Story: Te whānau puha – whales

Paikea, Waipapa marae, University of Auckland (1st of 3)

Paikea, Waipapa marae, University of Auckland

In Māori tradition, Paikea was known as Kahutiaterangi and was the son of Uenuku. As depicted in this carving, Uenuku placed a comb in Kahutiaterangi’s hair to indicate he was of high birth. However, when another son, Ruatapu, asked why he had not also received a comb, he was told it was because he was illegitimate. In revenge, Ruatapu tried to drown Kahutiaterangi and others at sea by sinking their canoe. Kahutiaterangi survived by calling on a sea god, who sent a whale to carry him to shore. On reaching land he changed his name to Paikea.

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Waipapa Marae, University of Auckland
Photograph by Melanie Lovell-Smith

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How to cite this page:

Bradford Haami, 'Te whānau puha – whales - Whales and Māori voyaging', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 October 2023)

Story by Bradford Haami, published 12 Jun 2006