Topic: Traditional Story: Te Rere i Oturu (The leap of Oturu)

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How the waterfall Te Rere i Oturu got it's name.

Archived version here.

The Opuiaki River flows from the rugged bush-covered hill country of Hautere, over a waterfall called Te Rere i Oturu, in the land owned by the Ngamanawa Incorporation. The Opuiaki flows into the Mangapapa and eventually into the Wairoa and Tauranga Moana. There was once a pa at Ruahihi, on the hillside above the Wairoa. A man called Oturu lived there with his wife and children and other relatives. He had been born there and had been on many trips up the river and its tributaries into the bush to snare birds and catch eels. Sometimes he went alone and stayed away several days at a time. When he returned he brought with him only a few small pigeons and some skinny eels. He made many more trips away, often staying away for long periods. Each time he returned, the amount of food he brought back for his family was very small, not enough to keep them healthy. Oturu's wife grew thin and his children were sick because they did not get enough good food. And yet Oturu still looked very healthy and fit.
 
Everyone knew that there were big, fat pigeons in the forests of Hautere and plenty of big, fat eels in the streams above Ruahihi. Oturu's wife had two brothers who were especially worried that Oturu was not looking after his wife and children properly. Oturu seemed to be looking after himself pretty well though. The brothers decided to follow Oturu on his next trip upstream into the forest to see what he got up to. For two or three days the brothers watched. They saw plenty of pigeons and they saw Oturu catch some big, fat ones and make a good meal for himself. They saw him catch some big, fat eels too, and they watched while he had a good feed. They also saw Oturu put the small pigeons and skinny eels aside in a kit to take home to Mum and the kids. This was all a bit too much for the brothers of Oturu's wife. It was an insult to her family that Oturu did not provide food for his wife and children, but kept the best for himself.
 
The brothers rushed down to attack Oturu where he was sitting alone in the forest after another good meal. He heard them coming and took off through the bush. The brothers ran after him. Oturu took to the stream bed of the Opuiaki as he thought he could move faster over the flat rocks. The brothers chased after him and they could move fast too. Oturu ran desperately. He knew those brothers of his wife were very angry. He knew they were likely to kill him if they caught up with him. He ran on, leaping from rock to rock down the Opuiaki. Suddenly he reached the top of the waterfall. Below him the stream fell about 40 metres into the forest below. The brothers were close behind. There was no way out except over the fall. Oturu took a flying leap and landed on a ledge about half-way down the fall. He shouted at the brothers with all the curses and bad language he could think of. The brothers replied by hurling rocks at him. They did not waste their energy with words. They were too angry for that. One of the rocks hit Oturu, and knocked him off balance. He fell from the ledge into the deep water at the bottom of the falls and was drowned.
 
It is because of this that the waterfall is still called Te Rere i Oturu, the leap of Oturu, and all because he was too mean and selfish to look after his family properly.

Other stories are found off the article - An Introduction to this collection (please click) 

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This page archived at Perma CC in October of 2016: https://perma.cc/N2PV-EQZ2

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