Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 6, October 1966

The Secretary's notes on a Talk given to the Waihi Historical Society by Mr. Wikiriwhi who was at that time teaching in Waihi.

Mr. Wikiriwhi explained that the Tarawera disaster of 1886 had displaced the Wikiriwhi family, at that time resident at Te Wairoa, the village overwhelmed by the eruption. As compensation the Government had granted the survivors of the tribe over a thousand acres, some of it in the Waihi district and some in Whangamata. This grant had been based on a study of the genealogy of the tribe which was descended from Hotunui of the Ngati Maru tribe. A descendant, Tamatera (A.D. 1500 approximately) was the principal chief in the Ohinemuri district and it was through his grand-daughter, Taoi te Kura, that the Tuhorangis had been awarded the land in Waihi.

Legends concerning famous people in earlier generations of the Ngati Maru tribe were recounted and these showed the close connection with the Coromandel and Ohinemuri areas. There was Hotunui of the big feet who, disgusted at the accusation that he had stolen kumara, left his tribe at Kawhia and came to the Waihi district where he was found later by his son, Maru-tuahu. At this place Maru-tuahu was to avenge the insult cast upon his father by people who had refused him fish, by causing a huge net to be made and, through a skilful stratagem, cast over nearly a thousand of the tribe who had been invited to a feast. By this means his followers without losing a man were able to slay the people of the tribe who had insulted his father, for no one escaped alive from the net.

Hotunui's other son, Te Paaka, of Wharekawa near Whangamata, had a daughter, Kahureremoa, who, in order to escape an unwelcome suitor, fled from place to place accompanied by a girl friend. Among these places were Waitakaruru, the Piako River, Katikati and Mount Hikurangi. From Hikurangi she viewed the country of the young chief, Takakopiri, whom she had already decided to marry. Eventually she met him spearing birds in a tree and accompanied him to his village where, within a short time, they were married. It is from this union that Sir Maui Pomare and countless families in the Rotorua and Taupo districts derive their descent.

Mr. Wikiriwhi then dealt with some early Maori genealogies tracing them back over a thousand years and mentioning that Adam and Eve and their descendants have their counterparts in Hawaiian legend. He referred to evidence in support of Heyerdahl's theory that the Maoris came from Peru to Hawaii and later to the Cook Islands before coming to New Zealand.

The Society felt, after hearing Mr. Wikiriwhi, that he had made a most useful and interesting contribution to the study of pre-European history in the Ohinemuri area. (Reported by Jean Clark).

(Goldfield Maori Tribes - from James Mackay's report, 1875, "The principal native land owners are the tribes Ngatipaoa, Ngatiwhanaunga, Ngatitamatera, and the Ngatimaru. The claims of these people extend over the country on the East and West Shores of the Hauraki Gulf as far south as Katikati, and the Te Aroha Mountain and Waitoa in the Valley of the Thames".

We shall have a further article on Maori Lore and Genealogy in our next issue. The Paeroa Historical Society has just been privileged to hear a most interesting address by Mr. Ahi Royal who is a local authority on this subject. Ed.)