Ngāti Tamaterā is the local iwi (tribe) of the Hauraki region, descended from Tamaterā, the second son of Marutūāhu. It is a major tribe within the Marutūāhu confederation and its leaders have been prominent in Hauraki history and Marutūāhu tribal affairs.
It is one of five tribes of the Marutūāhu confederation, the others being Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Rongoū and Ngāti Whanaunga. The Marutūāhu tribes are all descended from Marutūāhu, a son of Hotunui, who is said to have arrived in New Zealand on the Tainui canoe. The Marutūāhu tribes are therefore part of the Tainui group of tribes. The Marutūāhu confederation is also part of the Hauraki collective of tribes.
Paeroa (a low hill) featured prominently in the early Maori settlement of Hauraki, with the large Raupo Pa on the junction of the Waihou and Ohinemuri Rivers, 3km west of the town, being inhabited from around 1300. To the west of the pa site there was the 32,400ha Kopuatahi swamp land which was rich in food and resources.
Captain James Cook explored the Waihou River in 1779, taking a long boat up as far as Netherton, just a couple of miles from where the town of Paeroa was built 100 years on.
Kōrero a Rohe
Goldfields School sits within the rohe commonly called Hauraki. Hauraki takes its name from the warm northerly winds that blow across the region. The region itself has a large Māori presence that has been continual and unbroken since the arrival of the first peoples to Aotearoa.
Hauraki was first settled by the Ngāti Hako Iwi who are the original inhabitants and are still prominent within the region today.
Ngāti Hako arrived long before waka, arriving by way of whale. They first arriving not too far from Whakatiwai, a place located along the western seashore of Tikapa Moana, they arrived around the time period of Toi te Huatahi, a famous explorer who discovered many lands throughout Polynesia.
Many years later saw the arrival of the Tainui waka, with one the Kaihautu’s (Leader’s) descendants, Marutūahu eventually coming and settling here in Hauraki. Many years later, one of his son’s Tamaterā inherited his mana and settled within the Paeroa area.
The marriage of Tamaterā to a prominent wahine of Ngāti Hako called Ruawehea was a significant union that brought both Iwi firmly together. It was from this union that the whakataukī became known and relevant to the Paeroa area.
“Haere mai Nau maihaere mai kuhu mai ki ngā hūhā o Ruaweha”
Welcome through the whakapapa of Ruawehea
Also residing here within the Paeroa area is Ngāti Tara Tokanui, who although originally from the Horotiu area are now firmly cemented within the fabric of Hauraki, thus adding to the richness of the Hauraki rohe. The full name of the town is Te Paeroa a Toi te Huatahi. This is the name of the mountain range spanning from Moehau to Te Aroha Maunga and gives acknowledgement to the great explorer Toi te Huatahi and the many wonderful deeds that he managed to achieve.
Originally the town and surrounding area was called Ruawehea, but later the name Paeroa was given. Many pā sites and sacred sites are located in and around Paeroa with the entire area being populated with Māori.
There were many gardens, various pa sites, and the abundance of food not only from the awa but also from the rich lands was synonymous with the district. Paeroa was known as a prominent area that Māori thrived in. It was said that at nearly every bend a pā would be seen, such was the prominence of Māori here in the area.