Story: Te whānau tamariki – pregnancy and birth

'Mana wahine'

'Mana wahine'

'Mana wahine' by Warren Pōhatu shows Papatūānuku (top) and Ranginui (centre) with Tāne below them breathing life into Hineahuone. She was shaped from the rich red soils (kurawaka) of Papatūānuku, the act which began the whakapapa of te ira wahine (the female element). Tāne said that when the body had served its purpose, it would return to Papatūānuku. In Māori thought, humans begin with the land and end with the land.

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Artwork by Warren Pohatu, 2007

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How to cite this page:

Hope Tupara, 'Te whānau tamariki – pregnancy and birth - Birth in Māori tradition', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 May 2022)

Story by Hope Tupara, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017