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



Tamairangi is said to have been as great a chieftainess as Hinematioro, of Tolaga Bay whose fame had reached the early missionaries in the north, by whom she was referred to as "a great queen". Tamairangi, in travelling from village to village, was never allowed to walk; she had male attendants who carried her. When she appeared before the tribe on public occasions, she was dressed in the linest mats, with plumes of albatross feathers in her hair, and a long and richly carved taiaha in her hand.

When Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa invaded her district and killed many of her people, Tamairangi and the other survivors took refuge at Tapu-te-ranga pa, the islet in Island Bay, Wellington, and when that place fell, her people carried her off by sea around Te Rimurapa (Cape Te Rawhiti) to Ohariu, a little bay on Cook's Straits, due west of Wellington, where she was captured by her enemies, who however did not kill her or her children. Dreading that she would be put to death she asked to be allowed to sing her own lament, a request that was acceded to by her captors. This lament, in which she took farewell of her people, and her lands, was of such a pathetic nature that it appealed to Te Rangihaeata, chief of Ngati Toa, who begged of Te Atiawa her captors — that she might be given to him, and this request being complied with, she was taken to Kapiti Island where she and her family stayed for some time (see b). While there, her son Kekerengu, who was a full grown man, got into trouble through a liaison with Te Rangihaeata's wife, and fearing the consequences, he, with his mother Tamairangi and her children, escaped by canoe from Kapiti in the night, and braving the terrors of Cook's Strait, crossed over to Arapaoa, Tamairangi's old home. Here they all stayed some time, but still fearing the wrath of Te Rangihaeata, they again fled and eventually reached Kekerengu, a stream, (now a small village), twenty miles south of Cape Campbell. Here the fugitives were set upon by the Ngai Tahu tribe, and all killed. Since then this place has been called Kekerengu, after the son of Tamairangi.

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Hinerongo was a Ngati Mamoe ariki. Her home base was at Waipapa (near the mouth of Waiotoa — Clarence river). Originally she was the leader of the Ngati Mamoe people from Hawkes Bay (at Otatara pa). These people had migrated south three generations before her and intermarried with the people of the Wairau area. Some time later they moved down to the Kaikoura coast in the migration by the Rangitane people to that area.

Hinerongo was of mixed Rangitane and Mamoe descent and in a battle between the two tribes was captured by her Rangitane relations and a few days later was in the care of the Ngati Kuri (hapu of Ngai Tahu). These people had migrated to the Tory channel area (Kura tei au) under Puraho and his son Maru. When Ngati Kuri took Hinerongo she became the prize of the Ngai Tahu rangatira Tuteuretira, who thought he had acquired a Rangitane woman. After a series of events Tuteurutira left his people and took her by sea home to Waipapa where he became a noted rangatira amongst her people.

There are many descendants today from the marriage of Tuteuretira and Hinerongo. Many of the Kaikoura Ngai Tahu people carry the blood of Rangitane, Ngati Mamoe and Ngati Kuri because of the descendants of Hinerongo. Traditional accounts of their meetings are remembered in the place-names from Wairau to Te Karaka (Cape Campbell) and down to Kaikoura.