‘If there is mist on Turakirae, people die’
Turakirae is the western headland of Palliser Bay, just east of Wellington Harbour. The saying arose from the legend of a beautiful daughter of a local chief, Miriana. She was courted and wooed in vain by many young chiefs from far and wide.
Meanwhile a slave who had been captured in battle was assigned to serve her, He frequently
followed on her errands into the forest and to the beach. As time passed she grew increasingly
attached to him. This relationship remained in secret for some time but eventually was discovered
by old women of the tribe.
When her father heard about it he was furious and ordered the slave killed in front of her.
The slave, unwilling to submit himself to such an end threw himself off Turakirae. In time
Miriana gave birth to twin sons. While her standing was not to be changed, the boys were to be
accorded the same sttus as their father. At last overburdened by the sorrow of her lovers death
and the daily spectacle of her mistreated sons, she gathered them up and followed their
fathers route over the same cliff.
Nowadays when the cliff is clear it is taken as a sign that Miriana is happy with her sons
in the spirit world. When it is misted over, however, it is taken as a warning that she is
angry and people will die.