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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.
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