Art. IV.—Maori Marriage Customs: being Notes on Ancient Maori Customs, Ritual and Sociological, connected with Courtship, Marriage, and Divorce, together with some Account of the Levirate, and of many Superstitious Beliefs, and Ancient Animistic Myths connected with the same, as held and preserved by the Maori Peoples of the Tuhoe Tribe.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, 5th October, 1903.]
In works treating on Polynesian ethnology and sociology the subject of marriage is invariably disposed of in a few sentences. The writer usually states that there was no marriage rite among these peoples, but that, in New Zealand, a custom obtained by which young people were betrothed to each other. Others have said that a formal handing-over of the woman to her husband was usual in New Zealand. These brief remarks show a surprising paucity of information, and are often rendered in such a manner as to give readers the impression that marriage among the Maori people was, in former times, but a low type of cohabiting, to which no ancestral customs, forms, or rite pertained. I propose to show in this paper that these scant accounts are misleading, and that the impressions left on the reader's mind after a perusal of the same are quite erroneous.
The Maoris were ever a most punctilious people, and ever adhered rigidly to ancient customs and forms, social and otherwise. No exception was made in regard to such of these as related to marriage. They might occasionally be ignored by young people, but if so the tribal opinion, or that of the sub-clan or family group, would at once condemn such a breach of custom. I propose, then, to show that—First, there was a marriage rite among the natives of New Zealand. Secondly, a recognised and enforced mode of procedure obtained in regard to marriage, the arrangement of which was conducted by the elders of the interested couple. There were, undoubtedly, exceptions to the above arrangements, but these exceptions are no proof that such rules were not generally recognised, and upheld. The same might be said of our own marriage system, which is by no means universally followed among us. For instance, the rite, which will be explained anon, was performed over parties belonging to the rangatira class only—i.e., persons of good birth—but never over low-born persons (tutua or ware); but even in the case of the latter the marriage would not be a formless pairing or cohabiting, but would be proposed, discussed, and arranged, with possibly
little ceremony, but nevertheless deliberately and properly adjusted.
The description of such customs, &c., pertaining to court-ship, betrothal, marriage, divorce, and other matters as will hereinafter be described has been obtained entirely from members of the Tuhoe Tribe of Maoris, who have inhabited for centuries the rugged district situated between the Bay of Plenty and Te Wairoa, on the East Coast. This article does not assume to be a description, or even a compendium, of the marriage customs of all the native tribes of New Zealand. Differences in customs, &c., are sure to be found as between different tribes.
The system of ethology, or code of ethics, of the Maori in former times was suited to a communistic and primitive people, and, like their religion, was more closely adhered to and upheld than the systems. moral and religious, of many more-advanced peoples. To marry any one of closer kinship than a third cousin was deemed incest, and great exception was taken to such unions. They were severely condemned.
In order to understand the following notes on the Maori marriage system it is necessary to have a clear idea of the tribal organization of these people, and their system of consanguinity.
The natives of New Zealand base their tribal organization on their descent from the last and most important migration of Polynesians from the isles of the Pacific, although they are also descended from the ancient tribes of the land, a prior migration of a similar ethnic people. This latter origin is, however, not much heard of, as the mana (power, prestige, &c.) of the old-time people passed away and was replaced by that of the descendants of the last migration, which arrived at New Zealand about the middle of the fourteenth century. Thus, the Tuhoe Tribe, although principally of aboriginal blood (of the earlier migration), have long discarded their ancient and more applicable tribal name of Nga-Potiki for that of Tuhoe-potiki, who was a chief of the descendants of the latter migration.
The collection or group of peoples, termed iwi (tribes) by the natives, are subdivided into hapu (sub-tribes or clans), and these again into sub-hapu or family groups (also termed hapu).
Edward Jenks, in his “History of Politics,” says that the tribe “is a large group, consisting of several hundred individuals, the fully qualified among whom certainly believe themselves to be descended from a common male ancestor…. But in most cases the common ancestor of the tribe is a fictitious person,” &c. The other social unit he
terms the clan (or sept). This, he says, “is a much smaller body, consisting of some three or four generations only, in descent from a perfectly well-known male ancestor,” &c. Now, these remarks are not applicable to the social organization of the Maori people. Jenks's “tribe” is equivalent to the Maori hapu or sub-tribe. His “clan” is the Maori sub-hapu (or sub-clan). In former times it was a poor Maori tribe indeed that could not muster a thousand fighting-men. Also, among the Maori a common ancestor of a tribe is by no means a fictitious person. The Maori clan or sub-tribe may be descendants of an ancestor who lived ten, or fifteen, or more generations ago, and may consist of hundreds of individuals. Certainly it would appear that in some cases—e.g., the Arawa—the primal social unit might be termed rather a group of tribes, a league. But in cases where all members thereof are descended from a common ancestor, and, however non-cohesive in times of peace, yet group themselves ever together in defence against an extra-tribal enemy, and act in other important matters as a political entity, then such a people, or collection of peoples, must be looked upon as a tribe.
The unit of the social organization of the Maori is, I take it, the consanguineous family group or sub-clan (i.e., sub-hapu). Now, it would entirely depend upon the numbers of such a sub-clan as to whether the members thereof would or would not be required by native custom to contract exogamous marriages. Even then such unions would not be exogamous in regard to the tribe or hapu. As a tribal matter marriages were usually endogamous in former times. We will, however, make this matter clearer by means of the genealogy of a portion of a sub-hapu as an illustration. Prior, however, to entering upon a description of Maori marriage we will tarry a while with the gods, and invade the realm of myth and animism.
Animistic Myths and Mythical Origin of Marriage.
In this paper I make use of the term “marriage” to denote the union or cohabiting not only of the genus homo, but also of gods, heroes, mythical beings, personifications, and animated natural objects and phenomena.
The most remote allusion to sex in Maori mythology pertains to the period, long anterior to the existence of Rangi and Papa-tuanuku (the Sky and Earth), when certain primordial beings or personifications existed in the primitive chaos from which the elements and all living beings have sprung. These beings are said to have been bisexual, and to have produced offspring down to the time when earth and sky were so formed, after which the progeny and descendants of the
latter appear to have been more distinctly anthropomorphous; at least, they are credited with human passions, and are said to have performed divers manual feats and tasks.
The primal beings above mentioned would seem to have been animistic conceptions, personifications of eras and æons of time. They represented chaos, they emerged from nothingness, from the dark void, from the womb of time. They were the origin of the Maori cosmos, and as time rolled on the universe became more ordered, the elements came into being through the same agency of sex, the heavenly bodies appeared as offspring of sexed personifications, after which came the heroes of Maori mythology, gods and demigods, and then man appeared—that is to say, man as we know him, man of the world of light, the world of life and being. Such is, in few words, the spirit of the Maori cosmogony and anthropogeny, as also the origin of sex. In fine, Maori myths and origins are noted for the mytho-poetic ideas and animistic conceptions which they contain and are based upon.
When Rangi and Papa, the Sky Parent and the Earth Mother, came into being they embraced each other as husband and wife, and produced certain beings who were the origin or personification of trees, birds, fish, winds, war, peace, &c.; and these children, objecting to the state of darkness in which they lived, on account of the sky lying pressed down upon the earth, cast about for a plan whereby they might enjoy light and space. This ended in their forcing their parents apart. Tane, tutelary deity of trees, forests, and birds, thrust the sky upwards and propped it up with poles. Observe here the origin of divorce, and the name thereof. Toko (noun), a pole; also; a ray of light. Toko (verb), to propel with a pole. Now, the Maori term for divorce is toko, and in the invocation repeated by the priest during the performance of the divorce rite occur the words—
Ka tokona atu nei korua
Tu ke Rangi, tau ke Papa—
(You two are forced apart as were Rangi and Papa).
But of divorce and its ritual more anon. We have not yet married our Polynesian couple.
The first marriages mentioned in Maori myth in which members of this world (te ao marama, the world of life, light, or being) were concerned were those of Tiki and Tane. Tiki, who was of the Po (world of Darkness or Chaos), married Ea,* who was of this world. They had Kurawaka, who married Tane-nui-a-rangi, one of the offspring of Rangi and Papa. Hence the expression Te Aitanga a Tiki (the Offspring of Tiki) is applied to man by the Maori people.
[Footnote] * Compare Ea of Phœnician mythology.
Tane sought long for woman ere he found her. He married many singular beings and produced offspring of passing strangeness ere he came to Kurawaka. For instance, he married Hine-tu-maunga, and produced Para-whenua-mea (personification of flood-waters). He married Hine-wao-riki, and had the kahika (a forest tree). He married Mumuhanga, and produced the totara (a forest tree). He married Tukapua, and had the tawai (a tree which grows on high ranges). He married Mango-nui, and had the tawa and hinau (both trees). He married Te Pu-whakahara (a star name), and had the maire (a tree). And so on, a long list of such unions, until he went to Rangi and asked, “Where is the uha (female, or female nature)?” And Rangi said, “The whare o aitua is below.” Then Tane came and found woman of this world. The expression whare o aitua appears to mean “the origin of misfortune and death,” and to be applied to the female sex or nature. Even so, Tane came to earth and found woman. And the Maori people trace their descent from Tane, as they do from Tiki. Thus, also, the trees of the forest are their distant relatives, fellow-descendants of Tane. And this is one reason why the Maori is so close in touch with nature. He speaks of the forest trees as if they were sentient beings; he fells a tree and says, “Tane has fallen”; he performs strange rites in order to placate the gods of the forest; he peoples the forest depths with singular beings.
In Maori myth the heavenly bodies are credited with the possession of sex and of human attributes. The sun has two wives, Hine-raumati and Hine-takurua, the Summer Maiden and the Winter Maiden. The star Rehua (Antares) has also two wives, Whakaonge-kai and Ruuhi, the latter being also known as Peke-hawani. The moon, which is deemed a male, has two wives (perhaps I should say two legal wives, inasmuch as the moon is said to be the husband of all women, and is the cause of menstruation).
Such animistic illustrations might be given ad nauseam, but we will now give a few items from the Tuhoean folklore tales. The Tuhoe Tribe were originally known as Nga-Potiki, the Children, or the Descendants of Potiki. These aborigines are descended from one Potiki, a remote ancestor, whose origin was a most singular one, as follows: One Hine-pukohu-rangi is the personification of mist in Tuhoean myth. It was this Maid of the Heavenly Mist who lured to earth Te Maunga, the Mountain, and from the union of these two sprang Potiki (the Child), from whom sprang Nga Potiki (the Children, or Descendants of Potiki), who are now known as Te Ure-wera and Tuhoe. They are the Children of the Mist.
A similar being seems to have been one Tairi-a-kohu, who descended to this world in order that she might bathe in the
waters thereof. She was captured by Uenuku, who kept her as his wife, but she only remained with him during the hours of darkness, returning at dawn to celestial regions. But Uenuku revealed her to his people, and she then left him, returning nevermore. And Uenuku wandered to far lands in search of his lost bride until death came to him. But ever he is seen in the form of a rainbow when Tairi-a-kohu, the Mist Goddess, appears.
Before leaving the realm of myth there is one other singular item of folklore to be mentioned—viz., the animising of natural objects. For instance, there are strange legends concerning the mountains of the Taupo district and their doings in the misty past. Rangi (see ante, the Sky Parent) married Tongariro (a male mountain) to Pihanga (a female), and the result of that union was rain, sleet, snow, and gales. Among these mountains quarrels arose, hence Taranaki (Mount Egmont) migrated westward, while Kakara-mea, Maunga-pohatu, and others went towards the Bay of Plenty. Putauaki* had a great admiration for Maunga-pohatu, and expressed his love by means of a song. This affair does not seem to have ended very happily, for those two mountains still stand many leagues apart. Another singular and more modern instance of mountain-marriage occurred about eighty years ago, when the long war between Tuhoe and Kahungunu Tribes came to an end. To bind the peacemaking Hipara, a chief of the latter tribe, gave his daughter, one Hine-ki-runga, as wife to a Tuhoe chief. Also, to make the matter more secure, two big hills near Waikare-moana were married; the one, Turi-o-Kahu, was “set up” as a male, the other, Kuha-tarewa, as a female. Thus these solid hills were joined together as a sign and token of enduring peace.
We will now turn to the marriage Maori, and describe the ancient customs of the mountaineers of Tuhoeland in regard to these matters.
As to Exogamy and Endogamy.
When making inquiries as to the marriage customs of primitive peoples it is desirable to first ascertain as to whether the system of marriage is exogamous or endogamous, after which the lines of inquiry are the more easily ascertained and followed. In regard to the Maori people of New Zealand, they may be termed an “endogamous” people, albeit exogamous marriages are of more frequent occurrence now than they were in former times, before European settlement put an end to the intertribal warfare and broke down to a certain extent the barriers which existed between the various tribes; for the
[Footnote] * Putauaki is the native name of Mount Edgecumbe.
Maori people, like so many other races, could never form themselves into a nation, but were ever split up into many tribes, who waged war against each other for long centuries.
The Maori were endogamous in regard to the tribe and the sub-tribe or clan (hapu), and also to some extent in regard to the sub-hapu—i.e., the gens, or family group. Not that marriages did not take place as between members of one hapu and those of another, or even between those of one tribe and another. Such marriages did occur, the latter, however, much more rarely than the former. Still, it was considered desirable to marry within the hapu, or clan, for social and political reasons. Marriages between members of one tribe and those of another were generally of a political nature, as to cement a peace-making. We are speaking of pre-European days now, for latterly extra-tribal marriages have become more frequent.
As to marriages between members of the same sub-hapu (gens, family group), it would depend entirely on how many generations that group was composed of—i.e., in regard to the number of generations of descent of the members thereof from a common ancestor. The custom among the Tuhoe Tribe is simply this: the members of the third generation of two divergent lines from a common ancestor may intermarry. Observe:—
Here we have Tawa and Te Pou-whenua, both sons of Rangi-ka-whetui. Tawa had Tanira, who had Hapine. Te Pou-whenua had Te Akiu and Toka-mauku. Te Akiu had Rangi-tere-mauri. Toka-mauku had Te Waihuka and Te Amo. The latter had Whare-pouri, who had Kuini. Now, when Hapine and Rangi wished to marry an objection was raised by some members of the tribe on the ground that the connection was too close and that the marriage would be an incestuous one. This objection was overruled—in the first place because it was shown that Hapine and Rangi were of the third generation from a common ancestor—viz., Rangi kawhetui; and, secondly, because the marriage was arranged in due form (he mea ata whakamoe) by the parents of both and by the tribe. Hence no further opposition was made, and the
couple were duly married. Nor are they ever reproached with having transgressed tribal custom. But Tanira would not be allowed to marry Te Akiu, because they are only the second generation from a common ancester. Such a union would be looked upon as being incestuous. Nor could Rangi marry Te Waihuka, for the same reason. Te Amo might marry Hapine, though possibly some of the tribe might have objected, as in the case of Rangi; but such opposition would break down if the couple persisted, as shown above. The natives say that it is only among dogs that near relations have connection with each other.
Half sisters and brothers are not allowed to marry, they being looked upon as are full brothers and sisters, a relic possibly of a system of maternal filiation of remote times.
Now we will show an incestuous marriage which took place in this district a few years ago, and which was bitterly condemned by the tribe:—
Here Towai married Pepi, and both are of the second generation from a common ancestor—viz., Te Ngaro. These two are first cousins, but according to the consanguineous nomenclature of the Maori they are termed “brother” and “sister” to each other. Hence this union is looked upon as incestuous, and is spoken of as “He ngau whiore, he whakahouhou” (“It is incestuous, it is disgusting”). Disparaging allusions to the above couple are often heard. Such unions are infrequent, and, it would appear, universally condemned.
It will thus be seen that the Maori were an endogamous people, and are so still to a great extent. Doubtless it was deemed desirable to keep as many fighting-men within the clan-limits as possible in the warlike days of old.
In regard to exogamous marriages, the following proverbial saying explains the situation: “Te inati o Mawakeroa” is used to denote that when a woman marries into another tribe or clan she and her mana are lost to her people and clan. She goes to live with her husband, and returns no more. But a son dwells with us, and we have the advantage of his mana (prestige, &c.), strength, knowledge, and so on; a son remains with his people, not so a daughter.
Many statements met with in various ethnographical works concerning the customs of primitive peoples and
others are often misleading when we apply them to a race whose customs are known to us. Too much is taken for granted; many assertions are too general. In “The Primitive Family,” by C. N. Starcke, we read, “The tribe is endogamous, but the clan or sub-tribe is exogamous—i.e., a person must always marry out of the sub-tribe.” This statement, as we have seen, does not apply to the Maori of New Zealand. The same writer says, “No people are exogamous as a tribe, only clans or sub-tribes are so.” It is quite certain that no Maori tribe was exogamous; neither were the sub-tribes.
As a consequence of the Maori recognition of both agnatic and uterine filiation, it follows that property is inherited through both parents, as also is rank and prestige. Property inherited consists principally of land interests. Hence it follows that the native claims to land are often most intricate and difficult to adjudicate upon, as our Native Land Court Judges know fall well. The children born of exogamous marriages were entitled to an interest in the lands of both parents, providing that such lands were occupied by them. In such cases it is the custom to live for some time at one place, cultivating food there, and utilising the various natural products of the land, and then to go and live on other lands wherein the person is interested. Thus both claims are kept up, according to Maori custom.
One kind of exogamous marriage among the Maori was the result of their frequent intertribal wars, in which many of the conquered people were enslaved. It was by no means uncommon for a native, even the chiefs, to marry a slave wife, and the children of such an union would inherit their father's rank and property. They would continue to live as members of their father's tribe, by whom they would be better treated and more honoured than they would be by their mother's tribe should they return to it; for on that side the degrading stigma of slavery would lie upon them—there were, in fact, dead to the mother's tribe.
When the Tuhoe Tribe expelled Ngati-manawa from Te Whaiti that stricken people took refuge with the Kahungunu Tribe, to whom they paid a tribute of preserved birds, &c., for being allowed to dwell in those parts. However, they got into trouble with one tribal section of their overlords, and were in sore straits, when a Tuhoe chief went and brought the remnant away to Rua-tahuna. Here many of Tuhoe wished to slay them, but several chiefs of Tuhoe, in order to save the lives of the fugitives, gave some of them women of the Tuhoe Tribe as wives. Hence the refugees were safe, and through those women are the Tuhoe and Ngati-manawa Tribes connected.
Andrew Lang, in his “Custom and Myth,” says, “On
the whole, wide prohibitions of marriage are archaic: the widest are savage; the narrowest are modern and civilised.” On this basis the marriage system of the Maori may be termed civilised, inasmuch as not only could a person marry another of the same clan-name, but also one of the same gens or family group, providing that they were at least of the third generation from a common ancestor. So long as this rule was respected no very serious opposition to a marriage would be made by these people. A young man might inform his elders that he wished to marry a certain relative of his. His elders would remark, “E moe korua ko to tuahine, kia kai iho ano korua i a korua” —i.e., “Marry your sister, that you may assail each other”—the meaning of the remark being that it is desirable to marry within the clan, and that when the couple quarrelled and proceeded to kai upoko, or curse each other, the remarks would not be so serious coming from a relative as they would if they were uttered by a non-relative. The epithets would not in the above case be deeply resented, or be treasured up as a wrong to be avenged (kaore e mamaetia). In regard to the use of the term “sister,” a perusal of the table of consanguineous nomenclature, to follow, will explain this.
Filiation, Consanguineous and Affinitative Nomenclature.
Letourneau, in his work “The Evolution of Marriage,” states that “filiation by the female line seems to be generally adopted in Polynesia.” This statement is misleading in regard to the natives of New Zealand, where kinship is certainly claimed through either or both parents. This is probably the result of the system of permanent marriage which here obtained, and which has evidently been in force for many generations. The various tribes and clans (hapu) are usually named after male ancestors, but some after females. Such a tribe or hapu (sub-tribe) consists of the descendants of such ancestor. Thus, Ngati-Tawhaki (the Descendants of Tawhaki), a hapu of the Tuhoe Tribe, is composed of the descendants of Tawhaki, who lived nine generations ago; Ngati-Tuhea, a sub-hapu (gens or family group) of Ngati-Tawhaki, are the descendants of Tuhea, who flourished four generations back; while Ngati-Hinekura are the descendants of a woman named Hinekura. Blood relationship was, and is, counted through both parents. The rank of chiefs is transmitted through both the male and female lines. Perhaps the descent through first-born male children of chiefs—i.e., aho ariki—was, and is, most highly esteemed, but the mother, if of high birth, and more especially if an eldest daughter, had, and has, great prestige and
influence. Unless property inherited be from the mother alone, it might be said that the order of succession of inheritance was from father to the eldest son, perhaps later to the younger children, but always with the tendency to revert to the offspring of the eldest son. In the work above quoted is a statement to the effect that, under European influence, the Maori of New Zealand have adopted agnatic filiation, “but this new system still jars against ancient usages, which formerly harmonized with the maternal family.” I quite fail to see how agnatic filiation can be said to be new among the Maori, when for centuries past rank and mănă (prestige, power) have been transmitted through both the male and female lines of descent. Uterine filiation is of undoubted importance among the Maori, especially when conveying rank; but the male line appears to have been equally important, and the ara tane, or male line of descent from a noted ancestor, is looked upon with pride by the descendants of such ancestor. Given the fact that both parents were of equal rank, it is possible that greater weight would be given to masculine filiation; but if the mother was of higher rank than the father, then their children would prefer to trace their descent through the mother, with whom their increased rank and prestige originated.
In claiming land in the Native Land Courts of the colony a native may claim through either or both parents, the latter course being adopted when he has a claim through both. If his mother only held an interest in the land, then he would, of course, claim it through her alone, and give his genealogical descent through her. The same process would be adopted if only his father had an interest in such lands.
There is no evidence to prove that the matriarchate system prevailed among the Maori, whose system of filiation may appear somewhat peculiar, inasmuch as, as we have seen, rank, property, and mana (prestige, power, authority) was transmitted by both the male and female lines. It is perhaps needless to state that the group-marriage system was unknown among the Maori. Polygamy existed to a certain extent, but only among men of rank. If ever the matriarchate existed among the Maori, then it must have been in times long passed away, though possibly the estimation in which the maternal line is held when endowed with rank may be a survival of that ancient system.
The Maori recognised a difference between real filiation and adoption. A man could marry the adopted daughter of his parents, provided that she was not nearly related to him.
In regard to consanguineous nomenclature, it may be stated that degrees of relationship are not by any means clear as used among the Maori, as will be seen anon.
Deniker, in his “Races of Man,” says that the “classificatory system”* obtains among the Maori. To this, as described by him in chapter vii. of the above work, a qualified assent may be given. He seems, however, to imply that exogamy and group marriage obtained among the Maori, which is quite erroneous.
But this much is correct: In the Maori system of consanguinity myself, my brothers, sisters, and cousins are all termed “brothers” and “sisters.” Also my father, with his brothers, sisters, and cousins, are all termed “brother” and “sister” to each other; and so on. My children and their cousins form another such group. But the second group, given above, does not include my mother, as Deniker states. He is right, however, in stating that I, as a Maori, would term the children of my brother or sister “my children,” and their grandchildren as “my grandchildren.”
We now submit an abbreviated list of terms of the consanguineous and affinitative nomenclature of the Maori people, which will illustrate the above remarks.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|The Person spoken of. Degree of Consanguinity.|
|Male. Term used.||Female. Term used.|
|Papara (true or real father||Same.|
|Mătŭa((1) tāně (male parent)||"|
|Kokara (real mother)||"|
|Matua wahine (female parent)||"|
|Younger brother||Tăină or těină||"|
|Younger sister||"||Taina or teina.|
|" sister||Whaea or Koka||"|
(3) Tuahine simply = sister of a male, a generic term for sisters, not for elder sister only.
[Footnote] * See L. Morgan's “System Consanguinity” and “Ancient Society.”
[Footnote] (1) Mătŭa means simply “parent.” Becomes mātŭa in plural.)
[Footnote] (2) Tungane simply = brother of a female, a generic term for brothers, not for elder brother only.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|The Person spoken of. Degree of Consanguinity.|
|Male. Term used.||Female. Term used.|
|Father's mother's brother||Kŏrŏuă||Same.|
|" " " sister||Kuia||"|
|" father's brother||Koroua||"|
|" " sister||Kūīa||"|
|" mother's mother||Kuia tuarua or tipuna tuarua((4)||"|
|" " father||Koroua tuarua or tipuna tuarua||"|
|" sister||Whaea or kōkā||"|
|" mother's brother||Koroua||"|
|" " sister||Kuia||"|
|" father's brother||Koroua||"|
|" " sister||Kuia||"|
|" mother's mother||Kuia tuarua or tipuna tuarua||"|
|" " brother's son||Pāpā or matua kēkē||"|
|" grandparents||típuna (típuna in plural)(5)||"|
|Stepbrother||No distinct term.|
|Children of father's elder brother||Tŭakăna|
|Children of father's younger brother||Tăină or těină|
|Children of father's elder sister||Tuakana|
|Children of father's younger sister||Taina or teina7||"|
|Children of mother's elder brother or sister||Tuakana|
|Children of mother's younger brother or sister||Taina or teina|
|Son||Tăma (tamaiti = child)||"|
[Footnote] (4)Tuarua means “second” Kuia taurua = second grandmother—i.e., great grandmother.
[Footnote] (5)Tupuna is a variant form of tipuna
[Footnote] (6) Tamariki whakaangi in plural.
[Footnote] (7) Tuakana here denotes members of elder branch of family, taina those of younger branch, but the male speaker would call his female cousins here his tuahine, or sisters. The female speaker would term her male cousins tungane, or brothers.
[The section below cannot be correctly rendered as it contains complex formatting. See the image of the page for a more accurate rendering.]
|The Person spoken of Degree of Consanguinity.|
|Male Term used. Female.||Term used.|
|Daughter||Tamahine (tamāhine in plural)||Same.|
|Eldest daughter||Tamāhine (among Tuhoe)||"|
|Children of son or daughter||Mŏkŏpúnă||"|
|" brother's children||"||"|
|" sister's children||"||"|
|Brother s or sister's child||Tamaiti (tamariki in plural)||"|
|" eldest son||Tama||"|
|" youngest child||Potiki||"|
|Wife||Wăhĭně or hoa wahine(8)|
|Brother's or sister's children's children||Mokopuna||Same.|
|Elder sister's husband||Tăokětě||Tuakana tāne.|
|Younger sister's husband||"||Taina tane.|
|Elder brother's wife||Tuakana wahine||Taokete.|
|Younger brother's wife||Taina wahine||"|
|Brother's or sister's son's wife||Hunaonga||Same.|
|Brother's or sister's daughter's husband||"||"|
|Husband's elder brother||Tuakana tane.|
|" younger brother||Taina tane.|
|" parents||Hŭngărěi or hŭngăwai.|
|Wife's elder sister||Tuakana wahine|
|" younger sister||Taina wahine|
|" parents||Hùngărěi or hŭngăwai|
|Husband of wife's sister||Hoahoa.|
|Wife of husband's brother||Hoahoa.|
|Male children of father's and mother's brothers and sisters.||Tuakana or taina see aiite||Tungane.|
|Female children of father's and mother's brothers and sisters||Tuahine||Tuakana or taina.|
|Husband's child by former wife||Tamaiti whakaangi.|
[Footnote] (8) Wăhĭně (in singular) = woman, female, wife. Becomes wāhĭně in plural. Hoa, wahine = female companion, literally.
Speaking generally, a native always speaks of his cousins—i.e., the children of his father's and mother's brothers and sisters—as his “brothers” and “sisters.” The terms tuakana and taina, given in the table, do not always imply that such persons are older than the speaker in years, but that they belong to an elder (tuakana) or younger (taina) branch of the family. Also, in speaking generally of the children of his brother or sister a native always calls them his “children.”*
It will be noted in the above table that the term pāpā, meaning “father,” is applied not only to the speaker's real father, but also to all brothers of his parents and to sons of his parent's uncles. The term papara, which denotes the speaker's real father, is not often heard, the generic term papa being much more common. The same remarks apply to the term whaea (mother), which is applied not only to the speaker's real mother, but also to sisters of his parents, and others. Also, the term tuahine has a wide application, it being applied by a male speaker to his cousins, and to daughters of his parents' cousins, &c. Thus, when you hear that a Maori has married his “sister” you must not take it literally, for she is probably a cousin several times removed. It behoves one to be careful, for it is very easy to make errors in Maori consanguinity.
These remarks on Maori nomenclature might be continued indefinitely, but must be kept for a separate paper. It will be seen, however, that, although some of the more generic terms, as those above quoted, have a wide meaning, yet terms of kinship among the Maori are much more copious and definite than such a system as the Hawaiian, as given by Letourneau in his chapter on “The Family in Polynesia.” His information, however, may have been meagre.
There is no sign of polyandry among the Maori so far as my researches have extended. Close questioning of the old men leads one to the conclusion that monandry has been the custom of the people for many generations, probably centuries, or some trace or influence of the custom would probably be noted. The old-time historical traditions help to prove the monandrous conditions which obtained here and in other isles in times long passed away. Certainly there are a few, very few, isolated cases on record among the Tuhoe Tribe where, a married woman having committed adultery, it was agreed to by her people that she should have the two husbands. The evidence, even in these cases, is against a former polyandrous system.
[Footnote] * Taku tamaiti = my child; aku tamariki = my children.
Polygamy and Monogamy.
Generally speaking, the Maori people were monogamous—that is to say, the bulk of the people married but one wife. But among the chieftain class polygamy obtained, and, indeed, may still be met with among the Tuhoe people. Polygamy does not appear to have obtained among the common people, but seems to have been a privilege of rank. In many cases a chief would take a slave wife in addition to his principal wife, who would be of his own people, and probably his equal in rank. Again, the taking of a second wife would sometimes be caused by the sterility of the first wife, and a desire to have children. I know of a case in which a half-caste, a successful business man, and living as a European, took a second wife for the above reason. This, of course, was a marriage a la Maori, and not an act of bigamy, as no marriage ceremony was performed.
At the present time one native here at Rua-tahuna has three wives, and several others have two each. In two of these cases the parties live together, with others, in large communal sleeping-houses, and appear to get on well together. In the third case the two wives live at different villages, and are not friendly with each other. The husband lives sometimes with one and sometimes with the other. Te Ika-poto, Tama-rehe, and Te Purewa, famous chiefs of this district in the last century, had each four wives.
The different wives of polygamous marriages appear to be kind to each other's children, but such kindness, albeit of a somewhat negative nature, is common among the natives.
Consanguineous polygamy obtained here. A man would sometimes marry two sisters, and sometimes a mother and daughter. The latter was a rare occurrence, but the former frequently occurred. The marriage of the deceased wife's sister was, and is still, common, while the marriage of a widow to the deceased husband's brother was an established, and, indeed, an ancient, custom. Two sisters would sometimes marry two brothers.
The first or head wife of a polygamous marriage is termed the wahine matua. Wăhĭně = woman, female, wife; matua = first, important. Among the Ngati-Hau Tribe the remaining wives are termed muri-manu. Muri = after, subsequent time, behind; manu = bird. The wives in polygamous marriages term each other hoahoa. Cf. hoa = friend, companion, mate; whakahoa = to associate with. The wahine matua, or head wife, was not exempt from labour.
In polygamous marriages the first-born child would rank first and have the greatest authority of any of the children in matters connected with the land, &c., as well as in all other
ways, although such child might not be the son of the chief wife, but born of one of the muri-manu. All children of the several wives would inherit the property of the parents—i.e., they would have a share in the land and in any personal property the parents might possess. The father would take the children with him on hunting, fishing, and bird-snaring expeditions, and thus they would be taught the land-boundaries, and would learn the location of snaring-trees, bird-troughs, &c. And in after-years the father would apportion such lands among his children, the first-born son probably receiving the largest share, if of a capable and influential personality. Hence it will be seen that the children of the principal wife did not necessarily take precedence over the others.
We have already shown what marriages are deemed incestuous by the Maori. It is worthy of note that the rules in regard to marriage of relatives among the Maori nearly resemble our own. Such a system does not appear to be common among barbarous peoples.
Professor Westermarck has stated that the horror of incest is not an instructive sentiment (animals do not have it), but rather a social habit, springing from sexual repulsion for persons, even unrelated to the family, with whom one has been brought up from infancy.*
Andrew Lang, in his “Custom and Myth,” quotes Morgan (of Primitive Sociology fame) as follows: “Primitive men very early discovered the evils of close interbreeding”; as also the latter's statement that “early man discovered that children of unsound constitutions were born of nearly related parents.” Mr. Lang goes on to say, “Mr. Morgan supposes early man to have made a discovery (the evils of the marriage of near kin) which evades modern physiological science. Modern science has not determined that the marriages of kinsfolk are pernicious. Is it credible that savages should discover a fact which puzzles science?” Now, it may or may not be credible, but how is it that the Maori holds this view, viz.: that marriages of those closely related is followed by a tipuheke (degeneration, deterioration) in the offspring? For, as we have seen, the Maori are endogamous, and they have no totem system, for exogamy or totemism might have been taken as a cause for the Maori custom already given. Maine, author of “Early Law,” regards exogamy merely as a prohibition of incest. The Maori idea may be summed up in the words of an ancient proverbial saying of the people, “E moe i to tuahine, he itiii”—i.e., “Marry your tuahine and the
[Footnote] * See Deniker's “Races of Man,” chap. vii.
result will be puny offspring.” Tuahine = sister; also used for cousins.
Tane, Tangotango, and Wai-nui were children of the primal parents, Rangi and Papa (Sky and Earth). Tane married his own daughter, while Tangotango (a male) married his sister Wai-nui, and this, according to Maori myth, was the origin of incest. Marriage also originated in those days of the misty past in the union of the strange beings who preceded man.
It does not appear that incest was common among the natives. It is given sometimes as an explanation of peculiarities in genealogies. To bring upon themselves the contempt of the tribe would be the result, and this would act as a deterrent, more especially among a communistic people such as the Maori.
Since the arrival of Europeans in this land the old native laws, rules, and customs have become much relaxed, and the change in many cases is for the worse. The social rules of the Maori suited such a people, and they do not grasp or adopt ours in a way for such to be beneficial to them. Intermarriages with Europeans do not as a rule produce a desirable cross. Half-castes are, physically, a fine people, though not long-lived as a rule. Mentally they are clever, quick, and sometimes attain distinction. But morally they are often below par, their code of ethics in many instances being an uncertain quantity. In one such family at least four members thereof have been guilty of incest, but it does not seem to trouble them in any way. A native couple who committed incest in this district were expelled from the tribe. A native of the Rotorua district cohabited with his own daughter. On it becoming known they fled together, but were pursued and caught. The girl was taken back home and the father was expelled.
Incest is, in this district, termed irawaru, moe tuahine, and ngau whiore, the expression kai whiore being a variant form of the latter. Three of these terms are connected with dogs. Irawaru is the name of a person in Maori mythology who was turned into a dog by the magic arts of Maui, and who was afterwards looked upon as the origin, or tutelary deity, or parent of dogs. Ngau whiore means “tail-biter.” Those who commit incest are compared to a dog which turns and bites its own tail.
It will thus be seen that the Maori has very sensible notions on the subject of incest and consanguineous marriages. His ideas on such things resemble those of the most advanced peoples. He does not bar whole groups of slightly related peoples from intermarrying, as do so many barbarous and semi-civilised races.
There is a Maori saying, “He iti kopua wai, ka he to manawa.”* This saying is heard when a girl wants to marry too soon, before she is old enough, in the opinion of her elders. Early marriages seem to have been common among the Maori, although the elders appear to have believed it to be harmful, judging from such sayings as the one given above, and which were somewhat plentiful. The young folk early arrive at puberty—Colenso says from twelve, and even eleven, years upward. There was no system of obligatory defloration of girls, nor was it in any way necessary or practicable. The girls attended to that, for illicit intercourse was, and is still, common among the young people. It often happened, say the elderly people, that a girl would have intercourse with a youth before she arrived at puberty— “before the growth of hair,” as a native puts it. Daughters of chiefs were probably looked after better than those of the common people, and those girls who were made puhi were tapu to all men until married. Girls who had been with young men were sometimes detected by traces of parapara, &c., being found upon them.
In former times many girls married, or were married, very young, even sometimes before puberty and before the commencement of menstruation—at least, so say these natives. A young girl of this district was lately married and she cannot have been more than thirteen, or at the most fourteen, years of age. This is, however, unusual here. The term kōpěpě is here used to denote this marrying of very young girls: “E tama ! He kopepe koi i te tamaiti na.”
Several causes may be assigned for the early marriages of the Maori—the early age of puberty; the carrying-out of the taumou, or infant betrothals; the keen sexual desire of girls, not repressed or controlled by long generations of self-control and moral teachings of elders, as among more advanced peoples. Possibly it was as well so, for youthful cohabiting being common, and a prolonged course o general intercourse being conducive to sterility in the female, it were better for the girl to be married to one man. For her days of freedom in sexual matters would then be over. Adultery spelled trouble in the days of yore.
An old native saying has it thus: “Korerotia ki runga ki te takapau whara-nui,” the meaning of which is, “Let matters be properly arranged by the elders in council. Do not let the young people cohabit promiscuously, but let the tribe marry them according to proper rules and older custom.”
[Footnote] * Applied to the girl: “A small pool of water will exhaust a man's breath if he immerses himself therein.”
The term whaiaipo, meaning sweetheart or lover, is applied to both male and female persons, single or married. It is not, however, applied to any one as a married person, but only to those who have a lover other than the husband or wife, and to that lover himself or herself. Hence it may describe the sweetheart of an unmarried person or the lover of an adulterous wife or husband. Another term having a similar meaning, and said to be a more ancient expression, is whakaaweawe, while a kai-whakaaweawe is a go-between, a person who acts as a messenger between two lovers. The etymology of the term whaiaipo is significant.
There was no cult among the Maori that required the prostitution of girls before marriage, as those of Aphrodite and Mylitta. Neither was there any prostitute class among them. The young people, when gathered together at night in the whare tapere, or “play-houses,” in which many games, dances, &c., were indulged in to pass away the time, would make advances to each other and afterwards meet at some place agreed upon. Such places were often in the forest, and were termed taupunipuni. These advances spoken of were often made by the girls, the recognised sign being a pinch, or the scratching of the finger-tip on the hand of the desired person.
The puhi custom among the natives was a singular one, and deserves mention here. Williams's Dictionary gives the following meanings of puhi: (1) A betrothed woman; (2) a much-courted unbetrothed young woman. Neither of these definitions appears to describe the puhi among the Tuhoe Tribe. A betrothal here is termed taumou,* of which more anon. A puhi among Tuhoe was a girl of good family, first-born daughter of a chief, who was rendered tapu—i.e., she was not allowed to have sexual connection with any man, nor to perform any work except such as the weaving of the better-class garments, as korowai, aronui, kahu-kura, maro kopua, &c., which work was equivalent to the “fancy work” of ladies among us, a light and genteel employment. She would have some attendant to cook for her, and was under restriction in many ways. These puhi were not allowed to marry, or, at least, such was often the expressed intention, though they might fall from grace in after-years when tired of single life. The idea was to make her an important person—” Ka whakapuhitia hai wahine rangatira”—in the tribe, a lady of rank, to be treated with respect and looked up to. If a puhi were detected in illicit intercourse with any man she
[Footnote] * Taumou was the name of the function or custom; the girl was not termed a taumou.
was degraded and the tapu taken off her. No girl of the common people could be a puhi, nor yet a younger daughter, but only the tapairu (first-born daughter of a chief's family). The puhi was a renowned personage (he wahine ingoa nui), for such was the object of the custom. Hine-i-turama was a famous puhi until she fell from grace. She fled to the forest and there gave birth to a child (afterwards known as Tuwairua). A search-party found her by hearing her singing a lullaby over her child in the depths of the forest. Huinga-o-te-ao, of the ancient Maruiwi, was a famous puhi, she who died the tragic death near O-hiwa. Nahau was another renowned puhi, so tapu that she could do nothing for herself, hence the saying, “E noho ra, E Nahau ! Tena te ia o Rangitaiki hai kawe i a koe.”
The following song, termed a Waiata mate kanehe, was composed by a puhi of days gone by who had fallen in love with a man named Kau-i-te-rangi. She thus addresses him:—
Tera te waka i a Kau-i-te-rangi—e
Kapokapo ana mai me he rau harakeke.
Tera, E Pa ! Ka makamaka i o rimu
Kia hemo ake ai nga tapu i ahau
Kapo ana koe ko te whakahoro e roto
Oma ana ki matenga
Kia patua i roto Tuhapari e te ika
E ta te moari, e te tau—e
Tuakina a Piha, ka whiu ki te pari.
Courtship, “Atahu,” Arranging of Marriage.
A good deal of formality pertained to the arrangement of a marriage. When a young man wished to marry a certain girl he would usually inform his elders of his wish. A meeting of the village community, usually a sub-hapu or family group, would then be held, and the matter would be discussed at length, each person who wished to make any remarks rising to address the meeting, both men and women taking part in the discussion and arrangements. The girl would be asked before all the assembled people as to whether she was agreeable or not. The matter would not be ended with the consent of the girl, her parents, and near relatives. The tribe would take part in the matter and have their say, often making objections on some ground or other, as in the case, already quoted, of Rangi and Hapine. Sometimes when they expect opposition a young couple will take to the woods and remain there for some time, until the matter is arranged or they are discovered and the girl taken away.
There is, of course, much more formality in arranging a marriage between persons of the chieftain class than is the case among the common people, marriage having its origin as
a social custom, so far as rites and rules are concerned, and not as the result of a national religion or theological system. Marriage among the low-born people, the common people, of the tribe was ever an event unmarked by rite or invocation such as pertained to marriage among the chieftain class.
When a young girl wished to marry a certain man she would possibly have intercourse with him before informing her elders of her wish. Buf, still, if she was of good family she was thought more of if she went to her elders first and said, “I desire So-and-so.” If they considered him an undesirable person they might say, “He is a tutua (of low birth). Do not have him, but marry So-and-so, who is of good birth, although ill-favoured”; and the girl would probably do as they bid her. Even now it is a common thing when a marriage occurs to hear the remark made, “The tribe married them.” The old-time habits and customs of a communistic people die hard.
The young unmarried girls of the present time are decidedly unchaste, more especially those living in the larger settlements, where the young people are thrown together a good deal. Adultery is of rather frequent occurrence in this district, and generally seems to be detected. For some reason the natives do not seem to be able to keep a secret well In adultery, as in other matters, one of the persons usually mentions or admits the matter.
A considerable number of native women have married Europeans, and many of these women, it must be said, lead most exemplary lives, for many are clean, industrious, and evidently desirous of living as Europeans do. They are often prolific to a white man, families of six and seven being not infrequently met with. They take a pride in being able to cook European articles of food, such as are not used among the natives, and are a great improvement on the native woman as seen in the Maori villages.
As observed, the Maori of old had a clear perception of the desirability of arranging marriages in due orthodox form, or, as he terms it, He mea ata whakarite (a matter carefully arranged), this remark, however, applying principally to the rangatira or chieftain class.
In the days of yore when a man desired a woman who disliked or was afraid of him he would hie him to the village priest and enlist his services. The priest (tohunga) would take some substance, hōrū (red ochre) being often used for this purpose, which he would proceed to render efficient as a sort of love philtre. This he did by uttering over it a charm which comes under the generic term of hoa (ka hoaina e ia taua mea). He then hands the article to the man, who takes it away with him. He must not turn aside on his way back,
nor yet partake of food, but proceed direct to where the desired woman happens to be. Even if she were in a cooking-shed preparing food he would go straight to her and cram the substance into her mouth. That is sufficient. Even though she spits it out, yet the charm will be effective and she will come to him, her dislike will be overcome.
The expression whakawherewhere is applied to conciliation of a desired woman by means of gifts. A man will give or send to a woman some present which he hopes will cause her to like and desire him. The term aruaru signifies “to chase” and “to woo,” while mātŏrŏ means “to woo, pay addresses to.”
The custom known as kai tamāhine was a singular one. A party of young, active, and presentable men would form themselves into a party and go on a visit to some village where resided a young woman noted for her good looks and qualities. The visit was for the express purpose of showing themselves and their accomplishments to the girl, in the hope that she would accept one of them as a husband. The period of the visit would be quite a gay time, for the party of young men would give performances of various kinds, in order to exhibit their skill, grace, dexterity, and so forth, each endeavouring to excel his companions. They would perform haka, or posture dances, of various kinds, and play games of skill. Each would hope that the girl would select himself as a husband.
The term kai tamahine is a peculiar one. Kai signifies “to eat, to bite,” also “food.” Tamahine = daughter. According to Letourneau, when a Kabyle father has married his daughter the phrase in ordinary use is, “He has eaten his daughter.” Among that strange people girls were sold by the father or other relative.
The term ringa hoea (rejected hand) is used among some tribes to denote a rejected suitor. Such a rebuff would sometimes cause the disappointed man to have recourse to magic. He would make use of a magic charm or spell (karakia makutu) known as papaki. This had the effect of killing the hapless woman—so, at least, my informants tell me, and who am I that I should doubt the word of these sages!
In the Legend of Paoa we read that when that old-time wanderer was on his travels he remained at a certain village for some time as a guest. The daughter of his host fell in love with him, and, coming to his side one night, she scratched his hand as a sign of her desire for him. She had already spoken to her parents about the matter and they had consented to her marrying him.
There was a sort of love charm, termed atahu or im, which was formerly much used in order to cause a person of
the opposite sex to entertain affection for the operator. It was also used to influence an absent lover, wife, or husband, and to cause such to return to the lone one. In conjunction with the atahu obtained a singular custom of sending a bird, the miromiro, to carry the love and desire of the operator to the distant woman, wife, or husband. If the rite was properly performed it would cause a woman to come to her lover however distant he might be, or however much her friends might try to prevent her from going. The atahu or iri is a karakia (charm, spell, ritual, invocation, incantation) to cause a person of the opposite sex to love the repeater. When Tamatea-rehe, of the Children of Awa, saw first his (future) wife, Manawa, he was much struck by her, and this feeling increased so that eventually he despatched a miromiro bird to convey his love to that dark-skinned maid. At the same time he utilised the following iri in order to influence the affections of Manawa, and to “bind” her to himself. It is also termed a karakia whakapiri, a “fastening charm”:—
Iri kura, iri kura
Iria te tupua
Te whakamaua mai Manawa
Ki toku tinana
Whiti ora a te tahito
Hotu nuku, hotu rangi
Tukia te papa i raro i a Manawa
Te pukenga, te wananga
Whakamaua ki tahito o te rangi
Iri toro, iri toro
The following atahu was given by a member of the Ngatiraukawa Tribe. He says, “This is au atahu used to cause a woman to desire a man or a man to desire a woman. When the shades of evening fall the tohunga (priest) goes to the waterside and, having used the water in ancient form, he performs the atahu rite, repeating the following charm:—
“Tu te urunga, hau te urunga
Maniania te moenga
Hakune atu te po, hakune atu te ao
Ko tou aroaro i tahuri mai ki ahau
Ko toku aroaro i tahuri atu ki a koe
He miromiro taku manu ka tukua atu
Hei hiki mai i a koe, E te ipo.
The applicant gives to the priest some article, such as a garment (in modern times often a pipe), in order to give mana (power, prestige, or effectiveness) to the rite.” The expression ipo here used is equivalent to a term of endearment. It means “pertaining to love”: He waiata ipo = a love-song. The two last lines render thus: “My bird sent is a miromiro, to bring you hither, O love!”
Practically all rites performed by the priest of old were executed either at a sacred fire or by the waterside, and nearly always at dawn or dusk, not in the day-time.
An old warlock of Awa discourseth upon the atahu, “The miromiro is a bird employed in the atahu wahine. Should a man desire a certain woman, although she might be a member of a different tribe, yet will he obtain her. Though her home be afar off he will obtain her. He despatches a miromiro bird to fetch her. He notes carefully the wind. If it is blowing in the direction of the home of the woman he desires he then takes a feather, being careful to seize it with his left hand, and passes it under his left thigh, after which, holding the feather upright in his advanced left hand, he recites the following charm:—
“Hau nui ana ra
Ko te hau—e
Te kura i te ipo—e
To ara mai, E te ipo
Haere ki roto i a koe mihi ai
Waha mai te ipo, E te hau—e
Tutakina iho ki au—e
Whiwhia mai, rawea mai
He then tosses the feather into the air for the wind to carry. (In the charm he calls upon the wind to bear his love to him.) Before long she will have arrived.”
Regarding the passing of the feather under the left thigh: When a priest proceeded to takahi a wounded person, and recite a charm to heal his wound, it was always the left foot that he placed upon his patient, for that is the tapu foot. It is the manea of that foot that gives force, virtue, effectiveness to the rite and charm. The manea is the hau of the human foot or footstep, a sacred or supernatural power, essence, or quality, which has great influence in preserving human life, &c.
When in olden times a young man of the Tuhoe Tribe went through the operation of being tattooed the following atahu was repeated over him by the priest, in order to cause women to admire and like him:—
Taku tamaiti i wehea e au ki te rangi
Ka piri, ka tata
Ka huakina mai Tangaroa—e
Whakina mai ko ou Hine-tuakirikiri
Ko ou Hine-tuarourou
Mai te ruwha, mai te ruwha
Mai te ruwha, mai te ruwha
Mai te aroha, ra koe—e.
Here follows another atahu of the Tuhoe Tribe:—
Takoto ra, E hine!
I to urunga, i to moenga
Iri kura, iri kura, iri toro
Ka whana atu koe i reira
Kia rokohanga mai e koe
Nga tai tu o te akau—e
Ka whana atu koe
Kia rokohanga atu e koe
Nga tai ka tanumi
Tirotiro ko rangi ki te whetu
Whakataha to mata ki te marama
Whakataha to mata ki te marama
Au nei he motu puhi rakau
Whakina te tau kia rangona
Mokimoki te kakara kia iria—e
Na to ngakau koe i hua kia mahia tiori
Na to matua koe i hua kia mahia tiori
Tu ana a ia ki te rangi, mihi konaki ai
Te ipo e ki te moenga
E tangi ana ra te korori
E tangi ana ra te korora
Taku hei mapuna
Kua riro titapu
Kon te ruru, kou te ruru!
And here is another:—
Pu mauri kura
I whanake i te tara o Maninihau—e
Ki horo mai ra tonga
Ka pukea au e te wai—e
Maua ko te aroha
I roto wahine atu ra—e
Tuarua rawa mai ki te moenga
He ringa ta auta rawa ake
Ka ea kai te moenga—e
E tangi ana ra te korori, te korora
Taku hei mapuna
Kua riro titapu—e
Kou te ruru, kou te ruru!
The following so-called atahu is a modern one, as will be seen by the English words occurring therein. Nor is it a charm for general use, as are the foregoing. It was composed by a woman named Matua-kore, whose husband had deserted her, in order to express her feelings. She evinces a desire to have recourse to the atahu, but is doubtful as to its efficacy:—
Homai noa nei e te hāhi, e te runanga
He kupu hai whakapaahi
Mo te ngakau o Kuini whaihanga
Tenei to paipa me kawe atu ki a Te Reretautau
Hai iri atu, hai atahu kia hoki mai ai
Nohea e hoki mai
Ka tini, ka mano nga puke
Kai waenga ko Tauaki, ko Takamai
I o Apa ripa tauarai ki o Te Ao
Ki a Te Manihi te aroha nei au
Haere ra, E Ura E !
Korua ko to kakau whakawhana
Waiho au i konei aue kau ai
Aue, te tane ra!
Aue, te tane!
Tee ko mai i te wai para hoanga ki waho
Aue, te ai—a!
Ka whiti nei au kai Rurima, kai Mautoki
Kai Karewa, te motu o te kuia
Ka eke nei au te puke huia
Kai Ruahine au ka taru mate
Ka hinga au ki te whare—i.
The following illustration and imaginary conversation was given by a native in explanation of the atahu and sending of the miromiro: “A man comes to the priest. He says, ‘I have come to you because a man has run away with my wife.’ It is asked, ‘What shall be done?’ And replied to, ‘Do you arrange it as according to ancient custom.’ Very well. When the sun sets, then the miromiro bird will be despatched in order to bring back the woman who has been cajoled and carried off by a man. Although she may be in a house when the bird arrives it will go inside and perch upon her head. Then swiftly the woman returns, like the wind which blows beneath her feet. Ere long she has arrived. This was a very effective rite of the Maori.”
The following modern instance of an atahu was related to me by a Whakatane native, who seemed to believe it (the charm recited has already been given): Himiona, a native now living at Whakatane with his wife Kumara, had left her some years previously in order to visit friends at Poverty Bay. While at the latter place he became attached to a native woman there, and they lived together as man and wife. Kumara heard of this, and at once went to Rangi-taiki in order to consult one Riperata, an old wise woman of that place. She was told by the latter to return in the evening. She did so, and was conducted by Riperata to a stream, who also made her divest herself of her clothing, when the aged one sprinkled her with water and repeated the atahu charm over her. Riperata said, “I can see the wairua (spirit) of your husband standing by your side. Return now to your home; in a week your husband will return to you. When he arrives and greets you do not tangi* (cry) over him, but both of you go to the water and immerse yourselves therein.” This immersion in water was to cleanse the twain from the tapu of the rite performed. Riperata then despatched a bird, the miromiro, to bring back the errant husband. The bird flew to the East Coast, and to the village where Himiona was living with his new wife. The couple were seated among others in a house at the time. The bird entered the house and alighted upon the head of Himiona. At once he was
[Footnote] * Friends are welcomed by prolonged weeping among the Maori.
seized with a desire for his first wife; his love for her returned. He rose and started to return to Whakatane, a journey of some days. His companions could not persuade him to remain; nor could they catch the bird, which went its way.
It sometimes occurred that the people of a family group or clan would resolve to demand a girl of another village community as a wife for one of their young men. A party of them would proceed to the place and demand the girl for that purpose. If a single woman, she might be handed over without any trouble occurring, provided that she was agreeable to marry the young man. If not she would be held and protected by her people. Sometimes a very stormy scene would follow, as each party strove to gain possession of the girl, who would be seized by the opposing parties, and who sometimes suffered severely at their hands. Even fatal consequences would at times attend these wild scenes. Or, on arrival at the residence of the girl, the party might seize her at once, in which case trouble would be likely to quickly ensue, and the two parties be transformed into a seething mass of excited, yelling beings, resembling maniacs. Scenes of violent abduction were by no means rare in Maoriland. And yet woman occupied among the Maori people a much better position than she occupied among most barbarous races. She was usually upheld by her people when she objected to marry a certain man who had desired or been selected for her. She was to a considerable extent independent, and had a voice in matters affecting the tribe. It was, perhaps, in connection with adultery that her status appeared lowest, for she was then regarded apparently as property, and any one tampering with her must needs pay for meddling with another person's property.
As already observed, many statements have been made by writers that the Maori had no marriage rite, but that a couple simply agreed to live together, and that was all there was about it. But if a marriage between two young people was not he mea ata whakarite (a matter deliberately arranged) by their elders, or by the tribe or sub-tribe, then such a union was much looked down upon and condemned. If the recognised and established usages were not respected and followed, but the union a mere moe noa iho, or random cohabiting, then a child born to such would be termed a poriro (bastard), a moenga hau, he mea kite ki te take rakau, a thing found under a tree.
In speaking or writing of the customs of other peoples, more especially those of the more primitive races, we are much too apt to set up as a standard of propriety, &c., our own rites or customs, and if those of the people under discussion do not coincide with our own, then they are condemned
as improper, inadequate, or ridiculous, or statements are made that no such customs exist among such people. These things are wearying beyond measure.
The Maori marriage system was a very good one for a people living in the culture stage which obtained in Polynesia. It was considerably in advance of the systems of many peoples who in general culture occupied a higher plane.
In the arranging of a marriage it is not only the families of the young couple who take part in such, but also the family group, or the hapu, or perhaps even the whole tribe—i.e., in a marriage of important persons. Indeed, the parents often have little to say in regard to the marriages of their children, the leading part in the arrangements being taken by the brothers and sisters of the parents. The Maori likes to obtain for a son-in-law an industrious man (ihu-puku or ihu-oneone).
The term taumou (of which Taumau is a variant form) is applied to the custom of the betrothal of young people which obtained in Maoriland. This custom was also known as whăkăpākūwhā. The little couple so betrothed, or promised, by their elders would be described as he mea karangaranga. Observe the etymology of the second term above: Whaka is a causative prefix; pa = to touch, come into contact with; kūwhā = the thighs
It is probable that the taumou was practised only among the people of good birth, and not by the common people. This is the method which the evolution of marriage rites appears to take: First, the cohabitation of man and woman, as among savages, devoid of ceremony or ritual; abduction, often forcible, of the woman. Then as a laic institution, a social arrangement, often followed by the purchase of the woman. In both of these stages the woman is treated as a being much inferior to man; she represents so much property, and can be punished, ill treated, or disposed of in any way which the husband sees fit to adopt. These modes are the usus and coemptio of ancient Rome. The third stage, as the Roman confarreatio, in which we see the adoption of a ritual, crude at first, but afterwards becoming more ceremonious as the people advance in culture. Note a passage in Letourneau's “Evolution of Marriage”: “We must note that at Rome, as in Greece, the religious ceremony was in no way essential to the marriage, which was a laic and civil institution in the first place.” Quite so, for only the upper classes had this ceremony performed at their marriages, hence is it termed the “aristocratic marriage.”
Now, the Maori was in this third stage of marriage-evolution. He was adopting, or adapting, ritual to his old-time
system. But it was essentially an aristocratic rite, for only those of high birth had the ceremony performed at their marriage; the common people were not deemed worthy of the priestly invocations or the umu kotore. They were dogs.
We return to our taumou. This was not a universal custom among the chieftain class; every girl or boy of good birth was not so betrothed. It was sometimes done for political reasons, in order to advance the welfare of the clan or tribe. These betrothals took place during the infancy of the couple. For instance, a man while visiting a village community might chance to see a little girl who took his fancy, and whom he would desire to pre-empt, as it were, as a wife for his own little son when they should have arrived at marrying age. If the girl was of equal rank to his son he would claim her by making some such remark as, “Maku tonu koe, mo taku tamaiti” (“You are for me, for my child”). And that remark would be agreed to by the elders of the girl, unless they had some special objection to him or to the proposed alliance. It would then be arranged that the two children should be married when they grew up. It would be very bad form for any person to disregard the betrothal. Should any man have sexual connection with the girl he would very probably be slain, if a commoner, and possibly cooked and eaten; for the saying of old was, “Kua eke he taumou na tetahi, kauaka hai raweke” (“Those on whom a taumou has been placed, do not interfere with them”).
After the betrothal the girl might be kept at home with her parents, or they might let her future father-in-law take her away to live at his place, and there to associate and grow up with her future husband; or she might stay alternately at each place. This custom, like many other strange ones, has long died out. The coming of the Europeans changed all these things, hence we use the past tense in describing them. Old Hauraki and his wife, of Rua-tahuna, are two of the few survivors of the last who were taumou.
A girl or boy who happened to be so betrothed was not termed a taumou: that expression simply implies the custom. A betrothed girl was not termed a puhi among the Tuhoe Tribe.
An old woman, a resident of Rua-tahuna, was betrothed during her childhood, when she was about seven or eight years of age, to one Tarei, of Ngati-Awa. After some time her aunt took her to the home of Tarei's parents, that the two children might be together. The girl remained there for some time, but did not like the idea of marrying Tarei, so her people took her back home, three days' march inland. No attempt was made by either side to coerce her. But when, subsequently, a party of Ngati-Awa visited Rua-tahuna they
made things interesting for her and her friends—But that is another story, which you will find at page 94 of Volume xxxiv. of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute.”
The Umu Kotore.
The umu kotore was the marriage feast of the Maori—that is to say, of the aristocratic marriage before mentioned. It was at this function that certain invocations were repeated by the priest over the couple.
In the first place, the priest repeats a prayer or invocation over the twain to preserve them in health and prosperity, to ward off from them all evil, physical or otherwise. After this the pair enjoyed the rights of married people. The marriage feast is then prepared, and is known as umu kotore, or kai kotore. Probably the former term is more correctly applied to the ritual pertaining to this function and the latter expression to the actual food. Umu means a steam-oven, in which food was prepared by the neolithic Maori; but the term is also used to denote a rite as performed by a priest—e.g., umu pongipongi = a magic rite to destroy man. Kotore means “the lower end, buttocks, anus, tail of a bird.” The word reperepe (and tareperepe) also means the buttocks, hence the above feast is sometimes termed kai reperepe (kai = food).
I asked an old man why the word kotore is applied to a marriage. His answer was brief and convincing, “Ko te take i kiia ai he kai kotore, i moe ko tona kotore i te tane ra. Ehara i te mea i moe ko tona mahunga” (“The reason of the feast being called a kai kotore is because the woman's kotore married the husband. It was not her head that married (slept or cohabited with) him”).
The kai kotore is special food, the best procurable, cooked in a separate oven (umu kotore) for the relatives of the young wife. Food was cooked in other ovens for the rest of the assembled people. Only the relatives of the young wife partook of the kai kotore, or kai reperepe, cooked in the umu kotore. The young couple themselves did not eat of the kai kotore. In some cases the wife's younger sisters would decline to eat of the food prepared in the umu kotore, koi purua—i.e., lest they be pukupa, or barren.
Further invocations were repeated by the priest at the umu kotore which constituted a part of the marriage ritual, and gave mana (efficacy, power, prestige) to the ceremony. Another invocation, known as the ohaoha, was then repeated over the couple. This was equivalent to a blessing—in the first place, that the twain might not be assailed by sickness or the shafts of magic, but be preserved in health. It also invoked a state of fruitfulness for the wife, that she might bear children. In the event of the wife being nervous, or afraid of her
husband, an invocation known as a whakapiri was repeated over her by the priest, in order to cause her to cleave to her husband, to bind them together (literally, to “fasten” them together). This was performed at the above ceremony, lest they become separated.
The bulk of the assembled people had their food separate from the party who partook of the kai kotore, and the food prepared for the former was not termed kai kotore. The mātāmua, or first-born son of the interested families, would not partake of the kai kotore.
On my asking an old man of the Ngati-Awa Tribe as to whether or not his ancestors had these invocations repeated at the marriages of their important people, he replied, “Yes, it is quite true about the marriage invocations of former days. O, friend! the best invocation to use for a woman nowadays is money. If a man has acquired plenty of money he will acquire a wife easily enough. That is the proper invocation. The moneyed man gets a wife.” Which was, methinks, not bad for the neolithic Maori.
We will now give some description of the custom of pakuwha, which may be defined as a formal handing-over of the woman to her husband. It was a universal custom apparently.* The young couple may or may not have gone through the ritual of the aristocratic marriage. The term pakuwha is applied to relations by marriage, and also to the ceremony of handing over or delivering the wife to her husband and his people, for, as usual among the Maori, the husband had little or nothing to say during the function, his relatives doing all the speechmaking on his side of the house.
The pakuwha was made the occasion of a sort of marriage hakari, or feast. It was, and still is, quite an important item in the social life of the Maori. These meetings served to break the monotony of the lives of the people, and they thoroughly enjoyed them. Marriage and death are two important causes of these social functions, and the Maori enjoys both.
The pakuwha often takes place after the couple have been married, or have cohabited and arrangements concerning the marriage (see ante) have, of course, been completed.
“I am living, say, at Rua-tahuna. My daughter marries, or is to marry, a man from Te Whaiti, a day's journey distant. I and my relatives form a party and escort my daughter to her husband's home at Te Whaiti. We have been invited to do so by the elders of my son-in-law, who live at that place.
[Footnote] * I e., among the rangatira class, not among low-born people.
In some cases they would build a special house for this event. Such house is termed a whare pakuwha, but would receive a special name also, and be kept closed and unused until my party, the ope pakuwha, arrive there, when we take up our quarters in it. The tapu pertaining to all new houses of importance remains upon it until our arrival, when it is removed and the house rendered noa (common, free from tapu) by the priest of my party. Such a house would be built only when the parties are of high birth. In special cases it may be an elaborately carved house, in others a plain one having no embellishments of that kind, and in yet others it is merely a temporary house. The house is for the entertainment of the pakuwha party (ope pakuwha).”
(Sometimes the husband and wife go together to this function along with her relatives, and at others the relatives of the girl escort her to the home of the young man, where she is formally handed over to be his wife. Which amounts to this: that the pakuwha feast may be held either at the time of the marriage, or, in other cases, same time after the couple have been cohabiting. But always the first feast or entertainment (the whare tuatahi, or “first house,” as natives term it, in allusion to the building of the special house) is given by the man's relatives, never by the woman's. The latter it is who give the second feast, or whakahoki pakuwha).
“Those Te Whaiti people have been busy collecting and preparing food for us. The realms of Tane and of Tangaroa have been called upon to furnish food-supplies for many months. Potted birds, dried fish, and divers vegetable products are ready in large quantities. Fuel is piled up in apaapa around the cooking-sheds, and parties of young people roam the forests for such woods as burn brightly without emitting much smoke. This is for the purpose of warming and lighting the houses at night, such fires being probably supplemented by crude lamps burning fat obtained from birds. There will be much talking in these houses at night, many speeches delivered by eloquent speakers, and much posture dancing.
“We send word to Te Whaiti by messenger as to the day of our arrival at that place. We time our arrival there so as not to arrive late in the day, even if it is necessary to encamp for the night within a short distance of the village of our hosts. When we march into the village we do so in close column and with a slow regular movement, albeit we do not keep step, as do the white men in their marching. Our column advances in silence, and each person thereof looks to his front, apparently unconscious of the noisy welcome of the village.
“As we march into the marae, or plaza, we see that the village people are drawn up in a mass by the side of the new house, the whare pakuwha (not in front of it), where they are crying us welcome; and in advance of them are some of the old women, standing singly out in the marae or mounted on shed-roofs or on the defences of the village, where each cries loudly in the doleful tones of the Maori a welcome to our party. And each of them is waving a cloak or shoulder-cape, waving us forward to our destination. This is the tawhiri, or powhiri. It is the welcome of the Maori people, even from the days of our ancestors.
“Slowly we march forward until we are opposite the column of the village people, and then we halt, with perhaps a space of fifty yards separating us. The wild welcome of our hosts still rings out, but no sound comes from our party. We do not tangi* unless some misfortune has lately afflicted one of the parties, or my son-in-law has been long absent from his people. At such a meeting there is no general hongi (the native salute by pressing noses together). The priest of our party alone might so salute a few of the village people in that manner.
“The next thing done is the rahiri whare—i.e., the lifting of the tapu from, the whare pakuwha. This is performed by the priest of our party, who mounts the roof of the house and, standing on the ridge-pole thereof, recites the invocation known as a kawa whare. This was an important rite to the Maori of former days, but we will not go into that matter now, it is too long. Leave it for the days that lie before.
“The house is now free from tapu and may be used. Our party enter and rest therein. Then, one after another, the leading men of the village come and make speeches to us. The speaker does not enter the house; he walks back and forth in the front thereof as he delivers his speech, for this is the ancient custom of the Maori. The speeches made are a welcome to us—first to my daughter, who has married into this clan, and also to us, her elders and relatives. The leading remarks of all these speeches are a welcome to the young wife, as, ‘Haere mai taku taonga,’ &c. (‘Welcome, my treasure,’ and so forth). When the speeches of the village people are over, then one of our party will go forth from the house and make a speech, returning the greetings of the other party. But all remarks centre round and upon the young couple. After the first speaker finishes and retires to the house another goes forth to have his say, and so on, until all who wish to speak have done so.
[Footnote] * Tangi = to wail for the dead, or as an affectionate salute to long-absent friends.
“Then a procession of people of the village appears on the scene, each bearing a basket of cooked food, and all singing a weird song as they slowly advance. They place the baskets in a row before the whare pakuwha and retire. Then our party leave the house and, seating themselves before the food, proceed to satisfy their hunger.
“In addition to the above cooked food given to our party, there is also a supply of food presented to us, and which we can either use during our stay at Te Whaiti or take home with us when we return. This food is brought into the house in baskets, &c., and placed before us. The interior of the house is now quite free from tapu, the bringing of this food into it is the last act of the whakanoa, or freeing from tapu. This latter supply of food is often termed kai kotore, and is for the relatives of the young wife. It is composed of the best sorts of food, such as preserved birds. On the following day a large heap of food is stacked up in the marae and presented to our party. This is termed a tahuaroa.
“After the kai kotore is brought in the village people then carry in their presents of clothing, fine cloaks, capes, aprons, as also greenstone and shark's-tooth ornaments, &c.; and, in modern times, horses also, which, however, are left outside. These are placed in front of the young couple, who are seated together. Probably no formal or lengthy speech is made; each person bearing a gift lays it down, outspread if a garment, saying, ‘Tenei te taonga ki a koe.’ For these gifts are to the husband.
“When these gifts are all presented the young husband rises and presents them all to his wife's people, to myself and relatives, who have escorted him and his wife from Rua-tahnna to this place. He keeps none of the gifts for himself, nor yet any for his wife. If he did so he would be considered an ignorant, low-bred sort of fellow. Kāti ki a raua ko te mānā—the prestige of the thing is enough for them.
“Sometimes at these functions a turanga-a-tohu would be performed, usually the day after the arrival of the visitors. This is a kind of war-dance, but simply given as an exhibition.
“Our party would stay a few days at Te Whaiti as the guests of my son-in-law's people, or possibly a week. Probably the young couple would stay there for some time, possibly until the return feast came off at Rua-tahuna, when they would, of course, attend that, and perhaps settle down there.
“The return feast mentioned is known as a whakahoki pakuwha. We, the relatives of the young wife, give this feast to my son-in-law's people. A special house might or might not be built by us for the event, and the description already
given will apply to this function. We make presents to our guests as they did to us.”
The above is a description of the pakuwha as it obtained in Tuhoeland, and still does, with the exception of several items, as the rahiri whare and turanga-a-tohu. This custom was not carried out with low-born people. Also, the elders of the husband would probably decline to give a feast and gifts to, and entertain, the relatives of the wife if she was known as a kai-rau (fornicator).
When the son of Te Purewa married a Turanga woman the house built for the pakuwha, near Gisborne, was a temporary one, but it was a gift to the guests, and a valuable one; for it was a long house, and the walls thereof were composed of calico print, while the roof was covered with new blankets.
Some time ago Paora, of Tuhoe, married a Ngati-Raukawa woman here at Rua-tahuna. They lived here about two years, and then went, accompanied by some of Paora's relatives, to the wife's people. The young couple lived there about a year, then they returned to Rua-tahuna, escorted by some of Ngati - Raukawa, who were entertained here by Paora's relatives. This latter was a whakahoki pakuwha. The couple have since returned to the wife's home, where they are now living.
The expression ta pakuwha is applied to affinitative relatives—i.e., relatives by marriage. A company of related people travelling together to visit the parents-in-law of one of their number is so termed. (Compare ta tataeto = a flock of whiteheads—a bird.) It appears to be applied only to a company of persons. A couple visiting their son-in-law would be termed simply pakuwha.
Kaupapa pakuwha: “Suppose I marry your daughter. I select a greenstone weapon or ornament or a fine cloak and present it to you (my father-in-law) as a kaupapa, pakuwha. Hence we hear such questions as, ‘Where are the kaupapa of the pakuwha?”’ Then such gifts are exhibited for inspection. Or a man may ask, “Where did you obtain that weapon of yours?” “Oh, it is a kaupapa pakuwha of the daughter of such a person.”
The term whakatakoto pakuwha seems to apply to any or all of the arrangements for a marriage, from the taumou to the marriage feast.
Ope pakuwha always carried their arms with them in former times. It was not well to move abroad without weapons in the old fighting-days, for treachery was a common occurrence, and no man knew when he was safe.
Very often the pakuwha party were greeted by a turanga a tohu, which is practically a war-dance, all the performers being armed; but it is merely given as an exhibition, and not, as
in time of war, as a species of divination to see what fate has in store for the tribe. The guests were challenged in the orthodox manner as they marched on to the plaza, while the village people would be divided into several columns, all kneeling and waiting for the signal of the fugleman to spring to their feet and, with brandished weapons, to roar out the resounding ngeri. In late times a pakuwha party is often welcomed with a volley from the guns of their hosts.
Neither the tumahana, nor the pongaihu, nor yet whakareka pertained to the ope pakuwha, but only to the kaihaukai.*
We will here give a few words of explanation in regard to the careful supervision and arrangement of marriages among the natives. To a great extent it was caused by tribal anxiety to avoid a mésalliance, to prevent a person of good birth from marrying into a family of ware, or low-born people, to keep unmixed the blood of the rangatira class, to uphold the rank, fame, and dignity of first-born lines of descent, and hence to prevent all tipuheke, or degeneration, of blue-blooded lines.
For the Maori were ever true aristocrats, ever looked down upon the low-born, and exalted rank and birth. They treated with respect and deference even those members of the aristocratic class who were not endowed with the qualities necessary for the leading of men and the supervision of tribal affairs. And their method of preserving such rank and prestige was by a strict observance and retention of the aho matamua—i.e., of primogeniture. For the rangatira or high-born class were descendants of some noted, and probably remote, ancestor through the eldest-born of each succeeding generation, while the lower classes were the descendants of younger sons of by-gone centuries. The first-born lines retained the mana (power, prestige) of the tribe, hence they were careful not to allow any of their members to marry into the ware, or lower classes—i.e, into younger branches—but always within their own class. Formerly, as we have seen, marriages of the “upper class” were arranged by the elders of the young people and by the tribe, in order to avoid such mésalliances. But most of these old customs have been deserted by Tuhoe since the advent of Europeans. Young people now please themselves as to whom they marry, hence typuheke abound (i.e., degeneration).
The Maori custom of building a special house in order to signalise, as it were, any important event was a very peculiar one. We have seen that such a house was built in order to emphasize a marriage. A similar custom obtained when
[Footnote] * For an explanation of these terms see article on “Food-supplies of Tuhoeland,” Volume xxxv. of the Transactions.
organizing a war expedition, as also to avenge a defeat. The latter was a most peculiar thing. If a people did not consider themselves strong enough to avenge a defeat they often built a special house, after which they invited the people who had defeated them to visit them, upon which they entertained them in the new house during their stay—and that was their revenge.
Another purpose for which a special house was built we will explain by means of a true illustration: When Warahoe were defeated at Taupo, in the fight known as Kohikete, one of their women who was taken prisoner was taken as a wife by Te Rau-paraha. She never returned to her people, who, after passing through many troubles, took refuge at Rua-tahuna with the Tuhoe Tribe. But a few years ago her grand-daughter visited the Warahoe people, now living at Te Whaiti, in order to show herself to her grandmother's people. After a time she returned to her home at Poroutawhao, near Levin. Then Warahoe decided to invite her to pay them another visit. So they fell to and built a house at Te Whaiti to mark the event, and prepared food and also gifts for their guest, who duly arrived. She was entertained in the new house for some time, numerous presents were given to her, and she was escorted back to her house by a party of Te Whaiti people. Hapurona said, “Ko taku kahui tara hai whakahoki i a koe” (“My flock of tara (a sea-bird) shall escort you home”). The term kahui tara implied a band of well-born persons. So that house was named Te Kahui Tara.
Nowadays there is none of the umu kotore ritual carried out, and but little of the formal arrangements as of old, though a modified form of pukuwha entertainments still obtains.
Adultery (Puremu, toukohi).
Among the Tuhoe Tribe the wife seems to be more frequently guilty of adultery than the husband. An old warrior of my acquaintance informed me that “if a married woman was interfered with in former times it was the cause of serious quarrels and fighting. Men lost their lives thus over women. This fighting over women was not known in ancient times. It began with, Maui-tikitiki (thirty-five generations ago), whose wife, Whatu-nui, was interfered with by Mauimua. That was the cause of Maui turning on Irawaru.”
Incontinence, if treated lightly in the matter of young girls, was a serious offence in a married woman, and sometimes severe punishment, even death, was inflicted upon the erring one. If a married man commits adultery both he and his paramour are punished by his wife's relatives by means of a taua. The taua (hostile party) would be composed of
the wife's relatives. They march to the erring husband's abode and demand satisfaction for the injury done to them and to his wife. Such satisfaction is often in the form of greenstone ornaments, the jewels of Maoridom; also other kinds of portable property, and latterly horses. The wife's relatives, would receive such goods, not herself. Such payment in goods is never returned.
If a low-born person or a slave committed adultery with a woman of rank in former days he would probably be slain and, if a slave, certainly eaten.* If a man of rank committed adultery with a slave woman that was thought nothing of.
Both adultery and the abduction of another man's wife were punished by a taua, as above described.
In some cases a piece of land is given in payment for adultery, as satisfaction for the injured party. But in after-years such land might be redeemed by the adulterer and his friends handing over an amount of goods (me unu ki te taonga) for the same. When Pihi, of Ngai-Te-Au, committed adultery here her people made over to Ngati-Rongo, her husband's hapu, a piece of land at Okerekere.
It sometimes happened that a man, for committing adultery with a married woman of rank, had to migrate and live elsewhere. This would depend a good deal upon his own standing in the tribe.
The taua which is organized in order to obtain satisfaction for adultery would often, in former times, proceed to muru, or plunder, the adulterer's home. In this case a mob of excited natives would rush the place and seize all portable property and carry it off, and would often burn the house down as well. An old saying in connection with adultery is, “Ko te wahine ma tetehi, ko te whare ma tetehi” (“The woman for one, the house for the other”). It was bad policy to get in the way of such a party. A rough-and-tumble scrimmage often occurred, in which blood would flow, and sometimes, but perhaps not often, fatal wounds would be inflicted. An aggrieved husband would sometimes fight a duel with the man who interfered with his wife, but it was not a duel to the death. He would be satisfied usually if he inflicted a wound upon his adversary.
The term kai taonga is applied to the action taken by parties who ask payment for an injury and such is given without any fuss or violence. It is not applied to muru, or violent plundering, as described above.
When a party went to the adulterer's home to demand utu (payment, &c.) for his act many speeches would be made,
[Footnote] * As my informant put it, “Kaore i moua to mua tangata” (“Men (slain) were not wasted in former times”). He was killed for committing a crime, then, of course, he would be eaten. Why waste him?
and eloquent accounts of the injury received were accompanied by much fierce gesticulation. Such old-time songs as the following were often sung by the first speaker of the party as disclosing the purport of their visit:—
Taku wahine ra
Ka riro koe i Te Tini o Te Manahua
Homai he turuturu, homai he taketake
Hei whakautu mo te manu nunui a Tane
Ka whiwhi au ki te tika—i.
Some time before the fight at Māna-teepa one Te Hau, one of Te Ika-poto's four wives, committed adultery at Te Whaiti. The people of that place knew that trouble would ensue for Te Ika was a person of importance among Tuhoe, so they proceeded to build a fighting pa (fort) at Ahi-kereru. Te Ika-poto raised a taua, who were armed with guns, and marched on Te Whaiti, where they attacked the pa, and after a good deal of firing on both sides the attacking force killed Te Rua-Whakatara of the garrison, after which peace was made.
In a case of adultery which occurred here the wife was the erring party. The goods, greenstone ornaments, &c., handed over by her relatives as satisfaction to her husband were not retained by him, but by an aunt of his. “Koi nei hai wahine mo te tane, ko aua taonga” (“The goods were then a wife for the husband”).
If a married man committed adultery with a married woman in former times both of them were subjected to a taua, and they and their relatives of the family group had to give compensation. Also the husband of the second woman would have the right to taua the first man. Or if a married man had connection with a single girl both he and his paramour would be subject to a taua, and also if a married woman committed adultery with a single man both suffered. In late times these rules have been somewhat modified. In some cases a man, if of high birth, would repudiate his adulterous wife, very probably at the instance of his friends, who would say, “Discard that woman and marry So-and-so.” Adulterous women were sometimes slain by the enraged husband, and would very likely be cooked and eaten, if not closely, related, but a member of another clan.
Since the introduction of Christianity another custom has arisen, said to have been obtained from the Scriptures. An adulterous wife is isolated, taken away from the village and camped in a tent or some deserted hut away from any inhabited place. An elderly person accompanies and takes charge of her. After a certain number of days she is allowed to return to the village. Her paramour is sometimes treated in a similar manner. I noted one case here in which a
married man had committed adultery with a single girl, and the man was so isolated, with an old man to take charge of him. In this case the man's wife accompanied him, and acted as cook for the trio.
When Te Iri-o-te-ao, wife of Rongokarae, committed adultery that fine old gentleman set fire to the house in which she and her children were and burned them all to death. When Kai-ahi, of Te Urewera, committed adultery with Ruru's wife Ruru shot and wounded him.
Another custom was for the injured husband to take his adulterous wife to a public trail, where all might see her. He would there lay her down on her back in the track and stretch out her legs and arms and fasten them to pegs. She was left spread-eagled in that manner that all might see her who passed by. Such an act was termed a whakaineine.
The form of taua known as taua-a-poke was a party which demanded payment, and performed the extraordinary actions of defiance known as pikari, and sung derisive songs. It was also said to have exalted the wronged wife of the adulterer, presumably by it showing that she must be a person of consequence for her friends to take so much trouble for her.
I knew one case in which a white man married to a native woman was subjected to a taua for adultery, and lost some of his horses and also goods out of his store, which were handed over to or taken by his wife's relatives.
The taua-a-poke* would be directed against a woman who had busied herself in gaining the affections of a married man and induced him to leave his wife for her. The taua-a-poke is against women only.
If a wife ran away from her husband he might follow her and try to induce her to return, or he might attack the man whom she fled with, or he might, like unto Rangi-monoa of old, take no steps whatever. Some one said to him, “O Rangi! your wife has fled from you.” “Let her go as she goes,” replied Rangi, “the Hau o Puanui will bring her back.” This was the name of Rangi's food-store, and he meant that she would return when pinched by hunger.
“A woman taken from the shoulder of her husband by another man. The husband girds himself for the fray and seizes his spear. His song is:—
“Kaore hoki taku mate whakariri—e
Ki te ai puremu—a. Ki te ai maro-nui
Ki te ai whakatutu
Whakatutuki te hihi o te mamaru
Ki roto ki te waha o to puta—e
Ka pati te paraheka tungou tou mea—i.”
[Footnote] * A taua sent against a man is termed taua only. A taua-a-poke is sent against women only.
The shoulder of the husband is looked upon as the pillow of the wife, and is so termed. This form of song is a tutara, and is composed and sung by a husband to show his contempt for his adulterous wife, whom it is also meant to degrade.
The following is a tutara composed by one Oneone as against his wife Whare-hau, who had committed adultery:—
E paki Whare-hau, ko koe ko te tane
Ka kite iho na koe i te kiriruatanga
I te marotanga o toku nei ure
Taia ki to tara, he karinga na te tonga
He karinga na te kape
Poharu ra i te moana
In this case, however, the lady replied by composing the following:—
Noho noa taku tara
Ohia noa kia kaupapatia
Nohea e anga iho i te tirohanga kino
Ki te tumatakuru
Te pari ki te mata
Kauaka hoki ra e whakawheoitia
Kai rere au i to pari, Te rawa ko tawhiti
Te motu ra i Pongaponga, e whakakau mai ra
Ko au nei te whanau hai te taingariu
Hai maka i te puna,* hai timo i te punake
Te rongo te taringa i o riri nui ra
Whakarae tonu au ko Hine-hore
Ko au i te motu raia
He whakairinga patu ka mokeke ana
Te tipua tara i riro nei
Mou te turituri, moku te pawera
Hapainga taku tara, rite rawa Hauraki
Te whanake o te hau nui e hori noa mai
Na wai te kai ka whiu, ka maka kai te tahua
Hoki mai whakamuri te kiwi ki Orete
Kai roto mai a Ngaweke
He whakautanga mo Hine-matukutuku
To peru whakanuku ahiahi—e.
Not to be outdone by a woman, the hapless Oneone replied with:—
Ehara i toku nui naku anake ia
Naku ra i tohe atu, kia kite hoki au
I mau mai ai ra te tawara ki au
E ware ana au nga matu a Whakaari†
Nga mahi a Kokiri‡ i waiho ki tana hua
Nga mahi a Rewharewha† i waiho nei ki au.
The expression tango tu means to take a wife away from her husband. It is usually caused by huneinei (anger, vexa-
[Footnote] * Puna = punga.
[Footnote] †The co-respondents.
[Footnote] ‡The co-respondents.
tion). It does not apply to the abduction of a single girl. If a woman marries, say, into another clan or tribe, and in aftertime her people are vexed with her husband on account, perhaps, of some slighting remark he has passed about them or about his wife, they will go and take her away from him and conduct her back to their home. That is a tango tu. Sometimes the husband's people would show fight and a scrimmage would ensue, or perhaps the former might not consider it advisable to use force. A company of people bent on a tango tu. would not be termed a taua. In a case that came under my notice a girl eloped with a man of Ngati-Whare. They were pursued by the girl's elders and brought back, and the girl was taken from him, as her people would not let her marry him. That was termed a tango tu.
I will now tell of the Rua-a-Peka. This is the name of a bathing-pool of warm water at O-hine-mutu, in the Arawa country. A singular old custom pertaineth to this pool. In former times any married woman or man who bathed in this pool was free to have sexual connection with any person she or he might fancy. No objection was made, no taua went forth to punish or plunder, for it was an old-time custom, a privilege inherited from other generations. The origin of this singular license is unknown to me, but it is interesting as an illustration of Maori ethics. It is said that the old-time saying, “Ko Turanga makau rau (“Turanga of the numberless husbands”), applied to the Poverty Bay district, implied that the married women of that district were somewhat loose in their morals; also that but little notice was taken of such incontinence, an unusual thing in Maoriland.
In olden times, when a man was leaving home on a journey, he would repeat a charm or incantation (karakia) known as taupa over his wife ere he left, the effect of which was that any man who had connection with her during her husband's absence would perish through the power of the spell.
The Tuhoe saying, “Toenga mahara nui a Te Wai-haroto” (“The prized leavings of Te Wai-haroto”), implies that a man when away from his wife did not like to have her interfered with by any one. “Ngai-Te-Au tara makuku” is a saying applied to the clan of Tuhoe of that name, a clan famous for the number of adulterous women it contained. A more widely known proverb is, “Te puapua ka taka i Aromea, he kai na te ure tangata ke.” This implies that any woman left by her husband for a long time is justified in taking another man as husband, and that the wanderer would have no right to complain when he returned.
An adulterous parent is not allowed to retain any mana (power, authority) over her or his children; the other parent
will have control of them. When a couple separate through the adultery of one of them the children are retained by the non-adulterous parent. Still, in after-years the children will probably be quite friendly with their erring parent.
The expression to paepae is applied to a woman discarded, repudiated, by her husband (and vice versâ) on account of infidelity. It is a belittling expression: she is only fit to drag the beam of a latrine. The term karawhaea (scarifier) is a modern word for the same thing, the natives having seen the scarifier cultivator at work on the coastal farms. The discarded adulterer is only fit to do menial work, to weed cultivation-grounds, &c.—said to be dragging the scarifier.
The term tiko hika is applied to a woman who has many lovers, as also is the expression kaikai-rau. Adultery is termed puremu, and also toukŏhĭs. He wahine toukohi = an adulterous woman.
E whae E! He wahine toukohi koe.—Old Song.
Williams's Dictionary gives this as tokohi.
The word whaiaipo means a lover, sweetheart, and is here applied to male and female lovers, whether single or married. It is not applied by a wife to her husband, nor by the latter to his wife. The term kari hika implies frequent sexual intercourse. The star Părěārau is spoken of as a wahine kari hika, or wahine tiweka—i.e., a lady of indifferent character.
We give a few specimens of such songs as were composed by natives in connection with adulterous women:—
A Song, Composed by Kahua, whose Wife had been tampered with.
Kaore taku raru
He rau tahuritanga ki te whare ra
I whakawarea au e koe ki te tama iara
Na Te Pu-Whakahara ou ngutu
Te hohoro ki nga kokinga rau
Tenei te kurehu nei, he moe po pea i au ra
Ko te moe he mea tenei au kai runga
Te torohanga, tini whetu ki runga i te rangi
He whakahinga noa koe i a Tane-mahuta
Ki nga uru kiokio
Ki nga paruparu ki O-Tu-whai-ao
Rere pu o korua mauri tee tika i te ara
Tapahi noa i te whenua
Apiti rawa atu ki te takotoranga o Haumia
Ki te aka o te whenua
Totoro to waewae hai ringaringa
Totoro to ringaringa hai waewae
Ka takoto te ika whenua o te rangi
Katahi ka auraki mai
Ki te whanau a te mangumangu kikino
Ki te aitanga a Punga i au—e.
A Song by Te Rere-ure concerning his Adulterous Wife.Tenei au te ware nei
Tera koe te tu noa ra
Te ako noa ra i te rakau a Tu-tawake
I te hani kura, i te kawau ruku roa
I te kawau māro
He kura takahi puni tenei.
A Song by Te Ahoaho for his Wife, who was an Adulteress.E muri koe awatea nei
He whakaputanga no te wairua
I rongo pea koe i te ki
Whakarerea te waka to kau
Ka pa hoki ra hai te waka whakairo
Kia mau ai, E hine!
Whai atu koe ki a Tama-houtake—e
Ki te ure i puhia ki te kura, ki te awe
Ki te raukawa—e,
Ki te kanohi pokaia ki te whao
Ki te uhi maitai
Na te tipua ako noa ake nei ki te mahi
Koua kitea te kinonga
I te po tata o te raumati
Kai tawhiti ra a Te Ahoaho
Hai hi mai i te ika nei
I te tuatini, i te nanua pounamu
Hai kai ma te wahine
Ki mai ki ahau—e
He aha, ahau te tito ai ki to tara
Ko ana mokopuna naku ra
Kai pakupaku tete noa i waenga o te tara
Miminga a ringa mai na tohou ure
He ure i puhia ki te kura
I whakataua ki te tama
Na Ruru-tangi-akau-roa e tete noa mai ra
E whākapi mai ra i te one o Tatai-arorangi
Tenei ka haramai
Ka tipi rawa i te momo o te tangata
I hikaia to tara ki te ahi koe
Nau, E Tapeka! I tora i te whenua
Ka rere te kora ki te rakau
E tuhi ana, e rapa ana
Kai te uiratanga mai, kai te koha
Kai te pou taka mai i runga i te rangi
I kai whiri ai koe ki te ure wai kore
Ki te ure tipua, ki te ure i a Tahurangi
Ka mau te hu ki to hengahenga
Ka taka i te mutunga.
It sometimes happened that a man would be so vexed by the infidelity of his wife that he would not only forsake her, but also leave the district for ever and live with some other tribe. When Kopura, wife of Tihori, a famous ancestor of Ngati-Awa, went wrong with Whare-pukaea, her husband's younger brother, Tihori left the district and migrated with some of his people to the north, where they settled among the Ngapuhi Tribe. Hongi Hika was a descendant of Tihori. As Tihori was leaving in his canoe his wife came down to the
beach and called out, “Return to me and to our children.” Tihori replied, “Farewell ! He tamariki tonu kei te matamata o taku ure”—a similar reply to that made by the revolting Egyptian troops when asked to return during their march south, as described by Herodotus.
When a married couple among the natives quarrel they do so in a remarkably noisy manner, as is usual in all Maori squabbles and quarrellings. They shout at each other and gesticulate, and indulge in all kinds of defiant language and gestures. They have no compunction whatever as to washing their soiled linen in public. Also whakamomori, or acts of desperation, are sometimes committed. An Arawa woman whose husband had been unfaithful to her threw herself into a boiling spring—a fearful death. In another case in this district a woman left her husband on account of a quarrel, and, on his pursuing her in order to bring her back, she jumped over a high cliff. Wives often leave their husbands in this manner in this district, but they usually come together again ere long.
Polygamacuteous wives sometimes quarrelled among themselves, as when Uenuku-koihu's two wives, Maru-hangaroa and Kahu-kura-kotare, fell out, and the former made away with the latter by means of the magic rite known as umu pururangi.
In the days of yore native children were usually naked, though girls often wore a rude maro, such as a bunch of tow fastened on with a string—hai huna i te aroaro. That was in childhood; but women never went naked, although men sometimes did. A woman would not be seen without her maro, a kind of apron or kilt. Note the term maro-nui, used to denote a married woman, and which signifies “big apron.” This is significant of a change in their clothing made at marriage or at puberty.
There dwelt in former times at O-potiki a married woman named Mahuru, who for some reason left her husband and came to Rua-toki, where she married one Takarehe. And it fell upon a certain fine day that the fair one prepared some fern-root for her better-half's dinner. However, she neglected to remove the fibres from the meal, whereupon Taka arose in his wrath and struck the erring one upon the head with his weapon as a token of his disapproval of her indolence. Mahuru said, “You may now marry your weapon as a wife for you,” and fled to her father, Tamahape, who was peacefully weeding his kumara-garden. As she came to him Tama, saw the blood flowing from her wound, and said, “You are a survivor.” Mahuru said, “It was my husband; he is following me.” “Remain here by my side,” replied Tama. When Taka arrived he attacked Tama, who parried his blow and slew Taka, whom he and his daughter cooked and ate. Thus
Taka was useful even in death. He filled a long-felt want, doubtless. This anecdote is inserted not only as an item of ethnography, but also as a hint to any ill-used wives, and as a warning to those who assault their devoted wives.
That there was a ritual of divorce which obtained among the old-time Maori is certain, but it is not clear that when a couple wished to separate they had recourse to the same. Some natives state that it was so used, but there is evidence in favour of the statement that it was more often utilised as a means of separating husband and wife by one who wished to marry the husband or wife, as the case might be.
Tikitu, of Ngati-Awa, states, “Suppose that you have two wives, and that one becomes jealous of the other. She comes to me, the tohunga (wise man, priest, shaman), and asks me to separate her rival and their husband, to cause her to leave him, that she, the applicant, may then be the only wife. To effect this separation I have recourse to the toko rite. The karakia toko (divorce invocation) separates a couple by causing their love for each other to cease. The same invocation is used in all cases, whether the parties to be separated are willing or not. Suppose that my daughter marries you; although you love each other, yet if I take my daughter to the priest and he recites the toko invocation over her then she will no longer feel any affection for you. And should a man wish to be rid of his wife and to marry some other woman, if his wife is willing then he goes himself to the priest.”
Another authority, and a more learned man than Tikitu, says, “The toko is a karakia (invocation, charm, incantation, ritual) to divorce a married couple who have no desire to separate, but whose elders wish to part them. The priest takes the couple to the water (where rites are performed) and sprinkles them with water, then repeating over them the karakia toko:—
“Ka tokona atu nei korua
Tu ke Rangi, tau ke Papa, &c.
The couple are thus divorced.”
My own particular sage, he who has long endeavoured to guide me through the mystic gloom of the whare takiura, explains thusly: “A married woman comes to the priest in order that he may cause her love for her husband to cease (kia miria tona aroha). The priest takes the ahua (semblance or personality) of her affection at the sacred waters, whither he conducts her, and there he ‘separates’ her affection from her and abolishes (destroys) it—that is to say, he washes the aria, or ahua, of her love away. Then the priest recites the toko invocation:—
“Toko te rangi
Tu ke Rangi
Tau ke Papa-tuanuku.
Nga rakau i te ngahere
Te homai mo to kiri
Kia tūtū, kia wewehi mokinokino
Nga otaota i te ngahere
Te homai mo to kiri
Kia tūtū, kia wewehi mokinokino
Nga ongaonga i te ngahere
Te homai mo to kiri
Kia tutu, kia wewehi mokinokino.
This has the effect of destroying her affection, and of causing her to fear her husband. She will not approach him again.”
In this account of a singular ceremony the priest takes the applicant for divorce to the stream, pool, or spring set aside for the performance of sacred rites thereat, and there he sprinkles her with water, and takes from her the formless, immaterial personality of her affection for her husband. This he does by just touching her body with his fingers, as if picking or plucking something from her. This semblance or likeness of her love he washes off or away, as it were, and so it is miria, or separated from her. In his invocation he calls upon the sky to stand apart, on high, and be separated from earth; and also upon earth to lay separate from the sky; and upon the nettles, and plants, and shrubs, &c., of the forest to cause the skin (metaphorical) of the applicant for divorce to rise, “like quills upon the fretful porcupine,” in dislike of her husband.
The term for divorce (toko) is taken from the act of Tane of old, he who performed the first divorce on record when he separated earth and sky—for this is an animistic myth, old as man himself. Rangi is the Sky Parent, the personification of the heavens, whose wife was Papa-tuanuku, the Earth Mother (the Ouranos of Grecian mythology). This primal pair originally embraced each other, hence the world was in darkness until Tane separated the parents of gods and men by thrusting up the heavens, an action described by the word toko. Observe the allusion to this in the first three lines of the divorce invocation.
The term toko is also used to imply the abolishing and driving-away of a high wind by the repeating of a charm known as tokotoko, commencing—
Tokona nga hua
Tokona ki waho, &c.
A toko, or divorce invocation, is given at page 296 of “Nga Moteatea.”
The following is a portion only of another toko:—
Kia ongaonga to kiri
Kia rere pari
Kia wehea, i runga
I a Papa-tuanuku raua ko Rangi
I tokona nei e Paia, &c.
Paia is another name for Tane.
In the above crude ritual we observe how our own sacred rites have originated. The primitive divorce rite here given was a religious ceremony of the Maori, though we prefer to term such items superstitions, or necromancy, or magic, or some such title. The invocations of the umu kotore were the beginning of a marriage rite from the like of which our own ceremonial system has sprung. Far back in the remote past the men of old strove to build up social systems, to evolve social laws, that would benefit class or nation. Ancient Egypt and ancient Chaldéa broke out the trail by which the Maori travelled in the years that came after. Ever striving, ever seeking, making for self-advancement, for national advancement, led on by fanaticism or love of study, and of knowledge, and of power, the men of yore groped their way through the gloom and evolved rites and laws, selfish, superstitious, brutal, or unjust at times, but the prototype of our own.
It does not appear that a woman could repudiate her husband without just cause. If she disliked him much and persisted in her design to leave him it would probably be agreed to.
Separations are rather common among the Tuhoe Tribe nowadays, sometimes after children have been born.
Widows and the Levirate.
At the death of her husband a woman would make it her business and pleasure to join in the extravagant mourning of the Maori, marked by laceration of the body and doleful wailings. Not infrequently widows committed suicide by strangulation or starvation on the death of the husband out of grief and affection (ka whakangakau ki ta ratau tane). Moerenhaut seems to imply that they were strangled on the tomb of the husband, but my authorities make it self-destruction, not at the hands of another person.
The term maro purua is applied to a woman who marries again after the death of her husband, in which case she might retain her children by the first husband, or her relatives might adopt and rear them.
The levirate was essentially a Maori custom—that is to say, the custom of a widow marrying the brother of her deceased husband. It was evidently an ancient law, and appears to have been generally followed. The widow was
expected to so marry whether the brother were older or younger than her deceased husband. This new husband often assumed the name of his dead brother, discarding his former one. He would whakanoa (make common, free from tapu) the bed of his departed brother, for both bed and widow would be tapu. Should the widow refuse the brother and marry some other man, such action was considered wrong, and an offence. Hence the relatives of her former husband would probably attack the new one, burn his house, and possibly slay him. Wars have sprung from such occurrences. After the widow had married the brother, should she take a dislike to him she might he divorced from him by the priest, and could then marry any one she liked, because she had become noa, or free from tapu, by first marrying the brother of her former husband.
A widow would not marry again soon after her husband's death. Were he a person of importance she would probably remain a year in the whare potae (or whare tauā—house of mourning—a figurative expression). A widow would not refuse to marry again. It was also a common thing for a man to marry the sister of his wife, sometimes during the life of the latter, at others after her death.
The levirate was in force among the Hebrews of old and many other peoples. Letourneau appears to think that it became law among barbarous peoples in order to provide the widow with a protector and a living withal, but this scarcely seems to apply to a communistic people.
Widows of men slain in fighting often married those who avenged their husband's death. If taken prisoners in battle, women were generally appropriated by members of the victorious party.
Notes concerning various Customs connected with Marriage.
It was sometimes the case that a single woman would be given as a temporary wife to a visitor of distinction, but a married woman would never be so offered. A case of this kind came under my notice in this district not long ago, the recipient being a white man not particularly distinguished.* An amusing story is told of one of the bishops of the English Church receiving such an offer in the early days. I am not aware as to whether it was accepted or not. Even of late years we have heard of wives being sold in England, and in an issue of the London Times of 1801 appeared an account of how a man put a halter round his wife's neck, led her into a public place of the city, and sold her.
[Footnote] * Unless joining in French's ride to Kimberley made him so.
The reason why girls were usually tattooed before marriage was that red lips were not considered sightly, but were disliked. Women are still most conservative in having their lips and chin tattooed.
There is no evidence to show that the jus primæ noctis ever obtained among the Maori, but a man who held the power that a priest did might claim almost any girl he desired, with a very good chance of getting her. I have seen that sort of thing in Mexico, where the peasant class are not a bit more advanced in regard to religion than are the Maori.
When a man had been befriended or assisted in some way by another, and he felt that he would like to make some return, he would perhaps give his benefactor a piece of land. Or on his death-bed he might say to his daughter, “When you are grown up marry our benefactor; do not heed the fact that he is much older than you” (Ka whakatutu ki tana tamahine, “Ki te ngaro taku kanohi, ki te puta to ihu, me moe i a mea, ahakoa he kaumatua ia”).
Natives say that it is the correct thing for a wife to leave her home and live with her husband among his people. This was not always the case among the Tuhoe Tribe; the husband sometimes settled down with his wife's people. Hence it will be seen that no hard-and-fast rule obtained in regard to this matter. I have noted that several women of distant places who married men of this district, and whose husbands died before them, returned to their parents' home after the mourning ceremonies, &c., were over.
A man who lives with his wife's people might perhaps be given a piece of land by them, and his children by her would inherit such land. If, however, the couple have no issue, the husband would not retain the land after the death of his wife, and he would then probably return to his own people, the land returning to the original owners. This simply amounts to his cultivating, &c., on his wife's right to such lands.
When a man of rank married a low-born or a slave woman she would have no mana (power, influence) or standing in the tribe, but their children would not only be free, but would inherit the rank, &c., of their father. No one would call them slaves or low-born, except that in quarrelling a person might say, “Your mother was a slave, or a low-born person.” The same result would follow should a low-born or slave man marry a woman of rank. Tareha, a chief of great mana, of Heretaunga, was the son of a slave woman captured at Kohi-kete.
I have noted that after a man marries he will, when he obtains something suitable, make a present to his parents-in-law. Also that if a wife's parents see that she is badly off they often try to help her by giving her things; or if the latter
be well off she may assist her parents. No special clothing or furnishing is prepared or made by a woman when she marries. When married those of the highest rank receive the most presents, useful and ornamental, although there is no recognised system of making wedding-presents, as with us.
A man shows no avoidance of his parents-in-law, as among some races; he is, on the contrary, often more friendly with them than with his own people.
In a marriage between persons of equal rank the husband has the greatest mana (authority, prestige), both in regard to property and also in respect to the conducting of tribal affairs. Taking the family of such persons, the wife would be the next in authority; and of the children the eldest son takes first rank, then the eldest daughter, then come the younger children, male and female. The youngest child would possess the least authority of all the children.
If a woman of rank marries beneath her she will always retain her superior mănă and rank above her husband. Still, this woman loses caste to a certain extent by such a marriage, and the tribe will say that she has lowered herself by marrying such a man (ka karanga te iwi, na te moenga i te tane hehe i tipuheke ai taua wahine).
“When Kareko married Timoti she committed an offence, for she was of high birth while he was a ware (person of low birth). Hence Ngati-Tawhaki sent a taua (see ante) to demand satisfaction, and I handed over to them a piece of land known as Matawera as utu (compensation).”*
We will now give a few proverbial sayings of the Maori, and a short list of terms and expressions which may be of some interest in connection with our subject:—
“Te inati o Mawakeroa.”—This saying is applied to the passing-away of a woman and her mănă (power, prestige, authority) from her own people or clan when she marries. A son marries and abides with his people, but a daughter marries and goes to live with her husband's people, taking her mana with her; she deserts her kin for a husband.
“Mau te wahine, maku te whenua, kia ai koe i te tore tangata, kia ai hoki au i te tore whenua.”—To you the woman, to me the land, that you may breed men while I breed food.
Tane moe whare—E, kurua te takataka,!
Tane rou kakahi—E, aitia te ure!
(An indolent husband—thwack him on the noddle. An industrious husband—be kind to him.)
Tane = man (vir), male, husband.
Wahine = woman, female, wife.
[Footnote] * From Wi Patene's evidence in Hikurangi Block hearing.
Hoa = friend, mate, companion, also spouse. Taku hoa wahine = my wife; literally, “my female companion.”
Takakau = single person of either sex.
Maro-nui—He wahine maro-nui = a married woman — a woman with a large apron, literally. But only applied to women who have been married according to tribal customs, everything duly arranged, not to adulterous unions or mere cohabiting.
Makau = lover (male). Among some tribes it means “spouse.”
Pouaru = widow, widower.
Pani = orphan, widow.
Moe = to sleep, also “marry.” The term noho is also used to denote marrying—Ka noho a Toi, ka noho i a te Kura.
Ringa hoea = rejected hand. Applied sometimes to a rejected suitor, but not used in that sense alone.
Reperepe = the buttocks (also tareperepe). Kai reperepe = kai kotore (see ante).
Eweewe = blood relation.
Moe tahakura = to dream that one is in the company of a person who is really dead, as one's late wife.
Moe tahurangi = to dream that one is with an absent, but living, woman, as one's sweetheart.
Titoi = masturbation.
Regarding repudiation: At the present time when a man wishes to repudiate his wife—and in most cases of separation nowadays the cause is the husband's desire for another woman — his elders try to patch the matter up and to persuade him not to repudiate her. The blame in these cases of separation is laid upon the one whose fault it was. If the woman was in fault it will be said of her, “Ou mahi a te wahine tutua” (“Just like a low-born woman”).
We have now come to the end of this paper, for the above notes are all that I have collected on the subject of marriage among the Tuhoe Tribe. There is much left unrelated, but many most interesting facts in connection with Maori rites and customs will never see the light, for the men of old took the knowledge thereof with them when they lifted the old-time trail to the setting sun in search of the Children of Pani.
For a barbarous people, the Maori treated their women well, and gave them considerable freedom and authority. Of course, neither sex were overburdened with modesty: they spoke openly of things which we only speak of in private or not at all. It is difficult for us to examine these customs, rites, superstitions, and ideas of a primitive people with an unprejudiced mind (if not quite impossible), but, could we do so, the Maori system of arrangement of marriages would be seen to be a very good one for a primitive and communistic
people, inasmuch as it was a useful stage in the evolution of that moral discipline which is necessary to the advancement of a people. Their passions were not, and are not, disciplined by long centuries of self-control and repression; they are nearer to nature, and not so imbued with artificial ideas, such as modesty, as is civilised man. Perhaps this lack of long training is why the morality of primitive peoples appears to degenerate when they are brought into contact with the intrusive white man. When I was living in Nevada I often saw Indian men offering their wives to workmen in the railroad camps; yet old pioneer settlers informed me that when they first knew the natives such a shameless custom was unknown. Indeed, any of the native women who accepted the advances of a man other than her husband in those days was simply burned to death.
The evolution of morality among the Maori has been rudely broken by the great changes that have overtaken them. We shall see in the years that lie before if the chain can be mended.
But do not try to drop too many links.