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"Ko Rangiriri te rākau e ngāu i te ngaru."


Rangiriri is the great tribal taniwha of Te Roroa. He lives in the cave named Te Rua-o-Rangiriri in the Northern Wairoa river. From there he ventures forth to challenge waka and other vessels, logs and taniwha like Pokopopkowhititera. He journeys to the home of Pokopokowhititera at Kaipara Heads to fight Pokopopkowhititera, just as Pokopokowhititera journeys up the Northern Wairoa river to fight Rangiriri.

Usually in the form of an enchanted log, rakau tupua, Rangiriri can be seen moving up river against the ebb-tide or down river against a strong flood-tide. For he is not bound by the rules of the river and can call upon his all- powerful mana Maori to disregard them. At times the rakau tupua will be proceeding up river with a kawau pu ( black shag), perched on its back. That is an unfailing omen of the pending death of an important Te Roroa rangatira which has existed for centuries. But one must be a descendant of the right tupuna to see and recognise these tohu (signs).

Rangiriri’s home originally was at Whatuwhiwhi, Doubtless Bay where he lived in the pool Te Kopua- a- Rangiriri (The Deep Pool of Rangiriri). When Te Roroa’s Ngai Tamatea tupuna migrated to the Northern Wairoa district from Muriwhenua, Rangiriri came with them. It is said by some Ngati Whatua that Rangiriri and Pokopokowhititera are taniwha of Ngati Whatua but that is not correct. It is only Pokopokowhititera who is a taniwha of Ngati Whatua and of Te Uri O Hau. Rangiriri is a taniwha of Te Roroa alone.

Na Gary Hooker


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