Marau-torea the chief (short version)
Many, many years ago a warrior chief named Marau-torea set sail from Vavau-Nui to journey to Motu Tapu to visit a young woman, Ruatamahine, whom he wished to marry. The young woman’s mother saw him coming to her island because of her mana (magic, power). She did not want him to come because her son had been killed by a man from Vavau-Nui.
So the mother sent fish out into the sea to stop the canoe. The chief, Marau-torea, first used his common sense to fight the fish, then his knowledge of medicine, then he finally called on the birds of the sky to come and eat the fish. They came and ate the fish.
Next, the girl’s mother called her son, Togamaututu, to go into the sea and stop this chief from coming to their island. The brother was different than you and I: he was a whale. This great whale went and found the canoe and he started to chase it. When Marau-torea, the chief, and his people saw Togamaututu, the whale, coming, the chief said, “Kua mate tatou! (We are dead!)” However, the chief called on the winds to come and the winds came and filled the sail of the canoe so they ran to the land and were saved from the whale. When Togamaututu saw them escape onto the land he called to them, “Kahiri, kaore e henua, kua mate koutou! (If there was no land, you would be dead!)”
In the following days this chief journeyed to this young woman’s island (by magic) and he made her acquaitance. At first she wanted to kill him, but when she saw what he was like she decided that she wanted to marry him. This created problems in her family because her mother was suspicious of people from Vavau-Nui. The mother gave her daughter permission to marry Marau-torea, the chief, only if the daughter would leave her home of Motu-Tapu. This was unacceptable to the daughter, so she told this chief, Marau-torea, that he should return home because she would not marry him. But he would not go. So this young woman told this chief, “You may have to fight my brother the whale. Will your strength overcome his? This is my word to you, do not kill my brother, save him!” Then the young woman went away from the chief, Marau-torea and returned home.
That night, Marau-torea came to the bathing pool of Togamaututu the whale. In the dark the whale said, “Who is there?” And Marau-torea, the chief, answered that it was he. The whale told Marau-torea that he should leave or they would have to fight. Marau-torea chose to fight.
The whale took the first turn. He jumped up high in the water and brought his head down to where Marau-torea was standing beside the bathing pool. Marau-torea was not crushed because he jumped to the other side of the pool. The whale said, “Where are you?” Marau-torea answered, “Here I am. Behind you.” The whale groaned in his heart, “Perhaps this man is a kaito (a warrior).” Then the whale raised his tail to the sky and chopped it down to where Marau-torea was standing. Marau-torea stepped to the side and was not hurt. The whale then said, “Where are you?” Marau-torea answered, “Here I am.” The whale said, “Perhaps you are a kaito (a warrior).”
Then Marau-torea the chief said, “Is it my turn yet?” Togamaututu the whale answered, “Take your turn.” Marau-torea said:
“Ahuahua te vai o Puturua,
Ahuahua te vai o Togamaututu,
E vai te one,
E maraga te one i ruga,
E kore e mau te purupuru o te
vai o Puturua,
Dry the waters of Puturua,
Dry the waters of Togamaututu,
The sand will stay,
The sand will rise up,
The wetness of the water of
Puturua will no longer remain.”
A white cloud came and covered the sky. It passed. Then a grey cloud came. It passed. Togamaututu said, “When is it coming?” Marau-torea, the chief, said, “It will come.” Then a black cloud came and covered the sky. Out of the cloud came the whirlwind and sucked up the water on the left side of the pool and on the right side of the pool. There was the whale, on the dry ground. He was rolling back and forth. He was dying.
His rolling made the ground shake and his sister, Ruatamahine, the young woman, came outside and found that her brother the whale was dying. She asked Marau-torea the chief to save her brother, so Marau-torea called on the whirlwind to return the water to the bathing pool and it did, so Togamaututu the whale was saved.
The young woman said to her brother, “You see now why I wanted this man to be my husband.” The whale answered his sister, “It is fine with me if you marry him, but it is our mother who does not want you to marry him.” In the morning the brother and sister told their mother what had happenned. When the mother saw that her children were accepting Marau-torea the chief, she realized that if she persisted in rejecting Marau-torea that it would create problems and anger between her and her children. So she gave permission for her daughter to marry Marau-torea the chief. This story is done.
In this story, Marau-torea the chief is tested to see if he is really a kaito (a warrior). In the test Marau-torea has to fight a great whale who is the brother of the young woman that he wishes to marry him. How did Marau-torea, the chief, defeat the mighty whale? He had mana (magic, power, the ability to do things). That mana seems to be gone these days. Who can call on the birds of the sky to come? Who can call on the whirlwind to defeat enemies?
There is still mana today. But the people who have it obtained it through education. With education you can do wonderful things, for yourself, for your family and for all of humanity. An education will give you the modern day mana. (But, I don’t care what some think, I still believe in the old mana.)
Revised: February 22, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff