Guest post by Catherine Mede, author of Cursed Love.
New Zealand may be a relatively new nation in the scheme of the world, but it has a rich history in mythology thanks to the Maori who have inhabited these lands for hundreds of years. There are lots of stories and myths and monsters, but I wish to focus on my favourite, the Taniwha.
Taniwha (pronounced Tanifa) are considered the guardian of waterways, lakes, rivers or the sea. Around the country, there are stories of local water monsters who protect a water way, guard a harbour, or to ward off those who would threaten a local tribe. They usually appear where there are dangerous areas and provide a warning story to younger members of the tribe.
Depending on where the Taniwha lived determines what it looks like. In the sea, it is depicted as a whale or shark. Around inland water, it looks more like a gecko or tuatara, with rows of spines down its back, but be as large as a whale.
A popular Taniwha tale is the creation of Wellington harbour. In this story, Wellington had a large lake area which two Taniwha lived in. One wanted to see what was on the other side of a large rocky bank, and swam around and around until it got up enough speed to push through the rocks. The other Taniwha didn’t have enough strength, and became stuck, turning into part of the harbour. This has been retold in a beautiful illustrated book by Wairama Moira. The taniwha here are shown as more dinosaur looking.
In some instances, Taniwha were there to enforce Tapu – which is a prohibited area that is sacred, and they would punish those who violated the boundaries of the tapu. While most Taniwha were friendly to the tribes they were nearest, often they ate members of neighbouring tribes, creating a vigilante hunt to find the offending monster and slaughter it. Nearly all Taniwha were disposed of in this way, and soon Taniwha were relegated to the legends of Aotearoa.
Why do I like Taniwha? They are enigimatic creatures, friendly to some, dangerous to most. It makes an interesting character. Taniwha’s are protectors, they look after those who look after it, and defend its territory and its people. They can be kind to one person, while angry and aggressive to another, the whole mix would create an interesting contradictory hero, which is precisely what I have done in an upcoming story, Curse of the Taniwha. You will have to check out my website to see when this story will become available.
There are a lot of mythical creatures in the Maori Culture, some are good, some – not so good. I have recently published a romance novel, based upon a family curse. The curse was placed on the woman’s family by a Tohunga Mākutu – a spiritual person often associated with the dark arts.
Go and check out Cursed Love for more details on Maori myths and culture.
A family curse.
A lifetime of grieving.
Jinny Richards past and future are about to collide. Will she survive?
At 18, Virginia ‘Jinny’ Richards was a drug addict who fell in love with Dean Bradford. By 20, Dean was dead. Jinny believes the family curse is to blame, and never wants to fall in love again. She has worked hard to hide her past and now has a job as a successful Insurance Assessor.
Ethan Montgomery lost his wife to breast cancer. He’s mourned her for three years and now he’s ready to move on. He understands Jinny’s pain, but he wants the feisty Jinny and nothing, not even a curse, will stand in his way.
When work throws them together, loving Ethan is the farthest thing from Jinny’s mind. He’s tardy and egotistical, even if he is good looking and makes her weak at the knees.
Things get further complicated when Steven Bradford turns out to be the client, bringing up the heartache and pain Jinny has carefully buried for eighteen years.
Will she find love a second time around? Or will the family curse claim another victim?
About the Author
Catherine Mede lives in a rural village in the South Island of New Zealand with her husband, son and two cats. She works when she can, doing whatever is available – within reason! When not writing, Catherine likes to read, draw and work in her garden.
Having developed a love for writing when she was at High School, it wasn’t until she was in her thirties she decided to really get down and dirty with the words in her head.
Romance and Speculative Fiction are what Catherine likes to write about because she understands the need to get lost in a love that sometimes seems mythical. And adding Fantasy elements just fulfils her needs to be creative in fanciful worlds.
When she was younger, she wrote to escape reality, now she writes to allow others to enter a world where love has a happily ever after.
Catherine has a short story published in a Masters of Horror Anthology, and recently published Cursed Love and attends writing seminars and groups in her area.
When she is rich and famous, Catherine intends to have a large library which will double as her writing space and own an Aston Martin Vanquish or Porsche GT3, whichever one comes first.
You can contact Catherine Mede at:
Web www.catherinemede.com and
Tweet on @catherinemedeNZ
email her firstname.lastname@example.org