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interactive language learning
A Maori creation story

All around the world different people have old, old stories about how the world was made. These stories are called myths. This is the Maori myth of creation, or how the world was made.

In the beginning there was nothing -- no earth, no sky, no sea, no gods. There was only darkness, like night. From this darkness, Ranginui (the Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (the Earth Mother) were born. They made many children, and these children became the gods of the Maori, such as Tawhiri-Matea, god of wind and storms; Tangaroa, god of the ocean; Tane-Mahuta, god of the forest; and Tu-Matauenga, god of war.

Ranginui and Papatuanuku loved each other so much they always hugged each other, with their arms tight around each other. Since Ranginui was the sky and Papatuanuku was the earth, no light was able to shine between them. Their children were held between them, and it was always dark.

The children wanted to see the light so much that they decided to separate their parents. The children thought of different ways to push them apart. Each child tried hard, but their parents did not want to be separated. Their love for each other was too strong.

Then Tane-Mahuta's turn came. He was as strong as a kauri tree. It took Tane a long time, pushing harder and harder. When he was finally able to separate Ranginui and Papatuanuku, light came into the world. At last there was sky and earth. Not everyone was happy. Ranginui cried and cried so much that his tears became the sea.

The brothers also forgot one thing. In order to have people on earth, men and women are needed. Tane-Mahuta made a woman from the clay of the earth. He breathed life into her, and Hine-ahu-one was born. She was the earth's first woman. Tane-Mahuta and Hine had a beautiful daughter named Hinetitama. Tane-Mahuta and Hinetitama also had daughters.

This is the Maori story of creation. What is the creation story in your culture? Tell a friend your creation story.


  • creation -- something new is made
  • separate -- put in two places

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