The voice of lamentation and the noise of weeping were heard in
Hawaiki; for men’s hands were lifted up to slay their own kin: so
that father slew son, and son smote father, and brother strove against
brother, until nowhere in all that pleasant land was there peace.
Wherefore, little children hid themselves for fear; and women, having
cut their cheeks with sharks’ teeth, and gashed their bosoms with sharp
shells and pieces of _tuhua_, raised the _tangi_ for the warriors
who every day passed through the portals which give upon the Waters of
But Ngahue, being a great chief, might not weep; so he sat apart in
his _whare_, neither eating nor drinking, while he prayed to the
gods and to his ancestors that they would make a way of escape from the
threatening doom. For Ngahue was sore stricken, having been worsted
in the fight, and well he knew that for the conquered was no mercy.
Wherefore, he sat with bowed head and covered face, and prayed for
And light came; for the gods had pity upon Ngahue, who was ever their
So Ngahue arose in the black darkness, bidding his wife be of good
cheer and patiently await his return, and with noiseless tread stole
forth from his _whare_.
Softly called Ngahue unto him his best-beloved friend, Te Turi, the
Stubborn One, and Te Turi’s friends, Te Weri, the Centipede, and Te
Waerau, the Crab, together with certain warriors, proved in many a
fight. He compelled also to his side a sufficiency of _tutua_ and,
being come to the beach, launched a great canoe. Then, having commended
themselves to the gods, they sailed whithersoever Atua chose to lead
Many days sailed they over the placid bosom of _moana_, passing
fair islands whereon they were fain to rest, but for fear of club and
cooking-pot dared not land. So they kept on the course which Atua had
set, praying ever that they might come to the land which Ngahue had
seen in a vision what time the gods gave him light.
But all things have an end. Neither Ngahue, nor his friends, nor his
followers, nor the _tutua_ complained or murmured at the hardships
they underwent, or reviled the gods; wherefore the Six Great Brethren
had compassion upon them.
So the Great Six sat in council–Tumatauenga, god and father of men and
war; Haumiatikitiki, god of the food which springs of itself from the
earth; Rongomatane, god of the food which men prepare for themselves;
Tangaroa, god of fish and reptiles; Tawhiri-Ma-Tea, god of winds and
storms; Tane-Mahuta, god of forests and of the birds therein–all were
Then spake Tumatauenga, saying, “Behold! I will send ahead of Ngahue
my youngest son, Mauitikitiki o Taranga; and I will give him the
jawbone of one of his ancestors, whereof he shall fashion a great hook,
wherewith he shall fish up a land out of _moana_ for Ngahue; and the
name thereof shall be Te Ika a Maui. Behold! I have spoken.”
Then spake in turn the rest of the Great Brethren, sons all of Rangi
and Papa, promising good gifts to Ngahue and them with him. But
Maui, obedient to his father’s word, went forth and fished diligently
in the sea until, lo! he drew up a land, which, by the might of the
Six Brethren, was covered in an instant with forests and plains and
mountains and valleys. And birds flew high and low and sang among the
trees, and rivers rushed through deep woods, and silver streams flashed
by quiet lawns, and the bays and straits abounded in fish, and the
earth with good things to eat. All was of the best for Ngahue and his
friends when they should arrive.
So Maui gave to Ngahue the new land, which was a land beautiful, a
land rich and abounding in all things good and needful; and he and his
friends, beholding this fair and gracious land and knowing it their
own, gave thanks to the Six Great Brethren and were filled with joy.
Then Ngahue, calling upon the gods, drave the great canoe into a
beautiful bay, and made fast to a tree which hung low over the water
and flung its red blossoms on the tide; whereafter the wanderers
stepped ashore and stood upon the land which Maui had fished up from
the sea, and which the Six Great Brethren had given them for their own.
Then, all most reverently standing still, Ngahue gathered a little soil
and scattered it to the four quarters of the earth and, having cast his
most cherished ornament into the sea in propitiation, he chanted this
prayer to the Spirit of the Land:–
We arrive where an unknown earth is under our feet;
We arrive where a new sky is above us.
We arrive at this land,
A resting-place for us.
O Spirit of the Earth! We strangers now humbly
Offer our hearts as food for thee.
And Ngahue loved the new land, for the forest trees were tall and
splendid, and the flowers beautiful and radiant as _kahukura_ in
the sky. Great eels swarmed in the rivers, fish in plenty swam in the
sea, and sharks, whose teeth are for ornament and for women when they
raise the _tangi_. Whales, also, played in the near seas, and seals
basked upon the rocks. Birds of song and birds for food flew in the
air or ran along the ground or swam upon the lakes and rivers. But one
giant bird with feeble wings stalked with long legs over the hills;
and, though this bird was twice the height of an ordinary man, and of
a strength prodigious, yet did Ngahue slay one such in his wanderings
about the new land.
Earth, too, gave of her treasures a most beautiful stone, green of
hue and clear as light at dawn or dense as a storm-cloud, and so hard
withal that a club which Ngahue fashioned from it cracked the skull of
one of his foes, yet itself brake not in pieces.
So, looked Ngahue north or south or east or west; looked he inland
where the tall mountains hid their snowy peaks in the bosoms of the
rosy clouds, or looked he upon the “many dimpled smile of ocean,”
behold, the land was very good.
Then Ngahue, having gathered many things which would not perish by the
way, called his friends and said, “See now; let us return to Hawaiki,
taking these our treasures, which, when our kinsmen see, they will
eagerly follow us hither. So shall they gain a peaceful home, and so
shall the land the gods have given us be filled with stout hearts, and
our seed increase and multiply. What say ye, O my brothers?”
And Te Weri and Te Waerau joyously cried, “_Kapai!_” and the
warriors shouted their war-cry; but the _tutua_ raised their voices and
wept for happiness that they should be free of war’s alarms.
So they came again after many days to Hawaiki, whence all their kinsmen
were willing to go with them to the new and beautiful land which had
been given to Ngahue. Moreover, strife still raged; wherefore, they of
the weaker side came privately to Ngahue and begged that they might go
with him; to which the chief willingly consented, knowing that the more
the folk the better for the new land.
But one of the gods–no man knoweth which–angry because Ngahue
persuaded so many to leave the land of their birth, set fire to Hawaiki
to destroy all therein. But Rangi sent a storm of rain upon the land,
so that the fire was utterly killed, save for certain few sparks which
hid among the trees where the rain could not reach them, and there
abode for ever. Wherefore it is that, if a man rub together two pieces
of wood, fire will issue therefrom.
And now, a fleet having been built–some say at one place, some at
another, but most at Rarotonga–a great company assembled and filled
the double canoes, whereof the names were Arawa, Matatua, Tainui,
Takitumu, Kurahaupo, Tokomaru, Matawhaorua, Aotea, and more whose names
[Illustration: Farewell to Hawaiki]
Family by family they embarked, taking great store of seeds of
_kumara_, _karaka_ berries and gourds, together with
_pukeko_, dogs, and rats. Thus they set sail in company from the
land of their birth.
But an evil spirit let loose a tempest upon them, so that the fleet was
scattered, and each canoe must sail upon its own course, its captain
having no pilot, but only the knowledge which Ngahue had imparted to
the high chiefs. Yet by the grace of Atua they all came safe to the
land which Maui had fished up from the sea.
Aotea, Arawa, Tainui, and the rest, all were beached at last, and the
exiles bade one another farewell and wandered here and there over the
land, each family making choice where they would dwell. Nor was the
choice too easy, since every place was so beautiful and inviting. But
at last they came to rest, and thus from the beginning was Te Ika a
Maui peopled by the friends and followers of Ngahue; and their seed,
multiplying as the spores upon the fern, founded and established the
nations which compose the Maori Race.
NOTE.–According to another tradition, the first Maori explorer was
Rakahaitu, a chief, who landed in the South Island about one thousand
years ago. Other traditions, again, give the credit of discovery to
Kupe. In August of this year, an interesting find was made on the
south coast of the North Island, in the shape of an ancient stone
anchor. This is held by experts to have been used by Kupe, whose
canoes, buried under huge mounds of earth, still rest upon the
heights to which the adventurers dragged them after landing.
[Footnote 1: The island–true site unknown–whence the ancestors of the
Maori emigrated, according to tradition, to New Zealand.]
[Footnote 2: Obsidian, or volcanic glass.]
[Footnote 3: The Lament for the Dead.]
[Footnote 4: The Abode of the Shades.]
[Footnote 5: House. In Maori there are no silent vowels. Thus whare
“wharry,” not “whar”; kupe “ku-pe,” not “koop.”]
[Footnote 6: Maori names were frequently bestowed on account of mental
or physical peculiarities, or of real or fancied resemblance to natural
[Footnote 7: Poor, low-born men to do menial work.]
[Footnote 8: The gods collectively. Fate.]
[Footnote 9: The ocean.]
[Footnote 10: Literally, “The Fish of Maui.”]
[Footnote 11: Heaven and Earth. Short for Papa-tu-a-nuku.]
[Footnote 12: This prayer, preserved by tradition, was actually uttered
by a chief upon the landing of the exiles from Hawaiki, after Ngahue’s
second, and final, voyage from his old home.]
[Footnote 13: The rainbow.]
[Footnote 14: The reference is to the gigantic, wingless bird, now
extinct, the Moa–_Dinornis moa_.]
[Footnote 15: Good! Hurrah!]
[Footnote 16: Sweet potato–_Ipomoea batatas_.]
[Footnote 17: _Corynocarpus laevigata._]
[Footnote 18: Water-hen–_Porphyrio melanotus_.]