One of the canoes in the Migration of the Māori people. This was one of the largest of the canoes, and was completed in Hawaiki next after the Arawa. Ngātoro-i-rangi was to have been the priest of this canoe, but was decoyed on board the Arawa by the subtlety of Tama-te-kapua.

The Tainui was the first of the large canoes to reach New Zealand, and made the land at Whangaparaoa. The honor of having first touched land was taken from her by the crew of the Arawa, who artificially dried the poles of their sacred place, and their hawsers, to show that they had been a long time in possession. The Tainui went round by the North Cape and entered the Manakau Harbour, was dragged across the portage at Otahuhu, and finally was left at Kawhia, where (turned into stone) she still remains, at a place called Paringatai. Hotu-roa was the chief of this canoe. He brought the variety of kumara called anurangi. A small plant, called tainui (Bot. Pomaderris apetala) is said to have sprung from the canoe's skids.

In the celebrated Tainui canoe came ancestors of Waikato, Ngāti-tuwharetoa, Ngāti-maniapoto, Ngāti-raukawa, Ngāti-apakura, Ngāti-maru, Ngapuhi, Ngāti-toa, Ngāti-mahuta, and Ngāti-awa.



  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 21, 447.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, pp. 2:177, 4:28, 58.

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