Basic Information

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

About Kataore

Kataore lived in a cave located near Rotorua, in the Tiki-tapu district. Kataore the taniwha was something of a pet to the local chief, Tangaroa-mihi. As Kataore grew, the chief lost control of the taniwha, and Kataore became violent and began to eat travelers. The last human that he managed to devour was Tuhikarapapa, a high-born young maiden who was going to marry Reretoi. [1]

Reretoi, enraged at the loss of his wife to be, gathered people to help him slay the monster. He made certain that some of the tohunga, which are holy men with magical powers, could help him, for they had the ability to sap the dragon's power. When he had gathered enough men, Reretoi marched with them out to kill Kataore, the green-eyed dragon.

Pitaka, now on his third encounter with dangerous taniwha, came to help slay the dragon. He and some of the warriors grabbed a few fresh nooses and snuck into the dragon's cave. Since the dragon had become weak and tired from the tohunga's magic chants, they easily slipped the nooses around the dragon's neck and raced out of the cave. [1]

When the men left the cave, the others began to pull on the ropes, which were now fixed around the dragon's neck. At first, Kataore began to writhe as they pulled him out of the cave, but the ropes only became tighter, and the dragon lost his strength.

With that, the men leaped upon Kataore and slew him. They cooked his heart, and they named that ridge Te Ahi-Manawa. [1]

Physical Description

Kataore was a huge serpent-lizard with four legs, greenstone eyes, and huge spines. [1]


  1. Rotorua Legends

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