The Story of The Gift of Tangaroa
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Long ago, a sea creature named Paua had no shell. One day, Tangaroa, god of the sea, noticed the difficulties this created for Paua and decided to create a special covering for him. Tangaroa said, "I will take from my domain the coolest blues of the ocean and ask of my brother Tane (god of the forest) his freshest greens. From the dawn you shall have a tinge of violet, from the sunset a blush of pink, and overall there will be a shimmer of mother of pearl." With this, Tangaroa fashioned for Paua a wonderful coat that sparkled and dazzled with its beauty. But, alas, it was fragile and was soon broken by sea creatures envious of Paua's new appearance. Seeing this, Tangaroa strengthened the shell with many more layers. Finally he added a camouflage coat to enable Paua to blend in with the drab grays and browns of the rocks. Then, Tangaroa charged Paua with the life-long task of adding layer upon delicate layer to his shell home, each a different hue and blend. So it was that Paua got his shell. To this day, he hugs the secret of his inner beauty to himself and only at the end of his life, when his empty shell washes ashore, is his artistry revealed.