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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

An Illustrious Couple

An Illustrious Couple

In an address to the Rotary Club of Gisborne in 1934, Captain W. T. Pitt said that, when the canoe Takitimu called in at Nukutaurua (Mahia) her captain (Kiwa) left her and, with a small party, set off overland for Turanga (Poverty Bay). There he met Paoa, Horouta's captain. To celebrate the occasion they agreed that Kahutuanui (Kiwa's son) should wed Hine-a-Kua (Paoa's daughter). The descendants of this illustrious couple married with the issue of Paikea (who was reputed to have journeyed to New Zealand on the back of a whale); with those of Maia (who was said to have crossed the seas on a gourd), and with the Toi people. When the seventh generation was reached, the head chief was Ruapani, in whom converged all the lines of Maori greatness. Ruapani had three wives and, in all, twenty-five children. Among those who could claim descent from him were Te Kani-a-Takirau, Heuheu, Te Rauparaha, Tomoana, Te Kooti, Wi Pere, Sir J. Carroll, Sir Maui Pomare, Sir A. T. Ngata, and other prominent Maori leaders.

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During the investigation, on 6 July, 1875, into the ownership of the blocks situate along the seafront on the western side of the Turanganui River, Judge Rogan held that the original proprieter was Kiwa. He also laid it down that, in the fifteenth century, Ruapani was the head chief of the district. He added:

“Little or nothing is known of the people who occupied Poverty Bay for nearly two hundred years after Ruapani's day. The next chief who appeared as proprietor was Te Nonoi, from whom both claimants and counter-claimants have traced their descent…. The history of the widespread wars which were carried on by the forefathers of the people in court reveals that the country at that time was in a frightful state of anarchy and confusion. It is hardly necessary for me to add that the original cause was a woman.”

Writing in Te Waka Maori o Aotearoa (March, 1878) the Rev. Mohi Turei, who was a noted authority on the Ngati-Porou clan, refers to Horouta as “the canoe in which our [the Ngati-Porou] ancestors came from Hawaiki.” Before she left the old homeland, her crew were warned not to put fernroot with the kumaras, lest the kumara god should get angry. When she reached Ahuahu (one of the Mercury Islands), a woman named Kanawa took some fernroot on board unbeknown to the priests. A great storm arose, and, at Ohiwa, the canoe was swept on to the bar and damaged.

Whilst some of the crew remained behind to repair the vessel, the others, in two parties, set off for the south. Pouheni and his sacred band journeyed via the coast; the others, including the women, proceeded by an inland route, leaving the beach at Kereu and coming out again on the coast at Tuparoa, Anaura and elsewhere. Nepia Pohuhu told John White (Legendary History of the Maoris, 1880) that tradition stated that, when the party which had travelled by the inland route reached Whangara, Pouheni's band were lying about, apparently lifeless from lack of food. Their jaws were forced open with a piece of wood and they were revived.

Upon being repaired with timber said to have been procured from Maungahaumi, Horouta was sailed down the coast and beached at Muriwai in Poverty Bay. Nepia Pohuhu says that the kumaras which were on board were planted at Manawaru (near Manutuke) by Hine Hakirirangi, and that they were the first to be grown in New Zealand. Another story, however, credits Pou-Rangahua with having made a voyage from New Zealand. to Hawaiki on the back of the whale “Ruanuku” to obtain the first kumaras that were cultivated in the new land. Pou was flown back by the Great Bird of Ruakapanga, which was afterwards slain by a dread ogre known as Tama-i-waho, who lived on Mt. page 5 Hikurangi. The kumaras brought by Pou are also stated to have been planted at Manawaru.