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.

About this item

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

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Kaitiakitanga – guardianship and conservation - Understanding kaitiakitanga', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/11542/gods-of-the-natural-world (accessed 21 October 2017)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007