Takere-piripiri

Takere-piripiri

Takere-piripiri looked like a giant tuatara with a spiky tail. He acted as guardian at Ōtautahanga , a stronghold of the Ngāti Raukawa tribe. The people prospered under his protection, and would place a basket of the best food below the walls of his cave. One day, a gift of eels was mostly eaten by the people who brought it – all that was left were the eel heads. In his anger Takere-piripiri ate those who had taken his food. He then went to the Maungakawa Range, where he began to eat the travellers passing by. Eventually, warriors from the Ngāti Hauā tribe trapped him in a giant, cage-like eel pot, and speared him to death. 

 

“Ngati Haua warriors constructed a great taiki or wickerwork cage, cunningly and strongly woven from the tough creeper plant called mangémangé. It was just like an eelbasket on an immense scale, with trap-door and all. This taiki they dragged down to the track and set it up near Takere-Piripiri’s usual hunting ground.

On the top of the cage sat a man, as a poa or bait for the dragon. On either side the host of warriors, armed with long spears and heavy clubs, and ko, or digging implements, crouched in the bush.

Out rushed the ngarara, scenting man. Down the track he came, and right into the trap he blundered. He thought he could seize the man on the cage, but before he knew it he was securely caught in the dragon-basket.

The warriors dashed out from ambush. They fell upon the caged dragon with their sharp-pointed ko and their long spears, and soon stabbed and pounded it to death. And that was the end of the great ngarara, Takere-Piripiri, who had caused the death of so many people”