Volume 16 1907 > Volume 16, No. 2 > Notes and queries, p 106
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- 106

[187] The Kete-tua-uri.

In that most interesting and valuable poem, printed in your last number (Vol. XVI., p. 44), appears the line:—Hara mai e mau to ringa ki te kete tua-uri, &c., &c. Reference is made (p. 50) in translation to “The baskets three of precious heavenly lore,”—and in translators notes (p. 55) we are told that these are the baskets in which occult science was brought to man by Tane. I wish to know if it is to one of these baskets reference is made in the late John White's Ancient History of the Maori, Vol. I., p. 36, translated as—“Thy spirit is subdued, and in the wicker-basket closed.” On page 29 of the Maori part, same volume, is given the original, and the lines are—

Tenei hoki tou manawa, ka toka;
Tenei hoki tou manawa ka pou taiki.

The poem given by White is ancient, and is also mythological, so the basket may be a basket holding the wananga. I do not suppose the difference between a kete basket and a taiki basket would be of importance in such very old and little understood allusions. On the other hand the wicker-basket of White may be the ordinary little basket into which a wizard (tohunga) would “sweep” the soul of an enemy. Perhaps some scholar could tell us more about the wananga baskets.

Edw. Tregear.

[Probably the kete mentioned in “Wai-kare-moana,” p. 27, has some reference to the kete-tua-uri. But further explanation is very desirable.—Editor.]

[188] The name Moa.—(See note 127, p. 59, Vol. XVI.)

Translation of a paper by Hauka Te Kuru. “It was our ancestor, Tamatea-te-Kohuru who killed (exterminated) the great bird, the Moa, in this land. It was he who set fire to the country, and hence was the Moa burnt by his fire. One only was saved, which is (or was) at Whakapunake (a limestone mountain between Gisborne and Te Wairoa), it got into a cave there where there was a kumi that acted as its guardian. In the eighth month (January) it used to moult, and the feathers were blown into the plains and there gathered up by the people to be used as a whaka-tamiro (or plume?) for the bodies of dead chiefs. It (the feather) was called a Kowhakaroro.

“It was Mataoho who overturned the earth, hence the trees that are found lying under the surface together with the Moa bones. When the waters cut into the ground they are seen, both trees and Moa bones. There were two persons who destroyed the earth, and burnt it, thus causing the disappearance of the Moa. You white people say you taught the Maori this name Moa. Let me ask, what ancestor of the Pakeha was it that taught my ancestors these were Moa bones? It was my ancestors who spoilt, or overturned the world, causing the tree, stems, and Moa bones to be buried—it was Mataoho. It was from those ancient times that the Maori people have known of this, even to this day. In Pakeha times, you asked ‘what bones are these?’ and the Maoris replied, ‘Moa bones,’ and in pre-Pakeha days the bones were made into fish hooks.”

G. H. Davies.