Maui

Pacific Islands - A trickster-hero and sun-god. Semi-divine son of Makea and Taranga or of Taranga alone. Brother of Hina-ika and Hina-keha. Brother of Sina. Husband of Rohe. As an infant, he was thrown into the sea wrapped in a tuft of his mother's or sister's hair and was saved from drowning by an ancestor, the sky-god Tama. Alone he pushed up the sky to give men more room to move, trapped the sun in a net made from the hair of his sister, Hina-ika, made it slow its motion across the heavens to give a longer day and fixed the stars in the sky. He killed his grandmother so that he could use her jawbone as a hook to fish up the islands from the sea- bottom and he stole fire from Mahuika in the underworld for the benefit of mankind or, some say, learned the secret of fire from the mud-hens. When Hina left her eel-husband Te Tuna she took Maui as a lover. Twice they fought over her and on the second occasion Maui succeeded in killing Te Tuna and buried his head from which sprang the first coconut tree. Another story tells how he hooked a monstrous fish which, as he towed it behind his boat, split into many pieces to form the islands of the Pacific or, in some versions, into two large pieces which became the two islands of New Zealand. He crept through the body of the sleeping Hine-nui-te-po, goddess of death, in an abortive attempt to win immortality for the human race but he was killed when she squeezed him. His blood gives the rainbow its colours and causes shrimps to be red. His weapon was the jawbone of his ancestress Muri-ranga-whenua and he is credited with the invention of sails and fish-hooks. Also known as Maui, Aitu, Aitu, Mawi, Mawi, Mowee, Mowee, Koriro, Koriro, Maui-Potiki, Maui-Potiki, Maui-Tikitiki, Maui-Tikitiki, Tama Rangi or Tama Rangi.

Nearby Myths