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First Arrival on the Island — The Long Ears exterminated by the Short Ears — The Struggle between Kotuu and Hotu Iti.

It remains to be seen what accounts the islanders give of their origin and history in addition to the vague fragments already quoted. These legends fall into three groups, which, though they touch at some points, are in reality separate, and their relation to one another in point of time cannot be certainly ascertained. It need hardly be said that, like all such legends,, they cannot be regarded as more than suggestive; when the mysteries have been solved, it will no doubt be easy to see where they have been founded on fact, and where error has crept in, and essential points distorted or forgotten; meanwhile, the clues they afford can only be partial. These groups deal respectively, firstly with the arrival of the islanders under Hotu-matua; secondly with the destruction of the Long Ears; and thirdly with the war between the two sides of the island, Kotuu and Hotu Iti. The stories have necessarily been somewhat abbreviated.



The ancestors of the present inhabitants came, it is said, from two neighbouring islands known as Marae Renga and Marae Tohio. Here, on the death of the chief, Ko Riri-ka-atea, a struggle for supremacy arose between his two sons, Ko Te Ira-kaatea and Hotu-matua, in which Hotu was defeated. Now there was on one of the islands a certain Haumaka, who had tattooed Hotu, and received from him in return a present of mother-of-pearl which had been given to Hotu's father by an individual called Tuhu-patoea. Tuhu had seen that the men who went down to get pearls were eaten by a big fish, so he invented a net by which the precious shell could be obtained without risk, and the pearl so procured he had presented to his chief, Ko Riri. This man, Haumaka, had a dream, and during it his spirit went to a far country, and when he awoke he told six men, whose names are given, to go and seek for it; they were to look for a land where there were three islets and a big hole, also a long and beautiful road. So the six men went, each on a piece of wood, and they found the three islets, Motu Nui, Motu Iti, Motu Kao-kao, and the big hole, which was the crater of Rano Kao. They landed on that part of the island and planted yams, and then walked round the island, beginning by the south coast.

When they were near Anakena, one of them, Ira, saw a turtle and tried to take it, but it was too heavy for him to lift, so the other five went to help, but it was still too heavy for them, and it struck out and injured one named Kuku; he was taken to a neighbouring cave and begged the others not to leave him, but his companions made five cairns outside the cave1 and departed, and Kuku died in the cave. The men went to Hanga Roa and on to Orongo. A sixth man then appeared on the scene, but whence he came is not known, and the other five told him that "this was a bad land," for when they had planted yams, grass had grown up. Then the men went to Motu Nui and slept there, and in the morning, when they woke, two boats were seen approaching. The vessels were bound together, but as they came near the land the cord which united them was cut. The name of the one boat was "Oteka," and in it were Hotu-matua and his wife, Vakai-a-hiva; and the name of the other boat was “Oua," and in it were a certain Hinelilu and his wife, Avarepua, Ira called to them, and told them also that "this was a bad land"; to which Hotu-matua replied that they too came from a bad land, “when the sea is low we die few, when the sea is high we die many."

Then the boats divided, and Hotu-matua went round the south and east coasts, and Hinelilu by the west and north. Hotu wished to be the first to reach Anakena, which the previous arrivals had told him was a good place to land, so when he saw the other vessel approaching, he "said to himself a word," which made his own boat go fast and Hinelilu's go slow; so he got first to the cove. A son was born there to Vakai and named Ko Tuumaheke. Hinelilu was a man of intelligence, and wrote rongo-rongo on paper he brought with him. Amongst those who came in the boats was the ariki Tuukoihu, the maker of the wooden images; two of his sons and two grandsons have given their names to four subdivisions of the Miru clan.

Among Hotu-matua's company there was a concealed passenger whose name was Oroi; he was an enemy of Hotu, who had killed his children in the place whence they came, and had hidden himself on board. He got on shore at Anakena, without anyone having guessed at his presence, and killed everyone. One day the five children of a man named Aorka went to bathe at Owaihi, a small cove east of Anakena, and as they lay on a rock in the sea, Oroi came from behind and killed them and took out their insides. When they did not return, the father said to the mother, “Where are the children?” The mother said, “On the rock"; but when Aorka went to look, the rock was covered with water, for it was high tide; when by and by the water went down, he saw the five children and that they were dead. Aorka then told Hotu-matua: "Oroi, that bad man, is here, for he has killed my children." Now Hotu-matua went to see his daughter who was married, and as he went Oroi put a noose in his path and tried to catch his foot in it, but Hotu stepped on one side. When he had finished his visit to his daughter, he said to her and her husband, “Follow me as I go home." And as he returned he saw that the cord was still there, and his enemy hidden behind the rock. This time Hotu-matua intentionally stepped on to the rope and fell, and when Oroi came up, he got hold of him and killed him, and then called to his daughter and son-in-law to see that he was dead. When, however, they put the corpse in the oven to cook him he came to life again, so they had to take him over to the other side of the island to where the ahu is called Oroi (fig. 122), and there he cooked quite satisfactorily, and they ate him.

Hotu-matua had many sons from whom the different clans are descended, and whose names they bear. He quarrelled with the eldest, Tuumaheki, and with his own wife. Vakai; the two having behaved badly to him, he finally gave up his position to Tuumaheki and retired to the top of Rano Kao, where he lived on the south side of the crater, that opposite to Orongo.

He was old and blind and became also very ill; his elder sons came to see him, but he kept asking for Hotu-iti, the youngest, who was his favourite. When Marama appeared, the old man felt the calf of his leg, and said, “You are not Hotu-iti, you are Marama; where is Hotu-iti?” Koro-orongo answered as if he were Hotu-iti, and said, “I am here," but he lied, and his father took hold of his leg, and said again, “You are not Hotuiti "; and the same thing happened with Ngaure, and Raa, and Hamea, and the others; and at last came Hotu-iti, and Hotumatua knew him, for he was small, and his leg was slight, and said to him, “You are Hotu-iti, of Mata-iti, and your descendants shall prosper and survive all others." And he said to Kotuu, “You are Kotuu, of Mata-nui, and your descendants shall multiply like the shells of the sea, and the reeds of the crater, and the pebbles of the beach, but they shall die and shall not remain." And when he had said this he left his house, and went along to the cliff where the edge of the crater is narrowest, and stood on it by two stones, and he looked over the islet of Motu Nui towards Marae Renga, and called to four aku-aku in his old home across the sea, “Kuihi, Kuaha, Tongau, Opakako, make the cock crow for me," and the cock crew in Marae Renga, and he heard it across the sea; that was his death signal, so he said to his sons, “Take me away." So they took him back to his house, and he died. Thus Hotu-matua came to his end and was buried at Akahanga.

Many of the gods of Marae Renga, who were the ancestors of Hotu-matua, came with him in his boat, and he knew they were there though the others did not see them. The names of eleven of them were given, four of which were independently quoted as amongst the aku-aku associated with Akahanga.



Now the Long Ears (“Hanau Epé”) and Short Ears ("Hanau Momoku") lived together mixed up all over the land, but one of the Long Ears, Ko Ita by name, who lived at Orongo, had in his house the bodies of thirty boys, whom he had killed to eat. Among his victims were the seven sons of one man, Ko Pepi. Ko Pepi went mad, and ran round and round till he fell down, and his brothers took their mataa and killed the Long Ears at Vinapu and at Orongo. They were joined by the other Short Ears, till the Long Ears took refuge in the eastern headland, across which they then dug a ditch and filled it with brushwood in order to make a fire in self-defence. Now a body of the Short Ears were drawn up in array in front of the ditch, but another party were shown the way round at night by an old woman, and thus turned their flank; so when morning dawned the Long Ears found themselves attacked both from behind and before, and then were swept into the ditch of their own making.2 There they were all burnt except two, who made their way to a cave, near Anakena, where they hid, but they were dug out of it and killed, calling aloud "Oroini," the meaning of which is not known.


Such is the outline of these stories; the most definite and agreed points are the most incomprehensible — namely, the landing of the six men prior to that of the main wave, and the concealed arrival of Oroi. The sons of Hotu-matua are not known exactly. Kotuu is sometimes identified with Ko Tuumaheki, and is sometimes a separate person. Miru occasionally figures as one of them, which is inconsistent with the statement that four of Tuukoihu's descendants are the ancestors of four subdivisions of that clan. Miru is also the name given in all the lists to Tuumaheki's son, the third ariki. Hotu Iti was always a district, never the name of a clan. On the most interesting point — namely, the origin of the Long Ears — there is the most vagueness. According to Kilimuti, who was a recognised authority, and whose account of the landing has been followed, Hotu-matua and those in his boat were the Short Ears, Hinelilu and the crew of the second boat the Long Ears. When asked how it was that the two came together, he merely replied that it was in the same way as we ourselves had various nationalities on the yacht. According to this authority, the destruction in the ditch took place in the time of Hotu-matua's children. Another version, given by three old men in conclave, was that the Long Ears came into existence on the island through the "Mana" of the third ariki. Discussion one day waxed quite fierce on the point till Te Haha's wife, who was a shrewd middle-aged woman, turned and said, “Never mind them. Mama, they don't know anything about it," which probably summed up the situation. The story of the ditch and the final extinction is well-established legend. The term Long Ears seemed to convey to the natives not the custom of distending the ears, but having them long by nature.

It is interesting to compare the versions of these stories given to the Expedition with those taken down from Salmon by Paymaster Thomson of the Mohican. The statement made by him, and repeated by various travellers, probably from the same source, that Hotu-matua came from the east, was never met with by us. Kilimuti did not know whence he came; the direction in which Hotu-matua looked when dying would be west, or more accurately, south-west. Juan put the home of the first immigrants in the Paumotu; as a young man his knowledge of legend was a step further from the original, but it was often useful as summing up the general impression he had received. According to the Mohican story the six early arrivals included the brother of Hotu-matua and his wife; Oroi had been the rejected suitor of this lady, and it was the competition for her favour which had caused the quarrel with the family. The same authority states that Hotu was in the boat which went by the south and east and his wife Vakai in the other; Hinelilu does not appear. Hotu is depicted as dividing the land between his sons, but there is no mention of the ultimate triumph of the descendants of Hotu-iti over those of Kotuu, which, as told to us on more than one occasion, was the chief point in the story. The finale, in which the old man looked towards his old home, is omitted. The Long Ears suddenly appear on the island at a much later time.3 The story of the ditch is much the same.



Kainga was a great man, and he lived near Tongariki. He had three young sons; two of them lived with him, one of whom was named Huriavai, and the other was called Rau-hiva-aringa-crua (literally, “Twin two faces"), for he had been born with two faces, one of which looked before and the other behind. Kainga's third son was named Mahanga-raké-raké-a-Kainga; he was not treated well at home, and had been adopted by a woman who lived not far away, and there he had much fish to eat. Now one day two men came to Kainga's house and slept there; they were Marama from Hanga Roa, and their names were Makita and Roke-ava. Kainga killed two chickens, and cooked the food and took it to his guests. Roke was asleep, and Makita said, “What is this?” and Kainga replied, “Chicken," and Makita said, “I do not like it; I want man." Kainga did not like to refuse, and went outside and said to his two boys, “Go and tell Mahanga to come here." So the children went and gave the message. When Mahanga heard it, he cried, but when he had done weeping he went back with his brothers. Kainga said to him, “Lie down and go to sleep," and Kainga took a club and hit the child on the head and killed him. Then he cooked part of the body and gave it to Makita, saying, “Here is food," and went back to the cooking-place. Makita saw that it was human flesh, and wakened Roke and told him, and Roké was alarmed, and said, “I do not like it." He broke the house of Kainga, and hurried away. Makita also departed quickly. Kainga was very angry, and said to the two men, “Why do you throw away my food?” And he took the body of the child and wrapped it in reeds and put it on the ahu.

Kainga then said, “Bring me much wood to make a boat"; and all men worked at the boat of Kainga, and he gave them much food — chickens and potatoes and bananas, sugar-cane, liens and fish and eels — but they did not make it well. Then Kainga sent for Tuukoihu, the chief who lived at Ahu Tepeu, on the western side, and said, “Come to me to make the boat"; and Tuukoihu came, and he made a good boat twenty fathoms long, and when it was finished it was launched, and thirty men went in it to row. Now Makita and Roke and the people from Hanga Roa and that part of the island had taken refuge on Motu Nui and other islets of the coast off Rano Kao. Kainga went in the boat to Motu Nui and rowed all round it, and Kainga called to the people on the island, “Come out that I may see you"; and they were all very frightened of Kainga because he was a big man, so one after another all the men on the island came out that he might see them, and he said, “Are there no more?” and they looked and saw that there were two more hidden; so they brought them out, and they were Makita and Roke, and Makita he slew, but Roke he let go.


Now there was war between one side of the island and the other side. The Koro-orongo, the Tupahotu, the Ureohei and Ngaure fought the Haumoana, Miru, Marama, Hamea, and the Raa. Kainga fought with his spear against one of the Miru named Toari, and was angry because he could not kill him. He went to his house and killed a white cock and gave it to the child Huriavai to eat, and then he took five mataa and bound them on wood. That evening Huriavai went to sleep; he dreamed that the white cock was coming towards him, and that he threw a stone at the bird and killed it, and he waked up afraid. Kainga said, “What is it, child?” and the boy answered, “It is the white cock; he is dead"; and Kainga was glad of the dream, and said joyfully, “He is dead! To-morrow morning early, at five o'clock, we will go and fight." So on the morrow he took the five mataa in his hand and Huriavai on his back. The men of Hotu Iti fought the men of Anakena and Hanga Roa. Kainga did not go into the battle, but he stood a little way off with the child, and he saw that Toari no one could kill, and he said to the child, “Go, boy, and take two spears." Huriavai was frightened, but he took two spears and went into the battle. The men of Anakena came to kill the boy, but he did not run away. They threw their spears, but they glanced off the child. Then all Kainga's men came forward, and they threw their spears at Toari; but Huriavai threw one spear, and he killed him and he lay dead. Kainga saw his enemy was slain, and took the boy on his back and went away quickly. When Kainga was gone, all the people of Hotu Iti fled, and the people of Anakena pursued, and they killed all the people of Hotu Iti, thousands and thousands and thousands, women and children and little children, big children and young men, and old men who could not walk away quickly. Some of those who escaped took refuge in the cave known as Ana Te Ava-nui, and others fled to the island of Marotiri (fig. 123). Kainga went to Marotiri. but Huriavai hid in a hole on the mainland opposite; his brother, who had two faces, was killed by a man named Pau-a-ure-vera. The face behind said, “I see Pau-a-ure-vera; he comes to me with a spear in his hand. You look too." But the face in front said, “I do not like to look; you look." The face behind was angry, and said, “You look too." And while the two faces talked, Pau struck the boy with his spear in the neck, and he fell dead, and Kainga saw from the island the fall of his son.

The day after the battle, when Hotu Iti had been vanquished, Poié, who was one of the Haumoana and a big man, came to live at Ana Havea, the cave near Tongariki (fig. 124), and took a large boat with thirty men and went to the island of Marotiri. On the island were many thousands of the people of Hotu Iti, but among them there was one man, Vaha; his father was of Hotu Iti, but his mother was of Anakena. He was the father of Toari, who was killed by Huriavai, so he hated the men of Hotu Iti, but no man dared kill him. When Poié came in his boat, he said to Vaha, “Give me men to cook." Vaha gave him one thousand in the boat, and Poié went back to the shore and gave each of the men of Anakena a man to eat; he took thousands of children by the leg and dashed them against the stone. Every day he did the same again, and brought a thousand men from Marotiri. One day, when the boat came back, a man called Oho-taka-tori, a Miru, was at Ana Havea and saw Poié throwing the men on shore, and among them a man named Hangamai-ihi-te-kerau; and Oho-taka-tori said to Poié, “Give me for my fish that man with a fine name." Poié said, “I give no fish with a fine name to you who begin work at nine o'clock in the morning." Oho was angry with Poié; he was wearing a hat with cocks' feathers sticking out in front, and he turned it round back side front, and went to the house of his daughter, who had married a man of Hotu Iti called Moa, and lived near Tongariki. He said to her, “Do not let your husband mourn for the men of Hotu Iti"; the girl replied, “He does not tell me, but I think he mourns much." She gave her father food to eat, and he went to his own home, the other side of the island. When Moa came in from digging potatoes, his wife said, “Your father-in-law has been here, and he said that you were not to cry for the men of Hotu Iti"; and Moa replied, “I must mourn, but you are of Hanga Roa," and he did not eat any potatoes, but wept.

The men who had not taken refuge on Marotiri were, as has been told, in Ana Te Ava-nui,4 and the men of Anakena had made twenty holes m a row in the cliff above, and they stood in the holes one behind the other, and lowered a net over the edge of the cliff with two men in it with spears, and the men in the holes held the rope and let down the net, and the men in the net shouted to them "Pull up," or "Give way," till they were opposite the cave, and then they killed the men in the cave with their spears, and three brothers of Oho worked with these men.

At five o'clock in the evening, when his wife did not know, Moa took all sorts of food, and buried them so that no man should see, and at seven o'clock he said to his wife, “Give me the big net," and she said, “Are you going to take fish?” and he said, "Yes," but he lied; he was going to Te Ava-nui. He took the net and the food. By and by he left the net behind, but he kept the food and went to Maunga Tea-tea.5 There were many of Poié's men there, and all over Poike, but they were asleep. He gathered there eight branches of palm, put them on his back, and went to the cave, and all the men on the top of the cliff were asleep, and Moa went down the cliff by the track and entered the cave. The men inside did not sleep. They said, “Who are you?” and he said, “Hush, I am Moa." There were only thirty men alive. For two and a half months they had had nothing to eat in the cave, and only the strongest were left. Moa gave the men the juice of the sugar-cane like water, and little bits of potato, and then he asked, “Where are the bones of the warrior Peri-roki-roki?” They replied, “He is down there." So Moa said, “Bring them to me "; and Moa made fishhooks of bone, and bound a hook to a palm branch; then he said to the men, “I have made one for you; make seven," and he went back. When the net came down in the morning, the men in the cave caught it with the hooks on the branches of palm, and the men in the net called to those above to "drag up," but the men gave more line, and the men in the cave killed the men in the net, and then they climbed up the rope and killed all the men at the top except the brothers of Oho, those they did not kill.



FIG. 124. — ANA HAVEA.
The figure in the sea stands at a spring of fresh water.

Three days before this the men on Marotiri had rid themselves of Vaha; it was in this way. The boy Huriavai, who was in a hole on the mainland, was very hungry, for he was not old enough to catch fish, and he ate seaweed. Vaha on the island opposite took the stem of a banana and cut it into pieces, so that it looked like yams, and put it where the boy could see it, and Huriavai said, “My father has plenty of food." So he swam across, and Vaha killed him. Then Vaha took the corpse and swam with it to the mainland. It was dark, but Kainga listened, and heard the swish of the water, and he too went into the sea and followed him, and when he got to shore he hid behind a big stone, and when he saw Vaha coming, carrying on his back the body of the child, he wept, and Kainga said, “Who are you?” and he replied, “I am Vaha "; and Kainga said, “I am Kainga, the slayer of Vaha." And he slew him, and took the corpse of Huriavai to the ahu, and then came and took the body of Vaha as fish-man for food, brought it to Marotiri, and gave pieces to all the people on the island. There were thirty men then left there, but they had no fire, so they cooked the flesh in their armpits.

Three days after this the men from Te Ava-nui came along, and they shouted across from the mainland, “We have killed the men in the net"; and Marotiri shouted back, “We too have killed a man," and they were all full of joy. The island men swam ashore, and they killed all the men at Ana Havea. The men from Marotiri went in one direction and the men from Te Ava-nui in another, killing and slaying every one; but Kainga went with neither, for he wished to find Pole. He went to Ana Havea, but his enemy had fled, and he followed him all along the south coast, till they were not far from Vaihu. Pole was a very big man, but Kainga was a little one, and he had nothing to eat. He called to Poié, “You have food, I have none; I shall not kill you, I will go back; but another day I will kill you." The two parties of Hotu Iti men had now joined one another, and Kainga went with them. Men and old men, old women and children they killed all, but the fine women they took; the sixty men divided the women between them. A man would say to a woman, “Do you like me?” and if she said "No," then he killed her. Kainga told the men from Te Ava-nui to go to one place, and the men from Marotiri to go to another, and live with their wives and beget children, and so they did; but Poié went to Hanga Roa.


Kainga told a Tupahotu called Maikuku to give his daughter to Pole, so she went to him and bore him many children, and one day, when years had gone by, Kainga called together his men and went over at night to the other side of the island to fight. Maikuku was staying in the house of his daughter, and Kainga had told him, “If Poié is not in the house, sleep with your head outside the door"; and Kainga came and looked and saw that the head of Maikuku was outside, and he said to him, “Then Poié is not here?” and he said, “No, he has gone to the sea." The grand-daughter of Maikuku heard, and was angry for her father, and she went a little way up the hill outside, and cried aloud, “The enemy are coming to fight, and your father-in-law is very bad, although he has had bananas and fish and much to eat." Poié heard the child speak, and he and his five brothers hid their net and the fish, and they ran along the coast towards Rano Kao, and Kainga went too, and then they swam to Motu Nui. Kainga followed, and they went on to Motu Iti and then swam to the land again, and came ashore at the foot of the cliff below Orongo, and Poié's brothers tried to run up the hill, but Kainga's men caught them and killed four. As Poié came up, the blood of his brothers flowed down, and he wept; but Poié they did not kill, because he had married the daughter of Maikuku, and because they were all afraid. Now Kirireva, a child of Hotu Iti, whose father had been killed by Poié, stayed at Orongo, and the child asked if they were not going to kill Poié, and the old men said, “No, we have already killed four." Kirireva shaved all his hair and his eyebrows, and put on red paint and told Poié to stand up, and he ran three times between his legs, and the third time Poié fell, and the boy killed him with a club because he had slain his father. Now, when Poié was dead, Kotuu was finished and Hotu Iti victorious according to the words of Hotu-matua.


The middle part of this story is briefly told by Thomson, but his account differs in important points from the foregoing. Moa is represented as the son of Oho-taka-tore, instead of his son-in-law, and his action is designed to avenge his father; this is a more comprehensible version. Kainga is dead. Huriavai is on Marotiri, and on swimming ashore is killed by one of the enemy. Vaha is Huriavai's friend, who kills the slayer, and swims back to Marotiri with the enemy's body.

Our informant, Kapiera, was quite positive that the events took place during the time of Ngaara's grandfather, and refused to be dislodged from his position because Juan pertinently pointed out that this was inconsistent with the boat being made by Tuukoihu, who landed with Hotu-matua.


1 cf. p. 232.

2 The ditch is still shown; there is a marked depression running across the island dividing the eastern volcano from the mainland, but after much consideration we came to the conclusion that it was a natural phenomenon due to geological faulting. A mound of earth is, however, to be seen in places on its higher or eastern side, and it is possible that persons holding the mountain may have utilised it for defensive purposes by erecting a rampart in this manner.

3 "The tradition continues by a sudden jump into the following extraordinary condition of affairs. Many years after the death of Hotumatua the island was about equally divided between his descendants and the long-eared race." — Smithsonian Report, 1889, p. 528.

4 I.e. "Cave of the great descent." It is in the cliff of the eastern volcano beyond Marotiri, and is one of those which can be seen from the sea, but to which the path has disappeared.

5 The centre hillock of the three on which Spaniards erected the crosses. The name means "White Mountain, from the colour of the ash which composes it (see fig. 78).

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