is a personification of comets, and the origin of fire, in a legend of the Ngāti Awa
, a Māori
tribe of the eastern Bay of Plenty
in New Zealand
's North Island
. The name can be translated 'long standing smoke', a fitting description for a comet. Auahitūroa is a son of Tama-nui-te-rā
(the sun god). Tama-nui-te-rā tells Auahitūroa to take a beneficial thing to humankind in the shape of fire. Auahitūroa comes down to earth in the form of a comet, and marries Mahuika
, younger sister of Hinenui-te-pō, goddess of death. The sons of Auahitūroa and Mahuika are Ngā Mānawa
, the five Fire Children. Another Māori name for a comet is Ūpokoroa
(long-headed one); a poetic name for fire is te tama a Ūpokoroa
, (the son of Upokoroa) (Best 1982:244-245).
- E. Best, Māori Religion and Mythology, Part 2. Dominion Museum Bulletin No.11. (Museum of New Zealand: Wellington) , 1982.