A deity known in most of the Polynesian islands as the patron of thieves, and as a most famous voyager.

In New Zealand, he is said to have been the son of Te Anu-mahana. Whiro had to leave his ancient home in consequence of an improper intimacy he formed with Harakiraki, the wife of one of his nephews. He determined to build a canoe, and set out on his travels; but after quarrelling with his brother Hua, carried out his revenge by the murder of Taomakati, Hua's son, whose body he hid under the canoe chips. Other legends give the name of the victim as Kaikapo, or as Rongo-te-i-rangi, Tura's son.

Hua incited his people to vengeance, and a fratricidal contest began, which ended in the death of Hua and his tribe at the battle of Te Potiki-kai-rororo. Whiro induced his brother Tura to accompany him; but the canoe, under a magical spell, went along at such a fearful speed that Tura became frightened, and landed on an island called Otea, leaving Whiro to go on to Wāwau (Vavau?) without him. Tura married a fairy wife named Turaki-hau.

Whiro had four sons, viz., Tiki-te-po-mua (husband of Rara, and father of Toi), Tiki-te-po-roto, Tiki-haohao, and Tiki-apinga-mai-i-Hawaiki.

See also Hiro and Whiro-te-tipua, the god of evil.

The genealogy is: lo begat lonuku, who begat lorangi, who begat Tawhito-te-rangi, who begat Tawhito-te-rea, who begat Waio, who begat Wai-o-whaka-tangata, who begat Te Anu-mahana, who begat Whiro and Tura.



  • Tregear, Edward. (1891). Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary. Wellington: Government Printer, pp. 21, 272, 426, 625.
  • White, John. (1887). Ancient History of the Maori. 6 vols. Wellington: G. Didsbury, Government Printer, pp. 1:34, 2:7, 13.
  • Wohlers, J. F. H. (1876). "Mythology and Tradition of the Maori." New Zealand Institute, Transactions 8:108-123, p. 122.

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