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Legends of the Maori

The Creation of Woman

The Creation of Woman.

Tane the god created the first woman out of earth; he formed her by scraping up the earth into human shape and endowed her with life. He lay on her and breathed life into her and he called her Hine-hau-one (or Hine-ahu-one), the “Earth-formed Woman.” He took her to wife, and a child was born, and this child, a female, he named Hine-i-tauira (“The Model Maid”). She became his wife, too, and they abode together until one day she asked Tane: “Who is my father?” Tane told her that he was her father, and upon this she was overcome by shame and she fied away from Tane and she became a spirit; her soul went to the Po, the everlasting night. In the shades she was called Hine-titama, or Hine-nui-te-Po, and she became the goddess who personifies the night and darkness and death.

Some see in this nature myth a primeval allusion to the elemental powers of day and night, Tane personifying the Sun.

From Tane and the earth formed wife came Tiki, the first man, the first being who was wholly mortal.