Te Tokaroa

Many moons ago patupaiarehe lived in the dark, secluded forests of Tāmaki Makaurau. They looked human but were tapu beings who feared the fierce sun. Under cover of mist, they sometimes emerged from their forest homes to dance and sing in the valleys below.

Our story begins when two hapū of patupaiarehe living in Te Wao Nui A Tiriwa had an argument which grew into a big fight. One hapū feared for their lives, so they decided to escape from their enemies and settle on the northern shores of the Waitematā Harbour.

When night fell they crept down from the Waitakere Ranges to the springs of Waiorea and along the banks of Waiateao to the mangrove harbour estuary.

The tide was low and they set to work gathering volcanic rocks to build a pathway across the waters to the other side.

They toiled through the night constructing their rocky escape route. Little did they know, their enemies had followed and cast a spell upon them as they worked so they would not notice the approaching dawn.

When Tama Nui Te Rā suddenly rose above the horizon, the patupaiarehe were taken by surprise on their nearly completed pathway and their bodies dried up in the heat.

If you walk along Te Tokaroa at low tide you may still see their shrivelled bones. They resemble the twisted limbs of the ancient trees of Te Wao Nui A Tiriwa where the fairy folk once roamed.