Taniwha

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  • #3176
  • Maori Maori (culture)
  • Reptilian Reptilian (attribute)
  • Deadly Deadly (behaviour)

The Taniwha were the Fairies of the beliefs of the native New Zealanders. They took the form of natural phenomena such as mist and rain but were also in the form of animals such as sharks, dolphins and whales. They tended to be benevolent beings that aided heroes in their journeys. Each tribe of Maori had their own Taniwha whom they relied upon. Some Taniwha were deadly creatures that killed people, stole woman and summoned their own armies to kill the Maori people.

The word Taniwha is also used for a specific and most terrifying beast. This was a large Dragon lizard that preyed on people. It had a huge jaw lined with sharp fangs and a spiky tail. When it killed its prey it ate them without digesting them. Many of these creatures were killed by the hero Pitaka and his men. They used magical chants and killed three of these beasts. When they slit the bellies open, all the devoured Maori victims were released.

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