Volume 22 1913 > Volume 22, No. 87 > Tuhoe, the children of the mist, by Elsdon Best, p 149-150
TUHOE THE CHILDREN OF THE MIST.
BEING A SKETCH OF THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE TUHOE OR URE-WERA TRIBE OF THE MAORIS OF NEW ZEALAND, WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF SEVERAL OF THE ORIGINAL TRIBES OF THE BAY OF PLENTY DISTRICT.
“He iti na Tuhoe e Kata te Po.”
TO THE CHILDREN OF PANI
Who, leaving their far distant homes in the Hidden Land of Tane, in the days when the world was young, laid down the water trails o'er four oceans for all time.
“On from island unto island,
At the gateways of the day.”
THE POLYNESIAN VIKINGS.
“From lands unknown across the seas,
Fare on these warriors brave
While, far astern, isle after isle,
Sinks in the gleaming wave
Thrice sacred symbols of the gods,
Adorn each battered prow,
And quell the demons of the sea,
The fierce marakihau.
The sun sags down on Tama's trail,
Across the changing sky,
New stars do leap from out 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.”
“And the Children of Pani were dismayed, even that they deserted the home of their ancestors, and migrated to far lands. Hence we see the Maori people dwelling in many isles in the Great Ocean of Kiwa. Some came hither to Aotea-roa (N.Z.), while others went to lands afar off, to the places where the sky hangs down.”
THE above is an extract from the Legend of Pani, as preserved by the Awa tribes. In Maori myth, Pani was the sister of Tangaroa-i-te-rupetu, whose children were the Maui brothers. After the death of their mother, or her disappearance in the underworld, the children of Tangaroa were under the care of Pani. Pani was the wife of Rongo-maui, he who went afar off, and ascended to Whanui (the star Vega), from whom he obtained the seed of the kumara (sweet potatoe). Then Pani - 150 became the ‘mother’ of the kumara. She is the goddess who presides over the cultivation of that prized food product. But when her (adopted) children learned, at the waters of Mona-ariki, that they had partaken of the fruits of Pani, their mother, they were alarmed at such breach of old time usage. Hence they migrated to far lands, left the ancient home of their race, and went forth upon the great ocean. The offspring of Maui-mua came to these isles, to New Zealand. Their descendants were Toi the Wood Eater, and the tribes under him. These people are still with us. They are the Children of Pani, and as such we greet them.
On the 29th of April, 1895, one of the few survivors who wot of old time Maori lore, said to me: “Son! The day is far spent and night approaches swiftly. Therefore go you forth and collect the fragments of Matatua where, for twenty generations of men, that sea worn craft has swung to her stone anchor by the rocks of Hinga-rae.”
Even so, for twelve long years, the word was “kohikohia nga mara-mara o Matatua.”
It is to-day the 29th of April, 1907, as I close the manifest of the first landing of the battered old Argo. Far spent with long service is she, strained and sea weary beyond compare. Haply she may make her landfall plain, or be engulphed in the dread Waha o Te Parata.
Remains but to greet those who have, with much patience, provided the materials for this sketch, and answered many questions anent the history of their people. The principal authorities who so contributed their stores of knowledge were:—
Tutakangahau, of Maunga-pohatu
Tamarau Waiari, of Rua-toki
Paitini Wi Tapeka, of Te Whaiti
Kereru Te Puke-nui, of Rua-toki
Himiona Tikitu, of Te Whaiti
Parakiri Rawiri, of Galatea
Rewi Rangi-amio, of Galatea
While the list may be closed by acknowledging a very useful budget of notes on the occupation of Rua-toki by Tuhoe in the first half of the 19th century, received from Mr. Percy Smith.
As for the whare takiura, or house of learning, in which the traditional history of Tuhoe was imparted to me, that was usually represented by an eight by ten tent pitched in the forests of Tuhoeland, or by rude camp fires on the bush trails, or on the rugged shores of Wai-kare Moana.
ELSDON BEST.Hau-kapua, Rua-toki, 29th April, 1907.