Volume 82 1973 > Volume 82, No. 4 > Ngati Rangi: Whiro's family at Murimotu, North Island, New Zealand, by R. A. L. Batley, p 343-354
NGATI RANGI: WHIRO'S FAMILY AT MURIMOTU, NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
During research into traditional Maori history relating to the central districts of the North Island, New Zealand, the writer noted a number of references to the death of a chief, Taiteariki, at Te Onetapu, near the summit of the Desert Road section of State Highway 1, between Waiouru and Turangi.
Although the Maori Land Court evidence relating to the killing of Taiteariki is generally vague and lacking sufficient genealogical information to establish an accurate estimate of the period of the event, it is apparent that this tradition represents one of the earliest historical memories relating to the central North Island. This tradition is essentially part of the early history of Ngati Rangi (or Ngati Rangituhia), a section of the Whanganui tribes, who occupy the Murimotu district to the south-east of Ruapehu Mountain.
According to Aropeta Haeretuterangi's evidence 1 in the Murimotu Block hearing in 1873, Taiteariki was killed by Houmea at Te Onetapu. Aropeta recited the genealogy of Taketake (Nga uri o Taketake) as follows:
TABLE 1- 344
Family Tree. Mouruuru, Morowhio, Morekareka, HOUMEA, Whaia, Taketake, WHIROTUPUA, TAITEARIKI
Nga Wai o Taketake (The waters of Taketake) is a swamp 2 near the junction of the Waiouru Stream with the Hautapu River at the south-east corner of the Murimotu Block. The sandy area around the Wahianoa Stream, a tributary of the Whangaehu River, was called “the flat land of Houmea” (he papa whenua na Houmea) by Aropeta, who claimed that Houmea laid down the eastern boundary of the Murimotu Block.
Eight years later, in 1881, Winiata te Puhaki gave evidence in the Rangipo-Waiu Block case 3 and stated that Puhi 4 and Taiteariki belonged to the tribe of Ngati Haunuiapaparangi, which was related to the Whanganui people. According to Winiata, Taiteariki was killed by Tura and Rotuia, the children of Houmea (Table 1). He was killed by slings and stones at Te Onetapu, which is the sandy portion of the Rangipo Desert on the Rangipo-Waiu Block, and was buried on Ruapehu, above Ngarimutamaka. When cross-examined by Aropeta, Winiata stated that he did not know that Taiteariki came to New Zealand in one of the canoes.
In the same case, Meiha Keepa te Rangihiwinui (Major Kemp) gave evidence 5 that Taiteariki was killed at Te Roro o Taiteariki and that Te Onetapu (The Sacred Sand) had received its name from this event. In a later case, the Awarua Block hearing in 1886, Keepa 6 mentioned that the killing of Taiteariki was in payment for the deaths of Rangitaurewarewa and Rangiwhakarurua, two chiefs of Puhikaiariki, who were killed at Ngarimutamaka. The place-name, Te Roro o Taiteariki (The Brain of Taiteariki) appears at the top of Donald Hugh Monro's survey plan of the Murimotu Block 7 which was produced at the Murimotu Block hearing in 1873. The locality is in the vicinity of the headwaters of the Waikato River and the summit of the Desert Road at an altitude of 3,500 ft above sea level.
In retrospect, there is nothing to suggest that the evidence relating to the death of Taiteariki, as presented in the Maori Land Court, was more than an historical memory of an event which had occurred in the distant past. The informants had little, if anything, to gain from the death of an early ancestor on the Rangipo-Waiu Block, nor did they attempt to produce detailed accounts of canoes or migrations connected to Taiteariki to establish a precedence over the other claimants.
It was with interest that the writer noted reference to Taiteariki in a paper by Leslie G. Kelly entitled “Cook Island Origin of the Maori”. 8 In two of the genealogies cited by Kelly, 9 Taiteariki is shown as the son of Whiro, the celebrated navigator, who was known as Iro in the Cook - 345 Islands and Hiro in the Society Group. The last six generations in these two genealogies are as follows:
TABLES 2 and 3
Kelly states that little or nothing is known of Taiteariki in New Zealand, but mentions a Rarotongan tradition that Tangihia asked Iro for his son Taputaputea as an ariki prior to settling Rarotonga. 10 As a result, the latter received a new name, Taiteariki, by which he is also known to the Ngapuhi of northern New Zealand.
Kelly has mentioned the paucity of information on Taiteariki in New Zealand, and Te Rangi Hiroa has claimed that Iro, the thirteenth century navigator, never reached this country. 11 It is surprising, therefore, to find “The Legend of Whiro”, translated by Elsdon Best 12 and published in 1922, which mentions both Whiro and Taiteariki in the Murimotu district. This account of Whiro was obtained from a Wairarapa Maori whose name is not supplied, although the original Maori version follows Best's translation.
This account of Whiro or Whirotetipua describes the death of Whiro's nephew, Taomakati, by strangulation during the construction of a canoe. As in the story recorded by John White, 13 Whiro hid the body of his nephew beneath a pile of wood chips and it was subsequently discovered by the behaviour of a blowfly which hovered over the hiding place. Fighting broke out as a result of Whiro's deceit and he was forced to embark on a canoe voyage which ended, according to Best's account, near Oakura in Taranaki. 14 At this spot there is a stream called Te Waipiropiro a Whirotetipua where Whiro kept his sharks, or possibly their flesh.
Later, as a result of information from Ngati Ruatamore, Whirotetipua learned that the district inland of Whanganui and at Murimotu was unoccupied and he travelled overland reaching Mangaio, Makirikiri and Karioi o Whiro. Noting the excellence of the land, Whirotetipua decided to live there with his Taranaki wife, Taiteariki.
S. Percy Smith had added some footnotes to Best's translation which include the information about Taiteariki being Whiro's(Iro) son according to Rarotongan traditions. He mentions that Mangaio and Makirikiri - 346 are the names of branches of the Whanganui(sic) river and that Karioi is probably the railway station on the main trunk line, south of Ruapehu Mountain. It should be noted that Mangaio is also the name of the most western tributary of the Moawhango River which rises not far from Te Roro o Taiteariki in the Rangipo-Waiu Block. Some time after World War II, the late Tukino Hakopa of Moawhango told the writer that Karioi at Murimotu was so named because a traveller loitered on a stone in the river at this spot.
The genealogy of Whiro supplied by Best's informant does not agree with the lines already included in this paper, nor does it agree with four other tables listed by S. Percy Smith. 15 While there is some general agreement in most tables regarding the four generations preceding Whiro, the same cannot be said for the lines of descent from Whiro to the principal ancestors of Ngati Rangi of Murimotu.
In the two whakapapa which follow, Aropeta Haeretuterangi gives Paerangi, ancestor of Nga Paerangi section of the Whanganui tribes, as a descendant of Whirotupua and Taiteariki. Table 4 is a continuation of Table 1 (shown earlier) and Table 5 was cited as evidence in the Rangipo-Waiu Block hearing in 1881. 16
TABLES 4 and 5
Family Tree. Table 4 Moururu, Morekareka, Whaia, WHIROTUPUA, TAITEARIKI, Herehunga, Waimatua, Pouwhakarau, Mawitinui, Mawitiroa, Tauonge, Te Ikatauirangi, PAERANGI, Waimatua, Matara, Tutapu, Tamateanini, Ururangi, Table 5 TAITEARIKI, Herehunga, Pouwhakarau, Mawetenui, Whakapatareongi, Te Ikatauirangi, PAERANGI, Mataraha, Ururangi, 13 generations, to, Aropeta Haeretuterangi
According to Aropeta Haeretuterangi, in the Murimotu hearing, it was Paerangi who put the brand on the land (ka parani i te whenua) and was responsible for the following placenames: Tauri korokoro; Te Kopanga a Paerangi; Otamakotinga—the cutting of the navel cord of Paerangi, born - 347 at Ngarimutamaka; Tuhirangi—a tuahu of Paerangi called “Te Wiwini o Tu”; and Te Whakatara a Paerangi which is outside the block, to the east. Of these places, all except Whakatara a Paerangi are shown on D. H. Munro's Survey plan of the Murimotu Block. Tauri korokoro and Te Kopanga a Paerangi are near the western boundary of the block; Otamakotinga is a prominent flat-topped hill to the south of Tangiwai, shown as Okotinga on modern maps; 17 Tuhirangi is an important trig near Waiouru and datum point for early surveys within the Tuhirangi Meridional Circuit; and Whakatara 18 is a trig on the edge of State Forest 69 at Hihitahi. One placename which is not mentioned in the Maori Land Court records under scrutiny is Otamataraha Lake, near Tangiwai, 19 which may have some connection with Matara(ha) (Tables 4 and 5), one of Paerangi's children.
The above tables may be compared with Table 6 which was copied from a genealogy in the possession of the late J. D. H. Buchanan, of Wanganui. This genealogy had been prepared by Captain Richard Thomas Blake for use in Maori Land Court hearings last century.
Family Tree. TAITEARIKI, Herehunga, Mawetenui, Maweteroa, Powhakarau, Patarionga, Te Atakahiramai, Te Ikatauirangi, Te Atakamahina, PAERANGI, Papatukia, = Tamateanini, Tamuringa, Te Ururangi, Taiwiri, RANGITUHIA, Rangiteauria
In Table 6, Rangituhia, the ancestor of Ngati Rangi of Murimotu, is shown as a great-grandchild of Paerangi. This relationship is also supported by Keepa te Rangihiwinui's evidence in the Awarua Block case, 21 which is shown in Table 7 below.- 348
Family Tree. PAIRANGI, Tamateawini, Taiwiri, (1)RANGITUHIA, (2)Rangiteaurea, Taukaituroa, Rangimania, 11 generations, to, Keepa te Rangihiwinui
The immediate descendants of Paerangi (Tables 6 and 7) were closely associated with the country to the south-east of Ruapehu Mountain. Te Pou a Tamuringa (Tamuringa's Pole) was an ancient Maori boundary post which was located by the surveyor, James A. Thorpe, near the south-east corner of the Murimotu Block in February, 1884. 22 Taiwiri's children, Rangituhia and Rangiteauria, were connected with two places on the Rangipo-Waiu Block known as Huriwaka and Nga Motu a Taka respectively. 23
Rangiteauria was killed by Ngati Hotu at Maungakaretu between the Whangaehu and Turakina Rivers and his death was avenged by his son, Taukaituroa, who travelled to Roto a Ira where a large number of Ngati Hotu were burned to death in a house at Poutu. 24 Keepa Te Rangihiwinui has described Taiwiri's people, who were originally attacked at Te Ota pa at Murimotu by Ngati Hotu, as Te Tini o Taiwiri. 25
It has been suggested that the placename Waiouru may be linked with the ancestor Ururangi (Tables 4-6), but it should be noted that the stream of this name is also a western tributary of the Hautapu River and the Rangitikei catchment area. 26 Rangiteauria's name has been preserved in a modern building at Tirorangi Pa beside the Whangaehu Valley Roap south of Karioi.
At this stage, some consideration must be given to a paper by S. Percy Smith published early this century in the Journal of the Polynesian Society. 27 This paper subsequently appeared in the History and Traditions - 349 of the Taranaki Coast 28 and later, with slight modification, in Old Whanganui by T. W. Downes. 29 It seems probable that most of the published information on Paerangi is based on this contribution by Smith, who had used material collected by Elsdon Best on a journey up the Wanganui River in 1895.
In describing Nga Paerangi tribe, Smith considered that Paerangi was one of the tangata whenua or original inhabitants. He mentioned that some claimed Paerangi had come to New Zealand in one of the canoes and that more than one line show him to be a descendant of Whiro. Smith also quotes a note by Best to the effect that the tangata whenua in the Wanganui valley “were the descendants of Paerangi-o-te-moungaroa whose ancestor came from Hawaiki five generations before the arrival of Captain Turi in the ‘Aotea’ canoe” and that “there have been three men of the name of Paerangi, one of whom came in the ‘Aotea’.” To add to the confusion he goes on to say:
Mr. Best informs me (after having made inquiries in the Ure-wera country) that he comes to the conclusion that Paerangi came here with Paoa, about five generations before the heke. Col. Gudgeon says, the Whanganui ancestor is identical with Paoa's companion, and that there were two of that name—Paerangi—one coming in the “Aotea” canoe, the other the ancestor of Ngati-Haua of upper Whanganui, about whose tangata-whenua origin there can be little doubt. 30
In repeating this information in his later publication, Smith includes a genealogy 31 which shows Paerangi as a son of Whirotetipua. Referring to the latter table, S. Percy Smith writes:
In order to preserve it, I quote some descents from this Paerangi, in which it is shown that he was a son of Whiro-te-tipua, who flourished according to Rarotonga history—twenty-five generations ago, whereas he is here twenty-three—not too great a discrepancy to prevent it being the same individual . . . Whether the Paerangi here shown is he who came with Paoa in the ‘Horo-uta’ canoe or not, I am unable to say. 32
A portion of this family tree is included (Table 8 below) but unfortunately there is no indication of the sources from which Smith compiled this whakapapa.
It would appear that the genealogy in Table 8 may have been obtained from John White's Ancient History of the Maori, Vol. 6; that is, the section of whakapapa from Paerangi to Rangitepaia 33 and the section from Paerangi to Waipikari, Rawhitiao and others. 34 The fact that Smith includes two persons by the name of Taiwiri, as does White, who also includes Rangiwhakumu and Rangiwhakaunui, two persons called- 350
Family Tree. Mou-uruuru, Mou-rekareka, Mou-raki-tu, Mou-raki-hau, WHIRO-TE-TUPUA, PAE-RANGI, Mata-raha, Tu-tapu, Tama-te-anini, Uru-rangi, Karanga-tai, Tai-ka-here-ata, Rae-whakaumu, Rangi-whakau-nui, Tai-ka-nui, Rangi-te-ekewa, Rangi-te-kiwa, Tai-wiri(I), Uenuku-manawa-wiri, 12 generations to Hakiaha Tawhio, 13 generations to Rangi-te-paia, Maru-hiku-ata, Rangi-tauria, (of Whanganui), Wai-pikari, Hine-kehu, Taiwiri(II), Tama-huki, Ra-whiti-ao, 7 generations to Rangi-po (of Whanganui)
Uenukumanawawiri, and Rangitauria and Rangiteauria, suggests that the tables supplied by both writers may be repetitive and therefore inaccurate.
It is not intended to examine Table 8 further at this stage, except to quote, by way of comparison, a short genealogy (Table 9) dated 27/4/81, which was obtained from the late J. D. H. Buchanan and is attributed to Te Oti Pohe I of Ngati Rangi. It should be noted that Taekanui and Taiwiri appear in both tables.
In 1873, Herioro Te Rangi Hurutau, a member of the Patutokotoko tribe living at Manganui o te Ao, gave evidence in the Murimotu Block - 351 case 35 and claimed that Te Ha was a parent of Taiwiri and a grandparent of Te Ururangi, Rangituhia and Rangiteauria.
Earlier, it was mentioned that T. W. Downes had used S. Percy Smith's information on Paerangi in Old Whanganui. Downes regarded Paerangi as one of the tangata whenua and published the following whakapapa (Table 10) which may be compared with Tables 4, 7, and 8.
TABLE 10 36
Family tree. (Tangata-whenua) Paerangi o te maungaroa, Mataraha, Koihaka, Tutapu, Tamateaanini, Tumatua, Taiwiri, Rangiteaurea, Taukaituroa, Rangimania, 11 generations to Keepa Rangihiwinui
A review of the preceding genealogies indicates that there is a wide discrepancy in the number of generations from Whiro to Paerangi; and from the latter to Rangiteauria and his brother, Rangituhia. For this reason, it is difficult to assign an approximate date to Paerangi and his forbears, Whiro and/or Taiteariki from local genealogies.
The position of Rangituhia, eponymous ancestor of Ngati Rangi and elder brother of Rangiteauria, appears to be fairly firmly established in relation to his descendants:i.e. approximately 16 generations back from the end of the nineteenth century. According to Downes, 37 Rangiteauria's grandson, Rangimania (Table 10) killed Tuwhakaperei, a chief of Ngati Tama of Inland Patea, near Maungakaretu. Genealogical evidence from Inland Patea suggests that this fighting took place during the first half of the sixteenth century, probably between A.D. 1530 and 1550 and this would place Rangituhia and Rangiteauria towards the end of the fifteenth century.
The traditional history relating to Paerangi's placenaming activities at Murimotu and the association of Paerangi's immediate descendants with the area, as shown in Tables 6 and 7, suggest a fairly rapid expansion of Nga Paerangi in the Murimotu country during the fifteenth century. - 352 From available evidence, it appears likely that the lines of descent from Whiro through Paerangi to Rangituhia will remain open to speculation.
EVIDENCE FROM THE PACIFIC
A considerable amount of traditional material relating to Whiro and Taiteariki in the Pacific has been preserved by S. Percy Smith and others. This suggests that Whiro and his contemporaries flourished about A.D. 1250. 38
Te Rangi Hiroa recalls the story of Tangiia and Karika, the great ancestors of Rarotonga. It was Tangiia (Tangihia) who fought his half-brother, Tutapu, and who asked Iro (Whiro) of Tahiti for his son Taiteariki, to replace his own sons who had been killed by Tutapu. 39 S. Percy Smith gives a full account of this period and also mentions the ancestor, Te Ikataurangi, 40 Karika alias Te Taitonga, 41 and a canoe called “Kaioi” which was presented to Tangiia. 42 Stephen Savage, of Rarotonga, mentions that Iro had several names including Iro-te-tupua-ariki, and that Iro's son was given three names including Taiteariki and Paiterangituatini. 43
Many of these ancestral names from the Pacific appear in the Ngati Rangi genealogies; for example, Tutapu (Tables 4, 8 and 10); Te Ikatau(i)rangi (Tables 4, 5 and 6); and Irotetupuaariki (Whirotetupua Table 8). John White 44 associates Whiro with Tura, who was mentioned earlier in connection with Taiteariki's death at Rangipo. Smith points out that kaioi is the Marquesan form of karioi in Rarotonga and 'arioi in Tahiti. 45
It is not impossible that the placename Karioi at Murimotu, as well as the ancient name of Paratetaitonga for Ruapehu Mountain 46 are links with places and people in the Pacific homeland of Ngati Rangi. Similarly, it could be argued that the name Paerangi or Pairangi (Table 7) is a contraction of Paiterangituatini, one of the names by which Taiteariki was known in Rarotonga. This, of course, is speculation but it does suggest that the traditions of Ngati Rangi embody historical memories that reach beyond New Zealand to the Cook Islands and the Society Group.
One thing is certain: Ngati Rangi of Murimotu claim their descent from Whiro through Taiteariki and/or Paerangi. If we disregard Best's account of Whiro's visit to New Zealand, which has not been confirmed by Ngati Rangi tradition, the earliest tribal ancestors associated with the Murimotu country are Taiteariki and Paerangi. There is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that Taiteariki died at Te Roro o Taiteariki on Te - 353 Onetapu, and the manner of his death by slings and stones is not improbable for an immigrant from the Pacific during the first generation of settlement. 47 That Paerangi flourished in the upper Whanganui and Murimotu districts there can be no doubt, and it is from the latter that many of the Whanganui people, including Ngati Rangi, claim their descent.
As it was Leslie G. Kelly's comment that little or nothing is known of Taiteariki in New Zealand that started this search for the early ancestors of Ngati Rangi, it is appropriate that this paper should conclude with an extract from Winiata te Puhaki's evidence with regard to Major Kemp in the Rangipo-Waiu Rehearing. 48
Keepa claims as a Rangituhia, not by strict descent—but by mana. He comes in by descent from Taiteariki—the ancestral 49 head of Rangituhia . . . He is himself descended from Rangiteauria, a younger brother of Rangituhia.
Throughout this paper the original spelling of proper names, including obvious errors that appeared in the source material, has been retained. This means that inconsistencies in spelling occur throughout the text.
The writer wishes to thank Mr A. G. Bagnall, the former ChiefLibrarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library, and his staff, for assistance with regard to Maori Land Court microfilm; Mr Bagnall in a private capacity for making available his personal material relating to Maori Land Court records; and the staff of the Aotea District Maori Land Court, the Maori Affairs Department, Wanganui, and the Wellington District Office, Department of Lands and Survey, for the opportunity of consulting their records. He also gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the late Mr J. D. H. Buchanan, formerly of Havelock North and Wanganui, who made available two genealogies quoted in this paper.
1 Wanganui Minute Book No. 1E: 615-617.
2 Also the name of an adjacent trig, incorrectly shown on modern maps as Ngawhiotaketake; Grid ref. 169372, NZMS 1, Sheet N132, Taihape.
3 Taupo Minute Book No. 2: 116, 124-5.
4 Puhikaiariki (?).
5 Taupo Minute Book No. 2: 141.
6 Wanganui Minute Book No. 10: 194.
7 W.D. 63, ms. map, Wellington District Office, Dept. of Lands & Survey.
8 Kelly 1955: 184-5.
9 Presumably from Smith 1910b: 53.
10 See also Smith 1910a: 243.
11 Buck 1938: 174.
12 Best 1922:111-16.
13 White 1887-90: v2, 13-17.
14 Best 1922: 116.
15 Smith 1910b: 53.
16 Taupo Minute Book No.2: 137.
17 Grid ref. 053397, NZMS 1, Sheet N132, Taihape.
18 Grid ref. 224353, NZMS 1, Sheet N132, Taihape.
19 Tangiwai Railway Station is named after the Waitangi Stream, a tributary of the Whangaehu River.
20 Wanganui Minute Book No. 1E: 617.
21 Wanganui Minute Book No. 10: 208.
22 WD 693, ms. map, Wellington District Office, Dept. of Lands & Survey.
23 A. J. Beckman and others in Sargent 1946: 64.
24 Downes 1915: 16-17.
25 Wanganui Minute Book No. 10: 195.
26 Wai “water”; uru “west.”
27 Smith 1905: 131-2.
28 Smith 1910b: 152-3.
29 Downes 1915: 2-3.
30 Gudgeon 1892: 231 gives a whakapapa which shows Pairangi as a child of Paoa and an ancestor of Te Kepa-Taitoko (alias Major Kemp).
31 Smith 1910b: Table XXXIX, between pp. 152-3
32 Smith 1910b: 153.
33 White 1887-90: v6, 228-30.
34 White 1887-90: v6, 243-5.
35 Wanganui Minute Book No. 1E: 600-1.
36 Downes 1915: 22-3.
37 Downes 1915: 23.
38 Smith 1910a: 295.
39 Buck 1938: 114-5.
40 Smith 1910a: 233.
41 Smith 1910a: 246.
42 Smith 1910a: 244.
43 Savage 1917: 18.
44 White 1887-90: v2, 7 et seq.
45 Smith 1910a: 124.
46 Cowan 1927: 69, 137.
47 See remarks on the sling by Buck 1949: 280.
48 Taupo Minute Book No. 3: 142.
49 Putake “root”: note in brackets in Minute Book.