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Te RORO-O-TE-RANGI & TE Kurauhirangi

Ngāti Whakaue,

Ngāti Te Roro-o-te-Rangi


Te Roro-o-te-Rangi, the important chief was himself the son of a great Whakaue chief named Ariariterangi.  When his father was killed in a planned attack by Ngāi Te Rangi,   Te Roro-o-te-Rangi set out to avenge his death.  


He gathered a large army of warriors and headed to Maketū on attack.  His war party was strong and it looked as if he might win the battle when despite the fearsome noise of battle, a woman named Te Kurauhirangi was heard crying out.  She was giving a loud and heartfelt poroporoaki (farewell) for her children who she knew would be killed in the fighting.  Te Kurauhirangi was so distraught that she climbed to the highest point of the pā and cried out loudly so that Te Roro-o-te-Rangi could hear her over the fighting and begged him to show mercy to their pā.  


Te Roro-o-te-Rangi replied that he would like to spare them so Te Kurauhirangi asked if it were truly possible and if his army would listen to him if it were true.  He reassured Te Kurauhirangi that he was certain that the warriors would follow his command if he gave it and he did just as he said he would and the battle came to an end.


Te Kurauhirangi came out of the pā and presented special gifts of thanks to Te Roro-o-te-Rangi for his mercy.  Among the gifts were a calabash decorated with albatross feathers, a beautiful mat made from kahakaha leaves and a pounamu mere called Kaitangata.


After this, peace was made with Ngāi Te Rangi.  Te Roro-o-te-Rangi gave the gifts to other iwi who helped him but kept Kaitangata for himself.  


Sadly, Te Roro-o-te-Rangi was later killed by a chief named Tamamutu from Taupō over a disagreement that happened when Te Roro-o-te-rangi refused to give Tamamutu a present in payment for a special mat Tamamutu had given him.  


Te Roro-o-te-Rangi had actually planned to give a gift in return for the beautiful mat he received from Tamamutu but became angry when Tamamutu turned up to Mokoia Island to pick up the gift he thought he was owed without being asked.


Te Roro-o-te-rangi was cooked and eaten by Tamamutu and his men and some people say that his head was preserved and hung from a kōwhai tree.  In the end, Tamamutu got the gift he thought he deserved when he took the pounamu Te Roro-o-te-Rangi was wearing around his neck for himself.


Te Roro-o-te-Rangi is remembered for many acts of courage and leadership and especially for the famous war cry he gave to inspire his men at the battle of Tawharakurupeti.

Qualities humility, relationships

More to watch:

More to read:

Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori Values (Sidney M. Mead)

More to listen to:

This entry is related to these other entries:

Tawharakurupeti: A mighty battle


Te Arawa: A History of the Arawa People (D.M. Stafford)

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