Māori mythology and Māori traditions are the two major categories into which the legends of the Māori of New Zealand may usefully be divided. The rituals and the world view of Māori society were based on an elaborate mythology, inherited from a Polynesian homeland and adapted and developed in the new setting. Few records survive of the extensive body of Māori mythology and tradition from the early years of European contact; the missionaries had the best opportunity to get the information, but failed to do so at first, in part because their knowledge of the language was imperfect. Most of the missionaries who did master the language were unsympathetic to Māori beliefs, regarding them as'puerile beliefs', or even'works of the devil'. Exceptions to this general rule were J. F. Wohlers of the South Island, Richard Taylor, who worked in the Taranaki and Wanganui River areas, William Colenso who lived at the Bay of Islands and in Hawke's Bay. "The writings of these men are among our best sources for the legends of the areas in which they worked".
In the 1840s Edward Shortland, Sir George Grey, other non-missionaries began to collect the myths and traditions. At that time many Māori were literate in their own language and the material collected was, in general, written by Māori themselves in the same style as they spoke; the new medium seems to have had minimal effect on the content of the stories. Genealogies and narratives were written out in full, just as if they were being recited or sung. Many of these early manuscripts have been published, as of 2012 scholars have access to a great body of material containing multiple versions of the great myth cycles known in the rest of Polynesia, as well as of the local traditions pertaining only to New Zealand. A great deal of the best material is found in two books, Nga Mahi a nga Tupuna, collected by Sir George Grey and translated as Polynesian Mythology; the three forms of expression prominent in Māori and Polynesian oral literature are genealogical recital and narrative prose. The reciting of genealogies was well developed in Māori oral literature, where it served several functions in the recounting of tradition.
Firstly it served to provide a kind of time scale which unified all Māori myth and history, from the distant past to the present. It linked living people to the legendary heroes. By quoting appropriate genealogical lines, a narrator emphasised his or her connection with the characters whose deeds were being described, that connection proved that the narrator had the right to speak of them. "In the cosmogonic genealogies, to be described genealogical recital is revealed as a true literary form. What appears at first sight to be a mere listing of names is in fact a cryptic account of the evolution of the universe"'. Māori poetry was always chanted. Rhyme or assonance were not devices used by the Māori; the lines are indicated by features of the music. The language of poetry tends to differ stylistically from prose. Typical features of poetic diction are the use of synonyms or contrastive opposites, the repetition of key words. "Archaic words are common, including many which have lost any specific meaning and acquired a religious mystique.
Abbreviated, sometimes cryptic utterances and the use of certain grammatical constructions not found in prose are common". Prose narrative forms the great bulk of Māori legendary material; some appears to have been sacred or esoteric, but many of the legends were well-known stories told as entertainment in the long nights of winter. "Nevertheless, they should not be regarded as fairy tales to be enjoyed only as stories. The Māui myth, for example, was important not only as entertainment but because it embodied the beliefs of the people concerning such things as the origin of fire, of death, of the land in which they lived; the ritual chants concerning firemaking, death, so on made reference to Māui and derived their power from such reference". Myths are set in the remote past and their content have to do with the supernatural, they present Māori ideas of people. The mythology accounts for natural phenomena, the weather, the stars and the moon, the fish of the sea, the birds of the forest, the forests themselves.
Much of the culturally institutioned behaviour of the people finds its sanctions in myth. "Perhaps the most distinctive feature of myth, as distinct from tradition, is its universality. Each of the major myths is known in some version not only throughout New Zealand but over much of Polynesia as well"; the Māori understanding of the development of the universe was expressed in genealogical form. These genealogies appear in many versions, in which several symbolic themes recur. "Evolution may be likened to a series of periods of darkness or voids, each numbered in sequence or qualified by some descriptive term. In some cases the periods of darkness are succeeded by periods of light. In other versions the evolution of the universe is likened to a tree, with its base, tap roots, branching roots, root hairs. Another theme likens evolution to the development of a child in the womb, as in the sequence “the seeking, the searching, the conception, the growth, the feeling, the thought, the mi
Ngāti Hau is a Māori iwi of New Zealand. List of Māori iwi
In Māori mythology, Tiki is the first man created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne. He found Marikoriko, in a pond. By extension, a tiki is a large or small wooden or stone carving in humanoid form, although this is a somewhat archaic usage in the Māori language. Carvings similar to tikis and coming to represent deified ancestors are found in most Polynesian cultures, they serve to mark the boundaries of sacred or significant sites. In traditions from the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, the first human is a woman created by Tāne, god of forests and of birds, her name is Hine-ahu-one. In other legends, Tāne makes the first man Tiki makes a wife for him. In some West Coast versions, Tiki himself, as a son of Rangi and Papa, creates the first human by mixing his own blood with clay, Tāne makes the first woman. Sometimes Tūmatauenga, the war god, creates Tiki. In another story the first woman is Mārikoriko. Tiki marries her and their daughter is Hine-kau-ataata. In some traditions, Tiki is the penis of Tāne.
In fact, Tiki is associated with the origin of the reproductive act. In one story of Tiki among the many variants, Tiki was craved company. One day, seeing his reflection in a pool, he thought he had found a companion, dove into the pool to seize it; the image shattered and Tiki was disappointed. He when he awoke he saw the reflection again, he covered the pool with earth and it gave birth to a woman. Tiki lived with her in serenity, her excitement passed to Tiki and the first reproductive act resulted. John White names several Tiki or manifestations of Tiki in Māori tradition: Tiki-tohua, the progenitor of birds Tiki-kapakapa, the progenitor of fish and of a bird, the tui Tiki-auaha, the progenitor of humanity Tiki-whakaeaea, the progenitor of the kūmara; the word appears as tiki in New Zealand Māori, Cook Islands Māori and Marquesan. The word has not been recorded in the Rapa Nui language. In Hawaiian traditions the first man was Kumuhonua, he was made by Kāne, or by Kāne, Kū, Lono. His body was made by mixing red earth with saliva.
He was made in the shape of Kāne, who carried the earth from which the man was made from the four corners of the world. A woman was made from one of his ribs. Kanaloa was watching when Kāne made the first man, he too made a man, but could not bring him to life. Kanaloa said to Kāne, “I will take your man, he will die.” And so death came upon mankind. In Tahiti, Tiʻi was the first man, was made from red earth; the first woman was Ivi, made from one of the bones of Tiʻi. In the Marquesas Islands, there are various accounts. In one legend Atea and his wife created people. In another tradition Atanua and her father Atea brought forth humans. In the Cook Islands, traditions vary. At Rarotonga, Tiki is the guardian of the entrance to the underworld. Offerings were made to him as gifts for the departing soul of someone, dying. At Mangaia, Tiki is the sister of Veetini, the first person to die a natural death; the entrance to Avaiki is called ‘the chasm of Tiki’. According to Easter Island legend, Hotu Matu'a, the first chief brought along a moʻai symbolizing ancestors, which became the model for the large moʻai.
Dr. Jo Anne Van Tilburg of the Easter Island Statue Project at UCLA says that the first stone statues originated on Rapa Nui, although oral traditions do not support this and hers is just an opinion. Others contend that the first statues originated in the Austral Islands. Hei-tiki, Māori neck pendants called tiki Moai, a monolithic human figure on Easter Island, sometimes erroneously called tiki Tiki culture, a 20th-century decorative style used in Polynesian-themed restaurants Anito, similar carvings of ancestral and nature spirits in the Philippine islands Totem pole, artworks similar in shape and purpose from Cascadian cultures Chemamull, Mapuche statues