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 Post subject: Maori Spirits,Seers & Prophecies
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:39 pm

Discussion about the Spiritual concepts of the Maori... religious and ceremonial practices (karakia), mediums and the realms of atau or spirits..... The belief in matakité or the gift of second sight, and prophecy. “Matakite has been translated as meaning Clairvoyance but often encompasses other senses as well. For many Maori the ability to see into the future, the past, the present is a common occurrence. It is part and parcel of who we are and it is an acknowledgement of who has gone before us and that our tupuna (ancestors) have attained a status and mana (power) that far exceeds our own as physical entities in this physical world”

The name Matatuhi means one who is a prophet, one who can read what is written in the wind and a Matakite, one who sees with the healing/intuition or third eye.

iscussion about Maori priests or Tohunga and sacred Maori lore and Tapu

(Click "next section" at the bottom of the page for more interesting reading")

"The higher class of priests were tohunga ahure wa and tohunga tuahu.
Other terms were tohunga puri and tohunga kiato; while tohunga makutu and ruanuku denoted a wizard—dealer in black magic. The title of pouwhiro was applied in some parts to a high-class priest, and that of horomata to one of the third grade. Those engaged in learning the higher type of oral traditions, and in acquiring sacerdotal lore, were known as pia, taura, and tauira at different stages of their progress. These tohunga of the highest class did not indulge in shamanistic jugglery or black magic. Thaumaturgic performances were the province of the tohunga kehua (a charlatan, an empiric and imposter).

The upper orders of tohunga were the conservers of all superior versions of tribal lore, and transmitted such knowledge orally down succeeding generations. Youths of superior intelligence and memorizing-power were selected to be trained as tohunga. The teaching of matters pertaining to religion, cosmogony, the origin of man, &c., was an extremely tapu business, and such men as these tohunga remained tapu for life. Those of the low class were but shamans and wizards, and never acquired any knowledge of an esoteric nature. Many of them, especially those dealing with atua of the fourth class, were not in any way trained men, but merely imposters of the shaman type."

"The Maori has ever recognized an immortal element in man, which he styles the wairua. Indeed, he may be said to have held the theory of the tripartite nature of man—body, soul, and spirit being his tinana, mauri, and wairua. This word wairua also means “shadow.” Another Maori word denoting a reflected image and shadow is ata, and this is a name for spirit or soul here, and at Uvea in the Loyalty Isles, as also at Taumako. The wairua of a person is that which leaves his body at death, never to return. It also leaves his body for brief periods during his life—that is, when he dreams—and is a more active force than the mauri. Spirits of the dead that do not immediately proceed to the spirit-world but lurk round the village home in the form of ghosts are termed kehua. The mauri of a person differs from his wairua, for it cannot leave the body during life."

We may note another supernatural form in what are known as tipua, or tupua, a word denoting something uncanny or strange; sometimes to be rendered as “demon.” These tipua were common in former times, and many curious superstitions are connected with them. Any object might be viewed as a tipua; in many cases rocks and trees were so viewed. In many instances such natural objects were also uruuru whenua—places at which travellers made small offerings, as a branchlet or handful of herbage, to the spirits or demons of the land. Such offerings were of a placatory nature.

I am fascinated by Maori lore and legend and their deep honor and cultural reverence for their spirituality, their ancestors, their spirits and the dead. I am currently researching this sooooooo I thought I would share some of the interesting information I am collecting here for others to read as well. I will just post as I go.


Last edited by Mylaa on Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:08 pm, edited 9 times in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 2:48 pm 
Kikokiko (Ghost Souls).

There are two supernatural forces to which the Maori attributes most cases of sickness, especially internal or obscure cases, and these influences are—first, the presence of an ancestral ghost or kehua, and, second, the occult powers of the sorcerer or tohunga. The wandering spirits of the dead cause most diseases.

When a Maori dies, the wairua, or dream-ghost, or soul, which during life could leave the body and wander at large when its owner slept, becomes a kehua. “Kehua,” says Best, “are the spirits of the dead which revisit their former haunts of this world and make things unpleasant for the living.

Kehua are said by some to be invisible, and capable of acting benevolently or in a hostile manner upon men. They can communicate with mortals; they eat and drink, wander about the village; they can see and hear what is going on about them. In fact, these disembodied spirits retain many of the characteristics of their living fellow-men.

Ghosts of the dead are invisible except to people who are asleep, or to priests in a state of trance. Tohungas, who possess clairvoyant powers (matakite or matatuhi), sometimes saw a whole host of ghosts of the dead (kehua) traversing space. When a kehua appears to the wairua (dream-ghost) of a living person it is anthropomorphic, but when it appears at the request of its medium—say, at a spiritualistic seance—it assumes the form of a spider or lizard, &c. It can also make its appearance as a shadow of a sun-ray. Ghosts of the dead were said to have returned to this world in the form of butterflies. In Samoa they are said to return in the form of moths.

Clairvoyant seers represented the dead in the living world by some living relative, who was the medium (kauwaka or kaupapa) through which such spirits communicated with, and acted as guardians of, their living relatives. A single person may be the medium of the kehua of many deceased relatives. Such kehua or wairua do not abide with the medium, but visit him when they have anything to communicate. The medium may be quite a common person, of no standing in the tribe until he becomes a medium. ... 00320.html

I find studying this sort of thing so fascinating!!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:16 pm 
All through the Maori-Polynesian Islands we find the immeasurably ancient belief in the “spirit’s flight,” the departure of the souls of the dead. From New Zealand to Samoa, and more distant islands still, the old poetic legend is heard. References to the Reinga, or the Rerenga-Wairua, the Leaping-off Place of the spirits of the departed, occur in every speech and every lament for the dead. The souls of the dead are supposed to go to the extreme north-west point of New Zealand, the tail of this Ika-a-Maui, and thence vanish into the ocean, into the mystic profundity- Cape Reinga.This is where Spirit takes its annual flight for the equatorial regions, and the far-away northern continental lands, is the surf-washed rocky promontory where our Maori souls loose their last grip of this land and enter the ocean-door of Po (night)- the darkness of the Underworld; eventually after a long journey they return to Hawaiki, following the path of the setting and midnight sun.

Dark and jagged, naked, washed by the never-resting surf, myriads of seafowl screaming about its cliffs, rocky Cape Reinga seems a fitting place for the age-long departure of the innumerable company of souls. As the souls approach the land’s end they think of their old homes in this world of light and of the dear ones they have left behind them; and they halt on the rocky ridge of Haumu and gaze backward over the painful way by which they have come. They weep in high, thin, wailing voices like the whistling wind, and they lacerate themselves with sharp splinters of obsidian (mata-tuhua), as people did at funeral gatherings or tangihanga, and those volcanic-glassy flakes and knives are there on the trail to-day. They pluck green leaves of shrubs, which they weave into kopare, or death chaplets, for their heads.The streams that here and there in this long peninsula ripple down from the hills cease their low music as the ghosts pass by. The path goes along the broken knife-back ridge until the ultimate cape is reached, the Reinga, or leaping-place, sacred to the countless army of the dead. Here there grew a great and venerable pohutukawa tree; the blossoms were called in legend Te Pua o te Reinga—The Flowers of Spirits’ Flight- beautiful flowers that grew to lure, feed and tempt the spirits. From the water rose this giant "pua" tree in full blossom with as many branches as there were tribes. Each tribe had its own branch on the tree, and the spirits took up their places on their tribal branches. Sometimes the spirits remained in the vicinity for a while and then wandered off disconsolately to the seashore, where they waited among the rocks and tangled vines until the time came for them to leave for the spirit world.Some dominant spirits became leaders of the waiting spirits and, when it considered that the company was large enough, it sent out spirit messages with instructions for all the spirits to gather on a set date for departure to the spirit world.Until this time they often sat among the neighboring trees and attempted to peek inside the houses. They remembered their relatives with affection but became hostile if a loved child was ill-treated. When the time came and the tree was finally loaded (with spirits) it sank like a primitive lift through the wave and the opening which yawned below and deposited its passengers in the underworld.The branches (now broken off) bent over the dark, unrestful ocean; some of the roots went searching like wizardly fingers for the water. By these boughs and roots the spirits descended, the one after the other they dropped into the tideway, where seaweed swirled like ocean monsters’ hair, and as they vanished into the depths the mihi-tangata was heard, the wailing of the innumerable dead greeting their coming to the Tatau-o-te-Po, the Gateway of the Hereafter. So, with the seafowl screaming their requiem, the winds of Land’s End whistling about the cape, the ocean murmuring in a thousand voices, the Wairua Maori departed from this land of Aotearoa.

There are many ghost stories told in the kainga, such as the travellers’ tale of companies of strangers appearing in the distance on the great West Coast beach, all bound northward. These, in the distance, seem living people, but they all fade away as they are approached. The man of this world of light sees no one to hail as he reaches the spot on the beach where the travellers seemed to be, but if he looks back presently, as he journeys south, he will see these apparitions hurrying along the sands to their far north destination. ... dy-d9.html

Last edited by Mylaa on Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:15 am 
.........And hence the spirits gather at Cape Reinga (known in Maori as "Te-rerenga-wairua"-which means the "flying-off place of the spirits"), as being the nearest point to the old "spirits' road," by which their ancestors' spirits went back to the spirit land. "Spirits' road "which follows the ranges from the south of New Zealand to Te Reinga, near the North Cape. Many stories have the Maoris of the doings of the spirits on their way to the sacred Pohutukawa tree growing at Te Reinga, from which the spirits dropped down into the chasm that led under the sea to spirit land.Also known as Te Rerenga Wairua or Te Rēinga, this cape is one of the most sacred Māori places in New Zealand. Tradition says that the spirits of the dead travel along two pathways to Cape Rēinga, at the northernmost tip of the country. One path begins in the south and runs along Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach), and the other starts at Kapowairua meaning to "catch the spirit" commonly otherwise known as Spirits Bay. The spirits congregate at Cape Rēinga before leaping into the water; they surface after crossing the ocean to Manawatāwhi (Three Kings Islands). There they sing a last lament for the loved ones they have left behind before proceeding to their spiritual home in Hawaiki.

Legend has it that when a Maori dies, his wairua (spirit, or soul) leaves and goes to the rerenga-wairua (spirit's leaping-place). On arriving at the resting-place on the last ridge (the taumata i Haumu) the spirit halts and laments, weeping, the world it is leaving. It also lacerates itself, in grief, with obsidian, of which there is much lying there. When the mourning and weeping are over, the wairua descends the cliff by means of the roots of the tree which is there, to the beach below. It goes on, and passes out on to the rocks. Gaping there is the hole by which the spirit descends to the reinga. The ocean-waters surge upwards through this chasm, the seaweeds are swirled round by the waters. Then the waters recede and leave exposed the abyss. Down into this the spirit leaps, and finds itself in the spirit-world. There the sun is shining, there is no darkness. It is just like this world. The spirit proceeds onward until it comes to the fence. Should it pass over the fence, that spirit will return to this world. But if it passes under the fence it is gone for all time, it will never-more return to this world. When the spirit reaches those of its relatives and is offered food, should it eat of that food it will never return to this world.

Tales have it that spirits wait until a great number of them are gathered together,then they travel along their last journey, and make the plunge in company while a female Taniwha is said to follow their footsteps.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:47 pm
Posts: 18
kewl insight for an australian (me) into the maori folklore and spirtual realms


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