Traditional History of Ngāti Ruapani

Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana are the descendants of the eponymous ancestor, Ruapani and his offspring: Hinekura 1, Pukehore, Tuwai and Hinewaho.

There are two hapū and marae/pā of Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana that exist today, Ngāti Hinekura of Te Kūhā pā and Te Whānau Pani of Te Waimako pā. Their ‘mana whenua’ at Waikaremoana is derived through the ancestors, Ruapani, Pukehore and Te Amohanga and this whakapapa is recorded below in Table 1.


  1. Ruapani
  2. Ruatapunui
  3. Kahuturi
  4. Kauakapo
  5. Moko
  6. Manaia
  7. Pukehore
  8. Te Amohanga

Pukehore’s influence was instrumental in confirming the mana whenua of Ngāti Ruapani at Waikaremoana.

Table 1 illustrates that Pukehore was a direct descendant of Ruapani. His father, Manaia, is associated with Te Kauanga a Manaia, the narrow channel, separating the main part of Lake Waikaremoana from the Wairaumoana inlet of the lake.  Pukehore is placed six generations from Ruapani and he inherited his ‘take tipuna’ or ancestral rights to the land at Waikaremoana through his ancestor, Ruapani.

According to Hurae Puketapu, Pukehore established a ‘pou rāhui’ or ‘boundary’ between Ngāti Ruapani and Ngā Pōtiki..  He also established pou rāhui between Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Hika from Pukehuruhuru to Tarapatiki.  Pukehore and another ancestor named Whareanga of Ngāti Kahungunu set up pou rāhui at two other places named Tarapatiki and Puharariki between Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana and Ngāi Tamaterangi of Ngāti Kahungunu.  Hurae Puketapu also claimed that Pukehore, Whareanga and Pakatoe set up two other pou rāhui at Puharariki and Mangaone.

Ngāti Hinekura of Te Kūhā pā, are the descendants of the eponymous ancestress, Hinekura 1, who is placed four generations from Ruapani.  The whakapapa of Hinekura 1 is recorded in Table 2.


  1. Ruapani
  2. Haua I
  3. Haua II
  4. Taihara
  5. Hinekura 1

According to whakapapa the first intermarriage between Ruapani and Nga Pōtiki occurred through the union of Te Amohanga, daughter of Pukehore to Te Uoro.  They had a child called Te Turaki-o-Rauru and today many of her descendants are primarily located at Waimako Pā under Te Whānau Pani. Tuahine Noa and Te Hohipera Erueti inspired the people of Waikaremoana in the building of Te Poho o Hinekura meeting house that was completed in 1912.  Te Poho o Hinekura remains as the primary marae of Ngāti Hinekura hapū today and Te Kūhā Marae/pā are another important feature of Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana history and identity today.

Another house stood at Te Kūhā pā called ‘Ruapani’.  This house originally stood at Te Wharekaponga, on the eastern side of the Mangaone River, near the present urupā and was moved to Te Kūhā, after a great flood which occurred in the 1910s, by Te Kehua Winitana and his whānau.  Ruapani remained in use until the mid-1950s when it fell into a state of disrepair.  As mentioned earlier the ‘mana whenua’ of Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana is derived from the eponymous ancestor, Ruapani and has been maintained through continuous occupation (ahi kā roa) from the time of Ruapani to the present day.

The Tribal Traditions of Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana

According to the Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana traditions, Māhu-tapoa-nui and his daughter, Haumapuhia are associated with the creation of Lake Waikaremoana.  The oral traditions of Waikaremoana claim that Haumapuhia was transformed into a taniwha after disobeying her father’s instructions.  In her efforts to find an outlet to the sea she formed the lake and its surrounding landscape.  It was during this attempt to escape that she formed the lake and agitated the water, causing ripples, hence the name Waikaremoana, the Sea of rippling Waters.  After this episode, Māhu is said to have left Waikaremoana and migrated to the Pūtauaki district. Rangimarie Rose Pere claims that Māhu migrated to the Hawke’s Bay district but retained his mana whenua at Waikaremoana.

Several generations later, Māhu’s descendant, Te Rangihine-pī married Ruapani’s son, Tāne-potakataka.  There are a number of places in the Wairaumoana inlet of the lake that are associated with Māhu including:  Te Pā o Māhu, Te Waikotikoti-o-Māhu, Ngā Whānau a Māhu, Ngā Makawe o Māhu, Te Whata kai o Māhu, Te Wai whakaata o Māhu, Te Onetapu o Māhu.

The first ancestor to properly establish his mana whenua at Waikaremoana was Ruapani, eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana.

Ruapani was a descendant of Pawa and Kiwa of the waka, Horouta.  Ruapani travelled to Waikaremoana, from Tūranga (Gisborne) to the Waiau district, where he remained for some time with his older brother, Tūhoropunga.  Ruapani then migrated to Waikaremoana where he established his mana whenua over the lake and lands.

The ancestor Kahungunu and his children married into the Ruapani dynasty through five arranged intermarriages.  Ngāti Ruapani remained a separate iwi to Ngāti Kahungunu.  Ruapani had numerous children including five sets of twins and one set of triplets, however only three of these children are associated with Waikaremoana including:  Haua I, Tāne-potakataka, Ruatapunui and Ruatapuwahine. As mentioned previously, the son of Ruapani, Tāne-potakataka married Te Rangihine-pī, who is located four generations from Māhu-tapoa-nui.  This genealogy is recorded below .


  1. Māhu-tapoa-nui
  2. Te Rangitaupiri
  3. Ruapani  Tamaka
  4. Wairere
  5. Tāne-potakataka
  6. Te Rangihine-pī
  7. Kapiti
  8. Tope
  9. Hoputaua
  10. Te Waipuna
  11. Hine-te-moa
  12. Hinekahu
  13. Te Amotawa

From Ruapani’s two other children, Ruatapuwahine and Ruatapunui, descended Pakatoe (father of Hinekahu) who is said to have established ‘pou rāhui’  between Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana and Ngāti Kahungunu to the east.  This genealogy is recorded in Table 4:

Table 4

  1. Ruapani
  2. Ruatapuwahine
  3. Ruatapunui
  4. Rongomaitara
  5. Kahuturi
  6. Te Aonui
  7. Tūramakina
  8. Hine-te-kawa
  9. Tūtakamaiwaho
  10. Rongotauhanga
  11. Tamateao
  12. Tamatohu
  13. Pakatoe
  14. Kahupāka
  15. Tuwai
  16. Hinewaho

Tuwai and Hinewaho are important ancestors in the tribal traditions of Waikaremoana. Kahupāka (father of Tuwai) is associated with the mountain, Panekire, a sacred landmark and mountain of the Ngāti Ruapani people.  Tuwai and Hinewaho are said to have hunted ‘whio’ or blue mountain duck at Papakorito Falls near Te Aniwaniwa.  The hapū of Ngāti Hinekura of Te Kūhā also trace their whakapapa to both these ancestors as well as the ancestor, Pakatoe.

Tuwai is known for his great physique and prowess as a warrior, Tuwai and his sister, Hinewaho, were a driving force behind the solidification of Ngāti Ruapani’s mana whenua at Waikaremoana.  Hurae Puketapu stated that Tuwai  defeated Ngāti Hinemanuhiri in a series of battles and established a number of pou rāhui between Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana and Ngāti Hinemanuhiri at Waikaremoana. Hurae Puketapu continued his evidence stating that Tuwai established pou rāhui between Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Hika of Ngāti Kahungunu at Te Apiti and Pukehuruhuru in pursuance of conquests by Ngāti Ruapani over Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa.  Te Apiti was described as a point on the Waiau stream where the river flows through two walls of rock.  South of this point was a pā which belonged to Tauheke.  Ruapani himself is said to have established the pou rāhui ‘from Pukehuruhuru to Tarapatiki and it was later reinforced in the time of Tuwai.  The pou rāhui at Pukehuruhuru was also set up by Tuwai and Te Ika.