Jungian Therapy, Jungian Analysis, New York

Hina, Tuna, and Maui
New York city jungian therapist/analyst carl jung therapy

Maui And Tuna (Tuamotu island). Jungian interpretation and its relevance to Jungian therapy


Here in the Tuamotu we tell of the rivalry of Maui and the eel-god known as Tuna. These two compared their force for Hina’s sake, and Maui won. Afterwards, seeing grey hairs on his mother’s head, Maui wished to conquer death; but men cannot do this.

Hina was living with Tuna in his land beneath the sea; but she became tired of her eel-husband, also of the coldness there. One day she said to eel Tuna that she was going out to fetch food for them. Then she travelled far away, to find a new man for herself.

She came to the land of the Tane tribe. When she saw those husband-people Hina sang her chant about what she wanted:

Inland eel here--manly thing!

Eel of the sea there--watery thing!

I here am a woman for the eel-shaped one,

I have come to find him at Raronuku,

I have come to find him at Raro vaio.

Your fame, O Tane tribe, is known to me!

But the men of the Ngati Tane, Husband-tribe, all shouted to that woman who invited them, ‘There is the road! Keep going on! We will never take Tuna’s woman-he will kill us in a day!’

Therefore Hina went on to the land of the Ngati Peka, and she sang her chant to them. But the men of that tribe answered in the same words as the Tane men.

Therfore Hina went on until she reached the Tu tribe’s land. They would not have her there; no man-erect of Tu would take her, Tuna’s woman.

Then Hina passed the house of Huahega, sang her chant. And Huahega said to her last-born son, to Maui tikitiki a Ataraga: ‘Take that woman for your wife.’ Therefore Maui did so, and they all lived quietly together there.

After a time the people of Tuna’s land told Tuna: ‘Your woman has been carried off by Maui.’ Tuna replied, ‘Oh!-let him have that woman to lie on!’ But they kept on going to him, always telling him, ‘Your woman is taken by Maui.’ Therefore Tuna grew angry, and he said, ‘What sort of man is this Maui tiki tiki?’

‘He is a small man, and the end of his ure is bent.’

Said Tuna, ‘Then just let him see this dirty cloth between my legs, and he’ll be showing us his heels.’ Then Tuna said, ‘Go and tell this Maui that I am coming to have it out with him.’ Then Tuna sang his song of lamenting for Hina:

First voice: Kua riro! Stolen from me!

Second voice: Grieving for the wife is the heart.

Chorus: Kua riro! Stolen from him!

The winds have brought the word THat she is taken. Now we go--

First voice: We leave for Vavau, land of speeding wave

To see the loved one--

Second voice: --Kua riro!

The wailing winds lament it!

Grieving love!

Then the people told Maui that Tuna was coming to have it out with him.

‘Just let him come!’ said Maui.

But they continually told him of Tuna’s threats; therefore he asked them, ‘What sort of ure is this Tuna?’

‘Aue! He is huge! He’s as big as a whale’s!’

‘Like a standing palm-tree?’

They lying answered, ‘Like a leaning one!’

‘He is weak and bending?’

‘Always drooping.’

‘Then just let him see the crooked end of mine and he’ll go flying for his life!’ said Maui.

Maui waited with his family, he dwelt there quietly in that place. One day the sky grew dark and thunder rolled, the lightning flashed. All the people, knowing this was Tuna, were afraid, their skin was trembling, and they cried out blaming Maui: ‘This is the first time that one man has stolen the woman of another man! We will all die!’ But Maui said to them, ‘Just keep together. We will not be killed.’

On came the monsters, came Pupa vae noa, and Poroporo tu a huanga, Toke a kura, and Tuna nui himself-they all came rushing on the land. And Tuna stripped off his loincloth, and he held it up; at once a mighty wave reared up and swept toward that land. Then Huahega shouted to her son, to Maui tikitiki, ‘Quick now! Show them yours! Pull it out!’

Did Maui then as Huahega told him, did as his mother said. That wave fell back, the great wave of the monsters soaked away. The bottom of the sea was bare, and all the monsters floundered on the reef, they flapped in pools. And Maui went out, he went with his weapon and he beat them dead, each one. He killed them all, excepting Tuna.

THen Tuna went to Maui’s house with him and they two lived together quietly. One day Tuna said: ‘We two are to fight this out. When one of us is dead, the other can have the woman.’

Said Maui, ‘What kind of combat do you wish?’

Said Tuna, ‘One of us enters into the body of the other, goes completely in. When it is over I will kill you, and take the woman back to my land.’ So Maui agreed, and Tuna said, ‘I will try it first.’ He began his chanting:

Hiki tautau orea,

Tautau orea,

He tangata nui i whano mai

I tena motu ra

. . . . .

It is I, Tuna,

That now enters your body, O Maui!

With this word Tuna went completely into Maui’s body, he went through the place for entering and disappeared. After a while he came out again. Said Maui, ‘Now it is my turn,’ and he spoke a chant like that which Tuna said:

Ko vau, ko Maui, e tomo ki roto

I ia au, e Te Tuna!

With this word Maui entered into Tuna’s body, and all of Tuna’s sinews came apart, he died.

Maui came out again; he cut off Tuna’s head to take it to his ancestor. But Huahega his mother took if from him and she said: ‘You must bury this head of Tuna beside the post in the corner of our house.’

Maui did so, and that head grew up, it sprouted, it became a coconut tree. On the nut which is its fruit we see the face of Tuna, eyes and mouth. All coconuts have this.

Maui and Hina lived quietly together with Huahega. One day when his mother was sleeping, Maui saw grey hairs on her head. He said to Hina his wife, ‘Your hair and my hair are the same--quite black. But Huahega has both black hairs and grey hairs.’

He woke his mother up and asked her why this was. Said Huahega, ‘Grey hairs in my head say that I am growing older. When all my hair is white you will know that I am an old woman, soon I shall die, and you will bury me; you will never see me more.’

Then Maui grieved, and he asked his mother, ‘By what menas can people go on living in the world?’

‘If you can get possession of the stomach of Sea-slug-of-the-deep-set-eyes,’ that mother said, ‘then you will never die.’

Therefore Maui went to the shallows of the white lagoon and he searched for Rori. He found him living in the clusters of the coral. Said Rori:

‘You must have some reason, Maui-of-many-tricks, for coming all this way to the coral-beds of Whangape.’

Said Maui: ‘That is so.’

‘What is your purpose?’ Rori asked him.

‘I have come to get your stomach for myself, O Rori. In return, I shall give you mine.’

Said Rori, ‘If my stomach were taken by you, this would cause my death.’

‘I will not kill you if you give it to me,’ Maui said, ‘but if you will not, then I must kill you.’

‘Never, never will I give it up! It is my stomach.’

Therefore Maui in his anger snatched up Sea-slug, squeezed his guts; it came. Then up he sicked his own. Began he swallowing the stomach of Rori-of-the-deep-set-eyes.

Just then, his brothers who had followed him cried out, ‘Here is Maui swallowing that demon’s guts!’ They ran at him, those brothers, to stop him doing it.’

So Maui had to bring up Rori’s stomach when he had almost swallowed it. He took his own and put it back. Was furious with his brothers Maui then, He cried at them, ‘Why did you stop me at my work? I sought the means by which we all might live, we need not die. Now, because of you, it will never again be mine to try this deed.’ Then Maui sang his solemn chant concerning quest for everlasting life.

Afterwards Maui returned to his house. Huahega asked him, ‘Have you taken Rori’s stomach?’

He answered her, ‘I had it indeed, O my mother. But suddenly my stupid brothers rushed at me; I had to bring it up again.’

Then grey-haired Huahega said to her last-born son, ‘Evermore, O Maui, must you follow me upon this path which I do travel, until you yourself grow old and die.’

Not speaking then was Maui, he was silent.

One day Huahega said to Maui, ‘Do not ever go again to seek adventures, O my son. Remain here in our land.’ And Maui consented. They all lived quietly together.

After a certain time had passed, Hina bore Maui’s first-born child, a girl. Her name was Rori i tau. Afterwards Hina conceived again, she gave birth to another girl. Her name was Te Vahine hui rori. No sons were born to them. Maui named both of his daughters for Rori so that they might never die; for Rori can live beneath the waters of the sea.

The fame of Maui’s thousand tricks was known to all men of the land, all lands. Therefore people spoke of him and handed down the word; and afterwards he was called Maui peu tini, ‘Maui of a thousand tricks.’

I have not been told of Maui’s death. There are many other tales of him-forgotten, cannot be remembered; I have ended this telling with those things that I know.





Maori and Tuna: another version

Soon afterwards Maui took a wife, and this led to the first of the exploits that he performed with the help of the jawbone of his ancestress. His wife went one day to wash herself in a still stream, and while she was in the water Tuna roa, the ancestor of eels, came slithering around her and made himself objectionable. That is, he touched her most improperly. When she went home she said to Maui: ‘There is a man in that pool with very smooth skin.’

Maui at once felt jealous and decided to kill Tuna. He dug a trench beside the pool, and laid down nine logs as skids, so that Tuna might slide over them as when a canoe is launched. Then he told his wife to sit near the trench while he put up a screen to hide himself. Soon Tuna was seen swimming towards her, ad as he slithered over the skids Maui ran out and slew him with the enchanted weapon. One end of Tuna went into the sea and became the ngoiro, or conger eel. The other end became the fresh-water eel and is still called tuna. A part of him became the kareao, or supple-jack, whose smooth black canes, like eels among the river-weed, entangle the forest undergrowth today. And the blood of Tuna was absorbed by the rimu, the totara, and other trees, giving their wood its reddish color. 

After this exploit Maui lived quietly with his wife, and children were born to them.




How Maui Gave Mortality To Man

Before the overreaching crime of Maui which is related here, death did not have power over man. Afterwards all men were mortal, and their spirits were gathered in by Hine nui te Po

After what he had doe to Irawaru, Maui found it advisable to leave that village and live somewhere else. He went to his parents, in the country of the manapau trees. When he had been there for a time his father decided to have a talk with him.

‘My son,’ said Makea tutara one evening at dusk, when they were sitting outside the house, ‘I have heard from your mother and from others that you are brave and capable, and that everything you have undertaken in your own country you have succeeded. That says a great deal for you. But I have to warn you: now that you have come to live in your father’s country you will find that things are different. I am afraid that here you may meet your downfall at last.’

‘What do you mean?’ said Maui. ‘What things are there here that could be my downfall?’

‘There is your great ancestress Hine nui te Po,’ said Makea, gravely. And he watched Maui’s face as he mentioned the name of Great Hine the night, the daughter and the wife of Tane and goddess of death. But Maui did not move an eyelid. ‘You may see her, if you look,’ Makea went on, pointing to where the sun had gone down, ‘flashing over there, and opening and closing, as it were.’ His thoughts were on death as he spoke. For it was the will of Hine nui, ever since she turned her back on Tane and descended to Rarohenga, that all her descendants in the world of light should follow her down that same path, returning to their mother’s womb that they might be mourned and wept for.

‘Oh, nonsense,’ said Maui affectionately to the old man. ‘I don’t think about that sort of thing, and you shouldn’t either. There’s no point in being afraid. We might just as well find out whether we are intended to die, or to live forever.’

Now Maui had not forgotten what his mother once said about Hine nui te Po: that he would some day vanquish her, and death would then have no power over men. He remembered this now, and was not moved by his father’s fears.

But Hine nui was the sister of Mahuika, and she knew of Maui’s dangerous trickery at the abode of fire, and was resolved to protect her other descendants from further mischief of this kind.

‘My child,’ said Makea now in a tone of deep sorrow, ‘there has been a bad omen for us. When I performed the tohi ceremony over you I missed out a part of the prayers. I remembered it too late. I am afraid this means that you are going to die.’

‘What’s she like, Hine nui te Po?’ asked Maui.

‘Look over there,’ said Makea, pointing to the ice-cold mountains beneath the flaming clouds of sunset. ‘What you see there is Hine nui, flashing where the sky meets the earth. Her body is like a woman’s, but the pupils of her eyes are greenstone and her hair is kelp. Her mouth is that of a barracuda, and in the place where men enter he she has sharp teeth of obsidian and greenstone.’

‘Do you think she is as fierce as Tama nui te ra, who burns things up by his heat?’ asked Maui. ‘Did I not make life possible for man by laming him and making him keep his distance? And did the sea not cover up more of the earth until I fished up land with my enchanted hook?’

‘All that is very true,’ said Makea. ‘And you are my last-born son, and the strength of my old age. Very well then, be it as it will. Go there, and visit your ancestress if that is your wish. You will find here there where the earth meets the sky.’ And they sat for a while in the dusk, until the red clouds turned to grey and the mountains into black.

Next morning early, Maui went out looking for companions for the expedition. The birds were up when he left, and among them he succeeded in finding several who were willing to go with him. There was tiwaiwaka, the little fantail, flickering about inquisitively and following Maui along the track as if he might have something for him. There was miromiro, the grey warbler, tataeko, the whitehead, and pitoitoi, the robin, who is almost as tame and curious as the fantail.

Maui assembled a party of these friends and told them what he intended to do. They knew that it was an act of great impiety to invade the realm of Hine nui te Po with mischievous intentions. And now, they learned, it was Maui’s idea to enter her very body. He proposed to pass through the womb of Great Hine the Night, and came out by her mouth. If he succeeded, death would no longer have the last word with regard to man; or so his mother had told him long ago. This, then, was to be the greatest of all his exploits. Maui, who once had traveled eastward to the very edge of the pit where the sun rose, and southward over the great Ocean of Kiwa to where he fished up land, all the way to the dwelling place of Mahuika--Maui now proposed a journey to defy great Hine in the west.

Taking his enchanted weapon, the sacred jawbone of Muri ranga whenua, he twisted its strings around his waist. Then he went into the house and threw off his clothes, and the skin on his hips and thighs was as handsome as the skin of a mackerel, with the tattoed scrolls that had been carved there with the chisel of Uetonga. And off they went, with the birds twittering in their excitement. When they arrived at the place where Hine nui lay asleep with her legs apart and they could see those flints that were set between her thighs, Maui said to his companions:

‘Now, my little friends, when you see me crawl into the body of this old chieftainess, whatever you do, do not laugh. When I have passed right through her and am coming out of her mouth, then you can laugh if you want to. But not until then, whatever you do.’

His friends twittered and fluttered about him and flew in his way. ‘O sir,’ they cried, ‘you will be killed if you go in there.’

‘No,’ said Mai, holding up his enchanted jawbone. ‘I shall not-unless you spoil it. She is asleep now. If you start laughing as soon as I cross the threshold, you will wake her up, and she will certainly kill me at once. But if you can keep quiet until I am on the point of coming out, I shall live and Hine nui will die, and men will live thereafter for as long as they wish.’

So his friend moved out of his way. ‘Go on in then, brave Maui,’ they said, ‘but do take care of yourself.’

Maui at first assumed the form of a kiore, or rat, to enter the body of Hine. But tataeko, the little whitehead, said he would never succeed in that form. So he took the form of a toke, or earthworm. But tiwaiwaka the fantail, who did not like worms, was against this. So Maui turned himself into a moko huruhuru, a kind of caterpiller that glistens. It was agreed that this looked bestk, and so Maui started forth, with comical movements. The little birds now did their best to comply with Maui’s wish. They sat as still as they could, and held their beaks shut tight, and tried not to laugh. But it was impossible. It was the way Maui went in that gave them the giggles, and in a moment little tiwaiwaka the fantail could no longer contain himself. He laughed out loud, with his merry, cheeky note, and danced about with delight, his tail flickering and his beak snapping. Hine nui awoke with a start. She realized what was happening, and in a moment it was all over with Maui. By the way of rebirth he met his end.

Thus died this Maui we have spoken of, who was formed in the topknot of Taranga and cast in the sea, but was saved and nurtured to lead a life of mischief. And thus did the laughter of his companions at the last and most scandalous of his exploits deprive mankind of immortality. For Hine nui always knew what Maui had it in mind to do to her. But she knew that it was best that man should die, and return to the darkness from which he comes, down that path which she made to Rarohenga. Wherefore our people have the saying: ‘Death came to the mighty when Maui was strangled by Hine nui te Po, and so it has remained in the world.’

Before he died, Maui had children, and both sons and daughters were born to him in the manner of man and not of the gods. Some of his descendants live in Hawaiki, the homeland, and some of them came here to Aotearoa, which is the name that was given to the Fish of Maui when it was discovered by the Maori people. These stories that relate the life of Maui were carefully remembered by the descendants and handed down, as a thing to be taught to the generations that come after us.



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