Who is Rehua?

Who is Rehua?


One of the most powerful and ancient Māori deities: the Lord of Kindness, who dispersed gloom and sorrow from the minds of men. His innumerable host dwell in the heavens with him. He was in charge of the four highest heavens — Autōia, Aukumea, Wairua, and Naherangi — but dwelt in Naherangi;1 his house was Te Taki-taki-nui-o-Raki. Here he was visited by Rupe, who was searching for his sister Hina.

Rehua was the god to whom sick people prayed, as he could cure the blind, raise the dead, and heal all diseases.2 He was the eldest son of Rangi-pōtiki (Raki) and Papa-tū-a-nuku.3 He was sacrificed to on the delivery of the Deluge.4 Rehua and Tū were gods of the right side of men, as Rongo was that of the left side.5 He was the first who kindled fire, which he gave to mankind, and instituted cooking. Rehua and Ruatau are two important members of the Whatukura, the male attendants of Io in the uppermost heaven.6 When woman was created, Io and Rehua provided the mind.7

Rehua was also associated with the forests,8 and when Tāne visited him, Rehua is said to have regaled him with a repast of birds caught in his own hair, that hair being really the branches of trees.

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