Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2
Tane represents the sun, the light and fertilising powers of the sun. He is said to have had twelve names, but he had far more; one old pundit gave sixty-one names of Tane, and stated that the full number was seventy. Tane also represents birds, trees and forests. Under the name of Tane-i-te-wanau he represents knowledge, superior or occult knowledge. As Tane-matua he is the Parent, of man and many other beings, in fact one may say most things, seen and unseen, material and immaterial. As Tane-te-waiora he represents sunlight, which is the waiora or welfare of all things. Tane-te-rarama denotes the gleaming one, or light giver. Tane-mahuta represents trees and the forest, as also do Tane-i-te-wao and Tane-waotu; Tane-mataahi and Tane-i-te-rere represent birds. Tane-te-po-tiwha may represent the darkness of night, when the sun is in the underworld. Other interesting titles of Tane and Tane-tahunuiarangi, Tane-papakura-arangi, Tane-kuranui, Tane-tahupo, Tane-ariki-rangi, Tane-tikitiki-o-rangi, Tane-torohaka and Tane-kokorangi. As Tane represents Light he is, naturally, the opponent of Darkness, as represented by Whiro, hence the contest waged between the two. We shall also see that Maui seems to represent light or day. The ordinary personified form, and honorific name, of the sun, is Tamanui-te-ra, and Tamauawhiti seems to be another such; yet another seems to be Hiringa, possibly equivalent to Tane-i-te-hiringa, said to denote te puna o te matauranga, the source of knowledge. "When Tama-nui-te-ra moves abroad the heavens are light", says the Maori. Another name for the sun, a honorific term, is ra kura, the red sun. The peculiar name of Manu-i-te-ra seems to be connected with the sun. We are told that Te Manu-i-te-ra abode on the mountain of Hikurangi, which death could not reach. Tregear views the story as a solar myth, and gives an interesting tale concerning it (The Maori Race, p. 435). One feels a desire to alter the one vowel that would resolve this name into the better known one of Tane-nui-te-ra. Fenton believed that Tu, the famous Polynesian atua, represented the setting sun and death (Suggestions for a History of the Origin and Migrations of the Maori People, p. 16).
The position of Tane as the Fertilizer may be given in the poet Watson's words "O bright irresistible lord, We are fruit of Earth's womb, each one, And Fruit of thy loins, O Sun, Whence first was the seed outpoured." Ra is occasionally used as a proper name, for an example see under Hine-raumati, the personified form of summer.page 303