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History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840

Ngati-Mutunga Tribe

Ngati-Mutunga Tribe.

From Titoki, the southern limit of Ngati-Tama, to Te Rau-o-te-huia, a place one mile south of Onaero river, is about eleven miles along the coast line, and this was the frontage held by Ngati-Mutunga, whilst their inland boundaries marched with those of Ngati-Maru. The sea frontage is marked by perpendicular cliffs about 100 to 150 feet high, formed of papa rock, through which the three main streams, Mimi, Ure-nui and Onaero break their way to the sea, forming picturesque and fertile valleys, the two former being navigable for canoes for a few miles. Above the cliffs, the level or undulating country extends inland for a few miles, forming a picturesque and rich plain, beyond which the wooded hills rise in somewhat steep slopes. The whole of this country is dotted over, here and there, with fine old pas, amongst which is Okoki, one of the strongest in the district. Within this district is Wai-iti, the former home of Ngai-Tara-pounamu, whose emigration to D'Urville island has been described; around that part are some fine pas, particularly Whakarewa* situated on the coast a mile to the north. There are several pas around this place, some of which are said to have been built by Ngai-Tara-pounamu, but it seems doubtful if this is the case, although it is probable that some remnant of that emigrant tribe became absorbed in Ngati-Mutunga.

The Ngati-Mutunga take their name from Mutunga, who was the sixth son of his parents, and received his name Mutunga (the last) because he was to be the last. They had hoped for a daughter, but were disappointed. Table 33a, as supplied to me by Te Rangi-hiroa, shows the position of this ancestor, together with Hine-tuhi and Aurutu from whom some of the Ngati-Mutunga hapus take their names.

* Plate No. 6 shows this pa, as seen from Wai-iti Beach.