A goddess or divine ancestress of Māui. He used her jawbone as an enchanted weapon to beat the sun to make him travel slower across the sky. He also used it as a fishhook to draw up his great fish (North Island) from the abyss.

Another tradition calls Muri-ranga-whenua the grandfather of Māui, and says that the old man was kiled by Māui's deceit in not bringing him food but hiding it instead; also, that not until the grandfather was dead did Māui take the jawbone.

Muri-ranga-whenua married Mahuika, the deity of fire.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp. 20, 24.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 259.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, pp. 2:99, 1:Appendix.
  • Wohlers, J. F. H. (1875). "Mythology and Tradition of the Maori." New Zealand Institute, Transactions 7:3-53, p. 38.

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