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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2

Knowledge

page 313

Knowledge

(1)Rua i te pukenga
(2)Rua i te hiringa
(3)Rua i te horahora
(4)Rua i te mahara
(5)Rua i te wananga
(6)Rua i te pupuke
(7)Rua i te wanawana
(8)Rua i te wetewete
(9)Rua i te rururu
(10)Rua i te ruru
(11)Rua i te hotahota
(12)Rua i te hemorere
(13)Rua i te atamai
(14)Rua i te whaihanga
(15)Rua i te kukakore
(16)Rua i te parakore
(17)Rua i te rarama
(18)Rua i te hohonu
(19)Rua i te mahina
(20)Rua i te korero
(21)Rua i te te-wareware
(22)Rua i te momotu-herepi
(23)Rua i te aupo

All these names pertain to the personified form, or forms of knowledge, including the desire for knowledge, its acquisition and dissemination. No. 4, 6, 14, 19, 20 are said to have been sisters of Tinirau (son of Tangaroa), and possibly all were so. Being a son of Tangaroa, Tinirau is naturally connected with fish, the connection between fish and knowledge is by no means so clear. No. 20 is said to personify thought, etc., mahara, the power of thinking and of memory. No. 2 represents the desire for knowledge, and No. 3 its dissemination. No. 14 stands for the knowledge of the artisan, the crafts of the house-builder, the canoe maker, etc., while 15 and 16 represent the knowledge of wood carving. According to one contributor 12 and 13 are also connected with carving, but possibly the increase of knowledge, its gradual accumulation, and No. 7 represents ability to acquire knowledge, quickness of understanding. The powers of thought and memory inherent in man were originally derived from the atua of the uppermost of the heavens, the whatukura. When the body of Hine-ahu-one was about to be vivified in order to produce the ira tangata, i.e., mankind, then the mental powers and qualities represented by No. 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the list were so obtained and implanted in the hitherto lifeless body of the mother of man. Thus we know that thought, memory, also the desire for and acquirement of knowledge, were deemed to be important matters in the minds of our Polynesian myth builders.