This conception of Hinenuitepo was painted by the artist Danny Ngene Ngene
(This is a saved post from Multiply)
Tanemahuta and his brothers - who are gods and therefore not human; they are in fact the epitome of ira atua (the divine principle), began a search of the natural world for ira tangata (the human principle).
As they roamed throughout the new world Tane the creator tested his procreative powers onto the various natural elements. It is in this way that the trees, the birds and the insects came to be formed.
But eventually the gods came to realise that ira tangata could not be derived from ira atua .
They needed to think of something different.
They needed to think outside the square.
They needed uwha (the female principle), which was located in their mother Papatuanuku.
Hineahuone The First Human In The World of Light
Finally Tanemahuta sculpted the first woman Hineahuone from the earth of Papatuanuku, then he breathed the life force of his mauri into her mouth and her nostrils.
And she breathed for the first time.
She breathed in the air of the world.
Hineahuone, as the clay-formed First Human, a woman, combined both the spiritual and the material; a legacy passed on to all of her descendants.
Hinetiitama and The World of Night
Tanemahuta cohabited with Hineahuone the first woman.
She conceived life and brought forth from her womb Hinetiitama (the dawn maid).
When she was grown to adulthood, Tanemahuta the creator, cohabited with Hinetiitama to produce other human children. She gave birth to Hinerauwharangi.
Then one day the wind whispered to Hinetiitama, "who is your father?"
Another day a wave asked her, "who is your father?'
Hinetiitama became curious as to the identity of her father. Realizing that she had no recollection of him, she asked her husband. He told her to ask the posts of the marae.
From his evasiveness she finally realised her own husband was also her father.
Shocked, Hinetiitama told him that she would leave him and go to the lower world.
Her words were:
"The path of Tahekeroa to the lower world shall be laid down for all time.
From the Muriwaihou I will look up to you and our offspring moving in the world."
Tane followed Hinetiitama to the portal of the underworld. As she began to enter she turned to him and bid him farewell saying again, "Tane, return to our family. I have severed connection with the World of Light and now desire to dwell in the World of Night."
Thereupon she descended into Rarohenga, where she became Hinenuitepo (the goddess of death).
She was the first human to take the path to Rarohenga and she still stands at the end of the path to welcome her children.