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The Sage's warning and admonition to this and succeeding generations—The Philosophy of the Whare-wānanga; the nature of Matter, &c., of the Pou-tiri-ao, or Guardian Spirits—Io-matua, the Supreme God—The Temple named Hawaiki.
NOW, I [Te Matorohanga] have another word to say; so you may be clear on this subject. Be very careful in reciting these valuable teachings that your ancestors have collected during the past generations right away from the period of Rangi [the Sky-father] and Papa [the Earth-mother] down to the present day. Notwithstanding, that the teachings from the Whare-wānanga are now mere shreds, because they are no longer combined, some still remain whilst others are lost; some parts diverge [from the originals] and to some additions have been made. This is in consequence of the decadence of the power, authority and prestige of the conduct of the various rituals, of the [abrogation of] the tapu, of the [unbelief in] the gods, until, at the present time, there is none of the ancient măna, or power left—all things have changed. The tapu has ended; the true teaching has been lost; as well as the karakia [invocations, etc.], the meanings of which are now [comparatively] unknown. Because the tapu was all important—the first of all things; without it none of the powers of the gods were available, and without the aid of the gods all things are without authority and ineffectual;1 the [mind of man] is now in a state of confusion [literally, like a whirlwind], as are all his deeds; the land is the same. The Whare-wānangas, the karakias, the tuāhus [altars], the pures [or sanctification] of man of different kinds, baptism of men with water, are all abandoned. So also are the powers to p. 105 attract fish and birds,2 or to influence the growth of food-plants. At the present time, different karakias, different methods, different tapus, even a different language prevails. Hence it is that the present teaching differs from that of the old priests, such as has been explained above [and as follows in later chapters]; and hence also it is that I impress on you the [former] aspect of these things, that you may be clear as to the descent of the măna-atua, [the god-like powers] even from Io [the Supreme God], and from the Whatu-kuras, Mareikuras, and the Apas of each separate heaven, down to the Patu-pai-arehe and Turehu.3 At the present time those kinds of gods no longer exist; they have become degraded into reptiles, stones, and trees—such are the present gods. And the [true, original] reptile-gods, stone-gods, tree-gods no longer exist. Men now live in a wilderness; they are careless of these things; of everything. It is for this reason that no măna [adequate power to make use of and apply this ancient knowledge] will be attained by you; and I also say to you that those things which you are writing [from my dictation] are but the ends, fragments, of the truth, a portion only of sacred things; the [anciently] established and true teaching has become effaced, as well as the [science of] the tapu, together with the true god-like powers that descended from Io-the-great, Io-the-parentless. Enough of these words to you.
Now, let it be clearly understood about Tama-nui-te-rā [the-great-son—the sun], and Te Marama-i-whanake [the-waxing-moon] and their younger brethren, the stars. All of these are worlds [with their] earth, waters, rocks, trees, mountains, open places and plains. [On this earth] the ocean and the rivers made the plains and open places which we see. It was the gods Mataaho and Whakaru-au-moko4 that p. 106 changed [the surface of the earth] and caused the present ill condition of the plains and rivers.
This is to be clearly understood: All things have their being through water and fire. If there were soil alone, the land would be dead, without water and fire; water without land and fire would be dead; fire without water and land would be dead. Hence, these three things combined give life to the land, and to each other, and to all things that grow and live and have their own forms, whether trees, rocks, birds, reptiles, fish, animals, or men. It is these three things that give life to them all. It is the same with the sun, the moon and the stars; they are worlds; earth, water and fire give them their form; and the same actuate all things.
Now, the hau, or hau-mapu, the air, is the complement5 of all things, whether of the earth or the heavens, the sun, the moon, or the stars. It is this that continues, or holds, the life of all things—hence are there four in all. If there were the earth, the ocean, fire, or air alone, nothing would exist, nor have shape, or growth—nothing would have life. Hence, be ye clear, it is through the earth, water, fire and air combined, that all things have form and life.
[This idea of the four elements is not Polynesian alone, as the following quotation shews. The Yezidi are an Aryan people, and hence the belief of the old Maoris in the four elements may be claimed as another "Aryan and Polynesian point of contact."
'Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society,' Vol. XLI., p. 217. In Mr. W. H. Heard's paper—"Notes on the Yezidis"—a peculiar people living in the Mosul district of Asiatic Turkey, on the Tigris river, will be found this statement:—"I have created four elements of the earth to fulfil the needs of men, which are water, earth, wind and fire." This is the second verse of the IV. Chapter of the Holy Book of the Yezidis, called Jelwet, and is supposed to have been written by their god.
Also on the same page as above, being the last verse of Chapter IV., we find:—
"Ye must not utter my name, nor speak of my shape, for if ye do it is a sin. . . . " This, also, is exactly the doctrine of the cult of Io; his name was never mentioned outside the inner circle of priesthood p. 107 and the pupils who afterwards became high-chiefs, or priests. It was only by the mearest accident that his name first became known to Europeans—the Missionaries never heard of it, and it was not until the old and learned Maoris came to know that there were Europeans who took a real interest in their ancient knowledge, and could be trusted not to despise their knowledge, that some further items were learnt by degrees, but never so fully as in these pages.
But, of course, the idea of the four elements is not confined to Polynesians and the Yezidi, it was the common belief of our ancestors at one time. The interesting question arises, did the Polynesians evolve the idea from their own study of nature, or did they learn it from some other race or nation?]
It is the same with the Rangi-tu-haha [the whole of the heavens], including the Toi-o-nga-rangi [the upper-most heaven, the abode of Io], each has its own form of everything [within them]; with its own form of life suited to each. The earth has its own form of life, as has the water, fire, trees, rocks; all plants of every description have their own particular form of life. The air, the sun, the moon, the stars, have their own form of life. Whatever there is in this world, or in the Rangi-tu-haha, all have the same [i.e., their own special form and life]. Everything, also, that has been mentioned above has a spirit [wairua, spirit, soul] of its own similar to itself, each one has a spirit.6
Io-te-wānanga [Io-the-omnierudite] of the heavens is the origin of all things. These are the things that Io-mata-ngaro [lo-the-unseen-face] retained to himself; the spirit and the life and the form; it is by these that all things have form according to their kind. Now this is clear to you.
You must also be clear on this point: There is nothing made by the god Io that has not an end; everything has a termination, whether it be a drought, burning by fire, injury by water, by the wind, by earthly injuries,7 by the sun, or the moon, excepting always those forms that the god himself decreed should have an end in this world, or other worlds.8
[At this point one of the audience, Rihari Tohī, exclaimed, 'O Sir! How did the things you are teaching become known? Perhaps they p. 108 are only things that you Tohungas (priests) think?' Te Matorohanga replied,]
I have told you that the wānanga [or knowledge] was brought down by Tāne-nui-a-rangi [Great Tane-of-heaven, see Chapter III.] from Te Toi-o-nga-rangi [the highest of the heavens], from the place named Rauroha—the great pa [enclosure, a fort] of the Whatu-kuras, Marei-kuras, and the innumerable hosts of the Rangi-tu-haha [the twelve heavens], from the temple Rangi-atea [see introduction to Chapter I.] where were suspended the wānanga of each world, of each heaven, of each 'plane'9 of the heavens and the worlds. Tāne-nui-a-rangi begged [of Io] the delivery to him of the wānanga of Rangi-nui and Papa-tua-nuku [the Sky-father and Earth-mother]. This was assented to by Io-the-father; and this knowledge was then brought from Rauroha in heaven to Whare-kura10 on earth, and there deposited. Enough! This [that I am teaching you] is that same wānanga [learning], abstracted from the three 'baskets' [divisions of knowledge]. What would be the good of the teaching if these things were not contained therein, the wānanga would not be a valuable property—there would be no value in such a wānanga.11
O Son! Be strong! You have nearly completed the Kauwae-runga [Celestial things], and then we shall go to the Kauwae-raro [Terrestrial things] so that you may quickly gather all these matters. Now, my word to you is: Do not disclose these matters to strangers. Leave them as a 'strengthening knowledge' for you, your brethren, your children and your grand-children, to enable you to hold your own in the marae12 of strangers. For thou art the descendant of Nuku-tama-roro, Nuku-te-moko-ta-hou13 as also am I that address thee. I would not disclose to you all the precious things of the Whare-wānanga, had thou been quite a stranger; but I observe that thou art intelligent and quick to learn, and that thou wilt retain what is taught. I am much pleased that thou art preserving these matters in writing; and my word to you is, collect the matter of both the Kauwaes, and do p. 109 not gossip about your ancestors or the Apas [messengers of the gods]. Do not defile these things, lest evil befall you. [I thus warn thee because] I notice that the present day houses are used solely for storing food; there are no tapu houses as thy ancestors had. Hence, I thus direct thee, that thou mayest ever bear it in thy mind.
Behold! At the time that the wānanga [knowledge] was brought down to Whare-kura [the fifth temple, see introduction to Chapter I.] by Tāne-the-water-of-life, [identical with Tāne-matua and many other names], by Ruatau, Pawa, and the Whatu-kuras of Te Toi-o-nga-rangi [the uppermost heaven]; the Pou-tiri-ao were appointed by them to all places; to the sun, to the moon, to the stars, to the clouds, to the winds, to the oceans, to Hades—that is, to Rarohenga at Te Muriwai-hou. . . . . . . .
The Pou-tiri-ao, of the heavens and the planes of those heavens are eleven in number.15 They have been appointed by the Whatu-kuras of Io to the heavens and planes, with all pertaining to them. Now, the following is obvious to the thoughts; the sun causes death, in that [his rays] kill growing things; it is not the case that he produces good only. The moon also causes destruction to earthly things, the wind does likewise, as do the trees. But I will be brief: Hence, there is nothing in the world without evil; and, hence, also all things have evil as well as good.
This was the reason that the Pou-tiri-ao were appointed to all things to take care that they run their courses properly, and lest the things of this world quarrelled among themselves; and to prevent anger, which was wrong according to the ideas of the Pou-tiri-ao; to help forward the good, and the life that was approved by the Pou-tiri-ao; to maintain the existence of good in each thing in this world. Everything whether of the Earth itself or the waters thereof, each had its guardian Pou-tiri-ao. Should the Pou-tiri-ao perceive anything in the world going wrong, or changing its purpose, its life, its form, its proceedings, they diverted it, put a stop or an end to it. If no Pou-tiri-aos had been appointed in the world, the growth, the life, the death, p. 110 of all things would have been a perpetual struggle; and consequently growth and life in this world would have been wasted. It was for these reasons that Io gave these powers to the Pou-tiri-aos.
Behold, also! Io, his Whatu-kuras and Marei-kuras, took though lest estrangement and disputes arose amongst the Pou-tiri-ao themselves. Io-the-great-one commanded the Whatu-kuras to become guardians over the Pou-tiri-ao lest they fall out amongst themselves, and thus they and the Marei-kuras held a position enabling them to assist [and direct] the Pou-tiri-aos in all their works; so that they all might have one mind in supervising the growth, and the life; and to prevent divergence in the form of all things in the world. Seeing that this was the mutual position of the Pou-tiri-aos, the Whatu-kuras and the Marei-kuras, it followed that the Pou-tiri-aos were subservient to the Whatu-kuras; unto whom alone was delegated the măna-ariki [or over-lordship]. And hence was it, because of the over-lordship in the Whatu-kuras of the Toi-o-nga-rangi [the uppermost Heaven], that they had the power and authority to enter into every part of the Heavens, the Moons, the Stars and Hades. It also follows, as can be clearly seen that all things were subject to the Pou-tiri-aos, and that they themselves were in like manner subject to the Whatu-kuras to whom had been delegated the lordship, the power, the life, and death, in the presence [or with the countenance] of Io-the-great-one. And this again shows that the Pou-tiri-aos, the Marei-kuras, the Whatu-kuras, and all the Apas of the twelve heavens were subservient to Io, the Supreme God.
All things were subservient to Io-the-great-one, and hence the truth of the names of Io:—
|Io-roa||Io-the-enduring (or everlasting)|
|Io-te-taketake||Io-the-origin-of-all-things (the one true god)|
|Io-matua-kore||Io-the-parentless (self created)|
These two names are from Pohuhu's teaching:—
Each of these names has a cause, a reason. Io is his name in short. Io-nui, he is the god of all other gods; Io-matua, he is the parent of all things, the life and being of all things; Io-te-wānanga, he is the wānanga of all things; Io-tikitiki, he is the god of the heavens, of all things therein, and in the Kauwhangas [planes], on earth, and also in Hades. He is the exalted one of all those things. Io-mataaho; if he visits the [other] heavens, or the other worlds, the planes, it is as a flash of light only—man never sees him. Io-matua-kore, he has no parents; Io-mata-ngaro, he is never seen by man; Io-mata-putahi, he is a god of one word [command], not of two [i.e., his single word is obeyed, is never altered]; Io-mata-wai, he is a loving god; Io-te-hau-e-rangi, he presides over all the heavens16; Io-tamaua-take, nothing of his can be changed from what has been decreed. This ends this subject.
[The name of Io was so sacred that it was rarely mentioned, and then only away from the contaminating influence of food and dwellings. The priests alone had a complete knowledge of him, and ordinary people knew nothing, or never heard his name, except when used in some rarely repeated karakias.]
Now, it is clear, that all things, the worlds and their belongings, all gods of mankind, his own gods, all are gathered in his presence [i.e., proceed from him]. There is nothing outside or beyond him; with him is the power of life, of death, of godship. Enough of this. Everything that proceeds from other than Io and his commands, death is the collector of those.17 If all his commands are obeyed and fulfilled by every one, safety and well-being result therefrom.
Now, it is obvious that ail things of life and death are combined in p. 112 the presence of [or are due to] Io-the-hidden-face; there is nothing outside or beyond him. All godships are in him and he appoints them their places; the gods of the dead and the gods of the living. All things are named [i.e., created] by god—of the worlds, in the heavens, the planes, and the water, each has its own function, even the smallest atoll, such as grains of dust, or pebbles, have their place—to hold the boundaries of the ocean or the waters [for example].
It is now clear that there are gods [presiding] in all the worlds, the planes, the stars, the moons, and the sun; and because they have such gods in the twelve heavens that are above, this also is clear; that the female is the bringer-forth of offspring that increase the gods, mankind, fish, birds, animals, reptiles and other things of this or other worlds or other heavens, moons, or stars. But, let my word be thus: let the suns be left out of these my words; for it is the mirage or reflection of everything in the worlds; hence, is it said it is a whatu [eye ? body] only, without legs, or arms, or head; it is a body only.18
[From Pohuhu's teaching we take the following: "The Toi-o-nga-rangi [the uppermost Heaven] is unapproachable by the Apas [messengers of the gods] of the other heavens—there is no other entrance thereto except through Tawhiri-rangi [the house, or guard-house at the entrance to the upper Heaven], the door of which is below—that is one reason: The other is the effulgent glory of that Heaven, at which no man's eyes can look. But it is different with the Whatu-kuras of this upper Heaven; they have been prepared by purification and the tohinga rite [baptism in the old Maori form], and thus can enter there. It was thus that Tāne-matua was able to ascend by the toi-hua-rewa to the presence of Io."]
Now, Hawaiki was the name of the house [temple] at Te-Hono-i-wai-rua ['the gathering place of spirits'—in the Fatherland]. It had four doors, one facing the east, one the south, one the west, another the north.19 Now, commencing from the period of Rangi and Papa, the [spirits] of the people of this world, have always followed the four winds p. 113 named [in their journey to spirit-land], and each dead one follows its own wind. It was the same with every wind, east, south, west and north. When anyone died he returned by his own wind, to his own particular door; and so it is even down to our own times. Arrived at Hawaiki they separated; some went to the Heavens appointed for them; the door by which they left Hawaiki was [named] Te Rawhiti [the east]; whence they ascended by the Ara-toi-huarewa [see below] (one name for which is Te Ara-tiatia). Another division passed out by the south door, and by the way Tahekeroa descended to Rarohenga, at the Muriwai-hou [Hades].
[The Scribe says, "The origin of the name Hawaiki"—so wide spread all over Polynesia—"is derived hom this temple, a very sacred place in Hawaiki-nui [the Fatherland], situated at Te Hono-i-wairua [The gathering place of spirits]. It was built four square, with a door on each side facing the cardinal points, each door having its own name. The spirits from each quarter of the earth entered the temple by their own doors. Those spirits which by their evil conduct on this earth, such as murderers and those guilty of treachery, left the temple by the Takeke-roa (or long rapid, descent) to Rarohenga, or Hades, presided over by the evil spirits, Whiro-te-tipua, Hine-nui-te-po20 [Great-mother-of-Hades], and Whakaru-ai-moko [god of volcanic phenomena]; whilst the others ascended the mountain Tawhiti-nui (not to be confounded with the island of that name, about which we shall learn later) sometimes called Maunga-nui, great mountain, where they were purified and then further ascended to the Heavens by the way called Te Ara-tiatia (the way-of-steps) or by the other named Te Toi-huarewa (the dangling or floating way—the idea is of a suspended rope), where they entered the realm of Io the Supreme God. In this temple called Hawaiki were four takuahi, or fireplaces in the centre, one opposite each door." It is not apparent what these fireplaces were for, but probably had some connection with purification—the proper name for them is kauwhanga, takuahi being that used in ordinary houses, and the first name is applicable to such fireplaces in all sacred houses, as in the Whare-wānanga.
The idea of the spirits being conveyed on the winds to their final resting place is not confined to the Polynesians, as the following quotation from Prof. T. G. Tucker's "Things Worth Thinking About," under the heading of 'Our earliest Ancestors and their Beliefs,' page 43. The Professor says, "I will give one more. The wind, I have p. 114 said, was the agent whereby the departed soul was carried away. In Greek legend this appears as the wind-god Hermes, the psychopomp, he who leads the soul by the hand into the nether world. In the Vedic myths the wind is the dog Yama. . . ." This last sentence, I suggest, will find its analogue in the 'dogs of Tawhaki' who accompanied him, or led him onward, to the twelfth heaven. It is possible that this legend as known to the Greeks is another 'Aryan and Polynesian point of Contact.'
Apparently the Rarotongan branch of the Polynesians had much the same belief in this temple of Hawaiki and the ascent of the soul therefrom to the gods. In Vol. VIII., p. 75, 'Journal of the Polynesian Society,' in describing the final exodus of Māui from this world, ". . . . then he arrived at Rarotonga to search for the way to Avaiki (Hawaiki—the Rarotongans do not pronounce the 'h'). This is the meaning of that name—it is a road of the gods, where the gods collect; their house is at the base of that mountain. The door of the house which is always open, is called Kati-enua."
I hold that the foregoing teaching of the Sage, Te Matorohanga, completely destroys the apparent belief of many writers on Polynesian matters, who trace the soul only as fur as the local Reinga (or place of 'jumping off,' 'the boundary between this world and the next,' from rei, a boundary); and shews what was really the belief of the Polynesians, that the spirit, or soul, of man had an existence after death, and that it returned to the Fatherland before joining the company of the gods. On this subject see "Hawaiki," third edition, page 51.
It is interesting to note that the Rarotongan "gathering place of spirits," called by them Te Koro-tuatini, is also known to the Maoris by the same name, a fact which my numerous questions to the Scribe elicited. The Sage told the Scribe this was the second name of the temple Whare-kura (see number five, Introduction to Chapter I.) after the teaching of the wānanga, brought down from heaven by Tāne had been removed to the next, or temple number six. It was here the spirits gathered; it is the same place as Te Hono-i-wairua, and was so called because of the innumerable (tinitini, manomano, whaioio) spirits assembled there—hence tuatini.]
1. Waimeha, without măna, powerless. The Scribe says, although the words of the karakias are still known, they have lost their ancient power. As a matter of fact many hundred karakias have been reoorded, as witness the columns of the 'Journal of the Polynesian Society,' 'Nga Moteatea,' and other publications.
2. Many interesting karakias are still extant, the recitation of which with the proper ritual, were held to have power to attract fish to the bait, birds to the snares, and other things, in which the old-time Maori had the firmest belief.
3. All knowledge of these matters was brought from the highest Heaven by the god Tāne, and through him beoame known to mankind, as will be described later on. The names mentioned are those of the male and female guardians, gods and goddesses of the various Heavens, the two last being the so-called Fairies, the Apsaras of Sanskrit Holy Writ.
4. Mataaho: 'Te hurihanga-i-a-Mataaho' is the name given to some great terrestrial catastrophe that, acoording to the Maoris, changed the appearance of the surface of the earth, and left its former plains and pleasant places in hills and valleys. Some authorities give the same name to the traditional flood, but there is p. 106 reason to think the two catastrophes are distinct. The name means, 'the-overturning-by-Mataaho.' Whakaru-au-moko is one of the fallen gods, relegated to Hades after the great Celestial war of 'Pae-rangi,' and is the author of all earthquakes, volcanic outbursts, thermal phenomena, etc.
5. Whakatutuki, is the word in the original. It ordinarily means 'to bring to a finish,' 'to effectually complete.'
6. According to the Rarotongans, every island known to them had a spirit and a body, developing into a spiritual and bodily name for each island; e.g., Tumu-te-varovaro is the spiritual name of Rarotonga itself. The people plainly distinguished these differences, as ingoa-vairua and ingoa-kopapa.
7. ? Earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.
8. This is not very clear. Probably, the interruption following put the Sage off as he did not complete his explanation.
9. Kauwhanga, the imaginery place that divided the heavens from one another.
10. See Whare-kura in introduction to Chapter I.
11. The Sage here expressed his annoyance at such interruption, and said that but for the attention and perseverance of the Scribe, he would cease any further teaching. He went on to address the latter, as in the text.
12. Marae, the court yard, or meeting place in a pa, where speeches and ceremonies were held.
13. The first of these names is that of the presiding priest in the Whare-wānaga, named Nga-mahanga [see introduction to Chapter I.]; the second is that of a very famous warrior and leader of the Wai-rarapa people, who was killed near where Napier now is by being crushed under a canoe, somewhat about 1830-40.
14. It is perhaps rather stretching the term 'angel' to apply it in this case; but the Pou-tiri-ao were guardian spirits, a kind of minor gods, as we shall see. Pou means a pillar, a high-chief, and to appoint; tiri, is to scatter as seed; ao, is the world. Many of the gods were the special Pou-tiri-ao, or guardians, over different realms of nature, as in the case of Tāne, who was the special guardian of plants and all work connected with wood.
15. The twelfth heaven: the abode of Io is excluded.
16. The Scribe informs me, the meaning of this is, that Io's presence is in all winds or air, the word hau, meaning wind, air; hence, perhaps, the name is better translated 'all pervading,' 'omnipresent.' The idea of the Diety being present in the wind is common to all old Maoris. I have often in former days heard them say as the wind blew through their hair, that the atua [god] was there.
17. This sentence is somewhat contradictory of the preceding; it is, however just as the original has it.
18. The teaching here is obscure. It depends greatly on the word koroirangi, translated as mirage, or reflection, or refraction, which is its ordinary meaning, and is held by the Scribe to be that of the word in the text. But, probably, the true meaning in this connection is that which may be gathered from an expression of Pohuhu's, where he says that the upper heaven is too koroirangi to be looked on by the eye, in which he means, 'too effulgent, too lustrous.'
19. Marangai, usually the north-east, but the Scribe says it means north here.
20. Later on we shall see the peculiar development of Hine-nui-te po. Whakaru-ai-moko is god of volcanic phenomena.