Story: Ngāi Tūhoe

Page 1. The first peoples

All images & media in this story
Nā Toi rāua ko Pōtiki te whenua
Nā Tūhoe te mana me te rangatiratanga.
The land comes from Toi and Pōtiki
The power and prestige comes from Tūhoe.

Ngā Pōtiki

Ngā Pōtiki are the early ancestors of the people we know today as Ngāi Tūhoe. Before the arrival in New Zealand of the migrants on the Mataatua canoe, they occupied much of what is now the Urewera region, including Maungapōhatu, Ruatāhuna and Maungataniwha. While evidence of the ancestor Pōtiki’s origins is slender, the historian Elsdon Best (Te Pēhi) maintained he was a contemporary of the ancestors Toitehuatahi (Toi) and Hape-ki-tumanui-o-te-rangi (Hape). Some of the sub-tribes of Ngā Pōtiki were Ngāti Rākei, Ngāi Tuahau, Tama-kai-moana, Ngāti Papa and Ngāi Tūmata-rākau.

Te Tini o Toi

Tūhoe also belong to Te Tini o Toi lineage, being the descendants of Toitehuatahi (Toi the Lone Born), sometimes known as Toikairākau (Toi the Wood Eater) and his ancestor Tīwakawaka.

Toi lived at his , Kaputerangi, situated on the bluffs above present-day Whakatāne. He was the founding ancestor of many tribes that occupied a large swathe of territory. These peoples, including Te Tini o Awa, Te Mārangaranga, Te Tini o Tuoi, Te Tini o Taunga and Ngāi Tūranga, were known collectively as Te Tini o Toi (the multitudes of Toi). The territories of Te Tini o Toi extended south from the mouth of the Ōhinemataroa River to Ngā Māhanga, and from Waimana in the east to the Rangitāiki River in the west, then inland to Kūhāwaea (Galatea) and Te Whāiti-nui-a-Toi (Te Whāiti).

Te Hapū-oneone

In addition, Tūhoe trace their descent from the confederation of Te Hapū-oneone. These people were descendants of Hape, who came from Hawaiki on the Rangimatoru canoe, landing at Ōhiwa Harbour in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. They occupied territory from Ōhiwa inland to Waimana and over the Taiarahia range to Rūātoki. Te Hapū-oneone consisted of related tribes including Ngāti Raumoa, Ngāi Te Kapo and Ngāi Tūranga.

How to cite this page:

Rangi McGarvey, 'Ngāi Tūhoe - The first peoples', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2024)

Story by Rangi McGarvey, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2017