A collection of works related to Maui, this is not an exhaustive list or intended to be. These are discussion points for our in class discussions.

Natatlie Robertson

“I am a descendant of Maui Tikitiki a Taranga, Maui of a Thousand Tricks, Maui from way back when, from mai ra no, from the dim dark mists of time, and I live on a fish, Te Ika a Maui, Maui’s fish. My tribal group live within view of Nukutaimemeha, Maui’s waka, his canoe, as it lies in petrified form, way, way up on the side of a very big mountain, Hikurangi – big for round these parts anyway, biggest non-volcanic mountain on the fish, and in the words of the great chief Te Kani-a-Takirau “Ehara tenei i te maunga neke”, this is a mountain that does not move. Unlike other mountains I have known, our Hikurangi maunga isn’t prone to running off in pursuit of distant lovers like Putauaki, who left Tarawera for Whakaari.

As descendants of Maui, Ngati Porou, the East Coast tribe I belong to, were once known as the Maui Nation, in reference to their long occupation of Aotearoa. Now of course us Natis are not the only descendants of Maui, but our oral histories go back to a time before the so called Great Migration, before a time when ancestors like Kahutia-te-rangi arrived here on the backs of whales, to a time when the very land itself was a fish in the ocean.”

Excert from ‘The 10 Predicaments of Maui: Notes on Tricksters’ by Natalie Robertson.

Captain Cook

Captain Cook was the European discoverer of Maui. He was the first to write about him. In his journal of June 1769 he describes a curious image which he saw Tahitians carrying. This image, about seven and a half feet high, was of basketwork with black and white feathers arranged to imitate hair and tattooed skin. The upper part of the figure had several knoblike lumps which represented the creature’s many heads. Cook says that the people did not worship the image but used it as if it were the character Punch in a puppet show. Tupaia the interpreter told Cook that the figure represented Maui, who the Tahitians thought of as a many-headed giant, half-human and half-god, endowed with immense strength and many abilities. Tupaia told Cook many stories about Maui, but unfortunately Cook thought them too absurd to note down in his journal. Fortunately, in later generations there were some European scholars who were so captivated by the stories of Maui that they recorded them in detail, for example, John White, W. D. Westervelt, George Grey and others.

Excert from: ‘The Phenomenon Of The Culture Hero
In Polynesian Mythological Systems’
by Martina Bucková.

Sir George Grey

“Thus died this Maui we have spoken of; but before he died he had children, and sons were born to him; some of his descendants yet live in Hawaiki, some in Aotearoa (or in these islands); the greater part of his descendants remained in Hawaiki, but a few of them came here to Aotearoa. According to the traditions of the Maori, this was the cause of the introduction of death into the world (Hine-nui-te-po being the goddess of death: if Maui had passed safely through her, then no more human beings would have died, but death itself would have been destroyed), and we express it by saying, “The water-wagtail laughing at Maui-tikitiki-o- Taranga made Hine-nui-te-po squeeze him to death.” And we have this proverb, “Men make heirs, but death carries them off.”

Excert from: The legend of Maui, by Sir George Grey

Pare (Door lintel) – Depicting the death of Maui

In the collection of:

The British Museum.

E. Merven Taylor

John Bevan Ford

Maui, Ancestor of the Pacific
Maui and Mahuika. Collection of The British Museum

Fred Graham

More info:

See Mataora Book in Class
Works at Auckland Art Gallery
Radio NZ Interview

Robyn Kahukiwa

Peter Gossage

Nga Wai O Horotiu Marae – AUT City Campus

Thomas Christian Wolfe

Maui: Legends of the Outcast – Chris Slane & Robert Sullivan

The Virtual Eye
Tales from the mythologies of Creation, Maui and Aoraki

Marian Maguire

Shigiyuki Kihara

Lisa Reihana

Louisa Afoa

More info
‘Fat Maui: How he broke the internet’ by Louisa Afoa.

“Maui is a god found in mythology all across the Pacific; Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa and of corse Hawaii and Aotearoa. He’s often labeled as a ‘trickster’ using his supernatural skills of turning invisible or the ability to change into an animal to sometimes steal things. However his pranks usually aided mankind. I grew up seeing Maui through the illustrations of Peter Gossage. The Gossage Maui is slim and lean, nothing like WrestleMania’s The Rock. His skin is a lot darker, ta moko on his face and his hair is black which is usually tied up high. This image is specific to Maori and even more specific to Gossage.

It never crossed my mind that Disney’s Maui was obese until I went through my Facebook feed and that was the term used to describe this larger than life being. I didn’t see any rolls of fat, but someone who is immensely strong as he swings his large fish hook, flexible as he dances and flips in the air and pretty awesome as he transforms into an eagle.

When people started comparing Disney’s Maui to The Rock and Jason Momoa, they were no longer just talking about the demigod – they were talking about actors in Hollywood. Is The Rock or Jason Momoa really an accurate representation of Pacific people who are spread across a vast array of islands each with their own diverse cultures and beauty standards….”

Excert from ‘Fat Maui: How he broke the internet’ by Louisa Afoa.