Friday, December 2, 2011


Taken from my book Te Herenga Waka... which focuses on the canoe traditions around Aotearoa... from the far north to the bottom of the South Island

Hoturoa captained the Tainui waka
The famous chief Hoturoa captained the Tainui canoe. He and his fellow tribesmen decided to build a voyaging waka to escape the endless wars and food shortages. Hoturoa’s wife Whakaotirangi approached her father Memeha-o-te-rangi for help. She asked her father for a skilled canoe builder and was duly offered the services of Rakataura. 
The great tohunga and master canoe builder had three sacred adzes with which to build the waka. He would use Hahau-o-te-rangi to fell the tree, Paopao-o-te-rangi to split the timber and Manu-tawhiao-rangi to shape the hull. Rakataura selected his tree and began his sacred task. Eventually, with the help of seven workmen, the canoe was completed and the vessel taken out for sea trials. After much ceremony and preparation Hoturoa was ready to lead his family to Aotearoa. 
As they left Hawaiiki the waves around Pikopiko-i-whiti were especially rough and the Tainui struggled in the huge seas. The great tohunga Ngatoroirangi was able to pacify the waters of Tangaroa allowing the Tainui to embark on its journey. Later Ngatoroirangi was tricked into joining the Te Arawa crew.

No comments: