A young chief, who, after the arrival of the Arawa canoe in New Zealand, went with his elder brothers, Hā-nui and Hā-roa, to spear birds, near the head of the Waikato River. Finding that his brothers stored away the birds as theirs, and did not give him his share, Hatupatu, in the absence of the other two, broke open the storehouse, had a great feast on the birds, and then, wounding himself and making great confusion about the place, pretended that a hostile war party had done the mischief. His brothers found out the deceit, and killed him. He was brought back to life again by a spirit (Tamumu-ki-te-rangi) sent by his parents.

Hatupatu then met a fairy woman, or ogress, who took him to her home, and kept him. One day he rewarded her by smashing all her property, and then escaped with her treasures of red-feather cloaks, etc. The ogress, Kūrāgaituku, was informed of this by a bird, and she pursued the youth with strides as of seven-leagued boots. Hatupatu, by enchantment, caused the rock to open, and hid therein; while Kūrāgaituku was scalded to death in the sulphur springs at Te Whakarewarewa (Rotorua).

Hatupatu then returned home, and his death was again attempted by his brothers. Their father interfered, and said that it would be better if, instead of fighting against each other, they fought against Raumati, who had burnt the Arawa canoe. They then all united in getting up a great war-party to attack Raumati, but no division of warriors was assigned to Hatupatu. He exhibited his powers as a magician several times on his way to combat; changed his red wreath into a pōhutukawa tree, and proceeded under water along the bottom of Rotorua Lake, eating mussels. By incantations he deceived the enemy into the idea that he had a large force under his command. In the battle which ensued, Raumati was killed by Hatupatu, and his head carried to Mokoia Island, in the Rotorua Lake.

In recognition of his heroic deed his father raised him to the status of senior son.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp. 114 ff.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 51-52.

This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.