A History of New Zealand

A History of New Zealand

A History of New Zealand

A History of New Zealand

Excerpt

My direction is clear, The direction to Tiri-o-te-Moana, the Gift of the Sea, The course to the bows of the land, To Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud . . . Whose is my spell? The spell of the unnumbered schools of whales, The spell of the whales in the wide seas. Let them keep close and escort me . . . What is my canoe? It is Takitimu. A sacred canoe is my canoe, It is guided by the gods, favoured by demons, Convoyed by fleets of whales, Blessed by the spells of the priests . . . This is my canoe. Let it leap up, let it fly, Let it fly to the beginning of the earth, Let it fly to the land discovered by Kupe, To the land settled by Toi. His fire is my fire, a rejoicing fire, The fire of mighty Toi, tall Toi, of famous Toi. The land of Toi is before me, Toi the first-comer. E Toi-te-huatahi, e-i. From traditional incantation to calm the waves recited by priests on board the Takitimu during the voyage to New Zealand.

IN the beginning Papa and Rangi, the earth and the sky, mother and father of the gods, lay close together with their children huddled between them in the darkness. To hide her nakedness, Rangi covered Papa with plants and trees; shellfish were placed in the sea, reptiles, animals, and birds in the vegetation. All things led a miserable existence in this cramped world, so the gods plotted to drive their father away. After many stratagems had failed, Tane, the god of trees and birds, succeeded in breaking his parents' embrace and pushing the sky away from the earth. The rain, the dew, and the rising mist are the tears of these first parents, who lament their separation even to the present day.

All the gods stayed with their mother except Tawhiri, the god of winds, who went with his father and sent down great storms to attack his rebellious brothers. The forest trees of Tane crashed to the ground; Tangaroa, the fish-god, fled to the sea; the deities of the plants crept back to their mother's . . .

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