Updated: Feb 10
I swear, this blog is not explicitly dedicated to the pseudo-study and whimsical discussion about of water creatures. This ain't Cerulean City up in here, and I ain't got no badges for ya.
I have simply found many more obscure/localized spirits/cryptids/demons seem to be water-based. Anthropologically, this makes perfect sense.
Of everywhere on our planet, deep aquatic places always have been and likely always will be beyond our full comprehension. For one, we have trouble comprehending any place that we cannot inhabit. Two, in ancient times, fifty feet underwater was a long damn way. Maybe some extremely skilled divers could go deeper, but the average person would only know of the VERY upper layer of a body of water. It is from those dark, mystery infested depths we get phenomenal cryptids such as the Taniwha.
The Taniwha is a Maori water spirit hailing from the waters and coasts of New Zealand. This creature is thought to be a mighty guardian of sacred and dangerous places, especially the deep lakes, rivers, cavernous sea caves, and the islands' hazardous coastal areas. Places with treacherous currents, massive waves, high shark concentration, and large-fin eel populations are often believed to be their dwelling places.
Taniwha apparently appear in many different forms, from eels and sharks to whales, lizards, and octopi. They may sound fairly paranormal to us, but in New Zealand, it is a relatively widespread belief that the Taniwha really do exist. This was evidenced by the sources I when researing this creature, including the New Zealand Government and an article by New Zealand Geographic.
One theory put forth by New Zealand Geographic article posits that the numerous encounters, sightings, and deaths supposedly caused by the legendary Taniwha might the workings of the Anguilla dieffenbachia, known by layman as long-finned eels.
To be fair, these eels are formidable creatures. They can grow up to seven feet long and are equipped with rows of razor-sharp teeth, a rib-cracking horn on their upper lip, the ability to travel over land, and an insatiable thirst for blood (literally, they can smell blood from far away). If you want to learn more about the actual eels, read this article: it is excellent.
However, this channel is about cryptids and paranormal stuff, so f**k that wholly logical and scientific explanation! What if these things are demons, or spirits, or gods, maybe even some of each?
Assuming what we all know is really true, that the Taniwha are shape-shifting guardians of the natural world who dwell in the spookiest and/or most dangerous waters of New Zealand, what sorts of abilities and traits do they have? Well, that varies.
The commonly held belief is that these creatures are mostly benevolent, though dangerous if angered or disrespected. However, there are conflicting beliefs that propose that the Taniwha formed alliances with certain tribes and could thus be very dangerous to the enemies and threats of that tribe.
Loyalties aside, they seem to be a spirit that people generally commune with. Many tribes keep the Taniwha appeased by offering the first fruit of a harvest and the year's last taro. In exchange, The Taniwha are said to warn of storms, invasions, plagues, and the like.
If you insist on angering a Taniwha, which I really wouldn't suggest, then at least make sure to do it far from water, or you will find the water your grave. Whatever form the Taniwha takes, it is likely to be a larger version of an already large and powerful animal that will come to drag you to the depths.
So what do you think? Are the Taniwha evil or good? Are they real or imaginary or huge eels?
Am I your new favorite blog author?
(Yes, yes I am).
Are there some other cool New Zealand creatures that you have heard of? Any obscure cryptids you think no-one's heard of? Have you ever seen a cryptid, or do you know someone who has?
I'd love to hear about all this stuff and anything else you care to ask or share down in the comments.
Thanks for reading, folks! See you next week.