Legend of Whakapunake

Mrs Jean Loomis painted Mt Whakapunake from the Paparatu side - Tiniroto and the school are down to the right of the peak.

This is the Legend of how Aotearoa came to be and the significance of Whakapunake!

Long, long ago lived a very special person called Maui. He was so good at everything that he did, that his brothers got very jealous of him.

Maui really loved going fishing and he was very good at it but his brothers never wanted to take him. Finally he tricked them into taking him but they still wouldn’t let him fish. Eventually, after he took them to his special spot and they had caught lots of fish, they said he could have a go - but they wouldn’t give him a hook or any bait!

So Maui got his special hook made from his Grandmother's jawbone and he said “Tahi, rua, toru…”, he punched his face and blood came running down. He wiped his face with his arm, then he wiped the blood on the hook and he threw the hook in the sea. He waited and waited until the boat wobbled.Tthe sea went left and right and then finally Maui pulled the string line in.

“It’s a big one!” Maui said as he pulled and pulled. Suddenly the big fish came up and it was so big that they couldn’t even see the sea any more. It was just a humongous big fish. It was the biggest fish that any of them had ever seen before.

It was so hard to pull in that Maui decided he had to go back and get some more help. He begged his brothers not to touch it while he was gone but they couldn’t help themselves and they started hacking away at the sides of the fish. They carved deep gullies into its flesh. When Maui got back he was very angry with his brothers and he said a karakia but it was too late.

The fish is what we know today as ‘Te Ika-a-Māui’ or the North Island of Aotearoa. It is said that Whakapunake is where his special hook got stuck in the fish and some say Whakapunake was where he ‘foul hooked’ it.

Retold by Crevice and Hamish