Sunday, 21 February 2016

WALT re write the legend of Okatia in our own words

Spelling session with the word 'enraged'!

The Legend of Okatia by Val Mills 28th March 2013

Far back in time

Okatia trapped in the totara treeFar back in time, before the Rangitane people settled on theManawatu plains, the east was separated from the west by a mountainous wall of rock. In the east, on the Puketoi Ranges, lived a mighty totara tree, bigger than any other tree in the district, its straight trunk and branches reaching up towards the sky. This was no ordinary tree. Okatia, an Atua or spirit, had made the tree his home and become part of it.
After a time, however, towering above his leafy neighbours, he heard stories ofMoana, a wondrous sea, whose water foamed and crashed onto sandy shores. Okatia had only ever known the stillness of Tane and the nearby forest streams and knew nothing of the foam and crashing breakers he heard spoken of. He grew restless and yearned to travel to the sea himself to find out what all the fuss was about.

The call of the sea

His desire grew stronger and stronger, until he could contain his curiosity no longer. He rose up from within the tree, causing the branches to tremble and shake. A gradual rumbling turned to an almighty roar as the giant totara tree uprooted itself and crashed to the ground.
Okatia, trapped within the tree, slithered and slid down the hillside, crushing everything in his path. He lurched across the plain toward the call of the sea.
Tiny ferns, to save themselves from being crushed, clung to the tree’s branches and travelled with it across the plain. Clods of damp earth leapt to safety, burying themselves amongst the branches and leaves. Small rocks, too slow to leap to safety, became wedged in the forks of the branches.
The mighty tree tumbled forward, gouging a deep channel behind it. Water filled the channel, following behind the tree.

Penetrating the rocky wall

Okatia soon reached the towering hills separating east from west. The sea called him with an urgency he’d no known before, throbbing in his veins and pounding in his heart.
Not stopping to consider the size of the rocky barrier, the mighty totara crashed into the towering hillside, causing the rocky wall to shudder. The tree banged and crashed forward, more determined than ever.
He called on all his power, clawing and pounding with his branches, until at last the rocky surface cracked. Okatia squeezed into the tiny crevice, widening it with his brute force, pushing the hillside apart with his strength. The water building up in the channel behind him propelled him forward into the gap with gigantic force.
He continued clawing his way onward toward the sea. Muddy water from the surrounding swamp rushed into the deep path he created. The tiny ferns, the earth and the rocks travelling with him were tossed from his shuddering branches, falling down and settling on the banks of the newly formed waterway.
The winds of Tawhiri found the gap and rushed through, glad to no longer have to whistle over the top.

The way forward became easier

At last Okatia felt light upon his battered branches. The dark, rocky canyon gave way to the freshness of the forested plain. Once more he smelled damp rich soil beneath him and the soothing shelter of trees overhead.
He could hear the call of the sea clearly now and the way forward became easier. A mist hovered above the dense forest. He knew his journey was nearly over.
But the rocky battle had left him exhausted. Weary, weak and numb with pain he wound his way forward, pushed on by the water building up behind him. The call of the sea kept him going as he meandered across the plain, changing direction without knowing, twisting this way and that, thrashing blindly onward.

Where river meets sea

Just when he thought he could go no further he heard a noise unknown to him and a surge of water crashed over him, strange tasting water, unlike any he’d ever tasted before. This must surely be the sea he thought. In frenzied delight he thrashed his body and tossed his branches, carving out a wide gap as his channel met the sea.
He dragged himself across the sandy beach toward the foaming waves of Moana and thrust himself into the salty waves, allowing Tangaroa to carry him away, never to be seen again.
The muddy waters from the mighty totara’s trail through the gap in the mountains, all the way to the seas, are with us today. They flow through Te Apiti, the Manawatu Gorge. The widened channel where Okatia thrashed at the end of his journey marks the mouth of the Manawatu River at Foxton Beach.

The Legend of Te Apiti

Maori korero is filled with legends that show Aotearoa through spirits, magic, and mysticism. The legend of Te Apiti is no exception. Its story is filled with supernatural beings, curiosities of nature, and a connection to the land that goes far beyond what can be explained.
Deep in the Puketoi Ranges there once stood a gargantuan tōtara tree. Strong and proud it endured in the ranges for many winters. This was no ordinary totara tree, for within its bark lived the mighty spirit Okatia. After years in the ranges, Okatia became restless and agitated. One day he decided to topple the tree and find a new home. As he made his way north-west, he decimated all that stood in his path, leaving a colossal channel in his wake. Nothing could stop his might, his size, or his sheer power.
One day he came upon a mountain range nestled high beneath the clouds. This mountain matched him in enormity and splendour. Okatia attempted to pass, but the mountain was strong and it resisted each blow of the mighty totara. After many attempts it seemed Okatia’s journey had ended. But, his back was not so easily to broken. Mighty and resilient, his will matched that of the mountain. He summoned all his strength and with one blow of the colossal tōtara, he broke the mountain in two. The Tararua and Ruahine Mountain ranges became separated. Te Apiti, the Manawatu Gorge was born. Okatia kept his direction and pace as he raced to the sea, never to be seen again. Te Apiti stands as a reminder of his power and its beauty is that of legend.
Found on this site -

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