A great little interview with Professor John Read here:
I would like to share an excerpt from the above book. As it is well attested in many books and journals that the Maori people experienced and interacted with other worlds, heard voices of the deceased and other beings. Yet in the Colonisation of New Zealand, to have such experiences now is to be considered in some cases by others delusional, fantastical, and the signs of the unwell.
Yet the Maori who told of experiences were not unwell, but extremely intelligent, well spoken and articulated people. Because another people do not have such experiences it does not mean that it is not possible, or that it is false. It means just that they do not have the same experience of the world.
Here is an excerpt
” Patuones grandmother Ripia. had a child still born to whom was given the name Te Tuhi. He frequently troubled his parents and other members of the tribe, appearing to them sometimes in the form of an apparition, and sometimes transforming himself into a lizard. He came clothed with the marvellous influence which beings in the world of spirits are supposed to possess. His visitations caused great dismay, and may members of the tribe fell victim to his power. This appearance of Te Tuhi to the Tapua family created much uneasiness as did the strange appearance to the Wesley family as recorded by their biographers [ Every biographer of this family, says Dr Smith in his history of Wesleyan Methodism, “has mentioned the strange noises heard in the parsonage homes at Epworth.”] which some suggested was a message of Satan sent to buffet John Wesley’s father. Tapua in his priestly capacity, offered prayers, and various incantations and divinations were resorted to in the hope of laying the troublesome spirit. It is averred that Patuone was urged again and again by the restless spirit, to become the medium of communication between the beings of the two worlds, and though the Modern spiritualists would doubtless have yielded with avidity to the solicitations of the persistent medium seeker, no amount of persuasion would induce Patuone to accept the honour,- if it be an honour,- of holding converse with departed spirits, and, in process of time Te Tuhi discontinued his troublesome propensity of visiting earthly friends.”
I went and saw this movie on Sunday night. What a great movie it was too. Filmed around Grey Lynn and Ponsonby it is a movie based on the book by Mike Riddell. It is inspired by real experiences. At the heart of the film is a boarding house where ex psychiatric patients live, as the asylums have closed. Arthur, is one of these boarders. He says he hears the voice of God and that he is the second son of God.
A real gem. It is a film that has a very respectful way about it. Showing the importance of compassion in our material world.
You can see the review from the NZ Herald here here is an excerpt
And there were the twilight people: mainly men, they were the product of the new “community mental health” initiatives, unreliably medicated psychiatric patients living on benefits in the boarding houses that were a feature of the landscape.
Mike Riddell knows something of that demi-monde because he moved in it. A theologian by training, he was the vicar at the Ponsonby Baptist Church in Jervois Rd, a ministry in which he often rubbed shoulders with the psych patients. I recall a moving funeral service he conducted there for a childhood friend of mine, Alan Stimpson, a florid, gentle-giant schizophrenic who had taken his own life.
“People like Alan would have a social welfare grant to pay for their funeral,” Riddell recalls, “but it wasn’t enough. So we had an arrangement with an undertaker that he would lend us a coffin so we could put on a funeral and then they’d bury him in something more modest.
The Baptist system is a fairly miserable bloody denomination in some ways but the Ponsonby Baptist Church happened to be a group of people who were a bit more broadminded and interested in people. There was so much humanity and humour at those funerals. They were great.”
Just such a funeral is a central scene in The Insatiable Moon and it’s filmed at Ponsonby Baptist – “It was the director of photography’s decision because he liked the inside of the church,” says Riddell.
One character’s eulogy consists of repaying the deceased’s many kindnesses by laying a cigarette on the coffin lid. “That’s a tailor-made too,” she adds for emphasis.
So it goes without saying that The Insatiable Moon is a portrait drawn from life. Riddell wrote it as a novel and then, over several years, adapted it into the screenplay for the film which an opening title describes as “inspired by Arthur of Ponsonby”.
“Arthur lived in a boarding house that doesn’t exist any more down Shelly Beach Rd,” says Riddell. “He was a lovely guy, a big fella with long hair, who looked a bit like [Tuhoe prophet and activist] Rua Kenana. He was illiterate but very engaging and charismatic, a fluent Maori speaker.
“He used to come into the vicarage sometimes and ask me to tell people that he was the second son of God, so we used to have great conversations. And after one of those sessions I thought: ‘Gee, what if he is the second son of God? How would I know?’ And that was the creative spark for the story.”
To say that it sounds improbable, even banal, is to understate matters. But Riddell makes it work, both by his unforced skill as a writer and the deep humanity of the story.
The same humanity infuses the film, one of the most modest Kiwi flicks in a long time, but one that gets under your skin. A cast to die for includes Rawiri Paratene as Arthur (when people say “Lovely day”, he replies “Thanks. Glad you like it”; Sara Wiseman as Margaret, a social worker whose marital crisis puts her on a collision course with Arthur; a terrific Ian Mune as an unrepentant dero; and show-stealer Greg Johnson, as the cheerfully foul-mouthed and relentlessly good-hearted proprietor of the boarding house that is home to Arthur and the other psych patients. And the story, a winning mix of pathos, humour and, well, wonder, concerns the challenge posed to Arthur’s celestial pedigree when the boarding house is threatened with closure.”
The official website is here http://www.theinsatiablemoon.com/
Here is the trailer
After posting about Fay Weldons book, I thought it would be good to explore what a Kehua is in Maori culture. I cam across this interesting article from the Transaction and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868- 1961
Chapter 37 1904 by Eldson Best
When a Maori dies, the wairua, or dream-ghost, or soul, which during life could leave the body and wander at large when its owner slept, becomes a kehua. “Kehua,” says Best, “are the spirits of the dead which revisit their former haunts of this world and make things unpleasant for the living. Kehua appear to return to earth generally during the night-time—they dread sunlight and the light of fires. Some say the wairua, or ghost of a dead person, remains here as a kehua or atua whakahaehae until the body is buried; it then descends to Hades.”
Kehua are said by some to be invisible, and capable of acting benevolently or in a hostile manner upon men. They can communicate with mortals; they eat and drink, wander about the village; they can see and hear what is going on about them. In fact, these disembodied spirits retain many of the characteristics of their living fellow-men.
Ghosts of the dead are invisible except to people who are asleep, or to priests in a state of trance. Tohungas, who possess clairvoyant powers (matakite or matatuhi), sometimes saw a whole host of ghosts of the dead (kehua) traversing space. Such a company was termed a tira māka or kahui atua, and the object of their visiting this world was to acquaint living persons with the fact that some disaster or death was imminent. Tohungas would drive them away to avert the evil. It was a common thing for spirits of the dead to appear to their living relatives in order to warn them of evil. Should a person dream that he is chased by the ghost of a dead person, and the kehua from the Po (Hades) catches him, that is an evil omen; he may soon take ill and die. When a kehua appears to the wairua (dream-ghost) of a living person it is anthropomorphic, but when it appears at the request of its medium—say, at a spiritualistic seance—it assumes the form of a spider or lizard, &c. It can also make its appearance as a shadow of a sun-ray. Ghosts of the dead were said to have returned to this world in the form of butterflies. In Samoa they are said to return in the form of moths. The Maori ghost, like the Australian, often revisits the spot where his bones are deposited. “Sometimes,” said Beviuk, a New South Wales black, “the murup comes back to this world and looks down into his grave, and may say, ‘Hallo, there is my old’ possum rug; there are my old bones.’ “If a Maori trespassed on a burial-ground the ghosts of those interred there would punish him with disease, and perhaps death. Their presence is said to be made known generally by a whistling sound. A breath of warm air felt while travelling at night is a sign of the near presence of a kehua.
Irirangi is the term applied to a spirit-voice heard singing without, when at night the people are within their houses: it is an omen of evil import. Shortland says the voice of ancestral ghosts is not like that of mortals, but a kind of sound—half whistle, half whisper. He had a conference with the ghosts of two chiefs who had been several years dead, and was assured that such was always the peculiar voice of atua when they talk with man. Other Europeans have had similar intercourse with Maori ghosts, and one need hardly explain that the mysterious voice was in every case the ventriloquistic utterance of the spirit’s medium. I have already pointed out that the kehua become hungry like ordinary mortals, and Taylor states that they were thought to feed on flies and filth; but they also had the spirit of the kumara and taro (?).
When a Maori dies his wairua (soul) leaves the body, and either remains near the corpse or goes away to the lower world. In either case it can return, and, re-entering the corpse, bring it to life again. If the kehua goes to the nether regions it may be sent back to this world by its relatives, for the purpose of caring for its children who have been left without a guardian owing to the parents’ death, but no soul can return to earth if in Hades it eats of the food of the denizens of that region.
The tohungas have elaborate ceremonies by means of which they restore the soul to a person just dead, but the feat is rarely performed, because the necessary astrological juxtapositions are rare favourable. The ancient Greeks offered the ghost fresh blood, that it might for a time be called back into life and answer questions—a conception which gave birth to the practice of raising the dead and asking oracles of them. By performing the hirihiri divination rite over a corpse the Maoris were enabled to consult the kehua or wairua of the dead person, and gain information as to the cause of its death. I have already referred to the hosts of ancestral ghosts sometimes seen by the matakite or clairvoyant seer: these companies of spirits were called apa hau by the Tuhoe people, and they were represented in the living world by some living relative, who was the medium (kauwaka or kaupapa) through which such spirits communicated with, and acted as guardians of, their living relatives. A single person may be the medium of the kehua of many deceased relatives. Such kehua or wairua do not abide with the medium, but visit him when they have anything to communicate. The medium may be quite a common person, of no standing in the tribe until he becomes a medium.
That is only a small excerpt, read the whole article here on the National Library of New Zealand website.
In the Weekend Herald this morning there is an interview with Fay Weldon. She has written a new book called “Kehua!” Which sounds interesting and entertaining. A fiction, here is a brief review from a site called www.lovereading.co.uk
“Kehua by Fay Weldon
A kehua is a Maori ghost – the wandering dead searching for their ancestral home. Without the proper rituals to send them on their way, kehua are forced to remain on Earth to haunt their relatives. They’re not dangerous, and they even try to help the living, though it’s wise not to listen to them. They tend to get things wrong…In the wake of murder and suicide, a young woman flees New Zealand, hoping to escape the past and find a new life. But the unshriven spirits of the recently departed can’t rest peacefully, and are forced to emigrate with her, crossing oceans to finally settle in – of all places – Muswell Hill, London. Here their shadowy flutterings and murmured advice haunts the young woman and her female bloodline across the decades, across the generations. ‘Run!’ the Kehua whisper. ‘Run, run, run!’
Here is an excerpt from the interview with Fay Weldon from the Weekend Herald NZ.
“Weldon is unsure when she first became aware of the existence of kehua. ” I have a Maori daughter in law and she has never mentioned them,” she says. “I must have read about them somewhere and then they came to mind when I was thinking about the story of the New Zealand family who have come over here and have this impulse to run.
I was wondering what caused that and perhaps it was the spirits of the country, the kehua. I then became interested in the sense of family and belonging, which is very important and strong in Maori Culture. At the beginning, this family have lost that feeling but they come to realise that there is a family that you belong to whether you like it or not, which is quite a compelling and comforting idea.
She compares the kehua to similar phenomena is other mythologies, such as the Scottish kelpies, the Greek furies, and the hungry ghosts of Chinese folklore. “in the novel, they’re the grateful dead, the dybbuks,” says Weldon, who suggests that they may be psychological manifestations of past traumas. “you can give them a name, call them spirits or ghosts, but they really are compulsions, which follow families through generations. All cultures have that. In England they tend to be domestic ghosts in old houses, this house being the house in the book.
Fay Weldons book Kehua! is out now through Corvus.
Some of you may be interested in this book. I know I would like to read it.
See the details and introduction here on http://www.atfpress.com/atf/images/toc_spirit_possession,_theology_and_identity.pdf
It talks about Maori and Samoan view of spirits, the Spirits in the bible, Spirits through the lens of history and theology. There are sections by Henare Tate,Helen Bergin, Laurie , Elaine Wainwright and many others The cover says this ”
Growing contemporary interest in spirit possession prompted eleven past and present faculty members of the University of Auckland’s School of Theology and 2 recent post graduate students to offer essays that explored the reality of spirit possession in Oceania today.”
I think it is great to have a thorough exploration of a subject where a lot of people have only horror movies to use as reference of such an experience. The truth will set you free…
Rain of the Children a great New Zealand drama documentary made by New Zealander Vincent Ward is showing on Maori TV tonight Sunday 4th July in NZ at 8.30pm. You can see the trailer below
I reviewed it in one of the HVN newsletters. Here is my review
” Rain of the Children is a fascinating movie. It is the telling of the story of a Tuhoe woman Puhi. Vincent Ward stayed with Puhi and her mentally ill son when he was first starting out as a film maker. The movie includes footage that he took at this time.
This latest movie is his attempt to go back and tell the story of the life of Puhi and her son Nikki and to make sense of it. Puhi was the bride of the son of the Maori prophet Rua Kenana. The movie contains excellent photos of the settlement they built. Creating a fascinating rendition of the life that Puhi led. It carefully illustrates the trauma and upheaval that the Maori people faced during the colonisation of New Zealand. Everything about their former way of lives were challenged, their religion, beliefs, and their very survival as many of their people died from disease brought by the European settlers.
Amongst the trauma, Puhi has many events happen that lead everyone to believe that she has been cursed. She is shown years later walking along constantly praying, to keep the curse from affecting her and her family.
Her son hears voices. According to the movie, one day he became lost in the forest. He was lost for several days. When he was finally found and returned to his family he was hearing voices. He also had a very special bond with animals and his family believed that he had been taken by the “Patupairehe”and explores some of Maori beliefs in this area.
It is a mixture of re-enactment and actual footage, which together creates a story that is well worth watching, if only to gain a better understanding of what Maori went through at the time and to wonder how these effects may be felt today.”
A great watch.
I am delighted to say that we now have four speakers for our Seminar Cultural Perspectives & Considerations on June 26th 1 to 4pm.
Whitiki Maurea MOKO Maori Mental Health & Te Atea Marino Maori Regional Addictions Services will be represented by Timoti George who has had over 40 years experience in the field as a Clinician, Kaiako, Director and Manager.
” For Maori, senses that are triggered in the absence of stimuli is considered a common and normal phenomena. It is not seen as an abnormal state but instead as an indication of that individuals level of connectedness to their ancestors or those who have passed on or are in the process of returning home. Central to this is the Maori belief that they are ‘Spiritual Beings’ having a human experience”
I attended a group only this week where Timoti George was speaking and enjoyed it very much. He is very knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience on this topic from which he draws from. I am looking forward to hearing his presentation next weekend. The spaces are filling up fast, so if you are thinking of coming you had better book quickly.
Sometimes it is helpful to remember that it was not that long ago that Maori led a completely different way of life than we do today. Relying on different sense and faculties that Western Society often disregard. This article published in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, highlights this quite well.
Here are a few excerpts, but the whole article on the website link above is interesting
It was about 1853, or 1854, that a movement among the Maori people of the Taranaki coast took place, that is worth noting as an illustration of Maori mentality. At that time the people were decreasing in numbers very fast, due to various causes, largely to the contact with Europeans and their diseases, and the entire change in habits and beliefs also due to European contact. While acknowledging these causes as to their decrease as mentioned, the Maoris had, at that time, a theory of their own to account for their lessening numbers, and that was, the abrogation of the system of tapu; and they also saw in the failure to remove the presence of tapu objects, another true cause of the trouble. The fear of tapued objects and places had much decreased, and things and places were touched and visited with an impunity that in former times would have brought death to the violators of the tapu.
In most, if not all, Maori pas there were sacred stones deposited, which were called mauri, or whatu or other name, and of course these were strictly tapu. Sometimes these stones were the mauri, or, as it has been described, the “life principle,” by which birds of the forest, fish of the sea, etc., were retained in the localities frequented by them, etc. The absence or destruction of these mauri, destroyed the food-giving properties of the forest, sea, etc.
But there was another phase of these sacred stones which, so far as can be ascertained, had another purpose. It was this latter class of stone that seems to have been buried in the various pas, or forts; and the idea seems to have been that the presence of these stones preserved the măna (or power, prestige, etc.) of the people living in the pas, and also formed a connecting link with the ancestors of the tribe and with their ancestral homes in far Hawaiki. The desecration or neglect of these stones, was a serious matter for the people of the pa. We know that in other parts of Polynesia these stones were under the special care of the priesthood, and were occasionally cleaned and oiled. The probability is the same was done in the case of those stones placed in the Maori pas, though I have no positive information on this subject. They were at any rate objects of sanctity and care.
The people of this district round New Plymouth were (with few exceptions) driven helter-skelter from their homes by the several incursions of the Waikato tribes, in the early years of the nineteenth century. Their fortified pas were abandoned; and when the people returned to their homes in the early forties they did not re-occupy these old pas, but built new ones of a different type, or lived in open villages, though the former was the rule. Hence these sacred stones were left in the old pas, and it was this abandonment of them, and neglect of attention to the tapu of them, that gave rise to the belief in the early fifties, that this neglect of the tapu was what caused so many deaths among the people…
We now come to modern dealing with some of these stones, and an illustration of what appears to be an instance of clairvoyance, with which I am convinced the Maoris were acquainted from very early days. That they also practised hypnotism and telepathy seems clear from many examples I have…
The fourth case of clairvoyance I also quote from the “Taranaki Herald,” June 1st, 1920.—“The Levin Chronicle says that the Kuku Maori community has been stirred by the recovery of two valuable whalebone meres buried for many years. The paper relates that they were discovered by the aid of a Native woman, Mrs. Takurangi, wife of the Hon. Te Heuheu Tukino, M.L.C., who claims to possess powers of divination” (or as I call it clairvoyance). “The scene was laid off the main Kuku Road and a few hundred yards to the rear of Mr. Pink’s residence. Leading a procession of about 120 persons, the chief actor took a course for some distance through the bush and then over some maize cultivations, and again entered a bush pathway, which eventually reached a stagnant, weed-covered water course. Here she halted, and placing a stick in the ground at the water’s edge, declared that the lost meres would be found there. A spade was procured, and on digging down a depth of about two feet the meres were unearthed.
“Both were in an excellent state of preservation.
“Mr. Robert Ransfield, of Manakau, one of the oldest Natives of this coast, recounted some particulars concerning the long-lost patus. He stated that the weapons were owned by their ancestors Koroniria and Pare-tiwhana, who buried the meres to prevent their being lost, but prior to their deaths did not inform their descendants of the hiding place. The patus were formerly weapons of war, and being tapu, were greatly treasured. It was believed that the loss of the patus had acted detrimentally to the well being of the later generations of the former chieftan owners, hence the desire to recover them and break the evil spell.”
This again is in a different locality, but not far from the scene of the third case, and the operator is also different. Mr. Elsdon Best who interviewed Te Heuheu and his wife, tells me, “they both declare the truth of the performance, and that the lady obtained her power (matakite, second-sight) from Mahuta (the so-called Maori king) or he developed it or rendered it effective. She added, the wairua, or spirit of the former owner of such lost or buried articles, guides her and halts over the spot where the article is lying.”
But it will be more satisfactory to quote Te Heuheu’s own account of the proceedings, for which I am indebted to Mr. James Cowan (the historian of the Maori-Pakeha Wars of last century). In interviews with this scion of one of the most aristocratic families of the Maoris, the ariki of the Ngati-Tu-wharetoa tribe of Lake Taupo, whose ancestors were high-chiefs, and possessed of the powers of an ariki, Mr. Cowan took full notes and kindly supplied a copy as follows:—
“Te Heuheu describing the supposed supernatural powers of his wife in the discovery of long buried valuables and in other ways, said, in answer to questions, My wife, who was born at Wharekawa in the gulf of Hauraki district, belongs to the Waikato and Ngati-Maru tribes, and is also connected with the Ngati-Rahiri 2 and Te Ati-Awa tribes of Taranaki. She was kinswoman of Mahuta, the third Maori (so-called) king of Waikato, and it is through Mahuta that she became gifted with her present powers of matakite (second sight). A week before Mahuta died he gave to her a very precious and sacred jadeite pendant, made of the kawakawa variety of that stone, worked in the form of a whakakai, or ear-drop, with a curved end, the ornament known as a kapeu. It is an unusually long ear-drop, about eight inches in length, and it is worn sometimes on a cord about the neck. This whakakai is very ancient, and was worn by Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Maori (so-called) king, and at his death was similarly worn by Tawhiao and the latter’s son Mahuta, and by contact with these sacred persons of ariki rank it became exceedingly tapu. When Potatau was made king by the Maori tribes more than sixty years ago, not only did political power pass to him from all the tribes of the confederation, but the great chiefs, such as Te Heuheu Iwikau and others, transferred to him, or endowed him with their sacred măna, or the powers and gifts of the tohunga-Maori. 3 All this cumulative măna, rested with Potatau Te Wherowhero, who thenceforth was the most potent of sacred chiefs in the Island. In his ear he wore this holy greenstone, and by virtue of this control he became a store of wonderful măna.
-“When Mahuta, knowing he would shortly die, bestowed this kapeu upon Takurangi, he bade her wear it constantly about her neck and await the tohu, or sign, which would announce to her the sacred powers embodied in the stone. In due course these strange powers manifested themselves in various ways. Ever since Mahuta’s death his spiritual powers have had their abiding-place in Takurangi. See note No. 2.“Not long ago, while we were living at Lyall Bay, Wellington, some persons came to consult Takurangi about the mysterious illness of a child, which (as it appeared afterwards) had been afflicted through eating plums from a tree which grew on a tapu place in the Ohau district.”
Te Heuheu here described the steps taken for driving out the mysterious sickness; the result was the healing of the child. Certain articles into which the tapu had been driven by virtue of Takurangi’s powers, were taken to the beach at Lyall Bay and cast into the sea; one was a copper coin representing the waka 4 into which the baneful tapu had passed. When the waka was thrown into the salt sea, the wise-woman repeated these words:—
Ki nga rire o te moana-nui-a-Kiva,
E te pouriuri, e te potangotango,
Oti atu! oti atu koutou ki reira.
To the deeps of the great ocean of Kiva,
To the uttermost gloom, the uttermost darkness,
There to be ended and vanish completely.
“Then (continued Te Heuheu) when Takurangi’s măna became generally known, she was requested by certain persons to assist them in the recovery of long-lost family and tribal treasures. At the request of Hira Parata (son of the late Wi Parata Kakakura) we went up to Waikanae, where we were desired to find some buried relics whose exact whereabouts were unknown. Many persons were gathered there, and all of these witnessed the search. I accompanied Takurangi. Neither of us ate food on the morning of the search because of the sacredness pertaining to such operations. Takurangi wore the sacred whakakai; the spirit voices of Potatau also had been heard by her in her sleep, speaking into her ear. When we reached the scene of the search, Takurangi led the way into a ploughed field and walked across this until she came to a certain place where she halted. The forest formerly grew on this field, but it had been cleared. Takurangi stopped at a spot where a portion of an old root of a large mahoe tree lay in the ground horizontally. She bade her companions pull the root away, and when this was done a beautiful jadeite tiki (or neck ornament) and two whakakai (ear-pendants) of the kind of jadeite named kahurangi were found lying underneath covered by a few inches of soil. These were the hidden treasures. They had been concealed long ago at the foot of a mahoe tree, somewhere in the district (this much had apparently been known), but it was very long ago, for since that time the forest had been cleared away and the plough had passed over the ground many times, only avoiding the old stump. The carved tiki was an heirloom known as ‘Whakairi.’
“The next feat of this kind was at a place near the Kuku bush at Ohau, some distance from the find described above, on land belonging to the Ngati-Wehiwehi tribe. Many people, including some Europeans witnessed the treasure-finding here. The search was for certain patu paraoa, or whalebone meres, of antiquity and sacredness, which had been hidden there, and which the people now desired to recover. We went up from Wellington to the place by motor-car; there were several car loads of people.
“As on the previous occasion we did not eat in the morning of the search, and we also observed this ceremony (to propitiate the spirits of the dead): When we reached the place where the search was to be made, Takurangi and I went to a running stream and dipped up some water in our hands, which we threw towards ourselves, lightly sprinkling our faces and heads, and repeating these words as we did so:—
Mau tenei te wai a Tawhiao
Mau tenei te wai a Mahuta
Mau tenei te wai a Te Wherowhero. 5
“In this short karakia we invoked the spirits of Potatau and the successive members of his family, and we were now in a state of tapu for the purpose of the search. There had been sickness at this place, and Takurangi, by virtue of her sacred powers divined that this was caused by unconscious contact with highly tapu objects or places. There was a small watercourse here coming from a spring, with watercress covering the surface of the stream. To this place Takurangi led the way, and the spectators, at her bidding, disposed themselves about the spring at a little distance, so that all might see clearly what she was doing. With her was an assistant named Matehaere. Takurangi – carried a garden fork for the purpose of turning over the ground wherever the spirits bade her search. There was a piece of a tawa tree lying across the spring. This, Takurangi bade Matehaere remove. He hauled it away with his hands and the fork. Then the wise-woman bade him put his hands into the spring and feel about. He did so, and no sooner had he plunged his hand into the water than he felt something move into his grasp. He felt two objects—they were the veritable treasures sought! It seemed as if they had been waiting to be found! for they seemed to move of their own accord into his open hands. Matehaere was very much frightened at this strange occurrence, and his heart leaped and trembled within his breast; but Takurangi reassured him. He withdrew his hands from the water, and in his grasp were two glistening whalebone meres, or patus, which he held up by the handles. He placed them on the grass by the spring, and immediately there burst out a great shout and chorus of applause from the spectators.
“We then proceeded to remove the tapu from the recovered treasures in this way: Taking the weapons to the waterside we held them out while we recited these words:—
He tono ki a koutou te hunga wairua o te po, kia horoia atu nga mana patu tangata i runga i enei patu.
This is our appeal to you, O company of spirits of the night (death) to cleanse these weapons from all influence that may afflict mankind.
“Then we dashed handfuls of water over the weapons, throwing the water away from us, and repeating these words, a sentence with each handful:—
Mou tenei wai, E Tawhiao!
Mou tenei wai, E Mahuta!
Mou tenei wai, E Te Wherowhero
etc., etc., etc.
“The effect of this was to destroy, or modify, the tapu which otherwise would have prevented the people from handling these treasures of their ancestors. The death-causing attributes of the weapons were by the water-laving and sprinkling transferred to the running water, which carried the baneful tapu into the ocean where it was dispersed and lost. This is why such ceremonies are performed in running water.
“After these necessary karakia and sprinklings (we use short karakias of our own, the ancient ones are too long and unnecessary for our purpose), the recovered treasures were carried to the meeting-house and there laid on clean mats where everyone might see them, and then were heard the lamentations of the women as they cried over and addressed the long lost weapons of their ancestors.
“One of these weapons had come long ago from the Ngati-Kuia tribe of the South Island. And it was Takurangi who divined the cause of sickness at Ohau. Persons had eaten of the watercress which grew in the streams that flowed from the spring in which the two meres had been hidden; and eels had also been caught there, so the people had suffered without knowing the cause. Takurangi also discovered the plum tree the fruit of which had caused sickness, and she pointed it out and explained that it grew on a sacred place. There was a red pine growing close to it, and the spot was a place where the bodies of the dead had decayed. When this was pointed out the principal man present said that the tree, or trees, would be cut down.
“Well, there was yet another successful search for a hidden ancestral treasure, and this was carried out through Takurangi’s powers a few days ago. The wise-woman was told that an ancient and very valuable jadeite patu (mere) had been buried long ago by Te Whare-pouri of Te Ati-Awa tribe at the foot of a pou-tohu-rohe, or boundary post set up by him and his kinsman Te Puni, near the Ngauranga stream on the shores of Wellington Harbour. This mere the descendants of Te Whare-pouri now desired to recover, and they sought Takurangi’s supernatural powers to do so. Accordingly a large party of people went to Nga-uranga by motor car. They halted at Takurangi’s bidding a short distance on the southern or Wellington side by the mouth of the stream where the meat works are. Led by the wise-woman, her assistant Mate-haere following with the garden fork, we climbed up the hillside to an old land-slip of rock, gravel and earth overgrown with karamuramu and koromiko scrub and small ngaio trees. Arriving at a certain place on the hillside, on land owned by an European, Takurangi bade Mate-haere clear away a small space in the bushes, and there, between two slabs of rock, a beautiful jadeite mere was found. This was the veritable weapon buried there by Te Whare-pouri three generations ago. Many changes had occurred since and the exact spot where the boundary post stood had been lost, but Takurangi’s power, as medium of Mahuta’s wairua, and through the măna of the sacred pounamu which she constantly wore, enabled the lost property to be restored to the people.
“It is through the possession of this very sacred jadeite ornament of the Potatau family, together with the spirit-voice of Mahuta, and of Potatau, heard in the sleeping ear, that such deeds as these are performed by my wife Takurangi. And this power is used only for good and useful purposes, the recovery of lost treasures and detection of the causes of people’s illnesses. It is not makutu (witchcraft) or any other evil mahi tohunga (priest’s work), but its reverse—it is similar to the miracles mentioned in the Bible—and it is a power not to be used lightly or for reward. Many have asked Takurangi to use her powers for finding articles, but she refuses; it is only for highly important occasions or needs.
“Our expression for such highly sacred things as those endowed with măna-tapu (sacred supernatural power) from departed ancestors, is ‘He taumata no te hunga wairua,’ or ‘He okiokinga no te hunga wairua’ (signifying a holy and potent emblem from the company of departed souls).
“Not only does the spirit of Mahuta accompany Takurangi, but that spirit calls to its aid the spirits of other dead to assist in whatever mission is being pursued. When the sacred mere of Te Whare-pouri was being sought, the wairua, or spirit, of Te Whare-pouri was brought to Takurangi by the wairua of Mahuta, and it was through these spirit guides that Takurangi knew exactly where to search, and so recovered the lost treasure.”
No. 2.—Mahuta, shortly before his death, informed his people that although he was departing, he would return to them. That is the reason they do not tangi (mourn) over him; they knew he would come back. The Waikato belief is, says Te Heuheu, that his spirit has now returned and that Takurangi is its medium, or the person in whose powers and performances the spirit manifests itself.
Campbell Live on Tv3 news interviewed this man, who saw a Tupuna( ancestor) come through the roof and touch him.
Steve Hikaiti has done a lot of bad things in his life, and spent a lot of time in jail – 29 years in and out.
But something happened to him while he was in Mt Eden prison that changed his life forever.
From that point on, he became an artist, and he has been quite successful.
So much so that an Auckland gallery has taken him on and is holding an exhibition for him on Saturday.
Mr Hikaiti says his calling came when he was in Mt Eden prison in 1987.
“I donno if it was a mental breakdown or anything like that, but I felt like I needed to talk to the staff because I thought I was going looney,” he says.
“What happened was this tupuna came through the roof, and just touched me on the nose, and when I woke up the next day I could actually draw his face – the detail.”
But as quickly as that detail came, it was lost again, until recently when he began to draw full time.
He got the bug at school but that landed him in trouble.
“I used to get kicked out because I’d be drawing in the books and on the desk,” he says.
“My mind would not be with the class, it’d be outside the window, day dreaming, creating things in my mind. It was my own safe place.”
Mr Hikaiti is no angel – he has a criminal record for burglary, assault and aggravated robbery, for which he served nine years inside.
He was kicked out of home when he was nine because he was too much trouble.
When he was not in jail, he roamed the streets.
“Jail became home, in a way,” he says.
“Jail was my life, was my home.”
Now his home – and workspace – is an Auckland apartment.
When he is not drawing, he is pacing around waiting for the ideas to flow.
“I don’t know if it is the right process because I’m self-taught.”
His work has struck a chord with the art community. Gallery owner Clayton Smith liked what he saw, and has been showing and selling Mr Hikaiti’s work for four months.
“He is now an active member of society,” says Mr Clayton.
“He is producing beautiful pieces of art and that is his passion, he has found his way through his art.”
Mr Hikaiti’s first series of limited edition prints are now on display in galleries around the North Island, and on Saturday he will have his first exhibition.
“We’re selling a few a week actually so people are actually seeing it, loving it, and want it on their walls.”
See the video on this link above.