Friday, December 20, 2013


Maui is a pivotal ancestor in our culture. He links the realm of the atua with the realm of the tangata. This wananga will focus on 2 of his most famous exploits. One of the first... When he captured the great fish we know today as Te Ika-a-Maui... AND his very last story... That tells about his search for immortality and his encounter with the great goddess of the night...Hinenuitepo. Thus it’s Maui who gives us the land we live upon... and Maui who starts the whakapapa to that land.

Maui was renowned as a great trickster and thrilled the ancient Maori world with his daring and cunning. Maui is involved in so many adventures that help celebrate his inquisitive nature. In fact, many of his own family saw him as a nuisance and very disrespectful. They loathed taking him with them, as they feared he would embarrass them with his silly antics. When Maui’s older brothers went out fishing they often left Maui behind. On one particular occasion Maui decided to sail after them on his own waka. Somehow Maui obtained his grandmother’s magic jawbone and fashioned a special hook for himself.  Maui baited his hook then cast his line into the depths of the ocean. He waited. In no time at all Maui caught a fish, a huge stingray that fought and thrashed about wildly. Maui began to calm the monster with potent karakia. He hauled the great fish to the surface using prayers he learnt from his ancestors. Up and up it rose from the deep. As the great fish was dragged out of the water, it was so big Maui’s canoe began to lift into the air. Nukutaimemeha came to rest upon the summit of Hikurangi. It was the first point of land to break the surface of the water... The first point to see the light of day. Each day that honour is repeated as the summit of Hikurangi is always the first place to see the light. KOINA

Tairawhiti iwi believe Nukutaimemeha is still on top of Hikurangi. It was Maui who caught the great fish and dragged it to the surface. It was Maui who brought life to the land and thus he ignites all ahikaroa... Maui is the beginning of our korero here in Aotearoa...

Maui’s fish is a stingray. If we look at the North Island...  We can see the basic shape... Wellington is the head of the fish thus the name (Upoko-o-te-Ika – Head of the Fish)... The east coast and Taranaki are the two wings of the giant stingray... The center of the Island is the stomach (Puku-o-te-Ika – Stomach of the Fish)... And the far north represents the tail of the stingray (Te Hiku-o-te-Ika – The Tail of the Fish).

Obviously the story of origin for our iwi starts on a fishing trip somewhere up the coast...  blah blah blah

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