
We will now proceed to note various customs, rites, sayings, and superstitions as pertaining to food-supplies:—
Kai parapara: When Mahia, of Tuhoe, was slain by Te Whakatohea at Te Pa-puni the food products of the place were placed under tapu on account of blue blood having been spilt there. Some of the people disregarded the tapu and are of those foods. That was a kai parapara. It was disastrous for the sacrilegious persons, who were slain by Tuhoe, who marched from Te Whaiti, where they had been taming the Pu Taewa, and desolated the Land of the Lost Lake.
The first fruits of birds and fish were offered or fed (whangaia) to the gods—i.e., to Tu-nui-a-te-ika, to Maru, and others of the numerous gods of the Tuhoean pantheon. The first fruits of potatoes or other cultivated foods are collected, a few from each home, in the spring, and are taken to the principal village of the district, where the pure rite is performed. This lifts the tapu from the young crops; and the collecting of the first fruits is termed the amoamohanga. The tapu is placed on the crop in midwinter by a rite known among these Hauhaus as the huamata, but which was formerly termed the maara tautane.
It must ever be borne in mind that cooked food is the very essence of pollution in the eyes of the Maori, and was much more so in the days gone by. Hence meals were eaten in the open or in the roro of the houses—i.e., in the deep porch. A chief, or any tapu person, not only could not eat his meals in a cooking-shed, but he could not even enter one, nor yet go near it or the ovens where food was prepared. Hence cooked food is always utilised in order to whakanoa or lift the tapu from persons, things, or places, to make them common. The expression “cooked head” is equivalent to the most degrading and virulent curse, an epithet that has caused much bloodshed in these isles. Another such is hoa o te kai, which, though not so virulent an epithet as the foregoing, is yet very insulting, inasmuch as it implies that the person so addressed is the companion or equal of food. The meaning assigned to this expression in Sir G. Grey's “Maori Proverbs,” page 85, is not the one generally accepted.
The word tāmaoa is often heard here. Maoa=cooked; ta is a causative prefix. But in this sense maoa or tamaoatia means “polluted.” In the bird-taking season, should cooked food be taken into the forest, then kua tamaoatia te nga-herehere (the forest is polluted)—i.e., the hau or sacred
prestige or vital essence of the forest is destroyed, and the result will be disastrous for fowlers, for the birds will desert that forest. It is an offence against Tane, the god of forests and of birds.
No Maori of position could carry cooked food on his back; if he carried it at all it would be in his left hand. The first-born male and female of a family of rank were sometimes kept very tapu—allowed neither to carry food nor yet to work. If it was desired to lift the tapu (or partially lift it) from such a person, he (or she) would probably carry some of the food to be used in the necessary rite, known as a purenga. That act in itself would break down the tapu; after which the various sacred ovens of the pure rite would be partaken of, the officiating priest repeating the invocation termed taumaha. The following is a taumaha :—
Taumaha ki runga,
Taumaha ki raro
Taumaha kai te whatu iria,
Kai te whatu rawea
Kai te whatu i nga koromatua,
I nga ruahine.
Ka kai ki tua
Ka kai ki waho
Ka kai ki te rangi nui e tu nei
Ka kai ki te Papa e takoto nei
He ora ki uta, he ora ki tai
He ora ki nga koromatua.
Enough! The rite of whakanoa, or rendering common, is completed.
The whakau is an invocation repeated over very sacred foods, such as those carried by first-born notables, as described above, or food connected with the dead, or priests, or any sacred place. The whakau renders such food noa, or common, so that the people who eat of it may not be slain by the sacredness thereof. The borrowed and misleading expression whakawhetai is now generally used by these natives to denote the whakau and taumaha. The priest officiating at the whakau rite takes a piece of the food and feeds (offers) it to the gods, repeating—
To kai ihi, to kai ihi
To kai Rangi, to kai Papa
To kai awe, to kai karu
To kai ure pahore
Whakataha ra e te anewa o te rangi
E tu nei
He tawhito to tapu
E homai nei kei taku ure
Na te tapu ihi, na te tapu mana
Hina (hinga) ki mua
Takoto ki raro
Ki to kauwhau ariki
The priest then lifts the piece of food to his mouth and repeats:—
E kai tatau!
E kai! E kai!
Kai atu tatau ki nga ihi i te rangi
Ki nga mana i te rangi
Ki nga tapu i te rangi
Kauaka e turoua.
Kai atu koe ki te ihi
Kai atu koe ki te mana
Ki nga rua tupapaku
Ki nga rua koiwi
Kauaka e turoua
Mate rourou tiritiria makamaka
Kia kai mai te ati tipua
Kia kai mai te ati tawhito
E kai! E kai!
Kia kai nuku tatau (for tatou)
Kia kai rangi tatau
Kia kai matamua tatau
E horo, E horo o tatau kaki
Takoto ki raro
Ki to kauwhau ariki.
The whangai is another kind of whakau, and is also connected with food. When persons were about to start on a journey, and were fearful of being bewitched by the people of the lands they were going to travel through, they would cook some food and eat of it. The remains of such food they would place in their belts and so carry with them. That food would ward off any magic spells, &c., which might be directed against the travellers.
When a present of food was received from another tribe or place the superstition and caution of the Maori were in evidence; hence the following ceremony, with its invocations, was performed in order to make common (pure) the food, to remove from it the mana (power, prestige) of the givers, and to prevent or avert any spells or rites of witchcraft that might have been performed over it.
The food arrives. The priest arises and performs the takiwhenua—that is to say, the pure. Because the food has come to us on (under the influence of) the mana of other peoples. Now, lest disaster assail us. There may be evil influences at work in regard to that food. The priest arises and repeats the takiwhenua. He takiwhenua tenei, he pure (this is a takiwhenua, a making common):—
Ka waere makere ti
Ka waere ki runga o makere ta
Ka waere ki waho o makere ta
Kia haramai makere ti
Kaikai kutu makere ti
Kaikai riha makere ti
Te roua atu, te kapea mai
Roua ki Whiti, roua ki Tonga
E tu te rouroua
E taka te kape
Ka eke i to ihi
Ka eke i to māna
Te ihi nei, nga tapu nei
Ko tai koki
Ko tai takoto atu ki raro
Nga peruperu mawhawha
Haere ake ra te ihi o nga toa
Tatea a nuku, tatea a rangi
Huri ana te po, huri ana te ao
Tena te whatu ka rere
Ko te whatu a te pukena (pukenga)
Ko te whatu a te wananga
Koa ki runga
Koa ki waho
Tena te rakau
Ko tu te rangi
Haruru nga toro
Ko te rakau a kai hika
Te rakau a kai ure
Waerea te maru tuna
Waerea te maru wehi
Haere tarekoreko atu ki tahaki—e-e.
The priest then takes the ahua (semblance, likeness, personality, representation) of the food and roasts it at the fire, and then eats it. He then repeats the taumaha:—
Taumaha te ihi o te kai
Te māna o te kai
Te maru tuna o te kai
Te maru wehi o te kai
He kai! He kai!
He kai ma kutikuti
He kai ma kapekape
Ka kape i to ihi
Ka kape i to mana
Ka kape i to maru tuna
Ka kape i to maru wehi
Ka kape i to maru korero
Ka kape i to maru wananga
Ka māmā nga pukena (pukenga)
Ka māmā nga wananga
Ka māmā hoki ahau, tenei tauira.
Enough! The people may now eat of the food.
When we hear that travellers are approaching our village we set to work and prepare food for them. When they arrive some one will say to them,’ “So-and-so is preparing food for you” (kai te taitai kai a mea ma koutou). Now, if they do not stop and partake of that food it is an evil
omen for them; they have disregarded Tahu (kua takahi i a Tahu). But if those people are in a hurry to proceed on their way it is sufficient if one of them takes a portion of the food, however small, cooked or raw, and eats it. That will avert the evil omen.
Here the food is personified in Tahu (see above), who must not be disregarded or trouble will surely follow.
The remains of food left after a tapu person, such as mentioned above, has partaken of a meal are extremely dangerous, and if eaten by any rash or unwary person he will become weak, listless, and good for nothing until he is cured either by the priest or the person whose food he ate. Should this act be committed in war-time, then the offender will be afflicted by tu-mata-rehurehu—i.e., he will become faint-hearted and apprehensive, and of no account on the field of battle.
A good way to slay a person by witchcraft (makutu or whaiwhaiā) is to obtain one of the cooking-stones from his oven and take it to a competent wizard, asking him to repeat a spell over it. Have this stone returned to the oven of your enemy and await results. Any one eating of food cooked in that oven will know death. Another method of bewitching a person through the agency of food is known as mātākai. It has been fully explained in a former paper.
The following is a charm repeated over a person who is choking. The person is slapped on the back while the words are being said:—
Kaitoa ano koe kia raoa
Nau ka ngau mai, ngau mai
Nau ka ngau atu, ngau atu
Te horo a te kawau
Horo mania, horo panuku
Puwhaina mai ki waho.
Here is another charm for choking. It comes under the generic term of whai:—
Whiti raoa, tapa raoa
Kaitoa koe kia raoa
Na to kai tu, na to kai rere
Na to kai haere
Na to kai tama wahine
E hia ou kai?
E rua ou kai
I horomia e koe
Ko nini, ko nana
Ko te patari o Wahieroa
Tama wahine, whakaruakina
Raoa ki waho
Hokaikai ana ou ringaringa
Hokaikai ana ou waewae
Hotu nuku, hotu rangi
Nau mai ki waho.
It is said that food products could be destroyed—i.e., lands rendered unfertile—by means of magic rites in former days. A charm or incantation termed papa-hāro or te tipi a Houmea was used for the above purpose.
When going to visit another village it is bad form to go empty-handed (kaore e pai kia haere ko te rae anake); better take some article of food for the people you are about to visit. It disarms the critical and prevents sarcastic remarks being made. Such an offering is termed a puapua or koparepare. Visitors to my 8 ft. by 10 ft. mansion often apologize for not bringing a puapua.
Omens, Superstitions, &c., pertaining to Food.—It is an evil omen (āituā) to omit a person in the apportionment of food at-feasts, &c. You must be very careful never to let a wizard become possessed of a portion of your food, for if he does he holds your life in the hollow of his hand, and can destroy you by his magic arts, using the food as a medium for his charms, for that food contains, or is imbued with, a certain amount of your personality. Hence the danger.
When a marching war party halt to cook food they must be careful to divide and scatter the koronae, or leaves used to line the oven, ere they lift the trail again. Neglect this and trouble lies before them. To find a lizard (moko tapiri or the moko kakariki) in an oven or in a dish of food is an evil omen. Certain nights of the moon are reckoned unlucky for eel-fishing or planting crops. The following list of the nights of the moon shows the unlucky nights marked with a cross. This list was sent to me by Mr. G. H. Davies, and was collected from Wi Tana Papahia, of Hokianga:—
x Whiro (new moon).
x Tama teangana.
Tama te Whakapau.
x Te Huna.
x Te Ari.
Oturu (full moon).
Korekore — whakapiri (quarter).
Tangaroa a mua.
Tangaroa a roto.
Sayings and proverbs regarding food are innumerable. We give a few specimens of them:—
“Kotahi ou kai, kotahi ou tangata.” (One food, one person—you have only provided food for yourself and none for your companion).
“Kaua e huirangitia te kai, engari e tau ki raro” (Do not eat standing; sit down to your meal). It is an evil omen for a war party on the march to eat standing.
“Te kai a te waewae e kimi” (When in travelling we chance upon food our legs found it for us).
“Nga uri o Mahanga whakarere kai, whakarere waka” (The offspring of Mahanga, who abandoned food and canoe). Mahanga was having a canoe made at Raorao-totara, near Mount Edgecumbe, and the canoe was shattered by an accident, which so disgusted Mahanga that he left his canoe and his meal and at once migrated north, nor did he ever return.
“Waiho i kona nga tama a te ngahuru haere ai” (Let the offspring of the autumn alone to stroll about as he likes). The sons of Koira of old used to absent themselves from home when work was toward in the planting season, but when the crops were gathered they returned to where food was plentiful. Some one asked Koira why his sons did not assist him in his labours, and he made the above reply.
“E whai i muri i a Rehua, kia kai ai koe i te kai” (Follow after Rehua that you may obtain plenty of food. When travelling always join a chief's party and you will fare well).
“Haere i raro i te kaahu korako” (Travel under the wing of the white hawk). A similar saying to the foregoing one.
To a person who turns up his nose at the food before him we say, “E kore te kino kai e whai ki te pai tangata; ko te pai tangata e whai ki te kino kai.”
“Ehara ta te tangata kai, he kai titongi kaki; e kore e rite ki tana ake, tino kai, tino makona” (The eating of other people's food merely tickles the palate, but that gained by our own exertion is best and most satisfying).
“Kai hoki i Waiaua ra” (There is food also at Wai-aua. I won't stay to eat with you, but push on to my destination before I eat).
“Tu ana rae roa, noho ana rae poto” (When visitors arrive the meal will be over).
“He waru ki runga, he rare ki raro” (Summer above, indolence below).
“Kai kino ana a Te Arahe.” Te Arahe was a person who used to store up dainties and eat them in secret that she might not have to share them. Hence when any one acts in that manner we say, “Te Ara-he is eating in secret.”
“He oneone to puku?” (Is your stomach like the earth
that it cannot be filled with food). Said to one who complains of the long time taken in preparing food. “It will be here in good time. Food has no legs wherewith to run away.”
“He taua ano to te kai” (Food can conquer man, as well as an armed foe can). Said to those who want food quickly and in plenty. When much is placed before them they cannot eat it all.
“E tama E! Mo a muri, mo a nehe” (O, son! The days that lie before will avenge this). Said to a person who refuses one food. Some day he may be in want of food.
“Kai ana mai koe he atua, noho ana ahau he tangata” (You are eating there like a god; I am sitting here as an ordinary man). Said to a person who does not offer to share his meal with another. “You appear to despise me, but I may slay you by magic as you eat.”
“He kuri, he tangata haere, kaore ona tikanga, ona aha” (A traveller is like a dog, of no account whatever. Any food is welcome to a traveller; do not trouble to prepare choice foods).
“Na tetahi a Maui ka ware ore, ka tata hoki.” Said when people get tired of waiting for coming guests and so eat the food; then the visitors arrive when the food is consumed. It was a thoughtless act when the guests were so near.
“He toki kai runga, he toki kai raro” (Two sets of sharp teeth to eat the food with. Never mind if it be underdone).
“Kai te waro o te rehunga” (It has gone down the red lane—of food that has been consumed. It has disappeared down the gullet). This saying is also applied to land.
“Ko Putauaki te kainga, he ngarara tona kai” (Lizards are the food at Putauaki). Food-supplies were not numerous at Mount Edgecumbe.
“He aha ra a uta i ora ai” (How can inland tribes fare well? They have no fish or products of the ocean for a change of diet).
“Hohonu kaki, papaku uaua,” or “Hohonu korokoro, papaku uaua” (Deep throat, shallow muscle). Applied to a person who is a good trencherman, but is absent when work is toward.
“Whakaka kau ana a Whakarau” (Whakarau gets only the savour of the food. When he arrived the food had been consumed). Used under similar circumstances.
“Ka pou te kai, ka noho te rae tangata” (When visitors arrive the choice foods have been consumed). The coming visitors banished those foods. This is a singular belief—the mana of approaching visitors banishes food—i.e., birds, &c., will not be obtainable; they will not enter the snare, &c.
“Ka hoki te rae tangata, ka hira te rae kai.” Food has been prepared for a certain expected guest, but another visitor
arrives before him. We cannot give the choice foods to the latter because they were prepared for another. Hence the above remark.
“Tu pupu, tu ngaro; tu kete, tu ea.” Some food is taken, as a present, to a village and handed over to the principal person thereof. He distributes part of it among the people. Who knows that any return present will be made by those people for what they have received? But the chief is sure to make a return present for the portion retained by him.
“He tutanga te unuhia.” Applied to those who are industrious and energetic in digging fern-root, and other labours.
“He tutae koinokoino (koingoingo).” Applied to bird-snarers and fowlers generally. Those who depend solely upon birds as a relish for their food are liable to go short at times. Birds are scarce during some seasons.
“He toa taua, he toa e waia; he toa ahuwhenua, he toa tuturu” (The cultivator of the soil is a greater man than the warrior).
“Te whatu o Poutini” is an expression applied to berries of the hinau.
However, we will discontinue these sayings. They are so numerous that it will be better to compile a separate paper on the proverbial sayings and apophthegms of the Maori in the days that lie before.
We insert a few expressions, as applying to food and food-supplies, some of which are not commonly heard:—
Hahore—“He whenua hahore” : A sterile land, not productive in food-supplies.
Hunua: Same meaning as above. Applied to high ranges where birds are scarce on account of the lack of toromiro, maire, and kakikatea trees.
Kumanga-iti — “He tangata kumanga-iti”: A sparing eater.
Koto: Having a dislike to certain food. “He koto a mea tangata ki te kai nei!”
Ihu oneone: Dirty nose. Applied to a person industrious at cultivating food. The terms ihupuku and puku-mahi denote industry, as also does ringa mahana.
Tangata marae: This term implies a generous person of a hospitable disposition.
Uruora: Applied to forests in the valleys and lower ranges, where birds are plentiful on account of there being plenty of berry-bearing trees, as the toromiro.
Whenua pua: Land where there are plenty of berries for birds.
Many of the waiata Maori, or native songs, have reference to food. A few examples are given:—
He Waiata.—Na Hara, Mona i korerotia ki te matapiko ki te kai (a, Song, by Hara, who was accused of Inhospitality).
E whae E!
Kaore e kitea e au te mata mau
Kati ano ki abau ko te korero
Ko te waba tarera ka rua
Takiri mai koia ko te ata
Na runga mai o nga puke ra
He aha te kai mau ra tia e au
He uhi, he taro,
Ka taka te piko o te whakairo
Ko te kai onamata he hinu ra,
He mimiha, he pakake ra
Ko te kai a te tipua, he wai rama
He nanua pounamu kai te moana ra.
To be accused of meanness as to food is quite a serious affair to the Maori., The above song was composed in the early part of last century, when Europeans were termed tipua, or demons, and rum was supposed to be an important part of their food-supply.
The following song was composed by one Parepare, who was accused of secretly eating the stored foods of the village :—
He aha kai taku ihu
He whiti tamaki nei au pea—e
Mauria atu ano
Engari kia ata pakia atu
Ko Herapeka ko te ki mai
Ki te kaia, ki te tumatarau
Te kai hunahuna
Te kai whai ki to ringa
Kaore mai mua i nga pakeke
Katahi nei ka pakia e koe
Ki muri nei
Ma te hauauru, mana e hari atu
Ka whakarangona atu Erueti i waho ra
Ki aku rongo kai kino
Tenei kai ahau hai paki ware
Kauaka hai tupou kia haramai ki runga ra.
The Maori mind was ever richly stored with ideas of a metaphysical nature; it teemed with personifications and metaphor. His language abounded in emblematical expressions and quaint Old-World conceits. Hence we always see in the primitive myths of the Maori a desire to locate the causality of things, to explain the origin of matter. In regard to food, we have seen that the origins of the gourd and fern-root have been personified, as the kumara, or sweet potato, is represented by Rongo and Pani. In like manner these natives have a generic personification for food in Tahu, who is said to be the parent or origin of food. By some tribes Tahu is said to have been a brother of Rongo. Tahu emblemises good. A common saying among Tuhoe is, “Kaua e takahi
i a Tahu”—i.e., Do not disregard Tahu. This remark is made when a person refuses proffered food. In Sir G. Grey's “Maori Proverbs,” page 85, we find the expression, “Te inati o Tahu” as applied to woman, whereas men were the sons of Tu, the war-god.
In former times these hakari, or feasts, were, important features of the domestic life of the Maori, and formed one of their most striking social customs. At these functions the different tribal divisions met together and topics affecting the welfare of the tribe were discussed, thus helping, to a certain extent, to bind together the various family groups of these jealous communities. Outside tribes were also invited sometimes to these feasts, and probably the only bad effect of these meetings was the scarcity of food which usually followed them. A feast was held when the kumara (sweet potato) crop was taken up and stored, and among the mountaineers of Tuhoeland a like function was observed when certain rites were performed over the first fruits of the season—i.e., of birds and fresh-water fish. Feasts were also held on the occasion of the marriage of important people, and on many other occasions. Names were given to feasts of importance, such as Hiwanawana, a feast held at Otairi, near Te Whaiti, where the Ngati-Rongo and Tuhoe Tribes were guests of the Patu-heuheu people.
When arrangements had been made for giving a feast messengers were despatched to invite the guests. These messengers were called whakareka, and consisted of a ti ngahuru, or party of ten persons, or some such number.
Meanwhile the givers of the feast have been busily engaged in preparing food and accommodation for the coming visitors. Huge stages were constructed on a scaffolding of poles, and sometimes having several floors or stages. On these food was piled and hung. Also long rows of food in baskets were stacked on the ground, and at intervals poles were set up in these rows. I have seen such poles bedecked with one-pound and even five-pound notes, all of which, together with the stacks of food, were handed over to the guests. That was at Turanga, about the middle “seventies.”
The stages for stacking food on were termed whata, and were sometimes of great size. Kumara, taro, berries, birds, fish, and other foods would be provided in abundance. Calabashes full of birds and rats, preserved as already explained, occupied an important position. They were the centre-pieces of the feast, and were ornamented after the manner of the Maori. Mounted on carved wooden legs, and covered with a piece of woven matting adorned with bunches
of feathers, and topped with a hollow top or mouthpiece of carved wood, they presented quite a brave show. To the top part of the netting covering the calabash were attached six or eight loops of cord, which were drawn up over the lid and secured.
But the invited guests have lifted the trail of Tahu, and we must prepare for them. When the party is within a day's march of the village a party meets them, bearing a present of food. They will meet the visitors at their last camping-place before arriving at the place where the feast is to be. This is termed a tu-mahana or pongaihu.
When the party arrives at the village they do not at once come right up to the ground where the hakari is to be held, but halt some little distance away. One person then advances from among them, and, walking up to the first pole, set up at the head of the row of food, he stamps his foot at the base of the pole and repeats to himself the following incantation, but not so as to be beard:—
Ka takahi ki runga,
Ka takahi ki raro
Ka takahi ki uta
Ka takahi ki tai
Ka takahi ki raro
Ki te po wherikoriko
Ngaro ki uta
Ngaro ki tai
Ngaro ki tupua
Ngaro ki tawhito
Mau ka oti atu,
This singular act is termed a whakarori (ka takahi i te upoko o te kai, hai whakarori i te kai kia rori; ara, he whakanoa); it lifts the tapu from the food, and, were it neglected, the omission would be a kopare (an evil omen)—that is to say, if the visiting party did not halt to perform this act, but marched right on to the reception-ground. The saying “Ko Tahu kia roria” is applied to the above ceremony, for Tahu is, as we have seen, the personification of food.
The above incantation is directed against the food supplied for the feast, and the food products generally of the place (hai whakarewa i te kai). The priest of the village community will then proceed to recite the following charm or invocation, termed a whakararau, and which is intended to paralyse the effects of the first spell and retain the food products of the place, their vitality, &c. :—
Puritia a uta
Puritia a tai
Koia puritia, koia tawhia
Tawhia ki tamoremore nui no Papa
He aio tua raharaha.
As a party of visitors march slowly on to the reception-ground they are welcomed with loud cries and the waving of garments, the old women being the principal performers. Were it an uhunga, or mourning party, a doleful tangi, or wailing, would be indulged in. The leading chiefs of the village stand forth, one after another, and greet and welcome the guests, and whakatau, or “settle,” them. Then a kind of master of ceremonies appears, with a rod in hand, and proceeds to apportion the divisions of the rows of heaped-up food among the various sub-tribes or family groups of the visiting peoples, calling out in a loud voice, “This is for such a clan,” and indicating with his wand the portion for them. The long heaps of food are termed tahuaroa.
After the above ceremony a procession of food-bearers appears, bringing baskets of cooked food for the first meal of the visitors. They march slowly on to the ground, generally two abreast, bearing the baskets of food in their hands before them, and often waving them to and fro in time to a song chaunted by the bearers. These songs are known as waiata heriheri kai or waiata makamaka kaihaukai. When this food is placed on the ground before the guests, then is seen the custom known as whakatomo or kokomo. Any person who has a relative or close friend among the visitors may have prepared for him some special and choice food, which same he now places before him for his own private use. After the meal is over speech-making on various topics is indulged in by the leading men of both parties, after which each tribal division of the guests retires to the quarters assigned to it, the people bearing with them the tahua, or heap of food, which has been given to them.
When the divisions of food (tahua) are apportioned to the visitors it may strike the latter that some precautionary measure may be advisable, inasmuch as some evilly disposed person of the place may have bewitched the food in order to destroy the visiting people. So a leading man of the latter will take a small portion of food from each tahua and eat the same, in order to avert any spells of magic. Or, if you like not that plan, here is another way: The head of a row of food at these feasts is termed the kauru or upoko—ie., the right-hand end of the row as placed before and seen by the visitors. The left-hand end of the row is termed the take. When the food has been presented, but before any of it is touched, a priest or elder rises from among the visitors and, taking the basket of food which is at the extreme end of the kauru, he carries it to the take and there deposits it, taking also the basket from that end and depositing it at the head of the row. This act is a whiti ora, and it will avert all troubles,
evil omens, and other danger to which the superstitious Maori was ever exposed, or believed himself so to be. I have heard of another local custom in which the first rourou, or basket of cooked food, brought by the food-bearers is placed before the priest of the local people, who places himself at the upoko, or head of the feast—at the head of the table, in fact—albeit the table is, and was ever, the broad bosom of Mother Earth.
We will now give a few of the songs as sung by the food-bearers above mentioned:—
He Puha Heriheri Kai (a Food-carrying Chaunt).
He kumara kai hamuhamu
Ko te ehu o te kupu nei na
Kia hoki kau atu ina
Te tina ki taia mai
Ka mate taia mai
Ka mate te puke e tu iho nei
He kotahi te kete
I kimihia ki te kore
Kore rawa aku iwi ki te mahi kai—e.
This song contains a good example of the difficulties which are encountered by those who attempt to translate Maori songs, incantations, &c. The word ehu, in the second line, might well puzzle a pundit; but it is used for ahua oh account of its being more euphonious to the Maori ear in that place. If ahua was used it would spoil the euphony (ara, kua huatau). Here is another of the songs:—
Whakatutu kau au i taku kete
Pahao kau au i taku kete
Te mareretanga o te tui
Kokopu ki te wai
Pao (pohu) potehe
Potehe te kai ki raro
Ki te whenua
He Waiata Makamaka Kaihaukai (Na Ruru, he karakia kia kore e kaha tana hoa makamaka kaihaukai, kia hinga i a ia. Composed and sung by Ruru. An Incantation to destroy the Powers, Agility, &c., of his Companion in bearing Food).
Tu ana te manu i runga i nga puke ra
Tenei hoki te kame ka whakairi
Te kame ka whakarere
Te kame i pokaia noatia
I runga i a Tu-ka-riri
I a Tu kaniwha,
I a Tu-ka-ritarita
E haere ana a Rita
He tangata kamenga kore
Ka pau te ki hanga maka
He nui kame maoa e tu ana
I o atua roa
He tini te kame, he mano te kame
He tutae taua
Ka kame tiko iho ki waenga
He aha aku kai tee pau noa ai
Naku te tohenga ki te whitu, ki te waru
Ki te roa o te tau.
Waiho nei matau hai timokomoko kai
Ma te ngahuru
Tangi ana te whakatopatopa o kame,
O kame maunu
He toroa! he taiko!—e.
Whiti Tuarua (Second Part).
Ara e hau mate kino o te whakaangiangi
Nohoanga roa i te taha o te kame
Na ka pa tahau, he iti mai ano na Mouhanga
Koia ra ia e tohea ake nei ko te takahanga
Kia ata kitea iho e roa te tau
Naku i whakanui, naku i whakakake
Kia kake mai ki runga ra
Kakekake mai i o manu
Ki tetahi taha o te wairangi
Tu te rupe, rau te kawa
Ko te kawa i herea
Ko te kawa i a matua nei
Koukou ruru—e mata taitaia
Ka tukia te papa i raro nei
Ko ou tahi taua o mua iho ra hoki
Houhanga rongo, maunga rongo noa ki konei
Houhia kautia ki te kakaritanga
O te uri o Tiki.
He aha te kame ma kuku, ma kaka
Ma kau hoehoe mai tarawahi awa
Nana te toki i kotia ai te pane o nga poaka
Ehara i te peka i whawhe mai ano
Tauwhitu kia matau nei
Tirohia atu he takahanga ma tai rau
E tikoki ana, e mau ana kiki wara
Ka mahue pinara
I whakangongotu ai papa oku ki to mate
Tohu tonu o matau mate
Na Tiki, na Ponga, koi homai
Ripaia mai ra o tekateka ki konei
I hea i raru ai au na—i.
Such were the feasts given, sometimes on account of war or of a peacemaking, or in order to discuss some other important matter. The people to whom the feast was given will endeavour to give a return feast, and will work hard to grow or provide food for the same. The term paremata was applied either to this return feast or to a present, as food, taken by guests and given to the givers of the feast. In the modern Hauhau religion of these natives the term paremeta is applied to the money subscription collected for feasts at the performing of the huamata and other rites.
When the people were gathered at these meetings the brighter side of the social life of the Maori was seen, and many games and amusements were indulged in, the whare tapere was largely patronised; but such amusements have already been described in a former paper.
Here is another account of the arrival of guests and the performance of the ue: “A house is built for a kaihaukai (feast). The invited guests arrive and enter the house. The people of the village are collected outside, and are seated watching the visitors. The priest of the visiting party clambers up on to the roof of the house and recites the ue incantation. When he repeats the final words, Hui e! taiki e! his party, who are seated against the walls inside the house, all join in this chorus, and, seizing the uprights of the house, endeavour by united effort to shake the building. If any part of the house gives way that is an evil omen for the hosts; they will take no further interest in the meeting or feast—kua hiki o ratou mahara—their minds are, unsettled by the occurrence.”
The following account of the ue was given to me by a member of the Ngati-Awa Tribe. It does not agree with the Tuhoe account, but does so with a description given in “Te Ika a Maui,” page 343, 2nd ed.
A hakari messenger to the people. As he approaches the village (of those he has come to invite to the feast), and before he has entered it, he chaunts the ue :—
Uea i te poupou o te whare
Uea i te pou tuarongo o te whare
E waha i taku tua
Ka haere taua
He karere hakari
He karere kaihaukai.
As he finishes his chaunting of the above the people of the village reply with the following, which is, in the first place, an invocation to protect themselves and their food products from possible magic arts; and, in the second place, a declining of the invitation:—
Whenua a uta
Kai a puritia
Whenua a tai
Kai a puritia
Puritia ki tamoremore nui no Papa
E kore au e tae atu.
The inviting messenger then chaunts:—
Tuia ko te kawe runga
Ko te kawe o te haere.
To which the villagers reply:—
Kaore au e tae atu
Kaore aku paremata
E haere atu ai au.
Turanga hapa: When people are busy preparing food for visitors, should any person or persons absent themselves from the task that is termed a turanga hapa. “Au mahi a te turanga hapa!” is a belittling expression applied to such people.
Inati and tuhanga: Terms applied to small lots of food, as the portion for a single person. The expressions tahua and tahuaroa are applied only to large lots, as the long heaps at a hakari.
The plumes of the kotuku (white crane) were highly prized by the natives. These birds used formerly to breed, it is said, at a lagoon or pond at Manuoha. The plumes were tapu, however, and if a man wearing the same be eating no woman may join in the meal unless the wearer of the plumes takes them off and lays them aside. Were a woman to persist in joining in the meal her hair would all come out and leave her hairless.
Matariki (the Pleiades) was depended upon by the Maori for the signs of the coming season as to whether food-supplies would be plentiful or not. If the stars of Matariki appear wide apart, then a warm, plentiful season follows; if they appear close together, a cold, foodless season follows.
Rehua (? Antares) has two wives. One is Ruuhi, also known as Peke-hawani (? Spica, in Virgo), the star which marks the eighth month of the Maori year. When Rehua goes to live with Ruuhi the latter places her feet upon the earth, the left foot first, and then the fruits of earth are formed. When Rehua marries his other wife, termed Whakaonge-kai (a star), then summer is upon us. This latter female is a destroyer of food; food becomes scarce (among a forest-dwelling people), whereas Ruuhi provides food for man. When man becomes listless, enervated, it is said that he is assailed by Rehua—that is to say, by Whakaonge-kai—and the heat of the sun.
Heoi! The list of the foods of the bushmen of Tuhoeland is now completed, or so far as my notes extend. Albeit they may not be complete, yet has it cost much time to collect them—much time and a great patience, long evenings in conversation with the older generation of natives, many tramps through the realm of Tane, long talks by ruddy camp-fires; and primitive man marvels greatly, and says, “What does this white man want to know these things for? What is he going to do? Is he mad?”
It may seem that I have given many trivial details in this paper, but I have been led to do so by a strong desire on my
part to place on record all that is possible about the Maori, and, above all, to illustrate as far as possible my favourite study—viz., the inner workings of the mind of primitive man.
Cannibalism.—Probably one of the final acts of cannibalism in this district was at the fall of Te Tumu pa in 1836. Taurua, Te Kowhai, Te Rua-o-kahukura II., and others of Tuhoe, took part in the storming of Te Tumu. Hikairo, of Te Arawa, came here to ask for assistance, and a party was raised. Taurua brought back to Maungapohatu a calabash containing the flesh of Hikareia. Another, containing the flesh of Te Rua-taha-pari, was brought to Rua-tahuna.
Harakeke.—The variety of flax of which the bases of the leaves were eaten resembled the awanga variety in appearance.
Hue.—Upoko-taupo, Whakahau-mātua,* and Manuka-roa† † are names of varieties. The first two leaves put forth by the plant are termed rau kakano (seed leaves). The term rautara is applied to the third leaf, and putaihinu to the fourth. When the young runner appears the expression uma is used. For some reason the four stars known as Pi-a-wai are called a hue.
Kekerewai and Tutaeruru.—These are quite distinct. The latter flies about in the evening, making a booming sound. The term manu a Rehua, however, applies to both, and they were both eaten. Some kinds of purerehua (moths) were also eaten.
Para taro.—The correct name is taro para. It grows in the bush, and the edible tubers(?) form a clump. They are like taro in appearance, and were cooked for a long time in a steam-oven.
Toi.—The tap-root of the toi (Cordyline indivisa) was eaten formerly, as also the young undeveloped leaves. The trunk, or the upper portion of it, was likewise used as food, the outside part being first chipped with stone adzes. All species of Cordyline provided food. The young leaves of the ti-kouka contain a bitter sap, which is absent in the toi. The ti para was the best eating, and did not require the outside chipped off. The tap-root (more), young leaves (rito), and upper part of trunk were all eaten. It is not the same as the ti tawhiti. Of the ti hapu the rito alone was eaten.
Ongaonga.—This is worrying me, and is not yet clear. The plant known as ongaonga (? Urtica ferox) is a plant of the
[Footnote] * Used for taha huahua.
[Footnote] † Used for oko bowls.
nettle kind, which I have seen about 8 ft. in height. It loses its leaves in the winter. The natives believe that this grows into the large tree known as houhi ongaonga, of which the inner bark was eaten in times of scarcity; also that it loses its spines when in the tree stage. Now, I know the tree; it is the houhi with short rounded leaves and thick bark, not the one having long narrow leaves. I have no faith in the Maori theory. The ongaonga (nettle shrub) has no leaves now (August). Its branchlets are extremely tough. The tree, houhi ongaonga, has a few leaves remaining at this time of the year, but most of them have fallen. But the houhi with narrow leaves flourishes the year round covered with leaves.
Puruhi.—An old native informs me that this term is applied to leaves eaten by birds. The pigeon eats the leaves of the kowhai, akaaka, and houhi (both kinds), and its flesh is poor eating at such times. Hence the term puruhi is applied to all these leaves—“He kereru kai puruhi, kaore e momona, a ka haunga hoki nga kiko” (Puruhi-eating pigeons are poor in condition and their flesh is offensive).
A kind of worm termed ngaio is sometimes found in the kokopu fish, and also in the entrails of the kākā bird. These birds are thin when afflicted by this parasite.