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.