Tuna paea

Once a long time ago there were no rivers near Otiria. Further up the valley, there was only a lake and near this deep murky lake there lived a hapu.

One day the chief and his warriors decided to go eeling with their flax line in the lake. It was a hot summers day and they were catching lots of eels. The chief reclined in the waka and dangled his foot in the cool water.
Unknown to him lazying beneath the murky waters lay Tunapaea, an enormous eel, who had come from Hokianga and who was beginning to feel hungry.

Suddenly from the depths rose Tunapaea and with one almighty chomp, he bit the chief’s waewae off and he quickly returned to the bottom of the lake to finish his meal.

The chief cried out in pain and the warriors rush to tend his wounds. The warriors quickly returned the chief to their marae to get help. The entire hapu was very angry and vowed to capture this tuna.

Meanwhile Tunapaea began to worry. Would the warriors return to hunt and kill him? So that night he began to plan his escape and early the next morning he lifted his enormous body out of the lake and began forming the Orauta River. He dragged himself across the land to Maungarangi, here he rested and as he did he formed a swamp. He rose the next day and travelled towards Tuhipa. There stood Tuhipa, Tuhipa the strong, Tuhipa the proud. Tuanpaea spoke to Tuhipa.

“Move aside o tall one!”

Kahore was the reply from Tuhipa.
Move aside o proud one or we will do battle!
Kahore was the reply again from Tuhipa.

Tunapaea tried to move around Tuhipa, but he as too quick and he cut him off.
Tunapaea tried to trick Tuhipa; he dodged to the other side. But again Tunapaea was too quick, cutting him off. Tunapaea was now angry, he bit into the side of Tuhipa, Tuhipa was enraged and he started hurling huge rocks at Tunapaea. His aim was true and he bombarded Tunapaea. Tunapaea turned away in pain. But Tuhipa continued his volley of rocks and tunapaea fell off the cliff and made a lake where he landed and even today the splashes he made can be seen when the sun shines and a rainbow appears. (Known as Te Rere Aniwaniwaniwa).

Tunapaea was very weary and sore, as he continued on his journey. He got tired and he laid down to have rest (this resting place is now call Taiakiaki). Tunapaea was so sore he didn’t know what he was doing and he fell into Taikirau (this stream is near Pokapu which comes from Motatau). Tunapaea went back to Taiakiaki.

Tereawatea was formed as he struggled to get back across to the valley. He was tired and lay in the river causing the water to the bank back up and another waterfall was formed where the railway bridge is now. Tunapaea went down Waipuna (behind AFFCO) helped by the water which pushed him down. Forming the Kawakawa River as he continued down to Taumarere and out to sea.

Written by Caleb - Year 7
Illustration by Varren - Year 2 and Jerome - Year 2