"Great woman of Night." This goddess was the daughter of the god Tāne and the earth-formed maiden Hine-ahu-one, constructed by that deity from the soil. Hine-ohu-one brought forth an egg; whence emerged a child named Tiki-tōhua, from whom came forth all the fowls of the air. The next child was a daughter, Tiki-kapakapa (Aitanga-a-Tiki-kapa-kapa = birds), who was afterwards named Hine-a-tauira ("the pattern maid").

Hine-a-tauira became the wife of Tāne, and bore him several children, among whom are Tahu-kumea, Tahu-whakairo, Tahu-otiatu, and Tahu-kumea-atepo. At this time she was ignorant of her relationship to Tāne; but on discovering her parentage, she was overcome with shame and despair, and she killed herself. She went down to the underworld () by the road called Tupu-ranga-o-te-pō, and her name was changed to Hine-tītama. In another version,1 she did not kill herself but fled away to Rikiriki, and to Naonao, to Rekoreko, to Waeawe-te-Pō, and to Pō (these were all ancestor of the race of Powers of Night).

Hine was allowed to enter the world of darkness, where she remained, and her name was again changed, this time to Hine-nui-te-pō. She became a goddess of darkness, trying to drag down the souls of men to night, while Tāne strives to lead them to the light. Her farewell words to Tāne were:

"Heikona, e Tāne, hei kukume ake i a taua hua ki te Ao;
kia haere au ki raro hei kukume iho i a taua hua ki te Pō."
"Remain, o Tāne, to pull up our offspring to Day;
while I go below to drag down our offspring to Night."

She bore one daughter to Tāne, a girl named Hine-tītamauri. After she had left Tāne she brought forth Te Pō-uriuri ("the dark night"), Pō-tangotango ("the very dark night"), and then Pare-kōri-tawa, who married Tāwhaki, the lightning god.

In trying to pass through her domains and deliver the souls of men from death, Māui was slain. One legend states that Māui deceived Hine by walking "like an atua" i.e. on his feet and hands, with his belly and face upwards; then, after robbing the aged goddess, Māui told his brothers to visit her walking upright. Thus it was that Māui-mua (Rupe) was slain, and not the great Māui (Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga).

From Hine-ahu-one (the mother of Hine-nui-te-pō), through her child Rapuwai, came the race of Europeans; while from Hine-tītama (a name of Hine-nui-te-pō) sprang the Māori people.



  1. Shortland 1882, p. 23.


  • Fallaize, E. N. (1925). "Sun, Moon, and Stars (Primitive)." In ERE, Vol. 12, 62-65, p. 63.
  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 33.
  • Shortland, Edward. (1882). Maori Religion and Mythology. London: Longmans Green, pp. 22, 23.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 72.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, pp. 1:131, 146, 3:123.
  • Wohlers, J. F. H. (1875). "Mythology and Tradition of the Maori." New Zealand Institute, Transactions 7:3-53, pp. 9, 36.

This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.