CHANT FOR THE NEWLY BORN
The song reprinted here is from Rev. Richard Taylor's Te Ika a Maui, a book that has been out of print for many years now. The English renderings of Maori verse are still among the best ever written. ‘E Hine Aku’ is a ‘popo’ (nursery song) written by a chief Te Rangitakoro, of the Whanganui district, and is intended to teach her the secrets of her ancestry.
It tells the story of Hau, who undertook the journey to look for his wife Wairaka who had eloped with a man named Weku. When he found Wairaka with her lover at Te Paripari (at the end of the Tararua Range) he asked her to fetch some water. She took the calabash and went into the sea and when she had gone far enough for the water to reach her shoulders Hau repeated karakia and Wairaka became petrified. She has remained there ever since, a rock in the sea still bearing her name.
The song is very interesting as it gives the origin of every place-name from Wanganui to Wairarapa.
KO TE POPO A TE RANGITAKORU MO
TANA TAMAHINE, MO WHARAURANGI
E hinc aku, ki to kunenga mai i tawhiti,
Ki te whakaringaringa, ki te whahawaewae,
Te wakakanohi-tanga, ka manu, e hine, te waka i a Ruatea,
Ko Kurahaupo, ka iri mai taua, i runga i Aotea ko te waka i a Turi,
Kau mai taua te ngutu Whenuakura,
Hanga iho te whare Rangitawhi;
Tiria mai te kumara,
Ka ruia mai te karaka ki te taiao net,
Karia iho te pou Tamawahine i,
Ka waiho i Nga tuahine, i a Nonoko-uri,
I a Nonoko-tea, ko te Hererunga, ko te Korohunga.
Kapua mai e Hau ko te one ki te ringa,
Ko te tokotoko. Ka whiti i te awa,
Ka nui ia, ko Wanga-nui;
Tiehutia te wai, ko Wangae-hu;
Ka hinga te rakau, ko Turakina;
Tikeitia te waewae, ko Tikei;
Ka tatu, e hine, ko Manawatu;
Ka rorohio nga taringa, ko Hokio;
Waiho te awa iti hei ingoa mona ki Ohau;
Takina te tokotoko, ko Otaki;
Ka mehameha, e hine, ko Waimea.
Ka ngahae nga pi, ko Wai-kanae.
Ka tangi ko te mapu, e hine,
Ka kite koe i a Wairaka.
Poua ki runga, poua ki raro,
Ka rarau, e hine. Ka rarapa nga kanohl,
Te rarapatanga o to tupuna,
E hine—ka moiki te ao,
Ko te pai a Waitiri;
Kumea kia warea Kaitangata
Ki waho ki te moana;
Hanga te paepae, poua iho, te pou
Whakamaro te rangi, ko Meremere:
Waiho te Whanau, ko te punga
O tona waka ko te Awhema.
Kati, ka whakamutu. e hine.
TE RANGITAKORU'S NURSERY SONG
FOR HIS DAUGHTER, FOR
O, my daughter, when you came from afar,
And your hands were formed, and your feet,
And your face, you floated, O daughter,
In the Kurahaupo, Ruatea's canoe,
When you embarked in the Aotea, the canoe of Turi,
You forded the Whenua kura at its mouth,
There was made the house of Rangitawi;
Let us plant the kumara,
And sow the karaka, in the land bordering the sea;
Sink deep the post Tamawahinei,
Leave it for Nga tua hine, from Nonoko-uri,
From Nonoko-tea, the Hererunga and Korohunga.
Hau took up some sand in the palm of his hand, and his staff.
When he crossed over the river,
Finding it was wide he called it Wanga-nui.
Splash the water, that will reach Wangac-hu;
The length of a fallen tree, is Turakina.
Having many times lifted up his feet, Tikei;
When his heart sank within him, Manawatu;
When the wind whistled past his ears, Hokio;
The small river called, Ohau;
When he carried his staff in a horizontal position, Otaki;
When he prayed, O daughter, it was Wai-mea;
When he looked out of the corner of his eye, Wai-kanae;
When he became weary, my daughter, he reached Wai-raka.
He repeated an incantation,
She became fixed above, and fixed below,
My daughter. When his eyes glistened with delight,
He called the place Wai-rarapa,
It was the rejoicing of your ancestor, my daughter.
The sky became cloudless,
On account of Waitiri's good will.
She then enticed Kaitangata out to sea:
She placed the plank across,
And drove it in a post to hold on by, called Meremere.
She left to her offspring, Punga, the anchor of his canoe,
As his name, Awhema.
Enough, it is finished, O my daughter.