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A Brief Guide to Maori Mythology

Maori Mythology is one of many mythologies found in the Polynesian islands. This mythology offers explanations regarding the creation of the Polynesian islands, and explains many of the natural phenomena.

As with other mythology, Maori myths tackle the creation of the world. It also features several parables involving the Gods of the Mythology. Here, we will tackle more about the rest of the Maori pantheon.

The Maori Creation Story

The Maori Creation Story

There are many versions of the creation story, but most of them involve Rangi, the sky and Papa, the earth. The marriage of these two gods created all life on earth. However, all their children were men.

One of their sons Tane, wanted a wife, and created a female form from the earth. After doing so, he breathed life into her and named her Hine-hauone. Tane mated with her and they had a daughter, Hine-ata-uira. Tane took her as his wife as well. When Hine-ata-uira found out that her husband was also her father, she decided to run away into the spirit world.

The Maori Pantheon

Rangi – The Great-Heaven-Which-Stands-Above

Papa – The Earth-Which-Lies-Below

Tawhiri-matea – God of Wind and Storm. Tawhiri stopped his brothers from killing their parents. Instead, he suggested that they try and separate them instead.

Tangaroa – Ocean-God

Humia-tiketike – Fern-Root God

Tu-matauenga – God of Man and War

Tane-mahuta – Forest-God. The only son who managed to force Rangi and Papa apart.

Hine-ata-uira – Wife and daughter of Tane, she ran away and became goddess of the underworld.

The Influence of Maori Mythology

Recently, Maori Mythology was brought to the spotlight by Disney’s Moana. The film featured one of the more popular gods of the Maori culture, Maui.

In Maori mythology, Maui was a demigod. He was aborted by his mother at birth and thrown in the sea. Rangi reached down and took Maui into the sky and nursed him to health.




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