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No. 1 (Winter 1952)
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DID THE GREAT FLEET VISIT RAROTONGA?

I TAE RANEI TE HEKE NUI O NGA WAKA KI RAROTONGA KAORE RANEI?

I waimarie Te Ao Hou ki te whiwhi ki nga ahua e mau ake nei o nga wahi, ki ta nga korero o Rarotonga, i rere mai ai nga waka o te Heke nui o tatou Tupuna.

Kaore i te ata mohio etahi ki te tata o te whanaungatanga o nga Rarotonga me era atu iwi o nga Moutere ki te Maori. E ki ana hoki a Ta Apirana Ngata no Mangaia mai te kaupapa nui o nga iwi o Ngatiporou a e mau mai na ano nga ingoa kainga no reira kei te ngutuawa o Waiapu.

Ko etahi o nga tipuna Maori o taua Heke Nui kei te taunaha ano nga Rarotonga o Aitutaki me era atu moutere no ratou ano aua tupuna ko Uenuku raua ko Ruatapu nga tupuna e taunaha nuitia ana.

Tera tonu ra e tika i peka aua waka o

 

Te Ao Hou has been fortunate in obtaining from the National Publicity Studios the photos printed on these pages. They depict the places where the canoes of the principal fleet left Rarotonga, according to the Cook Island traditions.

It is not always realised how close the Rarotongans and other Cook Islanders are to the Maori people. The late Sir Apirana Ngata considered that an important element in the East Coast tribes came from the island of Mangaia in the Cook Group. A large number of the place names of Mangaia are found round the mouth of the Waiapu River.

Some ancestors of the Maoris, alive at the time of the great heke, are well known to the people of Rarotonga, Aitutaki and other islands of the Cook, and also the Society groups and are revered as their own ancestors. The most famous of these are Uenuku and Ruatapu.

 
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Aitutaki—the place from which the Arawa canoe is said to have left for New Zealand. There is some evidence that the Aitutaki people are especially closely related to the Maoris. For instance, the greeting ‘Tena koutou’ is used in Aitutaki as in New Zealand, but in no other portion of the Cook Islands. Their language in other respects, for instance the dropping of h-s, is reminiscent of the language of the Aotea canoe people.

te Heke nui ki Rarotonga a no reira ano etahi o aua waka a i rere mai i nga waahi e mau ake nei nga ahua.

Kei te wharangi 207 o te Pukapuka a S. Perry Smith ko Hawaiki ko nga korero a tetahi kaumatua a Tamarua mo nga Hekenga mai, e ki ana a ia ‘Inamata ka rere atu i konei a Te Arawa, a Kura-aupo, a Matatua, a Tokomaru, a Tainui me Takitumu. Kotahi ano te rerenga atu o enei waka.

He korero motuhake to Takitimu. Ko ianei te waka tuatahi mai ki Rarotonga o te heke i a Tangiia a ko te tuatahi ano te rere ki Aotearoa. Ko te korero, i hoki mai ano taua waka ki Rarotonga, a e mau nei te ingoa Takitimu i tetahi o nga hapu o Rarotonga. Kihai a Tamarua i whai kupu mo Horouta ka mutu ano tana korero ko Oturoa te rangatira o runga i a Tainui.

Ki ta Tamarua kiki tonu a Rarotonga i te tangata i te taenga atu o aua waka no reira ka reia mai ko enei moutere. Ko tetahi putake mo te rerenga mai ki Aotearoa ko Toka-motu i tanumia, ki ta Rarotonga korero, e Ngahue ki konei i tona hekenga mai i Hawaiki.

 

It may therefore well be true that, as the Cook Islanders say, the great heke visited Rarotonga before coming to New Zealand, or even that some of the famous canoes were actually built on Rarotonga, before they left the bays shown in these photographs.

Mr. S. Percy Smith (Hawaiki, edn. 1904, p. 207 ff), describes a conversation he had with an old Rarotongan chief called Tamarua, during which he was told that several migrations were known in that district. ‘Once,’ said Tamarua, ‘there sailed from here a fleet of several canoes, the names of which were (in Rarotongan Maori) Te Arawa, Kura-aupo, Mata-atua, Toko-maru, Tainui and Taki-tumu. They all went away together as one fleet.’

Takitimu had a special place in this tradition. It was said to be the first canoe to arrive in Rarotonga with Tangiia's migration, and also the first to leave for New Zealand. Unlike the other canoes, it is said to have returned to Rarotonga after visiting New Zealand. Thus the Takitumu tribe of Rarotonga was founded.

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Ngatanua Harbour Entrance, Rarotonga, through which the fleet of seven canoes is said to have sailed for New Zealand. Another tradition says that the fleet left from Aorangi on the other side of the island.