Ancient origins for the hei tiki lie in Hawaiki (the ancestral homeland of Maori
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Ancient origins for the hei tiki lie in Hawaiki (the ancestral homeland of Maori, thought to be in the East Polynesian islands). A Maori legend tells of the explorer Ngahue who had a disagreement with his wife. He fled Hawaiki but was chased by the fearsome fish, Poutini, and they made landfall in the Bay of Plenty (North Island of Aotearoa). Poutini fell into a deep pool and was turned into a greenstone canoe. Ngahue returned to Hawaiki with a piece of the pounamu taken from Poutini, which he fashioned into the first hei tiki adornments.