Growing up in New Zealand it’s impossible not to be exposed to some Maori culture. It’s taught in the schools, and the growing belief in celebrating all the cultures represented by the people of our nation has meant that there has been somewhat of a resurgence in interest in Maori culture and mythology.
Long overdue, I say.
I admit, by the time I got to my mid teens I was sick to death of learning about it – but that was mostly because other people said it was uncool. My mother was going through something of a ‘born again Maori’ phase, and it irked me. What can I say, I was a bit of an angsty teen 😉 It took me growing up a little more to really appreciate my roots, my heritage, and even longer to dare to write stories that captured aspects of that culture.
One of the things I love most is the mythology surrounding the Maori gods – they are a part of the living world, the landscape. Papatuanuku is the goddess beneath our feet, and her husband, Ranginui is the sky father that spreads above our heads. Their children embody aspects of the world – the sea, the forests, the weather and so on. Their family tree is heavily dominated by gods, but there are a few goddeses in the mix.
I’ve always felt a deep connection to the land, especially to the land around where I live, where Mount Taranaki keeps watch over us, and the sea can be seen in almost every direction, and the wind can be so punishing, that it’s impossible not to believe their are entities inhabiting the sky. New Zealand is a magical place, and I’m blessed to live here.