What a Kuri dog would have looked like
Mahuika and Hekeheke had gone to Black Sands for a visit. They stayed with Ahuahu, Ahu and Hatiti for their whare was large enough accommodate visitors now all their children had married and had homes of their own. The village children knew that a story teller was coming and lingered outside hoping that there would be stories to hear. Mahuika told Hekeheke to go outside and tell the children that they could come the following day and they would meet them at the village meeting hall as Ahuahu had agreed to them using it. When she told them they all clapped and laughed and ran off to tell all the other children in the village.
Hekeheke had been taken to the Hot Springs and met Tangaroa and Horowai and their children. They took her around the various pools and Horowai said to her “Ahu told us you were born at Rotorua. You will find the pools are much smaller here and we do not have your big geysers but still we get many visitors. Do stay for a little while I will take you to the women’s pool where we can bathe and talk and remember your home country.”
“Thank you, I should like that. Mahuika wants to show me so much. We have met Houhia and her pakeha husband. I was a little frightened as I have never spoken to a white man before.”
Horowai laughed. “Do not worry, he loves Houhia so much he is almost a Maori himself now. It is only the way they use the land there and the fact that Houhia sometimes wears pakeha clothes to meet other pakeha they are no different. I am always scared of their dog though which barks at everyone and frightens even the pakeha away.”
The next day a large group of children were waiting at the meeting house as Mahuika and Hekeheke walked in to greet them. Before long she had them all grouped around her and began her first story.Maui had a young sister named Hinauri, who was exceedingly beautiful and she married Irawaru who was a fisherman.
One day Maui and Irawaru went down to the sea to fish. Maui could not catch one fish with his hook, which had no barb to it but he saw that Irawaru kept snaring fish and pulling them in.
Maui thought, “How does he catch so many whilst I cannot catch one?”
Just then Irawaru had another bite and up as he pulled his line in but it entangled with Maui’s line. Maui thought that he had finally caught one so drew it in quite pleased but when he had hauled it in he could see both he and Irawaru were pulling in their lines from different directions as they had snagged.
Maui, who was already cross at his poor catch and the amount his brother-in-law, had caught, shouted out, “Let go of my line this is my fish.”
“No I think it is mine” said Irawaru.”
Even so Irawaru let his line go slack and he let Maui pull in the fish. But as soon as he had hauled it into the canoe, Maui found that Irawaru was right, and that the fish was not on his line after all.
When Irawaru saw this he said “Good, so it is mine.”
Maui muttered: ‘Wait I will get the hook out if the fish’s mouth.”
As soon as he got the hook out he saw that it was barbed. Seeing this Maui, who was already very cross realized he had no chance with his barbless hook to catch as many fish as his brother-in-law, so he said: “I think we should get back to shore now.”
Irawaru nodded So they paddled back towards the land, and when they got out, Maui said “You get under the outrigger of the canoe and lift it up”. When Irawaru did this Maui jumped on it, and pressed the whole weight of the canoe down upon him and almost killed Irawaru.
Then Maui jumped on his Irawaru’s body and pulled at his backbone, cast a spell on him so that Irawaru grew a tail and transformed him into a dog that whimpered and cowered by the canoe.
As soon as he had done this, Maui walked back to his hut just as if nothing unusual had happened. His sister Hinauri who was watching for their return saw Maui and ran to him asking “Maui where is Irawaru?”
Maui casually answered: “I left him at the canoe.”
But Hinauri said: “Why didn’t you both come home together?”
Maui merely said, “He wanted me to tell you that you are to go down to the beach to help him carry up the fish; you had better go and find him. Just call out your pet name for him and he will run up to you.”
So Hinauri hurried down to the beach but not seeing her husband she then called out her pet name for him “Ipo,Ipo!”
Irawaru, who was running about in the bushes near by in the form of a dog, at once recognized the voice of Hinauri, and ran up and answered: “Wow, wow, wow”´ howling like a dog which he was.
He followed her jumping up and wagging his tail pleased at seeing her. Then Hinauri realized that her husband had been changed into a dog by Maui and was quite overcome with grief and wept bitterly the whole way back to the village, and as soon as she got into her house, she found an enchanted girdle which she had, and ran back to the sea with it, determined to destroy herself, by throwing herself into the ocean, so that the dragons and monsters of the deep might devour her.
When she reached the sea-shore, she sat down upon the rocks at the ocean’s very edge, and as she sat there she first lamented aloud her cruel fate, and called out an incantation, and then threw herself into the sea, and the tide swept her away from the shore and she disappeared in the waves. When Maui realized what she had done he felt such shame that he left the village where Irawaru had lived.”
Some of the children thought the story was funny but many of the girls thought it was sad that Hinauri had died because she had lost the husband she loved. Hekeheke got the children to quieten down then said:
“I expect Mahuika has told us that story because yesterday we visited Tiemi and Houhia’s farm up by the pakeha road. As you know they have a dog there that barks at strangers so nobody dare wander about their property. A long time ago we Maori also had dogs here in Aotearoa that were brought across the sea with us from our first ancestral island homes. The Maori name for them is Kuri. It was difficult to survive all those years ago before we could grow crops and learn how to catch animals to eat. So we had to eat all our dogs to prevent our families from starving but now we can keep them again to help guard us. So perhaps the pakeha have been some use to us after all.” She said with a grin.
Mahuika looked at Hekeheke with amazement and thought “How did Hekeheke know that for I never told her?”
Ipo - shortened form of Lover
Note - Evidence of Maori keeping dogs has been found