The battle of
Kupe and Te Wheke A Maori Tale
Written by Leonie Agnew Illustrated by Fausto Bianchi
Chapter 1 Nobody on the island of Hawaiki had seen Muturangi for years. If anyone mentioned his name, villagers shook their heads and muttered, “That old tohunga – the magic man? If he shows his face in our village again, we’ll show him the strength of our arms.” But they spoke in low voices, as if afraid of being overheard, for Muturangi’s power made everyone nervous.
Only Kupe, a mighty warrior, thought otherwise. “Better we know where he is and keep an eye on him. Now he’s like a shadow in our dreams, hiding from the light.” But the elders disagreed. “No, no. He had to be banished. Muturangi accepted his fate and left us in peace. We’re all safer, now.”
Kupe, who knew the hearts of men, shook his head. A wounded warrior wouldn’t leave the battlefield and lick his wounds in the silence of his home. No, he’d heal and return to fight, his desire for revenge like hot blood in his veins. Kupe couldn’t believe that a tohunga would accept banishment either, not without revenge. But Kupe wouldn’t disrespect the wise elders by arguing. He knew that a crab under a rock was still a crab, and it was enough for him to wait until the crab poked out its claws. Then he’d strike. And so, Kupe kept his silence and waited. 4