Elves or fairies encountered by Whiro and his brother Tura. They lived in trees, or on parasitical plants such as wharawhara and kiekie plants. Tura married one of their race, a woman named Turaki-hau.

Accounts differ as to their appearance. One legend says they had large chests and waists, but little heads; another text gives "no head, chest and waist only." A third says that their arms and legs were so short that they seemed to have no limbs at all, but waved their hands close to their bodies. Their children were always born by cesarean section.

The Nuku-mai-tore were seen also by Pungarehu and his friend Koko-muka-hau-nei, who were driven to foreign lands by a storm. Pungarehu cooked some whale's flesh as food for these fairies, and killed a pouakai (man-eating bird) with his stone axe.

See also Ponaturi.



  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 5-6, 272.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 2:13, 29.
  • Wohlers, J. F. H. (1876). "Mythology and Tradition of the Maori." New Zealand Institute, Transactions 8:108-123, p. 122.