W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso

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Genus 41.843 Monoclea, Hook.

Monoclea hookeri,844 sp. nov.

Plant procumbent, frondose, imbricated, very flat, thick, succulent, densely rooting all over lower surface; colour grass-green. Fronds very large, spreading, plane, apparently continuous, glabrous, hairy below and at the edges; lobes unequal, of all sizes and shapes, often largely crenulate and sabrotomd at margins, which are sinuate and undulate. Calyx none. Calyptra (or perianth) membranaceous, greenish-white and transparent, tubular, 4 lines long, 1 line broad, slightly bilobed and jagged at tips, lips very obtuse, wholly included within the cavity of the frond, which is near the margin on the upper surface, where it remains enclosing the base of the seta. Seta 1¼ inch long, 1 line broad, linear, terete, stout, succulent, glabrous, whitish, erect from frond, but the part included (with the calyptra) is horizontal, sometimes 1, 2, or 3 issue from the same simple fissure, and are disposed closely together flat and parallel within the frond, without any prominent ridgy markings on its surface to denote them. Capsule, terete, at first (before bursting) linear-oblong, obtuse, erect, 2 lines long, dark brown, smooth, glossy, without striae or markings, bursting below longitudinally, when the margins become revolute, and the spores and spiral filaments show themselves in a small floccose woolly like mass, their colour a dirty light-ash-yellow; afterwards the empty capsule spreads out and assumes an oval figure, the texture being very finely reticulated.

Spores and elaters are numerous, closely resembling those of M. forsteri. I could not detect any vestige of a columella, the want of which (as first shown by the founder of the genus, Sir W.J. Hooker) has been by some disputed.

Hab. In damp forests on the ground, on the immediate margins and sides of streamlets, near Norsewood, Hawke’s Bay, 1882: W.C.

Obs.—This plant is very common throughout New Zealand—almost sure to be met with on the borders of watercourses and springs in shady low-lying woods—but very rarely in fruit. Indeed I—who have known it in its barren state for nearly fifty years, and have very often diligently sought its fructification—never saw its fruit before I found these specimens; and I was mightily pleased at my discovery. Although I gained several fruiting specimens, yet these all grew in one small spot (and, apparently, from one plant), I could not find any more though there were feet, or yards, of this plant luxuriantly growing there. I had always supposed this plant to be [339] identical with Forster’s plant (M. forsteri, Hook.), which was discovered by him when with Cook somewhere in the “Southern Islands,”845 and of which no specimens have been obtained since Forster first gathered them. This species, however, though possessing close affinity with that, bears a different shaped capsule, which is not striate or marked longitudinally as that is, its calyptra also is differently situated, and has different lips, and there are other differences in its frond.

I have very much pleasure in naming it after the late Sir W.J. Hooker, who established the genus, and who correctly described and drew the original plant in his justly celebrated Musci Exotici (vol. ii., tab. 174), so that the names of those two honoured botanists may remain together in connection with this small abnormal and highly curious natural genus, which now contains 2 species.

1883 Three literary papers read before the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute during the session of 1882:– I and II, On Nomenclature; III, On “Macaulay’s New Zealander.”
Daily Telegraph Office, Napier. 41p.

So go forth to the world, to the good report and the evil!

Go, little book! thy tale, is it not evil and good?
Go, and if strangers revile, pass quietly by without answer.
—For it is beautiful only to do the thing we are meant for.846

Da sapienti occasionem et addetur ei sapienta.847

Ancient oracle.

Paper I.


[Read before the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute, 10th July, 1883.]

—–“ Never change barbarous names,

For there are names in every nation given from God,
Having unspeakable efficacy.” Zoroast. Chald. Oracles.

This subject of Nomenclature in its entirety is a broad one possessing many branches, some of them differing widely from others. I have long been desirous of offering a few remarks upon this subject, hoping (or, may I not say, believing?) that such may prove to be of service in time to come.

I shall divide my Paper into two principal heads; viz., the first part, on matters appertaining to the Maori tongue; the second, on certain Colonial alteration and innovations made in the English and other allied languages.

Part 1.

On matters relating to the Maori tongue.

1. Of Errors on the part of Foreigners and Colonists, arising from their ignorance of the Maori language; especially of Maori proper names for persons, places, and things.—

That the Maori people had very many highly significant names for things in general, is pretty well known to those who are well acquainted with their language; although, on account of their plainness, some could only be translated into English by an euphemism. Just so it always was with their names for persons and for places. It is not, however, with reference to the meaning, the utility, or the beauty of such Maori names in their estimation, that I am now about to write,—but of the errors of Europeans respecting them; and these I purpose showing in a few instances (some highly ridiculous):—l. In the Orthography:—2. in the Meaning of the words. These two subjects, though distinct enough in English, go always together in the Maori language; because (as I have shown before in a former Paper848), the two languages differ so widely in [2] their construction. Twenty, or more, orthographical errors may occur in the columns of an English Daily Newspaper, without any one becoming a serious error,—that is, making an entire change in the meaning of the word, the sentence, or the subject ; or, even causing the word or words so spelt erroneously to mean anything else, or to be wholly misunderstood; but such is not the case in Maori,—here every orthographical error is more or less of a serious one; and as it is in the writing, so it is in the pronunciation, and, consequently, in the meaning and etymology.

For the present, however, I shall consider these separately: and, first, erroneous orthography.

This commenced early, in Cook’s time, as indeed might have been expected seeing the Maoris bad then no written language; the only marvel with me has ever been, that Cook and his party on the whole managed so well as they did, which must mainly be attributed to their having the Tahitian native Tupaea with them as a quasi Interpreter.849 Unfortunately, however, these errors still continue! notwithstanding their settled, plain, written and printed tongue. I will give a few instances taken from the earliest and latest.

Although Capt. Cook was so very unfortunate in his first interviews with the Maoris at Poverty Bay, still he managed to obtain pretty correctly the names of two places there, which he has laid down in his chart,—Taoneroa (Te Oneroa = the long sandy beach), and Tettuamotu (Te Tua Motu—the little island off the N. head). A few days after, in anchoring and watering a little further to the N.,—first at Tegadoo (Te Karu, the headland at Anaura off which his a ship [3] anchored “sheltered by the little island850 there,”) and subsequently at Tolaga Bay,—he seemed to have misapprehended altogether the name of this latter place. How he managed to get hold of, or to misconstrue that word of Tolaga,—has ever been to me a mystery,—and that too, after many enquires made early on the spot. The nearest and most reasonable approach thereto (seeing Tolaga is given as its Maori name) is Tuaraki = the N.W. wind; (1 and g having been often confounded with r and k by Cook;) which wind, the old Maoris said, was blowing strongly at the time of his entering the bay,851 and the name was given to him by their fathers in answer to his repeated question of “the name”; they supposing he meant that of the wind then blowing: Maoris too, not generally having proper names for open bays.

In Cook’s chart of Hawke’s Bay, the strait between Portland Island and the Mainland is laid down as being called in Maori, Hauray; now the proper Maori name of that strait is the same as this here with us,—the strait, or channel, between the E. and W. Spits (Napier),—and significantly named by them Ahuriri = (the) fierce rushing (water).

One of the latest misnamed notable places among us, is the present terminus of the Railway, which has been named and written, and printed and painted, in all manner of ways except the right one! viz. Makatoka, Makatoko, Makatoku; the right one being the expressive and simple word Maakotuku852 = the stream of the white heron; a name very likely given to it in ancient days, from one having been seen or caught there. In the naming of this place (or, rather, the writing down of its old Maori name,) nothing was easier, as there were plenty of Maoris resident there who knew how to read and write, and could have given its proper orthography; and they have often since (when I have been in that neighbourhood,) joined in a hearty laugh at the invincible ignorance of the pakeha (= foreigner) re Maori words.

These three errors in the spelling of that one word will serve as a simple example of what I have just said, that “every orthographical error in Maori is more or less a serious one”; for Makatoka means, (to) cast a big stone; Makatoko = (to) cast a walking-staff, canoe-pole, &c. ; Makatoku = (to) cast my clothing-mat, or garment.

Another wrongly-named place, lately settled, and not far off from the last one, is Tahoraiti; this Maori name, as it is now transformed by Europeans is pretty nearly nonsense! whereas its proper name of Tahoraiti, is a highly significant one, meaning, the little open wilderness, or, the little desert; which was very [4] suitable for it; it being originally (when I first know it in 1845,) a small open wild surrounded by dense forests. The error however, in the spelling of the name of this place, has been often pointed out by me; but, it seems, the settlers there and others will have it so.

A similar error to this last noticed appears likely to be perpetuated in the name of the ford (and newly-erected bridge) across the Ngaruroro river, at a wild spot high up between the two mountain ranges—Te Kaweka and Ruahine. The old and peculiar Maori name of this ford is Kuripapango; which (after running a series of orthographical changes among the settlers, as usual,) has settled down to Kuripapanga. Here, again, you will observe, the terminal vowel is wrong, and this error spoils both the word and its meaning. When I first waded this river at this wild fording-place in 1847, (35 years ago!) and obtained its name I was struck with its peculiarity; as it did not convey to my mind any thought possessing a purely Maori derivation, (although the two words of which it is composed are pure Maori words,)—at all events, I strove hard and for a long time to find out its original meaning, but down to this day I am not satisfied about it. And, I may further say, that one reason is, the name seems to me to be closely allied to a suitable Sandwich Island (Hawaiian) word, or phrase, (like several other old and almost obsolete Maori words,—all tending to show the ancient oneness of this great and universal Polynesian language! Kuripo,—is a pure Sandwich Island word, meaning, deep dark water, as in pools among the mountains; which meaning would be highly suitable there for that water, with the Maori adjective, pango = black, or blackish, added, to intensify it. Of course, I know, that instead of Kuripo (in the present name) it is Kuripa; that, however, is a slight alteration, which might have occured in the rare pronunciation of an obsolete or little-used word through non-usage during a long lapse of years,— and there are other known similar instances. In Maori, Kuri is a dog, and papango is the little black duck, or teal; these two words thus compounded, do not yield to my mind a correct Maori meaning, and the old intelligent Maoris (to whom I have formerly spoken about it,) have always laughed at it as being far-fetched and incongruous.853 Kuripango = black dog, would have been a better Maori term, but still not satisfactory.

Another curious error (not, however, the first of its kind,) is made in the [5] dividing of the Maori name of the place, though spelled correctly, into two words, each word beginning with a capital letter!— Onga Onga: and it is pertinaciously stuck to!! Why on earth those settlers, and others, should so choose to write that common Maori word, Ongaonga (= Nettle) I cannot conceive. Is it because of its reduplication? Then, analogically, they should so write the English words, —mur mur, tar tar, pa pa, do do, &c.,—beginning each fragment also with a capital letter!

Some of the notorious old errors in the Maori names of places around us, I regret to say, still continue, (though many, happily, have been corrected,) as, for instance, the name of the rising township of Kaikoura, erroneously spelled Kaikora (sometimes Kikora), here the difference in the European pronunciation of these two words is not so great to the untrained ear, but the difference in the two Maori words is extreme (as well as in the Maori and true pronunciation of them); besides, the commonly used one is simply ridiculous and unmeaning. The old proper name, Kaikoura = (to) eat fresh-water prawns, or, (an) eater of fresh water prawns,—arose from the fact of that crustaceous shellfish (koura) being formerly found in the little stream there, where the Maoris used to go and catch them for food; whereas Kaikora literally means, to eat sparks of fire!— if indeed it can be said to mean anything at all in Maori.

Another place still nearer Napier,—well-known in its modem history as being notorious in bloodshed and in Law Courts!—is Omarunui, commonly called Omaranui: the first and proper Maori name meaning,—the residence (or cultivation) in old times of a Chief named Marunui = Great Slayer (a common name for a Maori chief); whereas the second and incorrect word —the residence &c. of a chief named Great Cultivation! which, according to Maori customs, was degrading and impossible, and, as in the former case of Kaikora, both wrong and ridiculous.—

Another place not far from the foregoing and nearer Napier, (and close to the present rising township of Taradale,) was called by the Maoris Taipo; this the settlers easily miscalled Taepo,—and then mark the consequence!, Taipo, means the night tide, (or, no doubt in this case, from onomatopoeia, = the night sounding surf; as there, although 4 miles from the outer sea-beach, the surf resounds loudly from its curvilinear range of hills on a still night, as I have often heard it,) hence Taipo was, again, a highly suitable natural name. But Taepo, means to visit, or come, by night,—a night visitant,—a spectral thing seen in dreams,—a fancied and feared thing, or hobgoblin, of the night or darkness; and this the settlers generally have construed to mean the Devil!—and, of course, their own orthodox one!!854 [6] Worse still are the many errors concerning the names of two well-known places near Napier; both possessing rather long Maori names, which, while quite easy and mellifluous to the Maoris, and to those few Europeans who well-know their language, are a real pons asinorum855 to the many! I could not take on me to repeat or recount the several broken and twisted patois names I have heard given to Kohinurakau and to it adjoining high hill Kahuraanake. Perhaps I had better give pretty fully the meaning of those two names (of places celebrated in the olden time), as such is not only interesting, but will again serve to show how correctly the ancient Maoris often named their localities. 1. Kohinurakau: when I first knew this place it was a delightful spot; a small grove of fine trees (some being pines), a perennia1 gushing streamlet of delightful water, and very fertile soil,—all in a small open dell or natural terrace near the summit of a very high hill (one of a long range), commanding an extensive view; where, for several years, the Maoris had their cultivations and a small village: Kohinurakau = choice-fat-of-the-woods,—including Maori game,—birds and delicious wood-rats, fruits, and pure water.856
2. Kahuraanake: the name given to this high hill is a most expressive and very peculiar term, being really not a noun but a sentence including a verb, and meaning,—(It-is-only-by-it-revealed, shown or made known; or, The only, or pre-eminent, revealer. There are, at least two derivations of this name:—l. The peculiar peaked and isolated broken summits of this big and lofty hill are seen from the N. shore of Hawke’s Bay, 60–70 miles distant, as well as from all the intervening country; and towards it the eye of the old Maoris was always directed in steering their canoes in a Southerly direction across the Bay, or in travelling thitherwards from the N.—2. Whenever the summits wore a hood of mist or cloud, it was an unfailing sign of rain and of bad weather coming on; and so, with the old Maoris, It was the great revealer, or indicator, of the place to which they were going; and also of the coming weather. A short time ago I received a letter from an old and [7] respectable settler, in which the name of Kohinurahau was written “Queen Arata”! which for some time, there being no clue in the letter to its true meaning, puzzled me pretty considerably.

For a long time, and until lately, our Newspapers constantly erred in confusing the names of two important seaports here on the E. Coast, viz. Turanga (Poverty Bay), and Tauranga (Bay of Plenty): also, in the names of Waikari (the river beteen Napier and Mohaka), and Waikare (the name of the lake in the interior of the County of Wairoa),—and this latter still continues! Some even go so far as to laugh at the difference! But the etymological meanings of those two names of waters are widely distinct, and, severally, are again very suitable; Waikari = water running through a deep cut, narrow cliffs, or channel (which that river does); and Waikare = rough, agitated, or surging water (which that open exposed sheet of water, high up among the mountains, often is).

A similar error on the part of the Newspapers, and the Settlers generally, was made in the name of the late principal Maori Chief of these parts,—Te Hapuku = the Codfish, (par excellence!) and its common name throughout New Zealand; this name was by them lowered to Hapuka,—a most unmeaning word in Maori,—with the further depreciation through the omission of the definite article,—Te. Of course, from the time of his being so called, here, on this Coast, another name was always used for that fish, viz. Kauwaeroa = long jaw; and time was when it would have been death to the offender if of Te Hapuku’s tribe to have wilfully called this fish by its old name of Hapuku.857

Just so it is, again, respecting a place of anchorage and shelter from southerly ales on the N. side of Table Cape, its Maori name being Whangawehi = Fearing, or Apprehensive, Bay, or stopping-place, (a very good and suitable name, indicating its being exposed and open); this, the Colonists, and the Government too, have altered to Whangawhei! a word that has no good meaning whatever in Maori.

Here I may also briefly notice two modern Maori names of lately settled places near us, and that because of their ambiguity as those names are now printed and set up; viz. “Tomoana,” and “Awatoto.” By the Maoris of these parts, who well know how to pronounce those two names, the orthography though incorrect would be understood; but any Maori coming from a distance, and not having heard the true pronunciation intended, yet not shown, would be almost sure to pronounce them wrongly,—and so, perhaps, be laughed at; at all events, if not set right, he could not know their true Maori pronunciation and therefore their meaning; and this arises from their not being spelled as a Maori understanding their intended meaning would spell them. Sometimes the vowels in a Maori word are long, and sometimes short, (as in Latin,) and if such are not [8] distinguished in the writing, an error in reading is almost sure to be made,—unless, as I said before, the meaning is previously known to the reader. Thus, Tomoana should be Toomoana; and Awatoto should be Awatootoo; for the meaning of the word Tomoana (as it is now printed and painted up), is, To enter a cave; whereas, Toomoana means To be dragged or drawn from the sea ; the true and intended meaning here.858 So Awatoto means, the bloody river; but Aroatootoo = the dragging river or passage;—which that little long and narrow winding creek was in former days truly enough! as I have known to my sorrow in early travelling (toilsome canoe-voyaging, or dragging) through it.

As we travel further S. into other districts, such errors thicken; witness,—the ugly and unmeaning “Taourakira Head” (the W. head of Palliser Bay), for the old name full of meaning of Turakirae = Windy Head, (lit. Forcibly-throwing-down-point):—the patois Petoni (near Wellington), for Pitoone = end of the sandy beach,—another suitable and highly significant name :— Wanganui for Whanganui, &c., &c. In the Middle Island it is still worse! An appropriate well-timed modern example thence, we have at hand in the name of the fine new steamer from Dunedin, which arrived here in our roadstead only [9] yesterday her patois name (it appears) is Maniapori, (a most incongruous unmeaning compound name or term in Maori, which has been disputed over, and further altered in the Newspapers of the day, to Manipori, Manapori, Manapouri, &c.,) —whereas the same—being the name of a large S.E. lake of the South Island, situated far inland among the mountains,—is Manawapore859 = anxious, or apprehensive, heart. No doubt another proof of a highly suitable name once given to that sheet of water, expressive of the feelings of those who might have had to cross it in their small and frail fresh-water canoes, or rafts. Surely if it is deemed right to keep up the ancient Maori name of any place or thing, such should be spelled correctly according to the grammatical rules and construction of the Maori language? Such would prove of no small service hereafter in philological pursuits. For, as I have said before,—“Language adheres to the soil, when the lips which spoke it are resolved into dust. Mountains repeat, and rivers murmur, the voices of nations denationalized or extirpated in their own land.”860 But, in order to this being done, care must be taken to transmit the same truly, whether by oral tradition or in writing. Strange thoughts arise at times within me, when I contemplate, on the one hand, the uncivilised unlettered Maori carefully handing down the names of places and things obtained from his forefathers from time immemorial, without error or change; and, on the other hand, the civilised lettered European, who, while apparently desirous of retaining the same names, neither speaks nor writes them correctly, and, worse still, does not care about doing so! The great Provincial District of Otago still adheres to its erroneously spelled Maori (sic) name; (some, however, here among us, knowing that it is not Maori, might think it derived from the Gaelic!) That is still further outdone by their keeping the horrid ungrammatical term of “Maori kaik!” for, Kaainga maori. And worst of all, those errors (with many more of a like kind) are taught to our children in the Colonial Schools throughout the land.861

And as I have here just touched upon the Colonial School-Books (Geography of N.Z.) and their Maps in use in our Schools, one other great and glaring error [9] contained therein I feel bound to notice more particularly, and that is the Maori name of the Southern Island. I do this the more especially as its true and proper name was early given correctly by Cook himself. Its old name is Te Wai Pounamu, or Te Moana Pounamu; meaning,—the water in which the Greenstone dwelt. For with them, the Greenstone (their greatest valuable) was a living being, and dwelt in the waters of the S. Island, whence it was obtained by the N. Maoris (through barter) at great expense and trouble, and believed to be only caught at certain seasons, and then only by the powerful use of many prayers, &c.862 In our School Books, however, all this is set aside; and we are plainly and unpoetica1ly told, that the S. Island is called in Maori,—“Te Wahi Pounamu, or the place of the Greenstone.”863 This name, however, is not of Maori origin; it is another attempt on the part of the Colonist to correct the Maori name, and then to give to his own thought his own meaning! (supra,—Taipo, &c.)

Some of the errors in Maori nomenclature made by the early Naturalists and Botanists in this Country are highly amusing if not interesting; the more so because not unfrequently they also give their own safe (sic) deductions therefrom! First, making the mistake themselves in the orthography, &c., and then (secondly and consequently,) giving an erroneous meaning:—A few of them I will here briefly notice.—

The French Naturalist Lesson, (who accompanied Adm. D’Urville in 1826-1829,) gives the Maori names of several plants, a few of them are quite correct; of some, however, it is impossible to know what was originally said by the Maoris to him, or intended by the writer; one, in particular, has often made me to smile,—it is the little seaside plant Spergularia marina, whose Maori name, Lesson says, is “Notenoho.”864 This, however is not the name of a plant, but a pure Maori sentence, (given, no doubt in answer to a question,) meaning,—From the, sitting or resting-place; i.e. (gathered by you) from the spot (where you were) resting, or sitting.

Dr. Dieffenbach, writing of our N.Z. Birds, says,—“the Cormorants have something solemn in their aspect, and are called by the New Zealanders Kauwau or the Preacher;” (!!)865 and, again, in his “Vocabulary,” appended, (not, however, wholly of his own collecting!) he has, “Kawau, a Shag; preaching.” This arises, (1) from his mistake in the orthography and pronunciation of two words, here by him confounded, which widely differ; Kawau, being the common name for the Shag; and Kauwhau, to address an assembly, speak formally and lengthily, as the old Maori orators and chiefs; hence, to preach (modern). One [11] might as well say, that the two English words, Cat, and Cart, were alike, in sound and meaning! (2) but this notion (like very many others in Dieffenbach’s work) was not original with him; he had got it from Polack’s book on New Zealand, published few years before; who of course, characteristically adds thereto; and the Doctor, having once got hold of the ludicrous idea, (and not heartily liking the Mission-body,) evolved, German-like! the added “solemnity of the Shag’s aspect” from the depths of his own mind!

Dieffenbach also, (passim,) delights in reduplicating common names of birds &c.,—e.g. the Kiwi (Apteryx sps.,) is with him Kiwi Kiwi; the Ruru (owl) is Rurururu; the Weka (wood-hen), is Wekaweka; the Paraoa (sperm whale), is Paraparaua, &c., &c. Errors of this kind however were very common with most early foreign visitors, as I myself have often heard them used. The worst was, that the younger Maoris (always apt imitators, especially in the olden time,) not unfrequently copied from their visitors, especially if such were of some note, and hence those errors became perpetuated.

In the List of Maori names of Plants appended to Sir J.D. Hooker’s “Hand-Book N.Z. Flora,” there are several errors; some, no doubt arising from the writers jotting down the Maori name they had just heard, according to their own foreign notion of writing it,—forgetting, that no Maori name or word, ever ends with a consonant.866 I will select one, Toumatou, because its [11] pseudo-Maori name has been unfortunately made into a specific botanical one for the plant, by its describer M. Raoul,—Discaria Toumatou. Now this, I am sorry to say, is worse than rubbish! The correct Maori name of this plant is Tumatakuru867 = the demon-smiter, or striker of faces; which name, from its thorny structure and dense habit of growth, is very expressive, particularly to a Maori of the olden time—almost naked! Toumatou, however, is not a Maori word at all, and scarcely even a grammatical phrase; and if translated can only mean, thine-our, —or thy-we,—or albus-anus-tuus! But one of the grossest errors in that List, is the (pseudo) Maori name of a small plant said to be obtained by the Rev. R. Taylor from the interior, and given in full by him; Taylor calls it, “Te-pua-o-te-reinga”;868 and he translates it by “The flower of Hades (or hell)”! [This, however, was nothing new for Mr. Taylor, his book abounds in such!!] I have made many enquiries after this plant (partly at the pressing request of Sir J.D. Hooker,) which seems to be scarce, or, more likely, local and overlooked, —being but a small leafless parasite on the roots of trees in the forests. Very likely the Maoris who were with Taylor on that occasion, gave it the name of “Pua reinga,”869 from noting his eagerness to get it, (which Taylor amplified into To pua o to reinga! adding thereto his own mis-translation). Now Pua reinga, as given by them, means,—A (or the) flower eagerly laid hold of, grasped, sought after, or desired: just as in the common Maori term “Wahine reinga”;—a (or the) woman eagerly followed, sought, &c. No such idea as “the flower of Hades,”—as we understand that term,—was ever associated by any Maori with that, or any other flower. The error, or strange jumble of ideas wholly foreign to the little plant, was evolved from Taylor’s mind.870

We meet again, in his book, with a conceit very like this, which it may be well briefly to quote, as one will serve to illustrate the other: he says,—“A small fish is also found in the Rotoaira Lake, and in the streams which gush out of the sides of Tongariro, called the fish of Hades, and is of a buff colour and spotted [13] like a Leopard’s skin,” &c., (loc. cit., p. 499.) That there is such a little fish to be found there in that small lake, I well know, having dined on them, and it is delicious eating. It is called by the Maoris, Koaro, and is only found in that lake in the summer season. The Maoris say, that it comes out of the watery recesses of the neighbouring mountain Tongariro, whose waters feed that lake lying at its immediate base. But here, as before, the calling it a “fish of Hades,” —because, forsooth! the summit of Tongariro is an active crater—a burning mountain,—is not Maori at all, but is wholly a foreign fancy! another strange aberrant one of Mr. Taylor’s; with such, however, his book abounds.

A notable instance of a similar strange and far-fetched notion arising from the same root ignorance of the true meaning of the Maori term or name, (accompanied with the dissonant English idea in the mind of the writer, or speaker, with whom “the wish was also father to the thought,”)—I find in the last volume of the “Transactions N.Z. Institute,” (XIII., p. 440,)—where it is recorded, that at a meeting of the Auckland Branch,—a Mr. Bates greatly interested them in informing them, that in the Maori tongue, “Wai meant water, roto meant lake, motu meant an island, and puke a hill,” &c., &c.; and then the President, Dr. Purchas, in the chair, said,—“The derivation of some of the Maori names was very interesting. Rangitoto, signified “red” or “bloody” heaven, which pointed clearly to a period when the Volcano was in active operation. The word ranga was usually connected with Volcanic appearances,” &c., &c.

Here, as I take it, in the President’s remarks (as well as in what followed), is an extra large amount of error,—or, rather, several errors!—

1. I doubt if ever any Maori so understood, or so used the word, or words, Rangi toto; the whole conception or idea is utterly foreign!

2. There are several hills known to me scattered throughout New Zealand, bearing this name, besides others, islets in the surrounding seas, which are not volcanic; but they are all rough and peaked, and more or less craggy at top, and are isolated, and generally higher than their neighbours;—e.g. four, at least, in the neighbouring county of Waipawa,—one near Tamumu, one near Takapau, one at Kairakau, and one near Black-head; one at the Mahia the N. side of Hawke’s Bay; another in North Taupo; two in the country N. of Auckland; one at Wairarapa; and the Rangitoto islets in Cook’s Straits.

3. The word “toto” has other meanings besides blood; one of which is, to ooze forth (as from minute leaks, and from pores of skin, rind, &c.,), to trickle down; another is, to arise in the heart or soul, to rise up within, to gush as strong feelings,—e.g. “Katahi ka toto ake te aroha o te ngakau!” = Then the heart-felt love arose, or, gushed upwards.

4. With the ancient Maoris all blood was not only of a red colour.

5. The word toto was not commonly used by the old Maoris for red-colour, [14] —for which they had several proper names according to its hue; they rarely ever used “toto” at all in that way save figuratively.—

6. A red sky was never termed Rangitoto by the Maoris; they have several proper names for it, according to the time of the day, its peculiar appearance, and the intensity of its red colour.

Having made those observations by way of preliminary, I would further state, that, out of several archaic meanings pertaining to this word or phrase known to me, I should select this that follows, as being what an ancient thoughtful Maori might probably assign as originating that word or phrase; although there are others :—

With the primitive Maoris, Rangi (= Sky) was a personal being, their common Great Father. In their highly figurative early Myths, the Dew (Tomai-rangi = Drawn-downwards-from-the-sky) was his affectionate tears, dropping on his ever-parted wife Papa ( = the Earth) beneath; and it was but a step in the same direction with them to conceive, that when he lovingly descended, seeking and grieving, and came nearer to his lost spouse, the jagged rocky hilltops, which they often saw separating the low clouds, and trickling with wet, were so through his blood; thus those ragged stony-crested hills bore the common name of Rangitoto,—or, the causing the blood of Rangi to ooze, or trickle down. Moreover the ancient name of the blue sky was Kikorangi = the flesh of Rangi.871 And of this opinion it may be further said, that it is in agreement with their old tapu or sacred customs on meeting after separation,—crying largely with many tears, and cutting themselves to cause the blood to ooze forth and to trickle down.

Moreover, in support and further illustration of what I have just stated, I will here, give, an extract (translated) from an ancient East Coast version of the Creation and Beginning of all things, (written many years ago by an intelligent Maori tohunga = priest, or skilled man):—

—“After the separation of the husband and his wife, Rangi and Papa (Sky and Land,) Rangi = Sky, the husband was (fixed) at a great distance off (from her); then the loving head of Rangi began to work strongly (ngau = bite) towards Papa, and just so did the feelings of Papa work towards her separated husband; and they were continually affectionately lamenting their separation and each other’s absence. The lamentations of Rangi above descends in his copious falling tears, namely, mists, heavy rain, showers, dew, and thick wet hazy clouds ;these are given down by him as refreshment (kai) to her; while the usual rains are also sent down to moisten and comfort and feed Papa and her [15] numerous children (trees and plants) growing on her hack, which she always : maternally carries without feeling the heavy load.”

For the present I make no remark on that other grave error; that “the word ranga was usually connected with volcanic appearances”; [which, however, I have yet to learn!]—only this, If it were so, what connection is there between ranga and rangi? Neither on what immediately follows, just as erroneous. I can only regret that such information (sic) respecting the ancient Maoris should ever have been admitted within a volume of the “Transactions of the N.Z. Institute,” although not among the “Transactions” proper.

At the same time I would observe, that the study of ancient Maori names of places, plants, and animals,—with, in many instances, their metaphorical meanings, is deeply interesting, and philologically useful; but it is a difficult one and should only be prosecuted by a person very well skilled in the general Maori language, including old tribal or District dialects, (and that not merely colloquially,) as well as in their History, both legendary and real, and who, also, can think in Maori,—i.e. after the old Maori manner,—otherwise he would be sure to make a mess of it; for, as Schiller remarks,—“Against stupidity even the gods fight in vain.”

Having shown the error arising from the mistake made in the etymology of the name of one of our noted hills, I may also briefly mention another, and a similar case. It is well known that one of the high mountains in the N. Island, and the only active volcano in N. Zealand, is called by the Maoris Tongariro. On this, the Rev. R. Taylor having brought forward a few extracts from “Mariner’s Tonga Isles,” respecting the natives of Tonga, and having summed up, says,—“the identity of the Tonga natives with those of New Zealand is evident,” (!) and then he goes on, characteristically, to state, as a clencher,— “Tonga is the name given by the Maoris to the S. wind, the highest (sic) mountain is also honoured with the same, being called tongariro. Tonga riro simply means, Tonga which has left or departed from its old position in the Tonga islands, and gone to the South.”872

Was such a far-fetched and utterly incongruous idea as this ever before hatched? It is far more likely that the said mountain got its name from the snow often deposited by the S. wind on it, (by a figure of metonymy, so common with the Maori,)—tonga being also commonly used by them for biting cold, hence for snow,—the cause for the effect; and then, owing to the heat arising from the crater, the fallen snow remained but a very short time on the cone or [16] peak, and thus became riro = gone! So different, in this respect, from the neighbouring and higher crest, on which the snow permanently remains during many months of the year; which crest also bears the highly appropriate name of Para-te-tai-tonga = Dirt (or dregs) from the Southern Sea. (N.B. The term tonga is here again used.)

2. Of pure Maori names, and of their derivation, early given by the Maoris themselves to introduced European novelties.

This of itself is a highly interesting theme, as showing their genius for Nomenclature, and apt and fertile invention. Many of those names were highly expressive, particularly to the Maori people; and were most strongly shown, in (1) fitting compound words; (2) in names of things utterly different, yet resembling in form, or in their use, and so affording the idea and the name; and (3) in onomatopœia. Enough might easily be brought forward to fill a pretty large paper; I will, however, give a few pregnant examples, as many of them are now become obsolete, or gone out of use, for the horrid unmeaning patois, or gibberish broken-English!

And first, of that article on which their whole heart and soul was early set,—a gun. This was named, in its entirety, a pu = from the hollow cylindrical shape of its barrel; pu being their Maori name for the hollow and long stalks of large reeds, and for their long cylindrical wooden horns or trumpets. A musquet, and a flint and steel gun, were called a Ngutu-parera, (angl. Duck’s-bill,) from the shape of its steel; a double-barrelled gun was called, a puwaharua = gun with two mouths; the barrel, = Kamaka (N.), and powhatu (S.),—common Maori names for stone (they not having metals) ; the stock, = rapa,—from its flatness, &c.,—this being the Maori name for the blade of a paddle, the thin fiat carved part of the upright stern of a war-canoe, &c.; the lock, = Kati, and Katipu, —this word being used for a catch, fastener, latch, &c.; to be at half-cock, Kati-tu,—standing catch; for whole cock,=Kati-pupuhi,—firing-off catch; cock down, = moe,—at rest (lit. sleeping); to cock, = Keu,—to fix, make ready; the ramrod was called, Okaoka,—a reduplication from oka, any long sharp pointed instrument, as a fine dagger; to stab, &c.

2. Of a ship, = Kaipuke: seeing so much of error has long been prevalent and held, respecting the origin of this word, I shall give as briefly as I may my opinion concerning it; which I have only arrived at after a great deal of toilsome research and study, extending over a very long period. A ship was early named at the N. of the N. Island Kaipuke (and Puke, poetical), but at the S. of the same Island it was called,—motu tawhiti = island (from) afar, and moutere =floating isle, it was also called, Pahi; this latter word is the Tahitian term for a large canoe, ship, &c.,873 and it might have beeii obtained by the Southern [17] Maoris from the Tahitian Tupaea who accompanied Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand,—or from Cook and his European party themselves, as they would be sure to use that (with them) known and accustomed term. A ship was also called pora, (especially by the Ngaitahu tribe on the E. Coast of the S. Island,) which name was very likely given to it on account of the flatness of the ceilings below decks, as pora in the Maori tongue is the proper name for a flat-roofed house; also for a foreigner, &c.874 Now, whence is this somewhat strange name of Kaipuke derived? Observe: (1) the word itself, though pure Maori, is not that of any other thing ;—(2) the term is a compound one, kai and puke;— (3) this particle, kai, is in extensive use, and has very many meanings ; one is, that when prefixed to any word—noun or verb—it denotes the acting, or the possessing that peculiar power, faculty, or thing, indicated by the word to which it is joined,—and that fully, entirely, or intensively,—e.g.—

maki, = work, labour: kai-mahi, = worker, labourer
hanga, = to make, build: kai-kanga, = maker, builder.
hoe,=a paddle, to paddle: kai-hoe, = paddler.

riri, = anger, to be angry: kai-riri, = an enemy.

waewae, = foot: kai-waewae, = footstep.

kaha, = strong, strength: kai-kaha, = a very strong man.

tohutohu, = to point out, direct: kai-tohutohu, = a director, overseer, manager.

wawao, = to mediate: kai-wawao = a mediator.

whakamarie, = to console, to make quiet: kai-whakamarierie, = a consoler, a nurse.

—Another, and a, very old meaning of kai, as a noun, is moveable property, possessions, goods, treasures, chattels,—valuables in the estimation of the ancient Maori.

(4) The word puke has also several meanings, but all derived from one root:—1. a hill:—2. a heavy billow, or high surge at sea:—3. a great and sudden flood, or rise of waters in the rivers, (often wai puke, note this word,);—4. (fig.) for a chief:—5. for any great obstruction, moral or physical. [18]

In the very old legend of the killing of the monstrous Saurian, Hotupuku, it is related, that when the enormous creature emerged from its cave, the rousing cry was,—“Ano! me he pukepuke whenua!” = Verily! it was like a hill of earth! (N.B. It was not considered sufficient to say,—puke, or pukepuke = hill, only; but, pukepuke whenua = hill of earth.)875 *

Further, it is to be borne in mind, that in order to render any word in Maori doubly emphatic,—whether adjective, or noun following in construction,—such word is used out of its common position in the sentence, and instead of following the noun, is placed before it:—e.g.—

nui pai, = exceedingly great good:

nui kino, = exceedingly great evil:

nui tohora, = a very large whale:

nui tara, = a fish with remarkable spiny fins:

nui tangata = great multitude:
wai puke, = a great hill of water;—a flood.

—So that kai puke may well have been intended emphatically to mean,—a floating hill possessing valuables,—property of all kinds.

And here I may also add, that at the Sandwich Islands (and other places in the Pacific), a ship is called a motu = island, (not unlike puke = hill, the main idea being the same,) through its being taken when first seen by those Islanders for an island. The old Maoris also had plenty of stories about floating and voyaging islands,—e.g. Motutere in the Taupo lake.

Having thus given pretty exhaustively what I believe to be the true origin of the word Kaipuke = ship, (which has long been a vexata quæstio,) I shall not enter on her various parts, for generally they bore the same names as the corresponding ones in their own big built canoes; a few only of the additions I shall notice.—

A man-of-war = k.876 whawhai, or k. whai purepo,—lit. fighting ship, or ship possessing cannon:—

A merchantman = k. kawe taonga,—lit. ship carrying goods:—

A. whaler = k. patu, or wero tohora,—lit. a ship for killing, or harpooning, whales:—

A passenger vessel = k. eke, or k. kawe tangata,—lit. a ship taking on board, or carrying men:—

All sailing ships, in contradistinction to steamers, = k. maori,877lit. common, or usual ship:—

A 3-master = k. rakau-toru (N.), k. rewa-toru (S.),—lit. a ship (with) 3 trees, or poles;—a ship (with) 3 heights, or high poles, understood:— [19]

Standing yards = kurupae,—lit. cross-beams of a large house, platform, &c.:—

A figure-head = ihu whahapakoko,—lit. nose, or beak, having a carved image:—

Outer stern and taffrail = paremata, from pare, an ornamental peak, frontlet, border, for the face, and mata the full front of the face:—

Upper deck = paparunga,—lit. upper boards:—

Sbrouds and ratlines, = arakirunga, or arapikikirunga,—lit. (the) climbing-way-aloft:—

To sound with the lead = whakataatutu,—lit. to make touch the bottom (and) stand; a most expressive and fitting word.

3. Of common working-tools,—which, as Cook and others truly said, they prized beyond everything! most of the common ones, as the axe, hammer, chisel, auger, gimlet, awl, knife, large spike nail, small nails, &c., took the names of their own similar stone and bone implements; a few others however obtained some curious and striking names as— An adze, = kapu,—lit. palm of the hand, sole of the foot, &c., so named from its curvature.

A small axe, hatchet, and tomahawk, panekeneke,—lit. strike-and-keep-moving-by-small-degrees!—a good expressive name, indicative of their manner of using it in the woods, scrub, &c., clearing before them; formerly no Maori of any rank travelled or moved about without one strung to his wrist; of this little useful instrument they were very fond.

A saw, and also a file = kani,—lit. to cut stone by friction, rubbing to and fro; as they cut their Greenstone, &c.

A plane, = waru,—lit. to scrape, cut, &c., give a smooth surface to;—as with obsidian, a sharp shell, &c.

A pinchers, = kuku,—lit. the big mussel shell-fish.

A grindstone, hone, &c., = hoanga, the common name of their own sharpening stones, of which they had several kinds; the common grindstone very, often took the additional term of huri = to revolve.

A pick, pickaxe, = keriwhenua,—lit. earth digger.

A hoe, = karaone,—lit. to tear, roughen, pare the ground.

A spade, = puka, kaheru, karehu, hapara, &c.; this useful instrument bore several names, according to the District and sub-dialects, but its general one at the N. was puka. At first and for a few years this name to me was a puzzler, for I could not find out why the spade had obtained this peculiar name, (which was also the name given by the Maoris to the cultivated cabbage,) I knew of nothing Maori that also bore it. At last I heard from an old intelligent priest, that there was a tree bearing a large leaf named puka, and thence their name for the spade (and cabbage)! For a long time I diligently sought this plant, offering rewards for it, noone, however, had [20] seen it; at length I found one (in 1836), in a corner of Whangaruru Bay (S);—its leaves were large, 12-20 inches long, and 8–9 inches broad, oblong, plain, entire, and stout, with a long thick stem.878 I never saw another plant; its home was said to be on the Poor Knight’s Islets, a small group in the sea just opposite. I suspect hapara to be the Mori attempt at pronouncing the word shovel.

4. Of articles of food.—

The Potatoe bore several names, both what may be termed general,—each one extending throughout a large district, as, uwhi, parareka, kapana, riwai, taewa, &c.;—and particular,—i.e. of each variety or sort, of which they had a great number, many being of their own raising. Uwhi, is also the name of other edible Maori roots, sometimes with a short inseparable affix, as uwhipere = Gastrodia Cunninghamii, uwhikaho = the yam, &c. Parareka = sweet mealy (substance), is a good Maori meaning name for the tubers of this plant; but all their many names for them had highly significant meanings.

Maize, = Kopakipaki,—from a verb to wrap up, to envelope; from its large spathaceous bracts of fruit leaves, closely clasping the fruit.

Bread, = Taro, from the large Taro root (Caladium esculentum) their bread.

Biscuit, = Taro pakeke,—lit. hard taro.

Turnip, = Korau (N.), the name of the tree-fern (Cyathea medullaris), whose large white pith or heart is eaten, which also the large white root of the turnip resembles in substance when cooked; at the South the name for this wild Turnip was rearea = greens, from its growing quickly with its large edible leaves and succulent flowering stems; rearea being the reduplication of the verb rea, to grow as vegetables, to spring.

5. Sundries.—

A Horse, = Kararehe- or Kuri-waha-tangata,—lit. the man-carrying-quadruped.

Sheep, = Pirikahu, from its fleece, like a garment to which all things stuck.

The Horn of a sheep, cow, &c., = Taringa pihi (N.),—lit. budding ear; also, (S.), Maire = hard-wood.

Iron pot for cooking = Kohua,—so called from their own small circular earth-ovens. (Here it may be noted, that by most early European residents, not knowing this, it has been stated, that the term arose from the phrase “Go-ashore.” (!!)

A Looking glass, = Whakaata,—from the verb causing a shadow, reflection, likeness: formerly the Chiefs used certain sacred pools near their homes for this purpose, which bore the same name. [21]

Book, Paper, = Pukapuka,—the Maori name of the large white-leaved shrub, Brachyglottis repanda. [Here it may be observed, that the name of thiss shrub is pure Maori, being the reduplication and consequent lessening of the word Puka (the large-leaved tree, supra): I mention this, as by many it has been asserted, that this name was first given to the shrub by the Maoris from the English word book,—which, however, was not the case.]

Spectacles, = Titoko-kanohi, and Karu-wha,—lit. eye-upraiser (as by the spirit (titoko) of a canoe sail), and four-eyes.

Common green-black glass Bottle = Pounamu, (their greenstone), from its colour, hardness, fracture, &c.

White Glass, = Hauhunga,—lit. thin ice.

The wild Radish plant = Whakaruruhau,—lit. causing a break-wind, or shelter, for which purpose and its quick growth, they commonly used it about their huts in the North.

A Frenchman= Wiwi, from their own manner of saying Oui, Yes.

I regret to say, that this pure and ingenious Maori nomenclature did not last very long, it gradually died away, partly through the carelessness and the ignorance of the foreign settlers, and partly through the clear capacious memory of the Maori by which they were enabled to remember the patois names of common things, &c., as used by the early settlers and visitors, and in doing so not unfrequently escaped more or less of ill-words. Moreover the Maoris in the earliest days of the Colony, and for some time previous, were very prone to abandon pure Maori among themselves for the incorrect broken Maori of the settlers; for as the Maoris had considered them, at first, as being a superior race, they largely took up their errors in common talk and pronunciation as well as in other matters; and had it not been for their obtaining a written language through the Church of England Missionaries, and also had books printed in correct Maori by them, the Maori language would have soon become irretrievably lost;—even as it is at present the loss is very great among themselves, more than most Maori scholars are aware, and it is daily becoming more contracted and corrupt.


Paper II. (in continuation.)

[Read before the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Institute, September 11th, 1882.]

3. Of the unmeaning gibberish, or broken-English words and phrases; now used by the Government and by the Colonists in their higher transactions with the Maoris.

Although this is a very important branch of my subject, and very much might be said, I shall not dwell long upon it. You will notice, that I have purposely omitted referring to the common colloquial patois too often in use between [22] Colonists and the Maoris, which I not unfrequently hear in passing by them in our streets; the marvel is, how they manage to understand each other.

It is well-known that the Maori people are great talkers among themselves; indeed, formerly they had in every pa (town) their large whare-korero—house of assembly, where they would often spend their nights (and days too, in wet or cold weather, or on the arrival of visitors,) talking and debating. They also excelled in minute description of every thing new they had seen. Now the thought has often occured to me,—would an intelligent Maori who had gone on board of Cook’s ship,—or one who had in later times visited England,—be able on his return to his people to describe clearly what he had seen? and that, of course, in pure Maori words, as his people at home knew no other language; and I have felt sure that he both could and would do so. Indeed we have a pretty good proof of this at hand, in those celebrated letters written from Australia a few years ago by Major Ropata, (a leading chief of the Ngatiporou tribe at the East Cape,) who accompanied Sir Donald McLean thither. Those letters, in which he gave a running account of the many novelties he had seen there, were very long and interesting, and were published at the time in the Government Maori Serial (Waka Maori)—I read them with delight. The copious, fluent, flexible, and euphonious Maori language, would make any description of that kind very easy to them. Such being the case why is it that so many new words and phrases in broken-English are constantly being thrust forward in official Maori documents and papers as if they were proper Maori words? Very sure I am of three things respecting such words and phrases:—1. they are not understood by the bulk of the Maori people, if clearly by any among them:—2. they are not required and—3. the use of them is causing the sad deterioration of the noble Maori language. When a Gazette or a Proclamation, a new Act or an Advertisement, or perhaps a long Official letter, printed or written in “Official” Maori, reaches a chief, or a Maori Village, the same is read over and over by the Maoris; and, at last, some one among them explains as well as he can each of those barbarous patois words and phrases to the people,—and, of course, with many ekings out of his own! But why not have printed or written the same in simple and plain Maori?

It is positively refreshing to turn from such barbarism to notice what they have done in the Sandwich Islands—the little Kingdom of Hawaii. There, all such proper names of new things, including regal matters, Officers of Government, etc., are in the pure Hawaiian tongue; which, though very copious is not so to such an extent as the Maori, partly owing to its possessing only 12 letters. This, as I view it, arose from that Government being purely aboriginal, having had good skilled Officers (and Interpreters when required) from the beginning, who both well-knew and sought to keep up their Native tongue; while here, the [23] contrary has been too often the case. But it is not only the broken-English words and phrases that I see good reason to complain of, the very sentences themselves, while consisting of (say) Maori words, are so long, so involved, so utterly opposed to Maori idiom, (I might almost say Maori syntax) that I myself can rarely understand or find out their meaning; indeed I can not clearly do it, if the same is a translation of some legal or official document, without I also have that document in English to refer to. I am told, that this is mainly the fault of the Lawyers and others, who will have their legal and official papers (abounding in long involved obsolete and tautological phraseology) literally translated, line by line, or sentence by sentence,—utterly regardless of the so-called translation being understood! or having any connected or plain meaning!! Neither is that all! for, as if it must be so, to have “Confusion more confounded,” often in the Maori Gazettes and other Official and legal Papers, the old Roman numerals (c.d.l.v.x.). are used, (though not to be found. in the Maori alphabet, and therefore not by them understood!)—and, in addition thereto, other strange letters of the English alphabet,—merely for the purpose of marking Government Surveyors’ blocks and that, too, when purposely surveying and marking off the land of the Maoris!

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