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The Legend of Raemaru

Once upon a time, on the mountain you're currently walking up....
Read on to discover the myths of how Raemaru came to be. Love a little local legend!

On the western side of Rarotonga stood a very proud mountain; her name was Maru and she was higher than any of the other mountains. In fact, Maru would hide the sunrise during the dawn with her shadow, giving the people of the village more time to sleep. The mountain was the envy of the other villages as they all wished they could have a mountain just as high and just as useful as Maru.

The fame of Maru reached far across the sea to other islands. The people on the island of Aitutaki were especially interested to hear about this high mountain called Maru in Rarotonga, because their island was flat. The chiefs Vaeruarangi and Tamatoa decided on a plan; they called their strongest warriors together and instructed them to build large canoes and make special tools to take with them to Rarotonga. The Aitutaki warriors said their prayers to their mighty God - Rongo, and sailed for the island. They planned their arrival in the early hours of the night and after one day at sea they sighted Rarotonga and the proud peak of Maru.

The warriors went ashore through the tricky inlet whilst the people of Puaikura were sound asleep. They worked fast; cutting the mountain Maru in a few hours, before doing the more difficult task of carrying the mountain to their waiting canoes.

Their grunts, puffs and lifting noises told the Puaikura people that something unusual was going on. They thought that the chopping noises which had awakened them were spiritual activities, but the grunts were human. The Puaikura warriors went inland to investigate and saw intruders carrying their beloved Maru away. They gave chase but the Aitutakians had seen them. The chase resulted in pieces of rocks dropping and falling off as the Aitutakians ran, hanging on to their prize. They made it to their canoes and pushed off before the Puaikura warriors could catch up. They paddled hard and lost sight of the island of Rarotonga before daylight.

After four days of hard work they reached Aitutaki. Tiring in their last efforts, pieces of the mountain fell off as they lay Maru in the village of Amuri. At last Aitutaki had a mountain but the lost parts had reduced its size tremendously into a hill. The Aitutakians renamed the hill, Maunga Pu, meaning top of the mountain, in remembrance of their achievement.


Meanwhile, back in Rarotonga, the people of Puaikura were preparing for a search. Life simply wasn't the same without the towering top of Maru; the sunrise came early at dawn and disturbed their sleep. However before their war canoes could be finished, they discovered that waking up early had its advantages; they could for example, catch bigger and better fish at daybreak. The people of Puaikura decided to abandon the cause and stay, getting used to the now shorter mountain. 

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