Tame Victor Saunders

Ngāi Tahu

Tame Saunders lived most of his life in Piriroa District in Southern Wairarapa. After returning from World War 1, he was confined to a wheelchair with a disability. He was secretary of the Piriroa Māori Committee and also National Party Secretary for the Southern Māori Electorate. He was 75 in 1965.

Biographical sources

  • Saunders, Tame. "The Eels of Lake Wairarapa." Te Ao Hou 51 (1965): 38.


  • "The Eels of Lake Wairarapa." Te Ao Hou 51 (1965): 36-38.
  • In this account of eel trapping at Okorewa, Saunders describes how to construct and set up the hinaki [eel basket] and the tawiri or net. He tells of the legendary eel migrations to the mouth of the Wairarapa Moana which result in waves of the different species of eel (the hao, the riko, the paranui and the kokopu tuna) coming one after another. Saunders concludes by giving instruction on how to catch eels and provides a guide to cooking and smoking the eels.
  • "He Manu Tapu Te Huia: The Sacred Huia." Te Ao Hou 62 (1968): 41+.
  • Aware that many younger Māori have no knowledge of the now extinct huia, Saunders describes his sighting of the bird in 1902 when he and two elders from Pirinoa and Palliser Bay, Heta Te Miha and Aporo Hare, went on a huia hunt at Wai-o-rongo-mai Station. Along with a general description of the bird, Saunders also includes a legend of the huia recounted by Heta Te Miha.
  • "The Titi Islands." Te Ao Hou 64 (1968): 21-24.
  • A comprehensive description of the titi or muttonbird industry which centres around the islands off the southern coast of Rakiura/Stewart Island. Saunders briefly mentions the Haka-wai legend and then provides a step by step account of how the mutton-birders go about their work of catching, preparing and packing the titi.
  • "Kupe: The Polynesian Navigator and Explorer." Te Ao Hou 66 (1969): 18-19.
  • Saunders traces the history of Kupe noting that according to oral accounts after Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga fished up Te Ika-a-Maui the land lay ‘dormant for many, many moons’ until the arrival of Kupe, his wife Kura-maro-tini and their people from Hawaiki. They sailed on the canoe Mata-hou-rua and made landfall at Rangi-Whakaoma (Castlepoint), battled with the octopus Muturangi and finally settled at Matakitaki (Cape Palliser) in the year 952 A.D. In the latter part of this article Saunders gives descriptions of key landmarks named after Kupe.
  • "Tupurupuru: An Old Maungaraki Māori Love Story." Te Ao Hou 70 (197?): 12-14.
  • Saunders retells the love story of Tupurupuru and Konini. The story begins with Tupurupuru waking from a dream in which his father Mananui appeared to him and told him to slay the water taniwha named Ngarara Huarau who raided pas and fishing parties. On one of these raids Konini narrowly escaped the taniwha and Tupurupuru fearing for her life, begins a long search for her. After many days of travelling he eventually finds her and returns her to her family.