Guardians or regulators. These are supernormal beings who are appointed as guardians of the different realms of the universe. Their duties were to regulate all things, forces, activities, realms and beings.
Te Kūwatawata, Hurumanu and Tauru-rangiwere appointed as guardians of Hawaiki-nui, otherwise known as Hawaiki-rangi. This is the name of an edifice with four entrances, wherein the spirits of the dead assemble, and from which they pass to one of the two spirit worlds. It is situated on the summit of a mountain in the old homeland of the race, far away beneath the setting sun.
The poutiriao, or guardians and regulators of the elements, of winds, rain, clouds, mist, lightning, thunder, frost, etc., were Tukapua, Te Iho-rangi and Tama-te-uira. (These are the personified forms of clouds, rain and lightning.)
Te Ika-roa (personified form of the Milky Way) and two others were appointed as regulators of the seasons.
Rongo-mai-tu-waho and others were appointed guardians and controllers of all denizens of the ocean and of the fresh waters of the earth.
Kekerewai and two others were appointed as guardians of the earth and spirit world, and of all the offspring of the primal parents and their issue, which includes all living creatures on earth.
Tāne and two others were appointed supervisors of all realms, and all the poutiriao, or guardians, to preserve peace and harmony among them and among all other things in all realms. (Thus was harmony preserved, not only among all living creatures, but also among all things deemed inanimate, as the heavenly bodies, trees, stones, etc.) Also these supervisors reported periodically on the condition of all things in all realms to the Whatukura, who made such reports known to Io the Parent.
Rongo and two others were appointed as guardians and preservers of fertility in all things. The powers and faculties of germination and reproduction were their care.
Tāne, Rongo and Tupai were appointed as guardians and preservers of the institutions of mana and tapu, of gods and sacred places, the tuahu, as extremely tapu places, and the ritual pertaining to such.
Such were the duties of the poutiriao appointed by command from Io of the Hidden Face. They reported to the Whatukura the condition of all things.
- Best, Elsdon. (1924). The Maori. Wellington: Harry H. Tombs, p. 104, 105, 291, 320
This article incorporates text from The Maori (1924) by Elsdon Best, which is in the public domain.