A ghost, a spirit of a deceased person. Also the germ of a human being, stillborn, grown into a malignant spirit. This spirit has the will and power to afflict mankind in various ways. It was therefore customary to bury it in a proper manner and with appropriate ceremony, that the kahukahu may be laid and rendered powerless to assail those who dwell in the living world.

Another name is atua noho-whare, or house-dwelling atua.



  • Best, Elsdon. (1908). "Te Rehu-o-Tainu: The Evolution of a Maori Atua." PSJ 4(6):41-66, p. 42.
  • Shortland, Edward. (1882). Maori Religion and Mythology. London: Longmans Green, p. 107.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 113.