Ko Ruatea te tangata
Ko Kurahaupō te waka
Ko Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō te iwi
Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō originated from Ngāti Apa of the North Island and while there are various debates regarding the origins of the iwi, there is consensus Ngāti Apa came in the Kurahaupō waka, which arrived in Aotearoa sometime between the 13th and 14th centuries.
It was from the mid-1500s that Ngāti Apa tīpuna began to make increasingly regular forays south to Te Waipounamu, eventually settling in Te Tauihu o te Waka-a-Māui (the northern South Island) through several migrations over many generations.
To distinguish ourselves from Ngāti Apa of Te Ika-ā-Māui (the North Island), we were called Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō (Ngāti Apa of the setting sun).
Apa-hāpai-taketake was the son of Ruatea and is the eponymous ancestor of both Ngāti Apa in the north and Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō.
There are several kōrero about our Kurahaupō waka origins. One talks about Ruatea as the captain of the Kurahaupō. Another popular tribal account claims the Kurahaupō was severely damaged off Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands). While many of those on board transferred to the Aotea canoe, which had set out at the same time, it is believed Ruatea and others remained at Rangitāhua and repaired the waka hourua before continuing the voyage to Aotearoa.
Whakapapa Table 1 below is from the Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Report for the Waitangi Tribunal Claims. The tīpuna in blue are from W. E. Gudgeon who recorded kōrero that Apa Tika, was killed by the kick of a moa while hunting at P`ūtauaki (Mount Edgecumbe). As a result of killing the pet moa, Apa descendants were driven away to Lake Rotoaira, where they lived for many years in the Orangi-te-taia Pā. After killing Ngāti Tūwharetoa chiefs Te Rapuhoro and Tu-te-tawa, they were attacked by Te Rangi-ita, Waikari and other Ngāti Tūwharetoa chiefs in revenge - and defeated. Takapu-Manuka and his son Miromiro are said to have then fled to Tarawera on the Taupō-Napier road, where they were protected by Ngāti Kuratawhiti and Ngāti Maruwahine. Te Whakakaho is believed to have fled to Rangitīkei across the Rangipō desert.
In another kōrero, Ngāti Apa migrated from Heretaunga to Rangitīkei.
Importantly for Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, it was Tamahau who is said to have led the first Ngāti Apa migration to settle in Te Tauihu, arriving in the famed Te Awatea waka, believed to be one of the hulls of the Kurahaupō.
Significant tipuna Tarakaipa came in the migration with Tamahau.
Apa-wetewete tapiki i te tuakiritanga o te ata!
(Apa the destroyer who rises before the break of dawn!)
In another kōrero, Ruarangi and Rongoueroa brought their children Whātoka/Whātonga, Awa and Apa, who were brothers, to Te Waipounamu in the Kurahaupō, which went as far as Māwheranui (Greymouth) where Tamanui, or in some traditions, Tama ahaua, disembarked and later found Poutini, the personification of pounamu.
In this kōrero, Whātonga, Awa and Apa also have the title -wetewete te tapiki ascribed to their names. Ngāti Apa come from Apa, Ngāti Kuia come from Awa and Ngāi Tara, Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri, Rangitāne and Ngāti Māmoe from Whātonga. Apa descendants eventually settled on the west coast of the North Island and Whātonga (Ngāi Tara, Tūmatakōkiri, Rangitāne, Ngāti Māmoe) on the east - and later - west coasts. All these iwi settled in the Raukawakawa Moana (Cook Strait) region and are the ancestors of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Kuia and Rangitāne o Wairau.
Tipuna Meihana Kereopa recorded the whakapapa below from Ihaia Nohota and Pirimona Pōkīkī in 1879. These whakapapa were recorded to support land claims in Te Waipounamu being made with Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu. The whakapapa illustrates the descent of Tarakaipa from Ruarangi and the Kurahaupō waka and Tarakaipa as a significant ancestor for Ngāti Kuia and Rangitāne.
Te Heiwi was of Rangitāne and she married Tarakaipa of Ngāti Apa. Tarakaipa’s son, Rongotamea, married Kuia, the founding ancestress of Ngāti Kuia. The children of Mahuru, Hine-i-te-aropaki and Ripa were known traditionally as Ngāi Te Heiwi. Rangitakohukohu’s son Waiakaroa married Hape and descendants became known as Ngāti Hape.
Tu Ariki and Tūtae poroporo
One of the early Ngāti Apa tīpuna to visit Te Tauihu was Tu Ariki of Te Rangitīkei. An important oral history tells us that while at Whakatū he went fishing and caught a shark. Taking pity on it, he used karakia to turn the shark into a pet taniwha he named Tūtae poroporo. Tūtae poroporo grew fond of Tu Ariki, who fed him and took him along on some of his travels. It is said that when Tu Ariki was killed by a group from Whanganui, Tūtae poroporo took revenge and preyed on travellers in the Whanganui River, only later to be killed himself by Te Ao Kehu. Tūtae poroporo is embodied in a carving at Omaka Marae in the Wairau.
Ngāti Apa ki te Waipounamu - Migrations and Settlement
In the 16th century, tīpuna from Whanganui, Muaūpoko, Rangitāne and Ngāti Apa started the migration to Te Waipounamu. Ngāi Te Heiwi, Ngāti Wharepua, Ngāti Hape, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Kopia and Ngāti Wairangi are some of the hapū from these tīpuna who settled in Te Tauihu. At the same time Ngāi Tara, Rangitāne, Ngāti Ira and Ngāi Tahu were migrating from Wairarapa via Te Whanganui-a-Tara to Te Waipounamu. Ngāti Hapairangi, Ngāti Huataki, Ngāti Tukauae and Ngāi Turahui are some of the hapū from these tīpuna.
Ngāti Apa tīpuna first settled at Tōtaranui (Queen Charlotte Sound) where Tarakaipa and his whānau made several strategic alliances with other groups through marriage. Tarakaipa himself married Te Heiwi of Rangitāne, and their descendants were known as Ngāi Te Heiwi. Their son Rongotamea married Kuia from Ngāi Tara, who is the founding ancestress of Ngāti Kuia. Another son, Ripa, married Rau-akina from Ngāti Wharepuka.
Marama, Tireo and Ruatapu also migrated to Tōtaranui, however, Ruatapu was killed at Pa Terehu by Ngāti Kuia and Rangitāne. Peace was made through the marriage of Tiro’s son, Kura Tuauru, to Kuia’s daughter, Kiritoroahi. Their descendants are known as Ngāti Kura Tuauru. Tireo and Marama were later killed at Manawatū.
Tahuaraki Meihana identifies Marama, Whitio, Topea Auru, and Te Āhuru as significant Ngāti Apa tīpuna whom he and his relations descend from. These tīpuna descendants all made significant intermarriages with other Te Tauihu iwi – Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri, Ngāi Tara, Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāti Wairangi.
Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō – Ngāti Apa of the Setting Sun
Peter Macdonald states Te Āhuru of Ngāti Apa and Te Kahawai of Rangitāne also led a migration from Manawatū looking to settle in Te Tauihu. They arrived at Meretoto in Totāranui and made alliances with Ngāti Kuia and Rangitāne before moving westward to settle. Tahuaraki states they started their campaign near Rangitoto (d'Urville Island) and went on to defeat Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri in a number of areas. Te Ahuriri carried his campaign into Te Taitapu on the West Coast with Te Ao, whose descendants settled there. This occurred at a time when TŪhuru and Wharekino of Ngāi Tahu from Kaiapoi were engaged in fighting against Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri. The defeat of Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri by the two different groups resulted in Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Apa occupying. Peter and Tuiti Macdonald state that was about 1800. Despite this turbulent time, peaceful settlement was achieved more through intermarriage and alliances than conflict.
Some of those who went with Te Āhuru were Te Ao, Tukihono, Wai, Te Oi, Tapo, Te Aha and some of the descendants of Topuea Auru and Raikihere. They settled in areas spanning from Rangitoto, throughout Te Tai-o-Aorere (Tasman Bay), across to Te Taitapu and Kawatiri and also inland to Maruia, Rotoiti and Rotoroa.
Te Tira a Kōtuku and the 'Koura mawhitiwhiti' migration
The final migration was led by Kotuku in about 1824. Kapiti Coast had been invaded by Ngāti Toa and their allies, so Kōtuku led his followers - Te Tira a Kōtuku - in a migration called 'Koura mawhitiwhiti' from the Kapiti Coast to Arapaoa Island and Opua Bay. Around 1826-27, Kōtuku decided to settle at Te Taitapu among his relations so led another migration there. Some of those who followed Kōtuku joined their relations at Whakapūaka, Waimea, Moutere and other places.
Written by Mark Moses
 Te Ara online New Zealand Encyclopedia, Ngāti Apa, Grant Huwyler
 D. Armstrong, Ngāti Apa Ki Te R`ā Tō, 1998, p8
 W. E. Gudgeon, Journal of the Polynesian Society, 1893, Volume 2, No.4, December 1893, The tangata whenua; aboriginal people of the central districts of the North Island of New Zealand, p203-210.
 Meihana Manuscript (MS), Kohi MS.
 Meihana MS, Kohi MS
Wiremu Kauika, JPS Vol 13, 1913, Tutae Poroporo, Te Taniwha i Patua e Ao Kehu I Whanganui. p89.
 T Tau, Nga Pikituroa o Ngāi Tahu, 2003, p 200,201; Natanahira Waruwarutu of Ngāi Tahu
 AJHR 1898 G2a p78
 AJHR 1898 G2a p70, 76
 Meihana MS
[``11] Peart, Old Tasman Bay