Awarua O Porirua is a taniwha (in the form of a giant lizard) of Porirua harbour. The young Awarua wanted to be able to migrate with his friends the birds. So, secretly by night, he taught himself to fly. This is his first public flight with his bird friends – including Rereroa the albatross – cheering him on. He crashed twice – first into a headland at the north of the harbour and then into Mana Island, taking the top off it.
Awarua later went to Hawkes Bay seeking company but became a nuisance so (2 versions) he was either killed or sent home by Tara, the great warrior who gave his name to Wellington Harbour Te Whanganui-a-tara. In the latter version, he sometimes sits in Porirua Harbour in the shape of rocks and is lonely!!
The view is of Porirua Harbour from Colonial Knob looking north. Awarua is based on an ancient Maori etching from Opihi rock art shelter in South Canterbury. Oils on canvas 12″ x 18″