Volume 29 1920 > Volume 29, No. 115 > Clairvoyance among the Maoris, by S. Percy Smith, p 149-161
CLAIRVOYANCE AMONG THE MAORIS.
I HAVE long been of opinion that the Polynesian people were acquainted with some branches of Psychic Science such as is comprised in the terms Hypnotism, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Trance, etc., etc. Of examples of such powers we have many records when rightly read. But in nearly all cases the evidence is of a character that would not be considered “veridical” by Psychic experts. So far as my own attitude towards these powers of the old tohungas is concerned, the knowledge of psychics as practised by the (estimated) eighteen million people who are believers in it, came to me too late to allow of the necessary enquiries to be made among that class of the Polynesian people who understood and used the process. The old people are gone who really knew of the mental process by which they accomplished their ends; the few people left who retain some of these occult powers appear to be incapable of explaining them. The so called (by the newspapers) “tohungaism,” is mostly fraud.
In what follows, one cannot guarantee the bona-fides of the cases described; they must be taken for what they are worth. They are not veridical in the true sense (excepting perhaps those described by Mr. Cowan), but are here given in the hopes that some of our members who are Maori linguists, and are interested in the question, will endeavour to obtain more precise information. Later on we may furnish illustrations of other branches of psychics, as known to this race. They at least illustrate the beliefs of the people even to the present day.
It was about 1853, or 1854, that a movement among the Maori people of the Taranaki coast took place, that is worth noting as an illustration of Maori mentality. At that time the people were decreasing in numbers very fast, due to various causes, largely to the contact with Europeans and their diseases, and the entire change in habits and beliefs also due to European contact. While acknowledging these causes as to their decrease as mentioned, the Maoris had, at that time, a theory of their own to account for their lessening numbers, and that was, the abrogation of the system of tapu; and they also saw - 150 in the failure to remove the presence of tapu objects, another true cause of the trouble. The fear of tapued objects and places had much decreased, and things and places were touched and visited with an impunity that in former times would have brought death to the violators of the tapu.
In most, if not all, Maori pas there were sacred stones deposited, which were called mauri, or whatu or other name, and of course these were strictly tapu. Sometimes these stones were the mauri, or, as it has been described, the “life principle,” by which birds of the forest, fish of the sea, etc., were retained in the localities frequented by them, etc. The absence or destruction of these mauri, destroyed the food-giving properties of the forest, sea, etc.
But there was another phase of these sacred stones which, so far as can be ascertained, had another purpose. It was this latter class of stone that seems to have been buried in the various pas, or forts; and the idea seems to have been that the presence of these stones preserved the măna (or power, prestige, etc.) of the people living in the pas, and also formed a connecting link with the ancestors of the tribe and with their ancestral homes in far Hawaiki. The desecration or neglect of these stones, was a serious matter for the people of the pa. We know that in other parts of Polynesia these stones were under the special care of the priesthood, and were occasionally cleaned and oiled. The probability is the same was done in the case of those stones placed in the Maori pas, though I have no positive information on this subject. They were at any rate objects of sanctity and care.
The people of this district round New Plymouth were (with few exceptions) driven helter-skelter from their homes by the several incursions of the Waikato tribes, in the early years of the nineteenth century. Their fortified pas were abandoned; and when the people returned to their homes in the early forties they did not re-occupy these old pas, but built new ones of a different type, or lived in open villages, though the former was the rule. Hence these sacred stones were left in the old pas, and it was this abandonment of them, and neglect of attention to the tapu of them, that gave rise to the belief in the early fifties, that this neglect of the tapu was what caused so many deaths among the people.
We do not know what was the immediate cause of the movement that took place to remove the tapu of the old pas; but one man named by white people Tamati Tito, but whose proper name was Te Ito, suddenly came to the fore as a tohunga, or priest, with the assertion that he had the power to remove the tapu from the sacred stones. And this he proceeded to do by visiting all the old pas in the neighbourhood of New Plymouth and surrounding district. We have no record of his visiting all the old pas, but probably he did—I can - 151 at least vouch for his visit to Ngaturi, the old pa on which was afterwards built—during the Maori war—the Omata stockade.
Either in 1853, or 1854, I was passing this place and there saw a large body of Maori horsemen, some fifty or sixty in number, some looking after the horses, others on top of the pa, which is not a large one—perhaps half an acre in extent—the ancient maioro, or ramparts, of which are still (1920) distinguishable. Being curious to learn what was going on, I went up to the pa, but was not allowed to go further than the entrance. I saw at the far side a group of men going through some performance which, after knowledge enables one to say, was the recitation of karakias by one of the men. This was Te Ito, and, as I learned, he was whakanoa, or removing the tapu from the place.
Though I saw nothing of any stone in this case, I heard at the time from others that Te Ito always searched for some sacred stone in the many pas he visited, and in most cases these stones were removed to other places and buried in spots known only to a select few of the old Maoris.
On the 28th April, 1906, Mr. W. H. Skinner and I visited the old man Tamati Te Ito, who was living at Te Paraiti, a small village near the Bell Block, but which, sixty years ago, was a fortified and palisaded pa. Te Ito was then a very old man, not less than ninety years old probably, but possessed of all his faculties. He was, however, a convert to Te Whiti's teaching, and very reticent, so I failed to get much information from him on the subjects I wanted. He told us he was the man who went round the country to whakanoa the pas, and said, “We wanted to combine all the Maori people from Mokau to Patea in one body, and remove the tapu from the old pas, as it was harmful to the people.” He added he was with Rawiri Waiaua when the latter was shot by Katatore in 1854, 1 and that being anxious to earn enough money to buy Rawiri's white horse he went to Sydney in 1858, but on his return the horse was sold to his great disappointment.
We now come to modern dealing with some of these stones, and an illustration of what appears to be an instance of clairvoyance, with which I am convinced the Maoris were acquainted from very early days. That they also practised hypnotism and telepathy seems clear from many examples I have.
In 1915 the Maoris, still believing that these stones (mauri, or whatu) were possessed of the power of attracting the fish to the fishing - 152 grounds, desired to obtain some of the stones, but the exact locality where they had been deposited was lost with the death of the old people, though it was known that one or more had been buried at an old Maori cultivation on the Henwood Road, some four miles north of New Plymouth.
The following description of the finding of some of those stones was told by an eye witness, a respectable farmer named Bishop, on whose property the old cultivation is situated. On the 3rd July, 1915, the late Mr. John Skinner and myself met Mr. Bishop, who then described to us what took place. He said, “The stones first found were very large, requiring three men to lift them. One of these was sent to Patea, one to Oakura, and one to Waihi (twelve miles north of New Plymouth), and it was from the latter place the people came who dug them up, both on the first and second visits.
In the first week in July the Maoris from Waihi again came to his brother's place, on the Henwood Road, in four motor cars and a motor waggon. Two of the Maoris were old men, one named Rangi, but the other was the operator in what follows. They had with them a humpbacked boy of about fifteen or sixteen, whom the elder man proceeded to hypnotise by making passes in front of him, which the boy repeated exactly; karakias were said at the same time. The boy started off to look for one of the stones. He descended into a rough gully overgrown with high fern and scrub. He searched about for some time, then commenced to clear away the fern at the base of a rotten karaka tree-stump, the other people coming forward and helping to clear the thick vegetation away so soon as the find took place. Then the boy commenced digging, and at three feet down came on a stone. On top of this stone was lying a fine jadeite axe, and the stone itself was about eighteen inches in diameter, with a belt incised round it, and a figure like a “6” carved on top. The stone was dug up and taken away to Waihi. The Maoris called it a mauri. Karakias were repeated by the elder man all through the proceedings, and when the axe was first exhumed it was carefully placed on the heap of excavated earth and lightly buried until the bigger stone was taken out, and a pinch of earth was taken in the hand by each of the people and applied to their nostrils.”
So far Mr. Bishop's story of what he personally saw. Taurua-Minarapa of Rahotu (25 miles south of New Plymouth) and several other natives confirmed to me the story as to the search for and finding of these stones, which (they say) were hidden by Te Ito, and added that they are mauri, or whatu, used in former times to attract the Kahawai, Piharau, and other fish. They add that the two elderly men mentioned above learned the general locality of these stones from their fathers.- 153
We may go outside New Zealand and find similar instances of clairvoyance. The Society Islands of Ra'iatea, Taha'a, Porapora, etc., were the original homes of the ancestors of the Taranaki tribes of New Zealand, a descendant of whom discovered the mauri, as related above.
I am trusting to memory for the following instance, for I cannot remember where to find the reference. Lying due west of Ra'iatea at a distance of about 180 miles is the little island of Maupiti (formerly Maurua). The people living there were troubled by the varua-'ino (evil spirits) as they said, and attributed the visits to the fact of a sacred stone having been buried somewhere in an old marae. A message was sent to a learned man at Ra'iatea asking him to use his powers and locate this stone, for the local people had failed to do so. The man went to the island and did discover the particular offending stone. If this story is true, then it would seem that the man discovered the location of the stone by clairvoyance. From other stories I have, it is clear the people of Ra'iatea have a considerable knowledge of the occult, included under the name of Psychic Powers.
But to return to the humpbacked lad of Waihi. A statement was published in the local press of 16th August, 1920, purporting to come from Mr. J. H. Walker, a licensed interpreter, showing some further exercise of clairvoyant power by this seventeen year old boy as follows: “A Maori woman living near Bell Block, who was inclined to be somewhat sceptical of the boy's bona-fides, challenged him to find a ring she had lost about four years ago. After going through some form of prayer (? karakia) the lad returned and gave an exact description of the lost ring. He said, ‘It lies on (such and such a) road, but you will have difficulty in finding it, because it is covered with earth and grass. No one stole it; you dropped it yourself. Go and look for it. The first days search you may not find it; the second day you may do so, but on the third I am certain you will succeed in your quest.’ The story goes that the woman had a fruitless search on the first day, and was much discouraged on the second day, but sure enough the first thing on the third day she discovered the missing ring.”
I have been told that the boy described the ring as lying beneath the leaves of a bunch of toetoe, on the road-side.
We now come to a third case as reported in the “Taranaki Herald” of 21st June, 1917, as follows:—
“Otaki has come under the spell of the occult (says an exchange). A greenstone-diviner in the person of a Maori woman. Winnie Kaika, who hails from Otorohanga on the Main Trunk line, has been - 154 astounding the local Natives by her achievements. At a certain spot in the centre of the Otaki township, Winnie declared that greenstone lay buried, and in the presence of a number of Natives the ground was turned up, and at a depth of about thirteen inches a layer of big stones was reached. On removing these it was found that the stones had been placed as a sort of casing in the centre of which was unearthed a large lump of greenstone some fifteen to twenty pounds in weight. At another place a greenstone ornament was found attached to a lock of human hair, eighteen inches in length. Recently Winnie travelled to Porangahau (East Coast) and unearthed a specimen about a stone in weight, and she is credited with many similar discoveries in the King Country and other parts.”
The above is quite a different locality to the first and second cases, and the operator also of a different tribe.
The fourth case of clairvoyance I also quote from the “Taranaki Herald,” June 1st, 1920.—“The Levin Chronicle says that the Kuku Maori community has been stirred by the recovery of two valuable whalebone meres buried for many years. The paper relates that they were discovered by the aid of a Native woman, Mrs. Takurangi, wife of the Hon. Te Heuheu Tukino, M.L.C., who claims to possess powers of divination” (or as I call it clairvoyance). “The scene was laid off the main Kuku Road and a few hundred yards to the rear of Mr. Pink's residence. Leading a procession of about 120 persons, the chief actor took a course for some distance through the bush and then over some maize cultivations, and again entered a bush pathway, which eventually reached a stagnant, weed-covered water course. Here she halted, and placing a stick in the ground at the water's edge, declared that the lost meres would be found there. A spade was procured, and on digging down a depth of about two feet the meres were unearthed.
“Both were in an excellent state of preservation.
“Mr. Robert Ransfield, of Manakau, one of the oldest Natives of this coast, recounted some particulars concerning the long-lost patus. He stated that the weapons were owned by their ancestors Koroniria and Pare-tiwhana, who buried the meres to prevent their being lost, but prior to their deaths did not inform their descendants of the hiding place. The patus were formerly weapons of war, and being tapu, were greatly treasured. It was believed that the loss of the patus had acted detrimentally to the well being of the later generations of the former chieftan owners, hence the desire to recover them and break the evil spell.”
This again is in a different locality, but not far from the scene of the third case, and the operator is also different. Mr. Elsdon Best who interviewed Te Heuheu and his wife, tells me, “they both - 155 declare the truth of the performance, and that the lady obtained her power (matakite, second-sight) from Mahuta (the so-called Maori king) or he developed it or rendered it effective. She added, the wairua, or spirit of the former owner of such lost or buried articles, guides her and halts over the spot where the article is lying.”
MR. JAMES COWAN'S NOTES.
But it will be more satisfactory to quote Te Heuheu's own account of the proceedings, for which I am indebted to Mr. James Cowan (the historian of the Maori-Pakeha Wars of last century). In interviews with this scion of one of the most aristocratic families of the Maoris, the ariki of the Ngati-Tu-wharetoa tribe of Lake Taupo, whose ancestors were high-chiefs, and possessed of the powers of an ariki, Mr. Cowan took full notes and kindly supplied a copy as follows:—
“Te Heuheu describing the supposed supernatural powers of his wife in the discovery of long buried valuables and in other ways, said, in answer to questions, My wife, who was born at Wharekawa in the gulf of Hauraki district, belongs to the Waikato and Ngati-Maru tribes, and is also connected with the Ngati-Rahiri 2 and Te Ati-Awa tribes of Taranaki. She was kinswoman of Mahuta, the third Maori (so-called) king of Waikato, and it is through Mahuta that she became gifted with her present powers of matakite (second sight). A week before Mahuta died he gave to her a very precious and sacred jadeite pendant, made of the kawakawa variety of that stone, worked in the form of a whakakai, or ear-drop, with a curved end, the ornament known as a kapeu. It is an unusually long ear-drop, about eight inches in length, and it is worn sometimes on a cord about the neck. This whakakai is very ancient, and was worn by Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Maori (so-called) king, and at his death was similarly worn by Tawhiao and the latter's son Mahuta, and by contact with these sacred persons of ariki rank it became exceedingly tapu. When Potatau was made king by the Maori tribes more than sixty years ago, not only did political power pass to him from all the tribes of the confederation, but the great chiefs, such as Te Heuheu Iwikau and others, transferred to him, or endowed him with their sacred măna, or the powers and gifts of the tohunga-Maori. 3 All this cumulative măna, rested with Potatau Te Wherowhero, who thenceforth was the most potent of sacred chiefs in the Island. In his ear he wore this holy greenstone, and by virtue of this control he became a store of wonderful măna.- 156
“When Mahuta, knowing he would shortly die, bestowed this kapeu upon Takurangi, he bade her wear it constantly about her neck and await the tohu, or sign, which would announce to her the sacred powers embodied in the stone. In due course these strange powers manifested themselves in various ways. Ever since Mahuta's death his spiritual powers have had their abiding-place in Takurangi. See note No. 2.
“Not long ago, while we were living at Lyall Bay, Wellington, some persons came to consult Takurangi about the mysterious illness of a child, which (as it appeared afterwards) had been afflicted through eating plums from a tree which grew on a tapu place in the Ohau district.”
Te Heuheu here described the steps taken for driving out the mysterious sickness; the result was the healing of the child. Certain articles into which the tapu had been driven by virtue of Takurangi's powers, were taken to the beach at Lyall Bay and cast into the sea; one was a copper coin representing the waka 4 into which the baneful tapu had passed. When the waka was thrown into the salt sea, the wise-woman repeated these words:—
Ka tuku atu koutou
Ki nga rire o te moana-nui-a-Kiva,
E te pouriuri, e te potangotango,
Oti atu! oti atu koutou ki reira.
I send you out
To the deeps of the great ocean of Kiva,
To the uttermost gloom, the uttermost darkness,
There to be ended and vanish completely.
“Then (continued Te Heuheu) when Takurangi's măna became generally known, she was requested by certain persons to assist them in the recovery of long-lost family and tribal treasures. At the request of Hira Parata (son of the late Wi Parata Kakakura) we went up to Waikanae, where we were desired to find some buried relics whose exact whereabouts were unknown. Many persons were gathered there, and all of these witnessed the search. I accompanied Takurangi. Neither of us ate food on the morning of the search because of the sacredness pertaining to such operations. Takurangi wore the sacred whakakai; the spirit voices of Potatau also had been heard by her in her sleep, speaking into her ear. When we reached the scene of the search, Takurangi led the way into a ploughed field and walked across this until she came to a certain place where she - 157 halted. The forest formerly grew on this field, but it had been cleared. Takurangi stopped at a spot where a portion of an old root of a large mahoe tree lay in the ground horizontally. She bade her companions pull the root away, and when this was done a beautiful jadeite tiki (or neck ornament) and two whakakai (ear-pendants) of the kind of jadeite named kahurangi were found lying underneath covered by a few inches of soil. These were the hidden treasures. They had been concealed long ago at the foot of a mahoe tree, somewhere in the district (this much had apparently been known), but it was very long ago, for since that time the forest had been cleared away and the plough had passed over the ground many times, only avoiding the old stump. The carved tiki was an heirloom known as ‘Whakairi.’
“The next feat of this kind was at a place near the Kuku bush at Ohau, some distance from the find described above, on land belonging to the Ngati-Wehiwehi tribe. Many people, including some Europeans witnessed the treasure-finding here. The search was for certain patu paraoa, or whalebone meres, of antiquity and sacredness, which had been hidden there, and which the people now desired to recover. We went up from Wellington to the place by motor-car; there were several car loads of people.
“As on the previous occasion we did not eat in the morning of the search, and we also observed this ceremony (to propitiate the spirits of the dead): When we reached the place where the search was to be made, Takurangi and I went to a running stream and dipped up some water in our hands, which we threw towards ourselves, lightly sprinkling our faces and heads, and repeating these words as we did so:—
“In this short karakia we invoked the spirits of Potatau and the successive members of his family, and we were now in a state of tapu for the purpose of the search. There had been sickness at this place, and Takurangi, by virtue of her sacred powers divined that this was caused by unconscious contact with highly tapu objects or places. There was a small watercourse here coming from a spring, with watercress covering the surface of the stream. To this place Takurangi led the way, and the spectators, at her bidding, disposed themselves about the spring at a little distance, so that all might see clearly what she was doing. With her was an assistant named Matehaere. Takurangi - 158 carried a garden fork for the purpose of turning over the ground wherever the spirits bade her search. There was a piece of a tawa tree lying across the spring. This, Takurangi bade Matehaere remove. He hauled it away with his hands and the fork. Then the wise-woman bade him put his hands into the spring and feel about. He did so, and no sooner had he plunged his hand into the water than he felt something move into his grasp. He felt two objects—they were the veritable treasures sought! It seemed as if they had been waiting to be found! for they seemed to move of their own accord into his open hands. 6 Matehaere was very much frightened at this strange occurrence, and his heart leaped and trembled within his breast; but Takurangi reassured him. He withdrew his hands from the water, and in his grasp were two glistening whalebone meres, or patus, which he held up by the handles. He placed them on the grass by the spring, and immediately there burst out a great shout and chorus of applause from the spectators.
“We then proceeded to remove the tapu from the recovered treasures in this way: Taking the weapons to the waterside we held them out while we recited these words:—
He tono ki a koutou te hunga wairua o te po, kia horoia atu nga mana patu tangata i runga i enei patu.
This is our appeal to you, O company of spirits of the night (death) to cleanse these weapons from all influence that may afflict mankind.
“Then we dashed handfuls of water over the weapons, throwing the water away from us, and repeating these words, a sentence with each handful:—
Mou tenei wai, E Potatau!
Mou tenei wai, E Tawhiao!
Mou tenei wai, E Mahuta!
Mou tenei wai, E Te Wherowhero
For thee is this water, O Potatau!
etc., etc., etc.
“The effect of this was to destroy, or modify, the tapu which otherwise would have prevented the people from handling these treasures of their ancestors. The death-causing attributes of the weapons were by the water-laving and sprinkling transferred to the running water, which carried the baneful tapu into the ocean where it was dispersed and lost. This is why such ceremonies are performed in running water.
“After these necessary karakia and sprinklings (we use short karakias of our own, the ancient ones are too long and unnecessary for - 159 our purpose), the recovered treasures were carried to the meeting-house and there laid on clean mats where everyone might see them, and then were heard the lamentations of the women as they cried over and addressed the long lost weapons of their ancestors.
“One of these weapons had come long ago from the Ngati-Kuia tribe of the South Island. And it was Takurangi who divined the cause of sickness at Ohau. Persons had eaten of the watercress which grew in the streams that flowed from the spring in which the two meres had been hidden; and eels had also been caught there, so the people had suffered without knowing the cause. Takurangi also discovered the plum tree the fruit of which had caused sickness, and she pointed it out and explained that it grew on a sacred place. There was a red pine growing close to it, and the spot was a place where the bodies of the dead had decayed. When this was pointed out the principal man present said that the tree, or trees, would be cut down.
“Well, there was yet another successful search for a hidden ancestral treasure, and this was carried out through Takurangi's powers a few days ago. The wise-woman was told that an ancient and very valuable jadeite patu (mere) had been buried long ago by Te Whare-pouri of Te Ati-Awa tribe at the foot of a pou-tohu-rohe, or boundary post set up by him and his kinsman Te Puni, 7 near the Ngauranga stream on the shores of Wellington Harbour. This mere the descendants of Te Whare-pouri now desired to recover, and they sought Takurangi's supernatural powers to do so. Accordingly a large party of people went to Nga-uranga by motor car. They halted at Takurangi's bidding a short distance on the southern or Wellington side by the mouth of the stream where the meat works are. Led by the wise-woman, her assistant Mate-haere following with the garden fork, we climbed up the hillside to an old land-slip of rock, gravel and earth overgrown with karamuramu and koromiko scrub and small ngaio trees. Arriving at a certain place on the hillside, on land owned by an European, Takurangi bade Mate-haere clear away a small space in the bushes, and there, between two slabs of rock, a beautiful jadeite mere was found. This was the veritable weapon buried there by Te Whare-pouri three generations ago. Many changes had occurred since and the exact spot where the boundary post stood had been lost, but Takurangi's power, as medium of Mahuta's wairua, and through the măna of the sacred pounamu which she constantly wore, enabled the lost property to be restored to the people.- 160
“The mere was taken to a small stream of water which issued from the hills, and there a ceremony, similar to that observed at Ohau, was performed to free the weapon from the baneful tapu.
“It is through the possession of this very sacred jadeite ornament of the Potatau family, together with the spirit-voice of Mahuta, and of Potatau, heard in the sleeping ear, that such deeds as these are performed by my wife Takurangi. And this power is used only for good and useful purposes, the recovery of lost treasures and detection of the causes of people's illnesses. It is not makutu (witchcraft) or any other evil mahi tohunga (priest's work), but its reverse—it is similar to the miracles mentioned in the Bible—and it is a power not to be used lightly or for reward. Many have asked Takurangi to use her powers for finding articles, but she refuses; it is only for highly important occasions or needs.
“Our expression for such highly sacred things as those endowed with măna-tapu (sacred supernatural power) from departed ancestors, is ‘He taumata no te hunga wairua,’ or ‘He okiokinga no te hunga wairua’ (signifying a holy and potent emblem from the company of departed souls).
“Not only does the spirit of Mahuta accompany Takurangi, but that spirit calls to its aid the spirits of other dead to assist in whatever mission is being pursued. When the sacred mere of Te Whare-pouri was being sought, the wairua, or spirit, of Te Whare-pouri was brought to Takurangi by the wairua of Mahuta, and it was through these spirit guides that Takurangi knew exactly where to search, and so recovered the lost treasure.”
NOTES BY MR. JAMES COWAN.
No. 1.—Te Heuheu gives the following interesting account of the highly ceremonious manner in which the chiefs of the various tribes, then assembled at a great meeting at Pukawa, Lake Taupo, in 1856, the home of Te Heuheu family, centralized as it were their măna, in order that it might be bestowed upon Potatau Te Wherowhero, the principal chief of all Waikato tribes, who was then chosen as the Maori King. This was the origin of the King movement in New Zealand:—
Te Heuheu Iwikau, the head of Ngati-Tu-wharetoa tribe, caused a high flagstaff to be erected at the place of meeting at Pukawa village. At the mast head he hoisted a copy of the flag given by King William IV., of England, to the Northern Maori Confederation previous to the Treaty of Waitangi. Beneath this flag, at intervals down the mast, he had long ropes of plaited flax attached, these hanging down to the ground. The tribes were assembled in divisions - 161 grouped round the mast, which latter symbolized Tongariro the sacred mountain of the Maori. Te Heuheu arose and called upon the chief who represented the Arawa tribes of Rotorua, to arise, and said, indicating a rope, “This is Ngongo-taha”—the mountain near Rotorua Lake—“Where is the man of Ngongo-taha to attach this mountain to Tongariro?” The leading chief of Te Arawa tribe rose, and taking the end of a rope fastened it to a manuka peg which he drove into the ground in front of his company. The next rope symbolized Pu-tauaki (Mt. Edgecombe) the sacred mountain of Ngati-Awa of the Bay of Plenty. The next was Tawhiuau, the mountain belonging to Ngati-Manawa on the western borders of the Ure-wera country. Every tribe giving its adherence to the King movement had its rope allotted to it, representing a mountain dear to the tribe. Hikurangi near the East Cape was for Ngati-Porou tribe, Maunga-pohatu for Tuhoe tribe, Titi-o-kura (Ruahine) for Ngati-Kahu-ngunu tribe, Kapiti Island was for Ngati-Toa, Otairi for Ngati-Apa, and then crossing to the South Island, Tapuae-nuku and Kai-koura were named as also Aorangi (Mt. Cook); the chief Taiaroa was present as representing the Ngai-Tahu tribes of the South Island.
Returning to the North Island the ariki of Ngati-Tu-wharetoa proceeded to indicate the ropes representing the West Coast and the Waikato; Para-te-tai-tonga—the southern peak of Ruapehu—for Whanganui tribes; Mt. Egmont for Taranaki, Te Ati-Awa and Ngati-Ruanui tribes; Pirongia for Waikato; Kakepuku for Ngati-Mania-poto tribe; Rangitoto in the King Country for Ngati-Matakore and Ngati-Whakatere; Taupiri for Waikato; Whare-puhanga for Ngati-Rau-kawa; Maunga-tautari for Ngati-Haua, and Ngati-Koroki; Maunga-nui (eastern headland of Tauranga) for Ngati-Rangi; Te Aroha for Ngati-Tama-te-ra; and finally Moehau (Cape Colville) for Ngati-Maru tribe.
Each of the ropes representing these sacred mountains of the tribes was hauled taut and staked down, leaving Tongariro mountain in the middle, supported and stayed by all these tribal cords, and above floated the flag. Thus was the union of the tribes demonstrated that all might see, and in this manner passed to the central authority, who was the Maori King Potatau, all the măna-tapu (sacred power) of the supporting chiefs.
No. 2.—Mahuta, shortly before his death, informed his people that although he was departing, he would return to them. That is the reason they do not tangi (mourn) over him; they knew he would come back. The Waikato belief is, says Te Heuheu, that his spirit has now returned and that Takurangi is its medium, or the person in whose powers and performances the spirit manifests itself.
1 The death of Rawiri, who was cutting a boundary line of land to be sold to the Government, on the 4th August, 1854, led to war between the local Maori tribes. Old Rawiri, his white horse and blue spectacles, was a well-known figure in New Plymouth in the early fifties of last century.
2 This is the same Taranaki tribe to which the humpbacked boy belongs.—EDITOR.
3 See note No. 1 at end hereof by Mr. Cowan.
4 Waka is the medium of an atua, a god (sometimes an infliction), the receptacle into which the priest called down the spiritual god when communication with it was necessary.—EDITOR.
5 Brother of Mahuta, not the old Te Wherowhero, the first so-called king.—EDITOR.
6 This seems the only improbable part of the whole proceedings.—EDITOR.
7 Te Whare-pouri and Te Puni were both very well-known chiefs living on the Wellington Harbour when the first European settlers arrived there in 1839. They came from Taranaki originally.—EDITOR.