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The Trail Of Waitangi

Tohitapu and a Touch of Mäkutu

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This trail starts with a well documented experience involving a Mäori Tohunga (priest) and the missionary Henry Williams. It is chosen because both people relied on the power of their Spiritual leaning and not upon themselves, or some intellectual right or wrong. It was a Spiritual confrontation and shows the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ (and not theology or religion) against the powers of darkness.
The extract below alludes to there being a more powerful 'white man's God', or that Mr Williams threw greater curses back, however neither is the case. It seems without doubt that Mr Williams was the first person never to have died through such an encounter with Tohitapu.
The extract is from "The Life of Henry Williams" Vol 1 page 38. by Hugh Carleton.

"..Tohitapu was of the Koroa, a great chief, and a still greater tohunga [priest], largely endowed with the power of mäkutu [bewitchment]. This power, is real in effect; as real as the Obeah of the African negro.

That the victims of makutu waste away, and die, is an undoubted fact. Whether from fear or from any mesmeric influence, must remain a question; but it is not without significance that Tohitapu, after exerting his power upon Mr Williams in vain, lost it altogether from that time forward. While the karakia [incantation] was going on, the house servants were trembling with fear, expecting Mr Williams to turn black in the face and fall from his seat. When failure became evident, the bystanders came to the conclusion that the white man's atua [divinity] had overpowered that of the Maori: and when Tohitapu died, which however was not until 1830, the idea prevailed that Mr Williams had been strong enough to take up the curses and send them back.

At the massacre of 1772 of French sailors belonging to the squadron of Commodore Marion Dufresne, the body of the captain fell to Tohitapu's share, and was eaten by him accordingly. He was a man of unusual ferocity, even for a Maori of those days. But after having been fairly worsted in the struggle, he became a very staunch friend of Mr Williams. ..."


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