Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 42, 1909
This text is also available in PDF
(4 MB) Opens in new window
– 433 –

Art. LII.—Maori Forest Lore: Being some Account of Native Forest Lore and Woodcraft, as also of many Myths, Rites, Customs, and Superstitions connected with the Flora and Fauna of the Tuhoe or Ure-wera District.—Part III.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 22nd November, 1909.]

The Lore of the Whare Mata.—The Art of the Fowler.

The whare mata was a house set apart in each of the principal villages of a tribe for the making of snares, traps, and all other implements pertaining to the taking of birds and fresh-water fish. For Tuhoe are essentially a forest tribe, and possess no seaboard. The whare mata and its inmates, the forest craftsmen, were under strict tapu while engaged in preparing the above implements and until the tapu was lifted or abolished at the first-fruits rite. Neither women nor food were allowed within the portals of this house. But of this more anon.

In like manner all matters pertaining to national or tribal history, religion, genealogies, &c., were taught in a special house known as the whare maire, whare puri, or whare takiura. The art of weaving is the art of the whare pora. Mourning for the dead pertains to the whare potae, or house of mourning; while all games and amusements come under the heading of the whare tapere.

We will now proceed to give some account of the fowler's art, the preserving and taking of birds, and of some singular customs, rites, and beliefs connected with the forest and its denizens. The methods by which some birds were taken have already been given, but the bulk of such matter lies yet before us, albeit the most of it pertains to the taking of but two species, the kaka and the kereru—the brown parrot and the wood-pigeon. These

– 434 –

were the two most important species of forest-birds from the Native point of view, because they furnished the most food for man.

Birds were most strictly preserved in former times—that is, no person was allowed to take them out of season save under extraordinary circumstances. To trespass on lands of another tribe, subtribe, or even family group spelled swift trouble and ofttimes death to the offender. Both fish and birds were sometimes specially protected by means of the custom termed rahui. There were two forms of rahui, one being a mild form of prohibition imposed by the owners of the land. To disregard this was not particularly dangerous to life, unless possibly the trespasser encountered an owner of the land while poaching. This form of rahui was not in itself dangerous. But another form was so, because it was accompanied by spells of black magic that would slay a poacher as surely as does the spear or club. In some cases a material token of the rahui would be set up by the stream or in the forest; in others no such token would be employed, but the prohibition would simply be published by word of mouth, together with a description of the prohibited area—perhaps a part of a certain river, or the lands of a certain family group or clan. The more severe form of rahui was established by a tohunga (adept, priest, shaman) by means of a religious rite performed by him at a sacred fire specially generated for the purpose. He recited certain spells of black magic to endow the material token of the rahui with power to destroy poachers. A description of this custom and rite may be found at page 83 of vol. xiii, “Journal of the Polynesian Society.”

The act of violating a rahui is termed kairamua. Of a stream or forest so protected it is said, “Kua tu rahuitia te wai,” or land, as the case may be. In some cases mana tangata, or personal prestige, was sufficient to enforce and uphold a rahui; if not, then black magic would be employed.

Poaching, or taking game on lands to which the trespasser has no claim or right, is known as kai haumi, and kai haumi is a serious crime, or was so in former times. Travellers were sometimes guilty of this offence, and were in many cases attacked by the people of the land. But if such travellers informed the owners of their act and handed over some of the game to them, they would then be allowed to proceed in peace, for by so doing they blunted the edge of the offence and acknowledge the rightful owners. An oft-quoted ancestor is one Tamatea-kai-haumi, who is said to have been addicted to poaching game. He is said to have been also known as Tamatea-mai-tawhiti, and is supposed to have come to New Zealand on the Nukutere canoe.

If feathers were seen lying on a trail or in the forest, it would be known that a poacher was at work. He would be pursued, and slain if caught, unless a relative to the pursuers. Or some of the feathers would be taken to a master of black magic, who would use them as a medium between his spells and the victim, and so destroy the kai haumi villain. Those scattered feathers were a sign of a poacher's presence, because no old-time Maori would permit any feathers of trapped or speared game to so lie on the ground, be he never so far in the forest—that is, on his own lands. For, were he to do so, the birds would desert those lands and migrate to other parts. Old Tutakangahau, a man of much curious knowledge, and with all the lore of Tane at his fingers' ends, said, “The feathers of birds were always buried. If they were not so disposed of, then the birds would leave the district. When feathers were seen lying about bird-troughs, or any snaring-place, they were carefully collected and buried. Feathers are tapu. If a dead bird

– 435 –

were found anywhere it would be buried by the finder. If a person saw some feathers on the ground—feathers that had been plucked out by the birds themselves, any dropped feathers—then such person would return home and say, ‘The birds have migrated; there are none left.’ Then it would be asked, ‘How so?’ And he would reply, ‘I saw the feathers.’ Old people would be very angry if they saw feathers lying about a village. Now, suppose a man is engaged in trapping birds. He snares a bird, and at once plucks out the long feathers from the wings and tail. He forms these feathers into a bundle, and throws it down at the base of the tree he is perched on. If he is down on the ground trapping birds, he will thrust that bundle of long feathers under the tree-fern fronds of which his shelter is constructed—koi hautea te huruhuru, koi heke te manu (lest the place be whitened by feathers, lest the birds migrate). That is the reason why all feathers are buried or concealed—koi hautea te huruhuru, koi katea haere i te ngaherehere, koi putu haere (lest the feathers be whitening the forest, lest they be seen lying about). It was a common thing to hear a person say, ‘Kaua e whakahautea te huruhuru’; or an old fowler to young people—‘Koi hautea te huruhuru.’”

Here we see that it was considered absolutely essential that no loose feathers should be seen in the forest, or on paths, or even at the villages: they must be buried or otherwise concealed. You cannot be too careful during the game season, or you will find your forest birdless. There is much tapu pertaining to the offspring of Tane, arboreal and ornithological, and unless you have a care you will offend the forest gods and bring trouble—yea, dire tribulation—upon yourselves. It makes you careful, you know.

And here is another point. Paitini, of Tuhoe, says, “During the birding season, should we go to a village and there be given some birds as food, we might not consume them all, and so be desirous of bringing home those not eaten, but we would not be allowed to do so. We must leave them there, because if cooked food be carried through, or taken into, the forest during the game-taking season, then the mauri of the forest would be polluted, defiled; the birds would leave the forest, and then there would be no birds (kua tamaoatia te mauri o te ngaherehere, kua heke nga manu, kua kore he manu).”

Here again old Tutakangahau explains: “A person, or a party of persons, goes to a village. They arrive, and are given food—cooked birds—and do eat thereof. But they must not take away any of those birds, or any remnants even of those partially consumed by them. But if they are given any uncooked birds, they may take those. But still one of those uncooked birds must be returned to the donors, the villagers, as a tautawhi—that is to say, one bird will be taken by the villagers out of the mata (basket of birds) presented to the visitors. Tautawhi means a holding, a retaining of the birds (of the forest), lest they follow those given to the visitors, and which will be taken away. The village people will take that one bird from the basketful, or they may merely take a wing of one of the birds, just break off a wing as a tautawhi. As a person takes the bird or wing he repeats,—

“Puritia a uta
Puritia a tai
Puritia a Tane.

(Retain [the products of] land and sea; retain Tane.) That is all. He takes the wing away and buries it in the earth, but the body of the tautawhi bird will be eaten by the villagers.”

– 436 –

Tautawhi, or tautaawhi, here implies holding or retaining the feathered denizens of the forest, lest they leave the forest. Tamaoa means “to deprive of tapu, to pollute or defile by means of cooked food,” which same is a most soul-destroying thing according to Native ideas. No cooked food may be taken into the forest during the game-taking season. Such an act would destroy the tapu of Tane and his offspring, and impair their vitality and the productiveness of the forest.

The Mauri of the Forest.

We must give some explanation of the mauri, an expression often met with in Native forest lore. The mauri or mauri ora of a person may be termed the soul, in one sense, inasmuch as it represents the vital spark, the spiritual, intellectual, and even the physical well-being of the genus homo. Should the mauri become in any way defiled or polluted, the consequence is that the person is left in a dangerously defenceless condition, exposed to countless dangers, physical and otherwise. The protective divine spark is quenched, the vitality is impaired. In some ways the mauri of a person resembles the hau, which latter is the very essence of vitality. If a person's hau be taken and brought under the influence of black magic, then death comes swift and certain. But it is not the real hau that is so taken—merely something to represent it, to act as a medium in sympathetic magic, such as a portion of the person's clothing, or hair, or spittle. This medium is termed a hohona (hohonga) by the Tuhoe people, but ohonga by other tribes.

Now, the hau and mauri pertain not only to man, but also to animals, land, forests, and even to a village home. Thus the hau or vitality, or productiveness, of a forest has to be very carefully protected by means of certain very peculiar rites, otherwise such forests would lose their vital functions, their vitalising power, their life-principle. In a word, the hau is the sacred life-principle of man, land, forests, &c., and if lost or polluted, then disastrous are the consequences. For fecundity cannot exist without the essential hau.

Now, in regard to the forest, it will be found that the mauri of a forest is a term applied to the material token selected by the owners of such forest in order to represent the vital spark, productiveness, life-principle—in fact, the hau of the forest. This material token is placed at some selected spot in the forest. It is carefully concealed, and also protected by means of certain rites and incantations. Certain rites are also performed over it by tribal priests in order to endow it with the necessary powers, sacredness, &c., to represent and protect the hau of the forest lands and the denizens thereof. If this mauri be discovered by tribal enemies, they will assuredly, by means of certain rites and charms, destroy its powers, thus bringing much trouble on the owners of the forest, who probably rely on such forest for a large part of their food-supply.

Ngahooro, of Te Whaiti, a very old man, said, “The mauri of a forest is usually a stone. It is carefully concealed, lest it be found by an enemy. If placed at the base of a tutu tree (a tree on which birds are taken by the mutu system), then birds will frequent that tree in great numbers. Only a tohunga could discover a mauri when so concealed; no ordinary person could do so. A small platform (kahupapa) would be constructed among the branches of such a tree as a stand for the fowler. In some cases a moko tapiri was kept under such stage, in order to guard and take care of the tree.”

– 437 –

The Maori looks upon several species of lizard with superstitious dread, believing them to be endowed with strange powers: hence the placing of a live lizard in some hollow place of a snaring-tree.

Paitini says, “The mauri represents and protects the land and the birds of the forest. If persons of another tribe come along they cannot interfere with the land or meddle with the birds, because the mauri is hidden. But should they discover the mauri, then they would be able to do these things.”

By “interfering” and “meddling” the old man meant that such persons would be unable to render the forest unproductive as to birds, fruits, &c., or to drive the birds away, by magic rites, so long as they did not discover the mauri.

It will be seen that the mauri of a forest acted as a talisman in protecting the land, forest, and all forest and stream products. The mauri ora is the living soul, the soul of life, of man, land, and many other things to which the term is applied. The mauri ora of the Matatua vessel was kept at Whakatane. Its visible form is said to have been a piece of fern (makaka or rarauhe).

Tamarau Waiari said, “The mauri of a forest is often a kira—that is, the left wing of a kaka. This wing, together with a stone, is concealed at the base of a tree. Sometimes a lizard is placed there to guard the mauri. Now, should some unauthorised person wish to poach on such lands—that is, to snare or spear birds there—he would first endeavour to find the mauri. If successful, he would then be able to take plenty of birds. When searching for the talisman he repeats a charm known as kahau, which runs,—

“Ka hau ki uta
Ka hau ki waho.

After repeating the above he listens intently, and if he hears no sound he turns and faces in another direction, again repeating the charm. Should there be no response, he turns in yet another direction and tries again. If he happens to be facing in the direction of the spot where the mauri is hidden, then the lizard answers the charm by making a chattering sound. Upon hearing this the talisman-seeker completes his charm:—

“Tohi mauri, tohi tiaki
Wetekia te hau e here nei i te mauri
Homai ki au kia whangaia
Ki te toa, ki te ruahine.”

In the above we see that a poacher on tribal preserves would endeavour to find the mauri of such forest. If he wished to take birds on this land he would search for the mauri, so as to insure success, because it was a custom to offer the first bird snared at the shrine of the mauri. This was to bring good luck.

If the trespasser simply wished to cause the birds to desert the forest, and perhaps to decoy them to the lands of his own people, he would still wish to find the mauri in order that he might nullify its virtue and powers. Paitini says that kira (the “i” sounded long) means the long feathers (primaries) of a bird's wing (perhaps of the kaka only), and that the kira of the right wing only are used as a mauri; those of the left wing have no mana (innate power of influence). He also said (8/3/1897), “This object, the mauri, is for the purpose of holding, retaining, the hau of the tribal lands, of the village home, of the forests and streams and the denizens thereof. Only a very few persons of a village community were taught how to preserve the hau of the home and lands; the bulk of the people were ignorant of such functions. Now, if a tohunga (wizard, shaman) of another tribe came

– 438 –

along with the intention of destroying the hau of our lands, &c., he would not be able to accomplish his object, the hau would not be destroyed, because the mauri would be concealed, hidden in the forest. Such mauri was often the kira of a bird—of the kaka only, because that is the most important bird. The kaka is the bird that brought the mana of Hawaiki to this land. The tohunga (adept, priest) would endow the mauri with its powers by means of certain rites and charms. This mauri would preserve and protect the birds and cause all food products to flourish.”

A mauri sometimes consisted of a hollow stone, in which hollow would be placed a lock of hair or some other item. These articles would be deposited at the base of a tree, hidden in a hole, or by the side of a stream.

“The term hau,” says Mr. Percy Smith, “is used in Polynesia to imply ‘dominion over,’ or ‘ruling power, protecting power.’ It is applied to a high chief's reign, sometimes to the high chief himself.”

The following notes on the mauri and hau of a forest were given to me by Tamati Ranapiri, of Ngati-Raukawa, a man who possessed much curious knowledge pertaining to Native forest lore:—

“The mauri is a karakia (ritual, formula) recited by a priest (adept) over a stone, a piece of wood, or some other object approved of by him as a shrine, refuge, or abiding-place for the mauri. The force or powers of the mauri are implanted in such object, which is placed in some secluded spot in the forest and there left. This forest mauri never becomes noa (free of tapu, common). Also, it is not the case that the whole forest is as intensely tapu (sacred, under religious restriction) as is the spot where lies the mauri.

“There are two aspects of the hau of a forest. Firstly: When certain persons go into the forests to see if birds are numerous and in good condition for taking, and they take some birds on such an occasion, then the first bird taken by them is given to the mauri. This first bird is simply cast away in the forest, with the remark, ‘That is for the mauri.’ This is to insure a good bag, to avert non-success, to prevent bad luck after-wards. Secondly: When the fowlers cease snaring birds in the woods, and return home, then commences the cooking of the birds for potting for future use. But, in the first place, some of the birds are put aside as an offering to the hau of the forest. Such is the forest hau. Those birds selected as an offering are cooked at a sacred fire. Only tohunga (priests, adepts) may eat the birds cooked at such a fire. Certain other birds are selected to be cooked at the ahi tapairu, and only women (of rank) may eat those. The bulk of the birds are cooked at the ahi purakau, and the birds cooked at this fire are for the rest of the people.”

In the above we see clearly that the true mauri is implanted, as it were, in a stone or other object by means of an invocation or charm called also a mauri, simply in order to provide it with a shrine, or physical basis. This material object, though called a mauri, is not really so, but it represents the mauri. Until the rite was performed that implanted the mauri therein it was nothing but a common stone.

The offering of the first-fruits of the bird season to the hau of the forest is also of much interest.

The ahi purakau, or pu-rakau fire, is known to Tuhoe, but with a different connection, as we have explained in the first part of this paper.

In response to some inquiries of mine, I received the following from Tamati Ranapiri:—

“Regarding the expression whakangawha, it equals the term whakapakaru (i.e., to cause to break forth, to disclose, to make known or to test,

– 439 –

as used by T. R.). Suppose an adept teaches a person certain rites and charms, those pertaining to black magic and to implanting the mauri, and other Native rites, until his pupil becomes proficient. Then the priestly adept will say to his pupil, ‘Now test your power.’ That is, he would tell him to shatter a stone, or kill a person, or what not, merely by means of a magic charm. Now, if he succeeded in shattering the stone or in killing the person by such means, then he would be able to give effect to all the teachings of the priest, all the charms would have their proper effect. But were he unable to so shatter the stone or kill the person, then the charms would never be efficient, but they would turn against him and do him serious harm. In some cases, when the tutor was an old person, near his latter end, he would cause his pupil to test his newly acquired powers on him—on the priest tutor. If the latter was slain by these spells of magic, then the pupil's powers were tested and proved. Thus the pupil would be a proved wizard and adept, able at any time, should he so desire, to implant a mauri in a forest, or by a stream, or at the pou reinga of an eel-weir.

“It would not be well for a pupil to keep his acquired knowledge to himself and not test it. He must prove himself—prove that he has acquired the desired powers—by shattering a stone with a magic charm: then all will be well. Such testing, or disclosing, is meant by the term whakangawha.

“Now about the mauri becoming polluted. (T. R. is still speaking.) I said the birds would be taken home and cooked. This would not be for fear the mauri might be polluted were the birds cooked within the forest—not at all. For fowlers would, while taking birds in the forest, cook some as food for themselves. The birds are taken to the village home because the numerous appliances for cooking and preserving them are there.

“I will now speak of the hau, and the ceremony of whangai hau. That hau is not the hau (wind) that blows—not at all. I will carefully explain to you. Suppose that you possess a certain article, and you give that article to me, without price. We make no bargain over it. Now, I give that article to a third person, who, after some time has elapsed, decides to make some return for it, and so he makes me a present of some article. Now, that article that he gives to me is the hau of the article I first received from you and then gave to him. The goods that I received for that item I must hand over to you. It would not be right for me to keep such goods for myself, whether they be desirable items or otherwise. I must hand them over to you, because they are a hau of the article you gave me. Were I to keep such equivalent for myself, then some serious evil would befall me, even death. Such is the hau, the hau of personal property, or the forest hau. Enough on these points.

“I will explain something to you about the forest hau. The mauri was placed or implanted in the forest by the tohunga. It is the mauri that causes birds to be abundant in the forest, that they may be slain and taken by man. These birds are the property of, or belong to, the mauri, the tohunga, and the forest: that is to say, they are an equivalent for that important item, the mauri. Hence it is said that offerings should be made to the hau of the forest. The tohunga (priests, adepts) eat the offering because the mauri is theirs: it was they who located it in the forest, who caused it to be. That is why some of the birds cooked at the sacred fire are set apart to be eaten by the priests only, in order that the hau of the forest-products, and of the mauri, may return again to the forest—that is, to the mauri. Enough of these matters.

– 440 –

“You are right about the ahi tapairu. That is for first-born females of families of rank only. They alone may eat of the food cooked at that sacred fire. The bulk of the women eat afterwards.”

In the above account the expression employed to denote an offering to the hau of the forest is whangai hau. T. R. here explains that it is the mauri that causes birds to abound in a forest. These birds are, as it were, the return made by the mauri and the forest to man, who, in the person of the tohunga, located the mauri that protects the vitality and productiveness of the forest. The offering of birds made to the hau of the forest was probably originally an act of placation or conciliation of the gods of the forest—of Tane and others.

The above description of the hau and mauri, given by Tamati Ranapiri, of the Ngati-Raukawa Tribe, is so good that it may be considered worth while to preserve it in the original. Hence we so give it:—

“Ko te mauri he karakia i karakiatia e te tohunga ki tetehi mea, ki te kohatu, ki te rakau ranei, ki tetehi atu mea ranei i paingia e te tohunga hei piringa, hei maunga, hei nohoanga mo te mauri. Ka whakangawhatia ki tetehi o aua mea, ka waihotia ki te wahi ngaro o te ngaherehere takoto ai.

“Kaore e noa te mauri. Ehara hoki i te mea i tapu katoa te ngahere here pera me te tapu o te wahi i takoto ai te mauri.

“Mo te whakangawha, he whakapakaru. Mehemea ka akona tetehi tangata e tetehi tohunga ki etehi karakia, ara karakia makutu, karakia whakanoho mauri, me era atu karakia Maori, a ka mohio taua tangata. Na, ka mea atu te tohunga ki taua tangata i akona ra ‘Tena! Whakangawhatia o karakia,’ ara karakiatia te kohatu kia pakaru, te tangata ranei kia mate, te aha ranei. Mehemea ka pakaru te kohatu, ka mate ranei te tangata, kua tino mana nga karakia a taua akonga. Ki te kore e ngawha (pakaru) te kohatu, e mate ranei te tangata, i whakangawhatia ai, kaore e mana ana karakia. Ka hoki ano aua karakia ki te patu i a ia, i te akonga. Mehemea he tinó kaumatua te tohunga, e tata ana ki te mate, ka mea tonu mai taua tohunga ki tana akonga kia whakangawhatia ana karakia ki a ia, ara ki te tohunga. Ka mate te tohunga, heoi kua ngawha (pakaru) ana karakia i ako ai, kua mana. Katahi ka pai te noho a taua akonga, a, i etehi wa e hiahia ai ia ki te whakanoho mauri, na kua kaha ia ki te whakanoho, ki te ngaherehere ranei, ki te wai ranei, ki te pou reinga ranei o te pa tuna (rauiri). Kaore rawa e pai kia noho tonu nga karakia a taua akonga i roto i a ia, kaua e whakangawhatia, ara e whakapakarutia ki waho, a ko te whakapakarutanga ki waho koia tena, me whakapakaru ki te kohatu. Kia pakaru rawa te kohatu, katahi ka pai. Koia tena te whakangawha.

“E rua ritenga o te hau o te ngaherehere. 1. Kei te tirohanga o te ngaherehere e nga kai titiro, mehemea kua noho te manu, ki te patua e ratou he manu i taua ra, ko te manu tuatahi e mate i a ratou, ka hoatu tena ma te mauri. Ka whiua noatanga atu ki te ngaherehere, me te ki atu ano—Ma te mauri tena. Te take, he mea kei puhore a muri atu. 2. Kei te wa o te mutunga o te patu i te manu, ka puta ki waho o te ngaherehere, ka timata te tunu i te manu hei huahua. Ka wehea etehi o nga manu i te tuatahi hei whangai i te hau o te ngaherehere, koia te hau ngaherehere. Ka tunua aua manu i wehea ki te ahi tapu. Ma nga tohunga anake e kai nga manu o te ahi tapu. Ka wehea ano etehi manu ma te ahi tapairu, ko ena ma nga wahine anake e kai. Ko te nuinga o nga manu (i wehea) ka tunua ki te ahi purakau. Ko nga manu o te ahi purakau ma te katoa e kai.

 
– 441 –

“Ehara i te mea kei tamaoatia te mauri, te ngaherehere ranei, i puta ai ki waho o te ngaherehere tunu ai i nga manu, kaore, inahoki e tunu ana ano ratou i te manu hei kai ma ratou i roto ano i te ngaherehere i a ratou e mahi manu ana. Ehara hoki i te mea ki waho tata o te ngaherehere, engari ki te kainga, ki te wahi kei reira nga raweke maha mo te tahunga (tununga).

“Na, mo te hau o te ngaherehere. Taua mea te hau, ehara i te mea ko te hau e pupuhi nei. Kaore. Maku e ata whakamarama ki a koe. Na, he taonga tou ka homai e koe moku. Kaore a taua whakaritenga utu mo to taonga. Na, ka hoatu hoki e ahau mo tétehi atu tangata, a ka roa pea te wa, a ka mahara taua tangata kei a ia ra taua taonga kia homai he utu ki a au, a ka homai e ia. Na, ko taua taonga i homai nei ki a au, ko te hau tena o te taonga i homai ra ki a au i mua. Ko taua taonga me hoatu e ahau ki a koe. E kore rawa e tika kia kaiponutia e ahau moku; ahakoa taonga pai rawa, taonga kino ranei, me tae rawa taua taonga i a au ki a koe. Notemea he hau no te taonga tena taonga na. Ki te mea ka kaiponutia e ahau taua taonga moku, ka mate ahau. Koina taua mea te hau, hau taonga, hau ngaherehere. Kati ena.

“Whangainga o te hau ngaherehere. Ka whakamarama ahau ki a koe mo te hau ngaherehere. Ko te mauri, na te tohunga i hoatu (whakanoho) ki te ngaherehere. Na te mauri te manu i whakahua ki te ngaherehere, ka tikina atu e te tangata, ka patua, ka riro mai i te tangata. Ko eneimanu he taonga no te mauri raua ko te tohunga, me te ngaherehere, ara he utu mai no te taonga o te ngaherehere, ara o te mauri. Koia i kiia ai kia whangaia te hau o te ngaherehere. Ma nga tohunga e kai, na ratou hoki te mauri. Koia i wehea ai etehi o nga manu i tunua ai ki te ahi tapu ma nga tohunga anake e kai, koia tera, kia hoki te hau o te taonga o te ngaherehere me te mauri ki te ngaherehere ano, ara ki te mauri. Kati ena.

“He pena ano te ahi tapairu. E tika ana tau, ma nga wahine matamua e kai tuatahi, hei reira ka kai ai te katoa o te wahine.”

 
 

We have seen that the right wing of a kaka is sometimes used as a mauri. Another item so used is the rau huka, a term applied to strips of the leaf of Cordyline australis, the common cabbage-tree, when prepared for making bird-snares.

Bear in mind that if the hau of a person be taken, as by the art of black magic, then that person will surely die. His physical body cannot exist without the hau. Now, if you apply this principle to the forest, to land, to the village homes, you will see why the hau of those places has to be carefully cherished and protected.

When hunters and trappers enter the forest to ply their ancient arts, they may not carry any cooked food with them, or the mauri of the forest would become tamaoatia, or polluted, and so lose its powers and virtue. The trappers may, however, carry uncooked food, because it has not the above disastrous effects. As a rule some raw fern-root was carried. When desirous of eating, the fowlers would camp for a while, kindle a fire, roast some fern-root and a few birds, and make a meal off these. Should such food be not consumed by the person or persons, they may not carry away the balance of the cooked food to be eaten at another time: it must be left where cooked. In like manner, it would be unwise to eat as they walked, or even in a standing position. It is much safer to sit down, and to remain in that position until satisfied. There is no kind of sense in risking the sanctity of your mauri and the productiveness of your forest lands.

 
– 442 –
 

In a former paper we told how a wizard could blast the fertility of lands by means of a magic spell known as papaharo or te tipi a Houmea. When such a warlock essayed to drive birds out of a forest, to cause them to migrate therefrom, he would obtain a bird and pull one feather from it. Holding this in his hand, he would repeat over it,—

Hutia atu te huruhuru o te manu
Rere tonu atu te huruhuru
Kore tonu atu te manu.

He then would blow the feather off his hand.

In Kereru te Pukenui's evidence in Ruatoki Block we note the following: “There is a sacred place at Whangai-manuhiri. It is known as a hau, or mauri. It is a hollow place at the foot of a rata-tree. In former times, when people went hunting, a bird would be caught and placed in that hole, and certain charms would be repeated over it. This removed the tapu from all the creatures of the forest, birds and rats. That bird was so deposited, and the charms recited, lest evil befall the land. This practice ceased when Christianity was accepted.”

The evil here alluded to was sterility, non-productiveness, which would ensure were not the proper rites performed.

A tree at Parahaki, named Tahau-ariki, was a mauri. Hunters would make offerings to that tree and repeat certain charms.

Tutakangahau, our most learned man among Tuhoe since old Rakuraku passed away, and who died himself in November, 1907, said, “The mauri of a tutu (any tree on which birds are trapped by the mutu method is so termed) was usually a stone, which, after the necessary rite had been performed over it, would be concealed under or among the roots of the tree.” He told me of one such tutu and mauri situated near his home at Maungapohatu. This mauri has been located at the base of that tree for over ten generations. It is just above Torea-a-tai. When the stock-track to Turanga was being made, the overseer, an Irishman, was going to fell this tree, it being on the line of road. Old Tutaka went to look for his mauri, and tried to explain to the overseer the meaning and uses of the mauri; but the subtle metaphysics of the Maori were too much for the Milesian mind to grasp. He was hopelessly befogged.

“The mauri,” says Tutaka, “was also used to represent and guard fish.” The same talismanic object seems to have often been employed to act for, or represent, fish, birds, and land, and even persons. “The first-fruits of fish were treated in the same manner as those of birds. The first fish was placed away, as was the first bird, as a taitai. The fire at which the rite is performed is the ahi taitai. The fish or bird is suspended while the rite is being performed, and afterwards taken down and buried as an ika purapura. It acts as a mauri for birds and fish. Ka rumakina aua mea hai mauri mo te manu, mo te ika, mo te tangata, mo te whenua (Those things are buried as a mauri for birds, for fish, for persons, and for land).”

Here we see that the one talisman may act for birds, fish, persons, and land. It protects the hau of all. The first-fruits rite is still performed in a modified form among Tuhoe—that is, at the pure ceremony, when the tapu is lifted from crops and other food-supplies.

But a separate mauri seems to have been used for sea-fish by the coastal tribes. Each tribe would have its own marine mauri—possibly more than one. The first fish of the season would be deposited thereat, and appropriate charms recited. The sea mauri of the Whanau-a-Apanui Tribe is a rata-tree near the mouth of the Motu River.

 
– 443 –

The Tuapa.

Before setting forth to open the season by slaying the offspring of Tane, we will discourse awhile upon the tuapa and the whare mata.

The tuapa may be termed a luck-bringer. It has nothing to do with the mauri, nor is it an uruuru whenua. Its function is to ward off ill luck from hunters, fowlers, and fishermen. It is a luck-post, but does not, perhaps, possess any inherent or innate power to ward off ill success from hunters. It seems rather to be erected as a mild kind of shrine, a common place where all members of the village community attend to perform a simple rite ere setting forth on a trapping or fishing trip. It appears to be this rite that brings good luck—that is to say, that wards off ill luck—and not any virtue implanted in the tuapa post itself. This post, therefore, is not tapu as is a mauri. Women may approach and perform the simple rite at the former, but they would not be allowed to go near a mauri. The word tuapa seems to bear the same meaning as pa—viz., to obstruct, block up—as in Ka tuapatia te huarahi, ara ka paia.

The tuapa was simply a piece of some durable timber, as heart of totara, dressed with an adze into the form of a thick slab. It was set in the ground as is a post, and stood four or five feet above ground. It was painted with red ochre. Though it could not be styled a tapu object, yet it possessed a certain amount of mana (influence, power, prestige) because of the rite performed at it. If such post should be destroyed by a raiding enemy, no harm would result; another such would be erected. One of these tuapa formerly stood near my camp at Heipipi, Rua-tahuna, but has long disappeared. Paitini says that he last saw it about the year 1870, when the Government troops were searching for Te Kooti. The following account of the tuapa was given by old Paitini Wi Tapeka:—

“Ka hui nga tangata nona te whenua. Katahi ka ki tona kai whakahaere tohunga—‘Me whakaara he tuapa mo nga tumanako, mo nga tuhira a te tangata, kia kore ai e kaha ki te whakapuhore i te hunga e haere ana ki te mahi.’ Ka whakaaetia e te iwi katoa. Ki te mea ka mahi, mahi ika ranei, mahi manu ranei, ka tae noa atu te wahine ki te tuapa, haunga hoki te tane, e tae noa atu. Ahakoa rua whakatipuranga o te tangata, toru ranei, wha ranei, koira tonu te tuapa, kaore e whakaara tuarua ki muri. Kia haere te tangata ki te patu manu, ki te rama ika ranei, ka tangohia e ia he rau rakau, he maramara ranei no te rama, ka whakapa ki ona mea mahi, kupenga, puwai, mo te rama tera. Mo te tane, ki te mahi manu ki te tao, ka whakapa ki te tao, ki te kete rau huka ranei, a katahi ka whiua taua rau rakau ki te tuapa takoto ai. Ko te kupu takutaku a nga tangata makamaka pera ki te tuapa:—

“Nga puhore nei
Nga tumanako nei
Nga tuhira nei
Ki konei koutou putu ai
Arai puhore
Whakawhiwhi ki te tama a roa.

“Ko te tuapa, ehara i te mea huna, kai te taha tonu o te kainga e tu ana te pena. Ehara hoki i te mea tino tapu, ko tona tapu kia mana tonu nga mahi. Koina tona tapu.”

 
 

(The owners of the land assemble. The priestly director says, “Let us set up a tuapa against the envious desires of the indolent, that such may not bring ill luck to game-hunters.” And all the people consent. When about to set forth on fowling or fishing trips, women may go to the tuapa, not to

 
– 444 –
 

speak of men—of course they may do so. That tuapa may be used for two, three, or four generations. The same one will be used, no second one wil be erected. When a person goes to the forest to kill birds, or goes fishing, he takes a branchlet (or a fragment of his torch if going fishing) and touches with it his implements—his net and fish-basket if going fishing, or, if it be a man going fowling, he touches with the branchlet his bird-spear, or the basket in which he carries his snares. Then he throws that branchlet (or piece of torch) down at the base of the tuapa post. When people so cast such items they recite the following: “Ill luck and indolent desires, lie ye here heaped up. Ward off ill success. Cause man to acquire.” A tuapa is not concealed; such things stand near a village. Nor is it a very tapu affair. It has just sufficient tapu to render the ceremony efficacious: such is its tapu.)

We see that, if a man is going birding, he takes a green twig and touches his implements with it, then throws it down by the post, and recites a charm to ward off bad luck in his venture, and also any evil results that might spring from the envious desires of those too indolent to go trapping, &c., but who would like to acquire some of the products of the industry of others. In taking the kokopu fish by torchlight, which was usually done by women, a fragment of the torch was used, and deposited at the post.

Some of the expressions used in connection with the above are highly curious. Tumanako means “to desire some absent object.” Tuhira is more rarely met with, and seems to bear almost the same meaning as toitoiokewa. It is applied to a person who refrains from joining a hunting or fishing party, but who lets his thoughts dwell upon the game they will bring in, the toothsome dishes that will follow, and so on. He partakes, in anticipation, of the fruit of the toil of others, while yet such fruits, birds, fish, &c., are at large and may escape. If you ask a Native the meaning of the term tuhira, he will at once reply “indolence.” But it means much more, and does not apply to ordinary laziness. It would not be applied to a person because he was lazy in procuring firewood, for that wood possesses no powers of locomotion, and hence cannot escape or evade pursuit. “Ou mahi a te mangere he tuhira,” says the Maori. The result of indolence is tuhira. An indulgence in tuhira, tumanako, or toitoiokewa is believed to bring bad luck to a hunting-party. To talk about the game you are going to catch is a toitoiokewa, and will bring bad luck; it is a puhore, a token of non-success. But if you talk about firewood you are going to get, that is neither a toitoiokewa nor yet a puhore. That wood cannot run, or fly, or swim away. At one time old Paitini was going pig-hunting, as a large boar had been seen at Ma-te-ra. I said, “Now you will get some fine tusks from which to fashion autui (cloak-pins).” He replied, “E tama! Kaua e toitoiokewa, koi patu turi noa iho matau” (Young man, do not toitoiokewa, lest we weary our knees to no purpose).

The word mahoro has a somewhat similar meaning to the above. It seems to mean that the home-stayers are thinking of the game or fish that they expect to be brought in, and desiring such, but they do not express their desires in spoken language. Mahira, again, seems to imply a churlish selfishness. If I handed over some game to others to cook for me, and watched them closely to see that they did not give any away, then the term mahira would apply to my action.

There are innumerable puhore—signs or actions that bring bad luck to hunters or fishers. Their name is truly legion.

 
– 445 –
 

I remember the late Judge Butler telling me about a trip he took with some Native pig-hunters. Before starting he put in his pocket small packages of salt and pepper, intending to use those condiments when they killed a pig and cooked the liver to serve as a midday meal. His companions strongly disapproved of his action, and said, “Kaore ano kia mate mai he poaka, kua kainga e koe” (You are eating the pig before we have killed it). And that is just the Maori idea.

The green sprig of the fowler was applied to the implements of his craft in order to remove certain evil influences. The touch, together with the charm, averted the evil chance. A Maori would term this act a ripa, or arai. Some of our readers doubtless remember the character in George Borrow's “Lavengro” who “touched” in order to remove the evil chance. He was probably a person of an imaginative and nervous temperament. A learned and cultured person was he, but he ofttimes felt compelled to touch certain objects, or perform some other erratic act, in order to avert misfortune. Peradventure he deemed his hau to be in danger of pollution. We have known one or two educated, intelligent Europeans who practised this strange habit—a habit, or superstition, that is a survival of primitive times. We knew one such who, when walking abroad, would sometimes turn back and touch a certain object, or pass round the further side of a tree or post. The feeling that prompted him to do these things was a strong one, and, should he force himself to disregard it, then a sense of impending misfortune weighed heavily upon him. But this is surely digression.

 

The Whare Mata.

Of this institution old Tutaka said, “The whare mata was a house built for the purpose of manufacturing therein all implements used in hunting, fowling, and fishing, and for the storage thereof. Thus all nets, snares, traps, &c., were made in that building. It was a very tapu building, and no cooked food was allowed to be taken into it; hence no one might eat therein. Nor was any woman allowed to enter it. In the whare mata are stored all the implements mentioned, when they were not in use, as also the baskets used for holding and carrying seed kumara (sweet potatoes). It would be wrong to allow such baskets to be taken to cooking-sheds (Ko aua kete, kaore e tika kia heria ki muri). Men worked only at making hunting and fishing paraphernalia in this building. They might not eat or live therein. The rau huka (leaves of Cordyline australis) were prepared and formed into snares in the whare mata.”

Tamarau Waiari said, “Ko nga rau ti he mea haehae ki te whare mata. Ko taua whare, he whare whapiko rau huka. Kaore e tae te wahine ki reira, kaore e tae te kai ki reira. Kia maoa rawa te umu rau huka, katahi ka noa taua whare me nga tangata, katahi ka haere nga tangata ki te moe i o ratau wahine. He whare motuhake tena mo taua mahi, kaore he mahi ke. Katahi ka haere, ka heria aua rau huka, ka taia ki runga ki te kahika, ka whakairia. Na, ka mau nga manu tuatahi, katahi ka homai ki te hapi (umu) rau huka, katahi ano ka kainga e nga tohunga, katahi ka noa aua tangata. Ko nga rau ti he mea karakia, he rau huka te ingoa o te karakia.”

(The cabbage-tree leaves are split and prepared in the whare mata. That building is a place where snares are made. Women are not allowed in it, nor yet is food. When the rau huka rite has been performed, then that house and the persons engaged therein are free from tapu, and they may

– 446 –

then return to their homes. The whare mata is a house specially devoted to these tasks; no other work is performed in it. Then the snares are taken to the forest and arranged on the white-pine trees. Now, the first birds taken are cooked in the rau huka oven and eaten by the priests. Then the persons engaged in these tasks are freed from tapu. A charm is repeated over the snares made from Cordyline leaves. That charm is styled rau huka.)

Tamati Ranapiri, of Ngati-Raukawa, stated, in answer to a query, “Yes, a special house was set apart wherein were manufactured snares, traps, nets, and such things. The reason of this was that it was most undesirable that women should be allowed to approach the hunting and fishing paraphernalia, or the materials from which they were fashioned, or the makers thereof, so long as the tapu was on the whare mata—that is to say, on its inmates and their work. The presence of a woman would pollute, or nullify the efficacy of snares or nets. He wehi no nga tane kei pikitia nga harakeke e nga wahine, ara nga harakeke e mahia ana mo nga kupenga me nga mahanga,”

Snares, Etc.

Flax was not used by the Tuhoe folk wherefrom to fashion snares. For this purpose they invariably utilised the strong fibrous leaves of the ti (Cordyline australis), the same being much more durable than flax when exposed to the weather. Moreover, no good variety of flax is found in Tuhoeland, but merely inferior kinds, the leaves of which contain a very poor fibre. The leaves of the ti, or cabbage-tree, are split into strips. These strips are dried and then stained by immersing them in a black (? ferruginous) mud, or by hanging them in the smoke of a fire of resinous wood (mapara). This process is for the purpose of giving the snares, and the cord to which they are attached (takeke or kaha), an old appearance. If they were left in their natural colour they would look new, and birds would be shy of them. Each of the above strips is formed into a loop snare, a running noose, at one end. The other end, the free end, serves to suspend the snare from the main cord, which is strung from branch to branch of the tree. Hundreds of such snares would be set among the branches of a large tree much frequented by birds, such as a kahikatea of great fruiting-powers. The act of forming the loop snare is termed whapiko, of which tapiko, kopiko, and rapiko are variant forms. The first of these words is probably an abbreviation of whakapiko, but it may be wha (a leaf) and piko (curved, bent). The act of setting snares all over a tree-top is termed ta and tahei.

The first act of the fowler, when setting the first snares of the season is to stretch the cord from which the snares are suspended from branch to branch of the tree. These cords must be strung well out towards the ends of the branches, because that is where the fruit and flowers that attract the birds are situated. This means that the task is one of great danger, and many fowlers have been killed by falling from the branches of great forest-trees. Try to imagine the task of setting snares on the outer branchlets of a lofty white-pine tree. We yearn not for that task, but prefer a shot-gun or, better still, a poulterer's shop.

The cords having been strung and secured to branchlets, the snares are then suspended from them in such a manner that birds will be likely to thrust their heads into the nooses as they move about in feeding. When fruit is plentiful on the tree the snares are set but a short distance apart. When the fowler revisits his snares the following morning he takes the

– 447 –

snared birds from the taut nooses and resets the snares. If a good take, the dead birds will be numerous, hanging in rows on the tree—that is to say, in days gone by, when birds were many in the land. The act of taking the snared birds from the nooses is described by the word wherawhera. One asks, “Kai hea ra a mea?” (Where is So-and-so?) Another replies, “Kai te wherawhera” (He is opening out—“nooses” understood). The special term to denote this act—ui, to relax a noose—does not seem to be employed in this district.

Women often engaged in the task of setting snares, and also in wherawhera, or collecting the snared game. The trees easiest to climb were often allotted to women. A tree named Kake-wahine, at Maunga-pohatu, was so called because women used to work it in the bird-snaring season. Fowlers carried a basket made of flax or ti leaves, and termed a kete wherawhera, wherein to deposit and carry the birds secured by them. A very early start was made by fowlers in the morning, so as to be on the snaring-trees before the birds began to frequent them. They would leave home before daylight, and, indeed, often awaited dawn perched on a tree. Each person had certain trees allotted to him, on which he had the right to take birds, and which he visited every day during the season. Thus he had a set route to traverse every day. It would never do for a person to attempt to take birds on any trees but those which belonged to him. Even the different members of one family often had different trees allotted to them, though they often worked them together. If a man had more trees than he could attend to, his relatives, sometimes females, would assist him.

A Native would not use the word wewete, or its reduplicate form wetewete, in speaking of taking snared birds from the nooses, because he deems it a puhore (bad luck) so to do. He uses the term wherawhere (reduplicate form of whera, to spread out, to open), as, “Haere ki te wherawhera i to rakau.” Again, he would not say that he was going to titiro (look at) his pigeontroughs (waka), for that also would bring ill luck—he would find no birds caught, or but very few. He uses the term matai (to examine) in this case—“Haere ki te matai i ou waka.” It would appear as though the Native refrained from using the more common expression lest the birds hear, understand, and so avoid the snares. It bears some resemblance to toitoiokewa.

Of the ti leaves Paitini says, “E takoto tinana ana te ti, e kiia ana he ti, no te haehaetanga o te ringa kia ririki, ka huaina te ingoa he rau huka. Ko etahi o aua rau huka ka whiua ki te ahi taitai kia waimarie ai e ka kawea atu ki te tahei, te waimarie he mate nui mai no te kai, ara no te manu.” (Before a ti leaf is prepared for snares it is simply termed ti, but when it has been split by hand into strips it is styled rau huka. Some of these rau huka are cast into the taitai fire in order that the snares may be efficacious in taking birds when they are set. By “efficacious” is meant the slaying of much food—that is, of many birds.)

A snare is termed mahanga, but when a series of snares is set on a tree they are alluded to as tahei. The actual noose is called tari. The latter word seems to be used as a verb by Tuhoe—‘to catch with a noose’—only when the noose is handled by a person when used as in noosing ruru, weka, and porete, also in so catching a horse.

There were many different karakia, or charms, used by fowlers when bird-catching. Such charms used when fishing, snaring birds, or trapping rats were known by the generic term of kaha. One such was known as the tumutumu charm. Another, termed tuota, was a very tapu charm. If

– 448 –

a man used this charm it would be necessary for him, on his return from the forest, to make an offering to the gods. (He tapu tenei kaha a Tuota. Mehemea ka tuota, ka hoki mai te tangata i te ngaherehere, me whangai, ara me whangai i te atua.) This charm was a very efficacious one for taking birds, rats, and fish. Another kaha charm was called motumotu. This was not a tapu charm, and was used to insure fowlers a good bag.

First-Fruits Rites.

The Taumaha, Ahi taitai, Ahi matini, &c.—Astrolatry.

The rite of first-fruits was one very generally performed in Maoriland in former times. In this district it seems to have been known as amoamohanga. This name may have originated in the fact of each little village or family group bearing its own first-fruits to the place where the rite was performed.

The following is the only item pointing to anything like a system of star-worship that I have obtained from the Tuhoe Tribe. It was given by Tutakangahau. He says,—

“In regard to invocations to the stars, there were such invocations in former times, and here is one:—

“Tuputuputu atua
Ka eke mai i te rangi e roa e
Whangainga iho ki te mata o te tau
E roa e.
Atutahi atua
Ka eke mai i te rangi e roa e
Whangainga iho ki te mata o te tau
E roa e.
Takurua atua
Ka eke mai i te rangi e roa e
Whangainga iho ki te mata o te tau
E roa e.
Whanui atua
Ka eke mai i te rangi e roa e
Whangainga iho ki te mata o te tau
E roa e.
&c., &c.

“There is much more of this invocation, because all the (principal) stars were included. When the season for collecting food products and for cultivation of foods (planting crops) begins, then the priest gathers some young leaves of plants, &c., and offers these to the stars, and recites the above invocation to the stars. All stars that cause fertility and abundance of food products are thus mentioned. The leaves are taken to the sacred place and offered to those gods. This invocation, with its attendant rite, is to cause all food products to flourish, and to ward off any disaster from such products. The mata o te tau means the young growth of the new year.”

The above is more than a charm or incantation—it is an invocation: it invokes the help of the stars, it calls upon them to cause the season's crops of all kinds to be bountiful. It is the nearest approach to a prayer of anything that I have collected from Tuhoean sources. It will be observed that samples of the new young growth of the season are offered to the stars named. Certain stars are supposed to possess an influence in regard to fruitfulness and fecundity in nature. One of old Tutaka's remarks is worthy of preservation in the original: “Ko nga otaota o te tau hou ka kohia e te tohunga e ka timata nga mahi o te tau, a ka whangaia aua mea ki nga whetu. Ko nga whetu heri kai mai ka whakahuatia katoatia. Ka heria nga otaota

– 449 –

ki te tuahu, a ka whangaia ki aua atua. Ko te tikanga o tenei mahi, kia pai te tupu o nga kai, a koi pa mai he mate ki aua kai.

Tuputuputu, mentioned in the above invocation, is the name of one of the Magellan Clouds. Atutahi is Canopus, Takurua is Sirius, and Whanui is Vega.

First-fruits of Birds.

The first-fruits of the bird season—i.e., the first birds taken—are offered to the gods—to Maru, Tunui-a-te-ika, and others—as also are the first fish taken. First-fruits are sometimes termed whakaaweawe, a name that applies to anything, animate or otherwise, that may be offered to the gods.

The rite of first-fruits is performed at a sacred fire known as the ahi taitai (taitai fire), at which many different rites are performed, but not those pertaining to war or death. The word taitai is, in one sense, a sacerdotal term, and its meaning is by no means easy to define. Williams's Dictionary says, “Taitai, to remove tapu from a new canoe.” But Tuhoe were not a seafaring people, and do not seem to know the term in that connection. As a verb, taitai means to perform the taitai rite at a sacred fire (known as the ahi taitai, or taitai fire), to repeat the charm termed taitai which renders that fire tapu, or sacred, by locating therein the gods—i.e., the power of the gods, which is the spiritual power that renders the rite, whatever it may be, effective. The word taitai is also used in connection with the providing of food—“Kai te taitai kai a mea ma koutou.”* This may be said to a company of travellers. Some one has heard that they are coming to or passing his place, and turns to provide a meal for them. If the party have no time or inclination to stay and partake of such food, one at least of the party must stay and eat a portion, however small, thereof, otherwise the act of passing on would be a disregarding of Tahu (the emblematical name, or tutelary deity, or personification, of food).

Rites are performed at the ahi taitai that they may be effective. When, on the opening of the bird season, the snares are made in the whare mata, some of the rau huka are cast into the taitai fire. At the same time certain charms are repeated to insure a good catch of birds, to bring many birds into the snares. We note that Williams gives taitaia as meaning “unlucky in fishing,” &c. The ahi taitai is sometimes termed the hau or mauri of a kainga (village), presumably because the rite by which such a mauri is installed, or sanctified, is performed at it, and also other rites conducive to the welfare of the place and people.

Tamarau Waiari said, “About the ahi taitai: This fire (i.e., rite) is for the purpose of bringing many birds and fish to the tribal lands. First-fruits are offered at this fire. When we are going to perform this rite over certain lands, we kill a bird—a kaka, or koko, or miromiro, or tiwaiwaka—any bird—as an offering. The charm repeated is the following:—

“E Papa e takoto nei
E Rangi e tu nei
Homai te toto kai tangata
Kia rurukutia, kia herea
Kia mau te mauri
Te mauri o wai?
Te mauri o Tane
Tane tuturi, Tane pepeke
Whakamutua ki a Tu-matauenga
Whakamutua ki a Paia
Nana i toko te rangi
Na Tu-matauenga i here te kai.

[Footnote] * See Addenda.

– 450 –

Such are the performances at the ahi taitai. At this fire were performed many sacred ceremonies pertaining to the home, but not those pertaining to war. The first bird taken served as an offering to the gods. It was placed on a tree near the taitai fire. Then the officiating priest recited the charm by which birds were lured to the tribal lands. Then persons might commence bird-snaring.”

A taitai charm is given in Taylor's “Te Ika a Maui,” the translation of which should be looked at askance.

Any place where a taitai fire had been kindled remained sacred. So tapu was such a spot that any person trespassing thereon was believed to be doomed to death unless he procured the services of a priest, who, by means of a certain exorcising rite, could save his life. The priest would charge a fee, payable in goods, for his services.

Paitini states, “The first few birds taken when the season is opened are cooked at the taitai fire and eaten by the officiating priest, and this act of his lifts the tapu from the proceedings, and the rest of the people, including women, may partake of food, take part in the ritual feast. The taumaha or thanksgiving charm is recited at the above rite, when the first birds are cooked. After the tapu is abolished, women were sometimes served first with food. The rau huka fire I spoke of before was a taitai fire.”

The women spoken of above as being first served would be women of rank only.

Tutakangahau explains that whakau is a charm repeated over food that is excessively tapu, in order to render it innocuous—that is, lest its tapu be harmful to those who partake of such food. The whakau rite lifts the tapu from persons and food. The taumaha is another charm repeated over food that is tapu in order that it may be safely partaken of by the people—it removes the tapu. There are many different taumaha charms, each having its special use.

Taumaha in Nukuoro seems to mean a feast or ritual feast. The European grace repeated over food about to be partaken of is alluded to by Natives as a taumaha.

Tutaka says, “There is a taumaha repeated over first-fruits of birds, fish, &c.—the first of the season brought in. The first bird taken is carried to the village home, where the priest manipulates it. The ceremony is performed at the ahi taitai, a sacred fire kindled by the priest, or by a person termed a takuahi, whose sole duty is to kindle these sacred ceremonial fires. Such fires are always ahi pahikahika—that is, fires kindled by the friction process, generated by hand. They are never kindled by means of brands from another fire.

“The first thing done by the priest after the fire is kindled is to repeat over it the charm (or invocation) called the taitai:—

Ka ka te ahi taitai. Katahi ka taitai. Ka tu te tohunga, me te rakau i tona ringa. (The taitai fire burns. Then the taitai rite is performed. The priest stands with a wand in his hand):—

“Taitai, taitai, taitai
Te kau nunui, te kau roroa
Te rupe tu, te rupe pae
Pekepeke hauaitu te manu waero rua
Te hau e tu nei, taitai
Mai ra a tu, mai ra a pae
Pekepeke hauaitu te hau e tu nei.

Ko te karakia taitai tenei. Koinei nga kupu i tapu ai te ahi. Ko nga atua katoa ka whakanohoia ki taua ahi, hai patu, aha ranei. (This is the taitai

– 451 –

invocation. These are the words by which the fire is rendered sacred. All the gods are located in that fire, to slay, or what not.)

Manu-waero-rua means ‘wind, a strong wind.’ That is Tawhirimatea.

“The first-fruits of the birds of the forest are brought in. The priest takes the first bird. The feathers thereof, and piece of some edible herb, are roasted at the fire. They are taken from the fire, and the priest repeats over them the taumaha:—

“Taumaha kai te motumotu
Kai te ngarehu, kai te kapekape
I aua kia mate, i aua kia irohia
Ka ma Tupakaka, ka ma Rakaihika
Ka ma te kapiti
Te kapiti ki tamaoa
Tena taumaha, taumaha ka eke
Ka mama nga pukenga
Ka mama nga wananga
Ka mama hoki ahau
Tenei tauira.

“Tupakaka and Rakaihika were ancestors of very remote times who originated the taumaha. The body of that first bird is suspended over the fire. The semblance (ahua) of that first bird—i.e., the feathers—the priest touches to his mouth. No unauthorised person may approach this sacred fire; it would spell death to do so. The body of the first bird is placed upon a stage. A portion of it may be eaten by the priest if he is of sufficiently high standing; if not, it is left for the trees to eat it—that is, it is thrust into or impaled on (kohika) a tree, and left for Tane to eat. That bird left on the stage (whata), or on a tree, is afterwards taken down, and to it is added the hau of the person of highest rank (ariki) and the hau of the land. After a while it is buried as an ika purapura (seed-fish), which is the hau of the people and land. Its duty is to guard the land, the people, and the birds—to preserve them from harm. It acts as a manea, and preserves all from evil influences or machinations. It is the salvation of man. I have seen this rite performed,” says Tutaka, “and have performed it myself (kua taitai ano au).

“And now other birds are brought and are cooked for the ati a toa and the forest craftsmen, the fowlers. After that the tukupara takes place—that is, a large quantity of birds is cooked and eaten by the bulk of the people. When the contents of the tukupara oven have been eaten, then the ceremony is over. The tapu is now lifted. The forest, the birds, all the people are now noa, or free from tapu. The season is open. People now set to work, some going bird-snaring, and some set to work at potting birds.

“Now, should travellers or visitors arrive at a place where the taitai rite is being or is about to be performed, which place is therefore still in a state of tapu, those visitors will not partake of food at that place—not in any case.

“The taumaha repeated over the first-fruits of fish is the same as that used for birds, save that the name of Tangaroa is inserted in the place of those referring to Tane and birds.

“In case of the products of forest or stream, as birds, fruits, and fish, becoming scarce or afflicted in any way, as by disease, the adept who has charge of the rahui will go and get the kapu, or object that represents the rahui, and take it to the ahi taitai, where certain charms are repeated over it in order to cause it to wake up—for it has been asleep—and to restore the

– 452 –

healthy productiveness of the forest, &c. It is not the power of the rahui alone that is invoked in order to bring about the desired change, but also that of the mauri of the land, of persons, of the waters—in fact, of all things. Then the taitai rite is performed, that food products may flourish—birds, fish, fruits, and other things.

“The ahi taitai is a sacred fire, and is exceedingly dangerous to man, for man can be destroyed by means of rites performed thereat. It is only for tapu purposes that it can be used. Other fires are kindled whereat to cook food for the tapu-lifting ceremony. The ahi taitai was for the gods only. The different fires (and ovens) kindled for the freeing-from-tapu rite were,—

“(1.)

The ahi tuakaha—for cooking food for the priest only.

“(2.)

The ahi marae—for the ati a toa.

“(3.)

The ahi ruahine—for priestesses and first-born females of high-caste families.

“(4.)

The ahi tukupara—for cooking food for the bulk of the people.

“Understand that no one could cook or eat a bird until the above rite had been performed in order to placate Tane and other gods. Travellers and others would endeavour to avoid any village at such a time if the tapu was not yet dispelled.”

The Ahi Matini.

“The ahi matini,” continues Tutaka, “was also an ahi taitai—another form of it. The matini fire was a rite performed by fowlers and hunters at their temporary camps in the forest, while engaged in trapping, &c. The ahi matini is an ancient fire (i.e., an ancient rite), practised from remote times. It was a sacred fire at which were roasted tapu birds. The taumaha would be repeated over the bird, and it would be eaten by the priest, in order to take the tapu from the place. When the (first) birds were killed they were taken to the camp, and one of them was roasted at the fire. The priest, I say, ate that bird and took the tapu off the place—off the forest, the birds, and the work. This had to be done because of the slaying of the birds (a placation of the forest-gods). After this another bird (or birds) was cooked at a separate fire, and was eaten by the workmen, the fowlers. This rite was performed at the forest camp.”

Here ends Tutaka's account of the ahi taitai and its rites. He was a man who possessed a vast amount of very curious knowledge. His mind was a storehouse of primitive lore. He knew the old Native names of every tree, shrub, plant, or fern in the forests of Tuhoeland. His fund of quaint folk-lore was immense. Above all, he was thoroughly conversant with the modes of thought of the ancient Maori. He could explain the strange metaphorical expressions of the men of yore, and the still stranger belief in the life-principle of inanimate objects. For his was the knowledge of the strange workings of the primordial mind—the mind that sees more than we wot of—and a knowledge that shall not be acquired by the pakeha, strive he never so hard.

On the occasion of my last interview with the old man he gave me some curious and archaic invocations of the men of yore, as to how the priests made sacred the ritual fires and located therein the dread presence and powers of the gods. After which he said, “E tama! Ko au anake o Tuhoe e mohio ana ki enei mea. Katahi ano au ka korero i enei mea, kore rawa nei au i korero i mua. Ko koe anake e mohio ana. Ka waiho ko koe hai tohunga mo te iwi. (O son! I alone among Tuhoe know of these things, and now for

– 453 –

the first time I tell them. I have never divulged them before. You alone know them, and you shall remain as a tohunga [priest, adept] for the tribe.)

But Tutakangahau, son of Tapui, of the Children of the Mist, has lifted the trail of Maui of old, and has entered the snare of great Hine, the goddess of Hades. And he has taken the bulk of his knowledge with him. Only the fragments, filched by a member of an alien race, are here offered.

About that matini: We find not this word in our Maori dictionaries, but the tribes of far Polynesia have preserved it. The Rev. J. B. Stair mentions it in the “Journal of the Polynesian Society,” vol. v, p. 47, where he says that matini was the name applied to offerings of food made to spirits (aitu). Mr. Tregear, who kindly looked up the word for me, says, “In Samoa matini is an offering made to induce aitu (spirits, gods) to pass over, without calling, the place where such offering is made. In Futuna matini means a bundle of coconuts or bananas for use in certain heathen ceremonies. In Mangareva matini means ‘formerly, in old times.’ The Sunda (Java) matih means ‘efficacious, powerful.’”

The word ta (as also tahei) we have noted as meaning “to arrange numbers of snares on a tree.” This is presumably allied to ta, to net, as in making a net. Paitini says, “He ta mahanga te mahi o te whare mata. Ko aua mahanga ka taia ki te rakau.” (The work of the whare mata is the making of snares. Those snares are arranged on trees.) He goes on to say that the first birds caught are taken home and roasted at the ahi ka huka, sometimes termed ahi huka and ahi rau huka, which is evidently the taitai fire. This was done, says Pai, in the tapu-lifting ceremony, and when that was concluded the fowlers might return to their wives and families and again enter the meeting-houses and mix with the people; for they might do none of those things while tapu.

This same old man also gave me another taumaha charm, as recited over first-fruits of birds and fish. He said, “The taumaha is a charm repeated over the food products of forest and stream. Here follows the charm said over the first bird taken in the season. That first bird serves to collect all birds of the fruitful forest. (Ko te taumaha, he karakia mo nga kai o te ngahere, mo nga mea o te wai. Ko te manu tuatahi e ami ana i nga kai o te motu huahua.)

“Te manu ruru mai,
Ruru mai, neneke mai,
Ki te pae runga,
Ki te pae raro,
Te manu te ruru pae,
Te noho pae.
Te manu kai te whio,
Kai te taki, kai te kowiri
Kai te ioio nui no nga (? nona).
Te manu kai toroti, kai torota
Kai toro atu rama ki a Tane
Te manu te ruru pae
Te noho pae
Te manu kai te whio
Kai te taki, kai te kowiri
Kai te ioio no nga (?).

“This charm is recited in order to cause all birds in the district to gather to the forest lands of the tribe or family group of which the reciter is a member. The next act is the cooking of the bird. It is stuck on a spit and roasted. It is then eaten by the officiating priest. He may not touch the birds with his hands, hence he has to pull it off the spit with his teeth.

– 454 –

He then eats it as it lies on the ground, gnawing at it as would a dog, and spitting out the bones. The reason of this action is that his hands have already eaten (or touched) the bird while in its raw state. That is over, and it is now the turn of the mouth to eat it. The first-fruits of land and water are now collected together and cooked, and the taumaha is repeated over them.”

Paitini here gives the same charm as that already inserted in this sketch, save that he inserts these extra lines after the reference to Tupakaka and Rakaihika:—

Tena hoki taumaha ka eke kai o ringa
Marie mai ki taumaha
Popoko mai ki taumaha.

This evidently implies an appeal to the above two beings to send the fowlers good luck in their pursuit.

The rite known as amoamohanga seems to have been a lifting of the tapu from cultivated foods, crops—i.e., kumara and taro. A small portion of the crop of each family was taken to a central place, where a priest performed the pure rite over them. This was the occasion of an important ritual feast. Pio, of Awa, says that it was celebrated in the ninth month of the Maori year—that is, about February—and that the names of the different ovens in which food was cooked for the ceremonial feast were imu tapakaha(?), imu kohukohu, imu kirihau, imu potaka, imu waharoa, as known to the Ngati-Awa Tribe. This word imu is a variant form of umu (a steam oven).

A peculiar instance of the offering of first-fruits may be found in the “Journal of the Polynesian Society,” vol. vi, p. 157.

Instances of the beliefs and practices of first-fruits rites, the mauri, tapu, ceremonial purification, and many other cosas de Maori, may be noted in Judaism and other Eastern cults.

Implements for Taking Birds, and Their Uses.

We will speak of the trees on which birds are taken by snare or spear; for it is by no means the case that any tree will serve such purpose. In the first place only trees of such species as bear fruit eagerly eaten by birds, such as the toromiro, are utilised, and these trees are not found as a rule in large numbers, but scattered about in the bush. The kahikatea is the only one of the best species of snaring-trees that is found in large numbers—that is to say, that forms a forest itself—and that only in some places, as in low, swampy ground. All forest-trees fruit more plentifully in some years than in others. Many trees seem to so bear abundance of fruit about every third year. Again, all toromiro trees do not fruit. Those that do so are termed female trees by the Natives, the others are said to be the males. The latter are, however, much less numerous than the former.

In some cases a certain berry is eaten by some species of birds but not by others. The leaves of some trees are eaten by birds, as the pigeon eats leaves of the kowhai and houhi-ongaonga. Their flesh is not esteemed when the birds are feeding on these leaves; it is offensive, and in poor condition. The leaves eaten by birds seem to be termed puruhi. “Ka haunga. nga kiko o te manu i te puruhi.” Also, birds are always thin when living on leaves—“Kaore e momona te kereru i te kai puruhi, he tupuhi. Hai aha!

In the case of the rata tree, birds flock to it in numbers in order to obtain the honey contained in its blossoms. This nectar is called wai kaihua.

– 455 –

Ka kai te kaka i te wai kaihua, ka kiia he rarangi tahi.” When the kaka are seen feeding on the wai kaihua, it is said to be the rarangi tahi. This latter term was applied to the last great rallying or gathering of birds, principally kaka, on the hill-growing rata when it blossoms. The rata trees growing on the ranges bloom later than those situated in the valleys. The kaka in former times gathered in great numbers on these mountain rata to partake of the wai kaihua. They were very fat at this time, and could not be lured by a decoy, or taken either by the mutu or pae methods. Hence they were taken by spear alone at such a time. Kereru, koko, and other birds also flocked to these trees, and many species would be seen on a single tree. This general gathering of birds is termed rarangi tahi. It is an expression often heard, as, “I mua, i te wa o te rarangi tahi” (In former times, in the time of the rarangi tahi). For it is now practically no more, so scarce have birds become. This period occurred about January. That was the spearing-time. Prior to that the kaka was taken by the mutu method. In giving evidence in a Native Land Court, a local Native said, “Kaore he toromiro o tenei taha o te poraka, he rarangi tahi tenei” (There are no toromiro trees on this side of the block; this is a rarangi tahi). He meant that rata were the principal bird-trees on this side.

We have four different names applied to trees on which birds are taken, which names refer to the methods employed for taking the birds:—

(1.)

Tutu.—Any tree on which birds are taken by the mutu method is so termed.

(2.)

Taumatua.—Any tree on which birds are taken by the tahei process—i.e., the snares are arranged on the tree-branches, and not on an artificial perch.

(3.)

Kaihua.—A tree on which birds are speared. An old saying is, “He toka hapuku ki te moana, he kaihua ki uta” (A hapuku fishing-rock at sea equals a kaihua on land). Because both provide an abundance of food.

By the way, did it ever strike you how poetic similes appeal to the Maori mind, how many a pithy saying is in the form of a distich? These poetic comparisons are most numerous, are of a rhetorical character, and marvels of condensation: e.g., Hohonu kaki, papaku uaua (Deep throat, shallow muscles)—which explains itself. The triad does not appear to have been so cultivated by the Maori. A triad for the Welshman, a distich for the Maori.

(4.)

Tipapa, or rakau tipapa.—This name seems to be applied to a tree much resorted to by pigeons. We have seen that tipapa kereru means “a flock of pigeons.” Tipapa is apparently a form of whakapapa. A taumatua is often termed a rakau tipapa.

It is a fact that every tree that comes under the above headings—that is, every tree famous as a bird-tree, and on which birds are, or were, taken each season—has its own distinct name. We give a few examples:—

  • Wahianoa: A kahikatea tree, a famous taumatua, standing at Heipipi, Rua-tahuna.

  • Takapari: A hinau tree at Te Rua-kuri, on Te Purenga Block. When this tree bore much fruit it was deemed a sign that a plentiful season was at hand. If it produced little fruit, then a lean season followed.

– 456 –
  • Te Whare o Rakau-tawhia: A kaihua tree at Te Hereherenga, Tara pounamu, where To karaha, of Ngati-Where, was slain by Tuhoe.

  • Ranina: a matai tree at Manga-kakaho, on which koko were taken with snares (he rakau tahei koko). This word should be spelt as raninga. It is said to be derived from rara; which seems curious. When many koko were caught in the snares they looked as if they were rara ana ki te ahi (suspended before the ahi matiti).

  • Manuruhi: A kahika tree, a kaihua, situated at Pu-kareao. This tree is mentioned in a song composed by one Uhi-tere—a lamen for her husband:—

    He manu maunu au kai te tao
    Na Te Kurapa e whakatoro ra
    Te kaihua kai Manuruhi ra.

    Any place where a nemed tree stands is always known by such name.

  • Hei-pipi: A kahika tree at Te Wera-iti. He rakau tahei koko. Great numbers of koko were snared on this tree in fromer times—so many that they looked like a hei pipi or tahei pipi—strings of the pipi shellfish hung up to dry.

  • Kaka-nui, O-hira-moko, Kake-wahine, and Pou a Te Wini are all names of such bird-trees, and also place-names.

Another distichous saying:—

Ko Kaitara ki uta
Ko Mou-tohora ki waho ki te moana.

Kaitara is the name of a toromiro tree at Te Wera-iti, famed as a resort of pigeons, while Whale Island is a famous fishing-ground. The one is a hapuku rock, the other a pigeon rock (resort), says Pai.

In days of old, when a man was going a-snaring or hunting he would take his son with him, or a nephew, while they were young lads, so as to point out to them the tribal or subtribal boundaries, landmarks, and all other remarkable places. He would show him all snaring-trees and teach their names, telling to whom they belonged, and so forth. In this wise: “This is a tutu; its name is—; you will manipulate this tree. This is a kaihua, and its name is—; it belongs to” such a family group.

“This again, is a wai tuhi, and will be worked by the childern of” such a person. “These waka kereru belong to the descendants of—, who will use them. That strem yonder is named—; it divides our lands from those of—: you can fish that stream from its junction with the—River up to” such a point, “but no further.”

Women, when fishing by torchlight at night, often took their children with them, and instructed them in a like manner.

The term wai tuhi is applied to such small pools of water as are found in hollow places on trees, logs, and rocks, and which, being resorted to by birds, are covered with many snares, so that the birds, when drinking, thrust their heads through the snare-loops, and are so captured. A pool not so used is not termed a wai tuhi. Tuhi is a very curious word of the Native tongue, and it will often puzzle you should you rely merely on its meanings as defined by Maori dictionaries. Te Wai-tuhi is a place-name near Tarapounamu, the name being derived from a wai tuhi hard by, a diminutive pool of water lying in a hollow of a tawa tree. Wai tahei is a name applied to streams, or larger pools on the ground. where pigeons go to drink, and hence are covered with snares—of which more anon.

– 457 –

We have seen that the trees much used as snaring or spearing places by fowlers were often rendered prolific by means of a mauri, and their vitality and productiveness protected by very peculiar guardians. When Tuhoe slew Tionga, of Te Arawa, at Puke-kai-kahu, Te Tokai, of the former tribe, cut off Tionga's head and took it to Te Whaiti, where he placed it on a famous birding-tree named Matawera, at Okahu, as a guardian for that tree, which was a tutu. Hence the descendants of Tionga are often styled Tiaki Tutu (tiaki, to guard). Such descendants, however, do not accept the appellation as a compliment—far from it.

We must now fix up that bird-tree. When it was decided to use a certain tree as a tutu for taking birds on, the priestly adept would render that tree tapu by means of a certain karakia (charm, spell, invocation, incantation). The priest then takes the hau of the tree—that is, something to represent the hau. He takes the first bird caught on that tree, or simply the kira of such bird, and hides it in the forest. That is for the purpose of thwarting the evil designs of enemies. Should any one attempt to destroy the fruitfulness of that tree, to tamaoa it, or drive the birds therefrom, he will surely fail, because the hau (mauri) is concealed. Such a tree has no hau (?) until the invocation has been repeated over it by the priest, neither was the tree tapu prior to the performance of that rite. (Ma te tohunga e whakatapu i te rakau. Mo te tangata raweke taua mahi. Ka patu te tangata i taua rakau, kaore e mate, notemea kai te huma te hau. Kaore he hau o te rakau i te wa kaore ano kia karakiatia e te tohunga. Kaore hoki he tapu i taua wa.)

A person might seek to destroy the utility of the tree by means of finding the mauri (which represents the hau of the tree) and defiling the same, or—a ka-mimi, ka tiko ranei te tangata raweke ki taua rakau. But he will not succeed unless he finds the mauri—a very improbable event. If he does not find it, then his base act turns on him and rends him, for the tapu of the tree will kill him—that is to say, the gods of the priest who rendered the tree tapu will destroy him. He will surely perish ere long, unless he goes to that priest who is the medium of the destroying gods and prevails upon him to save his life. He alone can save it. Katahi ka hikaia e te tohunga, a ka ora. Then the priest will perform a rite, and so preserve the man's life.

A tree at Te Wera-iti named Te Rua o Tane, a tutu, has this tapu power to destroy man. Only the owner of the tree, Te Pou-whenua, grandfather of Te Whenua-nui, could save the man's life.

Concerning the right to take game on alien lands: In former times, when a man received permission to take game on lands to which he had no claim, he would set aside a portion of the game taken thereon and convey it to the principal chief of the people to whom that land belonged. Even though such tribute was not accepted, he would act in the same manner on subsequent occasions. If the tribute was accepted it might give the person a right to live on such lands, or be construed in that manner.

When Paitini was shooting birds for the opening of the carved house “Rauru” at Te Whakarewarewa, he procured many of them on land to which he had no right, but which belonged to his niece and others. Hence, at the close of the season, he gave them a double-barrel breech-loading shot-gun. It was accepted, and he now considers that he has the right to again take birds on that land.

Paitini also tells me that, if he went to Maunga-pohatu (his mother was of Ngati-Maru of that place) and found the products of the land being pre

– 458 –

pared for visitors, such food would be first offered to him, as a matter of form, although he would not accept it. Such food would then be handed over to the visitors. The people of Maunga-pohatu are the only Natives hereabout that still keep up this old custom.

In some cases people might have a right given them to take game on certain lands without that right giving them any mana over the lands. Sometimes a person (or persons) would be given the use of a certain snaring tree or trees, or of a rat-run, when he had no right to the land. Descendants of such persons are sometimes given shares in such lands when they are put through the Native Land Court, but this course would be optional with the owners. (My informant might have added to the above that such descendants often try to establish a claim to such lands in the Native Land Court on the grounds that their ancestors were owners in the block.)

All children, including those of polygamous or slave wives, had rights to their parents' lands. The father would apportion his fishing-rights, bird trees or troughs, wai tuhi, wai tahei, rat-runs, &c., among his children, a forest ridge to one, three or four snaring-trees to another, some pigeon-troughs to another, and so on. His fishing-rights and rat-preserves would be divided among his children in a similar manner. The first-born son often received the largest share, as he possessed the greatest amount of mana over the land—that is, in most cases, but not always so. Mana over land depended much upon the individual, it was a variable quantity: “Ka rerere nga mana.” For instance, an eldest son might be a famous warrior and spend much of his time in fighting tribal enemies, and be content with his mana as a warrior, having little to say in matters pertaining to land: “Ko tona toa he whenua mona.” His fame as a fighter would be his land. In such a case, those of his younger brothers who became adept at fowling, trapping, and cultivating would have greater mana over the family lands, even though they be children of a polygamous wife.

The apportionment of bird-preserves, &c., sometimes led to disputes, but the most important thing for the apportioner to do was to publicly announce his decision and arrangements to the village community or sub-tribe. For this was the Gazette notice of the Maori of yore, a custom that yet obtains here.

You will thus observe that a person could only take game on land belonging to his family. He could not trespass for such a purpose on the lands of another family group or subclan. When Te Uoro came from Whakatane to Rua-tahuna and asked permission of Maro to take game in those parts, he was denied. Moving on to Kaka-nui, he was allowed by a forebear of Paerau to trap game on the lands extending from O-hira-moko to the Huia-rau range. While exploring the summit of Huia-rau one fair morn he met Puke-hore, of Ngati-Ruapani, the people of Wai-kare Moana. These two discoursed a while, and Te Uoro hung his weapon on a tree hard by; hence that spot has since been known as Te Whakairinga—or, in full, Te Whakairinga o te Patu a Te Uoro, which is quite a name. Te Uoro went with his new acquaintance to his home on the shores of the Sea of Wai-kare, where, in days that followed, he married his host's daughter Te Amohanga. Their descendants are yet in camp near unto the Great Kuri of Meko.

When trouble arose at Turanga anent the slaying of Tupurupuru, Kahutapere and some of his people were compelled to abandon their homes and seek new ones. A priestly adept of the party, who was a tuku matatuhi, or seer, said, “Let us fare northward. I have beheld a vision of a fair land

– 459 –

and a kahika bush which shall be a home for us.” Even so they came to Ka-pu-te-rangi, at Whakatane. Tai-whakaea was the chief man of that place. He was of Ngati-awa. He gave the migrants some flax wherefrom to fashion nets for the taking of fish. They said that they did not understand such work. Then the seer asked, “Whose is that land yonder on which the kahika wood stands ?” The chief replied, “If you mean that as your home, then your home shall it be.” The seer remarked, “In a vision I beheld that wood, and knew it as a home for the migrants.” That wood was at Wai-o-hou, and there those people settled.

But enough of these ancedotes: let us to—

Bird-spears.

There were two forms of bird-spears used by the Tuhoe people. The tao kaihua or tao roa was a long spear, 25 ft. to 30 ft. in length. This spear was used only for the period of the rarangitahi, when birds were speared on large forest-trees having widespread branches.

A shorter spear, termed a maiere, was about 18 ft. long. This was used throughout the season, but was more adapted for use on the smaller trees, and was employed to take birds with on trees as small as the mako and even the poporo shrub.

These spears were made from the tawa tree, and were carefully preserved, being handed down from parents to children. Many received special names. Two long tao kaihua so preserved by Ngati-kuri of Rua-tahuna were named Owha and Koamai-tupeka. These two spears were a great length. I came across them in the forest at Rahitiroa about 1898. They were hanging from a tree-branch. On trying to purchase them some time later, I found that they had been destroyed by children. I was not allowed to slay those children.

The shorter spears were often used for taking the smaller birds, as the koko, bell-bird, &c., while the long spear was used for pigeons. The long spears were not all of the same length, neither were the maiere. The length of a spear would be decided by the state of the balk of timber out of which it was hewed. A tawa tree might be felled that showed a clean trunk externally of 30 ft. or 35 ft., or possibly even longer. This trunk would be split down through the middle by means of wedges and beetle. The half showing the cleanest and straightest grain would again be split down the middle; then the best quarter would be selected from which to hew out a spear. It was essential that the timber be quite sound, clear, straight-grained (aritahi), and free from all shakes, knots, or other defects. The wood of the centre of the tree was not utilised for spear-making, but only the ngako—that is, the white, light timber between the iho, or heart, and the outside. Now, when a tree was split open it was often found to show defects that necessitated cutting off some feet at one end. Hence a log of 35 ft. might not turn out a spear of more than 30 ft. in length, or less. These bird-spears were made from tawa, on account of the lightness of that timber when seasoned. But it is not a durable wood—it soon decays if exposed to the weather; hence great care was taken to house the spears when not in use. When in use they were kept in the forest, suspended from a tree, so that the long pliant shaft would preserve its straightness. A fowler would so hang up his spear after a day's spearing. When the spearing season was over, the spears would be taken home and placed in a house, usually suspended from the rafters, the barbed head being first taken off

– 460 –

and put away, to be fastened on again with new lashings the next season. These bird-spears are termed here among some tribes.

In order to hang a spear up to a tree, a small hooked piece of wood, a piece of a branchlet, was tied on to the shaft near the point end. This hook was called a pekapeka. Also, when climbing up a tree, the fowler would thrust the spear up and hook it on to a branch, thus leaving both hands free for climbing. The pekapeka is attached merely by a small cord, and is detached in a moment when the spear is about to be used. Care is taken not to allow the spear to lie, or be put away, in a bent form, or such bend would be liable to become permanent and much impair or destroy the usefulness of the implement. So long and slight were the shafts (about 1 in. in thickness) that, when spearing birds, the manipulator had to rest them on the branches as he thrust them slowly forward towards the bird. When the point was near the bird, the fowler, by a quick forward thrust, impaled the bird upon the long thin makoi, or spear-point. Birds were always speared in the breast—or, at least, such was the aim of the fowler.

The butt end of these spears is called the hoehoe. The thin, barbed point or head of the spear is termed makoi by the Tuhoe people, sometimes tara. Some tribes call it a kaniwha. Tara means “a point,” and taratara “notched.” Makoi seems to have a similar meaning, as a comb is also known by that name. The head of the spear, just where the point is lashed on, is styled the matahere (first two vowels long). “Ko te tao wero manu ka mahia ki te tawa, he mama hoki. Koia ra i kiia ai he tawa rau tangi, mo te mahinga hai pena.” (Bird-spears were made of tawa because of the lightness of that timber. Hence that tree was called tawa rau tangi [murmuring- or rustling-leaved tawa], because it was used for that purpose.) Thus old Paitini. The above may be a natural sequence to the primitive mind, but it is too abstruse for pakeha mentality.

The makoi or spear-points were made of mapara (hard, resinous heart wood of the kahikatea), of maire (a hardwood), of human bone, rarely of greenstone, and in latter times of iron. Temporary unbarbed points were sometimes made of katote, the hard black part of trunks of tree-ferns. The greenstone points were very rare: only one is recorded in this district—viz., the one from which the hill-peak Tara-pounamu was named. This one belonged to Tamatea-kai-taharua, a gentleman who flourished about two hundred and fifty years ago. He speared a pigeon at that place one day, and, the point becoming detached from the spear-shaft, the bird flew away with the point sticking in its body. But the agile Tama is said to have followed that nefarious bird even unto far Putauaki, fifty miles away, where he recovered his tara pounamu. This tradition is undoubtedly true, for Tara-pounamu hill still stands to prove it.

The favoured material for spear-points in former times was human bone, the long bones of the thighs. The bones were those of enemies slain in battle. I bought two such makoi of human bone from Ngai te Riu, of Ruatahuna, paying a bag of flour for them. They had been fashioned from bones of members of Ngati-Ruapani, of Wai-kare Moana, slain during the fighting at that place in the early part of the nineteenth century, when Tuhoe came down like a wolf on the fold, his cohorts gleaming with purple and gold—or, at least, with war-paint.

When the Natives began trading with Europeans they soon found out the usefulness of iron. Pieces of bar iron were much sought after for the purpose of fashioning from them points for bird-spears, by means of filing. Iron gridirons—the old-fashioned kind—were highly prized, the bars thereof

– 461 –

being filed down into barbed points. One such lying now before me is 11 in. in length; another obtained was somewhat longer. The one in my possession is ¼ in. wide at the butt or lower end, and tapers (koekoeko) gradually to a fine point, a flattened point. The butt end is flat on one side that it may fit on the flattened end of the spear-shaft, where it would be lashed on. When the outer side of the base of the makoi was filed down, two slight ridges of the iron bar were left, one at the extremity and one an inch from it, so that the point could not be pulled free from the lashing. The barbs were formed in like manner as the bar was filed down. There are ten barbs, which also decrease in size towards the point of the makoi. These barbs are arranged in sets of two and three, points of barbs about ½ in. apart, but the space between the sets is from 1 in. to 1 ½ in. These spear points are admirably made, as were those of bone and hardwood fashioned during the Stone Age of the Maori.

Tarewa-tao is the name of a rimu tree that stands on the Purenga Block. It was so named because in former times fowlers were in the habit of hanging their bird-spears thereon. The trunk of the tree being concealed from view by a dense growth of climbing plants, the spears were thrust up through this growth, and were so hidden from view.

Tuhoe always lashed the makoi firmly on to the spear-shaft. I had read Heaphy's account of a spear-point that was detached by the struggles of the transfixed bird, and hence made inquiries. I have seen such an apparatus among the Indians of the Pacific Coast north of California, who use such in salmon-spearing. The point was lightly bound to the shaft, and was detached by the struggling fish, which could not, however, escape, because the point was connected with the shaft by a loose cord or lanyard.

In the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,” vol. xii, p. 35, Colonel Heaphy gives an account of his accompanying a party of Maori bird spearers into the forest at Belmont, near Wellington, in 1839. He says, “The spears are about 12 ft. long … The point of the weapon is of bone, and barbed. This bone is hung securely by a lanyard at its base to the spear-head, but when ready for use is lashed with thin thread alongside the wood. The wounded bird flutters with such force as would break the spear were the whole rigid, but as arranged the thread breaks, and the bird on the barbed bone falls the length of the lanyard, where its strugglings do not affect the spear, and it is easily taken by the fowler's left hand. … The spears were very slender, not more than half an inch in diameter at thickest part. … This mode of capturing birds, very soon after our arrival (in 1839) went out of vogue. The spears were exceedingly difficult to make, and the few that were finished were eagerly bought by the whites as curiosities.”

The spears here mentioned were very short ones (12 ft.), and much more slender than any I have seen, which were about 1 in. in thickness, and none shorter than about 18 ft. The colonel states that the pigeons were very tame, and were speared on low trees, the spearers “sometimes even ascending the lower branches of the tree.” This was poor spearing. Tuhoe and other tribes with their long spears, climbed to near the top of high forest-trees when spearing birds. I distinctly remember an old Native living at Wai-kohu, Poverty Bay, in 1874, who used one of these long spears for taking pigeons in the little bush at Puke-matai. He was camped with two Ngati-Porou sawyers, Hare and Mokena, who were cutting out the Lorne homestead. This old chap had a rude ladder (rou) fixed on the trunk of a lofty kahikatea. He used to climb up to the upper branches thereof

– 462 –

and squat on a limb to practise his sylvan art. He kindly offered to teach me how to spear birds; but the base of operations was too near heaven for my fancy.

But about the makoi maunu: In answer to a query, Mr. Percy Smith said, “The bird-spears were in use in Taranaki as late as 1857 or 1858, as I have been with the Maoris when they used them; but I cannot remember the lanyard and loose head to the spear.”

I then wrote to Tamati Ranapiri, of Ngati-Raukawa, about the matter. He replied that he had never seen or heard of the loose point and lanyard, adding, “E he ana te korero nei kei te kapokapotanga o te manu ina tu i te here, ka maunu te tara i te houhanga atu ki te here. Kaore, e he ana tena. He mea tino hohou te tara ki te here, kia tino mau.” (Quite wrong is the remark that the fluttering of the bird when speared causes the point to become detached from where it is lashed to the shaft. Not so; that is wrong. The point is lashed securely to the shaft.)

Some time after the above episode I received another letter from Ranapiri, who said, “Friend, after I had sent my second letter to you I met Alfred Knocks, of Otaki, and handed to him the letter you sent me inquiring about bird-spears, and he at once said, ‘The remarks of that European (Colonel Heaphy) are quite correct.’ He explained that when a lad he lived with his father at Wai-kanae. He was about ten years of age when one day he accompanied Major Edwards on a pigeon-shooting trip. They came across Wi Parata spearing pigeons up on a karaka tree, and he noticed that the bird-spear used was one with a detachable point, as described by Heaphy. He said also that the spears used by the Natives at Otaki in those days were quite different, the point being a fixture, lashed securely on to the shaft.”

This would seem to show that this manner of manipulating the bird-spear was employed only by the Atiawa Tribe, who lived at Wellington and Wai-kanae, and not by Ngati-Raukawa.

A fowler would but very rarely allow his spear to leave his hand when spearing a bird, but only when he could not quite reach the bird with the point of it and at the same time the spear was in a horizontal position, resting across several branches, so that there was no danger of it falling. He might then allow it to leave his hand as he made his thrust at the bird. Ka kohema atu te tao describes the action.

These long spears were so slender and pliant that they could only be used with a rest, the branches of the tree being used for that purpose. In travelling through the forest, they were held by the point and trailed behind the bearer.

When about to make a bird-spear the Natives always selected a tree that stood well within the forest, and not one growing on its outskirts, as the latter are more difficult to split, and the timber not so easy to work—a fact known to all bushmen. The time and labour expended in making a long bird-spear must have been appalling, when we remember the crude tools of stone used by the Maori. Mr. S. H. Drew, in a letter to the Whanganui Chronicle (in 1898), said, “Bird-spears were made that took years to make. Fancy, if you can, the patience as well as skill required to cut a spear 30 ft. long out of a tree. The tree had to be felled with stone axes and fire, and this long 30 ft. of lance must be as straight as an arrow and about 1 in. in diameter. Imagine the labour in chipping and paring down the tree to the size wanted, with stone tools. One false stroke and the work of months would be wasted. We have two of these long spears in the

– 463 –

Whanganui Museum, presented by Mr. Annabell—the only two, I think, that have been saved in the colony.”

In vol. x of the “Transactions of the New Zealand Institute.” Mr. Coleman Phillips speaks of long bird-spears made out of rata vine: “The pigeon-spear was made out of a piece of rata vine 30 ft. to 40 ft. in length, and more resembled a stiff piece of rope than a spear, it being perfectly flexible. … The head of this spear was formed out of one of the human leg-bones (fibula), both sharpened and jagged.”

Enough of bird-spears. Pass we on to—

The Kereru, or Pigeon, and how it was taken.

The pigeon was taken in former times by the following methods—spearing, tahei, and tutu; the two latter being methods of snaring. The mode of spearing has been explained. When speared in the breast the bird is helpless, and is easily secured. The expressions umanga and tarauma are both applied to birds, and are evidently connected with uma, the breast. For the breast is the most important part of a bird—most of the meat is on the breast. A bird is sometimes alluded to as tarauma nui, or big breast. Umanga nui is used also in other senses: Te umanga nui o nehera ko te whawhai (Fighting was the important item in ancient days).

The system of snaring known as tahei we have noted. A number of snares (running-loop snares) are fastened to a cord termed takeke, which is fastened to the branches of a tree. Great numbers of these loop snares would be arranged on a single tree. Again, snares were set for pigeons over the water of a wai tuhi. For pigeons (and other birds) get exceedingly thirsty when feeding on such food as berries of the toromiro tree. They frequently adjourn to adjacent pools or streams in order to drink, and the Maori took advantage of this habit. Small streams or pools would be covered with fronds of tree-ferns, save at suitable places for snare-setting, where rows of snares were so arranged that the birds put their heads through the slip-loops in order to drink.

The tutu method differed from the above, for in this case the snare was arranged on an artificial perch attached to a pole. This perch was termed a mutu, and when a pigeon alighted on it the watchful fowler pulled a cord and caught it by the legs. This process will be described more fully when we go forth to snare kaka. The mutu kereru, or portable pigeon-perch, was smaller than a mutu kaka and like a mutu koko. A tree on which birds are taken by this method is termed a tutu.

We have seen that a snare is termed mahanga in its entirety, but the specific term for the running noose alone is tarahanga:* “Koinei te tarahanga, ko te porohitatanga o te ti i mahia hai urunga mo te upoko o te manu, e mau ai te manu, ara hai kuhunga mo te upoko o te manu.”

Waka Kereru (Pigeon-troughs).

We have seen that, in former times, any little pools of water lying in hollows of trees, logs, or rocks that were resorted to by pigeons as drinking places were noted by fowlers and surrounded by a line of snares. These places were termed waituhi and ngongo. Now, the waka kereru, or pigeon troughs, served a similar purpose. They were wooden troughs about 4 ft. long, hewed out of a piece of wood about 9 in. wide, the trough or hollow

[Footnote] * Also tari.

– 464 –

being, say, 5 in. wide and 3 in. deep, running nearly the whole length of the timber. Durable timbers were preferred for such troughs, such as totara. These troughs were set up on ridges where pigeons gathered to feed on berries of the toromiro tree. They were put up on the tops of two posts about 5 ft. high, or were placed up in trees, sometimes secured on a sloping tree-trunk. They were filled with water, and were soon discovered and resorted to by the pigeons, because the miro berries make them exceedingly thirsty. Many loop snares are set all round the edge of the water, so that the birds thrust their heads through these slip-nooses as they drink, and are so caught.

These troughs were kept filled with water during the time that the pigeons were feeding on the berries of the adjacent toromiro. They were visited every morning by the owner, who secured the snared birds and rearranged the loops. When giving evidence in the Purenga Block case, Tamarau Waiari mentioned a famous ngongo near Te Rua-kuri, and said that it formerly belonged to an ancestor named Tama-ki-waiari, adding, “At that time the custom of making drinking-troughs for pigeons was unknown in this district. It was introduced from the Wai-kato about the year 1839.”

In travelling through this forest country one often sees these troughs, but they are seldom used now. I saw a few in use at Rua-tahuna a few years ago. Some of the old troughs are carved at each end, and many of them had special names assigned to them, such as Te Rua o Tarati, a trough at Huanui, on the Wai-potiki Block.

A peculiar custom obtained in former times of repeating a charm in order to cause the birds to become thirsty and so resort to the drinking-places, troughs, wai tuhi and wai tahei, where snares were set. This act was called a whaunu, which term seems to equal whakainu, to cause to drink. “He whaunu ki nga manu o te ngaherehere kia hiainu, kia haere mai ki te inu. He mea karakia.”

It takes an adept to fix up a pigeon-trough, to arrange the arorangi, paepae, turuturu, tekateka, takeke, whakaruru, and mahanga so that the birds will readily use it.

If a person, in traversing the woods, comes across a bird-trough with some snared birds thereon, which trough belongs to another person, he will, if a cautious character, pluck a branch and stick it in the ground near the trough, to show that, although passing by, he had no felonious intentions in visiting the place. This act is termed a tapui.

Taking the Kaka.

We have already given many notes concerning this bird, but have to say something now about the methods of taking it. There are three modes of taking the kaka—viz., the tutu process, the pae method, and spearing. The latter has already been explained. The tutu is similar to the like method of taking pigeons, but the mutu kaka is larger than the mutu used for pigeons and hence termed a mutu kereru. Illustrations of these mutu or perch snares may be seen in “Maori Art.” This mutu is a carefully made perch on which a snare, a running noose, is arranged. When a bird settles on the perch, the long cord attached to the noose snare is pulled by the fowler, and the bird is caught by the legs.

There are four different kinds of mutu kaka, each one differing from the other three in shape. These are the kapu, porae, huanui, and kira. They

– 465 –

are made from forked branches, but are cut down to the desired size and carefully shaped, showing no bark whatever. A rough perch, with the bark left on, is not termed a mutu, but a pewa—of which more anon. In making a mutu the main branch is cut about 8 in. or 9 in. long, and serves as the upright portion (though not always straight) of the apparatus, to which the end of the kokirikiri rod is lashed. This piece is so cut that the branch growing out from it, which serves as the perch for birds, is from ¾ in. to 2 ½ in. below the head of the upright. If you place a capital [ unclear: ] on its side, thus, [ unclear: ] , it will give you a crude idea of a mutu. The shank of the letter is the perch, and its head represents the upright piece. The lower part of the head of the letter is where it is lashed to the pole. A small knob of wood is left on the lower part so as to render the lashing more secure; it prevents any slipping. The mutu known as a kapu has a curved perch, concave; hence its name. The porae has also a curved perch, but the bend is upwards. The huanui has a straight perch, which is sometimes almost at right angles to the upright, but usually slants upwards, forming, where it is connected with the upright, a somewhat acute angle on the upper side. But few mutu are so constructed that the perch is at right angles to the upright, as such are only used to place on a vertical pole (hiwi) above the fowler's head as he stands on his platform. The kira perch is used for shy birds, the perch forming a very acute angle with the upright.

Picture icon

Mutu Kaka.
1. Toretore. 2. Ngingita. 3. Tohe. 4. Kaha. 5. Pekapeka. 6. Kokirikiri, or tia haere. 7. Lashing.

The process is as follows. The fowler proceeds to a tree used as a tutu, and the same trees are so used year after year. He has some apparatus for climbing the tree, which apparatus is renewed or strengthened each season. It may be a rude ladder (rou) lashed to the trunk, or a bridge or ladder of long poles and connecting ties or cross-pieces, constructed from the branches of an adjoining tree across to the tutu tree. He ascends his tree and stations himself on a rude platform, termed a papanui, which is erected on and secured to the branches. It is probably situated near the centre of the tree-top—that is, near the trunk—from whence he can manipulate several mutu. Or there may be two fowlers on one tree, each operating several perches.

Now, on this tree-there are a certain number of poles of mapou or totara lashed in a permanent manner to the branches with lashings of the durable aka-tea, a climbing plant. These poles are termed hiwi, and their ends project outside the foliage of the tree. The upper end of each pole is notched, he mea tokomanga a runga. A few of these hiwi are secured in a vertical manner, but the majority are placed at various angles. Some are at such a low angle as to be not far from horizontal. It is on these latter that the mutu known as kira are used, which explains the peculiar angle of the perch already noted—it is that the perch be horizontal. These hiwi are termed pouaka by some tribes. Where a sound dead branch of the tree happens

– 466 –

to project in a suitable manner it is utilised as a hiwi, being termed a hiwi ariki. Each hiwi has its proper name, according to the angle at which it is placed, and each one has its own form of mutu for use thereon. A hiwi placed in a vertical position is termed a pou tauru, and sometimes pou whakaara. The mutu termed a porae is used on this pole. The hiwi used for the kira perch is longer than others, so that it may project further from the tree. For this is used for taking shy birds, which are generally female birds (karawa), says my informant. Thus the kira perch is also attached to a longer rod than are other perches.

Each mutu or perch is lashed on to the end of a light rod termed a kokirikiri or tia-haere. This rod is of considerable length. A small stick is secured in the lashings so that it forms a crotch, termed a pekapeka. The perches were, before being used, always exposed to the weather for some time, that they might acquire an old, weatherbeaten look, otherwise the birds would not settle on them. They were usually made of maire, or kahikatea, or totara. Many of these mutu were ornamented with carvings, the upper part of the upright piece often carved into the form of a grotesque head. There is often some carving on the knob (termed toretore) at the outer end of the perch. The perch is sometimes notched lightly (whakakaka). Four holes are made in each mutu. One is bored through the upper part of the upright piece, and through this passes the snare-cord. Another is pierced through the end of the perch, just under the knob. Pieces of aka (vines or thin roots), or the quill of a feather, are inserted in this hole, the two ends left projecting an equal distance on either side. These ends are then bent forward along the perch and there secured by a slight lashing. At the base of the perch a hole is made in each side of the upright, and similar pieces of quill thrust therein. These ngingita, as they are termed, are for the purpose of holding the loop snare (tohe) in position until it is pulled therefrom by the fowler when he snares a bird.

The name of the permanent poles (hiwi) lashed to the branches of the snaring-tree is an expression having two meanings, as bearing on our present subject. Hiwi means “old-looking, weatherbeaten,” as of timber or other items, and also it equals kohiwi as implying a hard core or heart. A tree or branch from which all sapwood has decayed and fallen, leaving merely the hard, sound heartwood, is so termed. I heard a Native say, “Whakairia te mutu kia hiwia.” He was speaking of a new snaring-perch, and meant that it should be exposed that it become old-looking. The permanent poles were probably termed hiwi because dry hiwi branches of trees were first used for the purpose.

Behold, then, our merry fowler ensconced upon his stage far up among the branches of a mighty tree. He has with him his mutu kaka or parrot-perches of four different forms, each lashed on the end of a light rod. He proceeds to arrange the snares thereon and place them in position. The running noose which forms the snare is a light cord of two strands. Each strand is made of twisted flax-fibre, and the two strands are then twisted together. This loop snare is called a tohe, and whakatohe means the making and arranging of the snare. The snare is arranged by laying it along on top of the perch and allowing it to hang down on either side. The free end of the cord is then passed through a hole in the upper part of the upright piece of the mutu, and to it is attached a long cord of twisted flax-fibre, termed a kaha by Tuhoe, but aho by some tribes. In order to prevent the snare from being disarranged it is pressed in under the four ngingita, two on each side of the perch. Both kaha and tohe have been hung in smoke for some

– 467 –

time, which causes them to last two seasons. If not so treated, then they last only one season.

The snares being fixed, the fowler proceeds to elevate the mutu upon the hiwi. He takes up one of the kokirikiri (rods)—one that has, we will say, a porae perch lashed to it. The perch of this mutu, although curved, may be said to be at a right angle to the upright part, hence it must be put on a vertical hiwi, or pou tauru. The operator thrusts the rod up until the crotch near the perch reaches the top of the hiwi, or permanent pole. He allows the crotch to settle in the notch or fork at the top of the hiwi. Thus the rod is suspended from the pole, and the perch, with its snare, projects above the top of the hiwi pole. The lower end of the rod is within reach of the operator on his platform, and the long cord also hangs down within his grasp. The other rods and attached perch snares are then suspended from their respective hiwi, the butt ends of the rods and the cords being within reach of the fowler.

When a bird settles on one of the perches, the operator seizes the cord thereof and gives it a smart pull. The downward tug on the cord plucks the loop snare from under the ngingita and jerks it quickly upwards towards the hole through which the cord passes. But the descendant of Tu-mataika is standing on the perch. He aha koa! The saints cannot save him. The tohe or looped cord catches him by the legs, above the claws, and rudely yanks him up against the upright. That kaka is doomed to swift, awful, and certain death. He will make no “hot-foot get-away.”

Having pulled the cord, the fowler grasps the lower end of the rod, and, lifting it clear of the forked hiwi, takes it down. To keep the cord taut and so prevent the bird's escape he either keeps the strain on the cord with his hand, or fastens it round the base of the rod. He grasps the kaka by the back of the neck, high up, to avoid being bitten by it, and kills it by biting the top of its head, thus crushing the skull.

The term whakakatohe means “to arrange the snares”—apparently a synonym for whakatohe.

This method of taking kaka is still employed at Maunga-pohatu, in the interior. I saw a Native taking kaka in this way at Rahiti-roa a few years ago. He sat on the ground at the base of the tree, smoking his pipe, waiting for Tu-mataika to settle on a perch. His cords were very long, 50 ft. or 60 ft., so as to reach the ground.

We have already shown how these fowlers utilised decoy birds when snaring kaka. The best decoy for the tutu method is a tarariki (or tatariki). The best for the pae method is the tata-apopo, a male bird. Female and common kaka are too timid to make good decoys. They become alarmed when many birds collect, with much noise, to the spot; they do not act as they should, scratching the ground, or gnawing at a bone or something similar.

The pigeon and koko are taken by the above method, but not to the same extent as is the kaka. The latter bird was principally taken by the above tutu process, whereas pigeons were mostly taken by the tahei method and troughs. The koko was taken by tahei on trees, but not on drinking-troughs.

The mutu is termed a tumu by some tribes.

No decoy birds are used in taking the pigeon and koko, for they would be useless. The decoy kaka attracts others either by scratching the ground and acting as though finding an abundance of food thereby, or by screeching, or gnawing at a piece of bone provided by the fowler. These decoy parrots were provided with a perch of hardwood, to which they were secured by a

– 468 –

cord round the leg, which, however, gave them liberty to walk up and down their pole perch. Were this perch of soft wood, then the parrot would soon demolish it with his powerful beak.

The act of pulling the cord that snares a bird on a mutu is described by the word takiri. “Ka mate takiri kaka, ka ora karikari aruhe.”

The Pae Method.

Among some tribes this method is styled taki. It is conducted not at dizzy heights on huge forest-trees, but on the ground. At a suitable spot, selected by past-masters in the wiles of the fowler, a pole is secured to two trees, and another pole is placed with one end against it and the other resting on the ground. This latter slanting pole is placed at such an angle as will render it easy for a kaka to walk down it. At the base of this pae a small shelter is erected as a means of concealing the fowler—who squats within it—from the birds hovering overhead, or descending the pole. The booth is made by sticking branches in the ground and covering them with fronds of tree-ferns. The decoy kaka is secured at the base of the sloping pole, where it employs itself, if well trained, in scratching among the leaves and rubbish on the ground, or in gnawing at a piece of bone, and making the harsh sounds peculiar to these birds at such times. The other kaka are attracted by the cries of the decoy, and come hovering overhead. They see the decoy scratching out food, apparently, on the ground, or hear it gnawing at the bone. Gradually they come nearer to take part in the feast. Some settle on adjacent trees and watch the decoy, some descend and settle on the cross-pole. At last one begins to walk down the slanting pole. As they slowly descend the pae these birds always keep turning from side to side. When the bird at last descends the pole to a point opposite the shed, the fowler takes advantage of the right moment, when its head is turned away in the other direction, and quickly grasps it, pulls it inside his shelter. kills it, and waits for another to descend. If the fowler does not possess a decoy bird he has to decoy one himself, which he does, in the case of the kaka, by imitating its cry, but not using a call-leaf, as is done in many cases. He will utilise the first bird caught as a decoy.

We will now describe another kind of pae, whereon such birds as the koko, tihe, rearea, tieke, kokako, and tataeto were taken.

Taking the Koko.

This bird was taken by six different methods—viz., the pae, tutu, tahei, maiere, puna u ai, and the whakamoe.

This pae is a pole fixed in a sloping position to two trees or upright poles fixed in the ground. It is erected at a suitable place in the forest, and at the lower end of the perch is erected a small shelter for the fowler, as used in the case of the kaka, to conceal him from the birds. The fowler is armed with a stick termed a hauhau manu, or “bird-striker.” It is a round, smoothened piece of white manuka about 5 ft. in length, which, when made, is hung up in a hut over a fire to season, kia pukeko, ara kia tawhito, as my informant put it. No decoy, either a mokai, as in taking the kaka, or maimoa, as in taking the pihipihi and porete, is used. The fowler relies entirely on the pepe, or call-leaf, in order to attract the birds and induce them to settle on the pae. A leaf of the raurekau tree is used for the purpose. The wily fowler squats within his shelter, stick in hand, and imitates the cry, or one of the cries, of the koko, or whichever of the above-mentioned birds

– 469 –

he is desirous of taking. The striking-stick is held resting against the perch pole, and when a bird alights on the latter the fowler strikes it down with a vigorous sweep of his stick, which runs along the side of the perch.

As for the tutu mode of taking the koko, it is the same as for the kaka, save that the mutu or perch used is smaller, and has sometimes some light coloured moss or lichen attached to it in order to increase its resemblance to a dry tree-branch. The tahei method has been described. As for the maiere, or spear, the koko is taken in this manner at times when it cannot be attracted by the call-leaf, as is the case when it is feeding on the berries of the mako. The puna wai (water-spring) is another striking method. The fowler selects a pool of water or a stream in the forest whereat these birds are in the habit of drinking. In the case of a creek, he leaves a suitable pool, and covers the rest of the water for some distance with fronds of tree-ferns, so that the birds will come to drink at the space left open for them. A pole is stuck in the ground so as to lean slantingly over the waterhole, and near the pole a rude shelter conceals the fowler. The birds come early in the morning to drink, and alight on the sloping pole, from which they are struck down by the fowler's stick. It will be observed that in all these striking methods the pole serves two purposes—not only is it a perch for the birds, but also a guide for the stick (hauhau manu) when the blow is delivered. In making the strike, the stick is run along the pole perch.

About the whakamoe method of taking the koko: This was practised on frosty winter nights, and was a mere taking by hand, the birds being so benumbed by the cold that they made no attempt to escape. Fowlers go forth into the forest in the evening in order to locate the roosting-places of the koko (tui). When birds are so detected, the searchers back away quietly so as not to alarm them. The next thing done is to mark a trail that may be followed by the fowlers later on in the night. This marking is effected by the pawhati—that is, by breaking down tops of shrubs and ends of branches—not breaking them completely off, but leaving them hanging. Late in the night the men return to take the birds. Two persons usually go together. One says, “Me haere taua ki te rama i ta taua whakamoe.” They set forth, taking a torch with them. On arriving at the roosting-place one man remains on the ground and holds the torch, the other ascends the tree and climbs to where the birds are roosting. He then simply takes the birds off their perch by hand, and puts them in a basket he has brought with him. The birds, say my informants, do not awake or become startled. They are very fat, and benumbed with cold—affected by the frost. The intense cold paralyses them. Ka tikona e te huka. Should a bird fall to the ground, it will cry out, but cannot fly. The man below will secure it.

In some parts a trail is marked by means of laying down fronds of the silver tree-fern (kaponga) or leaves of rangiora or wharangi, the underneath side of all these being placed uppermost, as they are white, and can be seen at night, very often without the help of a torch.

When using a call-leaf, fowlers carried a number of such leaves with them. They were carried in the waistbelt termed a tatua pupara.

The Pewa.

This was another bird-taking implement, somewhat resembling a mutu. It was used for taking the tihe, when that bird was fat, in the winter season. It seems to have been hooked on to any tree-branch, and not on hiwi fixed by man, as in the case of the mutu kaka. A light rod, termed ti haere and

– 470 –

tia haere, has a short piece of wood, curved like the kapu perch for kaka, attached to it near the top by a lashing. This is the pewa or perch. A stay-piece, called a kake, supports it, one end being secured to the outer end of the pewa, and the other to the ti haere. A crotch-piece, known as the turi, crosses the kake, and is secured to it and the base of the perch. This serves as a hook whereby the apparatus is suspended from a branch. A poa, or bait, is attached to the outer end of the perch, and consists of forest-flowers, those of a climbing-plant resembling the rata blossom being preferred. The pewa and mahunga (upper end of tia haere) have moss secured to their surfaces to make them resemble tree-branches, to appear natural to the birds. The tohe or loop snare and cord (aho) are the same as those for a mutu kaka, but are slighter. Moreover, there are no ngingita on a pewa. The loop is kept in place by being lapped across the underside of the kake. One side of the loop is brought down on either side of the perch and under the kake, where on bight is pulled through the other and so left. When a bird settles on the perch and the fowler pulls the cord, the tohe or loop is disengaged, and catches the bird just as it does on a mutu. A piece of a small branch of a toatoa tree is preferred for making a perch, as it is said that birds are very particular as to what they settle on. The toatoa branchlet has a whekewheke (rough) appearance, said to be desirable in their eyes.

Picture icon

The Pewa.
1. Ti haere. 2. Turi. 3. Kake. 4. Pewa. 5. Tohe (loop snare). 6. Poa. 7. Mahunga. 8. Aho.

Such are the various ways by which birds were taken in the forests of Tuhoeland in former times. By such ingenious wiles did the Child of Tamatea secure a “square meal.” He knew by long experience just how, and when, and where to take each species of bird. At any time he knew where each species was to be found, what fruit or other food it was living on, and whether or not it would respond to a lure call, or must be speared, or taken by mutu or tahei. He knew just when to lay aside the snare and take up the spear. He knew all the calls, habits, tricks, wiles, foods, and ways of the feathered Children of Tane. For stern necessity had taught him all these and many more things. It is said that necessity has no laws. On the contrary, she has a whole bunch of them.

An omitted remark: When a fowler is engaged in taking a certain species of bird by any of the methods described, do not imagine that he scorns any other species. Not so. Any bird that settles on his pewa or mutu, or comes within reach of his spear or striking-stick, is taken. All is bird to the fowler.

Mr. Colenso mentions two kinds of bird-snares that were known by the names of whakoau and pare-kauae. Another name for a perch was taeke manu, apparently a form of mutu or pewa. None of these terms seem to be employed among the Tuhoe Tribe.

– 471 –

We have seen that a feeding-ground or resort of the kaka is termed a whakarua. But few other birds are seen at such a place. A feeding-ground where several species gather, as kaka, koko, and pigeons, and frequent the same trees or place, is termed a hapua. It seems to depend on the kinds of trees growing at any place as to what birds will frequent it.

Birds are much easier to take at some times than they are at others. They sometimes seem to neglect precautions when on a very fruitful tree, and do not, as usual, keep glancing about and turning from side to side. At such a time they soon get fat, and one says, “Kua tu ruruhi te manu, kaore e kanae nga kanohi, kaore e whetete.” A papauma tree (Griselinia littoralis) at Te Wharau is a tree which is frequented by koko in the above manner, and they get fat on its berries: hence it is known as turuhunga.

Counting Game.

In counting birds, or baskets of produce, the Maori always counted in pairs—that is to say, he employed the term “brace,” as we do. The term for “brace” is pu. Kotahi pu = one brace. To express an odd number he had several terms, as kehe, taukehe, tautahi, &c. Thus ka rua pu, taukehe, implied five birds, two brace and an odd one. But in counting koko, which is a small bird, four, or sometimes six, were reckoned to a pu. Thus a pu or pair became two brace, really. The expression whakamoe was sometimes used to denote the counting of game: “Kai te whakamoe a Paora i nga manu o te taha.” In former times the Maori had a semi-vigesimal system of counting: thus, hokorua pu was twenty brace, or forty; hokotoru pu was thirty brace, or sixty birds. In many cases any balance between one score and another was not specified, but a person simply said “threescore-odd” as for any number between sixty and eighty. Or fowlers would continue their snaring or spearing in order to make up an even number, as two score, or three score. But this subject of counting has been dealt with in a recent volume of the Transactions; hence we here eschew it.

Puhore.

Now, this is a serious matter, this puhore. Observe: when going a hunting, fowling, or fishing, there are about five thousand items or acts which, if they occur or do not occur, if they are committed or not committed, will assuredly bring you bad luck in your venture. All these items, acts, or happenings are aitua (unlucky). Of a variety, their name is legion. There are also a certain number of items that are marie, or lucky signs. These, however, appear to be much less numerous than the unlucky ones, more's the pity. We will not pain you by giving five thousand puhore, but merely a few as examples, as also a few illustrations of marie. We will not repeat some already given in preceding pages.

If a hunter dreams that he meets a handsome woman, that is a lucky sign, as it surely ought to be. He will assuredly slay a fine fat pig, or secure many birds or fish. Such a dream is termed a moe tamahine.

To dream that one sees human spirits is a moe papa, and a puhore, or unlucky sign.

It is a puhore to yawn while fishing: you will have poor luck.

If, when going a-fowling, you stub the left foot, hurt it against a root, that is a tutuki tamaki, and a puhore.

– 472 –

To dream that you are travelling and see a fence across the track in front of you is unlucky.

If, when going hunting, your dog stops on the right side of the track, it is a sign of good luck; if on the left side, then bad luck awaits you. Or if a fisherman stops often on his way to the fishing-place he will have bad luck. Or if he runs into many cobwebs spun across the track he will be unlucky. If the first fish that takes the bob or hook is not landed, but escapes, that brings bad luck for the fisherman, who returns home at once—no use remaining longer. If the first fish seen (in taking the kokopu) is secured, it is thrown aside; not kept, nor yet returned to the water. That act will bring good luck. If the signs of ill success only affect some of the party, then those persons will quit fishing, but will carry the torches for the others.

To start in one's sleep and throw out both arms is a puhore. To dream that one catches two birds at once is lucky. Again, if a person partakes of tawaka, an edible species of agaricus, it will be useless for him to go a birding, for he will have no luck thereat.

Kati! We will cease from quoting these signs and tokens of yore; the reader shall be spared from perusing the remaining thousands.

It is said by Natives that the torea (bird) knows when a storm is approaching, and at such times changes its cry to “Keria! keria!”

Young of Birds.

A few remarks: The young of water-birds, as of the parera, whio, and weweia, are termed kawaiwai. The term kuao (young of animals) is sometimes applied to them, perhaps before they leave the nest. “Ka whanau nga kuao o te parera, ka haere ki te wai kau ai, ka kiia i kona te ingoa he kawaiwai.”

The young of land-birds are termed pi while they are being fed by the parent birds, before they leave the nest; but after they leave the nest and are able to seek food they are called kukari and hukari until full-grown. Some say, however, that kukari is applied only to the young of the koko and rearea at the above-specified time. The term punua is sometimes applied to young land-birds: “Ka hopukia te punua koko, ka akona ki te korero, ka whakarawa.” The term pitaketake is applied to the young of forest-birds before they leave the nest.

Eggs are termed hua—in full, hua manu, or “bird-fruit.” The shell thereof is papapa, the yolk is toua and tohua (cf. tohua, “to be conceived”).

A bird's nest is termed kohanga and kowhanga. A fortified place, a pa, was also often called a kohanga, wherein the people dwelt in security. The dangers to life were outside the nest, a fact that came home to the famous chief Te Mai-taranui, what time he uttered his oft-quoted saying, “He manu hou ahau, he pi ka rere,” and sank in death by the roaring falls of Te Reinga.

The nesting-period of birds is the month Hakihea of the Maori year, which is about December.

The wings of a bird are termed paihau by the Tuhoe folk, and sometimes pakihau. Other words for “wing” are parirau, harirau, and pakau. The local word for a bird's tail is kotore, while other terms for the same are kumaeko, hurumaeko, and kururemu; whereas the tail of an animal is whiore or hiore, and that of a fish huki or hiku.

– 473 –

Feathers.

Feathers are termed huruhuru by the Tuhoe people, but, as this word also means “hair,” the word manu is often added (huruhuru manu) to make matters plain. Another term for “feather” is hou, which does not seem to be used in the Tuhoe district. Plumes, such as were worn in the hair in former times, are termed piki, rau, raukura, pare, and kotore. The last expression is applied to long tail-feathers used as ornaments.

The quill of a feather is called tuaka. The long wing-feathers are termed kira. The long plumes of the albatros (toroa) are called makaka. There are four long feathers or plumes in each wing of the kotuku. These are named the tatarahake, whaitiri, te rau o titapu (or simply titapu), and—but the fourth we are not sure of. Another authority, but not so reliable a one, says the first one is called kapu and the other three kira. The titapu is a tapu plume. Highly prized also were the very fine, delicate feathers that overlap the long tail-feathers of the kotuku. These are termed awe kotuku. Some further names are given at page 302 of “Maori Art.”

The Singing of Birds.

In speaking of a bird's note or call, a Native usually uses the term tangi as both verb and noun, but there are several special words to denote the singing of birds. Korihi, “to sing” (of birds only), is one of these, albeit I have not heard it used by the Tuhoe people. The word ko is used by Tuhoe to denote the singing of birds at dawn and eve (about sunset) only. It is not used to denote their singing at any other time. As a rule they emit different notes during the daytime. It implies only the grand concerts given by birds of many species at those times, but more especially the morning one. And how fine they were in former years any one who camped within our forests in the sixties of last century knows full well. Even at Rua-tahuna, four or five years ago, when the koko were numerous, and the bell-bird was reappearing, the morning song of hundreds of birds was a delightful thing to hear. These morning and evening concerts were called the Mara o Tane in former times. This use of the word mara (first “a” long, please) is singular.

The term ko is often heard here: “Ka ko te manu, ka whakatika matau” (When the birds began their morning song we started); and “Kaore ano i ko te manu” (The birds have not yet begun to sing).

The word korohiko seems to bear the same meaning as ko, but is not so often heard. Said my informant, “Ka oho te manu i te ata, ka tangi, he korohiko tena.” We note its use in song:—

Ko te moe a te manu
E korohiko noa ra
I te ata hapara.

Koko, to chant, apparently comes from this root ko, as also the bird name koko, presumably on account of its song-power, which is great. An old-time saying is, “Ko te moe a te manu, au ana te moe ki te peka o te rakau; ko te moe a te tangata tutaka rerewa tonu i te taua” (The sleep of birds—their sleep is sound upon the tree-branch, unlike the sleep of man, ever fearing an attack). And again, “Ma te huruhuru te manu ka rere, ma te kakahu te tangata ka tika ai” (By means of its feathers does a bird fly; by means of clothing is man made presentable). This saying is often given a different ending: “Waihoki ma te kai te tangata ka ora ai” (In like manner, by means of food does a man retain life).

– 474 –

“Ka riro ake ana te weka i te mahanga, e kore e hoki mai” (The weka that escapes from a snare will not return). A man who escapes from a warparty will not put himself in its way again.

Moe araara, moe araara
Ka tau te manu ki runga ki te pae
Kohere, kohera, ka tiritiri, ka waewae.

This item appears in some notes handed to me by Mr. G. H. Davies. It applies to the restlessness of people expecting an attack; but the last line is not clear to me.

“Te Weraiti umu tahu noa”; “Te Wai-iti umu tahu noa”: At Te Weraiti, and Te Wai-iti, two forest valleys at Rua-tahuna, food, such as birds, was so plentiful that many ovens would be seen filled at one time, indicative of a land of plenty. The saying, “He tutae koingoingo,” is applied to persons who depend on birds as a tasty relish for vegetable foods. In some seasons birds are numerous, at others they are scarce.

When fishers or hunters brought in a large haul of fish, fowls, or rats, the women proceed to titihawa—that is, to dance, caper about, and chant an umere, or song of joy. A portion of such fish or game set aside for a family or subclan is termed an inati. To apportion food in this manner is whakainati.

The origin or parent of the weweia bird, says Pio, was one Rukuruku. The parera is a descendant of Moe-tahuna; the kawau is the offspring of Noho-tumutumu.

Preserving Birds.

The Ahi Matiti.

In former times vast numbers of birds were preserved for future use. When the season opened, a number of birds of the first take were set aside for the ritual feast already described, but the bulk of the birds were consigned to the ahi matiti. When Matariki appears, then the ahi matiti is kindled, for it is about that time that the bird season opens.

The first process was that of plucking the birds, after which came the makiri. To makiri a bird is to take out the bones. This is always done before the birds are potted down, except in the case of small birds, as we have noted in the case of the pihipihi. The birds are kept a few days before being makiritia, as the bones are then more easily taken out—the flesh strips off them easier. The operator first grasps the wings and pulls hard at them to straighten them out. (This boning process, by the way, is generally carried out by women.) Next a cut is made round the base of the wings in order to sever the flesh. In these times a knife is used for cutting, but formerly the beak of a kaka was used for that purpose, and the operators' thumb-nails were allowed to grow long so as to be the more serviceable in stripping the flesh off the bones. A slit is now made down the back of the neck and the skin stripped off the neck. The lower beak of the bird is torn off and left attached to the neck-skin. The upper beak, head, neck, wings, legs, and body of the bird are all connected when the flesh is stripped from the frame. The flesh is stripped downwards off the breast, and the legs are pulled through it. The skin of the neck is twisted and tied, so as to leave the lower beak sticking out, for when the prepared birds of each person are counted, it is these bills that are tallied off. They also serve to show the species of bird—no one can palm off an inferior bird as a pigeon. People used to collect for this bird-potting work at some hamlet decided

– 475 –

upon, and many would take part in the makiri work. A good deal of rivalry obtained as to who would prepare the most birds. The refuse of the birds, insides and bones (which would have yet a little flesh adhering to them) were cooked as food for the workers. The birds so prepared were packed tightly in baskets, which were put under water in a stream, where they were left until thoroughly cold; otherwise they would not keep long after being potted. The process of packing the birds in layers in baskets is termed whakamata. A basket of these prepared birds is termed a poutaka; but that name would not be applied to the basket when empty—the basket is a kete. Kiwi, kereru, kaka, kakapo, and koko were all preserved in the manner we are describing.

When taken from the water the birds are taken to the ahi matiti, the matiti fire, at which they are cooked and potted. Here three or four poles are stuck in the ground in an upright position, each upright pole having notches cut in it on the side next the fire. The birds are spitted on long rods, and when the first rod is full it is laid in the bottom notches of the uprights. The next rodful is placed in the next notches above the first, and so on, each layer of birds somewhat overlapping the row below it. The ahi matiti is a strong, clear fire, and is kept burning a little distance in front of the matiti, as the arrangement of rods is termed. A wooden trough is placed immediately below the rows of birds. One end of the trough is lower than the other, and under this end is placed a large wooden kumete, or bowl, which is sunk in the ground.

The heat of the fire melts the fat of the birds, which fat drips into the trough and runs thence into the large bowl below. Red-hot stones are placed in this bowl until the fat therein boils. The birds when cooked are taken off the rods and packed in gourds (taha)—calabashes. The boiling fat is then poured over them until the pot is full. The word kohua describes the stone boiling process. Food so preserved is termed huahua—huahua manu if birds, and huahua kiore if rats.

Coast-dwelling tribes used vessels made of seaweed wherein to preserve the titi bird, but the inland folk used the calabash for all potted game.

These birds, &c., preserved in fat have ever been reckoned a great delicacy by the Natives, and the principal item of a feast. Such food was often placed before visitors of rank, though apparently not always, inasmuch as a common saying among Tuhoe is, “Waiho ma te pirau kainga a Te Winirehe” (Leave it for the decrepit old people of Te Winirehe). This man was a tribal ancestor, he who smote the sons of Manawa at Oputara, and he objected to the huahua of his hamlet being given to visitors, and so kept it for the decrepit old folk of his home. But even he would place plenty of luscious huahua before the members of a party of bloodavenger who came to him as allies in war-time.

The word matiti seems to imply numbers, as in “Matiti ana te haere o te koko ki runga ki te kahika.”

When describing the work at the ahi matiti, a Native said, “Tokorua tohunga kai te whaunu atu ki te ahi.” Two adepts repeated certain charms at the matiti fire to cause it to have its desired effect—that the fat of the birds might melt and run readily into the trough.

There is some evidence that stone bowls or troughs were used in the north for stone boiling.

The hue, or gourd, was formerly grown to a considerable extent. In the kotawa stage of growth, when young and soft, they were eaten, but

– 476 –

many were allowed to mature. These matured ones were used for bowls, water-vessels, &c. The bowls, formed of half a hue cut through the middle, were termed ipu or oko. The water-vessels and potting-vessels were termed taha. These had merely the top cut off—that is, the small end, where the hue had grown on the plant. The species used for taha grows in a pearshaped form. The opening in the vessel is large enough for a person's hand to pass through, and is called the ngutu iti, or small-lipped.

When a vessel is filled with potted food, the small exposed surface is covered with leaves, &c., and in rare cases a kopani or wooden cover or lid of carved wood was used. When brought from the storehouse to serve as a centre-piece at some feast, a carved wooden neck-piece was placed on top of the vessel, which cylindrical piece is termed a tuki. The vessel was mounted on three or four carved wooden legs (waewae taha), and ornamented with bunches of feathers.

The tukohu method of cooking birds and rats consisted of putting them in a bowl (oko) and then placing the bowl in a stream oven, by which means the fat was saved. These birds or rats were so cooked either boned or with the bones left in.

In regard to the taking of fresh-water fish, and the many curious customs, &c., pertaining to such work, such notes have already appeared in the Transactions in an article on the food products of Tuhoeland, hence we will not insert them here. It was a bad arrangement to put such notes under that heading, but we bush-folk are not versed in the rules of compiling ethnographical matter.

There are, however, a few fish notes that have come to hand since the above article was published. These few we proceed to give.

“The Ngai-Turanga clan, in former times, had rights to the waters only of the Tauranga (Wai-mana) River—that is, fishing rights—between Otara and Okehu, but had no rights to the land on either bank, at that part.”

In respect to eel-weirs (pa tuna), but little is known of this matter by Tuhoe, inasmuch as they have no good eel-streams in their district. The extensive weirs constructed in some places were made under the supervision of adepts at such work. Ranapiri, of Ngati-Raukawa, says that the first post or upright stake on the right of the entrance of a weir is called the pou reinga. It is at this post that the mauri is located. After the weir is finished and ready for use, no eel-pots are set for the first few nights, or the eels will cease to pass through in numbers.

One occasionally sees the double hinaki or eel-pot, having an entrance funnel (akura) at each end. The last one I saw was made of wire netting of a small mesh. May Tangaroa have mercy on the maker thereof!

The puhi is a species of kokopu, a fresh-water fish. It is a very quiet fish, not easily frightened, and is easily taken. It can be pushed into the net with the foot. The titarakura, a small fish, is sometimes called titikura.

Ngaio is the name of a kind of worm, a parasite sometimes found in the kokopu fish. A similar parasite is occasionally found in the kaka bird, which is in very poor condition at such a time.

The Huna, Ari-matanui, and three Tamatea nights of the moon are deemed unlucky or unsuitable for river-fishing.

The disappearance of the upokororo fish from the Whakatane River is said to have been brought about by an old warlock named Kaaho, who drove them away by means of his magic arts.

– 477 –

The cause of the great scarcity of eels in the Rua-tahuna district may possibly be the difficulty of ascending the rapids just above the mouth of the Pu-kareao Stream.

The upokororo is given as Retropinna upokororo in the third volume of the Transactions, page 134.

Some interesting notes on eels, papanoko, toitoi, inanga, atutahi, and upokororo fish, by Captain G. Mair, may be found in vol. xii of the Transactions of this Institute. This name, atutahi, as that of a river-fish, is of interest, because atutahi is a star-name and often appears in the form of atutahi-ma-rehua, while Rehua is the star Antares. And Rehua is said to have been the origin of the inanga or whitebait. Captain Mair states that the atutahi is a large kind of inanga.

Pakarara and kaiherehere are given as names of species of eel.

For information concerning the fresh-water fish of Tuhoeland see vol. xxxv of these Transactions.

We here give a few belated notes on divers trees and plants that should have been inserted in Part I of these notes.

Maire.—The black maire, or narrow-leaved species, is termed maire-rau-riki. It is either Olea montana or O. Cunninghamii. The white maire (?Olea lanceolata) is here known as maire-rau-nui and maire-roro. The berries of this tree are eaten by birds.

The houhi ongaonga is Plagianthus betulinus.

The tanguru is Olearia furfuracea.

The tree here termed tawai, or tawai-rau-nui, is apparently Fagus fusca, while another species, known as tawai-rau-riki, found at lower altitudes, is possibly F. Solandri. Huge trees of the former species are found on the high-lying ranges.

The tawhiwhi is a climbing-plant which bears red blossoms. These flowers were often fastened to the perches of bird-traps as a lure, as on the pewa.

The nahonaho is a plant.

Of Eugenia maire Mr. Percy Smith says, “The almost universal name of this tree on the west coast of the Island is tu-huhi, though the people know it also as maire-tawhake, and better still as whawhakou.”

The fruit of the tutu was sometimes preserved for the owners by means of a rahui, which warned persons against taking such fruit. A grove of these trees at Ohae, Ruatoki, was known as Ure-takohekohe. It was protected in the above manner during the fruiting season, and woe betide any person who interfered with it! He would probably be killed.

Tutae-whetu should, I believe, be more properly termed korokoro-whetu. According to Colenso it is Ileodictyon cibarium.

Kahoho is another name of the poporo or poroporo, a Solanum.

Kekakeka is the water-plant commonly termed duckweed.

Kohuwai is a moss-like water-plant.

Kokomuka-taranga is given in Cheeseman's Flora as Veronica parviflora, but the species known by the former name among Tuhoe has leaves 4 ½ in. and 5 in. long, which does not agree with the “1–2 ½ in.” given in the Flora.

The kotara I believe to be Olearia Cunninghamii.

The kuwawa, a water-plant, is Eleocharis sphacelata. It is also known as wawa, kuta, and kutakuta.

The mapere is Gahnia setifolia.

– 478 –

Leaves of the species of Astelia termed mauri were in former times woven into fillets and worn by girls.

The raupeti is Solanum nigrum. The berries and leaves thereof are eaten by the Natives, the latter being cooked as greens.

The retoreto is a water-plant, Potamogeton Cheesemanii.

The ti para, a cultivated species of Cordyline, is certainly not C. terminalis, says Mr. Cheeseman. The latter is difficult to rear even about Auckland, so easily affected is it by frost. The Rev. H. Williams informs me that the ti para of Tuhoe is found at Moa-whango. Mr. Percy Smith states that it resembles the ti tawhiti. Colenso mentions ti para as an unnamed species of Cordyline. A plant growing in my garden at Rua-toki has now (August, 1909) a stem about 30 in. high, and has about a dozen young plants or shoots growing up from the base thereof. The plant is four years old.

The tumingi is probably the same as mingimingi.

The maru (both vowels long) is Sparganium antipodum.

The name upoko-tangata is loosely applied locally to both Mariscus ustulatus and Scirpus maritimus.

The tamatea appears to be termed “nigger-head” by settlers.

The outside leaves of harakeke, Cordyline, and of all plants, &c., the leaves of which are termed wha, are called pakawha.

Old superstitions die hard. When a Tuhoe Native plants imported fruit-trees, he will not eat the first crop of fruit borne by such trees, but simply leaves it, or throws it away. Were it eaten, then the trees would bear no more fruit in future years, according to local belief.

We have seen that trees were measured by the pae method. A famous saying of Te Hau-nui is preserved by the local Natives. Te Hau-nui was annoyed by some presumptuous remark made by a person of inferior rank to himself. His word being discredited thereby, he remarked, “Kaua e whakateka te pae tahi ki te pae wha” (Let not the single pae [tree of small girth] cast discredit on the four pae [tree of large girth]). To which his adversary replied, “Ahakoa to nui, he nui puwhawha” (Through big, yet you are hollow or decayed internally). The Maori is apt at such rejoinders as the above.

The apparatus already described in Part I as having been employed for the purpose of turning over heavy logs was termed a kauwhiti or tuwhiti.

Taraumu is another name for a “scarf” in tree-felling.

The toronu (torongu) caterpillar that destroys the sweet-potato plant is Nyctemera annulata.

Additional Bird Notes

The kakapo disappeared from the Tuhoe district soon after the arrival of Europeans on these shores, and before any white folks settled near the district. Paitini, born about 1843, says that these birds disappeared before his time, which seems to mean that they were no longer seen in 1850. He says that the kakapo, on returning from their feeding-ground, collected at their whawharua to go through the performance described in Part II. This was during the night.

The cry of the kareke was looked upon as an omen of bad weather.

Kawau.—Young shags were taken by hand from the nest before they could fly. The species known as papua is probably the same as mapua, given in William's Dictionary.

Whakamoe koko.—Taking the koko by hand on frosty nights. Care had to be taken not to frighten these birds when searching for and marking

– 479 –

down their roosting-places. The snapping of a stick will cause them to desert their perches. From about 3 in the morning until shortly before daybreak is the best time to take these birds by the above process. The female koko, or tui, is known by its having a smaller werewere (the tuft of white feathers on neck) than has the male bird. When taking the koko and other birds by the pae method the fowler is crouched in a rude shelter, and strikes the birds down with a rod (hauhau). These birds eat the berries of the papauma (Griselinia littoralis), and are taken by the tahei or snaring process on that tree at such time. The koko and other birds, when feeding on the berries of the kotukutuku in summer, were sometimes taken for immediate use, but not for preserving.

The rimu and matai are the trees used as tutu for taking the koko and kereru—that is, on which these birds are taken with the mutu or perch with loop snare.

Tuteao, of Ngati-Awa, who lived at Matahina about eight generations ago, possessed a tame koko named Hine-te-iwaiwa. Tuteao was expelled from that district for having slain his younger brother, and went to Opotiki. Apa-nui coveted the bird because it talked so well. Hence he slew Tuteao, in order that he might possess it. Ngati-Awa equalised matters by marching eastward and slaying Rangi-ahua.

The female sparrow-hawk is termed kaeaea and the male bird kakarapiti. Both the sparrow-hawk and the kahu were sometimes trapped on account of their thieving habits, making off with game from camps, and so forth. They were eaten when so caught.

A kaka with unusually dark-coloured plumage is termed a kaka parakiwai. It is said that birds of such hue were hatched in a hinau-tree.

Both tionga and tirore are terms applied to the first kaka caught and used as a decoy for the one day only. Kaka were not struck down with a stick in the pae method of taking them: they were taken by hand. The Kaka is always much quieter and more easily taken by hand when fat. Kaka and kereru are the only forest-birds that can be caught in stormy weather. A few of the latter will be found caught in the snares of the drinking-troughs. Occasionally a kaka will settle on one of these troughs and be caught in a snare, but, if not caught by the neck and so rendered harmless, it will gnaw the cords and free itself. The koko is sometimes caught in the trough-snares, but the pigeon is the only bird that is so taken in numbers.

When not fixed up on trees, these troughs are elevated about 5 ft. from the ground on upright posts. There are four upright sticks, one at each end of the trough and one at either side. These are termed turuturu. The cross-pieces at the end are arorangi. The long horizontal sticks are called paepae, while the leafy branchlets put to prevent the birds from gaining access to the water at either end of the trough are known as whakaruru. For no snares are placed at the ends of the trough, but only at the sides thereof.

Kaka are never taken by the tahei method. It is impracticable, for reasons obvious to those acquainted with these offspring of Tu-mataika. The kaka is fond of the berries of the tormiro and also those of the Gaultheria shrub, but does not much appreciate those of the tawa. The pigeon is fond of tawa berries, and is speared on tawa trees, not snared. Both kaka and kereru are taken on hinau trees, when eating the berries thereof. The tutu trees for kaka, or trees on which they are taken with the mutu or perch and snare loop, are the rimu, tawa, toromiro, hinau, kahikatea, maire, tawai, and such rata as are clinging to rimu trees, but not such rata as stand alone.

– 480 –

During the rarangi tahi season of 1909 many kaka were taken by the ancient methods at Maunga-pohatu, by the followers of Rua the Keka.

In reference to the whakawiri kaka, already described, we note in White's Selborne a similar method employed to take daws, for which see Letter No. 21.

The term rarangitahi applies to the rata tree only. The wai kaihua or nectar is the only bird-food provided by the rata. Only the kaka were taken on the rata during the rarangitahi—taken with the spear—for only this bird is fat at such time; other birds are thin, for this is summer-time. All rata trees are not kaihua, because for some reason birds do not frequent all trees of that species. At the time of the rarangitahi the pigeon is on the maire, or eating leaves of the wharangi, houhi, kowhai, hangehange, &c., and is very thin. Hence it is not taken. It also eats the fruit of the kotukutuku. The pigeon is never taken by the striking (hauhau) method. It was both speared and snared on the toromiro tree when the fruit thereof was ripe.

The tahei process of snaring was employed on matai, toromiro, maire, and kahikatea trees, but not on rimu or rata. Wai tahei are streams and pools at which bird-snares are set. The term rakau tipapa is applied, says Paitini, to the toromiro tree only—to such as are much resorted to by pigeons, and on which they are snared. The loop snare is attached to, suspended from, a cord termed takeke or tarawa. In the tahei method the fowler ascends to the head of a tree and clambers out on the branches so far as they will bear his weight, and arranges his snares as far out as he can toward the outer ends of the branches. This method is employed on trees when the fruit thereof is ripe; hence such fruit acts as a poa, or bait. In fliting about to get at the berries, the birds are caught in the loop snares (mahanga). A bird that confines itself to the very outer extremities of branches, fluttering about or alighting on the foliage and not on the branches, is termed a manu kai popoki. To take such birds the tarahanga method is employed. The fowler arranges snares on a pole, which he thrusts outwards until the snares on it are outside or among the outermost foliage. A light lashing secures the pole to a branch. (Mehemea ka kore e taea a waho, ka tarahanga, ara mo nga manu kai popoki.)

The hiwi ariki, used in the mutu or tutu method, is not a pole hiwi permanently lashed to a branch, as are other hiwi, but is a branch of the tree on which the kokirikiri, with its attached mutu, is suspended. Birds taken in summer-time were often buried by fowlers until they returned home, in order to keep the flies from them. They were carried in baskets. As a rule a Native plucks the longer feathers of a bird as soon as it is taken, plucking being easier while the bird is warm. Such feathers were concealed, not left to be blown about, or birds would desert that forest. The long feathers only of both wings are termed kira, but the expression seems to be applied to the larger birds only. The down or minute feathers, termed awe and nehu, is left on in plucking. It is said to retain the fat well when potting the birds.

The act of counting birds, in braces, when prepared for preserving, is termed whakamoe. A person will say, “Tena! Whakamoetia iho te manu nei.”

The makoi, or barbed points for bird-spears, that were made of human bone, were made from the thigh-bones.

The pewa was really used for the tihe only, but the tieke, rearea, and kokako were occasionally taken on it. Berries of the karamu and patate were used as poa (bait) for the pewa, while the pepe, or call-leaf, was also employed to lure birds to this snare-mounted perch.

– 481 –

The kokako or crow has reappeared of late at Rua-tahuna. It is also seen in the Waioeka district, and on the ranges near Opouriao.

The word karawa denotes the female parent of birds and animals. The term punua, says Paitini, is applied to young birds after they commence to fly. Pitaketake is applied not only to chicks, young birds, but also to young pigs.

Pitongatonga is a name of the pihipihi bird.

There is more ritual pertaining to Tane than to any other god of the Tuhoean-pantheon, not even excepting the dread, all-powerful Tu. For Tane was omnipotent in his realm, the forest; and who knows but that he is Tan, the cloud-bird, a high god of the old-time sojourners on the shores of the Indian Ocean!

Here endeth the lore of the Whare Mata—or, rather, such fragments thereof as we have collected in the forests of Tuhoeland; collected during many long tramps over forest ranges, by many camp-fires, within the primitive dwellings of the Child of Tamatea and the tents of an alien people; collected from those who followed the ancient art of the fowler in the days of their youth, from those who knew the forest as no white man knows it.