A chief of Hawaiki, who was persuaded by the great Whiro to embark with him upon a voyage to distant lands. On arriving at a land called Otea, Tura left Whiro, and went into the interior of the country, where he met the curious fairies called Te-Atainga-a-Nuku-mai-tore. He married a fairy wife named Turaki-hau, and they lived happily together.

He was surprised one day, when the birth of their first child drew near, by finding his wife in great sorrow; and she informed him that she was weeping at her approaching death, it being the custom of the country to deliver a child by the cesarean operation, the death of the poor mother being a certainty under their rude surgical instruments of sharp flint. Tura reassured his wife, and drove off the fiendish midwives, allowing the infant to be born in a natural manner.

Turaki-hau was one day combing out her husband's hair, when she observed a white hair among the dark ones. Asking him why this was, he told her that it was a sign to mortals of approaching decay and death, whereupon the wife wept bitterly to find that her husband must one day pass from the loving arms of his companion. Hence the Māori proverb, "The weeds of Tura," for gray hairs (Ka tata ki a koe nga taru o Tura). Tura's child by the fairy wife was called Tauira-ahua.

When Tura became very old, he went apart from his family and lived in a desert place alone. Here his memory continually went back to the scenes of his youth, and he often called on the name of his son Ira-tu-roto (born by Tura's first wife), who had been left in the canoe with Whiro. At last Ira came and carried the decrepit old man back to die in his own land.

Tura created the first fire by friction, using the stick Mataītū. He also possessed the Tuahiwi-o-te-rangi, the kauati or fire-raising sticks, which he had taken from Whiro. With these sticks he first made fire among the fairies.



  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 223, 542, 561.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 2:6, 3:13, 2:18.

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