Watch: Prophecy and the arrival of Captain Cook in ‘Tiwha, Tiwha Te Pō | Dark, Dark is the Night’

English explorer James Cook’s visit to Tūranga is marked by suspicion, violence, and misunderstanding. Endeavour crew kill four Tūranga people. Nobody is held to account for the deaths.

“Tiwhatiwha te pō, ko te Pakerewha, ko Arikirangi tēnei rā te haere nei.” | “Dark, dark is the night. There is the Pakerewha. There is Arikirangi to come.”
– Toiroa, Ngāti Maru elder, 1766

Toiroa’s prophecy above foresees pakerewha and a time of darkness. He made this prediction three years before the Endeavour arrived.

Confusion and bloodshed followed the Endeavour’s arrival – as the animation below shows.

The prophecy

Tiwha tiwha te po

Ko te Pakerewha

Ko Arikirangi tenei ra te haere nei

Dark, dark is the night

It is the Pakerewha

It is Arikirangi who is coming this day


Ko Nukutere,

Ko Nukutere.

Ko Tawhiti,

Ko Tawhiti.

He Atua,

He Atua.

Ko te Pakerewha,

A ko te Pakerewha.

It is Nukutere,

It is Nukutere.

It is Tawhiti,

It is Tawhiti.

A God,

A God.

It is the Pakerewha,

It is the Pakerewha.