The Fifth Lunar Month : September - October
In the fifth lunar month the earth has become quite warm. The crop work is in hand and so right on to the seventh month.
The stars of Whakaahu (Castor or Castor and Pollux in Gemini) were associated with the change of the seasons from winter to summer. This change was sometimes likened to a struggle between two opposing groups or warriors.
In one myth, the daughters of Day and Night, Opiri (or Oipiriwhea, Pipiri) who represents winter and produces snow, and Whakaahu ,who represents light, this world and summer, were taken to wife by Rehua (Antares, which rises in December’s dawn).
The attendants of Oipiri and Whakaahu are ever contending with each other, but neither side ever gains a lasting victory.
The Children of Rehua
By late spring, as the ground warms, the forest trees are decorated with blossom. The flowers and the berries crown the head of the god Rehua and their nectar and fruit provide food for the nesting birds, such as the Weka (Gallirallus australis) and Bellbird (Anthornis melanura).
White and cream flowers sparkle against the deep green of the forest canopy. Tiny, white, sweet-scented, blossoms decorate the Ti Kouka (Cabbage tree) in large showy bunches, while Kamahi (Weinmannia recemosa) has finger-like clusters of fluffy flowers. Ngaio (Myoporum laetum) has small, white flowers, with purple spots. Hinau (Eleocarpus dentatus) has drooping , bell-shaped flowers.and the sweet-smelling Tarata, Lemonwood (Pittosporum eugenoides)has bunches of tiny starry, cream flowers.
Other trees are crowned in a colourful assortment rich, royal velvets. Tawhai Rauriki, the Mountain beech flowers are tiny and red. Rewarewa, New Zealand Honeysuckle (Knightia excelsa) has brick red fruit, that peels back to reveal yellow centres. Kohuhu (Pissosporum tenuifolium) has small, very dark red to almost black, small, sweet-smelling flowers while Kotukutuku, Tree Fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticate) has dark purple drooping flowers, like a garden fuchsia. Makomako, wineberry (Aristotelia serrata) holds its small, pinkish-red flowers close to the stem. The orange-red fruit of the female Porokaiwhiri, pigeonwood (Hedycarya aborea) attracts the kereru (native pigeon).
At this time, the migrating Pipiwharauroa, the Shining Cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus) returns to the main islands and many off-shore islands of Aotearoa (New Zealand) for the summer. In autumn it will leave again for the Solomon Islands and Bismark Archipelago.
In the rivers, nga pahore o Rehua (or karaha, hiwi, or pahore) are the parent inanga (whitebait) when they return to the rivers during the months of Matahi and Maruaroa, (the first and second months of the Maori year, May-July). Many of these old fish were taken as they returned, but it was the Kaeaea ( koeaea or porohe), the fry, that came in September, that were more highly prized.
Various ranga (nets) and traps were used to catch the migrating fry. There were many methods of catching inanga. Sometimes traps were made from thin rush, sometimes nets were plaited of mat-like fabric of strips of undressed flax resembling a floor-mat, while sometimes a form of weir was erected, with a trap at the opening.
The inanga were sometimes dried on exposed banks of shingle in river-beds, where the heat of the sun was greater than elsewhere, then packed tightly in baskets, a process described by the word whakahunga. As basket full of this delicacy was termed kete whakahunga.
This is a work in progress If you know other stories, other constellations or star names please just email us and we will add the information for everyone to use. We need to authenticate any additions, so please make sure you include your contact details and as much information as possible on the source of any information you provide.
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