Story: Ngā Rauru Kītahi

Ngā Rauru ancestors

Ngā Rauru ancestors

Until recently, it was believed that Ngā Rauru were descended from people of the Aotea canoe, which is depicted above these memorial gates at Pātea. However, there were an earlier group of ancestors, known as Te Kāhui Rere, who lived in south Taranaki before the Aotea arrived. A story about these people was recorded by scholar John White in the 19th century and later repeated by S. Percy Smith in his 1910 book History and traditions of the Maoris of the west coast, North Island of New Zealand prior to 1840.

Te ewe i tere – the winged people

‘A placenta was cast into the sea, and in due course became a man whose name was Whanau-moana, or Sea-born. He had wings, as had all his descendants. At first, none of these beings had stationary homes, but flew about from place to place, sometimes alighting on the tops of mountains, or extending their flight to islands in the sea. One of the women, named Tara-pu-whenua, first caused them to dwell in pas. This people belonged to Wai-totara and live at Tieke ….The last of this people who had wings was named Te Kahui-rere, and he lost them through a woman pressing them down in the night when he was asleep.’

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Taituha Kīngi, 'Ngā Rauru Kītahi - Early history', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2024)

Story by Taituha Kīngi, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2017