Volume 25 1916 > Volume 25, No. 97 > Notes and queries, p 31-32
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- 31

[203] Kuranui as a name for the Moa.

A short time ago, while looking through Sir. G. Grey's “Proverbial and Popular Sayings of the Ancestors of the New Zealand Race,” I noticed on page 64 the following proverb:—“Maka e! Ka mate koe i te hukarere. E kore au e mate, i te ahu o Kuranui.” Which is translated as follows:—Hello, Maka, you will die of cold. No, no,—the warmth of the cloak, made from the soft-haired skin of my dog, Kuranui, will keep me alive.” By a further reference to the same book, page 101, it will be seen that the same “Maka” was a visitor to Taupo. We presume that he was one of the chiefs of the Arawa.

In the “Polynesian Journal,” Vol. XX., page 55, we find that “Kuranui” was the name by which the Moa was known to the early Maoris. Is it possible that the cloak in question was in part or wholly made of a Moas skin?


[In an old Maori song sent us by Mr. T. W. Downs, we find the following:—

Haere ra e hine ma, E tama ma,
E koro ma e, ki roto o Hawaiki-rangi
I runga o Irihia i Tawhiti-nui,
I Tawhiti-pa-mamao, ki Te Hono-i-wairua
Ki te huna i a te Kuranui e ngaro nei ……
Depart o daughters! O sons!
O the elders, to Hawaiki-rangi (Hawaiki-of-the-heavens),
Above at Irihia, at Tawhiti-nui,
At Tawhiti-pa-mamao (three names for the ‘fatherland’),
At Te Hono-i-wairua (the gathering-place-of-the-spirits),
Like the disappearance of the Kuranui now lost for ever.

In this Kuranui is said to be a name for the moa; and in other songs of the same character this disappearance of the bird is referred to under its usual name, i.e., ‘E ngaro nei i te ngaro o te Moa.’ (Disappered in the same manner as the Moa). There appears little doubt the Moa is referred to in Mr. Fletcher's quotation.]—EDITOR.

[264] Polynesian Ethnology of Pennsylvania University.

Our Hon. Member, Mr. W. Churchill, writes as follows:—“The University of Pennsylvania here has invited me to give two courses in Ethnology. Of course I am glad to give freely of my time and such knowledge as I possess. I come - 32 down from New York twice a week for the purpose. One course, for candidates for the doctorate, is in methodology. I have set them the practical problem of the nitial material for the preparation of a monograph on the house. …

“The other course, for candidates for the Master's Degree and a few picked Undergraduates, is a course of an hour each Tuesday and Thursday on the theme ‘Peoples of the Pacific.’ It is very popular, about 50 students are registered and that is a large number in a graduate course. I do not know that a Polynesian Course has ever been given in any University, and I am delighted to enjoy this opportunity.”

[Our members will be glad to learn that Polynesian studies are thus being encouraged by this well known University. We wish every success to the scheme.]—EDITOR.