Based on a Māori myth about a battle of the gods following the separation of earth and sky. Captures the stylistic and symbolic elements of traditional indigenous art.
The story of a battle between Māori gods, which occurs after the separation of the earth and sky. this animated film, based on a traditional myth of New Zealand's Māori people, captures the stylistic and symbolic elements of traditional Māori art.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT - Robert Jahnke
"The Māori of New Zealand is a member of the Polynesian race whose origin is still a subject of much argument. The consensus of opinion today suggests that the Polynesians reached Oceania from the Asian continent, having island hopped via Indonesia and other isalnds to the Eastern Pacific where they settled in the Society Islands and the Cook Islands.
From these two groups of islands, and other islands within the Pacific now regarded as Polynesia, the Māori made increasingly long voyages in larege canoes and eventually reached the shores of New Zealand. Other Polynesian groups migrated north to Hawaii and into the Eastern Pacific as far as Easter Island. There is evidence to suggest that the first Māori settlements occurred in New Zealand around the 9th century A.D.
Māori mythology begins with a supreme god called 'lo'. From this deity emanates the abstractions of void, night and light which are eventually replaced by moisture, a male abstraction and the expanse of heaven, light and warmth, a female abstraction. It is from these two abstractions that earth and sky evolve. And, it is earth and sky who are the parents of the departmental gods of Maoridom.
These supernatural progeny are male and are personifications of natural phenomena and productions; tutelary deities of war and peace etc. A host of inferior gods co-existed with these deities, serving as tribal gods such as Uenuku and Kahukura who were personifications of rainbow, and Maru, a sea god.
The Māori believed that all offenses agains the gods were punishable in this life and not that of the spirit world. Is is this fact that enabled the Māori to dispense with civil law and to substitute certain institutions of which 'tapu' was the most potent. This institution was the kernel of power of Māori religion in the maintenance of social order.
The world of the Māori consisted of a heirachy of gods, demi-gods, heroes, ancestors and man. the task of man was to employ his skill and secure the goodwill of gods and ancestors for any enterprise. Goodwill of the gods was obtained by calling them down into resting places, 'taumata atua', then asking for their help. A visible symbol of having sought this goodwill was the 'mauri' or talisman kept or placed in gardens, forests and fishing areas. Such 'mauri' concentrated the 'man' or psychic force of the gods and ancestors where it was needed.
Through this mythology, the Māori expressed his belief in the kinship of all created things. Reptiles, fish and birds were the brothers of man. The Māori regarded himself as belonging to one large family. this led him to believe in a pantheon of spiritual beings, of which 'lo' was the supreme being. All Māori tribes shared belief in the major gods who are offspring of the primal parents,Rangi and Papa, Earth and Sky repectively.
The most widely known of their offspring were: Tanemahuta - god of the forests and father of man; Tumatauenga - god of war; Tawhirimatea - god of wind and storms; Rongomatane - god of agriculture and peace; Haumiatiketike - god of uncultivated food; Raumoko - god of earthquakes; Tangaroa - god of the ocean. The children born to Rangi and Papa were trapped between the inseparable embrace of their parents which allowed light to penetrate. Thirsting for light and freedom, the rose in rebellion to separate their parents. But not all the chidren agreeed with the plan to separate the parents. Tawhirimatea objected and Tumatauenga sought their death. Although it was Tane who had succeeded in breaking the bond that had joined the parents, all of his brothers had risen in rebellion. All but Tawhirimatea. And thus begins the battle of the gods."