Volume 20 1911 > Volume 20, No.3 > Enua-manu, the land of birds, p 159-161
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 159
ENUA-MANU, THE LAND OF BIRDS.

IN the “Log-book” of the Rarotongan migration from Indonesia to their present home, Enua-manu (Maori of New Zealand: Whenua-manu) is mentioned as one of their stopping places, away to the north of Fiji. In “Hawaiki,” p. 113, third edition, it was suggested that this land was New Guinea; and in the story below we find that the Rarotongans have come to the same conclusion.

In one of the MSS. belonging to the late Dr. Wyatt Gill there is an account of some of the voyages of I-te-rangiora, who is probably the same as the noted voyager named Ui-te-rangiora in Te Ariki-Tara-are's MSS., and Hui-te-rangiora in Whatahoro's Maori MSS. (of New Zealand)—see “Hawaiki” for mention of his voyages. It says: “I-te-rangiora was a great man of the tere (migration) from Atia [the original Fatherland of the Rarotongans], a son of Tairi-tokerau and Vaieroa.” The story of Rata's adventures much as is published in Journal Polynesian Society, Vol. XIX., p. 142, by Mr. S. Savage, is there given, but accredited to I-te-rangiora, which is possibly wrong, though in another Rarotongan document it is stated that I-te-rangiora was a brother of Rata's; if so, then the parents are right. It goes on to say that after the remains of the parents had been recovered (Journal, loc. cit.), “He (I-te-rangiora) then sailed his canoe to Enua-manu, which is Manumanu in Papua that Rau 1 told us of. Enua-manu of the ancestors, according to them, was a land full of birds. Another name for the same place, according to the ancestors, was Enua-kura, so called on account of the red birds (manu kurakura) found there, and it was from there were brought the uru-kura of the ancestors of old, used as pare, or plumes for the arikis, hence pare-kura (scarlet plume or head dress), and the poe uru-kura (? pearls and red feathers), used also as a god by the ancestors. …“

“When the expedition of I-te-rangiora was at Enua-kura, the crew of the canoe was divided (mavete) into two companies, one of which had gods, the other had not. Rau* has told us about the men of Papua; the black men have idols for gods, whilst those people like the Rarotongans (tangata Koiari) have no gods. The people that live inland, the Koitapu people, have gods—the spirits of their dead fathers. When they see a vessel passing they say, there are their gods, the spirits of their fathers. The Koitapu people are black men, with patatue (? thick - 160 lips) and upturned nostrils and crisp (mingi) hair, and the heads are kopa a tangaroa (? black). The fair people are like the Maori half-castes. …”

“I-te-rangiora then sailed his canoe south-east (which is the correct course from New Guinea) (runga) to Avaiki, the old land, which is Savai'i in Samoa. Here he abandoned his old canoe, the Ivi tangata 2 (men's bones), because it was rotten. He then cut down the tree Te Tamoko-o-te-rangi as a substitute for the old canoe. Then was it this canoe sailed to the islands in the south and to the north, and returned to Avaiki, Kuporu, Tutuira, and Manuka (all Samoan islands). The ‘godless’ men settled in Amoa (Samoa), which the ancestors of old called ‘Amoa-atua-kore’—‘Samoa the godless.’

“Those people who had gods sailed away to the windward islands, to Tongareva and Tahiti, and to the islands about Rarotonga.

“One of those of the party that stayed at Avaiki, a woman named Pori-o-kare, was ill-treated; she then took a rau-utu 3 as a means of transit, and departed for Koera. She returned to Enua-manu by way of Tara-are.”

Although it may be a mistake to make Vahie-roa and Tairi-tokerau (Wahie-roa and Tawhiri-tokerau, according to New Zealand Maori traditions) parents of I-te-rangiora (or Ui-te-rangiora), it is nevertheless the case that the latter was a contemporary of Vahie-roa's grandfather, according to Te Ariki-tara-are's tables, and who flourished just fifty generations ago, or circa A.D. 650, when the Rarotongan ancestors were living in Fiji.

Ui-te-rangiora was, according to Rarotonga traditions, the first of the voyagers who went so far south on his exploring expeditions that he evidently came to the region of icebergs, to be followed in later generations by other voyagers to the same parts. In the above tradition we learn that he also made a voyage west-north-westerly to New Guinea (as it seems to us) to Enua-manu. The distance in a straight line from Savai'i to New Guinea is about two thousand three hundred nautical miles, and this, from what we know of the powers of navigation of the Polynesians, would present few difficulties, especially as there are numberless islands on the way that might be used as whakaahuru (as the account of Maori voyages terms them), or resting places.

It is interesting to note also that the Rarotongan native missionaries to New Guinea recognise some of the inhabitants of the latter country as - 161 being racially like themselves, notwithstanding that Dr. C. G. Seligmann in his late work, “The Melanesians of British New Guinea,” 1910, calls all the Eastern New Guinea people Melanesians. One cannot help thinking that the Rarotongan missionaries, with their knowledge of both races, are entituled to be heard on this subject of racial affinity.

It is abundantly clear that the Enua-manu of Ui-te-rangiora's voyage is not the little island of that name in the Cook Group.

1   Rau was evidently one of the Rarotongan missionaries to New Guinea.
2   This canoe in Te Ariki-Tara-are's (Rarotonga) history is “Te Ivi-o-Atea,” and in New Zealand tradition it is called “Te Tuahiwi-o-Atea.” The former account says the canoe was made of men's bones, hence the allusion above, which probably means that men's bones (enemies) were let into, or used, in some part of the canoe.
3   Rau-utu means a leaf of the Barringtonia tree—probably Rau-utu was the name of the lady's canoe.—Koera is in New Guinea.