Mythical Creatures: Taniwha (New Zealand) By Derek Anderson, Joel Anderson, 2022


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In Māori mythology, the taniwha are supernatural beings that live in deep pools in rivers. Some legends suggest the creatures also live in caves and the sea, especially in dangerous regions of the sea, like areas with powerful currents or deceptive breakwaters. Much like the mermaid legend, some stories of taniwha suggest they are benevolent protectors, and others indicate they are dangerous predatory beings. The taniwha could take on different forms depending on where it lived. Deep sea taniwha were thought to look like a whale or a large shark. When living in rivers or inland lakes, the taniwha would take on the form of an enormous gecko or giant lizard. Still other stories suggest the taniwha could take on the appearance of a floating log, often to deceive passersby. Inspired by the legends of mysterious creatures and mythical monsters from around the world, Anderson Design Group poster artists hand-rendered a vintage-styled poster of this mysterious Māori legend. This classic monster design is available as a poster print, canvas, metal sign, mini-canvas, or as a notecard or postcard. To learn more about the history and stories of the taniwha, check out the website for the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

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