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Legends of the Maori

The Voyage of Taruia to Mangarongaro (Penrhyn Island)

The Voyage of Taruia to Mangarongaro (Penrhyn Island)

Taruia had not proceeded very far on his voyage when he was overtaken by heavy gales from the south, and his canoe was driven to Puka-tea, otherwise called Mangarongaro (now Penrhyn Island). Here he was made a chief. He landed through a passage which he named Taruia, after himself. The passage retains this name to the present day. He became sole ruler of this island, and took to wife Ruaatu, to whom was born Toaua, who took to wife Te-ara-kena, to whom was born Maui, who begat Taruia and Maru-o-te-ra. Taruia had a son named Urirau, and Maru-o-te-ra had a son named Roina.

These were the last words of the fathers to their sons Urirau and Roina: “When you have grown enough, go in search of Aitutaki, that is our true land. We do not belong here. The name of our piece of land (kainga) is Te-Poatu-papaia-a-te-tupuna, at Aitutaki. You are ariki, there, from your forefathers; the land is now being occupied by others.”

It appears that about this time something went wrong in the offerings at the marae of the god Rongo, in Aitutaki. The living sacrifices did not fall dead when the incantation was recited. So the people said: “The real ariki is not here; let us search for him.” Ultimately they discovered the real ariki at Mangarongaro Island.