In the Beginning... Ranginui And Papatūānuku
The Primordial Parents Ranginui And Papatūānuku
There are many telling’s of the creation myth of Rangi + Papa, which explains the beginnings of the Maori World.
At the bottom of this post we have credited the different sites we have used and where you might like to read further research into the longer creation story of the Maori.
In the beginning, the primordial parents of Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānukum the earth mother were locked in an embrace that excluded all light and space. From this union their nature-children were born into the cramped darkness: Tawhiri-matea, the god of winds and storms, Tangaroa, the god of the ocean and of all its creatures; Tane-Mahuta, the god of the forests and of birds; Rongo, the god of cultivated foods and of peace; Haumia-tiketike, the god of the wild fruits of the earth, such as fernroot; Ruwaimoko (or Ruaumoko), the god of volcanoes and earthquakes, and Tu-mata-uenga (“angry-faced Tu”). Here they grew up until one day they questioned what it would be like to let in and live in the light. After much discussion, they decided to separate their parents, although Tu-mata-uenga – the fiercest of all the children, wanted to kill his parents. His siblings, however, tried to separate their parents using their hands and shoulders with no result – Until Tane laid on his back and used the strength of his mighty legs to pry them apart.
Tawhiri-matea, the god of winds and storms disagreed with this action taken by his siblings and cannot bear the cries and anguish of his separated parents. He joins his father in the sky and reigns war and terror on his brothers below with rain, winds, clouds, hurricanes, and thunderstorms.
It is said that in the deepest of nights Rangi weeps for his lost love and his tears fall as dew, while Papa’s sighs of love float upwards towards Rangi in the form of mist.
Some accounts say that human men, who had been lost in the dark before the separation, were then able to thrive and from which all Maori are descended.
References + Further Reading
Artwork by: DigitalNZ, Michelle Bissenden on Pininterst, and Stampaday