The emergence of the Ngāti Maru tribe is an involved story. The complexity of the original family’s relationships is noted by Taimoana Tūroa:
When Tamaterā [the second son of Marutūahu] returned to Whakatīwai … he married his stepmother, Hineurunga …This union made his half-brothers Te Ngako and Tāurukapakapa his stepsons. Te Ngako confounds the situation by marrying Pareterā, Tamaterā’s daughter, and their son, Kahurautao, compounds the issue further by marrying Hineterā, a granddaughter of Tamaterā. Their issue was Rautao, which is where the story of Ngāti Maru really begins. 1
Ngāti Maru’s identity first began to emerge in the time of Rautao. Rautao and his people achieved prominence in tribal history when they took retributive action in Tāmaki following the deaths of Rautao’s brother and father. They made further forays into the Tāmaki region as a result of the death of the Hauraki water monster, Ureia, in the Manukau Harbour.
Later, warriors were sent north to fight Ngāpuhi, who responded by sending forces south. Such were the numbers of war parties and expeditions that the waters of the Hauraki Gulf became known as ‘ngā tai whakarewa kauri’ or ‘the kauri-bearing tides’ – referring to the war canoes, which were sometimes made of kauri. These conflicts with northern tribes continued into the 19th century. They culminated with the sacking of Te Tōtara (a pā near Thames) by the Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika.
In the 19th century Hauāuru Taipari became the leader of the Ngāti Maru people. The marriage of his son Wīrope Hōtereni Taipari to a Ngāti Awa chieftainess was commemorated with the construction of Hotunui, a carved meeting house.
The ancestor Pāoa came from the central Waikato region and was a younger brother of the well-known Mahuta. He had a number of children by his first wife Tauhākari, but eventually left his home near Taupiri and moved to Hauraki. This followed an embarrassing incident when his brother Mahuta arrived and could not be welcomed in a manner befitting his rank. At Hauraki Pāoa married Tukutuku, a granddaughter of Tamaterā, and they had two sons. Hence, over the years, Ngāti Pāoa have enjoyed relationships with both the Waikato and Hauraki peoples.
Their traditional lands lie between Waikato and Hauraki, stretching from the western side of the Hauraki plains to Tāmaki. Ngāti Pāoa also settled on a number of Hauraki islands including Waiheke. Haora Tipa Te Koinaki was an important Ngāti Pāoa leader in the 19th century.