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Emerging from the interior of the earth

This tupuna Tuputupuwhenua came from the interior of the earth. As the first indigenous person of Te Tai Tokerau, he sprouted from the earth at Waihoupai, south of Maunganui Bluff. He did not have a waka and was living at Waihoupai with its fertile wetland gardens, long before Kupe arrived.

According to the prophet Aperahama Taonui, Kupe arrived in search of Tuputupuwhenua who he found at Hokianga. Does Hokianga then belong to Kupe? Aperahama asked.

The korero from Aperahama was that Tuputupuwhenua lived underground with his wife Kui (Hinekui) and that when a person is asleep he may see Tuputupuwhenua appearing underground and that person will say “The land will be deserted”. Now if a person decides to build a house, he obtains a grass stalk, pulls it up and pushes it into the ground to feed a small insect. Should he catch an insect with a ridged back that is Kui who features with Tuputupuwhenua on the carved house Tuohu at Waipoua. Our tupuna believed that, for the safety of any house, it was crucial that a karakia be recited to Tuputupuwhenua and Kui before the house was built.

When Ruanui-a-Tane and Nukutawhiti came to Hokianga in their waka they were seen by Tuputupuwhenua who went underground. At Whanui, North Hokianga, Tuputupuwhenua challenged Nukutawhiti and his whanau when taking water from a lake and killed Kekeoro, Nukutawhiti’s daughter. Nukutawhiti dealt to one of Tuputupuwhenua’s companions, but Tuputupuwhenua and his son Tuakainga escaped by diving into the lake. Later, Nukutawhiti became porangi and died at Oriria because he bathed in the tapu water of Tuputupuwhenua at Hokianga. Later, war broke out between Nukutawhiti’s descendants and Ngai Tuputupuwhenua (Tumutumuwhenua) or Te Tini o Kui or Te Kekehu. As a consequence Ngai Tuputupuwhenua gradually retreated to South Hokianga where their principal kāinga were at Omapere, Waimamaku, Waipoua, Maunganui Bluff and Ripiro.

Maearoa was an uri of Tuputupuwhenua. She married Manumanu 1 of Ngai Tamatea ki Muriwhenua and they became great ancestors of Te Roroa.

Rev Hauraki Paora, the Kaipara Wesleyan Minister, spoke over 100 years ago of the descendants of Tuputupuwhenua (Tumutumuwhenua) as follows:

“All the children of these forefathers the Roroa tribe, the remainders, and Tiopira Kinaki the head man ever live among them, now they come out in the roots of Rangiwhatuma, son of Ngaengae grandson of Tumutumuwhenua the great”.

Na Gary Hooker


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