According to Waitaha traditions the first home of the Māori was in a portion of the sky, but left this celestial region and settled on earth in a land called Patu-nui-o-Aio. The exact location is unknown. When a man died, his soul took flight back to Hono-i-wairua (the gathering place of spirits), and in the tangi over him the mourner bade his spirit depart and go to the above ancestral home.

After coming from the sky to earth, the Māori moved on and came to the seashore. Here they looked at the ocean, and thought that the sky ran down into it on the horizon. They built a canoe of feathers and liberated it with incantations. It went out of sight, but was driven back through the gap between sea and sky by a storm called Uruao. A proper wooden canoe was built and called 'Whaka-huruhuru-manu' in memory of the feather canoe; t was the first canoe ever put on the sea (by the Māoris).



  • Beattie, J. Herries. (1918). "Traditions and Legends of Murikihu." Journal of the Polynesian Society 27:137-161, p. 154.