Te Ao Māori

Te Ao Māori

All about the indigenous culture of Aotearoa, New Zealand


Seawalls: Artists for Oceans in Quirky Napier, New Zealand

Dolphins as Taniwha in New Zealand

Dolphins are mystical beings full of intelligence, compassion and consciousness. For different Māori iwi, dolphins hold sacred significance and they are known as  taniwha. They are considered tapu (sacred) and possessing a powerful mauri (lifeforce). What are Taniwha? Taniwha (pron. tan-ee-far) are mysterious creatures that dwell in the sea, rivers, lakes or in caves. TheyContinue reading “Dolphins as Taniwha in New Zealand”

The Māori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana

This painting by Bronwyn Waipuka illustrates a story by Wairarapa kaumātua (elder) Mita Carter. Rehutai and Tangimoana were beautiful twin sisters who lived on the banks of the Ruamāhanga River. They both fell in love with Rautoroa, a handsome warrior, but he could not decide which to marry. Rehutai asked Tangimoana to fetch some water from aContinue reading “The Māori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana”

The Maori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef retold in street art

The Māori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art

Pania is the legendary Kaitiaki (guardian/protector) of the reef in local Maori legend and her wairua (spirit) is connected strongly to the moana (ocean) close by to the town of Napier. Legend has it that Pania was a shimmering and iridescently beautiful maiden who lives in the sea and following a human encounter and a brokenContinue reading “The Māori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art”

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