Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rangitoto in legend...............

A wee preview of the Rangitoto Volcano.... 

About 600 years ago, Māori watched from nearby Motutapu Island as Rangitoto rose from the sea in a series of fiery volcanic explosions.Māori have a long association with Rangitoto, but did not live there because of the arid, rocky terrain. The island was used as a lookout over the Hauraki Gulf in times of war and as a parrot reserve/rahui-kaka. Ancient burial caves served as a resting place for bones brought from neighbouring Motutapu. Māori know the island as ‘Te Rangi i totongia a Tamatekapua’ – the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed. Tamatekapua, chief of the Arawa canoe that arrived around 1350, fought a major battle with Tainui at Islington Bay and lost.

According to Tama-te-kapua’s descendants, the Ngati Tai, Rangitoto came into being as the result of a legendary domestic dispute on the North Shore.
A giant couple lived with their slave on a mountain that stood where Lake Pupuke is today. The couple became so engrossed in a blazing row that they let their household fire go out. When they noticed, they cursed the fire goddess Mahuika, who called on Mataoho, the local god associated with volcanoes, to teach them a lesson. He obliged by destroying their home with the explosive eruption of Lake Pupuke, and imprisoning the couple and their slave in the triple peak of a new mountain out to sea – Rangitoto.


In ancient times a tribe of giants lived on the coast between the heads of Manuka (Manukau) and the Kaipara heads, in some of their ………. of boasting some said that they could do feats of strength that the others could not do, as these people by their power could obtain by cultivation and fishing and ………. and rat catching obtain enough for their daily wants and have time to spare, they amused themselves with games in one of these games of throwing stones from hill to hill, and in casting big rocks, from place to place one of them said he could carry a certain hill pointing to one that stood like a sugar loaf on the north of the Karekare creek, which hill was composed of rock and stood near to the cliffs on the coast, he was dared by his companions to do it, he at once went to the hill and taking hold of it drew it up as a farmer would pull up a turnip and carried it across the mountain range of the Titirangi and coming out above the creek at Henderson Mill he came on and across the Waitemata River at Takapuna he deposited the hill between Takapuna and the Motutapu School, which hill being put there has ever since remained as Rangi-toto. The hole out of which the hill was taken is pointed out at Karekare creek to this day and is called the "Uruhanga-o-Rangitoto". 


One night a husband and wife argued and cursed the fire deity Mahuika. She complained to Mataoho, the deity of earthquakes and eruptions, who sent an eruption to destroy the couple’s mountain home. It was swallowed up by the earth and became Lake Pupuke on Auckland’s North Shore, and Rangitoto rose out of the sea. When mist surrounds Rangitoto, it is the tears of the couple as they weep over their lost home.

stories courtesy of the archives at Wellington

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