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pukaki

Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue

Pūkākī was the only child of Tamiuru (Ngāti Pikiao) and Taiwere (Ngāti Whakaue). He became a rangatira of great mana and was a respected chief among his people. Pūkākī was born at Tūtānekai’s Pā, ‘Kaiweka’, on the southern shores of Mokoia Island. When he got older he went to live in Parawai pā at Ngongotahā.
 
In the early 1800’s, a great carving was made of totara from the Ngongotahā Stream  in remembrance of this great Whakaue leader. The carving illustrated Pūkākī embracing his two sons, Wharengaro and Rangitakuku. In the 1830s, Pūkākī stood as a gateway, five or six metres high, at Pukeroa Pā on the hill above Ōhinemutu.
 
In 1877 Pūkākī was presented by Ngāti Whakaue to Judge Francis Dart Fenton during a hui at Te Papaiōuru marae.  Francis Fenton was the person who helped establish the Rotorua township we know today. Giving Pūkākī to the Crown, through Judge Fenton, was a way of showing trust between Ngāti Whakaue and the Crown.
 
Sadly, Ngāti Whakaue did not know that Pūkākī was given away as a gift to a high powered officer of the Auckland Museum.  The meaning behind the gift had been ignored.
 
In 1984-1987 Pūkākī became one of the great taonga of the Te Māori exhibition that toured the USA. Through the research of Paul Tapsell it was discovered how Pūkākī had come to be in the hands of Auckland Museum.  On 4th April 1997 a group of Te Arawa elders met with the Auckland Museum and the Museum agreed that Ngāti Whakaue were still the owners of Pūkākī. On 2nd October 1997, Pūkākī returned home to a spiritual ceremony on Te Papaiōuru marae.
 
In October 2004 the Reserve Bank was involved in a ceremony with Ngāti Whakaue recognising the image of their tupuna 'Pūkākī' on New Zealand’s 20 cent coin. As part of this acknowledgement, the Reserve Bank Education Award was established. This award was created by the Reserve Bank to honour the descendants of Ngāti Whakaue by offering six children each year under the age of 15 (year 10), who demonstrate leadership ability, an opportunity to experience Wellington for a day and be hosted by the Bank.

Qualities: humility, identity, relationships