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Maori Religion and Mythology Part 2



Hina Hina-te-iwaiwa
Hina-keha Hine-te-iwaiwa

In Hina of the many names we have the female personification of the moon. White, grey, light-coloured, are common meanings of the word hina throughout Polynesia. Hina-keha or Pale Hina becomes Hina-uri, Dark Hina, periodically. As the tutelary being and guardian of women she is described by the last two names.


This is one of the fair Moon Maidens connected with Tangaroa. She personifies the luna bow or halo.


As explained elsewhere there is some evidence that goes to show that Rongo is the male personified form of the moon. Rongo also represents peace, the arts of peace, agriculture, all cultivated food products but particularly the sweet potato.

In one of the old cosmogonic chants of Tahiti we meet with the expression—"Rongo the changer of the seasons, Rongo of the night, Rongo of the day, night and day were his." The name Rongo-ma-Tane appears in Henry's book Ancient Tahiti as Roma-tane, and is rendered as "voluptuous man"! In the Tahitian dialect it should be Ro'o-ma-Tane. In one of the old chants Tane speaks as follows: "And so this is I, great Tane, god of all things beautiful! With eyes to measure the skies! I whose eyes will unite with those of Ro'o the famous." We have seen that in the name or title of Rongo-marae-roa the Maori has preserved an old term for the ocean in marae, doubtless so employed on account of it being an open expanse. At Tahiti the sea was viewed as the supreme marae and as a place of rites, in this latter connection the definition impinges upon the other meaning of the word, viz, a sacred place.


This is the name of the personified form of some celestial phenomenon, usually described as a glow in the heavens, possibly it may be the zodiacal light. The names imurangi, umurangi papakura, tahurangi and ahi manawa are used to denote gleaming appearances of the heavens.

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This being represents Darkness, also conditions connected with darkness, viz, evil and death. His doings are explained elsewhere (e.g., pp. 111 and 185, Dominion Museum Bulletin 10, 1976 reprint).