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Te Orokohanga o Te Waiariki 

The origins of Te Waiariki

The story of Te Waiariki does not start on the shores of Taiharuru or on the rivers of Ngunguru, or Pātaua. We are an ancient tribe that traces our connections from Hawaiki, through to Hokianga Ngunguru, Tutukaka, Horahora, Pātaua and Taiharuru.


From Hawaiki, The Te Waiariki ancestors came to Aotearoa by way of Huruhurumanu. As the name suggest, Huruhurumanu was a feathered waka that had the gift of flight. It glided along the water without ever actually setting down on the ocean waves. In one version, Te Operurangi acquired the canoe from its owner, Te Morehu Taiehua was the captain and his adze was Paki-tua. The kaitiaki and guardian spirit of the waka was Tūkaiteuru, whose visible manifestation was a glow on the Western horizon. Te Atua Wera was also a Tohunga of this Tūkaiteuru. Those who travelled on the waka were known as Te Tini-O-Te-Pararakau, the Maeroero people.


In another version, the voyage commenced at a place named Patu-nui-o-Aio and gives Tūkete as the captain of the waka. Apparently he went on to achieve the reputation of a great navigator. During their voyage to Aotearoa, the crew met turbulent waves which threatened to swamp and overtake the waka.  Tohunga on board were able to calm and smooth the sea with Karakia. In the wake of Huruhurumanu, these karakia also enabled the waka Uruao and others to sail the calm seas. The voyage ended at Muriwhenua where the crew settled. There they built a pa called Ritoa and remained there until they were overrun by another tribe. 


The early history of Te Waiariki in the Hokianga is notable and cannot be overlooked. There are numerous and ancient wāhi tapu attributed to Te Waiariki in Hokianga. Wāhi tapu mentioned in the Papatupu committee hearings includes; Pukewhariki, Umutāmure, Puketapu, Pātiki, Te Whatanui, Pukekōwhai, Taami, Pukepoto, Ōkāhui and Rotopōtaka. Rotopōtaka was described as “Te nuinga o ngā tāngata i takoto ki reira, nō Te Waiariki” (most of the people buried there are from Te Waiariki).


One of the carvings in the Motuiti Marae, in Panguru shows the flight of two of the Te Waiariki Tūpuna, Rakaihautu and Te Maawe. While they lived in different areas, both were known to have possessed the power of flight and is portrayed in the carving by wings imaged above their heads. Te Maawe often flew between Hokianga and Ngunguru.


Te Waiariki largely left Hokianga under the leadership of Rangitauwawaro and settled in Ngunguru.  We remained only in this area until the late seventeenth century or early eighteenth century before continuing on to occupy other areas within our traditional boundaries. Through settlement and intermarriage with the Ngāi Tāhuhu sisters Te Huaki and Te Kahuwhero with Te Waiariki brothers, Tūkaiteuru and Te Uhi (or Uwhi). Te Waiariki entrenched themselves within this rohe landscape. By 1800, Te Waiariki had established settlements at Kauri, Waikare, Taiharuru, Taranui, Tahere, Whānau Whānui, Pātaua, Pūkahakaha, Ōhuatau, Horahora, Ngunguru, Kiripaka, Maruata, Ōwhetū and Whareora.


Even though Te Waiariki had left the cradle of Hokianga some 400 years prior, many of the mystic elements of Te Waiariki’s identity survived into the recent times. Te Maawe married and had a family to Te Maku from Te Mahurehure in Hokianga. His regular journeys between Hokianga and Ngunguru were marked by the speed in which he travelled. He would send his servants days ahead with provisions and reach Ngunguru before them. As a renowned Tohunga, it is said that he transformed himself into a comet.  


These observations led to remarks that “Te Waiariki were an old and tapu tribe. Oral evidence suggests that Te Waiariki was a specialist tribe, with inherent spiritual qualities. Stories such as Te Maawe’s transformation from mortal to comet reinforces the theory that Te Waiariki's forte lay in the science of astronomy and other sciences essential to economic survival such as agriculture, fishing, navigation and warfare among many other things. Te Waiariki’s vast knowledge was largely promoted by study and observation amassed over centuries through the institution of Whare Wānanga.


Te Orokohanga mai ō Ngāti Takapari

The naming of the hapū, Ngāti Takapari evolved from an event which took place during the time of Whakaruakiterangi. Accordingly, it was Whakaruakiterangi who fell off a cliff to his death, and  hence this is how  the name Takapari came about.


Te Orokohanga mai ō Ngāti Kororā

Ngāti Kororā traces its beginnings to the tupuna Mahanga. He attended a hui of Ngāpuhi where he was not recognised as a Rangatira. When he returned home his people were embarrassed to hear what had taken place at that hui. They ended up fashioning a korowai out of Kororā feathers. He wore the korowai when he attended the next Ngāpuhi hui and was recognised as a Rangatira by his people. Three generations later, his descendants, through Rahirahi, began to call themselves, Ngāti Kororā.

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