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 the Whitireia headland at the north of the harbour, creating the gully at Onepoto, 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. I finally got to visit it in early 2021, plus the excellent rock art museum in Timaru – as they said, these images were NZ’s first art gallery.
Sold at my “Contrasts” exhibition, 2014. Oils on canvas 12″ x 18″