Pink Pages

Gay Travel Net


Queer History New Zealand
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
New Zealand History

Tütänekai and Tiki


Tütänekai was the natural son of Tüwharetoa (ancestor of the Ngäti Tüwharetoa, the people now based around Lake Taupo) and Rangiuru, wife of Whakaue Kaipapa (ancestor of the Ngäti Whakaue, the people now based on Ohinemutu, Rotorua). Despite his "illegitimacy", Whakaue loved him like a son.

Tütänekai and Tiki were takatäpui, "intimate companions of the same sex." Te Rangikaheke says Tütänekai and Tiki had been takatäpui-friends since childhood, and their spirits clung to each other like those of two brothers. (Ka piri ö räua wairua ko töna hoa takatäpui ko Tiki, änö he teina he tuakana räua.)

Tütänekai's pütörino (flute) was made from the legbone of Murirangaranga, the priest who had consecrated him as a baby, but been caught eating too soon after the ceremony and put to death for this breach of tapu. This no doubt added to the power of its sound.

Tiki played the köauau, a smaller, softer flute than Tütänekai's pütörino. Tütänekai and Tiki played their flutes (to each other, perhaps) from a platform built by Whakaue on a bluff to the south of Mokoia Island in the middle of Lake Rotorua.

To its sound, high-born Hinemoa made her famous midnight swim after her people dragged their canoes ashore to prevent her paddling across. On Mokoia, she three times smashed the calabashes Tiki brought to take water to Tütänekai, until Tütänekai himself came to see who was being such a nuisance, and took her to spend the night with him, sealing their marriage (Ngäti Whakaue are known as the "four-legs" to this day, from the manner of their discovery next morning).

 Tiki was upset that Tütänekai's marriage left him alone, but when he threatened to leave, Tütänekai invited him to stay on for a while, and went to tell his adoptive father that he was overcome by love/pity for his friend ("Ka mate au i te aroha ki töku hoa, ki a Tiki"), so Whakaue bestowed his younger daughter, Tupa, on Tiki, and they all continued to live together.


(Whakaue lived nine generations before his descendant, Mohi Moke Aterea, an informant of Edward Tregear, hence our estimate of the date.)

A pütorino reputed to be the actual instrument Tütänekai played is kept in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and occasionally goes on display.

- adapted from "Te Kauhoetanga o Hinemoa ki Mokoia", part of Te Rangikaheke's "Commentary on 'Nga Moteatea me nga Hakirara'", an unpublished manuscript in the Grey collection at Auckland Public Library, printed in "Selected Readings in Maori" edited by Bruce Biggs. Written by Hugh Young.


Back to Chronology Part 1 

Gay NZ QRA Search
Write to Queer History
Last update: 11 July 2002

copyright © 1995-2002 Queer History New Zealand
Owned and Operated by Rainbow Net Ltd