Taniwha, a legendary monster that stalks unsuspecting prey along waterways or a guardian that watches over those under its protection?
Whatever image a person thinks of when they hear ‘taniwha’ the essence of the many facetted concept has been with Maori since the beginning of time. Today people are more likely to think of a huge ferocious lizard yet in Maori history taniwha came in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes taniwha were helpful spirits without a physical body or even the means by which curious children were warned away from danger. A treacherous bend on a river that was the lair of a taniwha, other peoples might say the home of a troll or bogeyman, kept all but the most mischief children far away. .
In the Wairarapa we have our own taniwha and supernatural beings. This collection provides the stories of a selection of them. Most of the taniwha are found in the Wairarapa although a few live a bit further away but still have a close association with the people of the region.
A majority of the stories have been written by the author although there are a couple of exceptions with the source provided.
Please feel free to use the material although an acknowledgement would be appreciated.