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According to the Maori legend the world as we know it was created by Tane Mahuta when he prised apart Ranginui Father of the skies and Papa Tuanuku Mother of the Earth.
Afterwards Tane Mahuta and his brothers slowly went about making the earth and the skies.When they were done they had made a beautiful world with no one to enjoy it.
Tane Mahuta went about convincing the gods to make a women so she could have children.The Gods agreed,so Tane Mahuta took red earth from PapaTuanuku and shaped it into the form of a women.Impressed,Tawhiri Matea,God of the winds,whispered'Take my breath',and give her life.
Tane Mahuta bent over the women he had created placed his nose against hers,and breathed deeply.
Her chest moved,and she sneezed- 'Tihie', The gods were ecstatic,and together they gave her the gift of life- 'Mauriora,and the first women Hineahuone was made.
Today the Hongi is the traditional greeting of the Maori people.It is known as the 'breath of life',and is preformed by pressing noses-just like Tane Mahuta did to breathe life into Hineahuone. This greeting makes one with the Tangata Whenua or hosts.
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