Battle Of The Mountains

A Maori Legend.

Back in mythological times when mountains lived and loved, many mountains dwelt in the centre of the North Island -- Mt. Taranaki among them.

While Tongariro was away, Taranaki wooed and won Tongariro's wife, the graceful Pihanga. Tongariro returned at sunrise to find the guilty pair and in the struggle that followed Taranaki was banished. The depression under Fanthams Peak was caused by a kick from Tongariro, and the coup de grace caused the cleft in Taranaki's summit.

Taranaki retreated ignominiously to the west coast of the North Island, carving the course of the Wanganui River as he went and filling it with his tears, and then moved North to his present position. While resting near Stratford, his weight caused the depression which became known as Te Ngaere Swamp. When he paused to rest again near the coast, the Pouakai Range threw out a spur and when Taranaki awoke he was forever a prisoner.

To this day Taranaki gazes silently at his lover and his rival. Pihanga still loves Taranaki and sighs occasionally when she thinks of him, while Taranaki, when covered in mist, is said to be weeping for his lost love. Meanwhile, Tongariro, the enraged and jealous husband, still smoulders with fury.

Mt. Taranaki (Previously Egmont) (Don Hadden Copyright )

Mt. Taranaki (previously Egmont) towers over Lake Mangamahoe. this is the water supply for New Plymouth.