Or Matuku-tangotango, an ancient chief who treacherously killed Wahieroa, the son of Tāwhaki. It therefore became the duty of Rata, Wahieroa's son, to revenge the death of his father. He started upon a journey for this purpose and at length arrived at the entrance to the place of Mātuku-takotako, an underground habitation, a cave called Putawarenuku. Rata found there a man who was left in charge of it, named Tama-uri-uri. He tells Rata that Mātuku lives beneath in the earth there and that he is appointed to inform his master when the new moon appears; at that season he rises and comes forth upon the earth, and devours men as his food.

Tama-uri-uri further tells Rata that Mātuku can be killed at the fountain in which he washes his hair, if Rata comes at the time of the new moon, two days hence. At the appointed time, Rata returned and hid himself near the fountain. Tama-uri-uri shouted to his master that the new moon had arrived, and Mātuku, seizing his two-handed wooden sword, rose up from the earth, and went straight to his two fountains. He laid down his sword at the fountain where he washed his hair, and kneeling down on both knees, he plunged his head into the waters. At that moment, Rata left his hiding place, and as Mātuku raised his head from the water, Rata with one hand seized him by the hair, while with the other he slew him; thus he avenged the death of Wahieroa. He then proceeded to rescue his father's bones from the Ponaturi.

Wohlers1 gives the names of islands, Puorunuku and Puororangi, as the locality in which Mātuku dwelt, and also states that Rata noosed Mātuku when coming out of the ground to perform the rites of thistle-cutting.

Mātuku's bones were made into spear points for spearing birds.



  1. Wohlers, J. F. H. (1875). "Mythology and Tradition of the Maori." New Zealand Institute, Transactions 7:3-53, p. 22.


  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp. 67 ff.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 232.