A son of Tū-whakararo and Apakura, and grandson of Rata, who was born in a miraculous manner. Apakura one day threw her apron into the sea, and a sea god named Rongo-takawiu took it and wrought it into human shape. This was Whakatau. He was taught magic and all arts of enchantment by the old ocean deity. When the child was growing up, people used to see kites moving above the waters, but could not see who held the strings, for Whakatau, who loved kite-flying, was running across the ocean floor with his toy. At last, he came on shore, and the people tried to catch him, but he was very swift of foot and would only let his mother Apakura catch him; then he lived on the land with her, and grew up into a renowned hero.

Tū-whakararo had been murdered by the men of Ati-Hapai, and Whakatau determined to set out on an expedition to recover the bones of his father, and to avenge his death. He gathered together a great force, and prepared the war canoes named Whiritoa, Tapatapa-hukarere, Hakirere, Toroa-i-taipa-kihi, Mahunu-awatea, and others. The expedition started, and Whakatau, with a chosen band, surrounded the great temple called Te Uru-o-Manono, in which the men of the hostile force were assembled. The temple was burned and the tribe of Ati-Hapai exterminated.

Whakatau is also called a son of Tū-huruhuru, and a nephew of Tū-whakararo.1



  1. Grey 1855, p. 61.


  • Grey, Sir George. (1855). Polynesian Mythology. Auckland: Brett, pp.62 ff., 72, 73.
  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 15, 48, 607, 624.

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