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Ethnic groupMāori
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In Māori and Polynesian mythology, Ikatere, also spelled Ika-tere,[1] ('fast fish')[2] is a fish god, the father of all sea creatures, including mermaids.

He is a son of Punga, and a grandson of Tangaroa, and his brother is Tū-te-wehiwehi[1][2] (Grey 1971:1–5).

Disagreements between brothers[edit]

When Tāwhirimātea (god of storms) made war against his brothers for the separation of Rangi and Papa (sky and earth), Ikatere and Tū-te-wehiwehi were among those who had to flee from his wrath for their survival.[1][2] The two argued over whether they should stay in the sea or go to the land.[2] Ikatere chose to keep his children, the fish, to the sea,[1] while Tū-te-wehiwehi chose to take his children, reptiles, to the land.[2] A saying that refers to the choices they made for their descendants goes as such:

Māori Translation
Tāua ki uta, tāua ki te wai. We of the land, we of the sea.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Moorfield, John C. (2005). Te Aka : Maori-English, English-Maori dictionary and index. Auckland, N.Z.: Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0582548367.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "'Ngārara – reptiles, Page 2. From sea to land', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Bradford Haami. Retrieved 4 May 2018.


Grey 1971:1–5