Ki'i

related topics
{god, call, give}
{woman, child, man}
{water, park, boat}
{son, year, death}
{language, word, form}

Tiki refers to large wood and stone carvings of humanoid forms in Central Eastern Polynesian cultures of the Pacific Ocean. The term is also used in Māori mythology where Tiki is the first man, created by either Tūmatauenga or Tāne. He found the first woman, Marikoriko, in a pond. She seduced him and he became the father of Hine-kau-ataata. In the Māori language, the word 'tiki' was the name given to large wooden carvings in roughly human shape, although this is a somewhat archaic usage. The carvings often serve to mark the boundaries of sacred or significant sites.

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Mythology

In traditions from the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand, the first human is a woman created by Tāne, god of forests and of birds. Usually her name is Hine-ahu-one. In other legends, Tāne makes the first man Tiki, then makes a wife for him. In some West Coast versions, Tiki himself, as a son of Rangi and Papa, creates the first human by mixing his own blood with clay, and Tāne then makes the first woman. Sometimes Tūmatauenga, the war god, creates Tiki.[1] In another story the first woman is Mārikoriko. Tiki marries her and their daughter is Hine-kau-ataata (White 1887-1891, I:151-152). [2] In some traditions, Tiki is the penis of Tāne (Orbell 1998:178, Tregear 1891:510-511). In fact, Tiki is strongly associated with the origin of the procreative act.[3]

Here is one story of Tiki among the many variants: Tiki was lonely and craved company. One day, seeing his reflection in a pool, he thought he had found a companion, and dived into the pool to seize it. The image shattered and Tiki was disappointed. He fell asleep and when he awoke he saw the reflection again. He covered the pool with earth and it gave birth to a woman. Tiki lived with her in innocence, until one day the woman was excited by an eel. Her excitement passed to Tiki and the first procreative act resulted (Reed 1963:52).

Names and epithets

John White names several Tiki or perhaps manifestations of Tiki in Māori tradition (White 1887-1891, I:142):

  • Tiki-tohua, the progenitor of birds[4]
  • Tiki-kapakapa, the progenitor of fish and of a bird, the tui [5]
  • Tiki-auaha, the progenitor of humankind
  • Tiki-whakaeaea, the progenitor of the kūmara.

Elsewhere in Polynesia

The word appears as tiki in New Zealand Māori, Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan, and Marquesan; as tiʻi in Tahitian, and as kiʻi in Hawaiian. The word has not been recorded from the languages of Western Polynesia or of Rapanui (Easter Island).

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