Maori Creation Myth Essay

Topics: Māori mythology, Rangi and Papa, New Zealand Pages: 3 (1085 words) Published: November 14, 2012
The foundation of almost every culture in the world has a creation myth explaining how the wonders of the earth came to be. These myths have a powerful influence over the people’s culture, and the way they think about their surroundings. Creation myths usually begin with the theme of birth; birth represents new life and a new beginning. Creation myths develop over the centuries through oral tradition, and are the most common form of myths found throughout human culture (Murtagh).

The Maori are the aboriginal tribe that inhabits New Zealand. They are believed to have emigrated from the Polynesian Islands to New Zealand in the 500-year period between 800-1300 CE. Much evidence found suggests that the Maori share many common words with the Polynesian languages along with cultural values. The Maori are one of the most successful groups of aboriginal tribes in terms of surviving colonization. Their cultural traditions have withstood invasion from the European nations. Concerns about the decline in the original Maori language today have led to schools teaching solely in Maori so that the language remains an important part of the culture. The Maori have embraced modern societal structures, which is one of the main reasons they have remained successful. They have formed a major political power in New Zealand, have influenced school studies, and recently have devised their own television network (“The Maori”).

In the beginning of the Maori’s creation myth, there was only darkness, Te Ponui, Te Poroa (the Great Night, the Long Night). In the absence of the empty space, a glow appeared and the moon and the sun sprang forth and the heavens were made light. Rangi (the Sky Father) lived with Papa (the Earth Mother), but as the two lived together, their children lived in darkness. The children could not see, and argued to how night and day might be manifested. Tumatauenga (god of war) encouraged that they kill their parents, but Tane Mahuta (god of the forests) advised that...
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