This is a story of a taniwha that lives beside a track between villages and menaces travellers and the surrounding iwi. When a chief’s son is taken by the taniwha, Te Hiakai, the people devise many plans to trap and kill the taniwha, but each time Te Hiakai outwits them. In the end, Pōhutukawa, a chief’s daughter, speaks to the taniwha. Through her words a spell is broken, and the taniwha transforms into a young warrior, Te Haeata, who had been cursed by a tohunga long ago. Pōhutukawa and Te Haeata fall in love and live out their lives together. But Te Haeata never quite shakes off the spell, and in old age, he transforms into an eel and becomes a guardian in the Rangitāiki river.