A treasured taonga

Ngāti Tūtānekai,

Ngāti Whakaue

During the birth of Tūtānekai, the tohunga, Te Murirangaranga, dedicated the young boy to Tūmatauenga, the god of war. However, Te Murirangaranga broke his tapu too soon after the ritual, angering the great chief Whakaue who then had him killed.
A kōauau, or flute was made from Te Murirangaranga's forearm bone and was named after him. It became a prized taonga of Tūtānekai who is famous today for guiding the beautiful and strong Hinemoa to him across the lake with his music.  
At the battle of Kaokaoroa in April 1864, the Te Arawa chief, Te Tohi Te Ururangi a descendant of Tūtānekai was killed while wearing Murirangaranga suspended from his neck.
Due to fear of the taonga being taken, the kōauau was lodged in the throat of Te Tohi. He was taken to Maketū the next day, and Murirangaranga was given to Ngahuruhuru Pango.
On 7 February 1870, Captain Gilbert Mair successfully led a constabulary of soldiers against Te Kooti. Mair was given the kōauau in gratitude, and in 1890 Murirangaranga was given to the Auckland Museum.
Murirangaranga was returned to Rotorua by the Auckland Museum in a special ceremony in the 1990’s where it is now cared for by the Rotorua Museum - Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa.

Qualities: identity, relationships

More to read:

About the return of Murirangaranga to Te Arawa from the Auckland Museum:

From Rotorua Library:

Māori treasures of New Zealand (Paul Tapsell)


More to listen to:

The story of Hinemoa and Tūtanekai told by the great orator Kēpa Ehau:


This entry is related to these other entries:

Hinemoa; Whakaue and his descendants; Koro and Moko fishing, Part Three: Hinemoa’s Pool



Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake Trust - Te Rangihakahaka Wānanga Workbook