The Taniwha

What is a taniwha?

A 'taniwha' (pronounced "TUHN-i-fuh") is a legendary monster said by the Māori to live in the ocean and inland waters of New Zealand, hiding in deep pools, rivers, lakes and dark caves.

What do they look like?

Some taniwha look like giant lizards, sometimes with wings. Others like reptile-like sea creatures, taking the shape of sharks or whales, or even logs of wood in the river.

There are many tales of taniwha, one of who is Hine-kōrako, a female taniwha who married a human. When her in-laws insulted her, she was upset and escaped to Te Rēinga waterfall near Wairoa. But she still protected the local people. One day the river was in flood, and some travellers in a canoe came dangerously close to the waterfall. Hine-kōrako held back the canoe and saved their lives.

Can you draw a taniwha? Give it your best shot and send it through to