This tauparapara was written by Megan Ellison for the Wānaka we had at Sinclair 

Wetlands in July 2009. It is about our claim to Ōtākou’s rohe/area that extends 

through to Lake Wakatipu and includes the whakapapa of our ancestress Hā-ki-te-


This was written by Tahu Potiki in 1996 and explains who Ōtākou are. This is in 

our Incorporated society rules of Te Runaka o Ōtākou.

1. Te Runaka Otakou acknowledges the principles of Mana Whenua and their 

importance to the whanau who affiliate to Te Runaka Otakou.

2. These principles are well known and they include concepts such as:

2.1. Take Tupuna a right which can be established because an ancestor has 

asserted himself over land or resource using any of the tikanga below

2.2. Umu Takata rights through conquest

2.3. Tapatapa or Mahi Taunaha an ancestral right proven because of the 

discovery and subsequent naming of the land or resource

2.4. Tuturu Te Noho rights of settlement which are only valid if there is an 

established intergenerational permanence or Ahi Kaa

2.5. Kai Taoka exchange of land or resource for taoka

2.6. Tuku Whenua the gifting of land

3. The Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu Act 1996 defines the Te Runaka Otakou 

takiwa thus:

3.1. ‘The takiwa of Te Runanga o Otakou centres on Otakou and extends 

from Purehurehu to Te Matau and inland, sharing an interest in the lakes and 

mountains to the western coast with Runanga to the North and South.’

4. The origins of these rights are easily traced and extend back to the times of 

the Waitaha people which includes such callings as Kati Hawea and Te 


5. There is much traditional evidence of occupation by these early people and 

they are particularly remembered in local placenames.

5.1. The prominent hill standing alongside the Marae reserve is known as Te 

Atua O Taiehu. Taiehu was the kaihautu of the Waka-A-Raki, a canoe 

contemporaneous with Uruao, and is therefore associated with the earliest 

period of occupation.

5.2. When Waitaha arrived in the south Rakaihautu was responsible for the 

creation of the inland lakes and lagoons including Waihola, Wakatipu and 

Hawea as well as the naming of the Kaikarae stream (Kaikorai).

5.3. The pepeha associated with Rakaihautu are:

Ka Puna Karikari O Rakaihautu The Lakes Dug by Rakaihautu He Puna 

Hauaitu The Freezing Cold Lakes He Puna Waimarie; The Bountiful Lakes 

He Puna Karikari. The Lakes which have been dug by the hand of Man

5.4. These pepeha serve to illustrate the traditional principle of Tapatapa.

5.5. The Waitaha were successfully subsumed in to subsequent migrations 

but the marriages into Waitaha lines are acknowledged as particularly 

important as they embody the principle of Ahi Kaa.

(See Whakapapa 1 as an example of Waitaha whakapapa that extends to 

Otakou families)

6. Waitaha led a peaceful existence in the south until the arrival of Kati 

Mamoe. The Mamoe people originally claim descent from the ancestress 

Hotu Mamoe who is believed to have lived in the Heretaunga area of the 

North Island.

6.1. In traditional korero the name Kati Mamoe was taken to include all 

those who were here before the final wave of Kai Tahu. Therefore all the 

Waitaha and Mamoe hapu were often known as Kati Mamoe simply because 

their identity was subsumed through inter-marriage and they were traditional 

occupants before Kai Tahu.

6.2. Often those who claimed direct descent from Whatiua and Porouraki 

were also labelled as Kati Mamoe although there was no obvious descent 

from Hotu Mamoe.

6.3. This included important Kati Mamoe rakatira such as Tukiauau from 

whom many Otakou affiliates descend.

(See Whakapapa 2)

7. Other rakatira of Kati Mamoe maintained their mana in the inland areas.

7.1. Rakitauhopu had built his pa around Lake Ohau, Tuwiriroa was 

established at Lake Wakatipu and Tutemakohu in Central Southland. All 

three of these chiefs were offspring of Nukutauraro, a senior descendant of 


7.2. Te Rakitauneke, another cousin, was the ancestor of many of the 

women whom ultimately married into the invading Kai Tahu.

7.3. It is clear from local tradition that Te Rakitauneke was living at, or near, 

Otakou during the first Kai Tahu occupation by Waitai.

7.4. A direct descendant of Te Rakitauneke, Hikapaki, married into a 

principal tupuna of the Otakou people, Pokohiwi. Hikapaki was taken 

captive in a battle at Kaka Point.

7.5. Another Te Rakitauneke descendant, Koraki, also married back into the 

Otakou lines and Tuhawaiki is descended from this union.

7.6. These, and other similar marriages, determine the boundaries of our 

shared interest in central Te Waipounamu. This right embodies the 

principles of Take Tupuna, Tuturu Te Noho and Ahi Kaa.

(See Whakapapa 3)

8. The Kati Mamoe were slowly displaced by the incoming Kati Kuri hapu of 

Kai Tahu descendants of Tahu Potiki.

(See Whakapapa 4)

8.1. Rakaimomona was defeated in the battle of Puhirau and his son, 

Tukiauau, was pushed south to Rakiura.

8.2. Waitai made his way south from Kaikoura and was quickly followed by 

Maru, Te Aoparaki and their nephew, Tarewai.

8.3. The Tarewai chapter is important as it sees the final expulsion of Kati 

Mamoe from the Otakou district. Whakatakanewha and Rakiamoamohia are 

defeated and forced into the Te Anau and Fiordland area with the mana, 

embodied in the principle of Umu Takata, ultimately resting with Kati Kuri.

9. Following the defeat of Kati Mamoe Moki, the son of Te Ruahikihiki, 

migrated south with his hapu to maintain the occupation right at Pukekura.

9.1. Moki’s son, Tukitaharaki, passed away under suspicious circumstances 

and Te Wera, a cousin from the hapu of Kai Te Kauae, was blamed for 


9.2. Tuki warned his whanau to not seek revenge for his death as his death 

was natural (mate tara-whare).

9.3. The warning went unheeded and as a result an inter-hapu feud 

developed which climaxed with a violent confrontation on the Otago 


9.4. Both Moki and Kapo were killed and Kapo’s ohaki is remembered in 

his fateful words

‘Purupuru te tarika. Kore e whakaroko i te takata mate’ ‘Block your ears. 

Never listen to the words of a dead man’

9.5. Kapo met his demise in a grotesque manner at the hands of Te Wera 

with Te Wera saying

‘Waiho te iramutu hei iramutu, waiho te papa hei papa, waiho te hakoro hei 

hakoro, tahuri tonu mai patu tonu nei. Akuanei mahaku mai ano i runga i 

tona upoko, ona waewae rawa.’ ‘Leave the nephew for a nephew, father for 

a father, uncle for an uncle as they may fall in battle. Soon I shall consume 

my relation from his head to his feet.’

10.The mana was transferred to Kai Te Kauae for a very brief period until 

Taoka, a brother to Moki, expelled Te Wera from the area following a 

lengthy siege at Huriawa.

10.1. Taoka then placed his nephew, Te Pahi, as rakatira of Pukekura and 

the greater Otakou area

10.2. Te Pahi married Hakuiao, who is a Rapuwai descendant.

10.3. This marriage become of great significance to the people of Otakou as 

it is symbolic of an undisturbed claim to Mana Whenua through the 

principles of Umu Takata and Ahi Kaa.

(See Whakapapa 5)

11.Te Runaka Otakou acknowledge the special status of Kai Te Pahi due to the 

descendants of Te Pahi and Hakuiao enjoying an undisturbed Mana Whenua 

right as of 1840.

12.Despite the status of Kai Te Pahi it is also acknowledged that the principle, 

and more inclusive, tupuna of Otakou are Taoka and Moki therefore Kai 

Taoka and Kati Moki are the primary hapu for affiliation to Te Runaka 


(See Whakapapa 5 & 6)

13.It is acknowledged that the descendants of Taoka and Moki have traditional 

mana whenua rights in areas other than the takiwa of Otakou and that within 

the takiwa of Otakou certain traditional rights are shared with other whanau, 

hapu and runaka.