A personification of comets. He is a son of Tama-nui-te-rā, the beneficent sun. The sun wished to confer a boon upon mankind in the days when the world was young and pondered as to what this boon should be. At last he resolved to send them fire, that man might possess the blessing of fire for all time. He therefore commanded Auahi-tu-roa to come down to earth bringing with him the seed of fire as a gift to mankind. This command was carried out, and, on arriving in this lower world, Auahi took Mahuika to wife, their offspring being the five Fire Children, whose names are those of the five fingers of the human hand.
Another name for the personified form of comets is Upoko-roa, or Long Head, as seen in the saying:
Me oioi ki te ringa ka puta te tama a Upoko-roa, an allusion to the method of kindling fire by friction. The ignited dust was placed in some dry fibrous material which was waved to and fro, when the fire blazed up, or, as the Māori puts it, the child of Upoko-roa appears.
- Andersen, Johannes C. (1928). Myths and Legends of the Polynesians. London: George G. Harrap, p. 217.
- Best, Elsdon. (1924). The Maori. Wellington: Harry H. Tombs, pp. 151, 175.