Motuopuhi Island sits in Lake Rotoaira, north-west of Mt Tongariro. The island was the site of a pā of the chief Wharerangi, who reluctantly protected Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha. Te Rangikoaea, the wife of Wharerangi, stood over the kūmara (sweet potato) pit where Te Rauparaha was hiding, thus ritually shielding him from those using spiritual means to find him. The incident became the basis for Te Rauparaha's famed 'Ka mate' haka. Motuopuhi was formerly a peninsula, which became an island when the lake level was raised by the Tongariro power scheme.
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