Monday, December 12, 2011


 Despite his small size and cute appearance, gecko terrified early Maori settlers. Reptiles are the children of Punga, a son of Tangaroa. Punga is known as the father of ugly creatures like stingrays, reptiles and insects. Punga had two sons called Ika-tere and Tu-tewehiwehi. When Tawhirimatea (god of the winds) attacked Tangaroa (god of the sea) it caused chaos amongst the sea god’s many descendants. Ika-tere fled below the waves and became an ancestor of the fish while Tu-tewehiwehi hid on shore becoming the ancestor of reptiles.
Mokomoko one of the children of Mokohikuwaru
All lizards are the children of Moko-hiku-waru, a giant reptile god that lived in the Taranaki area. Moko-hiku-waru and another giant reptile called Tu-tangata-kino are said to be guardians of the house of Miru, ruler of the underworld. Both were very dangerous creatures. Special tohunga could employ these giant reptiles to attack their enemies or guard special objects or places. It was common to employ the descendants of Moko-hiku-waru, like the gecko, to guard hidden treasures and family heirlooms.
Another reptile god called Te Ngangara-huarau lived near Rangitoto (D’Urville Island). One day the monster kidnapped a woman from a nearby village. He took the woman back to his cave where he made her his wife. The woman managed to escape and returned to her village. When she told her brothers about her ordeal they decided to capture and kill the beast.
The brothers built a strong house to hold the giant. They lured it into their village using their sister as bait. When they finally got him inside they slammed the door shut then set the house on fire. The Giant reptile died in the flames and the people were safe at last.

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