thumb Ka Tapuwae
Kā tapuwae o Māui – Māui's travels

Kā tapuwae o Māui – Māui's travels

A story from Poutini ki te Toka

This book is about Māui’s further exploration of Te Waipounamu and his famous catch – Te Ika a Māui.

Two handmade model figures in a canoe with two white sails, at sea.

Māui sailed to Kā Umu o Hapopo.

Three handmade model figures with trees behind them and two seals in front.

Seals sunned themselves on huge pounamu boulders. Māui climbed above the bay and struck the earth with his toki, Tiheimauriora.

A model canoe with two white sails in front of a landscape of tall mountains, trees and birds.

Māui sailed on, marvelling at the mountains that rose from the sea.

A handmade model figure with orange and gold wings, and a mountain in the distance.

His pet bird Piopio decided to stay. So Māui changed into a bird and flew around with his friend one last time. He named this place Piopiotahi.

Six handmade model figures sitting around a fire, with two birds in front. One figure is holding a club.

Māui sailed further. He anchored Mahunui and this place became known as Te Puka o te Waka o Māui. Māui and his crew landed on a long sandy beach where they rested and gathered kai for the voyage ahead. This place they named Ōmāui.

A model canoe at sea, on a diagonal angle, with large waves and land behind.

Mahunui sailed on. Stormy weather and rough seas ripped their sail. So Māui looked for a safe place to land.

Several model figures on a canoe with two white sails.

At Pukekura Māui found a sheltered bay and stayed for a while to repair the waka.

A handmade model figure standing on a canoe at sea, holding a large fish hook on a rope.

Mahunui sailed until they reached Te Tai o Marokura. Māui smeared his fish hook with blood from his nose and cast it into the ocean.

A model figure standing on a canoe at sea, holding a rope and pulling up a huge fish.

Māui pulled and pulled and pulled. Finally an enormous fish came up from the bottom of the sea. We call this fish Te Ika a Māui.

Words to share with children


Aotea  a special blue stone from Maitahi
awa  river
Kā Umu o Hapopo  Big Bay in Poutini ki te Toka
kai  food
kekeno  seals
Mahunui  Māui’s voyaging waka
manu birds
Māui superhero of the Pacific
mauka/maunga mountain
Ōmāui  a place on the coast near Bluff
Piopiotahi  Milford Sound
pounamu  greenstone found in Poutini ki te Toka
Poutini ki te Toka South Westland
Pukekura Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula
Tai o Marokura  the sea off Kaikōura
Te Puka o te Waka o Māui  Rakiura, Stewart Island
Tiheimauriora  Māui’s magic toki (adze)
toki  adze
waka  canoe, catamaran


Kā Tapuwae o Māui – Māui's travels storyboard

A story from Poutini ki te Toka

  • Ka-Tapuwae-o-Maui-Mauis-travels-storyboard.pdf
  • 2.3 MB

Concepts and References


Hinepūnuiotoka and her daughters wind goddesses
karakia and tohunga ritual practice in all aspects of life
Rakinui sky father
Takaroa, Tangaroa god of the oceans
Tānemahuta god of the forests

Whakapapa (Ancestry)

Māori cultural origins are found in the Pacific but has evolved its own cultural identity shaped by our landscape.

Māui – the Pan-Pacific superhero credited with many deeds that benefited mankind. He is of the land but nurtured by the winds and raised by the sea.

Te Ao o te Pūrākau me te Wāhi ki ngā Atua (Magical realms)



Māui's magic toki

Maui’s fish hook

made from the jawbone of his grandfather in the ocean, Murirakawhenua
Te Ika a Māui Maui’s fish, the North Island of Aotearoa
Māui the shape-shifter Māui’s ability to transform from man to bird

Te Aotūroa (the Natural World)

  • huge mountains
  • islands, fiords, peninsulas, beaches
  • lush subtropical rainforests, southern rātā
  • wild oceans and coastline
  • mountains jutting out of the sea (Piopiotahi/Milford Sound)
  • marine life – aihe (dolphins), tohorā (whales), kekeno (seals), ika (fish)
  • birds – toroa (albatross), kororā (little blue penguin), karoro (seagull), piopio (extinct) native thrush), weka, kiwi

Wāhi (place)

Ōmāui  coast near Bluff
Pukekura  headland of Otago Peninsula

Tai o Marokura 

sea off the coast of Kaikōura
Piopiotahi  Milford Sound
Kā Umu o Hapopo  Big Bay in South Westland
Poutini ki te Toka South Westland

Te Ika a Māui  

North Island


Rauemi tūhono