Maui Taming the Sun.

E. Mervyn Taylor, Artist

This is one of the prints in our collection. It was made in Wellington, Wellington Region, New Zealand in circa 1952.
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Object Detail

image H88 x W 127mm
Wood engraving
'Māori mythology says that after the world’s creation the sun moved across the sky so rapidly that night and day were very short; there was not enough time for people to perform daily tasks or get sufficient sleep. The demigod Māui devised a plan to slow the sun. He and his brothers made several strong ropes and journeyed to where the sun rises from the underworld. They built a low wall to hide behind, and laid out their ropes as nooses. When the sun appeared the brothers leapt out from their hiding place, threw the ropes over the sun, and ensnared it. Their quarry securely held, Māui leapt up and beat the sun until it cried for mercy. Today Māori believe that the rays of the sun are the remnants of the ropes used to slow its path.'
"From 1944 to 1946 Taylor was the art editor and illustrator for the School Publications Branch of the Department of Education. Having experimented previously with wood engraving, he immediately saw its merits for illustration in the school journals and adopted it as a regular form of expression. From this time until his death he created over 200 wood-blocks. Many were devoted to New Zealand’s flora and fauna but the greater number depicted scenes of Māori life and mythology.

Taylor had been introduced to Māori mythology by his wife, Edelweiss Yeoville (Teddy) Cooke, whom he had married in Wanganui on 15 December 1937... Aspects of Māori life and legend became an absorbing interest, reinforced by his contact with Woods and Russell Clark" by Tony Mackle. Accessed 25/10/12 from
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 1955.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
19 Dec 1955



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