Te Ahi Tāmou / The Volcanic Fire

Te Ahi Tāmou - A Ngāti Tūwharetoa story

Te Ahi Tāmou - Volcanic Fire

Ngāti Tuwharetoa sources ascribe the origin of geothermal activity to Ngātoroirangi, high priest and navigator of Te Arawa canoe, his sisters Kuiwai and Haungaroa, and the atua (deity) Te Pupu and Te Hoata.

While on Mount Tauhara Ngātoroirangi saw the magnificent Mount Tongariro and decided to climb its summit and claim the surrounding lands for his descendents.

The journey was a disaster. Overcome by fierce cold winds and freezing temperatures, Ngātoroirangi called to his sisters, Kuiwai and Haungaroa in Hawaiki for help, "Send fire to warm me for I will surely die. Oh Kuiwai, Oh Haungaroa, I've been seized by the cold south wind".

His sisters heard his prayers and sent the fire deities, Te Hoata and Te Pupu to assist. The travelled swiftly underground from Hawaiki finally surfacing at Whakaari (White Island). Realising the distance they had to go, Te Hoata and Te Pupu plunged back into the sea and sped inland towards Mount Tongariro. At each place, as they surfaced, they left a trail of geothermal activity across the region.

Suddenly Te Hoata and Te Pupu burst the top of the mighty Tongariro and Ngātoroirangi was saved.

Ngātoroirangi did not remain long on the volcanic plateau and eventually left the central plateau and spent his final days on Mōtiti Island.

Geothermal areas associated with Te Hoata & Te Pupu

When Te Hoata and Te Pupu travelled from Hawaiki in the form of fire to relieve their brother’s chills, they created New Zealand’s volcanoes, mud pools, geysers and hot springs.

Whakaari (White Island) - Awakeri - Mount Putauaki - Tarawera - Rotomā - Waimangu - Waiotapu - Rotorua - Horohoro - Reporoa - Te Kopia - Ngatamariki - Atiamuri - Orākei Kōrako - Ohaaki - Rotokawa

Mōkai - Wairākei - Taharepa - Onekeneke - Waihi - Tokaanu - Ketetahi - Tongariro

Taupo Volcanic Zone

  • <p>Stokes, E (2000). 'The Legacy of Ngatoroirangi Maori Customary Use of Geothermal Resources. </p>

Other Useful Videos

  • Maori Legend Animation 2006

  • Stories of New Zealand's Extraordinary Landscape - Tongoriro

  • Volcano traditions - Roadside Stories

  • Volcanic Lake Taupō - Roadside Stories

Virtual New Zealand Stamps: 2000

  • <p>Te Hoata and Te Pupu - The Volcanic Taniwha Sisters (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Champagne Pool - Waiotapu Thermal Reserve (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Pōhutu Geyyser - Whakarewarewa Thermal Area (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Whakaari (White Island) (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Boiling Mud, Rotorua - Whakarewarewa Thermal Area (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Tongariro National Park (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Pōhutu Geyser - Whakarewarewa Thermal Area (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Emerald Pool - Waimangu Thermal Valley (Tarawera) (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Warbrick Terrace - Waimangu Thermal Valley (July, 2013)</p>
  • <p>Champagne Pool - Waiotapu Thermal Reserve (July, 2013)</p>