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No. 31 (June 1960)
– 17 –

PUHIWAHINE — MAORI POETESS

GRANDMOTHER TO BE

The years rolled on and Puhiwahine's two sons married wives of the Parewahawaha sub-tribe of the Rangitikei district, and went to live at Ohinepuhiawe (near Bulls) and at Matahiwi, on the south side of the mouth of the Rangitikei river.

The Parewahawaha sub-tribe were originally of the west Taupo district and were partly of the Raukawa and Tuwharetoa tribes. When Te Rauparaha's former allies, the Ati-Awa, turned upon him to oust him and his Ngati Toa people from their portion of the conquered lands at Porirua and Waikanae, he appealed to Ngati Raukawa, his mother's people—amongst others—to come to his aid.

Te Whatanui, the Ngati Raukawa high chief and war leader, recruited an army and hastened south to join Te Rauparaha. Among those who came with Te Whatanui were the Ngati Parewahawaha.

After the crushing defeat of Te Ati Awa at Te Horo (in the Horowhenua district), and their precipitate retreat to Whanganui-a-Tara (Lower Hutt and Wellington), the Ngati Parewahawaha settled on the south bank of the Rangitikei river near its mouth. The main settlements were at Ohinepuhiawe and Matahiwi. The battle of Te Horo took place in March, 1834.

After the marriages of Puhiwahine's sons they settled among the Ngati Parewahawaha at Ohinepuhiawe. This was in the year 1869.

In the same year Puhiwahine was among the notable Maori personages who were received by the Duke of Edinburgh, and His Royal Highness presented her with a greenstone brooch. She named the brooch “Te Tiuka Ienepara” (the Duke of Edinburgh). It is a valued family heirloom and is now in the possession of her great-granddaughter, Maata, the wife of Hiri Mariu of Waihi, Lake Taupo. This brooch is mentioned in the next song, which will be recorded in this account presently.

Some months after the marriages Puhiwahine learnt that both her daughters-in-law were expectant mothers, and she rejoiced at the news. After a visit to each home to satisfy herself that the news was authentic, she made a forecast that John's child would be a girl and George's would be a son. In the event Puhiwahine proved correct, but George's son was still-born and shortly afterwards the mother died. Maori matrons believe that an expectant mother with a pale complexion is bearing a male child, and that a mother's freckled or blotchy face indicates a female child.

Happy in the thought that she was a grandmother to be, Puhiwahine decided she would compose a song. In the time-honoured manner of the race the song in her heart had to be expressed in a lullaby, but Puhiwahine could not wait for the natal hour. And so Puhiwahine's lullaby, as a premature oriori composition, is unique.

Picture icon

Thomas Maraku Gotty, grandson of Puhiwahine.

– 18 –

TE ORIORI A PUHIWAHINE

1.

E hine ranei, e tama ranei!
Puta noa ke korua te awa i ‘Tikei.
He whenua tautohe na o mata waka
Mooku ia ra e nunumi ake nei;
E kore pea korua e rite hei riiwhi
Kua kore tenei, kua iti noa iho;
Kua ngaro te tangata, e.

2.

Hohoro te korikori, tu ake ka haere!
Hapaitia atu te Tiuka lenepara.
Kaati ano ra, he mana pounamu tonu—
Hei taonga hokinga atu ki te kainga ra.
Kei Patea ano ra a Pine e noho ana,
Hei arataki atu ki te wi i Rangipo.
Titiro korua ki nga kurae ra!
Ki Motutere ma ra, ki Motuoapa;
Ki waho o Whareroa, ki roto o Pukawa;
He tanumitanga waka no te iwi kua ngaro, i, i …

3.

Ko maunga kau te tu ki te uru!
Arohirohi ana te tihi ki Tongariro
Titaha te haere i te take o Pihanga,
E tua takahi ana te papa ki te puia.
Ka kitea mai korua e o korua kuia—
“Na wai enei tamariki e haere nei?”
Kiia atu ano, “Kei te raunatia
“Ki Orakau ra, ki Rangiaohia ra.
“He koata-kaihe na te Pakeha
“Nana nei i huna iho ka ngaro te motu nei.
“Na Tutetawha, na Te Rangiita,
“Na Paraparahika, na Tuwharetoa, na Hinemihi
“Maua nei, e.
“Katahi ka hoki mai te ewe ki te rauru,
“Ki te rua i moe ai, ki te u kai-po.”
Ka matauria korua, na, i …

4.

Hoki atu ki roto ra te koko ki Waihi,
Ka pa mai te karanga
A Te Piata, a Te Rohu.
Kia matau atu he whaea ena—
Taupiripiri ana, ka rite koutou.
Ma maua ano ko taku hoa muringa,
Uia atu ano, “Kei whea a Ngamotu?
“Kei whea a Te Makiwhara?”
Oku nei tungaane kei raro noa atu.
Kei a Rewi ma, kei tona nuinga, e,
Me tuhituhi atu ki te reta pukapuka
Kia hoki mai ana ka noho koutou
Te Riu ki Taupo, na, i …

1.

If maid you be, or if son you be!
You two will emerge unawares by the river at ‘Tikei.
The quarrelling ground of your full-manned canoes.
Alas, I doubt you two will be deserving heirs
Of mine, after I am gone.
I am really nothing, a wasted thing,
And men (who were men) have passed away …

2.

Hasten to move, arise and be on the way!
Take up the Tiuka lenepara;
A worthy trophy, ‘tis consecrated greenstone, 10
To take back to our home o'er yonder.
At Patea still abides Pine,
To guide us to the tussock (uplands) of Rangipo.
Look now you two at those headlands yonder!
At Motutere and others there, at Motuoapa;
Offshore from Whareroa, and within Pukawa,
The busy canoe inlet of departed tribes, ah me …

3.

A lonely mountain stands there in the west!
See now the shimmering summit of Tongariro.
Onward we go by the foothills of Pihanga, 20
Trudging on across flat lands to the thermal pools.
You two will soon be seen by your grandsires and grandams.
“Whose children are these coming here?” (they will ask.)
Say to them, “We are travelling around
“To Orakau and on to Rangiaohia over yonder.
“We are quarter-castes begotten of a Pakeha,
“He who has overrun and lost (us) this land.
(Tell them) “By Tutetawha, by Te Rangiita.
“By Parapara-a-hika, by Tuwharetoa, and by Hinemihi
“Are we two, indeed. 30
“Only now have we returned to our native land,
“To the cradle to sleep and suckle a mother's breast.”
You two will now be recognised, and all will be well.

4.

Come back here and let us go into the cove at Waihi,
Where the welcome call will come
From Te Piata and Te Rohu.
Know you now they are your aunts—
Closely linked as kinsmen are you all.
Now of my companion of these latter days
I shall ask, “Where is Ngamotu? 40
“And where is Te Makiwhara?”
My cousins, alas, are both far in the north;
They are with Rewi and his many tribes.
Let a letter be written on writing paper
That, on your return. you all will abide
Upon the shores of Taupo, ah me …

2 ‘Tikei’—Abbreviation for Rangitikei.

9 Tiuka Ienepara—Duke of Edinburgh (younger son of Queen Victoria) maorified. The name given by Puhiwahine to the brooch presented to her by His Royal Highness.

12 Patea—Formerly the Maori name for the Taihape district. Usually referred to as inland Patea.

Pine—A chief of the Ngati Whiti-Tama of the Taihape district.

13 Rangipo—The tussock plains around Waiouru.

15 Motutere—The headland on the eastern shores of Lake Taupo opposite Motutaiko Island.

Motuopa—The bold headland (almost an island now when lake level is high) between the Tongariro and the Tauranga-Taupo rivers.

– 19 –

WHERE THE WHITE MAN TREADS

The writer has chosen the title of the very readable book by William Baucke as a chapter heading, because our story will now deal with events in the Northern King Country district. Baucke's stories dealt with the people of that region—formerly known among the Maori tribes as Te Rohe-potae o Ngati-Maniapoto (The Rim of the Hat of the Maniapoto Tribe).

About the year 1885 the chiefs of Maniapoto applied to the Maori Land Court to investigate the titles to the tribal lands, and in 1886 the Court commenced its sittings at Otorohanga. This event co-incided with sittings of the Court in Taupo under another Judge and Maori Assessor (David Scannell and Nikorima Poutotara). These sittings were the first to be held in these districts, and members of the tribes of Maniapoto and the Tuwharetoa went from far and near to attend the sittings.

Puhiwahine attended the sittings at Taupo, and later went through to Otorohanga. At the latter place she learnt that the reason why the Maniapoto chiefs had applied for an investigation of their titles was because they had learnt that occupation was a strong ground for claims to land before the Maori Land Court. And at that time some sections of the Waikato people, whose lands had been confiscated by the Government after the Waikato War of the 1860s, had been in occupation of some of the best lands of the Maniapoto at Te Kuiti for twenty odd years.

Among the Waikato refugees was King Tawhiao, but as he was also of Maniapoto blood he was made most welcome and his rights to land as a Maniapoto were fully safeguarded by the chiefs.

When the main claim to the whole of the Maniapoto tribal domain came before the Maori Land Court there were claims by various outside tribes, including a section of the Waikato people. (Otorohanga Maori Land Court Minute Book, 1886).

Hauauru was the principal witness for the Maniapoto, and his evidence in chief and cross examination lasted for ten days. It was when he was giving evidence in connection with the claim of his own Matakore sub-tribe to part—Rangitoto Block—of the tribal domain that Hauauru, during an adjournment of the Court, challenged the counter-claimants to quote some song in support of their claims. No one took up his challenge.

Puhiwahine was present, and Hauauru acknowledged her presence by a respectful wave and cupping of the hand, he then turned to the chiefs and began to sing the Song of a Coquette. (See Chapter 5). Puhiwahine took it as a challenge and soon she had risen to her feet and joined him in the singing; but remaining in her place some paces away. At the fourth verse, Puhiwahine accompanied her singing with a pukana in the direction of Hauauru, and for the line, “at Rangitoto art thou, O Eruera!” she raised her voice to a higher note and with quivering hands she struck a graceful pose reminiscent of her younger days. The song was ended with the words in the last two lines of the verse: “This is but a day-dream for him who was the first of them all!”

When the time came for Puhiwahine to leave Otorohanga for her home in the south, there was a special gathering arranged as a poroporoaki (take leave of) and to wish her well. Puhiwahine had composed a special song for the occasion. It was an expression of sorrow and regret for the manner in which the tribes were dealing with their ancestral lands.

16 Whareroa—Once a village site at the mouth of the Whareroa stream which flows into the western side of the lake between the Kuratau River and Poukura stream.

19 Tongariro—The sacred mountain of the Tuwharetoa tribe.

20 Pihanga—The bush-clad peak with the extinct volcanic crater between Lake Roto-a-Ira and Tokaanu township.

25 Orakau—The site of the Battle of Orakau (1864) between Kihikihi and Parawera, the road junction to Arapuni.

Rangiaohia—The former village of the Ngati Apakura. The scene of fighting just before the Battle of Orakau.

26 Quarter-castes—Maorified in original text as koata-kaihe. Her two half-caste sons married wives of full Maori blood.

28 Tutetawha—The Tuwharetoa ancestor who made the peace pact with Te Kanawa of the Maniapoto tribe near the birthplace of Puhiwahine.

Te Rangiita—The son of Tutetawha.

29 Parapara-a-hika—Younger brother of Te Rangiita.

Tuwharetoa—Eponymous ancestor of the Tuwharetoa tribe, from whom ancestors named above are descended.

Hinemihi—An ancestress from the Matatua people who married Tutetawha (See Note to line 28), and after whom the Hinemihi sub-tribe (Puhiwahine's people) are called.

34 Waihi—The village of that name across the small bay from Tokaanu.

36 Te Piata—Of the Turumakina sub-tribe of Waihi.

Te Rohu—A cousin of Te Piata.

40 Ngamotu—Father of Pateriki Ngamotu a cousin of Puhiwahine, and related to Rewi Maniapoto.

Makiwhara — Another cousin. Descendants now living at Tokaanu.

43 Rewi—Rewi Maniapoto of Orakau fame.

– 20 –

HE WAIATA MO NGA MAHI WHENUA

A Song about Land Affairs

1.

Kaore te aroha morikarika noa
Ki aku tau rawa ka tatara ki mamao.
He moenga tara te kiri ka tauwehe;
Te rongo te houhia ki a Ngati Apa
He kino ano ra ka ata kitea iho,
Ka mahue Kauwhata, ka mahue kei muri
Kaore i ara i ako ai ki te mahi Kawana.

2.

E rua aku mahi e noho nei au;
Ko te hanga i te whare,
Ko te hanga i te tikanga.
Pukohu tairi ki Te Kuiti ra,
Ki te kainga ra i noho ai te ariki.
Ki taaku whakaaro ka taemai Waikato
Hei noho i te whenua
E panuitia nei! E panuitia nei!

3.

Pa rawa te mamae ki te tau o taku ate,
E tama ma e! Tu ake ki runga ra,
Tirohia te he o to mahi;
Maaku e ki atu, “Nohoia, nohoia!”
No mua mai ano, no nga kaumatua,
Na ngeaku waewae i tipi ra i te whenua.
Na konei hoki au i kino ai ki te reti
Ue! Whaiwhai ki te reti!

1.

Never-ending is the sorrow within me,
For my cherished ones now parted afar off.
‘Tis a thorny couch which torments my body;
Peace is still denied unto Ngati Apa,
And ‘tis a grievous thing to contemplate,
That Kauwhata is left, left in the rear.
Will (you) never learn the ways of the Governor.

2.

I have two objects in staying here;
To erect a dwelling-house,
To set up a way of life. 10
(See) the mist is settling on Te Kuiti yonder,
Upon the place where dwelt the exalted one.
Me thought Waikato had come
To settle on the land,
Now proclaimed! Now proclaimed!

3.

The pain of it has touched my heart within;
O my sons all! Go and stand forth yonder,
Look upon the grievous wrong you do;
Of which I do say, “Settle, settle (the land)!”
‘Tis a thought of old, a heritage from the elders, 20
Plucked by me (along the trail) as I tripped o'er the land.
That is why I deplore (the lure of) rent,
Goodness me! (This) chasing after rent!

⋆ ⋆ ⋆

The completion of the foregoing song, we thought, would have accounted for all the Puhiwahine songs; but Te Keehi has now supplied us with what might be called the fragment of a song. According to Te Keehi it was composed by Puhiwahine as a introductory stanza to the action song at the end of Chapter 3. Te Keehi's account is that Puhiwahine, late in her life, had suffered from some mental illness, and that it was thought she was the victim of makutu (witchcraft). Because of this illness she composed these lines:

(Continued on page 64)

4 Ngati-Apa—The tribe whose lands, to the south of the Rangitikei River, were overrun by the Ngati Raukawa and allied tribes in the early 1830s. Some years later a number of the chiefs of these tribes sold the lands—except for a few thousand acres—between the Rangitikei and Manawatu for less than £3000!

6 Kauwhata—One of the tribes allied with the Ngati Raukawa. This tribe retained some lands in the Feilding district.

11 Te Kuiti—The preceding narrative will explain the reference to Te Kuiti. It concerns the occupation of the lands there by the refugee tribes from Waikato after the Waikato War.

12 Exalted one—In reference to King Tawhiao, the second Maori king. He is mentioned in the preceding narrative.

13 Waikato—In reference to the Waikato refugees. See note to line 11.

15 Panuitia—Made known, proclaimed. Derived from, Pa 2. Reach one's ears, be heard. (Williams Dictionary page 244) and nui 3. many (Ibid. page 224) Hence: Made known the Investigation of Title etc. to be lodged with the Registrar of the Court. The application, if in order, is then advertised (panuitia, is the Maori term used) in the Kahiti (Gazette). It was the appearance of the application of the Maniapoto chiefs for Investigation of the titles to their tribal lands which the poetess refers to in this line as panuitia (proclaimed). to the many, or proclaimed as the translation of the writer has it.

 

PUHIWAHINE Continued from page 20.

ka noho au ka tangi,
Ka tu au ka titiro
Ki te ao rere mai
I aku matua.
He ahatanga atu
Naaku ki a koe
I rere mai ai
Te mataa rere-puku?
He kai te whenua
Te pau i a koe;
Ngau atu ra koe
Ki te puke i Tararua;
Kia ngata ai hoki to puku,
Kia ora ai hoki koe!

I sit down and weep,
I stand up and look
At the cloud floating hither
From (the abode of) my elders,
What was the offence
That I inflicted upon you
Which has caused the thrust
Of the silent spear point?
Land is the food
Not yet consumed by you;
Let yourself take a bite
At the peak of Tararua;
Have then your fill,
And thus be satisfied!

⋆ ⋆ ⋆

Puhiwahine's songs as recorded in this story of her life comprise all the songs she composed so far as we have been able to trace. With the exception of the song “Ka eke ki Wairaka,” which appears as Song 46 in Sir Apirana Ngata's Nga Moteatea Part 1, these songs have not previously been published.

In discussing Puhiwahine's poems in general we would describe her compositions as being in the traditional and classical Maori forms. That is to say there are no European features introduced in the airs or tunes, in the versification or in the arrangement of the songs. The long action song in Chapter 5 is unique in respect of the naive manner in which the poetess has catalogued her love affairs; and unlike Topeora, Te Rauparaha's niece, and other poetesses who were contemporaries but of an older generation, Puhiwahine has avoided the use of pungent erotic terms and refrained from any direct references to physical love. This was no doubt due to the influence of Christian teachings on Puhiwahine. There is an example of this in the first verse of her Song of War in Chapter 5. Puhiwahine belonged to the Roman Catholic faith.

Puhiwahine's oriori or lullaby in Chapter 7 is also a unique composition, not only because in it she anticipated the birth of her grandchildren, but also of certain features in the theme of the song. The lullabies of our race usually have as their theme the ancient myths and traditions, the tribal battles, and other historical incidents—all linked together with the names of famous ancestors. Puhiwahine's lullaby has made a feature of:

—a royal and “worthy trophy”, which was a greenstone brooch presented by the Duke of Edinburgh (Te Tiuka o lenepara); her grandchildren, described by her as Koata kaihe (quarter-castes); and her reference to the Pakeha “who has overrun and lost us this land.” These references would indicate that Puhiwahine, in common with others of that time, had become reconciled to a pattern of life in which the Maori would play the lesser part.

Puhiwahine's compositions show that she was well-versed in the history of her tribes and had a good knowledge of genealogies. She also had a good knowledge of tribal land affairs; took an intelligent interest in what was taking place in the alienation of the lands of her people, and felt that she should warn them against the “ways of the Governor”, and the “lure of rent”. (A Song About Land Affairs). One could say, too, that in her poems Puhiwahine was influenced by her life among Europeans to the extent of using English words in maorified form, and in the narrative arrangement of two of her songs—Action Song in Chapter 3, and The Song of a Coquette in Chapter 5—she has adopted a mode of expression similar to European realistic writing.

⋆ ⋆ ⋆

The popularity of the song “Ka eke ki Wairaka”, of which mention has already been made, can be attributed to the tender mood evoked by the words, “slave heart mine not to seek a lingering farewell; with two nights more in close embrace;” words which have the same appeal as “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never bro't to mind?” Puhiwahine also infused a subtle and captivating touch of intimacy to this song by introducing two English words in maorified form:—tiapu (jumps), which has been translated as “leaps” in the second line; and the word pea for pair. In both cases euphonic considerations are in favour of the maorified forms used by the poetess, as may be noted if the equivalent words; mokowhiti or tupeke were used in the first instance, and the word tauriterite in the second case.

(to be continued)