Creation Myth - Maori
The Maori creation story has many different versions, but they all have the major characters,
themes, and events.
Io the Supreme Being, also known as the Ex Nihilo (out of nothing), is the creator of the
entire universe. He created Ranginui (referred to as Rangi) and Papatuanuku (referred to as Papa.) Rangi is the Sky Father,
and Papa is the Earth Mother. They produce many offspring while they are close together. Their children were forced to live
in darkness in the cramped room between the sky and earth. One of the children, Tumatauenga (Tuma), thinks of killing the
parents for more room and light. Then, Tanemahuta (Tane) says that they need to separate the sky and earth only enough to
let in light. All of the siblings try to separate Rangi and Papa, but fail. All but Tane, he positions his shoulders on the
earth and then places his feet against the sky. Slowly, Papa and Rangi yield and start to bleed. The blood falling upon the
earth signifies ochre (red clay), which is the sacred color of the Maoris. Papa and Rangi scream to Tane to beg him to stop,
but the more they beg, the harder Tane pushes. Earth Mother and Sky Father's blood spills upon Tane's head called the kokowai.
Kokowai is the sacred red earth that is created when the first blood spills at dawn. After Papa and Rangi are separated, they
are now a visible sky and earth.
Then, one of the brothers, Urutengangana, says that there is still one last element still
missing. This last element is the female element, ira tangata. The brothers need this element to create women. The siblings
search land and sea, until finally Tane seeks his mother, Papa, for advice. The earth tells him to go to the area called Kura-waka.
Tane informs his brothers, and they travel to the land. The brothers find the element in the earth. They dig it up, and the
older siblings shape the body while their younger brothers put in the flesh, fat, muscles, and blood. When they are finished,
Tane breaths life into the figure's nostrils. And so, Hine-ahu-one, the maiden from the earth, is created.
Papa and Rangi still loved each other very much and grieve that they are apart. They are
so sad that Rangi briefly floods the land with his tears. The siblings decide to turn the mother over so that the parents
can not see each other grieving. The rotation of the earth is called Te Hurihanga a Mataaho, which stands for the overturning
of Mataaho. Then the father stops weeping as much and only has dew drops that form on his back (the earth's surface).