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The People

Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tamanuhiri

RONGOWHAKAATA

Rongowhakaata came from Uawa to Turanganui A Kiwa as a young man.

Upon his arrival he visited Te Huia pa and while there met and married Turahiri, the daughter of Moeahu.

Rongowhakaata and Turahiri had only one child, a son named Rongomairatahi. Through Turahiri comes the tribal saying "Te kotahi a Turahiri ripo ana te moana" translated "The only child of Turahiri, who causes the rippling of the sea". There came to be many descendants of this union.

Some years after the birth of Rongomairatahi, Turahiri passed away and Rongowhakaata married Turahiri's sister, Uetupuke. He also took another sister, Moetai for a wife.

Uetupuke however, did not believe in sharing her husband with other women. Although she was pregnant to Rongowhakaata she left Te Huia pa with a group of people and travelled to Opotiki. No sooner had the party reached Opotiki than Rongowhakaata arrived to take his wife home. It is said that Rongowhakaata had special powers and was able to turn himself into a bird. By doing this he had flown to catch up with his wife. Uetupuke refused to return with him and instead promised Rongowhakaata that if their child was born a boy, she would name him Rongopopoia.

Rongowhakaata lived his later life in the Pewhairangi Marae, where he died and was buried. Early in the nineteenth century a great flood broke through Pewhairangi. Despite efforts by Raharuhi Rukupo and his brothers to redirect the flood waters Rongowhakaata's burial ground was swept away.

MAHAKI

Mahaki, a grandson of Kahungunu was known for his cloak which because of its brilliant red colour was called, Te Kura A Mahaki. It was often compared with the kahikatea (white pine), and is recorded in the moteatea, Po! Po!

He became captivated by Hinetapuarau the young bride to be of Hingaanga, an older man. Hinetapuarau responded to Mahaki's affections towards her and they eloped.

Mahaki was a famous warrior and chief and is especially celebrated for the great battle known as "Te tokoremu a Mahaki" or "The closing of the jaws of Mahaki".

His elder brother, Tawhiwhi had been killed by members of Ngati Ira, who were living at Titirangi at that time. Mahaki avenged the death of his brother in a battle which resulted in Ngati Ira being driven out of Turanganui.

Mahaki's son Whakarau is on returning to his village one day discovered it to be unoccupied. In search of his father's people he came upon a sacrificial fire belonging to the luckless Pouarua. Here he uttered these words for he realised that he had been left behind.

"Turanga mua turanga tika, Turanga muri turanga he"

An interpretation of this is "those who move forward and accept the challenge will bear the fruits of success. Those who do not advance will not develop."

TAMANUHIRI

Tamanuhiri of Ngai Tahupo lived at Matiti Pa just south of Muriwai. He is the eponymous tipuna of the Iwi now known as Ngai Tamanuhiri.

Tamanuhiri is not so much recognised for his conquests of war, but more for his conquests of women.

The story is told of Tamanuhiri and how he wooed Hine Nui Te Po, named after the legendary woman who was attributed with Maui's death. His deed is said to be evidence of his virility and sexual prowess.

Tamanuhiri was noted for his generosity, for his good works and service to the people. Unfortunately his wife was not so kindly described.

Every time Tamanuhiri required work to be done she would say "You've got slaves galore, make them work. Not me, the queen!"

across from his pa lived Hine Nui Te Po. She was a very industious woman who gaily tendered her kumara pits.

Tamanuhiri was very attracted to her and decided that as Ranagtira and leader of the people, he would make her his wife even though she too was already married.

One day he waited for Hine Nui Te Po to complete her work and then followed her into the kumara pit. There he declared his feelings for her only to discover that she felt the same way for him.

Tamanuhiri left his wife and he and Hine Nui Te Po united and moved away together to live at Te Puru Pa at Pukehou.

Until her liaison with Tamanuhiri, Hine Nui Te Po had been childless. Becoming pregnant to Tamanuhiri she said, "Taku he ki te huatea no muri ko te huauri." (first childlessness, then fertility.)