Ngā ara a ngā tūpuna |
The trails of our ancestors
Mai I te tihi o Puhi Kererū rere atu rā ki te motu tapu o Tarakaipa, haere tonu ki Whakatū ki Onetahua. Heke whakararo ki Kahurangi, ki Karamea, ki Kawatiri. Rere ki uta ki ngā wai mākoha o Rotomairewhenua, Rotopōhueroa. Tae atu rā ki ngā Pātaka kai o Rotoiti, o Rotoroa Ko ngā ara ēnei o ngā mātua tīpuna, Tihei Mauri Ora!
Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō have an unbroken historical, traditional and spiritual association with the whenua of Te Tauihu o te Waka-a-Māui, stretching back hundreds of years. The manner in which the trails of our ancestors connected settlements across our vast rohe formed important and well-used ‘highways’ for commerce and the free flow of people. These trails, veins connecting far-flung Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō settlements in Tōtaranui (Queen Charlotte Sound), Te Tai-o-Aorere (Tasman Bay), Mohua (Golden Bay), Te Taitapu, the Kawatiri (Buller) and inland into Rotoiti and Rotoroa, were central to maintaining the unity, mauri and integrity of the iwi in early times.
They also gave refuge in the dark days of invasion during the Musket Raids.
Ngāti Apa had customary use, occupation and enjoyment of lands and fisheries across Te Tauihu for centuries, with particular strongholds in Anamāhanga (Port Gore), Tennyson Inlet, Tarakaipa Island, coastal Te Tai-o-Aorere, coastal Taitapu (Mohua), Whakatū, the upper catchments of the rivers running into Taitapu (Mohua) and Te Tai-o-Aorere, the whole block of country from the southern bank lands of the Kawatiri north (including Tauranga Bay) north to Kahurangi Point and inland of that coastline in an easterly direction to the Nelson Lakes area.
While the exclusion of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō from various significant land transactions by the New Zealand Company, and later the Crown, meant Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō no longer held exclusive possession of all our territory, this did not extinguish our tribal structures, chiefly lines and ancestral connections to the whenua.
Today, the tribal rohe remains largely unchanged, as acknowledged in the iwi’s Deed of Settlement with the Crown.