Art. V.—The Early History of the Morioris: with an Abstract of a Moriori Narrative, presented by Captain Gilbert Mair during the Adjourned Discussion on Mr. A. Shand's Paper of the 3rd August, 1904.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 7th September, 1904.]
When Papa, the girl wife of Tama-kohuruhuru, was cruelly murdered by him, her father sought for her in vain, but his people were few in number, and he dared not openly accuse her husband's tribe of the offence, though he had strong suspicions. One day he was sitting at the door of his house sorrowing for his daughter when a large rango (blue fly) came and rested on
his right hand. He brushed it away repeatedly, but it persisted in coming back, and the fact of it always settling on his right hand denoted that it was not a mere coincidence. Accordingly he addressed the fly, asking “Have you tidings of my lost child?” and the rango answered with a loud buzz. “Is she dead?” Another buzz. “Can you lead me to her?” “Buzz, buzz,” said the fly. The old man arose and followed it far into the forest till he came to a great pukatea-tree, in a hollow of which lay poor Papa's body. Unable to obtain revenge, which was ever sweet to the ancient Maori, he bethought himself of a very renowned warrior who lived in a distant part of the country, and thither he betook himself at once. Covering himself with a “Kakahu mamae” (a garment of pain), he sat motionless in the warrior's courtyard for many weary hours to arouse the sympathy of his host, till at last the people of the village, with much ceremony, killed and partly cooked a scraggy dog, which they placed uneviscerated, with the hair on and half-raw, before their guest. Guessing that this apparent want of hospitality was intended as a test of his fortitude, the old man partook of the horrible food, and even made it appear as though he relished the repast. The chief then took him on one side and asked what his trouble was, saying, “You are a brave man, and your cause must indeed be desperate when you can pass through such an ordeal.” When the chief was told the particulars of Papa's murder, he informed the father that twice seventy men would start that very night to avenge his wrongs. Tama-tekohuruhuru's tribe were suddenly attacked and almost exterminated, and forced to migrate, and eventually reached the Chatham Islands, as related by Mr. Shand in his interesting paper.
These minute particulars, preserved through over forty generations, show how ancient traditions are handed down orally by an unlettered people.
The Story of a Dying Race.
In the year 1852 the whole of the Moriori people assembled at Te Awapatiki, and it was decided to commit to writing some record of their past history, they evidently recognising they were a doomed race. The paper I have the pleasure of reading to you to-night is a literal and simple translation of the account given by the oldest living Morioris gathered together on that memorable occasion—namely, 15th to 29th July of the year mentioned.
The strangers who came to Wharekauri arrived in three different canoes—namely, “Rangimata,” of whom Mawake was the chief; “Rangihoua,” whose captain was the chief; “Rangihoua,” whose captain was Honeke; and lastly, “Oropuke,” commanded by Moe.
The laws, manners, and customs of the Morioris, derived from their ancestors, were very good, benevolence to all men
being the predominant feature. According to their ideas it was very evil to cause the death of another, or to take from a man his land. The various tribes were constantly exchanging visits, and when they occupied each other's lands for a time they never attempted to claim what did not belong to them. The work of the present day would indeed have appeared evil, and quite opposed to their customs. For integrity and uprightness the works of the present generation cannot compare with those of our forbears. Their laws were founded absolutely on justice and truth, and were promulgated by Rangimaiwhenua, ever in ancient days, hence our unwarlike and inoffensive nature, for we followed the teachings of our ancestors, Rongomaipapa, Rongomaiheri, Marupuku, Tutarangimarama, Minoi, Te Timo, Moari, Hamatirikaka, Rakiroa, Tupeneke, Tamangarue, Maruhokote, and Ke. The offspring of those ancestors was Nunuku. He it was who established the law that men should cease to slay one another, at the time when man-eating was prevalent consequent on the coming to these islands of the warrior Moe and his tribe Te Rauru in the canoe “Oropuke.” Those people were consumers of human flesh till Moe was slain. Nunuku's descendants multiplied and perpetuated the covenant which he had established, when he said “After me, through all generations, all evil is to be laid aside. Even if blood be shed, no one must be put to death.” (I muri i au ki tera whakapaparanga, ki tera whakapaparanga, ko te patu me taputoake.) It was from the teachings of Nunuku that peace came upon the land, and the Morioris lived in peace and happiness from the time of their ancestors Matanga, Maruhoanga, and Tamaturangi. They were, moreover, a very sacred people, and obeyed most strictly all the laws relating to tapu, &c. For instance, the women and men never ate together, nor would the young people eat in the presence of their arikis, or the chiefs with the plebeians. They were very strict in all their religious observances, and prayers were invoked every time food was partaken of.
The food of the Morioris consisted of eels, fish, karaka-berries, birds, fern-root, paua, pipi, porure, whitebait, &c. Thus did these people live from one generation to another. Their god was Hatitimatangi. He appeared in the stormy winds, and his attributes were to cure all ills and heal all diseases that mankind is heir to, and to cast out devils. And so it came to pass in the days of a certain generation, a man was born who was afterwards called Moturangi. He lived at Kaingaroa, and the god Hatitimatangi descended upon this man and abode with him in his dwelling, and revealed to him that shortly a child would be born into the world. Now, the people awaited the fulfilment of this prophecy and the appearance of the promised stranger. And
on a certain day, in the early morning, a woman named Hinekai-wairua went out from the door of her house, and lo! she beheld a young child lying among a heap of firewood, and she pondered within her heart, saying, “Surely this must be the child we were told would appear”; but her hands were not laid upon it. Now, the child was unlike the people of this world—it was altogether different; and the woman Hinekaiwairua ran and hastened to bring some cooked food as a propitiatory offering, lest the apparition disappear, and she fed it with milk from her breast, and it was rawea in appearance. When it grew to manhood it was unlike any one else it had a dark skin (kuriparauri), and its face was quite black. The name of Rutowaikura te Wakaputa was bestowed upon it; and on arriving at adult age he took to wife a woman of the land and begat children—Tamahuareka, Tumatakoao, and others.
Up to this period the garments worn by the Morioris were made from flax, but weaving was discontinued, and they clothed themselves with garments made from seal-skins. But if such were not obtainable, then would they plait mais from flax, and only the chiefs would wear the seal-skins. Their most highly prized garments, which were also a token of rank, were of two kinds, and called respectively tahei and marohara. Their ornaments were red feathers, albatross-plumes, sharks' teeth, and awanya. The garments mentioned were very finely woven. Only the tahei was made from carefully dressed flax, while the marohara was composed of undressed flax-leaves, the tahei being worn next the skin and the marohara over it. The latter was about 5 yards long, and after being wrapped round the body about 2 yards were left, forming an apron or fringe which hung down before and behind and waved to and fro with the wind, and was called taputapu. When thus clothed the Morioris adorned their foreheads with red feathers, and wore albatross-plumes at the back of the head. Inner garments of seal-skin or albatross-skin were also worn.
The following are the Moriori names of the months:—
The names of the moon were as follows:—
The Morioris did not tattoo their faces and bodies like the Maoris.
Such were the modes of clothing and the manner of living adopted by our race up to the eventful year 1836, when the Maoris came from New Zealand. November must have been the month, for we were drinking honey from the flax-flowers when they landed at Whangaroa and built a fort at that harbour. In the month of December they spread all over the island, slaying the people in the north, at Waiteki, Waikanini, and at other places. The footsteps of the invaders were upon all parts of Wharekauri. Then the Morioris assembled at Te Awapatiki. There were gathered together 160 chiefs, beside the multitude of the common people, and a council was held, which included the chiefs from Karewa and Ouenga. It was proposed to make a combined assault on the intruders, and even though many of the Morioris might fall, they would succeed. But neither of the two highest chiefs, Tapata and Torea, would consent to any of the Maoris being slain, as that would be contrary to the covenant of our ancestors, so there was nothing for the people to do but to return, each family to its own place or village. On reaching their homes the enemy were found in possession, and the Morioris were taken prisoners, the women and children were bound, and many of these, together with the men, were killed and eaten, so that the corpses lay scattered in the woods and over the plains. Those who were spared from death were herded like swine, and killed and eaten from year to year, whenever their captors longed for human flesh. Never were the teachings of the Son of Man more gladly welcomed than when the missionaries reached the Wharekauri islands. Then the killing of these hapless people ceased for ever; but they were still treated with great severity, and every indignity cast upon them.
This is the end of this part of the subject. Now will be given the names of all the Morioris, males and females, and the villages where they were living at the time of the invasion. Readers of this document notice crosses put against many names: these marks denote many of those who were killed and eaten.
|Te Rautini||Te Tipuna||Tamatoiwi|
|Te Akarangi||Tiriwanganga||*Te Ahukino|
These hereunder were all young men at that time (1836):—
|Te Rikimuringa||Te Moehowarangi||*Taihakuma|
|Tangorotiringa||Te Rikimahuta||Te Rikitahorangi|
Wharekauri and Tupuangi Villages.
|Te Rikipenenga||Te Rikipotae||Tamihere|
Counted and named by Maitakawa, whose own people the above named were.
Otonga and Waiteki Villages.
|*Tamaunga||Te Pata||Te Rikitorehu|
|*Te Pouta||*Tapakautu||Te Rikimokona|
|Tama Iti||Te Kakariki||Waiorangi|
|Te Rangitake||*Te Rikiture||Te Rikimeme|
|Hinekopotanga||Te Komore||Te Kore|
Karewa And Whangaroa Villages.
|*Tamatuhoto||*Te Homouri||*Te Rikipua|
|Maitohokau||Te Pakuku||Te Makana|
|Te Ingokore||Te Rikihokeiri||Maikopura|
|Te Kumenga||Mawete||Te Kororangi|
|Tamakokopu||Te Waremate||Te Rikipekepeke|
|Maitikitikitai||Te Rohe||Te Rikititaki|
Ouenga And Patiki Villages.
Otonga, Waiteki, And Rangiauria Villages.
|Wharekauri and Tupuangi||122||70||192|
|Otonga and Waiteki||200||208||408|
|Karewa and Whangaroa||232||156||388|
|Ouenga and Patiki||116||101||217|
|Otonga, Waiteki, and Rangiauria||36||73||109|
Killed and eaten, 216