Legend of Kahukura and the Net

One day, Kahukura was travelling along the coastline towards the territory of the Te Rarawa and came to Rangiawhia, a beach which was littered with the inside of fish. It was evident that the fish had been cleaned there not long before, because the mess would obviously have been washed away by the next high tide.

Kahukura thought that the cleaning must have been done some time during the night or early morning and his curiosity was excited for there were no signs of people living nearby.

He examined the beach more carefully and decided that the work it must have been done by the Turehu, because there were no rushes scattered about, as would have been the case of water was had been the. The rushes which were placed in the bottom of can lose a tossed out onto the scene when the catch is brought ashore.

Kahukura was excited at the thought that he might be on the verge of a new discovery. He returned to the village where he was staying some distance away, and waited until night fall, when he returned to the same beach. He was just in time. The Turehu were there putting out the net in which the fish were caught. Kahukura stood rooted to the ground in amazement, for he had never seen a fishing net before. The only way he knew to catch fish was with a line-up and hook.

Some of the Turehu were shouting, "drop the net in the waters here! Hall the net from the water there!"

One of the canoes was panelled out and a net dropped overboard, while the two who chanted, "drop the net in the sea at this beach and then haul it out."

When the net was fully paid out, the ends were brought ashore and the Turehu began to call it in. The circle narrowed, and as the fish jumped out of the water, the ripples danced like flashes of light.

There was a sudden shout, "some of you get out to sea to stop the net from being caught on the rocks."

Some of them kept the net clear, while others pulled it steadily to the shore. Kahukura mingled with them and was not detected, for he was short as they were as well as fair skinned.

By the time and it was pulled in and the beach covered with fish, the sky was beginning to grow pale with the first light of dawn. They who hastily began to three-day gutted fish on twigs and cords, urging each other on the and shouting, "hurry up, hurry up. We must finish before the Sun rises."

Kahukura help them, but he took a short length of cord and made a slip knot at the end. As soon as it was fully threaded he lifted it up. The knot came undone with the weight of the fish, and they fell on the sand. Some of the Turehu noticed this and came to his aid, knotting the string tightly. As soon as they turned away, Kahukura untied the knot, substituting the slipp knot. Many times over the fish slipped off the string, delaying the work of the others. It was getting lighter, and as the last fish was loaded into the canoes, the sun lifted over the horizon and lit up the beach.

The Turehu uttered cries of dismay. The tattooed face of Kahukura was clearly seenm and they sprang back in alarm. They rushed away, abandoning the canoes, which were made of flak stalks, and the net, which was woven rushes.

The net lay in of tumbled heap on the sand. Kahukura picked it up and examined it carefully. There was no sign of the Turehu or the fish they had caught. He stood there alone, in the bright sunshine. Kahukura memorised the method of knotting and took back the knowledge of it to his people.

From his home the art of net making quickly spread to every part of New Zealand: and unwilling gift of the Turehu to mankind.

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