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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 1

The Separation of Rangi and Papa

The Separation of Rangi and Papa

Whiro heard that Tane, Paia, and Tumatauenga had resolved to separate their parents, hence he inquired of Uru-te-ngangana, "Have you consented?" Uru replied, "I have not yet done so." Said Whiro, "Do not consent; not until I have arranged for you so to do."

After this all the offspring of Papa escaped from the embrace of their parents, except Ruaumoko, who was still suckling his mother, he being the latest-born. The name given by them to the outer world, outside the bodies of their parents, at that time, was Tahora-nui-a-Ruatau. This word tahora implies a great open expanse, and is applied to both land and water. At this time it must be understood there was no sun, no moon, no stars; hence there was no light save the feeble glimmer of the glow-worm and phosphorescent matter, as personified in Moko-huruhuru and Hinatore. This condition of things was known as the ao taruaitu.

Tane and Paia, with their companions, now pondered over the unpleasant conditions under which they lived, the dampness and cold, and Tane bethought him of a project by which their parents might be separated. Uru-te-ngangana and the others heard of this project to separate Rangi and Papa; some agreed to it, others did not. This caused a division, some of the offspring joining Tane and Paia, while others made common cause with Uru and Whiro. Whiro objected to the separation because of the decision to leave the embrace of their parents, and also on account of the unpleasant conditions of life in the outer world, the suffering from cold. He also objected to the attitude of Tane and Paia in taking a prominent part in affairs, in assuming the position that it was for them to effect the separation of their parents. Whiro maintained that he and Uru, Roiho, Roake, Haepuru, and Haematua should control the matter, they being the elder brothers.

Tane came to hear of the opinions of his elder brothers, and said to Rongo-maraeroa and Tawhiri-matea, "This is a beclouded realm; the world of light is beyond. Let us separate our father." This was page 84agreed to, and these are the brothers who took part in the separation of their parents:—
Paia.Te Ihorangi.Mauhi.Te Akaaka-matua.
Tu-matauenga.Te Ikaroa.Te Kuwarawata.Tukapua.
Tangaroa.Haepuru.Uepoto (that is to say, Ewerau.)Tama-te-uira.

The majority of the seventy brothers did not consent, on account of a feeling of sympathy with their father and mother.

Tane now said to Paia and Uruao, "Go forth and obtain four poles with which to prop up our father; let there be one for the head, one for each arm, and one for the legs. You will obtain them from Kohaonui and Kohaoroa at Tihi-o-Manono, at Pari-nui-te-ra, at Maunganui-o-tawa."

We are told that this incident occurred long after the offspring had left the embrace of their parents; that they now had children and grandchildren, all of whom are said to have been supernormal beings. They are personified forms of natural phenomena and products.

Paia obtained from Uru-te-ngangana the two tapu stone adzes called Te Awhiorangi and Whironui, with which to cut the poles. It was now decided that Kaupeka, one of the seventy brethren, be slain in order to provide the necessary fittings for the adzes. His legs were to be used as handles, his intestines as lashing-material, and the top of his skull as a protection for the lashings. Tu-matauenga was the slayer of Kaupeka.

The cutting of the poles was done by Kohaonui and Kohaoroa in sadness, for they were cutting down the Whanau-puhi (the Wind Children). These children were the descendants of Te Ihorangi (one of the brethren) and Huru-te-arangi, who produced all the winds. Even so were the four poles procured, the names of which were—

And these represent the four winds. Toko-huru-mawake (east wind) was placed in position under the head of Rangi, Huru-atea under his legs, Huru-nuku under his left arm, and Huru-rangi under his right arm.

After the poles were procured Tane sent Paia, Uruao, Tama-kaka, and Tuamatua to fetch the tapu stone adzes, which were conveyed to the turuma of Irihia, where the pure ceremonial was performed over them.

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When Rangi was thrust upward he clutched hold of Papa, who also clasped him. Their offspring strove to separate them, but as they released a hand from one part it instantly obtained a fresh hold elsewhere. Then Tane called upon Tu-matauenga and Tumata-kaka and Te-Akaaka-matua to cut off the arms of Rangi and Papa. Thus their arms were severed; hence the red appearance of the papakura (red glow) in the heavens, from which auguries are drawn; and hence the eyes of his descendants ever turn to look upon the face and forefront of Rangi in order to seek favourable or ominous signs. As for the blood of Papa, it entered the earth—that is, herself—where it is found in the form of red ochre and pukepoto (vivianite), and these serve as means of adorning her descendants, their houses and villages. Hence the ochre and pukepoto are termed tuhi mareikura when employed for the adornment of high-born folk.

Rangi having been thrust upward, Paia took from him the implements for generating sacred fire, the kaunoti and hika, the names of which were Te Rangi-tiramarama and Torotoro-ihi, and which had been suspended from the neck of Rangi. These implements were brought down; the kaunoti was kept in position by the right foot, and the hika (rubbing-stick) was operated, the following ritual being recited:—
He uri, he pia nou, e Rangi … eKei te uru taketake, kei te uru ora
Tenei au ka turuki, e Rangi … eI tamaua ki te kauru nui
Tenei au he tipua, he tawhito nau, e Rangi … e.Ki te kauru tipua
Ki tipuaki o Rangi-tamaku
Uea to uru kia tikaKi te kauru ora, e Io mata ngaro … e … i.
He uru tawhito, he uru tipua
Nou, e Rangi-tamakuTenei, e Rangi
Rangi e, he ueue tikaHe kauru kaukau nui, he kauru kaukau roa
He ueue tawhito, he ueue tipua,
Ki te ao taruaitu, ki te ao tariwaiHe kauru kaukau tawhito, he kauru kaukau tipua
Ki te ao ka wheau atu
Ki Tikitiki o rangi … e … i.He kauru kaukau no te pu, no te weu,
Ko te ueue tawhito, ke te ueue tipua,No te aka titamaua ki a koe, e Rangi … e … i.
Ko te ueue nuku, ko te ueue rangi
Ko te ueue atua nauHapai ake nei au i to ara, e Rangi
E Io mata ngaro … e … i.He ara te whaia, he ara te haruru
Tenei au, e Rangi, kei te wehe tuaHe ara te keukeu, he ara te ngatoro
Kei te wehe tuatea, kei te wehe tuauriKi te puwawa no Aitupawa, e Rangi … e … i.
Kei te wehe aronui i a koe, e Rangi, e
Ki te uru ao, ki te uru hau, ki te uru MatangiTahia, tahia te papa nui, te papa roa
Te papa tiketike nuku, te papa tiketike Rangi
Ki aua atua, e Rangi … e … i.
Tenei to ara, e RangiTe papa te makeukeu, te papa te oioi
He ara no nga tawhitoKi te pu te winiwini, ki te pu te wana-Wana
He ara no nga tipua
He ara atua no Io matuaKi a koe, e Rangi … e … i.
Ko hau te winiwiniTenei au, e Rangi, kei te pu i whiria
Ko hau ta wanawanaKei te pu i tamaua, kei te pu haohao nui
Ko hau te piere nuku, te piere rangiKei te pu haohao roa, kei te pu haohao tipua.
E Rangi … e … i.
To ara, e Rangi, kei te uru tuKei te pu haohao tawhitopage 86
Kei te pu akaaka na Tane, e Rangi … e … i.Tangi te piere nui, tangi te piere roa,
Tangi te piere kei nga rangi tuhaha,
Tenei taku ahi ko te ahi na RehuanuiKei te T hi-o-Manono
Na Rehuaroa, na RuaumokoHekeheke nui, hekeheke roa
I te hiringa matuaKi tuiri, tuiri taketake
I te hiringa tawhito na Tumata-kakaTuiri te take, tuiri kita
Na Whiro te tupua manatu.Putiki nou, e Rangi… e … i.
Ko te ahi na Ue-iorangiTenei te whakamau atu nei
He ahi ka tu, he ahi ka tauI a koe, e Rangi
He ahi ka toro, he ahi tipua nau, e Rangi … e … i.Ki te pu, ki te weu,
Ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama,
Hapai ake nei au i to kauru oraKi te rakerakenga tawhito rangi,
E Rangi whakarewaia ki rungaKi te rakerakenga tipua rangi,
He hapainga nuku, he hapainga rangiKi te rakerakenga ue nuku, ue rangi
He hapainga matua,Ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama nou
He hapainga tipua naku, e Rangi … e … i.E Rangi… e… i.

Such was the ritual chanted during the separation of Rangi and Papa. It is a very old and cryptic formula that would need much explanation from the old-time priestly experts ere any translation could be made. The object of the recital is not explained in any manner clear to us, though it is followed by the sentence—"Ko taua karakia … he karakia no tekoronga o te whanau rangi; he uru whenua, he iho taketake taua karakia." which contains two archaic expressions that I do not believe any native now knows the meaning of.

The kindling of a special fire by means of friction, as mentioned in the chant "Here is my fire, the fire of Rehuanui, of Rehuaroa, of Ruaumoko," was an act often performed in conjunction with tapu ceremonial in former times.

The above karakia, or ritual, having been employed at the separation of Sky and Earth, has since been used by man as a divorce ritual, when a man and his wife are to be separated. Such a charm or invocation is called a toko, in memory of the act of thrusting up the heavens.

At this period, we are told, the offspring were still dwelling in gloom—such gloom as the owl, bat, and certain insects ever dwell in.

It now came about that certain of the brothers now chose separate abodes; they separated into three groups. Uru-te-ngangana, Whiro, and their companions dwelt within their house called Te-tu-aniwani-wa, which is said to have been a puwhenua, or cave. This is intelligible, for these are the brothers who decided to continue to dwell within the Earth Mother; their home is a subterranean one. They were afterwards spoken of as dwelling in the underworld.

Tane and his companions abode within their own house, known as Hauki-pouri; it was named after the circumstance of their emerging from the gloomy realm between the bodies of their parents.

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Rongo-maraeroa and Tangaroa dwelt in their house Wharau-rangi, the principal part of which house (realm) was Rangitatau. It is said that all these abodes were subterranean—a form of cave-dwelling—and these places were exceedingly cold. That cold emanated from their mother and it was such cold as a dead person of of this world posesses.