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Te Heke o Te Rangihouhiri - 6 Jun


Ngai Te Rangi iwi originally came from a land called Hawaiiki. Upon arriving in Aotearoa New Zealand aboard the Mataatua Canoe the tribe later settled in the Opotiki area at a fortified village called Tawhitirahi, notwithstanding this Ngai Te Rangi iwi are also descended from the original inhabitants of Tauranga and the pre-waka people or pre-migration people who traversed the entire Bay of Plenty, through intermarriage after the arrival of the canoes. In circa 1650 AD the tribe undertook an arduous and sometimes challenging migration around the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand called Te Heke o Te Rangihouhiri or the Journey of Ngai Te Rangi iwi. This is detailed in evidence to the Waitangi Tribunal WA 540.

Ngai Te Rangi are descended from crew members of the Mataatua canoe, and Whaene, brother of Ranginui. The tribe originally lived in Opotiki, but were pushed out by Ngati Ha and migrated to the Gisborne district. They were not there long before trouble arose again and they moved around the coast to Torere and to Whakatane, finally settling at Matata. By this time, in the 18th century, they had become known as Ngai Te Rangihouhiri, named after their leader Te Rangihouhiri. He was the son of Romainohorangi, also known as Rongomainohorangi.

While they were there, Tamapahore, the brother of Te Rangihouhiri, went to visit his relations at Maketu. Despite a gift of land, it was not long before war broke out. During one of the battles Tutengaehe, Te Rangihouhiri's eldest son, was killed. Overcome with grief, Te Rangihouhiri prophesied his own demise, saying, 'Farewell my son. You depart on the evening tide, and I shall follow you on the morning tide.'
The next day Te Rangihouhiri entered into battle at Poporohuamea near Little Waihi, and met his end. On his death his people adopted the name Ngai Te Rangi, rallied to avenge his death, and took possession of the land.

Ngai Te Rangi were now determined to gain a foothold in Tauranga Moana, the home of their ancestor Whaene. After a series of battles, they secured Tauranga Moana as their permanent home, displacing the Ngati Ranginui and Waitaha people then in occupation. They eventually settled much of the Tauranga Moana region, including the islands Matakana, Tuhua (Mayor Island) and Motiti.


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