Volume 50 1941 > Volume 50, No. 199 > Notes and queries, p 167-172
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[530] Nukutawhiti.

The following reply to criticism by J. T. Sturmfels in the March issue has been received from Mr. Graham, dated 12 August, 1941.

In your June issue (p. 105) appears a criticism by Mr. J. T. Sturmfels of my contribution in the June issue of 1940 (entitled Nukutawhiti) p. 221. May I be permitted to reply to same?

The article in question is not mine, as Mr. Sturmfels states, but a translation of a MS. written by Mohi Tawhai; (except as to several minor notes by me) all the explanatory notes are also Mohi Tawhai's.

Tawhai's statement that at the time of Nukutawhiti's death, his daughter “Moerewa was living at Kaipara” is questioned by Mr. Sturmfels on the respected authority of Messrs. George and Henry Winiata, and he gives a detailed account of how Moerewa came from Upper Hokianga, and subsequent happenings. These differing accounts in narrative may not now be reconciled. However, Aperama Taonui (in a MS. of “Ngapuhi History,” dated 1844) agrees closely with Tawhai's account generally, and he goes on to state (as per abridged abstract by me) as follows:—

“Moerewa, after her father's death, lived at Hokianga, and later at Kawakawa with Hae (a half-sister), whose daughter was also named Moerewa, as an ingoa (name-sake of her aunt). There she lived with that family until her death, the neighbourhood of their home there being now known as Moerewa. Moerewa obtained and took her father's head, after crying over it, with her. It was preserved in accordance with Maori custom, and kept as a keep-sake, being exhibited on appropriate occasions of tribal gatherings, and placed on the kumara-maara (cultivations) at ceremonial planting-times. After some generations of time, this head was at last placed in the family urupa (burial place) at Wauwauatea, where Nukutawhiti's remains reposed.”

Such briefly is Taonui's account. Tawhai's MS. does not extend to deal with such happenings subsequent to the actual incidents of Nukutawhiti's death.

That Nukutawhiti and his brother-in-law, Ruanui, came in the “Mamari” canoe together, as stated by Tawhai, is the widely-accepted traditional account, and that in voyaging hither in that canoe, they met Kupe in mid-ocean returning to Polynesia in his canoe, the “Matawhaurua” (or to give it the fuller and correct form of the name, “Ngatoki-matawhaorua.” Taonui and Tawhai both agree in this.

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Mr. Sturmfels' criticism is nevertheless welcomed, for such criticism brings thus to light much ancient lore that might otherwise be left unrecorded, and ultimately thus pass into oblivion.

To prevent that occurring and to enable the preservation of all such incidental knowledge is the raison d'etre of the Polynesian Journal.

[531] Perforated Moa Egg.

Dr. H. D. Skinner, Curator, Otago Museum, Dunedin, and Lecturer on Anthropology, Otago University, Dunedin, sends the following note:—

In February of this year a party of three were digging on the site at Shag river mouth, from which so much moa-hunter material has been recovered, when one of them uncovered what had been a perforated but otherwise perfect moa egg. The digging tool sliced off a shoulder of the egg, but the pieces were all recovered. The egg was later acquired by the Otago Museum, where it is now on exhibition. Its maximum length is 221mm., its breadth 150mm. The question of what species of moa were represented in the middens at the Shag river has never been properly investigated. David Teviotdale did not submit to Dr. W. R. B. Oliver for identification the bones he excavated there, as he did in most of the later sites he investigated. Von Haast says: 1 “The principal species occurring here are Palapteryx crassus, Euryapteryx rheides, and, in a minor degree, Euryapteryx gravis, and Palapteryx elephantopus, other Dinornis species being only represented by a few bones of D. robustus, and some of the smaller kinds. Of the small Meionornis species, casuarinus and didiformis, only a few remnants were found.”

Hutton 2 records Dinornis casuarinus, D. crassus, D. elephantopus and D. gravis.

After seeing the egg Dr. R. A. Falla wrote (25.6.1941): “I think it is not possible to identify any stray egg exactly. By comparison with the known egg of Emeus crassus which we (Canterbury Museum) have I should think that yours is most likely to be Pachyornis elephantopus. As far as I know, however, the moa most commonly represented in Shag river deposits is Euryapteryx gravis, of which the egg should be slightly smaller. However, with moas so variable in size, the egg might well be a large specimen of E. gravis.

David Teviotdale, who was a member of the party and was called to the spot by G. Griffiths who discovered the egg, supplied the following note: “The egg was found about mid-way between A. H. Hamilton's two trenches, but nearer the sea and about forty yards distant from either trench. It lay in clean white sand and 13 inches below the - 169 surface. From the surface downwards for about 11 inches was a bed of dark, discoloured, sandy soil, with a few pipi shells mixed in. Below this deposit came a bed of clean whitish sand, and in this the egg lay, about 13 inches below the surface, two inches of clean sand separating it from the upper layer. I cannot say for certain, but I think that this upper layer had previously been dug by excavators and fossickers down to the clean sand . . . . The egg lay on its side, with the large end to the south. In the upper layer, not far from the egg, Griffiths found an unbarbed bone fish-hook point of the kind we think were used with the stone and bone minnows. He worked a wide circle round the egg but found nothing else.” Mr. Griffiths writes that the point was not near enough to the egg to be regarded as associated with it.

To an ethnologist the most interesting feature of the egg is the perforation. This has been carefully made at the centre of the smaller end, pressure being applied steadily so that, fringing the hole itself a saucer-shaped hollow was formed on the inner surface of the shell. The diameter of the hole is a little more than 3 millimetres, and this must have presented a considerable difficulty in withdrawing the yolk.

The first recent observer to note perforation of moa egg-shells was David Teviotdale who, in reconstructing fragments of an egg excavated by him at Papatowai, discovered that it had been perforated by drilling at the larger end. The hole was 8mm. in diameter. In reconstructing another egg from the same site a second instance of perforation was found. The process used in making this perforation was filing. The hole was oval in shape, 15mm. in length and 9mm. in width. Neither of these two perforations showed the saucer-shaped depression, presumably due to pressure, present in the Shag river specimen. In January, 1939, a perforated moa-egg was found with a burial at the mouth of the Wairau river, Marlborough. This is described by Andersen, 3 who does not mention by what process the perforation was made. The egg was placed at the feet of the skeleton, with which were associated a necklace of spool-shaped beads and a pendant made from sperm whale tooth. At this point it was realised that W. B. D. Mantell had placed on record a statement on this particular matter. 4 “Mr. Mantell explained that he had restored, more or less perfectly, about twenty eggs, and that he had, as a rule, found them imperfect at one end, as if a hole had been artificially formed for the purpose of extracting the contents, and perhaps to allow of the shell being used as a water vessel. All the shells he had found were near old Maori cooking-ovens, which he had no objection to see assigned to the pre-historic period, seeing that New Zealand history only goes back for a few years. He was quite sure, however, that the Maoris in the south at the date of his early explorations in 1846 were well acquainted with the former existence of the moas and the circumstances which led to their extermination.”

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The use of perforated moa-eggshells as water-vessels naturally suggests itself in view of the use by Polynesians of coconut-shells for this purpose. It may be suggested that the eggshells would be packed in moss in kits. The moa-eggshell reported by Chapman as occurring on a settlement site on Centre island may have been part of such a water vessel.

[532] Maungakiekie.

Mr. Leslie G. Kelly writes: The article on Maungakiekie by F. G. Fairfield, appearing in the June issue, calls to mind several of my many visits to that great pa. The result of viewing the extensive earth-works led to much conjecture as to the manner in which the palisades were erected in order to protect so huge a fortification, the general opinion being that the pa was divided into sections, each a fort in itself. It was not until some years later that I came across a description from Maori sources which supported my former contention. For this I am indebted to Te Hurinui of Ngati-maniapoto.

In order to introduce the subject it is necessary to mention that the great ancestor of Ngati-maniapoto, Te Kawa-iri-rangi, was killed at Maungawhau (Mt. Eden) by Waiohua. For several generations it became the duty of some of the leading chiefs to seek revenge for the death of this chief and several expeditions marched to Tamaki for that purpose, but all met with disaster in some form. Finally a successful attempt was made by the chiefs Maungatautari and Wahanui. (See genealogy.) These men appear in the table as first cousins but they were also half-brothers for Irohanga and Te Riunui married the same woman.

The account states that at this period Maungakiekie was very strongly fortified. Not only was there a strong outer series of palisades, but the interior was divided into seven sections, each terrace, one above the other, being fortified by parapets and palisades so that the pa resembled several forts in one. This feature was common in fortifications of great size the reason being that, should an enemy succeed in gaining entrance, the inmates were able to continue the defence by retiring to the section above or to the rear.

The attack on this occasion was led by Wahanui, the younger of the two chiefs, and although the defence was stubborn, the Waiohua were driven from section to section until finally all seven sections were captured and the whole pa taken.

To what extent the pa was damaged or as to whether it was ever restored to its former size is hard to tell, but at any rate, it must have been very shortly after its capture by Wahanui that Waiohua were conquered by Ngati-whatua, hence Maungakiekie could hardly have been rebuilt in its entirety.

Respecting the celebrated totara tree Te Totara-i-ahua and which is said to have grown from the sprig used to tie the navel string

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Family Tree. Hoturoa, Whakaotirangi, Hotuhope, Hotumatapu, Motai, Ue, Tamatekapua, Raka, Kahumatamomoe, Kakati, Tawake-moe-tahanga, Tuhianga, Uenuku-mai-rarotonga, Poutama, Rangitihi, Mango, Takakopiri, Kaihamu, Tuparahaki, Maoa, Urutira, Tamangarangi, Haua, Hine-te-ao, Tupahau, Pukauae, Korokino, Toarangatira, Te Umukiwhakatane, Te Aho-o-te-rangi, Marangaiparoa, Whakamarurangi, Rangi-mahora, Maunu, Kimihia, Pikauterangi, Werawera, Te Peehi Kupe, Tutari, Riateuira, Wi Neera Te Kanae, Te Umukiwhakatane, Te Aho-o-te-rangi, Whakamarurangi, Rangi-mahora, Te Kaahurangi, Irohanga, Te Riunui, Te Rauangaanga, Maungatautari, Wahanui, Potatau, Tawhiao, Mahuta, Te Rata, Koroki
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of Korokino, this tree did not grow on the summit as has often been said, but grew on the slope of the western crater until it fell to the axe of some European in the days of early settlement.

I am afraid I must differ from Kahupake Rongonui in one or two points in respect to the genealogy supplied by her, and accordingly I enclose a corrected version. The main point in error is the relationship of Tamangarangi, wrongly shown as the sister of Te Urutira. She was, of course, of Arawa descent, a fact so well known that no further comments are necessary but which may be illustrated by the following.

When the Ngati-apakura chief Hikairo invaded Rotorua to avenge the death of Te Wharaunga he, finding the place deserted and Ngati-whakaue off shore in their canoes, went to the lake edge and drank, after which he said:

Heoi. Kua inu au i te wai o Rotorua; kua ea te mate o Te Wharaunga.” (Enough. I have drunk of the waters of Rotorua and have avenged the death of Te Wharaunga.)

The reply came: “Inumia! Inumia te wai kauhau o to tupuna o Tamangarangi. Ka tirohia koe!” (Drink! Drink the legendary waters of your ancestor Tamangarangi. You shall be looked down upon!)

Thus we find Te Arawa upbraiding Hikairo for attacking the kinsmen of his ancestress. Her husband Haua was the leader of Ngati-haua of Matamata. Hape, brother of Haua, also married into Te Arawa for his wife, Te Angaangawaero, was a daughter of the chief Wahiao, whose name has been bestowed upon the meeting house at Whakarewarewa.

Of the other ancestors mentioned in the genealogy Irohanga was killed in battle at Maungatautari, hence the name for his son. Wahanui was so named because Tutunui, one of those who attempted to avenge the death of Te Kawa-iri-rangi, possessed a loud voice. As with the case of Irohanga and Te Riunui, the chiefs Te Umukiwhakatane and Te Aho-o-te-rangi both married the same woman, that is Parengaope. Tuparahaki, who was also of Tainui descent through her mother, Te Kahureremoa, married Kaihamu after that chief avenged the death of her former husband Maoa. Her Tainui descent is traced through Tawhao, elder half-brother of Tuhianga.

Toarangatira is the ancestor of Ngati-toa, a tribe formerly known as Ngati-mango, from the Mango appearing in the genalogy. Pikau-terangi was the chief responsible for the troubles ending in the battle of Hingakaka, and Te Peehi Kupe was the comrade in arms of Te Rauparaha, and his death at Kaiapohia led to the capture by Te Rauparaha of the Ngai-tahu chief Tamaiharanui.

Hoping these notes will interest readers.

1   Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 7 (1874), p. 94.
2   Ibid., Vol. 8 (1875), p. 105.
3   J.P.S., Vol. 49 (1940), p. 595.
4   Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 4 (1871), Proc. Well. Phil. Soc., p. 364.