A personage spoken of in very ancient tradition. He had no parents. On the birth of his son, Te Roiroi-whenua, Tū-taka-hinahina ordered his people to lay in great stores of firewood and provisions; he then died, and was buried. An intense long-continued darkness overspread the world, so that no person could move about to get food or firewood. In the darkness, the son Roiroi-whenua heard the voice of his father calling to him, "Here am I, where the earth heaves up." The son listened, and having kindled fire by friction, cooked a part of the mortal remains of his parent. Tamatea shook the oven, and then appeared the first faint tints of dawn. Since that time the morning has been with Tamatea; before that time it was with Tangaroa.

A story curiously resembling this is told in Rarotonga as to the origin of pigs. They sprung from the corpse of Maaru, who had been buried by his son Kationgia.



  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 566.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 2:49.

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