Written by Robyn Kamira
8 November 2009
We know that we have a rich whakapapa but it came as a surprise to find out that we have whakapapa connections to Te Arawa and in particular, the Ngati Whakaue people.
Ngati Whakaue reside in Maketu and Rotorua. The specific area that we connect to is Tunohopu marae, only a couple of hundred metres from the well-known Ohinemutu in Rotorua township. I am told that while Ohinemutu is often host to the ceremonial and high profile events, Tunohopu hosts the day to day needs of the hapu such as tangi.
According to Maori Land Court records, our names were removed from land titles during the time of our grandfather Pita Kamira. We had been challenged because we did not hold the ahi kaa – we did not keep the fires warm by living in the area.
The evidence refers to Keti Te Hei Pounamu who, according to the records, was taken captive. Keti Te Hei Pounamu was around during the musket wars – at the time that Hongi Hika had arrived from the north to sack Mokoia Island in 1823. He was successful in defeating Ngati Whakaue and took Keti Te Hei Pounamu - a chieftainess of the Tunohopu hapu. Her whakapapa goes back to Tunohopu the man, and back further to Tutanekai and Hinemoa.
She was taken north and married an Irish-Englishman named Thomas Samuel Joyce, who later died while pearl diving on Thursday Island. I am speculating, but she would have been a more than worthy trade for muskets.
Following Thomas’s death, she married Englishman Charles Arthur Cook – this is where the name Kuku comes from. Charles is translated to Haare (or Hare). I do not know if he was related to Captain James Cook but I heard from my father that some said he was.
Keti Te Hei Pounamu and Charles had two children. The first was Rangipaku Kuku. The second child was Hare Kuku (Charles Cook) who married Miriama Mata Pangari. Their daughter was our great grandmother Mereana (Te Ruru) Kuku.
So, the Ngati Whakaue connection is through Mereana whose grandmother was Keti Te Hei Pounamu, chieftainess of Tunohopu or Ngati Whakaue.
Maori Land Court record (full reference later)
The contributors to whakapapa.maori.org.nz forums
A special thanks also goes to John Fenwick (Ngati Rangiteaorere) for his assistance in unfolding this wonderful story.
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