Ko Pouerua Te Maunga
Ko Waitangi Te Awa
Ko Ngatokimatawhaorua Te Waka
Ko Te Tii Waitangi Te Marae
Ko Te Tiriti O Waitangi 1840 Te Whare-Tupuna
Ko Te Ngakau Aroha Te Whare-Kai
Ko Ngati Rahiri Te Hapu
Ko Ngapuhi Te Iwi
Tihei Mauri Ora
Te Whenua: Te Tii (Waitangi) A Block approximately 6-1/2 acres. The whenua was set aside as a Maori Reservation under Section 338 of the Ture Whenua Maori 1993 as place of Historical and Recreational importance for the use and enjoyment of all Maori people of Niu Tireni (New Zealand). The administration of the reserve is carried out by Trustees.
The marae, is located on the forsehore of Tii Bay and looks directly to Kororareka now known as Russell. In the early 1820’s much of the land in Waitangi and surrounding areas through to Paihia was exchanged via trust by the Church Mission Society (CMS), with the Williams family administering much of it. However, in 1839, Henry Williams created a reserved handed back administration to Ngati Rahiri hapu, this gesture has been acknowledged by a carving in the whare-nui and also the naming of the foreshore road known as Karuwha (four-eyes) Parade. Perhaps one of the most historic sites is located on the southern end of the marae property. The site is known as, “Tou Rangatira”, formerly a quite impressive mound where it is said that the northern chiefs made the decvision to signn He Whakaputanga 1835 me Te Tiriti 1840.
Maikuku was a puhi (chiefly virgin) a grand-daughter of Rahiri and descendent of Tahuhunui-o-rangi, two important ancestors of the north. Maikuku was raised in the inland area centred on Pouerua but because she was highly tapu (scared and hedged with ritual restrictions), her people installed her in a cave hidden in the coastal cliffs and guarded by taniwha (sea creatures with supernatural powers). Tribal historians (kaumatua & kuia) advise that, Te Ana O Maikuku (Maikuku’s Cave) is at Waitangi, but its exact location is revealed only to a few descendants of true Ngati Rahiri decent.
Aspiring suitors sought Maikuku in vain, until a young Hua (Huatakaroa) one of those knights of old, very bold and very brave. He is from Whangaroa. His pa is Taratara and his line of descent is from Ruanui. He was soon to learn of a beautiful un-betrothed chieftainess living in Waitangi, Maikuku. He set off immediately to woo the beautiful Maikuku. He paddled his waka passed the Kerikeri inlet and to Waitangi where he came upon dolphins making their way to Maikuku’s cave, and answering Maikuku’s calls with their own cries (tangi) of pleasurable expectations. When the dolphins got to Maikuku, Hua was right behind them. Hua was not only an outstanding warrior but he was also a fine handsome and upstanding man so much so that the dolphins were no match for the daring adventurer. Hua told Maikuku that he had come because he had heard of her beauty and now he knew that she was certainly as beautiful as he had been told. Maikuku accepted Hua and he stayed with her. In the morning Maikuku told Hua that they would have to go to the marae above to meet her people, were they gathered and accepted him.
Maikuku and Hua left the cave to begin domestic life together in a house called Ruarangi. Hua placed their first child under supernatural protection in the tohi (ritual rites for the new-born), naming him, Te Ra, after the sun which shone into the cave as it rose in the east.
The marriage of Maikuku and Hua endured, though they had their share of troubles. They had six children and also raised a grandson, but they suffered an estrangement from one of their daughters (Hauhaua) which took many years to heal. Recognised equally as rangatira among Maikuku’s people, they lived mainly inland on the grades of Pouerua but ranged widely from the base visiting Waitangi in the summer for seafood and relaxation. In their declining years at Parahirahi near Kaikohe, after abdicating their rangatiratanga to Te Ra, recognized today as a key ancestors respectively of Ngati Rahiri hapu and Ngapuhi iwi.
The name Waitangi can be translated as, “Crying waters”, “Lamenting waters”, or “The sound of (falling) waters”. Tribal experts now deceased (Hemi Rihari & Connie Burling) associate it variously with the sounds made by Maikuku’s guardian taniwha, Maikuku lamenting the breach of tapu, and the sound of the Haruru falls. Whatever its exact reference, Waitangi has long been a name and a place which resonates through Niu Tireni (New Zealand) history.
The hapu recognised throughout Tai Tokerau as having tangata whenua status at Waitangi is Ngati Rahiri. This hapu is special in intriguing ways.
Member of Ngati Rahiri, look to Te Ra, the first born son of Maikuku and Hua as our ancestral reference point, the basis on which we differentiates our selves from the other hapu stemming from the marriage. Te Ra’s is a great grandson of Rahiri, the more remote ancestor who ties the whole of Ngapuhi together.
Maikuku had an elder sibling Uewhati, however moved away from Taiamai and settled in the west, being the founding ancestor over there. However, Te Ra had a double claim to the land he handed on to his descendants. Through his mother’s mother and his paternal grand-father, he was also descended in a senior line from Tahuhunui-o-rangi, focal ancestor of Ngai Tahuhu, the tribe which controlled Pouerua and Waitangi at the time of Maikuku’s marriage. Thus in the 19th century Ngati Rahiri held its land in the central Bay of Islands by rights of inheritance and occupation from both Ngai Tahuhu and Ngati Rahiri.
The hapu Ngati Rahiri subsumes two closely related hapu , Te Matarahurahu and Ngati Kawa. Te Matarahurahu, is defined by reference to the ancestor Kauteawha, great-grandson of Te Ra, who was renown as a fighting chief in the campaigns that ousted Ngati Miru and Wahineiti from the Waimate area. The name of this hapu (fern-face) derives from the bracken used to cover Kauteawha’s face after he was killed in battle as a warrior. Ngati Kawa, bears an ancestors name, Kawa, being the eldest son of Tahuhunui-o-rangi; might the hapu have chosen so distant an ancestor to stress their long history of occupancy? There are hints in tribal records that the name Ngati Rahiri was already in use or adopted by Kauteawha, “Haruru ana te moana o pewhairangi, ko Kauteawha, ko Ngati Rahiri” .
During the first half of the 19th century Te Matarahurahu and Ngati Kawa seem to operate separately to a large degree, while also joining forces on appropriate occasions under the title Ngati Rahiri. Together they controlled the area drained by the Waitangi and Waiaruhe rivers and coastal frontage in the Bay of Islands, north and south of the Waitangi river mouth.