GaryWords 03 – Viking Influence in Early New Zealand

There is an area locally where I live in New Zealand that has earthworks consisting of level terraces surrounding a hilltop with dugouts or pits set into the terraces, and there are other features here also including what definitely appears to be a dew pond, as would be found say in Ireland.  These earthworks were established here well before the relatively modern-day arrival of people from Europe or United Kingdom in the late 1700’s.

Over the years various individually renowned people in their fields have visited this area; archaeologists, historians, anthropologists and other, and in most or all instances, when on the site, and because of the sites similarity in earthworks between here and similar sites in the U.K., conversation goes immediately to the U.K. or England in particular,  and rarely if ever to Polynesia.  This has always had me puzzled. Celts, Normans and other cultures are mentioned.

Even a dozen people from the Native Land Court [or is it now the Maori Land Court?] came here maybe ten years ago, and some immediately and with enthusiasm, began conversation with a local historian about a place they knew in common in England.

Much of all this is mentioned in the attached (linked) vlog, in which I also named a few books in my collection of readings,  and then is mentioned my latest treasure, a book written by Frank O. V. Acheson called PLUME OF THE ARAWAS . Frank Acheson was a Judge in the Native Land Court in the early 1900’s and had a deep love and insight into the native people. The book was first published in 1930 was published with consultation and the blessing of the then Maori elders. 

Now, the land near here in the Hawkes Bay I had understood to have been once inhabited by the Ngati Hotu people, who retreated to the Lake Taupo region when the current inhabitants arrived in the area (mid late 1500’s from memory) and dispossessed the Ngati Hotu of the land. The skin complexion of the Ngati Hotu tended to be often much lighter than the later inhabitants and red hair was not uncommon, and is still found. In searching for more detail on the Ngati Hotu, the Plume of The Arawas came to my attention and it was in this book that I found the answer to the question that had puzzled me for so long.

In chapter eight of part four ..the chapter heading and sub-heading (quoted from Whites Maori History) reads

The Plume of the Arawas’
Whence may come the terms of peace so lasting,
That rage and battle-strife will cease to be.

It is as though it is prophetic of this period that is opening up today. This thing, this plume, is going to burst through and, …the terms of peace so lasting may come. I will read a bit from page 283, after he speaks of the other races that lived here, Nukutea, the High Chief is speaking to Tuwharétoa,

“Thus do I come to the point where I left off last night, for the stranger chief who took to wife the daughter of Hui-te-Rangiora on Little-Hawaiki was of the White race. According to tradition he was a man of very fair skin, and had blue eyes, and had fair hair of a distinctly reddish tinge. But the most extraordinary thing about that man, was that from just above his ears there grew two small wings, one on either side of the head.” …

 “…Tradition records also that the stranger chief was the eldest son of the ruler of some cold country far away in the north, and that he was a great voyager, and an expert at navigating a vessel upon the ocean. Indeed, it would seem that he taught our people much that was of value to them later in their migrations across the sea.  Ah! There is a question hovering upon thy lips, O Arawa. His name? His name was ‘Erika’.”

Acute disappointment filled the mind of Tuwharétoa, for the name “Erika” was a new name to him, and strange name. Now the names” Hui-te-Rangiora” and “Puhi-Ariki” had been quite well known to him, for they were on his own line of ancestors in the whakapapa or pedigree handed down from Ngatoro-i-rangi. But, according to that whakapapa, Puhi-Ariki had married the Sea God Tangaroa. “Erika”? That was surely not a Maori name?

“His name was ‘Erika,’” repeated Nukutea,  “but, because he pronounced his name as if its ending had been bitten off, Puhi-Ariki did not like that name. Therefore, upon her marriage to Erika, she gave him a new name, the name Tangaroa.  Ah! That name is known to thee, O Arawa? Taihoa!”

“In due time sons were born to Puhi-Ariki and Tangaroa, first one son and then another, and they also had blue eyes and had fair hair somewhat reddish in tinge, but their skin was shaded with brown. According to our traditions those two sons of Puhi-Ariki were the first ‘urukéhus’ born to the Maori race, and in later times their descendants preserved their characteristics and were referred to often as ‘the fair-haired offspring of the Sea God Tangaroa.’

“Now, after the birth of his second son, Tangaroa, departed from Little-Hawaiki in his queer-shaped vessel, voyaging to the eastward in an effort to find a new track to his home country in the north. But though he promised to return, he came not back.

“Years passed, and then the grief-stricken Puhi-Ariki with her two sons joined Hui-te-Rangiora in one of the migrations proceeding to the east, in the hope that in some way or other she might reach the unknown country whither her loved one had gone.”

Well, we know that gods are men, and that book says to me quite plainly, that the sea god Tangaroa is a Viking, a Norseman or a north man.  I suggest a person should read the book as the whole story is really quite wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the chapter of the battle of the wakas on lake Taupo.

The above video is 9 minutes 20 seconds duration

BOOKS mentioned here or on the video:
ANCIENT CELTIC NEW ZEALAND by Martin Doutré, ISBN 0-473-05367-5. Dé Nanann Publishers, Auckland New Zealand. 1999
PLUME OF THE ARAWAS by Frank O. V. Acheson. Published by A.H. and A.W. Reed, N.Z. Third Edition 1974. ISBN 0 589 00862 5
PREHISTORIC MAORI FORTIFICATIONS in the North Island of New Zealand by Aileen Fox ISBN 0 582 71746 9 published by Longman Paul Limited, NZ 1976.
NOAH’S LAND ISBN 978-0-473-49172-7, and FORBIDDEN HISTORY ISBN 978-0-473-35264-6, both by John Dudley Aldworth, published by Truthful History Publications, Hamilton N.Z.
THE ORIGIN OF THE POLYNESIANS, Cedric Livingstone 2012 – Christchurch NZ. Private publication

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