The brother of Māui and of Hina. He was at first known as Māui-moa. When the celebrated Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga had changed Ira-waru into a dog, Hina, the wife of Ira-waru, overcome with grief, threw herself into the sea, and after being many months in the ocean, arrived at Motu-tapu, the land of the marine deity Tinirau. She became the wife of Tinirau, and bore him a child.

During her long absence her brother Rupe fretted again to see her, but could not find out her place of abode, so he ascended to heaven to consult the god Rehua, his ancestor. Rupe pushed his way up through the lower heavens till he reached the tenth or highest, the home of Rehua. Rehua informed Rupe where he could find his sister; and Rupe then, assuming the shape of a dove or pigeon (rupe), flew down to Tinirau's abode. He revealed his identity to his sister; and she, taking her newborn baby, accompanied him back to the heaven of Rehua. The wooden shovel which Rupe made to cleanse and beautify the dwelling of Rehua is called Tahitahia.1

Rupe is said to have had five sisters besides Hina (Hina-uri or Hine-i-te-iwaiwa), viz., Hina-te-otaota, Iti'iti, Rekareka (Marekareka), Rau-kata-uri, and Rau-kata-mea.2 Rupe assumed the shape of a pigeon because till the cold winter months, the Mangeremumu (idle and murmuring), he sat mourning for his sister, and was beaten down by Te-Ngana-o-tahuhu at Tawatupapa. So, by incantation, he caused feathers to grow on himself; and the pigeon is his descendant. Rupe taught men the art of fixing on the handle to the stone axe, and also the uses to which the axe may be applied.3

The Rū mentioned in Tahitian legend as the companion of Hina is probably Rupe. In Mangareva, Rupe is the grandfather of Māui; and Māui dwelt with him.



  1. Grey 1855, p. 53.
  2. White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G, Disbury, p. 1:85.
  3. ibid., p. 1:86.


  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 50 ff.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 434-435.

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