Mother’s Day – in celebration of Papatūānuku

The national holiday of Mother’s Day is upon us - an annual milestone to acknowledge the caregivers in our lives and the lessons, wisdom and experience that has transcended the generations.

Beyond our immediate bubbles, we’re celebrating the ultimate universal mother Papatūānuku who, in Māori tradition, embodies the land from which all living things are birthed. 

As descendants of Papatūānuku and Ranginui, we connect to the Earth Mother

The creation myth expresses that, together with Ranginui (sky father), Papatūānuku was born in the darkness known as Te Pō. Upon birthing multiple children within their tight embrace, Earth Mother and Sky Father were forced apart by their son Tāne Mahuta, setting all the children free. It was in this newly formed space that the tamariki created Te Ao Mārama, the world of light and life. It is often regarded that all things of this world are therefore descendants of Rangnui and Papatūānuku through their children and why the kinship with the land is so important.

As the creator of all living things, Papatūānuku symbolises unity, identity and sustenance. She’s a foundation for human existence and a source for the concept of tūrangawaewae – finding a place to stand. As well as birth, she represents the place that all living things return to and the cyclical nature of life and death. 

Our Earth Mother’s influence on Sofia Minson’s artworks

The creation myth has channelled through Sofia’s artworks throughout the years.

This selection of artworks have been influenced by the presence of Papatūānuku.


This piece is a portrait of Papatūānuku with the curves of her naked body representing the country’s mountainous landscape.


Atua Wāhine is the Māori term for goddess and the vision of Papatūānuku was a prominent presence in the creation of this piece. The figure channels integrity, a strong feeling of indigenous spirituality and kaitiakitanga whilst her moko kauae communicates whakapapa and whanau connections.


This portrait is a fusion of Hine-te-iwaiwa, the guardian of weaving, childbirth, and the cycles of the moon and Papatūānuku and represents our mortal relationship with the Heavenly Bodies.

How will you share your love for Papatūānuku this Mother’s Day? Share your messages with us on Instagram or Facebook.


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