(continue) Arrival of the Tainui Waka
Some tribal traditions say that Rakataura built an altar (tuahu) at Maketu (on the summit of the small hill behind the existing marae buildings) before he'and Hoturoa met up again; others assert that Hoturoa built the altar there immediately after Tainui was beached.
Whatever tradition is accepted, the altar at Maketu, called Te Ahurei, remains as one of the most important wahi tapu of the Tainui people, as it was here that Hoturoa, Rakataura and the others gave thanks for the completion of the arduous voyage from Hawaiiki, and sought supernatural sanction for their intended settlement.
The tuahu at Te Ahurei is not just one of many such altars constructed and used for sacred ceremonies by the tohunga on their first arrival, but is the pre-eminent tuahu, where the divination and other mystic rites were performed and which symbolised the completion of the voyage of Tainui from Hawaiiki and the permanent settlement of its people at Kawhia.
According to Pei Te Hurinui, the principal school of learning (whare wananga) was established by Hoturoa at Te Ahurei, Maketu.
There was little doubt that the traditions of learning needed to be continued, and a learning centre re-established as soon as possible after their settlement. Many of the sacred artifacts brought to Aotearoa on Tainui were reposited at Te Ahurei. Later, other whare wananga of the Tainui tradition were established at Whatawhata and Piopio.
Of course the importance of Ahurei was not lost on succeeding generations of Tainui descendants. As a consequence of there being a whare wananga at Maketu, Ahurei continued as the site of the most sacred ceremonies associated with the search for and transmission of knowledge.
TE TUMU 0 TAINUI - Burial place of Tainui
At the foot of the hillock Ahurei, and immediately to the south and behind the marae buildings is the spot which is named Te Tumu of Tainui (the mooring place of Tainui).
According to tradition, it was here that the Tainui canoe was hauled ashore at the end of its voyage from Hawaiiki, and where tribal historians assert the canoe still rests.
The spot was marked by two limestone pillars which were placed there by Hoturoa and Rakataura at the earliest settlement date. Hani, (Hani-a-te waewaeikimi-atu) was on the higher ground and marked the prow of the canoe.
It is said to have been placed there by Rakataura and represented virility as the warrior spirit god who figured in the creation story of the Tainui Whare wananga.
Marking the stern of the canoe, Hoturoa placed the symbol of Puna, the spirit-goddess of that creation story.
In full it is named Puna-whakatupu-tangata, and represents female fertility, the spring or source of humanity.