Spiritual Potentiae of Man. The Wairua. Kehua. Angaanga. Ata. Aria. Ahua. Mawe. Mauri. The Hau, or Vital Spirit. Manawa. Tipua. Mental Concepts of the Maori.
The mental concepts of a barbaric race must ever possess an element of interest to the ethnographer, and in studying those of the Maori folk we encounter much evidence to show that they had evolved a belief in many singular abstractions. This is not an uncommon feature in connection with barbaric peoples, such as those of Indonesia and Farther India, and the old-time peoples of Asia. A highly noteworthy characteristic of such races is the fact that they often assigned a greater number of spiritual potentiae to man than do more highly civilized people. Including both mental and spiritual potentiae, we find that some peoples of antiquity believed in the existence of as many as a dozen. Among ourselves these are reduced to three - viz., spirit, soul, and mind. Thus the lot of people of the higher culture- plane, when brought into contact with those of an inferior grade, is not to cultivate their sense of the abstract, but to curb it.
In order to anticipate any objection that may be made concerning the indefinite nature of barbaric conceptions of the spiritual nature of man, it may here be said that our own definition of such nature is by no means too clear. This fact was brought home to me some years ago, when I collected from a number of ministers of divers sects their definitions of the terms "spirit" and "soul". These explanations by no means agreed, though emanating from persons who should assuredly be experts in such matters. Annandale tells us that the soul is the spiritual and immortal part in man, the immaterial spirit which inhabits the body, the moral and emotional part of man's nature, the seat of the sentiments or feelings, the animating or essential part, the vital principle. Now, in order to cover this range of definition a Maori would mention the wairua, the ngakau or puku, the hinengaro, and the mauri. As to the spirit, the same English authority states that it is the intelligent, immaterial, and immortal part in man; the soul, as distinguished from the body; a spectre, a ghost, etc. Herein "soul" appears as a synonym for "spirit ".
The New Oxford Dictionary, the last word in definition, tells us that the spirit is the animating or vital principle in man (and animals) - the breath of life, the soul of a person that leaves the body at death, the disembodied soul of a deceased person, etc. The Maori would employ the terms mauri, manawa ora, and wairua to denote these qualities. The above dictionary defines the soul as the principle of life in man and animals, the principle of thought and action in man, the spiritual part of man, the scat of the emotions, intellectual power, spiritual power; the vital, sensitive, or rational principle in plants, animals, or human beings ; the spiritual part of man considered in its moral aspect ; the spiritual part of man as surviving after death; the disembodied spirit of a deceased person, etc. To describe these definitions our Maori would use the expressions mauri, mahara, wairua, puku or ngakau, mana, hau, hinengaro and kehua - truly a goodly array. It will also be noted that, so far as they pertain to the immortal element in man, the two terms are practically synonyms. This means that in any scientific treatise we must either use these expressions indiscriminately, or assign to each a definite meaning. This latter course has been pursued by the writer of the Handbook of Folk-lore, as adopted by the Royal Anthropological Society. In this work the definitions are commendably brief, and are as follows:
These definitions are pleasingly brief, but that of "spirit" calls for a mental revolution by no means easy to bring about. It would assuredly require prolonged training to disassociate the term "spirit" from man, and confine its use to what we term inanimate objects. The word "spirit " is certainly connected with an animal function - with words meaning breath, breathing, and to breathe - and it seems inadvisable to restrict its application to objects with which that function is not connected.
The above evidence seems to show that, however much those of advanced thought may talk about the tripartite nature of man, as illustrated by spirit, soul, and body, yet to the average person among us spirit and soul are one and the same thing.
The present writer maintains that the study of Maori psychological phenomena, the spiritual attributes of man, brutes, and inanimate objects, as believed in by natives, is one of much interest, and one that throws much light on Maori mentality. In his endeavours to understand the origin of life, the cause of growth, the change of death, the apparition of those who had passed from this life, the Maori trod a path as old as the human race itself. His mystic nature prompted him to indulge in introspective thought, to evolve abstractions, to conceive qualities and potential spiritual and intellectual. In these endeavours he followed the path that all men of all times and all regions have pursued. His conclusions resemble those of other barbaric peoples of far-sundered lands, for the channels of human thought are curiously alike the wide world over. The conclusions he arrived at from what he considered clear evidence were - that man possesses a spiritual quality that leaves the body during dreams, and quits it for ever at the death of the physical basis (this is the wairua); that death is marked by the passing, the extinction, of an invisible activity called the manawa ora (breath of life); that man also possesses a physical life-principle termed the mauri - one that cannot desert the living body, but does so at death; that he possesses yet another life-principle called the hau, that can he affected by the arts of black magic; that man possesses several sources of mental and intellectual activity, and that the semblance of man, or of any entity, may be taken and employed as a medium in ceremonies believed to affect the originals. Our Maori philosopher assigned to inanimate objects some of these potentiae, and with very remarkable results, as seen in his extended system of personification, and his mythopoetic co-fellowship with nature.
In the foregoing passage we have impinged upon the domains of animism and animatism. As defined in the Handbook of Folk-lore these are explained as follows:
Under this latter heading we shall encounter some highly remarkable concepts and quaint beliefs, such as have had an important effect upon the mythology, and even upon the religion, of barbaric folk.
In dealing with the spiritual and mental concepts of the Maori it will be necessary to describe the meanings of the following list of words, such terms representing various spiritual and mental agents or activities, physical organs, and abstract conceptions:
Here we have to face a somewhat formidable list of abstract terms or vehicles, for even those words that denote material organs are also employed to indicate abstract qualities. It will not he convenient to take these terms in their alphabetical order, rather must we divide them into affinitative groups. Thus, as a first instalment we will deal with the series of words used to signify the various spiritual potential of man, albeit most of such expressions are also employed in connection with inanimate objects.
Terms employed to indicate the spiritual and mental qualities of man appear to be derived principally from words denoting organs of the body, and such immaterial phenomena as breath and shadow. Thus "spirit" and anima are both connected with breath, while the Maori term wairua denotes a shadow. It seems probable that "shadow" was the original meaning of the word, for we have in the word ata another Polynesian word meaning "shadow" and "reflection" and "soul".
The wairua of the Maori is a sentient spirit, the soul of precise anthropological nomenclature. It leaves the body at death, but it can also do the same during the life of its physical basis. Thus it leaves the body during its dreaming- hours to wander abroad, apparently with the object of detecting any impending danger to the body. It will hasten back to the body to warn it of any such approaching danger, and this is the reason why the Maori placed such great faith in dreams. When, long centuries agone, one Kauhika, an old woman living at the Uruhau pa, on a wind-lashed hill at Island Bay, dreamed that she saw a fire and strange men on the Wharau Range at Kaiwharawhara, scouts were at once sent out to look into the matter. As it so happened, a raiding- party was detected advancing by that route, but here forewarned was forearmed, and the raiders went down to Hades in the shoal waters of Te Awa-a-Taia, the former entrance-channel to Wellington Harbour between Lyall and Evans Bays. But observe the advantages of possessing such an extremely volatile and useful soul!
We know that the term used to define the human soul is not derived from any organ of the body, nor is it located in any particular organ; there is no seat of the soul as there is of the emotions. Curiously enough, the wairua seems to he partially material, inasmuch as it can be seen by human eyes, at least by those of persons who are matakite (seers, persons possessed of second sight). The Matatua folk have a singular expression - tira maka - to denote a company of wairua seen passing through space. Certain natural phenomena are believed by the Maori to be, or to represent, wairua. Tutakangahau described to me what was apparently some electrical phenomenon he saw on the summit of Maungapohatu. It resembled a moving, fire gliding, along the summit of the range; one described it as being like a torch. Tu maintained that it was a wairua, and that it is called Tiramaroa by natives. We shall see anon that wairua can not only be seen by man, but also slain by him, and that they appear to possess material bodies in the underworld of spirits. This singular and often confusing native conception of the wairua is described by Tylor as a " vaporous materiality " - a definition that seems to fit the case very neatly. It appears to be sometimes vaporous, and at other times material.
Maori belief in the immortality of the soul is shown in his belief in two spirit-worlds, as also in that of spirit gods that are the souls of his ancestors. Against this we must place the belief that the wairua can be destroyed by magic arts; also that Whiro is ever endeavouring to slay the wairua in the underworld, while Hine, the ex-Dawn Maid, protects them. Of a verity, he who attempts to understand and describe the conceptions of barbaric man attempts a harassing task. Colenso has said that the wairua and kehua (ghost) are two distinct spirits; but this is certainly not so: the term kehua is applied to the wairua after it leaves the body at death. Tregear gives "reflection" as a meaning of wairua, but Williams does not include this definition, even in his fifth edition. It is, however, applied to things unsubstantial, shadowy, or dimly seen. Several variant forms of the word wairua are encountered in Polynesian dialects, and the wai of wairua may be the Paumotu word vai (= to be, to exist).
The wairua is termed by some writers the astral body; it is assuredly a spiritual life-principle, a volatile essential spirit, the "soul" of anthropological nomenclature. When a native speaks of this soul being destroyed it is probably its power to protect the body that is so destroyed, not the actual soul. But the physical life-principle having been destroyed, then necessarily the person dies, though the wairua survives.
The Maori concept of this soul force resembles that of the ancient Egyptians known as the ka, save that it does not return to the body after death. Hence it was not necessary that the Maori should preserve the bodies of the dead by any process of mummification.
When collecting native songs many years ago one of my native friends forgot the concluding part of one. The next day he came to me and said, "I will now finish our song; my wairua found the balance of it last night." The wairua leaves the body during sleep and wanders abroad, hence we see distant places an persons in our dreams. I have heard natives say, "I went to the spirit-world last night and saw So-and-so" mentioning some dead person. Te Wai- o-hine, a Tuhoe woman, once said to me, "O friend! I went to the spirit-land last night and saw Kiriwai (an old woman who had recently died). She no longer looked old, but young, as we were long ago. So now I believe that we regain our youth in the spirit-world." It is owing to these quaint beliefs that such folk as the Maori are reluctant to wake a sleeping person. Many a time a native, wishing to speak with me, but finding me asleep, has stood outside the tent and called softly to me so as to awaken me gradually. You see his view was that my wairua might be abroad, taking a little jaunt, and he had to give it time wherein to return to its physical basis.
Some extremely quaint conceptions connected with the wairua are noted by any observant person who lives among our native folk. It is often a man's wairua that warns him of magic spells being directed against him, thus giving him time to take preventive measures. When camped at Te Whaiti some twenty-four years ago, the native children made my tent a frequent place of call, attracted doubtless by a bulky 100 lb. case of biscuit in the mess-tent. When an epidemic of influenza swept the district, these small folk were gathered by Maiki-nui into Taiwhetuki to the number of over forty. Bright-eyed Hara of Tara-pounamu broke out the trail to Rarohenga, and, to lessen the yearning of the murimuri aroha, took her small sister, Hine-okaia, with her. Then Wairama, of the Black Dog clan, passed out on the ara whanui, followed by many another of the Children of the Mist. Then, from the father of Marewa-i-te- rangi, the Star Maid, I received a short message: "Greeting to you, the wairua of your child, Marewa. Come at once. She has been caught in the snare of Hine-nui-te-po, and the world of life is closed." Here the four-year-old child was spoken of as mine, and I was alluded to as her wairua, possibly because she had had many meals at my camp. After the child's death her parents always greeted me as the wairua ora (living soul or vital spirit) of Marewa, and others greeted me with the remark, "Tena koe, te wairua ora o to mokopuna, o Marewa " (" Greeting to you, the life spirit of your grandchild, Marewa "). Tiro, an eight-year-old child, whose father had long been absent among the Raukawa folk, said to me, "I think that I will shoot myself, because then my wairua will go to my father, whom I long to see again." Thus she proposed to visit him in the spirit. When the Pu Taewa gaoled Te Wai-o-hine for throwing certain members of that clan over her shoulder, her friends wrote to her, saying, " Be of good cheer; although you are afar off, yet are our wairua ever with you."
Deniker remarks that spirits are more active than souls, though the soul of a dead man is sometimes also a spirit. The Maori wairua is a volatile and active quality, but not agressive; its activities are those of observation and of warning its physical basis. These remarks apply to the wairua of a living person. After death a person's soul may become aggressive - i.e., be utilized as an atua to destroy life. The wairua of a still-born child was believed to be specially malignant, hence such were often placated and employed as atua mo te riri, or directing war gods.
Many illustrations might be collected of curious usages concerning this term wairua. The late Tuta Nihoniho, when supplying me with ethnographical data, remarked: " My wairua is very intent on this work, that it may be well done"
(Ka nui taku wairua ki runga i tenei take, kia pai te otinga ").
The Maori tells us with no uncertain voice that all things possess a wairua, but I do not think that he would claim a separable soul for inanimate objects, but merely a vital spirit without which the object could not exist. An old native once said to me, "If all things did not possess a wairua, then they would all be lifeless, and so decay." He assured me that even stones possess a wairua, otherwise they would not be entities; they could not be seen. We are also told by natives that all things possess a mauri; but, as applied to inanimate objects, the two terms may possibly be applied to the same quality. A missionary once said to Te Matorohanga, "Your religion is false; it teaches that all things possess a soul." The old man replied, "Were a thing not possessed of the wairua of the atua, then that thing could not possess form." Thus we must grasp the fact that, in native belief, all entities possess a soul, or spirit.
The things that make for life and superlative welfare all originated with lo, the Supreme Being. Thus the wairua, the manawa ora (breath of life), the toira, and the wananga (occult knowledge) all emanated from that source. The wairua, the ate (liver), the manawa (breath), and toto (blood), by means of which the first woman, Hine-ahu-one, was vivified, were obtained from Io. When these were implanted in the lifeless image of earth it acquired life, it was a human being. The wairua returns to Io at the death of the body, or abides in the haven provided by the daughter of Hine-ahu-one. A teaching of the Takitumu folk is to the effect that the wairua is implanted in the embryo when the eyes are formed. This finds corroboration in a very old form of ritual chaunt connected with birth:
Io was viewed as the convener (kai paihere) of all wairua; and all ritual, invocations, etc., connected with the soul of man were directed to him - that is to say, among high-grade priestly experts.
The expression orongonui is a season name, but it also seems to have been employed to denote spiritual life; while orongo tapu implies godlike mana, or some such meaning. This note, however, awaits confirmation.
In Maori narratives we often hear of the wairua being affected by magic spells. When about to attack an enemy it was a common custom to recite certain charms in order to affect the wairua of such enemies. These spells were endowed with power and rendered effective by the mana of the particular atua of whom the wizard was the kauwaka or medium. The effect of such ritual would he to throw the enemy into that peculiar condition termed pawera. This is a mental condition: the ngakau, or mind, becomes apprehensive, fearful of coming evil; a dread of some indefinite, impending danger affects the vigour and courage of the individual. Another term for this condition is pahunu. Animals are liable to become pawera, hence it is highly inadvisable to speak of wild pigs, or birds, or fish you hope to secure - they may become pawera, and hence shy or wild, unattainable. Such an unwise remark is termed a toitoi okewa. As old Paitini passed my camp one morning he said, "I go to hunt the wild boar of Ma-te-ra." I replied, "It is well. Now we shall gain some fine tusks wherefrom to fashion aurei (cloak- pins)." The old bushman replied, "E tama! Kaua e toitoi okewa, koi patu turi noa iho ahau " ("O son ! Do not commit a toitoi okewa, lest I weary my knees to no purpose ").
Natives have told us that when the shafts of black magic injure or slay a person it is his wairua that is affected. But, although magic may destroy a person through his wairua, yet the wairua itself appears to survive. When it was thought that person had been slain by the arts of makutu, or black magic, relative would obtain a fern-stalk and strike the body therewith, saying, " Anei to rakau hai ranaki i to mate " ("Here is your weapon wherewith to avenge your death "). A person's wairua is very easily affected injuriously if he has had the misfortune to pollute or vitiate his tapu. Such a condition affects one's toiora and mauri ora to a very serious extent, and it is necessary to whakaepa (conciliate) the gods without delay, or life will be very uncertain. When your tapu becomes polluted you become pahunu and kahupotia (spiritually blind); the powers of evil find you defenceless, the gods stand aside; the kouka, or abyss of death, yawns before you.
We have spoken of the toiora, and this term is worthy of some attention, inasmuch as it is sometimes used in a peculiar and interesting sense. It is allied to waiora, a word we have already discussed. Waiora denotes health, soundness, welfare; toiora has a similar meaning. Rakau toiora denotes a sound tree. This term is, however, sometimes employed to define spiritual welfare. Thus the Dawn Maid expressed her intention of descending to Rarohenga, the underworld of spirits, in order to protect the toiora of man - his spirit, or spiritual welfare: " Tukua maj ki au te wairua o te tangata ; maku e kapo i te toiora o a taua tamariki." Evidently this term is used to denote the eternal element in man, the immortal soul, or its welfare. Both expressions, toiora and waiora, are based on ora, a word meaning life, alive, health, welfare, safe, etc. Toi has a meaning of " origin, source of mankind and apparently another meaning not yet recorded by our dictionary-makers. At Tikopia Island, in Melanesia, where the language is a dialect of Maori, the word ora denotes a spirit, a ghost. Thus "welfare" and "survival" are two prominent meanings of this term, which we shall meet with again when dealing with the expressions manawa ora, mauri ora. hau ora, and kauru ora. One old native told me that toiora denotes "te wairua o te atua, ara o Io, ki roto i te tangata" ("the soul of God - that is to say, of Io - in man"). This means that it expresses the spark of the Divine in man, inherited from the godsent soul implanted in the Earthformed Maid, and from Tane, who was of the ira atua. This latter expression means "supernatural life, life as possessed by gods and supernormal being". Another native authority tells me that toiora is used to define both physical and spiritual welfare, and this definition is supported by a number of examples. Observe the following remarkable and highly interesting culled from the myth of the Earth-formed Maid, describing her acquisition of the ira tangata, or mortal life - life as known to man. "I kona ka whakaao-marama a Hine i a ia, ka whakaira tangata hoki ki te toiora o te aoturoa nei " ("At that juncture Hine brought herself to the world of life, and also attained mortal life with the toiora of the enduring world").
The Maori utilized the souls of his dead forbears to protect both his physical and spiritual life- principles, and this usage will be illustrated when we come to deal with the mauri of man.
Spirit-voices are often heard, says the Maori, and are termed irirangi and irewaru. To hear such is an evil omen; some trouble is at hand. To sing while travelling at night is also ominous, and the act is termed tupaoe. The traveller's wairua knows of some coming misfortune or danger, and prompts him to sing. A jet of gas from burning wood is said to be caused by a soul that has come to obtain fire. Inanimate objects are, in native folk-tales, sometimes credited with the possession of the power of speech, as we shall see anon. The booming sound made by a purerehua, or "bull-roarer", is said to be caused by wairua.
In a letter received from old Paitini, of Ruatahuna, he says: "We have long been parted, and may not meet again in the world of life. We can no longer see each other with our eyes, only our wairua see each other, as also our friendship. " A day after old Hakopa, of Tuhoe, died I thought that I heard one of my camp natives calling out, and left my tent to see what it was. On explaining my error, the natives told me that the cry I had heard was probably the voice of the wairua of Hakopa calling a farewell to me as it passed on its way to the spirit-world.
Natives sometimes lament the fact that, when they dream of seeing a friend who has died, such apparitions never greet them. When Hamiora Pio, of Te Teko, discoursed to me on the subject of the dead, he remarked: "Never more shall we see them, unless, when sleep comes to us, our wairua go forth to meet them. But that is only a kite wairua (spiritual seeing). We cannot touch them. The living come and go; they meet and greet each other; they weep for dead friends, and sympathize with each other. But the spectres of the dead are silent , and the spectres of the dead are sullen. They greet not those whom they meet; they show neither affection nor yet sympathy, no more than does a stump. They act not as do folk of the world of life." Now, we know that the souls of the dead are the only beings who can traverse both realms, this world, the ao marama (world of life), and the spirit-world. Since the days of Mataora no living person has entered the spirit-world, the realm of Rarohenga, and no spirit comes back hither to abide in the world of life. As old as the days of Niwareka, the fair Turehu of peerless charms, is the saying, "Ko te Po te hokia a Taiao" ("The realm of spirits from which none return to the upper world").
The Maori had a belief that the wairua of the dead sometimes appeared in the form of moths, a belief that is also met with in Polynesia ; while the Shans of Burmah maintain that the human soul leaves the body in the form of a butterfly. A Maori explained to me that certain moths are viewed as being he wairua no te kehua (souls of ghosts). As kehua denotes the wairua after it leaves the body at death, this concept resolves itself into that of the spirit of a spirit, or the soul of a soul, which is abstraction with a vengeance. Inasmuch, however, as the moth is a material representation, it would appear to be more correct to style it an aria - another interesting word that we shall have to consider. But another statement is to the effect that such moths can be seen by matatuhi (seers) only, so that possibly they are not ordinary moths possessing material forms. Wairua atua (supernatural spirit) is a name applied to butterflies by the Maori, wherein he upholds the Burmese concept. The Malays hold a similar belief. In Ireland butterflies are said to be the souls of ancestors, and in Yorkshire the term "soul" is applied to the sphinx.
Perhaps the most interesting spiritual concept of the Maori folk is that of the awe of the wairua, or refined essence or spirit of the human soul. Presumably the exponents of the higher cultus saw that the common conception of the soul was much too materialistic. A spirit that appeared to possess a material body in the spirit-world, and that could be destroyed, did not satisfy the higher minds, hence they evolved the concept of the awe. After the lapse of a certain time after the death of the body the released soul gradually sloughs off its gross elements, and this process leaves a refined, immaterial, and immortal essential spirit termed the awe. This word was apparently selected as a name for it because it denotes extreme lightness. The light down found under the feathers of birds, clouds, and the light soot deposited by the smoke of a wood fire are all termed awe. This etherealized spirit seems to have been called the hamano in some districts, a word that is a variant form of mano, and means the precise centre or heart, as of a tree. Thus it was that the Maori broke away from the materialistic tendencies of popular thought and purified his conception of the human soul.
We have now another interesting matter to scan, and that is the old custom of performing certain ritual in order to despatch the soul of a dying person to the spirit-world. In some districts such ritual was known as the wehe, a word meaning "to detach, or separate". A charm known by this name was recited over the corpse prior to burial, in order to despatch the soul to the spirit-world, to prevent it remaining here to annoy or frighten living folk, and also to prevent the living following it to spirit-land. The following is a simple form of wehe ritual: "Haere ra, e taku tama. Kei mihi mai koe, kei tangi mai koe, kei aroha mai koe, kei konau mai ,koe ki tou matua i waiho e koe i te ao nei. E oti atu koe. Haere ra, oti atu koe " ("Farewell, O my child! Do not grieve; do not weep; do not love; do not yearn for your parent left by you in the world. Go ye for ever. Farewell for ever"). And then, in the evening, after the burial, all the kiri mate, or mourning relatives, cut their hair short with shell or stone flake, leaving one long lock on the left side of the head. It was believed that the soul would not depart to spirit-land until this ceremony had been performed.
Another name for the above rite is tuku wairua, or soul-despatching. Some years ago an old native and his wife were proceeding from one native village to another in the Patea district. As they trudged along the old man was taken ill suddenly, and lay down by the side of the track. Feeling that the end was near, he said to his wife, "They are calling me. The end has come." The old woman at once commenced to lament; but he said, " Do not lament. It is well. We have trodden the path of life together in fair weather and beneath clouded skies. There is no cause for grief. I do but go forward to explore the path." Then the thought grew in the woman's mind - there was no expert present to recite the tuku wairua, and she said, "E pa! Ma wai e tuku i to wairua " ("O sir! Who will despatch your soul?"). Then the thought came, " A, kati - maku e tuku" ("Ah, well; I will despatch it "). And so the old lady lifted up her voice and intoned the chaunt that sends the soul of man to Rarohenga. When she finished her recital the worn old companion of a lifetime had passed out of the world of light on the golden path of Tane that encircles the great earth.
The peculiar rite known as iri enabled the performer to see the wairua of living persons - of absent folk - and natives firmly believed in this alleged power of the tohunga. Thus, when Himiona, of Whakatane, left his wife Kumara at that place, and went to Turanga, where he became attached to another woman, Kumara enlisted the services of a wise woman named Riperata. The latter took the deserted wife to the river-bank, made her take off her garments and enter the water. She then sprinkled water over her body and recited the iri charm, whereupon she saw the wairua of Himiona standing beside his wife. She said to the latter, "Return to your home. In one week your husband will return to you." So the woman departed. Riperata's next act was to perform the atahu rite in order to cause Himiona's love for his wife to return, and induce him to seek his home. This ceremony included the despatch of a small bird, the miromiro, as a messenger or medium. This highly intelligent bird at once flew to Turanga, a hundred miles away, went to the village where Himiona was staying, entered a hut in which he was at the time, and alighted upon his head. At once the affection of Himiona for his wife was rekindled, so much so that he rose and without delay began his return journey. Thus all ended happily - at least, so I was informed by Tikitu, of Ngati-Awa; and who am I that I should doubt it?
A similar ceremony was performed in order to visualize the wairua of a thief or wizard, and in such cases the ahua, or semblance, of the article stolen, or of the delinquent, was employed as a medium between the ritual and its objective. Here we enter the domain of sympathetic magic.
The word koiwi is employed to denote a skeleton, or bones and perhaps the body sometimes, but in some cases appears to mean "soul." We have an illustration of this use of the word koiwi in the legend of Te Ao-huruhuru, who sang her death-song ere casting herself from the cliff since known as the Rerenga o Te Ao-huruhuru.
Her husband and others brought their canoe to land at the base of the cliff in time to hear the last lines of her song: Ka rongo ratou ki nga kupu o te waiata a te wahine ra. Ano, torino kau ana mai i runga i te kare o te wai, ano he ko e pa ana ki tetehi pari, na ka whakahokia mai; ano te mamahutanga ki tona koiwi. Ana! koia ra, ko te hou o te waiata a tuawahine mataaho mai ana ki nga taringa. (They heard the words of the song of the woman. Lo! They were wafted across the rippling waters like unto a call re-echoing from a cliff; truly had they a soothing effect upon her wounded soul (koiwi). Ah! but the penetrating sound of the song of our heroine came clearly to the ears).
The term koiwi was also employed in the same manner as is kohiwitanga. Both are used in another sense than that of the representation of an atua. In speaking of objects or happenings of pre-human days a Maori will say, " Tona koiwi i tenei ao he mea." This appears to mean the nearest allied form in this world is such a thing. A rock at Whakatane is the kohiwitanga of Irakewa, an ancestor.
The word kohiwi is also used as meaning the human medium of an atua when not possessed by such atua. The form kohiwitanga seems to almost equal aria in some cases (the visible form, or form of incarnation, of a spirit or soul - it may be an animal, bird, fish, or reptile, or some inanimate object, a tree or stone).
The spirit gods located in the small carved wooden images called tiki by some do not endow such images with any permanent tapu or mana. The said images are viewed simply as temporary shrines or abiding-places for such atua.
The souls of the dead return to the old homeland of the race, Irihia, where, in the spirit-house, Hawaiki-nui, they separate, some ascending to the uppermost heaven, others descending to the subterranean spirit-world. The superior teachings of the whare wananga do not refer to any ultimate extinction of the soul in either spirit-world, and the conception of the awe, or purified, refined spirit, appears to he evidence against such a belief. Some seem to have held that the wairua was mortal - at least in some cases - but the awe or hamano was immortal.
When the spirit of a deceased progenitor is conciliated and becomes a familiar of the mediumistic conciliator it seems to be referred to as an apa, or apa hau.
This term denotes the soul of a dead person, apparently carrying an apparitional sense. William's Maori Dictionary notes it as a modern expression. Its usage is equal to that of our word "ghost". The term kikokiko may bear an allied meaning, but Williams gives it as a name for malevolent demons also known as atua kikokiko. The Matatua folk often use the word whakahaehae to denote spirits of the dead that appear as ghosts, Whether seen or merely heard. This term carries the sense of "terrifying". The mythical beings termed turehu, parangeki, and patupaiarehe are said to be souls of the dead, or wairua tangata. Tutakangahau, of Tuhoe, maintained that kikokiko and kehua are both names for souls of the dead, but it seems to me that these terms are employed only when such spirits are troublesome or apparitional, otherwise the word wairua is employed. Mate kikokiko is an expression used to denote bodily ailments believed to be caused by such evil beings; souls of the dead are afflicting such sufferers. Persons so afflicted sometimes become mentally deranged, we are told - doubtless an allusion to the incoherent speech of those stricken by severe illness. When such a sufferer recovered, Tutaka said, he in some cases became the waka, or human medium, of the spirit that had afflicted him; thus he would become a tohunga kehua, a shamanistic medium.
Mr White tells us that when a person died, some of his hair was cut off and burned, while a charm was repeated over it. This ceremony was performed in order to prevent the wairua of the dead returning and annoying his living relatives. The most favourable time for interviewing kehua, we are told, is at dusk, and just prior to dawn. Daylight is too glaring for them; and one native blandly remarked that a spirit cannot see at night. A Whanganui native told me that the appearance of a flock of moriorio (the bird called "whitehead ") precedes the coming of kehua (souls of the dead). Few persons, however, could see these beings; the vision of a matatuhi (seer) was necessary.
Colenso has said that the wairua and kehua are two different spirits; but there is no evidence to support the statement. The evidence as to wairua of the dead remaining in this world is very contradictory, if we include popular beliefs. The whare wananga teaching was that the soul of a dead person remained in this world for just so long a period as had elapsed between the birth of the person and the fall of the pito (umbilical cord). Popular belief varied; some held that the soul would not depart until the tuku wairua ritual had been recited; and in fact each person seems to have believed what he pleased in regard to these matters. But ever the dread of ghostly apparitions lay heavy on the Maori mind. The expressions "Tini o Parangeki" and "Tini o Puhiata" are applied to the multitude of spirits in the subterranean spirit-world, the charges of the ex Dawn Maid.
An interesting but puzzling note collected by the late Colonel Gudgeon is to the effect that the names Tama-rangi-tauke, Whatu-takataka, Pu-whakarere, Haere-tu-te-rangi, Marere-i-waho, and Taka-ra-waho represent in some unexplained manner the spirits of the dead. The only explanatory remarks are as follows: "These are the wairua of the dead that have abandoned their bodies"; and "These are the spirits that have passed out of [human] bodies, abandoning the body to death - the wairua proceeding to Hine-nui-te-Po".
This word in Maori denotes "the head", and perhaps "the skull", while anga means "a skeleton". Neither seems to be employed by the Maori in connection with any spiritual concept, but at Samoa the wairua of a person is termed the angaanga. This may be a parallel concept to that of the koiwi noted above; in both cases we see that the term means both "skeleton" and "spirit". The latter was apparently viewed as the support or mainstay of the body, as is the skeleton. Or the conjunction may hinge on movement, anga meaning also " to move, to turn, to act as was the case with the Greek term thymos, of which more anon.
Williams's Maori Dictionary gives this word as meaning form, shape, semblance, as opposed to substance; also shadow and reflected image; also ataata = shadow, ata-a-rangi = shadow, and koataata = reflected image in water. Tregear's Dictionary gives boldly ata = the spirit, the soul. In far-away Taumako Isle, in Melanesia, where a Polynesian dialect is spoken, ata denotes the soul. "Shadow " and "reflection " are meanings of the word throughout Polynesia. In Samoa ata means "shadow", "reflected image", and "spirit". Colenso's attenuated dictionary gives the word as meaning "reflected light", and also as a synonym for ahua. Ata is employed also by the Maori to denote "radiant light ", as a synonym for aho. We see the ata of the moon before that orb rises. Atarau denotes the moon in its crescent form, also moonlight. Tuta Nihoniho, of Ngati-Porou, maintained that ata is employed to denote the wairua of man, and that ata-a-rangi is used in the same sense. Now, in an exceedingly tapu chaunt of the cult of Io connected with the ceremonial initiation of a matakite (seer), we note proof that the term ata-a-rangi was employed to define the wairua of man. One line of the chaunted invocation runs, " Kia turuki mai te ata-a-rangi o mea" ; and an explanatory remark reads, " At this juncture was repeated the name of the person whose wairua was seen in the vision ". This shows conclusively that the expression was used in olden times to denote the soul of man.
We have seen that the term wairua denotes the soul of man that leaves the body at death and proceeds to the spirit- world; also that the terms ata, ata-a-rangi, and koiwi were occasionally applied to the same abstraction. The expression kehua defines the apparitional soul after death. Turehu, patu-paiarehe, and parangeki are sometimes employed to denote souls of the dead that appear on earth, but the two former terms are also used to denote what we call fairies or elves.
We have now to consider certain expressions, such as aria, ahua, mawe, etc., that denote the material representation of immaterial qualities, as also the immaterial semblance of a material body. We shall then proceed to inquire into other life-principles of Maori belief.
This is a term of considerable interest, and one that illustrates a phase of mentality common to all Polynesian peoples. It denotes the conception of a material representation of an immaterial being or condition; thus the aria of an atua is its form of incarnation, the form in which it is visible to mortal eyes. We have seen that the term kohiwitanga is used in a similar sense. The words kohiwi, koiki, and toiki are all employed to denote the hard, sound heart-wood of a tree from which. all sapwood has fallen away owing to decay. On the other hand, we have a series of words, such as ata, wairua, ahua, and mawe, that denote immaterial forms or representations of material objects. The one illustrates the ever-present desire for a visible symbol, the other a phase of abstraction in which the semblance of an object serves as a substitute for its original, even in connection with ceremonial functions.
Williams's Maori Dictionary gives the following meanings of the word aria: " Likeness, resemblance. 2. The visible, material emblem or representative of an atua ". Curiously enough, the same word is used to define an intangible, imaginary semblance of a material object; and here it seems to bear the same meaning as ahua. As a verb it is used in the sense of "to appear indistinctly". Thus I once heard a native say, "I kite tinana ahau i a ia, ehara i te mea i kite aria"
("I saw clearly his bodily form; it is not the case that I saw him indistinctly"). These two meanings seem contradictory, but the persistent underlying meaning is that of representation; such representation may he material or immaterial. In the sentence "Ko te aria i kite ake ahau e aria ana i waho " a native explained to me that, as he sat in my tent, he saw indistinctly the form of a person outside. The Arawa folk employ the word arika to denote the form of incarnation of an atua. Thus one, in speaking of the god Makawe to me, said, "Ko te matakokiri tona arikatanga" ("The meteor is his form of incarnation " - i.e. visible form). In some cases aria may be rendered as "idea" or "feeling", as in the expression aria aroha (feeling of sympathy, etc.).
We do not hear of the superior gods possessing any aria, but only inferior ones. In many cases such a visible form of an atua was a lizard, in some cases a bird. Among the Tuhoe folk lizards, birds, the whe (mantis), dogs, stars, meteors, and the rainbow were viewed as aria of inferior gods. In one case a lock of hair represented an atua. When Hine-nui-te-Po obtained a drop of Maui's blood to serve as his aria, she was enabled to use it as an ohonga (medium) in sympathetic magic and so cause his death. Ohonga is any thing that is taken from a person in order to serve as a medium between the spells of black or white magic and their objective, such as a shred of garment, a hair, a drop of spittle, etc. Something, that has been in contact with the objective was ever the desideratum. The terms aria, ahua, hau, and manea are all used to denote this medium, though the last-mentioned is applied only to something connected with a person's feet or fooprints. It does not appear that the term hau is correctly applied to the ohonga, but rather does the latter represent the hau of a person.
At the junction of the Waikare and Whakatane Streams is a large stone that is the aria of one Wheterau, a chief of Ngati-Ha who flourished about two hundred and fifty years ago. In the same valley, the Ohora and Kanihi Streams are the aria of two persons of the same names who lived some four hundred years ago. In the following generation lived one Okiwa, whose aria is a dog that is yet heard howling in the grim canons of Whakatane at night. The breath of that spectre hound is the local wind called okiwa at Ruatoki. In the same tribal district the aria of Tamoehau is a tree, that of Rongo-te-mauriuri a pond on the summit of Maungapohatu, and that of Takuahi- te-ka a rock. It was at this rock that I first took part in the singular ceremony known as uruuru whenua.
In the strange rite known as tira ora two rods or wands were used, and these were called the aria of life and death, of welfare and misfortune. These were thrust into two small mounds termed Tuahu-a-rangi and Puke-nui-a-Papa, which represented the same qualities. The first represents the male sex, the latter the female sex. In many of these sacred ceremonies it was considered absolutely essential that both sexes should be represented, the diverse elements and inherent powers of the tamatane and tamawahine. The female element is destructive, as it also is in Hindoo belief, as witness the concept of Sakti. It also represents sin, misfortune, weakness, the " tapuless " condition, and death. Truly a load of tribulations has been placed upon the shoulders of woman! The ceremony referred to above was of an absolutory nature. It caused all moral blemishes, sins, evil deeds of the participants to be absorbed by the tira mate, or wand and mound representing evil, sin, and death. Thus such persons were freed from the dangers to their spiritual, intellectual, and physical welfare always induced by wrong-doing. They were rendered clear-minded, and, above all, were pure in the sight of the gods. They acquired resourcefulness, presence of mind, clear spiritual vision, and a clean crime-sheet. And all this was done ere going forth to war.
The tapu manuka tree at Whakatane that was the mauri of the district was the aria of life, health, and general welfare.
The aria of Hine-ruarangi an ancestress, is a cormorant, which is the tribal banshee of the Ngati- Whare folk of Te Whaiti. The aria of Hine-pukohu, the Mist Maid, is the white mist you see rising from the breast of the Earth Mother when Tama-nui-te-ra (the sun) thrusts Tawera (morning star) up into the realm of Watea (personified form of space).
A hill named Ruatahuna is the aria of the district of that name - that is, it is the tino (precise place) from which the district derives its name.
The aria of Karukaru, an atua of the Whanganui district, is an owl - the common morepork. This atua achieved fame as a protector of human welfare, as, for instance, in warning persons of attempts being made to bewitch them. Now, this Karukaru is the only god to which the writer of these notes ever stood up to in fair fight, and the contest was marked by keen interest and a considerable amount of incisive lanpuaec. Party feeling ran high in the mountain-valleys, and dour old bushmen wondered if the reckless pakeha would be consigned to the gloomy realm of Taiwhetuki; but that, as Kipling would remark, is another story.
When a rahui (embargo) was instituted over land, water, path, or products in days of old, a post was often set up as a token of the prohibition. A frond of fern would be tied to this post to serve as what is termed a maro, and this, together with a stone, were then taken away and carefully concealed. With them was taken and hidden the kapu of the pou rahui. or prohibitory post. This is the aria of the post, and it does not consist of anything material. The hand of the expert clutches at the top of the post as though plucking at something, but brings away nothing material. This imaginary symbol, or aria, the maro and stone, all represent the post and what that post stands for. The object of this singular performance was to prevent any ill-disposed person destroying the efficacy of the rahui (embargo or prohibition). Those articles and the immaterial aria represented or contained the mana, the power and virtue, of the rahui. They occupied the same place, and served the same purpose, as does a material mauri. Another stone, one possessing no power or virtue, was left at the base of the post, as a blind, in order to deceive any person who wished to destroy the powers of the rahui by means of magic. Such a person would wander about seeking the kapu, repeating as he did so certain charms in order to make the kapu disclose its whereabouts. When the expert was erecting the rahui post he recited charms to render it effective in protecting the land or products, and also another to empower it to destroy any person who interfered with it. In doing this he made a pass with his hand as though marking a line on the earth. This was the waro rahui (the rahui chasm, the abyss of death) to which the offender was to be consigned for his nefarious act. The expert then recited another charm in order to sharpen the teeth of the rahui, as the Maori expresses it. These final words consign a meddler to black death, for behind all these performances lies the dread power of the gods. Should the expert learn, in after-days, of any act of kairamua, or infringement of the rahui, he would know that the rahui had "gone to sleep" ; hence he would proceed to turuki it - that is, to supplement it, to awaken it and make it exercise its powers, to re-enforce it.
Another form of whakaoho, or rousing act, was performed when it was seen that the land, forest, or water was not furnishing food-supplies as well as usual - that such fruits, game or fish were in poor condition or poor supply. The expert would convey the kapu (the immaterial, imaginary emblem of the material emblematical post) to the ahi taitai, a specially generated tapu fire. At this fire certain ritual was recited over the kapu in order to make it restore the fertility or productiveness of the land, forest, etc. The mauri of the land, of man, of water, etc., were included in this ceremony, presumably to render it the more effective. At the same time the kapu itself certainly acted as a mauri.
We have here a word very similar in its meaning to the term aria - that is, to one of its meanings - that of semblance or immaterial, intangible representation. Williams's Maori Dictionary gives as one meaning of the word ahua "form, as opposed to substance". In one sense which we have to deal with the ahua of a thing is its semblance or likeness, its non-material form; It is also used in another sense, applied to material things - to persons, for example. It has often been applied to myself, as in greetings - "Tena koe, te ahua o to mokopuna, o Marewa " ("Greeting to you, the ahua of your grandchild, Marewa "). Also, "Tena ra koe, te ahua o nga tangata o mua" ("Greeting to you, the ahua of the men of yore"). This was a reference to my ceaseless habit of collecting data anent the doings of former times.
Another illustration of a material ahua is noted in the conciliatory rite performed ere a tree could he felled, so as to placate Tane, the parent of all trees. In this ceremony the ahua of an axe - or, rather, stone adze - was employed. It was merely a leaf tied to a twig. Again, when a gift of food- supplies was received from another people, the taumaha rite was performed over it, lest the mana of the givers should injuriously affect the recipients, or there might perchance be some magic power pertaining to the gift, such as the dreaded matakai. Even so, an expert would take the ahua of the food (a small portion of it), cook, and eat it during his ceremonial performance. This precautionary act would remove all danger to man.
The term ahuatanga is also, employed to denote the semblance or likeness of a thing. A totara tree at Hokianga, and two others at Nukutaurua, are the ahuatanga of the of the skids of the famous vessel "Takitumu".
The word ahua does not mean "spirit", though it might be used by a person in describing the meaning of the term wairua. When my worthy friend Pa Pirini, of Ruatahuna, had some money stolen, he took the ahua of the stolen coins to a wise woman at Whakatane, to find out who had taken the money. That ahua was a coin the thief had overlooked. The fact that Pa bestrode a long saddle of one hundred and fifty miles showed his faith in the seer.
The ahua of a fight or battleground, employed in certain ceremonies, was often a handful of grass or leaves from the place. The ahua or aria of Tamarau, a hero of old who possessed the power of flying, was a pakura, or swamp-hen.
Of the immaterial ahua we might have many illustrations. As applied to inanimate things ahua seems to be equivalent to hau in many cases. The term ata is also used in the same sense as ahua - i.e., to denote the semblance of an object. In the folk-tale describing the adventure of Te Kanawa with the fairies, as recorded by Sir George Grey, we note that the fairies merely took the ata or ahua of the ornaments offered to them by Te Kanawa; they left the material articles on the ground.
In treating a sick person in former times a Maori practitioner sometimes took the ahua, or semblance of his disease or complaint. In doing so he procured a piece of puha (a plant) and passed it under the left thigh of the patient, then waved it toward the heavens as he repeated his charms. By this means the ahua of the complaint was absorbed by the herb, and then passed out of it into space when the shaman waved his hand. In Hewitt's Primitive Traditional History certain references are made to old-time ceremonies of India in which the left thigh of man occupies a prominent place.
Gods absorb the ahua of any food offered to them by their adherents, but do not consume the substance thereof. A people who had defeated an enemy on the lands of the latter would sometimes settle thereon hai pupuri i te ahuatanga o te raupatu (to retain the semblance of the victory or conquest).
When a woman wished to separate from her husband she hied her to a tohunga that he might perform over her the toko (divorce ritual). His first act was to conduct her to the wai tapu (sacred water) of the village community, that her aroha (affection, sympathy) for her husband might be miria (effaced). This was the miri aroha ceremony. To effect this the operator took the ahua or aria of her affections. He merely made a motion with his hand as though picking something from her body, and this act represented taking the semblance of her affections. A charm was here recited to bring about the desired effacement, "a ka miria e te tohunga te aroha, ara ka horoia atu te aria, te ahua o te aroha, ka whaka-korea atu" ("and the priest effaced the affections - that is, he cleansed or washed away the semblance of such; he abolished it"). After that the divorce ritual was recited.
When a deep-sea voyage was about to be undertaken the Polynesian navigator took the ahua (semblance) of his vessel to a tuahu (sacred place) to have the pure rite performed over it. After Whiro had murdered the child of his brother Hourangi, the latter took the ahua of his child to his elder, Whirikoka, in order to ascertain what had become of his child. In this case the ahua was represented by a material symbol - some dust from the path on which the child had last been seen.
This term seems to have the same meaning as ahua - i.e., semblance. It is at least sometimes a material object, or is represented by such. Williams styles the mawe of a canoe a "talisman", but it often means "semblance". When a person took to an expert the mawe of some property he had had stolen, the latter would see the wairua of the thief preceding the bearer as he approached. The mawe of a successful fight was often taken in the form of a lock of hair from a slain enemy. As the force returned borne the person carrying this object marched in front of the party, and, on arrival at the home village, it was deposited at the tuahu, where the ceremonial function took place. When my worthy old friends Horotiu and his daughter Mautini murdered six Wairoa natives who were their guests, as they lay asleep in their hut, Horotiu cut out the heart of one Roto-a-tara, and took it to the priest of the Matuahu pa at Waikaremoana, as the mawe of their gallant exploit.
When a raiding-party was about to attack a fortified village, a wily scout was, in some cases, first despatched in order to procure the mawe of the place. This was usually taken in the form of a small splinter from one of the stockade timbers, or a shred of bark from the aka used as lashing- material for the palisades. Over such a medium certain ceremonies were performed in order to render the enemy nervous, apprehensive, unstrung, to affect their minds and courage, to induce in them the condition of mauri oho, and to ensure a successful attack. Here we again encounter sympathetic magic acting throuqh a medium. Should the official priestly expert of the raiding force chance to be the medium of an atua toro, a spirit god employed as a reconnoitring agent, such as Tamarau, then he would despatch that being to procure the mawe, which would probably he brought to him in the form of a hair from the head of an inmate of the enemy village.
When Ira-tu-moana slew the great monster Tarakura at Te Awa-a-te-atua he conveyed the mawe of that victory to his sacred place (tuahu), near Te Umuhika. When Maui of immortal fame drew up this Island from the depths of Hine-moana he took the mawe thereof back to Hawaiki. In these cases the term ahua might have been employed with equal correctness, so far as my knowledge extends.
We now have to deal with the second of the three most important abstract qualities pertaining to man. It is by no means so easy to define the meaning of this term as in the case of the wairua. It has been rendered as "soul", but we cannot employ that term, for it would be mistaken for the spirit that leaves the body at death and goes to the spirit-world. The mauri cannot leave the body, and ceases to exist at the death of the body.
Tregear's Dictionary gives "Mauri = 1. The heart, the seat of the emotions. 2. Life, the seat of life. 3. The soul".
It must be remembered that the word does not denote the organic heart. Also, it is only partially the seat of the emotions; thus anger, sorrow, joy, etc., do not emanate from the mauri. Under "oho mauri" we shall see how far emotion is connected with it. Nor does the word mean "life" in our New Zealand dialect, although it may be termed the seat of life. As for "soul", we have already seen that this term would be a misnomer, and tend to mislead the inquirer. If it be not presumption on my part to differ with our philological giants, I would define the mauri as the active life-principle, or physical life-principle, and the most appropriate word to describe it, so far as my limited researches have extended, is the Greek term thymos. This so far as the, mauri of man is concerned. The word thymos originally meant "inward commotion". But the thymos did not, like the psyche, continue to exist after the death of the body; like the mauri it was an active principle that ceased to exist at the death of the body. Hence the Maori expression "Kua ukiuki te mauri" is equivalent to saying that the person referred to is dead.
The mauri is the activity that moves within us, and, like the wairua, is not located in any organ of the body. It is a vital principle, but is wrongly rendered by some as "the breath of life", which is the manawa ora of the Maori. Some have defined it as "the spark of life". The material mauri (of which more anon) may be termed a talismanic symbol, and in some cases it might be called a shrine.
An old missionary with whom I discussed these terms described the mauri of man as his personality; but the term hau is more applicable to that quality. For instance, in the expression "Ka oho taku mauri," how could we possibly render the word as "personality"?
The definition of these terms is by no means an easy task, and calls for much inquiry and much patience. It is, however, always pleasing to observe the tribulations of other people, and we are told that the Burmese have four spiritual potentiae to deal with. Again, there are three terms in Hebrew to express "soul", six to express "mind", and, eight to express "heart"; seven in Greek to express "mind", and two to express "heart". However, as the Maori puts it, "Kei rau o whenua ona raruraru". ("The troubles of other lands are their own").
We have now to scan the expression mauri ora - one that is frequently heard used by the older generation of natives. It denotes the same quality, but stresses its tapu nature, and might be rendered as "sacred life-principle". It includes a sense of spiritual welfare. Should the mauri ora of man become noa, or defiled, then his physical, intellectual, and spiritual welfare is seriously endangered, and he is exposed to many perils. Information concerning material mauri will assist in the explanation of this singular conception. We have seen that a material mauri is a talisman, and sometimes also a shrine or abiding-place of a protecting atua (god).Now, the mauri ora of man has very similar powers and functions, and so may be viewed as something more than what we commonly understand by "physical life-principle". It is a protective power or quality, but if defiled in any way its protective powers cease until restored by means of ceremonial placation of the god or gods in whose care he cannot remain in the world of life. In a paper written twenty years ago I described the mauri ora as "the sacred spark of life".
When the oho rangi rite was performed at the baptism of an infant, and responsive Hine-whaitiri (the Thunder Maid) rumbled to east or north, it was alluded to as a mauri ora for the child. It would survive and flourish. Thus this term has come to be employed as denoting welfare, much as the expressions waiora and toiora do. When Turahui and Whatonga were cast away on the Island of Rangiatea their friends despatched a number of atua in search of them. Tu-nui-a-te-ika (personified form of comets) returned and reported as follows - "Popo roroa, a tena te hokinga ". My informant explained this message as a mauri ora - i.e., as denoting the welfare of the castaways.
When a person commits some hara - that is to say, disregards some law of tapu - his protecting genius, or atua, at once deserts him, withdraws his favour and protection, and that person's mauri ora becomes seriously affected and loses its virtue. For the gods are the strength, the mainstay, of tapu, of mana, and of such qualities as the mauri, be it the immaterial mauri of man or the material mauri of land, forest, ocean, or village. Now, the Maori believes his decline in numbers, in health, and in mana is owing to the fact that his mauri has become noa, or "tapuless", owing to his changed habits and lack of precaution; he has not protected the sanctity of his mauri. When the natives accepted Christianity (most of them for reasons not explained in missionary journals) the appalling duty of defiling their tapu represented to them a terrible ordeal. Many effected it by washing their heads, the most tapu part of the body, in water warmed in a cooking-vessel. No European can conceive what a terrible trial this act was to the Maori. Natives who performed it have stated that they committed it in deadly fear, expecting every moment to be their last. It is highly probable that fear did kill some of them. The knowledge that their mauri ora is defiled has ever since had a very serious effect on the Maori's outlook on life, and also on his general welfare. He feels that he has lost caste, that he has become a common, graceless being, like unto the slaves of old, and that he will never regain his old-time physical, intellectual, and spiritual vigour. This conviction, and his racial fatalism, are responsible for the dejected attitude of the Maori of to-day. Many a confidential talk have I had with old native friends on this subject, and these were the convictions they expressed. Europeans are not aware of this mental attitude of the Maori, and but few pakeha will agree with me, but assuredly the statement is a correct one. The noa condition of the mauri ora is the cause of the decadence of the race - so says the Maori.
In pre-European times the mauri of an infant was rendered tapu, and so protective, by means.of a ceremony performed by a tohunga, or priestly expert. The ritual recited over the child was often termed a mauri. In some cases a post was set up to act as a kind of talisman - that is, a material mauri - to protect the welfare of the child. Such posts were known as tuapa tamariki. The mana, or power, of such a post emanated, of course, from the gods, and was implanted in it, as it were, by means of sacredotal ceremonial. It preserved the health, mana, and general welfare of the child; it averted misfortune; it was a protective power because it symbolized the protective power of the gods. It was sometimes alluded to as a tira ora. The basic meaning of the word tuapa is "to ward off".
When the child was twelve days old it was baptized, the same being an imposing and very peculiar ceremony we have now no time to discuss. In the concluding part thereof the officiating priest dipped his hand in the stream in which he stood, and drew his wet hand across the face of the child as it lay on his left arm, at the same time reciting the following:
The expression "Tihe mauri ora", rendered by Tylor as "Sneeze, living soul", was repeated by a parent when a child sneezed. This phrase is a favourite one with the Maori, and is not infrequently employed to denote prosperity or welfare. A sneeze was the first sign of life that came from Hine-ahu-one, the Earth-formed Maid, when vivified by Tane; hence the above usage. The repetition of this expression when a person sneezes is said to avert misfortune and ensure the sneezer's welfare. A lengthened form is "Tihe mauri ora ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama ". The word tokomauri means "hiccough", but the origin of the term is obscure. It may have been thought that when a person hiccoughed his mauri was affected, or was perhaps the cause of it. In one account of the vivifying of Hine-ahu-one occurs the sentence, "At that juncture the panting of Tane-te-waiora in the mouth and nostrils of Hine caused her to acquire the ira tangata" (human life); a sigh betokening life came from her, the mauri ora welled up, tihe mauri ora ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama (the mauri ora manifested itself by a sneeze in the broad light of day, in the world of light).
It has been said that the mauri is partially the seat of the emotions: this has reference to what is termed oho mauri. Any nervous start of alarm is an oho mauri: the life-principle is startled. If, by a sudden movement or sound, you so startle a native, he may say, "Ka oho mauri ahau i a koe." If you waken a person from his sleep suddenly, he will probably be affected by the oho mauri, and give a convulsive start that is caused by the wairua returning to the body; it was absent from it when you acted so unwisely. The phrases "Ka oho taku mauri" and "Ka ohorete te mauri" are also heard. Mauri rere means "panic-stricken", and mauri tau a placid, calm mauri; it implies presence of mind.
The term mauri appears also under the variant form of mouri, as at Taranaki. At Tahiti mauri denotes a ghost; at Rotuma Island it nmeans "to live"; at Futuna tamauri means "life". At Samoa mauri is applied to what the Rev. J. B. Stair calls the spiritual portion of man, and an expression equivalent to oho mauri is employed there. At Efate, New Hebrides, mauri means "to live", and bakamauri " to cause to live" - the whakamaui of New Zealand. In the Mota language of New Guinea tamaur (the final vowel omitted) means "a live man", and tamate "a dead man ". In the Motu language of the same island mauri means "life" and "living", and at Saa it means to live". At Taumako Island mauli means "alive" and "life". We thus see how farspread this term is as denoting life and the life-principle. It is widely used in the Melanesian area, probably carried thither by the many Polynesian colonies in that region. Moreover, we have a kindred form to scan, for maui, with its variant form moui, carries a similar meaning. Thus in New Zealand whakamaui means "to regain life", as it were, to cause to live, as a person recovering from a severe illness. At Niue fakamoui means "to save" and moui "life" and "living". At Tonga moui means "life". The hero Maui of Maori myth is certainly a personification, and is associated with the above meaning of maui, as witness his contest with the Queen of Death, who destroyed him. For Maui had proposed that man, should die as does the moon, and so regain life. Maui represents light and life, as his adversary stood for darkness and death. And, far away in Egypt, in days of long ago, Moui was a god who represented the splendour and light of the sun.
Everything possesses a mauri, we are told by natives - the sky, sun, moon, stars, seasons, wind, rain, mist, winter, summer, night, day, trees, stones, animals, and all other things.
When the ancestors of the Maori left the hidden homeland of Irihia and sailed out upon the vast ocean to see if there was a passage between the sea and the hanging sky, they first took the mauri of the heke (migration) to the thrice-sacred edifice known as Hawaiki-nui, that the pure rite might he performed over it. By this means the life-principle of the migrants as a body was revivified, as it were, and so rendered more capable of protecting their welfare.
Material mauri: We now come to the material mauri, and here we have something that is easier for the European mind to grasp. For here we have to deal with an entity, a symbol that represents the life-principle, the vitality of things. The mana or innate power to protect held by such a symbol comes from the gods. As an old native friend of mine put it, the material mauri is a taunga atua - an abiding-place of the gods. Hence is it sometimes termed a taumata, or resting- place. In some cases an ancestral spirit was implanted, as it were, in the symbol, but in most cases, apparently, gods of the third class were utilized for the purpose, such as personified forms of natural phenomena. These symbols were employed or instituted in order to protect and foster the life-principle and general welfare of man, birds, fish, land, forests, etc. The ark or covenant of the Hebrews was undoubtedly a mauri. We are told that when the Philistines defeated the Hebrews they carried off in triumph the ark of the covenant, the symbol of the Divine presence, without which it were vain for Israel to appear in battle. Naturally, for they had lost their mauri, the aria of their war god and could not possibly be successful in battle. The zaimph, or sacred veil of Carthage, was also a mauri.
The material mauri was in many cases a stone, doubtless selected on account of its durability. Such a symbol pertaining to a house was buried at the base of the rearmost post supporting the ridge-pole. In the north a young tree was sometimes planted at the birth of a child, which tree was viewed as the material mauri of the child, hence it was closely observed as to its vigour and mode of growth.
Deep-sea voyagers apparently carried a mauri of their vessel with them. The stone brought by the Arawa, mentioned at page 284 of Volume 2 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, was probably such a symbol. But here in New Zealand canoes material mauri, though only the larger and more important seagoing craft, and possibly not all of these. The smaller harbour and river canoes were apparently not provided with these protective symbols. On the East Coast I was told that a stone often served as the mauri of a seagoing canoe. It was not carried in the vessel, but concealed onshore, lest it be found and carried off by some evil disposed person, in which case it would, apparently, lose its virtue. This stone served as an abiding-place for the gods in whose care the vessel was placed, who preserved it from the dangers of the ocean, and, in the case of a fishing-canoe, brought good luck to the fishermen; as my Ngati-Porou informant quaintly expressed it, "Kia ngawari hoki nga ika o te moana". This talisman also retained the tapu of the craft ; that condition being derived from the fact that it was in the hands of the gods, who are the one and only source of tapu.
Another interesting illustration of this quaint usage was the mauri of a pa, or village community, the fortified village of pre-European days. In this case the mauri protected the welfare of the village - that is to say, of its inhabitants. The symbol was endowed with the mana of an atua (god), or gods, and such gods acted as guardians over the village. Here we see that the charge was not the life-principle of an individual, but that of a community. The general welfare of the village commune was enhanced, and its mana strengthened, by means of this arrangement. The village was, as it were, dedicated to such god, who became its patron or tutelary being. Not but what the village would also have dealings with other gods - the departmental system demanded that.
When, some seven hundred years ago, the Whetu-kairangi pa was built on Seatoun Heights, Wellington, old Whatonga, the courageous sea-voyager who reached these shores from eastern Polynesia, advised the locating of a material mauri of the place. He said, "Locate the mauri of the pa below the village midden. Let it be an onewa stone, or the stone called huka-a-tai; do not use any other kind. Locate in it the gods Tuhinapo and Tunui-o-te-ika; two will suffice, and those have been utilized as such guardians from time immemorial. Maru was another so employed. These were the village protecting deities. They gave warning of the approach of hostile forces, and of evil fortune or ominous events pertaining to the village, or to an armed force."
A fortified village, I was informed, would possess no mana, and inspire no fear in enemies, unless it were provided with a mauri. If this talisman chanced to be found by an enemy he would carry it off and perform over it a ceremony to deprive it of its virtue, and then the village would lose both its mana and its luck. An inevitable and natural consequence of this condition would be that the people would lose their assurance and courage; they would become unnerved, and so defenceless against the buffetings of fate.
Another account relates that the stone used as the mauri of a pa was often buried at the base of the first stockade-post erected, which was a corner-post. It was laid in the bottom of the post-hole, and the massive timber was set up on it. This stone talisman was often alluded to as the whatu of the pa, and certain ritual was recited over it when so deposited. There was a considerable amount of religious ceremonial connected with the building, consecration, and the tapu lifting of a new pa. The ritual chaunted over the stone symbol was for the purpose of conciliating the gods, and to promote the welfare of the village. It was specially impressed upon me that no material mauri per se could protect the village; it was but a taunga atua, an abiding-place or shrine for the gods; they were the true guardians. The stone was but a symbol of the gods and their power. When the tapu was lifted from a new pa, the girl who took so important a part in the rite took her stand near the mauri, because it represents the mana of the place.
The amorangi, or iorangi (emblem of an atua), carried by a priest in the van of a marching force going forth to battle, I have never heard styled a mauri, though it may have possessed some of the attributes of that useful object.
The material mauri of a stream was often a stone concealed somewhere near the source of the stream, unless that chanced to be on the lands of another tribe. That of the Rangi-taiki River - or, rather, of that portion of the river within the tribal bounds of Ngati-Manawa - is a large stone in the bed of the river near old Fort Galatea. A Ngati-Porou native informed me that in his district the stone mauri of a river or stream would have certain ritual recited over it to endow it with the necessary powers of virtue, and would then be concealed somewhere near the stream. The result would be that an abundance of fish would be found in such river. Of a similar nature were mauri of lakes, of forests, and of pools or streams resorted to by pigeons, and where they were snared. Should such a talisman be taken away by any person, then the fish or birds would become scarce; they would move away to other parts. Natives of the Whanganui valley did not place the material mauri of an eel-weir at the weir, but concealed it near a waterfall or cataract. The object was to frustrate the designs of ill-disposed persons who might attempt to locate the mauri and deprive it of its mana, or powers, by means of magic spells. The idea was that the stone mauri would not be able to hear the noxious spells on account of the sound of many waters. This is decidedly a novel idea, but probably originated in the belief that the protective spirit gods inherent in the stone might be affected by the powers of the charm if heard. Such a mauri is often referred to by Whanganui natives as an iho, a curious and interesting word.
In Volume 10 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society is a reference to a rock at Motu that is the mauri of the sea-fish called kahawai. The mauri of sea-fish was sometimes a small stone, which, together with the gills of a kahawai, or whatever might be the principal fish of such place, would be concealed. This talisman would preserve the productiveness of the ocean, cause fish to be plentiful, and bring luck to fishermen. When the Atiawa Tribe of Taranaki occupied Wellington district a century ago there were but few kahawai in these waters, hence they sent back to Waitara for the mauri, and on its arrival and location here those fish became plentiful. The sea mauri of the Whanau-a-Apanui Tribe is said to be a rata tree. The first fish caught of any season was deposited at that tree, evidently as an offering to the gods. The mauri of an eel- weir was deposited at the opening thereof, at the base of one of the supporting-posts.
The mauri of a forest was deemed a very important matter, more especially among such tribes as were unable to produce large quantities of cultivated food products. In the Waiapu district is a hill called Taupa-nui, said to resemble a bird in form. It is viewed as a manu tipua, a supernormal bird, and is the bird mauri of the district. This place was much frequented by forest- birds. The forest mauri at Maungapohatu was a stone resembling a dumb-bell in form. It was sought in vain since the death of the old men who had known its hiding-place, but was discovered by accident during the excavation of a hut-site at the settlement formed by the followers of Rua, the so-called "new Messiah". Another mauri, at Tauwhare-manuka, on the Tauranga River, consists of two rows of stones half embedded in the earth. These forest mauri ensured the productiveness of such forest, and caused birds and other products to be plentiful. They represented the hau of the forest - that is, its vitality or vital principle - and its mana. A curious form of charm was recited by a person endeavouring to find a mauri in order to destroy its virtue. Other formulae were repeated in order to attract birds to a forest. Should a mauri become deprived of its virtue, or a forest become tamaoatia (defiled) by some feckless person carrying cooked food into it, then the birds would forsake it, and flocks of them would be seen, or heard, migrating to other districts.
Travellers sometimes hied them to a priest and obtained from him a mauri for the period of the journey to be made. In that talismanic object would be located the mana of the particular atua or god in whose care the traveller placed himself. When he returned from his journey he would hand the mauri back to the priest, who would make it noa (common) by banishing its virtue - that is, by disassociating from it the mana of the protecting deity. A protective charm repeated by travellers was termed a mauri ariki; its repetition ensured the protection of the gods.
Material mauri were utilized in connection with agriculture; they were placed in the field where crops were planted and it was a firm belief that they had a highly beneficial effect on the growing crops. This belief and practice hinge on the conviction that such crops are possessed of a mauri, or life-principle, without which they could, not possibly flourish. This belief carries us back to Indonesia, where certain agricultural tribes believe that rice possesses such an active life- principle. In both regions the belief has been the origin of very singular ceremonies. The Maori maintains that forests, birds, fish, etc., also possess this immaterial mauri or vital principle. In all cases the material mauri represents the immaterial mauri and protects it from all deterioration or other harm. This means that the gods whose mana is implanted in the talisman protect and cherish the life- principle, the vigour, vitality, and fruitfulness of crops, forest, birds, fish, etc.
The mauri of a crop - as, for example, a field of kumara (sweet potatoes) - was in some cases a rudely fashioned stone image, specimens of which can be seen in the Dominion Museum. Some at least of these represented Rongo, the patron deity of agriculture, who, as we have seen, represents the moon. Thus the moon god that nurtured the crops of the old-time folk of Accadia has crossed the wide seas to protect and vivify those of the Maori at your doors. And when the Maori of yore planted his crops with much ceremony and ritual, the swaying, feather-decorated spade-shafts, 10ft. in length, carried on their upper ends the old, old symbol of Rongo, the crescent.
In some cases the first kumara planted in a field served as a mauri, and the puke, or small mound, in which it was planted was tapu. The product of this plant was utilized as firstfruits offerings to Rongo. A very curious custom of former times was the utilizing of skulls or bones of the dead as mauri to cause a crop to flourish. These might be remains of either friends or enemies. They were conveyed to the field with much ceremony, and there were deposited until the crop was lifted. When Tuhoe slew Tionga, of the Arawa, they cut off his head and carried it home to serve as a mauri for a bird-snaring tree. In after-days Ngati-Awa, of Te Teko, borrowed the head to use as a mauri for their crops.
When the kumara was first introduced into New Zealand, fear was entertained that its mauri might return to Hawaiki, its former home in Polynesia. Hence the introducers were advised to slay one Taukata, who had been the cause of its introduction, and sprinkle his blood on the door of the storehouse in which the seed-tubers were kept. This had the desired effect, and, for many years after, the skull of Taukata was used as a mauri for the kumara plantations of Whakatane. The employment of bones of the dead for such a purpose is assuredly a survival of human sacrifice for the same purpose. Certain folk of India slew a person each year in order to render their crops prolific, each landowner obtaining a small portion of the flesh of the victim to bury in his field.
Now, when Hape, sire of Tamarau, the flying man, went from Whakatane to the South Island he took with him the mauri, or life-principle, of the prized kumara, the chief cultivated food product of the Maori. The result was that the crops of Whakatane did not flourish, and the Sons of Awa were in parlous plight. Hence Tamarau followed his sire to the south, where he found that he had died. However, he recovered the mauri and brought it home with him, after which the crops flourished once more.
Among the Ngati-Porou folk a peculiar divinatory rite was performed in order to ascertain what fate held in store for man, as in cases of illness. For this purpose a small shrub of karangu (Coprosma) was employed as a temporary mauri. The operator would go forth in search of such a shrub of a suitable size. He would then endow it with mana, or power to act as an oracle by reciting certain charms over it, and these located temporarily in the shrub the wairua, or powers of the wairua, of a defunct forbear of the patient. The shrub now possessed the necessary powers to enable it to peer into the future and to notify man as to the result. The operator or augur grasped the stem of the shrub and repeated the words -
He then pulled at the shrub so as to tear it up by the roots, as he repeated -
If the roots of the shrub came away and were not broken in the pulling process the fact was viewed as a good omen, and the augur exclaimed, "Turuki ki tahito o to rangi".
Should the roots break it was an evil omen, and he cried "E! Taukuri E! He atual He taitahae!" ("Alas ! There is the devil to pay").
The word mauri must not be looked upon as denoting the mind, but the following remark made by an old native is suggestive:
"Ko taua mea ko te mauri he whatu mahara i roto i te ngakau; ko te whatu o roto i te manawa". (" That thing the mauri is a source of thought in the mind; the nucleus within the heart"). This looks as though the speaker viewed the mauri as being a source of thought or memory; but I have never known any other native to express this view.
In the old saying, "Mauri mahi, mauri ora; mauri noho, mauri mate", it is difficult to see how the word mauri should be rendered. It is probably here employed much as we do the word "soul" in such expressions as "He is a good soul". So, an industrious soul is prosperous, while an indolent one suffers want.
We have now seen that the term mauri denotes the physical life-principle, and that in Maori belief it extended to what we term inanimate objects; also that certain material talismans, called by the same name, represented and protected the vitality and welfare of animal life and of inanimate objects; that either the immaterial life-principle or the material talisman loses its virtue and protective power if defiled in any way, hence the necessity for preserving the tapu, or sanctity, of one's mauri ora. Taranaki natives tell us that the moa became extinct because its life-principle was defiled by the early Maori settlers.
In Volume 29 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, at page 149, appears an interesting paper by Mr Percy Smith on "Clairvoyance among the Maoris". The writer states his opinion that the Polynesians were acquainted with some branches of psychic science, such as hypnotism, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc. The first illustration given is as follows: About the year 1853 the natives of Taranaki were fast decreasing in numbers, owing to introduced diseases and change in habits and beliefs. The natives believed that it was their abandonment of tapu that was the cause of their misfortunes, and that the existence among them of old tapu objects and places had a very harmful effect upon them. This was because such tapu objects, etc., were not respected as formerly, and this failure to respect them was the cause of the afflictions suffered by the people. This meant that, despite their acceptance of Christianity, the natives still believed in the powers of their old gods.
Now, at many of the old deserted pa (fortified villages) and other places in that district were concealed or buried material mauri of former times. It was believed that trespass on such places caused the gods to punish the offenders. Hence it was resolved that all such tapu places and objects should he rendered noa, or free from tapu, by means of proper ceremonial.
In certain divinatory ceremonies performed in public we are told that the powers of priests would cause a dead body to turn slowly over, and cause leaves to fall from green branchlets in the raurau rite. The mysterious power described by the word hoa enabled an expert to shatter a hard stone with a tap from a light wand, to blast a tree, to slay a person or animal with no weapon but this strange force, this neolithic vril.
The hau of a person is another vital principle or attribute that we have to consider, and we shall find, as in the case of mauri, that it is a term also used in connection with forests, land, inanimate objects, etc. In some cases it is employed where ahua or ohonga might be used, and it is an extremely difficult quality to define; it is doubtful if the English tongue contains a word to meet the case.
The hau of man, of land, etc., is an intangible quality, one of three potentiae pertaining to such things. It is the vital essence, but is not the same as the mauri, or active life-principle. It represents vital force, vitality - perhaps "vital principle" is the best definition that can be given. It must be clearly understood that it is not a spirit as we generally understand that term; it is not an apparitional soul; it has little in common with the wairua, save that it is intangible, and it is not located in any organ of the body. The hau of a person, of land, of forests, etc., can be destroyed by the arts of black magic, hence great pains were taken to protect it; such protection has already been described under the heading of "Mauri". The hau is more closely allied to the mauri than to the wairua. The ordinary meanings of the word hau are "wind", "air", "breath", etc. Coleridge's definition of personality plus vital power gives some idea of the hau of man.
As in the case of the mauri, we have to deal with both immaterial and material hau. The immaterial hau is a necessary vital principle; the material hau is some object that represents such vitality. It serves a similar purpose to that of the material mauri, the material aria, and the material ahua, inasmuch as it represents an immaterial quality; it is a symbolic medium. Certain objects used in divinatory ceremonies were called hau. Material objects representing a battleground or a fight, etc., were termed hau. In these cases such things, so far as I can see, might equally as well have been styled mawe, aria, or ahua. The rite known as whangai hau was the offering of such hau to the gods; in the case of a fight the heart of the first enemy slain was so offered.
In cases of makutu, or black magic, it is often said that the hau of a person was taken, but it would be more correct to say that the ohonga, or material object designed to be employed as a medium, was taken, and through which medium the hau, or vital principle, or essence, of the person was affected. One explanation seems to show that, if the intended victim were within sight of the wizard, the latter might affect his hau by means of "direct action" - repeating his charm, no material medium being In the act known as matakai a wizard recited a spell while the victim was eating, so that food and spell entered his body together, the result being death. This fatal result presupposes that the person attacked had not his life-principle protected by means of the safeguards we have already discussed.
When it was desired to avenge a person slain by witchcraft, a leaf was moistened with saliva from the dead man's mouth, and this leaf was used as a medium in retaliatory magic. Tarakawa has told us that the avenging tohunga would cause the wairua of the wizard to appear before him, which it did in the form of a fly. This fly he then destroyed by means of a rite known as the rua torino, and so the original, the physical basis of the wairua, was destroyed. Thus would a person be slain by magic unless his mana was strong enough to protect him, to render him immune as it were. This word mana is an interesting study. It means "authority", "control", "influence", "prestige", "power", but also denotes psychic force, hence we hear of mana tangata and mana atua. Of what may be perhaps termed supernormal mana the gods are the origin and mainstay, as they are of tapu. If a man possesses strong mana he may be able to withstand any attack by magicians. The hau of man has been compared to mana, but the two qualities are quite distinct in the native mind.
Tarakawa has told us that when, many years ago, he accompanied his father to a Ngai-Tai village, his father's hau was taken from the spot on which he had sat, by some enemy. As they returned homeward his father observed their guardian atua appearing on either side of them as they walked, and so knew that there was something wrong. After they reached home the father was taken seriously ill, though the prompt measures taken saved his life.
The first bird taken in the fowling season by fowlers was used as an offering to Tane, and was placed in a tree. With it was put the hau of the land and the hau of the head chief of the district. These might be represented by material objects, or perhaps by no symbol whatever, as we have noted in other cases. The object was evidently the protection of the hau, or vital principle, of man and land. In some cases the body of the bird might be buried as an ika purapura in order to protect the vitality of land, birds, and man. This extraordinary name seems to apply to an object employed as a material mauri; the two terms are apparently synonymous. The ahua of a person seems to have been used as an ika purapura in some cases. Some information concerning these matters may be found in Volume 9 of the Journal of the Polynesian Society at page 194.
In the story of Kuiwai and Haungaroa being insulted by their husband and his friends we note the sentence, "A, kamu tonu atu nga ringa ki te kapo i nga hau o nga waha o te hunga e kanga mai nei". Here the hau of the voice was caught by the hand.
Inasmuch as the hau represents vitality, it follows that it cannot leave its physical basis, the body, and it ceases to exist at the death of the body. Hau is used in an anagogic sense; it is the vital principle or ichor, but it is an external element as well - a subtle aura. It must exist outside the body, apparently. This is shown by the fact that a person leaves a portion of his hau in his footprints as he walks, and also at any spot where he chances to sit down. The hau of a person can he taken, "scooped up", as it were, from the spot where he has been seated; so we are told by the Maori. It is possibly the ahua, or semblance, of the hau that is so taken, and this immaterial ahua serves as a medium through which to affect the vital powers of a person.
Certain branchlets used in a singular divinatory rite called raurau were known as hau, and here such objects were probably viewed as representing the vital powers of the enemy; they would be material symbols of such powers. Agents were very frequently employed by the Maori in his dealings with gods and supernormal forces. By endowing portable symbols with the protective mana of the gods he was enabled to preserve the life-principle and vitality of all things; a forest so protected was as safe as though its vital principle were concealed in the material symbol called the mauri.
The wairua has appeared as an active force that does much to protect its physical basis. The hau seems to be a passive element that needs every protection, though the name is also applied occasionally to the talisman that protects it. This transference of many of these terms from one condition or element to another is very confusing to Europeans.
The term apa hau denotes the spirit of a dead person that has passed into a living descendant - that is, the latter has become the medium (waka, kauwaka, and kaupapa) of the spirit of his forbear. Such a spirit was alluded to as an atua apa hau, and was consulted by its medium in all crises and troubles. It does not appear that such spirit abode permanently in its waka, but it was ever accessible when wanted. Offerings of food and other things were made to such atua, and this act was known as kumanga kai.
The hau of the human footprint is known as manea on the East Coast. This can be taken and used as a medium in black magic ; hence, when travelling in enemy country, people often walked in water as much as possible, so as to avoid leaving their manea in their footprints. Another peril to such travellers would be that danger might lurk on any path. By reciting certain spells over an object, and then burying it in a pathway, an expert could make such a path a death-trap.
Any person walking over that spot would either perish or be seriously affected, always supposing that his mana was not sufficiently powerful to save him. There also appears to have been a material manea, the powers of which seemed to be those of a mauri, and employed to protect the welfare of land and man. In the Taranaki district. the term manea seems to have been applied to stones used as mauri of streams or of fish.
When Maui drew up these lands from the depths of the ocean he went back to Hawaiki in order to take the hau of this land as an offering to the gods. In this case the term hau would be best rendered as "semblance".
Hau ora is an expression used to denote welfare, health, vigour, etc. In some cases it must be rendered by some such term as "salvation" or "saving-power" as in the expression, "Ko te paepae, koinei te hauora o te tangata".
Again, hauora is employed to denote not only physical welfare, but also intellectual vigour; and hauora, toiora, manawa ora, and mauri ora may all be employed to define a condition of spiritual welfare.
Here we have another term that is allied to many others the world over - that is, in its lengthened form of manawa ora. The two primary meanings of this word manawa are the organic, material heart, and breath; while the form manawa ora denotes "the breath of life". All three vowels are short, and the word must not be confused with manawa, a word meaning "welcome" and "to welcome". Manawa is also used much as we employ the term "heart", to express mind or spirit, as in the sentence, "E hiakai ana ahau, kaore aku manawa korero" (I am hungry, and have no heart to talk - that is, no spirit for conversation).
The heart is viewed by the Maori as one of the seats of the feelings, as seen in the expressions manawa kino (uneasy, apprehensive), manawa nui (stouthearted), manawa pa (grudging, parsimonious), manawa popore (anxious, considerate), manawa rau (distracted), manawa reka (gratified), manawa rere (rash, impetuous), manawaru (anxious), manawa wera (excited, angry).
Manawa is also used to denote staying-power or support. I heard a native remark, "Ko te manawa o te pakeha he pia" ("Beer is the support of the white man"). In the old saying "E waru nga pu manawa" reference is made to inherent talents of man, as courage, industry, generosity, etc. The expression Kuku o te manawa implies that which has a hold upon the affections. Natives have often asked me for some special food to serve as a manawa for a sick person, and. here we see the meaning of "support" again. The expressions wai manawa whenua and komanawa wai denote water gushing forth from the earth, and manawa has sometimes to be translated as "bowels".
Manawa as meaning "breath" is well illustrated by such sayings as tanga manawa (breathing- space) and "Ka he toku manawa" ("I am out of breath"). Manawa may be compared to the Latin anima, a term that originally meant "breath", but in course of time came to signify the infinite in man, and so anima was employed to denote the soul. Our word "spirit" is derived from a word meaning "to breathe". Again, the Greek term psyche originally meant "breath" but came into use to express "soul". The psyche was not located in any organ of the body; it pervaded, as it were, the whole body. The manawa ora of the Maori I render as "the breath of life" ; the expression carries a sense of something more than mere breath - a spiritual sense. The manawa ora obtained from the Supreme Being, and implanted in the image that was to be Hine-ahu-one, the Earth-formed Maid, the first woman, was something more than the mere power of breathing. It was the pneuma or anima, the spiritual breath of life, that, together with the wairua, obtained from the same source, endowed Hine with her twofold life essence, the ira atua and ira tangata. It is evident that manawa (breath) was the origin of the manawa ora concept, as was the case with anima and psyche. The manawa ora is one of the vivifying agents or potentiae that impart life to man.
In Hebrew terms for these phenomena we have ruach, that meant "breath", but also denoted the soul, or vital spirit, as some term it. The Hebrew word neshamah seems to nearly approach the manawa ora of the Maori. Max Muller explains it as "the vital breath which every creature has received from God". This was the power or quality that endowed Adam with a living soul. ln this expression the definitions of "breath of life" and "soul" are clearly combined. In later times the Jews defined more clearly the five spiritual potentiae in man -
The term manawa ora, says the Maori, denotes life itself, as mauri also denotes life, and the hau represents life, but in a somewhat different sense. But the Maori did not view the blood as representing life, as some Semitic folk did. One old sage remarked to me that all things possess a wairua, and manawa ora, and mauri. In regard to the wairua, he would not, I believe, assign an apparitional soul to a tree or stone, but simply a spirit. As to the manawa ora possessed by such inanimate objects, here is proof that this expression implies something more than "breath", for no native would connect the power of breathing with a stone, albeit the stone is not absolutely lifeless in his eyes.
This expression (manawa ora) is sometimes used in the same sense as is hauora, and so a person of a cheerful nature is alluded to as being in a condition of manawa ora, or of a manawa ora disposition. Some old folks consulted have not carried the possession of manawa ora outside the animal kingdom, so that an element of doubt pertains to its extension. Again, the expression is used to denote fresh air, as illustrated in the remark, "Tenei mea te manawa ora e hangia nei e tatau" ("This thing, the breath of life, breathed by us"). Moriori mothers of the Chatham Isles recited certain ritual over a newly born infant in order to endow it with the breath of life, the power of breathing, and also to cause its wairua to attain life and vigour in this world.
The expression manawa waiora is occasionally heard, and seems to carry the same meaning as does manawa ora. I have heard natives say of a dead person, as during mourning ceremonial.The manawa ora has departed, the ahua alone remains. At one time I gave evidence in an assault case to show that the accused had been struck himself before he retaliated, whereupon he remarked, "Ae, ko koe taku manawa ora" ("Yes, you are my manawa ora").
In olden days the Maori firmly believed that tohunga of high-class mana could endow a person apparently dying with the breath of life by means of reciting certain ritual formulae. This peculiar ceremony is known as whakanoho manawa. We have collected several of these charms, and their wording is peculiar, as in the lines -
A somewhat similar composition was recited over young infants with the same object as that in the case of the Moriori mother.
The employment of the term manawa ora seems to show that the Maori believed life to be something more than the actual breath. He certainly used words of material origin to denote immaterial conceptions; but then, what race does not do so?
Ere passing on to the last series of words in our list we will peer a while into the realm of animatism, and discuss the Maori belief in non-apparitional, indwelling spirits pertaining to inanimate objects. Such objects are described as tipua, and this term is also applied to such animals as were believed to be possessed of supernormal indwelling spirits. It is occasionally applied to persons, as to such as possess strange, abnormal characteristics, and to any strange sickness. The first Europeans seen by natives were styled tipua, on account of their uncanny appearance. Thus the word tipua, of which tupua is a variant form, may often be rendered as "demon", "goblin", or "object of terror". The Ngapuhi folk called Marion and his French crew "sea-demons".
Tylor drew our attention to the fact that savages do not make the distinction between animate and inanimate objects that civilized folk do. The question of preanimistic religion is a very doubtful matter, and we cannot speak with any confidence concerning it. The theory of such a strange, unfamiliar cultus hinges on the mental attitude of early man toward natural phenomena ere he personified them, or viewed them as being animated by an indwelling spirit. The conjecture is of too vague a nature to claim much of our attention and time, hence we pass on to review the animalism of the Maori.
Shortland tells us that a tipua is the spirit of a person who, when living, was noted for his knowledge of potent karakia, or ritual formulae. But it is with material tipua that we are dealing now. It is true that tipua objects are possessed of an indwelling spirit, otherwise they would not be tipua; but the original human owner of that spirit need not necessarily have been an adept in the karakia line. What was necessary was that he should have been a person possessed of man for that quality it was that endowed the material object, rock or tree, with its mana. Such mana was shown in its powers - the power to punish offenders, to cause storms, etc. Nor were all tipua animated by spirits of deceased persons. When Tamatea, annoyed by his wife's lamenting their desertion of their former home in Polynesia, uttered the dred matapou spell that transformed her and her two dogs into blocks of stone, all three of them became tipua. It is thus apparent that the spirit of a person is not a necessity in our tipua objects.
And in cases where some common object - a weapon, a log, a piece of a canoe, etc. - became a tipua, there is nothing to show that any animal spirit has passed into it, yet an indwelling spirit it assuredly had in Maori belief. Anthropologists would possibly term the material tipua a "fetish".
East Coast natives informed me that many tipua originated in the death of a traveller, or in the act of resting by bearers of a corpse at some place. A rock or tree at or near a place where such an occurrence took place would come to he looked upon and treated as a tipua. This would probably be the result of the fact that such a spot would become tapu, and a symbol for such tapu would be required, some visible representation of the sacredness of the place. The object selected as a tipua would be animated, as it were, by the wairua of the dead person on account of whom the place was made tapu, and it was thus that the tipua obtained its mana. This belief seems to clash with that of the wairua going to the spirit-world, but apparently the Maori does not worry about such inconsistencies. Probably the original concept was that, while the wairua of the defunct person proceeded to the spirit-world, yet its influence, combined with that person's mana, rendered the object a tipua - i.e., a supernormal entity. That tipua stone, rock, tree, or log in many cases came to be used as an uruuru whenua. This expression denotes the making of an offering to such tipua objects, the act being accompanied by the recitation of a short charm. This performance was certainly a placatory one, a placation of the spirit inhabiting the tipua object, the guardian, as it were, of the tapu spot. Should any traveller neglect to make such an offering, which usually consisted of a branchlet, or handful of herbage, then he would meet with some mishap. The giving of this propitiatory gift is described by the word whangai, a term meaning "to feed", "to offer as food". The persons dwelling on the lands near a tipua were apparently allowed some latitude, but woe betide any stranger who neglected to perform this simple ceremony! Some misfortune would assuredly assail him - death or sickness; or a storm would render his journey an irksome one. The offerings preserve the mana of the tipua, and that mana brings the offerings. The offerings also show that the descendants of the person whose wairua and mana originated the tipua still bear him in mind and still uphold his mana. Even a stream in which a corpse has been washed has been treated as a tipua, an offering to it consisting of a stone cast into it. Any person who defiles such a tapu place, as by taking cooked food to it, would be slain or seriously afflicted by the inherent wairua of the tipua.
When people were traversing a strange district, a matakite (seer) among them would, we are told, reconize any tipua object passed on the way. He would see the guardian wairua of the place, and so would know the place to be the location of a tipua.
Leaves of the kawakawa, a small tree, were, if available, preferred as an offering to a tipua, but for what reason I cannot say. Can it be in remembrance of the kava of Polynesia, a plant of the same genus?
As a person approached the tipua, offering in hand, he recited such a charm as the following:
He then deposits his offering. The following is a short, simple form of recital used, should a person not be acquainted with the longer one: "Ina au taku aitu, taku arangi". This acknowledges the tapu of the place.
Some tapu trees, such as tipua, or burial-trees, or a tree in which the umbilical cord of an infant had been deposited, had more valuable articles deposited at, on, or in them - occasionally a small piece of the prized greenstone. In late times, bright-hued handkerchiefs or strips of cloth would be hung on such tapu trees.
When exploring Waikaremoana many years ago I was warned not to touch stones and rocks at certain places, for, if I did so, a storm would ensue.
In the Paumotu dialect tupua denotes a ghost. In many of the isles of Polynesia the word carries similar meanings to what it does in New Zealand. At Taumako Island atupua means "a spirit".
The tipua log known as Tutaua, that is said to have drifted for many years athwart the confined waters of Waikaremoana, possessed the power of singing. In the dead of night the mountain-folk would hear the weird voice of the enchanted log as it drifted across the troubled waters of the Star Lake, and would say, one to another, "Ko Tutaua e waiata haere ana" ("It is Tutaua singing as it goes").
We know also that many of the mountains and great hills were viewed as tipua. They were tapu, and so could be ascended with safety only after the recital of certain placatory formulae. When, long years ago, I ascended Maungapohatu in company with my worthy old friend Peka-hinau - he who shot Panetakataka at Te Kakari - that grey-haired old tohunga of the Children of the Mist made me leave my pipe and tobacco at the base of the range, lest its tapu be defiled.
Much more might be said concerning tipua, and a great number of illustrative stories related anent such phenomena as enchanted objects, mountains, etc. endowed with powers of speech and locomotion, inanimate articles possessed of mana, weird powers and influences of which we find illustrations in our fairy-tales. All of these things were real, very real, to the Maori mind, as they were to those of our own forbears in the centuries that lie behind.
It is when we come to deal with Maori terms for the mind that we encounter words denoting organs of the body. We have seen that the heart (manawa) is viewed as being partially the seat of emotions, but the terms puku and ngakau are more widely used in this connection.
The Maori employs the expressions aro, hinengaro, and ngakau in order to define what we call "mind". Hinengaro is also used to denote "conscience". The definitions of the word aro are "mind, seat of feelings, desire, the bowels, to know or understand". In connection with the meaning "to know or understand" however, the initial vowel seems to be lengthened, hence Williams treats it as a different word. By adding the causative prefix to aro we get the form whakaaro, meaning "thought, intention, opinion, understanding, plan"; as a verb, "to think, to consider, to plan". The word mea is also employed as meaning "to think, to say, to do, to wish", etc., but in a secondary manner, as it were. Familiarity with the use of this term alone enables one to understand its marvellous adaptiveness.
Hinengaro is the name of one of the internal organs, but, like aro, is much better known by its other meanings - "mind, conscience, seat of thought and emotions, the heart (as seat of the foregoing), desire". This term is a far-spread one, as shown by the forms finangalo of Samoa, hinaaro of Tahiti, inangaro of Mangaia, finangalo of Tonga, finangaro of Futuna, hinangaro of Paumotu, hinenao of Marquesas, etc.; the meanings being "mind, desire, affection" etc. The Moriori form means "conscience".
In the expression "Kai te mohio taku hinengaro ka taea e au tenei mahi" ("My mind knows that this task can be accomplished by me") the meaning of "mind" is clear. In the following remark, made by a person when condemning the action of another, "Hua atu ma te hinengaro e whakaatu mai te ahua he" ("One would think that the hinengaro would indicate the pernicious aspect") ["of your act" understood], the meaning of "conscience" must be assigned. The word hua here employed means "to think, to decide, to know", etc. The affections do not emanate from the hinengaro. A native made the following singular remark to me: "The emotions may originate with the hinengaro and descend to the ngakau in order to find expression". The same person remarked that the affections pertain to the ngakau, to the puku, as seen in the expression puku aroha (affectionate), and to the manawa.
Katahi ano ka kitea te mea nei kua eke ki runga ki ta te hinengaro i whakatakoto ai (I have at length seen what the mind had conceived).
In the remark "E hara te hinengaro o mea he ngakau kino" the terms hinengaro and ngakau are synonymous in meaning.
Te hinengaro o mea kua maruapo (The mind of So-and-so has become darkened).
Mahara is a word meaning "thought, memory, recollection"; as a verb, "to remember, to think upon, to be anxious". Whakamahara means "to remind". Williams tells us that the term mahara also denotes some part of the intestines.
Mohio means "to know, to understand, wise, intelligent, a person of knowledge". Mohiotanga = knowledge; whakamohio = to teach, instruct.
Matau means "to know, to understand". Matauranga = knowledge ; whakamatau = to teach.
Ngakau - This word is commonly used to denote mind, and, figuratively, the heart as the seat of feelings, also desire, inclination, etc. As in the case of manawa, it enters into a number of expressions, as oranga ngakau (comfort), ngakaunui (eager), ngakaukore (disinclined, dispirited), ngakau-rua (uncertain, vacillating). Ngakau also means "the bowels, viscera". It also denotes a medium (also termed tiwha) by means of which assistance in war was asked for; such a medium might be material or merely a song. Various forms of this word, carrying the meanings of "bowels, entrails" and of "mind, conscience, seat of feelings", etc., are widely employed throughout Polynesia.
Ritual chaunts were intoned by priests over newly born infants in order to render them clear- minded, intelligent. A similar ceremony was performed over men about to engage in war, or some other matter of importance.
The word ate denotes the liver, and it is also employed to define the seat of affections, figuratively the heart, though not often heard in that sense. It is employed as a term of endearment, as also is the expression tau o te ate. "Kei hea te tau o taku ate " (" Where is the darling of my heart? ").
Puku: The location of the scat of feelings in the puku, or stomach, is a common usage, hence we have such expressions as pukuriri (quarrelsome); pukutakaro (playful); pukukata (amused). Thus this term puku has come to mean also emotions, affections, memory, and desire. In such expressions as pukurnahara (cautious, provident) and pukumah! (industrious) it may almost be said to be used in the sense of " mind " or " disposition ". Also, natives will tell you that their ancestors conserved all their knowledge and traditional lore in their puku; which should certainly be rendered as " mind " or " memory ". The word pumahara meaning "thoughtful, sagacious," also "sage, counsellor", is probably not a corrupt form of pukumahara, but a compound of pu (a skilled person a wise man, an authority) and mahara as given above. The Greek term phren was applied to the mind, or intellect, and phrenes to the diaphragm, viewed as the seat of feelings and thought.
It seems probable that the Maori located the seat of emotions, etc., in the stomach, because he noted the effect of pronounced anger, grief, etc., upon that organ, and he would naturally connect the mind with the seat of such feelings. This conception recalls the matter published by on the subject of the abdominal brain, the solar plexus that controls the emotional nature of man, and how to control it. Are civilized and barbaric men to meet on common ground in regard to these conceptions, as they have in regard to the spiritual nature of man, and the belief in one all- pervading God with many names?
The important, underlying facts connected with the mental attitude of the Maori towards the spiritual and intellectual potentiae of man may be explained as follows: The Maori believed himself to be the descendant of supernatural beings; his ultimate forbears were the personified forms of natural phenomena; his soul came originally from lo the Parent. Thus man has inherited a modicum of ira atua (supernormal life, the Divine nature). This belief led to very singular results; it led to the conviction that this spark of the Divine in man is not only extremely tapu, but also that it represented the true vitality of man, his physical, mental, moral, and spiritual welfare. This spark is the mauri ora, or toi ora, of man, and it is this quality that needs to be very carefully protected from any polluting agency, the effect of any such contact being disastrous. For, inasmuch as such quality is the subtle vivifying and protective agent, should it by any means become defiled, then its physical basis, man, becomes helpless; he is left in a condition of spiritual destitution; he lies open to every baneful influence; every shaft of magic and other evil powers. He loses the important protective power of second sight; the ability of his wairua to preserve his welfare wanes. His hold on life thus becomes precarious; his only hope is to restore the condition of tapu that alone represents safety and general welfare. The vitalizing-power of tapu, be it remembered, emanates from the gods, and the favour of those gods must be retained.
We have now made a fairly comprehensive survey of the spiritual and mental concepts of the Maori folk, at least so far as they are known. We have seen that these barbaric Polynesians have evolved some very singular and interesting conceptions concerning the spiritual and intellectual powers of man. Some of these are pitched upon a high plane of thought, and remind us of those of Asiatic peoples, both possessing similar mystical and mythopoetic temperaments. Isolated for many centuries in small and far-scattered isles the Polynesian has made but little advance in material culture. His artifacts are crude, his industrial methods are antiquated and verge on the primitive, his social customs those of uncultured man. But, bound as he was by ignorance, by fossilized conditions and lack of opportunities, he yet advanced in one direction. No retarding conditions could efface the superior mentality of the race, no cloud of superstition and ignorance prevented the neolithic Maori seeking to learn the origin and meaning of life, the whence and whither of the human soul. His amazing genius for personification, his powers of introspective thought, his long- developed faculty of abstraction, have resulted in some of the most interesting concepts known to man. The post mortem purification of the human soul, and the evolving of the belief in a Supreme Being untainted by human passions represent the acme of the intellectual powers of the Maori. In his lack of teachings as to fiendish tortures of the soul of man in the spirit- world the cannibal Maori stands the superior of the cultured peoples of the Occident, and emphasizes the abominations of the pernicious doctrine of some Christian priesthoods. In his allegorical myths of the golden path of Tane, of the protection of the souls of the dead by the fair Dawn Maid, of the celestial maids welcoming the souls of the dead to the uppermost heaven, we observe the finest conceptions of the mythopoetic mentality of the Maori.
In his endeavours to conceive the marvels of life the Maori, as we have seen, evolved the belief in several spiritual and intellectual potentiae. He not only endowed man with these principles, but also assigned them to animals and to inanimate objects. His belief in the ever-present and ever- active powers of evil led him to protect such life-principles by means of material and immaterial symbols, or talismans. These media again were protected by divers methods, of which the gods were the active power and mainstay. The vitality of land and forest were protected in a similar manner. In infancy our Maori was dedicated to the Supreme Being, or to departmental gods; in the serious crises of life he placed himself unreservedly in the hands of his gods, with such a simple remark as "Ki a koe, e Rehua!" ("To thee, O Rehua!"). And in face of all this evidence cultured writers have told us that the Maori has no power of abstract thought!
It is for us to read the lesson contained in these beliefs and conclusions of man the barbarian. It is for us to retrace our steps down the path of intolerance, and regain the broad highway of altruism to tread the four-way path of Tane over which, from all quarters of the fair earth, the souls of the dead fare on to Hawaiki-nui, the domain of purification. And whether the wairua of man seeks the care of the ever-beautiful Dawn Maid, or his awe ascends to the realm of Io the Eternal, to be greeted by the Mareikura, the golden light of Tane-te-waiora shall cheer them; the end is peace, the terrorizing myths of priesthoods a byword.
The tasks of Hine-ahu-one, the Earth-formed Maid, and of her fair daughter have been well performed. The ira atua and ira tangata are made one, the kauwae runga joins with the kauwae raro; perverse man alone bars the thrice-sacred four-way path.
The life-weary Maori will never again break out the trails of new realms never again turn his mythopoetic mind to seek the secrets of the universe. For his sacred life-principle is befouled of man; he has lost caste, and there is no health in mind or body. Even so his wairua will desert his "tapu-less" body and fare out upon the Ara whanui in search of the Daughter of the Sun, who ever stands between it and misfortune. Then the great ocean world that he explored, and peopled, and traversed for so many centuries will know him never again, and the last of the gallant old path- finders may truly say, "Tangi kau ana te hau ki runga o Marae-nui o Hine-moana" (" Nought save the wailing of the wind is heard on the vast plaza of the Ocean Maid").