Pania of the Reef “A Maori legend tells how Pania left the sea people to marry Karitoki, a chieftain whose whare (house) was sited in an area now known as Sturm’s Gully on Napier’s Bluff Hill.
After Karitoki departed to fight in a long tribal war, Pania’s original family called to her at sunset and at dawn. Unable, finally, to resist their siren voices, she swam out to meet them. When she attempted to return to the shore, however, she was drawn down to the caverns of the sea. Angered by her divided loyalties, Moana-nui-a-kiwa, lord of the sea, transformed her into a rocky shelf. Lying off the Napier breakwater, the beautiful sea creature is immortalised as Pania’s Reef.”
- Extract from Napier City Council Website