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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2



Mahuika Tapeka
Hine-tapeka Hine-i-tapeka

Personified forms of fire. Mahuika represents fire as seen in this world, while the other four names pertain to the personified form of subterranean and volcanic fire. Note how Mahuika is employed as a personal name in the following remark: "Tahuaroa e! Ko Mahuika! Ko Mahuika e haere nei ki roto. Huakina te tataur!" (O Tahuaroa! Here is Mahuika! Mahuika is moving within. Open the door!) Thus did the speaker make known that his house was on fire and he himself imprisoned therein.

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Like Mahuika and Tapeka a female personification. She does not, however, represent fire, but rather the material used in generating fire, the kaikomako tree (Pumantia corymbasa). Hence she is viewed as the Fire Conserver. Wiwi of Pipiriki maintained that Hine-kaikomako was the mother of Mahuika. Fire is alluded to as the "child of Upokoroa", i.e., of the comet messenger that brought fire down to earth from the sun.