RAUKAWA, THE SACRED SEA.
It may not generally be known that Cook Strait was a sacred sea to the old time Maori. Thickly overlaid with the dread tapu was that restless highway. My old friend and ruanuhu (wise man) Te Karehana Whakataki of Ngati-Toa, takes the chair. " This sea of Raukawa is tapu. When a person crosses it in a canoe he may look neither to right nor left, nor yet behind him, even until he reaches the further side. But when a man has made the passage twice, he is then freed from these rules. They apply only to strangers. If such a person looks about him, the canoe will be held in that spot for a night and a day. Only the invocations of a priest can relieve it. All people on board a canoe carefully cover their eyes with leaves of the karafca tree, that they look only into the canoe, lest they see the land. The priests of Ngati-Kahungunu were possessed of the knowledge of how to release a canoe when so situated. In starting across Kankawa, the priest would say, ' Let the eyes of all lauJiou (new hands) be covered.' This was a precaution, lest they look upon Kapiti Island oi-Nga Whatu-Kaiponu (the Brothers). The latter is an extremely tapu place. On arriving at the tnahiwi* the priest would cry, 'Oh children, it is the tuahiivi!' He would know it by the sign of the drifting seaweed. The two sides of the Strait are very deep. Just the other side of the shoal place, that part is known as Takahi-parae. On arriving there the priest would cry, ' Oh, children, it is Takahi-parae ! ' Then the voyagers would know that they were nearing the further side, and their hearts would begin to be glad. " Once upon a time the canoe of Tungia,f father of Te Pirihana, sailed for the other Island. The priest on board was Te Riinu-
rapa,'of Ngati-Kahu-ngunu. Now there was a very conceited person in that canoe. Maybe his heart did not believe in the sacredness of Raukavva. About mid channel he looked around him at the land, and instantly the canoe stopped. During the course of one sun was that canoe held by the Komakohnariki, which guards the hapukn grounds. Some of the Kahungunu people on shore asked : ' Who is the priest on board the canoe r* ' Some one replied, "It is Te Hi m lira pa.' Then the saying of Kohungunu was heard : ' Let him stand there as a rock for Rankawa.' For they well knew that he was a person of much knowledge and sacred powers, and would come to no harm.
Enough on that point. In regard to the Komako-liuariki ; when canoes yo off to the fishing grounds to fish for hapitkit, if thnt bird (tho komctko) is heard to sing, not ii single fisli will be caught. It is a small bird and a sacred, with striped plumage. It is not like ordinary birds (miniu Maori J. And it is hut very seldom seen."
lii olden times various migrations of people left the Whanga-mii district for the South Island. The h'rst is said to have been led by Te Ahum. Another, some time after, was led by a chief named Tumata-Kokiri, from whom sprang a tribe known as Ngui-TumiHsi-Kokiri, who were the people who at lacked Tasmiiu's boats in the year l<>4*2.
[TO HK CONTINTKH.]
* Tuahhvi.— A. shoal said by natives to exist in the middle of Cook Strait.
t Tungiii was one of Te Rau-paraha's companions, and a chief of Ngati-Toa. He took the Wai-mapihi pa at Pukerua, near Pae-Makariki. His soil Te Pir*h:in:i, or Ng-ahuka, still l.yes there.
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New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 2, 1 November 1899
RAUKAWA, THE SACRED SEA. New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 2, 1 November 1899
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