Basic Information

Type/Species: Taniwha
Origin: Maori (Māori) Mythology, New Zealand

About Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) / Arai-te-uru

Te Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) traveled from Hawaiki, the mystical homeland of many Maori (Māori) groups. Some accounts have Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) traveling before the waka (ship) Mamari, and other accounts say that she escorted the Mamari on its voyage to its new home. [1] Another source claims that Kupe, a famous traveler, left Araiteuru (Āraiteuru), who was one of his pets, to guard the harbor as the south head.

In whichever manner Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) arrived at the new island, she made her home in the area which is known today as the Hokianga Harbour. She arrived to her new home pregnant, and she gave birth very shortly after her voyage. She had eleven taniwha sons, all of whom turned out to be rather competitive in nature. [1] Her eldest, Waihou, boasted that he could burrow farther than any of the others. [2] Upon hearing his claim, she asked all of her children to go and see the country in which they lived, burrowing as far as they could. Then, they were to report what they had seen. [2] Each of her sons made a journey, but not all of them returned to tell the tale. However, they each left behind essential aspects of the Hokianga Harbour and surrounding geography as part of their borrowing quests. [2]

Today, Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) lives in a cave to the south of Hokianga Harbour, where any passerby can see the heavy surf breaking across the bar. She is the guardian taniwha of the region, companioned with another taniwha named Niua / Niwa / Hiwa, who lives to the north of the harbor. [1] Locals make sure not to bother or anger Araiteuru (Āraiteuru), for she has been known to raise storms or even wreck traveling water vessels on the bar over her cavern in response to provocation. [1]

Related Articles

The sons of Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) featured in the Dragons of Fame section include the following:


  1. Orbell 13
  2. White 1

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.