A-Z challenge, Kotahi Bay, Mythology

P is for Papatūānuku

One of the most important connections for Maori is the connection with the land that we live on. Papatūānuku is the earth mother, who nurtures us and from which all life came.

I’ve always had a deep connection with the land we live on, and that sense of place and strength, that sense of Turangawaewae. For me this comes from living in Taranaki, under the watchful gaze of our maunga (mountain), it hits me hard when I travel down to the land my people came from in the south island, when I stand on the black beaches and feel the wind against my cheeks and the water lapping over my toes, when I walk through the forests of our national parks. These things all give me strength, a feeling of connection, a sense of place and purpose. They all remind me that I am alive.

Kotahi Bay is that place for the characters in my books. The place that gives them strength. The place that is their home, regardless of whether they were born there or not.

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Maori Mythology

Following on from yesterdays post, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite myths from Maori culture. I’ve been doing some reading, and trying to find a way to mash everything into one post, but I just can’t seem to do it.

So, instead I am going to post some of the images I have come across, and let them speak for themselves. I’ll preface that by saying that one of the things that has always really appealed to me about the myths and legends of the Maori is how deeply connected they are with the world around us. As a child who was very prone to floating away with the fairies, the earthly basis of these stories helped to keep me grounded and gave me a sense of wonder about the world around me.

Maori Mythology

I remember driving to Auckland and passing through gorges and hilly terrain, and my mother telling me that these sheer drops and blunt cliff faces were shaped by the sons of Papatuanuku and Ranginui when they tried to carve their way free from the small space between their parents.

Maori Mythology, New Zealand

And I remember staring at the Kaitake ranges near our house, looking for the shape of the woman who had laid down to rest and never got up (I was trying to find a myth about this and couldn’t, so perhaps its just a story my mother made up 😉 )

And perhaps it was this grounding of the otherworld firmly in the real world that helped feed my fantasies and drew me inevitably, endlessly towards speculative fiction.