Mako and Tuatara is a traditional Māori story, retold by Lisa Reweti especially for children. Hear it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_GnzKng3fI
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in the depths of the ocean there lived two ENORMOUS creatures. One was a shark called Mako. He was bigger than the biggest megalodon. The other was a GINORMOUS lizard called Tuatara, who was even bigger than a brontosaurus!
They were the very best of friends. They did everything together. Their favourite thing to do was to eat. They loved eating! The more they ate the bigger they grew. The bigger they grew, the more they ate!
All of the other animals were starving.They moaned to Tangaroa, “Mako and Tuatara are eating everything! There is no kai left for the rest of us! Can you please talk to them and sort something out?”
So Tangaroa, the guardian of the ocean, went and spoke to Mako and Tuatara.
“It is not sustainable to have both of you in the ocean,” he boomed. “There is not enough kai for everyone. One of you must go and live on land.”
Straight away Mako put up his fin.“I will go and live on land” he said. “I will be the very first forest dwelling, tree climbing shark.”
He showed Tangaroa and Tuatara what he would look like climbing a tree. He looked ridiculous.
“You look ridiculous,” said Tuatara. “I am a lizard. I have legs and I can walk. I’ll go and live on the land.”
“But I will never see you again!” wailed Mako.
“Perhaps I can find a way, where we can still talk to each other,” said Tuatara.
Mako and Tuatara said their farewells. It was very sad. They had an awkward hug. Then with a flick of his tail Mako turned and swam out into the deep sea.
Tuatara headed for the beach but when he came up and out of the water something magical happened. He began to shrink. He grew smaller and smaller and smaller, until he became the size that he is now.
Some people believe that Mako and Tuatara use the pūtātara to talk to one another……….but that is another story.
Retold by Lisa Reweti
Whanganui Regional Museum Programmes Presenter