The moon goddess. Marama and her brother Rā, the sun, were the children of Tongo-tongo, the wife of Haronga, who was the son of Rangi-pōtiki. Hence the proverb for the Sun and Moon — Nga tokorua a Tongotongo, "The two children of Tongotongo." She is also mentioned as the daughter of Rangi and Te-ata-tuhi.
The moon becomes seized with disease soon after the middle of the month, and she wanes as her sickness consumes her. When she is excessively weak, she bathes in the Living Water of Tāne (see Waiora) which gradually restores her light and strength.
In some traditions1 the moon is male and took to wife two sisters, the daughters of Tangaroa. The Māori held a strange belief with regard to the moon, and which was explained as follows:
The moon is the real husband of all women: notemea kai te matenga o te marama, ka paheke te wahine (because, on the death of the moon are women ill). According to the ancestors and elders, the marriage of man and women is of no moment, the moon is the true husband.
In Hawai'i she is the wife of Tāne, and is called Uri Uri. Known also in Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands.
Also, the moon itself: He marama koia kia hoki rua ki Taitai.
- Best, Eldson. (1899). "Notes on Maori Mythology." Journal of the Polynesian Society 8:93-121, p. 100-101.
- Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 213, 214.
- White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 1:141.
This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.