Māhanga was the ancestor of the Ngāti Māhanga people, a major tribe of the Waikato confederation. He was a renowned fighter who spent a great deal of time away from home, which has led to the expression, ‘Māhanga whakarere kai, whakarere waka, whakarere wāhine’ (Māhanga who abandons food, canoes and women). This carving of Māhanga, situated outside the Novotel Tainui hotel in Hamilton, shows him holding a kō (digging implement).
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Photograph by Roberta McKelvey
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