The legend of Pania
Pania of the reef was a beautiful woman who swam in the seas of Hawkes bay.
When sunset appears she would wash up on the beach in Napier.
She would sleep behind bushes made out of flax and spend her whole night sleeping there.There was a man called Karitoki who was strong as wrestlers and he was a son of the Maori chief. One day Karitoki came to the Hawkes bay beach. Pania was spying on him behind the Flax bushes.
Suddenly she quietly said a spell. That spell made her faint and Karitoki saw her come out of her hiding place. As Pania woke up she saw the same man right in front of her that’s she was spying on.
They fell in love without anyone knowing and do you know what they married too, secretly.
Karitoki tried to tell his friends that he had met a beautiful women but they didn't believe him because they haven’t met her.
Pania is not allowed to swallow cooked or else she is not allowed to go back to sea. Last night as Pania slept Karitoki slipped cooked food into her mouth. The next day Pania left the whare
( house ) and rushed out to sea. Her villagers came out to look for her. Karitoki was swimming about in the sea trying to look for her. But he never found her. Pania had become a stone statue underwater because of the cooked food she had eaten.
More More which is Pania and Karitoki’s son is the guardian of the sea now.
If you go to Napier and have a walk in this nearby park you will see the statue of Pania with details of her written on a stone plate beneath her statue.