Manata from the Māori legend of Lake Wakatipu

7 Manata

Carved out of a huge glacier during the last ice age 15,000 years ago, the romantic Māori legend of Lake Wakatipu was born.

Many first-time visitors to Queenstown may not be familiar with Manata, the legend of Lake Wakatipu.

Featuring a distinctive ‘S’ shape, the legend tells the creation of Lake Wakatipu with the forbidden romance between the young warrior Matakauri and Manata, a beautiful daughter of a Māori chief.

One evening, Matau - a cruel taniwha (giant) - kidnapped Manata and hid her in his mountain lair. Manata’s father was so distraught, he declared that any warrior that was able to rescue her, could have her hand in marriage.

Matakauri accepted the challenge, figuring that this was the only way to prove his love to Manata. He however knew that the next time the warm wind blew from the north-west, the taniwha would be put to sleep.

When the wind blew, and the taniwha lay sleeping, Matakauri attempted to rescue the chief’s daughter. Matakauri discovered that the magical rope made from a two-headed dog that tied Manata to the taniwha could not be cut.

In her despair, Manata sobbed. When her tears fell on the rope, it dissolved and she was able to break free. The couple fled and were married as promised by Matau’s father.

After the wedding, Matakauri decided to rid of the taniwha once and for all. He waited again for the warm north-west wind to blow, when the giant was asleep.

Matakauri set fire to Matau to ensure he would never steal Manata again. The taniwha’s body melted, creating a deep gouge in the earth which filled with melted ice and snow.

The large ‘S’ shaped lake left in his place forms Lake Wakatipu, which translates as the ‘hollow of the sleeping giant’.

People say that the only part of Matau’s body that didn’t burn was his heart, which still beats in the lake, creating the mysterious, rhythmic 20cm rise and fall of it’s the lakes waters. Scientific explanation names this phenomenon a seiche – a standing wave that passes by every 27 minutes which causes the water level to rise and fall by 20cm, triggered by wind and atmospheric changes.


What our guests say:

The house(s) is(are) spectacular! The view is extraordinary and led to many meals and drinks on the patio. The beds are comfy and kitchens well stocked with all the pots/pans/serving dishes/vases etc that one might need for a large family gathering. There were plenty of linens and towels and there were washers and dryers in both houses. The Toyota Prado's were perfectly maintained. The owner was easily reachable via email, quick to respond to questions and provide advice on Queenstown. Our large family/friend group had a wonderful time, enjoying the amazing view, convenient location. The bus system was fantastic for our friends who didn't rent a car. We also enjoyed some tasty fish and chips and pizzas from the lovely Vknow and Chur's Fish and Chip shop. We loved our time at 7 Manata and all of our family are trying to make a plan to go back!


Amazing house!! We rented 7 Manata for a 40th Birthday weekend get together. Great views, had everything we needed in both houses. Huge space and awesome rooms so we never felt like we were in each other's space. The host [Guy] was awesome to deal with...


Fantastic family home with the facilities you need to accommodate a large group. Excellent service and communication from the hosts who were very flexible and accommodating. The most stunning views of Queenstown and only a 5 min drive or lovely 20 min walk into town.


Wonderful views, fantastic deck , the spa was a welcome relief at the end of a long day . The houses are well appointed.


Awesome!! The house has the best sight in queenstown! Better than the Gondola. We enjoyed the city and the house very much. It is an amazing place for holidays. Thanks for all


Simply the best location and brilliant home for a family holiday in the most beautiful part of the world. Stunning views, so well appointed accommodation with open living. The hosts were so helpful and easy to communicate with. A shortish drive into the township but also a few shops just up the hill.The outdoor spa was a lovely bonus for us all.