Maori Creation Story: The Separation of Heaven and Earth
All humans are descended from one pair of ancestors, Rangi and Papa. They were also called Heaven and Earth. Rangi and Papa were locked in a tight embrace, and everything was dark. In between them were their sons: Tane, the father of the forests; Tawhiri, the father of wind and storms; Tangaroa, the father of the sea; Tu, the father of war; and Rongo, the father of cultivated food. The sons had always wondered what light and vision was like, because they had been between their parents for so long.
They knew something had to be done, so Tu suggested that they slay their parents. Tane had another idea: they would separate their parents, making Rangi the distant sky, and Papa the close earth. Each son tried and failed to push their parents apart. When it was Tane’s turn, he put his head on the ground, and with his feet against the sky, pushed his parents apart. When this happened, light spread across the earth and all of their offspring, plants, and animals that had been trapped between Rangi and Papa scattered into the world.
Rangi was so upset that he was separated from his beloved Papa that he cried. Over time, their offspring multiplied and filled the world. Rangi still cries this day, and his tears fall to the the islands of Polynesia as raindrops or morning dew.
“The Separation of Heaven and Earth.” Creation Stories from Around the World.
N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. <http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/