Maori Fire

(Pennantia corymbosa) A New Zealand tree, called kaikomako by the Maori, who used it for friction fire-making, as the common name implies. Maui' was the deity who taught the people how to do this. Andersen's version of the myth runs as follows: ". from a kaikomako he broke dry branches, and from them he fashioned fire-sticks. While at his request a man held one stick firmly on the ground with his foot, Maui' rubbed the second, sharpened to a point, briskly to and fro on the one so held. First it heated, and formed a little ball of black powder; then the powder smoked; then it glowed. Maui' took dry moss, wrapped the powder in it, waved it in the air, when lo! A flame! The people did likewise ..." (Andersen).

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