A very celebrated priest and magician of ancient times. It was intended that he should command the Tainui canoe, in the migration from Hawaiki to New Zealand, but Ngātoro was outwitted by Tama-te-kapua, who enticed him on board the Arawa, In consequence of Kea, the wife of Ngātoro, having been insulted by Tama, the great priest drove the Arawa into the mouth of Te Parata whirlpool; and it was only when the shrieks of the women and children moved his heart with pity, that he relaxed the spell, and permitted the vessel to emerge in safety.

After he landed, he went about making springs of water appear where he stamped his foot; he also placed patupaiarehe (fairies) on the hills. He caused fire from Hawaiki to come by way of the hot-springs to Tongariro mountain, which since that time is a volcano.

On account of a curse rashly uttered by Manaia, Ngātoro led an expedition over seas to Hawaiki, in the canoe Totara-keria, and defeated Manaia in the battle of Ihu-motomotokia. A second battle followed, named Tai-maihi-o-rongo, and again Manaia was defeated with great loss. Ngātoro returned to New Zealand and fortified the Island of Motiti. He built a large carved house, called Tai-maihi-o-rongo, at Materehua. Here he was attacked by Manaia, who, with all his host, perished before the mighty spells of Ngātoro, who raised the storm called Te Aputahi-a-Pawa.

Ngātori died at Ruapehu.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp. 85-113.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 280-281.

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