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Porahu Story

      “Whatu ngarongaro he tangata. Toitu he whenua” 

“Men perish, yet land remain” 

Many questions are often asked of the Porahu and how we became to be there 

Why and how did we acquired the Porahu? 

Under the auspice of Major Ropata Wahawaha, Paratene Ngata (Father of Sir Apirana Ngata) asked  Te Iharaira Pokiha to return to the Maraehara valley to occupied the Porahu.  

(Refer to article written by Aunty Mate Kaiwai) 

Haere atu koe ki Te Porahu.    You will go to the Porahu

Noho atu koe i reira.      You will live there

Mate atu koe i reira.      You will died there

Tapuketia atu koe i reira”   You will be buried there. 

Important to learn that others who occupied land in the Maraehara valley such as Hone Ngata and Hopa Hemara Tukairangi (Close relation of Waimatao) won occupation of their land through a ballot system. 

The Slaying of Kowhaki (Kohaki) 

The authority for our whanau “Te Whanau a Te Iharaira Pokiha” to occupy the Porahu goes back about 300 years to the ‘Slaying of Kowhaki’ by Te Aowehea younger son of Tuwhakairiora and Te Ihiko-ote-rangi. 

Kowhaki was living at Paturangi Pa. (Situated between Rangitukia and Maraehara) 

Kowhaki was a very close relation of Ngatiporou matriarch Ruataupare who was still residing at her Pa of Okauwharetoa. (Opposite the Awatere – Horoera side) 

(Uenukutewhana, Kowhaki’s father was an older brother of Te Aotaki Ruataupare’s father) 

On hearing of the killing of Kowhaki, Ruataupare directed that Utu had to be administered in the form of land confiscation. 

“Murua nga whenua, engari kaua e patua te iwi” 

“Confiscate the land, spare the people” 

A formidable war party ‘Ope-taua’ was called to enforce Ruataupare’s orders. 

The war party which included great warriors such as Te Rangi-te-Kehua, Umuariki, Kautaharua and Rerekohu came overland from their base near Te Araroa.  

They interred the Maraehara valley and enacted their mission. Land confiscation. 

People living in the area dispersed leaving everything in their wake. 

Tu Whakairiora who was living at his Rangitane Pa in Horoera became concern that all of the people living in and around Rangitukia would be forced off their land and into the sea. 

In haste he summons a counteract war-party to travel around the coast to Rangitukia and cut off Ruataupare’s war party. 

The counter party was lead by Tu Whakairiora’s and Te Ihiko-o-te-rangi’s second son Tinatoka. Tinatoka had great support in his brothers in law ‘Rarawa and Porou’ (grandsons of Mataura) 

The counter party arrived at Makirikiri in the morning and waited for Ruataupare’s war party to arrive. 

A stand off occurred at Makirikiri between the two opposing war parties. 

A truce took place. neither party would give or take and inch.  

All the great warriors of both parties were very closely related. 

Kautaharua, Umuariki and Te Rangi te kehua were all descendents of Materoa. Tu Whakairiora’s mother’s sister. 

It was decided that the confiscated land along the Maraehara valley north of Makirikiri would be distributed amongst the conquering warriors. 

Authorities stated that Kautaharua took claim to the land adjacent to the Maraehara called Taurawharona. 

And as a result of Karuwai taking 3 of Kautaharua’s daughters as wives he was able to succeed into the area of the Maraehara valley.


Paratene Ngata would have had the ‘Kowhaki’ incident in mind.

when he instructed Te Iharaira Pokiha to take possession of the Porahu. 

Furthermore Paratene would have also been aware of a second incident where Karuwai was expelled from Punaruku.  

On his trek to Waiapu, Karuwai stopped at The Porahu for a considerable time before moving on to Waiomatatini. 

(This incident will be covered in another supporting article under the Heading KARUWAI) 

Te Iharaira Pokiha is a direct descendent of Karuwai. 

Karuwai……Wakarara…..Takapau…….Hapitewhao……..Ritihia……..Hata Pokiha……..Te Iharaira Pokiha. 

The birth of Te Iharaira ‘Houkamau’ Pokiha 

Reaffirmed by Tipene Ngata (Son of Sir apirana Ngata) 

“During the last days of great Ngatiporou Chief, Te Iharaira Houkamau” The people of Ngatiporou gathered and ask of the dieing chief. 

“What will be of us, when you depart?” 

Te Iharaira Houkamau replied. 

“Te rangi mate ai au, ka whanau mai he tama. Ka riro iaia taku ingoa me taku mana“ 

“The day I pass away, a baby boy will be born. He will inherit both my name and my wisdom” 

The day Chief Te Iharaira Houkamau died Te Hata-te-kani  Pokiha’s wife Makarita Manuel Jose gave birth to a son. 

The son was named Te Iharaira ‘Houkamau’ Pokiha. Commonly referred to as Pa Koroua by his Porahu mokopunas. 

Tipene Ngata confidently affirm that the mana of Ropata Wahawaha and the Pokiha whanau was bestowed upon Te Iharaira ‘Houkamau’ Pokiha 

When asked about Hoki Fox and others being the real Fox’s, Tipene promptly replied in his true fashion!  

“E hara wena te Pokiha. He whaken Jacksons!” 

“They are not Foxs, they are effing Jacksons” 

Te Iharaira’s reputation on a marae will never be equalled. Kaumatua’s of today such as Dr Koro Dewes were fortunate to witness the gift and talent Te Iharaira had. Koro often speaks about the dynamic skills and body language Te Iharaira possessed and used to get a point across to stubborn and/or outspoken opponents.

The Marae Skills of Te Iharaira Pokiha 

This was demonstrated effectively during a visit to Te Arawa by Sir Apirana Ngata and his ‘Generals’ “group of Kaumatua’s who would accompany Apirana ”

The generals included, Te Iharaira Pokiha, Pine Tibble, Hone Ngata, and others. 

The quest was to return the body of a well known ngatiporou kaumatua to ngatiporou to be buried beside his wife. 

Because the deceased had lived amongst the Te Arawa people for many years, their tribal chiefs had decided to bury him in their own cemetery. 

Hone Ngata was the first speaker. Extraordinarily large in status and intimidating when he spoke, Hone press Te Arawa to release the body. 

Te Arawa would not budge. 

Sir Apirana Ngata followed. Still without success 

Apirana turned to Te Iharaira and whispered. 

“E Tei, ka hoki tahanga tatau ki te kaenga” 

”Hey Tei, looks like we will be returning home empty handed“ 

Te Iharaira was the last speaker.  

Everyone on the Marae had gathered to witness the duel. 

Even the cooks ‘ringawera’ had down tools to watch. 

Te Iharaira cautiously rose from the comfort of his seat.  

Without uttering a word he slowly walked into the direction of deceased. 

Like a shag on a rock, he stood there alone. 

Surveying the Marae, Te Iharaira noticed the cooks “ringawera” venturing ever closer.  

One gentleman had his butcher knife strung to one side. 

Without uttering a word, Te Iharaira waved the young man over. 

Te Iharaira removed the butcher knife and steel from the gentleman’s holster and directed him away. 

It was a very tense minute for all, as Te Iharaira stood there in total silence.  

Slowly, sliding the blade over the cold steel held firmly in his right fist. 

Sharpening, with every stroke. 

The locals watched in disgust. A lone figure ‘armed’ on their sacred ground. They did not know what to make of it. 

You could hear a pin drop. 

He called out to the people. 

“E Te Arawa!. Whaka-ae au ki ta koutou hiahia.  

Me tapuke ai i konei” 

“Te Arawa!. I agree with your wish.  

Let this man be buried here amongst your people” 

Then suddenly, like a man possessed, Te Iharaira dropped the steel to the ground. Butcher knife firmly grasped in one hand.  

In haste he strode towards the deceased. 

He ripped open the casket cover and grabbed at the deceased testicles and penis. 

He called out to the people. 

“Engari! tona raho me ana poro, maku a tapahi ki waho ka whakahoki ki te taha o tana wahine e tapuke ai” 

“But! as for his private parts, I will have them surgically removed and returned to be buried with his wife” 

In total discussed, Te Arawa tribal elders jumped from their seat and called out. 

“Taihoa! Taihoa!

Mena pena rawa ta koutou hiahia ki ta kotou tangata, mauria katoatu tona tinana. Kaore ko tona raho me ona poro anake” 

“Wait! Wait!

If you are that desperate to have this man’s body, you may as well take the whole body and not just his genitals.” 

Ngatiporou did not return empty handed. 

GKC - 2008

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