Makawe is a sacred place to Ngāti Whakaue that is today marked by a rock within a special enclosure on Pukeroa Hill. It is this general area that is known as Makawe which in ancient times was a tapu place that only tohunga could visit.
The area was once home to an old kuia who lived hidden away from everyone. Her name was Ngahuahua and her whare that once stood in this area was called Te Pono. Ngahuahua was favoured by Ngā Atua who caused her to become pregnant and she gave birth to a girl with flaming red hair who was part-god, part-mortal child known as Te Makawe.
Te Makawe died long before her mother but she was still able to communicate with her as a spirit. She came to be thought of as the guardian spirit of the Ngāti Whakaue people.
It was at this sacred rock that tohunga would go seek advice from their Atua Makawe. There are many accounts, even in more recent times, that a good response from the Atua would be seen as a rainbow-like beam of light that would spring up from Te Pono and arch up into the sky and then fall toward the ground at another sacred place named Okomapihi, close to the mouth of the Utuhina stream.
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Te Makawe is said to have appeared to the famous soldier Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi when he was in the thick of battle at Takrouna in Tunisia as part of 28 Māori Battalion during World War II. Lance Sergeant Manahi saw the spirit in the form of a rainbow and he believed she led he and his men through a minefield to safety. When he returned safely back to New Zealand, he visited this place to give thanks to Te Makawe.
More to watch:
About Haane Manahi and the role Te Makawe played in his courageous actions at Takrouna: http://eng.kiamau.tki.org.nz/Multimedia/Level-8-unit-videos/Battle-at-Takrouna
More to read:
This entry is related to these other entries:
Recognising Haane Manahi;
Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake Trust - Te Rangihakahaka Wānanga Workbook