Ngake and Whataitai

The Legend of Wellington Harbour

One day there were two legendary taniwhas named Ngake and Whataitai. They were restless. They had been stuck in Te Whanganui a tara in Motu karirangi (Wellington harbour) forever. Ngake was adventuress and determined, while Whataitai was open hearted and calm.

The day came, when Ngake had lost his patience from being stranded in a land locked place. He twisted his tail with fury, sprang towards Raukawa Moana (Cook Strait) then broke free, covered in wounds and blood he continued on his journey into the moana.

Whatataitai was stuck stranded in the middle of the sand. A huge earthquake had then occurred. The land then rose with Whataiatia on top of the land, and died a disgraceful death.

Whataitai’s wairua (spirit) rose from his body and changed into Te keo (a bird). He flew with horror and disbelief to Matairangi (Mt Victoria) crying for Whataitai. When you visit Mt Victoria, listen and you might hear his cries.

Retold by Maria, Year 6