Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2

Further Origin Myths

Further Origin Myths

I collected a brief recital in the original myths dealing with the origin of various aspects of the world.

It was delivered in the usual Maori manner and so is not remarkable for its consistency, and it ends abruptly, as many of such recorded narratives do. A free rendering runs as follows: "These are explanatory remarks concerning the night of time, Tiki, Hineoi, the wind family, the sun, the origin of fire and stones. They will serve to remind you of the subjects that our ancestors taught and so handed down to their descendants. As to the ten periods of chaos they are alluded to as po tiwha, periods of the unknown and unknowable. Then came the period of inclining toward light, the conditions that obtain in this world, and this is alluded to as the po ka wheau and the namunamu hi taiao. When the Milky Way bestrides the heavens then day is at hand. Then the periods of daylight were prolonged, and so the expressions denoting such conditions, ao nui, ao roa, and ao te whaia, are heard. At this juncture daytime became firmly established.

"The names Whakaraumatangi, Tiki-roa, Tiki-nui, Tiki-hahana and Tiki-ahua are names that betoken the ritual employed in order to energise the organ of Tane when he cohabited with divers female beings. Now Matua-te-kore (Parentless), Papa-matua (Papa the Parent), Papa-tioi (swaying Papa), Papa-tiranga (Tiraha?, facing upward) and Papa-tu-a-page 241nuku (are all names of the Earth Mother), her sister was Hineoi (a being connected with earthquakes). Tliis sister of Papa-tu-a-nuku was located in the underworld and is connected with the wind family; this was arranged out of regard for the offspring of Tiki of this world."

Another recital gives Hineoi as the offspring of Whakaruaumoko and Hine-nui-te-po, also as the grandmother of Niwareka, she who was taken to wife by Mataora. The Maori took much interest in causality, and also traced his descent from a great number of mythical beings.

"Hineoi mated with Pumairekura, and so we have Tapaturangi, and Marunga-o-te-rangi and others, also Te Ihorangi (personified form of rain) whose brother was Tawhirimatea (who represents winds); from Te Ihorangi came hail, snow and ice. From the brother, Tawhiri-matea, sprang Punui-o-tonga, Te Winiwini, Te Wanawana (wind names), Pungaionui, Whakamoewaru, Aoaonui, Te Pumaranga, Whakarauwiri and Tahuaroa. Here we have the origin of the winds of this world, the offspring just given sprang from Te Ihorangi and her brother Tawhirimatea. The source of these folk, their abiding place, is Raurunui, also Mahutonga (the south), which place is situated down at the far spread legs of the Sky Parent. Maui succeeded in overcoming Mahuika by means of directing his magic powers toward that source of winds, thus he withdrew the plug of Mahutonga and released the chill south winds, and so Mahuika was overcome by Maui at Waikumia, at Waihapua, at Wiakapuka.

"From Rangirea sprang Rangiauake, Rangiwharo, Rangimatiti-nuku, Rangiaho, Rangiwhakaputa, Rangitamatama, Rangi-matiti-kura, Rangi-arohea, and the Rakura, who begat the sun that shines in this world.

"Now this concerns the fire of the fire-generating appliance of Rangi that was purloined by Whiro, elder brother of Tane, from the breast of Rangi, hence the hollow in the breast-bone of man. That appliance was named the Raukura, and the rubbing stick was Rangi-te-irihia; the fire produced by that appliance is the sun above us. The sparks of that fire that fell when Tane was generating fire at the Paerangi are represented by the fire that secretly burns in stones, wood, and in the earth, and which is represented in this world by volcanic fire. This kaunoti or firemaking appliance was the one by means of which the mana of Rangi the Sky Parent was filched away, also the ritual that caused Rangi and Papa to be overcome by Tane. Had it not been for this page 242loss then Rangi would never have been elevated to his present lofty place, nor would he have been overcome.

"From the tenth period of Chaos sprang Papa the Earth Mother already mentioned, and then appeared Papa-matua-te-kore (Papa the Parentless) who mated with Rangi-a-Tamaku and had a firstborn Putoto, whose sister was Parawhenuamea (personified form of water). Putoto took his own sister, Parawhenuamea, to wife, and she bore Rakahore, who mated with Hineuku (Personified form of clay, the Clay Maid), who bore Tuamatua, from whom came gravel and stones. The younger brother of Tuamatua was Whatuaho, next came Papakura, then Tauira-karapa, whose sisters were Hine-tauira and Tuahoanga. From Tuamatua came all the kinds of stone found on sea coasts and in the interior, that is some kinds of stones of inland parts.

"From Whatuaho sprang greywacke, chert, etc., and the light-coloured huka-a-tai stone, also other kinds of stone of similar appearance. Papakura was the origin of volcanic stone and kauwhanga, also the whatukura, waiapu, kurutai, pakawera, pome, kapu and tuwhenua kinds of stone.

"Tauira-ka-rapa represents greenstone of different kinds, the kawakawa, auhunga, inanga, toroapunga, kahurangi, matakirikiri, and other kinds.

"Hine-tauira represents a stone that has abnormal offspring; it has a bright, gleaming appearance, and is but seldom seen, to see this stone was an occurrence ominous of evil in former times; it is not a stone seen in large blocks, and is merely chanced upon. Another kind of stone is mihiwai, another is whatukura, others are pungapunga and tahakura, these are all stones possessing weird powers, and are ominous of evil if seen.

"Now Tuahoanga represents another kind of stone, such are the wawatai, papanui, kauheke, and pipiwai, rekepounamu being another name of the pipiwai; another is matanui; these are all the known names [All these stones pertaining to Tuahoanga are different kinds of sandstone]."

The name of Hineoi in the above is occasionally given as Hineori, but oi and ori have both the meaning of "to shake", an appropriate name for a being closely connected with earthquakes. It is unusual to find her placed as a sister of Papa the Earth Mother.

The various qualifying terms attached to the name of Tiki describe him as long, big, heated or reddened, and as the former or fashioner. Tawhirimatea is viewed as the principal page 243representative of winds (others are given in Dominion Museum Bulletin 10). Rakura is a honorific name for the sun, but is spoken of in this recital as the progenitor of that orb. In the next paragraph we are told that the origin of the sun was the sparks that fell from the fire-generating appliance of Rangi.

The origin myth connected with stones has already been given at pp. 166-167 of Bulletin 10 (1976 reprint). Rakahore is the personified form of rock. Another version of an unorthodox nature states that Parawhenuamea (personified form of water) was the first born of Rangi and Papa, Sky and Earth; then came Rakahore, then Rakau (trees), then the ocean came into being, then came Ngarara-huarau (taniwha, monster), then Punaweko (personified form of birds). Yet another version places Kiwa first, Tangaroa as fifth, the Ra-tuoi (sun) together with moon and stars in the sixth place, after which comes Ruaumoko, and then Tane and his many companions. A variant form of the myth given in Bulletin 10 makes Rakahore mate with Hineukurangi, who produces Tuakirikiri or Hine-tu-a-kirikiri, who represents gravel and sand. In the tale of Tawhaki we see that one Hine-murutoka, a daughter of Rakahore, became the mate of Tawhaki and produced Kamaka, who produced crayfish. In vernacular speech kamaka denotes rock and crayfish are found among rocks, hence the myth. These personification terms were often introduced into colloquial speech, thus in a recited account of the preparations made by the Atiawa folk of Taranaki for the long march to Wellington occur the words: "Some of the people set to work preparing supplies, the younger folk went shark fishing, the women collected shellfish." But sharks are referred to as "the rending subjects of Takaaho", while the women are said to have "clambered over Rakahore" to obtain shellfish. (Ko te tamariki ki te hi i te mokaitihaehae a Takaaho, ko te wahine ki runga i a Rakahore e haere ana ki te ripi i tepaua.) The narrator might have referred to the paua shellfish as uri a Hinemoana, offspring of the Ocean Maid, which they are said to be. Although many beings are mentioned as being the origin, producers or "parents" of various kinds of stone, yet the ultimate originating being was Tane-matua, Tane the Parent.