Rakairuru was a large totara log that could be seen drifting silently on the surface of Lake Wairarapa. He was the guardian of Wairarapa Moana who also caused Lake Onoke to close. Just before the great eel migration was about to occur each autumn, Rakairuru would journey out to sea with the mouth of the lake closing behind him.
Rakau such as Rakairuru were found all around the country and were called tipua. Tipua were possessed of a spirit that gave them mysterious powers.
Rakairuru was seen by people in the water or occasionally lying on the banks of the lake. If anyone tried to touch it, it would disappear on the following day.
Rakairuru was sometimes seen floating along the Ruamahanga River or was even known to visit Lake Ellismere in the South Island.