Topic: Traditional Story: Mauao

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There was once a hill with no name among the many hills and ravines on the edge of the forests of Hautere.

Archived version here.

This nameless one was pononga, slave or servant, to the great chief Otānewainuku, the forested peak which stands as a landmark for the tribes of Tauranga Moana. To the south-west was the shapely form of the hill Puwhenua, a woman clothed in all the fine greens of the ferns and shrubs and trees of the forest of Tane. The nameless one was desperately in love with Puwhenua. Her heart was already won by the majestic form of the chiefly mountain Otānewainuku. There seemed no hope for the lowly slave with no name to persuade her to become his bride.
The nameless one sorrowed. In despair he decided to end it all by drowning himself in the ocean, Te Moananui a Kiwa. He called on the patupaiarehe, the people with magical powers who dwelled in the forests of Hautere. They were his friends and they plaited the ropes with their magic to haul him from the hill country toward the ocean. As they pulled on their ropes, they chanted their magic chant.

E hika tū ake
Ki runga rā whitiki taua
Hei tama tū
Kumea ki te uru
Kumea ki te tonga
Hiki nuku
Hiki rangi 
I arā rā
Ka ngarue, ka ngarue
Toia ki te hau marangai
Kia whakarongo taku kiri
Te kikini a te rehutai
0 ngā ngaru whatiwhati
E haruru mai nei
Wī wī wī
Wā wā wā
A! hā! hā!
Horahia ō mata ki a Meremere Tūahiahi
Hei taki i te ara ki a Tangaroa
He atua hāo i te tini ki te pō
E kokoia e ara e
 Arise you who slumber
Prepare ourselves 
Prove our manhood
Heave to the west
Heave to the south
Move heaven and earth
It awakens,
It loosens, shudders.
Haul toward the stormy east wind
That the skin may feel
The tang of salt spray
Of the turbulent thundering waves
Wī wī wī
Wā wā wā
A! hā! hā!
Cast your eyes heavenward
Toward Venus, the evening star,
To light the path
To the ocean of Tangaroa,
The god who lures many into his embrace,
Into eternal darkness.
Alas, the birds have awakened 
Dawn has come.

The patupaiarehe chanted this song and hauled the nameless one from his place among the hills from Waoku. They gouged out the valley where the river Waimapu now flows. They followed the channel of Tauranga Moana past Hairini, past Maungatapu and Matapihi, past Te Papa. They pulled him to the edge of the great ocean of Kiwa. But it was already close to daybreak. The sun rose. The first rays lit up the summit of the nameless hill and fixed him in that place. The patupaiarehe melted away before the light of the sun. They were people of the night and they flew back to the shady depths of the forests and ravines of Hautere.

Ko Mauao te Maunga (2008) by Duane Moyle
Ko Mauao te Maunga (2008) by Duane Moyle 

The patupaiarehe gave a name to this mountain which marks the entrance to Tauranga Moana. He was called Mauao which means caught by the dawn, or lit up by the first rays of sunrise. In time, he assumed greater mana than his rival Otānewainuku. Later he was also given another name, Maunganui, by which he is now more often known. He is still the symbol of the tribes of Tauranga Moana.

Other stories are found off the article - An Introduction to this collection (please click) 


This page archived at Perma CC in October of 2016:

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