Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maori String Figures: Te Waka o Tamarereti

The following series of figures, known as Te Waka o Tamarereti,  represents part of the story behind Tamarereti an ancient ancestor and navigator of the Maori people. There are three figures, the first represents his waka (canoe), Uruao - the second is Te Moana nui a Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) which Tamarereti is known to have traveled extensively and the last figure is Te Reinga - the after world. 

It is said that Tamarereti navigated far and wide ranging throughout te Moana nui a Kiwa - on one such trip he feasted on small fish which became lodged in his throat - as a result he died and passed on to Te Reinga.

Other stories have him fishing on Lake Taupo which is located in centre of Te Ika a Maui (North Island of New Zealand) - on one occasion he fell asleep exhausted after a long day of fishing. When he woke, it was dark and he found it difficult to navigate as their were no stars in the sky. The story is that he threw sparkling pebbles into the sky which lit up the night! 

His story is immortalised in the night sky - his waka (canoe) stretches from Tautoru (Orion) to the tail of Scorpio (stern) - the anchor or punga is Mahutonga (Southern Cross) whilst the pointers is the rope that ties the anchor to the waka!

Creating Te Waka o Tamarereti

Creating Te Waka o Tamarereti

Creating Te Waka o Tamarereti

Te Waka o Tamarereti

Te Moana nui a Kiwa

Te Reinga