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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 1

The Names of Tane

The Names of Tane

The titles of this personification, as given by various tribes, differ considerably, and thus his list of names is an extended one, as shown below:—

(10.)Tane-ue-ha (or ua-ha).
(11.)Tane-ue-tika (or ua-tika)
(16.)Tane-te-waotupage 118

We have seen how Tane acquired his title of Tane-nui-a-Rangi, Great Tane, offspring of Rangi. As Tane-te-waiora he represents life, prosperity, welfare, sunlight. No. 3 of his names presumably equals that of Osiris, the sun during its sojourn in the underworld—that is, during the night-time. Nos. 4, 5, 7, and 8 represent him as the personified form of knowledge—high-class or esoteric knowledge. No. 9 appears to denote a connection with clouds, and No. 14 is evidently connected with an expression in the vernacular that is applied to the sun—viz., ra tuoi. Nos. 15 and 16 betoken his connection with trees and forests, and No. 17 is his name as the origin of birds. Now, although Tane was the origin of both trees and birds, and is mentioned as the personified form of trees and timber yet he does not seem to personify birds. The personified forms of birds are Punaweko and Hurumanu. In No. 18 we appear to see a name denoting the importance of Tane, even as No. 6 shows him as Tane the Parent. No. 19 represents him as the sky-lifter, he who shored up the heavens; and No. 20 presents him as the wise one, on account of his acquiring the famed three baskets. In 21 we have Tane as he who heats the heavens, and 24 probably refers to his position in the heavens. In 25 we have Tane as the virile one, a name that is also applied to Tiki. In 27 we may have an illusion to the disappearance of the sun at sunset, he who steals away. No. 31 is a puzzling title, for it apparently connects Tane with sickness, a connection concerning which we have no information.

The name of Tane-te-hokahoka pertains to another member of the offspring of Rangi and Papa, and this being is also said to be an originator of bird-life, but apparently occupies an inferior position to that of the Tane under discussion. Again, there appears in Maori myth the name of one Tane-rore, who is said to be the offspring of Raumati (summer). The peculiar quivering appearance of heated air seen in summer is called the dancing of Tane-rore (te haka a Tanerore).

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