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The Maori As He Was : A Brief Account of Maori Life as it was in Pre-European Days

Tane as the Origin of Occult Knowledge

Tane as the Origin of Occult Knowledge

We are told that to Tane we owe our possession of the higher forms of knowledge. It was he who ascended from earth to the uppermost of the twelve heavens, the realm of Io, the Supreme Being, and from him obtained the three kete (baskets, receptacles) of occult knowledge, of good and of evil. The first of these included high-class sacerdotal lore and ritual—esoteric knowledge of such—and this was viewed as an important boon to the sons of Rangi and Papa, and to man. The possession of this knowledge enhanced their mana for all time. The second contained the knowledge of evil things, of black magic, of war, of all things harmful to man. The third contained knowledge of human affection and sympathy, of peace and the arts of peace. As Tane ascended to the heavens he was assailed by the page 38 emissaries of Whiro, the same being a horde of birds and insects. Hence he called up the offspring of Tawhiri-matea to his assistance, and there came a goodly company of the Wind Children who soon dispersed the hordes of Whiro. After this adventure Tane was met by some of the attendants of Io, he was purified after the manner Maori and then admitted to the presence of the great Io. From him Tane obtained the three “baskets” of knowledge, and brought them down to earth. Thus did man acquire knowledge of these subjects. All this is curiously suggestive of the three “baskets” of sacred knowledge of the Hindoos.

The twelve heavens have each a distinctive name, and each is inhabited by two companies of supernatural beings, one composed of males, the other of females.