Maori wood carving at the Arataki Visitor Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Click on image for full size
Public domain image/Wikipedia Commons

Tawhiri, Maori God of Wind and Storms

Tawhiri was very angry with his brothers. They disagreed about whether their parents, Rangi (the sky) and Papa (the Earth), should be separated.  His brothers won, sky and Earth were separated, and Tawhiri was furious.

As the god of wind and storms, Tawhiri had a way to retaliate against his brothers. He hid in the sky and plotted his revenge.

From his place in the sky he sent thunderstorms and hurricanes to his brother Tane-mahuta, the god of forests. The tall trees of the forests cracked and fell.

He sent storms over the oceans to punish his brother Tangaroa, the god of the sea. Waves and whirlpools of water upset the oceans.

He sent storms to his brothers Haumia-tikitiki and Rongo-ma-tane, the gods of food. These brothers were protected by their mother the Earth.  She held them close and they were not harmed by the storms Tawhiri sent.

The last brother, Tu-matauenga, withstood the wind and storms that Tawhiri sent.  This brother was the god of fierce humans.

Tawhiri had thirteen cloud children who lived in the sky. Some of the cloud children were dark and stormy and others were light and puffy. He was also the father of rain, mist, and fog.

The story of Tawhiri and his family is a part of the mythology of the Maori people from New Zealand and eastern Polynesia.

Last modified July 18, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Rangi

According to the Maori people of New Zealand, Rangi was the Sky Father and his wife was the Mother Earth, Papa. At the beginning of time, Rangi and Papa were always together. Rangi wanted this embrace...more

Papa

According to the Maori people of New Zealand, Rangi was the Sky Father and his wife was the Mother Earth, Papa. At the beginning of time, Rangi, the male sky, and Papa, the female Earth, were entwined...more

Wind

Wind is moving air. Warm air rises, and cool air comes in to take its place. This movement creates different pressures in the atmosphere which creates the winds around the globe. Since the Earth spins,...more

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are one of the most thrilling and dangerous types of weather phenomena. Over 40,000 thunderstorms occur throughout the world each day. Thunderstorms form when very warm, moist air rises into...more

Hurricanes (also known as Tropical Cyclones)

As a strong hurricane heads towards the coast, people prepare - boarding up houses, packing the car, and evacuating. These storms can spell disaster for people in hurricane prone areas, so they are taken...more

Rain

Rain is precipitation that falls to the Earth in drops of 5mm or more in diameter according to the US National Weather Service. Virga is rain that evaporates before reaching the ground. Raindrops form...more

Ahsonnutli

Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief god for the Navajo. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four directions, or cardinal points, are supported by a giant. Each direction is symbolized...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA