Tāne Mahuta (pronounced taa·nay maa·hoo·tuh) is the Māori word for god of forests and of birds.
Tāne Mahuta was the true essence of New Zealand legend. The legend says that Tāne was one of the many off spring of Papatūānuku (the earth father) and Ranginui (the sky mother). Tāne’s mother and father so loved each other that they could not part, trapping their progeny between them.
Tāne is said to have spearheaded his way out of the darkness, delivering his siblings to the world of light. Having pulled apart his mother and father with his sheer strength and will, which stretched the earth and the sky, he is compared with the trees of the forest that stretch upwards to separate the elements.
Tāne Mahuta’s namesake is a giant tree in the Waipoua Forrest in New Zealand, estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old. It is the largest living kauri (cedar family) tree known to stand today.