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November 3, 2022

Taniwha / noun / tan-wha

Taniwha is a name for one of the main gods in Polynesian mythology. The name is also used as an adjective to describe something that has powerful or dangerous qualities, or is unusually large or valuable.

In mythology, the taniwha is a mythical sea monster that inhabits the depths of New Zealand’s waters. It has long, snaky limbs and an elongated body with a broad, flat head.

Some describe it as looking like an eel with wings or a dragon emerging from the water. Folktales suggest that this creature can eat humans whole or tear them limb from limb.

In a Sentence

I didn’t know what to do when I saw the taniwha in the river.

The taniwha’s scales were smooth and black, giving it an ominous appearance.

The taniwha surprised us by swimming right up to the boat.


The word taniwha entered English in the 15th century. English speakers derived the word from the Māori language and folklore. The folklore surrounding the taniwha states that it is a mythical sea creature that resembles a serpent. It goes on to say the creature lives in dark caverns and caves.


Serpent, Monster


Loyalist, Defender


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