Dec. 10, 2018, 2:37 p.m.
At the entrance of Whangᾱrei harbour sits a block of land known as Pakikᾱikutu which connects to the Bay of Plenty iwi Ngᾱti Pῡkenga and it was here that an event was recently held to bring the four settlements together for the very first time.
In what was the first of five wᾱnanga to be executed by the iwi, Pakikᾱikutu hosted over 100 people from Manaia in the Coromandel, Ngᾱpeke in Tauranga and Maketῡ in the Bay of Plenty.
Pakikᾱikutu sits on nine blocks of Mᾱori owned land along the shores of Tamaterau and Waikᾱraka towards the Whangᾱrei heads. The outline of the original pᾱ is still visible at the tip of the maunga known as Rangitihi.
Once occupied by the northern tribe Ngᾱi Tᾱhuhu, these lands were gifted to Ngᾱti Pῡkenga after one of their warriors was killed for no reason when he came ashore to visit a sister.
Ngᾱti Pῡkenga were known for their skills in combat and the naming of the beach Tamaterau (100 men) would indicate that battle was an imminent threat.
In exchange for peace, the great chief Te Tirarau of Te Parawhau gifted land of over 300 acres as compensation and it would be chief Moeroa who would eventually settle this land 50 years later for Ngᾱti Pῡkenga.
Pakikᾱikutu Trustee Leanne Brownie said the opportunity to host the event was a chance for the local families to put their pou in the ground and take leadership.
“This was a great project to prove ourselves to each other, bring our skills to the table and we did it.”
Each kᾱinga will take turns hosting wᾱnanga as the settlements continue to revitalise whakapapa, history, weaving, waiata and whᾱnau connections.
“Learning about our whakapapa was the best, figuring out who are the cousins, the nannies and the auntie’s…...it was just really great,” Brownie said.
Te Tᾱwera representative Pouroto Ngᾱropo said the three-day event was a fantastic opportunity for iwi members to gain a deeper understanding of their conception right back to Hawaiki, its roots in Tῡhoe through to connecting how families are related today on local blocks of land.
“We were able to walk in the footprints of our ancestor Pῡkenga and the journey has started here with our northern connection to the people of Pakikᾱikutu.
“This is an opportunity that will unify and strengthen our identity as the people of Ngᾱti Pῡkenga.”
The next event is scheduled to be hosted by Manaia in the Coromandel.