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No. 51 (June 1965)
– 46 –

Similar in Many Ways

This myth has obvious similarities with the two myths discussed above. By being tattooed and wearing beautiful garments, Tama-nui-a-raki wins back his wife. Rukutia dies, and is subsequently restored to life.

Though there are many references to garments, it is not said that Rukutia learnt the art of weaving in the underworld. However, it is interesting to note that a figure named Rukutia is elsewhere said to be the ‘founder of the art of weaving’.6

As mentioned above, when Rukutia is restored to life she receives the new name of ‘Patunga-tapu’, that is, ‘sacred victim’. In the same way, when Pare is restored to life she is given the new name of ‘Pare-Hutu’. As shown above, the name ‘Pare’ refers to the spirit of the rice, and the name ‘Hutu’ means ‘a sacrifice’. Hence ‘Pare-Hutu’ means ‘the sacrificed spirit of the rice’, a similar meaning to ‘Patunga-tapu’.

This article is a preliminary attempt to consider relationships existing between Maori mythology and the mythology and customs of India and South-East Asia. I consider that despite the great difficulties, many names occurring in Maori mythology can be identified with their Asian originals, and that this is potentially one of the most rewarding approaches to a study of Maori mythology.