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





  • Piki ma ra kake mai ra,
  • Homai te waiora ki ahau
  • E tu-tehua ana koa te moe a te kuia i te
  • Po po i rant ai a Wairaka.
  • Papaki hi ana te tax ki Te Reinga,
  • Ka po ka ao ka ea, ka awatea.
  • Climb hither, ascend hither,
  • Give unto me 'life giving waters,
  • For the lady sleeps in yearnful
  • anticipation,
  • Like the night in which Wairaka was
  • deceived,
  • As the tides broke at Te Reinga,
  • In the night, then came the dawn,
  • The act complete, as daylight broke.

The above tau is concerned with Wairaka, daughter of Toroa, the captain of the Mataatua canoe.

It seems that Wairaka took a liking to a handsome stranger from Taranaki called Tukaiteuru, who was on a visit to Whakatane with two companions. Wairaka decreed that this man should be hers. As night fell and all had retired to the wharepuni, Wairaka's longing looks for this stranger were noticed by one of his companions, a less handsome man called Te Maiurenui.

Being a man of perception, Te Maiurenui was able to anticipate what might happen as the night wore on.When the wharepuni fell into darkness, Te Maiurenui succeeded in convincing his unsuspecting companion to change places with him. As dawn broke, Wairaka rushed off to tell her father that he was about to become a father-in-law. Toroa approved and asked who his future son-in-law might be. Wairaka acquainted him with the fact that she had left a scratch mark on his face. Toroa called his people together and waited for the guests to emerge from the wharepuni. Imagine Wairaka's shame when it was discovered by all that she had been tricked ... and by a not so handsome man. E taea te aha? Nothing could be done about it. However, Wairaka is also immortalised by a more honorable deed.

The Mataatua canoe was moored close to where Whakatane town is now. All the able-bodied men had left to investigate the new land and Mataatua was unattended. As the tide ebbed, Mataatua broke its moorings and started to drift out to sea. Only the women were aboard, Wairaka was not about to let this happen. Uttering the words, "kia whakatane au i ahau" (Let me be as a man), she hoisted the sail and guided Mataatua back to land. And so Mataatua was saved.

One of the words that she uttered, WHAKATANE, is now the name of the present township and of the river that flows past it.

The following is the whakapapa of Wairaka to Tuhoe: