The Timepieces

maui's fish

Te Ika a Maui, The Fish of Maui

The engraving tells the story of how Maui fished up Te Ika, (in MAori, meaning The Fish) which became the North Island of New Zealand.Maui Tikitiki A Taranga was a demi-god and wanted to go fishing with his brothers. Unfortunately they were mistrustful and resented their youngest brother after some of his previous exploits and refused to let Maui accompany them. So Maui took his flax line and magic fish hook made from the jawbone of his grandfather and hid in the bottom of their waka (canoe), which some say was named Te Wai Pounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. Keeping well out of sight and waiting till they were far out to sea, Maui finally appeared before his brothers.

The brothers were angry and initially wanted to turn back but because the fishing was so bad they couldn’t return without food. So further and further out to sea they ventured and all the while refused to let Maui fish with them.

So Maui struck his own nose and baited the the magic hook with his own blood. He lowered the flax line and hook overboard and down it went into the darkest depths of the swirling ocean until it disappeared out of sight and into the domain of the Gods of the sea. The magic hook caught on the house of Tonganui, the grandson of Tangaroa the Sea God and stuck fast.

Maui pulled with all his strength and wrenched the house from the seabed and with it came a great piece of land in the shape of a giant smooth fish with its tail stretching all the way to the horizon and beyond.

The fish was named Te Ika a Maui, meaning The Fish of Maui and became the North Island of New Zealand. The heart of the fish was named Taupo-Moana (Lake Taupo) and the eyes are Wellington Harbour with the great long tail being the Northland Peninsula

Concerned that he may have made the sea God angry, Maui told his brothers to wait while he went and made amends with him. Jumping from his waka onto the fish’s back he ran out of sight to find the sea God but his brothers could not wait for his return. Quickly they began arguing amongst themselves how to divide the fish up and leapt out of the waka onto the fish and began jumping around with their knives slashing and hacking into the fish’s smooth skin. As the fish writhed under their sharp blades the mountains, rivers and valleys were formed.

When Maui returned he was angry but it was too late and there was nothing he could do. If the brothers had left it alone Te Ika a Maui, the Fish of Maui, the North Island of New Zealand would be smooth to this day.

To compliment these wonderful pieces, we have placed them in handmade boxes that are crafted from timber, milled from the Kauri tree - a protected New Zealand native - engraved with our logo and inlaid with black New Zealand paua shell.

Read about the engraver and the engraving process


click here to view photos of Maui's Fish

Please contact us to find out more information about purchasing this MAGRETTE Timepiece



Magrette Timepieces