Volume 2 1893 > Volume 2, No.4, December 1893 > The tangata whenua; or, aboriginal people of the central districts of the North Island of New Zealand, by W. E. Gudgeon, p203-210
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- 203

OF the ancient tribes which formerly occupied the central districts of this island, perhaps the most important was the Ngati-Kahupungapunga.

Of these people we have only a mere tradition of their former existance, for it is not now known who they were, or whence they came; we only know that about 300 years ago they occupied all the valley of the Waikato, from the Puniu river southwards to Te Whakamaru range on the borders of the Taupo country; viz. all the country subsequently occupied by Ngati-Raukawa, for at that period the descendants of Hoturoa of the Tainui migration were still in the Kawhia district, where they first landed, and had not crossed the Pirongia ranges which separated them from the Waikato country. This occupation of the Ngati-Kahupungapunga continued undisturbed until the days of Whaita, who as will be seen by the genealogy was contemporary with Raukawa, the ancestor from whom Ngati-Raukawa derive their name.

Family tree. 1 Hoturoa1, Motai-mamana, Ue, Raka, 5 Kakati, Tawhao, Turongo, Raukawa, Rereahu, 10 Kinohaku =, Motai-tangata-rau, Heke-i-te-waru, Whaita, Huiao, Tuirirangi, Rangipare, Rangatahi, Urunumia, Te Kanawa, 15 Pare-te-kawa, Hore, Te-akanui, Kawhia, Rewi Maniapoto, or Manga, (About 85 years old),

Various tales are told as to the cause of quarrel between the tangata whenua and the descendants of Hoturoa. One account says that Whaita having eloped with Waiarohi (a famous beauty) wife of Te Ruamano, chief of Ngati-Waihakari—he confided her to the care of his vassals the Ngati-Kahupungapunga, in order to prevent her re-capture, and that for some reason or another the ruffians murdered her.

Another tale is that Korokore, a woman of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe, married the chief Purahore of Ngati-Kahupungapunga and was - 204 killed by her husband at the request of Te Maru-huoko and others of that tribe, because Korokore had ordered them to carry presents of birds to her relative Whaita.

It is said that she was killed and burned in her own whare, where her remains were found by her slave, who proceeded at once to Kawhia, where he found the Ngati-Raukawa occupied in shark fishing. When his tale was told, a war-party was organised under Whaita, Wairangi, Tama-te-whaua, and Tama-te-hura, which marched inland to avenge the murder of Korokore.

At this period, the great chief of Ngati-Kahupungapunga was Te Maru-huoko, whose pa—Te Horanga—was on the north bank of the Puniu stream. This was the first place attacked, and on the same day Te Arowhenua, a very large village, and two other pas—Te Pohue and Taka-ahiahi—were taken.

Thence the avenging Ngati-Raukawa advanced on Hapenui and captured that stronghold. They then crossed the Waikato river to Te Wa-o-tu, and stormed the following pas:—Piraunui, Hokio, Pawa-iti, and Puketotara. Thence they drove the enemy before them to Mangamingi, where Pipito slew the Kahupungapunga chief Matanuku (hence the name of that place).

From this place the war-party proceeded by the old war-path, called the Rongo-o-Tuarau, to Te Ana-kai-tangata, and here the hunted tribe, assisted by the roughness of the country, made their first vigorous stand, and fought for three days. Most of them were however killed, including the chiefs Kaimatirei, Te Aomakinga, Tokoroa, and Te Rau-o-te-Huia.

The Ngati-Raukawa now advanced on Te Whakamaru range, and there stormed Te Ahuroa Pa; here all the slain were burned for the reason that Korokore had been so treated at this place.

At Turihemo, only one man of rank was slain, viz:—Manuawhio, by Whaita. It was now evident that the strength and courage of Ngati-Kahupungapunga was broken, and that there would be no more severe fighting. The pursuers therefore divided to hunt up the stragglers. Pipito went in the direction of Te Tokoroa plains and captured many people in a cave; these were all taken to Te Ahuroa, where for the first time in this campaign people were eaten—but not until the tohungas had with many ceremonies removed the tapu caused by the death of Korokore.

After these ceremonies the war-party again divided—Whaita and Tama-te-hura went by the Mako path, killing en route Pokere, Mangapohue, and Tikitikiroahanga; all belonging to Ngati-Kahupungapunga. Wairangi and Pipi went by way of Te Wawa, and at Te Pae-o-Turawau slew the great chief Whakahi, and at Te Ngautuku, near Te Ati-a-muri, killed Korouamaku.

Whaita, who was ill, remained at Pohueroa with 70 men, but the main body, 400 strong, followed the fugitive Ngati-Kahupungapunga to Rotorua and Waikuta. At the last named place they came up with the combined forces of the Arawa and the fugitives, who were about to escape in their canoes, when Ariari-te-rangi,2 son of Tutanekai3 and some women stood up in the canoe and called on the Arawa - 205 to return and fight; they did so with the result that Tama-te-hura was wounded and taken prisoner, and Ngati-Raukawa began to retire. Then Pipito was slain, and the retreat became a flight until they reached Whaita, who led on his seventy men, rallied the fugitives, and defeated the Arawa.

Such is the account given of the destruction of this once powerful tribe, of whom a remnant probably became absorbed into the Arawa, for from that time forth they ceased to be known as a triibe.


This tribe was originally known as the “heke” (migration) of Tangiharuru, and there can I think be but little doubt that it was an off-shoot from the Ngati-Kahupungapunga. From the fact that from Tangiharuru to the present day there are only eleven generations, we may infer that their departure did not long precede the destruction of the parent tribe.

These people are now known under the names of Ngati-Whare and Ngati-Manawa, and occupy both banks of the Whirinaki and the Rangitaiki, from the junction of these rivers almost to Runanga on the Taupo-Napier road

Family tree. 1 Ue=Manawa-kotokoto, Wharenui, Whareroa, Wharemanehunehu, 5 Manawa-toa, Tangiharuru, Manawa-uha, Tuwhare, Kauae, Ngataiore, Taumata-a-hotu, 10 Ngarangihangu, Te Atetapu, Te Iriwhata, Harehare, Paretipua, 15 Harehare-aterea, (About 55 years of age),

Tradition tells us that Tangiharuru belonged to the Ngati-Tuaru tribe or hapu, and lived with his sisters in a pa on the Wharepuhunga range at no great distance from the Waikato river, and that While at this place a quarrel arose over the ownership of a plantation named Otawa. In this dispute the tribe supported Manawa-uha, and in consequence Tangiharuru and his brother-in-law Wharepakau, together with their following left in anger and migrated through Hauraki (the upper Thames, i.e., Te riu o Hauraki) to the Bay of Plenty.

This Ngati-Manawa tradition is supported by that of the Ngati-Raukawa, who now own Wharepuhunga. Rongowhitiao, one of the most intelligent chiefs of that fine tribe, informs me that Tangiharuru's old cultivation may still be seen on the Wharepuhunga range, and that from the appearance of the place one would be justified in supposing that it had not been deserted for more than a generation.

Taipari, chief of the Ngati-Maru of the Thames, is of opinion that the Ngati-Manawa—or at any rate their chiefs Tangiharuru and Wharepakau—were descended from Wharewharenga-te-rangi, and as such were members of the Ngati-Hako tribe, and that they fled from the Thames because they were involved in the defeat of the last named tribe by the sons of Marutuahu, who with their father and his people migrated from Taranaki about 11 or 12 generations ago.

This may be the case and probably is so, but it does not contradict the fact of the Ngati-Manawa migration having first come from Wharepuhunga, though the relationship suggested does account - 206 for the first move being in the direction of the Ngati-Hako, and also suggests the possibility of Ngati-Hako and Ngati-Kahupungapunga being jointly descended from that remote ancestor, Wharewharengate-rangi, but whatever their descent, the Waikato and Te Arawa equally repudiate all kinship with them.

After leaving Hauraki, Tangiharuru and his party marched to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, and lived for some time at the Oruamatua Pa. From thence they moved to Matata, and it was here that Tangiharuru conceived the idea of conquering new lands for himself and tribe; he therefore addressed his people and exhorted them to be brave in battle against the Marangaranga—the ancient tribe then occupying the Rangitaiki valley. In consequence of this exhortation, the place has ever since been called ‘Whakapau-korero.’

The Marangaranga, whom Tangiharuru was about to attack, was one of the hapus of that great tribe known as the Tini-o-te-Kawerau, who occupied all the country from Otamarakau to Whakatane on the shores of the Bay of Plenty, and inland almost as far as Taupo. The hapus of this tribe are known to have borne very singular names, viz;—

  • Te Raupo-ngaoheohe
  • Te aruhe-tawiri
  • Nga-rarauhe-mamae
  • Te Kakaroroa and
  • Te Marangaranga

When the Arawa canoe arrived in the Bay of Plenty, this was already a very numerous tribe, possessing large fortified pas at the foot of Putauaki (Mount Edgecombe), and also at many places on the sea coast. Their chief at that period was Tama-a-hoe, another, a woman of great rank named Murirangawhenua who married Tangi-hia, a son of Ngatoro-i-rangi, the chief priest of the Arawa canoe.

From Wakapau-korero, the warparty marched to Te Umuhika where they killed and ate the people of that place. At Ohui they saw the smoke of distant fires, and Tangiharuru halted his men and sent forward scouts to examine the country and report on the numbers and fortifications of the people he intended to invade. When the messengers returned, they reported the Marangaranga as being very numerous.

Family tree. 1 Ngatoro-i-rangi, Tangihia = Murirangawhenua, Tangimoana, Kahukura, 5 Tahatoariki, Te Aopaki, Te Aokawhai, Urumahai, Haukapuanui, 10 Hawerewere, Ruahoro, Ngataikara, Tio, Rupe, 15 Wharepuna, Hiaki, Tapu-a-taikura, Whainga, Kipihana te Tai,

Neither Tangiharuru nor Wharepakau were the least dismayed by this intelligence, for a Maori seldom pays much attention to mere numbers—reputation and skill may make him apprehensive, mere numbers will never do so.

The war-party marched that evening to Kuhawaea, and early on the following morning fought their first battle at Orua-te-wehi and stormed the pa called Te Raepohatu; the fugitives were followed to Mangamate, where the small army divided, Wharepakau taking the valley of the Whirinaki, and Tangiharuru that of the Rangitaiki.

In pursuance of this plan, Tangiharuru attacked the unfortunate Marangaranga at Puharaunui, followed the fugitives to Ngahuinga - 207 and there captured the Taumata Pa. At this period Haeana the great chief of the conquered tribe was living at the Whangonui Pa about eight miles from Runanga, and when the survivors from Te Taumata fled to him, saying, “We are lost, we cannot withstand this man who has come against us,” he uttered this boast, “Waiho ra i konei haere mai ai, ki te tae mai ia ki nga kaka ngau upoko a Haeana, tuturi ana pona”—“Let him come here, but if he comes to attack the head-biting kakas of Haeana, his knees shall be loosened.”4

  • 1 Taruwhenua
  • Te Marangaranga
  • Kuta-kai-pakupaku
  • Hapuoneone
  • 5 Te Potumai
  • Te Potahurike
  • Te Puke
  • Te Rakei
  • Tiketike
  • 10 Hape-ki-tumamai
  • Tamarau
  • Te Pipi
  • Te Koata
  • Tamamutu
  • 15 Whituroa
  • Te Hoka-a-te-Rangi
  • Tamatauira
  • Rangimarere
  • Hamua
  • 20 Tamanuka
  • Tairahui
  • Te Ramaroa
  • Herewairua
  • Tamaariki
  • 25 Hewahewa
  • Tamehana
  • 27 Tamawhati
  • (About 50 years old)

The boastful chief had not long to wait, for Tangiharuru defeated him at Pukahunui, and the same evening captured the Whangonui Pa, killing most of the chiefs of the tribe and among others Haeana himself. The survivors fled to their relatives among the descendants of Kurapoto, in the neighbourhood of Runanga, where they were certain of protection if not sympathy, for Maruahine, daughter of Rarataumai-Hawaiki had long before married Tupangea, third in descent from Kurapoto and her descendants were numerous.

From this time forth Marangaranga ceased to exist as a tribe, but they have representatives among the tribes of the Whaiti (near Galatea), viz., the Patuheuheu, Ngati-Whare, Ngati-Manawa, and Ngati-Hamua, of which last I submit a genealogy.

Family tree. 1 Oro, Maaka, Apa-tika, Tama-apa, 5 Tamaia, Tama-Ariki, Tama-tatonga, Tuawha-taua, Takapu-manuka, Totara-i-ahua, Matangi-kaiawha, Matarai, Hine-ngawari, Tumanawa-pohatu, Kongutu, 10 Pou, Tureia, Tamahou, Te Papa, Potaua, 15 Maraea, Parakiri, (About 55 years old), Whakahu, Titoko, Mahora, Tionga, Mokonuiarangi, Te Kura, Arama Karaka, (About 85 years old),

The Ngati-Apa who are really at the present time one tribe with the Ngati-Manawa. but who claim to have sprung from Oro and Maaka, of the Arawa migration (see genealogy) assert that they also took part in the destruction of the Marangaranga, but it seems to me that this is an absurdity, for Tama-apa is supposed to have led his people, and he was the second generation after the arrival of the Arawa, both Oro and Māka being immigrants by that canoe. The genealogy I here give is the shortest known line from Apa—that of Te Wiwini, another of his sons gives twenty generations. Therefore if Tama-apa took part in the destruction of Marangaranga, it must have been over - 208 seventeen ordinary generations ago, which is not possible, seeing that the Tangiharuru line is only eleven generations down to the present day.

These Ngati-Apa claim to be one and the same tribe with Ngati-Apa of Rangitikei. Their account is, that after the death of Apa, who was killed by the kick of a moa, while hunting that bird at Putauaki (or Mount Edgecumbe), his descendants were driven away to Lake Rotoaira, where they lived for many years in the Orangi-te-taia Pa, until, in an evil moment, they murdered Te Rapuhoro and Tu-te-tawa, chiefs of Ngati-Tuwharetoa. To avenge this murder, they were attacked by Te Rangi-ita, Waikari and other chiefs of the Ngati-Tuwharetoa, and utterly scattered, Takapu-Manuka and his son Miromiro fled to Tarawera on the Taupo-Napier road, where they were protected by Ngati-Kuratawhiti and Ngati-Maruwahine. Te Whakakaho is said to have fled to Rangitikei across the Rangipo desert. The remainder were either slain in the pa or followed to Tuhua and there destroyed.

This legendary history is scarcely crdible, for in the first place it requires that one should believe that six generations of the same family fought in the battle just mentioned.

And secondly the Ngati-Apa of Rangitikei do not claim descent from the Arawa canoe, but from Ruatea the father of Apa-Hapaitakitaki, a Kurahaupo immigrant.

Te Whakakaho may have fled to Rangitikei, but I do not know that any of that tribe claim descent from him.


Among other inland tribes of uncertain descent, of whom we have now only a tradition, may be mentioned the Ngati-Hotu, who at one time occupied Eastern and probably Western Taupo, and the Murimotu District, south-east of Ruapehu Mountain. It has been held (I know not on what evidence) that this tribe is descended from one of the Hotu's who came in the Tainui canoe, but this contention cannot be upheld for a moment against the Maori traditions as to the conquest of this tribe. We are told they were driven from Eastern Taupo, by Kawhia, son of Kurapoto whose genealogy I have given in my paper on “Maori Migrations.”5 At this early period in Maori history, the Ngati-Hotu were a strong tribe, and no doubt Kawhia following the old Maori custom allied himself with one section to destroy the other. This war took place in the second generation after the arrival of the Arawa and Tainui canoes.

About this same period came the heke of Tamakopiri, son of Tamatea, from Turanganui or Poverty Bay, and they, after much fighting, dispossessed the Ngati-Hotu of all that portion of the Murimotu district east of the Moawhanga river. The territory thus acquired, evidently satisfied the Ngati-Tamakopiri, who made peace with the ancient tribe of Hotu and allowed them to live unmolested on the opposite bank of Moawhanga until the generation of Tumakaurangi, when another migration of the same Tamatea stock arrived under Whiti-Kaupeka.

  • 1 Tamatea
  • Tamakopiri
  • Tuwhakaperei
  • Rogomai-Turanga
  • 5 Rongomai-Whatarangi
  • Tutakanga
  • Tukapanga
  • Tumaka-u-rangi
  • Whaka-okorau
  • 10 Tamakaitangi
  • Tuope
  • Te Pou
  • Hinewai
  • Whakatere
  • 15 Whakatau
  • Hihi Akataramoa
- 209

Ngati-Tamakopiri were evidently unwilling to divide their lands with the Ngati-Whiti,6 and as the easiest method of providing for the new arrivals they jointly attacked the Ngati-Hotu, whose chiefs were at that period Koaupari and Taranuku, and drove them finally from the district.

The fugitives retreated, some to Rangitikei, and some probably to Tuhua, or thereabouts, for we hear of them again many generations after in that district, when they joined some of the Ngati-Tama and Tini-o-awa, and attacked the upper Whanganui tribe, who were then living about Ohura—one of the tributaries of the mid-Whanganui—under the chief Tamahina. My account of this affair is derived from the old chief of that tribe (Tuao).

The combined tribes invaded Ohura, and there slew Te Mata-tuahu, and all of his people. News of this raid was brought to Tamahina, who lived at Maikukutea, and that chief went alone to reconoitre the enemy; he there found the people dead and their dogs howling for their dead masters. The Ngati-Hotu, had however left that place and had built a pa at Meremere, where they were killing and eating their prisoners. Having ascertained this much Tamahina returned to his tribe and taking his famous taiaha Te ahitahi, called on his followers to march against the enemy. Hokowhitu, (170) responded to the call, and marched against the invaders; they found the Meremere Pa abandoned in anticipation of the attack. The war-party therefore went on to Tuhua, and there found the enemy established in four pas to the number—it is said—of 8000. The pas were:—Te Pata, Te Papanokonui, Whakarewa, and Oruamoko, and here they were attacked by Tamahina and Rangitaupe. All of the pas were taken that same day, and the Ngati-Hotu fled to Takapuna, Otutaura, Kopakituna, Te Ariki pakewa, and Te Rerenga Pas, all of which are in the immediate neighbourhood of Taumarunui—the junction of the Ongaruhe with the Whanganui river.

Tamahina followed and reconoitred the new position from the Tikihope ridge, where he was joined by Turangatautahi of lower Whanganui with 200 men. Thus reinforced Tamahina felt sure of victory, and called out to the Ngati-Hotu:—“You who have eaten men, come out and fight.” The Ngati-Hotu responded, and crossed the Kakahi stream towards the position held by Whanganui; here they were met by the two chiefs, and utterly defeated. A small plain near the battle field is to this day called Whata-raparapa, because, after the battle, a staging was erected nearly a quarter of a mile in length, on which the legs of the dead warriors were hung, with the soles of the feet upwards, hence the name Whata-raparapa.

There is of course a very great deal of exaggeration in this tale, but it appears certain that a desperate battle was fought against certain tribes, who were migrating, and that Ngati-Hotu, Te Tini-o-awa, and Ngati-Tama of Poutama, on the West Coast, were in the migration, and it seems probable that it may have been the migration of Ngati-Awa on their return from the Kaipara and northern districts. Tuao is of opinion that the chiefs of the heke were Turongo and Tamaihu, and that the former was of the Ngati-Maniapoto tribe.

- 210

The Ngati-Hotu of West Taupo, were not included in the defeat of the Eastern Ngati-Hotu by Kawhia—they succeeded in holding their own until the time of Hakuhanui, fourth in descent from Tia who came here in the Arawa canoe. This man it is said came from Kawhia to Te Kakaho near Pokomutu where he built a house called Otangarue and lived with the Ngati-Hotu. This friendship however did not last long, a dispute arose over a woman,7 and Hakuhanui began to kill the Ngati-Hotu, and in revenge was killed by them at Maraeroa.

Family tree. 1 Matirehoahoa, Hoata, Te Ru, Aonuku, 5 Kutikuti, Pekepeke, Aronga-te-po, Aronga-te-ao, Puainuku, 10 Hurumanu, Takitaki, Ruatipua, Ruatawhito, Ruakewa, 15 Ruaheiao, Ruawehea, Ruataupo, Tamakana, Rakei f., 20 Te Ruaroa, Toakohuru, Tamahina, Tapaka, Tamakehu, 25 Terekau, Whakaneke, Te Horo, Topini-te-mamaku Died 1888, aged about 100 years., Tuao, Whakahirangi, Tuao,

The death of Hakuhanui sealed the fate of the doomed tribe, for the Ngati-Tuwharetoa and Ngati-Ha in three battles, Tauraroa, Manukaruia, and Karituwhenua, destroyed the power of both Ngati-Hotu and Ngati-Ruakokiri, the two ancient tribes of Taupo.

The genealogy I have given of Tamahina is also that of the ancient people of Ohura and Taumarunui, who were originally known as Ngati-Ruatipua, but who now call themselves Ngati-Hāua. The ancestors of these people are well known by their descendants to have been in occupation of the Whanganui river and the adjacent country when Turi arrived in the Aotea canoe, and even when Paoa came in the Horouta canoe. From our knowledge of the characteristics of the tangata whenua of New Zealand, it is not to be supposed for one moment that this tribe derived their courage and mana from Ruatipua, but the inter-marriages with the descendants of Turi and Paoa has in this instance produced a race of singular courage. Though few in numbers at all times, yet the great tribe of Ngati-Maniapoto never prevailed against them, indeed it was generally defeated, and the descendants of Ruatipua can alone perhaps of all the ancient tribes boast that they are an Iwi Rangatira.

There are traditions of several other ancient tribes, such as the ‘Tau-Harakeke’ who originally owned the Kawhia district. Also we hear of Haukapuanui, who—it is said—owned the country about Horohoro on the Taupo-Rotorua road, when Ngatoro-i-rangi of the Arawa migration passed through the country on his way to Tongariro, and whose descendants subsequently gave land in that neighbourhood to the heke of Tangiharnru.

At the present day, it is hardly possible to mistake the descendants of these ancient tribes, for they do not in any way resemble the true Maori of the migrations; this is specially noticeable in the case of the Ngati-Hako, whose type of face is Mongolian and who bear no resemblance to the fair descendants of Hotunui among whom they live.

1  Hoturoa, the captain of the Tainui canoe, and leader of that migration to New Zealand.
2  It was this man who made the following famous speech:—“Kotahi tonu te tangata ki Tamana-whiti, ko Whakatau anake; Kotahi tonu te tangata ki Aotearoa, ko Ariari-te-rangi.” “There is but one chief in Tamana-whiti, that is Whakatau; and but one in New Zealand, viz. Ariari-te-rangi.”
3  Tutane-kai, the lover of the celebrated Hinemoa.
4  It was the custom of old for a man snaring kakas (parrots) to bite the head of each bird as he caught it, before throwing it down from the tree, so as to be certain it was dead.
5  See Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. I., p. 228.
6  Descendants of Whiti-Kaupeka. See table at the end of this volume for the genealogical table showing his connection with Tamatea.—Editors.
7  He wahine, he whenua, e ngaro ai te tangata!