January 2017 – Creation Mythology – Creation Myths of New Zealand and Australia

By | January 22, 2017

The session covered:

Common Themes

There are themes which appear in creation mythology which occur in more than one culture.  There are theories as to how these myths became common and widespread.  Perhaps this was spread by travelling people.  They have commonalities with each other which could be explained by similarities in society structure, agricultural environment so could have been used to explain the world.  An alternative view is there is something fundamental within humans which lead to a need to explain things so we do not feel totally helpless.  It formed a basis for discussion at the session.

How would this apply to remote areas of the world such as New Zealand and Australia?

New Zealand Creation Myths

The New Zealand myths, these have similarities with other cultures creation myths in that they started from darkness (Te Kore) and had the sky (Ranginui the Sky Father) and earth (Papatuanuku the Earth Mother) which were separated to create a space between them.  Then followed explanations for the winds and storms, the stars etc.

It is relatively small, with well-connected communities and the myths were relatively uniform across New Zealand and considered learned.

Australian Creation Myths

Australia is more fragmented.  The people were more dispersed, separate and isolated with different languages and dialects, living in very different climates and environments.  There are a myriad different myths and legends for creation.  They are on a more human scale.

Dreamtime and ancestor mythology was widespread.  In this time is not linear, the ancestors are still here, transformed, and are part of the world.  Sudden events happen.