She was a very scary ogress and the owner of fire. She was also the grandmother of MAUI. That was the only thing that stopped her from eating him when he paid her a visit.
She gave him a fiery fingernail instead. He ran with it but it burnt his hands as he ran to his boat and threw it in — but it burnt through the bottom and finally fizzled out in the water. Undeterred, the cheeky lad went back and claimed another one. He didn’t learn and got burnt again — and again.
Tired of flinging him fingernails, MAHUIKA shouted ‘Take the lot!’ and surrounded MAUI with flames. He turned himself into a hawk and took off, but the flames followed and his wings were getting scorched. So he swooped to the sea and turned into a fish, but the sea started boiling as the flames followed and he jumped from the sea to the island of Whakauri, calling upon the Gods in charge of rain, sleet and hail to help him.
MAHUIKA sped to the island and nearly drowned as she managed to snatch the last vestiges of fire and put them securely inside a kaikomako tree. Still undeterred, MAUI carved some sticks from the tree and these were the first firesticks to create fire safely as and when needed.