The seat of the King movement is Turangawaewae, a marae located
at Ngaruawahia. The name comes from a saying by King Tawhiao:
Ko Arekahanara taku haona kaha
Ko Kemureti taku oko horoi
Ko Ngaruawahia taku turangawaewae
Alexandra (present day Pirongia) will ever be a symbol of my
strength of character
Cambridge a symbol of my wash bowl of sorrow
And Ngaruawahia my footstool.
The establishment of Turangawaewae marae during the 1920s and 1930s was guided by the influential Waikato - and indeed New Zealand - leader, Te Puea Herangi, a granddaughter of King Tawhiao. Te Puea succeeded in renewing the King movement as a vehicle to empower her people. That she was able to do this during a time of economic depression is a testimony to her considerable leadership skills.
Te Puea Herangi was born at Whatiwhatihoe, near Pirongia, on 9 November 1883. Her mother was Tiahuia, daughter of Tawhiao Te Wherowhero of Ngati Mahuta, the second Maori King, and his senior wife, Hera. Her father was Te Tahuna Herangi, son of William Searancke, an English surveyor, and Hariata Rangitaupa of Ngati Ngawaero hapu of Ngati Maniapoto. Te Puea was thus born into the kahui ariki, the family of the first Maori King, Potatau Te Wherowhero, in the difficult years following the wars of the 1860s and the extensive confiscation of Tainui lands. She was to play a crucial role alongside three successive kings in re-establishing the Kingitanga (King movement) as a central force among the Tainui people, and in achieving national recognition of its importance.
The people of Waikato share a bond with the Waikato River,
with Taupiri mountain. Taupiri is the sacred mountain of the
Waikato people. It is remembered in the tribal saying:
Ko Taupiri te maunga
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Te Wherowhero te tangata.
Waikato is the river
Taupiri is the mountain
Te Wherowhero is the man.
Many Waikato ancestors and chiefs are buried on Taupiri, including all the Maori kings.