Legend of Tamaki Makau Rau (Auckland, New Zealand) 12 Jan 2012
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Legend has it that long ago, the land that lay between the Hunua and Waitakere Ranges was flat.
Tamaki Makau Rau is the Maori word for Auckland. The people living in this land were the Patupaiarehe, a fairy people. The Patupaiarehe didn't get along well, so to avoid trouble, groups of them lived apart. One iwi (tribe) lived in the Waitakere forest on Auckland's west coast, and another in the Hunua forest in the south. This meant they kept out of each other's way. Most of the time.
On moonless nights the younger members of the two iwi would often play a game. Under cover of the darkest sky they would sneak out of their houses and race silently over to the other iwi area. To prove they been there, they would take a token and show it to the others when they arrived home.
One night Hui, the son of Waitakere, returned from a jaunt empty handed. The other youngsters made fun of him and teased him for not returning with anything. The next night, the run was done again, but Hui did not return with the others. His friends were worried and blamed each other for not taking better care of Hui.
When the great rangatira (chief), Waitakere, found his son to be missing, he was angry and summoned a great war party. Just as they were about to start their war chant, they saw two figures running toward them. It was Hui, holding the hand of a beautiful young woman. "This is my love," he said, "my token". Waitakere was delighted at the return of his son, and delighted by the beautiful maiden he had bought back. She was welcomed into the tribe. "Who are you?" they asked. "I am Wairere, the daughter of Hunua," she replied.
The Hunua Patupaiarehe were enraged when they found their princess missing. Their fury escalated when they discovered that she was with the Patupaiarehe of Waitakere. A war party was gathered and set off across the plain to deal with the Waitakere Patupaiarehe and reclaim Wairere.
But Waitakere saw them coming. As they approached, the tohunga, or high priest, of Waitakere reached down into the earth and took some of the magic hidden there. He mixed it into the deadliest of spells and cast it at the Hunua Patupaiarehe. Some fell, but those who didn’t continued to march toward the Waitakere Patupaiarehe. Once again, the tohunga reached into the earth and hurled spells at the advancing party. This time, the spells worked and one by one the Hunua Patupaiarehe fell to the ground dead.
There was silence. Then, suddenly, the ground heaved. A chasm opened up and huge rocks were flung into the air as the wrath of Mataaho, the guardian of the Earth's secrets, was visited on the Waitakere Patupaiarehe.
Mataaho was furious with the tohunga for taking the magic and using it without permission. He woke his brother; Ruaumoko, atua (god) of earthquakes and volcanoes, and their combined anger opened a hole in the Earth. The tohunga tumbled into the hole and Mataaho melted him into the earth, the tohunga becoming part of the magic that he had previously summoned.
The rest of the Waitakere Patupaiarehe fled for their lives. However they could not compete with the combined rage of Mataaho and Ruaumoko as they hid the sun with thick clouds of smoke and threw rocks into the air, melting them before they touched the ground.
Many years later, two Patupaiarehe sat on a hill overlooking the Tamaki volcanic field. In sad disbelief, Wairere said, "It was not a dream". "No," answered Hui, "and there is nobody left but us."
Wairere and Hui have long sinced passed into the underworld, but the remains of their folly can still be seen in the volcanoes of Tamaki.
Source: Auckland Tourism
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