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Māori Atua of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Seasons
Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont).JPG
Mt Taranaki a volcano in New Zealand. Ruaumoko is believed to cause volcanoes and earthquakes.
Ethnic groupMāori
ParentsRanginui and Papatūānuku

In Māori mythology, Rūaumoko (also known as Rūamoko) is the god of earthquakes, volcanoes and seasons.[1][2] He is the youngest son of Ranginui (the Sky father) and Papatūānuku (the Earth mother) (commonly called Rangi and Papa).[2]

Ruaumoko Patera, named after this god, is one of many paterae (shallow craters) on Io, one of Jupiter's moons.[3]


After Rangi and Papa were separated by their sons, Rangi cried, and his tears flooded the land. To stop this, the sons decided to turn Papa face down, so Rangi and Papa could no longer see each other's sorrow. Rūaumoko was at his mother's breast when this happened, so he was carried into the world below.[2] He was given fire for warmth by Tama-kaka, and his movements below the earth cause earthquakes and volcanoes.[1][2] Another version tells that he remains in Papa's womb, with some variants saying it was to keep Papa company after her separation from Rangi. In these versions, his movements in the womb cause earthquakes.[1]

The earthquakes Rūaumoko causes are in turn responsible for the change of seasons. Depending on the time of year, the earthquakes cause the warmth, or cold, of Papa to come to the surface of the land, resulting in the warming, or cooling of the Earth.[1][4]

Rūaumoko pulls on the ropes that control the land causing the shimmering effect of hot air, called haka of Tane-rore, and in some versions, earthquakes.[1]

Rūaumoko is also known as husband of his niece Hine-nui-te-pō, the goddess of death and a daughter of Tāne.[citation needed]

In some traditions, Rūaumoko creates the Auckland volcanic field alongside his brother Mataaho, in retribution for a war between two rival tribes of patupaiarehe.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Te Papa. "Ruaumoko - God of Earthquakes". Wellington, New Zealand: Earthquake Commission. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d McSaveney, Eileen (2 March 2009). "Historic earthquakes - Earthquakes in Māori tradition". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  3. ^ International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) (15 May 2010). "Ruaumoko Patera". Planetary Geomatics Group, USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  4. ^ Best, Elsdon (June 1908). "Art. XV.—Maori Forest Lore: being some Account of Native Forest Lore and Woodcraft, as also of many Myths, Rites, Customs, and Superstitions connected with the Flora and Fauna of the Tuhoe or Ure-wera District.—Part I". Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute. Wellington, New Zealand: John Mackay, Government Printing Office. 40: 185–254. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Mataaho". maori.org.nz. Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  6. ^ Pegman, David M (August 2007). "The Volcanoes of Auckland" (PDF). Manukau City Council. Mangere Mountain Education Centre. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2021.

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