A war god of the Te Ure-wera or Tuhoe tribe. A woman named Rehutu, of the Tama-kai-moana hapu of Tuhoe, who abode at the Tauranga Stream, was delivered of a whakatahe or premature birth. The embryo developed into a powerful atua that desolated the battle-fields of Orona and Puke-kai-kahu; of Po-uru-take and Wai-o-tahe. The whakatahe was wrapped in the leaves of the mauri plant, but this was insufficient to destroy the powers of the fetus, and a portion of the essence of the spirit, or kahukahu, passed into the fish known as titarakura, which was henceforth sacred to the god Rehu-o-Tainui.

Next, the spirit transformed into the form of a green lizard, the moko-kakariki. Rehu-o-Tainui was now a fully developed atua-ngau-tangata (man-eating god) or atua mo te riri (war-god).

A priest named Uhia, of the Tama-kai-moana hapu of Maunga-pohatu, became the god's new kauwaka or medium, and his matakite (foretellings) regarding the outcome of war became famous. After Uhia's death, other priests never acquired his power and prestige, and so the reputation of Rehu-o-Tainui gradually waned.



  • Best, Elsdon. (1908). "Te Rehu-o-Tainu: The Evolution of a Maori Atua." PSJ 4(6):41-66, p. 42.