The pakiwaitara of Ranginui and Papatūānuku can be read in different ways. It highlights that children need nurturing so they have the confidence to explore their world.

The pakiwaitara in Te Māhuri 1, page 24, is about te whānau tuatahi: , Papatūānuku and their tamariki. Safely held between their parents, the tamariki were treasured and lovingly cared for.

The time came, however, when some of the children wanted the opportunity to explore beyond the security of their parents’ arms. It confirms how important early nurturing is for children to feel safe and for having the confidence to want to explore and learn about the world around them.

This pakiwaitara highlights that every child is unique, and with siblings’ different qualities and temperaments there will be rivalry between them at times.

All pakiwaitara can be interpreted on many different levels, from the spiritual and metaphysical to the more mundane.

Let’s look at the messages in this story of Ranginui and Papatūānuku.

Pātai atu ki te whānau:

  • What messages do you get from the legend?
  • Have you thought about legends as ways of learning about history? The world? Human behaviour?

Until more ‘recent’ history, there were no books or internet. So we had to ‘remember’ about our history, the world and human behaviour.

The celestial tuatahi family has children all with different skills and abilities. Likewise, all our children are different from each other and have different strengths and talents.

Think about the different tamariki in your wider whānau. There might be the peacemakers, the warriors, the risk-takers, the adventurers, the active ones, the sportspeople, the tricksters, the musicians, the artists, the gentle ones and all the other characters one might find in a legend.

  • How might their characters or personalities be portrayed in a dramatic story?

One of the messages in this legend is that children must be given light and freedom to grow their strengths.

  • What messages would you like the readers of your whānau story to be reminded about?
  • What do the tamariki need by way of encouragement and opportunities?
  • How can the whānau best help them?
  • How do you tell the difference between keeping children safe and keeping them so safe that they become smothered?
  • Are there stories of that could be kept alive through storytelling?

Printable storybook

The legend of Papatūānuku and Ranginui

Print this pakiwaitara in A3 or A4 and fold into a small book for whānau. Includes a colouring-in page and folding instructions.

pdf 11 MB

Helpful resources for whānau