A mighty battle

Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tūnohopū,

Ngāti Te Roro-o-te-Rangi, Tūwharetoa

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The chief Te Roro-o-te-Rangi and his two brothers Te Kata and Tūnohopū led their warriors into a great battle in this area known as Tawharakurupeti. Under attack by an invading war party of Tūwharetoa warriors from Taupō, Te Roro-o-te-Rangi and his ope taua (war party) took their stand in this area where they could look south across the flat scrubby landscape to gain early warning of their oncoming enemy.


Far outnumbered, Te Roro-o-te-Rangi and his brothers were determined to face the enemy whatever odds were against them. He inspired his men through a speech that is still remembered today by his descendants in a whakatauākī:


Ruia taitea, ruia taitea, kia tū ko taikākā, ko ahau anake.

Shake off the sapwood - retain the strong heartwood,

Let those who are afraid leave now.

Though alone, I will stay and face the enemy.


The battle resulted in the death of Te Roro-o-te-Rangi and his brother Te Kata. Many of their men were also killed. Tūnohopū fought with extreme courage and strength, and was admired by his enemy so was left a free man.

Qualities: identity, relationships

More to watch:



More to read:

Pukaki: a comet returns, by Paul Tapsell

Tūnohopū: Te kuku o te tangata, by Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust (Te Taumata)


More to listen to:

Hear Te Roro-o-te-rangi’s whakatauki being spoken and explained here by his descendant Ngataiharuru Taepa no Te AtiAwa:



This entry is related to these other entries:

Tūnohopū: Te kuku o te tangata;



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