Kiwa is one of
several male divine guardians of the ocean in the traditions of some Māori
tribes of the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
Waves of Hinemoana are eroding the landA poetic name for the Pacific Ocean
is Te moana nui a Kiwa (The great ocean of Kiwa). Kiwa's first wife, in some
of these traditions, was Parawhenuamea, ancestor of streams that flow from
the land to the sea and of fresh water generally. Kiwa's second wife was
Hinemoana (Ocean woman), a personification of the sea. Kiwa and Hinemoana
had a number of children (Orbell 1998:60).
The names and numbers of their children vary in different accounts. One
version (Best 1982:257) names ten children and for most of these, gives
details about the creatures they gave rise to:
Pipihura, ancestor of the cockle.
Te Uru-kahikahika, source of eels, lampreys and frostfish.
Wharerimu, ancestor of seaweed.
Hine-tapiritia, ancestor of certain molluscs and oysters.
Te Raengawha, origin of sea urchins, as well as various fishes.
Te Kiri-pakapaka, origin of the snapper and the gurnard.
Whatu-maomao, whose offspring include the grouper, the kingfish, and the
Kaiwahawera, ancestor of the octopus.
Others say that Kiwa is the brother of Hinemoana, or her guardian (Orbell
1998:60). Some Māori tribes have stories in which Hinemoana is married to
Rangi, the god of the sky. This causes jealousy on the part of Papa, the
earth mother, another of Rangi's wives. The enmity between Hinemoana and
Papa is shown in the way the sea is constantly attacking and eroding the
land. In other areas of New Zealand, traditions about the guardians of the
sea and the origin of its creatures were very different. For instance in the
Mataatua canoe area, (the eastern Bay of Plenty) it appears that Hinemoana
was unknown; their traditions concern a female deity named Wainui (Great
Water) instead (Best 1982:252-257, Reed 1963:397).
Search All Our Products Main Page