Mataatua District Mãori Council
Kia ora – Welcome to Mataatua District Maori Council.
Chair: Nika Rua
Deputy Chair: Wini Geddes
Secretary: Meri Ratana
Mataatua is the balance land in the Waiariki District and so it shares a common boundary with Tai Rawhiti in the east, Takitimu in the south, and Te Arawa in the west.
As well as being linked to Ngāpuhi in the north, the Mataatua is said to have landed in the Bay of Plenty. According to the traditions two visitors, Hoaki and Taukata, arrived on the Hīnakipākau-o-te-rupe from Hawaiki, bringing kao (dried kūmara, or sweet potato) which they gave to Toi, said to be one of the first great Polynesian explorers. Toi sent the canoe Te Aratāwhao to Hawaiki captained by Tama-ki-hikurangi, charging him with retrieving more kūmara. Tama stayed on in Hawaiki and sent the kūmara back on the Mataatua canoe, captained by Toroa with his brother Puhi, his sister Muriwai, and his daughter Wairaka. The canoe arrived at Whakatāne, which was named after an incident where the Mataatua had come adrift. Wairaka saved the vessel, uttering the words ‘Me whakatāne au i ahau nei!’ (I must act like a man!). In other accounts it is Muriwai who saves the boat.
The descendants of the Mataatua crew settled the region. The descendants of Wairaka, Awanuiarangi and Tūhoe-pōtiki became the ancestors of Ngāti Awa and Ngāi Tūhoe. Muriwai became an important ancestor for the Whakatōhea tribe. According to traditions, the brothers Toroa and Puhi fought over food resources, and Puhi took the canoe northward to Tākou Bay in the northern Bay of Islands, where he became an important ancestor for Ngāpuhi.