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The Autobiography of a Maori

Pawa and Rongokako

Pawa and Rongokako

The two elders and I planned another fishing expedition, and this time we went farther afield. When we rounded the Matakaoa Point, which the Maoris call Te Whai-a-Pawa or Pawa's Stingaree, I was shown the gray stingaree which could be seen at the bottom of the sea. It is a gray rock.

Pawa was the navigator of the canoe Horouta which the Ngati-Porou tribe claims to be their tribal canoe. He was also the man who was involved in a Herculean struggle with the long-legged giant, Rongokako, and who, to catch the foe, planted a trap on Tawhiti hill which today bears its name, and the other end of the bow he fastened to Puketiti, the sugar-loaf near Mr. A. B. Williams's home. Rongokako was too wary and with his mighty strides evaded Pawa's machinations. page 34He took one stride from Tapuwae (footprint), near Whangara, to Tapuwae, near Orutua. I was often shown Rongokako's footprint, which certainly was large and which has now, unfortunately disappeared. We are told in the Bible that "there were giants on the earth in those days," so Rongokako was not altogether a myth.