Tutira was born in a family and was later on captured by another tribe that lived near the coast. He worked in the gardens and carried water for the rangatira.
Tutira worked and sometimes played with the children of the rangatira. Tutira was envious of his friends when he was left to the gardens and regular chores and they were taken to be instructed as future leaders.
The years passed and Tutira grew into a young man. One of Tutira's special friends was Kawariki, the daughter of a powerful tohunga called Matakite. Kawariki was raised to be a future leader of their tribe and Matakite insisted that she train hard to fulfil her role.
When the wedding preparations began, Kawariki refused to cooperate, stating she would never marry a person she didn't love.
One night, when Kawariki snuck out of her whare, and up into the hills, Matakite secretly followed behind. Matakite found Kawariki and Tutira together and instantly cast a powerful spell. Kawariki screamed in horror as Tutira fell to the ground squirming in agony as his body darkened and took on the form of a fish, then slithered into the bush. Kawariki tried to plead with her father to reverse the spell but Matakite ignored her and walked off into the night.
Life slowly returned to Tutira's shark body, twisting in the shallow water. Kawariki released him and he headed to deeper water and out to sea. Just before Tutira was completely submerged, he turned back to Kawariki and spoke in a raspy voice. "When the new moon rises, wait on this shore and I will come to you." Tutira turned and disappeared into the waves and the embrace of Hinemoana.