The Horouta canoe
The intricate history of the people of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa began once the Horouta canoe had arrived from Hawaiki. It made landfall at Ōhiwa Harbour, in the eastern Bay of Plenty. But when those on board attempted to cross a sandbar named Tukerae-o-Kanawa and enter the harbour, they ran the canoe aground, and the haumi (join) in the hull was broken. The chief Pāoa took a party inland to search for a suitably shaped tree with which to repair the canoe. Far from the coast, on top of a high mountain, they found such a tree, so the mountain was named Maunga Haumi. While there, Pāoa needed to urinate, giving form to the stream Te Mimi-a-Pāoa, the Mōtū River, which flows to the north, and the Waipāoa River, which flows south-east towards the sea.
Once repaired, the canoe headed around the East Cape and followed the coastline south. The Horouta people greeted the inhabitants already living there, and some remained with them, while the rest continued south, replenishing water and food supplies as they went. Finally, they reached a large bay where Kiwa had set up a sacred reserve, claiming the area in the names of the canoe’s remaining crew.
Hine Akua, the daughter of Pāoa, married Kahutuanui, the son of the ancestor Kiwa. Pāoa’s sister, Hine Hakirirangi, was the ancestor who nurtured the kūmara (sweet potato) she had brought from Hawaiki in her sacred basket. At Manawarū and Āraiteuru she planted kūmara vines, which nourished her people.
The people of Tūranganui trace their lineage back to these ancestors.
The chiefly lines of the Tākitimu and Horouta canoes eventually converged in the leader Ruapani: he was descended from Kiwa, Pāoa and Hine Hakirirangi. The guardianship of the whole district of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa fell upon his shoulders. He had a great pā, known as Popoia, on the western bank overlooking the Waipāoa River at Te Waituhi-a-Maia (Waituhi). Ruapani had three wives, and the descendants of their numerous children brought together all the tribes of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa.
Māia and Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru
Māia was the captain of the Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru canoe, which arrived after the Tākitimu and Horouta. He is often credited with bringing gourd seeds from Hawaiki. Although he left Tūranganui-a-Kiwa to accompany members of his family to Waikaremoana, his remains were eventually brought back and interred in the Kohurau cave in the Maungaroa Range.