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the travels of kahumatamomoe and ihenga



Ngāti Ohomairangi

Kahumatamomoe was the son of Tamatekapua, captain of the Arawa waka. He arrived on the waka at Maketū, with his nephew Īhenga.
On his journey inland, Kahumatamomoe named Te Rotoiti-i-kitea-ai-e-Īhenga (Lake Rotoiti) and Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe (Lake Rotorua) before heading off to visit Īhenga’s older brothers, Taramainuku, Warenga and Huarere, who lived in the far north.
Kahumatamomoe and Īhenga named places south of the Waikato River and at Whāingaroa (Raglan) before heading northwards up the coast where they named Manukau Harbour Te Mānuka.
Arriving at Poutū on the lower northern Wairoa River, the home of Īhenga’s brother Taramainuku, Kahumatamomoe named the adjacent harbour Te Kaiparapara-a-Kahumatamomoe after the king fern (kaipara) that Taramainuku fed them.
Kahumatamomoe left Īhenga there and travelled south by waka along the Kaipara and Kumeu rivers, crossing Auckland Harbour to the Coromandel Peninsula, where he stayed with Īhenga’s other brother, Huarere.
Before returning to Rotorua, he climbed the highest point on the Kaimai Range, naming it Te Muri-aroha-o-Kahu, te aroha-tai, te aroha-uta (the love of Kahu for those on the coasts and those on the land) for his relatives living inland at Rotorua and Taupō, and those near the sea in the far north and the Coromandel.
Īhenga left the Kaipara Harbour. He travelled northward up the Wairoa River, then crossed the Mangakāhia River valley and the Waimate Plains to Kawakawa in the Bay of Islands, where his third brother, Warenga, lived.
Īhenga named several places, including Ruapekapeka (the place of bats) and Motatau (to speak to oneself), before turning south to Whāngārei, where he climbed a mountain in a thunderstorm and named it Whaitiri (thunder). From Whāngārei, he travelled by canoe to Moehau, and then back to Maketū.

Qualities: innovation, identity, relationships

Did you know?

There is a star named after Īhenga’s brother Taramainuku.  ‘Te Kupenga a Taramainuku’ means ‘the net of Taramainuku’ and when it is showing in the sky it means that Taramainuku is casting his net to earth to gather up all the souls of the people who have died that day. 

The souls get pulled along by his waka for nearly a year before they are taken to the underworld when the constellation sets next to the sun in May.  A month later the constellation appears again when Taramainuku lets go of the souls of the dead so that they can become stars. This is where the beautiful saying ‘kua wheturangihia koe’ - ’you have now become a star’, comes from!

More to watch:

Take a look at this awesome animation made by Tūmanako Productions about how Īhenga and his dog Pōtakatawhiti

discovered Lake Rotoiti:


More to read:

Check out the beautiful picture book ‘Ihenga’ by Rotorua’s much loved Aunty Bea.  It is available in most school

libraries and at Rotorua Library.


This entry is related to these other entries:

Koro & Moko Fishing, Part Four: Īhenga and Hinetekakara; Īhenga and the Patupaiarehe



Rāwiri Taonui, 'Ngā waewae tapu – Māori exploration - Te Arawa explorers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 October 2018)

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