Puuraakau Kahukura Ariki

Ko Te Korero Mo Nga Patupaiarehe.

Once, a man of the name of Kahukura wished to pay a visit to Rangiaowhia, a place lying far to the northward, near the country of the tribe called Te Rarawa. Whilst he lived at his own village, he was continually haunted by a desire to visit that place.

At length he started on his journey, and reached Rangiaowhia, and as he was on his road, be passed a place where some people had been cleaning mackerel, and he saw the inside of the fish lying all about the sand on the sea-shore: surprised at this, he looked about at the marks, and said to himself: “Oh, this must have been done by some of the people of the district.” But when he came to look a little more narrowly at the footmarks, he saw that the people who had been fishing had made them in the night-time, not that morning, nor in the day; and he said to himself: “These are no mortals who have been fishing here, spirits must have done this; had they been men, some of the reeds and grass which they sat on in their canoe would have been lying about.” He felt quite sure from several circumstances, that spirits or fairies had been there; and after observing everything well, he returned to the house where he was stopping.

He, however, held fast in his heart what he had seen, as something very striking to tell all his friends in every direction, and as likely to be the means of gaining knowledge which might enable him to find out something new. So that night he returned to the place where he had observed all these things, and just as he reached the spot, back had come the fairies too, to haul their net for mackerel; and some of them were shouting out: “The net here! the net here!” Then a canoe paddled off to fetch the other in which the net was laid, and as they dropped the net into the water, they began to cry out: “Drop the net in the sea at Rangiaowhia, and haul it at Mamaku.” These words were sung out by the fairies, as an encouragement in their work and from the joy of their hearts at their sport in fishing.

As the fairies were dragging the net to the shore, Kahukura managed to mix amongst them, and hauled away at the rope; he happened to be a very fair man, so that his skin was almost as white as that of these fairies, and from that cause he was not observed by them. As the net came close in to the shore, the fairies began to cheer and shout: “Go out into the sea some of you, in front of the rocks, lest the nets should be entangled at Tawatawauia by Teweteweuia”, for that was the name of a rugged rock standing out from the sandy shore; the main body of the fairies kept hauling at the net, and Kahukura pulled away in the midst of them. When the first fish reached the shore, thrown up in the ripple driven before the net as they hauled it in, the fairies had not yet remarked Kahukura, for he was almost as fair as they were. It was just at the very first peep of dawn that the fish were all landed, and the fairies ran hastily to pick them up from the sand, and to haul the net up on the beach.

They did not act with their fish as men do, dividing them into separate loads for each, but every one took up what fish he liked, and ran a twig through their gills, and as they strung the fish, they continued calling out: “Make haste, run here, all of you, and finish the work before the sun rises.” Kahukura kept on stringing his fish with the rest of them. He had only a very short string, and, making a slipknot at the end of it, when he had covered the string with fish, he lifted them up, but had hardly raised them from the ground when the slip-knot gave way from the weight of the fish, and off they fell; then some of the fairies ran good naturedly to help him to string his fish again, and one of them tied the knot at the end of the string for him, but the fairy had hardly gone after knotting it, before Kahukura had unfastened it, and again tied a slip-knot at the end; then he began stringing his fish again, and when he had got a great many on, up he lifted them, and off they slipped as before. This trick he repeated several times, and delayed the fairies in their work by getting them to knot his string for him, and put his fish on it.

At last full daylight broke, so that there was light enough to distinguish a man’s face, and the fairies saw that Kahukura was a man; then they dispersed in confusion, leaving their fish and their net, and abandoning their canoes, which were nothing but stems of the flax. In a moment the fairies started for their own abodes; in their hurry, as has just been said, they abandoned their net, which was made of rushes; and off the good people fled as fast as they could go. Now was first discovered the stitch for netting a net, for they left theirs with Kahukura, and it became a pattern for him. He thus taught his children to make nets, and by them the Maaori race were made acquainted with that art, which they have now known from very remote times.

The Introduction Of The Kumara into New Zealand.

Kahukura was from the other side, from Hawaiki. Kahukura had an extensive knowledge of all the islands of the world, he was indeed a god, but became a man. He had a friend named Rongoiamo, to whom he suggested that they should come to this island and visit his great grandson Toi te Huatahi. They then filled a belt with kao (dried kumara), which Kahukura fastened round his friend. The name of this belt was Whetonga. Then Rongoiamo asked the other by what means they could reach there, to which Kahukura replied, “Leave that to me, I will lay down a way for us two.” And so Kahukura took his mother, Hine te wai, and bent her (in form of an arch), inserting her legs in the ground at Hawaiki, and her arms in this island, and so she formed an arch in the sky. Then Kahukura took his father, Rongomai, and performed the same operation on him, and thus Rongomai sprawled on the back of Hine te wai. After that Kahukura ordered Te Paoka o te rangi to lie on top of Rongomai, which he did. Above the last laid Totoerangi, above him was Kahukura himself, and then came Tahawai, Kaurukiruki, and finally Hereumu. Then Kahukura told Rongoiamo to place himself on top of Hereumu; and that was the road by which Rongoiamo crossed over. As he did so, Kahukura made a spring and crossed at the same time to this island.

On their arrival at the home of Toi, his children, grand-children, and their tribe, they were received as guests and made welcome. When the food was placed before them, Rongoiamo saw that the hosts were bringing out some Ti for them in a bowl. So he said to Kahukura, “That is perhaps the food that we brought, now being prepared?” Kahukura replied, “Wait awhile, if it is so we shall soon know.” It was not very long before the food was placed in front of them, and then they saw it consisted of Ti, Mamaku and Aruhe. So they tasted the food in the bowl, and found it was not Kao, nor did they approve of the foods offered them. Kahukura now said to Toi and his people that he wished them to bring him a bowl with some water in it, and when several were brought, Rongoiamo poured out part of the contents of his belt into the bowls, of which there were seventy. After all the bowls had been mixed, Rongoiamo took them to Toi and his family, where, as soon as the sweet scent of the kumara reached him, he proceeded to taste the food. Kahukura said unto him, “O Toi! Do not put all your fingers into the bowl, but first use your fore-finger to place it in your mouth.” So Toi did as Kahukura told him; that is, he licked his fore-finger; and as he did so Kahukura recited the following karakia:—

Ko miti, ko para, ko pau rawa,
Ko miti, ko para, ko pau rawa,
Ko reka i tua, ka reka i waho,
Ka reka i nga marua tapu o Hawaiki.

Then Kahukura called on Toi,“ Now put all your fingers into the bowl, and eat.” Then Toi ate his fill, and as he did so, the sweetness of the food tickled his throat, and tasted delicious in his mouth. Toi exclaimed to Kahukura, “Now, indeed, for the first time do I taste a really delicious food! What is the name of the food?” Kahukura replied, “It is the kumara.” “Where is it to be obtained?” said Toi. “In Hawaiki,” replied Kahukura. Then said Toi, “Probably it would not be possible to fetch some from there?” “It could be easily obtained,” said Kahukura. “By what means could it be got?” asked Toi. Kahukura then turned to the canoe belonging to Toi that was lying in its shed, and said, “What is that which lies there?” Toi replied, “It is a canoe, Horouta!” “Then,” said Kahukura, “Enough; by that means can the kumara be obtained.”

In that same night Kahukura assembled all the Tohunga into the house, into Hui te Rangiora; and there they demanded of the gods that the sounding waves, the breaking waves, of the ocean and of the great gales, should be calmed; that the gods should cause the canoe to be light in order that it might be swift. In the morning the canoe was dragged down to the water. It is said that there were seventy people went in her as crew. And before starting, the Kawa was recited by the priest Rangituroua, that is, the appropriate prayer for a safe passage, which is as follows:—

Hau toto, hau toto,
Ko Tu, hekea ana,
Ko Rongo, hekea ana,
Ko te ngahau o Tu,
Utaina taku kawa nei,
He kawa tuamaunga,
Ka wiwini, ka wawana,
Tara pata tu ki te rangi,
Au e ki,
Whano, whana,
Hara mai te toki,
Hauma, Hui e, Taiki e.

After the Kawa moana, of Rangituroua, the Mapou kawa (or mapou-wood rod used in the karakia) was stuck into the bows of the canoe, in the Parata, or figure head; and then it was decided that Taipupuni should use the paddle called Akau; Taiwawana, the Piripiri paddle, and Taiaropaki, the Tapaki paddle. After this was recited by Rangituroua the karakia to define the course of ‘Horouta’ across the ocean, as follows:

Tura mai te tura
Kakapa te manu i uta, he paki hau,
Tauranga ko tawhiti nuku,
Te whakamakautia he ariki tapu,
Kia inu ia i te wai o Whakatau,
Mate toka i mua, mate toka i roto,
Tu whanawhana, tu maihi, tu makaro,
Tu te Whairamu,
E ai hoki te hirihiri,
Kei te kohukohu i runga,
Koi rangi tukua, koi rangi horoa,
Taane tukua, Taane takoto,
E ai hoki tenei mata tohu.
Uru whakapupu ake te uru o te whenua,
Te tau arohakina ki waho,
Ki te uraura o te ra,
Ki te werawera o te ra,
Whakarere ki tai marehua ki waho,
Taku hoe nei, ko Rapanga te ati nuku,
Ko Rapanga te ati rangi;
Na Tai pupuni, na Tai wawana, na Tai aro puke,
Hua taku hoe nei, he hoe tahurihuri,
He hoe karaparapa
Ki taha tu o te rangi,
Aue ki; Whano, Whana.
Hara mai te toki, Hauma,
Hui e, Taiki e.

It is said that no sooner was this karakia ended, than Hawaiki was sighted; and then Rangituroua recited the second of his karakia, as follows:—

Mano ki te Hawaiki,
Ka tu hakehakea,
Mai te kowiwini, mai te kowawa,
He toki minamina, he toki mai anarea,
Ka hirahira,
Ko aitu mai o tangata,
Ki te pu o te rakau,
Ka ui iho ka ui ake,
Ka ui tua te kaha o Tangaroa,
Ko au matakaka, ki tua o Hawaiki,
Katea te rawaka mai
Ko Tāne ka haruru rutu,
Whano, Whana, Hara mai te toki,
Hauma, Hui e, Taiki e.

It is said that on the completion of this incantation, the canoe had arrived at Hawaiki. It was during the night they reached there. On their arrival they found that the kumara harvest was over, and all the crop safely stored away in the rua in the pa named Huiakama. Here they heard a man named Kanoa reciting the ‘whakaaraara’ (or sentinal song) which is as follows:-

Titi mai te marama,
Titi mai te marama,
Na Taratutu, na Tarawehi,
Na Tara hokaia.
Kihai au i panapana
Kihai koe i panapana,
Ka taka mai whitohi,
Ka tu kapiti nuku,
Ka tu kapiti rangi,
Waiho te tae o Matuku,
Ka moe te mata o te tipua,
Ka ara te mata hi taua,
E ia e te ika e takoto nei.

The strangers to that plant, the kumara, secured some taro roots, and then asked Kahukura,“Perhaps these are the kumara?” He replied, “Those are not kumara, but taro, that are planted on the edge of the kumara plantations.” After that they found some dried kumara tops, and Kahukura pointed out, “Behold, the roots have been harvested, and are now in the rua.” All this time they could hear the voice of Kanoa reciting his whakaara within his pa of Huiakama:-

E kore koe e tai mai i te ra takitahi,
Me tuku ki te karere,
Kia tae mai te wiwini,
Kia tae mai te wawana.
Kia tae mai te Ariki korongata,
Ki to whenua nei.
Tenei hoki au te kekeho atu nei,
Kei runga o Awarua
Awarua e ia,
E te ika e takoto nei, e ia.

On hearing this song, Kahukura said to his companions, “The people of the pa are dwelling in a state of fear of me.” His friends asked, “How do you know that?” He replied,“Behold! Do you not hear them mention my name, Ariki korongata, in the ‘Koko’ of my friend Kanoa? He thinks perhaps that my absence is due to a desire on my part to raise a war-party.” Kahukura now said to the crew of ‘Horouta’ that the canoe must be poled to the side of a cliff at Hawaiki, where the kumara grew in abundance. When the canoe reached there, she was laid alongside the base of the cliff, and Kahukura taking a ko named Penu, he pierced the cliff of Hawaiki, at the same time repeating his karakia thus:—

Te ko, te ua nuku, te ua tara,
Te ua patapata i awha,
Te whererei iho ai tae o Matuku,
Te whererei iho ai tae o Pani,
He tapu taku kiri nei,
Te ripiripi o te rangi,
Tee whakarangona atu te Ati tipua,
Tee whakarangona atu te Ati tawhito.

And then, behold! Down fell the cliff of Hawaiki, that is, the kumara, and Horouta was filled. Kahukura then withdrew his spade, and, holding it horizontally, said another karakia:-

Tina! Toka!
Rarau te wheke nui
A Muturangi,
Tina! Toka!
Te pari ki Hawaiki.

At this the cliff at Hawaiki ceased to fall; the cliff again became secure, whilst the hold of Horouta was full of kumara. It is said that at the time the cliff fell at Hawaiki, and Horouta was laden, rats fell into the canoe at the same time, as well as the Pakura bird. When Horouta had been laden with its valuable freight, Kahukura then decided on the preparations for their return to this island.

His directions to the crew were, “Go, but be careful not to allow ‘Rongomaraeroa’ to become mixed with ‘Arikinoanoa’”. ‘Rongomaraeroa’ is the special food of Kahukura, and hence is it tapu, and, moreover, the kumara itself is a god, i.e., food, or an offering to the gods, and, hence of all foods, it is the most tapu. But Arikimoana is also a god, for, behold! If any man has a headache, or influenza (rewharewha), or other illness, he breaks up a piece of fern-root and suspends it round his neck, and in such case it is called a pitopito and is to ward off diseases. But in no case must the kumara be allowed to lie alongside the fern-root, or there will be trouble. The great objection to the fern-root is its bitterness beyond all other things, and hence is the ‘saying,’ “Te kawa i te titohea o te aruhe.”

After this, Horouta was sent away on her return; Pawa embarking as captain of her. There also came Awapaka, Tarahirihiri, Hautaketake, Taanehereti, Koneke, Te Paki and others. The ko, named Penu’ was also brought, as well as the mapou to be used in the ceremonies connected with the planting of the kumara; the mapou was named Ateateahenga.

Also were brought some Hutukawa trees as a guide to the seasons. They were called Te Rohutumaitawhiti and O Tekomaitawhiti.

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