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.

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How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Tapa whenua – naming places - Names from Polynesian mythology', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 April 2024)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 24 Nov 2008