Tāne is the god of forests, birds, peace, and beauty, and the son of Rangi and Papa, the sky father and the earth mother, who used to lie in a tight embrace where their many children lived in the darkness between them.
Powers and Abilities
The children of Rangi and Papa grew frustrated at their confinement in the cramped space between their parents. Tūmatauenga, future god of war, proposes that they should kill their parents. But Tāne disagrees, suggesting that it is better to separate them, sending Rangi into the sky and leaving Papa below to care for them. Tāne's brothers Rongo, then Tangaroa, Haumia-tiketike, and Tūmatauenga all try in vain to separate the parents. After many tries, Tāne lies on his back and pushes with his strong legs, and finally forces his parents apart, and Rangi rises high into the heavens. Then Tāne searched for heavenly bodies as lights so that his father would be appropriately dressed. He obtained the stars and threw them up, along with the moon and the sun. At last Rangi looked handsome.
Tāwhirimātea, the god of storms and winds, is angry that the parents have been torn apart. He joins his father in the sky and punishes the earth and sea with violent storms. Tāwhirimātea attacks the forests of Tāne, snapping the trunks of the trees, shattering the trees to the ground, leaving them as food for decay and insects. Then he attacks the oceans, and Tangaroa, the god of the sea, flees. Two of Tangaroa's descendants, Ikatere, father of fish and Tū-te-wehiwehi, the ancestor of reptiles, are terrified by Tāwhirimātea's fury. The fish flee into the sea, and the reptiles into the forests. Ever since, Tangaroa has resented Tāne for hiding his runaway children. So it is that Tāne supplies the descendants of Tūmatauenga with canoes, fishhooks, and nets to catch the descendants of Tangaroa. Tangaroa retaliates by overturning canoes and sending floods that sweep away houses, land and trees.