Story: Wairarapa region

Rehutai and Tangimoana

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. Both fell in love with Rautoroa, a handsome warrior, who could not decide which of them to marry. Rehutai asked Tangimoana to fetch some water from a pool, but she refused, not wanting to leave her sister alone with Rautoroa. He then asked both girls to get water – but when they reached the pool, Tangimoana pretended to trip, muddying the water, and ran back to the warrior. Rehutai had to wait for the pool to settle before filling her gourd. When she returned, she found her sister wearing Rautoroa’s cloak, which made her his wife. Rehutai went away and hid, weeping bitterly. At dawn she climbed a hill, entered the clouds, and was never seen again. The hill is now known as Ōhine-mokemoke – the place of the lonely girl.

Using this item

B. Waipuka Art
Artwork by Bronwyn Waipuka

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How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Wairarapa region - Māori settlement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 June 2023)

Story by Ben Schrader, updated 1 Mar 2017