by Robyn Kahukiwa
As the Wheel of the Year turns once more, the gateway to the dark months, that of Samhain, opens before us. As the veil between the realm of the living and that of the dead thins, we are reminded of our own mortality.
According to Maori, the Goddess of night and of death was Hine-nui-te-po (meaning "Great Woman of the Night"), who was also the ruler of the Underworld. Also known by her earlier name, that of Hine-titama ("Lady of the Dawn"), she was said to be the daughter of Tāne-matua (the God of the forests and birds), and Hine-ahu-one (“woman created of earth”), who was the first woman.