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Legend of Maui

Maui has many stories in Maori mythology. 

One of Maui's biggest exploits is to haul up the North Island from the depth of the ocean He again uses the jaw-bone as a fish-hook. Maui, using blood from his nose for bait, hauls the great fish up from the depths. Maui’s canoe was the South Island, with Banks Peninsula marking the place supporting his foot as he pulled up the extremely heavy fish. Therefore, besides Te Wai Pounamu, another Maori name for the South Island is 'Te Waka a Maui' (The canoe of Maui).

When the North Island emerges from the water, Maui goes to find a priest to perform the appropriate ceremonies and prayers, leaving his brothers in charge of the fish. They, however, do not wait for Maui to return, but begin to cut up the fish, which immediately begins to writhe in agony, causing it to break up into mountains, cliffs, and valleys. If the brothers had listened to Maui the island would have been a level plain and people would have been able to travel with ease on its surface. Thus the North Island of New Zealand is known as Te Ika-a-Maui (The Fish of Maui) (Tregear 1891:234).

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