Tāne Mahuta, God of Forests and Birds

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About Tāne Mahuta, God of Forests and Birds

genealogy of Tane Mahuta shows how different species of tree were created through the marriage of Tāne Mahuta, god of the forest, with various deities. they all originate from the marriage of Ranginui (the sky) and Papatūānuku (the earth).

The love between Ranginui and Papatuanuku was so immense that they could not bear to be apart. Yet, by clinging to each other, the parents were also keeping their six children from the light.

That was until one day when, as Ranginui stirred, a single beam of light shone from Papatuanuku's armpit onto her children.

Amazed by this radiance, the children yearned to free themselves and enter the world of light.

So the children began to work on breaking the embrace that had kept their universe dark for so long. But their parents' love was strong and their efforts were fruitless.

Then the mighty Tāne Mahuta (god of the forest) lay on his back and dug his shoulders deep into his mother's body. With his legs, Tāne pushed against his father and, with all the strength he could summon, attempted to let light into the world.

Ignoring his mother's cries to stop, Tāne pushed even harder and the bond between his parents began to tear. Drawing on his very last reserves, Tāne fully extended his powerful legs, forcing Ranginui to the heavens and flooding the world with bright light.

Today, when Ranginui's tears fall from the sky as rain onto his beloved Papatuanuku, it is a reminder of his grief and longing for her. Papatuanuku's pain is visible in the red ochre clays of the earth, still stained by the blood drawn during the separation.


Tane Mahuta – the god of the forests – was responsible for separating his parents Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earth mother). After the separation, Papatuanuku was naked and vulnerable so Tane Mahuta covered her in trees. Tane Mahuta married Tawake-toro and they had Mānuka.