A very famous hero or demigod of ancient days. The legends are, however, confusing and contradictory. He was the ancestor of all New Zealand Māori.1 Paikea was an ariki, i.e. a priest-chief, in Hawaiki, and was invited by Rua-tapu into the fatal canoe, in which one hundred and forty first-born chiefs of houses were also decoyed. After proceeding to mid-ocean, they were all drowned by Rua-tapu, except Paikea, who swam to New Zealand. The murder of the chiefs was called Te Puru-unuhia, because it was accomplished by Rua-tapu pulling out the plug (puru) which was in the bottom of the canoe.2 This was just before the Deluge, known as Te Tai-a-Ruatapu.
The names of Paikea's wives were Ahurumowairaka (or Ahu-moa-i-raka), Te Mānawatina, and Hutu-rangi. He was buried at Whangara, in the cave known ever since as Te-ana-o-Paikea. Paikea was met in heaven by Tāwhaki; the wife of Paikea, named Hine-nui-o-te-kawa, fell in love with Tāwhaki. Her husband permitting (or casting her off), she went to Tāwhaki, and had a child by him.
Paikea's name in Hawaiki was Kāhutiaterangi; he received his name of Paikea because he crossed on the paikea, or water-monster, or whale.
- White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 1:22.
- ibid., p. 3:40
- ibid., p. 3:31.
- ibid., p. 3:52
- Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 98, 303.
This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.