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
Members 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 differentiate ourselves from the other hapu stemming from the marriage. Te Ra is the great-grandson of Rahiri, the more remote ancestor who ties the whole of Ngapuhi together.
Te Ra had a double claim to the land that he handed on to his descendants. Through his mother’s mother and his paternal grandfather, he was also descended in a senior line from Tahuhunui-o-rangi, the famous 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 renowned 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 ancestor's name, Kawa, being the eldest son of Tahuhunui-o-rangi; appropriate that Ngati Kawa as a hapu have chosen so distant an ancestor to stress their long history of occupancy.
Over a thousand years ago, Rangiātea was a central place in Polynesia where Pacific Nations assembled to convene meetings, exchange gifts, arrange marriages, and train High Priests and Navigators. Where the carved pou stand here at Tou Rangatira, there is a raised mound symbolising Taputapuātea, the ancient marae at Rangiātea.
The pou on Tou Rangatira face east, acknowledging the Ngāpuhi genealogical connections to Polynesia. The carved pillars or pou represent the ancestral waka that sailed Te Moana Nui a Kiwa over a thousand years ago and brought the first people to this land. The central carved figure is Rahiri, the ancestor of Ngāpuhi, the largest iwi in Aotearoa.
Here at Tou Rangatira, the Chief Te Kemara invited Ngāpuhi to debate the terms of He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, or the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand. The English draft was translated into Te Reo by the Reverend Henry Williams and Eruera Pare Hongi wrote the final copy, acting as interpreter and scribe. It was signed by 34 Rangatira on the lawn of James Busby's British Residence on October 28 1835.
Ngāpuhi signatories saw He Whakaputanga as a way to address challenges posed by European contact, to strengthen the alliance with Great Britain, and to expand their authority more globally.
Tou Rangatira is also the site where over night of February 5th, 1840, the Reverend Henry Williams once again explained the terms of the draft Treaty to the assembled rangatira. The chiefs debated here and granted their full authorization to agree on this historic documents, signed near here by over 40 chiefs on the lawn of James Busby's British Residence at what is now known as the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The stone seat on the mound at Tou Rangatira is known as the “seat of the nation”. Here, the chiefs would gather, each waiting their turn to address the congress. Tou Rangatira was designated as a place for the chiefs to pass laws
The contents of these two documents define the relationship of the Māori nation with the wider world, and positioned Waitangi Marae as its political epicentre for generations to come. Here, the original signatories and their descendants have actively advocated for the two agreements to be honoured.
This site is central to the deep relationship between mana whenua and the Reverend Henry Williams, who arrived to Paihia in 1823 to lead the Church Missionary Society.
The waterfront road that runs parallel to Te Tii Beach is called Te Karuwha Parade. In 1973, the Williams family donated a bell to Waitangi Marae, called Te Wiremu, which acknowledges the reciprocal relationship.
As part of the 1990 commemoration of Te Tiriti o Waitangi where Ngapuhi performed their cheifly duty as host to Queen Ellizabeth, public funds were provided to rebuild Māori culture and heritage. Under the guidance of Tupi Puriri, the Marae Chairman, new carvings and tukutuku panels were installed at the rear wall of the whare tupuna. These depict ancient stories of waka navigators and voyagers who traversed the Pacific Ocean over a thousand years ago. One figure, however is pākeha. A carved pou represents the Reverend Henry Williams.
Williams was part of many historical moments, including the adoption of Te Kara, the first official flag of the United Tribes of Nu Tireni, in 1834. He was also the principal advisor who negotiated with the chiefs, encouraging them to sign He Whakaputanga 1835 and Te Tiriti O Waitangi 1840. Nicknamed Te Karuwha or Four Eyes, Williams was a friend to the Ngāpuhi leaders Hone Heke Pokai, Marupo, Te Haratua, Ana Hamu, Te Koki, Te Ruki Kawiti, Tamati Waka Nene and Patuone.