Pūrakau: Tinirau and his pet whale Tutunui - River Jayden Art

Pūrakau: Tinirau and his pet whale Tutunui

This pūrakau starts with the difficult birth of Tūhuruhuru, the son of Tinirau and his wife Hineteiwaiwa. Tinirau needs a tohonga to bless his son Tūhuruhuru, which Tinirau called on Kae to preform the blessing.
Tinirau offered a piece of flesh from his pet whale Tutunui, as a koha to Kae. Tinirau also offered a waka for Kae to travel home in, however Kae declined and demanded to take Tutunui and ride the tohorā home. 
Tinirau reluctantly said yes and Kae rode Tutuni back home however, Kae then beached Tutunui and then cut Tutunui up and fed him to his people. The aroma of the flesh was brought by the winds to Tinirau's home. 
Learning of this, Hineteiwaiwa gathered a group of wāhine to go and capture Kae but unsure of what Kae looked like, the wāhine were advised to make the villagers laugh – as they would be able to identify Kae by his niho tāpiki, a tooth that has grown over the top of another. 
When the wāhine gathered at the village they were gathered into the whare tapere for the evening’s entertainments. The wāhine danced and told stories but they still couldn't find Kae. It wasn't to their dances turned slightly erotic that Kae started to laugh. It was then that the wāhine recognised Kae and captured him and took him back to Tinirau for the revenge of Tutunuis' death. 
Kae was then taken to the whare of Tinirau, Kae was asleep and woke up where he had mistaken Tinirau's whare as his own. Kae still drowsy, started to realise he was captured and he was now in Tinirau's whare. It was there that Tinirau seeked revenge on Kae for the death of Tutunui. 
In some iwi traditions it is said that Tutunui is the Kaitiaki of Pātaka. As the structures of a Pātaka represent the Tohorā.
The Maihi or Barge-boards of a Patakā usually have pakake forms which represent the Tohorā, in this toi you can see the pakake form within the Patakā.
*Please note there are many different iwi versions of this kōrero.
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River Jayden

River has studied Art History and Māori and Indigenous studies at University of Canterbury. A passionate writer on the colonial and religious approriation of Māori culture and the use of toi Māori as an assimilation technique.

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