Fishing with the Patupairehe

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (

Well, it’s been a year, and we’ve discussed loads of demons and critters here, but this one may be a first. A creature, a race more specifically, that actually helped shape a society’s skills. This month we’re talking about the patupairehe and how they helped the Maori of New Zealand.

The patupairehe are Maori fairies known to live in the Pirongia mountains and other secluded fog obscured hill top locales. They are seen mostly at night, and have the general appearance of humans, except for being exceedingly pale. Patupairehe frequently take human lovers, with the men of the species being skilled at arousing human women with their flute skills. That’s not a euphemism, they actually play the flute. Just like most fairies, they are guardians of the wilderness. The patupairehe fear the sun, fire, ash, and the color red. Also, they are repulsed by cooked food. All of these things can be used to protect yourself from them. Why protect yourself? Well, think of your family. Patupairehe males will make off with your women. Once your love has been spirited off to their new fairy home, they will forget their human lives.

Despite this, patupairehe have been incredibly helpful to the Maori. Once, a long time ago, a man came across the remains of a fish left on the beach. He found it odd that someone would abandon their catch, so he hid and waited for the fishermen to return. At midnight the patupairehe showed up and cast their magical fish nets. The man, who had fairly pale skin for a human, joined them unnoticed as they worked. Once they brought in the nets, they proceeded to string the fish they caught. The man struggled and so the patupairehe showed him how to do it.

As dawn approached, the patupairehe realized that the man, was well, a man. They argued amongst themselves as to what to do. Before they knew it, the sun was rising and they fled.

The patupairehe left all of the fishing gear. The man went back and taught the Maori what he had learned. That’s why the Maori are such skilled fisherman.