The Taniwha is a creature connected with New Zealand's Maori mythology. Believed to inhabit rivers, lakes, caves, and areas with dangerous currents or turbulent waters, Taniwhas have had a major presence in Maori legends for centuries and were reported soon after indigenous peoples arrived in New Zealand. Taking the shape of a ferocious eel or water dragon, the creatures are noted as being giant, white, and serpentine. Though they are sometimes thought of as protective, the Taniwha are often seen as vicious monsters that evoke great fear in Maori tribal members. Taniwhas are known to be most ferocious towards individuals from outside tribes and anyone that encroaches into their territory.