Story: Kaitiakitanga – guardianship and conservation

Gods of the natural world

Gods of the natural world

Traditionally, Māori divided the natural world into realms ruled by various gods. These gods, the children of Ranginui (sky) and Papatūānuku (earth), were seen as the original kaitiaki (guardians) of their realms. Kaitiakitanga was based around these divisions.

Clockwise from top: Tāne Mahuta, god of the forest; Tūmatauenga, god of war and people; Tangaroa, god of the sea; Haumia-tiketike, god of uncultivated foods; Rūaumoko, god of earthquakes; Rongomātāne, god of cultivated foods; Tāwhirimātea, god of weather.

Using this item

Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust
Artwork by Adam Williams and Joshua Wātene

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Kaitiakitanga – guardianship and conservation - Understanding kaitiakitanga', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 May 2024)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007