Topic: Traditional Story: The Struggle Between Tuhua and Pounamu

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Tuhua is the name for obsidian, a hard black rock sometimes called volcanic glass, which can be broken into sharp flakes and used as a knife. Tuhua is also the name of the island in the Bay of Plenty where this rock is found - Mayor Island. Some say that the original people of this island were called Tuhua.

Archived version here.

Some say that the original people of this island were called Tuhua. They emerged from the depths of the earth. They were dark like the rock and lived in the crater of the volcanic island.
 
One dark stormy night, there arose out of the wild and turbulent green waters of the ocean a people called Pounamu. They tried to invade the crater of Tuhua and make it their home. It was a long fight, a fierce and bloody battle that lasted several days. The Pounamu people were green like the green waters of the ocean they had come from. The blood of their dead flowed into the lake in the crater. To this day the waters of this lake are dark green and it is sometimes called Te Toto o Pounamu because of this. The Pounamu lost many warriors. There were few casualties among the Tuhua and their blood flowed into the smaller, dark-coloured lake in the crater, Te Toto o Tuhua.
 
Even though they had defeated the Pounamu in this fight, the people of Tuhua wanted to make sure there was no more trouble by chasing them right out of their territory. They chased them across the sea to the mainland, to the shore of Te Ika a Maui, the North Island. They chased them inland to a place near Taupo. The Pounamu pleaded to be allowed to stay at Taupo but the Tuhua pressed on. The Pounamu fled to the south of Te Ika a Maui, across the sea again to the island called Te Wai Pounamu, the South Island. Along the West Coast the Tuhua chased the Pounamu to a place where they could see the snow-capped peaks of the mountain Aorangi piercing the sky.
 
Tuhua were at last satisfied. They drove the Pounamu up the Arahura, a river which flows from the snows of Aorangi, and left them to their fate. That is why the Arahura, and other valleys of South Westland and Fiordland are the only places where you can find pounamu, the greenstone, or nephrite. The Tuhua returned home but just in case the Pounamu decided to come back north again, they left some of their people west of Taupo. That place is also called Tuhua and is another place where the black volcanic glass called obsidian can be found. But the main place for obsidian is the island of Tuhua. This is the home of the people called Whanau a Tauwhao who settled there long after the battle between the people of Tuhua and Pounamu.

Other stories are are found off the article - An Introduction to this collection

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This page archived at Perma CC in October of 2016: https://perma.cc/G8P8-DY4S

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