Story: Te Arawa

Rangitoto from Bastion Point, near Ōkahu Bay

Rangitoto from Bastion Point, near Ōkahu Bay

Seen here from Auckland’s eastern foreshore, Rangitoto Island dominates the horizon. Ōkahu means ‘the place of Kahu’ and is named after the Te Arawa chief Kahumatamomoe (Kahu). He lived there and at Kaipara, on Auckland’s western coast. It is through Kahu that the Waiōhua and Ngāti Whātua tribes claim links to Te Arawa. The name of Rangitoto comes from the phrase ‘Te rangi i totongia a Tamatekapua’ (the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed) – referring to a Te Arawa defeat in a battle around 1350, at the hands of Tainui tribes at present-day Islington Bay on Rangitoto.

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Photograph by Margaret Lovell-Smith

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How to cite this page:

Paora Tapsell, 'Te Arawa - Origins', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 March 2023)

Story by Paora Tapsell, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2017