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Revitalizing Te Ika-a-Maui: Māori migration and the nation

Maui-Tikitiki-A-Taranga is more than simply a ‘mythic’ hero. For many he is a prominent figure in a long family line. The whakapapa that binds Māori to our tupuna is significant to the present and future, and carries with it the ‘ultimate expression’ of who we are. Maui has been described as ‘the most important culture hero in Māori mythology’, whose exploits and archetype provide precedents that Māori respond to in the present. The status of Maui within my own tribal boundaries is clear: ‘In accordance with the traditions and tikanga of Ngati Porou, we as People of this Land have been here since the beginning of time, or more aptly in the context of Aotearoa, since Maui fished up Te Ika-a-Maui (North Island). Maui-Tikitiki-a-Taranga is attributed with fishing up the North Island, raising it out of the depths of the sea, for successive generations of Māori to populate and cultivate.’ Maui’s waka, as Ngāti Porou uphold, is Nukutaimemeha, believed to be ‘cradled’ upon our ancestral mountain Hikurangi. However, there are other stories that recognize the waka as the South Island, with Stewart Island its anchor. These variations aside, the history remains a well-rehearsed one throughout the Māori world and in other parts of Polynesia.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Mahuika, N. (2009). Revitalizing Te Ika-a-Maui: Māori migration and the nation. New Zealand Journal of History, 43(2), 133-149.
University of Auckland
This article has been published in the journal: New Zealand Journal of History. Used with permission.