An Historical Perspective

Tāhuhu Kōrero

Whare Tupuna: Makō

Whare Kai: Te Rōpūake

Tangatahara

 

The Wairewa Rūnanga represents the interests of the Māori people of Southern Horomaka (Banks Peninsula). We are one of 18 papatipu rūnanga that make up the iwi (tribe) known as Ngāi Tahu and are located 45 minutes’ drive from Ōtautahi (Christchurch). As an iwi our history is similar to other Māori, but differences emerged as we forged our own unique identity. One such ancestor was Rākaihautū who voyaged here to the land we know as Te Wai Pounamu (The South Island) in his waka (canoe) Te Uruao sometime in the middle of the 9th century. Crucially, he made the land fit for human habitation through sacred ritual and hard labour. His final act was to create Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsythe) and then he retired, placing his kō (digging tool) deep in the ground where it may be seen today. Te Uruao ascended into the firmament and became a group of stars spread over a wide area, close to the centre of the Milky Way. It is known today as the “Scorpio Constellation”. 

Our human whakapapa (genealogy) traces back in time to a very famous ancestor named Paikea. He became immortalised for voyaging to Te Ika a Māui (The North Island) on the back of a whale about the end of the 15th century. However, Paikea is said to be connected with the waka Orouta which was reputedly in Rarotonga at the same time as the waka Tākitimu before voyaging here.  Traditionally, the Tākitimu is associated with the waka Horouta and the mythical waka Araiteuru.

The voyaging ancestors thrived in the North, the population grew and naturally families migrated to find territory for themselves. Descendants of Paikea’s son Tahu Pōtiki migrated southward together; generally speaking, they went from Gisborne to Hawkes Bay, then through the Wairarapa and on to Hātaitai (Wellington Harbour).

Approximately 10 generations after Paikea, Pūraho was the son of Tahumataroa, and grandson of ariki Rokotipuetiata. His mother was Rākaitekura, the eldest child of Kurī and Tānemoehu. Puraho’s wife Hinepāka was the daughter of Pahirua and granddaughter of Tūhaitara. Pūraho was honoured with leading the large scale migration of his mother’s people from Hātaitai to Te Wai Pounamu sometime in the latter part of the 17th century.

Pūraho’s heir Maru Kaitātea led Ngāti Kurī through most of the difficult battles and first phase of the Southern migration, ultimately taking Kaikōura for himself. When the coast was cleared our relations who hesitated, mocked our boldness and stayed in the North migrated and the descendants of Tahu formally consolidated at Kaikōura. Meanwhile, younger brother Makō Hakirikiri stepped out from Maru’s shadow earning the esteem of his colleagues-at-arms by his deeds and his courage. At a hui south of Kaikōura, descriptions of the land southward and the resources it held were reported; in his turn, Makō claimed Southern Horomaka as his new home.

Eventually, Makō and his people went to Horomaka and settled Waikākahi the enormous Ngāti Mamoe pā between Te Roto o Wairewa and Te Waihora. Later, he built his pā named Otawiri at the head of the lake and settled peacefully.

Makō’s wife was Te Rōpūake, eldest child of Te Rakiwhakaputa; revered warrior and titular head of Ngāti Kurī. Her mother, Hineteawheka was Ngāti Mamoe. Makō and Te Rōpūake had two daughters named Waimatuku and Marutuna. Waimatuku married Te Rakikakonui, Maru’s grandson while Marutuna’s descendants are known as the “Ruahikihiki line”. Waimatuku had two daughters of note: Te Korerehu married Rakiāmoa and Irakeheu married Manaia. Irakehu’s wedding is related in tradition as a political marriage. Kaumātua say that Irakehu lived at Whakamoa and was buried at Wainui. Whakamoa is the Southern headland of Akaroa Harbour and was claimed by Rakitaurewa, Manaia’s father; it borders Wainui, the base of Ngāti Irakehu. In 1856 Hoani Papita Hakaroa the senior Ngāti Irakehu rangatira publicly showed and explained to government officials that Whakamoa was Ngāti Irakehu territory.

The earliest recorded ship sighting about Horomaka dates to the early 1790’s; contact, religion, industry and trade began with Tangata Pora (ship people) around the turn of the century. Ngāti Makō had lived in abundance and flourished for 7 generations at Wairewa (Little River). Our relations, Ngāti Irakehu of Wainui were also prosperous and upoko ariki Te Maiharanui would build a pā for the purpose of trade across the harbour from Wainui, at Takapuneke.

But circumstances would change dramatically and forever beginning with a vicious civil war which erupted in the mid 1820’s. The coming of Te Rauparaha in the late 1820’s did not stop the civil war and the Northerners took advantage of the disunity it created. In 1830 he abducted Te Maiharanui and sacked Takapuneke. In 1832 at Ōnawe we were tricked by our relations and quickly overwhelmed in the fighting; probably less than 50 escaped and those who survived both massacres that day were taken as slaves. The consequences were devastating as most of those who had scattered before the fighting as well as many of the enslaved never returned. However, Eastern and Southern Te Wai Pounamu Māori amalgamated into a cohesive military force with a common objective for the first time ever. Ngāi Tahu waged magnificent campaigns in 1833 and 1834 which saw Te Rauparaha defeated and the invaders were ousted, never to return.

Meanwhile, a lethal array of imported “common illnesses” such as the measles and influenza were further reducing Māori populations. Six years of attempted rebuilding followed which saw limited settlement by European whalers and farmers before Ngāti Wiwi (the French) settled at Akaroa in 1840 and in late 1850 the English arrived.

Whare Tupuna: Makō

Whare Kai: Te Rōpūake

Tangatahara

Hui to discuss this kaupapa has been proposed for 2014. Whānau will be notified when dates have been set.This page was written on behalf of Wairewa Rūnanga by George Haremate in consultation with the executive. Due to ongoing consultation with whānau this page is likely to evolve. If you would like to make a comment or share information please send feedback to Wairewa@ngaitahu.iwi.nz