Araiteuru is one of the famous taniwha—guardians of the seas around Aotearoa (New Zealand). She was a female taniwha, believed to have escorted the Māmari canoe to New Zealand from Hawaiki. In other traditions,Araiteuru and another taniwha named Ruamano guided the Tākitimu canoe.
Araiteuru gave birth very shortly after her voyage. She had eleven taniwha sons,and she asked all of her children to go forth and see the country in which they lived, burrowing as far as they could. Then they were to return and report what they had seen.
On the sons’ journeys,they burrowed and dug trenches and valleys – creating the many branches of the Hokianga Harbour and surrounding geography as part of their burrowing quests.
Today, Araiteuru lives in a cave to the south of Hokianga Harbour opening,where passersby can see the surf breaking across the bar. She is the guardian taniwha of the region, companioned with another taniwha named Niua, who lives to the north of the harbour. Locals make sure not to bother or anger Araiteuru, for she has been known to raise storms or even wreck traveling vessels if provoked.