Te TAKINGA: The warrior chief and the battle of Rotoiti
Tamakari was the father of Pikiao (the second), who bore a son Te Takinga. Te Takinga had three wives Hinekiri, Hineui and Hineora. The wharenui at Te Takinga marae, situated in Mourea by the Ōhau channel, bears the name of this ancestor and the dining room is named after his third wife, Hineora. This union bore them six children Te Rangikaheke, Tutaki, Parua, Ruamoko, Kiore and Hikaawarua. Te Takinga also had sons to Hinekiri (Manene and Mango) and Hineui (Te Awanui). They were all to play a part in the full occupation of Rotoiti by Ngāti Pikiao.
Te Takinga was a fighting chief of great renown who was instrumental in securing
possession of the Lake Rotoiti district from Tūhourangi who were occupying a number
of pā sites in the Rotoiti area including sites around the Motutawa / Ōkawa bay region.
At that time, Te Takinga and his people resided on the shores of Rotoehu at a place
called Te Puia, located at the eastern end of a track called Tahuna which is known
today as Te Ara a Hinehopu (also known as Hongi’s track). It was at this time that the
famed warrior chief Tūtānekai, journeyed from Rotorua to Rotoiti on a friendly visit to the
Tūhourangi people who were living in the Tumoana pā site. There some of his men
engaged in a friendly contest of arms but it developed into a heated fight whereupon
Tūtānekai’s son Tamakuri was killed. Tūtānekai, being greatly outnumbered retreated
and planned his ultimate revenge.
He sought help from other tribes along the coastal regions but they rejected his
overtures because of past histories and existing relationships with Tūhourangi. He
decided to approach Pikiao and his son Te Takinga reasoning that they would be
pleased to get rid of the Tūhourangi people from Rotoiti. This was a high risk option as
Tūtanekai had been involved in past indiscretions with Ngāti Pikiao. However this
worked, a plan was forged, and Ngāti Pikiao under Te Takinga’s leadership waged war
upon Tūhourangi at the Tumoana stronghold. They defeated Tūhourangi at this battle,
and utu was satisfied.
Tūtānekai who apparently did not participate in the battle, gifted a large canoe to Ngāti Pikiao who then returned to their Te Puia stronghold. Prisoners were put to death with the exception of Te Aoniwaho who was taken as a wife for Kotiora another chief of Ngāti Pikiao who resided on the shores of Rotoehu.
It was due to the hard-headed nature of Te Takinga, a great warrior, that today the Ngāti
Rongomai people are happy to forge ties with Pikiao to keep the peace, even though Pikiao was Rakeiao’s grandson. Rakeiao is the dominant line due to the fact he is the oldest son in the Rangitihi Manawatokotoko line.
It is said that Te Takinga once told Tūhourangi to return to Tarawera ‘E koro, kua tae ki te wā me hoki koe ki te kāinga’. Te Takinga knew that Tūhourangi was old, he didn’t have any battalions and his fighting days were over.
Knowing he would have had a battle on his hands he couldn’t win, Tūhourangi returned to Tarawera with his people. He took the name of Te Pakira and named the wharenui at Whakarewarewa after it, to remind them of their place in Rotoiti.
Ngāti Rongomai and Ngāti Pikiao still reside side by side today.
as told to Cian Elyse White by Sir Toby Curtis, June 27, 2018
Qualities: identity, relationships
More to watch:
More to read:
From Rotorua Library:
About the wars at Rotoiti:
Te Arawa: A History of the Arawa People (D. M. Stafford), Chapter 14, 15 and 16
About Te Takinga:
This entry is related to these other entries:
Tūtanekai; Rakeiao me ōnā Kapowai - Rakeiao and his dragonflies; Life at Mourea
Interview with Sir Toby Curtis & William Emery, June 27, 2018 (Cian Elyse White)