Pingao was the daughter of Tangaroa the god of the ocean, and Kakaho (the stem of Toetoe) a son of Tane Mahuta, the god of the forest.
Day after day, Pingao would gaze longingly from the lapping waves as Toetoe’s beautiful white plumes blew in the wind and serenaded her from the shoreline. One day she rode the incoming tide as far as she could and clambered up the sand dunes. Unfortunately the sun was beating down and without the water of the ocean to sustain her she never made it to her lover’s side.
As Tane Mahuta and Tangaroa were enemies, some say that Tane Mahuta made his son stick in the ground so he could move to help her, and that Tangaroa sent a wave to wash his daughter away.
Weavers now gather the golden leaves of Pingao and stitch them together with the stems of Kakaho to weave the beautiful patterned Tukutuku panels that can be found in the Wharenui (meeting house) to be honored and admired by the people and bound together for eternity.