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Ta Moko, Maori Chest Tattoo

Updated: Feb 26

Chest Ta Moko depicting Rā.

In the days of Māui, it seems that the sun passed on his daily course across the sky too quickly, and made the days too short, so the hero, with the help of his brothers, caught the sun in nooses, and beat him unmercifully until he promised that for the future he would go more slowly and make the days longer. In order to capture his solar enemy, Māui repeated the karakia, commencing with:

Te Māui-mua, te Māui-roto, te Māui-pae, Māui-tahaKa notia, ka herea, ka whakamaua.

Having caught the sun, he then repeated an incantation known as a punga, to cause the sun move more slowly through its course:

Te punga, te Kahu-kura uta, te Kahu-kura tai,Hai kona ra koe, E te Rā! Tu mai ai —Tu ki tupua, tu ki tawhito, tu ki maneanea.

It was when he was being beaten by Māui, that the sun called out his second name, saying. "Why should you wish to kill Tamanui-te-Rā?"

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