The following interesting note was sent to me recently by Mr. Elsdon Best. It refers to a subject on which our knowledge is ex-. The ancient Maori held most interesting and unique ideas regarding the sexes, some of which are referred to here. All troubles, misfortune, sickness, come from the whare o aitua whence man enters the world — i. They represent eternal life, hence the term whare o te ora applies to them.
A man clasped his penis while repeating karakia to ward off magic spells. The tara wahine , or female genital organs, were, as we have just pointed out, the cause of death entering the world. Thus the female genitals represent death, while the male organ signifies life. The first woman, in the Maori mythology, drags down her offspring to Po night , meaning to death, and the first woman in the Greek mythology, Pandora, introduces all kinds of afflictions as an heritage for hers. Commencing with a primitive state of darkness, night, morn, heaven Rangi , earth Papa , the winds, were produced in succession, and later Tiki, the first man.
Rangi and Papa had numerous children, one of whom was named Tane-nui-a-rangi. This Tane, desiring a wife, made an image in the. She was named Hine-ahu-one; and after giving birth to an egg, from which sprang all the birds of the air, Tiki-kapakapa, a girl, was born—the Maori Eve. Tane took her to wife, and she bore a female child.
There she took the name of Hine-nui-te-po Great woman of night. We have already related how the demi-god Maui visited Hine-nui-te-po to wrest from her, as she slept, the secret of eternal life, but she awoke and strangled the brave Maui.
Since then all men have been subject to disease and death. The whare o aitua , the passage by which man enters the world to be assailed by disease, by death, is seen in woman. As affording a good illustration of the strange channels in which the thoughts of the Maori run, and as an interesting relic of an ancient system of phallic worship, the following remarks made to Mr. For that urine represents the tawhito , and will avert any evil consequences of any act of witchcraft levelled against them. The first of these was the mauri , and the second tapu. To maintain inviolate the mauri , tribal, family, or individual; to refrain from transgressing the laws of tapu , and to retain his prestige and powers, natural and supernatural, was to command health, physical and mental.
The mauri of the Matatua tribes was located at Whakatane. It is termed the pouahu , or the makaka , by the descendants of the ancient inhabitants of the Bay of Plenty.
This was the. In the case of a sick person this mauri was appealed to by invocations repeated by the priest. The mauri ora at Whakatane was the salvation of man, says my aged informant; it was life and health itself; it represented the vitality and spiritual well-being of the people. The manuka at Whakatane was the essence and semblance, or personality, of health, of life, of spiritual and intellectual prestige.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
By means of this singular rite the welfare of man and lands was protected, and neither would then be in danger of suffering from the arts of the wizard. For, bear in mind, we are now speaking of sickness and troubles of divers kinds as being caused by magic arts. These ceremonies began early in the life of the individual, when the tua and tohi rites were performed over the new-born child, and the kawa-ora and other invocations were repeated by the priest. This rite was for the purpose of preventing the mauri or life-principle of the tuber from returning to Hawaiki.
Unwin, Joseph Daniel (MS )
Should it do so, then it would be useless attempting to cultivate or propagate the seed-tubers: they would not bear, the life-principle being departed. This sacred life-principle of man has become polluted through contact with Europeans— i. When Christianity was embraced by the natives they proceeded to whakanoa , or make them-. For the tapu was of the Maori gods, and must be got rid of, or reduced, so to speak, before the new god was accepted. This was done, in most cases, by washing the head with water heated in a vessel in which food had been cooked.
Shade of Toi! It was enough to cause the whole horde of gods in the Maori pantheon to turn on the race and destroy it at a blow—the most sacred part of sacred man to be brought into contact with cooked food! It may be that this generation, born among the white men, may survive, and be as healthy and virile and industrious. But I fear that the Maori has forsaken his own well - being [ ora and mana ] in pursuing that of the white man.
And I ask, How may we survive? I am resolved to follow the practices of my forefathers, which have been followed for many generations. I say to you that the Maori is in fault; he has deserted his ancestral rites, customs, and beliefs, and now they have turned upon him and are destroying him.
The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Two Volume Set): Volume 1
The Tuhoe Maoris have a tradition that it was Irakewa, father of the chief Toroa of the Matatua canoe, who introduced disease into New Zealand from Hawaiki. He seems to have visited this country in some mysterious manner just before the coming of the Matatua canoe. Before the arrival of these voyagers it is said that disease was unknown here. For instance, when a house has become tapu for some reason, and is deserted, it must not afterwards be entered, or burned, or interfered with in any way. Only a priest, or those under tapu for conveying a body or exhumed bones, may trespass on a burial-place or cave where bones of the dead are placed.
Should any one else so trespass, then those bones of the dead will turn upon the intruder and slay him, or afflict him grievously. That is to say, the gods will punish that person. These things cannot be done with impunity. The gods will mark him down. This does not, of course, apply to the sleeping-places of ordinary persons who are not highly charged with tapu.
At no great distance from camp Heipipi, at Rua-tahuna, is an old settlement named Kiha, which has been deserted for nearly forty years. A few weeks ago, two native women in camp were discussing the probability of obtaining some flax from that place. Do not go straight up through the clearing, but keep round the edge of the bush until you get opposite the flax, and then strike straight across.
No more was said; the women understood at once that, in past generations, a fire had been kindled at that spot in order to perform some religious rite. They would carefully avoid the place. It is also applied to the infringement of a rahui a private tapu -mark set up to prohibit persons from robbing or trespassing. There are many other acts of a similar nature the performance of which will cause a person to be seriously afflicted by the gods.
The placing of the food, or remains of food, of a tapu person in a common place— i. If it happens to be the maanga remains of a meal of a sick person, the invalid will have a relapse, and the person who committed the dread act of tapohe will also be taken ill. If a sacred oven is tapoheria it spells death for the offender, unless he takes time by the forelock and hies him to the priest or a matamua , who may shrive him of his sin.
Affections of the throat were thought to be caused by the eating of sacred food, such as that prepared for the tapu persons who were engaged in buiying the dead, or in exhuming the bones thereof. The disease inflicted by the gods for committing these breaches of the tapu are always considered very serious; by some they are believed to be incurable—the patient must die. And when death comes the body is burned, in order to protect other persons affected by the same disease.
Another method of slaying persons who have been guilty of koi ra mua , adopted by the gods, is to destroy them by means of a lightning - stroke. This is brought about by Tupai, one of the personifications of thunder. The form of. The infringement of tapu as a cause of illness and death is still implicitly believed in by the Maori, and quite recently, at Gisborne, a tohunga named Paneri Tawera diagnosed the disease of his patient, Kapu, to be due to such a cause. He treated him accordingly; but, unfortunately, the patient died, and the medicine-man was charged with murder. There is a pit there; Kapu has gone on to that place, and that is the reason of his sickness.
The tohunga conducted the relatives of the sick man to the scene of the trespass, and at the root of a poplar-tree found a stone, which, with some grass that was growing near, he carefully wrapped up in his handkerchief.
A man in former times, coming from Ti Kete, on the sea-coast, arrived at this place, and they did not offer him any food. On that account he put a tapu on that particular place. After the tohunga had done talking the party returned to Koutara, where Paneri took the grass that was in the handkerchief and gave it to the people professing the same religion as himself, and told them to repeat certain incantations or charms.
When they had finished their karakia he gave a bundle of grass to them. He directed that it should be placed secretly under the sleeping-mat where Kapu was lying.
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The only other treatment received by the patient in this case was an occasional drenching with cold water, the common remedy for fevers among primitive peoples. Poor Kapu died in great agony, and the mana of Paneri was shattered. The karakia used by the Ngatiawa tohungas to cure those afflicted by disease as a punishment for trespass on a sacred place tuahu , or a place where a sacred fire has at some time been kindled, or a cave containing the bones of the dead, is as follows.
After the usual sprinkling process by the sacred pool or stream, the priest recites this incantation:—. Heuea ki runga, heuea ki raro Heuea ki te po uriuri Heuea ki te po tangotango Tuhia mai te tuhi e atua nui Ana ra e patu nei Haere, whakataha ra Tutara kauika Ana ra e patu nei Haere i te po uriuri Haere i te po tangotango.
Rua koiwi Haere ra i te po uriuri I te po tangotango I te wherikoriko Ka kai koe ki to matua e tu nei Mihia mai te tere nui O te atua e patu nei Tua mai te ora i tua Koia nga atua e patu nei Haere i tua, haere i waho. Ko uru koe e patu nei Haere i tua, haere i waho Haere i te maramatanga Atua nui koe Haere i tua, haere i waho Haere i te rangi nui e tu nei Haere i te papa e takoto nei Mahihi ora Whakaarahia mai te kauae o te mate Ara mai te hau o te ora Kahu ana te tangata e patu nei Haere i tua Haere i te hau o tua, o waho, o te ora Koia, Koia nga tapu nei Koia nga mate nei Koia nga atua nui e patu nei E ara kahukura i te rangi nei Haere nga atua whiu Haere nga atua ta Haere i tua Haere i nga koromatua Mahihi ora Ki te whai ao Ki te ao marama Ko rou ora.
The tohunga and his patient then return from the stream, and the rite is performed to remove the tapu from them, during which the patient holds a dead coal taken from the sacred oven. The various organs of the human body were supposed to be governed by certain stars and planets of the Zodiac. The moon and sun are the elder brothers, the stars the younger brethren. The small stars are the common people. When a person feels listless and weak iwingohe in summer-time it is said to be caused by Rehua—or, rather, by his summer wife, Whakaongekai.
Rehua is a chief among stars, a whetu rangatira lordly star. We find that the Maoris also held similar views as to the existence of disease-producing and disease-healing gods.
These divinities were anthropomorphic, or, in some instances, zoomorphic deities. They were not the fetishes of wood and stone which the zealous missionaries invariably and erroneously designated idols, for idols and idolatry were never existent, according to the best authorities, in Polynesia and New Zealand. The gods above referred to as playing an important part in producing disease were the national deities of the Maori race, and many of them were generally recognised throughout Polynesia.