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Ngāti Rārua

HE KŌRERO TUKU IHO MŌ WAIRAU

Ko Tokomaru te pae maunga e tāwharau nei i a tātou
Ko Wairau te wai kawe kōrero o ōku tūpuna
Ko Hauhunga, Ko Wairau Pā ngā marae
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Ngāti Rārua te iwi

Tokomaru is the mountain that shelters us
Wairau is the river that carries the voices of our ancestors
Hauhunga and Wairau Pā are our marae
Tainui is the ancestral canoe
Ngāti Rārua are the people

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Ka kati i te karaka, ka piki i te hiwi
Ka heke i te awa o Pūkaka
Ka haere te reina i roto i te awa
Ka tae ki te pūtake o Tokomaru
Ka piki i runga o te hiwi
Ka heke i runga o Te Kaha, ki Waikutakuta
Ka haere i te taha tai, ki Pukatea, Te Karaka e
Ka piki i te taumata, titiro whānui
Ko Horahora Kākahu tērā te huinga o te kahurangi
Haere tonu Te Karaka ko Ngākuta
Te kāinga o tuawhakarere nā ō tātou tūpuna
Huri ake ki Kākāpō, kau atu ki Te Kanae
He wāhi tūehutanga o te hunga kāinga
Titiro whakarunga ko Urutīrongoā te ngāhere
Haere tonu ko Hakahaka e takoto nei
Whiua te kupenga, te tini te mano o Pātikitiki
Ngā pikinga ki Whangakoko e te tūpuna e Puke
Tērā te maunga teitei ko Tapuae o Uenuku
Huri ake whakararo ko Hakahana te taunga
O te Pūtangitangi, nei anō te aroha
Kua tau, kua noho, kua moe Te Karaka.

Beginning at the Pūkaka, the composer embarks on a journey across the foothills of Tokomaru Maunga to Te Kaha and Waikutakuta (Robin Hood Bay), from there the composer descends upon Pukatea (Whites Bay), and the ancient tree of Te Karaka before climbing to a vantage point to view Horahora Kākahu in the distance. Nearby is Ngākuta, the primary residence for many Ngāti Rārua tūpuna (ancestors).


The journey continues to Kākāpō where Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed. Above is the forest of Urutīrongoā (Urutī Bay) where the groves of the tīkouka tree were harvested to make medicine. Adjacent is Hakahaka, where kupenga (fishing nets) were cast into the sea to capture the abundant pātikitiki (flounder). The composer ascends Whangakoko, a pathway traversed frequently by Te Tana Pukekōhatu with a clear view of Tapuae o Uenuku in the distance, below is Hakahana, a nesting place for the pūtangitangi (paradise shellduck).

Te Whanganui (Port Underwood) as mentioned in this waiata was an ideal harbour for the whaling ships that frequented this area and became a location for some of the earliest joint settlements of Māori and European in the South Island. Ngāti Rārua along with the other iwi took advantage of the opportunities provided by the settlement of these first Europeans in the area, becoming involved in the trade for goods and services.

 

Following the whalers came the missionaries and in particular the Wesleyan missionary Rev. Samuel Ironside and his wife Sarah. Within two years of their arrival the church Ebenezar was built at Ngakuta Bay in 1840 and was large enough to hold service for 800 worshippers. His influence upon the Ngāti Rārua people was significant and in 1884 under the leadership of
their chief Rore Pukekohatu a church was built at Wairau Pā under the Wesleyan faith.

 

Te Tana Pukekohatu was a signatory of the Treaty of Waitangi at Guards Bay, Port Underwood 17 June 1840. He was present just three years later at the ill-fated Wairau Affray at Tua Marino north of Blenheim. Where 22 British settlers and four Māori lost their lives in armed conflict.


Following the Wairau affray in 1843, Ngāti Rārua relocated to Wairau Pā near Spring Creek, residing together with Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Rangitāne. Today, many of our people connect to all three of these iwi.


After two previous major land transactions that included the sale of the Wairau and in which Ngāti Rārua rights were ignored Ngāti Rārua rangatira reluctantly signed a deed of sale to the Wairau on the 10th of November 1855.


Our marae Wairau and Hauhunga are both located at Wairau Pā with the nearby Ōtamawaho urupā (Māori island) - the resting place for many of our tūpuna including Te Tana Pukekōhatu, whose final words have become guiding principles for the people of Ngāti Rārua –

“Kia atawhaitia te tangata i muri i a au, kia pai te noho” – “be kind to all people, and live well”.

 

In 1899 the first major Māori Land Court sittings were held in the district approving lists of owners from the three mana whenua iwi of Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne and Ngāti Toa Rangatira for the Wairau. A reserve of 770 acres was created for the three iwi with barely 50 acres suitable for cultivation. The rest of the area consisted of swamp with no wood for fuel. Flooding continually occurred wiping out livestock and crops.

 

Ngāti Rārua became destitute and suffered poor health diseases afflicting them with typhoid, diphtheria, influenza, tuberculosis with high morbidity rates within their tamariki. They lived in damp and indifferent housing with compromised water quality.


Ngāti Rārua sought a solution to the continuous flooding by requesting support from the Department of Māori Affairs. Eight years later that support materialised in the implementation of the Wairau Development Scheme, a kaupapa that ran for twenty-five years controlled by Department officials from Wellington.


Ultimately the scheme failed due to poor management by the Department and the land was handed back to the owners in debt. Several younger Ngāti Rārua left the area to pursue employment as well as better housing opportunities. They couldn't obtain home ownership loans due to the flood prone nature of the reserve on which they lived.

The presence of Ngāti Rārua on the reserve declined but ahi kaa who remained still upheld the customary harvesting of traditional food to supplement their existence and practiced kaitiakitanga (guardianship) over the land and waterways for which they had been reliant on since their first arrival to the district.


In the early 1980s an informal Ngāti Rārua Council was formed to address the issue of alienated land under dubious circumstances and in 1990 the Ngāti Rārua o Te Wairau Society was established to look after the interest of local Ngāti Rārua. In 1992 the Ngāti Rārua Trust was created to act as the formal iwi authority for the iwi right across its rohe of Wairau, Whakatu, Motueka and Mohua. This is now known as Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rārua.


In 1996 Ngāti Rārua filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal against the Crown in respect of breaches under the Treaty of Waitangi. These claims were heard in 2000 and 2001 and on the 13th of April 2013 Ngāti Rārua signed a deed of settlement with the Crown at Hauhunga Marae, Wairau Pā.

Ngāti Rārua descend from the Tainui waka (canoe) and originate at Waikawau, Nukuhākari, and Kiritehere on the West Coast of the King Country region. In 1821, Ngāti Rārua were forced from these areas by conflict with inland Tainui tribes, eventually migrating to Te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui.


On arrival in Te Tauihu, Ngāti Rārua and their allies engaged in a period of conflict with the resident Kurahaupō people as well as participating in military campaigns further south against those Ngāi Tahu hapū resident on the eastern and western coasts of Te Waipounamu. The background to this period of conflict was a complex mix of utu (revenge) for insults, intention to control resources and to secure whenua (land) for settlement.


Under the leadership of Te Tana Pukekōhatu, Ngāti Rārua settled in the Wairau district forming deep connections with the whenua (land) and tahatai (coast line). The following waiata (song) taken from the papers of Ngāti Rārua tupuna Tapata Harepeka highlights the wāhi tapu (sacred places), mahinga kai (food gathering sites) and kāinga (settlements) in the area that are significant to our people.

© Copyright 2022 by The iwi of Te Tātoru o Wairau.