Cook Islands legends





  Avarua Myths and Legends

Te-Vaine-Kamo-Kai: The Spirit Woman

The legend of Te-Vaine-Kamo-Kai is known mainly to the people of Ruatonga for it all took place at Paepae-Tua-Iva, the marae of the hero ‘Uritaua'. Compressed into song form is the love-tale of a young Ruatonga warrior, who, after hearing about the beautiful women in the east, set out in search of a wife.

Po'una-‘ia-na-te-ariki, a brown haired beauty he met at Tupapanui, came to live with him. Po'una spent all day alone while ‘Uritaua attended to tribal affairs. The evening spent together began with meals of the choicest of foods.
‘Uritaua was pleased naturally but soon became suspicious of all that bounty. Screened by leaves, he spied on Po'una, who in the stillness of the bush sat like stone, arms outstretched with eyelids and finger-tips beckoning. She beckoned for food, hence the name, "Te Vaine-Kamo-Kai," "The Woman Who Beckoned for Food."

Po'una, the non-mortal, in grief, left Paepae-Tua-Iva by way of the low peaks Maungapiko, Maungaiti, Taputerangi, across the lowlands of Puapua'utu through the lagoon to the coral opening, named Vete. She dived and slowly melted into the blue of Avaiki, her homeland, leaving behind the grieving ‘Uritaua.

TUATUA: Te-Vaine-Kamo-Kai.

E tua taito teia no Te-Vaine-Kamo-Kai tei tupu ki roto i te tapere Ruatonga, i te enua Rarotonga. Kua tupu teia ki te ngā'i tei karanga'ia e ko "Paepae-Tua-Iva," ko te marae teia o te toa ko "Uritaua". Kua ma'ani katoa ia teia tua ei imene, ei akakite i te inangaro, o teia toa uritumu no Ruatonga, tei akarongo i te purotu o te vaine i te itinga o te rā, tana i kimi, ē i umuumu, ei vaine nana.

Kua no'o aia ki tetai tamaine purotu, ko Po'una-ia-na-te-ariki no Tupapanui. Erauru paraoni tona. I roto i to rāua no'o'anga, ka no'o a Po'una ki te ngutuare, e ka aere a Uritaua ka rave i te au anga'anga i roto i te oire. Me kaikai kāpiti raua i te au aiai, e au kai memeitaki anake ta raua e kai ana.

Noa atu e ora'anga meitaki to Uritaua e Po'una, kua akamata aia i te tārotokakā. Kua kakau a Uritaua iaia ki te rau rakau, e kua ārōrō ia Po'una. Kua no'o a Po'una mei te toka rai, e kua ‘o'ora i tona nga rima ki va'o, ma te kamokamo i tona nga mata, i te patipati kai. No reira tona ingoa i topa ia ai, e ko te vaine kamo kai.

Kua tumatetenga a Po'una, i te mea, e kua kitea ia tāna muna e Uritaua. Kua oro aia mei Paepae-Tua-Iva na runga i te au puku maunga, ko Maungapiko, Maungaiti, e Taputerangi, ki roto ia Puapuā'utu, e tae atu ki te roto, e te ava, ko Vete. Kua pou aia ki roto i te tai, e kua ngaro atu, ki roto i te moana poiri o Avaiki, te ngā'i no reira mai aia. Kua akaruke mai aia ia Uritaua ma te tumatetenga.


The Legend of Kupatoa

The following legends on the peopling of the Cook Islands was first recorded by the missionary, John Williams, who published it in 1840 in his book A Narrative of Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands.

The legend states that Karika, the ancestor of the present Makea family, came originally from an island to the westward named Manuka. This Karika was a mighty warrior and a great navigator, who, in his peregrinations at sea, discovered the island of Rarotonga. On landing, he found it uninhabited; and, after remaining there for some time, he again put to sea, and in this voyage he met with Tangiia. This man was a chief of Faaa, a district in Tahiti, who, by cutting down a favourite breadfruit tree, had so much exasperated his brother, Tutabu, the insatiable pursuer, that he was determined to put Tangiia and all his family to death.

On hearing this, Tangiia launched his large canoe, and sort safety in flight; and, taking with him his family and followers, among whom were two beautiful daughters, he sailed for Huahine, which is about a hundred miles to the westward of Tahiti, where he arrived in safety. He had not, however, been there many days, before Tutabu with his tini or thousands entered the harbour of that island with a determination to destroy his brother. To escape his vengeance, Tangiia set sail immediately for Raiatea; but was closely followed by Tutabu. Continuing his flight, he sailed to Porapora (Bora Bora), where he had scarcely landed, when he again found his pursuer at his heels. From hence he proceeded to Maupiti, the last of the Society Islands, but here also Tutabu followed him; when, seeing no possibility of escaping the fury of the unrelenting foe, Tangiia with his tini, launched upon the trackless ocean, in search of a refuge where he might happen to find it. After having been a long time at sea, he fell in with Karika, from the island of Manuka, who forthwith prepared for battle; and, lashing his canoe firmly to that of the poor unfortunate Tangiia, was about to attack him, when he made submission, by presenting to Karika the emblems of supremacy, both civil and religious, saying "Tena moi te vaevae roa" - "Yours is the long-legged," or man belongs to you. "Tena mai to vavae poto" - "Yours is the short-legged," or the turtle belongs to you; which being the most sacred fish, was considered as an emblem of supremacy in religious affairs. "Yours is the butunga, opinga, katoatoa, or the source of every treasure," reserving to himself only his "tako kete," or the food with which the people of his own district might supply him.

With this Karika was satisfied, and having made a friendly covenant with Tangiia, received from him one of his beautiful daughters to wife. The brave warrior then informed his friend of the lovely island he had discovered, told him the direction in which it lay, and promised, when he had accomplished the object of his present voyage, to return and settle there. Tangiia, taking leave of his formidable ally, steered for Rarotonga, and, on reaching it, took up his residence on the east side. Karika returned to the island some short time after, and, with his tini, settled on the north side. But they had not long enjoyed the comforts of repose, when, to the astonishment and consternation of Tangiia the fleet of his determined enemy Tutabu was descried off the harbour's mouth.


Chiefs of the Makea-Karika tribe of Rarotonga clad in bark cloth (tapa)

The "relentless pursuer" had determined to range the ocean in search of his adversary, and now that he has discovered him, felt confident that he should effect his destruction. Tangiia immediately despatched a messenger to inform his friend Karika of Tutabu's arrival, and to request his assistance in the ensuing battle; hoping that, by an union of their forces, they might conquer him. Karika accordingly collected his tini, and went forthwith to the assistance of his friend. A desperate engagement ensued in which Tutabu was conquered and killed. They next had to bake him; but this they found more difficult than to kill him; for, although they heated a large oven thoroughly, and put many hot stones inside him, they found on opening the oven that it was cold, and Tutabu quite uncooked. Failing here, they conveyed the body to the next district, where they prepared another oven, and used a different kind of wood for fuel, but with no better success. This process they repeated in every district in the island with a similar result, until they came to the last, at which they succeeded.

For this reason they gave to this district its present name of Taana, which signifies "well done or baked over again." There is in this tradition a great deal more than has been mentioned, especially in relation to the canoe in which Tangiia came to Rarotonga, which is said to have been built in the invisible world, and to have been conveyed by the birds to the top of a mountain during one night, and the next, to have been removed from thence by the same extraordinary carriers to a large canoe house erected by Tangiia for its reception. This celebrated ship had nine or ten remarkable names, taken from so many striking circumstances connected with its building, the manner in which it was conveyed to this world, and other incidents. The principal name of the canoe was Tarai-po, or "built in the invisible world."

Footnote: William's comments that the Tahitian and Society Islanders have other traditions respecting both Tangiia and Tutabu, which state that they were both great travellers, that they had a serious quarrel about their lands and that they dwelt in the district of Faaa in Tahiti. Hence it may be fairly assumed that such persons did actually exist and were not the mere creations of fantasy such as other legends involving a long-boned giant. Also, the political divisions still existing in the island were at that time comprised of two distinct bodies designated Ngati Karika or the descendants of Karika; and Ngati Tangiia, the descendants of Tangiia. It was also mentioned that superior chieftainship was vested in the Karika family; for, although the Ngati Karika had been beaten many times by the descendants of Tangiia, the conquerors agree in allowing them the supremacy which they have possessed from time immemorial. At that time the Makea was the 29th of that family.



Most Cook Islands legends involve elements of cannibalism and spirit worshipping. Only the mild tales are included below.

Karika's tribe Tangiia and Karika,   Taakura,   Ina and the Shark,

The Octopus and the Rat,   Raemaru,

Ati and the people from the Underworld (Momoke)
   RU  Ruatapu  


Karika's tribe

The tribe which traces its descent from Karika was known as ‘Te Au o Tonga ' and this name was likewise applied to the district they occupied. In recent years the name has fallen into disuse to be superseded by the name Avarua, and this latter name will be used throughout. The evidence is not clear as to when this tribe became established, or just when Avarua became recognized as a separate district. It was Tangiia who organized the division of the whole island into tapere and was responsible for the allocation of the lands, and he, too, organized the building of the marae at intervals around the island and the appointment of chiefs to take charge of each of them. High priests were chosen for each of the two parties, five for Tangiia's party, and one for Karika's, though at a much later stage one of Tangiia's high priests (Potikitaua) transferred his allegiance to the Karika party. Karika himself and some of his followers left the island after some years of residence and set sail for Iva, never to return. However, not all his party left, and those who did not maintained marriage connections with the people of Tangiia.The direct line from Karika was preserved on the island by a man with the title name of Makea who is variously described as a son of Karika or as a grandson of Karika born of the union of Tangiia with Karika's daughter.

By the time of arrival of the first Europeans the Tangiia and Karika parties were politically separate entities, and Makea was the ariki title of the Avarua district, but this division was of relatively recent origin. In the eighteenth century the Makea title was divided into three branches.This division occurred as a result of the then title-holder elevating the eldest son of each of his three wives to the rank of ariki. Though all were of equal rank, the Makea Nui Ariki has since the period immediately preceding the arrival of the gospel exerted greater political influence than either of the other two. The title of mataiapo was not used in this district, nor, consequently, was that of komono. The next rank below the ariki was that of rangatira, who, though generally appointed from the junior ranks of the ariki family, were occasionally chosen from right outside the family group. The rangatira do not trace back to a member of Karika's canoe, but rather to Karika himself through some holder of the Makea Ariki title. The territorial subdivisions of this district were also called tapere and, in contrast to the general pattern, some of the lesser of them were headed by rangatira.

There is considerable evidence to suggest that, by 1823 at least, the holder of the Makea title exerted much greater political influence over his tribe than did either Pa or Kainuku over theirs. Likewise, it appears that Makea had much greater influence over land matters within his tribe than did any other ariki on the island, but, as this question has been a matter of some controversy, it is necessary to enumerate the reasons for this opinion.

While the power of the ariki of Takitumu was diffused by the existence of mataiapo and komono, that of the Avarua ariki was not. Each mataiapo had his own marae as well as his own lands and as there were about thirty mataiapo in the Takitumu district, they constituted a very powerful political group. There was no equivalent restraint on the Makeas. While a wide range of terminology is used to describe the situation, the following sources give an indication of the relative status of the mataiapo of Takitumu and the rangatira of Avarua (who were, of course, next in line to the ariki in this district). Rangatira, on the other hand, he regarded as tenants at will under the ariki or mataiapo, whom Moss considered to have been the landowners.

The origin of the different political structures (and consequently the landholding systems) may alternatively be sought in the respective Tahitian and Samoan origins of the two groups. However, the evidence indicates that the Samoan immigrants contributed but little to the culture of Rarotonga as it was at the time of first European contact. As some authors stress the Samoan connections of the Karika party beyond the point which the available evidence can support, the issue requires some elaboration. The different authority structure and the different degree of power wielded by the Makea ariki as opposed to other ariki on the island can best be understood by viewing the Avarua district as an overgrown tapere. In the initial land division each ariki and mataiapo was given a tapere of land, usually comprising a valley in the mountains and the flat land which fronted the valley. By the time of first European contact the Makea Ariki was dominant over the Takuvaine and Avatiu valleys, though it is apparent that this had not always been the case and that this status had been achieved after many generations of settlement by two other ariki whose tribes had subsequently been conquered and driven out.

The support of the three most powerful groups within the Avarua area was maintained by the high chief taking a high-ranking wife from each of them, and creating the eldest son from each wife as an ariki. This triple arikiship was, theoretically at least, an unstable compromise which could hardly have been expected to last, and within a generation one of the titles was in eclipse. By the next generation thereafter, however, the mission arrived and the existing situation was crystallized and has remained with little change since.



Tangiia and Karika

Once there were 2 warriors, Tangiia from Tahiti and Karika from Samoa who were at sea in search of the island which we now know as Rarotonga. In the past, Rarotonga was also known as Tumu-Te-Varovaro and before that Nukutere (these names have stories that go with it, but i will explain another time). Anyway, they saw each other approaching on the horizon, and Tangiia told the men on his canoe to go below deck. I was told that Tangiia had about 200 people on his canoe. So as they drew closer to each other, Karika noticed that there was only women on Tangiia's canoe. When they discovered that each was in search of the same island, they engaged in what we call 'putoto' which is sort of like tug-o-war, but instead of pulling a rope, they pushed each others canoes. As you would expect Karika was winning. Tangiia waited until Karika's men had used up a lot of their strength, then he called his men to get up and paddle and so they did. And as I was told they almost pushed Karika back to Samoa. In resignation, Karika gave Tangiia the directions as to how to get to Rarotonga. So off Tangiia went in search of Rarotonga. They further the went the more Tangiia noticed that it was getting much cooler, so he dipped his hand in the sea and it was cold indeed, much colder than he expected where Rarotonga would be, so he knew he had been duped, they had gone too far south. That is where the name Rarotonga (which means down south) came from. So he quickly ordered his crew to turn around and they went north again only to come across Karika again and in view of Rarotonga. So they engaged in another pushing war and after several days, neither winning, they decided to split Rarotonga in half. So they decided that Tangiia would get the half which had Takitumu (includes the villages, Titikaveka, Ngatangiia and Matavera) and Karika would get Te-Au-O-Tonga which is on the town side of Rarotonga. I am unsure as to who was to get the other big village, Arorangi. But note that Rarotonga was already inhabited when these two arrived. But I was told that Tangiia and Karika were welcomed by the native Rarotongan's and even married chiefs daughters.



Taakura was an extremely beautiful red-haired maiden that lived on the island of Rarotonga. She was so much in love with her young warrior boyfriend. But one day, she discovered that he was having an affair. Devastated she vowed to destroy her boyfriend and every other Rarotongan man. So she committed suicide and at night her spirit would sit on a rock by the side of the road, combing her long red hair, she used her hypnotic beauty to lure her boyfriend off the edge of a bridge. Taakura's spirit still roams Rarotonga and continues to lure men to plunge to their deaths. Don't worry, the last case i heard off was back in the early 1980's, when a man drove his vehicle off the side of a bridge, he didn't die, but claimed it was Taakura.

Ina and the Shark

Do you know why sharks have a dent on top of their head. Well, long time ago there was a beautiful maiden called Ina who asked a shark to take her to another island to see her boyfriend. Anyway, during the journey she was hungry and decided to open one of the coconuts she had brought along. But she didn't have anything to open it with. Then she suddenly got an idea. She got one of the coconuts and cracked it open on the sharks head. The shark then shook her off his back and ate her. Anyway, thats how sharks got a dent on their heads.


The Octopus and the Rat

Another similar story is about the octopus getting ink in his head. This is how it was explained to me. There was a rat on a canoe that was being hurled around in a storm. Eventually, the canoe started to break up. Afraid and shivering, the rat looked around for something to which he could cling too. Then he noticed an octopus swimming nearby and called over to it. He asked it to take him to land and that he would pay him generously. The octopus being ignorant positioned himself and allowed the rat to climb on top of his head, then carefully made his way towards land. Once they were near the beach, the rat jumped off and quickly ran onto dry land. The octopus then called out to him "where is the payment you promised me". Then the rat turned around and said, "Feel the top of your head". Anyway, enough of the gross tales. But that is why the octopus has that black ink in his head and thats why octopus's hate rats.



According to legends, Raemaru was the tallest mountain on Rarotonga. Raemaru is on the west side of Rarotonga in the village of Puaikura or now known as Arorangi. Raemaru, means ‘in the shade of the sun'. The fame of this mountain reached as far as Aitutaki island. Aitutaki was completely flat then and so they sent some warriors to steal the mountain. Hence, in the night, these Aitutakian warriors cut the mountain top off and took it back to Aitutaki. So now Raemaru has a flat top which has been that way long before white man ever set foot on Rarotonga and Aitutaki has a small mountain.

Ati and the people from the Underworld (Momoke)

Ati was a humble planter who lived in the village which is now Arorangi, a long time ago. One day when he went to his plantation, he discovered some of his crops were missing. He paid his neighbours a visit and demanded that they own up to this offence, he even accused and threatened his neighbours loose animals. But nobody would come forward. So determined to get justice, he figured that the thief was bound to return. So he hid in the bushes nearby and waited for the thief to come back again. He did this nite after nite, but the thief did not return. Then one night, the moon was full, Ati was almost about to dose off convinced that his threats to the other villagers had definitely scared off the thief, when there was this funny sound like rippling water. He glanced over at the pool near his plantation and it was glowing. Then suddenly, human figures started to emerge from the pool. They were almost like him except that they were white-skinned. He watched more in amazement than fury as they uprooted and helped themselves to the fruits of his labour. When they had gathered enough, they climbed back into the pool and disappeared into its depths. Curious, Ati followed them into the pool, but no matter how hard he tried he could not hold his breath long enough. Not that he knew how deep he had to go either. Eventually, he gave up. He then planned how he would capture these white-skins (momoke) the next time.

On the nite of the next full moon, Ati again lay in the bushes, but this time nearer the pool and watched the momoke raid his plantation. While they were busy, he threw a net that he had woven especially for this purpose over the pool and then rounded up the momoke. They rushed back to the pool, but the weight snapped some of the twine and all except one was able to escape. Ati, ecstatic, gathered up his captive and took it home. When morning came he took a good look at his captive and realised it was a woman. He decided to make her his wife. She was very unhappy initially. In addition, she couldn't go outside during the day because it hurt her eyes. However, time went by and she became accustomed to living in Ati's world, eventually bearing him a son. They were very happy together. However, one day when Ati came home, he found her crying. She asked him if they could go and visit her parents as she wanted to show them their child. So that nite they prepared and went to the pool. Ati held the child. They took deep breaths and attempted to dive. Ati could not hold on and had to come up again for more air. He tried again and again, unsuccessfully. His wife had not emerged again to assist him. Eventually, he gave up, and sat by the pool with their son, mourning, knowing she was never to return to the surface again. He named his son Ati've (which means seperation) and sealed off the pool. Anyway, I am telling you this story, cos while you are in Rarotonga and if you come across some extremely fair Rarotongan's (no, not the Caucasians living there or the Cook Islanders who have Caucasian ancestors), then you will know they are descendants of Ati've. Momoke is the Rarotongan word for albino. No matter how much these people try, they don't tan. Anyway, the pool is still there too, but you have to ask the old folk in Arorangi where it is.




About twenty-eight generations ago our people lived on Tubuaki, an island far to the east and north of Aitutaki [Southern Cook Islands]. The island was fertile and fishing was good, but during dry seasons food was scarce, and long-continued peace resulted in the island becoming over-crowded. The name of the ariki has been forgotten; he was a strong man but slow to anger. Among his people was a powerful young man named Ru, who was the chief navigator of the island, and always steered the canoes when visits were made to neighbouring islands. For generations his family had been navigators. Although not of royal blood, Ru was a man of good standing. He was a peace-loving man, but ambitious of becoming a leader, and viewed with concern the quickly-increasing population of the island.

Moved by a quarrel over headship of his clan, Ru began to make plans. He decided to build a large seaworthy canoe and call together his friends and relations to try to persuade enough of them to join him in searching for an uninhabited island somewhere toward the setting sun. He felt sure he would find land there and become a great chief. So Ru called together his four younger brothers-Taiteraiva, Taiteravaru, Ruatakina, and Verituamaroa-and asked them to go with him. At first the brothers were afraid and would not agree, saying, "Why leave our present home where life is carefree and happy, to die at sea?"

Ru replied, "That is woman's talk. I know the ways of the sea. I know the winds and the currents. Fear not, and I will take you to a larger and better land than this."
In the end the brothers agreed to go, saying, "If we live, we live; if we die, we die."
Ru now proposed to his four wives, Te Papa-kura, Ruiaau, Kipapa-eitara, and Ararau-enua, that they should leave their island. Being only recently married, and having as yet borne no children, they were afraid and answered, "We are afraid that we shall all be drowned at sea. Why leave our friends and relatives just to perish at sea?"

Ru replied, "I might have known that you women would prefer to stay at home and see your future children hungry. Don't you know that I hold the sea and its ways in my hand, and the heavens are my chart? Listen to me, my wives, I am going, together with my four younger brothers. Join us and all will be well. Stay at home and you stay alone in disgrace."
After hastily taking council together, the four wives agreed to go, saying, "O Ru, we will go. If we die, we die; if we live, we live."

Ru replied, "My wives, you are worthy of a great husband. Now go into all the settlements and pick from the royal families twenty tapairu (good-looking young virgins), fit mothers for a new and strong race."

Going into the settlements his wives called out, "Who are the virgins of royal blood who would like to join our party?"
"For what purpose?" they were asked.

"We are going with our husband, Ru, and his four brothers to seek a new land."
Twenty suitable young women were soon chosen from those who wished to go. Unlike Ru's brothers and wives they raised no objections to the journey. Their names were as follows: Vaine-pururangi, Maine-teaoroa, Vovoaru, Arakitera, Te Aroitau, Te Nonoioiva, Tutunoa, Vaine-moana, Upoko-ara, Patapairu, Pau, Tuonoariki, Te Paku-oavaiki, Ruanoo, Arekaponga, Kava, Maine-pirouru, Tutapuiva, Pakiara, and Maine-pururangi. These twenty women, chosen for virtue, strength, and good looks, were brought before Ru who asked them, "Do you agree to go with us in search of a new land and home? We may be many days at sea, but will certainly find a home to suit us." All together they answered him, "Yes, we wish to go."

A search was then made for two large tamanu trees suitable for a canoe for the voyage. The making of this canoe was a lengthy process. for the trees had to be felled and hewn out with stone adzes. When finished to Ru's satisfaction, the two hulls were hauled down to the beach and lashed together with no platform between them. This type of canoe was called "unurua." The day was spent in feasting and rejoicing. Ru named the canoe Ngapuariki (The two ariki, or supreme chiefs). It is not known whether this name was given on account of the ariki of the island and Ru, or whether it referred to the two hulls lashed together. After the launching, each brother and virgin was ordered to cut a strong paddle for use on the voyage. These paddles took three days to make, and when completed, they were examined by Ru.

Some further days were spent training for the coming voyage. The canoe and the mat-sails were tested, and much time was spent handling and paddling the canoe until the crew were proficient. For two days friends and relatives assisted in gathering enough food for the voyage. Taro, puraka (pig), kuru (breadfruit), and a large supply of water were put on board. All record of how the water was carried has been lost. Some say it was carried in coconuts.
The next morning, the wind being favourable, Ru decided to set sail. The whole island came to say farewell to the twenty-nine voyagers. The reef was cleared, the sails were hoisted, and the canoe was headed toward the west, Ru taking the steering oar, and his brother .

Verituamaroa standing at the bow as pilot. Though conditions were favorable for the first two days, the women were sick as soon as the canoe was out of sight of the land. On the third day heavy clouds banked up, the wind, which had changed round, now blew strongly from the west, and the sea was so rough that the women and men had to take turns bailing the canoe; she was riding heavily owing to the hulls being new and deeply laden. As the wind grew stronger and the sea became rougher, Verituamaroa grew frightened and advised Ru to turn back and run for home before the wind. But Ru heartened them by saying that it was only a passing squall. Soon they were all pleading with him to turn back, but he answered, "Listen, my brothers, my wives, and all you virgins: I, Ru, know all the secrets of the sea. I hold the sea in my hand, and will bring you all through safely. Don't be afraid. Put down the sail and paddle the canoe head into the seas. Soon the worst will be over. Oe te vaka, oe te vaka."

As soon as the sails were lowered, the canoe began to lose way and huge waves broke over her keeping all busy bailing. Through all the noise and wailing, Ru could be heard laughing and encouraging his crew the night through. When morning broke, even Ru was a little afraid for a terrific sea was running. So tired were his people that it was almost impossible to keep the canoe head on to the sea. Again and again they begged Ru to turn back, but still he kept on.

At last one of the brothers persuaded him to pray to Tangaroa for help, and this is what he said:

Tangaroa, supreme above,
Tangaroa, supreme below,
Sweep away these angry clouds,
So that Ru's people can reach the land.
[Tangaroa i te Titi,
Tangaroa i te Tata
Eu eu ake ana te rangi,
Kia tae atu te tere o Ru ki uta i te enua.]

Soon the wind began to abate, and the sea grew calmer. Ru's brothers, noting the change, persuaded him to pray again. It was not long before the sun came out and the wind swung round to the right quarter. The water was bailed out, the sails were set, and the canoe was put on a westerly course. Favourable weather continued for the next two days. Each night Ru checked his course by a star. On the third afternoon after the storm Verituamaroa, who was still at the bow of the canoe, cried out that he could see land ahead. Some thought that he might be deceived by a bank of clouds, but soon the voyagers could see breakers on a reef. All now gazed eagerly at the new land. After a search, a suitable passage was found, the sails were taken down, and the women were ordered to paddle the canoe in. Night was coming on, but there was a full moon (ootu). Half way through the passage the canoe was stranded on a coral patch, and all had to get out to haul her off. As they pulled, they sang a song asking for the waves to come and float the canoe. The song is still sung today by the old people when they launch their canoe.

The canoe still stuck fast and it was impossible to move it, so the brothers were sent to a small island nearby to cut down some ara (pandanus trees) for rollers. The canoe came off the rocks with a rush, and Veri who was near the bows was crushed underneath as the canoe passed right over him. The others ran to help him but he was dead. They carried his body to the canoe, which was now inside the lagoon, and they wailed as they did so. After dragging the canoe over a sand-bank, they paddled to a small island about two miles from the mainland where they decided to spend the night. Because of Veri's death, the voyagers got little sleep that night.

Early next morning, before they started, Ru called his crew together and named the places they had so far touched at; the passage he named Ootu-te-po, meaning "the night of the full moon"; the rocks on which the canoe grounded he called Popo-ara, referring to the timber used as rollers; the small island from which the timber had been cut was named Ootu, while the one on which they had spent the night was called Uritua-o-Ru. The brothers took exception to Ru adding his own name to the latter, but he answered, "You have no say in the naming of these places. I am the eldest son and will name the places as I think fit."

The canoe set out for the mainland, the women paddling, but progress was slow owing to the shallow water. Even when everybody was out of the canoe it was found necessary to send the women on ahead to dig a channel with their paddles. The task was a difflcult one, and as they were already tired Ru was compelled to give them several rests before the canoe was once more in deep water. Once more the brothers were offended because Ru named the water Tai-moana-o-Ru, and the big island to which he was bringing them Utataki-enua-o-Ru-ki-te-moana, meaning "a land searched for and found upon the sea by Ru."2 They assured Ru that had they known this would happen they would never have left their land.

As they paddled for the mainland they kept time to a song about the voyage of Ru's canoe Ngapuariki from Hawaiki to Aitutaki:

Ngapuariki te vaka o Ru
Tei tere mai mei Avaiki e
Ko Ngapuariki te vaka o Ru
Tei tere mai mei Avaiki e
I tere tu mai ki konei
Ki Utataki-enua
Na te vaka o Ru-enua i katiri mai
To tatou enua.

This song, which is known as Ru's Canoe-song, is still sung today. The canoe was hidden in a small creek on the mainland, and the name given to the place was Maitai. The creek was named Vai-tiare ("the water of tiare flowers"). Leaving the others behind Ru climbed a hill nearby looking for a suitable place to build a new home. After they had buried Veri, they marked off a marae which they named Te Autapu. A marae is a place marked off with stones to be used for all meetings and for praying to their gods. The setting up of a marae by a chief was usually done with much ceremony, but as Ru was not of the royal family, the ceremony of dedicating Te Autapu was not elaborate. Near the marae they built their first houses. Finding the island uninhabited, Ru divided it among the twenty virgins, as they were of royal blood and consequently had first claim to the land. Ru told them that they were as mats on the floor, as other canoes were bound to come sooner or later bringing men with them. On these mats the men would sleep, and from them this new land would be populated. As the island appeared to be shaped like a big fish he named the end on which they landed Te Upoko-o-te-enua (The head of the land), the middle Tuenua (The belly), and the end Nuku-manini.

After they had been some time on the island, Ru's four wives bore children. Ararau-enua bore the first one, a boy, which Ru named Ararau-enua-o-Ru-ki-te-moana, meaning "Ru looking for land on the sea." Te Papa-kura had a baby boy who was named Te-upoko-o-te-enua, meaning "The head of the land." Ruiaau's baby girl was named Araau, and the fourth, a baby boy, was named Tupa.

Some time later Ru's brothers came to him and asked him to help them build a big canoe, saying that they wanted to go and look for new islands. At first Ru would not agree to this, but when they promised to return he decided to help them. When finished, the canoe was named Te Rito-o-araura (The best of Ututaki-enua). A large supply of food and water was placed on board and when they were ready to sail, Ru asked them to tell him why they really wished to leave this land.

"Ru, the night we arrived here," they said, "our youngest brother was killed on the reef. You have named nothing here after him to keep his name in our memories. You have named nothing after us. You have taken all the power into your own hands. You have given all the land to the women and none to us. This land is yours, and so we are going to seek a fresh land for ourselves."

Ru realized his mistake too late. He pleaded with them to return. They promised that either they or their children would return. Then the canoe set sail for the open sea, where an argument took place as to the course they should set. Two were in favour of returning to their old home, but Taiteraiva, the eldest, pointed out that if they reached that land they would be no better off and would not be men of rank. They decided to go south. Little is known of the voyage except that the first land they sighted was New Zealand. Off the coast of New Zealand they struck bad weather and suffered much from cold. It is believed that they landed near Tauranga and proceeded inland to Rotorua, where they were well received and kindly treated by the natives they found living there. It is claimed in Aitutaki that Taiteraiva named Rotorua, naming it so on account of the lake reminding them of the lagoon at Ututaki-enua, which was known as Rototai (roto = lake; tai, ta'i, or tahi = first; rua = second).

The brothers married women belonging to the ruling families and thus became men of rank and standing. It is believed that their descendants are to be found among the Ngati Arawa [the Arawa clan] today. The three brothers never returned to Ututaki-enua, but it is claimed here that a canoe came later from New Zealand bringing their sons or grandsons, who settled here, and it was from them that the story of the voyage of the Te Rito-o-araura was learnt. Their names and the name of their canoe have been lost.

The places named by Ru still have the same names today, with the exception of the name of the island, which is supposed to have been changed by the first Ra'iatean missionaries to whom the word Ututaki sounded as Aitutaki. Ru's marae can still be seen, and the passage, the coral patch upon which the canoe grounded, the sand-banks, and the small islands, are exactly as described in the story.

All the mataipo (district chiefs) today can trace their descent back to the twenty royal virgins who came with Ru, but the ariki trace their descent back to an ariki, or chief, named Ruatapu who came later in the third canoe to arrive on the island.

(By:Timi Koro, Trans. by Drury Low)





Twenty-seven or twenty-eight generations ago on an island called Taputapuatea [on Ra‘iatea or Havai‘i], which is far to the north and east of Ututaki Enua [‘Aitutaki], lived a young chief of royal blood named Ruatapu. He was the only son of Uanuku Rakeiora, an ariki or high chief of that island. From boyhood Ruatapu had been fond of canoes, and he had made many short voyages to neighboring islands. Ruatapu grew up to be a tall, strong, and handsome young man. While still young he decided to build a canoe to search for a new island where he could become ariki. To this end he approached his father, Uanuku, who at last gave his consent.

With the help of others skilled in canoe work, Ruatapu made a new canoe out of a tamanu tree and when it was at last finished he named it Te Kare-roa-i-tai (Sea Foam) and lost no time in stocking it with food and water. Early one morning he sailed alone from Taputapuatea in search of new lands. Keeping his canoe running before the prevailing southeast tradewinds he made Rarotonga eight or nine days later. He landed at a small harbor named Avarau where he was met by some of the inhabitants who welcomed and fed him. The first man he met was named Potiki-taua, the chief of the village of Avana-nui where they were. Ruatapu asked, "Who is the chief of the island?" Potiki-taua told him it was Tangiia.

Ruatapu also asked if there were many people living on the island, and was told that the island was full of people.
Ruatapu settled down at Avana-nui, and shortly after took as wife a woman named Uanuku-kaiatia. They had a male child and named him Tamaiva. When the child was about four years old Ruatapu, who had grown tired of Rarotonga, decided to leave the island. So once again he put to sea alone in search of other islands. After spending many days and nights at sea he sighted a large island. On reaching the shore the first person he met was a woman. Ruatapu asked her the name of the island, how many people were living there, and also the name of the ariki. The woman replied that the island was called Tonga-tapu, that the ariki's name was Kaukura, and that the island was full of people. Ruatapu also asked the woman her name and was told that it was Tapotu-ki-Tonga. Ruatapu made up his mind that as the people already had an ariki, this island was no place for him to stay at, so he asked the woman if he could stay with her a few days in order to rest before continuing his journey. Tapotu-ki-Tonga agreed and took him to her house and fed him. Ruatapu grew fond of Tapotu-ki-Tonga and stayed on. They had a child which they named Moenau ("Sleeping together").

While Moenau was still very young Ruatapu decided to move on, but first he sent his son Moenau to Rarotonga with his grandfather, a noted canoe voyager named Rangiura. Ruatapu told Rangiura that on arrival at Rarotonga he was to place Moenau with his half-brother Tamaiva, son of Ruatapu's Rarotongan wife. To this, his wife Tapotu-ki-Tonga agreed. Rangiura built a new canoe for the voyage and when it was finished he named it Pouara. Ruatapu told Rangiura that he would find Uanuku-kaiatia, the mother of Tamaiva, living in the settlement of Matavera. Soon after this Rangiura and his grandson sailed from Tonga-tapu and later arrived safely at Rarotonga.

During the voyage Moenau had been very much afraid, and on getting close to the reef at Rarotonga begged Rangiura to take him quickly ashore or else he would die. As the sea broke heavily on the reef, Rangiura wanted to take time to find a suitable passage to make a landing, but fearing that Moenau might die if not landed at once, he tried to shoot the reef. The canoe was upset and smashed, and Moenau was swept some distance away by the waves. Rangiura swam after him and brought him safely ashore, then went after the broken canoe and brought it ashore. The place where the canoe capsized he named Vaenga ("The place where we parted"); the place where they landed he named Pouara after his canoe.
Rangiura asked some people who had come to the beach where Tamaiva,

 son of Ruatapu, was to be found. A man named Anga offered to take Rangiura and Moenau to him. On meeting Tamaiva and his mother, Rangiura explained who he was and said that it was Ruatapu's wish that Moenau should live with them in Rarotonga. This did not please Tamaiva or his mother, who were jealous of Moenau. They asked where Ruatapu was. On being told that he was at Tonga-tapu, they told Rangiura they did not want to take charge of Moenau and that he had better take Moenau away to some other islands called Ngaputoru, referring to ‘Atiu, Ma‘uke, and Miti‘aro, where they said Moenau would become a man of rank and also have plenty of flying-fish to eat. Rangiura and Moenau were very much angered on hearing this, and Rangiura decided that as soon as they had rested and he had repaired his canoe or obtained another, they would continue on to Ngaputoru as he would not leave Moenau where the boy was not wanted.

Five days later, after resting and repairing the canoe, Rangiura and Moenau left Rarotonga for Ngaputoru. This time they struck very bad weather at sea. Weak and exhausted, Rangiura at last reached Ma‘uke, but when trying to reach shore, he was killed on the reef. Moenau, however, was rescued by the people of Ma‘uke, taken ashore, and well treated. Some years later when he had grown into a strong, young man Moenau married a Ma‘uke woman named Te Kaumarokura. A son was born whom they named Te Aukura-ariki-ki-Mauketau.

Moenau, who had by this time grown into a very big and powerful man, was very proud of his size and strength and also of the fact that he was a son of Ruatapu. He would seldom go fishing, but would go down to the beach and meet the canoes coming in from fishing. He would then help himself to any fish he fancied, often taking all the fish from one canoe and leaving the owner to go home hungry without any fish for his family. This made the Ma‘uke men very angry but for a long time they suffered in silence, being afraid of Moenau's size and strength.

At last they met secretly and planned to kill him. Two of the strongest fighting men were asked to ambush Moenau and kill him with spears; but they would not agree, saying that Moenau was more than a match for any six men on the island, and would surely kill them. In the end they decided to try to kill him by using what they called "kaa natipui," a fine rope or cord made out of coconut-fibre, their plan being to catch Moenau unprepared.

On the day chosen for the deed Tara-te-kui, one of the two men, who was a very good fisherman, went out fishing; the other toa chosen, named Tara-te-kurapo, was to stay ashore and prepare the trap. Tara-te-kui was to stay out fishing until after sunset, then come quickly ashore to the spot agreed upon. After Tara-te-kurapo was sure Tara-te-kui had caught enough fish, he went to Moenau's house and told him that Tara-te-kui was just coming in from fishing and had made a good catch. Moenau started for the beach at once and Tara-te-kurapo went with him. When they reached the canoe, it was dark and Tara-te-kui was just beginning a meal of taro and fish. This was all part of their plot. Tara-te-kui had the rope snare all set where he intended Moenau to sit down.

Tara-te-kui invited both Moenau and Tara-te-kurapo to sit down and have some food with him before Moenau took some fish home. This pleased Moenau, who readily sat down where Tara-te-kui placed his food. As soon as he commenced to eat Tarate-kui and Tara-te-kurapo each took an end of the snare and pulled it tight. Moenau was caught by the testicles and was soon overpowered and killed with spears hidden close by. The two men dragged his body to a cave nearby and threw it in. Then they took their fish and went home.

Next morning they told the people of Ma‘uk that they had killed Moenau. This greatly pleased the Ma‘uke people, who had feared Moenau and were glad to be rid of him and his fish-stealing ways. At the time of Moenau's death, his son Te Aukura-ariki-ki-Mauketau was about four years old. Moenau's wife grieved over the killing of Moenau, and for a long time it was thought that she would die. Tara-te-kui and Tara-te-kurapo were very sorry for her and the child. They looked after her like a sister and took fish to her each week.

All these years Ruatapu had waited on Tonga-tapu for Rangiuri to bring him word of the safe arrival of Moenau at Rarotonga. He feared that both Rangiura and Moenau were dead and he decided to follow them to Rarotonga to see if they were there. He reached Rarotonga safely and on finding his son Tamaiva, asked where his younger brother Moenau was. Tamaiva replied, "He came here but I and my mother told Rangiuri to take him on to Ngaputoru so that he would be sure of having plenty of flying-fish to eat." On hearing this Ruatapu was angered and shouted, "Well, I am sure you sent him to his death. I sent him to you to be cared for and now he is dead."

Ruatapu sailed at once from Rarotonga, leaving his son Tamaiva behind. He soon sighted Ma‘uke and passed the reef and landed on the beach. He noticed a number of children playing near the landing place, one of whom was very like Moenau as Ruatapu remembered him. Calling the child to him he asked his name and who his father was. The boy said he was called Te Kura-ariki-ki-Mauketau, and that his father's name was Moenau. Ruatapu asked for Moenau, and on being told that he was dead, lamented.

Later he asked the boy if his mother were still alive and where she was to be found. The boy replied that his mother, Te Kaumarokura, still lived. Ruatapu asked to be taken to her, and when they reached the house, he met Moenau's wife and also found there Tara-te-kui and Tara-te-kurapo.

Ruatapu asked Te Kaumarokura if she was the wife of Moenau and she replied, "Yes." He also asked her where Moenau was and she told him that he was dead. Ruatapu asked her if the two men were her new husbands. Te Kaumarokura said that they were not, but that they were relatives and like fathers to her and her child.
She then asked Ruatapu what had brought him to Ma‘uke and he said that he had come in search of his son Moenau. She said that he had come too late-Moenau was dead. Ruatapu asked her how many children Moenau had. Te Kaumarokura answered that he had only one son, Te Aukura-ariki-ki-Mauketau, who was standing beside him. Te Kaumarokura then asked Ruatapu how long he intended staying in Ma‘uke, and he said he would decide the next day. Te Kaumarokura, Tara-te-kui, and Tara-te-kurapo prepared food for Ruatapu, and after he had eaten he soon fell asleep.

Tara-te-kui, Tara-te-kurapo, and Moenau's wife talked quietly together, and the two men said that they were afraid of Ruatapu who, they said, must be either a powerful ariki or else a god, as never before had they seen a man like him. They asked her if she did not feel sorry for them and begged that she would not tell Ruatapu that they had killed Moenau. Te Kaumarokura promised, saying that they were now more to her than brothers. Early next morning Ruatapu arose and his first questions were "How did Moenau die? Was he killed in fighting and, if so, who killed him?" Moenau's wife answered that Moenau had not been killed in fighting but had fallen into a cave or hole in the Makatea. Ruatapu told her that he had supposed Moenau had been killed fighting; but if her answer was true, he could not avenge his death.

Ruatapu then told Te Kaumarokura that he would not remain long in Ma‘uke but asked to be allowed to take Moenau's son with him. To this Te Kaumarokura would not agree, saying that she had already lost Moenau and that if she were to lose the boy, she would die. Ruatapu then asked Moenau's son if he would not like to go with him, but Te Aukura-ariki-ki-Mauketau replied that on the island where his father had died, there also would he die. Ruatapu then said to the mother and son that they were right; for if he were to take the boy away, Moenau's name would be forgotten in Ma‘uke. All the people of Ma‘uke had heard that Ruatapu, the father of Moenau, had arrived looking for his son, and when they saw him, they were very much afraid lest he should hear how Moenau had died. But no word of the truth reached Ruatapu and he left Ma‘uke three days later.

After clearing the reef Ruatapu met some fishing canoes. A man in one of the canoes hailed him and asked why he was leaving so soon. Ruatapu replied that as Moenau was dead and as he had seen his son's wife and child, there was nothing more to stay for. The fisherman then asked Ruatapu if he knew how Moenau had died. Ruatapu replied that he had met his death by falling into a cave. The man then told Ruatapu the truth about Moenau. Ruatapu asked who had killed his son, and he was told "The two men living in the house with Te Kaumarokura, Tara-te-kui and Tara-te-kurapo." Ruatapu replied, "It is now too late. They have lied to me. Had I known this while I was ashore, I would have killed both Tara-te-kui and Tara-te-kurapo, but I have parted from them in peace and cannot return now."

On the following evening Ruatapu reached ‘Atiu and went ashore. As it was nearly dark when he landed no one saw him and he had to find his own way to the place where the people of ‘Atiu were living. He was taken into a house and fed. In the morning he rose early and asked who the ariki was and where he lived. Ruatapu was told that the ariki was Renga; Ruatapu was then taken to meet him. Renga appeared pleased to meet Ruatapu, and fed him and made him welcome, insisting upon Ruatapu staying with him.

Renga told Ruatapu that all the people of ‘Atiu had for a long time been at work trying to make a canoe-passage through the reef at a small natural passage called Taunganui. He said that the work was hard and very slow. Renga asked Ruatapu if he would help them, and perhaps show them a better and quicker way. Ruatapu agreed to this and for the next few days was busy helping Renga and his people to improve the Taunganui passage.

Ruatapu found the work hard and there was very little food to eat, so he complained to Renga that he and all the others were hungry, and he asked Renga to see that they received more food each day. Renga replied by asking where the food would come from. He explained that they had been working so long at the passage that nearly all the food on the island had been eaten up. After hearing this, Ruatapu decided to cut short his stay on ‘Atiu.

Two days later, having secured sufficient food from Renga to continue his voyage, Ruatapu left ‘Atiu. As a parting gift Renga gave him some coconuts and two kinds of small birds, one kind named kura, and the other moo; he also gave Ruatapu some roots of a sweet-smelling flower called tiare maori. Three days later Ruatapu sighted two fairly large islands, both sharing one lagoon and surrounded by a reef. He decided to land and rest before going any farther. He found that the passage through the reef was a very bad one, but he reached shore safely. Because of the large number of tavake (boatswain birds) nesting there he named these islands Manu-enua. Ruatapu found both islands to be uninhabited.

Ruatapu spent four days resting on Manu-enua and collecting food to continue his voyage. He freed the birds given to him by Renga, planted one coconut-tree which he named Tuiorongo, and also planted the tiare maori roots to which he gave the name of Aravaine ("Looking for a woman").Again Ruatapu put to sea, steering WNW. Two days later he sighted a high hill and soon afterwards was able to see what appeared to be a large island nearly ahead of him. On approaching he could distinguish a number of small islands in the same lagoon, which he entered a little before dark through a small passage named Kopuaonu. He went ashore and spent that night on a small island named Oaka.

Early next morning Ruatapu rose and as he was on his way to his canoe he found a large unga (hermit crab). This he killed and ate and named the place where he had found it Kai-unga. Near this place he planted his last tiare maori root and this he named Ngaevaeva-i-te-inai-te-upoko-o-Tapotu-ki-Tongatapu ("The grey hairs of his wife Tapotu in Tongatapu"). This tiare maori tree can be seen to this day and is by far the largest of its kind in the Cook Islands. Ruatapu then sailed over to the mainland, and the place where he landed he named Maitai ("The place where he rested"). Going a short way inland from there he named the place Paengamanuiri ("Where the visitor landed"). Going still further inland he commenced to build his marae which he named Aumatangi ("Sheltered from the winds").

The place where Ruatapu had landed was near the settlement of Vaitupa; it was then a very small settlement. The people there made Ruatapu welcome and took him to their homes. Ruatapu asked the name of the island and was told that it was Ututaki-enua-o-Ru (now called Aitutaki). He also asked the name of their ariki and was told that he was called Taruia.

Ruatapu settled among the people of Vaitupa and took as a wife a woman named Tutunoa. By her he had four children, the first a boy named Kirikava, the second also a boy whom they named Te Urutupui, the third a girl named Tongirau, and the fourth a boy named Touketa.

Ruatapu was now happy living among his people. When the eldest boy was old enough he asked Ruatapu to teach him all the different ways of fishing. Ruatapu told him that the best and quickest way to catch fish was by making two kinds of fishing-nets, one a long one for catching big fish, and the other a short net on two sticks; this net could easily be handled by two men. (This kind of net is a very good one for catching fish in small passages along the reef.)

Ruatapu asked Kirikava which of the two kinds he would like made. Kirikava said that he wanted the big one to catch big fish as he did not want to catch little fish. Ruatapu then collected a large quantity of the bark of the au (hibiscus) tree and soaked in the sea for four days, after which he had it all brought ashore, dressed, cleaned, and hung up to dry. Treated in this way it is called kiriau and will last at least a year before rotting.

Then Ruatapu called the people of Vaitupa together and began to teach them how to make both the long net and the short one called tuturua. These nets took a long time to make as the people were only learners; they were the first two nets ever seen on the island, and Ruatapu had to teach them all how to make them. The small net was finished first, and Ruatapu gave it to his second son Te Urutupui, making him the owner of it. Some days later Kirikava's net was completed. At last the day came when both nets were taken out for the first time. Ruatapu divided the men of the settlement into two parties, one for each net.

On the first day out both nets had very big catches. Te Urutupui's fish were all small ones, while Kirikava's net had caught big fish and also two turtles. Kirikava divided among those who had been of his party all the fish his net had caught; he did not give any to Ruatapu. Te Urutupui first picked the finest fish out of his catch and sent them along to Ruatapu; the rest of the catch he then divided among those who had been of his party.

Ruatapu was very pleased that Te Urutupui had not forgotten him and had shown his gratitude in this way. With Kirikava, on the other hand, Ruatapu was very angry. He went to Kirikava and told him what his brother had done; by acting thus, not only had he shown his gratitude to his father, but had also made sure that in the future, the net would always be successful. Such was the Maori custom.

Some days later both nets were taken out again and both had big catches. Again the second son gave the pick of his catch to his father while Kirikava, as before, gave none. This second slight made Ruatapu angrier still. He went to Kirikava and asked him how his net had prospered. Kirikava told him they had had a very good catch, including some very fine-eating fish. Ruatapu then asked for his share, and why the Maori custom of tapuing the net had not been followed as the younger brother had done. At the same time he told Kirikava that he, Ruatapu, was ariki in his own island. Kirikava replied that he was master of his own net, and that as Ruatapu was an ariki, he, being the eldest son, must also be an ariki. Ruatapu then said that Kirikava was no longer a son of his and that he had better leave his father's house and go and be an ariki, but that he would not be an ariki for long.

Kirikava left his father's house and went to live in another house close by. He made for himself a marae which he named Aputu. Soon after this he took as wife a woman named Te Nonoioiva. They had a son whom they named Maeva-rangi. Ruatapu's three other children still lived with their father but about this time Te Urutupui took as wife a woman named Vaine-puarangi. [Te Nonoioiva and Vaine-puarangi had come to Aitutaki with Ru.]

Ever since he had quarrelled with Kirikava, Ruatapu had grown to depend more and more upon his second son, and he no longer thought of Kirikava as a son. After Te Urutupui had taken a wife Ruatapu called him and told him that now that Te Urutupui had a woman of his own, Ruatapu intended to give him his canoe called Tueu-moana (sea-foam), so named for her sailing qualities and the way in which she threw the seas aside. He told Te Urutupui, "Take your wife and go to Manu-enua. These islands are mine. I found them. I had intended to send your eldest brother there to go and reign as ariki, but now you are to go in his place. Now the islands are yours, and you and your wife must try and fill them with children."

A few days later Te Urutupui and his wife left for Manu-enua (now known as Manuae or Hervey) in the canoe Tueu-moana. It took them three days to find Manu-enua; they had a rough journey, and the landing was even worse owing to a big sea running on the reef. They landed on the smaller of the two islands. The following morning they went first of all to look for the tiare maori and the coconut tree planted there by Ruatapu when he discovered the lands. Both the flowers and the coconut had grown well. Te Urutupui and his wife soon moved over to the larger island, and liking it better, decided to live there. This land they named Te Au-o-Tepui. There they lived and found life easy, as fish was very plentiful.

Two years later another canoe arrived bringing only one man named Rongovei. His canoe was named Tane-maitai ("Tane of the seas"). Te Urutupui welcomed and fed him. Soon they became very good friends. Te Urutupui proposed that Rongovei should go over to Ututaki-enua-o-Ru to get a woman for himself and to return to Manu-enua and rule there as ariki as there was room for many more people on both islands. Rongovei agreed and taking his directions from Te Urutupui set out in his canoe Tane-maitai. He made a fast trip over, and landed at the large passage named Ruaikakau (at a settlement called Reureu-te-matao-Te Erui). There he stayed for a few days and took two women as wives, one named Tiapara and the other Punangaatua. He then visited Ruatapu and gave him news of his son and his son's wife.

Soon after this Rongovei and his two wives departed for Manu-enua. Having good winds and weather, they reached the island on the evening of the second day. Te Ututupui met them and there he installed Rongovei as ariki of Manu-enua. This done, he and his wife sailed across the lagoon to their own island.
In the meantime, owing to the trouble with his son Kirikava, Ruatapu left his marae and the settlement of Vaitupa and moved inland towards the highest point of Ututaki-enua-o-Ru. When he reached this place he sat down under a large utu tree, and the place where he rested he named Te-utu-marama ("The tree with a good view"). After resting for a short time he went a little farther.

Hearing that Ruatapu had left, Kirikava set out in pursuit of his father. On catching up with him, Kirikava begged him not to desert them, but to return with him and to forget the trouble between them, saying that it was now a thing of the past; he had seen his mistake and would cause no more trouble. Ruatapu told Kirikava to return whence he had come and he himself would go in search of a new home.

Kirikava still urged his father to return with him. Ruatapu replied angrily that if his son did not leave him, his son would be food for his spear and axe.Kirikava replied, "All right, my father, if it pleases you to kill your son, do so. I won't try to stop you." On hearing these words, Ruatapu was overcome and began to weep. Later Ruatapu gave to this place the name Te Rua-toke ("The hole the axe made"). Ruatapu asked Kirikava to sit down and talk things over with him. He said, "Here you and I will make two lines of stones that will remain forever to mark the spot where we settled our troubles." (To this day the two lines of black stones set end on end in the ground may be seen, certainly the work of human hands.)

Ruatapu then told Kirikava to go back to the house at Vaitupa where his brother and sister were and to live with them there, concluding, "If I become ariki of all this island I won't forget you, my son." Kirikava returned home as his father had said. Ruatapu continued on till he reached a settlement named Anainga. Here he met a number of people all going in one direction carrying food. He asked them where they were going and what they were doing. The people told him that they were taking food to their ariki, Taruia. On hearing this Ruatapu sat down to think things over. He decided to try to make himself ariki of the island in place of Taruia.

In the meantime he would stay where he was and make a kopae (a small model of a canoe made out of coconut leaves with coconut-leaves as sails, and the ribs of coconut leaves as masts). When completed he took the kopae down to the lagoon and set its rudder so that it would sail along in a straight line close in to the shore. About a mile away from the place where Ruatapu had set it adrift it was seen by one of Taruia's men, who, never before having seen anything like it, chased and caught it. He immediately ran with it to Taruia.

As soon as Taruia took hold of it he turned to the man who had brought it and asked where he had found it. He was told that it was in the lagoon close in to the shore. Taruia then told all the people standing around him that this was an akairo (sign) that on the island there was another ariki of high rank, and that from the direction of the wind he must be somewhere about a place called Te Upoko-enua. He sent some of his people to search for this ariki and told them to bring him back when they had found him, so that he, Taruia, might find out who this ariki was and what he was doing on the island.

When they reached Te Upoko-enua, the people found a stranger sitting on the sand down by the lagoon. They went up to him and asked him who he was. Ruatapu told them that he was Ruatapu from Taputapuatea and that he had left his island long ago to go visiting other islands. They told Ruatapu that they had been sent by their ariki, Taruia, in order to find him and take him to Taruia. This pleased Ruatapu.

On meeting Taruia, Ruatapu was again asked who he was and what he was doing on the island. He replied as before, which pleased Taruia, who then fed Ruatapu and insisted upon his staying with him. Ruatapu agreed. Some days later Ruatapu asked Taruia to guess what he was thinking about (tuku piri). Taruia asked what Ruatapu had on his mind, and Ruatapu told him that he was thinking out a way to stop Vai-reirei, a small creek close by, from running into the sea. Taruia agreed that each of them in turn should have a try at damming this creek and so stop the water from running to waste. Taruia was to try first.

During the next few days Taruia tried many different ways of stopping the creek, but failed. Then came Ruatapu's turn and on the second day he succeeded in damming up the creek with carefully selected stones properly spaced. Thus Ruatapu won the first test of skill between the two ariki, and Ruatapu was sure in his own mind that it was only a matter of time till he should become ariki of the island.\A few days later he told Taruia, "I've thought up another contest of skill." Taruia replied,"I've never met a man like you always wanting contests."

Ruatapu said, "Let's see who can build a new canoe faster. When the canoes are finished, we can go together to visit other islands."Taruia replied, "Why go and see them? They are all the same, and no better than this." This made Ruatapu laugh, and he told Taruia that there were many bigger and better islands than Aitutaki. He knew, having seen many of them. At this Taruia appeared interested, and when Ruatapu told him that on many of the other islands, the women were very light-skinned, in fact some nearly white, with light-colored hair, and that on Taruia's island the women were dark and ugly, Taruia was eager to go and would not rest until the canoes were begun. This was also to be a test of skill for the two ariki to see whose canoe should be finished first. In this also Ruatapu proved the better man and when his canoe was finished, he named it Te Atua-apaipai ("The gods will take his canoe where he wants to go").

Then Ruatapu took his canoe down to the lagoon-side and told Taruia that he was leaving in the morning for Rarotonga. Taruia asked him not to be in a hurry as his canoe was nearly finished and they could then go together. At first Ruatapu would not agree, saying that he would go first and that on arriving in Rarotonga would call out to Taruia to come to him. Afterwards he agreed to wait until the next day to give Taruia time to finish his canoe.

The following day Ruatapu put to sea about two hours ahead of Taruia and when about ten miles away from land, he purposely capsized his canoe, knowing that Taruia would shortly come along , see him, and approach to find out what was the matter. Close to where Ruatapu upset his canoe was a small island called Maina-ina-ra, and the place where he upset his canoe was called Raukuru-vaka.He was not long in the sea before he saw Taruia's canoe sailing along. Seeing Ruatapu's canoe overturned, Taruia came close by, Ruatapu called out to him, "My friend, come and help me right my canoe."

Taruia laughed and said, "My friend I told you to wait so that we might go together, but you replied that you would be waiting for me in Rarotonga. Now I am going on alone and when I reach Rarotonga, I'll call for you." Again Ruatapu asked Taruia to come and help, and again Taruia laughed at him and sailed away. As soon as Taruia was out of sight, Ruatapu quickly righted his canoe, bailed out the water, and returned to Aitutaki, laughing to himself over how easily he had got rid of Taruia. As soon as Ruatapu got ashore, he went to Taruia's house.

In the morning he called a meeting of all Taruia's people and told the mataipo (district chiefs) that soon after leaving land, he had had bad luck and his canoe capsized. He did not know how Taruia had fared or whether Taruia was alive or dead. After talking among themselves for a few days, some of Taruia's enemies suggested that as they did not know if Taruia was still alive, it would be a good thing to make Ruatapu their ariki before he too went away and left them. This was soon agreed to and three days later Ruatapu was elected ariki of Ututaki-enua-o-Ru, and Taruia's people soon forgot Taruia. In the meantime Taruia arrived in Rarotonga where he was made much of. He waited there for some time for Ruatapu to arrive, and when Ruatapu failed to appear, he began to realize that he had been tricked and that he was no longer an ariki. He was afraid to return to Ututaki-enua-o-Ru by himself, so he went among his new friends and invited a number of the strong young men to build canoes and go back with him to see his island and be his guests there. He did not tell them that he was afraid of what he would find on his return.

He was successful in gathering a party which included a number of good fighting men. When all was ready, they started out for Ututaki-enua-o-Ru. When they arrived off the reef, they were seen by the people from the shore, who went and told Ruatapu that there were some canoes approaching the island. Ruatapu went down to the beach, and as soon as he saw the canoes approaching, knew it was Taruia returning home. He went back and called his people quickly together telling them it was Taruia returning with a war-party to fight them. He proposed that they should go out and meet them and give them battle, and to this they agreed.

Quickly getting their canoes together they were soon outside the lagoon and, headed by Ruatapu, met the approaching canoes off the main passage called Ruaikakau. Taruia's party was soon beaten off. They had not expected to fight, much less to fight at sea. Taruia seeing his party getting the worst of the fight, and hoping yet to win his people back again, came in close to them and standing up in his canoe, shouted out, "This is I, Taruia, your ariki who went to Rarotonga." Ruatapu, who was fighting his way close to Taruia's canoe, stood up and answered, "Taruia, ariki who went to Rarotonga, I have taken your rule from you."

On hearing this the few of Taruia's party who were left gave up fighting and headed their canoes north, eventually reaching an island called Mangarongaro (now called Penrhyn). Although they had good weather all the way it took nearly three weeks, and when they arrived off the reef at Mangarongaro they were very weak for want of food. They went ashore at a small harbor which Taruia named, after himself, Taruia. (To this day the descendants of Taruia are still to be found at Mangarongaro.)
As soon as Taruia's party had been beaten off, Ruatapu returned ashore and went to the Paepae-o-ronga, the house of the ariki. The following day, remembering his promise to Kirikava, his eldest son. Ruatapu felt that now that he was firmly established upon the island, it was time to fulfil his promise to Kirikava; so he sent a party to bring his son to Paepae-o-ronga. On Kirikava's arrival Ruatapu told him, "As I am now ariki of the island and becoming a very old man, I want you to stay and live with me."

Soon after this a canoe arrived from Taputapuatea bringing news of a young and famous fighting-man, one well skilled in the art of fighting and wrestling. This man's name was Tuotakura and he lived on the island of Tahiti. So far he had met and defeated in single combat all the young toa (warriors) from the other islands. On hearing this, Kirikava was anxious to go and meet Tuotakura. He begged Ruatapu's permission to allow him to make a voyage to Tahiti. At first Ruatapu would not agree to this saying that while Kirikava was a very tall and powerful man, he was not skilled enough to meet a famous toa like Tuotakura. He said, "My son, had you listened to me and let me finish your training, you could have challenged any toa."

Ruatapu himself would have liked to meet this newcomer, but his fighting days were over. Kirikava, however, persisted, and at last Ruatapu gave his permission. Ruatapu and his people then set to work on a large canoe to take Kirikava and his party to Tahiti. As soon as the canoe was finished the party lost no time in setting out for Tahiti, and on arriving there Kirikava arranged a test of strength and skill with Tuotakura. On the day that Kirikava and his party arrived at Tahiti, Tuotakura had arranged to meet three other young toa from neighboring islands. Kirikava watched all these contests and could easily see that Tuotakura was far too good for the others.

Two days later Kirikava's turn came and before meeting Tuotakura, Kirikava told his people that he was afraid Tuotakura would prove too good for him. Kirikava was offered his choice of fighting with spears or wrestling. From what Kirikava had seen of the previous contests he decided that his best chance lay in wrestling. Tuotakura readily agreed and in a very short time he had Kirikava on the ground.

Then Tuotakura offered Kirikava another chance, which Kirikava refused as he was quite satisfied that Tuotakura was by far the younger and stronger man, and also the more skilful. The next day Kirikava and his party left Tahiti. On arriving home they went ashore very much ashamed. Ruatapu asked Kirikava how he came to be beaten. Kirikava said that Tuotakura was a younger, taller, and stronger man than himself, and also a more skillful and better man in every way. On hearing this Ruatapu broke down and said, "If only Tuotakura had been born forty or fifty years earlier, I would have gone and met him. In my time I never met the man I could not beat and beat easily, but I am now too old and must suffer this defeat."

The defeat of Kirikava appeared to affect Ruatapu deeply as from this time it was plainly seen that Ruatapu was slowly dying of old age. When he realized that he was dying, he called Kirikava and all his people before him and told them that he had but a short time to live, and that when he was dead, Kirikava was to be made ariki in his stead.

Soon after this he died, and for many days his people grieved for him. After a short period Kirikava was made ariki. Kirikava still smarted from his defeat by Tuotakura and dreamed of revenge. That he should have his revenge appeared likely. His sister Tongirau, who had married a man named Te Araroa, had a son named Te Aunui-o-ota. This boy had grown very quickly and at a very early age was much taller and stronger than any of the other boys and had beaten them all in trials of skill and fighting.

When Te Aunui-o-ota had been a very small boy Ruatapu had spent all his spare time in teaching him the art of using the spear and wrestling. The older men all picked him as the coming toa of the island. Kirikava insisted on having him taught and trained with the idea of sending him to Tahiti to meet Tuotakura. Te Aunui-o-ota when still a very young man stood well over six feet and was very broad and exceedingly strong. He could easily defeat at one time any three strong men on the island.

One day when he was a little over twenty years old, his mother called him and said, "My son, we are still living in shame and disgrace." When Te Aunui-o-ota asked her why, he was told that his uncle Kirikava had once gone to Tahiti to meet a famous young toa named Tuotakura and had been badly beaten. On returning home he had been laughed at by his people and had since been living in shame. The next day Te Aunui-o-ota went to visit his uncle and asked if it were true that he had been beaten in Tahiti by Tuotakura. His uncle replied, "My son, it is true, but who told you?"Te Aunui-o-ota replied, "My mother."Te Aunui-o-ota then asked permission of his uncle to go to Tahiti to meet Tuotakura. Kirikava agreed and no time was lost in getting a canoe and crew ready for Te Aunui-o-ota. When all was prepared, they set sail.

On arriving at Tahiti, Te Aunui-o-ota rested for six days and then challenged Tuotakura to a trial of strength and skill. Of the two men Te Aunui-o-ota was by far the younger and bigger, but Tuotakura was still in the prime of life and was also a very skillful and cunning fighter.On the day of the contest Te Aunui-o-ota proved the stronger and better man and soon had Tuotakura crying for mercy. Twice they met and twice Tuotakura had to admit defeat. When Te Aunui-o-ota had defeated the champion, he made up and sang this akateni: "Kirikava ke te au poatu ia natangi, Kirikava ki te taki puputu ki Tahiti te tua takura ka ei taku rima." Soon after this Te Aunui-o-ota left Tahiti for his own island and on his return was feasted and made much of. (To this day this akateni is still sung.)

Soon after Kirikava was made ariki, his son, Maeva-rangi, married a woman named Te Kura-i-oneroa. A child was born to them, whom they named Maeva-kura. This boy, when grown to manhood, married Puriterei. They had a daughter whom they named Maine-maraerua. On the death of Kirikava his grandson Maeva-kura was made ariki. When Maine-maraerua was still a young girl, she went to Rarotonga with a visiting-party. There she married a man named Tamaiva; this man was very handsome and news of his good looks had already reached Ututaki-enua; it was on this account that Maine-maraerua had gone to Rarotonga. At first Tamaiva did not want Maine-maraerua so she married a man named Te Iimatetapua. They had a child, a boy named Marouna.

During Maeva-kura's rule there came to Ututaki-enua many canoes bringing people whom the people of Ututaki-enua named Aitu. These people came in large numbers and soon caused trouble. Maeva-kura grew afraid of them and for safety's sake left his home and went to live at a place called Te Rangi-Atea. Maeva now feared for his life and decided to send a canoe secretly to Rarotonga to find out if his daughter had married and whether she had sons grown up and powerful enough to come to his assistance; and if she had, she should send a party back to Ututaki-enua-o-Ru in the canoe that carried Maeva-kura's message to Rarotonga. The name of the head man of the party was Tuoarangi. On Tuoarangi's arrival in Rarotonga, he found that Maine-maraerua had a grown son called Marouna, who was then about eighteen years of age. Tuoarangi told Maine-maraerua that Ututaki-enua-o-Ru was overrun with Aitu; that fearing for his life, Maeva-kura had gone to live at Te Rangi-Atea; and that if she had a child old enough, she should send him over before it was too late.

Maine-maraerua quickly agreed to send Marouna and a party to Maeva-kura's assistance. Marouna asked his mother to give him time to make a canoe for the voyage, but his mother replied that if he took the time to make a canoe, he would find, on his arrival at Ututaki-enua, only his grandfather's bones rotting at Te Rangi-Atea. The mother told Marouna to go down to the settlement and there to pull one feather out of the hat he was wearing as the sign that he was a grandson of an ariki and to demand a canoe belonging to a man named Angainui.

Marouna did as he was instructed and went to Angainui, gave him the feather from his hat, and demanded the man's canoe. Angainui agreed to let him have the canoe, stipulating only that Marouna should take the canoe to his own home that same day, and that he should not alter the name of the canoe, Te Mata-o-tekoviri.
The next day was spent by Marouna and his relatives in collecting food and water for the coming voyage. This done, Marouna chose six good canoe men to go with him and help sail the canoe. The following day Marouna and his party put to sea, his mother telling him to go straight to Ututaki-enua. But when clear of land, Marouna decided to go first to ‘Atiu in order to get a number of good fighting men to go with him to help rid Ututaki-enua of the enemy.

The canoe soon reached ‘Atiu and there Marouna went ashore and was taken to visit the famous toa of ‘Atiu, Uta. Uta told Marouna to go to another part of the island called Maoake to call on a young and very powerful toa named Taraapaitoa, as he himself was growing old and was no longer strong enough to lead a war-party. Uta told Marouna where Taraapaitoa's house was to be found, and also said that the house was close to a large li tree; on reaching this tree Marouna was to take particular notice of its leaves; if the leaves on the tree were rustling in the wind Marouna was on no account to go any closer, but if the leaves were still then Marouna was to go inside the house. There he would find Taraapaitoa asleep. Marouna must then quickly and quietly gather up all Taraapaitoa's spears and axes, tie them in a bundle, and take them some distance away and bury them.

Marouna went to Maoake, and finding the leaves of the tree still went into the house and there, as described, found Taraapaitoa asleep. Quickly he gathered the axes and spears and hid them. Then he wakened Taraapaitoa who immediately felt for his weapons, and, finding them gone, decided to talk to Marouna. He asked Marouna to be seated and Marouna explained that he had not come looking for trouble but for help. Taraapaitoa listened to all that Marouna had to say and then agreed to go with him. Marouna asked Taraapaitoa to get a few more strong toa to go with them, but Taraapaitoa laughed and said that there was no man on ‘Atiu equal to him in battle and he did not want to fight with weaker men.

The next day Marouna and Taraapaitoa left ‘Atiu. From ‘Atiu they went to Miti‘aro to see another toa named Taratekui whom Taraapaitoa said was Miti‘aro's best fighting man. On arriving at Miti‘aro, Marouna approached Taratekui, told him of his trouble, and asked his help. Taratekui agreed to go and they spent that night in feasting and dancing.Next morning Marouna and his party left for Ma‘uke. There Taraapaitoa told Marouna to ask for a man named Taratekurapa who was Ma‘uke's best fighting man. Here again Marouna was successful and Taratekurapa joined the party.

The next morning they set out for Mangaia but this time the canoe struck bad weather and it took them three days to reach Mangaia. On going ashore Marouna lost no time in making known what he had come for. He asked the Mangaia people the name of their best fighting man, and was told his name was Ue. Marouna found Ue and again told his troubles and asked him to go with them to Ututaki-enua-o-Ru. Ue agreed to go if the Mangaia people would allow him to go. Permission being granted, Ue told Marouna that living on the island was another strong toa named Kavau from the island of Niue.

Ue asked Marouna to get permission from the Mangaia people to take Kavau with them. At first the people would not agree, saying that Kavau must remain to look after the island until Ue returned, but later in the night they all agreed that Kavau should go with Marouna. The following day Marouna and his party again put to sea, but before they left their canoe was decorated by the women with rau ti para, and also renamed Rau-ti-para-ki-auau.

The canoe was then headed for Ututaki-enua-o-Ru. In the late afternoon of the third day when they were close to the island, they overtook another smaller canoe, also making for the island. There were two men in it whom Marouna questioned as to their destination and their names. They told Marouna they were looking for their father whom they thought might be on Ututaki-enua-o-Ru; they were brothers, the elder named Koroki-matangi, and the younger Koroki-vananga; their father's name was Tavake.

Marouna asked them to join his party and help clear the island of the Aitu. They agreed, telling Marouna and his party to go on ashore and they would wait outside near the passage and deal with anyone who attempted to escape by canoe. Marouna and his party landed about midnight. Everyone on shore was asleep, so no one saw them land. They anchored their canoe out in deep water at a place called Vaiora.

Marouna said that as they had all had a long hard day and were tired, they had better sleep in the canoe till daylight, then go ashore and start killing the Aitu. Taraapaitoa thought that they should all go ashore at once and take the Aitu by surprise. But Marouna would not agree, arguing back that they had better get some sleep in order to be fresh in the morning.

Taraapaitoa left the others sleeping in the canoe and went ashore. Finding the village where the people were sleeping, he went quietly into the houses and felt about until he found the heads of the sleeping people. The heads he quietly lifted up. When he felt a small fine head, he left it, but when he found a big heavy head he lingered knowing it must belong to a strong man. He was tempted to kill the men but was afraid of killing friends, mistaking them for enemies, so he went back to the canoe where the others were still asleep and snoring. He wakened them and told them to come ashore and also told them what he had been doing. At this Marouna and the others were ashamed and all agreed to accompany him ashore. They took their canoe into a small creek named Tangaro and there sunk the canoe, so that it was safely out of sight. They named this place Vai-veu.

Tuoarangi then led them to where he had left Maeva-kura living. They waited outside his house and called out to him. After calling softly several times they wakened Maeva-kura who sang out that night was not the time for fighting, to go home and wait for daylight and then fight.Marouna then called out, "It is I, your grandson Marouna." Maeva-kura replied, "Marouna is on Rarotonga, and who could bring him here?" Marouna replied, "Did you not send Tuoarangi to fetch me?"Maeva-kura answered, "Yes, I did."Then Marouna said, "This is I, your grandson."

Then Maeva-kura opened the door and Marouna and his people entered; on meeting his grandson Maeva-kura wept.
Maeva-kura then called the women of the house to bring food for Marouna and his people; this food was mai, which is made out of fermented breadfruit, and also some coconuts. After they had eaten, Marouna asked why Maeva-kura had sent to Rarotonga for him. Maeva-kura replied that the island was full of Aitu (people from other islands) who had been steadily arriving in canoes. He was no longer ariki of the island, and had had to leave his own house and come to live where they now found him. He knew it would be only a short time before the Aitu killed him and that was why they had found the house barricaded up. He was in fear of his life each night.
Marouna then told Maeva-kura not to worry anymore, as he would take charge of the island and soon clear it of Aitu. The young man explained also that all the men of his party were famous toa from other islands; these had all come to help kill the Aitu.

A short council of war was then held and it was decided to wait another hour until daylight before commencing to fight the Aitu. Again Taraapaitoa disagreed, thinking it better to catch the Aitu still asleep and make sure that none escaped. Marouna said that in the dark it would be very easy to kill friends and suggested a short sleep so that they might be strong for the killing. Taraapaitoa had to agree, but he himself scorned sleep, saying that the thought of killing was sleep enough for him, and that it was only women who required sleep before work was to be done. Marouna and the others snatched a short sleep while Taraapaitoa kept watch.

At daybreak he wakened them, none too gently, as he was angry at having already lost valuable time. Led by Tuoarangi and Mama, they began in the houses nearest, and as fast as Tuoarangi pointed out the Aitu, they were given a chance to fight but none of them proved a match for Marouna's party of toa. Taraapaitoa soon proved his worth and was by far the strongest and best fighter. He was very fierce and appeared tireless; no man was found who could give him battle. In many cases he tackled lone-handed a house in which there were three and four Aitu. Taking them altogether he would very soon kill them, all the time shouting out akateni; Taraapaitoa seemed to glory in killing.

For four days the fighting went on and on the fifth day, search as they would, they could not find another Aitu man on the mainland. Led by Taraapaitoa, the party now took canoes and went to search the small islands in the lagoon. Two men were supposed to have escaped during the fighting to a small island named Motu-rakau. When they reached this island they could see plainly the footprints of one man who must have landed on the beach; this man, Tangaroa-iku-reo, was soon found and killed. They then returned to the mainland and told Marouna that all the Aitu were now killed. The next two days were spent in dancing, feasting, and rejoicing in the defeat of the Aitu.

Marouna composed the following akateni: "Marouna i te titi, Marouna ie te tata, Marouna ie te tapuni enua, e varu taua a Marouna." This was a song of victory singing his own praises because he had cleared the island of its enemies. Shortly after this Marouna gave to each of the toa who had come to his assistance a large piece of land; to Ue he gave a large piece of land at Vaipae; to Taraapaitoa, the champion of all toa, he gave another and larger piece, also at Vaipae, called Ngaitikaura; Kavau was given a piece of land called Nukunoni; Taratekui and Taratekurapo were each given a piece of land at a place called Vaiorea. It was Marouna's idea to try and persuade these toa to remain on the island and thus breed a race of toa, men strong in battle. The island now settled down to a period of peace. On the death of Maeva-kura, Marouna was made ariki; he proved himself a wise ruler and kept the island free from wars and tribal fighting. At his death his son, Te Tapu-o-ronga, was made ariki.

Te Tapu-o-ronga had three wives. His first wife was named Te Urei; their first child was a boy whom they named Te Rangi-o-Tangaroa. By his second wife, Katapu-kite-marae, the first child was also a boy, whom they named Nga Ariki-tokoa. The first child of Marouna's third wife, Pureupoko, was also a boy named Te Ariki-vao. On the death of Te Tapu-o-ronga, these three sons all became ariki. Te Rangi-o-Tangaroa was elected as Vairuarangi; Nga Ariki-tokoa was elected Tamatoa; Te Ariki-vao was elected Te Urukura. (To the present day the descendants of these people have been rulers of Ututaki-enua-o-Ru and still carry or use the same names. The name of the island is now Aitutaki having been changed by the early missionaries from Ra‘iatea, to whom the name Ututaki sounded like ‘Aitutaki.)

Timi Koro, Trans. by Drury Low



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