Story: Ngāi Tūhoe

The story of Lake Waikaremoana

The story of Lake Waikaremoana

Lake Waikaremoana is often referred to by Tūhoe people in the saying ‘Ko Waikaremoana te wai kaukau a ngā tīpuna’ (Waikaremoana, the bathing waters of the ancestors).

The following story is told about the formation of the lake:

There once lived a rangatira named Māhu. He had many children. Māhu and his family lived at Waikotikoti on the shores of Lake Wairaumoana. One day Māhu told his daughter Haumapuhia (Hau) to go and fetch water from a certain spring. Hau refused. Enraged, her father drowned her and threw her body into the waters, where she was transformed into a monster, or taniwha.

After this, Māhu left the region. Haumapuhia remained in the spring at Wairaumoana, but she longed to reach the sea. She tried to go northward, but the Huiarau range prevented her; she tried to go east but failed again. Her attempts to force her way to the sea gouged out and formed Lake Waikaremoana (sea of rippling waters). Her final effort formed the outlet to the lake at Onepoto. It was here that Hau was overtaken by daylight, exhausted. She remains to this day in the form of a rock, with the waters of the lake running through her body.

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How to cite this page:

Rangi McGarvey, 'Ngāi Tūhoe - The land and environment', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 June 2024)

Story by Rangi McGarvey, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2017