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Taranga

by Micha F. Lindemans
The mother of Maui in the Maori tradition. One day she was walking on the beach when suddenly Maui was born prematurely. Since he was an unformed child, she took some of her hair, wrapped the body in it and put the bundle down in the waves. There he was found by sea-fairies who took him with them and cared for him. They hid him in some kelp until a storm tore it to pieces and cast Maui back onto the beach. Tama-Rangi, Maui's own ancestor, found the child there. He 'woke' Maui back to life and taught him the lore of his fathers, their tales and songs.

One day, Maui came upon a meeting house and upon entering recognized his brothers, who were standing in front of their mother. Taranga did not recognize him until he reminded her that she had thrown her into the sea. At last she embraced him, and called him Maui-Potiki, Maui-Tikitiki ('Maui the Last-Born', 'Maui the Top-Knot'). He slept in his mother's bedroom, and so discovered each morning at dawn that she had disappeared. When he asked his brothers they told him that they knew nothing about it. He decided to secretly follow his mother when she left at first light. She disappeared beneath a clump of reeds in the bushes. When Maui lifted the clump, he saw the underworld. He took his mother's apron and wrapped himself in it. By this means he took on the shape of a wood pigeon and descended into the underworld. There he found his mother who was resting under a tree with her husband Makea-Tutara. He shed his disguise and Taranga presented him to his father.

On Samoa she is called Bua-Taranga.


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