A Maori myth –
“The Battle of the
Room 4’s Creative Tiles from 2006
As part of our learning journey around the “Battle of the
Mountains”, we individually re-created a design to paint
onto tiles. It was an awesome experience that nicely
capped off a lot of hard work in Term 3.
Tongariro, Taranaki,Tauhara, and Putauaki were
warrior mountains. They argued and challenged
each other, always trying to be the strongest
Pihanga, the maiden mountain, grew up with the
warrior mountains. As she got older, she began
to stay away from their rough and tumble play.
Tongariro, Taranaki,Tauhara, and Putauaki began
to look at Pihanga differently. They noticed how
beautiful she had become. How she shimmered
when the sun gently touched her through the
and how she glowed in the evening when the sun
painted her with the last colours of the day.
One by one, each of the warrior mountains fell in
love with Pihanga.
“Pihanga,” whispered Putauaki, “you are beautiful
and I love you. I am more industrious than the
others. Marry me and I will bring you anything
your heart desires.”
“Pihanga,” whispered Tauhara, “you are beautiful
and I love you. I am more caring than the others.
Marry me and I will protect you forever.”
“Pihanga,” whispered Taranaki, “you are beautiful
and I love you. I am more handsome than the
others. Marry me and together we will reign over
the land with our strength and beauty.”
“Pihanga,” declared Tongariro, “you are beautiful
and I love you. I am as industrious, caring and
as handsome as the others. We all want to
marry you. You must decide.”
Pihanga replied, “If I must choose a husband, then
he must be the mightiest of you all.”
With that, the mountains cried, “Let the battle
Through days and nights, weeks, months and years, the
battle raged on. The earth rumbled, the sky darkened,
lava and ash flew, until finally Putauaki had had enough.
He left and travelled towards the place where the sun
rises in the morning.
Not soon after, Tauhara, exhausted and in pain
left. He, too, began travelling towards the place
where the sun rises in the morning.
Putauaki and Tauhara travelled in the hours of
darkness, the time when mountains move. By
the time the sun rose, Putauaki had reached the
open plains of Kaingaroa and Tauhara had only
got as far as the northern shores of Lake Taupo.
Taranaki and Tongaririo fought on, growing wearier each
day. With one last effort, Taranaki threw a huge boulder at
Tongariro, knocking his peak off. The peak crashed into
the waters of Lake Taupo where it remains to this day, an
island known as Motutaiko.
This last blow left Taranaki completely exhausted, but
Tongariro became furious. After another ferocious attack,
Tarankai finally gave up. He dragged his body wearily,
gouging out a deep channel as he went. The channel
filled with Taranaki’s tears, and is known today as The
Taranaki now dominates the Tarankai landscape where the
people there took his name for their region.
Tongariro won Pihanga as his bride. The couple stand
together still, in the land of Ngati Tuwharetoa.
Between them lie the waters of Lake Rotoaira. When
Ranginui, the Sky Father, wraps Tongariro and Pihanga
in a cloak of silver mist, the people of Tuwharetoa know
that the marriage of their two sacred mountains has
been truly blessed.