Maui Tiki a Taranga

The birth name of Maui Tiki a Taranga was Veri Tuamaroa.

He was the youngest son of Te Ira Whaki and Taranga whom both were descended from Tiki.

Veri is not a god but rather he is a demi-god.

He had four older brothers of which Ru was the eldest and Hina I Fa’auru was his younger sister.

When Veri was birthed he was still-born.

His mother cut off her long hair and wrapped him in it securing the bundle with a sacred hair comb then in a moment of grief she tossed her dead child into the ocean.

Taranga then returned to her village and said the child had died at birth and was given as an offering to the sea god Tangaroa.

Tangaroa however felt compassion for baby Veri and gave him the gift of life and the powers of Hine Moana.

He then returned him unharmed to a beach upon the island of Maui.

Veri was soon discovered by an old Kuia who took him home to her husband.

The old couple at once recognized the comb of Taranga their daughter but instead of returning him to his mother they kept Veri raising him as their own child and giving him the new name of Maui Tiki Aa Taranga.

One day when Maui was on the verge of manhood the old man revealed that he was not his true father but his grandfather and that his mother lived on another island not far away to which he must now go.


Many tales are told of Maui returning to his family.

It is said he was not at first recognized be anyone but when he showed Taranga the comb she had left with him and told of being found and raised by the old couple she at once knew her son.

Eventually Maui came to know all his family including his father Te Ira Whaki and settled down to Marae living taking Hine Raumaukuuku for wife.

Sometime after the disappearance of their sister Hina, Ru came to his brothers asking if they and their wives would go with him to find a new island where they could be Rangatira due to a power struggle between Ru and the present chief of the island.

Ru with his four wives and his four brothers along with their wives and families accompanied by twenty royal virgins all eventually set sail from Hawaiki for Aitutaki aboard the canoe Ngapuariki.

The names of the twenty royal virgins are as follows:-

Vaine Pururangi
Maine Pururangi
Maine Teaoroa
Vovoaru
Arakitera
Te Aroitau
Te Nonoioiva
Te Paku Oavaiki
Ruanoo
Arekaponga
Kava
Maine Pirouru
Tutapuiva
Pakiara
Tutunoa
Vaine Moana
Upoko Ara
Patapairu
Pau
Tuonoariki

On the third day of their voyage Maui sighted land ahead. Some thought that he may be deceived by a bank of clouds, but soon breakers were seen on a reef.

After a search a suitable passage was found, the sails were taken down and the woman were ordered to paddle the canoe in.

Night was coming on but there was a full moon.

Half way through the passage the canoe was stranded on a coral patch and all had to get out to haul the canoe off.

The canoe still stuck fast and it was impossible to move it, so the brothers were sent to a small island nearby to cut down some Ara –pandanu tree- for rollers.

After much great effort the canoe came off the coral with a rush and Maui, who was near the bow, was crushed underneath as the canoe passed right over him.

The others swam to help him but he was dead.

They took his body back to the canoe which was now inside the lagoon.

After dragging the canoe over a sand bank they paddled on to a small island a short distance from the mainland where they decided to spend the night and grieve for Maui.

Early the next morning they constructed an altar and lay Maui upon it then after a brief Tangihanga they prepared to set out again.

Before they started out Ru called his people together and named the places they had so far touched at; the passage he named O Tu Te Poo; the coral on which the canoe grounded he called Popo Ara; referring to the timber used as rollers; the small island from which the timber had been cut was called O Tu; while the island on which they had spent the night was called Uritua O Ru.

His brothers took exception to Ru adding his own name to the latter, but he answered; “you have no say in the naming of these places.

I am the eldest son and will name the places as I think fit.”

The canoe set out for the mainland with the woman paddling.

Once more the brothers were offended because Ru named the water Tai Moana O Ru, and the big island to which he was taking them Utataki Enua O Ru Ki Te Moana.

They assured Ru that had they known this would happen then they would never have left their land.

Sometime latter the brothers of Ru came to him and asked him to help them build a canoe saying they wanted to go and look for new islands.

At first Ru would not agree to this but when they promised to return he decided to help them.

As the brothers time to leave had come Ru was informed of his mistakes in not naming any place there after their younger brother to keep his name in their memories.

He had taken all the power into his own hands and gave all the lands to the woman and none to them.

The land he was told was his and they wanted fresh land for themselves.

The canoe was named Te Rito O Araura –best of ututaki enua-.

Ru realised his mistake too late and he pleaded with them to return but they promised that either they or their children would return.

They then set sail with their wives and children as well as the wife and children of Maui.

Stopping at Uritua Oo Ru the brothers carved a new single hull canoe named Nukutaimemeha then retrieved the body of Maui and placed him inside.

This canoe was towed behind Te Rito O Araura.

Once out in the open sea the brothers began to argue as to the course they should set.

Two were in favour of returning to Hawaiki but Maui Roto –ruatakina- pointed out that if they returned home they would be no better off and would not be men of rank.

Thus they decided to set sail for the land in the south discovered by Ru and Hina.

By the time the canoe had reached Aotearoa, a complete mythology had been woven around their youngest brother giving rise to the Demi-God he is known as today whilst at the same time uplifting the sacred status of all who were aboard Te Rito O Araura.

Veri Tuamaroa was eventually laid to rest with Nukutaimemeha inside the sacred mountain Hikurangi upon the East Coast of Aotearoa.

His family stayed and settled amongst the local inhabitants.

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