Story: Te Ao Mārama – the natural world

Ngake and Whātaitai

Ngake and Whātaitai

Ngake and Whātaitai, two legendary water monsters or taniwha, are depicted in this bird’s-eye view of the Wellington region. Ngake (right) is making the channel to the Cook Strait. Whātaitai is curling up to form the isthmus between the former island of Motukairangi and the western side of Wellington Harbour. It is said that Tangi te keo (now called Mt Victoria) was named after Whātaitai’s soul, which left his body, flew as a bird to the top of the hill, and proceeded to mourn (tangi).

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Artwork by Lee Watt, 1998

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Te Ao Mārama – the natural world - Mana, tapu and mauri', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 February 2024)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007