The Story Of Ruatepupuke
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Learning Intention:

To share the life story of Ruatepupike and his
son Manuhauturiki.

Success Criteria:
I will be able to retell the story of Ruatepupuke
in my own words and be able to tell you about his

Tuakana Blog.
Check out our classroom blog about Pakiwaitara. Click on the link below to read our stories

Link to Blog


This is the story of Ruatepupuke, who first made wood-carving known. The cause of his discovery was the going of his child, Te Manuhauturuki, to sail a boat. The child was captured by Tangaroa, taken to his home, and set up on the gable of his house as an image. When the child was missed, his father set forth to look for him … he went there, and so found the body of his child set up on the roof-gable of the house.

When Rua entered the house the carved posts were talking amongst themselves; he heard the posts talking, but those outside remained silent. He closed up all the interstices of the house … and when the sun had set, Tangaroa and his family arrived and sought repose within their house. There they amused themselves with posture-dancing, hand-clapping contests, cats’ cradle and other games, as is usual when many folk meet together … When day came the interior of the house was still in darkness …

By this time Ruatepupuke had come and taken a position in the porch of the house with his weapon at the ready … He set the house on fire, and the folk inside ran out; the first was Kanae (mullet) … then came Maroro (flying fish) … then came Kōkiri (trigger fish) … But most of Tangaroa’s children were destroyed … The carved posts of the outside of the house were taken away; some of those did not talk, and so it is that carved images of the present time do not have the power of speech.

The Ruatepupuke meeting house at Chicago's Field Museum.
The Ruatepupuke meeting house at Chicago's Field Museum.
Tekoteko inside Ruatepupuke marae
Tekoteko inside Ruatepupuke marae