Volume 11 1902 > Volume 11, No. 4 > Notes and queries, p 262-264
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In looking through an old Maori newspaper (Waka Maori, 1875) I came upon a letter from Tamati Reina of Whangaehu. He alludes to the coming of Turi in the “Aotea” canoe, and relates that his (Turi's) god arose out of the depths and caught hold of the point of the paddle of the steersman or director, Tu-tangatakino. As a sacrifice a man named Tapō was cast overboard, but, as he touched the water, the god arose at his side and said, “When the blazing star of the morning appears, you and I will have reached the shore.” (Hina mai te whetu pukana nui o te ata ko taua kua u ki uta).1 Turi drew the man into the canoe again and accepted him as priest and prophet. This, however, is not the part to which I wish to draw attention; it is as follows:—

Ka timata he take atua Maori noku, no mua tae noa mai ki te takiwa i tae mai nei te Pakeha, he atua ika no te moana, ko Rongomai te ingoa, e ora nei ano. Ko toku tangata i tangohia e taua atua ika ko Rapati. Ka rua ona tau i ngaro atu ai taua tangata i a matou, a tae atu ana ki Ingarangi i roto i aua tau e rua. Te hokinga mai ki a matou he kahu Pakeha ona kahu, he kohuai paraikete, he reri-hate; kaore ano tera kahu kia kitea ki konei. Kua kotahi rau e rua tekau tau tona wehenga i naianei to taua tangata i tangohia ra. From that time down to the advent of the Pakeha we had a Maori god, a fish-god of the sea, whose name was Rongomai, and he still lives in the sea. This fish-god once carried away one of of our people named Rapati. He was absent from us for two years, and during that time had visited England. When he came back he was clothed in Pakeha garments, a yellow blanket and a red shirt—the like of which had never before been seen in this land. It is one hundred and twenty years ago since this occurred.

If Tamati Reina's account is correct, it would give us A.D. 1755 as the time of Rapati's adventure. Cook first sighted New Zealand in 1769. Can any of our readers tell us anything about Rapati?—Edward Tregear.

[159] Stone Axes of Manahiki Island.

In a recent communication from Colonel Gudgeon, of Rarotonga, he says:—“I may mention that the Manahiki people used to make stone axes out of a hard species of coral called kakaraia, which is said to have been as hard as marble and quite as effective for the purpose of axe-making as any ordinary (volcanic) stone.” The interesting thing in the above is the name kakaraia. At the mouth of the Tauhoa River in the Kaipara District, north of Auckland, there was, in the sixties, a native settlement in a little bay, named Kakaraia. The surrounding country is sandstone, but on the beach are to be found numerous hard flinty-looking stones of a jasperoid nature. I have never met the name Kakaraia elsewhere nor do I know the word in the Maori language other than in this place name. It is probable that the name arises from this flint-like stone, the name of which has been brought from Hawaiki, but is now obsolete, and is connected with the Manahiki name for a “marble-like stone.”—S. Percy Smith.

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[160] Greenstone or Jade at Niuē.

Mr. Maxwell, Government Resident at Niuē, or Savage Island, writes to us, “I obtained a stone axe recently; it was dug up in a cultivation. It is very ancient and undoubtedly made of greenstone, but of inferior quality to that of New Zealand. . . . I have been making enquiries about it, but can not learn that the natives have any record of it. It has evidently been lost for ages, and was only found when making a cultivation. The old men say it is a stone which does not occur in Niuē, but although they say the toki-uli (black volcanic stone axes) were brought from Samoa, they can give no explanation as to where this greenstone came from. I do not think there can be the slightest doubt as to its being greenstone, though the axe is more roughly made than those of New Zealand. It is intensely hard, and as there is no sandstone in Niuē, there would be great difficulty in grinding it into shape here.” This is a find of great importance, and shows communication in former times either with New Zealand, New Caledonia, or New Guinea.—Ed.

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Mr. D. C. Wilson, of Whangarei, County Engineer, died 22nd August. He was an old settler of over fifty years standing, and had seen many changes in the north of Auckland during his long residence there. For many years he was actively engaged as a surveyor in preparing lands for settlement. He died respected by all who knew him, and was followed to the grave by a very large number of friends on the 24th August. Mr. Wilson was one of our original members, and will be a great loss to us, for, whilst never having written much for the “Journal,” he was always willing and ready to supply information from his stores of Maori knowledge. He was a wonderful penman, and within a month of his death wrote out the Lord's Prayer in a space equal to one-nineteenth the size of a threepenny-bit.

Another of our original members, Mr. Arthur S. Atkinson, F.L.S., passed away at his residence, Nelson, on the 11th December, 1902. Mr. Atkinson was an old settler, having arrived in New Zealand in the early fifties, and has borne his share of the pioneer work of settlement. He very early took a great interest in the Maori language, and has studied it more deeply and scientifically than anyone else. He had accumulated a large amount of matter dealing with the Polynesian languages, but has not published any portion of it, being restrained partly by a natural modesty, and partly by a desire to complete his work and place it beyond the range of possibility of error. We trust, however, that the mass of information he had accumulated may yet be made available for students, and allow them to continue on from the point at which Mr. Atkinson was obliged to leave off owing to a serious illness which affected him for the last few years of his life. He has ever shown the greatest interest in our work, and his loss will be much felt.

1  See this Journal, vol. ix. p. 224.