Volume 16 1907 > Volume 16, No. 3 > A Maori cosmogony, by Tiwai Paraone, p 109-119
A MAORI COSMOGONY.
[The following interesting document was given to Col. Gudgeon some years ago, by Tiwai Paraone, of the Maru-tuahu tribes of Hauraki. Mr. Hare Hongi has been good enough to make a translation of it for the ‘Journal.’ It is interesting, as accrediting the great (and almost unknown) god Io with the creation of the Heavens and Earth from Chaos, and as showing him to be the progenitor of the other gods of the Maori. The great god-creator Io, was so sacred in character that his name could, in former times, only be mentioned under circumstances involving the complete absence of everything of a contaminating nature; and, indeed, his very name is believed to have been unknown to all but the highest class of priesthood. Mr. C. E. Nelson, one of our best Maori scholars, says—“The Maori always turned to the East when worshipping or saying incantations (karakia), hence they called it Mua, and the West at their back Tua. Mua, meaning to spring up, raise, raised, large, sacred, is sometimes the name of the god, otherwise called Io, Io-mua, Io-moa, Io-hunga, Io-uru, Io-hawai, Io-hana.” M. De Bovis has recorded a very similar cosmogony to this, from Tahiti, in which the Maori Io, is rendered as Ihoiho. It will be remembered that in the very fine Samoan “Chant of Creation” (J.P.S., vol. v., p. 19), Tangaroa takes the place of Io. Both accounts are no doubt based on the same original belief.—Editor.]
1. I noho a Io i roto i te aha o te ao,- 110
He pouri te ao, he wai katoa.
Kaore he ao, he marama, he maramatanga.
He pouri kau, he wai katoa.
A, nana i timata tenei kupu:
Kia noho kore, noho ia,
“Po, ko po whai ao.”
Na! kua puta mai he ao.
Katahi ka whakahokia taua kupu ra ano, ko tenei kupu;
Kia noho kore, noho ia
“Ao, ko ao whai po-o.”
Na! kua hoki ano ki te pouritanga nui,
Katahi ka tuatorutia e ona kupu;
“Hei runga nei tetahi po,
Hei raro nei tetahi po.
Po ki tupua te po
Po ki tawhito te po
He po mamate.
Hei runga nei tetahi ao,
Hei raro nei tetahi ao,
Ao ki tupua te ao,
Ao ki tawhito te ao,
He ao maneanea;
He ao marama.”
Na! kua marama nui
Katahi ano ka titiro ki nga wai e awhi nei i a ia,
Ka tuawhatia ana kupu, ko tenei kupu:
“Te wai ki tai-kama, wehe nga wai,
Tupu ai rangi, ka tarewa te rangi;
Whanau a te tupua-horonuku.”
Na! takoto ana a Papa-tuanuku.
2. Ko te whakawhaititanga o enei kupu ki muri mai nei o nga tupuna Maori i tuhi mai ki o ratou manawa tonu, ara, ki te manawa o nga whakatupuranga i waiho ana hei pepeha ma nga tohunga, koia tenei:—
“Ko tawhito ki, ko tawhito korero,
Ko tawhito wananga i tupu ai te kore—
Te wai ki tai, tupu ai rangi
Whanau a te tnpua-horonuku.”
3. Na! E hoa ma! E toru nga pakarutanga o nga karakia i roto i enei kupu: Te karakia whakato tamariki ki te kopu pakoko tetahi. Ko te karakia whakamarama i te ngakau me te tinana katoa tetahi. Ko te timatanga o te karakia tataku mo te mate, mo te whawhai, korero ranei, tohi, tu-a-whakapapa, me era atu mea o te tohunga nunui.
Te kupu a lo i hanga ai te ao, ara, i whakatokia ai ka tupu nei te ao ki te ao; kei roto i nga kupu o te karakia whakato tamariki aua kupu. Te ngakau pouri, te tinana rahi, te hau-aitu, te korero ngaro, te waiata, te taki (? take) ngaro, me te tini atu o nga hauatanga o te tangata i te wa o Tu-mata-whaiti. Ko te karakia whakamarama, ara, ko Po-mamate; me te karakia tataku ka toru.
4. [E hoa! kauaka e ki mai ki tou tuakana, i tuhia mai hoki nga karakia nei, me etahi atu karakia; kaore au e mohio mo ena. I korerotia nga korero i mau i a au, e kore e taea e au te huna, e kore hoki e taea te horihori, e ki ake ana i roto i a au. He mea nui rawa, he mea kaha. Mutu rawa ake to tatou noho i tenei ao, ka mahue iho ki a ratou i te ao nui, a ko au e mea e noho tahi ana i te ture hei tupuna mo nga korero a muri ake nei, no reira ahau, e hoa ma!—to koutou tuakana—kei te ki ake i roto i a au; me pau katoa mai i a au nga mea a nga tupuna Maori. E kore rawa e puritia e au, e te mea mate, apopo nei mate ai, ma te popo atu ra ano ka mutu. Kei whea hoki he whawhai pakanga hei take maku e pupuru ai? Kaore nei hoki i whakamatauria e Hone Te Mahu, e Wiremu Tamihana, e tiriwa ki te Pakeha i Waikato, kia tikarohia te manawa o te Pakeha ka whangai ma Uenuku-kai-tangata—tetahi wahi ma nga ariki-tapairu e kai. Engari no ratou ke te manawa i tikarohia e te Whakapono, e te Ture. No reira, mo te aha ka purutia? Engari e kore ano nga kupu i aoreretia ka mana i a au. Ko te mea tika rawa he whare-rangaranga; - 111 otira e hoa! tena pea me patai noa atu ki tetahi hoa Maori e mohio ana ki aua karakia e toru ki te whakato-tamariki, ki a Po-mamate, ki a Tataku. Ka mutu tena.]
5. Ka wehe nga wai ki a ia ano—e puke mai na! Ka tarewa te rangi ki runga, tata ake pea i a Papa-tua-nuku. Ka takoto hoki a Papa-tua-nuku, na, ka whakatupu nei hoki a Io mona. [Kaua e patai mai e Rau-te-uia ma, Ha! Kowai te wahine a Io i moe ai? Heoi ano ra, na te Maori, kaore ona komiti hei whakatikatika—te hori noa ai. Kaore ana mangumangu, ko tona manawa tonu kei roto tonu i nga karakia]. Ko Io, ko Te Aio-nuku, Te Aio-rangi, ko Te Aio-papa, ko Te Aio-matua, ko Te Po-nui, ko Te Po-roa, ko Te Po-whawha, ko Hine-ruaki-moe, ko Tahuhu-nui-a-rangi, ko Te Po, ko Te Ao.
Ko Rangi raua ko Papa, nana enei:—
Ka tokona a Rangi ki runga e Tane-mahuta, ki tera rangi e tu iho ra; ka moe atu i tera wahine i a Hine-ruaki-moe, ka puta ki waho, ko Moko-i-rangi, ko Pu-whakarere-i-waho.
No. 1. Tama-a-rangi-tau-ke. Nga uri, ko te wairua o te tangata ana ka mate. Ka puta ki waho o te tinana ko Tama-a-rangi-tau-ke. Ka marere te roke o te tinana kua mate nei, te mimi ranei, ko etahi uri ena. Koia te Whatu-taka-i-raro, me ona korero, me ona karakia, o wairua o te Whatu-taka-i-raro.
No. 2. Aitua. Nga uri, ko te tinana mate e takoto mai na. Otira e puta mai ana tona whakapapa ki a Tiki ma. He matemate tonu te tangata, kaore e ora i a Pu-whakarere-i-waho. Me te ra—tere tonu te po, te ao, te po, te ao; kaore e roa. A, no te whakatupuranga i a Maui-tikitiki, ka puta te upoko o te ra, katahi ka roa ko tenei ahua. Waihoki ko te matemate o te tangata, i te mea e matemate nei kaore e mate rawa. Engari e penei ana me to te marama nei, ka mate, ka ora ano te wano (? whano) i taua tawhiti nei i a Maui-tikitiki, ka kutia nei e tona tipuna e Hine-nui-te-po. Ka kataina nei e te Pirai-raka, ka kamua nei e te puapua o Hine-nui-te-po, ka mate te maia nei. Katahi ka mate rawa te tangata ki te Po-nui-a-Rehua. I whai hoki ia kia tomo atu ia i te pua o Hine-nui-te-po, kia puta i waho kia mate ai a Hine-nui-te-po, te tuahine matamua o Whiro-te-tupua raua ko Tuhi-kai-tangata, tama a Rehua raua ko Rangi-tai-apo, uri o Pu-whaka-rere-i-waho. Penei, e kore te tangata e mate a marama; ka mate, ka ara ano, a e kore hoki e mate rawa ki te Po-nui-a-Rehua—ki te waro nui a Rangi-tai-apo. Engari ka ora tonu, kaore e mate a marama, kaore e mate a whenua. No taua matenga ka mate rawa, e mate nei. Koia - 112 tatou e poroaki nei tatou ki a tatou. Na te hinga huhua-kore o atua i taua (? tana) teina, i a Pu.
No. 3. Rongo-ma-Tane. Nga uri, he kumara me era atu kai, me etahi otaota, tawhiwhi e tupu nei; koia a Rongo-mata-aka wau (? whau) me nga Piki-arero nei, me nga aka Pohuehue, aka Tawhiwhi, Taroa, Tamau, Tahua, &c.
No. 4. Tane-mahuta. Nga uri, ko te rakau, ko te manu.
No. 5. Tawhiri-matea. Nga uri, ko te hau, ko te ua; ara, ko Tonganui, ko Marangai, ko Karuia, ko Tuaraki, ko Hauauru-tupoki. Ko nga aitanga uri a Tawhiri-matea i te aroha ki to ratou matua i tokona nei; a, ko o ratou uri ko Makoi-rangi ma, e whakatupu kino nei ki nga uri o nga tamariki o Papa-tua-nuku i mahue iho ki raro nei, ko nga uri o Tawhiri, o Makoi, o Pu-whaka mo te tokonga o Rangi—te putake o te riri e tangata-ke ai era, ki enei. A ka tika ano te take o nga tuakana ware nei; ka maranga nga karakia tuatua, ka hinga nga teina.
No. 6. Rua-ai-moko. Nga uri, ko te Ru, e ru nei i te whenua. Otira, ko taua tama kihai i whakatangata, kua kitea atu e te kanohi o etahi he whakatahe. Koia ano i uri kore ai mo Ru ki te ao nei, i kore ai tona kanohi e kitea, ko te ru kau ano e rangona ana ano.
No. 7. Ngana. Nga uri, ko te ra me te marama me nga whetu; ko te tokorua tenei o nga uri o Papa ma e whai i a Rangi; a i hoki iho te aroha a Tama-nui-ki-te-ra ratou ko ona teina; koia tenei i whakaatu nei, i ngaki noa a Tawhiri-matea ma, koia nga tohu i te timatanga o te tau, kia tupato ai nga uri o te tokowaru i raro nei.
No. 8. Haumia-tikitiki. Nga uri, ko te aruhe makoke; koia tona whakatauki, “ko Haumia-tikitiki te hamuti.”
No. 9. Tu-mata-uenga. Nga uri; ko te tangata ora e ora nei tatou. Te tangata ora koia tona whakatauki, ko Tu-mata-whaiti, Tu-ka-riri, Tu-ka-nguha, Tu-kai-taua, Tu-mata-te-ueuea, a te aha, tu tonu i te mana o aua karakia ki a Io te atua.
No. 10. Tangaroa. Nga uri; ko Punga, ko Ikatere, ko Tu-te-ihiihi, Tu-te-wanawana, ko nga ika katoa o te moana, me nga nga-rara katoa ki uta nei.
No. 11. Pu-whakarere-i-waho. Nga uri; ko te kino, ko te mate; ara, ko te mate kohai e whakangaro nei i te tangata, i te kai, i te taonga, i te korero, i te karakia, i nga mea katoa o te ao e whaka-korea hetia nei e Pu-whakarere-i-waho. Tena taua maia mei te haere na tona ingoa i nga karakia huhura, he aitanga uri no raua tahi ko Makoi-rangi, a Rehua raua ko Rangi-taiapo, whanau ake ko Hine-nui-te-po, Whiro-te-tupua, Tuhi-kai-tangata.- 113
A MAORI COSMOGONY.
(Translation by Hare Hongi.)
1. 1 Io dwelt within 2 breathing-space of immensity.
The Universe was in darkness, with water everywhere.
There was no glimmer of dawn, no clearness, no light.
And he began by saying these words,—
That He might cease remaining inactive:
“Darkness, become a light-possessing darkness.”
And at once light appeared.
(He) then repeated those self-same words in this manner,—
That He might cease remaining inactive:
“Light, become a darkness-possessing light.”
And again an intense darkness supervened.
Then a third time He spake saying:
“Let there be one darkness above,
Let there be one darkness below (alternate).
Let there be a darkness unto 3 Tupua,
Let there be a darkness unto 4 Tawhito;
It is a darkness 5 overcome and dispelled.
Let there be one light above,
Let there be one light below (alternate).
Let there be a light unto Tupua,
Let there be a light unto Tawhito.
A dominion of light,
A bright light.”
And now a great light prevailed.
(Io) then looked to the waters which compassed him about,
and spake a fourth time, saying:
“Ye waters of 6 Tai-kama, be ye separate.
Heaven, be formed.” Then the sky became suspended.
“Bring-forth thou 7 Tupua-horo-nuku.”
And at once the moving 8 earth lay stretched abroad.
2. Those words (of Io) became impressed on the minds of our - 114 ancestors, and by them were they transmitted down through the generations. Our priests joyously referred to them as being:
“The ancient and original sayings.
The ancient and original words.
The ancient and original 9 cosmological wisdom.
Which caused growth from the void,
The limitless space-filling void,
As witness the tidal-waters,
The evolved heaven,
The birth-given evolved earth.”
3. And now, my friends, there are three very important applications of those original sayings, as used in our sacred rituals. The first occurs in the ritual for implanting a child within the 10 barren womb. The next occurs in the ritual for enlightening both the mind and the body. The third and last occurs in the ritual on the solemn subjects of death, and of war, of baptism, of genealogical recitals, and such like important subjects, as the priests most particularly concerned themselves in.
The words by which Io fashioned the Universe—that is to say, by which it was implanted and caused to produce a world of light—the same words are used in the ritual for implanting a child in a barren womb. The words by which Io caused light to shine in the darkness are used in the rituals for cheering a gloomy and despondent heart, the feeble aged, the decrepit; for shedding light into secret places and matters, for inspiration in song-composing, and in many other affairs, affecting man to despair in times of adverse war. For all such the ritual to enlighten and cheer, includes the words (used by Io) to over-come and dispel darkness. Thirdly, there is the preparatory ritual which treats of successive formations within the universe, and the genealogical history of man himself.
[Ask not of me, thine elder brother, O friend, for a fuller recital of these and kindred matters, I know not the details. I have caught but fragments of them, this I do not conceal; neither may I (indulge your wish) by inventing that which would be false. Yet (albeit it is fragmentary) am I filled with great and mighty things. These may now, for our sojourn in this world draws to a close, be left to others. They may be placed side by side with the (European) law, to become a basis for the history following on after our own time. Thus it is that I, thine elder brother, O friend, who am filled therewith, willingly impart unto you all, these, the wisdom of mine ancestors. Neither shall I, who will shortly die, withhold aught thereof. To-morrow, it may be, I shall suddenly die, and so end. Or, what prospect of war is there? that I should withhold them (as a means of self-defence). Indeed, neither Hone Te Mahu nor Wiremu Tamihana essayed to use them against the Pakeha during the Waikato War. For instance, by using the ritual and by plucking out the heart of a Pakeha foe, and offering - 115 up the one portion to Uenuku-kai-tangata, the other portion to be eaten by the highest born females. As it happened, it was their own (Maori) hearts which were torn from them by Christian doctrine and (European) law. Why then, need I withhold these sacred rituals? I would not do so in any case; I will disclose them in their numbers and their fragments. (As to fuller text thereof) a council of Tohungas might successfully weave such together. Meanwhile, it were well to seek out a skilled Maori, well informed in the three rituals under notice, namely: that of the child-implanting, the darkness-dispelling, and the cosmology. Here endeth that.]
Thus, then, were the primeval waters separated, each unto itself, as we now see their masses. Thus, also, the heaven suspended, apparently (in the first instance) but at a little distance above the moving-earth; thus too, the moving-earth lay outstretched.
And now Io caused other reproductions of himself. (Ask me not, my many brethren, “Ha, whom then did Io take to wife?” Enough, it is the Maori who speaketh. The Maori who hath no committee of investigation, who, therefore, speaketh thus spasmodically. Who hath no recording ink, therefore relieth upon memory.) As witness the following recital:—
The A-io-nuku of Motion
The A-io-rangi of Space
The A-io-papa of Earth
The A-io-matua, the Parent
The Primeval darkness
The Continuous darkness
The Groping darkness
The great Firmament (sky-roof)
Rangi and Papa, Space and Matter, Sky-father and Earth-mother.
When the heaven was poled aloft by Tane-mahuta, he took the - 116 sleep-impelling-maid to wife, and begat Makoi-rangi and Pu-whaka-rere-i-waho.
As to No. 1, Tama-a-rangi-tau-ke, his offspring is primarily the spirit of man. When that spirit leaveth the body, it is known as Tama-rangi-tau-ke. The ordure and urine which issues from a dead body, are also referred to as his offspring. These are also known as the Whatu-taka-i-raro, upon which references occur in the rituals concerning the spirit of man.
As to No. 2, Aitua (fate, destiny), its offspring is such as the dead body just noticed. None the less, do the genealogical records of the generations pass through such unto Tiki (the first man) and them. Man, the individual, must inevitably die, he cannot live for ever, owing to the action of Pu-whakarere-i-waho. Formerly the days were very short, darkness quickly succeeded dawn, and dawn as quickly succeeding darkness. So it continued down to the generation of Maui-tiki-tiki, when the head of the Sun was beaten, which caused the day to lengthen to what it is at present. At that time although man died he did not utterly perish. He died, as the moon dieth, to be restored to life again by the wonder-working Maui. At length, Maui himself was jammed-to-death, to the laughter of the tiny Fan-tail birds, by his ancestress the 11 Dame-of-darkness-perpetual. He being be-winked and indrawn by the capillaries of Hine-nui-te-po, as a hero died. So man, since then, dieth even unto the great night of 12 Rehua. Maui had essayed to penetrate, by way of the capillaries of Hine-nui-te-po, and to emerge through her mouth, and so subdue her. She proved too powerful, being the elder-sister of 13 Whiro-te-tupua and Tuhi-kai-tangata, sons of Rehua and Rangi-tai-apo, descendants of Pu-whakarere-i-waho. Had Maui conquered her, man would neither die as the moon dieth, nor would he utterly perish in the darkness primeval of Rehua, and the gloomy abyss of Rangi-tai-apo; man would have continued to live for ever. He would die neither as the moon or the earth; but, as Maui himself died, so dieth man. Thence it is that we now commiserate each other as to our ultimate end, it is owing to this god-man having died unavenged by the act of his junior, Pu-whakarere-i-waho.
As to No. 3, 14 Rongo and Tane, the offspring are the kumara plants, and such like foods. The various creeping plants which grow, being termed Rongo-mata-aka-wau, the climbing pikiarero, the bindweed tendrils and vines, such as the Taroa, Tamau and Tahua.
As to No. 4, 15 Tane-mahuta, his offspring are the trees and the birds.
As to No. 5, Tawhiri-matea, his offspring are the winds and the rains. The south wind, the east wind, the north and the west. Those are the progeny of Tawhiri, who give evidence of their affection for their sky-father who was poled aloft. It is as protesting against this, - 117 that Makoirangi and others wage continual warfare, and work evil upon the peculiar children of earth. They, who engage in these evil works, are the progeny of Tawhiri, Makoirangi and Pu-whaka-rere-i-waho. They continued hostile, the seniors to the juniors, and properly so, for the forcible removal of their sky-father. But, when man uses the rituals for appeasing the anger of the winds, their wrath for the time being is allayed.
As to No. 6, Rua-ai-moko, his progeny are the earthquake and volcanic discharge. This son (of the sky-father and earth-mother) is an immature son. Not being fully born, he remains invisible to mortal eye, nor has he any children. It is enough that we are sufficiently acquainted with him as being an earth-shaker. (By other recitals, earthquakes are explained as caused by his struggles to free himself from his mother's womb. It is said that he can only succeed by destroying his mother, i.e., earth.)
As to No. 7, 16 Ngana, his progeny are the Sun, Moon and Stars. He is the second son of Papa and those who followed Rangi aloft. He, in common with Tama-nui-ki-te-ra (sun-god) and other juniors, sheds his beneficial influence upon earth, and dissipates the hostile energy of Tawhiri-matea (wind-god). Thence, are the warning signs (given to man) of the advent of the year (June), an admonition to the descendants of the eighth (Haumia) on earth here.
As to No. 8, 17 Haumia-tiketike, his offspring is the edible fern root, of which it is said:—“The upstanding ordure of Haumia.”
As to No. 9, Tu-mata-uenga, his offspring are living men, such as we ourselves (warlike). Thence are the sayings:—Narrow-visaged-Tu: Wrathful-Tu: Raging-Tu: Tu, eater of War parties: and Tu of Shaking-front. Those things which are desired by Tu (the warrior-god) are granted in the potency of the rituals unto god Io.
As to No. 10, Tangaroa, his progeny are Punga and Ikatere (of the Sea). There is Tu-te-ihiihi and Tu-te-wanawana, in short, all the fish of the ocean, all reptiles of the land.
As to Pu-whakarere-i-waho, his offspring is whatever is unjust, death; more particularly calamitous death, which causes extinction of mankind, foods, goods, histories, rituals, and all such like, which concerneth man. These he delighteth to destroy. His dreaded name occurs, as instigator of evil, in propitiatory rituals of the dim past. Rehua and Rangi-taiapo are descendants of Pu-whakarere-i-waho and Makoi-rangi. Thence come the Dame-of-darkness-perpetual, Whiro-te-tupua and Tuhi-kai-tangata.- 118
THE foregoing may be described as a fragment of mosaic, some of the missing parts of which have been substituted by slightly later material, which causes a confusion of the original pattern. Had the reciter been asked to repeat it on many different occasions, each recital being separately written, in all probability, slight variations would have enabled such a reconstruction of its parts as to more nearly accord with its antique and original setting. It is now, apparently, too late to do this, and we are obliged to take it as we find it. In some important respects the fragment is unique. It is informing in its introduction of uncommon ideas.
The translation will be found to follow the original very closely, even to the extent of partial repetitions. The following notes are added with a view to further elucidate its parts. The numbers correspond with those given in the translation.- 119
[Page of endnotes]
1 Io.—This term is here used in a sacred sense. Ordinarily, io speaks of a circular hollow centre or tube, from which the solid contents, core or pith (ngana) have been withdrawn. The idea of space-energy giving forth solid matter, perhaps expresses it. Of this personification speaking, it may be urged that it is reminiscent of the biblical creation-myth. That, however, does not necessarily follow. The story of the separation of Rangi and Papa is undoubtedly original, and by many versions, Rangi is made therein to speak to his children, notably to Tane. So that this fact of Io being made to speak is not singular, or necessarily an imitation.
2 A-ha.—A is here used in the sense of far-off; ha is breath, a breathing.
3 Tupua.—This term is used in the sense of growth and evolution personified, from tupu, to grow.
4 Tawhito.—This term is used in the sense of ancient and original, personified. As opposed to the previous term, Tupua, it signifies—age, decay, dissolution. Conjointly these terms mean and represent growth and decay, evolution and dissolution.
5 Mamate.—This is a partial reduplication of the verb mate, to die; therefore, to be cast down or overcome; as was the darkness by Io. It is also implied that man, by death, returns to the darkness, whence he originated.
6 Tai-kama.—Tai originally speaks of force, whence tidal-force, finally Sea. Kama signifies original activity, nimbleness, speed.
7 Tupua-horo-nuku.—We have considered Tupua in paragraphs 3 and 4. Horo signifies to absorb, and nuku speaks of motion. Apparently we are to understand from the text that Io commanded the Evolver (Tupua) to “bring forth” that which would by the law of motion absorb, by passing through space: “And at once the moving-earth lay stretched abroad.” This moving-earth is clearly what the Evolver produced in answer to the command of Io.
8 Papa-tu-a-nuku.—Papa primarily speaks of solid-substance, matter. The term is universally applied to our Earth, in full, Papa-tu-a-nuku. Tu-a-nuku, literally signifies poised-by, (or, after the manner of) motion. In other words we have: Papa, whose stability is regulated and maintained by motion. It is, therefore, both proper and convenient to render the term: The moving-earth.
9 Wananga.—This term is exclusively applied to a recital concerning the evolution of the universe, and the history of man. A knowledge of these subjects is, in its turn, regarded as the highest wisdom of man; god-like and god-sent-wisdom. Wananga then, in a word, literally signifies cosmology, cosmological wisdom.
10 Kopu pakoko, or barren womb.—The interest in this term centres in the idea which gives it materialisation. We are clearly to understand that as Io, by using certain words, caused the solid substance of matter to issue from the void of space, so man, by using those words, can cause the barren womb to conceive and bring forth.
11 Hine-nui-te-Po, or Dame-of-darkness-perpetual.—In Hine the symbol of the feminine, we recognise a system so persistent in Maori teaching, namely: the law of dualism, and of male and female in nature. Hine-nui-te-po, she who thwarted the Solar hero Maui, is the female personification of primeval darkness.
12 Rehua.—Rehua is described as the most brilliant son of Rangi. At the separation of Rangi and Papa, Tane proposed Rehua as most fitted to do it. Rangi said: “Not so, lest I be blinded by his dazzling brightness.” Rehua is lord of the blind, and compares with the blind Horus of Egypt.
13 Whiro-te-tupua.—Universally regarded as lord of darkness, and incidentally of death. By this recital his functions appear to be largely transferred to Rehua.
14 Rongo and Tane.—Rongo is essentially and originally lord of the abundance of harvest. It is, however, realised that but for Tane (the Sun-god?), who is lord of the forest, plants, and vegetation generally, there would be no such abundance. So we occasionally, and very rarely too, find the names of Rongo and Tane conjoined and honoured together as lords of abundance. Tane (the Sun) is lord of the year.
15 Tane-mahuta.—Here we have Tane himself, in his aspect of lord of the trees, and of the birds which feed thereon. We are familiar with him in that other aspect of Tane-toko-rangi, or, Tane, who poles up the heaven. Tane, the Sun-god, poled up the heaven with his long shafts or pillars of light. There are twelve aspects of Tane, which correspond to the twelve months of the year, they culminate in Tane-te-waiora.
16 Ngana.—“His progeny are the Sun, Moon and Stars.” A primary signification of this term is given in paragraph 1. It is here used in the two-fold sense of an indurated central circular body, which shines with brilliancy. There is little doubt that this Ngana should hold a place, in common, with Io of paragraph 1, for both terms act and react upon each other. Not only is this so, but we require little assurance to apprehend that his progeny—the Sun, Moon and Stars—hold a primary place in the evolution of the Cosmos, and that Ngana should therefore hold a place beside Io of this recital.
17 Haumia-tiketike.—Of him it is but necessary to remark that being a purely local and minor divinity, he is scarcely entitled to this place amongst the highest divinities or personifications.
In the case of the wonder-working Solar hero Maui, a note would be quite inadequate.
Observe the curious sentence:—“Then also was the sky suspended, apparently (in the first instance) but a little distance above the moving-earth.” Does this not refer itself to a dense atmosphere resting above the Earth in the earlier stages of its evolution, and which, when dissipated revealed the blue dome of the far distant firmament?