Ko Maungahaumi te maunga
Maungahaumi is the mountain
Ko Waipaoa te awa
Waipaoa is the river
Ko Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki te iwi
Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki is the tribe
Tīhei mauri ora!
Alas the breath of life!

MAUNGAHAUMI is the principal ancestral mountain of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki tribe and other affiliated tribal groups and hapū in the Gisborne region. It stands aloft, 1214 metres high in the interior ranges of Gisborne in the Mangatū Blocks area.

The story of how Maungahaumī got its name is referred to in the pātere (chant) called Haramai a Paoa. It tells the story of the Horouta waka (canoe) and its journey from Hawaiki. After an incident on board, the waka was lashed by high winds and seas, capsized and came ashore at Ōhiwa near Ōpōtiki with a broken hull and bow piece. The crew split into three groups to search for material with which to repair the waka.

‘Ka haramai ki uta, ki te rapa haumi, ki te rapa pūnake
And came ashore to search for a new hull and bow piece

Ka kitea te haumi, ka kitea te pūnake’
And found a hull piece, and a bow piece

Paoa, the captain of the Horouta, together with his group, ventured inland to the interior ranges, where he found tōtara trees suitable to make the replacement hull and bow pieces for the waka. The location of the trees was atop a mountain in the Mangatū area near Whatatūtū which Paoa named Maungahaumī. This same overland journey by Paoa also provided a whole host of names which have been etched into the geography of the region – Mangatū itself, Waipaoa, Motu, Te Kurī-a-Paoa (Young Nicks Head), Pīpīwhākao and others. To tell the stories of these names would require more space and time, neither of which we have for this edition – maybe next time.

Maungahaumī then, has special significance to all the tribes of the Tairāwhiti who descend from the Horouta waka.

Other Stories from this Chapter:
Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki The descendants of Māhaki
Hineteariki – the River Mist Maiden
Rāwiri Tamanui and Herehereuma – Against All Odds
The Horseriders Request Te Kooti’s Response


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