Mt. Taranaki

Linda Stewart

Mt Taranaki, west coast, New Zealand

According to Māori mythology, Taranaki once resided in the middle of the North Island, with all the other New Zealand volcanoes. The beautiful Pihanga was coveted by all the mountains, and a great battle broke out between them. Tongariro eventually won the day, inflicted great wounds on the side of Taranaki, and causing him to flee. Taranaki headed westwards, following Te Toka a Rahotu (the Rock of Rahotu) and forming the deep gorges of the Whanganui River, paused for a while, creating the depression that formed the Te Ngaere swamp, then heading north. Further progress was blocked by the Pouakai ranges, and as the sun came up Taranaki became petrified in his current location. When Taranaki conceals himself with rainclouds, he is said to be crying for his lost love, and during spectacular sunsets, he is said to be displaying himself to her. In turn, Tongariro’s eruptions are said to be a warning to Taranaki not to return [thanx Wiki, sometimes you say it best of all].


2 thoughts on “Mt. Taranaki

  1. There are those who believe that the world is slowly becoming demythologised. Personally, I hope not. There’s something sad about a world without myth. Enjoyed your post Linda.


    • I agree Don. Black and white, logic and scientifically-proven do take the magic out of elements of our lives. I think we are richer for our Indigenous peoples’ mythology. In Australia the Indigenous Aboriginals have dreamtime which I would love to learn about more.


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