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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Maori Occupation

The country was the home of the fierce Maori tribe who were variously known as Nga Potiki, Urewera, or Tuhoe. Urewera, the name commonly used, commemorates a painful mishap which befell Murakareke, a son of the Nga Potiki chief Tuhoe-potiki who lived in the late sixteenth century. The Urewera people were one of the Toi tribes, who originally inhabited the Bay of Plenty coastal district, but increasing pressure of population had forced them to move into the highlands about A.D. 1500. Nga Potiki were famed as warriors. For two centuries they fought many battles against Ngati Kahungunu to retain possession of Lake Waikaremoana. In the early eighteenth century, a generation before the time of Te Heuheu I's, there was a series of wars against the Tuwharetoa in the Taupo district. During the 1820s the Ngapuhis invaded the Urewera and Pomare I took Ruatahuna in 1823. In 1826 a taua, led by the Kahungunu chief Mohaka, was cut to pieces near Maungapohatu.