Introduction to Rarotonga History Part I
IN the circular issued by the writer in 1891, asking those interested in Polynesian matters to join in forming a Society—having for its objects the preservation of records of the Polynesian race—a hope was expressed that such a Society would tend to draw the members together, and that, by their means, many obscure points in connection with the history of the race would be cleared up and valuable matter placed on record. A glance through the six volumes of Transactions already published will show that a considerable meed of success has attended the operations of the Society, but much still remains to be done. The information thus received from all parts of the Pacific seemed to indicate that there were fields still open in which much might be gathered; and at the same time certain questions arose out of the contributions to the Journal that seemed to render enquiry on the spot desirable by some one having a fair knowledge of what had already been accumulated. Many of the questions awaiting solution were of great importance, in connection with the history of the Polynesian people, and of special interest more particularly, perhaps, to those members of the Society who dwell in New Zealand. Naturally the latter take most interest in that branch of the race which inhabits their own country; but, notwithstanding the many attempts that have been made hitherto, nothing certain has been settled as to the immediate whence of the Maori people, though many indications have been given, and as it turns out, often given truly.
It seemed therefore to the writer that the attempt to clear up this and other questions once for all was worth making. Time was pressing—the old men of the Polynesian race from whom their history could be obtained were fast passing away—civilisation was fast extinguishing what little remained of ancient lore—the people themselves were dying out before the incoming white man—and, to all appearances, there would soon be nothing left but regrets over lost opportunities.
Feelings of this nature were borne in strongly on the writer, and, for the honour of the Society, it was felt the attempt to clear up some of the outstanding questions must be made. It was with this object then that I undertook a six months' voyage in the Pacific; the results, in brief form, I now venture to lay before the Society.
Leaving Auckland on the 8th July, 1897, the U.S.S. Co.'s “Upolu” carried me in eight days to the lovely island of Rarotonga, a distance of 1,638 miles. A day was spent there, and then we proceeded onwards to the north-east, 630 miles further to Tahiti. A few days were spent there, and then the “Upolu” started on her homeward voyage, allowing us en route to pass a day at the pretty island of Huahine. Thence to Raiatea, 145 miles from Tahiti, and, passing Tahaa and Porapora—both close to Raiatea—we came over 520 miles of the blue Pacific to Aitutaki, and thence back to Rarotonga, another 145 miles. Here a pleasant month was spent amongst old friends, gathering notes from the natives—of which more anon. Little difficulty was experienced in communicating with the people—Maoris, as they call themselves—for their dialect is very like that of New Zealand. Then across the sea again to Tahiti, where another month was pleasantly spent, partly in a ten days' drive round this lovely island, and in visits to the native chiefs. I then crossed over to Moorea—surely one of the most lovely islands of the Pacific! and circumnavigated it in an outrigger canoe with two native companions, visiting the people in their homes, which are probably little changed since the last century, for there are only three white people living on the island. By this time I had acquired sufficient of the dialect to hold long conversations with the old people; indeed, I was complimented by them on acquiring their language in so short a time; whereat due explanation followed as to the common origin of their dialect and that of the Maori. Tei a 'oe te parau mau; e here ta matou; e reo Tinito ta matou. “You have the proper language; ours is not; it is Chinese language.” In which they referred to my use of Maori words, now obsolete with them.
It was a matter of great regret that no opportunity offered of reaching Raiatea from Tahiti during my stay there, for it seems probable that much more may be learnt there than at Tahiti. In the
latter island the natives' knowledge of old matters has faded away; they have but a dim knowledge of old names and stories—they have been too long civilised.
From Tahiti, we again passed across the 145 miles of sea to Raiatea, and thence again to Aitutaki, Rarotonga, and Mangaia on the way back to Auckland, for there is no getting from Eastern Polynesia to other parts. From Auckland I went by the mail steamer 1,600 miles to Samoa, and spent a very pleasant month there, going round Up?lu Island in a boat with the American Consul-General (W. Churchill, Esq.), a man who is a great enthusiast on Polynesian matters, and who has made valuable collections from the Samoans, which are to be published shortly in America. My friend being a Samoan chief by adoption, in travelling with him the opportunity occurred of seeing many Samoan customs not often witnessed. A week was also spent at Sav?i'i, the largest and highest island of the group, and one that has played an important part in Polynesian history, some indication of which will be found in the Native History which follows this.
From Samoa, 2,270 miles of smooth water with a pleasant temperature, brought us to Honolulu, and landed me amongst many kind friends, several of them members of the Polynesian Society. Their untiring efforts during my six weeks' stay in the group enabled me to see a very great deal. Accompanied by our respected fellow-member, Professor W.D. Alexander, I journeyed through the group to the south-east, passing the islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kahoolawe and on to Hawaii, where several days were spent in riding and driving and in visiting places of interest and celebrity, amongst them the volcano of Kalau?a; then back to Maui, where we ascended Hale-a-ka-la (Whare-a-te-ra in Maori), an extinct volcano over 10,000 feet high, which has the largest crater in the world. It is nineteen miles round and 2,000 feet deep. From Honolulu a visit was made to Kauai Island, the most westerly but one of the group; and here the kindness of another member of the Society (Mr. G. N. Wilcox) enabled me to see the magnificent scenery of the northern coast, which is more like that of our own fiords than any other place I have seen.
After a six weeks' stay in Hawaii I again crossed the Pacific to Samoa, where a week was spent—the Christmas holidays under the hospitable roof of another of our members, the Rev. J. E. Newell, at the Malua institution; and then taking the U.S.S. Co.'s “Ovalau” I went on to Vavau, Haapai, and Tongatapu, from whence 1,100 miles of sea brought us back to Auckland. A few days over six months were occupied in this voyage of more than 14,000 miles, in which the principal homes of the Polynesian people were visited.
The above is a brief outline of the voyage. To give in any detail the matters worth notice would fill a large volume; but this is not the place for that. Notes were taken of any matter of interest in connection with the work of the Society, which will come in usefully from time to time; but the most valuable acquisition of all is the Rarotongan history to which these notes are intended to serve as an introduction. They were lent to the Society for publication by the Rev. J. J. K. Hutchin of Rarotonga. Their value must be judged on publication, but I hold that they throw more light on the history of the Pacific than any document yet published. They were written in the sixties by Te Ariki-tara-are, one of the last of the Rarotongan priesthood, and whose ancestors have always had important functions to perform in connection with the reigning family of Mak?a. They may therefore be looked on as the authentic records of the Rarotongan people, and which could not again be reproduced—hence their value. It may be assumed that the language in which the narrations are couched is the pure Rarotongan, and as they contain a very large number of words now obsolete, they will prove of interest to the philologist. In the translation, the original has been followed as closely as possibly, often to the sacrifice of style; and where words are met with of doubtful meaning the fact is noticed. Many of these are not now known to the present generation, nor is there any dictionary of the Rarotonga dialect to aid in obtaining their meaning, except a MS. one compiled by the writer. Another valuable MS. brought back is the Marquesan chants collected by Mr. Lawson many years ago, and lent to the Society by Professor Alexander. Although they have been translated into verse by Mr. Lawson, it is doubtful if he has always caught the correct meaning, whilst his peculiar views renders his translation otherwise open to doubt.
A few Paumotuan chants also brought back will serve when published to illustrate that dialect and throw some light on the history of that people. The dialect is remarkably like Maori.
If any doubt at present remains as to the “oneness” of the Polyrace—from the Hawaii Group to the Chatham Islands—from Nukuoro Island, near the Carolines, to Easter Island in the far south-east—a visit to the places mentioned above will at once dispel such doubt. Fifty people might be taken at random, each, from New Zealand, Rarotonga, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii and Easter Island (some of the latter people I saw in Tahiti) and if mixed together in a crowd, no one could distinguish the country from which they came, by their physical appearance. The Hawaiians are perhaps more like the Maoris than the others, whilst the Tahitians are slightly—very slightly—
lighter in color, and the Samoans rather more differentiated than other sections to the casual observer. But this difference in the Samoan is, I think, more apparent than real, and is due to a considerable extent to the habit of coloring their naturally black hair to a light yellow or auburn by the use of lime and pani. Take the Samoans in the districts away from Ap?a, the European settlement, where they are living in their native state, and where their hair is not dyed, and they are Maoris to all intents and purposes. The Tongans are most like the Samoans, but stand in an intermediate position between them and the Maoris.
The language is practically one all over, but with many dialects. A knowledge of Maori enabled me to pick up Rarotongan fairly in a fortnight, Tahitian in three weeks, and I could—had it been necessary —have acquired an ordinary knowledge of Hawaiian in a month: but Samoan varies much more; our commonest words are not at all, or but rarely used. In dialects which drop several of the consonants, the necessity of carefully noting the accent is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately this matter has been much neglected in Tahiti and Rarotonga publications. The “catch” in pronunciation, denoted by “'” in writing is particularly noticeable in the language as spoken by the people, but is frequently omitted in writing in Tahiti, Rarotonga, and Hawaii, whilst much more attention is paid to it in Samoa. Where necessary to compare names or words in the latter dialects, the “catch” will be inserted. Another change I noticed, which is more common in Samoa than in other parts, that is the change in the accent in words which are common to all parts. In nearly every word in Samoan the accent is on the penultimate: to a less extent it is so in Tahiti, Rarotonga, and Hawaiian, but in Maori, the same words have the accent, if any, on the first syllable. For euphony and softness, the the Samoan is the Italian of the Pacific, or, to be more correct, it was so, and is so still in their songs and prayers. But for some reason unknown, this people have introduced the “k” in place of the original “t,” and as “t” is the commonest letter in their alphabet, the language is now very harsh. This innovation commenced in the eastern part of the group many years ago and has gradually spread westward; now, with the exception of the western part of Sav?i'i, it is universal. It is well known that the same change occurred in Hawaii about the end of last century. It may be added, that in Tahiti, there are indications here and there, of the change of “t” into the Tongan and Chatham Island “chi” where “t” is followed by “i.” It is very easy and natural to drop into the Tahitian custom of omitting the “k” and “ng” in words which contain those letters in Maori, but very difficult to translate the Maori “t” to Hawaiian (or Samoan) “k”—the memory must constantly be on the alert. A few cases were
noticed in Rarotongan, where there was a tendancy to substitute “k” for “ng,” as has been universally done in the Ngai-Tahu dialect of New Zealand. I am not aware that any scientific reason has ever been given for the change of “t” into “k” If any one will pronounce the two letters (according to their Polynesian sound—ta, ka) it will be noticed that the tongue, thorax, and palatte have different motions in each case. But in the change from “nga” to “ka” (common especially to Maori and Marquesans) the difference of motion of the tongue in pronouncing these two letters is very slight, and hence they may easily change. I tried several times to get the Tahitians to pronounce the “k” they invariably turn it into a “t.” They do not appear capable of distinguishing the difference in sound.
The universal “Grimm's law” of Polynesia, was frequently noticed to which there are few variations, viz: that “a,” “e,” “o,” as one series, and “i,” “u,” as another, may change amongst themselves wihout altering the meaning of a word, though the two series very rarely interchange. This of course may be learned from the dictionaries, but it is more striking in the pronunciation.
In the general intonation of the voice in ordinary speaking, the Maoris, Tahitians, Hawaiians, and Rarotongans are very similar. I saw little of the characteristic gesticulation of the Maori, though it is present to a certain degree. In speaking in their meetings (possibly at other times also) the Samoans use a pecularity of tone, not noticed elsewhere. The last word or two of a sentence is pronounced in a tone several notes higher than the rest of the sentence. It has a peculiar effect. I attended a Fono or council, held at Aleipata, a series of villages at the east end of Up?lu, where lives Tupuola, a son of the exiled Mataafa, who is said to pride himself on attention to ancient etiquette. The 18 or 20 chiefs who sat round the large oval house, in addressing the meeting, did so sitting, and barely raised their voices above a whisper. It is extremely bad form to talk loudly in the presence of chiefs in Samoa. How would our Maori orators feel disconcerted at such a rule! All of these gentlemen—for their manners entitled them to be so called—were engaged all through the meeting in some work, usually the braiding or twisting of sinnet (afa) for string, ropes, &c.
In Rarotonga, I witnessed the giving of many presents to Pomare Hitoi of Tahiti (Prince Pomare—so called). As each Mataiapo or chief came up dragging his mat or other present, he uttered a series of peculiar cries in a falseto voice, more like the cries of a parcel of boys than anything else. Quietness in voice is not the fashion on such occasions in Rarotonga (as it is in Samoa) no more than it is in New Zealand.
Manners differ in the different groups considerably. In Samoa, if one meets any one on the road, they rarely speak, but pass on with
scarcely a glance at the stranger. If one gives them the usual salutation, “Talofa,” they return it, however. How different from the Tahitian or Rarotongan whose pleasant “Ia ora na,” or “Kia ora na,” is heard directly one approaches. I may here say that “Kia ora na,” (or perhaps “Kia ora ana” originally—) was introduced into Rarotonga from Tahiti. The old form of salutation is like the Maori “Ten? koe,” which I was also told was likewise the ancient Tahitian form. The Hawaiian salutation is “Aloha,” akin to the Samoan “Talofa,” whilst that of Tonga is “Malo let?i.” When once the ice is broken, however, with the Samoans, they are a pleasant people to deal with, but with a certain reserve. The manners of the Tahitians are particularly pleasant; they are kind, hospitable, and cheery. In my voyage round Moorea, we never met any one without their saying Tapae mai i uta e tamaha— “Turn in shore and have something to eat,”—to which my men as invariably replied “Eiaha!” which meant “don't” or “not so.” Probably, however, we were not expected to accept the invitation. These same canoemen, paddled all round the island—40 odd miles—without once singing. A Maori would have sung most of the way. But they had plenty to say when spoken to, and gave me a lot of information, and appeared to know a good deal about the three ancient maraes we visited —now mere vast heaps of stones—rough lava and coral—but with the priest's upright pillar of stone still standing, with the stone seat on which he sat, and superintended the cutting up of the human victim on the broad flat stone below, before it was offered to Oro, the terrible god of war. All of these maraes are over-shadowed by graceful toa or casuarina trees. When we stopped of an evening at some pretty village embowered in magnificent coco-nut, bread-fruit, mango, and hutu trees, the people treated us with the greatest hospitality, killing the usual sucking pig, and plying us with taro, kumara, fei, bread-fruit, and all the delicacies of the land. Then I would read to them in their own language the story of Honoura, much to the delight of a numerous audience, most of whom had never heard the story, but knew of some of the names mentioned. But Honoura created the greatest sensation at Tautira in Tahiti, when read to Ori-a-ori and his clansmen who are the lineal descendants of that ancient hero. For the three days I was at that lovely place, there was always a group of listeners, either to myself or some old fellow reading out the deeds of their ancestor, and as we came to the names of places mentioned in the story, the audience would stand up and insist on my seeing the places1—most of which are close to Tautira. Strange!
these people knew not the story in detail, but had only a hazy idea of the tradition in general. Ori-a-ori considered he had secured a great prize when I gave him a copy. Tautira—it may be added—is the scene of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem, “The Song of Rahero.”
These kindly people would rarely take anything in return for their hospitality; the custom is to send them a present afterwards. The Tahitians are the nicest of their race that I have seen, and so clean withal. They are unhappy if they cannot bathe twice a day. They are proud of being Protestants. The first question they ask one is: Whether one is Peritane (British) and Protestant, and where one comes from. Then what is one's age; but they never ask what one's name is. In this they follow Polynesian custom, for it is bad manners to ask a person's name; he is (by courtesy) supposed to be so great a person that his name is known to every one. The royal family of England was always a subject of much questioning; many were surprised to learn that Her Majesty was still alive.
The dwellings of the people differ much in each group. In Rarotonga the style of house introduced by the Missionaries is now nearly universal. They are built of solid coral and white-washed with coral lime (ngaika), of the same shape as our cottages. The effect may be imagined when, as is almost invariable, these gleaming white houses are surrounded and overshadowed by the brilliantly green foliage of the bread-fruit, bananas, utu, and coco-nut trees. The ancient Rarotongan house was made of poles and rau-ara (pandanusleaves), and was square in shape.
Probably the most interesting thing in Rarotonga that has come down to modern times is Te Ara-nui-a-T??, the great road of T??, which extends all round the island. It is usually about twelve feet wide, and, of its twenty or twenty-two miles of total length, about three-quarters of it is paved with blocks of lava and coral. It was along this ancient road that the villages were situated formerly; now they are along the modern road, which is close to the coast everywhere, whilst the ancient road is peahaps an average of a fourth of a mile inland and near the foot of the hills. At the sites of the ancient villages are still to be seen, sometimes on one side, sometimes on both, rows of stone seats, where the chiefs sat and gathered the news from passers-by. There are two (at least; probably more) celebrated maraes on this road. That at Arai-te-tonga is themarae of the ruling Makea family; that near Arorangi, named Kauariki, is where the Tinomana family offered their sacrifices. There is little to be seen of them now except the platforms of stone. I believe they were formerly enclosed. A sketch plan of the marae of Arai-te-tonga is given at the end of this paper. At Kauariki is a deep spring of beautiful water, lined with stone. It is called “Te Marau-nui-a-Áno.” As to who
Ano, or Toi, the builder of the road were the Rarotongans cannot tell. They are so ancient that all knowledge of them is lost. The name Toi is to be found in the genealogical tables which follow this paper, but the first one of that name did not live in Rarotonga, but probably in the Fiji Group, or even in Indonesia perhaps; and the others are certainly not the builders, for they flourished since about 1250, when the island was conquered or occupied by the ancestors of the present people. There is another old road called “Te Ara-nui-o-Taru?a” leading from Toi's road to the beach. Taru?a is equally unknown to the Rarotongans. The fact probably is that Toi, Ano, and Taruea belonged to the first migration to Rarotonga, about which we shall learn later on, where I hope to show that they were connected with the ancient Maoris. These people were called tangata-uenua, or original people, just as in New Zealand, Toi, his ancestors, and descendants are thetangata-whenua here. We shall learn something of the proceedings carried on at the maraes in the native history, but much of the ritual pertaining thereto has been lost. It was there the effigies of the gods were kept, and where all ceremonies of a religious character were performed, including the offerings to the gods and to the arikis or ruling chiefs, to whom were presented the first-fruits of the season (or ou). At this time there was a feast, called a takurua—the New Zealand term for winter. There was a second species of marae in use formerly, called a koutu (the Tahitian 'outu), which, I gather from the Native History, was probably always on the coast, as its name seems to indicate—viz., “a point.”
The Tahitian houses are quite different to the Rarotongan. They are nearly always oval in shape, some of them being very large. They are built of upright poles of bamboo or purau (Hibiscus), which do not touch, but have interstices between each upright to allow of a free circulation of the air. They are thatched withrau-fara (pandanus leaf) and are extremely picturesque, besides being comfortable houses to live in. Some of the fare-hau or council houses are of large size—as much as 200 feet long. But, I judge from appearances, that these delightful houses will probably soon be things of the past. The high price of vanilla 2 at Tahiti is bringing in a rich harvest to the natives, and they are spending their returns in building lumber houses, a la European. They have also square or oblong houses, but these are not so common as the above.
The Tahitian marae is also quite different to that of Rarotonga. It was formed by a truncated pyramid of solid stone, much longer than wide, with walled enclosures round about. There is no longer a perfect specimen left. When at Papara, on the west side of Tahiti,
with Mr. John Brander, I visited one that is celebrated in Tahitian history, named Mahai-atea, a picture of which in its days of glory is to be found in Captain Cook's first voyage. Alas! its glory has departed. A Goth of a white man—may his ashes be defiled!—took away the outside covering of large squared and polished stones which were intact in Cook's time, and put them to the prosaic use of road-making, or burnt them for lime. There is nothing left but a great heap of rough lava blocks. It is related that the blocks of stone of which the internal part of the marae is formed were handed from one to another by the people, all the way from wherever they were found, either on the reef or on the shore, to the marae; and that each person of the tribe (in this case Te Teva) had to procure only one stone. If this is true, it speaks volumes for the populousness of Tahiti formerly. This marae is of quite modern date, having been built about the middle of last century. Its base is about 120 feet by 80 feet, and the height about 30 feet. Its original shape can still be recognised in the roof-like ridge. The place is worth a visit, if only for the magnificent view to be obtained from the point on which it is built. The western side of Tahiti in all its rugged beauty appears to great advantage, the steep mountain slopes falling down from Orohena, 7,300 feet high,3 buried in the richest forest vegetation, whilst down below on the flat near the shore the houses peep out from under the coco-nuts and other fruit trees here and there.4 The three maraes I saw in Moorea were, like Mahai-atea, all situated on low points jutting out into the lagoon, and were of the same shape. None of the squared stone facings are left, if indeed they ever had any, and my canoe-men thought they never had. Their names are, Nu'urua, Nu'upure and Marea. There are the remains of another at the site where the church now stands at Pape-toai or Fa'atoai, called Taputapu-atea but nothing but one of the original pillars of stone, about 6ft. high and 1ft. square is left; it is called Tura'a-marafea, and is said to have been brought from the most celebrated marae in the Tahitian group, as was the custom. This celebrated marae was Taputapu-atea at Opoa, Raiatea, celebrated even in Rarotonga song as we shall see. At all of these Moorea maraes, is still to be seen the great flat stone 6ft. x 3ft. x 1ft. close to the pillar against which the high priest sat, and on which the bleeding human victim was placed when offered to the gods.
Behind Afare-aitu on the east side of Moorea, is Mou'a-puta, a graceful basaltic peak that stands on the mountain ridge, which has near its top, a square hole in it, which, when viewed from the right direction, may be seen many miles off. Naturally, there is a history connected with this; the hole was made by Pai, who cast his spear from Tautira on the far east side of Tahiti, and it pierced this hole! Of Pai (or Tamarua-Pai) we shall hear something in Rarotonga story. He was a gallant warrior, and Tangiia's friend and counsellor, in the stormy days preceding the settlement of Rarotonga by the “conquerors.” Attention is called to the story here, from its similarity to that of the New Zealand story of Tama-ahua and his wonderful teka (spear).5 It would lead me too far to tell the story connected with Rotui, another beautiful mountain in Moorea, but it has its analogue in New Zealand tradition.
Tahiti has, like most Polynesian Islands, its poetical name: Tahiti-nui-marearea, “Great Tahiti the Golden.
E mou'a teitei o te r?ta
'Oti'otihia e te tere, te ra'au ri'i
'Ua rau te 'oto o te manu e.
High mountain of the r?t?,
Intercepting in its course the little shrubs
Of Great Tahiti the Golden.
Many are the songs of the birds.
It was so called from the rich golden appearance of the island as seen from the Taiarapu peninsula at sunrise, an effect which was pointed out to me by Ori-a-ori the chief of Tautira, and it is indeed very beautiful.
Moorea has its own poetical name, and also a name which the people prefer to Moorea, which latter I was told is modern. But it is not so. The old Rarotongan songs and sagas call the island by its present name Moorea. This second name is Aimeo, but an old man of Fa'atoai insisted that the proper pronunciation was 'Ai-meho, the origin of which he gave me. Ai-meho-i-te-rara-varu is the poetical name of the island, but none of the old men could tell me its meaning. I suggested that rara was the Maori word a “rib,” when they at once said that must be true, and that it referred to the eight ribs or ridges of the island.
Near Afare-aitu I stayed one night with a kindly old Tahitian named Tauira, to whom my friend (our corresponding member) Tati Salmon had given me an introduction. In the morning he insisted on accompanying me part of the way on my journey, my men having gone on at daylight to take the canoe round a point, the only place on the coast where it is necessary to go outside the reef (a'au). As we came to Vaiere he said to me, “Last night we were talking of the ancestors of old, of Tangiia and Tutapu, and their battles, and the death of the latter at Rarotonga (which he pronounced Raroto'a). Come this way; I will show you something.” We passed on through the pretty village, and my guide stopped at the stone foundations of a house. “This is where Tutapu, Tangiia's brother, once lived. Our saying about it is, O marae te fano, o Tutapu te fatu.”6
I was delighted to get this little bit of confirmation of Rarotonga history. My old friend and I had had a late sitting the previous evening, and I got some useful information from him. In return, I was able to tell him much of Maori history (in my imperfect Tahitian), in which he was greatly interested. But to most of my questions the answer came, 'Ua mo'e, “It is forgotten.”
Every great chief in Tahiti must have four things pertaining to his rank and dignity: A seat in the marae;an 'outu, or point of land; a mou'a, or mountain; and a tahua, or place of meeting. The name of the maraebecomes a part of his name, and it can always be distinguished by the word following the “i,” thus: Te Tua-nui-i-Marua. (I am not now sure if Marua is the name of a marae, but it illustrates my meaning.)
The Samoan houses have been described and photographed so often that it is almost superfluous to say anything more about them. They appear to be, with trifling exceptions, built on the models of those erected by their ancestors. They are either circular or oval in shape—more generally the latter. One I saw in the Iva district of Sav?i'i was a very fine one. It was nearly circular, and built on a low platform of lava rock. The height to the wall-plate was five feet, whilst that from the wall-plate to the top of the domed roof could not have been less than thirty feet. Like all of the native houses, the sides were open to the day; nothing but the pillars supporting the wall-plate interfered with the free circulation of the air. But all of these houses have screens made of coco-nut leaf, which can be let down like a Venetian blind when there is wind or rain. The high roof was supported by two rows of three pillars each, close together in the
centre of the house. The internal work of the roof was beautiful, in the graceful curves of the battens or rafters which supported the heavy covering of lau-fala or pandanus leaf that formed the thatch. Every intersection of the rafters was lashed with braided afa, or sinnet made of the fibre of the coco-nut husk. These lashings were in patterns, which serve the purpose of ornamentation, in lieu of carving or painting, as in the Maori houses. The floor, raised a few inches above the outside surface, was—as in all other cases—formed by little black pebbles('ili'ili). On these the mats are spread for sleeping. The people generally use the stool-pillow, a bamboo about three feet to five feet long, with four short legs. On this they rest their necks—a very unpleasant pillow to a European. The places of honour in these houses are the ends. Here the chief sits to receive his guests. On two sides of each house are three double pillars, somewhat larger than the others. Against these the principal guests sit on arrival, and until the inevitable 'ava has been drank. The chief guest sits (cross-legged of course) with his back against the centre pillar of the three. Samoans are very punctilious in matters of etiquette, so visitors have to be on their guard for fear of being set down as being without manners. The old custom of 'ava drinking is still retained in full force in Samoa, and is accompanied with much ceremony. It would take too long to describe it here.
The Samoan villages cover a large space of ground. They, however, usually only extend along the path that everywhere runs along the coast. At Aleipata, at the east end of Up?lu, the village, or series of villages, is somewhere about four miles long. Like all Polynesian villages, they are buried in thick groves of coco-nut and bread-fruit trees, with a good many flowers round about, such as the gardenia, crotons, the scarlet hibiscus, &c., all of which are used for purposes of adornment. There is usually a marae near each chief's house, where the people meet, &c. They are pretty places, shaded by trees, with well-kept grass underneath. The Samoan marae is like that of New Zealand, a court-yard, or meeting-place; a plaza, not a temple, as in Eastern Polynesia; nor could I ascertain that even in ancient times they had anything like the maraes of Tahiti or Rarotonga.
Besides having (at one time) the most beautiful dialect of Polynesia, the people themselves are physically the finest of their race. The men have superb figures with a great amount of dignity and manner. The women are good looking, but not so much so perhaps as the Tahitians. They seem differentiated from the rest of the race, particularly by their extreme attention to etiquette, precedence, &c. They are also distinguished by what may be called their ignorance of their ancient history—so different to the Maoris, Hawaiians, Raro-
tongans, &c. To them, the beginning of all things was in Samoa; they have no tradition of their having come from any other land, and so far as I have seen, their genealogies only go back for about thirty generations.7 Possibly the valuable papers collected by Mr. Churchill, may remove this point further back. This apparent ignorance of other countries than their own is very significant. Whilst this statement, as to their assigned origin being local, is true as a general one, there are mentioned in their traditions the names of the neighboring groups of Tonga, Fiji, Tokelau and the more distant ones of Uea, Tahiti, and Rarotonga, besides a few others not recognisable as names of islands anywhere in that part of the Pacific, nor are they recited in the traditions of other branches of the race. To the Samoans, Sav?i'i, their own island, is the only Hawaiki. At the present day, they appear to know very little. By the kind aid of friends, I tried several old men and got a little legendary lore from them, but this is of a very mythical order, very different from the Rarotongan papers to follow this, some of which are real history.
The Samoans outside Ap?a, seem to live as their ancestors did a hundred, perhaps a thousand, years ago, In this they are in marked contrast with other branches of their race. I do not say this is a disadvantage. One may meet in the out districts numbers of people who have not a sign of European clothing about them, their ancient national clothing, siapo, (or tapa), is the almost universal dress, not that they use much of that, for it is almost universal that they wear nothing but flowers above the waist, both men and women. They seem more fond of adornment than even the Eastern Polynesians, flowers in the hair or ears, necklaces of flowers and the sweet scented drupes of the pandanus seed, coloured leaves, &c., are to be seen on every one.
The population of the group is about 38,000, and it is supposed the people are increasing. They support 335 churches of various denominations, of which 179 belong to the London Mission. I have already said that their language differs from that of any other branch of the race, so much so, that I found a knowledge of Maori of little use, though of course Samoan is a dialect of the great Polynesian language. They have become a money loving people, as witness the crowds that assail the passengers by the steamers with all kinds of fancy articles for sale of native manufacture, many of them very
beautiful. I saw nothing in the way of antiquities, such as the maraesin Tahiti or Rarotonga, indeed, except Le Fale-o-le-Fe'e,8 I believe there is nothing of the kind in Samoa. I did not visit this place as I heard that it is now in great part destroyed. The mention of this name illustrates what has been said above as to the ignorance of the Samoans of their own old history. It is said they do not know the origin of this old temple, if such it was; but when we come to the Rarotongan History, I think that will explain it, and show who its builder was.
I was told by several people that in many parts of the inland districts of Up?lu, there are to be found extensive ruins of ancient house foundations, walls, and built up roads, all of stone. These are the remains of the ancient habitations of the Samoans of about the period of the first Malietoa, and a few generations before him, when the people were driven inland by the incursions of the warlike Tongans and Fijians—so called—but who, I hope to be able to show, were none other than the ancestors of the Maoris, Rarotongans, and to a less degree, the Tahitians and the Paumotu people. It was apparently about this period that Samoan history—properly so called—commences, in other words about 21 to 23 generations ago. But Mr. Churchill's papers will probably throw a good deal of light on this subject, when supplemented by the Rarotongan history.
Whilst so much of Samoan history appears lost, it seemed hopeless to expect to obtain any information on the subjects I was in search of, but by careful enquiry I think I obtained support to my theory that the ancient heroes of Maori history—Hema, Tawhaki, Wahieroa, and Rata—lived in Samoa. Sap?lu, an old man of Matauta, near Ap?a, was acquainted with all their names, and the descendants of the last, but his knowledge was very superficial. There is a place near the old path that leads over the mountains from Ap?a to Fale-a-lili, on the south coast of Up?lu, which is called Le Vao-o-Lata, or Lata's forest, where the celebrated canoe, mentioned in Maori history, is said to have been built. There is another place near Fangaloa where are two little lakes on top of a mountain, which is called Le Va'a-o-Lata, or Lata's canoe. Again, two men of Sav?i'i told me that Lata was known to them as a man who lived many ages ago, who built a big canoe, and that, to the present day, when they see a large boat (for they have no big canoes left, except two) they say O le va'a o Lata, “It is (like) Lata's canoe.” They were acquainted also with the Maori story of the trees standing up again after having been felled, but not with that of the Pona-turi. They added that the name of Lata's canoe was Pua-lele. Lata lived in the district of Fale-o-lupo,
or the west end of Sav?i'i (the Reinga, or place of departure of spirits), or between there and Satupaitea, on the south coast. I also got a story about Tawhaki (Tafa'i in Samoan), but it clearly confounds the god with the man of that name. There were other items—trifling in themselves—but all tending to support the theory that this family, from whom many Maoris trace descent, lived in Samoa. The evidence will be given in another place; here I would merely point out that, if Rarotonga history is correct, we must place these people many generations before the period assigned to them in the account given by the Maoris—even earlier than the age assigned to them by the Hawaiians, an account which will be referred to later on. The Samoans, so far as could be ascertained, are absolutely ignorant of any other ancestors of the Maoris, or with any detail of the ancient Maori history, a fact which is of easy explanation.
The following is the story in which the name of Tafa'i occurs. I learnt it from Sap?lu of Matautu, near Ap?a, Mr. Churchill translating. It will be noticed that it is of the same order of story as those published by Dr. Fraser in this Journal.
“The Samoans sprang from two girls, Langi and Langi. These two women were swept away by a great wave of the sea, but they secured a plank of a canoe, on which they floated away and finally reached Manu'a. It is not known where the girls came from. At Manu'a was an aitu or god named Sa-le-vao. The girls said to him,Ta fia ola,9 ‘I wish to live’ (a prayer). Sa-le-vao came down to the beach where the girls were and said, ‘Where do you two come from?’ ‘We two were swept away from the north (itu m?t?); our land is altogether scattered.’ Sa-le-vao then spat at the girls, at which they said, ‘Spit towards the heavens’ (?nu i langi). (This is an expression still used. If anyone treats another disrespectfully, it is the usual and proper thing to say.)
“Tangaloa-a-langi saw what was going on from his place in the eighth heaven, and he said to his son, ‘Alu ifo, go down and bring the girls up here.’ Tafa'i was the son of Tangaloa-a-langi. He went down and brought the girls up. As he was doing so, Sa-le-vao pursued them, and on reaching the eighth heaven he found the girls staying in Tangaloa's house. The latter said to Sa-le-vao, ‘Hurry up and go down; wait down there until morning and then we will fight it out.’ So Sa-le-vao returned below, and the next day Tangaloa went down and fought with Sa-le-vao and killed him. One of the girls Langi married Tangaloa-a-langi, the other Tafa'i. They all came down from heaven and lived on earth at Manu'a. The girls gave birth to sons—the wife of Tangaloa had T?tu, Tafa'is wife, Ila. Then were
born U, and Polu and Saa, and Uii. Then Tangaloa-a-langi made his tofinga, or appointment of occupations. One of the sons was to live in Manu'a and be called Tui-Manu'a; T?tu and Ila were to live in Tutuila; U and Polu in Upolu; Sa and Uii, the youngest sons, in Sav?i'i. Sa and Uii were scattered far and wide to all lands.”
Another story says that Tafa'i lived at Le Itu-o-Tane, or the north coast of Sav?i'i. Possibly this may have been the man, not the god named above.
The following, also told by Sap?lu, is very characteristic of the usual Samoan legends, and illustrates what has been said as to the belief of the people in their local origin:—
“Tangaloa looked down from heaven and saw flat slabs of coral in the sea; and down below there was no soil, no earth, nothing whatever but the coral rocks. Tangaloa then bid his servant Faititili go down from heaven and bring up some coral (punga).10 Faititili complained ‘It is very slow work gathering this coral.’ Then he sent down another servant named Pongi-sa, but he complained in the same strain as the former. Next Tangaloa sent down another servant named Uila, and he succeeded at last in taking some coral up to heaven. When Tangaloa had thus secured what he wanted, he placed it round the sides of his house and carved it into human shapes. Next he ordered that these shapes be called Malamalama—a name for a chief—and to others he gave the name of Ma?li and Angaanga. When he had finished, the coral down below came to light, and from it sprang a woman who became the wife of Tangaloa-a-langi. She gave birth to Punga, Ata, and Tuli.
“Tuli came down from heaven and dwelt or sat (nofo) on the fence of the cook-house, whilst some others made the oven. Those who were at work, speaking to Tuli, said, ‘Why is it you continue sitting there? Have you come on an errand?’ Others were angry with Tuli and abused him, calling him a child of the coral. At this Tuli complained to Tangaloa, and said he would go off and find some country for himself. And then Tangaloa dropped down from heaven a big stone (foanga, a grindstone), which grew up into a rock. Tangaloa now said to Tuli, ‘Go down and look at the stone I have dropped.’ The Tuli came down and found that the stone had grown to large proportions, even reaching up towards the heavens. On this rock Tuli alighted, standing on one leg. After a time he returned to heaven, when Tangaloa asked him, ‘How is it with the stone?’ Tuli replied he found room but for one foot, and that the waves were breaking on it on all sides. Again Tuli came down, and found the
rock had grown much larger and higher. Said he, ‘I have got my land. There is one trouble with it, however; the sun beats on it with fatal force.’ Tangaloa again spoke to Tuli, saying, ‘Take these trees—the U, the As?ngi, and the Mao—and plant them. The U is the tree of disputes; the As?ngi that of perseverance, of energy, and hope; the Mao is the tree of good disposition.’
“The Tuli now took possession of his land and lived there. There were no men in those days, but the fuefue(convolvulus) grew on the beach, and these in due course rotted away, and worms (ilo) came out therefrom. These worms became a woman, and she was taken to wife by Tuli. From them was born a son—Ngalu-fatia-ifo.
“Up to that time the waves had been breaking over the rock, but now they only broke below. The woman again gave birth to another child—Ngalu-fatia-solo (a wave that breaks obliquely on the beach). The first-born was a boy, the second a girl, and after them a second son was born. These children intermarried, and from them sprang mankind—hence the people of Samoa.”
In the above story Tuli is the name of one of the waders on the reef, the Charadrius; Faititili, thunder; and Uila, lightning. Faititili has not, probably, any connection with the Maori Whaitiri, or Whatitiri, an ancestress and grandmother of Tafa'i, or Tawhaki, the Maori hero. There is a certain resemblance in the above story to that of the dove sent out of the Ark by Noah, and it is probable that this is a dim remembrance of that story which the ancestors of the Samoans must have been acquainted with in their original Asiatic home, but here it has been localised. The story is a prose version in brief form of “Le solo o le va,” published in this Journal, vol. i, p. 164.
At the west end of Up?lu, and within the same reef (a'au),11 is the little island of Man?no. I passed close to it more than once, and tried to detect in its gentle wooded slopes any resemblance to the Uru-o-Man?no, or Tihi-o-Man?no, of Maori history, connected with that of Apakura, Tu-whakararo, Whakatau-potiki, and Hapopo, but failed to find any evidence that it is the same place. But this Man?no is certainly known to the Maori traditions, for that of the adjacent island of Apolima is mentioned with it, in “Nga-moteatea,” p. 49, where it says that places in Hawaiki were named Waerota, Rarotonga, Waeroti, Parima, and Manono, in which Parima is doubtless Apolima. But the incidents connected with Te Uru-o-Man?no will, in the Rarotonga account, show that this place was in the Haapai Group.
Apolima is a charming little island about three miles from Man?no. It is an old volcano, into which the sea has made a breach on the northern side, allowing of a narrow boat-passage into the crater, around the edges of which the Samoans have a pretty village, with many coco-nut, bread-fruit, and other trees. It was a great fortress in former times, which, when a bar was placed across the entrance, was impregnable. Both these islands are in the strait that separates Sav?i'i from Up?lu.
The Samoans are much given to the use of large boats. In New Zealand and most other countries, a whale boat of thirty feet in length pulling six or eight oars, is a rarety. In Samoa I saw several of from forty to fifty feet in length, pulling twenty-five oars; some were double-banked like the old Roman trireme. But there is a whale-boat in Up?lu which far exceeds the above dimensions; it is one hundred and forty-seven feet in length, and pulls sixty-five oars on each side. They use these on their expeditions from settlement to settlement on what they call mal?ngas, or travelling parties, and also in war. When fully manned, these boats are a fine sight. As they pass along the smooth clear waters of the lagoons, the charming boat songs of the crew, are things to be remembered. Their music is certainly far in advance of the rest of Polynesia. They have the ordinary outrigger canoes—generally about fifteen to twenty feet in length—used for fishing, of nearly the same shape and size as those of Tahiti, Raro-tonga, and Hawaii, but in the va'a-alu-atu, or bonito canoes, they possess some of the prettiest little craft I have seen in the way of canoes. They are from twenty-five to thirty feet in length, eighteen inches deep, and twelve inches broad, the bow and stern for say, eight to ten feet, are decked over. At eight feet from the canoe itself is the ama or outrigger, a light sharp pointed log made of fau or hibiscus, connected with the canoe by two arms ('iato) (Maori and Rarotongan kiato). They are ornamented in the middle of the decks by rows of knobs, and behind the steerman's seat is a place for inserting the foot of a long rod, which projects at a slant over the stern when they are fishing. To the end of this rod, is lashed a line and a pearl shell fish hook, like our paua in shape. These canoes go out many miles to sea in chase of the bonito or atu, which is a running fish like ourkahawai.
When coasting along the north shore of Up?lu in the well-manned Consular boat, with Mr. Churchill, we were once struggling against a heavy tide rip and a strong N.W. wind. We were outside the reef, and to leeward of us was an ugly black lava point against which the mountainous waves were dashing with thunderous noise. We could barely hold own against the great seas. Right ahead of us suddenly appeared one of these beautiful va'a-alu-atu, flying before the gale,
urged along by a man and a boy. They flew past us in almost less time than it takes to write this, apparently quite dry and comfortable. They passed quite close, but barely looked at us (Samoan fashion), so different from Maoris, who would have stopped and not departed until they had learned all about us. From this incident I formed a high opinion of the sea going qualities of the va'a-alu-atu, which probably was the class of canoe that came out in such numbers to reconnoitre Bougainville when he discovered the Samoan group, and which occurrence caused him to give it the name of Navigator group. This was in May, 1786.
There are still two examples of the great sea-going canoes left in Samoa, one at Manu'a, the most easterly of the group, another at Sav?i'i. Such canoes are called alia (in Rarotonga karika). I was informed that they learnt their pattern from the Tongans. Judging from the following story told to me by Pe'a of Saisaive'e in Sav?i'i, as kindly translated by Mr. Gurr, there was a time in the history of the Samoans when they had lost the art of making large canoes. It is probable that this was some time after the colonization of Samoa, and therefore very early in the peopling of the Pacific, for it seems likely that the ancestors of the Samoans formed part of the first migration from Indonesia. The story is of the usual inconsequent order of Polynesian myths, of which those of the Samoans are very characteristic.
“There was a family that formerly lived in Sav?i'i, the members of whom were Tapu-tea (a woman) Sue-lilo, Sue-l?-lilo, and To?-va'a. Tapu-tea went to Fiji to look for her brothers, those mentioned above. Tapu-tea was a goddess (hence perhaps she was able to reach Fiji with-out a canoe; how the brothers got there is not known). When in Fiji the brothers said, “Let us go to the forest and cut down a tree to make a canoe with.” This was agreed to and they set to work. In the vigour of their blows their lavalavas or kilts fell off, thus leaving them naked. After the tree was down, they heard voices approaching from the coast, singing. It was the girl Tapu-tea in search of her brothers. Having no lavalavas on, they were ashamed, and stooped down, and finally made their way to the beach. On their return to the forest next day they found the tree had grown up again. Seeing this, the brothers returned to their sister and said, ‘Have compassion on us, and pray that the tree may be made into a canoe.’ Tapu-tea and To?-va'a then prayed, and the canoe was forthwith finished, and they all returned in it to Samoa. This was the first canoe that came to Samoa, and Sue-lilo, Sue-l?-lilo and To?-va'a were the builders. Before that time the Samoans had only rafts.” Tapu-tea is now one of the courtesy names given to a manaia or beau of a village, but is only used in song. These Fijians were, I have little doubt, the second
migration into the Pacific, in other words, the Maoris, Rarotongans, &c. In the brief story above, may be recognised part of the Maori legend of Rata and his wonderful ca noe.
The alia is a double canoe and was thus described to me by Mr. Kennison, a boat-builder in Sav?i'i. “The biggest canoe of the two is sometimes as much as one hundred and fifty feet in length, each end tapers out to nothing; the second canoe is not nearly so long as the first. They sail fast, and like the Malay proas, do not go about in beating, but the sheet of the sail is shifted from bow to stern instead. There is a platform built between the two canoes, and both ends are decked over for some distance—on the platform a house 12 is usually erected. These double canoes will turn to wind-ward very well. The canoes are built up of many slabs joined together with great neatness, and each plank is sewn to the next one with sinnet, which passes through holes bored in a raised edge on the inside of each plank.” It was in this kind of canoe that the voyages of the Samoans and Tongans were made, and so far as can be ascertained, the p?i (Maori pahi) of the Raro-tongans in which they made the lengthy voyages we shall read about shortly, were of the same description.
Other accounts I obtained say that the alia was a Tongan design originally, and that the Samoans copied it from them. Again, it is said that the Tongans derived their model of the canoe from Fiji, which brings us back to this: That it probably originated with the ancestors of Maori and Rarotongan. The ancient canoe of the Samoans was called a soatau, and was made out of a large trunk of a tree; it was connected with the amaor outrigger by five 'iato or arms. The ama-tele was also a large canoe of ancient times. Descriptions of these canoes are not now to be obtained; but, in connection with the extensive voyages of the Polynesians in former times, it is something to know the names of them, and that there were such craft, though it seems probable that the Samoans were not such great voyagers as other branches of the race. In the Rev. J. B. Stair's most interesting paper on “Samoan Voyages,”13 he has assumed all through that the voyages therein related were made by Samoans. It will appear later on that these people were not Samoans—properly so called—but the ancestors of Maori and Rarotongans, who formed, as I believe, a distinct migration into the Pacific. But more of this anon.
Early in this century the Samoans adopted a new kind of canoe, of which there are few or none left. They are said to have been introduced by white men who settled early in the group, and, from the descriptian of them, they were evidently built on the model of those of the Solomon Islanders. They were called taumua-lua, and were from sixty to seventy feet long, and from seven to eight feet in beam. The stem (taumua) as well as the taumuli, or stern, were carried upwards some height and curved. The canoe had a depth of hold of about three feet, and was formed of pieces of wood seven to eight feet long, sown together with sinnet in the same manner as in the alia canoe. These planks are dubbed out with the adze to about one and a-half inches in thickness, the inner surface having a bevelled and raised ridge on each edge, through which the lashings were passed, as is to be seen in the va'a-alu-atu of to-day. These vessels had ribs to strengthen them inside, about four feet apart. The seats for the paddlers are about three inches below the gunwale. The canoes were much ornamented with shells, &c., the bow and stern pieces being made of malili wood, whilst the hull itself was made of ifi-lele or sometimes of fetau. They were decked fore and aft for some eight feet. They carried one sail only, of the usual triangular shape, common all over Polynesia, the apex of which was downwards, and this was made of mats. The mast was set on top of the thwarts, and not on the bottom of the canoe, and was kept in position by stays. The sail was called a la; the mast a tila or fang?. For steering they used a large paddle fourteen feet long and twelve inches broad in the blade. Baling was necessary all the time, for there was much leakage. The baler was called a liu; asu-liu or ta-liu is to bale out. They had no outriggers, nor were they double canoes; they could not sail very fast, and then only before the wind. Water was carried in coco-nuts. Such is Mr. Kennison's description of the taumua-lua. It is perhaps worthy of being recorded, as they are out of date, and for fear some one hereafter may suppose them to be of Samoan origin.
It is well known that the Samoans have a “chiefs' language,” i.e., words which are only used when addressed to chiefs, in which they resemble the Malays. This indeed has been adduced, by those who hold the Malayo-Polynesian theory, as one of the links connecting the two peoples together. But those who favour this theory seem to forget that the ancient language of Java (the Kawi) also had a language of deference, and that such distinguished philologists as Logan, Marsden, Crawford and others tell us that the Kawi was a branch of “The Great Polynesian” language, and spoken long before the Malays entered Indonesia. Is it not more probable then that this is the source of the Samoan “chiefs' language,” and not the Malay?
In the ceremonial interviews that my friend the Consul General had with the Samoans on our voyage round Up?lu this courtly language was constantly in use, as was also the practice of giving titles to the various chiefs on different occasions. This collection of titles is called fa'alupenga, and I was amused to see that my friend carried with him a volume in which the titles of the various chiefs were entered, and which was referred to before we landed at any village. A knowledge of these ceremonious titles is absolutely essential to a tula-fale, or orator—one or more of whom accompanies every chief and speaks for him. It is a want of manners not to use these titles at the right time, and, as each chief has several, for use on different occasions, it will be understood that they would soon fill a volume. There are also complimentary terms applied to whole districts, or even islands. Fale-up?lu is such a term, and comprises all the chiefs of Up?lu. The following are complimentary terms applied to the places shown:—
|O Tumua Lufilufi ma lona, itufia.||Atua district, east end of Up?lu.|
|Le Ulu-moenga ma le fale-iva.||A'ana distant, west end of Up?lu.|
|Pule a Salafai1 ma le ainga i tai.2||1Salafai, 2Man?no, Apolima Islands, Fangaloa and Fale-a-puna districts of Up?lu.|
|Ma Le Motu-o-Salaia, fof? ma atu langi.||Tutuila Island.|
|Sua, ma le vai-fanua.||Tutuila Island.|
In the above, Salafai is the ancient or poetical name of Sav?i'i. By a curious euphemism, Fangaloa and Fale-a-puna, on the north coast of Up?lu and lying towards its eastern end, are supposed to be parts of Man?no Island, at the west end of Up?lu. Le Motu-o-Salaia is the poetical name of Tutuila.14
I noticed when at Amaile, Aleipata, where Mataafa's son Tupuola is the ruling chief, that the exiled king was never spoken of as Mataafa, but as Lau-ifi-'afa. Lau-ifi (chesnut leaf) is the complimentary term formata an eye: 'afa, is sinnet, mata-afa, the eyeholes in a canoe through which the sinnet is passed in lashing the separate pieces together. 'Afa is the same as the Rarotonga ka'a, and no doubt the Maori kaha, a rope.
All Samoans sit crosslegged, and appear to do so with comfort to to themselves for hours together. Their limbs are so pliant, and they are so accustomed from their childhood to sitting like a tailor, that the sole of the foot is often seen turned up at an angle of 45° from the ground. To a white man, this is a painful position to sit in for any time; but it is extremely bad manners to sit with the legs stretched
out and the soles of the feet turned towards the company. The proper etiqutte in such cases is to turn up one of the floor-mats and draw it over one's outstretched feet and legs.
At Aleipata the Consul General and I called on a chief of some importance named Tupua, and found him asleep. When he came into the house where we were sitting he sat down and drew one of the floor-mats up so as to cover his whole body up to the mouth. Not having washed his mouth since sleeping, he in this manner expressed his feeling of impropriety in talking to great chiefs (like ourselves!) in a state of unpreparedness.
There are many other customs in which the Samoans differ from the Maoris, and—so far as I could learn—from Rarotongans, Tahitians and Hawaiians. Numbers of them have been published.
A tula-fale is an orator, or talking man, and it is his duty to accompany the chiefs and express their views on all occasions. I was not lucky enough to witness a fono, or council, in which many people are gathered together, such as on great public occasions, but in our visits to the several villages of Up?lu, when the chiefs had assembled, our tula-fale did nearly all the talking on our side. His utterances seemed to be in set phrases of a complimentary nature, to which the tula-fales on the other side answered in the same strain. He invariably carries a fly-flapper (fue), which is kept in motion or rests on his shoulder. It is a sign of his office. The speech-making goes on whilst the inevitable 'ava is preparing. The tone of the voice is low and soft—it is rude to speak loudly. On the introduction of the 'ava a new set of ceremonies replace the others.
One of the nicest customs of Samoa is the delegation of the function of hospitality to the t?upou, or village maiden. She is always a girl of high birth, chosen for that reason and for her good looks. On the arrival of guests, it is her duty to meet them and conduct them to the fale-tele, or guest-house, and there minister to all their wants. When the people of the place have arrived, she sits with the guests, taking her meals with them, which the other people do not. It is she who directs one of her aua-luma, or assistants, to prepare the'ava (which was chewed in former days, but is now pounded between two stones), and to her alone of all other women present is the 'ava offered. She merely—so far as I saw—touches or flips the bowl with her finger, but does not drink any of the liquid. The t?upou and her maidens provide all food required by the guests, and entertain them with conversation to the best of their ability; generally performing a siva for their benefit in the evening. The siva is the Samoan equivalent of the Maori haka, but it is far more graceful, and the singing really pleasant. It is performed sometimes by girls, sometimes by young men, at other times by both sexes together. Some sit, others
stand. The motions of their arms and hands are really graceful, and, like all Polynesians, they keep the most perfect time. All are dressed in siapo, and are naked above the waist; their bodies shining with coco-nut oil, and adorned with flowers and bright coloured leaves and berries, amongst which the beautiful leaves of the ti (Drœcena)15 are prominent. Some sivas are of an indecent character, but this is not the rule.
The t?upous are much sought in marriage by the chiefs. Their dowry consists in large numbers of their highly-prized mats (tonga, 'ie-sina, &c.), which the whole village combines to furnish. Exchanges of these mats are made between the contracting parties; many of them are said to be several generations old, and are known in history and song. The only thing like them for fineness of texture that I have seen amongst Polynesians was a fragment I procured from an old Moriori burial-cave at Pitt Island in 1868. The Samoan marriage customs differ from those of any other branch of the race (except perhaps those of the Tongans), and have often been described.
The t?upou sometimes leads her clan on the battle-field, where her person is sacred. They appear, as a rule, thorough ladies, and often are very pretty. They represent the highest class of female chieftains.
There is in many villages (perhaps in all) a young man called a m?naia, who is the beau of the village. It is his duty to be the champion of the t?upou, and to defend her honour. These girls are very carefully guarded and rarely (I am told) go wrong.
Tattooing is still kept up in Samoa. The women are not much marked, but are often seen with dashes of about half an inch in length on their legs. The men, however, are very fully and beautifully tattooed, from the waist to the knee, with a graceful pattern of lace-like lines. It is probably true that there is not a man over twenty-five years' old in the whole group that is not tattooed. La Perouse's description of their tattoo is perfectly correct—each man appears as if he had on drawers of close-fitting lacework.
As a rule the men do the cooking in Samoa, besides what work has to be done outside, which, I should judge, in the native villages is remarkably little. They do very little work for the Europeans. On the German plantations (coco-nuts) the labour is all performed by people introduced from the Solomon and other Melanesian islands. The contrast between these nearly black and small people and the magnificent proportions of the average Samoan is very great indeed. Tangata-'ele'ele, or black-fellows, the Samoans call them.
In the above notes on the Samoans, I have gone more fully into the matter than in the case of other branches of the race I visited, with the view of showing how much they differ from the Maoris. My object in so doing has been to put another nail in the coffin of the theory so long maintained—that the Samoans are the immediate fore-fathers of the Maori. They are nothing of the kind. Whilst there has been communication between the two branches of the race in the remote past, it was very often more like that of alien races than as brothers; and this the Rarotongan history will tend to elucidate. With their own farewell, we may now leave them for a time: Tofa soifua!
In Hawaii I saw little of the native life; indeed, with the exception of the native village of Wai-pio, I never saw any considerable collection of native houses. Where the 39,000 of native and half-caste population are to be found is difficult to say, outside the 11,000 that go to make up part of the population of Honolulu. But the signs of the ancient occupation of the land are plentiful. In the desolate lava-covered district of Puna, in Eastern Hawaii, where hundreds of square miles are hidden under the flows from Kilau?a and Maunaloa, may be seen the evident signs of a considerable population in former days. Amidst the rough aa flows, so rough that a man can scarce make his way across them, are to be seen roads or paths made by the ancient Hawaiians, and the sites of their houses and cultivations. The fact of this uninviting country having been inhabited speaks volumes for the former populousness of the group. As we rode over this wilderness of black lava, along one of the ancient native roads, under the guidance of Mr. Lyman of Hilo, he pointed out the numerous stone walls that enclosed the taro and kumara fields of former days (kalo and uwala are the Hawaiian names). A field of aa lava is exactly like that to be seen on the slopes of Rangitoto Island, near Auckland. Those of our members who have traversed the lava flows there would scarce believe it possible that food-plants could be grown on such bare stone. But such is the case—in Hawaii at any rate. The aa is formed of the same basaltic lava as that of Rangitoto, and, when sufficiently decomposed, makes a good soil. In Puna the natives used to clear away as much loose stone as possible, making cup-shaped hollows, six or eight feet across and four or five feet deep. In the bottoms of these pits, leaves, and as much dust and small fragments of lava as could be gathered, were collected, and the taro or kumara planted—a few roots in each hole. But all of the aa flows are not devoid of vegetation. They are often covered with forest
growth, as they are at Rangitoto, and, what is perhaps more strange, with a variety of the very same tree—the Metrosideros. At Rangitoto we have the pohutukawa variety, in Hawaii the ohia variety. The ohia is perhaps the commonest tree in the Hawaii Group; it is very like our rata, but never so large. It grows straighter and has larger leaves, but the bark and the flower is the same, and up their stems climbs thekiekie (Hawaiian 'ie'ie), exactly like that of New Zealand, except that the flowers and fruit (tawhara andureure in Maori) are dusky red and brown.16
Here, in this lava-strewn district, I saw one of the old heiau, which in Tahiti would be called a marae. It is called Ke-ahi-a-Laka (in Maori Te-ahi-a-Rata), and appeared to me to have the same rough house-roof like pyramid form as those of Moorea, with a walled enclosure on the inland side, for, like the Moorea maraes, it was situated immediately on the coast. A few miles to the north-east, and near the extreme east end of Hawaii (called Kumu-kahi=Maori Tumu-tahi), is Ka-poho district, and on a hill just above the pleasant hot spring of Wai-welawela is a heiau of some fame in ancient days, called Kukii (probably in Maori, Tu-tiki), connected with the name of the Hawaiian ruling chief (a title to be preferred to king, a name which has only brought ridicule on Polynesians) Umi, celebrated in Hawaiian history. I did not visit this heiau, but from a short distance it has much the appearance of an old Maori pa crowning the hill on which it was built. It is said that, in modern times, the children, not having the fear of the old kahunas (Maori tohunga) like their ancestors, have rolled down the hill the stones of which it was composed. But enough remains to indicate the former enclosure.
There is some soil about this part, and it is said to have been thickly inhabited. Now, where Mr. Lyman's grass paddocks have not extended, it is covered with a dense growth of guava, the beautiful large yellow fruit of which brushes against us as we pass along the narrow tracks. It is wonderful how this same guava has spread over the islands of the Pacific; it is to be found in all those visited, and in Tahiti especially has taken possession of large tracts of country that were formerly open lands.
Mention has been made of Wai-pio, which is a beautiful gorge running down from the mountains on the north-east coast of Hawaii. Near the sea it forms a long narrow valley of rich alluvial soil, from which rise up its very steep sides to a height—at the sea—of from 900 to 1,200 feet. Further inland the gorge is said to be some thousands
of feet deep. On the flat at the bottom of the valley are many houses occupied by natives, besides many Chinese dwellings. The winding Wai-pio stream allows of water being taken off to flood the fields of kalo and rice, of which latter considerable quantities are grown by the Chinese. The native houses here are all built of boards in white man's fashion; they are generally elevated several feet from the ground. Near the sand-hills which bar the mouth of this valley is still to be seen the place where Liloa's house formerly stood, and the remains of a heiau, walled in with stone, but which is very like a stockyard. This heiau is called Pa-karana, and was one of the pu-honua, or places of refuge for this part of Hawaii. Liloa, one of the ruling chiefs of Hawaii some thirteen or fourteen generations ago, was the father of Umi, mentioned a few lines back, and about these two are still preserved some romantic legends, to be found in Fornander's work, and in that of Jules Remy. In Ellis's days (1823) Wai-pio valley contained a large native population; now there are but few natives living there.
Passing along the south-west coast of Hawaii, several small native villages were seen, with here and there aheiau; but the houses are all built after white men's models, and the heiaus are of the general stock-yard appearance, stone walls of a few feet high enclosing not very large areas. One of these was Honaunau, which appeared larger than the rest—probably it covers a couple of acres. This was one of the “cities of refuge' in former days. In Ke-ala-ke-kua Bay, where Captain Cook was killed on the 14th February, 1779, the ruins of the heiau to which he was taken, and there worshipped as the god Lono (Maori, Rongo), is still to be seen, whilst a stone monument marks the spot where the celebrated navigator fell on the lava foreshore of the bay.
There are heiaus also to be seen in the other islands. They all seem to present the same general appearance of walled-in enclosures.
It is well known that the Hawaiians were formerly in the habit of irrigating extensive areas for cultivation; indeed, it is said that from the old laws relating to irrigation is derived the word kanawai, the term now used for laws in general. In Kauai Island, Mr. Wilcox pointed out to me the remains of two water-races (auwai), which in design and magnitude surprised me. That in the Lihue district is several miles in length. It formerly brought down the water from the Wai-aleale mountains, 4,000 feet high, to the fertile but dry lands of Lihue. It is related that a modern water-race, laid out by engineers, follows it closely, and frequently comes on to the old Hawaiian water-channel. Again, when steaming along the north coast of Kauai, at the Kalalau Valley we saw, at least 500 feet up on the precipitous sides of the mountains, following the sinuosities of the steep hills, the
distinct line of an old Hawaiian water-race. It was very surprising to see it there; its appearance was just the same as one of the many water-races that are seen on our goldfields.17
The bold precipitous coast of north Kauai, in which are a few steep gullies with a little cultivable land here and there, showed signs of habitations occasionally, but there can be but few people. At one point (named Naue) is an old heiau, dedicated to the Hawaiian goddess of Music and Song (Lohiau), to whom offerings ofleis (garlands) are still made by the native women.
It would be interesting if some of our Hawaiian members would supply the derivation of this word heiau, as applied to the sacred enclosures, which were used for the same purposes as the marae of Central Polynesia. The only other place where the word is used, so far as I am aware, is in Mangaia, where eiau means a little house in a marae. The word malae, as a sacred place or temple, does not appear to be known to the Hawaiian dictionary. Perhaps we may be justified in assuming that heiau is a very old Polynesian word, which was in common use at the time of the irruption of the Southern Polynesians into Hawaii in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and that the priests of these southerners, who are known by tradition to have assumed the principal functions at the heiaus on their arrival, adopted the local term and discarded their own word marae.
The principal food of the Hawaiians was, in former times, the kalo (taro), and it is still grown in the same manner as of old—which is common to all the islands I visited. Low swampy places are enclosed in various sized plots by building clay walls around them. Into these plots the water is turned, and the taro is there set. This is the universal plan I saw adopted in Tahiti, Rarotonga, Samoa, Tonga, and other places. Even in New Zealand the taro grows best in moist places, but we have nothing like the inundated “taro-patches” of Polynesia. The taro is usually of larger size than ours, and nicer to eat as a rule, and yet it would be difficult to beat the taro of Maketu of former days, There are a great many varieties in the Islands. The kumara, 'uara, 'umara, 'uala, or 'uwala is to be found in all the islands, but in very small quantities. It has probably gone out of cultivation to a considerable extent, owing to the introduction of other foods. None that I tasted were so good as the Maori takau variety. Nowhere did I see any island to which the old Maori story is applicable—Hawaiki te whenua e tupu noa mai te kumara i roto i te rarauhe— “Hawaiki is the land where thekumara grows spontaneously amongst the fern.” This must refer to some more ancient Hawaiki than I saw.
Even at Pari-nui-te-ra, from whence the Maoris say they procured kumara (after coming to New Zealand) the kumara does not grow unless planted. This place—if it is the same as mentioned in Maori history —is on the north coast of Tahiti, not far from Papeete.
The Hawaiian native house (hale), as it may be seen to-day, is not a very striking edifice. It is made of poles and grass, and looks very like a haystack. Exactly the same kind of house may still be seen in New Zealand in those parts of the interior of the North Island where there is nothing better than tussock grass to build with. But the chiefs' houses in old Hawaii are said to have had a little more pretension to durability, and were moreover larger.
In the part of these notes devoted to Samoa, mention was made of Lata, and the probability suggested that he and his immediate ancestors lived in Samoa, though he has many descendants in New Zealand. The same thing is said to occur in Hawaii, but we must not lose sight of what Fornander has said on this subject, for he has probably studied Hawaiian history more closely than others. His belief was that the group of people—Kai-tangata, Hema, Tawhaki, Wahieroa, and Rata (all Maori ancestors)—has been engrafted on the Hawaiian genealogies after the arrival of the Southern Polynesians in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In this I think he is right; but at the same time the Hawaiian account of them is very precise, as the following notes given to me by Dr. N. B. Emerson18 will show:—
“Puna (Maori Punga) and Hema were both sons of Ai-kanaka (Maori Kai-tangata), and were born in Hawaii-kua-uli, at Kau-iki, Maui Island. Hema died in Kahiki (Tahiti). The following old chant has reference to him (in the translation the names are spelt as in Maori):—
Loa'a Hema, lilo i ka 'A'aia.
Haule i Kahiki, i Kapakapa-kaua,
Waiho ai i Ulu-paupau.
Hema secured it, but it was caught by the 'A'aia.20
He fell in Tahiti, in Tapatapa-taua,
His body was deposited at Uru-paupau.
“Hema's descendants reigned over Hawaii and Maui; Puna's over Oahu and Maui.
“Kaha'i (Maori Tawhaki), the son of Hema, was born at Kahalulu-kahi (Te-haruru-tahi in Maori), Wailuku, Maui, and died at Kaili-ki'i, in Ka'u. His bones were deposited at Iao, Maui. He voyaged in search of his father's bones, to which the following chant has reference:—
Pi'i Kaha'i, koi Kaha'i,
He Kaha'i i ke koi-ula a Kane,
Hihia i na mata o Alihi.
A'e Kaha'i i ke anaha,
He anaha ke kanaka, ka wa'a.
I luna o Hanaia-ka-malama—
O ke ala ïa i 'imi ai i ka makua o Kaha'i—
O hele a i ka moana wehiwehi,
A ka'alulu i Hale-kumu-ka-lani.
Ui mai kini o ke akua.
Ninau o Kane, o Kanaloa,
He aha kau huakai nui, E Kaha'i!
I pi'i mai ai?
I 'imi mai au i ka Hema,
Aia i Kahiki, aia i Ulu-paupau,
Aia i ka 'A'aia, haha mau ia, E Kane,
Loa'a aku i Kukulu-o-Kahiki.21
Tawhaki climbed, Tawhaki strove,
Girded with the mystic enchantment of Tane,
Fascinated by the eyes of Karihi.22
Tawhaki mounted on the flashing rays of light,
Flashing on men, and on canoes.
Above was Hangaia-te-marama—23
That was the road by which he sought his father—
Pass over the dark blue sea,
Trembling, in Whare-tumu-te-rangi.
The multitude of the gods are asking.
Tane and Tangaroa enquire,
What is your great company seeking, O Tawhaki!
That you have come hither?
I come looking for Hema,
Over yonder in Tahiti, yonder in Uru-paupau,
Yonder by the 'A'aia constantly fondled by Tane,
I have travelled to the “Pillars of Tahiti.”
“Wahieloa, son of Kaha'i, was born at Ka'u, and died at Koloa, Puna-lu'u, and was buried at 'Alae in Kipa-hulu, Maui.
“Laka (R?t?) was born at Haili, Hawaii, and died at Kua-loa, Oahu. He was buried at Iao. A legend exists about the building of a canoe to search for his father” (as in Maori story).
According to the genealogical tables from which the above is abstracted, Hema lived about forty-two generations ago. By the Rarotongan tables, printed with this, he flourished forty-seven generations ago—a difference of five generations, or 125 years. But this is too far back by Maori tables, in which the usual accounts place him at thirty-three generations ago.24 There can be little doubt that the people mentioned in the above account are the Maori and Rarotongan ancestors of the same names. The Maori legends are very full, and, when taken in conjunction with those of Rarotonga and Samoa, seem to bear out Fornander's theory as to these people having been interpolated on Hawaiian genealogies. This was doubtless done, as in many other cases, from a sense of pride in being able to trace descent from heroes of renown. However this may be, it is probably correct that the last of the list, Laka, has descendants in Hawaii, as he has in Rarotonga, Samoa, New Zealand, and possibly Tahiti; nor is this the only ancestral connection between these people that can be shown, as will be seen later on.
Students of New Zealand history are aware that in the Maori tradition there are incidental notices of an ancient people called Manahune, who are by some supposed to be a diminutive race, and somewhat like the elves of old-world stories. But they are not said to have lived in New Zealand. This people is also known in Hawaii, where they are described as somewhat like those of the Maori traditions. They appear to have been at one time very numerous and lived in the mountains, but were in a state of subjection to the Hawaiians, performing for them many works that required great numbers in order to complete the task at once. Like the Patupaiarehe of New Zealand, these people are said not to like the daylight, but worked at night. Many of the heiaus and some of the loku-i'a or fish-ponds of Hawaii are said to have been built by the Menehune. Again, in Tahiti we find mention of the same people, Manahune, who in Ellis's time formed the lower orders of the people. But they were an ancient tribe or people, for Miss Henry tells me that the Tahitian expression—Ari'i o te tau Manahune—refers to the time when kings were born to the plebeians of Tahiti, begotten of the gods, but not wearing the chiefly maro-ura, or scarlet girdle, the insignia of the
ruling chiefs of Tahiti. In a Paumotu genealogy in my possession, I find one of their chiefs named Tangaroa-Manahune, who lived many generations ago, and it is known that there was a tribe in old times in Mangaia named Manaune. We shall find a reference to them in Rarotonga history, where they are again referred to as little people. The word manahune, both in Maori and Rarotonga, means a scab, or mark on the body. None of the accounts I have seen infer that these people ever differed in colour from the brown Polynesian. The Patupai-arehe or Turehu of the Maoris, on the contrary, are distinctly stated to be white or light-coloured, and had the Manahune been of that colour, or black, the fact would probably have been mentioned. It may be that the origin of the name is due to the people who bore it being marked with cicatrices (manahune). Fornander seemed to be of the opinion that this was a racial name applied by the Polynesians to themselves in ancient times, and derived from one of their remote ancestors named Kalani-Menehune; but from Maori and Rarotonga accounts they appear rather to have been an alien race. The vague notions the Polynesians generally have in regard to the Manahune—their living in the mountains and forests, the wonderful powers of sorcery, &c., accredited to them—seems to point to their having been a race living in the remote past, conquered by the Polynesians, and probably often enslaved by them.
There seems to be two possible or probable theories to account for the Manahune. Either they were the first migration into the Pacific, or they were one of the races the Polynesians came into contact with in Indonesia, or further to the west, and some of whom they brought with them in their migrations as slaves. In this latter case, the stories of their having inhabited Hawaii and Hawaiki are Indonesian events localised in process of time in the Pacific homes of the Polynesians. The latter theory is probably the more consonant with what is known of the Manahune.
I have already remarked on the fact that the Hawaiians are more like the Maoris in appearance than the other branches of the race I saw. Probably environment here comes into play, for the Hawaiian Group, being situated just on the edge of the tropics, the people must have had to work harder and more continuously for their daily food than the people of Central Polynesia, where nature supplies nearly all their wants. In this respect their lives must have been more akin to the Maori. The Hawaiian Group has proportionately far more open country than the other islands, and the signs of old cultivation are more apparent. One of the things that must strike a visitor to Central Polynesia is the absence of cultivation, or any signs of ancient clearings. As a rule, Tahiti, Rarotonga, and the neighbouring islands, together with Samoa and Tonga, are clothed with forest to the water's
edge. Above on the mountains are the open lands, covered with a growth of tall grass or fern, but the shores are nearly all forest. In most of the groups there is a flat inside the lagoon, raised but little above it, covered with forest and fruit trees, and it is here the people live under the shade of the trees. Outside of Hawaii, practically no one lives away from the sea-shore; indeed, I do not know of any native village in Tahiti, Rarotonga, or the adjacent islands away from this encircling flat, though it is said that there are inland villages in Tutuila, Samoa. I saw none, however in that group. In Hawaii the bread-fruit is not nearly so common as in the southern islands, nor are the trees so large, whilst the coco-nut is rare compared with its astonishing abundance in the other islands; and, when seen, is generally rather a poor looking specimen. The general name for the bread-fruit is ulu, uru, or kuru, though the large number of varieties had each its special name. Probably no Maori of the present day could say what the word kuru means in the following lines from their old songs:—
|Ki Waeroti, ki Waerota.||Marere ai ra te kuru o Uenuku.25|
|Te tau mai ai to hua-kuru.|
In these lines are references to the bread-fruit under its Rarotongan name kuru. The general name for the coco-nut tree is nu, or niu. The nut is, in Tahiti ha'ari, in Rarotonga akari—the Maori word for a feast—i.e., hakari.
No notice of Hawaii would be complete without some mention of two of the articles of manufacture in which the people excel other branches of the race. The ancient feather cloaks ('ahu-'ula) of the high chiefs are very beautitul objects, made of red and yellow feathers. They are of large size and most gorgeous in appearance. It is said that thousands of birds—o'o, mama, 'i'iwi, akakani, o'u, amakihi, koa'e, &c.—were killed to make a single cloak, for only one or two feathers were found in each bird. As these birds are extinct, no more such garments can be procured. In the making of kapa (tapa) the Hawaiians also appear to have excelled. The variety of colours and patterns used is very large, and many of them are very delicate and pretty. The beautiful museum at the Kamehameha schools, near Honolulu, presented to Hawaii, and handsomely endowed by Mrs.
Pauahi Bishop, contains a large number of these beautiful cloaks and kapas, besides numerous specimens of the chiefs' standards, or kahili, the top parts of which are also made of feather work.
Of Tonga and the Tongans, I do not feel competent to write; for, though I visited the principal islands of the group—Vavau, Haapai, and Tongatapu—our stay at each place was too short to allow me to do more than observe that the people in outward appearance seem to take a mid-position between Samoans and Maoris. They appear to be of a somewhat stiff and haughty disposition, much of which would probably wear off on a longer acquaintance. I heard a good many items of interest from our fellow-member, the Rev. J. E. Moultan, who travelled with us from Tonga to Auckland; but I trust he will give the members of the Society the benefit of his researches himself, rather than second-hand through me. These people have an interesting history, and have played an important part in the events that go to make up the history of the Polynesians, whilst as voyagers they were probably second only to the Rarotongans.
In the above notes, which I fear can only be characterised as superficial, I have endeavoured to offer a comparison of several branches of the race from the New Zealand point of view. It is probable that I saw the best side of the natives always. Their failings I have not touched on. A closer acquaintance would doubtless have disclosed many. As I saw them, they appeared to be a pleasant and interesting people, which makes one regret all the more their great decrease in numbers during this century, and their probable disappearance as a race within the next one or two hundred years.
It will be of interest to state the total numbers of the Polynesian race, as derived from the best available information, which however is only approximate for several of the groups. The figures are as follows:—
|New Zealand—Maoris and half-castes||42,113|
|Hawaii—natives and half-whites||39,504|
|Tahiti, and French Oceania||25,000|
|Rarotonga and adjacent groups||7,000|
|All other groups inhabited by Polynesians||5,000|
In the above enumeration, the Fiji and other groups under the Equator are omitted, as they are not inhabited by pure Polynesians. At the end of last century, estimates were made by Cook, Foster, and others, and the totals were 1,290,000 people inhabiting these same groups. On comparing these figures, the question arises: Have our efforts at civilising this race been the blessing that we claim for it? Aua hoki!Notwithstanding the paucity of their numbers, the Polynesian race occupies a larger space of the earth's surface than any other—viz., thirteen million square miles.
In the foregoing notes, reference has frequently been made to the houses of the people, and it will be seen that the whare-puni of the Maori has no counterpart anywhere. Whilst the square or oblong houses of the Tahitians and Rarotongans are somewhat like the ordinary Maori house, there is nothing in the least like the better class of Maori whare, with its substantial slab sides, porch at the end, and elaborate carvings. The Maori whare seems to be a local production, and due largely to the character of the climate.
The canoes of the present day differ from those of the Maori; even the description of the old Polynesian canoe, as noticed by the voyagers of last century, differ entirely from those of New Zealand, which were much handsomer craft, more substantial, and beautifully ornamented Again, local influences, and the possession of splendid forest trees must be held accountable for the change in their naval architecture, for there seems little doubt that the ancestors of the Maori came here in the double-canoe, like the p?i of Rarotonga, and they probably had an orau or house built on them like the p?i. The same word pahi was used until late years by the southern Maoris of New Zealand for a canoe, as was pora, the Hawaiian word for a platform between two canoes. Fare-pora is the Paumotu name for a house on a double-canoe.
I nga pora ra e, i rere mai i tawhiti.
In those poras, that sailed here from afar.—Old Song, Ngati-Kuia, N.Z.
In the above lines we notice the name pora, as well as the Maori and Rarotonga name of Raiatea Island—anciently called Havai'inear Tahiti.
In the Maori accounts of the migration to New Zealand, it is often stated that the canoes were built of totarawood. Now, there is no such tree in the islands, and this, like the story of the introduction of
the karaka tree, which only grows in New Zealand, Chatham, and Kermadec islands, has been used to discredit the Maori traditions. The story of the karaka tree has, I submit, been cleared up.26 With respect to the totara, the following explanation is offered: The tree in former use in the Central Pacific for large canoe building was the t?m?nu, which grows in all those islands. It is a large tree, having a fine hard and durable wood. Its leaves are not unlike the karaka, but much thinner, and it bears a globular fruit the size of an egg. The wood and bark somewhat resemble the totara. On reaching New Zealand, the natives would soon find out the resemblance between the two trees, as given above, and also the difference in the leaves. The leaves of the totara being prickly, or tara, they called it the “prickly to,” to distinguish it from the other to, and in process of time the tomanu has been forgotten, and it came to be believed that the ancient canoes were made of the local to, or totara.
A recent writer has expressed his surprise that, whilst the Polynesians must at one time have been acquainted with people who used pottery (as in the Fijis), they did not appropriate so useful an art to their own purposes. The explanation is, to my mind, that nowhere in Eastern Polynesia that I could find is any clay sufficiently good for pottery to be found.
Except in Samoa, tattooing has gone out of fashion; but, so far as could be ascertained, there never was anything at all like that of the Maoris in the matter of design. The peculiar spirals of New Zealand seem to be a local invention, as are the scroll patterns on their house-rafters and canoes. It is known that, in former times, cases occurred of some Maoris being fully tattooed from the waist to the knee; but the pattern differed entirely from that of the Samoans, and partook of the same character as the scrolls to be seen at this day on their house-rafters. The patterns on the tapas differ from anything in New Zealand, and to find anything like the handsome taniko pattern on the Maori-woven kaitaka mat, we have to go to distant Majuro Island, in the Marshall Group, seven degrees north of the line, and where the people are Micronesians more than Polynesians. In photographs from that island, the taniko pattern appears to be faithfully reproduced on the (apparently) woven mats of the women. An excellent illustration of the old Rarotongan style of painting the body will be found in the frontispiece of Williams's “Missionary Enterprises,” where Te Pou, the grandfather of Te Pou-o-te-rangi, late judge at Rarotonga, is depicted in full war costume. There was nothing of that kind in New Zealand in former days.
Again, in the matter of carving, nothing like that of New Zealand was seen anywhere, indeed very little of it is seen at all. There is a certain resemblance between some of the old representations of the gods in Hawaii, but they are without the characteristic Maori sculptures seen on tikis, &c. In fact, Maori art seems to be a local invention, and is superior to the rest of Polynesia.
Several stone adzes or tokis were seen in all the islands visited, but they cannot compare in finish to those of either Maori or Moriori, though the same close-grained black basalt is found everywhere, and in Rarotonga is called by the same name—kar?. This may be due in in a measure to the fact that Central Polynesians had the giant Tridacna shell, from which they often made axes, fish-hooks, &c. Some of the latter are of the exact shape of the Maori paua, or shell-hook.
In none of the islands is there anything like the Maori pa or fort, with its earthern ramparts and deep ditches.27 In Tahiti they had places in the mountains called pare, which were used in time of danger, to which the women and children retired; but these, so far as could be learnt, owed their defences to their natural strength. It was the same in Rarotonga, but the places were natural fastnesses, to which art did little, In Samoa they have what they call an 'olo or fort. I only saw one. It was an enclosure of stone, and not nearly so formidable as a Maori pa. 'Olo is the Maori and Rarotongan word koro, an enclosure. Just behind Avarua, at Raiatea, on a hill some 400 feet above the sea, there is an apparently old attempt at a pa. The hill has been scarfed, and inside are the remains of house foundations. The natives told me their ancestors formerly lived there in time of war.
From this hill—I may add—is a most lovely view of the east coast of Raiatea, with its many projecting points, all clad with a rich vegetation of coco-nut and bread-fruit trees, the calm waters of the extensive lagoon, with the white breakers dashing on the reef, on which are many lovely little motus or islets, all covered with the deep green vegetation of the tropics. To the north, and within the same reef, is the picturesque island of Taha'a—Uporu of old—and beyond it Porapora, the ancient Vavau, the Wawau of Maori history. To the east, at twenty-three miles away, is Huahine, another beautiful island, and along the coast of Raiatea may be seen the mouth of the bay in which is situated Taputapu-atea, the famous marae at Opoa, more famous than any other in the Pacific, and connected with the history of the Polynesians from very ancient times. As I sat on this hill
admiring the lovely view, my thoughts went back to the middle of the fourteenth century, and imagination pictured a large double canoe with its daring commander, its stalwart crew, its priests, its living freight of women and children, with their sea stores, parting for ever from their ancestral home, with tears and farewells, bound on a voyage across what was to them an unknown ocean, in search of a home wherein peace might be found—bound for a land a month's voyage distant, and which they only knew by description of voyagers who had been there before them. This canoe was Aotea, Turi was the commander, bound for Aotearoa, or New Zealand. For Ra'iatea is Rangiatea, Turi's ancient home, and the Hawaiki of many a Maori story. Havai'i is the old name of Raiatea, and there to this day live the descendants of Turi and Kupe, as they also do on the west coast of New Zealand. Raiatea was the great meeting place of the wise men of Central Polynesia, about which Miss Teuira Henry's book will tell us when it appears.
The vegetation of Polynesia is beautiful, but it would take too long to describe it. Here I note some names of trees and plants from which one may see the origin of our New Zealand names. These common names of trees are far more frequent in Rarotonga and Tahiti than elsewhere—a fact which has some importance in tracing the immediate whence of the Maori. The following names are found in Rarotonga (the Rarotongans do not pronounce the “h,” nor “wh”):—
|Rarotongan.||Compare New Zealand:—|
|Ara, the pandanus.||Wharawhara (Astelia), the leaves of which are like the ara.|
|Au, the yellow hibiscus.||Whau.|
|Eki, a fern tree.||Wheki, one of the fern trees.|
|Kiekie, a creeper.||Kiekie, a creeper.|
|Kikau, the leaf of the coco-nut.||Nikau, the palm.|
|Kakava, one of the pipers.||Kawakawa, also a piper.|
|Kaikatea, a forest tree.||Kahikatea, one of the pines.|
|Kakava-atua, from which the kava drink was prepared.||Kawakawa. See above.|
|Miro, a tree.||Miro.|
|Maire, a fern.||Maire, a tree.|
|Ngatae, the coral tree.||Possibly the kura-tawhiti of New Zealand tradition. It has large spikes of scarlet flowers.|
|Neinei, a tree.||Neinei, a tree.|
|Ngaio, the same tree as the New Zealandngaio.|
|Pukatea, a large buttressed tree, very like the New Zealand pukatea.|
|Puka, a tree with large leaves.||Puka.|
|Poutukava, a tree.||Pohutukawa, a tree.|
|Pukapuka, a tree.||Pukapuka, a tree.|
|Rarotongan.||Compare New Zeland:—|
|Para, a large fern, edible root.||Par?-tawhiti, a large fern with edible root.|
|Ponga, a tree fern.||Ponga, a tree fern.|
|Poroporo, a shrub, a solanum.||Poroporo, a solanum.|
|R?t?, a tree.||R?t?, a tree.|
|Tauinu, a shrub.||Tauhinu, a shrub.|
|Ti, the Drœcena.||Ti, the Cordyline.|
|Ti-kopa, ti-maori, ti-rau-matangi, ti-kura, the roots all are eaten. Ti-voru, not eaten.|
|Toromiro, a tree.||Toromiro, a tree.|
|Utu, a tree.||Hutu.|
In Tahiti are also to be found the names of many trees and plants identical with those of New Zealand, but they are not so numerous as in Rarotonga. When—in the following native history—we come to the story of Ono-kura, the scene of which is laid principally in Tahiti, we shall find many New Zealand names of trees, amongst them the mamaku, the kowhai, the naupata, the kiekie, the rata, the par?, and others. The Tahitian par? to the eye is identical with the par? (Marattia salicina) of New Zealand, and its root was also eaten in time of scarcity. Is it too far-fetched an idea to derive its New Zealand name, par?-tawhiti, from the island of Tahiti? for tawhiti is the Maori equivalent of Tahitian tahiti. Its translation would then be the par?of Tahiti.
In Hawaii was noticed quite a number of plants and shrubs, &c., which appear to be varieties of those of New Zealand, though the names often differed, and Maori names are applied to trees which are not much like those of New Zealand. Some of such names are hau (whau), milo (miro), maile, ma'o (mako), 'ie'ie(kiekie), &c., &c. Perhaps one of the most interesting of the names is that of a shrub which bears a flower like the Clianthus of New Zealand, and the Maori name of which is kowhai-ngutu-kaka. This Hawaiian plant is named 'ohai, or (as they have lost the “k”) kohai. It is stated that the New Zealand Clianthus is not found outside of this country, but here we have a flower very like it, and part of its native name is identical with the Maori. This can only mean either that the Hawaiian name was taken from New Zealand, or vice versâ,or that the ancestors of both Maori and Hawaiians once lived together in some country where a flower similar to the kowhai also grew. The yellow kowhai is called in Hawaii the mamane. A tree, to outward appearance just like our forest ti, or Cordyline, with the same wide-spreading branches, is called halapepe, a word much like our harakeke, or flax.
In Samoa, the native names of trees, &c., differ more from those of New Zealand than do Eastern Polynesian, even when the trees are sufficiently alike to have made it probable they would have the same names.
Out of sixty-three Tahitian birds, twenty-four have Maori names; out of twenty Rarotongan birds, nine have Maori names; out of seventeen birds of far-distant Mangareva Island, seven have Maori names; out of sixty-seven Samoan birds, eleven have Maori names; out of seventeen Tongan birds, seven have Maori names; out of ninety-two Hawaiian birds, nineteen have Maori names.
The ornithologists amongst our members will regret to hear that there is not a single land-bird left alive in Rarotonga, so the natives say. They all died after a severe hurricane some years ago. From this statement must be excepted the moa-kerekere, or flying-fox, which introduced itself to the island some twenty-five years ago, and is now a nuisance. It is believed to have come from Mangaia.
It is well known that moa is the name for the common fowl all over Polynesia, but the little island of Eua, a few miles south of Tonga, the Rev. J. E. Moultan told me, had a tradition of its once being inhabited by a gigantic moa, that stood twelve feet high, just like, in fact, the New Zealand moa.
In the other islands visited there are still several of the native birds left, and amongst them (in Tahiti) is the 'oma'oma'o, which gave the name to our komakomako, both being of the same species. In Samoa themanumea, the nearest ally to the extinct Dodo, may still be obtained, though it is rare. This is a bird which is known to the Maori traditions, and is embalmed in an ancient chant, to be found at page 324 of “Nga Moteatea”:—
Hiringa te Hohonu, maka ki tai ki a Tangaroa.
Dedicated is the Turtle, appointed to the sea, to Tangaroa.
I take the above to be a reference to the turtle, although the word has also the meaning of “the deep.” In Tahiti it is called honu, in Rarotonga onu, and in Samoa laumei. In the following lines from an old song is to be found, I think, a reference to the Maori traditional knowledge of the turtle also:—
He Honu manawa rahi.
The big-bellied turtle.
(To be continued.)
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