Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Māori Religion

  • Regina PfeifferEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9353

An Intimate Relationship with the Natural World

In the Māori indigenous religious tradition of the islands of Aotearoa, commonly known as New Zealand, one of the more common cosmology narratives situated the beginning of the earth and sky in the darkness, Po, that dwelt between the primal parents, Rangi (Sky Father) and Papa (Earth Mother). Briefly, in one version retold by Elsdon Best (1924), the two parents clung tightly to one another as their progeny were brought forth in the darkness betwixt their bodies. The all-male progeny, tiring of the cold and dank conditions, and seeing a glimmer of light, decided to separate their parents. Tāne, one of the seventy sons, persuaded several of his brothers to assist him in parting their parents. Using four poles held by four of the brothers who later become identified with the directional winds, the progeny struggled to separate the parents who clung even tighter. As a result, the sons were forced to sever the primal parents’ arms in order...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Awekotuku, N. T. (1996). Māori: People and culture. In D. C. Starzecka (Ed.), Maori art and culture. London: British Museum Press.Google Scholar
  2. Best, E. (1924). Māori religion and mythology: An account of the cosmogony, anthropogeny, religious beliefs and rites, magic and folklore of the Maori fold of New Zealand (Section 1, Bulletin No. 10, Dominion Museum). Wellington: W.A.G. Skinner, Government Printer.Google Scholar
  3. Cadigan, T. (2001). Land ideologies that inform a contextual Māori theology of land. Ecotheology: Journal of Religion, Nature & the Environment, 6(1/2), 123.Google Scholar
  4. Hakiwai, A. T. (1996). Maori society today: Welcome to our world. In D. C. Starzecka (Ed.), Maori art and culture. London: British Museum Press.Google Scholar
  5. Moore, A. (1995). Arts in the religions of the Pacific: Symbols of life. New York: Continuum Press.Google Scholar
  6. Smith, J. (1974). Tapu removal in Maori religion, Part 1. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 83(40), 1–47.Google Scholar
  7. White, M. (2009). Between fire and ice. National Geographic, 216(1), 82–95.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Religious StudiesChaminade UniversityHonoluluUSA