Rona and the Moon/Ko Rona me te Marama

A plot summary of the legend Rona and the Moon, as well as links to the full story and classroom activities.

Illustration of Rona clinging to a ngaio tree as rays of moonlight pull her towards the sky

Rona clinging to the ngaio tree as Marama pulls her towards the sky

Story summary

This is the story of Rona, a woman who fights constantly with her husband. One night Rona storms out of her whare after the couple fight about who should fill their tahā (water containers). As Rona walks away, cursing her husband, Marama (the moon) watches and listens.

When a cloud passes in front of the moon, Rona stumbles in the dark. She falls, then curses the moon for her fall. Marama tells Rona, "Be careful what you say, lest you be made to pay". But Rona only yells more insults at Marama, who gets so angry that he reaches down, grabs Rona and pulls her up into the sky.

The next day Rona's husband searches for his wife but cannot find her. He misses Rona and is sorry he treated her badly. Meanwhile, Marama welcomes Rona and treats her with kindness. Rona gets happier and happier. When Marama asks her one day if she would like to return to earth, Rona realises she loves Marama, so says she wants to stay with him. Touched, Marama gives Rona a special taonga (gift) in return – a korowai (cloak), adorned with stars. Rona then becomes the controller of tides, Rona-whakamau-tai. 

Updated 8 Feb 2012