"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
There once lived in Hawaiki a chief called Uenuku, who had seventy-one sons. Seventy of these sons were chiefs, for their mothers were of noble birth. But Uenuku had one wife who was a slave, and because of this, her son Ruatapu was of no importance.
One day Uenuku decided to build a great canoe. A tall tree was felled, and for a long time his men worked at hollowing and smoothing and carving it. When it was finished it was painted red and hung with strings of feathers.
Then Uenuku brought together all his sons, so that their hair might be combed and oiled and tied into top-knots. This was so that they would look well when they sailed for the first time in the great canoe. Uenuku himself combed and oiled and tied their hair, for this was tapu, a sacred thing.
Ruatapu became offended when his father Uenuku elevated his older half-brother
Kahutia-te-rangi (later known as Paikea) ahead of him. When Ruatapu was about to use a comb belonging to Kahutia-te-rangi, Uenuku rebuked him, pointing out that Kahutia-te-rangi was of high rank while Ruatapu was of low birth (because his mother was a slave wife).
Then Ruatapu was very ashamed, and ran away and planned to revenge himself. He ate no food that night, but went down to the canoe and cut a hole in its bottom. Then he filled the hole in again with chips of wood.
In the morning all the noble sons of Uenuku launched the canoe for the first time, and Ruatapu went with them. The canoe was a beautiful sight, with its feathers and tall carvings, and it went very fast over the waves. They paddled a long way out to sea, and Ruatapu kept his heel over the hole so it would not be seen. When they were out of sight of land, Ruatapu pushed away the chips from the hole and water rushed into the canoe.
‘Where is the bailer?’ his brothers shouted.
‘Quickly, bail out the water, or we are lost!’
But Ruatapu had hidden the bailer, and the canoe filled with water and sank. Then Ruatapu had his revenge, for all his noble brothers were drowned, excepting one. Ruatapu swam after his last brother, Kahutia-te-rangi, but he could not catch him.
The Tribes of Ngati Porou and
Ngai Tahu are his descendants.
5/25/2021 05:16:53 am
Do you know the original artist for the top picture of the depiction of the humpback whale and the whale rider in black, red and white colors? I would love to get approval to use it for a boat that we are renaming in the United States. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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