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Tuhoe-Potiki was the great-grandson of Toroa (chief of the Mata-tua canoe). Tuhoe being the last of the family as shown by the whakapapa, he received the second name Potiki (last child).

  • Toroa—Kake-Pikitia
  • Wairaka—Mai-ure-nui
  • Tamatea Ki Te Huatahi—Paewhiti

Ue-I-Mua (m) Tane-Moe-Ahi (m) Uenuku-Rauiri (f) Tuhoe-Potiki (m).

When the Mata-tua canoe landed at the mouth of the Whakatane River, the male crews rushed ashore to inspect the new land, leaving the canoe tied up alongside of a rocky bank, while the women folk attended to the luggage.

During the absence of the men, a storm sprang up and the canoe was left bumping against the rocky bank. When Wairaka, the daughter of Toroa, saw the danger to the canoe, having no men in sight, she exclaimed, "Kati ka whaka-tane ahau i au" (I will make a man of myself), and immediately went and brought the canoe to a safe mooring. Through that act of bravery the river was called "Whakatane."

After the immigrants had been firmly established, as has been related in the history of Toroa, the fame and beauty of Wairaka had reached the ears of the inhabitants of the surrounding districts. When the young men heard of this attractive news, they came in great numbers, in the hope of winning the handsome maiden of Hawaiki. Several paid a visit but without success.

At one time a party of young men came from Taranaki and stayed some time with Toroa and his people. Among the party were three men named Mai-ure-nui, Tu-kai-te-uru, and Tamateamatangi, and others. The last-named took to wife Muriwai, the sister of Toroa, and Te Whakatohea of Opotiki district are their descendants.

page 180

The story runs that Wairaka was much impressed by the handsome appearance of one of the visitors, either Tu-kai-te-uru or Toko, so much so that she became determined to claim him as her husband. Together with other young folk of the village she passed the evening in the guest-house, entertaining and being entertained in haka and song. The man she wanted was reclining just beneath the window of the house, and apparently her admiration for him had been noticed by at least one other member of the party, as the sequel will show. After the fire had died down and the place was in darkness, Wairaka moved over to the window where she supposed her chosen man to be. It is said that she scratched his face in order to mark him for her own; in fact, she put her brand on him. The next morning Wairaka informed her father of her choice of a husband and explained how she had marked him for the purpose of identification by all. All her people collected in order to view her chosen man, and as they came forth from their house she was astonished to see him walk forth scratchless, with not a mark on him. But the next man to come forth was Mai-ure-nui, badly scratched, marked before the world as the chosen of the chief's daughter. The annoying part of the affair was that Mai was a singularly ugly man, hence Wairaka became the recipient of many unkind remarks. It appeared that Mai had noticed her admiration for his companion, and had managed, after darkness came, to take his place beneath the window. Upon realising the mistake that she had made, poor Wairaka cried, "He po a Wairaka i raru ai" (By darkness was Wairaka misled), a saying still heard among the natives.

By Mai-ure-nui she had a son named Tamatea-ki-te-huatahi (Tamatea the only child). The name originated as follows.

The child's father proposed to go out to sea fishing in order to satisfy his wife's desire to eat fish. Toroa said to his son-in-law, "Do not go to sea at this time. These are the nights of the Tamatea-kai-ariki, the ocean is too rough." The answer was, "Let me and the Tamatea-kai-ariki fight it out together." Several nights of the moon are known as Tamatea, and the Tamatea-kai-ariki is the eighth or ninth night of the moon's age. Stormy weather is said to mark this phase of the moon. However, our fisherman persisted in going and so lost his life, his canoe being capsized at sea.

Soon after this occurrence the son of Wairaka was born, and was given the name of Tamatea, in memory of the Tamatea stage of the moon when his father was drowned. The term Huatahi page 181(single offspring) implies an only child.

Tamatea-ki-te-huatahi married Paewhiti who begot:—

Ue-i-mua (m), Tane-moe-ahi (m), Uenuku-Rauiri (f), Tuhoe-potiki (m).

These three brothers were famous warriors in their day. Their mother spoke proudly of them as "Te Tokotoru a Paewhiti" (the three of Paewhiti). Another proud expression anent these three brothers was "Kainga te kai, kei te haere te tokotoru a Paewhiti" (Devour your food, for the three of Paewhiti are abroad), this suggesting that the three brothers were of a swashbuckling reputation.

According to Maori custom the mana or prestige fell to the oldest child. However, Tuhoe-Potiki the younger, seems to have had ambition. A quarrel between him and the oldest son, Ue-i-mua, led to the death of the latter. Through subsequent activities Tuhoe-Potiki became the dominant one of the remaining pair, and he became the eponymous ancestor of the tribe Tuhoe.

Tuhoe-Potiki is often termed Te Potiki a Tamatea (the last son of Tamatea). Ure-wera is another double-barrelled name of the tribe. This includes the descendants of Mura-kareke, son of Tuhoe-Potiki. The origin of the name is said to have been an accident that happened to Mura-kareke when living at Pu-tauaki, where their principal houses were named Rangi-uru and Hau-te-ana-nui. After dwelling there for some time, years began to tell on Mura-kareke and he came to his end as do the trees of the forest. It was when he was very old and feeble that he was accidentally burned while lying by the fire, hence his descendants acquired the tribal name of Te Ure-wera. When the end was near Mura-kareke told his offspring to slay a dog and prepare the flesh thereof as an o matenga (death journey food) for himself, and as a last ritual feast, saying, "Ki te maoa ta koutou kuri, ko te timu waero ma to koutou taina, ma Tama-pokai" (When your dog is cooked, let your younger brother, Tama-pokai, have the rump thereof). But they kept the best portions for themselves and gave poor Tama the head as his share. Whereupon the old man, Mura-kareke, was much angered and is said to have committed suicide by setting fire to his hut, hence the name Te Ure-wera (burnt sex).

There are many othe activities of this celebrated ancestor of the stalwart people of Tuhoe land, but these are sufficient for the purpose in hand.