A famous ancestor of the Ngāti-awa tribe. He invited a gathering of his friends in Hawaiki for the purpose of making spears. In Manaia's absence, some of the guests ravished Rongo-tiki, Manaia's wife, a fact supernaturally revealed to Manaia before his return home. He determined on revenge; and, having quietly gathered together his people, he slew his treacherous guests, including their chief, Tū-penu. Manaia then found that he would have to leave the country, so fitted up his canoe Tokomaru and, having offered up his brother-in-law (to whom the Tokomaru belonged) in sacrifice, he put to sea.

At Whangaparaoa, the point whereon he landed in New Zealand, there lay a stranded whale, for the possession of which he disputed with others who had arrived about the same time. Coasting along, and doubling the North Cape, he reached Tongaporutu (near Taranaki) and left his god Rākei-ora there. At Mokau he left the stone anchor of his canoe, a rock called Punga-a-Matori. At Waitara he found some of the original inhabitants, and slew them. Manaia and his people settled in the Taranaki country.

Manaia fought two battles in Hawaiki: one called Ratorua, and the other Kirikiriawa. His famous weapons were named Kihia and Rakea. His sons were Tū-ure-nui and Kahukakanui.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp. 138 ff.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 204.

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