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In Māori mythology, Rongomai refers to several entities:[1]

  • a deity by whose assistance Haungaroa traveled from Hawaiki to New Zealand as she went to tell Ngātoro-i-rangi that he had been cursed by Manaia.
  • a being in whale form which attacked and almost wiped out the war-party of Maru.
  • a god of comet.[2]
  • the war-god of the tribes in the Lake Taupo region.
  • a celebrated demi-god ancestor of some iwi. He went with Ihinga and others of his friends to visit the dread Miru in her abode in the underworld. There they were taught incantations, witchcraft, religious songs, dances, and certain games. One of Rongomai's men was caught, and was claimed by Miru in sacrifice, as payment for having imparted the sacred knowledge, but Rongomai and the others got safely back to the world again.
  • the chief of the Mahuhu canoe in its voyage from Hawaiki to New Zealand. He was drowned when the canoe overturned, and his body was eaten by the araara fish, since held sacred by the Nga Puhi and Rarawa iwi, who claim descent from Rongomai. Until they embraced Christianity, those iwi would not eat the araara (or trevally, Caranx georianus) .
  • a meteor or comet, seen in the full light of day when in comparatively recent times, the Ngati Hau tribe were besieging the fortress named Rangiuru at Otaki, occupied by the Ngati Awa.


  1. ^ In the genealogies of the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands, Rongomai is the son of Tangaroa, and the father of Kahukura (Tregear 1891:425).
  2. ^


  • E. Shortland, Traditions & Superstitions of the New Zealanders (Longman, Brown: London), 1856, 25.
  • E. R. Tregear, Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary (Lyon and Blair: Lambton Quay, 1891), 425
  • J. White, The Ancient History of the Maori, Vol I (Government Printer: Wellington, 1887), 108-109