Added: 2017-02-01  Modified: 2017-02-22

Routledge (6)

"Ka tau koe e hetu'u ke e"

Notes

(1) Routledge's glossed text reads: Také. katuu mai means either come up or come e te Také na kahu clothes par ravarava. dyed pua také. Koai totua agnakopé one man behind another komata. eye mahoré. fish Apero name of man ta a mée to you o korua. e akaaka no ena. do not understand e mitimiti ena. no comprehend (Reel 2:0814).

(2) their: the text has okorua, "your". It has been assumed that this is the plural variant of the rhetorical device that is described in the commentary under (1).

(3) In Felbermayer's version of the well known myth of Tangaroa's arrival on Easter Island as a seal, Hiro replaces Teko "with the long legs" as the antagonistic brother (1971:46-49).

In one of her attempts to gather information on the Easter Island script, Routledge collected a text from the old leper Tomenika (Reel 2;0371-0377). It was chanted to four lines of imitation glyphs which he had drawn (fig. 1). The "writing" of Tomenika does not contribute anything to our understanding of rongorongo, but the text he recited is an important source on the neru.  

The beginning line, katau koe e te atuke, can be reconstructed with the help of another text from Tomenika, entitled tau ohive, i.e., tau o hiva, "beautiful girl of Hiva" (Reel 2:0815; Fischer 1997:290). This fragment reads ka tau koe e ehe tuké e vene vene eti paro paroko – katau koe e pipi e mamai. Although the second part is obscure, it is clear from the presence of beautiful girls, Hiva, and the paroko fish, that the "extraordinary star" in question is a neru girl.

From another informant, Routledge collected a much shorter and garbled version of Tomenika's long chant, accompanied by similar signs (Reel 2:0682b). It starts with ka tau ko he te hetuke anako renga and contains two phrases which connect it to the rite of the secluded children: ika meamea, "fair victims" (lit. "fish"), and neru neru, possibly meaning "very fat" or "to grow fat".

The fact that Tomenika was well acquainted with material concerning initiation rituals can be deduced from yet another text, one which he supplied on March 17, 1915 as a so-called take song (Reel 2:0814b; Fischer 1997:297). Although Routledge was only able to gather confused data on the obscure take ritual, apparently it involved the initiation of children who were isolated on Motu Nui for a certain period of time (1919:266-267). Tomenika's text suggests that the rite also practiced bleaching of the skin and fattening of the body. It is therefore possible that the take and neru customs were very similar. This is a reconstruction and translation (1):

How beautiful that extraordinary "star" is!

(There is) a cave with beautiful girls,

(who) lead men into error!  

A cave with beautiful girls,

(who) illuminate the shadows!

A cave with beautiful girls,

(who) (are) on our minds!

(We) have trouble concentrating!

(Our) spinning heads will be completely dazzled

when (she) becomes fair!

When (she) starts shining,

our shadows will quickly disappear!


Surely (we) will not give up (on her)?   

In Hiva, our noble girl is seeing Hiro,

this mind (of her) has been illuminated,

this "bird girl" has become a pangoro-fish!

In the pool of the waters of Hiro,

this secluded one of the koro-place has bathed!


Surely (we) will not give up (on her)?

In the waters of the pangoro-fish,

this "bird girl" has become a "star",

this "bird girl" has risen,

this secluded one has become fair!


Are (we) going to give up (on her)?  

In Hiva, in Marae Renga,  

the canoe of Hiro will be hanging in the sky

as long as the beautiful girl of Hiva is in this place!

After that noble girl has rejoined (us),

among the youths,

(she) (will be) an important and noble figure!

Inside the koro-place,

(hangs) the smell of (her) big and noble figure!

Until (she) goes outside,

until (she) is perplexed (by the sun),

(she) will go on expanding to rejoin (us)!


Surely (we) will not give up (on her)?

In Hiva (she) stuffs and stuffs (herself) with food!


Hiro-a-Hotu will be admiring (her),

after this beautiful girl has been transformed,

after this beautiful girl has suffered (from the pain)

in (her) belly!

From inside this "buoy"

with these beautiful girls, the human sacrifice will emerge!

From the inside that injures (her),

the beautiful girl will emerge!

(She) is exhausted by the bitter and long seclusion

with this dizziness,

because of the darkening of the sun in this koro-place!


Surely (we) will not give up (on her)?

In Hiva, in Marae Renga, (she) belongs to Hiro!

Does this "bird girl" long for the body

(that comes) with (doing) nothing,

(that comes) with (being) a sacrifice?  

Is the filth of (her) sores cleaned

by the waters of Hiro?

Is that beautiful girl in the company of the ?dolphin

that spouts water?

Is (she) in the company of the seal wiping (its) black face?

What will clean all those wounds?

Will it be the raindrops outside

when this sacrifice to Hiro is dancing?

Will the water (she) enters strike the beautiful girl?

Will these delusions

of (her) injured eyes be shut out?

Will the wrongs of that hole remain locked up back there?

Will the delusions of that sacrifice be left behind,

together with the garments with the "finest" louse eggs,

together with the heaps of sugarcane?

Together with that sugarcane back there

these garments

have covered (her) well!

(They) have covered (her) beauty,  

together with the delicious banana flower juice!

How beautifiul this body is!

Inside the koro-place,

(hangs) the smell of (her) big, noble presence!

The end (has come)

for waiting with a deteriorated eyesight,

for that seclusion, waiting with the others,

for the bygone days of beautiful girls,

bloated and crawling on all fours,

for the abandonment of children in Hiva,

for the filth,

for the bitterness of seclusion and deteriorated eyes!

These minds of ours have been dazzled!

(22) katau koe e te atuke

a nako renga     

(21) rima ure

a nako renga

(20) rapa komari

a n r      

(19) ite puocho o taatau

(18) arai tíe

(17) o te roro viri arapamo

(16) ka mea

(15) ka ura ura

(14) tohiti (13) tohiti áta otetaw


(12) otuu-kuma

(11) i hiva i te ohiro otautau ariki

(10) i rapai tororo     

(09) i pangor to manu te mahahini

(08) irotto i te vai (07) a té tai tai ahiro

(06) i hopu ai to huru o te koro


ko tuu kuma      

(05) i rotto i te vai a te pangor    

(04) ihe-tuuai to manu toma ahini     

(03) ire riai tomanu toma ahini     

(02) i te ai to huru


e tu-kumai

(01) i hiva i maraerenca

i rotto i te racni pakia a hiro     

(40) kia nera te tau ko te hiva     

(39) i piriai koe hoarikié

i rotto i te taanca

te mata nui a raki

(38) i rotto i te koro

kará o mata nui araki    

(37) kaho

ka mira mira

(36) tórtóki piéri


otuu-kuma

i hiva komora (35) komorta

(34) kortó

kirakira koe te ohiro a hotué

(33) i huri ai to tau

(32) i kai to tau        

(31) i rotto i te mánáva       

(30) a ótto útó

(29) ko to tuu renca te ika tugata   

(28) a te rotto mahoré (27) a

tuu renga        

(26) gaa-te-huru kavekave roroa

(25) kotóo-múko       

(24) ote húri raa (23) ote koro


otu kuma

i hiva i marae tohio

(58) te manu tamaahine ro po he áro

(57) ko to ko renga

(56) kotó íkará

(55) ku háka má neineiki a maháki

(54) a te taitai ahiro     

(53) ko te kéképu renga (52) a

púpú he tai

(51) ko te pakia oro (50) arenca keri

mea (49) a hári to oreno

(48) o te matamata ua aho

ka (47) ate roto ika (46) a hiro

(45) o te vai uru pakipaki renca

(44) o to hára

(43) a mata mahire apero

(42) ko te kekepu apuru atua

(41) ko te hára ika a rére átua  

(75) ko te káo (74) ko kura riha

(73) ko toá rau   

(72) ko toa tua

(71) to káókáó

(70) ko hoé riva     

(69) ko hoe maitaki    

(68) ko piopio riva   

(67) ka maitaki koe e toaroé

(66) i rotto i te koro

kará o matanui araki

o te pihi

(65) ki a-teko te matahi     

(64) ki te huru ateko terua    

(63) ki te tuoi arenca

maramara te toru

(62) ki te marere a poiki te hiva   

(61) ki te hawa

(60) ki te kava a huru te matahi

(59) i rapa ai to rora oto tau         

ka tau koe e te hetu'u ke e

'ana ko renga    

rima ure    

'ana ko renga

rapa ko te maru  

'ana ko renga   

'i te puoko otaatou

ara 'iti e

o te roro viri a rapa no

ka me'a     

ka uraura    

tohuti-tohuti 'ata otaatau


'o tuku mai    

'i Hiva 'ite (o) Hiro otaatou 'ariki

i rapa i to roro   

i pangoro to manu tamahahine

'i roto i te vai 'a te taitai 'a Hiro

i hopu ai to huru o te koro  


'o tuku mai    

'i roto i te vai 'a te pangoro

i hetu'u ai to manu tamahahine

i rere ai to manu tamahahine  

i tea ai to huru    


e tuku mai   

'i Hiva 'i Marae Renga   

'i roto i te rangi ?pahi a Hiro  

ki ?ai nei ra te tau o te Hiva  

i piri ai koe e hoa 'ariki e   

'i roto i te tanga   

te mata nui 'ariki   

'i roto i te koro

kara o mata nui 'ariki

ka oho

ka mira-mira

toto ki piri    


'o tuku mai    

'i Hiva komo ra komo ?ra   

?

?hira-hira koe e Hiro 'a ?Hotu e

i huri ai to tau    

i kai to tau

'i roto i te manava   

a roto uto

ko to renga tu'u te ika tangata  

a te roto mahore 'a   

tu'u renga     

ngaa te huru kava-kava roroa  

ko to moko     

o te 'uri ra'a o te koro     


'o tuku mai     

'i Hiva 'i Marae (Renga) to ?Hiro

te manu tamahahine ro pohe aro    

ko to korenga    

ko to ika ra    

ko haka-maa neinei ki maaki

'a te taitai 'a Hiro    

ko te kekepu renga 'a

pupuhi tai  

ko te pakia horo 'aringa kere

me'a aha rito hore no  

o te matamata 'ua haho

ka ate ro to ika a Hiro

o te vai uru paki-paki renga

o to hara

a mata mahore api ro

ko te keke pu a puru atu'a

ko te hara ika a rere atu'a

ko te kao ko kura riha  

ko toa rau

ko toa atu'a  

to kao-kao  

ko hue riva

ko hue maitaki

ko pi'opi'o riva   

ka maitaki koe e to aro e

'i roto i te koro    

kara o mata nui 'ariki   

o te pihi

ki ati ko te mata ii

ki te huru ati ko terua

ki te tuai 'a renga

maramara totoro

ki te marere a poki 'i te Hiva  

ki te hava    

ki te kava 'a huru te mata ii

i rapa ai to roro otootau  

Text Routledge

Reconstruction

Translation

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Fig. 1

Tomenika's imitation script

ka tu'u mai i te take 'ina kahu para  

rava'a-rava'a take

ko ai to tu'a 'a nga kope ko mata mahore

api ro ta 'a me'e okorua

e akaaka no ena e mitimiti ena

Let (them) rise from the initiation without (their) stinking clothes!

The period of initiation will pass!

The youngsters with (their) injured eyes are staying in the back!

Their (2) circumstances close off (their) complexion,

(they) only move with great difficulty, (they) are lapping up (their food)!

This short text paints the same bleak picture as most of the other neru chants. It has several details with them in common such as the sitting "in the back" of a cave, the change of skin color, the loss of eyesight, the lack of movement, and the diet of sugarcane juice. Most importantly, it uses the term mata mahore, "injured eyes", which also appears in the long Tomenika text below but has been rendered as mata mahire (cf. line 65). Also of interest is the fact that Routledge's informants linked a category of rongorongo inscriptions to the take ritual (Reel 2:0814a).  

The long text that Tomenika recited to his four rows of improvised glyphs has a number of important elements in common with other neru texts such as the ritual transformation into fish and birds, the identification of the paled child with a "star", most likely the planet Venus, and the references to the place of seclusion as a "buoy" (uto), i.e., a gourd, and as being part of Hiva, the spirit world, There are, however, also some new and intriguing details. The most important of these is the presence of the chtonic god Hiro. Hiro (Whiro in Maori lore) was a brother of  the sea god Tangaroa, and in much the same way intimately connected to darkness and death (3). Hiro was apparently also connected to rainfall, perhaps in the same way as Tangaroa was associated with dark storm clouds. On Easter Island, their close relation can be suspected from the place name Papa Tangaroa Hiro on the south coast (Charlín Ojeda 1947:172).

The left column below gives the Tomenika text as recorded by Routledge. The numbers in parentheses are Routledge's, and refer to the numbered glyphs in Tomenika's manuscript (these are in declining order as Tomenika recited to them from right to left). A transcription of Routledge's integral notes – which include glosses collected from her informants – can be found below. They make it abundantly clear that by the beginning of the 20th century the meaning of the text had been almost completely lost.

(uncertain transcriptions are indicated by question marks in parentheses)

First line

(22) katau very fine koe you e te atuke lit. the sea urchin a nako marow renga = 2 woman’s name     

(21) rima ure lit. hand penis = a man’s name a nako marow no good renga = a woman’s name

(20) rapa shine komari woman’s organ a n r      

(19) ite puocho lit. head o taatau that hung up

(18) arai tíe lit. fall down = a mans name

(17) o te roro viri headache arapamo shine two mens names   

(16) ka mea lit. red = a woman’s name      

(15) ka ura ura lit. red = name either ♂♀    

(14) tohiti yellow = name = faded leaf or lipe

(13) tohiti áta otetaw color in ? setting or rising sun = name of man  

(12) otuu-kuma an important man      

(11) i hiva foreign i te ohiro new moon otautau mounts ariki chief 2 name

(10) i rapai black tororo one name      

(09) i pangor congereel to manu bird te mahahini woman 3 names  

(08) irotto in i te vai the water name

(07) a té tai tai ahiro plenty full tide

(06) i hopu ai go wash to huru servants sleep in koro o te koro not a name ko tuu kuma important man      

(05) i rotto i in te vai water a te pangor pangor    

(04) ihe-tuuai star to manu toma ahini woman    

(03) ire riai go up tomanu toma ahini     

(02) i te ai become white to huru stay e tu-kumai gr. man        

(01) i hiva i maraerenca i rotto i te racni sky pakia a hiro atua     

Second line

(40) kia nera fall asleep te tau ko te hiva     

(39) i piriai together koe hoarikié friend name i rotto i te into the taanca fight te mata mata nui a raki name of place – als name of mn

(38) i rotto i te koro kará hat o mata nui araki    

(37) kaho goes ka mira mira among men     

(36) tórtóki name of man piéri plenty chicken otuu-kuma big gt man 36 + 35 two men steal chicken i hiva name komora

(35) komorta       

(34) kortó you kirakira hakama ? shame not name koe you te ohiro new moon a hotué hoteu name       

(33) i huri he finish ai to tau      

(32) i kai ieach (?) to tau        

(31) i rotto i te mánáva stomach       

(30) a ótto útó mans name       

(29) ko to tuu stand up renca te ika fish tugata man    

(28) a te rotto hole in stone shallow water mahoré small fish

(27) a tuu stand up renga        

(26) gaa-te-huru stop in house kavekave fish roroa long not a name  

(25) kotóo-múko servant cook (?)      

(24) ote húri throw away raa sun

(23) ote koro otu kuma i hiva i marae        

Third line

tohio (58) te manu tamaahine woman ro nk po he áro chest front (?)        

(57) ko to ko nk renga

(56) kotó you íkará fish name to kill a man     

(55) ku háka make má neineiki a maháki fish

(54) a te taitai sea ahiro gushes up      

(53) ko te kéképu renga godes eal

(52) a púpú he tai name of a ariki rapanui      

(51) ko te pakia oro fish comes to surface name of man

(50) arenca keri mea mountain near Poiki also woman name

(49) a hári house to oreno tori woman  

(48) o te matamata ua rain comes down aho ka atua

(47) ate roto ika fish comes in little hole in rock

(46) a hiro name of man, god

(45) o te vai water uru come down pakipaki renca name of man      

(44) o to hára nk

(43) a mata eye mahire fish apero name of man 2 names

(42) ko te kekepu p...de (?)  apuru shut up atua god or priest who gives to god

(41) ko te hára nk ika a rére flees átua god 2 names   

Fourth line    

(75) ko te káo Raukao name of man      

(74) ko kura riha name of son of raa     

(73) ko toá rau kill Rau        

(72) ko toa tua Huberto name       

(71) to káókáó side side name       

(70) ko hoé knife riva good name      

(69) ko hoe knife maitaki good name     

(68) ko piopio white feathers round hat riva fine name    

(67) ka maitaki fine koe you no name e toaroé chest a name   

(66) i rotto i te koro koru kará hat wings of makohi o matanui araki o te pihi 100

(65) ki a-teko name te matahi one    

(64) ki te huru men stop in house ateko name terua second   

(63) ki te tuoi titivate the hair arenca woman maramara piro piro te toru 3d

(62) ki te marere finish a poiki poiki te hiva 9    

(61) ki te hawa make wound with mataa     

(60) ki te kava good smell from food? a huru ten te matahi +one

(59) i rapa blur ai to rora forehead oto tau          

Commentary

(1) koe e ... e: this combination of the second person singular pronoun koe and the disjunct vocative e ... e, is used while "(t)he narrative is in the third person, i.e. no addressee is involved as a participant; yet the speaker is, as it were, addressing the participant" (Kieviet: 2016:137). Fedorova (1965:400) who calls the construction the "article circumfix", gives examples of its occurrence in Manuscripts A and C with both personal and impersonal nouns. According to her, "(t)his form of the article was not registered either in kohau rongo-rongo texts recorded by Thomson, or in later Rapanui folklore texts. It is not improbable that it was used in colloquial Rapanui at a certain stage of development." The same construction appears in lines 28, 39, 75.  

(2) 'ana ko renga: the phrase is comparable to the beginning of the "Rapanui numerals" recorded by the Spanish in 1770: ko 'ana ko renga, "(It is called) the cave with the beautiful girls".   

(3) rima: Roussel (1908:211): "enduire en erreur"; Churchill (1912:250): "to lead into error".

(5) ko te maru: it has been assumed that as the text was no longer understood, this eroded to komari. Accordingly, the shorter text (Reel 2:0682b) has changed rapa into papa, thus connecting the word komari to the so-called "vulva signs" engraved on flat rock surfaces (papa). As Hiro is also glossed as "atua" and "god" (in the long text), the inspiration may have come from the so-called "Trumpet of Hiro" (Pu o Hiro), a sculpted stone which is located not far from 'Ana O Keke and which is engraved with komari.

(9) spinning: roro viri is glossed as "headaches". The translation "spinning" is proposed as viri literally means "to turn", "to roll".

(13) Surely (we) will not give up (on her)?: alt.: "Surely (she) will not abandon (us)?"   

(14) Hiro: judging by the glosses the name of the god Hiro is mistaken here for that of Ohiro, the night of the "new moon". It is however also possible that it became confused with Te-Ohiro, one of the legendary first explorers of the island. A similar confusion is reported by Best (1922b:111) for Maori folklore where the legendary voyager Whiro is confused with the premevil diety: "This Whiro-te-tipua bears the same name as that of one of the offspring of the primal parents, the Sky Father and the Earth Mother, and who personifies darkness, evil, disease and death in Maori myth. The result of this similarity of names has been that the two have been confused, even in the Maori mind, still more so in the minds of some of our students of Maori traditions. To confuse Whiro, the Polynesian voyager, with one of the primal personifications in Maori cosmogony tends to nullify our attempts to separate the historical traditions of the Maori people from their myths."

(15) to: this particle is probably the same as given by Roussel (1908:184) as "celui-ci". It is used profusely by Metoro before nouns (sometimes preceded by ko) as a demonstrative (cf. Barthel 1958:173-199). As such it appears to be lacking in Rapanui grammars. It clearly differs from the Rapanui possessive , which is "a contraction of the article te and the possessive marker o" (Kieviet 2016:243).

(16) pangoro: written as pangor and glossed as "conger eel". The informants of Routledge also provided a drawing of an eel-like fish (Reel 2:377). This fish seems to perform a similar function in the ritual transformation of the neru as the paroko mentioned in other texts. The name also appears in one of the He timo te akoako variants in the phrase atua pangoro atua, "the god (is) a pangoro god" (cf. text ?). In another text, collected by Métraux, a neru girl is asked after her taina pangoro. her "pangoro sister" (cf. text M3). When the word was no longer understood this was turned into panioro and translated as "Spaniard".

(22) rere: alt.: riri, "repugnant", "angry".

(23) has become fair: perhaps this is another link to the star metaphor as tea also means "to shine" and in refrence to the moon and the stars "to rise", "to appear".

(26) the canoe of Hiro: the text – which apparently refers to a star or constellation – has pakia, "seal". To my knowledge there is no "seal" among the Polynesian constellation names. It is therefore assumed that the original word was pahi, "canoe". A possible parallel is the waka of the aforementioned voyager Whiro which was called Hotu-te-ihi-rangi, a name which also appears as the name for a constellation among the Maori of the Bay of Plenty (Best 1922a:31).

(29) tanga: alt.: tahanga, "sacrifice".

(35) expanding: alt.: "bleeding".

(37) After Hiva Routledge inserts the word "name" in the Rapanui text (see below), the meaning of which is not clear. Possibly, it is a misplaced gloss. This would make it one of many that identify unknown terms as proper names.

(39) Hiro-a-Hotu: possibly, hotué was added later when ohiro became interpreted as "new moon" as otua and ohotu are names of other nights. Another possibility is that it is the result of the identification with the explorer Te Ohiro, with "a Hotu", i.e., "son of Hotu", added to the name.

(43) buoy: the gourd used in the sea functions as a metaphor for the cave and its watery environment (which is also compared to a womb). The same reference is found in the "Rapanui numerals": kokohu kirote ma hana te uto: "the 'buoy' provides shade inside for the heat". Another text has ipu kaha – the gourd used as a vessel – instead (cf. text C2).

(45) injures: cf. TAH: mahore, "peler (intr.), s'écailler, être écorché; injure"; HAW; maahole, "to bruise, skin, scrape, as a flesh wound; to injure, as the feelings" (POLLEX). As Rapanui dictionairies list mahore as a small silver or gold colored fish (Englert 1978:186; Fuentes 1960:777, respectively), another possibility is that this is another "fish metaphor" referring to the neru, comparable to paroko and pangoro,

(48) with this dizziness: alt.: "in the company of these lizards". In New Zealand, the dreaded lizard (moko) was associated with Whiro (Best 1923:110). Interestingly, on Easter Island a point of land near Anakena bay is called Hiro Moko (Charlín Ojeda 1947:133).

(49) 'uri: alt.: huri: "to overthrow".

(53) kekepu: an obscure animal that appears in several legends. According to Fuentes (1960:759), it is likely a variety of sea tortoise. However, the fact that it is described here as "spouting water" seems to point to a sea mammal possessing a blowhole such as the dolphin, the porpoise, and the whale, As the warm air is expelled it forms an upward, steamy spout that is easily mistaken for water.

(60) wounds: alt.: "smears".

(63) paki-paki: Fuentes (1960:721) has haapáki: "to push", "to slap", which derives from *PN paki, "slap", "clap", "hit", "touch" (POLLEX).

(66) keke pu: these words apparently became fused into kekepu because of the presence of this word in line 53.

(72) ko hue riva: perfect aspect requires postverbal markers 'a or 'ana. The omission could have resulted from a Tahitian influence. Metoro, for example, also uses ku without these markers (alongside kua, from Tahitian 'ua).   

(74) banana flower juice: this sweet beverage is also mentioned in another neru chant (cf. text C1).

(80) waiting: alt.: ate, "singing".

(86) because these minds of ours were dazzled: this is a reference to line 9. Whereas the first "dazzling" was caused by the shining appearence of the neru imagined as a star, this second appears to be intended to convey serious doubts about the consequences of the seclusion, i.e., people have been "blind" for all the negative consequences that are summed up in the preceding lines.

Integral transcription of Routledge's fieldnotes