Basic Information

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

About Waihou

Waihou was the oldest of the eleven taniwha sons of Araiteuru (Āraiteuru) of Hokianga Harbour. [1] 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] It was Waihou's boasting that led to the competition. [3]

Waihou, being the instigator, became the first to leave the cave. [4] The cave faced the setting sun, the west, so he set out in that direction. [4] Being the first taniwha to burrow, he left a considerable amount of change to the geography. First, he burrowed through the Narrows into a wide valley, which opened a pathway for the ocean to fill the land, creating the Kohukohu Horeke expanse. [2]

After the trial of the Narrows, Waihou found himself at the edge of the Puketi mountains, which forced him to move around the rocky exteriors. Needing rest, he waddled up a slope until he came to a high plateau, where he rested. [2] Waihou dug a circular hole with his tail on the flattest part of the plateau for a bed. [4]

Round and round, Waihou curled up in the middle of his bed, making himself comfortable. As he slept, his tail filled up with rainwater, and he drowned there. [2] This is how Lake Omapere came to be. [4]

Related Articles


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

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