Pacific Accounts

Many stories tell about the beginning of places and people. Like the archaeological account, many stories talk about flooding or lost lands… or islands being fished up from the sea. Others talk about canoe voyages from faraway places. Still others tell about people using spiritual powers to create new lands.

In Aotearoa GLOSSARY Aotearoa - New Zealand (New Zealand) alone, a range of stories is told. As in many Polynesian islands, there is the story of the boy Maui. From his canoe (Te Waka a Maui, the South Island), Maui fished up the North Island (Te Ika a Maui). There is the story of the navigator Kupe, who landed on the northwest shores. There are the stories of the canoes that navigated here from the island homeland of Hawaiki. And there’s the story of Paikea, who arrived on the east coast of the North Island on the back of a whale.

Click on the stories to find out more...

How Lata found his tree

How Lata found his tree

“According to our old Story, Lata was the first person to build and sail a voyaging canoe. Lata lost his parents. So to build his Te Puke he needed help. Luckily, he came upon a forest bird named Te Ube. Te Ube bird was trapped with her leg entangled in a vine. Some people passed by, and Te Ube bird asked them to free her. But each one said “Oh no! Ask the next person”

Finally, when Lata passed by, Te Ube called to him “Please remove the vine that traps my leg” And Lata said “Did you ask those others to help you?” And the bird said, “I asked, but they all refused.” So Lata removed the vines that trapped te Ube’s leg.

Te Ube was so thankful to Lata. Te Ube said, “Follow me! I will fly and you will walk behind me.” Te Ube said “When you see me on a tree branch flapping my wings and calling, then you will know this tree will be your vaka…”

“From The Vaka Taumako Project.”