“Te tuara ko Ruahine, nga kanohi ko Whanganui a Tara, tetahi kanohi ko Wairarapa, te kauae runga ke Te Kawakawa, tetahi kauae ko Turakirae”.
“The back is the Ruahine ranges, with regard to the eyes, the salt water one is Wellington Harbour the other eye – the fresh water one – is Lake Wairarapa, the upper jaw is Cape Palliser and the lower jaw is Turakirae Head”
(Source: Riley 1990: 78-4)
Maui Tiki a Taranga, Maui the coiled hair of Taranga (Taranga being his mother) the mischievous demi-god, caught Te Ika a Maui, the fish of Maui which is now known as the North Island of New Zealand. The fish was the shape of a giant stingray whose tail is in Muriwhenua (North Cape) with the wings extending to the eastern and western extremities of the island. In the Wairarapa the places associated with Te Ika A Maui are:
- Wairarapa Moana – Lake Wairarapa – This is known as ‘Te Whatu o Te Ika a Maui’ or ‘the eye of the fish of Maui’. This is the freshwater eye, the other eye is Wellington Harbour or Te Whanganui a Tara which is the saltwater eye.
- Kawakawa – Palliser Bay is known as ‘Te Waha o Te Ika a Maui’ or ‘the mouth of the fish of Maui’.
- Turakirae Head and Matakitaki a Kupe (Cape Palliser) are known as ‘the jaws of the fish’
- The combined Rimutaka, Tararua and Ruahine ranges that pass up the middle of the North Island are referred to as ‘the spine of the fish’
- The Tararua Mountain Range lake called Hapuakorari is known as ‘the pulse of the fish’.