Story: Tangaroa – the sea

Marakihau-style carving

Marakihau-style carving

This epa (house post) was discovered in Waitara, Taranaki, in 1919. The figure at the top is a marakihau, sometimes described as a sea taniwha . However, some view it as an ancestor with the bulbous head, three fingers, and serpentine body that reflects the Māori view that humans had amphibious origins.

Using this item

Puke Ariki - Taranaki Museum & Library
Reference: A77.330
Carving by Te Tuiti-Moeroa

This item must not be copied or reproduced in any print or electronic media without the prior permission of Puke Ariki Museum and Library. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Tangaroa – the sea - The importance of the sea', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 11 December 2023)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 12 Jun 2006