Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

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Te Wheke a Muturangi

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Many years ago Kupe lived in Hawaiki. His men went out fishing everyday, but always the bait on their lines was taken by many small fish called octopus. The chief culprit was a huge octopus - the pet of a man named Muturangi.

Muturangi would not listen to Kupe's request that he deal to his pet which was enticing the small octopi to the fishing grounds.

The tohunga however told Kupe that he should kill Te Wheke or his men would never have any success with their fishing.

Kupe and his family, in one waka named Matahorua, and Ngake (Kupe's brother-a-law) and others in a second waka named Tawhirikura set out to chase Te Wheke. Te Wheke led them a merry dance all the way to a strange new land - New Zealand.

They finally met up with Te Wheke in Cook Strait. Te Wheke swam up between the two waka, and Kupe struck at his tentacles with his axe, Rakatuwhenua. He and his men threw water bottles at Te Wheke. Te Wheke grasped the
water bottles with his tentacles. Kupe dealt him a huge blow to the head and eyes, and killed him at last. A karakia was chanted to hide Te Wheke from Muturangi, and Nga Whatu (Brothers Rocks) became tapu to all.

Since that time voyagers in Cook Strait have been urged to turn their eyes away from Nga Whatu (Brothers Rocks) lest a gale spring up and capsize their waka.

Korero o te Wa I Raraunga I Rauemi I Te Whanganui a Tara I Whakapapa