Several mountains once stood, likenoble gods, high above the land inthe centre of the North Island.Tongariro, the greatest of them all,lived beside Ngauruhoe, Ruapehuand Taranaki.
Nearby these huge mountainsstood the lovely maiden Pihanga,with her cloak of deep green bushfolded closely around hershoulders.
Pihanga was an object ofgreat beauty. All the mountaingods loved her, but the oneshe chose was the venerablewhite-haired Tongariro.
What had been a long,peaceful existence for themountain gods was disturbedwhen Taranaki could nolonger keep his feelings incheck, and dared to makeadvances to Pihanga.
A mighty conflict between Tongariro and Taranakiensued, which shocked the very foundations of theearth. The mountains belched forth their anger anddarkness clouded the sky.
When peace finally came to the landTongariro, considerably lowered inheight, stood close by Pihangas side.
Taranaki, wild with grief and anger, tore himself fromhis roots with a mighty wrench and left his homeland.He plundered recklessly towards the setting sun. Greatwas his path of sorrow, for as he fled, Taranaki had torna long, deep wound through the earth.
Upon reaching the ocean turned north,finally coming to rest in grand isolation,a mountain in his own domain.
Soon from the side of Tongariro theresprang forth a stream of clear waterwhich filled and healed the wound thatTaranaki had made in the earth
Green forests, filled with the song birds,grew on the banks of this newly formedriver, which we know today as theWhanganui.