There are numerous stories about the emergence of human beings from the natural environment. They begin with Ranginui (the sky) and Papatūānuku (the earth), who are the parents of Tāne, the progenitor of humankind. Some versions say that mankind descends from Tūmatauenga, another child of earth and sky.
Tāne is a celebrated figure. Among his many feats was the creation of a woman from the soil at Kurawaka. Her name was Hineahuone (the female element who comes from the soil). Hineahuone and Tāne had a daughter named Hinetītama, who also became known as Hinenui-i-te-pō. As Hinetītama, she became the custodian of the threshold between night and day, darkness and light. Hine is seen both in the morning with the birth of sunlight, and in the evening with the setting sun. It is said that these are the ancestors of human kind.
Here is an extract from a story about how Hineahuone was made:
Tāne called out, ‘We are seeking the path to woman. This is what we are doing.’ They replied, ‘Go to the soil at Kurawaka, there to go about your work. There the woman can be found, untouched, select and sacred, for she possesses the essence of humankind.’ So they went and arrived at the soil of Kurawaka. The bones took shape and then the head. The arms, the body, the limbs, the thighs, these all took shape and the skeleton was complete … 1