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Māui – from ancient times

Māui – from ancient times

A story from Poutini ki te Toka

This is an ancient story about the flying waka, Tūwhakarara, and its voyage of discovery from Hawaiki to Aotearoa.

A handmade model figure standing in a canoe in the sea, holding a fish, with other figures behind him.

Māui and his brothers were fishing in Hawaiki. Māui looked up and saw the magical waka, Tūwhakarara, and its crew flying south.

A handmade model canoe surrounded by sea, with two sharks in front, and white and blue birds flying over.

Two giant sharks called Mako-horopekapeka and Mako-tipua were tethered to the waka. No one dared to follow them!

A model canoe on a beach, with three figures sitting on the beach, in front of snowy mountains and forests.

They flew on the wind and followed the stars until they reached a new and fantastical land, Poutini ki te Toka.

Models of brown grimacing creatures coming out of the forest, with pink and blue sharks in the sea in front.

Strange creatures called māeroero and patupaiarehe greeted the crew of Tūwhakarara. They untied Mako-tipua and Mako-horopekapeka so they could guard the bay.

Three model figures in a canoe with birds including moa, kiwi and a duck.

They loaded Tūwhakarara with new found treasures and returned to Hawaiki.

Three handmade model figures, with the figure on the right holding a bird.

Māui met them on the beach. The little bird, Piopio, was Māui’s special gift.

A handmade model figure lying down with his eyes closed, with birds sitting on his bed, and a pink background with a moon and stars.

Māui went to bed each night and dreamed of a new land across the ocean.

A model figure standing up with a bird on his shoulder and the sails of a canoe behind him. To the right are several other figures.

Te Hehe gave Māui a magnificent waka called Mahunui for sailing the vast ocean.

A model figure standing up in a canoe at sea, with a bird on his shoulder and several figures behind him.

Māui and his crew left Hawaiki in search of Poutini ki te Toka.

Words to share with children

Hawaiki ancient homeland of Māori
Mahunui Māui’s voyaging waka
Mako-horopekapeka  supernatural shark
Mako-tipua supernatural shark
marakai/marangai  storm
Māui superhero of the Pacific
moana sea, ocean
piopio  NZ native thrush (extinct)
Poutini ki te Toka South Westland
Tūwhakarara magical flying waka
tuākana older brothers (of a male)


Māui – from ancient times storyboard

A story from Poutini ki te Toka

  • Maui-from-ancient-times-storyboard.pdf
  • 2.4 MB

Concepts and References


karakia and tohunga ritual practice in all aspects of life
Rakinui sky father
Takaroa, Tangaroa god of the oceans
Tānemahuta god of the forests
Tūmatauenga god of war

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 Aotūroa (the Natural World)

Hawaiki and the Pacific Islands
  • island landscapes – volcanic islands, coral reefs
  • tropical vegetation – flowers, plants, trees
  • climate – warm weather
Te Moananui a Kiwa
  • Currents, waves, winds, clouds
  • Navigational stars
  • Sealife – whales, sharks, fish
  • Seabirds – tāiko, toroa

Poutini ki te Toka

  • South Island giant moa
  • Piopio
  • pouākai (Haast Eagle)
  • kākāpō
  • kiwi
  • huge mountains
  • lush subtropical rainforests, southern rātā
  • wild oceans and coastline

Wāhi (Place)

Hawaiki ancestral home of Māori in the Pacific
Te Moananui a Kiwa  Pacific Ocean
Poutini ki te Toka South Westland


Rauemi tūhono