Story: Tapa whenua – naming places

Māui names the land

Māui names the land

Māui’s legendary fishing up of the North Island gave rise to many place names. The North Island was Māui’s fish (Te Ika-a-Māui), the South Island was his canoe (Te Waka-a-Māui), and Stewart Island the anchor stone (Te Punga-a-Māui). Traditions of Māui fishing up islands are common in Polynesia, having been taken from island to island throughout centuries of migration.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

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:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Tapa whenua – naming places - Names from Polynesian mythology', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/map/18640/maui-names-the-land (accessed 20 November 2019)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 24 Nov 2008