Story: Te whānau puha – whales



This carving is of Taraia, the great-grandson of Kahungunu. He was responsible for establishing the Ngāti Kahungunu tribe in Hawke’s Bay. Taraia came up with a strategy to attack Heipipi, an impregnable near Bay View, Napier. He ordered his warriors to cover themselves with black cloaks on the beach, to resemble beached whales. In the dawn light, the sentry was fooled and called out, ‘Ūpokohue, ūpokohue!’ (‘Pilot whales!’). Unaware of Taraia and his party, the people rushed down to the beach, and Taraia took the pā.

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Photograph by Shirley Williams

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How to cite this page:

Bradford Haami, 'Te whānau puha – whales - Whales and Māori society', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 April 2024)

Story by Bradford Haami, published 12 Jun 2006