Volume 78 1969 > Volume 78, No. 4 > Maori women in traditional family and tribal life, by Berys N. Heuer, p 448 - 494
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This paper endeavours to reconstruct the role of women in traditional family and tribal life by collating and analysing the many references scattered throughout the ethnographic literature. As it follows the aims of recent monographs, one by Biggs focusing upon marriage, 1 and a second by Vayda, upon warfare 2 in traditional culture, it incorporates relevant data from these, particularly in regard to marriage.

The period to which the paper refers extends from 1769, when Captain James Cook rediscovered New Zealand, to approximately 1840, when New Zealand formally became a British colony.


To understand fully the patterns of behaviour influenced by differences in sex it is first necessary to consider cultural attitudes and beliefs pertaining to sex. Sex permeated all aspects of Maori life, and is particularly manifested in symbolic mythology. Natural objects such as trees, stones, stars, and even points of the compass were frequently personified in both esoteric and popular accounts. 3 Several legends tell of mountains quarrelling over “love affairs” and the defeated one moving elsewhere; 4 to ratify a peace treaty, when women were given in marriage, a mountain in the defeated tribe's territory might be married to a prominent peak in the victor's homeland. 5 Waters along the East Coast, relatively safe for travelling, were known as tai-hoenga-tamahine (girl-paddling sea) or taitamawahine (womanly waters), whereas the rougher and more dangerous - 449 West Coast waters were known as tai-tama-tane (male waters). 6 East and north winds were similarly regarded as feminine, west and south as masculine. Were a child to be born during the former winds it would be female, during the latter, male. 7

Symbolic sexual representation was commonly found in carving motifs. Houses and fortifications were decorated with figures representing men and women with grotesquely distorted sexual organs; 8 a female figure with children was particularly common. 9 Bones of distinguished chiefs and their wives and children were placed after exhumation in caskets ornamented with appropriate sexual symbols and tattoo designs. 10

Many restrictions upon the activities of women, and, correspondingly, many of their special roles, are only to be understood in the light of the mythological origin of women. Tane, eldest son of Rangi-nui (Sky-father) and Papa-tua-nuku (Earth-mother), sought to create a race of mortals to dwell on earth; this necessitated his finding a non-supernatural woman. 11 Legend tells of his search for the female element (uha) in all realms and regions. Trees, plants, birds, insects and streams were derived from Tane's continued mating with supernatural objects. 12 After his many unsuccessful attempts Tane journeyed to the twelfth heaven to seek assistance from Io, the supreme god. He was sent by Io's supernatural female attendants to form a woman from the earth at Kurawaka, the pubic region of his mother Papa. 13 In some versions with his brothers, in others alone, Tane returned and created woman from the mud and earth, breathing on the completed inanimate figure until it came to life. 14 The combination of organs and faculties necessary for her creation were said to have come from several sources, including Io, Io's female attendants, and Tane's brothers. 15 This account shows the culturally all-pervasive conception of man as provider of the creative fertilising elements, the life spirit; concomitantly woman is seen as the passive shelterer and nurturer, the receptacle, or whare moenga, of the life principle implanted by man.

In the continuation of the legend, Tane married Hine-ahu-one, the woman he had created, and later married their daughter Hine-titama. The latter inquired one day as to the identity of her father and, on learning the truth, fled horrified to the underworld to take a position at the doorway through which all of her earthly descendants would eventually pass. 16 In this portion of the legend comes the emphasis upon woman as destructive. The concept is most clearly illustrated in the actions of the demi-god Maui who attempted to conquer Hine-titama (or Hine-nui-te-Po as she became known after her flight from her incestuous union) but who was - 450 himself defeated and killed. 17 Thus death and destruction were brought permanently into the world. The female reproductive organs were termed whare o aitua or whare o te mate, house of misfortune and disaster. 18

This destructive female element is further illustrated in purification rites and in the division of man physically into male and female sides. The purification rites, commonly preceding war and after births, included two mounds, the male symbolising success, prosperity and vigour, the female, calamity and distress. 19 The right and left sides of the human body were male and female respectively. The right side, the tama tane, was the tapu side, representing strength and life; the left, or tama wahine, side, is noa, representing degradation and affliction. Before fighting, if a warrior moved to the left when avoiding an obstacle in his path, this was considered to be a bad omen. 20 During fighting itself, however, it was thought that the left side was lucky for some, unlucky for others. 21 Many of the activities proscribed to all women, except highborn ariki (nobility) imbued with the sacredness of aristocratic birth, were those where the violation of tapu could bring disaster to the entire tribe.

Disaster in an undertaking was generally assumed to be the consequence of non-observance, deliberate or accidental, of laws of tapu on the part of a woman. For example, placing kumara, a sacred food, and fern root, a common one, together in the same vicinity was definitely a violation of a tapu originally imposed, according to legend, at the time of the introduction of kumara to New Zealand. Kanawa, a woman travelling in the Horouta canoe on its return voyage from Hawaiki to New Zealand, brought fern root aboard from a landing place near the Bay of Plenty, and the canoe sailed on without the inhabitants knowing of the violation. But the stormy weather and rough waters which arose were quickly attributed by the priests to such a violation; they identified the guilty woman and threw her overboard in retribution. However, Kanawa held fast to the bow of the canoe and the canoe capsized. 22

Women could officiate to ameliorate a situation brought about by a man inadvertently breaking the rules of tapu. During the construction of the canoe Hotunui an epidemic broke out, and this was finally attributed to the contamination caused by chips from the chief's carving tool having been used for cooking. The chief's daughter then ate a kumara which had been roasted in a fire kindled from some of the same chips, and the epidemic ceased. 23

Omens also reflected the dangers associated with women's incautious actions. If a woman were to step over a young boy his growth would be stunted; if she were to step over a man who was lying in the way this, while not so disastrous, nevertheless constituted a decided impertinence. 24 For a woman to carry cooked food in front of a guest was also very im- - 451 polite. The disappearance of a small lake near Waikaremoana, once famous for an abundance of birds, was due to the disregard of this restriction. A chief's wife neglected her husband's warning and the lake vanished. 25

If a man possessing second sight (matatuhi or matakite) were to sit in a place normally occupied by a woman, near the fire or in an open space in the centre of the house, or to sleep in such a location, he would lose all powers of vision. 26 Women's clothing, and places where a woman's body had rested were regarded as unclean and defiling because of a presumed residual effect of the spiritual powers of the menstrual flow. The consequence of a mistaken action could often be avoided by a rite known as whakaepa in which the victim lay on the ground and a woman stepped over him. 27

Certainly positive omens were also associated with women. The most common of these were the meaning of a hunter's dream of embracing a woman, which was interpreted that he would have a profitable hunt. 28 For a man to dream that he heard a group of women singing and talking would signify news of the defeat of an enemy tribe. 29


Physical attractiveness and industry constituted the primary criteria influencing selection of a marriage partner. Customary standards of physical attractiveness and agility are clearly reflected in the frequent massage and bodily manipulation carried out on young infants. Buller speaks of an infant's knee joints being rubbed down to reduce the inner portion, and of the nose being flattened; 30 it is possible that his reference implied nose-shaping rather than flattening since Makereti explains that the nose was pressed gently between the thumb and first finger from time to time to prevent it from becoming parehe (flattened, bent inwards). 31 No sexual differentiation is noted for these activities. Female children additionally had the first joint of the thumb bent outwards to facilitate later activities in scraping, weaving and plaiting flax. 32 A girl would be expected to have her lips and chin tattooed before she could be thought eligible for marriage; 33 similarly, for a young man, at least a minimum of facial tattooing, and usually a considerable amount of bodily tattooing, was an essential prerequisite for good looks. 34

The family of any girl eligible for marriage would seek a young man known to be a hard worker and expert at procuring food. Several proverbs reflect the approval with which industry and diligence in such matters was regarded, as do various children's games. A girl might be told: E moe i ringaringa, waewae kama, moea; wahine i te ngutu kakama, whakarerea atu, - 452 worker), 35 and she would frequently hear also: Tane rou kakahi ka moea; tane moe i roto i te whare kurua te takataka (if a man is proficient in gathering shellfish, marry him; if he sleeps lazily in the house, reject him). 36 A corresponding proverb told a young man was: Wahine i te ringaringa, waewae kama, moea; wahine i te ngutu kakama, whakarerea atu, (if a girl has nimble hands and feet, marry her; if she is only agile at talking, leave her alone). 37

A common game among young children was the chanting of a haka (dance) song:

Mawai e moe te tane
Mangare ki te mahi-kai?
He ra te kai ki taua kiri. E!
(Who will marry a man
Too lazy to till the ground for food?
The sun is the food for the skin of such a one. E!)
Mawai e moe te wahine
Mangare ki te watu puere?
Ko Tongariro te kai ki taua kiri. E!
(Who will marry a woman
Too lazy to weave garments?
Tongariro is the food for the skin of such a one. E!) 38

Older girls would pass time by a game of questions and answers reflecting the importance placed upon different activities in procuring food. The questioner would successively reject a kumara planter, an eel-catcher, and a fisherman on the grounds that each of these were seasonal occupations; the ideal occupation was that of a fern root gatherer, for such a man would always provide plenty of food. 39

A woman was expected to show proficiency in weaving garments, preparing food, and extending hospitality. Of a woman it was said: Wahine i te ringaringa, waewae kakama, moea; wahine i te ngutungutu, whakererea atu (the woman with nimble hands and feet, marry her; the woman who chatters, cast her out). 40 A premium was also placed upon social graces, particularly upon skill in dancing, and there are several descriptions of emotions aroused by an exhibition of talent in this field. 41

It is also necessary to consider the limits of the range of relationships from which spouses could customarily be selected. Best stated that relatives three generations from a common ancestor were permitted to marry, but that sibling- and first-cousin marriages were deemed incestuous. 42 Investigation of genealogical evidence shows that first- and second-cousin marriages were infrequent, and even the latter, although permissible, were met with disapprobation. 43

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Some relationship between the husband and wife was usually preferred, to reduce possibilities of intergroup quarrelling and destructive fighting. 44 Chiefs' daughters might be married outside the hapu, or outside tribal limits, expressly to link units, and to ensure protection and assistance when needed. Disputes over irregularities in proceedings could precipitate warfare between such groups before an alliance was satisfactorily completed, and there are many accounts of wars ultimately involving tribes arising from a chance comment made about the wife's people by her husband or a member of his tribe.

Inter-group marriages also presented difficulties because of land, which could be inherited bilaterally. 45 Land was valued extremely highly, both for its economic value and from sentimental attachment, and children possessing claims to lands in both groups constituted a further potential for warfare. More will be said of this later.

Marriage Arrangements

The right of demonstrating preference in a love affair, or in making initial advances, was not restricted to men, and women frequently initiated liaisons. 46 Particularly where a woman was of higher rank than the man it might have been appropriate for her to do so. 47 She might publicly announce her choice to the tribe, or express her interest by such token gestures as squeezing the hand (ropa) of the man in a crowd, 48 or pinching his knee; 49 when initial advances were neglected she might employ a go-between or close friend to assist. 50 Shame at rejection occasionally precipitated quarrelling among groups related to the individuals concerned.

When two sisters both expressed a strong desire to have the same man as husband, their father or an elder relative might arbitrate. In the story of Marutuahu, a man desired by both daughters of Ruahiore, the latter endeavoured to settle the argument by assigning Maru' to the younger; since the elder refused to abandon her claim he became husband to both. Marutuahu was not consulted during the discussion. 51

A major difficulty in investigating the institution of marriage, and in particular the patterns of choice operating to form unions, is the lack of any statistical guide to the relative frequency of marriages resulting from personal choice, and those resulting from parental arrangement for primarily political reasons. Indirect sources, such as legends and songs, which mostly describe personal selection and immediate attraction, may relate the unusual and dramatic, rather than the true situation. Reports from early observers are conflicting and generalised, indicating clearly only that marriages were based upon both grounds. To what extent these coincided is also a question which cannot be satisfactorily answered. - 454 Certainly a large number of marriages were arranged by relatives without the apparent consent of the two immediately concerned.

When one or both participants was immature a period of betrothal was essential. Children, particularly girls, could be betrothed shortly after the performance of the tohi (baptismal rite), or at any later date. 52 A girl so engaged would frequently be sent to live with her future husband's people; both legend and song indicate that she found her position uncomfortable. Breaking such an engagement was interpreted as an insult, as was the refusal of the initial suggestion, and might occasion a taua (retributory raid) and possible war. 53 There are, however, a number of instances where initial arrangements were made but the marriage itself not contracted.

The first step in a “properly conducted” marriage was the discussion preceding the acknowledgment of a marriage. In some instances the discussion might be completely friendly, but if differences could not be resolved those who felt they had a legitimate cause for complaint would retaliate with a taua muru, best interpreted as being an institutionalised form of retributory quarrelling. A successful marriage, discussed and approved by all concerned, was termed aata korerotia i runga i te takapau wharanui (thoroughly discussed on the wide-wefted sleeping mat). Children who were legitimate were spoken of as being born on this takapau wharanui. This type of marriage, fully discussed and approved, was the “best kind,” for it was not followed by quarrelling. 54

The earliest mention of any ceremonial procedures in marriage is by White in his lectures of 1860 when he stated that, although there was no definite marriage rite, there was a custom called pakuha, the giving of a woman to be the property of her suitor, in the presence of the tribe; this act was performed by the girl's relatives, particularly brothers and uncles. 55 Best differentiated this from the ceremonial feasting and recitation of ritual spells and blessing which he labelled the wedding ceremony proper. 56 The pakuha could occur long after the couple had been living together and thus does not constitute a valid ceremony to designate a marriage.

There are, indeed, a number of references made to the absence of any marriage rites among the Maori. The prime exception is the evidence presented by Best of “a recognised and enforced mode of procedure . . . in regard to marriage,” applying exclusively to marriages where both participants were of high rank. 57 Biggs, in evaluating the evidence in support of such ceremonial proceedings, found that all relevant references are made in this, or subsequent, papers by Best, and that attempts to demonstrate the existence of such a ceremony seem “to have failed for lack of corroboration.” 58

Among lower ranking members of the tribe, marriage could be an - 455 extremely simple affair, consisting of the public discovery and acceptance of a couple's sleeping together. Early references stated that if a young man saw a woman whom he desired as a wife he would approach her relatives and, unless the girl forcibly resisted, would immediately make her his wife. 59 There is some disagreement as to which relatives were approached; some sources refer to parents, the majority to brothers and uncles. Tribal histories and legends imply that the father had primary jurisdiction over the disposal of his daughter, although this may have been predominantly a reflection of the authority of chiefs.

It was also possible that a couple, deciding that the approval of the tribe would be difficult to obtain in advance, would signal their desire to be married by deliberately arranging for the tribe to discover them sleeping together. Many legends provide evidence of this manner of announcing preference. One well-known legend concerns a marriage between a mortal and an immortal, the latter having to return to the spirit world before dawn. The statement made by the mortal spouse being insufficient to convince the tribe, it was considered necessary that the lovers be viewed by all, and this was achieved by blocking the openings of the house to deceive the immortal lover that it was still dark, then flinging wide the doors that he might not escape. 60 This legend indicates an important step in the acknowledgment of marriage, namely, that sleeping together was explicit confirmation. Recognition in itself, however, did not necessarily imply approval, and institutionalised methods of gaining assent were usually invoked.

Foremost amongst aspects of marriage relevant to the position of women in traditional Maori society are the presence of polygamous marriages, the advantages culturally ascribed to such an institution, and the status of the participants.

Polygamy among men “whose circumstances will admit of maintaining more than one wife” 61 appears to have been universal. 62 Despite one reference to a maximum of four, 63 there appears to have been no potential limit to the total number of wives. For example, among paramount chiefs, Te Heuheu Tukino is known to have had eight, 64Hongi Hika five, 65 and Te Tirarau twelve. 66 Lesser known chiefs had equally large numbers of spouses. Historical narratives speak predominantly of two wives. 67 In contrast with the polygamy of chiefs, the statement is made that commoners were monogamous, but the term commoner is inadequately defined. 68

Irrespective of the number of wives of any given chief, only one would have the acknowledged privileges associated with being head wife, or - 456 wahine matua. 69 Marriage with the principal wife was frequently for political reasons, to link two hapu, or larger groups. For this reason, and to preserve the mana accompanying chieftainship, the woman would be of comparable rank to the man; these marriages were normally arranged by tribal elders. Children of such unions took precedence over all siblings by other wives, in matters of rank, privileges and rights of succession. 70

The advantages of polygamy as seen by the Maori are most adequately expressed in a well-known proverb: Ka mate whare tahi, ka ora whare rua (literally, one house brings disaster, two houses life). 71 Attendance by several wives was considered essential in maintaining the dignity and prestige of the chief and in strengthening his position of importance in the tribe.

Plurality of wives, as the proverb indicates, reflects equally the wealth and economic status of the chief. A chief's wealth would be estimated in terms of the number of his spouses. Particularly when more than one wife was a daughter of a high-born family, each would bring to their husband slaves, property and land, all functioning to augment his resources, facilitate the extension of hospitality important in intergroup relationships, and maintain allegiance from the remainder of the hapu. Where the women owned, or had rights to, land they would frequently continue to reside on it, the chief visiting them and spending time with each in turn. 72

Several songs attest to jealousy among wives. 73 In such instances women would live separately. 74 More frequently, however, they resided together, maintaining a common household and performing most of the tasks of cultivation. Nicholas observed that in New Zealand, “woman is born only to labour incessantly for her task master, 75 and suggested that plurality of wives could be attributed primarily to a desire for a greater supply of manual labour and food production rather than to physical attractiveness. 76

Marsden questioned several chiefs as to the advantages they saw in polygamy. One suggested that monogamy was preferable because friction and altercation could be avoided; others claimed that for cultivating gardens and maintaining adequate food resources more than one wife was desirable. 77 Women present during such questioning were generally agreed that there should be only one wife; such an observation, as Firth suggested, may have been in deference to the missionary's viewpoints. 78 Colenso emphasised a further economic gain from polygamy, the accumulation of taniko-bordered flax garments woven by women. 79 Undoubtedly the need to have resources readily available to supply hospitality to visitors gave additional sanction.

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Desire for children, particularly males, was likewise an important stimulus towards polygamous marriages. If a woman had not produced children, she might herself suggest a second marriage. 80 Occasionally, a lack of male children would result in the husband's divorcing a wife rather than merely adding another. 81

A number of instances of a man marrying women who were sisters are recorded, both in ethnographic description and in tribal legends. Two reasons for the practice seem to have been the desire of the woman's parents that the union have children, 82 and the cultural hope that, when sisters were both married to the same man, quarrels between the two wives would then remain “within the family.” 83 The elder of the sisters, as became her rank, was head wife. An equally common cause of polygamy was the right, and to some extent obligation, of a man to marry his deceased brother's wife or wives. 84

After prolonged or severe fighting, regardless of the original cause, the defeated party might give women to the victorious chiefs, in order to initiate peace negotiations and to cement alliances. Whether the chief himself was married or not appeared to be of little consequence for such peace-making but only one instance of married women being so transferred appears to be recorded. 85 Where possible, daughters of chiefs, particularly puhi (tribal virgin) or other high-ranking women, would be offered in such transactions. This greatly enhanced the prestige of the victorious chief.

Women were frequently captured in battle, and these were frequently referred to as “concubines” or slave-wives. Despite the low status of the majority of such women they appear to have been resonably well treated, and their progeny, although lower in rank than those of the head wife, were desired and welcomed. The primary function of the captured women, as of other secondary wives, was to increase the labour force.

Irregularities in procedure, disagreements, disapproval or quarrelling were usually resolved by the culturally accepted plundering of the relatives of the offending party. Many marriages, probably the majority, were irregular, in the sense that they offended, either personally, or through lack of adherence to the appropriate social customs. Any irregularity would constitute a legitimate cause (take) for retaliating against the offenders and collecting compensation. A war-party would visit the offenders, pretend to fight violently (ceasing usually at the first drawing of blood), 86 make many speeches, and finally plunder the property of the individual and community. The tribe was then expected to provide a feast for the - 458 visitors. 87 Usually such raids were directed against the man and his relatives, and their losing valuable property to the girl's relatives can perhaps be visualised as compensation for the loss of her economic services. A second, and equally important, function of the raid was to acknowledge the union and make it legitimate, so that all children were entitled to full inheritance rights.

Refusal to comply with a request for marriage was infrequent. When the woman feared that she would be forced into an uncongenial union, or when she wished to marry a man for whom approval would clearly not be obtainable, her only recourse was to commit suicide. This she would either do by leaping over a convenient precipice, or by pining away. 88 To prevent his daughter, who had fallen in love with a man of much lower rank, from taking such action and bringing disgrace on her family, Te Paahi is stated to have confined her in a pataka, or storehouse, with space which would “neither allow of her standing up, or stretching at her length.” After several years of confinement the girl capitulated. In an editorial comment, McKinlay noted, however, that such imprisonment was not a common method of discipline. 89

Division of Labour

Although men and women shared equally in the performance of a small number of occupations they confined most of their activities to separate, complementary economic spheres. The general principle for this division was the quantity of physical strength and danger for each task. Men performed the more arduous and daring tasks, while women were responsible for the more monotonous, continuing and less physically demanding occupations. It was the responsibility of men to procure most of the food of primary importance to family and hapu; women collected some foodstuffs and were responsible for all preparation of food.

Men felled trees, burnt off fern, and loosened soil for plantations with wooden spades; women followed them, planting seeds, and taking responsibility for all subsequent activities of cultivation. 90 One exception to this practice, noted from the East Coast only, was that of planting kumara. The tapu associated with the cultivation of this vegetable was so strong that women were not permitted to participate. 91 In other areas, women were responsible for removing larvae of a large grub which fed on the leaves of the kumara. 92 Fern rhizomes were dug by men, collected and carried home by women. 93 Men usually snared birds, although there is some evidence that women might join this activity, being allotted the lower trees which were easier to climb. 94 Open-sea fishing was an occupation apparently restricted to men, 95 as was diving for crayfish; 96 women - 459 often caught certain fresh water species as kokopu. 97 Savage indicated that women shared many of the dangers connected with fishing. 98Women gathered all shellfish except the deep water paua for which men dived. 99

The differentiation of occupations was not always clear, and it is important to take into account the activities undertaken by both sexes. Either sex as required would undertake the collection of fruits such as karaka or hinau berries, the preparation of pigments, dyes and plant oils, and the construction of twine and ropes. 100 The sole exception was the collection by women of poisonous tupakihi berries from which juice was extracted for drinking. 101 In work requiring large numbers rather than the exercise of strength, women as well as men might assist; for instance, women helped in hauling a large log from the forest if it was to be used for housebuilding, but not if it was for a canoe. 102 Women were as proficient as men in paddling canoes, and frequently followed warriors by sea, bringing with them the cooked food which could not be transported on the sacred war canoes. 103

The sexual division of work was based on tapu as well as on principles of the excitement and strength involved. Many activities to which tapu applied were forbidden to women because their presence was thought destructive. Women were not permitted to have anything to do with the building either of houses of importance to the tribe, or of canoes; 104 nor were they allowed near places where greenstone was being worked. 105 There were no female carvers, and probably no tattooers; 106 the sole reference to a woman tattooer and faith healer appears to be definitely a post-contact phenomenon. 107

Similarly, certain activities were confined to women, who being noa (common), could not be defiled by undertaking menial tasks. Preparation of all food, and the handling of all cooked food fell within the province of women, 108 as did the carrying of water and firewood. 109 Maning described the difficulties encountered by a group of chiefs who, without the assistance of women or slaves, were unable to load a canoe. 110

Weaving was almost exclusively a feminine occupation. This included collecting and preparing flax, plaiting all food baskets, and manufacturing all woven cloaks and garments. 111 The exclusion of men from the manufacture of the more valued women articles was not rigid, and it was - 460 deemed no disgrace for a man to study in the whare pora (school of weaving) to learn the taniko patterns. 112 Highly valued dog-skin cloaks were made occasionally, 113 or possibly invariably, 114 by men.

Premarital Sexual Licence

Both men and women enjoyed considerable sexual freedom until marriage, when such freedom was entirely curtailed. Adultery involving a married woman was an extremely serious offence and, if detected, frequently precipitated retaliatory warfare.

Early observers made many references to the absence of limitations upon the sexual behaviour of the majority of young women. However, daughters of chiefs were frequently denied such prerogatives. 116 Such sheltered girls, designated as puhi, officiated as village hostesses; often they had been betrothed at an early age to link groups. 117 No premium was normally placed upon virginity, and marriage itself was frequently not recognized until a couple had been living together for some time. In addition, the seriousness with which a liaison was regarded depended upon where it occurred; if at the man's house marriage was implied, if elsewhere the act was regarded as of little importance to others.

The implication that total promiscuity prevailed comes primarily from observations made by sailors and explorers, to whom women were frequently presented as “wives for the White.” 118 While such procedures undoubtedly indicate a high tolerance for unrestrained sexual activity it is also important to realise that the provision of hospitality to all visitors was a cardinal tenet of Maori social life, and supplying women for the entertainment of the white atua (gods), reinforced by expectations of material acknowledgement of the gesture, was an extension of a long-established practice. 119 Campbell suggested that this eliminated any justification for seeking after married women. 120 Thomas Kendall's observation that the natives “cautiously keep away from us their women and children” is the sole indication that such hospitality was not immediately forthcoming. 121 Sailors rapidly learned to be suspicious of the absence or withdrawal of women from the ships, for this usually preceded an attack 122

That economic considerations rapidly assumed overriding importance is evident; from the desire to obtain weapons, tobacco, biscuits and other - 461 goods, emerged an “organised trade” of ship girls. 123 Expectations of reward varied. Cruise compared the “want of moral restraint” exhibited at Kororareka, where girls were freely offered with no stipulations as to rewards, with the tribes of the Kaeo River who showed an “avidity” for reward. 124 The services of women of the Nga Puhi tribe furnished their ambitious chief, Hongi Hika, with sufficient weapons to destroy many other tribal groups. The term utu pihikete (biscuit payment) reflected economic considerations for children from these “marriages”. 125 The limited number of offspring from such unions suggests that infanticide may have been practised, 126 although women denied this when questioned. 127

Adequate information is hard to obtain regarding the nature of behaviour which was not immediately influenced by the prestige of contact with the “godlike” newcomers, or by curiosity and acquisitiveness. Angas observed that “sexual intercourse is frequent but not promiscuous. 128 Biggs, who compared this with the suggestion that a public reputation for having many admirers enhanced desirability, 129 considered the statement made by Angas to be a more realistic appraisal, citing the existence of “numerous terms of opprobrium.” In addition to public opinion as a limiting force, he lists the relatively small size of the group, incest restrictions, and rank differences as barriers to the exercise of total freedom. 130

Freedom in premarital sexual behaviour must not be construed as indicative of a lack of modesty. Bodily shame was marked; in a woman this centred in the pubic region, or puke, exposure of which was considered exceedingly indecent. Women were expected to exercise extreme care in avoiding such exposure, and modesty in itself was highly prized. The importance with which such avoidance was viewed is seen clearly in the account of a young girl found naked in a swamp by a war party; rather than attempt to ward off the blows of the war club as they fell upon her head, the girl placed her hands over her puke as a maro (apron) to maintain her decency. 131 Cook described how, when his party unexpectedly encountered naked girls gathering shellfish, the girls hid among the rocks until they had made aprons of seaweed to cover themselves decently. 132

Evidence of shame at being observed while naked is shown in several legends. Gray recorded the story of Te Ao-huruhuru, a beautiful young puhi married to an elderly man who, wishing to boast of her attractiveness, invited his friends to gaze upon her while she lay naked asleep. When she awoke and realised that she had been observed in this condition, she committed suicide. 133

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Customs of Pregnancy and Birth

Detailed information concerning rites pertaining to birth and to allied prenatal and postnatal activities are found in several accounts, but numerous discrepancies occur which illustrate the dangers of relying on insufficient sources and the difficulties which occur when there is an abundance of evidence. 134

All customs relating to birth were tapu, and thus birth itself could not take place within a customary dwelling. Women bore their children in the open air, 135 or in a specially constructed whare kohanga (nest house). 136 Such houses were primarily for women of rank, possibly to be used only for the first birth. 137

Women of high rank had female attendants during the final stage of confinement and for the actual birth. 138 The father, mother and husband of the woman might also be present, along with a priest. 139 In instances of difficult or prolonged labour, appropriate karakia (incantations) directed to Hine-te-iwaiwa (otherwise known as Hina-te-iwaiwa, Hina-uri, Hine-Kaha), 140 goddess of childbirth, would be recited by the priest. In addition, the genealogy of the child's father would be recited; 141 ineffectiveness of this recitation would be interpreted as indicating that the true father was unknown. In the story of Tutanekai, the illegitimate child of Tuwharetoa and Rangiuru (the latter the wife of Whakaue), the child was born easily when, and only when, the true father's genealogy was recited. 142 The connection between difficult birth and adultery or tapu violation is exemplified in one part of the spell used on such occasions, translated by Biggs as:

Set up is my post, as a straining post for you,
O Hine, you who are having a difficult birth,
Who is above there.
Spread the sleeping mats of Hine-of-the-narrow face,
That I may climb up to Te Uira, to Te Awahaa,
That it may be let down the blood and the birth cleansings,
That it may be made empty. 143

The most adequently documented postnatal ceremony is that known as tuuaa, tuuaapana, or tohi. 144 This rite occurred when the child's navel cord fell off, usually about eight or ten days after birth. Some disagreement over details of this ceremony exists among the available accounts but these differences may possibly be local variations. Basically, the ceremony - 463 included ritual cleansing with running water to remove participants from the tapu pertaining to birth, and a dedication of the child to the appropriate masculine or feminine role with various karakia recited, water sprinkled, and a name conferred. Missionaries likened this rite to the Christian practice of baptism.

Removal of the tapu from mother and child also frequently entailed preparation and consumption of specially cooked foods. Marsden spoke of the mother eating from an oven of consecrated food, while others were fed from a second, common oven. 145 Shortland described a more elaborate ceremony in which the father roasted fern root and touched several specified parts of the child's body with it before eating it; at day-break the following day the child's eldest relative in the direct female line did the same and the mother and child were then noa (free from restriction). 146

Best described in some detail a formal gathering where gifts were presented before the family by both families, and spells recited to welcome the new infant. 147 Unfortunately there is no corroboration for this ritual, the spells and the source from which Best obtained his information being of doubtful reliability, and the description itself seems highly formalised for Maori society. 148

Descriptions of birth ceremonies refer, for the most part, to male children, and the extent to which such proceedings applied to female infants is somewhat indefinite. Best indicated that a simple substitution of phrases suffices to provide a description of female baptism; 149 in a different context, however, he indicated that this rite was seldom performed over female children, only in a few cases of firstborn. 150

Of particular interest are texts of spells used during the tohi rite, demonstrating the activities and aims toward which the child was dedicated. In published versions these spells have been variously called tohi, tuuaa, tuuaapana, whakatupu, and iri, iriiri, or whakairi. 151 They urged female children to grow up qualified to produce food, weave garments, collect sea food, collect firewood, and welcome guests. 152

Desire for Children

A strong desire for, and a great affection toward, children was clearly apparent. A wide variety of magico-religious rites and spells, usually referring to the original creation of women by Tane, was used to induce conception; these were usually recited over karetu grass or over kawakawa leaves. These leaves were then placed beneath the woman during intercourse, or between her breasts. 153 The texts of all such spells refer - 464 directly to the mystical creation of man, and to the actions of the first man, Tane, in seeking a way by which to find or create woman.

Other material objects such as stones, carved wooden figures representing the desired sex, or trees in which ancestral umbilical cords had been buried, were also used to induce conception. 154 These objects, wrapped in woven garments and feathers, were sometimes held in the arms of the woman desiring children and she would sing lullabies, as if to a real child. 155 In a reference to a hinau tree known as Te Iho o Kataka (the umbilical cord of Kataka) the difference between east and west (east symbolising life, west decadence and death) was demonstrated by the woman embracing the east side if she wished for a male, the west for a female infant. 156

Should a woman not produce children she would be held responsible even though she was culturally regarded as being merely the receptacle for the spirit provided by the male. A husband was at liberty to divorce a barren wife and take another. 157 The wife herself might suggest that her husband take another wife; this would frequently be one of her sisters or another close relative. 158

Although children of either sex were welcomed, male children were usually preferred as they would become warriors. 159 Te Kanawa, of Waikato, was so incensed that his first children were girls that he threatened to kill them and desisted only when forced to admit that they might, when older, serve a useful function in dispensing hospitality. 160 Piki-ao, a Ngati Maniapoto chief, sent his wife back to her father because she had borne only females; 161 Te Rangi-ita sent his wife away but permitted her to return later, after which she had male children. 162

Females were sometimes welcomed as much as male children because of their potential for creating or cementing tribal alliances. 163 For the most part, however, female children were initially in danger of infanticide. Almost all writers mention this custom, some indicating that it constituted a universal practice to reduce the number of non-warrior mouths to be fed; 164 others that it occurred only under special circumstances such as jealousy, economic difficulties, or removal of illegitimate children. 165 In particular, jealousy among wives in a polygynous marriage appeared to have been responsible for a number of infant deaths. Marsden cited the instance of the chief Riwa (Rewha) who returned from a war expedition with a second wife. When both wives were later delivered of sons, the first jealously killed hers, to her husband's distress. 166

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The suggestion is also made by some writers that female infanticide occurred primarily to restore a balance between male and female sections of the population. 167 Although infanticide may occasionally have been provoked by such a consideration, genealogical evidence indicates that this did not constitute a general custom. Earle noted that a definite advantage resulting from intercourse with whites was that the natives became “as anxious to cherish and protect their infant girls as they were formerly cruelly bent on destroying them. 168

Methods for killing the children varied considerably. Dieffenbach, who provided the most detailed early discussion, speaks of both prenatal (induced abortion) and postnatal infanticide, the latter being most frequently accomplished by exerting pressure upon the child's head during or shortly after birth. 169 Other techniques included pressing the temple of the newborn child, strangulation, drowning, or preventing air from entering the nostrils. Best speaks of a ritual act, known as taiki, performed by a woman who wanted to induce abortion. She would take a small quantity of food to a sacred place, or touch a tapu person with it. 170 He provided no indication as to whether this ritual was supplemented by physical methods. Were an infant to survive the first few minutes of its life it was generally assured of safe and affectionate treatment.

Exceptions to this generalisation, however, were children born to a woman who had married into a tribe not living peacefully with her own. Relatives of the woman might kill her young son to limit the fighting strength of the enemy hapu. Tu-whawhakia described the reactions of the mother of a new-born son whose visiting relatives asked the sex of her child. Realising that if she were to reply truthfully the infant would be killed, she held him so that the visitors could not detect the deception and answered that it was female. The child was permitted to live. 171

Affection shown toward children was commented upon by many observers, 172 although the evidence for this was distorted, particularly by missionaries, to suggest over-indulgence and a lack of discipline. Polack referred to “doating” treatment: 173 Dieffenbach wrote of the mother or other female relative nursing the child with great tenderness and to the father devoting considerable attention to caring for the child. 174 Treatment was similar for both sexes. 175

Child-Rearing Practices

Education of the Maori child, male or female, must be viewed as beginning with the tohi rite of dedication, and with the oriori, or lullabies, composed for the child. These oriori, normally composed and sung by one of the infant's elder female relatives, contained numerous allusions to - 466 tribal history and mythology, and frequently included a condensed genealogy. Their purpose was primarily educational, to provide the basic knowledge with which the child would need to be familiar. They were sung to a crying child, particularly at night, and in later years repeated to the child so that he would be familiar with his oriori. 176

Training of children was carried out by all members of the household unit, especially grandparents, to free parents for more active economic duties. Young children were largely the responsibility of their mother and grandparents. A spirit of independence was highly regarded as there are references to mothers being forbidden to reprimand or strike children lest they should lessen this independence. 177 Although Nicholas makes the sole reference to “sons” in this regard, 178 the reasons given in support of the practice, to preserve bravery, audacity and independence, suggest that the practice applied more specifically to male children. In discussing Maori women, however, Baucke spoke of the young girl leading the life of an “unrestrained tomboy” until she was eight or ten years old. 179

Imitation, play, and deliberate instruction were all employed in training children. An active curiosity was encouraged, as was the development of unselfishness and consideration for others. 180 Children followed their parents and relatives around and were soon encouraged to help in household activities. By the time a girl was nine or ten years old, she had learned the way in which a hangi (oven) was prepared, although the actual preparation was not her responsibility until much later; she had learned to carry firewood and water, first with, and later for, her mother and other relatives; to clear away weeds and tend to garden cultivation; and to cut, carry and prepare flax for making the numerous varieties of household containers. 181

Instruction in general behaviour and manners had begun earlier, both by example and by cautioning the child against the violation of tapu. A child was especially warned against trespassing on tapu ground and was told “awesome” stories of the consequences of disobedience. 182 Mothers spoke freely to the young girl of menstruation, mate wahine (woman's disease) or mate marama (disease of the moon), 183 and of the behaviour and restrictions appropriate to this condition. Menstruation itself was intimately connected with the moon which was regarded as the permanent or true husband because of the regularity of menstruation. 184 The discharge was regarded as a type of embryo, an undeveloped human being, and for this reason the woman had to observe a number of stringent restrictions upon her behaviour. She could not prepare an oven, nor could she cook tawa berries; if she attempted to do so, they would not be properly cooked. If she tried to gather shellfish they would all shift to - 467 another part of the coast. Were she to go on cultivated grounds during this time the crops would fail. 185

Special training in weaving usually began when the girl was about ten years old. Much knowledge of ceremony was included with the details of technique. Before she underwent tuition the young girl would be ceremonially made tapu and could not communicate with anyone except the priest and the instructor until she had completed an initial “sampler.” All the appropriate details of ritual associated with preparation of materials, with weaving itself, and with the completion of the article would be conveyed to her, as would knowledge of precautionary superstitions and allied omens. Were these to be ignored it would result in the loss of all her specialised knowledge connected with weaving. 186

Games were a means for imparting instruction and reinforcing cultural expectations. Dignity and grace were inculcated by achieving proficiency in dancing the haka and the poi. 187 Both men and women of the tribe would criticise and correct performances, encouraging practice until all met the required standards. Poi-dancing was exclusively a feminine occupation, a necessary accomplishment in entertaining visitors, or members of one's own hapu. Retelling stories of ancestors, myths of creation and of Hawaiki, the ancient homeland of the Maori people, was a favourite pastime among the elders of the tribe, and children thus learned a good deal of tribal history. Grandparents would make a point of imparting this knowledge; Buck attributed some of the local interpolations in old traditions to deliberate simplification for the children. 188 The art of public speaking, the allusions contained in the numerous proverbs often used, and the rhetoric which was deeply admired by all, was learned by listening to such stories and by attending tribal gatherings. He tangata i akona ki te whare, tunga ki te marae tau ana (a man performs well on the marae because he learned at home.) 189


Early reports are of limited assistance in furnishing adequate data regarding ownership of property by females. Specific reference is made to the existence, nature, and possible functions of the greenstone neck ornament, the hei-tiki (see later); ownership of other articles of ornamentation, of household property, and of land, is less well documented.

Clothing, in the form of woven mats and cloaks, differed little from that of men, 190 and all articles were individually owned. In the South Island, according to Buller, men's mats were worn over the left shoulder, women's over the right. 191 In other areas women would fasten their garments in front of them, or over the left shoulder. Regardless of the position of fastening, upper garments were discarded when working in the gardens, - 468 in order to leave both arms free. 192 Both men and women wore personally owned necklaces of a wide variety of materials, including shells, berries and whale teeth. Other ornaments worn by women, also personal property, consisted usually of anklets, bracelets, and combs for the hair. Anklets and bracelets, worn infrequently, were made of taniko-bands, or of shells; Best remarked upon having occasionally seen women with tattooed bands around ankles and wrists. 193

Hair of young women was worn short, or flowing loosely downwards, to distinguish them from their married counterparts, whose hair was usually worn long and plaited on top of the head. 194 Feathers of the rare huia and kaka were spoken of as being profusely used in decoration; it seems, however, more probable that this was done primarily upon ceremonial occasions, and by high-born women only. 195 Lycopodium leaves, and clematis were woven into the hair on ordinary occasions. 196 Leaves of the mahoe, kawakawa or parapara, or woven bands from which strings of seaweed, or tail feathers of various birds, were suspended, were used as signs of mourning for the death of a chief. 197 Woven headbands were worn to hold back long hair, and individual patterns for these were handed down through female members of the family. Combs of kaikatoa or rowhito wood inlaid with paua shell were also used as head decorations. 198

Women sometimes wore a deceased husband's molar teeth as earrings. A tooth was regarded as “a precious and much-esteemed memento,” and, if it had formed part of a chief's head, was considered extremely tapu. 199 Women also frequently wore perfumed bags of the plumage of the grey, or of the paradise, duck, containing leaves, flowers, crushed berries, or mosses. 200

For the more valued ornaments, such as neck and ear pendants. the exact nature of ownership is less straightforward. The most common of these ornaments was the hei-tiki, or carved greenstone pendant. This took various forms, the commonest and “most perfect” form, according to Hongi, showing both male and female figures embracing, the second most frequent form being a female figure only. Both these forms conspicuously showed both male and female organs juxtaposed. 201 The hei-tiki was primarily a female ornament, named after the male spirit, tiki, which had been originally implanted in the earth-formed maid created by Tane. 202 The wearing of the ornament has been used to postulate a suggestion of phallic worship among the Maori. 203 This suggestion is supported by the custom of reciting certain karakia to counter act the effects of suspected witchcraft, while holding the male organ, and of - 469 expressing the desire that this organ rebuff all attempts at sorcery. 204 However, the hei-tiki was also worn occasionally by men, 205 which might indicate that it was not regarded solely as a symbol of the powers of childbirth.

The hei-tiki were, as a rule, individually owned, passing from parent to child upon the death of the former. A number were, however, owned by the entire hapu, or by the tribe itself. These latter, tribal heirlooms, usually descended from famous ancestors, were individually named and were treated with considerable respect and reverence. In these circumstances the objects, whether hei-tiki, ear-pendants, or greenstone weapons, were regarded as held by the chief in the nature of a trust. On ceremonial occasions they would be displayed for the people to admire and greet, and might be worn by the chief's head wife or daughter.

Accounts of the transmission of many of these objects are further complicated by the fact that they might be given as gifts to high-ranking chiefs of other tribes, thus constituting “material symbols of the exchange of good-will.” 206 Firth, in analysing the processes underlying this transmission, noted several points, particularly those of the free circulation of valued articles among chiefly families, and the sentiments of awe and love with which all the people regarded such treasured tribal possessions. 207 When these changed hands, most frequently to support betrothal, marriage or peace negotiations, the original owners were not forgotten, and, by a continued process of change, the articles might eventually be returned to the family of the original owners. A less frequent reason for change of ownership occurred when a chief was conquered and enslaved; his wife was expected to send her hei-tiki to the victor's wife. 208

A woman's personal property also included weaving sticks, pounders for beating flax fibres and hanks of fibre and dyes, the latter being usually collected and replenished by the woman herself. This property could be transmitted by inheritance. Firth remarked that in certain districts, for example in Ruatahuna, the tanekaha trees which supplied dye from the bark were relatively scarce and valued accordingly. Rights to these trees were inherited and belonged only to the descendants of the ancestor who had originally found, or had been assigned, a given tree. 209 Stone pounders were highly prized and were handed on from mother to daughter. Household property such as cooking utensils and mats, were also regarded as a woman's personal property.

Ownership of land is a topic to which many observers have made reference; clear facts as to the rights of women to own or inherit land are, however, difficult to elicit. Sufficient evidence is not available to determine whether the variance can be attributed to tribal variation. Land was primarily managed by a tribe or a hapu, with rights of usage and disposal vested in the chief. Within the territory of the hapu, the rights of using specific areas were distinctly the prerogative of small family groups or - 470 of individuals. Firth summarised these to include small allotments of land, “rights to birding trees, shaggeries, deposits of red ochre, fishing stands, subdivisions of rat runs, shell banks, patches of fern root, clumps of flax, places for setting eel traps . . .” 210 Best observed that rat-run privileges were often passed on through female members of the family, while males acquired bird-snaring rights. 211

Land itself could be inherited through either parent, so that if an individual's parents came from different hapu a child could inherit rights to land owned by both hapu. Wherever possible, transmission appears to have been in the direct line of primogeniture. Opinions concerning land inheritance by girls show considerable divergence, some saying that girls inherited equally with their brothers, 212 others that they inherited no land, sharing only in ornaments or artifacts belonging to the deceased. 213

If they desired, a woman's brothers could give her land at her marriage. If she were marrying someone from her own hapu, no complications were likely to ensue. If, however, she were to marry into a group of strangers, her children would acquire rights to land she possessed, and this was sometimes seen by her kinsmen as jeopardising their own interest and increasing the likelihood of future warfare. It would still be possible for her to marry without their approval, but she would receive no land. Tregear translated a common proverb employed under these circumstances as follows: “You can go with your waist-girdle only . . . you will only be a slave to blow your husband's fire. 214

Female ownership of land was not necessarily permanent. The granddaughter of a chief had as much claim as her male cousins to her grandfather's land, and this claim continued to her grandchild. However, on his death the land then reverted to the male line of the second generation from the male ancestor from whom the land was originally claimed. White has explained this as an attempt to avoid the complications which would result from the many intertribal marriages contracted by chiefs. 215

A husband was usually given rights to cultivate his wife's land, especially if he had no land of his own in the locality. These rights were contingent upon residence on the land, the aim being to maintain, and ideally increase, the strength of his wife's tribe. 216 If she died without children, the land reverted to her brothers. 217 This could alter boundaries. 218


Mention has already been made of the emphasis upon primogeniture in determining position in the social structure. Ideally an unbroken line of descent was preferred; this, however, was rare, and a firstborn child was often female. When this occurred the woman did not customarily succeed - 471 to the active leadership of the tribe but was accorded the greatest possible respect as a wahine-ariki (female chief). Among Waikato and Northland tribes the female ariki was known as ariki-tapairu, or ariki-by-courtesy. 219 Hongi, speaking of his ariki-tapairu grandmother, explained that she was spoken of in the tribe as maumau, or waste, implying an unfortunate dissipation of time, blood, and title. Her only solution was “to hastily mature in order to contribute to the lordly male line.” 220 East Coast tribes used the term hakurangi (treasure, precious possession) apparently as a substitute for ariki-tapairu. 221 Ngati Kahungunu used the term mareikura, the name for the supernatural inhabitants of the twelfth heaven in all East Coast mythology, 222 to apply to first-born females of senior families; this tribe treated such women with much more respect than did other tribes, and permitted them to make public speeches. 223 Tregear gave a doubtful translation of the term tapairu as octopus, and stated that the ariki-tapairu alone among women could eat of octopus, and of human flesh. His concern seemed to have been solely with the role such women might play in tapu removal. 224

On rare occasions a female ariki such as the famous Hinematioro of Ngati Porou, or Mahinarangi of Kahungunu, was raised to the position as chief of the people, and accorded extreme respect and deference. 225 Normally the functioning position as a leader of the tribe passed to the first male child, unless all the children were female. 226 Buck illustrated the preclusion of females from exercising some of the privileges of seniority with the fact that a shell trumpet would be sounded to announce the birth of a first-born son, but would remain silent were a daughter to be born. 227

Highborn women were frequently subject to stricter behavioural restrictions than were the majority of young women, and might be established in the community as puhi (ceremonial virgins). Biggs, in reviewing the information pertaining to this institution, provided the most adequate definition of the puhi as a young woman of chiefly rank, celebrated for attractiveness and for social skills, one who was “set up by the community as a focus for social esteem. 228 As far as can be ascertained, the puhi constituted the pivot upon which the mana of the tribe rested. 229 Relatively little, however, is clearly distinguishable about the specific nature, duties, and functions of the puhi. The suggestion has been made that the institution presumably did not survive early European contact, “for neither the missionaries nor other early observers reported it.” 230 There are, however, a number of references to daughters of chiefs being - 472 subject to stricter supervision and restriction, and to their performing functions in offering hospitality in the name of the tribe to a much greater extent than did other women, all of which would imply that the primary concepts underlying the institution, and presumably the institution itself, were indeed continued past early European contact.

The puhi was continually attended by a number of companions, usually women of high rank and frequently closely related to her. 231 This was to ensure that the girl remained a virgin, and to prevent her forming any attachment which might hinder her availability to make an expedient marriage to link groups, bring about the cessation of warfare, or obtain the assistance of a powerful tribe in time of emergency. 232 Makereti indicated that the virginity of the puhi was of such importance that ritual defloration was performed by an elderly female relative, presumably as part of the marriage ceremonies; this is the only reference to such a practice. 233 Death might be the penalty for breaking the rule of virginity. 234 The girl frequently lived apart from the rest of the tribe, together with her attendants, in an elaborately carved and furnished house, surrounded with three sets of protective palisading, 235 or set upon posts. 236

Puhi formed the subject of many of the tribal legends and closely resembled the European concept of fairy princesses. In these legends they frequently fell in love, despite the precautions against this, and, where necessary, acted contrary to the wishes of the tribe. 237 A large percentage of the occasions upon which a puhi expressed her desire to marry a certain young man her choice would meet with approval from tribal elders and from the girl's brothers, and the marriage would then be consummated. 238

Tribal disapprobation of puhi who violated cultural expectations and indulged in secret love affairs was clearly reflected in songs composed by disgraced maidens. Among the best known of these is one composed and sung by a puhi who had an illegitimate child. 239 Legendary tales of puhi who had become noticeably pregnant after a secret affair show that immortal lovers descending for the evening from the spirit world were frequently invoked, and sometimes accepted, as an explanation of the phenomenon. 240 A similar explanation adhered to the Ati Awa tribal ancestor Tamarau-te-heketanga, whose father supposedly was a spirit who had intercourse with a puhi named Rongo-ue-roa. 241 Other versions referred to lovers as being of the fairy people, or patu-paiarehe; children from such alliances were often lighter-skinned. Albino children were also presumed to be directly descended from the fairies. 242

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The term puhi was also used of girls who were affianced at birth or shortly after, predominantly for political reasons, and consequently were made ceremonially tapu. 243 It is impossible to escertain whether any distinction was made between those betrothed in this way, and those set aside as tribal virgins, but not engaged.

Ceremonial Marriage

Marriage among all high-ranking women was predominantly political, and consequently subject to considerably more tribal surveillance and discussion than for less aristocratic members. Great importance was placed upon the matching of equivalent rank to retain the full mana of the individuals and their offspring, and of the creation of links between groups. Mention has already been made of some of the disadvantages accompanying marriage outside the hapu and the potential disruption which disagreements between the parties could involve. Where the potential advantages to the tribe of allying with another tribe or hapu were of sufficient importance, however, women were married out of the tribe and perhaps, in this instance, functioned primarily as symbols of the whole tribe. “He taura taonga e mutu, he taura tangata e kore e motu” (a gift connection may be severed, a human link cannot). 244 The function of the puhi and her responsibility to be available for a marriage of expediency has already been noted; the same general principles applied to the marriages of all high-born women.

Marriages would be arranged by chiefs of both tribes. Usually the chief desiring the girl for his son or near relative would make a ceremonial visit to her tribe, with a number of attendants. After the ceremonial greeting and feasting the chief would announce the reasons for his visit, and request the girl in marriage. He would frequently accompany such a request with the presentation of valuable items, such as greenstone weapons and tiki. 245 His visit would most usually occur when the girl was of marriageable age, perhaps around twenty years, although infant betrothal was arranged similarly. The valuables presented would remain the property of the girl's family when she married, unless they included recognised tribal heirlooms, when they would return with the marriage to the husband's tribe. 246

The lack of any evidence supporting the existence of special marriage rites for high-ranking participants has already been discussed at length. Definitely a greater concern was laid upon “correctness” of procedure, continued discussion, and ensuring that the children of the union would be legitimate. These marriages, in which the participants functioned predominantly as symbols and were manipulated by their elders, were marked by feasting, often intertribal, and with great satisfaction at the achievement of a satisfactory alliance. 247

These primarily political alliances were motivated by several factors, - 474 including the hope of establishing or reinforcing ties between tribal groups, of ensuring assistance from a powerful neighbour in case of emergency, with specific interest in acquiring material possessions in the form of land, fishing rights, greenstone weapons and carved ornaments, or to end fighting between groups and cement peace. 248 It is this last motivating force in which the role of high-born women as symbols is most clearly comprehended; the many accounts of peacemaking, to be discussed later, speak of women being “given” to victorious chiefs to bring about peace. The implication is that the defeated tribe were parting with a valuable commodity as a “tribute” to victors; this interpretation applies equally to the giving of women in all political alliances.


Specific duties of the high-born woman centred upon the extension of hospitality to visitors. Any Maori woman knew that she would be expected to ensure that there would always be ample food and relish on hand so that any unexpected arrivals could be greeted and feasted with due respect. 249 Failure to feed visitors suitably was considered a gross insult, and on occasions led to intertribal warfare. Similarly it was the task of the wife of a chief to arrange suitable entertainment for these guests, including the performance of dances and singing. A woman marrying in from another tribe might be formally invested by her husband with authority to dispense hospitality on behalf of her new tribe. 250

All women would assemble to welcome visitors, although frequently one of high birth would act as leader, or spokesman for the group. 251 In the latter instance the whole group of women would call out “Haere mai!” (Welcome!), after which the spokesman would give a more elaborate song of welcome. 252 A tribal group of men and women travelling to another hapu would send a message to inform their prospective hosts of their approach, and as they neared the village women would group themselves in front of the men and move in this manner to the hosts' courtyard. 253

A second, and allied, function of the Maori chiefly woman, not yet married, was that of acting as a temporary wife for any visiting chief. If the visitor were of high rank the daughter of the paramount chief of the host tribe might be selected for this position; for a chief of lesser importance a closely related, younger relative of the host would be employed. For the girl to refuse to co-operate was a sign of ill-breeding and a slight to the whole tribe; likewise the guest could not decline such attentions without severely offending his hosts. 254 Donne gave an illustration of a tribe which, acting as hosts to an early Bishop, were perplexed when he rejected the offers of the young girl provided for his entertainment; the tribe's solution was to honour his presence with ten girls. 255

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The specific status of the girl offered in such circumstances is difficult to ascertain. The suggestion that, for an extremely important chief, the daughter of the host would be presented leads to the question as to whether puhi would be expected to perform this duty as an ultimate fulfilment of the obligations of hostess. Tribal accounts tell of ancestors who moved from one area to another, marrying a wife in each area, departing and repeating the procedure in another. Such accounts as, for example, that of the ancestor of the Ngati Kahungunu, may be more correctly interpreted as supplying the names of the temporary wives provided by host tribes. 256

Several accounts speak highly of individual high-ranking women who were renowned for their hospitality and generosity. 257 Such women would also be employed as ambassadors in times of stress or emergencies. Te Rangi Oha was sent to initiate marriage arrangements on behalf of the son of her chieftain Ngawhare. 258 The advantages to a chief of having some daughters in his family to dispense hospitality and to offer as temporary wives for visitors saved the lives of two newly-born girls whose father finally permitted them to live because they could later entertain visitors. 259

Women had customary duties to perform at funeral services. The accepted method for expressing grief was for women closely related to the dead person to cut their faces and bodies with sharp pieces of obsidian, greenstone, or shell, until they were covered with blood, lamenting throughout the procedure. Early observers made frequent reference to this practice. 260 Older women were more thorough in their slashing than the younger ones, who did not cut themselves as deeply, particularly in the facial region. 261 The frenzy of such ceremonial expression of grief increased whenever friends or relatives came to pay their respects to the dead. 262 At the end of the period of mourning, which was usually of three or four days' duration, all participants resumed their normal cheerfulness. 263 Lacerations might, however, be perpetuated by being stained with a tattooing pigment. 264

On the death of a husband, the head wife, and sometimes other wives as well, would commit suicide, usually by strangulation; 265 their bodies would be buried with the chief. 266 Best expressed the view that this was not attributable to intense affections, but was merely a fulfilment of cultural expectations. 267

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All high-born women had a number of privileges associated with, and acting as support to, their status in the tribe. These privileges presumably varied regionally for there are no consistent references to any one specific customary prerogative throughout either tribal accounts or early observations; there is, however, mention of several different customary rights and favours granted to chiefly women.

Litters (kauamo matika) carried on the shoulders of male attendants were often used for transporting women between villages. 268 On all public appearances, particularly when representing her own tribe when visiting neighbourhood tribes, or when acting as a ceremonial hostess for visitors, the high-ranking woman would be dressed in finely woven, highly decorative mats, with her hair elaborately decorated with albatross feathers and lichens. 269 Ngati Kahungunu women adorned their faces with marks in blue clay, which were called tuhi mareikura (symbols of the mareikura). 270 The high-ranking woman would wear tribal ornaments such as highly valued greenstone tiki and ear pendants, often heirlooms of the tribe. 271 Within the village her living quarters would be more elaborately decorated, particularly if she had been ascribed the status of a puhi. The furnishings of the house would be the culturally valued kai-taka and koro-wai mats, and dog-skin cloaks. 272 Perfume would be scattered profusely throughout the building. 273

Regardless of rank, all women laboured in their cultivations and there was little or no preferential treatment accorded to those of higher rank. 274 In times of emergency all women were usually afforded more protection because of their potential value in coming to terms of peace. A victorious tribe in a position to annihilate totally their opponents, would defer to women of high birth by sparing their lives or letting them escape to a related hapu. 275

Leading women in the victorious tribe were entitled to additional claims to the spoils of war. Heads of defeated chiefs, elaborately ornamented with feathers, were ceremoniously placed before the leading woman or women of the tribe as a sign of respect. 276 If the woman had originally incited her tribe to avenge an insult to, or a death of, one of her near relations she might claim the prerogative of killing a captured chief of the conquered tribe by some method such as slitting a vein and drinking his blood until he died. 277

Tattooing was not exclusively a prerogative of the high-born individual, although the wealth required for payment operated as a restriction on the universality of the custom. 278 Women at puberty had their lips and chins - 477 tattooed with blue dye, red lips being viewed with reproach as a sign of disfigurement; 279 if this facial tattooing faded it would be repeated to preserve the colouring. 280 Bodily tattooing among women was less common, although descriptions of tattooing on breast, 281 back, 282 hips and legs 283 are to be found; most of these instances appear to refer to women of rank. A particular sign of rank was the ornamentation on the back of the legs from heel to calf, 284 or the execution of a fan-shaped pattern on the lower abdominal region. 285 Special implements were employed in tattooing this region, and these were kept separately in a limestone vessel with a deeply carved sex symbol to designate its purpose. 286

When the chief's eldest daughter was tattooed, a human being would be sacrificed and eaten. The victim might sometimes be a slave, although more frequently a party would be sent out to capture a member of another tribe for this purpose. This slaying might precipitate warfare in later years with the voicing of the taunt, “You supplied the victim at our ancestress' tattooing.” 287 In a family of girls the younger sisters were often tattooed before the eldest, “to prepare the way” for her. 288 A further ceremonial function, also involving similar sacrifice, was the ear-piercing of a daughter, performed when she was approximately four years old. This would be carried out by a near relative, or a tribal expert, with an albatross-bone instrument, or one fashioned from the bone of a slain enemy. 289


Special ritual functions of women were closely related to the non-tapu element of the female sex. Women were employed to remove tapu associated with house-building and with canoe construction, with the whare waananga (school of learning), with warfare and with sickness. Women who were able to perform these functions were usually, although not necessarily, of high rank, and were either childless or past the age of childbearing; the fear was that karakia recited in tapu lifting might seriously endanger the life of an unborn child. 290 The presence of women, or more precisely of the female organs, was deemed destructive to sacredness, as was the presence of cooked food. 291 For this reason there were no women priests; 292 women were, however, not infrequently seers, or mediums for lesser gods, 293 and were sometimes of consider- - 478 able influence in such a role in directing operations in warfare. 294 During the majority of tapu lifting rituals women ceremonially ate food cooked in a specially consecrated oven. Women so employed were known as ruahine, 295 or, among Bay of Plenty tribes kaihau or kairangi. 296

Concomitant with the special roles of women were various instances of exclusion attributable to the destructive elements associated with the female sex. Foremost among these restrictions was the exclusion of women from most schools of learning. A Ngai Tahu account recorded by White stated that only one female, a sacred woman, would be admitted into the whare waananga, and that she functioned to protect, by incantations and ceremonies, the living spirits (mauri) of the pupils. 297 Best maintained, however, that this was a special case and an exception to the general rule that women were excluded from all esoteric knowledge to avoid contaminating the karakia and ceremonial rituals. 298 High-ranking women had greater opportunities to enter the sacred precincts within which knowledge was imparted, and to be present for some of the lesser instruction. Such women could carry food to the door of the building, or to the edge of the outdoor region, and present the food, with recitation of appropriate incantations by carrier and recipient; if the woman who carried the food were from a junior family she would be required to stand some distance away and call to inform those inside that food was ready. 299 At the end of a session of the whare waananga a ruahine would ceremonially lift the tapu from the participants, thus making it possible for them to return home to the common, non-sacred tribal area. 300 White stated that the ruahine would pass cooked fern root under her thigh during this ceremony; 301 Best, however, regarded this as being a peculiar, localised custom. 302

Women were rigidly excluded from any house under construction. 303 A curious European woman approaching a partially completed house in the early nineteen-hundreds was forcibly prevented by a Maori carver from crossing the threshold, and overbalanced, to the confusion of all parties. 304 At the completion of construction it was necessary to have a woman officiate to remove tapu so that all members of the tribe might subsequently enter. This ceremony of takahi-paepae (crossing the threshold) was performed on the morning following priestly rituals; a woman of rank would enter through the window carrying specially cooked kumara, eat, and depart through the doorway. 305 Donne described this ritual as being performed by three women, all necessarily elderly and in perfect - 479 health. 306 Similar restrictions against the presence of women applied to the construction of a canoe; when the canoe was completed, tapu was ceremonially lifted by a woman. 307 A young, unmarried woman, known as a wahine rahiri, would be employed to remove the tapu from a newly constructed pa. 308

To prevent the soul of a deceased chief from becoming unclean (poka) or evil, it was necessary for a chiefly woman to consume the sacred food prepared as an offering to propitiate the guardian spirits. 309 Warriors returning from battle were tapu and could not return to their homes or families until a priest had roasted kumara or taewa (potato) with appropriate incantations, and had given this to a ruahine to eat. 310 Best stated that the “woman employed as ruwahine/ruahine/ is tapu for the time being,” but gave no indication as to how she was freed from this tapu. A ruahine similarly removed tapu after rituals had been carried out to determine the cause, and cures, of illnesses which had struck people of importance. 311

A man's loss of courage before warfare was attributed to a violation of tapu, and this was cured by letting a woman step over his prostrate body. 312 Women were also prevailed upon to counteract the evil presence of a lizard; if a woman were to step over this no harm would befall the tribe. 313 Greenstone could not be worked until a woman had ceremonially lifted the tapu associated with it in its unworked state. 314

On the reappearance of certain constellations, particularly the Pleiades, which marked the beginning of the Maori year, 315 and Canopus, which signalled the coming of frosts, 316 women would greet them with songs and dances. 317 Best also made reference to women similarly greeting the new moon, and lamenting for those who had died during the last month; the custom is not documented elsewhere. 318

A custom possibly confined to the South Island was the use of a woman's pubic hair to quell a storm which arose when a canoe was at sea; this was said to be an offering to the sky-father, Rangi. 319 In other regions a hair from a man's head would similarly be cast into the water to appease Rangi. 320

There are a number of particular instances in which women were excluded from or forbidden to take certain actions. No women might eat the flesh of the moa; 321 nor was she permitted to eat the tuatara for if she did she would be surrounded by large numbers of these lizards and - 480 attacked by them. 322 She could eat no food when in the presence of a chief wearing a plume of kotuku feathers; if she disobeyed, her hair would fall out. 323 Nor could she wear such plumes herself. 324 If the catch made by the males of the tribe included snapper (tamure) or a variety of fishes, both men and women could eat the catch, but if only kahawai were obtained women could not eat it. 325

Human flesh was prohibited to women in the Taupo district, 326 and possibly in most other tribes. 327 According to White there was an important distinction made between the flesh of enemies killed during battle and that of slaves killed at other times. Women could definitely eat the latter; 328 in some areas it was thought that if they ate the former, some disaster would befall the tribe. 329 However, Morgan gives a detailed description of women preparing, cooking and eating bodies after warfare. He also indicates that warriors might carry back uneaten portions of victims killed in battles some distance away, so that wives and children could also partake. 330 A chief's daughter might consume a small portion of victims slain during a battle to remove tapu from returning warriors. 331

No women were permitted to be present at the ceremonial consecration of warriors immediately before battles, and sexual intercourse was proscribed at that time. 332 Women were also expected to veil their faces, regardless of rank, when approaching sacred places. 333 The consequences of failing to observe this precaution were described in the Ngati Porou account of the famous ancestor Kiwa and his daughter who were journeying to a sacred island to remove tapu by lighting a sacred fire. The daughter did not take the necessary precautions at the island, and was turned to stone. 334


Disputes leading to bloodshed and tribal warfare were extremely common in Maori society, and a number of these centred upon women, particularly those who had married into another tribe. Legends, songs and tribal accounts all testify to the large numbers of people who could be killed as a result of an insult to, or a misdemeanour by, a woman. 335 Proverbially it is said that He wahine, he whenua, e ngaro ai te tangata (by women and land men are lost. 336 Women's causative influence upon wars ranged through repercussions of “an immodest glance,” 337 adultery, curses against relations by members of another hapu, and direct incitement - 481 to avenge the death of a husband or brother. The first of these could usually be settled without involving more than the loss of material property in a retaliatory raid. 338 On occasion such violation would constitute sufficient reason to revive old arguments, from which a full-scale war could develop though, in general, fighting was a more frequent consequence of a girl's secretly marrying a man of another tribe. 339

Adultery, however, was a much more serious offence than infringement of marriage patterns, and detection usually brought death to one or more of the participants. 340 The location in which the couple were detected appears in some regions to have influenced the choice as to who was killed; Nicholas stated that if detected in the woman's dwelling the man was regarded as the seducer and punished accordingly; if in the man's the woman was promptly killed. 341 The extent to which others were involved depended upon whether or not all the participants were closely related. Death as a penalty for this offence was accepted universally and for this reason such deaths were not customarily avenged. In several instances, the injured husband or wife sent for support from his own people and attacked the tribe of the offender, killing the inhabitants of the village and eating the offender. 342 After having killed his guilty wife and her two lovers, Uenuku gave his young son her cooked heart to eat. 343

Under specific circumstances a different penalty might be inflicted. High-ranking men captured in a previous battle and classed as slaves would be made importent if found with the chief's wife, according to Makereti, who gave a vivid description of the manner in which this was accomplished. 344 An earlier instance indicated that a chief forgave his wife for misbehaving with a slave set to guard her during his absence, because it had been she who had instigated the offence; if it had been the reverse, the slave would have been killed as food for them both. 345 Omens were sometimes used to detect or establish unfaithfulness during a husband's absence. Were a fisherman to hook a fish in the abdomen or tail, 346 or his wife to open the oven for his return and the food to be only half cooked, 347 this constituted sufficient proof that the woman had been unfaithful and the husband would seek retaliation against the offender and his relatives.

Comments upon the causes of Maori warfare, despite Johnstone's contention that the language had no means of transmitting insults, 348 clearly distinguished between warfare resulting from disputes over women, and that resulting from insults directed to another tribe or individual, male - 482 or female. 349 Gudgeon postulated that the kanga (curse or insult) was probably responsible for a greater reduction in population than were arguments over either women or land. 350 He also suggested that “the chief element of discord was the mana of their leading chiefs,” which was more susceptible to insult. 351 While this distinction is undoubtedly necessary, it underemphasises the role which women played in informing others of curses laid upon them, and in inciting warfare. Women who were insulted away from home, or heard curses directed at near relations, would send messengers to tribesmen, who immediately would make plans for avenging the insults. 352 Quarrels within a hapu were less frequent and less disastrous.

Insults or defeats which could not immediately be avenged satisfactorily were remembered, and a grieving wife whose husband had been killed and who had herself been captured would dedicate a male child, frequently one yet unborn, to accomplish the task. 353 In the lullaby composed for the infant he would be ritually dedicated to a warrior's life, and defiant curses referring to the future victim, or victims would be included. The infant was frequently named after an incident or location of the battle, as a constant reminder of the need for revenge. 354 A husband or father dying under treacherous circumstances would be reassured that his death would be suitably avenged. 355 Te Ataakura, mourning the loss of her father slain at sea by members of his own tribe, spoke the following words to her unborn son:

E i, kia takatahi koe i roto i a au, he tane,
E ea i a koe te mate o toku papa.
(O child whose movements I feel within me,
It will be your responsibility to avenge your father's death.)

The young man later deliberately involved his tribe in war, with the result that the slayers were suitably punished. 356 In other instances a woman might refuse to marry until the death of a member of the family was avenged. 357

Maori women were not normally expected to fight, 358 and did so only in emergencies. 359 Two common proverbs give clear evidence of this expectation. The first, Ruia taitea, kia tuu ko taikaka anake (shake off the sapwood and let only the heartwood stand) indicates that women, children and slaves were to be left at home while the responsibilities of wars belonged to the men. 360 A clear occupational division between men and women is given in the following saying: He puta taua ki te tane, he - 483 whanau tama ki te wahine (the battlefield for men, childbirth for women). 361 These principles were implemented in several ways.

When advance warning of an enemy's arrival was given, women and children would be sent to the inner portion of the pa, usually the highest point within the protected area, or to the bush at the rear of the pa. 362 Banks, in describing a group settling down for the night on what was probably a fishing expedition at Mercury Bay in 1769, told of women and children being similarly assigned the inner circle while men lay with weapons close at hand in case of assault. 363 If a long siege were expected, the pa would need to be adequately supplied with food, firewood, and water-filled gourds. Carrying such provisions was contrary to the tapu of warriors, and was consequently performed by women and slaves, 364 while the men attended to any necessary stockade repairs, cleared the ditches, and collected weapons. 365 In emergencies, consideration of tapu might be overlooked if there were not enough women, and men would also carry cooked food into the central defence area. 366

When war parties went off to raid or attack, women were invariably left behind if blood vengeance were the real objective, for they were not sufficiently tapu to cook food on such an expedition. 367 Women apparently accompanied some ordinary raiding parties; 368 this practice probably increased in frequency after great numbers of men were destroyed in the nineteenth century. 369 In particular, the women could incite the warriors to fight harder, 370 and in some instances they gave advice on strategy. 371 Turi-ka-tuku, blind wife of Hongi Hika, accompanied him on all his expeditions. 372 Reliance upon a woman's recommendation was, however, not universal. Te Akau, chief wife of the infamous Te Rauparaha, tried to discourage a visiting chief from joining in a battle, as he was armed only with a spear and the enemy had guns. Raparapa replied, “Who am I to be instructed by a woman!” 373 Where men were absent from a pa and an attack was launched, women themselves fought and often won. 374

Women related consanguineally or affinally to both groups involved in war were free to move between them, particularly to pass in and out of a pa under siege. 375 This freedom of movement was manipulated advantageously on several occasions. One party, learning that the besieged pa was without water, sent heavily salted food to lower the resistance of the - 484 inhabitants, and won the war by this manoeuvre. 376 Freedom of movement also enabled women to act as envoys to convey secret instructions to an ally within an enemy group or to warn that fighting might shortly occur. 377 Te Ao-kapu-rangi, whose people were being attacked by the Nga Puhi into which she had married, persuaded her husband's leader to save her friends. His guarantee of safety extended to all those who could pass between her legs; taking advantage of a period of panic she stood straddled above the doorway of a large house and called her tribe to enter and be saved. 378

For ceremonial performances of the haka, or war dances, women joined equally with men, and, other than in clothing, no discrimination was evident. 379 The account given by Nicholas of women participating in a sham fight shows this further; he observed that women did not generally participate in true warfare, and that “the passion for warlike prowess was only to be found among certain ladies of a more intrepid character than the rest,” referring to the lack of participation by the majority of the female population. 380 In some haka the leading position of pukana would be taken by a woman who would move to the front of the column of dancers, loudly challenging the men, and support her words with gestures. If the challenge was not accepted she would taunt them with lack of courage and strength until they responded appropriately. 381Postural dances, also known as pukana, were used to incite watchers to begin or strengthen the battle 382 On rare occasions they could serve a different purpose; young women from the besieged Waimate pa who gathered on the parapets of the pa and began postural and action songs became so seductive in movements that the watching Waikato-Maniapoto warriors were too enamoured to continue fighting. 383 In the performance of a haka at a gathering where peace reconciliations were formally to be reached, women might not join immediately, letting their participation signal a reduction in the force and violence of the dance. 384 There is no evidence of warriors receiving specific training, other than attainment of proficiency in war dances, which required agility, co-ordination and exact timing. Elders of the tribe, both male and female, would watch the performances critically; 385if the demonstration was inadequate they would demand practice until perfection was attained. 386

The possibility that peacemaking by negotiation might be ineffective was recognised; the term for an arranged peace, rongo whatiwhati, means peace which may be shattered. 387 A male peace, rongo a marae (peace - 485 concluded by mediation of man), 388 was not regarded as being firm or lasting, but as possessing the potentiality for deceit and trouble. 389 In contrast to this a female peace, rongo a whare 390 or tatau pounamu, 391 was reliable and relatively permanent. Te Heuheu said to his Ngati Kahungunu enemies when peace had been completed, “Now we will make peace for ever, for our daughter made peace, and a woman's peace is a lasting peace.” 392 Examples of women being given to initiate or cement peaceful alliances are numerous and widespread throughout the country. 393 Disagreements ending in separation or pledges against attacks could also be resolved or reinforced by intermarriage. 394 After a series of victories against Waikato, culminating in defeat of Matakitaki pa, Nga Puhi spared some of the higher-born women, and returned two imprisoned chiefs, to leave Waikato with an opportunity to make peace. The overture was readily accepted. 395 When Pomare, prominent Nga Puhi chief, expressed a desire to renew hostilities with Waikato his suggestion was received with a horrified reaction because he would be violating a peace made by intermarriage. 396

Gifts such as greenstone weapons would often be exchanged or presented together with women as additional signs of good intentions at a ceremonial day of peace-binding. 397 In addition, a male mountain in the territory of one tribe would sometimes be married to a female one in that of the other tribe, as was done between Tuhoe and Waikaremoana tribes. 398

Polack stated that marriages were also instituted to accommodate hostilities, 399 although this does not appear to have been frequent. His observation appears to have been based on one northern example, where marriage feasting had taken place and, at a pre-arranged signal, the visitors massacred the woman's people. Best recorded an instance where a vindictive chief married his sister to an enemy, waiting until the feast in honour of the firstborn child to slaughter the unsuspecting guest, whose last words indicated his disgust at the treacherous act. 400

The presence of women and intermarriage as an integral part of peace arrangements clearly had a stabilising influence, the ramifications of which could continue indefinitely. Children of these marriages were closely related to both parties and acted to defer further hostilities, thus making peaceful and continued contact easier. Affinal links were less important than were consanguineal, however, and could not entirely negate the existence of disagreements and hostilities. Proverbially it was - 486 stated that material connections could be destroyed, but human bonds could not; 401 Best commented that such a principle, while undoubtedly based on fact, applied only with limitations. 402

When a pa was captured it was usual practice to kill almost all the inhabitants, whether men, women, or children. 403 Cook, Roux and Banks all thought that everyone was massacred, and no prisoners taken. 404 This is supported by the practice of sometimes, or often, as Polack maintained, invading a village when it was known that all the warriors were absent either for other military activities or for food-gathering, and slaughtering all who remained there. 405 Gudgeon, however, declared one of the “great aims” of Maori warfare to be the capture of women and young children under such circumstances, to procure slaves; he stated that numerous instances could be given. 406 The captives taken were usually women and children, who were then made secondary wives and slaves. 407 When the Nga Puhi captured many women in their raids in the Wairarapa district they made them scrape flax and twist it with their long hair into ropes by which they were made to walk ahead of the person leading them. 408 Vayda suggested that this method may have facilitated loading the backs with plunder, uneaten human flesh and heads of major chiefs killed during previous frays. 409 Some woman escaped by cutting the ropes with sharp shells. 410 Other woman were held by flax ropes tied around their wrists as handcuffs. 411


Sex permeated all aspects of Maori life, although it was most clearly expressed in symbolic mythology, in which many natural objects were personified and given the attribute of sex. Culturally, the role of women was made clear in the account of their creation. The first woman was formed out of a mound of earth and impregnated by her male creator with a life spirit. From this, woman was regarded as being a passive receptacle for the dominant male spirit. Later mythology developed also an emphasis upon woman as non-sacred and destructive, and many of women's activities, both prescribed and proscribed, emerged from this belief.

To contract a satisfactory marriage a young woman was expected to be both physically attractive and economically skilled in all household tasks. Training for each of these complexes of traits began early with physical massage of infants, encouragement in dancing, and guidance in imitating female relatives in their economic activities. Marriage could take place between all relationships beyond the level of second cousins; - 487 usually some degree of genealogical relatedness was preferred. A young girl could initiate a premarital liaison, which might later become accepted as a marriage; more frequently, however, the choice of husband would be made for her by her male relations. Although ceremonial rituals were apparently performed over high-ranking couples, marriage itself depended upon recognition of sexual intercourse, the satisfactory conclusion of discussion, and the resolution of any conflicts between various parties. Chiefs were usually polygamous, the reasons advanced for this practice most commonly being an enhancement of prestige and of economic wealth, and a desire for many children.

Labour within the household was divided in accordance with the physical strength required for various tasks, and depended also upon women's destructive influence. Where sacredness might be destroyed by the presence of women, such activities were proscribed ; where the sacredness of men would be lessened by undertaking certain tasks, these were left to women.

Childbirth was accepted as one of the most important of a woman's functions and children were greatly desired, males to become warriors, females to contract political alliances. Magico-religious rites might be performed by barren women to induce conception. Low-ranking women bore their children with a minimum of ritual; high-ranking women had buildings especially constructed for the birth of their children, attendants, and the assistance of a priest to recite spells and genealogies. Since all aspects of birth were sacred, both mother and child would be ritually purified shortly after birth. Male infants underwent ceremonial baptism and dedication to military or agricultural pursuits; female infants seldom received such treatment but were dedicated in lullabies to preparing food, providing clothing, and entertaining visitors.

Education of young children was the responsibility of all members of the community, particularly the women. As the child grew older he would, if a boy, be instructed by close male relatives; if a girl, by females. By initiation and by direct instruction, a girl would be trained in all domestic activities, informed of the restrictions imposed upon her during menstruation, given specific training in weaving and taught the values and legends of her culture. Sexually she was free to behave as she wished until she was married; such freedom stopped abruptly after marriage.

The extent to which women owned property is difficult to ascertain, particularly in regard to land, about which no definite conclusions can be drawn. Personal ornaments and household possessions were individually owned and transmitted; more valued ornaments were tribally owned and held in trust by the chief and his family.

High-born women occupied a prominent position in Maori society. Although not eligible for leadership, they received privileged treatment and were honoured as symbols of the entire tribe. This applied particularly to the puhi, or institutionalised tribal virgin, who was expected to act as tribal hostess, and to contract a political marriage when this was expedient for the welfare of the tribe. Hospitality was a virtue expected from all women ; they welcomed, accommodated, and entertained all guests. High-born women were entitled to own more valuable property, - 488 to wear tribal ornaments, and to claim the spoils of war. Greater ceremony accompanied all their rites de passage. Ritual functions of high-born women were many. In general, all women, because of their non-sacredness, were forbidden to have contact with any tapu article or ritual. The services of a high-born woman were, however, essential to free male participants from severe tapu so that they could return to normal occupations.

Women proverbially were responsible, by misdemeanour or deliberate incitation, for the greater number of Maori wars. Adultery, the penalty for which usually involved the death of one or both parties, was the most frequent provocation for warfare. Except in emergencies, women did not fight and were protected as far as practical. They were accorded greater freedom of movement between groups, particularly if related to both, and this freedom was frequently used to initiate peace negotiations. Fighting was customarily concluded by chiefly women of the defeated tribe being given to the victors. When a tribe was totally defeated and most of its warriors killed, women were captured as secondary wives for the victors.


Research for this article was done while the author was studying at the University of Hawaii. The author would like to express her gratitude to Dr. Katharine Luomala for her patience and guidance during this work.

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1   Biggs 1960.
2   Vayda 1960.
3   Best 1898:237; Best 1925:1129; Tikao 1921:17.
4   Cowan 1910:207; Best 1905:209; Dittmer 1907:86.
5   Best 1899:117; Best 1903:201.
6   Smith 1910:16; Cowan 1910:155; Firth 1959:433.
7   Best 1925:898.
8   Nicholas 1817:I,316; Polack 1838:II,32; Best 1923b:323; Archey 1936:58; Rowe 1928:28:40.
9   Donne 1927:160.
10   Donne 1927:58.
11   Best 1923a:60; Smith 1922:47; Best 1924b:72; Best 1925:767.
12   White 1887-90:I,58; Best 1923a:58,110; Best 1924a:I,176.
13   White 1887-90:I,131-134, 158-159; Best 1923a:110; Smith 1922:47.
14   Wohlers 1874:34; Gudgeon 1905b:123-126; Beattie: 1919:43; Best 1923a:111.
15   Smith 1923:3; Best 1923a:111.
16   Best 1922a:14; Best 1926a:7; Wohlers 1874:35.
17   Grey 1953:22-23.
18   Best 1904d:214-215; Goldie 1904:6; Best 1922b:18; Best 1925:764.
19   Best 1901a:18; Best 1922b:18.
20   Best 1898:123; Best 1902:243; Best 1925:1014.
21   Best 1924a:I,227, citing Nihoniho.
22   Turei 1912:158-159; White 1887-90:III,66,69.
23   Mair 1898:42.
24   Best 1898:234; Best 1925:1011.
25   Tregear 1904:112.
26   Best 1902:50; Best 1924b:175; Best 1925:1006.
27   Best 1901a:12; Best 1924b:170.
28   Best 1898:126: Best 1925:1013.
29   Best 1898:122.
30   Buller 1878:215. Also Kohere 1951:13-14; Colenso 1868:18.
31   Makereti 1938:134.
32   Buller 1878:216; Colenso 1868:18.
33   Best 1929a:27; White 1885:130-131; Colenso 1880c:70; Kohere 1951:14.
34   White 1885:130-131; Firth 1926:141.
35   Kohere 1951:18.
36   Colenso 1879:118; Smith 1893:429.
37   Hongi nd.
38   Shortland 1856:171.
39   Shortland 1856:159-160; Firth 1926:23.
40   Colenso 1879:116.
41   E.g. Grey 1953:160.
42   Best 1924a:1,47.
43   Tarakawa 1893:244.
44   Graham 1921:165; Makereti 1938:86.
45   Firth 1926:244.
46   Nicholas 1817:I,239; Colenso 1868:17; Ngata 1961:186; Johnstone 1874:170.
47   White 1887-90:1.121,127; Grey 1953:195.
48   Buller 1878:218.
49   Henderson 1948:25.
50   Grey 1953:161.
51   Graham 1941b:127-129.
52   Buller 1878:217; Colenso 1868:18.
53   Stack 1877:79; Stack 1898:59.
54   Tikao 1939:152.
55   White 1885:119; Donne 1927:36.
56   Best 1904a:45; Best 1924a:I, 469.
57   Best 1904a:45.
58   Biggs 1960:41.
59   Elder 1934:69; Earle 1832:244-245.
60   Grey 1953:112-113.
61   Nicholas 1817:I,293.
62   Polack 1838:I,376; Buller 1878:209; Wright 1950:107; Hochstetter 1867:212; Gudgeon 1885:44; Elder 1932:97.
63   Donne 1927:217.
64   Angas 1847:iii.
65   Gudgeon 1885:44.
66   Buller 1878:209.
67   Buck 1949:370.
68   Best 1904:29; Best 1924a:I, 448-449; Donne 1927:217.
69   Nicholas 1817:II,294; Buller 1878:209; McNab 1908:540; Ngata 1961:126, 212.
70   Cruise 1957:189; McNab 1908:697.
71   Colenso 1897:117; Grey 1857:40.
72   Shortland 1856:141.
73   Ngata 1961:212,126.
74   Kelly 1949:316.
75   Nicholas 1817:II,301.
76   Nicholas 1817:I,293.
77   McNab 1908:382; Elder 1932:113, 209.
78   Firth 1959:13.
79   Colenso 1879:117.
80   Buck 1949:369; Kelly 1949:69.
81   Kelly 1949:186; Colenso 1868:27.
82   Jones 1960:134.
83   Savage 1807:51; Gudgeon 1894:50; Buck 1949:370.
84   Graham 1941a:119; Gudgeon 1895:177; Campbell 1881:204; Ngata 1961:214; Wilson 1907:234; Elder 1932:478; Shortland 1856:142.
85   Dr. S. M. Mead (personal communication) has drawn the writer's attention to the story of Te Whetuu-matarau in Selected Readings in Maori (Biggs et al 1967: 87-101) where Taatioriri, the Ngapuhi chief was given the wife of a Ngaati Porou chief.
86   E.g., Nicholas 1817:II, 94-97.
87   Maning 1876:110.
88   Makereti 1938:79; Johnstone 1874:123.
89   Savage 1939:23.
90   Baucke 1928:93; Buller 1878:228-229; Cowan 1910-146; Wilson 1907:51; Best 1924a:I,400.
91   Best 1924a:1,400.
92   Tregear 1904:86.
93   Colenso 1868:8; Best 1924a:I,400.
94   Downes 1928:9; Banks 1896:250; Best 1924a: 1,400.
95   Buller 1878:228-229; Savage 1939:65; White 1887-90: 1,30; Colenso 1868:8-9; Banks 1896:250; Kelly 1949:123.
96   Donne 1927:102-103.
97   Best 1924a:I,400.
98   Savage 1939:65.
99   Earle 1832:74; Elder 1932:180; Donne 1927:102-103; Banks 1896:250.
100   Firth 1959:209; Colenso 1880a:25-26.
101   Buller 1878:230-231.
102   Stack 1898:192; Shortland 1851:58-59.
103   Polack 1838:I,146-158; Wilson 1907:5; Nicholas 1817:II,45.
104   Best 1924a:I,400; Graham 1921:166; Earle 1832:110.
105   Graham 1943:149; Chapman 1891:499; Colenso 1868:8-9.
106   Colenso 1868:11-12.
107   Cowan 1910:190-191.
108   Buller 1878:228-229; Baucke 1928:101; Best 1918:58; Shortland 1856:105; Nicholas 1817:II,35; Firth 1926:143.
109   Skinner 1912:143-144; Johnstone 1874:108; Savage 1807:74.
110   Maning 1876:101.
111   Elder 1934:67; Colenso 1868:9; Graham 1920:37; Buller 1878:228-229.
112   Best 1898:393; Best 1924a:518.
113   Colenso 1868:11; Angas 1847:1,382; Polack 1838:1,389.
114   Tregear 1904:168.
115   Much of the material used in this section is also cited by Biggs (1960) and is discussed in greater detail by him.
116   E.g., Tregear 1904:284; Cowan 1910:147; Cruise 1957:184; Earle 1832:245.
117   The institution of the puhi will be discussed later.
118   Cruise 1957:143; See also Cruise 1947:61,103,187; Wright 1950:84; Earle 1832:49; Donne 1927:223; Elder. 1934:82.
119   Donne 1927:214,223; Walsh 1907:60; Wright 1950:76,84; Baucke 1928:79; Henderson 1948:9; Cruise 1957:103.
120   Campbell 1881:67-68.
121   Elder 1934:49.
122   Cruise 1957:152.
123   Walsh 1907:159-160; McNab 1908:541,554; Thomson 1859:I,284-5; Wright 1950:121,160; Vayda 1960:106.
124   Cruise 1957:120.
125   Smith 1910:417-18.
126   McNab 1908:539.
127   Cruise 1957:187.
128   Angas 1847:I,314.
129   Shortland 1856:142.
130   Biggs 1960:19
131   Smith 1910:101.
132   Beaglehole 1955:280.
133   Grey 1953:197-98.
134   Biggs 1960:66-67.
135   Nicholas 1817:II,171; Tregear 1904:41.
136   Shortland 1856:143; Buller 1878:215; Best 1929a:8; Best 1924b:225; Best 1924a,II:6.
137   Best 1906:16.
138   Buller 1878:215; Best 1929a:12; Best 1924aII:7.
139   Buck 1949:350.
140   Grey 1953:20-21, 24-28; White 1887-90:II,121-143; Best 1925:183-84; 1924a: I,131,134,136.
141   Best 1924b:225; Stack 1877:65-66.
142   Grey 1953:106-109.
143   Biggs 1960:69. From Grey 1953:108.
144   White 1885:119-26; Buller 1878:215; Yate 1835:82-84; Elder 1932:578; Dieffenbach 184:II, 27-30; Best 1924b; 225.
145   Elder 1934:477-78.
146   Shortland 1856:144.
147   Best 1929a:49.
148   Detailed discussion of the inadequacies of this account can be found in Biggs 1960:66-67 and Williams 1937:105-109.
149   Best 1929b:248, 251.
150   Best 1929a:43; Best 1924a:I,407.
151   Biggs 1960:70.
152   Ball 1940:269; Best 1925:783; Shortland 1856:144.
153   Best 1906:7; Best 1929a:6-8; Best 1924a:II,4.
154   Donne 1927:82; Best 1924b:161; Best 1924aII, 4.
155   Smith 1905:135; Downes 1936:6,7.
156   Donne 1927:82; Best 1906:7; Best 1924b:220; 1924a;I,297.
157   Beattie 1916:12; Makereti 1938:81-82, 133.
158   E.g., Buck 1949:369; Beattie 1916:12.
159   Cruise 1957:185; Smith 1910:258.
160   Kelly 1949:260.
161   Kelly 1949:186.
162   Kelly 1949:240.
163   Tregear 1904:39; Colenso 1868:17.
164   Earle 1832:243; McNab 1908:496.
165   Donne 1927:47; Buller 1878:210; Polack 1838:I,381-2; Angas 1847:11.
166   Elder 1932:371.
167   McNab 1908:696; Cruise 1957:188.
168   Earle 1832:242-43.
169   Dieffenbach 1843: II, 24-26; Cruise 1957:188.
170   Polack 1838:I,381-382; Best 1924a:I,257.
171   Tuwhawhakia 1896:167.
172   E.g., Gudgeon 1907:36; Cruise 1957:188; Earle 1832:257; Makereti 1938:81.
173   Polack 1838:II,256.
174   Dieffenbach 1843:II,26; Earle 1832:257; Tregear 1904:31.
175   Cruise 1957:188.
176   Best 1929a:37.
177   Shortland 1856:157; Best 1924a:1,409.
178   Nicholas 1817:II,64.
179   Baucke 1928:88-89.
180   Shortland 1856:157; Makereti 1938:141; Ball 1940:269.
181   Makereti 1938:142.
182   Buck 1949:359.
183   Best 1922a:210.
184   Best 1922a:21; Best 1925:784; Best 1899:101; Best 1924a:II,4.
185   Makereti 1938:138ff; Best 1924a:1,406.
186   Tregear 1904:225; Best 1924a:11,511.
187   Best 1924a:II,80,105.
188   Buck 1949:358.
189   Kohere 1951:43.
190   Savage 1807:56; Donne 1927:26.
191   Buller 1878:237.
192   Smith 1893:431; Best 1924a:II,508.
193   Best 1924a:II,535.
194   Donne 1927:28-29.
195   Colenso 1868:16; Johnstone 1874:79; Tregear 1904:243.
196   Colenso 1868:35; Polack 1838:I,397.
197   Johnstone 1874:79-80; Best 1924a:II,59.
198   Donne 1927:31.
199   Polack 1838:I,395.
200   Colenso 1868:35; Best 1924a:II, 543.
201   Hongi 1918:162.
202   As discussed earlier.
203   Best 1924a:II,136.
204   Best 1924a:I,296.
205   Angas 1847:v; Chapman 1891:521.
206   Firth 1959:355.
207   Cowan 1910:59; Firth 1959:355-56.
208   Tregear 1904:247.
209   Firth 1959:357.
210   Firth 1959:381.
211   Best 1924a:II,494.
212   Best 1924a:I,477; Best 1924a:II,361.
213   Tregear 1904:129.
214   Tregear 1904:129; Donne 1927:101.
215   White 1885:189.
216   Smith 1942:70-71.
217   Shortland 1851:97; Smith 1942:60.
218   White 1885:185.
219   Hongi 1909:85; Best 1924a:I,346; Buck 1949:344.
220   Hongi 1909; 85-86.
221   Whatahoro 1909:91.
222   Best 1922a:17; Best 1924b:91.
223   Best 1924a:I,348-349.
224   Tregear 1904:152.
225   Tu-nui-a-rangi 1905:101; Gudgeon 1885:53; Fletcher 1917:93; Ngata 1961:110, 298; Jones 1945; Jones 1960:34.
226   Buller 1878:239; Shortland 1856:103.
227   Buck 1949:345.
228   Biggs 1960:36.
229   Graham 1923:38;Best 1924a:II,451.
230   Biggs 1960:36.
231   Best 1927a:251ff; Grey 1953:166; Ngata 1961:18; Best 1924a:I,407; Henderson 1948:93.
232   Polack 1838:I,370; Grey 1953:160; Cowan 1921:98; Best 1927:251.
233   Makereti 1938:100.
234   Makereti 1938:91.
235   White 1887-90:II,158 (Maori).
236   Polack 1838:II,4.
237   Grey 1953:109-112; White 1887-90:IV, 114-130. (Maori).
238   Jones 1945:14; Grey 1953:165-166.
239   Ngata 1961:110-112; also Ngata 1961:18, 182.
240   Cowan 1921-98.
241   Smith 1904:41.
242   Beattie 1919:196; Cowan 1921:149.
243   Donne 1927:219.
244   Graham 1919:107; Best 1929a:34.
245   Best 1904a:43; Donne 1927:189; Makereti 1938:65.
246   Makereti 1938:65.
247   Makereti 1938:66; Buck 1949:368.
248   Donne 1927:34.
249   Polack 1838:I,87; McNab 1908; 375; Downes 1929:162; Makereti 1938:89.
250   Downes 1929:162; Best 1924a:I,374.
251   Maning 1876:38; Nicholas 1817:I,269; Johnstone 1874:166; Hochstetter 1867:356.
252   Elder 1934:86; Nicholas 1817:I,127; Earle 1832:68-69; Downes 1929:152.
253   Downes 1929:151; Jones 1960:138.
254   Best 1924a:I,469; Donne 1927:214; Downes 1929:158.
255   Donne 1927:214.
256   Locke 1882:451; White 1887-90:III,56-60; Pango-te-whare-auahi 1905:66ff.
257   Best 1927a:252.
258   Johnstone 1874:126.
259   Kelly 1949:260.
260   Angas 1847:iv; Nicholas 1817:I,399; Elder 1932:84, 215; Polack 1838:I,85; Buller 1878:219; Dieffenbach 1843:I,102; Earle 1832:248; Cruise 1957:43,94; Smith 1910:455.
261   Campbell 1881:174; Maning 1876:48-49.
262   Buller 1878:219.
263   Nicholas 1817:I,118.
264   Donne 1927:51.
265   Polack 1838:I,367; Cruise 1957:189-90; Donne 1927:51; Smith 1910:454; Maning 1876:135,171; Elder 1934:76-77.
266   Polack 1838:I,73; Donne 1927:52.
267   Best 1924b:150.
268   Colenso 1880b:47; Smith 1906:77.
269   Smith 1906:77.
270   Best 1924a:I,348.
271   Smith 1906:77.
272   For details of the nature of different types of mats refer Buck 1926.
273   White 1887-90:II,158 (Maori).
274   Elder 1932:153.
275   Fletcher 1916:159; Smith 1910:216-217.
276   Earle 1832:197; Polack 1838:II, 304.
277   McEwen 1946:24; Locke 1882:440; Earle 1832:198; Taylor 1870:191.
278   Polack 1838:I,386; Wright 1950:29; Shortland 1851:16.
279   Donne 1927:151; Elder 1934:137; White 1885:130; Buller 1878:171; Angas 1847:v; Beaglehole 1955:279; Banks 1896:231.
280   Best 1904a:172.
281   Cruise 1957:183; Donne 1927:141; Best 1924a:II, 550.
282   Tregear 1904:264.
283   Cowan 1910:154; Cruise 1957:183.
284   Tregear 1904:265; Robley 1896:44.
285   Donne 1927:29, 141.
286   Donne 1927:144.
287   Best 1897a:38; Best 1902:16; Best 1924b:145; Best 1925:1063.
288   Best 1904c:169.
289   Polack 1838:I,394; Best 1924b:1954; Best 1925:1063; Best 1929a:43.
290   Best 1903:151; Best 1897:49; Best 1924a:I,261.
291   Best 1929a:29.
292   Best 1924b:63.
293   Best 1924b:178; Shortland 1856:96; Earle 1832:143; Donne 1927:87; Ngata 1961:214.
294   Best 1902:68; Best 1925:1064-65.
295   Best 1903:151; Best 1897b:49.
296   Best 1924a:I,274; Best 1924b:205.
297   White 1887-90:I,6 (Maori)
298   Best 1923c:15; Best 1925:1107.
299   White 1887-90:I,7 (Maori).
300   Best 1924a:I,261; White 1887-90:I,6 (Maori).
301   White 1887-90:I,162 (Maori).
302   Best 1923c:10.
303   Donne 1927:24; Best 1924a:II,561; Best 1929a:29.
304   Donne 1927:72.
305   Cowan 1910:178; Best 1924b:17; Best 1925:784.
306   Donne 1927:25.
307   Graham 1921:166; Best 1929:29.
308   Best 1924a:II,341.
309   Tregear 1904:423-424.
310   Best 1897b:49; White 1885:180-81; Best 1902:52; Best 1924a:II,298.
311   Best 1897b:41; Best 1904d:229.
312   Best 1897b:48-49; Best 1902:51; 1924a:II,228.
313   Best 1924a:I,107,226; Best 1925:1011.
314   Graham 1943:49.
315   Best 1922d:12.
316   Best 1922c:27.
317   Best 1922c:24,44.
318   Best 1922c:121.
319   Smith 1917:118; White 1887-90:I,107 (Maori).
320   Best 1924b:209.
321   White 1925:172.
322   Best 1923b:332.
323   White 1925:172.
324   Best 1924a:I,406.
325   Tregear 1904:138.
326   Taylor 1870:191; Best 1902:71.
327   Donne 1927:133-34; Buck 1949:102; Morgan 1865:448.
328   Wilson 1907:48.
329   White 1874:234; Smith 1910:414; Shortland 1856:248.
330   Morgan 1865:400-401.
331   Shortland 1851:69; Shortland 1856;248; Donne 1927:133-34.
332   Buller 1878:245-46; White 1885:173.
333   Tregear 1904:138.
334   White 1887-90:II,175-76 (Maori).
335   Gudgeon 1893c:195-196; Best 1902:16.
336   Best 1924a:I,397; Best 1902:13. A similar expression is found in Baucke 1928:27.
337   Johnstone 1874:103.
338   Cowan 1910:158.
339   Gudgeon 1895:28; White 1885:167.
340   Polack 1838:I,237; Elder 1932:20; Elder 1934:69; Earle 1832:82-83; Gudgeon 1892:16.
341   Nicholas 1817;II,76.
342   Gudgeon 1895:27; Gudgeon 1904b:257-58; Te Kaahu 1901:89; Nicholas 1817:II,76.
343   Gudgeon 1894:216; White 1887-90:II,II(Maori).
344   Makereti 1938:90-9.
345   Pango-te-whare-auahi 1905:71-72.
346   Kelly 1949:91; Best 1924a:I,474.
347   Kelly 1949:127.
348   Johnstone 1874:104.
349   Polack 1838:II,49-50; White 1885:167; Best 1902:13.
350   Gudgeon 1907:29.
351   Gudgeon 1905a:64.
352   Grey 1953:71; Gudgeon 1885:48; Gudgeon 1895:21.
353   Best 1902:139; Maro-Pounamu 1893:51-54; Gudgeon 1904b:63; Ngata 1959:52, 112-115, 170; Ngata 1961:66.
354   Gudgeon 1904:183; Wilson 1907:22.
355   Best 1902:158.
356   Turei 1911:26.
357   Pango-te-whare-auahi 1905:73-74.
358   Nicholas 1817:I,122-123; Smith 1910:455; Ball 1940:269; Best 1931-67-68.
359   Best 1927b:118; 122-23; Wilson 1907:219; Earle 1832:211.
360   Colenso 1879:137; Grey 1857:81-82.
361   Nihoniho 1913:51; Firth 1926:263-64; Kohere 1951:26.
362   Earle 1832:177; Baucke 1928:61; Smith 1910:455; White 1887-90:II, 86 (Maori); Cowan 1911:154.
363   Banks 1896:196.
364   Maning 1876:33; Smith 1896:78.
365   Maning 1876:40.
366   McDonnell 1887:593, citing Toenga Pou, tohunga of Popoto.
367   White 1885:179.
368   Taylor 1870:189; Henderson 1948:97; Best 1924a:II, 231,338.
369   Cowan 1910:233; Best 1902:75.
370   Best 1902:75.
371   Henderson 1948:97; Lambert 1925:334.
372   Elder 1934:72; Smith 1910:195; Polack 1838:II,185.
373   Smith 1909:62, Jones 1960:72.
374   Best 1902:75; Downes 1915:58.
375   Best 1901b:145-46; White 1887-90:II,84 (Maori).
376   Hongi 1911:66.
377   Downes 1916:42; Smith 1910:60; Tarakawa 1900:72; Rimini 1892:150; Gudgeon 1894:217.
378   Smith 1910:253, citing Mair; Ngata 1961:304.
379   Nicholas 1817:I,364; Earle 1832:70; Polack 1838:I, 81-2, 143.
380   Nicholas 1817:I,200.
381   Donne 1927:128.
382   Jones 1960:150.
383   Jones 1960:151.
384   Nicholas 1817:II,109-110.
385   Gudgeon 1907:245.
386   Buck 1949:391.
387   Best 1903:198; Best 1924a:II,300.
388   Williams 1957:246.
389   Nihoniho 1913:57.
390   Williams 1957:346; Best 1924a:II,300.
391   Best 1903:201; Smith 1910:367; Jones 1960:148.
392   Downes 1916:42.
393   Smith 1910:14; Kelly 1949:163; Best 1912:107; Downes 1916:85; Graham 1920:40; Nicholas 1817:I,394; Rimini 1892:152; Wilson 1907:206; Pango-te-whare-auahi 1905:72-73.
394   Cowan 1910:69; Fletcher 1916:160; Best 1901b:143.
395   Tarakawa 1900:82; Elder 1932:267; Firth 1929:282.
396   Smith 1910:376; Kelly 1949:370
397   Smith 1910:277, 307.
398   Best 1903:201; Best 1899:117.
399   Polack 1838:I,204-206.
400   Best 1902:19; Smith 1910:353-55; Colenso 1880b:45.
401   Colenso 1879:123.
402   Best 1929b:34.
403   Buller 1893:578.
404   Beaglehole 1955:282; Roux 1840:400-01; Banks 1896:230.
405   Polack 1840:II,23.
406   Gudgeon 1893a:114.
407   Earle 1832:196-97; Cruise 1957:91; Smith 1910:166; White 1887-90:II; Cowan 1910:4.
408   Best 1903:163.
409   Vayda 1960:103-104.
410   Smith 1910:118; Best 1903:163.
411   Johnstone 1874:71.