Story: Taniwha

May Robin

May Robin

May (Mei) Robin stands on Marine Parade, Napier, beside the bronze statue known as Pānia of the Reef. Pānia was a sea maiden who married a local chief and had a son named Moremore. Moremore later became a guardian taniwha, taking the form of a shark. May was the model for the statue’s head, while the tiki decoration Pānia is wearing was based on a piece owned by May’s family. The statue was commissioned by a local association, the Thirty Thousand Club, after hearing the legend of Pānia from Bishop Frederick Augustus Bennett.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand Free Lance Collection (PAColl-0785)
Reference: PAColl-6585-88

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Taniwha - Sharks', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 January 2023)

Story by Basil Keane, published 24 Sep 2007