Magical Buffet Mythology: Rangi and Papa

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (

Now, I generally shun theme issues, but this issue is creation heavy…but hey, it’s not a holiday issue. I can’t help it, I’ve been inspired by the romance of creation. Sure, in the Judeo-Christian tradition God just created everything. Bam! A horse! Pow! A tree! Sure, that’s impressive, but not nearly as romantic as the creation tales of other religions and cultures. For instance, Rangi and Papa.

Rangi is the sky father and Papa the earth mother to the Maori. Like passionate lovers, they were joined together in an embrace in the dark void. The denizens of the void, which some say were the children of Rangi and Papa, were determined to separate Rangi and Papa to create light and darkness, even if it would kill the pair. Many attempted to force them apart but failed. Finally, Tane, god of the forests, managed to separate them, and in doing so found the human race.

Now Rangi is stuck in the sky and Papa bound to our earth. Some versions talk about Rangi taking other wives, but here’s my favorite version. Rangi and Papa, eternally separated yearn for each other to this day. Rangi’s tears are rain falling from the sky to let Papa know how he misses her. Papa will heave and pull herself apart to try to reach Rangi. That’s far more romantic than just zapping the earth and sky into existence, wouldn’t you agree?