In New Zealand, the name for elves and fairies, also known as Ponaturi. There are many legends and incidental allusions to these fairies in song and tradition. They were a tiny, fair-haired, fair-skinned race, bright and joyous, always singing, or, according to others,1 the children of mist and darkness who dreaded the light of day above all things, and who confined themselves to the gloomy forests and fastnesses of such mountains as Pirongia, Moehau, and Kaimanawa. They were said to have been placed on the hills by Ngātoro-i-rangi.

In one legend, Kāhukura encounters a troop of patupaiarehe at night while they are pulling in their fish nets. He helps them but when they find out he is a mortal they flee, leaving their nets behind. Kāhukura takes the nets home and since then humans have known the art of making fish nets. The patupaiarehe were also encountered by Te Kanawa, a Waikato chief, and one of them carried off the wife of Ruarangi.

A chief of the patupaiarehe is named Tiki, mentioned in an old incantion.



  1. Gudgeon, W. E. (1905). "Maori Religion." Journal of the Polynesian Society 14:107-130, p. 116.


  • Shortland, Edward. (1882). Maori Religion and Mythology. London: Longmans Green, p. 47.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 114, 328, 511.

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