Puhiwahine, a young high-born woman of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, was living in the Waikato when she fell in love with Mahutu te Toko, a cousin of hers and of the Māori King Tāwhiao. Mahutu married someone else and Puhiwahine returned to her home in Taupō. On the third day of her journey she stopped and looked back at the land she was leaving. Her sorrow and affection produced this song of farewell, 'Ka eke ki Wairaka' (On the summit of Wairaka).
Ka eke ki Wairaka ka tahuri whakamuri,
Kāti ko te aroha te tiapu i Kakepuku
Kia rere arorangi te tihi ki Pirongia
Kei raro koe Toko, taku hoa tungāne
Nāku anō koe i huri ake ki muri
Mōkai te ngākau te whakatau iho
Kia pōruatia e awhi-ā-kiri ana.
Kotahi koa koe i mihia iho ai
Ko taku tau whanaunga nō Toa i te tonga
Nō Mania i te uru, ka pēa tāua.
I ngākau nui ai he mutunga mahi koe.
Kāti au ka hoki ki taku whenua tupu,
Ki te wai koropupū i heria mai nei
I Hawaiki rā anō e Ngātoro-i-rangi
E ōna tuāhine Te Hoata u Te Pupu
E hū rā i Tongariro, ka mahana i taku kiri.
Nā Rangi mai anō nāna i mārena
Ko Pīhanga te wahine, ai ua, ai hau,
Ai marangai ki te muri e
On the summit of Wairaka, as I turn for one last look,
My sorrow and love burst forth,
Take flight over Kakepuku hill,
Soar up to the heights of Pirongia
And to you below there, Toko, my cousin and lover.
I was the one who turned away—
How slavish and cowardly not to seek
Two more nights of close embraces!
It is you alone who have my heart.
O my love, my kinsman, descended from Toa in the south,
From Mania in the west, we were well matched.
I wanted to end my days with you,
But now I go back to my own country,
To the boiling springs that Ngātoroirangi,
With his sisters Te Hoata and Te Pupu,
Brought from Hawaiki,
Bubbling up at Tongariro to warm my body.
It was our father the Sky who married Tongariro to Pīhanga,
Making the rain, the winds and the western storms.
Go forth, my love!
Using this item
Reference: Pei Te Hurinui Jones, Puhiwahine: Maori poetess. Christchurch: Pegasus Press, 1961
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