Basic Information

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

About Mangamuka

Mangamuka was one of the eleven taniwha sons of Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) of Hokianga Harbour. [3] His brothers, set by their mother, all took it upon themselves to see who could burrow the furthest to see the country in which they lived. [1]

Following the path of the Orira, the brother before him, Mangamuka headed towards the hills of Umawera. However, hearing the roars from the giant, he decided to turn north, where he burrowed through solid rock, making a gorge in his wake. [2] Unfortunately, Mangamuka encountered a rock, which was actually a tupua, a spirit with the ability to transform into any object. The tupua had been sleeping but decided to move upon the taniwha's approach. [4] As Mangamuka came too near, the tupua spouted water out of a hole in its back straight into his eyes, causing instant blindness. [2]

Angered by his blindness, Mangamuka turned back to go home. In time, he died in a bay near Kohukohu, Motitui Island. [2] Both the tupua (with the hole in its back) and Mangamuka can still be viewed today as the monuments their remains became. [2]

Related Articles


  1. Orbell 13
  2. Gregory - The Hokianga Harbour. Link defunct: <>
  3. White 2 [Online Text]
  4. White 3 [Online Text]

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