Several mountains once stood, likenoble gods, high above the land in thecentre of the North Island. Tongariro,the greatest of them all, lived besideNgauruhoe, Ruapehu and Taranaki.
Nearby these huge mountains stood thelovely maiden Pihanga, with her cloakof deep green bush folded closelyaround her shoulders.
Pihanga was an object of great beauty.All the mountain gods loved her, but theone she chose was the venerablewhite-haired Tongariro.
What had been a long, peacefulexistence for the mountaingods was disturbed whenTaranaki could no longer keephis feelings in check, anddared to make advances toPihanga.
A mighty conflict between Tongariroand Taranaki ensued, which shockedthe very foundations of the earth. Themountains belched forth their anger anddarkness clouded the sky.
When peace finally came tothe land Tongariro,considerably lowered inheight, stood close byPihangas side.
Taranaki, wild with grief and anger, tore himself from his roots with a mightywrench and left his homeland. He plundered recklessly towards the settingsun. Great was his path of sorrow, for as he fled, Taranaki had torn along, 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 thisnewly formed river, which we know today as the Whanganui.