Story: Tangihanga – death customs

Hine-nui-te-pō and Māui

Hine-nui-te-pō and Māui

This is a carving of Hine-nui-te-pō, the goddess of death, as Māui the demigod attempts to kill her by entering her and exiting through her mouth. Māui failed to overcome Hine-nui-te-pō, meaning humans would continue to die, and be welcomed by their ancestor, the great goddess of the night and of death.

About this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PAColl-6585-10
Photograph by Charles A. Lloyd

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins. 'Tangihanga – death customs - Mythological origins', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21-Jul-14
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/28777/hine-nui-te-po-and-maui