Moeraki Boulders


In Maori legend the Araiteuru canoe (one of the large ancestral canoes that came from Hawaiki) was wrecked on Shag Point while on its way south in search of greenstone. Food-baskets and kumara on board were washed ashore. The kumara became irregularly shaped rocks and the circular food-baskets became the Moeraki Boulders, called by the Maori Te Kaihinake (the food-baskets). The reef at the mouth of the Shag River is said to be the petrified hull of the canoe, and a prominent rock nearby to be the mortal remains of its navigator, Hipo. Names of passengers are given to hills in the area. The legend is an example of how a colourful story would be woven around the physical features of the landscape to perpetuate a knowledge of geography in a culture without a written language.



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