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Moumoukai is the highest hill in Nuhaka, south of Gisborne. In pre-European days it was considered to be an impregnable fortification. The well-fortified pā nestled high up away from all harm. The only pathway to the top was hidden by bush and shrubs and of course, was well guarded. One side of the hill was precipitous and unscalable. The Moumoukai fortification or Pā was separate altogether from the dwelling village, name Te Komania.

There were cultivations of taro, hue, kumara, and aruhe. All these were plentiful. The birds of the bush were preserved in calabashes or taha. The Nuhaka river below Moumoukai provided a generous supply of fish, particularly eels, the fattest one called Matamoe. All were caught in eel wiers. These were taken up to the pā after a fishing expedition and preserved for further use, thus it was said that Moumoukai had food in abundance and plenty of freshwater from a mountain spring. There were two main ridges on this hill, and yet another to form a sort of a backbone. At the end was a point called Maihi, which was the personified wife of Moumoukai, similar to the mountain Pihanga and that of Tongariro of Taupo love saga.

The Ngapuhi chief Pomare on returning northward after a tumultuous raid on Pukekaroro at Tawapata, tried to conquer Moumoukai, but found it an impossible task. Before departing, he called to the people of the pā "Hear ye, people, in the pā, if there be a woman of high rank among you who is pregnant, and should her child be born a male, let him by my namesake "Pomare" as a mark of honor for the efficiency of your pā." A child was born, named Te Otane Pomare of Nuhaka. Ngāti-Rangi and Ngāti Rakaipaaka claim descent to the pā on Moumoukai.


Moumoukai waiata


Titiro te maunga Moumoukai

Te maunga whakarongo, ki nga tai


Mauria mai, ko te maunga rongonui

Hai oki oki tanga mo te iwi

E patukituki ake nei, ko taku manawa

Ko te mana motuhake, o te iwi o "Kahungunu"

E patukituki ake nei, ko taku manawa

Ko te mana motuhake, o te iwi o "Kahungunu"


Song Words Composed by: J. Keefe, Kihitu.

(Substitute MAUNGA to suit area) 

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