A tāniwha which lived in the Parapara stream at Collingwood, Tasman's Bay, South Island. It was in the habit of devouring men, and waylaid all people traveling to Takaka and Motueka. It was trapped and killed by chief Potoru and his tribe. When they cut open the tāniwha they found a large quantity of human remains, weapons, and clothing.

In the North Island version it resembled a huge lizard and dwelt in a cave in the forest, to which he took a woman whom he had captured in the forest and whom he compelled to live with him. In time the woman gave birth to a child that was half lizard and half human in form. Eventually she managed to escape and returned to her village. The monster was lured into a special house constructed for his accommodation. The house was set afire and the monster perished, but not the whole of him, for his tail escaped; it became separated from his body, wriggled out through the wall of fire, and sought refuge in the forest. The tail of Kaiwhakaruaki was the origin of a species of lizard known as moko papa, the tree lizard, and ever since lizards have possessed the power of shedding their tails.



  • Best, Elsdon. (1924). The Maori. Wellington: Harry H. Tombs, pp. 1:189 ff.
  • Whetu, Karipa Te. (1894). "The Slaying of Te Kaiwhakaruaki." Journal of the Polynesian Society 3:18-19.