A tāniwha of the lizard kind and which had eight tails. It came with the Tainui canoe and when the canoe passed up the Wai-o-taiki river, some of its people settled at Tamaki. The tāniwha also remained there and made its den (rua) in the deep pool at the river entrance to the lagoon; hence the lagoon also bore the name Te Wai-roto-o-mokoika. It fed on aua (herrings), eels, and patiki.

When Koperu, a close relative of Hongi Hika came to Tamaki to visit relatives, he was invited into the pa near by, and was murdered there. When that murder took place, the tāniwha swam about the river, lashing the waters, then swam away to the outer sea of Tikapa (Hauraki gulf), where he disappeared and was never again seen since.

Cp. Moko-hiku-waru.



  • Graham, Geo. (1946). "Some taniwha and tupua." Journal of the Polynesian Society 55:26-39.