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IRAMOKO MARAE                                                                  Download PDF of Maori version here
This Ngāti Awa marae is situated along the banks of the Tarawera River near Matatā.  Iramoko marae is named after the great Ngāti Awa Chief called Iramoko. Iramoko is the eldest child of Iratumoana and Te Rangikeiwaho.

Iratumoana and Te Rangikeiwaho begat four progeny. Their progeny are: Iramoko, Manukorihi, Rangituhi and Turehe.

From the four children of Iratumoana are the descendants of the Ngāti Awa tribes living between the three Ngāti Awa rivers: Whakatāne, Rangitaiki and Tarawera. From Iramoko come the people known as Ngāti Awa ki Tarawera, from Manukorihi come the people known as Ngāti Awa ki Rangitaiki, and from Turehe come the people known as Ngāti Awa ki Whakatane. From Rangituhi come the people known as Ngāti Awa ki Kawerau, who are known today as Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau.

The great Ngāti Awa chief Iratumoana was the eldest child of Tamarakeiora and Waipunaarangi. Iratumoana is a direct descendant of Tāneatua.

Iratumoana’s father Tamarakeiora was born at Whārikitetoki. This is the name of the land area where Iramoko marae is situated.
 
Tamarakeiora maintained the mana whenua over the Matatā region. This mana whenua came from the genealogy lines of Toi and his wife Te Kura-i-monoa. They gave birth to Awanuiārangi, the founding ancestor of the Ngāti Awa tribe.
 


Irawharo and Te Kurarangi are first cousins and it is said they came from Ohiwa to Waiohau, on the Rangitaiki River, where they lived at the pa of Rakei, that is the Tauheke pa, which belonged to Ngāti Rakei of Ngāti Awa.

Te Turu-mauku and Te Rarauhe-Turukiruki are the two old time tribes, originally the name for Te Tini o Irawharo or Ngati Irawharo and Ngati Te Tuhimareikura.

Ngāti Irawharo and Ngāti Te Tuhimareikura had no intention to remain long in Waiohau as they were being expelled by Marupuku. Ngāti Irawharo and Ngāti Te Tuhimareikura then moved to Otamarākau pa site situated on the Tuararangaia block. Ngāti Irawharo and Ngāti Te Tuhimareikra then fled to the Otamahanga pa. Ngāti Irawharo and Ngāti Te Tuhimareikura then went to Omataroa, and some went to Matariua pa while others lived at Rakeihopukia. They then went to Te Awakauia, then to Otamarākau, Maketū and Tauranga.

Ngāti Irawharo and Ngāti Te Tuhimareikura then moved from Otamarākau inland to Matatā. The ancestor Te Kurarangi was with the Ngāti Irawharo and Ngāti Te Tuhimareikura tribes. Ngāti Irawharo settled between the Waitahanui River and Te Awa o Te Atua, the river of the Gods, the river mouth of Tarawera. Ngāti Irawharo eventually became known as Ngāti Hikakino and Ngai Te Rangihouhiri. They became the Ngāti Awa tribes living at Matatā.

Ngati Te Tuhimareikura migrated inland to Te Awakaponga, then to Whāriki te Toki. Te Kurarangi gave birth to Tamarakeiora at Whāriki te Toki. Tamarakeiora grew to manhood and became a great leader and chief of Ngati Te Tuhimareikura a sub tribe of Ngati Awa. One day, Tamarakeiora travelled to Pukehina where he met Waipunaarangi, the daughter of Maruahaira and Te Ohanga. This is Ngāti Awa’s connection to Ngati Whakahemo at Pukehina.

Tamarakeiora cohabited with Waipunaarangi and begat Iratumoana and his sister Ohinekoao. Iratumoana grew to become one of the greatest leaders of his generation. He was an expert in the arts of weaponry, an orator, a whakapapa expert, an exponent of karakia and he was skilled at preparing food. Hence the saying “Iratumoana kai o uta, kai o tai”. “Iratumoana an expert of food on the land and at sea”.

Iratumoana was also a very stubborn man. If he didn’t want to notice the words of other people, he would ignore them. Hence the saying “Iratumoana taringa rahiahi.” “Iratumoana ears that are likened to rocks.” His ears only listen to what he wants to listen too.

One of Iratumoana’s famous whakatauki was; “Kei te imu te ruhi, te imu te ngenge tau e patu ai ko taku tawhito. Muimui te iroiro tootoro te ngaro mau ka oti atu, oti atu ki te po.” This was quoted at Te Umuhika after Iratumoana had slain Tarakura a gigantic lizard that lived at Pikowai in a cave called Ruataniwha. Tarakura also lived at other caves in the Matatā region called Te Anawaihokohoko, Te Waikamihi river below Te Umuhika and Whāriki te toki at Withy Road. Tarakura also occupied the Tarawera and Rangitaiki swamps.

Tarakura was trapped by Iratumoana and his warriors at the Te Waikamihi river. They were armed with taiaha, patu and toki. There was a great battle at Te Waikamihi river Tarakura managed to escape. He fled to the Tarawera river and then to Te Awa o Te Atua. It was at the river mouth of Tarawera that Tarakura was finally slain. Iratumoana overpowered Tarakura and defeated him. Iratumoana removed Tarakura’s heart, tongue and eyes. These body parts were then taken to Te Umuhika, where Iratumoana established a tūahu and presented the tongue, heart and eyes to the gods and the ancestors as a offering for the successful battle. He then ate the tongue, heart and eyes which made Iratumoana the most powerful Ngāti Awa chief of his time. He inherited the mana of the great taniwha Tarakura. Having performed this act, Iratumoana then became the living representation of the feared taniwha Tarakura in the world of living. He was the only person of his generation that had the courage, skill and strength to defeat Tarakura. This gave him absolute power of the Ngāti Awa tribe. Hence the proverb; “Ko Putauaki te maunga, Ko Iratumoana te Tangata, Ko Ngāti Awa te iwi.” “Putauaki is the mountain, Iratumoana is the chief, Ngāti Awa is the tribe.”

When Tarakura perished, the patupaiarehe at Putauaki and Waiotapu could be heard mourning in grief for Tarakura.

Iratumoana then composed this proverb; “Ngā mate i Koohi me tangi mai i Kawerau. Ngā mate i Kawerau me tangi atu i Koohi.”

“Let all the deaths at Kawerau be mourned at Koohi. Let all the deaths at Koohi be mourned at Kawerau.”

It is through Iratumoana that the three rivers of Ngāti Awa are joined together in unity. Iratumoana is a descendant of the Ngāti Awa tribe and the Mataatua canoe. His wife is Te Rangikeiwaho. She is also known as Te Waiheketua. Her tribe is Nga Maihi.

The children of Iratumoana were all born at Whāriki te toki. When Iratumoana died his body was deposited in the burial cave at Manawahe called Te Ana i Haritu.

The Maori name for the area where Iramoko Marae stands is called Whāriki Te Toki. The original name for the area is “Te Mahoratanga-o-Tamarakeiora.” This is the reason why this marae is been established here, because it is the home of Iratumoana.

The name Whāriki Te Toki was placed upon this area by Iratumoana. When he returned to his home from battle, he would place his greenstone adze upon the ground like a mat. It was a symbol of peace and he would not take arms of war against anyone, when his greenstone adze was lying on the ground.

Hence the saying; “Whāriki te toki he umauma tangata, he umauma rākau-a-Iratumoana.” “The sacred mat where the greenstone adze of Iratumoana lay down as a sign of peace. However, beware, if you attack Iratumoana, his adze will crush your chest and kill you.” This is the origins of the name Whāriki te toki, the land area for the Iramoko Marae.

When Iratumoana died his mana and leadership was transferred to his sons Iramoko and Manukorihi, the two twins. When they grew to adulthood, they both moved inland to Manawahe and established the people at the pa called Otuhepo. After a time, they migrated out to Te Umuhika. Iramoko stayed at Te Umuhika and established the hapu called Ngati Iramoko.

In time they became known as Te Tawera Hapu. Manukorihi migrated to Te Teko and established the people called Ngati Manukorihi. Manukorihi also travelled to Taranaki and establised Ngati Manukorihi ki Taranaki. He moved back to Te Teko, and when he died, he was buried at Manawahe with his father Iratumoana.Manukorihi married his wife called Te Uruingawai.The hapu of Te Kahupaake descend from Manukorihi, the twin brother of Iramoko.

Iramoko cohabited with the Ngāti Umutahi (a subtribe of Te Tawera of Ngāti Awa) chieftainess Te Paetata.


Te Paetata cohabited with Iramoko and they begat Te Haupuangiangi, Kaikino, Te Araomakau, Ipu, Te Moa, Ngapopoa, Te Manukaimiro and Titi. These are the eight children of Iramoko and Te Paetata. From these eight progeny come the descendants of the Te Tāwera tribe.

The various hapū of Te Tāwera are: Ngāti Iramoko, Ngāti Umutahi, Ngai Tamawera, Ngāti Kaikino, Ngāti Peehi, Ngāti Koro, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Tamarangi, Ngāti Te Tuhi-Mareikura, Ngāti Kuiarangi, the people of Tuariki Marae and Ngāti Te Kirianinga.

Whāriki te toki is the landarea.
Whakapaukōrero is the mountain.
Tarawera is the river.
Te Waikamihi is the stream.
Iramoko is the marae.
Te Paetata is the meeting house.
Iramoko is the dining room.
Otere at Te Umuhika is the burial ground.
Te Ramaapakura is the chief.
Te Parihorokaka and Te Pou -o- terangi are the weapons.
Ngāti Awa is the tribe.

Te Tawera is the subtribe.
Mataatua is the canoe.
The kawa of this marae is pāeke, the kawa of Ngāti Awa.

The carvings on the meeting house were carved by the Kura Whakairo o Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

The tekoteko is the great chieftainess Te Paetata, the wife of Iramoko. The carving depicts a lizard wrapped around her body.  This represents her husband Iramoko. The basket of kumara depicts her skill as an expert growing kumara in cultivations. She also feed people well and provided hospitality to all people who entered her home. The carving between her thighs is her eldest child Te Haupuangiangi. From her, descend all the blue bloodlines of Te Tāwera.

The star is the kōruru of the wharenui which represents Whānui or Vega. In November, she would look to the heavens and gaze at the stars to see if Whānui had arrived. When she saw Whānui, she knew it was time to plant her kumara tubers at the cultivation grounds called Marangaranga, this area is known today as Ross Road.

The maihi depicts her father and mothers genealogical connections. On the taraiti side the carvings are: A white eel called Korako one of the guardians of the Te Waikamihi river, the Ngāti Awa ancestors Tunono, Umutahi, Rakaumaoa and Pokipoki. On the taranui side are her mother’s ancestors starting from Tamarakeiora, Iratumoana, Turehe and Titi.

Pokipoki cohabited with Titi and begat Te Kainga, Kaikino, Te Paetata, Te Moa, Pohatu, Pakeke and Ipu. On the raparapa are lizard faces on both sides of the maihi and they represent the four taniwha of the Tarawera river; Tuara, Te Rangihiiria, Tupai and Tūtarakauika.

The pouaroaro represents the children of Iramoko and Te Paetata.

The two amo represent two famous women of great mana. The amo on the taraiti side is Rangipare from Ngāti Tarawhai and her three children: Te Auwhatu, Kuiarangi and Rakaumaoa. She was a expert in weaponary and leading war parties into battle. The paua in the tongue represents Te Whanau-a-Rua. 

This symbolises the skills that Te Tāwera have in whakapapa and whaikōrero. On the taranui side of the amo depicts the ancestress Hahuru of Ngāti Awa who married her husband Mawaketaupo from Taupo, a descendant of the high priest, Ngatoroirangi of the Te Arawa canoe. Under her is her son the great Ngāti Awa chief, Tuwharetoa. His mother Hahuru descends from the canoe Mataatua. Toroa had Ruaihona who had Tahingaotera who had Awanuiarangi who had Awaheinui who had Waitahaarikikore who had Hahuru who had Tuwharetoa who had Te Rahikoia who had Irapeke who had Te Hauwhawharu who had Te Kurarangi who had Tamarakeiora who had Iratumoana who had Iramoko the name of this new Ngāti Awa Marae.

Iramoko Marae is a Ngāti Awa marae, it has been established as a Mataatua whānui marae. The mauri of the wharenui is called Te Kohatu mauri o Te Paetata. This is a rock from Te Waikamihi river.

The mauri of the wharekai for Iramoko are six rocks bringing the three rivers of Ngāti Awa together. One rock comes from the Whakatāne river, one from the Rangitaiki river, one from the Tarawera river, one from Tongariro mountain (a greenstone) and one from Mokaingārara and Te Waikamihi river. The mauri of this wharekai is called Ngā Poumana-o-Iramoko.

There are three iwi living along the Tarawera river today. They are Ngāti Awa (Iramoko Marae), Oniao Marae (Ngāti Tuwharetoa), Umutahi Marae (Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Tuwharetoa), and Rangitihi Marae (Ngāti Rangitihi, Te Arawa). The four marae of Matatā are: Iramoko, Oniao, Umutahi and Rangitihi.

Te Kooti Rikirangi the founder of the Ringaatu Church left a prophecy upon the people of Matatā:

I can see the star Venus shining in the east. Under this star within the tribal boundaries of Mataatua, there will come a chosen child who will bring order and peace back to the people and to the land of Te Awa o Te Atua, (the river of the gods, Matatā lagoon). The land in Matatā has been confiscated by the Crown and left the people homeless, cultureless and in conflict with one another. One day this chosen child will claim a sacred rock which has the power to heal the land, to restore order and unify the tribes along the Tarawera River.

“Iramoko Marae has only been established in recent times to be a part of the prophecy that was quoted by Te Kooti at Oniao Marae in 1869. It also represents the home marae of Ngāti Awa and Te Tawera people living in the Matata region.This marae is also for all of Ngāti Awa, so that no one can say to Ngati Awa, you do not belong in Matata. This is our Ngāti Awa marae. This is our Mataatua marae. With the establishment of Iramoko, Ngāti Awa’s right cannot be challenged as being one of the principal tribes in Matatā. As Iramoko stands as a Ngāti Awa symbol amongst the other iwi and is part of the process that has been working towards restoring the mana recognition of the Ngāti Awa tribe in Matatā, so that the three tribes can be equally recognised. It is important that each tribe and marae is acknowledged and respected. Unity is strength. A totara tree spilt in two is food for the fire. 

“Ma te wa e whakamatauria” In time we will see the depth of Te Kooti’s prophecy upon the people of Matatā.

Naku noa, na

Pouroto Ngaropo
Chairman
Iramoko Marae, Wharikitetoki
Te Tāwera Hapu, Ngāti Awa ki Tarawera