Te Aohuruhuru

of the Ngai Tara tribe of the Wairarapa/Wellington region

 

 


 

 

This story takes place about 1525 AD.

Te Aohuruhuru was a descendant of Tara, eponymous ancestor of Ngai Tara, and she lived in the Wairarapa. She was happily married to Takaroupoko by whom she had a daughter, Te Umutahi. But an old man who lived at Pamaramarama at the mouth of the Mataikona River in Wairarapa so lusted after her that he forcefully abducted her and Te Aohuruhuru became his wife.

The story is continued in "Nga Mahi a Nga Tipuna" by one of Grey's informants (Grey, Sir George, 1854):

"Now Pa-maramarama was the name of the pa (fortress) of Te Aohuruhuru's husband. This man was elderly and his wife was a slave taken away by him from the man she loved. The reason why she was abducted was that she was a good woman, beautiful and industrious. She worked at the preparation of food and the weaving of garments for the old man. But her status was that of a servant to him, although her affection continued steadfast for the man she loved so much.

"After she had lived with the old man for a long time he turned to insulting her.

"This is the story of how he insulted her. While they were sleeping at night, after a long sleep the old man awoke and saw his young wife deep in slumber. Her garments had slipped off with the tossing of her arms and legs as it became warm. So, he fed the fire and as it blazed up he saw the garments lying aside. And the old man thought to himself how fortunate he was. Her wavy hair was shining in the firelight; her body glowed; her skin shone smoothly; her face was like a beautiful summer sky; the girl's bosom rose and fell like a gentle swell on a summer sea tinted by the setting sun - such was the skin of our heroine.

"After the old man gazed for a while at the beauty of his young wife, he woke up his elderly friends in the house to see his wife's loveliness. While they were looking at her she awoke. When she was fully awake it dawned upon her that she was being stared at by a lot of old men in the house.

"So, she rose up, filled with shame. It was if a lovely sky had been covered with cloud; her breast heaved like an earthquake. She was overcome by shame. Her hands seized her garments to cover her. She fled to a corner of the house and cried, cried til daylight came.

"When it was fully daylight the old man and his friends went aboard a canoe and paddled out to sea to fish. After they had gone his wife brooded on the wrong done to her by her husband and she decided to end her her life. Now, there was a certain precipitous rock standing on the coastline which is known today as the leap of Te Aohuruhuru [Te Rerenga o Te Aohuruhuru].

"Then the girl set about adorning herself; she combed her her hair and dressed herself in fine cloaks; she placed plumes in her hair - her plumes were of the huia, the white heron and finally the albatross. Then the girl rose and set out to climb until she reached the top of the rocky pinnacle, where she sat down. There she thought out a song.

"When her song was ready, her husband and his friends were paddling to the shore. As the husband's canoe drew near to near t the base of the rock on which the girl was sitting, the old man's heart was still aglow with the beauty of his young wife. Then they heard the girl singing her song. They listened to the words she sang, wafted on the ripples of the water like an echo striking a cliff and rebounding, and soothing to the spirit. Truly, the sound of the woman's song was like that, clearly reaching their ears. This is it -

"Naku ra i moe tuwherawhera
Ka tahuna ki te ahi
Kia tino turama
A ka kataina a au na.

"While I lay exposed in my sleep
The fire was kindled
To burn brightly
And I was a laughing stock.

"When her song was ended she leaped from the rock to destroy herself. The old man saw her as she jumped from the cliff. He saw her garments flashing white as she fell.

"So they brought their canoe ashore at the base of the rock from which she had leaped, and as they landed they saw her lying there, utterly shattered. It was as if a carved canoe had been thrown on to the reef and smashed to splinters. And the carved canoe of that old man was indeed torn to pieces, that is, the unexcelled beauty of the young woman. And to this very day we still remember the name of this rock, Te Rerenga o Te Aohuruhuru. And we remember too, the words of her song. When strangers come here we take them to see the rock."

Te Umutahi, love child of Te Aohuruhuru and Takaroupoko, became the wife of Tawhakahiku, a famous chief of the Rangitane tribe.

 

This is the whakapapa:

Ko Whatonga = Hotuwaipara
ko TARA (eponymous ancestor of Ngai Tara tribe) = Umuroimata
ko Wakanui = Hineakau
ko Turia I = Himematua
ko Hineiti = Tahuao
ko Te Mominuku = Whakarereora
ko Tatapohatu = Te Oma
ko TE AOHURUHURU = Takaroupoko
ko Te Umutahi = Tawhakahiku
ko Uengarangi = Tupito
ko Hautoki = Te Potiwhaia
ko Te Umuroa = Korakotaiwaha
ko Te Rangiwhakaewa (ancestor of Ngati Rangiwhakaewa tribe) = Purerau
ko Parikoau = Te Muhu
ko Tauarohaki = Te Rerewaiterangi
ko Kapa = Maropehu
ko Te Ruatotara = Tutaua
ko Te Koro-o-nga-whenua = Te Ngene
ko Ngapokakari = Hakahaka
ko Rahera = Hakikino
ko Hohepa Paewai = Ateneta
ko Pekerangi Emaraina Te Mamae Paewai = Takerei Ihaia
ko Parehe Tuia Takerei = Te Whana Awatea Himona
ko George Tokomauri Himona

Ko TE AOHURUHURU = Takaroupoko
ko Te Umutahi = Tawhakahiku
ko Uengarangi = Tupito
ko Hautoki = Te Potiwhaia
ko Hineiti = Pinenau
ko Tawhirirangi = Hineiho
ko Tamauatake = Paku
ko Rongotu = Te Rua
ko Hineiteahunga = Tutepoi
ko Totaa = Toreatai
ko Hinewhiri = Rongoteururoa
ko Te Whakaihirangi = Hikarahui
ko Te Opekai = Te Rangipupuonuku
ko Te Iwikaiangata Kotiro = Tohungaio
ko Ngahoka = Pipi (Hineteataura)
ko Potau = Hipora
ko Ateneta = Hohepa Paewai
ko Pekerangi Emaraina Te Mamae Paewai = Takerei Ihaia
ko Parehe Tuia Takerei = Te Whana Awatea Himona
ko George Tokomauri Himona

ko TE AOHURUHURU = Takaroupoko
ko Te Umutahi = Tawhakahiku (Rangitane tribe)
Uengarangi = Tupito
ko Irakumia (famous war chief of the Rangitane tribe)
ko Waiarowhitu
ko Kaiwhakaware
ko Waihotu
ko Maropuehu = Kapa (Ngai Tara tribe)
ko Uewha = Te Whakatau
ko Rangikauwia = Tipuaki
ko Te Kaiahoua
ko Hineteataura (Pipi) = Ngahoka
ko Potau = Hipora
ko Ateneta = Hohepa Paewai
ko Pekerangi Emaraina Te Mamae Paewai = Takerei Ihaia
ko Parehe Tuia Takerei = Te Whana Awatea Himona
ko George Tokomauri Himona