The goddess guarding the Gates of Death. Sometimes she appears as the goddess of the underworld, or Hades of the Māori. Her house was called Tatau-o-te-Pō (the Door of Night), but sometimes known as Wharekura. Within the abode of Miru sat the inferior deities — viz.: Rapawhenua, Moko-hiku-waru, Tūtangatakino, Mutu, Tawhere, Mākutu, the Taputapu, the Ngarara, or reptile gods, and the multitude of evil deities (te Tini o nga atua kikokiko).
Rongo-mai, a celebrated demi-god ancestor of the Māori, went with Ihingā and others of his tribe to visit the dread Miru in the underworld. There they learned charms and spells, witchcraft, religious songs, dances, games of ti, whai, etc. They also learned the "guardian-charm," called kaiwhatu. One of Rongo-mai's followers was caught by Miru, and claimed as payment for the knowledge imparted; but Rongo-mai and the remainder of his men got safely back to the world again.
The weapon of Miru was the tip of her tongue: the unclean tapu was her power (mana). Miru is said to have dwelt upon the earth in ancient days, but her pa (fortress) was overwhelmed and destroyed in the Deluge, because the evil tribes would not listen to the exhortations of Wi, the good priest of the god Tāne.
References may be found in Grey's poems, as follows: Hei arataki, ki te Rerenga Wairua, ki a Miru; Moe rawa iho nei ki te Pō, i a Miru ra taku wairua; Aro nui te haere ki roto te Tatau (Tatau-o-te-Pō); Te whare a Miru i rorea ai Kewa; and an important poem called Ko te tau i tahuna ai, te Tatau-o-te-Pō, te whare o Miru.
See also Miru (Mangaia), Miru (Tuamotus), Miru (Mangareva), and Milu (Hawai'i).
- Cowan, James. (1925). Fairy Folk Tales of the Maori. Auckland: Whitcombe & Tombs, Ltd, pp. 54, 54.
- Grey, Sir George. (1853). Poems of the New Zealanders (Nga Moteatea), pp. 88, 188, 323, 370.
- Reed, Alexander W. (1957). Maori Tales of Long Ago. Wellington: Reed, pp. 91, 95.
- Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 242.
This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.