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The Story of Māui, Demigod, Trickster, and Hero | Sachindu Perera | Melbourne

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ශ්‍රී LankaNZ is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population of over 18,000 all over New Zealand. The demand for entertainment in literacy media itself gave birth to ශ්‍රී LankaNZ

Part 1 – How Maui Found His Mother

In Maori culture, Maui is a mythological hero and a trickster famous for his exploits and cleverness. He had superhuman strength and could shape-shift into animals such as birds. But do you know the story of his origin?

First I will tell you how Maui was born. Maui was conceived solely by divine intervention to his mother the goddess Taranga. However, he was born prematurely so his mother thought he wouldn’t survive so she cut the topknot of her hair and wrapped his body in her long black hair giving him the name tikitiki-a-Taranga which means topknot of Taranga. Taranga took Maui to the seashore where she called upon the God of the Sea Tangaroa to take her son and then threw him into the ocean.

But somehow Maui survived, and the wave children of Tangaroa and Hine-moana carried him on their backs for several days until a current drew him towards a coastal village. As soon as Maui came ashore lots of creatures tried to eat him, but luckily his uncle Tama-nui-ki-te-Rangi scared them off and unwrapped the hair to find Maui. He didn’t know that he had just saved his nephew, but something inside him made him want to raise him as his own son.

As Maui grew, his uncle told him many Maori legends and how to harness the magic from nature and aroha. Maui was a quick learner and was soon able to change his form into any bird in the forest. His favourite transformation was Rupe, the wood pigeon. Maui enjoyed his childhood but he still didn’t know who his mother was. He asked his uncle Tama if he knew who his mother was. His uncle told him that his mother might be the goddess Taranga but when Tama said that he was too old to take Maui to where she was, Maui decided to look for her himself.

Finally, after many months of searching, he found the village he had left long ago when he was a baby. All of the villagers had gathered together and as Maui came closer he saw a woman greeting her sons. Maui was convinced that the woman was his mother. As the woman greeted her sons one by one Maui lined up sneakily behind the four brothers he had never met. When it was his turn to be greeted his mother was surprised to see a stranger standing before her. “Who are you?” She asked. “I am Maui-potiki (last-born)” he replied and told his mother what had happened since she had thrown him into the sea. They were both happy to see each other after all those years apart.

By Sachindu Perera – Melbourne

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