The Last Battle - Part V

The Last Battle - Part V: A Farewell

Because they had been defeated the honorable thing for the Taku people to do was to leave and go and look for new lands. They prepared seven canoes to sail away.

As they were preparing to leave, Apeiti, the Rikitea chief, paid them a visit. His cousin, Tupou-eriki, offered Apeiti his staff. But Apeiti refused and said, “No, you will need its mana (power) when you sail.” But Tupou-eriki knew that his staff had a mana that had passed away and would be of no use. So he cast the staff into the lagoon of Mangareva. Tupou-eriki and his people sailed away from Mangareva and they are gone.

In history there have been many great conflicts. Rome and Carthage. Britain and Spain. America and the Soviet Union. Taku and Rikitea.

In this case, you now know that Rikitea won and Taku lost. But if it wasn’t for this, you wouldn’t know. Do you even care that Rikitea won?

Once when my oldest daughter was arguing with her sister over some little thing I tried to calm my oldest daughter so that she would not fight her sister. But she was angry and would not yield to her sister.

Thinking of this battle I said to my older daughter, “Taku and Rikitea! Rikitea and Taku!” to make her think of these enemies who fought hundreds of years ago.

In her anger she replied, “I don’t care!” I pointed my finger and with a smile I said, “Exactly, you are right. No one cares!”

It’s true, the wars between Taku and Rikitea were very important for Taku and Rikitea. But there is no one today who knows or who even cares who won.

Rikitea and Taku were enemies. but deep down inside they loved one another. Why else did Te Ma-Tupou let the two sleeping sons of Apeiti, the strong one and the weak one escape? Then when the war was over, Apeiti went to visit his defeated cousin, Tupou-Eriki, who was preparing to leave. Tupou-Eriki offered to give his staff to Apeiti but Apeiti refused saying, “You will need its mana when you sail.” Apeiti was happy that his side had won the battle, but he was also sad that his enemies, the Taku people, were going away and he hoped that they would be safe.

Usually when people from Mangareva went into exile, they sailed WNW (west-northwest) to the Tuamotus where they were almost certain to make landfall. That is probably what the Taku people did. If so their descendants live in the Tuamotus today.

from Ethnology of Mangareva by Te Rangi Hiroa [Peter H. Buck].

Revised: March 26, 1997

Copyright © 1996 Daniel (Taniera) Longstaff