Tangaroa; he's not just the God of the sea, he is the sea.
Tangaroa is one of the popular, more well known children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku - he's pretty hard to miss, let's be honest. Tangaroa is the waves, the creatures that call those waters home, he is in essence; the energy that has manifested physically, as the sea.
This is important to note, and I wanna stress the importance of how 'Tangaroa is the sea', because there's a misconception (largely thanks to colonisation; the introduction of foreign churches and religions to Te Ao Māori and the inadequate translation of the word 'God' to mean atua), that our atua are separate from the natural elements and domains they represent and therefore, separate from us...
A basic example; God according to Christian beliefs, is known as the ruler of the whole universe and everything beyond it. But to be a ruler would mean ruling over something/someone, and therefore separate from it in some capacity..
Maybe reread that a few times, to make sure it sticks, then continue...
However, this cannot be a true definition of 'atua', because, well...
Whakapapa is connection, it's genealogy, it's ancestry, it's the process - it also means to make flat (papa - ground/flat) so in this context we'll interpret that to mean: to merge and become one, which is super relevant.
For instance, Tangaroa has descendants; fish, some reptiles and the different waves and currents who each have their own name.. but when we approach it with an understanding of whakapapa, we can see that Tangaroa and his mauri (life force) lives within each of his descendants and therefore,
Tangaroa is the sea.
WE ARE THE SEA because we descend from our environment and also, the atua gave themselves to Hineahuone, so since a part of Tangaroa runs through our veins and our bodies, we are Tangaroa and he is us.*
And that's really freakin' cool, because being over here in Perth, is very isolated.
I work from home and I'm not playing sports at the moment, so I have about the same amount of friends as I did when I arrived almost two years ago.° It's mostly by choice and I'm ok with that because I know I can go down to the beach and right there is a physical form of my connection to not only all of my tupuna (ancestors), but the whole universe.
I may be alone a lot of the time, but I'm not lonely.
That's the thing about understanding whakapapa, understanding how everything is connected.. whatever path you choose to pursue, you can go after it with confidence because you carry thousands of years of whakapapa with by simply being alive.
Kei te mihi, thank you,
*This applies to all the atua by the way.
°This isn't an advertisement for new friends lol just stating facts but if you're looking for a new friend, hit me up.