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No. 50 (March 1965)
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Here is another story of a visit to the underworld.

The Story of Niwareka and Mataora

Ko Rangi, ko Papa; tāna ko Rūaimoko (tēnei tamaiti a Papa, noho tonu i roto i a ia). Ko te tamaiti a Rūaimoko ko Manuongaonga, tāna ko Uetonga, ko tā Uetonga ko Niwareka.

Ko te wahine tēnei i whai ai a Mataora, nāna anō i patu, oma ana taua wahine ki raro. Ka whai a Mataora, ka tae ki te whare o Te Kūwatawata, kātahi ka ui atu a Mataora, ‘Kai whea te ara ki raro?’

 

Rangi the Sky and Papa the Earth had Ruaimoko the earthquake god; Ruaimoko had Manuongaonga, who had Uetonga, whose daughter was Niwareka.

This woman Niwareka was the wife of Mataora. He beat her, and she ran away to the underworld. Mataora followed her, and when he came to the house of Kuwatawata he asked, ‘Where is the road to the world

 
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Ka kī mai a Kūwatawata, ‘Rā, kai te tuarongo.’ Kātahi ka huakina e Kūwatawata, ka tuwhera te ara ki Te Pō. Ka titiro iho te tangata rā, a Mataora, e haere ana te tangata, e tū ana ngā whare.

Kātahi ka heke a Mataora, ka tae ki raro, ka tūtaki i a Tiwaiwaka. Ka ui atu tangata rā, ‘Kāore he tangata i tūtaki mai i a koe?’

Ka kī mai a Tiwaiwaka, ‘Tērā anō te whanake rā, tautau ai te ngutu, tangi ai te korotore; kua riro.’

Tae atu ia ki te ahi tā moko, e tā ana, ko Uetonga te tohunga. Kātahi ka titiro matatau a Uetonga ki ōna moko, ka toro mai te ringa o Uetonga ki ngā moko o Mataora, horoia ana, kua mā ngā moko o Mataora. Ka kī mai a Uetonga, ‘E hē ana a runga i te tā moko.’ Kātahi ka turakina a Mataora ki raro, ka tāia. Ka pā te mamae ki tangata rā, kātahi ka takitaki i tana peha:

Niwareka, Niwareka, kawe noa i a au
Ki te pōuriuri, ki te pōtangotango.
Whākina te mamae o te ipo
Kai Ahuahu, kai Rangatira,
Kai Nukumoanariki.
Ko Kurareiara, ko Taranaki.
Kai Taranaki hoki te ipo, toro hohoro e.

Na, ka haere te rongo o te tewha a Mataora ki te whare i noho ai a Niwareka, ki Aroarotea. Ko te mahi a te wahine rā he whatu kākahu. Kātahi ka haere te wahine rā, ka tae ki te ahi tā moko rā. Ka kakari mai a Uetonga, tōna pāpā, kāore i rongo. Kātahi ka ui atu te wahine rā, ‘E tā, karakia i tō karakia.’ Kātahi ka whakahua anō ko taua tewha anō, ka whakarongo te wahine rā ki te tangata rā e whakahua ana i tētahi pito o tana tewha, koia tēnei:

Whāki ki te Uru, whāki ki te Tonga,
Whāki ki te Whakarua, e.
Tirotiro ko Rangi ki te whetu,
Whakataha tō mata ki te marama au nei.
He moko puhi rākau au nei,
He moko puhi rākau au nei.
Whākina te tahu kia rongona,
Whākina te tahu kia rongona.
Mokimoki te kakara kia urua, e i.
Ko ure kā, ko ure kā mai te Houpuni e.
Taki ai au kia whakarongo, e i.

Ka mutu, kātahi ka mauria te tāne e te wahine rā ki roto ki te whare whatu kākahu rā tahutahu ai. Ka mahu tangata rā, ka kī atu ia ki tana wahine, ‘Ka haere tāua, ka hoki ki runga.’ Ka haere mai rāua.

Ka tae ake anō ki te whare o Te Kūwata-

 
 

below?’

Kuwatawata said, ‘There it is, at the back of the house.’ Then she opened the door to the dark world, and Mataora looked down and saw men walking about, and houses standing there.

He went below, and down there he met Tiwaiwaka the fantail, and asked him, ‘Have you met anyone?’

‘Yes,’ said Tiwaiwaka. ‘One came past who was crying and sobbing. She has gone now.’

Mataora went on, and came to the fire used by the tattooers; Uetonga the tohunga was there, tattooing a man. Uetonga stared at the marks on Mataora's face, then he stretched cut his hand and wiped them off, saying, ‘Your tattoers in the world above don't know how to do their work properly.’

Then Mataora was thrown down and was tattooed. When he felt the pain, Mataora chanted this spell:

Niwareka, Niwareka, you have brought me
To this great darkness, this great blackness.
Tell of the pain of the beloved one
Who is at Ahuahu, at Rangatira,
At Nukumoanariki,
Kurareiara, Taranaki;
At Taranaki is the beloved one; come swiftly to me here.

The news of Mataora's song reached the house where Niwareka was living at Aroarotea, spending her time there weaving cloaks. When she heard the song she went to the place where the tattooers were at work. Her father Uetonga scolded her and told her to go away. But she did not listen to him, and asked Mataora, ‘Will you chant your spell?’ He did so, and she listened to him chanting part of his spell, which was as follows:

(A translation of the spell has not been attempted here, for many of its allusions are difficult to understand. Mataora's first spell, given above, is also obscure in places.

It seems that it was when Niwareka heard this second spell that she realized that this was Mataora.)

When he had finished, Niwareka took her husband into the house where she had been weaving cloaks, and she looked after him. After his wounds had healed, Mataora said to her, ‘Let us return to the upper world.’

So they went up, and when they reached Kuwatawata's house again, they passed through it. But Mataora omitted to give Kuwatawata one of his wife's cloaks as a payment for

 
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wata, ka puta rāua ki waho. Kāore tangata rā i waiho i tētahi o ōna kākahu hei utu i te ara ki Te Pō. Kātahi ka karanga mai a Te Kūwatawata, ‘Mataora e, haere rā, pāia te ara ki te pō, pāia te ara ki te ao, ka mutu te haere o te tangata i taua ara.’

Ka noho a Mataora i tēnei ao. Nō reira te whakataukī mō te moko:

‘Nā Mataora i ako
Te mahi a Uetonga,
Te mahi tā moko.’

Me tēnei anō hoki:

‘Ngā ngāngā a Mataora—
Ngā mahi a Uetonga.’

 

allowing them to travel over the road to the underworld.

When she saw this, Kuwatawata called after them, ‘Mataora, farewell. The road to the underworld, and the road to the world above, are now blocked up for ever. Man will never again travel that road.’

Mataora lived with his wife in this world. Hence this saying about tattooing:

‘It was Mataora who taught
The art of Uetonga,
The art of tattooing.’
This is another saying:
‘The essence of Mataora—
The art of Uetonga.’