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Rangi and Papa

Story summary

The Maori people of New Zealand have a story about the beginning of the world as we know it. They believe that in the beginning there was nothing but the sky, called Rangi – the father of all things and Papa, the earth and mother of all things. At this time they clung close together – earth pressed against sky. They had six sons, five of whom one day decided to separate them and rule in their place. Once separated the sky became a stranger to the earth and in the light that came pouring in between the space between earth and sky, the first people emerged. The sixth brother, Tawhiri, father of winds and storms was angry with his five brothers who were the fathers of forest, fish, animals, wild food and cultivated food. He waged war on them – sending fierce winds and storms from which they tried to hide and protect themselves. One of the brothers, Tu, father of warriors was not afraid and he showed the new people how to survive on the earth and thrive on the children of his brothers.

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Transcript