Life in Early Poverty Bay
“Turanga” a District
“Turanga” a District.
As to the original naming of Poverty Bay, Mr. Elsdon Best has this to say:—
“Evidently the name Turanga was applied to the district, not to a place or small circumscribed area. Turanga is the gerundial form of the word tu, which means ‘to stand, to remain,’ but in connection with any person, animal or object in movement it carries the meaning of ‘to stop, to come to a standstill, to halt.’ Of a train halting at a station a Native will say ‘Kua tu’—‘It has stopped’—as the vessel of Toi did prior to continuing his voyage. So that Turanga page break page 17 denotes the halting or stopping of Toi's vessel as he surveyed the land of Aotearoa on his way to the ‘ants’ nest' of Tamaki, and his final home on the bold cliff brow at Whakatane. The name of Turanga-nui-a-Kiwa is probably of later origin, the name of a prominent chief being connected with the old name, as we see in Taupo-nui-a-Tia, and Roterua-nui-a-Kahu. Another name, that of Turanga-nui-a-Rua, had probably a similar origin, but I know not as to which Rua to assign the connection. It may have been Rua-te-hohonu, a reputed ancestor of Rongo-whakaata of Turanga of that ilk, or Ruapani, the eponymic ancestor of Ngati-Ruapani, or any other old Rua who pervaded the land in the dim days of yore. Waimaha-nui-a-Rua is a place at Te Papuni; Tamaki-nui-a-Rua is the Seventy Mile Bush region. One thing is fairly certain, that the Kiwa connected with Turanga was not the Kiwa after whom the far spread ocean was named the Great Ocean of Kiwa (Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa). This latter Kiwa was one of the mythical offspring of the primal parents, the Sky Father and the Earth Mother, and he was appointed as one of the poutiriao, or guardians of the universe, his particular charge of realm being the great ocean, hence the full name of the ocean.”