Haumia is one of the original offspring of Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) and is listed among the pantheon of Māori gods. Also known as Haumia, Haumiaroa and Haumia-tiketike, he was part of the first ever council where the gods decided to separate the sky from the earth in order to bring light to the world. Each of the gods attempted to separate their parents including Haumia, but all were unsuccessful. Finally it was Tāne who used his powerful legs to thrust the sky high above giving the world space.


Tāwhirimātea, the god of winds and rain, was furious at his siblings for desecrating the bond that held Rangi to Papa, and so he sort revenge by attacking the other gods. Haumia along with his brother Rongo fled to the earth taking refuge with their mother. Both covered themselves with soil and remained hidden from Tāwhiri. Since this moment both Rongo and Haumia have remained associated with the soil, Rongo becoming the Māori god of gardens and cultivated foods such are the kūmara and taro, and Haumia the god of uncultivated and naturally growing food sources, in particular the aruhe or the rhizome of the bracken fern.


Aruhe formed a very important part of the traditional Māori diet. It was dug from the soil, steeped in water, cooked and then pounded to separate the flesh from the fibres. The remaining paste was formed into cakes and eaten throughout the year. It is said that when Haumia hid in the earth and covered himself in soil, he forgot about his hair leaving it exposed above ground. His hair is the rarauwhe or the fronds of the bracken fern, and when it was seen by Māori it was dug up to expose the edible rhizomes. The important connection between Haumia and the aruhe is recorded in the proverb, “Ko Haumia nāna te aruhe” meaning it is from Haumia that we acquire fernroot.


Both Haumia and Rongo are peaceful by nature and are associated with maintaining goodwill and harmony. The children of Haumia are Mōkehu and Mōnehu, these are also the names of the young bracken fern shoots that appear in spring. Mōkehu is the parent of Namu (sandflies), Waeroa (mosquitoes) and Rō (stick insects) most likely because these insects take shelter among the bracken fern.


Words by Professor Rangi Matamua.




  • Dimensions: A3 international paper size | 297 x 420 mm or 11.7 x 16.5 in


    Materials: Premium archival grade giclee print on gold cotton textured 310gsm warm white paper. 


    Notes: Individually numbered, signed and embossed. Includes signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. 

  • These are just my personal interpretations of what Atua could look like. They do not reflect the views and interpretations of all Maori people. 

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