New Zealand Maori Legend of Okatia and the Manawatu Gorge

Val MillsStarred Page By Val Mills, 28th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1m-7gru1/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

A retelling of the New Zealand Maori legend of Okatia and the formation of the Manawatu Gorge and River.

Far back in time

Far back in time, before the Rangitane people settled on the Manawatu plains, the east was separated from the west by a mountainous wall of rock. In the east, on the Puketoi Ranges, lived a mighty totara tree, bigger than any other tree in the district, its straight trunk and branches reaching up towards the sky. This was no ordinary tree. Okatia, an Atua or spirit, had made the tree his home and become part of it.
After a time, however, towering above his leafy neighbours, he heard stories of Moana, a wondrous sea, whose water foamed and crashed onto sandy shores. Okatia had only ever known the stillness of Tane and the nearby forest streams and knew nothing of the foam and crashing breakers he heard spoken of. He grew restless and yearned to travel to the sea himself to find out what all the fuss was about.

The call of the sea

His desire grew stronger and stronger, until he could contain his curiosity no longer. He rose up from within the tree, causing the branches to tremble and shake. A gradual rumbling turned to an almighty roar as the giant totara tree uprooted itself and crashed to the ground.
Okatia, trapped within the tree, slithered and slid down the hillside, crushing everything in his path. He lurched across the plain toward the call of the sea.
Tiny ferns, to save themselves from being crushed, clung to the tree’s branches and travelled with it across the plain. Clods of damp earth leapt to safety, burying themselves amongst the branches and leaves. Small rocks, too slow to leap to safety, became wedged in the forks of the branches.
The mighty tree tumbled forward, gouging a deep channel behind it. Water filled the channel, following behind the tree.

Penetrating the rocky wall

Okatia soon reached the towering hills separating east from west. The sea called him with an urgency he’d no known before, throbbing in his veins and pounding in his heart.
Not stopping to consider the size of the rocky barrier, the mighty totara crashed into the towering hillside, causing the rocky wall to shudder. The tree banged and crashed forward, more determined than ever.
He called on all his power, clawing and pounding with his branches, until at last the rocky surface cracked. Okatia squeezed into the tiny crevice, widening it with his brute force, pushing the hillside apart with his strength. The water building up in the channel behind him propelled him forward into the gap with gigantic force.
He continued clawing his way onward toward the sea. Muddy water from the surrounding swamp rushed into the deep path he created. The tiny ferns, the earth and the rocks travelling with him were tossed from his shuddering branches, falling down and settling on the banks of the newly formed waterway.
The winds of Tawhiri found the gap and rushed through, glad to no longer have to whistle over the top.

The way forward became easier

At last Okatia felt light upon his battered branches. The dark, rocky canyon gave way to the freshness of the forested plain. Once more he smelled damp rich soil beneath him and the soothing shelter of trees overhead.
He could hear the call of the sea clearly now and the way forward became easier. A mist hovered above the dense forest. He knew his journey was nearly over.
But the rocky battle had left him exhausted. Weary, weak and numb with pain he wound his way forward, pushed on by the water building up behind him. The call of the sea kept him going as he meandered across the plain, changing direction without knowing, twisting this way and that, thrashing blindly onward.

Where river meets sea

Just when he thought he could go no further he heard a noise unknown to him and a surge of water crashed over him, strange tasting water, unlike any he’d ever tasted before. This must surely be the sea he thought. In frenzied delight he thrashed his body and tossed his branches, carving out a wide gap as his channel met the sea.
He dragged himself across the sandy beach toward the foaming waves of Moana and thrust himself into the salty waves, allowing Tangaroa to carry him away, never to be seen again.
The muddy waters from the mighty totara’s trail through the gap in the mountains, all the way to the seas, are with us today. They flow through Te Apiti, the Manawatu Gorge. The widened channel where Okatia thrashed at the end of his journey marks the mouth of the Manawatu River at Foxton Beach.

(Illustrations by children I know.)

Other writing by Val Mills
Oral Story Telling as a Prompt for Writing
Roaring Meg & the Kawarau River, Central Otago, New Zealand
A Writer's Weekend retreat, Diary Excerpts
Fascinating Facts About New Zealand

Tags

Manawatu Gorge, Maori Legend, New Zealand, Okatia, Valmnz

Meet the author

author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at
writingyourstories.wordpress.com and http://downatthebaths.blogspot.co.nz/

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Songbird B
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Wow! I was riveted by this wonderful story and Legend Val, and the children's illustrations just help complete a perfect page..Wonderful! \0/x

Reply to this comment

author avatar Shirley Shuler
29th Mar 2013 (#)

A wonderful story, Val. The childrens illustrations are beautiful.

Reply to this comment

author avatar M G Singh
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Lovely tale. Enjoyed it.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Buzz
29th Mar 2013 (#)

Fascinating read, Val. Great to see you.

Reply to this comment

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
29th Mar 2013 (#)

wonderful this Val...I think a metaphor is contained somewhere! blessings

Reply to this comment

author avatar Delicia Powers
1st Apr 2013 (#)

great legend, thanks Val..

Reply to this comment

author avatar Blablabla
6th May 2014 (#)

cjdjghdfjghdjisijfigfjbhgn

Reply to this comment

author avatar Blablabla
6th May 2014 (#)

blablablayxdhusdchdu

Reply to this comment

author avatar Blablabla
6th May 2014 (#)

im stalking all of u messageing hahahaha blablabla :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
6th May 2014 (#)

Excuse me your language and your thoughts are not for this website can you please delete this comment or i will report you and you'll be charged 5.00 dollars.
Thank you

Reply to this comment

author avatar Blablabla
13th May 2014 (#)

what ever

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
6th May 2014 (#)

Excuse me your language and your thoughts are not for this website can you please delete this comment or i will report you and you'll be charged 5.00 dollars.
Thank you

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jojo
6th May 2014 (#)

you smell like shit and you smell poo hole and fishy miks u need to have a shower thank u 4 ur time?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Michael
13th May 2014 (#)

that is not nice to talk to people like that you rude little boy

Reply to this comment

author avatar Lala2
6th May 2014 (#)

omg guys omg you got to be rith to be one of us you ass crack

Reply to this comment

author avatar Blablabla
6th May 2014 (#)

naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa blablabla dhsgshcfbgsjchusdcghud hahahahahahahahahahhahahah

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jojo
6th May 2014 (#)

heeyyy im a rapist u no the hard fuker ones yea thats me hahahahahahahahahaha u guys will be mised... TO BE RAPED AHAHAHAH!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
6th May 2014 (#)

Excuse me all of you you are very inappropriate on this website this is for local establishments not for your comment and dirty language thank you you'll all be charged 5.00 dollars every dirty, inappropriate comments Thank you.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jojo
6th May 2014 (#)

bitch shut up you wanna get raped so shut up! you ugly peace of shit haha lick ass and armpit gaybo

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
6th May 2014 (#)

5.00 dollars you'll be charged with, we will locate your address from the computer, phone or tablet your comments are located on you'll be sorry

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ptrikha
16th Jun 2014 (#)

A great, well told story.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Isaiah
10th Aug 2014 (#)

hdshdsjids

Reply to this comment

author avatar Isaiah
10th Aug 2014 (#)

ranger

Reply to this comment

author avatar Adam
3rd Dec 2017 (#)

Hi AMAZINNGGGG STORY

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
3rd Dec 2017 (#)

LOLOLOLOL

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
3rd Dec 2017 (#)

I WILL SUE YOUUUUUUU

FIVE DOLLARRR

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
3rd Dec 2017 (#)

If you want a million dollar click this here https://www.google.co.nz/?safe=active&ssui=on
Yes yes very good

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rachel Smith
3rd Dec 2017 (#)

The FitnessGram™ Pacer Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20 meter pacer test will begin in 30 seconds. Line up at the start. The running speed starts slowly, but gets faster each minute after you hear this signal. A single lap should be completed each time you hear this sound. Remember to run in a straight line, and run as long as possible. The second time you fail to complete a lap before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password