"Mai i Ngā Kuri A Whārei Ki Tihirau"
This poetical proverb is an ancient quotation that was uttered
by the great ancestress Muriwai, the daughter of Irakewa and
Wekanui-a-Ruakapanga. She was the sister of Toroa, the commander of
the Mataatua canoe, Puhi, the founder of the Ngāpuhi tribe in the
north, Huriwainuku, Rahiriterangi, Taneatua, the priestly expert of
Mataatua and Tamawhiro, the founding ancestor of Ngai Tamawhiro, of
Omeheu. From these ancestors came the people of Mataatua.
The Mataatua canoe made landfall at Rekohu then to Repanga. It
was at this location that the Mataatua canoe was guided inland by
the guardian birds of Mataatua called Takeretou and Mumuhou. The
Mataatua canoe landed at Pārengarenga in the north, then to
Whangaparoa just outside the boundaries of the present day Auckland
township. Mataatua then headed towards the east coast and landed at
Whangaparaoa under the summit of Tihirau mountain. From the east
coast, Mataatua sailed to Tauranga. At Tauranga the ancestor Whārei
and his pet dogs disembarked the canoe Mataatua and settled at
Bowentown. Whārei observed that the rocks at Bowentown had similar
features to his pet dogs, hence the proverb: "Mai i Ngā
The Mataatua canoe then sailed along the coastline of the Bay of
Plenty naming various places and landmarks which included
mountains, rivers, streams, hills, creeks, beaches and other land
features, breathing life into the tribal boundaries, securing mana
whenua, mana atua, mana tupuna and mana tangata for Mataatua
tangata whenua and their future generations. Mataatua made landfall
at Tauranga and then sailed to Pukehina passing Maketu. Mataatua
then journeyed to Otamarākau then to Te Kaokaoroa and made landfall
at Pikowai. Then Mataatua canoe continued its journey and landed at
the river mouth of Tarawera. This area in Matata is referenced as
Te Awa o Te Atua. From here the Mataatua canoe sailed onwards to
Whakatāne passing the Rangitaiki river and the Orini river.
Mataatua made landfall at the river mouth of Ohinemataroa, the
present Whakatāne river.
It was Muriwai who uttered the proverbial saying; "Mai i Ngā
Kuri-a-Whārei ki Tihirau." She quoted this proverb because her twin
children drowned in the Pacific Ocean during the voyage of Mataatua
from Hawaikinui to Aotearoa. For many generations, Muriwai placed a
prohibition along the entire coastline from Bowentown in the
Tauranga region to Cape Runaway. For such a rāhui to be established
and remembered to this day is a statement about the priestly powers
and mana of Muriwai.
Tihirau was named by an ancestor, Paikea. He came to Aotearoa on
the back of a whale and likened the mountain at Cape Runaway to the
ancestral mountain Tihirau in Hawaiki. Because Paikea had travelled
a great distance from his homeland in Hawaiki, he named this
mountain at Cape Runaway, "Tihirau-mai-Tawhiti."
These tribal boundaries incorporate all the various tribes,
whānau, hapū, iwi and waka that live within this tribal estate. It
is also recognised that there are other Tangata Whenua, hapū /iwi/
waka, who reside within the wider Pacific Health Region.
Click onto the image below
to view video
Kōiwi/Ngati Awa Ancestor
During excavation of the car park at Whakatāne Hospital a Kōiwi /
Ngati Awa Ancestor was uncovered. This was a significant event for
Ngati Awa, the Whakatāne community and Whakatāne Hospital
employees. Ngati Awa Senior Cultural Advisor Pouroto Ngaropo, in
conjunction with our Regional Māori Health Services worked
with local iwi to ensure cultural safety was maintained for all
involved. On 19 June at 12.30pm, Pouroto Ngaropo and
hospital staff under Regional Māori Health Services laid to rest
the skeleton, determined by an archaeologist to be a
500-year-old woman. The Kōiwi/ Ngati Awa ancestor was buried at the
Ohuirehe cemetery on the outskirts of Whakatāne.
Click here to view the Māori
TV video of laying the 500 year old skeleton to rest.
The Main ancestral canoes that have mana
Ngā Iwi o Mataatua; Mai Te Awa o Te Atua ki Tihirau, Mai
Otamarākau ki Tihirau, ki Maungapohatu, ki Putauaki, ki Tawhiuau,
ki Te Awa o Te Atua ki Whakatāne.
Eastern Bay of Plenty Tribes:
Ngāti Awa (Whakatāne, Rangitaiki, Tarawera, Matata)
Tuhoe (Waimana, Ruātoki, Rūatāhuna, Te Patuheuheu and Ngāti
Ngai Tai ki Torerenui
Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau
Ngāti Rangitihi (Tarawera, Matata)
Ngai Te Rangi
Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketu
Ngāti Whakahemo ki Pukehina
Ngāti Mākino ki Otamarākau
Ngai Tai ki Torere.
March 17, 2016