In Māori mythology, Tama-nui-te-rā (Tamanuiterā) is the personification of the Sun.


Tamanuiterā is a Māori Sun god

In the Māori language, Tama-nui-te-rā means "Great Son of the Sun". The Māori word for "sun" or "day" is , deriving from Proto-Polynesian *laqaa.


Hero Māui decided that the days were too short and caught Tamanuiterā with a snare, then beat him to make him travel more slowly across the sky.


In some legends Tamanuiterā is the husband of Ārohirohi, goddess of mirages. In other legends, Tamanuiterā had two wives, the Summer maid, Hineraumati, and the Winter maid, Hinetakurua.

The child of Tamanuiterā and Hineraumati, Tane-rore, is credited with the origin of dance.[1]

Another son of Tamanuiterā is Auahitūroa, god of comets and fires, and grandchildren of Tamanuiterā are Ngā Mānawa.[2]

See alsoEdit


  • J. White, The Ancient History of the Maori. Volume II. Government Printer: Wellington, 1887, 136–137, 151–152.


  1. ^ Best, Elsdon (7 October 1901). "The Diversions of the Whare Tapere: Some Account of the various Games, Amusements, and Trials of Skill practised by the Maori in Former Times". Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
  2. ^ E. Best, Māori Religion and Mythology, Part 2 (Dominion Museum Bulletin No.11. Museum of New Zealand: Wellington, 1982), 244-245.