Tu-whare-toa, whose full name was Tu-whare-toa-i-te-au-pouri was the eponymous ancestor of the Tribe Ngai-Tuwhare-toa of Taupo, or Taupo-nui-a-tia. He descended from Hape whose full name was Hape-ki-tuma-o-te-rangi, who is said to have come to New Zealand on the Rangi-Matoru canoe, which landed her crew at Ohiwa, Bay of Plenty.
Hape, who was the origin of the tribe known as Te Hapu-oneone, occupied lands from Ohiwa inland to the Wai-mana and across the Tai-arahia range to Ruatoki. The two main tribes of the original people of this district were Te Hapu-oneone and that collection of clans known as Te Tini o Toi or the multitude of Toi. These were the two primal stocks from which sprang the various old-time tribes that held the lands of the Bay of Plenty district from Matata to O-potiki.
The title of the Hapu-oneone may be taken as meaning "the Earth-born people," or "the People of the Land." This tribe was probably so named because it was one of the original tribes to occupy the island, before the arrival of the Mata-tua and other canoes of the Main Migration.
It has been related that Hape came from Hawaiki to New Zealand as the principal man on the Rangi-matoru canoe, which came to land at Ohiwa as has been stated. His main object in coming was in search of greenstone.
Ngahue, who had previously visited New Zealand and took back with him a piece of greenstone, which was made into the adze named Te Awhio-rangi, which was the main adze that built and brought the Takitimu canoe to New Zealand, as has been related in the history of Takitimu.
Hape, on hearing of this discovery, left Hawaiki and landed at Ohiwa as has already been related.
After remaining there for some time he decided to continue page 188his search for the long-wanted greenstone, and so set off toward the South.
He first went to Tarawera near unto Rua-wahia where he blocked up the course of the Tarawera stream with a rock, since known as Te Tatau-o-Hape. He then proceeded by way of Kainga-roa to the source of Rangi-tikei, until he arrived at Porirua. On arriving at the seaside, he crossed Raukawa (Cook Straits) to Wairau and traversed that island to Kai-koura and on to Te Wai-pounamu where he found the greenstone and so remained there. Hape died at that place and his body was left in his hut. He was later followed in his travels by his twin sons, Rawaho and Tamarau, who set out in search of him. The story of their travels is now known as "The Legend of Hape the Wanderer and Tamarau, the Flying Man." This story is too long to relate here.
There is no evidence of Tu-whare-toa being prominent in warfare. As with Kahungunu and other eponymous ancestors, it was his issue that built the name and tribe. Having married women of high rank, as shown by the genealogy, Tu-whare-toa begot stalwart sons and grandsons, and in common with that pure old stock, warring was their pleasure. "Te Umanga o nehe ma he whawhai." (Fighting is the important object of the day.)
It appears that Tu-whare-toa and his family had their permanent home at Kawe-rau near Te Teko. At this time the whole of the country around, extending from Mapouriki (A pa on the range, north of the cheese factory at Waimana) to Taupo, and to Hei-pipi pa at Petane (known now as Bay View) near Napier, were held by a numerous tribe called Maru-iwi, who were the original inhabitants of the lands. After the Hei-pipi pa was raided and overtaken by Taraia and his band of warriors, as related in the history of Taraia, the people of the pa who were not killed or captured, abandoned it and fled to settle at Kaka-tarahae on the Kainga-roa plain, near Taupo.
About this time Tu-whare-toa and his people had had some quarrel with these new settlers, and the sons of the chief wished to drive out the invaders of the fair vale of Kawe-rau. But the old man said, "Wait until I have finished my new house, Te Koro-tiwha, the ornaments of which I am now carving." His sons, however, were spoiling for a fight, and persisted in going. They said to their father, "Hei konei ki te whakairo piha mau." (Remain here and carve scrolls for yourself.) This annoyed the father, who replied with "Haere i a tuku noa, i a heke noa. Mau page 189ka oti atu, oti atu." (Go your own silly way, but you may never return.)
Even so the sons of Tu-whare-toa led forth their warriors, and ranged the drear plains of Kainga-roa in search of someone to attack. At Kaka-tara-hae they came upon Maru-iwi, whom they at once attacked. But Maru-iwi fought the good fight with such energy that they defeated the assailants, and amused themselves by piling up the bodies of their slain enemies in a heap at the base of a tree. Hence that fight, and place, have ever since been known as O-whakatihi, from the word, whakatihi, "to pile up in a heap."
The survivors of Te Kawe-rau party fled, and sought for means by which to avenge their defeat. They found it. It was the kete poutama, a singular rite of black magic performed by the Maori of old in order to weaken and unnerve enemies, to cause them to be defeated or become powerless, in fact, to consign them to the realm of oblivion. To perform this rite an ahi tapu or sacred fire was necessary. It was kindled, and the rite performed on a ridge on the track to Here-taunga, a place since known as Te Ahi-a-nga-tane, in commemmoration of the above event. The atua (god familiar) appealed to in order to give force to the rite was Ira-kewa. There were repeated weird spells of the warlords of old, including the whakamania.
Then a force was collected by the survivors, and Maru-iwi were followed as they fared onwards by Titi-o-kura. The god Ira-kewa was invoked in order that his dread powers might bring disaster on Maru-iwi. Then the power of the god was seen in the vale of Mohaka (kawhiua te hau o Ira-kewa ki roto o Mohaka). The lightning flashed to Maunga-haruru, a fierce storm lashed the earth, fiery portents were seen darting through the air. It was a sign from the gods and Maru-iwi "foredoomed to dogs and vultures," were a stricken host, yea, they were dead men although still in the world of life.
Now Maru-iwi were truly alarmed. The evil spells of dark magicians were reached. Men tell strange stories of their actions. How, as they toiled on over the plains, they collected and carried bundles of sticks to serve as fuel when camped down for the night. But, when night fell, fresh alarms arose, and fires and camps were deserted, and again the weary wayfarers struggled on through the night. At last, in one of these nocturnal stampedes, they came in storm and darkness to the rugged canyon near Pohue, on the Napier-Taupo road, near the little lake at the gulch now crossed by the bridge about a mile south of the Pohue page 190Hotel. It is said that the fugitives did not see the cliff in the darkness, hence those leading fell over the cliff, while those in the rear were ignorant of the fate of their companions and, hurrying on, themselves fell over. Thus most of Maru-iwi perished in that waro (chasm), and their tribal name became lost to the world. It is said that only a few survivors reached Heretaunga.
The adventures and tragic end of Maru-iwi still live in the memories of the natives, and allusions to the latter are often met with in song and story. Thus Te Heke a Maru-iwi (the migration of Maru-iwi), and Te heke o Maru-iwi ki te Po (the descent of Maru-iwi to Hades). Thus Pare-rau-tutu of Te Arawa sang:
Ko te heke ra o Maru-iwi i toremi ai ki te reinga ra.
In like manner did Te Au-roa:
Ko te heke o Maru-iwi i haere ai ki raro ra
I hapainga mai ai te kete wairuru kai Mata-whaura.
As also one Ngau-ora, when bemoaning herself in song:
E tama e; Kaore he uri tangata i te ao nei
Tena ka riro atu te waro i heke ai Maru-iwi.
After this Tu-whare-toa and his people took possession of all the Taupo lands. Before doing so they had to overpower a small tribe called Ngati-Hotu and this was done by peace and intermarriages.
After a time the Ngai-Tu-whare-toa became a powerful tribe and was a source of danger to the Coast dwellers, as they raided the Coast on different occasions.
Subsequently the Tu-whare-toa tribe was reigned over and led by four succeeding Heuheus. The first and the elder of them was the one, who, in junction with other tribes raided the Kai-uku pa at Mahia, as has been related in the history of Te Wera-Hauraki. He was the initiator of the election of the Maori King. The third of the Heuheu was Heuheu Tukino, M.L.C. The fourth is now Hoani Te Heuheu.