- Te Po nui,
- Te Po roa,
- Te Po uriuri,
- Te Po kerekere,
- Te Po tiwha,
- Te Po te kitea,
- Te Po tangotango...
meaning the Great Night, the Long Night, the Dark Night, the Intensely Dark Night, the Gloom-laden Night, the Night Unseen, the Night to be Felt. The first light that existed was no more than the glowing of a worm, and when sun and moon were made there were no eyes, there was none to see them, not even kaitiaki. The beginning was made from the nothing.
Then Ranginui, the sky, dwelt with Papatuanuku, the earth, and was joined to her, and land was made. But the children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, who were very numerous, were not of the shape of men, and they lived in the darkness, for their parents were not yet parted. They sky still lay upon the earth, no light had come between them. The heavens were 12 in number, and the lowest layer, lying on the earth, made her unfruitful. Her covering was creeping plants and rank low weed, and the sea was all dark water, dark as night. The time when these things were seemed without end.
At length the offspring of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, worn out with continual darkness, met together to decide what should be done about their parents, that man might arise. "Shall we kill our parents, shall we slay them, our father and our mother, or shall we separate them?" they asked. And long did they consider in the darkness.
At last Tumatauenga, the fiercest of the offspring and the guardian of war, spoke out. "It is well. Let us kill them," stated Tumatauenga.
But Tanemahuta, guardian of the forest, answered, "No, not so. It is better to seperate them, and to let the sky stand far above us and the earth lie below here. Let the sky be a stranger to us, but let earth remain close to us as our nursing mother."
Some of the other sons, and Tumatauenga among them, saw wisdom in this and agreed with Tanemahuta. Others did not agree, and one, now and forever has always disagreed with his brothers, and this is Tawhirimatea, the guardian of winds and storms. For Tawhirimatea, fearing that his kingdom would be overthrown, did not wish his parents to be torn apart. So while some agreed, Tawhirimatea would not and was silent, he held his breath. And long did they consider further. At the end of a time no man can measure they decided that Ranginui and Papatuanuku must be forced apart, and they began by turns to attempt this deed.
First Rongomatane, guardian of the cultivated food of men, rose up and strove to force the heavens from the earth. When Rongomatane failed, next Tangaroa, guardian of all things that live in the sea, rose up. He struggled mightily, but had no luck. And next Haumiatiketike, guardian of uncultivated food, rose up and tried, without success. So then Tumatauenga, guardian of war, leapt up. Tumatauenga hacked at the sinews that bound the Earth and Sky, and made them bleed, and this gave rise to ochre, or red clay, the sacred colour. Yet even Tumatauenga, the fiercest of the children, could not with all his strength sever Ranginui from Papatuanuku. So then it became the turn of Tanemahuta.
Slowly, slowly as the kauri tree did Tanemahuta rise between the Earth and Sky. At first he strove with his arms to move them, but with no success. And so he paused, and the pause was an immense period of time. Then he placed his shoulders against the Earth, his mother, and his feet against the Sky. Soon, and yet not soon, for the time was vast, the Sky and Earth began to yield.
The parents of the children cried out and asked them, "why are you doing this crime, why do you wish to slay your parents´ love?"
Great Tanemahuta thrust with all his strength, which was the strength of growth. Far beneath him he pressed the Earth. Far above he thrust the Sky, and held him there. The sinews that bound them were stretched, taunt. Tumatauenga sprang up and slashed at the bonds that bound his parents and the blood spilt read on the earth. Today this is the kokowai, the sacred red earth that was created when the first blood was spilt at the dawn of time. As soon as Tanemahuta work was finished the multitude of creatures were uncovered whom Ranginui and Papatuanuku had begotten, and who had never known light.