Legends of the Maori
The Legend of Maui Tikitiki-O-Taranga — His Search for His Sister Hina
The Legend of Maui Tikitiki-O-Taranga
His Search for His Sister Hina
IRA-WHAKI and his wife Taranga had five sons, whose names were: Maui-mua, Maui-taha, Maui-pae, Maui-roto, and Maui-Tikitiki-o-Ta- ranga. Maui-Tikitiki-o-Taranga, the youngest, was prematurely born, and, as the custom was in those days, he was cast into the sea. His mother, before doing this, wrapped him up in the topknot of her hair. Hence his name Maui-Tikitiki-o-Taranga (Maui—who-was-wrapped-in-the-topknot-of-Taranga’s hair). Tangaroa (Neptune), the god of the sea, took pity on the shapeless mass of Maui, and thus Maui was brought up by him till he reached matured manhood. Then he was told about his birth and origin, after which he longed to go to his own people. He appeared at a gathering of musicians and dancers where his mother and brothers were.
Now, it was the mother’s custom to count her children before ret ring to rest, and this evening when she counted them there were five instead of four. Maui revealed himself and was acknowledged by his mother as being her lastborn child. His brothers became jealous of him because their mother showered her love on Maui. The mother used to disappear every day. Maui-Tikitiki, having noticed this, determined to find out where she went, and so, one night he hid her cloak and delayed her considerably till it was quite daylight. Then he followed her and found her disappearing beneath a tuft of wiwi grass. After she had gone for some time he lifted up the wiwi and found it was the entrance to a large cave.
Transforming himself into a pigeon, he followed his mother till he came to a new bright world, and there he sat on a tree. The inhabitants of this new world all exclaimed, “He rupé, he rupé!” (“a pigeon, a pigeon”), and all began to pelt him with stones. His father, luckier than the rest, struck him on the breast. He came fluttering to the ground, but, lo! when they went to lay hold of him he transformed himself into a man, and so his mother made him known to his father.
When Hina discovered this vile deed she committed suicide by throwing herself into the restless sea. Now, Maui-mua wept and longed for his lost sister, and being consumed with grief, he sought aid from Rehua, the deity, whose habitation was in the Tenth Heaven. When he reached Naherangi he said to the god, “O great Rehua, in thy musings hast thou heard murmurings from the worlds below?” and Rehua answered and said, “Yea, even so, from Motutapu, the Sacred Island.” Maui-mua, changing himself into a pigeon, pursued his noiseless flight through the ten heavens to the abode of Hina, his sister.
Hina, after throwing herself into the sea, was for many days buffeted by the waves, and she was wafted by the wind to Motutapu. Two brothers, Ihu-atamai and Ihu-weriweri, found her and, with the aid of incantations and the sacred fire, she was restored to her former beauteous shape and looks. Tinirau, the overlord of the Island, hearing of her great beauty, sent for her and made her his chief wife. This naturally led to dissensions in is household. Consequently, Hina was badly treated by the other wives. It was at this time that Maui landed on the window-sill of Tinirau’s house, where all the people exclaimed, “He rupé, he rupé (“a pigeon, a pigeon”) and they began to throw spears. But “Rupe” dodged all the spears, and then he transformed himself into a man, thus revealing himself to his sister, whom he took with him to the Tenth Heaven to offer his thanks to the Supreme Being.
Now, Rehua had a son, Kaitangata by name, who became enamoured with Hina. Maui, in building a latrine for Kaitangata, put in the post of Whaitiri loosely, so that when Kaitangata took hold of the post it became uprooted and he, falling over the cliff, was killed. That is why-even to this day-when a Maori beholds the blood-red skies in the west, he exclaims, “Ka tuhi Kaitangata” (“Behold, the besmeared blood of Kaitangata”).