Friday, June 30, 2006

Rangi and Papa

This is a carving I found at Dunedin Museum of Rangi (the sky - the father) and Papa (the earth - the mother), ultra-important characters in Maori mythology. Or theology, depending what you want to call it. The Maori are the indigenous people of my country, in case you haven't heard of them. This is their story, or at least one version of it, taken from this site.

Ranginui and Papatuanuku prevented light from reaching the world because of their close embrace, and their offspring lived in a world of darkness and ignorance between the bodies of their parents. And they plotted against their parents in order to let light into the world.

It is said that some of the sons decided that their situation could be remedied only if they separated their parents, so that Ranginui would be pushed up to become the sky and Papatuanuku remain as their Earth. They set about their task. Tane it was who finally rendered them apart by resting his shoulders upon Papatuanuku and thrusting his legs upwards and pushing Ranginui to the sky. By this deed Tane, of many names, came also to be known as Tane-te-toko-o-te-rangi (Tane the prop of the heavens).

By this separation of Rangi and Papa the world of light, of existence, the third state of creation, came into being.

I think it's a great story, and a beautiful carving/sculpture. I don't remember the exact story so I hope I don't offend anyone, but I remember hearing in one part of the country that when it is misty, it is Papa (or perhaps Rangi??) crying for her husband. I like that a lot. Yes, I don't believe them as such, but I think Maori legends are so beautiful.


Patty said...

beautiful beautiful story.

Patty said...

& a lovely carving.