Rata i Te Pukenga

At the time of the death of Wahieroa, Rata was at his mother’s breast.

When he grew up he enquired of his mother; “Where is my absent father?”

His mother replied; “He died at Pariroa, south of Tawhitiroa, slain by Pouhaokai and Matuku Tangotango, when accompanying the party Manu Korihi and others; while with that party your father Wahieroa was killed.”

Now, when Rata heard of the men whom had slain his father, he set off to fell a tree wherefrom to fashion him a canoe. He and his people felled the tree and then returned home.

Next morning Rata and his men came to commence the hewing, but arrived at the place only to find the tree standing on its own stump again.

Quoth Rata; “What can be the cause of the behaviour of this tree?” The tree was again felled, its top cut off, and again the men returned home.

The next morning Rata and his men came to commence the hewing, but arrived at the place only to find the tree standing on its own stump.

Rata now returned home and told his mother of his trouble with the tree, whereupon the mother said; “Go to Ahuahu, to your elder Whakaihorangi, who will point out to you the cause of that action of your tree.” 

So Rata went to Ahuahu to see Whakaihorangi; on his arrival his elder said to him; “Since you have come, what is the object of your visit, lad?” Rata replied; “I am in trouble about my tree; two times I have felled it and each time it again rose into an upright position.

I am convinced that some supernatural beings are erecting that tree again, a very numerous supernatural folk, the forest is full of those weird folk.” 

His elder, Whakaihorangi said to Rata; “Just so lad, those are your elders.”

Rata enquired; “Where do those folk belong to; where is their home?”

Whakaihorangi replied; “By the bounds of Hine Moana, on mountain tops, in Tapu places they roam and dwell; in lower realms giving on the spirit world, with your ancestress the Earth Mother, they roam and sport, ever joyful they move to an fro by day and night in all realms.” 

Rata enquired; “And what about my tree?”

Whakaihorangi explained; “Go and fell your tree; when it is down cover the stump with Paretao.

Then, when night falls bring them to the Tuahu and wait there until I arrive.” 

Rata followed the advice of his elder, felled his tree, covered the stump with ferns, and, when evening arrived, he conveyed those ferns to the Tuahu, where he found Whakaihorangi standing.

The elder put forth his hand, took the ferns and waving them up and down, and recited over them a Karakia:-

Whiwhia, Whiwhia

Tau atu ki nga tupaki, ki nga tihi o Hine Moana o Tuanuku
He aro, he aro tipua, he aro atua
Tenei au he uhenga a nuku, he whenga a rangi
Ki tenei pai, kitenei taura
He aro tipua no runga no te toi huarewa
No runga no te toi matua
No te toi atua ki tenei pia
He pia tipua, he pia atua no rangi tatara
Ki te pu, ki te weu, ki te akaaka rangi e i
Tenei au he uriuri, he pia no nga ragi tatara
Ki take rangi, e Io e i
Tau tika, tau aro mai ki to pia
He pia tipua, he pia atua nou, e Io e i
Tenei au kei te uruuru tapu
Kei te uruuru rangi
Hei te uruuru rangi
Kei te uruuru I te waotu a Taane
Kei te pungakenakenga o tautika, o tauaro
O tau mai ki tenei tamanau, e Ruatau e i
Hapai ake nei au i taku toki
Ko te Haemata o te Rangi
Hapai ake nei au i taku toki
Ko te Rakuraku o Tawhaki
Hapai ake nei au i taku toki
Ko Pukupuku te Rangi
Hapai ake nei au i taku toki
Ko Manu Tawhio Rangi
He toki tipua ariki, he toki tipua rangi
He toki tipua no ngaa atua
Ka whakapiritia ki a koe, e Taane Tuturi
E Taane Turere, e Taane Whirikaha
E Taane Torokaha, e Taane Puhau Rangi
E Taane te Waotu e!
Tenei ka tau, ka tau ki raro ki tenei tipua
Ki tenei ta whito, ki tenei pia uriuri nou
E Taane Matua e i!

The waka was then adzed out, hewen with the adzes mentioned in the ritual, Te Haemata o te Rangi, Te Rakuraku o Tawhaki, Pukupuku te Rangi and Manu Tawhiorangi.

The piece to lengthen the hull was hewen out, the stern, the bow, the top strakes; finished were the thwarts, the prow piece the stern attachment the decking, the Puneke, the Utuutumatua, the carved work and all things pertaining to a war canoe.

These included the out riggers, the balers, the paddles, the crosspieces and uprights for the awning, the fore and aft beams of the out rigger frame, the sails, the cordage, the two anchors, ground and sea, the punt poles, and the steering oars.

When the canoe was finished, the mother said:- “Your canoe being completed, convey the semblance of it to your elder, that he may recite the Karakia to ensure a fair passage, that you may be taught by him the ritual by means of which whales are assembled, that they may bear your vessel onward so swiftly that your enemy can never overtake you.

That you may be taught the Karakia that attract the offspring of Ronogohaukai, the various kinds of shark known as Aupounamu, Huritaniwha, Makomako and Wahatara, which are all man eating sharks.”

Rata having agreed to the instructions of his mother, she continued:- “ You should start in the Akaakanui period of the year, when Marewa and Autahi are suspended over the horizon, that you may have a long continuance of fine weather for your voyage.” Rata remarked;- “it is well; let it be at that time you have mentioned.”

Now Hine Tuahoanga went to Whakaihorangi and said:- “Your young relative Rata is about to go forth to avenge the death of his elder Te Iwi i Taia, younger brother of Hema, as also that of Wahieroa, his father slain at Pariroa through the connivance of Pouhaokai and Matuku Tangotango.

Now then enquire into the route of your young relative by means of divination; will he return hither, or will his party be lost yonder?” Whakaihorangi replied:- “Wait a while, come back here at this time tomorrow and listen to the message of the gods, but come alone.”

At the appointed time Hine Tuahoanga went to Ahuahu, the home of Whakaihorangi and enquired:- “Has the spirit company arrived with the desired information?”

The adept of the reason replied:- “A message has arrived to the effect that the people are unsuspicious; the deaths of Te Iwi i Taia and of the young relative Wahieroa will be avenged.

You may return home, the news is good, my young relative Rata will return to us.”

When the time appointed for the departure of Rata arrived, the month of Akaakanui, the Waka of Rata was conveyed to the latrine of the Pa of Rata named Pariroa after the place where his elder and his father, Te Iwi I Taia and Wahieroa, had perished.

The priestly expert Whakaihorangi came and conducted all the ritual rightly pertaining to the preparation of the fighting force of his young relative Rata.

When the ritual had been chanted, the Waka was dragged down to the sea, where eight war vessels were launched.

The name of the canoe of Rata was Aniwaru, and over it was recited the appropriate ritual.

Tau ake nei au i taku nei tau
He tau tika, he tau aronui
He tau matua, he tau tipua, he tau arorangi
He tau ka wheau mai nou
E ruatau!
E Aitupawa e i
Tumatauenga tau tika mai ki tenei uriuri
No ranginui tamaku rangi e i
Tenei ka tau, ka tau ki tenei pia
Ki tenei tama na Taanenuiarangi e i
Tau ake nei au I taku nei tau
He tau tika, he tau aronui, he tau tipua
He tau na to aro, e Tumatauenga e i
Whai ake nei au i taku nei whai
Kia tau mai nga tipua
Kia tau mai nga atua kai tipua
Kai atua, Kai tangata
Ki tenei tama nau, e Tamakaka
E tama torokaha e i
Tenei to ara he ara tipua, he ara atua
He ara no to uriuri, he ara no to tama
Ko Aniuwaru kia tau tika
Kia tau atu ki tuawhenua
Ki Pariroa I te pu o te tonga e i
Tenei ka whakamau atu taku aro ki nga tipua
Ki nga kai tipua, kai atua, kai tangata
Kia ihi nuku kia ihi rangi
Kia ihi to tinana, kia ihi o mata
Kia ihi o taringa, kia ihi o niho
Kai tupua, kai atua, kai tangata
Wheau atu ai ki muri o Tuaropakirangi,
O tuaropaki nuku
Ngau atu ki Tupari
Ngau atu ki Tuamatua
Ngau atu ki a Hine One
Ngau atu ki a Hine Kirikiri
Ngau atu ki Maunga Tutumaiao
Ka tatau Te Po Turuturu
Ka tatau atu Te Po Tamakirangi
Ka tatau Te Po Ka Wheau Aatu
Ki Te po Tiwha Oti Atu e i
Ko Rata ihi nui, Ko Rata ihi roa
Ko Rata ihi tipua, Ko Rata ihi atua
Ko Rata ihi tangata kit e po
Ka wheau atu ki Rarohenga
Kit e Muriwai hou oti atu e i
Hau mai to rongo, he rongo tipua
He rongo atua, he rongo tangata
Ka mau te hu waiora ki nga rangi
Ka mau te hu waiora kit e wa ki nga mata kainga
Auroki aumoe ana mai Matuku tangotango
Aumoe ana mai Pouhaokai
Aumoe ana mai Hine Komahi e Rata e i!

The waka being launched they were paddled to the region of Pariroa, the home of Pouhaokai, of Matuku Tangotango, of Hine Komahi, and their peoples.

Apakura was sent along with them by Whakaihorangi to act as a controlling expert of the various supernatural beings despatched by him as a protection.

December was the month in which Rata started.

When they arrived at Pariroa they lay off out at sea, lest they be seen paddling along.

When night arrived, Apakura performed certain magik rites in order to lengthen the period of darkness, under cover of which they proceeded to land.

Having landed they proceeded to construct a fortified position for themselves, having finished which they hauled their waka inside it.

Then as they had to act during daylight, magik arts were again called upon to prolong the hours of daylight, so that no darkness might approach while they were fighting.

Now the previous lengthening of the hours of darkness had so startled the people of the land, all the folk of that whole region, that none of them were seen.

At that time those native peoples of Pariroa were suffering much from hunger.

At sunrise each day all the men and woman set off to search for food on the plains, in vales and forests, and on the sea coast.

The force of Rata now set out and slew all they met of the local folk roaming about seeking food.

The larger parties attacked the fortified villages and took those of Kotou, Te Pokahou, Te Mangawai, Koparakore and Hau Rarama, the latter being the Pa of Pouhaokai, his daughter Hinekomahi, and her brother kaukauawa.

Now remained Awarua, the Pa of Matuku Tangotango, as also that belonging to Mahana, Paopao, Peketuarangi and Huritaniwha.

Rata said to his party:- “ Seize the outlying places first and leave the inner ones to be attacked afterwards.”

Hence the places mentioned were assaulted. Now, when Hau Ramarama, the Pa of Pouhaokai fell, the force moved against Awarua, the Pa of Matuku Tangotango, ascending a neighbouring hill, a coign of vantage, whence one called out to Hau Ramarama:- “O Pouhaokai! Does the noise and the pervading fragrance from the ovens denote abundant food?”

Then Apakura called out:- “Are you who is enquiring Matuku Tangotango?”

The speaker replied:- “It is i.” Apakura replied:- “The noise is that of man slaying, the odour is that of baking human flesh.”

Matuku Tangotango heard the calling, and bawled out:- “O Pouhaokai!”

Apakura answered:- “here I am.” Matuku Tangotango shouted:- “Give me some food, human flesh.”

Apakura called out:- “Sweep the plaza, let floor mats be spread in the house, in order that bearers of food for you, of human flesh, may proceed.”

Again the voice of Matuku Tangotango bawled out:- “O Pouhaokai!”

Apakura answered:- “Here i am.”

Matuku Tangotango called:- “Let cooked human flesh be the food, O Pouhaokai! Let the food for Matuku Tangotango be cooked human flesh.”

Apakura called out:- “Oh sweep the plaza and lay the mats in the house, O Matuku Tangotango.”

When the plaza and house had been prepared by Matuku Tangotango, the people of the raiding force started and conveyed thither the baskets of food, the food in all the baskets being human flesh, and the bearers thereof numbered two hundred.

The people of Matuku Tangotango opened the gate of the Pa of Awarua.

Apakura said to the food bearers:- “ When you enter the house to deposit the food for Matuku Tangotango, let one hundred baskets be left there and one hundred baskets deposited on the plaza.

The seat of Matuku Tangotango is just under the window of the house.

Summon all his companions to come outside and eat, then close the door and window and lash them securely.

When the heads and shoulders of his men are bowed over the food, let men stand behind to slay them.

Cook the bodies, and then open the door and enquire:- O Matuku! Will you have as food some cooked human flesh?

When he answers and bawls out, some food, some human flesh, then carry it in and fill the central space of the house with food.

When those foods are consumed, then sleep will follow, whereupon arrange three cords, one to the ridge pole of the house, which cord should be brought down to the doorway, and one to each wall, the ends of the cord to be passed outside, the pulling should be towards the rear of the house.” 

Such were the instructions of Apakura to Rata and his men.

Then the party set off, and, on entering Awarua, the Pa of Matuku Tangotango, the cry of the people was heard:- “Welcome to the food, to human flesh.

Welcome to the prepared food, the food is human flesh.”

On the arrival of the party at the plaza of the house of Matuku Tangotango, the name of which was Haohaonui, Matuku Tangotango entered his house, he alone entered and remained within.”

One hunded baskets of food were put in the house, and one hundred baskets distributed on the plaza.

At this juncture the people of Matuku Tangotango were slain by Rata, and then cooked.

The members of the raiding force heard the voice of Matuku Tangotango bawling forth appreciation of his feast of human flesh.

Matuku Tangotango thought he was eating the flesh of persons of a party of strangers from other lands, but not so, he was eating his own friend Pouhaokai, and that of their own folk.

Rata called out:- “Oh Matuku Tangotango!”

Matuku Tangotango answered:- “Here I am lying down, food has been cooked, human flesh is my food.”

Rata said:- “Cooked human flesh is now being conveyed to the house as food for Matuku Tangotango.”

The door was opened, and persons entered and deposited food for Matuku Tangotango.

One hundred of his own people were cooked bodily and handed over to be eaten.

Matuku Tangotango was overjoyed at the heap of human flesh, the central space of his house was covered, his tongue kept licking his food.

When the food was deposited Rata called out:- “ Oh Matuku Tangotango!” and Matuku Tangotango answered:- “Here i be.”

Again spoke Rata, as he stood outside the window:- “Eat! Eat! Oh Matuku Tangotango.”

Replied Matuku Tangotango:- “Here i am partaking of the feast provided by you O Tahuroa.”

That person Tahuroa was a younger brother of Pouhaokai.

On account of the sound of the voice of Rata, he was taken for Tahuroa, hence the mistake.

So Matuku Tangotango ate away of the flesh of his own people of his village, of Awarua.

Then the back of the house was heaped, as also the two side walls and the front.

Presently Matuku Tangotango called out:- “O Tahuroa!” Rata replied:- “Here I am Oh Matuku Tangotango!”

“What is that resounding noise I hear?” asked Matuku Tangotango.

Rata replied:- “It is nothing: merely our people kindling the oven fires were with to cook human flesh for you Oh Matuku Tangotango!”

Said Matuku Tangotango:- “The stomach is full, the craving for human flesh is satisfied, leave for tomorrow the desire for cooked human flesh.”

Then Matuku Tangotango fell asleep, and Rata recited a Karakia to render his sleep a profound one.

As the karakia concluded, the nose of Matuku Tangotango was heard rumbling like unto thunder rumbling along the horizon.

Then Rata said to his men:- Arrange the cords of the doorway.”

The cords were arranged according to the instructions of the priest Apakura in the first place.

When the cords were so arranged, then The cords were arranged according to the instructions of the priest Apakura in the first place.

When the cords were so arranged, then the back and side walls were kindled by means of fiercely burning fires, and the heat penetrated the house.

The sleep of Matuku Tangotango was very sound and, in the dead of night, when the evening rising stars had descended to a place where the sky hangs down prior to disappearing, then the front of the house was set fire to.

When it burned fiercely, Matuku Tangotango called out:- “O Tahuroa! There is a roaring sound in my house!”

Rata answered:- “Oh it is only Tawhirimatea and his offspring.”

Whereupon Matuku Tangotango grunted; ‘ere a long tongue of fire appeared flickering in the house.

Then called Matuku Tangotango:- “O Tahuroa! Here is Mahuika! Mahuika is moving within! Open the door!”

The door was struck by Matuku Tangotango, and broken, he thrust his head out, the three arranged cords were pulled, and now Matuku Tangotango was caught and consumed by fire, his neck strangled in the cords, he was then dragged forth and laid outside.

The bones of Matuku Tangotango, of Pouhaokai, and of Huriwhenua were brought away to serve as bird spear points, and as fishing hooks for Kauwaeroa.

This was the origin of the native custom of using human bones as spear points and fish hooks.

The death of Wahieroa, father of Rata was avenged, and Rata and his force returned to his mother, and his elder Whakaihorangi.

And here this tale ends.

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