Peketua's Egg

Peketua's Egg : Te Heki a Peketua
By Ron Bacon, translated by Vapi Kupenga
Illustrated by Manu Smith
Auckland, N.Z. : Waiatarua Pub., 1999.
Waiatarua Myths Set II
10 Title Set of Bilingual (Maori, English) Myths of Aotearoa

A story from North New Zealand's East Coast.
Retelling of a Maori myth where Tane breathes life into the egg that Peketua has fashioned from clay, and from it emerges the first tuatara.

Ngārara traditions
Some tribes have traditions that explain the origins of reptiles. In one tradition, reptiles originated from Peketua (the son of the earth mother, Papatūānuku, and the sky father, Ranginui). He made an egg from clay, and took it to Tāne, god of the forest, who said, "Me whakaira tangata" (give it life). This egg then produced the first tuatara.

Long, long ago peketua found some clay
He shaped it with his hands
and made it until it was smooth and perfect oval.
Peketua shouted "See I Have made an Egg !"
But the People in the village said
"Nothing will come out of that dumb Egg !
It is only an egg shaped from clay."
Tane said "I will breathe on peketua’s egg.
I will make it come to life".
Tane breathed on the egg.
Inside the egg, something began to move.
Tane breathed on the egg again.
All the people watched.
The egg cracked open, something was inside.
The People said "Ai ! Look !"
And out come of the egg came a magnificent tuatara.


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