Story: Canoe navigation

Whales in Māori art (1st of 2)

Whales in Māori art

This carving on the threshold of a meeting house depicts a tipua (ancestral or spiritual creature). Similar carvings are found in many East Coast meeting houses. This creature is taken from the story of Uenuku and his sons Paikea and Ruatapu. Paikea is said to have survived a disaster in which many others were drowned. Paikea was saved by whales – they were tipua or his tīpuna (ancestors).

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How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Canoe navigation - Locating land', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/2226/whales-in-maori-art (accessed 17 July 2019)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 8 Feb 2005