A great chief of Hawaiki in ancient times. A near relative of his having been slain by the high-priest Ue-nuku, Turi wrought revenge by killing Hawe-pōtiki, the son of Ue-nuku, and sending the boy's heart, concealed in an offering of food, to the high-priest. The heart was eaten by Ue-nuku.
On discovering the dreadful fact, the father sang a song of revenge, which was overheard by Rongorongo, the wife of Turi, who warned her husband, and they resolved to flee. Toto, the father of Rongorongo, had constructed two canoes, and gave one to his daughter. In this canoe, the Aotea, Turi and his people set forth to try to reach the islands of New Zealand, information as to the proper course having been given to him by Kupe, who had previously discovered this country. Turi carried off his brother-in-law Tuau by force.
The Aotea, in company with the Ririno reached a small island named Rangitahua, situated in mid-ocean; and here, the canoes having been much storm-beaten, they rested awhile to refit. Sacrifices were offered, and religious ceremonies performed. Before they left, there were dissensions as to the course to be steered, Turi insisting on an easterly course, according to Kupe's direction; but he was at last overruled, and both canoes stood to the westward, until the Ririno became a total wreck on the reef of Taputapuātea. Turi then resumed the former course, and steered eastward. A little son named Whanaumoana (also known as Tūtawa) was born during the voyage.
The Aotea at length made the shore of New Zealand. Turi left his canoe in the harbor of Aotea, and with his men traveled on foot along the Taranaki coast to the Patea River, where he finally settled, in the house Matangirei. The threshold of this house was called Paepaehakehake. His storehouse nearby was called Paeahua. When Turi was stricken in years and enfeebled with old age, he became tired of life, and is said to have drowned himself in the Patea River.
Turi owned an enchanted red cloak called Huna-kiko. His son is Tūranga-i-mua and his daughter is Tāne-roroa, both born in Hawaiki before his emigration to New Zealand. Rangi-ka-wheriko was the name of a famous baler used by Turi in the Aotea.
The kakariki bird was brought to New Zealand by Turi in the Aotea canoe.
- Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, p. 126 ff.
- Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 94, 462, 561, 563, 609.
- White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, p. 2:180.
This article incorporates text from Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (1891) by Edward Tregear, which is in the public domain.