Whainono -“Pursuit of the arseholes”

By Richard Bradley

It is often said History is merely the account of how people want their actions in the past to be viewed by future generations. There can often be two or three accounts of the same battle, some claiming victory and the others claiming victory in defeat by renaming the site or widening the scope of the encounter. A good example of this is the story associated with Rangitane Bay in Te Whanganui.

The Rangitane expedition from Wellington and the Wairarapapa to Totaranui happened under the under the leadership of Te Huataki, Tukauae and Te Whakamana. Having strong connections already to Ngai Tara their residency in the region was cemented by a number of intermarriages with the resident Ngai Tara and Ngati Mamoe. The marriage between Te Huataki and Wharepoka, Tukauae and Hinepango were two examples of rongopai marriages.

However back in Wellington another group known as Ngai Tahu had made themselves unpopular with the increasing numbers of Ngati Kahungunu and decided to migrate south to live with their Rangitane inlaws in Kura Te Au.  There stay on Moioi Island opposite Kaihinu point was not easy for Puraho and his sons Mako and Maru who soon became embroiled in squabbles with their Ngai Tara, Ngati Mamoe and Rangitane neighbours.

The incidents are often referred to by the descendants of both sides of the arguments as the “fish hook wars”. These disputes reached a crisis point when the Ngai Tahu unearthed the grave of Te Aomarire (father in law of Te Huataki), carved his leg bone into fish hooks and taunted their neighbours about the “old man being a good fish magnet”. The Ngai Tara were so incensed they ambushed the Ngai Tahu on their island stronghold of Moioi and their Chief Puraho was killed while he was taking his morning ablution. The Ngai Tahu party realised their situation was untenable and fled, some by Waka to their relations at Wairau and the remainder up into the hills.

They were pursued closely by a mixed group of Ngai Tara and Rangitane who taunted the fleeing party about the manner in which their Rangatira had died – skewered with a lance while sitting on the latrine. Unbeknown to the pursuers, another group of Ngai Tahu had landed at Waikutakuta overcome the garrison of Rangitane there and joined their cousins. The fortunes of war suddenly changed and it was now the Rangitane and Ngai Tara who were encircled, outnumbered and being pushed towards a rocky headland.

Faced with the choice of certain death and the ovens, those of Rangitane who were not killed chose to jump from the cliff into the rocky sea. While most of these perished, some lived to tell the story to their descendants who named the place Te rerenga o Rangitane ( the flight of the Rangitane) or in its shortened form Rangitane Bay. The battle became known as whainono (pursuit of the rectums) referring both to the way in which the Puraho and the fleeing Rangitane met there end.

The victory in Te Whanganui was short lived and despite the close whakapapa, this battle was the start of a series of similar encounters that saw Ngai Tahu gradually forced out of the Wairau to establish themselves south of Waipapa in their stronghold at Takahanga.

Karaka Point

Karaka Point


By Richard Bradley

The name karaka is derived from the Karaka tree with its orange fruits that are quite common on the New Zealand coast. There are a number of headlands, rivers and expanses of beach where this tree is found and in most cases, there are signs of the Maori occupation. Sites in Marlborough with the name Karaka can be found in the Marlborough Sounds, Rarangi, Cape Campbell and a small creek on the north bank of the Waiau Toa (Clarence) river.

The headland Pa just north of Waikawa in the Marlborough Sounds is known as Te Rae o Karaka after the Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tara chief named Te Karaka who established the pa prior to the arrival of Rangitane from the north island. He also lived at Cape Campbell, and the reef adjoining the headland there still carries his name to the present day.

The pa was occupied by a mix of Rangitane and Ngai Tara up until the 1820s when it was overrun by the musket raiders of Ngati Toa and their Taranaki allies. The occupants managed to survive the withering musket volleys of the invaders and escape to their inland pa at Te Urukakea up what is known today as Esson’s valley, and thence over the Tirohanga saddle to Waikutakuta.

The Pa has remained unoccupied since that time.

Te Whanganui

Te Whanganui

Te Whanganui – Port Underwood

By Richard Bradley

Te Whanganui is the original Maori name for what is known today as Port Underwood and lies to the north of the Wairau River mouth. The name simply means great harbour or inlet and most of the bays within Te Whanganui show signs of early Maori occupation consisting of pa, kainga right up into the time of the first whalers and sealers. It is in these bays that the richness of Te Whanganui asa Mahinga Kai can be found.

The names of many important Tupuna are recalled on some of the peaks and in the many bays and coves. Some of these names will be familiar but we probably weren’t aware of their location within Te Whanganui. The most significant landmark being Rahotia at the head of the port is linked to the peak known as Te Piripiri o Te Huataki. From these points the expanse of the lands of Rangitane, Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tara can be seen. Others of interest are places like Rangitane Bay, Pukatea and Kaikoura Bay.

Another prominent landmark is the Island of Horahora Kakahu in Te Whanganui which was the site of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on June 17 1840. Rangitane Chief Ihaia Kaikoura along with Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata signed for the local natives. While you can’t find Sherwood Forest at Robin Hood Bay, the Waikutakuta river flowing into the bay adjoins the pa and garden site where Ihaia Kaikoura drew a map in the sand for the first surveyors to the district.




By Dr. Peter Meihana.

Rahotia is a peak located at the head of WHANGANUI and is west of Rahatia and Onapua and north of Whangakoko. Rahotia has an elevation of 174 metres.

If we look towards Te Whanganui from the Wairau Bar we immediately see Rahotia. There are two
oral traditions that account for the naming of this prominent landmark.

One tradition speaks of the marriage between Te Huataki, of Rangitane, and Wharepuka of Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tara. Te Huataki was one of a number of chiefs who had migrated from Wairarapa and married tangata whenua as a way of bringing an end to hostilities.

According to tradition Huataki and Te Aomairie, Wharepuka’s father, stood at the summit of Rahotia where Huataki declared, wherever my ‘penis (raho) points will be my descendants’.

Another tradition holds that Tukaue, another migrating chief who had himself married three tangata whenua women (Ruamate, Hinepango, Hinerewha), ascended the maunga whereupon he uttered ‘mai te taumata o Rahotia’.


Wānanga 2

Wānanga 2

A hikoi through WHānganuI


Sunday, 20 May 2018, 8:00am-5:00pm


We will be leaving from Tuamātene Marae at 8:30 am and traveling to the head of Te Whanganui via Picton.  From there we will be traveling past or directly to the following sites.

  • Rahotia
  • Horohoro Kākahu
  • Whainono – Rangitāne Bay
  • Otauira Pā Site and kumara Pits Robin Hood Bay
  • Pukatea (whites Bay)
  • Te Ana-o-Rongomaipapa (Monkey Bay)

From there we will return to Tuamātene for a kai.



  • We will supply transport for up to 30 people.
  • Lunch and a bbq dinner will be provided.