Story: Te whānau tamariki – pregnancy and birth

Kūmara whakapapa

This kūmara whakapapa tells how kūmara is descended from Rongo-māui and Pani-tinaku. Whakapapa was integral to the Māori world view – humans, gods and the whole natural world shared genealogical links. Listen to part of 'Pō! Pō!', by Enoka Te Pakaru, which refers to the origin of the kūmara. Translated into English it says:

Pō! Pō!
My son, Tama, is crying for food!
Wait until it is fetched from the Pillars-of-netted food
And the whale is driven ashore,
To give milk for you, my son,
Verily, your ancestor Uenuku will give freely.
Now listen! The kūmara is from the Beetling-Cliff-of-the-sun
Beyond the eager bounding strides of Tangaroa, God of the Sea;
Lo, striding to and fro is Tangaroa,
Tangaroa! Listen to his resounding roar!

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero (New Zealand Polynesian Festival 1986 – Waihirere, Gisborne/Reference number MPT 1390).

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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 1 April 2023)

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