Several mountains oncestood, like noble gods,high above the land inthe centre of the NorthIsland. Tongariro, thegreatest of them all,lived beside Ngauruhoe,Ruapehu and Taranaki.
Nearby these hugemountains stood thelovely maiden Pihanga,with her cloak of deepgreen bush folded closelyaround her shoulders.
Pihanga was an object of great beauty. Allthe mountain gods loved her, but the oneshe chose was the venerable white-hairedTongariro.
What had been a long, peaceful existencefor the mountain gods was disturbedwhen Taranaki could no longer keep hisfeelings in check, and dared to makeadvances to Pihanga.
A mighty conflict betweenTongariro and Taranakiensued, which shocked thevery foundations of theearth. The mountainsbelched forth their angerand darkness clouded thesky.
When peace finally came to the landTongariro, considerably lowered inheight, stood close by Pihangas side.
Taranaki, wild with grief andanger, tore himself from hisroots with a mighty wrenchand left his homeland. Heplundered recklessly towardsthe setting sun. Great washis path of sorrow, for as hefled, Taranaki had torn along, deep wound throughthe earth.
Upon reaching the oceanturned north, finallycoming to rest in grandisolation, a mountain inhis own domain.
Soon from theside ofTongariro theresprang forth astream of clearwater whichfilled andhealed thewound thatTaranaki hadmade in theearth
Green forests, filledwith the song birds,grew on the banks ofthis newly formedriver, which we knowtoday as theWhanganui.