Introduction to Rarotonga History Part II
IN tracing out the whence of the Maori, the names of places retained in their traditions must play an important part. In all the Islands there are numerous places having similar names to those in New Zealand and to those mentioned in traditions. Many of these being merely descriptive, are not of much value unless supported by other testimony. It is, however, by no means the rule with the Polynesian race to give descriptive names to places; they originate more generally from the occurrence of some act, the performance of some deed, or, as very frequently happens, as with ourselves, places are called after others—often after those only known by tradition. This seems to be universal with the Polynesians, of which numerous illustrations might be given.
Of all the names in Polynesian traditions, that of Hawaiki; in some one of its forms, is the most important. It was the father land from whence the race sprung, where their gods lived, and to which the spirits of the dead returned after death. And this name has been carried by the people in their migrations, and applied over and over again to their new homes, so that we have in the Pacific at this time certainly seven places so called, if not more. These are—Sav?i'i, the largest of the Samoan Islands; Havai'i, the ancient name of Ra'iatea; Havaiki, the ancient name of Fakarava Island, Paumotu Group; Hawai'i, the largest of the Sandwich Islands; besides the following,
which are probably new to our members. The general name given by the Rarotongans to Tahiti and all the islands about there is Avaikirunga, or windward-Avaiki; the general name used in their traditions for Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, &c., is Avaiki-raro, or leeward-Avaiki.1 Again, their ancient name for New Zealand, with which they were well acquainted, was Avaiki-tautau. Tautau is the Maori word tahutahu, to burn, or burning, and the name was probably given to New Zealand on account of its active volcanoes.
It is doubtless due to the prominence of two of these names (in Samoa and the Sandwich Islands) that so many writers have supposed one or the other to be the Hawaiki from whence the Maoris came to New Zealand. But now we know that all the Tahiti Group was called Hawaiki also; the other evidence of their “whence” falls naturally into its place, and indicates this particular Hawaiki as their former home—the immediate home from whence they came to New Zealand. It is over twenty years since I came to the conclusion that Eastern Polynesia must be searched for this particular Hawaiki; but, with the exception of our fellow-member, Judge J. A. Wilson, no one appears to have followed in the same lines as myself. Mr. Wilson truly indicates in his interesting little book2 that the Maoris came from Rarotonga, but, as we shall see further on, this was only a stopping-place on the voyage.
In the Native History to follow this, the name Avaiki—for such is the Rarotongan pronunciation of the word—will constantly occur, but it refers also to a former Avaiki outside the Pacific, and probably in Indonesia, or even further West. In this case it sometimes has a qualifying word after it—Avaiki-te-varinga—the same as is applied to the most ancient country they were acquainted with, which is Atiate-varinga. Both of these names probably referred originally to the same country. The present meaning of vari, both in Tahiti and Rarotonga, is “mud, earth, slime,” and we find from “Myths and Songs of the South Pacific,” that Vari-ma-te-takere means the “very beginning”in the island of Mangaia, and that she—for it is the name of a woman—was the mother of the first human being, from whom all mankind sprang, according to Mangaian tradition. In this sense, then, Avaiki-, or Atia-te-varinga, was the country in which Polynesian mankind originated from the primordial mud, earth, or slime—in other words, the ancient home of the race. This subject is referred to further on at greater length.
Amongst other names of ancient places mentioned in the Maori traditions as one of those from which they came hither, is Tawhitinui. With the East Coast people of New Zealand there is an expression or saying mentioning certain stages in their migrations, which runs concurrently with the traditions of Hawaiki. It is Tawhitinui, Tawhiti-roa, Tawhiti-pa-mamao, and Hono-i-wairoa. There is a great difference of opinion at the present day as to whether the first or the last name is the nearer to New Zealand, and moreover some say that the latter is that of a tribe, not a place-name. The name Tawhitinui is frequently mentioned in the Maori traditions; sometimes it is Tawhiti-nui-a-Rua, the latter word clearly being a man's name. In one of the accounts of Nga-toro-i-rangi's return from New Zealand to their ancient home in the Pacific, to avenge the insult offered to him, the place he went to is called Tawhiti; in another, Tawhiti-nui-a-Te Tua, where again the last two words represent a man's name. In another account still, it is stated that Te Tua was the chief of the land to which the above expedition went.
It appears certain to me from the above that Tawhiti-nui is intended for Tahiti; indeed, the actual name of Tahiti is Tahiti-nui, so called to distinguish it from Tahiti-iti, or the Taiarapu peninsula, which extends for many miles to the south-east of Tahiti-nui. It might be held that the word tawhiti in these Maori legends means “distant,” as it does; but in no other dialect of Polynesia does eitherwhiti, hiti, iti, fiti, with or without the prefix ta, mean distant. The truth is, as it appears to me, that Tahiti, being so distant to the Maori mind, the name has become generalized or adjectived in the language as meaning distant, since the people migrated to New Zealand. “As far off as Tahiti” is, I think, the meaning of the word. Another Maori meaning of tawhiti is not found in any other dialect, and it has its origin, I think, from the same reason as the last. Ask a Maori his opinion of some present you have given him, and he will reply, Koi tawhiti. That is, “beyond all,” “admirable,” “excellent,” which, I venture to think, is as much as to say it is as excellent as Tahiti; here used as a symbol for plenty.
I have mentioned the name of Te Tua as that of a chief living in the country to which Ngatoro-i-rangi returned to seek revenge. Now, I was told in Tahiti that Te Tua is the name of a high chief, and has been so from time immemorial. The name Nga-toro-i-rangi, the celebrated priest of Te Arawa canoe, is known in Tahiti as 'A-toro-ira'i (they do not pronounce the ng), but it is there the name of a god, and of a place. Possibly this celebrated priest was deified there. At the same time the two names may have nothing to do with one another.3
In one of the Maori “Uenuku” legends is mentioned the name of a mountain (Arowhena), which was somewhere in Hawaiki. Now, Orofena or Orohena is the highest mountain in Tahiti. I shall show presently that this same Uenuku lived (part of his life at any rate) in Rarotonga, and that voyages between there and Tahiti were frequent, and that he made voyages from Rarotonga to the country where this mountain was, though the name of the island is not given—Hawaiki being understood.
Enquiries were made everywhere for Pari-nui-te-ra, the name of the place to which some of the Maori traditions say their ancestors returned from New Zealand to fetch the kumara. Only one old man on Moorea had ever heard of such a place, and he said it was near Pape-ete, on the north shore of Tahiti.
In Mr. Best's “In Ancient Maori Land,” p. 41, will be found the Ngati-Awa of the Bay of Plenty account of the coming of the Mataatua canoe, with the name of a tribe of Tahiti named Te Tini-o-te-Oropoa. The tribe of Te Oropaa live in the district of that name, just north of Papara, west side of Tahiti. A place is also mentioned in the same account—Te Whana-i-Ahurei; now, Te Fana-i-Ahurai is the adjacent district to Oropaa, whilst Paea, another name mentioned, is a place near Oropaa district.
I was told by our corresponding member, Mr. Tati Salmon, that expeditions were known to have left the west coast of Tahiti in former days, to find homes for themselves elsewhere, but the particulars have not been preserved. The name of only one canoe as having arrived there from distant parts was remembered; this was Manu'a-tere, about which we shall hear later on.
The only two places where the native name of New Zealand (Aotea-roa) is known, so far as I can learn, are Tahiti—where it is mentioned in an old chant—and at Rarotonga, as will be shown. Taken altogether, the evidence which has now been adduced (besides other that might be quoted) seems conclusive that Tawhiti-nui of the Maori is Tahiti-nui, and that their Hawaiki is Hawaiki-runga, which includes all the groups around Tahiti.
We next come to another island of the Society Group, the name of which has been retained in Maori traditions, but only I think in those of the Maoris of the West Coast of the North Island. This is Ra'iatea (in Maori, Rangiatea), one of the poetical names of which is Havai'i-mata-pee-e-moe-te-Hiva. It is also called 'Ioretea, Uri-e-tea, and Havai'i. About four miles to the north is another lovely island, with indented coast line, down to which the mountains fall in abrupt and wooded slopes. This is Taha'a, a poetical name for which is
Taha'a-nui-marae-atea, and one of whose ancient names was Uporu. The Rarotongan name for Ra'iatea is Rangiatea, and that of Taha'a is Taanga (in Maori, Tahanga). Some twenty miles to the north-west of Taha'a is Porapora, the ancient name of which was Vavau, probably the Wawau-atea of the Maoris. It has a very high and fantastic peak on it. To the east of Ra'iatea, at twenty-two miles distant, is Huahine, a double island, an old name of which was Atiapi'i. Some eleven and a-half miles to the west of Porapora is Maiao-iti, the former name of which was Tapuae-manu. It is a high island, but of no great size. Again, to the north-east of Huahine is Maupiti, formerly called Maurua, and Mauati. The name of this last island illustrates the change the Tahitians have introduced into their numerals and many other words, of recent times, for piti is the modern form of rua, two.
This group of islands is separated from Tahiti by the Sea of Marama, named after one of the Tahitian ancestors, and which name I believe is referred to in the following lines from an ancient Maori lament which is full of old Hawaiki names, and was composed by one of Turi's descendants eleven generations ago:—
I whanake i te Waima-tuhirangi.
Of the islands mentioned above, I think Ra'iatea is clearly the Rangiatea of the Maori traditions preserved by the Taranaki and West Coast people, which they say was the name of Turi's home, and where also tradition says was the great marae “at Hawaiki, belonging to the warrior chiefs—to the great chiefs of the sacred cult, used for their invocations in time of war. That marae was a temple, and the name included both temple and marae. It was where the deliberations of the people were held, and was a place of great mana. Hence is our saying—He kakano i ruiruia mai i Rangiatea—‘(We are) seed scattered hither from Rangiatea.’ The church at Otaki, West Coast, Wellington, was named Rangiatea by Te Rauparaha, in memory of our island home in Hawaiki, for it was a sacred island to our ancestors.”
It has been already stated that at Ra'iatea was the most sacred and important marae in the Central Pacific. It was situated at Opoa (called Poa in Rarotonga), at Taputapu-atea, and from which place stones were taken to use in the foundation of many other maraesin Tahiti, &c.; as, for instance, the stone pillar called Tura'a-marafea at Papetoai, Moorea, already mentioned, and that taken by Fanun? to found the marae of To'oarai, Papara, Tahiti, near which was after-wards built that of Mahai-atea, which I have described already.
There are other things which seem to connect Ra'iatea with Turi's ancient home, and one of which I think will be seen from the following quotation from an old Maori song:—
Toia e Rongorongo “Aotea,” ka tere ki te moana,
Ko te hara ki Awarua i whiti mai ai i Hawaiki.
'Twas Rongorongo launched “Aotea,” when she floated on the sea,
Because of the sin at Awarua they crossed over from Hawaiki.
Now Avarua is the opening in the reef a little to the north of Opoa, and by which the steamers now enter the lagoon of Ra'iatea from the east, and the “sin at Avarua,” according to Tahitian legends, will be described in full by Miss Teuira Henry when her book appears. I do not wish to anticipate the interesting story she told me about it. Rongorongo was Turi's wife, and Aotea his canoe.
In Maori story, only one of the other islands referred to above is mentioned, viz., Vavau or Porapora, which I take to be Wawau-atea connected with the stories of Whiro, of whom Tahitian traditions are full, especially in connection with Ra'iatea and Taha'a. His Tahitian name is Hiro, but on the east coast of Tahiti, at Hitia'a (Maori, Whitianga), I found they pronounced his name Firo. Wawau is a very old Polynesian name, which, like Hawaiki, has been applied to several places in the Pacific, in memory of a more ancient Wawau, the most westerly of which at present known is probably that mentioned by Fornander, under the variation of Babao in Timor. That it is an ancient name is proved by finding that the Toaripi tribe of New Guinea state that the spirits of the dead go west from there to Lavau, which is, I think, a varient of Wawau.4
Of Turi, the great ancestor of Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, Nga-Rauru and the Whanganui tribes of the West Coast, North Island, New Zealand, and commander of the Aotea canoe, it is well known that he arrived here about twenty generations ago at the same epoch as the fleet, of which, however, the Aotea did not form a part. This would be about 1350. Turi—I believe the same as the Maori ancestor—is well known in Tahiti, but I regret that up to the present, a promised genealogical table from him to people living, has not arrived. Therefore the evidence is incomplete. The following is what I learnt about him; and though the stories are much mixed up with the marvellous, as so often occurs with distinguished Polynesian heroes, the historical part is easily sifted. Turi was a great chief of Tahiti, and born at Mahaena, on the north-east coast of that island, where he grew up to manhood. He there married his first wife, Hina-rau-re'a, of whom he was very fond, and very jealous. On one occasion, before going inland to procure feis (wild bananas), he enclosed his wife's house
in a hedge of prickly thorns so that no one might go near her. Presently Turi's two sisters appeared and declared it was a shame so pretty a woman should thus be shut out from all enjoyment, and finally persuaded Hina to go with them to the beach to indulge in the favourite pastime of fa'ahe'e-'aru (whakaheke-ngaru in Maori) or surf-riding. Hina was a novice at this amusement, but Turi's sisters were adepts. On coming ashore, Hina trod on a he (Maori whe) or caterpillar, which had been endowed with supernatural powers by Turi, for the purpose of watching Hina, and to inform Turi of any infringement of his orders that took place during his absence. On Turi's return he was duly informed of Hina's disobedience, at which he was greatly enraged, so much so that he decided to leave Mahaena. He gathered together his feia (people), and leaving Hina-rau-re'a, sailed away to Ra'iatea, where many adventures befel him. After a time he left Ra'iatea with his people and sailed away no one knows whither.
Another account is, that he left Tahiti for Ra'iatea, where, being a man of a very amorous nature he got into frequent trouble. Finally a great quarrel arose between him and the Ra'iatea people, when Turi departed with his people and never came back, nor does any one know where he went.
The most complete account I got of Turi, however, was from Tar?e, Mr. A. Macfarlane's wife, at Moorea, who is the grandaughter of one of the old Ra'iatea Tahuas, (or Tohungas, in Maori) and moreover a woman of great intelligence and considerable knowledge. Turi was born at Fa'aroa (Maori, Whangaroa) in Ra'iatea; he was the eldest of his father's family; after him came Pu?, then a girl, and lastly another girl named Nona-i-mata'i. Fa'aroa is a deep inlet on the shores of which is the ancient marae of Opoa. Turi owned a celebrated trumpet named Ro'o-puna, and also two canoes the names of which are not remembered. Manava-pau was the name of his spring of water5 He had a marae of his own, near Te-umu-ape, at Fa'aroa; it was cut out of the solid earth in the shape of a canoe. Near the marae was a taro patch, in which some of the women had been on one occasion washing taro. Turi was angry at this, and forbade them to do so again, and for their transgression ordered that “The cocks must not crow, the dogs must not bark, there must be no waves in the sea, no man may go a fishing (huti i'a)” and the people were ordered to fill his house with ruru (rolls) of mats, and cloth made of anu-ora'a (bark of the banyan tree). Turi's wife set to work and filled four houses instead of one. The wife's name is forgotten, but she came from ‘Otip?a at Ra'iatea. Her grandfather's name was Toto (or Hoto, it is not certain
which—according to Maori story Toto was Turi's father-in-law) who was a great warrior, and through his conquests had acquired a great deal of land. There are four of Turi's direct descendants still living at Ra'iatea. Like all great chiefs Turi had a mou'a or mountain, it is called Fane-ufi. His tahua (floor) place for meetings, was named Teumu-'ape ('ape is the giant taro). Some say he died at Te-umu-ape, but most people say he sailed away from Ra'iatea with his wife, children, and feia (people). Ti'etau was the name of a woman in Turi's time, and T?? is an ancestor of the Ra'iatea people. The name is still common at Huahine Island. T??-aito was a contemporary of Turi's. His mata'eina'a (Rarotonga matakeinanga), or tribe, or clan, was named Vaitoa. His pu (trumpet), hispatapata (flute, played with the mouth), his vivo (flute, played with the nose), and his pahu (drum) may still be heard, but one man only has heard the accompanying upaupa (dance and song) distinctly, and it demented him. The song is only heard in cold weather when the people stay in their houses. When Turi left Ra'iatea he went across the moana-uriuri (the deep sea) and never returned in the flesh, neither does any one know where he went, but his spirit returned in former times to trouble the people.”
Other accounts I heard agreed in the main with the above. It is a very remarkable thing—explain it as you may—that the Maori accounts are very persistent in saying that Turi's spirit, after his death, returned to Hawaiki. One Maori story says that Turi was living at his home, Matangi-rei, on the banks of the Patea River, when the news came of the death of his son Turanga, killed in battle at Te Ahu-o-Turanga (named after him), Manawatu Gorge, and that the old man was sorely affected thereby. He went out of his house, and was never seen again—hence the Maori belief in his return to Hawaiki.
The above notes, taken altogether, seem to identify Turi, of Aotea, with Turi, of Ra'iatea; the fact of Toto, his father-in-law, being mentioned, and that of one of the name of Toi, being his con-temporary, both by Ra'iatea and Maori story, also point in the same direction.
The following are the mata'eina'a or clans of Raiatea: Te Vaitoa, Tumura'a, Tu-henua-roa, Tu-henua-poto, Vaiia, Hotu-pu'u, T?-vao, Te Hiva, and Tirara; of Te Hiva clan, we shall hear a good deal in the Rarotonga history.
It is needless to point out how frequently the name Rarotonga occurs in Maori History, especially in the old chants, but there is nothing in them that indicates any lengthened sojourn in that island. Many places in New Zealand have been named after the old Raro-
tonga, as also after the old Hawaiki, but none of the first names, so far as I am aware, have been given to the landing places of the canoes of the fleet, as has been done in the case of Hawaiki, such, for instance, as the final resting place of the Tainui canoe at Kawhia, and the ancient tuahu where Te Arawa landed at Maketu. This name appears to have been brought with the fleet and applied to the landing places of Te Arawa and Tainui canoes in fond remembrance of older places bearing that name. We find a Maketu in Rarotonga, in Atiu, in Mauke, and in Mitiaro, though none of these islands are mentioned in Maori history.
Of the other islands in the Cook group, only that of Mangaia appears to be remembered in Maori history, for [take Ma-mangaia-tua to be the same name. It is also, I think, known to the Maoris under its older name of A'ua'u, or Ahuahu, which seems probable from the incident in Maori story known as “Te huri pure i ata,” when Uenuku's son Ruatapu drowned the young chieftians of his father's clan on account of the insult offered to him. In this story Paikea is said to have been the only one who, by swimming, reached the shore, and he landed on Ahuahu Island, which, in process of time came to be identified with Ahuahu or Great Mercury Island in the Bay of Plenty. As will be shown later on, both Uenuku and Ruatapu lived, for part of their lives at any rate, in Rarotonga, and the descendants of the latter are there still. The above incident occurred, according to Maori history, either in the same generation as the migration to New Zealand, or in that preceding it. Another ancient name of Mangaia was Manitea; this has not been preserved by the Maoris.
Aitutaki, neither under its present name, nor its original one of Ara-ura, are known to Maori tradition, though the island was certainly inhabited during the Maori occupation of Eastern Polynesia.
Waerota and Mata-te-ra, both places retained in Maori traditions, are known traditionally to the Rarotongans, and are stated to be islands in the Western Pacific, which appears to agree with Maori history. Both these names have been applied to places in Rarotonga, the former to a marae near Nga-tangiia. Mata-te-ra is also known to the Tahitians, where the name is applied to an ancient marae, at (I think) Vaira'o, on the south side of Taiarapu peninsula. These names have been given, I believe, in memory of the ancient homes of the people in the Western Pacific, the Fiji Group, and adjacent islands. Neither of these names can now be recognised as those of islands—the fact being that they are the ancient names now superseded by more modern ones. It was a custom of the Polynesians to change the name of conquered islands.
As there is no other island in the Pacific named Rarotonga, we must assume that this is the island known to Maori tradition. It is
true there is a marae at Manu'a Island, Samoa, called Rarotonga, that formerly belonged to the Karika family of Rarotonga, but it certainly is not the one known to Maori history. The name Rarotonga is said to have been given to the island by Karika as he first sighted it on coming from the north-east, because it was to leeward (raro) and towards the south (tonga). The former name was Tumu-te-varovaro and Nuku-tere, the first of which has now become its poetical name.
But any doubt as to whether this island is that known in Maori history will be set at rest by what follows. It is now some seven or eight years ago that our fellow member, Mr. J. T. Large, who had been on a visit to Rarotonga, informed me that the names of the fleet of canoes which came to new Zealand in about 1350 were known to the Rarotongans. At that time I was under the belief that these names might have been learned from some Maori visitor to Raro-tonga, of which the earliest on record is that of a few men who had been taken by the notorious Goodenough from New Zealand in the year 1820 or 1821. This Goodenough, who was well known on the northern coasts of New Zealand about that time as an unscrupulous trader, of which there were so many then, made a voyage to the Pacific, and there discovered the lovely island of Rarotonga; but his conduct is said to have been so atrocious in his dealings with the people that he kept his discovery a secret, and thereby lost the honour of being recognised as its discoverer. It was the Rev. J. Williams who first made known the existence of Rarotonga, where he arrived in a small schooner from Ra'iatea in April or May, 1822. Williams brought back to Rarotonga from Aitutaki a woman named Tapairu, who was a relative of the Makea family. She had been taken away by Goodenough (or Kurunaki as the Rarotongans call him; his Maori name was Kurunape) and she helped materially in the introduction of the gospel.
But the visit of Kurunaki was not the first occasion on which the Rarotongans became acquainted with the white man. Pa-ariki told me that many years before he appeared, a large ship was seen in the offing, and one man was daring enough to go on board amongst the atua, or gods, as they supposed the crew to be. On his return he described the many wonders he had seen, and amongst other things he said they had groves of breadfruit trees growing there, and streams of running water. The captain's name was Makore. There can be little doubt as to what ship this was. It will be remembered that the unfortunate Bligh in the “Bounty” had been sent to Tahiti to convey the breadfruit tree to the West Indies, and no doubt it was the
“Bounty” that first discovered Rarotonga. The name of the captain, Makore, which no doubt is intended for McCoy, one of the ringleaders in the mutiny, points to the fact that the vessel sighted Rarotonga after the mutiny itself, or in May, 1788.
To return to the New Zealand canoes. Mr. Large states that he “learned that the migration of Naea came from Avaiki to Iva (supposed to be Nukahiva, in the Marquesas) and from Iva to Tahiti, and thence to Rarotonga. This was before the time of Tangiia and Karika.” This latter statement is however, I think, a mistake, for the migration of Naea arrived in Rarotonga late in the life of Tangiia—it confuses the two men of the name of Naea, the first of whom did visit—perhaps live for a time in Iva. Mr. Large adds: “The following are the names of the canoes of Naea and his tere:—
Tainui, Turoa was captain; Tokomaru, Te Arava, Kuraaupo, Mata-tua, Takitumu, Okotura, Muri-enua, Arorangi, Rangiatea, Ngaio, Tunui-enua, and Mata-o-te-toa; Tamarua being captain of Tunui-enua, and Te Aia captain of Mata-o-te-toa.
“The two last named were called the fighting canoes, and the first eight went on to New Zealand, the remainder staying at Rarotonga.”
Naturally I made it my business to enquire into this story whilst at Rarotonga, and I soon found that Te Aia and others knew of the New Zealand canoes, but I was directed to Tamarua-Orometua as an old man who could give me particulars. With Pa-ariki and Mr. H. Nicholas, I went to visit the old man, who was living at a little village about a mile south of Nga-tangiia, the principal home of the Ngati-Tangiia tribe on the east side of the island. We found Tamarua reclining on a mat in his neat little house, which, like all others, was shaded by groves of breadfruit, coco-nut and banana trees. He was a pleasant and intelligent looking man, evidently of great age, but unfortunately very deaf. With the aid of his grandaughter's husband, however, we soon got him to understand that we wanted to ask him about old times. In answer to the question as to whether he had ever heard of any migrations leaving Rarotonga in former times, he thought a bit, then his face brightened up and he said, “Yes; I have heard of several migrations from Rarotonga. Once there sailed from here a fleet composed of several canoes, the names of which were (after thinking a little) Te Arava, Kura-aupo, Mata-atua, Toko-maru, Tainui and Taki-tumu. Tainui and Toko-maru sailed from Wai-toko, at Arorangi (Wai-toko is an opening in the reef at Arorangi, west side of Rarotonga), and all the others from Wai-te-kura (a stream not far from Arorangi). They all went away together in one fleet. The captain of Tainui was named Oturoa, and his nganga, or profession, was the karakia(meaning he was a priest), but I do not remember the names of any of the other people. Taki-tumu was the first canoe to sail to
New Zealand. It afterwards came back to Rarotonga. The other canoes did not return, only one came back, viz., Taki-tumu. This island had been settled, at the time the fleet left, by Tangiia and his descendants. Taki-tumu was the first canoe of Tangiia's tere that came to this island. It came to Vai-kokopu, near Nga-tangiia. I do not know the name of Horo-uta, nor of Ngatoro-i-rangi, nor of Tama-te-kapua. I know the name of Mata-atua, but I do not know the names of Toroa, nor of Muriwai, but there is a clan called Mata-atua living at Arorangi. I do not know the name of Muri-enua canoe, but that is a name given to this district of Nga-tangiia. A canoe named Raupo also left this island in former days, but she went in another direction, to Tuanaki. Kaka-tu-ariki was the captain of Raupo. His friend, Tiare, stole ten bundles of ataroroi (coco-nuts cooked in a certain fashion), hence he left for Tuanaki.
“A man named Ava formerly came to this country; he landed at Poko-inu (west of Avarua). He came from Iva. It was he who brought the kokopu (a fresh-water fish) here first, hence the name Vai-kokopu near here, of which the old name was Avana-nui, a name given to it by ?t?. The migrations to this land occurred in this order: Tangaroa, Aio, Tangiia—Ava came after Tangiia.6
“The fleet of canoes I have mentioned left here to go in search of another country for their crews, as Rarotonga was fully occupied when they came, and they also went to look for the toka-matie. There were two kinds of stone used in making tokis (adzes), the toka-matie and the kar?. The toka-matie was taken to New Zealand and the kar? left here. The toka-matie belonged to Ina. It was Ngaue who hid the toka-matie so that Ina should not find it. Ngaue went to New Zealand to hide the toka-matie. When he was at New Zealand he saw some great birds there as high as the wall-plate of this house (about ten feet) they are called the Moa. Ngaue brought back part of those birds preserved in an ipu (calabash) as well as the toka-matie. These were the two things he brought back. It was after Ngaue returned that the fleet of canoes sailed for New Zealand, but I don't know how long after. It was because of the voyage of Ngaue to New Zealand that the fleet went there. Ngaue called the toka-matie, “e ika no te moana”7—a fish of the sea. I think that some of the canoes were built here, but I am not sure.
“I do not know the name of Kupe, nor of Aotea canoe, nor of Turi, as forming part of the fleet. Aotea-roa is the name, I know, for New Zealand. I heard of the doings of some of the people who went to New Zealand. Te Arava canoe arrived there first and Tainui second, and the crew of the latter on their arrival found the crew of Te Arava asleep, so they took their anchor and passed the cable underneath that of Te Arava. When the crew of Te Arava woke up next morning and on seeing the cable of Tainui underneath theirs, they were annoyed and claimed that they had arrived first. “No”—said the people of Tainui, “see the position of our anchor.” I don't know how they settled the dispute. This is the same kind of dispute as occurred when Toutika and Tonga-iti arrived at this island. Taki-tumu canoe came back to this island after going to New Zealand, and did not return. Perhaps it was through her crew that our ancestors learnt of the dispute between Te Arava and Tainui crews.
“There was a canoe named Papaka-tere that came here in ancient times from Mata-kura; she went away no one knows where.
“I learnt what I have told you from my father and grandfather, and they learnt it from their tupunas (ancestors). Every body knew about these canoes when I was young. It was before the Gospel was introduced I learnt this. At that time (1822) I had attended tentakuruas (annual feasts at the presenting of the first fruits to the ariki) when Viliamu sent the teachers here (Pepehia of Tahiti); the feasts were held at Arai-te-tonga. I was about this high (showing the height of a boy of 12 or 14) when I first went to the tukuruas. (In this Pa-ariki agreed, no boy younger than 12 to 15 would be allowed to attend.)
“Yes, I know the name Mamari as that of a canoe which left these shores long, long ago. She went to some place in the direction of Tuanaki, and did not come back, so far as I ever heard. I know nothing more about her.”
Such is the substance of what I learned from old Tamarua Orometua. It was pleasant to see the bright intelligent look that came over his face when he heard the questions asked—they seemed to awake old memories of things long forgotten, and he would then give without hesitation a lot of detail which I could not take down. Every now and then he was at a loss for a name, but, after looking down with serious furrowed brow for a time, he would glance quickly up, with a bright look of triumph on his face, as if pleased at his success in recalling the name. Had he not been so very deaf, much more information could doubtless have been got from him. I was most particular in getting his age; and it will be seen that, if he was twelve years old when he attended the first takurua, and that he was at ten of them before 1822, he would be about ninety-seven when we visited him, and therefore a full-grown man, hearing and learning the
ancient lore of his ancestors, before the disturbing influences of the Gospel obliterated them. He is a scion of one of the most ancient families of Polynesia, as will be seen when we come to the history of the Tamarua family, a name they have borne continuously for some thirty generations.
With reference to the island called Tuanaki, I learnt that this was supposed to be due south of Rarotonga, and in former times the Rarotongans used to visit it. It took them two days and a night to reach there in their canoes. There is no such island at the present time, but the Haymet Shoal exists in latitude 27° 30?, which is about 360 miles south of Rarotonga, a distance their canoes would sail over in about the time mentioned. The toka-matie puzzled us all at first, for the translation is “grass-stone,” but it soon dawned on me, and was confirmed by Tamarua, that they used the word matie to describe the green colour of the stone brought back by Ngaue. The expression is therefore an exact translation of our word “greenstone,” or the pounamu8 of the Maori. When I asked the old man if he had ever seen the greenstone, he said he had not, and, on my showing a piece I had with me, he exclaimed, “Ah! It is true then what our ancestors told us of the toka-matie—there is such a stone.” He was very pleased at this, but his pleasure scarcely equalled mine in finding that the Rarotongans had a traditional knowledge of the greenstone, and the fact of their giving it a different name showed that they did not derive their knowledge from the Maoris.
To Maori scholars versed in the traditional history of the people, it is unnecessary to say that this Rarotongan story is almost the exact counterpart of New Zealand history. To others, not familiar with Maori traditions, it may be necessary to point out very briefly that these histories say, that Ngahue (Ngaue) came to New Zealand from Hawaiki before the fleet in consequence of disputes between him and Hine-tu-a-hoanga (Ina) as to the respective merits of the greenstone, or nephrite, and the tuhua, or volcanic glass; that Ngahue found the Moa (dinornis) in this country, and that he took some of the preserved flesh of the bird back with him, together with a block of greenstone, out of which were made the axes used in building the canoes of the fleet, the exact names of which, according to Maori tradition, were given by Tamarua. That the fleet arrived here (about the year 1350); that there was a dispute between the crews of Tainui and Te Arawa as to which arrived first, on account of those of Tainui having placed their cable under that of Te Arawa; that Taki-tumu canoe returned to Hawaiki to fetch the kumara tuber, and that she came back to New
Zealand with her valuable freight. This last is the only point on which the two stories differ; Tamarua holds that this vessel never returned to New Zealand, but remained at Rarotonga. The Mamari canoe was that of the northern tribes of New Zealand, and though she arrived here at no great distance in time from the fleet, she did not form part of it. The want of knowledge on Tamarua's part of the Aotea canoe is easily explained, for she did not come with the fleet, but arrived a little time before it,9 having come from Ra'iatea, the strong probability of which has been shown. I may add that the island at which the Aotea canoe called on her way to New Zealand, named by the Maoris, Rangitahua, or Motiwhawha, or Kotiwhatiwha, is known to Rarotongan tradition as Rangitaua, but no indications are given as to its position. I identify it with Sunday Island, of the Kermadec Group.
As to where the New Zealand fleet came from prior to its stay in Rarotonga, I much regret that the excitement caused by finding such a complete knowledge of New Zealand history in Rarotonga, caused me to forget to ask Tamarua's opinion on the matter; but from the information obtained by Mr. Large, and what was told me by the late Te Pou-o-te-rangi, of Rarotonga, they came from Tahiti, though perhaps not from the Marquesas, as Mr. Large learnt. Whilst there can be no reasonable doubt that in those days, the Maoris and Rarotongans (as we shall see later on) were perfectly familiar with the Marquesas (Iva, or in Maori Hiwa), we cannot neglect the important statement of the Maoris themselves that they came from Tawhiti-nui, or Tahiti-nui, especially when taken in conjunction with the Tahitian names of the west coast of that island, preserved by the Ngati-Awa people of the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. That Tahiti and the neighbouring islands was the home of the Maoris some generations before their migration will also be proved later on when I come to deal with some of their ancestors who are known to Tahitian history.
As to the time of departure of the fleet from Rarotonga to New Zealand, the information obtained by Mr. Large shows that the canoes arrived in Rarotonga with those of Naea. If this is so, then the Maoris must have stayed in Rarotonga for at least three generations, for Naea arrived there in the later days of Tangiia. This is unlikely however, because there is nothing in Maori history to confirm it, and, moreover, had there been such a prolonged stay, the names of Maori ancestors immediately preceding the heke, or migration, would certainly be shown on some of the numerous genealogical tables which will be
found in the Native History to follow this. But there are no such names. The only Maori ancestors in those tables (of this period) are the three last shown in the margin.
According to Maori history, Uenuku and Ruatapu lived in the generation that the fleet left Hawaiki; and it was not long before the departure that the incident known as “Te huri-pure-i-ata” occurred, when a number of young chiefs were drowned through the action of Ruatapu, his brother Paikea alone escaping, to afterwards become a famous ancestor of the Maoris. It will be remembered that Ruatapu's parting words to Paikea were, that in the eighth month he would visit his father's people, and that they were all to flee to Hikurangi to save themselves from the inundation which Ruatapu promised. This flood in Maori history is known as “Te tai o Ruatapu;” in Rarotonga it is known as “Te tai o Uenuku;” and local tradition says the people saved themselves by fleeing to Mount Ikurangi, a graceful mountain just behind Avarua, Rarotonga. Whether the scene of this inundation is really connected with the Rarotongan Ikurangi, or some other (according to Rarotonga story this mountain was called after another of the same name in Tahiti), is doubtful. As to the nature of the inundation, it was probably an earthquake wave. I myself saw the effect of the wave of 1868, where, after traversing the whole breadth of the Pacific, from South America, it struck the Chatham Islands with such force as to leave whaleboats thirty feet above tide level.
That the above Uenuku is identical with the Maori Uenuku is proved by his father and his son having identical names in both Maori and Rarotonga history. Moreover, the Rarotonga native history says, “Ia Uenuku-te-aitu, i tona tuatau kua tupu te ngaru.” “In the time of Uenuku-te-aitu, rose up the waves,” which seems to refer to the predicted inundation.
We will now see how the genealogical accounts of Maori and Rarotongan agree as to the period of Ruatapu. On the particular line from which the fragment in the margin has been taken, Ruatapu is the eighteenth back from Queen Mak?a now living. But, if we take the the mean of a considerable number of lines to fix the date of Tangiia we shall find he lived twenty-four generations ago. Counting down from him, we shall find that Ruatapu flourished twenty generations ago. The mean of a large number of Maori genealogies back from 1850 to the date of migration to New Zealand is twenty generations, and it is known that Uenuku and Ruatapu lived in the generation that the heke left Hawaiki. Hence we see the records of the two people agree remarkably well. They are in fact history, not myth.
Motoro, mentioned in the marginal genealogy, was sent by his father Tangiia to become high priest of the god Rongo at Mangaia, as mentioned by Dr. Wyatt Gill in “Myths and Songs.”
It was about this period of Rarotongan history also, that flourished two priests named Paoa-uri and Paoa-tea who voyaged to Raiatea to present a big drum called Tangi-moana to the god Oro, at Opoa, where they were both killed, the full story of which will be found in Miss Teuira Henry's “History of Tahiti” when it appears. The above is perhaps as accordant an account of events in Polynesian History as will ever be obtained. As this paper will be read by many of our members who are not familiar with Maori history, it is necessary to say that the migration to New Zealand herein described is by no means the earliest one of which we have records, on the contrary, it was the last of several.
If Polynesian traditions cannot be reduced to the proper periods to which they have reference, they will never serve the purposes of history. They will remain a series of incongruous stories. The Polynesians themselves have no idea whatever of time, any more than that such and such an event occurred long ago, or very long ago, or in the time of such an ancestor. If we are ever to arrive at dates in Polynesian history we must trust to the genealogies, and when we find that these agree approximately, as preserved by different branches of the race who have had no communication with one another for, sometimes, periods of over 500 years, we must acknowledge that they have a weight that might not be anticipated. No doubt many of the readers of this Journal look upon the large number of genealogical tables published, as so much waste space, but in order to arrive at dates they are necessary. However distasteful therefore to the general reader, it is essential that something be said about them, and comparisons be made.
Antecedently we might expect, from the nature of the subject, that very considerable discrepancies will be found on different lines. If they agree in time within ten per cent., it is perhaps as much as can be expected. In the following remarks, twenty-five years is assumed as the length of a Polynesian generation, a number that has been agreed on by several people who know the race well. It has just been shown that a large number of Maori tables fix the number of generations at which the fleet arrived in New Zealand at twenty, and this was further shown to agree with the Rarotonga account. We may therefore say that the heke took place in the year 1350, and that
Tangiia flourished in 1250.10 This will be taken as a fixed date from which to deduce others, and it will now be shown that it is confirmed by independent data.
Amongst the notable Hawaiian chiefs who, about the years 1100 to 1200, were constantly passing from the Northern Group to Tahiti and the neighbouring islands, was one named 'Olopana, whose wife was Lu'ukia.11 'Olopana lived in the beautiful valley of Waipi'o on Hawaii, which has been mentioned already. During some heavy floods the cultivations in the valley were destroyed, which determined 'Olopana to seek a new home in the Southern Isles. He settled at Kahiki (Tahiti), at a place named Moa-ula-nui-akea, which Miss Henry identifies with Mou'a-ura-nui-atea, or the Tahitian mountain now called Tahara'a.12 'Olopana's residence in Tahiti would bring him into touch with the ancestors of the Maoris, if my theory is good that they were at that time living in that island. It is probable, therefore, that his name is to be found in Maori history. Now, 'Olopana's and his wife's names, if converted into Maori by known letter-changes, would be Koropanga and Rukutia. As a matter of fact, we do find in Maori history the names of Tu-te-Koropanga, whose wife was Rukutia, and that they lived in Hawaiki, which, as has been pointed out, includes Tahiti and the adjacent groups. The Ngai-Tahu tribe of South New Zealand have some long stories about these people, and I ascertained from Tare Wetere te Kahu, a very well informed man of that tribe, that Tu-te-Koropanga was the ancestor of the Waitaha people of the South Island, a tribe that has long been extinct, and whose ancestors were said by my informant to have come to New Zealand in the Matiti canoe, before the fleet. This information was confirmed by Paora Taki, an old and learned man, formerly of Kaiapohia, but now dead. On first seeing these names in Fornander eleven years ago, their probable identity with the Maori ancestors had struck me, but it was not until after five or six years of worrying my correspondents, all over New Zealand and the Pacific, that I finally obtained from the two old men named, the connection of these people with known lines of descent to the present day. Miss Henry has also furnished the probable connection with Tahitian lines, which is shown on the next page.
With respect to the above table, 'Olopana and his wife, Lu'ukia, lived either twenty-four or twenty-six generations ago, according to which of the Hawaiian lines is taken. That these people are identical with Tu-te-Koropanga and his wife Rukutia of Maori history must be taken as almost certain, for it is extremely improbable that two men of the same name should marry wives of the same name—and their period is the same. Moreover, both from Hawaiian and Maori story, Rukutia appears to have been a woman of advanced ideas. With the former people she is accredited with having invented the female dress called pau, which the Hawaiians “make to this day, for no other reason than because the pau of Lu'ukia was of fine thicknesses.” In Maori history her name occurs in an ancient karakia used in tattooing the women, where the operator says, “Be you tattooed after the likeness of Rukutia.” In another song it is said, “Gird thee with the dress (mat) of Rukutia”—perhaps a reference to the Hawaiian story. Again, she is referred to as a poetess. That she was distinguished as a danseuse, the long story of the troubles between her and her first husband, Tama, will show.
According to my Maori informants, Tu-te-Koropanga's daughter was Anu-matao, and she was a matua to Whiro, which may mean an aunt, as well as a mother. The other Maori accounts state that Whiro was the son of Moe-tarauri, as do the Rarotongan histories, which latter give his mother's name as Akimano, and this is confirmed by Tahitian history, where Hiro's mother is shown to be Fa'imano,14 a name which is identical with Akimano. The name in Maori would be Whakimano.
Whether Tu-te-Koropanga is identical with Tu-'Oropa'a-maeha'a (in Maori letters, Tu-Koropanga-mahanga) of the Tahitian line, there is more uncertainty; but they are shown to have flourished within the same, or the next, generation, and they both lived, in Hawaiki by Maori account, in Tahiti by the Tahitian account—places which we must allow to be identical. The Hawaiian 'Olopana was of southern extraction, though his father lived in Oahu. His grandfather Maweke was one of those Hawaiian chiefs who voyaged to Tahiti.
We may possibly see another connection between Hawaiian and Maori ancestors of about this period in the name Pau-matua (Pau-makua in Hawaiian). According to the genealogies published by Fornander there were two very noted ancestors of this name who he shows on different lines to have lived in the same generation, and a mean of six lines from their period down to the present shows that they flourished twenty-five generations ago. One of these men was a noted voyager, who had visited Kahiki (all the world outside Hawaii),
and the other is said to have come from Tahiti and settled in Hawaii. But both appear to have been descendants of people whose ancestors formerly lived in the southern groups. In visiting Tahiti and the neighbouring islands he must, if my theory is right, have come across the ancestors of the Maori. We find that one of the ancestors of Turi, of the Aotea canoe, was named Pau-matua, and—taking Turi to have lived twenty generations ago, or in 1350—that this Pau-matua lived, by one, twenty-three, or by other two accounts, twenty-four generations ago, or very nearly at the same date as the Hawaiian chief. According to Hawaiian history Pau-matua's son was Moena-i-mua (in Maori, Moenga-i-mua) and by Maori history it was Puha-i-mua. This is not exactly proof that the Hawaiian and Maori ancestor Paumatua are the same, but there is a strong probability that they were the same individual.
A constant difficulty met with in the names of Polynesian people is, that they had several names, or often changed them from the occurrence of a death or other circumstance. Hence the same ancestor is often known under different names by separate branches of the race, or even by different tribes of the same branch. It was an ancient custom amongst the Polynesians that chiefs visiting strange islands should take a wife from the people of such island. It was often the case, also, that these wives and their children remained with their own tribe. So that we have lines of people in different islands, descending from one ancestor, who are not known to the records of other islands.
Taken altogether, we see that these genealogical lines, from New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii, all tend to prove one another, and that we may deduce from them a fairly accurate date for the period of Tangiia, viz.: the year 1250.
A reference must now be made to the large general table of Rarotonga ancestors at the end of this paper, for on it depends the dates of events in Rarotongan and Polynesian history. That table, starting from the earliest traditionary period when the people lived in Atia-te-varinga-nui, comes down to the time of the occupation of Rarotonga in 1250. We are now getting into the “misty past,” and cannot expect such agreement in the lines as has been shown in those of later epochs.
We must first consider the agreement or otherwise of the two long lines shown in the table with one another and with a third to be found in vol. iv. of this Journal, page 129. The latter was communicated to our late corresponding member, the Rev. J. B. Stair, in 1842, by Matatia, of Rarotonga, and should therefore have a considerable value attached to it, considering its date. All these three lines commence at
the same ancestor, Te Nga-taito-ariki, and come down to Tangiia, or to his contemporary, Iro. I shall have to point out directly that the Iro and the Tangiia lines differ in places as to the order of names, and they also differ in the names themselves, so much so that they must be different lines of descent, not two editions of the same. It is within my own experience that a group of names is sometimes misplaced on a genealogy, though the total number may be correct, and this is what I think has occurred on the Iro line.
If we count the generations between Te Nga-taito-ariki and Tangiia by these three lines we get the following result:—
|By the Tangiia line||66 generations.|
|” Iro ”||69 ”|
|” Tangiia ”||71 ” (By Matatia)|
Giving double weight to the first Tangiia line above, we may take the mean as 68 generations back from Tangiia, or 92 from the present time to that of Te Nga-taito-ariki. By converting this into years, we arrive at a date very far back in history, or to the year 450 b.c.
The only other line of Rarotonga which may be compared with this, is that of the Tamarua family, but it contains three groups of names on it which causes me to doubt whether it is not a cosmogony, or the three group of names are different ones for three different persons rather than a genealogy. It originates from Tu-te-rangi-marama, the nephew of Te Nga-taito-ariki, and between him and Tangiia are 119 names instead of the mean of 68 of the other lines. By taking out the three doubtful groups, there are 72 left, which does not differ so much from the mean. The full line will be found in the Tamarua history, so that Polynesian scholars may then judge of its value.
There is not much chance of checking these lines from outside sources, but it may be well to see if any correspondence exists. Fornander quotes the line from the first man named in Hawaiian genealogies, Kumuhonua (who possibly may be identified with the Rarotonga Te Tumu (the “origin or root”) who married Papa (“earth, foundation”) as being most reliable. From him to the present day are 93 generations, which (as Te Tumu was the father of Te Nga-taito-ariki) is exactly the same as the Rarotongan. I apprehend however this agreement to be accidental. From Kumuhonua to Wakea, whose wife was Papa, there are 37 generations, and Wakea is possibly the Atea shown on Rarotonga lines as the brother of Te Nga-taito-ariki; if so, there is a discrepancy of 37 generations.
If the Marquesan Atea is the same as the Rarotongan, then we get greater discrepancies still. Mr. Lawson gives the number from Atea to the present day as 74 generations; Mr. Christian as 123, and 140; and Commodore Porter as 88. Commodore Porter spent several
months in the Marquesas in 1813, in command of an American squadron, and learnt a good deal about the natives. It will not be too much to add two generations to his number, which will make the period of Atea 90 generations back from 1850 as against the 92 of Rarotongan, a difference not too great to allow of their being the same person. But the Marquesan genealogies in their earlier parts contain the names of islands, and otherwise do not seem reliable. There is nothing but the name, however, to connect this Atea with that of Rarotonga.
The Moriori genealogies go back further apparently than any others. We find on them the name of Tu-te-rangi-marama, the great Rarotongan ancestor, and he lived, according to the Morioris, 103 generations ago, as against Rarotongan 91. Again, it is not certain if this is the same man, but he is one of the few of whom anything is said in Moriori genealogy; he is accredited with inventing a new kind of mat or garment. We shall see later on that the Rarotongan ancestor of the same name introduced many innovations.
The Maori tables are not reliable beyond say 40 to 50 generations, and therefore admit of only partial comparison with the old Rarotongan ones.
The Samoan tables, earlier than about 40 generations, are cosmogonies rather than genealogies; the longest I have seen is 55 generations, or ages.
The Tongan tables appear to go back only 35 generations, or to just before the island of Tonga was colonized from Samoa. This, however, was not the first occupation of that island.
No Tahitian tables are at present available for a greater length than 40 generations. So far as they go, they compare fairly well with Hawaiian and Maori.
The Rotuma tables go back for 106 generations, but contain only perhaps one name identical with Rarotongan ancestors, and he is too far out of place to be the same. The whole of the names indicate a Samoan origin, so possibly this people entered the Pacific as part of the same migration. Rotuma is just on the route the migration must have followed.
Easter Island lines go back for twenty-three generations by one line, twenty-seven by another (A. Lesson) and appear to be all local,i.e., have lived on that island. Thompson gives the number as fifty-seven from Hotu-matua, who came there “from the east” with his large canoes—from Marae-toehau, and named Easter Island, Te Pitote-henua. This “coming from the east” is another mystery of this celebrated island.
The Mangareva Island tables go back for sixty-six generations, but no names are given by A. Lesson in his “Iles Mangareva.”
The next period, and one of very great importance, that requires fixing, is that of the noted ancestor Tu-tarangi, in whose time the people first began their restless wanderings that a few generations after led them all over the Pacific, after having been located for some generations in the Fiji group, and those parts. Tu-tarangi is shown on two lines, but there is a great discrepancy between them—as much as eleven generations. The line ending in Iro was supplied by Te Aia, who, as a historian, cannot claim the weight that the compiler of the other line has, which ends in Tangiia. This latter was To Ariki-tara-are, the last high priest of Rarotonga under the old régime, and therefore may be considered as the authority on such a subject. We have also a possible means of checking this line thus: If reference be made to the line which comes through Tangiia's uncle, Pou-tea, it will be seen that it begins with Tu, whose son was Tu-tavake. Now, in the times of Tu-tarangi there lived a man named Tu-tavake, as related by the traditions, and it will be noticed that in the table he is shown to be only one generation after Tu-tarangi, or a difference of one generation in the thirty-one that separates Tu-tarangi from Tangiia. There are no means of ascertaining if the Tu-tavake on both lines are identical, but they both lived in Fiji, and the inference is that they are the same. Assuming that this is so, then the period of Tu-tarangi may be fixed at about the year a.d. 450.
Passing downwards on the line from Tu-tarangi, at the forty-eighth generation from now, we come to the name of Ui-te-rangiora. Unfortunately we have no means of checking the period of this man, but he was perhaps the most distinguished and daring navigator of the Polynesian race, as will be seen when we come to deal with him. According to the table he lived about the year 650.
Another check on this long line may be shown as follows: According to the table at the end hereof, we shall find the Rarotongan ancestors Taaki and Karii (in Maori: Tawaiki and Karihi) to be brothers who flourished forty-six generations ago. Turning to the table published in this Journal vol. vii., p. 40, we there find these two brothers, according to Maori account, to have lived forty-nine generations ago. With respect to this Maori table, the compiler, Mr. Hare Hongi, says he is prepared to uphold its accuracy against all comers. The difference of three generations is not too much as between Maori and Rarotongan history. On Mr. Hongi's table will also be found the following names in the order given; Ru-tapatapa-awha, Ueuenuku, Ueuerangi. Now these same names are shown in the same order on the general table at the end of this paper, but very far back in time, which bears out what has been said, to the effect that the names given on this particular Rarotongan line (Iro's) are misplaced.
Continuing down this same line from Tu-tarangi, at thirty-eight generations ago, will be found the name of Kati-ongia, which is one of the very few that can be traced in Samoan genealogies. According to Mr. Steubel, there was an ancestor of Samoa of the name of 'Ationgie (which, allowing for the difference of dialects, is exactly the same as Kati-ongia), who flourished, by one line, twenty-five, by another thirty, generations ago. These differences are too great to allow of the persons named being the same, though one may have been named after the other. The father's and son's names are also different; but they both lived in Samoa.
Again, continuing our downward scrutiny of the Tu-tarangi line, at thirty-six generations ago, we find the name of Atonga, who lived in Kuporu (Up?lu), and in his time was built the celebrated canoe named Manu-ka-tere, which I have referred to as being known to the Tahitians. In the times of Atonga also lived some of the Rata family known to Maori history. Here we have an independent check on the period of Atonga, for a reference to this Journal (vol. iv, p. 129) will show that Rata-vare (known also by that name to the Maoris), who “owned the forest in which the canoe was made,” lived eleven generations before Tangiia, or thirty-five generations ago, which differs only one generation from the period assigned to his contemporary Atonga, on the line we are considering. The best Maori genealogy I have from Rata makes him to have flourished thirty-one generations ago, but I feel sure there have been several people of the name of Rata, which could easily be proved, and the deeds of this one have been confused with those of others, through causes which will be suggested in the next subject dealt with.
Taken altogether, we thus see that there is a fair amount of agreement amongst these tables, sufficient I think to justify us in assigning approximate dates to a number of important epochs in Polynesian history. As we proceed, it will be seen how the dates fit into the traditions derived from various sources.
The Polynesians may be characterised, in may respects, as a highly conservative race. It is needless to illustrate this, for all who have had dealings with them before they became as civilized as they are now, will allow this. It follows that their traditions, when transmitted through the proper channels, would change very slowly. The same will apply to their customs, and in a less degree to their language. Customs are more persistent than language, hence we find little mannerisms, if they may so be called, common to every branch
of the race. The upward nod of the head as a sign of assent; the way the women hold a shell or knife to scrape or cut any thing; the joining of the two thumbs and forefingers on the leg when in repose; the way the women sometimes sit (noho titengi); the holding of the hand with palm downwards when beckoning, and many other things, may be noticed, from New Zealand to Hawaii, from Samoa to Tahiti, and no doubt further away. These little things the child learns from its mother, and transmits to its children. They become racial peculiarities, and are very persistent. In the language there are sources of change due to their system of tapu. If the name of some common article forms part of a tapued chief's name, that article may no longer be called by its original name. In Captain Cook's time the ruling chief of Tahiti was Tu (Otu), hence so many words in Tahitian of which tu formed a part, became tia. In New Zealand a celebrated chief was named Te Hapuku, after a fish; that fish is still called by his tribe te ihuroa, or long-nose, and not hapuku.
And yet, with all the acknowledged conservatism of the race, and with a priesthood whose special function it was to be the “legend keepers,” we find great differences existing as to the amount of historical knowledge preserved by various branches of the race. In some cases this is due to the fact that the ancient lore of the people was not collected by those who had the opportunities. But even where we have fairly full accounts, as in Hawaii, Rarotonga and New Zealand, there are important omissions in one or the other of the histories, for which there must be some explanation. This explanation seems to me to be this: That a tribal organisation has existed from very remote times, each tribe having its own priests who recorded their own tribal history fully, but who had only a general knowledge of that of other tribes. In the various migrations of the people from the west, when they once reached Indonesia, they would occupy different islands for longer or shorter periods, and gradually the tribe, rather than the race, became all important. Intertribal wars seem to have been common from the earliest times, and as the priests usually took a prominent part in the fighting, much of the tribal history would perish with them if any sweeping defeat overtook the tribe. It would seem that even if a common danger caused several tribes to migrate together, each tribe must have retained its individuality to a large extent, must have carried its own particular traditions, its own particular gods, and its own particular leaders and chiefs with it. There are no indications in any of the Polynesian traditions that very large numbers migrated together, or at one time. The inference is, on the contrary, that the parties were small; and the probability is, that whatever may have been the cause of migrations, that such causes would act slowly, and intermittantly, inducing small parties to
move on together, not in a fleet, like the great migration to New Zealand. It is probable that this is the reason why only a few very ancient traditions are common to the race, and that some have retained them more fully than others. For a like reason, we experience a difficulty in recognising the names of places where the people sojourned at different times, on their long migration from the west.
The Marquesan account of the various stages of their migration from the west is probably more full of names than any other, but out of 18 islands they stayed at on their way, only 4 or 5 can be recognised with certainty. This is easily explained if we suppose the migrations to have been small, and made by different tribes. An expedition arrives at an island, gives it a name, and passes on to its final destination. Another one follows in the same route, the same process is repeated, and then we have the same island bearing different names in the histories of the different tribes. Such names are only known to particular migrations, each having its own. It is only by some such process as this we can account for the different names of stages preserved by different branches of the race.
The Hawaiians appear from Fornander to have retained the greatest number of very ancient names; of countries where the childhood of the race was passed. Extremely few of these names, or the incidents connected with them, are known to other branches.
We shall see from the Rarotongan account that their traditions go very far back in time and distance, yet scarcely any of the early Hawaiian names are known to them. It is the same with the Maori; whilst they have, in the legends of Rangi and Papa, probably part of the most ancient of all Polynesian myths, their history after leaving their original Hawaiki, until we find them in the Fiji group and its neighborhood, is a complete blank. I have shown that the Samoans have little or no history that is not connected with Samoa. It is remarkable from the close connection between Maori and Rarotongan ancestors that can be shown in very distant times, that the traditions of the latter people only mention, as it were incidentally, the separation of Heaven and Earth, which they ascribe to Ru and M?ui, not to Tane, and are silent as to the creation of the greater gods and man. From the absence of any reference to this ancient Maori belief, in its Maori form, it would seem that the Rarotongans, in the garbled and comparatively modern version they have, could not have brought away with them in their migration any of the particular class of priesthood to whom was entrusted those particular mysteries. The fact of the Samoans having a somewhat perverted account of this great myth (much like that of the Rarotongans) together with the Maoris and Morioris — who have it much as the Maoris have—would
seen to indicate that it is extremely ancient, and brought into the Pacific by the first migrants. It seems to me that this myth of Rangi and Papa, and the creation of the greater gods and man, belonged to the tangata whenua of New Zealand, rather than to the later migration of 1350, and that the latter learned it in its present form from the former.
Maori tradition, starting at the creation and the evolution of the great gods of the Polynesian race—Tane, Tu, Rongo and Tangaroa, and the creation of the first man and woman—is from that time silent, until the story is again taken up in the times of Hema Tawhaki, Wahie-roa, Rata, Apakura and others, all of whom will be shown by Rarotongan history to have flourished in the Fiji and neighbouring groups. There seems to be some great break in their history, which, I can only suggest is due to a disaster befalling their priests and “legend keepers.” Rarotongan history is different in this respect, as we shall see. This break may be due to the fact that few people in New Zealand ever attempted to collect the history of the Maoris until it was too late. It is unfortunately the case that the early missionaries here, who had the chance, neglected it. Again, it is not certain if any priest of a high order came here with the migrations. Presumably the highest class remained in Eastern Polynesia with the bulk of the population. Of those who did come, probably Nga-toro-i-rangi, of Te Arawa canoe, was the most prominent and most versed in their old history. The Morioris of the Chatham Islands, together with the tangata whenua of New Zealand, having a record of the Creation myth, points to this suggested disaster having occurred (in the central Pacific) since those people first occupied New Zealand in very early times. The cause of this “break” may possibly be due to the wars and migrations from the Fiji group shortly after the time of Tu-tarangi, which are referred to later on.
With a fair knowledge of the various genealogies and traditions derived from different branches of the race, I come to the conclusion that those of Rarotonga are reliable within certain limits. They are derived from the highest historical source, that of the principal priest of Rarotonga; in this they have an advantage over many others. The accordance that has been shown in the genealogies is presumtive evidence of their general accuracy. This accordance is quite unknown to the compilers themselves, and therefore of the more value.
After the conscientious labour bestowed on the study of the Hawaiian traditions by Fornander, we must also accept them as correct, so far as the material at his command allowed. It remains to be seen whether the history of the race, derivable from those tables and their accompanying legends, mutually agree with those of
Rarotonga, and wherein they differ. Everyone who takes up the study of the Polynesian race, must allow that the general lines on which Fornander built up his history of the race, are in the main correct. We may differ as to detail, but his theory as a whole will probably always hold good.15 We may, for instance, think that in tracing the race back to the ancient Cushite civilization of Saba of old, he has gone too far. On this particular subject I do not feel competent to offer an opinion, but he was supported in it by our late Honorary member, Mr. F. D. Fenton. Personally I am inclined not to go so far to the west, nor so far back in time, to seek an origin for the race.
Fornander's researches resulted (very briefly) in the following:—
- 1. At the close of the first and during the second century of the present era, the Polynesians left the Asiatic Archipelago and entered the Pacific, establishing themselves on the Fiji group, and thence spreading to the Samoan, Tonga and other groups eastward and northward.
- 2. During the fifth century a.d., Polynesians settled on the Hawaiian Islands, and remained there comparatively unknown until—
- 3. The 11th century a.d., when several parties of fresh emigrants from the Marquesas, Society, and Samoan groups arrived at the Hawaiian Islands, and for the space of five or six generations, revived and maintained an active intercourse with the first named groups; and—
- 4. From the close of the above migratory era, which may be roughly fixed at the time of Laa-mai-Kahiki and his children, about 21 generations ago, Hawaiian history runs isolated from the other Polynesian groups, until their rediscovery by Capt. Cook in 1778.16
In order to compare the Rarotonga and Hawaii traditions, it is necessary to point out that Fornandor used thirty years as the length of a generation, whereas I use twenty-five. Now, if his dates are calculated on the latter basis, we shall get, from Fornander:—
|1st period—Polynesians left Indonesia||390|
|2nd " —Polynesians settled on Hawaii||650|
|3rd " —Commencement of voyages from the South||1150|
|4th " —Close of Southern voyages to Hawaii||1325|
We will now follow out the Rarotonga traditions from the earliest times, basing the dates on the genealogies given at the end of this paper. I would say, however, that when the reader comes to the Native History itself, he must not expect to find it given in the generalized form I have adopted, for the native writer does not draw any conclusions from the series of isolated traditions he has collected. Allowance must also be made for the love of the marvellous common to all races in the same culture-stage as the Polynesians. This constantly crops up; but a close study of the traditions soon enables anyone to sift it from the substratum of history which underlies the whole. Many years of familiarity with Maori traditions has caused me much surprise at finding these Rarotonga stories so remarkably free from the grossness often characteristic of the former. In this, I think, may be traced the teaching of the Rarotonga missionaries; the native historian has omitted this characteristic feature, in deference to his Christian teachers.
We must bear in mind that, in tracing the history of the Rarotongans, we are following the histories of both Maoris and Hawaiians as well, and perhaps, after a certain time, and to a less extent, those of Tahitians and other branches. It will appear later on that the Maori ancestors, particularly are the same as those of the Rarotongans; we shall often come across them. We must look to these Rarotongan traditions as furnishing the history of both branches of the race, and as filling in many gaps left vacant in Maori history.
The above is the most ancient land known to the Rarotongans, and under the variation Atia, is the first name that is mentioned in their karakias. It has already been shown that one meaning of the word vari is mud, slime, earth, and the deduction drawn that it meant the origin of the race from the primitive earth. There is another and very interesting meaning of vari, which will be new to Polynesian scholars, and as it bears intimately on the origin of the people, it may be here stated. In one of the Rarotongan stories to follow, it is stated that when living in Atia, the common food of the people was vari, and this continued to be so until the discovery of the bread-fruit and the ui-ara-kakano, the latter of which was discovered by one Tangaroa. The writer of the Native history evidently thought this word vari, found in their traditions, referred to mud, as he calls it e kai viivii, or disgusting food, evidently not knowing what the other meaning of the word is. Thinking there was a history in this word, and that it might be connected with pari, rice, I asked Mr. Edward Tregear to see what he could make of it, and this is the result: In Madagascar, the name for rice is vari orvare; in Sunda (Java), Macassar, Kolo, Ende, rice is
pare; in the Bima tongue it is fare; in Malay it is padi and pari. It is stated that the Arabs changed the original Malay “f” into “p,” so that originally the Malay name was fari. It is sufficiently clear from the above that vari means rice, and the Rarotongan tradition is correct, though not now understood by the people themselves. It would seem from this that Atia was a country in which the rice grew, and the name Atia-te-varinga may be translated Atia-the-be-riced, or where plenty of it grew.
De Candolle, in his “Origin of Cultivated Plants,” says that rice was known to the Chinese 2800 years b.c., and that they claim it as an indigenous plant, which seems probable. Rumphius and other modern writers upon the Malay Archipelago give it only as a cultivated plant there. In British India it dates at least from the Aryan invasion, for rice has the Sanskrit name vrihi, arunya, &c. It was used in India, according to Theophrastus, who lived about the fourth century b.c., and it was grown in the Euphrates Valley in the time of Alexander (b.c. 400). “When I said that the cultivation of rice in India was probably more recent than in China I did not mean that the plant was not wild there.” The wild rice of India is called by the Telingas newaree (in which we recognise the wordwari or vari: the Telingas are not Aryans). “Historical evidence and botanical probability tend to the belief that rice existed in India before cultivation,” with much more to the same effect.
All this leads to the legitimate conclusion that rice is a very ancient food plant in India, dating certainly from before the time of Tu-te-rangi-marama, which we have seen was possibly about b.c. 450. I am inclined therefore to think that Atia-te-varinga-nui (Great Atia-covered-with-rice), was India.
As vari has then the double meaning of both rice and mud, it will be interesting to try and ascertain which is the older meaning of the two. As mud must have existed before rice was used, the second meaning is probably the more modern, and the Polynesians, on their first discovery of the rice, applied to it the name of the mud in which it grew. If this is true, it follows that the Polynesians were the originators of this wide spread name of vari and its varients, and further, that they gave it this name when living in India.
De Candolle and others say that rice is not indigenous in Indonesia, hence it probably came from India, and from what follows as to the discovery of the bread-fruit by the Polynesians, it seems to me a reasonable deduction that this people brought the rice from India and introduced it into Indonesia. Otherwise how could they have discarded rice after obtaining the bread-fruit if they had not brought it with them as it is not indigenous there? The bread-fruit is native to Indonesia, and does not grow in Asia. This shows that
they had moved on from India to Indonesia (Avaiki is the place named. which I take to be Java), where they first became acquainted with the bread-fruit. It seems to me that, when the Polynesians left India, they bequeathed—as it were—their word for rice to the Telinga and other peoples they left behind. I claim for the Polynesians that they are the original owners of the name for rice, and that they cultivated it in India before the irruption of the Aryans into that country.
It will not be inferred, I hope, from what has been stated above, that the Polynesians were the first to occupy Indonesia. It is clear, upon several grounds, that they were preceded there by the Papuans or Melanesians—branches of a Negritto race. It seems probable, from what is known of these people, that they also came originally from India, and it is possible they may have introduced the rice with them, but until it is shown that they did so, it seems more reasonable to suppose it was the Polynesians—a race of a much higher standard. Judging from “Earle's Papuans”—a term he applies to all the Negritto people of Indonesia, wherever found—this people, although fond of rice, do not grow it, or only to a very limited extent; they obtain it by trade with the Malays. The inference is that they were not a rice-growing race originally; had they been so, we should find them still cultivating it in parts of Indonesia where they have not been disturbed, such as in New Guinea, or even further afield, in the Solomon and New Hebrides islands. The Polynesians—a superior race—would find little difficulty in expelling the Negritto race, wherever they came in contact with them. No doubt they would often enslave them, and hence, probably, their references to the Manahune people, already referred to. I assume that the Manahune were of the lighter-coloured Melanesians—or Papuans—not the almost black people. It is known that there are degress of blackness amongst the race.
In connection with Atia, as being a name for India, I would say that, in the very old Maori traditions, is mentioned a great river which is connected with their story of the deluge. This river was called Tohinga.17 Now, I learnt from Taare-Wetere-te-Kahu, a very learned man of the Ngai-Tahu tribe of South New Zealand, a tribe that has retained many of the most ancient Maori traditions (derived possibly from the Waitaha, Ngati-Mamoe, and other tribes they displaced), that the river Tohinga was in the most ancient Hawaiki they knew of; that this country was a tua-whenua, a mainland, not an
island; that inland it was bounded by high mountains covered with snow; that below the mountains were great plains; that food was there very abundant. Is not this, in brief, a description of the Ganges and the plains of India bounded by the snowy Himalayas?
Although this ancient Atia was probably India, it is quite clear that it was known also as Avaiki and Avaiki-Atia; and, as in the case of Avaiki, they have probably applied that of Atia to some second country, or used it as a general term for Indonesia. This would seem so from the fact that voyages have been made from Avaiki-runga (Eastern Polynesia) to some place named Avaiki-te-varinga as late as the thirteenth century. We shall see later on that Tangiia, after his expulsion from Tahiti by his cousin Tutapu, went back to Avaiki-tevaringa to visit Tu-te-rangi-marama,18 in order to obtain the help of the gods, who are said to have lived there. Although these are the words used, I am inclined to think he went to consult the priests of the ancient gods and obtain their counsel as to his future course. From that land he obtained a sacred drum, a trumpet, and a large number of evas, or ceremonial dances, which he subsequently introduced into Rarotonga, besides the mana or supernatural powers specially given him by the gods. Judging from analogy, the mana would be in the form of potent karakias or incantations. It seems to me that India is too far off for Tangiia to have returned to. There is no doubt he introduced some innovations on previous customs from this Avaiki, wherever it may have been. Possibly the old keepers of legends used Avaiki here in a very general sense, as referring to the remote lands where they sojourned on their migrations.
In the name of Atia itself, there is a strong temptation to make use of the Tongan and Moriori pronunciation of the t (ch), and connect Atia with Atchin (which is pronounced and spelt by the Dutch, Atjeh). But Atchin is at the north-west end of Sumatra, and I think too far to the west for voyages to be made there from Eastern Polynesia. The second Atia is more likely to be the ancient name of some place in the Celebes, or perhaps Ceram, the oldest known appellation of which was Seran, a name that may probably be identified with the very ancient Maori one of Herangi, Hawaiian, Helani or Holani19, and Rarotongan, Erangi-maunga. I am not aware if any ruins exist in those islands which might be identified with the Koro-tuatini. We must not allow ourselves to think that this ancient temple is one of those in Java (also one of the Hawa-ikis), because it is known that they were built by the Hindoos in the sixth century, whereas the Koro-tuatini, if we may trust the genealogies, was created long before that.
There is one other place which suggests itself as a possible Atia, and that is the Island of Ponape (Pan-u-pei) in the Caroline group, the ancient ruins of which at Matalanim have been described by our corresponding member, Mr. F. W. Christian,20 but the rice is not known there, and Mr. Christian has shown the strong possibility that the remains are Japanese. I am forced to the belief, therefore, that Atia-te-varinga-nui is India.
Wherever Avaiki-te-varinga may be, it is clearly not Avaiki-raro in the western Pacific, one piece of evidence of which is, that in returning to Samoa from there, Tangiia first made the land at Uea or Wallis Island, directly west of Samoa and north-east of Fiji—I have little doubt it is Java.
Over this land of Atia-te-varinga-nui, there ruled in very ancient days (B.C. 450 according to the genealogies) a king or ruling chief named Tu-te-rangi-marama, who is accredited with building a temple twelve fathoms high, which he enclosed with a stone wall, and named it a “Koro-tuatini,” or place of many enclosures. It was built as a meeting place for gods and men; and here the spirits of the ancients after death foregathered with the gods. It was a “ngai tapu kak?,” “a sacred glorious place,” of great space within, and filled with many beautiful and wonderful things. Here were originated the different kinds of takuruas, feasts and games, by Tu-te-rangi-marama, to dignify the land. From Atia came the “trumpets, the drums, of two kinds, and the numerous evas” or dances. Here also originated the karioi,21 or houses of amusement, singing and dancing, besides many other things and customs. Here first was instituted the takurua-tapu, or sacred feasts to the gods Rongo, Tane, Rua-nuku, Tu, Tangaroa and Tongaiti, and here also was the meeting places of the great chiefs of that period, of Tu-te-rangi-marama, of Te Nga-taito-ariki, of Atea, of Kau-kura, of Te Pupu, of Rua-te-atonga and others, and of the great priests of old when they assembled to elect the kings, to meet in council to devise wise measures for “men, slaves, and children. These were the orders of men who dwelt in that land, and these were the people who spread over all this great ocean” In Atia also originated the great wars which caused the people to spread to all parts.
Tu-te-rangi-marama and others of those mentioned, appear to have been subsequently deified into gods, but they do not take the supreme place of Rongo, Tane, &c., mentioned above.
In “Life in the Southern Isles,” Dr. Wyatt Gill gives the following ancient chant or “form of prayer used on public occasions at themarae of Tangaroa, Rarotonga, until the subversion of idolatry, which illustrates the native tradition as to their origin.” Another, but very similar version will be found later on; it is called a “Kauraura.”
|Vananga mai te tupua Tangaroa,||Speak, thou ancient Tangaroa,|
|Ki tapatapa atua.||To thy worshippers.|
|Kimo, Tangaroa! Kimo!||Praise Tangaroa! Praise (him)!|
|Kimo! kimo! Ourourour?, Ie!||Praise (him)! praise (him)! Ha! Ha! (war-dance)!|
|Vananga mai nga atua,||Let the gods speak,|
|Vananga mai nga ariki,||Let the chiefs rule,|
|Teia te turanga pure, aku at?a.||We offer thee worship, O my gods!|
|O Atia ra te pou enua ïa,||Atia is the original land|
|Ei tupuranga, tupuranga, e toro.||From which we sprang.|
|Avaiki ra te pou enua ïa,||Avaiki is the original land|
|Ei tupuranga, tupuranga, e rire.||From which we came.|
|Kuporu ra te pou enua ïa,||Kuporu is the original land|
|Ei tupuranga, tupuranga, e toro.||From which we sprang.|
|Vavau ra te pou enua ïa,||Vavau is the original land|
|Ei tupuranga, tupuranga, e rire.||From which we came.|
|Manuka ra te pou enua ïa,||Manuka is the original land|
|Ei tupuranga, tupuranga, e toro.||From which we sprang.|
The other versions of this chant are somewhat longer and mention other lands at which the people stayed in their migrations; they express in brief form the route followed by that branch of the race to which Maori and Rarotongan belong, the last name being that of the easternmost island of the Samoan group from which Makea Karika came, when he and his people settled in Rarotonga about a.d.1250.
From Tu-te-rangi-marama downwards for fifteen generations, or 375 years, the history of the people is a blank, but at the end of that time—or about the year 65 b.c., we come to the first sign of any migration. The history says of Te Kura-a-moo, “He went to the east, to the sun rising, and remained there, in consequence of the troubles that arose between him and his sisters through a basket ofmatau which one sister had trodden into the mud.” I cannot say if
matau here means fish-hooks, but it is probable. “He remained there, and there were born to him,” &c., &c., the genealogy following. From the next incident in the history I come to the conclusion that the place Te Kura-a-moo migrated to was Avaiki-te-varinga, which I take to be Java.
During the period that the people were dwelling in Avaiki-te-varinga, which is certainly in Indonesia, we meet with the story of M?ui, the great Polynesian hero or demi-god. He is said to have been the son of Tangaroa, by the wife of Ataranga, named Vaineuenga. It seems that this Tangaroa was really a man, and not the god of that name, though in the process of time the attributes of the latter have been in some cases ascribed to the man Tangaroa. It is scarcely necessary to say that Tangaroa has been used as a man's name from remote times down to the present day, as a reference to the genealogical table at the end will show. I suppose this particular Tangaroa to have been one of the early adventurers into Indonesia, where he is accredited with having discovered a new kind of food, or fruit, the name of which, however, does not throw much light on what it was. It is called in the Rarotongan history ui-ara-kakano,22 and was found by Tangaroa on the beach; it was white in colour, and became a common food of the people, almost to the exclusion—as history says—of the vari or rice. Tangaroa met with some notable adventures with a monster fish called a Moko-roa-i-ata,23 which is probably intended for an alligator, and which “fish,” with a stroke of its tail, inflicted a humiliating defeat on Tangaroa. Tangaroa married Ina, the daughter of Vai-takere, and if this is the same person as mentioned in the genealogical table, the period must be fixed as early in the first century.
We find the names of several countries or islands mentioned that Tangaroa visited (besides the skies), such as Rangi-ura, Vai-ono, Avaiki, Vairau-te-ngangana,24 Raro-nuku, Rangi-make, &c.
Vai-takere, Tangaroa's father-in-law is accredited with the introduction of the bread fruit to the knowledge of his people. The
story about it is overlaid with mythical incidents, as are so many Polynesian tales, but there is no doubt a substratum of historical fact. It appears to have been first discovered growing in the mountains. There were great rejoicing at the discovery. Vai-takere's wife is accredited with having produced the ii, which is, I think, the Tahitian ifi, ihi or chestnut, called also by the Rarotongans, mape. The story says, that two new foods having been discovered in Avaiki, the use of vari or rice was abandoned.
Notwithstanding the fanciful dress in which we shall find these stories in the original, they point strongly to the first arrival of the people in a strange land, where new kinds of food were discovered.
The bread fruit is stated by De Candolle in his “Origin of Cultivated Plants,” to be a native of Java. “The bread-fruit is evidently a native of Java, Amboyna and the neighbouring islands; but the antiquity of its cultivation in the whole of the archipelago, proved by the number of varieties, and the facitity of propogating it by buds and suckers, prevent us from knowing its history accurately.” The rice of course grows in Java at the present day, and I hold, the probability is, the Polynesians first introduced it there from India.
At this time the people were apparently divided into tribes, for we find the names mentioned of Ati-Apai and Ngati-Ataranga, both Ati and Ngati being tribal pre-nominals.
The hero M?ui is said to have been the son of Tangaroa above. It has long been thought by some of our members that M?ui was in reality one of the early voyagers into the Pacific, who through his exploits has been clothed by succeeding generations with the miraculous deeds of a god. The Rarotongan story seems rather to bear this out, whilst, at the same time, relating much of the marvellous. After describing his nurture in a cave and his wonderful uprising therefrom, which reminds us of the Taihitian story of Hono-ura,25 it then relates his overcoming the sea-monster Moko-roa-i-ata, after which he started on his travels. During this voyage—if it may be so called, but no mention is made of the canoe—he visited and fished up Mani-hiki Island, north of Rarotonga,26 then went to Tonga-ake, which is the name of the east side of Tonga-tapu, then to Rangi-raro, to Rangiuru, to Avaiki-runga, the Tahitian group—to Vaii—the Hawaiian group—to Ngangai, Te-aro-maro-o-pipi, then south to the Marquesas, the several islands of which groups are referred to as Iva-nui, Iva-rai,
Iva-te-pukenga, Rauao, and Iva-Kirikiri,27 then westward to Paumotu, Tahiti, Raiatea, Porapora, to Atiu, Mangaia and Rarotonga of the Cook group, from whence he returned westward, and finally to Na-vao, the place of departed spirits in Avaiki.
There are some things worthy of note in this expedition. I would particularly call the attention of our Hawaiian members to the fact that M?ui is stated to have called that group M?uiui, in rembrance of his efforts in lifting up the heavens, and he gave it another name Vaii (or Vaihi or Waihi, known as such both to Tahitians and Maoris), and a third name he gave was Ngangai. Now in Hawaiian this would be Nanai, and as the change from r and l to n is common in Polynesian, we may see the origin of the name of Lanai Island, off Maui, Hawaiian group. It is stated that M?ui named this last island on account of the ui-tatauanga, or “tatooing with the ui,” or tatooing comb. It was in Avaiki-runga (which by one account is made to include the Hawaiian Islands) that he visited Mauike, te pu o te ?i the lord of fire, whose daughter—amongst others—was Pere (the Hawaiian fire goddess Pele). Now, this is a remarkable deviation from the Maori and other stories relating M?ui's visit to Mahuika, the god or goddess of fire, whose residence is always said to be in the nether-world. Here it is said to be in Hawaii; evidently a reference to the volcanoes of that group. I am not aware whether any of the ancient names of the Hawaiian islands bears any resemblance to Te Aro-maro-o-Pipi.28
Bearing in mind the common change from n to l in Polynesian, we may probably see in Na-vao, the place of departed spirits, a repetition of the New Guinea La-vao, to which place, in the west, spirits depart after death.
I would suggest that M?ui's “lifting up of the heavens” is a metaphor, used to describe his onward course from horizon to horizon “where the sky hangs down,” and his penetration into new seas beyond the limit of the knowledge of his compeers. The lifting—in fact—of the clouds of ignorance by the discovery of fresh island worlds. This has an analogy in the Maori account of “felling with an axe ” the storms and difficulties they met on the voyage to New Zealand in later times.
Whether the theory hinted at above as to M?ui being a real historical person or not is correct, must be left to the decision of some one who will study the whole body of legends relating to him as derived from all branches of the race, but the Rarotongan account in a measure supports Fornander's hypothesis that this series of legends
is older than the migration into the Pacific.29 There have been very many M?uis in Polynesian history, and in process of time the deeds of some ancient and mythical M?ui have become confounded with those of men who lived in later ages. The Rarotongans do not, so far as I know, trace any descent from M?ui of this period, though Hawaiians and Maoris do from one who lived in a later age.
(To be continued.)
Cook Islands Time
Cook Islands Calendar
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