The tribes of Te Arawa have a long association with the Hauraki region. The canoe Te Arawa landed at various points around the Coromandel Peninsula, and those on board named several places, including Moehau Mountain. The full name, Te Moengahau-o-Tamatekapua (the windy sleeping place of Tamatekapua), commemorates the burial there of the commander of Te Arawa, Tamatekapua.
The people of Ngāti Huarere are of Te Arawa descent. Their ancestor is Huarere, a grandson of Tamatekapua. For some time the Ngāti Huarere identity was set aside but never entirely disappeared, and members of the tribe still live in the Whangapoua and Coromandel district.
Tribal links with the land
The history of Harataunga (Kennedy Bay) illustrates how different tribes have links with the Hauraki region. The Ngāti Tamaterā people were given Harataunga by Ngāti Huarere, in recognition of Ngāti Tamaterā’s help when conflict arose with Ngāti Hei. Then in the 19th century the Ngāti Tamaterā chief Pāora Te Putu presented the land to the Ngāti Porou people of the East Coast. This gift assisted Ngāti Porou in their coastal trading with Auckland markets.
Ngāti Hei are descendants of Hei, uncle of Tamatekapua, who was commander of Te Arawa. Like many of the early peoples of the Hauraki region, Ngāti Hei came into conflict with the expanding Marutūahu tribes. They were present when Captain James Cook arrived at Whitianga. Later, they suffered when musket-carrying Ngāpuhi war parties swept in from the north. Unlike Ngāti Huarere, Ngāti Hei managed to survive through these times of change and trouble. They still live in the region, particularly in the district of Te Whitianga-o-Kupe (Whitianga Harbour).