"Spirit's leap." When the soul of a dying person quits the mortal body it flies northwards until it comes to the hill Waihokimai; there it rests in order to lament with wailings and cuttings; and there it strips off its spirit-dress, the leaves of wharangi, makuku, and oropito, in which it has been clothed. Then it goes on to the hill Waiotioti; and here, turning its back for ever on the world of life, it journeys on to the Rerenga-wairua.

At Rerenga-wairua there are two long straight roots, the lower extremities of which are concealed in the sea, while the upper ends cling to a põhutukawa tree. The spirit stands by the upper end of these roots, awaiting an opening in the sea weed floating on the water. The moment an opening is seen, it flies down to the Reinga. Reaching the Reinga, there is a river and a sandy beach. The spirit crosses the river. The name of the new comer is shouted out. He is welcomed, and food is set before him. If he eats the food he can never return to life.



  • Shortland, Edward. (1882). Maori Religion and Mythology. London: Longmans Green, p. 45.

This article incorporates text from Maori Religion and Mythology (1882) by Edward Shortland, which is in the public domain.