ngarongaro he tangata. Toitu he whenua”
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.
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
Mate atu koe i reira. You will
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
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)
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
“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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Apirana turned to Te Iharaira and whispered.
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
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.
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
In total discussed, Te Arawa tribal elders
jumped from their seat and called out.
Mena pena rawa
ta koutou hiahia ki ta kotou tangata, mauria katoatu tona tinana. Kaore
ko tona raho me ona poro anake”
If you are that desperate to have
this man’s body, you may as well take the whole body and not just
Ngatiporou did not return empty handed.
GKC - 2008