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Rongomaiwahine was the paramount chieftainess of Te Mahia, descendant from Popoto of the Kurahaupo canoe, and Ruawharo of the Takitimu canoe. Rongomaiwahine was famed for her beauty widespread over the country, even to the ears of Kahungunu who was in the north and on his way to Tauranga. He had apparently had plans about Rongomaiwahine but by the time he eventually arrived in this area, she was already married to Tamatakutai. As the proverb goes, all is fair in love and war. To make a long story short, about the two men involved, Tamatakuai and Kahungunu went on a fishing expedition, and one did not come back. So Kahungunu claimed Rongomaiwahine as his wife Over the main entrance and doorway of the Kahungunu meeting house at Nuhaka one can see the female figure of Rongomaiwahine, representing the origin of life of the tribe. Rongomaiwahine, therefore, became the famous mother of this area of the Ngati-Kahungunu people. 

RONGOMAIWAHINE, the wife of KAHUNGUNU is depicted in the carving above the door on the pare or door lintel, which means that as you enter through her to the bosom of her husband, practically all the ancestors within its confines are connected through their union. This union also strengthens their genealogical connections to other canoes through inter-marriages. 

On the korupe or window lintel are the other wives of Kahungunu namely,



RUARERETAI, his first wife is the proposed name for the future dining room or whare-kai so much needed and sorted after to complement and enhance the status of the Memorial meeting house of Kahungunu, of Nuhaka. 


"He kotuku rerenga tahi"

The white crane of rare flight


Rongomaiwahine Waiata

Kotiro Maori e! Kotiro Maori e!


Kotiro Maori e! Kotiro Maori e, taku ripene pai

0 makawe hoki nga ngaru o te tai

Ko to parehuia he tohu rangatira e

Ko Rongomaiwahine o Nukutaurua e


Rongo na to ataahua ki te whenua katoa

Ka kitea tona hiahia aue Rongomai e

Ko wai te wahine whaka-kapakapa te

manawai nei e

Ko Rongomaiwahine o Nukutaurua e


Piki ake kake ake ki Te Mahia

Tae atu te kohimuhimu ki a Kahungunu e

Haere mai e tama rukuhia nga paua a

Tangaroa e

Ma Rongomaiwahine o Nukutaurua e


Nahau ra Kahungunu tangata whakanene

Na te paua (hei) raru aria koe e Rongomai e

Haere mai e tama, ka haere taua e

Ki Mamma Hatea„ o Wainiania e

Kotiro Maori e! Kotiro Maori e! Kotiro Maori e! 

Composed by: T. Taurima 

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