Volume 28 1919 > Volume 28, No. 112 > Traditions and legends. Collected from the natives of Murihiku. (Southland, New Zealand) Part XI, by H. Beattie, p 212-225
TRADITIONS AND LEGENDS.
COLLECTED FROM THE NATIVES OF MURIHIKU. (SOUTHLAND, NEW ZEALAND.)
IN common with their northern brethren the Maoris in the south were exceedingly prone to superstition, and the collector of these traditions came across many instances of this characteristic. Several parts of Otago seemed to be specially haunted by ogres, judging by the nomenclature. Some hills behind Waikouaiti are called Pukemaeroero, while the hills behind Tautuku and the mountains to the west side of the lower end of Lake Wakatipu, also bear the same name. The Maeroero was a wild man of the woods, covered with long hair, and possessed of great strength and craftiness. The name Maeroero also seems to have been sometimes applied to elves and fairies, but the word usually implies monstrous beings, whose existence was implicitly believed in up to quite recently. One old Maori said to the collector:—“The Maeroero which lived in the Owaka forest was a fearsome creature. Two knobs in the Ratanui Range are called Puku and Miki after two sisters who were married to Te Waka-tau-puka, an uncle of Tu-hawaiki (and incidentally an uncle of the narrator also). One of these women wandered into the bush where she killed a kakaruai (robin), and the Maeroero pounced out and carried her and the dead bird away. She came back about a week later but was unable to relate her experiences owing to fright and collapse. Her friends made an umu (oven) and covered it with clay upon which the woman was laid. This act of tao-whakamoe was done to remove the spell and avert evil. ‘It shifted the tapu off her and made her an ordinary woman again,’” concluded the narrator.
The mention of tapu recalls the fact that the late Rakitapu of Port Molyneux once had a pig which he named after Hau-matakitaki, a mountain near his birth-place at Lake Wanaka. Then some one recalled the fact that that mountain, and mount Kaki-roa near it, had been named after ancestresses of his, so the pig became tapu, and they could not eat it. A year later when the pig was in prime condition the elders consulted together, and decided that the naming - 213 of the pig had been done unwittingly, and that the măna acquired from the ancestral spirits had all gone to its head so the head was carefully severed, and the rest of the animal was eaten.
SANDY AND THE MAEROERO.
In some notes which Mr. James Cowan kindly gave to the collector to make use of as desired, occurs the story of Sandy's shooting expedition. The collector was also told this tale, but as Mr. Cowan's account is fuller it is herewith presented:—“In the very early days Sandy, a pakeha, met a Maero on Puke-maeroero (‘Fairy Hill’—between Tautuku and Hakopa). The Maoris warned him that there were fairies there, but he would go. Into the dense forests he went shooting and firing at kereru (or kuku, pigeon). He hit a kereru and it dropped flopping to the ground. Just as he went forward to pick it up, suddenly a terrible figure—a wild, hairy man of the woods—appeared and menaced him. Sandy immediately rammed down a charge into his gun and hurriedly fired at the Maero at very close range. The shot should have struck him, but he was no mortal man to be killed by shot. He laughed loudly, snatched up the pigeon and disappeared into the woods—ka mauria te manu—carrying the bird. Sandy's shooting was over for that time, and he got out of the bush with speed.”
One of my Maori friends said:—“Down near where the ‘Tararua’ was wrecked is the Whare-kaio landing-place. Here the rock has kelp on it, and it is the only place along there where you can get kelp for pohas or eel bags. When the natives had cut enough kelp a voice from the bush would say, ‘Kati, waihoki ina atatau.’ If you didn't stop when you heard that voice you would die when you reached home. If a Maori did not obey the spirits disaster would overtake him.”
“When the Maoris were at Tautuku, and the women went out to cut flax,” said another old man, “the Maeroero would warn them when they had cut enough, and evil befell them if they did not heed the warning. The Maeroero lived down there, hence are the wooded hills there called Puke-maeroero. It was also said of other places that spirit voices warned the people when they had caught enough fish. These are all what the white man would call mere fairy yarns, but they were believed in by the people of old.”
Although no warning voice emanated from the Burning Plain near Pomahaka, the wreaths of smoke from the lignite were a warning. Tradition says that the Maoris tried to cook on the steam escaping from the ground but the food went black, and thereafter the natives shunned the locality.- 214
What the taepo is the collector cannot define. The dictionary says it means “a goblin, a spectre,” but in the south, at least, it seems capable of a wider use than this definition would imply. One old woman says that when she was a girl she saw one. It was at the winding part of the Taiari River, known as Tē Rua-taniwha, which was said to be haunted by the ghost of a karara. The grown-ups said to the children, “Don't go there—that is where a taepo dwells,” but the little ones in a spirit of fun went to that spot and shouted, “Taepo come out, Taepo come out!” and suddenly, said the ancient dame, they saw a fearsome kind of thing like a shark come out from a hole in the bank, and begin throwing water in the air with its tail. They waited for no more, but fled screaming from the spot.”
An old man narrates that many years ago he went an eeling trip from Tuturau up to the Otama and Otama-iti lagoons, and that when camped at Whareoka (near Charlton) a violent earthquake occurred in the middle of the night. He woke up with a start and thought the taepo was abroad, or that the eels had come to life again and broken loose. Another tremor came, and when it passed he was quite relieved to find he was still on terra firma, whole and sound, and that the taepo had not got him.
TANIWHA AND KARARA.
The dictionary defines the taniwha as a water-monster, and the name has cropped up once or twice. A very old man said:—“There is a lagoon on Ruapuke Island called Wai-o-tokarire, and in it lived a taniwha. It was a wairua (spirit) or taepo and had long hair on it. When the people went to get water they could see it floating about. They tried to dig an outlet to drain the water, and after some water had got away the people could see the cave the taniwha had been living in but it had disappeared in the night. The place was tapu for a long time after that, and it is still regarded with awe.”
If taniwha means a water-monster the term karara (ngarara in the north) must also mean the same in some cases, although it is also applied to a kind of big lizard in the south. From a roomful of Natives at Colac Bay the collector could only glean this meagre information:—“A kind of shark is called taniwha. There was a karara on the Mataau called Kopuwai, and it captured a girl called Kaiamio;” but they knew of no other karara, nor did they know of Maeroero, taepo nor tipua in Murihiku, but ghosts (atua) were plentiful in many places, they said.
Round near Orawia (which is correctly Orauwea) in a field some rocks can be seen, and these are said to be the petrified remains of a karara. It killed men who were out hunting wekas, and finally chased a man named Taiari. He ran zigzag to escape it, and it became - 215 jammed between two trees and was killed. Another account says its habitat was the west side of Hekeia (Bald Hill). It may be added that on the west side of the Waiau River at Clifden are caves called Te-ana-o-te-karara.
A demon fish lived in a hole in the Whawhapo Creek at Kaka Point. It could turn itself into an eel, a log or a minnow. It had a name which the narrator could not call to memory. A child fell into Lake Kaitiria long ago and disappeared. It was at a spot near where Mrs. Aitcheson now lives, and the people reckoned a demon had got it, hence they called that place Kai-takata (and this is the origin of the name Kaitangata as now given by the pakeha, thought the narrator).
The North Island is “The Fish of Maui,” and some time after the Tarawera eruption of 1886, Tare Wetere te Kahu, of Otakou, visited the north, and in conversation with Wahanui, of the King Country, said he considered the great fish had become restive and given itself a shake with a result that a scale had flown out through Mount Tarawera, thus creating the eruption.
FAIRIES AND ELVES.
Not all the supernatural beings of the olden Maoris were grim monsters or fierce goblins; the fairies and elves are in a different category. The hill near Palmerston South, known as Puketapu, is sometimes swathed with fog as picnickers who have arranged to ascend it find out to their disappointment. The Maori legend avers that the mists only come on Puketapu when the spirits are holding high revel on its summit and sides. Their flutes and their musical voices gleefully singing and calling to each other can be heard through the white curtain they have imposed between man and themselves. My Maori informant added that curious pakehas, as well as inquisitive Maoris in the past, had sometimes tried to “beat the mist” but their endeavours to penetrate the veil of mystery shielding the elves had always been unsuccessful. One man said the fairy people are fond of playing the kind of flute known as koauau, and it is a female spirit who plays in the hills near Catlins. He reckoned these elfin musicians came in the canoe “Takitimu,” but other natives considered that these spirit people came in a very much earlier canoe.
A FAIRY WOMAN.
Kai-he-raki was a witch woman who lived on the Takitimu Range—not an ugly old witch-hag, but a young and beautiful witch whose comeliness defied Time. She was tapu. A man out hunting wekas caught her, but the narrator forgot his name. The man said to his captive, “Taku wahine pai,” and she answered, “Taku tane pai.” He got his kauati out to make a fire to ta whakamoe or remove the tapu - 216 from her. He told her to put her foot on the kauati while he worked the karimarima on it. Soon smoke came and a little flame kindled but she threw blood on it, putting it out. She fled but the man overtook her and coaxed her back. He wiped the kauati carefully and started again on his task, but the fairy woman repeated her previous performance and this time she escaped for good. That was the only man who ever caught her. She was seen afterwards high up on the mountains and finally she vanished.
Another account ends:—“The Takitimu Mountains are still haunted. Kai-he-raki has been seen there in quite modern days.”
Merehau, a tohuka, who resided usually in the Port Molyneux district was living when the white settlers came. He was a magician, said one of the collector's informants, and if offended could upset canoes which were out at sea, and he could do other magic. He had a garden between O-marama and Te Karoro, and he called it Te-au-o-Hatane, which means “the gall of Satan,” according to the narrator, who added, “He was not afraid of Satan as he always had his own taepo with him,” and continued, “The powers of the tohukas were wonderful. Matamata, a priest or prophet of the old times, was appealed to in storms at sea. The tohuka would use a firestick, and say karakia, and two whales would come alongside the canoe and keep it from capsizing. The tohuka would give each whale a hair of his head. Rakitauneke was a famous tohuka of old, and had a guardian whale Tu-te-raki-hua-noa, and also sometimes one called Matamata. One day the former of these whales appeared off Moeraki, and the children cursed it, and its owner in anger sent a tidal wave which drowned them. The creek they were standing by had been fresh water till then but it has been brackish ever since. Its name is Ka-wa.”
There is a place at Stewart Island which, the collector was told years ago, was called Ringaringa because a Maori had lived there who suffered from leprosy of the hands, but a well-informed kaumatua (or elder) says it is named from a famous old wizard, Rikarika, who lived there long ago.
“Te Maraki was a tohuka, and was a cousin of Karaki who was the father of Matiaha Tiramorehu. When Karaki died at Moeraki the people did not observe the proper burial customs, but went on working. This offended Te Maraki and he brought whales and evil fairy fish roaring on to the land, where later they died. The people were sorry for their actions, and in answer to their entreaties Te Maraki sent the great fish back to sea alive. Since then the water, which before that had been fresh, has been salt in the Moeraki creeks.” (For comparison with this narration see “Journal Polynesian Society,” Vol. XXVII., page 96.)- 217
One of the old men was inclined to rank Rakaihautu as a magician or as an undoubtedly clever man. “Rakaihautu,” he said, “was the first of the Waitaha tribe, and he went through the South Island planting some of his tribe at Oreti, some at Molyneux and so on. When he came along and a plain was dry, and he felt thirsty, he stuck in his ko (spade) and lo! he had a pool to drink from.”
A DREAM AND A LIZARD.
A southern Maori who visited the Hokanui Hills on four annual weka-hunting trips (1867-70) tells the following story:—“His brother and he were camped on the Otamatea stream, and one night he dreamt he was fighting a big strong man (the narrator is himself a tall man) and that he finally threw a big stone at this man and killed him. He woke with a start, and his brother asked what was the matter, and he told his dream, and said he would know the place he dreamt about if he saw it. Next day as they were journeying he saw the place. The white men had built a sheep-dip near it. They looked to find the stone of the dream, and not seeing it they dug down and found two big stones one on top of the other, and charcoal and burns underneath. They were astonished and said karakia, which the narrator would not repeat or it would lose its măna. Later that day they climbed a peak with a new trig station on top. Near the summit was a rock as big as a cottage, and in a crack facing the N.W. was the biggest lizard he ever saw. It was a karara probably two feet long. He picked up a big stone and hit it, and it jumped over the rock. Going round the brothers found it lying on its back, belly up, and they killed it. They lit a fire of scrub, and burning it left, in case other lizards might follow them. They came through the Waimumu Gorge, and reached Tuturau with as many wekas as their horses could carry. Old Karaka, a brother of Maiharoa and a man of măna, was there and he told them that gorge was a place of worship where the old tohukas used to go. He said it was a good thing they had killed the lizard and so averted the evil of the dream.” The narrator considered that the charred place where the two stones were found had been an ahi-tapu (sacred fire) in connection with the rites of travellers going that route. A part of that ceremony consisted in lighting a fire and burning a hair of the head.
In the old days, continued the narrator, lizards were kept as pets. One such was found at Motu-kai-puhuka, a clump of bush east of Kaitiria (now called Lake Kaitangata.) It was named Te-horo-mokai but it got away after some time, and was last seen in the creek Te-wai-a-kiri near there. A small ridge there is named after this celebrated pet. The narrator further said that some of the old Maoris ate lizards but he had no particulars of it. (See “Trans. N.Z. Inst.” Vol. VII., p. 295.)- 218
THE TIPUA AND PUKUTUORA.
“Up at Wanaka,” said one of the old men, “is an island called Te Pae-karara. There is also another island called Taki-karara after a man who had a fishing station at the lake which was called Taumanu-o-Taki-karara. He stood on a clump of vegetation on a point of land, and one day the point floated away with a noise like a bird. Unknown to him there was a tipua under it, and it is said to still drift about. This is probably what started the story about the floating island. Taki-karara left the district as it was too uncanny for him.”
Tipua is translated as a “goblin, ogre, monster, demon, fairy, spirit,” so there is a wide choice of meanings. Mr. D. Monro, writing in 1844, says,” “a floating island is said to sail about on one of the lakes at the source of the Molyneux.” Huruhuru's map, drawn for Shortland, in 1844, says of Lake Hawea, “Here is a floating island shifting its position with the wind,” and of a place on Hawea's shores, “Turahuka—the abode of a tipua.” The question now remains—although an island in Wanaka is named Taki-karara, should not the floating island Taumanu-o-Taki-karara be located in Hawea, in accordance with Huruhuru's statement? The collector will endeavour to ascertain this point later on.
Mr. Monro also writes:—“The pukatuola is another wonderful animal of the southward, told of by the old men. Under a different name he is heard of in the north. A gigantic animal of the lizard species, most dangerous to humanity.” The information the collector received was that the pukutuora was a kind of aquatic monster, and that one of them haunted Lake Wakatipu. Rawiri te Awha who guided a white party to the lake in January, 1859, was very much afraid to venture near the edge of the lake after dark lest the demon, which he called pukutuola, should seize him to his destruction. 1
The collector again has recourse to the interesting notes of Mr. James Cowan for the following item:—“At Te Muka stood the tree called ‘Hine-paaka’—a kahikatea tree. It was he rakau-măna-tapu (a sacred tree) and was fenced round. Of this tree strange tales are told. A pakeha chopped it down but on returning to cut it up he found it standing erect again. Its god had raised it. No one could fell it; no one could burn it. After all the bush around it had been felled and burnt it still stood unharmed.”- 219
The collector has heard rumors of bewitched trees which could move from place to place. So far he has no particulars of such, but his notes mention one or two trees which, although not in the miraculaus category, may be mentioned here. One old man said, “There is a totara tree at the mouth of the Pou-mahaka (Pomahaka) River named Raki-ihia because that great chief camped under it and caught a lot of eels there. It is on the south side of the Pomahaka where it joins the Molyneux. A big totara tree grew close to a rocky face near the Mataura River below East Gore. Its name was Ota-karamu, but how it got that name I do not know. The hills round there are now called by that name. The pakeha cut that tree down.” Another old man said:—“The tree Rata cut down for a canoe was a totara. This tree does not grow in Kanaka islands, so what land would it be? It is the chief of the forest trees and must be very ancient as it was the son of Mumuhako in the days of the gods.” 2
MAORIS VERSUS SEALERS.
The conflicts of the white sealers with the native inhabitants form an exciting chapter of early southern history, and were mentioned by some of the old men. One related these incidents:—“Up about Arawhata or Okahu (Jackson's Bay) on the West Coast was a kaika (village) with perhaps 200 or 300 inhabitants. The sealers were then at Arnett's Point further north than the kaika, and one night some canoes went up to the sealing station on a raid to try and acquire some of the white man's treasures. The Europeans were alert, however, and fired on them, but without killing anyone. In the scuffle the only man killed was a white man, one Perkins by name. The Maoris returned to their home and some time after the sealers, among whom was the famous Chaseland, pulled in to the shore fronting the kaika, and in revenge shot some of the natives from the boats. They then landed and slaughtered all who did not escape into the bush. When Chaseland was roused he became a frenzied fiend. Among his other acts he seized a child, Ramirikiri, whose father and mother had been killed, and dashed her head on a rock and left her for dead. After the sealers had done all the mischief they could they left and the surviving natives crept out of the bush and returned to their desolate homes. They found the little girl living and revived her and she died at Colac, an old woman, some fifteen or sixteen years ago. Often in past years did I hear her tell Chaseland what a savage brute he was when he was - 220 young, and she would rebuke him for his part in the massacre. Chase-land did not like it but he had nothing to say in self-defence. But this is not the end of the story of the cruel deeds done them. The sealers pulled round to Milford Sound and there met natives from the south. The Maori name of Anita Bay is Tauraka-o-Hupokeka because the old chief named Hu-pokeka used to come round there for greenstone. These people were ignorant of the row between the sealers and the Westland natives, and they had done the sealers no harm, yet they were killed without mercy. The victims had only Maori weapons, and were shot down like rabbits. Hu-poheka was shot while standing on a rock in Anita Bay, and such of his people as were still living were placed in a canoe and towed by the sealers round to Whareko, the next bay south of Milford; and there to finish the sport the canoe with its helpless crew was let go in the surf. The breakers dashed it to pieces, and not a soul was left living.”
“At Paringa, on the West Coast,” said another of the old men, “the sealers killed some seals, and wanting to go after others they told the Maoris who were there to skin the seals and to do what they liked with the carcases. The sealers having said this departed after more seals. Unfortunately the language they had used was not plain and the natives did not properly understand it, so the Maoris made a big fire and singed the hair off the seals as they usually did. When the sealers returned they were very angry at what had been done, and they pulled their boat a little way out from the shore and fired at the people, killing one and breaking the arm of a chief named Kahaki. They then made off. The Maoris walked overland to Otago Heads where they considered the matter. A party left for Stewart Island to obtain revenge on some sealing gang or other, and eventually they caught and killed some white men at Murderers' Cove on South Cape Island. This is maybe, where the girl threw the cape over Jimmy the Boy. Wahia, a chief from Otago Heads, stopped the killing by saying they had had enough revenge and to fight no more. The Europeans playing tricks on the native women made trouble sometimes.”
Another aged man said in passing:—“At Murderers' Cove on Taukiepa (South Cape Island) a massacre took place. Only two, a woman and her child, were saved and she hid when the crew were being killed. She was either a European or Kanaka woman, and the child and she were rescued by a later boat of sealers. As regards Caddell, or Jimmy the Boy, I think he acted as interpreter when peace was made at Rakituma (Preservation Inlet) between the Europeans and Maoris, and then he went over to Sydney with his own race.”- 221
The late Hon. Tame Parata said to the collector:—“At Whareakeake (Murdering Beach) the Maoris and sealers had a fracas. Matahaere (the father of Rimurapa) although a small man seized a sealer and began carrying him, and calling on his people to come and kill the man. While they were struggling the boat escaped, leaving a boy Jimmy, and a Kanaka from Calcutta named Te Anu as captives. The only pakeha killed was the one on the back of Matahaere. The two prisoners were taken to Rakiura (Stewart Island). A girl threw a mat over the boy to save him, but I do not know her name. Jimmy was given a wife named Pi, but they had no children. Te Anu married a woman and had a son called George Turi, but no descendants are now living. Te Anu lived at Colac Bay where I can remember him. Jimmy went over to Sydney in the end and never returned. In regard to the killing in 1817, it was at Hobartown Beach, and was another affair altogether.”
The question of acquatic sports cropped up in conversation with the old men, and here is what they said:—“When a Maori swam, with his shoulders out, we called it, ‘He kau tu.’ Sometimes the young people would assemble on the bank and one would call out ‘ka ruku taua,’ and they would all dive together.”
“There were two kinds of swimming our old people did as far as I know. One was with the body upright and working the legs, and the other was on the side with only the side of the head showing. At Ruapuke there were no surf beaches. The people swam in freshwater lagoons; the men and women bathed together.”
“Swimming was called kau. The younger people would bathe in the sea; the older ones preferred the warmer water of the lagoons. At Ruapuke there was no bathing in the open sea—the people bathed in the Tau-o-te-maku lagoon but not in the one called Wai-o-to-karire.” (It was haunted—see supra.)
“The Rapuwai people when swimming lay on their bellies with their elbows close to their sides, and hit the water with their hands—hence their name. The old Maori way was to swim like a walk in the water with the water up to the armpits. You worked with your legs and elbows, and it was surprising how fast one could go. This style was called kau-po.”
“When I was a boy I saw three kinds of Maori swimming—kau-tu, swimming upright; kau-tahi, swimming lying on the side; and kau-tuara, swimming lying on the back.”
At least four of the old men mentioned the sport of surfing, as follows:—“The young Maoris would swim out with a short board, put - 222 it under the chest and shoot in on the waves. I remember round at Kakararua (Hunt's Beach, Westland) we were at it, and a white man named Baker would try it. He was a big, heavy man, and when he came in his board struck the shore and almost stunned him. His chest was rather severely hurt.”
“The board used in surfing was called a papa, and it requires certain practice to use it. You must keep the end of it up just as you reach the beach or it will dig into the sand and perhaps break your ribs. The board was about four feet long perhaps, and came in like an arrow. I was round at the West Coast diggings, and the beaches there are very suitable for it. Another sport was when the boys would take a tawai (a kind of canoe) out and come in through the surf. They would capsize sometimes but that was all the more fun.”
“I never saw the sport of surfing, but know that a papa or surf-board was used. I have heard that in the whaling days old Takata-huruhuru went surfing in the bay at Port Molyneux. He was a descendant of the people who came south in the Makawhiu canoe.”
The late Tare te Maiharoa said:—“Take kelp off the rocks and dry it as for pohas or kelp bags [to preserve birds in]. Take two of these bags and tie them together about two feet apart. Blow them up, and having got them out beyond the surf, put one on each side of you from the armpits to the hips, lie on the flax connecting them, and come in with the breakers. It is fine sport and you cannot drown. This was an old pastime at Moeraki, Waikouaiti, and other good beaches, and was called para. (He pronounced it pālă.) In the old Maori days there were very few sharks about—they have only come in any numbers since the European fishermen throw the fish-heads back into the sea.”
The names papa and para are interesting. The collector looked up Tregear's Dictionary, and in it he notes that in Hawaii a surf-board is called papa, and in Tahiti it is named papahoro. As for para the nearest appropriate meaning seems to be “the half of a tree which has been split down the middle” (and hence may be cut down into a surf-board) but perhaps Maori scholars could help to explain the term para.
Wishing to know about tattooing in the south, the collector asked about it and received these replies:—“The usual name for tattooing was moko, and the work of tattooing was called ‘ta ki te moko.’ Some of the old people, I remember, were tattooed, but no one has been for many years now.”
“The old man who brought me up was tattooed on one side of his face only—a thing we called kaue or kawe. 3 Old Mrs. Paina at Colac, - 223 was tattooed with two straight lines across her face with dots in the middle, but I do not know the name of that kind of tattooing.” 4
“Tattooing in straight llnes is a very old way and is called tuhi. We call writing nowadays tuhituhi. The usual name of tattooing was moko, but the different tribes had different styles. That done on one side of the face from nose to forehead was called tiwhana, a pattern scroll all over the face was called huritua, while tattooing on the hips was repe.”
“My father was tattooed in a single line across one cheek from ear to nose. This was called tuhi, although the ordinary face tattoo was called moko. He was tattooed on the arms also, and this we called tiatia. Old Koraka was tattooed on one side of his face only, and this made him look fierce. His body was tattooed in the tiatia fashion down to the waist, so that when he cast off his kakahu (cloak) and possibly his maro (waist-cloth) also—when fighting—the tattooing would show. The word tiatia really means ‘pierced,’ but it was applied to that tattooing.”
Tu-mataueka. In Mr. S. Percy Smith's “Maori History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast,” at page 537, we read of the murder at Kapiti of the southern chief Tu-mataueka. When news of this reached Ruapuke a descent was made on Tutaeka-wetoweto (Lord's River, Stewart Island) where two North Island Maoris were killed in retaliation. My informant said, “There is a beach at the mouth of Lord's River called Ka-one-o-Whitiora, after a Thames native who was killed there in revenge for the murder of Tu-mataueka, a brother of Haereroa Toheti, at Kapiti Island. Whitiora was with a pakeha called ‘Scotch John,’ who was building a boat. His brother, Ueka-nuka, was also killed, but another Maori escaped. Their father afterwards came down to Otakou and got some greenstone as utu” (or payment).
Turihuka. In the “Memoirs of the Polynesian Society,” Vol. IV., page 242, we read that Turihuka, the wife of Tamatea, died (about 1350 A.D.) on a high ridge in the South Island (presumably in the Waitaki region from the narrative). In retailing some of the nomenclature of the lakes districts, an aged southerner said, “A big hill which the Europeans call ‘Old Woman's Hill,’ was called Turihuka after a woman who died there long ago.” He was referring to the mountain which the surveyors named Breast Hill. It is 5, 146 feet high, and lies close to Lake Hawea on the eastern side. This, to the collector's mind, identifies it as the place where the wife of Tamatea died. That Tamatea visited there is quite probable as he - 224 was evidently a great explorer and traveller, for his name is associated in tradition with Te Rua-o-te-moko, Takitimu Mountains, Dome Mountains, Waimea Plains, West Coast Sounds, etc., so it is likely he visited the lakes and also the Waitaki River.
Te Rua-o-te-moko is the Maori name of the densely wooded and mountainous country between the Waiau River and the Fiords. It was the retreat of broken tribes but, it may be noted in passing, these people are described as men, not as elves or phantoms as would probably be the case were the traditions ancient. The name of this vast tract of rugged land is sometimes given as Te Rua-o-te-moa but the former name is more probably correct, as it is said to have been named in commemoration of Tamatea having pits (rua) dug to get pigment for tattooing (moko) when he explored the Waiau country.
Te Au-kukume was the name of a kaika south of the Taieri mouth; it was a fishing camp of Te Raki in modern days. This is a name of some significance in Kati-Mamoe circles for Te Au-kukume was the wife of Hotu-Mamoe, after whom the tribe was named.
Timaka. “At Tautuku Beach there is an old burial ground,” wrote the late Mr. W. H. S. Roberts, “in which are several Maori graves. At the head of one is a slab of Australian cedar, with the inscription: ‘Sacred to the memory of Temuc who departed this life September 25th, 1846.’” One of my informants said, “Timaka was a woman who died at Tautuku and was buried in the whalers' cemetery there. Her mother, Kiwi, had died near Kaitangata and was buried in a hapua (lagoon) there known as Te Karohe. A man was fishing in that lagoon, and poking a stick under an overhanging bank her skeleton came up, and it was then buried in a landslip near Stirling. A boy named Temu died about the same time. He was out with an eeling and birding party, and going out alone failed to return. Search was made, and his body was found stone dead and was taken down to Port Molyneux and buried. The cause of death was unknown. This sudden fatality occurred near the falls on the Kai-hiku River. The word ‘Temuc’ on the slab should be Timaka.”
Haki-te-kura. The fact that this celebrated lady swam across Lake Wakatipu was mentioned in these articles (Vol. XXVI., page 83) but one of the old men has given further details. She swam from about where Queenstown now is, and apparently she must have set out in darkness, for she steered her course by Cecil and Walter Peaks whose tops in the dawning light she watched twinkling and winking at her like two eyes, hence their name Ka-kamu-a-Haki-te-kura. She landed on Refuge Point and lit a fire, and that is why it is known to the Maoris as Te-ahi-a-Haki-te-kura.
The voice. Either the voices mentioned were exceptionally stentorian, the hearing of the Maoris extremely keen, or the localities possess great acoustic properties if the following bona fide narration - 225 by an aged Maori is accurate. “The celebrated Kati-Mamoe chief Raki-ihia had a voice that could be heard from Wharepa right over to the hills east of Kaitiria (Lake Kaitangata). In case you scarcely credit this, I may mention that my brother's voice was once heard at a distance of eight miles. He was standing on the hill Uhi-whitau (near Kaitangata) and his voice carried to Akatorea. Raki-ihia had a very powerful voice, and he could shout at Wharepa and be heard at Uhi-whitau.”
Obituary. It is with regret that the collector notes the narrowing of the circle of his aged native friends. Hone te Paina, Ratimira te Au, Wiremu te Awha, of Colac Bay, and Tuhituhi te Marama, of Bluff, have all gone during the last year or two. Tuhituhi was a brother of John Topi te Patuki, and the newspapers gave his age as 110, although the collector figured it out as about 90. He and the late Mrs. Gilroy (died at Bluff, aged 86) gave much valuable information about ancient Maori place-names. There died the other day at Puketeraki, Ria Tikini, aged 105, she being seventeen years old in 1831, when Te Rauparaha captured Kaiapohia. The collector called on her in 1915, but found her very deaf. She was tattooed in the tuhi style, each side of her face being adorned with two straight lines from temple to mouth and from mouth to ear. Tare te Maiharoa has passed away in South Canterbury in his 70th year. He gave much information that has appeared in these articles, and was a great stickler for accuracy, he was always most anxious that the correct history should be preserved. The collector always found him a mine of information and was looking forward to further interviews, but a fall from a stack cut short a life that, as far as health and activity went, seemed destined to continue for years. He was the greatest authority left on the Waitaha lore, and his death leaves an irreparable blank.
(To be continued.)
1 The Puku-tuora is, perhaps, identical with the Tuoro of the north. The Maoris describe this mythical animal (or fish) as being like a very large eel with a great lump in its tail. It was said to be eight or ten feet long, and as thick as a man's body. It gave chase to any one approaching the lagoons in which it lived, and the only way the Maoris had of escaping it was to cross land off which the fern had been burnt.—EDITOR.
2 This refers to the story of the building of the celebrated canoe called Manu-ka-rere, which was hewed out from a tree in the forest of which Rata-i-te-wao was the guardian. The Rarotongans say the tree was a Maota-mea (which grows in Samoa), and that the tree was growing in the island of Kuporu, i.e., Upolu of Samoa. See this “Journal,” Vol. XXVIII., p. 140, par. 270. This shows how incidents occurring in other countries become localized.—EDITOR.
4 Probably moko-kuri.—EDITOR.