MAORI WHO CAME TO HAWAII.
On the morning of the 16th of May, fourteen Maori arrived, six men and eight women, aboard the ship the Niagara, from New Zealand. After the examination by customs, they were taken to the mission house of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints at Auwaiolimu.
When they entered the church, the eyes were fixed of everyone who gathered, and the crowd was filled with happiness and aloha.
After things were put to order, Rev. E. W. Smith (the Islands), stood and explained why these Maori brethren came to Hawaii, and what will take place during the meeting.
Brother William Duncan (a Maori) was called to speak about their nature, their way of life, and the history of their kupuna. Also called was Elder Bolls to translate the words of William Duncan into English, and Brother L. Makanani to translate into Hawaiian. These are the words of Bro. Wm. Duncan.
“We are very happy to arrive in good circumstances and to meet with our people of Hawaii nei, the land of our kupuna. It was not because of physical desire, but through the guidance of God and faith in the Church of Jesus Christ that we are together, for the Temple [Halelaa] of God was built in these islands, and therefore we sailed the far seas to do service within this house, for ourselves, and for our generation, and for our kupuna who have died.
“We the kamaaina of New Zealand live with the understanding that we are from Hawaii (Hawaiki in our language); and it is from here that our kupuna came. According to the genealogy and history we have from generations and generations ago, our kupuna left Hawaii upon canoes numbering forty, filled with men, women, children and food, and sailed and landed at Samoa (Hamoa in our language); Tahiti, and reached New Zealand. We know the names of the canoes and the people who boarded them and navigated them.
“When living there, there was much difficulties because there was no food on that land, therefore, some returned to fetch kalo and uala (taro and kumara); our kupuna sailed back and forth in those days. This is believed to be around 800 years ago.
“In the stories told to us, our kupuna came from the Islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu and Kauai, but there is a genealogy of ours that states the kupuna came to Hawaii from a different large land, and in another, that there is another large land, a land very far away, that is the very first place the kupuna came from, of which the phrase appears in the genealogies, the mele, and the creation stories, saying Tahiti-ku, Tahiti-moe, Tahiti-pa-mamao, tane-i-tawai-roa, Tahiti-i-ta-pata, pata-ua-a-tane.
“In our understanding today, Tahiti-ku is America, Tahiti-moe is Hawaii, Tahiti-pa-mamao is the land of Canaan, the land of the God Tane.
“The educated haole say that we came from Fiji, and from there the Polynesian people spread to Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and other islands in the Pacific Ocean, but that is not at all what we believe. We know that we are from here in Hawaii, and that you are our flesh and blood. We are alike in nature, and there are many of your words that are similar to ours like this; you say, olua, oukou, makou, kakou, lakou, and we say, koe, orua, koutou, matou, tatou, ratou, and many others.
“I do not wish to drag this meeting on, for this is not the only time we will met; we will stay for a number of weeks and then return to the land. May the Lord bless us in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
After that, they were all called to show their memory of the words of the Bible; they stood and said together, “Hoihoi hou ia ana mai o ka Euanelio i ka honua nei i keia mau la hope.”
They recited together, and for a long time, and it sounded like they truly had it memorized. Their recitation was like when Hawaiians were at school learning to read. It sounded like they were reading. After their recitation, Brother G. Kumukahi was called to show how Hawaiians did it, and he performed well.
While these things were being demonstrated, the crowd was filled with happiness, aloha, and the eyes of many were moistened with tears of aloha and delight. Everyone’s hearts were drawn together, and at the end of the assembly, the brethren shook hands with these friends to extend their great aloha to them.
They were welcomed to the homes of the Hawaiian brethren, and on Monday morning they went to Laie, and there they will stay for ten weeks to serve in the Temple for themselves and their family who died.
It would appear that the Temple attracts the Maori, Tahitians, Samoans and Tongans to truly understand themselves, the Polynesian lahui of the Pacific Ocean.
C. W. KINNEY.
(Kuokoa, 5/28/1920, p. 2)