Art. XLVII.—Maori Voyagers and their Vessels: How the Maori explored the Pacific Ocean, and laid down the Sea Roads for all Time.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, 8th November, 1915.]
Far away across the dark waters of the Great Southern Ocean, within two thousand miles of the coast of South America, lies the lone Polynesian outpost of Easter Island. Away to the north-west, beyond many a far meridian, lies Nukuoro, south of the Carolines. A vast distance of something like seven thousand miles separates the two isles; but the inhabitants of both speak the Maori tongue. In the southern extremity of New Zealand, about 48° S. latitude, and at Kauai, in the Hawaiian Group, about 22° N latitude, early voyagers found peoples speaking the Maori tongue. Eastward to the Marquesas and westward to the Ellice Group they found the Maori in occupation. Over a great oceanic area of four thousand by five thousand miles in extent, flecked with many isles, the Maori alone held sway. Members of a common race, speaking dialects of a common tongue, these units in far-sundered lands not only held undisputed possession of the central and eastern Pacific, but also heard dim echoes of their racial tongue from their outposts in Melanesia and Micronesia. The Islands of Futuna (in the New Hebrides), Tikopia (north of that group), Nukuoro (in the Carolines), and some others, are held by Maori-speaking Polynesians.
How comes it that we find divisions of one uncultured race, ignorant of the use of metals, occupying so vast an area of Oceania, dwelling in archipelagoes and lones isles hundreds—even thousands—of miles apart?
How came these scattered folk to possess common customs, myths, and, in some cases, genealogies to a certain point, to know the names of many lands they had not seen for long centuries? How came the Hawaiian to speak of his old-time voyages to Tahiti, and relate the deeds of ancestors of the New Zealand Maori; the Samoan to relate his exploration of the Paumotus; the Tongarevan to maintain his descent from immigrants from New Zealand? Why do Moriori and Hawaiian claim the same gods; the Tahitian describe voyages made to Aotearoa of the Maori; and the Maori of these isles recount his ocean wanderings from Tahiti, Samoa, and Raro-tonga to New Zealand?
The answer to these queries is that all these widely separated peoples are descendants of common ancestors, of the Polynesian Vikings, of the Maori voyagers—the bold sea-rovers who broke through the hanging sky in times long past away, who fretted the heaving breast of Hine-moana with the wake of their swift canoes, who ranged over every quarter of the vast Pacific, and marked off the sea roads for all time.
For the Maori is truly a Polynesian, the Polynesians are essentially Maori, and no ethnological quibbles can separate them. This fact lightens our task of describing Maori vessels and Maori voyagers, though it increases the scope of the paper. It teaches us to look abroad for the origin of the Maori canoe as seen here; it compels us to follow the ara moana, or sea roads, traversed by the Maori voyager in the days when the Romans held Britain. In those voyages we shall cross the famed sea-ridge, the back-bone of Hine-moana, and look upon the wonders of the deep. We shall pass through great areas of the “many-isled sea,” and range northward until strange stars rise above the sea horizon; we will seek the rising sun, even unto the land of strange gods. Southward will we go until we view frozen seas and drifting white islands, and the hand of Pārā-weranui lies heavy upon us, and westward to far-distant lands where strange black folk dwell.
For the Maori voyager was no fair-weather sailor, nor was he content to hug the shores of his home-land. He boldly crossed wide seas beneath changing skies, and rode out the fierce ocean gale; or went down to death in the embrace of Hine-moana. But when our voyager was following distant sea roads he was not a New-Zealander—he was a Polynesian of the Pacific isles. After he settled in New Zealand his voyages were apparently confined to expeditions to the Cook and Society Groups—say, from fifteen to eighteen hundred miles distant.
As late as the time of Toi, who flourished thirty generations ago, the Maori of New Zealand did not exist, for Polynesians had not yet settled in these isles. He made his voyages hither as a Polynesian of the northern isles, in the carvel-built Tahitian prototype of the Maori seagoing canoe known to us. All of which leads up to the statement that one cannot study the Maori canoe, or the Maori as a voyager, without including in one's purview the canoes and voyagers of Polynesia.
The Vessels of the Voyagers.
Two forms of vessels have been used by Polynesians in their deep-sea voyages—the double canoe and the single canoe provided with an outrigger. Both types were employed by voyagers to New Zealand, the latter being probably the most favoured. The double canoe, though apparently possessing more stability than the outrigger, was not so handy in rough seas; it was somewhat cumbrous, and liable to meet disaster under such conditions.
This form of vessel needs no outrigger, the second canoe taking the place of that attachment. Ethnographers have derived both the double canoe and the outrigger from the primitive log raft.
Early European voyagers found the double canoe in use throughout Polynesia. They were specially numerous at Tahiti, where, in 1774, as related by Forster, 159 large double canoes, from 50 ft. to 90 ft. in length, were seen ranged in order off shore. These were war-canoes, with large platforms and fighting-stages. In addition were seventy smaller double canoes, each with a roof or cabin at the stern. The smallest district of Tahiti at that time possessed forty of the larger vessels.
In New Zealand all canoes seen by Tasman seem to have been double craft. Cook saw a number of such canoes on South Island coasts, but mentions only one in the North, seen in the Bay of Plenty. Our information concerning these vessels is meagre in the extreme, for no one of the early writers has left us any detailed description thereof, and the illustration given in Tasman's voyage is too grotesque to be taken seriously. The two canoes are said to have been connected by cross-spars, with from 1 ft. to 2 ½ ft. of space between the hulls, with a central platform. In the North Auckland district two forms seem to have been used. The waka hourua consisted of two vessels secured together side by side with cross-beams, while in the mahanga type the two canoes were about 30 in. apart. The cross-beams were the most important feature in a double canoe; should these give way at sea in rough weather, disaster followed. Double canoes were employed on South Island coasts as late as the “thirties” of last century, long after their disuse in the North. As to the outrigger canoe, Cook does not seem to have seen one until he reached Queen Charlotte Sound.
The pahi of the Cook Group was a large double canoe furnished with masts and sails. This name was applied by the Moriori, or Mouriuri, folk of the Chatham Isles to a singular double-keeled vessel of a most uncommon type, between canoe and raft, constructed of timber and flax-stalks, and rendered buoyant with dried and reinflated bull-kelp. Curiously enough, these folk worked paddles as we do oars, using a thole-pin. Lack of timber led to the use of some very extraordinary craft among the Moriori, and effectually prevented any voyages to New Zealand.
The big double canoes of Paumotu, Samoan, and Fijian types did not go about in tacking, but the sheet of the sail was shifted from one end to the vessel to the other. In his single seagoing canoe the Maori of New Zealand employed two or four steersmen, but the big double canoe of Tahiti called for eight steersmen.
The double canoe, like the outrigger, can be traced across the Pacific from New Zealand to the Hawaiian Isles, and from eastern Polynesia to India. It was employed by Polynesians, Melanesians, Micronesians. Indonesians, and in northern Australia, Ceylon, Burmah, and India. There are two forms of this vessel—one in which the two canoes are of equal size, another in which one is much smaller than the other. The big double sea-going canoe of the Samoans, long discarded, was of the latter type; the larger of the two being, in some cases, as much as 150 ft. in length. This was the style of vessel in which the natives of the Samoan and Cook Groups made then deep-sea voyages.
Cook reckoned that Polynesian canoes might sail forty leagues a day or more. Given favourable conditions, this would apparently be a moderate estimate. Morrell, a Pacific voyager of the early part of the nineteenth
century, states that the outrigger canoes of the Carolines sail eight miles an hour within four points of the wind, and that, in running large, he reckoned they would sail twelve miles an hour. Dampier, who tested the sailing-powers of these craft, gives some astonishing results. If the sailing-rate of the outrigger employed by the Maori voyager be taken at seven miles an hour, and fair-weather conditions be granted, he might have made the run from Tahiti to New Zealand in eleven days, or from Rarotonga in nine days. He would undoubtedly carry sea stores for a considerably longer period, and thus be prepared for the buffetings of fate.
It has been said that the “Arawa,” one of the vessels that reached these shores from Polynesia about five hundred years ago, was a double canoe, though evidence seems to be lacking. This statement appears to rest on a passage in Grey's “Polynesian Mythology,” viz. “I will climb upon the roof of the house which is built upon the platform joining the two canoes”, but this passage is not a translation of the original, which contains no reference to a platform and two canoes. In like manner, there is no evidence to show that “Tainui,” “Matatua,” “Tokomaru,” “Horouta,” “Mātā-hourua,” and “Kura-hau-po” were double canoes, while “Takitumu” is distinctly described as an outrigger vessel. In one tradition only, so far as the writer is aware of, are double canoes distinctly mentioned as having made the voyage from Polynesia to New Zealand, and here is the story thereof.—
Voyage of Manaia and Nuku to New Zealand.
About twenty-eight generations ago two chieftains of eastern Polynesia quarrelled and fought in their island home. One of these, Manaia by name, having suffered grievously, resolved to migrate to New Zealand, here to dwell in peace. He therefore manned his vessel, called “Tokomaru,” with such trained adept seafarers as were necessary in lifting the rolling sea roads of the Realm of Kiwa, and quietly left home between two days. His enemy, one Nuku, came to hear of his departure, and resolved to pursue and attack him. He therefore collected a number of warriors and started in pursuit. Tradition asserts that he was careful to select “sea-paddling braves,” experts on the ara moana, and he also brought three tohunga, or priestly adepts, to assist him in overcoming the dangers of the deep. These folk came in three vessels, named “Te Houama,” “Waimate,” and “Tangi-apakura” Now, it is distinctly stated in the legend that the first-named was a single canoe (waka marohi), and the other two waka unua, or double canoes “Enei waka, e rua nqa waka unua, kotahi te waka marohi, ko Te Houama” (These canoes, two were double canoes, one was a single canoe, Te Houama).
Both these expeditions touched at Rarotonga, as was usual in making the voyage from the Society Isles to New Zealand. Nuku saw no sign of Manaia's vessel in the run down to Aotearoa, but when he entered Cook Strait and landed on D'Urville Island he found there the smouldering remains of the camp-fires of Manaia's party. He at once started in pursuit, and caught sight of his enemy off Pukerua, near Porirua Harbour “Te Houama,” the single canoe, being the swiftest craft, was the first to come up with “Tokomaru” Of the sea fight that occurred on the waters of Raukawa, and the later Homeric combat on the sands of Pae-kakariki, there is no space here to discuss details, but one statement in the tradition is of much interest. It is said that Nuku, when about to leave on his return to Polynesia, dismantled his two double canoes, and sailed them back across the Southern Ocean as single vessels, doubtless provided with
outriggers. This was done in order to expedite his return passage. In the original we find: “Ka tahuri a Nuku ki te mahi i ona waka; ka marohitia anake nga waka nei, kua kore e unuatia, kia māmā ai te hoki ki tona whenua.”
Manaia pursued his way to Whaingaroa, thence to Kaipara, to Whakatane, to Tokomaru, a place named after his vessel, finally returning to Whaingaroa, where his career as a Maori voyager ends. His further adventures consisted of fighting with the aborigines of Taranaki, the feats of a landsman, which concern us not. Ngati-Awa, of Taranaki, claim him as an ancestor.
The Outrigger Canoe.
We have now to treat of the single canoe furnished with an outrigger. Concerning the small coastal outrigger seen by Cook on our shores we have no precise details. D'Urville, who left us the only diagrams drawn to scale that we possess of Maori canoes, affords us no help with the outrigger or double canoe. Apparently he saw neither of these forms. We have, however, something of much interest in a description, preserved by oral tradition, of an outrigger canoe that arrived on these shores from Tahiti about five hundred years ago. This was “Takitumu,” one of the old-time deep-sea craft of the ancestors of the Maori, and which brought hither the forbears of East Coast and South Island natives.
On a fair morning, nearly a hundred years before Columbus felt his way across the Western Ocean, a large concourse of brown-skinned folk gathered on the hill called Puke-hapopo, whence they could look down upon the waters of Pikopiko-i-whiti. Those waters were of calm appearance, being protected from the ocean by a rocky reef, and girdled the shores of an island known as Hawaiki. These folk had assembled in order to witness a canoe race, in which two vessels known as “Horouta” and “Te Puwhenua” took part, and also others, as “Tainui,” “Te Arawa,” and “Matatua.” In this contest “Te Puwhenua” distanced all others. As she sped over the placid waters Rua-wharo cried, “Tena a Te Puwhenua te horo na i te whenua!” (There is Te Puwhenua speeding past the land). And Te Rongo-patahi said, “Koia ra ano he ingoa mo to waka, E Paoa!” (O Paoa! now there is a name for your canoe). And that was how “Horouta” gained her name and “Te Puwhenua” received her permanent name of “Takitumu”.
Owing to severe intertribal wars, many people were at that time leaving the isles of eastern Polynesia, and the above vessels, with many others, brought a considerable number to New Zealand. These isles had already long been known to Polynesians, and a number of migrants and rovers had settled here, intermarrying with the aborigines. A number of voyagers had also visited these shores and returned to northern isles, as shown in the traditions of New Zealand, Mangaia, Rarotonga, and Manihiki. In some cases these voyagers called at Sunday Island, known to the Maori of Aotearoa and Rarotonga as Rangi-tahua.
Omitting a great amount of detail, we give some part of the story of “Takitumu,” from the tree-stump to the Waiau River of our South Island: When the dugout hull had been roughly dubbed out, as also the haumi, or pieces to lengthen it, the top strakes, and other timbers, all these were placed in a huge trench and covered with earth, there to remain for months. This was a seasoning method, said to have the effect of expelling sap from green timber, without danger of warping or splitting. The timbers were then taken out of the pit, placed on a scaffold, and covered so as to be protected from the sun. When seasoned, the final adzing reduced them to the desired form and finish, and the construction of the canoe com-
menced. The first task was to attach the pieces to lengthen the hull. Then the side boards were lashed on with the butted join of carvel-built boats. There were four of them on either side; they were retained in position and braced by means of lashing on the thwarts. The stem and bow pieces were attached, the decking, or floor, below the thwarts laid down, the korewa or outrigger was attached, the masts fitted, as also the stanchions, cross-pieces, and battens of the awning. Sails, paddles, bailers, and awning-mats were provided, and then, after the recital of certain ritual over her at the turuma, a tapu spot, “Takitumu” was launched on the waters of Pikopiko-i-whiti, at far Hawaiki.
We here see that “Takitumu” was provided with four side boards, or strakes, on either side. She was apparently one of the well-known type of Polynesian canoe in which the dugout hull is a shallow trough, the sides being built up by attaching several tiers of plank placed one above the other, carvel fashion. The single rauawa, or top strake, of the New Zealand canoe would be due to the much greater size of our timber. Here, and in most parts of Polynesia proper, these planks are lashed by means of passing cords through holes bored near their edges, such lashings enclosing battens that cover the joints. The Tongans and Samoans, however, employed a different method, borrowed from Fiji, in which the lashing-cords were passed through cants formed on the inside edges of all planks when hewn. Thus, such lashings did not appear on the outer sides of the planks.
The korewa, or outrigger, was formed of a very light timber, and was connected with the canoe by means of spars, termed hokai.
In order to render these vessels the more snug in rough weather or broken seas, a series of splashboards, called taupa karekare wai and pare arai wai parati, were secured along the sides. Then, again, the greater part of the vessel was covered with a kind of awning. Stanchions (tokotu) were lashed in upright positions along the sides, and to these were lashed the whiti-tu, curved rods that extended across the vessel in the form of an arch. Battens (kaho) were lashed horizontally to these, and then the huripoki, or cover (awning) of mats (tuwhara), was stretched over this frame-work, hauled taut, and lashed down along the sides of the vessel. These covering-mats were in some cases made from the bark of the aute, apparently a stout form of tapa.
When a storm was encountered at sea, where no haven was near, our Maori voyager was compelled to face and ride it out, and the operations entailed thereby called for the direction of the amotawa, or sea expert. All ocean-going canoes carried two anchors, the punga korewa, or smaller one, was used as a drift-anchor, while the big heavy punga whakawhenua was the ground-anchor. Both, however, were often used in riding out a storm in deep waters. The smaller one was lowered a certain depth in the ocean at the prow, the heavy one was lowered at the stern. This kept the prow well up, and served to steady the vessel. In addition to this, four steers-men were on duty. At the stern were two, one on either side, manipulating the long steer-oars termed hoe whakatere Near the bow were stationed two others, wielding two long oars known as hoe whakaara, the manipulation of which by experts lessened swaying and pitching of the bow. Much depended on these four men in times of danger, for theirs was the task of keeping the vessel in a proper position. At such times, also, two men were stationed at each puna wai, or bailing-well.
And then, with his longboat covered and splashboards rigged, his sea-anchors down and outrigger braced, with stalwart, half-naked steersmen
gripping their long steer-oars, and facing the driving storm with courageous hearts and a sublime faith in their gods, the Maori voyager calmly awaited the wrath of Hine-moana—the storm at sea.
Prior to leaving the home-land “Takitumu” had been solemnly placed under the protection of the gods Kahukura, Tama-i-waho, Tunui-a-te-ika, Hine-korako, Rongomai, and Ruamano. These were the protecting deities who brought “Takitumu” safely across the Great Ocean of Kiwa. For such are the beliefs of the Maori.
In accordance with a racial custom of applying proper names in manner most generous, each one of the twenty-six thwarts of this vessel had its special name. These names, as also those of the principal people who occupied them, have been preserved. In like manner, the outrigger timbers, anchors, cables, steer-oars, masts, sails, ropes, sprits, bailers, &c.—all had proper names assigned to them, to recite which would be tedious and unprofitable.
In ocean voyages of considerable length, when voyagers took their families with them, each family, as a rule, occupied the space between two thwarts, where the decking was covered with mats, on which the people sat and slept. Paddlers occupied the ends of the thwarts, each man having his appointed place, reliefs sat on the thwarts between the paddlers. The stern thwart of “Takitumu” (and its adjacent space) was occupied by the three wise men, or priestly experts, Te Rongo-patahi, Tupai, and Ruawharo. Here also abode the spirit gods in whose care the vessel had been placed. The next thwart was occupied by the steersmen, the next by the principal chief of the party, Tamatea, father of the eponymic ancestor of the Ngati-Kahungunu Tribe of the East Coast.
Each man was provided with two paddles, though sails were always used as much as possible, hence the close study of wind-conditions by Polynesians. Sea stores consisted of dried food products, as fish and shell-fish, and some vegetable foods. Coconuts were carried in quantities, while water was conserved in gourd, seaweed, and bamboo vessels, as procurable.
“Takitumu” left the Society Isles after the other vessels enumerated above, and all seem to have called at Rarotonga. Apparently, “Takitumu” did not call at Sunday Island; but there is a curious story of certain happenings at a place in mid-ocean called Te Tuahiwi o Hine-moana, where rough seas were encountered and some strange ceremonies were performed, ritual explaining the use of certain ceremonial stone adzes formerly possessed by the Maori, and in which figured Te Awhio-rangi, now preserved at Wai-totara.
Even so these old argonauts swung south from the summer isles of Eden, and sailed boldly out into the Great Southern Ocean. Happily ignorant of the fact that they possessed only frail canoes, and could not possibly make a deep-sea voyage (as we are told by some modern writers), they relied stoutly on their own sea-craft and the assistance of their gods. They traversed the water roads marked out by Kupe in past times, and watched the wheeling stars as they sought the land-head at Aotearoa. For these were feats of which it was written:—
The sun sags down on Tama's path,
Across the changing sky;
New stars do leap above the deep
To meet the wondering eye;
New seas are spread on every side,
New skies are overhead;
New lands await the sea-kings
In the vast grey seas ahead.
“Takitumu” made her landfall at Whanga-paraoa, on the East Coast. Here was found “Tainui,” that, with others, had arrived before her. As this coast was already occupied by aborigines and former Maori immigrants, Tamatea took his vessel northward in search of lands whereon to settle. The voyagers called at Muri-whenua, in the far North, afterwards proceeding to Hokianga, where they dwelt for some time. Leaving here they returned down the East Coast to Tauranga, thence to Nuku-taurua, where some seem to have remained. The others proceeded to Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara (Port Nicholson), where they lived some time with the Ngai-Tara folk, descendants of Toi and Whatonga, of eastern Polynesia. From here they went to Waiau, in the South Island, where they settled, and assumed the tribal name of Waitaha. But Tamatea and a few others made another canoe, named it “Te Karaerae,” and went to Kapiti, thence to Whanga-nui, where they met Turi and other members of the crew of “Aotea” Of the further adventures of Tamatea we need not speak, inasmuch as they were not those of a Maori voyager, but of a land traveller. Eventually Tamatea returned to Hokianga, where he died.
The Discovery of New Zealand.
Voyage of Kupe and Ngahue from Eastern Polynesia
This is one of the old-time voyages of which the approximate date is not fixed, but it must have occurred long before the time of Toi, who flourished about seven hundred and fifty years ago. For Kupe is said to have found this island uninhabited by man, whereas Toi found a large population of the Maruiwi, or Mouriuri, folk occupying the North Island.
Kupe and Ngahue (alias Ngake) were natives of eastern Polynesia, of an island then known as Hawaiki, but which is almost assuredly Tahiti, as is shown by traditionary accounts mentioning the relative position of the Islands of Maitea and Raiatea. The father of Kupe was a native of Hawaiki, his mother was a Rarotongan, while his maternal grandfather belonged to Raiatea (known to the Maori as Rangiatea), facts illustrating the free movements of island-folk in those far-off days.
Kupe made his voyage to New Zealand in a vessel named “Matahorua”; that of Ngahue, his companion, was “Tawiri-rangi.” They came to land near the North Cape, then proceeded down the East Coast to Rangi-whakaoma (Castle Point), thence to Te Kawakawa in Palliser Bay, thence to Port Nicholson, camping at Hataitai (Miramar Peninsula), and naming the two islands Matiu (Somes) and Makaro (Ward), after the daughters of Kupe At Porirua Kupe left one of his anchors, named Maungaroa, brought from a place named Maungaroa at Rarotonga, and took another stone in its place.
These voyagers sailed round the South Island, discovered nephrite (greenstone) at Arahura, recognized its value, and took blocks of it back to their homes. They returned northward through Cook Strait to Whanganui, Patea, and Hokianga. None of the crews remained here all returned to Rarotonga, thence to Rangiatea and Hawaiki. On his arrival at the latter place Kupe recounted the story of his voyage, the discovery of Aotearoa (New Zealand), the aspect of these islands and their products, also explaining how the new lands might be reached by navigators. All these particulars were preserved by oral tradition, and, in later centuries, when voyagers wished to reach these isles they applied to the wise men, the record-keepers, who had retained the directions left by Kupe.
The Coming of Maruiwi.
Settlement of the North Island by an Unknown People.
Subsequent to the discovery of New Zealand by Kupe, the North Island was settled in many parts by a dark-skinned folk of inferior culture, whose origin is unknown. They are said to have been a people of spare build, thin-shanked, with flat noses, distended nostrils, and generally unpleasant appearance. Their eyes were peculiarly restless, their hair upstanding. They lived in rude huts, wore little clothing, and were an indolent people, fond of hugging the fireside. Their ancestors had come from a very warm far-away land—a much warmer land than New Zealand. They arrived here in three canoes, named “Kahu-tara,” “Tai-koria,” and “Okoki.” These vessels had been driven from their home-land by a westerly wind, and, after a long drift, reached the Taranaki coast, where these folk settled. As time went on they occupied many parts of the North Island, and were most numerous at Taranaki, Tamaki, the Bay of Plenty, and Hawke's Bay, when the voyager Toi arrived.
A Sea-fog brings Eastern Polynesians to New Zealand.
The Voyages of Toi and Whatonga to Aotearoa.
Sea-mists, ocean currents, and winds have caused many drift voyages in Pacific waters, have settled many lands, and sent many souls down to Rarohenga, the spirit world of the Maori. When the Polynesian voyager became enshrouded by a dense mist, such as occur during easterly winds in that region, he was compelled, lacking a compass, to trust to the regular roll of the waves in the guidance of his vessel. A change of wind under such circumstances often utterly confused him, as noted by Mariner when sailing with some Tongans. Mariner's native companions were actually sailing away from their island home when he induced them to trust to his despised compass.
It was a sea-fog that brought about the second settlement of New Zealand, this time by men from eastern Polynesia, the home of Kupe. This event occurred three centuries before Columbus saw the world of life.
On the waters of Pikopiko-i-whiti, on which in after - generations “Takitumu” was to float, a canoe-race was being held by the folk of the Isles of Hawaiki and Tuhua (after which Tuhua, or Mayor Isle, in the Bay of Plenty, was named). These competing canoes left the sheltered waters and went out to sea in their enthusiasm. Here they were caught in a storm, and some were carried away by it, while others regained the land. Among the drift canoes was that of Whatonga and Tu-rahui. When the storm died out these hapless folk found themselves enveloped in a mist, and unable to return home. Eventually they landed at Rangiatea, where they remained some time. Meanwhile Toi, the grandfather of Whatonga, had set forth in search of the ocean-waifs, proceeding westward. Some castaways were found at Samoa, but not his grandson. Hence Toi visited the islands as far south as Rarotonga, still without success. He then determined to sail across the Southern Ocean to the strange land—the great land—discovered by Kupe in past times, to see if the waifs had perchance been carried there. And so, ever seeking his grandson, the old sea-rover boldly sailed out into the vast trackless expanse that rolls between Rarotonga and Aotearoa. And his final word to the folk of Rarotonga was, “I go to seek my child in strange lands, in the moist land discovered by
Kupe, and I will greet the land-head at Aotearoa or be engulfed in the stomach of Hine-moana.”
How the gallant old voyager sailed his craft across the Southern Ocean, how he missed New Zealand and discovered the Chathams, how he ranged westward to this land, coasted the North Island, and settled at Whakatane, are matters of traditional history. Also how Whatonga, returning home after many adventures, found that Toi was absent in search of him, how he fitted and manned the famous vessel “Kura-hau-po,” sailed forth in search of Toi, and followed him down the long sea roads to Rarotonga, heard of his voyage to Aotearoa, and lifted the rolling water trail of Te Ririno all across the dark ocean to these shores. How he made his landfall at Tonga-porutu, coasted round the North Cape, and finally joined Toi at Whakatane, there these Vikings settled down, never more to look upon the palm-clad isles of the sunny north, never again to listen to the thunder of far-driven seas on the guardian reef.
These were the first folk from eastern Polynesia to settle in New Zealand among the Maruiwi aborigines, many of whom were living at Maketu, known then as Moharuru. It was inland of that place that Rua-kapanga, brother-in-law of Toi, met with his surprising adventure with a flock of five moa. Soon other immigrants came from the eastern Pacific, including Manaia, and the return of Nuku to the islands seems to have induced others to come and settle here. So the new-comers remained here, took aboriginal wives, and became the progenitors of the mixed Tini o Toi tribes found here by the immigrants of [ unclear: ] “Tainui,” “Aotea,” “Te Arawa,” “Takitumu, [ unclear: ] ” and other vessels, nearly two hundred years later.
Tradition relates that the Maruiwi women were attracted by the comparatively fair-skinned, good-looking, industrious Maori men Their progeny lived as Maori, and even now we plainly see the aboriginal element in natives, in hair, and features, and skin-colour. But all this made for trouble, and, as time went on, quarrels took place between the domineering Maori and half-breeds on one side and the aborigines on the other. Fighting and wars followed, ceaseless harrying of the aborigines until none remained save the Toi tribes, the mixed breed. Now, it is recorded that seven vessels manned by survivors sailed from Cook Strait in search of the Chatham Isles, discovered by Toi, of which they had heard. Those vessels, or at least some of them, reached the Chathams, where the refugees settled, twenty-seven generations ago, and where their descendants were found by Lieutenant Broughton on the 29th November, 1791.
Now, one of these vessels, under a chief named Te Kahu, sailed from the mouth of the Rangitikei River. Her crew were unable to rig a deep-sea vessel, hence they obtained the services of a Maori expert from Whanga-nui, one Aka-ioioa by name Both this man and his sister accompanied the party to the Chathams, and his name was preserved in tradition by the Moriori, or Mouriuri, folk of the Chathams, as shown in the writings of the late Mr. Shand. Hau-te-horo, fourth in descent from Aka-roroa, returned to New Zealand in after-years, and his descendants are at Whanga-nui And that is how the Maori came to know of the arrival of the refugees at the Chathams. This information was obtained from Hauauru and Takarangi, of Whanga-nui, in the year 1854. The description of the vessel of Te Kahu shows that it was a dugout single
canoe, with haumi and top strake, and covered with a roof or awning, as already described. She crossed over to D'Urville Island, and there stayed some time; doubtless her crew were awaiting favourable weather-conditions. And then, on the Omutu night of the month of Akaaka-nui, these harassed folk launched their vessel, and, passing through the Strait, sailed forth upon the sullen seas in search of a new home.
The Peopling of the Pacific.
Cook speaks of finding the Polynesian Maori located over an area extending twelve hundred leagues north and south by sixteen hundred leagues east and west, and even then he cut off some Maori communities to the westward. We will now inquire into the manner in which these far-spread isles were settled by the ancestors of our Maori folk, and quote a few more of their voyages.
The earliest voyagers of whom the Maori has preserved tradition were those who left the fatherland of the race. That home-land was known as Irihia, an extremely hot land, wherein grew the prized food called ari—a land inhabited by many dark-skinned peoples, a land of great extent. Here was situated the sacred place known as Hawaiki-nui, and on the summit of a mountain in that land, the ascent of which occupied two days, were performed all ritual performances connected with Io, the Supreme Being. After a long sojourn among the slim-built thin-shanked dark peoples, wars with them became numerous, and vast numbers of men were slain. Thus many left Irihia in order to seek new homes across the ocean.
These explorers steered toward the rising sun, by night their guides were the stars, moon, and the sea-breeze. In the tradition of this voyage it is distinctly said that outriggers were fixed and the vessel covered in on the approach of rough weather, hence, presumably, the outrigger timbers must have been carried inboard during calm weather. Also the vessels must have been of wide beam. The double outrigger also seems to be alluded to These voyagers settled in a land far across the ocean, from which they, or their descendants, moved on to other lands, ever sailing toward the rising sun, until we find them located in Polynesia. How long this eastward movement lasted it is impossible to say.
As to voyages throughout Polynesia we have only time to give a few illustrations. About the seventh century, as recorded in Mr. Percy Smith's “Hawaiki,” one Hui-te-rangiora sailed southward until he encountered icebergs and a frozen sea, marvellous sights to Polynesians. Traditions state that about that time many voyages were made, and many isles were visited by Polynesians, who were occupied in exploring the oceanic area, and in peopling its far-spread islands, or possibly in repeopling them. New Zealand, known to the natives of south central Polynesia as “Hawaiki-tahutahu,” is said to have been first visited about the seventh century. The Society Isles were inhabited forty generations ago, and probably long before. It is fairly clear, as shown by many traditions of many isles, that for a period of at least eight centuries the Polynesians must have made many voyages in the Pacific, some of great length, traversing vast areas, peopling and repeopling many lands. In later times long sea voyages of set purpose to outlying lands were of much rarer occurience, those to New Zealand and the Hawaiian Isles apparently ceasing altogether.
Quiros, who sailed with Mendana in 1595, and, later on, made another voyage across the Pacific in 1606, spent much time in wondering how the isles received their population. He maintained that, with no compass, the Polynesians could not voyage to any island not in sight from their own Hence he judged that the islands must be close together, or that a great mother-land existed in the south, from which the various islands had been settled, “as otherwise the islands could not have been populated without a miracle.” Nearly three hundred years later Colenso wrote, “I note you seem to adhere to the myth of the Maoris coming to this land; I had thought I had fully exposed that many years ago.” But neither Quiros nor Colenso could do that. Between these two comes James Cook, who saw clearly how the islands had become populated, and puts the case in clear, simple language.
A voyage made by one Uenga, of Samoa, about the twelfth century, extended to Tonga, Tongareva, Rimatara, the Austral Group, Tahiti, and the Paumotus, a jaunt of over three thousand five hundred miles. Tangihia, a voyager of the thirteenth century, made a yet longer one. Starting apparently, from Samoa, he visited Niue, Keppel Isle, the Marquesas, Tahiti, Rapa, the Austral and Cook Groups, Rimatara, and other isles Whiro took a party of settlers to Rarotonga, then sailed to the Marquesas, Tahiti, Rapa, and other places.
In 1616 Le Maire and Schouten encountered a double canoe under sail, out of sight of land, west of the Paumotu Group, with twenty-five men, women, and children on board. These folk had exhausted their water-supply, and were seen to drink sea-water. These natives being unarmed, the Dutch gentlemen had quite a pleasant time shooting them. The historian remarks on the enterprise of natives who “without compass, or any of the aids from science which enable the navigators of other countries to guide themselves with safety, ventured beyond the sight of land”.
In former times the Tongans were in the habit of making frequent voyages to Fiji, which group was reached in three days' sail from Tonga-tapu. They also made voyages to the New Hebrides and New Caledonia Futuna, in the New Hebrides, and Tikopia to the north of that group, are occupied by Polynesians. The Tongans have been the most daring and energetic of Polynesians voyagers in modern times.
Marquesan traditions tell us of voyages made in double canoes to lands to the westward. These vessels carried not only stocks of food and water, but also hogs, fowls, and food plants, and that is how these things were spread over the Pacific. These plants were yams, sweet potatoes, taro, gourd, also the breadfruit, banana, coconut, &c, while the orange was advancing eastward when Europeans began to traverse Pacific waters. Most of these are traced by Candolle to a western source. The animals introduced into New Zealand were the dog and rat, the other food products were the sweet potato, taio, and gourd, possibly the yam. The aute tree was also introduced.
The Maori voyager recognized the influence of ocean currents on navigation, and had his peculiar method of ascertaining their movements. Even as the Great Black River carried many Japanese vessels to the western coast of North America, and its reflux bore one such to Oahu, Hawaiian Isles, in 1833, so did the ocean streams farther south affect the Polynesian voyager. These currents flow in different directions, some for long distances. Thus the branch of the antarctic drift that swerves
westward from the South American coast seems to coalesce with the westward - sweeping equatorial current, the southern branch of which, flowing south of the Tongan Group, passes, under the name of Rossel's Drift, the New Hebrides, on its way to Torres Strait. This helps to explain the arrival of drift canoes at and near the New Hebrides containing waifs from Polynesia. Several such occurrences are on record.
Even as winds assisted our Polynesian voyager in his navigation of Pacific waters, so also did they, in many cases, cause drift voyages, and send many souls down to Rarohenga, the spirit world of the Maori. A few of the many known cases of drift voyages are quoted as illustrating how many islands must have been discovered and settled by their agency. We have already seen that the first and second peoplings of New Zealand were owing to drift voyages—the first directly so, the second indirectly.
Ellis held the curious view that the Polynesians must have originally come from the east, as it would be impossible for them to come from the west against the prevailing winds. And yet he must have known of the fairly frequent communication between the Society and Paumotu Groups, as also other such movements. The south-east trades are by no means constant the year round, as shown by observers as far back as Cook's time. The strong north-west winds that strike the Samoan Group have carried canoes from there as far as the Austral Isles. At the Society Isles the prevailing wind blows from between east-south-east and east-north-east for the greater part of the year, but in December and January the winds are variable, frequently blowing from north-west and west-north-west. Cook tells us that this is the wind by which the natives of the isles to leeward come to Tahiti. Such a wind is often followed by one from the south-west or west-south-west. We have not space to give much data under these heads, but we do know that Polynesians carefully studied wind-conditions. Barstow writes of several weeks of westerly wind at Tahiti, and mentions the case of some Polynesian voyagers he encountered there. Their canoe, containing men, women, and children, had come from the Paumotu Group, to the eastward, in search of some ocean-waifs from that region. They had visited Huahine and other islands, and were compelled to wait over six months at Tahiti for a fair wind to take them home. The Polynesian voyager, indeed, passed much of his time in waiting for fair winds, though that fact would not disturb his equanimity. Possibly this was why he often took his family with him. If he did not live to reach his destination, why, then, his son or grandson might do so.
Barstow records a drift voyage from Chain Island, east of Tahiti, away west to Manua, in the Samoan Isles. This occurred in 1844, and the boat contained three natives and one white man, the latter being the sole survivor.
Colonel Gudgeon informs us that Polynesians are quite capable of navigating their vessels to any island they may desire to visit, always selecting a favourable season of the year. Also that they had well-known starting-places for each such voyage, and stopping-places at intermediate isles in long voyages. Thus voyagers from Tahiti to New Zealand first made the run to Rarotonga, leaving there in December for the run south-west to New Zealand, calling in some cases at Sunday Island. The return voyage was made in June. This is corroborated by Maori tradition, which states that voyagers left Rarotonga for these shores in the month Akaaka-nui,
equivalent to our December. An old native of the Nga Rauru Tribe stated that Whanga-rei and Whanga-te-au were starting-places for canoes leaving New Zealand for Rarotonga.
Missionary Williams, the man of many voyages in Polynesia, remarks that westerly winds occur about every two months. He sailed from Rurutu to Tahiti, three hundred and fifty miles north-north-east, in forty-eight hours. On another occasion, from a point two hundred miles west of Niue, he sailed, with a fair wind, seventeen hundred miles to the east-ward in fifteen days. In October, 1832, during a voyage from Rarotonga to Samoa, he sailed eight hundred miles in five days without once shifting a sail.
The trade-winds that pass northward of New Zealand would carry Tongan raiders to the New Hebrides, Loyalty Isles, and New Caledonia. In 1793 the expedition in search of La PéArouse saw a canoe on the coast of New Caledonia containing eight Polynesians—seven men and one woman—who spoke the Tongan dialect. They had come from Uvea, in the Loyalty Group, a day's sail distant. Pritchard, in his “Polynesian Reminiscences,” mentions that, in his time, there were living at this Uvea, or Uea, the grandchildren of Tongan castaways who had, in a double canoe, drifted over eleven hundred miles to that isle.
In 1696 two canoes, containing thirty persons of both sexes, drifted nine hundred miles to the Philippines. In 1721 two canoes reached Guam, in the Ladrones, after a twenty-day drift. In 1817 Kotzebue found on one of the Radack Chain a native of the Carolines, one of a party that had made a fifteen-hundred-mile drift due east. Cook, when on his third voyage, found at Atiu some castaways from Tahiti, driven thither when trying to make Raiatea. Of this incident Cook remarked, “It will serve to explain, better than a thousand conjectures … how the islands of the South Seas may have been first peopled”.
Kotzebue tells us of finding a Japanese vessel off the Californian coast in 1815 that had drifted for seventeen months across the Pacific. Only three of her crew of thirty-five were alive. Dillon speaks of a drift voyage of 465 miles made by four Rotuma men who were cast away on Tikopia, a small island north of the New Hebrides. As this island is peopled by Polynesians speaking a dialect closely resembling that of New Zealand, it was probably settled by drift voyagers from the east. The above drift occurred about the year 1800. Dillon states that other drift canoes from Rotuma have reached Tikopia, Fiji, and Samoa.
In 1832 Williams found at Manua, Samoa, a native of Tubuai, in the Austral Group, south of Tahiti. He was one of a party sailing from Tubuai to an adjacent isle. Their canoe, storm-caught, drifted for three months ere it reached Manua, when most of the crew had perished. In such cases the catching of rain-water, and of fish, usually sharks, preserved life in some of the waifs. Coconuts, usually carried in canoes, would presumably furnish some extra water-vessels.
Another recorded drift is that of some natives of Aitutaki, who thus reached Proby's Island, a thousand miles to the westward. Beechey found some natives of Anaa or Chain Island, at Bow Island, Paumotu Group. Three canoes had drifted six hundred miles eastward, two had been lost, while those in the third, owing to a series of accidents and bad luck, had been for three years trying to get home by working from island to island.
On the 8th March, 1821, a canoe reached Raiatea from Rurutu, Austral Isles, after being buffeted about the ocean for six weeks.
Easter Island was resettled by people from Rapa Isle, who are said to have found a strange “long-eared” folk in possession—possibly the authors of the strange script and the stone images of that lone isle.
But enough of drift voyages, for their number is legion. Cases of drift voyages in many directions across the Pacific Ocean are on record. Feckless writers have told us that no drift or other voyage in an easterly direction could have been made by Polynesians, on account of the trade-winds; that no Polynesian could have reached New Zealand; that no Polynesian canoe could carry sea stock for a lengthy voyage; that such canoes were too frail for deep-sea navigation. The hapless Polynesian could not sail out of sight of land because he possessed no compass; he could not traverse the open ocean because it provided no cabbage-trees to tie his canoe to at night! Pretty soon we shall hear that there never was a Polynesian canoe, or a Polynesian to use it if there had been one. The fact of natives occupying all groups and most isolated isles of Polynesia has apparently been viewed by the above writers as a personal injury, hence the evolving of the sunk-continent theory, the sudden disappearance of half a world, leaving a few continental folk clinging desperately to mountain-peaks, somewhat startled doubtless, but by no means downhearted.
For centuries the Maori voyager was crossing the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Polynesia; for a very much longer period he was weaving innumerable sea roads across northern oceans. No timid coast paddler was he, but a bold navigator of great oceanic areas, who, ever listing to the lure of Hine-moana, broke through the hanging skies, and lifted every water trail of the Realm of Kiwa.
But we do not like it, and cannot grasp it. For we feared to do these things when in the same culture stage as the Maori, and for long after. Hence our search for lost continents and land bridges, and a special creation of man for Auckland and another for the Great Barrier. Our fears ran to the anger of the gods, ever averse to wild enterprises, and initiative, and a round earth, and other desirable things. The Polynesian voyager who pushed out into the unknown went down the changing centuries as a hero. We would probably have burnt him. We poled a log raft, with anxious hearts, across the raging Thames, but the Maori hewed him a dugout with a sharp stone, tied a top strake to it with a piece of string, dumped his wife and bunch of coconuts into it, and paddled forth to settle an isle beyond the red sunrise.
The voyages of Tama-ahua, Tu-moana, Tuwhiri-rau, Mou-te-rangi, and Pahiko from New Zealand to Polynesia we have no time to discuss—a remark that also applies to two traditions of drift canoes from New Zealand reaching those parts, and returning here.
Though the Maori has long ceased his voyages to Polynesia—for the last we know of took place ten generations ago—yet has much of the adventurous spirit been retained to our own time—the days of the white man. When Ngati-Awa seized the “Rodney” at Port Nicholson, in 1835, to raid and settle the Chatham Isles, they wrote the last chapter in the long, long history of the Maori buccaneers. And is it not on record that these daring Vikings had arranged with an American whaler to transport them to Samoa, when the arrival, cutting-off, and plunder of the “Jean Bart” marred the scheme, and saved Samoa some stirring times.
The Polynesian voyager left the so-called adventurous Turanian folk to longshore traffic, and the isles adjacent to their homes; he passed through the dark-skinned folk of Melanesia, despising them for their colour and
lack of daring; he roamed far and wide over the vast Pacific Ocean, and carried his speech from Nukuoro to the Chathams, from Easter Island to Madagascar.
For the Maori as a voyager feared not the dangers of the deep, known or unknown. He harnessed his gods to the task of assisting him, he traced out the ara moana, the sea roads, over two great oceans for western folk to treasure, and western keels to furrow.
The scene changes. Our Maori voyager has boldly crossed the sullen seas and made his landfall under alien skies. Afar off on the rolling waves of Hine-moana his strained vessel cuts the sky-line. Strained and sea-weary is she, worn and battered from the passage of Te Moana nui a Kiwa. Her land-hungering crew gaze eagerly on green hills, and brown-skinned experts scan the surging surf. The coast swings in nearer, the roar of breakers strikes upon the ear. For this is no fair landing; it is the rolling tai maranga, the leaping surge of Hine-moana dashing wildly against Raka-hore, the iron bounds of her realm placed there by the gods of old.
They call upon the amotawa, the sea expert, wise with the wisdom of those who brave the wrath of the Ocean Maid. He takes command, and all await his orders. The sails are lowered, the paddles hold the tossing craft, or edge her in in search of Hine-tuakirikiri, the fair landing-beach. The steersmen and paddlers are all attention, for this is the tai maranga; a single error shall open the gates of death. The expert knows that, in this sea, eleven ngaru wharau, curling dangerous combers, are followed by the mutu moana, a smooth, rounded, crestless billow, the only one on which the canoe may ride safely to land. He awaits that wave. As it reaches the craft and lifts her, there comes the sharp order, “Kia aronui te hoe!” and instantly every paddle is held stationary in the water, blade broadside on to the sea run. So is the canoe held on the swell of the wave The correct position is for the prow to project somewhat in front of the wave-crest; to allow it to forge ahead or drop behind is to court disaster; the dreaded tai maranga is following and preceding her Hence the order to meet and hold her. Should the canoe show signs of slipping back off the wave, the command, “Kia korewa te hoe!” brings all paddles turned edgewise on to the sea, whereupon she forges ahead on the wave, and is there held with the paddles. Two steersmen at the stern wield long steer-oars (hoe whakatere), two more at the bow manipulate the hoe whakaara. These play an important part in the management of the vessel.
The canoe is now rushing shoreward, poised on the mutu moana, or rounded wave, while every man, vigilant, ready for instant action, watches the swift rush as she leaps to land, and awaits the quick commands of the expert. As the wave grounds, and begins to dissolve, there comes the quick cry, “Kumea te hoe!” and the long bow oars are taken in, while every paddle is plied with fierce energy to impart additional impulse that will carry the canoe well up the beach. As one man, all hands now drop their paddles inboard, leap out, and run her up beyond reach of the next wave—the Maori voyager has made his landing, and upheld the saying of yore, “He ihu waka, he ihu whenua.”
Thus the Maori voyager comes to land, and enters into his rest. But not as you would! He does not paddle ashore, make fast, and go into camp with careless mien and prosaic mind. He steps softly on the flanks of the land, and placates the demons thereof; he conducts solemn ritual
and performs strange rites to introduce his gods, and to preserve his physical and spiritual welfare; he forgets not those who have protected, guided, and succoured him. For the Maori was ever in sympathy with his surroundings, and ever he vivified them. He endowed them, for weal or woe, with strange powers; he loved to personify the elements, the forces of nature, and inanimate objects; to feel that he was in unison with them, that all possessed life in common. that all were the offspring of the first all-embracing parents—the Sky Father and the Earth Mother.
Impelled by Tawhiri-matea, and borne by Tane across the broad, heaving breast of Hine-moana; guided by Hine-korako, and urged forward by Huru-moana; succoured in time of stress by Te Ihorangi and Tangaroa, our voyager eludes iron-ribbed Rakahore, and is received by Hine-tuakirikiri. Fair to his sea-weary eyes, Hine-rau-wharangi greets him; while, sheltering within Tane-mahuta, Punaweko cries him welcome. Rolling down the rugged flanks of Hine-tu-maunga comes Para-whenua-mea to restore his waning energies, while Hine-pukohu-rangi casts her white mantle over him.
Even so does our Maori voyager return to the Primal Parent; the Parent who brought man forth to the World of Life, and who takes him again to her sheltering breast, when, weary and wayworn, he returns from his journey, the Parent to whom all voyagers and all men return at last—the first Mother Parent, Papa-tuanuku, Papa-matua-te-kore, the Parent and the Parentless—the old, old Earth Mother!
|Aotearoa.||Maori name of the North Island.|
|Ara moana||Sea roads; sea paths.|
|Haumi||Piece fastened to the hull of a canoe to lengthen it|
|He ihu waka, he ihu whenua.||A canoe-nose (prow), a land nose. (Implies that the two shall meet, as noses do in the hongi salute.)|
|Hine-korako.||Personified form of some celestial glow.|
|Hine-moana||Personified form of the ocean.|
|Hine-pukohu-rangi.||Personified form of mist.|
|Hine-rau-wharangi||Personified form of vegetable growth.|
|Hine-tuakirikiri.||Personified form of sand and gravel.|
|Hine-tu-maunga||Personified form of ranges.|
|Huru-moana.||Personified form of sea-birds.|
|Kiwa.||Presiding genius or guardian of the ocean.|
|Papa-matua-te-kore.||Papa the Parentless. (Papa and Rangi had no parents, but were themselves the first parents.)|
|Papa-tuanuku.||The Earth Mother.|
|Pārā-weranui.||Personified form of south wind.|
|Para-whenua-mea||Personified form of waters of earth.|
|Punaweko.||Personified form of land-birds.|
|Rakahore.||Personified form of rock|
|Rarohenga.||The spirit world.|
|Tama-nui-te-ra.||Honorific name for the sun.|
|Tane.||Personified form of forests and trees.|
|Tangaroa||Personified form of fish|
|Tawhiri-matea.||Personified form of winds.|
|Te Ihorangi.||Personified form of ram.|
|Te Moana nui a Kiwa.||The Great Ocean of Kiwa.|