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Birthplace: Whiria, Hokianga, New Zealand
Death: 1550
New Zealand
Place of Burial: Kawakawa, Northland, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of Tauramoko and Te Hauangiangi
Husband of Āhuaiti; Whakaruru; Moetonga; Paru and Ihenga
Father of Te Ra; Hounoawe; Māui; Tawaki-iti; Tangaroa Ite Whakamana Mana Te Tupuna Te Tupuna and 8 others
Brother of Puna-Te-Ariari; Tangaroa-Whakamana-mana and Moko-nui-a-rangi
Half brother of Te Hoe

IWI:: Ngāpuhi
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rahiri

Rahiri lived within the period 1475-1585 using generational calculations. Moetonga and Paru are two later wives of Rahiri, descendents of these wives respectively settling the west and east coasts and creating hapū in those places. No further details of these wives are in the administrator’s possession, however, they are clearly more significant for other hapū.

Rahiri is the founding ancestor of Ngapuhi. He is the son of Tauramoko and Hauangiangi. Rahiri first married Ahuaiti and they had a son - Uenukukuare. Rahiri left Ahuaiti early on and remarried Whakaruru. Rahiri and Whakaruru had four children including a son called Kaharau. Later on Uenukukuare (whose name had been shortened to Uenuku) asked his mother Ahuaiti who his father was. She told him to follow the river until it became salty and there he would find his father. Eventually Uenuku found his father. He also met his brother Kaharau but there were tensions between them and they fought. Eventually Rahiri gave all the land to the west of Tahuna, Kaikohe to Kaharau and all the land to the east to Uenuku. Uenuku then marries Kareariki and they have five offspring including a daughter named Ruakiwhiria. Kaharau marries Kohinemataroa and they have many offspring including a son named Taurapoho. Taurapoho and Ruakiwhiria marry and that is the line we descend from. - (info sourced from Te Runanga a iwi o Ngapuhi & Te Ara Encyclopedia.)

The people who were on board Mata-atua on the voyage from Hawaiki were eighteen in all, as follows:—

• HIKAROA (father of Toroa and Puhi)

• Taneatua (Tohunga of Mātaatua)

• PUHI (brother of Toroa)

• Nuiho,

• Nuake,

• Weka

• Rahiri (grandson of Puhi)

• TOROA (brother of Puhi)

• Ruaihonga (son of Toroa)

• Whakapoi (son of Toroa)

• Akurama-tapu, • Tukapua,

• Waituhi,

• Muriwai (f) (sister of Toroa)

• Kaki-piki-tua (f), (wife of Toroa)

• Wairaka (f), (daughter of Toroa)

• Te Moungaroa, and Turu.

The following remained at Whangara on the arrival of Mata-atua:—Te Moungaroa and Turu. Those who came north were sixteen in number, and those who remained at Whakatane were seven; those who went on, nine; and those latter took the canoe with them. The names of those who remained at Whakatane were:—Hikaroa, Toroa, Whakapoi, Rua-ihonga, Muriwai, Wairaka, and Kaki-piki-tua.



Rāhiri is the founding ancestor of Ngāpuhi. Born at Whiria pā, he was the son of Tauramoko and Te Hauangiangi. Tauramoko was a descendant of two captains – Kupe of the Matawhaorua canoe, and Nukutawhiti of the Ngātokimatawhaorua canoe. Te Hauangiangi was the daughter of Puhi, captain of the Mataatua canoe.

Rāhiri married two women. Hokianga tradition says his first wife, Āhuaiti, was from Pouērua near Kaikohe in the Taumārere district. Āhuaiti left Rāhiri at Whiria and returned to her people after a dispute between Rāhiri and her brothers over fern root cultivations. The Taumārere tribes say that Rāhiri and Āhuaiti were married at Pouērua and that it was Rāhiri who left and returned to Whiria. However, both agree that Āhuaiti gave birth to a son named Uenuku.

After Rāhiri and Āhuaiti separated, Rāhiri married Whakaruru. They lived at Whiria and had a son named Kaharau.

Uenuku and Kaharau

When Rāhiri’s first son Uenuku reached adulthood he went to Whiria to reclaim his birthright. He and his half-brother Kaharau fought, but Rāhiri made peace between them. He instructed his sons to weave a flax rope long enough to go around Whiria mountain.

The rope was attached to a kite which, after being launched, came to rest against a pūriri tree. Rāhiri named that place Whirinaki (which means ‘to lean against a support’). The kite was hoisted again and flew further eastward before landing on the banks of the Taumārere River. Blown by the easterly winds, it then landed at Tahuna, near present-day Kaikohe. Its path became the boundary that Rāhiri set between the Hokianga and Taumārere. He also decreed that the Hokianga lands would go to Kaharau’s descendants, and the eastern lands of Taumārere to Uenuku’s descendants.

Kaharau’s son, Taurapoho, and Uenuku’s daughter, Ruakiwhiria, later married, thus ensuring the alliance would endure. The tribal saying ‘Ka tū tahi te tuakana me te teina’ (the older and younger brother will stand as one) expresses this ongoing unity.

Korokoro, Kairewa and Waimirirangi

The brothers Korokoro and Kairewa are the ancestors of the early Ngāpuhi hapū Ngāti Korokoro and Ngāti Kairewa, who live in the Pākanae and Whirinaki valleys of the southern Hokianga.

Kairewa married Waimirirangi and they had 10 children. All tribes north of Auckland can trace their descent from one of these children. Waimirirangi is held in particular regard and is often referred to as ‘Te Kuini-o-Te-Tai-Tokerau’ (the queen of the northern tide).

Rāwiri Taonui. 'Ngāpuhi - Ancestors', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 22-Sep-12

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Rahiri's Timeline

New Zealand
New Zealand
Whirinaki, Northland, North Island, New Zealand
Whiria, Hokianga, New Zealand