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


page 36




There are various accounts about this tupuna wahine's origins. One version has her home at Whenuakura and Waitotara, (Nga Rauru Kitahi); another, that she came from Patea, (Ngati Ruanui); still another that she was from Te Ramanui Pa, which once stood where the present day Hawera Public Hospital is situated, — nonetheless she has connections to each of the iwi of Taranaki whanui.

Ruaputahanga was well-known for her prowess in women's taiaha — her own taiaha having the name Taukaakaa.

A visiting Waikato group noticed this aristocratic woman's ability with the taiaha, (and her appearance also, 'for she was fair-headed and had a beautiful complexion); especially one young Waikato man of high rank — Turongo. He successfully sought Ruaputahanga's favour and their match was approved by the couple's respective iwi. Turongo and his people returned to Kawhia, leaving Ruaputahanga to make her way to Waikato when they heard the song of the pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo — (early in spring).

However Whatihua, (Turongo's tuakana), also sought Ruaputahanga for himself. By inviting a large group of Ruaputahanga's people to accompay her to Waikato, (unbeknown to Turongo), Whatihua won Ruaputahanga's favour when it was found that he, not Turongo, was best able to host Ruaputahanga and her people.

So it was that Whatihua and Ruaputahanga brought together the aristocratic lines of the Tainui and Aotea canoes.