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Kawhia.Maori.nzSpiritual and Ancestral Home of Tainui.

Descending from the Wharepuhunga ranges he challenged the might of the Waikato tribes.

He at first overran the lands on the mid-reaches of the Waikato river from the foot of Maungatautari to the junction with the Waipa river, and finally clashed with the powerful Ngati Mahuta near the Taupiri Gorge.

Under the shadow of the fortified Taupiri pa of Te Putu, the patriarchal high chief of Ngati Mahuta, Ngatokowaru and his army were overwhelmed.

One hundred severed heads (rau angaanga) of his leading warriors were displayed on the battle-field, and he himself was a captive of Tawhia ki te rangi, the son of Te Putu, and the field commander of the victorious Ngati Mahuta.

Ngatokowaru expressed a wish to gaze upon the face of the Te Putu the Great, before being killed.

As a Waikato prisoner, Ngatokowaru gained immortality by stabbing Te Putu, and then as the blood gushed forth he covered himself with the sacred blood of the priestly high chief, at the same time exclaimming, "ko te tete a Ngatokowaru tena e rangona, tena e rangona! (The dagger of Ngatokowaru will be famous, 'twill indeed be famous!)

He was immediately killed, but escaped the cooking ovens because of the blood he had smeared over himself.

In a previous battle against the powerful Te Arawa tribe at Te Tumu near Maketu (Bay of Plenty), Ngatokowaru had rewarded the Waikato fighting adventurer, Te Huaki, for his services by "filling the calabash" and handing over his favourite daughter, Toreheikura, as wife.

The breach between the Raukawa tribe, and the Ngati Mahuta was healed when Te Atairangikaahu, the grand daughter of Te Huaki and Toreheikura, married Tawhia ki te rangi, the son of Te Putu, and the captor of Ngatokowaru.

From this union descends the line of Maori Kings, as follows:



Te Kara a tai whakaea Te Putu


Te Atairangikaahu Tawhia ki te rangi



Te Rauangaanga


Maori King Potatau


Maori King Tawhiao


Maori King Mahuta


Maori King Te Rata


Maori King Koroki


Maori Queen Te Atairangikaaku


Maori King Tuheitia

PAOA - The famous ancestor, after whom the tribe of the same name has been called and who now occupy the western shores of the Hauraki Gulf, at one time lived on the banks of the Waikato river near Taupiri mountain.
  • The river at that time was the main highway of the Waikato tribes and travelling parties often by canoe loads, used to make a point of calling at Paoa 's, home.

    There came a time when his elder brother, Mahuta, called on him and he was not in a position to provide him with a meal befitting the occasion.

    This caused Paoa to leave his home and family. In the Hauraki district he married the aristocratic Tukutuku by whom he had two sons, Tipa and Horowhenua.

    Tipa was the eponymous ancestor of the well known tribe of the lower reaches of the Waikato river from Te Kohanga to the sea.

    • MARUTUAHU - This ancestor was the origin of the warlike tribe named after him of the Ohinemuri district. Through his great-granddaughter, Tukutuku, who married Paoa, and also through his sons Tamatera and Whanaunga, he became the ancestor of all the tribes who now live round the shores of the Hauraki Gulf.

    Te tuarongo or the rear wall of the house has been reached, and we shall now proceed across the left hand side.

    The next two carved poupou, or slab posts, on this wall depict the two sons of Marutuahu whose story we have just dealt with. These two sons in order of birth and as depicted were:­


    These two were the origins of the tribes of Ngati Tamatera and Ngati Whanaunga of the Piako district and Coromandel Peninsula.

    • WAWAlA - This extra taniwha image has been named Wawaia after the Ngati Maniapoto tribal taniwha of the Waipa river.

    Tradition describes the taniwha as a beneficient one, and that it had a hundred lairs or hiding places along the course of the Waipa river.

    • MANIAPOTO - This figure represents the famous fighting ancestor of the tribe now inhabiting the King Country.

    Maniapoto was preferred by their father, Rereahu over his elder half-brother, Te lhingarangi.

    With the help of his younger brother, Matakore, Maniapoto resisted his elder brother's attemps to assume the chieftainship of the tribe on their father's death and finally succeeded in driving him off into the Maungatautari district on the banks of the Waikato river where he re-married and lived to an old age.

    The territory of the Ngati Maniapoto occupies the southern portion of the Tainui lands from Parininihi (White Cliffs) and Ohura district in the south to Mangatoatoa, Punui to Hauturu on the inner reaches of Kawhia harbour in the north.

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