The legend of our rivers

Long, long ago way up in caves in the Huiarau Ranges lived two taniwha.

A boy called Ruamano and a girl called Hinekorako.

One day they were talking and Ruamano said,

“Hinekorako, can you hear that?”

“No” she said.

“Now can you hear it?” he asked again.

“Hey, I can hear the waves crashing” she replied. “Wow we’ve never been to the sea. I’d love to go and have a look at the sea”.

“That sounds like a good idea, let’s make a plan and go to the sea” said Ruamano.

Both taniwha stood in front of their caves and looked out towards the sea. They tried really hard and they still couldn’t see the sea – but they could hear it.

Hinekorako said “I think we should go this way”.

“No” said Ruamano, “I think this is the best way to go!”

Hinekorako didn’t agree. “I think this way is easier!”

And so they argued. The two taniwha just couldn’t decide which was the best way to the moana and finally they agreed to go their separate ways.

Ruamano went all over the place, swimming wildly, winding around, up and down thrashing out the land and carving the Ruakituri River with his tail as he went.

Hinekorako went very slowly down the land, winding and curving her way carefully heading towards the moana. Her tail carved out the Hangaroa River. On the way she got very tired and decided to stop for a rest in a special cave under the Te Reinga waterfall and some say she is still there today…

Ruamano made it all the way to the sea and had a great time splashing around!

The Ruakituri and Hangaroa Rivers meet just before the Te Reinga Waterfall and join to flow out in the Wairoa River to the sea at Wairoa.


Retold by Pace, Erueti, Ellie and Haeora


Ellie and Erueti act out this local legend

Haeora and Pace act out this local legend