The father or tutelary deity of all dogs. He was the husband of Hina, the sister of Māui. Ira-waru and Māui went out fishing together; and Māui, being displeased with his brother-in-law, by enchantment turned him into a dog, the first of its kind. On Hina questioning Māui as to the whereabouts of her husband, Māui told her to call "Moi! Moi!" whereupon the poor dog ran up to her, and Hina, learning the truth, threw herself into the sea. She was later rescued by the brothers Ihuatamai and Ihuwareware. The South Island version differs somewhat.1

Ira-waru is also called Owa and his wife is Ihi'ihi. They were the parents of Pero, the first dog. A certain Rawaru turned his son into a dog, for disobedience.2



  1. Wohlers, J. F. H. (1875). "Mythology and Tradition of the Maori." New Zealand Institute, Transactions 7:3-53, p. 40.
  2. White, John. (1885). "Maori Customs and Superstitions." In T. W. Gudgeon, History and Doings of the Maoris from 1820 to 1840. Auckland: Brett, pp. 97-225, p. 115.


  • Andersen, Johannes C. (1928). Myths and Legends of the Polynesians. London: George G. Harrap, p. 211.
  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp. 31 ff.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 107.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, pp. 2:77, 86, 199, 1:Appendix.

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