Eastern Island – Myth

The canoe sailed on the second day of Hora Nui (September) and arrived at the southwest corner of Te Pito O Te Kainga on the fifteenth day of Tangaroa Uri (October)-a six-week voyage.

In the morning, when the explorers awoke [earlier it was said the explorers had returned to Hiva], two canoes were seen approaching the southwestern tip of the island, off Motu Nui.

The canoes were bound together into a double canoe, but as they came near the land the lashings which united them were cut. One boat named “Oteka” carried Hotu Matua and his wife, Vakai-a-hiva; the other boat, named “Oua,” carried Hineriru and his wife, Ava Rei Pua.4

Raparenga signaled with leaves to the voyagers the following message: “The land is bad; yams won’t grow because of the weeds.” Hotu Matua told Tuki to signal back that Hiva was also a bad land, as the rising tide of the ocean was ruining it. Raparenga then signaled to the voyagers that if they sailed to the right (east), they should stay way out or they would be pushed into the cliffs.

The two canoes traveled in different directions around the island. Hotu Matua went around the southern and eastern coasts of the island.

Five fishing grounds were established through the mana of a man named Honga.

Hineriru went around the western and northern coasts of the island; nine fishing grounds were established through the mana of Teke, who had been transferred to that canoe. Hotu wanted to be the first to reach Anakena (an anchorage on the north side of the island, where the royal residence would be established).

When he saw the other vessel approaching, he ordered a spell chanted, which made his own boat go fast and Hineriru’s go slow. Two more fishing grounds were established near Anakena.

The canoe of Hotu Matua landed first at the cove. A son named Tuu Maheke was born there to Vakai and Hotu Matua. Hineriru was a man of intelligence, and wrote rongo-rongo (native script) on paper he brought with him.

Among those who came in the canoes was the ariki (chief) Tuu Ko Ihu, the maker of the wooden images; two of his sons and two grandsons have given their names to four subdivisions of the Miru clan.

On the other canoe, a daughter named Ava Rei Pua Poki was born to Hineriru and Ava Rei Pua (identified as a queen, perhaps the younger sister Hotu Matua).

Vaka, “the master in charge of tying the umbilical cord,” performed the rite for Tuu Maheke and then for Ava Rei Pua Poki. The canoes were then brought ashore and taken apart so the wood could be used to make houses. After Nuku Keku (the master canoe builder) finished the houses, seedlings were distributed to the settlers.

Then Hotu Matua told Teke to take the Hanau Eepe and settle them in a suitable place where they would farm the land. Teke took them to Poike, on the southeastern end of the island, and told them “Settle here, work, and keep peace among yourselves!” Iko (“Insect”) was installed as the king of the Hanau Eepe.

Among Hotu Matua’s company there was a concealed passenger whose name was Oroi; he was an enemy of Hotu, who had killed some of Hotu’s children in Hiva, and had hidden himself on board the migration canoe.

He got on shore at Anakena without anyone having guessed at his presence.

One day the five children of a man named Roro went to bathe at Ovahe (a small cove east of Anakena), and as they lay on a rock in the sea, Oroi came from behind and killed them by thrusting a lobster spine up their anuses and pulling out their intestines.5

When the children did not return, the father said to the mother, “Where are the children?”

The mother said, “On the rock.”

But when Roro went to look, the rock was covered with water, for it was high tide; by and by when the water went down, he saw the five children were dead.

Roro then told Hotu Matua: “Oroi, that bad man, is here, for he has killed my children.

Now Hotu Matua went to see his adopted daughter Veri Hina, who was married and who lived at Mahatua (past Ovahe on the north coast). Oroi put a noose in his path and tried to catch his foot in it, but Hotu avoided it by stepping to one side.

When he had finished his visit to his adopted daughter, he said to her and her husband, “Follow me and watch above me.

If the sooty terns circle high above me, I will live; if the terns dive down on me, I have been killed.” As he returned, he saw that the noose was still on the path, and he knew his enemy was hidden behind the rock.

Terns circled high above him. This time Hotu Matua intentionally stepped on the noose and fell, and when Oroi came at him with a bone knife, he killed Oroi with a spell-“Spin! Spin! Fall down! Fall down! Die!” Then he called to his adopted daughter and son-in-law to see that Oroi was dead.

When, however, they put the corpse in the oven to cook it, it came to life again, so they had to take it over to the other side of the island to an ahu called Oroi, and there the corpse cooked quite satisfactorily, and they ate it.

Hotu Matua lived in Oromanga, in a house called Hare Tupa Tuu. One day when Hotu’s first born son Tuu Maheke was fifteen, Rovi, his food preparer, went to catch eel as a side dish (inaki) for sweet potatoes; he stayed away overnight. Tuu Maheke’s mother had gone to dig up and cook the sweet potatoes for him. Tuu Maheke began to cry.

After a while Hotu Matua got a headache and shouted, “Be quiet, you bastard! You crybaby!” Then he left. When Vakai came home, she noticed the swollen eyes of her son and asked why he was crying. He told her what his father had shouted at him.

After cooking the sweet potatoes for her son, Vakai went to the house of Hotu Matu and told him “Tuu Maheke is not a bastard! You are a bastard! Your real father was Tai A Mahia! Kokiri Tuu Hongohongo was your foster father.” Hotu Matua replied, “Why didn’t you tell me this back in Hiva, our homeland?”

Hotu Matua moved a short distance away and built a house called Hare Pu Rangi. A month later, Vakai came to live with him. They conceived another boy, named Miru. Hotu moved again and built a house called Hare Moa Viviri; Vakai followed him.

Another boy was born, named Tuu A Hotu Iti; then another son was born, named Hotu Iti A Hotu.

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