Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 18, June 1974

By Lionel Adams M.A.

(Mr. Adams of Tauranga will be remembered as our guide on various Historical Outings (see Journal 11 re Mayor Island [see Journal 11: Tuhua - Mayor Island -E]) and as an authority on Maori History. The following article, the result of a Talk given in Waihi, is of particular interest because Mr. Adams himself can claim descent from the famous Tainui Canoe. (Ed.)



Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 18, June 1974
Maori tradition has it that Kupe discovered Ao-tea-roa somewhere about 950 A.D., and that Toi settled at Whakatane some 200 years later, i.e., about 1150. At that time there was a fairly large population of "Tangata whenua" who were of a peaceful and friendly disposition. Again, later, about 1350, came the great Heke - the migration, in their great sea-going canoes, of our Maoris to Ao-tea-roa. For various reasons, they left their home lands of Hawaiki (generally accepted as being the Pacific Islands of Tahiti, Raiatera Rarotonga, etc.), to seek a new home for their peoples in a new and peaceful country. The skill and courage of these intrepid colonists has been handed down in song and story by successive generations, to give us a vibrating history of this proud and valiant people.

One of the canoes in this Heke was the "Tainui" commanded by The chief Hoturoa and navigated by his tohunga Rakataura. It is a tale of "Tainui" that I tell - not a story of warfare, bloodshed and sudden death, but rather a collection of stories relating to the tupuna (ancestors) concerned in a particular whakapapa (family tree) of what is now a pakeha family - a story to show one side of ancient Maori Life, when romance and culture built a spiritual and human environment against a background of war-like and valiant deeds.

The whakapapa played a very important part in the lives of the Maori, and a great deal of time was spent in the Whare Wananga (House of Learning) in memorising its many ramifications. The Maori had no written language, so the whole of the tribal history, with legends and spiritual beliefs added, had to be memorised accurately by the young rangatira. It was the sacred duty of the tohunga to pass on all this knowledge and make sure that the lessons learned in the Whare Wananga were not forgotten or distorted. The tribal whakapapa thus became the 'backbone' on which all tribal history and traditions were attached. The Maori never sought to improve a story by leaving out human frailties - rather he embellished his story with the dramatic. They were an elemental people, and elemental passions prevailed. This whakapapa mentions people, some of whom have left nothing but their names; others had distinguishing characters, some good, some bad, but mostly a mixture of both. Here then, is a brief account of their story:


Captain and chief of "Tainui" lived in Tahiti. His wife was Whaka-o-te-rangi.

Wars and over population were the factors that led him to the decision to emigrate. A suitable tree for the canoe was found near the grave of his wife's father - Tainui - hence the name. The canoe was built not a double canoe, but an out-rigger. They set out in company with the "Arawa", were separated, most probably called on at the Kermadec Islands and finally made a landfall at Whangaparaoa (near Cape Runaway), then they sailed across the Bay of Plenty to Ahuahu, and in to the Waitemata and Tamaki-makau-rau. Some say that "Tainui" doubled the North Cape to Kawhia, but the general belief is that she was dragged across the portage at Otahuhu on to the Manukau from whence she sailed down the West Coast to Mokau before returning to her final resting place at Kawhia. Here the canoe was dragged into a grove of manuka, and not ever used again. Two stone pillars - Hani and Puna - were erected, one at the stern and the other at the bow. You can see them there today.

RAKATAURA: the tohunga, was of very high standing. The original tohunga selected for "Tainui" was Ngatoro-i-rangi, but he was kidnapped by Tama-te-kapua, the chief of "Arawa" so "Tainui" had no tohunga. There are three versions how Rakataura came to Ao-tea-roa The first is that, after Tainui left without a tohunga, he asked the Atua (Gods) for help, and they obliged by sending a big fish (whale) named Paneiraira, on the back of which Raka came to Ao-tea-roa. The second version is that he came in a canoe by himself. The third and most probable is that he came in "Tainui". For, the story goes on to say, after the canoe left Whangaparaoa, when opposite Te Kaha, a woman named Torere jumped overboard and swam ashore, to avoid the unwelcome attentions of the tohunga Raka. Although a search was made, she was not found; she found refuge with the tangata whenua, married, and founded the Ngati-tai tribe. Moreover, we knew that Raka was at Tamaki with Hoturoa. They quarrelled, so Rakataura went overland to Kawhia and met the canoe on its arrival there. (Rakataura's son, Hape-ki-tuarangi, is said to have come to Ao-tea-roa riding on a whirl-wind).

Here, the two set up an alter "Ahurei", near the canoe, and gave thanks to the Atua for their safe arrival in the new land. A very famous Whare Wananga developed here at Ahurei, and was destined to become one of the main Schools of Learning, at which tohungas were trained to the highest grades of their profession.

Here, at Kawhia, the tribe settled and soon established itself among the peaceful and friendly tangata whenua. Hoturoa remained at Kawhia, but Rakataura and his wife went exploring inland as far as the Waipa, named many places, thus establishing valid claims for future possession. At Aotea, a short distance to the north, Whaka-o-te-rangi planted the first kumara in the new home land. (Three other canoes have claims of a similar nature).

2. HOTUOPE lived at Kawhia.

3. HOTUMATAPU: His son established the "King line".

4. MOTAI extended the tribal territories to Marokopa, and lived there.

5. UE:

6. RAKAMAOMAO = Kahu, fourth in line from Rakataura, and thus we get a junction of the two main lines of Tainui genealogy. His sons are very important in Tainui history. (1) TUIHAUA the youngest, was the great-grandfather of TOA RANGATIRA, the eponymous ancestor of the Ngati-Toa tribe. Years later this very warlike tribe, under their brilliant valiant chief, Te Rauparaha, - expelled from their tribal lands round Kawhia by Waikato and Maniapoto, - migrated south to Kapiti and Otaki. (2) HOUMEA - ancestor of the Waikato tribes, (3) KAKATI.

7. KAKATI = Uruhina, seventh in line of descent from Taumari, captain of "Kurahaupo" canoe.

8. TAWHAO: An outstanding chief and leader who extended the tribal lands into the Waipa Valley. He had two sons, WHATIHUA, son of Putearomea, and TURONGO, son of Maru-te hiakina. The story of these two sons is full of human interest.

Whatihua, the eldest, was a very great chief and noted also for his exceptional skill as an agriculturist. He was married to Apakura sixth in line from Ngatoro-i-rangi, the famed tohunga of "Arawa" canoe. His prosperous village of Aotea was dominated by his large dwelling "Wharenui", and he was widely known as a man of many possessions.

Turongo, the younger brother, travelled south to Taranaki and became betrothed to a famed beauty of high degree, Ruaputahanga, a direct descendant from Turi, captain of the "Aotea" canoe. Upon his return, Turongo set about building a house at Kawhia. He felled a tree for the ridge-pole and sought the advice of Whatihua. On observing that the tree was longer than his own ridge-pole, Whatihua became jealous, saying it was too long for its strength and should be shortened. This Turongo did, so his house "Whare-e-ngarere" was much smaller than "Wharenui". Store houses were also constructed, and again Turongo consulted his brother about filling them. Again Whatihua seized the opportunity to be top dog, "Wait till spring when all the food will be fresh". Nevertheless, Whatihua took great care to fill his own store houses to capacity.

In due course Ruaputahanga, attended by a fitting retinue, set out from Patea on her journey north. At one resting place, she caused water to spout miraculously from a rock - the place is still known as "Te Puna-o Ruaputahanga". In early Summer she arrived at Kawhia and, passing on, she stopped at Turongo's "Whare-o-ngarere" where preparations had been made for her reception. Here due to the advice given by Whatihua she found the accommodation crowded and the food scanty. After a few day's she and her party shifted over to "Wharenui", where Whatihua welcomed her with lavish entertainment and a plentiful supply of delicious food. Thinking this betokened Whatihua's superiority as a provider, Ruaputahanga changed her mind, and became the second wife of Whatihua.

The three lived together amicably for some time, and later moved to Oparau on Kawhia harbour. Here Apakura expressed a desire for some eels. Whatihua set out in his kopapa (small river canoe) for the creek where eels were plentiful. He baited his hooks, and cast his lines, saying, "KI TE HIAHIA-O-APAKURA". But there were no bites. Again and again he repeated the incantation, all to no effect. He shifted his position several times - still no result. Remembering Apakura's wishes, he became very worried. Then he had an inspiration - quietly he whispered: "KI TE HIAHIA-O-RUAPUTAHANGA". Immediately there were dozens of eels all striving to be caught. He felt very guilty, but took the fish to Apakura, who thoroughly enjoyed them.

Some malignant spirit must have been busy, as the story became known. Ruaputahanga was incensed at the insult saying, "What? Steal my mana to bait your hooks!" She would stay no longer, and taking her infant son with her she fled past Maketu and Ahurei to the narrow harbour entrance which she must swim. Fearful of taking her infant son, Uenuku Te Rangihoka with her, she left him in a warm sandy hollow in the sunshine. Whatihua searched for her fruitlessly, but finding the young Uenuku, returned to Oparau. Here the child was reared by foster parents and became known as Uenuku Whangei (artificially reared). He became a tupuna of the King line.

Turongo took his jilting quite philosophically, and later travelled as far as Hawkes Bay where he became the guest of the Kahungunu chief Tuaka. He was a very welcome guest, as he used his skill at carving in assisting to build a Whare-puni, and in addition his success at snaring pigeons and dancing made him most popular with the tribe. Before leaving for his home, he married the beautiful Mahina-a-rangi, the daughter of Tuaka. His romance is very interesting and a most unusual courtship for a Maori. He lived in a whare a short distance from the pa. At night, after entertainment in the Whare-rehia, he returned to his hut along a dark track shaded by bush and fern. He was often waylaid by an unseen and nameless maiden who was lavish in the use of perfume made from the leaves of the kawakawa shrub. When Turongo talked of returning home Tuaka suggested that he take a wife from the tribe. To this Turongo agreed, on the condition that he made the selection himself and to this Tuaka agreed. That evening, during the performance of action songs and poi in the Whare-rehia Turongo moved among the performing maidens, sniffing at each performer as he passed. At last he located the one with the distinguishing rau-kawa scent, and it was none other than Tuaka's daughter, Mahina-a-rangi. Great was the rejoicing, and they were duly married. Soon after, Turongo left for Kawhia, and Mahina was to follow later.

Tawhao divided his lands between his two sons, giving Whatihua the lands round Kawhia and assigning the lands of the Waipa to Turongo. So Turongo went to Waipa and, near Te Awamutu, established his headquarters in which to await the arrival of his wife. Mahina and her retinue travelled slowly via Waikare-moana and Rotorua, as she was expecting her child. When near Okoroire, she gave birth to her son and, of course, named him Raukawa. Soon after she was united with Turongo in their home in the Waipa. Raukawa later became the progenitor of the famous Ngati-Raukawa - a very welt known Tainui tribe which later joined Te Rauparaha and the Ngati-Toa in their struggles with Maniapoto and Waikato tribes, and who later emigrated with them to Kapiti and Otaki. (What a little bit of scent can do!)

9. TURONGO, referred to above became a famed warrior who extended his territory southward from Waipa. He died at Rangiatea. The place where he died was (and is) so tapu that fires in the fern burned round the spot and never desecrated it.

10. RAUKAWA = Turongoihi, a direct descendant from Ngatoro-i-rangi, the famed tohunga of the Arawa canoe. As mentioned above, he is the eponymous founder of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe. He was a successful warrior leader and consolidated the position of his tribe in the Waipa area.

11. REREAHU had a very distinguished family from his three wives,- the better known are his two sons, Maniapoto and Matakore, and a daughter Rongorito. A brother of his is an ancestor of the celebrated Rewi Maniapoto of Orakau fame. The two sons each established important Tainui tribes. The daughter, Rongorito, founded a "village of refuge" near Otorohanga named "Te Marae-O-Hine". Any fugitive who reached the village could claim sanctuary and was protected without question, as no bloodshed was permitted in the village. On one occasion, a man of the Tuwharetoa tribe claimed sanctuary from his pursuers and the chief, Ruawehia, granted his request. Even after Ruawehia heard from the pursuers that his own son had been murdered by the fugitive, he still allowed him to rest in safety. After a couple of days, he gave the man food and told him he would have a free day's start in his travels, but after that his life would be forfeit if he was caught. (The man got away to safety).

12. MANIAPOTO was the most distinguished of Rereahu's sons, and lives in song and story as the great progenitor of the Ngati-Maniapoto tribe which became the acknowledged paramount tribe of the Tainui people. This eminent warrior extended the tribal boundaries southward from the Puniu to the Mokau River. The Ngati-Maniapoto tribe more than any other, clung to the traditions and culture of the past, and fought to the last (at Orakau) against the pakeha to retain their lands and mana. Their deeds are well known, and in themselves form a magnificent part of the great Maori saga. Strong supporters of the "King Movement" as they were, their lands are still known without rancour as the "King Country". The foundations were truly laid by Maniapoto.

13. TE KAWA-IRI-RANGI visited the chief of Tamaki Makau Rau at Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) and married his two daughters. By one, Maroa, he had a son, Tukemata. Maroa told Te Kawa that her brothers were jealous of him, and that he had better leave. He went to Taranaki where, at Opoutama, he was killed, after, it is alleged, he had killed a Taranaki native. When Tukemata grew to manhood, he went to Taranaki to avenge his parent's death by defeating the Ngati-tama tribe. Some time after, the Ngati-tama attacked Maungakiekie and killed Tukemata. As a result, Tamaki and Waikato combined to avenge both deaths, again defeated Ngati-tama. Hence arose the saying "Mokau ki raro, Tamaki ki runga" (from Mokau in the south, to Tamaki in the north) which signified they were a united people.

14. RUNGA-TE-RANGI, son of Mareikura and Te Kawa. His two nieces, Pukeparae and Paraekarau, were daughters of Tukemata.. Apparently they forgot the family feud and married into the Ngati-tama tribe. Runga-te-rangi, in the course of a visit to them was treacherously murdered and his body left on the sea shore. When the Ngati-tama went to collect it, it had drifted away in the tide and eventually washed up on the beach at Hakerekere. It was found by Tainui people and buried with all due ceremony. (Later the bones were transferred to a grave near Otorohanga). Meantime, the young Maniapoto wives were grossly insulted and lost caste. Their three brothers waged a war to avenge the death of Runga; two were killed, and the body of one was cooked for the usual feast. On opening the hangi the body was found to be only partially cooked - a very bad omen! Then Parekarau prophesied that, before long, her relatives would "tread the sands of Hakerekere". This they soon did - with considerable effect.

15. URUHINA: From one of his sons, the King line descends.



18. TE POU: During this time, the wars against Te Rauparaha were fought.



21. RAKAPA NGAWAI = John Edwards, of Essex, at Te Awamutu in February 1850, the Rev. John Morgan officiating. She was a rangatira lady of importance, as is evidenced by the lands ceded to her by the chiefs on her marriage. She Lived to the age of 90, and died at Rotorua in 1910. Her children represent the change in this whakapapa from Maori ancestors to Pakeha citizens of New Zealand today. The story of her son, Hare, illustrates the impact of Pakeha culture and beliefs, economic practices, and way of life, on the traditional habits and spiritual customs so deeply imbued in the conservative Maori clinging to his heritage from a long line of revered ancestors. Here is Hare's story:-

Hare, along with his brothers and sisters was educated at the Te Awamutu Mission school and later went on to St. Stephen's College in Auckland. On leaving he became a farmer near Kiokio, and in turn was farmer, carpenter, Native Agent and Interpreter to the Native Land Court. Events following show the mingling of Maori and Pakeha cultures, and illustrate the basic differences between the two sets of spiritual and economic values.

Three centuries ago an ancestor of his, named Rua, lost his sacred adze "Papataunaki" in a hollow totara tree, whilst snaring pigeons and kaka. The name and mana of Papataunaki lived in the tree, which eventually became personified as "Papataunaki". After the passage of years, the tree died and was carried down by floods and deposited on Hare's farm. Though fallen and dead, the tree was still venerated by the Maoris of the district who, in referring to it, always regarded it as personified and always used its name, "Papataunaki".

Being a very matter-of-fact man, with a Pakeha education and with Pakeha connections as well, Hare decided to split the tree into much-needed posts, and set about doing so in spite of violent protests from his "uncivilised neighbours". In particular the tohunga, Hopa, protested, saying, "What? Cut up your ancestor for posts", and prophesied dire calamity. Hare was not put off and set to work while a group of Maori onlookers watched proceedings with apprehension. Sure enough, as two workmen were driving the wedges, the trunk suddenly split from end to end, knocking one man into the creek and seriously bruising the other. The onlookers were highly delighted and excited. "Ana-na", they said – "the spirit of Papataunaki still lives, it is good". Even so, Hare was not to be turned from his purpose and finished the job. As something of a defiant gesture, he used some of the totara chips to cook his food. This, in Maori eyes, was terrible sacrilege. They declared the house 'tapu' and boycotted Hare for some months. In the end Hopa reluctantly lifted the tapu, by reciting the proper incantations, and using some of his own fire to cook food for Hare.

Some time later, Hare became ill - the Pakeha doctor prescribed a course of bath treatment at Rotorua. The course did no good, so Hare returned although not feeling well. Then, one night the old portents of death - lightning - were seen to strike the hills behind his house. At last the Maori Atua were asserting themselves! Hare's mother, Rakapa, sought to ward off the evil by walking round and round the house reciting incantations and throwing food into the air for the Atua. All to no avail as Hare died soon after. The old Maori Atua had punished him for his sacrilege. To the Maori neighbours, this was "tika" (correct).

The sequel - Hare's mother and sister, Hereni, lived nearer Kiokio. Late one night, a loud knocking on the door awakened Hereni. She arose, drew the curtains, and was able to see the door. It was a bright moonlight night and she could clearly see all the features of the yard - the post and rail fence, the dog kennel, and the fruit trees. It was obvious that no-one was at the door. Hereni returned to bed without waking her sleeping mother. In the morning she told her mother of the incident. Rakapa answered, "Yes, I know, it was Hare, who came to tell me all was well with him." And this is a true story.

22. HERENI = J.C. Adams (of Kettering) at Holy Trinity Church, Tauranga, 1882 - Rev. C. Jordan officiating.

Their children were brought up as Pakehas.

23. EVELYN = E.A. Clark of Waihi.


25. ROGER:


HEREDITY, along with Environment, is a very important factor in the formation of character and the way of life. Its manifestation comes to light in the many instinctive reactions to situations that constantly arise in our daily activities, and help to mould our attitude in the society in which fate has placed us. The foregoing whakapapa gives a very brief glimpse of the various activities, physical, mental and moral, of the tupuna (ancestors) of what is now a Pakeha family, and may perhaps explain some of the characteristics of the present generation!! But, at least, Alison can claim - although a Pakeha - to be, at least, a 26th generation New Zealander and, I trust, take great pride in doing so.