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Karakia Hiki Tapuwae

Karakia Hiki Tapuwae.

This charm was used to hasten and lengthen the strides of those who were travelling, fleeing, or pursuing others in war. In the case of a single person, he would stride off reciting the charm. A party would form in single file, three feet apart. If fleeing, the priest would take his position at the rear to conceal the track and hasten the party. He would implore the assistance of the moving skies and the freedom of the earth, as follows:

"Te kapua e rere i runga ra e, te papa e takoto nei."

(The skies that move quickly, and the earth that lies below.)

All would then spit upon their palms and slap their knee-caps while the priest cried:

Tapuwae hiki."

At the above words the party would mark time, beginning with the left foot, while the priest continued:

"Tapuwae nuku, tapuwae hapainga,
page 240 Te manu ki te kapua ko ia,
Ko ia te kapua e rere i runga ra,
Ko ia te papa e takoto nei.
   Toroa i runga, toroa i raro."

The whole party would then move forward with the right foot a distance of three feet. Each man would tramp on the footprint of the man in front and the priest would drag his weapon behind as if to conceal the track. Each person would spring off the ground to reach an ordinary man's speed. The priest would continue the charm with the words:

"Whakarewa ia, whaaotia te tapuwae."

This would increase the stride to six feet. The incantation would continue:

"Heaha te tapuwae?
Ko te tapuwae o te manu tipi,
Ko te tapuwae o te manu topa.
Ko iia, ko iia,
Ko ia hei hapai ake,
Kia puta ki te ao marama.
Haumi e e, taiki e e"

By this time the party would be taking strides of about five chains. Those who failed would be counted faithless to the rules of the charms. The swiftest would break away to the front and increase their pace and speed according to their individual strength.