Henry S. King & Co., London.



Having expressed a strong desire that the collection of Myths and Songs from the South Pacific, which the Rev. W. Wyatt Gill brought home with him from Mangaia, should not be allowed to lie forgotten, or, like other valuable materials collected by hard-working missionaries, perish altogether, I could not well decline to state, in a few words, what I consider the real importance of this collection to be.

I confess it seemed strange to me that its importance should be questioned. If new minerals, plants, or animals are discovered, if strange petrifactions are brought to light, if flints or other stone weapons are dredged up, or works of art disinterred, even if a hitherto unknown language is rendered accessible for the first time, no one, I think, who is acquainted with the scientific problems of our age, would ask what their importance consists in, or what they [] are good for. Whether they are products of nature or works of man, if only there is no doubt as to their genuineness, they claim and most readily receive the attention, not only of the learned, but also of the intelligent public at large.

Now, what are these Myths and Songs which Mr. W. W. Gill has brought home from Mangaia, but antiquities, preserved for hundreds, it may be for thousands of years, showing us, far better than any stone weapons or stone idols, the growth of the human mind during a period which, as yet, is full of the most perplexing problems to the psychologist, the historian, and the theologian?

The only hope of our ever unravelling the perplexities of that mythological period, or that mythopoeic phase of the human intellect, lies in our gaining access to every kind of collateral evidence. We know that mythopoeic period among the Aryan and Semitic races, but we know it from a distance only, and where are we to look now for living myths and legends, except among those who still think and speak mythologically, who are, in fact, at the present moment what the Hindus were before the collection of their sacred hymns, and the Greeks long before the days of Homer? To find ourselves among a people who really believe in gods and heroes and ancestral spirits, who still offer human sacrifices, who in some cases devour their human victims, or, at all events, burn the flesh of animals on their altars, trusting that the scent will be sweet to the nostrils of their gods, is as if the zoologist could spend a few days among the megatheria, [p.vii] or the botanist among the waving ferns of the forests, buried beneath our feet. So much is written just now, and has been written during the last fifty years, on human archaeology, on the growth and progress of the intellect, on the origin of religion, on the first beginnings of social institutions; so many theories have been started, so many generalizations put forward with perfect confidence, that one might almost imagine that all the evidence was before us, and no more new light could be expected from anywhere. But the very contrary is the case. There are many regions still to be explored, there are many facts, now put forward as certain, which require the most careful inspection, and as we read again and again the minute descriptions of the journey which man is supposed to have made from station to station, from his childhood to his manhood, or, it may be, his old age, it is difficult to resist a feeling of amazement, and to suppress at almost every page the exclamation, Wait! wait!

There are the two antagonistic schools, each holding its tenets with a kind of religious fervouróthe one believing in a descending, the other in an ascending, development of the human race ; the one asserting that the history of the human mind begins of necessity with a state of purity and simplicity which gradually gives way to corruption, perversity, and savagery; the other maintaining with equal confidence, that the first human beings could not have been more than one step above the animals, and that their whole history is one of progress towards higher perfection. With [p.viii] regard to the beginnings of religion, the one school holds to a primitive suspicion of something that is beyondócall it supernatural, transcendent, or divine. It considers a silent walking across this jhula1 of life, with eyes fixed on high, as a more perfect realisation of primitive religion than singing of Vedic hymns, offer of Jewish sacrifices, or the most elaborate creeds and articles. The other begins with the purely animal and passive nature of man, [p.ix] and tries to show how the repeated impressions of the world in which he lived, drove him to fetichism, whatever that may mean, to ancestor-worship, to a worship of nature, of trees and serpents, of mountains and rivers, of clouds and meteors, of sun and moon and stars, and the vault of heaven, and at last, by what is called a natural mistake, of One who dwells in heaven above.

There is some truth in every one of these views; but they become untrue by being generalized. The time has not come yet, it probably never will come, when we shall be able to assert anything about the real beginnings of religion in general. We know a little here, a little there, but whatever we know of early religion, we always see that it presupposes vast periods of an earlier development.

Some people imagine that fetichism, at all events, presupposes nothing: they would probably not hesitate to ascribe to some of the higher animals the faculty of fetich-worship. But few words are so devoid of scientific precision as fetichism, a term first rendered popular by the writings of De Brosses. Let us suppose that it means a kind of temporary worship of any material object which the fancy may happen to select, as a tree, a stone, a post, an animal:ócan that be called a primitive form of religion? First of all, religion is one thing, worship another, and the two are by no means necessarily connected. But, even if they were, what is the meaning of worship paid to a stone, but the outward sign of a [p.x] pre-existent belief that this stone is more than a stone, something supernatural, it may be something divine, so that the ideas of the supernatural and the divine, instead of growing out of fetichism, are generally, if not always, presupposed by it? The same applies to ancestor-worship, which not only presupposes the conceptions of immortality and of the ideal unity of a family, but implies in many cases a belief that the spirits of the departed are worthy to share the honours paid to divine beings.

To maintain that all religion begins with fetichism, all mythology with ancestor-worship, is simply untrue, as far as our present knowledge goes. There is fetichism, there is ancestor-worship, there is nature-worship, whether of trees or serpents, of mountains or rivers, of clouds and meteors, of sun and moon and stars, and the vault of heaven; there is all this, and there is much more than all this, wherever we can watch the early growth of religious ideas: but, what we have to learn is, first of all, to distinguish, to study each religion, each mythology, each form of worship by itself, to watch them during successive periods of their growth and decay, to follow them through different strata of society, and before all, to have each of them, as much as possible, studied in their own language.

If language is the realization of thought and feeling, the importance of a knowledge of the language for a correct appreciation of what it was meant to convey in the expression of religious [p.xi] thought and feeling, requires no proof. I have often insisted on this, and I have tried to showówhether successfully or not, let others judgeóthat much of what seems at first irrational and inexplicable in mythology, and in religion also, can be explained by the influence which language exercises on thought. I have never said that the whole of mythology can be explained in that way, that all that seems irrational is due to a misunderstanding, or that all mythology is a disease of language. Some parts of mythology I have proved to be soluble by means of linguistic tests, but mythology as a whole I have always represented as a complete period of thought, inevitable, I believe, in the development of human thought, and comprehending all and everything that at a given time can fall within the horizon of the human mind. The Nemesis of disproportion seems to haunt all new discoveries. Parts of mythology are religious, parts of mythology are historical, parts of mythology are metaphysical, parts of mythology are poetical; but mythology as a whole is neither religion, nor history, nor philosophy, nor poetry. It comprehends all these together under that peculiar form of expression which is natural and intelligible at a certain stage, or at certain recurring stages in the development of thought and speech, but which, after becoming traditional, becomes frequently unnatural and unintelligible. In the same manner nature-worship, tree-worship, serpent-worship, ancestor-worship, god-worship, hero-worship, fetichism, all are parts of religion, but none of these by itself can explain the origin or growth of religion, which compre- [p.xii] hends all these and many more elements in the various phases of its growth.

If anything can help to impress upon students of religion and mythology the necessity of caution, the advantage of special research, and, above all, the necessity of a scholarlike treatment, it is a book like that of Mr. Gill,óan account of a religion and mythology which were still living in the island of Mangaia, when Mr. Gill went there as a missionary twenty-two years ago, and which, as they died away before his eyes, he carefully described to us from what he saw himself, from what the last depositaries of the old faith told him, and from what was recorded of it in sacred songs, which he gives us in the original, with literal translations.

It is true that the religion and mythology of the Polynesian race have often been treated before, but one of their greatest charms consists in the very fact that we possess them in so many forms. Each island has, so to say, its own religious and mythological dialect, and though there is much that is common to all, and must therefore be old, there is at the same time much local and individual variety. Again, the great advantage of Mr. Gill's collection is that Mangaia has kept itself freer from foreign influences than almost any other of the Polynesian islands. "The isolation of the Hervey Islanders," he says, "was in favour of the purity of their traditions, and the extreme jealousy with which they were guarded was rather an advantage than otherwise." When we find strange [p.xiii] coincidences between the legends of Mangaia and Jewish, Christian, or classical stories, we need not suspect that former European travellers had dropped the germs of them, or that missionaries had given, unconsciously, their own colouring to them. Mr. Gill has been specially on the guard against this and other sources of error. "Whilst collecting my myths," he says, "I put away from me all classical mythology, being afraid that unconsciously I might mould these Polynesian stories into similarity with those of Greece and Rome."

On my making inquiries whether the Polynesian tradition about Eve (Ivi), which I had discussed in my "Science of Religion" (p. 304), was to be found in Mangaia, Mr. Gill informed me that it was not, and that he strongly suspected its European origin. The elements of the story may have previously existed, and we see some traces of it in the account of the creation current in Mangaia, but Mr. Gill suspects that some of the mutineers of the Bounty may have told the natives the Bible story, and that it became incorporated with their own notions.

The jawbone, too, with which we are told that Maui, the great solar hero of the Polynesians, destroyed his enemies, is absent in Mangaia. When I inquired about it, Mr. Gill informed me that he never heard of it in the Hervey Group in connection with Maui.

Such things are extremely important for a proper treatment of [p.xiv] mythology. I hold no longer to the rule that when two mythologies agree in what is irrational or foolish, they must have had the same origin, or must have come into contact with each other at some period of their history. If there was a reason for the jawbone to be used as a weapon in one country, the same reason may have existed in another. But, even if there was no reason, a fact that happened or was imagined to have happened in one place may surely have happened or have been imagined to have happened in another. At first, no doubt, we feel startled by such coincidences; and that they often offer a prima facie presumption in favour of a common origin cannot be denied. But as we read on from one mythology to another, our sensitiveness with regard to these coincidences becomes blunted, and we feel hardened against appeals which are founded exclusively on such evidence.

At first sight, what can be more startling than to see the interior of the world, the invisible or nether world, the Hades of the Mangaians, called Avaiki, Ayiki being the name of one of the lower regions, both among Brahmans and Buddhists? But we have only to look around, and we find that in Tahitian the name for Hades is Hawaii, in New Zealand Hawaiki, and more originally, I suppose, Sawaiki; so that the similarity between the Sanskrit and Polynesian words vanishes very quickly.

That the name of the Sun-god in Mangaia is Ha has been pointed out as a strange coincidence with Egypt; but more really [p.xv] important is the story of Ra being made captive, as reminding us of similar solar legends in Greece, Germany, Peru, and elsewhere.2

Who can read the Mangaian story of Ina (the moon) and her mortal lover, who, as he grew old and infirm, had to be sent back to the earth to end his days there, without thinking of Selene and Endymion, of Eos and Tithonos?

Who again, if acquainted with the Vedic myth of the Maruts,3 the strikers, the Storm-gods, and their gradual change into the Roman god of war. Mars, can fail to see the same transition of thought in several of the gods of the storms, of war and destruction among the Polynesians, though here again the similarity in the name of Maru is purely accidental.

In some of the Polynesian islands the Deluge is said to have lasted exactly forty days. This, no doubt, is startling. It may be the result of missionary influence. But, even if it were not, the coincidence between the Polynesian and the Jewish accounts on that one point may be either purely accidental, or may be founded on rude meteorological calculations which we have not yet detected. I do not like to quote coincidences from American traditions, because we know that we are never safe there against [p.xvi] Spanish by-notes; otherwise the account of the Toltec deluge, and the statement that the mountains were covered to the depth of "fifteen cubits," might be quoted as another undesigned coincidence.4 According to the Chimalpopoca MS., the Creator produced His work in successive epochs, man being made on the seventh day from dust and ashes. Wliy, we may ask, on the seventh day? But others, without even insisting on the peculiar character of the seventh number, may simply ask. Why not? There is much similarity between the Hindu account of the Deluge and the Jewish; but no one who has read the numerous accounts of a deluge in other parts of the world, would feel much surprised at this. At all events, if we admitted a common origin of the two, or an actual borrowing, then to explain the differences between them would be extremely difficult. The only startling coincidence is, that in India the flood is said to begin on the seventh day after it had been announced to Manu. Considering, however, that the seventh day is mentioned in the "Bhagavata-Purana" only, I feel inclined to look upon it as merely accidental. It might, no doubt, have been borrowed from Jewish or even Mohammedan sources; but how can we imagine any reason why so unmeaning a fact should have been taken over, while on so many other points, where there was every temptation to borrow, nothing was done to assimilate the two accounts, or to remove features of which, at that time, the Hindus might well be supposed to have been ashamed? I mention all this for the sole purpose of [p.xvii] preaching patience and caution; and I preach it against myself quite as much as against others, as a warning against exclusive theories.

On every page of these Mangaian legends there is evidence that many of them owe their origin to language, whether we adopt the theory that the Mangaians played on the words, or that their words played on them. Mr. Gill himself fully admits this; but to say that the whole of the Mangaian mythology and theology owed its origin to the oxydizing process to which language is exposed in every country, would be to mistake the rust for the iron.

With all these uncertainties before us, with the ground shaking under our feet, who would venture to erect at present complete systematic theories of mythology or religion? Let any one who thinks that all religion begins with fetichism, all worship with ancestor-worship, or that the whole of mythology everywhere can be explained as a disease of language, try his hand on this short account of the beliefs and traditions of Mangaia; and if he finds that he fails to bring even so small a segment of the world's religion and mythology into the narrow circle of his own system, let him pause before he ventures to lay down rules as to how man, on ascending from a lower or descending from a higher state, must have spoken, must have believed, must have worshipped. If Mr. Gill's book were to produce no other effect but this, it would have proved one of the most useful works at the present moment.


But it contains much that in itself will deeply interest all those who have learned to sympathize with the childhood of the world, and have not forgotten that the child is the father of the man; much that will startle those who think that metaphysical conceptions are incompatible with downright savagery; much also that will comfort those who hold that God has not left Himself without a witness, even among the lowest outcasts of the human race.

Oxford, January 26, 1876.



The writer of the following pages has been for twenty-two years a missionary in the Hervey Group, a small cluster of islands in the South Pacific, lying between the 19į and 22į parallels of S. latitude and 157į and 160į of W. longitude.

He has sought to reproduce, as nearly as possible, the traditionary beliefs of a small section of the widely scattered Polynesian family. On them the hopes and aspirations of many past generations were founded. We correctly call the entire system a "mythology;" to them it was a "theology,"óthe true doctrine of the visible and the invisible world. The actual working of these false ethics was unceasing and pitiless war, unbridled and unblushing profligacy. Correct knowledge of these "mysteries" was possessed only by the priests and "wise men" of the different tribes. By them the teachings of the past were embodied in songs, to be chanted at their national festivals. These songs possessed great fascination for the native intellect, and tended to the preservation of the ancient faith. The writer's object is simply to aid the student of ethnology in his researches.

While there is much that is puerile and absurd in this heathen philosophy, there are evident glimmerings of primeval light. The [p.xx] Polynesian name for God expresses a great truth. The continued existence of the human spirit after death is implied in their "laments" and in the beautiful allegory of Veetini. The cruel system of human sacrifice is but a perversion of ancient truth. The common origin of mankind is taught in the contrast between "the fair-haired and fair-skinned children of Tangaroa," and "the dark-haired and dark-skinned children of Rongo;" both the offspring of Great Vatea. There is an undercurrent of yearning after the True God in some of their songs; e.g. as when Koroa sings (p. 215):ó

Oh, for some other Helper!
Some new divinity, to listen
To the sad story of thy wasting disease!

As the result of many years' inquiry into the ancient faith of Polynesia, the writer most heartily endorses the remark of Professor Max Muller: "Wherever there are traces of human life, there are traces also of religion."5

A large portion of what is contained in this volume was derived from Tereavai, the last priest of the shark-god Tiaio. Some links in the system were irrecoverably lost by the slaughter of his father Tuka, at the battle of Araeva, not long before the landing of the first Christian teachers. Nothing but the cordial reception of the new faith could have induced Tereavai to yield up to the stranger the esoteric teachings of the priestly clan. The writer throughout has been greatly indebted to the sagacity and unwearied patience of Sadaraka (grandson of the poet Koroa), who is allowed by his own countrymen to be the best living critic of his own language. Each island in the group had a dialect, a history, and a worship of its own. The language of ancient Polynesian [p.xxi] song is not that now spoken; bearing the same relation to the living tongue as the Greek of Homer does to that of Xenophon. The myths and prayers (karakia) are believed to be of great antiquity. The dirges and clan-songs are modern, but are doubtless echoes of older compositions. Should the present volume meet with acceptance, a collection of "Prehistoric Sketches," with illustrative clan-songs, may hereafter appear.

Lewisham, January y 1876.


IMYTHS OF CREATION. The Beginning of all things. Dramatic song of creation ... ... 1

IIDEIFIED MEN. Derivation of the Polynesian word for God. Tiaio, king and god. Tane-Ngakiau. Tekuraaki. Song of the shore-king, high priest of Rongo. Derivation of Polynesian word "atua," or god. A human priesthood needed. Dedication of infants. Naming of children ... ... 23

IIIASTRONOMICAL MYTHS. A chase that never ends. Song of the twins. Matariki, or Pleiades. The sun and moon. The woman in the moon. Eclipses. A celestial fish-hook. A day-song for Maaki's fete ... ... 40

IVTHE EXPLOITS OF MAUI. The fire-god's secret. The fire-god's song. The sky-raised; or, the origin of pumice stone. The sun made captive. The wisdom of Manihiki. Maui enslaving the sun. The sky raised. Maui's last and greatest achievement ...  ... 51

VTREE MYTHS. The myth of the cocoa-nut tree. Tahitian myth of the cocoa-nut tree. The iron- wood tree. Ono fells a famous tree. Wanderings of Ono ...  ... 77

VIINA, THE FAIRY VOYAGER. Ina's voyage to the Sacred Isle. Song of Ina, Final stanza of the day-song for Tenio's fete. The voyage of Ina. The taairangi, or porpoise. The finny subjects of Tinirau. Numeration and the art of fishing invented. The origin of dancing. A song for Tenio's fete ... ...  88

VIIMISCELLANEOUS MYTHS. A bachelor god in search of a wife. Echo; or, the cave fairy. The prince of reed-throwers. The origin of kite-flying. A kite song for Tenio's fete. Uti's torch; or, will-a-wisp. Mosquitoes. "The-long-lived." Human arts and inventions. Perils of beauty. Origin of pigs at Rarotonga. Seeking for light. Rata's canoe. Prayer or charm for a thief or a murderer ... ...  107

VIII.óHADES; OR, THE DOCTRINE OF SPIRIT-WORLD. Aitutakian hell. Aitutakian heaven. Dramatic song of Miru. Sneezing. A farewell chanted at a reed-throwing match for women. ... ... 152

IXVEETINI; OR, THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL. Vaipo's dirge for Veetini. The closing or day-song for Tenio's fete. Veetini meeting his father. Dirge for Vera. The ghosts led by Vera preparing for their final departure. Puvai leading a band of ghosts to the shades. Korea's lament for his son Kourapapa. Another lament for Kourapapa. Death lament for Varenga. Lament
for Mourua. A spirit-journey. Introduction to the fete of Riuvaka ... ... 181

XADVENTURES IN SPIRIT-WORLD. An escape from spirit-land. The adventures of Ngaru. The drama of Ngaru. The ball-thrower's song. A journey to the invisible world ... ... 221

XIFAIRY MEN AND WOMEN. Tapairu; or, fairy women and men. A song in honour of Mauapa. Prologue to the dramatic fete of Potiki. The fairy of the fountain ... ... 256

XIIDEATH-TALKS AND DIRGES. Ghost-killing. Death-talks. Eva, or dirge-proper. Karaponga's dirge-proper in honour of Ruru. Arokapiti's dirge-proper in honour of Ruru. "Blackened face" dirge-proper for Atiroa. The first murder and the first battle ... ... 268

XIIIHUMAN SACRIFICES. Why human sacrifices were offered. The drum of peace. Prayer over a human sacrifice to Rongo. Prayer for peace. Kirikovi's sacrifice. A "crying" song for Maruata. The death of Ngutuku. Makitaka's lament ... ... 289

XIVTHE SEASONS, PHASES OF THE MOON, etc., etc. The seasons. Changes of the moon. The mariner's compass of Polynesia. Polynesian plurals. Polynesian numeration ... ... 316

INDEX ... ... 327





The universe of these islanders is to be conceived of as the hollow of a vast cocoa-nut shell, as in the accompanying diagram. (See next page.)

The interior of this imaginary shell is named Avaiki. At the top is a single aperture communicating with the upper world, where mortals (i.e. Mangaians) live. At various depths are different floorings, or lands, communicating with each other. But at the very bottom of this supposed cocoa-nut shell is a thick stem, gradually tapering to a point, which represents the very beginning of all things. This point is a spirit or demon, without human form, and is named Te-aka-ia-Roe,6 or The-root-of-all-existence. The entire [p.2] fabric of the universe is constantly sustained by this primary being.

Above this extreme point is Te-tangaengae, or Te-vaerua; that is to say, Breathing, or Life. This demon is stouter and

This diagram will suit the mythology of many other islands; substituting, for instance,
"Tahiti" for "Mangaia," as the land where egress and ingress to Avaiki exist.

[p.3] stronger than the former one. But the thickest part of the stem is Te-manava-roa, or The-long-lived, the third and last of the primary, ever-stationary, sentient spirits, who themselves constitute the foundation, and insure the permanence and well-being of all the rest of the universe.

We advance now to the interior of the supposed cocoa-nut shell. In the lowest depth of Avaiki, where the sides of the imaginary shell nearly meet, lives a womanóa demon, of flesh and bloodónamed Vari-ma-te-takere,7 or The-very-beginning. Such is the narrowness of her territory that her knees and chin touch, no other position being possible. Vari-ma-te-takere was very anxious for progeny. One day she plucked off a bit of her right side, and it became a human beingóthe first man Avatea, or Vatea (the elision of the a in Avatea is compensated by the elongation of the second vowel).

Now Vatea, the father of gods and men, was half man and half fish, the division being like the two halves of the human body. The species of fish to which this great divinity was allied being the taairangi (Cetacea), or great sea monsters, i.e. porpoises, whose sides are covered with pure fat, and whose home is the boundless ocean. Thus one eye of Vatea was human, the other a fish-eye. His right side was furnished with an arm ; the left with a fin. He had one proper foot, and half a fish-tail.

But there is another, and probably far more ancient, account of Vatea, or Avatea, which means noon in all the dialects of Eastern Polynesia.8 Vatea is a man possessed of two magnificent eyes, rarely visible at the same time. In general, whilst one, [p.4] called by mortals the sun, is seen here in this upper world, the other eye, called by men the moon, shines in Avaiki. (A contradictory myth represents the sun and moon as living beings.)

Compare with this a remarkable picture of a fish-god, from Layard, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 381 (central picture).

The land assigned by the Great Mother to Vatea was Te-papa-rairai, or The-thin-land. Another designation for his home was Te enua marama o Vatea, or The-bright-land-of-Vatea, implying the perfect contrast between the brightness of noon-day, or Avatea, and the utter gloom of Po, or night which is equivalent to Avaiki.

On another occasion Vari-ma-te-takere tore off a second bit from that same right side, and it became Tinirau, or Innumerable, who, like his brother, had a second and fishy form.


The sort of fish which composed his half fish body was of the sprat-Yvcidi. The Great Mother gave him the land of Motu-Tapu, or Sacred Isle as his own domain.9 There were his celebrated ponds full of all kinds of fish. Tinirau was lord of the finny inhabitants of the sea, from the shark downwards.

Another day Vari-ma-te-takere took a bit off her left side, and it became Tango, or Support, who went to live at Enua-Kura,10 or The-land-of -red-par rot-feathers.

A fourth child was produced from a bit of the same left side, and was named Tumuteanaoa, or Echo, whose home was Te-parai-tea, or The-hollow-grey-rocks. Echo is represented as a female.

A fifth child originated from a bit of that same left side of the Great Mother, and was designated Raka, or Trouble, who presides, like Aeolus, over the winds. Raka found a congenial home in Moana-Irakau, or Deep-ocean. Raka received from Vari-ma-te-takere a great basket in which the winds were hidden; also the knowledge of many useful inventions. The children of Raka are the numerous winds and storms which distress mankind. To each child is allotted a hole at the edge of the horizon, through which he blows at pleasure.

Vari, or The-very-beginning, finding that her left side had been more injured than her right, resolved to make both sides alike by taking a third bit from the right side, and named this, her last child, Tu-metua, Stick-by-the-parent. Now, this sixth and most beloved child, as the name implies, lives with the Great Mother in [p.6] that narrow strip of territory constituting the very bottom of Avaiki, and which is designated Te-enua-te-ki, or The-mute-land. Do what you may to the attached mother and daughter, you cannot provoke an angry reply; for the only language known in The-mute-land is that of signsósuch as nods, elevated eye-brows, grimaces, and smiles.

It is to The-mute-land that Potiki, temporal lord of Mangaia, circa 1790, referred in a fete song:ó

E enua parere i Avaiki
E enua niu niatangi e!
Kua ie Tautiti nei
Aore e kite i te tara e!
In Avaiki is a land of strange utterance,
 Like the sighs of the passing breeze;
Where the dance is performed in silence,
And the gift of speech is unknown.

Tu-metua is usually shortened into Tu, a principal god in most of the Polynesian mythologies, to whom the fourteenth night in every "moon" was sacred. On Cook's second visit to Tahiti, he found the king to be Otoo, ancestor of the present Pomare. Otoo should be written Tu, the O being a mere prefix to all proper names. This mythological name was adopted in order to secure for its owner the superstitious reverence due to the gods which are unseen by mortals. Tu was the tutelar goddess of Moorea. On Mangaia Tu was invariably linked with her nephew Tangaroa; but was little regarded. The second islet of Hervey's Island is known as "the kingdom of Tu" (au-o-Tu).

At Raiatea Tu-papa = Tu-of-the-lowest-depths (the same as Tu-metua) becomes the wife of Ra, the Sun-god, whose too frequent visits to her home required to be checked by Maui.

It was deemed by Vari very unseemly that Vatea's land, which originally was immediately above her own, should be underneath, [p.7] and so to speak invaded by, his younger brothers'. The-very-beginning, therefore, altered the relative position of The-thin-land,11 placing it directly under the opening from this upper world; so that the law of primogeniture was established, the lands of all the younger brothers thus lying underneath the territory of Noon-day.

Vatea in his dreams several times saw a beautiful woman. On one happy occasion he succeeded in clutching her in his sleep, and thus detained the fair sprite as his wife in his home in Te-papa-rairai. Another account asserts that on Vatea's waking from sleep he could discover no trace of the fair one. He searched in all directions for heróbut in vain. At length it occurred to him that her home might be in some dark cavern communicating with a land lower than his own, from which the fair one was in the habit of ascending to The-thin-land to pay him nocturnal visits. To test the correctness of this supposition, Vatea scraped a quantity of cocoa-nuts and scattered handfuls down all the chasms in his territory. Some time afterwards he found that from the bottom of one cave, named Taeva-rangi, or The-celestial-aperture, the rich white food had entirely disappeared. A fresh lot of the same dainty food was now thrown down, whilst Vatea from behind a projecting crag cautiously peered down. It was not long before a slender hand, very unlike his own, was slowly extended towards the coveted morsels. Vatea at once concluded that this must belong to the woman he had [p.8] seen in his dreams. With a favouring current of wind, he descended to the bottom, and caught the fair thief His visions were realized; this lovely one confessed that she had again and again ascended to his house above in The-thin-land in order to win him as her future husband. She correctly guessed that Vatea would never rest until he had discovered the whereabouts of the fair coquette, and made her his wife. She informed her lover that she was Papa, or Foundation, the daughter of Timatekore, or Nothing-more, and his wife Tamaiti-ngava-ringavari, or Soft-bodied. The famed Papa thus became the cherished wife of Vatea; both ascended by another eddy of wind through the chasm to The-bright-land-of-Vatea!



Call for the dance to begin with music

Noo mai Vari i te aiti,
I te tuturi i te memenge
E Kongo e, a kake!
The home of Vari is the narrowest of all,
Knees and chin ever meeting ó
It was reserved for Kongo to ascend.12


Taipo e!  Go on!


Vatea kite i tena vaine;
1 moe ana paa i reira e!
'Twas in the shades Vatea first saw his wife.
And fondly pressed her to his bosom.


Ae! Aye



Te ui a te metua i anau ai
la Timatekore!
When asked who was her (Papa's) father,
She said Timatekore! (Nothing more).


la Timatekore!
Aore o tatou metua, ua tu e,
I Vari ua mai e!
Most truly, Timatekore.
But WE have NO13 father whatever:
Vari alone made us.


Noo mai Vari e!
I te aiti ae!
That home of Vari is
The very narrowest of all!


Noo mai Vari i te aiti;
E tuarangi kai taro mata
I na turanga pure e!
O Vatea metua e pua ua ake.
Vari's home is in the narrowest of spaces,
A goddess feeding14 on raw "taro"15
At appointed periods of worship!
Thy mother, Vatea, is self-existent.


Pua ua o Vatea,
O Papa i te itinga,
1 tapakau ana e!
Vatea sprung into existence.
Papa is bright as the morn.
Sheltered her (Papa) under her wing.

Call to begin.

le taia ia Maukurautaroa
Te rua i te matangi, e Vatea e!
Let the storm be restrained
In favour of Vatea, O thou god of winds!



Taipo e! Go on!


Taotao matangi na Ina
Te kumutonga.
Awake the gentle breeze of Ina
That bare her to her lover.


O nai matangi riki e
Ka arara'i oki toku tere
Ki raro e!
O for a soft zephyr to bear me (Vatea)
Prosperously on my way
To the shades!


A taia e te matangi. Be lulled, ye winds.


Taia e te matangi
O Tukaiaa te tai makoako.
Aye, they are lulled. No storm
Now sweeps o'er the treacherous sea.


Koakoa e o tei po
Kai matangi rueke e!
Ye inconstant winds of nether-land
Bear me down to her gloomy abode.

Tangaroa and Rongo were the twin children of Vatea and Papa. These boys were the first beings of perfect human form, having no second shape.

Tangaroa should have been born first, but gave precedence to his brother Rongo. A few days after the birth of Rongo, his mother Papa suffered from a very large boil on her arm. She resolved to get rid of it by pressing it. The core accordingly flew out: it was Tangaroa! Another account, equally veracious, says that Tangaroa came right up through Papa's head. The precise spot is indicated by "the crown'' with which all their descendants have since been born.

Vatea's third son was Tonga-iti, whose visible form was the white and black spotted lizards. Under the name of Mata-rau,  [p.11] or The-two-hundred-eyed, i.e. The-sharp-sighted, Tonga-iti was an object of worship in the Hervey Group. The fourth son of Vatea was Tangua; the fifth and last son was Tane-papa-kai, or Tane-piler-up-of-food. Both Tangua and Tane were principal gods of Mangaia.

The home of Rongo was Auau (afterwards named Mangaia) in Avaiki. As an individual consists of two parts, viz. body and spirit, so this island, has a sort of essence, or spirit, the secret name of which is Akatautika, i.e. The-well-poised, only used by the priests and kings of ancient days. When in after times the earthly form, or body, of Auau was dragged up to light, there remained behind in the obscurity of nether-world the etherial form, or spirit, of The-well-poised.

Now, Tangaroa was altogether the cleverest son of Vatea; he instructed his brother Rongo in the arts of agriculture. Their father wished to make Tangaroa lord of all they possessed; but the mother Papa objected, because as parents they dared not taste the food or touch the property of Tangaroa, the eldest by right. The mother had her own way. Hence, when a human sacrifice was offered to Rongo,16 the refuse, i.e. the body when thoroughly decayed, was thrown to his mother, who dwelt with Rongo in the shades, in order to please her.

Government, arrangement of feasts, the drum of peace, i.e. all the fountains of honour and power, were secured to Rongo, through the selfish craft of Papa.

Nearly all sorts of food, too, fell to the share of the younger [p.12] twin-god. The division was made on this principle: all the red on earth or in the ocean became Tangaroa's; the rest, i.e. the great bulk, was Kongo's. Thus of the numerous varieties of taro, only oneóa reddish sort (kaka kura) was Tangaroa's; the rest being sacred to Rongo. Amongst the multitudinous varieties of "meikas,"17 only the plantain was the property of Tangaroa's, on account of the redness and uprightness of its fruit. The very name, "the upright-fruit" (uatu), testifying to the dignity of the eldest of the gods. Bananas of all sorts belonged to Rongo. The plantain, being the kokira, or head, of the great "meika" family, does not bend its head; just as Tangaroa is the kokira, or the first in the family of the gods.

Of three kinds of chestnuts, but one, the red-leafed, is sacred to Tangaroa. Of the two sorts of the indigenous yam, the red is Tangaroa's. Of the double variety of cocoa-nuts, one belongs to Tangaroa. All bread-fruit was sacred to Rongo.

In regard to the wealth of the ocean, Rongo was decidedly the gainer. But four sorts of fishóall scarlet, besides lobsters, fell to Tangaroa. The silvery, striped, spotted, and black were all Rongo's.

Thus Rongo became very rich; Tangaroa comparatively poor. The twin gods made a grand feast, each collecting only his own food, to which Vatea and Papa were invited. Tangaroa made one great pile of red taro, yams, chestnuts, cocoa-nuts; the top garnished with red land-crabs and all the red fish he could find in the sea, etc.

Rongo's pile was immensely greater. The treasures of earth and ocean were there. The parents declared that Tangaroa carried the palm for beauty; whilst Rongo excelled in abundance.


Upon the same principle all fair-haired children (rauru keu) in after ages were considered to be Tangaroa's (the god himself had sandy hair); whilst the dark-haired, which form the great majority, are Rongo's. Now Rongo's hair was raven black, as became E atua po, or God-whose-home-is-the-shades. Now and then a stray child might be claimed for Tangaroa, whose home is in the sky, i.e. far beyond the horizon; the majority of his fair-haired children live with the fair-haired god in distant lands. Very few natives have light hair, a colour greatly disliked amongst themselves, but in their view suitable to foreigners. To this day a golden-haired child is invariably addressed in playful allusion to this myth, as "the fair-haired progeny of Tangaroa." Hence, in the ancient legend about Tarauri, the prince of reed-throwers, this famous son of Tangaroa is represented as being, with his hrothtr, fair-hatred.


Tarauri i te puti angaiia e Pinga
Ei uke i te mate e !
Tarauri, the waif brought up by Pinga,
Avenged the disgrace of his brother.


Taipo e! Go on!


Anau keu a Tangaroa,
Kua piri paa i te ao.
The fair-haired children of Tangaroa
Doubtless sprung from dazzling light.

Hence, when Cook discovered Mangaia, the men of that day were greatly surprised at the fair hair and skin of their visitors, and at once concluded that these were some of the long-lost fair children of Tangaroa!

It was but natural that Tangaroa should be displeased at the preference always shown to his brother Rongo. He therefore [p.14] collected a vast quantity of red food of all kinds, and set out on a voyage in search of some other land, where he could reign alone. He made a long journey, and touched at many islands, scattering everywhere the blessings of food piled up for the purpose in his canoe. Finally, he settled down on his beloved islands, Rarotonga and Aitutaki, leaving Auau, or, as it was afterwards designated, Mangaia, in the quiet possession of Rongo = The Resounder.

In winter tree-fruits disappear; whereas taro, bananas, etc., are in season all the year round. The reason for this is, that the former belong to Tangaroa, who merely permits his gifts to be seen and tasted here in the land of Rongo on their way (in winter) to realms where he reigns undisturbed.

On this account these fruits were not regarded as private property, but as belonging to all the inhabitants of the district in which they grew.

Ro(ng)o or O Ro was the chief object of worship at Tahiti and most of the Leeward Islands. His seat was the marae,18 or sacred grove, at Opoa, on the island of Raiatea; whence this worship extended to all the neighbouring islands, and throughout the Paumotu Group. Human sacrifices were continually offered to the great Polynesian god of war, to obtain success in their cruel enterprises.19


When Captain Cook visited the Sandwich Islands, he was regarded as the incarnation of Rongo, or, in their dialect, Orono, or Rono, and accordingly received divine honours. An ancient prophecy asserted that Rongo, or Rono, who had gone to Tahiti, would return to Hawaii in a canoe of a remarkable shape. This seemed realized in the visits of Captain Cook with his two wonderful vessels from Tahiti. The great navigator counted forty-nine skulls on the marae of Oro at Tahiti, and witnessed the placing of the fiftieth. When he himself received divine honours at the Sandwich Islands, he was not aware that it was as the blood-stained Rongo, whose home was supposed to be in these southern islands, and at whose shrine those fifty reeking heads had been offered during a single generation. On Mangaia it was Tangaroa that was expatriated, without hope of return; Rongo was regarded as being in possession,20 although resident in the shades. His marae is called O-Rongo, and was first set up on the eastern side of the island, but was ultimately removed to the west, where the great navigator held communication with these islanders. It is singular that the "Voyages" do not allude to his great stone image, the secondary representation of Rongo, which must have been visible from the boat of the Resolution. Reference is made to the residence of the shore king, the guardian of the great national idol.

The principal god of Rimatara was Rono or Rongo, to whom human sacrifices were offered.

The wife of Rongo was Taka, who bare a daughter named Tavake. In the course of time Tavake grew up and gave birth [p.16] successively to Rangi, to Mokoiro, and to Akatauiraóall illegitimate. Rongo wished his three grandsons, who were also his sons,21 to live with him in Auau, in the shades. But Rangi was resolved to pull up this land Auau, afterwards called Mangaia, from Avaiki. This was a most arduous task; but, with the assistance of his brothers, the brave Rangi succeeded in dragging up the little island to the light of day. Rangi, Mokoiro, and Akatauira took up their permanent abode in this upper world. Thus the three brothers were the first inhabitants of Mangaia, and in the course of years gave rise to the original tribes which peopled this island. Three small rocks, united at the base, close to the marae of Rongo and the altar for human sacrifice, are pointed out as symbolizing the threefold lords of the soil.

Rongo continued to live in Avaiki, in the invisible or nether Auau, of which this island was asserted to be but the outward expression!22 He directed Rangi to offer bleeding sacrifices on [p.17] his marae in the upper world, from time to timeóthe decayed corpse to be invariably thrown in the bush to his mother Papa.

Mangaia now for the first time emerged to the light of day, and became the centre of the universe. Its central hill was accordingly designated Rangimotia = The centre of the heavens. The inhabitants of Mangaia were veritable men and women, as contrasted with the natives of other outlying islands, who were only tuarangi, or evil-spirits in the guise of humanity.

Vatea, or Avatea (== noon-day), was thus ''the father of the gods and men,"23 the three original tribes being regarded as the direct offspring of Rongo; all subsequent settlers and visitors were regarded as interlopers, to be, if possible, slain and offered in sacrifice.


In song, the gods are called "te anau atea," i.e. "te anau a Vatea" = "children of Vatea." The same shortened phrase is in use at Rarotonga: at Aitutaki and Atiu the full form "Avatea" is used, e.g. "kia kaka te mata o Avatea Nui" = "when the eye of Great Avatea (= noon) is open;" in other words, "when the sun is in its full glory;" still in contrast with the darkness and gloom of Avaiki, or Nether-world.

The ocean was known as Rauaika Nui, or The-vast-out-spread-plantain-leaf;24 óthat leaf being the largest in the world. The ocean was sometimes designated "the sea of Vatea;" at other times "the sea of Tane."

Above was the blue vault of solid stone, sustained originally by the frail props of Ru on the central hill of Mangaia, but afterwards permanently raised to its present height by the tremendous exertions of Maui. In all, there were said to be ten separate heavens., rising one above the other into immensity. These constituted the Elysium of the brave. Here, too, was the home of Tangaroa, the scarcely worshipped god of day.

Upon the brow of a hill, facing the setting sun, and near the great marae of the war-god, it is asserted that there once existed a deep, gloomy chasm (long since closed up), known as Tiki's hole (Te rua ia Tiki). This constituted the regular road to Avaiki, like the single aperture at the top of a cocoa-nut. Through it the three brothers descended to Avaiki, or ascended to the light of day, at pleasure.

The three brothers are always described as joint "kings," or "Ngaariki." The entire body of their descendants were there- [p.19] fore called by the shorter form "Ngariki." To Rangi Rongo gave "the drum of peace;" to Mokoiro, the direction over food of all kinds; to the petóthe youngestóAkatauira was given the "karakia," or "prayers," and the sway over his brethren.

Rangi, Mokoiro, and Akatauira were probably veritable persons, chiefs of the first settlers on Mangaia. Their wives were respectively named Tepotatango,25 Angarua, and Ruange. Then came Papaaunuku, son of Tane-papa-kai, or Tane-giver-of-food. When Tane died he was worshipped by his son, who was sent for by Rangi as his priest. But Rangi was not pleased with Tane, as he spake only as a man, without frenzy, through his son Papaau-nuku. His grandfather Rongo lived only in the shades; Rangi wished for a god who would live with him in this upper world. He therefore sent to Rarotonga to ask Tangiia, a renowned warrior-king of that island, to send him over one of his sons "who had grown up under the sacred shade of the tamanu leaves" to be his god. Rangi's wish was gratified, and Motoro was fixed upon by his father for the purpose.

Tangaroa had one marae, and that almost neglected, the only offering ever presented being the first-fruits of all newly-planted cocoa-nut grovesóthe tiny buds, which eventually become nuts. This was simply a recognition of his primogeniture. But the island was supposed to belong to Rongo and Motoro: the one god ruling the dead; the other the living.

Doubtless the worship of Tangaroa, Rongo, Tane, and possibly the Lizard god of Tongaiti, represented a much earlier and more widely-diffused system of idolatry than prevailed [p.20] here in historical times, when the children of Tangua were deified.

The heathen intellect has no conception of a Supreme Being creating a universe out of nothing. At Mangaia the idea of divinity was pared down to a mere nothing. Whenever the gods make anything, the existence of the raw material, at least in part, is presupposed.

The primary conception of these islanders as to spiritual existence is a point. Then of something pulsating. Next of something greater, everlasting.

Now comes the Great Mother and Originator of all things. For the first time we meet with the ideas of volition and creation. Vari is represented as a female, on account of fecundity, she being the original of all the gods, and, remotely, of mankind. The arrangement of various lands in Avaiki, and the apportionment of the different functions of air, earth, and sea, are hers. The ninth night of every moon was sacred to her. Yet Vari is incapable of speech, and lives in darkness, her solace being the constant society of an affectionate daughter.

In the description of her first-made (not born) son. Bright Noon (Avatea, or Vatea), one of whose eyes is the sun, we gain the first idea of majesty as associated with divinity. The ocean is his; his children, born like ourselves, are the great gods who direct the affairs of the universe, and are worshipped by mortals. To them belong the maraes and idols; they receive offerings of food and listen to the prayers of mankind.

And yet, strangely enough, associated with these original gods are the deified heroes of antiquity, in no wise inferior to their fellow divinities.

Birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and specially inspired priests, were [p.21] reverenced as incarnations, mouth-pieces, or messengers of the gods.

The gods were supposed to have distinct functions; their quarrels were reflected in the wars of men. But none create, in the proper sense of that term. The Great Mother approximates nearest to the dignity of creator; but when she makes a child, it is out of a bit of her own body. She herself is dependent on three prior existences destitute of human form.

The earth is not made, but is a thing dragged up from the shades ; and is but the gross outward form of an invisible essence still there. At least ten heavens are built of azure stone, one above another (to correspond with the different lands in Nether-world), with apertures for inter-communication; but the stones were pre-existent.

The principal words used by the ancient sages in speaking on this subject areó

I. Vari = Beginning. This important word is used when describing the commencement of any new order of things. The Great Mother herself is Vari-te-takere.

Strangely enough, at the sister island of Rarotonga this word no longer means "beginning," but "mud;" agreeing, however, with the sense of the Mangaian reduplicate ''vari vari" = muddy.

Evidently, then, apart from their mythological views, these people imagined that once the world was a "chaos of mud," out of which some mighty unseen Agent, whom they called Vari, evolved the present order of things.

2. Pua ua mai = Bud forth, or blossom, as of a tree. Evidently here is no fit conception of creative power.


In seeking for an equivalent for ברא the first missionaries chose the word "anga" = made. Undoubtedly this is the best word; its original narrow sense being enlarged by the constant perusal of the Bible, etc. The magnificent conception of real creation is as unattainable to a heathen sage as the sublime conception of a Supreme Deity.





Some five hundred years ago there lived on Tahiti two powerful chiefs: the younger named Tangiia, the elder Tutapu. Now the lands of the younger adjoined those of their only sister, and it chanced that one or two branches of a bread-fruit tree of hers, growing close to the boundary line, extended themselves over the soil of the irritable Tangiia. As is frequently the case with this tree, one half of this bread-fruit was almost barren, whilst the branches extending over the land of her brother were heavily laden with fruit. Tangiia claimed the fruit as his, as it grew on his side of the boundary line: naturally enough the sister felt herself to be harshly dealt with.

The elder brother Tutapu hearing of the quarrel interfered on behalf of their sister. Thenceforth the brothers became deadly foes; and after many angry words, Tutapu resolved to collect his dependants, and upon a certain night to make a final end of his [p.24] brother and his family. Tangiia, obtaining timely notice of his intention, fled with wife, children, and friends to the neighbouring island of Huahine; but was pursued by the irate Tutapu. Tangiia was chased by his brother throughout the Leeward Islands, until finally finding that there was no rest for him in that group, he committed himself to the trackless ocean. Fortunately for him, he reached Atiu, where he stayed awhile. But the insatiate Tutapu followed him even to Atiu, many hundreds of miles from Tahiti. Tangiia again took flightóthis time to Rarotonga, which was destined to become the home of this renowned chief Tutapu remained a considerable time on Atiu. Children were born to him; some of his descendants afterwards reached Mangaia in a drift canoe, founding a tribe devoted to furnish human sacrifices.

Hearing that Tangiia was prospering on Rarotonga, Tutapu again manned his large double canoe, which is said to have had three masts, and to have carried 200 warriors, and started off once more in quest of his brother. Upon entering the harbour at Rarotonga, which bears the name of Nga-Tangiia,26 the brothers prepared for a final encounter. In the conflict which ensued, Tangiia, assisted by Karika's party, defeated the invaders, and slew Tutapu-aru-roa = Tutapu-the-relentless-pursuer, whose body was eaten by the victors.

Tangiia himself never landed on Mangaia, the island which is so intimately associated with the history of several of his children. It is needful to distinguish this Tangiia, who is unquestionably an historical character, from the mythical Tangiia descended from Vatea, and one of the gods of Mangaia, whose iron-wood form is deposited in the museum of the London Missionary Society.


The sages of Rarotonga erroneously assert that Mangaia was first discovered and inhabited by the famous brother of Tutapu. This is foreign and new. Unquestionably, Rangi and his friends were the first settlers on Mangaia from Savai'i. Other canoes came. In the presence of the new comers, the children of the original settlers, wishing to establish their pre-eminence, boldly asserted that Rangi, etc., came "up," not, as in truth, from the sun-setting, but out of the earth, from (S)avai(k)i, the original home of men and gods, a land in some places much like this, in others filled with horrors. It was, in their opinion, self-evident that all drift canoes were mere waifs predestined to destruction in the presence of a race who grew, as it were, out of the soil.

The Karika family at Rarotonga expressly state that their ancestor came from Manu'a, the easternmost island of the Samoan Group. The family marae of the Makea tribe is therefore named Rangi-Manuka, or "Manu'a (= Manuka) in the skies;" as we say New Britain, New Caledonia, New England, etc., etc. They even state that Karika's great canoe, in which he performed his wonderful voyage, had "two masts," and carried 170 people (okoitu).

It has been already stated that Rangi27 requested the invincible warrior Tangiia to send him one of his sons as a god. Accordingly Motoro was sent, with two of his brothers, Ruanuku [p.26] and Kereteki. Utakea, the third son of Tangiia, started for Mansfaia some time after his brothers. Motoro was the fourth and best beloved son of the great Rarotongan chief. When the three brothersóRuanuku, Kereteki, and Motoroówere halfway on their voyage to Mangaia, a violent quarrel sprang up, the two elder brothers united in throwing Motoro into the sea, where he miserably perished. The fratricides safely landed opposite to the marae of Rongo, and were pleased to see a deep hole in the reef, through which the fresh water from the interior is poured into the ocean. It is surprising to find a large body of pure spring water gurgling up in the midst of the sea. Here they resolved to refresh themselves with a bath after their adventurous voyage. But as the aperture in the sharp coral will not admit of two large men bathing together, the point was hotly contested, who should get in first. It was finally settled that the first-born should enjoy the first bath. The instant Ruanuku's head was under water, his long hair was firmly grasped by Kereteki, to prevent him from raising it again. After a time Kereteki dragged ashore the dead body of the murdered Ruanuku, and buried it.

At a well-known spot on the south of the island afterwards landed Utakea, who lived peaceably with his brother Kereteki. Both lived and died on Mangaia. Very strangely indeed, the cruel Kereteki, twice a fratricide, and his brother Utakea, were worshipped as gods in the next generation. As if in penitence, Kereteki set up the marae sacred to his slain brother Motoro. Here the spirit of Motoro was supposed to reside; and down to the destruction of idolatry, in 1824, this spot was regarded as being the most sacred in the interior; as the marae of Rongo was the most sacred on the sea-shore. A flourishing plantation of plantains now occupies the place of the idol grove.


It was well-known that Motoro's body was devoured by sharks; but then it was asserted that his spirit floated on a piece of hibiscus28 over the crest of the ocean billows until it reached Mangaia, where it was pleased to "inhabit" or "possess" Papaaunuku, and driving him into a frenzy, compelled him to utter his oracles from a foaming mouth. This was just the sort of divinity that Rangi, the first king of Mangaia, wanted. Motoro was at once recognized as the great chiefs own god, and Papaaunuku and his descendants as the priests of the new divinity. As Rongo lived and reigned in the "night," or the shades, so Motoro should live and reign in the "day," or this upper world. The three original tribesóand the kings, invariably worshipped Rongo and Motoro; but many are said to have disapproved of the new worship, correctly regarding Rongo as the great original heathen divinity of Mangaia. Until 1824 both were conjointly worshipped as the supreme deities of this island, Rongo taking the first place.

The family of the first priest of Motoro was named the Amama, or the open-mouthed, to intimate that they were the mouth-pieces of that divinity. To this day this appellation is kept up, although but few know the reason for it.

Makitaka, the last priest of Motoro, embraced Christianity, and died in 1830. The idol itself has long reposed in the museum of the London Missionary Society.

The worshippers of Utakea and Kereteki were, in later times, offered in sacrifice to Rongo and Motoro.

Motoro was proudly called Te io ora, or The-living-god, [p.28] because he alone of "the gods of day" would not permit his worshippers to be offered in sacrifice. The other divinities were styled "io mate," or "dead-gods," as their worshippers were ever eligible for the altar of dread Rongo, who lived in the shades.

The word "io," commonly used for "god," properly means "pith," or "core" of a tree. What the core is to the tree, the god was believed to be to the man. In other words, the gods were the life of mankind. Even when a worshipper of Motoro was slain in fair fight, it was supposed that the enraged divinity would, by some special misfortune or disease, put an end to the offender. Most appropriately and beautifully do the natives transfer the name Io ora, or The-living-god to Jehovah, as His worshippers NEVER die.

Motoro, Kereteki, and Utakea were represented by iron-wood idols in the god-house of the king. On entering that rude reed hut, the dwelling-place of the chief divinities of Mangaia, the first idol was Rongo, in the form of a trumpet-shell; next came the honoured Motoro, the guide of daily life; then came Tane and ten other objects of worship, amongst which were Kereteki and Utakea.

The iron-wood idol called Tane merely, was asserted to represent the fifth son of Vatea; and yet was only third in order of dignity. Tangiia, the fourth son of Vatea, was the last in regard to dignity and order. Of the innumerable objects of fear and worship, only thirteen were admitted to the honour of a place in this rude Pantheon as national gods.



The history of this sovereign of Mangaia is well known. A body of invaders from Atiu was utterly routed by the warlike chief Tiaio. To this day the natives of Atiu make pilgrimages to the spot where their countrymen fell in the olden time.

Tiaio became deservedly famous for this exploit. But some years afterwards his pride led him "to defile the sacred district of Keia," the favourite haunt of the gods, by wearing some beautiful scarlet hibiscus flowers (kaute) in his ears. Now, anything red was forbidden in that part of the island, as being offensive to the gods; the redness of the flower being emblematical of the shedding of blood. Even the beating of native cloth was forbidden, lest the repose of the gods should be disturbed by the noise.

A hot dispute took place about this mark of disrespect to the gods, in which Mouna, priest of Tane-the-man-eater, slew the king with a blow on his head. The blood of Tiaio mingled with the waters of the brook running past the marae of Motoro, and eventually mixed with the ocean. Thenceforth that stream was held to be sacred, and it was fabled that a great fresh-water eelóTunaódrank up the blood of the murdered king, whose spirit at the same time entered the fish. Tuna made its way to the dark deep fissure running underneath the rocks into the sea. The indomitable spirit of Tiaio, having thus succeeded in reaching the ocean, forsook the form of the eel and took possession of the large white shark, the terror of these islanders. The new divinity had a little marae set apart for his worship, close by the more sacred grove of Motoro, and but a few yards from where he fell by the hand of the jealous priest.


The Mautara, or priestly tribe, gave up their ancient divinity, Tane, in favour of this new god. The greatness of Tiaio marks the political supremacy of that warlike clan, which is of recent origin. Tiaio was a "food-eating" god, generally associated with Motoro. His oracles invariably ended with demands for a feasting. This jolly-tempered divinity's last priest was Tereavai, who died a valuable deacon of the church in 1865. A few cocoa-nut trees now mark the site of Mara, the deserted marae of the shark-god.

Rori's life was spared by Manaune, expressly that he might can-e the rough iron-wood representation of Tiaio, which, with the rest, now quietly reposes in the Society's museum.

Koroa refers to this in his "crying" song for his friend Ata, recited at the "death-talk" of Arokapiti, circa 1817.

Kua tae paa i te tiangamama
la Teakatauira e kotia;
Kotia O Ata O Tukua raua
Turou O Mouna O Tane-kai-aro,
Kai-aro ra ia Marua.
E tainga taito ia ne'e, ia kora atu,
I tai pau o Tiaio i te toru, ua tutua e!
Cruel misfortune has again o'ertaken
óThis royal tribe.
Ata and his father Tukua have fallen!
 E'en as once Turou and Mouna, inspired
By Tane-the-man-eater, struck down
Tiaio the king in the olden time.
 Long, long ago was that great man slain.


That is, Tane-striving-for-power. This pretended god was a brave warrior, who gave important assistance to Rangi in the first battle ever fought on Mangaia, in which the invaders from Tonga were defeated with great loss. As his reward he received the chieftainship of Ivirua. After his death his family deified him, and [p.31] erected in his honour the famous marae Maputu, which stands a lasting memorial of cruelty. The entire centre was filled with reeking human heads cut off in cold blood to mark his canonization. It was asserted that whenever this detested divinity took up his abode in any individual, it was made evident by his skin assuming a blood-red colour, and the dying man would, with supernatural strength, fight imaginary foes, or rather unseen demons.

This uncomfortable god had a carved iron-wood form, and was one of the thirteen principal gods of Mangaia now in the museum.


This god was introduced by Tui from Rarotonga. So long as "the royal Tama-tapu," the chief of "the-red-marked-tribe'' maintained their supremacy, this divinity was popular. For some generations prior to the introduction of Christianity, this tribe was almost extinct, and the separate worship of Tekuraaki almost unknown. Yet the carved iron-wood idol remained in the Pantheon until 1824, when it was surrendered to Messrs. Williams and Platt.



Mariu te tapu o Motoro,
Te taka ra i Vairorongo
I te koukou anga vai e!
O turuki o Rongo i kake ei.
I lay aside the sanctity of Motoro
Ere bathing in this sacred stream.
'Twas here his spirit landed,
On this pebbly beach devoted to Rongo.


Kua kake atu au ra i te pa,
E atua noo ata i te kea,
E tail ariki nei.
Ariki Tamatapu i noo i
Taea 'i Aupi i te vai
O nga ariki e puipui aere,
Marina Rongo te tapu i tai e!
It landed on this narrow shore, ó
A god whose shade ever rests
On the sandstone sacred to kings.
Mama Tamatapu once spent a night at Mama,
When the entire valley was flooded.
Such was the might of that king!
I lay aside the sanctity of the shore-dwelling Rongo.

Thus it is evident that many of their gods were originally men, whose spirits were supposed to enter into various birds, fish, reptiles, and insects; and into inanimate objects, such as the triton shell, particular trees, cinet, sandstone, bits of basalt, etc., etc. The greater gods alone had carved images for the convenience of worshippers; the lesser were countless, each individual possessing several. The gods were divided into two orders, "dwellers in day," and "dwellers in the shades, or night." All the thirteen principal gods, save Rongo, were "dwellers in day," i.e. were continually busy in the affairs of mortals; moving, though unseen, in their midst, yet often descending to "night," or to Avaiki, the true home of the major divinities. In like manner those who "dwelt in night" were supposed frequently to ascend to day to take part in the affairs of mankind, but generally preferred to dwell in spirit-land. A few were supposed to remain permanently in the obscurity of Avaiki, or "night."

The "dwellers in day" were believed to hover about in the air, hide themselves in unfrequented caves, besides taking frenzied possession of men and women. These were the divinities of recent human origin.

The lowest depth of heathen degradation is unconsciously [p.33] reached in the worship of phallic stones, such as still exist in Tinian, one of the Ladrone Islands. The scene was one of great interestóa natural grotto converted into a heathen temple, outside of which these degrading rites were performed. The original significance of this embruting form of idolatry is lost, although its symbols are still preserved.


The great word for God throughout Eastern Polynesia is "Atua" (Akua). Archdeacon Maunsell derives this from ''ata" = shadow, which agrees with the idea of spirits being shadows, but I apprehend is absolutely unsupported by the analogy of dialects.

Mr. Ellis29 regards the first a as euphonic, considering "tua" = back, as the essential part of the word, misled by a desire to assimilate it with the "tev" of the Aztec and the "deva" of the Sanscrit. Occasionally, when expressing their belief that the divinity is "the essential support," they express it by the word "ivi-mokotua" = the back-bone, or vertebral column; never by the mere "tua" = back.

That the a is an essential part of the word is indicated by the closely allied expressions "atu" ("fatu" in Tahitian and Samoan) and "aitu;" in the latter the a is lengthened into ai.

A key to the true sense of "atua" exists in its constant equivalent "io," which (as already stated) means the 'core' or 'pith' of a tree.

Analogically, God is the pith, core, or life of man.


Again, "atu" stands for "lord, master;" but strictly and primarily means "core" or "kernel." The core of a boil and the kernel of a fruit are both called the "atu," i.e. the hard and essential part. (The larger kernels are called "katu.") As applied to a "master" or "lord," the term suggests that his favour and protection are essential to the life and prosperity of the serf. By an obvious analogy, the welfare of mankind is derived from the divine "Atu" or "Lord," who is the Core and Kernel of humanity. In the nearly related word "Atua" = God, the final a is passive30 in form but intensive in signification, as if to indicate that He is "the very Core or Life" of man. A person who at a critical moment has lost courage is said to be "topa i te io," i.e. forsaken by his godóthat divine something which imparts courage to fight or to endure. At Rarotonga the 13th phase of each moon is called "Maitu;" at Mangaia, "Atua" (see calendar).

The word "rimu" means moss; "rimua" = moss-grown, the final a as in the word "Atua," being intensive. Thus it comes to pass that "eternity" or "for-ever" is expressed by the phrase "e rimua ua atu"óthe essential part of which is "rimua." The idea is of a lofty tree covered all over with moss, the growth of untold ages. So that the phrase might be rendered "Until covered with the moss of ages" i.e. for ever and ever.

"Tupu" means grow, happen. In the phrase "mei tupua roa mai" (the essential part of which is "tupua") the sense is ''from the very beginning," i.e. from the time when things first began to "tupu" = grow or happen.

A very comprehensive designation for divinities of all kinds is "te anau tuarangi" or the-heavenly family ("tu-a-rangi" = like- [p.35] the-heaven-or-sky). Strangely enough, this celestial race includes rats, lizards, beetles, eels and sharks, and several kinds of birds. The supposition was that "the-heavenly-family" had taken up their abode in these birds, fish, and reptiles.

A common and expressive name for God is "tatua manava" = loin-belt or girdle, as giving strength to fight.


The gods first spake to man through the small land birds; but their utterances were too indistinct to guide the actions of mankind. To meet this emergency an order of priests was set apart, the gods actually taking up their abode, for the time being, in their sacred persons. Priests were significantly named "god-boxes'' (pia-atua),ógenerally abbreviated to "gods," i.e. living embodiments of these divinities.

Whenever consulted, a present of the best food, accompanied with a bowl of intoxicating "piper mythisticum," was indispensable. The priest, throwing himself into a frenzy, delivered a response in language intelligible only to the initiated. A favourite subject of inquiry was "the sin why so and so was ill;" no one being supposed to die a natural death unless decrepit with extreme old age. If a priest cherished a spite against somebody, he had only to declare it to be the will of the divinity that the victim should be put to death or be laid on the altar for some offence against the gods. The best kinds of food were sacred to the priests and chiefs.

Although unsuited for the delivery of oracles, birds were ever regarded as the special messengers of the gods to warn individuals of impending danger; each tribe having its own feathered guardians.


Of their many priests the leading place ever belonged to the "mouth-pieces" of Motoro. These men, significantly known as "the Amama," or "open-mouthed-tribe," in reality ruled the island from the time of Rangi downwards: first as priests of Motoro, and latterly by right of conquest. The two districts belonging to this tribe are the only ones which have not changed hands.

From the gluttonous habits of these priests is derived the phrase, "to gormandize like a god" (kai Atua).


As soon as the child was born, a leaf of the gigantic taro plant (arimi costatwri) was cut off, its sides carefully gathered up, and filled with pure water. Into this extempore baptismal font the child would be placed. First securing with a bit of tapa the part of the navel string nearest the infant, the right hand of the operator longitudinally divided the cord itself with a bamboo knife. The dark coagulated blood was then carefully washed out with water, and the name of the child's god declared, it having been previously settled by the parents whether their little one should belong to the mother's tribe or to the father's. Usually the father had the preference; but occasionally, when the father's family was devoted to furnish sacrifices, the mother would seek to save her child's life by getting it adopted into her own tribe, the name of her own tribal divinity being pronounced over the babe. As a rule, however, the father would stoically pronounce over his child the name of his own god Utakea, Teipe, or Tangiia, which would almost certainly insure its destruction in after years. It was done as a point of honour; besides, the child might not be [p.37] required for sacrifice, although eligible. The bamboo knife would be taken to the marae of the god specified, and thrown on the ground to rot. If a second god's name were pronounced over the child, the bamboo knife would go to one marae and the name of the babe only be pronounced over the second marae. The removal of the coagulated blood was believed to be highly promotive of health, all impurities being thus removed out of the system. Hence the common query in heathen times: "I taia toou pito noai?" = "What divine name was pronounced at the severance of thy navel string?" In other words, "Who is thy god?"

A deacon, still living, told me that his god was to have been Teipe, but when halfway to the marae of that unfortunate god, his father resolved to break his promise to his wife, and actually turned back and presented the knife to Motoroóhis own god. "Had my father not done so, I should long since have been offered in sacrifice, and should not have heard of the one great offering on Calvary," said he with evident feeling.

At Rarotonga, when a boy was born a collection of spears, clubs, and slinging stones was made. When the sun was setting a great taro leaf filled with water was held over these warlike weapons, and the navel string was treated as above described. The idea was that the child should grow up to be a famous warrior.

On the birth of the first-born son of the reigning king Makea, a human victim previously fixed upon was slain. The royal babe was placed upon the dead body for the purpose of severing the navel string, thus indicating the absolute sway he would exercise over the lives of his subjects upon succeeding to the throne of his father.

It is often said to an ill-tempered person, "E pito raka toou" [p.38] = "The name of a devil"31 was pronounced over thy severed navel string,"óthe phrase having outlived the custom.


At convenient intervals the principal king of Mangaia, as high-priest of all the gods, assisted by the priest of Motoro, summoned the young people to their various family maraes to be publicly "named." Some might be verging on manhood or womanhood, whilst others were scarcely able to walk. Standing in a half circle, two or three deep, the operator dipped a few leaves of a beautiful species of myrtle (maire) in the sacred stream flowing past the marae, and sprinkled the assembly; all the while reciting a song or prayer to the particular god at whose shrine they were worshipping, and who was supposed to be the special protector of those present.

At certain pauses in the song the king, as "pontifex maximus," gently tapped each youngster two or three times on the head or shoulders, pronouncing his or her name.

The idea evidently was to secure a public recognition of the god and clanship of each of the rising generationófor their own guidance in the ceremonial of heathen life, and for the guidance of priests and chiefs afterwards. The greatest possible sin in heathenism was "ta atua," i.e. to kill a fellow worshipper by stealth. In general it might be done in battle. Otherwise such a blow was regarded as falling upon the god himself; the literal sense of "ta atua" being god-striking, or god-killing. Such [p.39] crimes were generally the consequence of ignorance: to prevent the priests and chiefs from such blundering, these occasional "namings" were appointed. In the event of war, and a consequent redistribution of lands, the favour of all the principal gods must be secured by favours shown to their worshippersóat least to a selection of a few to keep up the worship of each idol. A great feasting invariably succeeded this ceremony of naming.





The only children of Potiki were twins: the elder, a girl, was named Piri-ere-iia, or Inseparable; the younger was a boy. These children were naturally very fond of each other: whatever the sister wished the brother agreed to. Unhappily, however, their mother, Tarakorekore, was a scold, and gave them no peace. One night the mother went torch-fishing on the reef. The tide, rising at midnight, put an end to her sport; but not before she had obtained a basket full of small bony red fish, called kuku. Upon arriving home, according to invariable native custom, she woke her husband and cooked the fish. Four divisions were made; the parents eating their portions at once. The mother would not agree to her husband's suggestion to wake the children to partake of the warm and savoury midnight feast. However, she carefully put away their portions into their baskets.32


Now, Inseparable and her twin-brother were all the time awake, but did not let their parents know the circumstance. In vain they waited for their mother to fetch them to share their good things. Potiki and Tarakorekore enjoyed a thorough good supper, but their children were not to get a taste until morning. The twins wept in secret. As soon as their parents were soundly asleep. Inseparable proposed to her brother that they should flee away for ever. At first the boy hesitated, but eventually agreed to comply with his sister's wishes. Cautiously opening the sliding door of their house, they started on their journey. Upon reaching an elevated point of rock, they sat down and again wept, each filling a little natural hollow in the rock with their parting tears, without, however, in the least relenting in their purpose. At last they leaped up into the sky, Inseparable holding on to the extremity of her brother's girdle.

As soon as the morning star became visible, the mother went to rouse the children, so that they might eat their fish and taro; but they were gone. Their little bed of fragrant dried grass was cold, though moist with tears. Hastily summoning her husband, a strict search was made. The path taken by the twins was traced by their tears. The little hollows filled from their eyes revealed the spot where they had last rested on earth. But no further trace could be discovered. In utter perplexity the now sorrowful and repentant parents looked up at the sky, where the sun had not yet risen, and, to their great surprise, saw their beloved children shining brightly there. Vainly they called on Inseparable and her brother to return. To stay longer on earth without these dearly loved, though ungrateful, children could not be thought of: so then father and mother leaped right up into the heavens in hot pursuit of the "Twins." But the children had got the start of [p.42] their parents, and made the best of their way through the azure vault. This strange chase is still going on; for the parents have never yet succeeded in overtaking their truant children. All four shine brightly: the parents Potiki and Tarakorekore, being larger, exceed their children in brilliancy. Brother and dearly-loved sister, still linked together, pursue their never-ceasing flight, resolved never again to meet their justly enraged parents.


Eaa te ara i ooro ai nga tamariki a Tarakorekore?
Noa riri paa i te ai kuku na Potiki;
I tu ai i ooro ai ; i tu ai i ooro ai!
Ua vaia au i teia e, ei ta ua taana e!
E kore au e ta; o te ui male ua atu,
Ua kore ake oi e!
Ka akakutu ta ua'i; ka akakutu taua'i.
I moe ana au i Karanga; i moe ana au i Karanga.
I tau metua vaine: kore ua ka rerua koe ikona e!

Wherefore fled the children of Tarakorekore?
Anger at the cooked fish of Potiki.
They stealthily rose, and ran and fled for ever.
Alas! that a mother should thus ill-treat her children.
Such was not my (father's) wish ; and when I intercede,
She will not relent.
She thrashes them,óis always at it.
If one sleeps at Karanga or elsewhere,
Still there is no peace ó only threats and blows.

 These lines were composed by Reinga for a fete held circa 1815. A play is intended on the mother's name "Tarakorekore," which means "never-speak-at-all."

Inseparable and her brother are the double star μ1 and μ2 Scorpii. The irate parents are the two bright stars υ and λ, Scorpii,

The Rev. W. Ellis, in his "Researches," erroneously calls them Gemini, or "The Twins," vol. iii. p. 172, second edition.


I once heard a native preacher say, that Christ and the Christian should be like these twin stars, ever linked togetherócome life, come death. The allusion was happy, and was perfectly understood by all present, the story being a favourite one throughout the islands.


These stars were originally one. Its bright effulgence excited the anger of the god Tane, who got hold of Aldebaran (Aumea) and Sirius (Mere), and chased the offender. The affrighted fugitive ran for his life, and took refuge behind a stream. But Sirius drained off the waters, thus enabling Tane to renew the chase. Finally, Tane hurled Aldebaran bodily against the exhausted fugitive, who was thereby splintered into six shining fragments. This cluster of little stars is appropriately named Mata-riki, or little-eyes, on account of their brightness. It is also designated Tau-ono, or the-six, on account of the apparent number of the fragments; the presence of the seventh star not having been detected by the unassisted native eye.

Reinga thus sings of the wars of the star-gods:ó

Ua riri paa Vena ra ia Aumea,
Noa kite ake i te kakenga.
Noa ui atu i te ara i pao ai Matariki ma
E Mere ma e!
Tuarangi maiti! Tuarangi maiti!
Vena33 was enraged against Aumea, (Aldebaran),
On account of the brilliance of his rising.
She demanded if he recollected the fate of the Pleiades,
Shivered by Sirius and his friends.
Alas ! ye bright-shining gods ! Bright-shining gods!


This beautiful constellation was of extreme importance in heathenism, as its appearance at sunset on the eastern horizon determined the commencement of the new year, which is about the middle of December. The year was divided into two seasons, or tau: the first, when in the evening these stars appeared on or near the horizon ; the second, when at sunset the stars were invisible.

The re-appearance of Pleiades above the horizon at sunset, i.e. the beginning of a new year, was in many islands a time of extravagant rejoicing.

We have already seen that the sun was known as "the eye of Avatea, of Vatea (noon-day)," i.e. the right eye: the left eye of Vatea being the moon.

Venus, as the morning star, was called Tamatanui, i.e. the eye of Tane. The evening star was regarded as a different planet, being known as Takurua-rau. Jupiter was often mistaken for the morning star.

The rainbow was designated "the-girdle-of-Tangaroa," by which the eldest of the gods was accustomed to descend to earth.

The Magellan clouds are known as "nga mau," or the upper and lower mists.


A curious myth obtained in the now almost extinct Tongan tribe relative to the origin of the sun and moon. Vatea and Tonga-iti quarrelled respecting the parentage of the first-born of Papa, each claiming the child as his own. At last the infant was cut in two. Vatea, the husband of Papa, took the upper part as his share, and forthwith squeezed it into a ball and tossed it into the heavens, where it became the sun.


Tonga-iti sullenly allowed his share, the lower half, to remain a day or two on the ground. Seeing the brightness of Vatea's half, he resolved to imitate his example by compressing his share into a ball, and tossing it into the dark sky during the absence of the sun in Avaiki, or nether-world. Thus originated the moon, whose paleness is attributable to the blood having all drained out and decomposition having commenced.

This myth was rejected by the victorious tribes; not on the ground of its excessive absurdity, but on account of its representing Tonga-iti as a husband of Papa, instead of being her third son. By this account the almost extinct tribe of Tongans should take the precedence of their hereditary foes, the descendants of Rongo.

The origin of this myth seems to be this:ó

Day (Vatea) and Night alternately embrace fair Earth (Papa). Their joint offspring are the sun and moon. The cutting of the babe in two was invented in order to account for the paleness of the moon.


The eldest of Kui-the-Blind's four attractive daughters was simply named Ina. Marama (Moon), who from afar had often admired her, became so enamoured of her charms that one night he descended from his place in the heavens to fetch her to be his wife. The goddess Ina became a pattern wife, being always busy; of a clear night one may easily discern a goodly pile of leaves, known as "te rau tao o Ina," for her never-failing oven of food; also her tongs of a split cocoa-nut branch, to enable her to adjust the live coals without burning her fingers.

Ina is indefatigable in the preparation of resplendent cloth, i.e. white clouds. The great stones needful for this purpose are also [p.46] visible. As soon as her tapa is well beaten and brought into the desired shape, she stretches it out to dry on the upper part of the blue sky, the edges all round being secured with the large stones. Ina smoothes out every crease with her own hand, and finally leaves it to bleach.

The cloth manufacture of the goddess is on a much grander scale than any seen in this world; consequently the stones required are of a monstrous size. And when the operation is completed, Ina takes up these stones and casts them aside with violence. Crash, crash they go against the upper surface of the solid vault, producing what mortals call thunder.

Occasionally the goddess first removes the stones from the part of the tapa nearest to her fair person, and then hastily rising empties out, as it were, the whole lot at once. The concussion produced by these ponderous stones falling together is termed by mankind a terrific thunderclap.

Ina's cloth glistens like the sun. Hence it is, that when hastily gathering up her many rolls of whitest tapa, flashes of light fall upon the earth, which are designated lightning.

The great antiquity of this myth is attested by the circumstance that throughout the Hervey Group the only names for "moonlight" and "no moon" refer to Ina. Moonlight is expressed by lna-motea = the-brightness-of-Ina; "no moon," by Ina-poiri = Ina-invisible. In the Samoan "Ina" becomes "Sina;" the word ma-sina = moon, embodies the name of the goddess. In the Tahitian "Ina" becomes "Hina."

At Atiu it is said that Ina took to her celestial abode a mortal husband. After living happily together for many years, she said to [p.47] him, "You are growing old and infirm. Death will soon claim you, for you are a native of earth. This fair home of mine must not be defiled with a corpse. We will therefore embrace and part. Return to earth and there end your days." At this moment Ina caused a beautiful rainbow to span the heavens, by which her disconsolate aged husband descended to earth to die.


Tuanui-ka-rere, or Ttianui-about-to-fly, a demon from the east, is at times subject to excessive fits of rage, in which he thinks nothing of swallowing up the moon whole. Affrighted mortals exclaim, "Alas! a divinity has devoured the moon!" and very anxiously wait to see whether the useful luminary will be restored or not.

Tangiia-ka-rere, or Tangiia-about-to-fly, a demon from the west, was the ill-mannered god who devoured the sun in his anger. It was very comforting to find that in every instance sun and moon were vomited forth whole again, and resumed their old duties, apparently none the worse for what they had endured.

No offerings were made at Mangaia to these demons, as was the invariable custom at Rarotonga, when the irritated Tangaroa was there believed to have done what at Mangaia was attributed to Tangiia and Tuanui.

The upshot, however, was a very serious matter; for the anger of these demons having been vainly exercised against the heavenly bodies, must occasion the death of some man of distinction, to assuage their ire, and as a sort of payment for giving back to mankind those luminaries.

Note the inconsistency of this with the former myth.



The tail of the constellation "Scorpio," consisting of eight stars, two of which are double, is here known by the curious designation of "the great fish-hook of Tongareva." The monstrous myth associated with it is as follows:ó

Vatea, the father of gods and men, whose home was in a part of Avaiki, or nether-world, called The-thin-land, one day went fishing in the deep blue ocean. He carried with him a great fish-hook, which he baited with a star (doubtless an allusion to the bright star, the last in the tail). Notwithstanding this brilliant bait, he caught nothing. Vatea now resolved to imitate the conduct of his mother, Vari-ma-te-takere, i.e. The-very-beginning; accordingly, he pulled a piece of flesh off one of his own thighs and baited his big fish-hook afresh. This time he found that he had got a prize, but it was extraordinarily heavy. Fortunately, however, the line attached to the hook was the strongest known, consisting of many strands of cinet cord plaited round. Vatea pulled away lustily at this line, and was rejoiced at seeing a large dark round mass slowly rising to the surface. This proved to be the island of Tongareva, which had till then lain at the bottom of the deep blue sea. Vastly pleased with this achievement, Vatea hung up his great fish-hook in the sky. Hence its name, "the great fish-hook of Tongareva."

In some islands this constellation is known as "the fish-hook of Maui," with a somewhat similar myth to account for it.

It is not a little remarkable that this group of stars was so called on Mangaia long before any European had discovered the island in question. When found, it was designated in the charts as Penrhyns, without its native name, Tongareva, being known until a schooner, in 1853, had the misfortune to go ashore there.


When discovered, the inhabitants of Penrhyns knew of the existence of Auau (or Mangaia), and asserted that Tavai, the erring wife of their great ancestor Mahuta, was a native of that island.



E aparangi
O te kaua peau nui ka rere
E uoa mai na e taae,
E mataku paa taua e!
E roroa ua na ngutu e!
Like the outstretched heavens
Are the spread wings of the warning bird.
'Tis the incarnation of a god.
One shakes with terror
At the long curved bill.


E roroa ua na ngutu e, e kaua,
E manu no tai enua e!
Oi au ikitia te manu
E tei taraka ae!
Ah, that long curved bill!
'Tis a bird from some other lands
I am the chosen bird
That comes to warn thee.


Oi au ikitia te manu
I taraka, e tai rau, e Tane!
Paoa i te kaki aro, e pauru kaua.
Euea te mata o te marangi nui
Tamatakutaku e!
Omai tai turama ia Mangaia marama e!
E tamatanui aengata ua ao e!
We are all chosen birds,
Messengers of Tane, to save you.
Our bills are long and dangerous.
Reveal thy face, lovely full-moon.
Whom all adore.
O for a torch to illumine Mangaia,
A bright morning star, harbinger of day.


le tutu ake ki runga e!
Nga manu taae, noea koe?
No nunga au, no ua reia e te matangi,
Ua viriviri i te arorangi,
Ra roi mai!
Pray stand erect,
Ye divine birds. Whence came ye?
From the sunrising, driven about
Through the expanse of heaven.
We come to you


Tena oa te anana kaua! Hail flock of warning birds!


Ua ana mai nei koutou? Ha! ye have arrived.



Nako nei maira!
Koki, koka Tangaroa,
Akarongo koumu i te tua o Vatea
Kokiia te rangi.
Tapai ia te rangi.
E rere i te itinga.
E rere i te opunga.
E kapakapa te manu e tau ra.
Welcome to our midst!
In the heavens Tangaroa
Listens to the whispers of Vatea.
Awake, ye winds!
Sweep o'er the skies.
Fly east (ye warning birds),
Fly west.
What a flapping of wings when resting!



Na verovero o te ra
I patia i Avaiki,
O Rongo Nui Maruata
E puta i te rangi.
Ko verovero o te re
la iti pakakina te etu,
E mau te marama
O Rongo te atua tupu a taae,
E tupiti i te moe
E ara! E ara!
E ara, e Tane, i to mata katau,
Aue e ! kua kata te anau Atea
I te rara varu!
Kua itirere i te popongi.
Kua ao e!
Rum i te tere ia Tiki,
Ka aere ei!
See yon rays of light
Darting up from spirit-world
(Where Great Rongo reigns),
Piercing the heavens.
The rays of light are lengthening;
The stars still shine;
The moon is full-orbed.
Rongo, thou fiercest of gods,
Arouse all sleepers, e'en those
As profound as Tavare of old.
Awake! Awake!
Open, Tane, thy brilliant right eye.
Ha! all the divine offspring of Vatea
Laugh at our brave diversion.
Day is at hand.
'Tis dawn.
The fete of Tiki is over.
We part.

Six men in masks represented the warning birds. As incarnations of Tane they come from "the sunrising." The "brilliant right eye" of Tane is Venus.

"Tavare" is the legendary sound sleeper (the mother of Moke), who passed each winter in unconsciousness.





Originally fire was unknown to the inhabitants of this world, who of necessity ate raw food.

In nether-world (Avaiki) lived four mighty ones: Mauike, god of fire; the Sun-god Ra; Ru, supporter of the heavens; and lastly, his wife Buataranga, guardian of the road to the invisible world.

To Ru and Buataranga was born a famous son Maui. At an early age Maui was appointed one of the guardians of this upper world where mortals live. Like the rest of the inhabitants of the world, he subsisted on uncooked food. The mother, Buataranga, occasionally visited her son; but always ate her food apart, out of a basket brought with her from nether-land. One day, when she was asleep, Maui peeped into her basket and discovered cooked food. Upon tasting it, he was decidedly of opinion that it was a great improvement upon the raw diet to which he was accustomed. This food came from nether-world; it was evident that the secret of fire was there. To nether-world, [p.52] the home of his parents, he would descend to gain this knowledge, so that ever after he might enjoy the luxury of cooked food.

On the following day Buataranga was about to descend to Avaiki (nether-world), when Maui followed her through the bush without her knowing it. This was no difficult task, as she always came and returned by the same road. Peering through the tall reeds, he saw his mother standing opposite a black rock, which she addressed as followsó

Buataranga i tona rua, e rarangatu koe.
E anuenue i akarongoia atu ei.
Opipiri,34 Oeretue-i-te-ata e!
Vaia, vai akera i te rua i Avaiki, nga taae!
Buataranga, descend thou bodily through this chasm.
The rainbow-like must be obeyed.
As two dark clouds parting at dawn,
Open, open up my road to nether-world, ye fierce ones.

At these words the rock divided, and Buataranga descended. Maui carefully treasured up these magic words; and without delay started off to see the god Tane, the owner of some wonderful pigeons. He earnestly begged Tane to lend him one; but the proffered pigeon not pleasing Maui, was at once returned to its owner. A better pigeon was offered to the fastidious borrower, but was rejected. Nothing would content Maui but the possession of Akaotu, or Fearless, a red pigeon, specially prized by Tane. It was so tame that it knew its name; and, wander wherever it might, it was sure to return to its master. Tane, who was loth to part from his pet, extracted a promise from Maui that the pigeon should be restored to him uninjured. Maui now set off in high spirits, carrying with him his red pigeon, to the place where his mother had descended. Upon pronouncing the magic words which he had overheard, to his great delight the rock opened, and Maui, entering the pigeon, descended. Some assert [p.53] that Maui transformed himself into a small dragon-fly, and perched upon the back of the pigeon, made his descent. The two fierce guardian demons of the chasm, enraged at finding themselves imposed upon by a stranger, made a grab at the pigeon, intending to devour it. Fortunately, however, for the borrower, they only succeeded in getting possession of the tail; whilst the pigeon, minus its beautiful tail, pursued its flight to the shades. Maui was grieved at the mishap which had overtaken the pet bird of his friend Tane.

Arrived at nether-land, Maui sought for the home of his mother. It was the first house he saw: he was guided to it by the sound of her cloth-flail. The red pigeon alighted on an oven-house opposite to the open shed where Buataranga was beating out cloth. She stopped her work to gaze at the red pigeon, which she guessed to be a visitor from the upper world, as none of the pigeons in the shades were red. Buataranga said to the bird, "Are you not come from 'daylight?'" The pigeon nodded assent. "Are you not my son Maui?" inquired the old woman. Again the pigeon nodded. At this Buataranga entered her dwelling, and the bird flew to a bread-fruit tree. Maui resumed his proper human form, and went to embrace his mother, who inquired how he had descended to nether-world, and the object of his visit. Maui avowed that he had come to learn the secret of fire. Buataranga said, "This secret rests with the fire-god Mauike. When I wish to cook an oven, I ask your father Ru to beg a lighted stick from Mauike." Maui inquired where the fire-god lived. His mother pointed out the direction, and said it was called Are-aoa = house-of-banyan-sticks. She entreated Maui to be careful, "for the fire-god is a terrible fellow, of a very irritable temper."


Maui now walked up boldly towards the house of the fire-god, guided by the curling column of smoke. Mauike, who happened at the moment to be busy cooking an oven of food, stopped his work and demanded what the stranger wanted. Maui replied, "A fire-brand." The fire-brand was given. Maui carried it to a stream running past the bread-fruit tree and there extinguished it. He now returned to Mauike and obtained a second fire-brand, which he also extinguished in the stream. The third time a lighted stick was demanded of the fire-god, he was beside himself with rage. Raking the ashes of his oven, he gave the daring Maui some of them on a piece of dry wood. These live coals were thrown into the stream as the former lighted sticks had been.

Maui correctly thought that a fire-brand would be of little use unless he could obtain the secret of fire. The brand would eventually go out; but how to reproduce the fire? His object therefore was to pick a quarrel with the fire-god, and compel him by sheer violence to yield up the invaluable secret, as yet known to none but himself. On the other hand, the fire-god, confident in his own prodigious strength, resolved to destroy this insolent intruder into his secret. Maui for the fourth time demanded fire of the enraged fire-god. Mauike ordered him away, under pain of being tossed into the air; for Maui was small of stature. But the visitor said he should enjoy nothing better than a trial of strength with the fire-god. Mauike entered his dwelling to put on his war-girdle (ume i tona maro); but on returning found that Maui had swelled himself to an enormous size. Nothing daunted at this, Mauike boldly seized him with both hands and hurled him to the height of a cocoa-nut tree. Maui contrived in falling to make himself so light that he was in no degree hurt by his adventure. Mauike, maddened that his adversary should yet breathe, [p.55] exerted his full strength, and next time hurled him far higher than the highest cocoa-nut tree that ever grew. Yet Maui was uninjured by his fall; whilst the fire-god lay panting for breath.

It was now Maui's turn. Seizing the fire-god he threw him up to a dizzy height, and caught him again like a ball with his hands. Without allowing Mauike to touch the ground, he threw him a second time into the air, and caught him in his hands. Assured that this was but a preparation for a final toss which would seal his fate, the panting and thoroughly exhausted Mauike entreated Maui to stop and to spare his life. Whatever he desired should be his.

The fire-god, now in a miserable plight, was allowed to breathe awhile. Maui said, "Only on one condition will I spare you;ótell me the secret of fire. Where is it hidden? How is it produced?" Mauike gladly promised to tell him all he knew, and led him inside his wonderful dwelling. In one corner there was a quantity of fine cocoa-nut fibre; in another, bundles of fire-yielding sticksóthe "au,"35 the "oronga,"36 the "taninu," and particularly the "aoa,"37 or banyan tree. These sticks were all dry and ready for use. In the middle of the room were two smaller sticks by themselves. One of these the fire-god gave to Maui, desiring him to hold it firmly, while he himself plied the other most vigorously. And thus runsó


Ika, ika i taku ai e!
Te aoaoaoa.
Grant, oh grant me thy hidden fire,
Thou banvan tree!


Tutuki i te pupu;
Ka ai i te karakia.
Te aoaoaoa.
Kia ka te ai a Mauike
I nunga i te papanga aoa e!
Perform an incantation;
Utter a prayer to (the spirit of)
The banyan tree !
Kindle a fire for Mauike
Of the dust of the banyan tree!

By the time this song was completed, Maui to his great joy perceived a faint smoke arising out of the fine dust produced by the friction of one stick upon another. As they persevered in their work the smoke increased; and, favoured with the fire-god's breath, a slight flame arose, when the fine cocoa-nut fibre was called into requisition to catch and increase the flame. Mauike now called to his aid the different bundles of sticks, and speedily got up a blazing fire, to the astonishment of Maui. The grand secret of fire was secured. But the victor resolved to be revenged for his trouble and his tossing in the air, by setting fire to his fallen adversary's abode. In a short time all nether-world was in flames, which consumed the fire-god and all he possessed. Even the rocks cracked and split with the heat: hence the ancient saying, "The rocks at Orovaru38 (in the shades) are burning."

Ere leaving the land of ghosts, Maui carefully picked up the two fire-sticks, once the property of Mauike, and hastened to the bread-fruit tree, where the red pigeon "Fearless" quietly awaited his return. His first care was to restore the tail of the bird, so as to avoid the anger of Tane. There was no time to be lost, for the flames were rapidly spreading. He re-entered the pigeon, which carried his fire-sticks one in each claw, and flew to the lower entrance of the chasm. Once more pronouncing the words he learnt from Buataranga, the rocks parted, and he safely got back [p.57] to this upper world. Through the good offices of his mother the pigeon met with no opposition from the fierce guardians of the road to the shades. On again entering into light the red pigeon took a long sweep, alighting eventually in a lovely secluded valley, which was thenceforth named Rupe-tau, or the pigeon's-resting-place, Maui now resumed his original human form, and hastened to carry back the pet bird of Tane.

Passing through the main valley of Keia, he found that the flames had preceded him, and had found an aperture at Teaoa, since closed up. The kings Rangi and Mokoiro trembled for their land; for it seemed as if everything would be destroyed by the devouring flames. To save Mangaia from utter destruction, they exerted themselves to the utmost, and finally succeeded in putting out the fire. Rangi thenceforth adopted the new name of Matamea, or Watery-eyes, to commemorate his sufferings; and Mokoiro was ever after called Auai, or Smoke.

The inhabitants of Mangaia availed themselves of the conflagration to get fire and to cook food. But after a time the fire went out, and as they were not in possession of the secret, they could not get new fire.

But Maui was never without fire in his dwelling: a circumstance that excited the surprise of all. Many were the inquiries as to the cause. At length he took compassion on the inhabitants of the world, and told them the wonderful secretóthat fire lies hidden in the hibiscus, the urtica argentea, the "tauinu," and the banyan. This hidden fire might be elicited by the use of fire-sticks, which he produced. Finally, he desired them to chant the fire-god's song, to give efficacy to the use of the fire-sticks.

From that memorable day all the dwellers in this upper world used fire-sticks with success, and enjoyed the luxuries of light and cooked food.


To the present time this primitive method of obtaining fire is still in vogue; cotton, however, being substituted for fine cocoa-nut fibre as tinder. It was formerly supposed that only the four kinds of wood found in the fire-god's dwelling would yield fire.

"Aoa" means banyan-tree; for intensity and for rhythm the word is lengthened into "aoaoaoa." The banyan was sacred to the fire-god.

The spot where the flames are said to have burst through, named Te-aoa, or the the-banyan-tree, was sacred until Christianity induced the owner to convert the waste land into a couple of excellent taro patches.

Often when listening to the story of this Polynesian Prometheus, the question has been proposed to me, "Who taught your ancestors the art of kindling fire?"

At Rarotonga Buataranga becomes Ataranga; at Samoa Talanga. In the Samoan dialect Mauike becomes Mafuie.


The sky is built of solid blue stone. At one time it almost touched the earth; resting upon the stout broad leaves of the teve (which attains the height of about six feet) and the delicate indigenous arrow-root (whose slender stem rarely exceeds three feet). The unique flattened-out form of these leaves, like millions of outspread hands pressing upwards, is the result of having to sustain this enormous weight. In this narrow space between earth and sky the inhabitants of this world were pent up. Ru, whose usual residence was in Avaiki, or the shades, had come up [p.59] for a time to this world of ours. Pitying the wretched confined residence of its inhabitants, he very laudably employed himself in endeavouring to raise the sky a little. For this purpose he cut a number of strong stakes of different kinds of trees, and firmly planted them in the ground at Rangimotia, the centre of the island and of the world. This was a considerable improvement, as mortals were thereby enabled to stand erect and to walk about without inconvenience. Hence Ru was named "The sky-supporter." Wherefore Teka sings (1794):ó

Tuperetuki i te rangi,
E Ru e, ua niareva.
Force up the sky, O Ru,
And let the space be clear!

One day, when the old man was surveying his work, his graceless son Maui contemptuously asked him what he was doing there. Ru replied, "Who told youngsters to talk? Take care of yourself, or I will hurl you out of existence." "Do it then," shouted Maui. Ru was as good as his word, and forthwith seized Maui, who was small of stature, and threw him to a great height. In falling Maui assumed the form of a bird, and lightly touched the ground perfectly unharmed. Maui, now thirsting for revenge, in a moment resumed his natural form, but exaggerated to gigantic proportions, and ran to his father saying:ó

Ru tokotoko i te rangi tuatini,
Tuatoru, ka ruatiaraurau !
Ru, who supports the many heavensó
The third, even to the highest, ascend!

Inserting his head between the old man's legs, he exerted all his prodigious strength, and hurled poor Ru, sky and all, to a tremendous heightóso high, indeed, that the azure sky could never get back again. Unluckily, however, for "the-sky-supporting-Ru," his head and shoulders got entangled among the stars. He struggled hard, but fruitlessly, to extricate himself Maui walked off well [p.60] pleased with having raised the sky to its present height ; but left half his father's body and both his legs ingloriously suspended between heaven and earth. Thus perished Ru. His body rotted away, and his bones, of vast proportions, came tumbling down from time to time, and were shivered on the earth into countless fragments. These shivered "bones of Ru" are scattered over every hill and valley of Mangaia, to the very edge of the sea.

"The district" (said my narrator) "where Ru's bones are supposed to have fallen is on the northern part of the island, and derives its name from this circumstance. It belongs to me."

It is true that what is universally known in these islands as "the bones of Ru" (te ivi o Ru), is found all over the island in small quantities. Upon repeated careful examinations these "bones" proved to be common pumice stone. The largest "bone" I have ever seen on the island is about the size of a man's fist. The peculiar lightness and bonelike appearance of pumice stone doubtless suggested the idea that it was the veritable remains of a famous hero of antiquity. The younger natives now know pretty well the volcanic origin of these mythical "bones."

In 1862, when at Pukapuka, or Danger Island, where two years afterwards the first John Williams was wrecked, the natives brought me a large collection of idols of secondary rank. They piled them up in a heap before me. My curiosity was aroused by seeing an old man, formerly a priest, carrying what seemed to be a large lump of coal with evident ease. Upon carefully looking at it, this god proved to be merely pumice stone blackened by long exposure to rain and wind. Of course it had drifted from some other island. It was known as Ko te toka mama i.e. the-light-stone, and was regarded as the god [p.61] of the wind and the waves. Upon occasions of a hurricane, incantations and offerings of food would be made to it. Such worship will be made no more; for it is now deposited with the other gods in the museum of the University of Sydney. Pumice stone was not regarded as being sacred in the Hervey Group.


Maui had secured fire for the advantage of mortals, had elevated the sky; but there remained one great evil to be remediedóthe sun had a trick of setting every now and then, so that it was impossible to get through any work. Even an oven of food could not be prepared and cooked before the sun had set. Nor could a "karakia," or incantation to the gods, be chanted through ere they were overtaken by darkness. Maui resolved to remove this great evil.

Now Ra, or the Sun, is a living creature and divine; in form resembling a man, and possessed of fearful energy. His golden locks are displayed morning and evening to mankind. Buataranga advised her son not to have anything to do with Ra, or the Sun, as many had at different times endeavoured to regulate his movements, and had all signally failed. But the redoubtable Maui was not to be discouraged. He resolved to capture the Sun-god Ra, and compel him to obey the dictates of his conqueror.

Maui now carefully plaited six great ropes of strong cocoa-nut fibre, each composed of four strands, and of a great length. These wonderful cords of his were named by the inventor Aei-ariki39 i.e. royal nooses. Maui started off with his ropes to the distant aperture through which the Sun climbs up from Avaiki, or [p.62] the land of ghosts, into the heavens, and there laid a slip-noose for him. Further on in the Sun's path a second trap was laid. In fact, all the six ropes were placed at distant intervals along the accustomed route of Ra, or the Sun.

Very early in the morning the unsuspecting Sun clambered up from Avaiki to perform his usual journey through the heavens. Maui was lying in wait near the first "royal noose," and exultingly pulled it; but it slipped down the Sun's body, and only caught his feet. Maui ran forward to look after the second noose, but that likewise slipped. Luckily, however, it closed round the Sun's knees. The third caught him round the hips ; the fourth, round the waist ; the fifth, under the arms. Still the Sun went tearing on his path, scarcely heeding the contrivances of Maui. But happily for Maui's designs, the sixth and last of the "royal nooses" caught the Sun round the neck! Ra, or the Sun, now terribly frightened, struggled hard for his liberty, but to no purpose. For Maui pulled the rope so tight as almost to strangle the Sun, and then fastened the end of his rope to a point of rock.

Ra, or the Sun, now nearly dead, confessed himself to be vanquished; and fearing for his life, gladly agreed to the demand of Maui, that in future he should be a little more reasonable and deliberate in his movements through the heavens, so as to enable the inhabitants of this world to get through their employments with ease.

The Sun-god Ra was now allowed to proceed on his way; but Maui wisely declined to take off these ropes, wishing to keep Ra in constant fear. These ropes may still be seen hanging from the Sun at dawn, and when he descends into the ocean at night. By the assistance of these ropes he is gently let down into Avaiki, and in the morning is raised up out of the shades.


Of course this extravagant myth refers to what English children call "the sun drawing up water;" or, as these islanders still say, "Tena te taura a Maui i" = "Behold the ropes of Maui!"

It is interesting to note that the great Polynesian name for the Sun-god is Ra, as was the case in ancient Egyptóentering into the composition of the regal title "Pharaoh," etc. The rule of each great temporal sovereign was indifferently called a "mangaia"40 = peaceful reign, or a "koina-ra" = bright shining of the sun, the sovereign chief, of course, being the sun. Sometimes he was called "the man who holds the Ra (sun);" at other times "the Sun(Ra)-eater." At death, or the transference of the supreme temporal power, it was naturally said, "the Ra has set."

Ra was the tutelary god of Borabora.

Such are the three great achievements of Maui. Nothing more is related of him in the Hervey Group, save that he was driven away by Rangi for setting the rocks on fire.

A husband is lovingly called by his wife her "rua-ra" = sun-hole, in allusion to the preceding myth, as from him comes the light of her life. The husband gallantly calls the wife his "are-rau," = well-thatched house,ówhere his affections repose. These are standard expressions in hourly use.


On the island of Rarotonga once lived Manuahifare and his wife Tongoifare, offspring of the god Tangaroa. Their eldest son was named Maui the First, the next Maui the Second. Then fol- [p.64] lowed their sister Inaika = Ina-the-Fish. The youngest was a boy, Maui the Third. Like all other young Polynesians, these children delighted in the game of hide-and-seek. One day Inaika hid her pet brother, Maui the Third, under a pile of dry sticks and leaves, and then desired the elder boys to search for him. They sought everywhere in vain. Inaika at last pointed to the pile, and naturally expected to see her little brother emerge from his hiding-place, as the sticks were scattered to the right and left. The heap had disappeared, but no Maui was to be seen. What had become of him? But after a few minutes they were astonished to see him start up from under a few bits of decayed wood and some leaves which had been thoroughly searched a few seconds before. This was the first intimation of Maui the Third's future greatness.

This wonderful lad had noticed that his father, Manuahifare, mysteriously disappeared at dawn of every day; and in an equally mysterious way came back again to their dwelling at night. He resolved to discover this secret, which seemed to him the more strange as, being the favourite, he slept by the side of Manuahifare, and yet never knew when or how he disappeared. One night he lay awake until his father unfastened his girdle in order to sleep. Very cautiously did Maui, the Younger, take up one end and place it under himself, without attracting his father's notice. Early next morning, this precocious son was roused from his slumbers by the girdle being pulled from under him. This was just as he desired; he lay perfectly still, to see what would become of Manuahifare. The unsuspecting parent went, as he was wont, to the main pillar of his dwelling, and saidó

O pillar! open, open up,
That Manuahifare may enter and descend to nether-world (Avaiki).
The pillar immediately opened, and Manuahifare descended.


That same day the four children of Manuahifare went back to their old game of hide-and-seek. This time Maui the Younger told his brothers and sister to go outside the house, whilst he should look out for some place to hide in. As soon as they were out of sight, he went up to the post through which his father had disappeared, and pronounced the magic words he had overheard. To his great joy the obedient post opened up, and Maui boldly descended to the nether regions. Manuahifare was greatly surprised to see his son down there; but after saluting (literally, "smelling") him, quietly proceeded with his work.

Maui the Third went on an exploring tour through these unknown subterranean regions, the entrance to which he had luckily discovered. Amongst other wonderful things, he fell in with a blind old woman bending over a fire where her food was being cooked. In her hand she held a pair of tongs (i.e. a green cocoa-nut midrib, split open). Every now and then she carefully took up a live coal, and placed it on one side, supposing it to be food, whilst the real food was left to burn to cinder in the fire! Maui inquired her name, and, to his surprise, found it was Inaporari, or Ina-the-Blind, his own grandmother. The clever grandson heartily pitied the condition of the poor old creature, but would not reveal his own name. Close to where he stood watching the futile cooking of Ina-the-Blind grew four nono trees (Morinda citrifolia). Taking up a stick, he gently struck the nearest of the four trees. Ina-the-Blind angrily said, "Who is that meddling with the nono belonging to Maui the Elder?" The bold visitor to nether-world then walked up to the next tree and tapped it gently. Again the ire of Ina-the-Blind was excited, and she shouted, "Who is this meddling with the nono of Maui the Second?" The audacious boy struck a third tree, and found it [p.66] belonged to his sister Inaika. He now exultingly tapped the fourth and last nono tree, and heard his old grandmother ask, "Who is this meddling with the nono of Maui the Third?" "I am Maui the Third,'' said the visitor. ''Then," said she, "you are my grandson, and this is your own tree."

Now when Maui first looked at his own nono tree, it was entirely destitute of leaves and fruit; but after Ina-the-Blind had spoken to him, he again looked and was surprised to see it covered with glossy leaves and fine apples, though not ripe. Maui climbed up into the tree, and plucked one of the apples. Biting off a piece of it, he stepped up to his grandmother and threw it into one of her blind eyes. The pain was excruciating, but sight was at once restored to the eye which had so long been blind. Maui plucked another apple, and biting off a piece of it, threw it into the other eye of his grandmotheróand lo! sight was restored to it also. Ina-the-Blind was delighted to see again, and, in gratitude, said to her grandson, "All above, and all below" (= all on earth and all in spirit-land) "are subject to thee, and to thee only."

Ina, once called the-Blind, now instructed Maui in all things found within her territory; that as there were four species of nono, so there are four varieties of cocoa-nuts and four of taro in Avaiki, i.e. one for each child of Manuahifare.

Maui asked Ina, "Who is lord of fire?" She replied, "Thy grandfather Tangaroa-tui-mata," (or Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face). "Where is he?" inquired Maui. "Yonder," rejoined his grand-mother; "but do not go to him. He is a terribly irritable fellow: you will surely perish." But as Maui persisted, the grateful goddess Ina said, "There are two roads to his dwelling. One of these is the path of death; whoever unwittingly approaches the [p.67] Great Tangaroa by this path, dies. The other is the 'common,' or 'safe' (noa) road." Maui disdained to choose the path of safety. Knowing his own prowess, he boldly trod the path of death.

Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face, seeing Maui advancing, raised his right hand to kill himóthat hand which as yet had never failed to destroy its victim. But Maui, nothing daunted, lifted Ms right hand. At this Tangaroa, not liking the aspect of Maui, raised his right foot, for the purpose of kicking to death the luckless intruder. But Maui was prepared to do the same to the lord of fire with his right foot. Astounded at this piece of audacity, Tangaroa demanded his name. The visitor replied, "I am Maui the Younger." The god now knew it to be his own grandson.

"What did you come for?" "To get fire," was the response of Maui. Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face gave him a lighted stick, and sent him away. Maui walked to a short distance, and finding some water, like that dividing the two islets collectively called Manihiki, extinguished the lighted stick. Three times this process was repeated. The fourth time all the firebrands were gone, and Tangaroa had to fetch two dry sticks to rub together, in order to produce fire. Maui held the under one for his grandfather; but just as the fine dust in the groove was igniting, the impudent Maui blew it all away. Tangaroa, justly irritated at this, drove Maui away, and summoned a "kakaia," or tern, to come to his assistance to hold down the lower piece of wood, whilst Tangaroa diligently worked again with the other stick. At last, to the infinite joy of Maui, fire was obtained. It was no longer a mystery. Maui suddenly snatched the upper stick, one end of which was burning, out of the hand of Tangaroa. The patient bird of white plumage still firmly clutched with her claws the under fire-stick, when Maui purposely burnt either side of the [p.68] eye of the bird. The indignant tern, smarting at this ill-requital, fled away for ever. Hence the black marks, resembling a pair of eyebrows, on either side of the eye of this beautiful bird to this day. Tangaroa reproached his grandson with having thus wantonly deprived him of the valuable services of his favourite bird. Maui deceitfully said, "Your bird will come back."

Maui next proposed to Tangaroa that they should both fly up to day-light through the hole by which the bird had escaped. The god inquired how this could be accomplished. Maui at once volunteered to show the way, and actually flew to a considerable height like a bird. Tangaroa-of-the-tattooed-face was greatly delighted. Maui came down to the ground, and urged his grand-father to imitate his example. ''Nothing," said Maui, "is easier than to fly." At his grandson's suggestion, Tangaroa put on his glorious girdle, by mortals called the rainbow, and, to his immense delight, succeeded in rising above the loftiest cocoa-nut tree. The crafty Maui took care to fly lower than Tangaroa, and getting hold of one end of the old man's girdle, he gave it a smart pull, which brought down poor Tangaroa from his giddy elevation. The fall killed Great Tangaroa.

Pleased with his achievement in getting the secret of fire from his grandfather and then killing him, he returned to his parents, who had both descended to nether-land. Maui told them he had got the secret of fire, but withheld the important circumstance that he had killed Tangaroa. His parents expressed their joy at his success, and intimated their wish to go and pay their respects to the Supreme Tangaroa. Maui objected to their going at once. "Go," said he, "on the third day. I wish to go myself to-morrow." The parents of Maui acquiesced in this arrangement. Accordingly, on the next day Maui went to the abode of Tangaroa, [p.69] and found the body entirely decomposed. He carefully collected the bones, put them inside a cocoa-nut shell, carefully closed the tiny aperture, and finally gave them a thorough shaking. Upon opening the cocoa-nut shell, he found his grandfather to be alive again. Liberating the divinity from his degrading imprisonment, he carefully washed him, anointed him with sweet-scented oil, fed him, and then left him to recover strength in his own dwelling.

Maui now returned to his parents Manuahifare and Tongoifare, and found them very urgent to see Tangaroa. Again Maui said, "Wait till to-morrow." The fact was, he greatly feared their displeasure, and had secretly resolved to make his way back to the upper world he had formerly inhabited whilst his parents were on their visit to Tangaroa.

Upon visiting the god on the morning of the third day, Manuahifare and Tongoifare were greatly shocked to find that he had entirely lost his old proud bearing, and that on his face were the marks of severe treatment. Manuahifare asked his father Tangaroa the cause of this. "Oh," said the god, "your terrible boy has been here ill-treating me. He killed me; then collected my bones, and rattled them about in an empty cocoa-nut shell; he then finally made me live again, scarred and enfeebled, as you see. Alas ! that fierce son of yours."

The parents of Maui wept at this, and forthwith came back to the old place in Avaiki in quest of their son, intending to scold him well. But he had made his escape to the upper world, where he found his two brothers and his sister Inaika in mourning for him whom they never expected to see again.

Maui the Third told them that he had made a grand discoveryóhe had obtained the secret of fire. He had found a new land.


"Where is it situated?" inquired they. "Down there" said Maui the Younger. "Down where?" they demanded. "Down there," again shouted Maui. The fact was, they were not aware of the secret opening in their house leading to Avaiki. At the earnest solicitation of Maui, they all consented to follow him. Accordingly, he went to the old post of their dwelling, and said as before:ó

O pillar! open, open up,
That we all may enter and descend to nether-world.

At these words the wonderful pillar at once opened, and all four descended. Maui showed them all the wonders of spirit-world, and when at length their curiosity was perfectly satisfied, he conducted them back to the upper world of light, to which they all properly belonged.


Food was now cooked by the inhabitants of this upper world, whereas formerly it was eaten raw. But the Sun-god Ra used to set in mad haste, ere the family oven could be properly cooked. Maui considered how he could remedy this great evil. A strong rope of cocoa-nut fibre was made and laid round the aperture by which the Sun-god climbed up from Avaiki (nether-world). But it was in vain. Still stronger ropes were made; but all to no purpose. Maui fortunately bethought himself of his beloved sister's hair, which was remarkably long and beautiful. He cut off some of Inaika's locks and plaited it into rope, placed it round the aperture, and then hid himself The moment the Sun-god Ra emerged from spirit-world in the east, Maui quickly pulled one end of the cord and caught him round the throat with the slip- [p.71] knot. The hitherto unmanageable monster bellowed and writhed in his vain efforts to extricate himself. Almost at the last gasp, he begged Maui to release him on any terms he pleased. The victorious Maui said that if he would pledge himself to go on his course at a more reasonable rate, he should be released. The promise was readily given by the trembling captive, and hence it is that ever since the inhabitants of this upper world have enjoyed sufficient sunlight to complete the duties of the day.


Originally the heavens almost touched the earth. Maui resolved to elevate the sky, and fortunately succeeded in obtaining the assistance of Ru. Maui stationed himself at the north, whilst Ru took up his position in the south.

Prostrate on the ground, at a given signal they succeeded in raising a little with their backs the solid blue mass. Now pausing awhile on their knees, they gave it a second lift. Maui and Ru were now able to stand upright; with their shoulders they raised the sky higher still. The palms of their hands, and then the tips of their fingers, enabled these brave fellows to elevate it higher and higher. Finally, drawing themselves out to gigantic proportions, they pushed the entire heavens up to the very lofty position which they have ever since occupied.

But the work was not complete, for the surface of the sky was very irregular. Maui and Ru got a large stone adze apiece, and therewith chipped off the roughest parts of the sky, thus giving it a perfectly oval appearance. They now procured superior adzes, in order to finish off the work so auspiciously commenced. Maui and Ru did not cease to chip, chip, chip at the blue vault, until it became faultlessly smooth and beautiful, as we see it now!



A native of Rarotonga, named Iku, was a noted fisherman. He was accustomed to go out to sea a great distance, and yet safely find his way back with abundance of fish. The obvious reason of this was that Iku knew the names and movements of the stars ; and by them he steered his course at night.

Upon one occasion this Rarotongan fisherman, at a great distance from his home, discovered a vast block of stone at the bottom of the ocean. This was the island of Manihiki. Iku made sail for Rarotonga to tell what he had seen.

The three brothers Maui heard Iku tell his story of this submarine island, and determined to get possession of it for themselves. Accordingly, without giving the discoverer the slightest hint of their intentions, they sailed in a large canoe to the north (a distance of 600 miles) in quest of the sunken island. Many days passed in weary search, ere they were rewarded with a sight of the great block of coral at the bottom of the sea.

Maui the Elder now baited his large hook with a piece of raw fish, and let it down. The bait took; and Maui the Elder pulled hard at the line. As the fish drew near the surface, he asked his brother whether it was a shark or a kakai. They pronounced it to be a kakai.

Maui the Second next baited his hook, and like his brother caught only a kakai.

It was now Maui the Younger's turn to try his luck. He selected as bait the young bud41 of the cocoa-nut, which he had brought with him for the purpose. This he wrapped up in a leaf [p.73] of the laurel tree. A very strong line was attached to the hook, and then let down. Maui soon found that he had got hold of something very heavy, and he in his turn asked his brothers what sort of fish was on his hook. They sapiently assured him that "it was either a shark or a kakai."

Maui found his prize to be intolerably heavy, so he put forth all his hidden strength, and up came the entire island of Manihiki! As the island neared the surface, the canoe in which the three brothers were, broke in two with the mighty straining of Maui the Younger. His two brothers were precipitated into the ocean and drowned. Luckily for Maui the Younger, one of his feet rested on the solid coral of the ascending island. At length Manihiki rose high and dry above the breakers, drawn up from the ocean depths by the exertions of the now solitary Maui.

Maui surveyed his island possession with great satisfaction, for this he regarded as his crowning achievement. There was, however, one serious defect,óthere was no canoe passage. Maui at once set to work upon a part of the reef, and made the excellent opening for canoes which distinguishes Manihiki above many other islands.

Not long afterwards Iku came back to his favourite fishing-ground. Great was his surprise and indignation to find Manihiki raised up from the ocean depths by the efforts of Maui, and already inhabited by him. Iku resolved to slay Maui for doing this. He got ashore at the passage which his adversary had so conveniently made, and fought with Maui. In this fight Maui retreated to a certain spot, stamped his foot with great violence, and so broke off a part of what now constitutes one extremity of the sister islet of Rakaanga.

Iku feared not this exhibition of the prowess of Maui, and [p.74] again pursued him with intent to kill him. Maui now ran to the opposite side of Manihiki, and again violently stamped the earth with his foot; and thus it was that the originally large island of Manihiki was cleft into two equal parts, one of which retains the ancient designation Manihiki, the other is called Rakaanga. A wide ocean channel (of twenty-five miles) separates these twin coral islands. Finally, Maui ascended up into the heavens and was seen no more.

On the island of Rakaanga visitors are shown a hollow in a rock near the sea, closely resembling a human foot-print of the ordinary size. This is called "the foot-print of Maui''ówhere his right foot rested when the canoe parted, and he had almost sunk in the ocean. Close by is a hole in the coral, said to be the place where Maui's fish-hook held fast when he pulled up the island from the bottom of the ocean. It is asserted that Maui carried with him to the skies the great fish-hook employed by him on that occasion. The tail of the constellation "Scorpio" is to this day called by the natives of Manihiki and Rakaanga "the fish-hook of Maui Iku lived alone on Manihiki for a time. One day he saw a cocoa-nut floating on the surface of the ocean. He brought it ashore, and then planted it. Thus grew the first cocoa-nut tree on Manihiki.

Iku returned to Rarotonga to fetch his sister Tapairu and her husband Toa. All three safely reached Manihiki and settled down in their new-found home. Five daughters were born to Toa; but no son was given to him until he married his youngest daughter. From Toa and Tapairu, a single family, all the present inhabitants of Manihiki and Rakaanga are descended. In after [p.75] times Mahuta and his clan migrated to Penrhyns; thus the Penrhyn Islanders, the natives of Manihiki and Rakaanga, are all descended from the Rarotongan Toa and his wife Tapairu.

Such is "the wisdom of Manihiki." Few myths are so complete, and few islanders have been so free from foreign admixture as the natives of Manihiki and Rakaanga. They wonderfully resemble each other; so that to have seen one Manihikian is to have seen all.

A close parallel runs between their version of the exploits of of Maui and that which obtains elsewhere. Some particulars are wholly dissimilar; for instance, I can find no account of "the bones of Ru."

Mangaian tradition represents Maui as being driven away by Rangi to Rarotonga, for setting the island on fire. The "wisdom of Manihiki" represents Maui as living at Rarotonga, and starting thence on his wonderful voyage in search of Manihiki.

The tail of "Scorpio" is on Mangaia known as "the great fish-hook of ToJtgareva," i.e. Penrhyns. The myth respecting it is similar to the preceding, but refers to Tongareva, or Penrhyns, not to Manihiki. Vatea takes the place of Maui.

The story of Toa and Tapairu is simple history, well known at Rarotonga. That Mahuta, accompanied by his wife Tavai, emigrated to the hitherto uninhabited island of Penrhyns is undoubted truth. A second canoe, piloted by the son of the renowned Mahuta, followed and succeeded in making that extensive but most barren of islands, Tongareva.

In July, 1871, I visited Rakaanga. We rowed in a flat- [p.76] bottomed boat without a keel, built of cocoa-nut timber neatly sewn together with cinet. Yet these adventurous islanders think nothing of traversing the twenty-five miles of ocean between Rakaanga and Manihiki in such frail barks.

The king pointed out to us the foot-print of Maui, and the rock in which his fish-hook caught. He next took us to the uninhabited islet (where now they keep their pigs), to show us the ancient road to spirit-land. We could perceive no hole or special depression in the ground; but were assured that, if we dug deep enough, we should be sure to find it.

Maui once, standing upon this spot, overheard a confused murmuring of voices beneath. In a low voice he inquired who these imprisoned spirits were. Those underneath shouted out their names in the form of a song, which our guide repeated. Said he, "Our fathers assured us there they still are; only earth has been piled upon the aperture." These spirits are said to be "like soldier crabs, boring down and hiding in the bowels of the earth."





Ina-moe-aitu,42 or Ina-who-had-a-divine-lover, daughter of Kui-the-Blind, once dwelt at Tamarua, under the frowning shadow of the cave of Tautua, so like the entrance of a gigantic edifice. A sluggish stream, abounding in eels, ran near her dwelling, and finally disappeared beneath the rocks. At dawn and sunset Ina loved to bathe near a clump of trees. On one occasion an enormous eel crept up the stream from its natural hiding-place under the rocks, and startled her by its touch. Again and again this occurred; so that Ina became in a measure accustomed to its presence. To her surprise one day, as she fixed her eyes upon the eel, its form changed, and the fish assumed the appearance of a handsome youth, who said to Ina, "I am Tuna (eel), the god and protector of all fresh-water eels. Smitten by your beauty, I left my gloomy home to win your love. Be mine." From that day he became her attached admirer in his human form, always resuming the eel shape upon his return to his proper haunts, so as to elude notice. Some time after he took his farewell of the [p.78] lovely Ina. "We must part," said Tuna; "but, as a memorial of our attachment, I will bestow on you a great boon. To-morrow there will be a mighty rain, flooding the entire valley. Be not afraid, as it will enable me to approach your house on yon rising ground in my eel form. I will lay my head upon the wooden threshold. At once cut it off, and bury it: be sure daily to visit the spot to see what will come of it."

Ina saw no more of her handsome lover; but was that night roused from sleep by rain falling in torrents. Remembering Tuna's words, she remained quietly in her dwelling until daylight, when she found that the water, streaming down from the hills, had covered the taro -patches, and had risen close to the entrance to her hut. At this moment a great eel approached her, and laid its head upon her threshold. Ina ran to fetch her axe, and forthwith chopped off the head, and buried it at the back of her hut on the hill-side. The rain ceased, and in the course of a day or two the waters were drained off by the natural passage under the rocksóthe true home of Tuna.

According to her promise to her lover, Ina daily visited the spot where the enormous eel's head was buried; but for many days saw nothing worthy of notice. At last she was delighted to find a stout green shoot piercing the soil. Next day the shoot had divided into two. The twin shoots, thus gradually unfolding themselves, were very different from other plants. They grew to maturity, and sent forth great leaves, exciting the wonder of all. After the lapse of years flowers and fruit appeared. Of these twin cocoa-nut trees, sprung from the two halves of Tuna's brains, one was red in stem, branches, and fruit; whilst the other was of a deep green. And thus came into existence the two principal varieties of the cocoa-nut; the red being sacred to Tangaroa, and [p.79] the green to Rongo. In proof of its being derived from the head of Tuna, when husked on each nut is invariably found the two eyes and mouth of the lover of Ina.

The white kernel of the cocoa-nut is commonly called "te roro o Tuna," or the brains of Tuna. In heathenism it was unlawful for women to eat eels; and to this day they mostly turn away from this fish with the utmost disgust.

The extremity of a great cocoa-nut leaf, termed the "iku kikau," and comprising ten or twelve lesser leaves, when cut off and neatly bound with a bit of yellow cinet by "the priest of all food," constituted the fisherman's god. Without this Mokoiro, as the divinity was called, no canoe would venture over the reef to fish.

The same device was used in inviting great chiefs to a feast; the sacred cinet, however, being omitted.

The principal taro patch in each district was analogically designated the "iku kikau," as its possession indicated chieftain-ship.

All "raui," or taboo restrictions, were and are still made by means of an entire cocoa-nut leaf plaited after a certain ancient pattern.

The preceding myth is evidently designed for the glorification of the Amama, or priestly tribe, who were worshippers of Tiaio under the double form of shark and eel. In the year 1855, at the very place indicated in this story, an enormous eel, measuring seven feet in length, was caught by daylight in a strong fish-net. In heathenism this would have been regarded as a visit of Tiaio, and the dainty morsel allowed to return under the [p.80] rocks unmolested. As it was, it furnished several families with a good supper.

In a figurative sense, Kongo's cocoa-nuts are human heads. Hence the common phrase respecting the beginning of war, "Kua va'i i te akari a Kongo" = the cocoa-nuts of Rongo have been split open; in other words, men have been clubbed.

The mass of the people, chiefs included, never struck off the top of a cocoa-nut in order to drink; but were content to suck the refreshing liquid through the hole which nature provides. The cocoa-nuts of the priests were invariably struck off (tipi take) when drunk by them, symbolical of the fact that with them lay the power of life and death. Chiefs and warriors were merely instruments of their vengeance.


A king named Tai (sea) had a wife named Uta (shore) who was anxious to visit her relatives. But Tai did not like her to go without a present. He therefore inquired of the oracle what would be most suitable. The god directed him to send his wife to the stream to watch for an eel; that she should cut off the head of the first that presented itself, and deposit it in a calabash and carefully plug up the aperture. The eel was then to be thrown back into the water, and the calabash carried to the husband.

Upon Uta's return from the stream, the king inquired whether she had been successful. The wife joyfully said yes, and laid the well-plugged calabash at his feet. Tai now advised her to start on her intended journey, and present the precious calabash to her parents and brothers, "for there is a wondrous virtue in it." He [p.81] told her that it would grow into a cocoa-nut tree, and would bear delicious fruit never before seen. He enjoined her on no account to turn aside from the path, nor to bathe in any tempting fountain, not to sit down, nor to sleep on the road, and above all not to put down the calabash.

Uta gladly started on her journey. For a while all went well; but, at length, the sun being high in the heavens, she became very hot and weary. Perceiving a crystal stream, she forgot her promise to her husband, put down the calabash, and leapt into the inviting waters. After luxuriating for some time in this manner, she cast a glance at the calabash; but, lo! it had sproutedóthe eel's head had become a young tree with strange leaves! Grieved at her own folly, she ran to the bank and strove with all her might to pull it up j but could not, for its roots had struck deep.

Uta wept long and bitterly. Perplexed now what to do, with joy she perceived a little messenger-bird from her husband directing her to return. She went back to the king with shame and fear, and related to him all that had befallen her. Tai sadly said to her, "Go back to the place where thou didst see the eel whose head was cut off and deposited in the calabash. Seek for the living, wriggling tail. When found, get a stick and kill it: then come back and tell me."

Uta did as she was desired; but as soon as she entered their dwelling her husband expired in expiation of her sin.


The iron-wood tree (casuarina) was originally introduced by the Tongans, and planted in a deep sequestered valley at Tamarua, named Angaruaau. In the course of years it attained to a great size, and the fame of this graceful and stately exotic spread over [p.82] the island. Oarangi and his four friends, hearing of its various uses in other lands, resolved to appropriate it to themselves, and thus to gain a superiority over the rest of their countrymen. In a secret conference about the matter, some advised Oarangi to have nothing to do with the tree, as it was an impersonation of an evil spirit named Vaotere. Oarangi, however, resolved that the famous tree should come down, in order to furnish him new and better weapons of war.

Thief-like, they started by night on their ill-starred expedition, each provided with a sharp stone axe and a candle-nut torch. Arrived at the hill-side, they easily found the tree, so utterly unlike all others, in its long slender branches and wiry leaves, and towering above all its companions. It had four gigantic roots, gnarled and twisted in fantastic shapes. The torches were placed on the ground around the tree, making the night light as day. The four woodmen zealously set to work upon the four great roots, whilst Oarangi sat at a little distance to watch their progress. From time to time they changed all round, as some made cleaner and deeper cuts than others. But curiously enough, when each returned to the root which had nearly been severed, he found it restored to its original condition, as if no axe had ever touched it. The astonished men desisted awhile to consult with Oarangi, who, resolved to attain his object, advised that each should keep to his own root until entirely severed. Again they plied their axes, and carrying out the advice of Oarangi, they eventually succeeded in their endeavours. At dawn the tree fell to the ground, with a tremendous crash. By full daylight the top had been lopped off, and the ponderous trunk lay on the soil. They had triumphed. They resolved now to return home to rest; to-morrow they would come back to finish their task.


At this moment the four men were taken ill, and began to vomit bloodóthe redness of the blood answering to the redness of the inner bark of the iron-wood tree which had been so injured by them. They staggered to the stream which winds through the valley, and sought relief in its waters, but kept on vomiting until two of their number died, and their unburied bodies were left in the tall fern.

Oarangi and the two surviving woodmen went off with heavy hearts. Upon reaching the crest of the hill overlooking the scene of their midnight toil, to their utter astonishment they saw that the great tree they had so recently felled was growing as stately as ever. They retraced their steps, in order carefully to note this wonderful phenomenon. There was no mark whatever of an axe on the resuscitated tree; even the chips all around had disappeared. The tree was restored to its former condition, with this difference, howeveróthe trunk, branches, and leaves were now all of the brightest red: as if resenting the treatment it had received, it bled at every pore.

They slowly wended their way homewards, but ere long the two surviving woodmen fell dead in the road. Oarangi, greatly annoyed at his failure, resolved that his next attempt should be made by daylight, in the hope of better success. With a number of friends he returned one day to the valley in quest of this tree. Upon arriving at the summit of the hill, where the tree could first be seen, their eyes became totally blinded. With difficulty they descended to the bottom of the valley, and wearied themselves in searching for the tree. But after wandering about all day in its immediate neighbourhood, they groped their way homewards at nightfall without having found it at all.

Oarangi had done his utmost, but had been foiled by the [p.84] malicious demon of the iron-wood tree, and soon after died. But was there no one who could overcome Vaotere, and render the wood of the tree useful to mankind? Ono came from the land whence this tree was originally derived, and had in his possession a remarkable iron-wood spade, named Rua-i-paku = the-hole-where-it-must-fall, given to him by his father Ruatea, ere he set out on his voyagings, for any dangerous emergency. This talisman was very valuable as a club. Armed with Rua-i-paku, he resolved to do battle with the demon Vaotere. Upon reaching the shady valley of Angaruaau, he carefully surveyed the coveted tree, and began his operations by digging up the earth about the roots, being careful, however, to avoid injuring any of the main ones. Day after day, entirely unassisted, the brave Ono persevered in his arduous task in pursuing the roots in all their deviations over the valley and hill-side. Upon their becoming small and unimportant, although exceedingly numerous, he fearlessly chopped them with his famous spade. The chips flew in all directions, over hill and vale, under his mighty blows. After many days' toil all the surface roots were bared and severed at their extremities, so that the tree began to totter. The tap-root alone remained. Ono dug to a great depth into the red soil, and then, at a blow, divided it. At this critical moment, the head and horrid visage of the evil spirit Vaotere became visible, distorted with rage at being again disturbed. His open jaws, filled with terrible teeth, prepared to make an end of the impious Ono, who, perceiving his danger, with one well-directed blow of his spade-club luckily succeeded in splitting the skull of Vaotere.

The victorious Ono now leisurely removed the four great gnarled roots which were, in sooth, the arms of the fierce Vaotere, and afterwards divided the enormous trunkóthe bleeding body [p.85] of the demonóinto three unequal portions: one to furnish a quantity of long spears, another to be split into araŠ, or "skull-cleavers;" the third to furnish aro, or wooden swords. All this was accomplished by the versatile qualities of Rua-i-paku, which was used first as a spade, then as a club, and now as an axe.

The thousand chips from the small roots of this wonderful tree falling everywhere over hill and valley and sea-shore, originated the iron-wood trees now covering the island: but, happily, Vaotere can no more injure mankind.

Until a few years ago this was believed to be the true origin of all the iron-wood on the island. It is not surprising that the heavy wood which in past times furnished all the deadly implements of war, should have been regarded as the embodiment of an evil spirit. The possession of land and the slaughter of men were alike the result of the use of this famous tree. "Toa" signifies indifferently "iron-wood," and. what most resembles it, a "warrior."

A series of songs on the exploits of Ono once existed. They are believed to have been several hundreds of years old. Such compositions are called "pee manuiri," i.e. "songs relating to visitors." They are known to be the oldest extant.

The following fragment relates to the preceding myth:ó


Kotia rai te toa i Vaotere
Kua aka-inga.
Tu e tauri te rakau e!
The iron-wood tree of Vaotere is felled:
It lies low on the earth.
Once it stood erect ; now it is prostrate.




Uriuri ana rai
Kua kotia ia rakau
Uriuria o te vao
Tu e tauri te rakau e!
Turn the log over and over,
The tree thus laid low.
Formerly it was the glory of the valley,
Once it stood erect; now it is prostrate.




Rupitia ra Ono e te matangi,
Tau akera i tai motu.
O te rorongo i kauvare a Iva e!
Ono tossed about by a tempest.
Eventually reached this isle.
Alas for the haunts of loved Iva!



Kua nui ua rai;
Kua tokarekare rire.
Ka ara Ono iaku nei
Kauvare a Iva e!
How terrific the ocean!
The waves covered with foam!
A punishment for the sins" of Ono.
Ne'er more will Iva be seen!



Ka ara ra koe ra iaku nei e!
Iaku nei e!
E enua tauria e te manu
Kua kai ana i Ono e,
O te ua o te pitai
Kura ra i motu e!
Kauvare a Iva e!
How great must be thy sins
Against the gods!
This isle is but the home of birds.
Ono is driven to satisfy hunger.
With wild fruits and berries
Growing, ruddy, over this isle.
Ne'er more will Iva be seen!



E ua te matangi
E te matangi tere ariki
Kauvare a Iva e!
Through rain and fierce winds,
On a peaceful errand we sail.
Ne'er more will Iva be seen!



Tei te matangi tere ariki e,
Nai ariki no Ono e,
Ka araara i Iva nui
E taia e Murake.
On a peaceful errand we come,
Ono, denied his regal honours.
Still longs for Iva the Great.
Alas for those slain by Murake!


Ka eva ra Ono-kura
I te puka maru.
Kauvare a Iva e!
Ono the Handsome chants mournful songs
Under the shade of the laurel trees.
Ne'er more will Iva be seen!

This song is complete in itself, and is an introduction to the narrative of his exploits and sorrows. The style is very unlike that of later times, when the art of song-making became a national passion. There is no reference to the known history of Mangara. The ''Iva" referred to is believed to be Nukuhiva.

It was under the rule of the Mautara tribe that the poetical faculty of these islanders was most highly cultivated; i.e. during the past 150 years of their history.





The only daughter of Vaitooringa and Ngaetua was Ina, whose brothers were Tangikuku and Rupe. The parents of Ina were the wealthiest people in the land of Nukutere, boasting as they did of a rich breast ornament, abundance of finely braided hair, beautiful white shells worn on the arms, andómore precious than all theseóa gorgeous head-dress, ornamented with scarlet and black feathers, with a frontlet of berries of the brightest red.

Early one morning the parents for the first time left their home in the care of Ina; the mother charging her to put these treasures out to air; but should the sun be clouded, be sure to take them back into the house. For Ngaetua knew well that in the bright beams of the sun the arch-thief Ngana would not dare to come; but if exposed on a lowering, cloudy day, the envious foe would not fail to try his luck.

In a short time the sun shone brightly; not a cloud could anywhere be seen. The obedient Ina carefully spread out these treasures on a piece of purest white native cloth. But the arch-foe [p.89] Ngana was on the watch. Very cautiously did he approach through the neighbouring bushes in order to get a good sight of these much-coveted articles. He forthwith used an incantation, so that the sun suddenly became obscured. Ngana now fearlessly emerged from the thicket and endeavoured to grab the long-wished-for ornaments. But Ina was too quick in her movements to permit this. Ngana now with affected humility begged permission to admire and try on the various ornaments, for her to see how he would look in them. Ina was very loth, but after great persuasion, consented that Ngana should put them on inside the house. To prevent the possibility of his taking away any of these treasures, she closed the doors. The crafty Ngana now arrayed himself in these gorgeous adornments, excepting the head-dress, which Ina still held in her hand. Ngana, by his soft words, at length induced her to give that up too. Thus completely arrayed he began to dance with delight, and contrived to make the entire circuit of the house, careering round and round in hope of seeing some loophole through which he might escape with his spoil. At last he espied a little hole at the gable end, a few inches wide, through which, at a single bound, he took his flight, and for ever disappeared with the treasures. Ina at first had been delighted with the dancing of her visitor; but was in utter despair as she witnessed his flight, and heard the parting words:ó

Tamu tamu tai tara
E Ina e tou reka.
Beware of listening to vain words,
O Ina, the fair and well-meaning!

Not long afterwards the parents of Ina came back in great haste, for they had seen the arch-thief passing swiftly and proudly through the sky, magnificently attired. A fear crept over them that all was not right with their own treasures. They asked the [p.90] weeping girl the cause of her tears. She said, "Your choicest possessions are gone." "But is there nothing left?" demanded the parents. "Nothing whatever," said the still weeping Ina. The enraged mother now broke off a green cocoa-nut tree branch and broke it to pieces on the back of the unfortunate girl. Again and again Ngaetua fetched new cocoa-nut branches and cruelly beat Ina. The father now took his turn in belabouring the girl, until a divine spirit ("manu") entered and took possession of Ina, and in a strange voice ominously saidó

E kiri taputapu tana kiri;
E kiri akaereere taua kiri;
E kave au i Motu-tapu
Na Tinirau e ta ta i taua kiri.
Most sacred is my person;
Untouched has been my person;
I will go to the Sacred Isle,
That Tinirau alone may strike it.

The astonished father desisted: her younger brother Rupe cried over his beloved sister. After a while Ina got up, as if merely to saunter about; but no sooner had she eluded the eyes of her parents, than she ran as fast as her legs could carry her to the sandy beach. When nearly there, she fell in with her elder brother Tangikuku, who naturally asked her where she was going. She gave an evasive answer; but fearing lest he should inform her parents of her flight, she snatched his bamboo fishing-rod, broke it in pieces with her foot, and selected one of the fragments as a knife.43 She now said to her brother, "Put out your tongue." In an instant she cut off its tip. Tangikuku vainly essayed to speak; so that Ina was certain that he could not reveal the secret of her sudden departure. She kissed her maimed brother and pressed on to the shore, where she gazed long and wistfully towards the setting sun, where the Sacred Isle is. Looking about for some means of transit, she noticed at her feet a small [p.91] fish named the avini. Knowing that all fishes are subjects to the royal Tinirau, she thus addressed the little avini,44 that gazed at the disconsolate girl:ó

Manini tere uta koe i teia manini?
Manini tere tai koe i teia manini?
Oro niai takitakina atu au
Ki taku tane ariki kia Tinirau,
Matoto atu au i reira.
Ah, little fish! art thou a shore loving avini?
Ah, little fish! art thou an ocean loving avini?
Come bear me on thy back
To my royal husband Tinirau,
With him to live and die.

The little fish at once intimated its consent by touching her feet Ina mounted on its narrow back; but when only halfway to the edge of the reef, unable any longer to bear so unaccustomed a burden, it turned over, and Ina fell into the shallow water. Angry at this wetting, she repeatedly struck the avini, hence the beautiful stripes on the sides of that fish to this day, called "Ina's tattooing."

The disappointed girl returned to the sandy beach to seek for some other means of transit to the Sacred Isle. A fish named the paoro, larger than the avini, approached Ina. The intended bride of the god Tinirau addressed this fish just as she had the little avini; and then, mounted on its back, started a second time on her voyage. But like its predecessor, the paoro was unable long to endure the burden, and dropping Ina in shallow water sped on its way. Ina struck the paoro in her anger, producing for the first time those beautiful blue marks which have ever since been the glory of this fish.

Ina next tried the api, which was originally white, but for upsetting Ina at the outer edge of the reef was rendered intensely black, to mark her disgust at her third wetting.


She now tried the sole, and was successfully borne to the edge of the breakers, where Ina experienced a fourth mishap. Wild with rage, the girl stamped on the head of the unfortunate fish with such energy that the underneath eye was removed to the upper side. Hence it is that, unlike other fish, it is constrained now to swim flatwise, one side of its face having no eye!

At the margin of the ocean a shark came in sight. Addressing the shark in words very like those formerly used, to her great delight the huge fish came to her feet, and Ina mounted triumphantly on its broad back, carrying in her hand two cocoa-nuts to eat. When halfway on the dangerous voyage to the Sacred Isle, Ina felt very thirsty, and told the shark so. The obedient fish immediately erected its (rara tua) dorsal fin, on which Ina pierced the eye of one of her nuts. After a time she again became thirsty, and again asked the shark for help. This time the shark lifted its head, and Ina forthwith cracked the hard shell on its forehead. The shark, smarting from the blow, dived into the depths of the ocean, leaving the girl to float as best she could. From that day there has been a marked protuberance on the forehead of all sharks, called "Ina's bump."

The king of sharks, named Tekea the Great, now made his appearance. Ina got on his wide back, and continued her voyage. She soon espied what seemed to be eight canoes in a line rapidly approaching her. When near they proved to be eight sharks resolved to devour Ina. Ina in an agony cried to her guardian shark, "O Tekea! O Tekea!" ''What is it?" inquired the shark. "See the canoes?" said the girl. "How many are they?" "Eight," replied Ina. Said her guardian shark, "Say to them, 'Mangamangaia, mangamangaia aea koe e Tekea Nui' = 'Get away, or you will be torn to shreds by Tekea the Great.'"


As soon as Ina had uttered these words the eight monstrous sharks made off. Delivered from this peril, Ina again went on her long voyage to the Sacred Isle. But one more danger threatened her: what seemed a fleet of ten canoes, but which proved to be ten ground sharks, started off from the very shores of the Sacred Isle to make an end of Ina. Again they were driven away by the fear of the king of sharks. At length the brave girl reached the long-sought-for Sacred Isle, and Tekea the Great returned to his home in mid-ocean.

Upon going ashore, and cautiously surveying her new home, she was astonished at the salt-water ponds, full of all sorts of fish, everywhere to be seen. Entering the dwelling of Tinirau (= Innumerable), the lord of all fish, she found one noble fish-preserve inside. But strangely enough the owner was nowhere visible. In another part of the house she was pleased to find a great wooden drum, and sticks for beating it by the side. Wishing to test her skill, she gently beat the drum, when to her astonishment the sweet notes filled the whole land, and even reached to Pa-enua-kore (= No-land-at-all), where the god Tinirau was staying that day. The king of all fish returned to his islet dwelling to discover who was beating his great drum. Ina saw him approaching, and in fear ran to hide herself behind a curtain. Tinirau entered and found the drum and sticks all right, but for a time could not discover the fair drummer. He left the house, and was on his way back to No-land-at-all, when the coy girl, unwilling to lose so noble a husband, again beat the wonderful drum. Tinirau came back and found the blushing girl, who became his cherished wife. Ina now discovered that it was the might of Tinirau that inspired her with a "manu," or strange spirit, and then provided for her safety in voyaging to his home in the "sacred islet."


In the course of time Ina gave birth to the famous Koromauariki, commonly called Koro. Besides this boy she had a girl, named Ature.

Her younger brother Rupe wished much to see his sister Ina, who had long since disappeared. Rupe asked a pretty karaurau (a bird of the linnet species) kindly to convey him where Ina lived. The bird consented, and Rupe, entering the linnet, fled over the deep blue ocean, in search of the Sacred Isle, where his beloved sister had her home.

It happened one morning that Ina noticed on a bush near her dwelling a pretty linnet, just such a one as she used to see in her old home. As she complacently gazed upon it, the bird changed into a human form. It was Rupe himself! Great was Ina's delight; but after a brief stay Rupe insisted on going back to tell his parents of the welfare of Ina. They were rejoiced to hear of their daughter, for whom they had long grieved. A feast was made, and the finest cloth prepared for Ina and her children. Mother and son now entered two obliging linnets, and laden with all these good things, flew off over the ocean in search of Ina. Arrived safely at the Sacred Isle, mother and daughter embraced each other tenderly; the past was forgiven. Three whole days were spent in festivities on account of Koro and Ature, the children of Ina. The visitors returned to their home over the sea, and Ina was left happy with Tinirau the king of all fish.

"Sacred Isle" is an islet in the harbour at Ngatangiia, Rarotonga. "No-land-at-all" is the residence of the chieftainess Pa, on the mainland.

This very popular legend seems designed to support shark- [p.95] worship. It is expressly said to be an account of the origin of tattoo, although another myth refers that to Kongo's ill-treatment of his brother Tangaroa. It is, however, true that the tattooing of this island was simply an imitation of the stripes on the avini and the paoro.

"Tinirau" literally means ''forty millions." Doubtless it stands for "Inmunerable," referring to the impossibility of counting the small fish-spawn supposed to be under his special care at the Sacred Isle. Tinirau was second son of Vari, The-very-beginning.

This heroine is known as "Ina, daughter of Ngaetua," to distinguish her from the four Inas born of Kui-the-Blind.


Tuka's contribution to Akatonu's fete, circa 1814.

Call for the music and dance to begin.

E manini au na Ina e!
A ta te reu o Tautiti
E paoro ina i te apainga e!
Here are we, Ina's little fish,44
On whom the tattoo was first performed
As we bare her on her voyage.


Taipo e! Go on!


Riunga atu na ia Tinirau
Na Ina Tekea i ta e!
On her way to Tinirau
Ina invented tattooing.



Manini tere uta! Ah, thou shore-loving little fish!


Eia Ina tata ia i te reu e,
Motu te tatau ra e?
When did Ina imprint so distinctly
Those lines on thy body?


Takitaki atura na te manini ae! As I, a little fish, bare her on my back.


Takitaki atu na te manini
Anau tama it te akatapunga
Tautiti e Koro e!
Brave fish that bare her to her husband.
So that she became the happy mother
Of the dance-lovins: Koi-o!




Ua pururu ua te etu
I maunga Opoa
The stars have all set
Behind the western hills.


Purui tataka i te ara
Era vaine taia e te matangi.
Tarotaro Ina i te pa ika,
Oro mai ana tatakina 'tu au,
E Tekea, i tau tane ariki
la Tinirau i te moana.
Vaia te upoko, tipitake te akari
I te pane o mango,
I te mimi o Ina ia takaviriviri,
la tae au i Motutapu.
Titi kaara na Ina.
Like a tall solitary tree is the fairy
Who committed herself to the winds.
Ina invoked the aid of many fish
To bear her gaily on their backs;ó
The lordly shark to convey her safely
To the royal Tinirau o'er the sea.
Alas, the bruised head of the angry monster.
Who hitherto had obeyed the trembling maid,
Who opened a cocoa-nut
On her voyage to the Sacred Isle.
Softly she beats the drum.


Ua rongo Tinirau
Ua kanga Unga e oi!
Ka uraura pia ; e ura te tere o Tautiti, 
E numi te tere o Avaiki ka aere!
Tinirau is enchanted
By the music of the lovely one.
Our sport is over : the visit of Tautiti is ended,
The guests from spirit-world are gone!





Patutu i Tekea Nui
Ei tarotaro na Ina e!
Tap gently the head of the shark king,
And invoke his aid, fair Ina.


Tena Tane-ere-tue
Te apai atu na i te anau ika
I uta i te naupata kura
I Motutapu e ia Tinirau
Here comes Tane-the-fierce
Driving along shoals of young fish.
To cover the white sandy beach
Of the " sacred islet " of Tinirau.


Tinirau taua tane! Yes, Tinirau, my future husband.


Aore au e keu i to Iva tangata.
Ua ii i te kare i te matangi.
I te moana i Rangiririó
I Rangiriri te aroaro ariki.
I will be no bride to the men of Iva.
My feet are wet with the ocean waves.
Foam-sprinkled I press on to Rangiriri,45
To Rangiriri, the home of my royal husband.


Aroaro ariki i kakea e! At the home of my husband I land.


Oro mai tapoki ake au,
Te ani maira Ina Paenuakore;
Pou enua tapu i taea mai nei.
Come, throw a garment o'er me.
Ina has reached No-land-at-all;
A sacred spot attained by few.



Vatea, the elder brother of Tinirau, lived in The-thin-land, and was lord of the ocean; whilst Tinirau, whose home was the Sacred Isle, was king of all fishófrom the shark to the tiniest minnow. The taairangi, or porpoise, was not counted with other fish, as it is covered with pure fat or blubber. How came this to be so? Why, Vatea himself, half fish and half man, imitating the conduct of their great mother Vari-ma-te-takere, i.e. The-very-beginning, tore off a portion of his own person, and made it into a porpoise. Thus the porpoise is of necessity unlike all other fish. Whales were often seen but never tasted on Mangaia in heathenism. Had they been obtained, these islanders might have learnt that other fish besides the "sky caught" are covered with pure fat.

As the ocean was the undisputed property of Vatea, it soon became alive with taairangi sporting about in it. Tinirau became jealous of this magnificent ocean fish-pond, seeing that his own subjects were in danger of dying in the too contracted, though very numerous, fish-ponds of the Sacred Isle. So he craved his brother's permission to let some of his small fish go into the great sea. Vatea would consent only on one conditionóthat Tinirau would add a portion of his own territory of the Sacred Isle to the land of Vatea. With immense difficulty this was accomplishedóthe two brother gods had to get under the Sacred Isle, in order to break off a part of it. This done, Tinirau liberated a portion of his finny population, and thus the ocean became swarming, not only with the great half-divine taairangi, but with fish of all sorts and sizes.




Call for dancing and music to lead off.

Vaia mai i te akeke i Aitutaki
O te pa ika na Tinirau e Koro e!

Throw open the fish-ponds of Aitutakii46
Where sport the fish of Tinirau and Koro.


Taipo e! Go on!


Vaia mai te tino ika nei, e Vatea,
Ei taairangi, e Tane !
Tear off part of the half-fish body of Vatea,
That it may become a porpoise, O Tane.


Ae! Aye.


E utu oki i te kava rauriki,
E roaka mai ai.
Pour out a libation of "kava"
To win the favour of the gods.


Vaia mai e i te akeke ae! Yes, throw open the fish-preserves.


Vaia mai i te akeke ;
Tei te moana te ikatauira a Tane.
Throw them all open, O Tane,
That the little fish may sport in the ocean.


Ae! 'Tis done.


Takave mai i te uru kare
Na Tane-ere-tue,
Ka acre e tauri atu i te akau.
See, they are borne on the crest of the billows,
Driven by Tane-the-Fierce,
And are lying in shoals on the reef.



Vatea prepared an enormous net which he entrusted to six fishermen, the first of their order. But the subjects of his brother Tinirau were too crafty to be easily caught. Day after day the finny tribes were hunted in vain. At length the aid of Raka, the god of winds, was invoked to make the surface of the ocean rough, and thus to hide the great net of Vatea from the sight of the fish below. Their younger brother, Raka, willingly lent his aid, and the net was completely filled; but it was not in the power of the six fishermen to hold the net. Tane, son of the great Vatea, came to the rescue, and resolutely held on to the captive fishes. Eight days and nights the finny prisoners raced through the wide ocean, carrying the net with them. At last they became exhausted, and Tane exultingly dragged the rich spoil to the feet of his father. Vatea turned out the fish one by one, pronouncing for the first time the various names by which each kind has since been known; and thus, also, originating the useful art of counting. At last, utterly wearied with reckoning, he gave up the remainder as being in truth innumerable. The exhausted inhabitants of the ocean lay in heaps on the reef and sandy beach until the rising tide carried them out again to their proper element, none the worse for this first experiment in fishing.


Tinirau and his son Koro, whose proper home was at the Sacred Isle, occasionally lived on the northern part of Mangaia. The son had repeatedly noticed that his father disappeared by [p.101] night, and remained away from their home two or three days at a time. Where the sire went was a mystery. One thing greatly attracted the admiration of Koro; whenever his father came back, he was adorned with a fresh necklace of fragrant pandanus seeds, yellow and red. Determined to solve this mystery, one night Koro craftily hid away Tinirau's girdle, and then lay down to sleep. Not long afterwards the old man sought everywhere for his girdleóbut in vain. At last he woke up his boy, who rose and gave it to his father. Koro pretended to go to sleep again, but, in reality, was narrowly watching his father's movements. Tinirau having adjusted his royal girdle, went outside ; and in a short time Koro slipped out unperceived, and hid himself in the shadow of the house. The old man now passed over his ankles some strong bark in the usual fashion, and climbed a cocoa-nut tree. But to the great astonishment of Koro, he used only his right hand, and did not even permit his chest to touch the tree itself. Tinirau twisted off the ripe nuts one by one, and throwing them on the ground descended, as he had gone up, with the assistance of only one hand. On reaching the ground, still with one hand, he husked the nuts, clave them in two, and scraped out their contents upon the broad leaf of a variety of gigantic taro47 called "pongi." This finely grated cocoa-nut was then carefully wrapped up in the same great leaf, and secured with bark string, was carried by Tinirau to the sea, a distance of a mile, over rough rocks, by a narrow path overhung with lofty trees. On reaching the beach, he took up his station on a point of rock, still called Akatangi, or the-calling-place, and which runs into the waters of the reef. Koro hid himself in the low bushes growing out of the sand a few yards behind his sire. "The king of all fish" [p.102] now liberally scattered the scraped cocoa-nut over the waters whilst chanting a long incantation to his finny subjects. Koro quickly caught up the words, and treasured them in his memory for his own use at some future period. To the infinite delight of the son, the smaller inhabitants of the reef at once obeyed the call of their lord, and came to taste the food provided for their entertainment. At length the voice of Tinirau was heard by the larger fish in the great ocean, who hurried to the feet of their sovereign. Ere the incantation ended, the Sacred Isle itself came bodily from its proper place to the edge of the reef! Thus the entire throng of Tinirau's obedient subjects assembled on the moving Sacred Isle, and changing their forms into a partial resemblance to human beings, came dancing to meet their lordówho, being himself in his true attributes, half man and half fish, gladly united with them in their dance, which was of the famous sort called "Tautiti," in which hands and feet all move at the same time. The subjects, like their sovereign, were all arrayed in necklaces of sweet-scented pandanus seeds, which grow plentifully over the native home of Tinirau. The Sacred Islet, king, finny subjects and all, started off, and were speedily lost to sight in the distant ocean. Koro returned home to the interior, satisfied as to the real cause of his father's frequent disappearance in past times.

A day or two afterwards Tinirau returned to his son, all fragrant as before, with a pandanus fruit necklace, but entirely ignorant that Koro had witnessed his proceedings on his last visit to the Sacred Isle. It was some time ere "the king of fish" started off again on a midnight expedition; but when he did so he did not escape the vigilance of his watchful son, who was anxious to perfect his knowledge of the necessary invocations.


Again with a single hand the old man climbed the tree, threw down the nuts, and descended to the ground. Again he traversed the lonely path to the sea by moonlight, carrying with him a great quantity of finely scraped cocoa-nut. At the projecting piece of rock overlooking the ocean he scattered food for his marine children. The invocation over, fish, islet, and all came again to the feet of the mighty Tinirau, who exultingly joined his merry subjects in their favourite employment of dancing by moonlight. Koro gained his object: he had learned the magic words, and therefore went home well satisfied with himself On the following night he, in his turn, climbed a cocoa-nut as his father had done, and then carried the finely scraped kernel to "the calling place" where Tinirau had performed his wonderful feats. Now was the time to test his own powers as the son of the king of all fish. Reciting the prayers, he scattered the rich food on the waters, when, to his delight, the fish obeyed the summons, swimming in shoals to his feet. The Sacred Isle, too, with all its vast preserves of fish, soon hove in sight Amongst its finny inhabitants he had the joy of recognizing his own father, Tinirau, in the merry throng of moonlight dancers. Koro at once joined this novel assembly, when his father greeted him thus: "Son, this, then, is why you hid away my girdle."

Arrayed like the rest in beautiful necklaces of fragrant pandanus berries, father and son that night, and ever after when so inclined, enjoyed the pleasure of a prolonged midnight dance with their finny subjects on the Sacred Isle. It was the renowned Koro who conferred on the inhabitants of Mangaia the favour of planting the first pandanus tree close to the spot (Akatangi) where he was accustomed to summon his scaly friends. He instructed the inhabitants in the mysteries of dancing. His [p.104] time was spent half at the Sacred Isle and half on the northern shore of Mangaia, which is thence named Atua-Koro,48 i.e. the land of the divine Koro!''



Call for the dance to begin.

Tautiti au e!
O te ara ra i Taipau, e Tane!
I am Tautiti.
O Tane, the fragrant pandanus on the beach is mine.


Taipo e! Go on!


Tanumia te ara i te Atuakoro e! That fragrant tree was first planted by the divine Koro.


Ae! Aye!


Tautiti rava ki tonga makatea oopu. Tautiti's favourite wreaths grow in yon gullies.


Nai makatea oopu e!
O te ara kura o Tautiti ei mai e!
Yes, in those gullies grow
Red pandanus berries to adorn the dance.





E mau te ara e tei Taipau ae! Groves of pandanus cover yon sandy beach.


E mau te ara i Taipau,
No Tautiti kake mai e!
Yes, groves of fragrant pandanus
For Tautiti, whenever he may come up.


Ae! Aye.


Tere maira te ara no tai tuamotu e!
Patiki io i te kea e!
This famous tree came from some other isle,
To grace the sacred sandstone.


Patiki io i te kea e!
O te ara ra i Taipau, e Tane!
Yes, to grace the sacred sandstone,
O Tane, the fragrant pandanus on the beach is mine.


Taipo e Go on!


Tanumia te ara i te Atuakoro e! That fragrant tree was first planted by the divine Koro.


Ae! Aye!


Tautiti rava ki tonga i makatea Tautiti's favourite wreaths grow in oopu yon gullies.


Nai makatea oopu e!
O te ara kura o Tautiti ei mai e!
Yes, in those gullies grow
Red pandanus berries to adorn the dance.





E te opu, e te opu! Entwine sweet-scented fern-leaves.


Eaa ra? Eaa ra? What is going on yonder


Tei tai ! Tei tai At the margin of the sea?


Ae ! Ae! Aye! Aye!


A kitea! A kitea! The god reveals himself!


Tautiti kake mai. Tautiti himself has come up (out of nether-world)


Kitea mai, e Tane e! O Tane, he stands revealed!


Maniania, o maau tara mea. Pleasure thrills through my body.


Maaraara 'i au e!
O te iva taumara a te ra e!
I would I were
A dragon-fly exulting in the sun beam.






Amongst the thirteen principal gods of Mangaia which at the establishment of Christianity were surrendered to the missionaries were four bearing the name of Tane.49 They were simply pieces of iron-wood carved roughly into the human shape, once well wrapped up in numerous folds of the finest native cloth. Of these four Tanes threeóTane Ngakiau, Tane-i-te-ata, and Tane Kidówere considered to be inferior to the first, who was usually called Tane, sometimes, however, Tane Papa-kai, i.e. Tane-piler-up-of-food. In order of rank Tane came after Rongo and Motoro, the chief deities of Mangaia. Tane was said to be the fifth son of Vatea, born in Avaiki, or nether-world. The following is the extravagant myth of Tane's exploits when in search of a wife.

At Ukupolu there lived a woman named Tekura-i-Tanoa, i.e. The-ruddy-one of Tanoa, possessed of uncommon attractions. [p.108] But she had one sad defect,óher right foot was afflicted with elephantiasis. The chief Ako was violently in love with her; but the fair one disdained his advances, saying, "If it had been Tane, she would have thought favourably of the proposition." Now Ako was a great friend of Tane's; so that he at once paddled off to Avaiki to fetch Tane, who cheerfully consented to accompany him. The two friends started for Ukupolu, each in his own canoe. A day or two after their arrival Ako confessed to Tane the real motive of getting him to pay a visit to Ukupolu, and earnestly entreated his assistance in winning The-ruddy-one of Tanoa. Tane good-humouredly promised his aid.

Ako had two sisters, to whom he applied for two garlands for the neck, of sweet-scented flowersóone for himself and one for his friend, against their projected visit to the inexorable beauty. The sisters were to arrange it so that the fragrant garland intended for Ako should have numerous sprigs of myrtle intermixed with the flowers; whilst Tane's should be spoiled by the admixture of offensively smelling leaves. When tastefully arranged, these garlands were carefully enclosed in a thin white layer of the banana stalk, according to the invariable custom of the olden times. A mark was set upon the outside, so as to prevent mistake. Now Tane was a god, and was not to be deceived in this way. Accordingly, when these friends, now become at heart rivals in love, were both arrayed in their best garments, and their hair glistening with sweet-scented oil, Tane took out the fragrant garland of flowers and put it on. Ako, to his dismay, perceived that his crafty friend had by some means got possession of the best garland: being thus outwitted, he declined to put on his own, lest Tane should twit him with his ill-faith. Off these rivals started to the dwelling of The-ruddy-one of Tanoa. Tane first [p.109] entered, bearing in his hands a gift consisting of several highly-scented garments; the rich perfume filled the house. Ako now-made his appearance. Each pleaded his suit with great earnestness, for Tane was at first sight smitten with the charms of the fair girl. But the capricious Tekura-i-Tanoa accepted the advances of Ako, and Tane retired in disgust. He resolved to return at once to Avaiki. With this purpose in view he walked to the sandy beach to launch his canoe and start for his home; but upon examination found a large hole in its bottom made by his treacherous friend Ako. Tane sat down and loudly bewailed his misfortunes in these words:ó

Kua viivii e! Kua vavaiia ra tau vaka e Ako.
I tua o Avaiki. Ringiringiia toku nei roimata
Unhappy me! My canoe has been destroyed by Ako
How shall I return to Avaiki? I will rain down my tears.

Tane fell musing what he had best do. Upon looking up he now for the first time noticed a gigantic hua tree (beslaria laurifolia) spreading forth its noble branches. In a trice Tane got up the trunk of this tree and clambered to the extremity of one of the longest branches. Tane gave the far-stretching limb on which he sat a mighty jerk, and thus swung himself fairly into another land, Enuakura, i.e. The-land-of-red-parrot-feathers. After walking about this newly discovered land, he came upon an old woman named Kui-the-Blind, who was busy cooking yams on a fire. In all she had ten yams cooking; at her side were ten calabashes of water. After awhile the old blind woman took a yam off the fire and scraped it clean with a cockle shell. She then devoured the entire yam, washing it down with a calabash of water. But Kui-the-Blind did not know that the moment she took up a yam, Tane helped himself too, and at the same time emptied a calabash of water.


The old woman had no sooner finished her first yam and her first calabash of water, than she carefully counted the remainder with her fingers, when to her amazement she found a yam and a calabash missing. She angrily exclaimed, "What thief has come here? Had I my sight I would devour him."

Having thus vented her indignation, she ate another yam and drank another calabash of water; Tane helping himself in silence as before. Again the old woman counted the remaining yams and calabashes with her fingers, and found that only six of each remained. Once more she gave vent to her anger against the unknown thief. Tane uttered not a word to reveal his presence. In this way the ten yams and ten calabashes of water disappeared. Each time Kui-the-Blind missed a yam and a calabash of water her anger grew hotter. At last her meal, but half the usual quantum, was finished, and she resolved upon immediate vengeance. Accordingly, she rose and entering her house felt in the accustomed place for her great-fish-hook, which she had never yet used in vain. Whilst adjusting the long line she slowly chanted this ominous couplet:ó

Oi au ka rave, ka rave i te tautai a Kui matapo.
Aa poiri i te ika a te tupuna e ! Ara tatia
Here am I about to fish. It is the angling of Kui-the-Blind.
The old woman must have fish (i.e. human victim). Here goes for it!

As she Uttered these last words she violently swung round the dreadful sharp-pointed fish-hook. Tane, prepared for this, held in his hand a banana stump to catch the hook, which he retained for a second, deluding Kui into the belief that she had caught the struggling thief The malicious old creature pulled vigorously at the line, hoping to get a victim to eat, when she grasped a mise- [p.111] rable banana-stalk. Chafing with indignation at her failure, she disengaged the stump and again whirled the hook, uttering the same words. This time a low bush, bearing edible red berries, was used by Tane to tease the old woman. Kui pulled away at her hook with great satisfaction, but found only a bush. Her anger now knew no bounds, having never before missed her victim. A third time she threw her hook, using the old formula. This time Tane allowed himself to be caught. Kui was delighted that she had at last secured the thief. She grabbed him tightly whilst demanding his name. He calmly said, "I am Tane." Kui instantly forgot her anger, and exclaimed, "Why, you are my own grandson Tane! Stay with me."

Some time afterwards Tane, again feeling very thirsty, asked his old grandmother for some water to drink. Kui-the-Blind said, "There is no water in this country, save in the nuts of yonder tall cocoa-nut tree. But you had better not attempt to climb it, or you will surely die. You will be slain by my children, the guardians of the tree, viz. the lizard, the centipede, the beetle, and the mantis. "Tane resolved to climb the tree, whose top seemed to reach the sky. Kui said to the fearless Tane as he began to ascend, "Do not injure my children who live in this tree." This solitary cocoa-nut tree, the property of the blind grandmother, was remarkable for the wonderful profusion of fruit on it, and for a great accumulation of dry branches underneath the green limbs. In these withered branches were hidden the fairy guardians of the fruit, excepting the mantis, who kept watch on the under side of the green leaves. Their duty was to see that no one stole any of the fruit. At the sight of the intruder Tane climbing up the tree, a large lizard advanced boldly from its hiding-place to drive him away. Tane caught the lizard, tore it in two, and threw [p.112] the pieces down. Tane now began to dear off the dry branches and cloth-like coverings, when a great centipede came out wrathfully intending to sting Tane to death. But the brave grandson of Kui deliberately killed this foe also. The dry branches were falling in all directions, and the work was nearly completed, when a feeble beetle came forth to defend the precious fruit. But the beetle speedily shared the fate of the lizard and centipede; and Tane climbed up into the great living fronds and sat down to rest awhile. At this moment a mantis of unendurable smell, assailed the intruder, spreading out its gay red wings; but Tane served the mantis as he had already served the others. Thus he had conquered all foes. With great admiration he viewed the vast clusters of nuts on every side. Plucking two or three of the nuts, he husked them on the "roro," or unopened sheath,50 containing the young flowers and fruits.

Tane leisurely slaked his thirst. Then violently swinging this lofty cocoa-nut tree until its top hung over the very land where Tane's home was, he shook off all the nuts as food against the day of his return. But Tane still kept his place at the top of the wonderful tree, which, rebounding, resumed its former position in Enuakura, The-land-of-red-parrot-feathers. There remained on the tree only two tiny nuts, each about the size of a small pebble. Tane plucked them, and descending to the ground, said to Kui, "Turn your face towards me." The old woman [p.113] did so, when she received a smart blow on her right eye from one of the nuts. She cried out in agony \ but in a second found her sight restored.

Tane again said to Kui, "Look at me." Upon doing so, she received a blow on her left eye from the remaining nut. Her anguish was extreme; but the reward was great, for she could now see well with both her eyes.

Kui was delighted with the achievements of her grandson, for she who had hitherto been called Kui-the-Blind, was now Kui-the-Seeing. Tane asked her, ''Have you any daughters?" "Yes," said Kui, "I have four. Take whichever you please as your wife." Now all these daughters were at some distance at work. After a short time the eldest, named Ina, came and was not a little surprised to see a stranger and to find her mother's sight restored. Tane was not pleased with Ina, who subsequently married the moon (Marama Nui).

Tane now inquired after the other daughters of Kui. The second soon made her appearance; it was Ina-who-disappears-with-the-day. Though fair, she did not please Tane. Kui called her third daughter Ina-who-disappears-at-midnight. She was very lovely, yet did not captivate the fastidious Tane. "I have but one daughter more," remarked Kui. "I will summon her." She came: it was Ina-who-rivals-the-dawn. She was, as her name implied, surpassingly beautiful. She became the wife of Tane, who considered himself to be well recompensed for restoring sight to Kui, once called The-blind.

But, after a time, Ina became jealous of her husband. They quarrelled, and Tane resolved to return to his own land. With this view he climbed up the famous cocoa-nut tree, the glory of The-land-of-red-feathers, and brought down a frond, which he [p.114] wove into a basket of the sort known as the "clam-shaped," i.e. without an opening. He now procured a second frond, and therewith wove a second basket of a similar shape. Fastening one to each arm, he used these long baskets as wings, and with their friendly aid took his final flight to his own land Avaiki, from which he had so long been absent, and thus escaped from the tongue of the lovely but jealous Ina-who-rivals-the-dawn.

The scene of this story is laid in nether-land. This myth unquestionably points to Samoa, the group from which these people originally came. "Ukupolu" is evidently Upolu, and "Avaiki" is only another form of Savai'i.

Stories like this constituted the esoteric teaching of the priests of Motoro and Tane. The Polynesian idea of a god is mere power, without any reference to goodness. Their gods had all the faults of heathen men and women in an exaggerated degree.

The centipede, lizard, etc., were sacred; hence their appearance in the myth as minor divinities.


Rangi was the first man; for Vatea was half man and half fish, and lived in the invisible world. When Rangi complacently surveyed the land which he had succeeded in dragging up from the shades, he resolved to explore every nook and comer, to ascertain whether there were any other inhabitants in his territory.

After travelling some distance along the northern division of the island without discovering the slightest trace of any living creature, he approached a romantic pile of rocks overhanging a tremendous gorge, by which the waters of the neighbouring valleys [p.115] discharge themselves into the ocean. A number of caves converge at this point, the pathway to which is obstructed by vast boulders.

Here Rangi shouted, as was his wont, "Oo" ("Hallo, there!"). To his surprise a voice from the rocks distinctly replied, "Oo." Rangi asked, "What is your name?" Instead of a satisfactory reply, came the defiant query, "What is your name?" Rangi, bursting with indignation, now demanded of this unseen fellow-resident, "Whence do you come?" Still the invisible speaker declined to reveal herself; and the ears of Rangi were assailed with the irritating words, "Whence do you come?" Unable to endure this any longer, he cursed the hidden inhabitant of the cave, nicknaming her "Aitu-mamaoa," i.e. the-ever-distant, or the-hide-and-seek-spirit; but forthwith heard himself cursed in exactly the same tone and words. Evidently this satirical, unseen being was no respecter of persons. Rangi fell immeasurably in his own estimation at being thus unceremoniously addressed, and felt sure that it was intended as a reflection upon his illegitimate origin.

The first sovereign of Mangaia now resolved, at any cost, to get a sight of the insolent creature pertinaciously hiding in the rocks. Cautiously leaping from boulder to boulder, he entered the gorge, inquiring as he proceeded, for the hitherto invisible inhabitant; but receiving for his pains only sarcastic replies. The chasm grew darker and narrower, but Rangi bravely kept on his way. Upon suddenly looking up, to his astonishment, he found that the semi-circular roof was everywhere covered with transparent glittering pendants (stalactites), white, like a row of formidable teeth, almost touching his person, drops of cold water meanwhile falling like rain upon the stone flooring. Underneath [p.116] was a row of stumps (stalagmites), rising from the basement of the the cave. Awe-stricken at the sight of these vast open jaws, apparently about to swallow him up, he instinctively retreated a few steps, and, looking up once more, for the first time caught a glimpse of the face of a female fairy, heartily laughing at his terror. As soon as Rangi recovered his equanimity, he inquired the proper name of this formidable apparition. Her reply was, "I am Tiwiuteanaoa,'' or Echo (literally, "the-cave-speaking-sprite"). "I am the being that everywhere inhabited the rocks of Mangaia ere you set feet on the soil." Rangi now asked whether she had any children. Echo replied, "I have a very numerous offspring, named Tufnu-ie-ertie via, or Earth-diggers." "Where are they?" demanded the inquisitive king. "They are on the mountains, roaming about in the fern," replied the complaisant spirit of the cave.

Rangi now left Echo, and went in search of her children. He had not advanced far up the side of the nearest mountain, trampling down the fern and tall reeds, when he came upon a troop of these "earth-diggers," or Rats! Rangi wondered that the progeny were so unlike their mother, who could on no account be persuaded to leave her favourite haunts in the rocks.

The cave where Rangi first made the acquaintance of Tumuteanaoa, or Echo, was thenceforth named Aitu-mamaoa,51 or the home of the ever-distant, or hide-and-seek spirit.


In the course of his subsequent explorations, Rangi often met with this notable nymph Echo, who seemed to be ubiquitous, and learnt that besides the "earth-diggers" in the dry grass and fern of the mountains, she had another numerous offspring inhabiting the valleys and the dark waters of the little lake in Veitatei, viz., shrimps, eels, and other fresh-water fish abounding there and in the interior gorges and chasms of the adjacent rocksóher own constant resort.

Rangi thus found that his little world was already teeming with inhabitants, all descended from the great Tumu-te-ana-oa. No disturbance or difficulty ever arose therefrom, as Echo was a nymph of a gentle and harmless disposition; her only fault being that she was a little satirical when addressed by strangers.

It was often contested by the sages of former times, whether Rangi, after all, was rightly designated the first inhabitant of Mangaia, seeing that he found Echo already in possession of the rocks and caves. They came at last to the conclusion, that whilst Rangi was the first man and king, Echo was the first and parent fairyóthe numerous sprites inhabiting rocks, valleys, hills, and streams constituting the prolific progeny of "the cave speaking sprite."

At the Marquesas, to this day, divine honours are paid to Echo, who is supposed to give them food, and who "speaks to the worshippers out of the rocks."



Upon one occasion Tangaroa chanced to see the lovely Ina-ani-vai, i.e. Ina-solicited-at-the-fountain, bathing at a stream named Kapuue-rangi, and at once became enamoured of her charms. The god unfastened his girdle, which mortals call the rainbow, and by this dazzling pathway descended to earth. The fair but frail Ina could not resist the advances of the great Tangaroa; and in the course of time she gave birth to Tarauri and Turi-the-Bald. She chose to live apart from her friends, so that the divine origin of her offspring was long unsuspected. Both Tarauri and Turi were flaxen-haired.

There was at the same time a man named Pinga, whose seven sons were alike noted for their shortness of stature and for their proficiency in the art of reed-throwing.52 The clever dwarf sons of Pinga induced Turi-the-Bald to try his luck in this game. Again and again was Turi beaten by the clever sons of Pinga, so that he wept with vexation and shame.

Now the elder brother had taken no part in these games. But he was distinguished for his skill in wrestling with lads of his own age, and for catching a small fresh-water fish, called kokopu, abounding in the tiny streams which thread the valleys. The mode of angling said to have been invented by Tarauri, and still in use amongst enterprising lads, was curious. The leaves of the pandanus, or thatch, tree are furnished with somewhat formidable thorns. The serrated edges of a stout leaf are pared off; the [p.119] narrow pieces are then carefully tied together with a bit of hibiscus bark, care being taken that there be at least two thorns or tiny fish-hooks on either side, and that these little hooks point upwards. The slit midrib of a long cocoa-nut frond furnishes the fishing rodóthe thorny hooks being secured to the tapering end. The sport is enjoyed wherever the stream is dammed up for the purpose of irrigating the little taro-patches of the valleys, or to enable women and children the more easily to fill their empty calabashes with water. The voracious little kokopu leaps to catch the baitóits favourite morsel, the shrimpówhen it finds itself a prisoner on one of the thorns of this quaint fish-hook.

The "seven dwarf sons of Pinga" were delighted with the adroitness of Tarauri, although as yet his name and that of his brother were unknown. Pinga desired his sons to ask the lads their names,óa most unpleasant task to a South Sea Islander. The boys good-naturedly told their names, but did not reveal the secret of their divine origin. As soon as Pinga heard their names, he astonished his "seven dwarf sons" by exclaiming, "Why, these are my grand-children! Bring them here."

Very willingly did the lads take up their abode with their newly-found grandfather for a while. One day "the seven dwarf sons of Pinga" made preparations for their favourite amusement of reed-throwing, purposing this time to measure their skill with Tarauri himself. They started off to the deepest recesses of the valleys, where the longest reeds grow. Tarauri, with affected modesty, declined to accompany his seven dwarf uncles, saying to them, "Your broken reeds will be good enough for a clumsy fellow like me." After a while they returned, each with a bundle of fine reeds, and sat down to get them ready. First of all it was necessary to secure with a piece of strong bark the thick end of [p.120] the reed, which might strike against a stone and be broken. Then the smaller end was nicely rounded, so as not to injure the finger of the player; finally, the reeds were slightly singed over a fire, in order to render them perfectly straight.

The game commenced; but still Tarauri was without a single reed (tao). "The seven dwarf sons of Pinga," having each thrown his reed, called upon Tarauri to come forward and try his luck. They were all on the tiptoe of expectation to see what he would do in this emergency. Tarauri rose from the ground, and advancing towards the appointed place for throwing, thus invoked the aid of his father Tangaroa:ó

Kaus lake, kauo iake,
Us iake te marama, te marama,
la Ruanuku e, Ruanuku ma Tangaroa,
Omai taku tao, ei teka naku,
Ei teka ki te taua e!
Oh, be propitious, oh, be propitious,
Grant me light and success.
Great Ruanuku, associated with Tangaroa,
Send me a reed for this game,
That the victory may be mine!

At these last words there fell from the skies at the feet of Tarauri a noble reed, perfectly straight, and gaily adorned with red-parrot feathers, the first ever seen on the island. Thus the divine parentage of Tarauri was discovered. Confidently advancing to the place for throwing the reeds, Tarauri swung his arms jauntily in preparation, and again invoked divine aid:ó

Apai na, apai na rava ia, e Tarauri, i te tai karongata,
Taki na uri e kai ai, e rere ai e, tu arangaranga,
Apai na, e Tangaroa, to manga!
Bear it away, oh, bear it far away, for Tarauri's sake, to the treacherous ocean.
Guide the flight of my reed, that it may rise to a dizzy height.
Great Tangaroa, here goes thine own!

At this, "the seven dwarf sons of Pinga," dreading a disgrace to themselves, rushed to encircle Tarauri, so as to render it [p.121] apparently impossible for him to exhibit his divinely acquired superiority in the art of reed-throwing over these well-practised but mere human players. A second time the invocation was repeated to Tangaroa, but again the jealousy of his newly-found relatives prevented him from throwing his gaily ornamented reed. A pause ensued, when Tarauri observing that the legs of one of the seven were a little open, in an instant drove the heaven-sent reed through the gap of the living enclosure. Wonderful, indeed, was the flight of the reed: it rose and rose in the air until lost in the azure skies, where it remained eight whole days! At last the slender shaft fell at Areuna,53 the original marae of the Mautara, or priestly tribe. Thus did Tangaroa redeem the disgrace of his younger son Turi-the-Bald. And great, indeed, was the chagrin of "the seven dwarf sons of Pinga" to be thus beaten by young Tarauri, who thus at his first trial, aided by his divine parent, proved himself to be the true patron and chief of all reed-players.

By some this myth is placed in "the land of Ukupolu," i.e. Upolu. The very archaic form of the invocations attests the antiquity of this story.

Of the many songs for reed-matches, none would be complete without a reference to Tarauri the chief patron of the game.




Tane in the shades once challenged Rongo to a game of kite-flying. But the issue of this trial of skill was the utter discomfiture of Tane by his elder brother Rongo, who had secretly provided himself with an enormous quantity of string. From this first kite-flying mortals have acquired the agreeable pastime, the condition of each game being that the first kite that mounts the sky should be sacred to, and should bear the name of, Rongo, the great patron of the art. The names of all subsequent kites were indifferent. To this contest reference is made inó



Call for the dance to lead off.

Ua kapi te puku i Atiu! 
Na tere manu a Raka e!
Ka aka e!
The hill-top54 Atiu is covered with kites,
Pets of Raka who rules o'er the winds.
Dance away!


Taipo e! Go on!


Ua kapi te puku i Atiu!
Na tere manu a Raka e!
See, yon hill-top Atiu covered with kitesó
Pets of Raka, god of winds.


Ae! Aye.


E manu peru au e! I am a bird55 (i.e. kite) of beautiful plumage.


Tomo i te rangi koukou e! Cleave, then, the dark clouds


Moaia ea koe e Tautiti, Take care lest Tautiti gain the day.


Taumoamoa e Tane e na Kongo oki,
Tere manu aitu ki Iva e!
Once Tane and Kongo tried their skill.
With divine kites in spirit-land.


Naai te ao i poto e Who was beaten?


Na Tane, tei raro io na kumu e Tane ; for his string fell short.


E mano o te ao! Two thousand fathoms of string!


Na Kongo;
Te vai ra i te aka i te rangi e!
Yes; 'twas Kongo's,
Whose kite touched the edge of the sky.


Riding across the island alone one dark rainy night, I was delighted to see just ahead what seemed to be a man carrying a lighted torch. I shouted to my supposed companion to wait a little until I could get up to him. Receiving no reply, I spurred my horse; but as the creature made its way with difficulty through the deep mire, I was not a little annoyed to see the light dancing on and on. But as it kept to the path I suspected nothing. A clump of trees now hid the windings of the road: this mocking companion seemed to dart through its gloomiest recesses in a most inexplicable manner. After a long and weary chase the light forsook the beaten track, and hovered over the deep waters of the little lake in that neighbourhood. I had been chasing an ignis fatiius! Upon reaching home that night, and relating my adven- [p.I25] ture, the natives jestingly remarked, "Uti has been lighting up your path with her torch."

In the very depths of nether-land is a district named Manomano, or Countless, swayed by a female fairy called Uti. Her delight is to climb up at night to this world of ours, provided with a torch, in search of food. Sometimes Uti's torch may be seen slowly moving along the reef; now on the rocky shore; occasionally she threads the damp valleys, where prawns abound, and thence will glide up mountain ridges. But Uti's chief resort is the neighbourhood of the lake already referred to. Sometimes the fairy moves alone; at other times attended by one or more of her daughters, each taking a different route. It was Uti who first taught the women of this upper world the pastime of catching the sleeping fish by torch-light,56 or waylaying crabs ashore, or shrimping in her favourite lake on the south of the island. Hence the old song:ó

Tungia te ai, e Uti,
Ei turama ia Manomano.
Kua pou Rurapu
Ma raua o Tevakaroa.
E tu te anau a Vatea :
E ara te po,
Aore e karo i te rangi.
O Iro ua tatai mai raro mai
Nai te papa ia Tu57
Light thy torch, O Uti,
That illuminates spirit-world (literally, Manomano).
Our taro has been robbed;
Our lands are all bare.
Wake up, ye children of Vatea:
Keep watch through the night ó
The gloomiest, wettest night ó
When Iro creeps up to play his pranks
From the depths inhabited by Tu.


The first night of the native calendar was sacred to Iro (in Tahitian, Hiro; in New Zealand, Whiro), the patron of thieves, as being his natal night; or, as sceptical moderns think, a moonless night is naturally favourable to a thieving expedition. It is hoped that the great divinities, i.e. "the children of Vatea," will not allow Iro's tricks to pass with impunity. Uti is invoked to come to the aid of the sufferers, by lighting her torch over the taro patches to be robbed: for the boldest thief would be terrified by the sight, and would precipitately retire.

Vaangaru, lamenting (circa 1815) for his dead mother-in-law, Anau, sings:ó

Taumata ra i te tai:
Kua eke i Kopuaterea.
Tunu mai i te ai ramarama.
Tunu maira i te rama
I nunga i Araoa i te takanga
I tangi e moimoi aroa,
Tungia rava te rama na Uti!
She glances at the sea
And plies her torch-fishing.
Then resting awhile at Araoa,
Cooks part of the spoil.
Ere leaving that pleasant spot
She carefully relights her torch-
As taught by the fairy Uti.


These most annoying insects are said to have been unknown in Mangaia, until a woman named Veve landed with her children from Aitutaki. In those days ear-ornaments of a prodigious size were worn by men and women. To admit these clumsy adornments, the ears were slit in childhood and enlarged by constant pressure, until at last a small cocoa-nut58 (vao) could be inserted. Fragrant leaves and even flowers were put inside, and the opening carefully plugged up.

Now Veve, on leaving her native island, filled up the hollow of [p.127] her enormous ear-ornaments with mosquitoes, so as to have the pleasure of hearing their continual hum! But shortly after landing on the eastern part of the island, she went to a pleasant retired little stream, to enjoy the luxury of a bath, and left her singular ear-ornaments on the grassy bank. That same night she went torch-fishing on the reef, and there recollected her missing ear-plugs. Upon returning home, she found two of her children stung to death by the mosquitoes, which had by their loud humming contrived to burst their prison-house! Her other two children had escaped with their lives by entirely immersing their bodies in the neighbouring stream, their mouth and nostrils only being above water.

Veve set fire to her dwelling, hoping to exterminate the noxious insects she had thoughtlessly introduced to her future home. The majority, indeed, perished; but a few escaped to the neighbouring rocks. From that remnant the present disagreeable race of mosquitoes are descended. To this old belief Tenio refers in his fete song:ó

Kua topa te poe i te taringa:
Kua vare paa i Vaikaute.
Na tangi namu i vavai.
Kua kai te namu ka pou raua.
Thy ear-ornaments were lost;
When bathing at Vaikaute.
The loud humming burst them open.
Alas ! they stung both children to death.

It is the custom of the natives to keep burning outside each house a log of dry iron-wood, which if left alone will, like touch-wood, smoulder on until the whole is consumed. Of course the smoke readily penetrates the reed sides of a native hut, and drives away the mosquitoes. But as the smoke does not invariably suffice to expel these irritating foes, it is the custom to sleep with the head and face well wrapped up.

In the hot, damp season, if a native cannot sleep on account [p.128] of mosquitoes, he lights a torch and waits until all his pertinacious little foes are delightedly buzzing round it. He then slowly carries the light outside, of course conducting the insect-army with it. Suddenly quenching the torch, he now rushes back inside the house and closes the sliding door.


The formation of Mangaia is remarkably hilly. In the middle of the island is a hill, half a mile long and 250 feet wide, named Rangimotia, or Centre-of-the-heavens, from which the lesser hills branch out on every side.

This central hill was considered very sacred in the olden time, for there the kings of past generations adjusted the sacred girdle on warriors bound on secret murdering expeditions in the name of Rongo. The condition of wearing this girdle was, "succeed or die." About a century ago a rash chief, named Uarau, resolved to celebrate his accession to supreme temporal power by holding a grand feast on this sacred spot. The leading men of the day were sure that such an act of daring impiety would draw down the anger of the gods, and therefore deprived Uarau of his chieftain-ship. The reason alleged for the sacredness of the hill is this:ó

A god, Te-manava-roa,59 or The-long-lived, lies buried, face downwards, at Rangimotia. His proportions are wonderful: the length of the level hillóhalf a mileóbeing the measurement of his back I His head is at Butoa, towards the sun-rising. The marked depression between, is the neck of The-long-lived. His right arm is the line of hills stretching away to the S.E., a distance of two miles, and touching the mission premises at Tamarua. His [p.129] left arm is represented by a hill-range, of equal length, on the opposite side of the island. The right leg of The-long-lived is the line of somewhat irregular hills extending about three miles on the S.W. of the island. The left leg is a chain of equal length on the N.W.

These "arms" and "legs" serve one important purposeóto mark off the different districts into which the island is naturally-divided.

It is in allusion to this myth that the southern half of Mangaia is invariably called "the right side," and the northern half "the left side." The eastern part of Mangaia is always termed the "pauru" or head.

Whenever, in the olden time, a large stranded fish was obtained, this fancy guided the cutting up and presentation of the different parts of the fish. The head, as a matter-of-course, went to the two chiefs at "the sun-rising," where the head of The-long-lived was supposed to lie. The central part of the fish would go to the two chiefs of the central portion of Mangaiaóthe fish being divided along the back-bone, in order that the shares might be equal.

The tail was divided between the two remaining chiefs, whose homes are at "the sun-setting."

The larger portions were subdivided, until each individual had a minute share. But these subdivisions were not made until the name of the chief of the entire district had first been proclaimed.

To this day, in all great feasts, the etiquette is, after calling out the name of the king, to announce in a prescribed order the names of the six chiefs of Mangaia, beginning with one of the chiefs on the east, and then going round in regular order until the [p.130] second chief on the east had been called out, and the circuit of the island completed. This is done now partly as a matter of custom, and partly as a matter of real convenienceójealousy being thus prevented. Few of the younger people understand the ancient reason for the practice.


The employments of mortals are mere transcripts of what was supposed to be going on in Avaiki, their knowledge and skill being derived from the invisible world. The first axe ever seen on earth (i.e. Mangaia) was, handle and all, of stone from the shades. The grand secret of fire was introduced by Maui from nether-world. The female employment of cloth-beating was derived from the she-demon Mueu, who in the shades is ever beating the flail of death. The art of torch-light fishing was gained from the goddess Uti, who on damp nights loves to come up from Avaiki with a lighted torch (ignis-fatius) to wander over the island. The art of stealing would infallibly come to grief, did not Iro himself come up on moonless nights from spirit-land, for the express purpose of assisting mortals in playing their thievish tricks. The ovens in daily use, especially the enormous ovens for cooking ti (dracoenae terminalis) roots, are derived from Miru's awful oven ever blazing in Hades. The art of war was learnt from Tukaitaua and Tutavake, denizens of nether-land. The intoxicating draught was copied from that which the hateful mistress of the invisible world presents to her victims. The pleasant and harmless game of ball-throwing was first taught to Ngaru by fairy-women; and introduced by him to this world. Veetini came from the dead to instruct mankind how to mourn for their deceased relatives.


An obvious explanation of this style of thought is the universal tendency of the heathen mind to trace to a supernatural source everything in earth, air, or sea. Another suggestion I would make;ótheir ancestors undoubtedly brought with them the knowledge of necessary and useful arts from Savai'i, the "Avaiki" and original home of these islanders. In the eastern islands they speak of having come from Hawai'i (= Savai'i), or the "Po," i.e. Night. By "Night" is intended the far-west, where the sun sets, leaving these eastern islands in darkness. Po, Hawai'i, Avaiki, and Savai'i are convertible terms.

The heathen of these islands were everywhere Realists in philosophy, without knowing it. This is the fundamental error of unenlightened nations.


Ngaroariki,60 wife of Ngata, king of Rarotonga, was famed for her beauty. She was the envy of gods and men. On one occasion she was thrown into a thicket of thorns by four men, who thought she could never get out alive. (The thorns of this formidable creeper resemble fish-hooks. Woe betide the unfortunate man that gets entangled amongst them.) Tangaroa, tutelar god of Rarotonga, took pity on the hapless beauty, and sent Oroio and Roaki with long, heavy sticks to beat down the thicket, and thus afford deliverance. Another time, when rambling near the sea, she heard a siren voice calling to her, "O loveliest of women, come hither!" She felt impelled to follow the voice. The path-way led over a bua (beslaria laurifolia) which overspread a rock. Tangaroa whispered to her to tread only the green branches, as [p.132] whoever treads upon the dead branches is necessarily bound to spirit-land. She did so. But as she passed on to the sea whence the voice proceeded, she was suddenly caught in a net by two demons, and was utterly helpless in their hands. As she was being borne away to destruction, Tangaroa again interposed on her behalf, and tore the net to pieces and delivered the fair captive. On a third occasion, Ngaroariki told her husband that she was going to bathe in a retired spot. He attempted to dissuade her from her purpose, saying that she might be attacked by the cruel hag Moto (= the strike?'), who was known to be jealous of her charms. Ngaroariki loved to have her own way, and went off gaily to the fountain, and there greatly diverted herself by beating the water with her hands.

It happened that the envious woman was preparing cloth in her own dwelling, which was not far away from the bathing-place. As soon as she heard the splashing of the water, she knew that it was Ngaroariki, and immediately left off work and sought how she might wreak her vengeance upon the defenceless queen.

Tangaroa noticed that Moto's flail ceased to beat, and concluded that she was planning some evil against Ngaroariki. Wishing to save the ill-fated beauty, he despatched his bird-messenger, the kuriri, who chirped thus:ó

Teuteuae,61 rueraeae, e tu ra, e oro ra, aere ra. Haste, haste, arise, flee for thy life!

The warning was repeated two or three times; but Ngaroariki paid no heed. While she was yet splashing about in the fountain, Moto violently assaulted the unprepared bather. She then, with a keen shark's tooth, shaved off the whole of her hair, which was so profuse that it made eight large handfuls. Her face was next so [p.133] disfigured that it was impossible for any one to recognize the once beautiful queen. Her pretty yellow ear-ornament of stained fish-bone, and her fine pearl-shell daintily suspended from her neck, were snatched away. Her gay clothes were all taken from her, and she was wrapped round in a single piece of old black fapa. When at length the hag Moto retreated with the spoil, poor Ngaroariki, utterly forlorn and changed in appearance, hid herself in the forest.

Her husband Ngata, astonished that his queen did not return home, searched everywhere for her; but in vain. After some time a grand reed-throwing match in honour of the king came off. The party who throws the farthest wins the day. The chief people of the island were present, and in succession threw their long reeds with various degrees of success. When Ngata and his retinue came forward to exhibit their skill, it happened that their reeds passed near where the lost queen was hiding her deformity and misery. She was wasted to a skeleton through grief and want of food. She knew well to whom the reeds belonged. One after another, as they swept past, they were caught by her and broken in pieces. It was reported to the king that his reeds had actually been destroyed by some ugly, wretched-looking woman. Ngata, greatly incensed, hastened to punish her insolence. Again and again he kicked her, reviling her for her ugliness and impudence. As soon as the king was gone, Ngaroariki wailed thus:ó

Takatakaiia, takatakaiia te mea vaine Ngata ariki,
I Vaitakaiara te nekuere.
O royal Ngata, tramplest thou thusó
Tramplest thou thus on thine own perishing wife?

The king was told what she had said. Was it possible that this ugly creature was indeed his lost wife? He immediately [p.134] returned and looked attentively at her face, but could see no likeness to his beloved Ngaroariki. Yet there could be no mistaking the meaning of her words. At last he bethought himself to open her mouth; and, on doing so, immediately recognized the pearly teeth of his lost one. He asked what had happened to her. She told him all. Off started Ngata, followed by his wife, in search of the sorceress. She was employed as usual in beating out cloth. The king demanded whether she had touched Ngaroariki and had stolen her queenly ornaments. The hag admitted that these charges were true, but begged the king not to kill her, as she would give back the stolen treasures, and restore her to her pristine beauty. The ornaments and clothing were produced. The sorceress then collected the viscid fluid of the hibiscus and the oronga (urtica argentea), and prepared a sort of gum which she plastered all over the bald head of Ngaroariki. The hair was thus made by the sorceress to adhere as formerly. The eyebrows were restored in the same way. The hag having, with infinite labour, repaired the damage she had done to the person of the queen, hoped to be forgiven. But Ngata thirsted for revenge. Besides, the jealous Moto might invent some new method of injuring his beloved one. Without heeding her entreaties for mercy, the king stoned the sorceress to death, as he believed. Accompanied by Ngaroariki, he was proceeding home, when, to his utter astonishment, he heard Moto again at her old employment, beating out native cloth. He returned to the hag, who appeared to be uninjured by what had occurred. A second time Ngata stoned the sorceress; but again she revived and returned to her old work. Driven to his wits' end, he at last hit upon a plan which proved successful; it was to stone her until, as previously, life seemed extinct, and then to sever the limbs and [p.135] bury them in different parts of the island. Thus, at length, an end was put to the malicious tricks of the envious Moto, and the lovely Ngaroariki lived in peace with her royal husband.


Of the seven islands constituting the Hervey Group, Mangaia and Aitutaki are the only ones without a native breed of pigs. The first were landed in 1823 by the martyr Williams. On occasion of the annual May festivities in 1852, a thousand pigs were killed and eaten! Of late years the number of these useful animals has greatly fallen off, owing to the desolation occasioned by successive hurricanes.

The only quadruped previously known on Mangaia was the rat, which was considered to be delicious eating. To this day a rat-hunt is rare sport for boys, who afterwards divide the spoil. Their seniors have relinquished the practice of rat-eating. "As sweet as a rat" is a common proverb; and the Rarotongans revile Mangaians as "rat-eaters."

The following is the legend given to account for the origin of pigs at Rarotonga:ó

Some two miles from the settlement of Avarua is a place named Kupolu, where there once lived the aged blind Maaru, and his son Kationgia. They lived by themselves in a pleasant spot, not far from the base of mountains whose summits are nearly always robed in clouds.

In consequence of the continual fighting of those days, there was a most severe famine. Maaru became too feeble to stir from the house; so that the boy had to provide, as best he could, for the wants of the old man and himself. Kationgia could find nothing better to eat than the stump of the banana, which [p.136] ordinarily no one would condescend to taste. Very diligently did he grate these stumps on a lump of madrepore coral, strain off the farina into a tub hollowed out of a solid tree, and mixing a little of the refuse (ota), in order to give it substance, cooked the whole in the oven. Kationgia would now go on the reef to fish, in order to get something to render this wretched diet palatable. The fish, when obtained, was grilled over a fire, on an extempore gridiron of green cocoa-nut branches.

The dutiful son invariably gave to his aged parent the banana-root pudding and the larger fish, whilst he satisfied the cravings of his own appetite on sea-slugs and shell-fish. Maaru, wearied of this diet, and suspected Kationgia of playing him a trick. Possibly the secret of his boy's uncomplaining cheerfulness was that he reserved all the good things for his own eating, knowing that his old father was stone blind. Resolved to find out the truth, he waited till his son had gone on the reef to fish. Maaru now felt about for the calabash of salt water, and spilled its contents. In due time the son returned with some fish, and prepared their meal. But to his surprise, the salt water was gone. Without a word of complaint the lad started back to the beach to refill the empty calabash with this indispensable condiment.

This was just the opportunity the old blind father desired. Everything was spread for his own dinner and for his son's: he resolved to ascertain what his boy was living on from day to day, seeing that his own fare was so indifferent. To his grief he found that Kationgia had been really starving himself, whilst the father had constantly eaten the only tolerable food obtainable. Maaru wept at the thought of what his poor boy had endured for his sake: hearing, at length, the footsteps of the lad, he restrained his tears.


The meal was finished in silence. The old man then requested Kationgia to come to him. The boy obeyed, wondering at this novel proceeding. The blind Maaru then felt all over his person, and found him to be a living skeleton. Father and son now wept together.

Kationgia was told to prepare an oven. "What have we to cook?" naturally asked the son. The father repeated his command. When the oven was nearly ready, Maaru directed his son to dig about the posts of the house, where he had, with a wise forethought, during a previous season of plenty, concealed a quantity of food against the time of scarcity.

Near the first post was a large quantity of "mai," or sour bread-fruit, carefully packed up in leaves.62 About the second post was a lot of excellent chestnuts (tuscarpiis edulis). To crown the whole, a bunch of four cocoa-nuts was discovered close to the third principal support of their dwelling. Said the old father, "Cook all this food; for we will have a feast to-night. When I am gone, dig about all the minor posts of this house, and you will find plenty of food expressly reserved for this time of sore need."

That evening father and son enjoyed the luxury of a second meal. Maaru then solemnly said, "I have eaten my last food. I am about to die. As soon as the breath is out of my body, take me to Nikao (a good fishing-place about a mile distant). On no account carry me; but drag me there. Conceal my body in the bush; cover it well with leaves and grass. At the expiration of four days, come and look at my body. Should you see worms crawling about, cover me over again with fresh leaves and grass. At the expiration of another four days come backóand something [p.138] will follow you. Peace will be restored to this island^ and you will be king.

That same night the old man died. Kationgia faithfully carried out the last wish of his parent. The bruised corpse was deposited in the dense ironwood forest, not far from the beautiful white sandy beach of Nikao. At the end of four days the lad revisited the sequestered grave, and saw worms crawling about. According to the instructions of Maaru, he gathered abundance of fresh leaves and grass, and piled them over the corpse to a great height. But when, after the expiration of another four days, he paid a second visit to the grave, he was surprised to see the entire mass strangely heaving;óit was all commotion! Alarmed at this, he rushed away home in horror. His ears, however, were assailed and his steps arrested with the novel grunts of the first brood of figs on Rarotonga. In that first brood were all the varieties of white, black, and speckled, which have since prevailed. These young pigs, of their own accord, followed Kationgia to his home at the foot of the mountain. They increased at a wonderful rate, and made their owner famous all over the island.

Being now a man of consideration, Kationgia married to advantage. Peace prevailed, and eventually, on account of his owning these wonderful animals, he was elected king! Such was the reward of his filial piety.

To the present day pigs at Rarotonga are, in allusion to this story, called "e iro no Maaru" = worms of Maaru.

Kationgia = bite and smelly as if the model child of their heathen antiquity only bit and smelt his own share of food. A spot at Rarotonga is to this day called Kupolu.




Te-erui, son of Te-tareva = the expanse, lived long in utter darkness in the shades (Avaiki). He had heard that there was somewhere a land of light; very earnestly he desired to visit it. He ruminated as to the best way of attaining his purpose, and finally resolved to make a canoe, in which he might paddle away to "the land of light."

Te-erui divulged his secret purpose to his brother Matareka = smiling face. Being of one mind, they at once set off in search of suitable wood for their purpose. As they felled the trees, they chanted these words:ó

Nga Te-erui, nga Matareka e amo i te toki i te tumu o te rakau.
E aumapu ma taku toki, e aumapu.
Te- erui and Matareka have brought their axes to the root of this tree.
Merrily rings the axe ! merrily O!

The trees fell. The top and branches were speedily lopped off, the outer bark was peeled off, and the trunks hollowed out into two fine canoes. The outriggers were secured. The first canoe was named, "Weary of Darkness," the second, "Sleepless Nights." These enterprising brothers dragged their canoes to the ocean's edge, set up a mast and sail in each, and started for the much-wished-for "land of light." When the winds grew light, they diligently plied their paddles. On and on they went, and, to their great joy, reached a region called "Glimmering of Light." Here they met with a great misfortuneótheir canoes upset. They, however, swam back for their lives, and succeeded in reaching their homes again. In no degree discouraged by the [p.140] result of this, their first experiment, the brothers cut down two trees, chanting as before:ó

Te-erui and Matareka have brought their axes to the root of this tree.
Merrily rings the axe! merrily O!

The trees fell; and in due time the canoes were completed. One was named, "Unalterable Purpose;" the other, "Sidle Along" (because unable to go direct). These new canoes were launched, and a second time the brothers started off in search of "the land of light." All went on well until they arrived at the comparatively pleasant region of "Glimmering of Light," where their fragile barks were sunk by the violence of the waves. The adventurous voyagers happily succeeded in swimming back to shore a second time. But Te-erui and Matareka did not despair. Again they felled timber for two new canoes in the place of those they had lost, singing as before:ó

Te-erui and Matareka have brought, etc.

When these canoes were completed, they were respectively called "Tack In," and "Tack Out." Once more the brothers, each in a separate canoe, started off in search of "the land of light," but were again doomed to disappointment; for, on reaching the region of "Glimmering of Light," the rough waves again broke up their canoes. Te-erui and Matareka, however, got back to shore a third time.

The brothers now doubted whether they would ever succeed in getting to the wished-for land. They resolved to try once more. Again they selected the best trees for their purpose; and, whilst cutting them down, sang as formerly, "Te-erui and Matareka," etc. When these canoes were completed, they held a consultation as to the probable cause of their previous failures.


The carpenter, or priest, inquired the name of the masts of the former canoes. The brothers replied, "Te-tira-o-Rongo," i.e. The mast of Rongo. The carpenter remarked, "It is on this account that you have hitherto failed. Change the name, and you will yet succeed." "What name do you propose?" asked the brothers. "Call it," said the priest-carpenter, "O-tu-i-te-rangi-marama"63 = Erect in the Light of Heaven. This was gladly agreed to. Everything was at length completed for the fourth expedition in search of "the land of light." What with paddling and sailing, they reached the dangerous region of "Glimmering of Light," and saw the mad billows seemingly resolved again to swallow up the frail barks. But "Erect in the Light of Heaven" kept on through storm and calm until they reached "the land of light"óa region where they could clearly see each other; where the sun shone brightly, and all was pleasant.

No more caring to return to the dark land from which they had originally set out, they looked about for a resting-place, and at last espied a half-sunken island ahead. But the ocean waves were threatening, and the surf rolled heavily against the coral reef. The brothers fought against these billows, and lo! the sea became smooth. Nearing the partially submerged island, they could find no dry place on which to set their feet. The brothers again contended with the ocean, the shallow waters vanished, leaving the island elevated far above the surrounding ocean. Te-erui and Mata-reka took possession of their new-found home in "the region of light," and thenceforth appropriately called it "Aitu-taki" = God-led.

Such is the legendary history of the "Adam" of Aitutaki. It is, of course, a highly exaggerated account of the voyage of the [p.142] first settlers from Avaiki = Savai'i, the sun-setting, to "the land of light," i.e. the sun-rising. Said the heathen priests to Papehia, one of their first teachers, "Te-erui was the first man; we know nothing about your Adam."



In the fairy land of Kupolu lived the renowned chief Rata, who resolved to build a great double canoe, with a view of exploring other lands. Shouldering his axe, he started off to a distant valley where the finest timber grew. Close to the mountain stream stood a fragrant pandanus tree, where a deadly combat was going on between a beautiful white heron (ruru), and a spotted sea-serpent (aa). The origin of the quarrel was as follows:ó

The heron was accustomed, when wearied with its search after fish, to rest itself on a stone rising just above the waters of the coral reef, and chanced to defile the eyes of a monstrous sea-serpent, whose hole was just beneath. The serpent, greatly enraged at this insult, resolved to be revenged. Raising its head as far as possible out of the water, it carefully observed the flight of the white heron and followed in pursuit. Leaving the salt water of the reef, it entered the mountain torrent, and eventually reached the foot of the fragrant pandanus, where the unconscious victim was sleeping. The sea-serpent easily climbed the pandanus by means of one of its extraordinary aerial supports or roots; and now, holding on firmly with its twisted tail, began the attack by biting the lovely bird.

They fought hard all through that night. At dawn, the white heron seeing Rata passing that way, plaintively called out, "O Rata, put an end to this fight." But the sea-serpent said deceit- [p.143] fully, "Nay, Rata; leave us alone. It is but a trial of strength between a heron and a serpent. Let us fight it out." Again the white heron begged Rata to interfere; and again the crafty sea- serpent bade Rata go on his wayówhich he did, being in a great hurry to fell timber for his canoe. But as he walked heedlessly along, he heard the bird say reproachfully, "Ah! your canoe will not be finished without my aid." Still Rata heeded not the white heron's cry for help, but entered the recesses of the forest. Selecting the finest timber he could find, he cut down enough for his purpose, and at sunset returned home.

Early on the following morning the chief returned to the valley, intending to hollow out the trees he had felled on the previous day. Strangely enough, the logs were missing: not a lopped branch, or even a chip or a leaf could be seen! No stump could be discovered, so that it was evident that the felled trees had, in the course of the night, been mysteriously restored to their former state. But Rata was not to be deterred from his purpose, so having again fixed upon suitable trees, a second time he levelled them to the ground.

On the third morning, as he went back to the forest to his work, he noticed that the heron and the serpent were still fighting. They had been thus engaged for two days and nights without intermission. Rata pursued his way, intending to hollow out his canoe, when to his astonishment, as on the previous day, the fallen trees had resumed their original places, and were in every respect as perfect as before the axe had touched them. Rata guessed by their position and size, which were the trees that had twice served him this trick. He now for the first time understood the meaning of what the suffering white heron had said to him on the first day, "Your canoe will not be finished without my aid."


Rata now left the forest and went to see whether the white heron was alive. The beautiful bird was indeed living, but very much exhausted. Its unrelenting foe, sure of victory, was preparing for a final attack when Rata chopped it in pieces with his axe, and thus saved the life of the white heron. He then went back to his work, and for the third time felled the timber for his canoe. As it was by this time growing dark, he returned home to rest.

From the branch of a distant tree the somewhat revived white heron watched the labours of Rata through the livelong day. As soon as the chief had disappeared in the evening, the grateful bird started off to collect all the birds of Kupolu to hollow out Rata's canoe. They gladly obeyed the summons of their sovereign, and pecked away with their beaks until the huge logs were speedily hollowed out. Next came the more difficult task of joining together the separate pieces. The holes were bored with the long bills of the sea birds, and the cinet was well secured with the claws of the stronger land birds. It was almost dawn ere the work was completed. Finally, they resolved to convey the canoe to the beach close to Rata's dwelling. To accomplish this, each birdóthe small as well as the largeótook its place on either side of the canoe, completely surrounding it. At a given signal they all extended their wings, one to bear up the canoe, the other for flight. As they bore the canoe through the air they sang, each with a different note, as follows:ó

E ara rakau e! E ara rakau e!
E ara inano e!
E kopukopu te tini o Kupolu
E matakitaki, ka re koe!
A pathway for the canoe! A pathway for the canoe!
A path of sweet-scented flowers!
The entire family of birds of Kupohi
O! Honour thee (Rata) above all mortals!


On reaching the sandy beach in front of Rata's dwelling the canoe was carefully deposited by the birds, who now quickly disappeared in the depths of the forest.

Awakened by this unwonted song of the birds, Rata hastily collected his tools, intending to return to his arduous employment in the valley. At this moment he caught sight of the famous canoe, beautifully finished off, lying close to his door. He at once guessed this to be the gratitude of the king of birds, and named the canoe "Taraipo" = Built-in-a-night (or Built-in-the- invisible-world).

Rata speedily provided his bird-built canoe with a mast and a sail, and then summoned his friends, and laid in food and water for his projected voyage. Everything being now ready, he went on board, and was just starting when Nganaoa asked permission to go in this wonderful vessel. But Rata would not consent. The crafty Nganaoa seeing the canoe start without him ran to fetch an empty calabash, knocked off the top, and squeezing himself in as best he could, floated himself off on the surface of the ocean, until he got a little ahead of the canoe. The people in Rata's canoe were surprised to see an apparently empty calabash floating steadily just before their vessel. Rata desired one of his men to stoop down to pick up the calabash, as it might prove useful. The man did so, but to his astonishment found it very heavyóactually containing a man compressed into the smallest possible compass.

A voice now issued from the calabash, "O Rata, take me on board your canoe." "Whither away?" inquired the chief "I go," said the poor fellow inside the calabash, "warned by an oracle, to the land of Moonlight, to seek my parents Tairitokerau and Vaiaroa." Rata now asked, "What will you do for me if [p.146] I take you in?" The imprisoned Nganaoa replied, "I will look after your mat sail." "I do not want your help," said Rata. "Here are men enough to attend to the great mat sail."

After a pause, Nganaoa, still unreleased from his awkward position, again earnestly addressed Rata: "Let me go in your canoe." "Whither away?" again demanded the chief. "I go," said Nganaoa, "warned by an oracle, to the land of Moonlight, to seek my parents Tairitokerau and Vaiaroa." Rata again asked "What now will you do for me if I take you in?" The reply issued from the calabash, "I will unweariedly bale out the water from the bottom of your canoe." Again Rata said, "I do not want your help. I have plenty of men to bale out the water from the bottom of the canoe."

A third time, in similar terms, Nganaoa entreated permission to go in the canoeóto paddle it whenever the wind should grow light or adverse. But Rata would not accept his services.

At last, upon the fourth application, the desponding Nganaoa was successful, on the promise to destroy all the monsters of the ocean which might infest their path. Rata wisely reflected that he had entirely forgotten to provide against this emergency; and who so fertile in expedients as Nganaoa, who was now permitted to emerge from his calabash, and to take his place armed at head of the canoe to be on the look-out for monsters.

Swiftly and pleasantly, with a fair wind, they sped over the ocean in quest of new lands. One day Nganaoa shouted, "O Rata, here is a terrible foe starting up from the main." It was an open clam of fearful proportions. One shell was ahead, the other asternóthe canoe and all on board lying between! In another moment this horrid clam might crush them all by suddenly closing its mouth! But Nganaoa was ready for the emergency. He [p.147] seized his long spear and quickly drove it down into the fish, so that the bivalve instead of suddenly snapping them all up sank immediately to the bottom of the ocean.

This danger escaped, they again sped pleasantly on their way. But after a while the voice of the ever vigilant Nganaoa was heard: "O Rata, yonder is a terrible enemy starting up from ocean depths." It proved to be an octopus of extraordinary dimensions. Its huge tentacula encircled the vessel in their embrace, threatening to destroy them. At this critical juncture Nganaoa seized his spear and fearlessly drove it through the head of the octopus. The tentacula now slowly relaxed, and the dead monster floated off on the surface of the ocean.

Again they pursued their voyage in safety. But one more great peril awaited them. One day the brave Nganaoa shouted, "O Rata, here is a great whale." Its enormous mouth was wide open; one jaw beneath the canoe, and the other above it! The whale was evidently bent on swallowing them up alive. Nganaoa, the slayer of monsters, now broke his long spear in two, and at the critical moment when the whale was about to crush them all, he cleverly inserted both stakes inside the mouth of their foe, so that it became impossible for it to close its jaws. Nganaoa nimbly jumped inside the mouth of this great whale and looked down into the stomach, and lo! there sat his long lost father Tairitokerau and his mother Vaiaroa, who had been swallowed alive when fishing by this monster of the deep. The oracle was fulfilled ; his voyage was prosperous.

The parents of Nganaoa were busily engaged in platting cinet Great was their joy at seeing their son, being assured that deliverance was at hand. Nganaoa resolved, whilst extricating his parents, to be fully revenged upon the whale. He therefore [p.148] extracted one of the two stakesóthe remaining one sufficing to prevent the monster from enclosing him as well as his parents in this living tomb. Breaking this prop into two pieces, he converted them into fire-sticks. He desired his father to hold firmly the lower one, whilst he worked assiduously with the upper stick, until at length the fire smouldered. Blowing it to a flame, Nganaoa set fire to the fatty portion of the stomach. The monster, writhing in agony, sought relief in swimming to the nearest land, where, on reaching the sandy beach, father, mother, and son quietly walked out through the open mouth of the stranded and dying whale.

The island proved to be Iti-te-marama, or Moonlight. Here the canoe of Rata was drawn up on the beach, and for a time they all lived pleasantly. They daily refreshed themselves with its fruits and fish, adorning their persons with fragrant flowers. At length they longed for the land of their birth in Avaiki, and they resolved to return. The canoe was repaired and launched; food and water were laid in; the great mat sail was set up, and at length the brave navigator Rata, with the scarcely saved parents of Nganaoa, and the entire party, started once more. After many days, but without further peril, they eventually reached their original homes in the lands of the sun-setting.

This myth materially differs from the Rarotongan one, to which Mr. Williams refers in the "Enterprises" (chap, xiii.), which relates how Tangua first came to Rarotonga. In the latter part, one is strongly reminded of the story of Jonah : the natives look upon it as a distorted version of the Bible narrative. The myth says "a whale" (toora) swallowed the parents of Nganaoa; [p.149] whereas the native Bible merely states that "a great fish" (ika maata) swallowed Jonah.

This myth, which may be regarded as one of the primitive stories of the race, points to Samoa. At Pangaroa, in the island of Upolu (in Rarotongan and Aitutakian story Kupolu; but in Mangaian traditions Ukupolu), amid some rocks near the sea, is a block of stone, about twenty-seven feet in length, very much resembling a canoe, and called "the canoe of Rata!"

The story of Rata was unknown at Mangaia. Yet a reference to this hero occurs in a canoe-making songó

Tapaia e Una e!
E toki purepure o tai enua.
A tua te vao ia Rata
Kua inga te rakau!
Slash away, O Una,
With the wonderful axe from another land.
E'en with that which enabled Rata
To fell the forest.

"The Song of the Birds" ("A Pathway for the canoe," etc.) has always been in use at Aitutaki and Rarotonga as one of those chanted in hauling heavy timber.

The bird intended by the native word "ruru" is a matter of dispute amongst the islanders; some asserting it to be the albatros, others say it is the white heron. The objection to the former is, that is is purely a roamer over the ocean. The fish intended is the "vaaroa," or spotted sea-serpent, which attains the length of eight feet, and is very vindictive. It may seem incredible that a species of eel should climb trees, but such nevertheless is said (by the natives) to be the fact. On low coral islands, where the pandanus grows close to the lagoon, it is common for this fish to make its way over the sand and broken coral until, reaching the shafts which support the trunk, it climbs with great ease in search of lizards which sleep on the branches. The [p.150] octopus climbs the same tree for the sake of the sweet-scented flowers and fruit. Like the octopus, this sea-serpent is an expert rat-catcherófeigning death until the unwary rat comes within its reach. The sight of a human being causes it to return to the water with the utmost expedition.



Tena rava te tira:
Ka tu i nunga,
Ka tu i mua i te are:
E tira Omataianiiku:
E tira Outuuturoroa;
Tei iti au era tangata kekeia,
O ua rere i maui ia kiritia;
I taviria ia turua.
Ia turua a nu koe e te atua i te are:
Ka mate koe i te atua i te are.
Tamoe i te au mea katoa
Tena rava te moenga, maora atu na,
F moe, e te tangata noou te are.
E moe, e te tirango noou te are.
E moe, e te portipoti noou te are.
E moe, e te ueue noeu te are.
Here is our sure helper.
Arise on our behalf:
Stand at the door of this house,
O thou divine Omataianuku!
O thou divine Outuutu-the-Tall,
And Avaava-the-Tall!
We are on a thieving64 expeditionó
Be close to our left side to give aid.
Let all be wrapped in sleep.
Be as a lofty cocoa-nut tree to support us.
O house, thou art doomed by our god!
Cause all things to sleep.
Let profound sleep overspread this dwelling.
Owner of the house, sleep on!
Threshold of this house, sleep on!
Ye tiny insects inhabiting this house sleep on!
Ye beetles inhabiting this house, sleep on!


E moe, e te kakaraunga noou te are.
E moe, e te ro noou te are.
E moe, e te mata noou te are.
E moe, e te pou noou te are.
E moe, e te tauu noou te are.
E moe, e te oka noou te are.
E moe, e te tarava noou te are.
E moe, e te kao noou te are.
E moe, e te tiritiritama noou te are.
E moe, e te au noou te are.
E moe, e te kakao noou te are.
E moe, e te rau noou te are.
O te mata i niua o te tansfata
Aere katoa, tukua i te rangi, e Kongo.
E ara mai nei,óvareaio!
Mea po te atua oi te io tangata,
Ye earwigs inhabiting this house, sleep on!
Ye ants inhabiting this house, sleep on!
Dry grass spread over the house, sleep on!
Thou central post of the house, sleep on!
Thou ridge-pole of the house, sleep on!
Ye main rafters of the house, sleep on!
Ye cross beams of the house, sleep on!
Ye little rafters of the house, sleep on!
Ye minor posts of the house, sleep on!
Thou covering of the ridge-pole, sleep on!
Ye reed-sides of the house, sleep on!
Thatch of the house, sleep on!
The first of its inmates unluckily awaking
Put soundly to sleep again.
If the divinity so please, man's spirit must yield.
O Rongo, grant thou complete success!

This prayer was uttered as near as possible to the dwelling to be robbed. The users of it were famous for their success.




The proper name for Hades is Avaiki; in Tahitian, Hawai'i; in New Zealand, Hawaiki. Many other expressions occur in their ancient songs and myths, but they are to be regarded as designations for places or territories in Avaiki, the vast hollow over which the island is supposed to be placed. As the dead were usually thrown down the deepest chasms, it was not unnatural for their friends to imagine the earth to be hollow, and the entrance to this vast nether-world to be down one of these pits. No one can wonder at this who knows that the outer portion of Mangaia is a honeycomb, the rock being pierced in every direction with winding caves and frightful chasms. It is asserted that the Mission premises at Oneroa are built over one of these great caverns, which extends so far towards the sea that the beating of the surf can be distinctly heard, whilst the water, purified from its saline particles, continually drips from the stony roof. The [p.153] inland opening to this subterranean territory was the grand repository of the dead, and is known by the significant name of



[p.154] Auraka = don't. Doubtless this is the true origin of their idea of the whereabouts of spirit-world.

The proper denizens of Avaiki are the major and lesser divinities, with their dependants. These marry, multiply, and quarrel like mortals. They wear clothing, plant, cook, fish, build, and inhabit dwellings of exactly the same sort as exist on earth. The food of immortals is no better than that eaten by mankind. The story of Kura's marvellous escape from Hades represents some districts of spirit-land as inhabited by cannibals, whose delight is to entrap unwary mortals to their destructionóit is to be presumed without the knowledge of dread Miru. Birds, fish, and rats; the mantis, beetle, and centipede, the cocoa-nut tree, the pandanus, the myrtle, the morindo citrifolia, and the yam,óall abound in Hades, either for the support or adornment of immortals. Murder, adultery, drunkenness, theft, and lying are practised by them. The arts of this world are fac-similes of what primarily belonged to nether-land, and were taught to mankind by the gods. The visible world itself is but a gross copy of what exists in spirit-land. If fire burns, it is because latent flame was hidden in the wood by Mauike in Hades. If the axe cleaves, it is because the fairy of the axe is invisibly present. If the iron-wood club kills its victim, it is because a fierce demon from Tonga is enshrined in it.

At a spot named Aremauku, about half a mile from the principal village, on a cliff overhanging the western ocean, it was pretended that the direct road to spirit-land existed. Through it continual communication was anciently kept up with Hades. By this route Maui descended to the home of Mauike, and wrested the secret of fire. In one district lived a race possessed of only one eye apiece! At evening the Sun-god Ra drops down through [p.155] the opening made for his convenience at the edge of the horizon, and thus lights up the inhabitants of the nether-world. One myth asserts that he descends thus frequently to Avaiki to visit his wife Tu, who lives with the Great Mother Vari, at the very bottom of the vast cocoa-nut hollowóknees and chin meeting!

Hence the ancient proverb, "Day here; night in Avaiki,"' and vice versa. As the priest Teka sang (1794):ó

Ua po Avaiki
Ua ao nunga nei.
Tis night now in spirit-land;
For 'tis light in this upper world.

At the appointed interval, the Sun-god Ra climbs up, not without great difficulty, out of nether-world through a hole at the edge of the eastern horizon, and lights up Mangaia. That his movements are so reasonable and regular is due to the exertions of Maui. The high-road to Avaiki is for ever closed. This was not the fault of mankind, but the penalty of the excesses of the denizens of spirit-land. They became very troublesome to mankindócontinually afflicting them with disease and death. They occasioned great dearth by stealing all kinds of food, and even ravished the women of this world. The brave and beautiful Tiki, the sister of Veetini, determined to put an end to these annoyances. For this purpose she rolled herself alive down into the gloomy opening, which immediately closed upon her. From that memorable day the spirits of mortals have been compelled to descend to Avaiki by a different route. Happily, however, the natives of Avaiki no longer dare molest mankind. The closed chasm is known by the name "te rua ia Tiki" = Tiki's hole.

The spirits of the dead were often spoken of as wandering along the margin of the sea most disconsolately; not a little [p.156] annoyed at the extreme sharpness of the rocks, and the entanglement of their feet in the bindweed and thick vines. They were arrayed in ghostly net-work, and a fantastic mourning of weeds picked upon the way, relieved, however, by the fragrant heliotrope which grows freely on the barren rocks. A red creeper, resembling dyed twine, wound round and round the head like a turban, completed their ghostly toilet.

Rather inconsistently with this, a smooth, shelving piece of coral rock on the western coast is known as "te renanga a te atua," i.e. the place where ghosts blanch their new-made garments; as if during the weary months of their wanderings over the rough rocks they were driven, like the living, to prepare new clothing from time to time, and thus replace the garments torn by the bushes and thorny creepers. Was it to assist in the manufacture of such garments that females were invariably buried with one or more cloth mallets used in life?

The great delight of these weeping, melancholy spirits, was to follow the sun.65 At the summer solstice, January, he apparently rises out of the ocean opposite to AnŠ-kura (the "red-cave," so called as receiving the red rays of the morning); at the winter solstice, June, rising at Karanga-iti ("the little welcome," winter being but half welcome). These points became, therefore, grand rendezvous of disembodied spirits: those belonging to the northern half of the island assembling at the last-named rendezvous, Karanga-iti; those, by far the greater number, belonging to the southern half of the island meeting at the former, Ana-kura.

Many months might elapse ere the projected departure of the ghosts took place. This weary interval was spent in dances and [p.157] in revisiting their former homes, where the living dwell affectionately remembered by the dead. At night-fall they would wander amongst the trees and plantations nearest to these dwellings, sometimes venturing to peep inside. As a rule, these ghosts were well-disposed to their own living relatives; but often became vindictive if a pet child was ill-treated by a step-mother or other relatives, etc.

Sometimes wearied with these wanderings, the ghosts huddled together in the Red-cave, the stony base of which is constantly laved by the waves of the Pacific, rolling in with terrific violence from the east. Or, if it so pleased their fancy, they clambered up the open, lawn-like place above the cave, out of reach of the billows and foam of the ocean (now a favourite resting-place for fishermen, where they cook and eat part of their finny spoil). This open grassy space, so renowned in their songs and myths concerning the dead, is known as "One-ma-kenu-kenu" = the smooth spot, or the well-weeded spot. A coarse species of grass covers the sandy soil, pleasingly contrasting with the utter barrenness beyond, where Desolation seems to be enthroned.

The precise period for final departure was fixed by the leader of the band. But if no distinguished person was amongst them, they must of course wait on until such a leader was obtained. Thus in the beautiful classic laments for Vera, he is represented as the chosen captain of the dead, as his uncle Nagara ruled over the living about 125 years ago.

The chief of this disconsolate throng resolves to depart. Messages are sent to collect those stray ghosts who may yet be lingering near their ancient haunts. With many tears and last lingering looks they assemble at the Red-cave, or on the grassy lawn above it, intently watching the rising of the sun. At the [p.158] first streak of dawn the entire band take their departure to meet the rising sun. This done, they follow in his train as nearly as may be: he in the heavens above, they at first on the ocean beneath, but afterwards over the rocks and stones (always avoiding the interior of the island),66 until late in the afternoon of the appointed day they are all assembled at Vairorongo, facing the setting sun.

"Vairorongo" means "Rongo's sacred stream." It is a little rivulet rushing out of the stones at the marae of Rongo, where in the olden time only the priests and kings might bathe.

At last the congregated throng, whose eyes are fixed upon the setting sun, feel that the moment has come when they must for ever depart from the cherished scenes of earthódespite the tears and solicitations of relatives, who are frequently represented as chasing their loved ones over rocks and across fearful precipices, round half the island. The sun now sinks in the ocean, leaving a golden track; the entire band of ghosts take a last farewell, and following their earthly leader, flit over the ocean in the train of the Sun-god Ra, but not like him destined to reappear on the morrow. The ghostly train enter Avaiki through the very aperture by which the Sun-god descends in order to lighten up for a time those dark subterranean regions.

This view is expressed in the beautiful myth of Veetini.

After the crowd of spirits had taken their departure, a solitary laggard might sometimes be left behindóarriving at the appointed rendezvous only in time to see the long annual train disappear with the glowing sun. The unhappy ghost must wait [p.159] till a new troop be formed for the following winter, its only amusement being "to dance the dance of the tiitii, or starved!" or to "toss pebbles in the air" through the weary months that intervene.

The point of departure for spirit-land is called a "reinga vaerua." There are three on Mangaia, all facing the setting sun. The boundary of the Mission premises at Oneroa is marked on one side by a bluff rock standing out by itself like a giant facing the west. It was believed that the spirits of those buried in that grand repository of the dead "Auraka," at the proper season left its gloomy, winding subterranean passages and divided themselves into two bands: the majority starting from "Araia" and lodging on the fatal bua tree; someóthose issuing from "Kauava"ógoing in mournful procession to the projecting rock alluded to, thence leapt one by one to a second and much smaller block of stone resting on the inner edge of the reef, and thence again to the outer and extreme edge of the reef on which the surf ceaselessly beats. From this point they take their final departure to the shades in the track of the sun.

At Atua-koro, on the north-west coast of the island, are two great stones very similarly placed by the hand of nature. This was considered to be an arrangement for the convenience of ghosts on that part of the island. Like the former these stones are known as "Reinga vaerua," i.e. Leaping-place-of-souls. These are but trifling modifications of the highly poetical representation of disembodied spirits, not the slain, being impelled to follow in the train of the setting sun to spirit-land.

At Rarotonga the great "reinga" or "rereanga vaerua" was at Tuoro; on the west of the island, as at Mangaia. So, too, in all [p.160] the other islands of the group. At Samoa, a spirit leaving the dead body at the most easterly island of that group would be compelled to traverse the entire series of islands, passing the channels between at given points, ere it could descend to the subterranean spirit-world at the most westerly point of Savai'i.

However, the standard and esoteric67 teaching of the priests was that the souls of the dying leave the body ere breath is quite extinct, and travel to the edge of the cliff at Araia (= hindered, or sent back) near the marae of Rongo, and facing the west. If a friendly spirit should meet the solitary wanderer at any point of the sad but inevitable journey from the place where the seemingly dead body lies, and should say, "Go back and live," the now joyful ghost at once returns to its old home and re-inhabits the once forsaken body. This is the native theory of fainting.

But if no friendly spirit interfere, the departing soul pursues its mournful travels and eventually reaches the extreme edge of the cliff. Instantly a large wave (the sea is about loo yards distant) approaches to the base, and at the same moment a gigantic bua tree (beslaria laicrifolia), covered with fragrant blossom springs, up from Avaiki to receive on its far-reaching branches unhappy human spirits. Even at this last moment, with feet almost touching the fatal tree, a friendly voice may send the spirit-traveller back to life and health. Otherwise, he is mysteriously impelled to climb the particular branch reserved for his own tribe and conveniently brought nearest to him. The worshippers of [p.161] Motoro have a branch to themselves, the worshippers of Tane have anotheróthe tree in question having just as many branches as there are principal gods in Mangaia. The whole batch of lesser Tanes congregate on one great branch, etc., etc.

Immediately the human soul is safely lodged upon this gigantic tree, the bua goes down with its living burden to nether-world. While yet on the tree the wretched spirit looks down to the root, and to his horror sees a great net spread out beneath to catch it.68 This net, from the strong meshes of which there is no escape, is firmly held by Akaanga and his assistants. The doomed spirit at last falls into this fatal net, and is at once submerged in a lake of fresh water which lies near the foot of the gigantic bua tree and bears the name of Vai-roto-ariki = the-royal-fresh-water-lake. In these treacherous waters captive ghosts exhaust themselves by wriggling like fishes in the vain hope of escape. The great net is eventually pulled up, and the half-drowned spirits tremblingly enter the presence of the inexpressibly ugly Miru, generally called "the ruddy" (Miru Kura), because her face reflects the glowing heat of her ever-burning oven. The hag feeds her unwilling visitors with red earth-worms, black beetles, crabs, and small blackbirds.

The grand secret of Miru's power over her intended victims is the "kava" root (piper mythisticum). It consists of one vast root, and is named by her ''Tevoo," being her own peculiar property. The three sorts of ''kava" known in the upper world were originally branches off this enormous root ever-growing in [p.162] Avaiki. Mini's four lovely daughters are directed to prepare bowls of this strong kava for her unwilling visitors. Utterly stupefied with the draught, the unresisting victims are borne off to the oven and cooked. Miru, with her son and peerless daughters, subsist on these human spirits. The refuse is thrown to her servants, Akaanga and others. Such is the inevitable fate of those who die a natural death, i.e. of women, cowards, and children. They are annihilated.69

Not so warriors slain on the field of battle. The spirits of these lucky fellows for a while wander about amongst the rocks and trees in the neighbourhood of which their bodies were thrown, the ghastly wounds by which they met their fate being still visible. A species of cricket, rarely seen, but whose voice is continually heard at night plaintively chirping "kere-kerere-tao-tao," was believed to be the voice of these warrior spirits sorrowfully calling to their friends. Hence the proverb, "The spirit cricket is chirping" (Kua tangi te vava). At length the first slain on each battlefield would collect his brother ghosts at a place a short distance beyond Araia (the point of departure for those who perish by sickness), still on the edge of the cliff, and facing the setting sun. It overlooks the marae of Rongo, the god of battles. Indeed, one extraordinary myth represents Rongo as coming up from nether-world at certain periods in order to feast himself upon the spirits of those slain in battle assembled for their last journey. With bits of ripe banana Rongo tempts them to his side, and then treacherously swallows them whole! But these ghosts have the consolation of escaping the fire of Miru: besides, they are eventually disengaged alive from the intestines of the [p.163] grim war-god. They at last rise to the upper sky and join their warrior brethren there.

But the more pleasing version represents these ghosts as lingering awhile on the cliff. Suddenly a mountain springs up at their feet. The road by which they ascend this mountain is over the spears and clubs by which they were slain. Arrived at the summit, they leap into the blue expanse, thus becoming the peculiar clouds of the winter (or dry) season. These clouds are to be distinguished from the ordinary rain clouds.

The warrior spirits of past ages, as well as those recently slain, together constitute the dark clouds of morning which for a while intercept the bright rays of the sun throughout the year.

During the rainy season they cannot ascend to the warrior's Paradise. In June, the first month of winter, the atmosphere is pervaded by these ghosts, to whom the chilliness of death still clings. Their great number hides the sun for days together, occasioning the dull heavy sky, chillness and oppression of spirits usual at that season of the year. This lasts till the beginning of August, when the coral tree opens its blood-red blossoms, and the sky becomes mottled, and light fleecy clouds pass over the heavens. It is the spirits of the brave dead preparing for their flight. The heavens soon become cloudless; the weather bright and warm. It is because they have taken their departure. The living now resume their ordinary avocations in comfort.

The spirits of those who die a natural death are excessively feeble and weak, as their bodies were at dissolution; whereas the spirits of those who are slain in battle are strong and vigorous, their bodies not having been reduced by disease.

These ghosts were said to have ''leaped into the expanse'' (kua rere ki te neneva). This cheerful home of the brave is some- [p.164] times called Tiairi, from the name of the place where Matoetoea, the first man ever slain at Mangaia, is said to have fallen: the idea being "the land which Matoetoea first inhabited," i.e. the expanse of heaven. At other times it was termed Poepoe, or Speck-land; because in the distance of the upper sky these warrior spirits appear as the veriest specks.

The spirits of the slain are immortal. They are clothed with garlands of all sorts of sweet-scented flowers used in mundane dances. The white gardenia, the yellow bua, the golden fruit of the pandanus, and the dark crimson, bell-like blossom of the native laurel are gracefully interwoven with myrtle for this purpose.

The employment of these fortunate spirits is to laugh and dance over and over again their old war-dances in remembrance of their achievements in life. In every possible way they enjoy themselves; but look down with ineffable disgust upon those wretches in Avaiki who are compelled to endure the indignity of being covered with dung falling from their more lucky friends above. A well-known and ludicrous proverb refers to the vain flapping of the wings of the unhappy spirits in Avaiki who, besmeared with filth, are endeavouring, though to no purpose, to escape out of Akaanga's net.

The natural result of this belief was to breed an utter contempt of violent death. Many anecdotes are related of aged warriors, scarcely able to hold the spear, insisting on being led to the battlefield, in hope of gaining a soldier's paradise. One may well exclaim, "Light and immortality were brought to light by the Gospel."

A song lying before me represents the ghosts of certain warriors belonging to the tribe of Tane as "wandering about at Maungaroa [p.165] and Maputu," the most famous maraes belonging to that family, there to await the period appointed for them to ascend, like the rest, to "Speck-land."

In allusion to the myth of the bua tree, a person who has been very ill and yet has recovered will even now playfully say, "Yes, I have set foot upon a branch of the bua tree, and yd have been sent back (by God) to life!"

Those who die a natural death were said "to go to night, or darkness (aere ki te po), implying that they are doomed to be cooked and eaten by Miru, i.e. annihilated. The happier lot of warrior-spirits was "to go to day, or light" (aere ki te ao). Of course, as Christian missionaries, we have not failed to make use of phrases so well adapted to our purpose. The standard expression for " heaven" is "the day, or light of God;'' the converse is simply "night, or darkness."

On the northern part of this island is a deep indentation in the reef The rush of waters from the reef meeting the ocean occasions a miniature whirlpool. To account for this simple fact, it was said that a piece of sacred sandstone was once thrown down there: and hence the never ceasing turmoil of waters. In the time of Ngauta, a party of fishermenóKaraunu and othersódreamt that they were swept away at this ill-omened place. An attacking party overheard the relation of the dream, and made it come true by slaying them all and throwing their bodies into the seething eddy.

This unpromising place was regarded as one entrance to the shades, chiefly for the worshippers of Motoro. The destined traveller in his sleep sees a house built on long poles rising above [p.166] the restless waters, with a ladder to ascend to it. The sides of this house are of closely-fitting yellow reeds, adorned with black cinet. Outside this snug, tempting little dwelling are hung new calabashes, etc., etc., to decoy the passer by. Should the spirit-traveller pause to admire this illusive hut, he will in all probability feel impelled to climb the ladder and take possession of some of the good things hung all round. The moment his hand is on the exquisitely braided yellow cinet, by which the calabashes are suspended, to his horror, house, ladder, visitor, and calabashes are all swept away into the depths of the ocean, and the doomed spirit finds himself in the unwelcome spirit-world, and in the power of Miru.

There are said to be three such "houses of Motoro," or invisible soul-traps to catch unwary spirits. This is but a variation of the doctrine of the bua tree, to meet the circumstances of those who have the ill-luck to be sucked down by the three miniature whirlpools existing here.

Since the introduction of Christianity the belief has sprung up that "Avaiki," from which the first inhabitants of this island came, is "Savai'i," the largest island in the Samoan Group. In the Hervey dialect the S is dropped, and the break between the two ii's filled up with k. At the Penrhyns the natives speak of "going to Savaiki,'' when referring to death. Dropping the S, we have the usual form "Avaiki." In the Tahitian islands the H takes the place of S, and the word becomes "Hawai'i," there being no K in the Tahitian dialect. Thus Avaiki, Hawai'i, and Savai'i are slightly varying forms of the same word. Savai'i lying west, or as these islanders say, ''down" it would be strictly correct to assert that their ancestors "came up" from Savai'i.


This view of the origin of all these eastern islanders is confirmed by the continual recurrence of the names of western islands in the ancient songs and traditions of the natives. In addition to the names of all the near islands of the Hervey and Tahitian Groups, we have "Manuka," i.e. Manu'a, "Tutuila," "Ukupolu," for "Upolu," of the Samoan Group. "The distant land of Vavau" is referred to in song; also Rewa. Tonga continually recurs. A double canoe of ''Tongans-sailing-through-the skies" landing on the south of Mangaia, founded the warlike Tongan tribe, now almost extinct. It is well known that that adventurous race once held possession of Savai'i and conquered Niue.

Places on Mangaia are called Niue, Rotuma, and Papua. These are ancient appellations indicating, as it seems to me, the course of the original settlers. The reader will recall the names of Savage Island, Rotumah, and the vast island of New Guinea.

It has been suggested that the northern Avaiki (Hawai'i) was the original home of the islanders. A careful study of their mythology produces an irresistible conviction that Savai'i, the original Avaiki, is the true centre from which this race emigrated, willingly or unwillingly, some five or six centuries ago. How their ancestors got to Samoa remains to be discovered; but the ordinary trade winds north of the equator would make that easy, even if they did not step from island to island, starting from the Malayan peninsula, ever pursued by the savage Negrito races.

The son of the elder of three brothers from Avaiki was named "Papa-rangi"óliterally, the sky-beaten. This is the very name by which all foreigners are designated at Samoa at this day. It was evidently in commemoration of the first settlers having "burst through the sky," in order to get to Mangaia.


Mokiro's son was named "Vaerua-rangi" = Spirit-of-the-sky.

"Te-akataaira," the name of the third brother from Avaiki, signifies arrived. Thus the very names of the three royal brothers from Avaiki signify voyagers from the sun-setting. It suited the purpose of the priests of the dominant tribe in after times, to assert that Avaiki is the hollow of the vast cocoa-nut shell, over the aperture of which Mangaia is placed. In later times it came to be believed that all these distant islands were situate in nether-land. Their ancestors came from "Avaiki;" and the spirits of those who died a natural death went to "Avaiki," i.e. to the homes of their ancestors.

That "Avaiki" and "Po" are interchangeable is clear from the name of a gloomy rent in the rocks at Ivirua, known as "Avaiki-te-po," that is, Avaiki^ or night.

The old proverb "Na Avaiki e ranga" = Avaiki will revenge it, means "the gods whose home is in Avaiki, particularly Rongo, will revenge it." Sometimes it is said of depth, "deep as Avaiki;" and figuratively of craft or knowledge, "so and so is Avaiki," i.e. rivals the depth of Hades in wisdom, etc. In every instance unknown depth is implied. "Araara i Avaiki" = think of Avaiki, as being about to die.

The Samoan70 heaven was designated Pulotu or Purotic, and was supposed to be under the sea. In these eastern islands the same word means "the perfection of beauty." May not this be an adaptation from the former?

At Samoa only pigs die, men by a euphemism "finish." The spirits of the dead are said "to go on a journey." Of great men it is asserted that "they have gone to a meeting of chiefs," i.e. [p.169] in the invisible world. In relation to the death of such, ''the heavens are said to be opened," "the clouds have rolled away," i.e. to admit the spirits of these grandees.

At Rarotonga the grand rendezvous of ghosts was at Tuoro, facing the setting sun. Those from Avarua travelled the ordinary-road towards this rocky point of departure for the invisible world. Until very recently, near the sandy beach of Nikao, in sight of the inevitable Tuoro, stood a stately tree known as "the weeping laurel" (te puka aueanga), where disembodied spirits halted awhile to bewail their hard fate. If unpitied and not sent back to life, the enfeebled and disconsolate traveller passed on to the rendezvous and climbed on a branch of an ancient bua still flourishing. Underneath is a natural circular hollow in the rock where Muru spreads his net. Should the branch of this bua break off through the weight of the ghost, the victim is instantly caught in the net. Occasionally, however, a lively ghost would tear the meshes and escape for a while, passing on by a resistless inward impulse towards the outer edge of the reef, in the hope of traversing the ocean. But in a straight line from the shore is a second round hollow, where Akaanga's net is concealed. In this the very few who escape out of the hands of Muru are caught without fail. Escape is impossible. The delighted demons (taae) take the captive ghosts out of their nets, dash their brains out upon the sharp coral, and carry off in triumph their victims to the shades to eat.

Ghosts from Ngatangiia ascended the noble mountain range which extends across the island from east to west, dipping into the sea at Tuoro. Inexpressibly weary and sad was this journey over a road inaccessible to mortals. For this tribe at the rendezvous [p.170] of ghosts was appointed a large iron-wood tree, some of whose branches were green, some dead. The spirits that trod on the green branches came back to life; whilst those who had the misfortune to crawl on the dead branches were at once caught in the net of either Muru or Akaanga.

Warrior spirits were more fortunate, and were said to "acre kia Tiki," that is to join Tiki, the first who so died. At Mangaia Tiki is a woman, sister to Veetini, the first who died a natural death.

Tiki sits at the threshold of a very long house with reed sides, in Avaiki, i.e. the shades. All around are planted shrubs and flowers of undying fragrance and beauty. This guardian of the Rarotongan Paradise is ever patiently awaiting new arrivals from the upper world. It was customary at Rarotonga to bury with the dead the head and kidneys of a hog, a split cocoa-nut, and a root of "kava" (piper mythisticiwi), to enable the spirit-traveller to make an acceptable offering to Tiki, who thus propitiated, admits the giver inside his dwelling. Here, sitting at their ease, eating, drinking, dancing, or sleeping, are assembled the brave of past ages, ready to welcome the new comer, and to relate over again the story of their sanguinary achievements performed in life.

The luckless ghost who had no present for Tiki was compelled to stay outside in rain and darkness for ever, shivering of cold and hunger.

At Titikaveka, near the sea, is a mass of blood-red stone. It was believed that there is in the sky an oven for cooking human spirits; the blood of these victims dropping down on the rock gives it a deep red colour!

At Aitutaki it was usual to place at the pit of the stomach of the corpse the kernel of a cocoa-nut and a piece of sugar-cane. At Mangaia the extremity of a cocoa-nut frond served the same [p.171] purpose, as a charm or safe-conduct on entering the invisible world.

The sacred men of Pukapuka, or Danger Island, gave me in 1862 two ''ere vaerua," i.e. snares for catching souls, made of stout cinet. One snare is 28 feet long, the other about half that length. The loops are arranged on either side, and are of different sizes to suit the dimensions of ghosts; some being thin, others stout. When a person was very sick, or had given offence to the sacred men, the priests hung up some of these "soul-traps" in the upper branches of trees near the dwelling, and pretended to watch the flight of the spirit. If the spirit of the sick man, in the shape of an insect or a small bird, did not enter the snare, the patient recovered; but if, as the sacred men averred, the wretched ghost became entangled in one of the meshes, there was no hope. The demon "Vaerua," or "Spirit" presiding over spirit-world, hurried off the unlucky ghost to the shades to feast upon, for ceremonial offences.

The spirits of those who escape the anger of Vaerua follow the track of the setting sun, and find themselves in a spacious house owned by Reva. Inside are a number of mats, on each of which a divinity keeps watch over the souls belonging to him. These disembodied spirits amuse themselves w4th beating gongs, dances, and devouring the essence of offerings of food hung up in the marae by relatives in the upper world. A fierce sea-god keeps ceaseless watch all round this house, in case any of the land-gods inside should pity one of these forlorn ghosts and allow it to escape back to its old earthly tenement.

At Uea, one of the Loyalty Islands, it was the custom formerly when a person was very ill to send for a man whose employment [p.172] it was "to restore souls to forsaken bodies." The soul-doctor would at once collect his friends and assistants, to the number of twenty men and as many women, and start off to the place where the family of the sick man was accustomed to bury their dead. Upon arriving there, the soul-doctor and his male companions commenced playing the nasal flutes with which they had come provided, in order to entice back the spirit to its old tenement . The women assisted by a low whistling, supposed to be irresistibly attractive to exile spirits. After a time the entire procession proceeded towards the dwelling of the sick person, flutes playing and the women whistling all the time, leading back the truant spirit! To prevent its possible escape, with their palms open, they seemingly drove it along with gentle violence and coaxing. On approaching the village they danced and shouted, "We have brought back the spirit of so and so!" Then would succeed loud laughter and vociferations of delight at the cleverness of their leader, the spirit-doctor.

On entering the dwelling of the patient the vagrant spirit was ordered in loud tones at once to enter the body of the sick man, who, as might be supposed, would not be a little moved by the entire procedure. A good feasting would be provided by the relatives of the invalid. Sometimes the poor fellow died: the cause assigned by the soul-doctor would be that the spirit had refused to re-inhabit its former dwelling on account of the smallness of the feast.


The priests asserted that at death human spirits descend to the domains of the goddess Miru, whose body is frightfully deformed and her countenance terrible. For unknown ages she had feasted [p.173] on the spirits of the dead, but at length was checkmated by a brave man named Tekauae,71 or the-chin. Being apparently near death, he directed his friends, as soon as the breath was out of his body, to get a cocoa-nut, and cautiously cracking it to disengage the round kernel from the shell. This kernel was wrapped up in a piece of cloth and placed next to the stomach of the dead, being completely concealed by the grave coverings.

In due time Tekauae descended to spirit-world, and was greatly shocked at the dreadful aspect of the mistress of those regions. Miru had but one breastóthe other had somehow been cut off. Only one leg was perfectóthe other had been amputated at the knee. But one arm was completeóthe other had been cut off at the elbow.

The deformed hag commanded Tekauae to draw near. The trembling human spirit obeyed, and sat down before Miru. According to her unvarying practice she set for her intended victim a bowl of food, and bade him eat it quite up. Miru with evident anxiety waited to see him swallow it.

As Tekauae took up the bowl, to his horror he found it to consist of living centipedes. The quick-witted mortal now recollected the cocoa-nut kernel at the pit of his stomach, and hidden from Miru's view by his clothes. With one hand he held the bowl to his lips, as if about to swallow its contents; with the other he secretly held the cocoa-nut kernel, and ate itóthe bowl concealing the nut from Miru. It was evident to the goddess that Tekauae was actually swallowing something: what else could it be but the contents of the fatal bowl? Tekauae craftily contrived whilst eating the nourishing cocoa-nut to allow the live centipedes to fall on the ground one or two at a time. As the intended [p.174] victim was all the time sitting on the ground, it was no difficult achievement in this way to empty the bowl completely by the time he had finished the cocoa-nut.

Miru waited in vain to see her intended victim writhing in agony and raging with thirst. Her practice on such occasions was to direct the tortured victim-spirit to dive in a lake close by, to seek relief. None that dived in that water ever came up alive; excessive anguish and quenchless thirst so distracting their thoughts that they were invariably drowned. Miru would afterwards cook and eat her victims at leisure.

Here was a new event in her history: the bowl of living centipedes had been disposed of, and yet Tekauae manifested no sign of pain, no intention to leap into the cooling but fatal waters. Long did Miru wait; but in vain. At last she said to her visitor, "Return to the upper world" (i.e. to life). "Only remember thisódo not speak against me to mortals. Reveal not my ugly form and my mode of treating my visitors. Should you be so foolish as to do so, you will certainly at some future time come back to my domains, and I will see to it that you do not escape my vengeance a second time."

Tekauae accordingly left the shades, and came back to life. His friends, delighted at his recovery, inquired where his spirit had been, and how it had fared. He heeded not the anger of Miru and the promise of secrecy made to her, but informed the inhabitants of this upper world what they might expect should they unfortunately fall into the clutches of this foe to mankind.



There is, also, a good land, Iva, under the guardianship of Tukaitaiia,72 a being of pleasing and benevolent aspect, as well as of a gentle disposition. In Iva there is abundance of good food: the finest sugar-cane grows there. The fortunate spirits who get to this pleasant land spend their time in the society of Tukaitaua, chewing with unalloyed appetite this sweet sugar-cane.

Tekauae warned the people of this world to be on their guard against Miru, The way to avoid her is to have a cocoa-nut kernel and a piece of sugar-cane placed close to the stomach at deathóin order to deceive Miru. Departing spirits thus provided go to the pleasant land of Iva, and lying at their ease, evermore feast on the richest food and chew sugar-cane.





Na Miru te umu i Avaiki,
Ei rangi tae ia Tane e!
Miru has an oven73 in spirit-land,
Like that which devoured (the tribe of) Tane.74


Ae! Aye!


Ei rangi tae ia Tautiti,
E kai karii na Rongo e!
O Tane mata reirua!
An end was put to the dance, Tautiti,
By the warlike behest of Rongo.
Alas, Tane ! author of all our amusements.


Nai mata reirua e,
Na Mini oki te umu ka roa I raro e!
E nunumi atu e i te aerenga ae!
Those pleasures all came to an end;
For Miru's dread oven for ever burns in the shades!
She devours all who go down.


E nunumi atu,
Ka aere paa i te umu tao
I te umu kai na Miru e! Noea Miru?
No Avaiki, i te po anga noa e!

Tao na i te eki!
E ti rakoa e!
E ti uaua e!
E ti tara are e!
E ti nongonongo ia Avaiki e!
Ae, Miru, naau tena!
She devours
All who approach the blazing oven
Where Miru's food is to be cooked.
Whence came Miru?
From Avaiki (spirit-land), out of horrid darkness.
Prepare thy intoxicating draught.75
Cook the graceful tió
Spare not the prolific ti;
Nor even that grown at thy doorway,
And that which is the pride of Hades.
Ah, Miru ! such are thy tricks!

An ancient farewell in prospect of dissolution was, "Ei ko na ra, tau taeake, ka aere an i te tava ia Miric'' i.e. "Farewell, brother, I go to the domains of Miru!" How inexpressibly affecting! "Having no hope, and without God in the world."

The mistress of the invisible world, so cruel to visitors, was very tenderly attached to her only son Tautiti. She would permit no one to carry his drinking water but herself On dark nights, or  [p.177] when deep sleep had locked up the senses of mortals, Miru would make her way to the well-known fairy streams Auparu and Vaikaute, carrying the empty calabashes to be filled. To this there is an allusion in Tereavai's Fete Song:ó

E taa vai no Tautiti.
Na Miru rai e kave,
Kia inu Tane i te vai kea ra e!

A calabash of water for Tautiti.
Miru herself will provide it,
So that Tane may drink this living water.

Her "peerless" daughters were often seen and admired; but the mother was most solicitous to conceal her ugly form.


The philosophy of sneezing is, that the spirit having gone travelling aboutóperchance on a visit to the homes or burying-places of its ancestorsóits return to the body is naturally attended with some difficulty and excitement, occasioning a tingling and enlivening sensation all over the body. Hence the various customary remarks addressed to the returned spirit in different islands. At Rarotonga, when a person sneezes, the bystanders exclaim, as though addressing a spirit, "A, kua oki mai koe" = "Ha! you have come back." At Manihiki and Rakaanga (colonised from Rarotonga) they say to the spirit, "Aere koe ki Rarotonga" = "Go to Rarotonga." At Mangaia the customary address is, "Ua nanave koe" = "Thou art delisfhted."

The following well-known lines refer to Poepoe, or Speck-land. (For Umuakaui, circa 1823.)

Puputa motu taua e!
Ka aere au tei Poepoe!
E enua akarere Mangaia e taea mai ai!

Alas, we part for ever!
I go alone to Speck-land.
My home, Mangaia, for ever fades from sight.


Here is a reference to Tiairi, by Koroa, in his "Lament for Tae," who was slain circa 1815.

Vaerua aere i tai
I Rangikapua te nuku o te Atua
la tu roeroe.
Takina koe iia?
I Puara-moamoa i aka i Tiairi^
I pare i te kiato.

Spirits wandering towards the sea;
At Rangtkapua is assembled a divine hostó
A feeble, tottering throng!
Whither goest thou, friend?
From the leaping-place I go to dance at Tiairi,
Clothed in fragrant flowers.

Another reference to Tiairi occurs in a lament for the sons of Rori, 1790 (circa).

Na tokotoru a Rori
Ei tupeke pare kura e!
Tera roa te anau te aka mai i te
I te kapa toa i Tiairi.

Three brave sons of Rori
Wearing noble head-dresses!
Yonder are they dancing the war-ngaere dance
Of brave spirits in Tiairi.

When Ikoke heard of the murder of his beloved younger brother Takurua, he feelingly said, "We will meet in the warriors' resting-place," i.e. "I, too, will die a violent death, so that we may meet in the warriors' heaven." Not long after, this wish was granted \ for he fell in the battle of Tuopapa by those who had slain his brother. Ikoke could, according to his faith, only meet his favourite brother by a violent death, as all who die a natural death are devoured by Mini.

Another saying of theirs in reference to the unseen world is:

"Ka aere i nunga i te puokia ei aka i Tiairi:" "We will go to yon place of safety, Tiairi, to dance the warriors' dance."


Subjoined is a mention of the famous bua tree from the shades (Arakauvae's funeral games for his father, circa 1817).

E metua tane ra e, Vara, kua topa ra i te io,
Kua veevee te po, ka eke atu ai e !
E rua metua i raro e !
E metua tane ia Kovi, kua pa te rakau e!
Ei toko ake i te maki ra e !
Mitikia mai Kovirua, taraia mai, taraia ra e !
Taraia ra e te io tupu na Motoro.
Kua vai te ata ivi e ! Toou anga rakau oi ra e!
Tu maira tei runga koe i te pua i mareva.
Kua mareva te metua i oro i Avaiki.
My father Vara, thou art forsaken by  thy god.
Night is at hand, whither thou must descend.
Alas, to be deprived of both parents!
Thy father Kovirua watches thy wasting frame,
And vainly seeks to relimbs -invigorate it.
Day by day thy once-rounded limbs are adzed awayó
Pitilessly adzed away by thy god Motoro;
So that only a living skeleton is left.
Take thy place on the bua tree in  the shades.
Lost for ever is the parent gone to Avaiki.




Teiia'ua ngaro e? Whither has she gone?


Tei Avaiki e oro atu,
Kore e ariu tei te nii moana:
Tei te opunga i te ra.
Ka tangi i reira!
She has sped to Avaiki,
She disappeared at the edge of the horizon,
Where the sun drops through.
We weep for thee!


Ka tangi ana 'i,
Oki ra a kimi ra ae!
Yes, I will for ever weep,
And ever seek for thee!


Tangi au ka tangi e,
Tangi ki te vaine ua ngaro ra,
Aore koe e tu e angairi.
Bitter tears I shed for thee;
I weep for the lost wife of my bosom.
Alas! thou wilt not return.


Mai tu e angairi! Oh, that thou wouldst return!


Ariu mai i te ao e!
Oki maira iaku nei.
Akia koe, ua motu ia tarereia au!
Stay; come back to this world!
Return to my embrace.
Thou art as a bough wrenched off by the blast!


Mai tarere au e tei Avaikió
Te enua mamao i oro atu na e!
Wrenched off, and now in Avaikió
That distant land to which thou art fled.

The author of this "farewell" became a devoted servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. These words are exceedingly popular with the natives. Part is omitted.

Rakoia, chanting (in 1815) the praises of his first-born, Enuataurere, who was accidentally drowned at Tamarua, says:ó

O Enuataurere i te tai kura i te moana.
Te nunga koe i te uru o te kare i tai e!
Aue e ! Enuataurere e!
Enuataurere e!
Enuataurere now trips o'er the ruddy  ocean.
Thy path is the foaming crest of the billow.
Weep for Enuataurere,ó
For Enuataurere.





The first who ever died a natural death in Mangaia was Veetini. He was the only and much beloved son of Tueva and his wife Manga. But Veetini, when in the prime of early manhood, sickened and died. The parents, in their grief, instituted those signs of mourning and funeral games which were ever afterwards observed amongst these islanders. The chief mourners were Tueva, Manga, and the lovely Tikióthe attached sister of Veetini. All these, with the more distant relatives, blackened their faces, cut off their hair, slashed their bodies with shark's teeth, and wore only "pakoko," or native cloth, dyed red in the sap of the candle-nut tree, and then dipped in the black mud of a taro-patch. The very offensive smell of this mourning garment is symbolical of the putrescent state of the dead. Their heads were encircled with common fern, singed with fire to give it a red [p.182] appearance.78 It was on account of Veetini that the eva, or dirge, in its four varieties, and the mourning dance, were invented and performed by the sorrowing relatives day by day.

These melancholy ceremonies occupied from ten to fifteen days, according to the rank and age of the party deceased. During the entire period of mourning no beating of bark for native cloth was permitted in the district where the death occurred. A woman wishing to beat out her bark must go to another part of the island. The object in view was to avoid giving offence to the female demon Mueu, who introduced cloth-beating to this world ; but who herself beats out cloth of a very different texture. Her cloth-flail is the stroke of death. So long as the mourning and funeral games were going on, Mueu was supposed to be present; when all was over she returned to her home in Avaiki, or the shades. Hence the proverb when a person dies, "Era, kua tangi te tutunga a Mueu," i.e. "Ah! Mueu's flail is once more at work!"

The last resting-place of Veetini is at Rangikapua, a green spot about half a mile from the sea. The rays of the setting sun fall upon the hill, about loo feet above the level of the ocean, thus distinguished. On the evening he was buried the dirges and dances that had been invented in his honour were performed. The parents and the sister looked wistfully towards the north, hoping for his return to their midstóbut in vain!

The day following they walked in sad procession, slowly chanting dirges expressive of passionate desire again to embrace the departed, along the western shore of the island. At night, [p.183] exhausted with grief and weariness, they slept in one of the rugged caves near the sea, having in vain strained their eyes over the ocean path where the spirit of Veetini had so lately disappeared.

The mourning band next sought the lost one on the southern and almost inaccessible shore of Mangaia; still there was no response to the loud cries and entreaties of the disconsolate parents and the lovely Tiki.

At last they arrived at the eastern coast, and gazed over the vast expanse swept by the life-giving trade-winds. Once more the lamentations and funeral dances were duly performed. At night they occupied the Ruddy Cave (Ana-kura). The entrance to this spacious cave is washed by the surf. Ere dawn Tueva rose from his stony couch to watch the rising of the sun. The shadows of night were fast passing away. In a few minutes more the sun rose in all its wonted glory. Tueva now noticed a tiny dark speck beneath on the ocean, which, as the sun advanced on its course, grew larger and drew nearer, passing over the ocean in the bright trail of the sun. On arriving nearer still, this wonderful object, lightly skimming over the crest of the waves, proved to be no other than their own lost Veetini!

The now rejoicing parents rushed forwards to kiss their son, who was indeed Veetini, yet not altogether like his former self He said to the joyful throng that he had been permitted to revisit this upper world in consequence of the passionate lamentations of his parents, and to comfort their sorrowing hearts. He also came to show mortals how to make offerings of food to please the dead. For himself, he had come and must depart in the bright track of the sun, being now a denizen of spirit-land. However, to gratify his parents and friends, Veetini asked great Tangaroa to detain [p.184] the sun for a short time in its course, in order that he might rest and converse awhile with his relatives. The prayer was granted, and the sun was detained while Veetini and his friends pleasantly-rested in a sort of extempore house, or booth, erected for him on the spot known as Karanga-iti.

At length Veetini rose, and led the half-glad and half-sorrowful procession along the beach towards the west, the sun now moving on as usual in the heavens. At last they reached Vairorongo, or Kongo's sacred stream, directly facing the setting sun. Here they rested a few minutes only, as day was fast fading away. Not far distant on the hill lay the body of Veetini. As the sun disappeared beneath the horizon, and the ocean was covered with its golden light, Veetini said he must go. The weeping parents begged him to stay with them. The son replied, "I cannot; I do not belong to this world now;" and then shouted impatiently:ó

Takai ia te ra
Ei eke i Tekurutukia.
Thrust down the sun,
That I may descend to nether-land!

The parents now endeavoured to detain him by force; but, lo! they grasped at a shadow. They watched him gliding swiftly over the western ocean in the ruddy track of the sun, and, with its last rays, Veetini, now a tiny distant speck in the train of the king of day, for ever disappeared.




Call for the music and dance to begin

Kua pa te rongo i Avaiki
Kua inga paa Veetini
Aue ka mate e!
The news has sped to Avaiki
Of Veetini about to die.
Sad day of death!


Taipo e ! Go on!


Akatu are i Karanga-iti,
I te rua paa i te ra e !
A house is built for him at Karangaiti
To face the rising sun.


Ae! 'Tis done!


Kua tau paa Veetini i te rangi;
Ka oro!
O na mavae ia Avaiki e!
Veetini has gained the sky [i.e. the place where the sun drops down]; Has fled!
Oh, all-dividing Spirit-world!


Kakea mai e i te tautua ae! Whence came he?


Kakea mai i te tautua ia Avaiki
Ka rekireki mai e,
I nunga i te moana.
Kua titotito aere Veetini.
E kau, kau mai e!
He came up out of Spirit-world,
Stepping lightly on his path
O'er the treacherous waves.
Veetini is again trembling on the wing.
He skims, he skims the sea!


E aru atu i to miringa ae! Alas, he follows thy track, [O Sun!]


E aru atu i to miringa,
O te ra paa e opuopu atu na e!
Takai ia te ra,
Ei eke i Tekurutukia!
Yes, he follows thy dazzling light,
As thou gently settest in the ocean.
Thrust down the sun,
That he may descend to nether-land.



Call for the dance to lead off.

Iti pakakina o te ra e!
Ka roi te tere o Tautiti
Ka aka e!
Day is breaking;
The visit of Tautiti79 is drawing to a closeó
Dance away!


Taipo e! Go on!


Kua aati te nio o Veetini
Kua akama i te ao e!
Alas, the teeth of Veetini80 are all broken,
He is ashamed to linser in the licht.


Ao mata ngaa e! The eye of day is unclosing.


E aru mai ia Tautiti
Kai a mata tuitui kaka ra o Vatea e!
Ungaunga te ra e tu e ara!
Come, obey the behests of Tautiti.
As a burning torch is the opening eye of Vatea.
Awake from thy slumbers, O Sun arise.

It is in reference to this myth of the sad journeyings of the beautiful Tiki with her parents in search of Veetini, that at the [p.187] breaking up of a funeral party it is commonly said, "Ka ruru i te tere ia Tiki ka aere ei," i.e. " The weary travels of Tiki are over: we part."

A principal reason why Veetini's spirit was permitted to revisit this world, was to institute the practice of propitiating the goodwill of the dead by offerings of food. This is alluded to in a ancient song about Veetini, by Kirikovi, circa 1760.


Tueva aka-itu i te eva i te nietua,
Ae; eaa toou ara i te ao nei?
I ana mai au i te kave
I te pakuranga ma te meringa.
Meringa mai Avaiki e,
Meringa mai io tatou metua
E noo i te ao nei. Ei aa?
Tueva, who seven times lamented for his boy,
Asked, "Why didst thou return to this world?"
"I came," (said Veetini,) "to instruct you
In making food-offerings to the dead,
Offerings to those in spirit- world;
Gifts from their relatives,
"Anio yet linger in this upper world."

Such was the belief and practice of heathenism. As soon as the corpse was committed to its last resting-place, the mourners selected five old cocoa-nuts, which were successively opened, and the water poured out upon the ground. These nuts were then wrapped up in leaves and native cloth, and thrown towards the grave; or, if the corpse were let down with cords into the deep chasm of "Auraka," the nuts and other food would be successively thrown down upon it. Calling loudly each time the name of the departed, they said, "Here is thy food; eat it." When the fifth nut and the accompanying "raroi," or pudding, were thrown down, the mourners said, "Farewell! we come back no more to thee!"


Seventeen years ago, Arikikaka, the last heathen of Mangaia, lost his only sonóa consistent church member. The old man was inconsolable at his loss. How could it be otherwise with a heathen parent? The corpse was buried with his mother's deceased relatives, on the west of the island. The friends had dispersed to their respective homes. A day or two after, Ariki-kaka and his wife walked with difficulty across the island, arriving at dusk at the grave of their beloved son, with a basket of cooked food and some unopened cocoa-nuts. With many tears and affectionate words they called upon their boy to eat the food and drink the nuts (carefully opened for the convenience of the ghost at the grave, and the contents poured out upon the earth), which they had carried six miles. The aged couple slept under a tree, close to the last resting-place of their son; and at dawn on the following morning departed. How sad that, whilst their son died in the faith and hope of the Gospel, the parents should cling to the effete superstitions of a bygone age! It is, however, pleasing to add that in May, 1865, Arikikaka and his wife were baptized. In this case "at eventime there was light."

A few years previous to the discovery of the island by Captain Cook in 1777, Ngara, priest of Motoro, was paramount chief of Mangaia. His nephew Vera died, it was believed, in consequence of having incurred the anger of that divinity by setting fire to a forest of thatch trees growing on the eastern part of the island. Not that the pandanus trees were sacred, but the oronga (tirtica argentea), growing between them, was considered to be "the hair of Motoro."

Very imposing funeral rites were performed for this lad, on account of his relationship to Ngara. As in the case of Veetini, the relatives are said to have paraded the island in the vain [p.189] hope of Vera's return. The body was conveyed to Tamarua and thrown down Raupa, a fearful chasm, 150 feet deep, and having communication with the sea. The entrance to this gloomy place is in the Mission premises at that village. The sorrowful parents slept in a cave hard by, in the hope that Vera would return for a day, in answer to their passionate laments. Next day the disappointed parents, followed by a long procession of mourners, returned to their dwellings.



CIRCA 1770.




Turokia i Vairorongo;
Noo mai koe i te aiai
Ka aei-e au, e Manga e,
At Vairorongo,81 towards the setting sunó
Tarry with us this evening.
I go far away, mother,


I te ara taurere ki Iva e! By a perilous path to spirit-land.




Pare mai Vera i te kau ara,
Ariua te mata i Mangaia.
Te karo nei i o metua,
Te roe nei i te ao e!
Halt, Vera, on thy journey:
Turn thine eyes towards Mangaia.
Look again at thy parents,
Whose days are spent in tears,


E niaki i te tere i Anakura e aere ei Resting in the Red-Cave by the way.




Turokia e Towards the setting sun


i tona are e!
I tona are, e manga kai na Vera.
Tu a rau kura Tueva akatapu.
is his home!
A home and food in plenty for Vera.
Tueva, encircled with red leaves, is mourning.


Tu a rau kura Tueva akatapu.
Kua tangi te ike a Mueu
Kua taroe ua miringa, e Vera e!
Ka aere au, e Manga e,
Tueva, encircled with red leaves, is mourning.
Alas ! the death-flail of Mueu is beating.
Weeping, we follow thee, beloved Vera.
I go far away, mother,


I te ara taurere ki Iva e! By a perilous path to spirit-land.




Pare mai Vera i te kau ara,
Etc. etc. etc.
Halt, Vera, on thy journey.
Etc. etc. etc.




Vaia Rush forth,


te rua e, i te tokerau e!
I te tokerau, e ngaa mai ki tai.
Iki ki te iku parapuó
O north-west wind!82
Bear him gently on his way.
Awake, O south-westó


ki te iku parapu
Tei te turuki mai Vera e!
Te tangi nei a Mautara c!
Te tirae tangata i pou rai.
Ka aere au, e Manga e,
O south-west.
Perchance Vera will return.
Even Mautara weeps for thee,
How desolate is our home!
I go far away, mother,


I te ara taurere ki Iva e! By a perilous path to spirit-land.




Pare mai Vera i te kau ara,
Etc. etc. etc.
Halt, Vera, on thy journey,
Etc. etc. etc.




Kaukau, Skim,


Vera e, i tuaanga e!
I te tuaanga to nga mata i te tai o Ngake.
Vera, the surface of the ocean,
The ocean-path once traversed by Ngake.83


Porutu te ua i te moana,
Te toa ranga nuka te atua
E tau ai te tere o Vera e
Tei Tikura moana!
Ka aere au, e Manga e,
Torrents of rain obstruct thy journey.
Yet by the aid of a mighty god
The band led by Vera shall safely reach
Their home beneath the glowing ocean.
I go far away, mother.


I te ara taurere ki Iva e! By a perilous path to spirit-land.



Pare mai Vera i te kau ara
Etc. etc. etc.
Halt, Vera, on thy journey:
Etc. etc. etc.





Pokai Slowly


te tere e ia tau ai e!
Kia tau Vera i rangi maanga
No Maautaramea te tere i oki mai.
traverse these rugged shores,
Ere Vera gain the western skies.
Veetini84 once returned to earth.


Te tere i oki mai Vera e!
Tei tipurei moana i!
Ka aere au, e Manga e,
O that Vera might but revisit earth,
Gliding over the shimmering sea.
I go far away, mother,


I te ara tiroa ki Iva e! By a perilous path to spirit-land.



Pare mai Vera i te kau ara,
Etc. etc. etc.
Halt, Vera, on thy journey,
Etc. etc. etc.




E kiato Lash firmly


te vaka e kia mau ai e!
Kia mau ai i Koatu-taii-roa.
Noo mai Vera i te tapaa i mua!
the outrigger of thy bark,85
Ere starting on thy long voyage.
Linger awhile. Vera, on the sea-shoreó


I te tapaa i mua 'i o te tangi tai
I ara mania : kua taatonga 'i
Ki raro i tei Tuatua-pipiki,
Ka aere au, e Manga e,
On the beach where the waves beat;
Near this rough path. Must thou go
To the regions of the sun-setting?
I go far away, mother,


I te ara taurere ki Iva e! By a perilous path to spirit-land.




Pare mai Vera i te kau ara,
Ariua te mata i Mangaia.
Te kare nei i o metua,
Te roe nei i te ao e!
Halt, Vera, on thy journey:
Turn thine eyes to Mangaia.
Look again at thy parents,
Whose days aie spent in tears.


E niaki te tere i Anakura e aere e! Resting in the Red-Cave by the way.



Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e!

The beauty of this dirge is much enhanced by covert allusions throughout to the myth of Veetini. At the conclusion of each stanza, in the native, the name "Manga," i.e. the mother of Veetini, occurs, instead of the name of Vera's own mother. To prevent confusion of ideas, I have throughout rendered it "mother."

To this day it is said of the dying at Rarotonga, "So-and-so is passing over the sea."

The foregoing dirge has been presented exactly as recited at their "death-talks." On account of the numerous repetitions, those succeeding will be given in an abbreviated form.



A "tiau," or partial weeping, by uanuku, circa 1770.




Akarongo, Vera, i te tangi tai.
Reki atu koe i te ara pepe;
Tangi mai paa i Maunuroa.
Tutu atu ka aere;
List, Vera, to the music of the sea.
Beyond yon dwarfed pandanus trees
The billows are dashing o'er the rocks.
'Tis time, friends, to depart;


O te uru matie kura ra e te nau. Our garments are mourning weeds and flowers.




Reki atu koe i te ngau rua;
E tatari koe i te parapu,
Naku mai paa i tua moana.
Te karo nei Mitimiti e,
Advance to yonder level rock;
There to await the favouring wind
That will bear thee o'er the sea.
(Thy father) Mitimiti looks sorrowfully on


I te vivi matangi, e taku tere e! The departing band led by thee.




Akarongo Vera e, List, dear Vera,


i te tangi tai e?
Kua patai tau ara,
Na te uru o Ivaó
 to the music of the sea.
Thou art a wretched wanderer,
Almost arrived at Ivaó


na te uru o Iva 'i.
Mai Iti au, mai Tonga e,
Mai Onemakenukenu;
O te rua mato ngaa ei.
Tutu atu ka aere;
 yes, at Iva;
Once from Tahiti, then from Tonga;
Now bound to the land of ghosts,
Entered though the gaping grave.
'Tis time, friends, to depart;


te uru matie kura ra e te nau e! Our garments are mourning weeds and flowers.




Ariunga atu e I turn my eyes


I tai enua e;
1 tai enua patiki atu tau vaerua.
Tei koatu tauri, tei te ngutu i te rua,
to another land.
In some other region may my spirit rest!
On this trembling stone, at the edge of the chasm (I stand)ó


Tei te ngutu At the entrance


i te rua 'i.
O puaka ngunguru, tei te veenga i te papa.
Na rotopu i Vaenga, tei o Tamakoti,
E takina aereia e te ui rauono.
Noea ra? ikonei, na nunga atu
Ki te miri,
Of this dark chasm.
My path is over yon black rocks near the sea.
Over the roughest and sharpest stones
 I lead this feeble troop of ghosts.
Whence come we ? We are awaiting
The long-hoped-for


nanu atu south-eastern


ki te miri
Tei kopua-reia; a tai ra tomokia.
Tei are toka, tu ra i te rae,
To waft us over the far-reaching ocean.
We have wandered hither and thither,


Tei Teunu i te kea, ka eke na tai e,
Na koatu putuputu, tei kaiti-te-ra.
Kua kapitia e te po, akaroimata i reira,
Stepping lightly on the sea- washed sandstone.
Over thickly studded rocks we have come.
Overtaken by darkness we sit down to weep,


Vaka roimata no Vera e!
Angiangi te ua i te aiai;
Tairo atu i te tau are no Moke,
Kua parea e te au tai.
Tutu atu ka aere;
A tearful band, under the guidance of Vera.
At one time a drizzling shower
Hides from view the heights of the interior;
At another we are besprinkled with ocean spray.
'Tis time, friends, to depart;


O te uru matie kura ra e te nau e! Our garments are mourning weeds and flowers.




Aere tu e Press forwards


i Raumatangi e.
Kia ripoia na Tautuaorau
on our journey;
Take care that we miss not the way.


E kake i Auveo, Yonder is the landing-place.


o te mata o Katoanu,
O te ui ava e ngaro, o Taumatatai.
Tera to metua.
The entrance of which is so difficult to find.
There, too, is my father.


tei runga i Pepeura.
Taueue o te ra, tukuroi ki Teone.
watching our course.
The sun is low ; rest we awhile.


E mania ra tau vaevae i te takai,
Kua avanga Raupa.
Anuenue i Omoana, e tangata matiroeroe. 
Tei Tuatuakare, i raro i Auneke:
Eanga ki runga ; eanga ki raro;
E anga ki te ra e ana atu.
Our feet are worn out over these stones;
Yonder is the gloomy cave Raupa.
Let us move slowly on our way.
We friendless ghosts have reached Auneke.
Look eastward ; look westward;
Gaze at the setting sun.


Ana atu paa Mitimiti, e amoremore
I to miringa; takiri koe kia oki mai.
Noo mai paa i Tepukatia.
Tutu atu ka aere;
Ah! Mitimiti is following hard behind,
Beckoning me to return.
Here let us halt awhile.
'Tis time, friends, to depart;


te uru matie kura ra e te nau e! Our garments are mourning weeds and flowers.




Ka iia Vera ra e, Thy feet, Vera,


e te rau kovi e,
Mataratara i Vavau, te nooanga tangata.
I Rangioroia,
are entangled with wild vines.
Art thou bound for Vavau, the home  of ghosts?


mai Rangi the foaming billows


Tei Omaoma-atu-na, o te ara tai rau,
O te enua tuarangi, te Omangatiti;
Ariki Utakea i Takanga-a-tuturi.
wilt thou voyage?
Thread now thy way through groves of pandanus,
The favourite haunt of disembodied spirits;
Near where the royal Utakea landed,


Na Ooki aitu ki te papa o Aumea.
Tikiriri e atua, ei ara paa noku e,
I angamakoitia, ki tuki naupata,
I te pou o Atuturi, turi ai
Koukou rouru, e V-era e,
Omai tai noku ora e, o Te-ata-imaiore.
Tutu atu ka aere;
A level beach laved by the sea.
The cricket-god is chirping to direct thy path,
Through the thickets to the shore
Where the spirits of the dead wander.
Bathe thy streaming locks, Vera.
Grant me a new life, O Light of the  morning!
'Tis time, friends, to depart;


O te nau matie kura ra e te nau e! Our garments are mourning weeds and flowers.




Buapua-ariki Descendant of the kings


i Mauke-tau,
Kua ikiikitia e, e te matangi au ra
No te tumu i te rangi, tei Kopuakanae,
Tei Nukuterarire, e angaanga ikonei,
Na Mokoaeiau Vaio ra ikonei,
of Mauke;
Favoured one, led by a prosperous wind
From the root of the skies to these shores,
Ere taking a long farewell, turn back!
Idol of my dwelling, remain awhile,


Vaio ake ia turina kapara ; o te pua
Taurarea e, raumiremire no Tutuila.
Tutu atu ka aere;
Decked with the buds of sweet-scented flowers
And fragrant leaves brought from Tutuila.
'Tis time, friends, to depart;


O te uru matie kura ra, e te nau e! Our garments are mourning weeds and flowers.



Ai e ruaoo e! E rangi e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e


In this "lament" it is supposed that the spirits of the dead have been marshalled by Vera on the eastern shore of Mangaia, and then weariedly led by him over the rocks and through the thickets of the southern half of the island, until reaching the point due west, where the entire troop take their final departure for the shades. "Auneke" is a point on the shore about midway between the rising and setting sun. The poet evidently places Vavau, Tonga, and Tahiti in the invisible world!

Very beautifully is the father, Mitimiti, represented as chasing the spirit of his beloved Vera in this mournful journey of ghosts round half the island. The ghosts stop occasionally to refresh themselves, their feet lacerated with the sharp stones over which the living can pass only when sandalled. They weep continually at the thought of leaving earth for ever. Many days are occupied in this sad journey. Mitimiti, taking advantage of these delays, hurries forward, and almost clutches the ever visible but airy form of his boy, which somehow eludes the detaining hand of the sorrowing parent.







E matangi tu i te nguare i Anakura,
No Puvai, kua roiroi ka tere,
A favouring breeze sweeps the entrance of the ghost-cave;
'Tis for Puvai, about to depart.


Kua kake atu ki te uru kare e! Lightly he skims o'er the crest of the billows.




Ei kona ra, e au metua!
Eva ake ai iaku nei
I te naupata i Taamatangi.
Te tangi nei i te tama angai ra,
Farewell, beloved parents!
Let a mourning procession follow86
Over the rugged shore of the south.
Weep for the son so tenderly natured,


Ka uaki mai te matangi ki Iva e! Ere a fair wind bear me to spirit-land! (literally to Iva).




E matangi tu e A favouring breeze


i te nguare e!
I te nguare i Anakura.
Kua va te tuarangi:
sweeps the entrance
Of the ghost-cave Anakura.
List to the hum of the ghosts!


Kua va te tuarangi tei Kokirinui e!
Kua niu aere i Tengaatanga i orua.Kua roiroi ka tare,
'Tis the hum of spirits passing o'er the rocks;
Ana That crowd along the beach by Double Cave.
He is about to depart.


Kua kake atu ki te uru kare e! Lightly he skims o'er the crest of the billows.




Te vaka i te vaka Yonder is the barkó


o Puvai e!
Kua tipoki i te riu i te oa.
the canoeóof Puvai
Sorrowfully he bends over it!


Kua tipoki i te riu i te oa 'i.
Noo mai koe i te ta ia mua,
Kua kakau i te kirikiriti
Riu atu te aro ki tera enua.
Kua roiroi ka tere
Aye, very sorrowfully does he bend over it!
Take thy seat, son, in front.
Clothed in ghostly network;87
And turn thy face to yonder land.
He is about to depart.


Kua kake atu ki te uru kare e! Lightly he skims o'er the crest of the billows.




Parepare i tai e Let a south-west wind


i te parapu e!
I te parapu, vaia mai i te tokerau
Na Tiki e oe atu ; na Tiki e oe atu.
ruffle the sea.
Awake thou north-west.
 Tiki, sister of Veetini, leads the way.


Motuanga enua Mangaia no Puvai.
Kua peke ke i nga taoa.
Kua roiroi ka tere
Mangaia fades from the sight of Puvai,
Driven away by the violence of the winds.
He is about to depart.


Kua kake atu ki te uru kare e! Lightly he skims o'er the crest of the billows.




Tama aroa e Beloved child


na Motuone e!
Na Motuone, tangi mai e
I te uru o te maunga,
of Motuoneó
Of Motuone, thy weeping mother,
Glance fondly back on the hills


I te uru o te maunga 'i.
Ka ano ki Tamarua'i,
Kia tae ki Angauru.
Kua roiroi ka tere
And mountains of the interior.
Come back to the fair vale of Tamarua,
The place where thou wast born.
He is about to depart.


Kua kake atu ki te uru kare e! Lightly he skims o'er the crest of the billows!



Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e!

This song is precisely parallel with those relating to Vera. Nephew to Potiki, supreme temporal chief of Mangaia, Puvai by his early death is qualified to lead off a band of ghosts to the shades. Great honours were paid to him as the near relative of the living ruler of the island.

From a Christian point of view the following "lament" is very affecting:ó


(Endearingly shortened into "Ura''). Circa 1796.





Karangaia e Koroa e,
E pa akari na Tueva,
Na Ura oki i te rua e!
Koroa gave the commandó
A feast of cocoa-nuts, like Tueva's89 of old,
For dear Ura in his grave;ó


Butungakai na Tiki oki i rara e! A feast for ghosts, all dry, like Tiki's.




Nai kume au i te ngutupa,
Teia to pakuranga!
Tei raro Ura i te taeva
At the entrance to thy sad home I shoutó
"Here is the feast
For Ura who lies at the bottom


te enua ia, e vae! of the deep cave."




Karangaia ra e 'Twas Koroa


Koroa nei e!
E Koroa nei, Kua rongo e,
Kua kai ongutungutu,
that gave the command.
Alas! Koroa heard (his boy) lamentingó
"The ghosts fought over my food;ó


Kua kai ongutungutu, aore au e tongi ana.
Kua kirikiritia e te ueuera kaka
O Naukino, na pakoti i te ara nei.
Na Ura oki i te rua e!
Fought so fiercely that I did not get a taste.
Evil spirits90 stole it all away. (Their chief)
Nau-the-Bad would not let me get near it."
'Twas for Ura in his grave


Putungakai na Tiki oki i rara e! We bore a feast, all dry, like Tiki's.





Putungakai e, That feast for the dead,


na Tiki oki e,
Na Tiki oki na Ura.
Te porea mai i te toketoke kura,
like Tiki'sólong ago,
"Was designed for our beloved Ura,
óWho is condemned to feed on red worms;


I te toketoke kura i, 1 te viivii taae.
Akaatua atu ana oki te tangata, e tau potiki.
Na Ura oki i te rua e!
Yes, on earth-worms and other vile creatures.
Pet child, thou hast taken thy place amongst the gods.
'Twas for Ura in his grave


Putungakai na Tiki oki i rara e! We bore a feast, all dry, like Tiki's.




Nai kume au ra At the entrance


i te ngutupa e!
I te ngutupa pakia io i te umauma.
Voa atu to metua, voa atu to metua 'i e Koroa 'i.
to thy sad home I shout,
And despairingly beat my breast.
Thy father Koroa is sadly seeking for  thee.


Kua o koe i te tupu i te takanga o te ueue;
Na manga a te tangata mate.
Na Ura oki i te rua e!
Thou art now compelled to feed onóblack beetles,
The food of disembodied spirits.
'Twas for Ura in his grave


Putungakai na Tiki oki i rara e! We bore a feast, all dry, like Tiki's.





E tatau atu e Wait patiently


ia po rima e!
la po rima e tau ai na umu manga
E leave tere: kua oti na ropanga;
five days
And we will prepare yet another feast.
ó Again and again will we do this.


Kua oti na ropanga 'i, e Koroa 'i.
Pururu tau nagarau, e tama akaaroa.
One atu au i te kainga.
Na Ura oki i te rua e!
Koroa will not quickly weary.
Then, beloved son, our mourning will be over,
And finally we'll return to our dwellings.
'Twas for Ura in his grave


Putungakai na Tiki oki i rara e! We bore a feast, all dry, like Tiki's.




Kua rara oki ra; All dry is thy food


kua roia e!
Kua roia i te karaii ma te momo'o.
Ei ko na ra, kai ai.
and bad;
The relish with it is crabs and blackbirds.91
Farewell; eat.


Ei ko na ra, kai ai, e Ura, i to me-ringa 'i.
Kua akaui maua i to enua.
Pai ia mai to putungakai i te kainga.
Na Ura oki i te rua e!
Farewell. Enjoy thy feast, my Ura.
We return no more to thee.
We go back to our desolate home.
'Twas for Ura in his grave


Putungakai na Tiki oki i rara e We bore a feast, all dry, like Tiki's.



Ai e ruroo e! E rangai e!

Kourapapa died at the age of four or five years, and was uncle to my worthy native co-pastor Sadaraka. This was all the consolation heathenism could give the afflicted parent Koroa, who was associated at that time with his father Potiki in the government of the island.

It was believed that the ghosts ate the "essence" (ata) of these food offerings. The living friends never (like the Chinese) ate the solid residuum. To do so would be sacrilege.





Ua roiroi ka aere e!
Mirimiri Koroa ia rurou
Naoeoe te aue a Koi
Roimata i te anau.
The little voyager is ready to start.
Koroa is distracted for his boy.
(The rocks) re-echo the cries.
Of Koi the heart-broken mother.




Kapitia ra e te matangi i pae ake e!
Pae ake Ura i ruruta e!
A roi te roi o te ngarie,
Oro atu na kimi motu ke
No taua, ia kite e oki mai?
E tere akaonga e Ruru e
Should an ill wind o'ertake thee.
Seek shelter, O Ura, my spirit-child.
Go on thy way, fated voyager!
Go seek some other land;
Then return to fetch me.
'Tis a spirit pilgrimage, O mother.



Ka roi te roi e i tai enua e
I tai enua tumiri te ua o te kakara.
Na te uanga kuru koe,
E vae, e tau ai i te kainga.
Na te uanga kuru koe,
E vae, e tau ai i te kainga.
Mirimiri Koroa ia rurou.
Naoeoe te aue a Koi
Roimata i te anau.
Speed, then, on thy voyage to spirit-land.
Where a profusion of garlands awaits thee.
There the bread-fruit tree,
Pet son, is ever laded with fruit.
Yes; there the bread-fruit
Is for ever in season, my child.
Koroa is distracted for his boy.
(The rocks) re-echo the cries
Of Koi the heart-broken mother.



Tuoro atu e i te tokerau e!
I te tokerau te taka nei i te aanga.
E kauaka iaóe kauaka taió
E kauaka iaóe kauaka taió
No te Kaura, e tuamotu no Mangaia,
Ua puia e te aua mei te moana.
Mirimiri Koroa ia rurou.
Naoeoe te aue a Koi
Roimata i te anau.
Awake, thou spirit-bearing winds!
Gently waft him o'er the ocean.
Yonder is a frail barkó
Yes ; yonder is a frail bark.
'Tis a canoe full of spirits from Mangaia,
Hurried o'er the sea by fierce currents.
Koroa is distracted for his boy.
(The rocks) re-echo the cries
Of Koi the heart-broken mother.



Pae ake Ura ra, i ruruta nei e!
I ruruta nei tei paenga o Kurarau,
Tei paenga o Kurarau,ó
Pangitia te vaine reua,
Ua tae koe! Ua tae Metua
I te maora nui i Onemakenu kenu!
Oh for a shelter from the tempest
On some well-sheltered shore!
Yes; on some well-sheltered shore!
The mother mourns the dead:ó
But thou and thy sister have reached
The gathering-place of spirits.


Ua iri te pa kura o Tueva.
Mirimiri Koroa ia nirou.
Naoeoe te aue a Koi
Roimata nui i te anau.
Whilst we lament, like Tueva of old,
Koroa is distracted for his boy.
(The rocks) re-echo the cries
Of Koi the heart-broken mother.



E tere ia, e tere akaonga e!
ngai te akarua, aore e tae tika,
Aore e tae tikai: kua topa
1 te tere o Kovi ia Angatoro.
Ua puia e te aua mei te moana.
Mirimiri Koroa ia rurou,
Naoeoe te aue a Koi
Roimata nui i te anau.
Prosperous be thy perilous pilgrimage
May soft zephyrs waft thee on!
Maybe thou hast miscarried,
Too late to accompany the ghosts
Which are hurried o'er the sea by fierce currents.
Koroa is distracted for his boy.
(The rocks) re-echo the cries
Of Koi the heart-broken mother.



Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e!





Tei Iti au, e Varenga e,
Kua kite Aro kua noo tane i Avaiki,
Te ania mai e te ata e!
Te Vivitaunoa ra tau moe e!
Varenga, Avho came from the "sun-rising,"93
In spirit-land is now wed.
She was wooed by a Shadow!
Such was my dream on the mountain.



Tau moe ra tei Iti, e Arokapiti e!
Uira e rapa ia maine e!
My dream was of thee at the sun-risingó
Thy form dazzling as lightning.


Kimi koe i te kavainga
O mata ngaae, tau itirere i te ao e!
Tei te enua taparere maunga e!
Thou wert watching for the dawn
When I awoke from my sleep
On the steep mountain side.



Tei Iti oki ra o Varenga nei e!
O Varenga nei!
Na Miru e akarito kia tupu a vaine,
Kia tupu a vaine 'i.
Kua tioria e te are tangata i Pangoauri
Tei Vaekura, tei Vaikaute nei.
Te ania mai e te ata e!
Te Vivitaunoa ra tau moe e!
Varenga, who came from "the sun rising:"
Yes, my Varenga!
Miru94 will cherish thee in thy maidenhoodó
Thy lovely maidenhood!
In life thou wert the admiration of all,
Wherever thy light steps wandered.
Now thou art wooed by a Shadow!
Such was my dream on the mountain.



Enua i enua e, taparere e!
Taparere i Maungaroa,
Tei nunga i te tuaronga;
Tei nunga i te tua*ronga 'i,
Tei Tuarangi, tei Araturakina e!
Tei Rinui aina 'i?
Te ania mai e te ata e!
Te Vivitaunoa ra tau moe e!
Thou wast buried in the ancestral marae
On the side of steep Maungaroa,
Hidden by the tall fernó
Aye, hidden by the tall fern.
Perchance thy spirit is revisiting the spot,
Hovering amongst the wild rocks.
Now thou art wooed by a Shadow!
Such was my dream on the mountain.



Kua veru te are i Kauava e! Thy house95 in the west is decayed.


Tei Kauava, kua oti i te akatu,
E nga tupuna kia kioro ua ra:
Kia kioro ua ra'i ia aiai,
E kaunuku atu ai io Tumaronga,
E niaki mai i te uru mato.
Te ania mai e te ata e!
Te Vivitaunoa ra tau moe e!
At the gathering-place of ghosts is this home,
Built by thine ancestors, where spirits
Rest awhile and chatter in the evening;
Or wander about at the edge of the cliffs;
Or sit on the stones gazing at the interior.
Now thou art wooed by a Shadow!
Such was my dream on the mountain.



Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e!


(the friend of Captain Cook).



Kua tu te are i Imogo;
E enua koe no Kavoro,
Kua tupuria e te rakau.
O te ukenga i nunga 'i!
O te one kuru i erue!
O taua nei te aroa 'i tangi e!
There is a spirit-dwelling at Imogo:
'Tis the burial-place of Kavoro,
In a shady grove.
There we dug his grave;
There the red soil was thrown up.
How bitter the widow's grief!



Ukea mai Kavoro e!
I te rua e i tanu ai.
But Kavoro was disinterred;
Was taken out of the grave where he had lain.


Kua eteia te ara nio
Kua vai te ivi i te mokotua;
Kakaro io au e
Kua ngaro iaaku te angaanga e!
The teeth all exposedó
His form, oh, how wasted,
As we gazed on him
Now so mournfully changed!



Kua tu te are e tei Imogo e!
Tei Imogo, e enua koe no Kavoro.
Kua otinga atu na,
Kua otinga atu na 'i.
Kua tanu kere i uri ra ki te rua e!
O te ukenga i nunga 'i!
O te one kura i erue!
taua nei te aroa tangi e!
There is a spirit-dwelling at Imogo,
For there our Kavoro was buried.
There we parted;
Aye, parted for ever!
Shallow was the grave where we buried him,
There we dug his grave;
There the red soil was thrown up.
How bitter the widow's grief!



Uri mai te aro e i to vaine e!
1 to vaine ia Turuare,
Look once more at thy wifeó
At thy beloved Turuare;96


Kua peka te rima ka akauta,
Kua peka te rima ka akauta 'i.
Angi nga rua, taura rima te mou.
Kua rikarika te tama i te toa akarere,
Tamaki tutai e, tamaki a ta e!
Oi atu koe i vao, kua pa ra, kiritia,
Tukua o au no te mate e!
O te mate ia i tangi no Kavoro i tai.
Tei Nukutaiparia, te vai rai i reira.
Naai e takitaki? Taua ka apai
Ka uuna kia ngaro e!
Tupeke atu na e, tupeke atu na, kia mamao,
O te kimi te mataku, o te kimi te mataku,
Ka kitea i te ngara anga.
She whom thou once clasped in thy arms,
Intwining her in thy fond embrace.
We who lived so happily together, now part,
The cruel spear slew thee, to the horror of thy son.
Thou wast attacked by stealth in the night,
(Entreating thy wife), "Escape, leave me, for I am struck, I am doomed to die!"
Thus perished beloved Kavoro by the sea.
His bleeding corpse lay on the sandy beach.
Who shall bear it? Wife and son will carry it away,
And hide it where foes shall find it never!
Bear him, aye, bear him far away;
So that if carefully sought by his foes,
His body shall ne'er be found.


Kua aite te po, kua popongi i tai,
Kua aenga te ata i te ngongoro a te vaine.
I raro i te roroutu; kua teitei te naru
I te kakenga i Katoe ki runga i te tokoraa
Ki te utu a Terimu, taukapua tatou:
Tei Tapataparangi. Apai tu na uta,
Tei Atupa te ara ; te kimi nei i te rua.
Eiia ra tanu ai ? Ei Imogo,
Kia tae mai au i te veivei aere e!
Tuku io, e Teau ! Koia te rua kia akaaka.
Taaturia te koatu. Akaruke atu ia Kavoro.
O te ukenga i nunga 'i
O te one kura i erue.
O taua nei te aroa 'i tangi e!
Night is wearing away. On the beach
The first streak of morning reveals the widow's tears.
Concealed amongst the trees, tremblingly
They climb the rocks. On yon level top
They repose beneath the shade of the utu tree,97
Near the brow of the hill. Again they take the corpse.
Yonder is the narrow path: select a grave.
Where shall it be? Let it be at Imogo,
Where I can often come to weep.
Lay him gently down, O Teau, in the lowly grave.
Pile up the stones. Farewell, Kavoro!
There we dug his grave.
There the red soil was thrown up.
How bitter thy widow's grief!



Taingarue e ! rave ake koe.
E rave ake koe, e taua ariki!
Kia karo ake Nekaia!
O Taingarue, mayst thou be protected!
Mayst thou live, pet son!
Be loving to thy brother, O Nekaia!98


Kia karo ake Nekaia 'i!
Na Patiatoa e uuna 'i!
Etai ra no vaevae, e taua ariki,
E maru aina iaau?
O te ukenga i nunga 'i
O te one kura i erue.
O taua nei te aroa 'i tangi e!
Ah ! Nekaia, be gentle to him.
Patiatoa, too, will shield thee.
For many a day to come, dear child.
Will he be safe in thy hands?
There we dug his grave.
There the red soil was thrown up.
How bitter thy widow's grief!



Okitumurua e i te tanumanga e!
I te tanumanga 'e!
Apai au teiia ? Tei te rua taeva.
Tei te rua taeva 'i.
Apairia atu Kavoro nei.
Kua pe te papa e vai ai, atikauria.
O te ukenga i nunga 'i,
O te one kura i erue.
O taua nei te aroa 'i tangi e!
A second time thou wast buried,ó
Committed to the earth!
Whither shall we bear thee? To some deep chasm:
To some fathomless fissure.
Come, let us carry Kavoro there, for
His body is fast crumbling to dust.
There we dug his grave.
There the red soil was thrown up.
How bitter thy widow's grief!



Ai e ruaoo e E rangai e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e!






Te io kikino o tau potiki,
Kua pa te rakau
Ki te miro ia vero i mate ua!
Ki, rave atu na koe, kare e!
Thy god, pet child, is a bad one;
For thy body is attenuated.
This wasting sickness must end thy days.
Thy form once so plump, now how changed!



Moe araara Pukukare e reire!
Ua tauria e te maremare
Ua tupo ua ngonga ua rai.
"Teia au, e Ruru e, ka eke, atu!
Taka e, tei Avaiki te moenga."
The nights of Pukukare are sleeplessó
Are spent in coughing and pain.
Panting foi breath, he gasps outó
''Mother, I am going to leave you.
My rest will be in spirit-world."



Te io ! i te io ra e kikino e!
Kikino ra, e vae!
Kai akakorekore Turanga e!
Ta ta keke mai e!
Ua taka te eka i te atua o Rurungapu.
E tika paa tai rangi e!
Tai manuiri ei akarongo
Ki te miro ia vero i mate ua!
Ki, rave atu na koe, kare e!
Ah, that god ó that bad god!
Inexpressibly bad, my child!
The god "Turanga" is devouring thee.
Although only partially his own.
I am disgusted with the god of thy mother.
Oh, for some other Helper!
Some new divinity, to listen
To the sad story of thy wasting disease!
Thy form once so plump, now how changed!



Akaete te maki e, ua toira e!
Ua toira i to kaki e tuarangi
Thy disease went on increasing.
Like a demon squatting on thy shoulders,


Ko te ua o Taa!
Mei te ua o Taa, me tairia mai,
Kia marekaeka, ua toko auau !
Mei toko auau ra !
Ua kakau i te vai o Ruanuku,
No Rongo paa, no Tangaroa,
Ka puaki e mama ki nunga
I to kiri, mei nunga ra i to kiri.
Rikarika te mate ia vero.
te rua tapu o te rua noaó
Na tuataka i te motu anga ia Puku- kare.
Ua rakaraka te io Ngariki.
1 moria e ao ia matengatenga,
Norea-norea, norea te kiko.
Reia-reia, reia e mana !
E vae, kua tae koe i te oreore
]a Ikurangi e enua kai marama,
E enua kai marama no Tonga-iti,
Na Tonga ra, na veravera o Iti ngaruerue.
Ka mimiti ki te aro o Vatea!
Ka oki au ! A oti te ariki o Tonga
Ua kake atu na i katoa i te taurere,
Ua taparere i Enuakura na Oarangi
Ei ingoa manuiri tei Tatangakovi au!
Te kai maira i te au tai,
I te pia paa i te vai i Vaikapuarangi,
Ua tunoko i te matoroa,
Ua akarongo i te tangi tai tei Aarua e!
Te aiai ua ra oa te vaerua mato
I te naupata, ua takangaia.
E Kourapapa, tei Opapa te ngai i turukia'i!
Was the swelling on thy neck.
Thou wast fain to be fanned.
To gain relief from burning feveró
A fever sure to return.
Thou wast loved in the sacred streams
Of Ruanuku, Rongo, and Tangaroa.
Sometimes hopes of thy recovery
Vainly flattered thy friends.
Again thy body wasted away,
And the mouths of ancestral caves
Seemed to gape for our Pukukare.
The god (Motoro) of Ngariki is engaged.
Wherefore this pining death.
And thy flesh ever wasting away.
At length thou takest a long flight.
Dear child, ere now thou hast reached
The loftiest heights of Mount Ikurangi,
Where the moon itself is devoured
By the gods from Tonga and Tahiti.
Thou shalt enter the presence of great Vatea.
I go home now. So, too, will the king from Tonga.
Thou hast entered the expanse ;
And wilt visit " the-land-of-red-parrot-feathers,"
Where Oarangi was once a guest.
Thou feed est now on ocean spray.
And sippest fresh water out of the rocks.
Travelling over rugged cliffs.
To the music of murmuring billows.
Thy exile spirit is overtaken
By darkness at the ocean's edge.
Kourapapa there sleeps. All three


Tei Opapa te ngai i turuki ai
Nga tokotoru. Ua kakaro i te ata ata

I te opunga 'tu e Tireo ma te Oiro.
Ua iterere nga po o te atua ra e I
Ua tau ua 'i e te enua kino i raro.
I pa te umere, uaua, oaoa.
Oai te akatu ? Oai te akatu?
Koouou aere i Tuatuakare
I te uiui matangi, tauoaoaia ra
E te Iva tureture i te umu kavakava
Tei Ovave aina e ariki tua rire,
Karekare au e!
Stood awhile to gaze wistfully
At the glories of the setting sun.

Moonless nights shall pass, ere
The fatal one shall arrive
To conduct you to the dismal shades.
The denizens will be astonished
At the arrival of you, pet children.
The ghosts sorrowfully crowd round the spot,
Whence the wings of the wind shall bear
Them to great spirit-land, where
A dreadful oven awaits all who
Pass o'er the ocean.



Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e! Ai e ruaoo e! E rangai e!




O Tane metua i Avaiki e!
Tu mai i to akari!
Great parent Tane of the shades,100
Rise, eat this feast !


Eiaa te rua ia Tiki
Ei poani ia Avaiki.
Tueva aka-itu te eva i te metua.
Ae ; eaa toou ara i te ao nei
I ana mai au i te kave
I te pakuranga ma te meringa,
Meringa mai Avaiki e,
Meringa mai i o tatou metua
E noo i te ao nei. Ei aa?
Wherefore the chasm of Tiki?
To shut down the natives of Avaiki (nether-world).
Tueva, who seven times lamented for his boy,
Asked, Why didst thou return to this world?
I came (said he) to instruct you
In making food-offerings to the dead,
Offerings to those in spirit-world;
Gifts from their relatives
Who yet linger in this upper world.


Oai te roa i te eiva, e Tane? Wherefore this delay in thy dance, O Tane?


Oi te rangi Orovaru? E vaia
Oi te rangi mataotao? E vaia.
Ei ! ei ! e Papa, taku metua!
Ae, e Papa, oro atu koe,
E Avaiki o, akaatua mai!
Ae, ua puapau ai koe i to upoko,
le uiia o e, oai te atua
I keinga 'i o tatou metua?
Ae, ua ara iaku.
E ariki taotaoaia e te tuarangi,
Is it a flat of the gods ? Break through it.
Is it the lowering clouds of war?
Dissipate them.
Ha ! Ha ! Great Papa is my (Tane's) mother.
But why. Papa, didst thou descend
To Avaiki, to obtain the honours of a goddess?
Ah ! thou hast shaved thy head !101
Should it be asked. Which of the gods
Devoured our parents?
The fault is all my own.
I (Tane) am a sovereign possessed of an evil spirit.


Aitoa, e Rongo, kia unuia te tumu
I o tatou metua! Aue ! Aitoa!
Aue tou e ! E Papa, taku metua!
Yes, Kongo, I will drink up the souls
Of our ancestors. will, without fail.
I fear naught; for great Papa is my mother.

Call for music and dance.

Tataia i te tanga o Tane:
O te vaa ia i tuku ai te kaara.
Beat the drum102 of Taneó
Those lips which so sweetly speak.


Taipo e! Go on.


Kua tangi reka te vaa o Tane.
Rutu ake i te rangi.
How pleasant is the voice of Tane (i.e. the drum).
The very heavens re-echo.


Ka rutu au, e Tan! Tane, I will beat thy drum!


Oai tua roi au e?
E Papa, taku metua!
But who shall take the lead?ó
I (Tane), for Great Papa is my mother.

Second call for music and dance.

E kakara tuputupu,
E kakara koritonga
E maire titatoe e a kake.
Let there be abundance of fragrant leaves,
Magnificent, sweet-scented flowers,
With garlands of myrtle for the advent (of Tane).


Taipo e! Go on!


Uru are te kakara i tau ai, Cull all sorts of fragrant flowers.


Ae! Aye!


E maire e kakara tuputupu.
O Aratea te ei.
Abundance, too, of sweet-scented myrtle.
And white pandanus blossoms.


Porutu te vai e tei te moana ae! But what if torrents of rain should fall?


Tei nunga te kapa i te Rongo Nui no Tane.
Porutu te vai i te moana e!
Auenei, apopo Tautiti e!
Ua kokoti Avaiki i te rau o te pua
Tapokipoki rauru e i te maire,
E rau maire tapu e no te ariki
Though torrents of rain should fall,
To-night and to-morrow we will be merry.
Fairies103 from the shades are preparing;
Are entwining myrtle leaves with their hair,
Robbing the sacred myrtle of the king of its sprigs.
The fete comes off on the nights104 dedicated to Rongo and Tane.






In the Sacred Islet lived Eneene, his wife Kura, and his sister Umuei. These women were young and fair, and loved to roam the woods in quest of sweet-scented flowers, which they weaved into wreaths and necklaces. On one occasion they fortunately discovered a noble bua (beslaria laurifolia), whose far-spreading branches were covered with fragrant yellow blossoms. The sisters-in-law sat awhile at the foot of the tree discussing the division of the spoil. It was clear that Kura should collect on one side of the tree, and Umuei on the other. But the great central branch seemed the richest prize of all. It was eventually agreed that Kura should have this treasure.

The young women set to work in good earnest; but, after a time, it became evident that Kura was gathering more than fell to her share. To punish her, Umuei took possession of the coveted central branch. The wife of Eneene was speedily chastised for her covetousness without the intervention of Umuei; for the branch on which she was leaning heavily in order to steal some of [p.222] her sister-in-law's, suddenly broke. Kura, basket and all, fell with the branch of the sacred tree, cleaving the earth, and continued to fill until she reached Avaiki, or spirit-world. The ghosts, happening to be on the look-out, caught her in their arms, so that she was not killed by the fall. The captive Kura was hurried off to a considerable distance, and at once firmly tied up to the central post of a house. It was settled by these infernalsócalled "the army of Marama"óthat to-morrow Kura should be cooked and eaten. A special guard was set over her, both blind and aged, named Tiarauau. At regular intervals the old fellow would shout, "E Kura e!" (O Kura), to which the unvarying reply of the victim was, "E Tiarauau e!" (O Tiarauau). Thus was the blind wakeful guardian assured of the safety of his prisoner.

Now Umuei, witnessing the sudden fall and entire disappearance of Kura into the very bosom of the earth, ran weeping to inform Eneene. Anxious, if possible, to recover his wife, he bethought himself of his god Tumatarauua, himself manufactured out of the bua. Invoking the aid of the god, and carrying it in his arms, he went to the very spot where his wife had lately disappeared; and, pronouncing the invocation to the divinity of the sacred bua tree, the earth opened and he descended to spirit-land. Eneene at once began his search for his beloved young wife, so suddenly removed from his sight. Now the name of that particular part of nether-world was Marama. As, fortunately for Eneene, it was night at the period of his entrance, his presence in the shades was unnoticed. Anxiously wandering about from place to place, he heard the loud interrogations of the old blind keeper and the replies of Kura herself His lost wife was found; but the puzzle was how to get her away without exciting the suspicions of Tiarauau and other hungry denizens of the shades, [p.223] Cautiously peering in all directions through the darkness, he discovered a cocoa-nut tree with eight cocoa-nuts on it. Eneene climbed the tree, carefully plucked a single nut: holding the stem between his teeth, he silently descended to the ground. This process was repeated again and again, until the tree was cleared, without attracting the notice of the ever-watchful Tiarauau. With extreme care during that long night Eneene succeeded in husking the nuts and scraping out their contents, too, without noise.

There were eight paths leading to the house where Kura was kept prisoner. Eneene was careful liberally to scatter the finely grated cocoa-nut over all these pathways, and close to the house itself The rats, scenting the rich food, now came by hundreds to feast themselves. They even fought and quarrelled over the delicious morsels, not only on the ground but on the low-thatched roof, enough to drive a man out of his senses. Certainly it seemed strange to Tiarauau that the rats should be so unusually noisy. Amidst this turmoil, Eneene climbed the roof and cautiously removed part of the thatch to discover in what part of the house his wife was tied up. At this moment the old blind guardian called out, "O Kura!" Listening intently to the reply, he discovered that his poor trembling young wife was in the middle of the dwelling. Advancing to where the voice seemed to come from, Eneene carefully removed part of the thatch, put down his hand and touched his imprisoned wife. The astonished Kura asked in an undertone, "Who that was?" and received the joyful answer, "Your own husband Eneene," The roof of the house was sufficiently low to permit the husband to untie the cords by which his wife was tied up to the post. He then drew her up on the roof to himself Eneene now directed her to descend to the ground, and run off as fast as she could to the foot of the closed [p.224] chasm by which she had so summarily entered Avaiki, and there to await his arrival.

Eneene now let himself down through the low roof, and occupied the place of the released prisoner, so as to give her time to escape. The old guard called out as usual, "O Kura!" to which Eneene replied, closely imitating the voice of his wife, "O Tiarauau!" The trick was not discovered, either by Tiarauau or the drowsy inmates of the prison-house. Eneene now thought it to be high time to provide for his own safety. Crawling up through the hole in the thatch, he cautiously let himself on the ground and ran as nimbly as he could to the appointed rendezvous, where he found his trembling wife waiting for him.

There was no time to be lost, for he could hear the echo of Tiarauau's stentorian voice giving the alarm. Clasping his wife in his arms, he offered the following prayer to his god:ó

E ao, e ao!
Kua avatea!
United in one fate,
We ascend, we rise,
To light, to light,
To clear mid-day.

At these potent words the gloomy rent again opened, and both were borne through the chasm up to this world of ours, where it was still daylight. A moment later, and the enraged "army of Marama" would have caught Eneene and Kura, so close were those infernal hosts upon their heels.

The bua was in some islands used in the manufacture of idols, on account of its fine grain and being almost imperishable. The purport of the myth is to indicate the standard faith of the pastóthat the souls of the dead congregate on this tree, and on its branches are borne by a merciless fate to Hades.



In Shady-Land105 (Marua) there lived the brave Ngaru, his mother Vaiare, and the grandfather of the lad, who was no other than Moko, or Great Lizard, the king of all lizards. Tongatea, the youthful wife of Ngaru, was the envy of all Shady-Land on account of her fairness. Thirsting for distinction, Ngaru resolved to try his strength against some of the numerous monsters and evil spirits of his time. He learned from his grandfather that two fierce enemies of mankind had their appropriate home in the ocean, viz. Tikokura, or the-stonn-wave^ and Tumuitearetoka, or a vast shark, which fed exclusively upon human flesh. These evil spirits always went in each other's company; but Ngaru determined to meet both. The enterprise seemed hopeless; for who had ever escaped their anger? Ngaru's first care was to provide himself with a surf-board of the lightest description, which he named Orua = the-two, in allusion to the two sea-gods he was about to encounter. He now appeared on the inner edge of the reef, carrying his surf-board; but the wide coral surface was perfectly dry. Moko sat on a projecting crag of rock to watch over the safety of his grandson, who now advanced to the outer edge of the reef, where the surf ceaselessly beats, and loudly cursed these sea-monsters by name. Tikokura and Tumui-tearetoka smarted under this unprovoked insult, and resolved to be revenged on Ngaru without delay. All of a sudden the dead calm which had made the reef dry changed into a furious tempest. Long breakers rushed inland far beyond the accustomed bounds of the sea, and spent themselves against the gnarled roots of the utu trees. Moko still kept his place on his rocky eminence, [p.226] whilst his grandson floated daringly out to sea on the crest of the retreating billow. The shark-god, perceiving his opportunity, crept stealthily behind his intended victim, and was preparing for the final leap which would seal the fate of the impious Ngaru, when the quick eye of Moko caught sight of his dark outline, and shouted lustily to the boy, "The shark is under you." Ngaru, hearing this, instantly leapt high in the air, so that this first attempt failed. The foe now leapt in the air after Ngaru; but he dived under the water and again escaped. The disappointed god was excessively enraged; so that it was needful for Ngaru to put forth all his skill and strength to avoid the open jaws of the monster. Tumuitearetoka became crafty; but Ngaru was still craftier: Moko often giving his pet grandson timely warning of the insidious approach of the adversary. For eight weary days and nights this terrible contest went on, until the exhausted Ngaru put an end to it by throwing his surf-board to the sea-monsters, who gladly retired to their ancient haunts in the deep blue ocean. Great was the delight of the old grandfather and of his countrymen at the exploit of Ngaru, the first who had dared the sea-gods in their own domain, and yet had escaped with life. But the hero himself was sadly battered, and his skin excoriated with the sharp coral. He made his way home; but on the road fell in with his fair wife Tongatea. Arrived at a fountain, they determined to bathe; but a friendly dispute took place who should have the first dip. It was finally arranged that the husband should take the precedence. Once in, Ngaru was in no hurry to get out. At sunset he got out, and the wife was horrified to find that his skin had become almost black through long exposure to salt-water, during the mighty contest with the monsters of the deep. Reviling Ngaru for his blackness, she ran off to her friends.


When at length Ngaru reached home, Moko inquired what had become of his fair spouse, and learnt that, disgusted with her husband's appearance, she had fled to Teautapu. Said Moko, "Nothing blackens the skin so soon as the sea and the sun." The grandson inquired how his skin could be blanched. Moko said, "The only way to blanch your skin is to treat you as green bananas are treated when they are to be ripened.106 Ngaru agreed to this proposal. Accordingly they dug a deep hole in the ground, and lined it with layers of sweet-scented fern-leaves. Ngaru descended into this hole, and was duly covered with leaves; a thin layer of earth crowned the whole. On the eighth day flashes of lightning proceeded from the spot where Ngaru had so long been buried, increasing in intensity until it smote away earth and leaves, permitting him to emerge from his strange abode. It then became evident that these flashes of light proceeded from the face and person of Ngaru, being in reality the dazzling fairness of his skin. But there was one drawback: the steam of the blanching oven had rendered Ngaru perfectly bald. Moko sent his mother Vaiare to great Tangaroa, to ask for some new hair. It was given; but when Moko examined it, it proved to be frizzly. Moko resolved not to spoil the head of his fair grandson with such a wretched mop. Vaiare took it back to the god, and asked for some better hair. Tangaroa put the suppliant off with some light yellow.107 "This will never do," said Moko; "I must have the best.'' Once more Vaiare trudged back to the god to beg him to exchange the hair. Finding that there w^as no escape from the importunity of the grandfather, [p.228] Tangaroa gave a profusion of wavy, smooth raven locks. Moko was delighted, and gladly secured it to the bald pate of his fair grandson.

The lightning, or dazzling flashes of light, from the face and person of Ngaru reached even to the distant abode of Tongatea (= the fair Tongan), so that everybody said, "Behold the dazzling fairness of Ngaru!" Said the runaway wife, "This Ngaru you praise must be a different individual from the Ngaru I know." The bystanders asserted that it was her despised husband; but Tongatea remained incredulous.

Now, Tongatea had got up a reed-throwing match for women; but men were invited from all parts to decide upon the merits of the game, and to applaud the successful throwers. At the time appointed all the fair ones, gaily attired and covered with fragrant garlands, stood ready to begin the amusement of the day, each with a long reed in her right hand. Tongatea, as mistress of the day, was about to make the first throw, when Ngaru made his appearance, and was at once recognized by the fair runaway. Her arm fell powerless by her side. She struggled to conceal her emotion, and to proceed with the game, but could not. Such a violent tremor seized Tongatea, that it was with difficulty that she retained her garments about her person. All was confusion: the intended sport of the day was lost. As the visitors disappeared, the weeping, repentant, love-smitten wife followed Ngaru, entreating him to return to her. Ngaru, in whose heart still rankled the bitter insult in reference to his former dusky colour, in this moment of triumph said to the penitent, "Never will I return to thee." The despairing Tongatea hearing this, set off in search of some poisonous kokii kura, chewed it, and died.

There lived in Avaiki, or nether world, a fierce she-demon, [p.229] named Miru, who, envious of the great fame of Ngam, resolved to destroy him in her fearful, ever-blazing oven. But before enjoying this horrid banquet, it was needful to decoy him into her domains. Nor did this seem difficult. She at once directed two Tapairu, or peerless onesóher daughtersóto ascend to this upper world to induce the brave Ngaru to marry them both. Kumutonga-i-te-po = Kiimutonga-of-the-night, and Karaia-i-te-ata = Karaia-the-shadowy, were to induce him to pay a visit to the shades in their agreeable society: once there, his fate was sealed in Miru's estimation. On their entering the dwelling of Moko, Ngaru feigned to be asleep, whilst his grandfather tried to discover their real intent. They averred that their mother, Miru, had sent them to escort Ngaru to Avaiki; that as soon as they arrived, Ngaru was to be united to both these "peerless women," with whom the daughters of mortals could not for a moment be compared.

Moko, suspecting the real nature of their visit, sought to gain time by exercising the utmost hospitality to his unwonted guests. Whilst these fairy women were enjoying themselves, the king of lizards (Moko) sent his servants, i.e. all the little lizards,108 on a secret mission to Miru's domains in the under world to ascertain what dangerous weapons were at her disposal, and what were her usual avocations. Off scampered the little lizards in all possible haste; and on arriving at Avaiki, unperceived by Miru, they noticed that the old, deformed, and inexpressibly ugly hag had a house full of kava (piper mythistiaun), kept exclusively for the purpose of stupefying her intended victims, who were [p.230] eventually cooked in her mighty oven, and eaten by herself, her fair children, and her servants. These little keen-sighted lizards safely returned to this upper world, and reported to their sovereign what they had discovered. Moko privately told this to his son, and admonished him to be careful, or he would infallibly perish, as multitudes had done before him. As evening drew on, all three started off on their journey to the land of Miru in the shades. The mode of transit was peculiar. These "peerless ones" had with them rolls of finest tapa, in which they insisted upon wrapping up their future husband; they then secured the bundle well with cords, and slung to a long pole, carried off Ngaru in triumph. After some time Kumutonga-of-the-night and Karaia-the-shadowy began to ascend a mountain named "The-heavenly," when the imprisoned husband became conscious of a steep and sudden movement, and prayed thus:ó

Oi au tiria, tiria
Oi au tara, tara
Taraia akera
Kia kite au i teia maunga
O te maunga poro oa teia
A tau tupuna a Moko Roa,
Tau metua a Vaiare,
Tau vaine a Tongatea.
Put me down, put me down.
Set me free, set me free.
Oh that I had liberty
To gaze on this mountain!
'Tis surely the mountain spoken of
By my grandfather, "The long-Lizard;"
And by my mother Vaiare (stay-at-home)109
And by my wife, ''The fair Tongan."

To this Kumutonga and Karaia responded (temporarily releasing Ngaru):ó

Kiritia kai e kinana!
To koivi, vaio i Erangi maunga!
Thou shalt be forthwith devoured!
Thy body shall rot on this "Heavenly mountain,"


To vaerua, e kave i te po
Na to maua metua na Miru!
To this Ngaru replied,"
Thy spirit shall be borne to the shades,
To furnish a repast for our mother Miru.
'Tis thus you treat your intended husband!"

Again wrapping up and cording their intended victim, they bore him to another spur of the same mountain range. Conscious of this, the imprisoned victim again prayed to be released:ó

Oi au tiria, tiria, etc. , etc.     Put me down, put me down, etc., etc.

To this entreaty the same ominous reply was given as before:ó

Kiritia kai e kinana! etc.    Thou shalt be forthwith devoured, etc.

To this Ngaru replied, "Tis thus you treat your intended husband!" At this the "peerless ones" again seized upon Ngaru, wrapped him again in numerous folds of tapa, and well securing their victim with cords, bore him along until, reaching a shady grove of chestnut trees, they set him down and unfastened the cords. These fairy women now hastened to fetch some kava,110 named ''Miru's own," and gave it to him to chew. Ngaru chewed the whole, and still, to their amazement, remained wakeful and active: on him alone of the children of men the powerful narcotic failed to produce its usual effects. The ever-blazing oven of Miru was ready for its victim. The voice of the pitiless Miru was now heard: "Kumutonga-of-the-night and Karaia-the-shadowy, bring along your husband; the oven of Miru is waiting for him." At these words Ngaru put on the girdle his grandfather [p.232] had wisely provided for his use. Thus equipped, the dauntless visitor from the upper world proceeded in search of the hag Miru and her dread oven. At this juncture the voice of the anxious Moko was heard in the shades: ''Return, Ngaruóyonder is the oven in which she means to cook you." Heedless of this warning, the brave visitor went on his way, and finding the red-hot stones of the oven raked ready for the victim, he asked the horrid mistress of the invisible world what she meant to do with this burning oven. Miru promptly replied, "To cook you?'" Ngaru reproached her thus: "Ah, Miru! my grandfather Moko did not prepare an oven for your daughters, but gave them food to eat, cocoa-nut water to drink, and sent them away in peace! You cook and devour your visitors!"

At these words the heavens became intensely black. Ngaru walked to the edge of the flaming oven, and placed one foot on the red-hot stones. At this critical moment the clouds, which had been gathering ever since he had entered Avaiki, burst suddenly. A fearful deluge111 of waters extinguished the blazing oven, and swept away Miru herself, her younger fairy daughters, and all her servants and accomplices. Ngaru was saved by clutching hold of the stem of the nono,112 the beautiful Tapairu girls, who allured him to the domains of Miru, held each by one of his legs, and so escaped the fate of their mother and sisters. These fairies taught Ngaru the art of ball-throwing.

After a time the waters entirely abated. Ngaru, wearied of the society of these attractive but dangerous fairy women, succeeded in finding a dark, winding passage to a land called [p.233] Taumareva (= expanse), where fruits and flowers grow profusely, and the inhabitants of which excelled in flute-playing.113 Here he married a girl kept by her parents inside a house in order to whiten her skin. Time passed pleasantly in this new residence. But one day two pretty little birds, known as "Karakerake," perched upon the ledge of a pile of rocks. Ngaru immediately recognized them as belonging to Moko, and asked them whether they came at his grandfather's bidding. The birds nodded assent, whilst Ngaru wept for joy, and prayed thus:ó

Karakerake e, tukua iora te taura!
O te taura oa tena i tukuia 'i o maua ariki
O Raka maumau e. Tukua, tukua  ra ikona!
Ye little birds, pray drop a cord:
Aye, the cord used for the imperious
Oraka,114 the all-devouring. Drop, drop it at once!

At these words two cords fell, one from the feet of each bird. Securing himself by means of this double rope, Ngaru gave the signal to the birds, and without a word of farewell to his late spouse and her musical countrymen, was borne aloft to this upper world, and was safely deposited in the presence of Moko, who had long been ill, pining for the presence of his brave Ngaru, so long a prisoner in the shades.

Ngaru had conquered the monsters of the deep; had conquered the aversion of the proud Tongatea; had been buried in the earth, had descended to the shades, where he had proved victor over the hitherto unconquered Miru and her satellites. One more trial was reserved for Ngaru, ere he should be permitted to live in peace. The last foe was a heavenly one.


One day the people of this world were astonished at the sight of a large basket (some say "a vast fish-hook") let down from the sky. Two or three anxious to see the wonders of the upper world, hitherto unexplored, entered the basket and were speedily drawn up out of sight. Not many days after, this process was repeated; but it came to be noticed, after a time, that none ever came down again to report what they had seen. This looked decidedly suspicious. The fact was, a sky-demon named Amai-te-rangi, or Carry-up-to-heaven, had taken a fancy to feed on human flesh, and had invented the basket and ropes as a means of satisfying hunger. Hearing from his victims of the prowess of Ngaru, he resolved to entrap and devour him. Now the basket itself was a very attractive object, and on the day of Ngaru's return from his visits to the invisible world it was let down close to the dwelling of Moko. Ngaru, regarding this as a challenge, determined to ascend and have a fight with its owner. The more wily Moko detained his heroic grandson until his faithful little lizard subjects should go up and find out what was going on in the sky. The word having been given by The-king-of-lizards, a number of his sharp-eyed attendants entered the basket, which was speedily pulled up by Amai-te-rangi. On discovering that he had only caught a number of miserable little reptiles, he was greatly chagrined. Meanwhile the nimble subjects of Moko overran the place. When next the basket was let down, they were permitted to go down in it. They reported to Moko what they had seen: the gigantic size of "Carry-up-to-heaven," beautiful women engaged in ball throwing; a huge chisel and mallet in the hands of the sky demon; and piles of human bones.

Ngaru fearlessly got into the beautiful basket, and was at once drawn up by the delighted Amai-te-rangi, who anticipated a good [p.235] feast, as the intended victim was uncommonly heavy. Upon touching the magnificent paving of blue stone, Ngaru found the demon drawn out to his full size, chisel and mallet in hand ready to deal the fatal blow. At this moment the human hero gave it a sudden jerk, that precipitated himself and the basket down to earth again. The disappointed demon hastily drew up Ngaru again, resolving not to permit him to escape a second time. But the grandson of Moko was not to be outwitted; for as soon as the basket again touched the solid vault of heaven, he once more jerked it back to earth. Amai-te-rangi eight times pulled his ropes, until his strength was nearly exhausted; but at last, to his satisfaction, saw Ngaru coolly walk out of the basket and confront his giant foe, who again prepared to deal the fatal blow with that chisel from which no mortal had hitherto escaped.

Now Moko had foreseen all this, and to provide for the safety of Ngaru, each time the basket touched the ground had sent into it a number of lizards, which leaped out on the sky as soon as the basket touched the blue paving, unregarded by the demon, whose whole thoughts were concentrated on the destruction of this fearless human enemy. At the moment his huge arms were uplifted to effect the murder of Ngaru, all these faithful guardians rushed up the legs of Amai-te-rangi, covering his face, neck, arms, and body. Particularly clustering about the armpits, they tickled the giant to such a degree that it was impossible for him to strike with precision. Again and again the monster endeavoured to brush off these little fellows from his naked body, so that he might accomplish his purpose; but the lizards pertinaciously returned to their appointed task of distracting Amai-te-rangi's thoughts and movements, until at length this cruel enemy of mankind, utterly unable to slay Ngaru, and tickled almost [p.236] to madness, dropped chisel and mallet. Ngaru, seizing these weapons, succeeded in killing Amai-te-rangi, and then let himself down to earth again, accompanied by his four-footed protectors, and carrying with him the chisel and mallet of his slain foe. Ere leaving, he tried ball-throwing with Ina and Matonga, who kept eight balls going at a time, and succeeded in beating them too. Such were the exploits of this Polynesian Hercules.

In the original, when describing the repentance of Tongatea at the reed-throwing match, the question is asked, "Whose place in Manono is vacant?" The reply is, "Tongatea's." "Why, then, does she not begin?" There is a spot on Mangaia so named; but every one believes that the reference is to the island of "Manono," in the Samoan Group. The wife's name, "Tongatea," means The-fair-Tongan. I believe this story to have been one brought by the original settlers when they came originally from Avaiki, or Savai'i. It is no objection to this view that the myth, as now told, is localized here, as a long residence would be sure to produce this. The proper depositories of such lore invariably assert that they were introduced here from other lands.

The story of Miru is merely a vivid representation of their old belief as to the state of those who die a natural death. Fairy women come to fetch Ngaru: he is like any other corpse, wrapped up in tapa, and well corded, and borne by two individuals to the deep cavernous domain of Miru. "Oraka" is but a disguise for "Auraka," the great repository of their dead, from which two cords pull up the victor upon his return to life.

In this story Miru and all her servants and two of her "peerless" daughters perish. The ever-burning oven, too, is [p.237] extinguished. But the standard belief of the past represents Miru as immortal, and the oven as still blazing and consuming the spirits of all who die a natural death. Does not this myth express a deep-seated hope and intense yearning after that real victory over death and hell which Christianity alone can satisfy?

Apai-te-rangi is in heaven the exact counterpart of Miru in the shades; but still a man of divine descentóNgaruócomes off victor!

It is a curious fact that one family on Mangaia claims descent from this sky-demon Apai-te-rangi. But this heavenly descent did not prevent the ''Amai" tribe from being devoted to furnish sacrifices to Rongo from generation to generation. (The name is indifferently spelt Amai and Apai.)

As Miru in the shades is the parent of Tapairu, or "peerless" fairy women, so in the sky Apai-i-te-rangi has about him a set of Tapairu women, whose sole employment is ball-throwingósome keeping seven, others eight, balls going at a time. One of these heavenly fairies is Ina, another is named Matonga. Ngaru introduced the art to this world.

The basket of the heavenly monster is the counterpart of the stupefying kava, of Miru, his chisel and mallet answering to the fiery oven of the shades.





Two women.

Akiakia tute te manava ia Tevoo 'i
Ei mana paa no Ngaru Avaiki,
Koia i pau taae !
Tepoi arire na Moko ra.
Na Vari-ma-te-takere e!
Strip the branches115 off Miru's "kava" tree
 To stupefy wonder-working Ngaru,
Victorious over all monsters,
Pet grandson of Moko,
Descended from Vari-originator-of-all-things.


Te taa o te rangi
A tuku te ata apai Ngaru e,
I te kakenga atu rava.
The natives of the sky
Let down a trap to catch Ngaru,
Who ascended on high.

Two women.

Kake atu Ngaru i te tautua,
I te tau aro o te Moko kura i tau e.
Ka pare nei kia Apai-te-rangi e!
Kua kino Ngaru ei te taeke ae!
To save Ngaru the golden lizards
Climbed up the front and back,
Baffling cruel Apai-te-rangi.
T'was Ngaru blackened by diving,


Kua kino Ngaru i te taeke,
E anga turoko ka oro ai Tongatea e!
Tei Itikau te roki
Ngaru blackened in the billows.
The sight disgusted the fair Tongan,
Whose loved resort is at Itikau.

Two women.

Tei Itikau te roki e! Yes; her loved resort is at Itikau.


Papa paka, a inu ra i te vai o Marua,
E rua enua e pei ai te pei.
Refresh yourselves, fair ones, in Shady-Land,
Like celestials proficient in ball throwing.



Two women.

Pei ikiiki na Nraru e! Oh! the wondrous skill of Nraru.


Tera rava te karanga,
E karanga ia Ngaru.
Iti niai rapa te uira,
E uira tu akarere,
Na mana o Ngaru-tal.
Noea toou mana?
No raro i Avaiki,ó
Na Vari-ma-te-takere,
Na ooki atu na,
Tena ia ia kava.
E tere aa ra, e Miru?
E tere kai tangata!
List to yonder voice!
'Tis addressed to Ngaru.
Lightning is emitted from his person,
And flashes all around.
Great is the might of Ocean-loving Ngaru.116
Whence this unheard of power?
From the depths of spirit-land,
From Vari-originator-of-all- things.
Who sends him back again (to this world).
Ah \ there comes the stupefying draught.
What have you come for, Miru?
I come to devour mankind.

Two women.

Takina ra Avaiki, e Miru e!  Do thy worst, Miru!


Ei rapanga uira i tane. Provoke not the flashing lightning of your betrothedó

Two women.

Tane oro ki Iti!117 The betrothed, whose loved resort is at Itikauó


Ae, Ngaru-tai. Aye, Ocean-loving Ngaru.

Two women.

Akiakia tute te manava ia Tevoo 'i,
Ei mana paa no Ngaru Avaiki,
Koia i pau taae!
Tepoi arire na Moko ra,
Na Vari-ma-te-takere e!
Strip the branches off Miru's kava tree.
To stupefy wonder-working Ngaru,
Victorious over all monsters.
Pet grandson of Moko,
Descended from Vari-originator-of-all-things.


Te taa o te rangi
A tuku i te ata apai Ngaru e,
I te kakenga atu rava.
The natives of the sky
Let down a trap to catch Ngaru,
Who ascended on high.

Two women.

Kake atu Ngaru i te tautua
I te tau aro o te moko kura i tau e,
A pare nei kia Apai-te-rangi-e!
Kua kino Ngaru e i te taeke ae!
To save Ngaru the golden lizards
Climbed up the front and back,
Baffling cruel Apai-te-rangi.
'Twas Ngaru blackened by diving.


Kua kino Ngaru i te taeke,
E anga turoko ka oro ai Tongatea e.
Tei Itikau te roki.
Ngaru blackened in the billows:
The sight disgusted the fair Tongan,
Whose loved resort is at Itikau.

Two women.

Tei Itikau te roki e! Yes; her loved resort is at Itikau.


Papa paka, a inu ra i te vai o Marua.
E rua enua i pei i te pei.
Refresh yourselves, fair ones, in Shady-Land,
Like celestials proficient in ball-throwing.



Two women.

O Marua tai o are e! In Shady-Land is thy true home.


Takina o Ngaru-tai
Na Kumutonga i apai,
E apai ki Avaiki,
Ei kai na Miru-Kura,
Ei tane Ngaru tai
Akiakia tute, akiakia kava,
Te manava ia Tevoo.
Tataia e Iva, porotua te rangi ra.
Kakea ra e Ngaru te enua
Taumareva, te enua iri kura e,
Na te taa o te rangi.
E tere aa ra, e Miru?
E tere kai tangata.
Lift up Ocean-loving Ngaru;
Kumutonga shall bear thee on
Until thou reach spirit-land
As food for the ever-ruddy Miruó
Our betrothed Ocean-loving Ngaru.
Strip the branches off the "kava" tree,
To stupefy thy senses.
The heavens are blackótorrents descend.
But Ngaru passes on to Taumarevaó
The land of scarlet garments,
At the edge of the skies.
What have you come for. Mini?
I come to devour mankind.

Two women.

Takina ra Avaiki, e Miru e! Do thy worst, Miru!


E rapanga uira i tane
Provoke not the flashing lightning of your betrothedó

Two women.

Tane oro ki Iti! The betrothed, whose loved resort is at Itikau.


Ae, Ngaru-tai. Aye, Ocean-loving Ngaru.

Two women.

Akiakia tute te manava ia Tevoo 'i,
Ei mana paa no Ngaru Avaiki,
Koia i pau taae!
Strip the branches off Miru's "kava" tree,
To stupefy wonder-working Ngaru,
Victorious over all monsters.


Oi au tiria, tiria.
Oi au tara, tara,
Taraia akera,
Kia kite au i teia maunga.
O te maunga poro oa teia
A tau tujxma a Moko-Roa,
Tau metua a Vaiare,
Tau vaine a Tongatea.
Kiritia kai e kinana!
To koivi, vaio i Erangi maunga!
To vaema, e kave i te po
Na to maua metua na Miru!
Kumutonga, Karaia-i-te-ata oi,
Tukua maira ta korua tane,
Kua roa oa te umu a INIiru!
Aore a e pau atu i tau moko;
E tapu te tikinga vaine a Ngaru
Tuku atu te taura i Enua-Kura.
E taura viriviri, e taura varavara,
Put me down, put me down.
Set me free, set me free.
Oh, that I had liberty
To gaze at this mountain!
'Tis surely the mountain spoken of
By my grandfather "The-long-Lizard,"
And by my mother Vaiare,
And by my wife, "The-fair-Tongan."
Thou shalt be forthwith devoured!
Thy body shall rot on this "Heavenly Mountain"
Thy spirit shall be borne to the shades,
To furnish a repast for our mother Miru.
Hist, Kumutonga! Hist, Karaia-the-Shadowy,
Bring me your intended husband,
For the oven of Miru is waiting!
I will not part with my grandson.
'Tis thus ye fairies treat Ngaru.
Pray drop down some cords to Spirit-Land;
Ropes of many strands and of great strength,


Ruia e tematangi, kakea e Ngaru,
Kakea e te rangi tautua,
Kakea e te rangi tuamano.
E tuku te taura i Enua-Kura e!
Mauria, e Ruateatonga,
Te pitonga i te taura
I tukua 'i i maua ariki.
O Raka maumau e!
Tukua, tukua ra ikna!
Oki mai, e Ngaru!
Tera 'tu te umu e tao iaau!
Swaying to and fro in the breeze, yet able
To bear Ngaru, the heaven-climber,
Resolved to explore all nature.
Pray, drop down some cords to Spirit-Land.
Hold fast. (Great emphasis.)
Spirit of the shades! hold fast
To the end of these ropes.
Intended to rescue our favourite
From all-devouring "Auraka."
Drop, drop them down at once!
Hasten back, Ngaru!
Yonder is the oven intended to consume you.

This curious drama was performed at Tamarua by daylight, at the base of the hill Vivitaunoa. Several women still living took part in the performance. One was named Miru for the occasion; a second Moko; a third Ngaru. Two others represented the daughters of MiruóKumutonga and Karaia-i-te-ata. These fairies, at the proper time, carried over the crest of the hill a large bundle like a seeming corpse, ready to be thrown down "Auraka," the last resting-place of the dead. An oven was made, but no fire lighted. Two cords were fastened to the woman who sustained the part of Ngaru, and who was dragged to the edge of the supposed oven.

The husband of Patikiporo is still living. He has for many years sustained a good Christian profession.

The part commencing "Put me down," etc., down to "a [p.244] repast for our mother Miru," is taken from the myth, which is known to be of great antiquity.

Sadaraka well recollects the performance, at which, as a male, he could only be a spectator.



Call for the dance to lead off.

Pei ikiiki tei to rima, e rua toe,
Tei Iva e ; a tai ra koe.
Keep the balls all going ; two are left,
In all spirit-land thou hast no equal.


Taipo e! Go on!


Pei aea nga Tapaini no Avaiki;
No nunga paa i te rangi e!
Here are fairy players from nether-land,
As well as natives of the sky.


Ae e! Aye!


Pei aea i te pei itu, i te pei varu, e Ina e!
Ka re koia o Matonga-iti kau rere.
Ina alone keeps seven, yea, eight balls in motion.
Little Matonga is beatenóutterly beaten.


Ka re oki, e Matonga e, i te peió
Ka topa i to rima ; a tai o!
Ah! Matonga, thou art beatenó
At the outset a ball has fallen to the ground.




Tiria mai taku pei. Give me the balls.


E pei ka topa i te rima o nga tupuna 'tu,
te pua mata reka, o te akatu nga
1 ikitia i Marama Nui e. Era koe,
Na Teiiri na Teraranga.
Taku rima, taku ei kapara turina,
Ua toro, pati kura konikoni,
No nunga no te akinga pei
O nga Tapairu, tu tai e, kiri i-ua e,
Paiereiere ikitia i raro o Kaputai.
A tai nei vaine i nginingini ai,
I toro pa titi, toro pa tata, e Ina!
This art was taught me by the gods,
Encircled with chaplets of laurel,
By Teiiri and Teraranga.118
I select round scarlet fruits
To serve as balls for our game,
For fairy women who once and again
Have come up from spirit-world to dance at Kaputai.119
Of these fairies the most strangely fascinating
And proficient at our game is Ina.
Lovely blossom, whose home is in are the sky,
Beloved wife of Full-Moon, I have beaten thee


Taipo e! Go on!


Pei aea nga Tapairu no Avaiki;
No nunga paa i te rangi e!
Here are fairy players from nether land.
As well as natives of the sky.


Ae e! Aye


Pei aea i te pei itu, i te pei varu, e Ina e!
Ka re koia o Matonga-iti kau rere:
Ina alone keeps seven, yea, eight balls in motion.
Little Matonga is beatenóutterly beaten.


Ka re oki e Matonga e i te peió
Ka topa i to rima ; a tai!
Ah ! Matonga thou art beatenó
At the outset a ball has fallen to the ground.




Tei nunga! How high!


To kura pei kura, maautara,
Mea Auraka te metua, e nui ana,
I nunga o pei tini, i raro o taaonga.
E mau ana, peiia, tuia te toa i Rangiriri. 
Anga mai te vai ia mata.
E vai tuaine, e vai tungane,
Riu atu to tau, anga mai to oro.
Tela taku pei, e pei ikiiki Marama rua e!
Era koe, e Matonga!
All the balls in the air ; how dexterous the hand!
The balls are all red and greatly admired.
Thanks to the divinities who taught thee,
Catch them, throw them in succession.
All eyes are fixed on thee.
Women and men in wonder
Gaze at thy face and form.
With these balls again I challenge  you fairies.
I have beaten thee, too, Matonga!

Call the second.

Pei ikiiki tei to rima, e rua toe,
Tei Iva e, a tai ra koe e!
Keep the balls all going; two are left.
In all spirit-land thou hast no equal.


Taipo e! Go on!


Pei aea nga Tapairu no Avaiki;
No nunga paa i te rangi e!
Here are fairy players from nether-land.
As well as natives of the sky.


Ae! Aye


Pei aea i te pei itu, i te pei varu, e Ina e!
Ka re koia o Matonga-iti kau rere!
Ina alone keeps seven, yea, eight balls in motion.
Little Matonga is beatenóutterly-beaten.


Ka re oki, e Matonga e, i te pei,
Ka topa i to rima; a tai o!
Ah ! Matonga, thou art beaten.
At the outset a ball has fallen to the ground.




A tai! Again!


Tai, rua, tora, a, rima, ono, itu, varu.
Tu akarongo no Pai, no Manoinoi ariki
E tangi te vai i Aratatia.
Akairi i nunga i Aramaunga i te
Aakina i te maro Akaina,
Na tumaanga nginingini i te rearea.
E tangata e tu i Torea,
E mania i te kura, e mania i te rearea!
Era koe, e Ina!
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight balls!
Pai and the royal Manoinoi admire.
The crowd is astonished.
Akaina, though skilled in all arts, kopuku.
Surpassing the men of his day,
The bravest and wisest of men,
Ne'er could equal thee.
Let perfect silence now be preserved.
Again I have beaten thee, Ina!


Taipo e! Go on!


Pei aea nga Tapairu no Avaiki;
No nunga paa i te rangi e!
Here are fairy players from nether-land,
As well as natives of the sky.


Ae e! Aye!


Pei aea i te pei itu, i te pei varu, e Ina e!
Ka re koia o Matonga-iti kau rere.
Ina alone keeps seven, yea, eight balls  in motion.
Little Matonga is beatenóutterly beaten.


Ka re oki, e Matonga e, i te pei,
Ka topa i to rima; a tai o!
Ah ! Matonga, thou art beaten.
At the outset a ball has fallen to the ground.




E retia!
E retia, e retia O Tua-niinii
Avaunt, avaunt, thou of a scraggy back!


E retia, e retia O Tua-ara-roa !
Ara-roa i te iki-tanga i te akamatenga.
Na kura pei kura, na tama reionga.
Na kakara onu e rutu i te tua o Vatea.
Re tai, re rua, re toru, re a.
Re rima, re ono, re itu, re varu,
Re iva, re ngauru, tinitini, manomano.
O Arauru, O Ara peipei, tei kai te reinga.
Koi tangatanga iri, koi mata kerekere.
Koi nunga, koi raro, koi te patiu e !
Era koe, e Matonga!
Avaunt, avaunt, thou of the long spineó
Tall to deformity and ready to die.
Give me my grand scarlet-balls,
Like young turtle in the palm of Vatea.
Beaten once, twice, thrice, yea, four times;
Beaten again, again, and again;
Beaten times innumerable, all of you.
Pack up your traps, one and alló
Ye sweet-scented ball-players from the skies
And from nether-landóand be off!
Again I have beaten thee, Matonga.

Third Call.

Pei ikiiki tei to rima, e rua toe.
Tei Iva e, a tai ra koe e!
Keep the balls all going ; two are left.
In all spirit-land thou hast no equal.


Taipo e Go on!


Pei aea nga Tapaim no Avaiki ;
No nunga paa i te rangi e!
Here are fairies from nether-land,
As well as natives of the sky.


Aee! Aye


Pei aea i te pei itu, i te pei varu, eIna e!
Ka re koia o Matonga-iti kau rere!
Ina alone keeps seven, yea, eight balls  in motion.
Little Matonga is beatenóutterly beaten.


Ka re oki, e Matonga e, i te pei,
Ka topa i to rima; a tai o!
Ah ! Matonga, thou art beaten.
At the outset a ball has fallen to the ground.



Fourth Call.

E ara pei na Kumutonga,
Na Karaia-i-te-ata e, a kake e!
And now a game of ball-throwing with Kumutonga,
With Karaia-the-shadowy from nether-world.


Taipo e! Go on!


Te pei maira te peinga i te ata. Play as ye are wont in the shades.


Ae e! Aye!


Te rere maira te manu pepe kura. A bird of gay plumage is watching you.


E ara pei oki ra na Karaia ae e! A game of ball-throwing with Karaia!


E ara pei na Kumutonga,
Na Karaia-i-te-ata.
Aore paa e kitea te ikonga i te rima!
A game of ball-throwing with Kumutonga
And her sister Karaia-the-shadow.
The quick movements of the fingers are invisible.

Of the sky-fairies, Ina and Matonga were the most clever at this game. Both, however, are vanquished by Ngaru: in the first and third stanzas Ina is beaten; in the second and fourth, Matonga. In the "conclusion" Ngaru is trying his fortune with the infernal sirens with equal success.

In the dance the performers imitated the movements of the ball-throwers, without balls, however.

The contemptuous language of the fourth stanza is in direct contradiction of the standard belief in their "peerless" beauty. It is a sly hit at certain ladies at the dance personifying the two sets of fairy women. Proud of their assumed name, "Tapairu," they are really the butt of the whole assembly.



Ouri bare Oemd two sons, of whom Arii was the elder, and Tavai the younger. On one occasion, for a trivial offence, some of the father's relatives severely beat little Tavai, who was his mother's pet. Ouri was so enraged at this, that her husband Oema [p.251] descended to Hawaii to hide his shame. The now regretful wife waited many days in vain for his return.

Little Tavai, who was naturally a brave child, resolved to go in search of his father. On mentioning his intention to his mother and older brother, the former strongly objected, whilst the latter volunteered to accompany him. Said Tavai to Arii, "Stay to take care of our mother." But Arii would on no account consent to be left behind by his younger brother.

The mother, finding it impossible to detain her beloved children, disclosed to them the secret road to spirit-land, and taught them the needful formula.

Using this charm, the earth clave asunder, and the lads descended. They now found themselves in the land of Kui-the-Blind. Arii was excessively alarmed at her appearance, and confessed his fears to his younger brother, who only remarked, "I told you not to come, but you would have your own way."

Now Kui was employed in cooking her daily oven when the brothers approached her and in silence watched her operations. Kui did not suspect the presence of these intruders. The food in her oven consisted of:ó

2 heads of taro.
2 plantains.
2 halves of bread-fruit.
2 packages of sour bread-fruit paste.

Laying on a goodly pile of leaves, she covered in her oven and pressed it down with large stones. Kui now sat quietly inside her house till it was done, still ignorant of the presence of mortals.

When she judged the food to be sufficiently cooked, she opened her oven. She took up a taro and placed it in her basket. On putting out her arm to take up the secondólo, it was gone! [p.252] Kui was greatly surprised, but did not speak. She thought, "What daring fellow has invaded my land and come to steal my food?"

Kui next took up a plantain and put it into her basket. But on seeking for the secondólo, it was gone! And thus, too, of the bread-fruit and the packages of sour bread-fruit paste.

The old blind woman, now thoroughly enraged, exclaimed, "Whoever this is that has dared to come to my land, I will devour him." She then re-entered her house, carrying the diminished supply of food. Tavai whispered to his elder brother, "Beware of her tricks: touch nothing belonging to her." At this moment Kui-the-Blind came out, armed with a terrible fish-hook fastened to a long line. This she swung backwards and forwards, all the while chanting a song, in order to catch the thief. The lads contrived to keep clear of it, but threw a pandanus log at it. The log was hooked. Whilst Kui was pulling in her line with immense satisfaction, the boys chanted these words:ó

Carefully secure thy fish,
Ere thou be o'ertaken by a shark.

To which Kui replied:ó

For him that is caught by my hook
There is no hope. Strong is my hook.
Its name is ("Furnisher of) food for immortals."
The line is called "The indivisible."

Kui seized her supposed victim, which proved to be a mere log of wood. Angry at this, she again threw out her dreadful fish-hook. This time she caught the elder boy Arii. Both the brothers wept bitterly. Kui again chanted the former ominous words, "For him," etc. When the youthful victim had almost arrived at the doorway where the cruel blind woman sat, the brave Tavai ran forwards, and seizing the fatal string snapped it asunder by sheer [p.253] force, thus rescuing Arii from her pitiless clutches. The brothers then entered the house of the now defenceless Kui, and discovering the stone axe with which she was accustomed to despatch her victims, slew her therewith. Her body was next chopped in pieces; the house pulled down and set on fire, thus consuming this foe of mankind.

Tavai now proposed that they should resume the search for their father, and that Arii, as the elder, should take the lead.

The brothers accordingly prepared to leave the land of Kui-the-Blind.

Arrived at the sea-shore, they walked over the ocean and saw a red streak ahead on the surface of the water. On drawing nearer to the red streak, they found a red shark swimming underneath. Arii trembled and entreated Tavai to go in front. As the younger brother sturdily refused, Arii had still to go on. The great red shark now rose to the surface, and said:ó

O era taata e aere
Na raro i te moana ra e!
Keinga korua e au!
Yon daring travellers
O'er the briny sea
Shall furnish my repast.

These words struck both lads with terror, but Tavai, recollecting himself, replied:ó

Art not thou our aged ancestor,
Nutaravaivaria? And are not we
The offspring of Oema and Ouri?

The enormous fish now learning that these boys were his own grandchildren, allowed them to get on his back, and conveyed them safely to the shore of Rauai'a-Nui, where Tavai landed. The red shark now asked Tavai to give him Arii to eat. But the brave boy said, "You must not devour him, for I have but one [p.254] brother." Three times did the red shark ask for Arii: three times was the request denied by Tavai.

Now there was a great abundance of cocoa-nuts in this new land. Tavai climbed the trees and gathered the nuts, so that the ground was everywhere covered with the fallen nuts. Tavai's next work was to tie these nuts together in fours and count them. In all there were a thousand nuts, which he with no little labour placed on the back of the great red shark. And not until the last four was given up did the shark give up his brother.

Arii and Tavai spent three days on that island. On the morning of the fourth day the red shark came back. The lads again mounted on his back and were borne over the ocean in search of their lost father. Now the boys had provided themselves with cocoa-nuts to eat by the way. All but one had been disposed of during their long voyage. At their wits' end to know how to open it, they broke it on the head of the shark. Pained by the smart blow, the red shark dived down to the bottom of the ocean, leaving the boys swimming on the surface. When at length the strength of Arii was exhausted, the red shark again rose to the surface, and generously forgiving the late offence, carried them to shore. This is the farthest limit of spirit-land.

The brothers now travelled about in search of the inhabitants. They fell in with a man who asked what they were in quest of They told him that they were seeking for their father, and inquired whether he could give them any intelligence respecting him. The old man advised them to apply to the oracle. Tavai at once started off to the residence of the famous priest. Without ceremony they opened the door and entered. The priest sharply asked "What stranger is this that has dared to come to my land?" Tavai, annoyed at this brusque reception, struck the priest on his head, [p.255] causing him to writhe in agony. Having thus humbled the priest, he asked him where Oema was. The priest replied, "Yonderóhe is dead. Go on until you meet an old womanóshe has charge of the corpse."

At length they met an aged woman, and inquired where the dead body of Oema was deposited. She promptly replied, "In the 'stercus' hole." The brothers said, "Go, then, and fetch it." They closely followed the old hag. On coming to the place, they found that he had long been dead, for only the skeleton remained. They tenderly took up the bones and wrapped them in a mat. They next killed the old woman, and burnt down her house. Not satisfied with this, they slew the priest and the first person they had met, and set fire to their dwellings.

Finally, these brave boys, Arii and Tavai, made their way back to this upper world, bringing to Ouri the bones of her long-lost husband. In doing this they traversed the old road, the chasm opening up again as the words taught by their wise-hearted mother were uttered by Tavai.

Compare this with the myths entitled, "A Bachelor God in Search of a Wife," and "The Wisdom of Manihiki." "Kui-the-Blind " figures in all three versions of their ancient faith.





The deformed and ugly Miru has her home in the nether-world, where she cooks human spirits in her oven. Her son Tautiti presides over the dance called by his name.120 Besides Tautiti, the pitiless spirit-eater has four daughters, called Tapairu, or peerless ones, on account of their matchless beauty. They delight to make their appearance in this upper world whenever a dance is performed in honour of their brother. Thus, if a dance took place anywhere in the northern half of the island, they would be sure to make their appearance that evening at sunset, bathing at a little shady stream named Auparu (= soft-dew). These fairies would then climb the almost perpendicular hill overlooking the fountain, in order to dry themselves and to arrange their beautiful tresses in the moonbeams, ere proceeding to witness the [p.257] performances of mortals. But if the dance were to take place in the southern part of the island, these "peerless ones" would make their appearance at two little streams, named Vaipau and Vaikaute, and then perform their usual toilet on the crest of the neighbouring hill.

These fairies, always associated with the worship of Tane, would even deign to take part in the dance, provided that one end of the dancing ground were well covered with fresh cut banana leaves. But after merrily tripping it over these exquisitely fragile leaves through the livelong night, not one of them would be in any degree soiled or injured. As soon as the morning star rose they disappeared, and returned to their gloomy home in Avaiki.

Throughout the eastern Pacific islands "Tapairu," or "fairest of the fair," is a favourite name for girls. The names of these fairies are:ó

  1. Kumutonga-i-te-po = Kumutonga-of-the-night.

  2. Karaia-i-te-ata = Karaia-the-shadowy.

  3. Te-rauara = Pandanus-leaf.

  4. Te-poro = Point.



Turina eia ra e te Aumania ra,
Kia turuki te vaine moe atu te tane o,
Na te ei papa kura.
Riro i Motuenga i te puku
Maunga ra i akamae te maire,
Taki rua o rau te tiare tapu.
Red necklaces for Mauapa,
To win the favour of the fair,
Mixed with leaves of purple hue.
On the mountains sit we down
To interweave beautiful flowers
With double rows of myrtle leaves.


Tangi atu au ra i te aunga tiere.
Tei Aupara na vaine tau nongonongo
I te pa etu na Ina e!
Te aiai a Kura! Eu e! Ae!
To are karioi e Tekura-i-Tanoa.
I love the fragrance of the flowers
At Auparu, from fairy women
Arraying themselves by starlight,
Whilst Ina in the moon looks on.
Ah ! ye e'en surpass Tekura-of-Tanoa.

In each valley of this island are crevices in the soil, through which superfluous waters drain. The direct road to spirit-land, through Tiki's chasm, having long since been closed, fairies avail themselves of these narrow passages to climb up from time to time, in order to be present at the dances of mortals.

The fete of Terangai, ancestor of the present tribe of Tane, was specially honoured by fairy visitors. The fete came off at Butoa. Teporo and Terauara, fair daughters of Miru, availed themselves of the gorge just by, to come up out of nether-world to take part in the festivity. The sound of the great drum used on that occasion reached to the very depths of spirit-land, inducing four other fairiesóusually said to be males, and, of course, connected with Miruóalso to climb up to witness their favourite dance, Tautiti. Oroiti121 and Teauotangaroa122  came up at a gorge known as Tuaoruku, on the south. Marangaitaiti1223 got up through a disagreeable-looking hole on the west, Marangaitaao124 through a gorge at the north of the island. Guided by the sound of the drum, these four male fairy visitors tripped along different mountain ridges, until they all met at the fete ground, conspicuous by their unearthly beauty. At dawn they disappeared in the depths of Avaiki through the various crevices.

To this myth the prologue to Potiki's fete-songs alludes. After years of anarchy and bloodshed, peace was proclaimed in the name [p.259] of the gods. At this, the first fete inaugurating the era of peace, it is hoped the fairies will be present as at Terangai's. The greater gods, whose jealousies occasion the wars of mortals, should be chained.





Vaia te rua i Avaiki,
Kia kake mai Oroiti e Tane si!
Open the entrance to spirit-world,
That Oroiti and Tane may come up.


Tireia Tautiti,
Kia aka i Onemakenukenu.
Tane ao i te tua o Terangai.
On this merry night
The ghosts are dancing on the smooth sward;
As at Terangai's famed fete of old.


Te moko ia Tautiti e!
Tukua, tukua e!
Tukua ki raro.
Tane is the patron of dancing.
(War dance).
Down with your burdens,125
Down with them and rest.


E ngae pu Avaiki i te papa,
E tukia ma te kaara.
Kua mau mai nei Teporo ma Terauara.
Takaia te papa i maui;
Rumakina te papa i katau.
E era te taua i Tuaoruku
Na Oroiti, na Teauotangaroa,
Kimi pou enua ke atu.
Spirit-land is stirred to its very depths
At the music of the great drum.
The fairies Teporo and Terauarahave come up.
Lead off the dance, ye of the left;
And you, too, of the right.
At Tuaoruku is a fairy dancing-ground,
For Oroiti and Teauotangaroa,
Who have dared to come up to this world.


Ka tutu Kongo i te rangi e! Great Ronsfo shakes his club.


No te ike tangi reka e papa i tua.
Tutua! Tutua!
Softly sounds the cloth-beating mallet o'er the sea.
Beat away! Beat away!


Kano korua kiea? Whither go ye, fairies?


Kano maua a kimi ia Tautiti,
Kua ngaro mai nei.
Tela te akatu, ma te akarongorongo,
Ma te matakitaki.
We go in , search of the pleasing dance,
So long disused.
Here it is.
Here are the dancers, the torch-bearers.
And the spectators.


Kano koi-ua kiea? Whither go ye, fairies?


Kano maua a kimi i te marua kapa Kua ana mai nei. We follow the merry sounds of dancing; Therefore have we come.


Teia te akarongorongo ma te matakitaki.
Apaina eretia te anau Atea
Te papa i te itinga e!
Apaina ! Apaina!
Tautiti ngarue i Teakaruru.
Eia ia ! Eia ia.
la! Ia!
Here it is.
Here are the torch-bearers and the spectators.
Chain up the gods, the offspring of Vatea,
That our sport be not spoiled.
Avaunt ! Avaunt!
Ha! I hear shouts of dances at Butoa!
(War dance, twice performed.)


Vaia, e Marangaitaao, te rua i Avaiki. Open up for Marangaitaao an entrance from spirit-land.


Kikimi mai! Aere mai! Search us out, join our throng!


Vaia, e Marangaitaiti, te rua i Tipitake! Open up for Marangaitaiti the dark gorge.


Kikimi mai! Aere mai!
Kano korua i Temangarea.
Pua! Pua!
Ereti ua viriviri, ua varavara,
Ruia e te matangi maira, maira,
Ruia e te matangi maira, maira,
Kua oro Tautiti i Avaiki Nui ma te kaara.
Teia Marangaitaao te kimi atu nei.
Tutua! Tutua!
Ka apai te tere i mua o te kaara.
E taki aere i te uto o Terangai,
I rakoa! I rakoa!
Search us out, join our throng!
To what distant spot are these fairies bound?
Beat away ! Beat away!
Give me a many-stranded, powerful rope.
Waving to and fro in the wind.
Waving to and fro in the wind,
To pull up Tautiti and his drum out of Great Spirit-Land.
Here is the fairy Marangaitaao in search of us.
Beat away! Beat away!
Let the fairies pass in front of the drum;
The fairies who once honoured the fete of Terangai,
How dazzling! How brave!


E uru tupu ariki te apai o te pau e I
Kareia !
Apai nuku, apai rangi !
Now for a war-dance as we bear on this drum,
(War dance. )
Let all take a part ; toss it aloft.


Tuia uta, tuia tai.
Tuia i te kapa o Tautiti e te aka nei.
Those over yonder ; those near at hand;
Prepare to lead off our fairy dance.


Uakina e Kaukau te papa i Teakaruru,
Te papa o Terangai.
The dance-loving tribe assembled of  yore
On the lands of Terangai.


Tatakina te kaara, urikaka. Up with the great drum; toss it in the air.


Rumakina e Rongoimua,126
Te papa i Pekekura, te papa i te ngaere.
The illustrious Mautara fought
And conquered the island for us, his children.


Vaoo ra ikona tena kaara,
Ei poani i te ma i Avaiki.
Up with this great dnim ; toss it in air,
And close up the mouth of spirit-world.


Te miro o te tata koe! Come forward, ye players of melodious flutes,


Tautiti te kapa i Atea. la. In honour of this dance of the gods! (Shouts.)

Call for the dance to lead off.

Tanumia Tevoo i Avaiki rangi taea e! "Miru's own" kava grows in spirit-land.


Taipo e! Go on!


Te kava ru au e rupepea. The finest and most intoxicating drink.


Ae e! Aye!


E atua nio-renga i Iti, e Tane!
Eaa ia manu kai tangata ra e!
Tane, god with yellow teeth, was once expelled Tahiti,
Yellow with devourino; mankind!


Nai kava kura te kava akiakia 'i
Te tere o turina kake e!
Te rangia te kava e no te atua ae e!
Let the red "kava" be carefully plucked,
As a draught for dancers in the upper world.
Let the drink be prepared for the priests.


Te ranaria te kava o te atua.
Kia inumia ia pau e i te titara are.
The sacred bowl of the priests is ready.
To be quaffed only by yon sacred men.


Kiekie toro e! Is there not yet another sort?


E raui tapu e taki na, Tis too sacred for mortal use.


Takina te kava, e vaio te noko
la Tevoo i akamae ana e!
The shoots only may we strip off; the parent stem
Is "Miru's own," reserved for the destruction of souls.

These "Tapairu," or "peerless ones," were sometimes represented as taking up their abode with the sea-side king, who was regarded as being specially under their protection:ó

Te ui a te Tapairu
A vari koe ia Kaputai
Te moea ra te enua marama e!
The questionings of the Tapairus
Who came up at Kaputai
To sojourn in a land of light.

After all, these fairies formed one family, known as "fairies from nether-world." Ngaru climbed the sky, in his passion for exploring all nature, and discovered a different set of "Tapairus"óall fair women. Of these the most celebrated is Ina, wife of the moon, and Little-Matonga. They are known as "fairies of the sky." Like those of nether-world, the heavenly fairies are wondrously skilled in ball-throwing, Ina being able to keep eight balls going at one time. Ngaru learnt the art from the nether-fairies in his long residence in their home. So proficient did he become, that he actually beat the nether and the sky fairies at their own game, which he afterwards introduced to this world.

Tulia koe tei Apepe
Ka aere ra, e Ati, i te enua poiri.
Kua pou au nei, Riuvaka ra,
Tai kai e ou te atua.
Te ravea ra e te are Tapairu
Tei te ara veerua.
Thou wast smitten down at Apepe.
Ah, Ati ! thou art bound to the land of darkness.
Alas, Riuvaka, I am devoured of the gods,
Who have assembled to feast upon me
I was saved by the friendly Taparius
Who met me on the road.



In Rarotonga, at the pretty village of Aorrangi, is the small fountain of Vaitipi. On the night after full moon, a woman and a man of dazzling white complexion rose up out of the crystal water. When the inhabitants of this world were supposed to be asleep, they came up from the shades to steal taro, plantains, bananas, and cocoa-nuts. All these good things they took back to nether-world to devour raw.

Little did the fairies think that they had been seen by mortals, and that a plan was being devised to catch them. A large scoop net of strong cinet was made for this purpose, and constant watch set at the fountain by night. On the first appearance of the new moon they again came up, and, as usual, went off to pillage the plantations. The great net was now carefully outspread at the bottom of the fountain, and then they gave chase to the fair beings from spirit-world. The fairy girl was the first to reach the fountain, and dived down. She was at once caught in the net, and carried off in triumph. But in replacing the net after the struggle, a small space remained uncovered; through this tiny aperture the male fairy contrived to escape.

The lovely captive became the cherished wife of the chief Ati, who now carefully filled up the fountain with great stones, lest his fairy spouse should return to nether-world.

They lived very happily together. She was known all over Rarotonga as the "peerless one (Tapairu) of Ati." She got reconciled to the ways of mortals, and grew content with her novel position. In the course of time she became pregnant, and when the period for her delivery had come, she said to her [p.266] husband, "Perform on me the Caesarean operation, and then bury my dead body. But cherish tenderly our child." Ati refused to accede to this proposition, but allowed Nature to take her course, so that the fairy became the living mother of a fair boy.

When at length the child had become strong, the mother one day wept bitterly in the presence of her husband. She told him that it was grief at the destruction of all mothers in the shades upon the birth of the first-born. Would he consent to her return thither in order that so cruel a custom should be put an end to? Ati should accompany her. This was agreed upon, and accordingly the great stones were dragged up from the bottom of the fountain. All kinds of vegetable gums were now collected, and the fairy carefully besmeared the entire person of Ati, so as to facilitate his descent to the lower world.

Holding firmly the hand of her human husband, the fairy dived to the bottom of the fountain, and nearly reached the entrance to the invisible world. But Ati was so dreadfully exhausted, that out of pity for him she returned. Five times was this process repeatedóin vain! The fair one from spirit-land wept because her husband was not permitted to accompany her; for only the spirits of the dead and immortals can enter.

Sorrowfully embracing each other, the "peerless one" said, "I alone will go to spirit-world to teach what I have learnt from you." At this she again dived down into the clear waters, and was never again seen on earth. Ati went sorrowfully back to his old habitation; and thenceforth their boy was called "Ati-ve'e" = Ati-the-forsaken, in memory of his lost fairy mother. He was surpassingly fair, like his mother from spirit-land; but strangely enough, his descendants are dark, like ordinary mortals.


It is to this lovely fairy woman the old song of the Ati clan alludes:ó

Kua ve'eia te pou enua,
Ka paa 'i te rau atua o Ati e i Vaitipi e!
Akana tu a kino te inangaro!
She has descended again to spirit-world!
Men praised the divine being first seen by Ati at the fountain.
But his heart is now filled with grief.

Hence the origin of the common name "Tapairu" = peerless one, in memory of their fairy ancestress.





Upon the decease of an individual, a messenger ("bird," so called from his swiftness) was sent round the island. Upon reaching the boundary line of each district, he paused to give the war-shout peculiar to these people, adding "So-and-so is dead." Near relatives would start off at once for the house of the deceased, each carrying a present of native cloth. Most of the athletic young men of the entire island on the day following united in a series of mimic battles designated "ta i te mauri," or slaying the ghosts. The district where the corpse lay represented the "mauri," or ghosts. The young men belonging to it early in the morning arrayed themselves as if for battle, and well-armed, started off for the adjoining district, where the young men were drawn up in battle array under the name of "aka-oa," or friends. The war-dance performed, the two parties rush together, clashing their spears and wooden swords, as though in right earnest. The sufferers in this bloodless conflict were supposed to be malignant spirits, who would thus be deterred from doing further mischief to mortals.


The combatants now coalesce, and are collectively called "mauri," or ghosts, and pass on to the third district. Throughout the day their leader carries the sacred "iku kikau," or cocoanut leaf, at the pit of his stomach, like the dead. Arrived at this third village, they find the younger men ready for the friendly conflict, and bearing the name of ''aka-oa." "The battle of the ghosts" is again fought, and now with swelling numbers they pass on to the fourth, fifth, and sixth districts. In every case it was supposed that the ghosts were well thrashed.

Returning with a really imposing force to the place where the corpse was laid out in state, a feast was given to the brave ghost-killers, and all save near relatives return to their various homes ere nightfall.

So similar was this to actual warfare, that it was appropriately named "e teina no te puruki," i.e. "a younger brother of war."


The "ghost-fighting" took place immediately after the decease; the "dirge-proper" months afterwards. The former was common to all; the latter was reserved for persons of distinction. Sometimes the friends of the illustrious dead preferred a grand tribal gathering for the purpose of reciting songs in their honour. This was called "e tara kakai," or "talk about the devoting" i.e. a " death-talk." For when a person died, it was customary to say, "he was eaten-up by the gods."

A "death-talk," like the festive "kapa," i.e. dance, came off at night: but whilst the other was performed under long booths, the former took place in large houses built for the purpose, and of course well lighted with torches.


As many as thirty songs, called "tangi," were often prepared for a death-talk. These were the "weeping songs." Each "tangi" was supplemented with a song designated a "tiau," or "pe'e" proper. Thus, in all, as many as sixty separate songs would be mournfully chanted in honour of the dead. Of course the merit would greatly vary. Each adult male relative must recite a song. If unable to compose one himself, he must pay some one to furnish him with an appropriate song. The warrior chief and poet, Koroa, supplied to different parties ten different songs for one "death-talk."

A near relative of the deceased was appointed to start the first "tangi," or "crying-song." At the proper pauses the chorus catches up and carries forward the song. In the "tangi" the weeping is reserved for the close, when the entire assembly abandon themselves to passionate cries and tears. A song of this description invariably begins, "Sing we" (Tio ra).

The appropriate "tiau," or "pe'e" proper, follows. "Tiau" means "a slight shower;" and metaphorically, "a partial weeping." The songs relating to Vera and Puvai are, with one exception, "showery" songs. In these the chief mourner was the solo. Whenever, as indicated, the entire assembly took up the strain, the former solo wept loudly until it again became his duty to take up his part in a soft plaintive voice.

The accompaniments of this performance were the great wooden drum, called "the awakener" (kaara), and the harmonicon. Sometimes the "pau" was added. The musical instruments were called into use between each song; in the case of the "showery" songs the great drum accompanied the grand chorus. The true accompaniment of the "crying songs" was the passionate weeping of all present.


The most touching songs were the most admired and the longest remembered. Several months were requisite for the preparations needful for a "death-talk." Not only had the songs and dresses and complexions to be thought of, but a liberal provision of food for the guests.

If a person of consequence in the same clan died or was slain within a year or two, the old performance might be repeated with the addition of a few new songs. It was then termed ''e veru," or "second-hand."

The songs relating to Vera are known as "te kakai ia Vera" = "the death-talk about Vera." So, too, the dirges for Mourua, the friend of Captain Cook, are known as appertaining to "the death-talk about Vaepae," his mother. These are ancient. Some of the best modern songs belong to "the death-talk of Arokapiti," whose eldest son was the first to embrace Christianity, which necessarily put an end to this high effort of heathen poetry.


Some months after the decease of a person of note, funeral games called "eva" were performed in honour of the departed. These entertainments invariably took place by day.

Ve'eteni was fabled to have been sent back to life for a day, in order to instruct mankind in the art of mourning, and to institute solemn "eva" in memory of the dead.

There are four varieties of the dirge-proper:ó

I. The "eva tapara," or funeral dirge, with blackened faces, streaming with gore, shaved heads, and stinking garments. This was a most repulsive exhibition, and well expressed the hopelessness of heathen sorrow.


2. The "eva piiruki" or war-dirge. For this long spears were made, as if for war; only they were adzed out of orotea (a white, brittle sort of wood), not of fatal iron-wood (casuarina equasitifolia). The war-dirge for Tuopapa127 is a famous specimen of this sort. Nearly all the natives of Mangaia were present on that occasion, arranged in two long columns facing each other, with a space of eighty yards between. The performance began with an animated conversation between the leaders of the two squadrons of supposed enemies, as to the grounds for war; to excite a lively interest in what followed. When this is concluded, the person most nearly related to the deceased begins the history of the heroic deeds of the clan by slowly chanting the introductory words. At the appointed pause both companies take up the strain and vigorously carry it forward. The mighty chorus is accompanied by a clashing of spears and all the evolutions of war. At the close of what in writing would be a paragraph a momentary pause takes place; a new story is introduced by the soft musical voice of the chief mourner, caught up and recited in full chorus by both companies as before.

These war-dirges were most carefully elaborated, and embodied the only histories of the past known to these islanders.

3. The "eva toki'' or axe-dirge. In this iron-wood axes, not stone, were used; that is, mimic axes, as the use of stone axes would infallibly end in bloodshed. In this scenic dirge the axes were used to cleave the cruel earth which had swallowed up the dead. Hades (Avaiki) was supposed to be under Mangaia. In cleaving the earth a vain wish was expressed that an opening might be made through which the spirit of the departed might returnótears streaming down the cheeks of the performers.


The axe-dirge was appropriate to artisans only, who enjoyed great consideration, seeing that such knowledge was the special gift of the gods.

4. The "eva" or crashing-dirge^ in which each person belonging to the two supposed armies is furnished with a flat-spear or a wooden sword a fathom long. This differs from the war-dirge in the weapons used and in the style of composition. Reasons are assigned for the anger of the gods as shown in the death of their friends. A sort of comedy generally wound up these performances.

The "dirge-proper," dancing-fetes, reed-matches, and "death-talks," were all comprehended under the general name of "eva,"' or "amusements" (called by Cook the "heeva").




la Rangi te toki ia Avaiki
E Rongo si!
Sing we of Rangi's axe128 from the shades,ó
Thou descendant of Rongo!


Tera Tane-mata-ariki,
Ei koti i te ua ma te ra,
Ei tua i te pa rakau,
E mae ai te toki ia Iti.
Era ei tiki i na tumangamanga
E noo i te are!
Taumaa Kaukare i te inapoiri,
A motu oki e!
Kotia aea ia Ruateatonea.
Kapitia oki te tiraa i Paataanga e!
E tama e ! E Uri e!
Tena te tamaki.
Ka ma 'i ia Turanga o!
Taamaa te toki ia ake te upoko!
Here is Tane-of-royal-face,129
Keen in rain and sunshine,
To lay low the loftiest trees.
They are felled by the Tahitian axe.
This axe is to slay the brave
When buried in sleep.
E'en as Kaukare130 perished in the night.
The fiat went forth!
The axe from spirit-land did the deed.
Prostrate they all lay on the ground.
Alas for thee, eldest son!
They come rushing on.
Twice has the god Turanga131 thus served our clan.
Their axes enter the skulls of the victims.


Tena oa te toki paekaeka a Tinirau.
Taraiia i te rangi te upoku o Kae.
la totoia, ia tangi a pu te iku o te toora.
Ia tangi kekina,
Tuparua te kapu,
la motu a uka,
la eveeve ua,
la kite i te kata.
Taina ra!
Taki na te toki ia Iti,
Ei koti i te iku o te toora,
E puta i tokerau,
Taumaa o Te-ariki-takoto-i-vaenga-moana,
E tae a vai oki te pera o Tutavake o!
Puruki Tongaiti.
Ua ta Tongaiti.
E karonga na Rongo;
E karonga tuturi.
Te vaka autu,
Te vaka aueke.
Kua pau Mangaia oi!
Aue te tamaki e ! oi!
Aue, ka mate e!
Eaa te puruki?
E toa te purukió
Te vaa o Tongaitió
Te kai kaka,
Tumaeu kura e!
E ati mata tao,
Ei taki i te ara toko i te ngaere!
le-ie ! Ie-keko-koke.
This is the axe greatly coveted by the god Tinirau;
Now uplifted against the head of its victim:ó
Irresistible as a blow from the tail of a whale.
With a ringing sound
Descend on the hapless skull.
As unresisting thatch
Is trimmed by this axe,
Let him feel its keen edge.
Slay him!
Lift the famed Tahitian axe,
To chop off the tail of the whale
Come from some northern sea.
Let the shark-god, supreme in the ocean, devour thee.
That avenging Tutavake may wade in human blood!
The Tongans struck the blow.
The Tongans shed thy blood.
The war-god is delighted.
Shoulder to shoulder they come.
Will they prove victorious?
Or are they destined to fail?
The warriors of Mangaia have fallen!
Alas ! that fearful night.
How dreadful is death!
With what were they slain?
With iron-wood spearsó
The special teaching of the Tongans.
O poisonous wood,
Red like human blood.
That defies all other weapons,
That hurries the greatest chiefs to an untimely grave!
(War-dance twice performed.)


The whole of this dirge, excepting the first two lines, was chorus. This "eva" was performed by his father's clan, and takes precedence of Arokapiti's.




la Rum te toko i te ra oi! Hail, Ruru, predestined chief!


Tera, e Ruru, te uira vananga ei unui i to nianava ! 
O Ruru atia vaieó
Te kutu i te mangungu e karara i terangi.
Tie-koko koko.
O Ruru, the flashing lightning came to fetch thy spirit !
Cut down with a strokeó
The crashing thunders of heaven salute thee.
Vavaia, e Rongo, te rua i te matangi, la katamutamu Avaiki.
Koia aea i te kopuvaru.
E maiti te pura o Tutavake e rere ierangi.
I aa to taumaa, e te rangi maoaoa?
To punanga, e te veri tautua?
Ka moe koe, e te karaunga, i tona are.
Ka pura te e i Ikurangi,
Reia e te moko i Enua-kura.
Great Rongo, cleave an aperture in the horizon,
Through which may be heard the whispers of spirit-land.
Each (god) wields an octagonal club.
Sparks of fiery war fly up to heaven.
Why this curse, ye angry skies?
Art thou offended, O Centipede, everywhere present?
The enraged Mantis flits over mount Ikurangi.
The irate Lizard has arrived from the shades.
Art thou, Earwig, in haste to occupy the dwelling (of the dead)?


I akaaraia atu koe, e te tukununga.
E tu ra koe, e te ueue:
To peau, e te manu ka rere.
I narea koe e te potipotió
I narea koe e te vavaó
E atare kai roro i te kikau.
Taumaa to pauru, e te ro;
To komata toto, e te namunamua,
Na Tiereua koe e anau.
E manu tu e mai koe, e te kereteki,
Tokoa e te iva i vaenga moana.
I tuiiianuku koe e Tutavake.
I turua mataotaoa te apai o te rangi.
Eia e manu e pungaverevere.
Ei ei nuku na manu o te rangi,
Pirake e piri te papao!
Na tamaroa e tu i te taua,
Anaua te tamaroa e Tutavake e !
O Miru te metua!
E enua akarere Mangaia.
Puputa motu no Tirango,
E pa te rongo i Avarua.

The ever-watchful Spider is already-weaving its web,
And the drowsy Beetle is on the move.
Each insect is on the wing.
Horrid vermin are devouring thee.
The Cricket, too, is eating thee up,
(In league with) the despoiler of the cocoa-nut palm.
A curse upon thy head, O Ant!
And on thee, too. Mosquito, ever-thirsting for blood:
All children of the god Tiereua.
Ha ! there is a Grasshopper in the cruel throng.
Followed by a Dragon-fly from mid-ocean.
Oh that war loving Tutavake would pity thee!
Oh, that the fierce demon of the sky would save thee!
Thou art doomed like a fly in a spider's web;
Snared by the relentless fairies of the air;
Helpless as a fish in the meshes of a net,
Alas! brave sons destined for fight.
Begotten of war-loving Tutavake,
Dread Miru132 awaits you.
Mangaia will soon fade from your sight.
Even great Tirango was slain,
He whose fame reached other lands.


Taevaia e Tane te nianavaroa o te Kenai.
Oaia te ara puku i tu i Maungarua.
A puta koe i te rangi, e Kongo!
Oai te tiaki i te are o Tongaiti?
O Teio, a tai. O Tevaki, a rua.
Tirango, a toru.
O Paia, ka a. Teuira, ka rima. O Rarea, ka ono.
E akaara i te moe o te koromatua i Mangonuió
E tu, e ara ! E tu, e ara
E ara na tokorua te papakura.
Ka eva Tane i Tiairi.
Te tu ra oa Ruaika i Tikura, ua mau te rakei.
Na Rerepuka i aae i te tua o Tuku-tuku,
I rauka 'i tana taua.
Na makona o Tutavake e tu i te taua;
E akaara i te tiraa i te rau tamanu,
Tu iora ikona e Kotuku.
Aore e taea teia paepae,ó
E paepae tua-manomano.
O tai i tae, o Teiiri o Terarama.
O tai i taeo, a tai paepae o Rongo.
The clan of Tane was cut up by the shark- worshippers,
Who love to worship on steep Maungarua.
Favoured children of the god Rongo.
Who maintained the ancient fame of the Tongans?
Teio, Tevaki, and Tirango,
Paia, Teuira, and Rarea;óall six famous warriors.
They loved to waken the slumbers of the wise man at Mangonui,
(With the words) Get up! Get up
Day would dawn upon these watchers.
Ah, Tiairi133 is filled with the tribe of Tane.
Brave Ruaika gaily equipped was speared.
Rerepuka attacked his foes from  behind,
And gained a decisive victory.
Successful fishermen of the war-god
Avenged him who sleeps under the "tamanu" tree,
The fearless Kotuku.
This place is henceforth sacred.
None dare approach.
Only the fairies may come, Teiiri and Terarama.
Rongo himself has been here!


E Ina ei ! E Ina oi! Hail,134 Ina! Fair Ina!


Ua akia oa to puta vai na, e Ina ! E Thy fruits are stolen. Alas ! Ina, Ina the moon-goddess.


A mau ; Tera rava te maoaoa. Catch (the thieves.) The sky is threatening.

One half.

E kake ra koe, e te unga. O Robber-crab, climb and catch them!

Other half.

Aua au e kake ; na te irave e kake.  I will not climb; let the "Irave" catch them.

One half

E kake ra koe, e te "Irave"ó O "Irave," climb and catch them!

Other half.

Aua au e kake ; na te " Papaka " e  kake. I will not climb ; let the *' Papaka " catch them.

One half.

E kake ra koe, e te papaka. O "Papaka," climb and catch them!

Other half

Aua au e kake; na te tupa e kake. I will not climb; let the "Tupa" catch them.

One half.

E kake ra koe, e te tupa. O "Tupa," climb and catch them!

Other half.

Alia au e kake; ne te karau e kake. I will not climb; let the tiny crab catch them.

One half.

E kake ra koe, e te karaii. O tiny crab, climb and catch them!

Other half

Aua au e kake; na te kiore e kake. I will not climb; let the mouse catch them.


Noai tela ngai? Who is up there?


Ake! Ake! Keka! Keka! Tutute! Tutute!
Ngengene! Ngengene! Kaika! Kaika!!
Akaruke i te katu!
Pururu te katu a te kiore, te katu a tekiore.
Tai naku, e Kio ! Tai naku, e Kio!
Tera ake oa te kuriri!
Tikaroa te iroiro.
What noises are these of nibbling and crunchingó
Squeaking and fighting?
The hard shells are falling.
They are scattered in all directions by the mice.
O mouse, give me some! Pray give me some!
Hark to the song of the birds!
Our amusement is concluded.

This dirge was performed by the mother's clan under the direction of Arokapiti. There happened to be thunder and lightning on the day Ruru died; which was, of course, regarded as a celestial compliment to the dying chief.

All the minor gods (i.e. reptiles and insects) have resolved to kill the illustrious Ruru. None of the major gods pitying him, his ghost sorrowfully enters the shades.





E Pange oi ! e rau raua ia tama.
Kua tomo te vaka!
Alas, Pangeiv! The case is hopeless.
The canoe135 is lost;


A, aore e tu, e tau atua.
I naau ai kua oki o,
E vaorakau raui naau,
Aore tetai e tukua i te urunga piro,
Ina tika oki Turanga,
E vaimangaro ra taana!
Parau aore, e kai oki taau.
Taparu atura i te koi pararaó
Kororo-kururu ua 'tu ra.
E atua te tangata e oia!
Oh, my god (Tane) thou hast failed me!
Thou didst promise life;
Thy worshippers were to be as a forest.
To fall only by the axe in battle.
Had it been the god Turangaó
That liar ! I would not have trusted him.
Like him, you are a man-eater!
May thy mouth be covered with dung:
Slush it over and over!
This god is but a man after all!


Tiria i mua, e Kori! Ei! Ei!
(Women's shouts).
Plaster him well, friends. Ha! Ha!!


Tutae keinga e te tuarangi!
Kua kau te metua i te ngarau!
E ngarau no Tiki.
Ei eva i te tama akaaroa;
Ei tuveu i te are rangorango,
Kia ara te tangata mate.
E takanga mate no Tutaemaro,
Te taka ra i One-makenukenu.
Dung is fit food for such gods!
We parents are in deep mourning,
Like that lirst used by Tiki.
We mourn for our beloved first-born.
Oh, that one could stir up the gods,
And cause the very dead to awake!
Yonder stands thy weeping mother.
Thy spirit wanders about One-makenu-kenu,


E kimi i te ara,
Kia kitea te ara i keinjja 'i!
Itia e Ruateatonga te i!
I te keremuta o Vatea
la amama Avaiki!
Inquiring the reason
Why his poor body was devoured (by the gods).
Fairy of the axe ! cleave open
The secret road to spirit-land; and
Compel Vatea to give up the dead!


Ua, e Tiki, i te u tuarangi! Puff,136 Tiki, a puff such as only ghosts can!


Aria! Wait a moment.


Ua, uaia!
(Again I say) puff, puff away!
(Chorus of pretended explosions!)


To taringa, e Pangeivi;
I kai koe i tau tamaiti na!
A curse upon thee, priest Pangeivi.
Thou hast destroyed my boy.

As no one would undertake to compose an atheistic dirge for the angry mourner, Koroneu made his own. It was performed successfully amongst the other more regular dirges for Atiroa.


The earlier part of the reign of Rangi was "the golden age" of these people. Children grew up to maturity; men became agedótheir limbs tottering, their backs curved, and their teeth dropping out, so that they were fed again with the expressed juice of the cocoa-nut, poured into the mouth by means of the leaf of the tiere, or gardeniaóstill, Death had not made its appear- [p.283] ance; and of course war, famine, sickness, and pain were unknown.

But this happy state of things did not last. Even during the lifetime of the famous Rangi a mighty change took place.

There lived in those days a famous man named Matoetoea. Many had tried to kill him; but in vain. For as soon as the arms of an adversary were uplifted to strike him, a violent shivering and trembling would seize the limbs of the would-be murderer, so that the weapon would fall to the ground and Matoetoea escape unharmed. Hence the saying in daily use, when any one shivers and his skin becomes rough in consequence, "he has been smitten by Matoetoea" (te kiri o Matoetoea).

There lived in spirit-land (Avaiki) a "brave," named Tukaitaua,137 ever ready to perform the behests of Rongo. Hearing of the marvellous power possessed by Matoetoea, he longed to measure his own strength with one of earth. With this view he came up to this upper world and searched over the island for his foe, until he found him. For the first time Matoetoea's power of self-defence was at fault, and he easily fell under the blows of the redoubtable Tukaitaua. Ngake and Akuru were also slain by this "brave;" in all, three persons were murdered successively on one night by Tukaitauaóone from each of the three primitive tribes.

Thus death entered into the world (Mangaia). Matoetoea was the first to die a violent death, as Veetini afterwards was the first to die a natural one. Rangi was much grieved at this violent breach, now first made, in his hitherto peaceful domain. He sought everywhere for the unknown murderer; but to no purpose. He therefore descended to (Avaiki) nether-land, to pay a visit to his grandfather Rongo, as the only possible way of discovering [p.284] the murderer. Upon entering the presence of the great Kongo, he found Matoetoea there, his head and face all covered with blood. Rongo asked Rangi what he had come for. Rangi replied, "To ascertain who murdered Matoetoea." The war-god now inquired, "Have you not seen any new face in the upper world?" "I have," replied Rangi. "He is the murderer," rejoined Rongo.

Rangi, now thirsting for revenge, asked how he, a mortal, could kill Tukaitaua. Rongo said, "Go back to 'daylight;' you cannot conquer Tukaitaua. I will send some one to punish him." Upon this the king left the shades and returned to his old home in this upper world of light.

The war-god kept his word. There lived with him in spirit-land another "brave," Tutavake, cousin to the redoubtable Tu-kaitaua, who represented the elder branch of the family. The father of Tukaitaua was Tavarenga (Deceiving); the parent of Tutavake was Tuatakiri (Entirely-brave). Summoned to the presence of Rongo, Tutavake was ordered to go at once "to daylight" and slay Tukaitaua. "How can I manage it?" asked Tutavake. Rongo directed him to search through the six districts of Mangaia. "And if you cannot then discover him, climb the hills, and you will be sure to find his whereabouts. Only do not attack him early in the morning, for then he is in his full strength; nor in the evening, for as the shadow lengthens his strength increases. Recollect that as the shadow of morning shortens, Tukaitaua's strength wanes. At mid-day it is at the lowest point. Stand erect on a hill in the sun until its rays are vertical; then go and attack him."

Tutavake obeyed. Coming up to "daylight," he found the inhabitants of Auau (Mangaia) crowded together in the interior [p.285] in terror of the unknown murderer of mankind. For some time he could get no clue to the exact whereabouts of Tukaitaua. He had indeed been seen occasionally performing his wonderful war-like evolutions hitherto unknown to mankind. Ascending a hill (which represents the left heel of the giant "Te-manava-roa") he espied a small cloud of dust rising from a spot not far from "the-chasm-of-Tiki," by which constant communication was at that time kept up with nether-world. Tutavake cautiously approached the spot, and peered through the dense growth of trees and bush which surrounded the open space cleared by Tukaitaua for spear-exercise. There, indeed, was his unconscious foe vigorously fighting the air. Day after day, from dawn to sunset, this was Tutavake's sole delightful employment. On this occasion Tu-kaitaua was somewhat exhausted, for the sun was vertical. Ever and anon an "ugh" would escape the accomplished warrior, as he failed in some delicate movement. Encouraged by these heavy grunts of disappointment, Tutavake, spear in hand, suddenly darted from his hiding-place to the edge of the circle inside which his cousin was practising. The astonished Tukaitaua exclaimed:ó

Ana mai ta Tauatakiri,
Kua pakua ta Tavarenga.
The son of "Entirely-brave" did not come
Until the son of "Deceiving" was exhausted.

Yet Tukaitaua did not for a moment cease his spear-practice. His antagonist followed him very adroitly, as he went round and round the great circular area, in order to avoid a hasty meeting. This was in accordance with the instructions of Rongo. Tu-kaitaua's obvious aim was to close in with his foe as quickly as possible, and to give the death blow. Seven times Tukaitaua wheeled round, but was skilfully avoided by Tutavake. The [p.286] eighth time he made the circuit, it was evident that his strength was much impaired. At this Tutavake suddenly swung round in the opposite direction and dealt the hitherto invincible Tukaitaua a fatal blow on his head.

Rangi was delighted that the death of Matoetoea and his friends was thus speedily avenged. Tutavake returned to the shades. But the former peaceful state of things could never be enjoyed again. Blood had been shed; first in sheer wantonness, next in just retribution. Ever since, mankind has been engaged in either aggressive or defensive warfare. Diseases of various kinds followed in the train, and lingering death; Veetini being the first. Hurricanes and famines came, too, into existence.

Tukaitaua, when prowling round the island in search of Matoetoea, etc., discovered in the exterior pile of rocks surrounding the fertile interior, a remarkable narrow gorge which runs right round,ónot unlike a wide road, fenced on either side with imperishable walls of hardened sharp-pointed coral. Yet, strangely enough, in this coral large trees and beautiful creepers of different kinds grow luxuriantly. At various points in this natural road round Mangaia, Tukaitaua had cleared the bush and removed the rough loose stones in order to prosecute his favourite pastime: at one time with a long spear; at another with a double-edged wooden sword; anon with a curved club; occasionally with a sling.

The inhabitants of the world (Mangaia) contrived to get glimpses of the proceedings of this extraordinary fellow from behind trees or elevated blocks of rock; without, however, being seen by him. For it was evidently a dangerous thing to go near a native of nether-world possessed of such fearful strength. It was [p.287] in this furtive manner that mankind first learnt what sort of weapons to make and how to fight with them.

This knowledge was very seasonable. For not long afterwards there arrived at Tamarua, on the south of the island, a fleet of canoes of "Tongans-sailing-through-the-skies" (Tongaiti-akareva-moana). The leader of this formidable band was the first high-priest of the god Turanga. The secret of his successful navigation was a vast ball of string which he held in his hand during his long voyage^ and which was quite exhausted upon their safe arrival on the southern coast of Mangaia.138 Hence his name, Te-ab-roa, or The-man-of-the-long-string. In those days the now unruly ocean was smooth as the little lake in Veitatei; its surface occasionally disturbed with gentle ripples, so that it was the easiest thing possible to voyage over it at any time and in any direction. But in after ages, ceaseless wars and shedding of blood disturbed the course of the elements, and so gave rise to the fearful storms and cyclones we now suffer from.

A battle ensued between these driftaways from Tonga and the original possessors of the soil, who claimed to have come up out of nether-world. This was the first of the forty-two pitched battles which have been fought on Mangaia. This primary conflict took place at Te-rua-noni-anga, or Valley-of-spoil. Of this battle it is expressly asserted that as men fell in the ranks of Rangi, their places were immediately filled up by new warriors from the shades! Sceptical modems think their places were filled up from a reserve force hidden behind the rocks. However, the result was that the warlike invaders, who had despised the small arm}^ of [p.288] Rangi, and who were sure of securing the entire island to themselves, fled in utter disorder. The numerous names of different points of road across the island to the cave of Tautua, where the remnant took shelter, are but so many memorials of those slain in the pursuit.

Of Rangi's victorious force three fellóone out of each of the three original tribes. And thus was established the ancient doctrine (ara taonga), that victory and chieftainship of all degrees can only be secured by first shedding the blood of some of the victorious party, so as to secure the favour of Rongo, the arbiter of the destinies of war.

In the persons of Rangi and Tiaio, but in no other, the secular and spiritual sovereignties were united.

Peace was secured by the offering up on the altar of Rongo a human sacrifice, Vaioeve. Rangi now consented that the unfortunate Tongans should permanently occupy that part of the island where they had so recently landed. The art of war would not, however, have reached perfection but for these Tongan settlers, who had the credit, or discredit, of introducing the iron-wood tree, from the wood of which in after years all weapons of war were manufactured.

The settlement of a Tongan colony on the south, and their first conflict with the earlier inhabitants, are historical facts. Their bravery is universally admitted.

The restless character of these Tongans is indicated in the proverb, "A stone-pith is needed to exhort the Tongans to keep the peace," i.e. lips that never tire.

When dealing a death-blow it was sometimes said, "Go, eat the stale food of Tukaitaua;" the food in question being the club and the spear which Tukaitaua loved so well.





Rangi's first propitiatory offering to Rongo was a rat laid with great ceremony on the original marae of the god of war. But on descending to the shades to pay a visit to his divine grandfather, Rongo evinced his displeasure by averting his face from Rangi on account of his having been imposed upon with so unworthy a sacrifice. Rangi, who was naturally averse to blood-shedding, now learnt that nothing less than a human sacrifice would give satisfaction.

Upon his return to this upper world, Rangi successfully fought his first battle at a spot ever since called "Teruanoninga," or Valley-of-spoil. In this engagement the newly arrived colony from Tonga received a great check. A fugitive from the battle-field, Vaioeve, was overtaken and slain expressly for sacrifice to the god of War and of Night. Vaioeve was the first human sacrifice ever offered on Mangaia. The place where the victim fell still bears his name.


The practice once begun was continued until Christianity put a stop to it for ever. The second human sacrifice was Turuia, first priest of Tane on Mangaia, from Iti (Tahiti). Turuia was slain at the instigation of Tamatapu, during the lifetime of Rangi. The tribe of Tane arrived after the Tongans, and from being first regarded as guests, were devoted by the original lords of the soilówho claimed direct descent from the god Rongoóto furnish human sacrifices whenever required.

The successive priests of Tane, viz. Matariki, Tiroa, and Tepunga, were in after times slain and offered in sacrifice by the older tribe. The martial supremacy of Mautara alone saved Tevaki, the last of that devoted race, and from whom the present tribe of Tane is descended. As human sacrifices were indispensable, Mautara reverted to the original tribe of Tongans (in which Teipe was included), from which Rangi had selected the first human sacrifice. It is mournful to think that almost every member of these families was offered in sacrifice; a few of their number being always reserved, and even cherished, for the express purpose of providing future sacrifices.

Later still, the Amai tribe was devoted on account of their complicity in a murder of a chief of the once all-powerful Mautara clan. Thus it became the custom to devote each new band of settlers (with one or two exceptions), on some pretence or other, to the altar. The only tribe never thus treated was the original one who worshipped Rongo and Motoro: the alleged reason being that Rongo would be angry if his own worshippers and so-called children were offered. With perfect consistency, then, it was proposed by the angry heathen, in 1824, to offer up Davida, the first Christian teacher, to the god Rongo. This was with the view of extinguishing Christianity. The plot almost [p.291] succeeded. Providentially, a convert named Mauapa139 revealed it to Davida, and so set the Christian party on their guard.

The following ancient myth refers to the only instance related of stealing away the sacrifice from Rongo's altar; for it is well known that fish were not offered to that god. His fish were human victims.

Three varieties of butterflies are indigenous on Mangaia: a large, velvety, purple beauty; a somewhat smaller one, with red spots; and a small, unattractive, yellow sort.

One day Rongo missed from his altar a fine sword-fish (aku); it had been stolen by the Lizard-god, Matarau, whose marae is at Aumoana,140 at Tamarua. Rongo ordered his swift messengers, the birds, to fly to that marae to see whether it was not hidden there. The birds obeyed, and found the stolen sword-fish in the sacred shade of the marae. Hard by, in a gloomy little recess, the Lizard kept constant watch. Now this Lizard had, as its name Matarau implies, two hundred eyes, besides eight heads and eight tails. So that all that the bird-messengers could do was to look on with awe at a distance, from the branches of the sacred trees. They returned to great Rongo, and told what they had seen. They were chided by Rongo, and bidden to return to the grove of the Lizard-god, and endeavour to bring away the "fish" stolen from his altar. The birds returned, and in their zeal venturing too near the cave of the god possessed of two hundred eyes, were all summarily devoured. Several other bird-messengers shared a similar fate. Rongo now commissioned rich velvety butterflies to attempt the rescue; but they, too, were all snapped up by the Lizard-god. The red butterflies fared no better. At last Rongo, [p.292] at his wits' end, hit upon a notable device to get back his stolen sacrifice: two little yellow butterflies were summoned to his presence, and were directed to a banyan tree growing out of the rocks just over the entrance to the cave where the ever-vigilant Lizard kept watch. Adhering to the inside of two sere yellow leaves, their presence would not be noticed. The trusty little messengers, so utterly insignificant in appearance, easily made their way unnoticed to the banyan tree. All the butterflies and moths of Mangaia hid themselves amongst the leaves in the immediate neighbourhood, in order to render assistance. Rongo now caused the "moio" (W. by N.) wind to blow violently across the island (in a straight line from the grove of Rongo to that of the Lizard-god). Down came a shower of yellow leaves with the two yellow butterflies upon the stolen "fish." Little did the Lizard suspect that two messengers of his rival Rongo were hidden underneath the multitude of leaves which caused his eyes to blink for a moment. The clever little butterflies inwardly chuckled, as success was now certain, for they had seized their prey. And now myriads of butterflies and moths of all sorts and colours came to the aid of their friends. The ears of the astonished Lizard-god were assailed by the defiant shouts of the war-dance, as the sword-fish was borne on the wings of the army of butterflies through the air across the island to the altar of Rongo. With infinite chagrin the Lizard-god helplessly watched the disappearance of his stolen "fish." As they fled they sang:ó

E uru tupu ariki, e ika na Rongo!
E apai e takitaki acre.
Dance in triumph before this (fish) offering to Rongo.
Lift it on high; bear it carefully on.

"Aumoana" is the ancient marae of the Tongan tribe, to [p.293] whom Vaioeve belonged. Unquestionably this is an allegorical account of the loss and recovery of Vaioeve, or some other very early victim; the object being to conceal the fact from the vulgar. That an ambush was formed, and two clever fellows dared the anger of the Lizard-god, in order to recover a stolen sacrifice (or "fish," as it was invariably termed) is very probable.


Upon gaining a decisive victory the leading warrior was proclaimed "temporal lord of Mangaia." The kingly authority was hereditary and distinct from that of the warrior chief: the former representing the spiritual, the other the temporal power. I believe Mangaia to be the only island in the Pacific where this distinction obtained. Kings were "te ara pia o Rongo," i.e. "the mouth-pieces, or priests, of Rongo." As Rongo was the tutelar divinity and the source of all authority, they were invested with tremendous poweróthe temporal lord having to obey, like the multitude, through fear of Rongo's anger. Peace could not be proclaimed or blood spilt lawfully without the consent of the king speaking in the name of the god Rongo. So sacred were their royal persons that no part of their bodies might be tattooed; they could not take part in dances or in actual warfare.

It sometimes happened that the temporal chief was at enmity with the king of his day. In this case the king would refuse to complete the ceremonies for his formal investiture; life would remain unsafe; the soil could not be cultivated, and famine soon followed. This state of misery might endure for years, until the obnoxious chief had in his turn been despatched, and a more agreeable successor fixed upon. All the multitudinous idolatrous [p.294] ceremonies to secure peace would be now easily arranged by the king.

Seven distinct journeys would be made round the island by the victorious warriors, who with their women and children had hitherto huddled together in one encampment. Fully equipped, as if for battle, they would one day march round the island defiantly, to assert the absolute supremacy of the winning party. Man, woman, or child crossing their path that day was slain. Subsequent processions were of a more peaceful character, in order to perform idolatrous worship at each of the principal maraes. One of the more interesting of these was the ceremony of spear-breaking, in token of the cessation of war. After a renewed circuit of the island, the warrior chiefs would, with great formality, beat to pieces a number of second-rate spears of various shapes against a great chestnut tree (cut down a year or two since) growing opposite the principal interior marae. Another interesting symbol of peace was the setting up in each principal marae a forked stick, well notched, and called "supports,'' intimating that the leading men who worshipped there should prove "supports" to the reign of peace now inaugurated. Miniature houses were erected on all these maraes; each house being a fathom long and well thatched, with a little open door neatly screened with a strip of the best white cloth. These tiny houses were designated "conservators of peace" (are ei au). The idea was, that all the gods and all their worshippers should lay aside their animosities and unite in keeping the peace. In the language of those days, the entire assembly of gods form but "one house;" the great point being that no divinity should feel himself neglected, and so take umbrage, and thus a hole be made through which wind and rain (war and bloodshed) might enter. If all the [p.295] gods be propitious and united, they form a well-thatched house which no evil can invade.

The seventh and most important procession of all was to beat the drum of peace all round the island. But the indispensable preliminary to this was the securing an acceptable offering to Rongo, arbiter of war and peace. A man or woman must be slain, but not needlessly battered, for the express purpose, and laid upon the altar.

The victim was first exposed on a platform of pandanus-wood in the sacred district of Keia, and opposite to the idol-house; hence the name often applied to such, "pange-ara," or "laid-on-a-pandanus-tree," The entire body of victors now assemble in their gayest trappings, and well armed, in front of the victim, whilst "the praying-king" (te ariki karakia) slowly chanted twice the followingó


E kaura! ura pia!
Ura vananga, ura turou,
Turoua takala, takaia e mana,
Rimarima tangata, angaanga tangata,
Atia a mana airi a tapu:
Atia te o, te io no Rongo.
O Vatea te auranga moana,
le rua rau'i au,
E rua rua'i toro.
Stately, noble priest!
Sweet peace, pleasant offering!
Securely fastened and well-tied.
These human hands and human form,
Devoted to this fate by the gods:
Doomed to sacrifice by the god Rongo.
Great Vatea is the guardian of the ocean.
By him it is ruffled:
By him it is calmed.


Ka tiipu o te toa,
Ka rito o te toa,
Ka rara o te toa,
Ka kokoti o te toa,
Ka era o te tea,
Ka maikuku o te tae,
Ka ngaa o te toa.
Tupu akera ia uki e toa
E maori no taua puruki
No taua te arutoa
No tupuranga taua.
No taua kiea, no taua kiea!
E ti o te maunga o te mateni;
Teniteni te matakeinanga;
Koakoa te matakeinanga!
Taua ra i te makitea,
I te punanga o te ao.
Teniteni te matakeinanga;
Koakda te matakeinanga!
Here is iron-wood of noble growthó
A most graceful tree.
With numerous branches.
Fell this iron-wood tree;
Divide its trunk;
Split it with wedges.
For the making of spears.
In every age the iron-wood has yielded
Death-dealing spears
For the use of warriors onlyó
From time immemorial.
And bravely have we wielded them!
The wild142 ti root of the hills (was our food).
But now we shall enjoy plenty.
This day we heartily rejoice.
Lately we hid in the rocksó
The refuge of the conquered.
But now we shall enjoy plenty,
This day we heartily rejoice.

The painfully interesting part of this incantation is lost; the stanzas relating to the division of the lands, when the nose and ears of the victim were cut off and formally presented to the expectant chiefs. The "prayer" only was chanted on this occasion.

After a few days the warriors would again deck themselves in their gayest trappings, and well armed stood in front of the wooden altar. The "praying king," assisted by his friends, now came forward with a large coarse scoop-net of cocoa-nut fibre, used only on such occasions; and carried off the decayed sacrifice to the pebbly beach at some distance. It was laid this time on a [p.297] smooth block of sandstone in front of the great national stone idol, Rongo. Hence the name frequently applied to human victims, "ikakaa," or fish caught in the net of Rongo. The incantation slowly chanted at the wooden altar in the interior near the marae of Matoro, god of day, was repeated at the natural stone altar on the shore at the marae of Rongo, god of night (atua po).

The "praying king," with a bamboo knife, now cut off the ears of the victim ; the right ear representing the right, or southern, half of the island; the left ear representing the left, or northern half Each ear was then subdivided into as many small portions as might serve to represent the various minor districts (tapere) of each half The king now demanded, in a loud voice, "Who shall be lord, or warrior-chief, of Mangaia?" According to a private agreement, the leading man amongst the winning tribes rose, and with dignity said, "Ei iaku Mangaia" = "Let me be lord of Mangaia." The entire assembly of warriors, by profound silence, confirmed the appointment. This chief now resumed his seat on the ground; but to him, as supreme temporal lord, no part of the victim was given. In a prescribed order, the names of all the district-chiefs and landowners were proclaimed, each receiving from the hand of the king a portion of the ears of the victim wrapped up in a ti leaf. The great temporal chief invariably received the first portion, in the inferior capacity of district-chief. These bits of human ears were deposited in the different family maraes. They constituted an investiture to all offices and right to the possession of the soil. Without a human sacrifice there could be no formal possession of dignity or estate.

The nose of the victim was the portion of the kings and their recognized assistants. Thus the guardian of, and performer on, the sacred drum of peace had a share. The man who had the [p.298] management of all great feasts, and was supposed to make the food grow, came in for his share of the nose. The "praying king," however, was the great spiritual dignity or pontiff, and as such came in for the best lands, in addition to the daily offerings of food of best quality.

And now the famous drum of peace, expressly made for this solemn occasion, would be beaten; or, strictly speaking, would be heavily struck with the tips of the fingers. A feast occupied the attention of the warriors and chiefs between the presentation of the bits of human ears and the drumming. The performance first took place on the marae of Rongo; a procession was now formed of all the victorious tribes, headed by the king and the hereditary drum-beater, who carried the big drum. This object of mysterious reverence was simply part of a tree, dug out at one end with stone adzes; the aperture being covered with a piece of shark's skin. Each relative of the hereditary drum-player carried a small drum, to increase the volume of sound, thus assuring fugitives hiding in the rocks and thickets that better days were dawning. The "praying king," at the head of the procession, chanted in a pleasing tone a prayer for peace to the gods. At a certain point all the males of the kingly families united their voices, and all the drums sent forth their agreeable, although monotonous, accompaniment.

I give the exact words from the lips of the aged king, who minutely related to me the whole of the ceremonies connected with the offering of human sacrifices and the drum of peace. For any but kingly voices to recite these "karakia," or "prayers," would have been to invoke the anger of the gods.



The single voice of the "praying king."

Akiakia Maruata ikitia taku atarau.
laia ia vaerea te tarutaru enua
O Avaiki mai raro e!
A bleeding victim has been chosen for our altar,
By it are weeded out the evils of the land
Which spring up from nether-world.

All the drums and all the voices.

Teimaia rangi maia, rangi vaerea.
Teimaia rangi maia, rangi vaerea.
Vaerea tai taru; vaerea.
Vaerea; vaerua i to makita, makita.
Makitaria kitaria, kua rangi riri e!
Let peace begin. May the sky be cloudless!
Let peace begin. May the sky be cloudless!
Weed out all evils. Weed them out!
Weed, weed them out ; utterly and for ever!
Aye, let each threatening cloud entirely disappear!

Upon entering each district the performance began anew. The circuit of the island was made in one day;óthe prayer being many times offered. At a certain spot, still marked by three stones, a spear was thrust into the big drum of peace, in token that the work was accomplished. Peace was secured. The great drum was hidden away in a certain cave, kept an inviolable secret to this day. So that for each proclamation of peace a new drum (pau) must be dug out.

No music was ever half so sweet to the ears of the vanquished as the monotonous notes of the drum of peace. By it human life became sacred. Wretches, nearly dead from starvation and terror, hiding in the desolate "raei," now came forth boldly. Everywhere the fertile valleys became again dotted over with the dwellings of the victors and their vassals. These houses might be covered [p.300] with substantial thatch;ófor had not the gods in each district been honoured with tiny ones of their own? Thatched houses were not lawful until the drum had been beaten. A miserable shift was made with split cocoa-nut branches.

In the hope of winning the favour of the new lords of the soil, the survivors of the beaten tribes brought out from their hiding-places in the rocks fine braided hair; white shells for the arms, used at dances; fish-nets of the best quality; wooden troughs and stone adzes. Some were fortunate in being protected by relatives, who usually allowed their unfortunate friends to retain part of their treasures. Some were avowedly protected to furnish human sacrifices at a future day. The birth of a child by such serfs was regarded with satisfaction by the unfeeling masters. As a rule, the wives of the conquered were the property of the victors. The serfs were expected to fish daily for the benefit of their lords, who generously permitted their dependants to eat the small, inferior fish themselves.

A feast was given by the victors to these serfsóa public recognition of their safety. This was called "taperu kai."

The coral-tree (erythrina coralodefidron), which attracts every eye with its symbolical blood-red flowers, was now formally planted in the valleys in token of peace. This plant is almost imperishable. It was vainly hoped that the reign of peace might be equally enduring. Cocoa-nut trees were also planted all over the island to mark the duration of peace. The only warrior-chiefs under whom peace prevailed long enough for a cocoa-nut tree to bear, were Tuanui, Mautara, Ngara, Potiki, and Pangemiro. Two only of these were long reignsóMautara's, twenty-five years; Potiki's, about twenty years. The other three certainly did not exceed seven years apiece. Sages praise these five great chieftains for causing peace to prevail so long!


Tradition tells of a period when war and bloodshed were unknown. That was in the days of Rangi, before Rarotongan chiefs had taught them to be cruel. Thanks be to God, that for more than forty years, under the benign influence of Christian truth, human life has been sacred.

After the drum of peace had been beaten, it became unlawful to carry weapons of any description. Aged men, however, were permitted to carry about a staff, five or six feet in length, to support their tottering limbs. Men daily carried about with them, in symbol of peace, an outrageously large fan, now obsolete. This fan was sufficiently large to protect the upper part of the body from sun or rain. It was found necessary to forbid its use in church, as the person of the owner was nearly hidden behind it. During the season of peace it was considered a most grave offence to cut down iron-wood on any pretence whatever; as under pretence of obtaining strong rafters for their houses, or the making of spades for husbandry, weapons of war might be manufactured.

When the martyr Williams touched at Mangaia in 1823, he learnt that a decisive battle had been fought two years previously; but the drum of peace had not been beaten. Hence their favourite saying, that the men of that generation were awaiting the arrival of the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, whose word and reign constitute the true drum of peace. Davida and Tiere first caused them to hear the sweet melody; they emerged out of their hiding-places into the peace, light, and freedom of Christianity. The Sacrifice laid on the divine altar was no longer an unwilling victim selected from the slave tribes, but the free-will offering of the Son of God.

The native words for "peace"143 ("mangaia," "au"), also [p.302] denote "rule," or "reign;" the rule of the temporal lord lasting only so long as no blood was spilt. Once the charm broken, murders and reprisals might daily take place, provoking a pitched battle, sometimes a war of extermination. When the victors felt themselves secure, a human victim (sometimes more than one) must be secured, and all this burdensome ceremonial gone through again, ere peace and order could once more prevail. Hence the difficulty of native chronology; the "reigns," or "periods of peace," are most carefully enumerated, the years of war and anarchy are invariably omitted. The means for correcting their chronology is supplied by the lifetimes of their priests, which are well known. It is impossible that the errors should be serious, seeing the names of the three contemporaneous orders of priests (Motoro, Tane, and Tuaranga) are definitely ascertained.

The last time the peace-drum was played was about the year 1815. The victim selected was Teata. Of course the poor old bald-headed fellow was kept in ignorance of the intentions of the sacrificers. On a certain evening the victim-seekers assembled on the level top of the central hill, to receive at the hands of the king "the sacred girdle." Upon reaching, by an unfrequented mountain path, the hut of Teata, they found it empty. They were not a little perplexed; for should their presence in the village be known, their intended victim would effectually hide himself in the rocks. At last, under cover of darkness, some of them asked the assistance of Rakoia. But Teata was maternal uncle to Rakoia, who well knew that the old man was liable to sacrifice at any time, as his ancestors had been before him. Rakoia resolved to secure to himself the merit and profit of delivering Teata into the hands of his foes. A few minutes previously he had left his uncle in a lone [p.303] house built on poles in the middle of the taro patches. A short ladder led up to the hut. With another relative (still living in 1875) Teata, Rokoia had been rehearsing songs. Then they chatted pleasantly about the dire famine then prevailing. The old fellow patted his head, and remarked, "Could they get this (as an offering), the gods would send plenty again." At length Teata Vainekavoro snored, and Rakoia quietly slipped down the ladder and went home. As soon as the victim-seekers told him of their perplexity, Rakoia said, "Follow me, and you shall have your fish.'' "A race now took place between two warriors as to the honour of giving the death-blow. Rakoia led the way; on arriving at the top of the ladder he carefully pointed out the sleeping form of his uncle Teata. A single blow from the axe of Arokapiti ended the career of the old man, who an hour or two later in the same night was laid on the altar. And thus it was that the drum of peace for Pangemiro's temporal sovereignty came to be beaten. Hence the consideration ever paid amongst the chiefs to the word of Rakoia, who in 1846 succeeded his brother as chief, or governor, of Tamarua. Rakoia was one of the first to embrace Christianity; and until his death, in 1865, I never saw anything inconsistent with his profession as a disciple of Jesus. He was a faithful friend to the missionaries, and his last intelligent words were addressed to me expressive of his hope.

At the period of his death he was about eighty years of age. He had fought in four pitched battles, besides several minor engagements. He was accounted the best poet of his day.

After the death of Rakoia, a tract of taro-planting land in the possession of his nephews became a subject of discussion. None of the younger men had a clue to the title by which it was held.


Some proposed to give it to another tribe, to whom it anciently belonged. The old men of the tribe then confessed that the land in question was Pangemiro's formerly, but was formally given to Rakoia as the price of Teata's blood! Shame had till then closed the lips of these old men; a shame which would never have been felt but for Christianity. According to the ancient dictum, "blood only can purchase what blood formerly secured." Of course Rakoia's family retain the land.

A month or two before the landing of Davida a sacrifice was sought for the public acknowledgment of Pangemiro's second election to the supreme temporal chieftainship. Reonatia was waylaid and slain (as was supposed) one night, upon his return from baracoota-fishing. A companion of his was uselessly slain at the same time. A long spear was driven through the body of the victim, and the body borne on a litter across the island to the altar. The coolness of the night revived Reonatia, after he had been laid on the altar, and the warriors had retired. He even descended to the ground, and despite the ghastly wound, unsteadily ran up the hill-side a few yards. In a short time it was discovered, and this time a stone adze was employed to give the fatal blow, and the offering was replaced on the altar. But the dissensions which arose on account of this occurrence (that the gods were angry) prevented the completion of the ceremonies necessary to peace. Reonatia was the last human sacrifice ever laid on the altar of Rongo.

The betrayer of Reonatia was Rouvi, who took part afterwards in the destruction of the maraes and the pantheon, and became one of the brightest ornaments of our Church. At a very advanced ageósay eighty-fiveóhe passed away from our midst.


The heathen had prophesied that he would speedily die through the anger of the gods; but he outlived every vestige of the heathen party, and was universally respected for his consistent attachment to the Truth.

After the drum of peace had been sounded over the island, the king again employed his great net to remove the putrid carcass of the victimónow minus ears and noseóto a certain place in the bush within the limits of the marae. It was now designated an "ika aua na Papa," ox fish-refuse thrown to Papa, mother of Rongo. She was supposed to come up at night to feed upon this ghastly banquet. The net itself was wrapped round and round the stone image of Great Rongo, and there allowed to decay. Inside this coarse net was the ordinary tiputa, or loose covering; on the head was a sort of hat made of folds of dark native cloth, giving to a spectator the impression that he was gazing at a living person.

Near the image of Rongo the Great stood a small stone figure bearing the name of "Rongo-i-te-arero-kute" = Rongo-of-the-red-tongue. This little unclothed, unworshipped divinity seems to have been placed at the back of his friend to give emphasis to the tide Rongo Nui = Rongo-the-Great.

At Rimatara human sacrifices were continually being offered to Rono (= Rongo), but the "drum of peace" was unknown.


CIRCA A.D. 1772.

After the battle at Teopu, the temporal lordship of Mangaia devolved upon Kirikovi. It was in his chieftainship, of some five or six years' duration, that Captain Cook touched at Mangaia. The first victim uselessly placed on the rude altar of Rongo, in [p.306] order that the drum of peace might be beaten, was Arauru, who, with the rest of the Teipe clan, had been hiding with the ancient tribe of Ngariki inside a grand and almost inaccessible cave named Erne. For a consideration of some valuable lands, Toe, cousin to the doomed man, engaged to lure Arauru out of his secure hiding-place to his death. Nor was this a difficult task, as this treacherous relative himself lived inside the cave. Ere it was quite day, Toe proposed to his victim that they should go fishing. Arauru objected, on the ground of danger; but Toe, assured him that their foes had that day started off in a different direction. Accordingly they left Erue, and with some difficulty made their way through thickets towards the sea. When halfway (opposite to the present church), Arauru was startled by the loud chirp of a cricket in the air, and said to his deceitful companion, "Ara! tera rava te Atua karanga!" = "List to yon warning voice!" Twice did the unseen insect mysteriously address the infatuated Arauru, who kept on his way, and soon found himself encircled with armed men. That same day the unoffending victim was laid on the altar of Rongo. But Uanuku, the "wise man" (koromedua144) of his day, and the author of a well-remembered dirge for Vera, wept and protested against the prayers for peace being chanted over his relative. The body of Arauru was accordingly thrown down a neighbouring chasm.

A new and unobjectionable victim must be sought. Who so suitable as Maruata, who had no family ties to the winning tribes? Despite all pledges of safety for himself and his children, he was in the dusk of evening enticed out of the cave Erue to a short distance and despatched. The prayers were duly offered, [p.307] and all the other ceremonies performed. Thus Kirikovi was installed paramount chief.

As there were several Maruatas, this one is known as "Maruata who fell at Ioapa," the place where the victim was clubbed being so named.

The wife of Maruata, who at an earlier period so narrowly escaped being eaten by Ngako, not only witnessed the cruel sacrifice of her husband, but also of some of her children in after years.

Toe was himself offered in sacrifice at the commencement of the next reign.

Arauru, Maruata, and Toe all worshipped the lizard-god Teipe.

(pertaining to the "DEATH-TALK OF PUVAI ").


Used only by the Altar-tribe Teipe.




Tie ra, tinaoia Maruata e!
E kitea mai nga erepua tei iaau,
E Mai e!
Sing we of Maruata, slain for the altar,
Though many were the promises
To thee, O Mai!


Atuia mai taua e!
Pae atiati Ngariki e!
All, alas ! soon broken by
 Deceitful, lying Ngariki.





Akamoe ana era, e Mai e! The clans were united, yet Mai145 fell!


Akamoe koe i te ivi-roa:
E tamaki kiato i Erue, ua tanimo e!
Solemnly united to the ancient chiefs;
Yet brother sold brother to death at Erue.


Ua tanimo tai kopu.
Te raka nei tai aiai: ua e ia Mai e!
They cruelly sold thee.
Thou was deceived to thy death, O Mai!


Maruata ra, tei o loapa e ! Yes, the Maruata who fell at Ioapa.




Tinaoia Maruata ra e! Alas for Maruata, slain for the altar


Tinaoia Maruata nei:
Ua koa tei Ngariki.
Ua tapaia tai apaki,
Apapatai ua tapariri.
Pikao rauti ra
I te taringa kotikoti
O Maruata ia otoia!
Na Rongo te take i tingeti
Ua kakina e!
Maruata was slain for the altar;
(Ngariki only smiled thereat).
Like so many others of his tribe.
That but few now survive!
Wrapped in green ti leaves.
Slices of Maruata's ears
Announce all new possessions.
Thy head, sacred to Rongo,
Was hit and split in his name!


Ua kakina Maruata nei.
E kitea mai nga erepua tei iaau,
E Mai e!
Yes, Maruata, thy skull was split;
Though many were the promises
To thee, O Mai!


Atuia mai taua e !
Pae atiati Ngariki e !
All, alas ! soon broken by
Deceitful, lying Nagriki.




Na Paeru te ivi i akamoea'i!

The chief Paeru made league with thee.


Na Paeru te ivi i akamoea'i.
Ua. taua i te mate o Uarau,
Atuia mai e ua tapariri.
Pikao rauti ra
I te taringa kotikoti
O Maruata ia otoia.
Na Kongo te take i tingeti
Ua kakina e!
Paei-u himself made league with thee.
We too faithfully followed their fortunes,
Who betrayed thee to thy death.
Wrapped in green ti leaves,
Slices of Maruata's ears
Announce all new possessions.
Thy head, sacred to Kongo,
Was hit and split in his name.


Ua kakina Maruata nei.
E kakina mai nga erepua tei iaau,
E Mai e!
Yes, Maruata, thy skull was split;
Though many were the promises
To thee, O Mai!


Atuia mai taua e!
Pae atiati Ngariki e
All, alas! soon broken by
Deceitful, lying Ngariki.



Voices only : as many as ten.

Ngutuku te tuku, e te matakeinanga;
O taua teve, mangeo ua ra!
Ngutuku is doomed to perish,friends ó
He who is as dangerous as the deadly "teve."


Tena te tamaki, e tiki ia Ku tei roto i te rua.
Kua motu i te rauaika.
Nana ia ka ora.
E tiki e ta i te rua o Tongaiti.
Vaarire te iki i te kapua e tangi ra.
Let us attack the guardian of the cave.
His hour has come.
He vainly dreams of safety.
Up, attack the stronghokl of the Tongan clan.
Vaarire is the offering146 for the altaróthe price of peace.

Music and Voices.

Tera ! Ngutuku,  Ngutuku, Ngutuku titiri!
Ngutuku oki ka apai na
I te kapua ei ika na Kongo.
Anatia kia mou, kia ketaketa.
Kotia Vaarire, kotia Vaarire, kotia Ngutuku.
Ngutuku, Ngutuku titiri!
Look yonder! Ngutuku Ngutuku, Ngutuku, has fallen.
Ngutuku is destined for the altar,
As a peace-offering to Kongo.
Secure the victim well to the litter.
Vaarire is slain, Vaarire is slain, Ngutuku is slain!
Yes, Ngutukii, Ngutuku is hurled down.

Voices only.

Kua maranga o Vaarire i te kapua!
E uru tupu ariki, e ika na Kongo!
E apai e takitaki aere.
Ah, Vaarire is borne to the altar!
Dance in triumph before this offering to Kongo.147
Lift it on high; bear it carefully on.

Music and Voices.

Vaarire te ika i mua.
E Vaarire te ika i te kapua!
Tei runga au, na Tamarua,
Na Piti, e Piti, Piti,
I na Veitatei ra: tukuroi ra i Vaipia
Bear in front the sacrifice (fish), Vaarire.
Vaarire is destined for the altar.
We scaled the entrance to his cave at Tamarua.
We now bear him along the road
Until reaching Veitatei we rest at the stream.


A na! la ia!! tataki na!
Kua naua. Oie puruki Rongo,
Oie puruki Rongo.
Romia mai, e te matakeinanga
Kia takitaki tatou: takaki na uriuri.
Ka apai ei kapua koe.
And now for the war dance. Up with him.
We have succeeded. Such is the fiat of Rongo!
So wills the god of war !
Onwards, onwards, brave friends.
Toss him aloft. Dance the war-dance.
Thou ai't ojt thy way to the altar.

Music and Voices.

Kua roiroi ka acre, a tau te vaapoiro,
Anatia te peru ao;
Akairi ra i te ua,
Kia acre atu i te taatuatini, i te taatua- 
E vaka no Ngutuku, e vaka taki koatu;
E vaki taki acre.
Kua kakaro i te matangi,
Kua tu te rirei; kua tu te rirei!
E maro tikoru e! itikitiki rouru e!
Itikitiki rouru e !
Kotia ra e Kauare to metua, e Mua
Kotia ra Ngutuku. Tena oa te tamaki!
Kotia ra Ngutuku! Ia e!
I koia koe i te rakau.
A puta koe i te puruki a Rongo e!
Once thou didst despatch148 thy hurried meal ;
The well-secured basket of tackle
Slung to thy shoulderó
Thou madest thy way to the sea for tini ! sport.
A canoe for Ngutuku. Put in some stones.
Launch thy frail bark.
Note well the wind.
The tokens are favourable ; 'twill be fair.
Thy girdle is secured ; thy hair tied up,
Ready for the altar.
O Muare ! thy father was slain by Kauare.
Yes, Ngutuku was cut down by his  hand.
Ngutuku fell! (War-dance.)
The spear entered thy body!
Such is the resistless will of the god Rongo!


Oi tatamaki koe; oi tatamaki koe.
O Taura tei mua; Atiati te teina;
O Paraakere, o Veruara.
Ka apai na to metua i te kapua!

For thou art of a restless and doomed race.
Thy daughter149 Taura leads the way: Atiati follows.
Then comes (the youngest) Paraakere with her mother.
Your father is being borne to the altar!



Recited at a Reed-throwing Match.


Taku pua i tanu reka e!
Ua tanu ake koe i Tamarua ó
E tupu te au e !
Teipoi arire riro akera Mangaia i te A
Fair tree planted by my hand!
Alas, for the tree of peace which
Once flourished at Tamarua!
las, that Mangaia should be brave! snatched from my grasp!


la Makitaka te ua.
A motu te toa ia Ngaki te miro.
Makitaka, once supreme chief;
Now dispossessed by the fiat of Ngakiau.


la Ngaki te miro ia Teata:
O te uri oki na Aemata:
Tei nunga e i te kapua.
Koi-e rai ooku taeake!
Kore kore rai e taeake tani e!
Ah! Ngaki150 directed the sacrifice of Teata;
Like all the descendants of Aemata,
The victim was laid on the altar.
Alas! unpitiedóunsaved!


E tini na Tane i ka riro Mangaia. Mangaia is now transferred.


Ua riro rai Mangaia rai, e Teau.
Ua e ia Maki,
O te ivi koia i akamoea 'i e!
Mangaia, friends, is lost.
The chiefs dealt treacherously
After plighting their solemn troth.




Vaekura te pia i tara e! The priest of Tane planned it ó


Vaia te Amama, Amama o taka.
Vaekura te arataki.
Arataki aere atu
Eia tu eia toa?
Ei Mangaia, ei Ngariki;
Ngariki o Makitaka.
E oa i te upoko;
R oa i to rae.
Ia tangi a pu;
la tangi kekina;
Maki-Split up the priestly tribe of Maki-taka.
So willed Vaekura.
Do thy worst!
Why this bloodshed?
To win Mangaia for a new dynasty.
The fame of Makitaka is gone.
Strike the head (of the altar-victim).
Strike the temples.
As if a conch-shell sounded
Is the falling of the axe.


Ia ara i te pa;
Ia ara i te mate.
A tara nei e Tane.
Kare kaiti kau rere!
The wounded are shrieking:
Are awakened only to die!
Tane has gained the victory.
Alas! Alas!! Alas!! Alas!


Ua riro rai Mangaia rai, e Teau.
Ua e ia Maki, i te
O te ivi koia i akamoea 'i e!
Teipoi arire riro akera Mangaia e rave!
Mangaia, friends, is lost.
The chiefs dealt treacherously.
After plighting their solemn troth.
Alas, that Mangaia should be snatched from my grasp!


Ia Makitaka te ua.
A motu te toa ia Ngaki te miro.
Makitaka, once supreme chief;
N'ow dispossessed by the fiat of Ngakiau.


Ia Ngaki te miro ia Teata :
O te uri oki na Aemata.
Tei nunga e i te kapua.
Kore rai ooku taeake!
Kore kore rai e taeake tangi e!
Ah ! Ngaki directed the sacrifice of Teata;
Like all the descendants of Aemata,
The victim was laid on the altar.
Alas! unpitiedóunsaved!


E tini na Tane i ka riro Mangaia. Mangaia is now transferred.




Tutukiria nga ivi e! Let brother slay brother.


Ka tu au ka aere,
Ka aere taua e!
I nunga i te tuaronga.
Taukarokaro i reira.
Tena te vai maka.
I will arise and fight.
Join our band.
Away to yon plain
To fight our foes.
Stones are flying about,


E vai koatu e!
E vai rakau e!
Ka ui te vai.
A pa te vai.
A pa te toa ia Tauokura.
la katamutamu ia karearea.
Te vaa i konia 'i.
Te vaa i tara 'i.
Ka tara nei, e Tane.
Kare kaiti kau rere!
Out of the slings of the brave.
Spears are uplifted.
The chiefs pause a moment
To examine the omens.
Death-blows are being dealt.
Fearful are the shouts of the victors.
Alas, those lips that once spake!
Alas, the mouth once shouted!
Tane has gained the victory.
Alas! Alas!! Alas!! Alas!!


Ua riro rai Mangaia rai, e Teau.
Ua e ia Maki, i te
O te ivi koia i akamoea 'i e !
Teipoi arire riro akera Mangaia rave!
Mangaia, friends, is lost.
The chiefs dealt treacherously.
After plighting their solemn troth.
Alas, that Mangaia should be snatched from my grasp!


Ia Makitaka te ua.
A motu te toa ia Ngaki te miro.
Makitaka, once supreme chief;
Now dispossessed by the fiat of Ngakiau.


Ia Ngaki te miro ia Teata
O te uri oki na Aemata:
Tei nunga e i te l-capua,
Kore rai ooku taeake!
Kore kore rai e taeake tangi e!
Ah ! Ngaki directed the sacrifice of Teata;
Like all the descendants of Aemata,
The victim was laid on the altar.
Alas ! unpitiedóunsaved!


E tini na Tane i ka riro Mangaia. Mangaia is now transferred.






(Rain, Heat, and Plenty.)

[Drought, Cold, and Scarcity.)

1. Akau. Breadfruit appears; chestnut and other trees in blossom. This month is also known as "the time of beautiful cocoa-nut leaves" (marama o te kikau). Akaii extends from the middle of December to the middle of January. 1. Paroro. Cold south winds, withering up the wild vines everywhere.
2. Otunga. Breadfruit and chestnut trees covered withh fruit, but not ripe. Sprats151 arrive. Hills covered with reeds in blossom. 2. Manu. Incubation of birds. The woodpecker bores the dead cocoa-nut for a nest. The titi bores the side of the mountain. Coral-tree in blossom. Warrior-spirits take their departure from earth.
3. Pipiri. Alufded up inside the house, on account of the cold.


3. Kautzia, or "kautua a kere-kexe'' = "trail-of-the-eel." The soil is everywhere furrowed with water, as though traversed by eels. Time of floods. 4. Kaummnu. Papaka, or land-crab, comes out of its hiding-place to feed, and is easily caught. Also called "karaii," or "crab  season."
4. Akamdkuru. Some breadfruit and chestnuts fall unripe, worm eaten. So, too, some brave men are sure to die prematurely this moon. Hurricane month (end of March). 5. Ma'u.152 Spring up. All tuberous roots in the soil spring into life.  Also saidó"kua tupu the anau kai '' ''all plants in leaf."
5. Muriaa, or "ruruangakakao,"  i.e. the reed blossoms are shed upon the hills by a late blow. 6. Vaetd. Trees, stones, bush everywhere covered with the vines of the wild yam; the o'e, or bitter yam; mararau, or siveet yam, etc., etc. Native arrow-root and ''teve" roots are luxuriant. The year ends about the middle of December.
6. Uringa, or ''dead." The leaves, etc., of the yam, arrow-root, etc., fall. 7. Miringa, or "finishing up" (of the food of ereu, or summer season).

 Thirteen moons in all.

The arrival of the new year was indicated by the appearance of Matariki, or Pleiades, on the eastern horizon just after sunset, i.e. about the middle of December. Hence the idolatrous worship paid to this beautiful cluster of stars in many of the South Sea Islands. The Pleiades were worshipped at Danger Island, and at the Penrhyns, down to the introduction of Christianity in 1857. In many islands extravagant joy is still manifested at the rising of this constellation out of the ocean.

The knowledge of the calendar belonged to the kings, as they alone fixed the feasts in honour of the gods, and all public spectacles. For others to dare to keep the calendar was a sin against the gods, to be punished with hydrocele.





1 Iro. Sacred to Iro, patron of thieves. Favourable for thieving.
2 Oata = shadow, i.e. moon seen in shadow.
16 Oturu.
17 Rakau.
18 Rakau-roto, i.e. Second Rakau.
3 Amiama,
4 Amiama-akaoti, i.e. Last Amiama.
5 Tamatea.153
19 Rakau-akaoti, i.e. Last Rakau.
20 Korekore.
21 Korekore-roto, i.e. Second Kore-kore.
6 Tamatea-akaoti, i.e. Last Tama-tea.
7 Korekore.
8 Korekore-akaoti, i.e. Last Kore-kore.
22 Korekore-akaoti, i.e. Last Kore-kore.
23 Tangaroa. Sacred to Tangaroa.
24 Tangaroa-roto. Second night sacred to Tangaroa.
9 Ā Vari (i.e. Vari-ma-te-takere = the Originator-of-all-things.) 25 Tangaroa-akaoti. Last night sacred to Tangaroa.
26 Ā Tane. Sacred to Tane.155
10 Una.
11 Maaru.
12 Ua.
13 E atua = A god.
27 Rongo-Nui, i.e. Rongo-the-Great.155
28 Mauri = ghost.
29 Omutu == ended.
30 Otire o Avaiki (abbreviated "Otireo") = Lost in the
14 Ā Tu, i.e. Tu-metua, the last made of the major gods.  depths of Avaiki.
15 Ā Marangi,154 or Full-Moon.  

At Rarotonga the 13th is "Maitu," instead of "Atua" (sense similar). Otherwise this account of the changes of the moon is equally good for Rarotonga. Allowing for the difference of dialects, it is the same in the Tahitian islands.


From the 17th to the 28th the nights were considered favourable for fishing; also favourable for catching the fish of the gods, i.e. men. In other words, these were milder nights. Tangaroa (23rd) and O Tane (26th) and Rongo-Nui (27th) were the three "most lucky" for this cruel purpose.

The eastern Polynesians, like the New Zealanders, invariably reckon by nightsónot, as we do, by days. For example, "Po ia koe i te aerenga?" = "How many nights were you journeying?" etc., etc.


To the Chinese belongs the honour of inventing the mariner's compass, long anterior to the Christian era. It was known to the Arabs in mediaeval times, and from them, through the Crusaders, the knowledge spread over Europe.

There can be no reasonable doubt that Polynesia was peopled from Asia. Did the original settlers take with them the mariner's compass, or anything analogous thereto? May not the ancestors of the present South Sea Islanders have been far more civilized than their descendants? The absence of iron throughout Polynesia would easily account for the loss of the magnet. Subjoined is a plan of the winds for the Hervey Group from the lips of the ancient priests. With slight variations it will do for many other groups in the Pacific. The number of wind-holes in this plan exactly corresponds with the points of the mariner's compass. In the olden time, great stress was laid on this knowledge for the purpose of fishing, and especially for their long sea voyages from group to group. At the edge of the horizon are a series of holes, some large and some small, through which Raka, the god of winds, [p.320] and his children, love to blow. Hence the phrase in daily use, "rua matangi," or "wind-hole," where Europeans would simply speak of ''wind." The "head" of the winds is supposed to be in the east; by the time it has veered round to S.W. by W. it is


named the iku, or "tail;" in fact, it is dying away until it becomes, in the S.S.W, merely an uru, or "like the touch of a feather." Cyclones, of course, begin in the N.E., and go on increasing in violence until, on reaching the iku, , or " tail," they moderate. Passing on to the uru, or "feathery," there is a perfect calm, mocking the desolations so lately wrought.


The whole of these names have, more or less, a figurative signification. The reader will observe the word anau (give birth) several times recurring. Taking, for example, akarua for N., the wind, in veering towards the W., becomes akarua anau; i.e. the north giving birth to a new wind (N. by W.). As the wind veers to the N.N.W, it is called akarua tu; that is, the akarua strong enough to stand.

Taking maoake for N.E., when the wind shifts a point it becomes maoake anau; that is, the N.E. giving birth (N.E. by N.). Advancing still towards the N., it is called maoake ta, or the killing or terrible maoake (N.N.E.), on account of the extreme violence of this wind when a cyclone blows.

The vast concave above was symbolised by the interior of a calabash, in the lower part of which a series of small apertures was made to correspond with the various wind-holes at the edge of the horizon. Each hole was stopped up with cloth. Should the wind be unfavourable for a grand expedition, the chief priest began his incantation by withdrawing the plug from the aperture through which the unpropitious wind was supposed to blow. Rebuking this wind, he stopped up the hole, and advanced through all the intermediate apertures, moving plug by plug, until the desired wind-hole was reached. This was left open, as a gentle hint to the children of Raka that the priest wished the wind to blow steadily from that quarter.

The operator having a good knowledge of the ordinary course of the winds, and the various indications of change, the peril of the experiment was not great.

Providence has supplied these islanders with an unfailing natural indication of an approaching cyclone. This is expressed in the phrase, "Kua taviriviri te kao o te meika"ói.e. the core of [p.322] the true native banana is strangely twisted and contorted some weeks previous to a hurricane, as if to give warning of impending danger. This is usually associated with an extraordinary growth of food. Doubtless the excessive moisture and heat which occasion this rapid growth, and give rise to the strange twists of the wondrously delicate leaves of this banana, are the real causes of cyclones.


Nearly all the plurals in use in the Hervey Group have a definite signification as nouns.

  1. A common plural is "are," which literally means "a house:" in its plural use it may be rendered "a-house-full-of," i.e. "many." Thusó
    "e are atua" = "a number of gods;" literally, "a-house-full-of gods;"
    "e are apinga" = "a number of valuable things;" literally, "a-house-full-of valuable things."

  2.  A second plural is "vaka" = "canoe," or, as it may be rendered, " a-canoe-full-of." Thusó
    "e vaka angela" = "a host of angels; "literally, "a-canoe-full-of angels;"
    "e vaka puruki" = "a host of warriors;" literally, "a- canoe-full-of warriors."

  3. Another frequently used plural is "pa" = "enclosure: door." Thusó
    "e pa puaka" = "a pig enclosure;" = a pig-sty; "e pa maunga" = "a range of mountains," as enclosing a valley; [p.323] "e pa enua" = "a group of islands," as if a portion of the ocean were thereby marked off or enclosed.

  4. A commonly used plural is "asa" = "shelf to place all sorts of food on." Thusó
    "e ata pa"ó"a number of doors;"
    "e ata kete" = ''a number of food-baskets."

  5. A still more interesting plural is "rau'' = "kaf" Thus we may speak of ''te rau tangata o te Atua," i.e. "a people numerous as the leaves of a tree, worshipping such and such a god." The figure is of a vast tree, the growth of ages. The huge trunk represents the god, the branches the lesser divinities, the leaves the worshippersóever dropping off by death, and ever being renewed by fresh births. This is constantly applied to the servants of the true God: Jehovah being the trunk and branches, believers the leaves.

  6. The last instance of plurals is "maril" = "shadow,'' or "shade." Thus the natives daily speak of "te maru tangata o te Atua," i.e. "the people who sit under the shadow of God." The old idea was still of an ancient tree overshadowing the marae filled with worshippers. The noblest trees affording the best shade were planted in their idol groves, not a twig of which might be plucked. As applied to Christian worshippers gathering Sabbath after Sabbath in the house of God to take refreshment under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm xc. i), the figure is extremely beautiful.

In the Tahitian dialect the "V" is dropped, "maru"156 becoming [p.324] "maii," the ordinary plural of that group. Doubtless our common plural ''au" is the same as the "mau" of the Eastern islands.

The full form, "maru" is the dignified form to be used whenever the gods and chiefs are spoken of.

It is scarcely fair to regard "anau " = family, as a plural. Thus the natives speak ofó

"te anau ika" = "the whole family of fish;"
"te anau kai" = "the whole family of plants."

A very polite mode of address in the Mangaian dialect is the use of the third person singular, dual, and plural, where in other languages the second person would be appropriate; reminding one of the use of the German Sie.


The mode of counting in use amongst the Papuan population of the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, and the New Hebrides, is worthy of notice. They enumerate by fingers up to five, which makes "one hand;" ten is "two hands;" twenty is "an entire man," i.e. ten fingers and ten toes. A hundred is "five men," and so on.

This plan is ingenious, but clumsy, being applicable only to small numbers. Missionaries labouring in those islands have wisely discarded it. I was much surprised when first I heard the school children at Aneiteum, Mare, and Lifu, repeating the English multiplication table with great facility and correctness, [p.325] and on the Sabbath to hear the chapter and hymns announced in English figuresóthe natives turning to the right chapter or hymn in their own books. This innovation, however, has brought down upon the missionaries the ire of the French.

Throughout the Eastern Islands there has been no need for changing the original system of numeration. In the Hervey Group we have two distinct basesófour and ten. The former base is used in counting cocoa-nuts, which were from time immemorial tied up m fours (kaviri):ó

5 bunches (kaviri) of cocoa-nuts make one  takau, i.e. 20
10 takau "     "       " rau, i.e. 200
10 rau "     "       " mano, i.e. 2,000
10 mano "     "       " kiu, i.e. 20,000
10 kiu "     "       " tini, i.e. 200,000

All beyond this is uncertain. To express more the natives simply heap up the highest figures, without any attempt at a definite signification; thus, "mano, mano; tini, tini," literally, "2,000 on 2,000; 200,000 on 200,000;" much as we say "myriads on myriads," or "millions on millions," i.e. innumerable.

In measures of length they were from time out of mind accustomed to the fathom (the outstretched arms of a tall man), half-fathom, span, and finger's length.

Ten fathoms (paru) make one "kume." In this way 100 would be called 10 "kume;" 200 would be 20 "kume," and so on.

Through the Eastern dialects there is a very close resemblance of the primary numerals. In the expression for five, i.e. [p.326] "e rima," or "a hand," we may trace a point of resemblance between the Papuan and Malay systems of numeration. Throughout the Ellice's Group ten is expressed by "katoa" = all (i.e. the fingers).

The "rau"157 is a favourite number, continually occurring in their stories of the past. In a decisive battle fought circa eighty-nine years ago, Potai boasted a "rau" = 200 warriors; whilst the winner, Potiki, had only 120 (6 takau).

"Eternity" is often expressed by the phrase "e rau te tautau," i.e. "200 ages." This is less poetical than the common "e rinua ua atu" = "until covered with the moss of unknown ages," as of a lofty cocoa-nut or other tree entirely moss-grown. Another mode of expressing the same idea is, "e tuatau ua atu," i.e. "time on on, still on."



Adventures in spirit-world, 221
Adventures of Ngaru, 225
Arokapiti's dirge, 276
Astronomical myths, 40
Avatea, or Vatea, 3

Bachelor god in search of a wife, 107
"Blackened face" dirge for Atiroa, 281

Celestial fish-hook, 48
Chase that never ends, 40
Cocoa-nut tree, myth of, 77
Creation, myths of, 1

Dancing, origin of, 100
Death-talks and dirges, 269
Dedication of infants, 36
Deified men, 23
Derivation of the Polynesian word for God, 33
Drum of peace, 293

Echo, 114
Eclipses, 47
Escape from spirit-land, 221
Eva, or dirge-proper, 271
Exploits of Maui, 51

Fairy men and women, 256
Fairy of the fountain, 265
Fire-god's secret, 51
First murder and first battle, 282

Ghost-killing, 268

Hades, 152
Heaven, Aitutakian, 175
Hell, Aitutakian, 172
Human arts and inventions, 130
Human priesthood needed, 35
Human sacrifices, 289

Ina, the fairy voyager, 88
Iron-wood tree, myth of, 81

Journey to the invisible world, 250

Kereteki, 26
Kirikovi's sacrifice, 305
Kite-flying, 123
Kourapapa, laments for, 202, 206

Makitaka's laments, 312
Mariner's compass, 319
Maruata, "crying" song for, 307
Matariki, or Pleiades, 43
Maui, 51, 63
Miscellaneous myths, 107
Moon, phases of, 318
Mosquitoes, 126
Motoro, 25
Mourua, lament for, 210

Naming of children, 38
Ngaru, adventures of, 225
Ngutuku, death of, 309
Numeration, 100, 324

Papa, 8
Perils of beauty, 131
Pigs, origin of, 135
Pleiades, 43
Plurals, remarks on, 322
Potiki, dramatic fete of, 259
Prayer for a thief or murderer, 150
Prince of reed throwers, 118
Pumice stone, origin of, 58
Puvai, lament for, 199

Raka, god of winds, 5
Rangi, 16
Rata's canoe, 142
Riuvaka, introduction to the fete of, 217
Rongo, 10, 15

Seasons, 316
Seeking for light, 139
Sky raised, 58, 71
Sneezing, 175
Spirit-journey, 215
Sun and moon, 44
Sun made captive, 61, 70

Taairangi, or porpoise, 98
Tane-ngakiau, 30
Tane-papa-kai, 11
Tangaroa, 10
Tangiia, 11
Tango, 5
Tekuraaki, 31
The-long-lived, 128
Thiet's prayer, 150
Tiaio, king and god, 29
Tinirau, 4
Tonga-iti, 11
Tree myths, 77
Tu-metua, or Tu, 6
Tumuteanaoa, or Echo, 5
Tutapu, 23

Utakea, 26
Uti's torch, 124

Varenga, lament for, 208
Vari, the Great Mother, 3
Veetini ; or, the immortality of the soul, 181
Vera, dirges for, 189, 194
Wisdom of Manihiki, 63
Woman in the moon, 45




This page last updated: 13/09/2011