Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A walk in the forest

Our little family took a trip to the Arataki visitor centre this afternoon. We popped across the road and did a short walk along part of the Arataki Nature Trail. Walking this trail provides one with a religious experience, for posted at various intervals along the path are signs that encourage an almost superstitious 'worship' of nature. I may comment on some of these at a later date.

However one sign that I really appreciate describes some of the deeds of Tane Mahuta the god of the forest and birds. On the left side of the sign is written:-

Ko Tane Mahuta te atua o nga ngahere
Na Tane i whakawehewehe a Rangi raua ko Papa
He maha nga Tamariki a Tane
Ko nga rakau katoa, nga manu, nga ngararu me nga kararehe katoa

Ko Tane hoki te timatatanga o te tangata
Nana i hanga a Hine-ahu-one te wahine tuatahi o te Maori
Kei roto i enei mea katoa te mana o Tane.

On the right side a translation in English is provided.

Tane Mahuta is the God of the forests
Tane separated Rangi (sky) and Papa (earth)
Tane has many offspring
All trees, the birds, reptiles and animals

Tane is also the beginning of humans
He formed Hine-ahu-one the first Maori woman
The spirit of Tane is found in all these living things

This reminded me of the creation account in Genesis, part of which I have reproduced here:-

And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
(Gen 1:6-10 English Standard Version)

Its fascinating to see the links in the mythology and creation stories of various cultures to the Hebrews' Genesis account recorded in our Bible. While I know there are other explanations, it is worthwhile pondering whether these incredible commonalities suggest there is an element of truth in the stories. In Genesis we read the story of God creating the heavens and the earth, and the story of his creation of various kinds of animals and finally his creation of the first man and woman.

Anyway I am quite interested to eplore further parallels and have got the Reed Book of Maori Mythology out of the library to aid my investigations. Watch this space.

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