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September 9, 2019 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Sensing Hine

There’s a woman that may come by now and again, a dark, gloomy, haunting figure—mysterious beyond words, but at the same time incredibly attractive. Her presence is often created by an emotional pull, a trigger that shoots a sharp lightning bolt through our tinana. The voltage weaves through every network, vein and tissue, setting off a rippled response. There are times when I wish she would disappear, but there is a reason for her arrival. 


This woman we see, her name is Hine-nui-te-pō and she is linked to her guardianship over the underworld. But there’s also far more to her story and the relationship she binds within us all. 


Being drawn to others, loving others, and being loved make up a realm of human interaction that provides the backbone for our morality. We gift our most sensitive feelings into the hands of others. At times that tāonga we have given is reciprocated, but then sometimes it is left. The waves of mamae and heartache we are overwhelmed by as we continue on are facets of the atua Hine, who brings with her a sense of appreciation for the bittersweet nature of our arohatanga and ngākau nui. Exploring this emotional connection through a cultural lens draws a whole world of new and unearthed wisdom. As we grow and transition in age and perspective of the surrounding world of te ao mārama, we seek guidance that is found deeper, past the depths of general knowledge.


Hine exists within the shrouded alcoves below our whenua. At times it appears she is misunderstood as an isolated being, but there is a curiosity that dwells surrounding her story and purpose within te ao Māori. Could there be something more to her? What light can exist within the realm of hollow, black stillness?


Hine is the daughter of Tāne Mahuta—the god of our forests and protector of all creatures within them. It was Tāne who manifested the first woman, out of the earth (his mother Papatūānuku) because of a desire and need to feel a sense of connection. Hence, there was an emotional pull and trigger in all its power beyond what he had experienced. So, he created an exotic and extravagant woman who would be known as Hineahuone and fulfilled her with the first breath of life—“Tihei mauri ora”. It is she who would birth Hine-nui-te-pō, along with numerous other tamariki. 


Hine-nui-te-pō was initially given the name Hinetītama—otherwise known as Hine-ata-uira, the mesmerising guardian of the dawn—however, an intense and transformative occurrence took place. Hinetītama formed an intimate and deeply immersed connection with Tāne, not realising he was her father, but she had always wondered who her father was. Her heart and soul poured out for his soothing affection. They fell in love romantically, intertwining their strong affectionate urges to create one enclosed bond of aroha. 


Could it be that when his mokopuna was released from the womb, Tāne had planted that same kākano (seed) desire within the soul of his daughter Hine-nui-te-pō? 


When Hine discovered the truth, it became apparent that perhaps their eternal aroha would not be able to overcome the divisive nature of their relationship. Swallowed by an overwhelming array of mamae and excruciating melancholy, Hine decided to leave, escape down, below, underneath us all into pit of the spiritual world where she could rest in her pōuritanga for the rest of time, gathering the spirits of those who had left the realm of te ao mārama and journeyed into the arms of death.


It is in the depth of her despair that Hine-nui-te-pō manifested a captivating glimmer of light. This is because what lies deep within her ngākau is a true sense of passion and vulnerable need to connect despite how broken her past life journey was. The whirlwind of lust, romance, and disappointment had succumbed Hine-nui-te-pō but despite this, she continues to exist as a reflection of compassion and humility. It is her willingness to sacrifice herself out of love for others which offers the most significant incandescence. She cherishes and looks after those who are leaving the realm of the living and spends her time guiding them onwards on their journey so that they may discover their new, revitalised selves once again—just like Hine did when overwhelmed by heartache. 


Nō reira, maybe it is the misunderstood who conceal the most intriguing whakaaro and mātauranga. The key to human growth and value for others lies in our ability to overcome pain in its purest forms, such as arohatanga and romantic desire. May we transform and triumph when in the depths of our agony and tears and eventually rise upon on the palms of Hine who will lift us towards an illuminating new light. 





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