1. (noun) ancestor with continuing influence, god, demon, supernatural being, deity, ghost, object of superstitious regard, strange being - although often translated as 'god' and now also used for the Christian God, this is a misconception of the real meaning. Many Māori trace their ancestry from atua in their whakapapa and they are regarded as ancestors with influence over particular domains. These atua also were a way of rationalising and perceiving the world. Normally invisible, atua may have visible representations.
Ko te atua o te pakanga, ko Tū-mata-uenga. He maha ōna ingoa: Tū-kā-riri, Tū-te-ngaehe, Tū-mata-uenga, Tū-tawake, Tū-whakamoana-ariki, Tū-kai-taua, Tū-kai-tangata (M 2006:122). / The atua of war, Tū-mata-uenga. He has several names: Tū-kā-riri (Tū-the angry-one), Tū-te-ngaehe (Tū-who-tears-apart), Tū-mata-uenga (Tū-who-incites), Tū-tawake (Tū-who-hastens), Tū-whakamoana-ariki (Tū-who-enriches-the-sea), Tū-kai-taua (Tū-who-destroys-war-parties), Tū-kai-tangata (Tū-who-destroys-mankind) (M 2006:123).
2. (noun) God.
E tino maumahara ana au ki taua pō e inoi ana tō mātau koroua ki Te Atua kia tohungia mātau (HP 1991:14). / I well remember that night when our grandfather was praying to God that we be spared.