Ngā Atua Māori (The Māori Gods)

Every culture or civilisation has its traditions about how the world was created. Māori have many, but the foundational stories are those that tell how darkness, the long night, became light. Nothingness became something, earth and sky were separated, and nature evolved. Our ancestors passed down this kōrero to generations and we have put them into the context of the world we live in.

There are so many examples of tikanga  that come from the creation (Orokohanga) pūrākau (story). For example the process of the pōwhiri is a movement of darkness to light.

The Creation story and the Māori gods and their attributes are an essential part of te ao Māori.

Although the word myth has a dictionary meaning….”a traditional story of historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief or natural phenomenon”, it has become a word used for “unfounded or false notion”.

“Oh, that’s just a myth!”

Please examine your introduction of these whakapapa pūrākau (stories). Some prefer to call them this rather than “Myths and Legends”.

These pūrākau have very strong whakapapa links to many of us.

As part of colonisation there was a view held by some that perhaps Māori pūrākau held less value. ( We know better than that).

“Te Ika a Māui” being changed to “The North Island” is an example of this.

The Māori creation story and the Māori gods are an engaging kaupapa that can be woven in throughout many topics all throughout the year.

Māori Atua and Learning Areas

Every learning area links to a particular atua for total integration (especially Secondary school).

Written language, reading and writing-The arts of whakairo and moko originate from Tangaroa and Rūaumoko. These are forms of tuhituhi, writing and communicate our knowledge to the world.

Science– systematic investigation, testing assumptions and seeking knowledge. Tane is an appropriate atua for the scientific endeavour.

Below are a collection of all of the Atua resources available as part of your Te Reo Club membership.

Māori Atua Resources

Māori Gods Collaborative Puzzle + Fortune Teller

Māori Gods Concertina Book

Maori Gods Concertina Book
This Māori Gods concertina book, also known as “He Pukapuka Whētuitui – Ngā Atua Māori”, is a wonderful activity for young and old, to learn more about the Maori gods. Making this concertina book is a great activity, especially if you have read any of the books or the creation story with Ranginui and Papatūānuku. It also acts as a template to present more rangahau (research).

Collaborative Poster – The Māori Gods

collaborative poster maori gods nga atua
Papatūānuku and Ranginui are the ancient parents who the Māori Gods whakapapa to. If you have introduced these as part as your kaitiakitanga or sustainability topics your learners will love this collaborative poster to tie it all together with.

Papatūānuku Collaborative Poster

Papatūānuku-the earth mother. This collaborative will add to any discussion about whenua, sustainabilty, kaitikitanga or Ngā Atua Māori (The Māori Gods). 25 pieces. 1m x 1m

Tangaroa Collaborative Poster

Tangaroa-our atua/god/guardian of the moana. He reminds us to respect the living creatures under the sea.

Tāne Mahuta Collaborative Poster

collaborative poster tane mahuta
Tāne Mahuta – god of the forest. This collaborative will add to any discussion about whenua, sustainabilty, kaitikitanga or Ngā Atua Māori (The Māori Gods). 25 pieces. 1m x 1m

Tāwhirimātea Collaborative Poster

collaborative poster matariki tawhirimatea
As an activity, your ākonga can collaboratively make this poster and retell the story of the battle among the sons of Rangi and Papa.

In the coming months, we’re aiming to complete the collaborative posters for each of the atua.