A chief who picked up the red wreath thrown away by Tauninihi from the Arawa canoe on coming near New Zealand in the voyage from Hawaiki. Tauninihi had thrown away his head-dress on seeing the pohutakawa trees in full red blossom; but finding that the flowers soon faded, he wished Māhina to give up to him the wreath he had thrown away. Māhina refused to do so, and kept his treasure-trove. Hence the proverb: Te pae kura a Māhina. The name of the wreath was Taiwhakaea.

The voyagers on the Aotea canoe are also said to have thrown their wreaths into the sea on seeing the pohutakawa blossoms.

A very different version is given by White, who states that Ue-nuku made red plumes for his children, and one of these got lost; this was found by Māhina, the moon, who refused to give it back, saying, "It is a plume found by Māhina." See also kura.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 88.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 193.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 3:35.

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