Te Whānau o Wakaiwa Rāwinia Barrett: Nga Tūpuna

Updated 3 April 2021


In traditional Māori society whakapapa describe the relationship between humans and their tātai (families) inclusive of kōrero (stories) about their inter-relations and relationships with the rest of nature (Te Ao Mārama – the natural world, Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal, Te Ara). I will endeavour to capture some of that in this posting.

Hilary and John Mitchell drew on whakapapa research of their own and others to include Rāwinia Barrett’s whakapapa in their publication: Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka: A History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough, Volume 4: Nga Whanau Rangatira o Ngati Tama me Te Atiawa: The Chiefly Families of Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa (2014). While Rāwinia and Dicky Barrett only lived at Te Awaiti in the Tory Channel for about five or six years, and moved on to Wellington and then New Plymouth, the Mitchell’s stated that:

… her inclusion in this book is justified by the roles she played as rangatira wahine whaimana [female chief of highest seniority and standing]- respected by both Maori and European – in establishing and consolidating Te Atiawa in the Marlborough Sounds.

Mitchell, 2014, p347

In the whakapapa the Mitchell’s prepared for Rāwinia’s second cousin, Huriwhenua, we can see that Rāwinia’s whakapapa traces back to the earliest origins of Te Atiawa to the birth of Awanuiarangi (from the union of Rongoueroa and Tamarau-Te-Heketanga-A-Rangi – see more information about that union here: Te Atiawa ) and to the Kāhui people and the beginning of the world with Ranginui (Rangi, sky father) and Papatūānuku (Papa, earth mother) (‘Tautara’s book’, Waitara Districts History & Family’s Research Group, and Table 9.1, page 171 in Mitchell, 2014 – a photo of which is on the Family Trees/Whakapapa page). The name ‘Kāhui Ao’ implies a tribe descended from Rangi and Papa. Tamarau’s celestial whakapapa shows his decent from Ranginui and Papatūānuku down to Ao Tatai (Marsh 2010: 31).

According to Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) the first Maori to arrive at Ngā Motu, long years before the so called great fleet, were three waka called Kahutara, Taikoria, Otoki and their commanders wer Maruiwi, Ruatamore adn Taikoria. Descendants from this early migration subsequently were called Tini O Taitawaro. They occupied the Taranaki coast from Oakura to Mokau. One of their villages was Otaka, the pā at Ngamotu that was the site of the battle between Te Atiawa and the Waikato in 1832 (Mullon, page 1).

Another inter-relationship between Te Ātiawa is the connection to the Ngāti Awa. Originally from the far north of Aotearoa, Ngāti Awa migrated to the East Coast (Whakatane) and to northern Taranaki. Once in Taranaki they intermarried with the descendants of the Tokomaru waka, establishing them as part of tangata whenua of Taranaki and even more so through the marriage of Parenui-o-Te-Rangi to Maramata-Hae-Hoe of Te Kahui Tu (Marsh 2010: 32) around 1375. Ultimately the iwi adopted the name Te Atiawa, possibly to differentiate themselves from their origins with Ngāti Awa.

One of Rāwinia’s Tūpuna was Korotiwha, an ariki of Te Atiawa who resided at the Kairoa pā (inland from Lepperton) and was of the Ngāti Taweke hapū (Percy Smith, 1910). Kairoa pā is an historic site for Māori and an entry point for the Waikaahurangi track to Ketemarae pā, that linked northern Taranaki to southern Taranaki for hundreds of years in pre-European times. Korotiwha led Te Atiawa in the eventual defeat of the Nga-Potiki-taua of the Taranaki iwi some 20 years after Nga-Potiki-taua’s conquest of Te Atiawa. According to Percy Smith the small remnants of Te Atiawa who survived the earlier Nga-Potiki-taua conquest were scattered in small groups in the bush where they hid to evade capture (page 218). It took Te Atiawa 20 years to build up their numbers in order launch their reconquest. Korotiwha led the battle that took place at Omaru pā situated at the bend in the Waiongana river. The triumphant Atiawa chased and killed the retreating Nga-Potiki-taua all the way to Waiwhakaiho, completing the first stage in the reconquest of Nga-motu. It was said that so few of the Nga-Potiki-taua survived that the once powerful hapū ceased to exist (page 225). Percy Smith estimated the reconquest took place around 1760, but the whakapapa shows that Korotiwha lived 10 generations before Wakaiwa Rawinia’s grandfather, Tautara, so he would have been born around 1600. That would place the timing of the battle at around 1660, not 1760. That timing is more consistent with the population regrowth of Te Atiawa that had occurred by the 1820s.


More of Rāwinia’s whakapapa is shown in Table 19:1 (Mitchell, 2014: page 333) tracing back hundreds of years and 29 generations to the seven great waka from Hawaiki, the legendary Pacific homeland of the Māori people thought to be Rarotonga and the Tahitian region. The great waka were:

  • Aotea
  • Kahuitara
  • Tainui
  • Takitimu
  • Horouta
  • Kurahaupo
  • Matahoura

A copy of Table 19:1 can be downloaded from the Family Tree links page of this website.

To that list we can add the Tokomaru, the waka that Te Atiawa and Ngāti Tama claim as theirs through earlier kinship connections in Taranaki. On one account Tokumaru beached at Mohakatino, just south of Mokau. The anchor stone of the Tokomaru is now held at Puke Ariki museum.

Turi captained the Aotea waka, with the journey starting from Rai’atea, Tahiti. Likely driven to seek new lands due to the growth of the population within Tahiti and the consequential demands on resources, Turi and his people set sail for Aotearoa. They landed at Aotea Harbour on the west coast of the North Island and then travelled overland to Patea, South Taranaki where they settled (Smith, 1910).

Hoturoa captained the Tainui waka, whose final resting place was in Kawhia Harbour in about 1350. The Tainui people went on to form two divisions, the Waikato to the north, and Ngati Maniapoto to the south.

The captain of the Matahoura is said to be the legendary figure of Kupe who features prominently in the mythology and oral history of some iwi. Claims about the timing of Kupe’s arrival from Hawaiki differ between tribal regions, but according to the Taranaki accounts he is regarded as a contemporary of Turi, the captain of the Aotea waka. Kupe’s wife, Kuramārõtini is said to have devised the name Aotearoa after having seen the North Island for the first time. According to Te Atiawa source, Kupe travelled down the west coast from the Auckland region, then on to the Cook Straight region.


As noted in the posting about Dicky and Rāwinia Barrett, Wakaiwa Rāwinia was a high born woman of Te Atiawa with whakapapa links to several other iwi including Tainui (Ngāti Maniapoto/Waikato), Ngāti Ruakawa (South Waikato), Kahungauru (Hawkes Bay), Ngāti Ruanui (Taranaki), Ngāti Tama (North Taranaki), Ngāti Toa (Kawhia) as well as Ngātiawa on the west and east coasts of the North Island.


Rāwhinia’s mother, Kuramai-i-tera, was a daughter of Tautara, an ariki of Te Atiawa. Tautara’s whakapapa traces back to the Tainui waka, and through to Maniapoto, eponymous founder of Ngāti Maniapoto.

Rāwhinia’s whakapapa also connects to the first Māori king Potatau (Te Wherowhero) who was descended from Uruhina, grandson of Te Kaha-iri-rangi (ibid). More distantly in the same Tainui line, Rakamaomao’s son Tuihaua was the great-grandfather of Toa Rangatira, the eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Toa (ibid).

Maniapoto lived in the 17th century and established numerous powerful tribes. Maniapoto’s great-grandparents, Tūrongo and Māhinarangi brought together both the Tainui and East Coast tribes, something that is still celebrated today. Tūrongo and Māhinarangi’s son Raukawa was the ancestor of the Ngati Raukawa (Te Ara, Encyclopedia of NZ and here). Raukawa is an ancestor of the Māori King. There is a carved meeting house named after Māhinrangi at Turangawaewae.

The marriage of Maniapoto’s great-grandparents, Ruaputakanga (Ngāti Ruanui, South Taranaki) to Whatihua (Tainui) brought together the ariki ancestral lines of the Tainui and Aotea waka (NZETC).

Ruaputahanga, named the Whaikaahurangi track. Returning to Patea from Kawhia about 1560, Rauputakanga rested at a spot she termed Whaikaahurangi (Whaikaahu – to turn upwards; rangi – the heavens).

Maniapoto’s son, Te Kawa-iri-rangi (Te Kawa), visited the chief of Tamaki Makau Rau (Auckland) at Maungakeikei (One Tree Hill) and married his two daughters. By one, Maroa, he had a son, Tukemata. Te Kawa went to on to Taranaki where he killed a Taranaki man, and was consequently killed by Ngāti Tama. Tukemata went on to avenge his father’s death and defeated Ngāti-Tama at Taranaki. This in turn led to Ngāti Tama defeating Tukemata at Maungakeikei, killing Tukemata. Joining forces with the Waikato, Tamaki avenged his death by defeating Ngāti Tama. Out if that victory came the saying, ‘Mokau ki raro, Tamaki ki runga’ (from Mokau to the south, to Tamaki in the north) signifying they were a united people (A “Tainui” Whakapapa).

Ngāti Tama

Ngāti Tama’s whakapapa goes back to Tama Ariki, the chief navigator of the Tokomaru waka.

Tukemata’s daughter, Puraekorau, in an initiative probably designed to set aside the family feud with Ngāti Tama, married a Ngāti Tama man, Kauparera. Unfortunately the period of goodwill was short lived. In the course of a visit, Puraekorau’s uncle Runga-Te-Rangi was killed by Ngāti Tama. His body drifted away in the tide and was subsequently found by Tainui people at Hakerekere beach. It was from that unfortunate death that Puraekorau prophesied that her northern relatives would avenge the death and ‘tread the sands of Hakerekere’ (ibid) … a prophecy that came true in the 19th century.

Te Atiawa

Rawinia’s whakapapa links from Maniapoto/Tainui, to Ngāti Tama and then to Te Atiawa seems to have occurred with the marriage of Tamakura and Ko Hine Te Wiri-Noa (Ātiawa). Their son, Rehia, married Wha-Kie-Kie. They were the great-great grandparents of Tautara on his mother’s side. Interestingly, Rehia had a second wife, Korekia Kino and their son was Potaka Taniwha, Tautara’s grandfather through his father, Te Puhi Manawa (Mitchell, 2014, page 171, Table 9.1).

Potaka Taniwha

Potaka Taniwha was Rāwinia’s great–great-grandfather and his wife, Arataki was her great-great-grandmother.

Potaka is said to have belonged to the Puketapu hapū and he resided at the Nga-puke-turua pā – near Sentry Hill to the north of New Plymouth (Smith, p180). Around 1770 Potaka (who would have been elderly by then) was said to have successfully gone to the rescue of his kin of the Ngāti Tuparikino hapū who were being attacked by Rangi-apiti-rua (who was related to the Taranaki iwi and Te Atiawa, and who at that time resided at Puke-ariki) seeking utu over recent strife between the two sub-tribes.

Te Rangi-apiti-rua was apparently related to Potaka as well (possibly through Potaka’s Ngāti Ruanui ancestry), and the two went on to successfully launch an attack on the Nga-potiki-taua hapū (Taranaki iwi) who at that time occupied the land around Ngāmotu.

Although well advanced in years at the time, Potaka was also well known for the way he went about getting his second wife, Uru-kinati. Daughter of Kau-taia, chief of the Pari-hamore pā of the Ngāti Tuparikino hapū, Uru-kinati was well known for her beauty. Potaka was said to be living at Para-iti at the time, just inland from Bell Block. Para-iti was one of the reserves set aside for Māori as part of the Bell Block land purchased by the Crown (Aroha Harris, 1991). Although gauged to be an unlikely suitor for Uru-kinati due to his age, Potaka was adamant that he would posses her. With that aim he staged a siege of Pari-hamore and succeeded in having Uru-kinati turned over to him (Smith, page 187). Rāwinia was related to the Te Keha whānau through Potaka’s second wife, Urukinaki of Ngāti Tuparekino (ibid, page 430, Table 26.1).


Rāwinia’s grandfather, Tautara, lived at the Puketapu pā, but also resided for a time at the Rewarewa pā of Ngāto Tawhirikura. He was a warrior who had a reputation of being magnanimous in victory. He participated in what became known as the Battle of Motunui in 1822 when Ngāti Toa (from Kawhia) joined forces with Te Ātiawa and defeated the Tainui invaders. Matiu Baker noted that :

Tautara was closely related to many of the leading Waikato chiefs, and out of aroha (sympathy) advocated on their behalf to ensure their safe retreat from the affray. Such considerable and sympathetic conduct was considered tika [doing the right thing] and commensurate with his rank and station.

In Mitchell, 2014 p154. In Baker, M: Tautara. In Nga Tupuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara Vol 3, p65; quote from Wiremu Nero Te Awataia, Rangatira of Ngati Mahanga

About ten years later in 1832, Tautara, as the ariki of Te Atiawa who were at that time besieged by the revenge seeking Tainui under Te Wherowhero (and again in the position of being closely related to the leading ranks of the northern invaders) was able to meet the leaders on common ground. Tautara tried to induce his cousin, Te Kanawa to withdraw from Ōtaka but without success. In the final repulse of the enemy, when they were badly beaten and suffering loss, Te Kanawa called out to Tautara to stop the slaughter and spare them, but Tautara replied:

No! It is now too late for that; you should have listened to me earlier. You must take your well-deserved punishment.

S. Percy Smith. Incident related to the author by Tai-ariki of Pukerangiora, November 30, 1899. In History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840.

Te Kanawa survived the Battle of Ōtara Pā and went on the sign the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiri) at the Waikato Heads in late March or early April 1840. Widely known as a fighting chief, Te Kanawa actually accompanied Te Wherewhero on many taua during the 1820s and 1830s. In 1857 he was one of the rangatira present when Ngāti Maniapoto confirmed their support for Te Wherowhero as the first Māori King. By all accounts Te Kanawa was quite a character, as for example:

When the geologist Ferdinand Hochstetter visited Aotea Harbour in 1859, he asked what had happened to the other tribes who had lived in the area [eg. Ngati Toa]. The chief’s response was ‘we have eaten them all up’.


There are various references to Tautara being either of the Puketapu hapū, Ngāti Rahiri or Ngati Tawhirikura. In a report commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, Lou Chase had Tautara down as being Tawhirikura and Puketapu (Table 11, page 50). Interestingly, the same source had Te Puni and Te Wharepouri down as being Tawhirikura.

In another report for the Waitangi Tribunal, Tony Walzl had the following to say: ‘Tautara, described by W H Skinner as an ariki and principal chief of Ngatiawa [sic], was staying at the Rewarewa pā [on the north bank of the Waiwakaiho River] when the [Amiowhenua] taua arrived (in 1821-22). His usual place of residence was Puketapu Pā, a few miles to the north’. The taua went on to stay at the Ngapuketurua pā, that had been occupied by the Puketapu and was said to belong to Rauakitua and his nephews, Te Puni and Te Wharepouri.

The taua was about 600 strong and comprised warriors from a number of iwi including Ngāti-Whatua of Kaipara, Waikato, and Ngāti–Maniapoto (History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast, Chapter XIV – continued, Journal of the Polynesian Society).

Tautara was initially opposed to the presence of the Amiowhenua taua and arranged a siege of Ngapuketurua Pā. Differences of views within Te Atiawa eventually led to Tautara changing his mind and he went on to assist the taua to make their way back to their northern homelands.

According to a National Library record, Tautara was a chief of the Ngāti Rāhiri. Tautara had a son called Epiha Karoro (Wairauheke) who married Ruhia Pote (Te Ātiawa). They had two children, a daughter called Heni Karoro Wairauheke and a son, Epiha Karoro Wairauheke. Heni married Ihakora Te Ngarara of Waikanae. Epiha (2nd) married Katene who took her husbands name and became known as Katene Epiha Karoro. Epiha and Katene had two children; Hone Epiha Karoro (aka Hone Ngatai, Hone Keko) and Hamuera Epiha Karoro. Hone Ngatai married Roka Te Uira of Mokau (Ngati Rakei) and had one child Kohi Katene Epiha Karoro (aka Kimihangaroa, Kimi Ngatai, Kimi Matenga) who married Matenga Winara Southey Baker (Ngati Toa, Te Ati Awa, Ngati Raukawa) of Otaki. Epiha (1st) was a known correspondent to Colenso and lived at Mokau, Taranaki, where he died about 1887.

Epiha Karoro corresponded with Donald McLean (a government official involved in land negotiations between the government and Māori) in February 1851 asking that certain lands belonging to Ngāti Rāhiri be held over from sale by the government pending an inquiry into the justice of the case.

Rāwinia’s first cousin, Tuarau (son of Rāwinia’s aunty Hineone), who was a rangatira of the Ngati Tawhirikura hapū, also signed Te Tiriti at Port Nicholson in April 1840.

Dicky and Råwinia Barrett

While Rāwinia’s husband, Dicky Barrett, was employed as an agent and interpreter by the New Zealand Company’s land sale negotiations with Māori, her family ties were also of crucial importance. The Mitchell’s stated that:

[Barrett’s] success of behalf of the Company possibly had very little to do with Barrett’s “translations’, but derived more from the genealogical ties of his wife, Wakaiwa Rāwinia, the the leading rangatira in Taranaki, Waikanae, Port Nicholson and Queen Charlotte Sound.

H & J Mitchell, 2014, p345

Indeed, it has been noted elsewhere on this website that the New Zealand Company’s decision to engage Barrett was in not small part due to Rāwinia’s family ties.

On the subject of Rāwinia’s family ties during the early period of colonial settlements, the Mitchell’s also noted that:

Through the siblings of her mother Kuramai-i-tera, Wakaiwa Rawinia was related to a number of prominent chiefs of the colonial period on both sites of Cook Strait. Her Uncle, Epiha Te Korokoro (a.k.a. Waireweke) represented Wellington hapu at the Kohimarama Conference called by Governor Thomas Gore Brown in 1860; Waireweke’s first wife was Hana Te Unuhi, sister of Merenako, senior rangatira wahine at Motueka in the Nelson district. The descendants of another uncle, Paruka, also had close ties to Motueka through Paruka’s daughter, Oriwia (i.e. Wakaiwa Rawinia’s first cousin), who married Hoani Kitakita. Their daughter, Pare (Mere) Kitakita was the wife of Huta Pamriki Paaka of Motueka. Pare and Huta were founders of the large Park dynasty.

Through her grandfather’s brother, Tuhangaira and his wife Te Haunga, Wakaiwa was second cousin of both Huriwhenua, paramount chief of Ngāti Rahiri ki Te Tau Ihu who lived at Moioio and Kaihinu in Tory Channel, and his sister Wharemawhai who was wife of Nohorua, eldest brother of Te Rauparaha of Ngati Toa.

H & J Mitchell, 2014, p346

Huriwhenua signed the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti at Queen Charlotte Sound on 5 May 1840. He orginally lived at Te Taniwha pa at Turangi, near Waitara (NZ History).


1 thought on “Te Whānau o Wakaiwa Rāwinia Barrett: Nga Tūpuna

  1. Pingback: Wakaiwa Rawinia’s Te Ātiawa hapū connections (draft) – Barrett Honeyfield Tupuna / Ancestry: their lives, the times and their legacy

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