Morere, a Native Game.





Second Edition.



But little is generally known of the superstitious practices of the New Zealanders. The Missionaries, who, from their knowledge of the language, alone had it in their power for many years to converse freely with the native race, seem to have avoided all enquiries on such subjects. They came to teach a religion, and not to learn the principles of superstitions, which, however valuable in reference to matters of ethnological interest, they regarded as having for their author the great enemy of mankind.

Similar views have probably influenced Missionaries in all new countries; for precisely the same course was taken by the early Spanish Missionaries at the Philippine Islands, who, we are told,1 did their utmost "to extirpate the original memorials [] of the natives, substituting religious compositions of their own, in the hope of supplanting the remains of national and pagan antiquity."

Several years' residence in New Zealand, passed for the most part in constant intercourse with its native inhabitants, either while travelling or while stationed at Maketu—a large village on the shore of the Bay of Plenty, where the influence of the Missionaries had made little or no impression—gave the writer of the following pages opportunities of studying the manners of the Aborigines, such as they were before they became modified by inter- course with Europeans.

The first seven chapters give the result of the author's personal observations and inquiries touching the Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders The succeeding chapters are chiefly devoted to the consideration of points of the social condition and manners of this people, which could be learned only by residing among them on terms of intimacy.

1, Crescent Place, Plymouth,
October, 1854.


Since the publication of the first edition of "The Traditions and Superstitions of the New Zealanders," two works have appeared, more or less on the same subject; one written by Sir George Grey, late Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand, the other, quite recently, by the Rev. Richard Taylor.

When it is borne in mind that the matter contained in each of these works must have been collected independently, at different times, and in different parts of New Zealand, one cannot but be struck with the agreement in the historical traditions thus obtained from various sources. What more convincing proof can there be that the New Zealanders have preserved from remote ages oral records of their history, by committing them to [p.viii] memory, and so transmitting them, from generation to generation, down to the present time; and that these oral records contain the germs of truth?

In this edition a more complete account of the tribal divisions of the New Zealanders is given. The first and third chapters have been partly rewritten; and some additional matter introduced, which has been obtained in reply to inquiries made through friends who have for many years been resident in New Zealand, and who, from their knowledge of the Maori language, are competent to extract information from the most trustworthy sources.

1, Crescent Place, Plymouth,
June, 1856.



Different classes of traditions. Origin of the New Zealanders from Hawaiki. Traditions relating to the canoes in which their ancestors came from that island. Evidence as to the age of the first colonization of New Zealand...1


Natural divisions of the New Zealanders. Mottoes of tribes. New Zealand first colonized from the Sandwich or from the Navigator Islands. Long voyages made in canoes. Points of resemblance between the New Zealanders and the Sandwich Islanders. Papuans in connexion with Polynesians. Probable course of migration of the Polynesians from the continent of Asia. The New Zealanders a mixed race. Points of resemblance between the New Zealanders and the natives of the Navigator Islands... 31


Genealogy of mankind. Traditions referring to times prior to the voyage from Hawaiki. Fable of the shark and the Lizard. Legend of the brothers 'Maui' and the 'Great-daughter-of-night.' Legend of Tinirau's pet whale. Story of Wakatau, and the burning of the Tihi-omanono. Traditions of the former existence of large Sauria in New Zealand. Adventures of a 'Taniwha.' Remarks on Traditions supposed to refer to the Deluge...55


'Atua,' their nature and attributes—their place of abode—mode of communicating their will to mortals. Nature of the belief of professing Christians generally. Faith of heathen natives in their superstitions. Narrative of the author's personal interview with certain 'Atua.' Reflections suggested by the adventure....81


Explanation of the words 'Tapu' and 'Noa.' Laws relating to things 'Tapu.' Instances of the influence of these laws on the social state of the New Zealanders. Meaning of the title 'Ariki.' Hair-cutting, a scene from domestic life. Ceremony of removing the restriction of 'Tapu'...101


Causes of disease. 'Makutu ' or witchcraft. Anecdotes showing the prevalence of this superstition. 'Matakite' or seer. Early reception of the Christian religion. Mode of treating disease ...114


Charms and spells. Dreams and omens. Anecdotes showing faith ill them. Divining sticks to determine the chances of war. Second sight. Regarding marriages. Ceremonies attending the birth of a child. Festival and theatrical exhibition, called 'Hahunga,' in honour of the dead. An account of the land of spirits, by a person who died and came to life again .....130


Education of youth—their amusements and games—skill at drafts. 'Maminga.' Songs used in pulling heavy spars, &c. by land. Songs for war canoes. Love ditty, called 'Haka.' War song and dance....156


Selections from Songs, called 'Waiata,' with translations ......177


Oratory. 'Whakatauki,' or Proverbs .....186


State of civilization of the New Zealanders when first discovered. Their method of cultivating the potato. Their knowledge of wild plants and insects. The flax-plant. Manufactures. Dying. Mechanical skill. Ingenious devices for catching birds. Giving and accepting presents merely a system of bartering. Anecdote relating to a pre- sent of some pigs. Knowledge of astronomy. Mode of dividing the year and day......202


Divisions of the New Zealanders into 'Waka,' 'Iwi,' and 'Hapu.' Distinguishing names of tribes. Classes of society. Retributive justice. 'Utu' and 'Uto.' Laws and precedents. Anecdotes of the chief Nini. Modes of punishing crime and redressing grievances.....223


Arms. Pa, or fortifications. Modes of carrying on war. Te Rauparaha's wars of the Middle Island. War between natives and Europeans.......244


A New Zealander's will. Descent of land to males in preference to females. Titles to land—by inheritance—by conquest. Classification of lands according to titles of claimants. Propensity of natives to sell land to which they have bad titles. Observations on the purchase of land from natives.....271







The traditions of the New Zealanders may be distinguished under three classes. The first class, comprising such as relate to the origin of the world and of man, have an intimate connexion with their superstitious belief and practices, and were held so sacred that even after Christianity had weakened the dread of trespassing on sacred subjects, those best instructed had a great objection to communicate their knowledge to foreigners. We next meet with a variety of traditions respecting certain heroes, or demigods, who lived in very remote ages. As far as I am aware, these traditions are not considered sacred or worthy of credit; indeed, they are commonly called korero tara, meaning fables. The third class of traditions date from the age of the migration to New Zealand, or from times subsequent [p.2] to that epoch. These, on the contrary, are looked on by the natives themselves—that is to say, by all to whose ancestors they respectively relate—as tales founded on facts, however disfigured they may be by the marvellous. It is to traditions of the last description that we have to trust for any history of this people.

We learn on such authority that the ancestors of the present race came from a distant island named Hawaiki, lying in a northerly or north-easterly direction from New Zealand, or from a group of islands, one of which bore that name. Of any other sources which may have contributed to the colonization of New Zealand, no record has been found to exist among its native inhabitants; while they generally acknowledge, as a fact not to be disputed, the migration from Hawaiki. The causes which led to the abandonment of Hawaiki are variously related; but the most probable tale is, that a Civil war having broke out among their ancestors, the weaker party determined to seek a new country, and embarked in several canoes, some of which after a long voyage reached the coast of New Zealand. The two most celebrated of these canoes, named Tainui and Te Armva, made the land a short distance north of Waitemata, the harbour on which Auckland, the capital of New Zealand, is situated; and a sperm-whale, paraoa, being discovered stranded on the [p.3] beach the place obtained the name of Wangaparaoa, or Whale-port, from that circumstance. A third canoe, called Te Mata-atua, made the land at Wakatane, a small bar river in the Bay of Plenty. And besides these, several other canoes, the names of which are also recorded, are said to have touched at different parts of the coast. All these, however, appear to have belonged either to the same migration, or to successive migrations of nearly the same date.

From an examination of the traditions relating to these events it will be observed, that the principal tribal divisions now found to exist are traceable to an origin in the crews of the different canoes which first arrived in New Zealand. As might be expected, the traditions met with in different districts vary in some points, even when professedly giving a history of the same events; but not to such a degree as to damage the credibility of the main facts, after omitting the fanciful and supernatural embellishments by which they are frequently disguised. The reader, however, will be able to form his own opinion of their historical value from some, which are translated at length in this chapter.

The following tradition, respecting Tainui, is translated from a manuscript2 written by Ngapora, [p.4] the living representative of one of the crew of that canoe, and a near relative of Te Whero-whero, who is perhaps the greatest chief now living in New Zealand. After stating that he learned the traditions of his tribe from an old man named Papa, his uncle, Ngapora thus proceeds with his narrative:


"The first canoes which set sail for New Zealand were Te Araiva, Kurawhaupo, and Mata-atua. According to Papa's account, when these three canoes sailed, a chief named Rata, who was very skilful in canoe-building, was left behind with all his division of the tribe. As to the place whence they sailed, Papa did not know whether it was Hawaiki, or some other island.

"Rata, being left behind, determined to build a canoe for his own party. He therefore went one morning to look for a tree fit for his purpose; and having found one, he returned home and lay down to sleep. At dawn the next day, he took his stone axe and went off to cut down the tree; and after a good deal of labour the tree fell. At that instant two little birds made their appearance; one of them was a bird called popokotea, the other a pihipihi. This was a bad omen, owing to some error in the manner Rata had set about his work; however, he returned home without much thought about it, and lay down to sleep as usual.


"Early the next morning, Rata set off again to work on his canoe; but he no sooner reached the spot where he had left it than he beheld the tree standing upright just as he first found it. So he went home and told his sister how he had found the tree, which he had cut down the day before, standing upright in its old place.

"'In what way did you cut down the tree?' inquired the sister.

'"Why, as soon as I arrived at the place where it grew,' replied Rata, 'I began to chop at its trunk; and after I had felled it, and cut off the top, I returned home.' He also told her how he had seen the two birds.

"'You went the wrong way to work,' said his sister. 'When you go again, you had better rub your axe on me.3 First, mind to sharpen it well; and then, as soon as you reach the place, touch me with it, and set to work to fell the tree. Remember also, when the tree falls to the ground, to throw on its butt end some bows of the fern called panako.'

"This practice still prevails to the present day; fern root being employed to touch the first axe used in felling a tree designed for a canoe.


"Rata went and cut down the tree in the manner he had been instructed, and the instant it fell threw some branches of fern on the trunk. He next proceeded to fashion the exterior of the canoe, by levelling the upper surface, and afterwards hollowed out the hold; and when all this was done, the canoe was tilted over on one side.

"Now it happened one day that the food prepared for the workmen being left unguarded, a little boy named Kowhitinui discovered where it was placed, and ate up the best bits. Rata had not forgot this, and thought how he should punish him. So when the day for tilting the canoe came, he called to the child to pull the rope used for that purpose. The child did as he was bid, for he was a forward boy, and pulled at the rope like an old hand.

'"Put it over your head,' said Rata, tying a loop at the end of the rope.

"This the little fellow did. But as soon as it was fixed about his neck, Rata pulled the rope tight, and strangled him. Afterwards he buried his body beneath the chips of the canoe.

"When at last the work of shaping the exterior of the canoe was completed, and the day of dragging to the water came, all the men of the tribe assembled; and the father of the child was also there. But no one as yet knew that the child was dead; they only supposed he was lost. Before they set to work, they first of all talked over their [p.7]  plans, and it was determined that the cargo should be placed on board the canoe the moment it was launched; after which the crew was to embark without delay. The crew numbered one hundred and forty.4 The chief was named Hoturoa, and the canoe, Tainui.

"All things being properly arranged, Rata stood up and chanted a song,5 such as is used in dragging canoes; and at the last words of the song the canoe was launched on the water.

"Then, for the first time, Rakataua, the father of Kowhitinui, learned from some of the words of Plata's song, what had been the fate of his child. Rakataua was a man of wonderful power in witchcraft, and in charms and incantations; he was consequently very much feared: and the moment he went in search of his son's body, every one exclaimed, "Let us make haste to be off at once, and leave the man behind!"

"With this they all jumped on board. The chief, as I have said before, was named Hoturoa; the next in rank to Hoturoa was Taiketu; then came Mania-o-rongo, Ao-o-rongo, and Te Taura-waho, [p.8] who were all seated in the stern. In the middle, where the water is baled, was Potukeha; and in the nose or how was a certain priest, whose name I do not know, with Rata and Hine,6 the woman who instructed him how to cut down the tree. The provisions placed on board consisted of Jcmnara, or sweet potato, gourds, roots of convolvulus, and mmvhai; which was all the food they had for the voyage.7 By the time Rakataua returned, the canoe had got to some distance, and the crew were pulling away as fast as they could.

"'Bring back the canoe for me,' shouted Raka.

"But it was not brought back; so Raka's heart became dark with anger, and he charmed the mouth of the river, and shut it up. Before then it was wide open; but the moment he charmed it closed.

"Then the priest in the bow of the canoe, whose name is forgotten, charmed also; and the mouth of the river opened again, and the canoe went out to sea, and sailed in this direction till it reached New Zealand. The first land made was Wanga-paraoa, where the canoe was held fast by the rock oysters. The priest, however, had made it sail very [p.9] swiftly on its voyage. After leaving Wanga-paraoa, it sailed on and came to land on the other side of Otahuliu, at the spot still called Te-Apunga-o-Tai-nui (The landing-place-of-Tainui). But as soon as it touched the beach, there was Rakataua to be seen on the shore. He had come across the ocean on the back of a taniwha (sea-monster).

"This part of the country had not yet been inhabited; for the other canoes I have mentioned reached different parts of the coast.

"After being dragged across the narrow isthmus which separates the waters of Tamaki from the water of Manuka, Tainui passed out through the entrance of that harbour, and sailed along the coast to the southward, till it arrived off the river Waikato. On seeing that river flowing into the sea, the priest exclaimed, 'Waikato! Waikato-kau!' (flowing water, nothing but flowing water.) This he said in jest, and at the same time tossed his paddle in the air. As they coasted along the beach called Te Akau, he exclaimed, 'Ko te Akau kau!' (It's nothing but beach.) And when they arrived off Kawhia, he called it 'Kawhia kau' (Nothing but Kawhia8). At that place they landed; but there also, Raka had arrived before them. This is no fable; but rather a tale founded on fact."


Kawhia has ever since remained in possession of the descendants of some of the crew of this canoe, who form a tribe called after it Tainui, and their present chief, Te Kanawa, traces descent directly from one of those who first set foot in New Zealand.

This, as well as all the tribes, more than twenty-five in number, which together are comprehended under the general name of Waikato, have sprung from a Tainui source. From the same source are derived the tribes now inhabiting the Hauraki or Thames district; namely, Ngati-maru, Ngati-paoa, Ngati-tamatera, and Ngati-whanaunga, descended from the sons of Maru-tuahu, who migrated from Kawhia. Add to these the two principal tribes now residing on the shores of Cook's Straits, Ngati-toa, who migrated from Kawhia very recently, under Te Eauparaha, and Ngati-raukawa, who migrated from Maunga-tiiutari, in the Waikato district, about the same time, and we have accounted for nearly one-third of the aboriginal population of New Zealand as being descended from the crew of Tainui. And among all these tribes a striking similarity of dialect and idiom is observable.

With regard to the origin of the natives living further north, comprehended under the general titles, Ngati-whatua, Nga-puhi, and Rarawa, the first is also, I believe, descended from the crew of Tainui. But the Nga-puhi and Rarawa tribes have the same [p.11] origin as the Ngati-kahu-nnuunu, who inhabit the districts extending from the East Cape to Cook's Straits.

Of the voyage of the second canoe, Te Arawa, and of the history of its crew and their descendants, I obtained a circumstantial narrative while at Maketu, in the Bay of Plenty, where I resided for several years, in the capacity of a political agent, styled a Protector of Aborigines.

On one occasion I was invited to attend a large meeting, composed of some of the principal persons of the tribe, children of Te Arawa, as they call themselves; and among the matters then discussed was the nature of their claim to the land whereon they dwelt, and to an island called Motiti, only a few miles distant. This island had at one time fallen into the hands of another tribe, had afterwards been retaken, and was now a debateable ground on which neither party ventured to settle.

In order to explain in the clearest manner how the case really stood, they agreed to go back to their earliest history, and bring it down step by step to the present day. The person selected to be the principal spokesman was an elderly priest, named Tatahau, and I had by my side a missionary native, the son of Te Amohau, one of the great men of the tribe, who assisted me in taking notes of what was said.

Their narrative preserves so many minute cir- [p.12] cumstances, looking like truth, that I prefer to give it in a literal translation of their own words. It was subsequently often read to natives of Waikato, and Tauranga, who would gladly have pointed out any misrepresentations. But its correctness was very generally assented to; and so well known were the words of the celebrated charm of an ancient priest, named Ngatoroirangi, that when I commenced reading it, I was more than once interrupted by my hearers, who, taking up the words, would chant it to the end.


"Listen all ye Waikato, all ye Naitirangi, to the title of my land—of Maketu; how my canoe, the Arawa, came here, and landed at Maketu. My own is my land, the spot where my canoe touched the shore at the entrance of the river. Don't meddle with my land. Mine is Maketu. Mine is Motiti. For it was Ngatoroirangi who won the battle at Motiti, the battle of Maikukutea.

"There was one main stem to the tree, and there were ten branches. One of the branches was cut down and hollowed out for a canoe for Hou, for He, for Tia, for Te Matekapua. These were the names of the chiefs of the party who embarked in the canoe. And the canoe was named Te Arawa.

"Now, it came to pass after they had put to sea from Hawaiki, as they sailed hither over the ocean, [p.13] that the crew were in a great strait because they had no priest to charm their canoe, to make it sail bravely when the wind blew. So they took counsel how to get a priest for their canoe; and they went and fetched Ngatoroirangi."

My informants at Maketu did not say how or whence they obtained Ngatoroirangi; but I afterwards heard from natives of Waikato, that the priest Ngatoroirangi belonged to their canoe Tainui, and that the crew of the Arawa having invited him to come on board their canoe, to aid them with his skill or charms in stopping a leak, afterwards would not suffer him to return.

"Having taken on board Ngatoroirangi, they sailed onwards over the open sea till they made the land at Wangaparaoa. At that place Taininihi threw away his kura.9 He flung his kura into the sea as soon as he beheld the red flowers of the rata10 tree. The kura was picked up by Mahina. Hence the proverbial expression, Kura-pae a Mahina.11

"While the Arawa was at sea, Te Matekapua [p.14] committed adultery with Ngatoroirangi's wife. Kearoa was her name. Therefore Ngatoroirangi, being angry, caused the Arawa to run aground on a shoal, called Te Korokoro-o-te-Parata; and the nose of the canoe was ingulphed in the shoal.

"Then the crew cried out, E Toro, el Ka taka te urunga o Kea (O Toro, oh! the pillow of Kea will fall12). So Ngatoroirangi had pity on them, and saved the Arawa by a charm.13

"After this event, the Arawa sailed on to "Wangaparaoa. Next it touched at Aotea (the larger Barrier Island), afterwards at Hauraki, and Moeliau (Cape Colville). At a place called Repanga, in Ahuahu (Mercury Island), Ngatoroirangi set free two birds, his tame pets.14 One of these birds was called Takereto, and the other Mumuhau—a male and a female. Katikati was the next place touched at. Te Ranga-Tai-kehu is the name of the spot; so called from te ranga, or party of Taikehu.

"At Katikati, they found some of the men of Tainui, with their chief Raumati. This is the reason we acknowledge that Tauranga first belonged to the men of Tainui.

" So leaving Raumati and his party at Tauranga, [p.15] the Arawa sailed from Te Ranga to Maunganui, which was taken possession of by Tutauaroa, who remained there. The next night the crew rested at Wairake. In the morning they reached Maketu, where the Arawa was hauled on shore for the last time, and its two stone anchors were cast into the river. Toka-parore (wry-stone) was the name of the anchor belonging to the nose or bow; Tu-te-rangi-haruru (like-to-the-roaring-sky), that of the anchor belonging to the stern.

" From that time, Ngatoroirangi dwelt on shore; and also Te Mate-kapua, He, and Tia, and Waitaha-nui-a-He, the son of He, and Tapuika-nui-a-Tia, the son of Tia.

"Now when Raumati heard that the Arawa was hauled on shore at Maketu, he and his men went and set fire to the Arawa. Then Hatupatu led a war-party to attack Raumati; and engaging with him on the west side of the entrance to Tauranga, directly opposite to Maunganui, he there killed him; and sticking his head on a post, set it upon the spot where he fell. Therefore the place was called Panipani (cheeks).15

"Afterwards part of the men of the Araiva continued to dwell at Maketu, while part went to [p.16] Rotorua; and thence they spread to Taupo, and to Wanganui.

"Makahae, the son of Tapuikanui-a-Tia was one of those who settled at Maketu.


Gen. from Tia

Makahae begot Tawaki 4th
Tawaki " Marukohaki 5th
Marukohaki " Ruangutu 6th
Ptuangutu " Tatahau & Ngakoliua 7th
Tatahau " Manu and Punohu16 8th
Manu " Tarailvoe 9th
Taraikoe " Mokopu-te-atua-hae 10th
Mokopu-te-atua-hae " Iwikino 11th
Iwikino " Korokuai 12th
Korokuai " Rangitunaeke and Panuiomarama 13th
Rangitunaeke " Te Tiwha 14th
Te Tiwha " Witipoutama 15th
Witipoutama " Te Mumuhu and Te Amohaut17 16th
Te Mmnuhu " Te Ngahuru18 17th

Recurring to the thirteenth generation —

Panui-o-marania begot Taiotu 14th
Taiotu " Te Iwingaro 15th
Te Iwingaro " Te Pukuatua19 16th


Having thus made me acquainted with the genealogies of the two principal chiefs present, they proceeded to narrate how the first cause of strife arose between themselves and their neighbours, a tribe called Naitirangi, descended from the crew of the canoe Te Mata-atua, which, as we have already stated, landed at Wakatane, about thirty miles to the east of Maketu.

The cause was a barbarous murder; and as they themselves never give credit to a tale without being told particularly the names of all the persons principally interested in it, they appear to have thought it most satisfactory to begin by giving me the genealogy of the murderer. I will continue to write down their own words, which will show what an accurate debtor and creditor account they keep with their enemies of injuries received and repaid, from generation to generation.

"The country of Tomatea was Opotiki. [This place, about twenty miles east of Wakatane, was occupied by descendants of the crew of Te Mata-atua.]

The begot of Tomatea   was              Tanemoeai.
The begot of Tanemoeai     "              Romainoarangi.
The begot of Romainoarangi       "   Bangiowiri and Werapinaki.

"It happened that, while Rangiowiri was staying on a visit at Maketu, he murdered Punohu, the daughter of Tatahau.20 Her dead body was found [p.18] some time after hidden in a swamp. The discovery was made by seeing a kahu, or sort of kite, hovering over it.

"The payment21 for Punohii was Werapinaki.

"The payment for Werapinaki ... Tatahau.

"At the same time Maketu, and the neighbouring lands occupied by Tapuika, were taken by Naitirangi, the tribe of Werapinaki, And those who escaped fled to Rotorua and elsewhere.

"The payment for Tatahau was Rangiowiri, who fell in a parekura, or battle in the open ground.

"Afterwards a peace was made. Putaringa-maru was the name of the chief who made the peace with Naitirangi. But Manu, the brother of Punohu, was not pleased; for he desired more payment.

"Some time after, Kotarerua, one of the tribe Naitirangi, killed a person at Maunganui, which still remained in possession of natives descended from Te Arawa. He killed him in payment for his father Tuhuihuia, who lost his life at Te Tumu. It happened that as Tuhuihuia was going one day to gather a species of grass, called toetoe, to thatch his hut, he fell in with a war-party coming from Maunganui, who killed him.

"Following up this blow, Naitirangi took the pa, or fortified village, at Maunganui by storm, put all [p.19] its males to death, and made slaves of the women and children.

"The payment for Mamiganui was Tukoukou.

"The payment for Tukoukou ... Kahuroro.

"There the contest terminated. And Tauranga was abandoned to Naitirangi."

Thus in the eighth generation from Tia, that division of the Arawa family which settled on the coast was driven back to their relations at Rotorua and elsewhere, and their place was occupied by a division of the Te Mata-atua family, who continued to hold undisputed possession of their lands for several generations, till Europeans began to frequent the country to purchase flax.

The swamps near Maketu produce this plant in great abundance and excellence. And when Naitirangi found themselves unable to supply flax enough for the traders who sent vessels laden with blankets and muskets to pay for it, they invited the descendants of their ancient enemies to return to the coast, and help them scrape flax, for which they were to receive a part of the payment. Numbers then began to flock to Maketu from the interior; and a European agent was established at the place, by some merchants of Sydney. It was the business of this trader to collect the flax in a large store, where it remained till a vessel arrived with goods to exchange for it. These goods, when brought on [p.20] shore, were paid over to certain influential chiefs, who divided them as they thought fit.

It happened that, on one of these occasions, a chief named Huka, whose party were entitled to a considerable share, was absent at Rotorua when the ship arrived off Maketu; and by the time he reached the place, he found all the goods had already been divided, without considering him and his friends. Enraged, he returned to Rotorua, revolving in his mind how he could most readily wipe out the disgrace of the slight he had received.

There is a mode of retaliating authorized by the customs of the New Zealanders, called wakahe, which means, literally, putting your adversary in the wrong. It is adopted chiefly when the person who has done the first injustice is a near relation, or one of the same tribe, from whom the injured person could not or would not like to seek redress directly. He will then commit some act of violence on a neighbouring tribe, so as to involve his own tribe in a foreign quarrel, and thus punish the whole in order to get at that part of it who did him wrong.

An opportunity presented itself to Huka of obtaining redress in this manner, by killing a chief of the powerful Waikato tribe, who was staying at Rotorua on a visit. This unlucky visitor he and his friends not only killed, but cooked and ate. Within a short time the expected vengeance came. [p.21] A strong force from Waikato burnt or carried away the stores of flax collected at Maketu, and having killed two chiefs of importance, as a matter of course, cooked and ate them on the spot.

The war, thus savagely begun, was carried on with great vigour on both sides till very lately. The Rotorua tribes, however, re-established themselves at Maketu, and not only maintained themselves there against the united efforts of Waikato and Naitirangi, but finally, collecting a force of more than a thousand men, surprised a pa of Naitirangi, called the Tumu, about three miles distant from Maketu, and took it after an obstinate resistance; thus, re-conquering a large portion of the lands their ancestors had lost.

This was the position of affairs in this district when British government was first established in New Zealand.

Far from running any risk of punishment from his own tribe for such an act, Huka was perhaps rather raised in public estimation afterwards. There is a well-known song which laments the fate of the two chiefs killed at Maketu, named Haupapa and Te Ngahuru. Though made by the widow of one of them, it does not breathe a word of reproach or anger against Huka; but merely blames Waikato for not attacking the place where Huka lived instead of Maketu.

Custom sanctions the greatest enormities; and [p.22] hence this act of Huka was justifiable in the eyes of his countrymen, however horrible to a European. Were it necessary, many instances of the same mode of proceeding as that chosen by Huka might be cited.

To return to the earlier history of the descendants of the crew of the Arawa: these spread themselves from Maketu to Rotorua and the adjacent lakes, thence to Taupo, and finally across the island to the river Wanganui, near Cook's Straits, peopling the shores of the numerous lakes of the interior; but they did not extend themselves along the sea coast. They now form one of the most important natural divisions of the New Zealanders, their numbers amounting, on a rough estimate, to about one-sixth of the entire population, or, perhaps, to rather more. They have also some general peculiarities of dialect, which distinguish them from the Waikato tribes, and from the rest of their countrymen.

Of the canoe Te Mata-atua, I have but little to add to the information already given. The descendants of its crew are known by the general name Ngati-awa. They spread themselves from Wakatane, the spot where they first landed, to the westward and eastward along the coasts of the Bay of Plenty. When Cook visited New Zealand, he remarked that the natives met with along all this coast acknowledged one great chief, named Taratoa. But at Mercury Bay he found natives who, though [p.23] they knew the name of Taratoa, did not acknowledge him as their chief. Cook imagined these latter to be some outlaws, as they had no permanent buildings at that place; but they were without doubt some of the descendants of Tainui—perhaps a fishing party of Ngati-tamatera.

The country inland at the back of Opotiki, in the Bay of Plenty, is occupied by a large division of the tribe Ngati-awa, called Te Uri-wera; who have the reputation of being greater adepts in makiitu, or witch-craft, than any other tribe in New Zealand.

Bordering on the eastern limit of Ngati-awa, and occupying the whole coast line from the East Cape to Port Nicholson, is the important division of the New Zealanders, known by the general name of Ngati-kahu-unuunu. They were formerly more powerful than at the present time, for they once extended along the north shores of Cook's Straits, as far as Rangitikei,22 and over the greater part of the middle and southern islands.23

The following outline24 of the tradition relating to their early history was obtained from a native of [p.24] the Rarawa tribe, which derives its origin from the same source.


"Po, Tiki, Ruaewa, and Mawete, were some of those who discovered this island. The names of the canoes which sailed from Hawaiki were Tainuiy Arawa (shark), Kuralioiqjo, Moekakara, Malmhu, and Mainari: and there were others besides, the names of which cannot now be known. The place first touched at was Whaiapu25 (East Cape). The food brought from Hawaiki was then so nearly consumed that all which remained could be packed in the corner of a small basket. This was planted, and began to grow in New Zealand.

"The ancestors of the tribes who dwell in the south—meaning the East Cape district—were Whatutahae, a daughter of Po. She married Mawete; and from them are descended Ngati-porou and Ngati-kahu-unuunu, from one extremity to the other. Some of the children of Po came to this part of the island—meaning the Bay of Islands and Kaitaia. Their names were Whatu-kaimarie, another daughter of Po, and Toroa, and Taiko, who were the ancestors of Nga-puhi and of the [p.25] Rarawa, and also of Te Rauparaha26 and Taoho26 who lives at Kaipara.

"Mahuhu, the canoe in which the chief Rongomai embarked, was upset, and his body was eat by the araara; which is the reason why that fish has ever since been held sacred by Nga-puhi and by the Rarawa, none of whom dared (before they embraced Christianity) to use it for food.

"The origin of the name Nga-puhi was the puhi or feathers of the canoe Taimu; and the ancient name of Rarawa was Aewa."

Somewhat of the primitive history of all the tribes of the north island has now been given, with the exception of those who inhabit the districts of Taranaki and Wanganui, or who have sprung from the same stock as they have. In the first edition of this work, I was unable to give more than a conjectural notice of the origin of these tribes, having had but little personal intercourse with them. A volume has since been published by Sir George Grey,27 containing a variety of traditions collected while he was Governor of New Zealand; and among them are two traditions, in a very circumstantial form, relating to the first arrival in New Zealand of the ancestors of the tribes now under consideration.


From this authority it appears that the Taranaki tribes—now known collectively as Te Ati-awa—came from Hawaiki in their canoe Tokomaru. This canoe made the coast of New Zealand at night, and the land was first discovered in a singular manner by a dog28 on board, which scented the carcase of a whale stranded on the beach. This, from the similarity of the circumstances mentioned, seems to have been the same place as that spoken of in the traditions of Tainui and the Armca, as their landing place. The narrative goes on to say that other canoes having also reached the same place, a dispute arose as to the proprietorship of the whale and the land; whereon Manaia, the chief of Tohomaru, resolved to go elsewhere. He and his party, therefore, sailed northward till they arrived at the extremity of the land, and then coasted along the western shore till they made Taranaki, and finally [p.27] settled there. At Waitara, a little to the north of Taranaki, they found a few inhabitants:29 but Manaia and his men killed them, and took possession of their land.

Subsequently to the discovery of new Zealand by Cook, Te Ati-awa were driven from their lands at Taranaki (New Plymouth), by the Waikato tribes, and in their turn encroached on the lands of the Ngati-kahu-unuunu, on the shores of Cook's Straits, driving them back as far as Wairerapa.

The present possessors of the Chatham Islands are a division of this tribe. Stimulated by the report of some English sailors, who represented the country as remarkably fertile, and its owners as a quiet and peaceful race, they offered the Captain of a trading vessel to load his ship with flax, if he would transport them there. Being well provided with fire arms, they had no difficulty in killing or making slaves of the more lawful owners of the soil.

The tradition of the Wanganui tribes relates that their ancestors came to New Zealand in a canoe, called Aotea, which gave its name to a small harbour on the west coast where they first landed. At that place the canoe was abandoned; and the crew, with their chief Turi, proceeding on foot along the shore to the southward, at last settled on the [p.28] river Patea. From Turi and his wife Bougo-rongo, sprung the tribes Whanganui and Ngati-mamui.30

In connexion with this tradition, a strange tale is told concerning the adventures of a contemporary of Turi, named Kupe, who, according to them, was the first discoverer of New Zealand. Ties Polynesian voyager, after examining part of the east coast of the north island and the shores of Cook's straits, without finding any inhabitants, returned home again with so favourable a report of the country, that his friend Turi and his party went in search of it. The tale, however, is so mixed up with the extraordinary and fabulous, that it can scarcely be believed to have any foundation in truth. The utmost we can venture to say is, that, considering the known skill of the Polynesians in nautical matters, it is possible that one of their canoes might have reached New Zealand, and afterwards returned to Polynesia.

It is related by other tribes, that attempts have several times been made to return to Hawaiki; and within the last twenty years an instance occurred at Tauranga where a family fitted out and provisioned a canoe for a long voyage, and then put to sea with the design of returning to that island, having no [p.29] better guide than the stars and the tradition of its position. The fate of these intrepid voyagers was, of course, never known in New Zealand, but that such an undertaking should ever have been deliberately planned and entered on, is hardly credible; and we should look in vain for a more remarkable instance of the bold and adventurous spirit of this people.

From the genealogies of the two chiefs given in this chapter, it appears that only about eighteen generations have passed away since New Zealand was first colonized; that is to say, a space of time, probably, not much exceeding five hundred years. To test the probability of this conclusion, the genealogies of several other chiefs of the Arawa family, descended from the same and from different individuals who composed its crew, were carefully collected and compared, when it was found that they all nearly agreed in reckoning the same number of generations from the time when their forefathers first landed in New Zealand. It was from the coincidence between the number of generations in all the genealogies31 collected in this tribe, that I was first led to believe that such records had really a positive value; for their remarkable uniformity in this point—being undesigned—is the best proof of their correctness.


Similar inquiries were made among the branch of Ngati-kahu-unuunu, now settled in the Middle Island, and among tribes of the Tainui family; and, as far as they went, the same result was obtained. It would be a matter of interest to pursue this method of investigation through the three other primary divisions—the Wanganui and Taranaki families, and the Ngati-awa of the Bay of Plenty. Should it be found that in each of these the principal persons now living agreed in counting nearly the same number of generations from the first landing of their ancestors in New Zealand, a strong additional proof would be obtained of the fact of the migrations being contemporaneous; while if the Wanganui family alone reckoned a greater number of generations than the rest, we might fairly credit their tradition, that their ancestors were the first settlers in New Zealand.

The idea, however, that these islands were not peopled at a very remote period is supported by the scantiness of the population very generally when first discovered by Cook, and more particularly so of the middle and southern islands, which, according to the accounts given by the New Zealanders, were colonized from the north island.




From the accounts given by the New Zealanders of their own origin, and from what we know of the present relationship of the various tribes into which they are divided, it appears that the inhabitants of the three islands may be classed under six primary divisions, distinguished more or less one from the other by peculiarities of dialect, of physiognomy, and of disposition, amounting in each case to a sort of nationality. The difference of character is even recognized by themselves, for we have instances of its being noticed in mottos alluding to the refuted quality for which the members of a primary division are remarkable. For instance, the motto of Ngati-awa, the division sprung from the crew of the canoe Te Mata-atua, is Rauni-ki-tahi (one-worded-Rauru). It is laudatory of their good [p.32] faith, signifying that they imitate the example of their ancestor Rauru, who had a reputation for doing always as he said he would do. The motto of the descendants of the crew of Te Araiva is Ngauri a Te Matekapua (children of Te Matekapua); meaning that they inherit the thievish propensities of their ancestor Te Matekapua, who is celebrated for his many bad deeds, and among them for having plundered his neighbour's store of kumara for a long time without being discovered, owing to his having taken the precaution to walk there on stilts, which prevented his footsteps being tracked.

In the former chapter, the several primary divisions have been traced to the crews of different canoes which found their way to the shores of New Zealand. Whether all the canoes which may thus have reached New Zealand proceeded from the same island, called Hawaiki, or from different islands of Polynesia, we will not pretend to say with anything like certainty. The traditions respecting the origin of their ancestors pervading all the tribes of New Zealand are very similar. And although many peculiarities of dialect are observed to prevail very generally throughout the members of the primary divisions of which we have been speaking, yet the actual differences in dialect between the inhabitants of the most distant parts of that country are inconsiderable, and, in fact, no more than may be accounted for by lapse of time, added to the want [p.33] of union, and, consequently, of familiar communication between each other.

It is an inquiry of some interest where Hawaiki is—the island from which the New Zealanders say their ancestors came. The reply we are able to make is only conjectural; but there is every reason to believe that the island referred to was either the principal one of the Sandwich Island group, pronounced Hawaii by its present native inhabitants, the Owailiee of Cook; or, one of the Navigator Islands, pronounced Savaii by its present inhabitants; both of which forms of pronunciation are dialectic variations of the New Zealanders pronunciation Hawaiki.

That so long a voyage as from the Sandwich Islands to New Zealand could be safely made in open canoes may appear to some almost incredible; but it is certain that when skilfully managed the canoe of the Polynesian can brave very rough seas. Mr. Ellis, speaking of the voyages which these islanders make in their canoes, says, "We have every reason to believe the canoes of the natives (of the Sandwich Islands) were larger formerly than they are now, and yet we have known them make very long voyages, being sometimes a fortnight or three weeks at sea."32 He then goes on to mention some recorded instances where these canoes had made voyages of five or six hundred miles. That [p.34] their canoes were well built, and sometimes of a large size, we are told by Kotzebue, who saw one, a double canoe, which measured seventy feet long, twelve broad, and three-and-half deep.33

I had once an opportunity of satisfying myself that the ordinary sized canoe of the New Zealanders may be exposed even to the violence of a tempest without destruction.

One afternoon in the month of June, 1844, while I was at Tauranga, a storm from the north-east came on suddenly, and soon increased to a violence I had seldom known equalled. About nightfall, when the gale was at its height, I was startled by hearing the shouts and exclamations of many voices uniting with the roaring of the wind. What was my surprise to learn that a canoe had just arrived from Opotiki, a place distant about sixty miles to the eastward, and that the noise proceeded from the friends and relations of the crew, who were naturally transported with joy at their safety.

The event appeared to me so marvellous, that I went early the next morning to see the canoe and its crew, to be the better assured of the fact. The canoe I found hauled up on the beach as far as high water mark, with the cargo, consisting of baskets of kumara and potato, still on board. It measured about forty feet in length, with an extreme width and depth of about five feet. The hull [p.35] or lower part was formed from the trunks of two trees, dove-tailed together after the peculiar method of the country, which consults strength more than uniformity of shape. And above this was fastened a topside or gunwale of the usual width of about ten or twelve inches. There was no protection against the break of the sea, except that offered by a sort of deck constructed of raupo or flag, by which the bow was covered in a temporary manner for a few feet—a safeguard generally adopted when making coasting voyages of any length. The crew, nine fine able-bodied fellows, were seated on the ground, with a numerous crowd around them, listening to their account of the near escapes they had had on their voyage.

They left Opotiki in the forenoon, with every indication of fine weather; but by the time they arrived off Maketu, the gale had become violent, and, unfortunately, the people of that place being at deadly feud with them, they could not take refuge there. Their only hope of safety was, therefore, in reaching Tauranga, then sixteen miles distant. In this they succeeded; and arriving off the mouth of the harbour took in the sail, and tried to find shelter under the lee of a rocky island; for the danger they most dreaded the broken water or tide-rip at the entrance of the harbour—was still to be passed. Keeping the canoe as close as possible to the island by means of their paddles, they [p.36] refreshed themselves with the remains of some cooked provisions, asking counsel of each other what they should do; for their position was very insecure, as it required their constant exertions and vigilance to prevent the canoe being dashed on the rocks, or overwhelmed by the waves. After a short consultation, it was resolved to make an effort to cross the mouth of the harbour at once, while they had strength. And though the canoe was nearly swamped in the attempt, it brought them and their cargo safely to land.

With this evidence, we cannot well deny that the voyage from the Sandwich Islands to New Zealand may have been made in such canoes as the New Zealanders have. Besides, the nearest spot from which the first inhabitants of the country could possibly have come is more than one thousand miles distant. And we may fairly presume, that a canoe able to make a voyage of that length could, under favourable circumstances, have made a voyage three times as long. In the tale of the voyage of the canoe called Araiva, recounted in the former chapter, we are told that, on its reaching New Zealand, the rata tree was in full bloom; which incident determines the time of year to have been February, corresponding in season to our August—that most favourable for making a voyage in those seas.

We shall now lay before the reader some observa- [p.37] tions to show that the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands have a strong family resemblance to their brethren of New Zealand, in respect to language and otherwise. After reading Mr. Ellis's remarks on the Hawaiian language, and examining the vocabulary collected by him, any one familiar with the language of the New Zealanders will pronounce it to be nearly identical with that of Hawaii. The following are the chief points of difference:—1st. The Hawaiians omit the consonant k in words where it is used by the New Zealanders, as in ino for kino (bad), ura for kura (red). 2ndly. They sometimes sound the consonant l34 which the New Zealanders never do, employing in its place r. 3rdly. They use the word koo as a prefix to words, in order to make them causative, while in New Zealand the word used for the same purpose is whaka.35 This last is the most striking difference between the two languages. 4thly. They sometimes substitute the consonant k in words where t is used by the New Zealanders, as in kanaka for tangata (man). This peculiarity, however, does not appear to prevail over the whole group, and where it does prevail it is very probably only a modern innovation, introduced subsequently to the time of the supposed [p.38] migration to New Zealand, as we may infer from the following statement, made by Mr. Ellis. "The k in most of the islands is generally used in common intercourse, but it is never admitted into their poetical compositions, in which the t is universally and invariably employed."36 Any other existing differences, such as the use of n, where the New Zealanders generally pronounce ng, are hardly of sufficient importance to be noticed in this inquiry. For, as already remarked, even in different parts of New Zealand, variations of a similar nature are observable. Thus, some of the tribes pronounce the aspirate h, while others do not. Some, instead of the consonant ng (which is the more common sound), use n, and others k. Some pronounce whi, where others pronounce only h; as in the word pewhea (like-what), also pronounced pehea. Some, instead of r, have a sound nearly approximating to d; and some for p have a sound nearly like that of h. All languages, in fact, are liable more or less to changes of this nature.37

But apart from similarity of language, there are other points worthy of notice, which serve as links [p.39] of connexion between the inhabitants of these islands so remote from each other. Both were found, on their first discovery by Cook, to resemble each other in personal appearance, in warlike disposition, and in the practice of cannibalism. The same remarkable ceremony, called tangi, prevails both in the Sandwich Islands and in New Zealand. In both these countries, it is the custom for guests to carry away with them any part of the food set before them which they cannot then consume.

Tane, Rono, Tanaroa, and Tu are said to be names of Gods of the Sandwich Islanders.38 Tane, Rongo, Tangaroa, and Tu are also names of Atua, often met with in legends preserved by the New Zealanders, and in their ancient charms.

The name Maui, celebrated in the traditions of the New Zealanders, is found also in the Sandwich Island group, in the name of the island next in size to Hawaii; and the term Maori,39 used by the New Zealanders to distinguish their race from Europeans, or from negroes, is the very term found [p.40] to be used in Hawaii and the adjacent islands for the same purpose.

We shall content ourselves with one more fact, favourable to the identity of Hawaiki with the largest of the Sandwich Islands, and we are inclined to attach much value to it. The New Zealanders are remarkably fond of the kumara, or sweet potato, and devote a great deal of time to its cultivation. Their traditions say, that in Hawaiki, whence their ancestors brought the root of the plant, it grew to a much larger size40 than in any part of New Zealand, and required far less attention to its culture. We also learn, from a remark made incidentally by Mr. Ellis,41 that "in the Sandwich Islands the kumara is one of the principal means of subsistence at the present day," but that "in the Society Islands it is only partially cultivated, and is greatly inferior to those grown in the northern islands."

If it be also true, as we infer from this fact, that the kumara does not flourish in the more tropical islands of Polynesia, which have a soil and climate similar to that of the Society Islands, the tradition [p.41] of the New Zealanders respecting the large size of the root brought from Hawaiki, if of any value, compels our looking to the more distant Sandwich Islands as the probable source from which the migration in question proceeded.

In the Navigator and Society Islands, as well as in the islands of Polynesia, lying further eastward, as far even as Easter Island, are found the same race of men as in New Zealand and the Sandwich Islands, speaking languages so much alike to each other that they may almost be looked on as dialects of the same language.42 And, as far as is known, the superstitions, customs, and manners of their inhabitants have a general similarity.

At the Friendly Islands, however, the Polynesian race is found to be partially blended with a totally distinct race, called Papuans, having a different language and different habits. While in New Caledonia, in the New Hebrides, and in other islands lying more to the west, as well as in the chain of islands connecting them with New Guinea, the inhabitants are all Papuans, New Guinea being the stronghold of that race.

It is a rational conjecture, that the primitive inhabitants of the whole Indian Archipelago were also Papuans. This may be inferred from the fact that traces of the race are still discovered in many [p.42] of the islands43 now occupied by the brown race, as well as in the Malay Peninsula,44 and even, according to some accounts, in Cochin-China,45 while the natives of the Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, belong entirely to the Papuan family.

A migration from the continent of Asia of a brown race of Indians appears to have taken place at a subsequent era, and to have established themselves by force in the Malay Peninsula, in Sumatra, Java, Borneo, the Celebes, and several of the adjacent islands, as well as in the Philippine group, exterminating to a great measure, or absorbing the Papuan race in the conquered districts.

From the Philippines, detached portions of the population of the brown race must have migrated eastward in search of new lands, and thus peopled the Caroline and Ladrone Islands, whence they found their way to the Sandwich Islands, and the Navigator and Society Islands, and the islands [p.43] comprising Polynesia Proper, all of which, we have every reason to believe, were before then uninhabited.

The most convincing proof that the primitive stock from which the brown race of the Indian Archipelago and the Polynesians have sprung was the same, is derived from comparisons made between their languages. It is observed, that the languages of both are constructed on the same grammatical principles, and present many striking points of agreement in other respects.46

It seems probable that the course of migration to Polynesia Proper was principally by way of the Sandwich Islands; because it would have been impossible for the brown race to pass eastward by the more direct route of New Guinea, and the chain of islands stretching from it to Polynesia, without encountering a hostile race, whom they had only been able partially to overcome; and because, after quitting the Ladrone Islands, by keeping to the northward till they fell in with [p.44] westerly winds, they might reach the Sandwich Islands, and from thence the Marquesas, or the Society Islands, quite as easily as by steering a more direct course towards them in opposition to the trade wind. The voyage from the Sandwich Islands to the Marquesas or Society Islands would not be attended with such difficulties for a canoe as might perhaps be thought; for a canoe, unlike a boat, is most safe when kept in the trough of the sea, and the course that the north-east trade wind would therefore oblige a canoe to be steered would carry her from the Sandwich Islands towards the more eastern Polynesian Islands.

We will suppose that a fleet of canoes, such as that spoken of in the traditionary history of the New Zealanders, equipped for a voyage of discovery, with the best means in the power of the inhabitants, were to sail from the Sandwich Islands in a southerly direction. Some of them would probably fall in with one or other of the islands of tropical Polynesia, while some might pass through the whole of them from north to south without discovering any. These last on encountering the south-east trade wind would find it necessary to steer a more westerly course, which would carry them towards New Zealand; and, on losing the trade wind, if the voyage were made in the summer season of that hemisphere, the prevailing winds being then northerly and easterly, they could hardly [p.45] miss falling in with some part of the coast of New Zealand, extending as it does from north to south more than six hundred miles.

Mr. Ellis in his account of the Sandwich Islands states, that the most general and popular tradition prevailing among the inhabitants of Hawaii is, that their ancestors came from Tahiti. In Oahu, another of the group, it is also believed, that the "first inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands were a number of persons who arrived in a canoe from Tahiti, and who, perceiving the islands were fertile, and inhabited only by gods or spirits, took up their abode on one of them, having asked permission of the gods, and presented an offering, which rendered them propitious to their settlement."47 It is worthy of remark, as confirming the relationship between this people and the aborigines of New Zealand, that the ceremonies here referred to are precisely similar to those employed by the natives of New Zealand in their unconverted state, on arriving at any strange country.48

The inference drawn from the above traditions by Mr. Ellis is, that they "afford a strong presumption that the Sandwich Islanders came originally from the Georgian Islands," because Tahiti is the name of the most considerable island of that group. As, however, the common signification of the word tahiti in the Sandwich Islands, in the Georgian [p.46] group, and also in New Zealand, is "a far off place," the above traditions may mean no more than that the first colonists of the islands came from a far off country. It is also believed, that the name of the principal island of the Georgian group is properly O-Tahiti, signifying "of or belonging to a far off country," in reference probably to the arrival of its first inhabitants from a distant land.

Mr. Ellis also suggests several reasons why the continent of America may have contributed to the population of the Sandwich Islands. But the conclusion at which we must arrive, by comparing the language of the aborigines of America with that of the Sandwich Islanders and the Polynesians generally, is quite at variance with this hypothesis. The researches already made regarding the structure of the former languages show that they all belong to one family, being formed on similar grammatical principles.49 One of the remarkable features in the American languages is, that distinctions in time and mood are expressed by inflexions to a much greater extent than in any other known family of languages. And this fact is as strong a proof as we can well have that the Polynesians (including the Sandwich Islanders) are a distinct race from the aborigines of America: for in the Polynesian [p.47] languages moods and tenses are not denoted by inflexions of the verb, but by particles prefixed or affixed to the root, which is itself almost invariable in form. Another remarkable feature observable in the American languages is the principle on which they form compound words. This is such, that it constantly tends to destroy the original resemblance between words used by different tribes to express the same idea.

On the contrary, the widely separated members of the Polynesian family of languages preserve a remarkable identity, their words admitting of but very limited inflexion, and their compound words being formed by the union of simple roots. The same, or nearly the same words express the same ideas in New Zealand, in Otahiti, and in the Sandwich Islands. If the continent of America has contributed to the population of the Sandwich Islands, at any rate, it would seem that it has not done so to a degree sufficient to produce a sensible influence on their language.

The present native inhabitants of New Zealand are evidently, to a certain extent, a mixed race, containing among them two elements, one of which may be called the pure Indian, the other being the Papuan. The marked characteristics of the former are a brown or copper-coloured skin, black50 hair—


Straight, wavy, or curling and a tolerably well-formed nose, sometimes even aquiline. While those in whom the Papuan element is most marked have the skin much darker, the hair black and crisp (but not growing in separate tufts like that of the true-blooded Papuans51), the nose flat and broad at the nostrils, and the lips more full and prominent. Between these extremes, every intermediate variety of feature may be met with among the New Zealanders; but their prevailing type of feature is the Indian.

To account for this mixture, some persons have suggested that a Papuan race was found in possession of the country by the ancestors of the New Zealanders when first they arrived, and that the mixed breed has sprung from alliances between [p.49] the two races. It has even been stated, that the Papuan element belongs more especially to slaves, who are supposed to have sprung principally from the subdued and degraded race. I have never been able to satisfy myself, however, that this latter statement has any trustworthy foundation, having remarked the crisped hair to prevail equally among the rangatira (gentleman) class, as among slaves. Besides, the traditions of the New Zealanders speak of the country being uninhabited at the arrival of their canoes from Hawaiki; and in the other islands of Polynesia a proportion of the population is similarly found to have the Papuan character of feature.

These traces of a mixed race are easily accounted for by supposing, as indeed appears certain, that the Indian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula were primitively inhabited by Papuans, and that the brown or copper-coloured race, whom we have called Indian, invaded their country and took possession of parts of it; for a long time must have elapsed between their first invasion of the Malay Peninsula and their conquest of the Philippine Islands, from which point we suppose the ancestors of the Polynesians to have migrated. And during the interval, in which the two races remained so nearly in contact, while the one was being supplanted or absorbed by the other, no doubt alliances must have taken place between individuals of op- [p.50] posite sexes, giving rise to the appearance of a mixed race now observed.

The largest and most westward of the Navigator group, called Savaii by its present inhabitants, is the other point from which it appears probable that the ancestors of the New Zealanders may have migrated. The description given by Kotzebue52 of the manners and appearance of the natives of the Navigator Islands, in 1824, agrees remarkably with Cook's account of the New Zealanders. Boldness, ferocity, and the practice of cannibalism were characteristics of both; an example of which had been given by the former when La Perouse visited them. Notwithstanding they had been well treated on board his ship, they attacked an armed party who ventured on shore; and, nothing daunted by the first discharge of fire-arms, rushed on their opponents before they could reload their pieces, and killed Captain De Langle and fourteen men.

In language, they do not now appear to resemble the New Zealanders as much as the Sandwich Islanders do. But from the data we have to guide us in forming our judgment on this point absolute dependence cannot be placed, on account of the great difficulty of fixing the orthography in distant localities on precisely the same basis, without a uniform agreement as to the letters used to denote [p.51] doubtful sounds. Kotzebue53 remarked that there was a great difficulty in distinguishing between the sound of l and r at the Sandwich Islands. In New Zealand also, words are differently pronounced in different parts of the island, as has been remarked already—so much so, that if two persons had set to work independently to reduce the language to writing in our characters, they would have made it appear that the language varied in different districts vastly more than it really does.

From comparing the translation of the New Testament made at Samoa, one of the Navigator Islands, the literal differences between the language of these islands and that of the Maori of New Zealand appear to be—

Navigator Islands.   New Zealand.
l for l and r.
As in lona " tona (his).
malo " maro (strong).
f " h and wh.
As in afi " ahi (fire).
fetu " whetu (a star).
fenua " whenua (land).
As in tusi " tulu (to write).

These, with the omission of k, which is so common a sound in New Zealand, and the more trifling variations caused by the use of v for w, and g for [p.52] ng, make a great difference in the written appearance of the two languages—greater, perhaps, than the actual difference of pronunciation warrants;—for I observe that in the authority to which I have referred for the specimens of the Samoan dialect, where k would be used in New Zealand, an apostrophe is sometimes written, as if some sound was actually used by the Samoans in such cases, though too soft to be represented by the letter k. An example of this is the word ika (fish), which in the Samoan New Testament is written i'a.

In Appendix I. a comparative table of the dialects of the Polynesian groups is given, from which it will be seen that they all too nearly resemble each other to enable us to deduce any argument of great value, from such comparisons, as to the point of departure of the first colonists of New Zealand.

In person, the natives of the Navigator Islands, like the Tongans and Tahitians, are represented54 as far exceeding in stature that of the New Zealanders and Hawaiians, who do not appear conspicuously larger than Europeans. But this point of resemblance between the two latter may have been caused by the effects of climate.

It is worthy of notice, that besides the identity of names, the two widely-separated islands—Savaii of the Navigator group, and Hawaii of the Sand- [p.53] wich Islands—have peculiarly striking points of resemblance in their natural appearance, both rising from the sea with a regular ascent to a lofty summit, exceeding in the latter the height of the peak of Tenerife. This resemblance was a subject of remark to Kotzebue, and more recently to Mr. Pickering,55 who also observes that these two were the only islands he had seen in those seas which were overspread with lava streams. The identity of the names of the two islands would seem to suggest that one was colonized directly from the other, and that the first settlers in the island last colonized, finding it so much like the one they had left, gave it the same name on that account.

The charming description given by Kotzebue of Savaii, or Pola as he calls it, quite equals the traditionary account given by the New Zealanders of the beautiful climate and fertile soil of Hawaiki; and its crowded population is a ready explanation of the necessity for migrations in search of other countries. We shall conclude this inquiry with an extract from the Prussian navigator:—

"The following day we surveyed the magnificent island of Pola (Savaii). Its lofty mountain was enveloped in thick white clouds, which seemed to roll down its sides, while the majestic summit rose into a cloudless region above them. The most luxuriant [p.54] vegetation covers even its highest points. From a considerable elevation down to the sea-shore, the island presents a charming amphitheatre of villages and plantations, and confirmed is in the opinion that the Navigator Islands are the most beautiful in the Southern Ocean, and consequently in the whole world.

"The shore was thronged with people, some of whom pushed their canoes into the sea to approach us, while others stood quietly watching us as we sailed past."




The New Zealanders had no idea of a Supreme Intelligence creating and over-ruling all things. The heavens, the earth, and even the light of day, which the Mosaic account describes as created by the will of God, they appear to have invested with individual existences, imagining the one to have been generated by the other, as children are begotten by their parents.

Such is the idea conveyed in the following genealogical legend, which refers to Night or Darkness as the primitive state from which all things have sprung.


"In the beginning of time was Te Po (the night or darkness). In the generations that followed Te Po, [p.56] came Te Ao (the light), Te Ao-tu-roa (light-standing-long), Te Ao-marama (clear light of day), Te Kore (nothingness), Te Kore-te-whiwhia (nothingness-the-possessed), Te Kore-te-rawea (nothingness-the-made-excellent), Te Kore-te-tainaua (nothingness-the-fast-bound), Te Kore-matua (nothingness-the-first), Maku (moisture). Maku slept with Maliora-nui-atea (the straight-the vast-the clear); their offspring was Rangi (the sky). Rangi slept with Papatuanuku56 (the wide extending plane); their children were Rehu (the mist), Tane (male), and Paia. From Tane and Paia sprung Te Tangata (man)."

This tradition I picked up at Moeraki, in the Middle Island, a part of New Zealand where the natives are very fond of genealogical lore; such subjects forming among them frequent topics of conversation when seated in little groups, as is their habit on fine evenings, on some rising ground near their villages. In many parts of the Northern Island, the name by which the great progenitor of man is known is Tiki-ahua: and hence the term Aitanga-a-Tiki (offspring of Tiki) is frequently applied to designate persons of good birth.

The different families of the animal kingdom, too, instead of being viewed as so many distinct creations, were derived, according to the mythology of the New Zealanders, from some of those primi- [p.57] tive denizens of the earth, who are fabled to have possessed super-human powers. Thus the tuna (eel) and the koiro (conger-eel) are said to have been the offspring of one of those ancient worthies, named Maru-te-whareaitu. The ngarara (lizard) and mango (shark) are said to have been brothers. The sea was their native element; but wishing to separate after a quarrel, the former, who was the elder, went to live on the land, while the latter remained in the sea. The lizard, at parting, thus cursed his brother—"Remain in the open sea, to be served up on a dish of cooked food for man to eat!"57 "As for you," replied the shark, "go ashore, and be smoked out of your hole with burning fern leaves!"58

These parting words of the lizard and shark are now preserved as proverbs. The former alludes to the custom of serving up a piece of dried shark on the top of a dish of potatoes or kurnara for a relish. The latter to the mode of catching the ngarara59 by lighting a fire at the entrance of its hole.


A volume, recently published by Sir George Grey, late Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand, contains, in a very circumstantial form, what we may accept as the Polynesian tradition respecting the origin of all things living on the earth.60 What has been just related has evidently come from a kindred source, but it is only a fragment of the tradition preserved by Sir George Grey, which embodies so much interesting and valuable matter, that I shall take the liberty to introduce a resume of it, in this place.

This tradition refers to Kangi (heaven) and Papa-tu-a-nuku (earth) as the first parents from which all things sprung.

In the beginning Rangi and Papa clave together, so that light could not penetrate between them; and the children begotten by them lived in darkness. These children were for ever thinking what might be the difference between Darkness and Light, and what they should do to separate their parents, so as to let the light shine on them.

Tu-mata-uenga, the fiercest of them, proposed to slay their father and mother; while another, named Tane-mahuta, advised to rend them asunder; [p.59] and to this plan all agreed except Tawhiri-ma-tea, the youngest. Regardless of his opposition, the rest set to work, one after the other, to rend apart their parents. They all, however, tried in vain, till it came to the turn of Tane-mahuta. At first, Tane tried to rend apart Rangi and Papa, using only his arms; but they were not sufficiently strong. Whereupon, resting his head on his mother Papa, he raised up his feet against his father Rangi, and exerting all the force of his back and legs at last separated them, pressing the former down, and raising the other upwards to their present positions. The names and attributes of these children of Rangi and Papa were as follows:—Tu-mata-uenga was the god and father of man. Rongo-ma-tane was the god and father of the cultivated food of man. Haumia-tiki-tiki was the god and father of the food of man springing up without cultivation. Tangaroa was the god and father of fish and reptiles. Tane-mahuta was the god and father of forests, birds, and insects inhabiting forests. Tawhiri-ma-tea was the god and father of winds and storms.

At the separation of Rangi and Papa, all these remained with the latter except Tawhiri-ma-tea, who, being angry with his brothers, followed his father Rangi, and consulted with him how they [p.60] should avenge their wrongs. As soon as their plans were matured, rushing down from the sky, he attacked Tane-mahuta, sweeping over his forests with the hurricane. Having there committed great ravages, he next descended on the seas with storms and tempests, to vent his rage on Tangaroa.

It was on this occasion that the fish and reptiles disputed and separated, the former remaining in the sea, while the latter fled for shelter to the land; and a dialogue, similar to that narrated above as having taken place between the shark and the lizard, is here represented as carried on between Te-Ika-tere, the father of fish, and Tu-te-wehiwehi, the father of reptiles.

Tawhiri-ma-tea afterwards attacked his brothers, Rongo-ma-tane and Haumia-tikitiki: but he could not get at their children—the cultivated and uncultivated food; because Papa hid them in her bosom. Lastly, he attacked Tu-mata-uenga: but he could neither shake nor move him.

Tu-mata-uenga, having alone successfully resisted Tawhiri-ma-tea, began to reflect on the cowardly manner in which his brothers had deserted him, and determined to punish them; so he set up snares in the forests to catch the children of Tane, and made nets to haul ashore the children of Tangaroa. He also found out the children of Rongo-ma-tane and Haumia-tikitiki by their leaves, and dug them up from the earth; and he devoured [p.61] them all for food, and thus made them common. But he could not overcome nor make common Tawhiri-ma-tea, by eating him for food. So this, the last-born child of Rangi and Papa was left for an enemy of man; and still ever attacks him in storms and hurricanes, endeavouring to destroy him alike by sea and land.

The most ancient mythological traditions preserved by the New Zealanders have reference to periods long anterior to the arrival of their ancestors in the islands now inhabited by them. Such traditions, as well as most of their present customs, were brought by their ancestors from abroad. And it is an expression constantly in their mouths, when speaking of any old practice regarding the origin of which you may inquire, "E Juira i te mea poka hou mai: no Haivalki mai ano"—(It is not a modern invention: but a practice brought from Hawaiki).

We shall endeavour to entertain the reader by narrating a few of the most ancient of the fables we have collected.


"In the early history of the world, a race of men endowed with super-natural powers are fabled to have existed. In those days lived three brothers, named Maui. The eldest was called Maui-mua, another was called Maui-roto, and the youngest [p.62] Maui-potiki. The youngest brother was very badly used by his elder brothers, who were in the habit of leaving him at home when they went abroad. They did not even suffer him to sit at meals with them, but would throw him a bone or other offal to eat, while they devoured the best parts themselves. At last Maui-potiki got tired of this sort of life, and one day when his brothers had launched their canoe to go out fishing, he took his place in the bow, and insisted on going too. When they reached the fishing ground, the brothers asked him where his hook was. 'This will do,' said little Maui, pulling his own jaw-bone out of its socket. He then fastened the jaw-bone to a string and threw it overboard. But when he tried to pull it in again, he found he had got hold of something very heavy. However, he hauled away at his line, and at last hauled up whenua, or land. This feat of little Maui was the first proof he gave of his great power.

"Some way off from the habitation of the three Maui lived an old woman called Hine-nui-a-te-po (Great-daughter-of-the-night). She had the reputation of being a very terrible person, and no one ventured to meddle with her property. Little Maui, however, determined to go and visit her country, to see whether he could find anything good there. So coming near the place where Hine-nui lived, he seated himself on a bill overlooking her garden, and began to play a tune on his flute.


"As soon as Hine-nui heard the sound of the flute, she sent out some of her slaves to watch and see who was coming. Just before they went, she gave them this instruction, 'If the man comes down the hill walking upright on his legs, catch him, for he is a thief: but if he comes walking on his hands and feet, having his belly and face upwards, then know he is an Atua, and be hunt not to meddle with him.'

"Little Maui heard all she said, and, of course, came down the hill on his hands and feet; and as the slaves never meddled with him, supposing him to be an Atua, he crept into the old lady's kumara store, and after eating as much as he could, carried off a basket full.

"The next day his brothers sat together eating their morning meal, and every now and then threw a bit to little Maui, who sat as usual by himself at a distance from them. Instead of picking up these morsels, however, he pulled out from under his cloak a kumara, and ate it. At last the elder Maui, seeing all the scraps thrown to his brother still lying untouched, asked little Maui what he was eating. 'Excellent food, let me tell you,' said little Maui, throwing a handful towards his two brothers.

"The elder Maui was much pleased with the taste and size of the kumara, and wished to know where some more of them were to be obtained.

"Little Maui then told how he had stolen the [p.64] kumara from the store of Hine-nui-a-te-po. But instead of repeating correctly the command which the old woman had given her slaves when she sent them to watch in the garden, he made her say, 'If the man comes down the hill on his hands and legs catch him, for he is a thief: but if he comes walking upright on his legs, leave him alone, for he is an Atua.'

"Maui-mua was so much pleased with the adventure of his young brother that he resolved to set off the same evening, and steal some kumara in the same way. So when it began to grow dusk, he started, little Maui calling to him as he was going, and bidding him to be sure remember correctly the command given to her slaves by Hine-nui-a-te-po.

"Maui-mua soon arrived at the hill overlooking the garden, played a tune on his flute, as his brother had done, and then descended towards the kumara store. But Hine-nui's slaves were on the look out, and seeking that he walked after the manner of men, and not like an Atua, they caught him and brought him to their mistress, who squeezed him between her thighs so hard that he was killed.

"This was the first death which took place in the world."


"The beginning of murder was Tinirau's pet [p.65] whale, called Tutunui, Tinirau, being sick, invited a certain skilful priest, named Kae, to come from a distant place to charm him. And when he was cured, the priest, desiring to return quickly to his own country, begged to be allowed to ride home on the back of his tame whale.

"So Tinirau, not imagining that Kae designed any harm, called the whale; and the whale coming immediately, Tinirau said to it, 'Go carry Kae safely to his own country.'

"Then the monster came close to the shore, and Kae having climbed on its back, and being ready to start, Tinirau gave him this parting injunction,—'When you feel the whale wriggle, you may be sure you are close to the shore; then leap off his back, and send him back quickly.' With this, Tinirau dismissed the whale, and it darted off.

"It was not, perhaps, very long ere the whale arrived at the end if its journey. As soon as it reached the shore, it began to wriggle. It kept wriggling its body for some time, expecting Kae to jump on shore. But Kae kept his seat on its back till the tide ebbed, and the fish lay on dry ground. Then that wicked fellow jumped down, and the moment the whale was dead he cut it up, and ate some of its flesh.

"All this while Tinirau was waiting anxiously for the return of his pet; but it came not. He kept calling it; still it hastened not to return. At [p.66] last, Tinirau went outside his house, and the smell of the dead whale reached his nose.

"Hence the familiar expression now used when the savour of a good dish is perceived, 'Ka puta ra te kakara o Tutunui' (Oh! here is the savour of Tutunui).

"Tinirau knew immediately that Kae had killed the whale, and his heart yearned after his pet. Straightway his war party launched their canoes, and one hundred and forty men set off that night. When they drew nigh to Kae's house, Tinirau repeated a charm to lull to sleep all those who were within it. So Kae and his men fell fast asleep, and from the nostrils of the whole tribe issued a sound like that of the flood tide. For how could it be otherwise. The charm was so potent, they were instantly plunged in the forgetfulness of sleep. Then the hundred and forty entered the house, and finding Kae sleeping in the middle, bore him off to their canoe without awaking him; so firmly had sleep sealed his eyelids.

"As they were carrying him off, Kae's pillow61 fell down from his bed: and hence the expression, 'Ka taka te urunga o Kae' (Kae's pillow falls), has come down to posterity as a proverb, signifying that some misfortune has happened.

"The men placed Kae in their canoe, and then [p.67] returned to the shore and killed the rest of the tribe while they were asleep. After which, they paddled off in their canoes to their own country. As for Kae, he remained sound asleep all the while. When the canoes reached the shore, he was carried into a house resembling his own in form, and was laid on a couch, arranged in manner similar to that in the house whence he had been brought. This being done, Tinirau bid his men awake him.

"'Get up, Kae, get up,' shouted the men. 'Whose house is this in which you have been sleeping?'

"Then Kae awoke, and looked about him.

"'Whose house is this, Kae?' the men again shouted.

"'Surely this house belongs to me,' replied Kae.

"'This house is not yours,' said the men. 'Look for the fire-place,—where is it?'

"Now there was no fire-place in the house, and Kae perceived at once that the house was not his.

"Then Tinirau lulled Kae, in payment for his pet whale."


"Some time after came a war party from the country of Kae to avenge his death; and having killed a person named Tuhuruhuru, as a payment for him, they returned to their own country.

"Then the mother of Tuhuruhuru, went in [p.68] search of Wakatau, to entreat him to avenge the death of her son; for Wakatau was a valiant man, and skilful in devising stratagems of war. It so happened, that when she arrived at Wakatau's place of abode, he was diverting himself flying his kite; and going up to him, without knowing who he was, 'Tell me,' she said, 'where is Wakatau?'

"'How should I know,' replied Wakatau, who was very fond of a joke. 'Perhaps he is among those other men,' pointing at some men who were also flying their kites.

"Ka haere atu taua wahine ki era atu tangata, ka ki atu, 'Keiwhea a Wakatau?'

"Ka mea atu nga tangata, 'Na, ko taua tangata i tae atu koe. Ki te tae atu koe ki a ia, me hura e koe i tona maro, ka kite koe i tana raho, he rahopunga.'

"Ka tahi ka tae atu taua wahine. Ka hura tona maro. Ka kata ia ki taua wahine; no te mea kua kitea taua raho e te wahine.

"'Go,' he said to her, 'return home; leave the affair to me: I give you this sign, that you may know when the Tihi-o-manono (Peak-of-Manono) is set on fire. If you see the sky looking red, then know that the men have fallen by my hand, and that the Tihi-o-manono is burning; but if the sky rains big drops of rain, then know that I have been killed.' Such were his parting words to Hine-te-iwaiwa, the mother of Tuhuruhuru.


"Then Wakatau set to work with his adze, and repaired his canoe; and, when ready for sea, he launched it at night, and arrived off the Tihi-o-maniono the morning following.

"As soon as the multitude on shore saw the canoe coming towards them, they made sure it would soon fall a prey to them. So they sent one of their braves, called Kaiaia (hawk), to destroy the canoe.

"But Wakatau fixed two poles, with strings having a noose, one at the bow of the canoe, and one at the stern; and Kaiaia flew straight towards the canoe, and alighted on the pole at the bow. Then the string was pulled tight, and that brave was caught fast by the foot.

"The men on shore no sooner saw that this brave was killed, than another of them, named Kahu (kite), exclaimed, 'Kaiaia did not go to work in the right way. If I were to go, the canoe would be destroyed.' So off flew Kahu, and alighted on the pole at the stern of the canoe; but the string was pulled, and his feet were also caught fast.

"When the multitude on shore saw that two of their braves were killed by Wakatau, Mango-pare (the hammer-headed-shark) proposed to destroy the canoe by swallowing it. He promised to dive underneath the canoe and swallow it up.

"Mango-pare straightway dived; but Wakatau poured oil on the sea, and the water becoming [p.70] transparent, the shark was seen coming up open-mouthed to devour the keel of the canoe, so great was his hurry to destroy it. At that instant, Wakatau thrust at Mango-pare with a sharp-pointed pole, and struck him. Then hauling him close to the canoe, he cut off the tip of his tongue, and let him go back to the shore to tell his tribe of his bravery. So Mango-pare returned to the shore. Wakatau also went on shore. But no one knew him; for he transformed his visage, that he might not be recognized.

"The multitude were assembled in the house, called Tihi-o-manono, to hear Mango-pare relate his adventure. 'Come tell us,' they demanded, 'tell us of the valour of the man.'

"'Ko te taata he taata kaa raa' (The man is a very powerful man), said Mango-pare, in a strange voice; for his tongue being cut, his manner of speech was changed.

"'Who is he like?' Said the multitude.

"'Like me?' inquired one.

"'No!' replied Mango-pare.

'"Lilie me?' inquired another.

"Mango-pare again said, 'No!'

"Then, asked Wakatau, 'Is he like me?'

"'Yes!' said Mango-pare, 'he resembles you. Why, you are the very person, I declare;' and Mango-pare persisted in saying, 'This is the very same man.'


"When Wakatau saw that he was known by Mango-pare, he felt for a rope that he had concealed under his cloak. The rope was knotted, and also charmed with a potent and deadly charm. Wakatau brandished his rope,—with a blow one thousand fell dead. Again he whirled his rope towards the other side of the house,—another thousand fell dead. He then set fire to their house: so the sky became red with flames, and the mother of Tuhuruhuru knew by the sign that the Tihi-o-manono was burning, and that Wakatau had obtained payment for her husband's death."

The incidents recorded in these fables refer to the most ancient times in the history of the New Zealanders, long anterior to the voyage from Hawaiki. By the present generation, they are generally regarded as the inventions of their forefathers, and are related for the amusement of young persons.

Foreigners have very naturally imagined that the land pulled up by Maui was actually New Zealand; because Hawke's Bay, on the east coast, is called by the New Zealanders Te matau o Maui (Maui's fish-hook). But this is not the fact; for, according to the most authentic traditions, Maui must have lived ages before the discovery of New Zealand by their ancestors. It seems quite sufficient to account for the name given to the Bay, [p.72] that its shape is that of the New Zealander's fish-hook, and that the first colonists probably gave to places in their new country the names already familiar to them in the country whence they came; just as we find has been the habit of other colonists, whether Greeks or Anglo-Saxons.

There is a very strange tradition to be met with in different parts of New Zealand—that, when first their ancestors arrived, there existed amphibious reptiles, resembling in form and appearance the ngarara or iguana, now found in different parts of the country, but of so enormous a size that they were able to devour a man with the greatest ease.

The Waikato natives have a tradition that one of these creatures infested the neighbourhood of Pirongia, and that, after having devoured many of the tribe, it was at last killed by a person who made a suit of armour of wicker-work to protect himself from its formidable teeth.

The natives of Rotorua have likewise a tradition that their ancestors succeeded in catching, in a trap made of ropes, a similar monster, which had been very destructive to unwary travellers on the road leading from thence to Taupo.

And by the natives of Cook's Straits, it is also reported, that the same creature was once found in that part of the island.

Are we to conclude, from these accounts, that [p.73] some immense species of sauria, resembling the crocodile, was at one time indigenous to New Zealand? I imagine this can scarcely be admitted, otherwise some of their remains, in a semi-fossil state—like the bones of the moa (dinornis, Owen)—would, in all probability, have been discovered ere this. We are rather inclined to class the tradition with some of the foregoing fables, and to suppose that the New Zealanders have given the locality of New Zealand to events recorded in ancient tales; which are probably exaggerated accounts of what may have occurred in the countries from which the Maori came formerly.

In a recent account of the Philippines,62 from the pen of a French gentleman, who lived there for many years, some interesting anecdotes are mentioned, describing the great size and ferocity of the alligator that infests the lakes and rivers of that country. "Upon one occasion," writes this gentleman, "a Chinese was riding onwards in advance of me. We reached a river; and I let him go on alone, in order to ascertain whether the river was very deep or not. Suddenly three or four caymans, which lay in waiting under the water, threw themselves upon him; horse and rider disappeared, and for some minutes afterwards the water was tinged with blood." A very animated [p.74] description is also given of the bunt and capture of one of these monsters. After they had succeeded in killing it, the narrative thus proceeds to give an account of its size:—"It was no easy matter to haul him up on the bank; the strength of forty Indians hardly sufficed. When, at last, we bad got him completely out of the water, and had him before our eyes, we stood stupefied with astonishment; for it was a very different thing to see his body thus, and to see him swimming when he was fighting against us. Mr. Russell, a very competent person, was charged with his measurements. From the extremity of his nostrils to the tip of his tail, he was found to be twenty-seven feet long; and his circumference was eleven feet, measured under the armpits. His belly was much more voluminous, but we thought it unnecessary to measure him there, judging that the horse upon which he bad breakfasted must have considerably increased his bulk."

Doubtless, some traces of monsters such as here described, would be likely to be preserved among the traditionary tales of a people who had originally come from countries where they were found; and we have already said enough to show the probability that the ancestors of the New Zealanders, and other Polynesians, once inhabited the Philippines and other islands of the Indian Archipelago, where this alligator is known. That tales respect- [p.75] ing the existence of these creatures prevail also in other islands of Polynesia, appears from the following extract from Mr. Pickering's work. "During a visit to Upolu (one of the Navigator Islands), information was obtained respecting a crocodile, believed by the natives to exist in one of the streams. A species of crocodile is known to occur as far east as New Ireland; and Mariner relates an instance of a straggler having reached the Feejee Islands."63

The creature spoken of in the traditions of the New Zealanders is frequently called Tuatara,64 a name also common to the iguana of the country, derived from the circumstance of its back being armed with a row of spines. It is also sometimes called Taniwha, a word of indefinite signification, equivalent to the English monster: for the same name designates more commonly a fabulous inhabitant of the ocean, which is still firmly believed in by most. It is a prevalent belief, that friendly spirits, embodied in the Taniwhas of the sea, frequently attended chiefs and persons cared for by the Atua, while making a voyage, hovering about their canoe; and it is affirmed that, in some instances, when in danger of sinking, they have even supported the canoe on their back, and borne it safely to the shore.


The following tale, recounting the murder of their guardian Taniocha, is current among the natives of Hauraki:—

"A long while ago, there lived at Hauraki a Taniivha, called Ureia; and, at the same time, a Taniocha, whose name was Haumia, resided at Manukau. One day Haumia swam round to Hauraki to pay a visit to Ureia, and invite him to return with him to Manukau.

"'What are you come here for,' inquired Ureia of the stranger Taniivha? 'Have you anything good to give me to eat in your country?"

"'Aye, to be sure,' replied the other; 'there is plenty to eat in my country, and plenty of rich things besides.'

""Pray what may be the riches of your country?' demanded Ureia.

"'Why there are feathers of the huia and the kotuku, the scented leaves of the raukaiva, and the perfume distilled from the plant taramea; there are abundance of kopura (corms or tubers), besides the manehu and tawiri tree.'

"'Indeed! Pray lead on, and show me the treasures of your country.'

"'Nay, you go before, and see what a noble country mine is.'

"Then Ureia came out of his cave; but he had no sooner done so, than Haumia turned back, and shut the door of the cave quite close.


"'Ell!' exclaimed Ureia, rather alarmed at seeing what his visitor had done, 'Eh! Haumia has turned adrift the Taniicha.'65 However, he swam off with Haumia, not really thinking that any evil was designed, and at length reached Puponga without accident.

"But the men of Haumia's country had made a trap for the Taniocha of Hauraki with a net of ropes: and the moment he swam in to it they hauled it tight, and, having thus caught him, dragged him on shore."

That this tale, the invention of some fertile imagination, was once firmly believed, may be inferred from the fact, that it was the cause of war between the natives of Manukau and the tribes of Hauraki, named Ngatimaru, whose Taniwha was supposed to have been thus murdered. Such is the credulity which accompanies superstition.

Some persons have imagined that they could trace, in the traditions of the New Zealanders, vestiges of the principal historical facts connected with the early state of mankind, recorded by Moses. But, I must confess, that my inquiries on these subjects have led me to arrive at very different conclusions. A gentleman connected with the Church Mission, with whom I was once conversing on the subject, assured me that the natives among whom [p.78] he resided had a distinct tradition of the Deluge. As this gentleman had been twelve or fourteen years in the country, and possessed an intimate knowledge of the Maori language, his statement would have been generally accepted as most worthy of reliance. On further inquiry, however, from the same tribe of natives who were his informants, I was soon convinced that he had been misled by his own preconceived ideas, and that the deluge of his imagination was no more than a remarkable flood, which had overwhelmed a village several generations ago. The particulars of this event I obtained from a chief, named Te Awhe.

The village destroyed, called Taumaharua, was situate on the bank of the river Ohinemuri, not far from its point of junction with the river Waihou, or Thames. Ngati-ako was the name of the small tribe who dwelt on it, and their chief, Whare, was an ancestor of my informant.

As the flood arose, Whare, being both chief and priest, was entreated to repeat some charm having power to compel the waters of the flood to subside. Whare refused; and the words of his reply are still preserved as a proverb: "E kore a Whare e tara, he ua haeremai i roto i Keteriki,"—(Whare will not charm, for the rain comes from the direction of Keteriki).

Keterild is the name of a lofty mountain to the eastward, and at no great distance from the place [p.79] where the event took place. The wisdom of Whare's reply is proved over and over again every year; the same wind generally bringing rain and flood.

In one of the traditions collected by Sir George Grey, to which reference has been already made, there occurs a passage which might, at the first glance, be easily imagined to point to a great catastrophe, identical with the Deluge; for it is there related that during the wars of Tawhiri-ma-tea, the god and father of winds and storms, with his brothers, the greater part of the earth was submerged, "so that only a small portion of dry land projected above the sea."66 It appears, however, at least doubtful if this is really a part of the original tradition, or merely an interpolation of the native who compiled the manuscript. There is some ground for this suspicion, because it is rather inconsistent with a statement contained in the same tradition, namely, that the human race then existing withstood all the attacks of the god of tempests, and remained uninjured by them.

There is also, in other parts of the narrative, evidence that the native who reduced it to its present connected written form must have been a person having a certain amount of education derived from missionary instruction, and acquainted more or less with the history of the Bible. One remarkable instance occurs in a paragraph account- [p.80] ing for the origin of the use of charms and incantations, which are said to have been instituted by the great progenitor of man, Tu-matanenga. This statement, which clearly rests on veritable traditionary authority, is however qualified by the paragraph immediately following: "But it was the great God that taught these prayers to man;"67 a remark which would naturally lead the reader to infer that the New Zealander had an idea of God in themselves of a supreme intelligence. The fact, however, is not so; for neither in any existing superstition nor tradition, purely such, is there to be found internal evidence that an idea of God existed more exalted than that of the spirit of a dead ancestor. The paragraph we have quoted, when read in connexion with the rest of the text, will be found in reality to form no part of the narrative of the tradition, but to be the gloss or reflection of the person who wrote the manuscript for Sir George Grey, and the natural remark of a native instructed in Christianity.




The ancient fables of the New Zealanders refer to beings having supernatural powers, called Atua, who existed in times past: but none of these divinities are believed to take any interest in the affairs of the present race of men.

The gods whom the New Zealanders fear are the spirits of the dead, who are believed to be constantly watching over the living with jealous ire, lest they should neglect any part of the law relating to persons or things subject to the sacred restriction called tapu. These spirits, however, confine their care almost exclusively to persons among the living with whom they are connected by ties of relationship; so that every tribe and every family as its own proper Atua.

The Atua who more particularly watch over the natures of a tribe are spirits of its warriors and [p.82] other great men. In war these spirits are supposed to attend the army, and direct its movements while on its march, by communicating advice or warning through some one or other of their nearest living kinsmen. In actual conflict, they hover over the combatants, and inspire courage into the hearts of their own tribe.

Whenever, on the eve of battle, or during it, fear comes on any of the younger and less experienced, recourse is immediately had to the family tohunga, or priest, who repeats a charm invoking the aid of his friendly spirit; for the sensation of fear is thought to arise from the baneful influence of some hostile spirit. If the friendly spirit prove victorious, the hostile spirit is expelled, and the young men, no longer timid, rush into the fight, and have often, under such circumstances, distinguished themselves by some remarkable deeds of valour.

This I have frequently heard related to be a fact too well established to admit of dispute. It is, perhaps, sufficiently accounted for by their firm belief in the virtue of the charm of the priest.

The interest taken by spirits of the dead in mundane affairs seldom extends beyond the limits of the tribe to which they belong. Hence, persons taken in war and carried away as slaves by another tribe cease from that moment to be under the care of any Atua. The Atua of their own tribe trouble themselves not to follow them among a hostile tribe [p.83] and hostile spirits; while the Atua of the tribe whose slaves they are never give them a thought. They are therefore independent of the law of tapu, as far as they are individually concerned—a fortunate circumstance for the comfort of the female portion of the community; for it is owing to this belief that male slaves are able to assist them in a variety of menial offices connected with carrying and cooking food, which they could not in their free state have meddled in without incurring the anger of their Atua, and its consequence—sickness, and perhaps death.

The abode of spirits is a region situated beneath the earth, called Te Reigna. They have, however, the power to return to earth at pleasure, and to enter into bodies of animals, or of men, or even into the substance of inanimate objects.

Some tribes—the practice is observable particularly among the natives of Wanganui—preserve in their houses small carved images of wood, each of which is dedicated to the spirit of an ancestor of the family, who is believed to enter into its substance, on particular occasions, in order to hold converse with the living.

These images are not objects of worship, nor are they held sacred as possessing in themselves any virtue; but merely because they have been in close contact with an Atua. Anything, in fact, touched by an Atua would be tapu from that in- [p.84] stant; and these images, having been frequently the temporary abodes of spirits, are consequently superlatively tapu.

Atua sometimes communicate their will to men in dreams; sometimes more directly, by conversing with them while awake. Their voice, however, is not like that of mortals, but a mysterious kind of sound, half whistle, half whisper. This I have myself heard, having been once honoured by a conference with the spirits of two chiefs who had been several years dead. And I have been assured that such is always the peculiar voice of Atua when they talk with man.

As I was returning one afternoon from the native chapel at Matamata, a young chief named Tarapi-pipi overtook me, and, renewing a conversation of the morning relative to the power which Atua had of appearing on earth and holding converse with men, proposed to me to go with him to the house of a certain aged female at whose bidding the Atua of the tribe were in the habit of appearing, and prevail on her to invite their presence. He said he should like to know what I thought of the Atua of the New Zealander, after I had seen them and heard them speak.

Tarapipipi was a Christian, baptized by the name of William Thompson. His father was a celebrated chief, named Te Waharoa, who had been very successful in war: and it was thought that all the [p.85] mana, or genius and energy of the father had descended to this son. He was, consequently, the most influential young chief of the tribe; for, having bravery and eloquence, he possessed two qualities held in higher estimation by them than any other. Although a Christian and the teacher of his people, he had evidently not been able entirely to subdue the force of early impressions. He would not acknowledge that he had any belief in the gods of his fathers; but he had still a lingering dread of their power, which, though weakened, was not totally destroyed.

When the New Zealander becomes a professing Christian, it is not a consequence that he at once abandons his former belief. He continues, at least in a great majority of cases, to believe in the reality of the Atua of his fathers. But he believes the Christ to be a more powerful Atua, and of a better nature; and therefore he no longer dreads the Atua Maori.

Such was probably the state of Tarapipipi's belief, although he would never express himself very decidedly on the subject.

I had before then resided much in a part of New Zealand remote from European settlements, where the Christian religion had been adopted by few only of the inhabitants, and where, consequently, the ancient forms of belief were in full force. The visits of Atua to their living relatives were there [p.86] not unfrequent. Several times, on a morning, it was reported to me that they had on the night past taken part in the state councils of the tribe. Yet, though I always asked permission to be present on the next of these occasions, and my request was not refused, I had never been fortunate enough to see an Atua or hear the voice of one, some excuse being always offered for not giving me timely notice before their presence was invoked. This I know was done purposely; for I have remarked that the unconverted New Zealander is invariably reluctant to enter into explanations with foreigners relative to his superstitious observances.

Tarapipipi's voluntary offer was therefore eagerly accepted. And we were on the point of setting off in quest of the old woman, when a young man named Tuakaraina joined us, and as a matter of course, with the inquisitiveness of his country-men, asked what we were talking about, and where we were going.

Tuakaraina was a cousin of Tarapipipi, but not a Christian. However, we could not avoid making him acquainted with our design. And when he heard it, perhaps out of deference to Tarapipipi, he made no objection, and even consented to go on before and inquire if the old lady was in her house, in order to prevent the people of the village knowing anything of what we were about to do.

In a few minutes, Tuakaraina brought us infor- [p.87] mation, that if we wished to see the old lady that evening, we must go to her cultivation ground, more than half-a-mile distant, where she was then dwelling in a solitary hut. At the same time, as it was getting dark, and a thin misty rain was falling, he advised the postponement of our visit till the following morning.

This arrangement, however, I did not approve, for I feared if we delayed the old lady might gain intelligence of our intention, and make some preparations to receive us; whereas by going now we must take her quite by surprise, in a position where she would have but little opportunity to practise deception. The point was left to my decision, and it was resolved to go at once. So leaving Tuakaraina to take a different path to avoid observation, I and the young chief walked on quickly, and fortunately were not again interrupted.

When we were at some little distance from the village, Tuakaraina rejoined us, carrying a lighted brand in his hand, which was of great service; for the path, lying partly through a forest, was much obstructed with trunks of trees and other impediments. At length we approached the spot where we expected to find the old woman, and Tarapipipi bid us go on before, saying he would follow and conceal himself somewhere within hearing, while we entered the hut alone; for he did not wish her to know that he was one of the party.


Probably some superstitious dread caused him to act in this manner. Or perhaps, as a professing Christian, he might have thought it improper to be more than a spectator on such an occasion.

In a few minutes, I and my guide stood at the entrance of a long low hut—the sort of temporary building usually erected in such places, only larger than ordinary. Apparently our approach had not been noticed, for we found the old woman wrapt in her blanket, seated composedly by a blazing fire, while two female slaves opposite her were busily employed talking and weaving potato baskets. As soon, however, as we were discovered, the mistress bid us enter, and, motioning to her two slaves to move further off, gave up to us her own place, which was spread with a neat mat of plaited flax, and took theirs. She expressed no surprise at our paying her a visit at such an irregular hour, though I was a stranger; but, after welcoming me, and taking away some of her things which she thought might incommode me, sat quietly by the door, while Tuakaraina began to cut up some tobacco for his pipe, at the same time relating with great volubility the latest news of the village. Taking a hint from my companion, I offered the old lady some tobacco. She graciously accepted it; and, having rubbed a small piece between her hands till it was nearly reduced to powder, packed the mass carefully in the bowl of a short black pipe, which [p.89] she produced from some place of concealment beneath her cloak. She then selected a glowing coal, placed it on the tobacco to ignite it, and sucked in the smoke with the gusto of a connoisseur.

After sufficient time had been devoted to this introductory ceremony, Tuakaraina said abruptly, "All that we have been talking about, mother, has nothing to do with the cause of our coming here to pay you this visit.

"I suppose not," she replied.

"This stranger," he continued, "is an unbeliever, who declares that our Atua Maori are a humbug: so I have brought him here that he may see and hear them."

"It is a dangerous experiment for your friend. Who knows the thoughts of the Atua? They may be displeased; and their anger will fall on the Pakehar.68

"What matter if it does, mother; he is an unbeliever. What matter, then, if the Atua punish him. His own wish brought him here; and any evil that befalls him will come on him by his own act."

I must own I was not pleased with these sentiments of Tuakaraina. He appeared so eager to prove the truth of his gods, that I did not feel quite satisfied he would not readily be a party to any [p.90] trick to punish me. I felt secure, however, of having within reach a friend in Tarapipipi, who would guard me against any unfair play.

The old lady still objected, on the plea that she had lately become a missionary, which term with them is synonymous with that of Christian, and that Tarapipipi would be angry. So I began to fear that I should be forced to return without having satisfied my curiosity. Tarapipipi, however, made his appearance, and, sitting down just without the entrance to the hut, took part in the dialogue.

"There is no wrong, mother, in what the stranger wishes. Do not fear on my account."

"Very well," replied the old lady; "we shall see what will happen." And without saying more, she left off smoking, removed all the blazing sticks from the fire, so as to obscure the light partially, and then sat quite still.

The two slave-women, who up to this time had gone on with their work, now ceased to ply their fingers, laid their baskets down quietly, and also sat still without speaking.

For a while, we all observed a complete silence; but no strange sound was heard. At length, Tuakaraina began to show symptoms of impatience. He suggested, that probably the pipes we had been smoking kept the Atua away, because of their aversion to come near food intended to be eaten after- [p.91] wards by man: so, collecting them together, he placed them on the ground outside the hut. Still no voice was heard, nor intimation that any Atua would appear. He then quitted his seat by me, and took the opposite side of the fire, near the old lady; where he stretched himself at full length, with his face to the ground, and called on the Atua by name.

"Why are you so long in coming?" he shouted angrily. "Are you at Waikato? or where else at a distance, that you come not quickly?"

The flame of the fire had by this time gone out, and the embers alone gave a dim light. It was, however, sufficient to enable me to distinguish the persons in the hut. They all sat still except Tuakaraina, who, rolling himself on his belly, ceased not to call on his gods with great energy.

The sight was strange and unexpected, and, at the moment, made a great impression on me. In spite of my better judgment, involuntary fancies would intrude on my imagination. Was it only a mere juggle I was about to witness? Might there not be more things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in man's philosophy?

These speculations were suddenly interrupted by a sound, as if something heavy had fallen on the roof of the hut; and then a rustling noise; such as might be made by a rat, crept along the thatch till it stopped just over our heads.


The old woman covered her head and face in her blanket, and bent herself up nearly double, her head resting on her knees. And immediately from the spot where the rustling noise had ceased issued sounds imitative of a voice, but whistled instead of being articulated in ordinary tones. The moment it was heard, Tuakaraiua and the others present recognized the voice of Te Waharoa, Tarapipipi's father.

The voice said something to the son, which I did not understand; but I afterwards learnt that it was a private matter, known only to Tarapipipi and his wife.

Tarapipipi quickly interrupted him, saying,—"Don't speak on that subject, father; but turn to welcome our Pakeha."

Immediately the voice welcomed me after the manner of the tribe,—"E te manuwhidi, e to Pakeha, tautimai, &c."—(Welcome hither, sir guest, sir stranger, &c.) Tarapipipi, though outside the hut, was still very close to me; and, leaning towards me, he said in a whisper, "Put your hand over the old woman's mouth quickly."

I no sooner did as he bid me, than the same voice demanded, "Who has put his hand to touch me?"

This seemed a sufficient proof that the voice came from the mouth of the old woman; and I also noticed, that whenever the whistling voice was [p.93] heard, I could not distinguish her breathing: but immediately on its ceasing, the breathing was heard, as if accelerated after an exertion.

Fearing the scene might end prematurely if I uttered a word of ridicule or doubt, I gravely addressed the supposed owner of the voice, and requested him to come into the hut, and permit us to see as well as hear him.

He replied that he was a lizard, and would not come nearer for fear of injuring me.

Tuakaraina hereupon interposed, urging him to show himself, and punish the Pakeha.

"Come," said he, "alight on this Pakeha's back. What matter if he be killed: it will be the fault of his obstinate unbelief."

No persuasions, however, or taunts could induce Te Waharoa to injure the friend of his son; at least, that was the reason he gave why he would not consent to show himself to us. And he soon changed the subject of discourse, by observing,—"Now that you have given me the trouble to come so far to visit you, it is surely your intention to make me a fine present—a cask of tobacco, or perhaps a coat."

"Of what possible service will a coat be to a spirit?" rejoined the son, laughing. "How will you be able to put it on?"

Te Waharoa did not answer this query, but took leave of us, saying, that he would send Whitiki to [p.94] visit us, who might not be deterred by the same scruples as he was from gratifying our foolish wish.

Whitiki was an Atua of Nga-Puhi extraction, who delighted, for old friendship sake, to dwell among the spirits of Ngati-Haua.

After a short pause of silent expectation, something was heard to fall plump on the roof like a stone. There was then a rustling noise, as before, which travelled along the roof, and afterwards passed downwards, and along the thatched walls of the hut, between the two door-ways. Finally, it again ascended the roof, and halted nearly over the old woman. Then I again heard a whistling voice; but it differed from the last, for this voice spoke in the dialect of the Nga-Puhi tribe.

"Why have you sent for me?" demanded the voice.

"Because of my great longing to see an Atua."

"If I show myself to you," whistled the voice, "you will have cause to fear: I am a pungawerewere;" meaning that he at present dwelt in the body of a pungawerewere, or spider.

I assured Whitiki I had no fear on that account, and spreading out the palm of my hand, requested him to come down and rest on it, instead of on the roof of the hut.

"Sir," he answered sharply, "you are a silly Pakeha. But I will not do as you ask; for if any injury befall you the blame will rest on Tarapipipi."


Tarapipipi then interposed, assuring him that he need not hesitate on his account. And Tuakaraina supplicated him to punish the foreigner for his obstinacy. Whitiki, however, refused to show himself.

I then thought of a mode to test his supernatural power: so said, inquiringly, that I thought he must have seen me before.

"Where?" he demanded.

"At the Bay of Islands," I replied.

"To be sure," said he, "in a ship with three masts."

The answer was just. I had been only once at the Bay of Islands, and, as he truly said, in a ship with three masts.

"You were probably at Hokianga also when I was there?" I again demanded.

"Yes, I was," he answered readily.

"In what sort of a ship was I?" I continued.

"Why, in a ship with two masts; was it not so?"

Now this last reply, though a shrewd one—for Hokianga being a bar-harbour, and a dangerous place, few vessels, except brigs or schooners, ever venture to enter it—was not correct. I had never been there in my life; so Whitiki was convicted of telling a falsehood. However, I was not rude enough to tell him so; and, shortly after, he also went away.

In a few minutes a small squeaking voice, like [p.96] that of an infant, was heard. What it said I did not comprehend: but it made Tarapipipi laugh heartily.

Tuakaraina having hitherto failed to show me some decided proof of the power of his Atua, thought he had now a favourable opportunity; for spirits of infants are held to be the most mischievous and malignant. So he thus addressed it,—"Child, do be angry with the foreigner,—he has stolen my comb, and left it in a cook-house."

"Ton rokeroke" (You be), was the urchin's reply—not sufficiently delicate for translation.

Then, after laughing heartily at his vile joke, in the same squeaking tones, it also departed, laughing as it went; for we heard the voice gradually dying away till lost, as it were, in the distance.

After that we heard no more Atua; and the old woman, removing her blanket from her face, and raising her head, as though just awaked from a trance, inquired if I was satisfied.

As for Tuakaraina, he did not appear to be pleased with any one. He was angry with me, because he feared I would ridicule his Atua; for it is the common practice of foreigners so to do—a reason why information on these matters is withheld from them. He was angry with the Atua, because they had not sufficiently manifested their power.

His last stratagem to punish me showed his firm [p.97] faith in the superstitions of his ancestors, and how far he would go in defence of them. He had been taught to believe it a heinous sin to leave a comb in a cook-house—a sin the peculiar province of infant spirits to punish: therefore, by accusing me of having stolen a comb, which had touched the sacred head of him, a chief, and the near blood-relation of the spirit while alive, and then desecrated it, by leaving it in a cook-house—a place to be entered by none but slaves and women—he made sure to rouse the anger of the sprite, and induce it to enter into my body, and there, by gnawing some vital part, torment me into a belief in his power. But the sprite knew better; for, being an Atua, he of course knew the tale to be false; which circumstance Tuakaraina, in his simplicity, had over-looked.

'When we returned in the evening to the village, I found that I had lost a piece of paper, called a debenture, which represented £5. At that time this was almost the only kind of money current in the colony. Some wise persons of Tarapipipi's family, who heard of my loss, at once put it down to the malice of the infant Atua who had visited us; and talked very confidently of the mischievous propensities and power of these little beings. I believe most of those present were quite persuaded that the paper money had been thus made away with. But unfortunately for the prediction, this [p.98] proof of the Atuas power was denied, my debenture being picked up early next morning, on the path we went, by an old man, who was going to his potato garden. The old man did not know the value of what he had found, and would probably have made a cartridge of it, had not one younger and more knowing, to whom he showed it, preserved it and restored it to me.

From that day the hut in which this adventure took place was deserted. Having been the resting place of Atua, it and all it contained became tapu. This prohibition of their sacred law fell rather severely on the old lady, as she had placed in store there, temporarily a great number of baskets of potatoes, which it would now be sacrilege to eat. Indeed, to use these potatoes for food would, by a New Zealander, be dreaded as much as to swallow a dose of deadly poison.

I have already said, that the whistling voice of the Atua was easily enough traceable to the old woman's mouth. But how the rustling noise, which seemed to creep along the thatch of the roof and the side of the hut was caused, I could not comprehend. Tarapipipi, on whose part I felt sure there could be no deception, must have seen any one without the hut at or near the parts whence the strange noise issued. Besides, the only persons on the premises, at our arrival, were the old lady and her two female slaves, who all remained inside [p.99] the hut, never moving from their seats, and could, therefore, have taken no part in producing it. Who or what caused the rustling noise was a mystery I could not penetrate, nor could Tarapipipi. Whatever my own opinion as to the evidence of a cheat, I had not detected it in a way to shake a New Zealander's faith; for as to tracing the voice to the mouth of the old woman, that might be explained on the supposition that the Atua, having entered into her body, spoke by means of her organs of speech. And such a supposition would be quite admissible according to the theory of their natural religion.

That the sounds we had heard were really due to supernatural agency was, perhaps, as easily credible as the miracle of St. Januarius, which is repeated two or three times annually, at Naples, in presence of a wondering and believing multitude.

The reader has probably been as much struck as I was by the manner in which Tuakaraina invoked the presence of his gods. How similar the scene in which the priests of Baal are described as actors. "And (they) called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any thing that answered."69

M. de Humboldt, who took much pains to investigate the language and habits of the Polynesians, offers the opinion that they present a picture of [p.100] the condition of society and manner of existence once common to the whole Malayo-Polynesian family, in their more simple and more ancient, and, probably, their original state. The Maori of New Zealand are one of the branches of the Polynesian family who seem to have been preserved to the greatest extent unmixed with foreign alloy. If we may so say, they are ages behind the major part of the world of the present day. Hence, the contemplation of their manners and superstitions takes us back to a period in the history of the world when the different races of mankind had not been confounded, as they are now, by having become multiplied and intermixed when, in fact, they were not so remote from the original centre, but that traces of their primitive identity were still marked. It is therefore, perhaps, not to be wondered at that we should discover a resemblance in some of their superstitious practices, and those of so ancient a people as the heathen worshippers of Baal.




The superstitious observances of the natives of New Zealand are referable to certain laws relating to mea tapu (things sacred or prohibited), the breach of which by any one is a crime displeasing to the Atua of his family. The word tapu, commonly written tabou, is used in the same sense in the Sandwich Islands, in the Society Islands, and, as far as is known, in the other islands of Polynesia. It is probably derived from the word ta, to mark, and pu, an adverb of intensity. The compound word tapu, therefore, means no more than "marked thoroughly," and only came to signify sacred or prohibited in a secondary sense; because sacred things and places were commonly marked in a peculiar manner, in order that every one might know that they were sacred.

The fundamental law on which all their superstitious restrictions depend is, that if any thing tapu [p.102] is permitted to come in contact with food, or with any vessel or place where food is ordinarily kept, such food must not afterwards be eat by any one, and such vessel or place must no longer be devoted to its ordinary use; the food, vessel, or place becoming tapu from the instant of its contact with an object already tapu.

The idea in which this law originated appears to have been, that a portion of the spiritual essence of an Atua, or of a sacred person, was communicated directly to objects which they touched, and also that the spiritual essence so communicated to any object was afterwards more or less retransmitted to any thing else brought into contact with it. It was, therefore, necessary that any thing containing the spiritual essence of an Atua should be made tapu, to protect it from being polluted by the contact of food designed to be eat; for the act of eating food which had touched any thing tapu involved the necessity of eating the sacred essence of the Atua, from whom it derived its sacredness. If to eat an enemy was the greatest insult to be offered him, how horrible to eat anything containing a particle of the divine essence. Hence it will be understood why Atua, when on a visit to the earth, disliked to approach any place which was not tapu. Their aversion, indeed, to touch food designed to be eat by man was supposed to be so great that, in former days, before the introduction of Christianity, [p.103] whenever any one was obliged to travel by night from place to place, he carried in his hand a little cooked food, or a brand taken from a fire whereon food had been cooked, believing himself then quite secure against the attacks of wandering spirits.

Every thing not included under the class of tapu is called noa, meaning free or common. The restriction of tapu, however, may be removed from any person or object, by certain ceremonies to be explained hereafter. This was a very necessary provision; for if no bounds had been placed to the general rule, by which things were liable to fall under the restriction of tapu, by coming into contact with things before made tapu, the severity of their superstitious law would have been intolerable; in fact, every place, and even the food it contained, must in time have become tapu; in which case, as it would then be unlawful to partake of it, the very existence of man would have been interfered with. As it was, the dread of trespassing on any tapu spot was formerly so powerful, that, on going to a strange land, ceremonies were performed in order to make it noa, lest, perchance, it might have been previously tapu.

It has been already stated, that every tribe and every family has its own proper Atua, namely, the spirits of departed ancestors. The heads of families, also, in both the male and female line, are regarded by their own family with a veneration [p.104] almost akin to that of their Atua. They form, as it were, the links of connexion between the living and the spirits of the dead; and the ceremony of releasing any thing from the restriction of tapu cannot be perfected without their intervention. Ariki is the title by which the heir male or heir female of a family is designated in New Zealand; and the same word is found throughout Polynesia, varying slightly in pronunciation in different islands, and has, most probably, the same universal signification, although it has been often, I believe erroneously, translated by the terms Lord, King, &c.

In Tahiti, the Ariki (or Arii, as there pronounced) of a tribe appears to have been more sacred even than in New Zealand, every part of his body being tapu, so that no one could touch him; and, whenever he overpassed the bounds of his own hereditary lands, he was obliged to ride on the shoulders of persons appointed for the purpose, to prevent his feet touching the ground; for wherever he trod became forthwith tapu, and any food growing there no one could afterwards eat but himself.70

The extraordinary influence which their superstitious principles of action have had on the social habits of the New Zealanders has been too often overlooked by those who have given descriptions of the character of these people.

One of the many subjects of reproach which [p.105] have been brought against them is, that they employ their females in carrying heavy loads of potatoes and other food on their backs, the practice being considered a sign of the laziness and inhumanity of the male portion of the community. From the light we have already thrown on their superstitions, it will be seen, that for any one whose back was tapu to carry a basket of food on it, would be to render it unlawful for any one but himself to eat of that food. So erroneous are the opinions which travellers are liable to form regarding the customs of a strange people, by judging only from what they see.

By neglecting the law of tapu, Ariki, chiefs, and others peculiarly the objects of the care and protection of Atua, are subject to their displeasure more than persons in a humble station of life, and so are afraid to do a great many simple but necessary acts in private life, which must therefore be done by slaves, and such females as are exempt from the law of tapu. For this reason, persons of the sacred class are in the habit of eating their meals in the open air, at a little distance from their dwelling houses, and from the spot where they and their friends usually recline. Some few are so very sacred that each must have his food served up to him on a separate dish, and if he is unable to eat all that has been placed before him, the remainder must either be thrown away, or kept for his sole [p.106] use when next needed, by being placed in a sacred receptacle devoted to that purpose; for no human being would dare to eat what so sacred a person had left on his plate. In villages whose inhabitants are chiefly heathen, these private larders are still used. Their shape is that of a house, though no larger than an ordinary sized box, and being stuck on top of posts six or seven feet high, they are rather conspicuous objects in their court-yards, which can hardly fail to excite the curiosity of a stranger.

The dread lest the residue of their meal should be eat by another person has been the cause of a very singular custom, namely, that guests always carry away with them all they are unable to eat of the food which is placed before them, even if they afterwards take the first opportunity to throw it away secretly. This practice still prevails to a great extent, notwithstanding the very general adoption of a new religion and new manners.

Shortly after the settlement at Auckland was founded, the chief of the neighbouring tribe happened to call one day on a gentleman who held an office under the Colonial Government. This gentleman was not able to converse with the chief in his own language; but being desirous to secure his good offices, thought the best way of making friends would be to give him something to eat. Accordingly, a leg of mutton from which he had [p.107] just dined was again placed on the table, with a dish of potatoes. The chief ate all the potatoes, but did not seem to relish the mutton. However, true to the usages of his country, when he had done eating, he called to one of his attendants who sat outside the door to bring a basket, and then, taking up what was left of the leg of mutton, he very gravely placed it therein, and bidding his friend adieu, in the laconic phrase of his country, "Remain where you are. Sir," walked off, leaving his host quite new to the manners of the New Zealanders petrified with astonishment.

One of the most important of the superstitious laws of this people, is that which makes the head and backbone of the human body tapu. I have never heard any reason assigned for this remarkable superstition; but it seems not unlikely that it originated in a belief that the soul, or spiritual essence of man, resided in the brain and spinal marrow, those organs having been necessarily observed to be so essential to life. Hence, it is a crime for a sacred person to leave his comb, or blanket, or any thing else which has touched his head or back, in a place where food has been cooked, or even to suffer another person to drink out of any vessel which has before touched his lips. Hence, also, when any one wishes to drink, he never touches with his lips the water-vessel, but holds his two hands close to his mouth so [p.108]  as to form a hollow, into which water is poured by another person, and thence is allowed to run into his mouth. If even a light for a pipe is required, the burning ember taken from the fire for that purpose must be thrown away immediately after being used; for the pipe becomes tapu, because it has touched the mouth; the coal becomes tapu, because it has touched the pipe; and if a particle of the tapu cinder were to be replaced on the common fire, the fire would in like manner become tapu, and then could no longer be used for cooking food.

The following scene, taken from domestic life, will give some idea of the importance of the office of the hair-dresser: "Go to your father," said a mother to her child. "Go, and have your hair cut, and the and their eggs destroyed. Your condition is enough to make one sick."

So the child ran, and said to his father, "Pray cut my hair, sir: pray clean my head."

"Go," said the father, "ask your grandfather to cut your hair." Then the child went to his grandfather; and the old man turned kindly towards him, and bidding him lay his head down on his knees, began to cut his hair. But when he saw the dreadful condition of the poor child's head, he was so moved with pity, that he could not refrain from lamenting over him: "Alas!" said he, "however could my grandchild have endured the ravages of these swarms of insects?"


"Why, it's Tapu-te-anga (Sacred-skull) himself," exclaimed a person who happened to be sitting near, alluding to a gentleman whose head was so very sacred that no one dared touch it, and whose fearful state may, therefore, be imagined. The old man took no notice of this remark, but went on cutting his grandchild's hair; and, lastly, concluded the operation by scraping his head very carefully with a cockle-shell, till it was as clean as it could well be made by such a process. When all this was done, some food was served up to both of them apart from the family. This food was cooked over a sacred fire, and the grandfather was fed by another person; for his own hands, having touched a sacred head, were tapu; and, therefore, could not be employed in the office of conveying food to his mouth, till they had been restored to their free state.

However the refined ideas of the reader may be shocked, this is no more than the picture of an everyday scene in a New Zealand village. For a mother to wash her own child's head with soap and water would, according to the laws of the ancient regime, have been impossible. But the laws of tapu, though still strictly observed by the heathen part of the population, are felt a hardship to be endured of necessity, and not of will. Thus, we see the father gladly transferring to the grandfather the disagreeable office of family hair-cutter, lest his [p.110] hands should be bound by the strong, though invisible, cords of the tapu till the following day; before which time the ceremony whereby they were to be released from bondage could not be performed. The ceremony, in this case, was simply to rub the hands over with potato or fern root, which had been cooked over a sacred fire. This food, called horohoronga, was then carried to the head of the family in the female line, who having eat it, the hands became noa immediately.

The idea seems to have been, that the sacred essence, before imparted to the hands, passed into the food rubbed over them; but why it was necessary for the female representative of the family to eat the food so made sacred, does not appear very intelligible. We shall have occasion, hereafter, to give some further explanations respecting the mode of making noa things and persons who were tapu.

As for the hair cut from the head, it was deposited on some sacred spot of ground; for not only was it necessary to protect it from being touched accidentally or designedly by any one, but even should any one as might happen if the hair were left on the ground make such a remark as, "Whose hair is that? how disgusting!" the expression would be an insult, the more dangerous, because an offensive word or threat, in this country, is equivalent to an act of violence committed, and [p.111] requires the same utu, or compensative vengeance.71

By an extension of the law of tapu, any thing became tapu by giving it the name of a sacred person. Hence, when a chief wished to prohibit some particular spot of ground being cultivated by any one but himself, a common practice was to call it his own back-bone; after which even to tread on it would be equivalent to a declaration of war.

Adjoining every village was one or more tapu spots of ground, of a sufficient size, set apart for the purpose of receiving dead bodies, and every description of tapu offal, which would have been sadly in the way, if it had not all been collected together in one place.

Since the introduction of Christianity, the fear of tapu has gradually grown weaker, and the observances connected with the ancient superstitions have very generally fallen into disuse. By the elder persons, however, the old belief is more or less retained. Frequently, when I have been travelling in company with a party of natives, among whom were one or more of the sacred class, the latter have separated themselves from the community on reaching the night's resting-place, and remained by their own solitary sacred fire. In [p.112] former days, the huts used in travelling by sacred persons were always distinguished by their posts being daubed with red ochre, to prevent the law of tapu being inadvertently broken; and, for the same reason, sacred persons painted their bodies and clothes with the same red substance, that they might leave a mark behind them where they rested. These practices still prevail to a limited extent.

Enough has, perhaps, been said on this subject to give the reader a clue to the interpretation of many of the peculiar habits of this people, without the necessity for repeated explanations on every occasion that may occur in the subsequent part of the narrative. I shall, therefore, at present, only mention one other instance of the singular influence which the law of tax has exerted on the domestic habits of this people.

It is a curious fact, which often struck me as remarkable, before I learnt how to account for it, that a New Zealander will never lean his back against the wall of a house. The company assembled within a house, however numerous, always leave a little space between themselves and the wall. The cause of this strong objection to sit close to the wall, is their dread of the mysterious influence of certain tapu objects, which have been thrust into the rush walls of dwelling-houses for concealment.

When a foreigner enters the house of a New [p.113] Zealander, feeling the want of the convenience of a chair, to which he is accustomed, he is very apt to lean his back against the nearest wall for support. By so doing, however, he exposes himself to sly jokes and various remarks, which to a New Zealander would be highly offensive. I have frequently subjected myself to such remarks, on account of this breach of etiquette, being at the time quite unconscious of the error I had committed, as well as of the meaning of the observations made on the occasion; for it was not till after I had been several years in the country that I was let into the secrets connected with the word kahukahu, which will be explained hereafter.




Intimately connected with the superstition respecting things tapu is their theory of the nature of disease. The only cause from which sickness is ever imagined to originate is spirits72 who have entered into the body of the sufferer. Their belief is, that all neglect or infringement of the law of tapu, either wilful or undesigned, or even brought about by the act of another person, moves the Atua of the family to anger, who punishes the offender by sending some infant spirit to feed on [p.115] a part of his body, more or less vital, according to the magnitude of the crime.

Infant spirits, it seems, are generally selected as the agents of the vengeance of the Atua, on account of their love of mischief, and because, not having lived long enough on earth to acquire attachments to their living relatives, they are more likely to attack them without mercy. The most deadly diseases, however, are inflicted by the spirits of the germs of human beings, called kahukahu. This word involves some curious notions, which, I believe, are scarcely, if at all known to Europeans; the subject being one regarding which a New Zealander would not be likely to volunteer any information, and on which no one, perhaps, but a medical man would have made enquiry. The explanation of the word, however, is not calculated to interest the general reader, and is, therefore reserved for the Appendix.

The Atua are not supposed to inflict punishment always on the person causing an infringement of tapu, by eating food which has touched the person or clothes of one of the sacred class who, as one would imagine, should be looked on as the chief offender but more generally on the sacred person himself, whose duty it appears to have been to guard himself and clothes from such an indignity. For this reason, chiefs and other sacred persons are always ready to resent any infractions of the law [p.116] of their tapu, whether caused by the ignorance or by the design of others: and many an unfortunate slave has been killed because he had been careless enough to carry his master's hair-comb, or some other part of his dress, within the limits of the family kitchen.

When a person falls sick, and cannot remember that he has broken any law of tapu himself, he endeavours to discover who has got him into the scrape; for it is not an uncommon practice to make a person offend against some law of tapu, without his being aware of it, with the express object of causing the anger of his Atua to fall on him. This practice is a secret art called makutu. And it has often happened that an innocent person has been sacrificed to the rage of the relatives of a sick man, under the belief that he had caused the disease by such unlawful means.

They who have recourse to the art are generally persons who have suffered wrongs, but are too weak to hope to obtain redress by more open means. Some tribes are supposed to have more skill than others in the mystery of makutu. The Uriwera, a branch of the Ngatiawa of the Bay of Plenty, who inhabit the forests and mountainous district south of Opotiki, have the worst reputation in this respect of any in New Zealand. It is quite sufficient for those who are adepts in makutu, if they can get hold of a little of the spittle of their [p.117]  enemy, or some of the leavings of his food, in order to treat it in a way to ensure the rage of his Atua. For this reason, some will not dare to spit when in company with any one they fear might be inclined to injure them in such a way. And the same dread of witchcraft has, no doubt, been the primary cause of the strange custom already noticed,73 "that the guest never leaves behind any part of the food which has been set before him; but, if he cannot eat it, carries it away with him."

Another method sometimes employed to makutu a person is to place in his way some food which has been so prepared beforehand, that the act of eating it will be followed by the anger of an Atua. While acting as interpreter to Colonel Despard, I was one day with a reconnoitering party, led by the Colonel in person, to examine the position of the enemy. After several miles' march, we at last found ourselves on the outskirts of a forest, in which, at about the distance of three-quarters of a mile, the hostile party had built a stoccade on a spot called Te Eua-pekapeka (the Bats-Den). A small body of the natives who fought on our side, pushed on immediately across a wooded ravine, and took up a position beyond it on an open space of three or four acres covered with fern, a sort of oasis m the forest. Here a path, coming from another point of the country, united at an angle with that [p.118] by which we were advancing, both in one leading onward to the stoccade.

As soon as Colonel Despard came up to this spot, he sent two of the advanced guard of the 58th regiment to explore this other path for a short distance, while he, from the highest ground of the oasis, examined the stoccade with a telescope. The men, however, returned almost immediately, reporting that they had seen two natives in the wood, at a short distance from them, who fled the moment they were discovered; and, in proof of their tale, produced a small bundle of tobacco, tied together with flax, which they had found deposited between the branches of a tree close to the spot where they had first seen the two natives. The most natural interpretation to be given to the occurrence was, that the natives were scouts from the hostile party, merely sent to watch us, and that the tobacco had been left in the hurry of flight. The Chief Nini, however, who happened to be present, took a different view of the matter. He no sooner saw the tobacco, and had examined the way in which it was bound up, than he pronounced it to be designed to makutu some of us, and cautioned the standers-by not to touch it. The dread of this secret influence was very observable; for every one of the natives present seemed instinctively to shrink from contact with the tobacco, as a European might from the infection of plague.


I will mention another anecdote to show the reader how generally prevails the belief in makutu at the present day, and that even foreigners are supposed to be not quite exempt from its powerful malignance. An old lady had claims to portions of land which had been sold to the Government by some of her tribe (Ngati-whatua). The purchase money of this land had been paid to a chief professing Christianity, and baptised by the name of Davis, on the understanding that he was to divide it fairly among the various claimants. Nevertheless, he defrauded the old lady; and she, to show her displeasure, gave it out that she would makutu both him and the Governor.

Strange enough, not long after, the chief fell sick and died; and, in a few months more, the Governor also died; which coincidence tended very much to confirm belief in the report which generally prevailed among the members of that and neighbouring tribes, and is, no doubt, still credited, that the cause of death in both cases was the old lady's makutu.

Diseases, unknown before the arrival of Europeans among them, are supposed to be caused by foreign Atua, and are called after their reputed names. Thus, the influenza is in some places attributed to a Pakeha or foreign Atua, called Rewharewha. All information of this sort is communicated to them either by certain persons, [p.120] called matakite, or seers, who are supposed to have supernatural means of acquiring knowledge, or by their Atua in person. On occasions of difficulty or danger, those who wish to consult the Atua of the tribe assemble in a sacred house, and invite their presence. I have been frequently assured by eye-witnesses of the fact, that the Atua invited by name has come in the visible form of a spider or lizard perhaps, and has then walked about and all round the open space left in the middle of the house for his accommodation, stopping in front of this and that person, and replying to the questions proposed in the peculiar whistling voice which has been already described.74

When first Missionaries came to preach the Gospel in New Zealand, the Atua were frequently consulted, whether their preaching was true or lying. It is a remarkable fact, that wherever the inquiry was made, the answer invariably given declared Jesus Christ to be the true God. This may account for the little opposition which the introduction of Christianity received in New Zealand. It was even frequently the case, that part of a tribe or family professed Christianity, while part remained in their old belief and practices. And it sometimes became a matter of arrangement among the elders who should be Missionary, and who should remain devilthat term being commonly [p.121]  given to those of the old leaven, but without any discredit being attached to the name. They who did not join the Missionary party always made a point, if they could, of keeping the Ariki of the family on their side. Of this there is a very striking example in the Ngati-toa tribe. The two younger brothers of the Ariki of that tribe are not merely professing Christians, but the best instructed and best conducted converts of their tribe; while their elder brother, though generally living in their company, and on the most intimate terms with them, practices the superstitious rites of his forefathers. No doubt, the part of the tribe who would not be Christians have prevented his becoming a convert.

From the explanations already given of the importance of the Ariki to the proper practice of their superstitious rites, it will be comprehended that his loss to the tribe would be like that of the queen bee to a hive; and that his example of becoming a convert to Christianity would be likely to be followed by the rest of his tribe.

It will not be out of place to mention, in connexion with this subject, the feelings by which the New Zealanders appear to have been, in the first instance, very frequently actuated in their desire to have Missionaries. We cannot but admit that self-interest had often much to do with the pressing invitations they gave them to come to reside in [p.122] their country; and the following facts, relating to the establishment of a Missionary at Rotorua, will be sufficient to confirm this opinion.

A chief of the powerful tribe who inhabit that part of New Zealand had observed, during a visit at the Bay of Islands the head-quarters of the Church Mission that the Missionaries had temporal benefits as well as spiritual ones to bestow on their converts, in the shape of blankets, clothes, iron pots and implements, as payments for the labour they required about their establishments, or for the purchase of land. On his return to Rotorua, he was loud in his praises of Missionaries, and, having talked the subject over with others of his tribe, determined to make another voyage to the Bay of Islands to try and bring back with him one of that body as a resident among them.

The Missionary gentlemen at the Bay of Islands were, no doubt, much gratified at receiving the application, and probably made a report, in their correspondence with their Secretary in England, of so remarkable an instance, as they might well have believed it, of the desire of the New Zealanders to embrace Christianity. As they were not then able to form a new station, the chief was sent back to Rotorua, with hopes that on a future occasion his wish would be gratified. Accordingly, he returned the next year to see Mr., now Archdeacon, H. Williams on the same subject, [p.123] and at length, through his unceasing importunity, a Missionary was sent to Rotorua. Notwithstanding such antecedents, Taiapo so the chief was named never became a convert to Christianity, although he takes great credit to himself for having given the first Missionary to his tribe. I have several times conversed with him about his strange conduct; and he made no difficulty in acknowledging, that his object had been the temporal advantage he expected to reap from having, as a resident with his tribe, a foreigner with a large store of blankets, &c.; for he seemed to regard both Missionary and his effects as the undeniable property of the tribe.

Such feelings were, without doubt, at first very general. On another occasion, a gentleman of the Church Mission thought fit to remove his residence from one tribe to its neighbour; and, with the assistance of some influential chiefs, had actually conveyed all his effects to the confines of the districts occupied by the two tribes. When, however, he began to make arrangements to place them in the canoes which were to transport them to their neighbours, with whom they were not on the most friendly terms, the reflection that they were giving away so much property to be distributed among aliens was too powerful. They could no longer withstand the temptation; so making a rush at the packages, they tore them open, and divided their [p.124] contents among themselves, excusing the act to the gentleman who was quitting them for the reasons just stated.

The New Zealanders have received instruction in Christianity from three principal sources; namely, from the Church of England, from the Church of Rome, and from the sect of Wesleyans. Their selection of one or other of these forms of Christianity has often been influenced by causes which would hardly have been anticipated. The members of a tribe, though connected by ties of relationship, were often divided into distinct bodies by petty jealousies. If one of these bodies joined the Church of England, the other would often refuse instruction from teachers belonging to their rivals, preferring even a stranger teacher who was a Wesleyan, or a Romanist.

Had it not been for the existence of such jealousies, the whole native population of Cook's Straits would, in all likelihood, have become members of the Church of England; for the first European Missionary who resided in that part of New Zealand, the Rev. O. Hadfield, was a most intelligent and zealous minister of the Gospel. But it so happened that the young chiefs of the tribe called Ngatitoa would not receive instruction from him, because a son and nephew of Te Rauparaha, of whom they were jealous, had the credit generally with their people of having brought [p.125]  Mr. Hadfield from the Bay of Islands to dwell with them. They, therefore, determined to have a Missionary of their own finding, and went to the head-quarters of the Wesleyan establishment, and prevailed on that body to send one of their number to reside with them. Thus the inhabitants of Cook's Straits became divided between the Church of England and the Wesleyan sect.

Many similar instances of the same mode of proceeding might be adduced; but the one we have mentioned, being well known to many persons in New Zealand, is perhaps the best illustration we could give.

Holding the peculiar opinions respecting the causes of disease which have been explained, it is but natural that the New Zealanders should have remained in ignorance of the curative effects of drugs obtained from the vegetable and mineral kingdoms. This we find to be the case. When a person falls sick, the mode of treatment is the following: In the first place, his father goes to consult the matakite75 or seer of the family, to learn the cause of the illness. Should the father be absent, the mother is the proper person to go. If both are absent, then the brother must go.

It generally happens, that before the person who goes to consult the matakite has well arrived at his house, the latter comes to meet him, and, without [p.126] being told the object of the visit, declares to his visitor the cause of his relative's illness. The primary cause, as we have already explained, is always some offence against the ritenga or ordinances of the established Superstition, such as having left a comb in a cook-house, or some other act equally absurd in the estimation of a foreigner, by which the sacred state of the sick man has been damaged, and the spirits of his departed ancestors displeased. But the active cause being some infant sprite, who, commissioned as avenger, has entered into him, and is feeding on his vitals; the cure can only be effected by coaxing or driving out this spirit. The matakite's office, however, is merely to inform the messenger what offence the sufferer has committed, and who the avenging spirit is. It is then the duty of another member of the family, called a tohunga, who is by education skilled in native rites, and has at command a variety of charms, which he prescribes secundum artem, to find out the path by which the spirit came from the regions below to the earth, in order that he may be made to return by the same way he came.

So when the father of the sick man returns, he tells the tohunga the cause of the disease, such as reported to him by the matakite; and the tohunga then prepares to find out the road by which the spirit came on earth. He thus proceeds:—Going to the river or sea-side, he dips his head beneath [p.127] the surface of the water, while the relatives most interested in the cure remain seated on the shore to witness his success. Perhaps he does not succeed the first time; so he dips his head in the water a second time. If not then successful, the third time is probably enough; and, raising his head, he assures the anxious spectators that he has seen the path, and that the spirit came from below upwards through a flax bush, or the stem of toetoe, as the case may be; for it is a general belief that the paths selected in preference by spirits, when on such journeys, are the inner shoots of a flax plant, or of the species of grass, called toetoe.

It still remains, however, to discover the identical stem selected by the spirit. So the tohunga sets off to the neighbouring swamp to search for it, and at last, after many trials, discovers it, knowing when he has found the right one by a peculiar sound or cry issuing from it on being pulled up. Armed with the flax stalk, he goes to the sick man's house, and hanging it up over his head, repeats a charm appropriate to the case. Then the spirit relents, and seeing a path close at hand prepared for his return to the lower regions, he departs, and straightway the sick man is convalescent. The matakite and tohunga must both be members of the same hapu, or subdivision of the tribe to which the sick man belongs: every hapu containing at least one matakite and several tohunga.


Often, when I have been led to the bed-side of a sick person, I have seen a blade of the flax plant suspended from the roof of the hut, directly over his head. It was some time before I perfectly understood what it meant; and then I generally suggested that it would be better to remove it before I tried my remedies. But I could not often prevail on the friends to comply with my wish; for it generally happened that their opinions were divided. Some had faith in me; but others had more faith in the flax. In the event of a cure, of course the tohunga and I shared between us the credit of success.

The natives have given to European medicines the name rongoa, signifying something preserved; because they saw drugs kept carefully in bottles and jars in the houses of their Missionary instructors. The most nauseous medicine is that which best pleases them, for their only idea of its modus operandi is, that it drives out the malignant spirit which has entered into their body by disgusting it.

Some complaints are cured by charms. The tooth-ache, for instance, being supposed to be caused by a worm having the form of an eel, which eats for itself a hole in the tooth, is cured by charming out the worm. Once when I was suffering from the tooth-ache, in a part of New Zealand remote from any place where a person was to be found able to pull it out, an old lady [p.129] offered to cure the pain, declaring she knew a charm which seldom failed in similar cases. She repeated her charm twice; but without any benefit to me. The failure, however, was satisfactorily accounted for to those who stood around by a reason she gave; namely, that I had no faith in it.




Every nation, at some period of its history, appears to have had faith in charms or spells; by means of which the assistance of spiritual beings, or demons, was thought to be obtained, when it was desired to accomplish an object unattainable by natural means. This superstitious belief was formerly prevalent to a remarkable extent among the people now the subject of our consideration; and in every tribe there were several persons supposed to possess charms of more or less power, and adapted to every variety of necessity. Latterly, however, these charms have very generally lost their repute, from repeated failures.

The older chiefs affirm that this deterioration has taken place since the introduction of Christianity, and that, though there are not so many [p.131] charms now-a-days that have power, there were formerly charms that could make a man brave, or make a man a coward, that could raise a tempest, or still the wind—in fact, that could do every thing. I have frequently heard it related, how, when dragging their canoes overland, if they came to a difficult place, the priest would repeat a charm to make the canoe light, and immediately it could be drawn onwards with the greatest ease, although it had the additional weight of the priest seated on it. Whenever a child sneezed it was customary for the mother to repeat a charm76 to prevent any evil following, just as in some parts of this country we hear the expression, "God bless you," used on the same occasion.

A few specimens of charms have been selected, on account of their being more intelligible than most of the same sort of composition.


He tuna, he tara,
Pu-ano-ano, pu-are-are.
Man e kai i te upoko
taua tara-tu.


An eel, a spiny back,
True indeed, indeed: true in sooth, in sooth.
You must eat the head
Of said spiny back.



Unuhia te pou tapu
Na te Rongo-mai-mua,
Na te Rongo-mai-hiti.
Te whakaraDgona atu?
Ngatoro ka liika
Ki te pou-mua,
Ki te pou-roto,
IG te pou-waho,
Ki te poix-te-wharaua.
He aturangi mamao.
Ngatoro hapaigna.
Tukua te whanaunga.
Houbia te aitu,
Ko Kongo.
Ko te rongo na wai?
Ko te rongo na Eua-rangi-mua.
Tui'uturu mai
Ko Oho-te-tai, na Kauaka,
Me ko Ihu-mara-kau.
Te tukua atu ki te ara no Eua.
Heke, Heke ibo i o'ai'a.
Takeke whano te ara a Ngatoro.
He ara whano ki te po:
Te po nui, te po roa,
Te po matire Trhatu,
Mate whai ariki.
Ko te ara a wai?
Ko te ara o nga niho totohu a Te Parata.
Eke, eke, eke, Tangaroa.
Eke, Penu.
Hui, e: Taiki, e!



Pull out the post made sacred
By Rongo-mai-mua,
By Rongo-mai-hiti.
Why don't you attend?
Ngatoro * *
To the first post,
To the inner post,
To the outer post,
To the * * post
A distant day.
Lift, Ngatoro.
Let your kin escape.
Make peace.
The peace of whom?
The peace of Eua-rangi-mua.
Quickly hither, Oho-te-tai,
And also Ihu-mara-kau.
Let us go by Eua's path.
Change quickly the path of Ngatoro.
A path leading to the night:
The vast night, the long night,
The night of death.
The path of whom?
The path of the sunken teeth of 'Te Parata.'
Mount on board, mount on board.
Mount on board, Taugaroa.
Mount on board, Penu.



I wera i te aha?
I wera i te ahi.
Ahi a wai?
Ahi a Mahu-ilia.78
Tikina rnai, wakaorahia
Hei mahi-kai ma taua.79
Wera iti, wera rahi,
Wera kia raupapa.
Maku e whakaihi,
Maku e wliakamana.


What caused the bum?
Fire caused the bum.
Fire kindled by whom?
Fire kindled by Mahu-ika.
Come and fetch some (fire), spread it out,
To be a slave to dress food for both of us.
Small bum, large bum,
Burn be crusted over with skin.
T will make it sacred,
I will make it effective.


Hau nui, hau roa,
Hau titiparerarera,
Keria te tupairangi.
Moi, moi.80



Great wind, lasting wind,
Wind exceeding violent,
Dig up the rocks of the deep.
Come, come.


Tuarangi nui, Eangi roa,
Eangi pouri, Kangi potango,
Eangi whekeri rau-te-tieke,
Ko tapu-ibi, ko tapu-mana.


Great Tuarangi, long Rangi,
Dark Rangi, night-dark Rangi,
Rangi black as the plumage of the tieke.

*  *  *  *  *  *


Haeremai i hea te terenui no Tu?
I haeremai i uta. I haeremai i tai.
I haeremai i te kimihanga.
Tare, tare, tere-nui no Tu.


Whence came the great company of Tu?
It came from the land. It came from the sea.
It came from the place of searching.
The company, great company of Tu.


Hikitia mai taua kai,
Ki runga te rangi taua kai.


Kia kai mai Ihu-ngaro.
Kongo mai.
Heke iho i te rangi.
Taua kai.


Raise up (,or dance in the arras as an infant) that food,
Raise up to the sky that food.
Come and eat, Invisible-nose,83
Come and hearken.
Descend from the sky,
That food.


Piki mai, piki mai,
Kake mai, kake mai,
Ki tetehi taha o te hau nunui.
Ka tu te Ruperupe:
Ka tu te Kawakawa,
Ko te Kawa. Inumia e koe
Ki Kawa tu-tahi,
Ki te watu-a-raa.
Ka whakakiki, ka whakakaka.
Ahu mai, ahu mai.


Climb hither, climb hither.
Mount hither, mount hither.
To one side of the mighty wind.
Now Ruperupe is hit:
Now is hit Kawakawa,
And Kawa. Drink you
At Kawa standing alone:
Drink at the double (cloud).
It tightens: it * *
Incline hitherward, incline hitherward.


Dreams and Omens are also duly valued in this country. If a person sneezes while eating, it is a sign that a visitor or some news will soon arrive. If the right arm starts or jumps in one's sleep, it is a favourable omen: if the left arm, it is unfavourable. To hear at night a sound, said to be made by an earth-worm, called toke, is a bad omen, generally prognosticating death. This sound is just like what is familiar to most of us as the tick of the death-watch. I frequently heard it at night in my house at Maketu, shortly before I left New Zealand: but the interpretation then given was that it foretold a whare mahue (a deserted house).

Two remarkable proofs of the faith accorded to omens by the New Zealanders occurred shortly before the taking of the Pa or stoccade at Te Ruapekapeka. The force commanded by Colonel Despard, with about two hundred and fifty native allies, under Nini, Mohi Tawai, and other chiefs, encamped one day just without the forest in which the enemy had their stronghold. It was arranged between the Colonel and Nini, that a combined movement should be made at day-break the next morning by the troops and native allies, who were to advance on the Pa till they gained a position suitable for a battery. Long before break of day, however, Nini was awoke by a sudden twitching of the nose. As the nose twitched in the right [p.138] direction, the other chiefs of his party were immediately aroused; and, after a short consultation, it was unanimously agreed that so favourable an omen was not to be neglected. Therefore, quickly and silently awaking their men, they set off by themselves on the road to the Pa, and, before daylight, took possession of a post about three hundred yards from it without opposition. They then sent back messengers to inform Colonel Despard of their success.

Not many days after, the hostile natives proved to us that they, too, believed in omens. If the planet Venus happens to be seen very near the moon and above it in the heavens, at a time when a Pa is besieged by a foe, it is an omen that the foe will take the Pa. But if the planet is below the moon, it is a sign that the tangata-whenua, or men of the soil, will be able to defend themselves. The following reason is given for their interpretation of this sign in the heavens:—The moon is considered to represent the Pa, and the wandering planet the aggressors. The one uppermost is supposed to represent the victor. Now it so happened, that one day the planet was seen just below the moon, and our allies acknowledged that the omen was unfavourable. The enemy, trusting probably in the same omen, made a sudden sortie from their fortress the next afternoon, but were valiantly met by our allies in the wood before they reached the [p.139] positions of the troops. Either party protected themselves as well as they could behind the trunks of trees, whence they fired incessantly at each other for more than half-an-hour. The enemy were then forced to yield, having probably expended most of their ammunition; leaving, in evidence of their defeat, a gun and an old blanket, and several significant pools of blood on the ground occupied by them.

Before a war-party go to battle they sometimes try to discover by omens what will be their success. One of the modes employed by them is the following:—The tohunga selects two small sticks, of equal size, and repeats over them a charm called niu

Moko-torotoro, moko-torotoro,
Murare,84 mui'are,
Kei liar a mai koe,
Kei whakawareware
I taku niu.
Kia toa.

On coming to the words kia toa, be valiant, he spits on the sticks, and lets them fall to the ground together; saying, at the same time, moku tenei, this is for me; ono te taua tenei, this represents the foe. If his stick falls uppermost, the omen is good for him; if undermost, the omen is bad, and he and his friends return home. In case the two [p.140] sticks fall apart from each other, the same process must be repeated, and he addresses the sticks, or rather the invisible spirit supposed to guide them, in the above words, kei whakawareware, take care what you are about. If, after this, they again fall apart, the omen is bad, and he and his party go back.

Second Sight.—It is always ominous to see the figure of an absent person. If the figure is very shadowy, and its face is not seen, death, although he may ere long be expected, has not yet seized his prey. If the face of the absent person is seen, the omen forewarns the beholder that he is already dead.

The following statement is from the mouth of an eye-witness:—A party of natives left their village, with the intention of being absent some time, on a pig-hunting expedition. One night while they were seated in the open air around a blazing fire, talking over the events of the day the figure of a relative who had been left ill at home was seen to approach. The apparition appeared to two of the party only, and vanished immediately on their making an exclamation of surprise. When they returned to the village they inquired for the sick man, and then learnt that he had died about the time he was said to have been seen.

Regarding Marriage.—The brothers of a female are the persons whose consent to her marriage it is most necessary to obtain. The parents [p.141] have comparatively little to say on the occasion. When the marriage is agreed on, the bride has a house prepared for her by her relations, and the bridegroom, being conducted to it at night, finds her there alone ready to receive him. There is no other ceremony than this, which is called whakamoe, causing to sleep together.

Men of distinguished and rich families have several wives, some of whom bring good dowers with them in the shape of lands and slaves. Such wives, being selected from motives of self-interest or policy, often continue to reside on their own estates, and superintend their management, while the husband spends his time sometimes with one, sometimes with the other. The same person has, probably, several other wives, or rather concubines, taken from families of inferior rank, or from slaves, to gratify his fancy. They are also useful to their husbands in performing menial offices in the family.

Marriage in New Zealand is not an indissoluble tie. I have known a woman to have three husbands alive at the same time. The first husband was a young chief of her own tribe, who, after a while got tired of her and discarded her, notwithstanding that she had borne him a son. Her relations then gave her to a chief of another tribe, between which and her own tribe war broke out soon after; and as she, at the time, was staying with her own friends, they would not give her up [p.142] to her husband, but married her a third time to another of her own tribe. I became aware of these facts from her son by the first husband, who was in my service some time.

Marriages between near relatives are not unfrequent, yet I never knew of more than one instance of a brother and sister living together as man and wife. They were children of different mothers, however, though of the same father. Probably, in former times, when there was no male offspring of a wife who had lands of her own, the desire to keep the lands in possession of her husband's male issue, by another wife, may have sometimes caused similar alliances. It is, however, not uncommon for a man to have two sisters as wives at the same time. On the death of the elder brother, it is the established custom for the next in succession to take his wife and slaves. Before marriage the greatest license is permitted to young females. The more admirers they can attract, and the greater the reputation for intrigue, the fairer is their chance of making an advantageous match: but the moment they are married they are required to become prudent and chaste, or to suffer the consequences, which are always severe.

Ceremonies attending the Birth of a Child.—It has been already mentioned that the New Zealander relies much on omens derived from dreams. If a newly-married man, while sleeping soundly at [p.143] night, beholds lying on the ground human skulls ornamented with feathers, he awakes with the assurance that his wife will soon conceive. If the feathers are those of the bird called huia, it is a sign the child will be a girl; if those of the kotuku (a white crane), the dream prognosticates a male child. Females during pregnancy have longings for all sorts of food; sometimes for eels, sometimes for wild turnips, or shell-fish, or what not; but no idea prevails, similar to the popular European prejudice, that the non-gratification of these longings is attended with bad consequences to the child, in the shape of marks to disfigure its body.

Shortly before the birth of the child is expected to take place, a hut is built for the mother. This hut is placed at a distance from the dwellings of her family, and is held so very sacred that slaves and persons of low rank dare not come near it. Immediately after the child is born, some curious ceremonies are performed. In the first place, the tohunga repeats a charm over the child at the instant of cutting the navel-string. If it be a male, the charm is as follows:—

Tangaengae85 ki te riri mau,
Tangaengae ki te mau taiaha mau,
Tangaengae ki te toa mou,
Tangaengae ki te mabi-kai mau, &c. &c.


Cutting to inspire you with courage to fight,
Cutting to give strength to wield your weapon,
Cutting to fill you with courage,
Cutting to make you till food to eat, &c. &c.

And so on, enumerating the various duties and qualities befitting a male. If, however, it be a female, the charm is varied as follows:—

Tangaengae ki te watu weruweru mou,
Tangaengae ki te mahi kai mau,
Tangaengae ki te haro muka mau, &c. &c.

Cutting to make you weave the robe to keep you warm.
Cutting to make you till food to eat.
Cutting to make you hackle flax to weave with, &c. &c.

And so on, enumerating the various duties and qualities befitting females.

The infant comes into the world an exceedingly sacred object, and must be touched by none but the sacred few present till the tapu or restriction, has been removed.

The ceremony attending the removal of tapu from the child is as follows:—A small sacred fire being kindled by itself, the father takes some fern-root and roasts it thereon. The food so prepared is called horohoronga. He then places the child in his arms, and after touching the head, back, and [p.145] different parts of its body with the horohoronga, he eats it. This act is termed kai-katoa i te tamaiti, eating the child all over, and is the conclusion of the ceremony performed by the father. The sacred restriction, however, is not yet completely removed from the infant; but nothing more can be done till the following morning, when, at day-light, the child's eldest relative in the direct female line, cooks fern-root over a sacred fire, precisely in the manner the father had done, and having similarly touched the head and various parts of the body of the infant with this dressed food, afterwards swallows it.

The part of the ceremony performed by the female is called ruahine (old woman), and when it is ended the infant is quite noa, or free from restriction, and may be handed about among the persons standing by to be danced in their arms. The ceremony performed by the father is called tautane or tamatane; and, at its conclusion, the child receives its name. This is generally selected from names of male ancestors, but sometimes from a female ancestor; for many names are indifferently given either to males or females. This circumstance is one, among others, which may cause con- fusion in making genealogical inquiries, if one is not forewarned of it.

Burial Ceremonies.—After a person dies his body is buried temporarily, till the flesh, sinews, etc. [p.146] are decayed. The body is doubled up together, the legs being flexed, and the thighs brought close to the belly. The skeleton is afterwards disinterred, and the bones, being cleaned, are exposed to the public gaze for a short time. They are then deposited in secret places, such as natural caves, which are, in fact, the family vaults. Very few are intrusted with the secret of these vaults; lest, by becoming known to an enemy, the bones might perchance fall into their hands, and be treated with indignity.

I once saw one of these depositories of the dead; but, unfortunately, not before the state in which it had been originally left was somewhat disturbed by the curiosity and carelessness of those who were the first to enter it after its discovery.

It happened that a company of the 80th regiment were stationed for a short time at Tauranga, on the confines of two hostile tribes. The ground occupied by our troops was at the base of a small spherical hill, which, with two neighbours of a similar shape, but smaller, rose above the level of the plain, at a short distance from a lofty conical mountain, named Maunganui. All this ground had once been thickly inhabited; but the last owners of the soil having been conquered by a war-party of Nga-Puhi, under the chief Hongi, it had never since been re-occupied. One day in clearing away rubbish at the base of the hill for the better accommodation of the [p.147] contractor's pigs, some large stones were found, placed apparently in their position, not by nature, but by art; and, on further search, an opening was made into a cave, which contained a great number of human skulls and bones. When discovered, these skulls were arranged in rows on shelves cut in the walls of the cavern. I give the description of those who saw them, for I was at the time absent at Maketu, and when I returned a few days after, some of the skulls had been carried away, and the rest displaced from their former sites. Fearing the desecration of this spot would give offence to the natives of the neighbourhood, I recommended the entrance of the cave to be re-closed; but I soon found that the natives were already aware of the discovery, and appeared quite indifferent as to the fate of the bones. They did not belong to any of their tribe, nor had they even known of the existence of the place. The vault, no doubt, belonged to the more ancient denizens of the soil; viz., to some of the ancestors of the present inhabitants of Maketu and Kotorua, who were its first settlers, but were dispossessed of it nine86 generations ago.

A very curious ceremony, called hahunga, takes place when the skulls of the dead are exhibited to their living relations before being finally deposited in the secret family vault. While residing at Maketu, I was invited one morning to witness this su- [p.148] perstitious rite. The skulls of three celebrated chiefs, of the generation just past away, were to be seen once more by those still on earth. There was to be a great feast on the occasion, and a large number of persons expected to do honour to it. When I arrived at the place appointed, which was an enclosed space or courtyard within the Pa of Maketo, I found it thronged with spectators, and the very posts and rails surrounding it swarmed with dark faces. My guide, however, soon found a good place for me, whence I could look down on those within the enclosure. At one extremity of it was a sort of stage, on which were three figures in a sitting posture, clothed with the mantles of the country of the handsomest description. Where their heads should have been, however, there were to be seen only the fleshless skulls, their eye-sockets stuffed with red cloth for eyes, and feathers of the huia and kotuka in place of hair. In front of the platform, and at a short distance from it, stood three elderly women. Their bared arms and breasts bore the marks of recent wounds, inflicted with shells or sharp stones, in honour of the dead, to whom they were then addressing praises in the form of a wailing extemporary recitative, each actor using such words as she felt most appropriate, but preserving the same melancholy strain.

This extemporary performance, called tangi, a word meaning wailing, is used on all occasions of [p.150] the New Zealanders. They are now preserved only by those who have not yet embraced Christianity. Ere long such sights will, probably, be no more seen. They may have given place to a more refined description of theatrical representations.

The Place of Abode for Spirits.—The New Zealanders believe that the souls of the dead go to a place beneath the earth, called by them Reigna. The gateway and path leading to this lower region is a precipice or chasm close to the sea shore, at no great distance from the North Cape; and it is confidently asserted, that the natives who live near that place can hear at night sounds caused by spirits passing through the air on their way thither. After a great battle, where many have fallen, they are thus warned of the event long before the intelligence arrives by natural means.

Often, indeed, it has happened, at least, so it is affirmed, that persons who have died, and actually descended this precipice, have returned again to earth to relate what they had seen below, and lived for many years afterwards. A circumstantial tale of such an event was narrated to me by a young man, named Te Wharewera, while living in my service.

Only a few years before, an aunt, I forget her name, had died in a solitary hut near the banks of the lake Rotorua. Being a lady of rank, she was left in the house where she died, and, the door and [p.151] window being made fast, the spot was abandoned, her death having rendered it tapu. Early in the morning, a day or two after, as the young man Te Wharewera was with some others passing in a canoe near the place, they saw a figure seated on the shore. The figure appeared to beckon to them; so pulling toward it cautiously, for they were rather alarmed at seeing any one there, they soon discovered it to be no other than Te Wharewera's aunt come to life again. She was, however, in a very weak condition, and, had it not been for their timely succour, must soon have perished outright of cold and hunger. When sufficiently revived, she gave the following account of what had befallen her in the land of spirits. On leaving her body her spirit took flight towards the North Cape, and in due time arrived at the gateway of the Reigna. Her path was then down the steep precipice, called Rerenga-wairua, along which she descended with tolerable ease, holding by the stem of a creeping plant, called akeake, which, growing from its base, formed a natural ladder. Descending thus, she at last found herself on the sandy beach of a river, and looking around, espied in the distance an enormous bird, taller than a man, coming towards her with rapid strides. This terrible object so frightened her, that her first thought was to try and return up the steep cliff; but seeing an old man paddling a small canoe towards her she ran to meet him, and so escaped the bird.


After being ferried safely across the river by this Charon of the Polynesians, she enquired where the spirits of her kindred dwelt, mentioning the name of her family, and then hastened along the path pointed out by the old man. She was much surprised to find it just such a path as she had been accustomed to see on earth. The aspect of the country too, the trees, the shrubs, and the plants, were all of them familiar to her.

At last she reached the village, and found a crowd of persons assembled, among whom she at once recognized her father and many near relations formerly known alive. They welcomed her with the usual form of salutation, and then commenced a tangi, the wailing extemporary chant always addressed to persons when met after a long absence. This ended, her father began to make enquiries about his living relations, and particularly about her child. After a little while he said to her, "You must go back to the earth, for there is no one now left to take care of my grandchild. But remember, if you once eat food in this place you can never more return to life; so beware not to taste anything offered you."

Presently a basket of food was placed before her, which had the appearance of being baked kumara roots. On looking more closely, however, she discovered it to be something else, and turned away in disgust. Some of those who sat near her, observing that she did not eat, pressed her very urgently to [p.153] taste of the dish; and would probably have prevailed on her to yield to their persuasions, had not her father interposed. He, seeing her hesitation, jumped up quickly, and bidding her follow him, hurried her away by the path leading to the river.

They had not gone far on their road before a young man, one of the party they had just left, overtook them, and began to upbraid her father for his design of sending her away. The latter paid no attention to what he said, and having reached the waterside, proceeded at once to launch the same canoe in which she had before crossed the river, and which was lying hauled up on the beach. Then the young man made a more vigorous attempt to detain her, seizing her by the arm, and it was only by her father's help that she was released. So finding all his efforts fail, he turned back in a rage, and left them to cross the river unmolested.

As soon as the canoe touched the opposite shore, the old man took out from beneath his robe two roots of kumara, of a very enormous size, and bid her plant them when she returned to Rotorura for his grandchild's especial eating. He then bade her farewell, and advised her to make all the speed she could. So taking the kumara roots, she hastened away. Ere she had gone many steps, however, two infant spirits overtook her, and tried to detain her by pulling her backwards by the cloak. She struggled on to the base of the cliff in spite of them, [p.154] and began to climb the ascent. But she no sooner climbed a few steps upwards, than the united efforts of her two persecutors pulled her down again.

At last, in a fit of despair, scarcely knowing w^hat she did, she threw a kumara root at them. One of the urchins ran immediately to pick it up, and, beginning to eat it, thought no more of troubling her. The other still held fast by her cloak. So, seeing no other way of escaping, she flung the remaining root at his head, and the moment he left her to seize the prize, climbed up the rock by help of the stem of akeake as quickly as she could, and reaching the earth without being overtaken, flew back to the place where she had left her body. Such was her account of what had befallen her during the time she had been supposed to be dead.

On returning to life she found herself in darkness, and all that had passed meanwhile seemed to her as a dream. She with some difficulty crept to the door of the house, but it was fastened, and she was too weak to force it open. She then began to recollect the circumstances of her illness, and finding herself left alone, deserted by every one, concluded that she had really died, and had returned to life again. As morning dawned a faint light entered through several crevices, and she saw on the floor near her a calabash partly full of kokowai, a mixture of red-ochre and water. This she eagerly drained to the dregs, and afterwards, feeling her strength [p.155] somewhat increased, made another attempt to open the door, and succeeded. She then crawled towards the beach, where she was discovered soon after as already related.

Those who listened to her tale believed firmly the truth of her adventures. But it was a general source of regret that she had not brought back with her at least one of the immense kumara roots, in evidence of the fact of her having visited the land of spirits.




Like the Spartan, the New Zealand youth were considered more the property of the tribe than of the parent. And as the welfare of the tribe—nay, its very existence as a free body of men—depended on the valour of its members, every other consideration gave place to the necessity of rearing a valorous progeny. Curbing the will of the child by harsh means was thought to tame his spirit, and to check the free development of his natural bravery. The chief aim, therefore, in the education of children being to make them bold, brave, and independent in thought and act, a parent is seldom seen to chastise his child, especially in families of rank. Were he to do so, one of the uncles would probably interfere to protect his nephew, and seek satisfaction for the injury inflicted on the child by seizing some of the pigs or other property of the father.

Notwithstanding such a principle of education, [p.157] the children are not so unruly as might be expected, and when domesticated in European families are remarkably docile and well-behaved. They are, however, troublesomely intrusive and inquisitive. Little ever escapes their notice; so that, on their return home, they are able to give a tolerably correct inventory of the goods and chattels contained in the house of their late master—a knowledge which their relations endeavour to turn to account by using importunity or artifice to obtain what they most covet, either as a present, or on condition of paying for it on some future indefinite occasion.

Young persons have a great variety of games, some of them not unlike those of European children. I may mention one in which a string, tied together at both ends, is passed over the hands and fingers in a way to form a variety of intricate figures, Anglice "cats-cradles." Poroteteke is the name of a game in which boys are the actors. Several having arranged themselves in a row, suddenly, at a given signal, stand on their heads, and then move their legs about in the air, kicking their heels against the buttock to the time of a song in which all join. It is a sort of war-dance on the head, and has so ludicrous an appearance, that no one who saw it performed could refrain from laughing. Their other favourite pastimes are flying kites, throwing reed spears, running races, walking on stilts, wrestling and mimic contests. In these con- [p.158] tests, however, they never strike a blow with the hand or fist, but leaping at their opponent, lack at him with the sole of the foot. In this mode of assault they are very expert, dealing knock-down blows with the heel about the stomach and chest, which might astonish a member of the prize-iing. Formerly it was customary for the young men of a village to turn out on evenings, and separate themselves into two hostile bodies, to enjoy this boisterous sport. But among those who have embraced Christianity the practice has fallen into disuse.

The game of drafts is universally a favourite one. In this they have extraordinary skill; indeed they rarely meet with their match among foreigners. And what is remarkable, if true, they say they did not learn it from Europeans, but have known it from most ancient times. The board they use is generally of the rudest description—a rough piece of wood, with squares scratched off by the point of a knife or a nail—and, for men, slices of potato, bits of broken china, or pebbles are quite sufficient. Bending over such a chess-board, the two players may be seen intent on the next move; while a crowd of lookers-on surround them, deeply interested in the success of one or other. Their great proficiency in this game is an undeniable proof that the natural ability of the New Zealander is by no means despicable. For my own part, I have formed [p.159] the opinion that it is quite on a par with that of Europeans.

The young and the old have each ways of amusing themselves suitable to their ages. I remember being one day much pleased at seeing some little girls playing at questions and answers. Several little girls were seated in a row on the ground, while another of the party went from one to the other asking a question, to which the first were expected to give each a different answer. The questions and their answers appeared to be quite familiar—the same question, no doubt, calling forth the same answers on every occasion of the game being played. The following answers to the question, "What is your husband," will give an idea of the relative estimation in which the different professions or occupations of man are held in this country:—


1st Child. He tane aha toil tane?
2nd Child. He tane ngald-kumara.
1st Child. Ki tau-whenua rangatira.


1st Child. He tane aha tou tane?
3rd Child. He tane hi-ngohi.
1st Child. Ki tau-paki.


1st Child. He tane aha tou tane?
4th Child. He tane keri-marohi.
1st Child. Erangi tena. Ko te tutanga, te unuhia.




Question. Pray what is your husband, mam?
Answer. My husband tills the kumara root.
Reply. Go to some strange land where the soil is rich.


Question. What is your husband, mam?
Answer. My husband is a fisherman.
Reply. Go then to some other place, where the sea is calm.


Question. And pray what is your husband?
Answer. Mine is a digger of fern-root.
Reply. That'll do better. You have got the packing up in store, and the pulling out again.

Young women are very expert at a game called pohi, in which an ornamented ball fastened to a string three or four feet long is used. The string is held by one hand, while the ball is struck with the other repeatedly in different directions, but always in time with the measure of a song chanted at the same moment. When several seated together on the ground are thus diverting themselves, the graceful attitudes of their bodies present to the eye a group well adapted for the pencil of the artist.

One branch of the education of youth in which they begin to receive instruction at an early age, and in which, on their arriving at manhood, they are adepts, requires to be noticed—this is maminga. The word includes in its meaning all kinds of deceit, from the simple covert joke to the most artful simu- [p.161] lation. So common is the practice of this vice by persons of all ages, that a variety of well-known forms of addressing persons deceitfully are in vogue, which will be sure to impose on strangers who are not up to their ways.

The youth of both sexes are before marriage very profligate, giving themselves up to affaires de cœur. It is among them that the song called haka is so favourite an amusement. When arrived at men and women's estate, however, they generally cease to think of pleasure alone. Then the real business of life commences. To the females belong the more domestic duties—the care of the household, the seeing after a due supply of daily food for the family or for guests, the weaving clothes, and such like occupations; while those duties where strength and activity are required are more peculiarly the province of men.

From this glance at the education and pursuits of the young, we pass on to the consideration of various points illustrative of the general state of civilization of the New Zealanders, and of their social condition, as it was at the period of our early intercourse with them.

Though ignorant of writing before their intercourse with Europeans, to excel in their native language appears to have been one of their chief objects of ambition. As public speakers they are generally remarkably fluent, and display both force [p.162] and elegance of expression. They also possess a certain taste for poetical composition, and have a numerous collection of proverbs handed down from remote periods. We shall attempt to give some account of their songs, poetry, and other kinds of composition, commencing with that which is most rude and simple.

In the first place may be noticed a sort of chant, called Toto-waka. Though devoid of merit as compositions, these chants answer admirably the purpose for which they are intended; namely, to enable a number of persons to exert a simultaneous effort in hauling heavy logs of wood or canoes overland. Any one who has heard the songs of sailors when unloading a ship, or pulling together on a rope, will perfectly understand how they are sung. These songs have a variety of measure, adapted either to pulling heavy, or to pulling light weights. When dragging up hill, the verse is formed of words of long syllables, each of which appears to issue from the mouths of the pullers with the same difficulty and labour as they advance over the ground. But when the impediment is overcome, and their movements become more free and rapid, another measure, composed of a succession of short syllables, is adopted.

The first five lines of the following specimen is a song called Puwha or Hari, intended to be sung by a single voice, to give notice to prepare for pulling. [p.163] Then follows the Toto-waka, the verses of which are repeated alternately—one verse by a single voice, while the pullers take breath, the response by all, who at the same instant pull together.



Toia Tainui, te Arawa,
Kia tapotu ki te moana.
Koia i hirihara te mata-
watitiri takataka-tumai
I taku rangi tapu.

Pull Tainui, pull the Arawa,
To launch them on the ocean.
Surely glanced the bolt of
Thunder falling hitherward
On my sacred day.



One Voice  Ka tangi te kiwi. The kiwi87 cries.
All88 .... Kiwi. Kiwi.
One Voice  Ka tangi te moho. The moho87 cries.
All .... Moho. Moho.
One Voice  Ka tangi te tieke. The tieke87 cries.
All .... Tieke. Tieke.
One Voice  He poho anake. A belly only.
All89 .... To tikoko, tikoko. Fork it out, fork it out.
One Voice Haere i te ara. Keep in the path.
All90 .... Tikoko. Fork it out.
One Voice  Ko te tau-rua te rangi. It's the second year to day.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice  Ko te hao-tane. It's the man-catcher.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice  Homai me kawe. Give this way, and carry it.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice  Me kawe kiwhea. But whither carry it.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice  A-ki te take. Ah! to the root.


All91 .... Take no Tu. Root of Tu.
One Voice  E bau. O wind.
All92 ... Toia. Pull away.
One Voice Hau riri. Raging wind.
All .... Toia. Pull away.
One Voice Toia ake te take. Pull onwards the root
All .... Take no Tu. Root of Tu.

A halt, and then a fresh start

One Voice  Koia liniu haere. That's it, go along, rimu.93
All94 ....Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Totara haere. Go along, totara.95
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Pukatea haere. Go along, pukatea.95
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Homai te tu. Give me the tu.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Homai te maro. Give me the maro.
All ....Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Kia whitikia. To brace up.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Taku takapu. My belly.
All ...Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Hihi, e! Three long syllables,
All ....Haha, e! denoting that a long
One Voice Pipi, e! and strong pull is to be made
All .... Tata, e! to overcome a difficulty in the ground.
One Voice Apitia. Join.
All .... Ha! Ha!
One Voice Apitia. Join.
All .....Ha! Ha!
One Voice Ko te here The string.
All .... Ha! Ha!


One Voice Ko te here. The string.
All .... Ha! Ha!
One Voice Ko te timata. And the spear.
All .... E-ko te tikoko pohue. Ah! and the pohue-fork.
One Voice E-ko te aitanga a mata. Ah! and the child of flint.
All96 .... E-ko te aitanga a te hoe-manuka. Ah! and the child of the ma nuka-paddle.

A halt, and then a fresh start—

One Voice Ko au, ko au. It's I, It's I.
All97...... Hitaue. A long pull.
One Voice Mate ko te hanga. The thing is dead.
All .... Hitaue. A long pull.
One Voice Turuki, turuki. Jog along, jog along.
All98 .... Paneke, paneke. Slip along, slip along.
One Voice Oioi te toki. Brandish the hatchet.
All .... Kauaea. Cheerily, men!
One Voice Takitakina. Draw it out.
All ......Ia. That's it.
One Voice He tikaokao. It's a cock.
All .... He taraho. It's a taraho.99
One Voice He parera. It's a duck.
All .... Ke, ke, ke, ke. Quack, quack, quack, quack.
One Voice He parera. It's a duck.
All .... Ke, ke, ke, ke. Quack, quack, quack, quack.

The following is the song referred to at page 7 as being composed by the priest Rata, at the launch of the canoe Tainui.

Rata. Orooro te toki
        Na Hine-tu-a-hoanga.
        Kaore. Ko au ko Rata,
        E kimi ana


    I te awa,
    I pikopiko,
    I Whiiti
    Mate iho ana.
    Kei Maungaroa
    Mate mai ai
Ka oho te Nuinga. E ta, tau a rangi.
Ka oho ano a Rata. Mate i a Kata-wahie-roa,

(Katahi ka mohio te matua.)

Ka oho ano te Nuinga. E ta, tau a rangi.
Ka oho ano a Rata. Aki e rie ria.
Te Nuinga. Aki e rie ria.
Rata. Ahi ori.
Te Nuinga. Ori e te tau wariwaria.

(Ka mar ere te waka ki te wai.)


Rata. Sharpen the axe
        Of Hine-tu-a-hoangav
        No, 'Tis I, Rata,
        Who search the bendings
        Of the channel
        For Whiiti dpng.
        At Maungaroa
        Died Kowhitinui.
All. Sir, surely 'twas your deed.
Rata. Died by the hand of Eata-wahie-roa.

(Hereupon the father of Kowhitinui first learnt the fate of his child.)

All. Sir, 'twas your deed.
Rata. Aki e rie ria. Words to mark the time.
All. Aki e rie ria.       "        "     "            "
Rata. * * * * *
All. * * * * *

(Hereupon the canoe was launched upon the water.)


Very much of the same order of composition as the last are boat songs, called Toitoi-waka or Tukiwaka. In the long war canoes two singers, called Kaituki, stand on stages placed on a level with the gunwale of the canoe, one near the bow and the other near the stern. In addition to their voices, they have in the hand some native weapon which they brandish in time, just as the leader of an orchestra brandishes the bow of his violin. Sometimes they sing alternate verses responding to each other, sometimes both together. By this means the time is remarkably well preserved. I have seen fifty or sixty paddles plunge into the water so exactly at the same instant that the eye could mark no difference between them. The singer frequently introduces into these chants extemporary jokes, or other matter, suitable to the occasion, to cause merriment, and enliven and encourage the crew.

Tena toia. Now pull.
Tena pehia. Now press.
Tena tukia. Now give the time.
Tena tiaia. Now dip it in.
Tena kia mau. Now hold on.
Tena kia u. Now be firm.
Hoe, hoe atu. Pull, pull away.
Runga, nmga atu. Upwards, upwards away.
Waipa atu. To Waipa away.
Tena toia. Now pull.


E hara te puhi o taua waka. The feathers of his canoe are not worth looking at.
Te oreore. The quick stroke.
Te oreore. The quick stroke.
Tola. Pull.
Tola. Pull away.
Tiaia. Stick it (the paddle) in.
He tuki. Strike up a song.
He pehi. A shove.
Werohia. Stab it (the water).
Kia ngoto. Let it be deep.
He kukume. A long pull.
Ae, ae. Yes, yes.
He pehi. A shove.
Tena tiaia. Now stick it in.
Aue pehia. Shove along, hard work though it be.
Koroheke ki te whana. An old man is kicking out there.
Tishaua. Look alive.
Ki te whana. Is kicking out there.
Tangohia. Go along.
He piko. A bend (in the river).
Tango mai. Make it your own.
He rae. A point of land.
Waiho atu. Leave it behind.
Toia. Pull away.
Tola. Pull away.
Haere nga wahie. Go firewood.
Ki Maketu te kai ai. We shall have flesh to eat at Maketu.
E timu ana The tide is ebbing,
Ki te kai mata ma puku. To help us to a belly-full of raw flesh.
Toia. Pull away.


The four last lines are another description of song, called a liaka, in which all the voices of the pullers join.

After this they may perhaps relax their efforts for a little, some talking and pulling idly, while others eat any food which remains in the canoe; till, being refreshed, the kaituki, or leader, strikes up another similar song, and the paddles are again dipped in the water with the same regular stroke as before.

Rurerue or Haka are songs for several voices together, expressive generally of some sentiment of love.

On fine evenings, it is the favourite amusement of the young men and girls to assemble for the purpose of joining in this rude sort of concert. They may at these times be seen seated in a row, their hair dressed with feathers, and their faces smeared with red ochre and charcoal. The best voices commence and finish the verse. What may be called the refrain is shouted out by the united voices of the whole choir, who, at the same time, form an accompaniment by slapping one hand on the breast, while the other hand is raised aloft and made to vibrate, so as to produce on the eye an effect analogous to that of the shake in music. This vibrating of the hand is called kakapa.

Each verse of the haka is a separate sentence, complete in itself, terminated by what I have called the refrain, which is a peculiar guttural noise, caused [p.170] by repeated inspirations, succeeded by forcible expirations of the breath. When there are many singers the effect is strange, and not unpleasing; but the performance is frequently accompanied by gestures of the body of an immodest character.


Ko tou tiiiana ki Waiteinata,
Kou tou wairua i hai-amai,
I wakaoho i taku moe.
Ha-ah, ha-ah, ba-ali, ha.
Your body is at Waitemata,
But your spirit came hither,
And aroused me from my sleep.


E hoa ma, puritia mai taku liuia,
Kia hokimai te tau o taku
Manawa kapakaka,

O my companions, detain my Huia,100
That the cord of my palpitating
Heart may again be mine.



Haere ra, e te wai o aku kamo.
Hei hsxri korero atu ki te
Huia kaimanawa.
Go, then, water of my eyelids,
To be a messenger to the
Huia feeding on my life.


Ko Tawora to whetu
MaraTiia o te ata.
NVlinkarite tonu taku
Huia kai-manawa.

Tawera is the bright star
Of the morning.
Not less beautiful is the
Jewel of my heart.



Ka toenewene te ra ki te rua,
Wakautuku ki taku tane
Ka riua atu ki te tai-tonga.
 * * * *
The sun is setting in his cave,
Touching as he descends (the
Land) where dwells my mate—
He who is whirled away to
The southern waves.


Mawai e moe te tane
Mangai'e ki te mahi-kai?
He ra te kai ki taua ku-i.
Who will marry a man
Too lazy to till the ground for food?
The sun is the food for
The skin of such an one. Eh!


Mawai e moe te wahine
Mangare ki te watu pueru?
Ko Tongariro te kai ki taua kiri. E!
Who will marry the woman
Too lazy to weave garments?
Tongariro101 is the food for the
skin of such an one. Eh!


Ki Tuhua, ki te m'urua
I Wharekura; kia ope noa
Te hoe ki te kete toetoe.
Ina te kohuretanga.
                Puhia iho.
Go to Tuhua, to the wilderness
At Wharekura; to carry
Nothing but the paddle in
The basket of grass.
That's all you've got for your pains.


E kore e pai ta te wahine.
Ka puta ki te mimi,
I don't like the habits of woman.
When she goes out


Ka kuikui,
Ka koakoa,
Ka korerorero.
Mataku ana te whenua,
Oma ana te kiore.
She kuikuis,
She koakoas.
She chatters.
The very groom is terrified,
And the rats run away.
                         Just so.

Ngeri are war-songs, or glees, to be used on festive occasions. Some of them are very ancient: and, according to tradition, were familiar to their ancestors before they came to New Zealand. One of the uses to which they are applied, is to preserve time and order in the movements of the large body of men when drawn up on parade for the purpose of dancing the war-dance.

The metre of the following Ngeri is marked to give some idea of the way in which it is sung. As it is one of reputed antiquity, it is worthy of notice that the seal is mentioned as shown in the country where it originated:—

Kia kutia. Hug close.
Au, au. Au, au.
Kia wherahia. Fling abroad (the arms and legs).
Au, au. Au, au.
Kia rere That may flee
Atu te Away the
Kekeno Seal
Ki tahiti, To a distance
Titiro In order to gaze
Mai ai. This way.
Ae, ae, ae. Yes, yes, yes.


The body of armed men being drawn up in column, four or five abreast, remain for some time in a squatting position, which posture corresponds to the stand-at-ease of our soldiers. Suddenly a signal is given by one of the chiefs, who, standing in front, shouts out a short sentence in a peculiar measured tone. On the instant he arrives at the last word, all start on their legs as one man; and the war-song and dance commence. Every right hand brandishes a weapon, while the left hands, being slapt violently against the naked thighs, in regular time, produce a wild sort of accompaniment to the song, At the words kia rere, the movements of the actors become furious. Leaping in the air and dancing with violent gestures—their features distorted with horrid grins, their tongues thrust out103 as far as possible, their eyes rolling upwards so as to show the white104—they resemble what the idea may imagine demons to be, rather than human beings.

Some tribes also shout the ngeri in battle, as they rush to the assault, to encourage each other, and to prevent their comrades from being daunted by the groans of the wounded and dying, while, at the same time, they hope to strike terror into the foe. The following national ngeri of the united tribes Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Toa, is said to have been sacred to such occasions:—



Awhea tou ure ka riri? When will your valour begin to rage?
Awhea tou ure ka tora? When will your valour be strong?
E! kei te tai ka wiwi, Ah! when the tide murmurs,
E! kei te tai ka wawa. Ah! when the tide roars.
Tukua te ihu Bid farewell (lit. approach your nose)
Ki te tamaiti. To your children.
Me pehea? For what else can you do?
Ka kite koe You see how the brave,
I nga puke wakamanamana Like the lofty exulting peaks of the mountains,
A te toa haere ana. Are coming on.
Ka riro, e Eongomaihiti! They yield, they yield, Fame!

The words wiwi and wawa are intended to represent, by their sound, the noise of the flood-tide on the beach. The translation, I am bound to say, does not nearly convey the spirited energy of the original.

This description of song, of which we shall give a few more specimens, is also called hari, pmvha, or peruperu,. The former is the term familiar to the tribe Nga-Puhi, the latter to Waikato. A distinction, however, between the meaning of the words puwha and ngeri among some tribes is, that in singing the former, the actors stand; while, in singing the latter, they sit.


E tama, te uaua, My children, here's strength. Ha! Ha! ha!
E tama, te maro, My children, here's firmness. Ha! Ha! ha!


Ina hoki te tohe o te
Uaua. Kei taku ringa
Mau ana te upoko o
Te Kawai-tataki.
Behold a proof of unflinching strength,
The head of Te Kawai-tataki,
Which I grasp in my hand.
       Ha! ha!


Uhi mai te waero,
Uhi mai te waero,
Ko roto ko tahu puta.
He puta aha te puta,
Erua nei ko te puta,
Throw over me the cloak,
Throw over me the cloak.
Within is * *
What sort of a * *
There are two here, and is one.


Te titi106 e takaruri mai
I te moana.
Horahia mai ou kahu
Ki ahau.
Tu ana te tangata wairangi.
I waenganui te wahine pokiaiho.
I runga nga tarehanga.
Titi ana te whetu.
Taka ana te marama.
He tapa tihoihoi.
The titi comes flapping his wings
From the sea.
Spread your cloak
Over me.
The silly mad fellow is standing up.
In the middle is the woman
With her head shrouded in her cloak.
Above are the branches of the trees.
The stars twinkle;
The moon is setting.
A gaping * *



Haere atu ki Mangareporepo,
I aha ka haere te tiare.
I aha ka haere te tiare.
Hei whiu aha.
He aha kei rotu atu?
A—he nihinihi.
He aha kei waho mai!
A—he kiri tapa.
He aha kei o tapa?
A—he kea.




The different kinds of composition already noticed perform merely the office of an accompaniment to dancing, or other movements of the body. That which we shall next introduce to the reader, called waiata, is intended to be sung by one or several voices in harmony, but without the aid of any action. It is the song of love, or hatred, or grief, or any other sentiment with which the poet is inspired. If a woman is forsaken by her lover, she gives vent to her feelings in a waiata. If a chief falls in fight, or by the murderous hand of a treacherous enemy, his wife, or some near relative, celebrates his praises, and denounces a curse on the kin of his foe, in one of these effusions.

In this, the poetry of the New Zealanders, the terminations of verses do not form rhymes; but each sentence is metrically arranged, and it often happens that, for the sake of preserving the metre, the same word is divided, one part of it ending a line, while the other part of it begins the line follow- [p.178] ing. The mode of singing the waiata much resembles the chanting in cathedrals; there are, moreover, a variety of chants in use suitable to diversity in the metre of the waiata.

Tera te pukohu
Mau tonu mai Pukehina.109
Ko te ava touu ia
I haere ai taku torere.
Look where the mist
Hangs over Pukehina.
There is the path
By which went my love.
Taliuri mai ki muri ra
Kia ringia atu
He wai kai110
Turn back again hither
That may he poured out
Tears from
Aku kamo. E hara ra
I a au nana rawa i111
Tuatahi, nau rawa i
Tuapeka i te iti
My eyes. It was not I
Who first spoke of love.
You it was who made advances
To me when but a little thing.
I a au; noreira te Ngakau i wliakawairangi ai.
He konohi aroha noku ki
A koe ra.
Therefore was my heart made wild.
This is my farewell of love to thee.


Kaore te aroha
E whaki ake nei. Puna
My regret is not
To be expressed. Like a spring.


Te roimata
Ka hua i aku kamo. Aba
Te Kaiuku,
Nana ra waiho mai. Tahi
Eke uei au
Te biwi ki Parabaki; marama te titiro
Te motu ki Tuhua. Tabi
Au ka aroba
Te biwi ki Taumo114 ki a
Kia wakakai au maka o Taniwba.116
Ka pai au, ka purotu. Wai||
Te kaipuke
E waibape atu ra? Nou
Fa, e Te Hu.117
The tears
Gush from my eyes.
I wonder whatever is Te Kaiuku113 doing:
He who deserted me. Now I climb upon
The ridge of Mount Parabaki;
From whence is clear the view
Of the island Tuhua.
I see with regret
The lofty Taumo,
Where dwells Tangiteruru.
Let me bang in my ear
The shark's tooth.
How fine, bow pretty I'll look.
But see, whose ship is that
Tacking in the distance?
Is it yours? Hu!


He tau na Pohiwa.118 E rere ana ia
Te tai ki Europi. Homai, e Toru,
Tetehi ki a au. Ahumeliume tahi
Te kahu a te Tipua.119 Kati
Au ka boki
Ki aku ppepora,
Ki aku kore noa iho.
You husband of Pohiwa,
Sailing away
On the tide to Europe.
Toru! pray give me
Some of your fine things;
For beautiful are
The clothes of the sea-god.
Enough of this.
I must return to my rags,
And to my nothing-at-all.




E to, e te Ea, rehurehu ki te rua:
Kingiringi a wai he roimata ki aku kamo.
He mea mahue au i te hikoi-nga-wae
Nou, e Tarati. E whakangaro atu ana
Nga km-ae, ko Waiohipa ra.
Whakaauahi ana te tara ki Mitiwai.
Kei raro taku atua e aroha nei au.
Kati te wainia te mahi te haramai.
Ka te tokorau atu ki tou taiwhenua;
Ka muta ai, ranei, te raugi
kanehetanga. E!
Set, O sun, in the mists of your cave,
While tears flow like water from my eyes.
I am a forsaken one since you have gone,
Tarati. Now is vanishing from the sight
The point of Waiohipa,
And the cliff of Mitiwai is fading away like smoke.
Beneath (that cliff) is the god of my love.
Have done, spirit, the work of intrusion.
Now that you are absent in your native land,
The day of regret will, perhaps, end.




E ua, e te ua, ua mai i waho na,
Kei roto au nei huri ai ki te whare.
Ko te rii-i a te rangi, te mauru te hau.
Nui noa, e Wae,121 o' rongo pifa aroa.122
Te homai nei Ida tui i taku ringa,123
Kia mau atu au te kaho tu ki te whao.
Ko to te tapapa, haumaruru tonu iho.
No raro uga turi ka hui whakarmiga,
He ahua tiai'a. E laau, to' tere
Hei whiu i a an te rehu ki Pounui.124
Kei tae ki reira, e kore muri e hokia mai,
Hei manatunoa ma te tangata ki taku whare
Ka tangi nei roto. E!
Rain, rain, raining down from without,
Here I am within (my hut) knowing not what to do.
Now that the wind has moderated, the anger of the sky appears.
Very great, Waero, is the fame of your hatchets.
Why give you not one to me to suspend at my wrist.
That I may bear off the sapling which grows in the wood.
But here I sit doubled up like a sick person.
My thighs bent up under me.
As one who is on a journey
O wind, oh! for thy swiftness,
To whirl me off to the mists of Pounui.
Were I only once there, nothing should tempt me to return.
To be an object of commiseration, for those at home
To lament over. Eh!




Haere ra, e koro, e.
I toil tira ko koe anake,
Kia wakairia126 koe
Irunga o AVaiwetu.
Ae kata127 ra, e Koro, e.
Kei hoki wawe o Icoutou waewae,
Kore nei aku toto
Te inu mai ai koe.
Kua pakihi au
I nui ou rangi ra—i.
Mawai e ranga
Tou mate i te Ac?
Ma te po tu mai
Irunga o Tirohanga?
Ma te po taka mai
Irunga o Kaihiuu?
A, engari ra ia,
Tenei, e Hika—e.
Tenei tou roro,
Ko te kowhatu e tu ki te ahi-kai;
Kia reka iho ai
Taku kaigua iho—e.
Go, sir, alone, companionless,
to be set up as a spectacle above Waiwetu.
Yes, laugh on, sir; take care your feet
return not quickly.

I have no blood left for you
to drink. I am exhausted in
celebrating the greatness of
your fame.

Who shall sing your death
to the world? Shall it be the
mist stationary above Tiro-
hanga? Shall it be the mist
gathering round Kaihinu?

Yes! better let it be so, sir.
that this were your brain!
this stone that lies by the food-
fire! so would I devour it with
thorough satisfaction.




Kaore te aroha
Mohukihuki ana.
Love does not torment for ever.


Te panga mai kei ahau
Me he ahi e toro
Kei Hukamii, e Moka.
Tenei ka tata mai,
Kei tobu mai, e Kiri,
Kei te au ko te moe.
Kei te matatu tonu
I te roa o te po,
Kai-toro-puku ai
Te aroha i ahau.
E kore ra e puakina,
Kei rangona e te tini.
Te putanga ki waho ra,
Me tohu aku mata.
Nga parae ka takoto
Ki Tauwhai'e ra ia:
Ko te ara tonu ia
I whan' atu ai au,
Kia urutomokia
Te whare o Eawhirawhi.
Kei riri mai, e whae;
He nui parahaere.
Mau ano te tinana
Maku te ata o te tapara-
kau-atu. E!128
It came on me like the
fire which rages sometimes at
Hukanui. If this (beloved)
one is near me, do not sup-
pose, Kiri, that my sleep is
sweet. I lie awake the live-
long night, for love to prey on
me in secret.

It shall never be confessed,
lest it he heard of by all. The
only evidence shall be seen on
my cheeks.

The plain which extends
to Tauwliare: that path I trod
that I might enter the house
of Eawhirawhi. Don't be
angry with me, O madam
(addressed to Eawhirawhi's
wife); I am only a stranger.
For you there is the body (of
your husband). For me there
remains only the shadow of




Tera ia te tai o Honipaka130 There far away is the tide of Honipaka.


Ka wehe koe i au—e.
He whakamaunga atu nahaku
Te ao ka rere mai
Ra runga mai o te motu e tu
Noa mai ra koe131 ki au—e.
Kia milii mamao au ki te Iwi ra
E paria e te tai—
Piki-tu, piki-rere,
Piki-takina mai.
Te kawai muriwhenua,
Te kawai tutere.
Ten a taku manu,
He manu ka onga noa,
Huna ki te whare.
Te hau o Matariki!132
Ma Te Whareporutu
Ma te rahi Ati-awa
E kau tere mai ra.
Ka urupa taku aroha na—i.
Alas! thou (Honipaka) art divided from me.
The only tie which connects us
Is the fleecy cloud drifting hither
Over the summit of the island
Which stands clearly in sight.
Let me send a sigh afar to the tribe,
Where the tide is now flowing—
The leaping, racing,
Skipping tide.
Oh ! for the breeze, the land-breeze.
The stiff breeze.
That is my bird,
A bird that hearkens to the call.
Though concealed in the cage.
Oh! for the wind of Matariki!
Then will Te Whareporutu
And the great Ati-awa
Sail swiftly hitherward.
So ends my song of love.




Nni noa ou riri, e Pohani, ki au,
E kore au e ngaere.
E kore au e ngaere. He maire133 I tuao
Ma te toki e tua.
I haere whakakoko ki Muriura ia,
Te tiunga o Meke,
Hao noa e te puku.
Hua noa ianei me atawhai au
Hei ora mo * *
However great your rage against me, Pohani,
I will not stir.
I will not stir sooner than the
maire standing in the grove.
Which the axe must fell.
He went in haste to Miuiura,
Swift as Meke,
The greedy fellow,
Supposing I should be kind to him.
And satisfy his desires. * *




Korero-hau mai te rangi,
Kei whakarongohia.
Kei whakarongohia;
Hurihia iho i raro iho
I te toka, i a Turapa.
Tukua ano au
Kia kite
I te kaigna
O Aiiki-mate-o-kore-kai.
Tera te tangata ikemoke
Ka riro ki tahiti
Ki te hiikahuka o te tai.
Ka whiwhi au
Ka rawe
Hoki ana.
When the sky speaks in storms.
Don't pay attention.
Don't pay attention;
Cover it over, placing it under
The rock Turapa.
Let me go
To see
The land
Of Mr. Sick-for-want-of-food.
The restless fellow there
Is off to a far country,
To the extremity of the tide.
When I have obtained wealth
And riches,
I return.





Eloquence is held in much esteem among the New Zealanders; and they generally display, as orators, a remarkable ability. Not that the arguments they employ are always such as would have most weight with a European audience; for the matter to be discussed is referred to a standard of right or wrong, which, though recognized by the New Zealander, would often not be recognized by the European. But they have a certain native eloquence, enforced by readiness of speech and grace of action, which cannot but strike the listener with astonishment and admiration.

Their orations called taki, delivered on state occasions, are composed according to certain recognized laws regulating their form and arrangement. The speaker commences generally by chanting a song which bears some reference to the subject under discussion. After this follows the first part of the speech. Here the speaker sets forth his [p.187] grievances and enunciates the principles of action acknowledged as tika, or just, by his countrymen, by which his conduct has been regulated. He then breaks off to sing another short song, intended to illustrate the subject still further. After this comes the second part of the speech, or the conclusion.

The rule of introducing a song into their speeches is so generally adhered to, that it is very usual for those who have embraced Christianity to substitute for the song some verses quoted from the translated Bible or Prayer-book. And I remember once hearing an elderly chief, named Paki, who was a Christian in little more than in name, introduce into a rather warlike speech the Lord's Prayer, the sense of which he took the liberty to alter in a remarkable manner; for, after the words, "forgive us our trespasses," instead of saying, "as we forgive them that trespass against us," he substituted the words, "but we can't forgive them that trespass against us."

The elder part of the audience always understand perfectly the application and meaning of the songs thus introduced in quotation, and on hearing them have no difficulty in judging what are the intentions of the speaker. Not so the younger men: to them, as well as to the foreigner, although he has a good knowledge of the language, large portions are a mystery, if unaided by explanations. Notwithstanding this, the audience invariably pay the greatest attention to the speaker. They may be [p.188] said, literally, to hang on his words; while from time to time the older and more experienced interpret in a low voice, to those who sit near them, the obscure passages.

While delivering his address, the speaker generally walks forwards and backwards along an open space of a few yards, left unoccupied for that purpose. As he advances he spouts out each sentence, the rapidity of his advance increasing often to a run as the sentences are shorter and more abrupt, and the expressions more vehement. The run is sometimes terminated by a leap, both feet descending together on the ground, as it were, to show more decidedly than by words the resolute determination of the speaker. The sentence being thus ended, he walks back slowly and silently to the place from which he started, preparing himself for the next period. Such is the action, added to expressive movements of the arms and body, which gives force to their words in the more emphatic parts of their orations, when they intend to hurl reproaches and threats at their adversaries. During the narrative, descriptive, and persuasive parts, their action is moderated. They then no longer pace or run up and down; but content themselves with more or less motion of the arms and body, often remarkably elegant and expressive.

It has been reported by many travellers that the Polynesians have, in addition to their language in [p.189] common use, a language peculiar to a sacred class. This I doubt; for the same fact has been declared true of the New Zealanders, which is certainly not so, but has, I believe, obtained credence from the circumstance, before alluded to, that the set speeches of the older men are unintelligible to the multitude. Their being unintelligible, however, does not arise from the chiefs using a different language from the multitude—though it is true that a great many words obsolete, and generally not familiar, are employed by them on these occasions—but from the ambiguity of the meaning to be given to what they do say, and to obscureness owing to allusions made to events of so ancient a date as to be unknown to the rising generation.

The following letter from a Christian chief to another of a hostile tribe, who had not given up his old belief and warlike habits, is written in the form and manner of one of these public speeches, and will give an idea of the use made of songs in them, and the sort of analogy which they bear to the subject:—

E taku teina, e Tohi-te-ururangi.
E tama, kia rongo mai koe ki taku ngeri.
Ka tahi nei ka whai-tu.
Ka tahi nei ka whai-maro.
Ka tahi nei ka hake nui
Ki te puna i Eaparapa:
Kia heru ai irunga te pokohuru o taku kaigna kanohi—ae.


E Tohi, Ida rongo mai koe. Na—kei tohe mai koe ki te haereniai ki Taurauga. Noho atu. Noho atu. Eere. Kia rongo koe ki te Pakeha ki a Te Hotereni. Koia to tatou kotikoti-tiiiwa. Na—ki te pakeke koe ki a la. Na—Tena ra pea kia kaha mai.

E Pa, tou hau wero tonu ki taku kiri,
Te atakitea atu te whetu o te rangi.
Ka mangi noa 'hau, e ai te aorewa.
Wai te poaiiaka i raru ai, 'wai ka tohu iho
Tenei te tangata te hihii-a atu nei.
Te hoki atu koe i waho na i te roro.
Kore te kakea i te welii o te tapu.
He koro i tu mai no Te Whakatakere:
Eokohanga mai au ka taia roatia.
He ohonga-moe ake au ko te takapau.
Ka ponouga, e Eangi, tou baerenga mai;
He ringa i whakatoro, hoki tapu, ka noa.

Na—Mau e tohe mai. Ae. Kia hohoro mai ano inaianei. He oi he tuhi tenei mo te aomarama. He koha hoki uaku ki a koe.


O my kinsman, Tohi-te-ururangi, listen to my song.

Now, indeed, we take up arms,
Now we don the war-tunic.
Now we march in force
To the well of Raparapa,
To pass the comb over
The murdered head of the land of my eyes' delight.

Friend Tohi, hearken to me. Don't persist in your design of coming to Tauranga. Stay away. Stay away. Hear the advice of the Pakeha, Mr. * * Hear him for he surely is our wall of separation. But if you are stubborn against him, in that case, you may come and do your worst.

The breeze which blows from your country
Is for ever piercing my flesh.
The stars of the heavens are obscurely seen.


I am giddy, light as the mist.
Who is it that disturbs my peace?
Who can be sure the fellow will stir?
Why don't you turn back outside your porch?
One must not be too hasty for fear of the tapu,
A longing desire of Whakatakere,
I was caught stretched out asleep.
When I awoke, there was only the mat.
If truly, Rangi, you come here,
The hand which was stretched out and returned tapu shall become noa.

Nevertheless, if you persist, it is well. Be quick and at once. This is the last of my writing for the bright day (of peace). It is a warning from me to you.

The second song here introduced is a love song from the mouth of a female who had rejected the addresses of her lover, and afterwards repented that she had done so. She sings that the wind which blows from the land where dwells her lover always pierces her flesh, reminding her of him, and of her loss. Her night's rest is disturbed by visions of him; but waking she finds only the mat by her side. The last sentence is intended to come to his ears, and hint to him, that if he renews his addresses they will be more kindly received. The hand which you before stretched out to me, and which returned tapu, that is, which I rejected, shall become noa, that is, shall be accepted.

The writer of the letter intended to express, in this figurative manner, that he was constantly troubled and harassed by threats and rumours of war [p.192] proceeding from the enemy's country—this is the signification which he gives to the words tou hau wero tonu ki te kiri—and that, although on a former occasion, when his tribe had been attacked, he being a Christian had not retaliated, if the same enemy comes again, he and the Christian members of the tribe will unite with their heathen brethren, and take up arms to repel him. Such is the meaning of the words ringa i whakatoro atu, &c.

The words tou hau, thy breeze, or the breeze blowing from the direction of your country, refer to an idea frequently to be met with in the poetry of this people—the imaginary connexion between two places established through means of the wind blowing from one to the other. Thus, Te Rauparaha, lamenting the loss of the lands of his fathers, says,—

He whakamaunga atu nahaku
Te ao ka rere mai.135
The only tie which unites us
Is the fleecy cloud drifting hitherward.

So prevalent is the influence of this poetic fancy among the New Zealanders, and so powerfully are their sympathies excited by the simple circumstance of the wind blowing from the country where an absent beloved person is staying, that a wife or lover may frequently be seen, on such occasions, seated with her face fully exposed to the breeze, while she gives vent to her affection in the peculiar wailing [p.193] chant of the country, called tangi. The same idea is thus expressed by the poet Burns:—

"Of a' the airts the wind can blow, I dearly lo'e the west,
For there the bonnie lassie lives, the lass that I lo'e best."


Frequent use is also made in speeches and in conversation of familiar sayings or proverbs, called whakatauki. They are the witty or sage remarks of ancestors, which have been thought worthy to be preserved in memory, in order that they may be applied as occasion serves. Some of them are remarkably pointed and elegant. Others are devoid of all wit to a European understanding, although highly relished, and moving laughter among themselves. In travelling, when your guides begin to be weary of a long journey, an appropriate whakatauki will be found a more powerful stimulus to exertion than harsh words: and, on many other occasions, they will carry more weight than any other sort of argument.

Some years ago, it was customary in New Zealand for Romanist priests, and the clergy and catechists belonging to the Church Missionary Society, to hold controversial discussions in public before large bodies of natives, in order that the latter might have an opportunity of judging for themselves which side had the right. On one of these occasions, when the controversy had for some time [p.194] been eagerly and hotly maintained on either side, a Protestant Missionary, who was a better linguist than his opponent, so pleased the audience by the apt use of a whakatauki, that they unanimously decided in favour of his arguments.

Among every tribe, a variety of these current sayings are to be met with; but, though familiar to themselves, they would often not be understood out of their own circle without some previous explanation. "Mumura tou toro, kei rokohanga koe e Hauokanga" is a whakatauki which, if addressed about the hour of dinner to a person who was in the habit of dropping in at that time, would convey a hint that he was an unwelcome guest. Its explanation is rather diverting.

A certain Hineroa was frequently annoyed by a young man named Hauokanga, who made a practice of coming to pay her a visit just at the time her meal was cooked, and then of eating up a large share of it. One day, fearing another of these unwelcomed visits, she thus addressed her fire:—

"Mumira tou toro, kei rokohanga koe e Hauokanga."
"Come, blaze away, or you'll be caught by Hauokanga."

Just at that moment Hauokanga appeared, and, overhearing the words, inquired,

"He aha kei a au, e Hineroa?"
"What's that about me, Hineroa?"


"He hohoki ra."
"Why you're for ever coming back again," replied Hineroa.
"Ka hokia he huanga-tenei ka wehe."
"I come again because I am a kinsman; but now we are divided." With which words Hauokanga departed, and never again returned.

"He maha nga he o Turangatao ki muri:" "Many were the crimes of Turangatao afterwards," are words conveying no particular meaning in themselves, but familiar to the tribe Ngatihaua, as a sort of vaunt that "honesty is not the best policy." The origin of this saying tells a very significant tale of the moral condition of the New Zealanders before the introduction of Christianity.

A fortified village was taken by surprise one morning, and among the few who escaped was Turangatao. In the flight he passed close to another village not far off, where he had left his wife and children for security; but, the enemy being close in pursuit, he thought more of saving himself than his family. His wife, however, seeing him coming, shouted out to him—

"Turangatao, e pehea ana te mamae?"
"Turangatao, how fares it with you?"
"Taria iho."
"Stop a bit, and you'll find out," replied he, running on all the while.
"Tahuri mat ki a taua tamariki."


"Oh! do turn hither, and help me to save our children," shrieked the wife in alarm.
"He tamariki kei te matamata o te ure. E pari ana te tai o te kotinga."
"Oh! as for children," returned he, without stopping, "I can get children enough. The tide of life is on the flood."

Presently the enemy came and killed his wife and children, while he escaped, and lived to commit many other evil deeds afterwards. Hence the saying, "He maha nga he," &c.

This tale of Turangatao I have often heard told by Te Tiwha, a chief living at Matamata, who seemed to be not a little proud of him as an ancestor on account of his witticisms, many of which, including the above heartless reply, are handed down as whakatauki. Tiwha always laughed heartily when he repeated the words "He tamariki kei te matamata," &c., and so did those who heard him, showing evidently that a heartless blackguard is not even now thought by them so disreputable a fellow as he should be.



He toa rii-i, he toa pahekeheke. He toa malii-kai, he toa mau tonu—a, mate noa iho, mate kongenge noa iho.
He who is valiant in fight, is a valiant apt to stumble. But he who is valiant in cultivating food, is a valiant who will abide—even to a natural death, worn out by old age.



He kai-tangata, he kai-titongi-kaki. Tena—ko ta tona ringa, tino kai, tiuo makona.
Food given by another person is only a throat-tickler: but food gained by the labour of one's own hand is the food which satisfies.


Makariri piri noa, tahae-mahana, he arero.
Cold which is only skin deep, stealing warmth, is not worth a word of complaint.


Maramara nui a Mahi ka riro i a Noho.
The large chips made by Mr. Hardwood fall to the share of Mr. Sit-still.
Moral.—The food of those who labour often falls to the share of those who are lazy.


He tangata momoe, he tangata mangare e kore e whiwhi ki te taonga.
A man fond of sleep, and a man fond of idleness, will never obtain wealth.


He aorere ka kitea: he liuatau e kore e kitea.
The passing clouds can be seen: but passing thoughts cannot be seen.


He ta-kakaho ka kitea: tena—he ta no te ngakau e kore e kitea.
A crooked part of a stem of toetoe can be seen; but a crooked part in the heart cannot be seen.


E mokai tupunga-rua, kawe ake, kawe iho.
O slave of two growths, shooting up, sinking down.
Moral.—A child grows up to be a man, and afterwards descends to a second childhood in old age.



Kakariki e tunu, kakariki e ota. Kai mata whiwhia, maoa riro ke.
Toast the kakariki,136 and eat the kakariki half raw. Make the best of your raw meat, for when well cooked somebody else may run off with it.
Moral.—This proverb is often used in travelling when some of the party desire the food to be served up quickly, in opposition to others who wish to stop till it is well dressed.


Poroaki tu-tata, whakahoro he tau.
Your farewell words promised a speedy return; but you allow the year to slip away.
Moral.—A remark made to any one who says, on taking leave, that he will soon return.


He nui tou ngaromanga, he iti tou putanga.
You depart with mighty boasts; but you come back having done little.


Ai ou hapainga ki tou i-inga wbati tou tuara. Puta tahanga mai koe. Ana tou kore na.
I thought you would bring in your hands enough to break your back. You return empty-handed: so I suppose you have got nothing.
Moral.—Applied to any one who leaves home with nothing, and brings nothing with him on his return.


Tuia te kawe, tairanga te kawe: ko te kawe o te haere.
Thread your arms through the straps of your pack, adjust the straps. The straps are for a march.
Moral.—A hint to your companions to move on after a halt.



E tu ranei, e noho ranei? kei whaia e te karanga laua. Whakaka.
Will you stand up, or sit still? Beware lest you are pursued by the alarm of any enemy. Get up.
Moral.—Same as the last.


Haere imua mo hari-taonga. Waiho imuri titiro kau ana.
He who goes before gathers treasures. He who is left to follow behind looks for them in vain.


Kohia te kai rangatira: ruia te taitea.
Pick out the gentleman's food: distribute the refuse among the crowd.


Titiro iho ka puehuehu, ma tana waiaro. Taraua he kaka, ki tahaki tera.
When he sees a mealy potato, he saves it for his own eating.
When he meets with a fibre of fern root, he throws it aside.
Moral.—A rebuke to a person who picks out the dainty bits for himself.


Na ia tou paua.
Look here's your mutton-fish.
Moral.—This proverb is equivalent to the slang expression, "Do you see any green in my eye?" and the speaker, when saving the words, draws down the lower eyelid with the point of the fore finger, in a significant manner.


Haere ki te kowha-pipi ki Katikati.
Go to Katikati to shell cockles.
Moral.—This proverb is used in the same sense as "Don't you wish you may get it." Katikati being debatable ground, it would not be safe for any one to go there for that purpose.



Ahea no muri patato mai ai.
Whenever will be heard the sound of splitting fire-wood.
Moral.—A hint from a guest, in case of delay, to hasten the serving up of food.


Ko Tauranga pakukore tenei.
This is barren Tauranga.
Moral.—A reply to a person who begs clothes, or any thing else, if you don't choose to give. Tauranga is a place where for miles the only growth is fern and small bushes, and where fire-wood is so remarkably scarce, that the crackling of a good blazing fire is never heard there. The word "pakukore," literally "making no report," refers to this circumstance.


E pa, tangia te wai o to' waha.
Sir, bale the water out of your mouth (as from a canoe in a storm).
Moral.—A rebuke to a noisy, wordy antagonist.


Ka mahi te tamariki wawahi-taha.
The jar-breaking child is at work.
Moral.—A rebuke to a careless servant.


Ka tata te kai a Rangihoa.
Rangihoa's food is nigh at hand.
Moral.—A hint, when one is sleepy, that he wishes his guests to retire.


Ruia te waero, kia tae koe ki te whare o Ketaraia.
Shake the cloak before you enter the house of Ketaraia.
Moral.—A hint to any one who is about to visit a great person to put on his good clothes.



He hohonu kahi, papaku uaua.
A deep throat, but shallow sinews.
Moral.—A word to a voracious, but lazy fellow.


Ka pu te kupenga, ka hao te rangatahi.
When the seine is worn out with age, the new net encircles the fish.
Moral.—When a man grows old, his son takes his place.


Maku te kai, he maha au kai ki muri.
Give me the food to eat, you will have plenty by-and-by.
Moral.—The saying of an old man to his son; meaning that at his death he would have all.


Waiho kia patai ana, he kaha ni te kaha.
Let him go on asking, his strength (or ability) lies in asking questions.
Moral.—A remark on a person who is always asking idle questions.


Kirikiri-kaimata, he tangata-ringaringa.
Here are baskets of uncooked food; a man has hands.
Moral.—Don't wait for me to cook your food; but help yourself.




At the time of the discovery of New Zealand, its inhabitants were found to have made many of the first steps towards civilization. They lived in comfortable houses, more or less ornamented with carved work, and with scrolls delineated with red and white colours on the posts and beams which supported them. Their villages were fortified with palisades and trenches, and were surrounded by extensive gardens planted with the sweet potato, the taro, and the melon. Their knowledge of the art of horticulture was not inconsiderable; for they even employed the method of forming an artificial soil, by mixing sand with the natural soil, in order to make it light and porous, and so render it more suitable to the growth of the sweet potato. In parts of the [p.203] Waikato district where this plant was formerly much cultivated, the traveller frequently meets with large excavations, from twenty to thirty feet in depth, like the gravel pits one is accustomed to see in England near public roads: and in reply to his inquiries, he learns with surprise that they were formed by those who resorted there, year after year, to procure sand for manuring the ground in the manner described.

Their intelligence and industry are still further illustrated by their mode of cultivating the common potato. The spots generally selected for the growth of this plant are situated in forest lands, and sometimes in swamps, which have been reclaimed on purpose by draining. Suppose a wood is the spot selected—the first work is to cut down all the small trees and brush-wood, after which the larger trees are felled, till a sufficient space has been cleared. This is done in July. The trees and branches are left to lie on the ground till January or February of the year following, at which time, having become dry, they are set on fire. Nothing more is done till the following September, when the larger logs, only partly consumed by the fire, are split up into small pieces, gathered into heaps, and burnt. This work being finished, seed potatoes are brought to the ground and planted one by one in small holes made with a sharp-pointed wooden implement, called a ko. During the summer, the weeds which spring up are carefully hoed, but are left to lie on the ground be- [p.204] tween the young potato plants for the sun to scorch; and in the month of February the crop is fit to be removed from the ground and placed in store.

During the two succeeding years seed potatoes, are similarly planted in the same ground with the ko. On the fourth year, the ground is for the first time dug up with the spade, and the potatoes are planted in small mounds of earth, three or four seeds in each mound. These mounds are arranged with great regularity in quincunx, and give a remarkably neat appearance to the garden. The same method is followed in the fifth, sixth, and seventh years—a striking instance of the fertility of the soil. The garden is not tilled afterwards, but the residue of the crop left in the ground the seventh year produces an early crop the eighth year, which is fit to dig in the summer. For many years, however, the garden is still resorted to for the purpose of digging fern-root, which is much esteemed when growing in such localities.

The extent of knowledge possessed by the New Zealanders, in regard to the wild plants and insects of their country, has sometimes surprised me. The different varieties of the flax plant (phormium tenax), of which there are several indigenous to these islands, are all distinguished by names; their qualities are thoroughly appreciated, and the better sorts are often cultivated. I even obtained from a native a very accurate account of the mode of growth [p.205] of that remarkable parasitic fungus, known as the vegetable caterpillar,137 one of the curiosities of the country, and the puzzle and wonder of many a white man.

At the present time, when the supply of Russian hemp is interrupted, the New Zealand flax must become more valuable; and the attention of merchants and others will, no doubt, be directed to the discovery of a ready and cheap mode of obtaining it in large quantities, and in a clean marketable state. Hitherto all the flax brought from New Zealand to this country has been dressed by the hand labour of natives—a very tedious process, quite inadequate to supply more than trifling quantities; and the few attempts made at different times to employ machinery to separate the fibrous from the other parts of the leaf have failed. This is the more to be deplored, because the plant grows in such abundance in the swamps, which in many districts are very extensive, and on the banks of rivers and streams, that one cannot imagine the supply being exhausted, especially if some care were bestowed on the preservation and cultivation of the plant.

The following description of the flax plant, and of the methods in use among the natives for preparing the fibre for sale to Europeans, and for their own manufactures, may possibly be serviceable to future experimenters, by giving them the benefit of [p.206] the practical experience of an ingenious people. At the same time, as it was almost wholly communicated by a native, it will serve to illustrate further the subject of the present chapter:—

The variety of phormium tenax, found growing the most commonly and plentifully in New Zealand, is generally known by the name harakeke. This is the plant from which the flax met with in commerce is chiefly obtained, and, with one exception, it yields the best quality of fibre.

Warariki138 and mangaeka138 are names of two other varieties less common, but of about equal value with the last.

That which produces the best fibre of all is called rongotainui.138 It is not found growing plentifully in the wild state; but is cultivated to a moderate extent.

Motuorui138 and awanga138 are varieties yielding an inferior flax, of no value whatever. The latter is distinguishable by its variegated leaf.

In selecting leaves for the purpose of obtaining their flax, the natives always reject those growing outside, the tops of which are dead, because they have lost strength from long exposure to the weather: these waste leaves are named pakawka. Within them grow the leaves always chosen for their flax: they are called muka. Lastly, within the [p.207] muka grows the rito, the middle shoot or heart of the plant. When the rito comes to maturity it separates into four leaves, and a fresh rito shoots up within them, and so on. But when the plant is old, instead of a rito separating into leaves, a stalk grows which produces flowers. This stalk is called korari, and when it has done flowering no fresh rito or korari grows from the centre, but new shoots sprout from the sides of the root of the old plant.

The flax-dressers go to some swamp where the plants grow in plenty, and having cut as many of the leaves called muka as they please, bind them up in a bundle and carry them home. They next cut the under and more fleshy surface of the leaf, at the distance of a few inches from its point, completely across with a sharp ngapipi (a small bivalve shell), so as to divide the fleshy portion without injuring the fibres which lie immediately beneath. They then draw the leaf briskly between the finger and the edge of a muscle shell, beginning at the severed part. This operation, called takiri, (drawing out) or haro, (scraping) removes most of the fleshy part, and leaves the fibrous portion partially cleaned. When a sufficient number of leaves have been thus treated, they are tied in small bundles, and hung up to dry in the sun.

The flax offered for sale to Europeans has seldom more care bestowed on it than this: and as the operation of drying is generally imperfectly per- [p.208] formed, and the flax packed in a damp state, its strength must be materially injured during the long voyage to England. This, added to the careless way in which the leaves for dressing flax for sale are selected by the natives are, no doubt, the chief reasons why it has lost the reputation it first acquired in the European market, when it was more carefully cleaned.

The flax used by themselves in the manufacture of their own cloth has much more labour bestowed on it: for after being scraped and dried in the sun, it is steeped in water for a certain time, and then taken out and beaten with a wooden instrument. After being again dried in the sun, it is well rubbed together in the hands to free it from the parakoka, or dry fleshy part of the leaf which adheres to the fibres. These various processes are repeated three or four times, if it is desired to clean and bleach the fibre thoroughly; for the juices of the plant are of a very glutinous nature, causing the dry fleshy parts to adhere firmly to the fibre, and it is only by these repeated washings and rubbings that they can be got rid of. Traders, however, cannot pay enough to tempt the natives to prepare flax in this way for sale, particularly now that the latter have many other ways of employing their labour more profitably to themselves.

The same process of scraping the leaf with a muscle shell is employed to obtain the fibre from [p.209] all the above-named varieties. But there is another variety called one or tapoto, worthy of especial notice on account of the peculiar quality of its flax. If the leaf of this plant is scraped with the shell, the flax yielded is stiff and brittle: while if the fleshy substance covering the fibre is stripped off by the hand, which can readily be done, it is soft, and almost resembles silk. From this circumstance, it is generally called tihore, a word signifying "to strip off." The flax, however, although in appearance vastly superior to any other sort, has two important defects. Its fibres are shorter and more feeble; and it is, therefore, only used for making cloaks, and ornamental strings or tassels.

The one is not a common variety in the wild state, and it differs also from all the former in its habitat, not growing as they always do in moist and swampy places; but preferring a rich and deep soil, moderately dry. It is much cultivated by the natives; and is so highly prized by them that, if any one cuts the leaves from plants belonging to his neighbour, the act is resented as any other case of theft would be.

With the different kinds of flax we have described, the New Zealanders make a variety of garments. The best specimen of their skill in weaving, the kai-taka, is an ample flowing toga, with a border six or eight inches wide, ornamented with a neatly devised pattern in black and brown, on a ground of the na- [p.210] tural colour of the cloth. The koroai is a very pretty mantle, worn only by females, and the black tassels with which it is thickly studded suit very well the dark complexion of the wearers. The garment most valued is made by fastening in an ingenious manner narrow strips of dog's skin on a ground of coarse canvas of their own fabric, in the same manner precisely as furriers make ladies' tippets. All these manufactures are done by women, who use a rude sort of frame, on which their work is stretched.

To dye the flax, some of the bark of the hinau139 is pounded with a mallet till reduced to a sort of pulp. This, together with the flax to be dyed, is thrown into a wooden bowl, and a sufficient quantity of water is added. After remaining a whole night in the water, the flax is taken out and dried, by which time it has acquired a reddish brown colour. If it is desired to dye it black, it is then rubbed over with a particular kind of black mud,140 common in various parts of New Zealand, and when thoroughly dried and cleaned its colour is a deep jet black, remarkably permanent.

Of the mechanical skill possessed by this people, we have evidence in the structure of their houses and canoes, many of the latter being ornamented with elaborate carvings, and large enough to contain from 70 to 80 persons. Their favourite tool, the [p.211] adze, corresponded nearly in shape to that used by our carpenters, the blade being a stone141 both hard and tough, and capable of being ground to a tolerably good edge. They now substitute the iron taken from a plane for the stone, using, however, their own fashioned handles, which they much prefer for light work; for all heavy work, however, they employ the European adze. They are remarkably skilful in the use of this tool, and will cut a shaving from a plank with it nearly as finely as can be done with a plane. It is really astonishing how with their former stone adze they could have hewn all the plank required for their houses, and for the top sides of the canoes. And when it is borne in mind, that only one plank was obtained from a single tree, often nearly two feet in diameter—for each side of the tree was cut away till the plank was reduced to the required thickness—no one can help admiring their industry and perseverance. It may here be noticed, that the New Zealanders tie a knot which is unknown even to our sailors; at least, on trial, neither the boatswain, nor any one on board H.M.S. North Star had ever seen it before; it is admirably suited to tie firmly two slippery ends, such as of flax. Many other proofs of these qualities might be mentioned: as, for instance, the immense size of the seines used for the sea fisheries, and also the size and stability of the weirs erected with solid posts in the rivers, and with [p.212] earth embankments in the swamps, for the purpose of guiding the eels into nets placed at certain outlets. These works, and many others requiring great and continued labour, have been often cause of wonder to foreigners, who were surprised to find a savage people able to accomplish them.

The term savage, however, is very indefinite in actual signification: for if all savage nations and all civilized nations were separated into classes, there would, no doubt, be observed as great a distinction between the highest and lowest states of savage condition, as between the highest and lowest states of civilization. The New Zealanders and the Polynesians generally stand on the confines of the savage and civilized states; which is evident from the readiness with which they abandon their more objectionable savage practices, and adopt the customs of the civilized nations with whom they come in contact.

Like the rest of the Polynesians, the New Zealanders appear to have been ignorant of the use of the bow and arrow. But to supply the want of this weapon, they had some very ingenious methods of catching birds. The following was the most common. A sort of perch was tied to the extremity of a long slender rod, along which a string passed from end to end, like the line of a fishing rod, and a noose at its extremity was so placed that a bird could not alight on the perch without putting his feet within it. The perch was ornamented with some fruit and [p.213] flowers likely to be attractive, and the fowler, carrying this weapon to the nearest grove, concealed himself in some convenient spot by covering himself with the spreading branches of the tree fern, and then, pushing his rod up gradually between the branches of the trees, began to imitate the call of the bird he wished to catch. The instant a bird alighted on the perch, the string being pulled, it was caught by the leg. This weapon is much more destructive in the hands of a skilful person than a gun, as it causes no alarm among the birds, which will even continue to hop about in the same tree after several have been taken. When a bird is caught, the rod is gently withdrawn, and, the bird being secured, is again elevated to its former position ready to deceive another.

Their mode of catching the wild parrot is equally curious. Tame parrots are trained as decoys. Taking one of these with him, the bird-catcher selects some place in a wood frequented by the wild birds, and then builds with green boughs a shed just large enough to hide his person. Seated in this, he fixes two sticks firmly in the ground in front of him inclined at an angle thus, \ /. The decoy, having a string tied to its leg, is placed on the ground between the two sticks. Immediately the tame bird begins to screech, flapping his wings and running up and down the sticks. After awhile the air resounds with the cries of the wild parrots lured by the familiar [p.214] sounds. They constantly fly nearer and nearer, till at length the boldest of them perches on the extremity of one of the sticks. As the tame parrot retreats he pursues it, till, having reached the ground, he is seized in the grasp of the bird catcher. More follow, and are caught in the same way, so that during a day one person is able to secure as many birds as he can well carry away with him.

The inhabitants of the villages on the upper part of the river Wanganui are celebrated parrot catchers, and keep great numbers of tamed birds to be used as decoys. About the month of June, a great part of the population migrate to the immense forests lying between their river and the more central parts of the island, for the express purpose of catching parrots. Every evening, the birds taken during the day are roasted over fires, and then potted in calabashes in their grease, for they are very fat. Thus preserved, parrots and other birds are considered a delicacy, and are sent as presents to parts of the country, where they are scarce: and in due time are given a present of dried fish, or something else not to be obtained easily in an inland country, is received.

This was the sort of barter formerly most in vogue in New Zealand. One man sent another a present; but he always expected a present in return, and often gave a hint what he wished for. To admire or speak in praise of anything belonging to the other was quite hint enough. I have [p.215] frequently had a thing given me which I inadvertently admired; but I never failed, sooner or later, to receive such a hint, if I had not in due time given something considered of equivalent value to the donor.

In my more inexperienced days, a present was once actually forced on my acceptance, in order that the donor might found thereon a claim to something in return which he desired, but knew no readier mode of obtaining. The circumstance amused me at the time, and I now relate it in illustration of what I have been saying, and for another reason to be mentioned in the sequel.

Te Awhe, the chief of a powerful tribe, who lived at a distance of some sixty miles from Auckland, had a great desire to see all the reported wonders of the white-man's town; but, like many of his class in the early days of the Colony, had some hesitation to undertake the journey, except under escort of a person who belonged to the place. One day he made known his wish to me, and as I had on different occasions benefited by his friendliness and hospitality, I consented to take him. Several months afterwards, as I was returning to Auckland I again visited his village, which was situated at the highest point where the river Thames (Waihou) is navigable for small vessels. And on the same day a half-decked sailing boat belonging to the Colonial Government, formerly the pinnace [p.216] of H. M. S. Buffalo, came to meet me there. I requested Te Awhe to be ready early in the morning, so that we might drop down the river soon after daylight. His son and five others were to attend him. When the morning came, however, he did not make his appearance. And after waiting rather impatiently till between nine and ten o'clock, I began to doubt whether he had not changed his mind. At length the inhabitants of the village began to assemble, seating themselves in groups on the bank of the river: and every now and then came a man driving a pig before him, which he tied to a stake fixed in the ground just opposite to the boat. When seven or eight pigs had thus been collected together, last of all the old chief arrived. He showed no haste, however, to come on board, but very deliberately seated himself on the ground near the pigs. Something was evidently going forward that I did not comprehend. The mystery was explained, however, by my friend rising and intimating to me in a formal speech, that the pigs were designed as a present for myself. The present was not a welcome one, and I refused it, saying that we had no room for pigs in the boat. Te Awhe seemed much disconcerted by my refusal, and at last, finding he could not persuade me to accept his present, candidly explained that, when he reached Auckland, he should no doubt see many things to admire; [p.217] but that if I refused what he now wished to give me, he should be ashamed to ask me to give him any of the things that might strike his fancy in my country. I then referred the matter to Thomas Duder, an old man-of-war's man, who had charge of the boat; and as he seemed to think that three or four of the pigs might be stowed away in the stern-sheets of the boat without causing much inconvenience, I finally consented to accept some of them. One I gave to the two boatmen, who forthwith killed and shaved it, and then hung it up to the mast; and of the others, I believe, four were taken on board alive. A few baskets of potatoes were also brought by the chief and his men on their own account.

With this cargo we arrived at Auckland the next morning, and my guests, seven in number, remained there eight or ten days under my roof. Te Awhe did not forget to tell me what he most wished to have as presents, and all I shall say is, I believe he returned home not dissatisfied. As may naturally be supposed, he and his men ate no small share of the pigs he had given me, besides a sufficient quantity of flour, rice, sugar, &c. which were provided at my own expense.

I will now give the other reason why I have been thus particular in relating the tale. A day or two after our arrival, a paragraph appeared in a newspaper, called the Southern Cross, accusing me of [p.218] carrying on a trade in pigs and potatoes with the natives. Whoever penned the paragraph must have known perfectly well that what he was telling the public was false. And I felt so confident that little credit would be given in New Zealand to any remarks which appeared in a journal notorious for representing the acts of the officers of the Colonial Government in an invidious light, that I took no notice whatever of it. But the proprietor of the Southern Cross has since written a book on New Zealand, in which the following passage occurs, evidently, as it seems to me, a reproduction of the libel which had its origin in his own paper:—"One of these gentlemen (Protectors of Aborigines) used to carry on a regular trade in pigs and potatoes with the natives, telling them that he would purchase all their pigs, and the Officer administering the Government would buy all the land, and that the settlers were only slaves. In consequence of this, the settlers complained that they could not carry on their usual trading with the natives, and the circumstances were taken notice of at the time in the public prints."'142 It is only a few weeks ago that I accidentally met with this book, and was not a little surprised to read a statement which, as regards myself, is utterly untrue—and which I believe to be so with regard to every other person to whom it could apply.


The foregoing illustrations of the early state of civilization of the New Zealanders have been selected as much as possible from examples of their everyday life, likely to have escaped the notice of writers who had not opportunities of continued personal intercourse with them. I shall conclude the present chapter with some account of their astronomical knowledge, and of their manner of dividing time, pail of which will probably be new to the reader.

Like ancient European nations, the New Zealanders regard the morning and evening star as different planets. Tawera is their Lucifer, and Merimeri their Hesperus: and under these two names the beauty of the planet Venus is frequently celebrated in their poetry. They divide the year into moons, the first being determined by the rising of the Pleiades, called by them Matariki.

According to Mr. Ellis, the Society Islanders divided the year into two seasons—"the first commenced when in the evening the Pleiades appeared on the horizon; and the half year during which, immediately after sunset, they were seen above the horizon was called Matarii i nia (Pleiades above). The other season commenced when at sunset these stars were invisible, and continued till, at that hour, they appeared again above the horizon. This season was called Matarii i raro (Pleiades below).143 The Pleiades would be on the [p.220] meridian of the East Cape of New Zealand at midnight; or, which is the same thing, would there be seen on the eastern horizon at sunset about the 10th day of June. This agrees very well with the season of the commencement of the New Zealander's year: and on examining the comparative table of the dialects of the New Zealanders and the natives of the Society Islands, it will be seen, that the latter drop the A, and therefore pronounce the word Matarii.

The Sandwich Islanders also, and the other Polynesians, as we gather from reliable authorities,144 have the same mode of measuring the year, commencing it with the rising of this constellation.145


Frequently, instead of denoting the seasons of the year by moons, some regular natural phenomenon, as the ripening of a fruit, is referred to. Thus, Te tveronga o te karaka (the time of the fruit of the karaka being red-ripe) is commonly used instead of the eighth moon.

The following comparative table of the months of the New Zealander with our own may be useful:—


1st Moon, Te Tahi.
No Te Tahi ka kitea a Matariki.
2nd " Te Eua.
3rd " Te Toru.
4th " Te Wha.
5th " Te Rima.
6th " Te Ono.
7th " Te Whitu.
Ka kaigna te hua hou.
8th " Te Waru.
Ka hauhake ki te rua.
9th " Te Iwa.
E hauhake ana ano i te riwai.
10th " Te Ngahuru.
Ka raranga te kete mo te kumara.
11th " Te Ngahurn-tahi.
Ka hauhake i te kumara.
12th " Te Ngahuru-rua.
13th " Te Ngahurutahiaratua.

Ko te timatanga tenei o te makaridi. Na—ka mate tenei
Marama ka hurl te tau.
During the first mouth Matariki is seen.
New potatoes are eat.
Potatoes are fit to dig for storing.
Digging potatoes continues.
Baskets for kumara are plaited.
The kumara root is dug up.

Now commences the cold weather. And when this moon dies, the year has made a revolution.


The time of day is denoted generally by some expression referring to the clearness of the light, or the height of the sun in the sky. Thus—

English. Maori. Literal translation.
Daybreak .... Ka whakaataata te ata. ... The shadows of morning appear.
Sunrise Ka eke te Ra The sun mounts.
Daylight Awatea Daylight.
Forenoon .... Ka mo-runga te Ra The sun is on its way upwards.
Midday .... Ka poutumaro147 te Ra .... The sun stands upright as a post.
Afternoon Ka titaha te Ra The sun is tilted over.
Evening .... Ahialu The time of fires.
Sunset Ka to te Ra ... The sun sets.
Midnight .... Ka waea te po, ka waea te ao Night and day are divided.

In computing time, the New Zealanders reckon by nights, and not by days as we do. Thus, instead of asking a person, "How many days were you on the road?" they would say, "How many nights were you on the road?"148




The primary divisions into which we have separated the entire population of New Zealand—at any rate the three principal divisions, formed respectively by the tribes descended from the crews of Tainui, Te Araiua, and Te Mata-atua—are sometimes designated by the term Waka (canoe), in reference to their reputed origin from the crews of different canoes. The term Iwi, commonly translated Tribe, applies also to those primary divisions, but more generally to their larger subdivisions: smaller sub-divisions being called Hapu. Thus, each Waka contains more or less Iwi and each Iwi more or less Hapu. It will be as well to indicate the way in which these subdivisions have originated. The distinguishing names of Iwi and Hapu are generally taken from ancestors. The first colonists do not appear to have remained living together in one body, but to have dispersed soon after landing, each [p.224] family seeking for itself a locality which pleased it, and there settling. In the third generation, we find a part of the crew of the Arawa settled at Taupo, in the very centre of the island. The offspring of each of these communities increasing in number, were at length distinguished by the name of some common ancestor of note. Thus, two of the Iwi into which the descendants of the crew of the Arawa are now divided are called Tapuika and Waitaha; the former being the name of the grandson of Tia, and the latter of the grandson of He, both of them persons who are supposed to have made the voyage from Hawaiki to New Zealand. Another important Iwi, called Ngati-Wakaue, derives its name from Wakaue, an ancestor seventh in descent from Hou, a chief who was also one of the crew of the Arawa. We might in this way go through the whole of the Iwi, which make up this great division of the New Zealanders, and trace them back to some one of the crew of the Arawa.

As an Iwi became numerous and powerful, it split up into the smaller divisions called Hapu; these being also denoted by the name of the ancestor under whom they became a separate body.

If it were our business to make genealogical inquiries respecting any tribe—a necessary step preliminary to the investigation of native titles to land—we should first ascertain the names of all the Iwi composing the division of natives in ques- [p.225] tion. We should then trace each of these Iwi to its source, from information obtained from the most competent and trustworthy of its present representatives. We should next, by a similar process, trace the Hapu contained in each of these Iwi to their common ancestor from whom the Iwi received its name. It is believed that genealogical tables thus constructed would be found of the greatest value in facilitating the purchase of land from the natives. Without having previously made any investigations of this nature, there would exist an uncertainty whether the persons who offered land for sale were its rightful owners; for the New Zealanders have their full share of that infirmity of human nature which prompts to deceive when there is any prospect of gain. Indeed, in every case that came under my notice, I found them systematically keep in the dark the names of all claimants to land offered for sale, but of those belonging to their own party.

Ngati is the word most commonly prefixed to the name of an ancestor to designate his descendants. It is the compound word Nga-ati, signifying the offspring. The other terms similarly used are,—Te-ati, the singular of Nga-ati, Ngaiti149 for Nga-aiti; Te Aitanga, as in Te Aitanga-Kuri, the name of a tribe in the Middle Island; Nga, the plural of the definite article, as in Nga-Puhi. Sometimes the [p.226] name of a district is used to denote several Iwi who inhabit it, as Waikato for the tribes who dwell on the banks of the river so called.

Classes of Society.—The population of New Zealand is divided into three classes, Rangatira (gentlemen and chiefs), Tangata-ware (plebeans), and Pononga or Taurekareka (slaves). Every man, however, who is not a slave, may, if he be naturally brave and eloquent, obtain influence, and so become a chief; and the children of a distinguished person or chief, though they inherit his importance, will, nevertheless, gradually lose it, if they are deficient in ability and bravery. The superstitious belief of the New Zealander maintains a constant and intimate connexion between the living and the spirits of the dead. Hence they naturally imagine, that their most powerful Atua—spirits of their chiefs—have an especial care for the living members of their own family; and for this reason the families of chiefs are esteemed to be more under the influence of the laws of tapu than persons of less importance. There is no bar, however, to prevent a tangata-ware from rising to the rank of chief, if nature has endowed him with the qualifications of chieftain—valour and skill in war, and eloquence.

The influence of a chief is almost entirely confined to his own particular Hapu or Iwi, except in times of war. Nothing approaching to a regal office ever existed. Indeed the power of individual [p.227] chiefs depends much on public opinion; and few matters of importance are undertaken, except after having been submitted to public discussion. No people in the world are greater lovers of freedom than the New Zealanders; and the best idea to be given of the political constitution of their society will be to describe it as a democracy, limited by a certain amount of patriarchal influence. Mr. Ellis, in his account of the inhabitants of Tahiti and the Society Islands, says, that a regal office existed there, and that the office was hereditary, descending from the father to the eldest son. In connexion with this office, however, he states that it was the custom in those countries for the father to abdicate the throne on the birth of his eldest son. "This," to quote his own words, "was an invariable, and it appears to have been an ancient practice. Whatever the age of the king, as soon as a son was born, the monarch became a subject, and the infant was at once proclaimed the sovereign of the people."150

Comparing this description of so remarkable a custom with a similar custom prevailing in New Zealand, I cannot help believing that Mr. Ellis has been rather extreme in the choice of the terms king, monarch, and sovereign. It even appears doubtful whether the so-called king of Tahiti was in reality any more of a king, than the principal [p.228] chief of any tribe in New Zealand was king of that tribe: for the word Arii, translated by Mr. Ellis and the Missionaries of the Society Islands king or sovereign, corresponds exactly with the word Ariki in use in New Zealand, allowing for a common difference of dialect, the former always dropping the k in words in which the latter pronounce it. It has been explained in a former chapter, that the Ariki is believed to be peculiarly under the protection of the Atua, and therefore, so to say, more sacred and important than any other individual belonging to the family. The word Ariki, however, means no more than the heir male, or heir female, of any family; and it therefore follows, of course, that as soon as the Ariki of any family has a son, that son becomes immediately the Ariki instead of his father.

In Tahiti, the custom of the father being superseded by his son, in the remarkable manner described by Mr. Ellis, does not appear to have been confined solely to one particular family; but, as we learn elsewhere from the same author, prevailed among the families of all gentlemen, the eldest son receiving at his birth "the honours and titles which his father had before borne."151 From this fact, and from the near identity of the languages of Tahiti and New Zealand, one is naturally lead to infer, that the title Arii in the former country meant the [p.229] same as the same word, slightly modified in sound, does in the latter country; and therefore, it is believed, that to translate Aril by the titles king and sovereign, is only calculated to give an erroneous idea of the constitution of society in Tahiti and the Society Islands.

That Mr. Ellis uses the titles sovereign and king, where most persons would probably have preferred a less dignified title, further appears from the following extract from another page152 of his very interesting work:—"Pomare the Second's father, called Otoo, was sovereign of the larger peninsula when it was visited by Cook. Subsequently, being aided by the mutineers of the Bounty, he became king of the whole island, and adopted the name of Pomare, which, at his death, was assumed by his son, and has since been the hereditary name of the reigning family." The statement shows plainly enough, that the so-called regal power of Pomare's father prevailed only over little more than half the insignificant island of Tahiti, and is an additional reason for concluding, that a regal office cannot be said to have existed in Tahiti with greater propriety than it can be said to have existed in New Zealand.

The principle of justice recognized in New Zealand was that ancient principle of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." If a person were killed in battle, it behoved his relations to kill the [p.230] victor, if they could catch him, or some one of his kin, on a future occasion, no matter how distant. If, in addition to being killed, he had also been cooked and eaten, it behoved his relations to cook and eat some one of the enemy of equal rank. But if a person, instead of being killed fairly in battle, had been murdered treacherously, the murder required a further satisfaction. Whenever an opportunity offered, even though two or three generations had passed away, the payment was of necessity to be exacted; for the memory of the injury was handed down as an heir-loom, and the name of some one of the tribe of the murderer, secretly doomed to satisfy the necessity of the payment of blood, was often whispered privately in the ear of his son by a father when on his death bed. Whenever the man who committed the murder or the substitute was caught, his punishment was not only to be killed and eat, but his bones were devoted to purposes revolting to the sentiments of the New Zealander. The hands and fingers were converted into sconces to hold baskets of food,153 and the bones of the arms and legs into fish-hooks. The eyes were swallowed raw by the Ariki of the family. This extreme expiatory revenge was called uto; whereas ordinary revenge, which required only an equivalent satisfaction, was called utu.

The New Zealanders have certain recognized [p.231] rules of conduct, sanctioned by custom, which they call tikanga or ritenga (making straight or even); and such is the deliberation with which they generally act, that in their more savage days they seldom committed even their worst deeds without thinking over and talking over beforehand what it was proposed to do, and convincing themselves that it was in accordance with their rude ideas of justice. A gentleman of the Church Mission, with whom I was intimate, was one day conversing with a party of New Zealanders, at Maketu, on the subject of a feud which had just been renewed between them and a neighbouring tribe, and accompanied with many of the atrocities of olden times. He, of course, did his best to point out the injustice and wickedness of their proceedings, and his arguments were listened to with apparent attention by the chief of the party. However, they did not by any means convince him there was any thing wrong in his own mode of thinking, and he replied, that no doubt the Missionary was right, judging by the law of white men, but that he was right, judging by the law of his country. The subject, he said, had been thoroughly discussed by themselves, and every knotty point argued according to principles recognized by Maori law, till they had arrived at conclusions which, as he quaintly expressed it, were as straight and even as a board planed by a carpenter.


The New Zealanders have also a great respect for precedents; and a reference to a case in point will often prevail over a more rational argument. When war broke out between Heke and the colonists, the other tribes were very generally in a state of anxiety and uncertainty how they would be affected by it. They remarked that they had no tikanga to guide them in this case. In any quarrel among themselves, it could at once be determined by reference to ancient usage how it became any particular tribe to act; whereas now they could not refer to any precedent: and many openly discussed the propriety of following Heke's example. As soon as Nini declared himself in favour of the Europeans, this uncertainty was removed: for Nini being a person of great influence, his example was sure to be followed by others. In whatever part of the country imitators of Heke might rise up against the Europeans, it was thenceforth certain that many like Nini would be found to fight on their side. It is impossible to estimate too highly the value to the colony of the decisive conduct of this chief at so critical a juncture.

In acting as he did, however, Nini only followed up the rule of conduct towards Europeans he had always before adhered to; and it was this fact that justified him in the eyes of those of his countrymen who took a different view of affairs. I have heard natives who did not belong to his tribe, and who [p.233] were by no means favourable to the European cause, give as sufficient reason for Nini's taking part against Heke, that "to protect the Pakeha" was a law he had made for himself.154 They referred to a remarkable occasion when he had stood up in defence of foreigners.

In the more lawless and savage days of the New Zealanders, a trading vessel came into the harbour of Tauranga to purchase a cargo of flax, while a large body of men belonging to the Nga-Puhi tribe happened to be there on an expedition of war. No cargo was at the time procurable, and the captain was persuaded by one of the chiefs of Nga-Puhi to take his ship to Wakatane, about forty miles distant, being led to believe he would there obtain plenty of flax without any difficulty. The chief sent one of his men in the vessel ostensibly as a guide, but he was really the bearer of a message as fatal as that contained in the letter given to Bellerophon; for it was a hint to the chief of Wakatane to seize the vessel and all the property in it.

The Nga-Puhi chief knew that he could attempt nothing against this ship while at Tauranga; for it was there under the protection of the natives of the place, who carried on a profitable trade with foreigners, which would have been ruined completely by an act of violence. He therefore conceived the idea of making both ship and cargo a [p.234] present to the less scrupulous natives of Wakatane, in order that he might claim a share of the spoil. The captain fell into the trap, and attempting to defend the vessel, he and his crew were all killed, and the vessel was then plundered and destroyed.

A secret is seldom if ever well kept by the people of this country. With the news of the fate of the unfortunate ship, its cause, and the very words of the message,155 were reported at Tauranga. Immediately the event was the subject of public discussion. Nini, after expressing his resentment against the perpetrators of the deed, demanded of the chief of Nga-Puhi, who was present, if it was true that he had sent the message to Wakatane which led to the catastrophe. The chief did not deny it. "Then," said Nini, "you shall be the payment for the white-men:" and with these words he shot him. The act was so sudden and unexpected that no one could interpose to prevent its execution: nor were the chiefs immediate followers sufficiently numerous to avenge his death; for Nini's prompt act of justice was approved of by the majority.

As in punishing offences, the New Zealanders had in view rather to obtain some compensation for the injury, than to prevent crime, by inflicting salutary chastisement on the guilty person, their recognized modes of obtaining redress were fre- [p.235] quently most unjust, innocent persons being made to suffer for the faults of others. For instance, in cases of adultery, the relations of the guilty parties were liable to suffer, and sometimes even the relations of the injured husband.

On a certain occasion, when the wife of a young chief had been guilty of infidelity, her father, uncles, and other near relations, to the number of nearly one hundred, made a descent on the village of her husband and father-in-law, and remained there three days feasting on their pigs, which they caught and killed without opposition.156 The reason they gave for acting in this unusual manner was, that the wife had been tempted to commit the fault to avenge herself for the neglect of her husband. Her paramour being a slave, and having prudently saved himself by flight, the husband was unable to retaliate on any one.

When the paramour is a gentleman, the regular mode of proceeding is for the husband to go with a party of his friends, each armed with a light spear, called a timata, to the residence of the offender, who, having notice of his coming, awaits him supported by a party of his relations similarly armed. The timata is the legitimate weapon for deciding affairs of this sort. It is, in fact, to them [p.236] what the small sword was some years ago to European gentlemen, and they are very dexterous in using it. It is generally well understood beforehand how the affair is to be settled, whether by giving and receiving compensation in property, or by single combat. In the former case, even the amount of compensation, or, at least, the more considerable items have probably been agreed on beforehand, through the assistance of mutual friends going between the two parties, to learn and report the nature of the terms likely to be demanded by one, or likely to be accepted by the other.

The preliminaries having been thus arranged, the husband and his friends are politely received, and the terms of compromise publicly discussed, as if no understanding had been previously come to. The payment esteemed the most honourable to receive on such occasions is land. "Land," say they, "is the only treasure of equal value to a woman. Most other treasures are perishable, but women and land are treasures which last for ever: women produce children, and land produces food to sustain life." It is with great reluctance, however, that the piece of land asked for is yielded, though canoes, guns, pigs, and every other sort of valuable property are given with apparent readiness.

If compensation of this sort be refused by one or both of the parties, the quarrel must be decided by single combat with the spear. The husband is then [p.237] always the attacking party. His adversary receives him in a position between sitting and standing, having one knee touching the ground, but ready to spring on his feet in an instant. In front of him he holds his spear erect in both hands, prepared to ward off a thrust. His friends arrange themselves behind him in similar postures. The injured husband, supported by his friends, advances spear in hand, and when near enough makes a thrust at the breast of his foe. If it be parried, he may thrust a second and a third time. But after the third thrust the debt of honour is considered to be paid, and should he still persist, his adversary springs on his feet, and both continue the fight on equal terms. The first wound generally terminates the contest; but if one or other is mortally wounded, some relative starts up immediately to seek satisfaction; and soon the fray becomes general, ceasing only when one party is beaten.

On one of my visits to Tauranga, I found the whole population of the district in a great state of excitement, owing to its having been discovered that a wife of one of the principal chiefs, named Te Mutu, had proved faithless. The chief and his friends, to the number of two hundred, had that morning gone in their canoes to a village called Maunga-tapu, where the male offender and his friends resided, in order to obtain redress; and as it was a part of my duty to prevent, as far as pos- [p.238] sible, any breach of the peace, I followed them without delay. When I arrived there, the taua, or war-party, with a numerous body of the inhabitants of the settlement, were assembled in a large open space near the house of the chief of the place. This chief warmly espoused the cause of Te Mutu, because he was his near relation, while the Missionary party of the village supported the offender, notwithstanding the nature of his fault, because he was one of their body. Te Mutu, however, had no wish to proceed to violence, but offered terms of accommodation. He demanded two particular pieces of land and a large canoe —the property of the delinquent—besides a quantity of miscellaneous valuables not specified, to be contributed by his relations. At the same time, the faithless lady being only a slave, he offered to give up his claim to her. The other party did not come to the meeting; but shutting themselves up in their own quarter of the village, which occupied an eminence very capable of being defended, stoutly refused to give up either the land or the woman. They even made preparations to resist, if attacked; and, to show their hostile dispositions, every now and then discharged a few muskets in the air.

The friendly interference of a stranger in their quarrels is never taken amiss by the New Zealanders, and I have often known it to prove serviceable by enabling the weaker party to yield [p.239] with safety to their honour, on the plea that their so doing was owing to such interference. On this account, I determined to take up my quarters in the village till the dispute was settled, hoping that my presence would contribute to an amicable arrangement.

It is also an established rule with this people never to give up a point in dispute without first making a great deal of difficulty, even if they have all the while resolved in their own minds to submit to necessity at last. In the present case, the Missionary party, who were most in the wrong, and also in the minority, were by far the more noisy and violent; and the Rev. — Davis, who had accompanied me from the neighbouring Mission Station, in order to exert his influence on his erring flock, was obliged to return home without being able to persuade them to listen to reason. It appeared to me, however, that the noisy opposition made was partly conventional, intended to satisfy the feeling of honour I have mentioned; in fact, to be only what in their language is termed whakaputa (make-believe). And so it turned out; for after a long interview with the opposition party, late in the evening, they so far moderated their tone as to invite me to return in the morning to hear their final determination about the land.

With the morning all opposition ceased; the two pieces of land were granted, and the large canoe, [p.240] with a considerable amount of property in the shape of guns, iron pots, tools, &c. was delivered up on the spot. Several pigs were also killed to provide a feast, and Te Mutu and his party went away perfectly satisfied.

The mode of dividing the spoil, however, will he thought rather odd. Te Mutu took nothing for his own share; but left the canoe and the heap of contributions to be carried away by his men. This, their usual custom, is the active influence by which a large body of followers is got together for such expeditions.

Thieving is not looked on as disgraceful, and is therefore a common vice of the youth of the country. When, however, a thief is detected, he is not allowed to escape without punishment. Once when I was absent, my house at Maketu was undermined by two young men, who by that means obtained an entrance within, and carried off several small things. They were soon discovered, and most of the property was restored. Afterwards a public meeting was called to discuss the nature of the punishment to be inflicted on the offenders. It so happened, that one of them was the son of a chief, who was owner of a piece of land near my house. This piece of land, about half-an-acre, I had wished to include within the boundary of some land bought only a short time before for the Colonial Government, in order to avoid an unsightly break in the [p.241] boundary line. The owner then refused to part with it, as the soil was rich and the situation convenient for a garden; but he now voluntarily offered it as compensation for the theft.

On the establishment of British Government in New Zealand, petty thefts were of frequent occurrence in the European settlements, but it was found difficult to apply the punishments usually inflicted by our law for such offences. Sons of powerful chiefs were every now and then the offenders, and their tribe would not submit to the indignity of their being imprisoned in a common jail, although they were always willing to give compensation. Governor Fitzroy very wisely adopted the plan of making the punishment a four-fold payment of the value of the goods stolen, which, being sanctioned by precedent drawn from the Bible, was universally accepted as satisfactory.

Minor offences and disputes between individuals are settled by abusing each other, or, at the most, by pulling each other's hair; and strange scenes, resulting from such causes, are often witnessed by travellers in those parts of the country remote from contact with Europeans. I was one day walking through the large Pa at Roturua with a friend, when we were attracted by the noise of loud shrill voices in altercation. On approaching the spot whence they proceeded, we discovered two elderly females nearly naked, each flourishing a stick in [p.242] her hand, and running up and down screeching the one at the other with extraordinary animation. The rage with which they were transported seemed to be so wild and ungovernable, that I at once recognized the justness of the ancients in representing the furies as females. The opposite sex could never by their words or gestures have appeared so supernaturally outrageous. With the latter, the scene would probably have been cut short by blows and bloodshed: with the former, physical exhaustion seemed likely to be the only termination of the scene. A large crowd of spectators stood or sat around, without interfering in any way with the proceedings of the two principal actors, who were so engaged in their wordy strife, that they did not for some time notice our approach. When, however, at last one of them caught sight of us, she seemed to be struck with shame at being thus seen by foreigners; and, forgetting her rage, let drop her baton and ran to cover herself with her mantle, which had been thrown off in her transports. Her companion in strife quickly imitated her example, and a general laugh from the spectators closed the scene.

Under ordinary circumstances the New Zealanders are not prone to quarrelling. The bearing of individuals to each other is what we should characterize as remarkably gentlemanly; an offensive observation or a practical joke being equally foreign [p.243] to their ideas of propriety. A blow with the fist is never given, for it would lead to a combat with arms. And so it is, that however large the body of persons assembled on festive occasions, one never witnesses the quarrelling and fighting so common among the lower orders in this country.




The ancient weapons of the New Zealanders were all designed for hand-to-hand fighting. Of these, their favourite ones were the patupounamu, which was borne in the right hand, secured to the wrist by a string and loop, and used in the same manner as a tomahawk; the taiaha, a kind of two-handed sword made of the hardest wood of the country; and the tewhatewha, a wooden battle-axe, having a sharp-pointed handle to enable it also to answer the purpose of a spear. Another kind of two-handed sword was made out of the rib-bone of the whale: this is said to have been a very formidable weapon; for owing to the natural curvature of the bone, it had one side concave and the other convex, which peculiar form caused a blow with it to be difficult to ward off. In addition to the above, we may mention two spears—the timata, described in the foregoing chapter; and the tao, a long heavy spear, designed for thrusting between the palisades when attacking a Pa. Bows and arrows were [p.245] never used in war, nor any other sort of missile except stones. In fight, their bodies were generally naked. Some, however, bound a mat, of a strong and coarse texture, securely round the belly and loins, having first dipped it in water, that the thread by contracting might become firmer and better able to resist the thrust of a spear.

Since their intercourse with Europeans, they have discarded these arms for the musket, or double-barrelled gun, and the steel tomahawk, fitting the latter with a short handle for one hand, or with a long handle for both hands, made of hard wood and pointed at the extremity. This is the favourite weapon of their valiant and dashing fellows, who wield it with great effect, the sharp-pointed handle giving it the double power of thrusting as well as cutting.

On the first occasion of meeting our troops at Okaihau, they tried their strength with them in the open field, and charged boldly up to the bayonets of a company of the 58th regiment with these long-handled tomahawks. They were no match, however, for a disciplined body of men, and having then got the worst of it, ever after stuck to their palisades and intrenchments, and to their forests, which jokingly, but with great truth, they styled their best allies.

The Pa, or fortifications of the New Zealanders, evince considerable skill in the selection of advan- [p.246] tageous sites, and in the artificial defences designed to resist the forces by which they were liable to be assailed. One of the most common sites was the crown of a hill, or the summit of a cliff by the sea shore. In the latter case, the cliff effectually secured one side of the Pa, and on the other three sides a broad and deep trench was dug, so as to enclose a space of a square or oblong shape. The rampart thus formed was defended by one or more rows of palisades. Each side was a straight line or a curve, as the nature of the ground rendered most convenient; but flanking projections were formerly never constructed, nor could they have been of any service when the only missiles were stones thrown by the hand. As soon, however, as firearms came into use, the military genius of the people showed itself in the improvements they made on their old plan of fortifications, as will be seen hereafter.

A knowledge of the sort of warfare formerly practised in this country, and of the modes of treating the conquered, is of peculiar interest, inasmuch as many of the prevailing customs illustrate the superstitions of its inhabitants—wars being always carried on under the supposed patronage of guardian spirits, and in conformity with fixed laws. The fact that a sense of religious obligation influenced them at such times, lessens in a measure our natural horror at the enormous barbarity of [p.247] many of their acts, which otherwise we should look on as having been suggested solely by the sanguinary and ruthless disposition of the native character. A great part of what follows relating to this subject is translated from narratives actually penned by some of themselves, and may therefore be relied on as authentic. Tarapipipi, the author of several of the succeeding paragraphs, has been already spoken of as a young chief of great intelligence, and a son of a celebrated warrior.


"Suppose a person is killed by one of another tribe—an armed party, called the taua-toto, sets off immediately. If, while this troop is on the march, their priest dreams at night, and sees some dead bodies on the ground, the instant he awakes he thus addresses them—'Listen, O warriors, to the dream I have dreamed this night. As I was sound asleep, I beheld a dead body stretched on the ground. It will not be long ere we kill some one.' Then is the war party glad. Great is their joy at hearing the dream; and if it prove to be true, they go forward against the enemy and assault their Pa. If they take the Pa, they kill every one found in it, whether men, or women and children, except such as are reserved to be slaves.

"Of the slain, some are cooked and eat. The [p.248] first man killed is made sacred to the Atua, in order to propitiate him. He is called the Mata-ati, and is thus disposed of. His heart is immediately cut out and stuck on the top of a post. His ear and some of the hair of his head are preserved to be used at the ceremony called miangaihau157 (Feed-wind). The ear158 is for the female Ariki of the tribe to eat in the ceremony called Ruahine,159 by which the war party are made noa. The heart is for the male Ariki to eat at the ceremony called Tautane. The second person slain, called the Ma-ta-tohunga,160 is also sacred, the priest alone being permitted to eat of his flesh.

"When the war party return to their own settlement, they perform the ceremony of Whangaihau; after which they are noa, and are at liberty to go about their ordinary business. As for the remains of the flesh which the war party had been eating, it is thrown away in the bush; for it must not be eat by women. Such food is sacred. The males alone may taste it. If any of it were eat by a woman, some misfortune would happen to the tribe.

"Another custom of war is this. Suppose the [p.249] taua or war party is a large body of men—when they reach the enemy's country, they take up a position for a camp and build themselves huts: they then set to work to collect food, and carry it to the encampment: and lastly, having laid up abundance of food, they go out to fight with the men of the place. If the men of the place come out of their Pa to meet them, they will retreat a little, in order to draw the former to a distance from the Pa; and if they succeed in this endeavour, they will still retreat further, till the enemy are drawn out in pursuit to a considerable distance. During the retreat the bravest men occupy the rear, while the old men and chiefs lead the van. At length the latter shout out, 'Whakahokia' (turn them back). In a moment all obey the word of command, and turn on their pursuers.

"'Kei ahau te mata-ati (to me belongs the mata-atij shouts a valiant, as he makes a dash to strike down the first man of the enemy.

"'Kei ahau te tatao' (to me belongs the tataoj, shouts another valiant, leaping among the thickest of the foe.

"With this the men of the place break and fly. But as soon as they reach their old men, they are kicked back and compelled to renew the fight. And by-and-by, they in their turn force the attacking party to fly. But when the latter reach their old men and chiefs, they are also kicked back; [p.250] and the combat is continued with greater vigour than ever. At last the men of the place give way: and this time their chiefs cannot force them back; for they are completely routed, and their bravest men lie dead on the field of battle. Then the victors, following closely in pursuit, rush into the Pa with the vanquished, and so become masters of it. The attacking party-is brave, if it first gain the battle in the field, and afterwards take the Pa.

"When the taua or war party is small, their mode of proceeding is different. Not a word is breathed to the many, lest it should be repeated to some relation of the enemy residing among them, who might send a messenger to give intelligence of the design; whereas they desire to go secretly, and not to be discovered. This taua is named a Konihi, or Whakatoke. Its mode of acting is so evil that it is greatly dreaded by every one; for it lies in ambush to slay in the evening, at the going down of the sun, or at midnight, or at the dusk of the morning, or when men first arise at day-break. If the people of any country hear a rumour of such a taua being abroad, so abiding is their fear of it, that they dare not sleep; they will not go to a distance from their Pa; they will not visit their cultivations, nor even go out by night.

"Another custom of war is the following:—The taua sets off secretly, and rests without the enemy's Pa during the night. Just before day-break, the [p.251] assault is made. By the time the men of the Pa are awake, the war party are among them. They will not then make much resistance. The tomahawk alone does the business. This sort of taua is called a tuki-ata (strike in the morning). As for the slain, even if there should chance to be a kinsman among them, no distinction is made; all are thrown alike into the oven, and are eat as soon as ever they are cooked. But while their flesh is being devoured a charm is repeated."

In this narration nothing is said of the mode of besieging strong fortifications, which could not be taken by artifice or a coup de main. In such cases, if the attacking party were much more numerous than the besieged, they sometimes erected a fence of palisades, so as to encircle the Pa, and prevent all ingress or egress, till at length they starved out its inhabitants. This plan was called karapoti. Another plan was to collect a large quantity of dry fern and brushwood, and heap it up against one side of the Pa—then, waiting for a strong wind blowing in a proper direction, to set the heap on fire, and burn down the defences.

The use of fire-arms soon compelled the New Zealanders to give up many of their ancient war customs. Instead of fighting hand-to-hand as before, they have learned to seek the shelter of trees or rocks; and where the cover is of a nature only to conceal the body, but not to protect it from a [p.252] bullet, as each man fires he immediately changes his position, creeping to some other bush. By this artifice, if the enemy direct their fire at the points whence they see the smoke issue, having already removed out of the line of fire, he is able to reload his piece in comparative safety. The older men, who had acquired a reputation for their strength and skill in the use of their native weapon, are frequently heard to regret that the musket has made them less brave than of yore. The fact is, their skill at their old weapon now avails them but little, and they have consequently lost the self-confidence springing from a feeling of superiority.

The following narrative of the war carried on by the celebrated chief Te Eauparaha, against the tribe inhabiting the Middle Island, gives a graphic account of a New Zealander's campaign. It was written by his son, who accompanied his father, being then a lad.

At the time referred to fire-arms, though a new weapon, were possessed by both parties; and their military genius is remarkably evidenced by the fact, that we see them at that early period adopting, in their fortifications and in their modes of attack, similar plans to those in use among European nations—and that, too, without any suspicion that they borrowed their ideas from the latter.



"The cause of our war on the other Island was a curse by Rerewaka, the chief of Kaikoura (The Lookers-on). That chief boasted he would cut open Te Rauparaha's belly with the tooth of a fish. The fame of Te Rauparaha's valour had reached Kaikoura; hence it was that Rerewaka made use of the curse Niho-Tnanga (Barcoota-tooth).

"When that curse was reported to Te Raupa-raha, he set sail in his canoes with a war-party to fight at Kaikoura. So Rerewaka was killed, and a great number of his men perished with him, while they who were spared were made slaves.

"After the fighting was over, one of our chiefs, named Te Pehi, insisted on going on to Kaiapohia161 to get a patu-pounamu from the men of that place; and a party of about one hundred in number set off on that expedition, leaving the main body at Kailvoura. These went the whole way by land, and reached Kaiapohia on the fourth day.

"On arriving at Kaiapohia, Te Pehi and his friends were invited to go up to the Pa to receive some presents of pounamu stone. But Te Raupa-raha feared treachery, and cautioned Te Pehi not to go within the Pa, lest he should be killed. His advice was to barter muskets for poimainu outside [p.254] the defences. Nevertheless, Te Pehi would not be persuaded; for he had a friend there named Tamai-haranui, whom he had known formerly at Port Jackson; so he and his friends went inside the Pa, and slept there one night. But as soon as the morning dawned, they were set upon, and twenty of them, all men of rank, were murdered on the spot. The rest escaped by leaping over the fence, and so, getting out of the Pa, fled to the main body.

"How now were the men of the Pa to be got at? If they had dared to come out, there had been a way to obtain a payment by battle. But they would not show themselves; and therefore the war party returned to their main body left at Kaikoura: and then all went back together to Kaputi.

"When we reached Kaputi, it became a matter of discussion, 'What shall be the payment for Te Pehi and the rest?' The resolution come to was to pay treachery by treachery—murder by murder: and after having so determined, we remained quiet for one year.

"About the end of that time, a ship made its appearance, and Te Rauparaha said to the chief of the ship, 'Will you not consent to carry me and my men to Wangaroa to strike a blow there? Your payment shall be flax—flax enough to load your ship.' This proposal pleased the chief of the ship: so taking on board one hundred and forty fighting men, he set sail from Kaputi, and in three [p.255] days cast anchor at Wangaroa. Then was Tamai-haranui, the chief of Ngaitaliu, insnared by the following stratagem:—A message was sent, as though from the chief of the ship, inviting him to come for some casks of gunpowder; and Taniai-haranui, believing the message to be true, came immediately, bringing his wife and daughter with him. But he had no sooner stepped on board than he was caught and secured in irons. Immediately afterwards, the hundred and forty went on shore to attack the tribe of Wangaroa: and having destroyed all their settlements at that place, and killed or driven to the mountains the inhabitants, they returned to the ship with their prisoners, and set sail.

"While the ship was at sea, Tamaiharanui and his wife strangled their daughter—for the wife and daughter were left unbound—and no one knew anything about it till the girl was quite dead. As for the chief and his wife, they were brought to Otaki, and there delivered up to the wife of Te Pehi, whose name was Tiaia. From Otaki, they were both led to Waitohu to be put to death. Six women, all persons of rank, killed Tamaiharanui and his wife: having first pierced a hole in their necks they drank their blood, in order to obtain complete satisfaction.162 This was done because Tamaiharanui was a murderer.


"After the death of Tamaiharanui, we remained more than a year at Kaputi; and then went again to make war in the same country as before. It was in the eighth month our canoes were launched, about the season that the fruit of the karaka is red; and by the time we reached Kaiapohia the potatoes were grown to their full size.

"Kaiapohia was a Pa of strength, encompassed on three sides by a swamp; and the side not defended by the swamp was fenced by posts. On that side were three flanking projections pierced with openings for muskets. There were also twice five hundred men within the Pa. When these men looked at the excellence of their stronghold, and at the abundance of the provisions to support their strength heaped up on their store-houses, their hearts were full of boasting. So they shouted out to the war party, in their own dialect, 'E ta ma, hara mai ra, kia komotia o koutou ihu ki roto i Tarutu' (Come here, sirs, and we'll bury your noses in Tarutu). Tarutu was the name of the lake.

"During three months the Pa was besieged in vain. So our elders met in council to lay down a plan by which it might be taken quickly.

"Our chiefs take much thought about places which are difficult to storm. It is only the most clever who will devise the right method to take the strongest places. Of this sort was the supe- [p.257] riority of the valour of Te Raupai-aha. He was both brave and skilful in devising stratagems of war.

"Well then, the old men assembled in council. Some chiefs advised to make a kahupapa, or shield large enough for twenty men, who were to shove it before them towards the Pa. Straightway that work was begun; but when finished, it was found to be bad, and was therefore abandoned. Next it was proposed to dig zigzag trenches in the ground to reach as far as the Pa. To this every one consented as the proper method; and the digging commenced without delay. Three trenches were excavated—one was the work of Ngatitoa—one of Ngatiawa—and one of Ngatiraukawa. The work of digging the trenches was thus divided in order to distinguish the valour of each tribe.

"When the trenches readied nearly to the loop-holes, the digging was put a stop to, and all the men went to cut brushwood and fern to set fire to the Pa. They worked hard making bundles of manuka, and threw them constantly as close as possible to the loop-holes, till a great heap was raised up.

"In the meantime the men of the Pa thought to set fire to the manuka, to burn it quickly without doing any injury to the fence. So on the first fine day, when there was not a breath of wind, they said to each other—'Now let us set fire to the heap; for this is a fine day, and the manuka which our [p.258] enemies have laboured to heap up will soon be consumed.'

"On the contrary, our thoughts were intent on the first great wind that should blow straight towards the extremity of the Pa, in order then to set fire to the brushwood, that the flame of the fire might be carried towards the fence, and burn it down.

"So, early in the morning, soon after sunrise, while we, the war-party, were eating our first meal, the men of the Pa set the heap on fire by shoving out embers through the loop-holes whence they fired at us, and the manuka began to blaze.

"But when the fire was perceived, our chiefs cried out to assault the Pa instantly. So the whole six hundred stood up; no one thought about death, but merely pressing his nose to the nose of his wife or child, straightway rushed resolutely to death; for the manuka was burning, and we feared it would be consumed in vain outside the Pa. Then each man loaded himself with bundles of manuka: if he saw a gun pointed towards him he still went straight forwards, till he got close up to the loop-holes. There were two men to every loop-hole, so that if one of them happened to be killed the other might stop it up. In this way all the loop-holes were stopped up, and the brushwood being hurled quite close to the fence, the fence also caught fire. Then the hearts of the warriors were glad, and they shouted out the ngeri to prevent the groans of the [p.259] wounded being heard, that nothing might interrupt the combat. So the whole six hundred sung their ngeri together:—

'When will your valour begin to rage?
When will your valour be strong?
Ah! when the tide murmurs,
Ah! when the tide roars.
Say farewell to your children.
For what more can you do?
You see how the brave are coming on.
Like the lofty exulting peaks of mountains.
They yield, they yield, fame!'

"The sound of this ngeri inspired us with fresh courage. But when Ngaitahu, that is, the men of the Pa, heard it, and at the same time saw the fire burning their fence, they were seized with panic. So their Pa was taken by storm, and the greater part of them were either killed or made slaves.

"Some while after these events we, Ngati-toa, set out alone from Kaputi with the intention of catching paradise-ducks at Te Karaka (Cape Cambell). And while we were resting at Wairau waiting for a calm, that we might sail the more pleasantly to Te Karaka, our priest had a dream at night. In his dream he heard a voice singing to him these words:—

'Kei Wairau, ia; kei Waiharakeke ka tumau atti.'
'At Wairau he is now; at Waiharakeke he will remain.'

"The men of the night, that is to say, spirits, sung this song.


"Then the priest started up from his sleep, and repeated the words he had heard; and, believing it to be a bad omen, he warned us not to think of going on to Te Karaka, lest we should be killed by Ngaitahu.

"But Te Rauparaha showed contempt for the priest, and would not listen to his advice. So we set sail, part of us in a boat, and the rest in four canoes, the whole number of the crews being forty men. We who were in the boat having reached the shore first landed immediately; but, as we observed the marks of feet on the beach, and some fresh leaves of wild cabbage lying about, we advanced cautiously, Te Rauparaha in front, my elder brother next, and after him ten others. We had not gone far in this manner before we got sight of the men of the enemy's war-party lying in ambush, who, the moment they found they were discovered, made a rush at us. Then Te Rauparaha picked up a large stone to hurl at the foremost of the band. The man hesitated; and if there had only been a few more of us we would have turned back to fight with them, although they numbered more than one hundred; but being only ten we fled towards our boat. The boat was gained—in a moment it floated on the sea—we leaped on board: but in the hurry the oars were left behind, for they had been placed under the keel of the boat to assist in launching it.


"So Ngaitahu coming up quickly, seized hold of the boat by the bow, and began to haul it on shore.

"Then, seeing no other way of escape, we leaped into the sea, and swam towards one of the canoes which had just arrived, and was waiting a little way off. We all got safely on board; but the canoe, being too heavily laden with the addition of our weight, was in danger of sinking; we therefore threw some slaves overboard to lighten it, and prepared to meet the enemy.

"In the meantime, Ngaitahu made use of the oars, and pulled after us in pursuit. They did not come very near us, however, for when they observed that we designed to retake the boat, if possible, by boarding, they returned to the shore.

"As for the priest who had the dream, he fell into the hands of Ngaitahu, being struck down on shore. Therefore we all acknowledged that his dream was true. The name of the priest was Te Raho."

The sequel of the narrative relates how they were pursued by the war-party of Ngaitahu as far as Cloudy Bay, where they made a stand, and sent a canoe at night across the Straits for assistance. After reinforcements arrived, an indecisive skirmish took place; but the Southern tribes, unwilling to risk a general engagement, took advantage of a favourable wind, launched all their canoes and boats by night, and sailed away to their own country.


Owing to the rapid spread of Christianity, the war was never renewed by either party; and a few years later, the two sons of Te Rauparaha went on a mission of peace, preaching the gospel to the very tribes who had suffered so much from their father and his warriors.

The importance of the aborigines, as antagonists in arms, was very generally undervalued by the colonists, till experience forced them to acknowledge it. To this may be attributed the untoward result of our first collision with them at Wairau; for had Captain Wakefield known the sort of men he was about to deal with, an officer of his experience would never have thought of leading against them a body of undisciplined men, for the most part labourers with families dependent on them, who, having no personal interest in the dispute, engaged in the service unwillingly, and fled on the first appearance of real danger.

This unfortunate affair ruined the prestige for valour and prowess we before enjoyed, which, in the absence of real power, had availed so much in our dealings with the natives. Our superiority in arms had, up to that time, been acquiesced in by them as a thing of course; for they could not fail to remark our superiority in all points which had come under their observation, and they naturally inferred, that if our carpenters and other workmen used their tools with such wonderful skill, we should [p.263] exhibit the same excellence in the use of our war-like implements.

The news of the unexpected success of their countrymen spread rapidly through the islands, and gave birth to ideas fraught with danger to the colonists. About eight months after, as I was travelling in a part of New Zealand remote from the settled districts, I rested for a night at a village on the banks of the lake Rotorua, belonging to a chief named Hikairo, who had lately returned from the Bay of Islands. From him I was surprised to learn that the people with whom he had been staying meditated evil against the government. He said, that on one occasion when he was in the house of Kawiti, the chief who afterwards became so famous, the question of their ability to fight soldiers was talked over, and that Kawiti declared himself anxious to try his strength with them. The information obtained through this indirect channel was, I believe, one of the first intimations of the growing disaffection which reached the government authorities.

It happened, unfortunately, that about this period great commercial difficulties oppressed all our Australian colonies; and the natives of New Zealand were thus deprived of many lucrative ways of employing their time, which had before contributed as much as anything to occupy and tranquilize their restless spirits. As soon as they were deprived of [p.264] their peaceful occupations, they became the more ready to undertake anything new.

Heke, who was the mover of the outbreak which soon followed, took advantage of the general feeling of discontent prevailing through his tribe. To make for himself a name—always the grand object of ambition to a New Zealander—was no doubt partly his aim: at the same time, we must fairly give him credit for a certain amount of patriotic desire to become the champion of the liberties of his countrymen; for he did all in his power to convince his followers that they had just grounds of quarrel with the government, and his reasons for cutting down the flag-staff at Kororarika were enforced by a very remarkable statement, then published for the first time, on the authority of his being the son-in-law of the celebrated chief Hongi.

This statement was no less than a reported conversation between Hongi and King George, during which the King of England, he said, told Hongi, in reply to his enquiries, that he need never be afraid that the English had any design of taking possession of New Zealand, unless they set up his flag there. "Now," said Heke, "first came the Missionaries with their flag:163 that was of no conse- [p.265] quence. Then came Mr. Busby with his flag:164 that was of no consequence. Lastly came the Governor with the Queen of England's flag. King George spoke the truth; the meaning of this flag is a taking possession of the soil."

Having matured his plans, Heke came suddenly, cut down the obnoxious flag-staff without opposition, and then went home again. Afterwards, when Governor Fitzroy set up a new one, Heke appealed to this act as a further argument in support of his cause. "See," said he, "the flag-staff does mean a taking possession, or why else should they persist in re-erecting it?" This remark referred to a common practice in New Zealand; namely, that of setting up a post on a spot of land which any one desires to claim as his own. When two tribes contest the right to any place, one of them will set up their post: their antagonists will soon after come and cut it down: but, probably, either party will take care not to meet the other on the disputed ground till the post has been cut down and re-erected several times: when, if neither party will yield, the dispute at last ends in a fight.

Every precaution thought necessary for the protection of the new flag-staff was adopted. The [p.266] staff, a stout kauri spar, was sheathed with sheet iron to the height of seven or eight feet above the ground, and it was also enclosed within a fortification, consisting of palisades and a blockhouse. Twenty men guarded this post. In another stoccade, at the northern end of the township, thirty soldiers were stationed, with an additional force of about sixty volunteers from the male population; and in the bay of Kororariki was H.M.S. Hazard. Thus protected, the colonists thought themselves a match for any force Heke and Kawiti could bring against them. They were, however, deceived—principally from their ignorance of native tactics.

One morning before day-break the little garrison of the blockhouse by the flag-staff—a very castle dangerous—were aroused by the sound of musketry on the south side of Kororarika, the point most remote from themselves; and as from their station they could see nothing of what was going on, their officer, a very young ensign, left the blockhouse with all his men except four, and went towards the hill overlooking the town. Of the four who remained behind two were in bed, and the door was left open. The firing heard proceeded from an attack made by Kawiti's division—for he and Heke had divided their forces—while the latter and his division lay concealed in some brush wood within one hundred yards of the flag-staff. The result may be anticipated. A few minutes after the soldiers [p.267] had left their post, Heke had possession of it: the flag-staff was quickly cut down, and his men then gaining possession of the hill immediately over-looking the stoccade in the town, rendered that post also untenable.

It is a constant practice of the New Zealanders to divide their forces, when composed of more than one tribe of consequence, each chief leading his own men against that portion of the enemy's Pa where those with whom he has a particular feud reside. The loss of the blockhouse, and the consequent loss of Kororariki, was caused by an error in judgment of a very young officer, through ignorance of this principle of the tactics of the enemy.

In the meantime, however, Captain Robertson, of the Hazard, with a gallant little band of sailors and marines, met Kawiti's men on the other side of the town, and, though much inferior in number, drove them back with slaughter. This circumstance alone retrieved a portion of the disgrace of the loss of Kororarika; for the New Zealanders have a great admiration for gallantry even in an enemy. This was remarkably shown by the zest with which tales of the prowess of the captain of the Hazard were always listened to in distant parts of the country.

With the first news of the fate of Kororarika, I received instructions to go from my station at Maketu overland to Port Nicholson. I and my [p.268] native attendants were the first to carry into the interior particulars of the transactions in the north, supposed to be authentic; and our arrival at every village was consequently as welcome as "to-day's Times" in a provincial town in England. One of my natives, who had got up a very interesting, though somewhat exaggerated version of the facts, was always constituted spokesman, and wherever we halted, while provisions were preparing for us, a crowd of eager faces was sure to gather round. The part of the narrative which seemed most attractive was that which spoke of the deeds of the captain of the man-of-war. He was made to kill five men with his own hand; the last of whom, a chief, named Pumuka, was represented as being run through the body by Captain Robertson's sword at the instant he was discharging his gun; so that they both fell together. This climax was not only well received, but a repetition of the story was frequently called for. At Taupo, one of the audience was so much enchanted with the tale, that he exclaimed, involuntarily, "Ka ahua-reka au ki te toa Te Pakeha" (Well! I am charmed at the bravery of the foreigner).

During this journey, I rested for a night at Taupo, at the house of Te Heuheu, one of the great chiefs of New Zealand. He, of course, wished to know why I was going to Cook's Straits, believing that it was to obtain assistance from the white popula- [p.269] tion there to avenge our loss in the north—a proceeding which he did not approve. "It is better," he said, "to let the white people of the Bay of Islands fight out their quarrel with Nga-Puhi, and then the rest of New Zealand will not be troubled by the war." In the course of the evening, he alluded to a circumstance I had never before heard; which, however, showed plainly enough how much we had lost in the estimation of the natives by the defeat at Wairau. It appeared that some one had applied the expression "mate ngaro" (injury forgotten) to that affair, because we had obtained no satisfaction for it. This expression is with the New Zealanders a term of reproach, as they consider it a disgrace to put up with a loss in battle, believing that no one would do so if he were not afraid; and, therefore, for a chief to apply the term "mate ngaro" to another chief is an insult. Te Heuheu desired me to inform the Governor that it was not true, as had been reported, that he was the author of the obnoxious epithet; but I could not help fancying that, had he been quite innocent, he would not have been so anxious not to be held responsible for it.

Every unprejudiced person acquainted with the facts of the case will, no doubt, condemn the aggressive conduct of the Europeans at Wairau; and however he may be shocked at the indiscriminate slaughter of their prisoners by the New Zealanders [p.270] on that occasion—an act so contrary to the practice of civilized nations—he will bear in mind that it was sanctioned by their own customs, and that it was done red-hand, during the first flush of victory.

The line of conduct adopted by the Governor of New Zealand was therefore no other than justice required; but unfortunately he had not the power to act otherwise had he desired; and his weakness being visible to the natives, they shrewdly placed his forbearance to that account. So certain is it that justice obtained from the weak is never duly honoured.




"A CERTAIN man had a male child born to him; then another male child; and then a third male child. He also had daughters. At last the father of this family being at the point of death, the sons and daughters and all his relations assembled to hear his last words, and to see him die; and the sons said to their father, 'Let thy mouth speak, O father, that we may hear your will; for you have not long to live.' Then the old man turned towards his own younger brothers and spoke thus: 'Hereafter, my brothers, be kind to my children. My cultivations are for my sons. Such or such a piece of land is for such or such a nephew. My eel-weirs, my potato gardens, my potatoes, my pigs, my male slaves, and my female slaves, are all for my sons only. My wives are for my younger brother.

"Such is the disposition of a man's property: it relates only to the male children. The custom as [p.272] to the female children is not to give them any land: for their father bears in mind that they will not abide on the land. They may marry husbands belonging to another tribe not at all connected with their parents' family: therefore no portion of land is given to them. Not so the male children: they stand fast always on the land: they do not remove to a distance with the intention of never returning home again.

"The sons marry wives, and beget children, and they leave their lands for their male offspring. In case they are attacked by another tribe, and none of the family escape, the land then changes owners; because all the men of the family have been destroyed. That is the reason why the land changes owners.

"Hear the custom in regard to lands which are held by right of conquest.165 Suppose some very large tribe is defeated. Suppose that tribe is defeated once—is defeated again a second and a third time; till at last the tribe becomes small, and is reduced to a mean condition. It is then made to do the work of dependents—to cultivate the land for food, to catch eels, and to carry wood. In short, its men are treated as slaves.

"In such a case, their land passes to the possession of the tribe whose valour conquered them. They will never think of striving against their masters; [p.273] because their power to fight has gone from them. They were not brave enough to hold possession of their land; and although they should grow numerous afterwards, they will not seek a payment for their former losses; for they are fearful, and say among themselves, 'Don't let us strive with this tribe, lest we perish altogether, for it is a brave tribe.'"

The preceding paragraphs are literally translated from a letter written by a New Zealander, in reply to some inquiries as to the nature of titles to land in his country. Being a chief of rank, and very intelligent, his authority is as good as any that could be referred to; and, from its agreeing with information collected among other tribes in different and distant places, I inferred that the ideas on this subject prevalent throughout New Zealand were similar. It is observable that the head of a family has a recognized right to dispose of his property among his male offspring and kinsmen, and that his will, expressed shortly before his death in the presence of his family assembled for the purpose, possesses all the solemnity of a legal document.

The custom which leaves the lands of the family to the males, to the exclusion of females, is certainly universal, and is no doubt the cause why the consent166 of brothers is always necessary previous to their sister's marriage. If consent is given, [p.274] a portion of land may be given with them: but if a female many a man of a strange or an unfriendly tribe, the brothers will not give her any land. "We have no land to give you, mam; go to your husband for a piece of his land. You'll take nothing away with you but your smock. Why you're only a slave to blow up his fire,"167 was the uncourteous reply given to a sister who, under such circumstances, went to her brothers to ask for a share of the lands of the family.

Even when any land is given to a sister on her marriage, it is only given conditionally; for if she have no issue, it reverts to her brother's family. This fact I first learned from being present at a dispute between two branches of the same tribe about the right to an eel-weir. The eel-weir in question had three generations before been in possession of a husband and wife, the former of whom belonged to one branch, and the latter to the other branch of the tribe. The female had no children; and after her and her husband's death, the younger brother of the husband attempted to take possession of it. This was opposed by the brothers of the wife, and the weir was allowed to fall to decay. The grandson of the younger brother, who raised the original claim, now renewed it; but also met [p.275] with similar opposition on this principle of the law of the land, that the eel-weir having come into possession of the last occupier through his wife, who died without children, her right descended to her own brothers and their children, and not to her husband's brothers and their children. The value of this argument was fully acknowledged by the claimant; who, however, denied that it applied to the case in dispute, alleging that he did not claim the eel-weir as having belonged to the wife of his grandfather's elder brother, but through another female ancestor who had belonged to the same branch of the tribe, whose representative he was. The genealogical table168 in the note will better explain the case.

From inquiries carefully made subsequently, I found this principle of law regulating the descent of real property to be everywhere acknowledged.


When there is no male issue, the females succeed to their father's land; but then, too, their ability to hold it in opposition to the encroachments of male relations depends on the respect in which their husbands are held by the members of the tribe. Were they to marry aliens, their husbands could only obtain possession of their wives' land by force of arms.

The relative rights of the conquerors and the conquered to land, which once belonged to the latter only, and since their conquest have been retained by them with consent of the conquerors, are not quite fairly stated above; for as the writer belonged to a victorious and powerful tribe, his sentiments have naturally a bias in favour of the sole right being with the conquerors. If, however, a member of the conquered tribe were to be consulted on the same point, we should learn that he had not abandoned all idea of a right in the land he dwelt on. Instances could be referred to where the conquered remnant of a tribe have regained power enough to re-possess themselves of their former lands; and in all cases where the conquerors have sold to Europeans the lands of their tributaries, the latter have resisted the right of the sellers to dispose thereof irrespectively of their interests. The following letter from a narrative on this subject is not without interest:—

"This is written that foreigners may understand [p.277] our title to the Arolia,169 and to prevent the attempts of persons to offer it for sale clandestinely, as Ngatipaoa did to Mr. F---- and to Mr. T-----.

When news of that proceeding reached us, we objected to it; and afterwards, when Mr. F and Mr. T came to visit the place, we would not let the land go. I will tell you how another tribe came to have a right in our lands.

"In former times the men of the Arolia and the men of Hauraki lived peaceably each on their own lands. Afterwards a chief of Hauraki, named Te Apa, came on a visit to the Aroha. There he saw certain lands which he coveted, and evil entered his heart. So he commenced robbing the lands, and the stores of food; he also took away the clothes of women and children, and beat the men.

"Then the chief of that part of the country, named Puamanuka, took counsel with the other chiefs, and resolved to fight Te Apa.

"Soon after Te Apa came again with one hundred and forty men, and commenced robbing the eel-traps. But this time the chiefs of the country assembled all their tribes to resist him; and it happened that one of these chiefs, named Ngautoka, having detached his own tribe from the main body, in order to go to the place where all their property had been secured, fell in with Te Apa [p.278] and some of his party, just as they reached it, and caught them.

"Then, said Te Apa, 'Let me live.' But Ngautoka replied, 'You shall not live; for you have done much evil.' So he killed Te Apa. And the men who escaped fled to Hauraki.

"As soon as it was known that Te Apa was dead, the tribes of Hauraki assembled, and came to fight with the men of the Aroha to obtain satisfaction for Te Apa. Then they began to kill each other: and the men of the Aroha were the victors.

"Afterwards some men of Hauraki came peaceably to the Pa of Puamanuka: but not finding him there, when it grew dusk one of them climbed up into a lofty swing-staff,170 and looking round the country saw in the distance the light of a fire in the bush. At day-break they all went away, and returning to Hauraki, said to their friends, 'The man we seek as payment will die.' So setting out secretly with a war-party, they led them straight to the spot in the bush where the light of the fire [p.279] had been seen. There they found Puamanuka, as they expected, in a hut with his wife, and killed them.

"After the death of their chief, the men of the Aroha were defeated by the men of Hauraki: but the survivors still remained in possession of their own lands, while the conquerors returned to their own country, and never dwelt on the lands of the Aroha up to the time when foreigners first came to New Zealand. This is written that you may understand the right of conquered tribes to the lands on which they dwell."

In order to make more clear to the reader the existing differences in the nature of the titles to land in New Zealand, before any attempts to purchase it were made by Europeans, it will be convenient to distinguish the lands of the New Zealanders under four different classes.

The first class to comprise lands held by individuals, or by a few members of the same tribe jointly. In this class are included not only lands the titles to which are hereditary descent for many generations, but lands which have been taken actual possession of by conquerors for their own use, the title to which may therefore be of a recent date.

The second class—lands over which many of the same tribe have, to a great extent, a joint right, but which may contain within their boundary smaller [p.280] detached portions, the property sometimes of one, sometimes of more persons.

The third class—land lying between the lands occupied by neighbouring tribes, claimed by both, but occupied by neither.171

The fourth class—land, the original possessors of which have been conquered by another tribe, who have allowed a remnant of the former to continue in occupation.

Lands of the first class, native proprietors sell with the greatest reluctance. They seldom, if ever, offer them for sale voluntarily: and, in many cases, no price that any one would give will tempt them to alienate this their freehold property, the title to which is undisputed.

Lands comprised under the second class are readily offered for sale: but it frequently happens that this is the act of a part only of the proprietors, without the knowledge of the rest—for the New Zealanders have a great propensity to conceal the claims of all who are at a distance—and it is this circumstance which renders it so difficult, even for a person tolerably conversant with the language and manners of the people of the country, to discover all lawful owners. Hence it cannot be wondered at, that purchases of land made by Europeans directly from natives, in former days, before any Govern- [p.281] ment was established, should have given rise to disputes when the titles of the sellers afterwards came to be investigated. Sales of this unfair description have been stigmatized by the natives themselves by the epithets, hoko puku, hoko huna, hoko tahae (secret, hidden, and thievish sales); and though the parties aggrieved generally went no further in showing their opposition than to write protests to the Governor on the subject, they let it to be understood that they were quite prepared to maintain their rights by force, if any one should attempt to take possession of their portions of the land thus sold clandestinely.

The following protest against the sale of a place called Maunga-tapu,172 besides throwing some light generally on the subject of titles to land, gives an example of a remarkable fact, namely, the transfer of land as payment for loss in war, with a view to establish peace on an equal basis. The design of the protest is to show how families belonging to another tribe came to have a right in Maunga-tapu, which had been part of the hereditary land of the tribe Ngati-Tawhaki:—

"The original right to the land was Mura's.

Mura   begot   Parenoa (a female).
Parenoa "   Te Hopukanga.
Te Hopukanga  "  Mam-oa.
Mauroa   "   Te Hiore.
Te Hiore  "  Te Kauae.173


"The tribe Ngati-Tawhaki was defeated by Haua and Hapi,174 in two pitched battles in one day—the battles of Nga-taierua and Wakapapae-noa. Some time after, Ngati-Tawhaki attacked Waikato, and killed a chief named Mataroa. Then Were were went against Ngati-Tawhaki, and besieged one of their Pa, called Owaranga. The name of the chief of the Pa was Rurangi.

"So Werewere shouted out, 'Rurangi, come outside.'

"'Come and attack me where I am,' answered Rurangi.

"Then Werewere attacked the Pa, and was killed. Afterwards Te Oro and Haua went together to seek a payment for Werewere, but they did not obtain compensation: for after laying siege to a Pa called Tokerau, they could not take it. Then Te Oro shouted to the chief of the Pa, who was called Taha, 'Taha, give me your daughter for a wife;' and Haua shouted out, 'Let me too have one of your daughters, Taha.'

'"I will not give my daughters now,' replied Taha; 'but if you will return peaceably home, you may come back to fetch a wife for each of you.'

"So Te Oro and Haua went home, and then returned to fetch their wives, taking with them a party of seventy men. And when they arrived at the Pa, [p.283] Paretapu and Pareomaoma were given them for wives: and thereon peace was made.

"Te Oro took to wife Paretapu: and had a son named Te Ahuroa. Te Ahuroa married Hinemateora. Their children were Te Tiwha and Namaioro, and two daughters, Pareteoro and Te Kiri.

"On another occasion, land was given up as a payment for Werewere's death.

"It happened thus. A party of about forty of Ngatitawhaki went to Pakerau. On their arrival, they found that all the men of the Pa had gone out eel-catching; and that Pare was the only female of rank left at home.

"So the forty shouted out to the Pa, and sat down to rest on the ground. Then their hostess had fires lit to roast fern-root for the guests. There were ten of these fires; and when the food was dressed the strangers gathered round to partake of it. And their chief, taking notice of their hostess, inquired, 'Whose daughter is this?' To which some one replied, 'She is Werewere's daughter.' Then said the chief of the guests, whose name was Pupua, 'Don't pound the fern-root, my daughter, as if you were angry with me. Look, my child. What say you to the land stretched out in that direction. I mean Maunga-tapu, which stands before you.' Thus was Maunga-tapu given over as payment for Werewere."


In conclusion, the writers of the protest advise, that all persons who sell land clandestinely, belonging to others, shall be obliged, in return for the goods they have received as payment from Europeans, to give up some land which absolutely belongs to them.

With regard to land of the third class, it is manifest that neither of the parties having a right thereon could give a good title independently of the other. Yet some of the largest claims to land advanced by Europeans depended on purchases made solely from one or other of these parties.

Lands of the fourth class also have been frequently sold, or offered for sale to Europeans, by the conquerors, without consideration for the rights of those who remained in actual possession of the soil. If, however, the rights of the latter to some portion of it were not recognized, they would be outcasts, without place of residence or means of support. Yet so far does self-interest warp the judgment, that it has been gravely maintained, by persons who had purchased lands of this description from the conquerors, that the rights of its conquered inhabitants, whatever they might once have been, ought to be considered to have ceased at the time of their conquest.

From such complicated titles to land, accompanied with a readiness on the part of the sellers to conceal all adverse claims—in fact, to cheat the [p.285] buyer as far as practicable—it will be evident to any one, that to make an unexceptionable purchase of land from the aborigines of New Zealand requires both experience and caution; yet for some time previous to the establishment of Government, every foreigner who came to the country inquired eagerly for land; and was generally in so great a hurry to anticipate others who might come to outbid him, that he readily paid a considerable deposit of goods for whatever was offered, without knowing anything about the real value of the title. In fact, the idea appears to have been general, that the New Zealanders had no defined titles to lands, and that nothing was more simple than to purchase the lands, which they seemed to value so little. On the other hand, the New Zealanders, seeing the readiness with which Europeans would part with their goods in exchange for land, without much inquiry as to the titles of the sellers, sold them lavishly land to which their rights were disputed, and, sometimes, to which they had no right whatever.

No wonder that, when the titles of the purchasers came to be investigated, the persons whose duty it was to make known the true state of the case should incur the odium and abuse of many who saw their extravagant hopes of being lords of a splendid territory destroyed.

I ever found the New Zealanders ready to acknowledge the evils resulting to themselves from [p.286] the unfair and indiscriminate system of selling land, which prevailed to such an extent before put a stop to by the treaty of Waitangi: and judging from conversations on the subject with their more sensible and influential chiefs, and from frequent letters of caution written by them regarding clandestine sales, I believe that, at any general meeting of themselves, the unbiased expression of their sentiments would have been in favour of leaving the purchase of the lands they wished to sell under the superintendence of the Government. A great number of the colonists, however, particularly those who had before been engaged in land speculations of the nature referred to, desired to have again liberty to purchase land directly from the natives: and having in their interest a cleverly conducted journal, they tried to make it appear that a sense of justice to the aborigines was one of their most powerful motives. "By the Government asserting a pre-emptive right," they argued, "the native is deprived of the privilege of offering his land to the highest bidder, and of his right as a freeholder." They thus gained the ear of Governor Fitzroy: and the better to support their representations, they even got up deputations of the natives who lived near Auckland to petition for the restoration of the unrestricted right of selling their land to the public. A reply might have been given these natives, the force of which they would not have denied; namely, [p.287] that to allow them to sell land as they demanded, would lead to constant attempts at fraud on their part, and to endless disputes both with each other and with the colonists; and the deputation might without difficulty have been even made to confess, that to grant their petition would be to do them an injury.

Unfortunately, the only persons who could have elicited from the natives these sentiments were either not on the spot, or out of deference to popular influence allowed themselves to become parties to the mystification. And so general was the mania for building land, that no one ever considered for a moment that if in more civilized countries, where buyers and sellers spoke the same language, it was not thought prudent to purchase land without appealing to some competent authority to examine the title of the seller, it could hardly be safe in New Zealand for Europeans, not well versed in the language and customs of the country, to purchase land from natives without the intervention of a competent and legally authorized person.

Under certain conditions, I believe, permission might have been granted to the settlers to purchase limited quantities of rural lands from the aborigines, with mutual advantage to both parties: and in a letter written to Mr. Hawes (see below) on the nature and extent of the natives' titles to the lands of New [p.288] Zealand, I suggested those conditions which appeared to be necessary to secure the interest of both buyers and sellers—if ever the Government should think it advisable to adopt such a measure.

In New Zealand, where there is a large and intelligent aboriginal population, watchful of every act of the white population, it has always appeared to me an error to give to land a value fictitiously large, in order to make it bear the expense of surveys, immigration, and other necessary charges, while these charges might have been provided for by some other sort of tax; for by so doing a great inducement is offered to the native landholder to insist on a corresponding high price for his waste lands. On the contrary, by allowing the natives to sell moderate quantities of land, from time to time to settlers—subject to the conditions above referred to—a direct and visible interest in the colonization of the country would be given them: and, as the sales of their lands would be materially damaged by reports of acts of violence on their part, a powerful guarantee for their peaceable and quiet dispositions would be thus provided.










Two Rua Rua Rua Lua Rua
Four Wha A Maha Fa Haa
Ten Te Kau/Nga-huru/Kumi Nga-uru Ahuru   Kumi
God Atua Atua Akua Atua Atua
Spirit Wairua Vaerua Varua   Wairua
Man Tangata/Tanata/Takata Tangata Taata Tagata Tanata
Son Tama/Tamaiti Tamaiti   Tama tain Tama
Moon Marama Marama   Masiua Mahina
Sky Rangi Rangi Rai Lagi Lani
Sweet Potato Kumara Kumara Umara   Uara
House Whare Are Fare Fale Hare
Left Mani Kani Aui    
Hand Ringa Rima Rima Lima Rima
Fish Ika Ika Ia Pa Ia
Shark Mango Mango Mao   Mano
Dead Mate Mate Mate Mate Mate
Girdle Maro Maro Maro   Maro
Causative Whaka Aka Faa Faa Hoo
Fire Ahi Ai   Afi Ahi
Water Wai Vai   Vai Wai



Vebbi kahukahu significatio simplex est panniculus aut vestis. Kahu et kakahu formse usitatiores verbi sunt: et panniculus quo utitur femina menstrualis nomine kahu-kahu dicitur Kar [Greek].

Apud populum Novae Zelandae creditur sanguinem utero sub tempus menstruale effusum continere germina hominis; et secundum praecepta veteris superstitionis panniculus sanguine menstruali imbutus habebatur sacer (tapu), haud aliter quam si formam humanam accepisset. Mulierum autem mos est hos panniculos intra; uncos parietum abdere: et hac de causa paries est domus pars adeo sacra ut nemo illi innixus sedere audeat.

Opinio animis N. Zelandorum insita—nempe sanguinem menstruum germina humanae speciei continere—opinionibus hodiernis convenit: multi enim physiologiae scientissimi credunt rumpi vesiculam graafianam, et ex illa ova delabi circa tempora menstrualia.


The moth from whose eggs are produced this caterpillar is of the genus sphinx, and is named by the New Zealanders pepe. Its period of life is from November to [p.293] December—the commencement of the summer in their country. Its caterpillar, called by the natives awheto or hotete, makes its appearance in the eighth month, viz. the end of January, and feeds on the leaves of the kumara and pohuehue plants, both of them varieties of convolvulus, and also on the flowers of a tree called rata (metro-sideros robustus), which is of the same order as the myrtle. This insect is very destructive to the kumara, which forms so favourite an article of the New Zealanders' diet; and a great many persons are constantly employed in their gardens to pick them from off the leaves of that plant, for several weeks in the year. It is a common belief, however, that the caterpillar is rained down from the sky: for although vast numbers are destroyed by them day after day, many more are still found to reappear.

About the end of the eighth or the beginning of the tenth month, this caterpillar buries itself in the ground to the depth of five or six inches, previous to assuming the chrysalis form; and it is a singular fact, that the insect descends into its subterraneous hiding-place with its hind part downwards. Such is the position in which it is invariably found. Were its position reversed, it would perhaps be impossible for the moth into which it is subsequently transformed to escape.

In the second month of the following year small reed-like plants, about three or four inches high, may be seen growing in great numbers from the ground under the shade of the rata trees. This plant being dug up carefully is found to grow out of the head of the caterpillar just described, which however no longer possesses any [p.294] vitality; for cutting into its body, it is found to consist of a tough whitish substance, similar to a fungus. In this state it is collected by the New Zealanders, and after having been hung up to dry for some time in their houses, it is burnt to a coal: the coal supplying them with an excellent black pigment, which is much used in the operation of tatoing.

In the tenth month the reed-like plant dies away, but springs up again the following year: dying away again in the tenth month, and sending out a fresh shoot in the second month yearly for three or four years, probably till all the animal matter supplied by the caterpillar has been consumed. I have sometimes met with specimens in which the plant grew from other parts of the body than the head: but in all these the upper part of the body was deficient, and it appeared to me that it might have been destroyed by the rooting of pigs or otherwise, and that the plant had afterwards thrown out a fresh shoot from the summit of the part left in the ground.

The reed-like plant just described is the fructifying part of a fungus; and that part which was once the body of a caterpillar corresponds with what botanists call its mycelium, and gardeners call its spawn. While burying itself in the ground, no doubt some of the germs of the fungus lying scattered on the ground become attached to the skin of the caterpillar, and there developing with the extraordinary rapidity known only to this class of vegetable, kill the animal while in its torpid state, and very soon occupy the whole of its body, so as to correspond with it exactly in form. This fungus belongs to a particular class, distinguished by the name sphæria. In [p.295] China a variety of it is found growing in the body of a caterpillar just as it does in New Zealand, and is there sold as a remedy in certain cases. I have also met with the larvae of insects of the family called cicads, which is nearly allied to the grasshopper, from whose bodies grew a fungus which had killed them by a like process. The larvae were dug up in a potato garden by a native, who gave them to the Rev. T. Chapman, of Rotorua, from whom they came into my possession. The natives call the insects kihikihi.

The disease called muscardine, so destructive to the silkworm in the south of France, is also caused by the growth of a fungus in the living caterpillar.


Norfolk Hotel, London,
February 2bth, 1847.

Sir,—I have the honour to lay before you, as concisely as possible, information relating to the subject of your inquiries during my interview with you on the 20th instant.

In considering the modes by which land becomes distributed among the different members of a tribe, it must not be imagined that an individual is at liberty to cultivate at his pleasure any unappropriated spot within the limits of the district claimed by his tribe. He must confine himself to those parts of that district to which he and other members of his family have a joint right, and then his selection should be made with the consent of those [p.296] interested. The non-compliance with this usage by turbulent fellows is a frequent cause of dispute.

It must also be understood that individuals have a sole right to those spots which they occupy, or have derived from an ancestor who previously occupied.

In cases of adultery, &c. where the injured party is willing to receive compensation, a piece of land generally forms the most important part of the payment, being considered the only kind of property of equal value with a woman. They reason thus: All other property is perishable but a woman or land: they are imperishable—inasmuch as the one produces children, and the other produces food necessary to their support. Also in making peace after a long war, during which many lives have been lost, land has often been given up by one party to compensate for the greater number killed on the other side. From this it appears, that the New Zealanders had an idea of the value of land as an exchangeable property before the arrival of Europeans among them.

I now advert to some of the principal causes which have operated to extend native claims over a greater space than is requisite for their present use, and than would at first seem probable to European ideas. Such are,—the frequent changes of settlement in time of war, or in peace on the death of a chief, when the former situation becomes sacred, their claim to it being maintained,—the selection of the choicest spots only for cultivation grounds on the banks of rivers, in valleys, and on the borders of woods, and the abandonment of them after three or four years,—the value set on eel-fisheries, which causes every stream to have its weirs, and every [p.297] large swamp its embankments, and channels to direct the eels into the weirs during a flood,—the value of forests as preserves for birds. The extensive wooded district between Taupo and Wanganui, the wildest and most desolate part of New Zealand, has its claimants, who are by repute the most expert bird-catchers in the island. At one season of the year, when the kaka, a large grey parrot, is fat, the whole population of the upper part of Wanganui river betake themselves to the forests. With the assistance of tame parrots, as decoys, the wild birds are easily caught, when they are cooked and potted in calabashes for future use, or to be sent to a distance in exchange for other commodities. Ranges of hills are generally boundaries, and have their names. Mountains have acquired sacredness from being often named after an ancestor, or an ancestor after them; and, from old association, being frequently apostrophised in the speeches of natives."175

A New Zealander could never be made to comprehend the justice of disputing his right to the mountains, hills, forests, or other lands contained within his boundaries, [p.298] although he neither used them himself, nor could prove that an ancestor had used them for cultivation grounds; and he would maintain his right to them with the greatest pertinacity. If Captain Hobson had given the natives to understand that all lands not reclaimed by them were to belong to the Crown, the opposition he would have met with would probably have prevented New Zealand from being proclaimed a British colony, and he must in that case have remained in his original position of Consul.

I have the honour to enclose an extract176 from my journal, which I think is of interest, as serving to illustrate native ingenuity in proving a title by descent.

For further general information relative to these subjects, I would beg to refer to a former report on the nature of native titles to land.177

The New Zealander, being by nature fond of trading, has two objects in view in selling land—one to exchange it for something he desires—the other, and more important in his eyes, to obtain by the settlement of Europeans a market where he may exchange his surplus provisions, &c. for European property. He was not naturally willing to part with land, but saw in it the only means of inducing Europeans to settle in his country; and as he found them buy readily, and without inquiry, he sold bountifully his disputed lands, encumbered with their disputes; and he thought he had thus relieved himself, in an honourable and advantageous way, from the duty handed down to him by his ancestors to maintain the [p.299] family claim. The payment received formed in these cases the balance in the debtor and creditor account of injury and murder done on either side, and kept in memory by generation after generation. The enclosed extract178 from my journal will serve to explain their method of keeping such records.

The New Zealanders sold more sparingly land, their claim to which had not been disturbed. Indeed, I have always observed that they have great reluctance to part with those lands regarding which they can say, "Noku te whenua, no oku tupuna" "the land is mine, inherited from my forefathers."

From what has been said, it is easy to understand the cause of all the troubles which have since arisen about land. In some cases even lands, the claims to which have been examined by the Commissioners appointed for the purpose, and for which Crown grants have been issued, are notwithstanding still liable to be disputed whenever the attempt to take possession of them be made. Of this the perusal of the enclosed letter179 will make you aware; and, I hope, by bringing it now under your notice, to prevent these troubles, whenever they do occur, from being appealed to as an argument to prove the impossibility of obtaining, by purchase from the aboriginal claimants, such a title as shall not be disputed by them afterwards.

The necessary provision to insure the successful issue of dealings with natives for land is that these dealings be conducted by a competent person, whose duties should be confined exclusively to such matters. The first plan [p.300] adopted by the Government, viz., of purchasing land through the agency of the Protector of Aborigines, and then selling it by public auction, has been so far successful that very few difficulties have occurred in placing settlers on the lands thus bought. Two objections, however, have been offered to it, which are of some weight, viz.—

1. That the Government has not a fund available for the purchase of the land required for settlers.
2. That the Government may be represented to the natives in a very unfavourable light, as defrauding them by purchasing at a low price, and re-selling at a high price.

With the view to remove objections of this sort, I venture to offer the following suggestions:—

1 . That any district which the Government intends to settle be first surveyed,—and its rivers, streams, swamps, woods, hills, and other natural features clearly defined on a map, as well as native settlements, cultivations, &c., and the lines of proposed roads.
2. That all native claims to land within the district so surveyed be investigated by an officer appointed for that purpose, whose duty it should also be to point out to the surveyor those lands which the native owners wish to sell, and those which they wish to retain. The lands which the natives desired to retain might then, if considered ample, be distinguished on the map by some colour, and would form the most appropriate native reserves in that district. If the lands so reserved were more ample than appeared requisite for the present or future wants of the native population, it would still be most politic to reserve them for the natives, if they so wished; leaving it to be [p.301] considered hereafter how far their limits might be reduced, when—as certainly would be the case, in future years—the owners might wish to sell any part thereof.
3. That a registry be kept, by the same officer, of the names of tribes, families, and individuals having claims within the district; and of the lands, specified by name, to which they individually or jointly are found to have a right; and that the boundaries of such lands, with their names, be also laid down on a separate copy of the map of the district, to be kept by the same officer.

This being done, the intending purchaser would apply at the surveyor's office, where the district map would be shown him, and all information given as to the land open for sale. He would then go over the ground and select, with the aid of an authorized surveyor, under certain restrictions as to extent, frontage, &c., the spot he wished to purchase.

The officer who had already investigated the titles to land in the district would negotiate the purchase, and the intending settler would pay the price agreed on through him to the native sellers.

After this the purchaser would, on the payment of certain fees, receive a plan of his ground, and a Crown grant thereto. The fees to be limited to the necessities of a revenue, to be applied to the same objects as that proposed to be raised by sales of land by auction.

It is not meant to apply this plan to the case of town lands. In settling a new district, it seems essential that the Government should first purchase a block of a size sufficient for the intended town and suburbs, to be laid out and sold by auction.


No difficulty would arise in making the necessary roads. The natives would see that they were for their benefit jointly with that of the settlers; and they could be employed advantageously on their construction, particularly where they passed through forest lands.180

It would require, perhaps, more than twelve months to make the necessary inquiries preliminary to the purchase of land in a new district, but the information once gained would be applicable to all titles in the same district.

In the course of his investigations, the land officer would become familiar with the pedigrees of the chief persons in the district, and would collect traditionary history of the quarrels and wars which have affected their titles to land, and thus learn how conflicting claims had arisen.

It should not be lost sight of, that the Government would gain increased influence from thus being the depositary of the collective knowledge of different tribes; which knowledge is highly esteemed by the natives, and is one source of influence possessed by their most experienced chiefs. In cases of dispute, the Government would hereafter be appealed to as authority.

To prove the practicability of obtaining such information, I have the honour to enclose181 the pedigrees of the principal persons of some of the tribes of the Bay of Plenty, which I learnt when employed in making a purchase of land near Maketu.

Civilized nations, from having trusted so long to writ- [p.303] ten histories, have, I believe, very seriously impaired the powers of their memory, and have consequently learnt to undervalue traditionary evidence.

In conclusion, I would remark, that it seems to be so much the duty of the more civilized by all means in their power to preserve that good understanding between the two races, which alone can ultimately lead to their amalgamation; that, to bring about this end, they should not hesitate to sacrifice their prejudices, if they oppose those of the less civilized; and should be careful to adopt, in dealings with the latter, that course the justice of which can be made most intelligible to their understanding.

As a matter of mere policy, these considerations obtain greater weight, since it appears that latterly the native population has certainly not generally decreased, but rather increased.

I have the honour to be, &c.
Edward Shortland.
B. Hanes, Esq., M.P.,
One of H. M. Secretaries of State for the Colonies, etc., etc., etc.


Some of the chiefs of Ngatiwakaue and of Naitirangi, two neighbouring tribes, had long contested the right to an island in the Bay of Plenty, called Motiti (Flat Island of Cook). During one of the many discussions on the subject, the Ngatiwakaue tribe, in proof of the supe- [p.304] riority of their claim, set forth that their ancestors were the first who landed at Maketu, and subsequently located themselves on Motiti. As collateral evidence of this, to make their case more clear to Europeans, they appealed to a green stone eardrop, called Kaukaumatua, which Tama-te-kapua, one of their ancestors, had brought with him from Hawaiki (the island from which they say they migrated), and which was then in possession of Te Heu-heu, his lineal descendant. They argued, that they who could prove relationship to the possessor of this heirloom had a better right to occupy the land in question than persons who could show no claim but one derived from conquest, and who had in their turn been forced to abandon the land on the renewal of hostilities.


Akaroa, 15th August, 1848.

Sir,—In reply to your letter, dated November 19th, 1842, I have the honour to communicate to you the information which I have been able to collect relative to the nature of the tenure whereby lands are held among the aborigines.

According to native tradition, these islands were first inhabited by the present race, who left their own country, one of the Polynesian Islands, on account of some national disturbance. This probably happened between five and six hundred years ago. Several canoes are said to have sailed about the same time to seek new lands.


Part of these only reached this shore; and the spot where each was finally drawn to land was taken possession of by the crew, who spread themselves from that centre over the more fertile districts, till they became a numerous tribe.

In confirmation of the truth of this, it is worthy of remark, that each of the grand divisions into which the natives of the northern island may be separated has its own characteristic dialect. And it seems probable that the term Waka (canoe), which is used to denote these primary divisions, has reference to this origin of the tribes.

At the present day, these Waka are divided into many distinct Iwi; each of which is subdivided again into Hapu, or smaller communities. These Iwi, although descended from common ancestors, have, through quarrels respecting their lands and women, imbibed hatred to each other, which keeps them in continual feuds—forgotten only for a while, when assailed by a common enemy, they have united for mutual protection, as the tribes of Waikato did when attacked by Ngapuhi.

The territory claimed by each Waka is subdivided into districts, each of which is claimed by an Iwi. These are again variously apportioned among the different Hapu and families of chiefs.

In the immediate vicinity of a Pa, the land is more minutely subdivided between its inmates, nearly every person having his own small cultivation ground, or holding some spot in common with other members of his family. This circumstance would render it very difficult [p.306] for Europeans to purchase lands once so occupied, even though the Pa may have been deserted for many years; as every man whose ancestor had cultivated there will expect his claim to be satisfied.

The chiefs are the principal land-owners. Every individual, however, so far as I have been able to learn, has his own estate which he has inherited from his branch of the family, and which he cultivates as he pleases. The sons of a chief may, during his lifetime, select kaigna (farms) from their father's estate; but the larger portions are cultivated in common by the different members of the family. When a daughter marries, a small farm is generally given to her, which, however, should she die without issue, reverts to her brothers.

On the death of the father, the eldest son chooses some part of the lands for himself. The others do the same: the daughters obtaining only so much as their father or brothers choose to leave them. This order of things is sometimes changed, in case the elder brother is of a quiet disposition, and his younger brother happens to be a toa, or turbulent fellow. The latter will then grasp the bulk of the property to the exclusion of the rest, even during his father's lifetime. And he is in the opinion of his tribe entitled to respect for this show of spirit. The husband of a sister is at liberty to do the same, if he can. The other members of the family then sink to the condition of tiitua (insignificant persons), retaining only their right to their kaigna, or cultivation grounds.

Ngatiwakaue, perhaps the most turbulent tribe in the island, seem to carry to a great extent this system of raising one member of the family at the expense of the rest.


A chief, when speaking of the title by which he holds his lands, never fails to make a distinction between those which he has inherited from his ancestors, and those which he or his ancestors have obtained by conquest. Over the first his right is universally recognized. The latter appear to be tenable only so long as the party in possession are the more powerful. The claim which he advances is, however, quite characteristic of this people; namely, that they are the utu, or compensation, for the loss of his relations, who perished during the fight.

It is from purchasing lands, the right to which is thus contested by two hostile parties, either of whom is glad to avail himself of an opportunity to sell independently of the other, that Europeans have unwarily fallen into so many difficulties.

Besides the lands thus held, there are large districts on the borders of different tribes which remain uncultivated. These kaigna tautohe, or debatable lands, are a never-failing cause of war till one party has lost all its principal men. The remnant then cease to have any political importance, and are reduced to the condition of mere cultivators of the soil, being contemptuously styled a toenga-kai, or offal.

When a dispute arises between members of the same tribe, who is the lawful owner of a piece of land, the principal persons on both sides meet together to discuss the affair. Their pedigrees are traced, and the ancestor from whom either party claims is declared. Any proof that an act of ownership (such as cultivating, building a house, setting pitfalls for rats, or erecting eel-weirs,) was once exercised without opposition by one of these ancestors, is [p.308] considered sufficient evidence of the right of his descendants to the land.

I have the honour to be, &c.
Edward Shortland.
To the Chief Protector of the Aborigines, etc., etc., etc.



Sir,—In reference to the claims to land in the Hauraki district, which were investigated last year by Commissioner Richmond, I have the honour to bring under your notice the fact, that promises of future payment have in many cases been made to natives interested, to prevent their opposition, or to induce them to give favourable evidence.

This I have learnt from natives who were parties to such transactions, and who have made application to me respecting the non-fulfilment of such promises.

It has also come within my knowledge, that the evidence produced before Commissioner Godfrey has, in many cases, been given under similar influence.

I am aware that this practice has prevailed to a certain extent generally, at all similar investigations. Its effects, however, must be injurious both to the natives and to the claimants. It tempts the former either to threaten unjust [p.309] opposition, or to give untrue evidence, to the injury of native absentee proprietors, who may never have parted with their rights. And as the Commissioners may recommend the issue of Crown grants to lands, the title to which rests on such evidence, cases will probably occur where the lands may be resold to persons who intend to settle thereon; when, if any portion is included which has never been sold by the rightful owners, or if any promise of further payment remain unfulfilled, application will at once be made to the new comers, who will then for the first time learn that their title is incomplete.

Since all disputes arising from this source, will necessarily be referred to you for investigation, I lose no time in writing to you on the subject; and at the same time, I take the liberty to suggest a mode of removing these imperfections from titles granted by the Crown, and of avoiding endless trouble hereafter.

1st. That a Protector of Aborigines be sent to mark out the boundaries of lands sold, distinctly, by posts, &c. I believe he would find no difficulty in effecting this with the aid of the natives. The claimant or his agent might be on the spot; and such a description might thus be furnished, that a surveyor would have nothing to do but to estimate the contents of the area included.

2ndly. That cognizance be taken by the Government of all promises, of the nature above described, and that Protectors of Aborigines be instructed to draw up statements of them, signed by the claimant or his agent who made the promise, and by the natives to whom the promise was made, so as to enforce their fulfilment before the lands fall into new hands.


Without some such precautions be taken, before the issue of Crown grants, I fear that serious difficulty and responsibility will result to the Government.

I have the honour to be, &c.

Edward Shortland.
To the Chief Protector of the Aborigines, etc., etc., etc.


[Table omitted.]


1 A chief of the crew of the Arawa.

2 Vide pp. 123 and 123, anecdote of this chief.

3 A chief of the Naitirangi tribe.


1 A chief of the crew of the Arawa.

2 Tauroa was descended from Tainui ancestors. He came from Kawhia, and marrying Puriti, settled at Rangiuru.

3 Murdered, as related at p. 17.

4 Through Tarakura is derived Tupaia's claim to the island Motiti, so long a subject of dispute.

5 Anecdote of this chief, vide pp. 20, 21.

6 The most influential chief at Tauranga.


Of words occurring in the foregoing pages,
not to be found in Williams's Dictionary.

AHUMEHUME, a female garment reaching from the waist to the knees. Syn. Rapaki. Huru.
AOREWA The light fleecy clouds, the skud.
HAMITI. Stercus.
HArAMAI. poet. for HAEREMAI.
HAUMARURU. Weak, as one worn out by sickness.
HIHIRA ATU. To move away.
HIHIRA MAI. To move hither.
HIKOINGA. A stepping out with the feet.
HUATAU. The thought. Ka huatau mai te wahine ra. The woman there has her thoughts on me. (The speech of a young man who has on fine clothes.)
IKEMOKE. Restless.
KAHUPAPA. A shield.
KAI. poet. for KEI.
KANEHETANGA. Affection. Syn. Aroha.
KAWAI. Sea-breeze.
KIRIKIRI. Small baskets of potatoes. (Tauranga.)
KOMOTI. To thrust in, or bury in.
KORO/KORONGA. Longing; desire.
KOTIKOTI-TIRIWA. The boundary between two neighbouring cultivations, formed by a line of logs of wood.
KUTIA, pass, of KUKUTi. To hug close.


MAKA-O-TANIWHA. The tooth of the Great Thresher-shark (Lamna ferox) is so called.
MATATI, MATA-ATI. The first person slain in battle. Syn. Mata-ika, Mata-ngohi. The root 'ati' seems to be the same which enters into the compound word Ngati, or Nga-ati.
MAURU. To be stilled. Syn. Marire.
MOHUKIHUKI. Gnawing. Syn. Ngau-tonu. Th. Huki. To run a stick through a fish in order to roast it before the fire; to spit.
NAHAKU. poet. for NAKU.
NGAERE. To stir; to move. Syn. Ngawhere, Ngaruweruwe.
PATATO. To beat the end of a stick against the ground, so as to split it into small pieces for firewood.
PEPEPORA. A common sort of mat, reaching from the waist to the knees.
PIHAROA. One of the early names given to a European hatchet.
POKIAIHO. Having the head covered over with the cloak. Th. poki, to cover.
POKOHURU, for Upoko-kohuru.
PU. Worn out; done for.
PUEHUEHU. Dusty; mealy, as a potato.
RAHO. The scrotum.
RAUPAPA. Healed. Syn. Whai-paku, become dry.
REHUREHU. Misty; dimly visible. Rehurehu kau mai ana te tira-haere, e kore pea e mau i a koe. The company of travellers is only just visible like mist; you will not, I think, catch them up.


TAHAKU. poet. for TAKU.
TAIRANGA. To adjust.
TAITEA. Offal; refuse. (Lit. sappy part of a tree.)
TAKARURE. To fly flapping the wings.
TAKINA. pass, of TAKI. To draw towards one. When a person is washing clothes in the river or sea, another will say, "takina mai," meaning "drag them ashore." PIKI-TAKINA-MAI, dashing or drifting hither like the tide.
TAPA. A split, or cut. The name being given to a child when the umbilical cord was cut, "tapa" came to signify, "to name."
TAPAPA. Lying down, or sitting doubled up.
TAPARA-KAU-ATU. Syn. Minamina-kau-atu,
TARA. A peak, or jutting promontory; the spines on the back of a fish; the papilla of the shin; a ear-drop. He makariri ka tutu ou tara. Is it cold, that your "tara" stand on end?
TARA. To make a noise like a grasshopper or cricket; to fable; to repeat a charm. He kihikihi tara ki te waru. The "kihikihi" is noisy in the eighth month. Korero tara, fables.
TARAUA. Beaten or pounded with a pestle. Syn. Patupatua.
TATAO. The second person slain in battle. Syn. Matatohunga.
TAU. A husband; a lover.
TAUTANE. Vide p. 145.
TIHOI. Gaping. Tihoi ana tou kata, e kui. You are on the broad grin, mam.
TOHOU. poet. for TOU.


TOKANGA. A basket in which cooked meat is served up.
TOKOEAU. At a distance; separated. Syn. Wehewehe.
TORERE. In poetry, used to signify "a lover" as being infatuated. Ko te tangata e kore e titiro ki te ao-marama; ko torere tonu atu ki te mate. The man who does not regard the light of life; but rushes wildly to death.
TIUNGA. Speed. Tui tonu te haere. Tiu tonu te tere o te waka.
TUAO, or TUWHAO; (i.e., tu ki te whao; tu ki te ngaherehere.) Standing or growing in the wood.
TUAPEKE. To bend towards; to make advances to.
TU-NOA-MAI. Standing clearly visible, with nothing to obstruct the view.
URUPA. Syn. Mutu.
URUTOMO. To enter within. Th. uru and tomo.
URUTOMOKIA (passive.).
WAIAKO. The person, or body of a man. Syn. Waiaroaro, tinana.
WHAKAUAHI; i.e., Whaka-auahi. Having the appearance of smoke.
WHAKAIHI. He tapu; he rahui.
WHANGAIHAU. Vide p. 248.
WHAO. A wood, or forest.
WHEORO. Renoun. Syn. Kongo.
WHERAHIA, pass. of Wherahi. To spread abroad.


1 Pritchard's Physical History of Man, vol. v. p. 67.

2 For a copy of Ngapora's MS., I am indebted to His Honour William Martin, Chief Justice of New Zealand.

3 This sister was no doubt the wahine-ariki of the tribe: hence touching her with the axe made it sacred, as will be more particularly explained in ch. v. The sacred axe was intended to destroy the enchantments of the forest spirits, by which the tree after being cut down had been made to stand in its former place again.

4 The New Zealanders' favourite number for a war-party is always hokowhitu, or one hundred and forty. And if in any battle a great number of the enemy are killed, the number is generally said to be a mano, or one thousand. We cannot, therefore, place reliance on the correctness of their numerical statements.

5 This song, which is still used on similar occasions, will be found in chap. vii.

6 Hine is a contraction for Hine-tu-a-hoanga, (Woman-standing-in-place-of-a-whet-stone.)

7 The taro, corm or root of colocasia machroriza, called by Cook coccos, or eddos, is not here enumerated. But other accounts give to a wife of Hoturoa, named Marama, the credit of having preserved some roots of this plant, and planted them on arriving in New Zealand.

8 On account of the abundance of the fish so called. These jokes, which sound but poor ones to European ears, were good enough in the estimation of our Polynesian voyagers to be remembered, and to give names to these places.

9 A head-dress made of red feathers.

10 The rata, metrosideros robustus, flowers in February.

11 The literal meaning of the words is, 'The kura cast on shore by the waves picked up by Mahina.' They are in common use now to signify a waif, or God-send. Thus, if a person find anything which has been lost by another by the road-side or in the bush, and the loser afterwards, hearing who has found it, go and ask him to restore it, his answer would probably be, "I will not restore it; it is a 'kura-pae a Blahina;' so if you wish to have it, you must pay for it."

12 Vide ch. iii. for an explanation of this expression.

13 Vide ch. vii.

14 At the Island of Raraka, one of the Paumotu Archipelago, numbers of young tern were remarked running about the huts in a half-domesticated state.—Pickering's Races of Man; edit. 4to. p. 61.

15 Panipani is still the name of the spot. It must, I think, he allowed, that the authenticity of the narrative is increased by the fact of its accounting for the origin of the present names of places, and of proverbs in common use.

16 A daughter who was murdered by Kangiowiri.

17 A chief present at the meeting. He has grandchildren.

18 This chief was killed a few years ago at Maketu, by a war-party from Waikato, under Te Waharoa.

19 A chief present at the meeting, who has grandchildren alive.

20 Vide supra, 7th generation from Tia.

21 Meaning that the murder of Punohu was compensated for by killing Werapinaki, the brother of the murderer.

22  A young man named Te Milia, now a slave of Eangihaeata, was son of a chief of Ngati-kahuntmu, named Te Kekeremu, whose tribe occupied the lands from Wairerapa to Eangitikei inclusive.

23 Vide "Southern Districts of New Zealand." London, 1851.

24 The Rev. Puckey, who has resided nearly 20 years among this tribe, sent the original from which this is translated to the Chief Justice of New Zealand, by whose favour I obtained it.

25 The narrator did not mean to say that all these canoes touched at Whaiapu, but only Kurahoiipo and the other three in which his ancestors came. We have already seen that Taimil and Arawa first made the land at Wangaparaoa.

26 Meaning that both these chiefs are connected by family alliances with the two principal northern tribes.

27 Polynesian Mythology, p. 221.

28 I read lately, in some review, the statement that the dog was first introduced into New Zealand by Cook; and hence, it was argued, that as the traditions of the New Zealanders spoke of the dog, they could not be very ancient, in fact, scarcely more than one hundred years old. This statement is erroneous; for the natives wore cloaks made from the skins of dogs, before Capt. Cook's time; and their manner of fabricating these cloaks is particularly ingenious. Moreover, the native breed of the dog still exists in New Zealand, though perhaps seldom in its original purity, and is preserved in some places for the sake of the skin. In appearance it is very unlike the European breeds. Its body is long, legs short, head sharp, tail long, straight, and bushy. The hair is thick and straight, and tolerably long, varying in colour from white to brown; but it is not spotted.

29 These might have been a branch of the Wanganui tribe, who, according to their own traditions, were the first settlers in that part of New Zealand.

30  Ngati-mamoe (?), the tribal name of the first colonists of the Middle Island, afterwards conquered by a division of the Ngati-Kahu-unuunu tribe. Vide "Southern Districts of New Zealand," page 98.

31 Several of these will be found in Tables A and B in the Appendix.

32 Ellis's Tour through Hawaii, p. 441.

33 New Voyage round the World, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 176.

34 It appears from other authorities, that the sound represented by I can hardly be distinguished from the sound of r.

35 In the Society Islands the causative prefix is faa, and in Rarotonga, aka, merely dialectic variations of the word whaka.

36  Ellis's Hawaii; Appendix, p. 472.

37 To take some examples from European languages:—

English. Italian. Sicilian.
Beautiful belle beddo
To eat mangiare manciare
A seat sedia seggia
The arm braccio vrazzo

 38 Ellis's Hawaii, p. 286.

39 The radical meaning of the word Maori is not understood. It has been generally supposed to signify pure. But this idea rests on the circumstance that pure water is called by the New Zealanders, when speaking to a European, wai maori, to distinguish it from sea-water—wai tai. It seems probable, however, that wai maori was meant to indicate merely water fit for the Maori to drink; for among each other they do not use the term wai maori, but the simple word wai, or sometimes the expression luai-puna (well-water), in distinction to river-water.

40 Besides the variety of kumara introduced by the New Zealanders, the root of which is small, another variety has been introduced by Europeans, I believe from America, which is considerably larger and of a lighter colour. But, although its cultivation does not require so much care, it is not so highly prized on account of its flavour being inferior.

41 Polynesian Researches, p. 46.

42 Vide Comparative Table of Dialects in Appendix.

43 Vide Ethnograph. Lib., vol. i. p. 175, et seq.

44 The woolly-haired race of the Malay Peninsula (called Semangs) is a mere remnant of tribes which, according to native tradition, occupied a considerable portion of the interior of the Peninsula at a comparatively recent period.—Idem, p. 150.

45 Several intelligent natives of Anam, or Cochin-China, with whom the writer (Mr. G. W. Earl) has had opportunities of conversing, assured him that woolly-haired tribes still existed in the mountain range which traverses the eastern side of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. It is well known that many of the ancient idols of the Hindus have negro characteristics, and the great Budha himself is also represented as a negro.—Idem, vol. i. pp. 158, 160.

46 I was much struck by finding the identity of a root of the pronoun of the first person singular in the Maori of New Zealand with the root of the same pronoun in Malayu, and in the T'hay or Siamese, an allied continental language. In the Maori this pronoun has two roots, au, and ku, (just as in English the same pronoun has the two roots, I and me), the latter being only used after certain prepositions to form what are called oblique cases. In the Malayu, I is represented by one of the roots—ku, which becomes aku by the addition of the personal prefix a. In the Siamese language, the same pronoun is represented by the simple root ku.

47 Ellis's Tour through Hawaii, pp. 438-9.

48 Vide chap. v.

49 Vide authorities cited by Pritchard, in Physical History of Man, vol. v.

50 The hair in either variety is sometimes sandy, called by them hurukehu.

51 The hair of the heard and whiskers, with which the Papuans are usually well supplied, also grows in little tufts similar to those of the head: and the same peculiarity is found on the hair with which the breasts and shoulders of the men are sometimes covered, hut here the tufts are much farther apart than on the beard or chin This description of woolly or twisted hair is peculiar to the full-blooded Papuans. A comparatively slight mixture of the brown race removes the peculiarity, at least has done so, in all cases that have come under the writer's observation. The hair of people of the mixed race, although thick and curly, covers the surface of the head like that of Europeans. The Malayan term for crisped or woolly hair is "rambat pua-pua." Hence the term "pua-pua" or "papua" (crisped) has come to be applied to the entire race and certainly it deserves to be retained, as expressing their most striking peculiarity.Ethnograph. Lib., vol. i. p. 3. Papuans, by G. W. Earl.

52 New Voyage round the World, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 253, et seq.

53 New Voyage round the World, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 195.

54 Pickering's Races of Man, 4to. p. 78.

55 Races of Man, 4to. p. 74.

56 The Earth.

57 E noho ki waho ki te moana, kia wakapuharutia koe ki te tokanga-kai-maoa!

58 Haere ki uta kia wakapongia koe ki te ahi-rarauhe!

59 Ngarara is a general term for a lizard, or any reptile of the same order Sauria. It here means a species of iguana, indigenous to the country, which lives principally in the hollows of trees. The largest I have seen was about three feet in length. The tribe of Kangitani hunt it in the way above described for food; and it is by them esteemed very good eating. The small green lizard, however, is universally held in great awe by the New Zealanders, because their atua are believed to enter very frequently into their bodies, when visiting the earth for the purpose of communicating their advice to mortals.

60 Polynesian Mythology, p. 1-12.

61 The pillow or urunga was a sort of low stool hewn out of a solid piece of hard wood, ornamented with carving.

62 "Twenty Years in the Philippines," by Paul De la Gironiere, ch. x. pp. 191, 198.

63 Pickering's Races of Man, 4to. p. 74.

64 Tu-a-tara, having spines.

65 Haumia whakatere Taniwha, The original words are now proverbial.

66 Polynesian Mythology, p. 14.

67 Polynesian Researches, p. 13.

68 Pakeha is one of the words used in the northern island to denote a European.

69 I Kings xviii.

70 Ellis's Polynesian Researches, vol. iii. p. 101.

71 The peculiar opinions of the New Zealanders on such points have been particularly explained by the author in a former publication, to which the reader is referred,—Southern Districts of New Zealand, pp. 20-30.

72  From the accounts we have of the most ancient superstitions of the Chinese nations, it appears that they resemble in many respects those of the Maori. Thus, they are said to believe that all illness is owing to the visitation of a Tchutgour, or demon; and they adore the spirits of their ancestors, just as the New Zealanders do. On the first day of the year, a grand ceremony takes place, at which the Emperor of China offers adoration to the spirits of his family, by sending his picture to head a procession to the ancestral burial-place, because it is too far distant for him to go there in person. (See Travels in Tartary, Thibet, and China, by MM. Gabet and Huc, vol. i. pp. 74, 226.)

73 Vide chap. v.

74 Vide chap. iv.

75 Mata, visage, kite, to see.

76 Tihe, mauri tupu, mauii roa ki te waiao, ki te aomarama. Tihe, mauri roa.

77 Vide p. 13.

78 Mahu-ika was the goddess of fire.

79 The charmer and the person burnt.

80 Moi is the common call for a dog in this country; for the New Zealander does not know how to whistle.

81  Rangi (the sky) being the god and father of all kinds of rain, is properly invoked in this charm.

82 Vide Southern Districts of New Zealand, p. 68.

83 Meaning the invisible spirit.

84 This word, out of use in New Zealand, signifies dumb in the Karotonga dialect.

85 Tangaengae is an old word, of a form out of general use, corresponding in signification with the more common form tanga, meaning cutting; for its signification was explained to me by the expression, te hotinga o te pito, the act of cutting the umbilical cord.

86 Vide p. 12.

87  Names of Birds.

88 A short quick pull.

89 A sustained pull.

90 A brisk pull.

91 A long pull.

92 A long pull.

93 Names of forest trees used for building canoes.

94 A brisk pull

95 A short quick pull.

96 Walking away with it.

97 Briskly.

98 A long pull.

99 Name of a bird.

100 The huia is a bird whose tail feathers are highly prized as ornaments for the hair. Their colour is black, tipped with white. They are very elegant; and the word huia is here used in the same sense as we often use the word jewel.

101 A mountain always covered with snow.

102 This kaka owes its origin to an unsuccessful hostile attempt of the tribe Ngati-wakaue against an island called Tuhua. The baskets made of grass, called toetoe, were intended to be packed with the cooked flesh of the killed. On the return of the war-party, the song was sung to them by their friends who had remained behind, in order to taunt them with their failure.

103 Wetero.

104 Pukana.

105 This ngeri is very ancient, said even to have been brought from Hawaiki. Waero is literally the tail of a dog, from which the cloaks, called ihupuni, are made.

106 A sea bird which cries at night—a sort of puffin. Vide Southern Districts of New Zealand, p. 224.

107 This song is in very general use, but is not sufficiently decent to bear translating.

108 This song was composed by a young woman forsaken by her lover. The time of the first stanza is made up by prolonging the sound of the final vowel of the word torere—e-e; that of the second stanza by similarly prolonging the sound of the final vowel of the word kai—i-i.

109 Pukehina is the name of a hill between Maketu and Te Awa-o-te-atua.

110 Kai, poetic form of kei.

111 Rawa i. The a and i unite in singing to form a dipthong.

112 This song was composed by a young woman who was carried away prisoner from Tuhua (Mayor Island), in the Bay of Plenty, on the occasion of Tohi's expedition to surprise it. The pathway from Palcetu to Rotorua passes over Mount Paraliaki, where she is supposed to be resting by the way-side, gazing at her native island.

113 The name of her lover.

114 Taumo. The name of a high hill at Tuhua, where there is a Pa.

115 Tangi-te-ruru. The name of the Chief of Tuhua.

116 Maka o Taniwha. The tooth of a species of shark which frequents the coast of New Zealand, but particularly the Mayor Island, where it is frequently taken by the natives. It is very large and powerful, and difficult to catch. The largest of the teeth are so highly prized for ear-drops that they are not to be procured, even at Tuhua, for less than the value of thirty shillings or two pounds sterling. This ornament is, however, of secondary value to the kahurangi, or pounamu stone of the first water. The following song in praise of the latter alludes to this:—

E hara tena:
He iwi ika tena:
Ka pa auo ko te iti pounamu,
Ko te kino inamata,
E tau te wheoro
Ki tua atu o te rangi. E!

Wai, poetic form of nowai.

That is worthless:
That is the bone of a fish.
But were it the little pounamu.
That ancient source of evil,
The fame of which reaches
Beyond the limits of the sky. Eh;

117 Toru, or Nga Toru, another name of Pohiwa.

118 Pohiwa was daughter of Rangihaeata's sister, and great niece of Te Rauparaba. She was, at that time, living with a European, as his wife; and having plenty of fine clothes, was the admiration of her country-women.

119 Tipua, a fabulous monster supposed to inhabit the ocean or the lakes. It is here used for the white man.

120 This song was made by Haunikura, grandmother or great-aunt of Te Awhe, a chief of Ngati-Tamatera, who resides on the banks of the Waihou, or Thames river. She went to visit Waero, the father of Kahukoti, who had obtained possession of several axes from one of the first ships which had touched at that part of the coast. She hoped to return home with a present of one of these new treasures. But being disappointed, she gives vent to her dissatisfaction in this song, which Is supposed to be composed in a lone hut, while the rain falls in torrents on its roof.

121 Wae, contracted for Waero.

122 Piharoa; Mo te toki. Ou rongo piharoa, fame of your foreign hatchets.

123 "Tui i taku ringa" refers to the practice of thrusting the hand through a loop attached to the handle of the hatchet, by which it hangs suspended at the wrist.

124 Pounui, one of the islands on the west side of the Hauraki Gulf.

125 This song is a lament in honour of a chief slain by an enemy. The second stanza refers to the custom of cutting the flesh of the face, arms, and breast, at times of public mourning. In the third stanza the speaker asks who will avenge the death of the chief referred to; the mist being a figurative expression for the men of the country named. The last stanza is a New Zealander's form of curse.

126 Wakairia. When an enemy was killed, his head was often cut off and baked over an oven. Thus preserved, it was sometimes exhibited on a pole.

127 Kata. When the head was preserved as just described, the lips were drawn apart, so as to expose the teeth, and give to the features a grinning expression, to which the word kata (to laugh) refers.

128 In the two last lines the poetess coolly requests the wife of the person, for whom she acknowledges an unlawful passion, not to be angry with her, because "she—the lawful wife—has always possession of the person of her husband while hers is only an empty, Platonic sort of love." This is rather a favourite sentiment, and is not unfrequently introduced similarly into love songs of this description.

129 This song was made by Te Rauparaha. A lament for his native place Kawhia, abandoned by him.

130 Honipaka, a hill at Kawhia.

131 Koe—mo te motu, mo Honipaka.

132 Matariki, the Pleiades.

133 Maire is a species of yew; its wood is one of the hardest in New Zealand.

134 This kind of waiata is called a 'tau.'

135 Waiata vii. lines 3, 4.

136 A small green paroquet.

137 For a description of this curious production, vide Appendix.

138 These are all names familiar to the natives of the Bay of Plenty, which is one of the most valuable flax districts.

139 A tree of the genus Elœocarpus.

140 The black colour of the mud is due to a compound of oxide of iron and tannin.

141 Vide Southern Districts of New Zealand, p. 34-38.

142 New Zealand and its Aborigines. By W. Brown; p. 148.

143 Polynesian Researches, vol. i. p. 87.

144 Pickering's Races of Man, p. 93.

145 The Pleiades are seen as a close and brilliant cluster in the midst of an almost starless space, so closely packed together that it is barely possible to number them with the naked eye. From the circumstance of their being thus isolated, they are the more conspicuous. The Pleiades have held an important place in the estimation of ancient European nations, and obtained their name from being terrible to mariners, by reason of the rains and storms which frequently rose with them. Madler has placed the common centre of gravity and revolution of the universe of stars composing our system amidst this constellation.

It seems a point of interest to inquire whether the same law for commencing the year with the rising of the Pleiades is recognized among the natives of the Caroline and Philippine Islands, and how far it is possible to trace it back through islands of the Indian Archipelago to the continent of Asia—perhaps to Cochin-China, where the native language still retains marked points of relationship with that of Polynesia Proper. So remarkable a sign for noting the commencement of the year once adopted would probably be retained by kindred races; while their languages had undergone a variety of changes.

146 The comparisons here made are of course merely approximate; for the first moon being determined by the rising of the Pleiades at sunset, which in New Zealand takes place about the 15th of June, it may happen that the first moon corresponds with part of May and June, with June only, or with part of June and July. In the year 1856, the new moon being on the second of June, the first month of the Polynesians will correspond with that month.

147 The post-standing-firmly.

148 Po-whia koe ki te huarahi.

149 Naiti, among tribes who pronounce n instead of ng.

150 Polynesian Researches, vol. iii.

151 Polynesian Researches, vol. iii. p. 100.

152 Polynesian Researches, vol. iii. p. 250.

153 Pataka-kai.

154 Tana tikanga.

155 Tenei tou rahui poaka. Behold a herd of pigs made sacred for you. (A sentence very significant to a New Zealander.)

156 This mode of obtaining redress, called muru (stripping), is a very favourite one under all circumstances, and has now and then been applied to European settlers.

157 For a description of this ceremony, vide Southern Districts, p. 68. A charm sung on the occasion will he found at p. 135, supra.

158 The practice for the female Ariki to eat the ear in this ceremony is peculiar to some tribes.

159 Vide supra, p. 110, and p. 145.

160 Also called the Tatao.

161 The present site of the Canterbury settlement.

162 Uto, vide supra, p. 230.

163 A white flag, with a dove and olive branch for emblem, was hoisted on board the vessel belonging to the Church Missionary establishment.

164 When the national independence of New Zealand was formally recognized by the British Government in 1835, a national flag, composed of stars and stripes, in imitation of the American flag, was devised by Mr. Busby, the British resident, or some one else, and afterwards acknowledged by the British Government.

165 Kua liro i te loa.

166 Vide supra, p. 140.

167 Kahore he kaigna mou. Tenei ano he kaigna mou kei tou tane. Oti ano tauimau ko tou maro anake. He niokai ahitere koe.


Te Putu = Ngaho.
                              |                                                                                                      |                                
Tamatea = A Wife (of the Ngatipo tribe).                                    Te Hekemu =          
                       |                                                                                                         |                  
No issue.                                                                                                 |
                                                                                                Watarau = Ohinematua
                                                                                                          |   (female).
                                                                                  Pewhatau or Kemp
                                                                                   (present claimant).

Tamatea was the last possessor of the disputed weir, the Koro-ripo, which Kemp's opponents said he obtained through his wife, who belonged to their tribe. Kemp, on the other hand, rested his claim on a supposed right derived through Ngaho, a wife of his great-grandfather, Te Putu.

169 The name of a mountain, used for the adjoining district.

170 When a Pa is situated on the bank of a river, it is common to see a lofty straight spar fixed in the ground so as to incline slightly over the river. Four or five ropes tied to its highest point and reaching the ground enable several persons in succession to swing themselves, one after the other, in a semicircle over the water: as soon as each touches the ground he runs round holding on to the rope, and swings himself again over the water; and so they continue to amuse themselves till tired.

171 These debatable lands are among themselves called kaigna tautohe.

172 A hill situated between the rivers Waitoa and Piako.

173 A chief now living.

174 Two chiefs of Waikato.

175 "Maro-nui-a-Tia, e. Kikona ra koe tu mai ai. Haere ake au nei. To ake te papa i taku whare" "Maro-nui-a-Tia, farewell. You will remain firm where you are now. When I go up hence, close after me the door of the house." Such were the farewell words of Ouenukukopako when quitting for ever his residence at Taupo. He was on his way to Rotorua, and was seated on the hill called Maro-nui-a-Tia, the last point in the path from which he could catch a glimpse of his deserted home. The words are preserved by his descendants as a luhakatauki, or proverb, to be applied when any one goes from his home with the intention of never returning. Maronui-a-Tia means Wife-of-Tia; Tia being the name of his ancestor who came to New Zealand in the Arawa.

176 Vide infra, enclosure A.

177 Vide infra, enclosure B; vide also Southern Districts of New Zealand, chap. v.

178 Vide supra, p. 18.

179 Vide Enclosure C.

180 The truth of this observation has since been proved experimentally.

181 Enclosure D.