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Top 5 Fascinating Maori Myths And Legends

Have you ever heard about the term “purakau”? What does it mean? It’s actually a Maori word in New Zealand. Let’s find out this word’s meaning and 5 fascinating Maori myths and legends.

The Meaning Of Purakau


According to a document, purakau means storytelling. This is an antique form not just of sharing ideas but of generating transmitted meaning and therefore identity.

Maori Mythology Gods


Maori myths and legends present a great take on the origins of New Zealand as well as the creation of Earth. There are many tales about gods, astronomy, nature, warfare, and mythical creatures. So, let’s dig into 7 Maori mythology gods and their stories. You’ll see how rich this cultural tradition is.

Tane Mahuta – God Of The Forest


This character is an essential figure in the history of Maori. Tane Mahuta is the oldest of six siblings of sky father Ranginui, and Earth mother Papatuanuku. 

Tane gradually grew tired of living in darkness, where in between his sky father and Earth mother. He then determined to set them apart. By doing so, he generated the world of light we live in today.

Waipoua Forest which sits on the North Island’s northwestern coast has one of the biggest outliving stands of kauri forest. Some of its trees are even over 2,000 years old. The most age-old and revered trees there are Te Matua Ngahere – the mythical God of the Forest.

When taking a guided tour to this spot, you will have a chance to hear Maori mythology gods and their legends. The most notable tales are about the forest’s gods, its residents, and the creation folklore of Tane Mahuta.

Tumatauenga – The Maori God Of War – Maori Myths And Legends


Tumatauenga is the deity of humans. He is one of the sons of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. 

In Maori culture, Tumatauenga always solved the conflict by war. The Tumatauenga’s sculpture guards one of the entries to Eden Park, Auckland. This is the place where another form of battle – rugby – occurs.

Tawhirimatea – God Of The Weather


Tawhirimatea is another son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. He is the only one of the Maori mythology gods against divorcing his parents. 

In his fury, he sent his offspring – the four clouds and winds – to inflict damage on Earth with bouts of thunderstorms and rains. Tane’s woodlands were demolished in the process. However, eventually, Tumatauenga was able to beat his nasty sibling.

Maui – The Creator Of The North Island – Maori Myths And Legends


In Maori purakau, Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga is a clever and cheeky demigod who enjoyed pushing boundaries. When his siblings intended to exclude him from their fishing voyage, Maui hid in the front of their ship. He only revealed himself once the ship was far out to the ocean. On that trip, Maui landed his largest fish ever – the North Island.

The Maori believe that Mount Hikurangi is the first part of the fish that arose from the ocean. As a result, this mountain is truly sacred to the local tribe. 

A local guided tour up Mount Hikurangi will inform you about Maui and his family legends. At the same time, don’t forget to enjoy the amazing carved illustrations as well.

Mangoroa – The Shark That Created The Milky Way


In Polynesian tradition, sharks are the guardian spirits. Maori culture also follows this notion. Te Mangoroa is presumably the most well-known of its stories. Myth has it that Maui once placed the Mangoroa high up in the sky. As a result, the creature forms what we know as the Milky Way today.

Related Posts You Can Read:

The most interesting Maori legends and myths you should know

Hawaiian Gods And Goddesses: Sacred And Powerful

10 Natural Wonders of New Zealand You Must See Before You Die

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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