The Story of Puiaki & Tawhiti

Case Moth - Horo copy

Part 1 / Dawn

Night after night, Puiaki (the Case Moth and the earthly representation of Hine Raukatauri, Goddess of Music) waits for her lover, Tawhiti, but he never comes.

Puiaki knows that her voice is very quiet. Afraid that Tawhiti can’t hear her calling to him, Puiaki asks Hine Pu te Hue (guardian spirit of Gourds) to help make her voice heard above the noise of the forest.

Hine Pu te Hue agrees and calls to the birds and insects to be quiet.

Puiaki sings a love song to Tawhiti, but still he doesn’t come.

Puiaki weeps. She longs to fly out and search for her beloved, but she has no wings.

Part 2 / Twilight

It is twilight and the Patupaiarehe (Fairy People) hear Puiaki’s lament.

They emerge from the mist and surround her in the darkness, telling her that Tawhiti has been taken by Tawhirimatea (the Wind) who loves Puiaki and is jealous of Tawhiti.

Puiaki begs the Patupaiarehe to tell her how she can find Tawhiti and they describe a path to the Heavens that will lead to where Tawhiti is held captive – Toi Huarewa (the Suspended Way).

The Patupaiarehe explain that only Te Ra (the Sun) has the power to make Toi Huarewa visible. They warn Puiaki that Te Ra will demand her life in return for revealing it.

As the Patupaiarehe speak, their voices dissolve into the air. They return to the mist as Te Ra approaches, casting his light across the forest.

Part 3 / Dawn

Puiaki returns to Hine Pu te Hue, asking her to again call for quiet so that she can sing to Te Ra.

The forest is silent and Puiaki sings, but Te Ra is too far away and even with Hine Pu te Hue’s help, Puiaki’s voice cannot reach him.

Desperate, Puiaki asks Hine Pu te Hue for help one last time.

Hine Pu te Hue decides to trick Te Ra.  She lures him close to the forest so that his light will illuminate the dew that clings to Toi Huarewa, secretly revealing the path to the Heavens.

As Te Ra draws closer and the droplets of dew on Toi Huarewa begin to glow, Hine Pu te Hue tells Puiaki to silently climb out of her case and onto the nearest strand.

Puiaki does as Hine Pu te Hue tells her, but she has spent her life in darkness and as she emerges into the  blinding light of Te Ra, she gasps.

Te Ra hears her and whirls around.  Caught in his fierce gaze, Puiaki is turned instantly to dust.

Tawhirimatea is bereft as he witnesses the fate of his beloved. He gathers the dust of Puiaki in his arms and carries her up into the heavens where she becomes Te Kairoro (the Beloved) – otherwise known as the Comet Galaxy.

Coda / Twilight

It is twilight and the Patupaiarehe (Fairy People) emerge from the mist.

In the night sky Tawhiti can be seen – in the form of a comet – being chased from the Heavens by the grieving Tawhirimatea.

The Patupaiarehe sing to Puiaki in the sky and she sings back. The mist clings to the strands of Toi Huarewa, so that it can at last be seen, faintly, in the moonlight.

Their voices dissolve into the air.

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