The Ngati Rehia of Kerikeri


One thousand years ago our great ancestor Puhi came here with his family in the Mataatua canoe. Entering the Hokianga Harbour, they were in danger of sinking on the treacherous sand bar: someone called out "hokianga whakapau karakia" - use every prayer you have.

 

When up the Mangamuka River they decided to take their waka apart in order to carry it over the Puketi hill. But there they lost the canoe bailer - "te puke tiheru o te Mataatua." Finally the family settled down at Takou Bay, planting kumara, taro and gourds; harvesting the soil, the forest and the moana in a cycle of the seasons. They prospered and expanded into the great tribe called Nga Puhi Nui Tonu.

 

After thirty generations the Nga Puhi dominated the mid-North from the Hokianga to the Bay of Islands. Our paramount chief Te Pahi set up the first trading post in 1802 at Woolshed Bay to supply the demands of whalers, sealers, and returning convict transports. Te Pahi's son, Ruatara, travelled to England in 1807, returning with seeds of wheat and corn to establish the first export of grain to Australia.

 

On Christmas Day 1814 Samuel Marsden was invited to establish the first Christian Church here. A month later came the first school, then the first plough, the first blacksmith, the first flour mill and the first crop of potatoes.

 

Twenty years later Ngati Rehia hosted the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. From Takou in the North to Puketona in the South we are the Ngati Rehia of Kerikeri-"number one" in Aotearoa.