A chief of ancient times, whose son Te Manu-hauturuki was seized by the sea god, Tangaroa. Rua-pupuke dived into the ocean, and in the land beneath the waves met a woman named Hine-matiko-tai, who told him the way to the house of Tangaroa. There Rua found his son set up as a tekoteko (carved image) on the gable of the house. When Rua entered the house the carved posts were talking among themselves; he heard the posts talking, but those outside remained silent. As per Hine's instructions, he closed up all the interstices of the house, and when the sun had set, Tangaroa and his family arrived and sought repose within their house. These were all killed by Rua letting the light in upon them, or by setting the house on fire and killing those who ran out.

The first was Kanae [mullet], who was not caught, hence the saying — "Nawai te kanae rere tahatu." Then came Maroro (flying-fish), who also escaped, and so we have the saying — "Te maroro kokoti ihu waka taua" (The flying-fish that crosses the bow of a war canoe). After that came Kokiri [trigger-fish], the person who bears a spear. All the children of Tangaroa were destroyed, and the house was almost consumed by fire. The carved side-posts, ridge-pole, door- and window-frames were taken away, some of those did not talk, and so it is that carved images of the present time do not possess the power of speech.

Rua departed, taking with him his child, and also the carved posts of the house Hui-te-ananui; so the art of wood-carving was acquired and became known in this world. The first carved house was called Te Raweoro, and was set up at Uawa (or Uwawa) by Hinga-ngaroa.

Cp. Ponaturi.



  • Best, Eldson. (1928). "Story of Rua and Tangaroa: An origin Myth." Journal of the Polynesian Society 37:257-259.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 431-432.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 2:168.