Story: Te Arawa

Tūtānekai

Tūtānekai

This carving of Tūtānekai playing a flute stands in Rotorua’s city centre. Tūtānekai lived on Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua. Although of high rank, he was an illegitimate child. He was conceived when Tūwharetoa, a chief from Kawerau, visited the island. His mother Rangiuru was forgiven by her husband, Whakaue, who reared the boy as his own. Tūtānekai grew into a handsome young man, a fine dancer and athlete, which aroused the jealousies of his three elder half-brothers. All four had fallen in love with the beautiful Hinemoa of Ōwhata, on the lake’s eastern shore. However, it was Tūtānekai’s seductive flute-playing that won Hinemoa’s heart.

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Photograph by Shirley Williams

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How to cite this page:

Paul Tapsell, 'Te Arawa - Warfare and marriages', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/1526/tutanekai (accessed 27 September 2020)

Story by Paul Tapsell, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 22 Mar 2017