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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2



Tangaroa Tinirau

These two beings represent fish. Tangaroa was one of the primal offspring, Tinirau and Punga being his sons. Ikatere, a son of Punga, was a "parent" of fish, from Punga sprang reptiles, page 318called the aitanga a Punga (offspring of Punga), a term also applied to dark-skinned or ugly persons. Tinirau took Hinauri to wife when she went out on the ocean, she represents the moon during its dark phase. Te Parata is said to be another name for Tangaroa.


This Rongomai represents whales, when a stranded whale was seen there rose the cry "Rongomai-tahanui has come ashore" (Ka pa te Karanga—"Kau u a Rongomai-tahanui ki uta" Mo te pakake tena karanga).

Tohora (southern right whale) appears as a personification term in some folk tales, but then the name of any fish, bird, tree, etc., might be so treated in fables. Tutara-kauika, another name for the right whale, is sometimes so used.


Personified form of sharks.

Tuna Puhi

Personified form of eel. The name Tuna is usually employed as a personification term. Tuna appears as the phallic eel in Maori myth, and is discussed elsewhere in this chronicle.