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Tangihanga – death customs

by Rawinia Higgins

Ko te tangihanga te tikanga a te Māori mō te tangi i ōna mate. Ka takoto te tūpāpaku ki runga i te marae, ā, ka tae ake te manuhiri kia whakamihi taurangi i a ia. Kei roto i ngā tangi ngā tikanga tuku iho, kāre anō kia rerekē ahakoa te whakaaweawe a te Pākehā.


Understanding tangihanga

Ko te tangihanga te tikanga a te Māori mō te hunga kua mate. Ko te kupu e whakamahi whānuitia ana ko te tangi, arā, he maringi roimata, he apakura anō (he waiata ki ngā mate).

He nui ngā kōrero a te Māori mō te hunga mate. Ki ngā huihuinga katoa ka whakamihia ngā mate, ahakoa te kaupapa, ka haere te karanga, ngā whaikōrero, ngā waiata, me te roimata riringi. Nā roto i ngā hokinga mahara atu ki a rātou kua pahure ka whakamaharatia te Māori ki ōna tātai whakapapa me ngā tikanga tuku iho – te ora, te mate, te tangata me tēnei mea te whakawhanaungatanga.

Tangihanga

Ka whakarite te tohunga tūpāpaku i te tūpāpaku mō te tangihanga. E toru rangi te roa mō te nuinga o ngā tangi ki runga marae, heoi nā te piki o te hunga noho taone ka heria ki ngā hōro, ki ngā kāinga rānei.

Ka pōwhiritia te tūpāpaku me te whānau pani ki runga i te marae. I te roanga o te tangihanga ka pōwhiritia ngā manuhiri ki runga i te marae, ā, kua tukuna ngā whaikōrero, ngā waiata me ngā haka ā tēnā, ā tēnā.

Te tōtara kua hinga

He maha tonu ngā whakataukī e huaina ana i te rongohia o tētahi mate. Hei tauira, ‘Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Wao-nui-a-Tāne.’ He rākau teitei, he rākau pakari te tōtara. Ko te rākau tonu, me tōna kiri ka pūkenga nuitia ki roto i ngā waka nunui, ngā whare me ngā taonga aha noa. Kei roto i tēnei kōrero te huatau kua mate tētahi tangata whai mana, rangatira hoki o te iwi.

I te uhunga ka tuku te minita, te pirihi, te tohunga rānei i te karakia nehu, ā, ka amohia te tūpāpaku ki te urupā mō te nehu. He ipu wai kei te kēti i te nuinga o ngā urupā, ā, ka horoi ngā tāngata i ō rātou ringa hei wete i te tapu.

I muri ko te tikanga o te takahi whare. Nō konei kua whakawāteangia ngā tapu o te whare o te tūpāpaku e te minita, te tohunga rānei mā te hīkoi mā roto i te whare me te taki haere i ngā karakia.

I ēnei wā kua whakakapia ngā mahi hahunga kōiwi ki te mahi hura kōhatu, kotahi tau i muri i te tangihanga.

I roto i te tikanga o te kawe mate ka kawea te āhua o te tangata mate ki ērā kīhai i tae ki tōna tangihanga. Ka noho ko tētahi whakaahua hei tohu i a ia.


Mythological origins

Hine-nui-te-pō – atua o Mate

Ka hoki ngā kōrero mō te kunenga o te mate ki te tipuna ki a Hine-tītama rāua ko Tāne. Ko te rerenga tērā a Hine-tītama ki Rarohenga, i muri i tana mātau ko Tāne tonu tana matua. He pērā rawa te kaha whakamā, kore rawa a Tāne te whakatahuri i a ia. Ka mea ake ia, ‘Hoki atu koe ki te ao hei whakatupu mai i ētahi o ā tāua hua; waiho hoki au i raro nei hei kukume i ētahi o ā tāua hua ki raro nei.’1 Ka huaina ia ko Hine-nui-te-pō, atua o te mate.

Hine-nui-te-pō me Māui

Ka whakamātau te tipua atua a Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga te patu i a Hine-nui-te-pō. Ka whakatika ia kia takahurihia te koiora o te oranga, ka ngana ia mā te aroaro, kia puta atu i te waha e toitū ai te ora.

Ka huri tana āhua hei mokomoko, ā, i te aua atu i te moe, ka tomo a Māui i te tara, ā, i tōna whana okeoke ka noho hei kata mā ōna hoa mā tīrairaka. Ka oho a Hine-nui-te-pō i te kaha ketekete, ā, kūtia iho e ia a Māui mate rawa. Nō konei ka tūturu te mate ki te tangata.

I mua i tōna matenga, ka tono a Māui ki a Hine-nui-te-pō me mate ā-marama te tangata. Ka whakahoki ia, ‘Let him die forever and be buried in the earth, and so be greeted and mourned' (Me mate tūturu ia ka nehua ki te whenua, kia mihia kia tangihia).2

Whakatinanatanga o mate

Ko te whakatinanatanga o te mate ko Aituā. Ka kawea atu e Aituā ngā mate ki runga i tōna waka. He mea kōrero tēnei ko te waka o Aituā, e karangatia ana ko Karamurarauriki, ko tōna tātā ko Tātātaeore. Ko ngā puhi toroa o te tauihu waka, me ērā ka rākaitia ki te taurapa o ētahi waka anō nei Karamurauriki.

Te okinga whakamutunga

Kei ngā kōrero a te Tai Tokerau ka rere ngā wairua ki Te Rerenga Wairua. I te taenga ki reira, ka ruku rātou ki Rarohenga, ā, ki ētahi kōrero ki Hawaiki rā anō.

Footnotes
    • John White, The ancient history of the Maori. Vol. 1. Ōtautahi: Kiwi, 1998 (i tāngia tuatahitia i 1887), wh. 131. Back
    • Elsdon Best, Māori religion and mythology: being an account of the cosmogony, anthropogeny, religious beliefs and rites, magic and folk lore of the Māori folk of New Zealand. Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, 1995 (i tāngia tuatahitia i 1924), wh. 377. Back

Traditional preparations for tangihanga

Te ōhākī

I te rongo o te rangatira kua tata mai a mate, ka karangatia te iwi kia whakapuaki te rangatira i tana ōhākī, arā ngā tohutohu whakamutunga ki tōna iwi. He wā kua karangahia te iwi ki te whai utu, he wā anō kua tohua te tuku i ngā taonga.

Ō matenga

Ka tono anō tētahi rangatira kua tata mate ki tētahi momo kai, ki te wai rānei mai i tētahi puna. Ko te ō matenga tēnei hei whāngai i te haere o te wairua i muri i te matenga.

Inā tata hemo ana te tangata mau i te pakanga, hei whakahere rānei ki te whenua ō iwi kē, ka uia pea, ‘Tukua mai he kapunga one ki au, hei tangi.’

Tuku wairua

Ka tākina anō te karakia o te tuku wairua ki runga i ērā e mate ana hei whakamāmā i te huarahi o te wairua ki te ākeāke. Ka tākina ēnei karakia e te tohunga.

Whakarite tūpāpaku

Nā te kaha rawa o te tapu i te mate, ka tohua rawa ngā mātanga tonu o te hapū ki te whakarite i te tūpāpaku. Ka panipania te tinana ki te kōkōwai me te hinu. Kātahi ka whakanoho tūtia kia whiri ngā pona ki raro iho i te kauae, me te kōtui o ngā ringa ki ngā waewae. He mea tākai te tūpāpāku nei ki te whāriki, te korowai me ētahi atu kaitaka.

Kia tangihia, kia mihia

He mea kōpaki te tūpāpaku ki roto i te waka tūpāpaku i mahia ki te kiri rākau ka mauria ki te atamira, ki te whare mate rānei, ki te poho ā-whare rānei mō te wā o te tangihanga, kia tangihia, kia mihia.

Ka tukuna ngā whaikōrero, karanga me ngā apakura ki te aroaro o te tūpāpaku tonu, anō nei kei te ora te tūpāpaku rā.

Te mātai tangihanga

Ka hoki ngā mahara a te Pākehā a Thomas Kendall ki te tangihanga mō Tautoro i te tau 1814:

The corpse was neatly wrapped up in the clothing which had been worn by the deceased. The feet, instead of being stretched out as is customary in England, were “gathered up” in such a manner by his sides that I could not discern them. I heard bitter lamentations of the women and the funeral song or ode of the men. I witnessed a mock fight as part of the ceremony, and the whole party, consisting of two or three hundred, feasting upon sweet potatoes by way of conclusion. The women, who were about six in number and related to the deceased, cut their faces, breasts and arms with shar shells until they were covered with blood.
(He mea āta pōkai te tūpāpaku ki ōna kākahu anō. Ko ngā waewae kāore i torona pēnei i ngā tikanga o Ingarangi, engari ka “whakawhāitihia mai” ki tōna taha i kore ai au te kite atu. Ka hītaratara te rongo atu i ngā tangi apakura a ngā wāhine me ngā waiata tangi a ngā tāne. Ka tutu hoki te pūehu, ā, hei te otinga kua hākari kūmara te iwi katoa e rua e toru rau tāngata. Ko ngā wāhine tokoono pea o te whānau pani, ka haehae i ō rātou kanohi, poho, me ngā ringaringa ki te matā kia toto rawa.)1
Footnotes
    • I takoto ki J. R. Elder, Marsden’s lieutenants. Ōtepoti: A. H. Reed, 1934, wh. 64. Back

The tangihanga process

Whānau pani

Ko te wāhi ki te whānau pani (kiri mate, kura tūohu rānei) he tangi. He nui ngā āhua ki tērā mea te tangi, ko te haehae i te kiri ki te matā tētahi me te whakamomori tonu. Mō te whānau pani, mō ngā pouaru rawa, ka whakaaetia te whakamomori hei whakaputanga pōuri.

Kaua e tāunu i te hunga mate

Ka ohorere te whānau o Mihi Kotukutuku i te taenga atu o ngā pahi e toru a Te Arawa ki tōna tangi i te Tai Rāwhiti. Ko te kaupapa o tā rātou haere he tāunu i a ia. Heoi ka mahara rātou ki te kōrero, E kore te rangatira e tohe ki te tūtūā’, he mihi taurangi kē tā rātou. I ngā tau ki mua, ka ara ake ia kia whaikōrero ki runga i tētahi o ō rātou marae (kāre rātou i te whakaae kia tū pēnei te wahine). Ehara i te mea he pai anake ngā kōrero poroporoaki tangihanga nei.

Kore rawa te whānau pani i mahi kē atu, ā, ka tiaki i te tūpāpaku me te noho kore kai.

Pare kawakawa

Ko te pare kawakawa tonu e mau ana ki te māhunga te tohu o te tangi mō te ariki noanoa. He rongoā nui hoki te kawakawa ki te Māori, ka whakamahi nuitia i roto i ngā kawa maha, pērā i te whakamānu waka, te tā kawa whare me te tohi tamariki.

Te hahunga

Kua rerekē ngā tikanga o te hahu me te nehu i runga i te wā. I ngā wā ō mua, ka nehua te tūpāpaku ki ngā rua iti noa, ka whakanōhia ki roto ana, rākau rānei. I ētahi wā ka titia te tūpāpaku ki raro i te moana, ki roto hōpua wai rānei. Nāwai ka hoki te tohunga ki te tiki i ngā kōiwi mō te hahunga. I roto i tēnei tikanga ka horoia, ka warua, ā, ka tuhia ngā kōiwi ki te kōkōwai i mua i te auraki atu ki te marae kia tangihia anō. He ōrite tēnei whakahaere ki te tangihanga. Ko te otinga whakamutunga o ngā kōiwi he mea huna kia kore ai e tānoanoatia e te hoariri.

I mua, ā, i ēnei rā tonu, kāre i nui ngā mahi tahu tūpāpaku. Hāunga anō i ngā wā o te tahumaero, mēnā rānei i mate mai ki te whenua o te hoariri (kia kore e raweketia ōna kōiwi e te hoariri)

Te hākari

He tikanga whakahirahira te hākari i ngā tangihanga a te Māori, e hoki mai anō ai te whānau pani ki te ao mārama. E ai ki ngā kaimātai tōmua, i whai wāhi nui anō ki ngā hahunga te hākari me ngā mahi whakakotahi anō i te hapū, me te iwi. Atu i ngā whakamaharatanga ki a rātou kua oti te hahu me te nehu, kua whiriwhiri anō te iwi mō ngā rangi kei te heke mai.


Tangihanga in modern times

Te wāhi ki te tūpāpaku

He rite tonu te noho tuwhera o te kāwhena. Ka haere tonu ngā poroporoaki ki te tūpāpaku, anō nei kei te ora tonu. E whakapono ana hoki ka noho te wairua ki te tinana mō tētahi wā.

Mā te kawa o te marae e whakatau ki hea te wharemate (te whare tauā, whare pōtae rānei – te kāwhena). I ēnei rā kua whirinaki rānei ki te taha o te wharenui, ki raro rānei i te matapihi, ki roto i te whare, ki raro i te pou tūārongo, ki te poupou tuatoru rānei o te tara whānui o te whare.

Whānau pani

Kua rerekē anō te wāhi ki te whānau pani (te kura mate, te kura tuohu rānei). Kua whakamāmāhia ngā tikanga ki te nohopuku me te korekai. Kei ngā wāhi maha kua tiaki rā anō te whānau pani kia tō te rā, kia hauraro rā anō te haki o te marae. Heoi tonu, kia noho tonu tētahi i te tūpāpaku i ngā wā katoa.

Ko roimata, ko hupe

He tikanga whakamahea te tangihanga mō te Māori, ā, e toru rangi te roanga. I ō mua wā ka roa ake i te whai mana o te tūpāpaku me te whai wā o te whānau pani kei tawhiti kia tae ake. He mea tautoko tonu te whakaputa mamae. ‘Kāore te Māori i tāpoko i ōna mamae. He mea tautoko kē ngā tāngata katoa kia whakaputa i ō rātou mamae.’1

Te takotoranga tūpāpaku

I te wā o te tangihanga, ka āhei tētahi tira ki te tono kia takoto te tūpāpaku ki runga i tētahi atu marae, te tono rānei mō tētahi kawe mate ki tō rātou marae. Inā rīriri mō te wāhi takotoranga, te wāhi nehu rānei, kua tirohia tērā hei tohu whai mana kē mō te tūpāpaku. I ētahi wā ka rangirua tēnei tikanga ki tauiwi inā moe Pākehā kē te tangata i mate.

Ngā panonitanga tangihanga

He pēnei i ētahi atu tikanga Māori kua pāngia hoki te tikanga o te tangihanga e ngā panonitanga hangarau me te pānga ki te ao Pākehā. Nō te maunutanga mai i ngā marae ki ngā taone, ka pā te raru ki hea tangihia ai. Nā reira ka whakamahia tonutia ngā kāinga hei wāhi tangihanga. Kua tahuri ngā uri e noho manene ana i te wā kāinga ki te kimi huarahi hou hei tangi tūpāpaku.

Ngā whakaaro mō te tangihanga

Hāunga tonu ngā rerekētanga, ko te tangihanga te tikanga Māori e kaha rawa tōna rite ki tōna āhua ake i mua i te taenga mai o te Pākehā. Nā runga hoki i tēnei take, ko te tangihanga te huihuinga nui rawa a te Māori. Nā whai anō i kī ake te kaumātua a Tīmoti Kāretu, ‘Ki te wareware i a tātau tēnei tikanga a tātau, arā te tangi ki ō tātau tūpāpaku, kātahi tō tātau Māoritanga ka ngaro atu i te mata o te whenua ki te Pō, oti atu.’

Footnotes
    • Rawinia Higgins me John Moorfield, ‘Tangihanga – death customs.’ Kei Ki te whaiao: an introduction to Māori culture and society. Ētita Tānia M. Ka'ai mā. Tāmaki-makau-rau: Pearson Longman, 2003, wh. 88. Back

Hononga, rauemi nō waho

More suggestions and sources


How to cite this page: Rawinia Higgins, 'Tangihanga', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/tangihanga/print (accessed 22 November 2019)

He kōrero nā Rawinia Higgins, i tāngia i te 5 May 2011