In Māori mythology, Nuku-mai-tore are forest-dwelling spirits that sit upon the branches of trees or on parasitical plants such as wharawhara and kiekie plants.
Accounts differ as to their appearance. One legend says they had large chests and waists, but little heads; another text gives "no head, chest and waist only." A third says that their arms and legs were so short that they seemed to have no limbs at all, but waved their hands close to their bodies. All offspring of the nuku-mai-tore are delivered by Caesarean section, guaranteed to kill the mother.
The legendary human adventurer Tura married one of their race, a woman named Turaki-hau. Tura joins Whiro's canoe party, but when it enters a whirlpool he catches the overhanging boughs of a tree and lives among the Nuku-mai-tore, to whom he teaches the use of fire, the art of cooking, and the natural way of childbirth together with the ceremonies attending to the birth of a child.
The Nuku-mai-tore were seen also by Pungarehu and his friend Koko-muka-hau-nei, who were driven to foreign lands by a storm. Pungarehu cooked some whale's flesh as food for these fairies, and killed a pouakai (man-eating bird) with his stone axe.