Story: Taniwha

Ūpokongaro, Whanganui River

Ūpokongaro, Whanganui River

Like many of the important rivers of New Zealand, Whanganui River is closely associated with taniwha. This photograph, taken in 1955, documented a strange phenomenon. The anonymous inscription on the back reads:

On many (?) occasions a large flow of water gushes up from the head of the Wanganui River below the bluff of Buckthaughts Redoubt just past the village of Upokongaro. This phenomenon is accompanied by a loud bubbling noise and small pieces of waterlogged wood and debris are brought to the surface. Few people have ever seen this occurrence and this photograph was taken in 1955 by one of a party of Wellington visitors camping at Mosquito Point.

Such events were often taken as signs that taniwha were present.

Using this item

Whanganui Regional Museum
Reference: WR/S/17c

Permission of the Whanganui Regional Museum must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Taniwha - Sharks', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 June 2022)

Story by Basil Keane, published 24 Sep 2007