THETA – Sexwise

thetaPoutini, Waitaiki and Tamaahua

Some of you will be familiar with the THETA tradition of naming the Sexwise teams after a pair of lovers.

Our Kaitiaki, Wendi Raumati (Kai Tahu), has shared the poignant legend of Poutini and the tragic love of Waitaiki and Tamaahua after whom we name our 2014 Teams. Although we are expecting better outcomes from our journey across Aotearoa than the originals had, we feel this is a very fitting moniker – so much so we’ve even included our own ‘Jayde’ in team Waitaiki.

Poutini is a taniwha who guards the mauri (spiritual essence) of pounamu. One day while resting in the warm waters off Tuhua (Mayor Island) he saw a beautiful woman, Waitaiki, bathing in the sea. Poutini looked at Waitaiki with lust in his heart (and elsewhere). He lunged forward and snatched her and fled south towards the mainland.

Waitaiki’s husband, Tamaahua was a powerful chief and skilled in the rituals of the spirit world. When he realised his wife had been taken he threw a magical dart in the air. The dart pointed in the direction of his wife. Tamaahua paddled after them in hot pursuit. Finally after reaching the shore Poutini lit a fire to warm Waitaiki, but hearing Tamaahua approaching he took her up again and moved on. The chase continued across Aotearoa. Each time Poutini stopped he lit a fire to warm his captive: at Tahanga, on the Coromandel Peninsula at Whangamata in Taupo, at Rangitoto Ki te Tonga, Onetahua and Pahuatare. The rocks at all these sites are all still stained by the fires of Poutini.

Fleeing further south Poutini and his captive eventually reached Piopiotahi (Milford Sound). Weeping with cold and fright, Waitaiki begged him to turn around. Poutini listened to her, and carried her back up the coast, eventually taking sanctuary in the headwaters of the Arahura River. In close pursuit, at Piopiotahi Tamaahua found his wife’s tears preserved forever in the stone named tangiwai (Bowenite). He realised that Poutini and Waitaiki had turned back and tracked them up the coast to the Arahura Valley. Poutini was concerned. Fearing Tamaahua’s strength and determination, he decided that if he could not have Waitaiki, no-one would. He transformed her into his likeness (pounamu) and laid her in the cold waters of the river. Then he slipped downstream past the sleeping warrior.

In the morning Tamaahua set out to do battle with Poutini but when he reached the head of the river, his enemy was gone. He found his young wife cold and lifeless, transformed into stone in the riverbed. Realising what had happened he went back home grieving. To Ngāi Tahu, Waitaiki is the mother of pounamu. The Jade fragments that break from the mother lode and roll down the river to the sea are her children.

Sexwise National Tour

Between March and June, teams Waitaiki and Tamaahua will delivery Sexwise to diverse communities between Milton to Taipa. We really appreciate the great support we receive and welcome any opportunity to korero.  Also check out the calendar for session delivery dates.


Ngahiriwa, Heidi, Hadley, Jayde, Jasmine, Adam, Saufoi & Jocelyn

THETA in action!