One particular observation I've made, covering Hinetītama and Hinenuitepō is how pretty much all of the emphasis, is on her transformation from the dawn maiden to the goddess of death. Not much is known - not that I've found anyway - about Hinetītama, besides her beauty and of course being the child of Tāne (atua of light, knowledge and the forest) and Hineahuone (the first woman).
Apart from that, it's the Hinenuitepō show;
the transformation itself, the descent to Rarohenga (underworld) and her relationships with Mahuika (Goddess of Fire - sister), Rūaumoko (atua of earthquakes and volcanoes) and Whiro (atua of misfortune and disease) and causing Māui's death..
The missing knowledge can largely be attributed to colonisation and the tools used by oppressors - this isn't news... it sucks and I can only fantasise about what our reality as Māori would be like, had we been able to retain our knowledge and practices.. however,
e kore a muri e hokia, what's done is done..
and we have to make do with what we have.. which is one of the functions of this blog. Anyway, the point of this post... that observation I mentioned earlier got me thinking - could that lack of knowledge about who Hinetītama was, what she got up to and what she was like before becoming Hinenuitepō, also be because we don't really place that much value on who we were, or the things we did before the catalyst for something or someone changed the direction of our waka (canoe) forever?
Maybe it's not that we don't place value on it, it could be that becoming who we are, who we're meant to be etc. overpowers the narrative and influences the way we remember history?
Stop for a sec, self-reflection time: can you remember what you were like or how you used to do life before you met that special person? Or that not so special, character building person... lol or what your life was like before someone you loved and cared about passed away? What it was like after they passed on..?
I didn't consciously realise this until recently, but I think of my life as before's and after's. For instance: before I moved to Rotorua and after; before I started learning about how to apply whakapapa and atua knowledge to daily life and life since; before meeting Cass and now; before my pāps passed away and now; before starting the blog, trying to develop my abilities and capacity as a storyteller and now, living it..
it excites me that this is the before for something to come..
No idea what it is!! But knowing that it's part of my creation story; Hinetītama becoming Hinenuitepō and also my iwi (tribe) before Te Korokoro o Te Parata and after*.. it reaffirms my trust that whatever it is to come, I'll be alright and transform myself like my tupuna once did.
*Te Arawa were known as Ngāti Ohomairangi when they left Hawaiki and as they entered into Te Korokoro o Te Parata (Te Parata's throat/giant whirlpool), but came out as Te Arawa.