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MAORI LEGENDS

The Maori use legends to explain, and guide you through, life. Many of these legends have a moral hidden within them. We have legends about death, births or rituals, just to mention a few.

A legend that we found very interesting, is the legend "Ruamoko". This legend is about how everything began. We all know the story about how God created the world, the universe and gave life to the humans. "The Ruamoko" tells us the same story, but from a Maori point of view.

 

THE RUAMOKO

When Ranginui the Sky father and Papatuanuku the Earth mother clung to each other, their children complained bitterly. No light could penetrate between the parents and there was very little space for the children to move. Ranginui and Papatuanuku did not want to part and took no notice of their children's cries of discomfort and unhappiness.

When the youngest child was born, life became unbearable. The new baby was very active and had a terrible temper. He was named Raumoko. He was the god of volcanoes.

Raumoko loved Papatuanuku dearly and often pushed his long fingers of fire through her body to warm her. He was her beloved potiki and both Rangi and Papa thoroughly spoiled him.

One day the older brothers held a hui. Ruamoko was too young to be included so he was not invited. The brothers decided to separate their parents and they chose Tane Mahuta god of the forest and birds, to carry out the separation. Tane Mahuta lay on Papa and shoved Rangi up into the heavens. Light rushed into the world. Tangaroa spread his waters around Papa and Tawhiri Matea, god of the wind screamed across the empty space between his parents.

Ruamoko peeped out from his mother's arms and howled with rage at the sight of his father's tears and his mother's agony. The ground cracked and opened and Ruamoko threw boiling mud into the air, and huge clouds of foul smelling steam. His brother's stared in amazement at their little brother's fury.

"How dare you!" screamed Ruamoko and the earth shook with his voice.

"How dare you!" he shrieked and he took the fires from inside Papatuanuku and made them erupt high above the ground.

So it was that Ruamoko howled and shook with rage for many days until finally Papatuanuku folded her arms around him and sang him to sleep.

Time passed. Ranginui stopped weeping for Papatuanuku and Papatuanuku began taking an interest in her children's work especially when they dressed her in gowns of many colours.

But Ruamoko is still the baby and a very bad tempered baby at that. When he wakes from a nap he is inclined to shake Papatuanuku rather hard and then hurl mud and hot, foul smelling steam into the air.

And when Papatuanuku cannot sing him to sleep, Ruamoko hurls red rivers of fire into the forests of Tane Mahuta. He shoves ugly islands of molten rock upon the waters of Tangaroa. And he speaks to his brothers saying;

"Ko Ruamoko, e ngunguru nei,
Au, au, aue ha!
"Hark to the rumble of the Earthquake God.
Au, au, aue ha!"

THE END