Hine-poupou was abandoned by her husband on the island of Kapiti, and is said to have swum back to her father's home on the southern side of the Straits. She gained endurance by repeating some potent charm, that is, by appealing to the gods, and so was enabled to reach home.

Having reached home and told her friends of the base act of her husband, it was resolved to punish him. It was arranged that the husband should perish at sea, and so, when he and his brother were out at sea in a canoe, fishing, a great storm was induced by means of magic arts. The canoe was swept by the storm far across the ocean, and at length was cast ashore in a strange land. Here the brothers encountered a strange people who knew not fire, and so ate their food raw. They found that these folk were being slain in numbers by a dread tāniwha, and the harassed people implored the castaways to endeavour to destroy the beast.

This they managed to do, after which peace abode in the land. One of the brothers was given a young woman as a wife, and so it came to their knowledge that natural birth was unknown in that land; all children were brought into the world of life by means of the page cesarean operation. Hence but few elderly women were seen; all mothers perished at the birth of their first-born. Cp. Nuku-mai-tore. Another rendering of this story shows plainly that the monster that destroyed the people was a huge bird.



  • Best, Elsdon. (1924). The Maori. Wellington: Harry H. Tombs, p. 206.

This article incorporates text from The Maori (1924) by Elsdon Best, which is in the public domain.