Toroa was the commander of the Mataatua canoe and Tama-ki-Hikurangi the priest or tohunga, conducted the vessel from Hawaiiki to Whakatane. Toroa was a chief in his own right, but it was his great-grandson Tuhoe-Potiki who became the eponymous name of the Tuhoe tribe of the Urewera District. WAIRAKA, the daughter of Toroa won her fame when she saved the Mataatua from sea destruction. When Mataatua landed on the shores of Whakatane, the menfolk excitedly went ashore to scan the newfound land that was to be their new home. The women patiently waited on the canoe but the angry waves unanchored the Mataatua and without hesitation, Wairaka uttered the famous words "Kia Whakatane au i ahau" (I shall become a man) and jumped into the sea and securely held on to the canoe. The men returned and were amazed at this act of bravery. Whakatane was aptly named and a figure of Wairaka poses on the spot today reminds us of this historic event.
WAIRAKA - RANGI KI UTA
It has been disputed that Wairaka was not the savior of the Mataatua Canoe but none other than the woman named Muriwai, sister of Toroa.