Puuraakau Iwipupu

Iwipupu was the third wife of Tamatea. During the time she cohabited with him, on one occasion Tamatea heard his wife sighing; he asked her, “What are you sighing about?” Iwipupu replied, “You constantly appear to me in a vision”. And so it occurred for many nights; until on a certain occasion Tamatea departed for one of his other villages, where he remained for the night. Iwipupu stayed in their house named Tonganui, where she occupied herself in weaving garments.

After a time she looked out on to the marae of the village, where she imagined she saw Tamatea, who, instead of entering the door of the house, did so by the window, and demanded that she should accord him her favours. After this was accomplished, he returned by way of the window, and proceeding some way she saw him ascending to the heavens. Before he departed he had said to Iwipupu, “If a female child is born unto you, let it be called Uenukutiti; but if a male, call it Uenukurangi.”

Iwipupu replied to this, “Evidently you are about to abandon me, judging by the nature of your farewell!” He replied not, but passed on by way of the window of Tonganui. When Tamatea returned home on the next day, Iwipupu asked him, “Did you not come back here yesterday?” Tamatea replied, “Not so! I have only just now returned.” Iwipupu said, “It was thy very self that I saw; but it must be Uenukurangi the god that has appeared to me in my visions”—and then she told Tamatea of the farewell of Uenukurangi to her. Tamatea said,“It is well! Now I know who thy lover is …….”

He then took his calabash of scented oil from the back of the house where it was suspended and conveyed it to the turuma and there smashed it, for that was the resting place of Uenukurangi in that calabash. After some time Iwipupu gave birth to a child; it was in appearance a woman and yet not quite like mankind. Tamatea carried off the child to the tuaahu where his hair was cut, and after a time he went to take it to the grave; but it had disappeared. Looking up he saw Uenekurangi out at sea with Hinekorako, and then he knew that the child had been taken away by the former god. After this Iwipupu again bore a child, a male.

When the period arrived, the child was taken to the tuaahu at Titirangi, to be purified, and then to the sacred water to be baptized and receive its name. The sacred oven for Kahungunu was preparing, when it was seen that Uenukurangi the god, and Hinekorako the goddess, were standing by the side of the ocean. The priests and the people deceived themselves into thinking that their operations had brought the gods. Then Uenukurangi, and Hinekorako approached the altar, and there was seen with them a young girl who was quite unknown to all the people.

The girl went straight to the window of the house Tonganui, where Ihuparapara and Iwipupu were seen sitting in the house. They welcomed her, asking her to come inside. She did so, but entered by the window, and went directly and sat down on the sleeping place of Tamatea. Ihuparapara was angry at this and said, “What do you mean by entering the house through the window and then desecrating the sleeping place of Tamatea? Why did you not enter by the door? By whom art thou?” The girl replied, “I am by Iwipupu and Uenukurangi.”

Iwipupu asked, “Is it thou indeed?” The girl replied, “Of course!” The mother then asked, “Where hast thou been all this time?” “I have been outside on the rolling waves of Lady Ocean, on the deep sea with my ancestors who have nourished me. I have now been sent by them to visit you two and my two brothers, the elder of whom should be called Ranginui, to mark my arrival whilst the child of thy fellow wife shall be called Matangirei.” Ranginui was the eldest son of Tamatea and Iwipupu, Kahungunu being the second. We shall come across both these young chiefs in the course of this narrative.] On this Ihuparapara went outside to call Tamatea. When he arrived Ihuparapara said to him, “There is a child lying on your sleeping place, who says she is the child of Iwipupu and Uenukurangi.” Then Tamatea asked the girl, “O Lady! Who art thou?” and she replied to him, “I am the child of Iwipupu and Uenukurangi!

Uenukurangi said to Iwipupu on leaving her, ‘If thou dost have a female child, thou shall call her Uenukutiti.’ I am Uenukutiti!” And then Tamatea welcomed her by rubbing noses. Ihuparapara remarked indignantly, “The child had the impertinence to go on to your sacred place and sit down!” But Uenukutiti replied to her, “It was Tamatea himself who carried me to the tuaahu where his hair is cut and is not that my justification?.” Then Tamatea carried off the girl to the priests who all this time had been waiting at the tuaahu.

Uenukutiti was then subjected to the pure,; and then it was proposed to take her to the water to baptize her at the place named Te Wai o Moanaakura. But Tamatea said “No! Her name has already been given to her by her parents at ‘Tuahiwinui o Hinemoana”. When they had returned to the house, Tonganui, Uenukutiti asked Tamatea and Ihuparapara, “Is there no food for me? I am hungry.” Ihuparapara replied, “There is no food!” Uenukutiti then said, “What then is that outside from which rises up the steam?” Ihuparapara replied, “It is the oven for the naming ceremony of thy brother Kahungunu” and consequently a girl may not partake of it as it is tapu. Tamatea said to the women, “Go! Uncover the oven there; she shall eat of the oven prepared for the naming of her brother.” The following priests were present and consented to this change of the destination of food in the oven:—Te Rongopatahi, and Ruawharo, priests of the temple of Kohurau, together with Tuwawahia, Taururangi, and Pahaupuru, who were tohunga tuaropaki.

Now, the reason of this was, on account of consideration for Iwipupu as Uenukutiti was the first born of her children. Afterwards was born Kahungunu; it was for this reason that Tamatea consented that Uenukutiti should partake of the sacred food which, is called umu-tapae, only used for males; but on account of Uenukutiti having a partly celestial origin, she was allowed to partake of it. Now, in consideration of Uenukutiti being the first born, and of her partly super human origin, Tamatea ordered his tribe to build a separate house for her.

So the house was built and then were placed in it the emblems of the gods Kahukura, Hinekorako, Tunuiateika and Tamaiwaho. Then the name Tongatatake was given to that house and Uenukutiti was installed in it. Tamatea said, “Enough! It is sufficient for the god Uenukurangi to have named and to have honoured Uenukutiti. But the child shall be mine, for mine was the mother who bore Uenukutiti.” The life of Uenukutiti was sometimes that of a god; at other times she dwelt on the mountains; at others she disappeared on the ocean, but after a long time returned to her home.

This was her constant habit of life, and that of her descendants down to the time of Rakapari, when they became like the rest of mankind and took husbands from ashore. But when the time came for the birth of their children they went forth on the ocean and were there delivered; when the child had become big it would be brought ashore and they would dwell in the house named Tongataitapu; the males would take wives from ashore, but the latter would go out to sea to give birth to their children. Such was the custom down to the times of Rangitakumu, whose wife was Panauatake, daughter of Papatiraharaha, the wife of Takiwhenua, and from that time they dwelt permanently ashore and there gave birth to their children.

But their tapu and their god like qualities remained inherent in their line always. Suffice this as to these origins, the descendants of the god Uenukurangi who cohabited with Iwipupu.

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