A deity presiding over the shark, lizard, ray, and all deformed, ugly things, hence the proverb Te aitanga a Punga ("a child of punga") to denote any ugly person. Punga was the son of Tangaroa, the lord of Ocean, and when the wrath of Tāwhiri-mā-tea was very fierce against his brothers (concerning the rending apart of Rangi and Papa), the two sons of Punga, Ika-tere and Tū-te-wanawana, had to flee before him. Ika-tere fled to the sea, whilst Tū-te-wehiwehi took refuge with Tāne-mahuta in the forests, and became the father of lizards, etc. Another of his offspring is said to have been the kumu-kumu (gurnard) which elected to take up its abot in the ocean.

Punga is also said to be a child of Rangi-pōtiki and Papa-tū-a-nuku, and also to be a twin-brother of Here. His heavenly home is called Te Akaaka-tapu-a-Tāne, where Tāwhaki met Hine-nui-o-te-kawa. See also Punga.



  • Best, Eldson. (1899). "Notes on Maori Mythology." Journal of the Polynesian Society 8:93-121, p. 98.
  • Shortland, Edward. (1882). Maori Religion and Mythology. London: Longmans Green, pp. 17, 18.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 374.

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