“Haere mai ki roto o Waiapu ki a Ngāti Porou Tūturu
Welcome to the Waiapu to Ngāti Porou proper
Tētahi pāpāringa ki tētahi pāpāringa, he whānau kotahi
Where one cheek caresses another for we are one family
Mai i Pōhautea ki te Ahikouka, ka whakawhiti i te awa o Waiapū
Seaward from Pōhautea inland to Ahikouka, crossing the Waiapū River
Mai i Paoaruku ki te huka o te tai ki Kōpuakanae
Continuing on to Paoaruku and seaward again to Kōpuakanae
Ko ia nei a Ngāti Porou Tūturu”
This is the territory that embraces Ngāti Porou proper
THE iwi (tribe) known as Ngāti Porou covers the area “Mai Pōtikirua ki te Toka-a-Taiau”, that is, from Pōtikirua, which is south of Hicks Bay, through to Te Tokaa-Taiau, a rock that stood in the Tūranganui River in the Gisborne harbour basin. Ngāti Porou embraces all the descendants of their founding ancestor, Porourangi, whose full name was Porou Ariki Te Mātātara-a-Whare Te Tuhi Mareikuraa-Rauru. Porourangi was born and lived in the Whāngārā area (his story will be told in a later issue). How then, you may ask, did his name come to be given to the collection of iwi and hapū (subtribes) residing within these boundaries? The simplest answer is, whakapapa (genealogy).
There has been much discussion recently about the appropriateness of the name Ngāti Porou to describe the collection of iwi and hapū within its tribal boundaries. That Ngāti Porou only refers to the grouping of whānau and hapū located north of Tokomaru Bay. Further more, that another grouping called Ngāti Porou Tūturu are to be found in the lower reaches of the Waiapu valley.
Countering these descriptions is the argument that perhaps a recognition of smaller descent groups, for example, Ruawaipū, Uepōhatū, Ngāti Ira and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, may be more appropriate. Certainly, reference to the name Ngāti Porou does not appear to exist before 1800, and its use became prolific during the Māori Land Wars of the 1860s and thereafter.
The description and use of Ngāti Porou Tūturu, as recited in the whakatauāki above, is as much an enigma as it is a mystery. Porourangi himself did not inhabit this part of the “coast”, however his daughter, Rongomaianiwaniwa, did. Her marriage to Tawakika produced a son Tamataua, who married Te Aokairau. Their children Hinepare, Huanga, Putaanga and Rākaimataura became the owners of the lands from Paoaruku to Kōpuakanae (northern side of the Waiapu River).
Te Aokairau was the daughter of Rongomaiwhare-mānuka, the son of Pōkai and Pōhatu. It was Rongomai-whare- mānuka who owned the lands in the area described as Ngāti Porou Tūturu. Te Aokairau’s older sister Rākairoa, meanwhile, was gifted the lands on the southern side of the Waiapu — hence the close connection between the two sides of the river.
Apirana Ngata described Porourangi as embodying all the principle lines of descent from the main ancestors of both Hawaiki and Aotearoa. This made him an appropriate tipuna (ancestor) after which the tribe should take its name. In this ongoing discussion and argument about appropriate tribal identity, the last word for the article will be given to the late Te Kakapaiwaho Tibble when he said, “It is the politics of inclusivity, a desire to be together and not one involving the mana of the taiwhakararo (northern seaboard) over the taiwhakarunga (southern seaboard) or vice-versa . . . . That (lands) were occupied and shared in common by both sides and marriages occurred ad infinitum to cement the politics of inclusivity — tātau, tātau.”