The father or tutelary deity of reptiles. He was a son of Punga, the son of Tangaroa. When Tangaroa and his progeny were being furiously attacked by Tāwhiri-mā-tea, the children of Punga sought safety in flight. One son, Ika-tere, took refuge in the sea; the other, Tū-te-wanawana (or Tū-te-wehiwehi), the Lord of Reptiles, fled to the land, and hid in the forest. Tangaroa was greatly incensed at his desertion by his children; and urged incessant war against Tāne-mahuta, who had sheltered some of the fugitives.

Tū-te-wanawana was the husband of Whatitiri, and father to Ruahine, Ika-tere, and others. He afterwards married Tū-pari, and begat Moko-i-kuwharu, Tūatara, Kaweau, Mokomoko, and other reptiles.



  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 4-5.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, p. 567.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 1:Appendix.

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