The Story of the Kumara

Pourangahua left his home one day and travelled to the great land of Hawaiiki. There he visited friends and ate their delicious kumara (sweet potato). He stayed for many months and he was hosted by

a great chief named Raukapanga.

When it came time for Pourangahua to return home, he asked Raukapanga if he could borrow two of his huge birds, the toroa that he kept as pets. Raukapanga was reluctant to loan his birds to Pourangahua because he loved them very much, but he eventually agreed. And gave strict instructions on how to care for them.

Pourangahua left on the back of one of the birds carrying two bags of kumara as a gift from the chief. The chief had explained to Pourangahua that once he reached land, he would have to get off the bird and continue his journey on foot.

But Pourangahua was lazy and he made the bird fly him all the way home. Because he had to fly so far, the bird was very tired when he went to return home and he was attacked and killed by a huge evil spirit. The other bird made it home safely, with tears rolling down it’s eyes.

The chief was furious about this when he learned what had happened to his bird and so he sent a plague of caterpillars to destroy the kumara crop that Pourangahua had planted from the kumara the chief had given him as a gift.

The tukutuku panel, Rau Kumara is this story forever immortalised. The toroa today still cries every time it eats.

The Whanau Show