In Maori mythology, taniwha are beings that live in deep pools in rivers, dark caves, or in the sea, especially in places with dangerous currents or deceptive breakers.
Most taniwha are associated with tribal groups; each have a taniwha of their own. Many well-known taniwha arrived from Hawaiki, often as guardians of a particular ancestral canoe. Once arrived in New Zealand, they took on a protective role over the descendants of the crew of the canoe they had accompanied
The figure depicted on the New Zealand 10c coin is a koruru, A carved head, which adorned the front of traditional Maori houses, the large carved houses were usually named after an important ancestor