The Hollow Earth: The Maori Underworld of Rarohenga

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Maori Underworld of Rarohenga


When visiting New Zealand I picked up a book titled "Maori Myths and Legendary Tales" by A.W. Reed. I admit I was searching for myths about the underworld, and I was not disappointed. As it turns out, the face and body tattoos for which the Maori are famous, otherwise known as the moko, originated in the Underworld, — as stated by their own legends.

According to the Maori, Rarohenga, or the Underworld, became completely shut off to mortals and is a place where the spirits of the dead go. Rarohenga is also populated with the creatures of mythology where they were driven by the magic (technology?) of the white man. The Maori underworld is a place of luminescent beauty with a light that emanates from everywhere (much as described in Etidorhpa).

Quite some time ago, a Maori chief was visited by four maidens from Rarohenga. The chief, Mataora, followed these maidens back, through the house of the four winds, to the underground realm. In the Underworld, Mataora learned the secret of tattooing the moko on the face so that it would not wipe off. Before this time, the Maori only painted the moko on. Mataora not only brought with him the art of the moko, but also brought with him one of the Underworld maidens, Niwareka, and the art of weaving the colorful robes that the Maori still wear to this day.

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1 Comments:

Blogger kathleen said...

And more they believe the eels speak and mimic sounds. If the seas were suddenly to become sterile, and only air breathers survived, what would be left? The mounds of shell of mussles the NA coastal tribes accumulated in ancient history. Whales the Basque came down from the mountains to follow, Eels that came up on land and traveled to fresh water lakes.

7:03 PM  

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