At Hiva, Raiatea, lived a chief named Ra’amauriri -Pouariki- , whose wife was Taetaefenua, by whom he had four sons, named Meaehi’oimua, Meaehi’oimuri , Meaehuitetae ,and Ti’apaerairai. 

Then his wife died, and Ra’amauriri took to himself a second wife, named Faimanoari’i - Akimanokiatu -, who bore him a giant son, named Hiro so named after the god of thieves.

The true father of Hiro was Moeterauri who came from Vavau to Raiatea to court Akimano, who was the wife of Pouariki.

He first visited her on the two nights of the lunar calendar known as Iro and Oata.

When the woman became pregnant Moeterauri said to her, ‘If our child you are about to give birth to turns out to be a boy, I will call him by my two nights of the moon, Ironui ma Oata.’

Akimano gave birth to a son, and he was so named accordingly.

Moeterauri departed for Vavau after Akimano became pregnant.

He left her with four inheritances for his child: “the weapon called Niotamore; a loincloth called Tavamanava, a garment named Aumatuanaki, and a wooden pillow named Te Veri”.

While yet a young lad, Hiro went to Tahiti and lived at ‘Uporu (Ha’apape) with his maternal grandfather, named Ana, the senior teacher in the school called Tapuataitera’i (Sacred cloud in the sky).

There his four half brothers had been placed as students in Tapuataitera’i, and while he was still too young to join them, he acquired a greater knowledge than they of the chants that he heard by listening from outside.

Hiro grew so fast that he was soon the biggest youth in all ‘Uporu, and one night he stole up on to the ridgepole of the schoolhouse where his grandfather, who was blind, was teaching, and this he continued to do during six consecutive nights, at the end of which he had absorbed into his person all that was taught in the school.

When he was admitted as a student he recited all the chants so well that the teachers were amazed, and his grandfather said that there was nothing more at the school for him to learn.

It is said that his pastime at ‘Uporu was to play with sand, which he easily heaped up into hillocks which are still standing along the shore.

When he became a man, he inquired of his grandfather what were the requirements of man.

His grandfather replied: “Provide yourself with a home, and marry a wife.”

“If I do so,” said Hiro, “what must I do with the wife?”

“Cherish and feed and clothe her,” was the reply.

“That would be unprofitable,” said Hiro, and so he went on disapproving of everything that Ana told him a man should do.

Then he inquired what tricks man was capable of doing, and when Ana enumerated: lying, deceiving, and thieving.

Hiro exclaimed: “Yes, stealing is good; that is a profitable thing; it will be satisfying to a man.”

So Hiro decided to become a thief under the protection of Hiro, god of thieves; and he began by stealing young breadfruit and coconut trees taking the precaution not to do so from lands close by.

He planted these trees on his own grounds.

Hiro was a great pig hunter.

Early one morning Hiro told his grandfather that he was going far up inland to a sacred place called Outupuna for a branch of an ‘ava tree named ‘Avatuputahi, famed for its age and immense size.

His grandfather cautioned him to be careful not to desecrate the sacred grounds.

Hiro went there, and on his arrival, he was greeted by two men, keepers of the premises, named Taru’ihau and Terima’aere.

They asked him what his errand was, for, said they, “No man dares enter here.”

When Hiro told them what he wanted, they refused to allow him to break a branch or to approach the sacred ‘ava.

They yielded not to his entreaties and finally threatened to take his life if he would not depart.

Much vexed, Hiro struck off some branches from the ‘ava tree with his spear but by enchantment the two keepers caused them to reunite and grow again in their places.

Hiro also used enchantment, made the tree grow very high, again broke off its branches, which remained upon the ground unaffected by the further invocations of the keepers.

Then he pulled the tree up by the roots.

The keepers called to their aid a boar named Mo’iri, of prodigious size and possessed by a man devouring demon, so that it terrorized men who chanced to pass near the place. Soon it came rushing towards Hiro.

He met it with his spear, which he thrust through its open mouth, and killed it, consigning the evil spirit to Po.

Then the two men stepped forwards with their spears to fall upon Hiro, but he warded off their spears, caught his assailants by the hair, beat their heads together, and killed them.

Hiro tied the two men together by the hair of their heads and placed them thus across his spear, with the great ‘ava tree at one end and the pig, Mo’iri, tied by its four legs, at the other.

Then he raised his spear upon his shoulders and carried home his burden as though it were nothing.

On arriving home late in the afternoon, Hiro found his grandfather sitting beneath a spreading breadfruit tree, and before him he threw down his load upon the ground with three tremendous thuds and a crash.

“What have you there, Hiro?” asked the old man.

“The pig, Mo’iri,” was the answer.

“What is it that crashed?” he asked.

“The famous solitary ‘ava,” said Hiro.

“And what produced the other two heavy sounds ?” asked the old man.

“The two men, Taurihau and Terima’aere, whom I have slain.”

“Aue, aue!” said Ana, sorely mortified.

“You have committed a great crime!”

But when Hiro explained everything to him his anger ceased.

Hiro buried the two men in his marae, after which he purified himself for domestic work by bathing in the sea.

He made an oven in which he baked the great pig and some taro, and then he prepared the ‘ava drink by chewing up the roots, according to custom, and in a few moments his work was done; he had filled forty ‘umete with pulp and poured on water and strained out the ‘ava juice ready to drink.

The old man was astonished when he was told that forty ‘umete of ‘ava had been prepared so quickly, and he asked to feel his grandson that he might form an idea of his size.

So Hiro sat down while his grandfather stood up, and although Ana was a man of fine stature he found that his hands could reach up only below the shoulder blades of Hiro, which caused him to exclaim: “You are indeed an immense man, and your mouth must hold a great deal more than that of an ordinary person.

It is not surprising then that you have masticated all the ‘ava so soon.”

They feasted on the famous pig and drank freely of the ‘ava, which they found very good.

Hiro ate three fourths of the pig and drank thirty ‘umete of the ‘ava and was only moderately filled; his grandfather was amply satisfied with a hind leg of the pig and two ‘umete of ‘ava.

From this event arose the saying, formerly common in Tahiti and the Tuamotus: “Te pua’a o Mo’iri, e te ‘Avatuputahi”.

Hiro acquired a great passion for navigation and visiting lands far away.

He became skilled in hewing canoes out of solid logs and was the first builder of large canoes with planks sewn together, which he called pahi.

A day came when Hiro conceived a strong desire to go and visit his mother in Raiatea, and his grandfather agreed to let him go.

He built himself a big canoe with a keel and planks sewn together, which was the first of the kind ever made in the Islands.

He loaded it with many nice things to take as presents to his parents and also a feather cloak and girdle for himself to wear befitting his rank.

Astern upon the deck he erected an altar, at which to offer prayers and upon which he placed choice food for the gods.

He invited his four half brothers to accompany him, to which they willingly agreed, and after all the usual ceremonies they launched the canoe and one fine morning in beautiful weather set sail for Raiatea.

When they were well out to sea Hiro desired to take a nap, and before doing so he told his brothers that they would probably meet with flocks of birds, which would alight upon their canoe, in which case if they saw a flock of large white birds accompanied by a beautiful red bird they must by no means kill them, as it would be Taane Manu and his train.

Great trouble would ensue were they to commit so grave an offense against the god Taane.

Hiro went to sleep, and soon many birds came soaring overhead.

Finally a flock of beautiful white birds with the great elegant red Taane Manu conspicuous among them alighted upon the water, sometimes flying on to the rigging of the canoe and eating food off the altar, revealing the goodwill of Taane.

Meanwhile, the four brothers were preparing breakfast upon a floor of sand fixed across the stern of the canoe, and with poles and paddles they beat down and killed some of the birds for meat and also struck and stunned Tane Manu, forgetting the caution Hiro in their excitement.

Apparently dead, Tane Manu lay unnoticed upon the altar. Hiro slept on soundly.

When the food was cooked his brothers ate heartily of it, much enjoying the fat flesh of the sacred birds.

They set aside a share for Hiro, and when he awoke and sat to eat he found the pieces of bird much more delicate than all other sea birds, and seeing the red bird on the altar he at once knew what had happened and upbraided his brothers, saying that they were thus bringing sure destruction upon them all.

Hiro then took Taane Manu, and after handling him tenderly and invoking the god Taane to renew his life, he soon saw the bird revived, whereupon the bird flew away, his head drooping with sorrow at the unkind treatment he had received.

When Taane Manu reached Taane in the sky, Taane said the names of the brothers of Hiro, according to their ages; the bird nodded assent at each name, then held up his head as soon as Taane mentioned the name of the one who had stunned him, and thus it was made clear that the evil had happened to the bird while on the canoe.

Again Hiro went to sleep, and then came a strong current in the sea, followed by a tempest, in the midst of which the brothers saw proudly sitting upon the billows the bird Taane Manu sent by the god Taane to preside over the elements.

They roused Hiro, who at once ordered the sails to be put down, and shortly afterwards the storm subsided, when they set sail again.

So it happened that the same disturbance took place whenever Hiro fell asleep and ended after he awoke.

Finally as he again prepared to sleep, he said one more storm worse than all the others would come, and he told his brothers to awaken him as soon as the sea began to show indications of the storm’s approach.

While Hiro slept the wind changed for the worse and came from all four quarters of the horizon at once.

The sea became rough and the canoe was swamped. When Hiro awoke, he exclaimed to his brothers: “Now we are lost.

Why didn’t you wake me as I told you to?”

Soon Taane Ma’o came and demanded the elder brother of Hiro, and Hiro answered: “Have you no pity? My ship is swamped, my altar is washed away, my goods are all wet.”

“Give me my prey or you shall die also,” Taane Ma’o replied, and he seized Meaehi’oimua, and swallowed him whole.

Then he swallowed the other three brothers, one after another.

Hiro tried to save each, but to no avail.

The shark allowed Hiro to kiss the last brother, then carried him away in his jaws.

Hiro then sank down to the bottom of the sea in his capsized canoe, and there he slept.

During the night he heard two voices by him saying: “Give! give the canoe to us, Hiro; awake!”

Looking around, he asked who these were, asking for his canoe.

“We are those who turn upright capsized canoes,” they replied, and so Hiro welcomed them and let them turn up his canoe.

He fell asleep again and was awakened by two more persons, saying: “Give, O give!” and when he inquired who they were, they answered, “We are canoe bailers.”

And so with Hiro in it, they sent the canoe like a shot up to the surface of the sea and there bailed out the water and disappeared.

It was just daylight when Hiro set sail once more for Raiatea, his native isle.

Hiro landed on Raiatea and laid out his clothes and gifts to dry.

Two forest nymphs stole his feather cloak and feather girdle.

Hiro trapped them at their bathing pool and kept them captive until they gave him back his possessions.

As evening set in, Hiro swore vengeance upon Taane Manu, whom he had resuscitated by invocations to the god Taane.

He found that the home where the bird roosted was near by, and as the bird was out at sea still, Hiro dug a hole beneath the roost, made his bed in it, and laid down to rest while waiting for the bird to return.

While yet asleep, Hiro heard a spirit’s voice, saying, “Take him, Hiro, Take him!” and as he awoke, he reached up his long arms and secured Tane Manu tightly in his grasp.

But the bird was very strong and struggled hard until he escaped, then took flight up to the first sky, to the second sky, and to the third sky, with Hiro, undaunted, following.

Then they descended to earth and alighted on the island of Rurutu, whence the bird swam to Raiatea.

Hiro swam after him.

Because of this swim Hiro had ever after a rank, sodden odor, which was compared to that of coconut husk steeped in water.

On arriving in Ra’iatea, Hiro found the weary bird perched upon a nono tree, his head drooping.

Panting for breath, Taane Manu was unable to go farther.

When he saw Hiro, he exclaimed: “Let me live, O Hiro, let me live!”

Hiro said that as Taane Manu had been the cause of all his troubles he deserved to die, but he merely banished him.

Thus ended the earthly career of the beautiful red bird, Taane Manu, who returned to Taane in his tenth sky, where he ever afterwards remained.

At last Hiro went to his mothers abode and there dwelt a long time.

Hitherto he had lived a bachelor life, indifferent to the fair sex; but in Raiatea he at last conceived a strong attachment for a most beautiful woman named Vaitumarie, who was the wife of a noted warrior named Tutae, and he determined to possess her himself.

So he made advances to the man, sometimes feigning friendship and again aggravating him to hostility, until one day the warrior raised his spear to strike him, when Hiro caught him by the head and broke his neck.

Thus freed of the husband, Hiro took possession of the wife, of whom he became very fond, and by her he had three children, a son, named Marama, another son called Tawakewake and a daughter, named Piho, and everything went on harmoniously between them until the children had grown up.

It happened one day as Hiro and two artisans, named Topa and Tovana’a, were building a canoe and the wife, Vaitumarie, and two companions were talking in a house close by, that the two artisans overheard then discussing the qualities of their husbands, and in an unguarded moment, Vaitumarie laughed concerning the strong odor of Hiro and commented that she enjoyed sleeping with her paramour Taeta more than with Hiro, while the other two women were boasting that it was not so with their husbands.

This little episode the men repeated to Hiro, who had not heard it, and he became very angry and bided his time for revenge upon his wife.

One day while he was alone, sewing on the planks of his canoe, his wife was passing by, and calling her to him he bade her aid him by getting into the canoe and drawing the sennit in while he drew it out.

This the wife willingly did, but as she was not accustomed to such work Hiro contrived by jerking the sennit to make it hard for her to guide it, and in a little while she cried: “O Hiro, my finger is pinched!” “Which finger?” said he.

“My little finger,” she replied. So he released her, and in a little while another finger got pinched and was freed, then another, and another in the same way, until at last her whole hand was caught.

Then Hiro tightened the cord around her wrist and would not release his wife in spite of all her cries and entreaties, but taunted her by repeating what she had said and asking her if it was customary for women to depreciate their husbands in the eyes of others.

“O Hiro,” exclaimed the poor woman writhing in agony, “I have not depreciated you, I have praised you to all my friends; regard not this passing remark as evil speaking, and let me go.”

“No,” said Hiro, “I will not let you go; you are tied with sennit, and you will be inclosed in a wall of shifting sand.”

Knowing then that he meant to kill her, she said: “O Hiro, remember how you have loved me, witness my agony in this painful position, and consider yourself avenged for all my thoughtlessness.

If I die, I shall belong to the gods, but spare my life now, O Hiro, and let me go.”

But Hiro got into the canoe and brutally kicked his poor victim to death.

Then he dug a shallow grave in the sand beneath the chips of his canoe and there buried her, thinking that no one had witnessed the scene; but a man who was passing by heard her pitiful cries and saw all by peeping into the shed from the outside, at the risk of losing his own life and quite powerless to save hers.

While this tragedy was taking place, their son Marama was out surf riding, which was his favorite diversion. When he returned home, not finding his mother and seeing a mat that she had been making lying with the strands scattered around as if left for a short time, he went to the canoe shed and asked his father where she was.

Hiro, fearing his son, replied: “I do not know.”

Then feeling impelled by an invisible power, Marama went towards the spot where his mother lay, and moving the sand away he found her calm and beautiful in death.

He bore her body away and buried it in sacred ground in her marae, and then he went to a distant point and sat alone on the seaside, mourning deeply for her and refusing to take nourishment or receive comfort from anybody.

His father did not dare approach him.

As days thus passed, and Marama neither ate nor drank, feeling anxious for him Hiro sent his daughter Piho, to try to console her brother and bring him home, which after great difficulty she at last succeeded in doing.

Hiro felt himself condemned in the eyes of his son and avoided falling into his hands by taking frequent long voyages, fearing that he might avenge the death of his mother upon him.

But, not being of the fierce nature of his father, Marama did not seek his life.

They eventually built a ship together, which they named Hotutaihi.

Hiro became a great navigator and explorer, and one day he resolved to build himself a ship for his voyages greater than any that had been seen before.

So accompanied by two experts, named Memeru and Mata’ieha’a, he went to Tahiti to look for suitable timber for his work.

Preferring hard mountain wood, they explored the ravines and highlands, but did not find suitable trees until they arrived at a beautiful valley named Tumatari’i, the dominion of King Puna, whose home, named Vaeara’i, was high up, nestling in the woods in the recess of the valley.

After slyly marking the trees they wanted they returned home.

The next thing Hiro had to do was to find access to the dominion of King Puna, in order to chop down and take possession of the trees that the King very much coveted.

Hiro took and killed a turtle, which was tapu to the Ati Puna. Hiro sent his youngest son Tautu to carry a small portion of the turtle to Puna, knowing that his son would be killed in carrying out the mission.

Two taunga told Puna, “Do not eat this offering: the rest of the turtle has been consumed by Hiro at Motupae.”

Puna became very angry and killed Tautu, cutting off his head and flinging it on to his rubbish heap of food refuse.

The spirit of Tautu debated with Puna over whether Tautu had committed a sin.

The wise men of Puna cleared Tautu of any wrongdoing since Tautu had not consumed the turtle.

The eldest son of Hiro, Marama was called to slay the Ati Puna in revenge for the death of Tautu.

Marama told his sister Pio, “You return and tell Hiro to have the canoe Otutai all ready for launching and to get the Ati Puna to stand at the side of the canoe opposite to the outrigger to assist at the launching while the Ati Iro will take the outrigger side, Also to have the morning meal before daybreak, I will be there at sunrise.”

Pio returned to Hiro and delivered the message of Marama to him, which Hiro arranged to have carefully carried out, and on the following morning at break of day his people were all ready for the fray.

They fetched the Ati Puna and placed them on the katea side of the canoe as directed.

At sunrise Marama arrived; he grasped the stern piece, while the Ati Iro took the roaa side, and all was in readiness to launch the canoe.

This was the song at the moving of the ancient Maaori canoe Otutai –

Solo: Launch the canoe Otutai for Iro nui Hand the beater, step the mast, the mast Torutatai. O, the multitude of Puna are without.

Chorus: O!
Solo: O, the multitude of Iro are within.
Chorus: O!
Solo: Pakiara’s black…Pakiara’s black…
Chorus: You will die beneath the canoe,
You will be die beneath the canoe.

The Ngati Puna realized by the insulting burden of the song that they had fallen into a trap, but it was too The Ngati Puna realized by the insulting burden of the song that they had fallen into a trap, but it was too late.

When the canoe was lifted up, Marama overturned it on top of the Ati Puna.

The Ati Iro had previously hidden their weapons in the bushes nearby, and when the canoe was thrown on to the Ati Puna, the Ati Iro seized their spears and slaughtered the Ati Puna.

Only a few of them escaped, fleeing to the ocean in their canoes.

The land passed entirely into the hands of the Ati Iro, hence the name “Marama, the warrior of Enuakura.” Within a few days Hiro had cut down all the fine trees that he had marked.

He cleared the trunks of their branches and bark and hewed them into shape.

Then with strong ropes, he and his men drew them down the valley over cliffs and ravines, as if it were merely light work.

Thus King Puna and his people were robbed of his fine ahatea tree, his marauri tree, a toi tree, and a hauou tree.

Hiro did not spare the trees sacred to the gods around the marae.

He cut down a great tamanu, stripped the trunk of its branches and bark, split it up for planks for the bows of his canoe, and trimmed the branches for outriggers and crossbeams.

He cut down a most sacred miro tree for planks for the after part of his canoe, and he took two tall straight breadfruit trees for planks for the deck houses.

Then he went into the woods and cut down straight fau trees for paddles and for floor planks, and three slim hutu trees for masts.

After all this depredation, Hiro and his men helped themselves to wood and thatch and reeds and all other material needed for a shed in which to build the canoe and for rollers to place under it.

These are the famous artisans who built canoe owned by Hiro: Hotu, was the chief artisan, and his assistant Taumariari; and the royal artisan Memeru of Opoa and his friend Ma’ihae.

They were men unrivaled in skill and energy.

Hiro superintended the work, which was according to his modeling.

Amid all the required ceremonies and prayers and good omens, they set to work.

On rising ground they erected a great shed thirty fathoms long, six wide, and five fathoms high, facing the sea endwise.

The builders had their baskets of axes and adzes of stone, gimlets of coconut and sea shells, and sennit of fine tight strands, prepared and consecrated to the god Tane for this special purpose.

Hiro marked out the keel, the knees, the beams, and the planks, and the men cut them into shape.

All the material for the work was carefully sorted and handily placed in the shed, Hiro passing it to the men as they required it.

They set the keel of avai, toi, and mara wood, polished and firmly spliced together with hard spikes of wood secured with sennit, upon rollers in the shed and painted it with red clay mixed with charcoal so as to preserve it from wood borers.

Then they fastened the knees onto the keel with spikes and sennit.

Holes were bored into the keel and planks at even distances apart, and the men set to work in the following order: Hutu, worked on the outer side to the right of the canoe, and Taumariari, his assistant, worked on the inner side; Memeru, the royal artisan of Opoa, worked on the outer side to the left of the canoe, and his assistant, Ma’ihae, worked on the inner side.

Each couple faced each other, fixing the planks in their places and drawing the sennit in and out in lacing the wood together; and the canoe soon began to assume form, the bows facing the sea.

To make work light, they sang.

Te Pehe o Hiro

What have I, O Taane
O Taane, god of beauty?
‘Tis sennit!
‘Tis sennit of the host of heaven,
‘Tis sennit for thee O Taane!
Thread it from inside, it comes outside,
Thread it from outside, it goes inside.
Tie it fully, tie it fast.
This is the fashion of thy sennit,
O Taane,
To hold thy canoe,
That she may go over long waves,
And over short waves;
To the near horizon,
Even to the far off horizon.
This sennit of thine, O Taane,
Let it hold, let it hold!

Every seam and all the little holes in the wood from the keel and upwards were well caulked with fine coconut husk fiber and pitched carefully with gum, which Hiro drew from sacred breadfruit trees of the marae, and when all the streaks were on, the canoe was washed out clean and dried well and painted inside and outside with red clay and charcoal.

As the hull of the canoe reached almost to the roof, the builders could work no longer within the shed, and so they broke it away.

Then the boards of the deck were set upon the beams and fixed in their places with spikes and sennit, and the ama of tamanu wood, which had been well steeped in water to preserve it from borers, was polished with limestone and firmly lashed with sennit on to the left side of the canoe, the upper attachment of wood forming across each end of the canoe a beam, called the ‘iato and lashed on to the right side in the same manner as on the left side.

This was the song of the outrigger: This is sennit for lacing on the crossbeams, The sacred sennit of Taane;

Now lace it on, tighten it to hold.
Lace it and wind
The sennit around it.
What will weaken it,
What will sever it,
When it holds with the sacred sennit,
With thy sacred sennit, O Taane?

Next came the finely carved towering ornaments for a rei mua and a rei muri, which were fastened on to their respective places, and they were named Reifa’apiapifare, because the shed was broken away to allow placing them and finishing the canoe.

The two houses, called oa mua and oa muri, were set in their places and thatched with fara leaves, after which Hutu, the chief artisan, cut out the holes in the deck and down in the keel, in which he stood the three masts, before mentioned, which had been steeped in water, well seasoned, dried, and polished.

Then the canoe was completed.

Hiro dedicated it to Taane, naming it Hohoio, in commemoration of the manner in which the material for building it was obtained from the land of King Puna.

Finally the day arrived for launching the canoe, and a great multitude assembled to the wonderful sight.

The props were removed from the sides of the canoe, and the men held it ready to launch over the rollers.

Hotu invoked gods Ta’aroa, Taane, ‘Oro, Ra’a, Ro’o, and Moe, to their aid, and soon their presence was felt impelling the canoe.

The rollers began to move, and then the canoe went forwards, slowly at first as the men’s hands steadied it and then swiftly and well poised as it gracefully descended alone and sat upon the sea, which rose in great rolling waves caused by a wind sent to meet it by the star Anamua -Antares in Scorpio-, the parent pillar of the sky.

The spectators greatly admired the ship of Hiro and raised deafening shouts.

Then the canoe was made to drink salt water; it was dipped forwards and backwards in the waves of the great moving altar of the gods and thus consecrated to Taane.

A marae was made for him in the little house aft of the deck, and the three masts were rigged with ropes and strong mats for sails and long tapa pennants streaming from them.

Within a few days the canoe was loaded with provisions. Great fish baskets were made of bamboo, filled with many kinds of fish, and attached to the outside of the canoe so as to be in the water.

Bamboos and gourds were filled with water and stowed away on board, and there were fe’i, taro, and mahi in abundance.

A bed of sand and stones was made upon the deck, upon which to make a fire for cooking the food, and soon Hiro was ready to go to sea.

Hiro was the captain and pilot, and he had other competent seamen, who like him were acquainted with the heavenly bodies and their rising and setting.

Women and children also accompanied their husbands and fathers on board, and on one fine day, with a strong favorable wind, they set sail, applauded by many spectators, among whom were prisoners of war called titi whose shouts were heard above all others.

They saw the great pahi sail out to sea and disappear beyond the horizon, never again to return to Tahitian shores.

Thus ended the work of Hiro in his native islands.

Hiro prided himself on doing things that other men could not do.

At the request of his son, he made fire by friction, using toa for the upper attrition and a stone for the under attrition, instead of pliant wood for both.

Then Hiro told his son to wield on a hillside, without missing, an immense heap of stones of all shapes and sizes, instead of pebbles, in a game of timo, which Hiro was accustomed to doing with his great hands without difficulty.

His son complied with the request and succeeded well until he came to the last stone, which as he was about to take it up Hiro kicked away and caused Marama to stumble.

This enraged Marama; he struck the hill with his fist and caused a landslide, which left steep, bare rocks.

Hence the ever standing epithet relating to the hill, “Te mou’a ta Marama i po’ara”.

In Taha’a are a number of rocks called Te Uri a Hiro.

In a valley in Maupiti is a long rock called Te Pahi o Hiro, one end of which got broken off in a fall from the mountain where it once lay; and on the seaside is a cliff on which are two indentations called Tuturira’a o Hiro.

At Porapora is a heap of stones called Te timora’a o Hiro; and upon a hill not far from it is a stone that has a metallic ring, called Teoe o Hiro.

In Huahine is mentioned a stone said to be a petrified man, who became so for neglecting to signal the arrival of the ship of Hiro; and upon a precipice in the strait is a rock called Te Hoe o Hiro.

Once on a voyage from the upwind islands to the downwind island of Vavau in his canoe named “Tutakekenui,” Hiro was accompanied by a chief named Makeu, who sailed in a canoe named “Tutakekeiti.”

This Makeu was a noted thief, his gods being Urikovaro and Matatanumi, the deities of thieves.

During the voyage, Makeu threw his magic spells over Iro and the people in “Tutakekenui,” and caused them to fall into a deep sleep; then he transferred Iro and his people and their belongings to “Tutakekeiti” while Makeu and his people took possession of “Tutakekenui” and paddled away with it. Hence arose the saying, “The sleep of Hiro on returning from Vavau was like falling asleep in winter and awakening in summer.”

Hiro Comes To New Zealand

Upon a certain day Hourangi, set about felling a tree wherefrom to fashion a canoe for himself; when it was felled he said to his younger brother, Hiro:—“Turn to and hew out my canoe to serve as a vessel of my own; you being the person instructed by our elder Te Haemata in such tasks.”

Hiro replied:—“Very well.” The canoe was hewn out, and when the hull was finished, then the haumi of the stern and bow were hewn, and the top strakes, and thwarts, and prow, and stern piece, and two balers, all were completed. Only the finishing off and adornment were left to be completed at the landing place.

When it came to the time for the canoe to be hauled out, Hiro instructed his canoe haulers in this manner:—“When we are hauling the canoe and reach the place where the two paths join, haul so as to turn off toward our own home; do not suffer it to be dragged to the home of my elder brother.”

All the canoe haulers agreed to follow the instructions of Hiro.

So the vessel was hauled out and on reaching the junction of the paths the people of the canoe cried:—“We are aweary with the hauling of the canoe, let us turn off here to the place that is near to us.”

Hourangi called out:—“O! keep to the main path to my home at Te Mawhai.”

Hiro remarked:—“Let it remain here that it may be handy to the adze manipulating hands skilled in hewing canoes.”

Hourangi remained silent, and the canoe was dragged onward by Ngati Hinewai and Ngati Parakai, for those were the clans of Hiro that hauled the vessel.

On reaching the home of Hiro at Pukerua, at Otamata, the canoe was left at the landing place.

A shed was constructed as a house for that canoe, and when completed, it was hauled inside and so left.

The canoe was then worked at until finished, the two haumi were attached, and the thwarts, and topstrakes, and prow, and stern-post, all were attached.

Owing to an act of forgetfulness on the part of Whiro in regard to the thwart of the utuutu matua he called out to his nephew, child of Hourangi, to Taomakati:—“O lad! Come along as a companion for me at the canoe yonder.”

The child followed him, and, on reaching the canoe, Whiro said:—“O lad! You remain outside to insert the lashing cord of the canoe.”

Taomakati agreed to this and Hiro remained within the hold of the canoe.

Hiro called out:—“Put the lashing cord round your neck”—and thus the child was entangled in the bight of the binding cord for lashing the canoe, which was round his neck.

Hiro then called out:—“Has your head entered the loop of the cord?”

The child called out:—“Yes.”

Then the lashing cord was pulled by Hiro and the child’s head jammed against the canoe, his neck was broken, and he died.

He was dragged by Hiro among the chips and buried, covered with hewing chips of the canoe, in order to conceal the child.

Now the reason why the child was slain by Hiro was the impudence of the elder half brother in commanding him to drag his canoe.

Another reason was the leaving him to hew out his canoe without furnishing any kumara, taro, fish or birds as a food relish for him and his working companions; such were the causes of the malice of Hiro toward the child.

When evening came Hourangi asked the people:—“O friends! Have not you seen the child?”

The people replied that they had not seen him.

Next morning Hourangi enquired of the younger brother, Hiro:—“Did you not see our child yesterday?”

Hiro replied:—“I did not see the stupid child; he may be wandering about anywhere.”

The elder brother asked:—“Where were you yesterday?”

Hiro answered:—“I was at the canoe, lashing on the thwart of the utuutu matua.”

The people set out to search for the child at all the many villages, but he was not found.

A certain child, Wheko by name, said:—“I saw him following Hiro and going toward the canoe, but did not see him returning, even as late as the evening.

Hiro was the only one I saw come back, and I was lying in the porch all the time until the evening.

Hiro remarked:—“I did not see him; he might have followed me, who would notice him, anyhow.”

Said Hourangi:—“But Wheko says that you two went together to the canoe; you could not avoid seeing him going.”

“O,” said Hiro, “You mean that the cause of our child being lost rests with me.”

“I did not mean that,” replied Hourangi.

“But you could not miss seeing him as you went together to the canoe.”

Hourangi now became uneasy about his younger brother, fearing that he knew all about the matter.

All the people now made search, but no sign of the child was seen, and Hourangi now made up his mind to proceed to Tuparoa to take the semblance of his child to be examined by his elder, Whirikoka.

Even so went Hou, taking with him some earth from the path by which his child went to the place where the canoe was lying, and on reaching the latrine of the home of his elder, Whirikoka, the earth was left by Hourangi lying by the side of the latrine, while he proceeded to the village.

His elderly relative saw him as he was approaching, and said to the people of his village:—“Here truly is my grandchild approaching; Hiro is responsible for the loss of his child.”

On the arrival of the grandchild, Hourangi, he said, “O sir! Look into the matter that distresses me, and see if your descendant cannot be found by you.”

The grandsire Whirikoka replied:—“Go, return; the cause of the disappearance of your child lies with your younger brother.”

Hourangi enquired: “Where is he lying?”

Whirikoka answered:—“Go your way; and when you reach the stern of the canoe, repeat the following:—

“O Tao! child of mine, appear to me in early morn.
O Tao! child of mine, here am I uneasy and perplexed.
O Tao! child of mine, where art thou unhappily lost to me,
O Tao! child of mine, appear to me that I may greet you.
By whom were you lost to me, O lad of mine.”

Whirikoka explained:—“Now this shall serve as an affectionate greeting by you to your child, and he will show himself to you.

Your child perished by being strangled by Hiro with the lashing cord of the thwart of the utuutu matua of the canoe.

Go your way, and should the child of Pohau meet and greet you, know that he is sent, follow him and he will point out the spot where your child lies.”

So Hourangi returned home, and on his arrival went at once to the place where the canoe lay and leaned against the top of the stern of the vessel.

He then chanted his affectionate greeting to Taomakati, and, ere he had finished, a fly had appeared, humming as it came, over the utuutu matua thwart.

Having hovered humming about there for some time it flew off some distance away from the bow of the canoe, at which place some hewing chips were heaped up, then again flew buzzing from the utuutu matua in front of Hourangi, returned again, and settled upon that heap of chips, and then kept flying and buzzing about that one spot.

Hourangi then advanced and removed the chips, when he saw where a hole had been dug in which to bury the body.

He removed the earth, and there lay the body of the child with the mark of strangulation by the lashing cord of the thwart visible on the neck, which was broken.

Hourangi carried his child home, wailing as he went; he and his clans returning to Tuparoa, at which place his own home was. On their arrival Taomakati was mourned for by the people of Tuparoa, for he was a favourite child of theirs.

He was a child of good disposition, a child much given to greeting persons and to inviting them to visit the home of himself and his parents, hence the greetings of that child were much appreciated by people who knew him.

When all mourning had ended, Hiro had not appeared to take any part therein.

Said Hourangi to the people of Pukerua and Otamata:—“Come, go your ways, return to dwell at your homes.

As for the cause of my brother slaying my child, you had better hold yourself aloof from that foul subject.

Tell Hiro to betake himself to other parts, lest I go and procure his heart to serve as food for our grandchild, Te Hauerangi.

Te Hauerangi was a child of Hine te waiwai, who had married Tamauatake.

When the advice of Hourangi to Hiro had been retailed to him by the people of Pukerua and Otamata, Hiro said “It were well for my heart to be taken as food for his grandchild, lest his heart be taken by me as food for my grandchild, Turongo.”

The person returned and related the boastful remark of Hiro concerning what Hourangi had said about him, and also that the fortified village of Pukerua was being put in order.

Thus Hourangi became aware that Hiro, with his evil thoughts, was being befriended by the clans of Pukerua and Otamata.

Said Hou to his own clans:—“Let us go to war, inasmuch as Ngati Hinewai and Ngati Parakai have not regarded my advice to them.”

The force set forth and, on reaching Pukerua, found the pa not yet finished. The force of Hourangi attacked, and Paoka, who was a brother in law of Hiro, was slain on the very plaza.

Hiro saw that the day was lost, and so fled with the refugees of Ngati Hinewai, and thus escaped; his wife and children perished in this fight, after which the attacking force returned home.

Some days after that fight it was heard that a party of migrants composed of Hiro and the survivors of his clans had come to the island situated in the great ocean expanse.

Hiro landed first at Whakatane and visited Kaapuu te Rangi, the Pa of Toi te Huatahi where he lay with Rongouaroa the daughter of Toi whom bore him Toi Kai Rakau.

After some time Hiro set sail again and came to land at the eastern side of Oakura, in the district of Taranaki at which place is situated the Wai piropiro of Whiro te tipua, a stream wherein he kept sharks.

After this he settled down lived peacefully for a long time.

At some subsequent period Hiro made a forced marched inland to Tuhua, the range on the west side of Lake Taupo, where a victory was gained on the battlefield of Awatoto, after which some of that tribe, Ngati Ruatamore, were captured.

Ngati Ruatamore had previously migrated from Urenui to that place in order to dwell there. Some of Ruatamore moved away for good and settled away off at Mohaka on the East Coast.

Owing to these movements it became known that the lands inland of Whanganui, and also of Murimotu, were unoccupied, no people dwelt there.

Hiro came by land, reaching Mangaio, Makirikiri, and Karioi o Whiro.

The excellence of the land being noted, Hiro moved from Taranaki to inland Whanganui to live, marrying a woman of Taranaki, one Tai te ariki by name.

Hiro is also known as Ironui and also Whiro te Tipua.

He is not to be confused with Te Whironui whom came on the waka Nukutere and was father to Huturangi by Aaraiara.

© Copyright 2007-2020 Te Whare Waananga Auturoa - All Rights Reserved.