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Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa EXPRESSION OF INTEREST Papakainga Housing Progr..
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Advance voting in Tairawhiti / Gisborne vo

18th Sep 2014

TAIRAWHITI / GISBORNE voters were quick to take advantage of advance voting, which began on the 3rd ... more



There are differing versions of how Turanganui A Kiwa derived its name. One is that Kiwa came ahead of the Horouta on the waka Takitimu. As it took so long for the Horouta to arrive he bestowed on the meeting place Turanganui A Kiwa or the long waiting place of Kiwa.

Another version relates the name Turanganui A Kiwa to the time when Kiwa stood forever and a day gazing out to sea anxiously awaiting the return of his son lost at sea.

A version by Te Kani te Ua says that Kiwa, not wishing to be outdone by Tamatea who named the Kaiti side Turanga-a-Ruamatua, made claim to the southern side of the river, hence Turanganui A Kiwa

Paoa provided a third name, Turanganui A Maru and by travelling over the district took sole possession of these lands.

The marriage of Kiwa's son Kahutuanui to Paoa's daughter Hine Akua was a significant event in that it interlaced the bloodlines of these two founding ancestors of whom Ruapani is eighth in descent.

Kiwa = Rakaitapatahi Pawa = Paparukuruku
Kahutuanui Hine Akua
Haua Wairaka
Aru'u ki taharangi Rangitaukiwaho
Ngori o te rangi Rakaikoko
Ueroa (Uengore) Taraiwhata
Tahungaehenui Hiharore
Ruatepupuke Tuioairua


He taonga tuku iho, Ko te manutukutuku,
Kua ngaro atu ke ki nga hau e wha,
Kua whakamiharo a tatou nei ngakau,
Kia patu ake ki te whai ao,
Ki te ao marama.

A treasured kite lost to the winds, brings much joy when found again. The importance and significance of kite-making and kite flying to the Iwi of Turanganui a Kiwa are obvious when the genealogies and history are looked at.

Rongo the patron of the arts was closely associated with manutukuku.

Tane (Tane mahuta - Tane the flyer) and Rehua (the star antares) play important spiritual roles in the rituals of kite flying. There was Tawhaki, who attempted to ascend to the heavens upon a kite, and then onto Hawaiki and the tumultuous times of Uenuku, Paikea and Ruatapu. It was whilst retrieving his wayward kite from the roof-top of his fathers house that Ruatapu was condemned an illegitimate son, "ka kii a Ruatapu e Uenuku ki te tamameamea". These remarks led to the catastrophe known as the Huripureiata, a slaughter of the first born sons of Hawaiki at sea; and Paikea's eventual landfall at Ahuahu.

Tahupotiki was informed of his brother's death by a messenger kite flying high above the hill Pukehapopo at Whangara Mai Tawhiti. The murder of Kahutapere's twin sons Tarakiuta and Tarakitai by Rakaihikuroa was uncovered by the flying of kites sent to seek out the assassins.

Rongowhakaata was a kite flyer of some repute. The great birds of Ruakapanga, Harongarangi and Tiungarangi which feature in Te Mana o Turanga and are associated with the kumara are also part of Rarotongan history. Ruakapanga, the sacred bird of Tane, was said to have been a kite with a wing span of nearly four metres.

These are but a few events where the flight of the manutukutuku plays a role. Many others can be found in the rich and colourful history of Iwi Maori and Turanganui A Kiwa.


Ruapani was the paramount chief of the Turanganui tribes. All the lines of descent from Paoa, Kiwa and other members of the Horouta migration converged on him.

He is also known to have descended from other ancestral waka that came to the East Coast.

Ruapani had three wives who between them gave him numerous children including sets of twins and triplets.

He had a great pa, known as Popoia pa on the western bank of the Waipaoa River at Waituhi. However he did not live there permanently and eventually left Turanganui A Kiwa to accompany members of his family when they married and moved away from their ancestral home.

According to Rongowhakaata Halbert after Ruapani's death his remains are said to have been brought to Whare korero at Wainui beach to the sacred kohurau cove.


Ngati Kahungunu tradition records Kahungunu as having come to Turanganui A Kiwa. He visited Titirangi pa at Titirangi (Kaiti hill) near the mouth of the Turanganui river. From there he saw the smoke from the fires of Ruapani's pa, Popoia. He visited Ruapani and married one of his daughters. From this union followed what has been described as a "bewildering" series of intermarriages between the families of Ruapani and Kahungunu. Kahungunu left and as he moved south he had more liaisons and children. Many of his descendants married back into the Iwi of Turanganui A Kiwa.

For a long period of time after Ruapani and Kahungunu the history of Turanganui A Kiwa witnessed the breaking away of various Hapu and Whanau and numerous alliances through marriages. In fighting continued between the direct descendants of Ruapani and Kahungunu Groups migrated into and out of Turanganui A Kiwa as a result of fighting, exile, overcrowding and power struggles typical to the development of societies.


There are several versions of this story with a common pattern. Rakaihikura occupied a pa in Patutahi. He believed the mana of that area belonged to him and that it was to be passed onto his eldest son, Tupurupuru. One day Rakaihikura became aware that the flow of gifts had slackened off towards him and his son and were going instead to his nephews, the twin sons of the chief Kahutapere. The reason for the twin's popularity was their fame as top spinners. Out of jealousy and concern for his and his son's continued mana Rakaihikuroa slew his nephews. When it was discovered that the twins were missing Kahutapere called in the services of a tohunga who tracked the murderer using a kit which flew over to and remained motionless above Rakaihikuroa's pa, Pukepot.

Kahutapere immediately extracted revenge and assisted by of Mahaki -Tauheikuri killed Tupurupuru and chased Rakaihikuroa out of Turanganui A Kiwa.


Tutekohe a direct descendant of Ruapani occupied a large pa at the mouth of the Pakarae river. Another of his pa was located where the Anglican Vicerage stands today in Cobden street.

Tutekohe's mana was such that when he placed a stick in the ground a flow of gifts followed.

He was inordinately fond of his pet dog, Kauerahuanui and let him lick the fat from the gourds filled with preserved birds or rats that were placed on the Marae when visitors arrived. One day when hosting Rakaipaaka, Tutekohe fed his dog the contents of the gourds and his visitors the bones.

Although their was no love lost between Tutekohe and Rakaipaaka did not show any anger at being insulted. However soon after someone enticed away and slew Tutekohi's dog. Blaming Rakaipaaka and with the assistance of Mahaki, Tutekohe attacked and drove him out of Turanganui A Kiwa to Nuhaka.


Being a place that commands people's affections because of its fertility and geographical location Turanganui A Kiwa was frequently sought after and fought over. Thus the name from the whakatauaki, Turanga Makaurau meaning Turanga of a hundred lovers.

After a lengthy period of migrations, movements and alliances the larger and dominant Iwi of Te Aitanga A Mahaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngai Tamanuhiri (earlier known as Ngai Tahu Po) and their affiliated Hapu had established themselves as the Tangata Whenua of Turanganui A Kiwa by the time Captain Cook arrived on the Endeavour in 1769.