Devouring the monster within, Jon Johansson

Crossing the Floor: The Story of Tariana Turia
Helen Leahy
Huia, $45.00,
ISBN 9781775501633

In Helen Leahy’s Crossing the Floor: The Story of Tariana Turia, a tale is told about Tūtaeporoporo, a taniwha taking the form of a shark. Tūtaeporoporo wrecked havoc upon the river tribes of the Whanganui, so they asked the famous dragon-slayer Aokehu for help. Aokehu hid inside a log smeared with foul-smelling bait to attract Tūtaeporoporo. Sure enough, the taniwha swallowed the log whole, whereupon Aokehu drew two knives and sliced open the shark’s stomach, eventually killing it and restoring calm to the Whanganui. At Pūtiki, Turia’s home marae in Whanganui, Aokehu is prominently shown poised over Tūtaeporoporo, represented by a pole at the front of the wharepuni.

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