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No. 55 (June 1966)
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THE STORY OF KAHUKURA AND THE FISHING NETS OF THE FAIRIES

Taken from Sir George Grey's ‘Polynesian Mythology’

Once upon a time, a man of the name of Kahukura wished to pay a visit to Rangiaowhia, a place lying far to the northward, near the country of the tribe called Te Rarawa. Whilst he lived at his own village, he was continually haunted by a desire to visit that place. At length he started on his journey, and reached Rangiaowhia, and as he was on his road the passed a place where some people had been cleaning mackerel, and he saw the inside of the fish lying all about the sand on the sea-shore: surprised at this, he looked about at the marks, and said to himself, “Oh this must have been done by some of the people of the district.” But when he came to look a little more narrowly at the footmarks, he saw that the people who had been fishing had made them in the night-time, not that morning, nor in the day; and he said to himself, “These are no mortals who have been fishing here—spirits must have done this; had they been men, some of the reeds and grass which they sat on in their canoe would have been lying about.” He felt quite sure from several circumstances, that spirits or fairies had been there; and after observing everything well, he returned to the house where he was stopping. He, however, held fast in his heart what he had seen, as something very striking to tell all his friends in every direction, and as likely to be the means of gaining knowledge which might enable him to find out something new.

So that night he returned to the place where he had observed all these things, and just as he reached the spot, back had come the fairies too, to haul their net for mackerel; and some of them were shouting out, ‘The net here! the net here!” Then a canoe paddled off to fetch the other one in which the net was laid, and as they dropped the net into the water, they began to cry out, “Drop the net in the sea at

 

HE KORERO MO KAHUKURA ME NGA
KUPENGA A NGA PATUPAIAREHE

He haerenga no Kahukura ki Rangiaowhia—kei raro tenei kaainga kei a te Rarawa. Ka noho taua tangata ra, a ka minamina tona ngakau ki te haereere ki taua wahi. Ka tahi ia ka haere, ka tae ki Rangiaowhia, ka kite ia i te tuakitanga tawatawa, e takoto ana te puku i waenga one; ka matakitaki te tangata nei, hua noa na te tangata maori. Ka tahi ia ka ata titiro i te takahanga—no te po noa atu tenei mahinga, e hara i te ata nei, ara e hara i te mahi awatea—ka ki taua tangata nei ki a ia ano, “E hara i te mahi tangata maori, na te atua tenei mahinga: me he mea na te tangata, e kitea te whariki o te waka.”

Ka tahi ia ka mohio, na te atua, ara na te Patupaiarehe. Matakitaki tonu taua tangata, a hoki ana ki tana kaainga; ko tona ngakau, kihai i wareware ki tana mea i kitea ai hei taonga mona, ara hei whakakite mana ki ia tangata, ki ia tangata, kia wiho ai ia hei tauira. A, i te po ka tahi ia ka, hoki mai ki taua wahi ano i kitea ra e ia: pono tonu mai, kua eke mai a Patupaiarehe ki te hao tawatawa, e karanga ana ki te kupenga, e hoea ana te waka ki te tiki i te waka o te kupenga; ko te kupenga e tukua iho, na, ka pa te karanga, ka mea, “Tukutuku i Rangiaowhia, whakaeaea i te Mamaku.”

Ka karanga ano, “Tututukua i Rangiaowhia, whakaeaea i te Mamaku.”

Ko enei kupu, he whawhapu na Patupaiarehe, he koanga na o ratou ngakau ki te ika ma ratou, e kume ana te Iwi nei i tana kupenga. Ka uru a Kahukura ki roto i a ratou kume ai—ko taua tangata i rite tonu ki a Patupaiarehe te ma o te kiri, na reira i ngaro ai—a ka tata ki uta te kupenga, ka tahi ka karanga, ka mea. “Haere i waho kei mau i Tawatawauia a Teweteweuia”—he kohatu kei waenganui o te one e tu ana. E kume tonu ana te nuinga, ko Kahukura ano kei roto i a ratou—kaore ano i kitea noatia, no te mea i

 
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Rangiaowhia, and haul it at Mamaku.” These words were sung out by the fairies, as an encouragement in their work, and from the joy of their hearts at their sport in fishing.

As the fairies were dragging the net to the shore Kahukura managed to mix amongst them, and hauled away at the rope; he happened to be a very fair man, so that his skin was almost as white as that of these fairies, and from that cause he was not observed by them. As the net came close into the shore, the fairies began to cheer and shout, “Go out into the sea some of you, in front of the rocks, lest the nets should be entangled in Tawatawauia-Teweteweuia”, for that was the name of a rugged rock standing out from the sandy shore; the main body of the fairies kept hauling at the net, and Kahukura pulled away in the midst of them.

When the first fish reached the shore, thrown up in the ripples driven before the net as they hauled it in, the fairies had not yet remarked Kahukura, for he was almost as fair as they were. It was just at the very first peep of dawn that the fish were all landed, and

 
 

rite ki a ratou te kiri te ma.

A ka takiri te ata, ka tahi ano ka tukua mai te ngohi o te huka ki uta; ka tahi ano ka huri te Patupaiarehe ki te tango i nga ngohi ki uta, ka eke hoki te kupenga ki uta. Kaore e peneitia tana ika me ta te tangata maori nei e tuhaina—he mea huri noa iho ki te tui—me te tui, we te karanga, “Tenei po kurua mai, kei whakowatawata te ra,” me te tui ano i te ika. Ko Kahukura e tui ana, ko te pona o te tui a Kahukura, he mea titorea te pona, a ka pau te tui te whakaeke ki te ngohi, ka hapainga te tui, e kore e rokohapainga, ka horo ano nga ngohi ki raro; ka tahuri mai ano tera ki te tui, ka haere mai ano ki te pona i te tui a Kahakura; ka mau te pona pahemo rawa ake te kai pona. Te maunga atu ano a Kahukura wetekina ake ano, titoreatia ake ano te tui; ka tui ano a ka maha, ka hapainga ano e Kahukura; ka warea ano ki te tui, na wai a ka awatea, ka kitea te kanohi o te tangata. Ka kite i a Kahukura, ka tahi ano ka whati, ka mahue nga ika, ka mahue te kupenga, ka mahue nga waka—ko nga waka he korari. He oi ano, ka whati tera te Tahurangi—ko te rua tenei o

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the fairies ran hastily to pick them up from the sand, and to haul the net up on the beach. They did not act with their fish as men do, dividing them into separate loads for each, but every one took up what fish he liked, and ran a twig through their gills, and as they strung the fish, they continued calling out, “Make haste, run here, all of you, and finish the work before the sun rises.”

Kahukura kept on stringing his fish with the rest of them. He had only a very short string, and, making a slip-knot at the end of it, when he had covered the string with fish, he lifted them up, but had hardly raised them from the ground when the slip-knot gave way from the weight of the fish, and off they fell; then some of the fairies ran good-naturedly to help him to string his fish again, and one of them tied the knot at the end of the string for him, but the fairy had hardly gone after knotting it, before Kahukura had unfastened it, and again tied a slip-knot at the end; then he began stringing his fish again, and when he had got a great many on, up he lifted them, and off they slipped as before. This trick he repeated several times, and delayed the fairies in their work by getting them to knot his string for him, and put his fish on it. At last full daylight broke, so that there was light enough to distinguish a man's face, and the fairies saw that Kahukura was a man; then they dispersed in confusion, leaving their fish and their net, and abandoning their canoes, which were nothing but stems of flax. In a moment the fairies started for their own abodes; in their hurry, as has just been said, they abandoned their net which was made of rushes; and off the good people fled as fast as they could go. Now was first discovered the stitch for netting a net, for they left theirs with Kahukura, and it became a pattern for him. He thus taught his children to make nets, and by them the Maori race were made acquainted with that art, which they have now known from very remote times.

 

nga ingoa o tera Iwi. Ka tahi ano ka kitea te ta o te kupenga: ka mahue iho te kupenga nei, ka riro mai i a Kahukura hei tauira mana, ka akona e ia ki a ana tamariki; na reira i mohio ai nga tupuna o te tangata maori ki te ta kupenga, a mohoa noa nei.