This is one of my favorite creation stories for no other reason that it is from the land of the long white cloud AKA Aotearoa, AKA New Zealand - my country. I was born in Auckland, New Zealand so yeah, this is close to home you could say. This creation myth came from the New Zealand Maori who arrived in New Zealand in the 13th century so it is the youngest people with the youngest creation myth.
The following story was compiled by Sir George Grey in the 1840's when he was the Govenor of New Zealand, he published the story in 1955.
All humans are descended from one pair of ancestors, Rangi and Papa, who are also called Heaven and Earth. In those days, Heaven and Earth clung closely together, and all was darkness. Rangi and Papa had six sons: Tane-mahuta, the father of the forests and their inhabitants; Tawhiri-ma-tea, the father of winds and storms; Tangaroa, the father of fish and reptiles; Tu-matauenga, the father of fierce human beings; Haumia-tikitiki, the father of food that grows without cultivation; and Rongo-ma-tane, the father of cultivated food. These six sons and all other beings lived in darkness for an extremely long time, able only to wonder what light and vision might be like.
The six sons also wondered what the things they were fathers of looked like. After all, it was very dark and photosynthesis would have been a bitch.
Finally the sons of Heaven and Earth decided something must be done. Tu-matauenga, the father of fierce human beings, urged his brothers to slay their parents. However, Tane-mahuta, the father of the forests and their inhabitants, argued that they should separate their parents, making Rangi the distant sky over their heads and Papa the earth close to them like a mother. After long debate, the brothers agreed to this plan, except for Tawhiri-ma-tea, the father of winds and storms, who was distraught at the idea of separating their parents. The other brothers nonetheless proceeded with their plan.
It's almost as if the kids are all getting together to discuss putting Mum and Dad in a home instead of just killing the annoying old biddies. But not all the kids are happy with that idea but too bad, it was done anyway.
Rongo-ma-tane, the father of cultivated food, rose and struggled to separate his parents, but he could not do it. Tangaroa, the father of fish and reptiles, also struggled but could not tear them apart. Haumia-tikitiki, the father of food that grows without cultivation, had no better luck at separating their parents. Tu-matauenga, the father of fierce human beings, likewise failed. Tane-mahuta, the father of the forests and their inhabitants, slowly rose up and struggled, but with little success. Then he put his head against the earth and, with his feet against the skies, slowly pushed them apart. His parents cried out in anguish, asking how their sons could do this, but Tane pushed and pushed until the sky was far above. As light spread across the earth, the multitude of humans that Rangi and Papa had parented were revealed.
Way to go father of the forests!! How is being upside down easier to push than being right side up, and where did all the people come from, oh right - Rangi and Papa. This is not so much a story of creation, by the looks of it, but a story of how light was separated from dark. People don't seem to be very important in this story and you know, it makes sense because they are gods after all, we are just the mortal beings than ran around in the dark.
Tawhiri-ma-tea, the father of winds and storms, was furious that his brothers had so cruelly separated their parents and thrust their father away. Tawhiri-ma-tea followed his father and hid in the sky and plotted his revenge. Soon he sent down storms and squalls and fiery clouds and hurricanes to punish his brother Tane-mahuta, the father of the forests and their inhabitants, breaking off the tall trees and leaving the forests in shambles. Likewise the storms swept down on the oceans of Tangaroa, the father of fish and reptiles, and piled up waves and generated great whirlpools. Tangaroa, frightened by the havoc in oceans, dove deep to escape Tawhiri-ma-tea's wrath.
Sibling rivalry at it's very best, meanwhile Papa was getting ravaged by her wrathful son - how is that fair. Sorry, not my place to get in the middle of a family affair, lets see how this baby turns out.
Tangaroa abandoned his two granchildren, the father of the fish and the father of the reptiles. The fish and reptiles were left not knowing what to do, and they debated how to escape the storm. Finally, the reptiles fled to the land and hid in the forests, and the fish fled for refuge to the sea. Tangaroa, angered at the reptiles' desertion and the forests' willingness to receive and protect them, now struggled with Tane-mahuta, the father of the forests and their inhabitants, who in turn fought back. Thus Tane provided the canoes, spears, and fish-hooks from the trees, and nets woven from fibrous plants, to capture the fish of Tangaroa's seas, and Tangaroa's waves attacked the shores of the forests, washing away the land and all the life it holds.
Is there a hint of the great flood there? To me it seems like many of these creation stories have god, or gods, being so pissed off with the world in some form or another that he, she or they washed the world clean with some kind of water treatment... or is it just me?
Tawhiri-ma-tea, the god of winds and storms, also lashed out at his brothers Haumia-tikitiki, the father of food that grows without cultivation, and Rongo-ma-tane, the father of cultivated food, for their role in the separation of his parents and exile of his father. However, Papa, the earth-mother whom the brothers had taken as their home, clasped up Haumia-tikitiki and Rongo-ma-tane and held them close in her to save them from Tawhiri-ma-tea's fury.
Out from the folly of war comes the love of mother earth (nature).
Only Tu-matauenga, the father of fierce human beings, withstood Tawhiri-ma-tea's wrath as the winds and storms attacked. Tu-matauenga was impervious, having planned the death of their parents and having been abandoned by his brothers on the Earth. When Tawhiri-ma-tea's gales finally subsided, Tu-matauenga began to plan his revenge on his cowardly and weak brothers. First he turned to Tane-mahuta, the father of the forests and their inhabitants, both because Tane had abandoned him and because he knew Tane's offspring were increasing and might ultimately overwhelm Tu-matauenga's human progeny. Taking the leaves of the whanake tree, he made them into snares and hung them in the forests, where he caught Tanes's offspring and subdued the forest. Then he took on Tangaroa, the father of the seas and its life, and with nets he dragged Tangaroa's children from the seas. With a hoe and basket he dug up the children of Haumia-tikitiki, the god of food that needs no cultivation, and Rongo-ma-tane, the god of cultivated food. He dug up all kinds of plants and left them in the sun to dry, to gain revenge on those two brothers.
Wow, how childish. I'm sure there is a lesson here soon, lets read on...
Tu-matauenga, the father of fierce human beings, thus consumed all his four brothers on Earth, and they became his food. Only one brother, Tawhiri-ma-tea, the god of winds and storms, remained unconquered, and to this day his storms attack human beings on both land and sea in revenge for the rending of Heaven and Earth.
OK, no lesson here. This is really just a story about a) how the light was separated from the dark and b) why there is some shit weather in New Zealand sometimes.
I know this is a very young creation story which is why I expected a little more from it. But no. This is just as unbelievable as all the other creation stories but, as I pointed out earlier, there is the flood theme that keeps coming up. In this story, however, there is no real timeline so no way to tell if we are talking about the same flood as the one which made Noah famous.
Thank you all