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. 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 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. The distressed Rehutai went and hid, weeping bitterly. At dawn she climbed up a hill, into 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

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Wairarapa region - Māori settlement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/12076/rehutai-and-tangimoana (accessed 10 December 2019)

Story by Ben Schrader, updated 3 Mar 2017