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Te whakatuwheratanga o Te Tumu Herenga Waka : 6 Tihema 1986, Poneke, Te Whare Wananga o Wikitoria


page 27




  • Ko Tainui te waka
  • Ko Kapifi te moutere
  • Ko Raukawa te moaini
  • Ko Ngati Toa te iwi
  • Ko Te Rauparaha te tangata

Te Rauparaha was a descendant of Hoturoa, a rangatira of the Tainui canoe. His father was Werawera, a chief of Ngati Toa, and his mother was Parekohatu, a chieftainess of Ngati Raukawa. Te Rauparaha was born in Kawhia, the area of his father's tribe, in 1768 and it was here that he acquired and developed his skills of oratory, leadership, warfare, and other tactical intellectual and physical skills which made him the most famous chief of Ngati Toa.

The haka Ka mate, ka mate' which is widely known throughout the country was composed by Te Rauparaha The haka eventuated as Te Rauparaha lay in a kumara pit hiding from his enemies, contemplating possible death.

In 1821-22 Te Rauparaha who had become the leading chief of Ngati Toa led his people down from Kawhia to Kapiti. This move was made because of the continual battles the outnumbered Ngati Toa had been having with their neighbours. By 1832 Ngati Toa under the expert leadership of Te Rauparaha had conquered and settled land from Whangaehu (near Whanganui) to the Cook Strait. At this time Ngati Raukawa from Maungatautari and Te Atiawa from Taranaki, among others, were invited to come and settle on this land. Soon after, Ngati Toa conquered a wide area of the north of Te Wai Pounamu.

In Te Rauparaha's later years, he was to see many of his people converted to Christianity. Although not being a devout christian himself, he undertook and directed the erection of Rangiatea Church which stands today after 137 years of serving the spiritual needs of his people. It is said that under the altar lies sacred soil from the homeland of the Maori, Hawaiki, which was carried across in the Tainui canoe.

Te Rauparaha died in 1849 and was buried at Rangiatea, but it is thought that his body was taken to Kapiti Island some time later.